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Any Way the Wind Blows


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"It's not like I have a slave I can send anywhere with a message," Teutus pointed out. "And no - I'll get my own," he added, just in case his father was about to suggest buying one for him (or worse, giving him one of his own slaves, who Teutus had been enslaved alongside until recently).

He sighed. "I don't have all that much to say," he said. "I have a warehouse, and my first few shipments from Hispania arrived safely and sold well; I'm hoping to hire another ship so that I can buy and sell from the east - things from Aegyptus that will also find a good market, that I can buy relatively cheaply, transport easily and that will make some sort of profit here."

He didn't need anything from his father, nor did he particularly want anything from him, either, but looking at Tertius made him see, maybe for the first time, that it hurt for Teutus to exclude him, keep him out. Part of him was glad for it, because maybe now Tertius would understand a little of what Teutus felt. A bigger part felt guilty for causing it - though both emotions were duller than perhaps they should be, mere curiosities of emotions, shadows the way a stuffed bear was a shadow of the living creature.

"I don't know - I don't need you to do anything," he said, slumping a little. He definitely didn't need or want the interference that would probably resurface at some point, but that was incidental.

"I need to make my own way. I have no claim on anything of yours, it's all for -" he couldn't say the baby's name and shrugged. Tertius was fooling himself if he thought Teutus had any claim at all on it - and that was what had hurt so deeply, that day, the realisation that everything Teutus had been promised would go to the baby Charis had laid at Tertius' feet.

 

@Atrice

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Teutus argued he could not have sent message that he’d come, because he didn’t have any slaves to do it for him. Well couldn’t he have paid a messenger or something? Tertius didn’t get the chance to offer buying a slave for Teutus, because he said he would. Tertius would gladly have done that. Honestly, he’d gladly do a lot of things for Teutus. But Teutus didn’t want him to do anything.

 His son explained more about his business, he already had a ware house and shipments that had arrived. Tertius nodded, “And it seems you’ll find a market from things from the North too.” He said, thinking about what Wulfric and Teutus discussed and then he held up his hands, before Teutus could say more, “Do as you please. If you see profit in it, I have nothing against it.” He said, just in case Teutus thought Tertius didn’t agree with it. Maybe he didn’t, not entirely, but while he didn’t trust Wulfric, he did want to trust Teutus. So he had to show it. And he was glad that Teutus told him what was happening so far with his business.

 Teutus then said he didn’t need Tertius to do anything, he wanted to make his own way and had no claim on anything of Tertius. He didn’t mention Peregrinus name and didn’t have to. Tertius knew it, but honestly, he could claim things, everything but claiming the title of heir to Tertius, to be honest. Tertius would give him what he wanted and what he was able to give. But Teutus wanted nothing.

 “Then that is what you must do. Make your own way.” Tertius said. If Teutus really wanted nothing from him, other than the insula Tertius would provide him, then so be it. He should have nothing. And then Tertius would see if Teutus would ever dare to come crawling back, if he lost everything. He bet he would not. He was so keen on making his own way and proving that he could, that he would probably rather beg in the streets than come asking Tertius for aid.

 So what was there to add to what else was said? Not much… “But stay in touch?”

@Sharpie

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He didn't think his father understood, even now, not really. Teutus had no claim on anything of Tertius' because he had no right to it, to any of it.

The things he wanted, and there were several of them, weren't tangible things at all. He wanted to be proud of him, for one thing. He suddenly wondered, for the first time, if Tertius had ever looked at him the way he looked at Peregrinus - it was the expression on Tertius' face as much as anything that had made Teutus leave the house so abruptly that day. And if his father ever had felt about him the way he felt about the baby, Teutus had never seen it, had no recollection of looking up to see that soft fond expression on Tertius' face.

All he had ever seemed to get was criticism. Even now, if Tertius really did want to give him something, why not just give it - why make him ask? Did he know how to be generous, to anyone?

"You could do one thing," he managed. "Manumit Charis. Don't have another son grow up knowing his mother's a slave when his father could have done something about it - you don't want him to feel like I do."

