lost in the darkness
Status: One-shot; complete.
Author's Note: I don't have a beta and this is my first time actually writing a fanfic after a particularly rabid plotbunny managed to burn down my house and chew off my leg (I think it's infected – do plotbunnies have rabies?), leaving of course, my fingers, so I can type the story, so please excuse whatever mistakes I make.
Summary: "……if you go to Troy, you will never come back... for your glory walks hand-in-hand with your doom. And I shall never see you again." The war is over. Achilles is gone, although he leaves his glory, legacy, and one forgotten captive. The world remembers him. A soul that is now alone reflects on him. BriseisAchilles
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of Troy. I do, however own this plot. If you wanna sue me for exactly two pennies and a piece of fluff that I was chasing and the plot bunny that's viciously attacking me, go ahead.
Tattered robes and muddied faces were the only thing the group of survivors had left. The will-power to just survive seemed so far away and so unreachable, like some distant dream, that a few had just retreated into some distant corner, their eyes unfocusing, unmoving. Andromache, smiled a wistful smile that had once been a cheerful grin. Helen and Paris, finally together, couldn't smile in the world of destruction, chaos, and death that they had caused. Only Astyanax and a few other young children in the group seemed to be able to be happy in innocent, ignorant, bliss, that only children that are so young that they can not remember a war's toll upon a country can have. In the end, only strong-willed Aeneas seemed to be able to awaken in them the common sense that told them to go on and to survive, to live for the sake of their dead countrymen.
Briseis had sat alone. She couldn't look upon her people, her own kinsmen knowing that in some way that she had betrayed them and left them where they were now because she didn't have the courage to kill Achilles while she could've, and because she had loved him, in all his blood-splattered glory. After thinking about this, pondering the thought, wondering about the what-ifs and fairy tale endings, she takes the thought back, because she knows that she hadn't loved him – she still loves him.
She hears the crackling of leaves and turns back, startled. She finds the face of a grinning Astyanax and smiles at him. Following him, his mother struggles to find the energy to keep up with her lively son. Her face looks tear-stained, her eyes puffy and red. Helen comes, and leads Astyanax away, telling him that, "Mommy needs to talk to Aunt Briseis." "Do you know what he asked today?" Andromache's voice trembled. Briseis shakes her head, all the while hugging Andromache, giving her courage and support. "He asked for his father. His father."
Somehow, even though others faced pain and desperation worse than hers, Briseis managed to feel alone. Alone. Without Achilles. Without some sort of haven. Or heaven, if you will, for the gods. Somehow, this traitorous and mocking thought is able to find her way into her head, where she laughs hollowly at it. Days ago she would've been praying to the gods for the protection. And now she is mocking them.
'Ironic,' she thinks, still laughing.
It was more ironic that she could laugh now, when she couldn't cry. Was it the fact that her saviour was gone? Hector gone? even Uncle Priam, or was it the fact that she couldn't accept it, when she had loved him so damned much that she couldn't let go. She could almost feel herself wanting to cry out against the pain, to scream and release her pent-up anger and desperation against how she had lost almost everything, against how others could cry while she couldn't even shed a tear.
Helen taps his shoulder, surprising him. He turns, and gestures towards a person in the distance. Worry fills Paris's eyes; the guilt—the shame of it all. "Is she getting better?" She can only shake her head, knowing that all of them are worried for Briseis, because she alone was losing herself more than others. Less then a mere shadow of herself. Barely anything, and yet still Briseis. Different from the Briseis that they had known before she was Achilles's captive, but still Briseis.
Andromache sits down beside her, Astyanax nowhere to be found. "Astyanax and Paris have been able to tame the horse that they've found."
"Briseis, we're worried for you. You've become some sort of shell of what you were!" Andromache's voice is laced with the desperation and fear that Briseis has finally retreated into the darkness, never to return.
There's a hand on Briseis's shoulder now, comforting her, but oddly making her feel uncomfortable.
"I know how you feel."
Something in the dark hazel orbs flashes. Outraged, she strikes the hand away.
"No, you don't! You don't know! You had years with Hector, years of peaceful, loving, bliss, " she spits out, finally speaking, "You didn't have to weigh out which choice was better – killing the man you loved for your country, or letting your country be destroyed by him! You didn't! Don't think that you understand…" Her voice died away to a whisper.
Out of nowhere, Astyanax ran up to them, oblivious to the bitterness that Briseis was radiating and interrupting the two's quarrel.
"Look, mama, look at the rainbow!"
The two looked, and found a rainbow in the pure blue sky.
Brokenly, Briseis begins to whisper. "His eyes were so blue… You could drown in them without knowing that you were…. His hair was so golden it was as if he was the sun of Apollo….And everybody thought he was a dumb brute, nothing but a killing machine that Agamemnon decided to unleash upon anybody."
Andromache nodded, her eyes tearing. Briseis knew that she was thinking about Hector.
"But he wasn't. He was kind. Caring. Loving. And you know what the funny thing is?"
Slowly, Andromache shook her head, not knowing what cruel jibe Briseis had thought of to hurt her own self.
"I can't even cry over him. I can see you, crying, over Hector, Paris and Helen, for causing the war, for Uncle Priam, but I just can't cry."
Taking the younger girl's hand, Andromache murmurs, "It's because you are strong, Briseis. Strong."
"You still don't understand! I want to cry! I need to…. Otherwise I'll just feel the emptiness….."
"The emptiness is worse than the pain."
The sky darkened. Clouds covered the sun, and the rainbow disappeared. Lightning flashed, and thunder boomed. Somewhere, a girl cried, and a hero was remembered.