Title: Forging of Bonds Disclaimer: The characters are not mine. Summary: Deiphobus steals Helen and war breaks out. In an effort to seal a peace contract Paris is married off to Achilles. Warnings: AU, Slash, mpreg Pairing: Achilles/Paris Thanks go to my beta BalianSword for doing such a thorough job and a lot of polishing; any remaining mistakes are mine. I'd also like to thank the lovely Ms McM who has been a great help and hit- I mean encouraged me. Edited and reposted: July 28, 2009.
Title: Forging of Bonds
Disclaimer: The characters are not mine.
Summary: Deiphobus steals Helen and war breaks out. In an effort to seal a peace contract Paris is married off to Achilles.
Warnings: AU, Slash, mpreg
Thanks go to my beta BalianSword for doing such a thorough job and a lot of polishing; any remaining mistakes are mine. I'd also like to thank the lovely Ms McM who has been a great help and hit- I mean encouraged me.
Edited and reposted: July 28, 2009.
Chapter 1: Forging of Bonds
"That's it?" Agamemnon asked, shrugging one shoulder carelessly, clearly unimpressed.
The Trojans exchanged dark looks. In their opinion, the king's daughters were of great beauty. The fact that the Greeks remained unfazed and continued rejecting Troy's generous offers annoyed them greatly.
"Well, there is one more ..." Deiphobus trailed off, but his gaze went to the ceiling, and the Trojans realized whom he meant.
"No! Absolutely not!" Hector jumped up, protesting loudly.
"Why? It is a reasonable option." Deiphobus raised challengingly an eyebrow.
"Care to tell us what you are talking about?" Nestor, the oldest Greek representative inquired.
Priam seemed to have been able to follow Deiphobus' thoughts and - so far - had not opposed the alternative.
"There is one other—my youngest son."
Agamemnon sent him an amused look. "A male companion is not what we are looking for in marriage."
"Not even if this male has the gift of Hermaphroditos?" Deiphobus implored defiantly.
"What are you talking about?" Odysseus inquired.
"The gift of childbearing," Deiphobus answered triumphantly.
Stunned silence followed.
"Who is he?" Agamemnon hesitantly questioned.
"No! I will not allow this!" Hector bellowed, still on his feet.
"Hector!" Priam warned and Hector quieted. "His name is Paris and he is about 19 summers old."
"How does his fertility show? Is there proof?" Odysseus inquired.
"There is no outward difference other than slightly broader hips but his insides differ. It can be easily confirmed."
The Greeks looked contemplatively at each other. Finally, Nestor uttered, "Bring him," and Hector went.
Prince Paris was beautiful and even Agamemnon, who had no taste for men or boys had to admit such. He was also a true child of Aphrodite and it did not surprise anyone that one such as he was to have received the gift of the goddess' son and his lover.
Prince Paris wore a chiton and its fabric fell from his shoulders snugly to his hips, which were, as Priam had said, slightly broader than usual, and then down to his knees. The blue cloth seemed to caress his skin, falling over the prominent curve of his buttocks and showing the young prince's figure without revealing too much.
He walked at his brother's arm with his eyes and head slightly lowered in what seemed to be a demeaning manner that almost screamed for a protector. His brother Hector took that role for now. The crown-prince did not like subjecting his youngest and most vulnerable brother to the presence of those Greeks and his grim face was set in stone. If somebody had glanced at Paris' expression they would have seen his embarrassment at being put on display and a hidden fire in his eyes which he shared with his older brothers.
Paris' upbringing had been very different than that of Priam's other sons and daughters. Having spent his first 16 years away from the walls of Troy he had come to the capital unusually late. Any other son would long have started his weapons training but as soon as Paris' ability was found out, he was separated. Priests mainly dictated his education, he was hardly left alone and his virginity was firmly guarded for the one who would eventually take him … as what? That had been one of the big questions. Was he to be a man's catamite or a husband equal to a wife? Was he to learn of the pleasures of the flesh before his union or sent to a bed unprepared? In the end, it had been decided by both advisors and priests that Troy would benefit the most of an influential marriage between their prince and another king.
