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The best prize is a surprise!


Atrice
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It was about time to get it done – he knew that. He’d postponed this for so long that it was embarrassing, but honestly, it wasn’t every day you planned on freeing your slaveborn son and would then arrange for him to be adopted by you. If he would. Well he had to, else he would not become an heir and although he knew Teutus wasn’t always fond of him, he was quite sure that his son did want his share of Tertius’ rank in society and the fortune that came with it. And Teutus had earned it by now; he had been a willing student, he'd learned well how to read and write and he had been a good secretary to Tertius. Very good, in fact. He'd earned it.

Tertius hadn't wanted to free his son since the boy was born… no, in the beginning he was quite embarrassed and thought it was shameful to have a son with a slave. Besides, he’d been young, not even twenty years of age and a baby didn’t interest him at all. Tertius most definitely had other things on his mind. And not many years later he was off to Northern Gaul and quite busy there for a few years.

He had enjoyed men in his bed before the birth of Teutus, but after that incident with Varinia, Tertius came to prefer men – for at least they would not give him a child after! But what’s done was done, more than two decades ago he became a father for the first time. Tertius had thought he might remarry after his wife died, so that he might have a chance to gain a legitimate born son. But it was hard to find someone as perfect as Antonia had been. It hadn’t been true love, but it had been mutual respect and understanding and that’s what he wanted. So maybe he had not been too busy about finding another wife and by now, he had more or less given up. Which was why he would finally set his son free from slavery - he could not have his only daughter as his heir, after all. She was expected to marry into another family. Tertius had to have someone of his own flesh and blood to take over once he was gone... even if that someone was born as a slave. It could hardly be worse than when his own ancestor fell to the Germans decades ago.

 Tertius had done the paperwork for the manumission and he had bought the hat called a pileus, that would be given to Teutus during the ceremony for freeing a slave. They would of course need a praetor for the actual ceremony – and it was lucky that Tertius at the moment served as praetor in Rome. Still he wanted a proper ceremony and of course his daughter Antonia Varia would come too, to see her half-brother freed. She seemed fond of her only sibling, even if he was many years older than she and he was a slave and she was not. Now, a piece of paper and the pileus hat lay on his desk in his office and he had sent another slave to go and find Teutus, whereever he was – Teutus, who had no idea what Tertius had planned for the day.

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Teutus had been collared to help with things elsewhere in the house. Respectfully, of course; everyone in the household was aware of his neither-fish-nor-fowl status: a slave but the son of the master who might or might not be freed and end up as their master one day.

Teutus was the most affected by it; all the other slaves could have their friendships with others in the house, but there was always that slight suspicion when he came in. And of course he couldn't have friendships with any of the freeborn young men, who were all busily getting on with their political careers and didn't want to have anything to do with a slave.

His freedom had been promised to him, over and over, until he was sick of hearing about it; it was nothing but words any more. So that when one of the other slaves came to tell him the master wanted him, he presumed it was to take dictation and found his wax tablets, tugging his tunic straight and taking a respectful position as he entered the tablinum, the office.

"You sent for me, Domine?" he asked, eyes lowered. The master's son or not, he was still a slave and liable to get in trouble if he was impertinent in words or behaviour.

 

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Tertius didn’t really consider how his son felt about being a slave, yet at the same time it was well-known that he was his owner’s son. They never really talked about it either – it’s not like they had a close and good father-son relationship. Teutus had always been a slave and Tertius had only begun giving him more attention after Antonia died and after Teutus mother was out of the picture. Now he could attempt grooming the young man for adulthood and becoming his heir. And now the time had finally come…

He sat behind the desk, wearing some of his more formal clothes, when Teutus finally entered – he took his time, didn’t he? But the young man stood straight and addressed him politely, as a slave should. He’d been good and obedient, Tertius thought to himself. Again, he had most definitely proved that he deserved his freedom and what came after that.

