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22 December 2008 @ 07:35 pm
Cleonis and Felix: Slim Pickings (Part I)  
Who: Cleonis and Felix
Where: …around
When: recently

Cleonis doesn't know why he's in line, but he's positive that whatever the reason is it's still a waste of his time. He's impatient and annoyed, shoulder to shoulder with other men who all look just as restless as he is. The weather is cooling but the sun is still hot against his skin, bare save for a pair of bracae. He had been practicing his sword work before interrupted by the order to line up, and he's eager to get back to it.

Cleonis is a little further down on the line from where Felix has started, showing up after waiting five more minutes longer than he needed to in the shade, simply because he felt like it. He's accompanied by his oldest brother's personal slave, Brutus or Julius or something or other, who looks as restless and unhappy to be there as the men standing in line. Compared to all those around him, Felix stands out like a light among the shadows, his skin smooth and milky, his clothing immaculate. He's considerably shorter, slighter than the men standing at attention, but he walks among them like he can easily take any of them down with a flick of his wrist. He's walking down the line of them, looking over each man critically. "Too old," he mutters aloud, not caring for who might hear. "Too fat. Too ugly, ew." He lets out a heavy sigh, bored. "Is this really the best you have?" he asks, turning to the man in charge.

Cleonis rolls his eyes a little, hearing Felix and realizing what the lineup is about finally. Some brat looking for a slave. Cleonis knows he must be a high-profile brat, not everyone can afford to buy a gladiator. Cleonis lifts his chin and stands still as Felix nears, wanting the boy to just pass over him and be done with it.

Felix's lips curls, starting to go down the line a little more hurriedly, anxious to simply leave now. His father had given him the money for a new slave, but the only reason he'd agreed to go was the prospect of having a little fun, but none of these men are taking his bait, and he's quite bored now. He stops suddenly, turning to a random man in the line and looking him over. "You there," he says, looking up at Cleonis' face disinterestedly. "What do you think about all of this?"

Cleonis doesn't look to Felix, staring dead ahead instead. He shrugs his shoulders, just as disinterested. "I think you're wasting my time," he says simply.

Felix's brows lift, a little surprised the man had spoken so frankly. Most others wouldn't have dared to. "You either don't realize who I am, or don't care. Which are you? Ignorant or stupid?"

Cleonis really has to resist the urge to roll his eyes. They flicker slightly, but he stops himself from going forward with the gesture. "Neither, sir, just busy," he says simply.

Felix's eyes narrow in consideration. He looks Cleonis over without much shame, as if the man were really nothing more than meat on a rack. He leans back then, lips twisting into a wicked little smirk. "You can send the rest back," he calls over his shoulder to the man in charge, his eyes still on Cleonis. "I think I just found an amusing way to kill the rest of the afternoon."

"...You're interested in that one, sir?" the man attending to the slaves says a little warily, frowning at Felix. "That is Herodotus, sir, he is the master's best fighter. I do not think he will part with that one."

Felix's face scrunches up in annoyance, eyes rolling skyward. "He will if he knows what's good for him," he huffs, obviously thinking it won't be much of a problem. "It's his own fault for putting him in the line, anyway." He looks Cleonis over again, sizing him up. "Besides, I think the best deserves to be guarded by the best, don't you?" He looks to the man in attending with a sweet, coy little smile, lashes fluttering.

The man nods immediately and bows his head, intimidated easily by Felix. The other gladiators are being herded away already, but Cleonis stands in his place, jaw clenched and chin lifted. He is not pleased, and it's very obvious. His hands curl to fists at his sides, and he considers throwing a punch at Felix. Maybe that will piss the boy off enough to reconsider taking him.

Felix smiles to himself, smug in the way that shows he obviously didn't expect any real opposition to his whims. He walks around Cleonis, surveying him shamelessly. When he's back in front of him, his nose wrinkles, displeased with the fact that the man is taller, and therefore looks down on him. "What are you called?" he asks, sounding bored.

"Cleonis Herodotus," he says simply, stiffly. He sounds very much like he's about to throw a punch, practically growling with his anger.

Felix looks down to the man's tightly clenched fists, looking positively giddy. "I'm going to call you Cleo," he says decisively, leaving no real room for the other to protest. "And you," he says, lips spreading into a wicked little grin, "you are going to call me 'beautiful.' Can you do that for me, Cleo?"

Cleonis swallows thickly to keep from snapping, curling his fists a little tighter. Finally he shakes his head, turning his dark eyes towards Felix. "No. You are not my master, and you won't be. I make too much money, they won't sell me to you," Cleonis says simply, sounding more confident than he feels.

Felix leans back slightly, surprised for a moment by the intensity of the other man's eyes. He looks unsure for a second, but hastily he struggles to recover, chin tipping back, chest puffing out. "We'll just see about that," he says darkly. He turns to the servant accompanying him, practically glowering. "See to the details. Give the owner whatever he wants. "Cleo and I are going to have a little walk."

Cleonis honestly feels himself beginning to panic. If he's bought into slavery again, he'll stop making money. Felix is more than a bothersome inconvenience - he is a threat to Cleonis' family. Cleonis shakes his head as the servant goes to arrange for Cleonis' purchase, looking from the retreating servant and back to Felix. "You don't know that he'll agree to it. I won't go anywhere without my master's orders," he says, a last-ditch effort to shake Felix off.

