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03 September 2004 @ 02:08 pm
FIC: 'Sparta', epilogue  



Larissa, at the beach, a few months later.

Her son had returned. Alive.

Even though she had known it was bound to happen, Thetis could hardly believe it herself. All his life, she had seen Achilles grow up, with the deep knowledge in her that he would meet a glorious but untimely end.

And then, suddenly, in no more time than it would take for a man to blink, all that had changed. Suddenly, there had been a different fate for her son, a love and a family at his side.

Maybe not the standard kind of family, but Thetis was far too happy with the things as they were to feel like arguing the point. Her son lived, and he had returned to Larissa to gather his belongings.

Once again, she waded in the shallow waters between the rocky cliffs that made up most of Larissa's beach, looking for shells. Here and there, the brilliant sunlight slanted into the deep gullies the sea had driven into the stone with the ages, reflecting on the tiny waves and dancing on the cliffs like joyful spirits.
It was a good day, in Thetis eyes, and it was only one of many of its kind that were about to follow.

A little off, on a little less rocky strip of the beach, her son and his family were sitting under a simple makeshift balcony of pale sailcloth, resting in the shadow of an old pine tree. Achilles was holding his lover's son, and both Hector and Andromache looked rather fondly at the two of them.

Thetis knew it would not be long before her son would notice her in the shadows below the cliffs, and despite everything, she was excited to meet him. This war had changed the world in many subtle ways, even if only a handful of men had died in its course.

Finally, Achilles seemed to notice her, for he handed the child back to its mother, apparently excusing himself for a short walk. How often he had walked up to her like this, along the beach, how many time she had watched him train with Patroclus among the dunes. But never before it had seemed so... right.

Taking an especially pretty shell out of the water, Thetis turned to wait until her son was close enough for her to greet him. How was one supposed to feel when finally, your greatest dream came true? Blissfully happy, of course. But apart from that? She couldn't see herself jumping at her son, gleefully squeezing him like old Priam had done.

"Mother?", Achilles firm voice intruded in her self-absorbed thoughts. Turning around to face him, Thetis was stunned to see how happy her son looked.

"Achilles", she said, walking up to him, gently touching his cheek. "You have returned..."

"At least for a time, yes. I'm only here to gather my stuff, then we will leave again." Smiling at his mother's obvious joy at his return, he added: "We have decided that I will be living in Troy, with my family."

"Yes, I know." Smiling, with her chest so full of emotion that it felt like there were caged birds trying to break free, she added: "You belong to Troy now. Like a lot of things do these days."

Softly, Achilles chuckled at his mother's apt remark.

"Yes", he replied with a nod, "Priam has proven rather competent at gathering all the flotsam. He helped Klytaimnestra and her new husband keeping the reigns on the Greek tribes, and in turn she pledged friendship and open trade with Troy. And believe it or not, Paris and Helen are now ruling in Sparta, much beloved by the people there, as we could see ourselves when we visited them before sailing on to Larissa."

Smiling down at his mother, Achilles concluded with a smile: "But you knew all that, didn't you?"

Answering her son's question with a soft nod, Thetis said: "It is so good to see you, my son, you look so happy. Are you?"

With a sigh and a second's hesitation, the blond warrior nodded.

"When you said to me I was to find my 'one true love', I thought it would be something like a prize I was to gain", he explained, his face a mix of fondness and slight frustration. "But of course you knew from the very beginning it was more than that, much more."

Wisely, Thetis only smiled and didn't say a word.

"Loving someone makes fighting harder", her son continued, as much to himself than to his mother. "There is someone your death would hurt, someone I should have lived on to protect, someone I do not feel I have spent enough time with yet. It makes dying such a terribly unwanted option."

"Yes, indeed."

Fondly looking at his mother, he suddenly took a step towards her, hugging her close. "I must have made you mad with worry for so many years", he whispered most unexpectedly. "I am sorry for the grief I caused you, mother."

This, for the second time in her life, was a thing she hadn't been expecting. Caught completely off-guard, Thetis felt tears well up in her eyes, and all of a sudden, she felt herself crying, soft and silent tears of joy.

"Mother?", Achilles asked. "Are you all right?"

Still crying softly, Thetis nodded. "Tears of joy, dear, nothing else." Looking up at her tall son, she smiled despite her tears, she added: "You make me very proud, you know that?"

"I...", Achilles started, but then broke off as he realized how touched he was. Never before he had heard those words of his mother. Fighting his emotions, it was only by force of will Achilles kept his voice firm. "Will we see you in Troy, one day?"

"Of course you will", Thetis replied, her voice still shaky with emotions. "When Andromache's next child is born, bring the infant to the beach. I will have a gift for her."

"Another shell necklace?", Achilles asked, a fond mocking in his voice.

"Yes, another shell necklace", his mother replied evenly. "Among others."

Her tears having now finally subsided, Thetis reached into the folds of her robe, taking out another necklace, a fine golden chain with pale blue shells.

"By the way. Here, give this to Andromache, with my best regards. At least she will know to cherish it."

Taking the necklace, Achilles nodded, smiling. "Mother?", he asked softly. "Thank you for all."

And with a kiss to her cheek, he turned around, walking down the beach towards his waiting family.

Behind him, he left a stunned Thetis, happy and at ease for the first time in so many years of her long life.

'Well', she thought calmly by herself, returning to her task of gathering shells, 'I better start thinking of moving to Troy myself...' Looking down at the clear water around her ankles, she added mirthfully: 'Wonder if they have such pretty shells at the beaches there as well..."

Current Mood: pissed off
Current Music: Groove Coverage - She
not_sally on September 4th, 2004 07:39 am (UTC)
oh wow. I'm so giddy with joy, you have no idea.
This is the perfect fic. Everything gets as fucked up as it can before the happy ending, and there's much slashy smut about. Perfect.
I loved that the warriors didn't get to save the day: instead you got fuck-up!Paris and kick-ass!Andromache to do the hard work! It was hilarious seeing the Heroes of Sparta running from one place to another and always arriving late.
Anyway, I loved it. So congrats again on an amazing fic.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 5th, 2004 09:43 pm (UTC)
Dear Salazar,

thanks so much for sticking with me all through the story. Your feedback really means a lot to me, and I a glad you liked the ending. I was admittedly afraid that I would fuck it up, and all the RL chaos didn't help one bit.
I bet you know how this is.

Thanks so much again,
take good care,

not_sally on September 5th, 2004 10:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks!
I'm glad, and trust me, it was my pleasure. ^_~
Cardinal Rose: outoftime_fineeyestrust_n0_1 on September 7th, 2004 12:24 am (UTC)
This was soooo good, I'm sorry to see it end. And wow, a happy ending. I'm not usually fond of happy endings but this one was perfect! Thanks!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 11th, 2004 10:40 pm (UTC)
LOL, so glad you liked it, especially the ending. I know happy endings tend to suck, but as long as I don't really hate one of the characters, I can't do without...

Thanks so much,
take good care,