Never Letting Go
A Nagron Fanfiction.
Written for the 2nd Annual Spartacus Kink Meme.
Prompt: Agron/Nasir, reincarnation!fic after the rebellion fails.
Disclaimer: I only own my writing.
Agron is 11 and has always had frightening dreams. Often they are of blood and violence. He pictures himself standing in the middle of an arena, a gladiator fighting men to the death. The crowd cheers all around, shouting his name, chanting for him to kill, kill, kill. When he was a kid (read 10 and younger – he's a preteen now, dad told him so), he would wake up in the middle of the night terrified because his dreams felt so realistic. He'd often spend hours staring at his tiny hands, inspecting them for traces of blood, hoping against all hopes that he hadn't actually killed anyone. Once he remembers asking Duro to check for him, just in case he'd missed something. Duro had stared at him funny but did as his older brother commanded. When they were reassured that his hands were clean, Duro said he'd dreamt of the same sort of things, though not as often.
Each time he awakes from a nightmare, mum is furious. She comes into his and Duro's room and berates them for watching too many scary movies. She always leaves the room shaking her head, muttering about how TV shows these days are so damn violent.
But even though most of his dreams are terrifying, there are several reoccurring dreams that aren't. Every once in awhile, he dreams of a boy with long ebony hair. He is dark of skin with eyes as brown as the chocolate bars he hides beneath his mattress (mum would be horrified if she knew about those). At first Agron mistakes the boy for a female because he is unusually pretty. But something inside of him just knows that the boy in his dream is… well, a boy. And boy or not, he is beautiful, which is something Agron will never tell Duro. Duro would tease him and he'd probably make fun of the boy too for looking so girly. For a reason unknown to him, Agron does not want anyone making fun of this boy. He wants to protect him, regardless of the fact that he is only a character in a dream.
In these more peaceful dreams, Agron watches the boy as he walks around some sort of stone temple. Sometimes the boy speaks with Naevia or Mira, two girls he knows well from his gladiator dreams. Other times he's practicing his sword drills against Spartacus. Spartacus is the coolest gladiator in all of his dreams (in fact, he's kind of become Agron's role model since his dreams first began). Agron also watches the boy do many other things: hunt, tend to the injured, guard the temple. If he's lucky, he watches himself in conversation with the boy. However, Agron rarely remembers any of the words spoken in his dreams. Instead, when he wakes, the scenes flash through his mind like one of those weird silent films dad likes watch. The only difference is that his movie plays in color.
Another weird thing about his dreams is that he knows everyone's names – everyone except for the pretty boy. He knows that Spartacus is the greatest gladiator of them all and that he's kind of – sort of – in love with the ex-slave, Mira. He knows Crixus is a jerk who used to be Spartacus' enemy but is now a trusted friend. He knows Naevia is the girl who disappeared for awhile but was eventually reunited with Crixus. He knows Chandara (the traitor), Batiatus (owner of the gladiators), Ashur (the worst of the bad guys), Oenomaus (his former trainer) and many more. He doesn't know how he knows, he just does.
To be completely honest, Agron's not sure how he knows a lot of things. Along with their names, he also knows small things about these figures in his dreams, like their favourite foods or bits of their past. Sometimes he wonders how his brain can possibly hold so much information; how it can be this brilliant and creative when he barely passes most of his tests in school.
The only time Agron ever did well in school was when they were learning about Ancient Rome. Then he was suddenly some sort of whiz kid. His teacher, Mrs. Gallagher, would ask him questions that he could swear he didn't know the answers to. But somehow, the words would just spill out of him, his mind on auto-pilot. The objects and places he'd dreamt about started to have names. Foreign words clear in his mind: gladius, Gaulia, ludis, subligeria, lanista, praetor, domina.
You see, he has all this useless information in his head about Rome and no idea where it comes from. But the boy – he doesn't know anything at all about the boy, just that he is very pretty.
