Disclaimer: Not my property, not for profit. No disrespect intended to anybody real.

It had, because of all she'd consumed, taken a moment for her to recognize that no, she was not floating through the party, flying high above the floor covered with naked bodies writhing in ecstasy. It was the blast of chilly evening air, as she'd been carried out of the house that had roused her awareness, pushing the hemp clouded fog to the black of her mind; raising her alarm. She was being taken away, away from the only thing that blocked out all the pain. Each pain filled memory that she carried inside her just drifted away with every puff of smoke, with each swallow of wine, vanishing for a time, as if they never even existed. It made all the memories of Glabius – their divorce and his death, slip away, thoughts of being used by Servilia, of her home – her mother and brother, her short comings, both as a daughter and as a person, these memories were all rushing back now that she was becoming more aware.

Tiny fists pounded at a thick wall of muscle, well concealed behind coarse folds of a rough cotton tunic. Groaning, Octavia rolled her head around, squinting upwards through the darkness to try and make out her abductor. The task proved difficult, her head was still pleasantly swimming from the wine and hemp Jocasta and she had been indulging in at the party. Had been – and should still be, if it wasn't for her captor's unfortunate sense of timing.

She supposed she should be worried. Afraid of who was carting her off, to where, and ultimately, to what end. However, the liberal amounts of hemp and the sweet red wine had sufficiently dulled her sense of panic and she found herself more annoyed than anything else. Octavia certainly wasn't frightened. There wasn't really any point – and sometimes she wondered if things might just function a little bit better if she wasn't around to mess them up.

Landing another set of harmlessly wild blows to her abductor's chest, she gritted her teeth, her anger at being taken away from a perfectly fine party, a party in which she could have still been enjoying, was evident on her face.

"Let me go, you oaf!"

"I won't. I am escorting you home." Through the haze of party noise that was still ringing in her ears, the clipped tone seemed familiar. It took a few more minutes of listening to the deep timber stumble on determinedly about safely getting her home, before she was able to place it.

"… Agrippa? Is that you?"

There was a moment of hesitation, as if the man above her was debating whether to respond. As if he was almost afraid she knew it was him. Even if he didn't answer she was almost certain it was Agrippa. How, through all the alcohol and the drugs, she'd come to this conclusion she wasn't absolutely certain.

Agrippa served under her brother, he was Octavian's friend and confident. Together she and Agrippa had shared what? Only a handful of conversations since he'd delivered Octavian's first letter to her, but still, she was so positive it was him.

Through the haze she tried to think of what she knew about the man – virtually nothing. Octavia struggled to bring the memories to the surface, a sickly sweet cloud playing havoc with her mind. Snippets of impressions came at her like flickering stars lighting one by one in the darkening night sky. He was a soldier, a handsome one, but more than that he radiated an outward kindness she was drawn too for the simple fact she could never hope to match it. In their brief conversations he had always been exceedingly pleasant and well-mannered. Always quick to reassure her of her brother's well being, to try and assuage any fears she might have regarding her brother's continued affection for her, political dealings aside. Awkwardness. Yes, there had always be something a touch awkward in the way he'd talked to her – the way he'd looked at her. There had been something in that look, something she hadn't wanted to acknowledge. Octavia couldn't quite recall why it had frightened her though, only that it had. Whether this was due to the drug induced haziness or her own fear of what it meant, she wasn't sure.

Puzzled and upset that she was be being taken away from the only source of entertainment that allowed her any sort of reprieve from her inner turmoil, Octavia questioned his motives. Why would he, of all people, be dragging her away from harmless frivolities with friends? It wasn't his place. Surely, her brother couldn't have instructed Agrippa to babysit his wayward older sister. A niggling voice in the back of her head told her she knew exactly why, if only she could just remember.

"It is." Agrippa finally relented, his voice tight with some emotion she couldn't name, confirming her suspicion. "And— I'm taking you home," he reiterated once more, as if to drive home the point.

