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Time for Miracles


Atrice
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Late May, 75 AD

Alexius could barely remember, when he last saw Charis – but it was quite a long time ago. Not that he had thought much about it, it wasn’t as if they ever planned to meet. They just happened to run into each other, after that first time they met, when he saved her from that wretch called Helios. Luckily for Helios, Alexius had not seen him since. And he had seen Charis. She was a very lovely young woman and still not assimilated into Rome, something he actually appreciated. Alexius knew now that he was more Roman than what he wanted to be, so Charis was a breath of fresh air to his too Roman self. And an attractive one too. Not that he’d forgotten what happened the one time he kissed her, nor the fact that she wanted them to be friends, despite how much he had wanted a few benefits with the friendship.

But on the other hand, he did enjoy spending time with her. Not that they were close friends, but he liked her. And now he had not seen her in a long while, in fact all winter. He had been busy with Oriana and his job and his son, who lost his mother and now only had Alexius. And when spring came, so did the desires once more… for more than the strange affair going on at home.

Now it was almost not even springtime anymore; summer was approaching quickly and Alexius had an afternoon off to enjoy the pleasures of Rome. He’d gone to the market and while other people went there to look at the stalls, even if they were unable to buy anything because they had little money… Alexius went there to look at people, even if he was unable to flirt with everyone because he was supposed to have enough at home. But did he? With Oriana always on the lookout for a future husband, that most definitely would not be a freedman and former gladiator? With a son from his time as a slave… he doubted it, still. Not that they talked about it anymore; the subject was too sore and none of them wanted to give up on the other, it seemed. Even if it was doomed.

So now, with a doomed affair at home, he sat down to watch people, with a cup of wine in his hand from the nearest taverna. He had found a stone bench by a building, so that he could lean back. And as he sat there, watching one lovely person after another walk by, there was suddenly a very familiar figure among them! Alexius smiled, downed the wine and approached her with the empty cup in his hand.

“Charis! It is you, isn’t it? It’s been too long.” He said with a cheerful smile, which turned into one of surprise when she turned to face him and he’d see her pregnant state. Now that, he had not expected! He could easily imagine who the father of the child was, but this wasn't new. They had a lot of catching up to do, didn't they? “Far too long, it seems!”

@Sara

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Charis smiled kindly at the stall-keeper and accepted the little bag of dried herbs she'd been tasked to get. He returned her smile, but as soon as she stepped away, rolled his eyes and chuckled. Since the breakdown Charis had paid no mind to things that she used to do routinely; bartering for a better price for one. The stall-keeper grinned every time he saw her little figure wander, a bit dazed, through the crowds and up to his stand knowing he could make a killing out of her. Charis, for her part, and lost in her little world, was oblivious. 

Placing an arm over her bump to protect it in the swell of the crowds, she hummed a little as she walked, trying to mentally tick things off of her list. She didn't dare write down a shopping list, domine hadn't mentioned allowing her writing things to be returned, and so she made do by trying to remember everything she needed. She forgot a lot usually. Nonetheless, she meandered slowly to the next stall, herbs safely stowed in the little bag she carried when a familiar name called out her voice and she froze, frowning to herself. It didn't sound like domine or Teutus, but what other man would be calling out for her?

She turned around and blinked, having to readjust her view and crane her neck to look up. What she saw confused her. His name was on the tip of her tongue, as was his image, but it felt like he was from a different life. She spoke without thinking, his name coming back to her instinctively; "Alexius?" She queried, the slightly dazed look never leaving her eyes. Yet it was only a moment before she realised where she was, and who she was with and busied herself with looking down at the ground. "I...it's good to see you well, but I have to go. I have errands to run for domine." She swallowed and then inclined her head, "Excuse me." She dipped almost in a shallow bow of submission before turning back and walking briskly to another stall.

