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: Many thanks to Kitt of Lindon of betaing this!
#I have had many strange conversations during my life. More than a normal person, I reckon. Yet my position as a memoirist led me into a company of many interesting people, most of them having a lot to say. Though the deepest of those discussions rarely made their way to paper. Each and every has survived in my head to this day, sparsely repeated to any.
It was my personal decision not to speak of certain things, or pass them to the generations to come. Some things should never be repeated – or by my opinion, not said in the first place. Of which my encounters with Cassander are a good example, especially the one that took place soon after the disastrous battle in India… #
His hand moved to brush off a layer of sweat with a soft cloth, the movement almost subconscious. He wasn’t sure how many times he had done so during the current hour – or the last few minutes – but he had naught else to do. Sitting still was an option, but every time he tried to do so, he again found his hands on Hephaistion’s unmoving body, adjusting a blanket or drawing back the dark hair. With a deep sigh, Ptolemy leaned backwards, arms around his knees, eyes constantly upon the slumbering man. It felt like days since he had carried Hephaistion to the camp, barking out to a doctor to see for him. After the wound was tended the doctor left them, telling Ptolemy to make sure that there would be someone with Hephaistion if he should leave.
Not that Ptolemy was going anywhere.
With another sigh, Ptolemy reached out again, tenderly caressing the clammy skin of his friend. Lover, he might have called him, but decided to spare himself. Things were difficult enough without his deepening relationship with Hephaistion. Or maybe their relationship was the cause of all their troubles. Secrets kept between us, doubt of others, trying to guide Alexander to the right path without waking his interest… A nice knot we have here, my dearest Hephaistion. How are we ever going to survive this..?
The flap of the tent opened, a slender figure slipping in without a sound. Ptolemy looked back in alarm, trying to keep his face set as he saw Cassander. The other general halted on his shoulder and knelt to the floor. Brown eyes ran over Hephaistion’s form, cold and calculating. “Has he woken?” he asked, the sound barely above a whisper.
“Not yet,” Ptolemy replied, cautious. Something was going on.
Cassander nodded, taking another look at Hephaistion. “Alexander hasn’t woken either, I heard. It is such a bad wound,” his voice adopted a different tone, visibly addressing Hephaistion again. “It could easily kill, even a strong man. In this heat, there is a great risk of infection, and so many dead and wounded all around…” He turned to look at Ptolemy, his gaze pure, cold steel. “Alexander would never know. He would easily believe that Hephaistion died in battle, or in the aftermath. So many have died already, it would be highly believable.” He halted, drawing a knife free from his side. “This is your chance, Ptolemy. To prove Friends that you are still one of us. On our side. Kill him. It is painless to him, and easy for Alexander to overcome. And you shall be trusted again by –”
Ptolemy’s body, loaded with unspent frustration, was swift to move. He knocked Cassander to the ground, relishing in a feel of his fist connecting with the other’s face. He wrestled the knife away from the other general’s hand easily, then struck it down hard. There was true fear in Cassander’s eyes as the dark-haired man stared up at him, the knife only half an inch from cutting his right ear off. Blood slowly seeped from a cut on the ridge of his nose, leaving a red trail down the side of his face. “Such are our injuries from this battle…” Ptolemy muttered, his voice dark. He bet his eyes were like a livid storm, but that was not a problem of his at the moment. “Make sure this was the last time you propose me with anything like that, Cassander,” he hissed the other’s name, much in the same manner as Alexander had, long years back on the day he had married Roxane. “Now get out of my sight, and don’t come back. I even see you looking at him the wrong way, and you’ll feel this knife in your non-existent heart! Now leave!”
Ptolemy pushed back, watching closely as Cassander scrambled to his feet. The other man gave him one more look, wiping blood from his face. Then he turned and left, without a word. Which was probably the best, because Ptolemy was in a mood for a kill. To kill a certain person would give me strange amount of satisfaction, at the moment, he thought, eyes still on the flap. When he was sure Cassander was not going to return, he turned back to Hephaistion. The other man was completely oblivious to the world around him, his brow slightly furrowed. Maybe he is in pain, or senses the distraction around him. However it is, I wish him to wake soon. To shake of most of the snakes, at least. It will take more daring from them to approach him after he shows signs of healing.
Putting the knife away, Ptolemy resumed his silent watch, hours ticking past. His thoughts remained on his short discussion with Cassander, trying to sort it out. Was Cassander alone behind this? Or were the rest of the generals also involved? If so, it would be much more difficult to keep their suspicion down. Of course the others had been aware of his actions before, but if they now were agreed upon getting Hephaistion killed… He groaned, pressing his forehead against his knees. He had given himself in. The others maybe didn’t know – wouldn’t even dare to dream – of his true reasons of protecting Hephaistion, but they knew he was not going to sacrifice the other man to his own profit.
