Keeping It In The Family

Walking into his sister's rarely used (except for sleep and sex) temple on Olympus, Ares got the surprise of his life.

Eris and Aphrodite were talking about fashion.

Amicably, even.

Funny, I don't remember hearing from Uncle Hades that Tartarus had frozen over, Ares mused, as he tucked himself behind one of 'Dite's golden statues of herself (Hephaestus made, of course) and prepared to listen in.

They were both sitting on a soft black couch, eating chocolates, and that was an eyebrow-raising event. Eris never ate chocolate, or did anything else girly. At least, not where anyone could see her. Or where she thought anyone could see her.

Spying on his twin was really becoming a habit.

"Now, I know with your complexion, pastels are so not the way to go, but have you tried actually wearing any colors?" Aphrodite asked, nibbling delicately on a bon-bon. "I know both you are Arry are fond of blood red, but I think a nice deep purple would look really good on you. Something slightly reddish would give you a little color."

Eris actually seemed to consider that for a moment. "Maybe you're right – purple might be good. I do wear color, you know, I just have to be in a good mood to do it." She grimaced. "I'm never in a really good mood that often, and I want something 'dark' for the rest of the time. Black is only my basic color until the Muses invent something darker. But you really think–" She turned a questioning look her sister's way.

The Love Goddess nodded, and proffered the box of sweets. Eris started, then took one with a cherry inside and devoured it in to bites.

"Yes, I really think the purple will work. You need to stand out, let him know you're more than just the Goddess of Discord." She sighed. "I mean, you only know each other through your jobs, and you both wear black there. If a relationship is going to work, you need something more than work to hold you together. That's why Arry and I never worked out – we both liked fighting, and then making up, but that was it. We never did anything except fight and fuck."

Ares started. Oh, he wasn't surprised about 'Dite's summation of their relationship – that was the conclusion he'd come to as well – but Eris in an actual relationship?

Maybe Hades had been frozen to the ground and couldn't leave Asphodel, and that's why no one knew.

The Goddess of Discord frowned and munched on another chocolate morsel. "But I don't really know anything about besides what he does. I mean, he has two brothers, but they're nothing alike, and would probably faint if I showed up and asked them for tips." Her look turning thoughtful, she added, "Though the pretty one would probably help me out, once he woke up. Although I think I'd probably end up looking like a tavern tart."

Aphrodite's brow furrowed. "Well, what do you know about him?"

Eris' face lit up and her voice turned slightly dreamy. Ares couldn't believe it – his twin had a crush!

"He likes killing people, exotic women who don't play hard to get–"

"That's you all over, hon," the Love Goddess interjected, receiving a smile from her sister.

"–his brothers, even though they drive him up a wall – me too, actually, but the clumsy one is always good for a laugh; his favorite food is pasta, that noodle thing from Italia? And he only wears leather for jobs, he prefers cotton." Her chuckle surprised both the Goddess next to her, and her eavesdropping brother.

"What's so funny?" Aphrodite asked.

Discord waved her. "Well, cotton or nothing at all." She leered playfully and 'Dite giggled back.

Ares, meanwhile, was thinking over what he'd learned. The mention of the guy's brothers had sparked something in his memory. He kills people for a living, an assassin; he has two brothers, one pretty, like Jayce, that actor/dancer/singer that Apollo is always raving about. One brother is clumsy like Joxer, my best worshiper, who follows my daughter and the blond bard around. Eris is dating…Jett?! The King of Assassins? Well, she could do worse, and he is good at his job. A scowl darkened his face as he thought, But if he hurts her I'll skin him alive and use his balls to make a double-headed mace.

"But I thought this was your first date?" the Love Goddess questioned, bringing the War God out of his reverie. "And yet you've seen him naked?"

Nodding, Eris took another bon-bon and said, "Yeah, but I've been keeping an eye on him for awhile. He had a thing with one of my Head Priestesses for awhile, and I wasn't about to fuck with that – bitch even scares me sometimes." She grimaced, as if admitting that left a bad taste in her mouth.

Aphrodite arched one delicate blond eyebrow. "What?" she said incredulously.

The dark-haired Goddess nodded reluctantly. "Yeah, she's another one of Xena's look-alike half-sisters: you know, Xena the warrior, Lila the warrior turned blacksmith and centaur mother, Meg the harlot turned bar owner, Diana the princess, Leia the priestess…and Alexis, the kinky slut, with a sadistic edge."

"Kinky in what way?" Aphrodite asked hesitantly, as if unsure she wanted to know.

