Disclaimer: I do not own Rome. I'm warning you thouhg. If you are unwilling to look past the fact there may be nudity in this(though you'd have to in order to stand watching Rom ein the first place), then do not read this.
"Posca, I can see you."
Posca removed his hands from his eyes to find Caesar, who right now had the belt of his tunic off, looking at him. The slave couldn't help following him-it was just instinctive. He always followed the dictator, even if he had to be quiet and not seen but it even seemed that on a dimly-lit night like tonight Caesar was able to sense Posca's presence. The latter felt embarrassed. Would it be as strange to others as it was to him seeing his master naked?
"I'm sorry, dominus," Posca said, frowning. "It's in my nature to follow you wherever you go."
"I understand, Posca," Caesar said, approaching him. Regardless of the scarce amount of light, Posca could see the glint of his teeth as he grinned at him. "It's an instinct to show your devotion. Just keep your eyes covered until you hear me enter the water, understand?"
Posca nodded and did as told. When he heard the splash of the lake water as Caesar, in all his naked glory(1), practically half-cannonballed half-dove into the water he uncovered them, walked to the end of the dock, and sat down, his bare feet dangling shallowly in the water, as Caesar emerged. The light on the lake was much more brilliant than completely on land so Posca had a better eye on him.
"Forgive me for asking, dominus, as I suppose this is personal, but why are you swimming so late at night?"
"It is not swimming, Posca. I'm trying to relax."
"Of course. Water is a good choice, Julius, if you need to do so."
Though it was a slip of the tongue, and Posca knew he suspected as much, Caesar turned only his head and raised an eyebrow.
"I'm sorry, sir, it was a slip of the tongue," the slave said almost immediately.
"Of course, Posca," the Julian replied. The tone of voice was sincere and the former knew the tone was true. "You're forgiven."
While Caesar splashed around like the most graceful of any dolphin, letting his muscles untense in the process, Posca thought over all the things that he did for him over the years they had as master and servant. About a year after the relationship started Caesar, seven at the time, had managed to talk Posca, twenty-one then, into letting him do something that was just downright stupid.
The result was a severe head injury that most likely was what caused his seizures.
Caesar's father Gaius was enraged, mainly because when Posca had stuttered out what happened it made it sound like the servant talked the master into it. When Caesar, in such a great deal of pain at that point that the doctors were amazed he could even whisper much less be alive or even conscious, managed to crawl out of his bed and explain the real story to the praetor, Posca himself, pretty sure he was bleeding inside from the beating he'd just received, had retreated to the safety of the servant's quarters. Gaius, feeling guilty after his son's explanation, apologized and let the doctor examine the young man. He had a few cracked ribs and an unbelievable amount of bruises but other than that he was OK, which was a huge relief to Caesar, who still never forgave his dad for beating the crap out of his personal servant.
"Dominus," Posca called. Caesar, pushing his wet hair out of his face, looked at him.
"What, Posca?" he asked.
"Might I inquire something?"
"Why did you pick me as your personal servant?" Caesar swam to the edge of the dock and crossed his arms by Posca's thighs. The servant, however, couldn't help but glance at his master's hips, the top of which were barely poking out of the water, small droplets of water glistening on them in the moonlight.
"Because I knew just about all the other slaves and had talked to each of them at least five times. I had never talked to you, never even seen much of you, because Pater(2) didn't think much of you. Due to that, he was incredibly hard on me but I didn't care. When I chose you, I knew I was choosing right. After he learned the true story about what happened he had much more respect for you because you didn't want to see me hurt."
"Mainly because I cared for you and knew Master Gaius would have beaten me, which he did, if I didn't." Caesar opened his mouth to speak but his face suddenly went blank, his eyes wide as they stared into nothing. "Dominus?" Caesar suddenly went under. "Julius!"
Posca dove in, determined to rescue his master. He pulled the dictator up and laid him on the deck, careful not to look at the perfection that was this story's Marcus Antonius(3), and sat on his chest. He had nothing to put in Caesar's mouth (that's what she said)(4) so as to keep him from biting off and/or choking on his tongue so he made the dangerous maneuver of putting his hand between his top row of teeth and tongue, pinning Caesar's arms down with his knees and calves.
Posca had never seen the man have such a scary episode. For one he wasn't sure how much water had entered Caesar's lungs but after about ten minutes of convulsing more violently than usual the former wasn't surprised when after it was over the latter turned his head and vomited(5) a rather big fountain of liquid. Twice.
