Wow, 12 whole favorites on this? That's a lot! (for me...)
Greece hurried up the steps of Rome's house. This was just too weird.
"Rome? Are you in there?"
Rome came out to meet her, he looked worried. "Greece? Good, you're here!"
He took her hand and pulled her inside. "There isn't much time."
"Come on, he could be anywhere!" The two continued into the main hall.
"Who are you talking about?"
He then blushed when he realized he was still holding her hand. Hastily he let it go and turned away.
"Romulus," she said softly. "You're never that formal when you write to me. What's going on?"
Rome sighed; he was going to have to humble himself. "...Carthage."
"I…I need your help."
Normally she would poke fun at him, at the "great and proud Rome" swallowing his pride. But this was different.
"He says he'll be here soon for us to "discuss things", whatever that means." He crossed his arms self-consciously. "And I think it'd be a bad idea to have Sicilia here when he's around. Especially after last time."
She hadn't forgotten. Rome had rescued the boy from Carthage, claiming that a man who hurts his own family wasn't worthy of having a family at all. On the other side of the argument, Carthage insisted that Rome had kidnapped his nephew away from him, and how he disciplined the boy was his own business.
"So...do you think it would be possible for him to stay with you? For a few days until this whole thing blows over?"
Greece was moved by his wish to keep the boy out of harm's way, but wasn't overly thrilled at the thought of being a secret babysitter for the rest of the week. Oh well, Rome was just too cute when he was humble. "Where is he?"
"Probably still out in the garden."
They found the boy out where the grapes grew, pulling strings of dead vines off the plants carefully and meticulously. His dark eyes fixed on the leaves and flowers, and he tended to them as gently as a mother hen would to her eggs.
"He sure likes those grapes." Rome mumbled as he and Greece approached. "Olives too, you should see the little guy go."
"He certainly doesn't look so little anymore."
The last time Greece had seen the boy he had been so small, now he looked to be around the same age as that boy that hung around Byzantium. What was his name?
"Sicily!" Rome called to him.
Sicily jumped in surprise, but then looked over with a smile. "Oh, Master Rome! I didn't see you."
Greece smiled back; she could see that Sicily was one of those boys that could easily be mistaken for a girl if one looked at him a certain way.
"Sicily, you remember Greece, don't you?"
The boy looked at her with a look of mild confusion. "I…um…"
She laughed. "It's alright. You were so small the last time I saw you. Now look at you!"
Sicily looked down bashfully, his deep bronze face gaining a reddish glow.
Rome cleared his throat. "Anyway, you'll be staying with her for a few days."
Sicily was happy at the thought of staying with such a pretty lady, but then a thought stopped him. He turned to Rome with a worried look. "Did I do something wrong?"
Of course he hadn't, but Rome wasn't sure he wanted to tell him the real reason why he was being sent away. Thankfully Greece spoke for him. "No sweetheart, you didn't do anything wrong. It's just that…I think I need some help from someone like you."
"Someone like me?"
She nodded. "Rome tells me you're good with plants. Just look at these grapes!"
Sicily felt proud that his work was being admired. "But if I go, then what about-"
Rome cut in. "They look fine Sicily, a few days of being on their own shouldn't hurt them."
He looked back over at Greece. "Do you have grapes where you live?"
"We have some. But mostly we have olives; you like those too?"
"Yeah!" he replied excitedly.
"Alright, get your things."
They watched the boy happily bound up the stairs to get the few things he had been able to take with him. It was great to see him with such a sense of purpose.
"Well that went better than expected." Rome said finally. "Wish Carthage was more like him."
Greece sighed. "He does have every right to be mad though, I honestly think Sicily was all he had."
He wished he could just stay here, in the garden with Greece and Sicily and never have to leave. Never have to worry about this growing empire or arguing with Byzantine. Never having to worry about Carthage or fighting, and instead living in peace. But what kind of life would that be?
He watched the two of them leave, Sicily happily talking about something while Greece listened patiently. It was a heartwarming sight; she was always good with children. Seeing the two together like that pulled at something in Rome's chest. Maybe one day he would see her with a different child. Maybe one day that child would be his.
Rome shook his head, how could he think that now? He wasn't even brave enough to tell her how he really felt about her. Ironic really, the "great and proud Rome" reduced to practically a shy little boy around the one he loved.
All that was left was to wait for Carthage. He sighed and rubbed his eye with the heel of his hand. He was not looking forward to this.
(I loosely based Sicily's appearance off of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, who was said to have an androgynous look.)