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.
Duo's morning chores included the animals again. He was getting a knife from the kitchen, when he found himself watching Heero, who was eating breakfast alone in the garden. He had a huge, loving family, loyal servants, and judging by the size of that party last night, hundreds of friends. What was he doing alone, Duo wondered.
"He's handsome, isn't he?" a chipper voice behind him said.
Duo whirled around to find himself face to face with a bright-eyed girl about his own age. It was Hilde, whom he had met the day before. "NO! I mean I guess but - I wasn't - " he stammered.
"Yeah, well good luck my friend!" she chattered on anyway. "He doesn't see anybody! Never has visitors, never seen at the brothels, never sleeps with the servants. Oh, but it's not like people aren't trying! Let me tell you about -"
"That's NOT what I was thinking!" Duo finally cut in, exasperated.
"Oh! Sorry!" she giggled, covering her mouth.
"You're Hilde, right?" he asked, relieved to be on safer ground.
"That's right!" she smiled.
"How long have you been here?" he asked.
"Oh, long enough to catch you gawking at Heero for the last few minutes!" she teased.
"I WAS NOT! And that's not what I meant! I meant how long have you been in this house," he clarified, trying not to blush.
"OH! Sorry!" she giggled again. "About two years. I got here the same way you did. Heero gave me to his sister Iria."
"Really? Where are you from?" Duo asked.
"Way north of here. I'm Germanic," she said.
"Uhhh... Do you... like it here?" Duo asked unsteadily.
She knew what he was asking. "Hey, let me tell you, it could be worse, my friend. I know a lot of servants from other households now and some of the stories they have! The Winner House is probably the best place to be. Iria will probably free me when Quaterine doesn't need me anymore. They are so polite, even to slaves! Have you noticed they always say ‘please' and ‘thank you'? Especially Heero. I don't know why."
"But look what he did to me!" Duo pointed to the collar.
She looked sympathetic, "Yeah, I heard. That's so unlike him... I'm sorry."
Duo sighed and Hilde tried to be cheery again, "But it'll come off, right? I mean, it can't be forever! Right?"
"Yeah," Duo said gloomily, "he says I have to prove myself first. Why the hell should I have to prove myself to him anyway?"
"Well, you'll never get anywhere with that attitude. Or that bad language!" she said, confirming his thoughts. "Just get over it and move on, that's all I can tell you." She found the bowl she was looking for and waved goodbye.
She had said the very same things Trowa had said. He decided to try and be his usual jovial, positive self, although he didn't feel like it. He felt like taking one of Heero's precious swords and hacking the shit out of one of those beautiful imported marble pillars.
Heero read over morning military reports and messages as he ate breakfast. He summoned Baltus.
"What chores did you give Duo for this morning?" he asked.
"He's taking care of the animals. It's getting a little hard on my back these days," Baltus admitted.
Heero almost choked on his lemonade. "Does he still have all his fingers?" he asked. He had raised his dog, Diana, as he had been raised. She refused to put up with most people, plus she was pregnant. His horses Ala and Ares weren't much better.
"He's doing just fine, actually. The horses are comfortable with him, and Diana seems to tolerate him," Baltus replied.
"Hn. Perfect then. That's a good job for him for now. I can't have him doing errands until he knows his way around, which is the plan for today. Could you send him to my office, please?" Heero requested as he finished his meal.
Heero was still not sure what he was going to say or how he was going to act. He knew he had to address the incident yesterday because, the truth was, he felt bad. And he knew that things between him and Duo could never be comfortable until he did.
Done with breakfast, he made his way to the office. Duo was not there yet. He sat at his desk and tapped a finger impatiently. His stomach felt a little upset. Had he eaten something bad? Or could it be that he was... nervous? Heero Winner Yuy did not get nervous. Not for anyone.
There was a timid knock on the open door and Duo poked his head in. "Uh... Good morning!" he said with a smile.
"Please come in," Heero invited him in with much relief, he seemed to be in a good mood. "Sit," he invited, motioning to a chair.
Duo sat and blinked at him expectantly. "Are we still going for a tour, or is this about something else?" he asked.
"Yes, I will be showing you around today," Heero told him. He paused and took a breath. "But first I would like to ... apologize. I should not have been so hard on you yesterday."
Duo was speechless. He had not been expecting an apology from Heero. He finally found some words, "Well, I was being a big jerk to Howard. I feel terrible about that."
"You'll have a chance to talk to him today when we stop by there," Heero told him.
"Good," Duo nodded. "Now, how about you take this thing off and I'll be good, ok?" he said with a hopeful grin.
