Patroclus was making dinner. It was a bit early for dinner if he was being honest, but he spent his lunch hour in the library, revising for his test that happened that same day. He took the rest of the day to relax in their little off-campus apartment.
He was extremely excited to eat this simple grilled cheese. So excited that he didn’t think much of his cell phone ringing (he thought it might be Achilles saying that practice was over and that he was coming home. In the back of his mind, he was aware that his practice wouldn’t be over for another hour, but again, grilled cheese). He answered the phone without looking at the caller and said:
It was not Achilles, that’s for sure. It was, actually, a very sweet female voice that pronounced his name extremely wrong. His eyes widened in shame for the fact that he called this random lady babe, but he soon remembered that this very random lady, with a very professional and sweet voice just called him by his last name.
“Yes, who is it?”
“Mr. Menoetides, my name is Kelly and I work in the Memorial Hospital”
He froze in the spot. His heart started beating faster and his stomach started to hurt. He thought that maybe something happened to Achilles. But he was in practice so nothing could’ve gone wrong! Or maybe something happened to Briseis? He couldn’t fathom the idea that something happened to any of his friends. His frantic and anxious thoughts were interrupted once again by the lady — Kelly.
“Mr. Menoetides. I’m sorry to inform you that your father had a heart attack. He is awake right now, but the doctors assume that he only has a few hours left. We asked him if he had someone to visit or call, and he told us to call you, his son. He requested to speak with you”
Patroclus blinked slowly a few times, trying to comprehend what was just said: His dad had a heart attack, he was going to die and he asked to speak with Patroclus of all people. His only son, that reminded him in any opportunity of how much of a waste of space he was, that he was a disappointment, that, because of him, his wife would still be alive. That would beat him up whenever he drank too much. This man wanted to speak with his son, for the first time in years, on his deathbed... for what really? What could possibly be said? A goodbye? An apology? He noticed that he spent a long time in silence and hurried to say something.
“Uhm... I-“ This was hard. This was really, really hard “I think- Yeah...? Maybe- Yeah, okay, I’ll talk to him, yes.” God, how pathetic. He wished Achilles was here, to give him some grounding. To hold his hand. Now, Patroclus was sitting on one of the chairs, grilled cheese completely forgotten on the counter.
A few second passed, and a familiar voice that made Patroclus flinch said:
“My son” It was said with so much disdain and disgust that made his eyes sting and he fought an overwhelming want to cry. He would not cry again, not because of this man. “My biggest disappointment”
“Dad” He said weakly.
“God I did not miss you a bit. Pathetic, Patroclus, really, and also, a bit amusing, how big of a disappointment you are. I wouldn’t be surprised to be told that you are the cause of my death, considering how many things you have ruined, right?” An empty laugh. A pause. More cruel words. “You remember that boy, Patroclus? That was, perhaps, the first big thing you have ever ruined. My only son, a cold-blooded murderer. You don’t have any idea of the shame I felt that day, Patroclus. The disgust. I had to face that couple and say that my son would never do something like that, but we both know the truth. You killed that boy. You are a monster”
“Dad...” He repeated again, shakily, even weaker. Damn the not crying thing. The tears were freely falling down his face now. His voice was harsh, and his tone left no room for doubt. The things he was saying were probably not true, but he said with so much conviction that it was impossible to not believe him.
“Are you... Are you crying?! Are you fucking crying right now?! Oh my God!” He laughed, amused. “I thought you couldn’t stoop any lower, but you keep surprising me. Honestly Patroclus, thanks to you, the last things I’m going to feel in my life are shame, disgust, disappointment, and it’s all your fault!” He was almost yelling at this point. Patroclus distantly wondered why the nurses weren’t doing anything. A man in his state shouldn’t be yelling “It’s your fault that your mom died giving birth to a waste of time like you! It’s your damn fault that my name was disgraced! It’s all your fucking fault that my life was ruined” He was so mad. Patroclus could see his fists trembling, itching to hit him.
“Dad, I’m sorry...” He couldn’t breath.
“I don’t want your goddamn apologies. I’m just glad that I’m finally going to die so I don’t have to deal with a piece of shit like you anymore”
He hung up the phone and Patroclus stayed there, frozen, standing in the middle of his little kitchen, distantly wondering when he had got up from his chair, unstoppably crying. He slowly lowered himself to the floor.
