|Arrows of Desire
Author: moon71 PM
Happy Valentine's Day! Alexander makes a special sacrifice to the god of love.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Supernatural - Words: 4,289 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 12 - Published: 02-14-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3393283
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
ARROWS OF DESIRE by Moon 71
SUMMARY: Some Valentine's Day romance for the soft hearted; some humour for those of a harder breed! Alexander makes a special sacrifice to the god of love.
DISCLAIMER: I don't make sacrifices to the god of love, or think that I own Alexander.
RATING: some sexy bits, some moderate violence I suppose, it all depends on how you look at it…
DEDICATION: To Euripides – I'm so glad you got in touch, that you trusted me with your stories and above all that you've let others enjoy them too on FF as I said they would! The reviews speak for themselves! You're a great friend!
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Despite the presence of Eros in this story, it has NO links to the Ivory Eros storyline. In fact it belongs in the same universe as Discord in Love, to which it is loosely linked. It isn't a sequel, however, and it can be read quite easily without reading the other story first!
One soldier did not match the rest. Alexander picked him up and stared at him for a long time. It seemed only yesterday Hephaestion had offered him in exchange for one of Alexander's, saying he was now a mercenary working for Macedon and Alexander's was a hostage to Athens. He had said it with such sincerity Alexander had made a supreme effort not to laugh, even when Hephaestion recounted the history of the soldier he was adding to Alexander's army, how he had been seduced by a beautiful woman working for Alexander's father and agreed to change sides.
It would be worth it, Alexander told himself; if his prayers were heard, it would all be worth it. He dropped the last soldier into the sack and placed it upon the altar.
"Immortal Eros, son of Aphrodite, seed of Mighty Zeus… accept this sacrifice, all that remains of the childhood I am now to leave behind…" Tears stung Alexander's eyes as he continued his prayer. It had to work. It had to work. If it didn't, if he had lost Hephaestion's love forever, he thought he would die.
Once they had been so close – it had been their greatest despair to be apart. From the rising of the sun almost to the rising of the moon they had played together, oblivious to all others. Alexander had never dreamed things could change. Of course Hephaestion was two years older than him, but that had meant nothing – until Hephaestion had begun to change. He grew taller, much taller than Alexander. His voice began to deepen, his shoulders broaden. He began to profess himself bored with the games he and Alexander played, to take pleasure in the company of older boys, laughing at their dirty jokes and listening avidly to their tales of drinking, gaming and sexual conquest. Such stories didn't shock Alexander; he was too familiar with the rough ways of soldiers. But they did not interest him either – in fact they made him feel a little sick. There wasn't anything very Homeric about throwing up in a gutter or giving some cheap whore "a good seeing-to." He preferred to read, to study, to hunt, to practise his fighting skills and listen to the political dealings and war-councils of his father. Up until then he had thought Hephaestion liked the same things.
"Hephaestion," he had begun, the last time he had tried to win his friend back, "would you like to come down to the river with me? I've got some apples and some wine, and we could read this new book I've got about siege warfare…"
Hephaestion had rolled his eyes. "There's more to life than books, Alexander," he told him scornfully, "are you still not interested in sex yet? Listen, I must go, my friend Eudorus is going to introduce me to that new young hetaera, the one with the red hair! She's gorgeous – as hot as fire! Have you seen those blue eyes of hers?"
"Oh but Hephaestion…!" Alexander had tried to keep the pleading note out of his voice. "Just this once… you never want to spend time with me now!"
"You can come with us if you like," Hephaestion sighed impatiently, "but you never want to." Then his expression softened and for a moment he was just like the old Hephaestion, the one who was completely Alexander's. "I know things are different, now, Alexander, but you'll learn soon enough…"
"I miss you, Hephaestion," Alexander had whispered, ashamed of his own weakness.
"Alexander… I…" Whatever Hephaestion had been going to say was lost forever when that irritating youth Eudoros who was always told such boring stories of how he had got so very drunk and how it was so very funny, shouted across the courtyard for Hephaestion to hurry up. And by his side was that red-haired girl, gazing airily about her and fluttering her fan. Giving Alexander a brief slap on the arm, Hephaestion jogged across to meet them.
Watching, Alexander had felt his heart squeeze with love just before it broke. How incredibly beautiful Hephaestion had become, with his strong arms and long legs, everything about him spoke of manly perfection, down to the sound of his voice, the movement of his body, the brightness of his eyes. And as he had seen him walk away with that girl holding his arm, Alexander had realised this was about more than the loss of a childhood playmate.
He was in love. With a boy who did not love him back.
