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Being Useful


Atrice
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May, 74 AD

Helenus stood still, with his back straight and his hands clasped together behind him. He wore just the sleeveless and pale thin tunica today, and before him stood one of his superiors. He stood together with other thermae slaves, they were just getting ready for the day and all of the slaves were given their bits of information and tasks. Helenus would of course be in charge of people’s belongings and clothing.

 “There is also a noble coming to the bath soon. Their messenger requested it was the same slave that tended to them the whole time. That’ll be you, Helenus, since you’re in the apydoterium already. They forgot to mention a name, but I’m sure they’ll inform you once they are here.” His overseer informed him and Helenus nodded.

 “I’m sure they will. Until then, I will serve as usual.” Helenus said and the overseer nodded – gave him that wave of his hand meaning Helenus was dismissed and could go to the apydoterium, where the first visitors to the bath were soon entering. Tending to the same person all the time they were here was something special and more interesting than just being where Helenus sat now. It meant he'd help the patron bathe, massage and oil if needed, shave if needed and anything else the patron required, really. He sat down on a marble bench, all the way in, so that he could dangle his legs. He brushed a strand of the long, dark hair of his shoulder, so that all of it was on his back. Maybe he should have worn the loincloth. On the other hand, if the noble wanted him in the bath, it was faster to pull the tunica over his head and get in.

 Soon the first visitors arrived and they were certainly not dressed as nobles. They were ordinary workers, here for their morning bath before getting on with the day. Helenus took their clothing and carried it to one of the niches in the wall. He spent a few moments looking through a purse, just picking up one single coin for his own use, before he went to the secret stash he had behind a lose rock in the wall. He placed the rock back where it belonged, after he’d left the coin there, and then it was back to the apydoterium to wait for more people. Hopefully ‘his’ noble would soon show up and until then, he'd make himself useful to the other visitors here.

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It was freezing when she arrived in Rome. The snow had stopped falling that night, and everything was nearly pitch dark, while she shivered in a borrowed blanket as they saw the city on the horizon. That was her first memory of Rome. Now that it was warm, Rome seemed much more different. It was also around the time of her second oldest sister's birthday, and one of her favorite activities was to go to the baths. Rukia was always reluctant to go. She was far used to bathing privately, but she didn't want to let her sister down. They usually arrived at the end of the day, but Rukia's sister believed that a morning spent in the baths would be less crowded and noisy.

It was barely sunrise when she and Rukia left, her other sister decided to stay behind with the children, seeing as she already had bathed. Rukia wondered if she was using that as an excuse, seeing as how pushy their other sister was during her birthdays every year.

They walked closely together with their arms interlocked, with neither woman wanting to get lost while it was still a bit dark. As they got closer to the Thermae, Rukia grew a bit nervous. She had never gotten used to bathing so publicly. Did the people here not understand what privacy was? She knew her father's people had a similar tradition, but she had long been used to drawing her own baths after a long day, like in Abyssinia.

As they stepped into the women's entrance a wave of heat hit her as she could feel the steam rise in the bathing room. Quickly, a young slave girl arrived, "Welcome to the Thermae Aventini. May I have all of your garments?" Rukia gaze averted from the other lady's as she nervous began to untie her robe. She could see in her peripheral that her own sister had already beat her in that regard, disrobing quickly to run into the steaming water. She was still struggling with her skirt before the slave girl offered to help, "N-no need," she laughed nervously, "I'm simply not used to this, I apologize." A common excuse she's learned to say in these past few months.

Finally, once she was mostly undressed, the girl stopped her again. "Miss, I don't mean to intrude, but I do believe it would be wise to remove your gloves... and your jewelry?" Rukia's face paled a bit at the idea of removing her gloves, tattooed hands on a woman weren't exactly seen as becoming, and while a part of her was proud of them, she didn't want to make herself into a spectacle. "It's no problem, I can take off the pendant. My gloves will have to stay." Her necklace was a chain of gold, wrapped around a jagged piece of opal that her father gifted her once she turned eleven.  It was a rare piece, and when the light hit the opal, it was iridescent and shined in a multitude of colors. "Ma'am..." Her thoughts were interrupted by the girl's slight show of impatience towards her"Right! Ah," She untied the gold wire carefully from her neck and handed it to the girl, before she covered herself with her hands and made her way to the baths.

