The world has ended, and the games have continued on.
A hushed message. Running through the palace as fast as his legs will take him. Throwing open the door.
He is too late.
Alexander cannot hear the noises of the palace or even his own thoughts, only a deafening silence.
He isn’t breathing he isn’t breathing he’s dead he’s gone.
He stands frozen in the doorway.
There are others around, or there might not be, because there is only one thing in the room that Alexander can see and he is lying on the bed and he is gone.
Alexander is shaking.
How is this- How can this be possible? He was weak but he was getting better he was supposed to be better and Alexander had left and now he’s gone.
The world slowly comes back into focus as Alexanders has something else to fixate on. There are indeed others in the room, and one of them is the doctor.
And suddenly Alexander is on the other side of the room, pinning the man against the wall. He is up in the doctor’s face shouting, and he looks almost as pale as the corpse that he has left on the bed. Alexander does not know what he is saying except that he wants the man dead.
A life for a life, and even that cannot equal what he has taken from Alexander.
But Alexander is shaking and he cannot hold him up any longer, and he pushes him towards where there should be guards, and if they don’t chain him up somewhere until Alexander can dole out the due punishment they will be the ones to die instead.
He thinks he tells them this, but the words fly out of his mouth without ever alighting in his mind.
The doctor is led out of the room and he takes all of Alexander’s anger with him. His vision focusses back on the only important thing.
He manages to stumble only partway towards the bed before his legs give out. There is something, someone, touching his shoulders, and he shakes it off with what little energy his has left, before crawling the rest of the way. He has to be there, has to be beside him, in his rightful place, where he should have been. Where he should have been.
He crawls the rest of the way but he is shaking and he cannot push himself up onto the bed. Whatever was touching him before comes back to help, and he lets it, this time, guiding him up on unsteady feet while his eyes lock on his heart lying on the bed, frozen. Then the touches try to guide him away, out of the room, and he flinches violently away from whoever it is who thinks Alexander can possibly be anywhere else, away from the only thing that matters. That has ever really mattered.
He hovers over the centre of the bed. There is russet hair falling down on Hephaistion’s cold body, standing out against the growing pallor of his skin, and the hair must be Alexander’s but he cannot feel his own hands pulling at his head, only pain in heart and his mind and his soul.
He crumples, lying down across his love’s body as he has done so many times, and begins to weep.
There has only ever been one constant in Alexander’s life. One thing that stays the same, no matter where in the world he is, no matter whether he is fighting his father or the Greeks or his mother or the Persians. One beacon of support for whatever Alexander chose to do, whether his army or his companions liked it or not. And now… And now.
He weeps for the times they laughed and played and fought and cried. He weeps for the times that Hephaistion had praised him and chastised him and told him the secrets of the world. He weeps for Hephaistion holding him through Bagoas’ death, the only thing tethering him to the world when everything seemed terrible. There is no-one to tether him now.
He floats off like a boat whose rope has been cut, and the sea is stormy and he is drowning, drowning.
“Alexander. Please. You need to eat. It’s been three days.” It’s been three hours. It’s been three weeks. There is no sense of time here, adrift, lost in the sea of his tears, of his loss.
Where can he go from here?
They say Achilles mourned for Patroclus in excess, and Alexander had always scoffed. That reaction was the only part of the Iliad that he had never truly been able to understand.
Gods. He wished he still didn’t.