First time it happened, they were all gathered in the flat Achilles and Patroclus share together.
It was a nice apartment, with two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a wide living room that was separated from the kitchen by a counter. Achilles’ father paid for all of it and Pat knew he was fortunate, for he didn’t have to pay rent or live in a dorm.
It was game night, and all of their friends were there. The living room was a battlefield of snacks, empty and filled drink cans, and there was a finished board game abandoned on the coffee table.
Briseis was sitting alone in a loveseat with a bag of gummy bears, and Odysseus and Diomedes were sitting on the ground in front of her.
The other loveseat, on the opposite side of the coffee table, was occupied by Paris who had his girlfriend, Helen on his lap.
Patroclus was sitting next to Achilles and Hector on the sofa facing the TV.
They were playing video games, something with animals racing in cars, and they were all taking turns. This time it was Hector against Achilles, probably the two most competitive in the group, and Patroclus was slightly worried that it would end in blood.
Achilles’ lion was ahead, but Hector’s raccoon was right behind him. The others were all shouting out encouragements and cheering them on.
Paris roared victoriously as Hector managed to catch up with his racer so he and Achilles were driving right next to each other. They were getting closer to the finish line and both of the boys shot up from their seats as they tried to get ahead of the other.
What Achilles forgot, was the fact that he had a still half full can of coke in his lap, and as he stood up the can went flying into the air.
“Woah woah” he caught the drink in time before it hit the floor and even succeeded to save it from spilling somehow. He quickly handed the coke to Patroclus
“Babe could you hold this for me for a sec? Thanks”
Patroclus’ eyes grew wide hearing the words, but Achilles didn’t seem to realize what he said. He turned right back to the game and didn’t realize how his friends were looking at him. Paris and Hector were also focusing on the game, but the others were staring at Achilles in surprise, then turned to Patroclus to see his reaction.
The boy in question was avoiding everyone’s eyes and was looking down at the can in his hand. His face was bright red and there was something warm and tingling curling in his stomach. He hoped the frantic beating of his heart couldn’t be heard by the others in the room.
Thankfully his friends reverted their attention back to the game after a while and Patroclus could look up again. Briseis was still looking at him however, and Patroclus locked eyes with the girl. She smiled and wiggled her eyebrows at him and Patroclus just rolled his eyes as an answer.
The racers on the screen crossed the finish line and somehow Achilles still managed to win.
“That’s how it’s done!” he knocked his shoulder against Hector’s and after high-fiving Helen he threw himself down next to Patroclus on the sofa.
“Are you okay? You look a little red” The golden haired boy asked concerned, frowning a little. They were sitting close, legs and sides touching. Achilles’ arm was thrown around him, resting on the back of the sofa.
“Yeah. Yeah I’m good. It’s just hot in here, that’s all.”
“I’ll get you something to drink” Achilles moved immediately to stand up, and as he left, Patroclus locked eyes with Bri again. Her eyes were sparkling with amusement and Patroclus felt his face heat up again.
He couldn’t wait for game night to be over.
The second time he did it, only the two of them were around.
It was six am, a winter morning; meaning it was still dark outside. Patroclus wasn’t extremely fond of these long periods of darkness. It always made it harder to wake up fully, when he looked out the window and found himself staring into pitch darkness, like it was still midnight and not six in the morning.
He figured Achilles was cursed with the same problem, because he was still inside his room and asleep in bed, when he should have been already up and about, since – just like Patroclus – he had early classes that day too.
He quietly walked into his flatmate’s bedroom and was surprised to see that it was light enough in there for him to see. He looked around in the room and saw that the light came from the small lamp on the nightstand next to the bed.
It seemed like Achilles did wake up early enough, switched the lamplight on to get ready, but then he just simply fell back asleep.
Patroclus smiled at the thought, then stepped further inside the room and walked up to the bed to wake his friend.
