So, after watching Troy for something like the thousandth time, I decided that I really needed to get this off my chest. I always loved the relationship between Andromache and Hector, god that scene where they say good bye just kills me, and I couldn't bare the fact that their love ended so tragically when Helen and Paris (god they annoyed me sometimes) got away scot free.
So anyway, this is an alternate fight scene and the moments after. It's based a little more on the myth than the movie – in this one I kept the detail that Achilles only had one weak spot. This is strictly AU.
I Fight For Love
Hector leapt back, narrowly avoiding a vicious swipe aimed at his exposed head. Sweat dripped from his brow, plastering his dark hair against his forehead. He flicked it quickly out of his eyes, bending his knees as he slid into a half crouch, eyes fixed on his opponent. Achilles circled his rival slowly, anger smouldering in his eyes. Hector knew he was not going to win this fight. He knew that Achilles was the better warrior. He was not afraid of death, he'd seen too much of it, but he'd be damned if he was going to make it easy for the blonde warrior.
Achilles lashed out, metal clashing against metal as he rained down a flurry of blows. His anger was lending him strength, and he could not feel the weariness of his body, or the pain from the few blows Hector had managed to land on him. His blows were fuelled by burning anger, anger towards the man who had killed his cousin. He would avenge Patroclus.
In the middle of the furious onslaught, Achilles suddenly curved his sword sideways. The bright sun glinted off the blade, momentarily blinding Hector. He felt the sword come into contact with the side of his chest plate and felt the shock as it severed through the metal. The wickedly sharp edge sliced through the side of his torso. Hector shouted in pain as Achilles withdrew his sword and fell forwards onto his hands and knees, trying to breathe deeply through the burning pain.
Achilles smiled triumphantly at the sight of his rival on his hands and knees, clearly in pain. 'Get up. I will not fight an unarmed man'.
Hector laughed hoarsely. 'The great and honourable Achilles. Your cousin died honourably, you know that, killing me won't avenge anything – '
He was cut off as Achilles lashed out, kicking Hector hard across the ribs. Hector fell sideways, sprawling onto his back, a groan of pain of slipping past his cracked lips. Achilles stood over him, shouting into his face. 'You know nothing about which you speak! You killed him; you slit his throat and let his life blood bleed out slowly! That was not honourable!'
'It was an accident! It happens in battles! Once I took off his helmet and saw his face, once I saw how young he was, I ended his suffering! I thought he was you! You should take that as a compliment to your cousin that he could fight as well as you! Don't tell me you never preached to him about fighting for what you believe in, about the glory of dying in battle!' Hector knew it was probably a bad idea to goad Achilles on, but he couldn't help it.
'Shut up!' Achilles kicked him again, in the leg this time, and Hector knew that it was going to bruise – if he survived this that is. The furious warrior circled fallen Trojan. 'Tell me Hector, what do you think will happen to your family when you're gone? Your father will die, your brother will die. Your people will burn in the ashes of your fallen city. And your wife, Andromache, whose beauty is said to rival even Helen of Sparta's, she will become a slave. Your son, the future of Troy, will be thrown from the battlements'. He laughed, relishing in taunting the man who had stolen his cousin, even if part of him realised that it was not the honourable thing to do, 'I will take great pleasure in knowing that your loved ones will suffer long after your death. And there is nothing you can do about it'.
Hector lay on the hot sand, staring into the bright sky, unable to move as Achilles's words struck him like physical blows. He thought of his beloved son, thrown to his death. He thought of Andromache. Her face rose before his eyes, just as he had last seen her, pale and tear stained, but full of love and hope, and so beautiful as her eyes begged him to return. She was so strong, but at the same time so fragile. She would not survive both his death and their son's, along with spending the rest of her life as a slave. At the thought of that, something sparked deep in his stomach; a reserve of strength he hadn't known he had. It surged through his veins, boiling in his blood, setting his veins on fire. The anger rushed through his body, numbing his wounds. His hand tightened on his sword.
Achilles had been circling the fallen hero, continuing to taunt him, oblivious to the sudden surge of strength coursing through his opponent. As he came around again, Hector's sword moved. Achilles leapt out of the way, but he wasn't quite fast enough. The gleaming blade arched through the air, and the tip nicked the base of Achilles heel.
Achilles screamed. It was a sound of pure agony, one that cut straight through Hector's anger and cleared his head. Achilles lay on his side, bent awkwardly so that he could clutch his heel, his face screwed up in pain. Hector stagged to his feet and placed the tip of his sword on the fallen warrior's neck. He watched the man writhe for a moment, shocked. 'So the rumours were true. You're invulnerable, except for your heel'.
Achilles glared up at Hector, furious with himself for allowing his anger to cloud his reflexes. 'Go on' he growled through gritted teeth, 'do what you intended to do'.
