A/N: Fourth fanfic for Faberry week 2013!
Theme: Historical AU
Title: Love and War
"I grow tired of these negotiations!" Russell Fabray bellowed, standing and slamming his hands on the table.
"Then what do you suggest we do to settle our differences?" Leroy demanded from the other end.
"We settle them like men! With war!" Russell shouted again, his voice reverberating off the castle walls.
"Ah yes, bloodshed will solve everything." Leroy deadpanned.
"Your clan and mine have been trying to settle this for far too long! I want results!" Russell screamed.
"Then I suggest a challenge. Not an entire war" Leroy said. "Your best warrior against mine, a battle to the death."
Russell stood straight and contemplated the other man's challenge before giving him a firm nod.
"We meet at dawn." He said.
"And may the best warrior win." Leroy stated, standing from his chair and walking out. Russell turned on his heel and left the Berry clan castle, making his journey back to his camp, walking into his own tent where his wife waited for him.
"A challenge has been issued." Russell stated.
"I know. Best warriors against each other, I had one of your men send me a messenger pigeon." Judy said, standing up and stepping over to her husband. "You do know what this means, don't you?"
"She is more than capable." Russell stated.
"For her sake, I hope you're right." Judy stated, turning and walking away from the taller man.
Back at the Berry castle…
"Leroy!" Hiram said, walking into the throne room.
"Hiram." Leroy responded as his lover walked in.
"Have I heard correctly?" Hiram asked.
"About what?" Leroy asked again.
"Best warriors against each other? Are you mad?" Hiram demanded.
"Hiram, she is more than capable of-"
"She will die!"
"She will not!" Leroy argued.
"She can hear you!" a female voice cut him off. A full suit of armor was visible as it's wearer walked in. The arms went up and the helmet was taken off, allowing the wearer's long brunette hair to cascade down her back.
"Rachel, what has you in your armor?" Leroy asked, standing before his daughter.
"A good training session with my knights. What is this I hear of a battle?" she demanded, wasting no time with pleasantries.
"Against the Fabray clan's best warrior, this dispute has gone on long enough." Leroy informed. Rachel nodded.
"A battle to the death?" Rachel asked. Leroy nodded firmly.
"Very well. I shall see you at dawn." She said, turning on her heel and walking away. Leroy turned to Hiram who looked displeased.
"She will be fine." Leroy assured again. Hiram rolled his eyes and walked away from the taller man. Leroy exhaled a sigh and went back to what he was doing.
Just before dawn at the Fabray camp, Quinn stood outside on the hill where the camp was set overlooking the land. She heard footsteps behind her.
"Nervous?" Russell asked.
"Over a battle? Never." Quinn scoffed. "I've had my fair share, I'm sure this won't be any different."
"I'm afraid it shall. It is to the death." Russell informed. Quinn rolled her eyes.
"I'm aware. I've had battles to the death before. I'm still here aren't I?" Quinn asked rhetorically.
"Have you not heard stories of their warrior?" her father asked again.
"I have. Small in size, big in brain, makes for an excellent battle strategy." Quinn said. "Nothing I can't handle."
"You do know what a victory would mean for our clan don't you?" Russell asked.
"Father. If I could not do what was asked of me I would not be standing here today. Your doubts disappoint me." Quinn stated.
"My apologies, I only wish what is best for you." Russell said softly.
"So you send me into a battle to the death with a warrior who you seem to deem far greater than I." Quinn stated sarcastically with a nod.
"Forget it." Quinn cut him off. "Sound the bugle, wake the troops, we should get moving, dawn will be soon and I will not be late to my victory."
She turned and walked off to her own tent, leaving Russell standing there alone as the sky began to turn a lighter shade of blue.
A half hour later the two clans stood facing each other with their armies, their kings in the center on the front and their best warriors by their sides, helmets on, they could not see each other's faces. The two kings hopped off their horses and met in the middle.
"Is your warrior ready?" Leroy asked.
"Is yours?" Russell answered. Leroy smirked at him.
"Let the battle begin!" he announced loudly for all to hear. The soldiers of the two clans cheered as the kings stepped away and the two warriors stepped up to each other, drawing their swords at the same time.
