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Boys at the Baths


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September 76CE

It made a convenient excuse to leave the palace and Palatine Hill. An Imperial could spend almost all of their time there if they so desired, but Tiberius did not. He wanted to see Rome - and the Empire - talk to people, and keep an eye and an ear on the happenings beyond the Hill. It was part of what made good governance of course, but it was also his interest. It was also a good place to catch up with friends, in a less formal setting.

Leaning back against the beautifully glazed tiles and relaxing into the hot water, Tiberius glanced across at his long time friend and often younger partner in crime to himself and Titus as they were growing up. Now, all of a sudden, they were grown, or close to. Not boys but men, with their own responsibilities. Quintus' abdication had made that all the more apparent. But Tiberius hadn't asked Marcus to meet him to dwell in seriousness.

"How have you been, Marcus?" He asked out of genuine interest. "What's new?" Marcus had this bright and garrulous nature about him that was immensely cheering and made him very easy to be around. It was something that Tiberius appreciated.

@Atrice

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It was always a joy to spend time with his friends since childhood - and Tiberius was definitely one of those, since they were almost the same age and caused mayhem at the Imperial palace together years ago. Who knew, maybe they'd cause mayhem together elsewhere in the Empire later in their lives? For now though, they were just two young men, enjoying some time together for once. He hoped that Tiberius would join the vigintiviri together with him, or perhaps he had already joined? Honestly, Marcus wasn't up to date with that yet, but he could be, since today, they were hanging out together! And coming to the baths was always a pleasure, what with the lovely slaves they had here and of course, Marcus brought his own. Silvanus however had been placed out in the apodyterium to watch over Marcus' clothes, so none of those thieving capsarii would steal his things. So he was just here with Tiberius.

"I've been as good as anytime, I guess." Marcus replied with a grin, "Not that I'm doing much at the moment, other than what I usually do... but that honestly isn't so bad anyway." Which was having fun, going to parties and social events, drinking, flirting with girls and sometimes even more... "What about you, have you been doing anything interesting lately? Oh, and do you know how our new and glorious Caesar is doing?" It was so weird to think about Titus as the Caesar! But, it had been done and he was at least glad they'd been childhood friends. He hoped that would mean something in the future, so that he could have that glorious career he was hoping for.

@Sarah

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For a moment it was good to simply relax and forget. But it was only ever a moment. Tiberius had that kind of mind, always busy, niggling at problems or concerns. He wouldn't say so because his friend wouldn't want him to trouble over him, he knew, but even Marcus featured there occasionally. The Junii Silani were an old and influential family, so much so that Marcus's older cousin and adoptive sister had married a Caesar, Tiberius's half brother Junus. He'd never admitted it, but younger a Tiberius had a crush on the then widowed Junia. The erstwhile Augusta had seemed so mature, regal and self-assured, and he'd harboured a teenage fantasy that he might marry Junia one day.

Those flights of fantasy seemed a world away now. Suddenly his adoptive brother was Caesar, and they were young men with the weight of the world on their shoulders. Lucius had been a close ally of the family, but had had his own problems with distant relatives and the family property. Rumour held that he'd even set the property alight out of spite, though Tiberius wasn't sure whether or not to believe it. But it worried him, like the first few bouncing pebbles that signalled an avalanche, he feared that it could be signs of a house on the downward slide. He hoped he was wrong, but was determined that if it did, Marcus would be shielded from it. Particularly because Tiberius felt that he could be a great help in keeping Titus from going the way that so many Caesars seemed to.

"I'm well enough, just busy with my duties." Tiberius replied with a faint smile. Two years older than Marcus, he was already amongst the Vigintiviri, and assumed that once he turned twenty in November he would be up for a role as a military tribune. That was what was expected of him, though he hoped he would also get a term in the legal side of things. But before then he and Marcus would serve together. But his attention was caught by the thought of what Marcus usually did, and by Titus.

His smile faded. "Titus is well too, but even busier, of course. And I worry." He admitted quietly, as he would do to very few. "I fear he might work himself too hard." They'd lost too many Caesars to mysterious illness. It could be slow poison, but Tiberius was working on a theory that it was the rigors of leading the Empire that could be the cause. "In fact, I was hoping that you might help me organise a distraction." He revealed, a smirk tugging at one corner of his mouth. "You always did know how to hold the best parties."

@Atrice

Edited by Sarah
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Marcus was determined to make sure that the Junii Silanii were not on the way out of ranks, but preferably on the way higher up in the hierarchy. He had his friendship with Tiberius and Titus and others at the palace to thank for that. His brother had done reckless things in anger more than once, made himself famous for it, but sadly also at the same time made sure Marcus had little wealth to call his own. Marcus would do better. He had to. He had dreams and hopes and they all had to do with staying connected to the current Caesar. And maybe the next. You never knew. There seemed to be a curse connected to that position, so he’d like to not rise that high.

