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30 December 2008 @ 11:10 pm
Cicero, Gaius, Antinous, & Hadrian: Paranoid  
Who: Cicero, Antinous, Gaius, and Hadrian
Where: Around the Villa
When: Some hours after the last scene

Antinous is unwilling to be roused, but the carriage has stopped outside the Villa now. It's dark, sometime in the middle of the night, and Antinous whimpers when Gaius reaches over and shakes his shoulder a little roughly.

"C'mon, pup, get up," he says, gruff and short, before he pulls aside the curtain and jumps out of the carriage himself.

Cicero waits until Antinous sits up to shift, stretching out his legs to work out the strain in them. He rubs at his eyes, having fallen asleep longer than he expected. He peeks out the carriage, seeing a tall figure not too far away, getting steadily closer. He doesn't even second-guess that it's the Emperor.

Antinous pouts, disoriented, his curls all a mess and his toga wrinkled. He looks to Cicero, hilariously disheveled and grumpy, clearly displeased. "He woke me up," Antinous points out sorely.

"Because we're here," Cicero returns, deadpan. He reaches up, gently pushing at Antinous' shoulder. "Hurry up, my legs are cramping."

Outside, Hadrian meets Gaius with a brotherly hug, clapping at the man's back. He murmurs a thanks between them, but his smile is really for someone else.

Gaius takes a few steps back after the hug, wary of the Emperor's anger when he sees the extra cargo inside. Antinous slowly makes his way out, vision a little bleary from sleep. His feet hit the ground and he's already walking towards Hadrian, sleepily stumbling right into him and wrapping his arms around his middle.

Hadrian chuckles quietly, his arms only eager to take Antinous in. He lifts a hand up to smooth back the boy's curls. He looks up just in time to see Cicero slowly making his way out of the carriage, and his smile instantly drops. He looks to Gaius. "What's going on?"

"He's here for a few days," Gaius says quietly, just faintly challenging. He doesn't appreciate the Emperor's dislike for Cicero, and it shows. Antinous lifts his face from Hadrian's chest, looking over to Cicero and holding out his hand for his friend to take.

"I brought Cissy," he says proudly. "His boss is a jerk but I'm cute and he couldn't say no. Also I have money."

Hadrian doesn't reply for a few minutes, his dark eyes hardening as Cicero quietly takes Antinous' offered hand. After a moment he looks down to Antinous, a frown tugging on his lips. "You didn't say you were bringing him back."

"Well I didn't know we'd make up for sure," Antinous says quietly, lifting his eyes to Hadrian's, silently pleading him not to say anything harsh to Cicero. "But we did and I brought him, and we're going to be good this time. I promise."

Hadrian grits his teeth, making his jaw twitch in annoyance. He looks from Antinous to Cicero to Gaius, displeased with all of them, but he says nothing other than a short, "Let's get inside. It's late." He turns, Antinous still in his arms, slowly making his way back into the walls of the Villa.

Antinous keeps hold of Cicero's hand, pulling him along and giving him an encouraging smile. At least Hadrian hasn't said no - that's practically an outright approval in Antinous' eyes.

Hadrian leads them towards the room Cicero had stayed in just a few days ago. Cicero, taking cue from him, hastily scurries in after a quick kiss to Antinous' cheek, bidding them both goodnight with a hasty thanks to the Emperor. Hadrian releases Antinous, insisting he go ahead to his quarters without him for now.

Antinous shakes his head, stopping, looking to Hadrian. "Why?" he murmurs, frowning. "I don't want to sleep without you."

Hadrian drops a kiss to Antinous' brow, soothing. "You won't. I won't be long. I just need to speak to the guards, to inform them there's someone staying here."

Antinous pouts a little, searching Hadrian's eyes, worried Hadrian might be masking his anger. "Well I'll come with you," he says stubbornly. "I've missed you. You want me to just walk away from you like that?"

"I've missed you too. I won't be long," Hadrian repeats. "Go."

Antinous shakes his lead a little, stubborn and suspicious. "Why can't I come with you?"

"It's official business," Hadrian insists, though it's starting to get obvious his own patience is wearing thin. "Are you really going to make me tell you again?"

