Title: A Long, Long Time Ago
Fandom: Spartacus, The Sentinel
Pairing: None right now
Word Count: 1999
A/N: This is ALL Fanarts fault. Totally hers. I swear!
“He is a good looking one,” Lucertia pointed at one of the men in line at the slave auction.
”Hmmm,” her husband was busy looking at a muscle-bound specimen and she poked him subtly in the side.
“Husband, the one I have my eye on has a relative here too. Someone to control him,” she offered. The one she was considering was looking at her and she saw him shift his stance to move the one she had identified as his brother into his shadow. Interesting. She was far away from the pen where the slave was being held, and yet he had heard her.
Batiatus looked up from his contemplation of the string of bodies before him at her jab. “What wife? I have need of a heavy fighter, not a light one,” he complained as he followed her hand gesture.
“At best he is a medium-range fighter,” Lucertia admitted as she watched the slave shift again. Obviously, he had been through the process before because he was showing off. Even if his face was still. “And he still has someone he is trying to protect. You can probably get quite a good fight out of him with that to use.”
Her husband heaved a sigh and moved over to the pen she was concentrating on. Pacing the length, he found the two who had grabbed her attention. Tall, well-muscled with obvious strength and spirit, they were perfect for his uses. When he twirled a finger at both to have them move, one growled slightly but did as he commanded.
Batiatus raised an eyebrow at the growl. A glance at his wife and he saw she had heard it from the excited look on her face. Custos were rare, and never for the arena. But this slave showed many signs that he was one. Maybe not fully woken, but still. Shifting his attention, Batiatus looked at the slave who the Custos was trying to protect. He displayed none of the signs the other did and he wasn’t catatonic at being in the market, so he wasn’t likely to be his Dux Ducis.
He raised his hand and the two men stopped moving. Good, they were capable of paying attention and following nonverbal directions. They also weren’t staring at his wife. The slave owner also stepped up from where he had been standing and looked attentive. As well he should. He was going to be spending a great deal of money with him.
“I will take these two, the heavy one I marked and the two household slaves I had you set aside earlier,” Batiatus directed. Looking around the auction, nothing else was attracting his attention. “And we are done here.”
The slaver bowed and snapped his fingers at his men. His choices were deftly unhooked from the group chains and into his control. Batiatus kept a close eye on the process. He wanted no slaves to come to him in less than good condition. One of the two household slaves was looking a bit peaked and he waved one hand to stop the turnover. A quick exam from the Medicus he had brought showed nothing wrong and he let the exchange continue. Nerves he was expecting.
His wife was walking the market again and he stared at her. She was a very beautiful woman and he was damn glad she was his. And that she had such a good eye for what would make a successful gladiator.
Once the money for the purchase changed hands, Batiatus walked back to his sedan chair with his wife. Only after she got in did he make himself comfortable. His majordomo was standing beside his window awaiting instructions. “Take the men to the ludus and get them started with the doctore. I want them capable of fighting as soon as possible. The two females are to go to the villa for training in taking care of guests. See to it.”
Batiatus rubbed a hand over his mouth in contemplation. It would be very interesting to see what a Custos would be like. Very interesting.
Agron was not happy, exactly, that they had been sold. Well, he was happy that his brother was coming with him and they were both going to the same place. But the thought of being a gladiator was… daunting. He and Dura both had been tutored in sword work by their father and his men, but he had no idea how different this would be.
When they got to the ludus, they were taken to a basic bathing area and scoured from head to toe. The sensation of being clean was totally worth the scrubbing he had had to endure. Agron noticed that of the three men who had entered the bath, he was the only one who was happy with the whole process. He was even including his brother in that assessment.
The quarters they had been shown to were an improvement over the slavers hovels and the tension he had carried the whole time they had been there, relaxed a bit. Agron was well aware they weren’t safe, he or his brother, but they were safer from some things. It was enough.
Sleep though, sleep was slow in coming as he stared at the ceiling of the room he and Duro were in. Spreading out his senses slightly, Agron tried to get the lay of the land. He was careful, so very careful to not go beyond what he could cope with. If this ludos was a flesh pit, he wanted to know before he went any further. The noises he has heard mere… normal, he assumed. There was some fucking going on, but most of it seemed to be away from where the gladiators and trainees were housed.
Most of the people inside the ludos were sleeping. Agron shifted his shoulders back into his bedding and let loose a silent sigh. He didn’t have the will to worry about that shit now. He needed to sleep; tomorrow was gonna hurt from what he remembered from his childhood training.