"I'm as good as your master now," Felix says, rolling his eyes. He looks bothered, but in truth he couldn't be happier. Cleonis certainly won't be a bore for him. "Is my beauty that intimidating that you can't even suffer through a walk with me?" he asks, quirking up a brow.

Cleonis clenches his fists so hard his knuckles crack, and he shakes his head, stepping forward a little. He isn't sure he has a choice, and judging by this boy's status, he has a feeling Felix could just as easily order him dead as buy him. He wants desperately to get away from it, but his only hope is that his master will refuse to sell him.

Felix arches a brow, looking unimpressed with Cleonis' reluctance. "Well?" he asks. "Are you sure you're the best? Because it doesn't even look like you know how to walk."

Cleonis turns cold eyes on Felix, narrowed and angry. He lifts his brows slightly though, trying very hard not to let loose. "Would you like me to lead? I didn't know you were looking for someone to follow. If you want a walk, then walk."

"That you should follow me is obvious enough," Felix scoffs, rolling his eyes. "Do you need a leash too? They did say you were all practically animals."

Cleonis bristles and lifts his chin a little higher, unimpressed by Felix's insults. "I will walk when you walk," he grinds out, with a very "end of discussion" tone.

Felix makes a face at Cleonis, just as unimpressed. He turns on his heel, though, starting down the path he and his servant had come from. He can't wait till Cleonis is finally officially his, then he can wipe that stupid look off the man's face.

Cleonis follows, footsteps heavy on the dirt as he keeps as close to walking beside Felix as he can while still technically being behind him, as his station commands. He's seething with anger, praying to every singe god he's ever heard of that the sale doesn't go over. Out of the corner of his eye, though, he can see Felix's servant scurrying over, looking a little smug himself, and he can only imagine the worst has happened.

Felix stops as soon as the man makes it to them, lifting a brow. "Well?"

"It's done," says the servant, a little breathless and pink in the cheeks.

"Wonderful," beams Felix, smug. "You may go then." He reaches over, giving Cleonis' bicep a condescending little pat. "Cleo and I will find our way back after a little chat."

The servant looks only too happy to obey, scurrying away back to his own master. Felix turns to Cleonis then, grinning. "Now," he says. "What do you call me..?"

Cleonis' heart is actually pounding, and he thinks it might be because he's terrified. He's suddenly legally the property of a complete asshole, and there's nothing he can do about it. He lifts his chin, staring down at Felix, being sure to remind the boy just who is the bigger man - literally. He says nothing, biting his tongue to keep from calling Felix something vulgar.

Felix's lips pull into a pout, displeased. "Now he's forgotten how to speak," he mutters, looking disgusted. He starts to turn back towards the path, walking along it idly. "Perhaps you've taken one too many hits to the head, Cleo."

"Perhaps," Cleonis growls, following, absolutely itching to slam his fist into Felix's face. "Perhaps you should get your money back and leave."

"I think not," says Felix, without even looking over his shoulder at Cleonis, picking up his pace so he remains ahead. "In fact, I doubt you were that expensive, Cleo. You said you were the best? Yes, I think we actually did your master a favor." Absently he picks at his toga, taking up flecks of dirt they kick up with their feet. "By taking his best, we're saving him the money he uses to pay you." He finally looks over his shoulder, meeting Cleo's eyes with a dark little smirk. "You're dispensable."

Cleonis squares his strong shoulders, skin tanned with darker sunspots along his shoulders from all of the time he has spent in the heat and sun. He shakes is head a little, but it's no use. It's already done - he belongs to Felix now. "The Romans will not be pleased. I am a favorite. It's unpatriotic of you to remove me from the fight."

Felix rolls his eyes, making a disgusted sound in the back of his throat. "That might have worked on my father and brothers," he mutters under his breath. He takes a sudden sharp turn, veering off the path.

Cleonis follows, making note of that. Maybe if he says the same thing to one of them, he'll be sent back. "Where are you going?" he demands, even if he has no right to.

"Followers don't ask questions, they follow," snaps Felix irritably, even more so than before. Apparently, the subject of his family is not a pleasant one. "And I still haven't heard you call me beautiful yet," he adds, an afterthought. "Let's hear it."

Cleonis grits his teeth, warring against the bit of common sense in him that says he should just say it. Common sense loses quickly, and Cleonis says flatly, "No."

Felix throws Cleonis a dirty look, his cheeks turning pink with embarrassment. What an insufferable man! Felix almost hates him, if he weren't so much more entertaining than anything else he would have done that day. "It's astounding how your stubbornness hasn't yet gotten you killed."

"It does well for me actually," Cleonis says dryly. "Refusing to pander to idiots generally is a wise decision." He shouldn't have said that last bit, and he knows it, but he really can't help himself from being absolutely venomous towards Felix.

Felix's cheeks turn even pinker, splotched with red. "Well, the day is young," he returns scathingly. He's so busy glaring at Cleonis that he doesn't see the little ditch in front of him, and he stumbles in his steps, nearly toppling over but he manages to catch himself just in time.

Cleonis feels way too smug about that little stumble, not lifting a hand to help keep Felix upright. He wishes he did fall, but he supposes he can't have everything. "It's a shame you can't manage to be an annoying bitch and watch where you're going at the same time. Most people learned to multi-task as toddlers," he says dryly.

Felix straightens instantly, his look dark and dangerous, but it loses a bit of its bite when his blush betrays his embarrassment. "'Most people?'" he echoes, scoffing haughtily. He pushes forward, clearly not paying attention to where he's leading them, more focused on moving ahead of Cleonis. "What experience would you have with 'most people,' being what you are? The filthy litter you were born with doesn't count, you know."

