|The Little Cousin in the Tree
Author: PoppyJ PM
There stood – no, there hung - his twelve year old cousin, his bound feet tied around a high branch. No slash.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Family - Achilles & Patroclus - Words: 2,352 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 2 - Published: 06-05-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8186761
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
My first Troy fic, so don't be too mean! I'm genuinely a little nervous about posting this onto my Supernatural account, but I fancied a change, tbo? Sorry to dissappoint everyone who hoped it would Supernatural!
Anyone still there? :P Welcome, Troy lovers! must say, am genuinely dissappointed its taken me this long to discover this film (Brad Pitt, Garrett Hedlund, Eirc Bana, Orlando Bloom and Sean Bean (albeit the hair ;)) in one movie? Fucking nuts!), but here I am! My my, all this man muscle is making me quite faint...
I'm no historian and I've only seen the movie twice, so if something isn't quite right, let me know,
Disclaimer: Own nothing.
Not slash at all.
(Just a warning; I may be a bit of a Patroclus beater-upper; I am in love with Garrett Hedlund, and he deserves as much Mind-Screen-Time as possible, ;))
The midday sun burned hot over Phthia and the surrounding lands, the deep, blue waves crashing noisily on the pale rocks at the bottom of the ledge; the green trees whispered in the wind. Goats and sheep swayed lazily under the branches, chewing on the lower leaves that shuddered in the breeze. Lizards and geckos rolled in the hot sand, reveling in the piercing rays and the unusual silence, their eyes drawn only slightly to the out of tune rustling of a single tree.
The sudden cry had the scene grind to a halt; the waves paused a moment, the constant beat of water against rock skipping once; the trees, all but one, seemed to hold their breath; the sheltered goats widened their pebble eyes before scattering into the undergrowth; the amphibians scuttled away, only the trails that lay in the sand gave any clue to their presence.
"I'm in no mood to be playing games, cousin!"
One of the trees began shuddering harder than the others, its quaking branches out of sync with the rest. It only became stronger as a broad man, light of hair, came pushing through a small thicket of trees, squinting in the sunlight as he scanned the area.
"Boy, if I find you're purposely hiding from me, I will break your arm," Achilles growled into the low hills behind him, stepping backwards towards the cliff. He studied the scene, spotting the tracks of fleeing animals, and the lizard trails beneath his feet.
All life had clearly been still until his arrival, when he'd stormed into the tranquil scene.
His cousin wasn't here.
Achilles groaned as he planned his next route. He'd been searching for the child all morning, ever since he'd rolled out of bed at an unforgivable hour to calm his fretting aunt. Apparently, Patroclus had been exploring the rocks around Phthia since dawn, told to return for breakfast. Then when he'd been late, and when called, he hadn't returned.
Oh, the child would certainly be learning a lesson about timekeeping. And obeying his aunt, and he would be learning a very important lesson about waking his cousin at this unnaturally early hour…
"Patroclus!" he called out again, the frustration building in his body, his mind. Very rarely was he ignored…
He looked once again into the scene, concentrating instead on where he himself thought his cousin may have crept to, and what nature seemed to tell him. He focused on the smells, the sounds, the movement…
One tree slightly out of formation, the branches rustling at a different pace, the wind not controlling its direction.
All life on the ground had been still until his arrival.
His cousin wasn't on the ground.
Silently, he swept towards the mysterious tree, one hand on the hilt of his dagger just in case, the other reaching out to clear the covering branches-
There stood – no, there hung - his twelve year old cousin, his bound feet tied around a high branch, his chest heaving as he regained his breath from his apparent shaking of the tree, his hands grappling the rope that held him its captive. Achilles saw his pale eyes widen when the warrior stepped into the shade. "Ach-Achilles?"
"What are you doing?" was all he could utter, gaping at the swinging boy in his eyesight.
"I… I, uh…"
"Out with it, Patroclus!" Achilles wanted obedience from all those under his command, including little cousins. Including adorable, tied up, embarrassed little cousins.
