Title: Blood Stains
Fandom: Alexander (historical)
Rating: PG-13. Rated for mentions of sexuality/ violence
Pairing: Alexander/ Hephaestion
Summary: After the torturing of an individual, Alexander and Hephaestion spend the night in talk.
A/N: Butch!Hephaestion. Nah not really. More like Masculine!Hephaestion. This was meant to be hot steamy sex, but alas I got sidetracked. So not a PWP dammit, but a thoughtful rendition and character study... or not. Also the 'man' referred to is just a faceless individual.
He washed his hands carefully. He had doused them once in the cold water of a horse trough outside, and thought that to be enough, but when he had entered the tent, he had found a bowl of hot water- in defiance of every rule that Alexander himself had made, steaming on the table. He had not even looked round the tent, just watched the blood swirl into the water.
He took his time washing them, hands sliding over each other in an intricate dance of slippery flesh and for a time he is absorbed in the clouding water. He scrubs to remove the blood that has clotted under his fingers, and outlined his fingernails. It covers both him and Craterus. He says nothing. After all there is nothing to be said. The job was done, and done well. Even if by some miracle of the Gods, the man was acquitted, he would never walk again, his fingers would never hold a pen.
Neither he, nor Craterus were sadists, they had not enjoyed the screams that they had ripped from the poor man's lips, nor the beggings they had wrung from moaning lips. He had confessed of course. He would have confessed to being a son of Zeus, and Olympias's lover, if that had been what Hephaestion had wanted to hear. This was by no means the first man he had tortured, and he was sure that he would not be the last. His hands were clean now and he wiped them on a square of linen before he turned. Alexander watched him, his heart in his eyes. Hephaestion knew that there was nothing he would not do to keep Alexander's dreams alive. He just wondered if Alexander knew that.
He looked a sight he knew. In one unguarded moment he had pushed hair back from sweaty brows with gore-steeped hands, and it had left traces that had now dried. His clothes were sweatstained, from the heat of the tent he had vacated. He sat on a chair with a sigh, wearied to his bones, and almost immediately Alexander knelt and began to undo his sandals. Hephaestion started to protest, but Alexander quelled him with one glance, so he subsided and let Alexander remove them, and tug him to sit on the narrow bed, loosening the laces of the tunic, sponging him down with cold water. Hephaestion closed his eyes, allowing the ministrations he would have allowed from no-one else- no servant, no slave, no whore, no friend, and yet he allowed his king to kneel before him. Without even opening his eyes he could tell Alexander was looking at him. He sat up and looked at Alexander. The King's face was drawn and his eyes sad. "Do you know how much I love you Hephaestion?" He said it softly like a ritual, and yet there was more feeling in that one sentence, than in all Harpalus's feverish declarations of adoration for whichever whore had taken his fancy that day.
Hephaestion replied as he always did. "As much as I love you."
With those words Alexander's face relaxed. "How did this happen," he asked dully. "When did my dreams start crumbling around me, to such an extent that a man I could have sworn was loyal would do such a thing?"
Hephaestion reached for him, and embraced him, as a mother might embrace a child caught in a feverish chill. "Never say that. Never. Your dreams will live beyond you. Your name will be on men's lips for millennia, your civilisation span the earth. And when, as all things must they fall into ruin, your ruins will be the envy of all mankind, and they will be the foundation stones for a new age."
Alexander stroked Hephaestion's face. "I count having your love, amongst my greatest achievements. You do know I wanted you from the moment I saw you?"
Hephaestion opened his eyes comically wide, and smiled. "You were eight Alexander. A little precocious perhaps?"
"Well I knew I wanted you, it just took me a few years to discover what exactly for." He suited the action to the words, making Hephaestion bite back a gasp.
He squeezed Alexander's hands. "One moment. I have a terrible thirst." He walked to the table and poured a glass draining it in a gulp. A wind blew through the space, causing Hephaestion in his flimsy under tunic to shiver a little. A slim young man had entered.
