Public Display

As a general rule, Hephaestion made a point never to get too deep in his cups. He preferred to remain fully aware of what he was doing, and what was going on around him. He favored remaining fully coherent, rather than falling over in intoxication.

There is no doubt that the General enjoys his wine. He has simply taught himself to know when to stop, unlike his King and beloved.

Alexander could always be prevailed on to enjoy his fair share of alcohol. More often than not he exceeded his fair share.

The King often teased his lover about his aversion being drunk. But Hephaestion always felt a smug superiority whenever Alexander awoke with a splitting headache and a churning stomach, and he did not.

Hephaestion has been slobbering drunk a few times in his life, though. But he gave himself the excuse of being in some great pain at the time. The last time he had drank excessively was the night of Alexander's wedding to Roxana. After leaving his beloved's rooms he proceeded directly to his own, and drowned his pain with unwatered wine. He actually recalls doing so quite a few nights after their nuptials.

But very seldom will you find General Hephaestion falling over drunk with his comrades at a feast. You will hardly ever see him laughing stupidly and making a fool of himself in public.

Tonight was an exception.

Tonight he was equally, if not more drunk than those around him. But he was a good deal less merry than they.

The hall was warm from the fires and the great number of people in it. The air was heavy. Laughter and shouting rang out across the room, above the sound of the music.

The General had it all tuned out.

He sat, slumped on a couch, morosely throwing wine down his throat, and staring fixedly across the wide room.

A few people stopped and attempted to start a conversation with him, but Hephaestion's somber attitude, and terse, clipped responses drove them away.

He wallowed in solitude, sad eyes fixed on his beloved. Hephaestion stared at Alexander from his spot on the opposite side of the hall.

The King was, surprisingly, not yet as heavily intoxicated as his General. He seemed to be enjoying himself quite a bit more, though.

Alexander had his eyes trained on the Persian boy who danced sensually in front of him

Hephaestion stared at Alexander as he watched the fluid, writhing body with lust in his eyes.

This sight had been the catalyst to the General's present state of intoxication. Anger, jealousy, fear, and hurt all coursed through his blood along with the alcohol.

Hephaestion was not oblivious to the fact that the very Persian that Alexander watched now, called Bagoas, had been taking his place in the King's bed many nights recently.

When this information had first been known to him, he was more fearful than angry. He was terrified that he was losing his Xander. That the King was starting to be bored with him, was starting to move on.

But now, tonight, a tiny fire of anger had started up deep inside his soul, and the alcohol Hephaestion was consuming only fed the flame. Each gulp of wine made the fire burn brighter and hotter.

He was furious that Alexander was doing this to him. That the King thought that he could drag him along, even as he shared his bed with another.

He hated the dancing boy, the boy attempting to take his place.

Hephaestion was normally introverted, private, and reserved. But alcohol makes you bold.

Instead of doing what Sober Hephaestion would do, which as calmly leave the hall and remove himself from such a spectacle, Drunk Hephaestion chose to handle the situation in a more impulsive way.

He rose, a little too quickly for his state of intoxication, causing him to stumble slightly, spilling his wine all over the floor and a few people's feet.

Regaining his composure and ignoring the angry voices of those that he had spattered all over; the General took a few steps forward. And then a few more. His footsteps became more and more determined. He stopped only to grab a replacement glass from a passing servant, which he quickly emptied.

Hephaestion set his face as he got nearer and nearer to where the King sat. People turned to stare at him as he pushed his way through the throng. They sensed that something was about to happen, and saw it on his face.

Finally, he burst through the crowd out into the area before Alexander cleared for the performers. He stood there, a mask of fury on his face.

A few more people took notice of the situation.

It wasn't until he was finally able to catch the King's eye that he put on a mock expression of cordiality.

Once Alexander had tore his eyes from the still dancing figure in front of him and focused on the General standing before him, Hephaestion called out over the general noise of the hall, "Alexander, my King!"

He offered a deep, exaggerated bow.

A few more people turned to watch the spectacle unfolding before them

"How do you fare on this wonderful evening, Sire?" he asked.

Alexander, very obviously confused, replied hesitantly, "Very well, General"

Hephaestion's eyes narrowed minutely, "You seem to be enjoying yourself."

With that comment he threw a suggestive glance at the Persian boy twisting about before him.

The song ended and the dancers stopped, now Hephaestion's voice could be easily heard by all.