 But how was Tiberius doing? Now that they had some time to spend with each other for once. Tiberius explained he’d been busy with duties and so had Titus. He worried for him, “You must promise to let me know if any of you need help. I’m here.” Sure, responisiblity was not always amusing, but he’d have to live with it if he wanted his aspirations to come true. One could always party in between duties, right? As Tiberius now suggested. He couldn’t help but smile when Tiberius wanted Marcus’ help in organizing a party.

 “You flatter me.” He said with a grin, “But I will be more than happy to help you organize a party… at the palace? I’m sure everyone would flock there like birds.” He said cheerfully, he did like to do such things, “And with such a party… how about only people in our generation would be invited. No older Senators. After all, we’re next, right? Why should we not connect?” He’d been to more than one dreadful party with young people he didn’t know, but he would love to host his own event, with people he knew. Maybe an invite to a party at the palace would even impress a lady like Ovinia? One could only hope!

@Sarah

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“You must promise to let me know if any of you need help. I’m here.”

Marcus's words brought a genuine smile to Tiberius's face, and he reached out and gripped the younger man's forearm for a moment, meeting his gaze seriously. "Thank you my friend, I will." He assured him, appreciating the offer more than he could say. One thing that he had learned from watching Caesar Quintus, an excellent role model as well as a good father, was that no man was an island. Even Caesar needed his friends and supporters, needed to delegate to those worthy of responsibility, needed to share the load. It was an example that Tiberius intended to follow, even if right now that delegation was party planning. He knew who had the most skills in that area, and it wasn't him.

His smile broadened to a grin as Marcus voiced his thoughts, clearly already planning ahead. "You read my mind." He replied. "There will be formal events for the relevant Senators, Patricians and their families; I want this to be informal and fun." Just the young ones, for a change. Those who were stepping, sometimes blinking, into the light of adult responsibility. "I'll invite our cousins and friends, and anyone else who seems like a good fit. But I'd like you to organise the entertainment if you would. I wouldn't know where to start."

As for where, Tiberius already had ideas. "I was thinking in the Hortulus. It's still pleasant out, and it's an informal space. We can set out a pile of braziers and have the slaves carry platters of food and wine. A few musicians or a fire eater could be amusing. What do you think?" He asked, since clearly Marcus was the authority on what made a good party in his mind. Having said that, Tiberius already had a reputation for being somewhat reserved and a bit propper, and would probably balk if Marcus suggested hiring from the Domus Venus.

Still, it would be fun, he was determined. And it would be a chance for all of them, and Titus especially, to let their hair down. He'd have to go through the rolls, see who else he should invite. Maybe that young woman he'd bumped into - literally - at the Temple of Minverva. Who else? "Let me know of anyone you think we should invite, too." He'd vet the final list, but Marcus might well know some promising young Patricians that Tiberius did not.

@Atrice

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He was happy to see the smile on Tiberius’ face, when Marcus promised he’d be of assistance if Tiberius should ever need it. Or even Titus! He’d be more than happy to be there for his childhood friends, they ran around the great halls of the palace ten years ago… already back then as if they owned the place. And now some of them quite literally did that! Marcus would be there, definitely!

 And he would be here right now, as Tiberius asked for his assistance regarding the idea of a party. And there was nothing Marcus enjoyed more than a good party with young and likeminded people, so of course he’d help out here! He already had ideas and Tiberius agreed with it all. that it should be informal and all. He said he’d invite cousins and friends and anyone who should be there. Marcus grinned when Tiberius spoke of entertaining, oh he’d love to organize that! But before he could speak, Tiberius continued with what he wanted to happen.

 “Yes, we need musicians and… dancers, I think, they’re always popular. Someone to entertain us.” He smirked, he had some ideas, especially after he participated in that special night hosted by the Domus Venus earlier the same summer. It had been very interesting, both regarding connections and what went on, “Just leave it to me, I have some ideas. I promise you won’t be disappointed.” He promised and moved a bit around in the water, enjoying the feeling of the warmth wrapping around his body. Maybe a massage would be nice today?

 “I think I have some ideas. I met Lucius Vipsanius Roscius earlier this summer, I think he’d enjoy it. And he needs this sort of thing. Oh and Ovinia Camilla. I want to send the invitation to her.” So that she could see that he really did aspire to rise higher and he already had very influential friends. It wasn’t a joke when he told her that whole story.

@Sarah

Edited by Atrice
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Tiberius gave Marcus a smile that was equal parts knowing and amused. He could see that his friend already had plans in mind. "I'll leave it with you then." He said with a languid wave of his hand, jokingly emulating some of the stuffier Patricians. Inwardly he was very glad that Marcus was not only willing to handle the details but seemed positively delighted. It would be fun, of that he was certain.

