The next week passed without any major incident. Patroclus spent more time working with his new pet and he seemed much happier. Achilles stood in the doorway, watching his little cousin sleep. Sadly, he knew that the news he had would have a profound negative affect on the boy's good mood.
Knowing that it was now or never, Achilles approached his charge and placed a gentle hand on the boy's shoulder.
"Cub," he said, "I need to talk to you, can you wake up for me?"
The boy turned and stared sleepily at his cousin.
"Don't wanna," he signed
"I know, cub," Achilles sighed. "It'll just be for a minute."
Achilles sat down on the bed and Patroclus moved so that his head was resting on his cousin's lap.
"Do you remember when I told you that a peace had been negotiated between the Greeks and the Trojans?" Achilles asked, stroking his cousin's hair.
"Well," Achilles continued, "Prince Hector has asked to meet with me. I think it would help you to see the man who saved your life."
"When is he coming?" Patroclus signed, after a pause.
"At the end of the week," Achilles responded.
Patroclus stared up at his cousin with a look of hurt and betrayal, tears pooling in his eyes.
"How could you?" He signed, tears streaming down his face. "Why do you want to remind me of what a failure I am?!"
Achilles roughly grabbed his cousin's hands, stopping his frantic signing.
"Listen to me!" He hissed fiercely, "you are not a failure, you are human. Humans make mistakes!"
Patroclus jerked back, trying to free his hands from his cousin's iron grip. When he could succeed, he began to cry harder and struggle. Realising that Patroclus' fit would only get worse, Achilles let go of the boys hands and lifted him into his arms.
"Shh, Cub," he whispered gently, his own voice breaking. "That's it, just calm down. It's alright. That's a good boy, just take deep breaths."
Patroclus' cries turned into harsh, wracking sobs.
Sighing, Achilles lay down on the bed and lay his cousin's head against his chest. He was prepared to wait out this storm, however long it took.
Patroclus stood behind his cousin, fidgeting nervously as he watched the two warriors talk. He was hoping that if he stayed quiet enough, the Trojan Prince wouldn't notice him. Deep down, he knew that wasn't going to be the case.
After a few minutes, Hector turned and looked at the boy.
"You must be Patroclus," he said gently "you look much better than the last time I saw you. My name is Hector, I helped you when you were injured in Troy. Do you remember?"
Patroclus nodded, his hand unconciously drifting up to the small scar on his neck. Sensing the younger man's discomfort, Hector quickly changed the subject.
"Your cousin tells me that you are a great fighter." Hector said.
Patroclus looked up and smiled timidly.
"Do you like training?" the Trojan Prince asked.
Patroclus nodded enthusiatically. He was beginning to like this man. He was one of the few royalty that talked to Patroclus as if he were an adult.
As they walked up towards the house, Hector engaged the younger Myrmidon in a conversation about different types of weapons and fighting styles.
Patroclus lay on the floor of the house listening to the two older men talk. For a while, he had been able to entertain himself by listening to the conversation and reading. However, it was now the early afternoon and he was getting very bored.
Getting up, he walked over and stood by his cousin.
Sensing his cousins' presence, Achilles paused
"Are you alright, cub?" He asked gently.
"Can I go train outside?" Patroclus signed
"Of course," said Achilles, "just don't stay out after dark."
"That boy," Achilles laughed as he watched his cousin run off to train. "Honestly, I didn't expect him to stay still as long as he did. He's always moving and can't stay in one place for more than an hour."
"I know the feeling," said Hector.
Patroclus smiled as he mounted his new steed. After months of work, he was finally able to get on Arsen's back for the first time. For the next hour, he walked the steed around the pasture. He was so engrossed in what he was doing, that he almost fell of the horse when he heard a voice call out to him. Turning, he saw Prince Hector leaning against one of the rails of the fence.
"I thought you were supposed to be training," Hector said, amused.
Patroclus dismounted his horse and shrugged, sheepishly.
"It's alright," said the prince, "I did a lot of the same thing when I was your age."
Patroclus looked over at the older warrior and smiled, he really did like this man.
"Alright," said Hector, when the younger man was finished with his task. "Your cousin sent me to find you, and I think he would prefer if I returned with you at my side."
Turning, both men began their trek back to the house.