Chapter 1: Other Tales (Greek Mythology/Sumerian Mythology, Persephone/Inanna)
Warning: Mention of rape.
She can feel the other tales tug at her, even as she sits by her husband's side, souls brushing against her ankles. The dead bore her. When did their misery cease to compel?
She'll feel different in the spring.
She drags her mind away from the stories where her husband rapes her, and towards the one where she waits for her sister in the end of a long road. Her sister is stripped naked before her, because Life cannot meet Death dressed in earthly glory.
She closes her eyes and imagines her sister's pink mouth under her cold, grey fingers.
Chapter 2: Icarus (Sherlock, Irene Adler/Kate Mountbatten-Windsor)
Irene returns from bathroom with her lips back to their immaculate lines of red. A moment ago, the paint had been smeared across her face, and Kate falling apart. Now Kate is naked and perfect, like a Vermeer in the slize of growing daylight falling through the heavy curtains.
She's holding the phone. Irene's phone.
Her eyes turn to Irene, wide and frightened. Irene steps to her, kisses her forehead and holds out her hand.
“I should keep this,” Kate says, but relinquishes the phone. Her surrender is sweet. "Do you know what you've done?"
"Yes,” says Irene. “I do."
Chapter 3: Pandora (Thirteen, Tracy Freeland/Evie Zamora)
Evie had opened her up, compartment by compartment, like some kind of a novelty box or a Russian nesting doll. She must have loved the unlocking most - Tracy's first shoplifting, her first blowjob, her first hit. She drew these wonderful and terrible firsts out and giggled as they blossomed, until it started getting easier, and nothing much seemed fresh and awful anymore. If they had gone on, what else would she have unlocked?
But she'd stopped at Tracy's first heartbreak, and now Tracy lay exposed in her mothers arms, her insides hanging out and the heart of her rusted shut.
Chapter 4: Echo (Galaxy Quest, Gwen DeMarco/fangirls)
Media coverage is all about the male fans, but Gwen notices the women.
She knows she's not supposed to do it. She would never do it with the younger ones. But some women have been following Galaxy Quest since its inception, for nearly twenty years, and they've built mythologies around Tawny that go far beyond what the show ever did with the character.
For them, she'll repeat their dreams back at them in their bedrooms, or in hotel rooms or the stuffy backstage of a con, and leaves behind urban legends.
She has one job. Sometimes it's not so bad.
Chapter 5: Zeus (Modesty Blaise, Modesty/Bessie)
The bullets ricochet off the inside walls of the reinforced van. Modesty hears a grunt a thud just before she ducks back up on the roof and the wind drowns out most sounds.
She's got a good grip, but if the van speeds up, she'll be in trouble. She looks back towards the driver's compartment. Bessie leans out the window and gives her a thumbs up – all clear. Willie's got the wheel.
Modesty grins back at her and swings herself down.
Later that night, while Willie disappears, Modesty takes a chance, and crawls into Bessie's sleeping bag. She's not disappointed.
Chapter 6: In the Garden of the Hesperides (Greek Mythology, Hera/the Hesperides (Arethusa, Erytheia, Hesperia)
Hera plays well the games her kind play. She is never bored, even when she tastes defeat.
Still, whenever she tires of games, Hera returns to the garden, where golden sunlight catches on the skin of apples hanging heavy on her trees, and where her lovers greet her with shrieks of joy. They know nothing of the function of the armour she sheds when she rushes to embrace them each. Hesperia undoes her hair. Erytheia straps on a phallos to better please her. Arethusa kisses her, moist and hot like a promise.
In here, there is no talk of war.
Chapter 7: Iphigeneia in Tauris (Greek Mythology, Artemis/Iphigeneia)
Iphigeneia's feet sink into prickly grass. “Am I dead?” she asks.
“No, you are not,” says Artemis. She towers high, but no taller than a mortal man, and Her hand in Iphigeneia's is warm and solid. Yet She is undoubtedly the Goddess. “And now you never will be. You are far too plucky for sour old Hades. Here.”
Iphigeneia accepts the offered sheepskin and drinks deep. Artemis catches her and holds her as the golden light ravages her, shredding her mortality.
When it is over, Iphigeneia remembers only Artemis's words anchoring her. “You're mine.”
Chapter 8: Medusa (Greek Mythology, Medusa/Athena)
They say no man would fuck a thing like me, let alone a god who can have his pick of women. They don't understand rape. It amused Poseidon to dip his prick in a scaly woman, reef-builder, serpent-haired and terrible. It suited him even better to rape the lover of his defiant niece on the floor of her own temple.
