Heaving himself out of the pool, the Brat thought, I really need to get in shape. A bunch of Brats and even some Tops (hey, they like to play too!) had been swimming and one splash had turned into another and soon a riotous game of dunking each other ensued. The Brat had played along, but after being dunked several times had ran out of breath and had become tired. Padding over to the lounge chairs, he dropped ungracefully onto the nearest chair.
"Man, I'm outta shape," he said to Chaos who was lounging in a chair beside him.
"You gotta get out of the office more; go to the gym once in awhile," Chaos said. "But I don't think you're the only one who's outta shape."
Looking around the pool, the Brat saw some gods starting to get tired and cranky, and their Tops shooing them toward loungers for a rest. Letting his eyes wander, they suddenly widen and his jaw dropped as he saw THE god talking to Aether. His wide eyes traveled from the beautiful face of the unknown god, down to the chiseled chest, toward the six pack of abs, and down to his...spear. Oh, this god's hot! The Brat thought.
Turning to Chaos, the Brat asked, "Who's that? I haven't seen him around before!"
"Who are you talking about?" Chaos asked, turning his head this way and that looking for a new face.
"Jeez! Keep your voice down! Quit looking around!" the Brat hissed. Chaos never did do subtle well.
"How am I supposed to know who you are talking about if I don't look!" Chaos grumbled.
"Well, look, but don't… look. He's over talking to your Top." The Brat jerked his head toward Aether.
"Oh, that's Ares." Chaos said after dragging his own eyes away from Aether's well toned body.
"Ares?!" squeaked the Brat. "The god of war? What's he doing here? I've never seen him here before!"
"As much as you work, I'm not surprised," Chaos said. He would have "chided" his fellow Brat for working so much, but chiding was never one of Chaos's strong points. "He signed up for Top School. He's been over a few times for dinner, and Aether invited him today."
"He signed up for Top School? Does he have a brat?" the Brat asked.
"Yes. No." was Chaos's clear answer.
"Yes, no, what?"
"Yes, he signed up for Top School. No, he doesn't have a brat. Sheesh, pay attention!" (Brats really need their own school; one of the classes would have to be How to Read Other Brat's Verbal Shorthand. Top's have their own version of this class.)
"So, he's taking classes to be prepared for a brat?" the Brat mused to himself.
Chaos thinking that the Brat was asking him said, "Yeah. I think he's taking `Cuddling and Comfort'; `Spinning and The Temper Tantrum: How to Tell the Difference'; and `Proper Techniques for Nap Tucking'."
"Oh, those sound like classes for the nurturing kind of top." The Brat was confused. "But he's the god of war!"
"He's also the god of `manly courage' and `civil order'," Chaos said. "Yum! Who wouldn't want that for a top? But he also went and got measured."
"Measured? What for?" the Brat's thoughts went south (oh, come on! Yours did too)
"His hand! He had his hand measured. Sheesh, get your mind outta the gutter," Chaos snorted.
Feeling a bit queasy, the Brat asked in a small, little voice, "Why do they measure their hands?"
"All Tops get their hands measured. Once their hands are measured, the measurements are sent to the elves (shoe making elves are just in fairy tales; elves really make paddles). That way the Top has a paddle custom made just for them and they can use the paddle without getting cramps in their hands," Chaos explained.
With that explanation, the Brat decided he didn't want to hear anymore. Jumping up, he went running toward the exit. However, wet feet on wet concrete is a recipe for disaster, and down the Brat went when his feet flew out from under him.
Oomphf! The Brat laid there trying to catch his breath.
"Are you ok?" came a deep voice full of concern.
Looking into the face of the god he'd been admiring, the Brat struggled to sit up.
"No, no. Just lie still, and catch your breath," Ares said, crouching down beside him. "Didn't you read the rules? You shouldn't run near a pool."
"Sorry, I forgot," the Brat gasped out.
"Rules are there to keep you safe," Ares scolded gently. "Now, where were you going in such a hurry?"
Feeling chastened, the Brat mumbled, "Home."
"If you'll allow me, I'd like to escort you. Make sure you arrive safely," Ares said chivalrously.
The Brat nodded, and Ares helped him up. With Ares' arm wrapped around the Brat's waist, they made their way to his home.
And that, my friends, is how the love affair of Ares and his Brat started.