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29 December 2008 @ 11:46 pm
Cicero, Antinous, and Gaius: Reconciliation  
Who: Cicero, Antinous, and Gaius
Where: A brothel in Rome
When: A while ago

Gaius stays behind Antinous' shoulder, definitely sulking. Antinous has taken charge, anyway, leading the way into the brothel, wearing his toga and his imperial brooch proudly. He goes right to the master of the house, sitting in the entrance hall waiting for customers just as a clerk in a store would. "I need to see Avitus Cicero Cassian," he informs the man as if he has all the authority in the world.

The master stands hastily, eyes sweeping over the fine material of Antinous and Gaius' toga, his dark, beady eyes practically sparkling with the implication of them. "Certainly, sir, certainly," the man humbles himself up instantly, despite their severe difference in age. "He's just freshening up at the moment," he says with a placating smile, leaving the unspoken implication that Cicero had just "finished" hanging between them. He turns to Gaius eagerly, clasping his hands in front of him. "And you, sir? Who would you prefer today?"

Gaius shakes his head, though it would probably be a much smarter idea for him to go off with a boy and not let himself see Cicero at all. "I'll be meeting with the boy too," he says simply.

The master's brows lift in surprise, looking from Antinous to Gaius. "Together?" he echoes. "At the same time? I'm afraid that'll be a higher price," he murmurs, though he hardly looks sorry for that at all.

Gaius' lip curls a little, unable to help the look of disgust. "We're not... here for-" he starts, but Antinous cuts him off.

"Whatever, we'll pay. How long do we have him for?" Antinous asks impatiently.

"An hour and a half," the master replies happily, looking very pleased indeed. He turns to Antinous, as if suddenly deciding he's the one in charge. "You can wait for him in his room, if you'd like. I'll make sure he'll be there shortly."

"Sure," Antinous says, and looks to the slave nearby, her head bowed as she waits for orders. She carries the money, and will take care of paying. "She will pay you," he says, eyes moving back to the master. "For the both of us. Where is Cissy....eeero's room?"

The master bows low, moving to usher them up the top floor where the room is located. "He's our best boy," the master says, smiling grandly, all too eager to please. "You've chosen well." As the best boy, Cicero does indeed get his own room, rather than having to switch around or share with another. Still, it's fairly small, housing only a bed and a beaten trunk in the corner, supposedly full of his belongings.

Antinous frowns around at it, clearly not pleased. It's not a bedroom worthy of Cicero. Gaius stands in the corner, out of the way, crossing his arms over his chest and scowling at the room. Antinous sits on the bed, heart going a little fast in anxiousness as he waits for Cicero. He doesn't know what Cicero will say, but he prays they'll make up and everything will be fine.

It's a few more minutes before Cicero arrives. He moves into the room with his head bowed, humbled for his patrons. "Forgive me, sirs, I had to..." He trails off, his eyes landing first on Gaius, then to Antinous on his bed. He freezes by the doorway, eyes wide, nearly as wide as his gaping mouth. He looks between the men, floundering, caught completely off guard. Absently he takes a step back, one hand flying up to grip the brooch on his toga, as if to cover it. "What's going on..?"

Antinous bites his lip, afraid Cicero will be angry, will say he was glad when they parted. He swallows heavily, so nervous he's positive his voice will break. "I wanted to see you," he says quietly, almost apologetically. "And... Hadrian sent Gaius with me, to... watch out for me. Babysitter. You know."

Cicero keeps his eyes to Antinous, afraid to look up and meet Gaius' eyes. A second later, he seems to rethink this, and glances down at the floor instead, afraid of them both. He can feel the heat rising up to his cheeks, his ears. They're here, the both of them. In the one place he never wanted them to see him in. "So you've seen me," he murmurs, voice quiet, thick. "Is there anything else I can do for you today?"

Antinous looks pained, standing up and taking a step towards Cicero. "Cissy, I've missed you," Antinous says, almost pleadingly.
Cicero looks up at Antinous in surprise. He shakes his head, stepping back. "Why?" he asks. "You shouldn't, after what I've done to you."

Antinous shrugs, sneaking just a little closer to Cicero. "I do, though. I'm sure I haven't been the best friend either, I'm such a brat and... And I don't think you wanted to hurt me, I think you just wanted to take me down a notch, and I'm sorry if I acted like... like I was better than you or something. I'm not."

