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12 June 2004 @ 11:03 am
FIC: 'Sparta', 3/(6?), R, various pairings  
Title: "Sparta"
Part: 3/(6?)
Author: Osiris Brackhaus
Pairings: Achilles/Hector, Agamemnon/Paris, Menelaos/Paris (with special appearance by Odysseus/Penelope)
Rating: R
Warning: AU, humor, romance, torture hinted, non-con hinted
Summary: Still Prince Paris is at the mercy of King Agamemnon and his brother, while the Trojan army and their allies are taking up the siege of Sparta. But the saying that in both love and war, all means are fair holds true, and in both camps Kings and Queens scheme, warriors fight and spies and traitors try to turn events in their individual favor each...
Site: Fafnir's Lair http://www.morningchilde.com
Credits: To Beryll, for coming up with the most epic plot bunnies while lying on my stomach and then tying them to my leg. To Mayetra, for ultra-swift beta.


---




Sparta, palace of King Menelaos, guest quarters of King Odysseus


It was the chill hour before dawn, one of the rare moments when even a city as animated as Sparta came to rest for a while. Silence, just as the cool breeze, was a welcome change from the buzz of day, and the only people still moving within the city walls were guards out on their nightly duty.

And spies.

In his quarters, King Odysseus of Ithaca slept soundly, unaware of the soft, inconspicuous footsteps approaching his bed. He didn't wake as his uninvited visitor almost soundlessly climbed onto the bed next to him, and neither did he move as the dark figure leaned over him.

Only when two slender hands firmly covered his mouth, the King of Ithaca noticed something.

Confused and still half asleep, Odysseus tried to shoo away the offending hands with waving gestures.

"It's all right, darling", he mumbled into the hands, "I'm not snoring..."

Then, suddenly, all the memory of where he was and why seemed to slam into Odysseus' mind, and the King of Ithaca stared at his visitor with shocked confusion. Taking the hands off his mouth, he asked full of bewilderment:

"Penelope? What by Hades are you doing here?"

"Shh, dear husband", his wife replied in a whisper. "We have to talk."

Still holding her hands as if he was afraid she might disappear as soon as he let her go, Odysseus shook his head, trying to catch one of his racing thoughts.

"Talk? Now?" Looking at Penelope, he added: "How did you come here?"

There was a tiny, aggravated frown to her face as the Queen of Ithaca replied:

"I walked right in, can you imagine?"

"Darling, serious, how did you - "

"But I am serious. Dead serious, actually. Gods, I could have been an assassin, and it could have been just as well a poisoned dagger that woke you instead of my hands! Are the places you sleep in when you're campaigning always this badly guarded?"

A little confused and pretty much overrun by his wife's appearance, Odysseus just wordlessly shook his head.

"By the Gods, I could have been anybody! The guards just let me pass simply because I was a lone woman. They even laughed at me for begging them to let me in as my husband would be furious if I wouldn't bring him his food he had forgotten." As her husband still didn't react appropriately in Penelope's eyes, she added suggestively: "All the Gods, even Menelaos could have walked right into your room, tired of playing with little boys, hungry for a real man..."

A deep, repulsed shudder ran through the King of Ithaca as the image his wife had created sank into his mind. Now finally fully awake, he asked her:

"What a luck you aren't. But what on earth are you doing here?"

"Visiting my husband", Penelope replied with a knowing smirk. "Is that wrong?"

"Not wrong, dear. Just very... unexpected."

Taking a strand of her hair out of his wife's face, Odysseus realized how much he had missed her, even though he hadn't been gone for long. And how beautiful she was, sitting next to him on his bed in the low moonlight. Trailing his finger along her delicate lips, he admitted to himself that he had missed her terribly, her and their son Telemachos.

"Telemachos!", Odysseus exclaimed suddenly. "You haven't left him alone, have you?"

