|We Shall Not Be Much Disturbed
Author: moon71 PM
Also known as The Darker Side of Dionysus! Celebrating a very special day, Hephaestion has one too many and receives a flash of inspiration.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Humor - Words: 2,527 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 20 - Published: 08-10-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3096831
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
WE SHALL NOT BE MUCH DISTURBED by Moon71
SUMMARY: After Alexander's meeting with the family of Darius, Hephaestion has one drink to many and receives a sudden flash of inspiration…
DISCLAIMER: It wasn't his fault, blame it on Dionysus; I take no responsibility
RATING: Some mild sexy bits
DEDICATION: Originally gifted to Joyeeee as an exam present!
AUTHOR'S NOTES: The letter mentioned in this story is quite genuine, recorded in Diodorus' history of Alexander (the most easily obtained copy I know of is in Loeb classics Vol VIII.) Having said that, only the words from "stop..." to "anything" are authentic; the rest is the product of my poisonous little mind. I could hardly believe it when I read it – arguments with the "mother-in-law" are obviously nothing new.
There might have been trouble had Crateros been sober, but Crateros was one of those odd men who became peculiarly mellow in their cups; instead of pushing off the arm Hephaestion had slung around his neck or yelling at him to go away and shut up, he just nodded patiently. "I heard what you said, son of Amyntor."
"Did you?" Hephaestion eyed him doubtfully. "What did I just say, then?"
"You said that Alexander said that you were Alexander too."
"What…? No, I mean, when did he say it?"
"This morning, when you called upon the family of Darius!"
"Was that this morning…?" Shaking his head incredulously, Hephaestion released Crateros and stumbled over to the nearest couch, where Erigyius, playful as ever, was waiting with outstretched arms to receive him. "Joy to you, Erigyius," Hephaestion slurred as he fell into his lap, "I am Alexander!"
Across the room, the real Alexander discarded his wine cup and sat up on his couch, pushing away the hopeful young hetaera who was massaging his shoulders. Things were finally getting out of hand.
When Alexander had first uttered those words to the mother of Darius, thinking only to soothe her distress and secretly rather pleased with the chance to honour his beloved in such a way, Hephaestion had lowered his eyes quietly, a pink flush on his cheeks his only indication of the pleasure Alexander had just given him. Even when they had a few moments alone, he had said nothing, only smiled at Alexander with such love that both of them knew mere words could not express. They had technically been alone when they had greeted the Royal Family, but of course they were hardly ever really alone; there were guards with them, and pages, and of course the Royal retinue of maids, companions and eunuchs. And by the afternoon the story was all around the army and both the congratulations and the teasing had begun.
Hephaestion had not minded the teasing; he was too happy. It warmed Alexander's heart to see him so; he had laughed with both surprise and joy as Hephaestion had stood up before the Companions at the beginning of the celebratory drinking party and declared, "my friends, I must announce to you that as of today, I am Alexander too!"
"Well, then," Crateros had put in, "if you are Alexander, drink your wine unmixed like a true Macedonian instead of watered down like an Athenian fop!"
There was a resounding cheer as Hephaestion picked up the water jug habitually placed by his couch and tipped the contents onto the ground. Only Alexander had felt a warning call sound in his head as he watched Hephaestion down his first cup.
The first and last time he had seen Hephaestion drink that way was when he had brought him to a banquet thrown by his father Philip to welcome them back from Mieza. Amyntor had quietly whispered to Alexander to make sure Hephaestion didn't drink his wine uncut, as he didn't have a good head for it. Alexander had dismissed the advice and openly teased his friend to leave the water alone. To please Alexander, Hephaestion had done so. Two hours later he was sitting on King Philip's couch, loudly reassuring him that he had had no reason to send Callixena the hetaera to Alexander, as there was absolutely nothing wrong with his son's sexual prowess. He, Hephaestion, ought to know. The King was drunk enough to listen kindly to the youth's declaration, nodding thoughtfully as if amazed by his profundity. Amyntor, seated nearby, had his head in his hands. Alexander had wanted to hide under his couch.