 

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Charis turned around when he spoke to her and he noticed that she was clearly pregnant now – she had not gained much weight beyond that belly, after all, so it was easy to tell with her. It surprised him, but not even a pregnant woman could make Alexius take a step away from her. Especially not one he knew, like Charis. She looked up at him and something was off with her. Something about the way she looked at him, as if she could barely remember him. Then she tried to excuse herself with having errands to run and she walked away before he could reply.

“Hey, wait!” Alexius said and followed her. She had been out to run errands for her master before and she had not been so busy about them before. She was never in a hurry to go back. And now… she was. It was more than half a year since he last saw her, a lot had clearly happened during that time, but he could not imagine she had suddenly turned fond of her owner and wanted to return to him… and obey his every order. It didn’t sound like her.

He caught up with her easily, “Let’s have a drink and talk a little. I’ll pay. I promise I won’t take too much of your time.” Alexius said. He’d been so happy to see her, but now his cheerful grin had faded and his expression was more worried than anything else. Maybe it was the pregnancy, making her like this? Some women became quite weird when they were pregnant. Still though, he had to know. And he was not going to leave her until he knew she was fine.

@Sara

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Charis frowned to herself as she walked away from him, his voice making her jump as he he called out of her to wait. No, you shouldn't talk to him! Go home before you do something foolish! This new Charis chided and she tried dutifully to obey, packing up her loose parcels into her bag and making to leave the market. She'd explain to Tertius that a friend accosted her and she didn't think it appropriate to stay. He'd understand, wouldn't he? He'd be pleased?

Yet the fates held no such luck for her and he caught her immediately. She kept her face down, back to him as she tried to battle through the mass of crowds. It was no good though, and a passing cart held her back - long enough for Alexius to pull besides her and ask for a drink. She flushed, feeling embarassed...feeling confused. 

"N-no thank you Sir." She managed to mumble out and with her spare hand, protectively wound an arm around her bump. "My dominus wanted me to come to the market and then go straight home." 

 

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She didn't wait for him when he asked her to, but that would never be enough for Alexius to turn away from a friend. Especially now that he worried about her. So he followed her and tried asking her out for a drink, but she kept looking down as a submissive slave and he could see she blushed... then she didn't want the drink and spoke of how her dominus had wanted her to go to the market and straight home after. Which was weird. What in the name of Hades and Jupiter had happened to her?

"Don't tell me you've fallen for the man!" Alexius said, he recalled last time he saw her, when they had a good drink and talk in a tavern and she had been made official bed slave to her dominus. She had even been given her own room, or almost, together with the man's body slave. It had been a long while and a lot had clearly happened and Charis was now pregnant. It was too easy to imagine she had actually fallen for her master, especially with how she was acting. It was wrong though. Pretty and delicate Charis, falling for that brute of a man that was her owner too. He couldn't imagine it.

"I'll follow you home then. I am not leaving until I know what happened to you. I've not seen you in such a long time and remember last time... when you decided we were friends." But she never sent word for them to meet again, maybe she got too busy. And now she was busy with being pregnant and obeying orders. Something was really wrong here. Alexius had to know.

@Sara

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Charis bit  her lip and tried to ignore him as much as she could, but his words rang in her ears. "H...he's my dominus." Was all she said in response to his curiosity around her feelings for him. She looked at him, just for a moment, as if confused he should find her so changed. Of course she had to listen and obey her dominus! It would be ridiculous to think otherwise!

"No!" She exclaimed, worried and glanced up at him again, "I mean...I mean we can't be friends, I...shouldn't be friends with freedmen, or men, or people dominus hasn't met and allowed." She frowned to herself and as the cart passed, she hurried again and tried to out walk him - as if that could happen. But he seemed not to take no for an answer and she stopped, looking confused and upset, worry flashing up on her face. "Domine wouldn't like you coming back, I will have to tell him you followed me and that would b-be bad for you, he's a Praetor." She bit at her lip. She didn't want somebody else to get in trouble on her account. She'd been so selfish for so long, she was desperately trying to be good now.