"Of course not, silly", the Queen of Ithaca purred, apparently also struck by the realization how much she had missed her husband and his body. Softly kissing his cheek, she added: "He's with King Priam now, so everything is fine."

Pushing his cuddly wife away from him, Odysseus asked with barely controlled dread in his voice: "King Priam? King Priam of Troy?"

"Errrm... yes." Licking her lips with reminiscence, Penelope noticed a little too late that she should have chosen a subtler way of informing her husband. But it was always so hard to think clearly when they had been... separated for so long. "I said we had to talk."

"Have they stolen our son? Do they hold him hostage, is that why you have come?" Almost shaking his wife, Odysseus was obviously close to panic.

"No. Listen to me, dear. Our son is fine, and as long as you don't do something rushed, nothing will happen to him."

Staring at his wife in utter bewilderment, Odysseus' hands worked meaninglessly in the air between them before Penelope took them and kissed his fingertips.

"That wasn't meant as a threat, my love, although I have to admit it sounded pretty much like one."

Smiling softly at the King of Ithaca as he nodded speechlessly, she continued:

"King Priam came to visit me a few days after you had left. And we... talked. He made me... look at things from a different angle."

"Does our enemy send you to make me betray Agamemnon?"

"No, dear, no. It is not that simple." Thinking hard of how to explain the argumentation that had convinced her to come to Sparta while fighting the overwhelming urge to seize the occasion and sneak under her husband's blanket, Penelope finally asked: "How old do you think this Prince Paris is?"

"The Trojan Prince? I have no idea. What does that have to do with - "

Penelope shook her head, explaining: "When all this is over, and you have subjugated Troy, how many years do you think it will take before Menelaos starts giving Telemachos those devouring looks he's now having for that Trojan Prince? How long, Odysseus?"

"He would never...", the King of Ithaca started but his voice trailed off, as he couldn't make himself believe his son would be safe.

"You know very well he would, my love, and he would live long enough and stay healthy just to spite us." Firmly looking at her husband, Penelope continued: "And what about yourself? How old were you when we first met?"

A reminiscent smile on his face, Odysseus nodded: "Very young. We were both very young." Kissing his wife's palms, he added with a fiendish grin: "Though not too young, either..."

Despite the dreadful subject, Ithaca's Queen couldn't help but laugh softly at her beloved husband's remark. They had been young, that much was true, and she had never told him she had actually thought him nothing more than a young if devastatingly strapping shepherd that day.

"Yes, you were young", she said after a moment spent with nothing but a shared, loving look between the two of them. "If I remember correctly, you were just the same age Prince Paris is now."

A deep frown grew on Odysseus face, and calmly, he asked: "What are you trying to tell me, dear?"

"Isn't that obvious? King Priam is nothing but a loving father fighting to rescue his son. I am a mother trying to protect her child from growing up in a world where men like Menelaos and his brother take what they want and no one cares."

"But you know we can't side with the Trojans. Agamemnon would lay waste to Ithaca."

"Yes, probably. But only if the Trojans fail." Gently stroking her husband’s arm, Penelope added: "You already know Achilles and his Myrmidons are fighting for Troy."

"Yes, I have heard it." Looking at Penelope's hands on his skin, then at his beautiful, courageous Queen, he said: "And knowing you are in the Trojan camp, I finally have an idea why he's staying with them." Giving a low moan as Penelope brushed his shoulder with her lips, Odysseus grabbed his wife at her shoulders, kissing her passionately as finally, desire overwhelmed him.

When they separated after a kiss that seemed to last a little eternity to both of them, Penelope laid her head down in Odysseus lap, breathing hard, her eyes closed, a blissful smile in the corners of her mouth.

"All the Gods, how I have missed you...", she whispered, adding softly: "You know we have a chance to win. And then Telemachos and Ithaca could grow up in peace, safe from the greedy grasps of two aging brothers."

Gently stroking his wife's hair, Odysseus nodded gravely, a wide smile growing on his face as he saw the dreamy expression on Penelope's face.