In Paris' opinion Aphrodite had intended a wholly different life for him. The priests gave his words little weight, however, and Paris could only hope that whoever he would be given to would be more attentive to his needs. He was a child of Aphrodite. Sexuality was an element of his life and sometimes, in his dreams, Paris felt as if Dionysus had given him a sprinkle of himself as well. But in waking Paris had never experienced the pleasures of the flesh as he knew he should have. He despised the prospect of waiting for one man to imprison him forever in a lonely chamber only visited when he was to breed. Besides, as far as Paris knew, his ability to bear children would only have effect if he wanted.
Now it looked as if his last moments of imprisonment in one cage had come and he was to be pushed into another. Would it be a Greek cage this time?
Odysseus shifted slightly. He was married but by the Gods, this boy had something that could easily stiffen any man's flesh. Maybe the boy would be the one to seal the contract? But with whom was the next inevitable question!
Odysseus let his eyes wander through the hall and over the faces of the Greek delegation. Agamemnon, he himself, and most of those present were married. Menelaus had lost his wife to the Trojan prince Deiphobus; while the war had been started on her behalf, Odysseus was fairly sure that Menelaus could care less for Helen. It was simply an act to defend his honor. After all, who liked being known as a man whose wife could so easily be stolen out from under his nose? But no, Menelaus did not favor boys and frankly, Odysseus thought that a few years as a bachelor would not harm the Spartan king. So who was left? Ajax? Odysseus did not even want to think about the lithe prince beneath the huge warrior.
The Greek delegation was silently contemplating. While before Agamemnon had always found something against the woman in question he too now had no words to say.
A male capable of bearing children was something that no other kingdom could profess having and would shape that realm's reputation if not only its importance. Odysseus could also imagine that few men would be averse to taking the beautiful prince. But unfortunately, most men were not present in this chamber!
Nestor was finally the one who found his voice first: "With your leave, King Priam, we would like to discuss this matter with each other before making any decision. I suggest a truce of seven days for this. Also we will require definite proof of his fertility."
Priam agreed easily. He was most pleased by the Greeks' reactions.
Back at the camp Odysseus still pondered about the question of "whom". He found it easier to think when walking so he decided to take a look through the allies' camp and then go along the beach. It was there that he saw Achilles. And he got an idea.
"Tell me, my friend, have you ever thought about marriage?" Odysseus pried.
Achilles raised an incredulous eyebrow. "Has Trojan wine addled your brain?"
Odysseus only smirked at the insult. He was long used to his friend's insolence and it did not bother him anymore.
"Women are good for bearing children and little else," the warrior explained.
"You prefer men."
"I prefer them as I know that they will not give birth to a child nine months later and force fatherhood upon me."
Now Odysseus hesitated. He had no idea how Paris conceived and when.
"Did the Trojans offer their brides?" Achilles scoffed. "I'm not surprised that they are doing it, I'm surprised that Agamemnon is accepting."
"Agamemnon was not averse. Since losing you and the Myrmidons battle has gone badly. Hector, on the other hand, is still strong."
"Hector." Achilles spoke the name with a curious mix of admiration and resentment. The Myrmidon had looked forward to measure his strength against the Trojan Prince's.
"Though the Trojans did not only offer women. Which is why I thought of you."
The blonde's eyebrows drew together in confusion.
"They are offering one of their own boys as a catamite?" Achilles laughed. "Are you sure he's not a prisoner?"
Odysseus snorted. "Believe me, if you had seen him, you would know that he is not a prisoner, at least not in the official sense. I have no doubt though that he has little freedom."
"Now you intrigue me. What's his status?"
"His name is Paris and he is the youngest of the princes. I'm not quite sure what his position would be if he is given to Greece, but I doubt that the Trojans intend for him to become a mere catamite."
Achilles eyebrow rose again.
