The Queen and I

Hercules stood up, his jaw set with rage as he stormed over to Pegasus. Hades had it coming. He'd tried to take over Olympus, he'd released the Titans, he'd used Meg, he'd let her die—he was not going to get away with it anymore, not if Hercules had anything to say about it.

"Whoa, whoa, Herc!" Phil called. "Where do you think you're going?"

"The Underworld," he answered. "I'm getting Meg back."

"The Underworld?" Phil repeated. "Herc, you gotta be crazy! You'll never make it there!"

"Watch me," Herc answered, ready to take off, but Phil grabbed Pegasus's tail.

"No, I mean you won't make it there," he explained.

"Why not?" Herc asked irritably.

"Two words: Queen Hippolyta."

Hercules barely registered that this time, Phil actually had used two words. Instead, he asked, "The Queen of the Amazons? What's she got to do with this?"

"The Gate to Tartarus is on her island, Themyscira," Phil explained. "The Amazons are guarding it—punishment from the gods for helping Hades with his last takeover plan."

"Then I'll fight my way through them," Herc decided.

"It's not going to be that easy," Phil warned. "Men aren't allowed on the island—most Amazons haven't seen a man in their lives! You're going to have to work hard to convince Hippolyta to let you through." Herc's face fell. He'd thought he'd had a chance to save Meg, but now it was gone. He should have known better than to get his hopes up—like Phil always said, dreams were for rookies.

"Hey," Phil said, noticing the look on his face. "You got something working in your favor. You're the son of Zeus and Hera. They can't turn down a request from the gods, and the fact that you're Hera's kid helps even more. They worship her more than any other god. You might have a shot."

"Thanks, Phil," Herc replied, managing a small smile. He nudged Pegasus, who took off. "I'll be back soon—with Meg!"

"Good luck, kid!" Phil called after him.

He stood there watching the hero as he flew off into the sunset. And then suddenly, it hit him: Herc was going to Themyscira to see the Amazons. No man had ever set foot on that island. He was going to an island paradise full of gorgeous women who had never seen a man in their lives.

"Wait! Herc, turn back! Take me with you!"

Things were not looking good for the Amazons. Just a few hours ago, demons had burst out of the Gate of Tartarus, and Hades had released the Titans on Man's World. The very balance of power in the world had shifted—Queen Hippolyta could feel it, but she couldn't do anything about it. Right now, she was doing all she could against the demons. She'd abandoned her ceremonial garb in favor of the armor Hephaestus had forged for her, and she had her golden lasso around the neck of one demon, throwing him into another. The rest of the Amazons were either helping her fight them off or trying to hold the doors to the Underworld shut. If something didn't change soon, they would be slaughtered.

Hera, help us, she prayed as she flew up. Flight wasn't something Amazons normally needed on Themyscira, and in fact, it was usually suppressed by the gods' power. But their power had been weakened so much by whatever Hades had done that she and the other Amazons were on a more level playing field with these winged monstrosities.

Themyscira looked horrible. It was ravaged and burnt, with the bodies of demons and Amazons littered all about—though, thank Hera, there were more demon corpses than Amazons. And in the distance, Man's World was caught in a twilight of catastrophe. Not long ago, she'd seen something flung from there to the stars, and she'd worried what the Titans had done. Man's World usually wasn't her concern, but if its destruction possibly meant Themyscira's destruction as well, she prayed that Man would be able to survive against the Titans while the gods fought Hades.

Finally, the last demon fell before her. She landed and faced her Amazons, who were crowded in a circle around something.

"Is it another demon?" she asked.

"No, Queen," one of her generals spat. "It's a man."

Hippolyta's face hardened. "Step aside. Let me deal with him." They did so with reluctance, but kept their swords out and glared at him.

As far as men went, he was rather impressive: tall, muscular, handsome. But Hippolyta had been fooled by appearances before, so her glare deepened. The man had ridden a winged horse to their island, and such creatures were rare in Man's World. Her eyes fell on the medallion he wore on his belt—the lightning bolt symbol of Zeus. The gods had sent a messenger. She'd seen Hermes's human form, the one he used when he needed to interfere in the mortal realm. He didn't look anything like the man standing before her. An explanation was definitely in order.

