This story is more based on a book called Song of Achilles than anything else but I put it in this section because it's not particularly true to the Iliad and also if I did submit into the Iliad fanfiction category my sister would never let me live it down. Anyway, in Song of Achilles Briseis is actually in love with Patroclus who is with Achilles, (they put the homo in Homer.) This is based on the scene after Patroclus' death and how I think it should have panned out because Briseis + Achilles = perfection, in my own personal opinion.

Death of the Brave

He walked in to find her leaning over his dead body, cloth in hand, wiping away the dried blood and dirt. She did not look up when he entered.

"Get out," he said.

Briseis dipped the cloth in scented oil and continued to bring it tenderly over Patroclus' forehead. "He does not deserve to lie in filth," she replied calmly. "I am almost finished."

"Get out," Achilles repeated, this time more harshly.

Briseis looked up and saw a man shaking with anger, eyes blazing with grief and felt loathing crawl inside her. "You think you are the only one who loved him?" she said bitterly as she stood. "You sent him to his death. You knew he could not fight and yet still he died to protect your vanity. Your well-renowned 'honour' killed this man, the best man in this army, in this God-forsaken country-"

"-Quiet," said Achilles, voice deadly as his trembling hands. "Quiet, woman, or you'll wish you'd never said a word."

"Do you think I am afraid of you?" whispered Briseis though her voice shook. "I am not one of those Greek dogs who will do your bidding for a kind word, nor the Trojan who wets his pants at the sight of your spear. Patroclus is dead. I fear nothing anymore."

"You do not fear because you know not what I am capable of."

And she laughed, a cold, empty laugh that took the breeze and sent shivers down his spine, a scornful laugh, a laugh of madness and for once, Achilles was afraid. "Oh, well do I know what you are capable of, Achilles, Aristos Achaion. Night after night have you not regaled us of your heroic deeds, told us tales of the men you killed and the looks on their faces as they died? The Golden Child, Son of the Gods, a name to be remembered a thousand years from now. Well, brave Achilles, here lies another body you can add to your glorious count. Perhaps, when you are dead, he will be the one to send you to Paradise-"

She was cut off by a flash of sudden pain and was knocked backwards where she remained for a moment, stunned. Achilles stood above her, lip curled and marble white with anger and she realised with shock that he had struck her. The revelation only spurned her rage as she turned to him, eyes flashing like the battlefield. "Coward," she screamed. "Disgrace of your house! Attack you a defenceless woman, Gods know why he loved you!"

Then with a sudden burst of emotion, as violent as her fury, she burst into tears. Achilles stood and watched her, feeling his own anger slip away to be replaced by grief, a swelling, consuming thing that had taken hold of the woman before him and sent her body into rapid, wracking convulsions. Time seemed to slow down as Briseis wept, the first time she had done so since the death of her family and the beginning of her life as a slave to the monsters who had torn apart her home. Even then she had not cried, baring her fate with gritted teeth, thanking Apollo for delivering her into the safety of these kind men, these gentle Myrmidons who called themselves Achilles and Patroclus. Now the one she loved was gone and she wept for him as much as she wept for her murdered family, for her ravaged country, for the man in front of her and for herself. Her tears fell like a torrent released through a wall of rock as she gripping her knees into a tight cocoon, willing herself to shrink away into the dark corner or for the earth to swallow her up. The site of her finally breaking down after all this time was enough to cause the tears to his own eyes and he felt ashamed as he approached her.

"Briseis," he whispered, stretching out a hand to comfort her. She fought, slapped and bit like a wounded bird that would not let anyone near but he persisted until his arms encircled her tiny form and he held her against his chest. For a while she struggled still, dragging her nails across the skin of his forearm and chest, swearing oaths in heinous tongues until at last, drained, she collapsed into her grief and allowed him to comfort her, directing her cries into his shoulder as she beat her fists feebly against him.