Cicero's head shakes in wonder, staring at Antinous like he isn't quite sure what to make of him. Antinous is suddenly saying everything Cicero's ever wanted to hear, and he's elated, but his expression is frozen, fear and doubt still holding him back. "You came all this way just to tell me that?" he asks on a whisper, unable to believe it.

Antinous nods, chewing on his lip nervously. "I love you, Cissy," he says quietly. "And... and messing with me and my boyfriend, that's kind of a big deal, but I love you anyway and I forgive you for it and I hope you'll forgive me for being such a brat."

Cicero's lips purse, struggling to hold back his tears. Antinous is forgiving him, after he'd betrayed him so horribly. Who does that? Best friends do that. He shakes his head in wonder, reaching up to wipe at his eyes distractedly. He steps forward, but still hesitates. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I wasn't strong enough, I should've... I'm sorry I'm so angry, and greedy, and jealous. I love you too, Annie, I do, I swear I do."

Antinous reaches out, touching Cicero's cheek, caressing it lovingly. "You have no reason to be jealous, Cissy. You're so beautiful and strong. I wish I could be as strong as you."

Cicero shakes his head, reaching up to touch the back of Antinous's hand. "I'm weak," he whispers. "I'm just very good at pretending." He flinches then, tipping his head away, gently pulling Antinous' hand from his face. "I'm dirty," he murmurs shamefully. "You shouldn't have to stay here for much longer."

"Hey, I have you for an hour and a half," Antinous says, pulling Cicero in again and wrapping his arms around him, hugging him tight. "Don't jip me, boy."

Cicero is, at first, reluctant to return the hug. He hates the idea of contaminating Antinous with the filth of the brothel, but his selfishness kicks in eventually, his arms reaching up to wrap around him, almost desperate for the warmth Antinous is always so willing to offer. He presses his face against Antinous' shoulder, burying his tiny smile there. "Thank you."

Antinous is sure he's never felt so relieved in his whole life. He breathes out in relief, squeezing Cicero tight. He just clings to him for a long few moments, holding on tight, before he suddenly giggles a little, muffled by Cicero's hair. "You know, your master totally thinks we're both boning you at once right now."

Cicero makes a face, his hold around Antinous growing suddenly slack. He starts to pull away, as if all too vividly reminded where they are and what he is. "He would," he murmurs. "He probably overcharged you, too."

"Oh baby, you're worth way more than what they charge here," Antinous says, lifting his hands to frame Cicero's face. "They undercharged me, really, to be able to see you. Will you come back to the Villa with us for a few days? I promise, it will be better this time."

Cicero's eyes widen, already shaking his head. His eyes flick towards Gaius, finally, but hastily dart back to meet Antinous' gaze. "I don't think that's a good idea," he murmurs. "The.. emperor. I'd made him really angry."

"He'll get over it," Antinous says certainly. "He's a good man, merciful. If he can forgive me after that dinner, he can forgive you."
"I'm not the one he loves," Cicero mutters to himself, not even realizing what he's saying.

Antinous frowns at that word, a gut reaction. "Neither am I," he says quietly. "But I think he's fond enough of me to listen when I ask for something. He let me come here, after all."

Cicero glances up. He was about to be nervous, letting slip something like that, but now he feels only incredulous. "Don't be an idiot Annie. You've seen the way he looks at you."

Antinous gives Cicero a dry, dark look. "You think the Emperor could honestly love me, Cissy? And for more than my face? That'll go fast. I'm already sixteen."

Cicero can only shake his head. "Unbelievable. This is just like life, that the one of us who has everything - everything - doesn't even realize it. Or appreciate it." He scoffs lightly, face pulling into a light scowl. "Do you know how many people would kill for what you have, Annie? And I'm not talking about just the material things."

"I appreciate it," Antinous says, pouting at Cicero. "He's... I told you I'm.. I told you how I feel about him. I... lo... I do, I just... It's different for him. Cissy, you can't really think he loves me. What... what even is there to love besides my face?"

Cicero gives Antinous a dry look. "You think I love you because of your face?" He shakes his head. If anything, it's Antinous' beauty that keeps driving them apart, creating this hollow bitterness in Cicero.

Antinous sighs, rolling his eyes a little, then leaning in to kiss Cicero's cheek. "Come to the Villa? Please? I promise I'll be good."

"I'll think about it," Cicero replies with a frown, displeased Antinous doesn't seem to believe a word he's saying. He'd seen the look in Hadrian's eyes when he looks at the blonde. He knows he's right.