"Oh Eros… god of love…" Alexander closed his eyes tightly as he finished his prayer, "accept my sacrifice and come down from Olympus to strike Hephaestion with your arrows of love… make Hephaestion love me… make Hephaestion love me… make Hephaestion love me…"
Poor Alexander. He was really such a sweet boy, and still so pretty, but he stubbornly remained a child. Besides, he took himself so seriously – he was always worrying about one thing or another, pushing himself too hard, denying himself things. Really, he was no fun. A game was never a game with him, it was a competition. What was the point in introducing him to handsome older boys who would love to court him, or women who would be beside themselves to become the mistress of a prince, if he took more pleasure in self-restraint than in sex? Sex was almost all Hephaestion could think about these days – sex with other boys, sex with women, sex with himself. He couldn't go a day without touching himself at least once. He had tried once or twice to interest Alexander in touching, having a strange impulse to share this new pleasure with him as he had shared so many things he liked, but the younger boy had seemed upset and confused and had pulled away when Hephaestion had tried to put his hand on him. And when Hephaestion tried to kiss him, Alexander had just dissolved into giggles, thinking it was all a game.
A shame, but Hephaestion couldn't wait forever. And now he wouldn't have to! He'd played around a bit with boys, not quite yet ready to become some older boy's eromenos, though several were courting him, but doing it with a girl was something else! Andromeda was something special. A real woman! An accessible woman! A woman whose profession it was to please men! He was ready to do almost anything to win her; this morning she had expressed a craving for wild apples and Hephaestion intended to bring her an armload.
Just as he was about to begin pulling himself up into the most heavily laden tree, Hephaestion caught a movement in the corner of his eye and looked around. A boy stepped into the clearing. For a blank moment, seeing the yellow curls, the pink and white skin, Hephaestion thought it was Alexander. Not that Alexander was usually in the habit of running about the palace grounds naked with a bow and a quiver of arrows, but if he'd stopped to bathe in the shaded stream nearby…
Then the boy smiled at him, and Hephaestion's head cleared. Of course it wasn't Alexander! Alexander was a handsome boy, but this one was… perfect. Almost unworldly. "Joy to you, young one," he called with a friendly smile.
The boy smiled back, though it was not the smile of an innocent child. It was a coy, suggestive smirk; ivory teeth tugging suggestively at rosy lips. Suddenly Hephaestion had the strangest sense that this was not a child at all, at least not in the sense he understood it. A slow grin spread across his face. Well, well. A pity Alexander never looked at him like that, but this wasn't an opportunity to be wasted. Whatever he was, the boy was very, very pretty. He stepped forward.
The boy grinned, raised his bow, and fired.
"Hephaestion! Hephaestion, no!" Alexander flew to his friend's side as he saw Hephaestion sinking to his knees by their favourite apple tree, clutching wildly at his chest. His skin was as white as milk, contrasting sharply with the red stain spreading from where his hands clutched at his chest.
"He shot me!" Hephaestion choked, sounding more indignant than frightened, "the little bastard shot me! Through the heart!"
"Gods, Hephaestion, who – why – let me look," Alexander cried, impatiently ripping away Hephaestion's chiton and prising his hands away. Even in this moment of utter horror, the logic of his knowledge of soldiering and the wounds soldiers suffered told him Hephaestion could not have been shot right through the heart and still be there talking to him.
For a second Alexander only stared at what he saw. There was no arrow sticking in to Hephaestion's flesh, only a deep, raw wound which had already stopped bleeding. "Hephaestion… I don't understand… were you stabbed…?" Alexander gasped.
"No, I told you he… shot me…" Recovering slightly, Hephaestion followed Alexander's gaze down to the wound. "I… don't understand…"
What had once been an open wound was now a large, darkly coloured bruise. Slowly Alexander put his own hand over it and looked down. There was no blood on the ground, or on Hephaestion's chest or hands. Reluctantly, Alexander looked up into Hephaestion's eyes.
"That's weird," Hephaestion murmured, "what happened to my chiton? It's ruined! And how did you get here, Alexander…? I was supposed to be picking apples…"
"I… don't know what happened…" Alexander replied in confusion, "I think I heard you cry out…"
"But why would I…?"
Alexander didn't know. All he knew was that his hand was resting upon Hephaestion's breast, directly over his heart. And that it was thumping hard against his palm. "Your heart is beating very fast," he observed in an awed whisper.
