Title: Awakenings

Author: Rothalion

Summary: Young men will be young men and Hephaistion and Alexander discover themselves. A bit out there for me.

Rating: R, M, Smut. M/M, gratuitous descriptions, self gratification…

Disclaimer: I don't own them. Not really anything more then speculation.

My father taught me to appreciate the beauty of things. All things. From a simple mixing bowl to the most prized stallion in a king's string. All things possessed a purpose and hence a beauty distinctly their own. I would wander endlessly amidst the fields pondering the beauty of this blossom or that. The worth of an apple tree and the seeming worthlessness of a thorny weed. Because Thistle was sharp, dry and painful did that mean the plant was devoid of beauty? Or a beautiful woman, was she good at heart simply because her appearance was pleasing. And the ugly woman was she inherently bad? I was taught to believe that the Thistle was as important as the Apple tree. The slave as beautiful as the prince; that beauty was found deep within a thing and often obscured by its physical appearance. Physical appearance could indeed stir ones deepest emotions and bring out the deepest and heart shattering experiences. But he taught me to also strip away the husk of it and learn to love the ugliness that hid within all things and to love that ugliness just as deeply. It my was with eyes taught to observe using these lessons that I first saw Alexander.

Beauty did not play into the intense emotion that overwhelmed me the first time I saw him. The Prince was covered in horse dung up to his elbows and to thighs. His tanned face was smudged and his hair, that I would soon learn was a brilliant nearly golden shade of blond, was filthy and dull. He wielded a shovel and mucked out stalls with a small group of boys our age. My father had to yell my name to get me moving again as we rode into the palace stable yard, the sight of the Prince had stopped me and I stared dumbstruck at the boy.

"Hephaistion, come now lad. You will meet him soon enough. By the gods why's the lad mucking horse shit like a commoner?" He shook his head and tugged on my horses bridal. "Philip's an odd bird for sure; the one eyed bastard is."

"Yes sir." I had replied in a hoarse whisper. My heart was pounding and my mind was toiling over why the filthy son of my king had struck such a chord with me. We continued on and a groom took our mounts. I turned repeatedly trying to see Alexander again but he'd disappeared inside the stables.

That was over a year ago, and I sit here now beneath the shade of an ancient Oak in Mieza listening as Alexander argues with Aristotle about some fine point of rhetoric, I think. I pull at a thread on the hem of my chiton. Alexander says that I should replace the worn garment but it suits me, provides a gentle comfort that I just cannot seem to explain to him. It is his thread that I tug at. Have tugged at for a year now. Unraveling and then reweaving him in and out of my heart and mind. He is waving his arms now and I repress a smile as I roll the cotton fibers between my finger tips. He glows. Many would laugh at me for such a comment but by the gods it is true. His is the beauty of the Thistle, of the blizzard or the sandstorm. Yet also of the face of glory itself. So few see that though and clamor over his curls and his body and his status. Alexander is not cast only of these base things. He is…for me the Platonic ideal of hidden and innate beauty. His aura consumes men; more often then not for all the wrong reasons, but for me I love the fruit within the husk and if some day I should choke on the pit and find my death so be it, I will have tasted the utter sweetness that is my Alexander. I have bitten down hard on the pit of it many times in the slow creeping march that marks the beginning of our friendship but still I set that aside knowing in my heart that without that pit a fruit cannot spread its sweetness. Beauty, as my father taught, is often had at the price of ugliness, hence the price of sweetness is to suffer its bitter counterpart. Love by hate.

My, Alexander. I cannot think of time since that initial moment at the stable that I ever thought of him as anything other than that. I just did. The first time, without thinking about it, that I called him as such he froze and stared at me intently with his engaging gray eyes. Then finally his lips curled into the tiniest smile and he reached out and touched my cheek. I began to apologize for my forwardness but he silenced me with a finger to my parted lips and continued to stare at me his finger unmoving. Finally he whispered so quietly, not very much more than the sound of gentle surf washing up on a beach, 'My, good and gentle, Hephaistion.' I shuddered and my knees went weak. I saw in a flash that he was indeed mine. Mine to keep and hold and protect. To love. That we would be tied for an eternity.