"Can we...", she asked, softly kissing Odysseus hands. "I know I have a lot to explain, but do you think that it could wait a little longer? I am only expected back before dawn..."

Laughing lightheartedly at his enthusiastic wife, the King of Ithaca drew her into another passionate kiss.

"Only until dawn, my love?", he whispered full of anticipation as he started to unclasp her tunic. "Then we shouldn't waste one heartbeat..."

----


Sparta, secluded beach near the Trojan camp


It had been a hard day, Prince Hector thought as he wandered along the dunes that formed the natural perimeter of the Trojan camp, an ugly day. Not that there had been a lot of fighting, not at all. Only a few skirmishes, a few wounded men. And a lot of talking.

Rubbing his neck in frustration, the Trojan Prince blinked into the setting sun.

It was the hour where dusk was at its most beautiful, when the sky caught fire and flared orange and purple and indigo. A few, feathery clouds were adding soft splashes of white to the strangely harmonic riot of colors. The sun itself was a giant, wavering orb of fire just touching the sea, making the water look as if being nothing but molten gold.

It was a grand scenery, and its beauty wasn't lost on Hector. Maybe, he wondered, it was some God trying to make good with him for the most irritating last days. Or maybe something else entirely. He already wondered with a tired smirk what the priests would make out of this sunset, probably having four different versions to bicker about and no real information all together.

Cursing softly, the Trojan prince continued his lonely walk.

To have his father with him on this campaign was already sufficiently complicating things. But to have this Queen of Ithaca with them was just setting his nerves on the edge. The two of them were brilliant, no mistake at that. But they were both fond of seeing all sides of things, and as much as Hector loathed to admit it, by now even his hands itched to get something done. Anything would be better than just securing this rather secure camp and waiting for the old men on both sides that now was the time.

At least, Hector always had the bad example of Achilles right in front of his eyes. Seeing the fabled warrior prowl around the camp and bitch at everyone always reminded him of how not to act.

After all, he was to lead by example, and not by bad manners.

Also, this annoying blond cousin of Achilles whose name Hector could hardly remember had finally stopped trailing around the place like a stray dog with no tent he belonged to. The Trojan wondered for a moment what the youngster was probably up to, and then decided with a certain grim satisfaction that whatever it would be, it would be Achilles' problem all alone.

A tiny, dirty smile on his lips, he took a path that would lead him down towards the shore. Maybe it would be a nice thing to go and have a swim before he returned to the camp and his soldiers. Just being himself, and not Prince Hector and the leader of the Trojan Army.

But apparently, someone else had had that idea already, Hector saw when he came to the spot where the dunes turned into a narrow beach.

Ploughing through the waves as if fighting the sea, a lone figure was out on the water, and Hector didn't even have to cast a glance at the tunic discarded on the ground to know who it was. It just had to be Achilles, of all possible men.

The smile on Hector's face faded to a struggling remnant, his nonchalant mood with it. And yet, the prince couldn't really make himself turn around and leave the shore, despite his own efforts to.

Hector just felt - honestly, he didn't know how he felt. On the one hand, the last thing he had wanted this evening was another fruitless verbal sparring with the high-strung Greek, yet on the other hand leaving the beach was like admitting to... He couldn't name it, but he was definitely sure he would never admit to it.

So, while trying to make up his mind, Hector stood at the beach, scuffling his feet and looking out onto the sea, watching the almost legendary warrior.

It was said the Goddess Aphrodite had been born out of foam on the waves, and in Hector's eyes, Achilles took his time to re-enact that moment in his own, incomparable way. The Greek had stopped swimming as soon as he had noticed the tall prince on the shore, as if wondering what to do next.

Then, carefully and deliberately slow, Achilles had walked up onto the sandy beach, step by step emerging from the golden sea like an unclad brazen God, bold and fearless, the setting sun a burning halo at his back.

