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Early January, 77AD

A week or so after: Winter Walk & Teamwork Is Magic

Ovinia was curled in her chair, watching the rhythmic drip, drip, drip of the rain that fell across the garden. She was sat in one of the small receiving rooms that opened directly off of the peristyle garden, swatched in a thick blanket and a scroll of some elegy laying virtually discarded in her lap. She looked tired; she was tired; the nightmares had gotten worse if anything.

Despite the weeks that had passed since the attack she was still largely sequestered in the house - her walks and pre-determined dinners notwithstanding. That suited her fine - every time she did leave the house she spent her days worrying about who was lurking in the shadows, who was following her and who was holding a knife just out of reach. She exhaled at the thought and tucked herself tighter into the chair and the blanket. She'd had few visitors since this self-imposed exile and her father had used the excuse that she was busy at home, being the dutiful daughter caring for her ailing mother to decline invitations to visit. So when one of the slave girls quietly padded into the room and said that one Lucius Antonius Alexius was here to see her, she was surprised. Her father wasn't at home, so the choice to see him fell to her. She gratefully nodded her head and asked the girl to bid him in. 

She knew he knew, but her father had been clear that nobody else beyond Lucius and his Centurion was to know. That he'd visit her here suggested there was something more serious going on; they'd just have to keep their voices down. She was grateful for the visit though and offered a weak smile as she saw him enter the room, Lucia following.

 

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Alexius felt bad that he’d taken so long to go and see Ovinia after the attack on her. He felt more than bad, he felt terrible. He was supposed to be her bodyguard, but more than that, he also saw himself as her friend. Of course he couldn’t bodyguard her much now, as she seemed to be kept at home, but still, he should have gone. Especially after Lucius came and seemed so depressed after spending time with her.

 Lucius had admitted they had kissed, so Alexius knew there was something between them. Something that obviously shouldn’t be there, but who was he to argue against caring for someone not of your own rank in the Roman society? He firmly believed that when it came to love and attraction, age and rank mattered little, as long as you were both adult and in it for the pleasure of both. So for him, there was nothing wrong with them loving each other. And Lucius clearly felt something for her, why else would he have been in such a mood? But then they went to see Pinaria and Alexius was reminded again, that he should see Ovinia.

 So here he was. A slave let him inside and soon enough, he was told where he could find Ovinia. He’d been here enough times now to find his way around on his own, and he found her there, wrapped in a blanket, looking very little like the young woman he took to the arena months ago. Gods, he could kick himself for not being there for her when she needed it the most!

 “Ovinia…” Alexius said when he approached her, trying to not look too worried, “I’m sorry I didn’t come sooner.” But I was busy chasing down the bastard who turned you into this shadow of yourself, “Tell me what you need.” Most of all he felt she needed that he’d curl down under that blanket with her, and hold her tight and just protect her from all the dangers in the world, so that she could rest, knowing she was safe.

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"Don't apologise. Lucia - could you fetch some wine? And make sure we're not disturbed?" The slave girl nodded, knowing exactly what her domina meant and hurried off to get the drinks. Ovinia gestured at the spare seat next to her, also swathed in a blanket should he want one. The rain was coming down harder now, but it felt cold enough that it might turn into snow at any moment, she thought. She'd only seen it once, when she was a girl, but she remembered it looked magical.

"Nothing," She sighed and set down the scroll on a small table next to her, "Just company. Tell me," She asked and gave him a curious look as Lucia set down the wine and backed away to keep watch. She really was an excellent slave. "What have you come? You..." She glanced up at his face with an inscrutable expression on her own, "You spoke with the vigiles. You know...everything, I understand?" 

 

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But he should apologize, a thousand times probably. What kind of a friend was he, she was attacked more than a week ago and he had not been there for her? He'd been trying to figure things out for her, but he had not been here. Ovinia was sweet though, sending for wine and greeting him like that. It was cold today, and wet. His hair was still dripping a bit, but he sat down when invited to do so. Although he'd rather give her the embrace he thought she needed, but he also knew better than to overstep, when she was like that. She claimed she just wanted wine and then, once they were left on their own, she asked why he'd come.

