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Walking In The Air


Wulfric
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Late March, 77AD

It had been a while, since he’d been back here last time. He had actually come back a few weeks after Charis had come to see him at the market. And he’d had time to think the whole thing over a few times. He still didn’t quite grasp how such a sweet and kind girl could turn into the opposite over such a short span of time. She’d been so nice and friendly when he met her at his father’s domus. She even said she took his advice for Peregrinus and sleeping habits. But then she came to him at his job at the marketplace and told him to leave Rome and not come back. Few had treated him nicely here in Rome. Most seemed to misunderstand him or simply just not understand him at all. There was nothing for him here. Or, not much.

 He had tried to not give up too easily. He had told Charis the truth about why he was here, just like he told his father. Why would they not believe him? But he said to his father after that dinner party, that he’d be back and so he kept his promise, at least to begin with. He was stubborn. His mother had sometimes said that he inherited that from his father. He never saw that before… but now that he knew that Wulfstan was not his father, he understood. He had come back to his actual father’s house quite a few times, knocking on the door and walking inside. This was his father’s house. He was not just yet another visitor here, so why should he wait outside? Yet every time he was met by a slave and eventually asked to leave, because the Dominus was not at home.

 That had happened quite a few times over the next few months. Antonia was apparently never at home either, so he'd never met his half-sister. And if Charis was there with Peregrinus, she stayed out of the way. Eventually he stopped coming. Charis was right. He clearly wasn’t wanted. Not by anyone but his half-brother Teutus it seemed. At least they got along. Time went by… and now springtime was coming and he had always planned he’d return to Germania when next spring came. That time was now. He had finished with the warehouse at the marketplace and had told the landlord of the insula he lived in, that he was leaving very soon. 

And now, he showed up in front of his father’s house one last time. To tell that he was leaving. He didn’t expect them to be sad that he had to leave. He wasn’t sure what he expected. But it felt right to tell them. So there he was, outside the house, pulling himself together to knock on that door. Why didn’t he just do it? It felt so… final, somehow, to do it. Rome had not always treated him nicely, but still, it wasn't easy to just say goodbye, was it? Once he left, he wasn't sure he'd ever come back, after all. He might not see any of the people he met here, again. Wulfric sighed and leaned against a wall opposite the front door to his father’s domus.

(( OPEN THREAD FOR ANYONE ))

Edited by Atrice
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It had been months since she'd shown up at Tertius's door to announce her freedom. Months since he'd welcomed her in and they'd had their conversation. It had gone far better than she'd feared, and their friendship seemed to be working well. Tertius had his world, she had hers, and occasionally they crossed. In fact, when Teutus had something to send his father, she'd offered to take it herself. It was enjoyable to say hello occasionally, and she didn't need more than that. The fact that her yellow linen chiton and blue palla spoke of the spring in the air, and her fibulae were brightly polished meant nothing, of course.

As she walked up the street, she noticed a young man leaning against the wall opposite the Domus that was Tertius's. He might be resting or lingering with greater intent, but as she drew closer, Varinia noticed that his gaze often focused on that particular door, then moved away. Hmm. If he had business with Tertius, surely the man would just knock. She knew little about his work, but did know that it involved the law, and the untangling of legal matters. Might someone who didn't feel well done by seek some sort of revenge? Or could the man be a thief, casing the house? Or perhaps he was simply tired and had to look somewhere.

There was one way to find out, and the woman who was everyone's mother and general busybody knew just how to do it.

"Good morning." Varinia said with a smile as she approached. "Are you alright?" She added, a touch of concern in her tone.

@Atrice

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He had hoped that his Roman family had wanted him. When his mother had spoken of Tertius, he had not sounded like the man that Wulfric met. One who was complicated and confusing, one who would act coldly towards his own son. And judging by what Teutus had told him, things were not that much better between him and their father. Well at least Tertius didn't close his door to Teutus, at least he wanted Teutus in his life. Wulfric was well aware now that he'd been ignored on purpose. All the times he came to the house and his father was never at home, his sister wasn't there either and he could not speak to Charis. So he could not even see his youngest brother, Peregrinus. His entire Roman family, with the exception of Teutus, were ignoring him. But he still felt it right to tell them he was leaving. Give them maybe one last chance to redeem themselves. If they would or could.

But it felt very final to knock on that door and tell them he was leaving. So he was pulling himself together, going over the words in his head again and again, as he stood there opposite the front door, thinking, watching it from time to time. He had barely noticed the dark-haired woman until she was approaching him and speaking to him. She had a kind smile and kind eyes. And kindness was in her words too.

