A/N: Ok...so this isn't an update of Revenge like you all wanted but I'm re-thinking some of the plot for that story so you'll have to make do with this for now!
This story will be 3 chapters long and it's based on a dream I had about Troy actually and I thought Draco and Hermione could do with a break from those rainy gloomy scottish highlands of Hogwarts.
Disclaimer: All J.K.R's. Don't own. Don't sue.
Blinding white sands bordered the treacherous Trojan soil; bare feet burnt raw from long exposure to the unblemished sunshine. Heaves of effort wrenched the air, interrupted the calm call of the ocean, scraping of the wooden bows of the ships as they ploughed through the once smooth surface of the beaches.
Gruff commands were launched into the air and actions quickly followed, captains and crewmen alike struggled to right yellowed canvas tents which had seen better days, but still stood bright and proud against the breathtaking blue background of the endless sky and rippling sea.
Among this chaos stood three powerfully built men, two of which were tanned golden from the weeks at sea. One was dark, his skin browned and his face roughened by days of dark growth. His brown hair curled tightly around the nape of his neck, his eyes sparkling with intelligence. Here stood Odysseus, the legendary King of Ithaca, the one who left his beautiful wife Penelope with reluctance to fight a war not his own.
The second was of lighter colouring. He was a golden and earthly embodiment of a God, in fact it was said that Achilles was immortal, much like his beautiful mother. His twisted ash blond locks framed his face as cool blue eyes surveyed his surroundings with something bordering of fierce disdain. Here was the invincible warrior, head high, stance firm, already surveying the battle grounds on which he would take his greatest glory.
The third man was built differently. He was formed like a jungle cat, all lithe corded muscles, hung elegantly on a tall body. He was taller than the other two, more prominent because of his somewhat northern colouring. Unlike the dark Mediterranean skin, he was nearly as pale as the white sands of the Trojan shore, his hair an incredible shade of white blond which shone conspicuously silver in the moonlight. It was a rare event when a man or woman would dare to meet his eyes; the liquid silver burning like molten heat.
Taken from his home in the cold northern climates, Draco Malfoi had been nothing more than another nameless slave but the family he had served in had soon seen his potential. Unable to have children of their own, Lucius and Narcissa Malfoi had adopted the golden child for their own. They had named him Draco, a guardian of all that was old and valued within their ancient pure-blooded family; he may not have of their blood, but he was of their souls, cool, detached and utterly without remorse, he was not here reluctantly, nor was he here for glory…no, he came because fate had foretold that here, on these barren sandy shores, Draco Malfoi would find his greatest acquisition…something which would change his life irrevocably.
"They've come for you."
The blue sea rippled endless, the sky still cloudlessly blue, below the castle, the marketplace still buzzed with activity; the screams of rowdy children and bargaining merchants carried by the wind almost as far as the grand walls of the royal palace. Green and beautiful courtyards stretched all around…and yet, the woman stood unaffected by the beauty, her mind a whirl of chaos as her eyes surveyed the ominous fleet of ships approaching the far off shore.
"No. They've come for Helen." She stated, matter-of-fact.
Hector looked at the young woman, his eyes hooded, shielding the spark of admiration at this fierce girl.
"They've come for you both. We stole you from Menelaus just as we stole Helen."
"But Helen is the one they've come for." She continued. "The face that launched a thousand ships, her beauty is incomparable. We may have shared the same mother, but my elder sister is of immortal blood. She is far more precious than I could ever be." Again she said this stoically, the cool tone of logic ever present, ever dominant.
Hermione did not resent her sister, far from it; Helen had never been anything but kind. When she had married that disgusting old fool Menelaus, Helen's only condition had been that she be given charge of her young sister and since then, Helen had shielded her from the harsh world, insisted that her sister not be married off at such a young age despite the popular trend.
She was 19 now, most girls her age would have had a few children by this point, but Hermione had always maintained the firm conviction that she was to be a scholar, something forbidden to women, but oh so tempting nonetheless.
Unlike her Helen, Hermione missed Sparta. Troy was a wonderful country, full of vibrant colour and bubbling with vitality and life. But the culture was vastly different, people treated her with fear and disdain rather than respect; only Hector had showed some care for the young girl, treating her as a younger sister, to be protected and cherished like his own blood.