"I… It's… Its… training," he decided hesitantly, shying away from Achilles as he warily gaged his reaction.
Achilles raised an eyebrow. "Training?"
Patroclus nodded enthusiastically, the movement causing the entire tree to quake. Achilles watched as the boy slowly lowered himself into full hanging position, his arms and torso now hanging down to the ground. "Escape practice."
Achilles crossed his arms as he took a step closer into the shade of the tree. "Escape practice? When did we decide this was to be a necessity?"
Patroclus paused a moment, his mouth hanging open as he considered a response. "I… I thought… You can never be certain…" his face grew redder, both from blood flow and embarrassment.
Achilles kneeled next to the boy's head. "Well, have you completed the task?"
Patroclus looked blankly at him. "Wha'?"
"Have you escaped?"
The boy furrowed his brow. "Achilles…"
"So, that's a no?"
Patroclus shifted uncomfortably. "I'm still hanging," he said simply.
Achilles straightened, eyeing the bonds that held his cousin. "Yes you are."
A silence passed over the pair, and the boy began swaying as the trees began talking amongst themselves again, shaking the boy when they saw fit.
"Please, can you get me down?"
The warrior sighed, slowly standing and eyeing the knot that tied the boy to the tree. "What happened? The truth, cousin," he warned.
Patroclus swallowed. "It was those boys from the town."
Achilles paused, his fists clenching around the rope. "Theodulus? Again?"
The boy had experienced several problems with the boy in the past; he was three summers his senior, and took great pride in tearing into the orfanó, the orphan of Phthia. This wasn't the first time Patroclus had been in such a situation. "Yes. But Myron, his own brother, was with them today. It was him that taught them this," he said sheepishly, gesturing up at the cruel knot that held him like a flopping fish on a line.
Achilles peered down at the boy. "What were you doing with them, Patroclus? After all they have done to you! After all the times-"
"I didn't go to them," the boy protested, writhing on the string as he tried to face his much larger cousin, "they found me just as you did!"
"What, tied to a tree?"
"No! In a tree- I was hiding from them for hours before they came across my path," Patroclus panted, his head and arms flopping down again, his hair dangling close to the dirt. Achilles hurried on with his task.
Slowly, he picked at the rugged rope around the boy's ankles, hissing as a loose thread bit into his skin. He glanced worriedly down at the boy, wondering what condition his beaten skin must be in after all the time in the bonds.
"How long have you been searching?" Patroclus mumbled.
"Too long," Achilles retorted, searching for the end of the ragged rope.
They fell silent again.
The warrior smiled in triumph as the knot began to loosen in his rough hands, only quickening when he saw how quiet the boy had become. "Patroclus?" he asked gently.
"Reminds me of that night," he said dreamily. Achilles paused as he glanced down at the boy.
"And what night would that be?" he asked cautiously, slowing his movements as his heartbeat quickened. If his cousin was talking of the night of his parent's death, the first time he would have spoken to anyone about it, then it would be the first time…
"They tied me to the trunk of a tree," Patroclus continued, still swinging with the wind, "They wanted me to starve, I think. I saw it all from where I sat…"
Achilles and nature stilled as one at this revelation.
Peace fell again, and Achilles continued with his work, picking fiercely at the rope as a new anger bubbled through him.
What felt like hours passed.
"Cousin, you're free," Achilles muttered through gritted teeth, tapping the boy's shoulder with a toe.
"Hands above your head, I'll lower you down," the warrior instructed, as he began feeding the rope over the top of the branch. He watched carefully as his cousin rolled gracefully onto his back, staring up at the cover of leaves above him, seemingly unaware of Achilles' presence. Achilles kneeled next to the boy again, sighing in relief as the blood drained from his face, and began slicing the bonds that still kept his ankles tied together, glad he'd at least brought his dagger; if he'd used it to cut the rope that held him captive to the tree, the boy would have tumbled to the hard ground, headfirst.
