Standard disclaimers apply about me not owning them and stuff. I suppose I should say, to those morons out there, that I also do not own the Roman Empire or any ideas there in. Ok? Are we clear? I do not own anything! Although, if anyone is selling rights to Shinkodusenki Gundam Wing or the Roman Empire, I'd be interested. I'd take The Republic too!!!

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. The beginning of this fic is from a more immature stage in my writing, and it shows, but I didn't have the energy to go and fix it ALL.

Author's Note: Well, my beloved readers, this is part 20. I know I say this all the time, but I am STILL absolutely thrilled that anyone actually reads this. I had no idea this fic would be this long, much less that my main characters would not even have gotten together after 20 parts! Honestly, if I didn't have readers *poke*ing me and otherwise encouraging me for more, I don't think I would have finished nearly this much. Big thanks to everyone who contributes ideas and details, your enthusiasm means a lot to me. Thanks so much to everyone reading this story. I think we'll have another 20 parts together easy, if you'll stick around. *smile*

Another Note: I know a lot of you were feeling bad for Heero after the last part. He's touched, I assure you. But, you should know that what he did was a major no-no. A lot of us these days talk back to our parents and argue with them to assert ourselves, but in Rome there was a concept called pater familias (correct me if I'm wrong, here). Basically, if your father was alive, you'd better be doing exactly what he said. In fact, you remained a subservient son until marriage and your own family, and often longer than that. As you can imagine, neither Heero nor Quatre want to get married anytime soon, so they will still be considered like 'children'. The oldest patriarch ran the family. Period. If your father said, "it's time to marry" he'd probably even pick your spouse, with or with out your approval, to set up political alliances or the like. So, what I'm trying to say is don't be all surprised if Heero doesn't get a big tearful apology or anything, especially after some of the things he said.

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 XX
by Granate

Somnus did not come to Duo that night. First he laid awake and watched Heero until it was too dark to see anything. Heero looked deep in sleep, and Duo was thankful that he'd managed to relax. When he couldn't see, Duo laid awake worrying about how the next day would go. First and foremost there was the sheer awkwardness of waking up here. That would be a barrel of fun. Then, Quatre would probably come back around, and maybe Master Winner would make an appearance. Any way he looked at it, the next day promised to be stressful and Duo was not looking forward to it.

He had managed to calm his mind enough to doze for a little while, only to be woken by Heero moving closer to him on the bed. It struck him as strange that he must have gotten so used to sleeping alone that just a little movement woke him. Once he was awake, he couldn't fall back asleep. Instead, his mind rehashed what as ass he'd made of himself by singing that song.

He shouldn't have sung it. Even if Heero needed to know how much he was loved last night, expressing his feeling like that was... It was just dangerous. And stupid! It could mess up their friendship and ruin a really good working relationship. Hopefully Heero would think it was just a story. Or perhaps he'd think Duo had taken certain "aspects" of the two of them and exaggerated to make an interesting tale. Yeah, certain aspects like the part where Duo - er, "the boy" was in love with the soldier. Duo bit back a groan. Oh yeah, he'd really fucked up.

Duo made sure to face away from Heero for most of the night. This kind of situation was just torture. It brought his longing for intimacy with Heero sharply to the surface of his thoughts, and it needled him all night. It had been the best feeling in the world to be there when Heero really needed him. To be allowed to sing just for him; to kiss him, even if just on the cheek. It had felt so right and perfect, but there was a bitterness to it all, knowing it was only temporary. Only for tonight. Tomorrow, the peaceable Winners would work out this mess, and everything would go back to normal. He would go back to sleeping alone in his little room downstairs. What did he have to offer Heero anyway? A song? Comfort, perhaps? Heero had little use for those things.

When the first rays of dawn lit the black sky, Duo became restless with the urge to get started with his morning chores. He wanted the solace of the stable and the quiet of the animals, the normalcy of his morning routine. But he told Heero he would be here, so he stayed where he was.

As the room lightened, Heero stirred. He opened his eyes to a familiar figure in bed with him. He recognized Duo immediately, and then remembered why he was there. He winced. His brain hadn't even let him enjoy the sight and the very idea of Duo in his bed before dredging up that whole fight last night. Couldn't he be allowed to pretend? Just for a few minutes? He saw Duo turn onto his side and face him.

"Heero, you awake?" Duo asked softly.

