A/N: I rarely read A/B, and I never write that pairing for but I sat down and started writing and this is what happened. Normally I'm an H/A shipper, I don't know what happened! This is just kind of short, drabbly, with no real plot, just trying to get inside Achilles' head. It follows the movie rather than the Iliad, which is another thing I don't usually do. Anyway, I hope you enjoy.
This is dedicated to my best friend Amanda. Thanks for everything, especially recently that discussion in Telluride, the fun pack, the awesome emails, and the killer road trip/concert. Long live the S.C.!
Achilles knew he had a problem.
He ran one tenative finger over Briseis' creamy skin, his eyes locked on her closed lids. Peace radiated from her sleeping body, lapping against his own tired form, soothing aches and healing scars in a way that was deeper than the eyes could see. He was exhausted, more so in mind than in body, and he did not want to take comfort in the woman's touch. Some part of him did not want to believe that this angel he held was a problem, but deep in his heart, he knew she was. No one was there to offer him advice. At least not the advice he wanted.
He was no philosopher, but a warrior to the core. Every conflict he faced in the past had a way of working itself out in the midst of battle, unraveling itself until it was no more. His mind was never clearer than when his hand gripped a spear and the blood of his enemies washed his skin. Or at least up until now his mind was clear. Now he was slowly realizing that battle only numbed him, dulled his senses and erased unimportant problems. This was his awakening.
She was his awakening.
He never expected it. Even a few days before he wouldn't have been able to comprehend how much he changed. He found Briseis in his tent, and he expected to use her as he had used all the other maidens in his life. But within hours, she turned his world upside down. She bravely challenged his opinions, unhesitatingly mangled his view of the world. Her stubborness and independence quickly blazed a trail through his armor to his heart. And suddenly he was a newborn. The world was fresh and crisp and bright, with all her dreams and smiles scattered like wildflowers. Briseis was everything comforting and familiar to him, as well as everything new and exciting. Somehow, by letting her break down his cold defenses, he had a glimpse of a peaceful world he never imagined.
At first he did not want to wake up.
He argued with her, provoked her, tested the limits of her patience. He made her umcomfortable, constantly shifted his mood to see if she would still tolerate him. He hurled furious words at her one minute and caressed her with compliments in the next. Yet she never turned against him. Perhaps it was only because she was so far from the atmosphere of her home in Troy that she clung to him, argued back and matched his moods with her own. They were waging a war of their own, a struggle of power to see who could last longer, the Trojan priestess or the Greek warrior.
And then last night...
Achilles could pinpoint exactly when their battle ended. He still saw the faint moonlight illuminating her calm face, glinting off the knife she held at his throat. Her hand never faltered. She didn't blink. Words were exchanged, but they only masked the well of raw intensity that they both felt.
When she met his eyes, he knew it was over. They reached a silent agreement. Neither won. Instead, they both surrendered to the unknown, where there was no Troy and no Greece, no war and hate, just the chance of a love they both acknowledged.
But in the hazy light of morning, nothing was simple anymore.
He lived for war. It was all he had ever known. In the hellish scream of metal scraping metal and groans signifying the end of lives, he was calm. Maybe calm wasn't the best way to describe it; rather he needed no time to think, for his body did everything, and he lost himself in a vortex of bronze, flesh, and crimson, where he was away from every other problem in the world. That was all he wanted until he met Briseis.
She was not oblivious to war, but she had never experienced it like he had. Yet she still found her refuge in a temple, of all places. Achilles struggled to understand that, but he had trouble with the concept. How could a divine presence bring peace of mind? How could leaving her hopes and dreams vulnerable in prayer leave her feeling content? To him, the gods were too big and too distant to keep him in touch with himself.
Now, more than anything else, he wanted to fight. He wanted this new problem to disappear. Briseis completed him in a way he couldn't fathom, and he didn't want that. It only complicated things, made his heart soar and crash all at once. They were too different, she a Trojan, he a Greek. She saw the world differently than he did. She kept well outside of war, and he felt at home in the center of it. She worshiped the gods, and he did not like their interference. Most peculiar of all, she was special, and he was not. He saw her as a dethroned queen or goddess who was more beautiful because she chose to be human, and chose to show her flaws. She coaxed emotions out of him that he wasn't ready to experience. Calm. Happiness. Love.
The lids and long lashes blinked open, revealing Briseis' tired brown eyes. Achilles waited, almost excitedly, for her to focus on his own blue orbs. A shy smile gently curved her lips upward, and he found himself grinning as well. With one glance his doubts vanished, their tangled maze simply fleeing and taking his sleepy, nervous mood with them.
His arms tightened their hold on her lithe body. Never had he felt more awake.
Thanks for reading, and let me know what you thought! Now I can go back to H/A territory.