 

@Atrice

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Tertius would not be able to tell if he felt the same for Teutus and Peregrinus, ever. They were two very different sons to him. Teutus meant little to him when he was younger and it was only when he grew older, that he understood that he should make an effort. And now it was too late, it seemed. Peregrinus was different. He was newly born and Tertius had named him heir already and had spent time with him. He was going to grow up as the son of a Senator and not like Teutus. Their situations could not be compared at all. But he wanted to be something for Teutus. Only to him it felt like Teutus didn't want that to happen. And now he didn't even want anything from Tertius, other than that Tertius didn't promise Peregrinus things he would not get. Teutus would make his own way in life. So be it. 

But then Teutus suddenly had one thing to ask for. And it was not for himself. Tertius' eyes widened for a moment there, when Teutus said it. Manumit Charis?! But... why would he do that? She was desperate to leave. She'd use it as an excuse to leave Rome. And she'd steal Peregrinus with her. She wouldn not understand that usually, when a Roman freed a slave, the slave would keep on working for their old master or mistress even after they were freed. Teutus was different because he was Tertius' son and he wanted Teutus to be happy and he wouldn't be that, if he kept on working for Tertius in his house. But with any other slave, that's what Tertius would expect happened. And would Charis understand that? No, he didn't think she would. It was only almost a year ago that she tried killing herself! 

"I'll consider it." Tertius merely said. Teutus was the first slave he had ever freed. It wasn't a habit of his. And he wasn't sure it ever would be. If Charis would like him, really like him, then maybe he would consider it. Because then he was more certain she'd stay. But as things were now? He didn't trust her enough to do it. Hopefully for her, with time, he would. 

"Is that all?" He then asked, because if that really was all and Teutus was so determined to go and make his own way in life, he should. He'd already begun anyway. What Tertius thought meant nothing at all anyway.

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Is that all? Was it? Teutus didn't know any more, and shrugged. It was a moment before he could speak again and his voice was nearly on the edge of breaking. He was no longer the angry animated person he'd been moments before, he was just tired and drained.

"What do you want from me? You've never said if you're sad, or happy, or proud, of me, only if my work is what you want, or isn't what you want. I don't know what you think about me." He was left floundering, like a beached fish, which was why he'd chosen to do what he was setting out to do. Even now, Tertius hadn't said what he thought about it, hadn't tried to encourage Teutus or discourage him, or give him any sort of guidance. It was as if the only help he could offer was monetary, as if that was the only sort of help he knew how to give.

"You want to be a father. Well, be one. There's more to life than money, and I've got enough of that to make a start with," Teutus said.

He was trying, gods help him, but it felt like he would get more sense out of the gladiators painted on the wall behind Tertius. If he couldn't get the approbation he needed, desperately, he'd just give up looking and asking for it, go his own way and treat Tertius as if he were merely a patron and not his flesh-and-blood father, give him reports of the sort he had spent a lifetime reading and compiling from the family's other clients, show up for the morning salutatio when he was in Rome, offer support for the elections, and have absolutely no connection with him of the sort a father and son should.

 

@Atrice

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Tertius had thought the conversation was over, more or less anyway. That Teutus would prefer leaving and moving on with his life, away from Tertius, as he preferred. But apparently, it wasn’t so. Suddenly there was another long speech from Teutus, who now didn’t know what Tertius wanted from him and he wanted Tertius to be a father. And what did he feel for Teutus? Honestly he wasn’t sure. Maybe… failure. From his own side. He’d failed, as a father. That’s why he wanted to do everything right with Peregrinus. It had to be better this time.

 “All I want… wanted… since I freed you, was a son. A son acting like one.” He inhaled a breath, unsure of how to explain it without losing his pride and dignity while doing so… “I know I wasn’t much of a father when you were a child, or even a young man. I’ve tried now, to give you everything I feel I owe you. I know I owe you so much. But I don’t know what more I can give. Because you don’t want anything from me. Barely want anything to do with me. I…” He sighed again, closing his eyes briefly. This was hard for him too, didn’t Teutus see that? Didn’t he understand that Tertius tried? But failed, constantly, it seemed? He felt he couldn’t do anything right by Teutus. Nothing he did was what Teutus wanted him to do.

