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 25th of October 2005.
Hephaistion dozed in his bed, the heat of the day slowly disappearing even from his room. It was a small space, seemingly not belonging to anyone important. But Hephaistion was not whining, having slept in a lot more undignified places.
The night’s feast was starting to take its toll on him, and Hephaistion drew himself deeper under the warm blanket, welcoming sleep. He had left the celebration with Alexander, but the other man had seemed too distant to be bothered. He knew Alexander during these moods, and the king had no need for company right now. So he had gone to his own appointed room in this barbarian village, deciding to rest for a while. None knew what new ideas Alexander had come up with tonight, especially now that all Darius’ generals had been caught.
Just as Hephaistion was falling asleep, a sound next to his bed roused him from his rest. Long-practised instinct kicked in, and before the intruder could make another move, Hephaistion had a small dagger in his hand and his body was ready for an attack. But as he turned to face the threat, his shoulder’s were caught into a firm, familiar grip, and his body pushed back to the mattress.
“It is just me,” a low voice said.
“Gods, Alexander, you know better than sneak into my room like this,” Hephaistion snapped, putting the dagger back in its place beside his pillow. “What are you doing here at this hour?” He looked at the king standing before him. There was something in his appearance that alarmed Hephaistion, but the general could not tell what.
“I had to speak with you,” Alexander confessed, his voice almost one of apology. As Hephaistion nodded, seemingly forgiving this unexpected visit, the king sat down on the bed, his eyes locking with Hephaistion’s blue ones. “I have made a decision.”
Hephaistion sat for a moment, trying to remember if there had recently been something that Alexander had to make up his mind about. He couldn’t recall anything, and frowned at the other man.
Alexander smiled almost eagerly, grasping Hephaistion’s shoulder. “An important decision, Hephaistion. And I had to tell you before any other: I will be married.”
A choked “what” spilled from Hephaistion’s lips, more like a squeak than an actual word. He sat there, staring at Alexander, not understanding at all what the other was talking about. Married? To whom? “Alexander…”
“She is perfect,” Alexander went on, not noticing the puzzled look on his companion’s face. “Spirited, beautiful and strong. She will give me many sons.” The brown eyes blazed with the mental image, then returned to Hephaistion, waiting for him to reply.
“Who?” Hephaistion finally got out, still feeling as if he were dreaming. And not a very pleasant dream at that…
“Roxane,” Alexander replied impatiently, as it were the most obvious thing in the world. “The daughter of the chief of this village.” He fell silent again, waiting for Hephaistion to say something, but all he met was a stricken look. His expression changed, his mood darkening in a second. “Are you not going to say anything? Are you not pleased with my decision?” The words came out harsh, anger rising in him.
“Of course I am happy for you,” Hephaistion began haltingly. “It is just… what she is… You don’t even know her!” he tried, feeling Alexander pull away. “You are making this choice far too quickly. Wait for a while, and then decide.”
Alexander’s eyes flashed, anger and stubbornness in them. But most of all, there was the hurt that made Hephaistion regret his words, however truthful they had been. “I thought you would understand, of all people. But it seems I was wrong!” Alexander cried out as he stood up. “Do you not wish me happiness? Do you not wish me a son?!”
“I wish you both of those, you must believe it,” Hephaistion answered, turning on the bed to face his companion and drew his legs under him. The fear that was growing in his heart made him shiver. “Forgive me, Alexander, for I choose my words in a wrong manner. But still, you came here… I thought you would have my advice.”
“I am not angry with you,” the king said almost brokenly, stepping forward to catch Hephaistion’s head between his hands. “I could never be…” His mood was swift to change, as always with Hephaistion. One moment he could be angry enough to kill, and then he would be holding him, telling it was all right.
Hephaistion nodded a little, and decided to dare his luck once more. “Heed my words, Alexander, and wait. That is all the advice I can give you.”
Alexander’s fingers tightened momentarily, but then he sighed, shaking his head. “I do not wish to wait,” he replied, smiling down at Hephaistion. “I have waited all my life for this. But it makes me happy to know you are with me.”
Hephaistion nodded again, trying to hide the sadness from his face as Alexander kissed his forehead and left the room without another word. As soon as the door was closed, his entire form sagged, his head bowing in despair. He knew it was not meant to hurt this much, but he couldn’t help it. If Alexander hadn’t just broken his heart, he had been very close to it…
Ptolemy walked through the sleeping village, his eyes travelling over the marks of the last night’s feast. Barbarian village or no, it looked all the same when a new day arrived. But it was also a scene that gave some an ironic sense of peace: all was well as long as the Macedonians celebrated.
Nearing the edge of the village, Ptolemy glanced to his side, only then noticing a lonely figure staring at the distance. Ptolemy walked closer, coming up to the other from behind. What Hephaistion did up this early, he could only guess.
