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A day like any other


Tranquillus
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End of August, 75CE

The reading lessons had taken on a very different mood since Tranquillus' return. Sure, being a tutor, he did his best to actually teach Samorix his letters, but spending time alone with his lover was stimulating on more ways than just intellectually. Even the quiet times when they just sat together were lovely, and if the young gardener's scholarly progress might have slowed, he did not seem to mind at all. Right now, he was stretched out on Tranquillus' bed. It was the afternoon time, with the whole household taking a rest. Samorix had shown up at Tranquillus' door with a small basket of strawberries, promising that no one would miss them. They were sweet as the kisses they shared, and Tranquillus felt his resolve to teach more letters slowly draining away.

"You know, the dominus warned me not to educate you too much, or you might aspire to become a secretary" he noted with a chuckle, looking over Samorix's form from where he was sitting at his desk "But I feel like if we keep meeting like this, I will start feeling like an abysmal teacher..."

@Ejder

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It was a lazy day, and Florus was exactly where he seemed to be spending most of his time nowadays, which was sprawled on Tranquillus' bed, still dressed, but eating a strawberry in a manner that suggested he might not be so for very long.

'I don't need to be educated,' the gardener replied, frowning. He was educated enough about plants, what more did he really need? Anything he lacked, Tranquillus could help him with. Romans were ridiculous. As if he would ever aspire to get closer to the man who kept him enslaved. How self-centered and oblivious. 'You're a great teacher, Tranquillus. Always teaching me something, even when it's not letters,' he teased.

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The strawberry was definitely distracting. Tranquillus found his eyes glued to it as he desperately tried to keep this reading lesson on track.

'I don't need to be educated. You're a great teacher, Tranquillus. Always teaching me something, even when it's not letters,' 

Tranquillus chuckled, and rolled his eyes. Sure, they had been learning things together, even though none of those things were fit for polite company.

"And here I was thinking you wanted to learn to read poetry" he noted with a smirk "Dominus seemed a little worried I would get you into all kinds of sordid literature..."

@Ejder

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Florus' tongue tickled the strawberry as he stared insolently at Tranquillus, eyes twinkling. There really was nothing quite like being here, with the older man, his heart feeling so full. He never, ever would have suspected it was possible to feel this good. But here he was.

'Poetry, yes,' he said. 'He said something about you teaching me about Landicus?' The gardener looked at the body slave with some confusion. There was no reason why the Roman would be suggesting poetry to him, and it had seemed weird to him at the time, too, but then again, it was about fruit, so why not? 'He said his poems about, erm, peaches and cherries would be of particular interest?'

 

@Chevi

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Samorix had been making progress with reading and writing, but he was not quite at the level yet where Tranquillus would have given him poetry to read. And certainly not the kind Titus was referring to. 

"Poetry, yes. He said something about you teaching me about Landicus? He said his poems about, erm, peaches and cherries would be of particular interest?'

Tranquillus made a face that was no doubt amusing. He was aware of Landicus, and he was also aware of the kinds of topics those poems involved. It was not something Tranquillus would normally read, but... also, he lost his train of thought.

"Stop that" he said, his eyes still on the strawberry Samorix was playing with. It was very distracting. "I don't... those poems are... very indecent."

@Ejder

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Florus watched Tranquillus' facial gymnastics with mild bemusement. Clearly the older man knew the poet, though why mention of him would elicit such a reaction was lost on the young gardener. Meh. It was far more interesting to try to get some specific reactions from the body slave by taunting the strawberry. Florus was highly amused. He'd never thought he'd have this effect on anyone, let alone this beloved man. Much more fun than poetry, at any rate.

'Or else?' The young man's grin was a couple notches more than mischievous, and his pale eyes issued a dare. 'What do you mean, indecent poems? Like how?'

It was confusing, thinking that poems that so obviously sounded like they would be about gardening might be about something else entirely. In what kind of universe were fruits like peaches and cherries sexual? Fruit weren't sexual. It was only when he placed the strawberry between his teeth that it clicked. Strawberries certainly had an erotic potential, when they were used to lure in body slaves, the way Florus was unabashedly doing. But peaches and cherries? He didn't get it. Maybe it was in the manner one ate them? Either way, it was flustering Tranquillus, and that was something he could use.

'Why don't you read them to me,' he said, finally taking a bite of the red fruit. 'And I'll be the judge of that?'

 

@Chevi

Edited by Ejder
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'Or else?'