Alexius nodded at her words, "Yes, I know. Lucius told me." He said, "I've been spending a lot of time with him. He's a good man, Ovinia. He cares for you." She needed to know that, because Lucius seemed to think she didn't know. It was almost fun that he didn't know Lucius a month ago. But now he'd met and spoken with him so many times. All for Ovinia... and for the other women who had been attacked, like Didia and Pinaria and all those they didn't know about. And Azarion! And that girl who was murdered... but as Pinaria had said, if it wasn't for Ovinia, they wouldn't be looking for the beast at all.

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He knew. That was a relief. The telling people was the worst part, and the memory of being tucked up, bandaged in bed as she told the story  to the centurion still made her feel sick. She now felt nauseous for an entirely different reason though and snapped her head quickly, shaking it and offering Alexius a hard look. "I don't wish to speak about him. He is doing his job," She cleared her throat and took a sip of the very watered down wine (medicinal, apparently, for her nerves) "That is all." 

She wished the wine was stronger as it had been the first few days where a few sips had enabled her to drift into a fuzzy sleep almost immediately. There had been no nightmares then. "But you can tell me, how goes your hunt?" She was trying to act like the Ovinia of before; regal and composed and dictatorial. She didn't want to be the shell of the woman she now was. It was embarrassing, and so she flashed a fake smile at Alexius and leaned her jaw on her palm, "Any progress?" 

 

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It didn't go unnoticed how she shook her head and gave him a hard look, saying she did not wish to speak about Lucius. Claiming he was only doing his job. Alexius wanted to tell her he was doing much more than just his job. He didn't wear his vigiles clothes when they went to see Pinaria. Lucius was putting so much work into finding the attacker and she just thought he was doing his job. Well he wasn't being paid for all of it, Alexius was quite sure. But he didn't wish to upset her, not in her current state of mind, so he just nodded. Even if it for a moment there felt like she was speaking to a slave, and not a freedman. But he let it pass and naturally she would know how the hunt went. The smile was fake, even he could tell that.

"Well we met another woman recently, who'd also been attacked. Not as bad as you though, I think, but..." But it was bad enough she was attacked in the first place! He sighed and reached for a cup of wine for himself, "It's not good, it's really not good. I think many more have been attacked. We will find him." Alexius then promised and downed a bit of the wine, only to find out it was very watered wine and he wrinkled his nose, looking up at her, "This is what they give you? How is that going to soothe anything?" 

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Ovinia's eyes widened as he spoke and she cast him a concerned glance. "Lucius," She cleared her throat after saying his name, "Mentioned a woman who had been attacked. Did...Dilia? Or something?" She eyed him - he seemed so downbeat, in a way she'd never seen him before. Alexius had always been this blustering ball of easy smiles and humour. To see him look so shaken, likewise shook her. "I don't doubt you will. Tell me when it's done?" She gave him a weak smile. It had only been a few weeks but it seemed like the opportunity to find the man was slipping through everybody's fingers. What was heartbreaking was that she knew she wouldn't feel safe until he was gone. 

She did manage a weak chuckle as he sipped the wine though and shook her head, "It's better than what I bought at the Games though, you have to admit that." That stuff had tasted burned and sour and strong all at the same time. It was rank. "You seem troubled?" She said with a small sigh and with a glance over her shoulder to Lucia, assuring her she was keeping watch, she moved a hand to gently rest on Alexius' shoulder. It was unusual enough that a man like Alexius was having an audience in the inner sanctum of a house as fine as this, but physical affection was definitely rarer. 

