Written at the suggestion of the kind and talented Sophinisba, who actually did the 5 things meme first (though I didn't realize that until after I did it, too), this is G-rated slash.
Alexander learned from Bagoas
by Laura Mason
He knew of the barbaric practice of mutilating pretty boys, but Alexander never paid any attention to the eunuch slaves he encountered until Bagoas was brought before him -- "gifted" to him by that old snake, thrust upon him in a way that left Alexander feeling responsible for the boy.
He rubs the soft curls between his fingers and pulls the sleeping boy closer. His mind is racing despite his exhaustion; sleep is far from him. So he enumerates to himself the things he's learned from Bagoas. Not the stories Bagoas has shared of Cyrus' reign or the odd Persian customs, though those brought them closer together. Nor does he include in his list the things they've discovered together in his bed. Alexander kisses the top of Bagoas' head and closes his eyes.
1. Eunuchs feel the loss of their manhood and their unborn sons. He'd always wondered about that, but now Alexander knows because he saw the pain in Bagoas' eyes, that night when he'd told Alexander that the sons of dreams outlive those of seed.
2. They cannot cut pride or courage out of a boy who is blessed with those qualities. Alexander first saw both in Bagoas the day he witnessed his grooms throwing javelins at the boy, who kept his head high as he proudly faced death, a chieftain's son despite what fate had done to him.
3. Bagoas is the one who never had a childhood, but Alexander is the one rejuvenated by seeing the wonders of the world through his lover's eyes. They each have shadows in their eyes from sorrows and pain, yet together they can push those griefs aside and be young again.
4. A eunuch can feel love, real love. Alexander didn't know that until their first night together, when Bagoas lost all traces of his seductive arts in a storm of emotion. Others may question Bagoas' loyalty, but Alexander never will.
5. Alexander can feel love for a eunuch, love that could break him. He didn't realize it until this day, when he learned that Bagoas had fallen out of the column on their march and knew his bones would be bleaching in the desert sun by the next nightfall. Hephaistion saved him -- saved them both ¬-- and will never complain that Alexander stays with his eunuch this night, holding him to prove to himself that Bagoas is really safe.
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