"Finally!" Her sister called her over to where she was was sitting, "I was getting worried, did you struggle with your dress? If you wanted me to stay, you should've said so." Whether it was from the steam from the water, or her own embarrassment, Rukia's had grown blood red as she weakly nodded in agreement. "I suppose you're right." She answered through gritted teeth. The water was too hot for her, at first, but her body eventually adjusted to the temperature and she began her bath. After some time of soaking, Rukia grew curious and asked her sister in Abyssinian. "Where do you think they keep our things?"

"In those niches over there, I believe. But I'm not certain. We should be done soon, if you're worried." Her sister said, her eyes still closed and half asleep near the edge of the large pool. "Of course." Rukia pulled her knees to her chest, suddenly feeling a bit exposed. "I'll check for our things in a few minutes, then." Rukia said, staring into her own reflection in the water.

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“Helenus! Psst, Helenus!” Someone was whispering loudly from the doorway in the back; a doorway that led to a narrow corridor between the male and the female bathing areas. It was one of the young girls working for the women’s section, who stood there. Helenus moved to her, wondering what she wanted. Of course he had a deal with some of the other and younger slaves here, so they’d help him out, “Helenus!” She wrapped her hands around one of his, looking up at him with a cheerful smile, “Some women just came and I took care of their things. And one of them, she had this… beautiful necklace, that I think you’ll be interested in. Come, be quick!” She said and Helenus glanced over his shoulder. There were other capsarii here and he wouldn’t be missed unless his nobleman showed up.

 He followed the young slave to the women’s apydoterium, a place he of course knew, he had worked here quite a few years by now and he did not just steal or investigate the men, although that’s where he was supposed to be. The slavegirl pointed at the right niche and then went back wait for new guests to the bath. Helenus went to the niche and looked through the clothes. And then he stood there, with a truly gorgeous necklace in his hand!

 She didn’t lie, it was beautiful. He’d be quite praised if he could bring this in and they might pay him very well for it! Unless he’d keep it… no, it was too special to keep. If anyone saw him with it, they’d recognize it and the owner would find him easily. Instead he closed his hand around it to move along the wall and back to the corridor to return to the men’s apydoterium, hopefully before anyone saw him.

@Bee Bee

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Feeling her skin begin to prune, Rukia finally excused herself and stepped from the bathing waters, squeezing excess water from her hair as she moved. Her sister was half asleep still, mentioning that she'd be right behind her. She held her breath until she finally reached the changing rooms... the apydoterium... a word she hadn't quite mastered in Latin, but knew the meaning of. Her eyes flicked between the gaze of the slave girl from before to the entrance of that lead to the niches before she entered.

"Did you enjoy your bath?"

"Ah, yes, it was quite warm." Rukia admitted. "Wonderful. We pride ourselves on our service, Miss." Rukia wasn't sure what else to say to the other girl, other than a small nod before she finally stepped in, unaware of the other's deception. Once inside, it didn't take much for her to sense that something was amiss. "Hello?" Nervous, she went to the niche where her clothes were folded and immediately saw that her necklace was gone. Her initial reaction was frustration, which quickly turned to anger and worry. "Where is it?" She was shaking. She didn't want to jump to conclusions, but the face of the slave girl flashed in her mind. But just in the nick of time, in her peripheral, she saw movement and turned. Another worker, this time male, was just leaving from the apydoterium as she turned. Her face already red with the heat of the water and the heat of anger, she nearly exploded. "What are you doing here?!"  Rukia called in an accusatory whisper.

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He was simply going to return to his own area, hide the necklace for later and get on with the day. That was Helenus’ plan and it would have worked perfectly, had the woman not returned from her bath so soon. Behind him, he heard movement, but kept his gaze down and continued walking, although then a woman was wondering where something was. The necklace, which he had in the palm of his hand, that’s what she was looking for. She sounded quite frustrated! Such a beautiful necklace must be a prized possession of hers. Yet how could he not take it, now that he knew of it and had seen it? He knew what his superiors would think of it – and he easily imagined how they would reward him!

 He kept walking, but then she spoke again, asked what he was doing here, and since Helenus was the only one right here, he was forced to turn.