"What happened?" a voice shouted. Posca quickly got up, tossing Caesar's cape across him, when he recognized it as the voice of the real Mark Antony(6), who had heard the commotion and come with several other soldiers to investigate. Unfortunately Antony had seen Posca get up. "What the hell were you doing to him, Posca?"
"Oh, he um..." Posca stammered. Judging by Antony's facial expression, this would be a repeat of what happened with Gaius.
"I-I blacked out," Caesar suddenly piped up, wrapping his cape around his waist as he staggered up. His stomach hurt badly(7), as he had expected after the water. "I needed to clear my head so I went for a dip in the lake and Posca followed in case I needed his assistance. Lucky thing too. He saved me from drowning."
"OK then," Antony said, noticing that all of his cousin's(8) clothes, armor included, were sprawled in a messy pile on the ground. "Get dressed and get back to the tent. We need to talk."
He walked away. When he did Caesar and Posca sighed with relief. Caesar rubbed his face with one hand, the other holding his cape closed. Not surprisingly, it'd been a much scarier experience for him than for Posca. For one he had been underwater for a minute and, as I've said, threw up gushes of water twice. For another Antony had almost found out about his condition.
"Posca," he muttered. He placed a hand on his servant's shoulder, steadying himself. "Thank you."
"No problem, dominus," Posca replied, trying to hand Caesar his tunic. "I couldn't let you drown. Or die from the attack. Why won't you take your tunic?"
"For one, I'm still completely wet. For another, I don't want you catching a cold."
It was at that moment that Posca realized he was soaking wet, completely drenched. He'd been in such a panic that he'd forgotten to take his own tunic off but knowing his master was safe and sound was worth it.
"So... So you want me to take it?"
"Yes, Posca. I have a spare in my tent. You can wear this until yours gets entirely dry." They both shivered. "We should get back to the tent. Come on."
As they walked back to the tent Posca turned to Caesar to answer a question he knew the dictator would eventually ask.
"And no, domine, I didn't look at your genitalia(9)."
Around 45 minutes later
"Dominus may I ask you something?" Posca said.
"You may," Caesar replied, dropping his cape to the floor, once again revealing his naked form to the readers/invisible audience(10).
"Why did you go through that entire meeting with only your cape on?"
"Because I was not about to get dressed in front of my men."
"But why didn't you just tell them to hold on so you could get dressed?" Posca handed Caesar his nightshirt, which he tossed on quickly in case someone else entered.
"Because I just wanted to get it over with and end tonight as fast as possible."
"I understand, dominus."
"Good." When he finished dressing he placed his hand on Posca's still-damp shoulder. "Thank you again Posca. You definitely saved my life this time."
"I couldn't let you die that way especially under my watch."
Caesar placed his arms around his servant and drew him into a tight hug, the latter returning it. As per the strangest Roman custom I've found so far, he kissed his cheek(11) and let go, smiling.
"Good night, Posca," Caesar said.
"Good night, dominus," Posca replied, waving.
EH: Thank you so much for reading if you managed to stand this! And I do understand if you must flame. Oh, and here are some notes.
1. OK, so yes, there's obviously some sense of me being smitten with Ciarán Hinds/Caesar but keep in mind this was originally set in Posca's POV and was not meant to have any type of slash even in the slightest(I modified the crap out of it too).
2. Pater is the Latin word for father. That I've found it's not in the show but just roll with it.
3. This is referencing the fourth episode, Stealing From Saturn, where we get a very good shot of James Purefoy/Mark Antony in all the naked glory.
4. This was not intentionally perverted. I was just reading over it and realized how wrong it sounded.
5. Some epileptics do tend to vomit after having a seizure. I knew a guy that if he fell asleep and woke up vomiting he'd had a seizure. Another person fell on the grass in a fit after welcoming night at camp and when she came out of her seizure she was throwing up.
6. Reality has come to us, honey.
7. The girl listed in number five also had a stomachache so bad that she was crying. I've tended to have stomachaches coming out of mine as well but mine aren't the kind Caesar had.
8. Yes, Caesar and Antony are cousins-Antony's mom was Caesar's father's sister. Think about that the next time you pair them together.
9. Despite the time period and the fact being gay/bisexual was much more accepted than today, Posca is just reassuring Caesar while telling the truth. Still, while I have nothing against a person's choice in gender(it's your life, go get him/her), would you really want your slave looking at your man-parts while you're in such a vulnerable state? Especially when you're both wet and slippery?
10. The amount of fanservice in this fic is just piling up, isn't it?
11. Tell me this isn't a strange custom. Tell me it's not. Think about it!