|Of Mantles and Rings of Kings
Author: Diary PM
Warning: Potentially disturbing, offensive content. He knows how Brutus views him. Antony's the brute, not the one with the word in his name. Crude, vulgar, so many different words, all narrowing down to one: Unfit. Complete.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Words: 1,192 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Published: 10-25-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8642463
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Disclaimer: I do not own Rome.
When Antony was a small child, he was forced to watch a woman be brutally gang-raped.
He remembers being shy and unsure of himself, a soft, friendly enough child. Smart, too, smarter than others realised, a world of ideas inside his tiny head.
It changed him. It stripped away his innocence, his budding idealism, and best of all, in his opinion, his fear. People say he's fearless, unflinching, must have been born with ice instead of blood in his veins. They're wrong, though, he wasn't born without fear. People need only listen to Cicero. Those who have truly lost everything fear nothing, even death. Those who still fear death have something left to lose.
Sex is a release, and officially, he's never raped another, despite the popular penning's of him. Slaves can't rightly say no, and none of have. There's always an ignored question of whether they found him pleasing or feel stripped of their body completely. One started crying once, and he put an end to things before they began. He's not above paying, above charming others into making what they know will be a perhaps drastic mistake for them, and he's had battles of dominance in bed with ones who hated him and who he hated.
Fulvia never cared about his exploits, only threatening to ruin him if he ever tried to turn her out as he did Antonia. She made him loyal, though, forceful and beautiful, and he knew after the first time he bedded another, he'd committed a grave mistake, a sin. The gods didn't own him, Caesar didn't own him, the Senate didn't own him, but she did. She knew him, pried him apart, examining his secrets, and decided to keep him, never trying to fix him but insisting he not further damage himself.
Brutus goes on about tyranny, and all Antony can feel is irritation.
Sheltered little Brutus, beloved of Caesar, so soft and idealistic, yet believing himself cynical.
He's the blood son of his father, but Antony's heard of a young Caesar, standing in the nursery, holding the son he could never have. Soft balls of cloth, wooden and wheeled toys, books, horses, slaves, rare food delicacies, a divorce from Claudia, soothing Servilia when he married Porcia against her wishes, and finally, kicking soldiers from the table and their beds, refusing to accept an apology, instead insisting Brutus and his friend accept one. A Senate seat, protection against the worst of the rumours.
Caesar is happy with Brutus's soft nature, trying to keep it so, wanting him to be happy without hardening.
In contrast, Caesar chased Antony with a whip the first time they met, whipping him red, black, and blue. He demanded a kill as a show of something, loyalty or nerves, before agreeing to pay Antony's way into the legion. Without it, no matter how desperate, his reputation precluded him from being more than a hired mercenary when the soldiers couldn't do what needed to be done.
It isn't a fight over a father, however.
Caesar, as far as he knows, is officially not a rapist, despite the treatises about him. He's honest in the little affection he has, often soothes over Antony's stupidity, and knows some of Antony's darker secrets and neither cares to fix or exploit.
There's Porcia, a girl-woman Antony suspects might genuinely be some type of controllably insane. Her first meeting with Brutus was to lecture and insult him, and then, beam in happiness when he complimented her on something or other. She often has a distrait look on her face and speaks in a low, soft voice, sometimes saying disconcerting things, which only sometimes make sense.
They don't own one another, a foreign concept, he'll admit. Everyone owns someone, and for a marriage to be happy, it seems one has to own the other. Brutus is gentle and attentive, smiling genuinely when she's near, and there are times his presence can turn her into a normal, sane woman, nuzzling against his leg and talking brightly and clearly, reasonable in tone and points, as he removes her veil and gently plucks at her hair. They'd die for one another, and the lack of children seems to be something they've decided or come to easy terms with.
Caesar and Calpurnia don't own one another. Julia owned them both, and then, Caesar went back to being the property of destiny, fate, and fortune. The people who love and follow her husband own her.
He knows how Brutus views him. Antony's the brute, not the one with the word in his name. Crude, vulgar, so many different words, all narrowing down to one: Unfit.
Unfit for civilisation, unfit to eat with Caesar and Servilia, unfit to marry rich, unfit to hold office, unfit to lead men, and unfit to live and breathe.
Brutus talks of kings, of tyrants, of men on thrones, crowns on their heads, and all Antony can think of is: Brutus could own Caesar. Antony can easily see him sitting on a throne, crown on his head, the ring of the dead king Servilia's always so proud to show off on his finger. Brutus has a better chance than Caesar does of bringing Rome underneath him.
Once, when Antony was sick and drunk, a combination even he admits ought not to have been mixed, he'd ended up lying in a stool room, weeping. Brutus had founded him, ignored his thankfully incoherent babbling, and cleaned him up, dressed him in a purple mantle, and deposited him in a guest room, leaving a slave to watch over him. He'd left a note, frankly chiding him and telling him to keep the mantle.
The boy, the other man, the citizen of Rome, the king and tyrant despiser, is going to be the death of Caesar, Antony often thinks, now with legitimate reasons to propel the thought.
And when it comes down to it, if he gets the chance, he'll kill him before he can kill Caesar, only to shortly be killed by Caesar for doing so. If he doesn't, if he can't protect Caesar, he'll never be able to bring himself to kill Brutus, or at least, not directly. If Brutus dies, damn policies or sense, he knows he'll find himself praising the irritating philosopher who imagined he had so much weight and heaviness inside him. He'll praise him, because however misguided and easily led, he was the soft fool who could have been king, could have rightfully left Antony to suffer in drunken, feverish delirium, but unlike the little boy who let go of all his dreams and strange ideas, all his fitness to be around decent people, Brutus kept trying to be a good person, a noble Roman, and a defender of his ideals.
Long live the Republic, then. Death to tyrants and tyrant-killers. And goodbye, Marcus Antonius, for death is the only owner of the fearless, and it is not kind to those who don't show it proper care and respect. It'll come soon, whether by Servilia, Atia, or her brat, Octavian, who will take all Brutus refused to accept, aside from Antony.