Wow, so this is my first fanfic!!! EVER. I recently saw Troy for the eighteenth time and as always, the ending pissed me off. So, a story idea began bubbling in my mind. Eventually I wrote out the first chapter. Hope you like it. Reviews are extremely welcome. :)
"Paris, no!" The desperate scream of his cousin would normally have pierced Paris' heart like an arrow. But not now. Rage bubbled within him, consuming him like a beast. He set his jaw, dark brown eyes almost black with fury. He looked at the pair of them. First, his fair, delicate cousin; tears were streaming from her usually carefree eyes, blotting out the life of happiness she had once had. And then there was him. The man who had so callously murdered his cousin Hector. Paris stared at Achilles, hatred pooling in his eyes. Staring at the mockery that glimmered in the brilliant blue of Achilles' eyes, he was blinded by rage.
That was when Paris let the second arrow fly.
This one caught Achilles in the stomach, piercing the armor there. Stumbling, the Grecian warrior struggled to his feet, sword raised. Briseis fell to the side, sobs wracking her body.
"No...! Please..." She was begging him now, but as the sharp hiss of another arrow wrenched through her mind, she knew that it was too late...and as the third shaft pierced Achilles' chest, she let the tears fall freely. Achilles had finally collapsed to his knees after ripping out the arrows, leaving the one in his heel. Briseis scrambled to her feet, only to drop to her knees in front of the man she had grown to love. Cupping his dirty, sweaty face in her hands, she caressed him helplessly, sobs still sending her body into tremors.
"Ssh...it's alright... His words were barely more then a whisper, terse and tight with pain. She leaned her head forward, desperate to feel his lips against her. He met her kiss, yet not with the same ferocity as usual. It was gentle, almost chaste. Then he drew back, caressing her cheeks feverishly.
"You gave me peace in a lifetime of war..." The pain was blinding, and he could barely focus upon her beautiful face. Brushing a stray lock of dark brown hair back, he looked behind her, eyes focusing on Paris. His lips parted, and he wanted to tell Paris to save Briseis...but all he could do was gasp in pain as another wave crashed over him. The world spun around him, fading from black to gray...
"Briseis...Briseis we must go." Paris was by them now, hand on Briseis' shoulder. Yet still she clung to Achilles, agitatedly stroking his cheeks and face. Then, in a voice that was barely more then a whisper, and hoarse with pain, Achilles said,
Everything else was a blur. Achilles remembered Briseis kissing him one last time before Paris dragged her off, remembered the way she looked at him. And then, as she disappeared around the corner, he remembered falling to the side, embracing the darkness that had fought so long to consume him.
He wandered. Up and down the River Styx, yet the Boatman would not let him onto the boat. No matter how many times he demanded passage, or asked to know why he could not pass through to the Underworld, the Boatman was silent. For days, Achilles remained on the banks of the River Styx, pacing back and forth. He lost track of days...lost track of the time that slowly seemed to be tick by. He gave up wandering the banks, slowly losing his will to live. There was no point. He was doomed...doomed to be dead, yet never rest. Was this his punishment? Would he be forced to walk the banks of the Styx till...there was no "till." He would be there for the rest of his life.
There was no colour anymore...there was nothing. Everything was gray...but wasn't the whole world gray? Yes...there was no black and white. There were only different shades of gray. He collapsed onto the ground, staring aimless at the Boatman.
"Please...just tell me why I cannot rest."
His voice was tired, pleading. His blue eyes, once so brilliant and gleaming, were now dulled. Slowly, the will to live was leaving him, trickling out of him like the last few drops of liquid from a water-skin. He no longer paced up and down the River banks. He had given on all hopes of ever gaining eternal rest. Now all he wanted to do...was rest. Yet even in his death, it would seem that that gift was not to be bestowed upon him. Was this the curse of being only "mostly" mortal? Was that the reason? Would he simply wander the Afterlife for all eternity, simply because his mother had not dipped his heel into the River?
"Please...let me pass." The words came out as little more then a whisper. Then he closed his eyes, dropping his once proud head into his hands. And the only thought that passed through his numb mind was, "Perhaps then she will not plague my thoughts as she does now. Please...by whatever gods there are...if I have done anything to you, offended you in anyway...just let me rest." He lifted his head, but no more words would come. He had said all he could say. He had reduced himself to begging – a feat that no mortal had ever brought him down to – and there had been no reply. He was finished.
Then he heard a voice, one that he thought he would never hear. It was soft and low, instantly filling him with a sense calm that he had believed would never fill him again...not after she had left him. But that voice brought his soul to rest, and he allowed himself to look up at the Boatman.
"It is not your time."
The words cut him to the heart, causing him to stand abruptly. He swallowed, forcing back the furious words that began to spill out of his mouth. Gritting his teeth, he stared at the Boatman. In a terse voice, edged with a desperate need-to-know undertone,
"Then why am I still here?"
The Boatman placed a worn and withered hand upon Achilles' broad shoulder, looking down on the massive Grecian with kind, gray eyes,
"Because you were not ready to go back."
