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Shopping for two


Metella
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February 77AD

The midwife had told Metella that the dizziness would pass after the first few months, but so far, it showed no sign of letting up. Some mornings it was worse and some it was better, but two, two and a half months along she still threw up on more mornings than not. Today had started fairly well; she was clear-headed and energetic, so she decided to make a trip to the Emporium and buy some things Cassia had wished for. She spent about half an hour browsing ribbons and beads when a wave of nausea hit her so hard that she stumbled, leaning against a nearby column, trying to catch her breath and not throw up in plain sight of all the early shoppers around. With her red hair and fair complexion, she probably looked a vivid shade of green.

Deep breaths. Deep breaths...

@Insignia

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The market is bustling, just the way Jannus likes it. The banter between friends, whispers between old men, and jabber of vendors is loud enough to make him forget about anything complex. Here, he can return to some sense of normalcy. He was asked (normally he would describe it as being ordered, but things in this dominus’s household are different from the last) to buy a few necessities for the home. Things had gone as smoothly as he’d hoped. Time to leave.

His plans changed when he noticed a young woman, likely around the same age as him, resting against a column. Fiery hair contrasts the pallid shade of her face. It is clear she is not well. A simple malady, perhaps? Or something longer lasting? Jannus does not know enough about these types of things to make a proper judgment. But, what he does know is how to take care of people. Slowly, he approaches the woman. “Excuse me, are you alright?” His voice is subdued.

@Chevi

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“Excuse me, are you alright?”

Metella looked up, and regretted it as lifting her head gave her a new wave of nausea. The young slave was looking at her with concern, which was nice of him, and she really did not want to reward his niceness with trowing up on his tunica. She nodded, putting a hand over her mouth.

"Fine" she managed to say, closing her eyes to stop the world from spinning. She just needed to stay... very still. It would pass, sooner or later. Seven months, tops. "Just... dizzy."

@Insignia

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Jannus tries to uphold the values of an honorable Roman man, or as close to one as he can be. The key word being “tries.” On multiple occasions, as expected for other young men with too much cheap wine and too little self control, he’s gotten absolutely plastered. Considering his busy schedule and the draconian ways his second master kept order, it was a wonder he managed to recover in the span of a few hours for early morning chores the next day. He certainly didn’t do it without help, of course. One of the older slaves taught him some home remedies. Lemons make a good tea, but they’re far too expensive. Chamomile? Not available for now. Not all hope is lost; he smells a hint of something far away. 

“Take some deep breaths and don’t look down. Do you want me to get some water-mint?” Chewing a few leaves helped him out of many a hangover. Not that the lady is drunk, but she seems to be suffering from similar symptoms.

@Chevi

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She could hear the concern in the young man's voice. At least there were some decent people left in the city, even in a bustling place like the Emporium.

“Take some deep breaths and don’t look down. Do you want me to get some water-mint?” 

"I don't know... do I?" she exhaled slowly, trying to get a grip on the dizziness. She really did not want to faint, either. She'd never fainted before, and she sure as hell was not going to start now, or Attis was likely to tie her to the bed for the next several months. She was fine. It was going to be fine. "I... think I need to sit down." Already awkward, being in public like this. "I'm... not drunk, I'm... pregnant."

@Insignia

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The morning market is especially busy with people trying to get everything done for the day. Honestly, he’s scared that if she passes out, nobody else will be there to help her. Additionally, the golden rays of sunlight that hit one’s eyes at just the wrong angle also don’t help with nausea. The woman in front of him looks as though she might collapse at any minute; Jannus manages to locate a bench some ways away. 

“Why don’t you take a rest,” he says, gesturing towards said bench. Her next comment, however, is a bit surprising, and it takes a moment for him to think of something to say. It would have been better if a woman helped her, but right now he had to be the next best option. “I, uh, didn’t mean to imply that about your condition. And, congratulations on the baby.”

@Chevi

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“Why don’t you take a rest,”

Metella made her way to the bench with the young man's help. Sitting was definitely better. She took some slow breaths, keenly aware that she probably looked like a drunk person.

“I, uh, didn’t mean to imply that about your condition. And, congratulations on the baby.”

Metella snorted in an amused way. Congratulations, indeed.

"This baby is already... as much trouble as its father... It's fine. Thank you for helping."

@Insignia

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He didn't mean it that way, honest! In fact, he's rarely seen as many women drunk out on the streets than men. Perhaps this speaks more to his general inexperience with the world; he barely did anything for last Saturnalia, after all. To miss out on such a glorious holiday was surely a sin. Then again, it was not as though he had much agency in the matter. 

It's good to see the woman less green than before. Jannus was concerned she might not make it to wherever her next destination was. Her own casual demeanour allows him to drop his guard, or at least to relax it. The water-mint, for now, is forgotten.

