Alexander half hidden behind the curtain looks into the surgery tent. Again they win the battle but, each time Victory brings too its lot of victims. Inside, smell of blood mixed with fear’s sweat and some perfume of balm invade the atmosphere. While groaning and cries of pain break from time to time the silence. Alexander will never be accustomed to that, he is the one who brings those men to war. He is the one who is responsible of each of their wounds. And it breaks his heart.
But right now, it is not his preoccupation. Isolated from the rest, a man in a bed, lying. At his bedside, Hephaistion. The two men talk. From where he is Alexander can see Hephaistion’s concern for the man. He is so rare to Hephaistion to show such interest for one of his men. That’s intrigued Alexander, but he has other things to think.
He goes to leave when he sees one man’s hand slides on Hephaistion’s thigh and rides up under the chiton. Alexander is frozen. How does he dare to show this lack of respect for his officer ? But, to his astonishment, Hephaistion doesn’t push away the hand. Alexander sees him to blush and to smile. The gesture so intime, so possessive, brings a wave of anger in the heart of Alexander. He feels betrayed. He would like to tear away Hephaistion and to kill his rival.
He enters in the room and leads to Hephaistion. The wounded man in seeing him removes his hand slowly but his eyes challenge Alexander. He tightens his fists. He would like to punch the other man. But he chooses to address to Hephaistion.
« I need to talk to you. »
Seeing the embarrassment and hesitation of Hephaistion, he adds with a anger barely hidden :
« Now ! »
Hephaistion follows Alexander in his tent. During a moment the King, paces in the room looking at his lover.
« How do you dare ? »
Coldly Hephaistion asks :
« Dare what ? »
« To take another man in your bed. »
« It is none of your business. »
« None of my business ! You are my lover. »
« Really ? When was the last time you made love to me ? Are Lovers not supposed to be together ? But you prefer to pass your time with your eunuch or your wife while you put me aside. »
« You are my Patroclus but Bagoas is my Antiloque(1) and… »
Hephaistion cuts his King with irritation.
« Oh, I know the song and Roxane is your Briseis(2). Unless, it is the reverse in regard of the temper of Roxane and the femininity of Bagoas. »
He adds mocking.
« I don’t see any fun in this situation. »
« Neither I. But derision helps me to survive your abandon. »
Alexander defends himself.
« I never abandoned you. »
« You never change Alexander. Even in front of the evidence, when you fail, you refuse to admit your defeat. You are too arrogant. »
« Who is he ? »
« Nobody. »
« Nobody, really ? So if he is nobody I can clear him from my army. »
Hephaistion tightens his fist in anger.
« How do you dare ? If you do that Alexander… »
Alexander full of anger, comes closer to Hephaistion.
« What ? Do you dare to threaten me ? You forgot that you are nothing without me. »
Hephaistion receives the words like a slap in the face. He answers cold and numb :
« No Alexander, it is you. It is you who are nothing without me. »
And without waiting, Hephaistion leaves.
(1) Antiloque was a close friend of Achilles, sometimes presented like his lover.
(2) Briseis was given to Achilles as war prize to be his concubine.