He wakes up before the sun.
The house sighs as he slips out of bed. He’d dressed before falling asleep, so now he takes his bag and quietly walks past his parents’ room. He can hear his mother snore, the whistle of her exhale, and the soft murmur of his mama talking in her sleep.
”The cats,” she mumbles, and he smiles. He’s said his goodbyes already. He won’t wake them now.
The floorboards creak as he moves through the house. His eyes linger on the pictures his mother painted, the half-finished quilt laid out on the couch... He’s going to come back, but he knows it won’t be the same. He’ll never be the Dimitri he is ever again.
He runs his fingers over a conch shell on the mantle. His mama had found it on the beach when he was little. She’d held it up to his ear, and he’d heard the ocean. He picks it up for a moment, then sets it back down. He won’t need a shell when he can have the whole sea.
He laces his boots up, and shuts the door behind him.
The sky is a pale grey, and the edge of the world is kissed with pink. He whistles as he walks along the beach- something bright, something sad. It fades as soon as it is, song swept away by the waves.
The lover, the martyr, forget-me-not
In silver, and silver, and gold
The fighter, betrayer, a marriage knot
Of silver, and silver, and gold
His voice fades out when he reaches the docks. The Kosmikós isn’t a large ship, but she’s much bigger than his mother’s fishing boat, or the gondolas people rode through town. And she’s going to steal him away.
Wes is waiting for him in their spot below the pier. For a moment, Dimitri doesn’t notice him, but the rising sun glints gold off his hair. He still has time. He goes to join him.
”You didn’t have to see me off,” he says. He drops his bag in the sand.
”I wanted to,” Wes replies. He’s smiling, but he’s not quite looking at Dimitri. “Your eyes are green today.”
Strange. They’d been red last night, but had settled to blue this morning.
”Maybe I’m nervous,” he says. Wes snorts.
”You aren’t,” he says, like it’s a fact. It feels true.
”I’m not,” he agrees. Dimitri shifts his weight from one foot to the other. He feels restless.
”i just wanted to say goodbye,” Wes blurts. He looks almost angry, though Dimitri knows he isn’t mad at him. He never is. “You’ll be so far, and-“
”I’ll be back next summer,” He says, and he thinks maybe he doesn’t have the right words this time, because Wes just looks angrier.
”I don't want you to go,” Wes mumbles, and his voice cracks on the last syllable. Dimitri looks at him, properly, and it aches more than the sleeping house he’s left.
”Don’t say that, Apollo,” Dimitri says. He takes Wes’ arm; pulls him gently towards him. He smooths his hair away from his face and kisses his forehead. “You’ll be fine without me.”
Wes lifts his head, and all that anger and all that courage fills his eyes, and then their lips meet, insistent and soft and biting. It’s like he’s whispering a prayer into his skin.
Don’t go, don’t go, don’t-
For a moment, he freezes, and then he’s kissing back, almost as desperate as Wes. He can’t pretend he isn’t shocked. He’s kissing his best friend, and it’s hot and heavy like coal in his stomach, and it’s only the sound of sailors that breaks them apart.
Dimitri looks at Wes, with his messy hair and kiss-swollen lips, and he’s scared.
”I-“ Wes begins.
”Don’t say it,” he says. He sounds breathless. His lips hurt. He’s never kissed anyone like that before. “Don’t.”
His heart feels like it’ll pound out of his chest. He’s never been seasick before, but this must be what it’s like. The sand rolls under his feet, and he stumbles. He grabs his bag and races for the docks. This time, Wes doesn’t follow.
It’s only when the Kosmikós pulls out of the harbor Dimitri looks back. The sun shines bright behind him. And on the shore, he sees the light glint off golden hair.
Hate him when he leaves you, my dear
Abandoning silver and gold
When he's arrested, stay quiet, stay here
Cling onto your silver and gold