"Stand down," she ordered her Amazons. "Zeus sent him." With even more reluctance, the Amazons sheathed their swords. They hated doing it, but they weren't fools; none of them wanted to risk Zeus's wrath. "So, what do the gods want now? And why didn't they send Hermes?"

"My name is Hercules," the man said. "I'm Zeus's and Hera's son."

She raised an eyebrow. This was unexpected. All around her, the Amazons were shooting each other surprised looks. Nobody had mentioned anything to them about Hera and Zeus having a son.

"Why are you here instead of on Olympus?" she asked.

"I was stolen from my parents and raised as a mortal on Earth," Hercules explained. "Please, I don't have much time. I need you to open the Gate of Tartarus."

Hippolyta's face resumed a harsh look, though less sharp than before. "And what business do you have there?"

Hercules stood firm in mixed sorrow and anger. "Hades tried to take over Olympus again. He almost succeeded—all of the gods had been captured. I defeated him, but not before he took someone precious to me—a woman I care for very much."

Hippolyta was a cynic when it came to men, but she couldn't help but notice the intense sorrow in Hercules's voice. She almost found herself moved, but before she could do anything she'd regret, she said, "Come with me to my throne room." He looked ready to protest, but she answered, "I promise you, it won't take long." Hesitantly nodding, he followed, as did a squad of Amazons.

The Amazons kept a close eye on Hercules as they entered the throne room. Hippolyta took advantage of the security to retrieve the talismans that opened the Gate to Tartarus. Although it was safe to keep the key separated this way, it was rather troublesome when she needed it. When she had everything in order and turned around, she noticed Hercules looking at a clay sculpture of a young girl in the corner. Momentarily, she closed her eyes. That sculpture was the last thing she and that rat ex-boyfriend of hers had created together. It was a staunch reminder that she could never trust any man.

So why did she want to trust this one?

"Tell me something, Hercules," she commented, managing to keep her voice steady. "What do you plan to do once you enter the Underworld?"

He froze. "I…didn't really think about it. All I know is that I want to save Meg—I need to save Meg. And I can't let Hades get away with what he's done."

"That woman," she started, looking at the statue. The girl looked hopeful as she watched them sightlessly, almost as if waiting to see if Hippolyta would do the right thing. "How much would you give for her?"

"Everything," he answered confidently. She did not doubt his words.

"All right," she agreed, handing him the artifacts. "I'm holding you to your word, son of Hera and Zeus. You're going to have to deal with Fluffy first—the Cerberus. Find a way to tame him, and he'll lead you straight to Hades. Be sure to give him an extra hit for me."

"Thank you," Hercules replied. "This means a lot to me. Is there any way I can repay you?"

She smiled softly. "There is. When you get back to Olympus, can you ask your mother to do something for me? I've been longing for this daughter for a long time now."

Hercules looked at the sculpture and nodded. "No problem."

The Amazons watched as he took the talismans and walked to the Gate of Tartarus. It opened immediately, and he walked in without looking back once. The general somehow managed to find her voice and stammered, "M-my Queen?"

"Take count of the bodies," Hippolyta ordered, completely back to her usual self. "Give our sisters a proper burial, and burn the demons."

"Yes, Queen Hippolyta," she answered, leading the others out. They were more than happy to oblige. If their Queen could be confused so much by the mortal son of Hera and Zeus, they didn't want to know anything more than they did about her affair with the God of Death. And they certainly would never allow themselves to be taken by a man, divine or not.

Hercules and all characters belong to Disney, though the myth itself is public domain. Justice League and its characters belong to DC Comics and Warner Bros. Yes, calling the Cerberus "Fluffy" is a reference to Harry Potter. This odd little crossover was inspired by Shaun Garin's "Twelve Wishes," although this has turned out quite differently from the original format I posted on my LiveJournal. Shaun will probably write a sequel to this at some point.