 “I did, Teutus.” Tertius said and stood, moving around the table so that he was closer to Teutus. The items were on the desk, but he didn't know if Teutus had noticed them yet. It didn't seem as if he had. Suddenly though, it felt a little awkward. This was a big thing! Tertius usually wasn’t one to beat around the bush like this, but… how exactly did you start? He’d gone over it in his head many times, but now that the moment came, he didn’t know how to start after all.

 “How have you been lately? Good, I suppose? The other slaves speak well of you.” Whether that was because Teutus was Tertius soon, and they didn’t to anger their master or if it was because Teutus really was being well-behaved, he didn’t know. Although he imagined that if they didn’t like Teutus, they wouldn’t want him freed and then they wouldn’t put in a good word for him to Tertius.

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It didn't seem to be dictation. Tertius was wearing his formal toga (why was he wearing his formal toga? Was he going somewhere on business and needed to take a secretary with him?)

"I am... well, Domine," he said, trying to wrap his head around what was going on. Was the master ill? Why had he been talking to the other slaves about him? Was he planning, finally, to... Teutus tamped down on that thought. It had been too long, there had been too many promises, he had heard 'Soon, Teutus, I promise, soon,' far too often without seeing any proof that the promise might be kept, and he had stopped hoping for it.

"Thank you, Domine," he said, as it seemed obvious he was supposed to say something in reply to that last, bizarre statement.

 

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Teutus answered simply that he was doing well and thanked Tertius for the comment about the other slaves. He didn’t say anything else. Wasn’t it good, that the other slaves spoke well of him? Tertius looked at the younger man and saw he’d even brought his wax tablets – well he wasn’t here to do work, for once.

 Tertius inhaled a breath, “No need to thank me for telling you the truth.” He said with a small smile and took a step to the side, so that Teutus could see the table properly. Tertius hadn’t freed many slaves in his lifetime – he did like to get a profit out of them somehow, and if they couldn’t work for him or follow orders, the least they could do was being sold for a good price and gain Tertius some coin in return. Still though, he doubted Teutus would see the pileus for the first time in his life here. When a slave was freed, a pileus was placed on his head. Such was tradition, even if it was a strange one.

 “Do you know what this is?” He said, motioning towards the hat, “… and more importantly… can you guess why it’s here?”

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He hadn't really noticed the items on the desk; a slave's attention was supposed to be on his master at all times (or that's what he had been told, over and over, even when he didn't want to see is master because it only reminded him how much he resented the man and his power over him).

"It's a pileus, Domine," he said, striving for a neutral tone. The freedman's cap of liberty. He could make a guess, but it was bound to be a wrong one. If he'd been brought in here so that his father - his master - could gloat to him over freeing the gardener, Teutus was going to go to the latrines and be sick.

Well, to be fair, though he had no idea why he'd want to bother being fair to a man who'd never been fair to him, Tertius Quinctilius Varus was not the gloating sort, especially when it came to his slaves.

Teutus took refuge in ignorance and stupidity (See, Master, I can be the perfect slave you always wanted me to be!). "No, Domine."

Too many broken promises. This was just another one to add to the long, long list of them.

 

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Now that Tertius actually asked about the items on the desk, Teutus did look at them and confirmed he knew what the hat was. Of course he did, Tertius had promised him freedom since years ago, and Teutus had probably seen it out and about in Rome. So he knew... but then he could not guess why the hat was sitting on Tertius' desk? Really? Tertius gave him a look as if he was suddenly wondering if this was a good idea after all... if his own son couldn't guess...

"You don't know?" Tertius asked, still a bit stunned by Teutus' reply. Was he making fun of Tertius - mocking him, because this should have happened a long time ago? Well it was happening now and Teutus ought to be grateful instead of resentful.

"Well... the plan is that I'm going to free a slave..." He had honestly hoped Teutus would act a little more pleased when he saw the hat! Really, this was almost disappointing and Tertius had to hold himself back so he wouldn't say something stupid. He needed Teutus! "... and of course it is you, Teutus. If you believe you're ready." And honestly right now, Tertius wasn't quite sure he was! 

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If you believe you're ready!

