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-edited to its proper form 27th of October 2005.
#My relationship with Hephaistion changed after leaving Roxane’s village. We had numerous, secret discussions and shared glances that no other saw. We kept our meetings hidden, knowing what might happen if Alexander found out – or worse, the Friends. We took no risks.
Personally, I was afraid to encounter Hephaistion again after my “assault”. But soon I understood that Hephaistion hadn’t been angered by my behaviour, and I made my move on him. I did not rush, however, wishing the things to go with their own speed.
And then there was another matter to settle.
Hephaistion was not a fool. He knew I had a woman sharing my bed, but he also seemed to notice that fire burning in me every time he was near. And with each day that passed, I began to understand Alexander all the better. And at the same time I could not understand how he was able to let Hephaistion slip from his hands like this. For he was losing Hephaistion. If not to me, then to his dream.
I stopped thinking on the matter when I reached that point, my mind being too afraid to cross the line beyond that. It was the purpose of neither of us. Or so I told myself...#
Wind whipped around them, raising a blinding wall of snow to the air. Men travelled forward, weary beyond belief as they struggled through the snow and freezing wind. Scouts ran back and forth, bringing news and setting out again to find the easiest path to travel.
The high mountains of Hindu Kush towered around them, blocking the miles beyond from their view. From his place on the line, Hephaistion decided that it was perhaps a good thing: the people could not see beyond the next bend, and would not despair. For after the next turn, there would be many more. He knew the truth. And it didn’t encourage him at all.
Alexander was driving them forward like a man possessed, his visions telling him that this was the path to the other side of the world. But Hephaistion wasn’t sure if he desired to see the end anymore. He just craved to be somewhere warm, if only for a day. He felt frozen to the bone. And he knew he was among the lucky ones: what the soldiers, slaves, and whores were feeling like, he could not imagine.
He raised his fingers to his mouth and tried to warm them with his breath. Another cloud of snow stormed down from a mountain-side, sending a layer of ice at them. Hephaistion shuddered, trying to draw his clothes closer around him. It seemed that there was no end to the cold in this land.
After many hours of travel they finally halted, putting up a camp of some kind. Tired men sank to any shelters they could find, welcoming rest to their tired limbs. Hephaistion crawled to his own, hastily built tent, gathering his blankets around his shivering body in a vain attempt to keep the cold out. After some moments lost in a freezing haze, a figure stepped inside the shelter, sitting down beside him. Strong arms pulled him close, trying to offer him some warmth.
“Are you trying to freeze yourself to death?” a familiar voice asked, making Hephaistion smile despite himself.
“If you haven’t noticed, Ptolemy, it is quite cold out there,” he stammered. Then reason won out over comfort, and he glared at the other man. “Aren’t you supposed to be with Thais?” he muttered, drawing his knees to his chest.
“I will be with her when I know you are well,” Ptolemy answered gently, his hands rubbing against Hephaistion’s arms.
Hephaistion nodded, trying to force his teeth to stop their chattering. “They are going to rebel soon,” he finally got out.
“Who?” Ptolemy asked absently.
“The generals,” Hephaistion answered, glancing at the other. “They have been peaceful since Parmenion and Philotas were killed, knowing that they are all threatened, but this cold and everything will give them another reason…”
“I hope you are wrong,” Ptolemy said slowly, leaning his head against the cold hair. “But I see the wisdom in your words. It will not take long, anymore. The men are getting tired, and there seems to be no end to this.”
“You must speak to Alexander,” Hephaistion pleaded. “You must convince him to leave the mountains. We can come back when we are prepared, but we cannot continue like this.”
Ptolemy was about to argue, knowing that it would have been more reasonable to send Hephaistion out to make such a request, but the feel of the shivering body next to him made him change his mind. “I will go,” he promised. “Just keep yourself warm. I will be back as soon as I can.” With that, Ptolemy got to his feet, leaving the shelter.