How dare he! Octavia's mind screamed in rage. Wasn't this the man that vowed never to cause her pain? Couldn't he see what he was doing now? He was taking away the only thing that let her escape from the sins of her past, the shame of her failings, her faults in failing to please her mother. She only wished to block out the knowledge of what new fate her mother, and now her brother, could force upon her, to hide them behind clouds of swirling hemp and drown them in wine.

"Put me down!" Octavia tried jumping out of his arms, only to have Agrippa's hold tighten around her, his arms hoisting her higher. "Stop, stop! I wish to return to the party. I ineed/i to return!" Surely Jocasta would be worried about her disappearance, assuming she was even missed, Jocasta had been going on about the walls melting. They hadn't been though, Octavia remembered letting out a giggle at the thought. Silly Jocasta, walls couldn't melt.

Octavia's focus was drawn back at the sound of Agrippa's voice addressing someone. Gently placing her body in a mound of clouds – no, not clouds, pillows. Rolling her head to the side the world spun for a moment before she realized she was back in the litter Joscata and she had travelled in to the party. Agrippa crawled in beside her, taking care to fluff the pillows around her, in an attempt to block some of the cool night air that the litter's sheer curtains were sure to let in.

"Let me out. I need to go back…" Feebly Octavia tried to sit up, only to be pushed back down by a gentle hand on her shoulder.

"That is not subject to debate. You are going home." There was finality to Agrippa's tone that had Octavia's ire rising again, lashing out verbally; not caring who could see or hear them.

Turning a cold stare to the man next to her, Octavia demanded angrily, "Why? Why do you even care?"

Octavia's eyes were held by Agrippa's, locked in his stare. She was transfixed as he debated how to address her question. Why would he care what she did? The moment was broken as the litter rocked upwards, starting steadily back towards home.

"You are a lady, one above such…types of engagements I felt it duty, to you and to your brother, to escort you safety home." Unable to make eye contact Agrippa looked outwards beyond the gauzy curtain to the passing street, not that he could see much in the darkness she was sure. Turned away from her as he was, Octavia couldn't read his features, couldn't gauge what he meant to imply. His body seemed tense as if awaiting a scathing rejoinder.

Octavia snorted, temper flaring as the words hit too close to home. "Lady? You don't even know me!" Who did he think he was? He didn't know a thing about her. Would he call her a lady if he knew she'd disobeyed her mother to see Glabius, how she'd been reeled in by Servillia to plot against her mother and Caesar, how she'd slept with her own damn brother? She was anything but a lady.

Agrippa turned back at her, his mouth opened as if to answer, but his eyes snapped shut before averting to the litter's cushioned floor. "No. You're wrong."

Beyond hearing, anger seemed to seep out Octavia's every pore and the fog of the hemp and wine was fading. The cold night air, along with the words, had a sobering effect. Shivering, she didn't even register the thin blanket, actually the stolla she'd left behind early in the litter, being pressed over her, a feeble attempt to block the night's chill.

All she wanted to do was forget, to indulge herself in harmless pleasures, too simply have a little fun. Agrippa wasn't letting her though, causing a fresh wave of irritation towards the man to blossom again. Her attempt at petty affections and revenges of the past had left their mark. Her family had helped with that. She had lived under her mother's, and now her brother's, ruling thumb for too long. Fear of the next scheme, the next time her life would be thrown in a direction she never intended had turned into not a random occurrence, but an inevitability. What role would she be forced to play in the next political game, the latest charade that'd been conjured up? And she would of course, because she loved her mother and her brother. When all was said and done, however, she would have another mental scar to add to the long list she already possessed. She couldn't blame her family entirely; she'd created her own scars as well.

Suddenly she was too tried. Tired of arguing. Agrippa wasn't going to let her go and she wasn't exactly certain she wanted to return anymore. Octavia was still furious, but she wasn't quite certain at whom. Perhaps at Agrippa for stealing her away, for reminding her of who she was and who she could be, or her own self for allowing her to be dragged into self-pity and disillusionment. It didn't matter anymore, the party was behind her and even if she did return, the magic had broken. Her problems had returned and she knew she could not escape them any longer that night. With a sigh, Octavia shifted and rolled her head to study the passing street, intent, for the moment, on ignoring the man beside her.