Teutus had been ready for this for... years. Years in which it hadn't happened, was always something that was going to happen one day. In truth, it had been Tertius who hadn't been ready for it, but Teutus wasn't prepared to consider that.

Was he supposed to go and book a flautist and troupe of dancing girls to express how happy he was about it? He was not at all sure how he was supposed to feel, or what he was supposed to say, or anything. Was this some joke, to extend those items belonging to a freedman and then to snatch them away and send him right back to what he had been doing?

Or worse, sell him - he hadn't forgotten his father selling other slaves who meant something to him, including Teutus' first real friend and Teutus' mother.

He still couldn't quite bring himself to believe this was real; it had happened so often in his imagination without ever coming real, that his first instinct was to pinch himself, surreptitiously.

"Yes, I'm ready, Domine. I just... can't quite believe it's real," he said, suddenly realising just how much the uncomfortable silence had stretched. Whatever scenario he had concocted, in those numerous sleepless nights, none of them had come close to the sheer... ordinariness of this.

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Teutus was his son, right? It wasn’t like it could have been anyone else and Teutus did look a little like Tertius… there was no mistake there, they were father and son. But right now his son’s ignorance and replies made him rethink his idea. Teutus had proved to be a good student though, so he knew the youth wasn’t stupid. Today though, he appeared a bit… slow?

 There was a very long pause and Tertius closed his eyes for a brief moment, telling himself to be patient and not lose his temper. Finally Teutus spoke and said he was ready, but couldn’t believe it was real.

 “Well it is real. And long overdue, I think you agree?” He said, arching a brow and then he smiled, imagining the hat on Teutus’ head, which had to be shaved for the ceremony. Honestly you could make it less ceremonial, and just declare the slave freed for your family and invite him to sit with the family for dinner, but this had been planned for so long, that he wanted it to be an actual ceremony, so that it felt more real to everyone…. “I think it’ll look good on your head.” He said, smiling a little again.

 “And with that said… you know the plan for after the ceremony? I imagine we will wait until your hair has grown back, but I hope by then, you will still want the honor of being announced as my adopted son and become a part of our family?”

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Long overdue... Jupiter Optimus Maximus, could there be any more of an understatement about it?!

"Yes, Domine," he said, striving to keep any criticism out of his voice. Really, Tertius looked so pleased with himself for having finally got off his ass to do something about it that Teutus wasn't sure whether to burst out laughing or roll his eyes. Neither would be healthy, especially right now when Tertius looked as if he might explode or something. Teutus's freedom was so utterly dependant on Tertius finally getting around to this that he didn't dare to anything to jeopardise it.

But going for the full ceremony was something Teutus hadn't expected. Perhaps he should have; Tertius was so utterly determined to be correct in what he did.

And oh gods. The full ceremony - head shaved, stripped to his loincloth in front of... everybody who mattered (it wasn't being stripped completely for sale but it was a pretty close thing to it - and a slave stripped for sale generally shared that abject condition with others rather than being the only one!).

"May I ask when you plan to have this ceremony, Domine?" he asked, carefully not saying the words 'freeing me'; he didn't want to raise his hopes too much, after all. and then to wait the six weeks or so for his hair to grow back... Presumably he would be expected to join in the morning salutatio with Tertius' other clients for that time?

 

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Tertius believed he was doing something right here and he really hoped Teutus would be a good slave and soon a good son to him. But his patience was slowly running out and he fought inwardly to not lose it. Teutus of course agreed that this moment was long overdue, but at least now it was happening, and better late than never, right?

 Of course then Tertius revealed what would happen after Teutus was freed. He wanted there to be a feast at the actual adoption and then he’d want his son to look his best – meaning that his hair would have to grow back out after the ceremony of freeing him. And Teutus was absolutely right when thinking his father wanted everything to be proper and correct… Tertius did prefer it like that. So yes of course he wanted the full ceremony, now that he was for once freeing a slave - and not just any slave, but his own son!

 Teutus didn’t answer to the idea of becoming Tertius’ son, all he asked was when the ceremony would happen. Wasn’t he thrilled to hear it though? Didn’t it please him? Didn’t Tertius for once in Teutus’ life do something that pleased the boy?

