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Lexi's birthday party was coming to a close, and dinner at the palace was stimulated by lively conversation about the events of the day; how Ink managed to survive the monsters of Tartarus, and how Hades and Lexi rallied to his aid. Ink and Lisbon took their dinner in Ink's room, which spurred dialogue about their relationship. Jolie was under the impression Lisbon had been enamored with Ink ever since she'd seen him fight in the Square of Heroes, but Gunther disagreed, claiming the fight Lisbon saw had Ink getting trounced by Heracles. Jolie then argued that Lisbon may have been impressed by Ink's bravery to accept the challenge, at which Jules suggested it was not bravery but stupidity.

When speculations had been exhausted on all fronts, there was a roundtable discussion about the legacy council, and Lexi's party guests finally said their goodbyes, leaving Lexi in high spirits. Hades escorted Lexi up the staircase, and they walked to his study together. Poseidon needed to be informed of his son's rescue, which had been put off while Hades and Lexi hosted their visitors. On the landing, Hades stopped to encircle Lexi in his arms.

"It feels like a lifetime since I've held you," he said as he imprisoned her mouth with his, tasting chocolate espresso frosting on her tongue. "Was your birthday celebration everything you had hoped?"

"Apart from Ink's near-death experience, I enjoyed the events of the day." Her face turned pensive as she offered more. "I am a little concerned about Melinoe. How will she react to our brush off? We should call her before she shows up here and curses our unborn children."

"Melinoe cannot curse our children." Even as he spoke the words, a shiver wracked Hades' body, and he waited for it to subside before he led Lexi through the door of his study.

"I know, but she does have the power to manipulate our thoughts. You told me so yourself, and I will never forget it."

"I will call Melinoe first."

Hades had no interest in provoking Melinoe's wrath, and he knew Lexi didn't either. He ushered Lexi to a chair in front of the fireplace and lifted her feet to prop them on the ottoman as she draped her arm over her forehead. Hades placed the call to Melinoe's cabin and explained the events of the afternoon, embellishing his story enough to incite her empathy, and by the end of their conversation, Melinoe was cracking jokes about Ink morphing into Typhon and scaring the shit out of Zeus.

Hades rang Poseidon's palace next, and Lexi slowly rose to her feet to join him at the mirror just as a nymph appeared in the glass.

"Good evening, your graces," said the nymph. "How can I serve you?"

"I wish to speak with Poseidon, if he is nearby. I have news about his son, Ink."

"Oh, I am sure he will want to receive such news. Please, allow me a moment to check on his whereabouts."

The nymph disappeared and Hades took Lexi into his arms, pulling her close and pressing a kiss to her cheek. She smelled divine despite her adventurous day. It wouldn't matter what condition he found her in, he could devour her and never be sated. As Hades moved to Lexi's earlobe and took it into his mouth, he heard the distinctive sound of someone clearing his throat.

"Greetings, Hades. Lady Lexi. I hope I am not interrupting anything."

Hades turned to address his brother's smirk, keeping Lexi tucked against his hip. "Good evening, Poseidon. I have news."

"I hope it is good news. I spent the afternoon in the company of a disagreeable titan and his new stable satyr who insisted I describe every nuance of properly caring for an Andalusian."

Poseidon's eyes never left Lexi's face as she spoke, which Hades had grown accustomed to, although it still annoyed him.

"I believe you will find my news more encouraging," Hades said. "During our adventures today, and with the help of Lexi's birthday guests, we located your wayward son."

"Did you now?" Poseidon's gaze flicked to Hades as he questioned him. "Where was he keeping himself hidden?"

"Tartarus." Hades' one word answer hung in the air like the smell of stale cigars while Poseidon gaped at him through the mirror.

"I assume he was found alive."

"You assume correctly. However, he was only just. We brought him back to the palace and Lexi utilized her healing gifts to revive him. He is recuperating in one of our guest rooms and has requested to stay until his strength has returned. Lisbon has also requested to stay, which has not yet been authorized by the council. I was hoping you could run it by Zeus for an impromptu approval. She and Ink seem to have formed a bond. More specifically, she is refusing to leave his bedside."

Poseidon scrubbed his hand over the blond stubble on his chin. "That does not surprise me. He and Lisbon took to each other when I brought him into the shop to be fitted for a robe. He had refused to humor me regarding the garment, claiming it was something he wouldn't be seen dead in, that is until he saw Lisbon behind the counter. Honestly, I expected Lisbon to be offended by Ink's cocksure manner, but they were both laughing by the time we left."

"Love can happen in the most unlikely circumstances," Lexi interjected. "I have never known Lisbon to pass judgment on anyone without due cause. It's one of the reasons I think she will fit perfectly on the legacy council."

"I don't doubt you have carefully considered all potential members of the legacy council, Lexi. You are always very thorough." The mischievous smile Poseidon reserved only for Lexi had Hades squeezing her waist, and she clicked her tongue as she pried his fingers loose. "I will see what I can do to buy the gods more time in the underworld," Poseidon continued. "Please, keep me abreast of any pertinent information regarding my wayward son. I would hate for him to use his deviant manner to influence Lisbon's reasonable sensibilities."

"Thank you, Poseidon," Lexi said bluntly. "Pleasant evening to you."

"Pleasant evening to you, Lexi."

When the mirror had gone dark, Hades found himself being tugged into Lexi's embrace. "Your jealousy is foolish but endearing, Hades. You know Poseidon purposefully taunts you whenever he sees us together."

"Are you telling me he doesn't use his deviant manner to influence your reasonable sensibilities when I am not at your side?" Hades grinned as he pressed another kiss to her cheek, letting her know his accusations were good-humored.

"No, I am not saying that, but Poseidon's taunting does not influence me in the least. In fact, it makes me love you even more. Would you like me to show you how much?"

Lexi leaned in and offered her mouth, caressing him with her soft lips and inviting him in with her tongue. Hades had intended to convince her to retire after her physically demanding day, but his manhood perked up to give his opinion. This was what she did to him, made him forget himself and any pretense at reasonable sensibilities.

"As always, my lady. You have the reins."

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