"A marriage is always between a man and a woman."
"Yes. But Paris is fertile."
Stunned, Achilles let himself drop into the sand across from Odysseus.
"Tell me more."
Odysseus was more than content to give whatever knowledge he had. Maybe this would be a way to reconcile Achilles with Agamemnon, to solve the problem of the Trojan prince and seal the peace contract.
The sun was just setting when Achilles paid a visit to Agamemnon and declared that he wanted to be present at the peace talks. Agamemnon was skeptical but he was also no fool: he, as well as probably everyone in the camp, knew of Achilles' preferences. And if he decided he liked the Trojan prince then all the better.
The Trojans were doubtful at the next meeting. Paris was not present; instead he was in a separate room shielded by priests and acolytes.
"We want confirmation that the boy is actually capable of bearing children. You said that proof could be provided; so show us," Agamemnon demanded.
The head priest Abdías was aghast. "You cannot possibly suggest that we show his most intimate treasure to every Greek in this room!"
Agamemnon chuckled and gave the man a condescending look. "Of course not. But I do expect that Nestor be present and if Achilles so wishes, since he is the one who expressed interest in the prince, he may have one of his people witness as well."
Abdías threw Achilles a black look. The priests had been looking forward to presenting "their" young prince to an influential king who would treat him as he would a wife and solely couple with him to beget heirs. Achilles, on the other hand, would easily be able to tempt the prince into an unseemly number of sexual encounters. To have one of his Myrmidons check the prince personally would only increase the chances of a marriage between Achilles and Paris.
"I want my cousin, Patroclus, to see the prince," the Myrmidon lord said.
Abdías looked pained and Hector had been wearing a deathly look since the proposal of marriage had been made which only got worse now. Priam, however, proclaimed:
"So be it. Have your cousin brought here."
Patroclus had almost burst out laughing when Achilles told him about his interest in the marriage alliance and had earned himself a severe black look for this. He had abruptly stopped guffawing once he had realized that Achilles was actually serious.
When the messenger reached him to come into the city and examine the prince, Patroclus was more than eager to go. He was curious to see the famed beauty of Troy who had caught the Greeks' attention and Achilles showed such interest in.
The room that Paris was staying in and in which Nestor and Patroclus met him was furnished with a few low couches, an altar-like stone table and, in the younger Greek's opinion, way too many sheer drapes. It looked like something a virgin girl would be living in and Patroclus realized that this was exactly the way that Prince Paris was kept.
The prince wore a short chiton of soft material that stopped just above his knees and was bound with a cord around his waist. Paris stood up when the two Greeks entered and greeted them by inclining his head silently. Patroclus could easily see how nervous the young prince was. He wrung his hands and there was a light sheen of sweat on his skin.
A priest, who had gone unnoticed by Patroclus, stepped out of a corner and led the prince with a firm grip on his upper arm toward the stone table. A shamed blush reddened the prince's cheeks as he was unclothed before the Greeks' eyes and bade to lie back on the table. The priest's examination was humiliating above all but also painful. Paris' body tensed and his eyes clenched tightly shut.
"Stop!" Patroclus demanded. He understood now the prince's apprehension and wondered whether the young prince had undergone this priest's rough examination before. The priest looked up, surprise and annoyance crossing his face and raised an eyebrow.
"I will do it myself," Patroclus explained and swiftly moved to the oil. The priest did not remove his fingers from Paris' insides but then another man called a halt.
"Let him," Hector commanded. He stepped away from the door as he added, "and leave us." Hector threw the priest an angry look as the acolyte withdrew his fingers and Paris whimpered. Tears leaked from beneath his eyelids and Hector gripped his brother's hand, hoping that it would calm him.
The priest left and now it was Patroclus turn.
"Don't hurt him," Hector warned.
"I can hardly do worse than that priest already has," the Greek snorted, "and unlike he, I actually know what to do."
