An: I don't own anything. Again, here's to Spirtblaze! Her kind words, help, and ideas got me through this little story! I can not wait for the next chapter in your own amazing stories! I think I make a better reviewer then writer, but here's the story! I hope I did your idea justice. If this is well received, I may post more. Also, I am not wonderful at writing fluff, but I have attempted it and it has been like a hundred years since I've seen this movie, so let me know if there are errors:)
The man used to lament his fate after the war at the corner of the street. He would talk of the overwhelming smell of blood and the shining spears that would be driven through men. He would talk of what happened to those who dare tried to desert and those who lay in a bed, praying to Gods, but knowing that they would never see their wife's again, he told stories of thousands of ships that were launched in a fleet, saying to their destination like a storm cloud. The ten year old boy would listen intently to every story. In a matter of fact, he yearned for market day just to hear them. He would close his eyes and invasion the tales in his mind. Battle always fastened the boy. He was always intrigued by stories of bravery and of sacrifice, but more than all, he was intrigued with stories about his cousin. Every warrior that the boy talked to on market day had them. They would always talk of his bravery, his courage, and his strength. It was his strength that the boy admired most. Unbeatable, they told him. His cousin was unbeatable. In some of the stories his cousin was injured, what would have been mortally for anyone else, but he never stopped fighting. In others, he would save others in shows of enormous courage. In all of them he was considered to be a savior, a hero, and the best warrior of the generation. Some even said of all time.
That was why the man had come on horseback the other day. The boy stood at the wall, listening to what he and his cousin were talking about.
"Achilles, please! It's almost won!"
"Timocrates, I can't. The boy is under my charge and he's still adjusting."
"It's been three years since he came, Achilles! We need you, please."
"He's still suffering, Timocrates. He saw his parents die! He needs me here."
"Are you never going to fight in another war because of the boy?"
"Not this one. I can't leave him when he gets sick because he's not eating well and can barely sleep!"
"Achilles, one month. I promise. We'll have you home in one month and your mother can care for him when he's here!" Achilles sighed. "You could end this war in Euboea!" A sigh on Achilles' part.
"If you can swear to me that I'll be back within the month, then I'll set off when I see fit, if at all." That was the end of the conversation. The boy was quiet the rest of the day. That night, even though he was only ten, he put himself to bed for the first time. If his cousin was not going to help other people because of the fact that he was unable to sleep at night, then the boy was determined to prove him wrong. The small ten year old boy crawled into his bed and closed his eyes, thinking of anything but the terrible nightmares that haunted his sleep and caused his cousin to come running into his room at early hours to try to soothe the tears. If the war could be won in a month, with Achilles help, then the boy was going to do all he could to show his cousin that he was strong enough to stay here without him.
Only he wasn't sure if he was.
He pretended to be, certainly and he would never let his cousin know. However, the thoughts swirled in his head and dark worries corrupted his mind, tormenting him of dangerous scenarios that his cousin might encounter and suddenly, he didn't want his guardian leaving. He didn't want his cousin faced with the grief and pain that was described to him every market day by the old men through their tales. That was when he felt the tears. At least seven of them to start, and then, like the fleet of ships from the stories that he used to release, hundreds more joind them on his cheeks and fell to his bed, wetting his knees and pale complexion. The boy didn't hear his own sobs not feel the tears that fell quickly, like the blood that would surely soon fall from his cousin's chest if he were stabbed.
The boy didn't even hear the door open slowly. He was busy trying to keep his tears silent.
"Patroclus?" The boy turned around, suddenly and looked over at his guardian, standing in the doorframe. No one spoke for a little and the boy finally quieted his tears, and pulled his knees to his chest. Achilles' brow creased and he started to walk over to the bedside. The boy pulled his knees closer.
"I killed a million people today," he whispered glumly, chin resting on his knees. This only made Achilles' brow crease even more.
"What do you mean, Cousin?" He whispered and the boy turned away.
"I just killed a million more." Now his guardian's face was more concerned then confused. He reached out to lay a hand on the boy's forehead, but Patroclus pulled away. This confused the man even more. "What do you mean you killed people?"
"I didn't really kill people. My nightmares killed people in Euboea." Patroclus let a few more tears slip out of his eyes. It was then that t clicked with his guardian.
"You heard me talking to Timocrates today," he realized and tilted his head, awaiting a response. The boy shook it in a feeble attempt to lie. He was never a very good liar. "Yes, you did. I can tell. Don't lie to me." He moved closer to Patroclus and sat down on the bed. "Now, what's this about you killing people?"
"You might go."
"That doesn't mean you're killing them." Achilles chided softly. "Besides, they're miles and miles away. How could you be killin em?"
"My nightmares won't let you go and help them, so now they're dying." His guardian sighed, realization hitting him and guilt along with it.
"Oh, Cousin," the man said and shook his head, trying once again to wrap his arms around the boy. "No, no. You're not killing people. I wouldn't go at first for my own reasons."
