My first Ariadne pov fic!
Title: Protect and Serve
Pairing/characters: Ariadne, Pythagoras, Hercules, Jason (Ariadne/Jason)
Disclaimer: Not mine. BBC and Urban Myth Films own them.
Word count: approx 973
Summary: For as long as she could remember, Ariadne had been told she was special.
AN: Written for hc_bingo, fills the ‘Bodyguards’ prompt on my h/c bingo card
AN2: Set at some point post-series 2. Not betad since it’s so short.
Fic on AO3
For as long as she could remember, Ariadne had been told she was special. The royal family, her father had said, were different to other people. They were blessed by the gods. Descended from gods, even, if you followed the lineage back to the beginning.
They were better than the common people, Minos had told her. The common people were just that – common, ordinary, uncouth, unwashed, uneducated, unworthy. They were made only to serve, and, when necessary, to be sacrificed.
A burst of laughter drew her attention and Ariadne looked across at the campfire. Pythagoras and Hercules were bickering again, but it was Pythagoras who had laughed so whatever they were arguing about apparently wasn’t serious. Jason was watching his friends with an amused smile.
If her father had had his way, all three of them would have died long ago.
Ariadne still remembered the look on Pythagoras’ face when he had drawn a black stone. How many people would now be dead if Pythagoras had been sacrificed to the Minotaur, simply because her father believed his life was worth nothing?
Pythagoras playfully smacked Hercules’ hand away when the big man tried to interfere with the cooking yet again, and for a moment Ariadne felt something almost like jealousy. The more time she had spent in their company, the more Ariadne had realised exactly how much had been missing in her supposedly privileged and perfect life. She wondered what it must be like to have such a close, devoted friendship.
Ariadne had never had friends. There were many, many acquaintances, aides, servants, councillors, bodyguards, prospective suitors. But never friends.
There were some people that she had been close to, of course. Ariadne had never forgiven Pasiphae for what she did to Korinna, who was probably the nearest Ariadne had ever had to a friend. But even that was not real. Their relationship, no matter how close, had been constrained within the bounds of what was allowed between a princess and her servant. Korinna was, after all, just a subject. A commoner.
If Minos had ever considered such matters at all, he would no doubt have said friendship was irrelevant. Ariadne had a palace full of servants who would do her bidding at a moment’s notice. She had the royal bodyguard to protect her, hand-picked loyal soldiers who would defend her with their lives.
And there, of course, was the greatest irony.
These three men, these unlikely, ridiculous, ordinary, and yet at the same time extraordinary men had saved and protected her time and again when the so-called elite royal bodyguard had failed, or fallen, or simply deserted her. These three men, who her father would have her believe were worthless nobodies, had risked their lives for her repeatedly, and shown unwavering loyalty even in the face of overwhelming odds.
Pythagoras, the cleverest and the kindest, gentlest man she had ever known. To outside observers he appeared quiet, scrawny, even weak. And yet Ariadne knew that beneath that facade lay a heart stronger than most of the soldiers in the Atlantean army.
And Hercules, who liked to play the fool and bluster, a man with the greatest disregard for tact and etiquette, and the greatest appetite she could possibly imagine. Hercules, who was also loyal, supportive and insightful, and would do anything for those he cared about.
And of course Jason. Brave, heroic, noble, loyal, trustworthy, handsome Jason. The man who inspired those around him so effortlessly, simply by being himself and standing for what he believed was right. The man she loved.
Each one of them would protect and defend her no matter what the cost, and Ariadne knew with a certainly that she could barely admit to herself, and did not like to think about, that each one of them was prepared to die for her if they believed it was necessary.
But she did them all a great disservice to think of them like that, as if their only importance was their loyalty, and their willingness to fight for her. That was not how Ariadne saw them, not any more, not after everything they had been through together.
These three men, Ariadne knew, were probably the closest friends she had ever known.
Pythagoras and Hercules’ voices drifted across to her again, and Ariadne stood up and walked over to the fire. Jason looked up at her approach and smiled and held a hand out. Ariadne sat beside him and let herself enjoy the warmth, not just from the campfire.
“Dinner will be ready soon,” Pythagoras said. “If Hercules will stop interfering, that is.”
“I’m helping,” Hercules protested.
“Like I said, interfering.”
Ariadne smiled at their antics. A moment later Pythagoras glanced up and past her, and she saw the mock irritation melt from his expression to be replaced by a soft, warm smile that could only be caused by one man. Icarus and Cassandra must have returned from gathering supplies. Sure enough they joined them at the campfire a few moments later, and suddenly she was surrounded by loud conversation and activity.
“Ariadne?” Jason asked softly. “Is everything alright? You seem quiet.”
“I was just thinking.”
Ariadne squeezed his hand and smiled.
Jason gave her a quizzical look for a moment until Pythagoras distracted them both with bowls of stew. Ariadne was glad of the distraction. She did not want to admit what she had been thinking to Jason, or to any of them. It would sound far too much like self-pity.
And besides, there was one more thing that she could never tell them. If they even suspected they would almost certainly try to stop her, they would not allow it.
If it was in her power to do so, no matter the cost, Ariadne knew that she, too, would do anything to protect her friends.