 

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So he'd told her a lot from their meeting with all the others, it seemed. He smiled faintly when she spoke Didia's name wrong, "Didia... another friend of mine." He said, "That was a long time ago though. The woman we met this time, was attacked just months ago." He explained, unsure if he should tell Ovinia the name... even though he already spilled Ovinia's name to Pinaria. He just had to find a way to explain that first. He was such a fool sometimes, speaking without thinking. Lucius was much smarter than that, at least. That's why he seemed to be the leader of their group. Alexius nodded when Ovinia to let her know when they'd finished their hunt, "You'll be the first to know. You... and the others who deserve to know." Alexius added, Pinaria and Didia had as much right to know the attacker was caught, as Ovinia did. They had all been hurt and had all suffered, in each their own way. It was fucked up.

He tried some of the wine then, only to discover that it was barely wine and Ovinia chuckled at his comment, "Maybe it is better, but it's barely wine." It wouldn't do anyone any good. He'd recommend something stronger, for any kind of pain. Suddenly though, she spoke of him seeming troubled and she touched his shoulder. He reached his hand up to wrap about hers, looking up to meet her eyes again, "I seem troubled? If I do, it's because... I am concerned for you. You don't look well. I really am sorry I didn't come to see you until now." He wasn't much a friend, was he? Alexius had a tendency to feel every emotion deeply. Whether it was desire or pleasure or worry, he felt it deep within. It weighed on him, always. There was a reason he preferred having plenty of wine and good company as much as possible. Then he'd not be weighed down by worries, but how could he do anything but worry for sweet Ovinia?

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She squeezed his hand as he wrapped it around her smaller one, and then withdrew her own back to her lap with a sigh and a soft look at him. Oh Alexius. She tossed her long hair over her shoulder and sat up a little straighter, managing a more real looking smile. "I'll be fine Alexius." She shook her head, "Plenty of worse things have happened to weaker people. I heard all sorts about the Civil War and things that happened. One madman doesn't compare to that." She frowned and smoothed the blankets over her knees. 

"And I don't want you to feel bad," She shook her head, insistent and gathering a little strength. "I...will be fine. And I'm proud, and stubborn," she chuckled, "I wouldn't have let you see me at the start even if you wanted to." She had been a weepy, exhausted mess those first few days. She managed to now confine those moments to times she was alone which was progress, at least in her eyes. "You're really very sweet Alexius," She shook her head with a soft smile, "But please don't be sad on my account." 

 

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He didn't want her to feel bad over him being troubled. She was the one who was brutally attacked by a beast, who had roamed the city for years without anyone taking further notice. Alexius was just here for her. She squeezed his hand, before she withdrew her own, and she said she'd be fine. Worse things had happened to other people and such things. Alexius arched a brow, what did it matter that other people had things happening to them? She should be concerned for herself, not anyone else. It wasn't her fault and she shouldn't feel bad about it. And then she said she didn't want him to feel bad and she'd be fine.

Alexius gave her a small smile when she called him sweet, "I think I'm allowed to be concerned for someone I care about. Just as you're allowed to not be fine, after what happened." He said and drank a little more of that weak liquid that was watered wine. Honestly he wasn't sure if he liked the taste of it. Then he'd rather just have water, or something, he thought to himself.

"I just... wish I could do more for you. We are looking for the bastard. Actively. Every day." He assured her, "But until I can wrap my hands around his neck..." He paused, realizing what he just said, but then he went on, "I need to do something, Ovinia. I'm not very good at just... being idle." Alexius functioned much better with action than the opposite, but as long as they were only looking for the animal without catching him... there wasn't very much action at all. And he couldn't help Ovinia or any of the others either, could he? Beating up the attacker was what he could do. When he could. It took forever.

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Ovinia shifted uncomfortably in her chair as he assured her, but he seemed less than comfortable. Maybe it had been a mistake inviting him in? She could see Lucia - her back was turned but her head was angled ever so slightly towards them, and she could tell when her slave was listening intently. Ovinia sighed and set down her wine cup, placing her palms flat on her knees, sheathed under the blanket. 

