Fire and Ashes

Note: For the postcoital challenge. My first attempt at Troy slash - hope I didn't mess it up too badly... Many thanks to loadedsixstring for the beta.

He had not known that this was their last night together.

If he had, he surely would have used it better. He would have savored it more, instead of wasting it with arguing about joining or not joining the fight. He would certainly not have wasted a single thought on Briseis. Not when the precious last hours with the one who had been part of him long before her, were fleeing much too quick. He would have forgotten everything. Everything, except for Patroclus and the touch of his hands. The taste of his body, the shining of his eyes and the words of affection he whispered when he thought his lover was asleep.

But Achilles had not known. And of all the things that made him mad with grief and anger this waste was among the most bitter.

He had sent Patroclus out to fight in his armour; with barely a nod, barely a good wish or a prayer. Achilles had never been a praying man, but now he wished he had prayed, just this once, for the safekeeping of the one he loved. He had never been one to make grand declarations of love, but now he wished he had told Patroclus that he loved him better than any other, man or woman.

There had been a moment last night, when the heat of their argument had made Patroclus' eyes burn. When his whole body was tense with passionate anger, and Achilles had found himself tempted to banish Briseis from his tent for the night. His beloved was always beautiful, but never more so than when roused to a burning fury. Achilles forgot about his strife with Agamemnon long enough to think about twisting that fury until Patroclus pushed him down on the rugs and took him, his anger transformed. It would have been a different fire and would have ended with warmth and tenderness, instead of coldness and compromise. Briseis offered another kind of tenderness, not quite as soul-possessing and burning, and Achilles had chosen her. After all, Patroclus would always be there at his side, gods willing.

It was Achilles' mistake that he had not considered that the gods' will might, for once, not be the same as his own and he would forever regret his arrogance.

With eyes dry from too much anguish Achilles watched the flames take his beloved's body. He was almost jealous of them, and envied them the privilege of that final caress, which should by right have been his. His throat raw from too many screams, Achilles mutely saw what had once been Patroclus disappear forever.

Achilles had not known that this was their last night together, and soon all that was left of it was ashes and memories of a fire.