Summary: There's a reason he keeps coming back after all these years. Antony/Atia, oneshot
I loved these two together (far more than Antony/Cleopatra) and felt like we never saw enough of them as a couple. A little homage to their gorgeous scenes in 1x11.
"Your mother is a vicious and heartless creature, but I find myself… quite wretched without her. I have done my best to sway her and still she shuns me."
"Her disdain for you is an act. She is entirely infatuated with you."
- 'The Spoils'
A woman scorned is a deadly thing, and no woman is deadlier than Atia of the Julii.
As one to whom all things come easily, Antony decides he wants her just as she wants nothing to do with him. But then, she's never more maddening than when she's aloof. Taunting him with glimpses of what he cannot have. Henna-dyed curls dancing around her proudly poised head like licks of flame. The gleam of gold at her throat. A movement of kohl-lined eyes and earthen silks edged with bronze. Vicious, ruthless, and utterly indomitable. She wears charisma and cruelty like a second skin. Such opulent brutality. And he relishes every moment of it.
The scent of incense burns the heated atmosphere of the villa's interior, sweet and cloying. Crimson draperies billow slightly in the faint current of air that carries a blissful respite to the sultry evening. Sweat beads across his wide shoulders. Every time she passes him, it is like the heat of embers.
He pulls Octavia to one side (incidentally, when did she become a woman? And a beautiful one at that?) making his low appeal. Octavia is all sharpness, sharp cheekbones and sharp shoulders and even sharper scorn at these amorous games. A little fucking would loosen her up. But she's not the one he wants. There is little satisfaction to be found in charming her. And she's so thin and rigid, no fire in her at all. How different to her bewitching mother.
Atia emerges at last from between the pillars of ribbed wood. Such a perfect, such a poisonous hostess. Jade eyes blazing, catlike. Oh, how she would unsheathe those claws, were it not for the company milling around them. Instead, she's all sideways smiles and flashing contempt. Cutting. Barely concealed venom pouring from her lips beneath the veneer of meticulous politeness. She graciously allows Caesar to lead her away before Antony can intervene. He watches her beneath lowered lids, his eyes dark and heavy. Her spine is straight when she walks, but she knows to look over her shoulder for the dagger. They wear no breastplates, but the women of the Julii learn their lessons early.
He should hate her. Beneath that seductive exterior lurks a vile and ugly mind. He has not forgotten the viper he found himself curled up in a post-coital embrace with, the vicious harlot who spoke of betraying her own uncle. Hard to imagine now, as she adorns Caesar with compliments and lavishes her charm - which she possesses far too much of - upon him. Julius looks on her with fond indulgence. Antony has an irrational desire to warn him, bid him be cautious - but then, his affection for Caesar has always been an anomaly in his otherwise egoistic existence. They are brothers, bound in blood and honour, and Julius seems entirely unaware of the asp he is nursing at his bosom. The vulture who would pry the last vestiges of bloodied carrion from the tattered remnants of this mighty Empire if it suited her own ends. But now Caesar is in power (now he has won) Atia is his most loyal advocate. Antony watches the display beneath lowered dark brows. You would not be so quick to smile if you knew what your niece had said after I fucked her.
He's marched across the world. Shivered through the cold and the rain and the blood; all in Caesar's name
(eagles and shields and endless legions)
he has fought, bled, damn near died. Not that she would care. She would only ask if he had brought her back something pretty to adorn herself with. Selfish to the core. The bitch would tear his heart out with her teeth in the name of self-advancement. But then, who is he to judge?
He doesn't love her, but damn, he wants her. There's a reason he keeps coming back after all these years. There have been other women. Younger women. Richer women. Prettier women. He's had them all. Several times. But something -
She's ruthless. Selfish. Proud and petty and god's cursed infuriating. And the most beautiful, cruel creature he has ever known. He wants all of her; her body and her lashing tongue and cunning mind. Possibly the only woman in the world who could match her wits to his. By the Furies, if she'd been born a man… the thought makes him shudder. No other woman has caused him half so much trouble. He endures the passionate whims and spoiled demands, Octavia's politely-concealed disdain, that upstart little shit Octavian; all for her sake. By Juno, he's been patient as a lamb with her!
It doesn't stop her blood-stained hands plunging the dagger in.
She sweeps past him in a sway of perfumed silk, and Antony thinks he would hear the beat of her heart, if she had one.
The balmy air of twilight gathers outside. They recline in the drowsy, incense-scented evening, languid and sated. But he's burning. Perspiration trails in slow rivulets down his back, between his thighs. He scans the assorted company with a practiced eye. His gaze follows a river of ebony, the curve of a bronze shoulder. Vorenus's wife (a damned fine beauty). Poor woman. She's completely unaware of the adder's nest she's entered. Her dour-faced husband hovers at her side like a bodyguard. A contemptuous smile curves Antony's lips. Atia would devour her.
Caesar is speaking to him but his thoughts are elsewhere, his gaze drawn irresistibly across the room. The food crumbles to ash in his throat. There. The glimpse of her vivid hair, a coronet worn in a circle of fire.