 “Tomorrow. I will perform the ritual myself, since I can.” Tertius replied and stepped closer to Teutus, seeking to meet his gaze, “Does this not please you?”

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Tomorrow?! When it had been going to happen, for at least eight years? Tomorrow?!

Teutus looked up, realising that Tertius' face was a mixture of confusion, impatience, other things he couldn't name and confusion. He tightened his grip on the wax tablet he was holding.

Did he mention the confusion?

Teutus' response probably hadn't been the unalloyed overjoyed response that had seemingly been anticipated, but really, to promise to free your son and adopt him and make him your heir and give him everything... and to keep him waiting for it... Teutus had, more than once, wondered (if only to himself) whether his father - his master -was somehow ashamed of fathering a child on a slave-woman, and had kept it dragging on for this long because of that. Every free man in Rome, pretty much, had the potential to have fathered a slave child, what was so damn shameful about it?

He shook himself, forcing a smile onto his face. "Tomorrow? Yes, it pleases me, it pleases me very much, Domine. Thank you."

And if I had any friends, I would go and celebrate with them, except I don't, really.

"It is just the surprise, Domine. I had not expected it... so soon." Or ever, really, by now. "I am grateful to you, truly."

 

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Tertius didn’t think it was that bad that it was tomorrow he might free Teutus – but he planned it, so he knew. And wasn’t it better tomorrow than next week or in a month? It was all arranged and he had hoped Teutus would be happy. But he didn’t seem to be so far… and now he looked up in surprise when Tertius revealed when the ceremony would happen. Really? That’s all he would give Tertius for doing this for his son… finally? 

 So Tertius stepped closer to him and asked him quite directly if this didn’t please Teutus at all. He knew he’d not been the best father, probably far from it - and he believed he had his reasons - but he was trying hard to make up for it right now and Teutus gave him nothing. He didn’t even seem the least bit grateful... and that didn't please the father.

 And now he smiled, saying it pleased him very much, but the smile did not appear genuine to Tertius and the words weren’t sparked by joy. Then Teutus added he was surprised and it was all unexpected, but he said he was grateful.

 “Are you really? And I thought you’d been expecting it for a very long time.” Tertius said with an arched brow, not stepping away just yet, “I thought you’d be glad to hear these news. Isn’t it what you’ve always wanted?” Was he testing Teutus now? Maybe. Who knew?

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"Yes, Domine, I am - I had just been expecting it for... a very long time, without ever knowing when it might happen." A vague hope for something that might happen at some uncertain date was never a good thing.

He mentally shook himself, his expression genuine. "I am sorry, I had not meant to give the impression I'm not glad - I am. Of course it's something I want. Thank you, Domine."

He wasn't sure what more Tertius expected of him; how could he expect his son to be overjoyed when he'd made himself stop hoping so that he wouldn't be disappointed in it? Right now, Teutus thought he'd only actually believe it after the ceremony was over.

Tertius didn't look happy, for some reason. Teutus felt a flare of irritation; it was the man's own fault that Teutus had stopped hoping, learned to keep his head down and do everything he was told to do as a slave. Tertius had no idea, did he, how much it had hurt, to be told this would happen one day, but not get a firm date or anything other than a vague 'When you're ready.'

"I have wanted it, for a long time, Domine. I will strive to be worthy of it - of you."

 

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Teutus said he’d been expecting it for a long time, without knowing when it might happen and apologized for giving the wrong impression. Tertius took a step back, sat on the edge of his desk. Teutus was right, of course. Tertius had been dragging it out, but he might have found another wife to produce a proper heir with. It just hadn’t happened… he hadn’t been busy enough or interested enough to find someone. And that’s why Teutus would be freed now.

 His son added he had indeed wanted this for a long time and promised he’d strive to be worthy of the freedom and of Tertius.

 “I know I’ve been promising you this for years. For too long.” Tertius finally admitted, “And I am certain you will prove yourself worthy. In fact, I would not free you or be willing to adopt you, if you weren’t.” Tertius said, hoping Teutus would understand… it was far-fetched, he knew, but at least this was happening and Tertius would finally have kept his promise.

