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31 December 2008 @ 02:16 am
Hadrian and Antinous: A Test  
Who: Antinous & Hadrian (And Lucius, a NPC)
Where: Lucius' apartment
When: December 21

Antinous is here because he received a simple, signature-less letter earlier in the day. It only had a location and a request that he attend, and immediately Antinous hoped it would be Hadrian writing to him. He doesn't think it's possible, and he's sure there's no chance of it when he sees the place. An apartment, clustered with the other senator's places. Still, he doesn't know all of the places Hadrian owns in the Villa, and there's still a chance... It's that chance, however slight, that brings him through the open doors and into the apartment, wearing a soft toga and a few leaves in his hair in celebration of Saturnalia.

Lucius is the one to greet him, a man just a few years older than Hadrian, and one of the more prominent senators that usually attend the meetings. He greets Antinous with a wide, warm smile, everything about him hospitable. "Antinous," he sighs, "thank you for coming. I was worried you would have denied me the gracing of your presence."

Antinous stops when he sees the man, most definitely not Hadrian. He lingers where he is, fingertips resting on a chest he had been trailing his hand along as he walked. He looks wary of the man, frowning slightly. "You're the one who called for me?"

"Forgive me," says Lucius instantly, though his smile doesn't waver. "I didn't think you'd come if I had signed it. All I ask is one dinner with you, so that I may witness your beauty up close. Will you deny a man that much?"

Antinous frowns a little, so disappointed that he hardly even cares for the compliments. "I would not like to give you the wrong idea by having dinner with you," he says quietly.

Lucius tips his head a bit, looking curious. "Surely you can't be so greedy as to keep your beauty all to yourself?"

Antinous laughs a little at that, though there's a bitter edge to it. "Forgive me, sir, but I do not know how to share it with you. Would you have me cut off my nose and offer it to you? Would that be less greedy?"

Lucius' smile fades a bit, his patience slipping. "Your audience should be enough, for now," he says. "A boy like you is wasted hiding away in the guests' quarters."

The compliments are so intoxicating to Antinous, and for a moment he surrenders to them. He nods, sighing a little, taking a step towards Lucius. "I do not promise to be good company, sir."

Lucius smiles again, leading the way to his atrium. He seats himself on a couch, gesturing for Antinous to join him. "Nonsense," he says, "I can tell by just looking at you, how easily and beautifully you can smile. You can't lie to be, boy. I know you know how to have fun."

Antinous sits on the couch, though he chooses the end furthest from Lucius. He shakes his head a little, wringing his hands in his lap. "I find little reason to smile as of late, forgive me," he says simply. "If you wanted charming company, you chose the wrong boy."

"Ah, but I am charmed," insists Lucius, smiling still. "Your modesty is charming. Your beauty even more so. Tell me, then, what can make your light so dim?"

Antinous sighs a little, though he tries to stifle it. He's already weary of the man and his compliments, compliments that would usually inflate his head to an intolerable degree. It all seems so foolish and empty now. This man cares nothing for his soul - only for his face. "That's a personal matter, sir," he says as respectfully as possible. "Thank you for your compliments, though. You are very kind."

"Come now," says Lucius insistently. "Surely there's something I can do to cheer you up. I may only be a meager senator, but I am fairly high up in the ranks, and very respected. I can get you riches beyond your dreams, statues and trinkets, anything you can imagine."

Antinous laughs slightly, bitterly thinking of the way those words would have pleased him in the past. What a greedy, foolish boy he is. "I don't care for those things, I am sorry. And I will take nothing from you. You are kind, really, but I have no use for riches."

Lucius makes just the briefest glance to his right, hardly noticeable. He arches a brow at Antinous. "Then why do you remain, boy?" he asks, more curious than condescending.

Antinous smirks a little, looking over to Lucius. "You keep asking me very personal questions, sir. How about we keep our conversation as superficial as your admiration of me?"

"Is that a problem?" Lucius asks, arching a brow. "Don't tell me you're tired of the superficial."

Antinous leans back, regarding Lucius with a critical look. "You know nothing of me. How do you know I ever cared for the superficial?"

"Who doesn't?" Lucius answers easily, lifting a shoulder in a shrug. "I've yet to meet a man or woman or boy or girl who hasn't succumbed to superficial needs, who am I to assume you're any different?"

"I've known greater things now," Antinous says, a little smugly. "Your age has provided you with little wisdom, it seems. You keep talking of my beauty, but what do you hope to gain from it? It has never gained me anything."

"It got you here, didn't it?" Lucius asks, brows lifted.

Antinous scoffs a little, looking away. Sometimes he imagines Hadrian saw more than his beauty, saw his heart and soul and loved him for it. Most of the time he knows his soul is too empty to love, but still he thinks of it. "And what has that gotten me but a broken heart? I curse my beauty. It only causes trouble."

Lucius glances to his right again, and for a moment he looks confused. Then he looks back to Antinous, looking vaguely put out and annoyed. "You know as well as I do there is only one real reason I've brought you here," he says. "I can give you anything you desire, even a comfortable life, if you give me your body. What will it be?"

Antinous actually laughs at that, unable to help himself. He shakes his head, looking away from Lucius. "You could never give me what I desire. There is only one man capable of that." He stands, stepping away from the couch. "I've changed my mind. I won't take dinner with you at all."

"What do you desire?" Lucius asks suddenly, head tipping to the side. "Rome?"

Antinous narrows his eyes, turning to face Lucius again. "No. Just her Emperor. And what a foolish man you are to think you could compare to him." Antinous hisses the words, out of patience for Lucius now. He turns away again, heading quickly for the door.

Lucius sighs to himself, leaning back in his seat as Antinous leaves. It's a few silent minutes later before Hadrian appears from his hiding place, a few columns away. Lucius stands, looking mildly wary. "I'm sorry it did not go as planned, my liege," he murmurs, bowing respectfully.

Hadrian shakes his head, his expression a little blank. "Don't be," he says. "Thank you," he adds a moment later, reaching to give Lucius' shoulder a pat. "You did well." He brushes past Lucius then, lost in thought. He feels a little like kissing Gaius.