He sucked in a breath as he saw the state of Patroclus's ankles, rubbed raw and bloody after the torture they'd endured under the coarse rope. Black bruises already covered the area, and Achilles was coldly reminded of the night his cousin had come to him, swaddled in a cloak, bruises covering his body and bloody cuts still untreated on his skin.
"Wait a here a moment, cousin. I'll get some salt water to clean your ankles for the walk home- Thetis can treat them when we get there," Achilles said, already walking to the Cliffside and beginning the quick descent down the gradual cliffside.
Achilles breathing came in short angry pants – once again he'd proved unable to care for his cousin, his little, innocent cousin, whom he could almost call his own brother, who he'd been charged caretaker of. The boy had been left to dark memories as he hung from a tree, obviously taunted by a bunch of brainless, Hades incarnates whilst Achilles slept, warm and safe in his bed.
He ripped pieces from his tunic, the shredding through the blue fabric, and dunked them in the nearest rock pool, trying not to leave Patroclus alone for too long.
He dashed back up the hill, somewhat disconcerted when he saw the usually restless boy hadn't moved an inch from his position. Achilles padded carefully towards him, careful not to make too much noise, and lowered himself beside his cousin. He gently wrapped the soaking strips around the boy's ankles, before shuffling to sit beside him in the shade, squinting up at the few dabbles of sun that slid through the leaves.
The silence cast overhead again. The lizards poked their heads out from beneath the rocks, eyes blinking nervously. Goats cocked their heads as the sought their shady spot again, watching the two curiously. The trees hustled soothingly around them, the silence from two such creatures somewhat calming.
The cousins sat in a comfortable silence as the sun slowly began to dip into the distant lands. Achilles risked a glance at the boy, who watched the scene with glazed eyes. The warrior could only wonder, could only worry what the boy was thinking about.
Achilles glanced down at his ripped tunic, before his gaze shifted to the belt around his waist. Slowly, he pulled the dagger from its sheath, and slid it across the dirt to Patroclus's hand. The boy was pulled from his catatonia, and his eyes lighted as they fell on the glittering blade.
Achilles smiled at the boy's expression. "For you."
Patroclus looked up, a gleaming smile on his face. "But…"
"For protection," Achilles said, looking pointedly at the boy.
Patroclus nodded, in awe of not only the blade, but of its previous owner too.
"But if I hear you've done anything but warn off Theodulus and his friends, I will cut off all your hair with it. Understood?"
"Yes, of course!" Patroclus nodded wildly, slashing the warm air with its blade.
Achilles felt a warmth swamp his heart as he watched the boy, his boy, grin as he batted the evening flies away with the silvery blade, his eyes gleaming in the Greek sun. If he could make the boy smile in his sleep, and ward off the nightmares that plagued the boy…
"Come, Patroclus. The day grows late, and I can only fear what Thetis will do if we don't return before nightfall," Achilles said as he rose from the ground, placing a gently hand on the boy's shoulder as he pushed himself onto his feet.
Patroclus was still grinning madly as they headed back through the thicket, his eyes drinking in every detail of the battered dagger. "Perhaps I can train to become a myrmidon, just like you, when I come of age."
Achilles snorted. "You're much too thin; I could pierce you with a stick and you'd drop down in seconds."
"I don't doubt it," the boy said quietly.
Achilles was once again filled with warmth as Patroclus spoke, the faith, and trust, and admiration that leaked from his nonchalant words plastering a thin smile onto his face. "Patroclus?"
"Yes cousin?" He replied, spinning the blade in his hands, now distracted from his beaten ankles and bruised memory.
Achilles placed a hand on the boy's shoulder, squeezing it gently. "Don't stray so far from home again."
A weird little one shot I thought I'd put up,
Clearly, I'm no historian. I'm basing this entirely on what I've seen of the movie, including the scenery of Phthia, the characters, the relationship of the two etc.
Theodulus and Myron are genuine Ancient Greek names; Theodulus means Slave of God, and Myron translates into sweet oil, I think… like I said, no historian, so please don't nitpick- it makes me sad,
Reviews make me smile lots and lots, ;)