 “Domina. I was simply checking if everything was alright here.” He said as he turned around to face her, while moving both of his hands to the back and clasping them together. Fuck that he wore a tunica today and not the loincloth – he had no pockets in the tunica. As a good slave though, he avoided her gaze and honestly also tried to avoid looking at her, although that was the difficult part – she wasn’t covered, but instead stood there in all of her hazel beauty, yet for now she seemed to have forgotten. Of course he was not innocent, not when it came to women either, and it was perfectly natural to see someone naked. But he was a slave and she was probably not. There was no way a slave would own a necklace as the one he was hiding! And there she stood, and there were few things (although he could easily name them) that were as intimidating as an angry, naked woman!  

Hopefully she wouldn’t ask more questions and he could move on before she could memorize his face or order he’d stay or, gods forbid, call any guards!

@Bee Bee

Edited by Atrice
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Suddenly, she became very aware of her own body. Her anger muddled her rationality at that time, and once her mind cleared, so did her modesty. She scrambled for her own clothes, messily wrapping herself within them while still keeping her eyes on the intruder. Her expression showed a mixed of anger, disgust... and some hurt. She wasn't particularly good with yelling at people without tearing up. And as her throat swelled and her eyes watered, she tried to croak out something to fill the silence. "Liar!" Rukia may have been a foreigner, but she certainly wasn't stupid. There were enough female slaves that worked in this section to that very thing he claimed to have done, to check, and monitor their items. The whole thing felt off to her. From the girl's insistence in her removing everything she had, to this!

 There was enough already bubbling up inside of her as it was. The fact that Rome was so massive, or how difficult it was for her to keep her from switching to Greek to Latin. She hated how the dogs would fight and look so hungry and sad, but were too proud to allow her to feed them. She hated how cramped her sister's home felt without her husband and she especially hated how hard it was to find work! At any other time, she was far more gracious and more easy to forgive and let go, but at this moment, Rukia was exhausted.

 "I am so tired of being lied to and mistreated just because my Latin is not as clear or formal. Even slaves think they're far better than me." She was shaking again, "Who are you? What's your name?" She glared so hard into him that she felt she could burn a hole into the walls of the Thermae if she could. Maybe it was wrong of her to hurl a thousand accusations at once, but she was already frazzled and burdened with enough that she couldn't hold it all in. If only she said no to her sister or begged their eldest one to come with, none of this would've happened. "And why are you doing this?"

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The young lady who stood there was beautiful, but also angry and Helenus knew perfectly well it was his fault. It was never amusing to be caught and luckily it didn’t happen very often and it had not had any severe consequences to Helenus yet. But that didn’t mean he liked it. He just did what he had to do, the only thing that was right to do, according to his superiors. If he hadn’t taken this pendant, and they had learned that he had found it and left it… well… who knew what might happen? The slavegirl who informed him might tell and Helenus wouldn’t want that to happen. This happened so rarely, that someone caught him! Why did it have to be now?

 While he stood there waiting for her to leave, she suddenly became aware that she was naked and quickly put on some clothes. Then she stared at him, tears in her eyes, she called him a liar. Well it wasn’t wrong. And he felt bad. But what else could he do but lie? He didn’t want to get caught! Helenus said nothing and then she was shaking and yelling at him again, said people lied to her and mistreated her and that slaves thought they were better than her. He inhaled a breath, stared at his own feet. She was right, of course. Helenus knew. He wasn’t better than her. He was a slave and he was even born as one! She could have him whipped or beaten for his misdoing, she could report him and he’d end up in the mines or even the arena for his death!

 “I am Helenus, Domina. I work here.” Helenus said quietly. He still hadn’t given her the necklace, it was still hidden in his hand on his back. Now should he keep pretending he didn’t know what she talked about or should he just give up and confess? Guilt was probably written in his eyes, if he looked up at her, so he didn’t do it. He kept looking down, “I don’t know what you are talking about, Domina. What is it you think I have done? And I don’t think I am better than you, because I know I am not and I never will be.”

@Bee Bee

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It was all she had, other than the markings on her hand, that she had of home. To be stripped of her identity like this, felt like death. One of the few things Rukia hated the most was dishonesty. But she also had this flaw of finding pity in some of the worst places. When he said the word, Domina, it caught her off guard. The way he looked down, facing only his feet, like a sad puppy. If she saw his face, well, her heart would break. In fact, her heart was already broken.