Heero replied with a tiny amused smile, "Sorry, that's not how it works."
"Damn," Duo said without thinking.
"That's another thing we have to address," Heero reprimanded him. "You can not use such bad language in public, it's crude."
"No problem," Duo answered.
"Stand up," Heero commanded as he came around the desk. Duo stood. "You wear the Winner belt, and my name around your neck," Heero reminded him. "When you are out in public, you are a representative of not just of me, but of my family. Remember that. You may hate me, you may despise me, but you may never disrespect my family. If you do anything to disrespect or disgrace their name, you will be punished. If it continues, you will be gotten rid of. Understood?"
Duo swallowed as Heero looked him right in the eyes. "Understood," he responded.
"Good. Now, follow me," Heero said and led him to the door. They rounded the corner and passed the main house.
"Are there always so many visitors in your father's house? Who are they?" Duo asked as they passed the entrance the Winner house.
"They are my father's dependants and partners. Anyone he's freed or helped in business or politics, or anyone who wants his help. They gather everyday, its customary," Heero answered.
"Why don't you have any?" Duo wanted to know.
"I send them away. I don't want to see people every day. They all know that," Heero shrugged.
"So, when you free me, you don't want me hanging around everyday?" Duo joked. He got no reply.
Their first stop was to make an appointment with Howard's forge to have weapons and armor cleaned. Heero had already selected the items and left them in his atrium. Typically he paid to have the apprentices and slaves bring a cart by and pick up his belongings. Duo tried to apologize, but Howard just put a hand on his shoulder and told him not to be a stranger.
After that, Heero took Duo all over the city. To the senate building and forum, in case he had to deliver a message to Quatre or Master Winner, to the military headquarters, past the emperor's palace, by Wu Fei's house, past the Peacecraft House, to the odeon and amphitheater, and to the public baths.
They stopped in to meet Dr Sally at her practice, Wu Fei at his office in the courthouse, Zechs and Noine in their home, and Trowa at the palestra. Finally they tackled the trader's market.
Later, Heero relaxed in the peristyle with his brother over cool drinks.
"How did it go today with Duo?" Quatre asked, pouring Heero another glass.
"He is as insolent as ever. It was more like a day in town with my 4-year-old nephew," Heero sighed exhaustedly. Quatre chuckled. He noticed that Heero seemed more amused and content than cross.
"I told him to be polite, he asked Dr. Sally all kinds of disgusting questions. I told him to keep quiet, he talked armor with Zechs for 15 minutes. I told him to walk behind me, he charged ahead constantly. I told him to behave, he ran around the palestra like a wild animal and splashed kids in the public bath. I thought I was going to lose him in the amphitheater!" Heero rubbed his forehead, "But the marketplace was the worst. He got excited about the littlest things: colored baskets, monkeys, parrots, rugs, paint, hand-tooled scabbards, goat's milk, for god's sake. And he tried to get me to buy every sweet thing available!"
"Well, did you?" Quatre asked with a smile as he stirred his drink. He chuckled imagining Duo dragging Heero all over the market place. It surprised him that his stringent brother would tolerate this.
"A few," Heero admitted. Even for him, it was hard to say no to Duo when his eyes got so big...
"So he's impudent, but it sounds like his demeanor is better," Quatre reasoned.
"Yes, that's true," Heero agreed, "he was friendly and humorous, everyone seemed to like him."
"How about the ultimate test?" Quatre asked getting Heero's full attention. "Since you've already said you can't come to my get-together tomorrow night, it would be courteous of you to send some help," Quatre reminded his brother. "How about Duo?"
Heero looked skeptical, "I still don't know."
"You won't know until you try!" Quatre declared. "And I think it would make him feel important and trusted, you know? A vote of confidence like that can do wonders."
"But he's still so disobedient," Heero countered.
"But isn't he what you wanted? I thought you said you wanted someone sociable, confident, and vibrant. Isn't he all those things?" Quatre asked and sipped his drink.
Heero shook his head. "How can you always be right?" he asked. "Have I only known you for 20 years? Not longer?"
"Al right, I'll send Duo tomorrow night." Heero agreed.
-Animal names: Diana = huntress goddess, Ala = wing, Ares = war (god of). I'm sooooooo clever! ^_^
-Language - the upper class/well-educated did NOT use bad language. The romans were all about orating and speech-making and being eloquent. I don't know what ‘bad language' would be in Latin, do I just substituted with English swear words. *shrug*
-Peristyle - private walled garden in a house. Could be big enough for shade trees, or grape vines, often had fountains and murals. Only good friends would be allowed to visit here.