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This belongs here too. A very short piece writen a few months back, it's my own version of Hephaistion's reaction to the advent of Bagoas.

Title: Conquest
Summary: Alexandros and Hephaistion discuss Darius' boy.
Rating: Oh, for hell's sake, I'm not doing a rating. We're all grown ups.
Feedback: feel free.

The wine was good, once one got used to it. Better than that Egyptian swill, at any rate; that had made Alexandros’ tongue curl from the start, sour and thin as it was. This was Bactrian, and a little sweet for his taste, but it would do. It was better than drinking the water, too – he knew what came of that. He could do without another dose of the flux, the last one had left him a shivering wreck for days.

Hephaistion was looking sideways at his wine. He had taken a taste of it, and screwed up his face in displeasure, but that was not unusual. He had always been particular about his wine, had Hephaistion. Alexandros saw him glance about, and knew what he was looking for. He passed the water jar with a smile.
“It’s already watered, you know. Put any more of that in and you might as well not bother.” It was an old joke, between them; Hephaistion had never been able to take his wine neat, and even watered it seemed to hit him harder than it did others. Alexandros was not above mocking him for it, when they were alone. It was a gentle mockery though, that came with laughter and the ease of long companionship. If they could not laugh at each other, Alexandros thought, they would not have lasted so long.

“It’s not the water I was thinking of,” Hephaistion told him, wrinkling his nose at his wine cup. “It’s so sweet! What did you do, put a whole beehive in there?”
Alexandros laughed and shook his head, stretching out on his couch and kicking off his boots. “Not me, no. That was the boy, Darius’ old pet. He’s taken it into his head that I have a sweet tooth.”
“Really?” That was arch, that tone, with a smile that hid its sharpness behind the rim of the wine cup. His eyes gave him away though; Alexandros knew those eyes. As sharp as the smile, and sparkling down deep. He felt himself respond to it, even as Hephaistion said, “It must have been something you said to him.”
Alexandros considered that. He told Hephaistion that he tasted like honey sometimes, when the man had him so giddy with pleasure and desire that he couldn’t so much as think straight, let alone control his tongue. He didn’t think he would have said that to the boy … gods, had he? The thought made him want to laugh. Well, it would explain the extra honey in the wine.

Hephaistion leaned back, stretching long legs out before him. There were too many bloody cushions in this place; he wrangled one out from behind him and tossed it to the floor. How was a man meant to make himself comfortable with cushions everywhere? Cushions, and wine that was so sweet it made his teeth ache. They were strange creatures, Persians. He did not think that he would ever understand them.

He understood Alexandros though. Better, in fact, than he understood any other thing, if it came to that. Well enough, certainly, to have seen the sudden flicker in his eyes, of amusement and memory and something else. He knew what that was. In other circumstances, it might have raised his hackles, made him snarl like a hound defending his pack from a stranger. From this though, Alexandros hardly needed any sort of defending. It was hardly as though a gelded dancing boy actually counted, in the scheme of things.
“So,” he said, half amused himself now. “You finally bedded the boy. I thought you would, eventually. After all, you’ve taken everything else that was Darius’. Was he any good?”

A shrug answered that, a casual one sided thing. “Good enough. As you would expect, or Darius wouldn’t have kept him. But it was … different from what I know.”
Hephaistion thought that he could imagine. A man was one thing, with strength and substance and solidity. The Persian boy though … ah, he was made like a gazelle, all light and soft and graceful, and hardly masculine at all, after what Hephaistion was used to in a man. What Alexandros was used to as well, for that matter – they could be gentle with each other, but they were rarely soft. He gave a private shiver, at that; if it were him, he did not think that he could have managed it at all. All he said, though, was, “I should think so.”

“He had a trick or two,” Alexandros said suddenly, head cocked thoughtfully to one side. “They make it an art, did you know that? Like it’s a bloody dance or something.”
Hephaistion, who considered that it actually was a dance, and the oldest one he knew, only grunted, unsurprised. “Well, that’s how they do everything. All art and no instinct. All shine, no substance. No … well, no balls.”
That made the king laugh suddenly, snorting into his wine cup. “Gods! Phai! But now you mention it, yes, I did notice that.”
His friend shuddered, meaningfully. Eunuchs were not a thing they had, in Macedon. Hephaistion, all things considered, thought that he would rather be dead than neutered. To Alexandros, he said, “Just don’t go getting used to it. I’d give up just about anything for you love, but not that. I rather like my balls.”
“So do I.” That came with a purr, and a grin that made his friend want to pounce on him and show him a trick or two of his own. Alexandros knew it too; he stretched out with one bare foot and ran it lightly up the inside of his lover’s leg, teasing just a little. “The boy’s a diversion, that’s all. He has his uses. He’s harmless enough. Besides, he seems sweet.”
“Hence the honey.” Hephaistion sipped his wine again, then grimaced and put it down. He shifted against Alexandros’ foot, running a quick finger up the instep. It made him yelp and pull away; Alexandros had always been unreasonably ticklish. Hephaistion smiled at him, sweetly. “And me? Am I harmless too?”
“Gods forbid, no. You’re the most dangerous man I know.”
“Really?” That brought Hephaistion’s brows up in spite of himself; he had not expected to hear that. Well, that was another thing he loved about this man; they knew each other so well, but Alexandros could still surprise him. “What in the world is dangerous about me?”

The glint in Alexandros’ eyes should have told him what was coming next, and the quick hungry smile on his lips. He slid from his couch and onto his friend’s in one smooth movement, pressing close and nuzzling at his neck. Hephaistion groaned, lying back and pulling Alexandros with him. Quick hands went to his middle, tugging at his belt and setting it free. They slid under his chiton, warm on his thighs and teasing over the rest of him. It made him growl and shift, what was most male in him coming awake all at once. Alexandros noticed it, and gave it its dues. His head dipped and bobbed, making his friend draw in his breath with a hiss then let it out in a long groan. Alexandros smiled up at him, like a cat that had fallen head first into a barrel of cream. His voice, when it came, was half a laugh and all heat.
“Why, Hephaistion, don’t you know? I’ve conquered everything I’ve ever set myself to, but you’re the only man in the world who can ever conquer me.”
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August 2006

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