the glowing light of the bonfire flickers across his pale, amused face. his lips, stained red from the celebratory wine we’re all pleasantly buzzed off, is stretched into an alluring smile, and his kohl-lined silver eyes are wide and bright. the sirens we’ve lost so many of our men to have nothing on him- he’s a dangerous beauty, a lover who stabs a burning knife deeper into your gut the more you glance at and fall for him.
his long, lean body, clothed in deep purples and rich blues and greens, tilts towards me ever so slightly and his head dips somewhat, so minutely that the men with us won’t have picked up on it. he knows i’m watching- always does- and the tiny gesture sets my pulse quickening.
i send a silent thanks to aphrodite for crafting this human, the bane of my existence, and also a curse because it’s simply unfair how he exists, thrives, in our brutal, brutal world.
tonight is our last night in smyrma- tomorrow we set off for sardis, our last kingdom to colonise, and, after that, home to corinth. we’ve spent the last thirty moons travelling and fighting, and our once large army has narrowed considerably. my men have fought long and hard, and they will be made kings when we return back to our homeland.
i’m at ease, throwing a lazy gaze around my infantry whilst sipping on the juice of the gods. the crown of leaves is undoubtedly topsy-turvy on my head, yet i cannot find it within me to care. tonight i have feasted like a king, and i can’t help but feel that it’s been well deserved and enjoyed.
closing my eyes, i let my mind wander. i’m warm and content, and tomorrow seems like a million years away. although i’m getting old, i don’t think i’ve ever felt more youthful.
the brush of silk grazes my hand and my eyes crack open, just a tad, to see him standing in front of me, cheeks flushed rosy, snow-white hair falling around his face. shadows dance across his bright eyes and sharp cheekbones, and his lithe body stands tall, his long, ringed fingers clutching his chalice.
draco. draco, agápi mou.
i reach out and touch his wrist lightly. he preens, closing his eyes for a minute, and inhales noisily. my heart gives a tug when he opens his eyes to reveal dilated pupils, and i unconsciously lick my lips.
'i love this', i think. i love him.
he sighs, his eyes pleading, and i nod once. his wine stained mouth turns up at the edges and i want to kiss him.
i do. slowly, surely, i kiss him, running my tongue along his teeth and tongue. he moans softly, and he’s mine.
he is mine. always has been, always will be, if only in private.
i pull back. he blinks dazedly, his eyeliner smudged, and i grin. i love the effect i have on him.
‘go on’, i say, and he goes.
i stand, feigning exhaustion. my men don’t notice, i think, much too preoccupied with their choices of partners for the night, but i still wish them all a good night.
as i make my way through the crowd, someone grabs my hand. i turn, annoyed at the interruption, and see my second-in-command, ronald.
‘harry’, he murmurs. i’m set to marry his sister, a girl called ginevra, upon my arrival home.
she’ll be the mother to my children; i’ll treat her beautifully, even if i don't love her in the romantic sense. rumour has it that she lies with the daughters of aphrodite, so we shall live long lives filled with affairs amongst the commoners and our fellow nobles.
‘ronald’, i nod sharply. we’ve always been close- we grew up together- and i know him almost as well as i know myself. ‘have a good night. look after yourself and your wife, and your awaited.’
his wife, hermione, emerges from the crowd behind him, her red robes hugging her soft curves. she smiles delicately at me, her olive skin glowing with the magic that comes with parturiency- she’s entering her last moon- and she is beautiful, even in the dark night.
hermione is the most intelligent woman i know, and i consider myself truly lucky to be able to call her an honourable member of my ranks.
i kiss her hand, and her gaze catches mine. worry is laced through her brown irises and i smile- she’s always worried about me, even when we were children.
‘good night’, i repeat, and follow the path that will lead me to ti móda mou.
the tent is cast in a dim light and the smell of strawberries clings to the air. closing the drapes, my line of sight falls to the bed where he is lying.
he is naked, and the hard, flat planes of his chest stretch for miles. his long hair is spread out like a fan, and his phallus lies against his taught stomach, erect and leaking. a strawberry is clasped between his intoxicating lips and he’s sucking the juice from its pores.
i groan softly, already undressing. i allow my fingers one grasp of my own hardened flesh as i make my way over to my lover and then clamber over him, watching him suck the strawberry all the while.
he moans when he sees me on top of him, the juice running down his angled chin. i chase it with my tongue, licking and sucking the soft skin of his throat, and smirk as he arches his back. clucking softly, i push him down and pull away.
his skin is flushed, his neck marked, and he’s electric. his eyes are wide, his mouth an ‘o’, and i have never felt such strong emotions. skimming my fingers through his hair, i lean down and capture his lips.
he is mine, and i am his.