Achilles was lying on his stomach in the middle of the mattress, his limbs spread out and half of his face burrowed in his pillow. He must have kicked down the blanket in his sleep because it was now pooling at his feet.
Patroclus leaned over the sleeping boy, put his palm on his back, right between his shoulder blades, and tried to wake him by quietly speaking his name. Achilles remained asleep, so he moved his palm from his back onto his shoulder and shook him lightly as he tried again with a somewhat louder “Achilles!”
The boy in bed started to stir so Patroclus kept talking in a soft voice, while he was moving his palm in circles on the other’s shoulder.
“It’s time to wake up or you’re going to be late for class”
Achilles rolled onto his back and with his green eyes, cloudy with sleep, he tried to focus on Patroclus.
“Pat? Baby?” he asked in a husky voice, still half asleep.
Now, Patroclus would have loved to have the pleasure to blush because of what that voice did to him, but he didn’t have the opportunity since he was busy blushing because of the pet name. Alright, maybe he was blushing both because of the term of endearment and his best friend’s sleep voice. It was just too much.
“Just five more minutes babe. Just five more minutes” Achilles tried to go back to sleep again.
Patroclus didn’t know how long he stood there; maybe just a few minutes, maybe a couple of hours.
“You’re gonna be late” he found his voice again.
“I don’t care” Achilles mumbled into the pillow.
Then suddenly he reached out to grab Patroclus by the arm and pull the other boy on top of him. Patroclus tried to get off of him and out of the bed, but Achilles was hugging him tight to himself and not letting go.
“Let’s skip class and stay in bed” he murmured into Patroclus’ dark hair.
“We can’t Achilles. You know we can’t” the boy on top protested, and was still struggling to break free of the cuddle prison.
“If we stay, then I’ll make some blueberry pancakes later, and we can binge anything you choose on Netflix.”
Patroclus ceased moving and stopped trying to escape for a moment to consider the offer, and Achilles knew he had him. He smiled into Patroclus’ messy hair and added
“We can even watch that rabbit war series that you wanted to check out”
“Fine” Patroclus felt the fight leave him. “But I want waffles too.”
Patroclus settled into a comfortable position, half lying on the mattress and half lying on his friend. Achilles reached out to turn the light off and pulled the blanket on both of them. Patroclus was surrounded by darkness and the warm embrace of Achilles, and he had no trouble falling back asleep.
The next time it happened on a game night again.
They were all sitting together in the living room and playing board games. They ordered pizza, and Helen even made pomegranate margarita for them.
They just finished a round and Patroclus lost. Badly. For the third time in a row. He sat on the floor arms crossed, being a little childish, and feeling sorry for himself.
“And you call me a sore loser.” Achilles called out from the table. Pat just pouted more and Achilles laughed.
“Aww...” He moved to sit down in front of him on the ground. “Don’t pout babe!”
Patroclus knew he only said it to tease him, but suddenly he was reminded how the other called him babe two previous times already, and he felt his face heat up in a blush. Why does his face have to betray him like that everytime?
Seeing his rosy cheeks, Achilles’ eyebrows rose up as his mouth slowly stretched into a grin and a mischievous glint appeared in his green eyes. He leaned closer to Patroclus, their faces inches apart, noses nearly touching, then opened his mouth to say something-
“Quit flirting Pelides, and you two get your asses over here. We’re starting a new game”
Achilles jolted back at the sudden interruption. He turned to glare a little at Hector - who just smirked – but then he returned his gaze back to the boy sitting in front of him. He watched Patroclus for a long moment, like he was considering something, and Patroclus didn’t look away.
Then the moment was over. Achilles smiled at him, then stood up and offered his hands to pull Patroclus up.
They joined their friends back at the table to play, and if they were sitting a little closer than necessary during the game, well, no one mentioned it.
The fourth time, Achilles was drunk. Pat had a few drinks too, but his mind was clear and his steps were steady as he made his way into the apartment with the wasted boy draped all over him. He had a feeling that the current state of his friend had something to do with the phone call Achilles received from his mom right before they went out to meet their friends.
