Title: Lysistrata's Mistress
Author: Gotham's Princess
Rating: T
Timeline: Early Season 2
Summary: When she was younger, Mary had once read a play in which the women of Sparta ended a war by refusing to have relations with their men. Now, she wishes the women of the Great War had the same strength. An introspective look into Mary's thoughts. Early Series 2.
Disclaimer: I do not own Downton Abbey.

When she was younger, Mary had once read a play in which the women of Sparta ended a war by refusing to have relations with their men. It had been quite a scandal to her at the time, innocent in all ways, and cheeks blushing red, she lied when her mother inquired to the book in which she had been occupied.

How much had changed since that summer afternoon, in herself and the world. When she considers sex, she no longer flushes crimson, but feels a wave of nausea at her own poor decisions. How could she have been so naïve and unrestrained? When she thinks of war, she wishes that today's women could harness the power of the Spartans, and use their wiles to bring about peace. How different can the Great War be from the Peloponnesian? When she thinks of both together, she thinks of Matthew.

Her opinion of him, too, has changed greatly over the years. She went from absolute loathing to excruciating love, and she doubts even she could trace the intricate path. Not that she cares too – it would be too painful. Not that her and Matthew's relationship was nothing but pain in torment. How she wished she did not consider her grandmother's advice, and agreed to his proposal immediately. How she wished he was not risking his life in a bloody war. How she wished she could ignore her conscience, and beg him to end his engagement to Lavinia and return to her arms. Yet, there was no point in wishing, for nothing could possibly change the past and the course their lives were set upon.

Sometimes, Mary thinks that her affair with Pamuk was the root of her misfortune. That God, if he existed, was punishing her for her transgressions through the loss of Matthew's heart and the war. She supposed even the consideration of the idea revealed great arrogance, but she also thought that night was when her life truly began to fall apart, that there was no turning back. Patrick's death, though detrimental to her family, seemed a blessed to her – she could hardly imagine being married to the man. Pamuk's death held no silver lining, just tragedy upon tragedy.

Mary wishes she could take it all back. She wishes that she had the strength of Lysistrata, and forcefully changed the world in which she hated. Instead, however, she was bound by fate and poor decisions, caught in a never-ending war of what should have been.