Title: Bereavement

Fandom(s): Alexander

Pairing(s): Hephaistion/Alexander

Rating: R

Disclaimer: Own nothing and nothing is true. All events are purely fictitious.

Warning(s): Implied m/m slash, loss, love, grief

Word-count: 1,183

Note: Written for bi-weekly Alexander Alphabet Challenge. I realize I have changed the events of history to suit my fiction and hope I do not offend anyone in doing so.

*****

The eunuch hovered over the bed where my love sat huddled, knees to his chest, head down, soul and heart breaking right before me.

"Leave us," I said sharply, looking the boy dead in the eyes.

"But he has allowed me to stay," the pitiful boy pleaded.

"Leave us now, and do not return unless I send for you." I watched as he scampered away from the bed, his head down but his eyes seething into mine. I then turned my eyes to the one in the room that truly mattered, my beloved.

"Alexander," I whispered. "My love." He lifted his head briefly, his eyes unfocused, his face pale and tear-drenched. To my relief, once he realized who I was, he reached out his arms for me to fall into.

I held his head to my chest, feeling the emotions wracking his body, feeling the grief destroying him from the inside out. "Alexander, I'm sorry I wasn't here. I'm sorry I wasn't here for you when the news arrived."

"Gone," his hoarse voice whispered against my neck. "She's gone. I wished it upon her many times but I …"

"Wishing it does not make it happen, Alexander, you know that," I interrupted him, knowing where his thoughts would carry him, knowing that the inner destruction he was harboring in his soul could not be allowed to escape. "You are not responsible for this. You are not the cause of your mother's death whether you wished it or not."

"But I should have…"

"You did what you had to do, Alexander." I pulled him from my chest, taking his face in my hands. "Sons are not meant to remain with their mothers all their lives. You made her proud. There was no prouder mother in Macedonia than yours, my love, and your defiance of her always made her prouder still."

He pushed from my arms, stumbling from the bed to the small table and swiftly pouring himself some wine. He brought the cup to his lips, his throat working hard as he gulped it down only to be struck with a fit of coughing from his haste. Throwing the cup against the wall, he began pacing the chamber, his hands pulling at his hair, his body tense and nervous.

"She wanted a grandchild, Hephaistion," he proclaimed without meeting my gaze. I stayed silent and still, letting him work out what he wanted to say and waiting for him to come back to me. "I couldn't even give in to that which she wanted so badly, a grandchild to call her own. That's all she wanted, Phai. Why could I not at least give her that?"

As he finally stopped before me, I could feel my own eyes mist as I looked into the emotional brown ones that seemed to be searching my soul for forgiveness. "You know as well as I, Alexander, that she did not want a grandchild as others would. She wanted an heir for you. There is a difference, my love. I do not wish to speak badly of the dead but your mother only wished for her status to be maintained and not for a new generation to love and care for."

I stood and gently touched his face, motioning for him to sit on the bed as I crossed to the inner chamber for a wet cloth. When I returned to him, he was again broken, the anger gone from his body and the mere shell remaining. I wiped the cloth across his face, as tears still welled in his eyes then kissed his soft lips and gathered him to me once again.

"One day you will give her that heir she so desired for you, my beloved, and she will look down upon you and smile, knowing she got her way again."

He wrapped his arms tightly around me, his chest heaving against mine, his hand clutching at my long hair. "She loved me," he said, his voice more controlled. "And I loved her."

"Of course you did. Did she not always tell you that you were divine?" I felt his mouth quiver a bit and knew he was smiling through his pain.

"I love you, Alexander. And we both know you need time to grieve, to forgive her and yourself for whatever harm you believe you have caused to one another. And as the man who's heart you hold completely in yours, I will remain in this room with you until you have overcome your grief and until I know that you truly have," I whispered softly, placing a lingering kiss in his bright hair.

"I am afraid I made a scene in front of the men when I received the news, Hephaistion. I was afraid I would curl up in this room and never have the courage to leave until you came back."

"I am back, Alexander, and I know you will not hide in this room forever. You will go back to your men, you will show them you have grieved and tell them you loved your mother and then you will lead them to more victories. You will be that strong man that I know you are, my love, but first you will stay here with me and tell me what I can do to help ease your sorrow."

"Whatever would I do without you, my Phai?" he asked, turning his head so our foreheads connected. "I pray everyday that I will never have to find out."

"As do I, my Alexander, but in my heart I know you will never have to be without me, at least not for long. Now tell me what you need me to do."

He pressed his lips to mine in a soft, sweet kiss, his hands twisting gently in my hair. "There's nothing more that I want right now than to make love with you but I think what I need is for you to just lay with me and hold me," he said, a shyness creeping into his body and voice as the words left his lips.

Letting us both fall back onto the bed, I enveloped him in my arms, holding his head tightly to my chest, my other hand lightly stroking circles on his back. "I'm here for whatever you may need me for Alexander, as I always have been and always will be."

He nuzzled his nose into my chest, his breathing even and easy now. "I love you, my Phai," he whispered as he relaxed further into my body and Hypnos finally claimed him.