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As Hades took part in his first council meeting in more years than he could remember, he marveled at how well Lexi interacted with her peers. Her limited experience did not hinder her from making judicious suggestions and redirecting those who strayed off topic or appeared lost. Hades had noticed a number of hopeless expressions among the assembly, particularly the titans, the ones who felt the most acute loss at Rhea's passing.

The meeting continued for several hours, and Hades had his meals brought to his study. He had removed the scrying mirror from the wall and propped it next to the fireplace so he could recline in his chair. Lexi did the same on her end, sitting close to the mirror as she fed the babes, all while feeding herself from a plate that remained full at the hands of the doting nymphs. When the meeting adjourned, a blueprint of the new Port Oceanus had been drawn up by Hestia, and everyone had a job to do. The reality of once again gazing upon the waters of Oceanus finally hit Hades when an official document circulated around the table, garnering every god's signature, with Lexi signing on Hades' behalf.

Afterward, Lexi stepped up to the scrying mirror, her arms unencumbered by suckling gods. "I am going to take a ride with Mnemosyne to visit Grace, and then I need to pay a visit to Odessa. I will call you before the babies and I retire. Will you be at the palace or do you need to visit the gates?"

"I may wear away the sheen on the marble as I await your call." Hades leaned in close to the glass, making sure she saw the pride behind his smile. "You are a goddess of the highest order, Lexi. If I have already told you that, I feel it needs to be repeated here."

The smile she returned had his heart fluttering like it did the first day they kissed, when he knew he was falling in love with her. "Thank you, Hades. My instincts are telling me this is the direction we need to move to restore hope to the gods of Olympus. I'm so glad you were able to be part of it."

"You are helping to restore hope not only to the gods of Olympus, but in me as well, and eternity is not long enough to repay you for your grace and goodness."

"You are a shameless flatterer, and for this you have my unyielding devotion."

A nymph with a severe bob of white hair handed Lexi a goblet, and Hades overheard the nymph instructing Lexi that it would help stave the flow of blood and promote healing. Lexi thanked the nymph, whose name was Cassie, and when Cassie bowed out of Hades' line of sight, he questioned Lexi about the contents of her goblet.

"Have you been feeling poorly, Lexi? What are you drinking?"

Lexi's nose wrinkled as she held it over the goblet. "It's something the nymphs whipped up for me to promote my recovery. Cassie is the sister of Celia, the nymph who gave birth last night, and I think she's trying to repay me for saving her niece. Don't worry about me, Hades. My mother used to tell me that neglecting one's health for the benefit of others is counterproductive. That was hard advice to take when I was captain of the lacrosse team, but I never denied the logic."

"Words of wisdom from a lovely woman. Speaking of family, we received a wedding invitation today from your brother and his bride-to-be. It seems they have chosen June to be married."

Lexi's face brightened even as she forced down a swallow. "That will be perfect timing for the twins. Of course, we will visit my parents before then. They will want to see the babies while they are still infants."

At that moment, Hades heard the cry of his daughter, which rarely happened. Elm's disposition was much sweeter than Ely's. Lexi turned to accept the disgruntled babe from Hestia, and his sister took the opportunity to address Hades through the mirror.

"I expect you still have the blueprints from the original design of the port, Hades?" she asked. "I was working off memory when I drew up the new plan, and I am afraid I cannot recall where to look for the old ones."

Hades nodded uncertainly. "I am sure they are somewhere in my study. Are you suggesting I search for them?"

"If you wouldn't mind. I think they will prove useful should we wish to remain true to the port's early purpose."

"I will do my best, although I do have a few ideas for improvements if you will indulge me. I will contact you before construction is set to occur."

Hestia lifted her chin as she considered him intently through the glass. Of his three sisters, Hestia was the most severe and domineering. It was probably a good thing she had never bore children, or perhaps her serious demeanor would have lightened had she become a mother. "Very well."

As Hestia disappeared into the milling crowd behind Lexi, Elm became less vocal, whimpering softly as Lexi turned the babe to face the mirror. Hades smiled at his daughter, speaking gibberish as he grinned and waved. Her bold hazel eyes flashed at him through the glass, as if they had caught the reflection of the sun, and he found himself loving her even more than he had a moment before.

"Elm adores you, Hades. We both do," Lexi offered. "And we will be together again soon. Perhaps tomorrow, if all goes as planned."

"I will be counting the hours," he said as he held Lexi's gaze. He never tired of losing himself in the depths of her blue eyes, even when they were separated by a pane of glass. "Until then, I will do Hestia's bidding and try to find something I fear is buried under an eons' worth of paper and dust."

"I'm sure she will forgive you if you can't find it. I'm looking forward to seeing what ideas you have for the new port. Farewell, my love. Keep us in your thoughts."

"I love you, my lady. Until we speak again." Hades waited for Lexi to tap the glass, not wanting to be the one to sever the connection. As soon as the mirror went dark, he forced his body up and out of his chair, making for the bookshelves where he could get lost in his search. Although he had become accustomed to the difficulties of long distance relationships, he had never gotten used to the pain. With the grace of Gaia, the gap would soon be bridged, and the distance would not be so far away.

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