Title: Family Secrets
Warnings/Author's notes: This story contains Achilles/Paris slash, although that won't be the main focus of the plot. This story is also AU, especially the character of Priam. The "R" rating is really only for one chapter; without it, that chapter, the story is easily a "PG-13" or even "PG". This is my first long story, and my first Troy story, so I'm playing it safe with the rating thing. Reviews are appreciated and constructive criticism welcomed. However, flames will be publicly ridiculed. My opinion is that if don't like or are offended by slash, or don't like AU's, then heed the warnings and don't read it. If you read something you know you won't like, you have way too much time on your hands. If you bother to flame the author, then you're a jerk and public ridicule may be the only way to get through to you.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Literally. I'm a starving grad student, so you won't get much if you sue.
The person in front of Prince Hector of Troy reminded him of his infant son, Astyanax. When the boy was in the middle of a major temper tantrum, that is. And, of course, if Astyanax was an ugly, hairy, older man with an odd sense of entitlement. Hector sighed inwardly. This man was supposed to be the new king of all Greek kings? He knew he had to mix bluntness with diplomacy or he'd never get out of there. "King Menelaus," he said, interrupting the man's tirade. "I believe we've been through this before."
Menelaus was sputtering mad. "How can you expect me to agree to this?" he raged. "Why should I submit to this allegiance with Troy? I am King Priam's rival in power in the Aegean -"
"Your brother, Agamemnon, was my father's rival in power," interjected Hector. "However, he is dead. His son is too young to rule effectively, so unless you want your sister-in-law - who, I've been told, has no problem swinging a blade - to be the force behind the throne, I suggest that you agree to the terms of this alliance. Submit to Troy and in return we will support your claim to the kingship."
Menelaus shook his head. "I have Achilles," he declared stubbornly. "The greatest warrior in the world fights for me."
Hector barely managed to contain his snort. "Achilles fights for Achilles," he scoffed. "He will not fight for a king who is under major threat from a woman, especially from a woman who murdered the brother of the aforementioned king. You don't even know where he is now, do you?"
"He is at home, in -"
"He is in Troy," Hector informed Menelaus. "My father is hosting him and his men right now."
"I will send Odysseus to him," said Menelaus desperately. "He will listen to him."
"I'm sure he will," replied Hector. "Especially since the King of Ithaca is also my father's guest at this time."
Menelaus fell silent. Hector went in for the kill. "Everyone knows that Troy is now the unrivaled power in the Aegean. All will want to seek allegiance with us. We want you to remain on your brother's throne; all we ask in return is loyalty. Agree and you can get back to your lovely" and vapid "wife's bed."
Menelaus looked Hector in the eyes. "Agreed."
Hector breathed a sigh of contentment as he rode closer to the gates of Troy. Once he gave his father the good news about the alliance with Menelaus and mingled sufficiently with the foreign guests, he would be free to visit his family. He smiled. Yes, he would see his beloved wife Andromache and Astyanax. If his father was distracted enough with the visiting Greeks, he might even be able to sneak a visit with Paris.
His smile turned wistful as he thought about sixteen year old Paris. Priam kept the boy sheltered from the outside world in general and from Hector in particular. 'I have no one to blame but myself,' he silently berated himself. 'Father needs to protect Paris from me. My sin would taint him.' As Paris got older, Priam insisted on keeping them more and more separated, even to the point of refusing to allow the boy to be trained as a warrior and sending Hector abroad more frequently. The secret visits were harder than ever to manage.
Hector entered the gates of the city. To his surprise, he and his men were greeted with silent streets rather than the normal cheering crowds. He could feel the underlying tension in the air. Something terrible had happened. He knew it; while he was away, something horrible took place.
Hector raced as fast has his horse could carry him to the palace. As he dismounted, a guard came rushing to him. "Prince Hector!" the man cried. "Thank Apollo!"
"What has happened?" demanded Hector, silently praying that whatever catastrophe that had taken place was not irreversible. "Have negotiations with the visiting Greeks fallen apart?"
"Odysseus and his men are still here," the guard informed him. A sneer came upon the man's face. "Achilles" - he spat after he spoke the name - "and his men left two days ago."
"What has happened?" repeated Hector, a sense of dread growing in him.
"Prince Paris -"
"Paris?" whispered Hector. "What does Paris have to do with all this?"
"He carried him off, sire," cried the guard. "Prince Paris is gone. Achilles kidnapped him two nights ago. We are sure that he is on the Myrmidon ship that's going back to Greece."
To be continued...A/N: For those of you who don't know, Agamemnon was murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra in Greek play Agamemnon, by Aeschylus. Their son's name is Orestes