She stretched her long limbs luxuriating in the rare moment of peace. There were few of those lately.
It all started with a prophesy.
Nasty things, those prophesies. Still in bed she wrinkled her nose at the thought, still refusing to open her eyes.
But it was even worse when those in charge refused to listen to the warnings.
And of course they did. The portents of doom came from oracles, from witches, from sorceresses.
They came from women.
It was easy for advisers and nobles to laughingly wave it all off, to tell the kings that this was nothing to worry about. Nothing really was going to happen - it would just be a waste of money and resources to prepare for an occurrence that would never come. It would make the kingdom a laughingstock.
It was Flora, Fauna and Merryweather tearfully going to Aurora after their appeal was brushed off that started it all. Aurora listened attentively to her "Aunts" and trusted that what they said was true and where the others had laughed, she planned. A chain was started, strong and true, Princess to Princess letters were sent - nothing was seen as odd, they were all close anyway.
And so they talked and they planned, coming to a decision on what must be done and gathering those loyal around them. They decided on a day (they had to move swiftly, the day prophesy went into effect was coming soon), and on that day in each of their separate kingdoms, they struck.
It was ridiculously easy, all said and done. The kings and princes saw no reason to mistrust them, they were their daughters, wives, lovers, friends - they had never looked in large doe eyes and seen anything other than devotion.
That day they had a moment to see something different - a second to notice sharp loyalty of a different kind. A single-minded devotion to a cause much bigger than this one monarchy.
And no noble dared to stand against a Princess standing fierce on the dais, proudly stained with the blood of father and husband. It was so easily forgotten that most of them came from harder lives, that this finery was just a pretty facade. The guards and servants were already on their side (weeks of careful, quite, alliances made), they knew what was on the line - those of higher born were soon made to see as well.
After that they gathered together those who believed in the prophesy (there was just no use taking any who would try to seed doubt just for the sake of nobly leaving no one behind, they were leaving people behind and that was how it was) and travelled to Aurora's castle, some caravans taking weeks to arrive - but that is why they had started so early.
They all agreed on the location beforehand, it was not because she had started this all off - they were far to practical (or perhaps jaded) to think like that. Instead they went to the kingdom that had once stayed safe under an enchanted sleep hoping it would now be the perfect stronghold to protect their people.
The day came with a red dawn - blood red rays, like reaching fingers, intrusive and ominous on the horizon. And as the sun was supposed to rise, instead the sky was rent in two – a sharp tearing sound as a part of their very world was torn - and demons spilled out of the fissure.
All as foretold.
Standing amongst the other watching Princesses on the battlement she snorted, thinking ungraciously that she hoped those nobles that had stayed behind in disbelief of the many warnings slowed the horde down for a bit.
Back inside, the Good Fairies were solemn that morning. For they could not fight such dark creatures - it was not what they were made to do – their magic would have no effect on these beings from another dimension.
But they could give the Princesses gifts.
Flora blessed them with healing. With a flick of the wrist Fauna gave them speed. A swish and a smirk, Merryweather gave strength.
Far too soon after, the fight was upon them. Growling, hissing, horrible things like nothing they had ever thought to dream of (or have nightmares about) right outside the gate. All who wished to stay inside would be protected - but the Princesses were ready, they had been training ever since this plan had begun. Now with fresh strength in their veins, sisters at their sides, and an army surrounding them, they were ready to fight and none would stop them.
And oh, how they fought.
Why had they never been trained before they heard of the prophesy - they should have been doing this their whole lives. It was such a joy and release now.
Ruby red lips and musical laughter were beautiful and terrifying to behold on the battlefield. They were both warrior and icon in this role - their soldiers had never fought as wildly as they did for their "Girls".
And that should be diminutive, it would never have been allowed in the old way. But now as they were all side by side, it was a loving moniker for the people who lead, fought for, and cared for them.
Blonde hair flashing almost as bright as their swords as Aurora and Cinderella were back to back, gladly letting the demons circle them. Belle screams curses in multiple languages at the foul creatures as she swings her double handed axe.
Snow White with a hunting knife in each hand (gifts from an old friend) and fire in her eyes that spelled death for any she graced with her gaze. And the dwarves, a warrior race at heart, of course followed the woman who they had practically raised - mining axes a wicked tool of demise in hands so sure.
Ariel barred her teeth as she wielded her trident; battle wasn't a wholly unfamiliar for her (though previously it had been underwater). Jasmine's sabre moved so fast that her opponents were dead before they could marvel over it. Rajah was never far from her Princess' side, the tiger never quite treated as a pet, and so claws and teeth had never been dulled - and were now as sharp as any blade.
Mérida calmly led the archers from the wall, her aim sure; but she couldn't help but smirk every time she saw, out of the corner of her eye, Mulan send off another explosive out into the middle of their opponents ranks.
She almost feels sorry for them some days – that initial batch, which they latter figured were the invading force, seemed to expect terrified villagers utterly unprepared for their arrival. Not the fierce army spoiling for a fight that simply decimated them.
And that is where she hardens, because it is the former that they would have come upon if they all had not acted – it they had left it up to the nobles and kings.
There is then the after to deal with.
No one wants to leave the safety of this huge patchwork city they have formed and there is still the occasional band of demons coming from that hole in the sky so she can understand the fear – the need to stick together despite the multiple differences among the groups.
It is a universal decision to co-rule. None of them want to deal with another monarchy and a Queen seems just as bad as a King. The Council of Princesses they form instead is a good compromise and their people seem to agree. Honestly, from the gossip she hears, they are just happy because ‘Their Girls’ all get along and take care of them.
And they do.
So when they start to instill order once more none could complain when that woman on her knees scrubbing the floor beside you was Cinderella an Aurora was the one leading the hunting party most days (knowing these woods better than anyone). The lead cook on morning shift was Snow White, the archer keeping carful watch all night was Mérida, Belle was teaching the children (and any adults who had never learned and wished to) to read. Mulan was showing their soldiers her style of self-defense. Ariel is wonderful and constantly asked for to help care for the babies and it is Jasmine who is always there to help the wounded, her dark eyes steady and calm.
They worked just as hard as anyone else and it helped morale immensely.
But it was exhausting at times. So she did luxuriate this stolen moment of comfort at present.
A smile crept across her face as she heard the door open and a giggle filled the room. She still refused to open her eyes but she felt a dip in the bed and the quite thud of two boots hitting the floor. A clothed but feminine body slid under the blankets with her, arms wrapping around her waist.
"Decided to sleep in, Ella?" breathed across her neck warmly.
"Felt too pleasant not to, Ariel," Cinderella admitted.
"Mmmm," she turned so she was facing the other woman and snuggled deeper against her, absently running her hand across the fabric over her thigh and smiling (yet again) at the pleased sigh that resulted.
"I so prefer you in pants," Cinderella murmured. "Is that improper to say?" she asked musingly.
Ariel gave her wonderful, almost too loud, delighted laugh right in her ear. "We're the ones who decide what's proper these days. And I like my pants too," she moved one of those legs between her bedmates, shifting her nightdress up and making Cinderella breathe in sharply at the friction. "And I love legs. Yours. Mine. The others’," she whispered in a much less innocent tone, moving her thigh slightly with each word. “How much longer until your shift starts?" she asked eyes dark and sparkling.
"Long enough,” she whispered back sliding her fingers into bright red hair and meeting eager lips.
They had all the time in the world now (or until Jasmine came looking for her, wondering why she wasn’t at her post – and that could lead to even more lovely scenarios). After all, who ever said happily ever after couldn't come after an apocalypse?