Discord shrugged. "Blood and knife-play. Oh, it can be fun if you trust your partner, but she started taking it too far, and almost cut his arm off, so he dumped her," she growled. "And then I beat her up and threw her out of my temples. No one gets away with hurting what's mine." She grinned ferally.

Ares was abruptly reminded of one of the things that had recently been added to Discord's daily schedule: torture Callisto. Oh, Strife hadn't been killed, only severely wounded, the child he and Cupid had conceived a few months earlier holding him to this plain of existence, but the insane Goddess had intended to send him to Hades, and Discord could hold a grudge for a long time. Though since Bliss had been born, she'd cut her torture sessions in half so she could spend more time with her favorite (well, only, but it was her words, and she wanted more) grandchild.

Ares had picked up the slack for her.

Aphrodite smiled faintly and got the subject back on track. "So you've watched him, but this is the first time you're going out?" Receiving a nod, she continued, "Wear something non-revealing. Remember, less is more."

"Less is more?" Discord's forehead wrinkled.

"The less skin you reveal, the more a guys wants to see it." They both laughed. "Even if you intend to end up in the sack tonight, don't let him know that. Guys shouldn't get too complacent."

Eris nodded. "So, dark purple with red undertones, not revealing, and don't just give in, make him work for it?" She gave her sister a questioning look.

Aphrodite nodded. "You got it, 'Ris. Now, I have an elopement to supervise in Thrace, so I gotta jet, but if you have any problems, just call." They both stood and hugged, Discord a little uncomfortably.

"Thanks, 'Dite."

"No prob, hon." Smiling, Aphrodite flashed out in a whirl of pink sparkles.

Eris stood for a moment, as if contemplating her next move, and then turned unerringly towards Ares' position. "I know you're there, 'Res. Come on out."

Ares chuckled slightly and came around the pillar. "I never could put one over on you, sis."

She grinned. "No, you couldn't. You hear the whole thing?"

Ares shook his head. "Just from the part about the purple. You're dating Jett?"

She gave him a measuring look before nodding. "Yeah, I'm beginning to think we Olympians can't help but keep it in the family." She grinned and plopped back down on the couch, gesturing for him to take a seat.

Ares settled onto a gray stone bench and frowned at his sister. "What do you mean? Jett isn't family."

She shook her head. "Not ours, his. Apollo is dating Jayce. Haven't you heard 'Pol go on and on about him?"

Ares' eyes went wide. "I thought Jayce was just his favorite worshiper."

A calculating look came into her eyes, and she smiled smugly. "Like Joxer is yours? Only you keep bringing him up here, to your bedchamber to be exact. Don't think I haven't noticed that when he disappears from Xena's camp, a privacy shield goes up around your bedroom only a moment later."

Shifting uncomfortably, Ares looked away. "Yes, well… How did you find out?" he asked curiously, turning back to face her.

She let him squirm for a moment, before relenting. "Apollo told me about how you took Joxer to see him, and he fixed that hearing problem he had, the one that made it hard for him to keep his balance. He said you two looked really cute together, and wasn't it nice that he and Jayce were brothers, so you and he finally had something in common." She cackled.

Ares made of moue of distaste before joining his sister in her laughter. When they finally would down, he said, "I see what you mean, 'Ris. At least 'Pol ended up with the weird one."

She nodded and shuddered slightly. "I get the dancing thing, and the acting thing, and even the icky accent and acting feminine. Even the dressing like a woman, whatever floats your boat, y'know?" Ares nodded. "But what I don't understand is why Jayce puts up with it – Apollo makes a gorgeous girl, but when Jayce plays butch it's just…extremely creepy."

Shaking his head, Ares said, "Maybe all that sun fried our dear brother's brain."

"Maybe." She frowned, as if not liking that thought.

"Or possibly he just wants to be himself once in a while," the War God offered with unexpected insight.

Eris gave this a lot of thought before nodding decisively. "Well…as long as it makes him happy I won't tease him about it too terribly much." Glaring at her brother, she continued, "But you tell anybody I actually said something nice about Shiny Pants and I'll fry you."

Rising from his seat, Ares held his hands out in supplication. "Don't worry, I won't tell anyone. After all, you know about Joxer."

Eris nodded. She would keep his secret if he kept hers. She got up from the couch and followed him to the front room. "I have to get ready for my date; see you tomorrow at the battle in Thebes?" she said as she pulled open the door.

Ares nodded and stepped through. "At midday. See ya, sis." He chuckled as the door slammed in his face. "Things are bound to get real interesting around here." He laughed and flashed himself home. He also had to get ready for his own date.


THE END