"I am certain I have met more men than you have in your sheltered existence," Cleonis says with a scoff. "I have quite a bit of experience with most people. You are the biggest idiot I have ever met, though. Congratulations on that."

Felix makes a faint, derisive sound at that. He looks to his hand, idly flicking away the dirt that gathered there from the dust he kicked up when he stumbled. "You obviously haven't met most of the senators," he mutters, just as dry. He runs his hands through his hair, straightening his clothing. "Besides, those men you met weren't men, they were animals."

Cleonis scoffs softly, but he says nothing more about it. Felix is a waste of his time. This is all a waste of his time. He should be working, he should be leaning, he should be getting better at fighting. He shouldn't be with this stupid brat in the middle of nowhere. "Where the hell are you going? Is this the first time you've been let out of your crib or something?" Cleonis sneers.

"The only one who's been in a cage here is you," Felix returns, marching up to him. He presses a finger right in the middle of Cleonis' chest, pushing a bit, mostly to gauge how strong the other man really is (not to say Felix is strong. At all).

The push barely registers to Cleonis, not even swaying him slightly. He stares down at Felix threateningly, arching a brow slowly. "Don't touch me," he finally growls after a long, awkward pause.

Felix's lips purse, mildly impressed, but struggling not to show it. "Call me beautiful," he says in return, mirroring Cleonis' arched brow. His finger remains on the man, tentatively sweeping a little pattern along the middle of his chest. A part of him is frightened Cleonis would actually snap, but another part of him can't help but he excited to see what the other man would actually do. Hardly anyone ever dares to do anything around him.

Cleonis' hand moves in a flash, grabbing Felix's wrist in a bone-crushing grip, pulling his finger away from Cleonis' skin. He doesn't release Felix's wrist, squeezing tighter, feeling the bones under the boy's skin rub against each other. "Do. Not. Touch me," he snarls.

Rather suddenly, Felix realizes why he probably should have listened to his common sense. He yelps in pain, certainly never having been handled like that before in his life. He reaches up in panic, pressing his free hand against Cleonis' chest, trying to push him away. "Ow ow ow owowowOW let go!!"

Cleonis releases Felix with a shove, pushing the boy backwards, knocking his hand off Cleonis' chest. His teeth are gritted, and he's well beyond furious at this point. He spits at Felix's feet, refusing to show any respect at all for the boy, even if he is Cleonis' master now. "Pathetic little boy," he hisses.

Felix falls to the ground with the shove, landing right on his bum, eliciting another sharp yelp. Felix yelps again, managing to scoot back just enough that Cleonis' spit doesn't reach him. He sits there in the dirt, looking stunned, his clothes and hair and skin dirty and a mess. He's clutching his throbbing wrist, looking up at Cleonis in mute shock. And then, "You bastard! I could have you killed for that!"

Cleonis is too furious to take that to mind currently. He just smiles mockingly, staring down at Felix and crossing his powerful arms over his stomach. "And waste all that money? What a shame. Maybe you should just take me back while you still can."

Felix's eyes burn with his own fury, made worse with his embarrassment. He jumps up to his feet, kicking dirt towards Cleonis like a petulant child. "You'll never see that place again, asshole, not if I can help it! And this!" He holds up his wrist, other hand still firmly clamped around it, as if it were bleeding. "Oh you'll fix this personally just you wait, just as soon as you get us back to the Villa," he adds in a rush, standing straight with his chin in the air, trying to look as dignified as possible.

"I'm a fighter, not a doctor," Cleonis says flatly, eyeing Felix as if he - and his tantrum - are truly ridiculous. "If you want me to lessen the pain, I can break your arm. Sure you won't notice it then."

"Shut up," Felix snaps, turning away from Cleonis, sniffling faintly. He's never felt such pain in his life but he refuses to appear even weaker in front of the other man. "Just hurry up and get us back now. Be useful for once."

"You want me to get us back?" Cleonis scoffs, laughing at that. "You led the way, don't you know where you went? Or... you must have been too busy with the bitch thing, right?"

"I distinctly remember telling you to shut up," says Felix, still with his back turned to Cleonis. "You don't need to talk to take us back."

"Why should I take you back? I thought just wait until you starve to death out here and then say we got lost. Considering your weak constitution, I don't think you'd last long. Though I suppose you could live off the lot of the land for a while," Cleonis says, aware he's only prodding Felix further, but too furious to care.

Felix spins around, looking incredulous. "You're more of an idiot than I thought," he scoffs, his eyes only faintly shining from his unshed tears. "Even dead, I am still worth much more than you! If you return to the Villa without me, it's your bones they'll be using to bury me in." He marches over to a stray boulder, just big enough for him to sit on. He crosses his arms, ignoring the pain shooting up his wrist as he waits.

Cleonis continues to stand, not really sure of the way back himself. He glances over the hills and trees around the vast grounds of the villa, but he can't see the buildings anywhere. "What motivation do I have to return to the Villa at all? I could knock you out and run off right now."

Felix grows silent, eyes widening a bit when he realizes the truth in that. He looks away, chewing on his lip for a moment, the rigidity of his posture slowly diminishing. He looks to Cleonis again, looking begrudging. "If you return to the stadium as you are now, they'll know you did something to me. If.. If you return me to the Villa, I'll let you return to your former position."

