Title: Witness of Love and Gods
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: Alexander the Great (movie)
Rating: M / FRM
Characters: Alexander, Bagoas, Cassander, Cleitus, Crateros, Hephaistion, Ptolemy
Pairings: Alexander/Hephaistion, Hephaistion/Ptolemy (implied Alexander/Roxanne, Ptolemy/Thais)
Summary: Movie-fic. Ptolemy told much about Alexander and his life to the generations after, but there are also many stories that shall never be repeated...
Warnings: m/m -relationship, violence, character’s death
Author’s Note: This chapter was updated and at some parts re-written to its proper form 24th of October 2005.
“Hunt down Darius! It could take us years, and yet we might not find him! What does Alexander think he is doing?” Parmenion raged, anger plain upon his face. “His father at least –”
“Peace, Parmenion,” Nearchus said from the other side of the room where the generals were keeping their secret meeting. “I am sure that all this raging is in vain, for Alexander has already made up his mind. He will hunt down Darius even if it would be the last thing he ever does.”
“But at what cost?” Philotas joined his father, glancing at the other men around the room. “We have already come this far, the people of this land acknowledging Alexander as their king. What more could he possibly want?”
“He only wishes to finish his mission, and ensure his power here,” Ptolemy said diplomatically. “Like he said, Darius is still technically the king of Asia. We are merely…intruders.”
“Who of us ever wanted him to be the king of Asia?” Cleitus asked somewhat bitterly.
No-one replied to that, but agreeing nods followed the statement. Ptolemy let out a silent, depressed sigh, turning to look at his side where Hephaistion was standing. The other man was staring out of a window, looking as if he wasn’t even listening. But Ptolemy knew that the other was following the events in the room continually. It was Hephaistion’s way to do these things: stay quiet and listen. Observe. It made him actually more dangerous than the other men, for of his thoughts, none could possibly know.
Hephaistion glanced at Ptolemy, feeling the other’s gaze upon himself. Blue eyes shifted to the other men, wariness in them. It was certain that Hephaistion had already decided which side he was on, but what was truly going on in that man’s head, Ptolemy couldn’t tell. It taunted him, but he reminded himself quickly that he most likely knew how Hephaistion saw the situation: the same way Alexander was. Or maybe not. Even if he supports Alexander and doesn’t speak up against him, it doesn’t mean that he agrees with our king.
When the discussion didn’t continue, the men left the room with dark faces, splitting up to go their own direction. It wouldn’t do them any good if Alexander found out of their meetings. There were more of those meeting nowadays, the tempers running high. The way Alexander acted didn’t suit many of his followers, and at times it seemed that more people doubted him than supported him. Not that Alexander cared: he stayed true to his own heart, refusing to listen anyone else.
Ptolemy found himself following Hephaistion unconsciously as the other man walked away, taking a route through a small garden. After a while, Hephaistion halted, turning around to meet Ptolemy’s eyes.
“What do you say?” Hephaistion asked, his voice low. “Do you think Alexander was never meant to be a king of Asia? That his hunt is madness, an obsession?”
Ptolemy halted before Hephaistion, his eyes meeting the other’s blue depths. “All I know is that he will lose the support of his generals if he keeps ignoring us as he has recently.”
Hephaistion nodded, his eyes releasing Ptolemy’s gaze as they moved to watch the foreign plants around them. “Alexander will not give up,” he mused, his fingers caressing a leaf of a dark-green bush. “I do not think he is aware of the situation tensing around him. He is too naive for that.”
“But who would dare tell him?” Ptolemy asked, stepping to stand beside Hephaistion. The other’s earlier comment had surprised him, but he didn’t let it startle himself. “Even I wouldn’t dare to confront him with such news.”
“You are so afraid of him,” Hephaistion smiled. “You all are. Like sheep, facing a wolf. But when he turns his back, you turn into crows, ready to feast upon his victory.”
“Are you any better than us?” Ptolemy asked, his voice seething with anger. He had always been loyal to Alexander, and being accused like this, especially by Hephaistion…
“It doesn’t matter to me, to be honest,” Hephaistion answered. “I will follow him wherever he goes.”
Ptolemy was silent for a while, looking at the man beside him. Then he spoke haltingly, remorse in his voice. “Forgive me, Hephaistion. All this plotting and secrecy is getting onto my nerves. Of course I would not think anything that low of you: of all of us ‘Friends’, you are the only loyal one. I hope Alexander knows that. As naive as he may be, I think he has great faith in you.”
Hephaistion blinked, frowning. “And what of you? Alexander has trusted your advise since he was a youth, and here you speak with me at this very moment.”
“I do not have the courage to face him with the truth,” Ptolemy smiled. “But you will tell him, won’t you?”
“Of course I will,” Hephaistion replied. “It is his right to know. And it will do good for all of us if he is aware of the situation.”
“It seems to be so easy for you to speak in such a way of Alexander,” Ptolemy snorted. “The others would be afraid to lose their heads.”
“I assume I have no reason to fear that,” Hephaistion murmured, lowering his gaze.
Ptolemy looked at the other man, a gentle smile spreading across his features. Indeed, Hephaistion has always been the only one that Alexander truly believes in. If nothing else, Hephaistion is our only chance to keep Alexander in some sort of control… Startled by his thoughts, Ptolemy looked away, noticing that Hephaistion was looking at him again with knowing eyes.
“I do not have such a great influence on him, you know,” Hephaistion laughed softly, his voice sounding almost ironic. “Oh, I can see it upon your face: dozens of thoughts of how you could use me to control Alexander.”
“If I would wish to control him, it would be solely for one reason: Alexander’s own good. He is my friend, and a man I respect, but at times he is a great danger to himself. Therefore, it would be wise for you to keep an eye on him: there are many who would already replace him with someone else.”
Hephaistion stood silent, his eyes turning emotionless in a moment. It seemed that the mere idea of Alexander being threatened made him look at the world as if it were his greatest enemy, ready to launch itself on a man he loved and respected above all else. Then he nodded, turned and walked away, disappearing from Ptolemy’s view.
#That day, as I watched him walk away from me, I felt relieved. He would speak with Alexander, and hopefully the king would negotiate with his generals more often in the future. I did not doubt for a moment that he would yet go after Darius, but that fact was now accepted among the Friends, anyway.
However, I did not wish to see that day to come when Alexander would fall, and we wolves would be forced to fight over the spoils. For a fight there would be. Though some of us would be only too glad to devour upon him…
Back then, I did not realise what I had just done, but now as I look back at that day, I feel little pride: instead of controlling Alexander, I controlled the one who was trusted by the king. It didn’t happen that day, with a snap of my fingers, nor the one after, but slowly and steadily. Hephaistion trusted in few, and I was one of them. But the reason why I feel no joy over my victory is far more complicated. Even if Hephaistion was not a fool that could be led around like an ignorant child, he was only a man just like myself, which I at times forgot…#
to be continued...