Paris was still much too tense however. Patroclus put a soothing hand on his thigh but it only caused Paris to sob. Immediately Hector pulled the younger prince to him and Paris curled up, weeping against Hector's shoulder. Finally the crown-prince shook his head.
"This won't work at all. I'll tell father to stop this nonsense and leave you alone! I don't care if I have to fight the whole Greek army to protect you!" Hector's voice cracked and he pressed an adoring kiss to his brother's head.
Nestor cleared his throat. "While I respect your love for your brother you should not forget about the bigger picture: this marriage is Troy's best chance of peace with the fewest losses. To hinder the contract now would be folly!"
Hector glared at the older Greek but silently he had to admit that Nestor was right. And Paris had to agree as well.
"He's right, Hector," he sniffed as he backed away and wiped at the tears on his cheek. "It cannot be helped and all I can hope for is the best."
"If Achilles agrees to marry you," Patroclus tried to sooth, "he will treat you well. I can promise you that. He is my cousin and I know him." Paris looked at him and Patroclus smiled. "It will be alright." Taking a deep breath, the young prince nodded. "Alright," he repeated but it was barely more than a whisper.
He went back into his previous position but again he was tense.
"Relax," Patroclus told him. "I will be as careful as I possibly can. Believe me when I tell you that I know what you will feel and what I have to do to make it easy for you."
Paris swallowed visibly. "Have you…?"
"I've had sex with men, yes, and I have been more often on the receiving end than not. So don't worry." Patroclos smiled. "Of course it would be much easier if we had a bed and the actual freedom of foreplay to relax you but I guess we don't have that option here."
Paris laughed weakly and slowly the tension left him. Patroclus hands were working a soothing massage on his legs and hips. While the young Greek's ministrations were less rough as he breached him Hector still held his brother's hand and stroked his shoulder with the other.
Nestor stepped closer "What is he supposed to be looking for?" the Greek advisor asked.
"I think you will need another finger," Paris pressed out.
The examination was uncomfortable but a lot less so than it could have been. Afterwards, Patroclus wiped his hand on a cloth, still stunned speechless.
"Do you need to check him as well?" Hector asked Nestor. It was clear that he would prefer it if the Greek didn't touch his brother.
"No," Nestor conceded, "Patroclus' word will be enough."
Paris breathed a sigh of relief and Hector quickly helped him off the stone table to wash at a nearby basin of rose-scented water.
Nestor turned to leave and Patroclus followed him. He turned back just before exiting:
"I will tell my cousin of you and I will counsel him that he would choose wisely to seal the alliance with you. You needn't worry about anything, Paris, I promise you that."
"Patroclus has confirmed Prince Paris' fertility," Nestor announced to the expectant Greeks. Achilles' gaze met his cousin's eyes, silently ordering him to elaborate later, when they were in private.
"So the marriage can be arranged?" Priam asked.
"Not so quickly!" Achilles corrected. "I do want to see the prince first and, so far, I haven't agreed to anything yet."
"Paris needs rest," Hector proclaimed as he stepped fully into the room. "He isn't up to it now." The crown-prince stepped impossibly closer to Achilles who was lying lazily on a couch and blatantly refused to feel intimidated by the commanding Trojan.
"Then we will continue this tomorrow," Achilles responded, stood up slowly and left the room with barely a backward glance. Hector was left seething.
Patroclus followed Achilles back to his tent.
"What is he like?" Achilles rarely wasted time on unnecessary phrases.
"He is very beautiful, a little meek, perhaps. I promised him that I would tell you to marry him."
His cousin raised an eyebrow. "You promised him that?"
A disgusted look crossed Patroclus' face. "You should have seen how the priest treated him! He was much too rough! Hector is trying to protect him but he is General of the Trojan army and not head priest. Paris needs to be removed of the priests' influence." Patroclus smirked suddenly. "And believe me you would not regret it."
"Odysseus already mentioned that Paris is pretty."
The younger Greek snorted. "Pretty is no word for him."
"What about his fertility?"