After the call he was in a foul mood. He didn’t laugh or smile all night and just kept drinking in silence.
After a few hours and many shots later Patroclus decided the other had enough to drink and they left earlier than planned. Now here they were.
“I’m sorry, baby. I’m sorry I’m drunk” Achilles kept slurring out apologies like that. “Are you mad? Babe?”
They managed to reach the bed and Patroclus helped Achilles get down on it. He turned to leave to bring a glass of water from the kitchen, but Achilles grabbed his wrists in a tight grip and pulled him back. He was sitting on the edge of the bed and was looking at Patroclus almost pleadingly.
“I’m sorry Patroclus. Please don’t be mad at me”
He was still slurring the words, except for his name. His name rolled off his tongue as easily and clearly as any other day.
Then his green eyes filled up with tears and he was crying. Tears were running down his face, leaving silver trails behind and Patroclus’ chest ached as he watched him.
“I’m not mad.” He knelt down in front of him. He raised his hands to cradle the boy’s jaw, to stroke his soft skin with his fingers and brush his tears away with his thumbs. “I’m not mad at all. Why would I be?”
Achilles held onto the hands on his face with his owns and raised his teary eyes at Patroclus.
“Do you love me?” He whispered into the air between them. He looked so sad and vulnerable that Patroclus felt his heart break a little.
“You’re my best friend. Of course I love you.“ He pushed their foreheads together and in a moment of bravery he added “There’s no one else I love more.”
Achilles sighed and closed his eyes. He ran his hands up Patroclus’ arms then rested them on his shoulders. They stayed like that for a while.
“Stay?” Achilles croaked out after a few minutes.
Patroclus didn’t say anything, just climbed onto the bed and pulled Achilles with him. The blond burrowed his face in the other’s neck and Patroclus put his arms around him. They fell asleep like that; limbs tangled and hearts beating together.
The fifth time was maybe a little bit Patroclus’ fault, he’s willing to admit it.
They were in the mall, looking for a birthday present for Briseis. Well, for two birthday presents.
They were standing in a bookshop and Achilles was reading the back of a book to see if it was any good. He was wearing a black coat with a pine colored scarf and it made his eyes look even more green than usual. His cheeks and the tip of his nose were still slightly pink from the cold weather outside and it looked beautiful with his pink lips. He was just the prettiest thing.
Patroclus may have been staring, but he couldn’t help it. It wasn’t his fault the other looked outstandingly good that day. Also no one was there to call him out on it so.
Patroclus looked away from the cute view to look around the store, when he saw something he wished he didn’t. Or rather someone.
It was a guy from one of his classes, Axel or Ajax or something. He didn’t really liked the boy (he hated him) and avoided talking to him when he could, but he seemed to be interested in Patroclus and even tried to ask him out. Twice. Patroclus pretended to mistake it for friendliness and played dumb both times before he quickly fled the scene.
He tried to rip his eyes away from the boy quickly, but Axel (maybe?) already saw him and was making his way towards him.
Patroclus panicked, and with no better idea coming to him, he quickly grabbed Achilles’s hand and laced their fingers together.
“What are you-“
“Hey Pat! Nice running into you.” Achilles was interrupted by Axel who reached them and greeted him. “What’s up? Whatcha doin’ here?”
In a bookstore? I don’t know man, take a wild guess!
“He-hey! You know, we’re just looking around.” He said leaning into Achilles some more, and raised their joined hands up and waved them a little in an awkward gesture.
Axel’s eyes followed the motion and narrowed a little. He turned his gaze on Achilles (something Patroclus didn’t dare to do at the moment).
“Yeah? And who is your friend? I don’t think we’ve met.”
Is he serious?
“You haven’t? Well, this is my boyfriend.” Patroclus responded with a sweet smile, emphasizing the word boyfriend. Then he turned to Achilles, who probably figured what the situation was, since he looked more entertained than surprised. Patroclus almost choked on nothing seeing his bright eyes and amused smile. “Sweetheart, this is Axel. We have Organic Chemistry together.”
