The Immortality Series
Authors Notes: Pesky disclaimer first! I don't own any of the characters in this little fiction, and if I did I'd find better things to do than writing fanfiction about them! (Paris, Achilles and a large quantity of ice cream, draw your own conclusions!) This is not written for personal gain and I have no money so there's no point trying to sue me, isn't life sad?
I saw Troy on Saturday and thought it was excellent (the gratuitous male nudity didn't hurt my opinion that's for sure!) And the plot bunnies just leapt into my brain. Rather than writing full length epics (as I have enough of those on the go already) the bunnies were more inclined towards little one-shot musings about the characters, so more may follow on from this. Ah Troy. Historically accurate? Hell no, but it makes damn fine situations and love stories. This little story is from Briseis's point of view, after Achilles rescued her from the men and took her back into his tent , and after their little snuggle session. While he sleeps, Briseis ponders who Achilles really is.
Edit!- Now originally I planned this to be a oneshot from Briseis' point of view, but then everyone was asking for a second chapter from Achilles' POV, so I obliged and now as the demand is so crazy I decided to view it as the first in a series. I have dubbed said series 'The Immortality Series' as all the characters of Troy are kinda immortal now and that was Achilles' whole MO. The series will continue to be a succession of one-shots from every character's perspective. Basically I choose a moment or scene in the movie which I feel is a great starting point for internal reflection and continue it into a fic from each characters perspective. I hope each fic will give some insight into the characters thoughts and feelings and help us better understand and identify with them. Now that I have done Briseis/Achilles I'll follow up with Helen/Paris and Andromache/Hector. I will also focus on some of the single characters in their important moments and will probably do Odysseus, Priam, Agamemnon and Menelaus. And because of popular demand I will continue this story Weakness and stretch it into a 6 chaptered story. But after that it's finished people, I don't care how much you beg! Hehehe.
See the truth all around
Our faith can be broken
And our hands can be bound
But open our hearts and fill up the emptiness
With nothing to stop us
Is it not worth the risk?- The Calling- Our Lives
I had held a knife to his neck while I thought he was unaware. But he was not unaware.
"Do it." He had said, without a trace of fear in his voice. Indeed, it had almost been a command, after all, the famous Achilles asks no-one for anything, he gives the orders and he most certainly does not follow them.
He must have seen my hesitation, his ice blue eyes bored into me like a sword thrust into my heart. "Do it." He had said again.
What a man was this? He did not fear death, even as I held his life in my hands. Perhaps he was strong and fast and cunning, but he could not have stayed my hand before I had applied just a fraction more pressure and ended him there. Perhaps he doubted I would do it, doubted my courage. I was an innocent priestess of Apollo, a mere woman, he seemed like the type arrogant enough to believe himself invincible even as death stared him in the face.
But he did not falter, did not hesitate, in fact he leaned further into the blade as it pressed against his windpipe, in order to kiss me.
I have never been kissed in that way before, of course, I have been kissed by males before, by Father and Uncle, and dear Hector and Paris, but the kisses of family are far removed from the kiss of Achilles.
He is used to getting what he wants without opposition that much is clear. He took my mouth with a passion and hunger I likened to the unquenchable dominance of a raging fire. I surprised myself by responding in kind.
It was wrong, I know that much, he is a merciless killer, sent to destroy Troy and end the lives of my kin. He and his Myrmidons already desecrated the sacred Temple of Apollo where they found me, and murdered my fellow priests, and yet a part of me does not care.
When he took my body and made me his own- for I cannot view it as making love, I barely know this man and from what I do know of him he does not seem capable of love- he was not a vicious killer, used to submission from his bedmates and enemies alike. He was tender and gentle, soft as the caress of a sea breeze. It brought me hope, perhaps the rumours of his ruthless nature were merely that, rumours. But I was being foolish.