"He has another opening inside him but the conception still depends on his own wishes and those of Aphrodite. Such is beneficial for you since I doubt that you would want a son right away."
"Why do you not believe that I would want a son? I have fought for a long time. Maybe I think that it is time to have a family now?"
"That's not true, and you know it. You are still too immature."
"I am immature?" Achilles asked disbelievingly.
"Well, you are certainly not ready for family."
Achilles only snorted.
On the following day Paris was present right from the beginning, lying in plain view in another revealing garment on an elaborate couch. He barely dared to look up at the famed warrior, but when he did, Achilles gaze nailed him. In curiosity, Paris cocked his head and regarded the blond closely. His heavily muscled form intrigued the slender Trojan.
Priam's advisors and the Greek delegation were agitatedly discussing terms with the priests also interrupting. Paris and Achilles, however, did not take their eyes off each other or participate. Finally, Paris stood up, pushed past a number of acolytes that shielded him and walked right up to the warrior.
"I think we should talk," he said. The room became quiet and his words rang loud and clear in the great hall.
"Alone," Paris added and Achilles nodded.
"My Prince, I do not think that would be prudent…" one of the priests protested but the combined looks of Achilles and Paris quieted him.
"While I do think that you should talk with each other," Hector now picked up, "I am also not pleased with the idea of leaving you alone." He did not add the 'and helpless' but Paris heard it nonetheless.
"We will go into the garden. That way you can see us and we will still have the privacy we need." Paris suggested.
Hector nodded and backed off. Paris only briefly looked to Priam for his permission before he walked outside, Achilles following.
Paris lowered himself heedlessly into the grass and Achilles sat down in front of him.
"I would know why you agreed to this binding," the prince asked. His eyes held steady eye-contact and Achilles had to admit to liking the prince more and more.
"I haven't agreed to anything yet. All I have done is joining the peace talks."
"Even I know that you and Agamemnon had a falling-out. You would not join the talks if there wasn't something for you."
Achilles smirked at the prince's boldness. "I was intrigued."
"Would you consider a marriage or not?" Paris asked plainly.
"I am not ready for a child."
The prince sighted with relief, smiling. "Neither am I."
Now Achilles was at least slightly surprised. He would have thought that someone who had the ability to have children would want them.
Paris glanced back at the palace and the priests within. "I had little influence on my education. I do not think that Aphrodite meant for me to be held to virginity until marriage and then have children. Also I believe that Dionysus might have had a hand in my gift as well."
Achilles laughed. It wasn't malicious or mocking, but expressed his wonderment and his increasing liking of the prince.
"Tell me everything."
And Paris grinned because it was the first time that anybody had asked for his version of the tale. And he told him of how Aphrodite came to him and gave him the gift. And he told of the consequences.
"I have never had a relationship. You will have to teach me many things and I do not wish to be tied down by a child immediately." Paris turned with an unusually determined expression towards Achilles. "Now I would like to know your intentions."
"You will stand for this … marriage?" The warrior asked.
Paris shrugged. "I have little influence on the decision. But I can make it easier and I do desire peace for my people. If I think that this marriage will not be unbearable for me…"
Achilles held out his hand. "Then know this: I would honor you and fulfill your needs as well as I can. I would protect you until death. I would seal this contract with you and take you to my bed." He paused. "Are you willing to stand beside me and stand with me for the agreement? Are you willing and prepared to share my bed?"
It did not take long for the prince to make a decision. "Yes, I am willing." Paris laid his hand into the warrior's larger one and together, hand in hand, they stood and went back into the palace where the others anxiously awaited them.
"We are in agreement!" Paris paused dramatically and finally Achilles picked up:
"We will marry to seal a peace contract between the Greek allies and the kingdom of Troy."
Hector was far from happy and Paris' priests were alarmed but Priam simply announced:
"Then Troy is willing. What say you, Agamemnon?"
Odysseus could almost see how hard it was for Agamemnon to say yes now. Troy was one of the largest sea-powers this side of the water and would have been a great addition in his collection of conquered territories.