His dad’s words wouldn’t stop running through his head in a loop.
Waste of time
Piece of shit
Patroclus thought that he would never stop crying. He also thought that he probably deserved it. He just caused pain. The wave of guilt that washed through him in that moment made his vision go black for a second, before a new round of crying started, this time a little bit louder. He distantly thought that he should keep it down so he wouldn’t bother the neighbors.
His fingers were underneath his hoodie now, digging it’s nails in the flesh of his arms, scratching involuntarily. He didn’t want to do that but it kept him grounded and made him forget his mind yelling at him that he shouldn’t live disgrace a piece of shit like this shouldn’t even bother to-
Hands, strong but gentle hands, gripped at his wrists, effectively stopping the scratching. His head shot up to the owner of said hands and his brown eyes met blue. Worried blue. Achilles he thought, or maybe he said. He couldn’t be sure. The only thing is his mind was Achilles Achilles Achilles help me and he just buried his head on his shoulder and continued crying. The same hands that stopped the scratching were rubbing his back and picked him up effortlessly. Patroclus felt his back touching a comfortable piece of furniture, that he recognized being their bed. Achilles came right after him, laying next to him and pulling him close.
Patroclus was now on top of Achilles, crying desperately on his shoulder, and he didn’t know how to stop. He didn’t know if he even could. Achilles was just holding him and kissing his hair occasionally, and Patroclus was just so grateful for this man.
Of course his brain ruined everything and as soon as he thought of how much he loved Achilles, his brain started listing reasons why he didn’t deserve him. Achilles was so good, and Patroclus was just... trash. A murderer, a monster. All those words started running through his head again and he started crying even more. Achilles held him tight and said:
“Patroclus, what are you talking about… You aren’t any of those things. You are not. Where did that come from?”
“I... “ It took him a minute to figure out that he was actually saying those words out loud, and Achilles heard him. “I- My dad, he-” His voice wobbled and he couldn’t help start crying now.
Achilles stiffened at the mention of his dad, as it always did when it happened. Patroclus knew how much Achilles hated the man, and he couldn’t blame him.But now Patroclus worried how would he react when he told him what was said in the phone call. Patroclus was taking a minute trying to not believe any of the things that were said, but Achilles would be furious once he found out that his dad chose his last minutes of life to say how much he hated his only son.
That thought started a whole new wave of anxiety induced thoughts. Only this time, Patroclus was not crying. He was silent, save for a few sniffles, staring numbly at the wall, a million thoughts per minute.
Those were the words of a dying man. A man called his only son so he could tell him how much he hated him. His last words. That must mean something. That must mean it’s all true. It’s all true, all true, he’s a murderer, a disappointment, a waste of time, he doesn’t deserve this lovely man trying to calm him down and he doesn’t deserve to live and help me help me help me.
He noticed he started trembling, and Achilles draped a blanket on top of them, while asking:
“What are you thinking, love? Whatever it is, I know it’s bad, so it’s not true” Patroclus finally looked at him, then, and Achilles looked at him and whispered “What’s wrong?” while caressing his face.
Patroclus looked at him for a second, took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and released the breath, opening his eyes once more. He looked straight into the most beautiful green colored eyes he had ever seen and started talking, doing his best to keep his voice steady and his tears at bay. (He failed miserably)
“The hospital called. My dad had a heart attack. He only had a few hours to live, but he was awake and they told me he wanted to speak to me. I didn’t know what to do, so I just… said yes. I don’t know… I think I thought it could be an apology? A goodbye?” He laughed sarcastically “Well you could say it was a goodbye” He averted his eyes to Achilles chest then, and felt his fingers tilting his eyes back to his. He took another deep breath and told him everything that his father said. How he blamed Patroclus for ruining his life. How he was glad that was going to die so he didn't have to deal with a disappointment such as him.
Achilles' face was a mess of emotion. Pain, horror, anger, disgust (At Menoetius, not Patroclus. Never at Patroclus). When Patroclus was done, he was surprised to see that there were tears glinting in his eyes.
Achilles stared at his for a couple seconds before bringing Patroclus’ face closer to his and kissing him gently. He held Patroclus tightly, but gently like always.
