Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: Alexander the Great
Era: Spanning the years between 342–323 B.C.
Genre: Romance, drama
Rating: M / FRM
Characters: Alexander, Hephaistion (Bagoas, Olympias, Roxane and several others mentioned)
Summary: Through the years and across the miles, one man held Alexander’s heart.
Warnings: Sexual situations between two men (slash), description of violence, brutality, war and death.
Author’s Note: Inspired by and written for my beta, Mythra (mythras_fire).
In between long marches it was important to keep one’s mind from falling into darkness. Alexander always looked ahead, yet he knew many of his men lived in the moment, lacking the vision he had been possessed by since he was young enough to understand the glory that lay before him should he rise to take it.
Yet Alexander, too, yearned to find enjoyment in a break from their long travel to meet the Persians in battle; when he no longer had the patience to listen to his friends and commanders, he strode out into the heat of the sun and looked around until he found Hephaistion. It did not take long for the man never strayed far from his side.
“Hephaistion,” Alexander nodded his head and then acknowledged the man standing by his best friend: “Ptolemy.” His eyes, however, did not rest on him for long; he was all too eager to meet the gaze of the man who had held his heart, trust and dreams for so long. “I desire to spar with you,” Alexander stated.
Hephaistion showed little surprise, raising an eyebrow briefly before nodding. “The body grows restless with little to do,” he agreed. He had never had a passion for war – not like some men who could never find rest off the battlefield – but that did not mean he could not fight, or would not, when Alexander needed him to. Nor did it mean he would not challenge Alexander when it was asked of him.
They sought out a sheltered place with sand beneath them. Ptolemy, of his own accord, trailed them and took a seat as they shed their clothes and then approached each other. Hephaistion was, as ever, relentless in defeating Alexander and that was why they were soon rolling on the sand floor, bodies sweaty and twisting, panting breaths and snarls floating like the dust around them.
Hephaistion finally twisted around, his strong legs throwing Alexander off balance and beneath the other man’s weight.
Beside them Ptolemy laughed and clapped as Alexander attempted to find purchase and raise himself, Hephaistion’s body trembling against his in an attempt to keep him still.
“It may be said that the great Alexander was only ever defeated by Hephaistion’s thighs!” Ptolemy called out to them.
Hephaistion glanced up at him, his long hair tangled and dirty – giving Alexander a chance to roar, push free and throw him down instead, claiming a victory that was perhaps not his alone.
The man beneath him simply looked up at Alexander, fondness in his expression as he gave up the fight.
“Fight, Alexander!” one of the other boys shouted.
He twisted and struggled for air.
“Throw him down!” another yell encouraged him.
Above him, Hephaistion’s body was rigid and unrelenting, holding him down. Alexander could see his every breath, his chest and stomach moving, sweat and dust covering him like a second layer of skin. If he swept his fingers against it, the sand would fall off and there would only be skin.
Later, he promised himself – then let out a roar, his body straining one more time to overthrow his opponent.
Hephaistion wavered, then tried re-doubling his efforts, but he was tired after pinning Alexander down for too long. With a mighty push Alexander heaved upwards and threw Hephaistion to the side – only to feel the strong legs clamp around his body and throw him further around, using his momentum to shove him face first into the dirt.
The boys around them lived his defeat with him until their instructor declared Hephaistion the winner and they were allowed to pick themselves off the ground. Hephaistion, as so often, extended a hand to help Alexander to his feet and gave him that small, secret look that was almost like a smile as bright as the sun and warmed Alexander’s chest despite the burn of defeat.
While they walked to the river to clean themselves off the others joked for a time then left them alone in order to swim and compete in the water.
“You almost had me,” Hephaistion told him.
“Next time I shall defeat you,” Alexander promised.
Hephaistion actually smiled this time, eyes bright. “I will be waiting for it.”
Alexander glanced down and reached out, his fingers tracing the rivers of sand on his friend’s skin. It fell off as he had predicted, leaving only softness behind it that felt heavenly on his coarse, dry skin.
“Will you help me wash?” Hephaistion teased him.
Alexander looked up, pulling back his hand. “If you wish me to.”
The other boy glanced towards the river. “Perhaps… but not today. Not here.”
It was another thing Alexander would be looking forward to, besides defeating his friend.
to be continued…