so it’s all come back ‘round to breaking apart again breaking apart like I’m made up of glass again making it up behind my back again
holding my breath for the fear of sleep again
holding it up behind my head again cut in deep to the heart of the bone again ‘round and ‘round and ‘round it’s coming apart again over and over and over
“Of course. It’s the music that plays in my head when I watch you sleep. I needed the world to hear it.” I laughed, knocking his shoulder with mine. “The world? I am the only one here,” I joked. “Precisely,” Achilles responded, looking at me through his eyelashes, and my breath hitched.
I feel my breath catch in my throat when he reaches a hand out, tentative, and wraps loose fingers around my ankle where it rests near his head. A sharp shock of recognition runs through me, and my skin feels electric with it. I’ve known these hands before, I’m sure of it. According to Greek mythology, five rivers run through the Underworld: Styx (the river of hatred), Acheron (the river of sorrow), Cocytus (the river of lamentation), Phlegethon (the river of fire), and Lethe (the river of forgetfulness). Those who wish to live again may be reincarnated, but not before they drink from the water of Lethe, erasing all traces of their past lives and selves. Reincarnation AU
It’s not that Patroclus somehow has not noticed that his new favorite coffee shop seemed to only hire possible models, but, well. There’s a thin line between noticing and admiring a person’s looks and being fucking creepy about it. (aka the very, very cliche coffee shop au.)
He follows the voice on instinct. He knows that voice better than his own, knows it deep in the darkest crevasses of himself, in the space where nothing else exists. He would follow that voice into Hell itself. Perhaps he is already there.
He had always been told he was the fastest boy in the world, but never before had he so desperately needed this to be the truth as he did then, thin branches whipping his face as he ran through the trees, clutching Patroclus tight to his chest.
“It’s 42 degrees, Pat. 42 degrees.” He hisses, when Patroclus comes him from his shift at the hospital to find Achilles wrapped up in an unbelievably large jumper, a blanket, his hat, scarf, and gloves. With the thermostat turned right the way up. “You’re ridiculous,” Pat tells him, pressing a kiss to Achilles’ forehead.
The first time I fell in love with him, both of us were destined for death. I fell because I made the mistake of testing the Gods. He fell because he was enraged at my death; he was blood thirsty. The second time, I never met him. I wish I was able to say that third time was the charm. But it wasn’t; he was in love with someone else. An attractive boy, better than I ever was. Though, whenever I did see the two together, he never looked happy. The fourth time, I knew him, he didn’t know me. The fifth time is right now.
It is times like these that you are not sure whether you admire him or whether you are repulsed by him. The incident that leads to the whole Achilles/Pat relationship. All from my twisted, absent mind.
Achilles knew his truest triumphs would never be strung together in verse to be sung at campfires, knew that no poet or aoidos would ever know his greatest success. No, these conquests – the huff of Patroclus’ laughter against his throat, the sharp, sea-salt taste of Patroclus’ skin after a swim, the way Patroclus’ eyelids fluttered after every kiss – those were Achilles’ alone to cherish. Or: Four times Achilles and Patroclus were truly happy.
So far, Patroclus has learned the following about Achilles: - He doesn’t get along with either of his parents, but - he lives with his dad when he’s not at school, and - his dad pays for college and - the frat house he lives in was named by his dad - (but really, does Achilles want to follow in his dad’s footsteps?) - (honestly, he’s not sure he does, but) - (what would he do instead?) Patroclus suggests being a male model and Achilles laughs so hard he snorts soda out of his nose. It’s humanizing, which is both awesome – after their runs, Patroclus was half-convinced Achilles was secretly a god – and terrible – god, if he’s human, he’s touchable, now isn’t he?
The day the two lives converge is dull, clouds covering the sun and rain on the horizon. Patroclus has changed schools, again, another incident forcing him to run, and he feels drawn to the music room, the tune drifting from a window so very familiar.
Patroclus didn’t need to ask who “he” was, he knew full well. He’d been living for this day for eight years now, some twisted cocktail of hope and dread seeping through his body every time he thought of it, which was often. He was back. He was back.
They lie on Achilles bed, entwined. It’s a nice feeling, tangled lambs and Achilles’ head on his chest, the steady thump thump thump of Achilles’ heart against his body. Patroclus runs his fingers through thick blonde curls, and he hears the boy they belong to hum in contentment. Achilles looks up, resting his chin on Patroclus’ chest. It’s a funny angle, but he doesn’t seem to mind. He meets Patroclus’ honey brown gaze, and he smiles. “There’s a word for you, you know. Philtatos. It means beloved. That’s you.”
“You have to go.” Achilles says, and his hands are on Patroclus’ chest, but they aren’t pushing. No- he’s doing a lot of things, but he’s not pushing. He’s memorising the feeling of smooth skin beneath his hands, and he’s counting the pulse that thuds beneath the right, committing that to memory too. He’s feeling the rise and fall of his best friend’s chest - best friend, boyfriend, lover, whatever; they all feel like synonyms now - and he’s meeting those dark brown eyes with his own. “If my mother catches you here she’ll kill you.” “I know.” Patroclus murmurs, but he makes no move to go.