"Hephaistion? Your thoughts on the matter at hand?" Aristotle's voice broke through my musings.

I stared dumbly at the gray haired philosopher then from behind me I heard Nearchus whisper, just behind my ear, 'the love between animals and men is a pure one.'

So to save face I repeated it quickly without thinking, I was still too hopelessly lost in my daydreams about Alexander to realize my words before uttering them, "That the love between animals and men is a pure one sir."

For a moment there was complete silence and then raucous laughter. I looked to Alexander but he too was doubled over in hysterics. Aristotle made his way to me and after boxing my ears he scolded me in a very harsh tone.

"Either get your prick under Alexander's chiton or your mind out of it Hephaistion, I'll not waste my breath on a young man who lacks the discipline to hear and debate my words, lad! It takes discipline to lead men into battle and it would do you well to exhibit some! Class dismissed!"

I sat chagrinned as the others filed by me slapping my shoulders and making lewd comments. Alexander simply stood aside waiting for the throng to disappear. After the last student had gone he approached me, his head cocked a bit to the left as was his habit. His eyes were full of mirth and my heart began to thrum in my chest embarrassed, I had to avert my eyes. He squatted down on his heels in front of me and studied my reddened face. I was slouched against the tree stump, my arms tightly across my chest, my chin tucked down tight, chewing my bottom lip.

"So, my Hephaistion," he began and I tried to shrink up even more inside of myself, "your mind is in my chiton?"

"Alexander." I whispered repentantly.

"What in the name of the gods should we do to resolve your, well I'd say little problem, but we both know that 'little' is not…"

"Alexander!"

"Not an accurate description; Is it my lovely, Hephaistion?" He stood pulling me up with him. "Come now, all this talk has given me an appetite."

I stumbled along beside him dreading the coming confrontation with the others when we arrived at the dining hall.

And so it went. By night Alexander and I held one another and kissed a bit. We slept in the same bed and with a naïve innocence born of fear and a sense of discipline tentatively explored each others bodies. We talked about the pureness of such feelings, about the strengths and weakness' that our rapidly burgeoning love for one another would task us with. It never went beyond that though. We were both happy and seemingly fulfilled with our arrangement. Our experiments never moved beyond gentle, fearful touching. We were too afraid of doing or feeling anymore than just that comfort found in the chaste embrace and touch of someone who loves you. Until that dreadful day on the wrestling field.

We were all there. It had been a tough week of training and tempers were short. Young men being what we are we wrestled even harder to burn off that frustration, which in turn fuels already short tempers. Our trainer for the day is an old brute of a Macedonian that we call Pighead. For one the man reeks and two he's just flat out ugly. I sit watching him jab at Ptolemy with a staff trying to motivate him. My father, while wise, may have found the very argument to destroy his theory about beauty in all things, in the likes of Pighead. Try as I might I can see no sign of anything short of ugly in the man. I look down at the welts covering my hips and buttocks that are steadily turning darker from where the bastard beat me with that staff of his. My ribs took a bruising as well. He dislikes me for being Athenian by birth so he always makes sure to leave his mark. Finally Ptolemy pins Nearchus, crushing the stockier man into the sand with a bit more viciousness than he would normally display. Nearchus in turn, once let loose, spits in Ptolemy's face and the two start throwing punches. Pighead tears them apart and calls for Perdicass and Alexander to go.

They have wrestled one another uncounted times. him. It depends on the day who will best who but they always have very close bouts. I watch enrapt as Perdicass first comes close to pinning Alexander only to be refused his quick victory. Alexander then climbs on top of the bigger Perdicass and regains the advantage twisting his arm and driving him down onto his shoulders. He is beautiful my Alexander. Slick with sweat and straining, his eyes bright with intensity… arghh, by the gods, no not now! No, he's ugly Hephaistion! Yes, he's ugly and I do not desire him! No, he means nothing to me he is just…looking at me! Those eyes, that smile, that hair…I stand, grab a towel throw it around my waist and head rapidly for the baths. Appalled at my loss of self control.