“He is going to marry her,” Hephaistion said smoothly, making Ptolemy halt in surprise. “I can only imagine what the Friends will say.” He turned his head to look at Ptolemy.
“Who is?” Ptolemy asked, feeling utterly lost.
“Alexander,” Hephaistion sighed, and he lowered his head. “He is planning to marry the chief’s daughter, Roxane.”
Ptolemy was so dumbstruck that he couldn’t utter a word for a moment, but he quickly collected himself and took a step forward. “One of the girls who danced for us last night? Are you certain? Is there a chance you could have been –”
“He told me some hours ago,” Hephaistion interrupted him, raising his head to look at the raising sun. Even as the sun lightened up the world, Hephaistion’s eyes remained cold and dark. “The generals… they will not accept this without argument.”
Ptolemy nodded, thoughtful. “But he has made up his mind, hasn’t he?” Hephaistion didn’t answer, and his silence told the other man enough. “I suppose there is very little we could do to change his mind.”
“Who are we to decide about his life?” Hephaistion mused, his voice barely above a whisper. “Doesn’t he have equal right to be happy?”
“And what of you, Hephaistion?” Ptolemy asked in return, deciding to dare the ice. “Do you not have that same right?”
Hephaistion’s head shot around, his expression almost alarmed. “This has nothing to do with me. If Alexander is happy, so am I.”
Ptolemy smiled, leaning against a wooden pillar behind him. “But you love him. And he loves you. What will happen now that he marries a woman?”
Hephaistion stared at Ptolemy, anguish and disgust written upon his face. “You have no right –”
“I am merely pointing out the situation,” Ptolemy said calmly. “There is no reason to get angry. I just wish you would for once explore your own feelings as well, not only Alexander’s.”
Hephaistion snorted, kicking a small rock away from his feet. “I do not see very many choices when it comes to me.” Blue eyes met Ptolemy’s, pinning him down. “If you are trying to drive me into anger and jealousy against Alexander, you are not being very successful.”
“It is not my intention,” Ptolemy mumbled. “Forgive me. I do not truly know what I was trying to achieve. This situation must be difficult enough for you even without my gauging. Not to leave out the coming argument which our fellow Friends will put up.”
Hephaistion nodded, though there was still doubt in his eyes. “So you would let Alexander do as he likes? If you could decide, and the opinion of other Friends would not matter.” He needed to know Ptolemy’s motives, but first he had to see on which side his loyalty stood.
“I… I have faith in Alexander. His judgement seems rash and mindless at times, but his vision hasn’t failed us by now. I hope it doesn’t do so in a near future, either.”
Hephaistion crossed his arms over his chest, giving Ptolemy a small smile. “So you are still up to what you told me about, before Gaugamela? You think Alexander must be watched for his own good?”
“What would have changed my opinion?” Ptolemy asked with a smile of his own. “Though on my own I am not making a lot of process.”
“Who ever said you are on your own?” Hephaistion uttered, looking at the distance. “I know you, Ptolemy, and for your own good I hope you are doing the right thing,” he said, falling silent, turning to look directly at Ptolemy. “I wish so for all of our sakes.”
Ptolemy opened his mouth, but halted as Hephaistion gave him a warning glance. On that moment Leonnatus appeared, giving them both a nod. The younger man looked as if he had just got up from his bed after being woken abruptly – which probably was the truth as he spoke up: “Alexander has requested all the Friends to attend a brief meeting.” Ptolemy and Hephaistion exchanged looks and followed Leonnatus back to the village. “I wonder what this all is about,” Leonnatus wondered aloud, suppressing a yawn, but got no answer.
#The meeting, as Hephaistion had known, turned out to be a common shouting-match. I tried to stay away from the heated words, sitting on my place at the other end of the table as the others protested about Alexander’s hasty decision. Only Hephaistion and I kept our peace: we were the only ones who actually knew that Alexander wouldn’t be turned aside from his chosen path.
The discussion was quickly focused on other matters than the marriage itself – as expected – and I could but pray that this meeting would end without casualties. Alexander seemed to be greatly humoured at some point of the argument, but his good mood soon faded as the accusations got more personal and he was drawn into the fight himself.
In the midst of the fight, I remember that my eyes met Hephaistion’s, and something passed between us. Even today I am not sure what it was, but I think it was the moment when Hephaistion truly understood how important it would be to protect Alexander in more ways than just physically. And most of all, Alexander had to be protected from himself.
It was indeed Hephaistion who finally calmed Alexander down – with a mere word, I might add. I wouldn’t have felt a great pang of pity if Cassander would have paid for his arrogance – with his life, even – but I understood the necessity to keep him alive. And after all that, the Friends were more asunder than ever before.
The day after, Alexander married Roxane, a woman with no status. A barbarian.#
to be continued...