Credits: Hephaestion's skills in all matters relating to horses are inspired by Steven Pressfield's Virtues of War. That book's account of the first time Alexander saw Hephaestion, plus Moon71's comment that it was pretty much "love at first sight," resulted in the inspiration for this story (though it is not based on the book's version of things). Much gratitude to Fredericka for sharing her wonderful knowledge of horseriding - thanks to her, the scenes with horses are much less ridiculous than they otherwise would've been. And I get to say that "no horses were harmed in the making of this fanfic."

A/N: The prologue's tone is a little unusual, but please give the story a chance - the rest is in a more normal narrative voice. Happy Father's Day, everyone!


Prologue

Much is said of how Alexander met Bucephalus, his faithful steed throughout his long campaigns. How wild Ox-head was, and how strong; how no man in King Philip's court could mount the great animal until Alexander demanded to try. Even those who took him as no more than a reckless boy at first admitted that he had courage, for he was but twelve at the time, barely tall enough to swing onto the stallion's back. But Alexander quickly proved his presence of mind as well, for he saw that the horse shied from its own shadow, and used this knowledge wisely.

As he galloped back in triumph from that first glorious ride, the cheers rose to heaven. Even fierce King Philip wept with joy, sweeping Alexander proudly into his arms and lifting him high. "Oh my son," he cried, "you must find yourself a more worthy kingdom – Macedon is too small for you!"

Men do not become jealous of horses. So people gladly spread the tale of the magnificent stallion and the brilliant prince, the boy who was to be their commander, and later, their king. (And even later, their Great King. And Pharaoh, and many other titles besides.)

However, history says little of Alexander's early days with the people who would form his closest circle, men who fought for him and conquered with him, men who would afterward inherit his empire.

And history says nothing of Alexander's first meeting with his dearest friend, his "other self."

In truth, it was not so long after Alexander met Bucephalus, son of – well, unfortunately history doesn't keep track of equestrian genealogy, but readers may rest assured that it was a perfectly noble heritage, probably semi-divine. To get back to the matter, yes – it was not so long after Alexander met Bucephalus, progeny of an unquestionably splendid lineage, that he met Hephaestion, son of Amyntor.

And so the tale begins, a few weeks after young Alexander tamed the mighty Bucephalus.