Smiling, the Boatman stepped back. Clasping his hands in front of him, he bowed his hooded head and stepped back once more. This time, as Achilles watched, the gray world before him faded, blotted out by a brilliant white light that shone down from a crack in the sky.
The sharp cry sliced through Achilles' numb mind, and his eyes snapped open. He was covered in sweat, his muscled chest heaving with exertion, as if he had just emerged from deep water. His eyes were blazing with intense pain, his chest a mass of pain. But he was alive. His eyes fixed themselves upon the man standing beside his bed. Eudorus. The leader of his Myrmidons. He collapsed back onto the bed, overwhelmed by the pain that kept crashing over him in constant waves.
"What...happened...?" His voice was exhausted, each word heavy upon his tongue. Yet he needed to know. Needed to know what had transpired after he had collapsed. He shouldn't be alive. By all rights, he should have died that night in Troy. But here he was. And the pain that was currently coursing through his body...yes, that certainly told him that he was alive. But...why?
"We...we found you there m'lord. At first we feared the worst, but then we felt you breathing...so we brought you back here. You were badly wounded...many of us believed that you would not survive." Eudorus seemed ashamed to admit it, for he hung his eyes, pale blue eyes downcast. Achilles contemplated all that had been said, and then pulled himself into a sitting position.
"How long was I unconscious?" He asked the question quietly, completely unsure of what the answer would be. Eudorus answer came hesitantly, and it struck Achilles hard.
"Almost three months m'lord. You drifted in and out of consciousness at times...but for the most part, you were within the shadow realms." Three months. It shouldn't have taken that long to heal, for the arrows apparently had not hit any vital organs. And yet...yet...the twinge in his heel reminded him of the reason why his recovery had taken so long. Curse the heel...the part of his body that could kill him. Yet how then did he breathe the air now? It was a blessing. A blessing from the gods. No...no it wasn't. It was a curse. They were punishing him...punishing him with the cruelest fate of all: living without her for the rest of his life.
Oh, he would remember. But never again would he feel her lips upon his...never again would he feel her caress his body...never again would they come together in the love-making. She was gone. Yet it was not her body that he longed for, but her spirit. The stubborn, fiery woman had emblazoned herself upon his soul...he would never be rid of her now.
"M'lord?" Eudorus' spoke hesitantly, sensing that his lord was drifting away again. Achilles lifted a long, lean hand, waving the men and Eudorus away. He needed time...time to regroup his thoughts. He had been given a second chance at life – he now needed to figure out what he was going to do with it.
Lying back down on the bed, he stared up at the tent roof. What would he do now? So much time had passed, and even now, he did not know where he was. Would he go back to being Achilles, the Mighty? Achilles, God among Men? Achilles, the Lion. Yes...the Lion. But even a lion loves his mate...even a lion has a life other then battle.
The man was born to end lives.
Hadn't people said that about him? Was that not his destiny? Born to end lives. How many lives had been lost on account of him? Many. Yet there was no regret in his mind. And the realization of that made him breathe easier. He had not changed entirely...the love he had for Briseis had not caused him to fall away from all he knew. Achilles the Lion was still the prominent personality trait that ran through his blood. Achilles the Lover would be buried...buried under precious, yet painful, memories. It would never resurface again.
Then he fell into a deep sleep, and no longer did he dream of the Boatman.
When he awoke, the pain was a dull ache in the back of his mind. Gritting his teeth, he pushed himself upright. Clothes had been laid out for him, as well as a basin of water. Inhaling deeply, the Lion swung his bare legs over the side of the bed.
He almost collapsed.
Pain shot through his injured tendon blindingly, causing him to wince. Pushing himself upright, he looked at his arms. Months of simply laying upon a bed had made him weak...too weak. Holding himself erect, he walked rigidly over to the basin. Or, rather, he limped over to the basin. For it was impossible not to...
His ankle was burning with pain as he finished dressed, the mere act of walking several feet having caused it to once again tighten and swell. Sitting down upon the bed, he stared at the tent wall. Fury gleamed in his brilliant blue eyes. He felt like an old man...a man who was done with life. For a moment, he almost sunk into the depression that clawed at his heart. But he did not. He would not let himself fall. For if he did, never again would he return.
Pain must be conquered...must be endured. Yet through years of fighting, Achilles had learned much about his body. He knew how far and long he could go without tiring. He knew his limits – and few those limits were – and he knew when he was beaten. It would take time to work his ankle back into shape...by the gods, it would take time to simply get back into shape. But time. That was the key word. Troy had not fallen in a day.
So the demi-god sat still upon the bed, studying the dark blue of the tent...and thinking of a woman who had once worn a gown of such a blue. His throat caught, and he hated the feeling. "She's gone. Let her go. By the gods...this madness...I cannot call it love...but love it is. The passion controls me...I am her slave. Yet she is gone. Gone on to a new life. Will she have forgotten me? In all likeliness, yes. But perhaps, when there is no one around...she may remember. Remember the one night that we shared."