It's the middle of summer break. The heat radiating from the concrete is too much to bear, and the streets of the city look as dead as an empty movie set. People stay sheltered in their homes behind their closed shutters. Birds don't even sing and only ciccadas are disturbing the quiet midday slumber.
Patroclus is in his room, fan turned on to maximal speed, and tries to make out the reflection of his body in the dim light. Let's see, he thinks, I got tanned, and bulkier too.
His summer job mainly consists of refilling the stocks of paint, screwdrivers, lightbulbs, nails, that mysteriously seem to quickly disappear from the aisles of the supply store. His manager has probably sensed something in him - fear, like a shark smells blood - because she's been asking more of him everyday, pulling the string until it snaps. Only Patroclus desperatly needs this job, or the money that goes with it, and can be as much as a stubborn bastard when dealing with adversity. He has no intention of quitting and glares at the woman's fuming expression while singlehandedly discharging a truck full of very, very heavy boxes.
Great workout routine I guess, he shrugs to himself while continuing his inspection. His hair has gotten lighter from sun exposure and he can almost notice some freckles along the line of his nose. He figures he'll probably have more moles as well. All things considered, he is a tall, slender but muscular young man in his prime, with dark hair, eyes and long eyelashes. His smile is crooked, but in a charming unique way. I can't deny it any longer, he sighs to himself. He looks hot.
He feels like a jock, something he is not used to. He's always been the nerdy, scrawny looking kid that gets bullied and whom girls turn down for fun. Not that he had much interest in girls to begin with. Scary. But many things have changed since that time. He met good people, fought depression and won (at least for now but that's something, right?) and started building what he feels might be the most important thing of his life.
I'm so... He thinks just as the door leading to the bathroom slams open and Achilles' naked body struts in the room.
His eyes go naturally straight to Patroclus' shape in the shadows of the bedroom and he chuckles lightly. "Ooh, looking at my boyfriend I see. I understand, he's gorgeous, isn't he?" He winks while rubbing his wet hair with a towel.
Patroclus looks away, embarassed. "I was just thinking about how much I've changed, I don't really look like a kid anymore."
Achilles stands up again after putting his underwear on and walks up to him, hugs him from behind so they are both facing the mirror. He kisses Patroclus' neck as he nods, "Hm-hm, definitely not a kid...". His hands slide from his boyfriend's waist to his shoulders, along his arms and back to circling his sides. "You're beautiful. So, so pretty it hurts to look at you", his voice is quiet, reverent. That's the reason, Patroclus supposes, he is.
Before Achilles, he could stay in his little grey world, feel sorry for himself, ugly, alone, miserable. Worthless. He could believe what he was raised on was true, he was an embarassement, a burden.
Fortunately, Achilles derailed these thoughts, learnt the hard way how to keep him grounded, safe from his father's voice that kept whispering things to him at night. He tells him everyday, how beautiful Patroclus is, how he is his whole world and more, how he loves him more than his own life.
It does something to you, Patroclus always says, when a literal model tells you you're handsome. Achilles usually looks away and mumbles he's only been on one cover of Teen Vogue, not ashamed, really, but refusing to acknowledge it as exceptionnal or worthy of praises. His work is what should get praised - and it does.
Nevertheless, Patroclus is still amazed and maybe, maybe, is starting to believe him a little. Not to the extent Achilles would like him to - he would be happy carrying Patroclus around so he doesn't have to walk ever again - but a touch. His confidence is growing and he doesn't always think about things getting ripped away from him.
He lets himself bask in the feeling, a sense of peace and belonging so strong it feels like a wave. Achilles' arms are still tight around him.
"It's because of you, you know?" He breathes quietly. "I guess your optimism is rubbing off on me or something." Your unwavering love, is what he doesn't say.
And that's how it is, they hold each close and breathe together, warm skins and gentle looks. And that's how it'll be. The world is still turning.