"We won't let them harm you; you are a princess of Troy now." Hector comforted, laying a comforting hand on her delicate hand.
"It makes little difference whether you protect me or not. Helen is the trophy or at least, the perceived trophy; I hope you realise that they've come to plunder Troy." Hermione murmured quietly, turning her head from the ominous sight to gaze at the dark warrior from the corner of her eyes.
Hector watched the intelligent young woman curiously; she may not have had her sister's ethereal beauty, but she had a different sort of charm, delicate and fierce, she looked like a petite avenging angel, her eyes blazing with unnatural intelligence, a feral sort of quality which scared any man who dared to meet her gaze.
"Yes. I know. But the walls of Troy have yet to fall to a foreign enemy, Apollo will protect us…"
Hermione forced down a derisive snort.
"The Gods caused this disaster in the first place. Aphrodite gave Helen to your brother, disregarding Menelaus' rage at being defied."
The dark warrior sucked in a weary breath.
"Be very careful of what you say of our Gods, kitten." Hermione smiled at the gentle reproof, her grin widening as she heard his endearment.
"You are quite right Hector, I'm afraid I did not think before I spoke. I shall go offer a prayer in recompense."
He wrapped a golden brown curl around his finger and tugged gently. Hermione studied his worried countenance and gave him a gentle smile.
"Do not fret, Hector of Troy. The Gods will guide us. I shall visit Briseis in Apollo's temple and pray for the safety of Troy and all who lie within it. Go; spend some time with Andromache and Astyanax."
Hermione smiled gently and moved away. Stepping into cool shade of the palace, Hermione allowed her sandal-clad feet to whisper across the luxurious marble floors, ignoring the vibrant blue inlaid tiles which had once fascinated her to no end when she had first been assigned these rooms. Silently, she breezed into her sitting rooms, then beyond and into the shadowy corridor.
It was as silent as death. No living creature moved, even the air seemed to still under the ominous presence of the Greeks. The rumours had already spread through the palace.
The great tyrant King, Agamemnon, had summoned the greatest army ever seen, not only in numbers but also in skill.
Odysseus with his wit and sharp mind, as cunning as the Gods.
Achilles, the immortal and invincible warrior, unbeaten and perhaps unbeatable.
Draco, mystery embodied…skill like Achilles, cunning like Odysseus and a ruthless darkness all his own.
Hermione had always thought him a myth, born of nothing more than giddy whispers from maids when she had resided in the royal Spartan palace. But now these rumours had arrived with the Grecian fleet, the fair haired prince come to aid Agamemnon's siege upon the golden city.
As she emerged from the cool shadow of the over-arching palace, Hermione felt the glaring heat hit her face and she quickly drew the cream linen scarf over her wild curls. As the palace gate swung noiselessly open, a heavily armed guard turned and followed, falling a step behind with cautious reverence.
Before her, the chaos and noise of the city unfolded. Here in this bustling city, Hermione could almost close her eyes and imagine herself home again, in the bustling capital of Sparta, her people calling out joyously in welcome as she touched their hands gently and they flitted gently across her himation.
But there were no cheers and no happy welcomes; instead, as she opened her golden eyes, she was met with curious and cautious faces. The women drew their light scarves across their faces and parted silently as she advanced. The men dared to linger a moment longer, grim expressions warring with those of hunger, but they too eventually drew aside to allow her to pass.
Her petite figure forged forwards regardless, her head down turned, allowing the cream scarf to swallow her delicate features. Behind her, she could hear the Trojan guard shadowing her footsteps, his armour clanking clumsily against his broadsword. Hermione sighed wearily. She hardly approved of violence but with the arrival of the Greeks, the streets were hardly safe for her to venture upon alone, now that Trojans were up in arms about the invasion of their land.
Pinching the bridge of her nose tiredly, Hermione sped up, her feet barely raising a stir on the clean Trojan streets. As she emerged in the central square, she plunged eagerly into the crowd, her face still obscured by linen even as she glanced tiredly up at the immense golden figure of Apollo watching over his people from the city centre. Grand buildings surrounded the bustling area, circling noisy little stalls of vendors selling their wares.