Hector felt his mouth go dry, and he hated the fact with a vengeance. But by now, it was definitely too late to back out of the moment with any grace.

Not bothering to clothe or even dry himself, Achilles walked on, straight from the water up to the Trojan prince, a soft smile in the corner of his mouth, his blond hair clinging to his head, his body still dripping. He didn't even once quit eye-contact with Hector, and when he was only less then a step away from him, the Greek stopped his languid stride, his mouth opening in a wide smirk revealing a set of surprisingly predatorily teeth.

"Greetings, Prince Hector", the blond warrior said in a voice far too smooth and soft for Hector to be comfortable with. "Have you come to watch the sunset?"

"I was securing the camp", Hector replied warily, even noticing himself how lame it sounded. "I take this walk every evening."

"I know." Achilles smirk widened another notch. "And", the warrior asked without moving a single inch to get out of Hector's line of sight, "Do you like what you see?"

The Trojan Prince blinked at this barely veiled attempt. Caught entirely off-guard, Hector asked himself silently if the warrior seriously believed he would fall for him at the next best instance. But looking at Achilles, seeing his unshakable confidence, the way he held his immaculate body with the grace of a dance, the answer was more than obvious to him.

Of course he believed so. Everybody loved him, looked up to him and adored him. Women flocked to his tent, his Myrmidons probably believed him a proper God and even Kings came begging for his aid.
And obviously, Achilles craved that adoration like a drowning man would crave air.

And all those who had met the fabled warrior not with awe but with fear or even competition were dead.

Slowly, a rejuvenated smile grew on Prince Hector's face as slowly, one by one, the many odd pieces of Achilles behavior fit together like shards of a broken bowl.

"Yes, absolutely. A lovely sight", the tall Trojan replied equally soft and lurking as Achilles had spoken. Still locking eyes with the dripping Greek, he added as nonchalantly as he could: "But you're not made of glass, and I truly would like to watch the sun set completely."

Achilles didn't move nor did he say a word, but there was a tiny, nervous twitch to his eyes that told Hector he had hit the nerve.

Still smiling most politely but with his thoughts racing like mad at the back of his mind, the prince continued:

"Your men fight well, Achilles."

Again, there was a tiny, insecure twitch in the eyes of the warrior. But Achilles accepted the compliment with given grace, inclining his head ever so slightly, answering:

"Thank you, Hector. Your men fight decently as well, and they have a good leader."

The Trojan prince felt electrified, like knowing he had a huge fish at the end of his line, still struggling to bring it on board, never knowing if it wouldn't slip off the hook any time. And he had hooked Achilles, that much was sure.

"You really shouldn't waste your men in such a vain attempts to gain my attention", Hector said in his first-ever attempt of verbal sparring that had nothing to do with honor or duty, feeling again like the little boy who visited the soldier's barracks to receive his first training lesson.

Giving a soft snort that was almost cold enough to make believe he didn't care, Achilles retorted:

"And what makes you believe I would want your attention?"

Instead of an answer, Hector only cocked a perfect questioning eyebrow and looked down the wet and naked Greek in front of him.

Seeing Achilles fiercely trying to suppress a boyish pout, the Trojan prince knew he had him hooked for sure. He knows I know, Hector thought gleefully, and he has no idea how to get out of this. Now my only problem is to decide what to do with my catch.

Well, he added in thoughts, maybe I've got more of my father in me than I had ever thought.

Flashing a smile at Achilles, Hector finally broke eye contact and walked a few steps in a rather elegant attempt of gaining a few more moments to think. Achilles was left alone on his spot, probably wondering what by Hades he was doing wrong.

So, the Greek is after me, the Trojan thought tensely. If I reject him, he'll kill me. Sooner or later. Turning around to see what Achilles was doing, Hector had to fight down laughter as he saw the Greek still standing there in the red light of dusk, his arms crossed in front of his wide chest, kicking at the sand. Hector knew he would have to decide quickly, or else the Greek would just leave and this precious opportunity with him.

