"Well, maybe you'll want to hook up with Vitus. Gods know he needs someone to help him get over that reserve of his, and I'm not going to be around to do it. Besides, he's not bad in bed, once he gets used to the idea that sex is fun."
Metella arched an eyebrow at Attis. She had not had an intimate encounter with Vitus before (or anyone else in the household for that matter, contrary to popular belief), but Attis apparently had, and had no problem talking about it. Sex was fun, she had to give him that, although she had not considered the possibility of doing it with Vitus before.
"Glad you're not suffering, anyway. You might spare a thought for me on occasion while you're having fun with whoever you want to hook up with."
"I'll picture your face as you are being quiet and obedient" Metella grinned. Attis finished packing his things and looked a little lost for a moment; there was nothing else left to do but say goodbye. Which was awkward.
"I am sorry I've buggered up your evening though, Metella, truly... I suppose I ought to go and find Celsus and get going before it gets too dark to see anything out there."
"Take care, Attis." Metella's smile softened a little as he came over to kiss her. She kissed him back, making it a good one; it was the least she could do before he went off to take his punishment. She kissed him deeply for a while before she stepped back. "Try not to do anything stupid."
"I thought you'd dragged me out just to laugh at me for making an idiot of myself, though I'm pretty sure we didn't have to leave the house for that,"
"You are correct. Although the flowers are a plus." Metella grinned, looking around. Bunnies were trying to hop to safety, while some of them decided to try to hide and burrow.
"It's always better to work together though, and I'm open to suggestions."
"Let's... let people chase the quick ones" she suggested, glancing around. "If I was a bunny... I'd find a nice quiet bush" she nodded towards one of said bushes "You take one side I take the other?"
In a way, Metella was going to miss Attis. He was one of the slaves in the household she got along with, in one way or another, and he was entertaining when he wanted to be. She was not looking forward to being stuck in the house without him for company.
"I guess I'll ask the house steward to put me somewhere out of the way where he won't see. Hard to get in trouble if the master never even sees you, after all,"
"Solid plan" Metella nodded. It was probably not going to work; Longinus sent Attis to the other household so that the other dominus could keep an eye on him and teach him a lesson about obedience. It was not likely he would just let Attis hide and weather the storm. But he probably knew that.
"I wish he had bloody whipped me though - you and Vitus shouldn't have to suffer just because I'm a bloody idiot... You and Vitus should hook up, maybe. He's a stuffy old whats-it, maybe you could make him lighten up a bit?"
"Alright, let's get some things straight" Metella raised a finger at him "One, I hook up with whomever I want to hook up with, and I'm not taking suggestions from you. Second, I'm not suffering. Sure, it's nice to have you around, but I'll still be here when you come back. So you should worry less about my pussy being unattended and more about getting back here when your penance is over."
They were dismissed. Attis went to his room (as Longinus pointed out, he had the luxury of his own room) to pack his things before he'd be taken over to the other household. Metella followed him, stopping in the doorway as he started rummaging around. Now that they were out of the dominus' sight, it was clear that he was upset.
"You can feel free to tell me I'm a gods-damned idiot and you never want to see me again. I'm sorry I've ruined your day for you."
"Well, you are a gods-damned idiot, but that's not exactly news to anyone." Metella noted. Just because Attis was being punished for his stupid mouth now didn't mean she had to lie about it. "And it was a pretty good day, except for this last part." She walked over to him, picking some flower petals out of his hair. "You know you'll have to bite your tongue over there, right? It would be a pity if you got whipped."
"Contrary to popular opinion, I am motivated by a great many things,"
"Sure you are" Metella grinned, putting the bunny in the bag before she turned around to see about getting more of them. Whether Attis was motivated by her promise to spend the night in his room, or just the general jolly mood of Floralia, he was doing his best to keep up with the rest of the people chasing the little fuzzballs around the gardens.
Attis lunged at a bunny and missed, getting stepped on instead. Metella stopped at his side to help him up. "Some people don't respect the spirit of Floralia" she noted with a grin "Shall we hunt together?"
"You are to go back to your room and pack your things."
Metella paled. Was dominus really selling Attis? To whom? She glanced at him again, seeing he paled too. As much as she only kept Attis around for fun, she found that she really, really hated the idea of him being sold as punishment for doing something stupid. Not that she had anything she could do about it.
"I don't want you in this house until you've learnt some respect, and you see just how good you have it here. I've made provision with my colleague Senator Titus Sulpicius Rufus; you are to go to his domus immediately, where you will be employed as a general house slave."
Metella let out the breath she had been holding. Attis was not being sold. Yet. He was being punished, by being sent to a much more unforgiving master, apparently. But not for good. She just hoped Attis could get his shit together and act responsibly long enough to be forgiven. He'd have to bite his tongue, or the other dominus would have him whipped, for sure. Oh, Attis. That was not going to be easy.