I realised, once he slumbered and I had been left alone with my dark thoughts that he must have lain with many others, and that his movements had come with the ease and confidence of practise. It hurt me then, that he had not changed through care for me, that I was merely another conquest, another notch on the bedpost of mighty Achilles. A virgin priestess from the legendary city of Troy, that was surely a great triumph. I had dared to believe that he actually cared for me, saving me from those other sickening brutes in the Greek camp, offering food and a cloth to bathe my wounds, not touching me when I pulled away from him. No, it was another cruel joke. Once he is bored of me, he will kill me, if not do worse and deliver me back into the hands of the other men outside, who are sure not to waste time with any such tenderness. I shiver at these thoughts and a dry sob of fear tears from my lips unbidden. I press my hands over my mouth to smother the sound, I could not bear to wake him with my sorrow and humiliate myself further in front of this monster. I am fearful, now that he has had me, now I have given myself willingly to him that all pretence of compassion will be gone from him, and he will become as brutal as I know he is deep down. I will die here, alone and forgotten, never to see my uncle or cousins again. Noble Hector, so honourable and courageous even in the shadow of war, a fearless warrior in battle but so tender and caring to Andromache and his son Astyanax. And beautiful Paris, skilled at the bow and the flute, a most terrible womaniser but so protective, so proud of my dedication and courage as I followed my calling to become a servant of the gods.
I feel another sob come but I push it down, allowing only a silent tear to trickle down my cheek and drop from my chin.
"Why are you crying?" I give a start, I had no idea Achilles was awake. It is the second time he has fooled me into thinking he was sleeping.
I do not answer him, only tilt my chin up high and bite my lip on the inside. I will not show anymore weakness in front of him, in case he begins to treat me like a feeble woman as the rest do.
"Answer me." It is a command once more, but it is softly spoken and lacks the anger he usually uses to address others who talk to him.
I exhale shakily and look over at him. His clear blue eyes glint in the moonlight that spills through a crack in his tent but his thoughts are unreadable, hidden behind a mask of stony indifference.
"Would you not cry, if you had been stolen from your family and kept for the whims of a soulless monster in the camp of your enemies? You care nothing for me Achilles, you merely use me for your pleasure and when you are bored with me what then? Yes, I cry, though I would not expect one like you to understand the action." I retort coldly, my eyes fixed on his, betraying no trace of the fear I feel when around him. He pushes himself up in bed, the strong muscles in his arms and chest rippling with the action as if to remind me what power he is capable of. He raises his hand quick as lightning as if to strike me but I do not flinch back, merely closing my eyes as if accepting my fate. His actions will only prove me right though that is no comfort.
But the strike does not come. I open my eyes in confusion as he sits, regarding me contemplatively. His anger reigned in and his hand running through his flaxen hair.
"Is that what you think of me, priestess?" He asks, his voice low, no emotion evident. I can tell he is displeased with me, using the formality of my title rather than my name.
"What else should I think of you? Is what I say untrue? For the stories I hear paint you just as I say, a heartless cruel man, out for nothing but his own glory, who takes what he desires when he desires it and answers to no-one." He inclines his head slightly, a few strands of his matted blonde hair falling into his face at the shift.
"I suppose it is an accurate description." He concedes, rolling his shoulders to remove the knots of tension in his well-used muscles. "But I am not heartless."
"Really?" I say mockingly. I know I am playing a risky game with him, he is more than capable of ending my life in a second, but at this point I do not care. He has taken me from my home, I am no longer pure and untouched, and I am in the bed of the killer of hundreds of men, if not more. There is no hope left in me.
He arches a brow at me and runs his thumb along the edge of his bottom lip in thought.
"What is heartless? To care for nothing, to have no passion in my life, to take the lives of others, to show no mercy? What is your definition priestess?"
I remain sullenly silent, my eyes fixed upon the wall of his tent and not towards him.
"Yes, I take the lives of others, just as they would do to me, if given the chance. I have not yet met an enemy worthy of my mercy, all act in the same manner I do, why should I afford them my sympathy, what would I gain from it?"
"So you kill because others kill, do not grant mercy because your foes would not grant it to you? Does that make it right? You do not kill in self-defence Achilles, you kill for glory, do not delude yourself into believing otherwise!"
