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: Thanks to Kitt of Lindon for betaing this one!
#I promised myself on an early stage of our relationship that I would not get careless. Neither of us could have afforded it, and the consequences... I didn't even wish to think of them. But as the months went by after one another, and Alexander seemed as oblivious to our relationship as ever, I think I started to slip. I became self-confident. And we both almost paid the price for that.#
The rain was back, as expected. “Sooner or later”, many said. All of them would have preferred the “later”. But as it was, they had to bear with the water pouring on them from the sky, and pray that the Gods would have mercy on them soon.
Ptolemy sat unhappily on his horse, wet to the bone. It wasn’t actually cold – yet – but he felt uncomfortable enough to even wish for the cold winds of Hindu Kush. At least there was no water, he thought, glancing at the sky. He had to look back down soon, wiping water off from his face and eyes with an annoyed scowl.
“You do not seem to be enjoying yourself too much,” a voice next to Ptolemy laughed, lifting the moody general’s spirits a little.
“How very brilliant of you to notice that, Hephaistion,” Ptolemy shot back, meeting the other’s smiling face. “Maybe the Gods have been angered by something, and are in a need of a sacrificial,” he continued, eyeing Hephaistion’s soaked form up and down. “Perhaps they would take you as an offering?” he suggested with a grin, dodging aside as Hephaistion punched him playfully.
“You have better use for me than that,” Hephaistion said with a low voice, their legs touching as they rode side by side.
“And what would be that?” Ptolemy inquired, his eyebrows raising. Hephaistion did not answer in words, but their eyes locked together. Ptolemy shifted uncomfortably, seeing the heat on the other’s blue depths. The invitation was all too clear, and Ptolemy’s body reacted immediately, forecasting an unpleasant ride from now on.
Hephaistion smiled secretly, then guided his horse away, leaving the stricken Ptolemy alone with his bodily urges. He knew he would be forced to pay about his little game, but he was more than willing to take anything Ptolemy would come up with. With that thought warming him, he took his place on the line, rain momentarily forgotten.
Ptolemy had never been so happy in his life as they came across a large village – or a small city, actually – and Alexander called a halt. Those highest in rank made their way inside the stone-build bastion, being escorted to their rooms by respectful servants. After he had changed into dry clothes and seen for Thais, Ptolemy made his way through the dim corridors to the main hall where a dinner and celebration would take place tonight. At least I hope that this city is kind to us. There has been places where – Ptolemy’s train of thoughts halted as Hephaistion appeared before him, walking from another corridor. The other man bounced around quickly, becoming aware of Ptolemy’s presence. They stared at each other for a moment, eyes locked and bodies alert.
Ptolemy went forward, his body pushing Hephaistion’s against the hard wall, his lips finding the other’s with all the heat that had gathered in him since their little talk earlier. A small voice inside Ptolemy’s head screamed something of caution, but he ignored it while grinding his body against his lover’s, eliciting a groan from Hephaistion. The other’s hands were rough around his shoulders, trying to draw him away, but his leverage was better than Hephaistion’s.
“Not here,” Hephaistion was able to ground out, moaning deliriously as Ptolemy’s hand forced his legs apart, increasing the friction of their bodies. “Ai, Ptolemy…” he panted, all reason disappearing before the wall of pleasure as the heat overran all his other senses. He pressed his face against the side of Ptolemy’s neck, trying to keep quiet as Ptolemy’s hands searched the edge of his chiton, lifting it above his hips to give him a full access to his body. Warm hands splayed across his heated skin, gripping tight enough to arouse him even more. He could feel Ptolemy’s pleasure against him, and it drove him into frenzy.
“Sweet Zeus, Hephaistion,” Ptolemy groaned, lifting the other, leaving his lover’s body caught between himself and the stone. “I want you so bad,” he moaned to the other’s ear, hearing an answering groan. All he could think was the moment when Hephaistion’s sweet, hot body would take him in, the resistance won with pure strength and need…
Laughter echoed through the corridor, making them both freeze in sudden shock. Alexander came into view, most of the generals walking beside him on their way to the main hall. The entire party halted, their eyes falling upon the couple pressed against the wall. Ptolemy had no time to curse, no time to think as he met Alexander’s eyes in the dimness. But Alexander was looking past him, to the man he still held in his arms.
Before Ptolemy could make another move, Hephaistion pushed against him, his legs tripping the other to the ground. Ptolemy fell down to his back, Hephaistion landing on top of him, sitting across his lap with a breathy laugh. Looking up from his place on the ground, Hephaistion smiled at Alexander. “Ptolemy here wouldn’t believe that I still had the skill to bring him down, after all these years since we last wrestled together.”