 Finally deciding on honesty on this night, that seemed to be made of nothing but confessions, “I don’t know what to do.”

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All Tertius wanted was for Teutus to be a son. Wasn't that what Teutus was trying to do, though?

He made a gesture of helplessness. "I don't... I don't know how. All my life, I've just been a slave, just another slave, with promises none of the others ever got but that never came to anything. And... I don't know how to be anything else. I'm only doing this because I need to do something and I want..." He took a breath. "I want you to be proud, and I can't even get that, so I don't even know what to do any more."

Wouldn't it just be easier for both of them if Teutus didn't come round, didn't have anything else to do with this household? This was just too hard, for both of them, being like this. And if Teutus did keep away, he wouldn't have to watch Charis' baby grow up with everything he'd never had.

"It isn't about money or anything - it never was." Which wasn't to say that money wouldn't help, of course it would. But Teutus could earn his own. He couldn't seem to earn his father's approbation in any real meaningful way, and trying to get it was just hurting them both.

 

@Atrice

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This night was turning into something entirely different than what his original plans were. Meet Wulfric, try and figure out what he wanted from Tertius and also introduce Wulfric and Teutus to each other. He wasn't sure how that went, he supposed he'd find out (maybe), and then when Wulfric left, and Charis left, he was now alone with Teutus who was suddenly more than willing to talk to Tertius. For the first time ever, it felt like. Yet it was exhausting, in the long run. He thought Teutus would be going soon, but he would not. And he couldn't turn Teutus away, not now. And he'd told Teutus what he wanted from him, at least. What he thought he wanted. The son he should have been a father to all along. The son who didn't want him now that he had the chance. Teutus said he didn't know how to be a son, because all he knew was how to be a slave.

Then Teutus said again he wanted Tertius to be proud of him and Tertius didn't even go there. Was he proud of Teutus? It was only moments ago that Teutus shared what he'd done so far. He had talked about the business before, but Tertius didn't know how far he'd come until now. He honestly didn't know yet how he felt. Maybe if he knew that Teutus' business was flourishing and that it was doing good to the family name... 

"I get that it isn't about money." Tertius said when Teutus added that bit, "But your business is growing? And you thrive with what you do? It's what you want? Are you proud of your business?" He asked, now wanting to know more, so that he could form a proper opinion on the matter. He wasn't just a praetor by title. He liked knowing things, before he made judgement. So if Teutus wanted him to be proud, well he had to tell Tertius something he could be proud of.

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"It's still so new," Teutus admitted. "I've got a small warehouse down by the river, but there's a bigger one that's come available that I want to look at in the next week or so. And - I don't want to just import olive oil, we have enough of our own, though the stuff from Hispania Baetica is better. I want to expand, bring stuff from the east as well - I'm hoping to have enough to hire a second ship and crew and buy spices from Egypt and further east. Having more ships and trading from different parts of the Empire means it's safer if something should go wrong."

And supposing his new brother had meant it when he'd suggested they work together, there was amber from the far north, as well, and that would earn a decent amount, too.

"I am proud of it, of what I've done so far. I wasn't sure it would work, but it has, and better than I'd expected," he confessed. Olive oil had been a safe venture - he knew that there was a market for it here in Rome, and that he could purchase a quantity without a vast outlay of cash. Buying more luxury items would necessitate a larger cashflow, but the returns would repay that - and further south in Africa, there was ivory, too. All sorts of goods from all across the Empire flowed to Rome and Teutus was determined to be part of that. He might not have all the training to be a merchant, but half of it was having an eye for what people were buying and the rest was having a keen mind for figures and records, and Teutus had ample amounts of that, at least, thanks to his training as his father's secretary.

He wasn't entirely sure it was what he wanted, but it was a venture that was open to him, and one he had proved he could do.

"I'm starting to look at hiring staff, too," he added. High-value goods would need protecting, and he wanted someone here in Rome who would be able to run things while Teutus was away on purchasing trips - or vice versa, who could be trusted to purchase goods Teutus could sell. Being able to work with a brother would solve that issue, possibly, at least for dealing with anything from the north.