Swirling some of the hot water about as the patch he was sitting in had cooled slightly, Tiberius listened with interest to the people who Marcus suggested. "That's Gaius Vipsanius Roscius's younger brother, isn't it?" He'd been educated specifically in politics, part of which included memorising most of the political families. It might have been tedious had Tiberius not had a natural interest in other people. And he'd heard that Lucius was the same. "I'd like to meet him, I've heard he's an interesting fellow." Specifically that he shared some of Tiberius's inclinations towards listening to the plebians.

"Ooh-ho! Why Gaius Ovinius Camillus's daughter specifically?" He asked, an amused smirk toying at his lips. It might be nothing, but that didn't mean that he couldn't rib Marcus about a possible crush. They'd been teasing each other for years. "I haven't met her yet, so we shall. But we should invite her brother Tertius as well." Lest there be concern for the young lady's welfare.

Of course, such things go both ways, and Tiberius trusted Marcus closely, enough that he could reveal his own interests occasionally. "Tell me, do you know of Horatia Sosia?" He asked, on the theory that Marcus tended to be more the social butterfly than himself, and was more likely to have met her. "Daughter of Gaius Horatius Justinius. I bumped into her at the Temple of Minerva. Literally." He added dryly. "I'm thinking of inviting her."

(OOC: I started the party thread, if you'd like to describe the entertainment.)

@Atrice

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Marcus let out a little laugh at the wave Tiberus gave, trying to mimic the older generation. It would be a joy once Titus had proper power and then with people like Tiberius and Marcus around him. Not all those stuffy and grumpy older men, who often seemed to daydream that life would be as in the old days instead of seizing the moment and the day.

 They discussed whom to invite and Marcus had a few names for the list. He nodded at Tiberius’ comment about Lucius, “Yes, he has an older brother called Gaius, I think he’s a proper Senator and all that? Lucius is very interesting though. Different from his brother, although I’ve not met him. But I know Lucius is fun at a party.” Since that’s how he met him, after all. He was curious to hear if the date Marcus set up for Lucius went well, he hoped he did, since they bet on it. And Marcus wanted to win the bet.

 But then there was Ovinia Camilla on his mind too and now Tiberius got curious, “I suppose we can. She’s just… I met her and it was hard to get to her, you know? Although I tried my best. I think she wasn’t sure if I was all words and no action or what. Now I can prove her wrong.” He explained. It annoyed him that she hadn’t fallen for his charms as easily as others, but it was also a challenge and he did like that. It was sweet that Tiberius was worried for her. Ovinia had been fending for herself just fine the day they met. 

Tiberius also had someone to invite, also a girl and now it was Marcus’ turn to get curious, “Oh you should invite her! I haven’t met her, don’t even think I’ve heard about her? Is she cute?” He’d try to not flirt with her if Tiberius liked her, you didn’t do that to your friends, after all.

@Sarah

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One of the many things Tiberius had learned from Quintus was that you had to both delegate, and then trust. Otherwise you spent all your time micro managing and you couldn't run an empire like that. Assume that those closest to you knew your preferences, the importance of responsibility, and where to draw the line, and trust them to do that. Until they proved unworthy of that trust, then don't delegate to them again. It was important for Titus and himself to gather their own inner circle, as well as relying on their father's. So Tiberius trusted Marcus to organise entertainment that would be both fun and appropriate.

Gaius Vipsanius Roscius was a Senator, Marcus was right. That was how Tiberius knew of the Gens. But he knew nothing of the younger brother save for a very vague reputation for lacking an interest in politics. "Gaius is a political creature, from what I've seen at the Senate. That's all I know really." He hadn't particularly drawn attention to himself. "I've heard that the younger brother isn't." Which was no crime. Not everyone could be a politician, though that ambition was generally expected of their class. "If Lucius is fun, then we must invite him." He assured Marcus.

His guess as to Ovinia's family was on the sestercius, but it hadn't been hard given her name. Marcus's obvious lack of enthusiasm for inviting her brother as well was almost comical. "I think that we should." He insisted, smirking. Else her father might not let Ovinia attend. Boring, but someone had to be the voice of reason. Clearly Marcus wanted to get to know the young woman, and Tiberius didn't want to prevent that, but they did not need loose talk. "Sorry to spoil your fun, but I'm sure we can distract Tertius long enough for you two to have a conversation."

A thoughtful nod was the answer to Marcus' enthusiastic suggestion that Tiberius invite Sosia. He'd already decided that he would. "She'd very pretty." He admitted, hoping that the heat from the baths hid the slight flush of his cheeks. Tiberius wasn't very experienced with women, having lived a fairly closeted life.  "She seems quite innocent, even naive. Her father is one of those who moved their family to their estates during the purges, and as far as I can tell she's grown up in the country." And was now here in Rome, which was probably a shock. A small smile appeared as he thought of their meeting.

@Atrice

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