"I agree," the King of Mycenae finally pressed out.
There were several sighs of relief. Odysseus was certain that those had been the hardest words the Greek king had ever been forced to speak.
"Are you sure about this?" Hector asked as he watched servants scurry around his youngest brother, fixing his hair and clothes and trying everything to make him even more stunning than he already was.
"You have asked me this several times in the past several days already, brother. And yes, I am sure about this," Paris answered. Against the women's urgings he turned towards his brother: "I understand that you are not particularly happy about this match."
Hector snorted at the understatement. "I don't trust Achilles to treat you right. He is a murderer."
"As are all warriors. Troy needs this peace contract as much as Greece."
"We could hold our own!" Hector interjected.
"For how long? I may not be a warrior or a strategist but I too heard the cries after battle for all the slain men! This marriage is the best for our people! And I need to get away from all those oppressing priests who think they know what is best for me! Achilles will give me that chance, I know it."
The crown-prince finally sighed in defeat. "As you wish." He then closed the distance between him and his brother and laid his hand on a bare shoulder. "Just remember that should anything ever happen, you still have me here in Troy."
He was rewarded with a blinding smile and an "I love you, brother." Hector placed a reverent kiss to his brother's cheek before he left his brother to be prepared for his wedding.
Some time later, Paris had finally got fed up with the servants' bustling and thrown them all out. He needed some time to reflect. Hector's visit had brought all of his doubts back. Had it been a bad idea after all, to agree so easily to marry for his kingdom? Would he really be in a better situation after leaving Troy? But of what use was his uncertainty now, just before the wedding? Exhausted and all of a sudden feeling completely helpless, he dropped his face into his hands and stifled a sob. He almost wanted to run to Hector now and tell him that he could not do this after all.
A soft knock retrieved him of his musings.
"Yes?" he snarled, annoyed at the unwelcome interruption. The door opened hesitantly and his brother's wife entered the room carefully. Hastily Paris wiped at his cheeks to remove any tear tracks that might have betrayed his inner conflict.
"Helen?" he inquired, surprised. "I didn't expect you."
She nodded. "I wanted to see you," she admitted after a long pause.
"Then come nearer at least and close the door," Paris sighed.
Helen approached and studied him closely. "You are going to Greece in my stead."
Paris grimaced. "Don't come to me with your guilt. I can't help you with that."
She visibly flinched at his harshness and the prince promptly felt remorse.
"I am sorry, Helen. I am in a foul mood," he apologized and the former Greek queen accepted it with a nod.
"You must have a lot of courage to agree to the marriage."
"Didn't you have courage when you decided to leave Menelaus and follow Deiphobus instead?"
A tender smile crossed her face. "He made it easy for me." Or maybe she had just been infatuated, Paris thought, and probably still was. Paris, on the other hand, didn't have the luxury of foolish love.
"When I was 16 and King Priam told me that I would not be allowed to return to my foster-parents, I cried a lot. My foster-father tried to console me and told me to have confidence and courage. Always. Because without those I would suffer."
She acknowledged his words. "He was wise. But for what it's worth, I'm sorry it turned out like this. I really had no idea it would be this bad."
He met her eyes and, briefly, he felt a sense of kinship with her. Perhaps, if things had gone differently and he had met her in Sparta and fallen in love, he might have taken her to Troy as well.
Helen left but her visit had reminded him of his foster-father's advice and he knew that he would have to take it to heart now as he probably never had before.
The feast went by like a blur for Paris and afterwards he would not be able to recite a single word of the speeches delivered by Agamemnon, Nestor, Odysseus, his father and others. Paris laid on the couch, dressed in fine cloth and jewels. His cup of wine was depleted quickly and he noticed little of the feast. He was, however, almost hyper-aware of Achilles' presence.
The blond warrior lay, now officially Paris' husband, on the same couch behind him, one hand resting lightly on Paris' hip.
