A/N: Thank you for all of the comments! Also, I'd like to make it known that I am taking a few liberties with this story. Some of the customs/objects don't align exactly, but, hey, what is fiction for? :P

Disclaimer: I don't own any characters from the movie/comic, 300.



Bright.

That is my first thought as my eyes peel open.

Oh, good. I suppose I did sleep after all. After pushing myself up from my pillow, I lean back slowly onto the bed's headboard, making contact with a dull thud. The tangled sheets are wrapped around my legs, and I squirm to try to stretch the sleep from my limbs. I breathe in.

Suddenly, the traitorous inner babblings of last night rush back to me. I part my lips and exhale, trying to alleviate the throbbing that's forcefully gathered in my chest. I am now all too aware of myself--my aching back, blistered hands, bruised shins. I can feel my shame manifesting itself physically, literally pulsing through my veins and running up and down my nerves. Even though I've slept some, I'm restless and tired. I'm nervous--anxious, even--and daring myself to get out of bed. A groan barely escapes my throat.

Another typical morning.

The growing sounds of the birds tell me that I've wasted too much time in bed already. Breakfast here is usually served at sunrise, and I will absolutely need it if I'm to survive another day of practice. I suspect my wife is already about, perhaps even nursing my baby son. I reach my hand out to touch her side of the bed. It is cool, and the linen is a nice change for my stinging hands, so used to carrying a spear or a sword. I can bitterly recall there was a time in my life when I thought a bed was a luxury. The Spartans would send a mere child into the wild--naked--not even allowing him to be fed. Whipping him, starving him, depraving him of all contact except for—

I have to stop thinking like this. I have to try to kill these thoughts. I just want to be at peace with myself. Then again, I've never really been good at giving myself what I want. Looking at my bruised and scar covered body is enough proof of that.

Why can I just leave this "city," if you could even call it that? These goddamn weak walls of my supposed home close me in—me, a trained Spartan solider—and I'm utterly helpless to break through. This pile of mud and brick mocks me. In Sparta, we have no outer city walls. We, the soldiers of Sparta, are the surrogate walls. This is a jail whose doors are unlocked and wide open. But I don't leave.

I rub my eyes in a pathetic attempt to relax myself. I have somewhere to be shortly, and standing here mulling over the morbid reality of my life should not be part of my routine. Unfortunately, it's looking more and more like that.

Oh, I've almost forgotten. Breakfast. I should probably eat, but I can't really bring myself to care.

Grabbing my spear, shield, and helmet, I exit my bedchamber. Holding my head high, my Spartan mask well in place, I get ready for another day. My only comfort is knowing that someday soon, I will die.

I can't wait.