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June, 76AD

Longinus hurried back - ducking and weaving through the crowds as he made his way back to the domus. The afternoon was hot - too hot - and he couldn't wait to decant the toga that he had haphazardly thrown over his shoulder. He hated senate meetings, for the most part, and today's had only intensified that. Why his colleagues needed to drone on for literally hours about grain allotments was absolutely beyond him, but he made a mental note to develop a fever before the next one, if the same Senators intended to orate. 

He'd been surprised that Gaius had sent word that he wanted him to talk some sense into his brother. He was quite sure that if you asked any of his closest friends, they absolutely would not use the word 'sensible' to describe peace-time Longinus. Military Longinus - who had his men's lives in his hands - maybe, but not Longinus in Rome. Still - at the very least, after this afternoon Gaius owed him, and favours from friends was always a benefit. Besides, maybe this fellow Lucius was good company? He liked the man's brother, and had his own wayward streak after all, so maybe they'd get on? Then again, maybe that was a naive hope. 

What was also probably not going to help matters was that he was late. Never one to keep to time, he'd dawdled after the meeting, catching up with friends and such before he'd made his way into the sunshine of the bright June day to to find his secretary, Vitus, glowering. Even now as they hurried home, Vitus bore a look of thunder; "I'm not that late, stop it." Vitus merely shrugged and muttered; "It's still impolite." loud enough for Longinus to hear. As they drew to his domus, finally, he hurried through into the atrium and didn't even pause to think about it - unwilling the folds of his striped toga with a haste as he queried; "Is he here yet? Or late too?"

 

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Gaius was persistent, Lucius had to give him that much. He knew his brother cared about his future out of the goodness of his heart (and maybe worry for the family name), but that did not make his attempts to straighten him out any less annoying. This time, he organized a visit with Lucius Cassius Longinus, hoping to inspire his brother to start the military service in the legions. Lucius, therefore, was in for another stern talking to. And since the visit had already been promised, he was obligated to go.

And then Longinus wasn't there. 

Lucius had been amicably chatting with the (somewhat baffled) slave at the door for several minutes by the time the dominus showed up.

"Is he here yet? Or late too?"

"I'm here. Salve, Lucius Cassius Longinus. I was just having a chat with Numerius here." he smiled, turning to see Longinus trying to free himself from his toga. "Those things are... a challenge, aren't they?"

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"Sorry," He winced with a chuckle as he saw a younger man appear from the corner with a puzzled looking Numerius, "And yes, they're a ball ache. Whoever thought mountains of fabric was a good idea in the heat of Rome was quite clearly a sadist." Finally freed from the toga, which was deposited in a ball on the floor - he stepped out of it and moved to embrace his guest with a grin. 

"You're welcome, Lucius. Wine?" When was wine not appropriate? Vitus cleared his throat and Longinus glanced over his shoulder with a quizzical look; "We have lunch set up in the triclinium, domine." With a shrug - he gestured for Lucius to follow him; "My slaves like to scold me you see, so we had better do exactly what they say." He chuckled and did not miss the eye roll from his secretary. Evidently he'd been spending too much time with Attis. 

Running a hand through his hair - getting too long again already - he made a quick study of the man opposite him; 'What brings you to my door then, Lucius Vipsanius Roscius? Your brother didn't say much." That was a lie, but he wanted to see if his guest would try and bend the truth. 

 

TAG: @Chevi

 

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"Sorry. And yes, they're a ball ache. Whoever thought mountains of fabric was a good idea in the heat of Rome was quite clearly a sadist. You're welcome, Lucius. Wine?"

Lucius smiled. At least Longinus was not one of those stuffy older senatorials who took etiquette very seriously. He hated togas as well, and he really did not look forward to spending an afternoon with someone who tried to lecture him on upholding the great patrician traditions of Rome.

"We have lunch set up in the triclinium, domine."

"My slaves like to scold me you see, so we had better do exactly what they say." 

Lucius followed to the triclinium, taking a seat as the slaves brought wine and a bowl of water for washing their hands. At least the surroundings were present, even if the topic was not.

'What brings you to my door then, Lucius Vipsanius Roscius? Your brother didn't say much." 

"Well... my brother expects you to talk me into starting my cursus in the legions." Lucius replied, sipping some wine. "I don't really want to take up much of your time. But he worries too much, so I promised I'd at least pay you a visit."