As Agron grows older and into his mid teens, he starts to remember more and more from his dreams. He begins to remember snippets of conversation: an argument with Crixus or words exchanged with Sedullus. He remembers why Naevia disappeared. He remembers that Spartacus loved his wife, Sura, but Batiatis had her killed. But amongst all that he now knows, he still has no name for the boy with the long hair.
Once he'd thought to ask Duro, for he thought that if they'd shared the same dreams, then he might be able to place a name to the boy. But Duro had only laughed and told him he hadn't had gladiator dreams since he was 10.
The fact that he still has no name for this boy irks him. He just can't figure it out. Almost every night now, he sees himself speaking with the boy. He knows that he must call him something. Agron can't imagine them having years and years of conversations without ever learning one another's names. Sometimes he wakes up with the name on the tip of his tongue and those are the worst days of all. He feels as if his brain is making fun of him, whispering the name just loud enough that he thinks he can hear a few of the letters. But alas, the boy's name is still a mystery to him.
It's such a shame too. Agron can practically recall every one of his dreams (even the ones he had as a kid). He's written it all down in a journal and he thinks he could make a pretty good story of it. Over the years he's honed in on his writing skills and his teachers are always impressed with his work. He'd like to be a writer one day, he thinks. It'd be interesting, that's for sure. He could write a series of books about gladiators and rebel armies and doomed love. He'd write about everyone he ever dreamt about: Spartacus, Crixus, Oenomaus, Mira, Naevia, Glabber, Ilithiya etc. The only thing missing is the boy's name.
Duro suggests that he make up a name for the boy, but the thought makes Agron's stomach churn. No, he can't just give the boy whatever name he chooses. The boy has a name. Agron knows he does and he shan't call him anything else. Something about taking control of this boy makes him feel ill.
When he tells Duro this, Duro chokes on his soda.
"He's a dream for God's sake! You make it sound as if you're in love with the boy!"
Agron quirks his brow, taking the thought into consideration. In love? With the boy? He's never thought of that… Nah. The boy is just a dream, a figment of his imagination. There's no way he's in love with him. Agron likes girls, just like the rest of his football mates do. It doesn't matter how pretty the boy is, he's a boy and Agron is a straight as they come. He ponders for too long though and Duro takes notice.
"You are!" he shouts, jumping up from his chair, "You're in love with a boy in your dreams! Man that is so twisted! I'm telling mum and dad to get you checked out. You're in love with someone who's not even real!"
He's halfway to the door when Agron tackles him.
"You won't tell mum and dad anything!" he says, accentuating his words by wiggling his fingers in his brother's armpits where he knows Duro is the most ticklish, "-Because I. Am not. In love. With anyone!"
Before long, the two are rolling around on the floor, wrestling every bit like the boys they once were. All teasing is forgotten in the midst of their play fight. Their mum can hear their laughter all the way in the kitchen downstairs, along with the occasional thump followed by a whiny "Ow!".
But after dinner, when Duro leaves to the cinema with his mates, Agron cannot keep the thought out of his head.
By now, Agron is 25. He's been to university and become an English major. He starts teaching high school in the Fall. He hasn't gotten around to writing his book and he probably never will. Now it would be too weird, he thinks, lying on the leather couch in his living room. Writing about his friends – that is. People who are real.
It all started with Mira.
Agron had met Mira in the last year of high school. She'd transferred halfway through the year from a city a dozen miles away. He'd walked by her in the halls and looked straight past her. He'd only stopped because he'd heard her shout. The school bully, Jamie, and his band of thugs had taken notice of the new girl. They'd stolen her books and held them out of reach, threatening to throw them out the third story window if she refused to go out on a date with one of them.
Agron had loads of experience with Jamie. The lug had bullied Duro a couple years prior before Agron intervened. He was also a player on the footy team of which Agron himself was captain. Jamie had been benched for the rest of the season though for failing two classes and swearing at the principal.