"I know…" Hephaestion breathed. "I feel… very strange…" He moaned very softly as Alexander lifted his hand away and replaced it with his lips. Hephaestion felt dizzy, almost as if he was awakening from a dream. All he could focus on was how nice Alexander's kiss felt, how the soft lips tickled his breast, how hot his breath was upon Hephaestion's skin. Slowly, jerkily he reached and began to stroke Alexander's hair. How fine and silky it felt, how sweet it smelled… Alexander was so much cleaner than the other boys… he always took such trouble over his appearance… As Hephaestion looked down at him, he noticed that some of the childish plumpness had left the other boy's face, that it was developing the finer, stronger contours of a man. Alexander wasn't all that childish… and he always had been Hephaestion's best friend… loyal, loving, never bossing him about because he was a prince and Hephaestion wasn't…
When Alexander shyly raised his head to look up at him, Hephaestion kissed him deeply. He had kissed other boys before, but they hadn't tasted as nice as this, nor had they responded with such… sensitivity. Alexander's lips quivered most delightfully beneath Hephaestion's and Hephaestion heard him moan softly, his hands clutching at the bigger boy's arms as if he did not know whether he wanted to seize him or push him away. He returned the kiss after some hesitation, but cautiously; clumsily. Hephaestion smiled at Alexander as he drew back, half mocking, half tender. "Have you really not been kissed before, Alexander…?"
Alexander blushed. "Perhaps I still hoped my first true lover's kiss would come from your lips, Hephaestion."
Hephaestion sighed. Poor Alexander, still so serious! But he found it no longer annoyed him. He was beginning to find it rather enchanting. Touching the other boy's face with a gentleness he would never have thought himself capable of, he kissed him again.
Honestly, the amount of time Athene spent around men – brave, handsome, exciting warriors too – one would think she might have had at least one affair, or at least a flirtation. But no! She was too busy dressing up in armour and being "one of the lads." How frustratingly dull! And of course as soon as they had begun arguing, Hera and Artemis had rallied to Athene's side, calling Aphrodite a frivolous bimbo and a goddess of easy virtue, disloyal to her husband and constantly at the root of any trouble. So she had left them to it, her advice, as always, mistaken and ignored.
She supposed she ought to be getting home. There were times she really thought Hephaestus, ugly and blunt spoken as he was, was the only one who really understood her. Of course she had not wanted to marry him and for a long time she had resented him, taking great pleasure in cuckolding him with her far more exciting, more handsome brother Ares until the wily old goat had caught them at it and humiliated them before all the gods. But she had grown used to his wry sense of humour and his refusal to flatter her or pander to her tantrums and whims, and he did make her some beautiful golden jewellery and even golden furniture for her bedroom, and there were times she found great peace in his company, just sitting and silently watching him at his forge… for all his heavy clumsiness and his limping gait, he did have very skilful hands…
Her reverie was shattered by the high-pitched wailing of her son Eros as he tore down the corridor towards her. Seconds later Ares thundered after him, yelling loud enough to bring down Olympus itself. "Come back here you little bugger!"
"Nooooo!!!" Eros squealed as he was pulled from behind Aphrodite's skirts and flung over Ares' knee, "Maaaammmaaaa!" he implored as the god of war began to spank him soundly, cursing him as he did so.
"Ares!" Aphrodite cried once she had recovered herself, "you put my son down this instant!"
Ares ignored her.
"Ares, if you don't stop this instant I – I shall never play Captive and Conqueror with you again!"
Ares glanced up sullenly, seemed to turn it over in his admittedly rather slow mind, then shrugged and began smacking Eros once again.
Aphrodite was angrier than she had been in several centuries. She was sick and tired of being sidelined and ignored. She had never been good at fighting – she had once had a go at Troy and been wounded by that horrible, presumptuous Diomedes and sent crying to her mother. How Athene had laughed at her then! But now, in a sudden flash of rage as hot as Hephaestus' forge, she lashed out, slamming her closed fist so hard into Ares' face that he fell over backwards, then grabbed up Eros before he could tumble over with him.
Clutching Eros tightly to her bosom, she gaped stupidly at Ares as he staggered back to his feet, silvery ichor running from his nose. "The little bastard was asking for it…!" he grumbled, "I told him what he was supposed to do and he completely ignored me!"
"Oh? And what was he supposed to do?" Aphrodite demanded unsympathetically, stroking her son's golden curls as he snivelled upon her shoulder.
"It was that Prince Alexander, the Macedonian one…"
"That stupid little boy you're all so obsessed with?" Aphrodite sniffed disdainfully. "The one who prides himself on his chastity and virtue?" Really, he was such a little bore – surrounded by virile youths and skilful hetaerae and turning up his nose at them as if they smelled bad! His father Philip was so much more fun, with all his love affairs with beautiful women and handsome boys! "What about him?"