Cleonis narrows his eyes, not sure he trusts that promise at all. "What makes you think I know how to get back? I was a bit focused on the fact that you just destroyed my life, I wasn't watching where the fuck you were going."

"Can't you smell the way back or something?" Felix asks, scoffing. He starts to look over his wrist, pouting at the bruises already beginning to form. "And you're being dramatic. What life could I have possibly ruined? You were bloody entertainment."

"I made money," Cleonis points out harshly. "Money my family needs because they're starving to death, and you - you just took away their only source of income, because you're a fucking brat and you wanted... a gladiator for a slave, which is about the most absurd thing I've ever heard."

Felix looks closely at the dark marks around his wrist, poking tentatively at it. He winces, then pouts deeper. "Unlike you, Cleo, my life is actually worth something to protect," he says, giving him a dry look. He rolls his eyes. "My judgment's failing me, though, because I apparently picked the biggest sucker in that stadium. You really think your family got that money? Fool."

Cleonis looks away frown Felix, expression growing darker. "Some of it must have," he says, but he's always kind of doubted that. "Anyway, I had to try. I couldn't do nothing."

"Sure you can," says Felix without much feeling. "See? You're doing it right now. Very well, I might add."

Cleonis growls, throwing himself down to sit in the low grass, arms crossed over his stomach. "You got us out here, you can lead us back."

"Can't," says Felix. He holds up his bruised wrist. "I'm injured. I can hardly stand the pain. In fact, you may have to carry me back."

Cleonis stares at him for a long time, trying to discern if the boy is serious. When Felix doesn't laugh, he shakes his head numbly. "You really are an idiot," he says in wonder.

Felix's expression flattens. "I'll overlook that and say you were simply distraught about my life being in danger." He looks around at the surrounding hills and trees, bottom lip jutting out in a pout. "It's getting dark," he points out, as if that might encourage Cleonis.

"Are you afraid of the dark?" Cleonis asks boredly, making no move to get up and start walking, though he's starting to think he knows which way to go to get back to the Villa.

"No," Felix snaps, perhaps too quickly. In all honesty, he isn't too sure. The dark out here is a lot different than the dark in the Villa. "I'm just saying it would be harder for you to find the way back and carry me in the dark. That's all."

"You honestly expect me to carry you?" Cleonis laughs, cold and harsh. "Are you serious? You have a bruise on your wrist, you pathetic child!"

"The pain is that unbearable!" Felix insists, stamping his foot on the ground. "You only have yourself to blame for this, anyway! Manhandling me like that. You really are an animal."

"I warned you not to touch me," Cleonis points out darkly. "When you are a weak, sad little inbred child, you should listen to a stronger man's warnings."

"Stronger man," Felix scoffs derisively, but he says nothing more, mostly because he knows it's true. "It's not your place to decide who gets to touch you anyway," Felix mutters after a moment. "I'm your master, remember?"

"And what will you do to me, boy?" Cleonis scoffs, glaring at Felix. "You could never overpower me. You own me in contract, but there's nothing you can do to me."

"I can certainly have things done to you," Felix growls out, getting more and more frustrated as the sun sets. "Now are you going to get us back or not?"

Cleonis glances over the hills, and he's positive now he knows the way, mapping out the direction back in his head. Still, he shakes his head, resting his elbows on his knees. "You find the way back. I'm not enabling you."

"Enabling me?" Felix scoffs. "You would be following orders." He sits there, glaring at Cleonis for a few moments, but when the other man does nothing, he lets out a low, frustrated growl, rising to his feet. "Fine," he says, just a little more jumpy now that the sun's nearly disappeared from the horizon. He looks around for a moment, deciding, then stomps away, going in the completely wrong direction.

Cleonis leans back, sighing a little, watching Felix. "You're going the wrong way," he calls out boredly, not bothering to point out the right way.

Felix starts to disappear behind the thickets, too angry and proud to stop. "Fuck you!" he calls back, head bobbing before disappearing completely. Only his feet moving over the ground can be heard. Until-- "Ow!"

Cleonis looks up at the sky, shaking his head at the gods, as if to say 'you really fucked up this time.' He finally stands, walking cautiously towards the thickets. "Get out of there, you woman."

"Shut up," Felix calls, but his voice is quiet, petulant. Cleonis finds him in a little clearing, on the ground his knees drawn up to his chest, the edges of his toga pulled down to cover his feet. He's pouting, shoulders hunched.

Cleonis sighs, stopping, sticking his hands on his hips as he watches Felix. "Get the fuck up," he says impatiently.

"No," says Felix, very pointedly not looking at Cleonis. As discreetly as possible, he reaches down to tug the hem of his toga down further, trying to cover his right ankle in particular.

"What did you do?" Cleonis demands, eyeing Felix's ankle warily. "Did you fall again? And you thought I was the one who couldn't walk?"

"It's dark, okay!" Felix huffs, turning away from Cleonis so he can look down at this ankle. There's a trail of blood from where he'd fallen into the little ditch and scratched his skin, twisting his ankle in the process. Felix shudders, whimpering at the sight of crimson, hastily tugging the fabric back down. "I'm going to die," he moans. "I'm going to die out here."

"Oh shut up," Cleonis growls, not having much patience for Felix's dramatics. "Just get up, I know the way back." He thinks, anyway.

Felix gives Cleonis a withering look. "I can't." He looks away again, like a kicked puppy. "It really, really hurts this time.."