Relaxing at the drinking party, warmed by the wine he himself had drunk, Alexander had told himself that Hephaestion was that much older and bigger now, that he would be able to hold his wine much better. But after three cups Hephaestion had begun telling the story of their meeting with the mother of Darius over and over again and at increasing volume, breaking the monotonous repetition to explain to his listeners just how much he loved Alexander and why.
"Well I think that's splendid!" Erigyius was now chuckling, "I've always wanted to get my hands on Alexander!"
"Then today can be a special day for you, too!" Hephaestion leaned forward to give him a kiss as Erigyius' hand began to explore his thigh, "Alexander is wonderful in bed!"
Alexander sprang from his couch like a panther. Knowing full well it was Hephaestion Erigyius, in his half mocking, half serious way, would have loved to get his hands on, he pulled Hephaestion out of Erigyius' lap and replaced him with one of the young musicians who no-one was listening to. Erigyius greeted the youth cheerfully, but Hephaestion looked disappointed. "I was just about to tell him about how you said to Queen Sissygambis that…"
"I think he's heard it, Hephaestion," Alexander said wearily, "come, perhaps it's time you went to bed…"
"Oh yes, that's a fine idea!" Hephaestion agreed, slipping his arm around Alexander's waist, "let's go to bed! Because, Alexander, you know, you really are so wonderful in – "
"Enough!" Alexander snapped, dragging him out of the tent.
As soon as they were outside, Hephaestion pulled Alexander into his arms. "Give me a kiss, my beauty," he drawled.
"Hephaestion, stop it!" Alexander pushed him off, "not here, in front of the whole camp! Get a grip on yourself! Hephaestion, I said…" his words were muffled by Hephaestion's mouth pressing roughly over his own. "Stop that!"
"I can do what I like," Hephaestion replied regally, "I am Alexander too!"
Alexander scowled, wiping his bruised lips. "I'm beginning to wish I'd never said that!"
As soon as the words were out he regretted them. Hephaestion's face fell and his dark eyes filled with tears. "You don't really mean that, do you?"
"Oh, of course I don't," Alexander sighed, "come, you've had too much to drink. Come with me and I'll look after you…"
Unappeased, Hephaestion began to snivel. Alexander groaned, glanced about him, then gave up what was left of his kingly dignity and leaned up to kiss Hephaestion warmly. "Come, my dear… let's go to bed… I'll show you just how wonderful I can be…"
Alexander eyed him doubtfully. "Hephaestion, I'm not sure that…"
But Hephaestion had just seen Admetus, his youngest page, crossing the camp and he stumbled across, shouting his name. The boy turned looking surprised but eager. "Yes, Hephaestion?"
Hephaestion liked Admetus – he hadn't flourished among Alexander's pages; he wasn't particularly pretty and had a sharp tongue in his head and a short temper and had not yet learned discretion in using one and controlling the other. But Hephaestion had noticed that he efficient, loyal, truthful and observant and he liked his boys and men to lean towards cynicism; working for him they needed to have their feet firmly planted upon the ground, not in some fantasy world of heroes where Alexander was god and the Companions could do no wrong. "Come, my dear," he said affably, throwing an arm around Admetus, "I have small task for you… fetch me parchment and ink…"
Feeling immensely pleased with himself, Hephaestion managed to sit down at his desk without falling off his chair and began to write a letter. It took some time because the words would not stay still on the page and the tent insisted on revolving around him, but he persevered.
To Olympias, mother of Alexander…
Thank you for your letter. I am gratified that you at have at last…
He hesitated, crossed that out, and resumed.
