Sir Tristan, Knight of the Hellmouth
Title: Saving Tristan
Summary: Tristan is first and foremost a Knight. Saved by magic and displaced in time, he finds a new cause to champion and a new home to defend. Pairing: TBD
Disclaimer: King Arthur belongs to Jerry Bruckheimer. BtVS/AtS of course, belongs to Joss Whedon.
Notes: Post BtVS S8
Too bad I am completely exhausted,
Willow thought as she went to close the heavy blackout drapes that framed her bedroom windows. The moon was full and bright and she could feel a lightning storm coming. Any other time, she would be gearing up for a great night of magic, but she had just managed to stay awake through the end of the last Apocalypse and all she wanted to do was crash and maybe wake up in a week.
Willow didn’t even bother to put her pajamas on or take off her shoes before she did a face plant onto her comforter. Of course, when someone usually spends a good amount of time communing with magical forces, those magical forces don’t really like to be ignored, especially not when they have a purpose behind their invitation to come and play. The forces would not be denied and a bolt of lightning raged through the window to strike the unconscious Witch on the bed.
Willow groaned internally as she woke up. There was heavy smoke in the air and she could hear the sounds of a battle going on around her. Wait, sounds of a battle?
Instantly, her mind cleared and she remembered having already finished the battle and going back to Cleveland, falling asleep on her bed, but when she looked around her, sure enough, there was a huge battle going on around her. From the look of their weaponry and armor, she guessed that she had woken up sometime during the 5th or 6th century and she just hoped she was still in her own dimension. It would make getting back much easier if she didn’t have to hop dimensions as well as time.
Strangely, none of them were coming within several feet of her and as she stood up and moved forward, the fighting men seemed to part to either side of her to simply let her pass even as they continued fighting. Suddenly, the path veered to the right so Willow followed it, feeling drawn to something and hoping that, if it was a trap, her magic would be up to the challenge.
That was another strange thing; she was sure she had just fallen asleep, but she already felt completely energized, like she could take on the entire army single-handedly. She weaved her way through the battle, her path meandering slightly as her target seemed to move as well. Finally, she could see her goal: It was a man. He was bleeding and kneeling on the ground, bent over, but his sword stayed held out to ward off an attack. She felt a pull to him that she didn’t understand, but knew that he was the one she was there for. She needed to protect him and as the other warrior, an older man with long blond hair and equally long beard, moved in for the killing blow, Willow charged, dropping to her knees and skidding to land in front of the injured warrior. She raised her hands upward and sent a burst of light up into the attacker’s eyes. It stunned him momentarily and that was enough time for the man behind her to pass her a small knife. He was too injured to move quickly, but she wasn’t and with her magic, she wouldn’t need to do much at all. She quickly sliced her hand on the knife and then projected with her mind where she wanted the knife to go. The knife sailed through the air in a straight line, not end over end as if she had thrown it, and landed home, dead center in the blond man’s throat. He gurgled once and fell over dead.
As she turned to the injured man, she caught sight of another imposing figure coming toward her. He almost looked disappointed that he hadn’t had the chance to kill the blond man himself, but she didn’t really have time to spare him any attention as she loosened the bleeding man’s armor leathers to assess his condition. She knew enough about field medicine to know that he wouldn’t survive in the less than state-of-the-art facilities that were non-existent at this point in history.
The other man had taken up defense of their little circle and, after he sliced through two of the opposing army, he glanced over his shoulder just as Willow’s hands were glowing as she searched for how much internal damage the now unconscious warrior had.
“A witch?” he asked.
Willow had no idea how she understood him. She didn’t speak 6th century the last time she checked, but she figured whatever mystical energy that brought her to this time probably thought it best if she could communicate with the locals. She didn’t hear recrimination in his voice, so she nodded without stopping her work. She managed to stem the worst of the blood loss, but without any actual medical supplies, if she let go of her mystical bandage before he was healed, she knew he would bleed out.
“Can you save him?”
The question startled her. She wasn’t really used to anyone just readily accepting magic and automatically assuming that it was being used to benefit someone. She had been ready for him to demand that she release his brother-in-arms immediately. Willow looked up at the large man, squinting up at the sun that seemed to have risen directly behind him, obscuring his face from her view. She looked back down at the fallen warrior and then returned her gaze up to the tall knight’s face and answered honestly, “Not here. He’s bleeding inside and I am keeping the wound closed with my mind, but I can’t hold it closed and heal him at the same time. Where I come from, things are very different; there are others more skilled than I am. If I can get him back to where I live, there’s a chance to save him.”