"You're not idle," She offered and smiled a little shaking her head, "You've got a job, haven't you? And we still need to plan our day to the library." She wanted to do anything but, but she cared for Alexius in her own way and didn't want him to be morose. She had enough sadness in her bones already, she didn't wish to take his on as well. "I'll be fine," She assured him but wished she believed it herself, she wished she felt like she'd ever get back to normal. She didn't. "Why don't you tell me what you've been up to?" She leant forward to pick up her wine again and placed her jaw in her palm, looking at him intently, "Lucius mentioned you were going to speak to some other girls that had been attacked and you met this other woman?" She was putting on a brave face, but she didn't wish to speak of it. It was the only thing, she thought though, that might get him smiling - his progress thus far.

 

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Alexius wished that the slavegirl didn't have to be there with them. He'd been alone with Ovinia before and that went fine! But of course, her father probably made sure she was never alone now. Even though Alexius would rather stab himself than hurt her! Or honestly, he'd rather stab the man who attacked her. Many times. With tiny knives so that it would take a very long time for him to die. But he couldn't, because they had not caught him yet. So he was idle. And he wasn't good at that, when he knew something had to be done and he couldn't do it.

Ovinia pointed out that he had a job and they needed to plan their trip to the library. He gave her a look, "I guess we do. But... are you well enough for that?" Alexius asked, maybe she was not ready to be paraded in a public place like that. She assured him she'd be fine, but he didn't believe it. Not yet anyway. She might be better, but when she just sat here, staring at the rain, wrapped up in a blanket all alone... that was not someone who were fine. She asked what he'd done and said Lucius had mentioned something they should do.

"Yes, we went to see that other woman, as I said." Alexius replied, "I... messed it up. I'm sorry." He looked up at her with a sigh, he had to tell her this, "What happened to you, I know no one's supposed to know. Other than Lucius and me and your family. I know. But I mentioned your name to her." He paused briefly, "This is why Lucius should be doing the talking, not me. He's much more considerate. But... she was very worried for you too. She didn't seem to know your name. And her family wants to keep it secret too. So she won't spread it, I'm sure. But I'm still sorry." He was sorry about a lot of things today, wasn't he? 

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Ovinia's knuckles went white, blanching as she gripped the blanket so tightly she thought she might be able to tear it from sheer force of will. "W-what?" She managed to choke out. She could tell Lucia had heard this too, judging by the way her spine straightened and stiffened. 

How dare he? She wanted to slap him and it took all of her efforts and self-control not to launch herself from the chair to do so. "This is my life," She choked, furious. Lucia shifted by the door. "My reputation, Alexius! Do you have any idea what would happen if she did decide to spread it?" She was glaring at him so hard she felt as if he might burst into flames at any moment. "What is her name?" She demanded, "It's only fair you give it to me, given you so freely shared my own." 

 

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Alexius saw her reaction even before he finished talking. Fuck. He knew she'd be upset, but this much? He lowered his gaze when she spoke to him so furiously, but he knew he deserved every word she said to him. He wouldn't have moved out of the way if she did slap him; he half expected her to do so. Because he messed up and he knew it. Oh didn't he know it! The way Lucius had looked at him after Alexius said Ovinia's name to Pinaria, and now the way she reacted to that knowledge. 

"I didn't give her your full name." Alexius said, "And she won't tell. I trust she won't." Pinaria had seemed so sweet and kind and collected. He could not imagine she'd tell anyone that a woman named Ovinia was attacked. Because she didn't want her own attack to get out either. 

"I really am sorry... I know I've betrayed your trust. I knew the moment I said it." He still didn't dare to look up at her and his tone soft. He'd been a freedman for so many years now, but it was so rare that anyone became so upset with him, as she had now... and now it happened, he snapped right back into half-forgotten habits.

But she was right, him sharing Pinaria's name with Ovinia was only fair. Even if that might mean Pinaria would then be furious with him. Gods, why am I without common sense? "If I tell you her name, you must promise me to not share hers." 

