“Bagoas,” Alexander said, loud and careless of who could hear, “can fit my hand in his asshole.”
Hephaiston circled the wine in his cup, considered it thoughtfully for a moment, and then drained it in a single gulp. He was not drunk enough for this conversation.
It was night, and the dinner had long since transformed into a drinking party. It was a blessing that the other Macedonians were drunk enough not to be paying attention, for Hephaiston was tired of hearing whispers about Persian ways and Persian customs and the little dark-eyed eunuch who had enslaved Alexander so. Mentioning the eunuch’s asshole at the high table could only lead to louder mutterings.
Once he’d swallowed, Hephaiston said in a quiet voice, “We put our fingers in each other’s assholes all the time, Alexander, this is not special. Your new Persian boy has taken your wits.”
Alexander shook his head, but he mercifully lowered his voice. “Not my fingers, Hephaiston, my entire hand. Up to the wrist.” He demonstrated by circling his wrist with two of his fingers.
“That is not physically possible, Alexander,” he said. “He would tear, there would be bleeding, he would-- it would stretch his asshole out so he would never be able to hold feces in, no one can fit an entire hand up there.”
“And yet it was up there,” Alexander said. “He was begging me,” Alexander added with smug satisfaction, “to add another two fingers.”
Alexander did always love the best of everything, Hephaiston thought. The most spirited horse, the most skilled army, the greatest empire (his thoughts skipped with practiced care over what that meant about him). It was no surprise his boy would be an Olympian of sex.
Alexander got that worrisome fire in his eyes, the kind that made him seem not quite human. “If you don’t believe me l can show you.”
“Alexander,” Hephaiston said, “I am not going to have sex with your boy.” He felt a great desire to be anywhere else.
“Not sex,” Alexander said. “Just watching. You’ll see.”
Alexander always came up with foolish ideas in his cups, and Hephaiston hoped that would be the end of it. However, he had challenged the quality of one of Alexander’s things, and as sure as challenging the quality of Oxhead would lead to a horse race, challenging the quality of Bagoas led to Hephaiston sitting awkwardly on a stool by the bed while Bagoas eyed him languidly.
He was an extraordinarily good-looking youth. His eyes were dark and half-lidded, his jawline strong. He was slender and hairless, without the fat to which so many eunuchs tended; only a hint of feminine curves testified to his status. His penis, pleasingly small, stood red and hard against his thigh.
“You command me to perform for him, my lord king?” Bagoas asked. Hephaiston blinked at the unusual title.
Alexander gestured broadly. “I ask.”
The look in Bagoas’s eyes suggested this was a distinction without a difference. Alexander, not noticing, kissed him.
The kiss was passionate, unrestrained; Alexander kissed as he fought, with the pure animalistic joy of having a body at peak condition that would do anything he wanted it to. Hephaiston felt his pants growing tight, watching his love kiss another man. He also felt awkward, as if he had intruded on something private and beautiful; he half-wanted to make his apologies and flee, as if he had stumbled across one of the soldiers rutting with a camp follower.
But Alexander wished it, so he stayed.
The boy’s legs wrapped around Alexander’s torso. It was difficult to see his face, to know what he made of all this. Alexander traced his tongue along Bagoas’s lips; Hephaiston licked his lips as a reflex.
“Good boy,” Alexander said, running his hand through Bagoas’s hair. “My Bagoas. You will make me proud today?"
“Always, my lord king.”
Alexander pressed a gentle kiss into Bagoas’s lips, as tender as if he were kissing a babe. Hephaiston felt again that feeling as if he were invading something private. It was silly, he told himself. Everything that was Alexander’s was his; had they not vowed it? And the boy, however dark his eyes and foreign his skin, was Alexander’s, to do with as he pleased.
“Be still,” Alexander commanded.
Alexander was not, as some men were, interested in the sex games of dominance and submission; he wanted to be loved and to express his love in return. He simply wore his command around his shoulders like a cape. It would never have occurred to him not to order or that he would not be obeyed.
Alexander ran his fingers teasingly along Bagoas’s jutting hipbones and the curve of his thighs, ignoring the implement between the Bagoas’s legs that begged for his attention. The boy hissed, but did not move.
“Are you ready?” Alexander asked.
“Always, my lord king.”
The boy rolled over. His buttocks were shapely and round, almost womanly but for the muscular torso that rose out of them. Alexander grinned and began to kiss it, first one cheek and then the other. Bagoas moaned. Hephaiston wondered if it were genuine or a product of Bagoas’s knowledge that Alexander loved to please. With a boy as well-trained as one of Darius’s harem, he would never know.
Hephaiston shifted more towards the head of the bed, for easier viewing of Alexander’s face.
Alexander ran his fingers along the boy’s buttocks delicately, then squeezed them as if he were a baker kneading bread. The boy made sounds of pleasure. Hephaiston was stiff in his pants. He was, after all, a man, with a man’s frailties. Even the strangeness of the situation and the idea that the pleasure might be faked did not prevent his arousal at a beautiful boy taking his pleasure.
Alexander touched the curve of the boy’s lower back, then down to his buttocks. Bagoas began gently, almost imperceptibly, to thrust against the bed.
“I am prepared.” Hephaiston noticed the absence of the “my lord king”.
Alexander did not respond immediately. He ran his hands along the boy’s back, one Aristotle might have used to demonstrate the triangle, then began to rub small circles around the boy’s pelvis. “I feel tension,” he said without criticism, as his hands moved up to the boy’s shoulderblades.
“I wish to demonstrate my skills to your... guest.” The boy put an odd tone on the word ‘guest.’