Tranquillus opened and closed his mouth, but he really could not think of an appropriate punishment for being toyed with.

'What do you mean, indecent poems? Like how?'

"Like... Indecent?" Tranquillus was still fighting the distraction, and it was not the best time to try for a definition of indecency in literature. "They... detail sex." he finished, a little sheepishly, knowing full well that this was where everything was headed. But by the gods, did the Romans need to tell everyone about it out loud? In writing?!

'Why don't you read them to me. And I'll be the judge of that?'

"I do not own a Landicus book." Tranquillus stated, trying to salvage some of his shredded dignity. "And I am certainly not going to quote it from memory."

@Ejder

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Florus was equal parts amused and fascinated by how easy it was to reduce his Tranquillus to a gaping fish with a few insolent words and a naughty tongue. That he could have such an effect on this brilliant man, so reasonable and clever and logical, it defied comprehension. But Florus wouldn't question it. He just wanted to enjoy it.

Tranquillus' answer wasn't especially satisfactory to the young gardener. What did he mean by indecent? Was the detailing of sex something that was indecent? He liked sex, rather a lot, and he didn't think it was a bad thing. It had been amazing every single time. Well, except once, but he was certain that could happen to anyone. But in any case, Tranquillus was flustered, and that was fun.

'Why don't you give me an example of just how detailed?' Florus finished his strawberry, and turned around on his stomach, propping himself up with his elbows. 'Maybe you could act it out?' The tone was perfectly innocent, and his grin did its best to be that way, too, but the glint in his eye was nothing short of evil.

He reached out for another strawberry, this time extending his arm out for Tranquillus to take it. 'That's a shame, a scholar like you,' he teased, then shrugged. 'It doesn't matter, though. You could read me a treatise on architecture and it would still be the most attractive thing I'd ever heard.'

 

@Chevi

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'Why don't you give me an example of just how detailed?' 

"I most certainly will not."

'Maybe you could act it out?'

Tranquillus swallowed, watching Samorix roll around on his bed. Damn that man, he was doing this on purpose, it dawned on him. Not that he had not played games like this before, but it still took him a while to catch up. When Tranquillus was trying to teach someone, he meant it. Until he didn't.

"That's a shame, a scholar like you. It doesn't matter, though. You could read me a treatise on architecture and it would still be the most attractive thing I'd ever heard.'

He accepted the strawberry, although he was suddenly self-conscious about what to do with it, after the show the gardener had put on. In the end, he popped the whole thing into his mouth with as much dignity as he could muster (which was not much). "If I read you anything, it will be texts that have educational value." he noted, once he had chewed the strawberry enough to talk again. "Although something tells me you are not focused on your education today at all."

@Ejder

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Florus looked at Tranquillus with a pout. Maybe he was being too subtle? The fruit had seemed very efficient for distraction, but his words, definetely less so. He hadn't thought he was being subtle at all, so how did he get things this wrong? Time to think of a new strategy. Learning his letters was all good fun, but it was never as fun as any of the other things he and Tranquillus got up to. Most likely he would never read any kind of text whatsoever, but that was of little concern when there were all kinds of other things he could learn. Besides, he'd never wanted to become an erudite. Knowing his letters and being able to read what he came in contact with in the course of his everyday life was more than enough. And if he could, eventually, read something out loud to the body slave, without stumbling too much, just enough to be impressive, well, then he'd be all set.

'I don't think those kinds of poems lack educational value,' Florus replied, having taken a new strawberry, and fiddling with it between his fingers. Maybe this was his new angle. 'There are so many things I don't know about, and I really need a tutor to help me,' the young man said, his tone very much back to the mock-innocent teasing. He grazed his teeth slowly on the fruit, and looked intently at the older man.

'Oh, I'm very focused on my education.' Just maybe not the same kind of education Tranquillus had in mind. To show his good faith, and maybe to help the other man understand exactly where his dedication was coming from, he started tracing letters on the bed. Upside down, taking his time because it was still very hard, he was still razor-focused.

L-E-C-T-S.

There. Lectus. Bed. Hard to be any clearer. And he was pretty proud of himself.

 

@Chevi

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Samorix was a bright young man, but he never really prioritized education when they were around each other. Which made things harder, because he had way to make Tranquillus feel the same way.

'I don't think those kinds of poems lack educational value. There are so many things I don't know about, and I really need a tutor to help me,' 

Tranquillus rolled his eyes, but without much malice. He could have pointed out that if Samorix wanted to educate himself in those matters, he would have needed a much more experienced tutor. As things stood, Tranquillus was making things up as he went.

