CCL: I... I honestly have no clue what to say.
Cassius: That's a first
Caesar: Ha, no kidding.
CCL: Screw you both...
Gaius Julius Caesar.
That was the name he shared with his fifteen-year-old son, calling the older Gaius and the younger Julius so as to prevent confusion.
Unfortunately there would no longer be any confusion about the two.
Gaius was dead.
"Gaius Julius Caesar, what can be said about you that no one already knows?" the person performing the eulogy had said. "Despite how many times he was gone, his relationship with his wife, daughters, and son were as close as it could be..."
Julius did nothing but stare during his father's funeral, tears forming in his eyes. How wrong the euologist was about Gaius and Julius' relationship. Every time the water formed and began to fall, he would quickly wipe them away with his tunic. Roman men rarely cry, he kept on reminding himself. But one who'd just lost his father was an exception.
It was strange to him. He'd been arguing with his father through the door as the man was putting on his shoes when Gaius had suddenly stopped talking.
That was immediately followed by a loud thud.
The door had been locked so Julius rammed into it a few good times and finally managed to bust it down only to find his father.
On the ground.
For the senate, it wasn't surprising at all. Gaius had lived rather long for back then at the time of his death and that was an amazing thing. And besides, he'd led a very productive life and had produced a perfect family-his wife Aurelia was a very beautiful woman and they'd had two daughters, both named Julia as was custom, and a son, Julius, whom we've already talked about.
Gaius had been away so often that regardless of their relationship, he and Julius were arguing most of the time. In fact, what they'd been arguing when Gaius had died was that the praetor would be going away again in a few days regardless of the fact he'd just come home the day before.
"Julius?" Julius looked beside him when he heard the voice and felt a hand on his arm. His mother was looking at him, frowning as tears fell down her face.
"Yes, Mother?" Julius choked out.
"Are you OK?" Aurelia asked.
"I'll be fine..." Julius wipe his eyes again but everyone who could see how bloodshot they were and could immediately know how emotional he was.
His sisters and mother latched on to him. Posca, their servant and close friend, bit his lip and patted Julius on his shoulder.
He couldn't take it anymore.
"Mother, sisters, please let go, I don't what to upset you but I just need a few moments alone..."
The girls did as told and almost immediately he blew that popsicle stand all to hell.
Julius ran and ran until he could bear it no longer and fell to his knees, bawling like a baby. When he found his father, there was absolutely no pulse and no heartbeat. Despite the timeframe there was nothing that could have been done to save him. He never even got the chance to apologize.
Julius snapped his head around to find Posca behind him. The servant had apparently wondered why the teenager had ran away from the funeral and was worrying about him.
"Domine, are you ok?" Posca asked, kneeling next to him and placing a hand on his shoulder. Julius wiped his eyes with the palm of his hand.
"Yeah," he said, sniffing. "I'm just angry with myself. I shouldn't have started that argument! I just feel so guilty!"
"Domine, don't blame yourself. It was amazing how old he was when he died. Not that many people were actually surprised of his passing. Please, come back with me. Aurelia is worried."
Julius stood up and followed Posca back to the front of the crowd where Aurelia, Julia Major, and Julia Minor were standing. Aurelia, once he was behind her, wrapped her arms around him, rubbing her hand up and down his back. It was only when the voice of the man delivering the eulogy made his voice louder did they both give him back their attention.
"Aurelia Cotta, Julia Caesaris Major, Julia Caesaris Minor. Gaius Julius Caesar, please-come stand in front of him for a moment."
They did as told and presented themselves in front of Gaius' body. Aurelia took his hand and their children went pale. The rest of the crowd stared in silence, some weeping, at the moment between the broken family. Julius realized in that moment that he was no longer just a boy-he was the Caesar family's paterfamilias, their patriarch.
"Father," he muttered, placing a hand on Gaius' forehead. "I'm sorry about what happened..."
Caesar snapped out of his spell when the merchant called out. Several others did the same until he stopped at a stand where plants of all kinds were sitting. Roses, lilies, laurels, ferns-you name it and it was most likely there. The man running the stand grinned.
"Hail Caesar!" he said. "The usual for this time of year, sir?"
"Yes, please," Caesar replied.
"Two ferns, three laurels, and one white rose." The merchant put the plants in a basket. "I know it's usually irrelevant but will that be all for now?"
"Um, actually, if it's not too much to ask, can I get four azaleas as well?"
"Of course. Anything for the greatest man in Rome!" The merchant added the azaleas into the basket. "That'll be the usual price with the addition of a few more denari please." Caesar paid the man. "Thank you sir. Hail Caesar!"
Caesar smiled and walked away. As he walked through the crowd, headed for the cemetery with several plebs shouting, "Hail Caesar!", only two people standing by the plant stand looked at this uncommon sight. Coincidentally, those two happened to be Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo.
"That's unusual," Pullo said.
"What is?" Vorenus asked.
"How often do you see Caesar carrying flowers around?"
"Well, that IS unusual." Vorenus turned to the merchant Caesar bought the plants from. "This may not be any of our business but what is Caesar doing with all those plants?"
"You don't know?" the merchant asked, his eyes wide.
"Know what?" Pullo inquired.