As Hermione absorbed her atmosphere, tasting the vitality in the air, she smiled as she watched the enthusiastic bartering, coins and wares swapping hands at an amazing rate. At least here, life went on uninterrupted, unimpeded by the imminent threat which at this moment was setting up camp upon their golden shores.
Suddenly, Hermione turned and glanced quickly behind her. The guard was gone, lost among the crowd. She crooked her head as she glanced back. Vaguely, his voice nearly drowned by the exclamations of the crowd, Hermione heard his call, her name echoing faintly in the air before being swallowed by another yell.
"My lady Hermione! My lady! You must not…"
The rest was drowned by the voices of the crowd and Hermione heard no more. Instead, of turning to find her guard, Hermione spun away, her feet carrying her away from the bustling market square, past the public baths and the grand mansions lined with pillars of solid stone.
The road that led to the city gate was still well populated, the people upon the road mostly moving into the safety of the great walls rather than exiting them like her. As she observed, cart after cart of food and jugs of unknown liquid were being ushered into the city and with a flash of certainty, Hermione realised that King Priam had ordered the city to be well stocked, in preparation for a war.
Hermione thought fondly of the kindly old man who had welcomed her with open arms into a family which she had not deserved. She had felt sheltered and safe, at peace for the very first time in her life and what had she brought the man who had offered her this sanctuary? Nothing but strife, chaos and eventually death.
Shaking her head, Hermione bypassed the gates, ever cautious of the watching sentries, their eyes following her, weighing heavily upon her shoulders. It would be so simple for one of them to capture her now, give her to the Spartans and perhaps assuage a little of that burning fury.
A bruising hand seized her arm and her startled gaze flew to that of the soldier who held onto her relentlessly.
He was young, barely a day of twenty, his face tanned and still smooth from his youth. Instead of looking fierce and angry, the soldier seemed anxious, his eyes searched her eyes and tried unsuccessfully to see beneath the cream scarf Hermione still held wrapped around her face.
"My lady, it is not safe to leave the city at this time, I beg you to return to the safety of your home. The Greeks have come and the King has ordered the gates to be sealed before sundown. You must not…"
Hermione lowered her head demurely, hiding the relief suffusing her features.
"Soldier, what of the priests? They still guard the temple of Apollo."
The young man frowned. "They have refused to leave their sacred abode thus a guard has been dispatched to protect them and remove them from the temple should the necessity arise."
Hermione raised her head and inclined it respectfully.
"Then I should be quite safe soldier, I am only going to the temple to offer my prayers to Apollo and I expect I shall return forthwith. Worry not soldier, for you have done well to stop me and inquire."
The grip upon her elbow instantly slackened as the young man took on a look of flattered modesty. He bowed reverently and waved her forwards, returning to the company of his fellow sentries as they smirked and jeered at the deep becoming blush upon the young man's cheeks.
Smiling grimly, Hermione fixed her eyes on the winding path, a well worn trade route traversed by so many travellers before her, many of whom never lived to see those great walls again. She shook her head at the grim thought and instead fixed her attention on the dusty hem of chiton as it swayed along the dusty path.
Miles of arid land stretched before her and Hermione could see nothing but that well-worn trade path, now abandoned by all but the circling vultures. It seemed to stretch endlessly and she began to sweat lightly into her himation as a few stray curls stuck to her forehead.
Wiping her brow with the soft, sun starched material; Hermione crested another hill and paused. The sparkling Aegean stretched endlessly before her eyes, the blue such a startling colour it reminded her of nothing else but Hector's eyes, the incredible crystal blue of the Trojan royals, a beautiful colour which the warrior prince had passed onto his baby son, Astyanax.
A surge of determination swept her small form and new strength flooded her veins. She would save them, regardless of the cost. Somehow, someway, she would stem the blood that would soon stain these yellow sands.
As she tore her eyes away from pristine waters, Hermione forced her eyes to focus on the swarming dark masses upon the beach. The large black structures beached upon the sand, undoubtedly the enemy ships.
