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Staring at the Sea

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Ever since the day
when the first autumn wind blew,
not a day has passed
but I have stood on the beach
of the heavenly river.
- KKS 173

The sea is as it ever was, the tide rolling in fierce and cold as the gulls wheel overhead, crying mournfully. Achilles sits on the sand, implacable as the shoreline. He inclines his head as the sun rises, though he knows the sun god has set himself against the Achaeans in this war. They are on the same side at the moment.

Perhaps today will be the day Agamemnon sees sense and asks him to return. Argives are dying by the score under Trojan spears, and the Myrmidons grow restless for the fight. But anger still burns low in Achilles' belly, and his heart is hardened against even the most passionate entreaties from his men.

"A glorious day for battle."

He turns to see Patroclus striding toward him tall and golden in the glow of the rising sun.

"Not for us," he answers, but he smiles when he says it. Patroclus is the only one who sees his smile these days.


He holds out a hand. "It's a beautiful dawn. Don't ruin it by arguing."

Patroclus drops to the sand beside him, and shakes his head. "I wasn't going to argue. I missed you last night."

"You seemed quite entertained by Antilochus and his knucklebones. I didn't wish to interrupt."

Patroclus laughs. "I wouldn't have minded."

"Losing, were you?" Achilles means to cuff him lightly on the shoulder, but his hand settles onto warm skin where Patroclus' chiton gapes, and he chooses to leave it there.

"My luck took a bad turn, yes," Patroclus replies ruefully, leaning into Achilles' touch. He closes his eyes and lets his head fall forward as Achilles massages his shoulder.

Achilles can almost imagine they're home. "I miss Phthia," he says softly, pressing his lips to Patroclus' neck. "The green fields, the fine women--"

"You were the finest woman Phthia ever produced," Patroclus answers, and Achilles shoves him down into the sand, laughing.

They wrestle playfully, and for a few moments, it is as if they really are back in Phthia. Then Patroclus rolls them over and pins him. Achilles bucks up, not hard enough to throw him off, but enough to save his honor, and Patroclus stills him with a kiss, warm and soft.

Achilles relaxes, one hand coming up to cup Patroclus' face, enjoying the rough scrape of stubble against his palm and even the grit of sand clinging to them both. Their tongues slide and curl around each other as their bodies had moments before, and Patroclus moans softly into his mouth.

They are both breathing heavily when Patroclus slides his lips along Achilles' jaw, nipping at the spot below his ear, hands already pushing up under Achilles' chiton to stroke his thighs, the soft wool rough against suddenly sensitive skin. Achilles arches under this assault, desire firing in his veins like lightning, the ragged huff of their breathing a soft counterpoint to the crash of the sea beyond.

Patroclus moves far too slowly for Achilles’ taste, hands feathering over Achilles' belly, hips and thighs before finally wrapping a hand around the base of his cock. Achilles growls and attempts to glare down at Patroclus, who simply ignores him, all attention focused on the cock in his hand. He darts out his tongue to lick at the head, and Achilles growls again, this time in pleasure and need. Patroclus takes the hint this time, though amusement lingers in his eyes as he wraps his mouth around the head and sucks.

Tight, hot, wet, Patroclus' skilled slick-rough tongue curls around him, driving him mad with lust, thighs spread wide and wanton. He twines his fingers tightly in Patroclus' hair, smooth and shining against his fingers and gives himself over to the aching, spiraling pressure building inside him.

Here on the rough sands of Ilium, in the shadow of the black ships of the Achaeans, Achilles surrenders himself to Patroclus and comes undone with a hoarse cry. His body draws taut as a bowstring, then eases with a sigh to rest, sated, upon the sand.

Patroclus kisses him again, and he tastes himself, salt-bitter like the sea, like his anger unassuaged. He reaches down and strokes Patroclus to completion, swallowing his shuddering cries, which sound all too much like the mournful call of the gulls.

He presses a kiss to Patroclus’ forehead and they rest for a few moments in languorous silence, which is broken by the sounds of men approaching. No doubt they wish to plead again with Achilles to fight, or at least let them join the battle today. Even Patroclus’ most tender entreaties have fallen on deaf ears, and Achilles is not interested in hearing from the other men now. He feels contentment slip away as his anger rises once more.

"We will never see Phthia again," Patroclus says softly, before the others reach them.

"No," Achilles agrees, though he has spoken recently of returning home in spite of his oaths to fight for the Achaeans. Patroclus sighs and says nothing. "But our memory shall live forever."

For Achilles, it is enough.