Character/Pairing: Greece/Japan, Mama Greece
Rating: PG? PG-13?
Author's note: kink meme: character A interacting with character b's ruins.
apparently, this is connected to "I can finally see that you're right here beside me."
I didn't realize it until I was most of the way through.
The place they're at is the island of Delos, Apollo's birthplace. Kyklos means "circle" and refers to the circle of islands Delos is a part of.
Erastes & eromenos are terms of pederasty. Erastes was the older, more experienced and cultured lover while eromenos was the youth.
He had set the shovel aside, and taken shelter in the shade of the shade of the ruins when the sun reached its apex. The sun was relentless in its approach. They said this was the hottest place in Greece, where the sun shone the most. Perhaps it was so. The sun would favor its birthplace.
He remembered running through it as a child, hiding behind pillars and basking in the cool feel of the stone. There was an anecdote his mother was fond of telling, of when he was a toddler and had run naked through the temple. She had chased him down, and to the consternation of the priests, simply said with a flippant the gods willed it. She pulled him away and when they had gone far enough, they both broke out into fits of laughter.
He remembered the swans, who were fearsome and would chase him with little provocation. They were vicious things, but sacred to Apollo, thus any defense such as striking back with sticks was strictly forbidden. Mothers would warn their children if you chase the swans, and the sun will burn you to ash, but most children didn't go too near anyways, given how aggressive they were. Their bites hurt, and the threat of another bite was far more immediate threat than a curse from a god.
And the gods? His mother claimed to have seen them, even known them, but Hyponos is the only god Greece has ever seen. His mother always said but you never see a god, my little one. They come in showers of gold and swans and bulls. As beautiful, too clever humans or old crones. But she always warned remember, the gods are selfish. They show wrath or kindness on whims, and even you, my little one, must be careful not to anger them.
He's always kept those words in mind, even when the gods became legends and the religion was of the new god, the Christ. Even when churches rose up and even his flag took the cross, he would remember the old gods he'd never seen, save for dreams.
(To be fair, he never met Christ in-person either. He had heard the Words, seen teachers and prophets, both crazed and gentle. Christ did not come in showers of gold or with swan feathers; he did not turn men into stags for their own hunting dogs to devour.)
A white cat curled at his ankles. He brushed it with his ankle, and it purred sleepily. He did not need pillows or mattresses to sleep. Ever since he was young he could bed down in odd positions.
(His mother used to exclaim you sleep just like a cat, to which he'd paw the air and meow until she laughed and ruffled his hair.)
Some of his best dreams have been against the cool feel of the soil, with the scent of the sea drifting to him. Then there is that golden, poppy taste to the sweet memory-laden dreams. Often surreal, but some are soft, so much so that he expected to see his mother's proud gait walking before him when he awoke.
He looked up to the sound of a kicked stone.
Japan leaned against the wall, looking up. A large sunhat covered his head, to keep him from being sunburnt. He let his fingers run over the remaining stone, feeling the cracks as if he could somehow find the majesty that once was buried under the years.
"I didn't mean to wake you," Japan said.
"I was just thinking," Greece replied.
Japan stepped into what is left of what was once great. Crumbling dust and hewn stone. There were no swan feathers strewn about any longer. He took soft steps towards him, careful as to not disturb the cat. He looked up, peering at the sky through the gaping hole where the roof had once stood. He blinked his eyes from the glare of the sunlight.
"I somehow thought 'meeting the parents' would go differently," Japan said.
Greece smiled. "At least you didn't almost get hit with a wok."
"Yes, there is that," Japan said. "At least you ducked in time. Korea was not so lucky."
"I think it was aimed at him to begin with...not that China particularly likes me, now..." Greece said.
Greece stretched out, turning his gaze to the broken column beside him.
"I remember it when it was far more beautiful...when I was young..." Greece said. "It was a sacred place. No one was allowed to be born or die here. There were birds..."
Japan seemed to drink in the remaining columns, as if he were drinking in the sights, smells and sounds of what once was. Of what Greece's mother had been like.
"It must have been breathtaking. I regret never meeting her then, or you," Japan said.
Greece wondered what meeting Japan first would have changed. Had he come early enough, Japan might have been his first love and first lover. Japan would have been his erastes, and Greece would have looked up to him and his culture as his eromenos. Japan would have kissed his olive skin, and Greece would have looked up at him and asked, with adoring gaze here? and Japan would have replied yes, here.
He'd have taught him discipline and focus, swordplay and the way of a warrior.
But Greece couldn't see himself giving Japan up as a man, and taking on another as his eromenos. He couldn't see taking on a wife, a family, or ever giving up that bond.
He preferred to be the last love, not first.
He looked up at Japan, who seemed to be a in a silent communiqué with the columns, and whatever ghost of her that might be left.
"If you rest, she might visit your dreams..." Greece said slowly. "It happens from time to time."
Japan did not say inane things like you must miss her. He looked around in a kind of wonder.
"Perhaps I will meet here there, then," Japan said. "Are we resting now? You can rest just about anywhere, it seems."
"Like a cat?" Greece prompted.
"Yes, like a cat," Japan replied.
"If you lay down on me, it's softer," Greece suggested. "Besides, it's too hot to do anything but rest when noon comes."
"Wouldn't that be too heavy? ...And too hot?"
"I don't mind."
Japan complied, and the white cat beside them sleepily stretched, looked, and curled back up again. Japan was light as he laid down on Greece, his head on Greece's chest, his ankle crossing over Greece's, nudging the white cat.
Greece thought his mother must be amused at this turn of events, watching from Elysium. Maybe they'd see her in their dreams, maybe not. Either way, he knew she was always watching.