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!
#Fortune favours the bold, but it did not favour Alexander endlessly. Maybe it was a moment of confusion for all of us, a breakdown of our carefully built dream-castles. We had to finally open our eyes and see the world beyond. We were no Gods. We were not invincible. Many had realised that before, but to say something or actually know it were different things. And the realisation hit hard. But the hardest it landed upon Alexander. Our king of young age had always been ignorant of the world, following his dream – his devotion – blindly. We all, like him, had believed that the Gods had meant this all to happen, even if we at times began to doubt. But every time Alexander had convinced us to go on. And again we saw him as our divine leader that no power on earth could defeat.
It is ironic that it was Alexander’s own dream that finally betrayed him. Or so it seemed to me. The others did not bother to ponder this, instead taking his every word as a salvation, their attention already turned elsewhere. But I looked and thought about it, as was my wont. Did his dream finally lack in strength, his own willpower pushing it aside? Did he toss his dream aside, to live free for a moment? Or was he ever free in the first place…
I think I know why the change came. I am not sure, not even today, but I remember the look when he saw Hephaistion sleeping in out small tent, healing from his wounds. Maybe that opened his eyes. Perhaps that was the moment which sealed our fates.#
Men had gathered around the massive tent of the king, moving anxiously on their places. Few knew what was to come, but it was said that Alexander would speak to them today. It was a rumour that had grown into a common knowledge with full speed, and now all, Macedonian and Asian alike, waited. There were occasional shouts from the men, hoping to encourage their king forth, but mostly it was hushed talk that took place among the crowd.
Ptolemy stood just under the awning of the tent, sheltered from the bright sun. It was hot, but the sensation had slowly been dulled during the long months’ travel through Asia and India. A man could get used to anything, he had decided: give one time, and he will adapt. Cold, hot, dry, or wet: he had seen people living comfortably in all these conditions. His eyes gazed at the sea of men before him, but he did not actually see them. His mind rested upon something else, looking back through the time while trying to conclude what Alexander was up to. Their discussion a few days ago had left him confused, and the fact he had not been able to consult Hephaistion about this left him ever more in shadows of uncertainty.
Glancing to his side, Ptolemy tried to keep his expression passive. Hephaistion was present, of course, waiting for the king’s announcement. He looked utterly lost, however, a look Ptolemy had not often seen on the other’s features. As much as he tried to hide it, Hephaistion had no idea what was going on in the world around him at the moment. Soon, Ptolemy promised to himself, crossing his arms over his chest. Alexander said so. This is the moment, I know. I just wonder what kind of news he will gift us with. Another look around revealed to the general that his fellow commanders were as much in loss as he was. Which in other words meant that they all would be forced to wait and see it out. Knowing Alexander, it could be anything. Yet Ptolemy did not think so, which taunted him even more in return. There had been something in the king’s actions and words that spoke of something… changed. Alexander had acted very unlike himself. Which means he can say to us whatever I can imagine, Ptolemy decided, trying not to groan in frustration. If he is acting unlike himself, we cannot presume anything of the outcome of this. Maybe Hephaistion knew… That must be it, for otherwise Alexander would have allowed me to tell of his visit. Or then again…
He must have made a sound, eventually, because when Ptolemy glanced at Hephaistion, the wide blue eyes were already staring at him. The steady, questioning gaze was hard to avoid. It seemed to read him right to the core, and with a worried frown, Ptolemy forced himself to look away. It did not make him feel any easier when practically sensing Hephaistion’ eyes upon him, even after he broke the contact. It was not for the first time since Alexander’s announcement that he hoped the king would come out and speak.
Alexander appeared soon enough, for Ptolemy’s eternal gratitude. The king walked slowly to the awning, leaning to a majestic stick on his side, limping visibly. It was a one more proof that the king of Macedonia and Asia shared the battles with his men. He halted on the edge, waiting the violent sheers to end. Men were waving and shouting, calling out Alexander’s name and sending their thanks to the Gods. The king lived, but in his eyes something was dead.
Ptolemy frowned, shifting a little closer. He dared not to approach, but there was something he needed to see. Could it be…
“Men of Macedon…” Alexander called out with a strong but shaking voice. His face was pale and his entire appearance looked drained, as if after a long struggle with himself. “We are going home,” he finally ended, swallowing.
All was silent for a moment. Not a breathe of wind dared to shake the banners of the king. Men stared at the divine man in front of them, speechless. Had they heard right? they seemed to wonder. What had just been said? Then, like a strike of lightning, a roar went up, hands raising to the air, voices joining them. Joy was evident. A dream come true. Men hugged each other, not caring who stood beside them.
Alone in sadness, Alexander watched his army celebrate, hearing them praise his name like they praised their many Gods. “We are going home,” he whispered to himself.
Hephaistion stared at his king, shock and indecision upon his face. Where had this come from? Why did Alexander give in now… He pushed up on his elbow, forcing the pain behind. Why? he wanted to shout. This was not Alexander. Not his Alexander… Then his eyes met Ptolemy’s, and the realisation hit him. Maybe Ptolemy hadn’t done anything, but he hadn’t either stopped this from happening.
While Alexander was set upon Bucephalus and guided through the mass of warriors, Ptolemy kept Hephaistion’s eyes prisoner. He was as shocked as anyone else, but he couldn’t say he hadn’t seen this coming. The decision had been made, that night in his tent while Hephaistion slept. He had seen it, and yet only now understood. As the men separated, the other generals moving out to give their orders of organising departure, Ptolemy slowly advanced Hephaistion. It did not make the other man any less threatening if he lay on the ground, still in pain and unable to stand on his own.
“You did this,” Hephaistion hissed, his voice cold. There was no accusation in it, however, and that both shook and gave hope to Ptolemy.
“He made the decision himself,” Ptolemy corrected, his voice equally low. “If anyone helped him with it, it was you, Hephaistion.”
#The look on Hephaistion’s face was one of those that lasted in my memories, clear and unwavering. Shock, self-hatred, doubt… Anger and helplessness to do anything about it. Alexander’s dream was broken – if only momentarily, but broken nonetheless – and it would not be restored in a short time. We both knew that.
What we did not know, back then, was how this all would effect in Alexander’s state as a king. Would the generals set back, or move forth. Either way, we had to play along. To the bitter end.#
to be continued…