Fandom: Classic Greek Mythology
Summary: She is as she was made.
Ratings Note: R.
Author's Note: Written for Yuletide 2004. Happy merry,
prozacpark! A bit more of a note at the end.
Acknowledgments: To LC for audiencing and Jack
for helpful suggestions.
It starts with the flowers, always.
Filling the corners of her quarters -- she has been
discouraged, repeatedly, from thinking of it as a cell --
and slowly creeping toward her, wherever she may
be at the time.
(Anywhere but the bed.)
The flowers themselves spring from vines which
remind her in multiple improper ways of her mother,
but when she thinks this -- there.
The vines blacken there and whiten there, shifting
into coils of dark and grey and the bleach of bone.
It is a reminder -- as if she could need one -- that
she's in the Kingdom of the Dead, now, and no other.
The flowers begin to shift after a moment, as they
always do. Narcissus reaches for her with his petals,
blood drips, flows.
It is always the same, and she is not impressed.
When she rises, the doors open, creaking and -- yes,
reaching. She allows her tunic to be caught by hands
of wood -- no, bone, no, muscle, no -- and lets the
rip of fabric echo as she passes.
It announces her better than the footmen she had
been offered and, of course, refused.
She has her own servants, above, and they grow
strange and deceitful when given reason to be
It does not matter that the girls have undoubtedly
been weeping and rending their flesh and clothing
in her absence -- there are always protocols.
The scrap of tunic flashes with life behind her and
to the side, flaring and flapping with the wings of a
bird before settling at her side. The shreds of the
weave form and reform a dozen faces before
stopping on features which are entirely unsurprising.
"Kore," he says, in the voice of stones and weaving.
She walks on.
Tantalus lures her, as he would, perhaps, lure any
visitor to this place. He is, at all times, surrounded
by the perfume of delicious meats and clouds of
the best wines. Though 'ghosts' would, perhaps,
be the better term -- however irritatingly literal.
She remembers the vintage well, after all. It had been
too sweet for Dionysus' tastes, and he'd made a gift
of it to her mother.
A boar vomits a selection of olives and pine nuts just
beyond Tantalus' reach and snorts at her.
She raises an eyebrow.
"We are, here, beyond illusion, and beyond the pettier
arts," it says, in the voice of stones and squealing.
"You are savage," she says, and turns away.
She toys with Tantalus, letting her fingers dance just
beyond his ability to snap until the boar's mouth is
filled with little things again, and she is as alone as
she can be.
For dinner, she allows her tunic to repair itself. Such
is the barest minimum of courtesy.
Judging by the look in her host's eyes, the act is
both unappreciated and the absolute maximum of
what she must do as a... guest.
The courses come and go, an unvaried and unlovely
selection of withered fruits and rotting meats. The
flies dance around her hair, lazy and fat.
"You are a daughter of the Spring," Hades says, in
a voice of stones alone.
She meets his eyes, as is expected.
"There are many beasts which prey on other beasts.
And on men. In the spring."
Listening to him speak is quite like watching food fall
out of the mouth of a drunkard or a corpse; plop,
"At such times, there is death. All around you. And
then there are... the flowers."
On cue, black vines toy and tickle at her ankles,
questing at her for permission to twine. She remains
"I am only what I am," offers her host.
"Kore," he says. "I beg."
She wrinkles her nose, and waits to be excused.
Among the Danaids, she feels... uncomfortably
comfortable. They are, at best, provincial sorts, but
they welcome her visits as her own ladies were
wont to do. They raise hails, and splash at her with
the water they must carry, and carry again.
"At least we are together," the one with the broad
hips says, for perhaps the hundredth time since Kore
has been here.
"Just so. Though where is Father?" asks the one
whose curls tumble all the way down her spine.
"Where," they echo. "Where?"
"Fathers are sacrosanct," Kore says, because she
can, and it is true.
