Title: semper hic erro
Author: Bastet (gwyliane @ yahoo.com - website )
Pairing/Character: Lucius Vorenus/Titus Pullo
Rating: NC 17
Summary: Titus Pullo is nothing if not incredibly nosy.
Disclaimer: HBO/BBC owns Rome
Vorenus is near ready to sleep when Pullo comes back into the dark room, swagger in his step and an indecent smile on his face. "Now that was a good woman."
"The day you meet a woman you think is *bad,*" Vorenus says, and then trails off, shaking his head, because that is a day beyond his imagining.
Pullo grins. "You may have a point, there." He strips off his sword and places it carefully next to the pallet where Vorenus lies. "Anyway, budge over."
Vorenus glares at him. "Sleep on the floor."
Pullo pays him no mind, carefully unlacing his sandals and lining them up closest to the door before standing over Vorenus again, hands on hips. "Look, you're not my commanding officer anymore."
"We're not *soldiers,* anymore," Vorenus points out. Technically, they're Octavian's bodyguards, but he wanted them to come along mainly to help him talk other veterans into joining his cause, into rallying against Caesar's assassins. It's work, even if it's work that lands them in rat-infested roadside inns like this one.
"Right. Move, then," Pullo says, and because it's not really an order and not anything close to a threat, Vorenus sighs and makes some room on the pallet, which is barely big enough for one. Sure enough, Pullo takes up more than his fair share of it, his right arm thrown almost on top of Vorenus's left. He smells like sex, and breathes deep, happy, unnecessarily smug breaths.
"Will you stop that," Vorenus says, after a moment. He turns to face the wall, and he can feel Pullo immediately encroaching on the space he's left.
"Stop what?" Pullo's voice is too cheerful to be borne.
Vorenus feels his jaw tighten. "Stop *breathing* like that, like you're the first man in the world to ever fuck a woman."
"She must've been surprised, eh?" Pullo muses, and then laughs. "Anyway, I don't see why it makes any matter to you."
"It doesn't," Vorenus grinds out.
Pullo snorts, and Vorenus can feel the air on the back of his neck, which means that Pullo is facing him now, ready to tease. "Look, just because you haven't had a woman in--" He stops, sounding thoughtful. "In how long, now?"
"In a year and half," Vorenus says quietly, and he can feel the sudden tension in Pullo's limbs, pressed so close to his that he doesn't even have to say any more about it for Vorenus to know what's on his mind.
He does anyway, naturally. "Really? All this time?"
"It's not that long, for some of us," Vorenus says, trying to make light of it.
"Still," Pullo says, "you could get a--"
"I don't want one of your whores," Vorenus says, and now both of them are tensed up against each other. It's like the fights he and Niobe had in bed sometimes, and he sucks in some air to stop his throat from tightening up so.
"You could get married again," Pullo offers, helplessly.
"I don't want any other woman, understand?" Vorenus hears the volume of his own tone and lowers it, whispering, "It's fine, I don't mind it."
The straw crackles as Pullo rolls over onto his side. "You think she'd be angry at you, then?"
The thought has crossed Vorenus's mind, but then she, his own dear wife, had slept with another man when she'd only *thought* he was dead, without holding the cold, limp proof in her own arms. Still, it's less what Niobe might feel, watching him from Hades, than what he feels when a woman smiles, when he sees the curves of one who leans close to him or smells them on Pullo's body. They all turn into her, and whether it's her smiling and sweetly kissing him or crying, falling, makes no difference, because it all comes out the same.
"I don't know," he says, finally, and turns to face Pullo in honest confusion. "I do not want--I cannot do what I do not feel."
He can see just the barest outline of Pullo's face in the torchlight that comes from the large crack under the door. He is an easily moved man, for one who fights so well, and his eyes are huge and sad. "Must be lonely, though."
"I suppose," Vorenus concedes. "It's no different from the years I spent away on campaign."
"Yes, but then there was--" Pullo stops abruptly, for once thinking better of speaking his thoughts. After a few moments of silence his eyes light up. "So it's the women that're the problem?"
"Yes, as I said."
Pullo grins a simple grin. "So you can still sleep with men, then," he says, as if amazed that such as simple solution hadn't occurred to Vorenus before.
Vorenus stares in astonishment. "You're not serious."
"Why not? It's not so different from lying with a woman."
Vorenus lowers his voice further, hoping that Pullo will follow suit. "How would you know, anyway? I've never seen you couple with a man."