 He looked at his son’s face again, youthful and handsome, perhaps slightly skinny, but once he wasn’t a slave, he could indulge in all the luxuries a son of a senator would have access to. He could only hope that Teutus would indeed continue to be worthy of his new place in society, “I’m sure you will do great things with your new rank. I hope that with time, we can leave the past where it is and only look ahead.”

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Teutus wasn't quite sure what he'd expected. He hadn't expected Tertius to outright admit he'd been holding out on him, of even to come close to it. He wouldn't point out the lie in the next statement; Teutus knew damn well that he'd only been promised his freedom after it became abundantly clear Tertius was not going to father a legal legitimate son, within a marriage.

He couldn't say he was exactly sorry not have a younger half-brother and therefore to have this chance - if he had a younger brother, he knew damn well he'd be a slave until he could purchase his freedom like any other slave and would never have been offered this chance or even the promise of it.

He wasn't entirely sure he could completely leave the past behind, but he'd be willing to give it a stab.

His freedom, and the ensuing adoption to make him legally his father's son and heir (there was something messed up about that, but Teutus wasn't going to examine that too closely) meant that his world would open up - though there would still be restrictions on him, being a freedman.

Some things couldn't be escaped. That taint of slavery was one of them.

 

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Teutus said no more after Tertius words… about how he knew Teutus had been waiting for too long, but at least Tertius admitted that he knew and really hoped that they could leave the past behind them, so that he could help Teutus rise as the proper son of a senator he was. Tertius had not been a great father to him so far, but once he was freed and legally adopted and recognized as his son, things would have to change. And he would attempt his best to ignore anyone who would point out to him, that Tertius’ heir was fathered by a slave. The heir was also fathered by Tertius, after all.

“We also need to decide on a name for you. You could be Quinctilius Varus Teutus, but since you’ll become my legally adopted son soon, it would be easier to start with the name the other way around. Teutus Quinctilius Varus, does that not have a nice ring to it?” He asked with a smile, hoping there was some way he could make Teutus not just speak of how pleased he was, but actually show it somehow too.

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Quictilius Varus Teutus - or Tertius Quinctilius Teutus - would both establish a whole new family under gens Quinctilia, of course. Both appropriate under different circumstances than these.

He smiled, genuinely, the corners of his eyes crinkling. He had thought about it long enough to have got used, sort of, to the idea of one day being 'Teutus Quinctilius Varus' but had never said the name out loud (tempting the Fates, some people would have said. Others would have recognised it for the caution around the cook's wooden spoon that it was - he never hesitated to wield it on anyone he thought was being presumptuous or uppity, though he was a reasonable enough man the rest of the time). To hear it now, spoken by his father...  It sounded good. This whole thing suddenly seemed far more real than it had even just a few moments ago.

"I think... I think I like Teutus Quinctilius Varus, Domine," he said, almost adding 'if it please you' before catching himself - his name as a citizen would be his choice, not his master's. Father's. 'We' need to decide on a name for you, though... Always taking that little bit of control.

He would have to get used to calling Tertius 'Father' soon, when he had been 'Domine' all of Teutus' life. How easy a shift that would be remained to be seen! And a paterfamilias had almost as much control over his family as a master did over his slaves.

That could be... challenging.

"May I ask who else knows, Domine?" he asked, wondering which of his father's friends and acquaintances might just 'happen' to wander along to the law courts to witness the whole head-shaving, stick-tapping slave-owning-denying ceremony.

The pileus could get dropped into the Tiber from the Probus Bridge once it was all over, as far as Teutus cared.

 

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Of course Teutus taking his own name last wouldn’t happen – if Tertius was freeing him, then it was because the goal was adoption and Teutus being his heir. And his heir had to carry his family name; had to be Varus. And maybe they could finally make amends for his family history, what with the general losing the battle at the forest in the North; the forest that Teutus had been named after. Tertius hoped of course, as any other family member should do, to rise the family to glory once more.

