Title- Bread & Circuses.

Summary- 'Folks came from far and wide to see the young boy dance with fire. I was just going along with the crowd, but once the show began I was captivated, just like the rest of them. ' GrimmIchi YAOI. Set in Ancient Rome; Gladiator Grimm and Slave Ichi.

Disclaimer- I do not own bleach, and this is not guaranteed to be historically accurate.

A/N- Set in Ancient Rome, because history intrigues me. Although the research I did is limited to a few terms and styles. Feel free to point out anything that is not accurate, if it disturbs you.

The homosexual erotica will come in a chapter or two. This is supposed to be a three-shot, but i will see where it takes me :)

I never particularly approved, or disapproved slavery. It was simply a way of life; being a slave was a profession I was born into, and I thought it was how I'd die. But now I found myself walking the bustling streets of Rome a libertus. A freedman.

I had so much gold in my pockets It would take me a lifetime to spend it, my ankles felt like they had wings; the weights of shackles gone forever. My heavy gladiator armour had been left behind, and it felt so strange to be this light. This free. Wearing nothing more than a thin white tunic, navy breeches and sandals.

Of course, I still carried a sword over my tunic, and some knives in my belt. I would never feel safe without them. Besides, I was sure everybody I passed could hear the coin's rattling in my pockets.

But they'd have to be brain-dead to try and take it from me. Everybody knew my face, and if they didn't, they knew my hair. Bright, sky blue wasn't a shade you saw adorning a man's head often. In fact, my particular shade was recognizable by all, whether they attended to the fights or not. This was my blue; the panther king's blue.

I paused momentarily, to admire one of the advertisements. The brilliant blue poster depicted me, fighting hand-to-claw with a huge panther. Clicking my teeth in distaste, I silently cursed the lot of them. Pompous noble assholes. How dare they kick me out on the street like this!

Since when had I ever wanted to be free? Fighting was my life. All I'd ever done was train to be a gladiator, the strongest, king of both man and beast. But I knew that was why they'd thrown me away; the emperor didn't like the way the crowd called me king. The way they chanted it religiously as I stood at the top of the world, for those brief seconds of victory. I was untouchable, even by our king of kings.

So they'd discarded me for something new and fresh; some pretty kid that could kill an eagle. What kind of bullshit was this? Who the fuck couldn't kill an eagle? You get a fucking crossbow and you shoot the fucker down. It wasn't that hard.

Yeah, maybe I was a bit bitter. Who wouldn't be? I was alone in a big city with everything and nothing at the same time. I had money, fame, power; anything an ordinary free man would dream of. Any lady in this city would hike her skirt up for me and any tavern, brothel, gaming house or public bath would let me in.

But I didn't want any of that; I didn't care for material things, or material women. All I wanted was to kill something. To rip some flesh from bone and sink a dagger into a freshly beating heart. I wanted to fight.

In frustration, I wandered along a bit more until something bright caught my eye. There were lots of bright things in this city; it was so bright sometimes it made me sick. But my curiosity compelled me to lay eyes on a flaming arrow.

It was a little early to start lighting the street lanterns; the sun was only just kissing the horizon. So this flaming arrow amused me, as I followed it's path to the next. It was a cute gimmick; very clever, and I momentarily wanted to know what was at the end of this trail.

'Do you like dancing?' The words were singed into a plaque. I'd seen dancing before, at dinner parties and banquets, but it never entertained me. Watching pretty girls throwing their wiggly bits around just wasn't my thing.

'Do you like danger?' the next plaque read, and I found myself frowning. That was completely different from the last; this was a challenge. What did danger and dancing have in common? I would have to find out.

More plaques depicted confusing, yet gripping slogans until I came across a brightly colored tavern, with flaming arrows pointing out the entrance. Green and white silks hung from the awnings, and bizarre plants decorated the entry. The building itself was not exactly big, but it wasn't small either, and packed tightly between its stone neighbors, it was impossible to tell how large it really was.

Was this a private tavern, reserved for the wealthy and the aristocracy? If so, why was it in such a peculiar part of the city, between a plebeian bakery and a brothel?

Some wealthy nobles draped in the finest silken toga, entered the tavern and disappeared behind its tapestries. Their entourage of slaves and bodyguards waited outside. I watched quietly from the shadows across the street, as more assorted peoples excitedly entered the tavern. It was easy to tell, from their styles of clothing, or the richness of their toga, where they stood in social standards, and I was surprised to find some peasants enter unobstructed.

The sunset lit the sky a fiery orange, as I finally crossed the street to approach this curious tavern. Up close it smelt like exotic spices and roasting meat. I liked it.

"Do you have reservations, Mr. Panther King?" My entrance was halted by a small hand on my torso. Looking down, I locked eyes with a small child, his red hair on end as his eyes shone with excitement at meeting me.

"It's Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez , and this is my reservation." I grumbled, tossing him a minted gold coin. His red eyes widened in thanks, as he let me past. My name was Grimmjow now; I wasn't the Panther King anymore. Just plain old Grimmjow. In other words I was nothing.

I waltzed straight into the hall, and my eyes surveyed the lounging crowd as i would an arena of animals. The stage at the front was darkened, and around it reclined a crowd of chattering people, laughing and tinkling their wine goblets as they snacked on cheeses and savouries. Each table was lit by an open lantern; a fire hazard if you asked me. I noticed, confused, that all the patrons were men. Had I walked straight into an erotic dance? Or perhaps an auction of prostitutes? Either way I was sure I didn't want to be here anymore.

My coming and going had been silent as a cat; nobody had seen me enter besides the boy. So when a friendly hand landed on my shoulder, a second before I had breeched the outside air, my eyes widened, and my hand dipped to my weapon.

