Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: Alexander (the Great)
Genre: AU, Drama
Rating: M / FRM
Characters: Alexander, Cassander, Hephaistion, Ptolemy (, OC).
Summary: When sent off to meet and negotiate with a foreign leader, Hephaistion soon realises that things are about to get very difficult – not only to his king, but to himself as well. Soon Alexander himself learns of the insult made against him – both as a man and as a king.
Warnings: Slash, violence, death, rape.
Beta: Leonida (huge thanks for betaing this story – and for all the great reprimanding and schooling you have given me ;) I will be a lot better writer when I learn to please your eye!)
Author’s Note: Once again, you are to be warned: this chapter contains rape (plus some violence)! Nothing nice in any of it, so if you do not like it, either skip this part, or read until we reach the dangerous ground, and then hop on (though I think the ones who do not wish to read such things have already left this story a long time ago). To the others, “enjoy”!
Plus, see a wonderful fan-picture made by Youn-Hee above.
The cold stone felt damp against his skin. Yet leaning his weight against it made the shackles around his wrists ease their pressure, and he rather saved his hands for later use – in his mind he was still going to escape, sooner than later. Shifting his weight yet again, trying to ignore the blood already coating the broken skin where the metal kept biting to his hands, Hephaistion leaned his forehead heavily to the wall. Grinding his skull against the rough surface was not the brightest of ideas, but in his rising desperation, driving the terror aside with the slightest of pain was only helpful.
You shall get your share of the pain soon enough, he promised to himself, again listening to the sounds of the deep underground dungeons. The air stank of anguish, death, and other less glorious things he had only witnessed on battlefield before. No doubt, there was something – or someone – rotting in the cell next to his. Or maybe the smell came from the same room, after all. He could not be sure in the darkness.
Bodies… You have seen those before, so pull yourself together! He tried controlling himself again, resisting the urge to speak aloud, even if only to himself. He knew that silence would not be his only witness. Keep this up and you shall end in one of those dark, slimy corners, cold as the bronze statues of –
Bumping his head against the hard stone, Hephaistion clenched his fists. His arms were slowly getting numb, the tingling sensation making him more annoyed. Shifting again, he pressed his forehead to the wall until he felt the skin break. His own blood felt odd, trickling down his face, making the already damp skin feel sticky and wet. He shuddered involuntarily, drawing his head away from the wall. A myriad of emotions rose within him; he was accomplishing nothing here...
The door of his prison was suddenly pulled open, the violent force making air rush against Hephaistion’s naked skin. He froze, eyes unfocused as his senses fought to identify every sound of movement behind him. People were entering the room, the light of torches making Hephaistion squint his eyes.
Someone moved towards him, a rich smell filling his nostrils. He tensed, painfully so, as every arching movement put more pressure on his wrists. Still Hephaistion made no sound, gave no clear outer signal he was reacting at all.
Mazaces probably didn’t even notice. The man was so full of himself that it made Hephaistion almost physically sick.
“Strong, proud general of the great Alexander… in no better position than a lowly slave,” Mazaces’ voice was barely above a whisper, as if spoken only to Hephaistion. He had either taken some lessons in Greek since their last meeting, or spend the last hours learning what he was now saying. “I though it might please you to get some information of your men’s fates,” the lord continued, leaning closer to his prisoner’s body almost like a fellow conspirator. “After… subduing your royal guard, the city gates were closed, and every each of your men within my walls was killed. Now the rest of your army waits outside, like a pack of frightened sheep. It seems that they are completely useless without a leader…”
Hephaistion knew that was not the case, but he had no intentions informing Mazaces about it. As they spoke, messengers must be returning to the main force of Alexander’s army, to inform their king the events had turned against their favour. It was a matter of time before the king himself would arrive. The only question is if I am still alive when he arrives, Hephaistion thought grimly, refusing to both answer the lord of the city or to look at him; he had suffered the other in the line of his vision long enough.
He could hear Mazaces grind his jaws together in frustration. Surely the other man did not expect him to whimper in fear and beg for his life? Perhaps so, but Hephaistion would never become that desperate – only before Alexander he would bow, and that came out of love, not fear.
Hephaistion refused to react.
Mazaces declined to humble himself to initiate the next move.
Other people shifted in the gloom, muttered words breaking the tense silence.
Finally, Mazaces seemed to grow tired of the game. He was a type of man who had not used to insubordination, and always got what he wanted. Always. It was only a matter of time – and how much pain he had to inflict on the disobeying person. And what he wanted from Hephaistion, at the moment, was complete surrender.
Hephaistion knew his situation was getting more perilous. His sight limited, body tied in an awkward angle… He had little leverage, and it made him feel more vulnerable. He had no choice but to hang there, and await what his captors would do.