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Longinus bounded through into the triclinium and deposited himself languidly on one of the couches. He heard a bark from somewhere in the domus and winced; calling out to Vitus; "Tell Attis not to let Ragum out, I don't want good Lucius here to be mauled to death." Vitus rolled his eyes again as his dominus looked away, and Longinus turned his attention back to Lucius. 

Of course that was what they were here to talk about; what else was there? Longinus had been bemused by the request but acquiesced. Gaius was a good man, and besides, it wasn't like Longinus disliked talking about the legions. 

"You can take up all the time you want, it saves me from paperwork." He chuckled, "And you have no interest? At all?" It was curious, and his face said that as he gave Lucius a confused glance. Gaius had been an excellent tribune for the few months they jostled for recognition at the same rank before Longinus had been forced to step up. Lucius didn't look infirm, or seemed to lack wits so what was the problem? 

 

TAG: @Chevi

Edited by Sara
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Lucius tilted his head at the barking. Gaius had mentioned something about Longinus' very large dog. If it had a habit of mauling people to death, it was probably for the best if they stayed away. Lucius followed his host's lead and reclined on a couch too. Various foods were already set out on a low table. He was not sure how long he would stay, once Longinus heard about the whole issue, though.

"You can take up all the time you want, it saves me from paperwork. And you have no interest? At all?" 

"Not really." he admitted. This was going to go faster if he was honest. "Honestly, I have never been all that inspired by politics. Or the legions, no offense. It's not like I hate the idea, it's just... doesn't feel like something I'd like to do." he shrugged. "Of course, I will have to do something sooner, rather than later..."

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"Yes," Longinus chuckled with a wince, "I can't imagine your brother will let you go on forever without a plan." Gaius was a good man, and Longinus trusted and respected him above great swathes of his friends, but he wasn't in his early twenties anymore, and nor had he ever seemed directionless. It was no wonder the brothers appeared to be at loggerheads, at least from his standpoint. 

"I didn't particularly want to join the legions," He said with a shrug, "I was having fun here - with a particular young woman at the time, and it seemed pointless and dull to be shipped off to be some other Patrician's lackey for years." Youthful Longinus had endured a bit of a problem period where authority and following orders were alien concepts  to him. That had been snapped out of him fairly quickly upon landing in Britannia. 

"What would you do instead?" He asked with no malice, genuinely interested. 

 

TAG: @Chevi

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"Yes. I can't imagine your brother will let you go on forever without a plan." 

Definitely not. Right now, Longinus was the plan, and he probably knew it. Lucius wondered what Gaius would come up with next, if this meeting failed too.

"I didn't particularly want to join the legions. I was having fun here - with a particular young woman at the time, and it seemed pointless and dull to be shipped off to be some other Patrician's lackey for years." 

Lucius chuckled. So, Longinus had been young too, once. Although there was definitely a difference between staying around for a woman, and... not really knowing what to do instead.

"What would you do instead?" 

Oh good, the man was a mind-reader too.

"I... am not sure. Something that actually helps people. Directly." he shrugged "My brother says I could study to be a lawyer. But I might be too old to start on rhetorics now..."

@Sara

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Longinus arched a brow, and shot the younger man a confused look. "A lawyer?" He scoffed and shook his head, "So you can spend your time debating land contracts and divorces?" And that didn't sound boring to the young man in front of him? Peculiar. It was Longinus' idea of eternal damnation. "I suppose it pays well though?" Although his voice belied the fact that that was a soulless reason to take a job anyway. 

"And being in the legions helps people," He offered although the young man was unlikely to believe him, he knew; "It's not all slaughtering barbarians and taking their gold. My legion built installations for the locals, helped with roads when we needed to..." He shrugged, "But you'll be hard pressed to find a suitable occupation that helps people directly as you say...unless you want to become a medicus." And even that, he was sure, wasn't on the list of acceptable occupations for a patrician...

 

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It was clear from Longinus' reaction that he did not consider being a lawyer as a legitimate career path. Not one worth choosing over the legions, anyway.

"A lawyer? So you can spend your time debating land contracts and divorces? I suppose it pays well though?" 

