Pairings: 1x2x1, 3x4x3, 5xS
Warnings: yaoi, au (roman empire), violence, angst, sap, annoying Relena, Duo in a dress (very VERY briefly), ex-Gladiator Trowa, scummyTrieze, out-of-control OOC Zechs, mild Duo Trauma, liberties with Heero's character (he might be ooc, but I like him so I'm keeping him), historical INaccuracy, excessive footnotes, Quatre and Heero are brothers (all will be explained!), more liberties with age and build (no 98 lb. 15-year-olds in this fic), eventual citrus.

Historical notes: I wrote this while working on a paper for my archaeology course, and then I DID Roman archaeology, and I've been to Rome so some of this stuff in here is accurate, but some is still made up. I will try to point out which is which, This thing has more footnotes than my paper! I got an A on the paper, btw.

Summary: Set among the sex and politics of the Roman Empire. Heero Yuy, a Captain in the Roman Legion, acquires Sylvan bandit/mercenary Duo in an unusual manner. How will Duo cope with being a slave and moving to the biggest city in the world? Off the battlefield, Heero is a discontented aristocrat with mysterious origins. Duo shines with talents no one expected, and falls for the Captain with no heart to give him. In short, an epic romp through ancient Rome with the cast of Gundam Wing.

Chapter III
by Granate

Heero calmed himself as he walked home. As usual, his battle instincts had taken over. He was a bit shocked at himself, he had never used such force on a slave, it was against his beliefs to do so. What had angered him so quickly? Duo's rudeness to Howard, surely, but to be honest, it was more about the fact that wasn't used to being disobeyed.

When they reached home, Heero sent Duo away immediately to help Baltus unpack. He was pleased to find that Mona had a bath ready for him. She could tell something had upset him.

"Did things not go well?" she asked carefully.

"No," was all Heero offered.

"Can I bring you some wine maybe?" Mona suggested.

"Water will be fine, thank you. There will be enough wine at my father's tonight," he said wearily.

He sank into the steaming bath and tried to think clearly. He was concerned about Duo's behavior. If it continued to get worse, he would not be suitable for the jobs Heero had in mind for him. If he became terribly defiant, he may even have to be gotten rid of. Heero had also been hoping to train Duo in sword fighting so he could practice at home, but he couldn't do that if he couldn't trust Duo. On the other hand, after Heero forced him to wear the collar, he'd become quiet and withdrawn. This would also be unsuitable for Heero's plan. Things were not working out at all like he had hoped.

He tried to forget about his troubles with Duo and enjoy the company of his family at dinner. He told them the story of how he acquired Duo, to their great amusement.

"So, Heero, you felt him up?" teased his youngest sister, Julia. Duo's looks had not escaped her notice. She giggled as her stoic younger brother's face turned slightly red.

"I - I had to!" Heero replied, trying not to get flustered. The Winners laughed some more.

After dinner, guests started arriving for the party. A Winner party was always a grand affair. The entire Peacecraft family showed up. They were another huge power block in the senate, and longtime allies of the Winners. Zechs arrived with his wife Lucrezia Noin, who embraced Heero and kissed his cheek. She'd always been very impressed by the young man. They chatted warmly for a minute until Zechs' younger sister Relena interrupted them.

"Heero!" she gushed. "Thank the gods you are safe! Oh, I was so worried about you! You are so brave! What was your mission? Why won't you ever tell me anything?"

He gulped and tried to back away, but she grabbed his arm and kept whining. Luckily, he was saved by his old friend Wu Fei Chang.

"Excuse us," he said rudely, pulling Heero from Relena's possessive grasp and leading him away.

"Thanks Wu Fei," Heero breathed wearily, when they were safe in an alcove.

"I can't believe you sometimes!" Wu Fei exclaimed, folding his arms over his chest. "You conquer barbarian hordes for a living but you can't tell Relena Peacecraft to leave you alone."

"You have NO idea how persistent she is!" Heero said in his defense. He met Relena when he was 15, the first time he visited the Peacecrafts with Zechs. She had latched on immediately. She had this ‘I saw him first' attitude and the rumor was she was holding out to marry him. However, Heero had no interest in her, in fact he was a little overwhelmed by her.

"Anyway, welcome home, my friend," Wu Fei finally said.

"We miss you out there, Wu Fei," Heero stated. Wu Fei had gone to school with him and Quatre, and fought with him and Zechs in the military up until three years ago. He'd only been in the military while waiting for his powerful family to get him a court assignment, but he was a first class warrior.

