Not all of Hrist's battles were with her enemies. (Disjointed, out-of-order. Contains f/f scenes.)
She was so close.
Hrist shouted a cry of triumph as she cut down another great vampire, another servant of her enemy. She had been leading her warriors against his legions for such a long time, and they had proven to be a match for his unholy army.
He would say what he wanted about fate and destiny, or the inevitability of their meeting. She didn't fight to satisfy auguries. The only thing she cared about Silmeria, her dear little sister, and Brahms had her trapped above his throne.
So close... how could anyone deny her this?
Damn it all, she thought as she kept moving, why can't you give me more time?
"Never forget, Hrist, that you exist only on borrowed time."
It was uncanny, the way that Freya could sound stern and commanding in any situation. She was still lying naked in the decedant bed, her blonde hair falling against silken sheets. They were in Freya's chambers, after all, where the goddess of fertility had "honored" mortal and god alike. Sometimes Hrist wondered how Odin could respect such a being enough to make her second only to him.
Hrist herself was also still nude, but she had already risen. She was at least intelligent enough not to see this as any sort of honor. For Freya it was only a wanton satisfaction of her desires, devoid of any sort of real affection or regard. And Hrist was sure that it wasn't really her that Freya wanted... she had always favored Lenneth of the three of them, in all ways.
A smile curved her dark lips. If only Freya knew how transparent she was...
"Borrowed time, hmm?" she said, turning slowly to face Freya again. "And why should I believe such things from you?"
"Why should you believe that you have any chance of victory, Hrist?" Brahms asked impassively. He sat on his old cursed throne, looking down at the Valkyrie and her Einherjar as if they were nothing more than dust. His voice was gruff, calm, and curious, as if he had inquired about the weather in Asgard.
"Any one of us could defeat a monster like you," she said proudly, her sword held at ready.
"And yet I still possess your sister."
"You tricked her. I will not be so easily misled-"
She was interrupted by Brahms' booming laughter. "Tricked her! Is that what Odin allows you to believe? You are the one who has been misled, not your sister. I could tell you things that-"
"Hold your tongue!" she snapped, furious. "Face me, Brahms. I warned you that I would not be deceived so easily!"
"I won't be deceived so easily, Freya," Hrist said with her cruel, chill smile. She kneeled down again on the bed so that she could look Freya full in the face, and then reached out with one hand to trace the curve of her collarbone. "I owe you nothing."
"You forget your rank, /Valkyrie,/" Freya grated, although she made no move to push her away. Hrist was starting to believe that Freya wanted this, wanted the constant power struggle and the thinly-veiled rage between them; it was a novelty in an existence where everyone desired her. Perhaps that was why this had continued for such a long time, as long as Hrist could remember.
"My rank is meaningless. What is important is my knowledge. I know the history of this world better than anyone... including you." She let her fingertips move a bit lower, and her smile widened as Freya forced back a shiver of physical pleasure. "I know what you would try to do to us. You fooled my sisters, but you cannot hide the past from the one who was created to keep it."
Hrist lunged at Freya then, first kissing her neck where it met her shoulder, then biting down hard enough to draw blood, if only Freya had been mortal. Freya hissed in pain and dug her fingernails into Hrist's sides; it hurt, but only for an instant.
Hrist broke away just long enough to look Freya in the face again, their eyes only inches apart. The anger in her eyes was delicious. "You won't stop me. I'll defeat Brahms, and I'll save my sister..."
Hrist gritted her teeth as she forced herself to her feet. This could not be happening. Brahms couldn't possibly be so powerful. She had wasted so much time and energy molding her warriors into forces to be reckoned with... and now two of them were banished and the other was just barely holding on to life, with only his own hatred for the Vampire Lord keeping him on his feet.
Brahms stopped his attack, and shook his head slowly. "I expected more from you, Hrist."
Hrist laughed bitterly. "Shut up... this isn't over until one of us is dead...!"