"Don't call me that!" She cried, still just as flustered as before. "I'm no one's mistress, I'm not even Roman." Finally. She said it out loud. "I'm not a citizen. I'm just here. I may be free, but I'm still less than you." Was this a strategy? "If you want to refer me to something, call me by my name. Rukia." Maybe a part of herself hoped she could appeal to a different side of this Helenus, seeing as how low he felt. Or rather, appeared to be.  It frustrated her, not knowing if she could trust him. Her heart was always soft on slaves. She stood, with her expression as stony and blank as she could muster, and quickly dressed, not caring if he saw. Her emotions were still raw, and her chest felt like caving within itself, but she breathed and finally spoke again.

"Look at me." Her eyes fully affixed on his face, "I have so much to lose, just by telling you this." She sighed. "If you're being honest, then you'll help me find it?" Rukia's shoulders rounded as her gaze softened, "That necklace is really I all have of home. I've lost so much as it is, the last thing I wanted to happen was to lose something of home on my sister's birthday." Her eyes watered, but she wiped them, fully aware of making him pity her was probably a wasted effort. "I suppose I have no choice now." Her eyes left his. "I hope my father's necklace was worth it."All this, and she still wasn't truly sure if he was lying or telling the truth. @Atrice

Edited by Bee Bee
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It felt stupid to argue about this matter, but when she claimed she was less than Helenus, he couldn’t help but feel it was wrong, because he knew it was. She didn’t even want him to address her as Domina, but revealed her foreign name to him – her name was Rukia. Not from Rome. But she was still not a slave.

 “As you wish, Dom… Rukia. And forgive me for saying this, but as a slave, I am always most inferior to you.” She better learn, if she wanted to learn how to live and exist in Rome. Helenus would be glad to help her, she seemed nice, even if he stole her necklace and she was angry and sad and frustrated about it. She was probably very nice. Most people were, he thought. Of course there were a lot of corrupt people in Rome too, but in general, people were nice. Helenus didn’t want to make them feel like she felt right now, but what else could he do? He still didn’t look at her, didn’t dare to. He did notice though that she made sure to get dressed better and then she asked him to look at her. That wasn’t part of the plan!

 But she had told him to and Helenus lifted his gaze and inhaled a breath, he always felt that when he looked at someone, and they looked back, they could see into his heart and mind and see how he was not being a good slave really. At least not to the free Romans who came to the baths. Or the free foreigners… she asked him then to help her find the necklace, she told him what it meant to her and it was her sister’s birthday and she was crying.

 “Domina Rukia, I…” He should not tell her the truth, he ought to just run, but she knew his name and she knew his face and she’d report him if he ran now… and he was hurting her, he had taken a very prized possession of hers and he had no right to. His superiors would beat him up for this. When the slavegirl told them that he had it in his hand, but gave it up… hopefully she wouldn’t, but there was a good chance she would, to make her own chances better. Yet the guilt was gnawing at him, so now Helenus brought his hands to his front and opened one hand to show her the necklace, “I don’t know how to apologize, I am a liar, as you said. I didn’t know it would mean so much to you. Yet it means more to you than what I mean to anyone. Take it. And I will take what I deserve in return.” If she would report him, he would deserve whatever fate happened to a stealing slave. And that was bad. And if she didn’t, he’d deserve how the gangs punished a slave who didn’t do their job well. Helenus held out the necklace to her and stared down again, fully expecting her to take the necklace and slap him or spit on him or something else. It wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen anyway, and he did deserve it.

@Bee Bee

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If she were more cruel, she would've screamed at the top of her lungs to have him captured or struck down. She knew enough of what fate lied for a disruptive slave; tortures, worse conditions, reselling, or even death. But when she saw the pendant in his hands, all she could feel was relief. "Helenus," She walked closer to him, just enough to take his hand to close it around the her father's necklace. "How much does your livelihood matter for this?" The whole situation felt so wretched. She didn't know what his fate would be if he kept it, or she took it back with her. Was he going to sell or give it to someone else? She had so many questions to ask him.

Rukia's heart was already broken. And as she spoke it began to shatter into even more pieces, but she never let on. "Life as a slave, it's hard, is it not?" That necklace meant the world to her. It still did. But it pained her even more to see the man grovel. "Why steal in the first place?" Her hand squeezed his. "Why not be honest working?" The answer to that question felt so obvious, but it was better to hear someone else's story than to judge. Concern painted over her light bronzed features, he seemed so young, too. He probably wasn't much older than her younger brother. "I forgive you." @Atrice

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He didn’t know what she’d do now, but he expected the worst from her. She might call the guards now or just call for help. Or hit him or slap him or worse. She could do anything. But it didn’t come. Instead she came closer to him and asked how much his livelihood mattered… and she touched his hand, closed it around the necklace again. As if she would let him keep it after all.