‘agápi mou’, i murmer into his ear and he moans, long and high. he’s always loved this, loved making love, loved me.
my fingers run over his chest as i swallow his pleas and moans.
‘i’ve got you, agápi mou. i’ve got you.’
i kiss down his body, not stopping until i reach his rosebud. throwing his leg over my shoulder, i slide a hand over the small swell of his backside and lift him up ever so slightly, before leaning in and kissing his right buttock.
he gurgles, and i grin. i love taking him apart, piece by piece.
rubbing my hands over his thighs, i pepper small pecks over his pert bum.
‘please’, he moans. ‘please, polyagapiménos.’
at that plea, i slide my tongue along his cleft and then slowly lick his hole.
he sobs and kicks out as i caress him with my tongue, slowly opening him. keeping a firm grip on his calf, i add more and more pressure until he is pliant.
i lean up and kiss him on the mouth. drool has seeped down his cheek and chin, and his eyes are wide and begging as he moans incoherently. i’m immensely proud of him for holding on this long, and my heart swells with love.
‘se agapó’, i murmur, and then he’s coming.
he comes and comes and comes, and he is beautiful. holding me tightly, he sobs into my shoulder as i kiss his neck, his chest, everywhere.
and then he stops coming, and i kiss him on the mouth.
‘such a good boy’, i tell him as i run my fingers through his silky hair. he feels like the sun- burning, beautiful, and inevitable.
he preens, and i love him.
it’s only then that i realise that i’m still hard. ‘oil?’ i murmur against his lips, and he slides his hand under the cushion he’s been resting his head on.
he hands me a small jar and i kiss him once more before opening it and slicking my fingers with the scented grease i use to open his body for my girth.
‘relax, agápi mou. i’ve got you’, i say, already pushing a finger into his hole. he cries out and arches up, and i kiss his thigh. ‘such a good boy. se agápi.’
i finger him slowly, understanding the burn he feels and trying to lessen the pain. he gasps, and i add another finger.
‘i’m going to get you all loose for me, moró’. he sighs in response and slowly starts to thrust back against my hand.
‘such impatience’, i chuckle and add another finger, and he mewls.
in all the years and lives i’ve known him, he’s always caught my attention. tall and silent, the heir of the neighbouring kingdom, there’s always been something drawing me to him; he has always been enchanting.
i’ve spent years courting him, even though we’re the same age, and he became my eromenos and i became his erastes. he left his kingdom to fight for ours, and he didn’t mourn when his parents fell and we took control of his land.
i’ve always respected and admired him. although an eromenos, he is strong and intelligent, and has always challenged me.
he was set to marry a woman from his kingdom, before he left. now there are no expectations of him, no one he has to be with, and he is mine.
he is mine, and i am his.
i decide that he is stretched enough. slicking my phallus, i bend down to kiss him before pushing into his body with one shove.
he gargles and claws at my back, and i know i’m not going to last long. stilling for a moment, i gaze down at him; his eyes are screwed shut and he is gorgeous.
‘move’, he hisses, opening his eyes, and then i’m plunging into him, being swallowed by him, as though he is an ocean. i’m sinking in him, drowning in him, and i love him.
the night gets lost to explosions of stars behind closed eyelids and whispered confessions of love.
the day is bright and warm, the air still, and my heart thrums as i guide my men across dry wasteland.
we travel by horse, and i share mine with my eromenos. my tunic is stuck to my back and sweat drips into my eyes, but the feeling of his arms around me make it all go away.
we are nearly there, so close to the last place on the map, and the air throbs with tension and excitement. ronald and hermione have stayed in smyrma (under strict orders from me- they both have too much to lose), and i would have left draco with them, but he is too stubborn and told me he was not going to lie around waiting for me to return.
fear claws at my chest. the gods haven’t been too kind to us- neither ares nor athena have answered our prayers or accepted our sacrifice of five hundred sheep. against my wishes, i am worried, and i am cowardly.
the ground cracks with each step and the earth continues to rotate, sun high in the air, and i can see the army in the near distance, and it is time.
i lift my spear. ‘ándres’, i say, and they immediately file into place.
we’ve done this so many times that i needn’t say much anymore, and it is a relief.
my eromenos squeezes my stomach and i sigh.