"Greetings... I am good." He replied, his Latin had improved greatly, but it was still not perfect and he had an obvious accent. It was nice of her to be concerned for a stranger though, and nice with a distraction from his thoughts too, "You are kind, being concerned. But I am good." He said and looked over at the domus, "You know people who are live here?" Meaning if she knew people who lived on this street, but he wasn't sure if she got the meaning. Maybe she did. And maybe she knew something that could help him.

@Sarah

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He had an accent, that much was obvious from his first words. And his Latin was fluent but not polished. He was a foreigner, or at least had been born elsewhere. Like herself, though after the majority of her lifetime spent in Rome, Varinia's accent had disappeared. It only made her wonder more what the man was doing here. But he seemed friendly enough. Of course, that could change in a moment, but she was determined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

You know people who are live here?

She followed his gaze for a moment. Definitely Tertius's domus. Varinia felt a little shiver down her spine as her suspicions seemed to be confirmed. This man was loitering outside Tertius's house. "I do." She said cautiously. "Do you?"

Who was he? And why, of the whole of Rome and the Empire, was he here?

@Atrice

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It was odd, Wulfric almost felt he'd seen her before. Or kind of seen her before. Maybe he'd met someone related to her? But he wasn't sure. She stayed around though, seeming concerned for him and willing to help, should he need help. Wulfric was fine really, except for the fact that he could not seem to pull himself together to knock on that door again. He had been dismissed so many times that he was quite sure it was deliberate, but still, he wanted to tell them he was leaving. Maybe then his father would finally believe him when he said, that he wanted nothing more but a family. That was the reason he came to Rome. He didn't know why people kept thinking otherwise. 

He asked the woman if she knew people around here and she looked around, seeming to follow his gaze. She knew where he was looking. Did she know his father? She confirmed thats he knew people in the street and naturally wondered the same.

"I do also. Or, I almost know people here." He said, "I know people there." He nodded to his father's house across the street, "But, I am not sure it is good. I make sense?" He didn't know if he made any sense at all to her, or if she'd just think him mad or something, for the way he spoke and how it was almost riddles he spoke. But he felt he could not be more clear with someone he didn't know so well.

@Sarah

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I do also. Or, I almost know people here.

It was an odd response. Then he amended his words, trying to explain. I am not sure it is good. He knew Tertius, or someone in Tertius's household, but perhaps didn't get on with them? Or wasn't welcome? She wasn't sure, but she had a feeling it was something like that. How did this clearly foreign man know someone in Tertius's household? Unless it was Charis; but she had a very different accent.

Then he turned to look at the door again and the sun caught the line of his jaw, his nose, his cheekbone, and Varinia felt the hair on the back of her neck rise. She'd seen that profile before; not just in her erstwhile lover, but in her son. Could this be? Tertius had served in the provinces, Germania if she'd heard right, but she had no real concept of where that was or what Germanic peoples were like. She studied his profile, trying to tell herself she was imagining the resemblance, but she could still see it. He was a few years younger than Teutus, but with a shave and a haircut, could easily be his brother.

"It's Tertius, isn't it?" She asked bluntly.

@Atrice

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It was an odd response to her question back at him, and he understood why it wouldn't make much sense to her. It didn't make much sense to him either. But how did you ask if someone random on a street knew your father, when you didn't even know the person you talked to? She seemed nice though, probably around his mothers age too he thought. He missed Frieda sometimes, she was a very kind and calm woman. This one almost reminded him of his mother, actually. But he didn't know her. Instead he went on, speaking in riddles it seemed, about how he didn't know if it was good he knew people here. The woman looked at him and didn't say anything for a brief moment and he thought she might move on, because he sounded like an idiot. But then she suddenly asked if he was talking about Tertius.

Wulfric blinked and looked at her, "It is him. His house is there." He nodded towards it and then looked at the woman again, a bit surprised that she guessed so easily whom he was talking about. It had to mean she knew Tertius too... "You know him well?" 

@Sarah

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You know him well?

She did. Or she had. She thought she did, but was Tertius still the man she had known? Of that she wasn't certain. He'd certainly been welcoming when she went to visit him, and she felt that they understood each other, but then her son would say something and she'd wonder. And now, suddenly, she was looking at another young man who, in the right light, could have been brother to her son. 

"I do." She said at last. "I've known him for many years." Though not over the most recent of those years. She hoped that they were now able to bridge that gap at least somewhat. But what was this young man to him? Only one way to find out. "Tertius is father to my son, and I'm wondering whether it's only my imagination that thinks you look an awful lot like him as well?" 

Please, she silently begged the Gods, let this be a nephew or something. A cousin. Secundus's long lost brat. Not Tertius's; not again. Let him have been able to keep it under his tunic, just for once. Not for her sake, but for his.

@Atrice

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