Once in the baths I find an isolated corner and drop the towel. I groan at the tenderness of my cock and slowly, lightly with a feather touch begin to stroke myself. I have only just begun to gratify myself this way but have learned quickly what feels best. Despite the pleasure I feel, it seems so weak and since Alexander claims it displays a lack of discipline I have not told him that I do it. Discipline be damned! Maybe Alexander can ignore the pleas of his body's desires but I am Hephaistion and to not be able to have him is slowly driving me mad. I need more intimacy with him. I need something beyond our tender nuzzling. I need to languish in the rolling explosion of climaxing 'with' him. I do not know what I will do if he never needs me that way! So I find some release in this act, base though it may be. Ah gods, I see him in my minds eye and so clearly. I smell him just as if he is standing behind me. So real. So close. Sweat and flowers. Spice and the earth. I taste his lips with my memory, smell his breath. I, oh this is too much…I grasp myself tighter and lean against the cool stone wall holding myself up with my left arm. I am so close now, so close, I rub my thumb over the tip of my cock with each rapid stroke relishing in the slickness of my weeping juices, gods I love that sensation. It is that simple flit of contact that drives me mad and I squeeze my eyes shut tight and shudder at the vision I allow to plow across my mind. Yes…so close…I squeeze a bit tighter, let my thumb roll over and over the top of my cock, yes the vision…Alexander on his knees, lolling his tongue over the head of my cock instead of my thumb…Arghhhh! "Alexander!" I say slumping as I spend myself.

I try to gather myself. Steady my breathing and prepare to return to the others. Picking up the towel I turn and stop dead in my tracks. Alexander.

"Alexander!" How much had he seen? What would he think? Would he find me unworthy of his love now? He is just staring at me his face a mask of…nothing. It is devoid of emotion. It is a terrifying visage. "Alexander?"

I step toward him.

He holds a towel in his hand and I stagger a bit at the sight of his nakedness. I feel the unwelcome rush of desire coursing through my gut again despite my actions just a moment ago. By the gods just this once give me some control!

"I worried that you were ill, Hephaistion. The heat and Pighead's beating. I wanted to check on you."

"I am fine." I wrap the towel around my waste "I…" I what? He'd seen. I could tell by his demeanor.

"The others are going to the river to swim. I, we should go and bath and talk." He suggested his voice very monotone almost frightened.

"Yes. I should soak these bruises."

So we did. After we'd bathed we talked about flowers and trees and birds and insects and going to Persia. I don't know if I was glad or disappointed. He'd bathed my wounds and dressed them with sweet liniments. I maintained my control. He seemed fine, actually more attentive than normal. I love him and that scares me more than the thought of fighting an entire company of Persians. Scares me because I know it is not a simple love but that we are woven together as tightly and intricately as the finest Egyptian silk. They say an arrow will not easily penetrate good stout silk, and if it does the fabric is just driven with the arrowhead into the wound staunching the blood flow, becoming a part of the wound. That's how I will be with him. What ever the wound I will enter it and staunch the flow of his life force, always protecting him, loving him…

"We should sleep." He finally said. We'd been silent for a long time.

"Yes." I agreed, stood and yawned. "I am tired and it is Pighead again tomorrow."

"I hate how he treats you, Hephaistion."

"Ignore him, Alexander, I will get through it." I smiled at him to try and offer some reassurance, when in fact I knew that if the bastard beat me tomorrow like he had today I would be in bad shape.

"Yes, but if he gets too nasty, Hephaistion, I am stepping in. It is uncalled for. He has no right to take out his prejudice on you." He laid down on his bed and stretched out. I sat on the edge of mine and fluffed my pillow. "What are you doing?"

"Going to bed."

"Over there?" he sat up.

"I thought…well…considering…"

"Come to bed."

Nothing is ever simple. We did not touch one another except for a soft kiss and fell asleep quickly. Well he did and stayed asleep. I awoke from a sensual dream hungry for his touch, my skin alive and tingling at the memory of his fingers kneading the liniment into my bruises. By the gods this was getting out of hand. I curled my toes and closed my eyes trying to will away the hunger that plagued my loins. He was going to cast me away for this weakness! I was going to lose him because I seemed only able to behave like a wanton whore. Disgusted and squirming from my desires I slid from the bed and crossed to the window. I sat down sideways on the wide sill and looked down at the quiet hillside. I hoped that the cool air would chase away my needs. I as wrong. The subtle wash of night time air across my hardened cock only made me want to touch him that much more.

