Disclaimer: Achilles and Patroclus are not mine, but I do own the villains.
A/N: Hey! I'm sorry that it took me so long to update this. I've had a major writer's block on it, but after talking to Halo, I was able to get this story back on the right track (or "write" track, lol). Thank you for all of your help! Thank you to Halo, jimmy-barnes-13, HospitalHorror, Snowgurl54, and 13BlackAnGELs for your reviews. All right! Hopefully you're all still with me. Here's chapter two!
Patroclus quickly opened his eyes as he awoke from another nightmare. He sat up and looked around at the dark tent, wondering what time it was. The sun had set hours before and had been replaced with the moon, which now cast its soft rays down on the sleeping earth below. Achilles was across the tent from him, sleeping soundly. The young boy almost envied him for being able to sleep. His older cousin wasn't being plagued with bloody memories, which was the part he envied most of all.
The boy suddenly gasped and put a hand to his stomach, realizing that he was hungry. He hadn't eaten the food that Achilles had offered him earlier, but he knew that there was plenty that was left over. It wouldn't hurt to have some now. Patroclus got to his feet and slowly and quietly walked past Achilles so that he wouldn't wake him and left the tent.
The moonlight lit his way as he walked across the lawn, searching for the meat that had been left over. He soon found it, hanging above him. Achilles had tied it up higher above the tent so that any night scavengers couldn't get at it, and he had put salt on it so that it would be preserved. Judging by where it was, the boy knew that he would have to climb the tree nearest it to reach it.
Patroclus sighed to himself, walking over to the tree nearest the meat and began to climb it. He pulled himself up through the thin branches, keeping an eye on the tent to make sure that he was climbing high enough. When he was sure that he was level with the meat, the boy cautiously climbed out onto the branch, cringing when it creaked a little under his weight. He laid down on the branch to spread out his weight over it as best as he could, and he slowly reached out a shaking arm toward the meat.
Suddenly, he gasped as the branch snapped underneath him, and he cried out as he plummeted toward the ground below. He closed his eyes as the wind was knocked out of him when he hit the grass, but he slowly sat up and rubbed his head. Patroclus sighed and looked up at the hanging meat. Now how was he going to get at it?
Then, Patroclus gasped when he heard a low growl from the shadows of the trees in front of him. He began to back quickly away in horror when he saw a pair of yellow eyes appear in the darkness, glaring at him as the sound of the growl escalated. He covered his head in fear, hoping that this action would at least provide some protection…
All of a sudden, the hidden creature whined loudly in pain. Patroclus slowly lowered his arms, watching as the creature slunk back into the trees, its whimpering fading to silence as it ran. The young boy looked behind him, shocked to see Achilles standing by the tent, his bow held out in front of him. He lowered it when he saw that the creature was gone. Then, he looked down on his cousin.
"What are you doing out here?" Achilles asked. Then, he saw the broken tree branch near him, and his eyes traveled upward into the tree above. "Did you want some food? You could have woken me…"
Patroclus silently shook his head. He had been hungry, but he didn't have much of an appetite anymore.
"Come back inside then." Achilles muttered, opening one of the flaps to the tent and throwing his bow inside. He looked back and saw that his cousin hadn't moved.
The ten-year-old boy looked back at him with wide, fearful eyes that shone in the moonlight. He was terrified of the creature that he had seen, wondering if there were others that were still hiding in the shadows of the night. But then, Patroclus closed them as he slumped forward a little. His clear exhaustion pushed away his fear, but he was afraid to let himself slip into sleep. He was afraid of what he would see…
Achilles sighed when he saw this action. The child must have been exhausted, and he doubted that he would make it inside of the tent before the sun rose on his own. The warrior knew what had to be done.
Patroclus tensed up when he felt his cousin gently pick him up and hold him in his arms. "It's all right, Patroclus." Achilles told him softly as he began to walk back to the tent. "You know that I will not harm you. You are safe with me."
The youth heard his words, and because of a reason unknown to him, he believed them. Relived at the feeling of security, Patroclus relaxed in his cousin's arms as they entered the tent. Achilles walked over to where his cousin had been sleeping and tried to set him down. He was startled to feel that Patroclus held on tightly to his arm, not letting go.
Achilles sighed, sitting down on the blankets. "Come on, Patroclus. Lay back down." He sighed to himself again when he saw that the boy was not giving up. "All right then. I'll stay with you if you wish me to."
Patroclus smiled slightly as he positioned himself more comfortably in Achilles arms, closing his eyes again. He knew that he wouldn't have any more nightmares plaguing his mind that night.
Patroclus slowly opened his eyes to the smell of cooking meat. He slowly sat up, seeing that Achilles had laid him down on his make-shift bed, and that the great warrior was nowhere to be seen. The young boy slowly got to his feet and walked over to the tent flaps, squinting in the bright light of the morning sun.
Achilles was sitting before a fire that he had started, the meat from the previous day hanging over the crackling flames as it was being warmed. The great warrior looked behind him when he heard the slight rustle of the tent flap running over the blades of grass, and he smiled when he saw his young cousin.
"Come, Patroclus. Sit by the fire." Achilles said, gesturing to a spot next to him. "The morning air is chilly."
Patroclus slowly lowered the tent flap behind him and walked forward, sitting down on the grass next to the warrior. The warmth radiating from the fire felt comfortable, like a warm blanket against the chilly air around him.
"How did you sleep?" Achilles asked, squinting up at the sky as the sun rose higher.
The boy took a moment to answer as he absentmindedly picked up a single blade of grass and stared into the light of the dancing flames. "Better that you were with me." Patroclus finally muttered, hoping that he wasn't sounding too childish. "I didn't have any nightmares."
