Title: Lovers and Horses
Rating: T (probably not even that)
Summary: When a child Hephaestion conducts a sacrilige against Homer, Alexander whines.
A/N: I had been reading Greek tragedy all night when writing this, and had finished off with the Symposium, which sort of inspired it.
The small blond boy pointed imperiously at his comrade. "All right then I'll be Achilles, you can be Patroclus, Hephaestion. Cassander you can be Hector, Nearchus you're Diomedes." He went on apportioning parts to his small group of companions, who seemed to take it with unusual grace for small children, who as a breed are notorious for doing precisely the opposite of what they are told to do.
That is all, except for one mutinous small voice raised in protest. "But I don't want to be Patroclus." Horrified eyes were turned onto the maker of this sacriligeous coment, a small dark haired boy, who cringed under the gaze of his friends, but held firm. "It's not fair," he appealed to those around him. "You all get to swap parts sometimes, but I'm always Patroclus, and I don't even like him. He's stupid." There was a general intake of breath, and a flinching away from the boy, as though the spirit of Homer would strangle him on the spot. "But he is stupid. He's told specifically what to do in a battle, how far he can go, and in a quest for personal glory he deliberately pushes the boundaries. If you ask me, he deserves all he got. Probably didn't even make it to Isle of the Blest along with Achilles."
At this comment, the air seemed frozen. Surely the Gods would have to punish this impudence. But when after a few moments had passed, and the Gods had failed to scorch the boy referred to as Hephaestion with a thunderbolt, the leader of their little group, took it upon himself to reprimand their wayward colleague. "Hephaestion," he said, with an attempt at a severe tone which he had obviously copied from some adult. "Achilles loved Patroclus, so that made him important, and he did do lots of fighting."
"I don't care," was Hephaestion's reply. Having dared this much, he'd obviously decided to stick it out to the end. "He's blockheaded. He wasn't even slain by Hector, not properly. That other man finished him off first." He folded his arms stubbornly. "And I'm not your lover. I'm too young silly. And I'm younger than you. Patroclus was older than Achilles."
"You don't even know what a lover is," scoffed Alexander who at seven years old, only had the vaguest idea himself, and that mostly gleaned from imprecations uttered by his mother against his father.
Hephaestion at six years old, had even less knowledge, but he wasn't going to admit it. "Yes I do. It's.." he searched his mind for a suitable explanation. "It's like a squire," he explained, having somehow irreversibly associated Patroclus's role as squire with his role as lover. "Like a best, best friend.
Alexander was pretty sure, that when his mother squawled, saying 'look at your father flaunting that latest disgusting piece whom he calls as a lover in front of my face,' she did not mean a squire, but on the other hand, he wasn't sure exactly what she did mean, and Hephaestion's point was made with such certainty and conviction, that he just might be right. "All right then, say you are correct. Are you my best friend or not?" When Hephaestion had grudgingly nodded, he continued. "Then I'm your lover." Hephaestion scowled, attempting to find a way out of the logic trap.
Finding one he brightened a little. "That means I'm Achilles then." Sticking his tongue out, he laughed at Alexander, who was looking decidely disgruntled. "So you have to groom my horse for me."
Alexander scowled deeply. "Just this once then," he allowed. He looked round at the rest of the boys, most of whom hadn't understood more than a quarter of what had transpired. "All ready then?" he asked, and received a series of stupified nods. Half of them were still amazed that Zeus hadn't consigned Hephaestion to Hades for everlasting torture.
After they'd finished their mock battle. Alexander began to groom Hephaestion's pony for him, muttering about Achilles being blond, while Hephaestion had black hair. When he finished, he turned ready to begin to groom his own. Hephaestion had matter of factedly finished it for him. He laughed at the surprised expression on Alexander's face. "We're friends," he explained, and Alexander smiled. With friends like that, who needed a lover?
A grand total of 37 minutes it took to write that. I must be getting old