'Oh, I'm very focused on my education.' 

Another strawberry was toyed with, and Tranquillus shifted uncomfortably in his chair. Samorix decided to start spelling letters on the bed.

L-E-C-T-S.

Tranquillus chuckled.

"What do you know. Not bad at all." He stood up, moving to sit on the edge of the bed. "You missed a letter, though." He noted, tracing a finger on Samorix' back. "L-E-C-T-U-S. There."

@Ejder

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Florus looked up at Tranquillus, eyes twinkling. It took more time than he would like, but he was succeeding. He was reeling Tranquillus in. The body slave was really intent on teaching him, and it was difficult to tear him away from that. Truly, he loved this. And Florus loved him for it. His intellect, his dedication... If Tranquillus didn't exist, the world would be a sorry place indeed.

The gardener could sense in the older man's tensing back that he was winning him over. And right on cue, as predicted, Tranquillus rose and went to sit on the bed beside him. The Briton put a hand on Tranquillus' knee, smiling sweetly, as he cupped his own chin with his other hand.

'I told you I take my education seriously,' he said as the body slave praised him, trying to sound matter of factly, but entirely failing to hide how proud he was of himself. 'In all asp-'

Tranquillus tracing letters on his back shut him up in record time, and from somewhere deep inside his spine, he shivered. Florus pulled himself upright, and took the body slave's hand in his own, tracing a T in his palm then looking back up at the other man. He loved it when they were this close. And he loved showing him that he had made at least some progress.

 

@Chevi

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Tranquillus could feel Samorix shiver as he traced the letters on his back. It was still baffling that he could have that effect on anyone, let alone someone like the young gardener. Tranquillus felt a strange sense of pride and accomplishment, as if he had written a particularly good speech. 

Samorix sat up to face him, drawing a letter in the palm of his hand. Tranquillus smiled.

"One letter at a time." He leaned over to press a kiss to the gardener's lips. He tasted like strawberries. "Maybe we could find things to reward you when you make progress..."

@Ejder

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It was crazy how little Florus had thought about his own heart until Tranquillus came into his life. It was always just there, pumping, and doing whatever it was supposed to do, he presumed. Nothing really noteworthy. Just there. But now, when he was with Tranquillus, he was constantly aware of it, pounding in his chest like it wanted to come out. Not in a bad way, like if he was especially winded, but in an indescriptible manner, like it was too full to contain everything he felt, He didn't know what purpose hearts had, except maybe be a receptacle for feelings, and a tell-tale symbol of what kind of person you were. Tranquillus, for instance, had a steady, calm heartbeat, and the young gardener loved nothing more than settling in beside him, head on the other man's chest, listening to his heart.

When his heart rushed because the body slave looked at him a certain way, or touched him, Florus understood what it was. The older man made his heart bounce around erratically like a child's stray ball. And right now, as Tranquillus leaned over to kiss him, he felt it. The man's kisses were as intoxicating as wine, and left his head in a better, more blissful daze. The young Briton knew he'd do anything for more of those. Including learning all the letters in the world.

'I'd really love that.'

He nodded, then returned to Tranquillus' palm. R-A-I-L-U-S came the familiar pattern, but he remembered it was wrong. He usually got in right, nowadays, but he was used to practicing with a stick in the dirt, not all flustered under the other man's steady gaze.

'No, wait, that's not it,' he said. He was really keen on a reward for getting it right. Especially if it was a kiss. He was fairly certain there was no punishment involved for getting it wrong, but why run the risk of not getting a kiss?

T-R-A-M-Q-U-I-L-L-U-S. He thought that was not exactly correct, but even crinkling his features and frowning his eyebrows didn't give him a hint. 'Do I get one for effort?'

 

@Chevi

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'I'd really love that.'

Rewards were an important part of teaching, Tranquillus had always know that as a tutor. However, in the past, they had not usually involved nudity...

Samorix was definitely incentivized now. He tried to spell Tranquillus' name and got all flustered, so he tried again. Tranquillus held his palm patiently, doing his level best not getting distracted during the exercise.

T-R-A-M-Q-U-I-L-L-U-S.

'Do I get one for effort?'

Tranquillus chuckled, smiling at the gardener. "Oh, what the hell. Close enough." He said, before kissing him again "... once we are done with this, remind me to get back to M and N..." he muttered against his lips. Teachings plans were important.

@Ejder

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