"Yeah," he answered regretfully. The raspy sound of his voice embarrassed him a little. "You weren't sleeping," he guessed.

"Nah, I'm used to being up at this time," Duo said with a gentle smile Heero could just barely make out in the dimness. "Do you want me to stay? Or should I go do my chores?"

Heero really wanted Duo to stay, but there were things that needed to be done. There always were. "I suppose you should go take care of the animals," he answered as he sat up and ran a hand through his hair. Having Duo here last night had been comforting, but now he felt embarrassed about the way he'd acted with his family and the way he'd relied on Duo. He shouldn't have troubled Duo with those things he said.

"Ok, you stay here and rest, then," Duo said, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. "I'll bring you breakfast."

"No, no, I think I'll get up," Heero said quickly. "I'll work up here. If any of my family comes over, send them away."

"Got it," Duo said, lacing his sandal. "Any breakfast requests?"

Heero just shook his head.

Duo left quietly. He fed the animals and then got started in the kitchen. He worked silently next to Mona, who had started without him and most certainly noticed his absence. Usually she was a happy, talkative woman, and he knew her silence was not entirely due to the fight last night.

"I just slept in the room, quit looking at me like that," Duo finally said.

Mona laughed a little in an unconvinced sort of way, but at least the tension was broken. "How is he this morning?" she asked.

"Well, he's up, but he doesn't want to see anyone," Duo said and paused. He wanted to tell Mona about the way he'd found Heero last night, but he wasn't sure he should. "Mona, how long have you known Heero?"

"All his life," she answered, "I helped raise all the children. Master Winner gave Baltus and me to Heero when he returned from Gaul and started a life here. I was glad for that. I worry about him the most, you know."

"Things got bad last night, Mona," Duo said seriously. "He wouldn't speak to anyone, even me. Finally, he let me in, and I found him sitting on the floor in the corner!"

Mona stopped chopping and wiped her hands on her apron. "I found him like that a few times when he was little," she said sadly. "He could be moody, even before the Master sent him away to be trained. If he got into trouble or a bad fight, he used to hide. In the kitchen was his favorite place, in the little space where the last shelves don't quite meet the corner of the wall."

Duo thought about the big kitchen in the main house. He was pretty sure he knew the place she was talking about. It was so small! He had trouble imagining Heero was ever small enough to fit in it.

"I'm not sure if anyone else knew he hid there," Mona continued, "but I always let him stay. Most of the time, he wouldn't talk to me, but one time I asked why he hid and he said because he didn't want to hurt anyone. He didn't like fighting. It broke my heart to see him sent off to be a soldier. That fight last night must have really been something."

"It just... came out of nowhere," Duo said. "Heero went over there, all pissed off. Master Winner was surprised and displeased with Quatre, and when Heero didn't give the answers he wanted to hear, he just got mad. Then Heero... said he isn't really a Winner, and his father slapped him."

Mona gasped and raised a hand to her mouth. "I've never seen him strike one of the children!" she exclaimed. "Why would Heero say such a thing? Oh, this is worse than I thought!"

Duo frowned. "I think it will be ok, at least I hope so. If there's one thing I've learned since I got here, it's that the Winners can't stand to be upset with each other. I'm sure they'll work it out today," Duo said, picking up the tray. He left Mona to worry by herself and took the tray upstairs to Heero.

Duo knocked on the heavy wooden door, saying, "Just me!"

"Come in, Duo," was Heero's quiet reply. Duo entered and shut the door behind him. He found Heero at the writing desk reading some papers, still wearing the same rumpled tunic he'd fallen asleep in.

"Working?" Duo asked, setting the tray on the corner of the desk.

Heero put the papers down. "No," he said, "just some correspondence."

"Well, it can wait because breakfast is served," Duo smiled. It suddenly occurred to him that he usually ate with Heero, but today he probably wouldn't get to. "Ok, then I guess I'll just be up to get the tray a little later," he said, heading for the door." He stopped and looked at Heero suspiciously, "You're not going to stay up here all day, are you?"

Heero just kind of looked away. Duo sighed. "You need to talk to them sometime," Duo said gently, lingering at the door.

"I know, and I will," Heero said, "I just need a little time to think of how I can fix this. Please just send them away for now. I'll find them when I'm ready."

"All right," Duo conceded. He closed the door behind him and found ways to busy himself around the house while keeping an eye out for visitors.