"Unfair," says the one whose hands are always
"Just so," Kore says, and beckons her out of the line.
She comes, skipping, and kneels at Kore's feet.
Kore catches the girl's hands between her own, and
turns them this way and that. "How came you by
The girl frowns. "My husband came late to our
marriage bed, stinking of wine and the fires. Stinking
of other things -- he had not bathed!"
Kore clucks her tongue. "And then?"
"My dagger was sharp, and my husband slept deeply,"
the girl says, and shrugs. "I saw no crime in making
him bleed as he had done to me."
"You were brutal."
"I am my *father's* daughter," the girl says, solid and
true with defiance.
"Perhaps," Kore says, and releases her. The girl
offers her hair for Kore to wipe the blood away.
The hound barks at her, and licks at her toes, and
watches for others Kore may be shielding from view.
There is no one behind her, of course, but such was
how the hound was made. Kore waits, impatiently.
The summoning had been explicit, momentarily
sweetening her swampy bath with something like
However, it is not unlike Aphrodite to be less than
punctual. Her sister/aunt is not much older than she,
save when she is, and shows it.
Such was how she was made.
Kore bids the hound to settle and rests against its
flank as she waits, pulling the inevitable tangles
and bone spurs from its fur and dozing to its growls
A few souls slip past them as she waits, and the
stone rumbles and complains beneath her.
This, too, is restful.
Finally, the world brightens and sweetens, and the
hound loses the ability to rest quiet beneath her.
It stinks of maleness and excitement, and Aphrodite
"Little sister," she says, and gathers Kore to her,
stroking her thighs much as Kore had stroked the
"You wished me?"
Aphrodite's mouth curls teasingly, and the hound
whimpers. This catches Aphrodite's attention, of
course. "Pitiful beast. Have you no bitch to warm
Kore frowns. "It would not know whether to mount
or snap, aunt."
"So *many* little tragedies in this place," Aphrodite
says, and when she shivers, the many folds of her
hemation slip below the blushing rounds of her
shoulders, baring one breast.
Kore swallows back the inevitable saliva and waits.
Aphrodite seems content to scratch at the hound's
ears and croon soft moans of approval. Such is
often the case, however, and the hound only
ejaculates four times before losing consciousness.
Surprising, really. It had seemed far sturdier.
Aphrodite hums and shakes her head. "It is unused
to such things. An old man who has had many
wives, now..." She shrugs, lightly, and sits on the
hound's gently heaving ribs. "It may kill him, but
he will be *with* you until the very end."
"As you say, aunt."
The pout is soft and devastating. "Sister."
Kore bows her head. "Sister."
Aphrodite nods sharply. "You were wondering about
the nature of my visit, yes?"
"Perhaps you thought me here to free you?" Another
teasing smile, and she strokes the hound idly.
It whimpers and growls in its sleep.
"I had hopes," Kore says, and lets the emphasis
remain gentle, so as not to receive the pout.
As opposed to the giggle. "Oh, it's *not* time for
that, little sister, little maiden."
"You have... consulted with Apollo's creature?"
This giggle is powerful enough that only the fact that
she's seated allows Aphrodite's hemation to remain
on her body. The curls above her pubis shine to
make a moneylender collapse, and her breasts jiggle
and shake and tempt.
It takes all of Kore's strength not to stroke herself,
and she cannot, precisely, remember why she's
"Oh, you *maidens*. You remind me that it has been
too long since I've visited with our sister Artemis."
"Does she not have a habit of shooting at you,
Aphrodite waves a hand, and Kore manages --
barely -- not to step into its path. Aphrodite smiles,
and tosses her hair. "In any event, your mother
should have told you that those of us with...
*specific* dominions do not always need Apollo's
creatures to know the paths of those around us."
Kore shifts around the wetness of her thighs, and
tries to will her tunic longer. "And so my fate is
bound with... sex?"
"You should request a boon, little sister," Aphrodite
says, and digs her nails into the hound's sides.