Pullo shrugs, smiling and somehow closer than he was a moment ago. "I like women better. More to hang onto." Vorenus rubs his forehead in disgust. "So you've never thought about it at even a little?"
"No," Vorenus says firmly, "a man of my station should never even consider such a thing." He says it as if he's never looked at another man, never for a second wondered, and even if he has, Lucius Vorenus is never going to become one of those who makes a fool of himself chasing after pretty boys, so it makes no difference.
"Too bad," Pullo says regretfully, and turns onto his back again, taking up more space than ever. Smirking again, and Vorenus wishes for an instant that they were back in the army, and that he could have Pullo whipped for the look on his face right now. There seems to be no other reasonable way to deal with the man.
"What," he says after a long pause, cursing himself for his curiosity, "do you mean by that?"
Pullo's smile gets larger and more insufferable. "Well, I was going to offer you a go, but if you'd never consider such a thing, of course there's no point." His eyes flicker over to Vorenus with nothing like innocence in them, while Vorenus feels himself flush with rage.
He pulls back against the wall as far as he can, Pullo's thigh still touching one of his. "I would ask you not to insult me in this way."
Startled, Pullo draws himself up: he of all men knows better than to insult Vorenus. "No, I never--I didn't mean it as an insult." Vorenus lifts his eyebrows, inviting him to continue. "I like you, is all. Even you can't be offended by that, surely."
The worse part is, he can't, not with Pullo's eyes so earnestly friendly, and the truth of it right there: no one in this world or the next loves him like Titus Pullo does. Simple, like the love of a child or a dog, and in the face of it his anger fades, and he settles back into the shared space. "No, I suppose not. Go to sleep, now, no more foolishness," and the smile he closes his eyes on is almost shy.
He wakes to a soft whimpering sound, straw crunching as Pullo lies heavily over him, hips moving slow and rough against his thigh. Waking him would only mean more teasing, as soon as he was to notice...Vorenus shuts his eyes, feeling as if he's pulling curtains to cool down a burning house. This is not something he can ignore or brush off: Pullo's sharp pants in his ear and the way his hip brushes the slightest bit against Vorenus's cock every time he moves.
He doesn't roll into it, anyway. That's something. He lies flat, fists tight at his sides, and tries to breathe deep, and that plan is going very well until Pullo wakes himself up with a particularly hard movement, and stops, still pressed against Vorenus's thigh. Vorenus knows better than to look, and does anyway.
"Oh, sweet Apollo." Pullo's eyes are half-lidded, mouth open and his voice is rusty and starved. "What--"
"You were dreaming, I think," Vorenus says tightly, but even as he says it Pullo's sleepy gaze is traveling down Vorenus's body, his whole body jerking a little as he finds Vorenus hard under his tunic.
"Oh," he murmurs, "you don't think I could just--" Vorenus can barely hear him over the sound of their labored breathing, can barely think beyond the strong, close smell of Pullo and the inexorable path of his hand down Vorenus's stomach. Rubbing now, he's rubbing with the heel of his hand, and Vorenus watches, hypnotized, as his own hips buck up like they belong to another man.
Pullo groans, too loud, in his ear, and shoves his hand under Vorenus's tunic, mouth coming down on his bare neck, breathing warm and damp and making him shiver, whispering, "let me, just let me--" He's shoving at Vorenus again, gasping, and squeezing and rubbing his cock with rough fingers that feel almost like his own and still more like nothing else in the world.
Vorenus hears his own strangled groan and Pullo starts licking at his throat as if he could taste the sound. Turning his head almost without thinking, and his body along with it, they end up forked into each other, thrusting together clumsily, Pullo's hand shaking and clenched around Vorenus's hip.
Pullo is throwing mindless kisses onto his face, and Vorenus thinks, knows, this is just what Pullo does when he's close, and it doesn't stop him from reaching around and pulling him in, giving him a real kiss that makes Pullo grunt and bite at his mouth. He can feel Pullo shivering and rocking to completion, and he shudders, pulling at Pullo's arm in a way that would surely have hurt a woman, and comes, gasping.
He's still breathing hard when Pullo nudges him, smiling, and says, "you should ask my advice more often, hey?"
"I never asked for your advice," Vorenus grouses, but there's something simple in the way he feels for Pullo, too, because he's smiling back.
Disclaimer:Characters (real and fictional) aren't mine, no money is made with these stories and history isn't changed. Damn.