Title: To Keep Him Safe
Pairing: Implied Achilles/Patroclus
Summary: He's not ready to let go.
Warnings: Usual disclaimer. They aren't mine, but I can pretend.
His eyes gleam in the sparse light from the fire. He's eager, ready to fight, to prove himself. I'm aware of his impatience, of the nervous energy he's been giving off since we landed. I've taught him well, perhaps too well and now he hungers to show all that he knows.
I'm not ready to let him fight.
He resents my fears, I know this. His training shows his worth, he has defended himself successfully from my men many times, and yet my urge to hold him back from the forefront of battle is strong.
He paces the length of our hut, pushing a strand of beaded hair behind his ear. I close my eyes, a faint memory rising of the day I gave him his first beads. I open my eyes again, watching him move.
"Sit," I say softly. He sits on the edge of the makeshift bed obediently, twisting his fingers.
"Achilles, must you insist on making me a child forever? I want to fight, I want to be one of your men," he says, his voice pleading with me.
I sigh, looking away, then back at his face. "I cannot let you fight. We leave tomorrow."
He stares at me in disbelief. "You...you are serious?" he asks, finally finding his voice.
"This war is not ours, Patroclus," I say firmly, noting the spark of defiance in his eyes.
He bites his lip, clearly frustrated with me. "I cannot lose you, I will not allow you to be hurt," I say to him, reaching for his hands. He tenses but moves towards me.
"Trust in my words," I murmur to him, caressing his soft face with my roughened hands.
I have dreamt of his death, of his blood spilt across my hands. I cannot bear it. I won't. I only wish to keep him safe, mine for always.
We will sail home tomorrow.