Wow. Just wow. Is this really it? I mean, it is, but...over a year later, here's the end. This is my longest fic, twice as long as anything else I have up here. So...yes, just wow, especially to all of you who are reading this. You deemed my words worthy of being read, you followed and favorited and even left comments, and it all warms my heart. Knowing that this meant something to you guys makes it real to me. Thank you so much.
For the last time, I do not own Troy or any of the affiliated characters, and despite giving him over 50,000 words, I do not own Patroclus.
Chapter 30: A Home
For three days, Adara accompanied Daan through Phthia, learning her studies and her way around the island. News had spread quickly, and a healer - a good one, recommended by the king himself - was in high demand.
Peleus had set up workers to build a new healing hut in the center of the city so as to be easily accessed by anyone. Adara joined Daan in every healing session he was called to and in every case brought to him, learning so much more than she would have in her regular lessons now that she could see it in action.
Even in the quiet hours, she was put to work sorting through the stuffed bag of herbs and stocking the shelves in the store room with them. Daan enjoyed handing her a jar or pouch and making her tell him what it was and what properties it had. By now, she knew them all by heart. She actually began accepting bags with her eyes closed and identifying them by touch or smell. She knew it made Daan happy, especially since she had started that particular quizzing all on her own.
"Having gone through what we did, I'm pleased with where we are now," Daan commented simply, observing the work on the building on the third day. It still wasn't complete, but it had been in operation for the last few days.
Adara nodded in agreement, but she kept one eye out the window on the setting sun. Each minute, it sank closer to the horizon, bringing on the night that would soon call forth a new day. The fourth day.
"Don't you think?" Daan said.
Adara's head snapped up and she opened her mouth to stumble out some sort of reply before she realized Daan was laughing. There was nothing that had come before that question. "Daan!" she moaned, sufficiently teased.
"I assume I won't see you here tomorrow," he continued as they set the table for supper. Not only was this to be the healing hut, but it doubled as half of their new home, with a kitchen and two bedrooms in the back. It saved time and made for quick healing if there was an illness that needed full-time supervision. The house next to the hut was for them as well.
"No," Adara said, "I'll be here. Thetis said it won't be until the evening."
"Will you be able to sit still?" he asked, referring to her constant fidgeting and her tendency to lose focus. "If there are feverish eight-year-olds, I can't have you staring out the window the whole time."
"I won't," she promised. She hoped she wouldn't break it.
While giving a poultice to the farm boy that had been kicked by the mule, Adara glanced quickly out the window. She couldn't help it, but managed to keep focused enough that she did not inflict harm on anyone and kept Daan relatively happy. The boy payed, nodded his thanks, and stiffly walked out the door. The sky had become tinged with orange as the day waned. All she needed to do was finish the line of patients and run for it to the shore.
Next in line was Miriam with her son Tavius again. Four days they had been in business, four times she had seen the young boy. They lived very close to the hut, making it much easier to walk two minutes to have Tavius's newest injury looked at than for Miriam to take a guess at the problem. Just a diagnosis was enough.
"Uh-oh," Adara said upon seeing them. "What did we do now?"
Tavius grinned sheepishly and held out his arms, showing her the bright red and inflamed skin he was itching. "Poison leaves," Miriam sighed. "I told him not to play with them."
Adara searched the shelves for the almorac poultice and handed it to Miriam in exchange for a few coins. "Listen to your mother next time," she said to Tavius.
After came Eumelia, Niko the fisherman's daughter, to purchase a pack of bandages and some thread. "He has two hooks stuck in his hand."
"He thought it would be clever to get the first one out with the second one."
Behind her, like he normally was, stood Theron, renowned as the best hunter in the city. Adara watched him come in and get in line directly behind Eumelia for three days. This tall, broad, and rather handsome man spent all day in the forests taking down wild beasts and supplying most of the meat to the city's butcher, yet he could hardly strike up a conversation with the girl he liked. They both lived in the merchants' quarter, so he at least had a chance.
"Do you need some more bandages again, Theron?" Adara asked, hopefully drawing Eumelia's attention to him. "I need to go get them from the back for Eumelia anyway.
