Fandom: Homeric Myth [Achilles, Patroclus]
Rating/Warnings: PG cause Patroclus killed the shit out of some guy.
Why look to me because I don't believe in fame
Track 12: Over My Head
"What do you mean, you don't like to swim?" Patroclus is slouched against a column in the shade of the walkway, and he pauses halfway through a bite of apple to eye Achilles condescendingly. "Your mother is a sea nymph."
"So what?" Achilles asks, crossing his arms.
Patroclus has heard that the Peleus' son doesn't tolerate this sort of thing from anybody else in his father's palace, but Patroclus has learned that there are allowances for him, because he is sixteen, and rumor had carried word of his crime to the bloodthirsty prince of Phthia long before Patroclus ever laid eyes on him.
"She likes swimming just fine." Achilles is still staring at him.
"That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard." Patroclus takes another bite of apple, clearly dismissing Achilles.
"And just what do you know about it?" Achilles looks as though he is about to stomp his foot, but stops himself at the last second and puts his nose in the air instead. "I had a traumatic childhood incident, I'll have you know."
"Mommy's little boy didn't like his golden bath?" Patroclus crunches another bit of apple off, discovers a wormhole, and lazily tosses the half-eaten apple aside.
"You can't talk to me like that," Achilles scowls, lifting one foot to scratch at his heel. "I'm a prince!"
"So'm I." Patroclus shrugs, pushing away from the column. "Try murdering somebody, see how far it gets you."
"So it's true!" Achilles' eyes gleam in triumph, and he tags along after Patroclus as he moves out of the shade and begins walking in the opposite direction from the palace. "I'm going to be a great warrior soon, and then I'll kill loads of people…"
The chatter continues without breath as they reach the end of the field and come over a small hill. Achilles finally pauses when their toes sink into warm sand. "Where are we going?"
"The beach," Patroclus answers flatly. "Since you don't like the water, you'd better get lost."
"You're just trying to get rid of me!" Achilles protests, and Patroclus doesn't deign to give a response. Scowling again, Achilles hurries to keep up with Patroclus' longer stride, and by the time they reach the water's edge, he's out of breath from trotting through the sand that wraps around their feet to trip them.
Patroclus keeps going, until the waves are lapping at his knees; Achilles lingers on the shore, sitting on the sand where the water rises just barely to his toes, and eyes each approaching wave with suspicion until it goes sulking back to the sea.
"I'm not going away," he calls.
"I'll have to try harder then," Patroclus tosses back over his shoulder, bending to scoop smooth stones off the bottom, easy to see through the clear water. When he straightens, a willowy woman with dripping curls is in front of him, and he nearly trips back into the water with a splash in surprise.
"You are brave to speak to the prince of Phthia so," she says, but her voice is gentle like the lapping of the waves on the sand. "You are already an exile from one kingdom, Patroclus."
"Hello, mother!" Achilles calls from the shore, but still will not come any closer.
"Thetis," Patroclus greets, only a trace of truculence in his voice, and he bends his head a little.
"He likes you." Thetis nods towards Achilles. "You should be an example for him."
"Does the prince of Phthia need his mother to find friends for him?" Patroclus inquires, flipping one of the stones back into the water with his thumb. He nearly drops the rest when Thetis laughs like spring rain.
"Yes," she answers, laying a hand on Patroclus' shoulder. It feels cool against his skin after the heat of the sun. "I charge you with the care of my son, Patroclus. There are great and terrible things ahead of him, and I fear for him."
"Then perhaps you shouldn't place him in the hands of a boy who murders friends over dice." Patroclus' voice wavers more than he would like, and he's burning with shame that his eyes are damp when Thetis puts a hand under his chin to raise his chin.
"You must teach him the difference between being a warrior and being a hero," Thetis says. "You have learned it already, but I fear Achilles will never discover it on his own. There is too much of the gods in him."
Thetis presses something into his Patroclus' hands, and his fingers curl around it numbly. He trudges back to the shore after Thetis slips away into the ocean, and collapses to sit next to Achilles in the sand.
"She's beautiful, isn't she?" Achilles says proudly.
"She didn't seem too interested in talking to you," Patroclus grumbles, making Achilles frown, but he pays it no mind and looks instead at his hand. He's holding a small pile of flat stones worn smooth and warm by the sand, perfect for skipping.
Picking one out, he flips it towards the ocean with an expert twist of his wrist, and Achilles' eyes light up when it skips at least four times before sinking.
"Teach me!" he demands, sidling closer, and Patroclus spills half the stones into his cupped hands.