"I think not. This is already over... and I have no desire to kill you. There is a quarrel between us, but it is not what you think. Your quest for vengeance is misplaced."
"You lie..." She took a step forward, almost impossibly. So weak... "Silmeria hangs above your throne like a trophy! And you claim to be innocent?"
"Of course not. Never that." He laughed. "Only that things are more complicated than they wish you to believe. I will tell you the truth -"
But whatever dubious truth Brahms wished to impart was lost as a brilliant bolt of white light descended from Heaven and struck the throne room. She heard her last warrior scream in rage as he too lost his grip on existence, and heard Brahms shout curses in some ancient language she couldn't be bothered to remember... she was exhausted, and the strike hurt her too badly to think, left her battered on the ground.
A familiar voice rang out in the aftermath. "No, Brahms, you will /not./"
What...? Hrist struggled to sit up, to resist what had happened to her. Freya...
Freya... what a fool you are.
Hrist looked down on her one last time as she slept, drained and spent from their encounter. She was unmarked, as always, and as usual that fact grated on Hrist's nerves. If only she could make Freya bleed, some of her anger might be sated...
You truly think that your association with Odin will let you keep your secrets. I know the true nature of Brisingal, and all of the other little bits and pieces you keep to yourself. The things you do to further your own ends...
She was prepared for travel, her armor shining as always, polished black metal and unsoiled cloth. She was ready to leave her sleeping... what? What was Freya to her, a rival? Certainly not a lover. But she was ready to leave, to go back to Midgard... and this time, even if Freya tried to force her to come back to Asgard, she would not return. She'd done her duty well enough. Now she had more important things to deal with, no more time for the games played between the Aesir and the Vanir.
You think you are wise, Freya, but you know nothing at all.
"You know nothing at all of this, Hrist," Freya said coldly, fixing the dark Valkyrie with emotionless eyes. "This conflict must end now."
"Ah, Freya," Brahms said sardonically, "always a pleasure. I suppose your master sent you to still my tongue, did he?"
"Be silent, Brahms. One day I will return and obliterate you, but that day has yet to come."
"I shall look forward to it, then," Brahms answered with a shrug. "But I suppose I'll let you two finish your business in peace. Until then..."
There was another flash of light, and then both Brahms and Silmeria vanished. Hrist gasped in anger and rage. "Freya..."
"Hush," she said, looking down at her. For an instant Hrist saw horrible pity in her blue eyes, and was repulsed by it.
"She's one of our own, Freya!" Hrist protested as strongly as she could. "We can't just leave her there!"
"Something has gone wrong inside of you, Hrist. And the situation is too dire to waste any more time," Freya continued as if Hrist hadn't spoken.
"You can't do this-!"
Freya raised her hand, and again the room was filled with white light, dazzling what was left of Hrist's senses. She felt her own hold on that world grow fragile and faint, felt her senses fading.
The last thing she heard was Freya's cold voice.
"Sleep well, Hrist."
"Sleep well, Freya," Hrist said very softly, lips curling in a sneer. "We won't meet again for some time." She turned away and closed her eyes, vanishing into the spaces outside of reality, where only thought separated the nine worlds.
She thought of the souls she kept inside of her, the three that she had kept through all of her travels - she had sent others to Asgard, the ones that she had not considered worth her while. But the best she had kept for herself, to face Brahms and his army when the time came.
And that time was growing closer. She knew where he was, now. Soon she would be ready to fight him and free Silmeria from the prison that the Aesir had left her to rot in.
"It won't be long, sister," she said softly. "Hold on. I will be there soon..."
A/N: I don't know either. Inspired by a prompt at temps_mort on livejournal.com. The individual scenes were written in five minutes apiece. I thought about rearranging them, but decided to see how it looked in the order I wrote them. Or maybe I've just been watching Memento too much lately.
I can't explain where it came from, just an idea that's been in my head for a while. So your guess is as good as mine.
VP and its characters are owned by tri-Ace, not me.