"Well how about you think about it while I go negotiate the price with your boss there," Antinous says, smiling charmingly and patting Cicero's cheek, starting to back towards the door. Gaius makes a move to follow, and Antinous shoots him a little glare as if to tell him to stay, opening the door. "You need to talk to him too," he says simply, heading out.

Gaius gapes at the door for a moment, then turns to Cicero, floundering. "Uh, I... uh." He shakes his head, and suddenly offers up a small blue glass box. "Here."

Cicero looks to the door a few moments longer than Gaius, eyes wide, heart hammering in his chest. Though most of his focus has been on Antinous the entire time, there had always been a part of him that was very aware of the other man's presense, but it had been dulled, subdued. Now it's screaming at him in full force, telling him to run before he fucks things up further. He looks from the box to Gaius, trying not to look like a trapped prey. "I'm sorry," he says hastily, not even daring to reach for the box yet, thinking this is the only time he'll ever get to say it. "For the things I said. How I acted."

Gaius shakes his head, looking down, dropping his eyes from Cicero. "You didn't think I was worth it. That's fine. Just... take this."

Cicero bites down on his lip, looking back to the box. He wishes he could say what he thinks, that he'd hoped Gaius was worth it, but what's the use? He could never have what Antinous and Hadrian have. The heartache of never having that-- nothing's worth that, not even half of it, which is what feels like all Gaius is willing to offer him. It's better off not to have anything close to it at all. He sniffles quietly, holding out a hand, palm up.

Gaius sets the glass box in his hand, something glimmering inside. He lets his fingers brush Cicero's palm as he transfers the box into his hand. "Has your tutor been suitable?" he asks quietly not looking up to see Cicero open the box, almost afraid to.

Cicero smiles faintly, remembering the old tutor. "He's very persistent." The first few times he'd come for Cicero, the boy had turned him away, refusing to use any more of Gaius's money, but he kept coming back each day, eventually wearing Cicero down. He turns the box over in his hand, feeling a large amount of dread well up in him as he brings it closer. He opens it quietly, peeking inside.

There's a beautiful fibula inside, made of shining gold curls and clear blue stones, the same shade as Cicero's eyes. Gaius doesn't dare to look up, biting his lip, turning his face away and crossing his arms over his stomach. "He teaches you well?"

Cicero doesn't answer. He barely even hears the man, all of his attention directed to the fibula in his hand. He looks up after a moment, gaping at Gaius' profile. Hastily he starts to shake his head, holding it away from him, his cheeks ablaze. "N-no, I can't," he murmurs, fumbling with his words. "This must have cost-- Oh I can't. I'll only get it stolen, I can't, you're just wasting your money."

Gaius shakes his head, rolling his eyes a little, finally looking to Cicero again. "Just... just take it. I got it for you. I don't want it. It... it would look good on you."

Cicero only continues to shake his head, staring at Gaius, disbelievingly. "Why are you doing this?" he asks softly. "I've-- upset you. I don't deserve your gifts."

Gaius shrugs, frowning at that, embarrassed. "I like... to give you things. I like to think you think of me when you use them or... whatever. I like to... think it reminds you of me."

Cicero looks down to the fibula again, a faint smile on his lips. "So you are punishing me," he murmurs. He looks a little whimsical. "I don't need any help thinking of you," he confesses, looking back up to Gaius. He holds it out again. "Will you put it on for me?"

Gaius nods, stepping forward. He reaches to Cicero's toga, pulling off the brooch he wears to signify his status, finding it distasteful. He drops it on the bed, and then takes the fibula from the box and carefully uses it to fasten Cicero's toga, reinforcing the fold. He leans in, gently laying a kiss on Cicero's cheek before he steps back.

Cicero feels his face heat up, and hastily he bites down on his lip, an effort to keep from turning or asking for more. He can't ask for more, despite how nice Gaius' lips felt on his cheek. He'd been the one to push away. And for good reaosn, he knows that, but sometimes when Gaius is so close he finds it so easy to forget. He reaches up distractedly, fingering the fibula. "How does it look?" he asks, almost shy.

Gaius smiles warmly, nodding. "Beautiful. You are... gorgeous, boy." He sighs, shaking his head a little. "You are so beautiful that you make it look dull in comparison."