Of course, he could always just accept his advances.

The prince felt a faint blush creep up his face at the thought, noticing that it indeed had been some time that he had last shared his bed with someone. And if it had to be somebody else but his beloved Andromache, surely the looks of Achilles wouldn't hurt. Smiling wistfully at the thought, he reminded himself that those looks would always come with a certain person attached, and that this person was all but harmless.
Most probably, Hector thought, Achilles would lose interest in him as soon as he had proven he was man enough for him, and then it would only be a small step for him to take Penelope and his men and walk over to the Spartans.

I will have to keep him interested, the Prince of Troy realized, and I will have to keep him on a short leash. And, as the saying goes, Hector added, the shortest leash you can lead a man by is between his legs.
Shuddering inwardly, he saw how much his last sentence had sounded like a quote from a certain, annoyingly brilliant Queen.

"Achilles", the Trojan Prince said loud enough to regain the Greek's attention, smiling at the way the last rays of blood-red sunlight sparkled in the seawater drops on the warrior's lower back. "Have I already said that you are truly adding to the view?"

Now laughing softly, Achilles left his slightly indecisive stance, turning his old, gloriously conscious self again. Shaking the last water out of his blond mane, the low sun made it look as if myriads of red gems were flying in all directions.

He definitely had a sense for showing himself off, Hector admitted without envy. And he was truly flawless, at least in so far as it concerned his body.

Walking over the few steps to the Trojan prince, Achilles looked at Hector with renewed interest. This time, the Greek warrior didn't stop a step in front of his companion, but walked up so close their faces all but touched.

"Have you now finally realized?", Achilles asked, amused and a tiny little bit relieved, as it felt to Hector.

"You're making it very hard not to."

A dirty smile in his face, Achilles replied in mock excuse:

"Oh. I didn't want to make it hard."

"Well, then you've failed miserably." Laughing softly himself by now, Hector slowly came to enjoy the whole thing. This definitely was than better walking around the camp looking for some problem to chase away the boredom of waiting for battle. This was much, much better.

Grabbing the blond warrior at the neck, the dark-curled Trojan kissed him on the mouth, passionately enough to border on violence. And Achilles didn't resist, not at all.
Instead, he grabbed the Trojan himself, kissing with the same ferocious hunger that had already overwhelmed his companion.
For a moment, the two of them clung together, the embers gathered by mutual resentment suddenly bursting into flames of passion and desire.

Only after a long, long moment, when Hector's lips already felt raw and throbbing, the Trojan prince forcefully pulled back Achilles by his hair. Licking his lips, trying to get rid of this intense tingling sensation that seemed to eat up his thoughts, he made the mistake and looked at the Greek's eyes. Huge, they seemed in the low light, huge and devouring and backlit by a blazing passion that at once frightened and allured him.

Almost, he stumbled into this abyss, losing himself in blissfully unaware passion, but in the last moment, Hector held himself back.

No, he reminded himself, not this way. Trying hard to ignore the blood thunderously racing through his veins, throbbing in his loins, he forced himself to stay in control of himself. There's a beast you've got to tame, the Trojan prince thought forcefully, and if you give in, it'll devour you and spit out nothing but your bones.

So, Hector put on a sleazy grin and untangled himself from Achilles tight grip. With a single, fluid motion he pulled his tunic over his head, and now being just as unclad as the Greek warrior, grinned suggestively back at him.

Giving Achilles a fleeting kiss, Hector gently tried to push down the blond warrior, who didn't react at first. Not that the Trojan had expected otherwise, but after a moment of gentle nudging, Achilles leaned back, a tiny frown on his handsome face and an unspoken question in his blazing eyes. This was the crucial moment.

"Get on your knees", Hector tried to say soft and guilelessly, but all that came out was a husky whisper. Which, in the end, was even more convincing. "Do it for me."