 Teutus was finally smiling genuinely, a handsome smile and Tertius was finally pleased. And then his son agreed on the name, “Good. That is how it will be then.” Tertius promised and soon after, Teutus wondered who else knew about this.

 “My family, of course… Antonia and I told my sister, who is most likely letting the rest of the family know. My household here knows too, of course.” Tertius replied; he still wasn’t talking often to his brother Secundus, they preferred to avoid each other, so Quinctilia was more or less always the middle-man (or woman) between them… he could not recall if he let anyone else know, maybe some of the other praetors, but Tertius didn’t have a whole range of close friends, since he preferred to stay neutral in the politics and didn’t like to take sides – because you never knew what the winning side would be!

 “Why do you ask?”

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Oh Jupiter!! The rest of the household knew for certain before he did? Of course they had, there had been just a little bit more caution around him today.

"I just... I hope they don't all decide to wander along tomorrow, Domine, that's all. To the law-court, I mean." They could wander along to the house as much as they liked, and he had little doubt they would. Tertius would probably want to throw a party, though Teutus had no friends he could invite to such a thing.

He had no wish for all his father's relations, and half his political allies (and possibly a bunch of political enemies) to wander along to witness Teutus in his loincloth. Naked at the baths was one thing, when everyone else there was naked too (and the slaves were in loincloths) but to be the only person deliberately in such a state... It would be over quick enough, anyway. No point in dwelling on it.

"You do remember that even as your son, I'll still be barred from holding political office, Domine?" he asked. There were many many things he could do, but politics... his own son could hold office, but the only way Teutus would be able to would be if the Emperor effectively ruled him to have been freeborn. He thought; he could be wrong.

 

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Of course the household knew about this – they had known for a long time that someday Teutus would be freed and they would need to know when, in order to make preparations. Tertius wasn’t going to throw a party for when Teutus was freed, but for the official adoption of his son, he thought he might do it. Teutus had wanted to know because he apparently hoped they’d not come to the law-court.

 “I doubt they’ll have the time. There’s plenty to do in the house.” Tertius said, “But my daughter is coming and I imagine Hector too. Probably also Favian.” His two favorite slaves, well besides the one that was his son of course. Hector was his body-slave and followed Tertius almost everywhere and Favian was his newly bought gladiator, who also sometimes served as Tertius’ bodyguard (and sometimes more) these days. So why should they not join?

 Teutus then pointed out that he could not hold any political office and Tertius nodded with a sigh, “I know. But that does not mean you can’t win any glory in Rome. And your children will be true citizens and can rise even higher.” Tertius pointed out. Of course he knew, he was a praetor, he was supposed to know these things. If Tertius was closer friends with the imperial family, he might be able to change things.

Wait.

Something just occurred to him. Maybe this was a case in which his friendship with Octavius would come in handy; Octavius’ brother was the emperor of Rome, after all. The future might turn out more fortunate than he had imagined in the first round. If Fortuna was on their side. A small sly smile crept onto his face as he looked at Teutus again, “Would you like to, though? Do you have any desire to become a senator yourself, Teutus?”

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Tertius' daughter... of course she'd be referred to as Tertius' daughter, even though she was Teutus' sister and hadn't really been taught any differently.  Hector, he knew of course; he was as close to Hector as to any other slave in the household. Favian was new and they hadn't really had much to do with one another. There was no reason any of them should not be there, no reason Tertius should not invite half of Rome if he chose - Teutus had no say in any of that right now. His opinion was not something Tertius really sought - why ask what a slave thought about something, really, even if the slave was your son?

Teutus hadn't thought about political office and the cursus honorum, assuming that path would be barred to him. But if it were a possibility, he should at least consider whether that were a path he would be willing to take. He tightened his grip on the wax tablets he was holding, and thought.

"I would seek to bring honour to the family name if that path were open to me just as if it were not. I would be greatly honoured to follow in my father's footsteps in the cursus honorum if I can, but if that path cannot be open to me, then I shall do you honour where I may, Domine," he said, carefully, not entirely liking the sly look on his father's face. He did not dare to hope that something could be done for him to rise through the ranks of quaestor, aedile, praetor and then (maybe?) the dizzying rank of consul.

