Lyrics are from Here (In Your Arms) by Hellogoodbye.
I'm not completely sure about this chapter, and may rewrite it when I can muster the energy.
You are the one, the one that lies close to me, whispers, "Hello, I've missed you quite terribly."
Things were good for us, before he was exiled. Many kisses followed that first one, awkward in the beginning, until they eventually became like a second nature and we greeted one another not with words, but with lingering kisses. It caused his female partisans no end of distress. They would often call out as we passed them, demanding know of Alexander why he liked me better. His answer was, invariably, the same: "He is Hephaistion."
I never really knew what that meant. It never really mattered.
I would sometimes slink into his chambers at night, and wake him up so we could talk about delightfully mundane things. He would crawl out of bed and sit cross-legged on the bearskin rug before the fire, while I would lie with my head in his lap, letting him run his fingers through my hair as he spoke. The musical quality of his voice sometimes lulled me to sleep, but he never said a word of complaint. When I awoke, it was with his arms around me.
On one occasion, however, I awoke long before the dawn to find that there was an uncharacteristic weight bearing down on me. Opening my eyes revealed that it was, as I had suspected, Alexander. He pushed himself back as my eyes fluttered open, and I was rather uncomfortable upon realizing that he was sat between my legs. I opened my mouth, intending to ask him to move, but he raised a hand to silence me.
"Hush. Relax," he whispered, and I did.
I knew almost instantly what he had planned, and was trembling with anticipation already. Perhaps some of it was fear, but if so then it was a subconscious concern that I would only become even dimly aware of much later. Feeling his fingertips trace down my torso was enough to cover any of my doubts; the spit-slicked fingers he slid up into me were enough to eradicate them completely. I watched him, determined not to succumb to the desire to rock my hips into the sensation that the movements of his fingers generated.
He looked up at me as I finally allowed myself a shaky gasp, and his expression asked the question that he was too nervous to voice. Ready? I nodded ever so slightly, and he withdrew his fingers with intentional slowness before moving so that we were almost at eye level. I propped myself up on my elbows and pressed a tender kiss to the corner of his mouth. He lowered his eyes after pulling away.
I bit my lip, eyes instinctively closing as he eased himself inside me, and let out a quiet moan that I would probably have stifled had I been prepared for it. He heard it and paused, taking it for a noise of protest, but my eyes snapped open and held his gaze for a moment. The dark eyes staring back at me through the faint light cast by the dying fire said, no going back, and I would've smiled for his concern were I not so desperately eager for him to continue with what he had hesitantly started.
"Don't stop," I urged, arching my back and pressing myself against him. He obliged without any further prompting, leaning down on his elbows now rather than on his hands, which allowed me to wrap my arms around his shoulders, my legs around his waist. I closed my eyes again and ran my fingers through his hair as he nuzzled at my neck, kissing and grazing his teeth against the sensitive skin there.
He tried to be gentle with me. I could feel it in his restrained movements, hear it in the soothing way he whispered my name… but soldiers have never been taught to be gentle, and neither have they been taught to yield to pain when the benefits of enduring it are potentially so great; the first time hurt, but I wanted him to understand, to know how much I loved him. I wanted to be the one to bring out the excellence in him.
It seemed quite unremarkable at the time, that we climaxed simultaneously. Of course, so did everything else. All the woes of the world paled in comparison to the feeling that jolted through me in recurrent waves. It was all that mattered. It was everything and nothing in perfect unison, and all I could do was gasp his name as I bucked shamelessly beneath him.
When the sensation had passed, I settled back down into the pillows scattered around us. Alexander shifted his weight off of me and on to the soft fur of the rug beneath us, draping an arm lazily over my chest as he did so. I turned my head and kissed the sweat-damp curls of his golden hair, and we lay in breathless silence for several moments.
"Do you remember when we were younger, Phai?"
"Mm," I murmured in assent, "but be a little more specific."
"Aristotle told us that… doing this would lead only to our downfall."
Though not a particularly resentful person by nature, I begrudged Aristotle for striking such doubt into Alexander. With a heavy sigh, I ran my fingers through his hair.
"He also said that exchanging knowledge was good, and righteous," I reminded him.
"What have we learned from this?" Alexander scoffed in response, which upset me a little more than I ever really let him know. "That we are no better than the Persians, even for all our insistence that we are superior?"
"I sometimes wonder that you never became a scholar, when words mean so much to you, and actions so little," I replied quietly, then trailed off into a lasting silence that neither of us were willing to break for several minutes. Harsh words spoken in the heat of the moment would do no good.
"Excess in all things…" I cited absently. "Excess, Alexander. Would you call this excessive, this one occasion when we are young and we haven't the words to express the way we feel?"
"No," he admitted at length.
There was another brief moment of silence, but he was tense beside me and so I waited, knowing he had more to say.
"I'm glad for our inarticulacy."