A/N: This chapter, although short, I feel points directly at Achilles's character. Hope you enjoy.
"Grab his arm, Patroclus." Eudorous commands without looking at me.
My body is still in shock as I stare at Achilles's brutalized back and force myself to watch for the faintest clue he is alive, even though I just heard him speak moments ago.
"His arm," Eudorous's voice is hard and commanding, but I still cannot shake the image of his back now mixed with Achilles screaming out in pain from my head. And the thought that it should have been me.
"Patroclus, are -," but Taren beats me to answering.
"I'll do it," the man I once despised comes yet again to my rescue.
Ignoring the comment, I finally step forward as Eudorous and Taren grab Achilles by each arm. Achilles groans out in torment as his eyes crazily dance back open.
"Stop!" I hiss at the men, not able to stomach anymore of my cousin's pain. "You're making it worse."
"He has to be moved, lad," Taren answers me gently, and I make myself snap my gaze away from Achilles towards his two men. "And the wounds cleaned."
"No," Achilles croaks out, causing all three of us to freeze.
"We're only taking you to your tent, my lord." Taren insist, as he glances nervously at Eudorous.
"No." The low voice responses again, and even though he is weak there is no mistaking the command there.
"My Lord?" Eudorous questions.
"I..," he breaths deep, before forcing the next words out quickly. "Will walk there."
"My Lord?" Eudorous questions louder this time clearly shocked.
One word that answered the question clearly.
A silent command.
"Taren, let go of his arm."
"You cannot be seriously allowing this?" My voice is shaky as I see Taren release his hold of my cousin.
Eudorous holds up his hand to stop me when I got to take Taren's place. Then as if it pained him, he slowly releases his own hold of Achilles's arm.
My cousin's legs wobbles all over as if the sand were sea and he was about to sink.
Biting his lips in determination, he slowly manages to take a step forward with a grunt of pain.
Then another, though he is already hunching forward from the throbbing of his back.
After another step I thought for sure that he would fall, but miraculously does not. Pausing Achilles breaths deeply and forces himself to take another step.
Frozen and wincing with every step my cousin takes, I watch as he slowly makes his way to the edge of the now astonished circle of men.
Pale as a ghost. Sweat forming across his brow, blood oozing down his back my mind urges my feet to help him. But something in the way Achilles is holding his chin and hunched shoulders lets me know that he would not accept it.
His eyes close and he actually groans out in pain, as he pulls himself achingly up to his full height. Then with the gaze of a harden warrior his eyes open and turn a fierce glare towards a dumbstruck Agamemnon.
No words are spoke, but none are needed. Achilles not only still had his pride, but his spirit.
And Agamemnon will never be his king or earn his respect.
The king squirms under the golden warrior's dark stare before Achilles turns his head back around. With a slow nod to Eudorous, the man once again silently steps forward, but this time Achilles allowed his friend to help.
No one else moves as he ducks under Achilles's arm and helps support some of the weight. Then still with agonizingly slow steps, the two continue down the beach towards his tent.
First one man starts to clap. Then another. And before long the entire group is clapping and cheering. Achilles has clearly not lost any respect from his men, and earned even more respect from many others.
And it is at that moment that I realize that as much as I ache to be like my beloved cousin, that will never happen. I would have allowed them to carry me oof there...if I had survived at all. Such bravery. Such loyalty. Such integrity.
All things, after the last few days, that I clearly lack.
Things that training can never teach.
"Come, Patroclus," I jump in surprise as Taren's voice breaks through the noise and my thoughts, "he will not rest well until he sees you safe in the tent."
I nod knowing this was true and force my own shaky leg to slowly follow after my beloved cousin, even though I wanted nothing more than to run and hide with shame.
Ideas/emotions are bouncing around in my head about Patroclus and Achilles upcoming talk. Hopefully I'll be able to capture some of them.
Thanks for reading and feedback is always appreciated!