|Even If It Were Hate
Author: Yumemakura PM
A/R story about Cassander's involvement with Alexander and Hephaistion. How long can Cassander contain his secret?Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Chapters: 8 - Words: 15,337 - Reviews: 43 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 15 - Updated: 07-09-12 - Published: 02-04-12 - id: 7804256
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I'm sorry it took so long to update.
As Alexander had predicted, his exile did not last long. Within a year, King Philip sent one of their family friends to make peace with his son. It had proven once again that the Macedonian kingdom needed young blood to keep rising.
However, the real test for the young Macedonians came unexpectedly, and too soon. It was a beautiful day in October. The sky was so clear with not even a single cloud in sight that it competed for depth of blueness with the Aegean Sea. The color was so pure that it was almost painful to look at it.
It was also supposed to be the happiest day for Alexander's sister, Cleopatra. Even if it was a political compromise, the wedding was something that any girl would dream of, and long for. All the members of the Macedonian court gathered at the theater in Aegae, the ancient capital of Macedon, for the celebration of the marriage between Alexander of Epirus and Cleopatra.
The theater was filled with a cheerful mood, however, it turned into chaos when King Philip appeared in the theater through the gate, and slowly collapsed onto the ground in slow motion in front of everybody's eyes. For a moment, nobody understood what had happened until they saw the king's pure white chiton change color into crimson red, and the blood seeped through the unmoving body into the sandy ground.
Alexander was the first to be at the king's side. By the time Alexander gathered his father's body in his arms, the eye of King Philip was already losing focus. It soon lost brightness, and blankly looked up at the empty blue sky.
It was a double shock to the Macedonian court when they realized that the assassin was one of King Philip's own bodyguard, Pausanias. While the assassin desperately attempted to escape, Cleitus, Nearchus, and Perdiccas chased after him. Pausanias was killed on the spot when they caught up with him at the bottom of the hill.
Cassander observed the scene as if he was watching a bloody play in the theater. Suddenly, the exchange between Alexander and Hephaistion at the house of Alexander's uncle in Dodona played on Cassander's mind.
"How far would you like to go?"
Hephaistion's flat voice that was lacking emotion rang in his ears, and Alexander's stern looks with a sneer flashed in his vision along with Queen Olympias' determined and cold expression when they left her in Dodona.
'Was Queen Olympias behind this assassination? Was Alexander involved in this?' Would Alexander go this far for his dream? If so, had Hephaistion known about it?'
Cassander could not help the doubts that swirled in his mind. Everybody knew that Alexander was eager to be named as the heir of the Macedonian kingdom. He wanted it so badly that he had even tried to intercept the marriage plan for his brother Arrhidaeus when he misunderstood that King Philip was thinking of offering Arrhidaeus to the daughter of the Carian ruler to make him the heir instead.
There was no concrete evidence to prove if Olympias or Alexander had anything to do with King Philip's assassination, as the only person who was directly involved with the murder of the king had been executed, and could not speak.
Although there were some doubts, nobody dared to voice them. The future of the Macedonian kingdom was depending on Alexander, and they did not have time to look back at the past. Right after King Philip's funeral, Alexander immediately resumed his father's plan to invade Asia. The Macedonian army was already crossing the Hellespont from Europe to Asia within six months of King Philip's funeral.
The scenery was the same, the climate was the same, and the color of the soil was the same, yet something was fundamentally different as soon as they had crossed the inlet to Asia. It was probably simply the differences in language, or the people who lived there, however the air was definitely foreign, and Cassander could not help but feel uneasy.
The first city where they had settled was Troy. After sacrificing to the goddess Hera, and putting up the camp, most of the young officers headed out to the agora to see some action.
"Would you like to come with us, Cassander? Ptolemy and I are going to this inn. I heard that they have an excellent local wine, and most interestingly, it is served by a beautiful maiden."
Nearchus grinned suggestively.
"No, I think I'd rather stay."
"How about coming with me to the market then? Surely we can find a bargain there."
Perdiccas asked cheerfully.
"No, I don't need anything."
"Ah, Cassander, you are so unsocial. Let's go before he infects us with his rotten mood."
With these Nearchus' teasing words, they left for the town laughing while leaving gloomy looking Cassander behind.
Cassander did not feel like joining either of them. It was not because he did not want the company, but he was still feeling too tense to mingle freely with the locals. Yet, he regretted his decision when he heard the parties breaking out in the camp here and there. He was not in the mood for heavy drinking either. He just needed to spend a quiet night.
When the noise became too loud to bear, Cassander left his tent before drunken soldiers start appearing in his tent, and started to walk away from the commotion. Soon, he found himself coming up on top of the hill overlooking the deep blue of the Aegean Sea, where the temple of Apollo stood. The sun was setting over the horizon at the sea, and the golden red rays painted the marble pillars of the temple.