She never cared for beauty. We chose each other.
Athena did not curse me. She gave me what I asked for, after he was done with me. Let another man try now. Let another man even look into my face.
Chapter 9: Devotions (Original)
Every night when the evening star is high, I go to the small temple in my father's garden to pray to the divine Cypria. My father makes sure of it, but I go willingly.
I sing Her praises. I plead with Her. I make small sacrifices and, when the time is right for such things, as large as we can afford.
My father thinks I am praying to take away my curse of lust for other women, and make me beautiful so many men will want to marry me.
I pray for the opposite, and praise Her for Her gifts.
Chapter 10: But a Gentle Beast (Greek Mythology, Nyx/OFC)
When I am alone in the dark, I am not alone, for She envelops me. When I am terrified, She breathes with me, drawing every panicked gasp, there in my ligaments and bones.
How could I praise Her? My oldest friend, the first and the last, the absence that defines presence.
Once, when I was lost, a woman found me and took me to her cave, offered me savoury broth, and made love to my tired body until it felt reborn. I fell asleep, and woke up in the dark, back to back with wolves.
How can I praise Her?
Chapter 11: Dionysus (Lesbian Career Girls, Maxie Mainwaring/Pamela Prendergast)
Maybe it was the magic of advertising, but Maxie couldn't imagine wearing any color but Bongo Red on a night like this, when the band spun out tunes that went right into your panties and even the white girls shivered and convulsed in time to the beat, quite irrespective of the prim little steps they'd learned for school dances. Pamela was gorgeous, her face flushed as she spun on her heels, almost in step with the base player twirling on stage. Maxie grabbed her around the waist and pressed against her. In this mess of bodies, no one would mind.
Chapter 12: The Danaides (Downton Abbey, Edith Crawley/OFC)
Edith had watched papa examine and dismiss Mary's suitors as he pleased, while Mary remained indifferent. Later, she had watched Sybil dig her heels in and take her choice for herself, fighting Papa all the way and winning.
Edith herself had offered Papa neither bored consent nor fiery refusal. She had cried and begged and thrown herself at his feet, and finally picked herself up and obeyed. Her lover had left Downton, and no-one ever knew her as anything but Edith's school chum.
She poured tea, and thought of the basin with holes in the bottom, the water slipping through.
Chapter 13: Athena (Criminal Minds, Emily Prentiss/Jennifer Jeraeu)
Emily Prentiss isn't a virgin. She makes all the right moves and the right sounds with the right people. The others even decided she has a “type”, based on nothing but the kind of guys who hit on her.
Her body is a machine. She maintains it well, but it's her mind that's her best tool. It's what makes her special. If the body complains, it will be overruled.
Emily doesn't want to use someone for just a night or two when she knows they'd be nothing but placeholders for what she really wants. And JJ's married.
So that's that.
Chapter 14: Achilles (The Song Is You, Iolene Harper/Jean Spangler)
Iolene poured drinks as Jean emerged from the bathroom, wet and wrapped in a pink bathrobe. Almost like routine, Iolene offered a glass and Jean refused it. She pulled Iolene down on the couch.
“Hold on, let me close the curtains.”
Jean loved to fuck her, especially after the mark had got too rough, or smelled too much like rotten teeth. She liked to pin her down and make her squirm, to do instead of be done. She needed it.
It was no good falling in love, not in this town. But Iolene and Jean, they were never any good.
Chapter 15: Hermes (Star Trek: TOS, mirror!Uhura/mirror!Chapel)
Nyota Uhura was not afraid. The advantage of speaking a dozen languages no-one else on board could even stutter their way through made her both too valuable to kill and privy to a lot of information she could use to secure services and protection.
Still, she liked to sleep with the low-rankers, people she could trust, people who weren't likely to try and strangle her for kicks because cadet school, designed to break children, had broken them too far.
She tied the nurse's wrists to her bed post, watching her sweat and ache and want, and dreamed of being captain.
Chapter 16: Eurydice (Discworld: Monstrous Regiment, Tonker/Lofty)
I do not shift, and I do not look around. I've learned to be quiet, to survive.
I should have warned her. She's only been here a few months. She doesn't know.
They do this every year. We're all called to the dining hall and Father Jupe tells us that he knows some of us are sinners, unnatural and vile unto Nuggan. Those who come forward and name their lover will be forgiven. Those who choose to remain silent will be punished.