He took a few steps closer to Alexander.

"Tell my, my King, what do you think of your Persian subjects?" His voice was filled with innocence.

Those that had not yet noticed the scene progressing in the center of the room now did, and silence ensued as Hephaestion's question echoed off every wall. Nobody was sure what to make of the Generals inquiry.

Alexander tilted his head, not sure of what his Phai was getting at. He was made uneasy by Hephaestion's obvious drunkenness.

"I do not think poorly of them." Was the answer he finally settled on.

The General smirked slightly as he took a few more steps and said, "Indeed. One might even say you prefer them to your Macedonian subjects."

The entire room tensed. A few people gasped at such a statement. The guards positioned around the room tightened their grips on their weapons, waiting for the signal to spring forward.

Hephaestion knew he was tip toeing the line of treason and insubordination, and anyone of a lesser rank who said such a thing would have been severely punished, maybe even executed.

But then again, alcohol makes you bold. Bold, but not necessarily wise.

Alexander was taken aback by this declaration from Hephaestion. He could not believe that his Phai would ever do something like this. He did not know what his General was trying to say, or how to respond to him.

Fearlessly, Hephaestion went on, "Perhaps I am incorrect. It would be more accurate to say that you prefer one Persian over one Macedonian."

Again Hephaestion's eyes flashed Bagoas, this time involuntarily. A look of understanding came over Alexander's face.

He stood and moved to stand closer to his beloved.

"Hephaestion," he said quiet voice, "you are mistaken."

An unbelieving grin stretched over the General's face, his eyes turned cold and stony.

"Am I mistaken to believe that this Persian has lain in your bed these past nights, instead of myself? Am I mistaken to believe that you have been rejecting me because of him?" He stopped and shook his head, "Do not lie to me, Alexander."

Alexander could not deny those facts. He stepped even closer to Hephaestion and spoke in a whisper, "He is nothing, Phai, simply property. You are the one I truly care for, the only one. You must know that."

His voice was earnest and sincere. But the General remained unmoved.

"You words are weak next to your actions, my King."

Alexander still couldn't wrap his mind around the fact that his Phai was doing this. Hephaestion was so private and introverted. He hated drawing attention to his relationship with Alexander. But now he was flaunting it in front so many people. It didn't make sense. But Alexander admitted that the smell of strong wine that hung around Hephaestion like an aura probably contributed to his sudden nerve.

But Alexander was very aware of the multitude of eyes fixed on the pair, hanging on their every word. He had never been a shy person, and had always appreciated attention, perhaps more than he should, but he was not sure how he felt about the personal details of his intimate relationships being laid out in front of all.

"Who is this display for?" he asked his General, questioning his motives.

Hephaestion sighed and seemed to physically deflate. Again he shook is head minutely. He wore a sad expression on his face.

"It's for you." He gestured towards his Xander. "It's all for you. Just like everything I've ever done. I have always done everything in my power to make you happy, and keep from hurting you. I guess it was too much to expect the same from you."

Fury ripped through Alexander's entire being. At first he had been shocked and confused by Hephaestion's spectacle, now he furious at such an accusation.

He lunged forward, his face contorted with rage. He felt like he needed to beat the stupidity out of his lover.

A few of the men standing closest were able to grab and restrain the King before any harm could be done.

"How dare you!" Alexander screamed at Hephaestion as he fought the arms containing him. "How dare you pretend that you care more for me than I for you!"

Hephaestion was actually a little happy to see Alexander as hurt as he was. He felt as though the King was getting a taste of his own medicine. Now he felt what Hephaestion had been feeling for weeks.

But then something happened that wiped the small smirk showing through the General's façade right off.

As Alexander regained his control and his composure, a small, dark hand reached out as touched him gently on the elbow, in an almost questioning manner.

Hephaestion could taste his own fury as Bagoas' hand came in contact with his Xander's skin. It was bitter, hot, and biting.

Now it was Hephaestion's turn to be held back. He took hard, unwavering steps towards the Persian as he roared, "Do not ever touch him in my presence!"

He had his fist cocked and ready to strike, but someone grabbed his forearm and forced it down to his side.

He continued to struggle against those holding him back, containing his rage, as the King broke free and closed the space between them.

But instead of causing his general physical harm like many were expecting, he reached a soft hand rather than a hard fist out to touch Hephaestion's face, whispering, "Why are you doing this?"