"You should be positively *aching* for one, I
She wants no such thing. Not from *her*. "Sister,
please. What of my mother?"
Aphrodite's impression of sadness and sympathy
leaves much to be desired, and the stone beneath
them rumbles and cracks itself into sharp, reaching
points and curves and... other shapes.
Kore makes a face, and turns away from the sight
of Aphrodite using two such shapes to rise, curling
her fists and *stroking*.
"Oh, be *generous*, little sister! Such acts will be
beyond the bounds of familial politesse, soon
"I will *not* submit, sister. Not to..."
Aphrodite wraps her arms around Kore's neck, and
nudges her hips against Kore's home in gentle,
rhythmic suggestion. "Not to anyone, little sister?"
She leans in, and licks at the tip of Kore's nose. "At
least you have an excuse. At least this is how you
"Yes," Kore says, nodding and struggling to struggle.
"Yes, exactly. I am *Kore*."
"And I am Aphrodite, and I say to you that the
worlds above will not have you until you are
something else entire, sweet sister." Her breath is
spiced, like the fruits above Tantalus.
Her body is soft, and her tongue... her tongue...
It is a command, and Aphrodite is the elder. "I... I
ask. For a boon."
The kiss is slick, horrifying, *invasive*.
And then it isn't.
When she wakes, her tunic has lengthened and
darkened to a rich violet Dionysus would appreciate.
The peplos is heavy -- the whole of her outfit is --
but it helps everything sit correctly.
"I look like my mother," she thinks, but it isn't at all
Even when she concentrates, she cannot make the
patterns on her hems form anything like flowers or
vines, or even fruits.
The shapes remain nebulous -- and not as strange
as, perhaps, they should be.
The hound makes a questioning sound.
When she raises an eyebrow in reflex, it quiets itself,
and kneels, and bows its shaggy heads.
As she walks, the stone is still beneath her feet, and
the whole of the realm is hushed. Even the Danaids
are silent, only returning to their chatter when she
Yes. That seems the right word for this, for all of
She pauses before Ixion's burning little wheel, and
breathes the man's sweat and pain and frustration
until it is a part of her own voice:
"Hades. Come to me."
He rises from the stone with rumbling dignity beside
her, shaggy and dusty as the hound, large as the
souls he holds.
He blinks at her slowly, pebbles falling from his
lashes to patter at his feet. "Kore --"
"No," she says, and, abruptly, the sense of it all
comes to her. "No," she says again, more firmly, and
reaches up to snag his beard with his fingers. As
she pulls, it falls in the clean, thick waves she far
prefers. Hades grunts, confused and male and hers.
"I am Persephone," she says, "and you will be as I
will make you."
"My Queen," he whispers, and his voice is stone
Hermes is swift in many ways, and takes in the whole
of things with a flickering glance. Still, there are
While he watches, while her realm watches, Persephone
plucks the desiccated seeds from the bowl at her side,
rolling them between her fingers until they are red and
vivid once more before settling them on her tongue,
one by one by one.
Her throne shifts and melts and reaches hungrily,
probing between her buttocks and curling round her
throat until she *looks* at her husband.
The throne subsides... save for those parts of itself
rendered invisible to her subjects by her own body.
Hermes is also incapable of patience, and does not
allow her to finish her pomegranate. "Sister --"
"The world of men *does* suffer in your absence."
Her throne rumbles beneath and beside her --
wonderfully so. The realm around them remains, for
the most part, calm. Hades cannot deny that they
have received many new subjects since she has
Her peplos shifts and hardens, becoming as brittle
as dead tree limbs, and Persephone sighs.
"Tell my mother I'll be home soon."
Hermes raises an eyebrow.
"For a visit," she says, and the arms of her throne
soften, and curl around her, and please.
Kore: Greek for 'maiden.'
Persephone: Greek for 'dazzling brilliance,' or 'she who
steals the light.'