"I did not say that I killed because others kill." Achilles snaps irritably. "I said I kill, just as others would do to me, if given the chance. It is true, I seek glory, immortality, but I above all others am worthy of it. Achilles, some say I was born to kill. There is no one in this world who can match my skill in battle, who can end lives as I can. This is who I am, this is my destiny. I do not try to be something I am not, I merely embrace what I am."
I roll my eyes. "The arrogance of men is truly breathtaking."
"And the ignorance of women is likewise." He retorts. "But I am not heartless. I am borne from the womb of a woman, the same as all others. I care for my kin, I would protect them from harm, and I have much passion."
I look at him now, piercingly. "A passion for spilling blood."
"Perhaps. Or perhaps a passion for battle, the art of a sword, the anticipation of the fight, the hope for an enemy worthy of me, someone to challenge me."
I toss my head dismissively. "Hector is equal to you, Hector will kill you."
It is his turn to roll his eyes. "I could have killed your 'courageous' cousin days ago, at your pathetic temple. He was outnumbered and surrounded, quaking like a beaten hound. I allowed him to leave, allowed him to slink away back to his shining palace behind safe walls, away from evil murderer Achilles. Your cousins are not worth my thought."
I seethe at this but say nothing. What can I say? To dispute him will only serve to anger him again and what would that accomplish?
"Why this change priestess?" He asks after a moment of silence and I look at him questioningly. "An hour ago you were moaning my name in the throes of passion. Now you have frozen once more, as if I did you no great favour by saving you from that fool Agamemnon and his guards, would you prefer to be warming his bed this night?" He offers with narrowed eyes.
"Because in the quiet of my own heart I have seen you for what you really are. You care nothing for me, I am merely convenient. You treated me with tenderness when it suited your needs but disrespect me and my family."
"Respect has to be earned." He replies easily. "And you have shown me no great respect, merely opened your legs as any other woman does." I can feel my face burn at that, and in the heat of my humiliation I let my hand fly to his face in a ringing slap. I gasp and pull back as I realise what I have done, now he will surely toss me back into the hands of those vultures in the camp.
But he does nothing, merely stretches his jaw and- amazingly- he laughs, a dry chuckle that only succeeds in confusing me.
"You are unlike any woman I have ever met." He shakes his head and smiles, running his hand along his jaw. I can imagine. He must be used to squealing, simpering, fawning mindless dullards who will throw themselves at him because he is the great Achilles, and for one night they will be considered important, they will have warmed the bed of the most renowned warrior in the civilised world.
"And you are exactly like the rest of the men." I snarl back, outraged at his apparent delight, sure that he is making fun of me. He gives an amused sigh.
"Briseis, when will you accept that I am not using you for my own ends? Women are plentiful wherever I go, if I merely cared for easy company I could find it quickly and save myself the trouble. I care for you, else I would have left you in the hands of that tiresome king. I would not see anything happen to you, and that is the truth. Whether you choose to accept that fact or not is your own concern, there is little I can do to persuade you." He shrugs nonchalantly and lays back down with his back to me, though I can sense that he is still smiling.
I have nothing to say to that and give an exasperated growl. The man is so hard to read, so hard to predict, no wonder he is so skilled in battle. But is what he says true- does he really care for me? His tenderness was not a show? What can I think now? The more I turn this over in my mind the more sense it makes, perhaps this man is not the treacherous dishonourable liar that he is painted to be.
He risked himself to save me from the other Greeks, he was prepared to fight Agamemnon to keep me safe. He unleashed his legendary rage and removed himself from the battle when the king of Mycenae took me from his tent.
This does not seem like the Achilles from stories. He is said to be so cold and uncaring, bending to no-one and concerned for no-one but himself. He does not show weakness, he does not show emotion- but for me. And slowly as the rising of the sun, realisation dawns on me. He cares for me. And perhaps more disturbing, I care for him also. Compassion fills me for this man who is so misunderstood, who cannot find love and contentment because of his need for glory, because he distances himself from those who could love him, so that he does not appear weak. So that he cannot be hurt by his connections. Perhaps I was wrong about him, perhaps he is not a monster.
Perhaps I- Briseis, Priestess of Apollo, Niece of Priam- have found his weakness.
It is me.