Quatre was the first to come. Duo intercepted him in the peristyle before he got to the stairs.

He saw Duo and asked, "Is he up in his room?" Quatre looked more haggard then Duo had ever seen, and he guessed last night could not have been easy on Quatre either.

"Yes, and I spoke to him last night and this morning," Duo answered. "He's ok, he just wants to be left alone for now."

"He spoke to you? That's good," Quatre observed, making for the stairs again, "because I really need to talk to him."

Duo carefully blocked his access to the top floor. "He isn't ready to see anyone just yet," he said carefully.

"You mean he isn't dressed or still in bed?" Quatre frowned. "I don't care, I just really need to speak with him."

"No I mean he doesn't want to see anyone," Duo said, still firmly in the way.

"Damn it, Duo!" Quatre burst out. "Let me by! He's my brother, for the gods' sake!"

Duo didn't budge, but he did worry for a moment that Quatre was going to pull rank as Master and try to force Duo to do as he said. However, Duo was determined to defend Heero. Heero was his real master.

"Not now, Quatre," he urged, "don't push him, it won't get you anywhere."

Quatre sighed heavily and backed off. "You're right," he said. "We pushed him enough last night. I pushed with my immediacy, and my refusal to see his side of things. And Father pushed with his frustrations over my announcement." Quatre paused and looked apologetically at Duo. "He warned me, Duo. Heero predicted exactly how Father would react. I had to have known... I just didn't want to see it. I just wasn't thinking clearly. I didn't think he'd do it right then, at dinner! And of course, Heero had gone into the whole evening with a bad attitude..."

He ran a hand through his blond hair. Unlike Heero's dark, unruly hair, Quatre never had a lock out of place. "What a nightmare," Quatre summed up. "I'm going to see Trowa this afternoon, what am I going to tell him? He's going to be worried about Heero."

"Just give him some time," Duo advised, "I know he wants to work this out."

"Ok," Quatre said weakly, and turned to leave. "Please have him come find me when he's ready." Duo promised to do so.

It was only an hour before Master Winner entered the house.

"Good morning, Sir," Duo said politely as he approached.

"Show me to my son," he said without his usual politeness. Normally he would have stopped for a friendly conversation with the performer who made his parties so popular.

"I'm sorry, Sir, Heero does not wish to see visitors," Duo said. He tried not to sound as nervous as he felt.

"Don't be ridiculous," the man frowned. "I will see him now."

"I can't do that, Sir," Duo insisted. He held firm when the Master's eyes narrowed down at him.

"Stop this nonsense. Of course you can, and you will," Master Winner ordered.

"He has instructed that all visitors be turned away," Duo told him resolutely. "I will not go against his wishes."

Master Winner observed the young slave with a mixture of shock, indignation, and well, confusion. He could never remember a slave standing up to him before. However, it was true that this slave belonged to Heero and Master Winner could in no way force him to do anything. It displeased him to be disobeyed, yet at the same time it pleased him that Heero had slave loyal enough to stand up to the master of the house.

"Fine, then," he said curtly, "I see you will not be swayed from following his orders. As much as it irritates me, I'll just have you tell him I called."

"I will, Sir," Duo said, bowing a little. He let a sigh of relief escape when the Master retreated to his own house.

However, Duo would not be alone for long. Out of the connecting hallways strode a Winner sister Duo did not often have the pleasure of seeing. Augusta, the eldest, walked gracefully towards him.

"Come with me, Duo," she instructed, motioning toward the peristyle, "we have a few things to discuss."

Duo did exactly as the Lady bid, not even knowing what this was about. She was married to a very powerful man and carried as much status as a woman could. Mere words made Duo jump into action.

She sat primly and looked to Duo. "A glass of lemonade, please," she requested. Duo got it and returned.

"Sit there," she invited, gesturing elegantly to the seat opposite her. Duo sat and waited for her to go on.

"My father has already informed me that you will not allow anyone to see Heero," she started. Duo wanted to insert that those were Heero's orders, but he remained silent. "But, that is not why I came. I came to talk to you."

"Me, ma'am?" Duo asked in confusion.

"Yes. I have heard from both my brothers about you. My sister Iria adores you, as does little Quaterine. Because of your importance to them, Duo, you've become a part of this family," she told him. "I want to... explain. No, apologize for last night. That is not how we are."

"I know that, Madam Augusta!" Duo assured her. "This is a wonderful family."