Cleonis growls, frustrated, and he reaches down, grabbing Felix under his arms. He lifts him, dragging the boy up and then bowing to haul Felix over his shoulder, deciding to carry him the most undignified way possible, like an animal. He throws the boy over his shoulder, torso dangling down his back and arm hooked around Felix's thighs, keeping him in place as Cleonis starts to head out of the thicket, grumbling all the while.

Felix panics for a moment, nearly toppling over Cleonis' shoulder, sure he would fall straight to the ground. "Hey!" he yells in protest. He smacks his fist against Cleonis' lower back, uninjured leg kicking up in protest.

Cleonis punches Felix in the tender part of his thigh, making the muscle smart painfully. "You wanted me to carry you, didn't you dominus?" Cleonis practically shouts, having not a spec of patience to spare anymore.

Felix jerks at the hit, crying out painfully. He whimpers, finally growing still against Cleonis. He bites down on his lip, tears starts to well up in his eyes from the pain, so unfamiliar with it. He struggles to keep from sniffling, not about to give Cleonis the pleasure.

Cleonis ignores him as he carries him back towards the Villa, following his instincts until he finally spots the buildings. He knows the way to the senator's apartments, and he continues to carry Felix towards them, not caring who sees Felix being carried by a slave so shamefully. He doesn't let the boy down until they reach the piazza in the center of the cluster of senator's apartments, and even then he doesn't let him down gently. He practically throws Felix down onto the stone tiled ground, letting him fall straight to the floor.

Felix cries out in even more pain, face screwing up into a wince. He kicks his uninjured leg out, getting Cleonis on his leg, just sharp enough to sting. "Asshole," he mutters, lower lip jutting out in a pout. He doesn't stand right away, instead twisting to look at his injured ankle. He's relieved they're back in familiar grounds, but his stubborn pride refuses to give credit where it's due. "Well don't just stand there," he snaps. "Do something!"

Cleonis scoffs softly, stepping over Felix and beginning to walk away. "I don't have to do anything for you. As I recall, you said if I take you back I can return to the colosseum."

Felix looks up in mild panic, his eyes snapping straight to Cleonis' retreating back. In a wild, frightening second he sees a flash of his father's disgusted face, and hastily he's scrambling up to his feet. "Wait! Wait you can't-- ahh--" He stumbles, just barely managing to catch himself along a column. His leg shakes, twisted ankle shooting pains all through him. "You can't go back without me," he pushes out, biting back his wince. "You need me there, otherwise they'll know something's up."

Cleonis turns, but he continues to walk, traveling backwards now. "Would you like me to carry you there?" he mocks cruelly, lifting his brows. "I think I'll be fine, thanks for your concern."

Felix's breath quickens, his panic mounting. "Wait!" he nearly screams. "Wait wait wait wait wait." He looks down, trying to think quickly. "You.. you said you wanted to send money home to your family, right? What if.. what if I give you money? M-Monthly? I'll give you a.. a quarter of my allowance! And you can send it all back to your family and you can even use our carriers here, that will lessen the chance of it getting looted, right? Right? Just. Just stay."

That finally gets Cleonis to stop, quite quickly. He lifts his brows, cautious, but he knows very well that if Felix is serious, it's far too good a deal for him to pass up. "Why do you want me to stay so badly?" he demands. "What is it I'm supposed to do for you? I don't know how to clean or cook or wrap a toga, what do you want from me?"

"Just. A bodyguard." Felix shrugs. "Whatever. Just-- you can't go." He shakes his head, starting to sweat, the pain from both his wrist and ankle growing to be too much for him. He leans against the column, starting to slow slide down it.

Cleonis scoffs, looking away from Felix. A bodyguard. Of course. The job that requires him to shadow Felix all hours of the day. Of course. But if it would truly get him money that would be practically guaranteed to reach his family, how can he turn it down? No matter how unpleasant the task. "Fine," he says darkly.

Felix lets out a deep breath, utterly relieved. He won't have to suffer through his father's disdain, at least not yet. "Great," he murmurs, turning to leaning against the column, slowly sliding down so he can sit. He tips his head back against the column, sighing softly.

Cleonis sighs, rolling his eyes a little, thinking Felix is really just an enormous baby. "What, do you want me to carry you inside too?" he grumbles, lifting his brows.

Felix glares at Cleonis. "And get manhandled again? I think not." Still, he makes no move to stand. "I'm fine here for now." He'd rather wait out a slave stumbling upon him than get embarrassed by Cleonis again.

Cleonis grumbles and crosses to Felix, offering a hand to him. "Come on, just get up. You can lean on me so you don't put pressure on your stupid foot."

Felix looks at Cleonis' hand warily, obviously suspicious. After a few moments he gives in, reaching up to take Cleonis' hand. He winces, his wrist still hurting, though not as much as his ankle. He whimpers faintly, leaning on Cleonis without much hesitation as soon as he straightens.

Cleonis wraps his arm around Felix to support him, helping the boy walk without stepping on his injured ankle. "Which door?" he asks, nodding to all the apartments, not sure which one to lead Felix towards.

"Far left," Felix murmurs, pointing to a door partially hidden in the shadows. They walk on in silence, and it grows so uncomfortable, though not just physically. Felix keeps thinking he should say something, but what he should say, he has no clue. He leans his head against Cleonis' shoulder for a moment, lost in his thought.

Cleonis doesn't bother to stop him, though he scowls a little despite himself. He stops at the door, looking to Felix again, lifting his brows. "Just go in?"