Ares scowled. "I told him it was time Alexander fell in love. And I told him which boy he was to be paired with – Cassander, son of Antipater! It would have been perfect! Antipater is the Regent of Macedon! " The war god's eyes became dreamy. "Cassander and Alexander! Rivals! Lovers! One the son of a king, the other the son of his Regent! Both clever, proud, ambitious and egotistical! And they hate each other! To make it even better, Alexander loves his mother Olympias – and Olympias hates Antipater! Think of it! Love and Hate together! An explosive combination! Can you imagine the endless wars? The strife? The discord…"
"Discord…" Aphrodite repeated, narrowing her eyes shrewdly, "just a moment… you've been plotting with Eris again, haven't you! That dried up old maid!"
"Eris understands me," Ares mumbled petulantly.
Aphrodite snorted delicately. "Lovers and Rivals indeed! Pah! What has any of this to do with my Eros?"
"He was told to shoot Cassander with one of his arrows," Ares answered sulkily; he always grew defensive when she mocked his friendship with the goddess of discord. "But he didn't! He shot that other one – that Hephaestion! Hephaestion! Who is he, anyway? No-one, that's who! Some stupid son of a nobody, some boy Alexander has a silly boy's crush on! So now the two of them are in love! Harmoniously in love! Where's the fun in that?"
Aphrodite shook her head, wondering what she ever saw in him. He really was an insensitive clod. "You and Eris deserve each other," she declared acidly, carrying Eros away with her.
"I couldn't help it, mama," Eros sniffed, "Alexander made me a sacrifice and asked if I'd make Hephaestion fall in love with him!"
"But my darling, you get sacrifices all the time," Aphrodite laughed indulgently.
"Yes, but they're usually from silly girls wanting me to win them a handsome husband – all they ever give me are boring girly things like flowers and honey-cakes! Alexander gave me all his toys… and… well… most of them weren't that interesting, I mean the bow he offered me was rubbish compared to mine… but there were these really nice soldiers…" He suddenly looked up at her with an impish smile. "You really pack a punch, Mama!"
Aphrodite giggled, feeling a warm rush of pride. "Yes, I do, don't I…?" Still smiling, she took his hand. She couldn't help loving him, naughty as he was; in the end, they were both as light and as frivolous as each other and happy to be that way. "Come, my little mischief… that young Alexander has scorned me for too long! Watch me give our new lovers a nice gift…"
"Come on, Alexander," Hephaestion grinned, "it will be fun, I promise!" A flicker of doubt passed across his face. "You do want to, don't you?"
"I…" Alexander frowned. He had his Hephaestion now, but he was not quite sure what to do with him. It was obvious Hephaestion wanted more than just kisses and cuddles, but Alexander didn't know if he was ready for that. He could see the good humour fading from Hephaestion's expression. Perhaps the older boy felt Alexander had only been teasing him, or jealously trying to distract him from the charms of that Andromeda? He didn't want to lose Hephaestion now, but what could he do?
All of a sudden, a strange, tingling warmth began to rise through Alexander's body. It started at his toes and travelled up his legs, making his loins feel painfully heavy and tight; then into his belly, triggering a strange, aching hunger that was not for food. Soon it spread out through his chest, setting his heart beating very fast, then to his arms, which suddenly ached to be filled with Hephaestion, to his very hands and fingers which itched to touch, to pet and stroke and explore every inch of the other boy's body. Finally it reached his head with a light, dizzying euphoria, clearing his mind and loosening his tongue. Feeling as if his very insides were sparkling like the stars themselves, he heard himself say, "that girl… Andromeda or whatever his name was… did you… did you do anything with her?"
Hephaestion blinked, apparently startled by the question. "I – uh – well, no," he mumbled, "no, I – well, I was going to… but…"
Alexander moved closer, giving him a coy smile. "Then… would you like to… to… to do something with me…?"
Hephaestion stared, then burst out laughing. "Alexander…? Is that really you talking? What's happened to you?"
"Love, Hephaestion," Alexander sighed happily, reaching up to kiss him, "only love…"
Aphrodite felt her cheeks growing warm with pleasure, but she quickly turned her head away and said with an airy wave of her slender white arm, "what can I say, my darling…? Love is a wonderful thing…!"
Far below them in the mortal world, held close in Hephaestion's arms, his body still tingling from the after-effects of love, Alexander heartily agreed.
LAST NOTE: I tend to see Eros as a beautiful youth (13 -16?) rather than a chubby baby like more modern depictions of Cupid. In this story, if it wasn't already clear, he changes according to who he's with, in order to get the result he wants - so he's a sultry adolescent to Hephaestion but a dear little scamp to his mother. Well after all, he's a god, he can appear however he likes! M xxx