The great warrior smiled slightly as he placed his hand carefully on the boy's back. "I didn't leave you last night, Patroclus. The only time I set you down was a few minutes ago so that I could start warming up our food." Achilles told him sincerely. "The night made me realize something, though."
Patroclus looked up at him curiously. "What?" he wondered.
"I never before realized that I could sleep while sitting up." Achilles replied with a slight laugh.
A smile spread across Patroclus' young face, lighting up his features. The great warrior realized that this was the first true smile he had ever seen from the boy. But then, his young cousin looked back at the fire, his smile vanishing. "I saw them…" he muttered without feeling.
Achilles was unsure of what Patroclus meant at first, but then he realized that me must have been speaking of the nightmare that he had had the previous night and hadn't wished to tell. The great warrior nodded, encouraging him to continue.
"I saw them… my parents… being killed by the men that invaded our village." Patroclus said so quietly that Achilles had to strain his ears to hear him. "I tried to run, but they caught me. I begged for them to let me go, but… but they wouldn't listen. They… they were going to kill me…"
Tears had formed in his eyes at this point, and the great warrior was saddened when he saw that he was fighting to hold them back. "Patroclus," Achilles said, placing his hand on top of his blond head, "I'm sorry that you had to see that for a second time in your nightmare. But I promise you that these men will not lay a hand on you. All right?"
Patroclus looked up at him for a moment and then nodded. Maybe there was a chance that he was safe with Achilles after all…
"Let's get some food in you then." Achilles told him, reaching carefully over the flames to check to see if the meat was warm enough. "That will make you feel better. Then, if you would like, you could go hunting with me once we're finished eating so we have enough food for tonight."
Patroclus nodded again, grateful to at last be eating. He had the feeling that staying with Achilles wouldn't be such a horrible thing.
Achilles led the way through the forest trail, his bow in front of him. Patroclus slowly followed, looking around him at the forest in awe. The great warrior smiled to himself at his cousin's wonder. He had felt the same way when his father had first taken him hunting.
Then, he put his arm out to stop Patroclus as he also came to a stop. The boy looked up at his older cousin with confusion, but Achilles explained with a mere point of his finger. "There."
Patroclus looked ahead of them into the trees and saw a large rabbit chewing on some leaves. "It won't be much," Achilles said quietly so that he wouldn't scare the creature as he pulled out an arrow and aimed, "but it's a start. We'll have to find more…"
Then, he loosed his arrow.
Patroclus watched with horror as the rabbit fell out of sight, dead. The forest seemed to disappear around him and was replaced with his dark home as he suddenly remembered the night his parents were murdered. He saw them, lying dead at the feet of unknown soldiers… The young boy was suddenly brought back out of his thoughts by his cousin's voice.
"Come, Patroclus." Achilles muttered, gesturing to the place where the rabbit fell.
But the young boy shook his head. "Could I wait here while you bring it back?" Patroclus asked quietly in almost a whisper. "I'm not sure that I really want to… to see it…"
Achilles inwardly sighed, but he nodded to cover it up. "All right. You don't have to. I'll only be gone for a minute. Don't move."
Patroclus nodded, watching as his cousin went to get the rabbit that he had shot. He had to convince himself that he wasn't going to be gone for long. He would return soon…
The great warrior glanced back to see if he could see Patroclus. The boy was mainly out of sight, but he could still make out traces of his blond hair through the tree trunks. Achilles bent down to grab the rabbit, but froze when he heard a noise echo softly in the trees. The warrior looked above him at the canopies as he slowly got to his feet, trying to find where the noise had come from. When he heard the same sound a second time, he knew exactly where the sound was coming from…
"Patroclus, run!" he shouted, abandoning the rabbit as he quickly raced toward the boy.
Patroclus jumped when he heard the loud sound of Achilles' voice, but when he recognized the seriousness of his tone, he began to run in the direction his cousin went. Achilles quickly came into sight, and the young boy was startled to see that the great warrior was running as well.
Suddenly, they both heard the sound of an arrow being fired.
Achilles stopped in horror as the arrow came into view… when he heard Patroclus' cry of pain…
Patroclus fell to the forest floor, the arrow burning his right shoulder where it stuck fast. He closed his eyes tightly in pain, tears threatening to fall from behind his closed eyelids…
Achilles rushed to his cousin's side, holding him protectively in his arms. "Patroclus!" he cried, horrified to see how pale his face was. "Patroclus!"
Suddenly, he looked up into the trees above him when he heard another sound, and he found himself looking into the face of the man who had shot his cousin. The man's dark hair covered part of his face and his dark eyes stood out against his pale skin, but Achilles' eyes quickly ran over what he could see before the man disappeared, memorizing his features. He would be easier to track that way. How easy it would be to go after him and kill him now…
But his thoughts were brought back to his young cousin when he heard him softly whimper. The great warrior held Patroclus securely in one arm while he used his other hand to tightly grip the arrow. He took a deep breath, knowing that this action was going to hurt the young boy.
"I'm sorry, Patroclus." Achilles thought before pulling the arrow out of his body as quickly but as gently as he could.
Patroclus cried out in pain from the sudden motion as he tried to sit up slightly, but then he leaned back against his cousin's chest as he lost hold of his consciousness. Achilles looked down at the arrow in a studying way, never seeing a kind quite like it before. Then, his heart nearly stopped in terror was he studied the arrow tip. He could see it under the layer of Patroclus' blood…
The arrow was poisoned.
A/N: Again, thanks for your patience. Thanks to Halo for helping me out with sorting the rest of the plot line out. Hopefully, I'll be able to update sooner this time. Thanks for reading! Your reviews are much appreciated. Talk to you later!