 

@Atrice

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Tertius was glad to hear more about Teutus’ little business venture. It didn’t sound small at all, in fact, and if it was really a success, then it might also bring something good upon the family name. And then, it would be something to be proud of. Teutus already had a warehouse and import and was looking for more. He already had one ship, in fact!

 “You’ve come far already, it seems.” And Tertius didn’t know much about it, until now. How could Teutus expect his father to be proud of him, if he didn’t know what he was doing? But he knew now. And it was quite the accomplishment! Tertius would never have gone that way, his life had turned out differently and he had been a Praetor for many years now. But it was well done of his son, he could say that. And Teutus was proud of it too, which was good.

 “It does really seem to work out well for you… you’ve done much, Teutus, and in such a short amount of time.” Tertius replied, “Hiring staff can be tricky, do let me know if you need a hand with that. I know the law, after all.” But so did Teutus, having worked for his father for so many years now. Teutus seemed very excited about what he did. He happily told Tertius, now that he was asked about it. And he could probably have talked more. Proof that he liked it.

  “I am proud of you, Teutus. Of what you’ve accomplished. If you continue doing so, you may yet bring honor to our family and to our name.” And that’s what every Roman wanted, at least those of Tertius’ rank. To be known as honorable. To be remembered. And not just for his ancestor, who died in Germania after having been defeated. No, glory to the Varus name would be better. And Teutus might help with that. 

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It was never going to be easy, to connect with his father, certainly not on an emotional level. But something tangible, something that could produce real and visible results and benefits... but wasn't that the way it had always been with Tertius?

But he had managed to get an admission of pride, at least, which he had sought and asked for. Perhaps he might have got that earlier but he hadn't exactly been forthcoming himself about what he had been doing, partly because he hadn't thought his father would be interested. It wasn't as if Tertius had shown all that much interest in him before or he might have been more forthcoming to start with.

They were both as messed up as each other, Teutus thought. Not that the realisation was exactly startling, or particularly helpful.

“I am proud of you, Teutus. Of what you’ve accomplished." The words were like a cool drink of water on a hot summer's day, practically the first time he had ever heard his father say such things to him, and he hadn't realised just how desperately he had needed to hear it.

"I hope - I want you to be proud of me, that you will always be able to be proud of what I've done, what I will do, even if I can't follow you into the Senate." He'd wanted that, but even if he couldn't do that, maybe this would be something Tertius could boast of, in the right circles. Maybe, or maybe not.

And if he didn't want money, was he too proud to ask for help in other ways? "I... Do you have any clients who might be able to act as an agent for me here in Rome, or as a buyer elsewhere? I can't be in two places at once, buying elsewhere and selling here, after all."

Teutus knew his father's clients as well as his father did, after all, but enlisting Tertius' help was preferable to approaching any of them without Tertius' knowledge. And it might help with the relationship between them, if he didn't feel Teutus was completely closed off to any help or advice.

 

@Atrice

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Now that Teutus had told him what he’d done with his business so far, Tertius could honestly say that his son had done well for himself and if he continued to do so, it would only be a good thing. So he supposed he was proud of Teutus. That’s what his son wanted him to be, and if that’s all he wanted, then that’s what he would have. His father’s approval. Because he did have it, if he would just be open towards Tertius too. Teutus said again he wanted Tertius to always be proud of him, even though he could not follow Tertius into the Senate.

 “I hope I will have every reason to be proud of you and what you do too.” Tertius replied and then his son wondered if Tertius had any clients who could help him in Rome or elsewhere.

 “I’ll look into it, there may be a name or two… and someone who owes me favor too. If that’s all you want, then it will not be problem for me.” Tertius said with a smile and finally lifted up his cup of wine again. It would seem like the storm had settled now. Still, the evening wasn’t at all what he expected, but now, not entirely bad either. Teutus was trying to trust him. That was one step in the right direction.