“Hephaiston,” Alexander said, “can wait long enough to see that you’re enjoying yourself. Here.” Alexander finished his back massage and moved on to Bagoas’s buttocks. Apparently knowing that there was no way to win when Alexander got an idea in his head, Bagoas put his head between his arms and rested.
Finally, the job seemed to be done to Alexander’s satisfaction, and he separated Bagoas’s cheeks and put his mouth between them.
It took a moment for Hephaiston to understand what he was seeing. Alexander and he had, of course, used each other in most of the usual ways. Alexander’s overflowing affection would not tolerate being forbidden to kiss his beloved’s genitals, and they had both penetrated each other to establish their equality, even if perhaps not in a way his teachers would have approved. But the idea of combining kissing and the hole between one’s legs…
It was certainly novel. At home one did not even kiss a woman’s hole.
Hephaiston was not sure what to make of Persian customs.
The boy was groaning and thrashing about, a sign of either great enjoyment or remarkably good acting. Hephaiston supposed the area was quite sensitive, and mouths were generally pleasant, and there was no reason to suppose the Persians would keep up an unpleasant custom. Still, he rather hoped Alexander was satisfied with their old Greek ways and would not introduce this sort of kissing into their bed.
The boy reached a peak of enjoyment, stilled with his face contorted as if it were a comedian’s mask, then rested his head against the pillow. “You have reached your completion?” Alexander asked.
The boy nodded weakly.
Hephaiston wondered if it would be rude to ask if he could look. He was curious whether eunuchs gave no sign, as women did, or if there was something he could touch and taste, and if so how different it would be than that of a whole man.
But Alexander merely smiled and took a small jar of oil from under the bed, coating his fingers with it. “It works best,” he said in explanation, “if he has already climaxed. The muscles are relaxed.”
“I see,” Hephaiston said, unsure how to respond.
Alexander brought his fingers to Bagoas’s hole and began to coat it with a copious amount of oil, rather more than Hephaiston would use for penetrating Alexander. When it had been coated to his satisfaction, he put the oil aside and began to push one finger in, up to the second knuckle.
Bagoas breathed, for all the world as if he were a runner preparing for a race.
The first finger was joined by a second, then a third. Alexander said, “you might be able to see it better from over here.”
Hephaiston said, “I prefer to watch your face.”
“And Bagoas’s, I’m sure,” Alexander said, twisting his wrist, eliciting a gasp. “I am sure he is beautiful.”
He was, indeed, very beautiful, biting his lips as the corners of his mouth half-smiled. His brow was unwrinkled and he showed no signs of pain, even as a fourth finger joined the other three. It was… certainly impressive, Hephaiston could say that.
Bagoas was beginning to breathe in a set rhythm, in and out; he seemed to be deliberately trying to relax himself. Alexander put in the fifth finger. Bagoas could take a very large thing inside him, it seemed. Any moment now Alexander would withdraw his fingers and make love to Bagoas and Hephaiston would leave, hoping no one noticed how much he resembled a satyr.
“This is the tricky part,” Alexander said, and Hephaiston found himself wondering what else Bagoas was going to do.
Alexander’s hand sort of-- twisted. It felt almost like there was a pop, though the only sound was that of Bagoas’s carefully relaxed breathing. And suddenly Alexander’s knuckles were inside Bagoas, and within a few moments the entire hand was swallowed up to the wrist.
Hephaeston was breathless. “Bagoas took an entire hand inside him.”
Alexander looked smug. “I only love the best.”
“That you do,” Hephaeston said, his breath hitching mid-sentence.
Small whimpering noises escaped Bagoas’s mouth, as if he were trying to be silent and had lost control, or as if he were skilled enough in his art to know that trying to be silent and losing control would please Alexander.
“You are aroused,” Alexander said, appearing to notice for the first time that they were having sex and not, for example, examining a horse’s excellent canter.
“I am,” Hephaeston said.
“Bagoas,” Alexander said, “take Hephaeston to his completion.”
Hephaeston hastily removed his undergarments as Bagoas and Alexander inched forward as one, as if they were some manner of human-human chimera. He thought how intimate it must be, to have another’s hand inside you, to have your hand inside another; then the eunuch’s mouth found the tip of his penis and he didn’t think anything at all.
The eunuch was skilled in a way that spoke of long training; he licked and swallowed with the same technical precision with which he danced, although without the joy in movement. Hephaeston was aroused enough that it would not take long. Under the eunuch’s expert ministrations, he shivered, his eyelids fluttered, and he approached the point of no return.
Hephaeston opened his eyes to look at the boy’s, or at Alexander’s, which he was not certain. He was struck by the expression on Bagoas’s face. His dark eyes were contorted in an expression of hatred the eunuch would surely have smoothed over had he had any notion Alexander or Hephaeston might see. The jealousy was pure, whole-hearted, without complication or external motive; Bagoas simply loathed him.
Hephaeston, secure in his position, had thought of Bagoas little. You love him , he thought in a moment of recognition; and what have I done to you?
But the moment passed with Hephaeston’s orgasm, and when he came to the eunuch was wiping his face, like a cat, as peaceful as it was possible for a man to be with a fist inside him. Hephaeston would have thought he’d imagined it if not for the vividness of his memory of those dark eyes.
Alexander removed his hand from Bagoas in a gentle, hesitant motion. The eunuch lay down, panting as if he’d run a race, and Hephaeston knew he awaited his reward for performing so well.
As he adjusted his clothes and left, Hephaeston was unsure, impressive as they were, if he preferred the Persian customs to the Greek.