The battle seemed to have died down around them and more men, all dressed similarly to the other two, began to surround them. They were intimidating, covered in blood, and holding weapons that she was sure they knew how to use, but they did not attack her.
“Arthur,” one began, “the Saxons have retreated after realizing their warlord is dead.”Arthur? As in King Arthur?
Willow reveled for one brief second in her ‘holy shit’ moment as she turned to look at each of the knights in turn. Her mind quickly clicked into place, recalling her history classes more easily than she would have thought. She wasn’t sure which knights were which, but she somehow knew she was kneeling over one of the Knights of the Table Round and that she, of all people, was apparently meant to save this knight who lay before her.
“What’s his name?” she asked after Arthur instructed the Knights to set up a defensive perimeter around them, just in case.
“Tristan,” a tall, thin Knight replied. He had a short beard and didn’t seem to be injured as he crouched down next to her. His voice was sad as he whispered his next question, “Will he live?”
“I don’t know,” Willow told him. “I need to take him with me, but I’m trying to get him stabilized a little bit first so he will survive the trip.”
“How far is it?” he asked.
Willow could see him steeling his resolve to help her help his friend and she smiled at him, placing one blood covered hand on top of his. “It’s very far and I’m pretty sure that once we get there, I will have no way of getting him back here. I know it is a lot to ask, but you and your friends will have to trust me. He either comes with me and has a chance to live or he stays here and he’ll die in this field. He’s unconscious and can’t make the decision for himself, so one of you will have to do it. I know he is your brother-in-arms and I can promise you that if he survives, my friends and I will make him a part of our family.”
“Yes, you say that now, but you haven’t heard his mouth yet,” one of the Knights commented only to be elbowed by another Knight and told to hold his tongue.
Willow looked up at Arthur and awaited his decision. After a long moment, where Willow was sure he was sizing her up and determining whether or not she meant what she said. Finally, he gave her a curt nod and stated, “Take him with you and do your best to save him. He deserves to know what it is like to live in peace.”
“That’s a tough one,” Willow grimaced. “We, too, are warriors in our own way. We protect those who cannot protect themselves. Some of us use physical weapons and some of us have magic. He will be free to join us if he chooses. If not, he’ll still be family. We wouldn’t cast him out.”
Arthur crouched down next to her and leveled a hard gaze at her as he spoke, “I am responsible for this man’s life and I am entrusting that life to you. Do not disappoint me or I will find you, no matter where you are. You may have killed their warlord, but I think you’ll find I am more difficult to best.”Good luck with that,
Willow thought as she smiled reassuringly, “I understand and accept that responsibility.”
A hawk screeched above them and came down to land on Willow’s shoulder just as Willow felt the air shift and become electrified. This time, she felt the bolt of lightning as it struck her and also enveloped Tristan and the hawk.
When Tristan next woke, he expected it to be some type of afterlife, but he was fairly certain that an afterlife would not hurt as badly. He slowly pried his eyes open and saw that he was in a type of room he had never been in before. The walls were smooth, not made of stone, and were all one color. There were foreign objects surrounding him and although he recognized that he was lying on a bed, it was not any kind of a bed he had ever seen before. He looked over and saw the same redhead who had come to his rescue on the battlefield sleeping in a strange and uncomfortable-looking chair.
Memories started to return to him and he realized that she had used his knife to kill the Saxon warlord even as she had never left his side. The knife had sailed through the air seemingly of its own accord and landed true. He had no doubt that she had saved his life.
His limbs felt heavy as he tried to lift them, noticing for the first time that something was attached to his finger. A cord stretched from his hand over to a box that had little lines going up and down. This was truly a most confusing place.
Turning his head to the side, he saw that there was a large window on one side of the room and that his hawk, Isolde, was impatiently clawing at the window to be let in. She screeched and the redhead started awake.
She looked directly at the hawk and scolded, “I told you, they don’t let hawks in the hospital. When we get him back home, you can come and go as you please. Now, be a good girl and go catch a mouse or something for dinner. Just don’t bring it back to me again.”
The hawk let out an indignant sound and flew off, causing the redhead to smile. She turned in his direction and suddenly jumped up.
“Hey,” she exclaimed. “You’re awake!”
“Yes,” he answered, but his throat felt like it was on fire and it came out hoarser than he had expected.
At his reply, she practically leapt over to his side and began asking too many questions for him to keep up, “How are you feeling? Does it hurt? Are you confused? That is your hawk, right?”
He tried to reply, but his throat was still a problem. She seemed to understand and held a small cup up to his lips. The water was tepid, but soothing over his parched throat and he was grateful for it.