Hector stared down at him for a moment. Then he bent and tore a strip of cloth from the tunic underneath his armour. 'What are you doing?' hissed Achilles, trying to recoil as Hector pried his hands away and started to tie his wound.
'I'm making a decision. I am sparing your life. You're a great warrior Achilles, and one day you will be the greatest ever known. You threatened my family, and for that I thank you; you gave me the strength I needed to best you. I am truly sorry about your cousin, if I had known…I grieved for him Achilles, whether you chose to believe me or not, I mourned his loss'. Despite the anger that had flared through him moments before, Hector understood that Achilles's judgment was clouded by his grief and anger, and, most likely, guilt. If someone had killed his wife, or his son, he would probably have taken the same course of action.
The pain was sharp and it cleared Achilles's mind somewhat. His anger was seeping away, and he could feel shame creeping up on him. What he had tried to do was not honourable, especially when he had heard the true story from Odysseus. His friend had told him how close Hector had been to tears, he just hadn't wanted to believe him. He remembered Briseis's words to him before he had left. 'Please, my cousin is a good man! Please don't kill him!' God he had nearly hurt the woman he loved, because, even if he tried to deny it, he did love her. Perhaps there was a chance for them after all.
Hector finished binding the wound. He turned his gaze to Achilles, and was interested – and a little relieved – to see that his eyes were no longer burning with uncontrollable anger. He sat back, wincing as the movement pulled on his own wound. He could feel the pain creeping up on him slowly but steadily. He had to speak quickly, before it took over his senses. 'I want you to promise me something. I want you to swear that you will leave this place. Leave Troy, you have no argument with us. You know that Agamemnon's motives are fuelled by greed. Swear to me, on your honour, that you will leave, and that you will take no more part in this war'.
Achilles glared. In some ways, it was not an unreasonable request, seeing as he had originally been going to leave before his cousin had died, but in he was a stubborn man, and his pride was reluctant to agree to the request, especially coming from his enemy.
Hector clenched his jaw, annoyed at the man's stubbornness. He could feel his strength failing rapidly as blood continued to seep from his wound. He placed his sword against Achilles's heel and hissed, 'swear!'
Achilles groaned as pain shot up his leg. Grimacing, he nodded. 'I swear to leave Troy and to have nothing else to do with this war'.
Hector stood, ignoring the way his head spun, and extended a hand to his rival. Achilles stared at the hand for a moment. It was a small distance between them, but it seemed to span a thousand miles, a conflict made of a thousand small choices and decisions that had climaxed in this one moment in space and time. Then Achilles reached across the endless chasm and grasped Hector's forearm. The other man pulled him up and helped him to stagger over to his chariot. Achilles let go of Hector's arm as soon as possible and gripped the edges of the chariot for support instead, pushing himself upright.
Achilles took the reins and raised them, when he turned back to Hector. 'Hector…I may never be able to forgive you for what you've done…but you are an honourable man. Your name will be remembered long after your death'.
Hector nodded, trying not to notice the spots dancing at the corners of his vision. 'As will yours. Even once you have left, you will be remembered as the man who nearly won the Greeks the war. You, and not Agamemnon. Remember that. The glory you were searching for is yours'.
Achilles gave him a long searching look. Then he laughed. 'How did you do it? I thought you were down for the count'.
Hector saw a beautiful, ethereal face rise before his eyes, a woman with enchanting eyes and a captivating smile. He smiled. 'You fight for glory…I fight for love'.
Achilles thought of Briseis. Perhaps one day, soon maybe, he would fight for the same thing. He nodded and flicked the reins sharply.
Hector stood for a moment, watching the dust consume the warrior's chariot. For a moment, the sun glinted off the gold engravings of the carriage, and Hector could almost imagine that Achilles was the victorious sun god.
Hector turned and staggered back to the gate of the city, which was now beginning to open. He could see his family, the people who had given him strength when he needed it most. He saw his father, his lined face full of shock and triumph. He saw his brother, racing towards him, his face transfixed with concern and disbelief, as if he could barely believe it. He saw Helen, but his eyes slid from her face to the baby she was carrying in her arms; his son. And then, finally, after what felt like a lifetime of searching, his eyes found her. Her face was tear stained, but it seemed to shine as bright as the sun with pure joy at seeing him alive. 'Andromache', he whispered. He allowed his sword to fall from his fingers. He launched forwards, wrapped his arms around her, and blacked out.
'So you're really leaving?' asked Briseis. She stood hugging her arms to her body, gazing at the man she had grown to love with surprised eyes.