She nodded slightly. "We make mistakes just like everyone else. I just thought you should know how much we love Heero. He is our brother!" she said emphatically.

Duo bit his bottom lip. Why did Augusta feel she had to justify to him of all people? Why would a wealthy and proud woman need to explain anything to a slave?

"We've loved him so much since the day he was brought into this house. You should have seen Mother with him," she recalled with a smile. "She wouldn't put him down. She kept him with her all day, singing to him and playing with him. I was twelve years old at the time, so I remember it well. Mona and I got to take care of him too, but Mother could hardly leave him alone. And you should have seen him smile at her! All cheeks and gums. He had lighter hair at first, you know. I know mother and father were hoping his coloring would sort of match the family so it wouldn't be so obvious he was adopted. He wasn't here two weeks when all the light, downy hair fell out and thick dark hair replaced it. Been unmanageable ever since!" She paused to chuckle, "He used to scrunch up his face when Mona combed it - IF she could catch him!"

Duo grinned, fully able to imagine it. In fact, he had seen Mona following Heero with a comb not too long ago. He had finally locked himself in the office to avoid her.

"When Mother discovered she was pregnant, she just knew it was a boy," Augusta continued. 'My boys' she called them. She wanted them to be best of friends, to grow up healthy, strong, brave, and kind. She frequently made sacrifices at the temples for their well-being. I went with her sometimes, and it was something I kept up after she died. Giving birth to eight babies took its toll on her, I think. It is unusual for male children to be named after their mother, but Father loved her more than anything, so he named Quatre after her. And Iria named her daughter after Mother as well."

She paused again for a sip of her drink before saying, "After last night you must think Father is a tyrant."

Duo was about to say that he didn't, but she continued before he could. "I was married only a few years after mother passed away, so I was not around when Father decided to have Heero specially trained. Iria remembers it better; we've talked about it. Heero showed much promise with swords, and Quatre was naturally gifted at rhetoric. That was why Heero was chosen for military training. Not that Quatre's military record isn't impressive as well, he was just better suited to strategy and tactical matters. His accomplishments are what have allowed him to become a senator so young.

"I believe that Father only did what he thought was best for Heero; he must have thought that he could give Heero an edge by hiring a swordsmaster for him. I know he regrets it now. As soon as that man proposed to take Heero out of this house, Father should have canceled the whole thing. We were all shocked by the changes it caused in him, and Father blames himself. Please don't think badly of him! He only had the best intentions, he always has. And he has never hit any of us before. He's never even threatened to."

"I understand, Madam Augusta," Duo said reassuringly. "What do you think he will say to Heero?"

"He will certainly apologize for slapping Heero. Iria has threatened never to speak to him again," she chuckled a little. "Father does not like to be disobeyed, so he will probably expect an apology from Heero, but I doubt he'll push the marriage issue again soon. In case Heero really does intend never to marry, I've suggested to Father that he adopt one of my sons. I'm sure my husband, Antonius, will agree; he and Father have always gotten on well."

"That's a very good idea, Ma'am," Duo agreed. This might help take the pressure off of both Quatre and Heero.

"Well, I don't want to see either of my brothers unhappy, nor do I enjoy seeing my family quarrel," she said. She stood then, and smoothed her dress. "Please relay what I've said to my brother, and make sure he talks to Father today," she told Duo.

"I'll try my best," he answered, standing as well.

"I know you will," she said with a small smile.

Somnus - the God of Sleep (Greek: Morpheus).

-A Roman foot was pretty close to ours in length (12in, or 31mm).
-Daughters were usually named after their fathers, but never a son after a mother!! Although... then he might technically be named after his grandfather... *shrug* Sometimes, sisters were named in numerical order, so ‘Quaterine' would be appropriate for a fourth daughter! Also NINE kids in a family was way too many, but the Winners have an outrageous family in the show too.

And the adoption thing again. Adopting someone already in the family would have been a lot more common than Heero's kind of adoption. I'm thinking Augusta's sons are probably only a few years younger than Quatre and Heero since she was married off only a few years after Quatre was born.

Don't forget! NO lemonade!! XD Why do I insist on doing that???? (Actually it's because all they had besides water except wine, just watered down to different levels, and I find that unwieldly for the purposes of this fic.)

One thing I didn't think to do until now was make them all older than 20! When I was first writing GW, I had more trouble imagining them as too much older than 15.

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