Antinous' eyes narrow further, and he steps back, lips pressing together, clearly displeased. "Official business. Right." He doesn't buy it, not even a little bit. He wonders if another boy arrived in the time he was gone, if he's already been replaced. Hadrian must be going to see someone else, Antinous can't think of a single other reason for him to send Antinous away so coldly. Without another word he turns away, heading for Cicero's room instead of Hadrian's.

Hadrian's eyes close, a short groan leaving him. He's clearly not as pleased with the other as Antinous is with him, and it shows in the rather dirty look he throws the door's way. In hasty movements he turns towards the guard standing outside the atrium, speaking in low, sharp tones. "Watch the brunette," he mutters. "I want a man on him at all times." Then he's turning away, all but stomping back towards his own quarters.

Antinous glances over his shoulder at him, chewing harshly on his lip, but he refuses to follow. His distrust and insecurity has a hold of him now, and Hadrian hadn't even bothered to reassure him. He feels his throat getting tight and his eyes starting to sting, and he stops at Cicero's door and knocks.

It's a moment before Cicero answers, slowly pulling the door open to peek around it. "Annie?" He's more than a little surprised, eyes darting around to look behind Antinous, expecting to see the Emperor looming around behind him. "What's going on?"

Antinous shakes his head, crossing his arms over his stomach, dropping his eyes from Cicero's face. "I think there's someone else," Antinous says quietly. "I think... I think he has someone else."

Cicero shakes his head, looking lost for a moment. "Who? The Emperor?" He opens the door wider, looking around, half-expecting to see the man there, watching them. "Why? How?"

"He tried to send me away," Antinous says unsteadily, lifting his eyes to Cicero's again. "He said he had to go talk to the guards, but that I couldn't come with him. He was trying to send me away."

Cicero's brows furrow, and hastily he's reaching forward for the boy, pulling him into a hug. "That can't be right," he murmurs, thinking it goes so against the happiness he sees in the Emperor's face whenever he looks at Antinous. "Are you sure? Maybe he just wanted you to rest or.. or something. That can't be right."

Antinous shakes his head, wrapping his arms around Cicero's middle and squeezing. "He was all like official business and I just... if it was business, why couldn't I come with him? He's going to see someone else. I'm not stupid."

"Maybe it is official business," Cicero says hastily. "Maybe he thinks you'd get bored or. Maybe it's something you're not supposed to hear about-- politics, you know? You're being paranoid, Annie, that can't be right." If it is right, that means everything he ever thought about Hadrian and Antinous would be wrong. What hope does any one else have?

"Should I... should I go to his room?" Antinous asks, so unsure of himself. "What if someone's there? Well... well they wouldn't be there, that's where he was trying to send me... And I saw him walking there, but... Should I go?"

Cicero shakes his head, pulling away just enough to meet the boy's eyes. "Yes!" he practically shouts, as if the answer couldn't be any more obvious.

Antinous pouts at Cicero, not thinking that's the obvious answer at all. "Fine. But if there's someone else in his bedroom, then... I told you so."

Cicero rolls his eyes, so close to just hitting the boy behind his head, as if that alone might fix up whatever's wrong in his head. "Yes, and you can brag all you want. Go." He doesn't want to give Hadrian the chance to prove Antinous right.

Antinous nods, pulling away from Cicero, reaching up to tug quickly on his ear. "I'll see you later," he murmurs, before he gives in and begins to head to Hadrian's quarters, wary of what he might find there.

There's no one there but the Emperor himself, tucked away behind his work table, pouring over random scrolls that he isn't really reading. Too agitated to go to sleep, and too lonely to climb into bed alone, Hadrian bypassed it to head for his desk instead, his lips pulled into a tight frown. He looks up when Antinous enters, about to tell off whoever had the nerve to bother him, when he stops dead. He eyes the boy warily, silent.

Antinous looks just as wary, frowning at Hadrian, eyes slightly narrowed. He glances around, but there's no one else. No one in Hadrian's empty bed, no one leaning over his shoulder as he works as Antinous tends to do. Still, Antinous isn't convinced. "Did you sleep alone last night?" he asks quietly, right to the point.