#I wouldn’t have expected Alexander to give in – so easily or in such a short time. I had my own doubts as I confronted him, knowing that I was the weaker person in this discussion. Yet I set my fear aside, reminding myself that I was not doing this only for Hephaistion, but for the entire army, and even for Alexander himself. But maybe the king was also losing faith in his dreams, who knows. After all, he felt the cold like the rest of us, and saw no end to the mountains before us.
That I brought Thais up in my speech was a surprise even for myself, as I thought of it later, but I soon realised it was an unconscious decision. Maybe Alexander would have been even quicker with his decision if I would have told him it was Hephaistion’s request, but a part of me wanted to keep him out of it. It was the same part of me that later chose all our fates.#
Ptolemy returned to Hephaistion’s tent, feeling quite frozen himself. He had no idea yet how Alexander would react to his words, but all he could do was wait and hope for the best. In the mean time, he could do something to warm his own heart.
Hephaistion was dozing by the time Ptolemy returned, buried deeply into warm blankets. Ptolemy smiled, waking the other man up with a gentle shake. Hephaistion blinked, staring up at Ptolemy in surprise. Then he also smiled, letting Ptolemy take him into his embrace.
“What did he say?” Hephaistion asked, glad for the extra warmth the other was giving.
“I cannot be sure,” Ptolemy answered, his hands diving beneath the layers of blankets. “He gave me no actual answer. It will be his decision to make. Though he said we must go forward…”
“As always,” Hephaistion whispered, twining their fingers together. “At least we tried.”
Ptolemy only nodded, leaning against Hephaistion. “You are still cold,” he murmured.
“So are you,” Hephaistion answered. “Shouldn’t you be going?”
“Always driving me away, aren’t you?” Ptolemy snorted, making no move to leave.
“You know why,” Hephaistion whispered, his eyes distant. “Thais is waiting for you. I have no right to keep you here.”
“Even if you would want to?” Ptolemy pressed, holding Hephaistion closer.
“Even then,” Hephaistion smiled.
“You are giving in too easily,” Ptolemy laughed softly. “But perhaps you are right –”
“Hephaistion?” came another call, and a moment later Alexander appeared, sending the men a smile. “Ptolemy,” he greeted, looking somewhat surprised to find the other there.
“I was just leaving,” Ptolemy said, rising as calm as possible. Alexander merely nodded, his eyes upon Hephaistion. Ptolemy left the cover, letting out a relieved sigh as he was not called back. Few paces away he turned to look behind him, trying to guess what Alexander was planning. Hopefully it requires keeping Hephaistion warm, he thought, yet it was not an entirely pleasing idea. With an unhappy frown, he walked away. He knew he would find another’s warm embrace in his own tent, but that thought didn’t give him much warmth at the moment.
Back in the shelter, Alexander sat down beside Hephaistion, giving the other a warm smile. “How fare you?” he asked, a note of concern in his voice.
“Better than many,” Hephaistion answered. “This trip is beginning to take its toll.”
Alexander nodded, silent for a while. Then he inched closer to Hephaistion, his cold hands caressing the other’s face. “We shall leave the mountains soon,” he promised, lowering his lips to Hephaistion’s neck.
Hephaistion tensed momentarily, turning his head. “Aren’t you supposed to be with Roxane?” he asked carefully.
Alexander’s eyes flashed, something like pain in them. “Do not speak of her,” he said harshly, but continued with more gentleness. “I have neglected you for a long while, and I am sorry for that. My mind has been so occupied lately…” his voice trailed off, his hand making patterns upon Hephaistion’s knee. “I would wish to mend that,” he whispered, turning fully to Hephaistion. He licked his broken lips, his eyes locking with Hephaistion’s. Then he leaned forward, kissing him softly. “Forgive me,” he whispered, his hands pushing Hephaistion down.
“There is nothing to forgive,” Hephaistion said back, his hands circling around Alexander’s neck as the other man kissed his shoulder fervently. “Nothing…” he whispered, closing his eyes.
to be continued...