Felix rolls his eyes. Reaching out to push it open. "Unless you plan on dumping me out here too," he mutters. He puts his hand on the door frame, trying to hop in. He's too embarrassed and tired to go get real help to clean out his wounds. He'll just have to manage somehow by himself.

Cleonis keeps his grip around Felix, helping him in, not planning to dump him this time. "Come on, where's your room?" he asks, not quite impatient so much as to the point. He's had more than his fair share of injuries, and he's sure he'll be able to take a look at Felix's and wrap them up easily.

"Right there," Felix answers, gesturing vaguely. He wants the man to go away as much as he wants him to stay, sure he's lost all form of dignity in front of this man already.

Cleonis rolls his eyes a little, heading in that vague direction, opening the door to Felix's bed room and guiding him inside. He elbows the door shut behind him, taking Felix over to the bed and pushing him onto it, forcing him to sit. He sits down beside him, then pats his leg, nodding towards Felix's ankle. "C'mon, let me see it."

Felix eyes Cleonis warily, too full of suspicion to be offended by his close proximity. He turns away from Cleonis a bit, trying to move his leg away. "Why? Are you going to break it?"

"I wish," Cleonis says dryly, before he takes it upon himself to grab Felix's leg, turning the boy roughly by a grip on his thigh and pulling his leg up. Cleonis pushes his toga away from his angle, resting Felix's leg in his lap as he studies the injury. A slave tentatively opens the door to the room, looking concerned, and Cleonis lifts his eyes to the man. "Bring ice and rags," Cleonis commands the other slave, who instantly bows his head and scurries out again.

Felix cries out in protest, glaring daggers at the side of Cleonis' face as he speaks to the slave, completely oblivious to him. He reaches out and swats at the man's arm. "That hurt," he mutters under his breath. Felix leans forward then, tentatively tugging his toga up further, trying to get a good look at it. The open wound itself isn't too deep, but Felix is definitely a bleeder. He moans softly, pressing a hand over his mouth.

"Oh, shut up," Cleonis says, rolling his eyes. "Don't tell me you can't handle a little blood." He looks up when the slave hurries in with a bowl of ice and a pile of fabric, which doesn't look at all like a rag to Cleonis, but he's not going to argue. He takes both, setting them on the bed, and then shoos the slave with a wave of his hand. "Go." He doesn't think Felix's dramatics need to be witnessed by anyone else, the boy is embarrassing himself enough.

Felix shakes his head, eyes squeezed shut. He can't watch. He gives another theatrical moan, falling back on the back, his toga hitched up around his thighs now. He covers his eyes with his hands. "Tell me when it's over."

Cleonis sighs a little, tearing off a piece of the fabric and dipping it in the water at the bottom of the bowl. He wipes away the blood from Felix's cut with that piece of fabric, carefully cleaning it. It's shallow enough that he doesn't think it needs stitching up, at least not immediately - if it's inflamed in the morning, he decides, he'll stitch it. Cleonis wraps a bit of ice in a larger piece of cloth, and then touches it to Felix's ankle, sure the cold will help the swelling and bruising there.

"Ahhh--!" Felix jerks against the bed, his leg kicking out instinctively. "Oww," he complains, pushing at Cleonis' shoulder.

"Shh, it'll help," Cleonis says impatiently, grabbing Felix's leg and keeping hold of it with one arm, the other hand touching the ice to his ankle again. "Come on, I think I know injuries. Remember my profession."

"You're probably immune to pain," Felix mutters bitterly, pushing himself up to lean on his elbows. He looks at Cleonis' hand around his leg, a little surprised by how different their skins are, especially put against each other. He hisses, starting to squirm.

"Just cut it out!" Cleonis snaps, looking to Felix with widened eyes. "It hurts, right? Well this will make it stop hurting. Just shut up for five minutes!"

Felix presses his lips together, looking comical for a moment as he glares back at Cleonis. Then he drops down to his back again, laying down, stiff as a board. "Three minutes," he mutters.

Cleonis rolls his eyes, turning his attention back to Felix's ankle, keeping hold of his leg just in case. Icing an injury is intuitive to him, never leaving the cold on one spot for too long, rotating the ice to numb the injury evenly and totally. He gives Felix the same sort of treatment, numbing away the pain.

Felix's bite along his lip starts to loosen, before his lip slips away completely. He looks down, picking himself up on his elbows again. He looks from his ankle to Cleonis in shock. "It's.. I can barely feel it now!"

"Sort of the point," Cleonis says, looking back to Felix. "It will come back, though. You have to ice it again before the hour is over."

Felix's eyes widen. He starts to shake his head, certain he'd only do it wrong. "No, no way, you have to stay here and do it, you're the only one who can."

Cleonis gives him a dry look, tearing off a long piece of cloth to wrap around Felix's ankle as a brace. "You're just holding ice on your ankle, it doesn't take Socrates to figure that one out."

"But it's your job," Felix points out instantly, finding no other way to get the man to stay. He's not about to point out his own doubts with his abilities to Cleonis, sure the man has enough doubts himself. "Bodyguard, right? Protect me, right? You have to do it."

"Whatever," Cleonis grumbles, as he wraps the fabric snugly around Felix's ankle, crossing it under his foot to help support it. "You have to ice it twice an hour, though. You want me to do it every time?"

Felix nods fervently, not about to risk getting it all wrong. "Every time," he says, "just like you did right now." He sits up tentatively, leaning over to look at the work Cleonis did on his ankle, twisting a bit. He hesitates for a moment, then holds out his wrist. "What about my wrist?"

