A/N: Don't own these characters, and am making no money from this fic.
SPEAKING TO THE MOON
A true love can never die. Alexander told him this the first time they kissed. 'You are my gift,' said Alexander, laying soft kisses all over his friend's face. 'A gift from Zeus to his son, Alexander.' Hephaistion knew these words belonged to Olympias, but the love in Alexander's eyes was purely the boy's to keep. And the fire ignited that night, when they first joined as lovers, had never truly banked. When their eyes met-be it over the strategy map, or in the baths-Hephaistion felt the ground fall from beneath his feet, and only Alexander would be there to catch him. The king would take him, and they would wrestle. Hephaistion would always let Alexander win, and the reward was well worth it. Sometimes he'd feel Alexander filling him for days after their lovemaking.
But the king had not spared his lover a glance for weeks. Hephaistion seemed to always arrive when Alexander was leaving. The king had many things to attend to. A new wife, a new kingdom to add to his many others, and a new lover to keep his bed warm. Yet Hephaistion could not hate Bagoas, or Roxane. The world could not be blamed for loving the Great. It only pained him that he must lie alone in such a grand bed, or play his harp with no soft voice to sing words to it.
Not to say Hephaistion had lost his charm. Burning eyes followed him wherever he went. The men of Alexander's vast army and kingdom were not blind. Especially the generals who worked and lived in such close proximity with the man. Especially Cassander.
When they were boys Cassander would steal kisses from Hephaistion, pressing their young bodies close. And against his lips Hephaistion would smile, gasping-every time-as Cassander would gently lift his robes. Underneath the moon, after Astrology lessons with Aristotle, Cassander took Hephaistion's hand and they would kiss and touch below the field brush.
Cassander watched the boy he loved grow into a man he lusted after. He never forgot the jealousy while he watched Hephaistion fall in love with the Prince of Macedonia, and eventually become his closest consult, friend, and lover. At first, Cassander tired to blame his jealous poison on his own failure to never seriously approach Hephaistion. But as years passed, and Hephaistion only became more beautiful in his eyes, Cassander was driven by the thought that Hephaistion had betrayed him.
The king's whore. Cassander tried not to flinch every time Cleitus said it. And he said it with such relish. Cassander was not the only one to lust after Hephaistion; Cleitus too watched the soldier.
"He is Alexander's voice of reason," he tells his comrades. "Without Hephaistion, there would be no Alexander." Then he adds, "And without his beauty, sore would our eyes be!"
Hephaistion was aware of his physical charm, and new the boundaries he could push by manipulating it. Before this mad crusade across a continent, when Alexander was just beginning to rule, Hephaistion accompanied him to every royal affair in other kingdoms. Tensions were alleviated by his light voice and pretty face. Alexander was sated by the fact he could show off his prized subject, and their host would be pleased by the sight of Hephaistion. He was the great mediator who never mediated.
Now Hephaistion wished he could quell the conflict in his heart. The moon shone above the compound like a brilliant eye. When he was a child, he'd seen a blind horse pulling a cart in a field. The horse had misty white eyes.
He was cold. Wrapping himself in furs to sleep would make no difference, for the cold seeped from the inside out. Light filtered through the thin fabric of his sleeping robe, illuminating the outline of his body beneath. Standing in a pool of moonlight, Hephaistion lifted his face and breathed deeply. "Alexander," he whispered.
"Speaking to the moon, Hephaistion?"
Hiding his surprise, Hephaistion calmly looked sidelong at Cassander, pushing down the chill he received from the shadowed visage of his long time counterpart. "She will always listen."
Hands behind his back, Cassander casually strolled into the silver light. "The moon is not your only friend. There are plenty of healthy ears to spare. Mine, for instance." His eyes glinted.
"I would not burden you with my woes," Hephaistion assured him. He turned to give his friend a wry grin, and found the man's gaze fixed elsewhere. Crossing his arms, he turned to the shadows, a slight heat under his cheeks. "I must return to bed before I catch my death in the cold."
"To bed to lie asleep, or to lie awake?"
Hephaistion frowned, annoyance rising at the question. "Sleep, friend."
Cassander snorted, motioning to his nearby tent. "Come, have some wine with me to warm your blood." As Hephaistion began to shake his head, Cassander shrugged. "You have been alone lately, I only-"
"Since Alexander has been so occupied."
