Hephaestion keeps getting worse, only 3 days left, and I haven’t figured out what disease he has. He won’t eat anything, the fever continues going higher, the vomiting hasn’t stopped. I can’t even remember the last day I slept or went out of the palace. I thought this would be easier, I believed they hadn’t been able to save him because they didn’t know enough. Yet, I can’t either. The damn genius who managed to travel back in time can’t save the man she swore to cure. I thought if I went back and saved the person I admire the most, everything would be alright. If only things were so easy…. If I don’t save Hephaestion, Alex is gonna die. But how am I supposed to cure someone of something I don’t know he has?
‘Only a research assignment, nothing more,’ It’s what I tried to tell myself every day. ‘Don’t get attached. They will die. You can’t do anything about it.’ I repeated them, all the time. Still, here I am. I tried to remain unattached but as time went by, I got to see their love blossom and knowing how it would end, I couldn’t step away.
(20 years ago in the palace)
My heart races as fear still courses through my veins. Not because of my situation, a 22-year-old trapped in a seven-year-old body, or because of the assassination attempt that had gone in front of me. No… What truly scares me is her look. The look Olympias gave me as I entered the palace. The sheer coldness in her eyes as she looked down at me with disgust. “I heard you saved my father.” An unknown voice says from the entrance of my room. Startled, I look up to see a kid resembling Alexander.
It must be him! I open my mouth, except the words won’t come out. What if he’s like Olympias? Will he hate me? No, I have to remember, it doesn’t matter what he thinks. It’s research.
At my lack of response, Alexander throws a wooden sword in my direction. “He also said that you have good sword skills. I was wondering if you wanted to spar.” Looking into his face, I can see how he and the queen are related. They have the same expression, yet when I gaze into his eyes there’s a certain glint to it. The look a kid gives when challenging their friend. Smiling, I catch the sword with one hand. “Bring it on!”
(10 years ago)
Reading one of my books in Alexander’s room, while he and Hephaestion read some letters, I look up to see him putting his ring to Haphaestion’s lips. Staring at each other’s eyes while Fey kisses the ring. The air stifled out of the room as soon as his lips met the precious metal. They won’t say it, but their love for each other is eternal. Just one look into their eyes and anyone can see it.
Even when they had just met.
Alex had entered my room, dragging a boy behind him. He said they had recently encountered in Aristotle’s class, but I could see how they looked at each other. The atmosphere of respect and caring. We swiftly became friends. Yet, I could never hope to mirror their relationship.
Two sides of the same coin.
“Stop staring, Agne. This isn’t one of your stories.” Alex says as he stands up from his chair and ruffles my hair. Haphaestion smiles, doing the same thing. They are my big brothers now, and, I swear, I’ll protect them even if it’s the last thing I do.
“Another murder attempt?” I say, looking up at the servant.
“Yes, the second one this week.” What am I going to do with Alex? If he loses the respect of the other nobles, they are sure to come after his head. All his attempts to kill his generals were when drunk, so ban booze? Who am I kidding? Booze or no booze, as long as Hephaestion isn’t cured, Alexander won’t come to his senses.
Well, anyway, I sigh, if Fey rejects this medicine too, he will die. There’s nothing left. Tried all the remedies, medications, and even penciling that I brought from the future. The infection won’t die down. What can I expect, though? I’m not even sure what he has.
The hallways to Hephaestion room make me dizzy as I remember all the fun times we had here. Not anymore, though. Oh, God, please just let this work. Wet droplets start falling from my face. No, not right now! I swing my fist and punch the wall. Fuck it. I just want to go back. Is that so much to ask? I knew this was coming… but why? Why…
After finishing wiping my tears away I enter Hephaestion’s room. There he is. Our orbs meet as he lays in bed. Dead. It won’t work. He has given up by now. The fire that used to live in his eyes every time he looked at Alexander has disappeared.
Wait! Alexander. That’s it. Running out of Fey’s room, medicine in hand, I go find Alexander.
“Come with me,” I tell Alex, trying to catch my breath after having run through the whole palace. Before he can do anything, I drag him into Hephaestion’s room. Alex is about to speak, still, once again, I interrupt him. Getting both their hands and joining them, I say, “Fey, I know you gave up, but just once more, can you give it your all? Not for me or you. For Alexander.” Alex’s orbs bulge out at my speech. Sometimes, I really believe he believes his relationship with Fey is a secret. Yet, looking at Hephaestion, I can see something has changed.
It has been 3 days, and I can’t believe I have beat history. Hephaestion isn’t out of the woods, still, but he’s been doing much better. Guess my time is near. I’m gonna have to go back… “Lady Agne, Hephaestion has died.” A running servant blurts out.
What. Without giving a response, I fly to Hephaestion’s room. Please let him be alive. Pls. Yet, when I get there, I know my prayer haven’t been answered. Hephaestion lies in his bed, body freezing and pupils dilated. How could this have happened? He was alright when I left him. No! Tears fall from my eyes as I try my best to bring him back. 1, 2, 3 once more, 1,2,3. You can do it. I continue pumping his heart.
In the end, the guards took me away and looked me in my room. I hear the jiggling of keys. Alex comes in, crestfallen. “I’m sorry… the guards…” His eyes red, and his hand bruised, probably from punching a wall. He hugs me tightly as if I would disappear if he let go. I have to tell him.
“I’m going,” I say, pushing him away. At first, he looks surprised at my sentence, but soon it turns to a laughing face. “I’m serious. Stop laughing.” “That’s why I’m laughing, Agne. I’m not letting you go.” He covers his face with one of his hands, putting the other one over his stomach.
“You can’t do that. I’ll leave no matter if you want it or not.” I say, going towards the door. What’s happened to him? This isn’t the Alexander I know. He grabs my arm and throws me deeper into the room.
“You will marry me tomorrow and never leave my side. Got it? You’re mine, Agne.” He says, locking the door one again. Yet before he leaves, I hear him whisper the thing that answers all my questions. “I can’t afford to lose someone I love, again.” Nonetheless, I must go. It is for his own good, after all.
Once more, I’ll go back. This time, though, I won’t let him die. I swear.