"Are you serious?" Cleonis asks, looking to it and lifting his brows. "It's just bruised, I didn't break it. You want me to ice your ass, too?"

Felix's expression scrunches up, a half-scowl, half-pout. He jerks his wrist back, holding it to his chest. "I just thought you'd be able to do something about it," he mutters. "Why don't you ice your temper instead?"

Cleonis growls and reaches for Felix's arm, forcing the boy to lean closer as he pulls on it. He holds it out, pressing ice to his wrist as well, grumbling about it all the while.

"Ow," Felix says loudly, pointedly, pouting against Cleonis' shoulder. He huffs, turning away so his cheek is resting against the man instead. He's a little surprised Cleonis' skin is still warm, even now long after the sun's disappeared.

Cleonis ignores Felix's protest, numbing his wrist just as completely as he did his ankle, even and thorough. He drops the ice back into the bowl afterwards, releasing Felix's arm and lifting his brows. "What now? You need to eat, don't you?"

Felix pushes out his lower lip, his feet wiggling petulantly on the bed, his legs still over Cleonis' lap. "I don't want to eat outside," he murmurs. He doesn't want to be seen like this. "Can you ask the servant to bring the food in here?"

Cleonis nods, sighing, sweeping up Felix's legs as he stands, setting them down rather gently back on the bed after he does. He crosses to the door, opening it, and calls over a slave waiting nearby, looking rather nervous. "Bring dinner for Dominus," he instructs, and the slave is off again, scurrying just as fast. Cleonis finds it rather pathetic. and he grunts and closes the door again. He's still dressed in only his bracae, but he hasn't any change of clothes, everything he owns still at the colosseum as far as he knows. He crosses to Felix again, dropping down to sit once more.

Felix draws his legs up, closer to him, as if making room for Cleonis, though he gives no other sound or gesture to indicate that he is. He folds his legs at his sides, looking over Cleonis' handiwork. He runs a finger over the swell of his ankle thoughtfully, taking care to be gentle. "You know," he says after a few moments, venturing, "that was probably the farthest I went out of the Villa. Aside from school."

Cleonis looks over to him, surprised, lifting his brows. "Seriously? You don't... travel?" He's seen a lot of places, sent on tournaments and when he traveled from Sicilia to Rome. It seems odd to him that a rich boy would have seen less.

Felix looks to Cleonis, about to snap at him, but falters when he sees the man isn't being condescending, but curious. He looks embarrassed then, and shrugs. "No real reason to. My brothers, they do all of that."

"Seeing other places is plenty of reason to," Cleonis points out. "I think I've been to... every colosseum in Rome. Seriously. One in Egypt, too."

Felix rolls his eyes. "Fine, no legitimate reason to," he clarifies. His father can barely afford him as he is now, let alone let him go out on his every whim. He huffs, looking down at himself. He starts to pat down his skin and clothes again, nose wrinkling at the dirt and dust he accumulated.

"Cut it out, you'll get it in your bed," Cleonis points out impatiently. "After you eat, we'll go to the baths." It's late - well after dark - but Cleonis doesn't think that Felix has any particular schedule he has to adhere to. The boy seems to do whatever he pleases.

"We?" Felix echoes, arching a brow. He realizes that, as his bodyguard, Cleonis has to follow him around everywhere, but the way Cleonis so easily says it makes it seem as if he'll be joining him. He looks Cleonis over then, nose wrinkling. "You are in bad need of one, yes."

"I would use the slave's baths, but I think I would be remiss in my duty if I left you alone in a pool of water. Considering how inept you are, I'm sure you'd drown," Cleonis says dryly, as the slave returns carrying a tray heavy with food for Felix, setting it on the bed beside the boy with his head bowed.

Felix ignores the slave completely, making a face at Cleonis. He reaches for a piece of bread, dipping it in the dip offered in the tray. "What do they feed you?" he asks, chewing on the piece absently. "Back there?"

Cleonis shrugs, deciding not to look at the food, lest he be reminded of his own hunger. "We get rations of grain." That's it, really. Men don't usually survive as long as Cleonis has in the fight, and men who do usually use their money to buy better food.

Felix's nose wrinkles. "Ew." He can't even imagine how that must be, day in and day out. He looks over the tray, knowing he's not even going to get close to finishing it all, then looks back up at Cleonis. He makes a faint, thoughtful sound. He makes a vague gesture to it with a hand. "You don't want any?"

Cleonis looks over to Felix, and his eyes inadvertently fall to the food. It's all rich and smells delicious, and is certainly better than anything Cleonis has had before. He shrugs though, making a bit of a face despite himself, looking almost pained. "I don't think I'm technically supposed to eat off your plate."

Felix grins to himself, but he hastily bites down on his lip to tame it. "No one has to know," he says. He scoots a little closer, pushing the tray of food between them, closer to Cleonis. "Doesn't it look good? And it's much too much for me anyway, it'd just be a waste..." He trails off, obviously taunting Cleonis, but there's a note to his tone that suggests there's definitely a catch.

Cleonis eyes the food, absurdly tempted, and then lifts his eyes to Felix's face. He arches his brow, wary of just what that catch might be. "What do you want?" he asks bluntly.

Felix's lips spread into a grin, triumphant. "Call me beautiful."

"What am I, your body guard and your ego stroker?" Cleonis snaps, and only realizes afterwards that there's probably a dirty joke in there somewhere.

