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 28th of October 2005.
Hephaistion entered Alexander’s tent, finding only Bagoas with the king. His eyes widened as he gazed at Alexander, who laid upon his bed pale and trembling. Alexander looked completely broken, his eyes wild, yet distant. Like a hurt, frightened animal, Hephaistion thought, taking a hesitating step towards the king.
Alexander didn’t move when Hephaistion approached him, his face keeping its tortured mask. Hephaistion swallowed his fear and walked to the side of the bed as calmly as possible. Remember Ptolemy’s words: I do this for Alexander. There is no place for fear here. Yet he couldn’t rid himself of the image of Cleitus lying on the stone floor, blood pouring out around the end of the spear that ran him through. In his anger, Alexander could do anything. When did I begin to fear him? I know I should not, but yet… What has ever stopped him from hurting me like he does others? And in many ways, Alexander had hurt him worse than any other.
“Alexander?” Hephaistion asked finally, his voice as uncertain as his mind at the moment. The king made no reply, nor gave any sign of recognition, and Hephaistion frowned, his eyes narrowing. “Could we speak?” When he received no response, his eyes darted to Bagoas’. The slave was quiet – as always – but his expression revealed his equal worry.
Hephaistion sighed, sitting down beside the bed, blessing the thick rugs covering the cold floor. “Alexander, I beg you. I must speak with you – now.” He reached out with his arm, his fingers carefully running over the other’s clammy skin. “Alexander…” he whispered, despair driving over his fear. “You cannot let go now. Your men need you. I need you,” he pressed, trying to coax any kind of response from the other.
This indeed seemed to have an effect on Alexander, the brown eyes blinking and turning in Hephaistion’s direction. Hephaistion smiled, relief rushing through him. “Alexander,” he called out softly, trying to wake the other from his trance-like state. “I would like to –”
But Alexander shook his head, his eyes pleading for silence. “I have heard enough words today,” he murmured with a voice full of anguish. “Leave me be.”
“Nay, I refuse to do so, Alexander!” Hephaistion told the other man firmly, taking Alexander’s hand between his. “Do not dwell in this self-pity: you are above that.”
Alexander’s hollow eyes stared at Hephaistion, disbelief written on his features. He tried to draw away, to release himself of Hephaistion’s firm hold, but the other man was adamant, holding his ground.
Hephaistion glanced at Bagoas, then shifted his head to the direction of exit. This command needed no words, and after a moment of hesitation, Bagoas left the tent. “Make sure no-one enters,” Hephaistion said to the Asian before the other left them, gaining an answering nod. “Such submission,” Hephaistion mused, turning his full attention back to Alexander. “Now, speak to me. It is the only way for you to release these demons that hold you captive.”
Alexander stared at his best friend, his eyes falling back to that blank stare that he had earlier welcomed Hephaistion with. Hephaistion did not back off, his stare capturing Alexander’s. They stayed like this for a long time, rain falling down from the sky, making a soft noise as it met the tent’s surface above them. “Cleitus is dead.”
The words startled Hephaistion, but he mastered himself swiftly, nodding shortly. “He is.”
“I killed him.”
“It was –” Hephaistion halted, lowering his gaze. Justified? Was I going to say that? That he deserved it? But whatever I say, it must help him to gain his faith in himself. “You killed him, yes, but it can’t be helped. All you can do is to go on, and –”
“I cannot go on!” Alexander wailed, his hand suddenly seizing Hephaistion’s shoulder in a crushing hold. “All I have ever done is in vain. My men have conspired against me – abandoned me.”
Hephaistion tensed, trying to push back the pain Alexander’s hold was causing him. At this moment, he needed all his wits. “Only few have conspired, and that is because they fear what you might do. They cannot comprehend your dream, and so they turn against you: so they would not be forced to meet their fears! But you always promised them that you would make them conquer their fear. Will you betray that promise now, Alexander?”
“Will you, Alexander?” Hephaistion asked, throwing in all his abilities, his eyes wide and pleading, full of faith in his friend. It had worked when they had been children, and long after those days it still had the same effect.
“No,” Alexander whispered, yet his hold remained, his eyes still doubtful. “But my men –”
“Forget them for a while,” Hephaistion interrupted, his voice low and assuring. “Forget everything and everyone else: right now, you must face your own fears. Best yourself, and no other can ever harm you.” He halted, seeing how the other man struggled to understand his words. “You have such a beautiful dream, Alexander. Do not lose faith in it, because then you would lose yourself,” he whispered, shifting his head to kiss Alexander’s hand that was lying upon his shoulder. “I have such faith in you, my Alexander. Is that faith misplaced?”