Cicero's expression grows somber, and for a moment all he does is stare at Gaius. Then he sighs, closing his eyes and shaking his head. "I wish you could just hate me."

Gaius shrugs, leaning back against the wall again, forcing himself to stay away from Cicero. "I'm not going to. Why don't you pack whatever you need? Don't think the pup is going to let you get away with not coming with us."

Cicero glances back to the door, knowing as much. He looks back to Gaius then, chewing on his lip in his consideration. Then, as if on impulse, he moves forward, just close enough that he can press a light kiss to Gaius' cheek before he's drawing away. "Thank you," he says, just before he moves to the trunk in the corner, tugging it open to retrieve his things. He hasn't got much in the first place, just a few spare togas, tunics. The last thing he draws out is an exquisite box, looking so out of place in the filth and dreariness of the room. He folds all of his things on top of the box, not about to mix his dirty clothes with the precious blanket inside. He hadn't dared to take it out since he'd arrived, too afraid others might see and try to steal it.

Gaius notices, but he decides not to say anything. Cicero might be not be using it because he doesn't like it, but perhaps he's not using it because he treasures it. Gaius would like to imagine the latter, and he's afraid bringing it up would cause Cicero to reveal that he really just has no interest in it. "Can I carry those for you?" he asks, holding out his arms.

Cicero looks up, smirking faintly. He rises to his feet, the box and his belongings tucked carefully under an arm. "It would be suspicious that a man of your status would be seen doing something for me," he says, not unkindly. He doesn't want to smear Gaius' reputation.

"Do you think I care about what men in a place like this think of me?" Gaius asks, lifting his brows. "Let me carry it for you, please."
Cicero hesitates, looking torn. "You've already done so much for me," he says. "You and Antinous both."

"It would please me to carry your things for you," Gaius says simply, honestly. "So you can do something for me as well."

Cicero wavers, but his feet are already taking him closer to the other man. He holds the things out carefully, shyly. "I'd like to do more to deserve all of this than by just being beautiful," he murmurs once they're close enough, as if sharing a secret.

Gaius takes Cicero's things in his arms, shaking his head slightly. "You're far more than just a pretty face, Cicero. There are dozens of beautiful boys at the Villa. You're different. You're clever and independent, and that's what I like. You engage my mind as well as my lust."

Cicero's lips part, honestly taken aback by those words. He's speechless, as if the thought that Gaius considered him for something other than his appearance and body is so completely foreign to him. Every time Gaius speaks, Cicero has to work double time to try and convince himself it's just another line. He's starting to find it harder and harder to do so. He shakes his head a bit, gazing on in wonder. "I'll.. try harder, then."

"Try harder to what?" Gaius asks, laughing softly. "You have already ensnared my attention completely, what more could there be, boy?"

Cicero's lips curve into a wry little smile, humor without with actual mirth. "Not completely," he amends, again, not unkindly, as if only just to remind the man.

"Is my devotion not complete enough for you?" Gaius asks, smirking and lifting his brows, though he's interrupted when Antinous returns suddenly. He smiles when he sees Cicero, and of course he notices the brooch and the fact that Gaius is carrying his things, as if he were the slave. Antinous couldn't be more pleased with his friend, but he plays it off casually, knowing better to mention it in front of Gaius. He holds out his hand to Cicero, waiting for the boy to take it.

"Your boss is an asshole," Antinous informs him cheerfully. Really, it had been rather fun for him to argue over money and how long he could keep Cicero with his master. It gave Antinous quite a thrill.

Cicero takes Antinous' offered hand, finding such comfort in it. He steps up close to the other boy, almost leaning against him, as if greatly needing him. "He is," Cicero agrees. "But we've had worse," he says with a signficant look. He leans over, pressing a kiss to Antinous' cheek too. "Thank you for this, Annie."

Antinous shakes his head, squeezing Cicero's hand and heading out of the room with him, Gaius following with Cicero's things. Antinous is oblivious to the sight that they make as he walks, leaning close to Cicero, giving him no personal space. "I'm so tired," he sighs, swaying dramatically to illustrate the point.

Unlike Antinous, Cicero is very aware of the stares they're attracting. He walks a little stiffer because of it, trying to appear not too familiar with Antinous, who is very obviously of higher stature than him, yet at the same time trying not to be too obvious about it so as not to worry Antinous. He squeezes the boy's hand, smiling faintly. "You travelled far," he murmurs. "You can sleep on my lap on the way back."