"Am I to wander like a wraith when my *master* does not beckon me?"
His smirk sparked indignation in Hephaistion's face. Cassander shrugged, "It is not my place to speak about such matters."
The pretty soldier sighed heavily, running fingers through the ropes of his brown hair. "To your tent, you snake." His tone was half joking as he strode past Cassander. Hephaistion stumbled when arms encircled his waist, playfully swinging him into a loose embrace.
Cassander whispered close to Hephaistion's ear, "Will you step into my coils willingly, Hephaistion? Your lion is not here to jealously guard you."
Laughing, and feigning mirth over his discomfort, Hephaistion replied wearily, "My lion's roar is worse than his bite."
"Mmm, yet a snake's bite is poison," he hissed, teeth brushing the edge of Hephaistion's throat. Cassander was rewarded with a low gasp.
"Cass-" he started, lifting his hands to push the other man away. But a swift mouth overtook his own and Hephaistion was crushed to an eager body. He felt Cassander's arousal against him, and writhed in the other's grip. Twisting his head, he broke their kiss, gasping for breath as Cassander mauled his body with exploring hands. "Do you wish for death?" he asked, turning his face to the side as Cassander again went for his mouth.
"Give me death after a night in your arms, and I will receive it a happily."
Hephaistion reached out to steady himself on one of the posts of Cassander's tent. "Nonsense," he accused sharply, finally gaining some leverage to hold the eager general at bay. "Alexander-"
"-is atop that Persian eunuch."
Hephaistion pushed the general bodily from him and gripped the tent stake with both hands. His forehead made a dull sound as he struck it against the post, teeth clenched as he shot his words sidelong to Cassander; "Does it please you to see me suffer? Always, Cassander, you have begrudged me my happiness. Why? This is the one honest answer I demand from you." He launched himself at the other man, tangling his numb fingers in Cassander's open robe. "Is your heart so set against me?"
"What a beautiful fool," Cassander whispered into Hephaistion's hair. Wrapping his arms about the slighter man, he drew him back through the flaps of his tent. "Can you not see what lies before you?"
Tightening his grip on Cassander, Hephaistion raised his head, his own misery and weariness bringing his lips within breathing distance from the other man. "Open my eyes."
The words burned into him, in a line from his heart to his groin. Cassander took Hephaistion's face in his hands and kissed the other man with a deepness bigger than the both of them. It was not love, but pure dark lust. Hooking his leg around Hephaistion's calf, Cassander tipped the man onto the nearby bed. Beneath him, Hephaistion lay breathlessly, blue eyes unfocused.
Blearily the fair soldier watched as Cassander's hands tore and rended his clothing useless. Strange tears marred his vision as Cassander stripped himself. Then the soldier kicked his legs apart, and Hephaistion spread them wide, throwing his head back for a hungry mouth to devour his skin. And between his legs, pressed against his warming arousal, was the extent of Cassander's powerful lust. His breath caught as the man ground their naked erections together, soft skin so firm, like rods of fire. Fingers splayed out on either side of him, Hephaistion spread himself wide for the other man, watching, somehow far away, as Cassander leaned back to take the sight of him in.
"Do you deliver yourself so wanton to me?" Cassander accused, taking hold of Hephaistion's erection and tugging on it. The brunette writhed, his need reddening his cheeks and aching in his erect cock. "Is Alexander's touch so easy to replace?"
"Turn me away, Cassander," Hephaistion charged, "It is the only way I will go."
"Tell me, do I have you?"
Sitting up abruptly, Hephaistion pushed into Cassander's frame, his entire front in contact with the general. "Take me, or I will perish. Let me feel what my Achilles feels... allow me the touch of another, Cassander."
"Tonight you are mine, Hephaistion," Cassander breathed, shoving the smaller man back down on the bed and holding him firmly there with both hands. Through his mind flashed many sensations, a history of his lusty dreams in the night, waking tangled in his sheets, damp from the play of his subconscious. Hephaistion appeals best on his back, so that Cassander may see the most lustrous face in all of Asia twisted with pleasure. Sensing the need for urgency, Cassander kept his kisses chaste over Hephaistion's throat and chest. His teeth sank into erected nipples, and Hephaistion's answering moan encouraged him to hurry, urgent fingers tugging at his hair, a small voice changing into whimpers of need. To taste him... the treasure of Alexander...