Finally, he was able to speak and managed to get a question out, “Who are you?”
She smiled kindly then and replied softly, “I’m Willow. Do you remember anything?”
“I remember you on the battlefield. You killed him when I couldn’t,” Tristan gruffed out softly.
“I did,” Willow confirmed.
“Where am I? Where are the others?” Tristan asked. He wasn’t sure which question was more important to him at the moment. It was disconcerting to be in such strange surroundings, but at the same time, Willow radiated a calm comfort that set him more at ease than he knew he should be. Still, it was disturbing that none of his fellow Knights were there. Had they survived the battle?
“The others couldn’t come with us,” Willow told him. “I actually only know one of their names. It was Arthur who gave me permission to take you, to try to save your life. You would have died if we hadn’t come here. You almost died anyway.”
“Where is here?” Tristan asked, his confusion mounting.
“Well, actually, it’s more of a ‘when’ rather than a ‘where.’ When I came to you on the battlefield, I was displaced in time. I don’t really know how I got there. One minute I was here and then the next, I was there and I felt you from across the field. I knew I had to get to you. And, I did,” she explained.
“Just in time it would seem,” Tristan added. His eyes turned calculating, “Why?”
“I don’t know, actually,” Willow told him. “But, whatever the reason, some mystical force decided that you needed to be a part of the future. And, now you are.”
Tristan heard what she didn’t say and asked, “I cannot go back, can I?”
“I’m sorry,” Willow replied softly. “Taking you back is too risky. Your body suffered too much damage. You’ll be okay as long as you continue to take the medications we’ve been giving you. Arthur knew it was a one-way trip when he gave his permission. He wanted you to live. He wouldn’t want you to come back to die.”
He followed her gaze and saw that there was a small tube running from his wrist to a stand that had a bag attached to it. He had no idea what it was for, but assumed that this was the medicine that she had spoken of. There were so many things to learn about the world around him, but he pushed that thought away. For all the time that he had spent scouting for Arthur—largely a solitary activity—Tristan had not been well and truly alone in his life. Isolde was with him here in this strange time, but he found that he was sad that he would never have the companionship of his fellow knights again. His melancholy was broken when Willow reached out and squeezed his hand.
As if she had heard his inner lament, she smiled at him and said, “Tristan, you are not alone here. Arthur wouldn’t let me take you until I promised that you would be part of our family. Even if I hadn’t promised it, I would never abandon you to this strange world. But, I do have to warn you: our family is a little different than most. We’re warriors and judging by the number of weapons our surgeons had to remove from you before they could operate, you are going to love our armory.”
One thing Tristan had always known was that he would die in battle. His life was not that of someone who would grow old and watch his grandchildren play. It seemed that there were still wars to be fought and people to be protected. He was sent here for a reason and he would accept it, just as he had accepted his post under Arthur’s command fifteen years earlier. He hoped that he would fit in with the Knights of this world, although by the looks of things around him, he had some catching up to do. He was a quick learner and he knew it would not take him long to learn what he needed to be an efficient scout to his new Commander. Whatever the purpose was for him to be sent to the future to be saved, he would fulfill it.
He tried to sit up and failed. He amended his earlier statement, remembering Willow’s comment about sustaining much damage to his body. As soon as he was unencumbered by the foreign objects attached to him and his limbs would respond to his commands again, he would begin fulfilling his purpose.
“Whoa, there,” Willow spoke. “How about you let your body heal before you are leaping out of bed to run back into battle?”
Willow placed her hand on his chest. It was warm against the flimsy fabric covering him and he realized it had been a very long time since anyone had given him any comfort. He closed his eyes and did his best to relax into the touch. There was nothing sexual about it, but the intimacy it provided went deeper than he had experienced in the years since he had left Sarmatia. He tried to recall the feeling and the only thing he could come up with was when his mother would rest a gentle hand on his chest when he had fallen ill as a child.
Before he could contemplate the actions any further, he felt a more concentrated warmth coming from her hand and spreading throughout his body. The warmth lulled him back to sleep. As his eyes fluttered shut, he saw Isolde land on the windowsill again, a mouse in her beak so she could keep vigil over him as always. As he drifted off, he didn’t see the lightning flash in the hawk’s eyes as she settled in with her prey.
This chapter only: Willow/Tristan FFA
Story: TBC? You tell me…if I continue, I'm undecided on pairings. I'm leaning toward Tristan/Faith b/c I already have a Tristan/Buffy story going. I think Dawn is waaaay too young for him and I've already formed a familial relationship between Willow/Tristan, so I don't think they would get romantic...but, if you can think of another interesting pairing, I'm open to ideas!