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12 August 2008 @ 05:17 pm
In all but Blood, ch 20  
Title: In all but Blood
Rating: PG-13
Summary: When Patroclus accidentally kills a friend in an argument, he and his father are forced to flee to Phthia, where the queen is said to be a goddess and he's asked to look after her tiny son, unknowing that a series of events has been put into play that will change the world forever.

 

It seemed to Achilles that Skyros wasn't so much an island as a set of mountains that the gods, not knowing what else to do with them, had simply dumped into the sea. The palace of Lycomedes was perched on top of one, with only one road leading up to it, the rest being cliffs.

 

Apparently Thetis had gone to Phthia to inform Peleus of the situation. After much heaving and hauling and arguing, they convinced her that it would be best if Phoenix went to Skyros to look after her son. Achilles was delighted to have his old tutor there; it had been very lonely, as only Lycomedes and his daughters knew his identity, and he was disallowed from doing any of the things he really wanted to, since he was technically supposed to be a girl.

 

While he knew that Phoenix truly loved him and was happy to see him, he was sure that a good part of the reason for his moving to Skyros was his and Peleus' fears of him becoming too effeminate while surrounded by girls, and needed to be encouraged toward the interests of boys. Achilles didn't see any reason for their fear; he was completely uninterested in any of the girls. Instead he was content to just sit with Phoenix and listen to his stories.

 

Peleus, he told Achilles, had been disconcerted when Thetis showed up. He had grown used to her absence, and was content; her return had disrupted everything, and left him rather upset. Achilles hadn't been ecstatic himself at seeing his mother again, if only for the fact that he could barely even remember her. Still, he wished his parents got along better than they did.

 

Phoenix also mentioned that Patroclus had returned from Mount Pelion; Chiron had released him, so to speak, seeing how Achilles was gone and Medeus had returned home, and so seemed pointless to hold Patroclus.

 

“Does...does he have a lover?” Achilles asked.

 

Phoenix paused for a moment, as if he wasn't sure Achilles knew what he was talking about. In all fairness, he didn't quite know what being lovers entailed. Medeus had explained the very basics of sex to him just before he left, as if he wasn't quite sure how to. Achilles still didn't really understand the exact mechanics of it all, and when he asked how one was able to, the older boy gave up and said, “You'll get it in a few years.” He did, however, understand the feelings behind being lovers, and knew that he didn't want anyone getting that from Patroclus.

 

No,” Phoenix said, finally. “He has had...encounters, but never anything more.”

 

Achilles let out the breath that he wasn't aware that he'd been holding. Phoenix was giving him a strange expression, seeing the boy's relief. Then the man gave a sort of wry smile, as if he knew what Achilles was thinking.

 

Oh, Phoenix,” Achilles said, suddenly remembering something. “Theseus is here! I heard some of the others talking about him, about all the stuff he did! There's so many things I want to ask him, but I can't, because I'm supposed to be a girl.”

 

This time his guardian laughed. “Why don't you tell me, and I can ask for you.”

 

~*~

 

Things became more interesting in time. Phoenix convinced Lycomedes to allow Achilles to use the gymnasium, if he did so at night. He tended to be a lot more satisfied when he got to exercise, and practice his fighting, even if it was only with Phoenix, who was getting rather old, so that Achilles felt he needed to go a little easier on him.

 

Once in a while he would run off to be alone, until someone caught up to haul him back to the castle. Often he would go down a private part of the beach, so that he could go swimming without breaking his promise to his mother. Should anyone venture down his way, which didn't happen frequently, he would leave before they saw him. After a while, he became very complacent, and, as he found out, careless.

 

It was a bright sunny day, and rather hot. He had gone down to the beach to take a swim, and wasn't paying attention to much else. It wasn't until the man had been standing there for a few minutes that Achilles noticed he was being watched. He knew the man at once, and stood in horror, the water only coming up to his mid-thighs. He then swore and plunged down so that only his head and shoulders were showing. Not that it made that much of a difference.

 

Good afternoon, my lady,” Theseus said, no longer able to hide his laughter.

 

Don't tell anyone,” Achilles said, pleadingly.

 

Theseus studied him for a moment in consideration. Achilles thought how he looked almost like a bronze statue, with his deep gold hair and tanned skin.

 

Alright,” he said, eventually. “If you tell me why in the world you would pretend to be a girl.”

 

With a sigh, Achilles stood and made his way to the beach, snatching up his towel and dress. Theseus waited patiently while he dried off and dressed, then the two of them made their way down the beach. Achilles told him how, since his mother was a goddess, she knew all about the future, and wanted to keep him hidden so he didn't go to war too young. Since he wasn't yet a man, he didn't really have any right to argue about it, and she hadn't even asked his father's opinion.

 

I hate it here,” he concluded. “I want to go home, and to see my father and my cousin again.”

 

Cousin?”

 

Patroclus,” Achilles said. “We've never been apart this long. He's always been there, as long as I can remember. His father is the kind of Opus, Menoetius.”

 

Theseus nodded. “I know the name. Opus isn't so far from Athens, although they're in different regions. They're Locrians.”

 

Patroclus told me that he could see Euboea from his father's palace,” Achilles said. “So it'd be on the northern shore. Isn't Athens in the middle of Attica?”

 

Well, yeah,” Theseus admitted, shrugging slightly. “But it's not as far as some other places. Like Phthia.”

 

Phoenix says that distance is relative.”

 

Theseus laughed. “So it is.” They stopped. The town wasn't so far away, and it would be a bad idea to walk through it together. People were already questioning Phoenix's interest in the lovely girl, Pyrrha, who had been staying in the palace, and there wasn't any real danger there. There was a rumor, though, that Theseus had kidnapped a girl so that he could marry her, so it would be bad if they were seen together. “Well,” he said. “It's been nice talking to you. And I wish you luck on getting out of here. I promise I won't tell your little secret.”

 

Achilles smiled at Theseus, and ran off up the hill, eager to tell Phoenix about his meeting with the hero.


Notes: I'm excited. I've written twenty chapters. It's a big thing for me. I don't know why I imagine Theseus like this, I just do.

Um, yeah. Poor, innocent Achilles. He only sort of gets all that grown up stuff.


Since I'm this far, I'll post all the chapters later tonight, including the extras. It just takes too long.

Twenty-One: Lycomedes' Crime

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