With a roll of his eyes, Agron had circled back, prepared to fight if need-be. As he began pushing through the crowd – which was pretty difficult considering he was a fish swimming upstream – he caught a glimpse of Jamie's new victim. She was cute with her hair braided back and the smattering of freckles across her cheeks. But she was also familiar.
"Mira!" he'd shouted, recognizing the girl from his dreams.
Mira's head had snapped up, shock splayed clearly in her features. She'd obviously been expecting to see him just as much as he'd expected to see her (which was, of course, to say not at all).
Agron had begun pushing through the crowd with revived purpose. Elbowing Jamie roughly in the gut, the captain forced him to surrender Mira's texts. Without sparing a backward glance at the bully, he'd handed Mira her books and begun checking her for bruises.
"You're alright aren't you, Mira?" he asked, holding her an arms length away to inspect her.
She'd been speechless in the face of her shock, but recovered soon after.
"Y-yeah. I'm – I'm fine, Agron." His name was unsteady on her lips and she spoke it as a question.
"That's good," he'd said for lack of anything else to say. "Great."
Neither had been sure what to expect after that, but they quickly found they had much to talk about. Both had shared similar dreams of blood and rebellion. And when Agron asked her about the boy with long hair, Mira could only tell him that he was from a country called Syria.
And regardless of what she could or could not tell him, from then on, they were the best of friends.
After Mira came Naevia and Crixus.
It was his third year of university and Agron was stressed. He had a paper due in a week and he had no idea where to start. Mira had tried to help him, but literature wasn't really her area of expertise. She'd gone to one of her medical lectures for the morning so he was all on his lonesome. At times like this he really missed his brother and wished it weren't impossible to ring him on the phone. Duro had passed away the year prior. He'd been in a tragic car accident caused by a drunk driver. Duro had been in a coma for four days before passing on. At the memory of his brother, Agron said a small prayer to the gods.
With Duro in mind, it was easy to suddenly find himself thinking about the Syrian boy. At this point, he dreamt about him every night and every night he only seemed to grow more beautiful. His hair was longer now, in his dreams. Sometimes the boy let Mira put intricate braids in his hair; braids that were easily mussed when Agron took him to bed at night. The sex dreams had been a recent development. Before, he'd only seen himself kissing the boy or wrapping his arm around his shoulders. He'd had these dreams ever since Duro had mentioned him being in love and at once he had known it was true. Agron did love this boy who still had no name. Now if only he could find him!
With a frustrated sigh, he rucked a hand through his hair and pushed open the café door. He wasn't usually the type to drink coffee, but if he was going to get this paper started, he sure as hell needed a caffeine boost.
Staring up at the menu board with tired eyes, he decided to order the sweetest, sugariest drink he could find. He settled on a caramel frappuccino with extra whip and extra caramel sauce. He even considered sprinkling caramel bits on top as well. Striding up to the counter, he placed his order, glancing at the baked goods in the case next to the register.
"That's a lot less unhealthy than your previous diet of berries and roasted boar, Agron," came a soft, feminine voice.
"Yeah, well why chase a boar through the forest when I could just come here and have you fetch my food for me?" The words were out of his mouth before he could even process them in his mind.
He was sifting through his wallet to search for the appropriate cash (and had yet bothered to look up at the barista) when he realized he'd spoken. He must have made a face because the next thing he knew, the woman was chuckling. Agron looked up. He knew that laugh.
"N-Naevia!" he stuttered.
Naevia smiled. "You are as sarcastic as always, Agron. Crixus won't be happy when he learns you haven't changed."
Crixus? Agron had not expected to hear that name so soon after finding Naevia. It had taken him years to find Mira and now he had found two of his friends in one day. Selfishly, he wondered how long it had taken Naevia and Crixus to find one another. The gods had truly decided to fuck him in this life. He figured they had probably been born neighbors, destined to find each other as soon as they took their first steps. Agron quickly pushed the thought aside. The two deserved to be together. They had spent far too long apart in the past. Who was he to take that away from them?
But still, a part of him was jealous. He had yet to find the boy and here, Naevia and Crixus were together once more.