The couple was obliged to stay until the wedding guests had delivered their respective speeches, well-wishes and presents.
Priam gave Achilles a pair of horses; Paris received one horse from Hector. It was a beautiful, rather docile mare that stood in stark contrast to Priam's prized warhorses. Paris knew that deep down Hector was still unhappy and worried about this marriage and the horse was his way of giving his brother a measure of attaining freedom; in other words, Hector was giving Paris the option of riding off. Paris thanked him for the gift though he felt certain that he would not need her. The other kings and nobles gave mostly gold and jewels to Paris and armor and weapons to Achilles. Ironically enough, this was one way that loot from temples outside of Troy was returned to a son of the city.
Achilles searched and clasped his hand which brought the young prince back to the present. Calculating looks rested on them, trying to surmise when the newlyweds would retire and solidify their bond.
Paris' gaze met Achilles' nervously but he nodded his consent to the unspoken question. Hand-in-hand they rose. The palpable apprehension eased. Paris barely heard how Achilles made their excuses. Nor did he see the corridors they went through or the doors they passed. It mattered little as he already knew where the room they would be sharing during the next few weeks until their departure was. It had been decided that Priam would accommodate them as the Greeks' camp was practically unthinkable.
The young prince's senses focused increasingly on his body. He felt warmth spreading in his stomach but it did nothing to sooth his anxiety and apprehension. Unconsciously he tightened his hand that was held by Achilles. The warrior squeezed back before he released it and instead laid a hand to the small of his back to lead him.
The doors seemed impossibly grand and the adornment much too elaborate. His legs, which had seemed so unsteady on their way, were now stronger. Taking a deep breath and lifting his chin, Paris turned towards the warrior at his side, his husband with whom he would soon consummate their marriage. Paris thought that he could detect almost concern in his eyes but also resolve. Achilles would not be the one to back down; he would explore the young prince's depths as was his right.
And so Paris did the only thing imaginable: he called upon his inner strength, aided by Aphrodite, opened the doors and stepped first into the room.
Paris watched as the last ship belonging to Agamemnon's army, which had left Troy at dawn, disappeared into the endless blue of the sea. Peace had returned to the city, trade was beginning to thrive again and the country's women no longer needed to fear that their sons and husbands would go to war and leave them behind.
The patter of sandaled feet on stone alerted Paris to somebody approaching from behind. Moments later arms wrapped around his waist and a chin rested on his shoulder. A kiss was pressed to his cheek as he leant back into the strong body behind him.
"I saw you from downstairs in the streets. You look so beautiful that I cannot resist you," a voice whispered into his ear and a hand wandered down his body only to disappear under his chiton and stroke his thighs.
Paris chuckled and turned in Achilles' arms to kiss him softly. The warrior quickly enveloped him in a breathtaking play of tongues.
"My men will have the ships ready by tomorrow," the Myrmidon told him after he had released the now kiss-swollen lips.
Paris looked down from the wall to where the ships with the black sails lay and noticed that the activity of the men had lessened indicating that the work was almost done. Then he gazed across the city. He had spent many years in Troy and he knew that he would not miss everything. Hector he would miss, as well as his wife Andromache and their son Astyanax with whom he had spent a lot of time. He would not miss his other brothers or most of his sisters; he would not miss the priests who had dictated his life.
Achilles tugging at a curl of his hair brought Paris out of his reminiscing. He looked as if he wanted to ask the prince whether he was alright. But the words did not pass his lips and Paris understood that the warrior wasn't there yet.
"I am going to miss some things in Troy," Paris explained.
"I will be true to my word and protect you if necessary. But you need not fear Phthia; you will like it there," Achilles answered.
The Trojan nodded. He only needed confidence. And courage.
Hermaphroditos: Son of Aphrodite and Hermes; the gods joined him with Salmacis, a nymph who was in love with him.
Dionysus: Primarily god of wine but also of ecstasy and fertility (though this probably refers more to soil and vine)
Thank you for reading. Reviews and advice would be very much appreciated.