Oh Hello there! Look what I found again! Bet you'd all thought I'd abandoned this eh? It's alright, so did I :D But after recently been inspired I've decided to continue :) I think this story's going to involve alot of flashbacks now as well, as I've got so many one shots floating around in my head I thought, hey! Why not use them? It's going to focus predominantly on the boy's lives in Pella and Mieza (and maybe a little look back at Athens too). Hope you enjoy it :)
Parmenion lounged back upon the glided couch. After the stress of the day, reclining amidst the music and frivolity of the banquet hall, with a goblet of good wine in one hand and a beautiful girl in the other soothed him wonderfully. His eye briefly caught Cleitus stalking forward from the back of the hall, seemingly without the rage he had held merely moments before, and Parmenion couldn't help but crease his brow. He had worked with the younger General for years; had seen him grow from an untried boy to one of the fiercest weapons in Phillip's arsenal; and he had come to know him all too well. Their argument that day had put Cleitus in one of the foulest moods he had seen in a long time, yet now it had disappeared, or at least been buried enough for him to tease young Cassander and Perdiccus mercilessly; sipping and enjoying his wine rather than trying to drown himself in it. Perhaps, he could persuade Cleitus' favourite page to discover the miraculous cure for his mood, whatever it was.
Just as Parmenion lifted his hand to beckon for the page, he saw Cleitus give a subtle nod to the right of him. Scanning his eyes in that direction, Parmenion's gaze landed on the Black General's target, who returned the gesture. Even if he wanted to, the experienced General couldn't have stopped his malicious thoughts from barraging through his mind.
Hephaestion Amyntoros. What did your wicked tongue say to lighten Cleitus? Or rather, what did it do? Damned Athenian Pornos!
"Paremenion!" The King's drunken screaming broke through his reverie. "Parmenion, will you stop sulking like a woman and join us! We have wine!"
Parmenion slipped an easy smile onto his face and he gambled over to join his friends and brothers. As he neared closer and took his seat to the left of the King, he forced the smile to stay in place as he noted General Amyntor amongst the gathering.
That was the one judgement of Phillip's that Parmenion seriously doubted. Athenians by nature were shrewd, clever and almost as arrogant as their Spartan counterparts. He had once though them also to be feminised and weak, though grudgingly he retracted that belief after Amyntor became a steadfast figure in the army and Council of Phillip. He may not like the General, but he had been crucial in the planning and execution of their missions thus far. But he would not let this blind him to the true nature he believed to be coiled underneath the calm and patient facade, like a snake waiting to strike.
"Antigonus was telling us all his plans for my wealth," slurred Phillip. "Weren't you Antigonus?"
"My dear Phillip," he replied, urgent and eyes desperate. "I-I did not mean to presume, I-"
"Ah, come lad!"Phillip cut him off with a slosh of wine over his chiton. "It's all in good fun. You are not my treasurer so I don't have to worry about where your hands have been!" And with a bark of laughter it was all forgotten.
Phillip turned his gaze to Parmenion, expecting to see the General already gazing at him, dutifully giving his King his undivided attention. It took him a few moments to register that he was focused on the floor of the crowded banquet hall, and who he was focused on.
"Ah yes. Amyntor!" He barked. "Seems that son of yours demands attention even away from a King without trying!"
His statement had attracted the attention of the other Generals, and of Alexander who had sat – for once unobtrusively – nearby, as his father had commanded him to stay and listen; that was, before he had gotten drunk.
They followed the line of sight of the King and his top General, and rested on the table of Alexander's companions, with Hephaestion among them once more, along with Cleitus. Several young girls flowed around the tables, trying to claim the attention of the soldier's in training and Macedonian Generals of the future. A number of the girls surrounded Amyntor's only son, vying for his attention with their perfumed scents and wavy locks, the lightest of touches on his arms and thighs, all the whilst giggling softly to each other. Alexander smiled with a feeling of deep satisfaction as, though he was humouring the young girls, it was clear Hephaestion was more interested in talk with his friends as he kept shooing the girls off of him when they tried to claim his lap.
"By the Gods Amyntor, that is a beautiful son you have," Philip laughed, draping an arm over the Athenian General's shoulders and clasping him closer. "I can't decide if he takes after his father or his mother!"
Amyntor laughed heartily with the rest of the assembled Generals and noblemen. "I believe we can settle for him being a good mix of both, Phillip."
"Aye that we can. I see Cleitus approves!"
Surely enough, when Philip's company and Alexander cast their eyes back over, Cleitus was ruffling the growing auburn locks, and placed a swift kiss on Hephaestion's temple.
"You may want to think about protecting your son's virtue Amyntor," added Palliperchan, with a bark of laughter.
Hearing this, Alexander threw his furious gaze over to the oblivious General. Hog of a man! Hephaestion is not some defenceless damsel whom anyone can claim. He is mine. And only mine! And you need reminding of it.
Alexander opened his mouth to fire his abuse at Palliperchan, but Amyntor had seen the furies cloud the young prince's eyes and interrupted him, before he could get out a single malicious syllable.
"Believe me, Palliperchan," he laughed. "My son is more than capable of defending himself. Even against one such as our Black Cleitus."
"Yes," Parmenion interjected. "No doubt the boy has his...tricks to keep himself immune from the aggression of bigger men."
Alexander was astounded. Yes being a favourite of the King did give one a certain boldness; but to slander a respectable man's son so blatantly to his face was outrageous!
Yet, again before he could belittle the narrow minds of his father's friends, the heavy weight of an Athenian hand rested on his shoulder, thus forcing him into silence. There was no doubt Hephaestion had got his calming nature from his father.
"Ah Parmenion. It is so easy to begrudge those who receive advances when they have been scare at your own door."
Phillip, Antigonus and Palliperchan were the first to fall into raucous laughter, yet Amyntor continued.
"Why are you so disdainful of Hephaestion's sharp tongue, intelligence and easy charm? For this is what makes his company like him so. Not you vulgar accusations." He threw himself upon a couch shared by Antipitar and Antigonas and threw a disarming grin at Parmenion. "Whoring is a Macedonian practice, not and Athenian one."
Nobles, Generals, concubines and pages all could not hold back their laughter. Even Alexander allowed himself to snigger with the rest of them at a thoroughly defeated Parmenion. Phillip gripped his shoulder and thrust wine into the chagrined General's hands.
"Come man, drink you humiliation away! Alexander!"
Alexander turned to his father's voice.
"Go and dine with your friends. I'm sure they'd like to hear this tale."
Alexander flashed his infamous grin at his father, saying a hurried thanks as he rushed to join his companions – one of them in particular.
Parmenion sipped his wine thoughtfully, trying his best to block out the taunting of the other men and their praise to Amyntor, and quickly chastised himself. That man was renowned for defending his loved ones with the ferocity of a lion, and this old fool had just attacked his cub.
No, Parmenion knew subtlety was the key when it came to revealing Hephaestion's true motives. As surely, Amyntor would be watching him more closely than ever with those ice blue eyes of his that never missed a detail, no matter how small, no matter how insignificant.
As he studied the group of young friends, a thought struck Paremenion and he allowed himself a small smile. Perhaps he would enlist some help in his little mission.
Review? Pretty please? Even if it's to kick me up the bahooky for leaving this so long? :)