Fiddling with the knot of my tie again, I glare at the stack of reports on my desk. They just kept piling up, more and more, until I’m drowning in paperwork.
Why did I get this job again?
Surely, there were other jobs fitting for the God of Love.
My head snaps up at the sound of fighting. Pressing the intercom button, I snap, “Thea, why does it sound like there’s a rave going on outside my office?”
I press the button again. “Thea?”
Standing with a frown, I circle my desk, storming to the opaque glass doors that seal off my office from the rest of the floor.
The second I touch the handles, I freeze. Cracks are spider webbing their way up the glass, tiny patterns jutting in all different directions. When they reach the top of the door, my breath catches, and I wait for them to shatter.
It doesn’t come.
I release the handles and take a step away from the doors. I look them up and down, waiting to be blown back on the ground, impaled by shards of glass.
It doesn’t come.
Releasing a shaking breath, immediately running through possible causes in my mind, trying to pin down which of the numerous deities I’ve pissed off in the last week who would do this.
Before I can complete the rather extensive list in my head, the glass falls.
It doesn’t erupt, and it doesn’t shatter towards me. Instead, the bottom of the glass disintegrates, crawling up the ten foot tall glass doors, until it looks like rain.
And I know who it is.
I don’t even move out of the way when she throws the first punch, splitting my lip and knocking me to the ground.
Spitting the blood on the floor, I lean back on my elbows, looking up at her, smirking. “There are better ways to express you’re upset with me, Attie. Haven’t you heard of Twitter?”
Atë, Goddess of Ruin, Mischief, and Delusion, is looming in the doorway, her raven hair is whipping around, her eyes glowing an insane gold.
“You did this!” she screams, taking a few steps towards me.
“Did we have an appointment?” I ask, jumping to my feet easily without the use of my hands.
She snarls at me, lunging, her heels are leaving cracks in the floor when she steps, ruin is seeping from her.
I move out of the way at the last second, and she flies by me, a breath out of reach.
“You!” she screams again.
I roll my eyes. “Yes, we’ve already established that I am me.”
She regains her feet, lunging again, screaming, “How could you?!”
Normally, Atë doesn’t use her fists, or at least she didn’t before she fell. She prefers to plant the seeds of mischief and ruin with a casual word, an out of place thought, but things are different now. She is different now.
So am I.
This time when I move out of the way, I stick my leg out, tripping her, allowing her to fall forward.
“Hm, I don’t remember you being this sloppy,” I add, provoking her.
She scrambles to a stop, falling forward and landing on her hands, her dagger heels scissor up to the sky. This time they come close enough to my face, to actually brush my hair. She flips her legs forward, back arching, landing back on her heels facing away from me.
“I also don’t remember you being this nimble,” fake gasp, “did you get laid?!”
She whirls back at me, her nails out like claws, screaming, heading for my face. I duck down at the last second, leaving her no time to correct before I flip her onto her back on the floor.
I look down at her. “That wasn’t a no!”
Her entire body vibrates, and for a moment, her form flickers to a massive midnight tiger with glowing eyes.
It was so quick, I’m not sure if I imagined it. I do know that I’m not hallucinating, her legs spinning in a helicopter-like movement, she is once again on her feet. This time when she lunges, I see the shine of tears in her eyes.
My mind connects the dots with blazing speed. My heart-tie to Atë is weak, after thousands of years without remembering her, but it’s still there. Right now, I can feel the slightest bit of emotions from her, and I know my trap worked.
Instead of moving out of the way this time, I let her tackle me, falling to the ground with her. Once she has me pinned, she uses her knees to keep me on the floor. She yanks back her fist to plow through my face, but I move my head to the side, so the punch lands on the floor.
“Now, now, I gave you that first hit. You will not be getting another. I don’t want to explain to Clio why I’m all bloodied.”
It’s a dirty tactic, using my wife’s bond with her, but her eyes immediately flicker, the bright, mercurial gold dimming, sanity returning.
That is until I slam my forehead to hers, allowing me to switch our positions, pressing my knees into her shoulders. “Are you going to tell me why you’re upset with me?”
She thrashes underneath me, her eyes a constant swirling mass of gold and brown, the crack in her fury only widening. Despair is likely making its way through the shield of anger she erected.
“Erebus!” she screams, her breath hitching out, her face paling.