Cassander froze to the spot when he saw Hephaistion siting on the steps of the temple with his back against the pillar while facing to the setting sun. He tried to turn around to leave, but he could not move. The site of the other man was amazing in the fading sun.
The outline of his hair shimmered in gold drawing the warm rays inside. One of his hands loosely grabbed the edge of the steps, and the other was set on the kneecap of his slightly bent long legs. The posing made the edge of the chiton pull up to expose his shapely thighs in full view.
It was already too late when Cassander was finally able to tear himself off the hypnosis. While he stepped backward, Hephaistion turned around as he heard the noise of crashing pebbles.
Hephaistion's surprised, yet friendly smile met with Cassander's almost resentful face.
"You did not go to the town with Ptolemy?"
"No. And you are not with Alexander?"
Cassander flinched to his own words that came out too sharp and accusingly than he intended to be. Hephaistion replied without answering to it as if he did not hear Cassander's question.
"It's rather noisy down there, isn't it? Is that why you are here?"
"Yes, I walked away from the noise, and found myself ending up here."
"So did I. I needed a quiet place to think."
With this, Hephaistion turned his head back to look down the bay, and murmured.
"That's the same Aegean Sea by Pella, but I feel that I am so far away from home."
"I know what you mean. I felt the same way when we crossed the Hellespont. Everything looked the same, but something was totally different. Are you missing home?"
"Not really, if you mean Pella. I have nothing left there."
"But, you still have your mother in Pella, don't you?"
"She went back to Athens with master Aristotle."
After Philip's death, and Hephaistion's departure, there was nothing hold Antipater back from making a move to Hephaistion's mother once again. Although she had no interest in this new regent of Macedon, she was afraid that if she kept denying him, it could cause a negative effect on Hephaistion's future life in the Macedonian army.
Luckily, she found the best solution when she heard that Aristotle was going back to Athens. She told Antipater that she appreciated his kindness to take her in, but she was afraid that she needed to go back to Athens to take care of her mother who had lately become ill. And since Aristotle was also going back to Athens, there was no need for him to send a guard to protect her.
It was not true that her mother was ill, but this way, Antipater would not have to find out that she was lying. It worked out for her perfectly. Hephaistion knew the real reason, but he did not tell Cassander.
"I see. Then why are you here all by yourself acting like a homesick school boy?"
Hephaistion blushed a little to Cassander's comment.
"I was thinking about what Alexander told me earlier."
Hephaistion hesitated for a moment. He was not quite comfortable discussing the personal issue with Cassander, but he felt that it was too late to stop now. Anyway, everybody would find out tomorrow morning.
"Alexander wants to do a ceremony tomorrow, and I am not sure if it is a good idea."
"What kind of ceremony?"
Hephaistion cleared his throat before continuing.
"Well, he wants us to honor Achilles and Patroclus in old way."
"You mean, run around naked around the tombs?"
"And Alexander dedicating the wreath to Achilles' tomb, and I to Patroclus'."
Cassander did not realize that he murmured out loud until he heard his own voice.
"So, Alexander is now making it official."
Hephaistion's head whipped around, and looked up at Cassander. Now the sun had completely set, and the darkness surrounded them, but Cassander could see Hephaistion's face turned to crimson red even in the dim lights of the rising moon.
The silver moon reflected onto Hephaistion's dark blue orbs. Looking into Hephaistion's eyes, Cassander thought that his love was just like the moon. It looked so close that he could touch and grab it, yet in reality, it was too far beyond his reach. The closer he thought he got, the further away it had escaped from him.
Cassander's heart shattered again into even smaller fragments that he thought it was already in too small pieces to be broken, and he was not so sure if he could take the torture of witnessing the love between Alexander and Hephaistion any longer. He debated if he should leave the army, and go back to Pella.
He could tell Alexander that he would go back to Pella to assist his father in case the Athenians rebelled. Alexander might not be pleased, but Cassander knew that he would not deny him. He did not look forward to living with his father again, but he was not certain which was more painful; to stay with the army seeing Alexander and Hephaistion being together or to live with his father.
As Hephaistion confessed to Cassander on the previous night, Alexander announced his plan to the army in the morning. Seeing Alexander's excitement, and listening to the soldiers' cheers that followed, Cassander was aloof and detached.
Slightly smiling Hephaistion's face did not show any signs of hesitation any more. Two god like bodies, one with fair skin with thick muscles of well-balanced body, and the other with olive skin of muscular yet slightly taller build and slender body stood in front of the whole army.
Their thoroughly oiled bodies shone in glorious gold reflecting the rising sun at the start line of the emerald green field. Their faces that looked straight ahead were almost in a trance. Cassander felt his whole body burn in the flame of jealousy and yearning.
At that moment, he made a masochistic decision to follow them. No matter how painful and bitter it might be, he would see the end of it. He needed to find out if Alexander and Hephaistion were actually fated Achilles and Patroclus who lived the myth, and if their love was eternal.