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.
Mieza, 344 BC.
Four years had passed since “the accident”, it was how the two inseparable friends called the beginning of their friendship.
Hephaestion turned to be an excellent student, he always gave intelligent answers, and his teachers were very proud of him. He was also a good influence for the Prince, because he was the only one of his friends who treated him as Alexander and not as the King to be.
The two youths spent all their time together, and Aristotle, being a wise man especially at judging human souls, discovered he was in the presence of a miracle: two soul mates had early met and complemented each other so well that it gave real joy to whoever looked at the two boys walking with their arms on each other’s shoulders and sharing his riches and miseries.
Aristotle decided to give a special gift to Alexander on his twelfth birthday: it was an illustrated copy of “The Iliad” and he had the inner wish that both boys - Alexander and Hephaestion - could discover themselves in the characters of Achilles and Patroclus. Another reason was that both boys could claimed being descendants of those heroes.
Hephaestion gifted Alexander with a medallion shaped as the Vergina Star and the Prince was amazed at it, especially when he discovered it was also a locket. Alexander took his friend’s hand and ran together to his chamber.
“Why are we here, Alexander?” Hephaestion asked curiously.
“I am looking for something,” Alexander said while taking out a small piece of cloth from his wooden box.
“What is that?” Hephaestion asked trying to peep over his friend’s shoulder.
“Something I want to keep in my new locket,” Alexander explained while opening the medallion. “Here they are, where they truly belong,” Alexander said with his voice full of satisfaction.
“Can I have a look?” Hephaestion asked shyly.
“Of course, my friend. I have put some seeds inside.”
“Seeds? Have they got any healing power?” Hephaestion asked surprised.
“Oh yes, they are very powerful, they give you strength, they bring you joy and happiness, they give me love…” Alexander confessed blushing a little.
“I am happy for you, my friend. Who gave you that beautiful present? Let me guess: it was Aristotle.”
“It was that Persian physician who stopped here for some days last winter,” Hephaestion said.
“Of course! Now I know who was!” Hephaestion said slapping his forehead. “It was Queen Olympia, your mother.”
“No,” Alexander answered and with a smile on his face, he said:
“It was YOU, my dear friend; they are the seeds of the first apple you gifted me.”
“Why did you keep them?” Hephaestion sounded astonished.
“I don’t know but I felt that they were very important,” and saying that the king-to-be embraced his friend tightly and released a deep sigh.
“Please, Phai, never leave my side,” Alexander pleaded his friend with his head hid in the crook of Hephaestion’s neck.
“Never, Xander, if it is in my will, I will never leave you because you are my best friend and I love you a lot,” Hephaestion answered while caressing the blonde mane.
“Do you love ME, Phai?” Alexander asked with joy in his voice and looking into his favourite blue eyes.
“Of course I do! You are like a brother to me,” Hephaestion answered the Prince, hiding his eyes so they wouldn’t reveal his real feelings for his friend.
“Like a brother, of course, a brother’s love,” Alexander murmured casting his eyes down.
“Are you feeling well, Alexander?” a worried Hephaestion asked.
“Too many emotions for one day,” Alexander explained to cover up his feelings.
“You should rest for a while before your banquet begins,” Hephaestion suggested.
“That’s a good idea. Will you join…?” Alexander began to ask but stopped in the middle of the sentence.
“Of course I will join you at the party, I wouldn’t miss it!! Take your rest and I’ll come for you later, and we will go to the banquet together.”
“That’s fine, my friend,” and saying that, Alexander curled his body on one side of the bed, showing his back to Hephaestion. His friend shouldn’t see his watery eyes.
Hephaestion left Alexander’s chamber and rested his back on the closed door; after some minutes, his knees went weak and he sat hugging his legs with his head upon his knees.
“I love you, my Prince, but not like a brother,” he whispered to himself before he stood up and sprinted to the gymnasium.
Perdicas and Ptolemy saw Hephaestion running like the wind, heading to the wrestling area; so they followed him.
Hephaestion asked the best wrestler for a fight; he did well but he also was a bit absent-minded and the result was that he received some good punches and a big bruise on his left eye. Ptolemy stopped the match and took Hephaestion back to the barracks. He tended to the injured eye, which was almost closed, but he didn’t ask about what had happened. Being older and having a quick mind, Ptolemy knew that Hephaestion’s confusion had to do with Alexander.