 

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So far, she just seemed a little off and strange and he thought it might be the pregnancy doing things to her, but when he reminded her they were friends, she looked at him and said they could not be friends and she shouldn’t be friends with any men that her dominus had not met and allowed. Alexius looked so surprised by that statement that his jaw might just have dropped, although it didn’t. Still though…

What.The.Fuck?

She went on, didn’t want him to follow her home, because she’d tell her master and that would be bad for Alexius. Alright. So it was definitely not just the pregnancy! Alexius looked at her, it was Charis, he knew her, he’d kissed her once… and now she was acting all kinds of… weird and strange. Not like the Charis he got to know last year. Not at all. The girl who almost got herself into a fight with a prostitute, because he’d betrayed her, when she spoke ill of her dominus to him. She spoke ill of her dominus… and now this?

“I don’t believe this.” Alexius said, shaking his head, “Why are you like this? Did I do anything to you? Not since the kiss, I think.” He went on, for a moment there thinking this could be his fault, but what should he have done that made her act like this towards him? He had even more or less apologized for the kiss, hadn’t he? They parted as friends last time, after all. He looked around, they were still in the market and there were far too many people here. Maybe she didn’t dare to speak freely in public anymore. Maybe Helios ratted her out again and her owner had punished her severely and then got her pregnant and now she was afraid… and with her current way of acting, he did not think she would just agree to come with him, without a good reason. But he had to get her alone… at least somewhat.

“I’ll leave you alone on one condition.” Alexius then said, as he had an idea, “I want to show you something. Come. It will only take a few moments, if you come now, and then you can go straight home.”

@Sara

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"N-no, it's nothing you've done." She replied timidly, eyes on the floor, almost on the verge of tears. She had yet to see anybody from her 'old' life; Cynane, Aia, Rufus or Alexius and whilst she occasionally felt this odd sort of guilt settle in the pit of her stomach - but it seemed almost removed, like it should stay with the 'old' her, the Bad Charis. Now she couldn't escape it and it felt overwhelming. She'd been so good recently, and so adept at setting aside everything that had caused her so much indescribable pain over the last year and yet here was a reminder - stood towering over her, willing her to remember. 

She swallowed and glanced round as he spoke, tears threatening to fall. She should say no; she should go home and tell Tertius all about it. But another part of her wondered if her dominus would be angry, upset even that she was bothering him with such minutiae. She was panicking, unsure of what to do. It took her a further few moments before she nodded timidly; "If you promise I can go straight home." She'd still tell Tertius, she thought; that Alexius had followed her and the only way she could get his agreement to leave her alone was by going with him, just for a few minutes. That would please her dominus, wouldn't it? 

Silently, and still on the verge of upset, she followed him as he moved away from the business of the markets - little bag clutched tightly infront of her bump.

 

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So it wasn’t his fault she didn’t want to talk to him and barely wanted to call him her friend. It was something else and she was clearly afraid. Charis was too submissive and it couldn’t be so. This was not how he remembered her and while some people could change, he did not believe you’d change that much in such a short time. It would all have to be a façade somehow. And he would find a way to break it and find her again. No way was he letting a fucking Roman make sweet Charis bow and scrape before him like this! Alexius might be too Roman for his own people, but he was not Roman enough to let a thing like this happen!

 She luckily agreed to follow him, although she looked as if she was on the verge of tears and all Alexius wanted was to hold her close and kiss her hair. Gods he was that easy, wasn’t he?

 “I promise.” If you will want to, he added silently to himself and then she followed him away from the markets. He led her towards a wall and around a corner, where it was far less crowded than where he encountered her. Once he got her there, he looked around them and no one seemed to care so far… so he turned around, moving his arm around her to place the hand flat on the wall and then his other hand on her other side – trapping her there, although he wasn’t touching her.

 He had to bend his knees a little to get closer to her height and he looked at her, seeking to meet her eyes. If she’d try to escape, he wouldn’t let her, “Alright, you can speak freely now and that’s what you’re going to do, because this… this is not you! What did he do to you… your dominus? Did he beat you up and force you again? Flogged? Threatened to kill you or your siblings?” Alexius asked, he hated not being nice to her, but he had to know and Alexius was not known as a subtle type of guy who’d beat around the bush for anything. She knew that anyway, didn't she? What did he do?”

