They stood in a straight line, eyes narrowed, arms crossed over their chests, intent clear.
There was no way that Zeus was going to be able to enter the Temple of War unless he went through them, and they knew he wasn't going to attempt...simply because they were also the children of Aphrodite and no one annoyed her.
Most people enjoyed having a love life after all.
"We won't let you," said the leader, a teenaged Cupid. His wings were vibrating due to his agitation. Harmonia gently placed one hand on his arm, allowing her godhood of harmony to soothe him. Anger would not help this situation, only calm, cool reasoning.
"You can't do this to Papa," growled Deimos and Phobos as one, eyes alit with maniacal glee. Between them, a barely teenaged Strife bounced, amusement and mischief shining clearly in his green eyes. He's the one who started this rebellion, having overheard Zeus ranting at himself.
"And how do you plan to stop me?" asked Zeus, eyes cold and harsh. The glare just rolled off the children; they were used to Ares's glares after all. Zeus's glares only caused bemusement.
"What plan?" asked Anteros quietly. "We are doing nothing more than protesting your ignorance."
"Oh great," said Eris as she appeared in a burst of black fire, leaving scorch marks in her wake. "What do you six think you're doing?" She glared at the children, hands on her hips, looking as much the outraged mother as any mortal. No one would ever know, but Eris had a soft spot for Ares's children and her own Strife; not that she showed it. It would only put them in danger because only Ares was strong enough to fight against Zeus without the reprisals falling on the children.
"We're protestin'," declared Strife, a grin lighting his face, revealing two gaps where his front teeth used to be.
"Protesting what and what did you do to your teeth?" growled Eris, ignoring Zeus's growl with ease. She blinked as she felt Zeus's fireball slam into Ares's shield and turning around, she raised an eyebrow. "Haven't you learned yet you old goat? Ares's temple is warded against attacks...even yours."
"His godhood has been given to Athena," snapped Zeus. "Nothing should work any-"
"Gaea put it up," replied Eris coldly, crossing her arms over her chest and narrowing her eyes. "Even you can't tell her what to do."
Before Zeus could reply, Aphrodite appeared in a burst of pink and red rose petals and she glared at Zeus, a very familiar sword held protectively in her arms. She ignored the startled looks her children and Strife sent her way as she cocked her head to one side.
"You're impotent until Ares finds love," said Aphrodite quietly, her voice loud in the silence that followed her appearance. "I don't mean false love or tricked love either Zeus. I mean true, undying, unbreakable love that will survive even your darkest plots and schemes."
"You can't!" snarled Zeus as he felt Aphrodite's curse smother him. "The Moir-"
"Even the Moirae can't argue against me," said Aphrodite, her voice still unnaturally quiet. Wisely Eris and the children stayed silent. This was a side of Aphrodite they hadn't seen before. "I have their permission for this anyway, if you're thinking of bringing it to their attention. I have seen the future you have sown with your licentious behavior. Perhaps, by stopping you now, the Twilight will have been prevented."
She walked up the stairs and bypassed her children, who were staring at her with awe, shock, and confusion. As long as anyone, god or mortal, had known Aphrodite...they've seen a cheerful, bouncy attitude that sometimes descended into pouts. No one had even known she could be this serious. Tartarus, no one even believed she possessed such as grave attitude!
"Is that?" asked Eris, finally recognizing the sword in Aphrodite's arms. With the war between Athens and Sparta on the horizon, she's been very busy and was exhaused.
"Ares's godhood," said Aphrodite with a soft smile before looking at Strife. "Thank you Strife for alerting the children of his plans."
Strife squeaked, blushed, and darted behind Cupid; face as red as a tomato. Cupid chuckled softly and pulled the pale god against him.
"How did you retrieve that sword from Athena?" growled Zeus, voice low and cold and dangerous.
"Simple," replied Aphrodite, her eyes now cold with anger. "I told Hera."
Three words that froze Zeus in his tracks. Hera was very protective over Ares and Eris and though he had forbidden her from ever showing them true kindness or love, she still watched over them in her own way. If she knew of this scheme...he was dead.
A peacock's scream over Olympus confirmed his worst fears and he disappeared in a lightning flash. The longer he hid from Hera, the better.
The crisis over, Harmonia and Anteros nodded at Eris and Aphrodite before disappearing, returning to their lessons with Asclepius. Deimos and Phobos just grinned, haphazardly saluted the two goddesses, and disappeared in a flash of neon pink fire, somehow leaving behind neon green scorch marks.
Strife snickered at that, the little bit of mischief making him a bit hyper. Seeing it, Eris rolled her eyes. There would be no settling Strife down anytime soon.
"Hey Aunt Eris?" asked Cupid, seeing Strife's hyperness and grinning. Strife could always get him to smile, usually without even trying. "Mind if Strife hangs out with me today?"
"Go, take him," said Eris, finally allowing her smile to appear. "Don't return him," She teased.
"Ma!" protested Strife with a laugh. He giggled as Cupid wrapped an arm around his waist, causing feathers to brush across his shoulders. The two disappeared, Cupid leaving behind white feathers, leaving the two goddesses alone on the steps.
"When Strife is old enough, I expect Cupid'll be asking you for permission to marry," said Aphrodite with a laugh as Eris turned to her.
"Not until Strife's 200," shuddered Eris as she opened the temple doors and allowed Aphrodite to enter before her. "I'd like for him to live a bit first."
"Of that, I have no doubt," smiled Aphrodite, the doors closing behind her and on Eris's laugh.
All was right in the world again.