"About Caesar's father. It's almost the anniversary of his death. As a matter of fact, the only time of day he's seen outside is when he goes to visit his father's gave. Other than that no one sees him for about three days. He doesn't even appear in front of the senate from what I've heard." Vorenus' eyes widened.
"Really?" he said. The merchant nodded.
"Poor guy," Pullo said. "How old was he?"
"Caesar or his father?" the merchant replied.
"Both, I guess."
"His father was about fifty-five and Caesar was about fifteen. Yep, Caesar took it pretty hard."
"Oh my gods," both Pullo and Vorenus muttered. They turned to look at Caesar.
And judging by the expressions on their faces they honestly felt sorry for the dictator.
Caesar snapped his head up to find Posca standing in the doorway, frowning. His white hair was ruffled more than usual and he seemed a bit older than he actually was, indicating he may have been exhausted. The servant walked towards his master.
"Julius are you OK?"
Instead of answering, Caesar downed his bowl of wine. The only time Posca ever called him by something other than "domine" and "Caesar" was when he was worried about the dictator. With the change of what he'd called him, that was exactly what Posca had said after Caesar ran from his father's funeral decades ago.
"Julius," Posca repeated, "are you OK?"
"Yes," Caesar finally answered, looking at the scrolls in front of him while pouring more wine(apparently engaging in a drunken stupor was another thing he did this time of year). "I'm alright Posca."
"Are you sure?" Posca moved closer to him. "You're shaking like you either have been or are about to start crying."
"No." Caesar wiped his eyes with his sleeve, sounding choked up as he talked. "I'm OK."
"Are you sure?"
"OK," Posca said, turning around and heading for the door. "I worry about you around this time, Julius. You're aware of that. Good night." He was almost out the door when something stopped him
"POSCA!" Caesar suddenly screamed.
A moment later he was sobbing hard into Posca's back, his arms thrown around his servant's neck and shoulders.
"Julius," Posca said, taking Caesar's arms off him enough to turn around. "Julius, it's OK."
Caesar couldn't reply with anything but his cries.
How long had it'd been since the dictator acted like this? Since his daughter died? No, that wasn't it. Sure, he was upset ad wanted to be alone for a bit but he hadn't broken down. Maybe it was Gaius' funeral...
Yes, Posca remembered. That was it.
"I-I still feel h-h-horrible," Caesar managed to choke out between each sob.
"Even though it's been many years since your father died, I believe you," Posca said. "Regardless of your spats every now and then, Master Gaius loved you as much as a father could love his son."
This only made Caesar cry much harder, his face buried in Posca's shoulder.
The servant patted his master's back, trying to calm him as he remembered Gaius doing when the two, meaning Gaius and Caesar, who was very young at the time, arrived home after a most dangerous encounter with Sulla. Sure enough, it worked and eventually Caesar's woe just turned into little sniffles.
"Are you OK now, Julius?" Posca asked when his master let go, their arms staying on each other's shoulders. Caesar nodded.
"I-I should be," he said, his voice still a bit shaky, as he wiped his face with the collar of his tunic. He patted one of Posca's shoulders when the latter let go of the former's. "Thank you, Posca. I feel... a bit better." Posca smiled a bit.
"That's good." He turned around. "Good night, Julius."
"Good night." Caesar went to sit back down but when he was almost to his seat Posca called for his attention.
"Domine." Secretly Caesar was relieved to hear himself being called that again. He turned around to face Posca, who was leaning against the doorframe. "Do you know why I call you by your nomen (middle name) when you're this upset?"
"Because, domine, I've always viewed you as a kind of son to me, even if I am just your servant. I've thought of you that way even while your father was alive, particularly whenever he was gone. Do you remember that argument between your mother and father when you were a child? Your father had just returned from a battle he never told your mother he was leaving for."
Caesar, despite being only five at that time, remembered it clearly. The whole incident scared him so much he ran away but only Posca noticed and went to get him. The dictator grimaced.
"Oh gods, yes I do," he said. His grimaced turned into a more childish pout which despite his current age made him look much younger. "Mommy and Daddy scawed me."
Both busted out laughing.
"See you in the morning, domine," Posca said, waving good night. Caesar returned the gesture.
"Same to you, Posca," he said. "Thanks again."
CCL: Yeah... That was a lot longer than I originally intended. The scene at the market, particularly the part with Pullo and Vorenus, was never supposed to happen but I needed something other than Posca's first line outside of the flashback to snap Caesar out of his trance. The flashback was also much longer than planned as it was supposed to end with Caesar running so hard he suffered from a seizure and Posca and Aurelia dragged him back to the crowd after the fit where he muttered the too-late apology. The scene in the more present day portion was supposed to end with the first time they said good night after Posca's speech about thinking of Caesar as a son. The portion with Caesar's little line that got them both laughing was actually just off the top of my head. Sorry if that note was too long. And about Caesar pronouncing "scared" as "scawed", running gag in another Rome fanfic which Pullo occasionally was bothered by because it seemed weird that the DICTATOR OF ROME had a speed impediment. You'd have to read it to figure out why he had it though.
Caesar: Hell, that right there was about a sixth as long as everything else.
Cassius: That's what she said. :D
CCL: Suck mah wenis.
CCL: Wenis. (slaps elbow) Your elbow.
Brutus: Oh thank gods, I thought she was going to say wang.
Antony: It's funny because-
Others: CUT THE CAPTAIN OBVIOUS JOKES!