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They seemed to have a truce, though not necessarily an outright understanding. Teutus didn't think his father realised just how hard it was for him to ask for anything, he'd never been able to before and wouldn't know where to start, especially with the knowledge that the domus and everything in it would go to Charis' baby as the lawful heir. Especially when he'd had no special treatment as a slave, sleeping in the same quarters as the rest of Tertius' slaves, wearing the same clothes and eating the same food as them.

He cautiously settled back down on the couch - there had been a couple of moments where he had come so very close to following Wulfric and Charis out of the room, though he thought that, in the end, he was glad he hadn't. It didn't make things any less awkward though, not really.

"Have you found a new secretary yet?" he asked, feeling that as much as he might not have been open with his father, his father was closed off to him when it came to the sort of things that he thought fathers and sons usually talked about.

But then, Tertius was always a closed-off private sort of man, why change the habit of a lifetime!

 

@Atrice

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The evening did indeed appear more peaceful again. More than it had been until now, actually! He had just wanted to get to know Wulfric better tonight, and introduce him to Teutus, but now he didn't know if that was a good thing at all. Or if the dinner here made him like Wulfric more than he had before. He did recall Wulfric's mother - who spent several nights with him up in the cold North, keeping him warm and apparently making a son for Tertius. But he didn't know until now. And so far he could honestly say that he liked Teutus better than Wulfric. Teutus had done well. And things had calmed down between them, as they still sat here and Tertius sipped his wine once more. Then Teutus would know if Tertius found his replacement yet, when it came to the role of a secretary.

"No... I haven't." Tertius said, "It's hard to find someone as trustworthy as my former secretary... and as skilled." He added with a small smile, looking at his son, who had performed so well in that role. Well enough so that he could now continue having his own business, probably because of what Tertius taught him and the skills he gained as a personal secretary and messenger.

"If you come across someone you think might be suited... you must let me know." He continued, thinking about the subject. The only he could consider for the part was Charis and she was busy with his new son now. She did do well with the reading and writing and he was certain she was good with numbers too. On the other hand, he could not recall any other senator having a female secretary. So maybe not. He'd have to wait until the right one came along.

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Teutus managed a small smile of his own at the compliment to his secretarial skills; he had had an exacting master and had tried to be the best secretary he could be. It had obviously worked.

He could not continue in the role, though plenty of freed secretaries did. He was more than just a freedman, after all, he was Tertius' son (despite their rocky moments and disagreements) and he had his business to run. If it weren't for that, and other things, he'd probably stay in the role a little longer, at least until Tertius could find a replacement.

"I will," he said instead - and he would. He was the only person other than Tertius who knew exactly what would make someone a success in the role, after all - he might know even better than Tertius did, because he knew, as Tertius didn't, what he'd needed to do to keep things running smoothly behind the scenes. Quite how one went about finding someone who would be trustworthy in the role was anyone's guess, though, and Teutus had little experience of buying slaves for such a senior household position.

"How is everything in the Senate?" he asked instead, trying to make it sound like a casual question, the way it had used to be when he had been just a secretary, before Charis, before Peregrinus, before his manumission.

 

@Atrice

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It was a bit hard, to be honest, having to do everything by himself, when he was used to having Teutus around as his most trusted secretary, because he was also Tertius' son. He knew he had to find someone new eventually, but whom? He'd considered Hector, but that was a very brief moment, because while the youth might please Tertius very well, he didn't know anything about numbers or protocols and he didn't show a great interest in reading and writing. He'd learned a bit, because Tertius had wanted him to, when he first came to be his body slave, but besides that... Hector preferred just being a body slave, it seemed. And he performed well. He'd just never be a good secretary. And who else then? Tertius didn't know yet.

Teutus promised he'd let Tertius know, if he found someone who would be a good replacement for his old job here. And then his son asked about the Senate, suddenly. Something he'd not shown a great interest in and especially not after it was known, that he'd never be Tertius' heir by will. He would never go there. Peregrinus might. And Teutus knew that. Teutus was the son Tertius did want, but had him too early, before he even cared about being a father. It wasn't a good position.