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"There's not many Ovinia's in the city," She snapped, "And fewer still whose family would want this a secret." Her voice was a venomous whisper and her glare was as cold and frosty as the snow that threatened to fall. 

She noticed the way he kept his head bowed, eyes downcast and finally she felt a ripple of guilt. His apology seemed genuine, even if it was little comfort to her. Her father - should he find out - would be apoplectic. He couldn't find out, she resolved to herself. Alexius deserved her anger, he did not deserve the weight of her father's 'justice'. "Why did you say it?" She finally asked, her voice losing some of its heat but her face was still not warm. She was bored of this show of apology though - it was making her uncomfortable, "And look at me when we're talking." She snapped. 

Rolling her eyes, she shrugged and sat back in her chair, gulping down a mouthful of wine, still bristling; "Fine. Her name?" 

 

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Her voice was still deadly and her eyes too, he was sure. This was a very far way away from the lovely young woman he took to the arena. This woman had been attacked by a maniac and she wasn't feeling well... and then along came Alexius to tell her how he betrayed her. As if that would help anything. He was stupid sometimes. Didn't think twice before he spoke. That's why he made the mistake, stupid as he was. He didn't answer her and Ovinia asked why he said it. Then demanded he looked at her. Gods he felt like he'd been beaten or something! She hadn't slapped him, but it almost felt like she had. He hadn't felt like this in years. So... inferior. But he couldn't hate her for it. Because this time, he knew it was deserved.

Alexius looked up at her then, "I said it because... I think we were talking about keeping her secret. And then I said your family had wanted it to be a secret too. I spoke without thinking." As he did, she should know too. If anyone knew what he'd told her that day at the arena... not that it made it any better.

He inhaled a small breath, "Her name is Pinaria." Now Ovinia knew as much about Pinaria, as Pinaria knew about her... and that was it, wasn't it? "Do you want me to leave?" 

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She ground down on her back teeth, and let out a huff of annoyance through her nose. He was an idiot. Her father had always said the plebs and freedmen of the city were simple people - unschooled and uncouth, which she largely believed, but she liked Alexius. It was just a shame he occasionally fell into the traps of his class. "Yes." She commented, annoyed, "You did. And I have to live with the consequences of it." Her fingers flexed on the blanket, wrapping into fists before stretching out again. 

"Pinaria?" She quirked an eyebrow. She had a knack for memories. "Aren't there four or five of them? The patrician ones?" She rolled her eyes and shook her head, holding up one of her hands, "Don't tell me which one it is, I don't want to know and no, I don't want you to leave." Her anger was sapping and she felt deflated, which was in part his fault, but she'd seen so few people she liked since it happened that she wished to hold onto this conversation, however soured it might have been. She sighed and took a sip of her wine, her glare dissipating as she looked at him. "I know you didn't mean too. You just need to be more careful." 

 

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Just because he usually spoke his mind without thinking, as she already knew, didn't make this case better. She was already in pain, already hurt, and here he came, just betraying her trust even more. He nodded silently when she spoke, still annoyed, about how she'd now live with the consequences of his mistake. Hopefully there wouldn't be any. He didn't think Pinaria would spread the name. But of course, in Rome, anything could be bought for coin, even secrets and gossip. Maybe he should seek out Pinaria again and make sure he could trust her. He could not risk Ovinia's reputation. He'd done plenty already. 

Alexius shared Pinaria's name, so now the two women were at least even. He shrugged when she asked more into it, "I think? I don't know them really." Alexius said. He knew one and she'd been attacked too and deserved only the good. She'd seemed so kind. That's why he thought he could trust her. But still, he'd lost Ovinia's trust today, had he not? Maybe he could only regain it by making sure her attacker would meet a proper and painful death. Taste his own medicine, as they said. But maybe even then, she'd prefer to not see Alexius again. He'd understand. Wondered if he should leave now. That might be better.