"Yes, thank you," he replied. "And could you also take a look at a scratch I got quickly? After you finish with Eumelia, that is," he added politely, earning himself a smile from the girl that turned his cheeks red.
When Adara returned from the shelves in the back with two packs of bandages, she felt immensely satisfied to see them talking - Theron was actually making conversation. He stopped when she returned, of course, but at least he'd gotten somewhere. "Let's see that scratch."
He nodded and rolled up his sleeve, revealing three long, deep claw marks on his forearm. They had scabbed over, but looked a little red and puffy. Eumelia gasped. "Those look awful! Are they infected?"
"That's what I want to know," Theron said. "I got them two days ago. I washed them and kept them covered, but this is what I found when I took off the bandage."
"You did well with the treatment, but it does look infected." She grabbed a little packet of turmac powder and handed it to him. "Mix just a pinch with water and spread it over the cuts for the next few days. Come back if it doesn't improve, but it should be fine."
"Thank you," he said, gathering his items. Eumelia grabbed hers too and walked out with him, saying something. Adara smiled as she heard him answer, "Well, there was this bear..." before the door closed.
"Daan," she said, looking out the window and practically jumping up and down.
He waved a hand, shooing her. "Yes, yes, go already!"
A euphoric, giddy feeling slowly taking over her entire body, Adara ran from behind the counter and out the door, making a mad dash for the shore. She was once again able to relish in the feeling of the wind making her hair fly out behind her as she tore through the city that had recently become her new home. The people she saw in the merchants' quarter called greetings to her, for most of them knew her by now, having come into the healing hut for some ailment. She waved back, but made no stops for small talk.
Her feet didn't slow at all until she reached the wharves. There were far too many ships and far too many people for her to see if he was somewhere on the wooden docks, disembarking or caught in the middle of the massive crowd. She turned and ran back up the paved street, made a right turn down an alley, and emerged onto a grassy hilltop with enough height to see clearly all the docks and landing areas.
She put her hand over her eyes like a visor, shielding them from the sun reflecting off the water. Adara was almost holding her breath in expectation, her eyes scanning each vessel, looking for the sandy hair atop the muscled body. It was hard, though, not knowing the type of ship he was in, if it was big enough to get privilege to even dock, or if it simply needed to be pulled ashore onto the sand, like her little raft had. There was so much commotion, she began to fear she had missed him as the sun sank lower.
Then she saw it. He anxiously stood at the prow of the small watercraft, laden down with weapons of his and those of the three other men on the vessel. They began to prepare to jump out of the boat and bring it to shore for when it could go no further.
She took off, back through the alley and down past the wharves, onto the beach. "Patroclus!" she cried, angling her dash towards him.
His head snapped up and he looked in her direction, seeing her sprinting towards him. He vaulted himself over the side of the boat, landing waist deep in the water.
She nearly lost her balance as she attempted to hop while taking off her shoes that were obnoxiously kicking up sand. She left them on the shore as she splashed into the waves, reaching the water that went just past her ankles and giving little thought to the hem of the dress she'd borrowed from Thetis, assuming the goddess would understand.
Soon after, she couldn't have cared as she flung herself into his arms, feeling them wrap around her. He lifted her from the water and spun her around.
When he put her back down, he stared at her, studying every inch of her face, unable to stop smiling. "You're late," she informed him, just getting the words out before he pulled her to him and his lips crashed down on hers. It didn't take long before the wolf whistles of his comrades met their ears.
"Am I forgiven?" he asked quietly, still close to her.
She nodded and kissed him in reply. "I love you."
"I love you."
He returned to the now beached boat to obtain his pack and weapons, shaking the hands of his companions with one hand while the fingers of his other remained entwined with Adara's.
They sat on the shore in privacy, not yet ready to return to the rest of the city. She leaned her head on his shoulder, listening to his trials with Clemais, and then explaining about her meeting with Peleus and Thetis, and how she and Daan opened the healing hut.
"Does that mean you can make a home here?" he asked hopefully.
She gazed into those beautiful, crystal blue eyes; the ones that promised hope and safety; the ones that she'd gone through no less than a war to be able to look into, "Now I can."
And that's all there is. Again, all I can say is thank you. It's been fun.