We are gratified that you have at last found the courage to address us directly, instead of writing slanderous and distressing complaints about us and our family to your son, King Alexander…
The letter he had received from Alexander's mother had been annoying him for days. It wasn't a letter he could share with Alexander, much as he would have liked to return the trust the king placed in him; it was vitriolic and cruel, but more than that, it was paranoid, verging on the insane. Her letters to Alexander at least demonstrated a modicum of self-control. Hephaestion had said a silent prayer for Antipater as he had read it. Then he had said one for his own family, who, of course, she accused of conspiring with the Regent, insisting Hephaestion, like his father, had been a spy for Philip from the very beginning and even now was only keeping close to Alexander to pass on information to his enemies. Until now, Hephaestion had told himself it was better to just ignore her. But tonight he decided the woman deserved an answer from the man who was, in a way, her son too.
But if he followed that logic through, did that mean Olympias was his mother? Hephaestion began to feel dizzy.
He wrote several more paragraphs, halted at last, read it through, then added a final paragraph.
You are a woman, a woman of good noble birth, the mother of a king. Women should not be aggressive in thought or in word. Women should not concern themselves with the affairs of men. Women should be quiet and modest and respectful. Therefore we caution you strongly that it would be in your own best interest as well as your beloved son's if you stop quarrelling with us and do not be angry or menacing. But if you persist, we will not be much disturbed. You know Alexander means more to us than anything.
We wish you health.
Hephaestion, son of Amyntor
Hephaestion put down the stylus and smiled contentedly. He was about to seal the letter when he suddenly had a flash of inspiration, and scribbled a last note down the bottom.
We too are Alexander!
Perfect! Burning his fingers as he sealed the letter with wax, Hephaestion handed it to the yawning Admetus, reaching out to ruffle his red hair. "Get hold of Ariston and tell him to see this is dispatched to Macedon immediately. Then get to bed…" He grinned lasciviously, "I have some unfinished business with Alexander!"
"Keep your bloody voice down!" Alexander snapped as Hephaestion staggered over to him and began clumsily to try and undress himself, "where have you been, anyway?" he asked sulkily, sliding from his bed to unfasten Hephaestion's belt, "I was about to send out a search party, but I was afraid they might find you passed out over a bench, being buggered by a group of Agrianian slingers!"
"Alexander, that is no way to talk to yourself," Hephaestion sighed as he finally shed his chiton.
Alexander scowled at him. Hephaestion smiled back sweetly. In spite of himself, Alexander began to laugh, but his merriment was cut short when Hephaestion threw him down onto the bed and leapt on top of him with a Macedonian war cry any man in the Phalanx would envy.
Giving Alexander several sloppy kisses, he made his way out of the tent, cringing in the early light and shielding his eyes. His stomach heaved and he moaned aloud as he was violently sick. Alexander wouldn't be the only one sleeping it off in a darkened tent this time. As he recovered himself, two of his own men hailed him cheerfully, obviously still very drunk.
"He too is Alexander, he too is Alexander, he too is Alexander!" they chanted, clapping their hands in time, until he growled at them to shut up and they wandered off laughing. He too is Alexander. We too are…
Oh merciful gods please no…
"Admetus!" Hephaestion stumbled into his tent. Admetus was there, curled up in the arms of fellow page Iason. He blinked at Hephaestion, shy but unrepentant, sliding out of bed and smoothing down his permanently unruly hair.
"Joy to you, Hephaestion," he chirped, his high youthful voice jarring on Hephaestion's tender ears.
"Admetus, the letter!" Hephaestion gasped, "did it – was it sent?"
"Oh yes, Hephaestion," Admetus said with pride, "I found Ariston – he was in bed with a camp-woman but I told him it was urgent and he rode off immediately. It should be in Macedon in no time!"
Hephaestion's head swam and he had to concentrate hard not to be sick once again. "Good lad," he mumbled, "tell my body servants to prepare a cold bath and a cup of wine…"
"Nine parts water to one part wine, with some honey in it," Admetus replied cheerfully, "just as you like it!"
"Yes," Hephaestion groaned as he slumped down on his bed, "just as I like it…"