As he speaks, the sisters watch us to see who looks guilty.
Please, Magda. Please, darling. Don't look.
Chapter 17: Mnemosyne (Leverage, Sophie Devereaux/Tara Cole)
Role after role, life after life. You have to remember every detail of your made-up self, and you have to also forget them, utterly and completely, once they're done with and filed away. One can't have “Mariette” remembering “Josephine”'s acquiantances in Paris.
Sophie has her bits and pieces strewd across the world. Sometimes she has to forget pieces of herself in order to move on. It's okay. Plenty of her to go around. Even love can be left behind like a pair of discarded gloves. Luckily, that's something Tara understands. They're two of a kind - when they choose to be.
Chapter 18: Chronos (The Devil's Mixtape, Amy/Caroline)
It's only a tent, not even a shack, that they've got now, but it's all theirs and that makes it a luxury. Amy's eyes are bright spots in the suffused light.
Caroline can't imagine all the things those eyes have seen, or the years that are going to eat at Caroline's flesh soon enough rolling off Amy like raindrops off a spring leaf.
It doesn't change anything. Caroline will love Amy either way, and from what Amy tells her, the decay of years doesn't matter so much either.
She leans over to kiss Amy, and those timeless eyes flutter close.
Chapter 19: Penelope (Phryne Fisher Mysteries, Dot Williams/Phryne Fisher)
Dot closed the door before the gentleman with the harried look could protest. When Miss Fisher was not at home, she was not at home, and there was nothing Dot could do about it, and she wouldn't litter the drawing room with prospective customers, either. Mr Butler was on the phone, telling someone else much the same.
Dot went back to her little room in the attic and tried to read, but her eyes kept being drawn towards the clock. 37 hours, 12 minutes.
Please Miss, she thought. Come back safe.
I no longer know how to live without you.
Chapter 20: Woe To Thee (The Iliad, Cassandra/Helen)
TRIGGER WARNING: suicidal ideation.
Helen found Cassandra by the fountain, a knife in her hand. She took the knife and threw it with a clatter into the corner. When she picked Cassandra up, she could not stand, her legs numb from sitting still.
Helen took her to her chambers and set her down on her silks, rubbed her legs and made her drink wine.
Helen did not understand. When Cassandra opened her mouth to explain, she shut her up with a kiss.
Helen hung on because of love. She thought Cassandra could, too.
Cassandra embraced Helen. Outside, men died. Inside her eyelids, Troy burned.
Chapter 21: Queen Eurydice Speaks (Sophocles' Antigone, Eurydice/Antigone)
She always saw the gods' law clearer than I did, and duty was her guiding star.
I am true to duty, too, though I find no comfort in my husband's arms. Antigone tormented my thoughts, she with eyes full of rage and righteousness. I wanted her blade of truth at my throat, her loyalty at my feet, but the law of a wife's submission is written in every lawbook. So I wove, and endured.
Until I saw her laid out grey on the stone, throat bruised and beauty ruined.
Caught between men's laws and gods', what are we to do?
Chapter 22: Ares (Xena: The Warrior Princess, Callisto/Xena)
Callisto's hatred burned a steady flame, concentrated like the heart of a furnace. It was lovely to wrap your life, your will, around a single point, until every pain of body and soul fell away, insignificant in the face of her rage.
Xena twisted, and Callisto's fist slammed into her breastplate instead of her throat. Drops of blood scattered over Xena's breast. Callisto spun, and Xena spun, and their swords connected, the reverberation of the blow shaking Callisto to the bone.
She imagined her blade inside the red pulsing life of Xena's body, and laughed with the pleasure of it.
Chapter 23: Morpheus (The Sandman, Nada/Nuala)
"I keep having the same dream," Tai said, yawning. She stood by the stove in the tiny corridor kitchen of the tiny studio, frying eggs for breakfast. "I think it's a metaphor for being trans."
Nuala looked up at her girlfriend, still groggy and tangled up in bed sheets. Her shift wouldn't start for hours yet.
"A man chased me. I kept changing shape to escape, and he kept changing too. Pretty obvious, right?"
Nuala had never heard the story of the First People, only its echoes in the dreams of their descendants. She told those, instead, over fried eggs.
Chapter 24: Nemesis (The Librarians, Frances O'Brien/Christine Grimwood)
It was safe to think it was just Christine. Christine was lewd. Frances had been young and impressionable. It was unfortunate that sin would follow her through all these years, but could you blame her? She was pushed so hard. People didn't understand how difficult it was to be her. She had a lot of responsibility. Some people would just hate you no matter how much of yourself you give.
