KALENDS OF FEBRUARY

This is the ROME Season One Finale, but with a happy ending. Of course I do not own any of these amazing characters. Please comment nicely!

Lucius Vorenus was feeling good. Just yesterday he was a simple centurion with the Thirteenth Legion. Today he was a Senator of Rome! He had some private doubts about his own abilities, but he was excited to be wearing his new toga and to be following his hero, Julius Caesar, to the Senate.

Of course someone had to come along and ruin it. Out of nowhere an old woman in blue grabbed the hem of his toga and began whispering filthy things in his ear.

"Your wife is a nasty slut!" the woman hissed. "While you were in Gaul she was doing it every night, partying with men, boys, sheep, you name it! And your little boy is really . . ."

"Enough!" Lucius Vorenus stepped back, his gray eyes filled with outrage. "What's happened to Rome? Are we really becoming a nation of gossips and liars? How could anyone even suspect such things about the wife of a Roman soldier? Get out of my sight, woman, and never bother me again!"

"Some sort of trouble, Senator?" Julius Caesar spoke in his usual tone of mild irony and tolerant understanding.

"No trouble here, sir," ex-soldier Vorenus growled. He collected himself at once. He wasn't some fool who'd go running home to confront his wife in the middle of the day. Right now he had business in the Senate chamber. Just let anyone try to bother him there – or make trouble for his hero, the great Gaius Julius Caesar!

"More honey water?" Servilia asked, on the other side of town. The refined Roman lady was highly skilled at hiding her twisted, vengeful nature behind a gracious smile.

"No, thank you," Atia of the Julii said. "You were about to tell my son and me something important about Uncle Julius?"

"Oh yes," sly Servilia replied. "I almost forgot. My son is going to kill Caesar today, in the Senate. At this very moment, my noble Brutus is courageously sneaking up on the tyrant, heroically stabbing him from behind while other Senators hold his arms and prevent him from fighting back. It's time someone restored the high ideals of the Republic!"

"That is not logical," objected young Octavian. He didn't give in to fear, anger or dismay. He was deadly calm. "To kill a man like Caesar through cowardly, underhanded means only guarantees his immortality throughout the ages. Your son Brutus must be one weak, confused, messed-up individual."

"He is my son," Servilia replied, with great dignity. "I taught him the ancient virtues that make our Republic great."

"Well, that explains a lot." Beautiful Atia couldn't help joking even when things looked hopeless. She nudged her teenage son Octavian. "Better having a mother who's a bit naughty, eh?"

"As you say, mother." Octavian didn't even smile.

Just then there was a terrible wail from the doorway.

"Brutus!" Servilia rose to her feet as her son staggered into the chamber, his toga filthy and his face covered with tears.

"Good gods, what's that smell?" Atia asked.

"I think someone crapped his toga," Octavian replied.

"Mother, I failed!" A sobbing Brutus threw himself into his mother's arms. "We were all ready to stab Caesar – but then that soldier Vorenus saw our daggers and just went crazy! He knocked out Casca and Cassius and then he hit someone else and broke their arm, and then I soiled my toga and everyone started laughing at us!"

"Foolish boy! Do you mean to tell me that Caesar is still alive?" Servilia's pale face was a mask of elegant outrage. She stepped back from her son, looking at him with disgust. "By Juno, you really stink. And that was your father's toga!"

"I'm sorry, mother!" Still weeping, Brutus fell to his knees. "Caesar said he would forgive me if you would forgive him. He says everything can be just like it was before."

"Good gods, the insolence of that outrageous man!" Servilia's voice was most indignant. But she was smiling.

"Well, we do hate to run off," Atia said, taking Octavian's arm, "but I'm sure you'll wish to spend the rest of the afternoon laundering your son's toga. Farewell, fair Servilia."

Atia gave a great feast a few days later. Everyone was there. Caesar pardoned all the conspirators, and in return the Senate made Lucius Vorenus a co-consul equal with Caesar. The Republic was restored, and they all lived happily ever after.

Lucius Vorenus knew that the stories about his beautiful wife Niobe were all lies. But even if they weren't, it didn't matter.

Everyone had flaws.

After all, his best friend was Titus Pullo.