@Sara

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Charis choked in shock as Alexius rounded on her, pinning her against the wall with arms outstretched either side of her head. She felt a quiver of fear run up the length of her spine; but it wasn't fear of him, no, it was fear of herself. This scene felt too familiar - being back in his company felt too familiar, and for somebody who had been repressing all memories, all her friends, from the last year, it was terrifying. 

"Pl...please..." She managed to stutter and glanced around at the very few people that ambled past them, none paying their little scene any attention at all. Sights like this must be common place for the plebs that frequented this back street, she thought to herself. 

As Alexius continued to speak, she felt her breathing intensify and she protectively wrapped her arms around her middle, as if trying to shield her child from what was happening. Her chest rose and fell with panic and she blinked, trying not to look at him, trying to look down at the ground as he finally finished. "N-nothing, he didn't do anything." She stuttered out panicked, and yet even in her new - dazed, submissive - state she couldn't keep from talking; "I...I was bad, I was bad to him, I hurt m-myself and I-I'm trying to be good now." She finally forced out and stared resolutely at the ground. 

 

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He felt a little bad for acting this way towards her, but something was really wrong and it was more obvious now. The way she choked in shock, the way she stuttered and glanced around for help, as if she thought he would hurt her! Had this been the Charis he met last summer, she would have slapped him (as she had done before) and fought to escape or yelled at him. She would not just stand there and accept it. But she did. And he didn’t move, but instead started asking what the fuck Charis’ owner did to her. Although not quite like that.

 She claimed he didn’t do anything. She said she had been bad and hurt herself and now she was trying to be good. As if he’d believe that. With how she spoke of her dominus before and then him doing nothing if she’d been bad. He had not done anything to gain this behavior from her? No, he would not believe that. No way.

 “If you were bad and he didn’t do anything… then why are you so changed? You’re not… you…” Alexius said and then went through what she said… and then it dawned on him… “You hurt yourself? Why?” Something must have happened if she’d hurt herself and then it somehow led to her behaving like this… “Please tell me… I won’t tell anyone.”

@Sara

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Charis' eyes took on a watery quality as she tried to keep tears away, although she resolutely kept her gaze from his face; both out of politeness (he was a freed man, she was just a slave!) and because to look at him would surely only make her more upset. 

She stayed silent as he spoke, until he posed that question and she felt a little choke leave her lips - upset and unsure of what to do. She should run, but how? He held her here - even without touching, and she was so small compared to him! She should not speak ill of her master, she wouldn't, and she should not spread rumours about herself or his household either. Yet Alexius would not let her go easily, she knew that, and all she wanted to do was give him enough that the'd let her be on her way, so she could run home and tell Tertius all about it. That would please him, she was sure of it. 

"I...I hurt my child," She swallowed, "I was bad, I didn't want it, I didn't see it as the g-gift it is and I..." She choked again and kept her eyes firmly down, "And I took a tisane and it made me ill, I didn't m-mean to hurt myself, a-and the medicus said he is okay," She wrapped an arm protectively around the bump. She knew enough still to know that to mention the parentage of the child outright was a bad idea; it wasn't even certain - far from it! - that Tertius would consider any child of hers, his. She was not worthy of such a thing, she knew that. 

"Please...please let me go home...dominus will wonder where I am." 

 

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He didn’t like to see her cry and he didn’t like forcing her to stay and talk… but how else could he get anything out of her? She was his friend and she was completely changed from the lovely woman he met last summer. The one he practically saved from the clutches of an idiotic whore, although she had also been yelling at said whore. She had not taken no for an answer. And now… what in the name of Hades was this and how was this the result of what happened? And what happened? He had to know! Meanwhile she didn’t even look at him, but finally admitted she’d hurt her child because she didn’t want it… and she had taken a tisane. She’d tried to kill the child… and herself? Fuck! Gods, he wanted to hit something! But not her of course! Perhaps that sick dominus she had… and then Alexius would end up a gladiator again, but he could handle that, as long as someone paid for making Charis want to kill herself…

 She begged for him to go home, “He can’t know how long a trip to the market takes.” Alexius said. He knew he promised her she could go, but he wasn’t done. She could have been dead. Because of the man who put that child in her. No way he was blaming her. No… it wasn’t her fault. At all. She was a slave and did as told. Apparently now a little too much.