Achilles stood in front of her, wearing a simple dark blue robe. The blonde warrior wore no armour, and his only weaponry was a sword strapped to his belt. He was wearing sandals, and Briseis could clearly see the bandage through the straps. They were standing alone behind a sand dune, just out of sight of the Greek's camp. The Myrmidons were standing by their ship, waiting for their leader to finish his business. Achilles gazed at her, trying to understand how it was possible for him to feel as much as he did towards her, when he had known her for such little time. He nodded. 'I made a promise to your cousin when he spared my life'. The anger he still felt towards Hector seemed so little, overshadowed by his feelings for Briseis.
Briseis raised her eyebrows. This was the first she had heard of this. When Achilles had returned from his battle with Hector, Briseis had immediately feared the worst. After bursting into a fit of inconsolable tears, she had thrown herself bodily at the man, beating at him with her hands and feet. It had taken a full five minutes for her to fully understand what Achilles was saying; that her cousin was not dead, and that he would be leaving before daybreak.
Now, standing in front of him, with his departure suddenly a reality, she wasn't sure if she wanted him to go. She loved him, and now she wasn't sure that she didn't want to lose him. 'I…what happens to me?'
Achilles felt something tug in his heart. He had, in a way, hoped that she would ask that question. 'You…you're free to go. If you like, I can have one of my men escort you back to the city…or you could come with me'. The last words slipped out almost without his permission. He saw shock flitter over her face and turned his eyes away, not wanting to see the rejection he knew would be there.
'If I came…' he dragged his eyes back to her, visibly startled that she was even considering it. '…would it be as your slave?'
He stared at her for a moment. Then he stepped forward slowly and placed his hand against her cheek. He gazed into her eyes for a moment. Then he spoke, his voice barely above a whisper. 'No. if you came, I would want you to come willingly. Not my slave. Maybe…as my future wife?' Before he had met her, he had never had any thoughts about marrying. He was no virgin, but his numerous flings had impacted very little on his heart. The idea of marrying had once horrified him. But he couldn't be more certain that he wanted to tie himself to her forever.
Briseis snaked her arms around his neck and kissed him. He responded eagerly, her touch bringing his body to life. The kiss was wet and fierce and demanding, and he could feel the heat crackling between their bodies. When she withdrew, she was breathing heavily, her chest heaving so that it pressed against his chest. A coy smile curved her lips. 'I think you can take that as a yes. I will come with you'.
He laughed and she started, because it was the first time she had ever heard him laugh with something other than bitterness. He picked her up and spun her around and she clung to his neck, laughing with him. He kissed her again, passionately, and then set her down. They began to walk towards his men, all of whom were grinning foolishly. Just before they reached them, Briseis tugged at Achilles's hand, asking him to stop. He turned to look at her, raising his eyebrows. She smiled reassuringly, letting him know that she wasn't changing her mind. 'I just have one request. Once this is over, this war I mean, promise me that we will visit. They are still my family. I might love you, but I still love them'.
He nodded immediately, feeling his heart sore at her confession. She smiled and kissed him again. He grinned against her lips, wondering if he would ever get used to the rush of feeling that her kisses induced in his body.
Waking was a slow, painful process as his mind registered the pain from the wound in his side. It was a slow dull ache now, not the burning pain that had nearly paralysed him out on the battlefield, but it was not the nicest thing to wake up to. Hector cracked his eyes open cautiously. He was lying in a familiar bed on his back, staring upwards. His eyes followed the pattern of fire and flames the roaring fire cast around the room. It was such a small thing, such a minor detail, yet moments ago he had been sure that he would never see something so simple again. The feeling began to return to the rest of his body, sharpening his focus. His bare chest was swathed in crisp linen bandages, restricting his movements. The silk sheets pooled around his waist, and he could feel a small warm hand pressed against his lower stomach. He turned his head to the left and a smile split his handsome face as his eyes took in the sight before him. Andromache was sitting in a chair by his bedside, slumped forwards onto the bed, her head resting on her arm, and her hand pressed against him. Her dark locks spread out in gentle waves behind her head, and her lips were parted slightly in sleep. Her forehead was crinkled faintly and her face was pale and drawn. She looked exhausted. He couldn't help wondering how long he had been asleep.
For a moment, he was content to watch her. The fire light cast her face in shadow, dancing and leaping in her hair, caressing her body with gentle fingers. His eyes studied her face, noting every familiar detail. Slowly, as if in a dream, he stretched out a hand and placed it gently against her cheek, stroking the smooth skin with the pad of his thumb. It was a small touch, but it sparked an entirely different kind of fire deep in his chest. He gazed down at her reverently, hardly daring to believe it was real. He had been so convinced that he would never see her again.
She stirred at his touch. Her eyes fluttered and opened, and he was immediately transfixed by her deep brown orbs. She gazed at him for a moment, her expression slightly stunned, before she reached up and covered his hand with her own. Her hand was small and delicate, such a contrast to his own. She kissed the inside of his hand and whispered, 'thank god you're awake'.