“Rest for a while and get dressed with your best chiton to celebrate Alexander’s birthday,”
Ptolemy said while brushing some locks of hair from his younger friend’s forehead.
“Thanks, Ptolemy. I am fine, just a bit shaken,” Hephaestion murmured.
After two hours, two very well-dressed friends headed to the main room where the banquet was held. Alexander, because he was the honoured guest, sat at the main table with his parents and siblings. At the next table, the Generals and the King’s Companions were seated and finally the table of Alexander’s friends.
Alexander looked for his dearest friend and a big smile could be seen on his face when he spotted the handsome brunette looking back at him, they shared a nod but then the Prince frowned and his two coloured eyes got darker when he discovered Hephaestion’s left eye completely closed. He wanted to run to his friend and asked what had happened. Sensing that, Hephaestion mouthed a “Don’t worry, later” towards him and Alexander nodded.
The party protocol kept the dearest friends apart, looking at each other from the distance. It was nearly midnight when Alexander was able to go to Hephaestion and asked about his bruised eye.
“It is nothing serious, so worry not, Prince Alexander,” Hephaestion answered formally.
“Amyntoros, would you mind accompanying me to the balcony. I want a word with you,” the Prince asked.
“Of course, My Prince” and saying that, they both moved towards the balcony, walking with royal movements.
Once they crossed the curtains, Alexander turned round, cupped Hephaestion’s face with both his hands, and led them towards a moonlight ray.
“How did you get this, Phai?” the blonde boy asked extremely worried.
“I was daydreaming while wrestling and Ajax beat me down,” Hephaestion explained while feeling the warmth of Alexander’s hands around his face.
“AJAX, AJAX,” the Prince said while caressing with his thumb pad the closed and bruised eyelid. “What were you thinking about? He is at least two heads taller than you and twice as heavy,” he added.
“I know, but I needed to release some stupid thoughts,” Hephaestion murmured looking at the Prince who was getting closer.
“What are you doing, Xander?” a very nervous Hephaestion asked.
“You have your apples to heal, I have my kisses,” Alexander explained, while getting nearer every time.
“Kisses don’t have healing powers,” Hephaestion tried to protest.
“Mine do because they are born from my heart which is full of love for … you,” and saying that, he kissed swiftly the left eyelid.
“Don’t do that Alex, please,” begged Hephaestion.
“Why not?” Alexander asked as he placed another kiss upon sore eyelid, albeit a bit firmer this time.
“Because someone can see you and get the wrong idea of the situation,” Hephaestion tried to explain while his mind was getting cloudier by the second.
“And what kind of idea exactly would they extract from this situation?” he asked teasingly and moving his lips towards his friend’s lips, leaving a trail of butterfly kisses along his left cheek.
“I … I …” stuttered Hephaestion, “I can’t think about a good answer right now.”
“Good - don’t think, just…feel,” Alexander whispered upon his lips.
Alexander saw that his friend closed his good eye and knew he was ready. He placed his lips against Hephaestion’s and licked them swiftly. Releasing a soft moan, Hephaestion tightened his arms around Alexander’s waist bringing him nearer. They kissed tenderly and after some minutes, the kiss deepened and their lips parted to let their tongues met inside their mouths. A noise made them part and with love in his eyes, Alexander whispered:
“I knew your kisses would taste like your apples, very sweet.”
Hephaestion blushed and remained in silence because his heart was still running very fast inside his chest.
“I love you, Alexander, but not like a brother,” he confessed to his better half.
“I love you too, Hephaestion, and I have never thought of you as a brother but as my soul mate,” Alexander said, taking his friend’s hands into his, “and I thank the gods for that “accident” four years ago. Promise me that we will take care of this feeling together, nurture it with trust, joy and loyalty, and that we will never be apart”.
“I promise you that from the bottom of my heart, my Prince,” Hephaestion answered him smiling.
“So from now on this is our vow and be cursed the man who try to set us apart.” And saying that, Alexander took out a dagger from his belt and cut the pad of his fourth left finger till it bleed; at the same time Hephaestion followed suit and joined their bloody fingers to seal their vows.
Two happy youths went to sleep into each other’s arms for the first time, not knowing that something was menacing their happiness.