"My, My!" I turned to glare into cunning, steel-grey orbs. "What an honour it is to have the favourite of the gods here with us tonight!" The man waved a leaf green fan before his lips, but I could sense his grin nonetheless. Pale blonde hair shrouded his face messily, tickling the neckline of his jade tunic.

He hadn't noticed my hand twitching over my weapon, just like I hadn't noticed him approach. So I called it even and shrugged his hand off. "Apologies. I seem to have entered the wrong building." I muttered, turning again to leave.

"Nonsense!" he laughed, as he threw his arm around my broad shoulder and began leading me back into the sweet-smelling place. "Come, take a seat and I'll bring you Bread and wine!" My eyebrow twitched as he quickly bustled me onto a pillow around a small round table. "The show will begin shortly. I do hope you enjoy!" he chimed before disappearing mysteriously.

Eyes bored into me now, as the blonde's antics had drawn attention. I mustered a fierce scowl to ward off any approach. I sat there, unsure of what to do, or where to go, until, wading through the crowd, another glittering flame caught my eye.

But this was no literal flame that drew me in, this was a bright shock of orange, fiery hair, adorning the head of the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. Golden chains and jewellery hung from a taut, tan body, almost glittering brighter than the elusive sheen that coated sun-kissed skin.

The boy's regal image struck me all at once, as he continued to approach, heedless to the grasping hands of those he passed, as they fought to lay their sweaty palms on his beauty. I ran my eyes over him three more time, starting at his elegant sunset-painted toes and bare, jingling feet as each moved in turn to drag him closer to me. Golden wire, bells, and chains wrapped around his ankles, rising in a zigzag to hug his thin, muscled calves. Those gold plated chains draped his body, continuing to interweave up his lean thighs like binding stockings.

A short, transparent silken sarong hung low on his hips, shimmering with red threads that danced like flames as he swayed his beautifully carved hips. The boys tight waist cut in to his sides, as those beautiful defined bones morphed into a tight, lean torso, decorated with firm, bare abs. Those tight abs struck me, as I followed their path, stacked on top of each other like building blocks until his delicious torso broadened minutely into his chest. Across that tanned chest hung the finest, clear silk money could buy. It was draped over his shoulders like a scarf, barely covering his peach tinted nipples.

I was struck again by the thickness of the golden band around his neck. At the base of his throat, imbedded in the precious metal was the biggest ruby I had ever lain eyes on. The chain's linked to his chunky collar hung like rattling necklaces around his chest and shoulders. They thickened and stretched like snakes around his thin muscled arms, interweaving the same as they had around his legs, until they merged tighter around his wrists to form solid gold bangles.

That led me to his hands; those delicate hands held a swishing wine goblet in their grasp. The soft movement of the liquid in the crystal glass enchanted my eyes like a spell, as his delicately painted nails wrapped around it.

I was already sweating, and I hadn't even dared admire his face yet. It suddenly occurred to me, as the clanking of his chains came to a stop before me, that the extensive gold adorning this boy's body was not simply for decoration. There was solid steel under that gold plating. His chains were unbreakable shackles, done up like jewellery for the sake of appearances.

I watched his thin hands and arms as he placed the wine firmly on the table before me, and I saw the mark of humility in his stance; the quiet obedience that overcame a slave's persona as they followed orders. I should know; I used to be one.

I could see it in every shift of his muscles, and I knew instantly that this boy did not own a will of his own anymore; he was a Dediticii slave; never to be freed or included in society. Dediticii were rare slaves that had either been captured in a war, opposed the government, or committed an unforgivable crime. If they were not immediately crucified, people who were one of those three things were sold as Dediticii; slaves that could never earn the rights of a free citizen.

Normally, they were branded with a mark to show their status, but I assumed this boy's was hidden beneath one of his many shackles.

I met his strong eyes as he lifted his hand from the glass. A perfectly sharp jaw accentuating his pursed pink lips, cute nose framed by royally high cheekbones, and deep chocolate eyes outlined by soft ginger lashes.

Those pretty lips flicked between a scowl and a neutral expression, as his mysterious cocoa orbs stared me down, before he turned to walk away again. I shook my head, snapping out of the trance he had inspired.

I was a gladiator. I would be whipped if i was caught ogling a pretty boy. But I wasn't a gladiator anymore… I was a free man with money and power; I could do whatever the fuck I wanted.

So in one strong swipe, I reached out and slapped the teen's perfectly tight, round buttocks beneath my palm. The sound of smacking flesh thrilled me, as the boy jumped ten feet into the air with a yelp. All eyes looked my way in surprise, but I didn't care. I was used to getting attention.

The murderous glare the teen turned on me, as he held his stinging derriere with both hands, excited me more than anything. I'd had tigers glare at me the same way; wolves, eagles, lions, boars and the fiercest ox anybody had ever encountered.

The fire in his eyes and the luscious heat in his cheeks delighted me, as a large leering grin overtook my features. I flashed him my sharpened canines, as he blushed madly beneath my twinkling azure gaze.

Hurriedly, he stumbled away with half as much dignity he'd approached with.

Slowly, pleased with myself, I reached for my wine, taking a leisurely sip as I shook my burning hand. The hand I'd touched the boy with stung, like I'd grasped something forbidden. As the crimson liquid sunk down my throat, I realized in shock that my hand really was ablaze.

The wine came back up as I startled in surprise, flailing my flaming hand around, as fire licked up my sleeve. I finally managed to put it out against my thighs, and a wry chuckle spilled from my lips as I admired my scorched palm.

I had always loved the creatures that fought the dirtiest; human or beast. In fact I'd never been as eager for a battle as I was at that moment; I'd never wanted something so much in my life.

I'd be dammed if I left here without him.