Strife was barely corporeal before Discord started in on him.

"WELL?" she repeated, giving him a fishy stare as he sat nonchalantly on a rickety, spider webbed chair.

"Couldn't you find somewhere a little, well ... cleaner to hide out in?" he asked, looking around the old rustic temple, already brushing dust from his leathers.


"Yeah, ya know, like your mouth before ya learned to talk."

"You little--"

"Uh-uh." He dodged from the chair, out of the reach of the enraged goddess. "Remember who you're talking to." Strife stood with one hand on his hip, waggling the fingers of his other hand in front of Discord's face -- then quickly withdrew them from her snapping teeth.

"And you remember this, pale boy." She glared at his hasty finger counting. "That lame plan was your idea too. Just because I got caught--"

"That's right," Strife announced in a singsong voice. "You got caught and I didn't. Who's the stupid god now? Who's going to get -- Oops!" He smiled, briefly placing an unharmed finger over his lips. "Can't spoil the surprise."

"What surprise?" Discord hissed, gripping Strife's arm. "What did he say?"

"Nothing." The young god shrugged the goddess off to step delicately over a moss covered statuette, and begin a slow circumnavigation of the one room temple. "You know, I really should tell Unc about this old place. Could be a real fixer-upper." He examined a piece of petrified fruit before tossing it out the nearest window.

"You wouldn't dare," Discord growled, standing aggressively but soon deflating with a defeated sigh. "What did Ares say? Was he really mad?" Her shoulders slumped at Strife's nod. "Madder than the time you made all his priests speak in constant rhyme?"

Strife nodded. "Oh yeah."

"How about when you let Graegus lose in Hera's gardens and he ate half the peacocks?"

"Yeah, madder than that."

Discord sunk into the creaking chair, and tried once more. "When you let the fairies into Olympus through the back door and he got..." She stopped at Strife's nodding. "So what did he say?" she suddenly wailed.

"Nothing." Strife frowned. "It was really freaky, ya know. I thought he was going to blast me, so I got ready to scream real loud -- you know how he hates that -- but nothing happened." His face contorted further as he shrugged. "He just kinda twitched, and flashed off. Really freaky." He shuddered. "I tell ya, I'm glad he's not that bugged out at me."

"He should be," Discord snarled back. "I shouldn't be the only one catching the rap for this. You..." she leapt from her seat to poke Strife hard in the chest.


"...Are going to suffer every bit as much as I am if Ares catches me." She poked him again.

"Ow, quit that." Strife rubbed his abused chest.

"You got that?" Discord tried to poke him again but Strife dodged her, sticking out his tongue as he twirled away; but a frown soon settled uncomfortably on the young god's face.

"I've been thinking about this."

"Gaia save us." Discord collapsed back on the chair with a groan. "You know you're not supposed to think."

"I've been thinking about how to get us back on big, dark and surly's good side," he clarified, folding one arm across his chest and tapping a finger against his chin.

"Ares doesn't have a good side," Discord noted spitefully.

"Okay." Strife jigged his head in agreement. "His 'Get out of my sight, you snivelling little worm' side, rather than his 'How far do you think I can blast you all over creation?' side." He smiled, rubbing his hands together eagerly. "Whadaya think?"

"You haven't told me your plan yet." Discord watched Strife pace a few steps, sniggering to himself.

"Hercules!" He grinned, suddenly throwing his arms wide. "Unc loves messing up his goody-goody plans, we get to annoy the fearless flexor and make Ares a happy BBG."

Discord sneered. "Jerkules is always rescuing someone or something. Ares won't care if we stop him saving some repellent villagers from a Hydra." She shrugged. "No one will."

"Ah-ha!" Strife leaned over the seated goddess with an insane grin. "But what if those villagers were Hestian virgins, and the monster was one of Poseidon's pets, hmm?" He wiggled excitedly as the goddess's realisation dawned.

"Hestia's been getting on Ares' last nerve lately, and Poseidon stiffed us on the deal with those ships." She stood, biting her lip in consideration. "If we could swing it so the sea monster eats the virgins before Herc the Jerk can do it in, then Poseidon will hand it to hero boy!" She grinned at the sniggering god.

"He shoots, he scores!" Strife jumped in the air then began an anticipatory victory dance.

"Okay." Discord soon sobered as she watched her partner-in-crime's antics. "Let's get going." She prepared to flash off. "The sooner I get Ares off my back, the happier I'll be."

Strife continued his jig around the room, taking the old chair as an impromptu partner.

"C'mon Strife, let's go!" Discord spoke through gritted teeth.

Strife halted in his tracks, placing the chair on the floor to posture hands on hips. "But Missy," he spoke in an unnaturally deep tone, puffing out his chest and curling his lip. "We only got but one mule, and he's lame."

Discord rolled her eyes and they flashed away, the old temple echoing to Strife's fizzy giggles before falling silent once more.