Hephaestion pulled away from his lover's touch, violently. He shook of the remaining hands containing him and moved to stand nose to nose with Alexander, his chest puffed out, muscles taunt, and face hard and cold as rock.

"Tell me, my King," he sneered, spitting out the words, "what is it about this boy that makes you prefer him to me? Is it his youth? His beauty? His…" Hephaestion paused and looked the Persian up and down, "…femininity?"

Alexander had been shaking his head the entire time his Phai spoke. He opened his mouth, attempting to negate all of the General's theories, but was cut off.

Very suddenly Hephaestion's face softened, his icy words melted and he spoke quietly, "But does he know your body better than his own? Can he tell your thoughts by a single glance at your face? Is his soul a replica of yours? Would he die for you? Die a thousand deaths for you? Can he love you half as much as I do?"

The brunette man fought back the tears threatening to form in his eyes, but he could not hide them from Alexander, who could see the moisture forming like clouds against those bright blue irises.

The King softly smiled as he began to address all the accusations that had been thrown at him this evening, "No. There is not a single living being that can love me as you do, or that I could love as I love you. You, my Phai, are the only to ever have possession of my heart."

He continued:

"And I am sorry, severely sorry, for I have strayed. I was distracted by my own lust and selfishness. But I assure you now it is all past. You need not fear losing me, for I am yours and yours entirely. Bagoas is a piece of property to me and nothing more. I love you! And I will do whatever it takes to reassure you and make you confident in that fact once again. What will it take?"

Hephaestion did not understand Alexander's question. Obvious confusion spread over his features.

"What will it take to make you believe that I am yours alone?" The King clarified. "I will do anything. Whatever it is that you need."

The General was thrown off by this. It was not what he expected from Alexander. Promises of change? Yes. Reassuring words? Yes. If it came down to it, pleads for forgiveness? Yes. But an immediate call for action, an instant attempt to change? Not at all.

He was not sure how to respond, but his heart did it for him. His eyes briefly passed over the Persian eunuch. It was not missed by Alexander.

"He will be moved to serve someone else, will never be in my presence again. What ever you wish."

It was not hard to see the effect these words had on Bagoas, the hurt they caused. Hephaestion wondered just how much the King meant to this Persian.

"Anything else? Anything in the world?" the desperate man offered. A victorious glint entered his warm eyes, "I know! A public proclamation, of my love and devotion. So that you and everyone else will ever doubt me again."

With that Hephaestion was seized by the arm and turned to face the mass of bodies and sea of faces that had been fixed on them throughout this ordeal. This was a great shock to him; he could hardly believe his Xander was doing this. The normally reserved General was not sure how he felt about this, and had he been a bit more sober he probably would have put a stop to it.

"My friends, attention!" Alexander boomed out to the room, rather pointlessly because he and his general had had their attention for the past fifteen minutes. "I, your king, proclaim to all of you, that the only possessor of my heart, the only one to ever capture my soul, my greatest friend, ally, and love is General Hephaestion Amnytoros. I devote myself to him and no other."

Alexander turned to gaze into his Phai's beautiful eyes, "And I will do all in my power to keep from ever hurting him again." A quick grin pulled at Alexander's mouth as he said, "And no proclamation is valid without a royal seal."

And with that he leaned forward and closed all space between himself and his lover. A solid kiss sealed the proclamation.

Even if he had wanted to resist, Hephaestion could not have. He had no choice in the matter, he melted into the kiss.

With the lover's arms wrapped around each other, the previous tense silence was swallowed up by a deafening roar of cheers and applause. All celebrated as the two reunited, even ardently than before.

.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

Few didn't notice when Alexander and Hephaestion slipped out of the packed hall. But unlike other nights when the two left together, no suggestive or rude comments were made among friends. The act was quietly observed and then the two were left in peace.

And they were quite at peace in each others arms all through the night.

They exchanged soft kisses and tender touches, longing gazes and sweet words. Words that were coated in sugar and filled with honey, to rid them of the bitter aftertaste that still hung in the air around them.

~Fin~


Obviously everyone is a bit OOC...but I had to take some liberties for the sake of the story. I kinda feel like the plot got away from me towards the end, but I'm not sure.

Anyways, whether you loved it or hated it let me know, just be nice.

Thanks for reading!

xxcrazymacxx