It's not that there's a kids' table or anything like that at the feast. Just that there's the formalities, where everyone sits at the long table in the banquet hall and smiles and chuckles and pretends to believe what Persephone says and she pretends to think they believe her, and then everyone eats and drinks and eats more, and then they kind of split off by age. The older generation goes off to the den to smoke cigars or whatever. Zeus, Poseidon, Demeter, Nyx, Persephone, a few goddesses Zagreus doesn’t recognize, and-
Zagreus watches his father hesitate. Sees the open vulnerability as his siblings turn to him. Watches them lead him with them by the arm, watches the smile that only ever shows in the set of Hades' shoulders and the softening around his eyes.
Anyway, after that it's mostly Zeus' children left from amongst the Olympians. Zagreus is pretty sure some of them are going to hook up with each other, which is weird. There's also a million and one minor deities of this or that, and some of the most notable power couples from Elysium. Achilles and Patroclus have retired early, probably to make sweet missionary love while gazing tenderly into each other's eyes or something, Zagreus usually tries not to think about it. Theseus and Asterius have been getting progressively closer over the course of the evening. Zagreus tries not to think about that either, but for different reasons.
The point is that it's starting to get really lively. Artemis' brother can really work a lyre, and Zagreus, with delight, helped Dionysus push tables and chairs out of the way to make a dance floor. Zagreus has never before encountered one of these. He's living, if for no other reason than because he's never had a chance before to kick up his heels and flit between social groups and get tipsy enough to laugh at everything. When his partners find him, he's got a glass of nectar in one hand, the other arm slung around some nymph he definitely doesn't know.
"Hey!" he says, grinning at Meg and Thanatos. "I've just met Juneberry here-"
"Juniper," the nymph corrects him, looking amused.
"-Juniper," Zagreus plows on, "have you guys met? She's lovely-"
“She seems alive, so no, we haven’t-”
“-she was just telling me-”
“Hold on,” says Thanatos, who has eyeliner on and his hair slicked back, as if Zagreus is just supposed to cope with that. “Are you drunk? How many of those have you had?” He nods at the half-empty nectar.
“Half? Clearly,” says Zagreus. “I don’t usually drink them, I like to give them to people.”
(“He’s all right,” Juniper assures Thanatos. “Contact high, mostly.”)
"Oh, great, someone’s turned into the life of the party," Meg drawls. She looks pretty as anything under the warm lights. Her hair is in some kind of low braid, and she’s got on a dress with hardly any bloodstains. Her belt is still made of tiny skulls, though. They are chthonic, after all. "You're giving a bad name to the rest of us goths."
Zagreus beams at them. He feels wonderful. “You guys want to dance?”
Unfortunately for them, Zagreus knows they both think he’s cute. Even more unfortunately, he knows how to wheedle. So they hit the dance floor, and Zagreus elbows in with the Maenads that Dionysus brought and gets to it.
Zagreus is pretty sure he isn’t a very good dancer. His experience is limited, strictly, to bopping around his room alone. But he’s happy enough not to care, and so he dances with everyone. First Meg and Thanatos, until they’re both relaxed enough to spin off with some other minor godlings. Then all Zagreus’ cousins, and Alecto and Tisiphone even though they don’t want to, and Asterius (but not Theseus), and every shade he recognizes and a bunch of sprites he doesn’t. He even almost finishes his drink.
Evening stretches on, and Zagreus is back sandwiched between his boyfriend and girlfriend when he looks up and sees something that makes him rethink his stance on parties entirely.
Charon is dancing. Charon is dancing with Hermes.
"Oh my gods," Zagreus says, feeling suddenly, violently sober.
"What?" Meg asks the shell of his ear, and Zagreus is too shocked to even register how nice that feels. He subtly raises an entire arm and points.
"Oh my gods," says Meg.
"Hmm?" Thanatos says. "Zag, it's rude to point-" He turns. "Oh my gods."
The three of them watch Hermes twist around to press his back against Charon's chest, which is worse, and then Charon starts putting his weird bony hand in that garter that Hermes wears everywhere like that's just a thing people do and that's it, that's it.
"Do you guys," says Zagreus faintly, "want to go somewhere different."
He does snag a bottle of ambrosia on the way, though. He's not that ready to be done.
It's quieter in his bedchambers, though he can still hear the muffled revelry outside the closed doors. They don't bother with lights, just kick off their shoes and the bony parts of their outfits and sprawl back onto his duvet. Zagreus passes the bottle of ambrosia back and forth. And if being in the middle means he gets to drink double, well, then, so be it.
He’s shared plenty of contented evenings like this with Meg before, but it’s different now, tentatively walking in their old footprints. They’re talking more, these days. Trying to rebuild something, discovering that they’ve still got a solid foundation. And Thanatos being there is new entirely, with all the shivery giddy excitement that it’s requited.
After a few moments, Thanatos clears his throat. “Erm. You, ah. You.”
“Yeah?” says Zagreus.
He doesn’t mean it to sound as low and suggestive as it does, but, hey. On his other side, he can feel Meg smirking.
“Dancing. You looked, ah. When you were dancing.”
Zagreus is still pretty keyed up, so he props himself up on an elbow to cock an eyebrow at Thanatos. “Yeah, Than?”
He knows when he looks good, is the thing. He knows that he looked good on that dance floor, rosy-cheeked and bright-eyed. He knows he looks good now, half-dressed and disheveled and ambrosia on his lips.
Doesn’t mean he has to make it easy on his boyfriend. Meg isn’t immune to his charms, which still makes Zagreus kind of fluttery to think about, but she tends to react by bullying him. Thanatos, as Zagreus has discovered with delight, gets flustered instead.