"Which all have to do with stupid me."
"You're not stupid. Don't say that." This time he was successful in draping his arm around the small child's shoulders. There was a few minutes of silence in which the small boy was able to quell his sobs.
"You're going to leave, aren't you?" Patroclus whispered softly. Achilles sighed and squeezed his shoulders' slightly.
"Yes, it won't be for too long though," the older man murmured. "And Thetis will be here. I just need to go and-"
"You're leaving me?" The boy wiped a tear and looked up at his guardian, fresh tears budding in his eyes.
"I wouldn't really call it-" The man was cut off by his cousin's snappy tone.
"But you are going away." His guardian scoffed and gave a slightly amused smile.
"Are you angry at me?" The boy's cheeks flushed and his guardian made a small noise of amusement. He chuckled slightly and brushed a stray lock of hair away from his charge's face. "Come now, you can't be angry at me. We have more training to do."
"But you're leaving me."
"Yes, for a while. But I'll be back. I promise and when I do, we'll spar, and eat dates and figs under the trees, and I'll tell you stories, just like now. Nothing will change." The boy closed his eyes. He was torn. Men were dying. His cousin could stop them, after all, he was the greatest warrior of his time. On the other hand, the boy didn't know what he'd do without his cousin for a whole month. He felt dizzy and sick, with the thought of staying up all night by himself, alone.
"They could kill you," Patroclus whispered softly. His guardian shook his head and brushed some hair away from his forehead.
"They won't, I promise. No one can hurt me, little cousin." The man raised a hand to the boys face gently and wiped a few tears that had fallen. A hand that would soon be killing others. A hand that would take life. A hand that would save innocents. A hand that would not be there to comfort Patroclus.
"I'm so confused!" Tears flooded his eyes again. "I want you to help them, but you can't leave me! You'll forget about me and you'll-" There was a short moment where Achilles was reverted back to his stony self, when he had first been entrusted with his cousin's care. Forget about him? How? Achilles caught himself and sighed.
"I would never forget about you. That's ridiculous," he chided softly. "You must know that." The boy nodded, but his steady flow of tears and shaking of his boy said otherwise. "Patroclus?" There was a few moments of silence, with the exception of the boy's shuddering sobs. His guardian took him into his strong arms gently and closed them around the boy, failing to stop the shivering.
"I-I'm scared, Achilles." The boy's guardian sighed again and pulled his charge closer.
"I know, I know, but I'll be back soon." Trying to soothe could only get so far. It clearly wasn't working. The boy was still shivering and crying. For a brief moment he started to ponder what would happen if he stayed. He pushed the dark thoughts from his head and focused on the job at hand, letting his hand run through his charge's hair softly, thinking about ways to calm the boy's nerves.
"When do you go?" The boy whispered softly.
"A week, Patroclus. I'm planning to leave in a weeks time." The boy sighed softly and his guardian went back to holding him close. "I know you're scared. I don't like it either, but sometimes, in my job, I have to do things that I don't like. So will you when you get older. I'll come back. I promise." The boy sniffled a little and wiped his eyes.
"But what if-" His guardian shook his head.
"Just rest right now. We'll talk more about this tomorrow." His charge nodded slowly. "Now," the man whispered, into Patroclus' hair. "You're not still angry at me, are you?"
"Only a little."
"What can I do to make it none?"
"Let me stay up." There was a small chuckle and the boy gave a light smile. Achilles ruffled his hair and then moved his hand to the boy's back where it lingered, rubbing softly. The decision to leave pained him too. There was nothing more he wanted then to stay.
"I guess you'll have to stay angry then, because you need sleep." The boy sighed and lay his head down softly.
"I won't be able to sleep."
"Then lie in bed. We'll talk more tomorrow." The older man got up off the bed and started for the exit. He lingered for a moment at the frame of the door and then turned around. "Try to sleep. I'll be here if you need anything." He made out the nod of the boy's head against the silhouette of the setting sun. Just as he was about to walk out there was call of his name.
"Achilles?" He turned around. "I'm not angry with you anymore. I might be again tomorrow when we talk, but now I'm just happy you're here now." He smiled.
"I'm happy you're here too. Now go to sleep. We'll talk more tomorrow." They wouldn't. The man was going to assure that his departure be arranged for as soon and as hastily as it could. If he left sooner for the battle, he reasoned, then he would be back. The war in Euboea would be over, but the war in his own home, that he constantly fought with nightmares, sickness, troubled thoughts, growing up, and panic would rage on, even his absence. He had been told that the war in Euboea would be won, quicker with his help, but still won without him. He hated to even think about his cousin losing a battle in his absence.
So he didn't. There was nothing to think about. He did his job and he walked out of the room, awaiting the first cries of this night's battle with dreams of the dead and his deceased parents, and surly now, as he saw it, his cousin's abandonment.