Sorry I haven't posted in a while, life has been pretty crazy. :)
Hector sighed as felt the cool night air caress his skin. After many weeks of war and carnage, it was nice to get out of the city and enjoy these moments of peace by himself. A sudden noise jarred the prince out of his thoughts. Hand on the hilt of his sword, Hector turned and looked toward the source of the noise.
"Who's there?!" he yelled, "show yourself!"
There was a pause, then, a figure appeared from behind the trees, it was a child. The boy looked to be no older than seventeen and definitely looked Greek, he had many small scratches covering his arms and face and his eyes were glazed over. Setting his sword down, Hector carefully approached the boy. As soon as Hector placed a hand on the boy's shoulder, the child flinched violently and scrambled backwards.
"No Trojans," he murmured, rocking back and forth on his heels. "Trojans are bad, Trojans hurt."
"It's alright," Hector said, attempting to approach the boy again. "I'm not going to hurt you."
"No knives," the child said suddenly, "No knives, no knives."
"Alright," Hector said placing his sword on the ground and showing the child his hands, "no knives."
The boy nodded, seeming pleased with that answer.
Noticing the child's shivering, Hector unhooked his cape and showed it to the child. "Are you cold?" he asked.
The boy nodded and let Hector wrap the cape around him.
"What's your name?" Hector asked, sitting down next to his new charge.
"Patroclus" the boy said quietly, resuming his rocking. "Lost!" He yelled suddenly, his voice becoming frantic, "lost bad!"
On instinct, Hector gently wrapped an arm around the boy's shoulder, trying to calm him.
"You're lost?" he asked.
Patroclus nodded, his breath coming in small gasps.
"It's alright," Hector said, rubbing a comforting hand down the boy's back. The boy seemed to relax under his touch, his breath evening out and his rocking becoming less frantic.
Poor child, thought Hector, from the way he is acting, he must have witnessed some great trauma. Who in their right mind would bring a child with them to a war?
"Patroclus, who is your guardian?" Hector asked, softly.
Patroclus looked up at Hector, blinking slowly and tiredly. "Achilles," Patroclus said, his voice small.
Achilles, thought Hector, this child could turn the tides of the war in our favor if I bring him back to Troy-"
Hector's thoughts were interrupted by Patroclus gently tugging on his hand.
"Take me home?" he asked, his voice sounding so lost and innocent that Hector couldn't help but wonder why he even considered taking the boy as a bargaining chip.
"Tomorrow, child," Hector said gently, helping Patroclus lay down. "Tomorrow I will take you home. You have my word."
Achilles was extremely worried, it had been a day since the battle outside the Trojan gates. An entire day since he had last seen Patroclus. He knew that Patroclus could fend for himself, but that didn't stop Achilles from worrying about him.
Patroclus had very limited speech abilities for a seventeen-year-old. It all stemmed from when he was a child. At 10 years old, the child had witnessed his parent's being brutally slaughtered. When he came to live with Achilles, he was extremely traumatized and barely spoke. Because of this, Patroclus had the speech capabilities of someone half his age. It also made him extremely sensitive to loud noises.
Out of all the irrational and irresponsible choices I have ever made, this definitely tops the list. Achilles thought, who in their right mind brings a child to a war zone? Let alone a boy who will barely talk to anyone but his guardian and flinches at every sound. You're so stupid, Achilles, you-
"My lord," Eudorus said, startling the Myrmidon commander out of his thoughts. "There is something I think you should see.
Sighing, Achilles stood up and walked out of the tent.
Hector stood on the sand of the Myrmidons' camp, surrounded by Achilles' soldiers. Throughout it all, he still kept a grip on Patroclus' hand, trying to keep the boy as close and as calm as possible. Over the course of the last night, Patroclus had developed a fever which had worsened to the point of the boy now being completely listless. He probably got it from being out all night, Hector thought, poor kid. He had panicked that morning as they had entered the Greek camp. Being lunged at by the Myrmidon soldiers had just made everything worse. Now, Patroclus was all out sobbing, attempting to violently jerk his hand out of Hector's grasp.
Suddenly, all of the soldiers backed down and even Patroclus stopped his frantic struggling. Looking up, Hector saw Achilles, lord of the Myrmidons, striding toward them.
Patroclus had finally succeeded in getting his hand free of Hector's grasp and ran to his cousin, throwing his arms around the older man's neck. At first, Achilles tensed before relaxing and holding his little cousin close. Not seeming to care that Hector was watching.
"Oh Cub," Achilles said, gently kissing the top of his cousin's head, "Why'd you run off, huh? Don't you know how worried I was?"
"Sorry," Patroclus murmured, "loud noises. got real scared. didn't mean to run."
Realising that Hector was standing in front of them, Achilles locked eyes with the Trojan and motioned for him to follow into the tent.
Once they were inside, Patroclus leaned against Achilles, laying his head against the older man's shoulder.
"What is it, Cub?" Achilles asked, rocking the boy slightly.
"Hurts," Patroclus said.
"What hurts, buddy?" Achilles asked
Patroclus only whimpered and clung tighter to his cousin.
"Patroclus," Hector said, gently placing a hand on the child's back, "is your head bothering you again?"
Patroclus turned and looked at Hector, tears streaming down his face and nodded.
"Do you want to lay down?" Achilles asked, placing a hand on the child's back.
"Yeah," Patroclus said, quietly.
"That was amazing, you know," Achilles said to Hector. "He doesn't respond to many people other than me."
"He's a sweet child," Hector said.
"Yes," Achilles responded, "it's a shame he has been through so much in such a short time." He added quietly.
"It is hard to imagine." Hector responded
A few hours later, Achilles sat in his tent, holding his cousin in his arms. It had taken a while, but a truce had been negotiated between the Trojan's and the Myrmidons. Once Hector had left, Achilles immediately turned his full attention to Patroclus. The boy had fought sleep like a demon but the moment Achilles took the boy into his arms, Patroclus relaxed and been able to rest.
It was in that moment that Achilles finally believed that everything would be alright.