 “So… the story is… that you took a tisane that made you sick and now you’re… the most obedient slave in Rome? And you weren’t before.” Maybe it messed her up, being sick. Maybe the tisane did something… how could he test it? He didn’t want to just let her go, because he didn’t know if he would see her again. She would avoid him. Alexius inhaled a breath, trying to think, although right now he’d much rather act. Gods, he wanted to do something!

 Oh and he could, couldn’t he? Although this time might be a first, because it wasn’t something he did because he wanted to (although a part of him did anyway), but it was because it mattered. Because it would show him the truth. He could do one last thing to find out if the old Charis was gone for good… “Charis… if you’ve forgotten everything, have you forgotten this too?” He asked and leaned down to kiss her pretty lips. Not a lingering kiss at all, not like last time, but a kiss none the less. Her reaction would tell him what he wanted to know – or so he hoped.

@Sara

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"I...I'm just trying to be good!" She choked out. He wouldn't understand, nobody would understand. She had been through hell and back and largely it was the fault of her own decisions; or those of her family - she told herself. She was more convinced, day by day, when she dwelled on it, that her husband and her brother had been the cause of her enslavement with their schemes; her manipulation of Tertius and her drinking with Cynane and Helios had landed her forced into her dominus' bed...her taking of the tisane had caused her locked up with no human company for over a month. She was so tired of trying to push against a tide that wanted her compliance, that she had just...stopped fighting it. 

She didn't realise  what he was doing until it was too late and he leant down to kiss her. The feeling of his lips against hers was like a jolt of fire and it took her a moment before sense caught up with her and she shoved him away, as hard as she could (which was to say not very hard at all).

Her eyes were a watery mess and she'd started to cry, but her face wasn't the dazed picture of serenity - she was angry. "Wh-what are you doing?!" She choked out, fire in her voice - fire that hadn't been there for months, "D-do you want to get me killed?She bit at her lip, upset on her face; she was upset at him and his presumption but also she was upset at herself. Even the briefest of kisses had jolted her memories. They started to surface slowly - a lingering kiss and gentle, easy flirting filled with smiles, a slap, an easy lie  to Tertius...she tried to push them out of her mind. She couldn't go there, not again. Yet her mind had been awoken, and it would not be quietened as easily this time. 

 

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 Alexius was still not believing her and tried to wrap his mind around the fact that she’d taken tisane, been sick and that somehow turned her into the most obedient slave in Rome. Well, one of them at least. He knew they were there. But Charis wasn’t like that. She should not be broken. She deserved to be herself, pretty and kind and playful, teasing him with her good looks and her friendship, yet not giving into him. She had been free not so long ago, free to do what she pleased, but now… she was not free at all. Alexius couldn’t stand it. She said she was just trying to be good, but what in the name of Hades did her dominus do to make her want to be good?

He had one idea then, that might test if she’d forgotten everything about them and their friendship… he would kiss her. But this time not because he wanted her. She still had her looks, but how could he want a woman that was so submissive? That the Romans could desire such women, he didn’t understand at all. They wanted their women humble and submissive. Alexius preferred the opposite. Strong women. Independent women, who dared to speak their mind. And Charis was that kind of woman! If he could find her again… so he kissed her and she shoved him away and started to cry.

Gods, really?

But then he thought she didn’t seem to be crying out of sadness or misery… but anger… and she asked if he wanted to get her killed. Well, it would seem he did something.