"The Senate is as it is... mostly young men serving ideas and old grumpy men complaining about new ideas. Oh and then there's talk about whether our Caesar Quintus will last the rest of the year or what. But nothing's officially announced yet." He added, confident that Teutus would not run out and gossip about this. He was smarter than that. His son. He glanced around, they were still alone and not one slave had come in to interrupt them for wine or food or anything, since Charis left.

"Are you still hungry? There will be too many leftovers from this meal..." He added with a small sigh and picked up a piece of bread. It's not like anyone had a lot to eat before everything went to Hades. 

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He needed a good secretary, and Teutus needed a good clerk. He'd have to bite the bullet and go down to the slave market at some point to see if he could find a suitable slave for the latter role. The slave markets had always given him the creeps when he'd been a slave, even though he'd never been likely to end up there. He saw no reason to think he'd be less creeped out by them now he had his freedom, but he wasn't about to let that put him off.

He wasn't sure why he'd asked about the Senate - it had just been a question to try to move the conversation on after the awkwardness of the last few minutes (how had he dared to be so blunt with his father? And he was still here and not out in the streets - not something Teutus had ever expected might happen, not that he had ever imagined unleashing quite that torrent of bitterness where his father could hear it, much less directing it at him in person).

And now it all was past him and he was still intact and breathing and in Tertius' triclinium, he was startled to find that his appetite had returned, and reached for some bread, and some of the duck that had been so neatly carved.

"You should think about freeing Charis, though - I know it's not something you're used to doing, but she's the mother of your heir. Unless you're going to marry again." Which was entirely possible, of course.

The single biggest problem Tertius had, in Teutus' opinion, was that he couldn't trust people. Which had probably been the biggest contributing factor to this whole entire mess in the first place.

 

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He was glad that Teutus asked about the Senate, that meant it still mattered a bit to him, although he’d never go. At least he knew where to go to get insights on it and surely all of lower classes wanted that. What was said and decided in the Senate might have an impact on everyone, from the Imperials to the Slaves of Rome. And all those in between.

 Tertius offered more food, regretting that there were so many leftovers and Teutus picked up a little bit more to eat, before he suddenly suggested Tertius freed Charis because she was the mother of his heir. It was a touchy subject and not one he felt like discussing tonight! Had there not been enough of that this evening? It was doubtful he’d marry again, how would he ever find a woman who would understand him and submit to him… that wasn’t also a slave? Charis was the closest thing to that, and he could not marry her… could he?

 “The thought of freeing her has crossed my mind. But the last person I freed left the house.” And who was to say Charis would not attempt the same and steal his son along with her? He could not lose Peregrinus. Could not risk it.

 “Who I free is my choice only, Teutus. And Peregrinus’ mother is staying here.” And that was final. Things were going so well, why on Earth did Teutus choose to bring this subject up? Now they came to terms on one subject, he picked another they could disagree about. Did he want them to fight?

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"I couldn't stay here and do nothing with my time," Teutus pointed out. They'd had this discussion before he'd moved out, after all. He supposed he could have stayed and continued in the role of secretary, but he would have felt just as much a slave as he had been in law before his manumission.

Sometimes he felt that way anyway when he came back to visit, as if the whole of the last year and a bit had been a dream or something - sometimes he half-expected to find a vigiles officer behind him with the order to clap him in irons and bring him back to his master.

"What did you expect me to do with myself, once it was clear I couldn't follow your career path?" he asked pensively, focussing hard on the dish of olives in front of him before reaching unsteadily to help himself to some of them. Had Tertius ever really thought about what his son could do once it became very clear that he couldn't do what they'd hoped?

Sometimes Teutus wondered if his father really thought about other people's hopes and dreams and aspirations at all if they didn't follow his own plans precisely.

 

@Atrice

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This wasn't going anywhere useful, Tertius thought to himself. Why did Teutus always think that Tertius didn't want him? He did! He just... probably realized it too late in life, when it was too late to go back and change things for the better. And now here they were. He pointed out that he didn't like the thought of freeing Charis, since the last person he freed had left the house. Teutus had left. Tonight he was only here for the dinner and it wasn't much of a dinner now. He sighed when Teutus said he'd not do anything if he stayed here, "You wouldn't have been doing nothing, you know that. You like to stay occupied." And Tertius would have found something he could do, he would have helped him, if Teutus had wanted the help. But he didn't. 