"Why did they take him," she wailed and Achilles had no answer. His own tears were falling thick and fast now into the tangled thicket of her hair as he rocked her, making soothing noises as one would a child until her sobs quietened and her breathing grew more even.

They seemed to stay that way for an age, the two of them bound by despair, hating the world and everyone in it. Outside the talk dragged on, talk of burying bodies and funeral rites. War talk. Briseis drew a shaky breath. "I am alone," she whispered. "He is gone, now I am alone."

Achilles shook his head and relaxed his hold to bring a hand up to brush her face. She did not move her head or slap it away but closed his eyes and surrendered to his touch, tender as his words were when he spoke, "I too am alone," he said. "Let us be alone together."

She nodded, turning her tear-streaked face up to him. He kissed her brow, her cheeks and eyelids, filled with a sudden warmth that he didn't quite understand as she lay down beside him, taking his hands in hers. They stayed like that, back to stomach, two people against the world. He kept a protective arm around her waist; partly as her guard, partly to keep her to him should she become a wraith and fade away. The feel of her, the scent of her skin and her hair reassured him that she was real, that she was there, that she would not leave him.

Evening faded to dusk, dusk turned to night and soon the camp was quiet but for the sound of crickets and the dull hum of sleep. Achilles knew Briseis was awake. She was drawing a pattern on his palm with her finger.

"When the twelve days are over, Troy will attack," she said at last.

Achilles nodded. "I would not be surprised."

Frowning, she turned to face him. "What will we do if they come for us?"

"They won't."

"But if they do?"

Achilles said nothing. Briseis chewed her lip, thinking hard. A lock of hair had slipped from behind her ear and Achilles brushed it back. "If they come for us I will say that you are my husband," she said finally. "For my honour, they might let you live."

"You would do that for me?" Achilles murmured, surprised and touched.

Briseis nodded. "We are all each other has now," she said.

For a while they lay in contemplative silence and they both knew they were picturing a life together. A life spent sat beside fires in Great Halls and the olive groves of Phthia, where brown eyed and golden haired children ran up and down the beach with their parents looking on affectionately, perhaps hand in hand. They imagined themselves old and greying, supporting each other as they wondered through the gardens, talking of war and of Troy. He looked down at her. Perhaps, if things had been different.

"You must not leave Troy without me," she spoke again and in the dim light Achilles saw her lip tremble. "Do you promise?"

"That is nothing you have to bind me to," he replied, pulling her closer. "God forbid me to abandon you, even if all the boats should sink but one."

She smiled, a small thing but one that made the whole tent seem suddenly brighter. "I am glad," she said. "But you know…there are other ways to leave Troy."

She watched him expectantly for his reaction and Achilles knew what she meant. He looked away, unable to meet her gaze and her smile vanished. "You intend to fight tomorrow," she stated.

"Yes," said Achilles.

"Why?" her voice shook. "Patroclus is dead. Hector is dead. What more is there to gain?"

He did not answer. He did not need to, she understood. Bitter tears sprang back into her eyes. "If you are killed," she began shakily. "If you are killed tomorrow, I will die."

"You must not," said Achilles heatedly. "You stay alive, you hear me? No matter what happens, no matter what occurs. If I die you will carry on without me. As soon as it is announced you must run; news will travel fast and likely there will be chaos. Find Phoenix, he won't want to let you go alone and he's a good sailor for all his years. Get a boat, head north, don't look back. Promise, Briseis. Promise you will live and live well, for Patroclus if not for me."

"If I live I live for both of you," she replied, voice heavy with emotion. "But likewise you must promise me that you will try to survive. You must fight for all your worth, don't go wishing for death."

Achilles smiled his assurance, told her he would try to live and stroked her hair until she was calm again and asleep in the circle of his arm. But inside his heart was heavy, knowing that although there were many things he wished he could promise; safety, a life of peace, a family, a husband who would love her, he could not and would not promise her that.