Author: too_beauty – Marielina.
Pairing: Alexander and Hephaestion.
Disclaimer: I don’t know the people involved; they belong to history and to themselves. No harm intended, everything is product of my imagination.
Pella, 348 BC.
Hephaestion was lying under his apple tree, which was extremely big and full of leaves for being an eight-year-old tree. The brunette boy was nearly asleep after eating five apples, one after the other; his mother would punish him if she dawned on about that, but she wouldn’t realize if Hephaestion didn’t suffer another stomach ache.
His eyelids were heavy and about to close when he listened to someone cursing in a very low voice. Opening his eyes, Hephaestion propped his thin body on his elbows and lost his breath at the vision greeting him… a young God Apollo was sitting nearby massaging a sprained ankle. Hephaestion looked at the boy: two deep coloured eyes were attached to an oval face, strong nose, pale complexion – even though his cheeks were quite rosy by now-, blonde wavy hair reaching his nape, all these in a small body but, which gave Hephaestion the idea that it would turn into a strong and stocky frame.
Getting to his feet and swallowing hard to make his mouth wet, Hephaestion approached the boy and asked, kneeling by his side:
“Do you need my help?”
The smaller boy looked up and thought he had died and reached the Olympus because he was sinking into the most amazing bluest eyes he had ever seen.
Hephaestion thought the other boy didn’t speak Macedonian so he tried again in Greek and very slowly:
“Do … you … need … my … help?”
“Yes, I need you” the small boy answered with a very closed Macedonian accent.
“Oh, let me see your ankle; it is sprained, so you mustn’t put weight onto it,” Hephaestion advised while stretching the boy´s leg. He ripped the hem of his chiton to get some strips and with two straight sticks he bandaged the ankle up to the boy´s calf.
The contact of the other child´s hand on his ankle made the blonde boy look at those eyes again.
“Thanks,” he said and, feeling a bit dizzy, he threw himself on his back.
“Please, don’t die!” Hephaestion whispered looking at that pretty face with horror.
“Do not fear, I won’t. I just feel dizzy,” the shorter boy answered while narrowing his eyes.
Hephaestion went back to his tree and brought forth the biggest apple he could find.
“Eat this, please,” he asked, offering the fruit to the boy, “It will give you the sugar you need and it will avoid your dizziness.”
“How do you know?” the blonde boy asked while biting the apple and realizing that it was the sweetest apple he has ever eaten.
“Because once I saved my beautiful Auburn with an apple,” the brunette replied proudly.
“Who is she? Is she your girlfriend?” the fair haired boy asked with a hint of jealousy in his voice; a feeling that he couldn’t fully understand.
“No, she is my mare and mother of Apollo, my dear stallion,” Hephaestion answered.
The small boy chocked with the revelation and said angrily:
“I am NOT an animal!! I am ALEXANDER, son of KING Phillip II, PRINCE of Macedon.”
“Forgive me my Prince. I didn’t know who you were,” Hephaestion quickly answered, horrified at his error and truly ashamed of his behaviour. “I am your subject, punish me as you desire,” he immediately added while kneeling in front of his Prince, with his chin touching his chest.
In that moment, General Cleitus appeared and seeing the Prince hurt, he started cursing and naming all the gods of the Pantheon; he picked him up in his strong arms and left, while Hephaestion was still on his knees, as if he was fixed to the floor.
Alexander implored Cleitus to stop because he wanted to talk to the boy but Cleitus didn’t and leapt on his horse and quickly rode off.
Hephaestion put his head up because he listened to the hooves of the horses far away, and with a heavy heart, he returned to his house. He was quiet all day long and his mother was truly worried as Hephaestion went to bed leaving his plate untouched; but she also knew that if something was bothering her youngest son, sooner or later, he would tell her.
Eros painted the sky with her pinky fingers and Helios started to appear on the horizon when a little brunette boy with reddish eyes approached his mother and started to cry in her arms.
“My sweet Hephaestion, what is troubling your soul?” his worried mother asked.
“Promise me mama that when the King’s Guard come for me, you won’t cry because that will break my heart,” Hephaestion asked his mother sobbing his blue eyes out.
“What are you talking about, my son? Why will they come for you?”
“I insulted the Prince yesterday, but I didn’t know who he was,” he explained.
“I don’t understand, sweetheart, tell me from the beginning, Hephaestion,” she asked her son, bringing him nearer.
Hephaestion sat on his mother’s lap, with his arms around her waist, and setting his head on her breast, he retold what had happened the afternoon before. When he finished talking, his mother pressed her finger under his chin and made Hephaestion lift his head and meet her eyes.
“The King is a very generous man. I don’t think he will take that as an offense, but as a misunderstanding,” she said trying to calm her son down.
“Do you think, mother? Won’t I be put into a dark damp dungeon and left there till I rot myself?” he asked nervously.
“No, my dear, no. Phillip is a good friend of your father’s and our family has provided the Macedonian Cavalry for more than 120 years,” she replied.
“That’s fine, mother, if you say so. I will go to do my chores,” a calmer Hephaestion replied.
Later that afternoon, a courier with a red cloak- symbol of the Macedonian King- arrived at the farm and asked to speak to Hephaestion. The boy was as white as his chiton and he was sweating profusely.
“My name is Hylas, one of the Royal couriers and this letter is for you; dictated directly by the King himself,” and saying that, the man bowed and took his leave, while Hephaestion was holding the scroll in his hand not daring to open it, fearing its contents too greatly.
His elder brother, Lysander, was passing by leading the goats to their barn when he saw his brother holding the scroll.
“Hey, little imp, what are you doing there, standing in the middle of my way?” he asked his brother.
“I got this letter from the King but I don’t want to know what it is about,” Hephaestion replied with fear in his voice.
“Why not?” Lysander asked curiously.
“Because I misbehaved yesterday and they are taking me to the palace to be a life prisoner,” Hephaestion exclaimed with terror in his voice.
“Let me see the letter and I will reveal you your fate,” Lysander answered joking. He started to read seriously and a deep wrinkle appeared in his forehead when he frowned.
“Yes, that’s true; you are summoned to the Palace in three days by order of the Princeling because he wants you to ……”
“… to be flogged to death, I know,” Hephaestion replied, his voice laden in terror as he interrupted his brother’s reading.
“No, silly. He wants you to join him as his partner in his studies under Aristotle. And he also thanked you for giving his strength back with ‘you-know-what’…”
Hephaestion was so relieved and happy that he couldn’t stop laughing and he kissed his brother for giving him such wonderful news.
He ran to the house to tell his mother about his leaving; in that moment he realized he would be parting from his family but this opportunity couldn’t be missed, especially because the warmth he felt in his heart told him that everything was going to be alright.