Antinous giggles a little, squeezing Cicero's hand. "You just want me in your lap, I know what you're up to," he says, teasing. He turns his face to whisper in Cicero's ear then, making sure Gaius can't hear. "Do you care if he's in the same carriage as us? I can make him go away if you want."

Cicero's smile wavers for a moment, and in the next he's shaking his head. "It's fine," he whispers back. He figures he can't keep running away, even if that's probably what's best for them both.

"Okay," Antinous murmurs, and kisses Cicero's ear. He plays attention to where they're headed again, going through the doors of the brothel with Cicero into the sunlight outside. There are slaves waiting for them with the carriage, pulling aside curtains so the boys can climb into the plush interior of the expensive vehicle. Gaius hands Cicero's things over to a slave to mind during the trip and follows Antinous and Cicero into the carriage, sitting down across from them as the boys share one of the cushioned benches.

Cicero settles back, reaching for Antinous to gently guide the boy down so he can lay on his lap. He combs his fingers through Antinous' curls, his gestures soothing, comforting.

Antinous curves his arm over Cicero's knees, hand curling under his thigh as Antinous settles in. He could practically purr from the feeling of Cicero's fingers in his hair, and he's sure Cicero knows his weakness for hands combing through his curls. It tends to put him to sleep faster than if he were hit over the head with a hammer.

From across the carriage, Gaius watches them, smiling faintly at the sight. He might not like Antinous, but they are precious - he doesn't think anyone could argue that the sight of the two boys together is very pleasing. Beautiful and affectionate, Gaius wonders if any man could help staring when confronted with them.

Cicero's smile is faint, tender. In times like these he can't really remember how or why he could feel such bitterness towards the other boy. He loves Antinous, far more than he's ever loved another person, and he wants the best for him. He's happy for him, as much as it makes him envious, and he swears right there he'll try and be nothing but supportive from this moment on. He looks up after a moment, catching Gaius watching them. "Are you well?" he asks softly. They don't really need to be talking, but Cicero feels compelled to.

Gaius nods lifting his eyes from looking over the pair of them to meet Cicero's gaze. "Glad you're coming to the Villa. Very well. How are you?" he returns in a murmur.

Cicero shrugs, careful to keep the motions of his hand steady, measured. "I should be thrilled," he confesses, but the little flickering of his smile shows he isn't, not really. He knows he has no place returning to the Villa. As much as he's thankful to Antinous, he also wishes the boy hadn't ever come.

Gaius nods, eyes flicking down to Antinous, making sure he's asleep before he looks to Cicero again. "We won't try anything," he murmurs. "No reason for fights this time."

Cicero looks down too, his expression growing somber. "I'm happy for him," he says softly. "Really." He shrugs again, as if wondering why that isn't enough.

"I should be happy for the Emperor, but..." Gaius shakes his head, frowning. "All I do is think that he's so stupid, so reckless and foolish and... I could never do it."

Cicero's eyes flick towards him. "Do what?" he asks, not meaning to be as breathless as he is.

"Be powerless like that," Gaius murmurs. "In... love." It almost pains Gaius just to say the word, sure the Emperor is dangerously close to it with Antinous.

Cicero looks down again, the word bringing a blush to his cheeks and a wrinkle to his brow. "Antinous looks stronger than I've ever seen him," he murmurs, not quite disagreeing, but not quite agreeing either.

"He has power over the Emperor," Gaius scoffs softly. "Of course he's strong. I saw the man, he didn't want to let the pup come here. But he can't refuse him. He's weak and powerless. The boy unmans him."

Cicero's brows furrow, a faint frown working its way to his lips. "You say that as if he gains nothing from this," he murmurs. "I saw him too. He looked complete."

"Until the boy starts to grow hair on his face or until he goes mad with the power he has. Then what?" Gaius says, lifting his brows. "This can only end badly. Love... it can only end badly, Cicero."

Cicero glances away, head bowed, pouting petulantly. He doesn't want to believe Gaius, though the more logical part of himself knows the man only speaks truth. "Perhaps it's worth it," he murmurs, a weak attempt to convince himself.

Gaius shrugs, looking away from Cicero as well. "I'm sorry. I can't see it that way. But I hope for the sake of my friend - and yours, too - that it works for them."