"Also, Attis, You are forbidden from seeing anybody from this house - including Metella. You will stay at Senator Rufus' domus until I'm convinced you have learnt from your mistakes. It could be two weeks, two months, two years. Or if push comes to shove I could sell you permanently. Do you both understand?"
Once again, Longinus was playing her against Attis. Or rather, the absence of her. They were forbidden from meeting again until Attis' punishment was done. It was a sort of punishment for her as well. She could go without the occasional sex, but she was losing a friend, and she did not like that one bit.
But once again, there was nothing to do but nod.
"Yes, Domine, I understand. I am sorry."
She could tell Attis was upset. And probably secretly angry. But at least he was not dumb enough to talk back. She wanted to go help him pack his things at least, but they had to wait to be dismissed.
"I know how much you enjoy festivals, so I'm sorry that Attis has ruined your day with his idiocy and spite, but I wanted you to be here for this as well."
Metella would have felt relief that she was not in trouble, had Attis not been in serious trouble. She teased him a lot, but this time he had gone too far, and she felt a pang of worry about what was going to happen next. Longinus was lenient, but there was nothing Roman masters hated more than spoiled slaves. And there were traditions for punishment they were expected to keep.
Metella took off her flower crown and held it in her hand. Some petals stuck to her hair.
"I have given all of my slaves opportunities most masters would not. I put up with, enjoy perhaps, the amusing comments, the idleness I see sometimes. I gave you your own room... Free run of the city when I don't need you, the ability to delve into whatever... Your odd sort of relationship is. I even today gave you both the opportunity to go off and catch rabbits for a festival nobody really cares about. My friends judge me for it, think I'm too soft I suspect."
This was definitely not the time to point out that Attis and her did not have a relationship, really. It would have been awful to try to save her own skin when it was Attis who was in trouble to begin with. So Metella just hung her head and listened obediently to their master's angry words. She wished he had come to Floralia. Maybe he would have been in a better mood.
"And how do you repay that? You swear at me in front of my secretary, mock me and then saunter out of my house without a care in the world. I should have you flogged until you can't walk."
Metella winced, glancing at Attis. Longinus had every right to do so. Maybe he would. The thought made her stomach drop.
"Do you have anything else to say? Or anything you wish to say to Metella by way of an apology for ruining her evening as well as my own?"
Metella looked up, first at Longinus, and then at Attis. She really did not expect an apology, but she did not dare resist. She knew Longinus was using her to make Attis feel worse about his choices. That was also his right.
"I'm sorry for being a complete idiot. There was no reason for it, I've got no excuse. I... messed up."
It was not really meant for her; this apology was for the dominus. She just hoped it would be enough to avoid the flogging.
They had had a fairly good day. Attis had earned her approval through hard work in bunny-catching, and by wearing his wreath of flowers proudly. Metella enjoyed Floralia, enjoyed the flowers and the bunnies and being out on her own, having a good time with Attis.
But all of that wilted, much like the flowers, the moment they walked back into the house, and they were summoned.
"Uh-oh..." Metella glanced at Attis, handing off their bag of bunnies to a house slave. They both walked into the tablinum at once. Longinus had been a mood, and it was easy to guess why. Metella did not want to make it any worse by making him wait. She stood at Attis' side, waiting to see just exactly how angry their dominus was about his body slave's cheekiness.
"Yes, dominus." Metella nodded sheepishly. They did have a good day, but that was not really the point.
"Did you bring something to put them in?"
"There's a bag in my basket!" Metella laughed, spotting a bunny under a bush and darting for it, only to see it hop away under the branches. They were were quick, and people yelling at them from all directions only enhanced the chaos. "Come here you little shit!"
Metella lost track of the rabbit and turned back, only to see Attis dive for a fuzzy creature and hold it up with a surprised face that made her burst out laughing.
"Look at you! Never let anyone say you can't be motivated" she grinned, taking the rabbit from him and rubbing her nose against its little pink nose before she returned to her basket to put the bunny in a bag.
People were beginning to move now as bunnies began to scamper for hiding places. The crowd scattered across the gardens, darting here and there just as the animals did. A few stood in place, waiting for the goats that were rare, but easier to catch. Attis let go of her arm, and Metella placed her basket under a bush.
"You've got to be fast if you want one, Metella!"
"Do try to keep up" she grinned, using one hand to lift her stola. It was not the most modest of moves, but made running easier, and all the women were doing it anyway. It was Floralia, after all.
"What'll you give me if I catch one?"
Metella looked at Attis, arching an eyebrow. Now he was trying to get something out of this. Oh well, the man was wearing flowers and chasing bunnies. He deserved a bone.
"Catch three, and I'll sleep in your room tonight."