Ptolemy kept very still, feeling the tenseness in Hephaistion’s body. The lie was smart enough, but… Will Alexander swallow it? How much did he see?
Alexander laughed heartily, shaking his head. “You should have believed him, Ptolemy. All those times he made you roll in the sand, and you dare to doubt him?” The king stepped forward, lifting Hephaistion to his feet, and then gave his hand to Ptolemy to help him up.
“Indeed, but I got my lesson,” Ptolemy said darkly, taking the offered hand. The ache on his back was nothing to compared to his shocked mind, still not believing that Hephaistion’s lie was taken in so easily. But the other generals were smiling as well, throwing remarks of their little “match”, and then they all turned to make their way to the hall.
Hephaistion’s eyes met Ptolemy’s momentarily, masked fear slowly fading from them. But they both had got a shock of their life a moment ago, and it would not be overcome quickly.
#That was the first time he ever lied for me, straight to Alexander’s face. It saved my life, probably. He could have said I had assaulted him – a fact Alexander would have assumed anyway – and that would have been the end of mine. But he lied instead. Risking both of us.
After a moment of relief, I began to ponder what had just taken place – I still think it at times, remembering the second of terror on his face as he saw Alexander standing behind me. What made me commit such a rash move, I do not know still, but I understood immediately that I had almost ruined everything I had ever fought for. And the way I treated him… It was unforgivable. There was nothing to justify the act I had committed, and the danger I had put us in.#
Wine flowed and warmed the hearts of men, driving back the lingering memory of the rain and cold. Laughter echoed in the stone-halls, shouts and pieces of songs mingling up into a disorderly cacophony. In the dark corners, acts unsuitable for most eyes were taking place, but Ptolemy paid no heed to those. His eyes remained on Hephaistion, who was sitting next to Alexander.
The king was laughing, now and then leaning closer to whisper something into Hephaistion’s ear. But despite all the joy around him, Hephaistion did not laugh. He smiled, at times, but the expression had nothing in itself. Just the false facade. Ptolemy saw this, but Alexander either didn’t notice or merely ignored it.
As if sensing the other’s gaze, Hephaistion glanced at Ptolemy’s direction. Their eyes met, but Hephaistion turned his gaze away before Ptolemy was able to do another thing. He cursed in his mind, settling back to wait again. He would talk with Hephaistion as soon as they were alone. He needed to apologise, and make sure the other was alright.
“What is it, Ptolemy? Aren’t you enjoying this fine night?!” a slurred voice asked rather loudly, Cassander leaning over Ptolemy’s shoulder. His brown eyes narrowed, gazing at Hephaistion’s direction before falling back to Ptolemy. “Or are you still brooding over the fact that you couldn’t finish with him?” he asked with a low voice, the look in his eyes changing.
Ptolemy stiffened, his composure turning swiftly into anger. “Watch your words, insolent brat. Speak not of things that you cannot understand.”
“Oh, but I think I understand perfectly,” Cassander hissed, taking a sip from the goblet he held in his hand. “Will you go to him after the celebration is over, and make him moan your name? Does it make you feel powerful, Ptolemy? To think that you are almost like Alexander, as you have the king’s lover in your bed beneath you?” His smile didn’t fade at once during his account, malice gleaming in his eyes.
Ptolemy grabbed Cassander’s front into a firm grip, death in his eyes. “You speak of him in such a manner one more time, and I will see for your death myself, Cassander. Now remove yourself from my sight!” He pushed the other man back, ready to kill him if he would dare to come back. But Cassander merely smiled, lifting his goblet mockingly, and walked away.
With a sigh full of agony, Ptolemy ran his hand through his hair, returning his gaze back to Hephaistion. He found the blue eyes staring at him, concern and wariness in them. Ptolemy shook his head, his eyes seeking out every general in the room. Cassander was not speaking to any of them, but that meant nothing. As he looked back at his lover, he saw Hephaistion whispering something at Alexander. The king nodded, and Hephaistion rose, making his way out of the hall.
Ptolemy got up quickly, making his way through the room, taking a longer route in means to keep his intentions hidden. As he came to the corridor into which Hephaistion had disappeared, he walked towards cautiously, not knowing where the other man had gone. But he found Hephaistion a few junctions later, leaning against the wall with a troubled expression.
“To my room,” Hephaistion said before Ptolemy had time to speak anything, and without waiting for an answer he pushed away from the wall and walked ahead. Ptolemy followed, knowing that the other most likely knew what he was doing. They came across Hephaistion’s room soon enough, and after Ptolemy had entered, Hephaistion threw a one, last glance at the corridor before entering himself.