Earlier that day, Hermione had seen all the sails marking the ships. One had stood out above all, a dark green sail with a silver lining, beautiful and unique among the riff raff. She felt suddenly inexplicably drawn to the boat, but had shaken it off. Now as she stood surveying the shores, still from a fair distance, she felt that same pull.
Hermione wrenched her eyes from the shores and instead stared off some distance inland. There, among more arid land and a stark backdrop, was the gloriously white temple of Apollo. As her feet marched her toward the building, Hermione studied the beautiful golden statue crouching gracefully before the pillars.
The burning heat of the barren land seeped through her fine kid leather sandals and Hermione quickened her step. The temple began to loom, but even at a closer distance, it was not as magnificent as the buildings within the great walls of Troy. Perhaps this was what angered the sun God…
Shaking away the ominous thoughts, Hermione dropped the cream scarf from her head and sprinted unreservedly up the steps, her curls roused by the heat, fluttered behind her.
Reaching the cooler interior, Hermione slowed her pace, once again falling into an elegant glide as she bowed politely to the murmuring priests who did not pause as they burnt incense and muttered deep resonating prayers.
"Briseis!" Hermione exclaimed, rushing toward a young woman with dark curls, she threw herself into the welcoming arms, breathing in the clean scent of the woman's priestess garments.
Trembling with repressed emotion, Hermione leant away from Briseis, her eyes bright with unshed tears. The priestess had been one of the first women to welcome the two Spartan sisters and since Briseis and Hermione were of similar age, they had formed something of a rapport. Where Hermione wanted to become a scholar, study the cultures of the world and travel to those mysterious northern lands, Briseis was determined to devote her heart and soul to the Gods. Hermione had admired her for her conviction, but she had always been far too logical to devote herself to something as insubstantial as the Gods.
"It's all about faith, Hermione." Briseis had told her repeatedly, her innate beauty shining in her eyes. She could only shake her head and the two women would rarely ever speak of this again.
Now, in the dark moments brought on by the arrival of the Greeks, Hermione was forced to seek a power entirely beyond the realm of parchments and theories.
"They've come to destroy Troy, Briseis. I must have angered the Gods by coming with Helen, I was never meant to come…!"
The dark haired priestess stroked her hair slowly.
"You must not think that, Mione. Apollo will protect this land, he will…"
Hermione clenched her teeth in worry. "No…I have angered the Gods, they seek retribution. You do not understand the Greeks as I do, you have not lived among them, you have not met Agamemnon nor do you understand the greed of that man…"
"Then surely the Gods would punish him…"
Wild curls flew as Hermione shook her head vehemently.
Briseis smiled a little and grasped the young woman's arms.
"Fear not, Hermione of Troy. Our walls have never been felled. Nor will they fall now. Calm yourself in prayer…go." Pushing her toward a silent antechamber, Briseis left Hermione to the mercy of her own guilt and convictions.
The rough hewn walls were silent and echoed her every movement with sound. As Hermione's eyes adjusted to the darkness, she found herself staring at simple granite statue. It held none of the glory of the golden embodiments of Apollo which stood within the city square and outside this very temple, but the sheer simplicity of the crouching God, gave it all the more divine quality.
Lowering herself to her knees, Hermione raised her hands in earnest prayer. She had brought this upon Troy, upon all the innocents which resided in a city which craved only peace. Helen could not be blamed, she had spent her childhood under a manipulative father and was then married to a bumbling drunk at fourteen, she deserved to escape, to start a new life. But Hermione, she had fled for the sole selfish reason of keeping her sister close.
…And now she had added to the burden.
The Gods were angry. They were furious.
Hermione clenched her hands tightly before, her brow nearly touching the stone floor as she sobbed dryly.
When she had retained control of herself once more, Hermione straightened, her knees still pressed with bruising pressure against the stone. From her himation, Hermione drew a knife. It was by no means a jewelled, ornamental piece, far from it. This knife was coarsely made with a dull sort of metal embedded in a roughly carved handle. The blade held nicks but it was still wickedly sharp.
With trembling hands, Hermione raised the knife to her throat, her eyes fixed on the ceiling.