He was short, and slim with dark eyes and hair, dressed in garments of whispery red silk. His quick dark eyes took in the rumpled state of his king, and the general, and murmuring apologies he left. Hephaestion laughed. "I wonder where on earth Darius found him. Body of a God, and such perfect manners."
Alexander began to unlace his own tunic, smiling as Hephaestion brushed his hands aside and did it himself. "Should I be worried Hephaestion?"
Hephaestion raised an eyebrow. "Well I'm quite sure that he taught you plenty of Persian tricks between the sheets," he replied, he said stifling a laugh, until his eyes danced with merriment.
Alexander considered the statement. "Only once. And between you and me, not that good to be honest. Limber certainly, but I couldn't help thinking of somebody else."
"Oh he's in love with you of course. I've seen the way he looks at you," was Hephaestion's reply.
"I know. Poor boy. I think he gets attached too easily. I think he was a little shocked when I declined his services in my bed after that first time. Maybe even a little affronted, after all he was rumoured to be loved by Darius, and I suppose to boast of the love of a king is no small thing. But anyhow you know me Hephaestion. Exoticism is not close to my heart, and besides Bagoas was just a little too, well practised, and I've always found that to be rather distasteful. You end up thinking about what they might have done with others before you, and that is never a pleasant thought is it?"
Hephaestion walked back over, and sat back down, reaching instinctively for Alexander. "I agree. Did I tell you about Drypetis?" At Alexander's interested look and denial, he continued. "Well it would appear our beautiful virgin princess had somehow escaped the watchful eye of her mother, and gained quite a name for herself. She was frank with it, franker than you'd expect a Persian to be, but then she is of quite an unusual turn of mind, especially for a woman. She approached the subject like a man, as though she was laying out a bargain. She told me she was no virgin- though her family believed her to be so, and as such would understand if I declared the marriage void. She indicated however that she did not want such a result. So the agreement is that she is both discreet and careful about her choice of lovers, and she gets a regular allowance of money. You already know what I get in return."
Alexander laughed out loud. "Oh Hephaestion! You've turned your marriage into a horse fair. What about children? How will you know that they are yours?"
"Drypetis has hinted she knows how to stop such occurences. I neither wanted nor needed to know the mechanics. Besides Alexander my dear, I shall have no children. There will be no flesh of my flesh, I know that already as clearly as day, and I doubt that Drypetis will protest loudly if at all. For a woman, and a princess at that, she seems as knowing as any guardsman, and I doubt she wishes children to fill her womb quite yet." He paused and looked into space. "I want you to promise me something Alexander."
"Anything. You know that."
"If I pass away unexpectedly. I want you to continue. To not grieve. To have a child. You are too beautiful, Alexander and too great to leave the world with no descendents of yours. I have had no vision of any such incidence, but just in such an eventuality..."
"Do not say such things Hephaestion. The Gods listen, and it is tempting them to say such things. Nothing of the sort shall happen. If we die Hephaestion, it shall be together, as we have always been. Now say no more of this subject."
"Promise me then."
"I promise if it means so much to you, though nothing of the sort shall ever happen. Which wife shall bear the child?" His tone was teasing now, the matter something of a joke.
Hephaestion pretended to consider. "Roxanne. Her spirit and your qualities, what a foal that will be." He dissolved into laughter, and in pretend anger, Alexander hit him gently with the Indian flywhisk, and the business soon degenerated into what in individuals less dignified would have been called a squabble, and from there to a rather more contented silence. The moment was lost in laughter, but remained deep within Alexander's memory.
3am in the morning I wrote this, so no steamy sex scenes- the weather is simply too warm to be honest. Sorry if it bored the socks off you. What was meant to be a sex romp somehow turned into a 'lets explain how Hephaestion feels about other lovers situation' Sorry :D Maybe next time.