"Well, when you put it like that..." Lucius smirked. It did not sound fun. Or helpful. And gods help him with the divorces.

"And being in the legions helps people. It's not all slaughtering barbarians and taking their gold. My legion built installations for the locals, helped with roads when we needed to... But you'll be hard pressed to find a suitable occupation that helps people directly as you say...unless you want to become a medicus."

"Now there's an idea..." Lucius chuckled, drinking some wine "It would only take me what, another ten years? I could be the recluse scholar of the family. Still more honorable than... whatever I'm doing now." Mostly nothing. He mused about it, tilting his head as he looked at Longinus. "Is that how the legions are, really? Were the locals grateful for the building works?"

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Longinus sighed and shrugged. The benefit and curse of being an only child meant that he only had his own honour to think about. He'd shouldered the burden of being paterfamilias not unlike Gaius himself, and he wondered, briefly, how he would have coped had he had a brother to care for and consider as well. He probably would have done a terrible job, if his parenting style was anything to go by. 

"I mean," He chuckled, "I'd say our wars and fighting take up the bulk of the work but yes," He shrugged again, "We don't spend all our time in battle. We had forts to construct which meant towns as well and..." He winced, "The southern tribes in Britannia were more amenable to our influence. The northern ones...not so much." He had a litany of scars to prove that, including an arrow wound in his shoulder that still ached when it was cold. "But if your heart isn't in it you'll do a terrible job," He chuckled, "And there's nothing worse than having a useless Tribune - trust me, I suffered through enough of them..." He corrected himself, "Your brother was not among their number though, don't worry." He grinned.

"If I was in your sandals..." He considered for a moment, "I might opt for law. At least you'd be able to stay in Rome and spend your free time doing whatever it is that interests you." 

 

TAG: @Chevi

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"I mean, I'd say our wars and fighting take up the bulk of the work but yes. We don't spend all our time in battle. We had forts to construct which meant towns as well and... The southern tribes in Britannia were more amenable to our influence. The northern ones...not so much."

"So I hear" Lucius smirked. Rome was still battling some of the tribes, even after decades of arriving to Britannia. Some were never going to give up until they were all dead, or sold into slavery. Roads and civilization and aquaeducts and whatnot, they did not want any of the empire's graces.

"But if your heart isn't in it you'll do a terrible job. And there's nothing worse than having a useless Tribune - trust me, I suffered through enough of them... Your brother was not among their number though, don't worry."

"Please tell that to my brother. The first part, not the praise." Lucius chuckled. Of course Gaius had done well in the legions; he was serious as responsible, and actually wanted to advance in his career. And he had Longinus to take mentoring from. But Lucius' heart was not in it, and Longinus was right about his conclusions. He was probably going to do a terrible job and bring shame to his family.

"If I was in your sandals... I might opt for law. At least you'd be able to stay in Rome and spend your free time doing whatever it is that interests you." 

"Fair point" he nodded. "I do love the city... and I'm not fond of the idea of spending years of my life on the limes. No offense." Lucius sighed. "I was holding out for a third option, honestly. But unless one presents itself, I guess I better start studying rhetorics..."

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Longinus sighed. He'd seen plenty of young men of Lucius' age waste their youth on follies - usually women and gambling but most had some sort of ambition, even if their pride wasn't earned. He'd never really met one who was wasting their best years on...nothing. 

"What would a third option be?" He arched a brow, "If you could choose anything in the world?" Lucius didn't strike him as an aspiring entrepreneur, nor an adventurer so setting up a business or becoming a seafaring rogue was out. A writer perhaps? Or something else in the arts? Of course, none of the above professions were particularly suited to men of their class...but it couldn't hurt to dream.

 

TAG: @Chevi

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"If I knew, I'd be doing it." Lucius sighed. The problem was not indecision. He usually acted whenever he found something to do, or a problem to solve. He was also not afraid to make a third way if he saw a goal to move towards. But alas, he was not even sure what that third way would be. He liked the forums, but he did not want to be a merchant. He liked the villa, but he did not have the makings of a farmer. He liked to help people, but being a lawyer sounded convoluted... he could have chosen a position as a priest, but he was not overly religious. "But if I find out, I'll let you know. I'll probably need you to help negotiate with Gaius... Anyway. I appreciate you taking the time to talk. Thank you."

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