“Ajax, right, of course” Patroclus corrected and he heard Achilles stifle a laugh next to him. “Well it was fun running into you, but the truth is, we gotta run. See you in class. Bye!”
Patroclus started to speed walk away, pulling his far too amused fake boyfriend behind him, who even threw an “It was nice meeting you!” behind his shoulder as they were getting farther away.
They walked out the store and out of Ajax’ view and Patroclus let out a sigh. Achilles laughed and regarded Patroclus with tilted head and a grin on his face. Patroclus let out a breathy laugh too.
“God, I hate that guy.” He grinned back at the golden boy next to him.
“He seemed nice.”
“Shut up” Pat laughed and bumped their shoulders together. That’s when he realized that they were still holding hands, so he quickly let go and smiled a little embarrassed at his friend then averted his eyes to the ground.
“You know,“ Achilles’ words made him look up. “You don’t need tricks like that, babe. If you want me that bad just do something about it”
“Ugh, I hate you!”
Patroclus pushed the laughing boy away, but he couldn’t help but consider Achilles’ words.
Maybe he will.
It was Friday and game night once again. They were playing board games as usual, and this time it was Achilles who lost almost all the rounds.
Patroclus saw how hard the blond tried not to be a sore loser, and how badly he failed at the task. He was sulking on the ground – just like Pat did two weeks ago – arms crossed over his chest and he had this pretty frown on his face. He was pouting too and he was so much worse at losing than anyone, but he was also so much cuter.
Looking at him Patroclus couldn’t help the laugh that escaped him.
“Aww, don’t be a baby. Come ’ere!” he made grabby hands from the couch and Achilles was still frowning, but he stood up and walked over anyway. He sat down next to him on the sofa and looked at the other boy expectantly.
Patroclus smiled at him and reached for his face, his heart beating wildly under his shirt. First he kept his hands on the other boy’s jaw but then he decided to comb his fingers through his golden hair. He wanted to do this for quite a long time so he was rather enjoying himself.
At first Achilles just sat there frozen, staring at him with wide eyes, but as Patroclus kept messing with his hair, the corners of Achilles’ mouth slowly quirked up and he smiled at Patroclus with amusement and curiosity in his eyes.
The words “If you want me that bad just do something about it” suddenly came to Patroclus’ mind again. He smiled at Achilles, settled his fingers in the blond hair at the back of his head, then gathered all the courage he had and pulled the other boy into a kiss.
It only lasted for a few seconds, a short pressing of lips together, but Achilles’ mouth was warm and soft and he tasted like love and joy, and even this short kiss was enough for warmness to pool in Patroclus’ chest.
They parted and Achilles grinned at him, disbelief mixing with happiness on his face.
“What did I get that for?”
“I have to admit, I did it mostly for my own benefit.” Patroclus grinned back.
Hearing his words, Achilles’ grin grew even wider and his eyes gleamed with delight.
This time it was Achilles who kissed him, one hand on Patroclus’ neck and the other on his side. As their mouths moved together, they heard their friends’ cheers and yelling.
“Get a room!”
“It was time you losers.”
They ignored them and kept kissing each other, and then their kissing turned into a full on make-out session when Patroclus climbed onto the other boy’s lap.
Their friends groaned and started to throw popcorn at them.
“Are you guys serious?”
“Leave it for the bedroom, boys”
“Are you kidding? Right in front of my pizza?”
But there was also one “Damn, get some Pelides!”
Achilles laughed into Patroclus’ mouth and after one final peck Pat climbed off of him and settled next to him.
The blond threw some popcorn back at Odysseus and Hector then threw his arm around his boyfriend.
“Sorry to say this, but man, I can’t wait for you guys to leave.” Achilles grinned at the others, and Patroclus laughed as they were once again bombarded with popcorn by all of their friends.