Cicero's lips purse, trying not to quiver with his displeasure. Gaius doesn't believe in love. He'd supposed as much. Confirmation of that fact should have made him feel better, made him feel justisfied, but he feels only worse. He sighs, turning instead towards the window of the carriage, trying to think of something else.

Gaius turns back to Cicero, watching him, and of course he notices Cicero's displeasure. He sighs a little, frowning, wishing he never said anything at all. "Maybe I'm just bitter," he says quietly, more honest and bare than he really should be. "Or maybe I'm just afraid. I don't know."

Cicero turns to him, shrugging faintly. "You don't have to prove anything to me," he says, speaking like a servant does to his master. "It's not my place to judge you."

Gaius almost winces at Cicero's tone, and he shakes his head, shifting forward a little. "Don't... don't, Cicero... I'm just... it's all... complicated. It's myself I don't trust. I don't want to fail anyone. I've fucked up so much in the past, I just... I don't trust myself."

Cicero bites down on his lip, trying hard not to look as affected by those words as he is. "Maybe what you need is someone willing to trust you enough for the both of you," he murmurs softly, almost apologetically. He wonders, foolishly, if he could be that one person. He reminds himself, just as quickly, that Gaius isn't looking for that.

"Yeah, but... isn't trust one of those things you have to earn? How can I earn it if I don't think I deserve it?" Gaius asks, folding his arms over his stomach. "Like you. I can court you for years, get you every nice thing on the planet, but could you ever trust me?"

Cicero swallows thickly, glancing down at the blonde curls he's still absently combing through. "Let's not talk about me," he whispers, almost desperately. He doesn't want to admit how close he'd come to that. He doesn't want to acknowledge how dangerously close he still is.

Gaius nods, instantly backing away from the subject. "Sorry," he murmurs. "I'm just... I'm still glad you're coming, you know. I don't expect anything. But I like talking to you. And... looking at you, to be honest."

Cicero looks up, smiling faintly as he meets Gaius' gaze. "I like talking to you too," he returns, thinking that's a safe enough thing to confess. He looks down to Antinous again, brushing away the blonde curls from his forehead. "I don't expect anything either."

Antinous shifts slightly in his sleep, looking absolutely blissful as he naps in Cicero's lap. Gaius glances down at him, then back up to Cicero. "We're lucky the Emperor likes him so much. I don't think he'll be pleased with me for letting him bring you along, but we'll just... let the pup handle that."

Cicero nods, brow knitting together. "The Emperor is really angry with me," he says, looking only remorseful.

"He'll get over it," Gaius says confidently. "You know he can't say no to him. Let's hope the boy never gets an agenda."

Cicero's lips quirk into a faint, wry smirk. "It would be the least I deserve."

"But can you imagine? Gaius says, laughing slightly. "If Antinous cared about politics? How much damage he could do?" Gaius shakes his head, glancing at the sleeping boy and lifting his brows. "Fortunately, I think his interests will remain very shallow."

"I think all he really cares about is the Emperor himself," Cicero answers with a mild shrug. "The Emperor is all he needs to carry about. He's lucky."

Gaius shrugs, leaning back against the side of the carriage. "I guess it would be nice if life were so simple for the rest of us," he acknowledges. "But for the next few days, you only have to worry about yourself. You should rest, we have a long ride home."

Cicero looks to Gaius after a moment, smiling thankfully. "We can take shifts," he insists, because despite the fact that they're on a moving carriage, Cicero is still wary, and one really never knows. He settles in, tipping his head back against the seat. He yawns behind a hand, lashes already heavy. "Please wake me when you feel tired."

"Shifts for what?" Gaius asks, laughing softly and lifting his brows. "There are armed guards everywhere around us, Cicero. You're safe. Do you feel uneasy?"

Cicero shrugs, looking embarrassed. "I don't know them, and they don't know me," he tries to reason. "I feel much safer under the eye of someone who wants to watch over me, rather than someone who's required to." They are not the one he trusts.

"Well you, boy... you have the Emperor's precious cargo in your lap. I think you're pretty safe," Gaius says, smirking faintly. "Still, I'll watch. You rest."

Cicero wrinkles his nose at him, feeling mildly patronized. "You don't have to," he mutters, nearly pouting. "But.. thank you, if you do."
"You know how I like to please," Gaius says, laughing softly and shrugging his shoulders. "I'll watch."

Cicero only glares, feeling almost embarrassed now. But he says nothing more, thinking it best to just settle in and nap. He's starting to realize he can't really ever win with Gaius.