"I offer myself…"
Aphrodite lazed languidly upon her throne, toying with a perfect tendril of silky spun gold, her startling eyes fixed on the swirling scene playing out below in the mortal realms.
Her eyes narrowed dangerously as she watched the beautiful mortal man swing his sword in wide graceful arcs, sending his enemies to the dust as striking red life-blood stained the once sacred temple floors of Apollo.
Beside her stood that very God, his face pale with fury as his hands tightened on the Golden bow, his knuckles standing in pale contrast to his golden tanned skin.
"This is monstrous! See how he is desecrating my temple! See how he disregards the powers of the immortal! I will see him dead! Sent to Hades…"
The Goddess of love and lust waved aside the Golden God. "You are not to harm him. I have a special fondness…"
"You're in lust with a useless mortal!" Came the harsh rebuttal, but Apollo remained still, his eyes fixed furiously upon the scene of mortal destruction.
Aphrodite sighed lazily, her eyes caressing the male form still in the full heat of battle. The long lithe muscles, the wonderful ivory skin, eyes as mercurial as quicksilver, the incredible height and oh…that face…
So lost was the Goddess in her admiration that she quite nearly missed the sun God's sudden fascination within a new scene. Rising quickly, she floated across to Apollo's new pool of visions and stood silently aside him.
There in the mortal world, kneeled a delicate young woman, her face silently upturned as her cheeks ran with tears, with a flash, those eyes snapped open and an incredible intelligence hit the Goddess with full force. Gasping lightly, Aphrodite clutched at her chest.
Those stunning golden eyes!
Yet, even as she watched, those eyes shuttered closed again and the Goddess watched as a coarse blade was brought to that milky throat, pressing and pressing.
"No!" Aphrodite knew not what possessed her to leap forward in order to intervene, but she could feel no less compelled even as Apollo held her back.
"She is my sacrifice! Her blood will cleanse my temple! I will not allow…"
"Think!" Aphrodite fought. "Her blood is that of an innocent. She has not wronged you and her blood would serve no purpose, bring you no satisfaction! Look," the Goddess directed the vision a little further afield. "Here comes Hector, he shall slay your enemies, bathe your temple with all the blood of your enemies! Leave the child be!"
Ares rumbled mirthfully, his eyes alight with the excitement of battle.
"Let the female have her toy. Let us concern ourselves with the business of men."
Apollo watched on, satisfied by each jolt of wrenching pain suffered upon the Greeks. He waved his hand dismissively, allowing both Ares and Aphrodite to wreak their havoc, uninterrupted by his protests.
"I have a proposal for you." Ares murmured, his hand caressing the soft flesh of the Goddess.
Aphrodite gathered her attention upon the war God, one eyebrow raised critically.
"Do you see him?" Ares pointed to the tall blond man, duelling Hector with uncontrollable furore. "Draco Malfoi."
The Goddess nodded curiously, her hand carefully staying that of the girl's, the knife still poised at her throat.
"What of him?" Aphrodite inquired, eyeing the man she had been admiring earlier.
"He is one of my most prized warriors." Ares gestured. "I wish to reward him…with a mate."
The Goddess of love and lust raised one perfectly sculpted eyebrow, her curiosity piqued.
"And why would I want to do such a thing for you?"
"You quite obviously pity the child, who better to protect her than a warrior such as mine?"
Her blue eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Why not Achilles then? He is the greatest…"
"Achilles is destined for Hades; he came to this land seeking glory at the price of his mortality. Malfoi on the other hand, will survive to a ripe old age, of that, I can guarantee."
A long pause ensued, Aphrodite still befuddling the mind of the small woman, staying her hand upon the sharp knife. "I shall make her fall in love with him." She said determinedly, her eyes narrowing.
She reached forward, stretching through the pool of visions to touch the forehead of the girl still suspended in time.
"No." Ares cautioned. "That would be of no use. He would not hesitate to slay her in battle." The Goddess smirked and retracted her hand. Shifting a little, she reached through her original pool of visions and touched a single finger to the heated flesh of Draco's pale chest. The warrior didn't even pause in his battle as Aphrodite ran her finger delicately across his skin and allowed the tip to come to a rest above his heart.