"I won't be-", Achilles began with barely veiled warning in his voice, but Hector didn't let him talk on.

"You want me or not?", he asked, scratching his fingernails down the Greek's heavily muscled chest, feeling his own blood catch fire every time he felt a firm muscle twitch at his touch. Achilles didn't reply, neither with words nor with actions, his face a mask of conflicting desires. But Hector wasn't to give the Greek any time to think of a way out.

"Get. Down."

And with a victorious feeling in his heart, the Prince of Troy watched the blond Greek bite his lower lip for a thoughtful moment and then sink onto his knees in front of him.


----


not far off, on the dunes overlooking the secluded beach


The sun had all but set by now, and there was only a reddish glow left on the horizon. But still it was enough light for the young man standing on the dunes to witness the incident on the beach in almost painful detail.

So there WAS something going on between that cursed prince and Achilles, Patroclus thought furiously. I knew it!

And judging by the way things were proceeding down in the sand, it was obvious to Achilles' young cousin that it was all Hector's fault. What a conniving bastard! Patroclus could have sworn to the Gods that the Trojan prince had had one reason alone to go after Achilles: to keep him bound to their doomed cause, to make him ignorant to reason telling him to side with Agamemnon.

Oh, how he hated the dark-haired Trojan, the slender warrior thought fuming. Hector had stolen Achilles from him, had made his cousin kick him out of his tent like some silly, over-eager puppy, only for his petty little cause.

All but screaming in rage, Patroclus hurled away the two wooden swords he had been carrying, smashing the small amphora of wine on the ground, trampling the shards into the muddy sand.
He had known Achilles was here on the beach to have a swim at sundown, and he had come to try and make amends if he had accidentally said anything wrong. Like in the old times in Larissa, Patroclus had hoped, they would have sparred a little, drunk a bit and made love in the dunes.

But seeing his adored cousin brought down to his knees by some guileful prince had utterly shattered Patroclus' hope.

"Maybe", he whispered, seething with cold fury. "Maybe you have managed to ensnare my Achilles, you treacherous snake. But Achilles was mine, mine alone and he loved me so..."

His eyes were nothing but small slits in a face contorted with blinding hate as he added:

"You truly should not have forgotten me, Prince Hector of Troy, mark my words. For here I stand, and I swear for all the Gods to hear, I will be your downfall!"


----


Sparta, a corridor in front of Prince Paris' makeshift prison.


"Oh Odysseus, my old friend!", King Menelaos exclaimed merrily as he pushed the King of Ithaca through the low corridor, one of his arms around the other man's shoulder. "If I had only known you'd like to share our guest, I'd have invited you much earlier! You really could have said a word, friend."

Suppressing a shudder as a cloud of wine and stale mutton grease wafted over him from the Spartan King, Odysseus forced himself to grin and nod eagerly. The fact that the only light down here came from the torch Menelaos was carrying didn't help to make this any more bearable.

Oh Penelope, he thought in vaguely humorous despair, do you have any idea what you are doing to me?

"Here we are", Menelaos suddenly stated with quivering anticipation in his voice. "Our precious guest is right behind this door."

Almost tenderly setting a hand against the wood, there was a flickering smile on the aging King's face that sparked the instant urge to run away as far as he could in Odysseus.

All the Gods, he asked himself, how comes I have never realized how dangerous this madman is? Menelaos is a raving lunatic, and he's by far the nicer one of the two brothers.

"Though I have to warn you, dear friend", the King of Sparta continued his explanation. "He's not as pretty as he used to be when we brought him here, though I bet that's no surprise to you."

Cordially nudging the King of Ithaca, Menelaos gave Odysseus a knowing wink and added:

"Though I have to admit that he's keeping much better than we had expected. He's truly such a great sport."

"Yeah..." Somehow, Odysseus was struggling to bring up the proper enthusiasm. "Can I see him now?"