"Fight!" Russell ordered. Quinn swung, Rachel dodged, swung and was blocked. Quinn swung again and was caught with Rachel's shield. They went back and forth time and time again, agitating their spectators. Their swords clashed and they pushed against one another. Quinn tried to use her superior weight as an advantage but Rachel used her lack of it as hers and was able to turn away from the taller girl. They battle went on for another half hour before one wrong move got Rachel tumbling back while her helmet flew off. There was a loud gasp from several people, a few surprised to see who their best warrior was, other's in fear for their heir's life. Rachel gritted her teeth and stood up again, sword never leaving her grip as she swung at the taller warrior, knocking her helmet right off. Suddenly they stopped, hazel eyes locking onto brown as they panted, regaining their breaths. Quinn took in the figure in front of her, then shocked her entire clan by sheathing her sword, getting back on her horse and riding away into the direction of the forest. Rachel was confused. She turned back to her father who was still shocked by her opponent's actions. She shook her head and let out an exasperated sigh. She got onto her horse and followed the blonde to the forest.
After what felt like hours of looking for footprints in the soil and freshly cut leaves that would have otherwise been hanging from the trees above, she found the blonde sitting on the ground while her horse drank from the lake in front of her.
"Quinn." Rachel said softly as to not startle the blonde.
"You lied to me." Quinn stated. Not moving or turning around.
"I did no such thing." Rachel refuted.
"By omission then, it's still a lie." Quinn argued.
"If I knew it was you I wouldn't have fought." Quinn said softly.
"And what would you have done instead?" Rachel asked. "I wouldn't have fought unless you did."
"You knew it was me behind that helmet and you still swung that sword." Quinn stated, not hiding the pain in her tone. Rachel stepped up beside her.
"I wanted to keep you safe, to not let anyone catch on to what we were hiding." Rachel explained. "If I had told you, if I had hesitated for even a second, someone would have been bound to figure it out."
"My warriors have thick skulls." Quinn argued.
"I would say the same for mine, but a few of them are actually quite intelligent." Rachel admitted, sitting down beside the blonde.
"I could have killed you. If that helmet hadn't fallen of your damned head I would have killed you without a second thought." Quinn ranted. Rachel took in a deep breath and stared at the water in front of her.
"I think if it came down to it, I would have let you." Rachel said softly. Quinn turned to look at her.
"And it would have been the most selfish thing you would have done!" she spat. "Did you not even think for a moment how I would have felt? I would have just killed you, probably kicked your helmet off in my reverie, only to have me pulled down to devastation when I realized what I had done."
Rachel swallowed thickly. "I'm sorry."
"You weren't bringing your best fight back there were you?" Quinn asked. Rachel shook her head. "Why?"
"I knew it was you behind that helmet. I refused to be the one to kill you. If I had died, that would have been the end of it. Your clan would have won the dispute and maybe the feud would be over. You would be safe-"
"Until another dispute occurred with another clan! Don't you know my father is out to take the whole empire in his hands?" Quinn demanded. Rachel just shrugged.
"You would have lived to see another day." She stated quietly.
"I would have done no such thing." Quinn denied, finally causing Rachel to look at her. "The minute I realized it was you in that helmet I would have taken my own life."
"I would! Don't you see how I feel about you?" Quinn argued. "Without you to live for there wouldn't have been purpose in my life."
"You don't mean that." Rachel denied.
"I knew you were the heir to the Berry clan, but I had no idea you were their champion!" Quinn shook her head. Rachel sighed and could find no words to what Quinn was saying.
"Why did you swing that sword the final time?" Quinn asked. Rachel swallowed again before answering.
"I saw you had stopped, I was afraid someone would have caught on. I didn't want you to be in trouble." Rachel admitted.
"So you knocked my helmet off?" Quinn asked.
"That wasn't my intention, merely the result of a good swing." Rachel said.
"And then I ran off because I refused to fight you." Quinn stated. "I wonder how that is going to help our situation, and you just ran off after me. They're bound to figure something out."
"I just wish our clans would just…unite!" Rachel said after a minute.
"You always were a bit of a dreamer." Quinn shook her head. "There's no way my father would give up the throne."
"My father would refuse to simply to spite yours. I hate how they hate each other." Rachel sighed.
"Who would have known that two daughters of two men who hate each other would love each other so much?" Quinn wondered. Rachel stood and held her hand open for Quinn to take. The blonde obliged and stood up as well. Rachel leaned up and pressed their lips together gently. They kissed for a few minutes, held back by their armor and pulled away.
"I love you. I promise you one day we'll find a way to be together." Rachel vowed. Quinn simply smiled at her and nodded firmly.