But she didn't want him to. Instead she sighed and said he hadn't meant to do what he did.

Again he nodded at her words, "I know. I'm just..." He sighed, "I never believed I was good with words. That's why Lucius is clearly the brains in our investigation. I'm just the muscle. I put my body to good use. But this up here..." He poked his head, "I don't know how to use it well. I really am sorry, Ovinia." 

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Ovinia frowned at him. He looked so dejected and she shook her head. "Stop that," She said but there was no heat in her words, but definitely an eye roll if he ventured to look at her face. "Not everybody is blessed by the Gods to be a genius. I'm certainly not, you probably aren't, most of the people in this city aren't." She didn't know what had happened but now she was...comforting him? She didn't mind though, he seemed in need of a pick-me-up and the anger she'd felt a few minutes before had settled, as it so often did. 

"But you're a good man." She concluded with a nod of her head and a firm look at his face, "And that is what matters. That is why I consider you a friend. And I have very few real ones, so you should count yourself blessed." Despite her tiredness and exhaustion, the faintest hint of a smile sat on her lips. "So, we need to plan our day to the library. It would do me good to get out of the house," She didn't believe that but her father and the medicus certainly did and she had to try"When are you free?" 

 

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He did look up when she said he should stop - stop what? He knew he wasn't that clever. It was just a fact. One of the few facts of life he did understand. But Ovinia spoke of not everyone being a genius and most people weren't. Well he knew he was not, she was probably smarter than him. She could read, she had something of an education. She was expected do to things, even if it was just to run a household, it was still more than him. Alexius was just muscle. And he knew how to use it. That's all he could, that others found useful. Except for the thing with pleasure, but it was useful in a different way. 

Ovinia said he was a good man and she counted him as one of her few friends. He did smile a little when she said he should consider himself blessed, as if she was some kind of little goddess and he was blessed by her. Well maybe she was, kind of? But right now, she wasn't much like one.

"I do... if you will still have me as your friend." He betrayed her trust once. Could she really trust him again? But then she went on about their trip to the library. Alexius opened his mouth to talk, but there was a small noise somewhere near and he suddenly recalled they were not alone. Ovinia's slavegirl had heard the whole thing.

"For you, I will make myself free." Alexius said, then lowered his voice, "But... before we make any plans. Her... can we trust her to not tell your father what we spoke about?" He nodded towards Lucia, "If he finds out what I just told you..." Ovinia was smart, she could make out the rest. He'd be furious. And Alexius would be on the receiving end of his anger and if an important Senator like that wanted to wipe Alexius out... he had no doubts it would actually happen.

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Ovinia frowned as he dropped his voice, straining to hear and then flicked her eyes towards where he nodded - to Lucia. She was standing, face angled half into the room, clearly listening, and visibly annoyed to be spoken about, although she showed it almost imperceptibly. She had always liked Lucia - she'd had her four, or perhaps five years now and they were similar enough in age that the girl seemed to understand her concerns better than the dowdy old slave that used to serve her principally. She was loathed to refer to Lucia as a body salve, but that practically was what she was. 

"We can trust her." She said, almost a little amused. "She has a vested interest in keeping my secrets, as I keep hers." Such as the money Ovinia had loaned her to end the pregnancy she had conceived with some pleb who she had been seeing since before she'd come into the house. Her father would be rightly furious at letting the opportunity for a free slave slip through his fingers, and Lucia knew that. It wasn't blackmail, but it was somewhere close. "trust her." Lucia seemed to relax at that. "And besides, I think she likes you." She heard a scoff from the other side of the room, but she didn't miss the small smile on the woman's lips.