“I –” Ptolemy began, but stopped as Hephaistion lifted his hand.
“What was it that Cassander wanted?” the blue-eyed general asked with a demanding voice.
“Nothing worth of importance to tell forth,” Ptolemy answered, unwilling to worry Hephaistion more than he already was.
Hephaistion raised his eyebrow, taking a step closer. “What – did – he – want?” he asked again, pressing each syllable.
Ptolemy took a step back, shaking his head. “It is not the reason why I came here. All I wanted to do was to apology for my earlier behaviour. It will never happen again, I swear.”
“Well, now you have said what you came here for,” Hephaistion said with a cold tone. “Now tell me what I want to know. What did Cassander want?”
Ptolemy kept his mouth shut, his eyes unyielding as he stared at Hephaistion. But he was fighting a losing battle, and the only thing he could do was to give in or to leave – immediately. But the way Hephaistion pinned him down with his adamant stare and cold authority kept him right where he was. Finally, with a ragged sigh, Ptolemy sat down on Hephaistion’s bed and leaned his head to his hands. “He knows about us, Hephaistion. He either guessed, or just knows. Which may in turn mean that all the Friends know.”
Hephaistion stood very still, slowly shaking his head. “How could they know? Cassander perhaps: he is a snake enough to make up the truth, but the others will not know unless he told them.”
“He did exactly that,” Ptolemy replied slowly.
“When?” Hephaistion asked far too calmly.
“Soon after Alexander decided to go on, after Cleitus’ death.”
Hephaistion took a deep breath, his hands tightening across his chest. “How are we supposed to go from this on?”
“We keep a low profile, and I speak to the Friends if needed. Again.”
“You have done that before?!” Hephaistion practically shouted, his hands falling to his sides, fisting.
“To ensure your survival!” Ptolemy shot up, his hands gripping Hephaistion’s shoulders. “To keep you safe,” he murmured, more softly. “They accuse you of playing Alexander. They cannot be sure if I am involved, or if you are playing me along as well.”
“In that case, I would be very successful, wouldn’t I?” Hephaistion whispered, his face suddenly pale.
“Yes,” Ptolemy answered simply, giving into the temptation and kissing Hephaistion. The other man did not respond at first, but the way his breath caught told Ptolemy he was not outright rejected. Tilting his head, his tongue snaked out, and parting Hephaistion’s lips with his own he let the wet muscle enter the willing mouth. It was a slow kiss, nothing like their earlier, heated one. This was one of comfort, to tell Hephaistion he was not alone.
Hephaistion closed his eyes, his hands coming to rest upon Ptolemy’s shoulders. His mind tried still to fully comprehend what he had just been told, but he decided to let the matter rest for a while, and face the problem when it would eventually present itself. All he had to do was to be prepared. He felt like smiling as Ptolemy slid his tongue against his, caressing, apology written in his every movement. But I am as much of a fault as he, to the accident earlier. But it is good to know that he actually cares…
Ptolemy drew away at last, licking his lips slowly, steadying his breathe. His eyes tried to seek Hephaistion’s, but the other’s blue ones were still closed, as if in a dream. Ptolemy nudged Hephaistion with his head, smiling at the other’s display of innocence. “I am sorry you had to make that for me. And in front of Alexander.” Hephaistion nodded, his eyes remaining closed, and Ptolemy fought back the urge to kiss the still wet lips again. “I should have never pushed you into a position that you had to lie for me,” he whispered, actually brushing their lips together, wanting to feel the other’s mouth again. He wished to feel a whole lot more, but he was not sure if it would be a smart thing to do – considering what had happened earlier.
Hephaistion let out a soft snort, his eyes opening slowly, narrowing as he gazed at Ptolemy. “I –” he halted, Ptolemy’s right hand sneaking unconsciously up his thigh. He saw the moment in Ptolemy’s eyes when the other realised what he was doing, the hand being snatched away almost urgently.
“My body cannot resist you,” Ptolemy confessed almost bashfully.
Hephaistion did not comment anything to that, knowing it would lead into actions that required time and privacy – and he had neither. “You must leave,” he said, pushing gently out of Ptolemy’s hold. “Alexander will be here soon.”
The words almost hurt, but it was a price Ptolemy was used to pay of his relationship with Hephaistion. With a court nod, he smoothed his lover’s hair once more, and then walked past him to the door. He hadn’t even got to the end of the corridor before Alexander appeared, entering Hephaistion’s room without a knock. With one, remorseful look, Ptolemy returned to his own rooms, wondering if Thais was still awake.
to be continued…