 “It doesn’t matter.” Helenus simply replied, because it didn’t. He was a slave and he worked hard to make sure he was treated alright, that he wasn’t harmed, but as long as he was a slave, he was little more than an animal that could speak and work. His life didn’t matter. Rukia then spoke of life as a slave being hard and she wondered why he stole it and why he didn’t do honest work. How could he begin to explain it to her? Why did she even want to know? Then she said she forgave him and he looked up at her again.

 “I am doing honest work. But I have to do this too.” Helenus explained, but it was difficult to explain in a way she’d understand. She was no slave and she did not belong to the empire – technically, he belonged to everyone in Rome. And it was easy to threaten him to keep him in his place, because all he wanted was for people to be nice to him. Like Rukia was right now, but he didn’t understand it… “Why do you forgive me? This is yours. I made you angry and sad. You know what happened to it. Please take it. I can’t keep it, not now.” He had made his choice to return it to her and now he wouldn’t go back on that. He’d feel horrible if he kept it now. Even if he would eventually also feel horrible for giving it to her.

@Bee Bee

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Rukia Agda was the daughter of a sailor and a midwife and grew up in a small village where everyone knew everyone. Life was never perfect, but what they all prided on was honesty and protecting each other. Maybe that's why she still didn't understand the Empire's ways or the desire to hold the life of someone else between the palms of your hand. She couldn't bring herself to put Helenus into harm's way, not over a necklace, at the least. She didn't press him further for explanations on his behavior. What he said, while still vague, had to be enough.

"Well, if it's what you have to do... it's what you have to do." Carefully, she slipped the necklace from his hand, and instead of placing it back on, she slipped into her purse. As far as her forgiveness goes, she finally smiled at him, "I couldn't live with myself if I decided to hate you for what you've done without hearing you out. I'm glad I have. " She wasn't sure if she was supposed to do the next thing she did, but it was a habit that was hard to break. She decided to embrace him, squeezing him tight in her hug, and patted his head as a way to reassure him that she did forgive him. "Life is hard for us all, I suppose. It wouldn't be right of me, in my mind to have you hurt. I hope you can forgive me for yelling."

She stepped away from him, and nodded. "I hope you find yourself someplace where you won't have to do such a thing." @Atrice

Edited by Bee Bee
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He was being a criminal; doing something that was forbidden, he was stealing from her! So he did not dare explain it too deeply, he didn’t want her to get involved in such business and he knew he couldn’t tell on those who made him do this either. Although now it was certain, one way or another, they would get to him for this. She seemed to accept the explanation though, and she did take the necklace back, finally. She didn’t hate him? No, she didn’t. Instead she pulled him into a tight hug and patted his head, as if he was a child who’d done a bad deed and now mother had forgiven him. It felt almost strange, to be embraced and hugged like that, in such a gentle and warm manner. It wasn't something he experienced very often and especially not in such a genuine way. Why was she so nice to him - he just stole from her... 

 “There’s nothing to forgive, Domina Rukia. You had every right to yell at me.” It was too old a habit now, to call a lady his Domina – but at least he also used her name, as she wanted him to. She said she didn’t want him hurt and then hoped he could find himself a better place.

 “It is not in my power to decide what I do.” He replied to her. he wondered if he should tell her he would probably get hurt anyway. On the other hand, there wasn’t much she could do about it. She was so nice though, in fact she did almost remind him of his mother, only Rukia was younger and probably even close to his own age. Somehow, it felt right to tell her at least something, “The girl who took care of your clothes, she told me about the necklace, Domina Rukia. She knows about it. And she will tell on me, I think. It is out of my hands.” He should probably not expect to stay here then, if it turned that bad. If she told on him, he’d be sent away. And that's just how it would have to be.

@Bee Bee

Edited by Atrice
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"So, it was her." Rukia's expression fell, still conflicted at the idea of reporting someone else in a similar position. "I had a feeling. In fact, I wanted to question her right before I caught you." Her fingers fiddled with her purse again, until finally, she decided to remove the necklace... but leave the rest inside to gift to him, "Here. It's not much, but consider it something to offer to whoever asks." It was small and made of leather, and beaded on the side was a symbol, similar to a marking that was etched into her left wrist. "If you're ever seriously hurt, find me. I'm a healer and I don't live far from here."