“It’s - what I mean to say is, is that I - you didn’t look awful-”
“No, that’s not what I - I just haven’t often seen you dressed well, and - and you - you-”
“Don’t rush yourself,” Meg tells him, oozing sarcasm.
“You’re teasing me,” Thanatos accuses, kind of strangled.
“Yes,” says Meg.
“Oh, for goodness’ sake.”
Thanatos leans forward and kisses Zagreus hard, pushing him onto his back. Zagreus kind of falls on top of Meg, and Thanatos draws back. “Oh - sorry, I-”
He’s interrupted by Zagreus’ surprised gasp as Meg pulls him closer. She sits up against his headboard and tugs him into her lap, letting him rest back against her chest. “Yes, Thanatos?”
Thanatos looks down at them, eyeliner and half-mussed hair, and licks his lips. “Yes,” he says.
And just like that, the room shifts hotter. Thanatos pushes Zagreus’ legs apart to settle between them and gets back to kissing him silly, just as Meg starts nibbling at his ear. Goosebumps spring up all the way down Zagreus' back. He rolls his hips against Thanatos’ thigh, working himself up - and then Thanatos is kissing lower, lower.
Meg pulls off the shoulder of Zagreus’ tunic so she can take his nipples between her fingers and play with them, stroking and lightly twisting. Down between his legs, Thanatos pushes the tunic up to bunch around Zagreus' waist. He busies himself leaving a hickey on Zagreus' inner thigh. When he finally starts kissing where Zagreus wants him, Zagreus trembles, twists in aborted little motions. His eyes flutter half-shut. In the dim light, he can barely see Thanatos’ head moving, but, god, it’s enough.
Zagreus puts up more of a fight sometimes, instead of just melting apart between his partners like this. It’s fun, honestly. To rile them up, to lead them on a chase.
Tonight, though, he’s just focused on keeping the jerk of his hips under control. Thanatos is doing something with his tongue that’s making it difficult. Gods. They should have parties more often. Zagreus reaches down a shaky hand to interlace his fingers with Thanatos’ where they’re resting on his hip. Meg, meanwhile, grasps the underside of Zagreus’ jaw and pushes his head back gently.
“This good?” she whispers.
"Hnnh," says Zagreus. "Ah."
"What was that?" Meg prompts, removing her teeth from the shell of his ear.
"Oh - yes, yes, please-" Zagreus tilts his head in her grip, baring his neck invitingly. He is not above begging, that line is long crossed. "Please, Meg, Than, s'good-"
Thanatos takes him into his mouth and works him over til Zagreus is nothing but wordless moans and quivering legs. When he comes, it's with a long, liquid shiver, then another, then another as he pulses down Thanatos' throat. Meg bites his neck and pinches both his nipples, and that startles a high, quavery ah and an aftershock out of him.
He kisses Thanatos afterwards, once he's coherent again. It's just good manners.
Meg turns down his mumbled offer of reciprocity, claiming whiskey dick. But, while Zagreus is still floating, she leans over him and shoves her hand up Thanatos’ toga. Zagreus can’t really see what she’s doing - he’s pretty sure Thanatos still has his leggings on, actually - but Thanatos’ gasps rise up high and desperate.
Huh. That’s new. The two of them together, without Zagreus mediating. He watches the quick movements of her hand beneath Thanatos’ toga, intrigued.
Thanatos comes in about sixty seconds, and then again a few minutes later, with a lot more noise and writhing. When Meg shifts back down next to Zagreus, she notices him staring. “Something wrong, Zagreus?”
She looks confident and smug as always, but it’s new and it’s different and Meg is fiddling with a corner of her tunic, so Zagreus just says, “That was pretty hot.”
Meg rolls her eyes at him. Nailed it.
Afterwards, they curl together in the dim light, trading kisses, recovering breath.
The door bursts open. A huge, butch-looking Amazon woman is standing there, hand in hand with Alecto. "Oh, sorry," says the Amazon. The door closes again, and footsteps recede.
"I'm not sure about this partying thing," Meg mumbles.
"I'm just glad it wasn't Hermes and Charon," says Thanatos, crackling dry.
Meg and Zagreus both burst out laughing at that. Thanatos' jokes don't always land, but gods, when they do. After a moment, he seems to process that he's been funny, and starts laughing too, quiet shaking against Zagreus' side. Zagreus pulls him snug.
"That nymph tonight," Zagreus says after a moment. "Juniper."
"This bed cannot fit four," Meg says promptly. "Not that I'm saying no, but-"
"What-? No, I'm pretty sure she's married - no, she told me something."
"Mm?" says Thanatos. He has proven himself unbelievably cuddly since he and Zagreus started dating. Usually, when they're in private, he speaks with his lips pressed into whatever part of Zagreus is nearest. His shoulder, in this case. Zagreus nuzzles into his hair.
“I have two little siblings,” he says. “Demigods. In the mortal realm.”
“The mechanics are pretty universal,” says Meg. She’s holding Zagreus’ hand, though. That silent I’ve got you. “How old?”
“Young. Teenagers. The boy’s older, he’s got a boyfriend. The girl is a little younger. She likes horses - Juniper didn’t say much more. I don’t know who their mothers are.”
“Are you going to try and find them?” Thanatos asks.
The answer should be no, without question. Zagreus can barely even get into the mortal realm, let alone search while he’s there. He’d have to call in favors with Hermes, definitely. And he has no idea if Hades’ other children can come and go from the Underworld as they please.
“You know,” Zagreus says, snuggled between his partners in a house full of love, “I think I just might.”