“Patroclus you could never be a monster” Achilles started ”You are not a monster. You are the sweetest, kindest, most amazing and perfect human being that ever walked oh this earth. You deserve the entire world, Patroclus. Please know that. You deserve a life full of love, happiness, and everything else that you wish. You have never ever disappointed me. Or anyone for that matter. You are simply the best. You could never disappoint anybody. Your dad is just a bitter man that saw that his son was a better person, living a better life, being more amazing, than him.
“You are not a murderer, Pat” He said that with so much conviction, and looking straight into his eyes that Patroclus couldn’t help but let out a small sob “You are not and I’ll fight everyone that thinks otherwise. You were a child. It was an accident, Patroclus, you didn’t mean it. I’m sorry it ever happened but it was just an accident. Don’t ever think that you’re not worth living. I know dozens and dozens of people who would be absolutely wrecked if you ever died. Me included” He caressed Patroclus cheek and said in a choked voice “God, I… I don’t know what I would do if you ever died, Pat” A tear rolled down his face and Patroclus was quick to kiss it away “I can’t even imagine. I think I would go mad”
Patroclus looked at him for a minute. His crying subsided marginally, but was in serious risk of returning. He couldn’t bear to see Achilles sad. He just closed his eyes for a minute, took a deep breath, looked at Achilles again and mustered a small, genuine smile for him.
“Thank you. I love you so much, Achilles. So, so much. I’m not going anywhere” He kissed Achilles softly on the lips, murmuring I love you’s against his lips. He couldn’t believe that the most amazing man in the whole world loved him just as much as he did. He couldn’t believe that he got to be held like that whenever he needed. He couldn’t believe how in love he was and how much he was loved back. And by his best friend.
Achilles just held him, until he finally calmed down, and Patroclus couldn’t ask for anything else. He just focused on the feeling of Achilles, my Achilles, and every and any thought he had of his dad were pushed to the back of his mind.
They laid there for a while, until a loud rumbling noise broke the comfortable silence. It took Patroclus a second to realize that it was coming from him. More specifically, his stomach. Achilles looked at him, trying to be annoyed that he didn’t eat, but something that looked a lot like amusement was dancing in his eyes. Patroclus let out a weak chuckle and regrettably got up, saying:
“I haven’t eaten all day. I was making an amazing and blessed grilled cheese and then Kelly the nurse called. Fuck, it probably turned to stone at this point…” He heard Achilles laughing quietly behind him. He turned to him, a question in his eyes.
Achilles shrugged, faking nonchalance and said “I just love you a lot, you know?” Patroclus looked at him fondly and Achilles continued “ I’m going to make you something to eat. It’s going to be quick and amazing. It’s a Brazilian recipe. You’re going to love it. It’ll make you feel a lot better” He gave Patroclus a quick peck on the lips “Go find something for us to watch”
He went to the kitchen rapidly after that, and Patroclus smiled fondly. He went to the living room and quickly found something. He waited for Achilles, and noticed that something was smelling very good. He told him as much, and was answered with a laugh and a “I know, babe”
Soon, Achilles showed up holding two plates with something brown that resembled melted chocolate on them.
“Careful, it’s hot” He said, holding out a spoon. He sat down next to Patroclus, who just snuggled up closer to him, resting his head on Achilles’ chest. “Start eating from the borders. The middle is very hot, so leave it to the end”
Patroclus took a spoonful from the borders, bringing it to his mouth. His mouth exploded with sweetness and Patroclus literally moaned. This was heavenly.
“Oh my God, Achilles. This is-”
“Amazing doesn’t even begin to cover it. This is, like, the best thing I've ever tasted. What is this, anyway?”
Achilles chuckled and answered “It’s called brigadeiro. My mom taught me the last time I visited her. It’s awesome, right?”
Patroclus was too busy eating to properly answer, so he just nodded frantically. He was a gigantic sweet tooth, so this was just perfect for and just what he needed.
Patroclus paused eating and looked at his boyfriend fondly. He didn’t have words to say how grateful he was, so he just said “Thank you. For everything. I love you so much”
Achilles smiled softly and kissed his forehead “Anything for you, love. I love you too”
Patroclus just nestled even closer to him, wanting to be as close as possible to him, started the movie, and hoped to whatever god there was to never take this away from him.