He snapped out of his thoughts to hand Naevia the cash, but she pushed his hands away.
"Don't worry about it. It's on the house,"
Agron grinned and then agreed to catch up with her on her break. As he walked to a table, laptop in the crook of his arm and coffee-flavoured sugar in the other, he turned back to wink at Naevia.
It wasn't long after that that Spartacus came along too. Surprisingly, all four of them discovered their fearless leader in a bar. He had been drinking his sorrows away for Sura was nowhere to be found. The gods had not reborn her in this life. The only records with a matching name lead to the grave of a stillborn child.
Agron and Crixus barged in through the bar door arguing about footy teams.
"Your team is shit, German!"
"And what would you know about football, fucking Gaul?"
The girls trailed in behind, giggling. The boys had not changed in this life, not at all. A day didn't go by when the two weren't butting heads about something. But now, there was not as much to worry about. With no swords around, it was not as easy for the two to kill each other. And the insults were so common they were practically nicknames.
The group had been making their way toward a table when someone stumbled drunkenly into Naevia, throwing her against Crixus' back. Crixus, whose temper was quick to flare (especially when it came to Naevia) turned around to throw a punch when he noticed the man was already on the floor. Mira, ever the kind woman, had crouched down to help him up and was now supporting most of his weight.
"Are you alright?" she asked, concernedly, her nurse instincts taking over.
The man looked up, pushing his sweaty hair back from his face, revealing green eyes that Mira would recognize anywhere.
"Spartacus!" she squealed, turning to her friends for confirmation.
Spartacus had only stared back at her, a dazed expression on his face. But slowly, recognition registered in his features as he stared at the woman holding him up.
"M-Mira!" he had stuttered before promptly emptying the contents of his stomach on her shoes.
Now that it is 4 years later, Agron has dreamt about everything there is to remember (except the boy's name). With his friends, they have put the pieces together and come to the conclusion that they were all rebels against Ancient Rome. He knows that their rebellion failed because he watches each of his friends die in his dreams and not once does he see Rome burn. He wakes up sweating and with the sting of unshed tears in his eyes on these nights. Agron figures that he and the Syrian are the last ones standing in the rebellion. He wonders what happened to them when all their friends were gone.
It's a strange thing to know that you are born again, he thinks, staring up at the ceiling in his flat. But Agron is glad to know that the gods still favour him enough to grant him with new life, though they do not favour him enough to give him the name of the boy. 25 years and the long-haired beauty still has no name. None of his friends seem to be able to give him answers either. All he knows it that the boy was a former body slave, a "wild dog," who came from the land of Syria and tried to kill Spartacus. It's strange that none of them should know his name but Agron is in no place to question the will of the gods. He'll find the boy eventually. He will.
The next morning, Agron rises from bed and wheels his luggage out the front door. He calls for a cab and hitches a ride to the train station. Mira and Spartacus are getting married tomorrow. They've decided to have the wedding in Mira's hometown, the one she moved away from when she transferred to Agron's high school.
The German meets Crixus and Naevia at the train platform. Crixus carries the bags and Naevia coddles their newborn child. He kisses Naevia on the cheek in greeting, before swooping down to kiss the baby as well. He shakes hands with Crixus and they board the train, filing into an empty compartment. They store their bags and the whistle blows. The train begins the move.
Agron settles in the bench across from Crixus and Naevia, preparing himself for the hour-long train ride. For the first little while, he chats with the happy couple, but they are interrupted when the baby begins to cry. Naevia stars to rock the baby in her arms, cooing and muttering a lullaby. All the while Crixus gazes at his wife with an impossibly lovesick and proud expression on his face. Agron feels nauseous just watching them.