Hephaistion lifted his hips for the general, spreading his thighs as widely as he could. Cassander looked through his soul before dipping his head, and Hephaistion tensed. A slithering tongue entered him, and Hephaistion cried out, muffling his own voice with his fist. Lest someone hear... He writhed and twisted, free hand grabbing and yanking at the sheets as Cassander worked his entrance thoroughly. "Enter me," he begged, a slow panic planting seed in his mind. "Cassander..."
Roughly taking hold of Hephaistion's thighs, Cassander very nearly threw them over Hephaistion's head, slamming his own body down to keep them leveraged. The head of his erection nosed up to Hephaistion's loosened entrance and held there. Hephaistion made a sound halfway between a cry and a growl, rocking his hips to swallow Cassander further. But the general kept still, his eyes searching for blue orbs. Finally Hephaistion granted him his eyes, and the moment they met Cassander plunged into the other man, mouth thrown open in bliss, own pleasure voiced as Hephaistion cried around his fist. The dazzling spectrum behind his eyes calmed, and Cassander angled up onto the balls of his feet, digging deeper into Hephaistion. Each extra centimeter rendered another agonized mewl from behind Hephaistion's fist.
Small trickles of blood dripped from where he'd broken the skin on his hand. Hephaistion recoiled from the taste of his own blood. It was too real an aspect for where he was. Cassander leaned down over him to kiss him, and Hephaistion opened his lips greedily, their tongues swirling as Cassander thrust into him repeatedly, his rhythm harder, faster, more painful than Alexander's patient strokes. Hephaistion sobbed. Alexander, damn him. Cassander thrust deeper, striking the hidden spot in Hephaistion, a place Hephaistion thought only Alexander could find. The shock of pleasure, focused and intense, wrought another cry from him. This time, shame laced the edges. He shut his eyes, turning his face as if away from the rocking of their bodies. His arms lay outward on either side of him, and the silk beneath his back warmed as he slid back and forth over it, driven by Cassander's thrusts.
"Hephaistion," Cassander called, teeth flashing as the flames in his loins grew hotter. The rod of raw pleasure centered at his core was dizzying, and Hephaistion's face beckoned the flames to twine higher. He hungrily attacked Hephaistion's lips, seeking to eat the man's sweet mouth. Wrenching the soldier's legs higher onto his shoulders, Cassander pounded into him hard enough to jar his own spine. Wet heat began to form, like a flood inside of him. Cassander moaned brokenly as Hephaistion condensed around his pumping shaft, pulling from him lightning of the gods. Cassander shoved into Hephaistion, pushing still even at the hilt, shoving in deeper, and as deep as he would go until the headboard stopped his progress. Straining to leech the last of the fire with a few lingering thrusts, Cassander slowed, eventually stilling. He covered Hephaistion, still locked inside, and lapped at the man's lips.
His own completion was painful. Hephaistion felt as if he would crumble into ashes should Cassander leave him, for the poison injected inside him would surely be his death. In desperation, he wrapped his limbs arout the other man when Cassander tried to lift away. When the man's shaft shifted inside him, Hephaistion hissed. He was torn.
They had unraveled in silence, Hephaistion carefully straightening himself out on the bed, already sore. Cassander cleaned himself with a cloth, and offered Hephaistion one, only to see the man staring off into the candle's light. As he drew closer, he saw clearly the wet trails of tears slicing into his cheeks. In the flickering light, they looked like black lines of ink. Cassander touched Hephaistion's shoulder, his fingers curling when the other man shifted away from him.
Would he dare walk out into the night? If Alexander was out walking, as he did at times, Hephaistion would be undone. Yet, if he stayed... Cassander's touch frightened him.
"Go back to your Achilles, Patroclus." He smirked into blue depths. "You will not survive long without him."
Hephaistion sat up, not looking at Cassander. "You will use this against me."
"And should I believe you, Cassander?" he asked, turning to look seriously at his companion. Hephaistion flinched when Cassander held the side of his face.
"If I ever sought to gain anything, it is that you carry my seed within you. You have given me all I could ever wish for. On this night, I am equal to Alexander."
He turned up his face and received Cassander's kiss. When they drew apart, Cassander lifted his lips and planted them upon each of Hephaistion's closed eyes.
And when he opened them again, his quiet mistress, the moon, shone down her nonjudgmental light. What bewitching light, he thought. What spells she weaves. What she knows: so much more than Man.