Lounging against the cushions, she picks idly at a plate of figs, her other hand curled around a chalice of honeyed wine. But she's no draught of honey. She's henbane and yew and datura, sweet and stinging. It is without surprise that he sees she is at the centre of the group of women that surround her like twittering sparrows; her voice is the loudest, her laughter the most irresistible. Antony tries his utmost not to notice the auburn curves of hair, the cultured, cruel inflexions, but he's never been one to deny his earthier impulses.
Her face a perfect mask of haughty boredom and pride. But not coldness. Oh, she could never be cold. Her flesh is rosy in the warm, glowing light. No amount of spectral pressed powder can conceal that kind of heat. She's fierce and defiant as a lioness. Not a cold, frigid statue like Servilia. Not an awkward bag of bones like Octavia. She puts them all to shame.
Every movement of hers a hypnotic rhythm. The rounded dome of a bare shoulder gleaming gold in the dusky light. The curve of a thigh visible through gauzy material. Antony's hand clenches against his thigh, fisting in the loose material of his toga. She's doing this deliberately. Were she alone, he would swear by his sword that she would be laughing like some shameless jackal at what she's reduced him to.
The taste of pomegranate wine lingers on his tongue, the heat coursing slowly through his blood. The food before him lies untouched. Other appetites move him tonight. He's always taken what he wants and this is a battle he is not willing to concede. He's done with waiting. He will not dance to her tune any longer.
(I will have you tonight, woman)
He imagines. Fingers on her skin. Right into the very core of her. He wants her to strike him, tear out his hair. He wants her on her knees before him, gasping. His smouldering eyes send her a hundred signals that she ignores. Yet as she turns away with an elaborate show of contempt, Antony thinks - or imagines - an almost indiscernible tremble of her bared shoulders. Ah. She is not so indifferent, after all. But still, her pride - her damned pride. She is too stubborn to yield. Even if her every movement betrays passion and defiance. The woman would be the death of him yet.
She looks up and their eyes meet briefly.
Her agate gaze burns his soul.
The flames burn hotly in the their sconces. Concealed by the long shadow thrown by the pillars, back pressed against the cool stone, he waits.
The flash of gold and a light whisper of material trailing along the flagstones.
Antony steps out of the shadows, cutting off her path. Heavy dark brows slant upwards in surprise. The closeness of her is impossibly arousing. Warm. Pulsing. Exotic spices and perfume. But beneath that, he can always distinguish the scent of her body, rich and earthy. It smells strangely like home.
He's close now, close enough to see beneath the chalk-powdered skin, the painted lips of berries and boar's blood. Close enough to see what's real. Something flashes through her eyes. Almost like pain. Almost like passion. For a moment he dares hope -
Then the mask falls over her marble face again. No, not forgiven. Definitely not forgiven. She would never make it so easy for him. Instead, she makes to move past him with silent contempt.
He stops her.
She stares at him. She's angry. Good. He can deal with her anger. She moves again and he counters with the ease and lithe grace of a thousand moments of combat. They move together like this, in tandem. He will not let her go now. She's led him on this merry dance for long enough
(dancing - isn't that what they've always been doing?)
and he will have her.
The dull light glows off the polished stones around her throat. An amused smile curves Antony's mouth. Typical Atia, always so willing to show off her power and wealth. So utterly shameless in her desire to be superior to all those around her.
Shadows flicker across her face. She's watching, wary, waiting. The next move must be his.
So he attempts to steal a kiss.
She slaps him.
Quick and stinging, it sends the blood flooding to his cheek. The pain is delicious. It reminds him of what it is to be truly alive
(fighting and feasting and fucking)
It's not the first battle wound he's received from her, and it won't be the last. But what's a little pain when the prize is so worth conquering?
He smiles deliberately. Arrogant. Provoking.
His next attempt earns him a similar reward.
Her slanting eyes flash as he meets her upturned gaze. Wicked. Defiant. Hopeful. She's actually enjoying this. The realization is maddening.
He's backed her up against the wall and she's trapped. Breathing hard. Perspiration glistening on her brow. How uncommonly powerless. Antony savours the rare moment of victory. But then… burgundy lips curve. Full and sanguine.
And then he knows.
She moves. Or maybe he does.
He catches at her wrist. His grip tight, cutting the band of gold into her skin. The pulse throbs. Warm. Vivid. Alive.
Catching her lips. Lightly, mockingly. Not quite giving her what she wants. Her mouth tastes of spiced wine and honey and poison. His of smoke and blood and yesterday.
A hand pressing into the muscle of his shoulder, sliding up to entwine in his hair. Fingers tugging on just the right side of pain. A shuddered exhalation of longing, the sweep of sticky lashes against his calloused cheek.
He refuses to believe the wetness he feels there is from tears.
His grip hard, brutal. His mouth tauntingly light. It's an uncommon truce, but for once, Antony doesn't mind.
He breathes in more of her. Lost in endless wanting. That proud head arching back, her body sinking pliant into his hold. Soft flesh, hard heart, and yes, this is where he's meant to be. This one moment of truth in their blood-soaked existence of treachery and murder and lies. There is only tonight.
Drowning in her warmth. Her skin. Slick. Scented.