Orphèe et Eurydice by Artemis

RATING: mild R

SUMMARY: What happens when an ancient curse is activated and Wonder Woman becomes a threat to all mankind? BM/WW ship, mature themes, language, angst galore, cross between JLA and JL animated universe I guess. . . Elseworld or AU? shrug

DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of these DC characters, nor am I making any money from this. I also do not own the opera "Orphèe et Eurydice" or "King of the Hill."

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Thank you WonderWoman for the great idea of the curse-I loved fleshing out the story from that idea.

A big thanks to Meljean Brook for all her support, encouragement, advice, reviews, inspirational song fics ;) , answering silly questions about things like Amazons and forks g, as well as pressuring me to put this on fanfiction.net.

And thank you to everyone on the BB Message Boards (JLA RPG forum) who provided constant feedback and support with every chapter-you guys are nuts but I love it!

Warning-shameless abuse of characterizations as well as mythology. (I do not claim this is any sort of reliable text of Greek Mythology!)

*****************

Prologue.

*****************

3,000 years ago, the island of Themiscyra. . .

Queen Hippolyta appraised the man before her. He was strong for a man. He was impetuous too, to dare set foot on Amazonian land.

She rather liked that about him.

She stepped down from her throne and walked towards him.

"Is this the latest fashion in Man's World?" she asked as she fingered the lion skin wrapped around his torso.

"It gives me strength," Herakles replied with a smile, "Although never as strong as an Amazon."

She stepped back and raised an eyebrow.

"Do you mock me with false flattery?"

"Never, my Queen. One as wise as yourself would see through such falsehoods."

Hippolyta stared at him, trying to gauge if he was serious. Amazons were accustomed to rude men, men who made too many assumptions about their society and island home.

She sighed and replied, "Regardless, we cannot refuse the son of Zeus. You may stay here tonight and rest from your travels."

Herakles bowed, but his eyes were raised, gazing at Hippolyta.

She found him intriguing and could not wait to learn more about him.

He, on the other hand, glanced at the girdle around her waist, and knew his ninth labor was as good as done.

Late that evening, Hippolyta laid in bed, analyzing the sensations she felt. One of Herakles' muscular arms was thrown over her. She ran her hand up and down it, feeling the sinewy muscles that rippled under her touch.

She smiled.

Earlier, over dinner, he intrigued her even more with stories of his adventures. She was surprised a man could be so noble. She admitted to herself that she, Queen of the Amazons, was falling in love with a man.

And it was with love in heart, and passion in her veins, that she invited Herakles to her bed.

She thought again of the irony, of falling in love with this man, and grinned. Content, she fell asleep.

Some time later, she awoke, sensing his absence. She sat up and looked around. He was gone.

Her magical girdle, a gift from Ares the god of war, was gone as well.

Hippolyta jumped from bed, grabbing her sword. She was outside in seconds, but her momentum slowed when she saw what lay before her.

The beaten and bloody bodies of several of her Amazon sisters were scattered across the palace grounds. Other Amazons running to the scene, faltered in their steps as well.

Hippolyta's eyes shifted to an Amazon staggering up to her.

"Artemis! What happened?"

The Amazon was clutching her arm, her tone sorrowful and apologetic.

"Herakles. I am so sorry my Queen. We saw him running from the palace with your girdle from Ares. We tried to stop him."

Hippolyta touched her shoulder. "Go get your wounds dressed. You did well."

"But my Queen, we failed you!"

Hippolyta shook her head. "This was my fault."

The Amazon Queen looked at the slain bodies of her fallen sisters, her throat tightening as her emotions flew from anger to guilt.

"Hera forgive me."

As the Amazons tended to the survivors and carried away the dead, a heated discussion was begun on Mt. Olympus.

"Aphrodite! Explain this!" Hera was furious.

The goddess of love blushed and stammered before the queen of the gods. "Actually, I didn't do it. Her feelings were genuine. I just, uh, didn't stop her," she finished meekly.

Hera's green eyes darkened. This was not what she wanted to hear.

"First, my stepson has completed his ninth labor! He was not supposed to accomplish this one! Second, Amazons have been killed! They pray to us for protection and this is how we repay their worship!"

Aphrodite stared at Hera with her eyes wide. "I'm so sorry! I didn't realize this would happen! I just enjoyed seeing Queen Hippolyta in love."

Athena watched with her cold, gray eyes. The goddess of wisdom had an idea.

"There is little we can do now, but I know how we can prevent this from ever happening again."

"Speak, Athena." Hera's eyebrow arched up as she listened in interest.

"A curse on any Amazon should she fall in love with a man."

"And if she does, what then? Do you suggest we punish her?"

"Hardly. An Amazon in love with a man will then turn and destroy Man's World. The perfect way to protect our Amazons from the pain suffered today, as well as punish men."

Aphrodite cleared her throat. "Now, I love curses as much as any goddess, but must this curse be so. . . deadly?"

Athena appraised her coolly. "Why?"

"Will it always be so tragic for an Amazon to know the love of a man? What if the curse is lifted when the love is returned?"

Athena scowled, but Hera nodded.

"Go ahead with the curse, Aphrodite."

*************************************************