Felix seems oblivious to it though, and he only pouts, looking offended. He huffs, taking up his piece of bread again. "Fine. Starve for all I care," he says, tearing off a smaller piece, the dip getting on his fingers. He sucks the dip off after he places the piece of bred on his tongue, chewing irritably.

Cleonis rolls his eyes, looking away from Felix again, stubborn. He knows he'll get his rations tomorrow, with the rest of the slaves. Still, it's tempting to give in and get to eat now. "Would serve you well if I did starve, have to ice your own stupid ankle..."

Felix scowls, his bad mood only growing. He'd been nice! Offered up way more than any other slave could ever dream of getting, for just a tiny price, and this is how he's repaid? Insufferable fool. Without a word, Felix grabs a handful of grapes. He pops one into his mouth, chews on it a bit, then spits it out on to the floor. He doesn't even eat them, just chews to suck on the juice for a bit, completely wasting the fruit.

Cleonis turns to Felix, narrowing his eyes, disgusted. "What are you doing?" he demands harshly. "What right do you have to call anyone else an animal? Look at yourself."

Felix glares at Cleonis, popping two grapes in his mouth this time, and doing away with them like he did the rest. "It's my food," he says. "And since you refuse to have any of it, I can do what I wish with it. This is all going to go to waste anyway, I may as well make it look like I've eaten most of it."

"I refuse to call you beautiful," Cleonis snaps, getting more and more angry with each grape Felix spits out. "I would eat your food, but I'm not bowing to you."

"How is that bowing to me?" Felix sniffs, though he looks mildly put out at the mention of Cleonis' refusal. "You'd only be telling the truth."

Cleonis scoffs, even if it is perhaps the truth. Felix isn't ugly, that much is for certain. Cleonis has noticed his beauty, but he'll be damned if he'll say as much. "You look like an inbred little shit, actually."

Felix visibly bristles. "Get out get out," he commands, reaching over to kick at Cleonis with his good foot, trying to push the man off his bed. "Ungrateful fool! Get your ugly face out of my sight until I say otherwise!"

Cleonis growls, standing, shaking his head at Felix's foolishness. "Fine. Ice your own fucking ankle, good luck getting to the baths at all. Sleep in your filth, you're pathetic," he snarls, already heading for the door.

Felix's panic arises again, and hastily he's reaching for a piece of bread, chucking it at the back of Cleonis' head (though he misses, and hits the man's back instead). "Why do you only listen when I don't want you to?" he asks, pouting petulantly.

Cleonis turns to Felix with narrowed eyes, not pleased at all with having the breath thrown at him. "Why do you give me orders you don't mean?" he asks, just as angrily.

"You don't listen to the ones I want you to do, how am I supposed to know you'd actually listen to everything else," Felix defends, sitting back with a huff.

"So what do you want?" Cleonis demands impatiently. "I don't have the patience for this bullshit, and I won't kiss your ass, not even for the food."

"Why don't you care?" Felix asks suddenly. He looks up at Cleonis in wonder, a faint frown tugging at his lips. "No other slave would ever dare treat me like this, what makes you so different?"

Cleonis shakes his head, watching Felix closely. "You're just a brat. But you're not the killing type. I'm sure you could have me killed, but you won't." Cleonis is almost positive of this, but he's not a hundred percent on it. He hopes Felix doesn't feel the urge to prove him wrong.

Felix falters a bit, but not completely. "There are fates worse than death," he murmurs quietly, though what those fates could be, he isn't entirely sure. He's been too sheltered, and the fates of all his other discarded slaves were never really told to him after he had them sent away. "And there are worse masters," he adds, a little louder.

Cleonis shrugs, looking away from Felix, jaw clenching. "I guess there are. But I won't flatter people for food." Cleonis has too much pride for that.

Felix rolls his eyes, sighing in exasperation. "Fine," he says. He takes a few more bites of the meat and bread, then pushes the tray, still full of food, away. "Eat some, if you like, but if not you can go ahead and have it sent back." He scoots a little further down on his bed, away from the food and Cleonis. He personally hopes the man does it, if only to spare himself more frustration later that night.

Cleonis almost wants to resist, to send the food back and continue being stubborn. But he knows there's no point to that, and he forces himself to put his pride aside as he crosses to the bed again, sitting down and reaching greedily for the meat, tearing into, inadvertently showing just how starved he is.

Felix wrinkles his nose, obviously displeased with the other man's habits. A biting remark comes to mind, but he keeps his mouth shut, knowing that as soon as he starts speaking again, Cleonis will just push the food away and be a stubborn idiot again. He rolls his eyes instead, reaching for an apricot off of the bowl of fruit, laying down on his side with his head propped up on a hand to wait.

Cleonis ignores Felix as he eats, the food more delicious than anything he's ever tasted. He didn't even realize how good food could taste, how amazing it could feel to eat his fill of meat and vegetables instead of handfuls of gruel. He greedily takes every scrap left by Felix, as he has no idea when he'll eat like this again.

Felix picks at the skin of the apricot around the few bites he'd taken, throwing the man idle glances. "I'd offer you the rest of my apricot," he says casually, "but I'd rather do without your pride."

Cleonis drops down the last bone from the meat, picked clean, not a scrap left on it. He wipes his mouth with the back of his wrist, feeling full enough that he isn't all that tempted by the apricot, though he's sure he'd eat it if he could. "Then don't give it to me."

Felix makes a face, rolling his eyes again. "I hate you," he says, just as casually, before carefully setting his legs down on the ground. "I think I'm ready for my bath now."

see part two...