But Teutus kept at it, wondering what else he should do, "We would have figured something out. There are plenty of jobs you could have fulfilled. You'd not be the first freedman who could serve as a kind of procurator." Tertius pointed out, "It's not like you did not have any education or any skills when you were freed." Teutus was probably better off than many other freedmen.

"But... you're putting your skills to good use even now, and that's what matters." He added, with a little smile, hoping to ease the mood a little bit. It had grown tense again.

@Sharpie

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They were going in circles, because Teutus seemed unable to just let things go. And he knew it. Rehashing the same old stuff wasn't helping either of them - it never had before, why would it now?

"It isn't like I've gone far," he pointed out. "Just down the hill a bit - not even the other side of the city, never mind the other side of the Empire." It wasn't as though his father didn't have a hold on him even now, either - both as his father and as his patron. Teutus had just needed some distance between them. Physically; they'd always had distance socially and emotionally, and that seemed unlikely to change any time soon. "I thought it would make it easier for you to concentrate on - the baby. Without having to deal with me too."

It had certainly been easier for Teutus himself, even if he did keep getting dragged back into things. If he'd stayed in the house, both he and his father would probably have stayed in the same roles and mindset around each other that they'd had before Teutus' manumission - why bother going through the motions of that if nothing was actually going to change?

Tertius didn't like change, that was one thing Teutus knew about him. He also wanted to be in control of everything, every tiny detail of the lives of everyone around him. It wasn't that that was making things so hard between the two of them, though. Or not just that, anyway.

It made it very hard to find common ground and even conversation between the two always felt like trying to get blood from a stone somehow. Just another thing that had been taken from Teutus at birth, just another thing he had to struggle against.

He noted the smile and the attempt to steer the conversation back out of this new awkwardness. "I'm doing my best to, anyway," he said. "We'll see if it comes to anything, though building on a solid foundation hopefully means it'll be a good means of earning a living."

 

@Atrice

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They were going in circles and Tertius was tired of it. Especially after the conversation had turned into something better for a few moments, but now they were back and the air was tense between them again. Teutus pointed out that he had not moved far away, just down the hill and then said he hoped it might make it easier for Tertius to concentrate on the baby.

 “I don’t consider that you’re just… something I have to deal with. You’re my son. No matter your position in Rome.” Tertius said, a bit tired of Teutus constantly thinking that Tertius didn’t think much of him at all. And Teutus not wanting to be near him. He suspected Teutus rather moved away to get some distance between him and Peregrinus. He’d noted the morning of the naming ceremony, that Teutus left rather quickly. He was never fond of his new brother. Teutus moving away did have to do with Peregrinus… just not the way Teutus said it did.

 But Tertius tried to steer the conversation back into something nicer by focusing on the present and Teutus agreed he was doing his best with his skills. And he wanted to earn his own living.

 “I’m sure it will be something… and maybe even uplifting for our family name, if your business turns out successful.” Tertius added with a smile, “But the most important thing is, that you think it is the right thing for you to do. And if it all fails for some reason, you know where to find me.”

@Sharpie

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"I... I don't think you've ever said that in so many words, that I'm not just another thing you have to deal with," Teutus said quietly. "And yes. I do know where to find you. Thank you - and I will, if it doesn't work out or if I need anything."

Oh, Tertius had said that Teutus was his son, but it had seemed, especially recently, that Teutus had been another item on the agenda, another obligation. Though that might just be his own perception, especially in contrast with the way he looked at Charis' baby. Why couldn't he look at Teutus that way too, sometimes?

Because Teutus wasn't a child any more, probably. He had his own thoughts and opinions, and did he even want to spend time with his father, just the two of them, doing... well, what did fathers do with their grown-up sons?

Actually, yes, he did want to. Despite all the hurt, all the broken promises, he did want to know his father approved of him, wanted to be with him. And weren't they together right now, after all? He should probably stop talking (it only made things worse between them!) and just enjoy having his father's attention right now.

 

@Atrice - wrap here? It's been... interesting! :D

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