A/N: I commited fic. I fully admit that a crazy plot bunny attacked me and tied me to the computer until I finished this thing.
Fandoms: BtVS / Last of the Mohicans (1992)
Summary: The brave behind poked her again, prodding her forward and a question whispered in her ear.
Disclaimer: This story is intended for entertainment purposes only and provides absolutely no financial compensation. Recognizable characters belong to their prospective owners/writers.
She had never coped well with stress and knew she was weak. Whenever she became overwhelmed, she retreated into herself; moving automatically, blind to the outside world. However, in the last few days she had surprised her sister as well as herself by stepping up and doing what was needed in the fort. It had rallied her confidence, given her strength to persevere even through her father’s gruesome death.
Her reaction to Uncas under the waterfall had shamed her and he had surely been disgusted by her wanton behavior. She had been brought up to behave in the manner of a proper English lady. And a proper lady did not throw herself at a man she barely knew, regardless of the situation. Her shame, the grueling trek through the wilds and the loss of their good friend Duncan so soon after their father had destroyed the bit of confidence she had gained. Now she was expected to go with this savage; this Godless man who had killed her father so brutally and had towed her and her sister over miles and miles of uninhabited lands to sit under the judgment of another heathen.
Her sore heart had shattered when the old chieftain proclaimed her Magua’s wife. Surely death would be better. Deliver her from her shame and pain. She stumbled, looking over the steep drop off to her right and wondered if she could get to the edge before the warriors surrounding her made note of her intent. Her knees weakened at the thought, at the grief Cora would suffer. She couldn’t even gather the strength to end it and so retreated again, looking inward at more pleasant things as she was prodded along.
But soon the scene in her mind’s eye turned decidedly unpleasant. She silently railed against the sight of Uncas, overtaking their group, killing three of the warriors before he attacked Magua. The older warrior used his advantage and disabled the younger man with a slice of his sharp blade to the pit of his arm, making the arm immediately useless. They scuffled closely again and then Magua stabbed Uncas twice in quick succession. Frozen, Uncas could only watch as Magua’s knife flashed again, slicing his throat open. Unable to scream, Alice watched Magua shove Uncas’ body over the side of the cliff.
Breathing heavily, Alice came back to herself, sure that her sanity had finally left. She wavered, prepared to fall to her knees; but a sudden wash of expectation raised the hairs on the back of her neck, stiffening her spine with confusing eagerness. The brave behind poked her again, prodding her forward and a question whispered in her ear.Do you want to be strong?
Alice reached up to stroke the braid in her hair. If she was strong, then she wouldn’t need to escape into her imagination. Could she prevent the horror she had witnessed in her mind? She nodded, whispering, “Yes.”
He swept through his opponents with little effort, felling the Huron warriors blocking the path to his goal. The sound of Hawkeye’s long gun barked behind him, keeping his back safe from those he might have missed.
Uncas burst through the tree line and skidded to a stop at the sight before him.
A lone figure stood in the centre of the open area, the red life of five Huron warriors dripping from a weapon held in each hand. His timid, sweet Alice, the girl who had clung to him so tightly underneath the roar of the waterfall; the girl who had kissed him so softly, offering herself to him before pulling away in shame, stood ankle deep in the blood of their enemies, the scent of battle still riding the air as she gasped for breath with wild eyes. His braid still hung in her hair and it swung forward with each exhalation, obscuring her right eye for brief moments.
Her bright blue eyes flicked up to meet his and something deep inside tried to shrink away, but his heart had been given and he steeled his will, refusing to reject the new strangeness of his Alice. Whatever she saw in his eyes seemed to satisfy the unspoken question in her gaze and she began to tremble, the weapons falling from nerveless fingers.
Alice broke from Uncas’ concerned gaze to peer down at her hands. Her blood covered hands. Her skirt was drenched in blood as well and as she took in the massacre surrounding her, she suddenly found herself unable to retreat into her mind. Her knees collapsed but Uncas was there, holding her in his warm, safe arms. He murmured in his language, the words musical in her ears and calming to her battered soul.
Frozen, Cora watched from her safe perch as Magua’s men prodded Alice along. Nathaniel’s rifle barked endlessly as he tried to cover his brother’s progression toward her sister. She could tell by the way her sister moved so listlessly that Alice had once again retreated into her mind to avoid the stress of her situation. The frailness of her younger sister had manifested early in life and Cora had taken it upon herself to watch out for her. Her own mother had cautioned her from her deathbed to care for any other female children her father might have. Cora had wondered why until she found the old diaries her mother had hidden in the attic.
Her mother had come from a long line of Watchers; an institution of great secrecy and older than the written word. The accounts she read in those moldering books had made her believe in the supernatural, despite her father’s scoffing. She finally found her mother’s personal diary the day after Alice turned eight years old. Her father was a descendant of a Slayer. That in itself was both exciting and terrifying. When she read what the Council did to inferior Slayers, Cora resolved to protect Alice with her life.
The letter from the Council had come the day after her father’s. Her father had demanded that she and Alice not come to visit and stay at home. The Council letter had demanded, in skillfully veiled words, that Alice be given over to them for training as a Potential Slayer. It had taken two sleepless nights, but Cora had them packed up and on the first transport to Fort William Henry a full forty-eight hours before the Council was due to take charge of her sister.
Clenching her fists, Cora watched her sister, praying that she would survive whatever happened to her. Alice stopped, stiffening suddenly and when the warrior behind her prodded her in the back again, Alice’s hand whipped back and grabbed the tomahawk. The hair rose on the back of Cora’s neck as Alice moved almost too quickly to be seen, snatching weapons and using them on their owners before an alarm could be raised. Magua was last, his head separating cleanly from his shoulders. His body fell to the ground just as Uncas burst through the treeline.
Even from this distance, Cora saw her sister tense, as if responding to another threat and she sent up another prayer of protection for both Alice and Uncas. When her sister dropped her weapons, Cora finally allowed a breath of relief. She wondered how Chingachgook and Nathaniel would take the news of her sister’s new calling?