She wanted to reassure him. To tell him that everything would be okay and that all was forgiven, but even she was unsure of where his fate lied. "This may be out of our hands, but you shouldn't shoulder it alone. I help many slaves, some at no cost." Her eyes met his, possibly hoping to find some indication of calm or... something... anything to keep her from worrying about the young stranger, "I hope that the next time I'll see you, it will be under better circumstances." And she meant that, truly. @Atrice

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Helenus felt bad about this whole situation. If he hadn’t been caught, the day would have continued as normal and he would not have felt so bad or guilty. But he had been caught and he felt bad for stealing from kind Rukia – and now he also felt bad for telling on the other slavegirl, but he had to confess, had to let Rukia know that she might tell on him in return. She said she thought it was the other girl and had wanted to question her, but then she caught Helenus. See if she had done that, the girl might have told another story and Helenus would also have been safe in that situation. He was just unlucky today.

 He watched her fiddle with her purse and then she handed it to him! Helenus took it, “Are you sure? You don’t have to, you know.” He said and looked at the pretty little purse with a symbol on it. Meanwhile Rukia revealed she was a healer and would help him if he was ever seriously hurt.

 “You are far too kind, after what I did to you. The gods must smile at you.” Helenus said to her with a small smile, glad that she would not report him and had given him the purse, even if it was for all the wrong reasons. He should not have stolen from her and she should not be so nice to him afterwards and want to help him. That’s not how people usually were. Then again, she was not from Rome, so maybe that’s why? She didn’t want him to be alone and said she helped slaves wanted to see him under better circumstances.

 “I hope so too, Domina Rukia. You are too nice.” He said and sighed, looking up at her, meeting her stunning eyes, thinking about how rare she was, “Please promise me, that you will be careful in Rome. I don’t meet many people as kind as you are. Be careful you won’t be cheated or fooled. I will be happy to help you if you need it.” It was the least he could do for her, right?

@Bee Bee

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"I only want what's best for all. If I can make a choice that can keep all from harm, I'll do it." Which was true. Because they crossed paths, she felt responsible for his safety, even if they were merely strangers. "Keep it." She patted his shoulder, "Maybe you'll be in less trouble when you present it. I'll pray for you." She moved away from him, finally tying the necklace back on before she hid the sparkling gem underneath her dress. She didn't have much time to braid her hair, so she let it all fall down once she was done.

Rukia almost wanted to roll her eyes at him calling her Domina, as if she deserved any title other than Rukia , but she let it be. "I promise, Helenus. I may be foreign, but I am learning more and more. Keep me in your prayers." Was this goodbye? She wasn't sure, a part of herself felt a little pained that they'd probably never see each other again, but she wasn't sure why. She'd met many that have walked in and out of her life the short time that she'd be here, but this meeting would be one to affect her the most. She'd think of him often.

Quickly, she grabbed her sister's belongings and left him, but not before looking back to smile, and say "Take care, Helenus. "

And with that, she was gone. @Atrice

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She was a rarity in Rome, Helenus thought. She wanted what was best for all, wanted to keep people from harm and wanted him to be in less trouble. Who would act like that, really? Helenus was still surprised, but he accepted the purse and her explanation and she said she’d pray for him, “Thank you, Domina Rukia.” He said to her, thinking to himself that he’d find a way to repay her for her kindness somehow. If only he could. He did have some savings, in his own hidden stash and… oh… he had completely forgotten that there was a nobleman he was supposed to wait for!

She said she was learning more and more and asked Helenus to also pray for her. He didn’t know to whom, maybe to Fortuna, for a soul as kind as hers needed all the good luck and fortune she could get, when she lived in this corrupt city. He watched her go and pick up the rest of her things and smile at him, before she left. He was dismissed, then. He wrapped his hand around the purse and hurried back to the men’s part of the thermae, where he hid the purse in the stash. He caught up with one of the other slaves working here, but the particular nobleman had luckily not showed up yet. Soon the day would continue as normal, but Helenus would certainly not forget Rukia – and how she chose to not report him and how she chose to give him her purse. And he could come to her if he was injured. She had also hugged him and he had seen her naked. Despite how they met and how short a time it was, Helenus almost felt he knew her intimately.

@Bee Bee

 FINISHED

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