"Oh of course, dear friend, that's what we're here for, aren't we? That, and a little fun." Laughing loudly, Menelaos unbolted the wooden door and opened the cellar. "Paris", he called into the dark opening, "look who's come visiting you again! And I've brought a friend of mine."

Once more fighting down the sudden urge to stab Menelaos, Odysseus followed the aging King into the room. Tepid like the whole basement, it smelled of old wine and sweat and things the King of Ithaca preferred not to dwell on any longer. Menelaos was busy lighting some more torches, giving him all the light and time needed to let the gruesome display sink in to its fullest extend.

Near the far end of the room, on the ground of packed dirt littered with amphorae and plain junk, a naked human figure was lying on the ground. Above the young man, there was a hook let into the wall, and in the plain plaster below it, stains of sweat and tears, of blood and things far worse had imprinted and outlined something like a human shape.

"All the Gods...", Odysseus whispered in shock, unwilling to believe that such debased cruelty had been happening all the time in the same palace with him. "All the Gods...."

"Yes", Menelaos said equally impressed yet for completely different reasons, "Isn't he just gorgeous?"

Still transfixed by the accusing human shadow on the wall like a rabbit in the stare of a snake, Odysseus didn't even react.
There was an end to everything, he decided silently in his mind. And the end of my willingness to bear such monsters like Agamemnon and Menelaos has been reached just now. No one could commit atrocities like this, then stand up, and call himself human.

Without even once having dared to look at Prince Paris on the ground, Odysseus turned around to his host, asking him with an oily voice shaking with something that Menelaos easily could misinterpret as overwhelming desire:

"Would you... Would you mind leaving me alone with him?"

Seeing the disappointed look in the Spartan's eyes, he added:

"You know... I'm not used to having an audience. And I would so dearly love to..."

Deliberately, he left the rest o the sentence unsaid, counting on the fact that the perverse mind of Menelaos would all too eagerly insert the appropriate images.

Finally, the King of Sparta nodded and replied understandingly:

"Sure. In the beginning, it felt odd to me as well to share him with my brother." Leaving the cellar with a reminiscent grin, he concluded: "But you'll grow to love it as well, dear friend. Yet I won't press you, just make sure you don't harm the boy too much. We still want to have a lot of fun with him, don't we?"

Baring his teeth at his host, Odysseus managed to make his overwhelming disgust look something like a feral grin only in the very last moment.

Laughing, King Menelaos nodded and winked at the King of Ithaca again, closing the door behind him. For a while, Odysseus still heard his laughter in the corridor, then a loud fart and again uproarious laughter.

Finally, when nothing else was heard in the cellar but the soft crackling of the torches and the irregular breath of the young captive on the floor, the Kind of Ithaca sent a silent prayer to the Gods, begging for mercy on his soul.

Then he braced himself for the worst, and walked over to the wall where Prince Paris was lying on the ground. As soon as the young man heard him approach, he shrunk away and tried to get out of his reach just like a wounded animal would have had.

Sighing deeply and inwardly cursing both King Menelaos and his black-hearted brother to the most grisly punishments the vindictive Greek Gods could possibly come up with, Odysseus said soothingly:

"Shh, Prince Paris. I have not come to harm you."

Though he didn't see any reaction with the young Trojan, the King of Ithaca was sure Paris now looked at him cautiously around the hands protecting his face.

"I have come to see after you, and to help you."

Now, the prince gave a mumbled, unintelligible whisper, and as Odysseus asked him to repeat his question, Paris asked:

"Will you set me free?"

Sighing full of regret, the King shook his head. "No, not today. But soon. I am - We are looking for a way to get you out of here."

"Promises", Prince Paris mumbled and sat up, looking cautiously at Odysseus from narrow eyes. "All I get here is promises." One side of his face was bloody and so swollen the youngster could hardly speak, and his whole body was bruised, cut, and soiled.