“Has something happened?”
Ptolemy glanced up, for a moment wondering if he had imagined the voice. He gazed at Hephaistion’s face, noticing that the frown was deeper than before.
“You seem so distressed.” It was indeed Hephaistion who spoke. The blue eyes opened slightly – enough to let him see his companion – then closed again. He breathed in slowly, then opened his eyes fully, turning his head to see Ptolemy properly. “What is wrong?” he asked again.
“Nothing,” Ptolemy sighed, shaking his head. “Just rest.” Seeing the other’s agitated expression he leaned closer, caressing the sweaty forehead. “Alexander is fine: it is nothing about him. Cassander merely… paid me a visit,” he finally confessed, wishing to put the other’s mind at ease. “Sleep. You need it. We shall talk later.”
“Later…” Hephaistion whispered, half asleep already. He smiled as he felt Ptolemy’s lips upon his, the tender touch making him feel safe. His mind shut down before he could feel the pain return, the warm feel of Ptolemy’s touch pushing him back to sleep.
#Those were the longest days of my life. All I was able to do was to sit beside him, and have a solid argument with my own thoughts. A servant brought me food and water, and I left the tent only to relieve myself. Every time I kept a close eye on the shelter, not wishing to risk the man inside. Hephaistion woke up only now and then, most of times in throws of a fever. We didn’t actually speak, but those short moments of wakefulness were enough to give me strength to go on.
I barely slept during my watch, waking at every small sound from the outside world. I knew I had to be careful, even if Cassander would not dare to approach me again: he could easily send others to finish his task.
It was only several days after the end of the battle that I received another companion, leaving out the servant. That discussion is forever burned in my mind, as well as the result of it.#
Ptolemy was harshly snapped out of his thoughts as someone entered the tent. His first reaction was to draw his weapon, but after he saw who entered, his entire mind froze. A man stood on the door of the small space, the flap sliding shut behind him. His brown eyes were focused on Hephaistion’s sleeping form, several emotions flashing through them. What remained was possibly sorrow or regret, but pain was constantly plain upon his features – possibly both physical and that of mind.
Ptolemy got up to his feet, trying in vain to hide his surprise. “Alexander…” he stammered, attempting to say something fit for the moment, but ended up in unsure silence.
Alexander took an unsteady step forward, his attention solely upon Hephaistion. Ptolemy held out his hand for the other to lean on, the king taking it without a further reaction. They stood in silence for a good while, Ptolemy’s nervous eyes darting from the king to his lover and back.
“How is he?” Alexander asked finally, his voice as broken as the man himself.
“He will be fine. The fever is going down, and the wound shows no infection. I have stayed with him all the time –” Ptolemy halted, biting his lip. He did not wish to give Alexander the wrong impression.
The king nodded, his expression distant. “So many are dead. As they carried me away from the battle-field, I saw him, laying there… He was not dead, I remember, but I couldn’t be sure…” He halted, swallowing thickly. “He could have died,” he croaked, tears appearing to his glimmering eyes. “He could be gone, right now… Beyond my reach…”
“He is not,” Ptolemy put in, stepping a little closer to the weeping man. “He lives for you, Alexander. He was equally worried of you, but you both shall live. If you can wait for a while, I shall wake him –”
“No!” Alexander said harshly, voice just above a whisper. “Let him sleep. Let him dream. For my dream is broken.”
Ptolemy blinked, suddenly more worried than before. “What do you mean?”
Alexander merely shook his head, then turned to gaze at his friend. “Thank you, for being with him. If you would, Ptolemy, stay with him still. Do not leave him alone. I will… see him soon. But I must think first.”
Ptolemy nodded, confused. Yet he was now allowed to stay with Hephaistion – by the order of the king – and none would have a say against it. “I shall stay with him,” he promised. “And I shall tell him you visited. He will be glad.”
“Do not tell him,” Alexander decided instead, his voice firm. “Not yet. He will know, when the time comes. They all will, but not like him…” With that, Alexander turned and left, his walk less graceful than before. The divinity in him was broken.
Ptolemy looked after him, frowning, then gazed back at the sleeping man. What shall we know? What did he speak of? There was no one to answer him – yet.
to be continued…
Author’s Note: A cliffie? #horrified look# Nooo…. Read on, people! It is not such a horrible thing! #wink# And review! If you got puzzled, good, because that was the point. Alexander really should get his head checked at times, lol. Speaking like that, and not like a civilised person… Evil. Completely, purely, evil! Mwahaha!