“I hope it is not,” Alexander murmured, his hand finally falling back to his side, releasing Hephaistion. “Let me be alone, now. I will… think this over. I need to think,” he mumbled, his eyes darting to the dark shadows of the room. “I want none to enter. Only you – and Bagoas. No other.” Brown eyes finally looked back at Hephaistion, some of their usual brightness returned. “Will you come to me tomorrow, Hephaistion?”
“I will come to you, every day of my life, if you so wish,” Hephaistion vowed, giving Alexander a brief smile. “Rest now, and do not despair: all will turn to better.”
Alexander nodded, lifting his hand to briefly caress Hephaistion’s hair. Then he motioned for the other to leave him, and Hephaistion did, stepping out into the cold night and the never-ending rain.
“Let no-one but me and Bagoas enter,” he told the guards. “It is the king’s wish,” he added, and then walked away, wrapping his arms around his body. I truly wish we’re doing the right thing, Ptolemy, he prayed. If not… may Hades have us both. It would be so much more simple for Alexander to just give up and lead us all back home. There are many years ahead of us, still, and many miles to see. But perhaps you are right, and Alexander has to go on to ensure his place in command…
A hand gripped Hephaistion’s shoulder, making him wince in pain. He turned to look at the intruder, harshly awoken from his thoughts, but before his eyes had adjusted to the darkness, warm lips met his, strong hands drawing him against another body. His hands halted for a moment, but then circled around the other’s neck, his hold revealing his desperate thoughts.
Finally Hephaistion was able to draw away, his eyes searching the other’s in the darkness. “I did it, Ptolemy,” he whispered. “I did it,” he mumbled again, lowering his head against the other’s shoulder. Ptolemy’s hands tightened their hold around him, pulling him close.
The wind changed, bringing down a new wave of rain. Ptolemy gazed at the sky and sighed. It seemed that the sky wept at them as well. “Come,” he said, one of his hands still around Hephaistion as he led them into the forest. The other man did not struggle, simply followed him. They reached Hephaistion’s tent after a small walk, and with a tender but strong touch, Ptolemy guided the other man in, closing the flap behind them to keep the wind and the rain out.
Hephaistion sat down and stared at Ptolemy as the man took off their wet clothes, laying them aside slowly. Then Ptolemy stopped, his eyes slowly tracing every part of Hephaistion, worshipping him silently. When he was finished, he leaned forward, following the same pattern with his hands and mouth.
Hephaistion kept very still, trying to control his erratic breathing. His hands fisted into the mattress beneath him, trying to find something to hold on to. Finally he couldn’t keep still anymore and drew away from Ptolemy, crawling to sit on his bed. His eyes met the other’s, and after a moment of hesitation, Ptolemy followed him. Gentle lips traced his bruised shoulder, as if trying to take away the pain.
“I am so sorry,” Ptolemy whispered, lifting his face, apology written all over his features. “I will never –”
“Hush,” Hephaistion whispered, kissing the other’s lips softly. “We did the right thing.”
Ptolemy didn’t answer, but he abandoned the topic, drawing Hephaistion onto his lap. “I was worried about you,” he whispered, “but now that you are with me…”
Hephaistion blinked and then smiled, circling his hands around Ptolemy’s neck. “Make me feel safe,” he begged with a small voice, leaning his head against the other’s shoulder.
“I will,” Ptolemy promised, and then reached out to put out the candles that had been lighting the tent.
#That night I made love to him a second time, and for a moment I forgot everything about Alexander and the danger we were in. The way he asked me to take care of him made my blood heat up, finally making me understand a great part of his nature: he wanted to feel safe. Once in a while, he wished to abandon all caution, and just be, when someone else took command and protected him. I could easily understand that desire in him, knowing how guarded he always was, for himself and Alexander. And now for us.
The way he melted into my arms made me want him again and again, and I remember thinking of Alexander at some point of our love-making. Was this what Alexander felt when he laid with Hephaistion? Or was it different? What was Hephaistion like when he was alone with Alexander? I would never know, but I did not really need to when he laid in my arms, his broken moans encouraging me on.
But what I knew for sure was that Alexander did not deserve Hephaistion’s love. Nor did I. And that was maybe the reason why I never said the words to him. Or maybe Hephaistion knew about my feelings anyway. After all, he read me well, even back then.
However it was, after that night he gave me a gift to keep for him: a simple bracelet of small pearls. It was not a mighty gift, but he had made it himself, and because he gave it to me… It made it priceless. To me, it was the possession I cherished most on this earth, and which was closest to my heart, even if I was never able to speak of its origin. I actually shook with excitement and emotion as he bound it around my hand, kissing my palm after proceeding, his eyes shining up to mine. And I made love to him again, slowly and with passion, promising time after time that the bracelet around my wrist would be something I would always keep with me, reminding of him.
Because most of all, it spoke of his feelings towards me. Even if he never said the words, either.#
to be continued...