6. A Little Pillow Talk

by Ptolemy Lagides
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It was nearly dawn when Hephaestion finally slipped into Alexander’s bed. Alexander’s eye flicked open. It was bright and alert. He watched his friend’s tanned thighs and chest disappear under the blanket closely.
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“Where have you been?” Alexander asked, as Hephaestion brought his head level to his own.
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“To see a few people. Friends… to make sure they remain friends.” Alexander did not reply, but instead, looked over Hephaestion’s shoulder and gazed thoughtfully out of the open window into the pale sky.
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“But why are you even here?” Hephaestion continued, “I thought you were sleeping with the Queen Mother, tonight.”
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“The Queen Mother…” Alexander echoed, “I was. I couldn’t sleep,” he said, running his finger down Hephaestion’s temple and curling it round his lips, “she snores so loudly.” Hephaestion chuckled. He pushed his hand under the cover of the bed. Alexander watched it disappear and smiled.
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“Uh-uh; eyes on me.” Hephaestion said. Alexander obeyed even as he squirmed at the gentle touch of Hephaestion’s hand on his chest and abdomen. His body warmed and stiffened in readiness for what had to come next. Suddenly, to his surprise, and – he had to admit, disappointment – he felt Hephaestion take hold of his hand. Alexander raised his eyebrow humorously. Hephaestion replied with a knowing grin. Pulling Alexander’s hand out from under the blanket, he folded it into a fist and looked at his friend’s gold ring and the large emerald jewel that was set in it. Hephaestion kissed the jewel softly.
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“You did well, today,” he said, “the guests and the court could have scattered in panic; instead, they now sleep easily.”
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“I doubt that,” Alexander said, “I am the king but the succession has not yet been decided. Blood must still be shed. Still… I must thank Antipater and Alexander* for what they did. Their gestures were simple but authoritative. Who knows how many lives they have saved.”
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Alexander pulled his hand away from Hephaestion’s grasp; he stroked his friend’s shoulder with it before running it impatiently down his arm, and then onto his hip. For a few seconds, he caressed Hephaestion’s buttock before pulling it towards him. Hephaestion let his right leg slide over Alexander’s as their bodies touched.

“I must say,” Alexander continued, “Antipater impressed me today… his presence of mind… exemplary.” He kissed Hephaestion on the forehead. It was a hard, rough, kiss.
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“He was your mother’s ally. Just like Perdiccas and the others.”
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“And you, Hephaestion?” Alexander asked, with a sudden sharpness, “Were you my mother’s ally?”. Before Hephaestion could respond, Alexander slipped his body on top of his friend’s and pushed him face downwards into the bed. As he did so, Alexander slid his own body on top. Kissing Hephaestion once more, this time on the neck, but still roughly, he placed his legs between Hephaestion’s and pushed them apart.
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“Were you?” Alexander repeated.
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“Of course,” Hephaestion said, calmly. “There is nothing I would not do for you, Alexander. You know that.” He paused, and slid his hand under the pillow; he pulled out Alexander’s golden dagger slowly, “Tell me to kill myself, and I would do it.” For a moment, Alexander stared at the dagger dumbly. Then, at Hephaestion with growing horror.
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“No!” he exclaimed, grabbing the dagger and throwing it across the room, “No! Hephaestion…!” He threw himself off his friend and stared wildly up at the ceiling.
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“Don’t say such things. Not even in jest.”
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“I wasn’t joking.”.
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“I mean…” Alexander wiped the hot sweat that was forming on his brow away, “Just… I… just don’t say that again. Never talk about death to me, Hephaestion, I…” He shook his head as he fought to find the words to say, “I’m sorry. I… I’m sorry. I love you.”
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“You have a unique way of showing it.” Alexander glanced guiltily at his friend, hoping to see a smile, fearing to see a scowl. He found, instead, an impassive appearance. Neither condemned nor excused,  simply understood. His heart burned for love of this man whom the gods had blessed his life with..
.

“I am sorry,” Alexander said, sliding off Hephaestion’s back, “I feel… somehow I feel as if my father has been wronged. I mean, by me. Now that he is dead, I wish he had died on the battlefield. It would have been better…”
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“Death comes to us all and not always in the way we – or anyone – would wish. And it teaches us,” Hephaestion added, putting his hand on Alexander’s shoulder, “that we should make the most of the time we have.” He pulled Alexander’s body towards him before pushing it into the bed just as Alexander had done to him. Alexander did not resist. Hephaestion kissed him roughly on the shoulder, biting Alexander’s neck with such force that he drew blood and made the king gave a small cry; then, once more just as Alexander had done, he forced the king’s legs apart with his own before reaching for the golden bowl of olive oil that sat by the bed. He dipped his hand into it.
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“This is not to my liking,” Alexander laughed, “One day, people will say that you were the one I could never conquer.”
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“Would that be so bad?” Alexander paused.
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“Actually, yes,” he said, “I want to be invincible. Always victorious. Invincible.”
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“Then you should never have become Achilles.” Hephaestion replied, as he began to smear the oil in the place that it was needed.
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* Alexander of Lyncestis

To be continued…

  • The list of chapters can be read here
Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “6. A Little Pillow Talk

  1. What an amazing great last line!!!! I will tell you this to be up front, good poets borrow great poets stealk. When the right opportunity I will steal that line from you. It so perfect a come back. I always enjoy your work. It is history with an erection as well as mole and birthmarks.>KB

    Like

  2. Annotating60,

    🙂 I am very glad you enjoyed this chapter as it was definitely the trickiest to write; although not a sex scene as such the context of the chapter is very clear and I did not want to descend into the cheesiness that can easily accompany such a scene. I hope I succeeded.

    You are very welcome to make the last line your own! I could have said more openly what exactly Hephaestion was doing but, as writing teachers tell you, showing is always better than telling.

    AOS

    Like

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