‘ágapi mou’, i begin, but he squeezes me again and i turn around.
fear is written across his face, scrawled in his eyes, and my heart clenches. he wordlessly kisses me and slides off the horse.
‘be safe’, he says, and i nod. ‘se ágapi.’
‘se ágapi’, i return, and then gallop to the front of the line.
blood. that’s all i can see, smell, taste. blood.
this is our most brutal fight. my men are fighting hard, but we are no match for the other army. we have been battling for hours, days maybe, and we are losing.
i lost my horse moons ago, it seems, and i’m struggling without the height.
my heart is in my mouth as i swipe my sword through a man’s neck, slicing his head clean off. i ask hades to protect him, for he died a noble man.
‘harry!’ someone screams my name and i turn to see who it is, and then i feel it.
a spear, pierced clean through my leg.
i glance down numbly and curse athena. it’s not life threatening, i don’t think, but it’s a shock to the system.
everything goes quiet. i’m numb, and then i hear someone scream my name again.
it can’t be. there’s no way-
it’s him. it’s him. it’s him.
my eromenos, charging through the bloodbath, a helmet pulled loosely over his head. his tunic is blood splattered- i don’t think he was wearing a tunic earlier- and he’s practically flying. the look on his face is murderous and a spear is clutched tightly in his hand.
i think, ‘he looks so pretty’.
and then he stumbles.
i didn’t notice. i didn’t know. i didn’t see.
an arrow, perforated straight through his torso.
he looks at me then, his face puzzled, disbelieving, fearful, and then he falls.
someone’s screaming. i think it must be me. i’m running, running, running, and then i’m there, i’m beside him, i’m holding him, and i think i’m sobbing.
‘no’, i think. no, no, no. not draco.
anyone but draco.
i’m trying to stop the blood but it’s too much, there’s too much, he’s dying and it’s not fair, it’s not fair, it’s not fair.
i curse every god, every moon, every person i have ever known because this can’t be happening, this can’t be happening, this can’t be happening.
i kiss him, and i kiss him again. ‘please’, i sob. ‘please, please, please. don’t go, don’t go!’
and he smiles then, and he’s bleeding, bleeding, bleeding, and he’s so beautiful, and this isn’t fair, this isn’t fair, this isn’t fair.
‘harry’, he rasps, then coughs, splattering blood. ‘harry.’
he looks so beautiful, so peaceful, so alive, and i love him.
he opens his mouth, breathes hard, shakedly, and says:
‘se ágapi.’ and then the light in his eyes dims and he’s gone, he’s dead, and my life has lost all its meaning and i didn’t even get to say it back to him, my wonderful, bright, beautiful eromenos.
i scream once, twice, and then i stand, lifting his beautiful body with me. he’s weightless, bleeding still, and my heart no longer beats for anything other than revenge.
the wound in my leg is nothing compared to the wound in my heart.
i stumble along, dragging my spear and carrying ágapi mou and crying, crying, crying, and i’m screaming and i just want him back, persephone, please bring him back.
i slash through many men and horses numbly because i’m already dead, aren’t i? my soul died with his.
a path clears for me and i slice, slice, slice through flesh and bodies and bones and muscles and then i stop.
i stop and i lay him down. i’m at a willow tree- his favourite- and i’m going to bury him here if it’s the last thing i ever do.
his eyes are still open. i sob an angry, tearless sigh and kiss him for the last time. his lips are still warm, but they’re cooling quickly.
i start digging. using my hands, my spear, the arrow that pierced my soul and the body of ágapi mou, i dig and dig and dig.
i’m still bleeding.
and then i feel a strike, a hard blow against the back of my head, and i think:
something stabs me, penetrates my head, and all i can think is:
i thank hades because he’s making this quick, there’s no hope of life, and i thank my slayer.
as my body crumples i see a light, a light brighter than anything i’ve ever experienced in my life.
and then, emerging from that light, shining bright and beautiful and happy and holding a hand out to me, there is:
draco. draco, ágapi mou.