 

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Alexius understood it perfectly before, that no one could know what happened to Ovinia. But someone did know now and he told Ovinia this much. And her slave had heard the whole story. The sweet slavegirl could not go running to Ovinia's father, spilling this secret. She could not. Senators were powerful and he had a certain amount of respect for them. Between his failed marriage and his return to Rome a few years ago, he had a lot of odd jobs and not all of them clean and proper either. And some were paid for by Senators and other wealthy and important men. Alexius knew they had plenty of power over the lower classes in the Empire. He was one of them. So this story could not get out of this room. It just couldn't.

Ovinia seemed to consider it, but then said they could trust Lucia and apparently, she had something on her slave. So they kept each other's secrets. 

Then she mentioned the slave liked her and Alexius glanced her way, also not missing the small smile. He didn't know that! When he was Ovinia's bodyguard or the day he'd escorted her to the arena, he always just had eyes for her. Ovinia was stunning, after all! Beautiful and sweet and smart... he never had much time to pay attention to the slavegirl before. But she was pretty too. Very pretty, in fact.

"I didn't know that." Alexius then said, giving Lucia a smile before returning his attention to the woman he'd come to visit, "If you trust her, I'll have to take your word for it. I guess... none of us will want your father to know that I... betrayed your trust. I won't do it again." And if he did, Ovinia could easily blackmail him this time around. She had something on him now.

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"No," She shook her head with her face suddenly becoming more serious and more concerned, "No we do not want him to know." Her father loved her, and she loved him, but there was the smallest bit of fear of him mingling with the respect and affection she held for her Papa. He was feared in the Senate and ruled his domus with an iron fist and a requirement for respect and order. It was why she so rarely pushed the rules and when she did, as with her youthful flirtations or temptation from Decimus, he had come down with such fury. Even the pranks she had enjoyed playing were no longer appropriate, not for a young girl on the verge of marriage. And that was her, his own daughter. She didn't dare think about what he'd do to a man like Alexius.

"Come," She said and stood, pushing the blanket off of her knees and feeling the chill almost immediately, "I don't wish for you to be sad and I don't wish for you to mope in my house Alexius," She arched a brow and glanced at Lucia who met her eyes with an even gaze, "But I'm not going out either. So either you cheer up," She placed a hand on the curve of her waist and quirked a brow at him, "Or you can take Lucia out to Melissa's and you can cheer one another up." 

 

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He really hoped they could trust her slavegirl, else they'd both be in such trouble. Alexius more than Ovinia though, he suspected. He promised Ovinia one more time he'd not betray her trust again and then Ovinia suddenly stood, brushing off the blanket and stating she didn't want him to be sad. You couldn't just order someone to feel something different than what they felt. She continued with her orders, that he'd cheer up or he went out with Lucia.

He glanced at the slavegirl, but shook his head, "I came here to see you, Ovinia." Alexius then said, and stood as she had. She'd said 'come', but what did she mean by that?

"Are we going somewhere else then? And we still do need to figure out what to do about that library." He added, Lucia was lovely and he would not mind going out with her sometime, but not right now. He came to see Ovinia. She was his friend. He cared for her. And he would be there for her when she needed support, so that's why he was here.

@Sara

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She arched a brow at him. "Fine, but you've broken her heart." Lucia snorted in amusement by the door, but Ovinia didn't miss the the slight look of hurt that filtered across her face. Bless her. She could see, objectively, that Alexius was an objectively handsome man - much moreso than the other men in this household. Bless her. 

"No," She scoffed and shook her head, "I'm not going out." She wrapped her arms around herself and shook her head, her voice growing a little quieter. "I...don't like going out. My father...likes me too, but..." She shrugged. It doesn't feel safe. "But we should take some lunch. Are you hungry?" She didn't wait for a reply before padding from the room towards the less formal triclinium that they had in the house. It had been laid up for a solitary lunch - her mother was unwell in bed and her brothers were otherwise absent. Hurriedly the slaves ferried silverware and cups for Alexius next to another of the couches. She seated herself first and sighed, glancing through to the rain still petering down, distracted. "Tell me, what have you been doing with your time Alexius? Let me live vicariously through you." 

 

TAG: @Atrice

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