Getting off her, I hold my hand out to help her off the floor. She hits it out of the way, instead pulling her legs against her chest, wrapping her arms around them.
“Do you have any idea what you have done? I can’t be with him, can’t love him, I can’t…” she whispers, her voice breaking.
Crouching next to her, I rest a hand on her knee, waiting for her brown eyes to connect with mine. “But you already do.”
Atë growls again before she squeezes her eyes shut, another shaky exhale coming from her. “You sent him on that show, to fall in love with someone else, and out of my fucking jealousy, I had to ruin it and now,” she pauses, “I have made one of the biggest mistakes of my life.”
I can’t help but roll my eyes.
“I would think out of anyone, you would know I have a reason for everything I do, no matter how random or cruel things might appear.”
Her eyes flash open, connecting with mine, all traces of gold gone. “But you didn’t see him. He was happy. If I had stayed away for a thousand more years, he would have forgotten about me. Moved on. Maybe, actually, be happy…”
I sigh wearily. “You and Erebus are so fucking stubborn. You hurt him, he hurts you, and so on and so on.”
She sniffles slightly, glancing away from me. “I can’t love him…I won’t….he deserves someone who…who is better. Who is not me.”
Gripping her chin, I turn her eyes on mine. “He deserves to be loved. No one will ever love him like you do.”
Her face crumbles slightly. “You don’t know that?”
Laughing softly, I sit on the ground next to her, wrapping an arm around her shoulder, pulling her into my side.
“I am the God of Love, sometimes I do know what I’m doing.”
She snorts, rolling her eyes. “If you ever tell anyone about this little conversation, I’ll use your balls as earrings.”
Snickering, I rest my head on hers. “You’ll have to explain to Aren why they went missing.”
She rubs her nose against my shoulder, wiping away all traces of tears. “She won’t care, you already did your job, she’s pregnant.”
Laughing, I look around at the ruins of my office, sighing. “This will take forever to clean.”
Atë pulls away from me, surveying the debris. “Sorry, not sorry. Still think you deserved it.”
Shaking my head, I get to my feet, pulling her to a stand as well.
Moving to the side closet, I toss a broom at her, grabbing a dustpan for myself.
Atë catches the broom, looking down at it, brows furrowing. “And what do you want me to do with this?”
Turning around, I hold out a dustpan. “We’re going to clean up.”
She laughs loudly for a moment before she catches sight of my face. “Wait, are you serious?”
Smirking at her, I crouch over, holding out the dustpan, waiting for her to brush the remnants of the door into it.
Atë looks down at the broom, slowly making her way over to me, like an injured animal, waiting for the hunter to strike.
The first brush of the broom against the floor sends a flurry of glass dust into my face.
Coughing, I narrow my eyes at Atë. “What? I’m new at this!”
I frown up at her. “I’m going to pretend that wasn’t on purpose.”
Shrugging her shoulders, the next sweep lands the dust in the dustpan, her brows furrowing with focus on her task.
We work silently, and soon the remains of my doors are in the trash, and Atë’s staring at the floor with a strange expression.
Hitting her affectionately on the shoulder, I murmur, “It’s strange, isn’t it?”
Her eyes turn to mine. “What is?”
With a smirk, I ruffle her hair lightly. “Cleaning up your own mess.”
Atë’s eyes widen in her face, blinking repeatedly. “Eros…”
Clearing my throat, I offer my arm to her. “Clio is making brunch, she’s expecting us.”
Atë looks down at my arm, then back up at my eyes. “I just…I just tried to kill you, and you want me over for brunch?”
I roll my eyes. “Of course, I would be almost disappointed if you hadn’t tried to kill me.”
Atë links her arm through mine, and together we walk through the ruins of the rest of the 82nd floor. There was little remaining of the offices and desks. Even some of the ventilation was hanging from the ceiling. “You’re not going to make me sweep all of this up, too?”
Scrunching my nose at her, I mimic my wife perfectly. “Absolutely not, plus, Clio will kill me if she hears from someone else that you finally fucked the Daddy of Darkness.”
She raised a dark brow at me. “Daddy of Darkness?”
I smirk at her. “That’s what Clio calls him.”
Pressing the button for the elevator, Love and Ruin walk arm and arm into it.
Mischief calls to mischief, no matter the length of time apart.