"So be it."
Enraged screams and curses rent the air and the clashing of swords echoed clearly through the sacred rooms. Briseis burst into the chamber of Apollo, her face stained with tears.
The knife slipped from her lifeless hands, dropping unnoticed to the floor as the priestess seized Hermione by the elbow and wrenched her to her feet.
"You must run! The Greeks have come!" Briseis was sobbing her words, fear laced in very syllable. "The soldiers say it's Achilles himself! Go, before there are no guards left!"
Hermione was torn; fear tainted every cell of her body as her instincts seized control of every nerve ending, forcing her body to move, to run.
"Come! This way!" Briseis urged, her grip still solid and unrelenting.
"NO!" Hermione's mind was still a whirl of turmoil. "What of the priests?! What of…"
"The priests are dead! The Greeks have slain them all! Come!"
"What of you?!"
"I must stay Hermione; I am a priestess of Apollo…!"
"They'll kill you! They…"
"It matters not! Hector is coming! Go!"
Hermione held on desperately to the priestess, her wild hair blinding her as she swung about in the darkness, allowing Briseis to push her down a steep flight of stairs.
"It's a passageway used by the very first priests of this temple, it will lead you to the back of the temple. When you emerge, run, run for the walls…"
"No! Briseis, come! You must not stay…"
But it was already too late, the trap door swung shut with a firm thud behind her and no matter how hard Hermione scraped at the rock, the door would not reveal itself. With no choice but forward, Hermione felt blindly at the rough cut walls, her palms raw with her effort. The darkness seeped into her bones, making her shiver with fear until she finally hit a solid end.
In sheer panic, Hermione rammed herself against the dead end again and again until she felt the stone begin to give, shift and groan. Sand began to dislodge from the blocked pathway and soon enough, the door gave a great shuddering moan and opened, flooding the passageway with blinding white light. Scrambling into the fresh air, Hermione wiped her watering eyes and began stumbling toward the distant walls of Troy.
The clang of swords drew her attention and Hermione swung her head sideways, blinking away the blinding light to focus on a pair of fighters, one as dark as the other was fair.
It was Hector who was duelling an unknown man.
Choking down her exclamation of horror, Hermione could only watch as the pale blond man swung his sword at Hector with incredible force, so that even she felt the aftershocks radiating through her body. With a wrenching groan Hector dodged away from the tall warrior's grasp, taking a wild and tired swing which caused the Greek to laugh mockingly.
The prince of Troy chose that moment to look up. His eyes instantly met Hermione's; he took in her ripped and dusty chiton, her himation askew and falling from her shoulders. His eyes screamed at her to run, turn and run. But she found she couldn't move, in fact, her eyes were not even fixed upon Hector. Instead, she watched in sickening horror as the warrior turned in the direction of Hector's gaze, his incredibly silver gaze catching hers.
"Kitten, run!" Hector screamed at her.
Gold and silver met, clashed and warred; then held.
Heart pounding, Hermione turned and ran.
He felt it.
Draco felt the deep twisting roar build within his chest, the feral moan ripped at his throat as he stared at the beautiful woman.
Her gold eyes were wide with fear and shock and Draco drank her in with greedy eyes.
Was this Hector's wife…was this Andromache who bore Hector a son?
Deep unyielding fury and jealousy burst from his heart and for an instant, he was consumed by the feral beast within.
Yet, her eyes. Full of the innocence of the unknown. No women could retain that spark of naivety if they had been physically claimed by a man.
Satisfied with his deduction, Draco allowed his eyes to roam her form. Delicate and golden, she was so tiny she would barely reach his chest. Her eyes held something darker than innocence, something which made his inner instincts roar with pleasure…he had to have her…who was she?
"Kitten, run!" Hector bellowed.
His eyes searched hers, digging to the very depths of her soul.
The kitten turned and bolted.
A/N: Their first meeting...not as romantic as the modern day "eyes meet across a crowded room" theme, but in my opinion, much more appropriate for the time. The next chapter should be coming soon because I'm rather eager to finish this as I am working on Revenge is All the Sweeter at the same time.
Twilight to Midnight