"Excuse me?" Hadrian asks, his brows rising to his hairline. Then he's frowning, looking incredulous. "Of course I did. What are you talking about?"

Antinous lifts his chin a little, too insecure to believe that means there's no one else. "Then who did you just go to see? Why can't I meet him? If you found someone else, why don't you just tell me? I'm not your fucking wife, you don't have to go around behind my back."

Hadrian lets out a short puff of breath, dropping his head so he can pinch at the bridge of his nose. "I spoke to the guard like I said I would," he mutters, even more tired than he was when he first walked in. "I didn't want you to hear me talk politics just as you got back." He looks to Antinous. "Do you doubt me that much?"

Antinous looks away, still not believing it. He refuses to think Hadrian would force him to leave his side if there was an option for him to stay. "I don't care about listening to you talk politics. I wanted to stay with you. You must not have missed me all that much."

Hadrian's look hardens, his patience thin again. "Forgive me for my courtesty then," he grinds out. "If all you're going to do is doubt me, I can get more than enough of that from my wife, thank you."

Antinous is so wounded by those words, he's finally forced to look away from Hadrian, afraid the man will see the hurt in his eyes. He shakes his head, swallowing thickly. "Do you want me to leave?" he asks bluntly.

Hadrian drops his head, looking over the scrolls at Antinous. "I want to go to sleep with you in my arms where you should be," he says with a sigh. "What you think I want, I don't know..."

"Then why are you being so cold?" Antinous demands, eyes snapping back to Hadrian. "Sending me away, and... talking to me like I'm some huge burden on your life, why are you doing that?"

Hadrian grows quiet, seeing the hurt in Antinous' eyes and feeling his heart clench, knowing he put it there. He stands, finally moving back towards Antinous, reaching out for him. He leans down, pressing a soft kiss to the corner of the boy's mouth. "I'm sorry," he whispers. "I just.. wish you would have told me your full plans."

"But I didn't know, I didn't know that we'd make up, I didn't know he'd even talk to me," Antinous says, lifting his hands to curl around Hadrian's upper arms. "It all just happened, and when I saw that place I wanted to get him out... I didn't plan it that way, it just happened."

Hadrian nods hastily, holding up a hand, his eyes squeezing shut. "It doesn't matter," he says. "It's done. Right now it's late, and I haven't seen you for a day. I just wish you wouldn't so easily forget I'm still the Emperor here, not you."

"Yeah, you're the Emperor, but that doesn't mean I have to listen to you," Antinous scoffs, teasing. "You're cute, but you're not the boss of me, baby."

Hadrian pulls back, making a face. "Get to bed," he mutters, half put out by the fear that Antinous is being serious. He turns Antinous around, moving him towards the bed.

Antinous sighs, letting Hadrian steer him. He stops at the edge of the bed, reaching up to undo his fibula and let his toga fall away. He unties the underclothes he's wearing as well, which are a bit rare for him. He slides onto the bed bare, refusing to sleep any other way, and looks to Hadrian as he waits for the man to join him. "I didn't sleep last night, you know. I can't sleep without you."

Hadrian moves to his own side of the bed, idly undoing his own toga. He slips in as bare as the other, pulling back the covers so they can both sneak in under. He draws an arm out, a wordless beckoning for Antinous to come closer. "Can't, or won't?" he asks, allowing himself to smile faintly.

Antinous makes a face, even as he slides in close to Hadrian, sliding his arm around the man and starting to press sweet little kisses along his jaw. "What's the difference? Still not sleeping."

"Then we'll sleep now," says Hadrian with a nod. He turns his face, catching Antinous' lips just as he presses forward for another light kiss. He draws out a longer kiss, soft and sweet and telling of how much he missed the boy.

Antinous has entirely forgotten his worries from earlier, essentially vanquished the moment Hadrian took him in his arms. "Goodnight," he murmurs against Hadrian's lips, in the midst of catching another kiss, relaxed enough by Hadrian's affections to fall quickly into sleep.

Hadrian, however, takes a bit more time in that. His mind's dizzy with thoughts, each one contradicting the next. He can't help but start to wonder just how harmful his attachment to Antinous is. He hopes he'll never have to find out.