I’m dedicating this plot bunny to dangerousjobsforgirls, because she gave me the most awesome prompt a while back that has evolved into a chapter fic about Nasir’s past. I am still working on said fic, so I hope she will forgive me for taking ungodly long :D
Also, this is just for fun. I don’t own anything. Standard disclaimer achieved.
Calloused hands brushed over his skin, mapping the curve his shoulder, the length of his arm. Nasir sighed contently, body relaxing under the touch. The deep ache in his side was fading under the weight of the medicus’s foul concoctions. Soon his eyes would grow heavy, he knew, but he did not want to sleep this night, not with this man so near him, in better form than any had dared hope for. The burning of the arena had seemed the plan of a mad man, and the long wait had brought only nightmares for the former body slave. That the stifling thought that their first kiss, gentle and chaste, would be the only kiss he would ever share with the handsome gladiator.
It seemed Agron was of the same mind. A large, sword-calloused hand came to rest on Nasir’s abdomen, over his bandages, but carefully distant from the days old wound they covered.
“You could have died,” the gladiator said quietly, his blue-green eyes watching Nasir intently.
The Syrian’s lips turned up in a tired smile.
“Says the man fresh from burning down Roman arenas,” he offered and Agron rewarded him with a wry grin.
“Still,” the larger man pressed, “My blade should have spilt the blood of that Roman fuck before he had chance to lay hand upon you. I should never have suggested we split up.”
“He did not lay hand, but blade,” Nasir pointed out, his expression stern, reaching up to trace the curve of the German’s jaw with the backs of his fingers, “do not take guilt and pain to heart. I went because I wanted to, I fought because I chose to. I did what I thought was right, as did you. This is war, some blood must be spilt. I would have it be mine rather than that of dear friend. The same as you, same as any of the brotherhood.”
Agron opened his mouth as if to argue but seemed to think better of it. In many ways, Nasir had proven himself to be every bit the wild little dog Agron had first thought him to be. Once the boy had made up his mind, he would stand the ground for all it was worth.
The blue-green eyes rested on the bandages again.
“You are branded with fire as much as the rest of us. Spartacus spoke of your courage, Naevia and Mira as well. You earned the mark,” the German relented with a sigh, but there was still pain in his eyes, “But it is still not a scar I would have you bear, the reminder of life nearly lost.”
The rough fingers traced the line of the darker man’s collar bone. The Syrian caught the other’s gaze, letting his own hand come to rest against the upraised flesh on Agron’s chest.
“One of many already owned, one of many more to come,” he said.
Agron nodded, taking the hand, bringing it to his lips, pressing a kiss to the freshly calloused palm.
“I would know the story of all.”
“As I would know yours. Which story would you hear first?”
Agron’s eyes roved Nasir’s body, not lustful or hungry in the way that Nasir had seen such gazes turned on him all his life. There was warmth and caring there, and quiet observance, as if the German were skimming words of a letter often read and reread.
“This one,” he said finally, his thumb stroking over the smooth path of flesh that cut through Nasir’s brow.
The former slave leaned into the touch, a quiet sigh escaped him as his eyes slipped closed. That memory was still sharp and clear after all these years, came to mind far more often than he cared for.
“The first my Dominus ever gave me,” he said.
Agron let out a low sound, something akin to a growl.
“Would that I had killed the Roman fuck myself,” he snarled, his anger cast at ghosts.
“It was many years past. I was little more than a child when I was purchased by the man.”
Agron quirked an eyebrow.
“ I thought you were very small when that brought you from your homeland?”
Nasir nodded, moving a fraction closer to the other man, letting his arm drape over the German’s waist, fingers tracing the smooth line of Agron’s spine.
“I was. But Flavius was not my first domnius. When I was a child, my brother and I served women named Antonia. She was a good domina, always kind to her servants, and she doted on us children. Her own son had died young, and she eased the ache by rescuing children from the block, bringing them up in her home, to serve her family. Her husband, our domnius in those days, was a good man. He loved his wife, indulged her whims, and was good to us in his own right.”
Nasir could still picture her face, strong and proud, black hair streaked with iron. He could not bring himself to hate her, despite the freedom he had gained. She had been firm but kind, always just, never raised a hand to them in anger. As often as not, her touches and words had been kind. She was the closest thing to a mother he could remember. The thought of her brought pang of lose.
Agron must have seen the change in his face.
“How did you come into the Roman shit’s service,” he asked, his fingers brushing back a stray bit of hair from the Syrian’s brow.
“The Domina was ill most of her life. When she finally succumbed, her husband’s soul left with her, I think. He could not bear to look upon her things, and feel the lose of her. He sold everything, to anyone who would take them, just be rid of them. Her jewelry, her dresses, her books, her instruments…”
“And her slaves,” the German finished.
“I was sold the dominus who’s house I was liberated from.”
“And your brother?”
Nasir’s eyes flickered closed for a moment, trying to recall the sharp, dark face that had brought him so much comfort as a child, who’s rare smiles he would have given the world for.
“I don’t know,” he relented, after a time.
“The dominus was not like the family I had served before. In the house of Galius, good behavior was rewarded, but punishment for disobedience was just. We were never struck in anger. The rules of the house of Flavius were very different.”
Nasir’s limbs were growing heavy and he knew that sleep would come soon, whether he wanted to or not. He would not leave the story unfinished, or else the ending would find him in his dreams.
“I had only been there a few days. It had been a hard summer, very dry. The dominus asked for water, but there was none, so I brought him wine. When I told him such, he struck me, with the back of his hand. I stumbled and dropped the jug, he hit me again. This time, I fell. My head struck the corner of a table. I don’t remember much after that, until I woke in my cell. Later, he punished me for that too.”
Nasir swallowed hard, trying not to see the faces that came so clearly to mind. Faces of friends gone before their time, faces of enemies who’s fates he still kept silent. It was not the whole of the story, but enough for now.
Agron’s fingers brushed the scar again.
“Would that I had sent the fuck to afterlife,” he growled.
Naisr leaned into the touch, his eyes were growing heavy as his limbs now.
“Scars are lessons, reminders of battles fought, lest we forget,” he murmured. They were words told to him long ago but he could not seem to conjure the face that had fist spoken them, a friend long gone.
Strong arms wrapped around his shoulders, pulling him close. He settled into the welcome warmth of the German’s chest and surrendered to sleep.