"Thanks, but you know how happy I am in my current position," Wu Fei reminded his friend.

"I know, and you are good at what you do. I was just saying, we could use more soldiers like you," Heero said.

"Well, Captain. Are you ready to rejoin your own party now?" Wu Fei asked, hands on his hips.

"No!" Heero said and laughed despairingly. It was true, he hated parties, he'd never be ready.

"Captain! Everyone's wondering where you went!" a woman with honey-blonde hair and red lips poked her head around the corner.

"Doctor Sally," Heero greeted her with a feeble smile, though he was glad to see her.

"Sally!" Wu Fei stammered. "Woman, don't interrupt us! I - "

"Enough out of you," she said to Wu Fei. She gently took Heero by the arm, "I'm here to take the man of the hour back to the party. I'll deal with you later."

Wu Fei just stood there in shock and Heero thought the veins in his neck might burst. He chuckled a little. Wu Fei was obviously so in love with her, he didn't know what to do with himself. And Sally was just the type of woman he needed, too. There was no question they'd come to the party together, but who had asked whom was always a guess. It would be a while before the two of them would make anything official. In the Chang tradition, Wu Fei had been married very young. It was also tradition that the marriage be arranged. Although he hadn't chosen his first wife, Mei Ran, he'd grown to love her very much and taken her death very hard.

Heero was dragged back to the party and performed his role as a Winner Son. If it had just been his friends, Heero might have enjoyed the party, but as usual, his father had invited hordes of political allies and business partners. Heero didn't even know these people, and he thought of them as parasites. They were only here for the spectacle and to be seen at the Winner House shaking hands with the famous Captain. Some soldiers, like Zechs, would make a smooth transition from soldier to politician. Everyone expected it, even the Emperor, Trieze Kushrenada, had done it. But Heero had no interest in politics; he left that to his brother.

Just when Heero thought he couldn't take any more, his father gracefully ended the party. Winner parties never ‘died', they had to be broken up. Heero was grateful for the chance to relax with just Trowa and Quatre. He hadn't thought about it for the last few hours, but the trouble with Duo was nagging him again. He told his brother and his friend about what had happened at the metal forge. As he did, he realized how embarrassed he was of his own behavior.

Quatre looked duly concerned. "Heero, he seemed pleasant, what makes you think he needs a collar?"

"I'm afraid he'll run away," Heero answered.

Quatre nodded solemnly. "But didn't he only start acting up after he knew you were going to make him wear a collar?" he asked.

Heero narrowed his eyes. His brother was right as usual, but he didn't like having his judgment questioned. "I don't trust him," Heero stated through clenched teeth, hoping to put the argument to rest.

Trowa excused himself to use the latrine, but instead he made his way to Heero's house using the connecting servant corridors. He stayed out of sight so Baltus and Mona wouldn't see him. He didn't want Heero to know he had come. He found Duo brushing Heero's bay horse.

"Duo," Trowa said, startling the boy a little. Duo looked up at him with sad blue eyes. "I've come to give you some advice," Trowa said in his quiet voice. Duo could tell he wasn't one to talk much.

"The Winners are good people, no one in this city treats their servants better. Especially Heero. I should know," Trowa told him.

"But look what he did to me!" the vigor had returned to Duo's voice. Duo was pointing to the collar, but Trowa also noticed that one side of his face looked a little bit red.

"I know, he told us. It's very unlike him to do anything like that... But I wanted to tell you that cooperation is the best way to get yourself freed fast. Heero will free you, just don't let him down." With that, Trowa disappeared as mysteriously as he had come.

Duo mulled over Trowa's last statement as he curried the horse. Don't let him down? He thought about when he'd first been thrown into Heero's tent and he thought he'd been lucky. Heero had seemed ok then. Duo picked through the horse's mane and wondered just what had happened to change that. Maybe it was that he'd been acting like an idiot ever since. By trying to fight Heero, he only proved that he needed the collar.

He moved on to comb the horse's tail. But ‘don't let him down'? How was he supposed to do that? I don't even know what Heero wanted from him! Why should he have to impress that man anyway?

Duo quelled the rebellious urge that rose again. That tactic hadn't worked last time. Maybe it was time for another approach. He fed the horse the end of a carrot and closed the gate. He checked with Baltus to make sure he had done everything and retired to the small room Mona had prepared for him.


-Roman baths. They bathed in hot, cold, and tepid water in an order that I, embarrassingly, can't remember right now.

-Big, posh houses had dark, narrow passages running all over that were just for servants to come and go and not be in the way. They are like a maze!

on to chapter iv

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