There was a violent tensing thorough Hephaistion’s body when fingers suddenly touched his back. He had tried to keep still, stay calm, not to give any outer signals of his fears, but… He had expected nothing but pain from his enemies. Now a leather-covered hand petted his backside, in an almost gentle caress. Closing his eyes resolutely, Hephaistion fought for control, forcing his body to relax. Whatever the means, I shall not break…
Mazaces chuckled beside him, yet there was something else than amusement in his voice. The lord shifted closer, breaking Hephaistion’s attempts to gather his raging thoughts. “So fair…” the man murmured, his touches continuing with more force and pressure. Yet Hephaistion did not mistake his words, for a single moment, to a compliment. “Such beauty must know how to achieve all his goals,” Mazaces went on, his breath caressing Hephaistion’s ear, making him pull his head aside to avoid the contact.
Hephaistion could feel the other smile: to his reaction or to the mere thought of what was to come. And well did Hephaistion know what was going to happen to him. There was no doubt anymore. No reason to act surprised, he thought dryly. He did jerk away, however, when a hand crept down to fondle his genitals. The alien touch infuriated him, the other scent all too clear beside him. Only one living man on earth was allowed to touch him such, and he was not Mazaces.
He struggled with impotent fury, heedless to the fact he was tied up like a piece of dead meat. He only wished to get distance between himself and the filthy creature who called himself “lord” – and maybe get a good hit delivered in addition. But with his arms already numb, feet barely touching the ground, Hephaistion could do little but squirm, not even close of pushing the other man off from him.
One of the soldiers close to the door laughed, commenting something with their own, foreign language. Mazaces’ grip tightened, forcing Hephaistion to still his desperate fight. “Do you like this?” the lord asked, perhaps voicing what his men had said. This made Hephaistion drop his attempt of a fight momentarily, his mind trying to come up with a sufficient answer. Mazaces’ other hand was by now reaching his lower backside, groping like a buyer on the slave-markets. Yet in here, no money was to be traded, no purchase delivered. “Dirty Greek dog,” Mazaces finally spat, probably realising Hephaistion was not, after all, going to defend himself, even with words – which would have been futile, of course. “No man respecting himself should mount something like you.” With that, the lord of Rhadia pushed back, as if in disgust.
Hephaistion couldn’t have cared less if the man actually loathed to touch him or not – as long as he kept his distance, Hephaistion was content. There were orders delivered behind him, spoken with words he could not understand. Hephaistion did not need to comprehend, either. He knew well enough what was to come. Embracing his final moment of peace – and perhaps that among the living – Hephaistion send a quick prayer to the Gods. To his surprise, he named Phobos, whom Alexander had prayed the night before their battle at Gaugamela. Yet soon he would battle “fear” like never before. And for the love of Alexander, his Alexander, he would win! He would die without giving his enemies the pleasure he had seen on a hundred faces of other prisoners in his past. He would not break.
Men moved about. He was not sure if Mazaces was there or not. It didn’t matter. The man, worthless in his eyes, could go to hell if it pleased him. Hephaistion was about to forget him. If this indeed was his last moment among the living, he would be rather thinking of other places – other people.
Hephaistion recognized the crack of a whip being tested behind him. Soon he would feel it far more intimately. Taking a deep breath, as if preparing to some kind of a trial, he spoke out, loud and clear: “Macedonian. I am a Macedonian.” He knew it did not matter to those men; but it mattered to him. He would not die as a “Greek dog”, begging for mercy. Even death beheld glory, and for once, he prayed Alexander’s promises were indeed true…
The sound the whip made was loud in his ears. When the weapon connected with his back, he drew breath harshly, yet refused to make a sound. He had been beaten before, several times, and been wounded in battle more often he could count. Yet he had never been whipped. He had seen men treated thus, seen their skin rip and bleed, heard their screams of agony and swears against their tormentors.
The feel of his own skin breaking, almost hearing the cruel whip digging to his flesh made Hephaistion acutely aware of his situation. He had used the method before, when in a great amount of pain: to look inside, to block out the necessary urges of your body. It was as if you left your own body, and observed it from the outside.
When the pain rose like a wall of red light before him, Hephaistion found himself unable to think any longer. The essence of his life ran down his back and shoulders, trickling down his legs. The air smelled of sweat and blood.
After what seemed like hours, the whip no longer rose for another strike. Allowing his head fall forward, Hephaistion panted for air. He could no longer feel his arms. His mind could not work the overload of senses, pain exceeding everything – coherent thoughts, orders given to his body… He was a dead weight hanging there, waiting for the next act of his tormentors.
He did not have to wait for long.
People moved within the cell, a hand suddenly yanking his head back. Cold water was thrown down over his body, washing away blood and pieces of flesh. Its purpose was by no means to clean him, but to wake him up. Yet Hephaistion said nothing, made no sound. If this was his fate, he was going to see it through with dignity and strength of mind Alexander could be proud of. Alexander… The thought of his king made his ache, yearn for freedom. He wanted to live and see how far his friend could walk the road before him – how far the others would follow him. Because when all the others fail and leave him, I would follow! To the end of the world, and beyond.