“No one here cares about what we do.” Alexius said, gesturing to the people in the street, not paying them much attention, “You’re not going to get killed! Would your dominus kill a woman pregnant with his child?” He asked, arching a brow. They were having this conversation now and he was not letting it go. Not until he’d found the woman he liked again… he smiled, thinking he could distract her with other thoughts than those of her dominus, “I see you’ve not forgotten what to do when I kiss you, at least.”

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"You don't know him!" She choked, although she had to admit inside that he did speak sense. Tertius might be cruel but he wasn't overtly nasty - he wouldn't physically harm her for this, not whilst she had his baby in her belly. One of her arms wound protectively around her middle at the thought as she choked out, unable to stop herself; "H-he will do other things! He locked me up!" The words left her mouth before she could stop them, and she realised her mistake. 

She rolled her head back, upset, until it hit the wall and pointedly ignored him - turning her face to the side. Something in her was bubbling, coming to the fore. She hadn't felt...angry since her breakdown, not really. It was as if all the unfamiliar emotions and repressed memories were surfacing again and she was powerless to stop them. She felt so overwhelmed she might fall down - and for once she was grateful his arms remained either side of her head to hold her in place. 

"Why are you making this s-so hard." She swallowed and shook her head, not looking at him, "W-why can't I just be a good slave...h-he'll take my baby away if I'm not Alexius." She swallowed and her face crumpled.

 

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She was right, he didn't know her dominus. But he knew her and what she had told him and while the man sounded like a true Roman in many ways of that term, he doubted he'd kill a woman pregnant with his child. Few were that far out, after all. She said her dominus would do other things though and then said he'd locked her up. Locked her up? Like... in a cage or what? Alexius had been locked up plenty of times back when he was a gladiator, but not for long. He wondered if it had been different for her, since she came out this way... "That sounds... terrible." Alexius said, worried about what had happened. At least he got her to admit something, although he hated that he had to be like this to her. He didn't want to make her cry. But he also couldn't let his friend go without knowing why she had said they could not be friends anymore, because she suddenly wanted to be the most well-behaved slave in Rome.

He watched as she rolled her head back and almost leaned against one of his arms. Then she asked why she couldn't just be a good slave and she feared her dominus would take away her child. What?

"Why would he do that? He... I..." He trailed off, sighing, "I want to help you... but you have to tell me what happened, so I can do that. Will you?" He barely wanted to let her go back to her dominus. He locked her up, he broke her somehow and now he might take her child away if she wasn't a good slave. What kind of a man did that to a mother? Oh, right... a Roman! Damn how he sometimes hated that there had to be slaves. And that sweet women like Charis had to end up as slaves.

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Charis bit at her lip, eyes searching for the sun, looking anywhere but his face as tears dried on her cheeks. "It's such a mess." She managed to choke with a shake of  her head. Her breathing felt like fire in her chest from the crying, she felt wrung out like a used towel and she was so tired. Things, memories, had lost their neat cages. She had been storing all of this images of the 'old' Charis away, but now they were struggling free and careening around her mind. She did need help. 

"I...I fell pregnant," She started through chokes, "And I-I didn't want it, I was so awful..." She ducked her head down and stared at their feet, feeling the emotion well up in her again, shuddering her shoulders, "I took a tisane t-to...to get rid of it and it didn't work, it just made me very ill." She choked and brought her head back up again to roll against the wall, tears pricking those big blue eyes. "A-and when domine came to see me I-I was so rude, I don't know what h-happened I just...I just couldn't take it anymore and I said a-awful things and he was so angry he..." She had to take a break for a few moments to regain her composure. "He told me he wouldn't let me out of my room, wouldn't let people see me and I-I was in there for a m-month I think before...before I realised it was all my fault." She swallowed and finally, begrudgingly, turned pleading eyes to Alexius, "S-so I have to be good now, I want to be good for him..." She dropped her hand to her neat little bump, "I'm so tired of being bad all the time..." 