If he feels sick now, he feels even worse when the baby quiets down, its two parents staring admiringly and whispering close together. He looks out the window, hoping to see some interesting scenery, but mostly he sees grass. Agron wishes he'd thought to bring a book with him, at least he'd have something to do but he settles on imagining what the wedding will be like. Mira has told him lots, but flowers and decorations aren't really his thing. At this point, he's more interested in what sorts of booze they'll be serving and how soon he can get some. Silently, Agron berates himself for thinking like that. He's a horrible best friend if the only thing he wants to do is get plastered at her wedding. That's not to say he isn't happy for them though. He supposes he's just sick and tired of seeing his friends with their loved ones while he still searches for the boy in vain.
If there is one thing he's happy about right now, it's that he is soon to be reunited with almost all of his friends. Mira has read him the guest list several times. Oenomaus will be there with Melitta. Donar, Lugo and Nemetes will be attending too. Saxa and Gannicus are coming to the wedding as well, which is a surprise. What with their new Hollywood fame, he'd expected them to feel too important to come to a small country wedding. But Mira has assured him that they are on their way, their flight from America landing later on in the evening.
Shaking his head, he turns back to his friends to find that they have dozed off. Naevia is wrapped in Crixus' arms, their child held firmly in her breast. He feels as though someone should be taking a picture of this. It could go up on some sort of dating website or something. You know, promoting love and marriage and family. The thought makes him feel ill again, but he doesn't know if it's because his friends are so disgustingly adorable or if it's because he's such a heartless prick. He's more inclined to go with the first.
Not wanting to disturb their slumber, he slides open the compartment door and goes in search of breakfast. He hasn't eaten anything yet today and he doesn't know if there will be much time when they arrive at Mira's parents' house – what with last minute wedding preparations and all. Eventually he comes across a woman with a trolley. He purchases a bagel and a cup of watered down hot chocolate. As he heads back, he pulls open the door to another empty compartment. He'll catch up with Crixus and Naevia when the train arrives.
To his surprise, the compartment isn't as empty as he'd thought. Inside, sits a dark skinned man with long ebony hair and eyes as brown as the chocolate bars he used to hide under his mattress. His nose is buried deep in a book. Agron nearly drops his breakfast in surprise.
The boy – no, he's a man – seems to just notice his appearance and looks up from the page he's reading. Their eyes meet and they both are frozen in time.
As Agron stares, images flash through his mind. He sees the man the first time they met, when Spartacus ripped off his slave collar. He sees himself pacing furiously after the man tried to kill Spartacus. He sees them fighting the Romans and ambushing a slave cart. He sees them being reunited in the forest near the bottom of Mt. Vesuvius. He sees them kissing and in the throes of passion. He sees many, many things. The last thing he sees is a spear going right through the man's chest. This scene plays in slow motion.
He watches as his body falls. Blood pours from the wound and at once he knows it is fatal. He can feel his heart racing and his mind moving a thousand miles a minute. He feels rage and fury and the deepest sorrow he's ever felt. He gathers the man in his arms, sobbing as blood begins to well up in the Syrian's mouth. His eyes dart around rapidly and his body convulses before he becomes absolutely still. Agron feels a scream tearing from his throat.
"Nasir." The name, though being spoken for the first time, feels absolutely right on his tongue. It is a name meant for his lips to breath, for no one else could speak it with the utmost love it deserves.
The book Nasir was reading is forgotten, as is Agron's breakfast.
They kiss and it's perfect, as if he were made for Nasir and Nasir for him. He can't stop saying the name in his head now that he finally remembers. Nasir. Nasir. Nasir. Childishly, he gives his brother the one finger salute.
'He's real, you bastard,'he thinks, '-You thought he was imaginary, that he was only in my head but he's not! He's really here and I'm kissing him and you were wrong, Duro. So wrong. I've finally found him. Nasir is here!'
They stumble apart when the train comes to an abrupt stop. They've arrived. With a grin, Agron grabs Nasir's hand and pulls him off to find Crixus and Naevia. It doesn't matter where Nasir was going before because now he's going wherever Agron takes him: to Mira's parents' place; to the wedding; to bed and to home.
Agron gives Nasir's hand a squeeze. He has finally found him and he's never letting go.
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