Yet that was not bound to happen, and Hephaistion felt a torrent of emotions wash over him, more effective than the water had been. Feel of anger, betrayal, failure… He was alone. For the first time in his life, he knew Alexander was not going to come for him. Part of him was glad. A greater part, however, cried out in agony, not willing to die alone, apart from the soul he had loved since he was only a boy. That part longed to hold his beloved close, tell him he had never ceased loving him, through all these years. Tell Alexander he was going to wait for him…
A naked body pushed against his, painful grip bruising the slick skin of his hips. Hephaistion tensed. Hands skimmed over his thighs, trying to urge them apart: when no access was freely given, they were forced. His breath caught in his throat when a firm flesh pushed against him. It held no passion towards him, but rather to the pain it was going to cause him.
Men laughed, more hands touching the bloody, wet skin. Their words were mocking, yet Hephaistion could not understand; but he caught the meaning, as he was meant to. Still he made no sound. He did not move, either, his body remaining tense as a bowstring before the arrow set upon it was launched as a messenger of death…
A violent push from a man behind him made a hot pain flare inside Hephaistion’s lower body. The agony that had only remained outside, was now reaching inside. Like flames, devouring him a layer after layer… The man grunted, the sound making Hephaistion sick. He closed his eyes, not sure when he had opened them, trying to block out everything – outside and within.
This time it lasted for hours, Hephaistion was certain of it. He lost count of the times his enemies violated his body, his mind drifting from some dark place to the world of living again. At times, water was splashed on him, or a slap to his face bringing him to full awareness. As much as he tried, he could not escape the room, the smell, the sounds. Still he remained silent.
The men finally left, Hephaistion noted to himself, his mind slowly fighting its way through a blurry mist. He was still facing the wall, his skin scraped and bleeding where it had rubbed against the stone. A cool breeze of air made his skin sting and turn into goose bumps. Shifting slightly, he tried to lessen the gnawing pain, and ease the muscles that were beginning to cramp due his position and dehydration.
A male voice suddenly spoke up behind Hephaistion, making him halt his every movement. Holding his breath, the Macedonian listened as several people walked closer to him. Many spoke with tones he couldn’t quite place; hands touched him again. One small glance told him these men were different from those who had just left the room. And these men were here to continue from where their friends had finished.
Hands grabbed Hephaistion’s body, holding him still. The shackles were opened to his dismay, the men releasing him and allowing him to slide to the sticky floor. It didn’t really matter if he was free, to be honest: he had no strength left to hold himself up, much less to escape, or attempt a fight.
Strong, rough hands grabbed his hips, elevating them from the stones. Another man kneeled before him, fingers fisting to his hair, forcing his head up. Hephaistion’s body screamed in pain he fought not to voice when the man behind him mounted him, the smell of blood overpowering all other scents in the air. Life returned to his arms, making them tingle, then ache. Sweat and blood and dirt clung to his skin, his back protesting of the harsh treatment with every forced move.
Hephaistion bit his lip, trying to gather the remnants of his adamant will. He would not break. He could not. He would make Alexander proud! “Alexander…” The whisper escaped him before he could stop it. The man pushing into him pressed his head to the ground, shaking with his release. Other men laughed around them, making comments to each other, some reaching out to touch his skin. The man still kneeling before him petted his hair, almost fondly. Another man moved to replace his mate, sending a violent shiver through Hephaistion’s entire form.
He would not break.
But it did not mean he couldn’t pray.
The next time he called out Alexander’s name, it was a broken gasp. A fervent call not to be answered. If the men heard him, they did not understand. Or then they simply did not care. The gasps turned to whimpers, sometimes lowered to a silent murmur. Not once did he scream; not for mercy – not his lover’s name. Yet Alexander’s name passed his lips until it came all he could think of. It became the pain, the darkness, the reason.
Nothing else no longer mattered.
to be continued…
Author’s Notes: Here it was, for now. Quicker update than I thought, actually (thank Youn-Hee for being a pain in the ass and making me go on despite my plans – and of course thanks to all others who have told me to keep going!).
Frankly, I think this is one of the best chapters ever written by me. Got more poetic in the end than I intended, but other option was to risk the limits of the rating… I would love to know your opinion, as well – so review, people!
And naturally I thank all the reviewers and readers! You are such an encouragement, and keep me doing this faster and with more devotion than I otherwise would. Each line you write to me is cherished and carefully noted.
In the next chapter, we shall finally see Alexander’s reaction to all this! I doubt it shall disappoint any of us – at least I wish so. It is time for Mazaces to learn the magnitude of his actions…
Chapter 1: Assembling Plans
Chapter 2: Negotiation
Chapter 3: A Macedonian
Chapter 4: Bow before your King
Chapter 5: Trial and Mercy