He closed his eyes at her touch, smiling slightly. 'How long have I been asleep for?'
She sat up, gripping his hand in her own. 'Three days. You lost a lot of blood…' he could hear the strain in her voice, the fear that, though he had survived the fight, he still might have died.
He needed to hold her. His body was arching to hold her again, to press her against his body and reassure himself that this was not a dream. He opened his eyes and extended his arms, his eyes pleading. 'Come here'. It wasn't an order. Unlike most men, he didn't order his wife about. He loved her with his heart and soul. He was her husband, as much as she was his wife.
She hesitated. Then she stood and came around to his other side, wary of his healing wound. She climbed onto the bed and lay down next to him, draping her arm carefully over his chest. She laid her head on the pillow beside his and touched his face with her other hand, her eyes watery. 'Please don't ever do that again'.
He turned his head towards her, frowning slightly. He reached up and continued to gently caress her face. He hated to see her looking so sad. There were tell-tail signs that she had been crying prior to his awakening. Her eyes were red rimmed and the lamp light shone on her cheeks, reflecting in dried tear tracks. 'I scared you' he whispered, unwilling to spoil the silence. The only sounds in the room came from the gentle crackling of the fire and the soft silence made a blessed difference from the clashing of metal on metal and the screams of fallen men.
Andromache propped her head up on her elbow. She gave him a deep searching look, as if unsure whether he was being serious. Then she leaned forwards and kissed him fiercely, almost desperately. Hector reached up and rested his hand against the base of her head, his fingers curling in her hair. His stubble was sharp and prickly against her cheek, and it was so familiar that she felt something melt inside her. The flimsy material of her nightgown did nothing to hide the heat that radiated from their bodies. Just as their lungs started to scream for air, Andromache pulled back. Her dark eyes danced with something close to anger. 'I thought you were going to die. You were so convinced that you weren't going to survive, so sure that he was going to kill you. And then you did survive, you triumphed, and I thought that a miracle had come to pass. But then you collapsed in my arms Hector, in my arms! I thought you…' she took a deep breath to collect herself. 'I thought you had died, right there in my arms. You can't imagine what that felt like'. She shuddered and shifted closer to him, needing the warmth of his body to reassure herself that he really was alive.
He wrapped his arms around her and held her close. His hand rested naturally on her hip and his other held her hand to his chest. She rested with her head close to his, close enough that her hair tickled the base of his chin. They stayed like that for a while before he broke the silence. 'You saved me'. She lifted her head and gave him a quizzical look. 'Out there, after he injured me, he started to taunt me about what would happen to you and our son when I was gone. The thought of you spending the rest of your days in suffering…you lent me strength when I needed it most'. He kissed her sweetly, trying to express how his love for her had saved him.
She wrapped her arms around his neck, pushing her body against his, deepening the kiss. He slid an arm around her waist, keeping his other hand buried in her hair. His wound twinged in protest but he ignored it. This was what had kept him going, and he didn't really care about discomfort. He had suffered worse. He bit gently on her bottom lip, seeking entrance, and her lips parted, a throaty moan muffled by his lips. But then she pulled back. He knew it was because she was afraid of hurting him more, and though he wanted to tell her not to worry, he knew it would do little to convince her. Her face was flushed and her lips were swollen from the passion of their kiss. She stroked his face gently, tracing the familiar lines and angles. 'Promise me that you won't fight anymore, at least not until your better. If you went out there and died because of your wound…' She would never ask him to cease fighting entirely, because she knew that it was a part of who he was, no matter how much she wished it otherwise. Sometimes she wished that they were not royals, destined to be caught up in politics and war for the rest of their lives. Sometimes, the quite life of a shepherd appealed to her.
He caught her hand and kissed it. She smelled of honey and fruit, a familiar intoxicating smell that soothed his soul yet set his heart rate pounding. 'I promise'. He wouldn't deny her that, not now, and to be honest he really didn't feel like fighting again for a long time.
She snuggled into him, closing her eyes. She kissed his cheek, a soft sweet reminder of things to come, and whispered against his skin, 'I love you'.
Hector held her close and looked deep into her eyes. 'I love you too, Andromache'. He didn't say it often, but he had made a vow to say it every day for the rest of his life.
They feel asleep holding each other, their bodies melded together like two parts of a perfect puzzle. When Priam came to check on his son later that evening, he found them in the same position, lying close, Andromache's head tucked under Hector's chin, their hands resting in the centre of his chest, just over his heart. He was amused to see that at some time during the night, their fingers had laced together. Their faces were relaxed and peaceful in sleep, and their interlocked fingers made them look more like children than passionate lovers.
So what do you think? Should I write another chapter? I plan to, but I won't if no one is interested :)