Winter arrived upon Mount Pelion. During the years spent in my father’s kingdom it was hard to recognize it, as every season seemed similar and the temperature remained fairly constant. The perks of a hot, dry climate, I guess. However here, in the mountains, it was not the case. I did not know what I expected when I heard Chiron say that winter is coming. One thing is for sure, I was not prepared for what I saw early in the morning one day.
I was woken up by a chilly breeze filling the interior of our cave. My first instinct was to cover myself up tighter with a blanket we got from Chiron, but encountered an obstacle in the form of Achilles who has wrapped himself up entirely, so that only his golden hair was visible. I laughed quietly. He looked like a burrito.
„Hey, I am cold too.” I whined rebukingly reaching to our cover with one hand and ruffling his hair with the other.
Burrito made a „mhm” sound, not moving an inch. Fine. I was not feeling sleepy anymore anyway. I started to wonder where Chiron was when I noticed something by the entrance of our cave. I squinted trying to catch the details in the blinding sunlight and I saw a big, white pile of… Oh Zeus. Pile of snow.
I got out of bed in a flash, wanting to come closer but then he grabbed my hand.
„Patroclus. Where are you going?” He asked drowsily.
Pa-tro-clus. My name in his mouth always sounded gracefully, it slipped of his tongue like a prayer. Every time he said it I felt my heart skip a bit.
„Snow has fallen!” I said excitedly ignoring him pulling my hand.
„It is not a big deal. Snow is cold and unpleasant. Stay with me, please.” Achilles turned his most convincing gaze in my direction as he pouted.
Usually I would give in to his green eyes instantly, but this time I was too determined. I had heard the tales of snowy lands when I was a child and it always made me wonder what does it really look and feel like. I squeezed his fingers, let go of his hand and made my way to the exit.
„Put on something warm at least!” he called out and lifted himself up on the bed.
„I am waiting outside!” I shouted as I left, having dressed up beforehand.
In all honesty, I got shocked. I have never seen anything like this before. The whole meadow, as well as mountain passes nearby were covered in white, so perfect and bright that the reflecting light made my eyes hurt. I stood there amazed, unable to take my eyes off the view, when Achilles appeared beside me. The landscape was breathtaking, but he did not seem to care as he was looking directly at me.
„It is beautiful.” I said quietly, not wanting to disrupt the peace around us.
„It is.” he answered still gazing at me. It frustrated me a bit. Was he really not seeing what I was seeing?
„What is it?” I turned to him, lifting my eyebrows quizzicaly.
„You look as if you saw Aphrodite herself.” He chuckled. „Or as if you were seeing snow for the first time in your life.”
„Because I am.” I whispered, reaching towards our feet to grab some of it.
Achilles was right, as always. Snow was cold and unpleasant to touch, melted quickly in the palm of my hand. He snorted, amused and when I did not react he grabbed my fingers.
„Wait. You are not kidding, are you?” He asked lifting the left corner of his mouth. „Have you really not seen snow before?”
„I did not exactly have the chance.” I replied shyly. I did not want to let him down. Nor did I want to be the boring one in his eyes, the one who was born yesterday. Achilles grew up in Phtia, where snow was a regular occurance once every few years. Unfortunately, I was not lucky enough to experience it there.
Achilles, however, looked as if it was the best news he could possibly receive. His eyes were shining with excitement.
„So it is your first time. With me.” He was delighted as he looked around, only now noticing the beauty of snow surrounding us. „How do you like it?”
„I already said. It is pretty.” I poked him in the ribs with my elbow, laughing softly. „Just cold.”
„Wait here, I will bring you something warmer.” Achilles stroked my cheek tenderly and sprinted off to the cave. The fastest boy in Greece. In the world. He will be back in the blink of an eye.
I turned around to marvel at the view again, when suddenly I felt something cold and wet hit the back of my neck. I realized he had thrown a handful of snow at me.
„Your first snowball.” He laughed as he covered me with an additional, warm tunic. I just stood there flabbergasted.
„False. That one was yours.” I said after a moment, slowly reaching for snow and shaping a ball in my hands. When he understood what was happening, he stepped back but it was too late. I hit him in the middle of his forehead, making his golden curls wet. „This one is first.”
Achilles opened his mouth, astounded and shook the snow off of his face. „You better run.”
I bursted out with laughter as I started to run as fast as I could, trying to dodge his snowballs simultaneously. Vainly. He did not miss. He hit my middle back twice, and when I disappeared in the woods, he followed me. Just moments later, he caught up and we both found ourselves in the snow. We wrestled, rolling on the ground until our bellies started to hurt from giggling loudly. I got a bit tired and so I let him press my back against the cold grass, him towering over me.
„I guess I win.” He panted happily. Snowflakes were sticking to his hair. He was so close that I could easily count his wet eyelashes.
„You win. As always.” I said with no blame nor jealousy.
I did not care that he was better at everything. He was faster, stronger, better at swimming, fighting, climbing and even fishing. In the end, he was a demigod, Aristos Achaion, the Best of Greeks. I could not feel anything but pride, when I witnessed his daily achievements. One day he would be a legend, of whom people write songs about. His name would be remembered in every corner of the world for centuries. But in that moment, he was no more than a young, teenage boy, enjoying a regular, winter day. He had this wide, dumb grin of his on as he studied my face. I have never seen a more beautiful thing and I considered myself lucky to be able to experience it every single day. He was flawless, impeccable. But that was not the best part. The best part was that he was mine.
Not being able to resist, I kissed him. I have done it a thousand times already, and still, every time, I felt like I was floating. He kissed me back eagerly, pulling me closer as his hands found my hips. I reached to his soft hair, pulling at it gently. He smiled against my mouth as he run his hands down my spine, then thighs. Warmth started to grow in my abdomen and I felt something very familiar. Desire. Achilles must have felt it too, because he parted his mouth, deepening the kiss. It made my head spin. I do not know how long we spent like this, I did not feel the cold. We were only interrupted by the low voice of Chiron.
„You will catch a cold” He reprimended us reprouchfully, but I noticed he was smiling with the corner of his mouth. „I prepared a meal for you to warm up.”
Only when Achilles pulled away, did I shiver, feeling the chilly wind. Despite winter being beautiful, one could not stay outside for that long without getting sick. Achilles smiled at me. Both of our faces were red because of the cold. Or were they red because of something else? He helped me stand up and we followed Chiron into our cave.
At the end of the day, when I was lying in Achilles’ tight embrace and it was already dark outside, I decided I did not like snow. I informed him about the fact.
„I told you it was not a big deal.” He laughed quietly, playing with my hair. „Nevertheless, I enjoyed the look you had on your face when you first saw it. You were so fascinated, it was precious.”
Had the cave not been drown in the darkness, he would have seen me blush. I moved closer and listened to his even breath. Soon, we fell asleep.