Deeply shocked, Odysseus remembered how he had walked into the temples of Ithaca when he had still been a young boy, wondering how his life would have been if the Gods had graced him with all the stately beauty of one of the marble heroes in the solemn halls. Now, with the answer to his question so bluntly presented to him, he thanked them from the deepest core of his heart for just being his plain, humble self.

"Who is 'we'?", Paris asked, still warily looking up and down the King of Ithaca.

"Me and my wife. And your people." Trying a brave smile at Paris, Odysseus added: "You have heard that your father is here, have you?"

Paris nodded, pulling up his nose in a gesture so unselfconsciously that Odysseus vaguely understood what the two brothers both craved and loathed in the young Trojan. Despite everything he had been through, there was hardly a trace of doubt in his eyes, and his will seemed as steelen and sharp as a recently forged blade.

"Someone has fed you - ", Odysseus stated mostly to himself as he suddenly realized what had struck him so odd with the young captive. "There's someone else who has cared for you all these days."

Seeing Prince Paris' features turn suddenly much more defiant and cautious made the King of Ithaca almost laugh in relief. Whatever had happened to him in the last weeks, this boy was far from broken.

"I won't ask who it was who took care of you, but I am grateful." Now smiling for earnest at the young Prince, he added: "Now don't glare at me like that, I'm on your side."

Sighing at the impressive assortment of bruises the youngster sported, Odysseus asked:

"Are you hurt?"

"Now that's the silliest question I've heard for a long time." Even though the reply was mostly mumbled, Paris' acidic comment hardly lost of bite.

Laughing softly, the King of Ithaca shook his head.

"I bet it is. But anything serious I should have a look at?"

Paris shrugged, spitting some bloody slime in the corner of the room.

"I think I have lost some teeth as Agamemnon stepped on my face, but otherwise, I think I'm fine."

"Anything else I can do for you right now?"

"Can you...."

"Yes?"

"If you can get a message to my father, tell him I'm sorry for the mess I've caused. He shouldn't have risked all those lives just because I was too weak to defend myself."


----

End of Chapter 3
 
 
Current Mood: content
Current Music: Rocky Horror Picture Show - OST
 
 
 
Christinafly_meaway on June 12th, 2004 03:30 am (UTC)
I'm really liking this story a lot. I was so happy to see a new part when I got on here, that I went and read it immediately. It's so sad and so good. And that with Hector/Achilles was just really hot!
Anyway, I really love this. Can't wait to read more!
Michelleaesvir on June 12th, 2004 04:21 am (UTC)
Epic plot bunnies! Woohoo!

Speechless Odysseus is a treat. And it took Hector THIS long to figure out what Achilles wants? How will he react when he learns Father Priam has planned this all along?

:D
not_sally on June 12th, 2004 08:40 am (UTC)
hehem *clears throat*

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you.
karihopeless_childe on June 12th, 2004 12:14 pm (UTC)
*crying* poor, poor Paris! i'm glad Odysseus is doing something for him.
Nyaartemicion on June 12th, 2004 07:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Wonderful
As always, wonderful chapter! I loved the exchange between Penelope and Odysseus. I fell so terrible for Paris. Not only is he getting tortured but he's feeling guilty for causing the deaths of Troy's soldiers. You've intrigued me further with that Achilles/Hector bit. I love it. Hurry! I want ch 4!!
cocainemusic on June 13th, 2004 05:43 pm (UTC)
*sigh* I wish I had the motivation to complete the Achilles/Hector (Eric/Brad) community I had planned, Patroclus is starting to piss me off (his infatuation has gone WAY beyond puppy-love), Yay! Hector won the struggle.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on June 18th, 2004 08:02 pm (UTC)
THANKS!
Thanks so much, all of you honeys, for your lovely feedback. It's been a terrribly busy week in RL (my wife and I will be moving shortly), so please excuse my late reply. But there's good news as well, CH4 will be online within the next hours. :D

HUGS to all of you,
take care,

Osiris