He would have to do military service first, of course - it was what he had been thinking of doing anyway, whether or not it could lead to greater things.

"If I cannot, I might do well in the legions, Domine," he added, trying to show that he had thought about it, that he wasn't about to pin everything on something that may or may not happen (he'd had enough disappointment in his life to shy away from inflicting more of the same on himself, after all).

 

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Tertius had an idea on how Teutus could hold political office, if he truly desired it. But Tertius would not seek to achieve it, if Teutus wouldn’t keep up with it – then there would be no point. But now that he had the idea, he wondered if Teutus really wanted it. His son said he would want to bring honor to the family name and he would like to follow the cursus honorum. And no matter what, he would seek to honor Tertius.

 “That’s good. Very good. Maybe there is a way.” Tertius said with a smile, before Teutus mentioned the legions. Yes, military service was needed. Although he’d fear that Teutus would go and get himself killed somehow, and then what would all this be for? Then he’d be left with no male heir after all…

 “You might.” Tertius simply replied, “Well, we’ll see how it all turns out, won’t we? Now that the world is about to open up for you.” He moved around his desk again, towards the chair, “So, with all that said… is there anything else you want cleared up, or are you ready for tomorrow? You can have the rest of the day off, as long as you’ll be awake and bright in the morning.”

@Sharpie

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Well, they'd see what happened when it came down to it. Ne need to rush to count chickens before the eggs hatched, of course.

It would be something, to attain all the ranks of the cursus honorum - if he could do so in his year (the youngest it was permissible to hold each office), even better. There would always be those who would sneer at him for having been a slave, but it was what he did that mattered, not what his past had been. If only he could be utterly certain that it would not be snatched away from him at the very last second... but it had been promised for so long, had been always a thing that was going to happen, that he could not see it not happening now that it had finally been given a set date and time.

"I don't think I have any further questions, Domine," he said. Take the rest of the day off... he certainly would. It would be something, to wake up in two days' time able to make his own choices in how to spend the day - there would always be duties, but if he decided to spend the afternoon at the baths, who was going to stop him?

He was going to enjoy being free, he thought. Certainly the first few days, until they got things in place for whatever his career path might look like. There would probably be shopping of some sort to be done, too; he would be entitled to wear a toga or pallium, and not just a tunic, though he was very sure the extra garments would take some time to get used to wearing.

Awake tomorrow morning... he was used to waking early and foresaw no reason tomorrow would not be the same as any other day as far as that went.

"Thank you, Domine for..." For finally getting on with it were obviously words he could not say. "For arranging all of this."

 

@Atrice

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Teutus was his only son – and about to be recognized as such, too. Tertius had already decided he’d do his best to ensure Teutus did well in the world of free Romans, and he now even considered doing more to make sure Teutus could follow the cursus honorum. But on the other hand, his son serving in the military… suddenly he was not fond of that idea. Teutus was his only son. He didn’t want to go through all these plans, just to lose him. An heir was precious. He’d learned that when his own eldest brother died young and Tertius returned home from Northern Gaul to help out his father, because Secundus was also missing back then. And Tertius had no heir and a spare; he only had Teutus. He promised himself he'd do his best to let Teutus know just how precious he was, once he was freed.

 But there was nothing more to say now, unless Teutus had more. He didn’t though and he seemed pleased to hear he’d have the rest of the day off. Why not, he’d be free tomorrow, after all. This would be his last full day as a slave, so why should he not enjoy it?

 Teutus then thanked him kindly for arranging it all, “Well you have been waiting, I know that. And now the day is tomorrow.” He said with a smile and had not planned more, although then he thought of something to mention after all, “Now please be careful; don’t boast too much, or the other slaves in the household may dislike your freedom from the start. They will envy you. You know I don’t often free slaves. For you however… I’m making an exception. You are my son, after all.”

 @Sharpie

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