Title: Conversations on a Balcony
Pairing/characters: Jason/Pythagoras, Hercules
Warnings: Language, angst, mention of past abusive relationship
Spoilers: General for series 1
Disclaimer: Not mine. BBC and Urban Myth Films own them.
Word count: approx 20,000 (total)
AN: Written for smallfandombang round 4. Thanks to small fandom bang for giving me the excuse to finally get this fic written. It is, of course, inspired by that scene in episode 1.6. Fic is set after the end of series 1 and before the beginning of series 2.
AN2: Certain parts of this story may seem familiar to anyone who has read my fic A Million Little Things. That’s because A Million Little Things is pretty much my established headcanon backstory for Pythagoras and Hercules’ past together, so I figured why not use it again? This time we get things from Pythagoras’ point of view.
AN3: Thanks to fififolle and clea2011 for the beta. And huge thanks to Clea and Celeste for putting up with me wittering on about it for the last three months or so.
AN4:Go and look at the beautiful artwork created for this fic by kat_lair (or on AO3). It’s scattered throughout the fic as well, but please go and give the artist some feedback for all this lovely work.
Summary: It’s late at night, they are in the house by themselves, so Jason and Pythagoras talk. In a story told wholly through a series of late night conversations, often aided by alcohol, Jason and Pythagoras discuss anything and everything, from the not so serious (such as the time Jason tries to explain the internet), to subjects that are close to both their hearts. In doing so, they learn more about each other and their friendship grows.
But no matter how close they are, Jason knows they both have secrets. Jason still dare not tell Pythagoras the truth about who he is and where he comes from. And no matter how honest Pythagoras is about his sexuality and past relationships, Jason soon comes to believe that his friend is hiding a great heartache.
When matters come to a head one night, Jason must decide how much he is prepared to risk in order to save his relationship with the best friend he has ever known.
Fic on AO3
“Pythagoras, how did you and Hercules end up living together?”
It was one of those things that Jason had wondered about ever since he met the two of them. The fact that Hercules and Pythagoras cared deeply about each other was obvious to anyone who spent more than five minutes in their presence, but at the same time Jason couldn’t begin to fathom how two people who were so completely different had ever become friends in the first place.
Pythagoras was standing leaning on the balcony and watching the street below. At Jason’s question he glanced round and his frustrated expression melted into something softer.
“It’s not a particularly exciting story.”
Jason held up a flagon and two cups as he approached.
“That’s probably for the best,” Jason said. “I think we’ve already had enough excitement for one day.”
Hercules had got the three of them involved in a bar room brawl. That by itself hadn’t necessarily been a problem until they discovered that the man Hercules had annoyed happened to have ten very large friends, and they had ended up being chased halfway across the city. When they did finally get home safely, Pythagoras had spent a good half hour yelling at Hercules as he patched his injuries up, until Hercules simply got up and walked out, leaving Pythagoras to simmer and Jason to deal with his friend’s bad mood.
He had to admit, Pythagoras in a bad mood was such a rare occurrence that Jason was somewhat at a loss to know how to deal with it. So he had fallen back on what always seemed to happen when he and Pythagoras were alone in the house together in the evening.
Pythagoras managed a small smile, and turned around properly and accepted the cup of wine. He remained standing, though, so Jason sat down at the table and waited.
Pythagoras didn’t say anything at first. His eyes remained on the cup in his hands, and he stayed silent for long enough that Jason began to wonder if this hadn’t been a good idea after all. He was about to tell Pythagoras to forget it, when his friend finally did start to speak.
“It was my first day in Atlantis. I’d arrived on a boat from Samos in the morning, and I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t have anywhere to go, and I had no idea what I was going to do here. To tell you the truth, I had been hoping to go to Athens, but I would have had to wait another week for a transport going to the mainland. The boat for Atlantis was leaving right when I wanted to get out, so I ended up here instead.”
Everything Pythagoras had just said raised a million more questions in Jason’s mind, but he didn’t get chance to ask any of them.
Pythagoras glanced up and must have seen Jason’s expression.
“It wasn’t after what happened with my father, if that’s what you’re thinking. That was a few years earlier. I was seventeen, and I... well, let’s just say a relationship had ended badly and I couldn’t stay. And I couldn’t go home and face Arcas again. So I ended up in Atlantis.”
Was that the same relationship he had alluded to before, but refused to talk about? Jason hoarded that little bit of information away for later and didn’t interrupt.
“The first time I saw Hercules, he was wrestling. And he lost. I stopped to help him after the match because he looked like he was injured. No one else seemed to be with him, and I couldn’t just leave him there like that.”
Pythagoras did finally glance up at Jason, and Jason was pleased to note that a faint smile had appeared on his face now.
“He insisted on taking me to the tavern and we got talking. And then a drunk man tried to start a fight with me.” His expression twisted into something self-deprecating and almost angry. “Well, I say fight. It wasn’t much of a fight. He shoved me and I fell over and didn’t put up any resistance. I would probably have just got up and run away right then if he had tried anything else.”
“Pythagoras,” Jason interrupted. He was no longer sure this was a good idea at all.
“Do you want to hear it or not?”
“Not if it’s making you uncomfortable.”
“It’s not. Believe it or not, this is a good memory. One of the few good memories I have of that time in my life.”
Pythagoras sipped at his wine for a moment. Jason remained silent and waited for him.
“I was in a strange place, surrounded by men in various states of drunkenness, and one of them was threatening me. I’m sure you can imagine how much that brought back a few memories.”
Bloody hell. Jason could imagine all too well.
“And then Hercules was there,” Pythagoras said. “He appeared out of nowhere, and put himself between me and the man who had shoved me. And you know what? Hercules punched him. Damn near flattened the guy. And then he said something, and I will never forget what he said, Jason. He said, ‘This boy is with me. Anybody touches this boy and they will answer to me’.”
Pythagoras looked up and Jason saw that now he was smiling. A soft, affectionate, almost embarrassed smile. It made Jason want to hug him.
“I will never, ever forget that. Hercules was the first person in a long time, maybe the only person apart from my mother, who had ever stood up for me. Who ever protected me with no agenda or ulterior motive. Just because he cared. I think I loved him a little for that.”
Jason found himself nodding. Yeah, he could see exactly why Pythagoras would have formed such a strong relationship with Hercules after that. No matter how much he blustered and complained, there was nothing more guaranteed to bring out Hercules’ protective instincts than Pythagoras in trouble. The fact that apparently went right back to their first meeting only made Jason feel even more affection for their large friend.
“Anyway,” Pythagoras continued. “After that he brought me home, and let me stay. I think we both only intended it to be for a short while. But I never left. I know a lot of people look at us and wonder how we’re friends. Sometimes I don’t even know, to be honest. But it just... worked. We fit together. That’s the only way I can describe it.”
Pythagoras flushed an interesting shade of pink and downed most of the wine he was holding.
Jason grinned and held the flagon out, but Pythagoras refused any more.
“I told you it wasn’t very exciting,” Pythagoras said with a small chuckle. “Nowhere near as exciting as the way I met you, at least.”
Maybe not, but Jason couldn’t help thinking there were similarities. A lost young man in a foreign land, protected and taken in by a stranger for no reason other than it seemed like the right thing to do. It was almost karmic. Or maybe, as the people of Atlantis were so fond of saying, it was fate.
He suddenly realised Pythagoras was looking at him with an entirely too curious expression.
“You never did tell me how you came to be in Atlantis, Jason. Not properly.”
Pythagoras glanced out of the window behind him and sighed.
“Never mind. I think I see Hercules coming home. We will have to save that one for another night.”
“Yeah. No problem.”