Frances couldn't remember a time when she wasn't all wrong, a square peg in a round hole. (Unfortunate wording. Oh God.)
She just wanted to be a good (enough) person.
Chapter 25: Spring Hiding (Greek Mythology, Hecate/Persephone)
You might wonder why I choose to stay in the underworld.
Even here, Persephone brings forth flowers, a touch of spring in the dark hollow of the death. That is why Hades desired her. In her chamber, soft grass grows underfoot, and above golden light mimics the sun she left behind, shimmering through wreaths of flowers.
She takes me by the hand and draws me down upon the moss. I am her companion, with hands as warm and living as hers.
When Persephone is at Hades's call, I speak to the dead, and manage their matters.
Why would I leave?
Chapter 26: Prometheus (Charlie's Angels movies, Dylan Sanders/Alex Munday)
Dylan had always known it wouldn't last. They'd come close to calling it quits half a dozen times before.
Taking on the French foreign secretary had just been too much. They'd all got their new identities and new lives at the end of it, not to mention more money than any of them could find any use for – unless they set up as new Charlies themselves. That was something to think about.
It didn't remotely make up for the fact that they couldn't be together any more. No more Bosley. No more Natalie. No more –
Dylan would rather have lost a limb.
Chapter 27: Hestia (I Was Kidnapped By Lesbian Pirates From Outer Space, Susie/Janet)
Sometimes Susie wondered if she wasn't more of a keep-the-home-fires-burning kind of gal. Sure she could don the costume and call herself a space pirate, but could she even shoot a laser gun? There was nothing wrong with being a homemaker, but Janet's home cannoned through space, got shot at, and was frequently updated to a new (stolen) model. Anyway the robots took care of housekeeping.
Perhaps she was just a bit of booty.
But Susie never did like to dwell, and in the meanwhile, there was adventure, the delectable Captain Janet, and all the shoes she could ever want.
Chapter 28: Eros (How To Train Your Dragon (film), Ruffnut Thorston/Astrid Hofferson, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III/Tuffnut Thorston)
The festival of Troutbargle had been in full swing for a few hours already before Ruffnut got invited to her first troutslapping.
Everybody knew everybody in Berk, but her partner was wrapped up in bulky clothes with a scarf over his head to mask him. Not that this stopped Ruffnut. Even if it was Fishlegs (which, judging by the figure's size, it wasn't), she was overdue her first flirtation.
They slapped each other with trouts until they were covered in a pulpy mess of fish flesh. They fell together on the ground, giggling. Toothless trotted by and snapped up pieces of discarded fish.
"Let's see who you are, loverboy," Ruffnut said and crawled over to tug at the mask. The anonymous slapper protested and they ended up in a wrestle.
"Gotcha." Ruffnut ripped the mask off in triumph. Her eyes narrowed. "Is this some kinda joke?"
"No," said Astrid, breathless.
"What about Hiccup?"
"He's busy slapping trouts with your brother."
Ruffnut barked a laugh. Then she thought it over, shrugged, and leaned down to claim her kiss.
Astrid's strong hands clutched at the back of her neck. All in all, not a bad conquest, Ruffnut thought. Snotlout would be furious.
Chapter 29: A (Night Circus, Tsukiko/Hinata, WARNING: mention of rape)
Lot's wife turned back to see her city burning and turned into a pillar of salt.
To many pretty youngsters, Apollo offered a choice: succumb to rape, or give up your human life, leaving behind only flowers and trees and springs that bear your name.
When I met him, I was a child. I had no concept of desiring power, though I did desire money, and westerners in Japan were always wealthy, back then.
Did we have any choices at all, Hinata, my love? Western magic has left you dust, and left me hollow, a scribbled over husk.
Chapter 30: Hades (Harry Potter, the Grey Lady/Bellatrix Lestrange)
WARNING: Uh, Bellatrix.
Helena sank down through floors, staircases and cavernous halls, into the black hollow where the bones of the basilisk lay.
Bellatrix stalked from one end of the Chamber to the other, too new to death to float, but not so new her vaporous feet took any notice of the boulders that littered the floor. She twirled around and snarled at Helena, who opened her arms.
Bellatrix lunged forward and caught her throat. A ghost's touch is like a cold tickle, but it does not hurt. Helena closed her eyes.
It was as close to heaven as she would ever get.