"It's no trouble. The child's father must be lucky. But I guess all parents are."

@Chevi

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"We... are going to table that discussion." Metella chuckled; some deep breaths made her less dizzy, so she could look up at the young man now. He looked friendly. And he was a slave, like her. "Thank you for stopping to help." He was probably running some kind of errand, just like her. Depending on what kind of a master he had, he was taking up valuable time to talk to her. "What's your name?"

@Insignia

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Table? The last time he heard that word, it mean to bring a topic up front. He is not sure what she means, but it must be in good humor. Unless, there is no father? That's not what a respectable Roman would do, but then again, neither of them are truly Romans, are they? And it couldn't hurt to have an acquaintance. Jannus tentatively smiles back. He does not try to be friendly, but something about his manner leaves that impression. Then again, who wouldn't help a woman who seemed ill? "I'm glad you're feeling better, at least." The market has a mind of its own at this hour. "Jannus. As for yours?"

@Chevi

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"Metella" she responded, slowly getting her bearings again. "I'm sorry. You must have been running an errand, right?..."

She was starting to feel like she might not throw up. She really didn't want to. This baby was doing a number on her, but she refused to back down. She would have time to waddle and lie down and take things easy once she started growing a belly.

"If you ever get a woman pregnant, make sure it was her idea" Metella sighed, smiling a little. "Although why this is ever anyone's idea, beats me..."

@Insignia

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He looks at the sky. The sun's higher on the horizon, but nowhere near the position it usually is when he returns home. "Don't apologize. Being pregnant, at least from what I heard, is a lot of work." It was a good thing it couldn't happen to him, otherwise he'd be in for a world of pain and inconvenience. Was having a child really worth all of that? Then again, that's what his mother did, and her mother before her. "It's good meeting you, Metella." 

Jannus doesn't say much, but inclines his head towards her to show that he's listening. Her remark about getting somebody pregnant, he treats like some sort of sage advice. "But you seem happy, at least." The last part of his sentence has a lighter tone, making it into more of a question than a statement.

@Chevi

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"Maybe I am" Metella smiled a little. With all the fuss and the nausea and the worries, in the end, she was. The idea of a baby was growing on her (or rather, in her), and she knew Attis was going to make a good father. A goofy one, but a good one.

"Do you have children?" she ventured, although he looked kind of young to be a father. Slaves didn't usually marry that young, in no hurry to bring children into their world. "Whose household are you in?"

@Insignia

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His lips quirk up just slightly in response. He never considered himself a philosopher, especially not on the natural order of people and life, but the people continuing to walk past them spark a thought: the walls that make buildings, the pumps that deliver fresh water, the streets paved with stones and so many other things are all created by men. Yet the people around them, from the oldest senators to the youngest child, are all made by women. 

"No, I don't think so," he responds to the inquiry about children. "I hope not, anyway."

Regarding the household: "Teutus Quinctillius Varus. Yours?"

@Chevi

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Metella laughed a little. Men. Couldn't even be trusted to know if they had any offspring sprinkled around or not. At least he was honest about it. And probably popular.

She knew the name of his household dominus, but never actually met him. She filed the information away for later. Senators knew each other one way or another.

"Lucius Cassius Longinus. I'm raising his daughter." she smirked. She technically used to be a nurse, and now she was very close to becoming a body slave. "My... um, the father is his body slave." And occasional conscience. "Were you born in Rome?"

@Insignia

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He swears he's being careful. The older and wiser slaves back with the second master, as well as a hefty lecture from someone back with the first, always told him to be careful when it came to actions of that sort. Contrary to what Metella believes, he isn't really that popular. In fact, he's the epitome of a wallflower. A very peculiar kind of flower, with brown hair. 

His eyes widen ever so slightly. When with others of the same social rank, he's willing to be more open with his body language. "A Senator? Now that's a good position, serving his family. And your child's father's in the same household, which is convenient." Many a time he's overheard romantic drama between slaves from two households. It never ended well. 

"I was born in Britannia, I think. Don't remember much about it, though. What about you?"

@Chevi

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"A Senator? Now that's a good position, serving his family. And your child's father's in the same household, which is convenient." 

Metella chuckled and nodded. Having Attis in the same household, that was definitely good. He had been the highlight of her life in Longinus' domus, and she couldn't imagine what she'd do if he'd left. She'd gotten a taste two years earlier, and he did not care for it.

"I was born in Britannia, I think. Don't remember much about it, though. What about you?"

Her smile softened as she looked at him.

"I do remember Britannia." Childhood memories, but she remembered quite well. "I was twelve when they brought me here."

@Insignia

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