He is dying, dying like any other mortal man. There are wounds, holes in his flesh driven by gleeful hearts and gluttonous hands, greed to strike a man when he’s down, greed to take him away from me. His blood keeps running, hot and thick. I can fix him, I know, can sew him up until he shines again. I can beg the earth to give me back his blood, to replace it with my own, to save him, save him, save him. I was born to save him.
“Patroclus,” he whispers, and his hands are trembling, hands that are so strong, so perfect, so bright. The tendons, like lyre strings, tremble and shake. Pain plays upon them, upon his face.
“Patroclus.” Again, he speaks my name, and I listen. “My love, I am glad you are here.”
I weep for him, though he is not yet gone. “I can save you!” I cry, as if my cries will make it true, will change the hand of fate.
He brings his hand up to my neck, curling in my hair. He steadies himself, there. As if I am anchoring him to life. He pulls me down, infinite strength reduces to a whisper. He is dying. He will live. His lips touch mine, and he is warm, and soft, and himself, now. Transformed by pain into himself, this boy dying on the battlefield. Dying and leaving me, dying like he is a man, like he is one of them. But he is perfect, and meant for more, for more than this –
And he is gone.
He has died like any other man. He died in pain and blood and dirt.
I was born to save him – no. I was born to love him.