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15 November 2008 @ 11:00 am
In All but Blood, ch 27  
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.

 

Achilles thought he might have been able to fall asleep to the rocking of the ship. He lay near the stern, looking up at the sky and the rudder man, listening to the creaking of the wood. Only half the men were rowing, every other oar moving through the water. In a little while shifts would change, and they'd be the ones resting. At the bow Odysseus was talking quietly with his pilot, who was keeping an eye on the horizon to make sure they wouldn't drift off course. He supposed it may not be that hard, as they had never really moved out of the sight of land; if they did, they could land at some or another settlement and ask where they were.


It had been a little over a day since they left Skyros, and he felt nothing could spoil his mood. Not that there wasn't anything that could make him grumpy—Deidamia had been sour the whole time, but had stopped talking to him the moment they boarded. He wouldn't complain.


On the other hand, Achilles had agreed to take along Automedon, who was the son of some wealthy friend of Lycomedes', and who wanted to be able to experience war first hand. He had been disbelieving when he found that not only would he not be fighting, but he was going to be Achilles' page. In the boy's defense, Achilles supposed he'd be just as angry if he had been told to serve someone not much older than himself as a servant might, but Automedon had been making the worst fuss over it instead of making the best of the situation. Achilles remembered how Chiron had beaten the three of them into submission until they had learned to look on the brighter side of obeying their superior. He wished he could do that now to this brat.


“Hey, kid.” Achilles turned to look at the rudder man. He may have been offended at being referred to as 'kid' if he wasn't such a friendly man. “That's Euboea there.”


Achilles sat up and scooted over to the side to look where the man had nodded. All he really saw was a huge land mass. But he remembered it—Euboea was just across a channel from his home. And suddenly he felt a slight surge of fear. He had to see his father again, and all the others he had left behind. And most, he had to see Patroclus.


It had been all he thought about since he knew he could go home. But now he was uncertain. What if he had a lover? What if he didn't like him anymore? What if he had grown up to be a complete asshole? What if he had been maimed by war? The possibilities seemed endless. He looked up as he heard footsteps behind him, and saw Odysseus smiling at him.


“I've changed my mind,” he said. “I'll go back to Ithaca with you.”


Odysseus laughed. “Got the jitters, huh? Nervous to see Patroclus again?”


“What makes you think that?” But Achilles couldn't look him in the eye.


“You're a horrible liar, you know that?” Odysseus sat down next to him. “You're pretty easy to read.”


“Shut up...”


“It's not a bad thing. It just shows that you're honest. Not like me,” he said, and laughed again. “I don't blame you, though. He's really something.” Achilles looked at him, trying to figure out what he meant by that. He got a wry smile instead. “Don't worry, I haven't gone near him. I'm not really interested. But I'll tell you, he's really grown up. Handsome, quiet, intelligent...”


“...not like me.”


“You're really something yourself,” he said, shaking his head. “Where's this sudden lack of confidence coming from? I have seen you brag up and down, and now you're convinced that your best friend since childhood will hate you?”


It's not...” Achilles stopped at the look Odysseus gave him. He could see through him. “Okay...it is. But not entirely.”


“Alright. I'll accept that. But I'll tell you from experience, it's happened before that a man has worried unnecessarily that a person he loves won't love him back. Sometimes we have to trust the gods' determination in sticking two people together.”


They didn't talk after that, just watched as Euboea got closer, and they skirted the island. The rest of the men eventually picked up their oars and they sped up to an impressive pace. Achilles laughed as the window and mist from the sea hit his face. He knew his clothes would be stiff from the salt later, but at that moment he was at complete happiness.


“How long?” he asked.


Odysseus considered for a moment. “Well, if the wind works against us, I'd say half a day.”


“And if if helps?”


“Quite a bit shorter.” They turned as a couple men left their oars to unfurl the sail. “Shorter.”


They rounded to tip of the island, and Achilles could see the mountains of Phthia. Odysseus returned to the bow to stand next to his pilot once more. Achilles half wanted to jump in the water and swim the rest of the way, but logic told him there was no way he'd be any faster than the ship, and he'd probably drown before he made it. The other half of him wanted to just get up and walk around, but he didn't want to be in the way. Finally he had to content himself with simply watching the approaching land.


As the shore came into view, so did the town. Some of the people had stopped to watch the ship. He could see a group of horsemen riding down the mountain from the palace. He could make out his father now, tall and blond, jumping off his horse and running to the edge of the water. Odysseus gave a should and waved his arm.


“Joy to you, Peleus,” he shouted. “I bring something very precious to you!”


Achilles was out of his seat in an instant, running to the boy to look out at his father. They had barely landed before Achilles was off the edge. As Peleus hugged his son, Achilles thought that he remembered him being a lot bigger. Peleus pulled back and held him at arm's length.


“Look at you,” he said. “By Zeus, you've grown. I remember sending off a chubby little boy!”


Achilles blushed. “Joy to you, Father,” he said, and looked behind Peleus. He turned his attention back to his father. “Um...where's Patroclus?”


Peleus smiled. “I thought you'd ask. He's running an errand for me, but he'll probably be back by the time we reach the palace.”


Achilles' eyes widened. “No!” he said. “I'm happy to see you, really I am. I was just wondering--”


“Don't worry,” Peleus said, his smile softening. “Patroclus has been a far bigger influence in your life than I have. Of course you'd notice his presence right away. Speaking of missing people, where's Phoenix?”


“Oh,” Achilles said, glancing behind him. “He said something about being too old to moving around all the time. He's coming in a couple days. And about my entourage...” He looked back again to see Deidamia being helped down from the ship. “I got myself into a little trouble in Skyros. It's a little complicated, and I'd prefer waiting to explain.”


Peleus frowned curiously, but nodded. He looked over at the group by the ship. “Well, since we've got an extra horse brought down for Phoenix, I suppose we should give it to the lady. And one of my men can give up one for the boy. I can tell from the way he's holding himself he's used it riding.”


“We should make him walk,” Achilles grumbled.


“Huh?” Peleus turned back to his son.


“Nothing. I agreed to allow him come with us, so that he could serve under me as my page, but he's been a brat the whole way.”


“So you are going to war?”


I haven't decided yet. But I just wanted to get him off my back.”


 

Peleus merely sighed and led Achilles over to the horses, where the others were already seated and waiting. Together they rode up to the palace.

 


Notes: So, apparently I'm supposed to have a minimum of 15,000 words done by Monday. So I'll be working extra hard! I had fully intended to have the big reunion this chapter, but it was so long already (at least for an online-lj-chapter). And I'm adding more stuff onto other parts.

Looking at the whole thing, I've got 108 pages, 30,904 words!


Twenty-eight: Euphoria

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Current Mood: hungryhungry
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
MissTeacakes: Femiomissteacakes on November 15th, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC)
I know! I was trying to make it stop, but it just wouldn't! So...it's coming, I promise. Within the next 24 hours.
jacitr on November 15th, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry i should have commented before on other chapters, but has only just recently occured to me.

Anyway, Achilles is so sweet! All nervous and eager at the same time, but I can't wait for his and Patroclus' reunion! I'd beg on my hands and knee's for you to update, but it's a bit difficult online, so I'll ask you nicely instead.

Would you please update as soon as you are able?

I apologise for the long comment and the stuck-up way in which I've written it ^-^

Thank you for this chapter! XD
MissTeacakes: Dreammissteacakes on November 16th, 2008 02:46 am (UTC)
It's okay, any reply is fun for me! And no, you didn't sound stuck upOr maybe I think that because I know I sound stuck up sometimes?

But it'll probably be up within the next day or so. I can't wait for it, either.