fic: semblance of touch

Sep 23, 2015 18:55

fic: semblance of touch
summary: she rarely likes men (penelope/circe)
rating: mature-ish (vague girlsex; v. minor circe/odysseus)
for doreyg

He lies in her bed, musses the silk with his sweat and breath, and she hates him. He has pinked skin, scars and trickery hiding just beneath it, and she wonders how it would look on her floor. He is a man, utterly.

She rarely likes men.

This one, though - easy to twist words into his ear, a knife to his throat, and yet. She kisses his shoulder and tastes a woman there, absent and aching.

Circe kisses the taste of her off his sleeping skin.


She peers into the pool.

The water kisses her. The water knows more than she should let it. She cups it in her hands and cleans him off of her skin. The water is cold, and it warms her, still. Somehow, Circe can still taste her, gathered in the corner of her mouth.

The water quivers as though it’s laughing at her.

Circe leans forward and lets it cover.


In the ether, quiet and dark and sleeping, Circe slides into a bedroom.

The room is dim in candlelight, the bedsheets untouched. Penelope slides her robe up where it slips from her shoulder.

“I don’t suppose you’re here to court me?” She twists her long hair into a knot and throws it over her shoulder, eyes ducked and tired.

“Why ever would I do that?” Circe smiles. “Surely no man could hold up to your husband?”

Penelope’s chin raises. Her face if soft and blushed like the nephilim, and Circe wants to see the spread of that rosy colour. Penelope lets her tongue wet her lip; a touch, then gone. “No,” she says, “I don’t believe any man could.”


Odysseus touches her like he wants to crawl inside her skin.

She wishes to set him on fire, some nights.

She wants to kick him from her bed, from her entire realm - but worse, somehow, is the thought that he would touch Penelope with those callouses.

She fucks him with closed eyes, digs her nails in to make him bleed.


At dusk, the men fall asleep quietly, one by one. Guard dogs, their jowls dripping on the marble floor. Circe walks through the halls as a phantom, dropping veils of drowsiness over each of their heads.

Penelope stands at the end of the hall, smiling, maybe. It’s hard to tell.

“My not-suitor, what brings you tonight?”

Circe lifts Penelope’s hand and presses a kiss to the pad of each finger. “If I said I was sleepless would you believe me?”

Penelope draws her hand back. “Sleep can be such a fickle woman.” Her fingers find a the curl resting on Circe’s cheek and tuck it back behind her ear.

Circe leans close, lets her lips brush Penelope’s throat. “And do we not all prefer one who knows what she wants?”

She turns, then, fades into the moonlight dancing on the marble, stealing Penelope’s breath as she goes.


The bedsheets are uglier when clean.

They smell like the river and her own sweat. She’s swamped in herself. She never used to mind that.

Circe spends the day plucking roses from the gardens, twisting them into the bedframe and throwing them carelessly across the windowsills. As she moves, she speaks very quietly to Persephone. The roses dust the room in pink, like skin flushing under a brush of lips.

She asks Persephone if there will be a place for her, where flowers still grow in the darkness. She asks if love ever was a myth for the reckless.

No one bothers to answer her.

Penelope is waiting for her. In the bedroom, her robe askew, hair still damp and soft.

Circe doesn’t speak when she slides in behind her, ruining the sheets under her weight. She pulls the hair into sections and begins to braid, tucking wildflowers in as she goes.

“I sit all these days surrounded by men who drink me down with their starving eyes. I sit and I let them watch me. And at night a beautiful woman smiles into my skin, and my husband is swallowed by the seas and I - what do I do?”

Circe rests her chin on Penelope’s shoulder. She kisses her jaw. “You stop waiting.”

“Are you real?”

Circe smiles. “Real as the Gods. Real as the rivers.”

Penelope laughs, sudden and bright. “Was that an answer?”

“Not one that you will accept, I suppose.” Circe’s fingers trail down Penelope’s spine, brush up and then down her sides, riding along the shivers. “Should I prove it to you, then?”

Penelope twists her neck, slides her mouth down to Circe’s to beg for a kiss. Circe drinks her down, parts her lips with a brush of tongue and swallows soft sounds down with each draw of breath. When Penelope draws back, her mouth aches to follow.

“Perhaps I’ll let you prove it some other night.”


She thinks about the men lined up at Penelope’s bedroom door. The Gods are at work, there, somehow. She can taste it in the air of the corridors, power tied down in a too-tight skin that can’t help but leave trails behind.

She knows she could turn the men to meat with fingernail. And she would, but.

Athena is particular and vengeful, and she knows well enough that it could be Penelope paying for the crime. Circe would not object her to divine energies.

Still, in dreamless fantasy, Antinous crawls from beneath the couches as a goat and Circe delights in dropping the blade to his neck.


“I could steal you away, if you liked.” She laughs when she says it, walking her fingers up Penelope’s ribs, teasing the silk that encases them.

Penelope cranes her neck where it’s pillowed on Circe’s thigh. “And where would we go?”

Circe slips her fingers under the robe, brushing the pale skin there. It hasn’t touched sunlight in so long. “Somewhere distant and wild.” Her fingers slide up, gracing the underside of her breasts and up to her breastbone. “Somewhere that men rarely leave breathing. Where magic grows the flowers dangerous and beautiful.” Her thumb swipes down along Penelope’s breast, feeling the bud twitch and pebble at the touch. Circe shivers at the gasp. “Where only I’ll be able to find you.”

Penelope closes her eyes and slides her fingers up Circe’s inner thigh, her hand warm even through the thin fabric. “Ah, but how could I leave with someone who isn’t real?”

Circe’s fingers move down, down, down, until she brushes soft hair, dewy with her slickness. Penelope makes a soft noise at the back of her throat and Circe laughs.. “Tell me, darling, when I have you convinced.”

“Oh,” Penelope breathes. “I will.”


She kisses Odysseus when he leaves. Because it can burn him. Because she can.

She wonders, for a moment, if he returns home, that his wife be able to taste her on his lips.

Hopes may be too strong a word.


She keeps away.

Swathed in white lace, she wanders Aeaea, slaughtering the boars that were once sailors just to see the blood splatter.

Somehow, the roses in her bedroom never die.


The nymphs pass through, singing ugly songs of heroes returning to their loves.

She pulls them into her home, feeds them spellwork and honey until they spill every truth they hold in exchange for a kiss.

She doesn’t mean to kill the one who whimpers Penelope’s name into her mouth.


Odysseus is sleeping.

She made sure of it, wondering, for a moment, if he would ever wake up. She shrugs the thought away.

Penelope stays with her back to Circe, straight and shivering. “You promised you were real. You showed me, you - then you left. You left me with that with them.” Odysseus grumbles in his sleep. “You told me to stop waiting. Why won’t you just stay gone?”

Circe moves forward. Slides her arms around Penelope’s waist. “Let me steal you. You don’t need to come back for him.”

Pennelope twists, half away, half closer. “Why should I? Tell me why I should follow a ghost.”

Circe kisses her cheek, soft, hesitant. “Because this time I’m really here.”

Penelope rests their foreheads together. She holds her breath and waits.

religion & myth, channels cassie ainsworth: is bad person, circe, penelope/circe, femslash!, penelope

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