 

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It really was a mess, Alexius agreed with her silently. He had been hard on her and now that she seemed to relax a bit near him, he let his one hand drop, although there was nothing he wanted more but to hold her and kiss her hair. But judging by how she still felt if he got too close and personal, he wouldn’t do that. Besides, it could easily lead to more and she was very intent on being a good slave. Her dominus would probably hate it if she slept around, while pregnant with his child. Finally, she began talking, telling him the whole story. About how she had discovered she was pregnant but didn’t want the child. Nothing new about that or what she did next. Only the tisane had not worked and she fell sick and got angry with her dominus.

And then it would seem her dominus had a very strange idea of punishment, locking her up in her room. Gods, who in the name of Hades was this man? And now he apparently made Charis think it was all her fault, that she was the reason it got to that and not what had happened to her and what the fucking Romans did to her. And all she wanted now was to be good, because she didn’t want to be bad.

“Listen to me…” Alexius said, glad that she dared to meet his eyes, “You did nothing wrong! They did. He did.” Fucking Romans! He felt the old anger against them well up inside him again and his free hand had curled into a fist and he hammered it into the wall! His heart was racing and his breaths heavy before he began talking again, this time more angrily, “How could it be your fault? He violated you! You didn’t want him… and then he got you pregnant. And you don’t like him, so why would you want his child? I… gods… fucking…” He pushed himself away from the wall and her, ignoring the bloody knuckles he had now. He didn't want to hurt her, but his head was pounding, he wanted to hit something or someone. Not Charis. No one deserved what had happened to her and what happened to so many other women here in Rome. He really wanted to beat someone up for this, make someone pay! All of the Romans! All of Rome!

@Sara

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Charis' face crumpled with tears and she purposefully looked away as he moved his hand. He had given her an opening to run, but she didn't wish to, or rather she couldn't. She felt stuck still. She let out little mewls, chokes at his words but didn't say anything and just sobbed silted to herself. Being reminded, quite so vividly, of what she'd done - or rather what had been done to her was overwhelming. Everything was beginning to come back and she had to raise trembling fingers to wipe at her eyes, tears now freely falling over her flushed cheeks. 

"I...I have to go." She said breathlessly, choking and before he could move to stop her - she pushed away from the wall and ran as fast as she could out of the alley and into the heaving mass of people in the market. All the way home she was sobbing and running until her body couldn't run anymore and she stumbled, dazed, back through the labyrinth of streets to the domus. 

Alexius might not have got the satisfaction of seeing her come back, return to the old Charis but he'd certainly started the process. That afternoon she took to her bed, claiming sickness because of the child and cried and cried until she couldn't anymore. And as painful as it was, to remember, it was progress. She wasn't trying to forget anymore. 

 

TAG: @Atrice

It seemed like a natural place to finish!

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In many ways, he did consider himself Roman now. He did have a Roman name, he did have some sort of belief in their gods and he knew the Roman traditions and manners. Alexius knew Rome. But in other ways, he was not Roman at all. He couldn’t bring himself to intentionally harm a woman, unless it was in a gladiator match or she was attacking him for some reason, and even then, he didn’t like it. Back in the day, he fought in the arena because he had to, else he’d not survive and one day be free. And now he was free… and too Roman to be German.

 Yet he was not like them. Not when a woman like Charis, whom he cared about in his own strange way, had almost killed herself because a fucking Roman senator had made her pregnant. She had not wanted her dominus, he knew that. She hadn’t wanted to sleep with him, but did it because she had to. Just like Alexius fought because he had to. But she took the tisane that hurt her and the child… and he hated her dominus for pushing her so far! And now he’d punished her in a way so she was barely her old self. It really wasn’t fair. For the first time in years, he felt he had a real vendetta against the Romans. Someone would have to pay!

 Charis however was crying and after he punched the wall she wiped her eyes and excused herself. Before he had a chance to stop her, she had disappeared in the crowd, leaving Alexius alone there with his anger. He sighed and looked at his hand with the now bloody knuckles. Fucking Romans. He would do something. He just had to figure out what.

@Sara

FINISHED

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