The forms and gestures of the ritual dances he had to learn felt wrong, stiff and wholly boring to him, like shoes that didn’t fit or a song that was out of tune. He was expected to be as mild and meek as the rest of the sheep he found himself living with and something inside of him rebelled. He wasn’t. He wasn’t and if he had to remind himself of it for the rest of his life, that would be what he would do. To fail in that would let them win.
Though he had been only a small child when he had been captured on the streets of some unnamed village in Syria, he had grown up in a finishing house for prettier slaves in Rome. He remembered the bitter heat of the summers of the town, and the numbing cold of the winters, and the draining bite of hunger overlaying it all. He had been too weak from that hunger to escape when the slavers had swept the streets he had called home.
Oh, but he had fought them taking him away. Right up until they had used a bastinado lightly, as he would later learn, on his feet. The bruises and swelling had taught him not to be overt in his rebellions. The lesson had been reinforced when the slave caravan had gotten to the ‘finishing house’ for slaves such as him.
The boy he had thought as his brother, Dagan, rebelled against everything and killed one of the guards at the House. The Dominus of the House had decided his fate. He had taken four days to die and Nasir, now Tiberius, swallowed his rebellion and conformed. Slowly, the layers of ‘civilization’ began to bury the street rat he had been. Until all that seemingly remained was a beautiful youth who was very accomplished in the body arts of looking after the Dominus who purchased him.
Until something happened not long after his manhood had come upon him. Then things were very different.
“Tiberius, pay attention!”
The youth wrenched his attention from where it had been, somewhere outside the room he was in and yet inside, back to his teacher. Bowing his head, Tiberius looked at what his instructor was trying to show him. Fellatio. Drawing on his control, he didn’t roll his eyes at the dildo he was handed. After all, he was to be a body slave of the highest order and he could be expected to do this skill. For his Dominus, or even his guests if required.
However, when his teacher went to touch him to guide his form in the lesson, he lost all control. The feeling was faintly reminiscent of when he had been collected in a burst of light behind his eyes and his legs stopped moving. His instructor yelped and Tiberius could hear him moving back, but he had no attention to spare.
“By Jupiter! Someone go get the house priest!”
The words of those around him were far away but he could feel their confusion, curiosity and rising lust. Tiberius whimpered and curled upon himself as the lust grew. He was well aware of what his fate was, but not this way. This was something he wasn’t ready for.
Blessedly cool hands touched his head and he whimpered in relief. There was no emotional flavor to the gesture, “Shhh, lad. Let me see what you have done here.”
Tiberius felt those cool hands inside his head and the thing in him that had slept since the death of his brother woke up and snarled on the face of the intruder. Who only laughed silently and palmed the side of his head. “Tell Marcus Gostius that this pretty boy is Dux Duis,” the priest announced cheerfully.
The voice of his Dominus boomed over his head as he wondered at the Priests announcement and he reacted on reflex. The drop to his knees was as graceful as he could manage without looking like his joints had failed.
“Truly, Priest? I know that Dux Duis show up anywhere, but he is a street rat, no matter how much my people have cleaned him up.”
“He is,” the priest confirmed, Tiberius peeked up through his lashes at the hem of his robes and swallowed heavily. A priest of Jupiter indeed, from the edging of purple on the hem of his long, clean toga.
“Well, he would fetch a great price then,” his master sounded pleased and Tiberius tried to curl further into himself.
“Perhaps, but not the way he is now. The boy is untrained and will likely do more damage here than not. In addition, any Custos that hears him and thinks him harmed will attack,” the priest explained with a gesture encompassing the House.
“Bah,” frustration laced his Domini’s voice. “What do you want, Priest?”
“Your offering time is coming up as I understand. I suggest you include the boy in with your normal tithe to the temples,” the priest answered promptly.
There were hands in his hair and Tiberius tried to control his shudder. They were nothing like the priests. Hot and full of greedy lust, they ran down his back and he held his breath, relying on his House training to keep him safe. “He is very valuable Priest. He has reached the highest level of skills here and was scheduled for sale.”
“Valuable he may be, Marcus, but he is Dux Duis. They do not go to ordinary mortals, they go to Custos,” the priest responded dryly.
There was silence from his master for several moments before the fingers in his hair tightened and then shoved him toward the priest. “Fair. Take him and be done. I will take his value out of the tithe.”
“Understood,” the Priest agreed with a nod. Flicking his hand at the boy in a silent command, he started toward the gate. “Come.”
The Image I am using is from here, done by Woody11 on tumblr. Thank you!