It was a tantalizing breeze, I couldn't help but turn slightly and open my raised knees a bit to feel as much of it as I could. I leaned my head back against the wall and let my mind embrace all the things I wanted to share with Alexander. I desired him in so many ways; some typical and some far from acceptable. Non the less I dreamt about them. His tongue on my cock, mine on his. He smelled so good and I imagined how he might taste. Both of us taking each other like that at once. To be inside him, to feel him clamp down on my cock…I'd heard men talk. They say it is tight and that no woman can replicate it. To feel him inside me and that spot I have heard of, I want to find his and drive him mad…I want to be one with him share in each other at every level possible. To meld with him.

Desperate for release I began to stroke myself. I reveled in the cool breeze that brushed against me and slumped a bit lower to afford myself more of it. My hands steadily tickled and stroked my cock. I Squeezed my balls and tickled the underside of them. I stopped rubbing them and moved my left hand to my chest and began flicking my nipples lightly. They grew hard and I hard to bite my lip to keep from groaning out loud. I'd managed to make myself climax a few times by just rubbing them. It was as good as the other ways. I was so lost to my pleasure that I barley heard him.

"Hephaistion?"

"Alexander?" I stilled and looked at him. I was breathing heavily, and I looked with out really moving. I couldn't move. I was so close and he'd broken the spell. He studied me and I simply endured his scrutiny. I had no fight left in me. He could take the next step with me tonight and, allow me my private pleasure or cast me away. I just needed to know. My breath was ragged and I was itching for release. He was hard and to see him aroused and not be able to touch him was maddening.

"Don't stop. I want to watch you first. Again." He said stepping up to me and sitting down on the edge of the sill. "Please? You are so beautiful and I just need to see…I have not… finished it yet. Scared. I…you know more, my Hephaistion, teach me I am ready."

I started to stroke myself again, I wanted him and knew I'd have him tonight so I wasted no time worrying about feeling self conscious. The flick of my thumb did its work and I came quickly.

Within moments we were in bed and he had his tongue buried in my mouth deeper than he'd ever dared before. I wrapped mine around his and ran my hands hungrily over his sweat slicked body. This was it. This was what I had dreamed of.

"What do you envision when you please yourself my Hephaistion?" He rasped at me. "Tell me. Tell me."

"You, my Alexander. I want to consume you and be consumed by you. I want to taste you and I want you to taste me. That first. Roll your tongue over the top of my cock. Then more."

I gasped as he swallowed me. I can't believe this is happening. I never thought he'd agree to do this with me it's not a common act. Ah gods! Yes Alexander lick the top yes just like that and again and again just roll your tongue over the top…

"Stop…I'm…!" but he wouldn't release me. I came driving forward into his mouth. "Sorry, sorry."

"Now, me, please…" I lean over him and take him in my mouth. Ah gods, he is so sweet. So hard. So hot. I can feel his cock throbbing! I do to him what makes me come, I suck hard and roll my tongue over his weeping tip. His pushes back into my mouth moaning my name, telling me he loves me, I suck faster and flick at his nipples with my finger nails; that does it and I gag as he slams into my mouth and his juices slap into the back of my throat.

I fall down on his chest, spent. He senses my exhaustion and begins to softly kiss me. My cheeks, my shoulders, my eyes…I am lost to reality. He is mine. Mine and soon we will complete the circle. I have never, in my entire life, felt so completely drained. Alexander is touching me trying to soothe me, to bring me back, he says my name and it destroys me; I fall heavily onto him sobbing.

Beauty. Alexander and I find it in each other, and we do what for us is beautiful. Often we go for long periods of time without even touching, and conversely there are times when, if we are within arms reach, we have to touch one another. There is a certain beauty in our love, in its unconditional purity. We are as one soul. Most do not understand us and I live daily with their reproach. That, I suppose, is the ugly side of our beautiful relationship. I can live with it though. It is the pit within the luscious fruit that is my love for Alexander an his love for me.