A single speech changes the course of Roman history. I do not own these immortal characters. Please comment nicely!

"That little punk Brutus is as good as dead." Marc Antony laughed softly to himself as he allowed the pretty German slave girl to cradle his gigantic manhood in her tiny hands.

"What makes you so sure he'll give a bad speech? Brutus is a scholar and a gentleman, is he not?" Atia feigned boredom and disdain as she watched her slave girl pleasure the most magnificent man in Rome. In truth the sight stirred her. Excited her. But she knew better than to show any interest.

Marc Antony was too conceited already!

"Caesar was murdered by gentlemen," Antony replied, closing his eyes as the slave girl stroked him intimately. "The mob is in an ugly mood already. If that little snot-picker starts talking down to them, using fancy language and abstract reasoning, they'll tune him out. Then it'll be my turn to remind them how much they loved Caesar. Passion is the key, my love. Passion in the most animal sense!"

"Yes, I see what you mean," Atia said drily. She clapped her hands. "Be on your way, girl. I'll take it from here!"

Marc Antony smiled, not even bothering to open his eyes. This was going to be the best day of his life!

Meanwhile on the other side of town, young Brutus was trying desperately to scratch out a few sentences on a wax tablet. But it was hard to concentrate. His mother Servilia and his friends Cassius and Cicero were all counseling him and correcting him and advising him at the same time.

"Damn it all!" The young idealist shouted, throwing down his stylus. "We can't tell the people we killed Caesar to preserve the Republic. Murder a friend and benefactor in the name of justice? It'll sound ridiculous!"

"To the uneducated, perhaps." Cicero sniffed the air as though detecting an unpleasant odor. "But what they think can hardly be of importance to the Republic."

"Unless they rise up and kill us all," Cassius muttered. "Or side with that beast Marc Antony. We must prevent that from happening, Brutus. We must win over the common people!"

"You must tell the truth, my son," Servilia said, laying a soft white hand on her son's shoulder. Her huge brown eyes shone with love and fanatical devotion. "You killed Caesar for the only reason that matters. Because you are an honorable man, and my son!"

"Thank you, Mother." Brutus watched his mother make a graceful exit from the chamber, her silk robes swishing softly. Servilia carried herself like a perfect lady at all times. To Brutus she had always seemed pure, untouchable. Yet behind closed doors she was capable of an unholy passion.

The only reason that matters.

"Come on, old friend. Let's try to get something on wax." Cassius handed him the stylus, but Brutus pushed it away.

"No," he said. "I'm all right now. I know what I want to say."

The huge throng was hungry for answers. Hungry for a chance to mourn. But above all they wanted a chance to release their rage and channel it into violent action.

"Feel like going first, boy?" Marc Antony was leaning against a pillar, eating a juicy golden pear. He felt strong. Confident. He was a lion, toying with his prey before the kill.

"Yes, thanks. Can I have a pear, too?" Brutus smiled in a vague, absent-minded way at the tougher, older man. He wandered onto the stage with the uneaten pear still in his hand, like a schoolboy late for class.

"I haven't seen a pear like this since I was a little boy," Brutus remarked softly. Plain citizens were surprised when the proud, haughty young nobleman sat down with his skinny legs dangling over the edge of the stage. It got quiet in a hurry because everyone was trying extra hard to listen. Everyone heard Brutus take the first bite of the pear.

"I grew up in the country," he began quietly, as if he were talking to a few friends instead of a huge mob. "I remember there was one pear tree that mother never wanted me to climb. Of course I climbed it anyway – I was a naughty boy." The crowd laughed. Humor from Brutus took them by surprise. "Mother was always looking out for me when I was a boy. My name is Marcus Junius Brutus, by the way. Servilia of the Junii is my mother. And in case you didn't know it already, Caesar and my mother were lovers."

The crowd gasped. Everyone had heard the rumors. Or seen the filthy pictures on the walls. But Servilia was still a lady. And it was absolutely unheard of for a well-born young gentleman to discuss his mother's sex life in public.

"Fool," Antony chuckled to himself. "He's lost them already."

"Mother doesn't look the type, does she?" Brutus asked, in a thoughtful tone of voice. No one laughed at him. "To look at her, you'd think she was chaste Diana, goddess of the hunt. Mother was always the best at household work. We're a rich family, you know, but she's always done all her own dying and weaving, just like Penelope of old. My mother Servilia is just that kind of woman. When I was a boy, she was the one in charge of teaching me right from wrong. When I was a boy, I thought she could do no wrong!"

"Talk about Caesar!" someone shouted from the crowd. Dozens of voices shushed him, and yet Brutus looked up from his own thoughts without taking offense.

"Caesar is dead," Brutus said simply. "I killed him for what he did to my mother."

A long pause.

When nobody met his stare, the young nobleman frowned at his half-eaten pear. "Caesar wasn't the man I thought he was. Mother wasn't the woman I always thought she was, either. But I still love her. I'll always love her." He studied the silent crowd, now hanging on his every word. "Have you ever had a mother you loved? More than anything else on earth?"

"Yes!" cried the crowd. Some were respectable citizens, and some were criminals. The knife-men shouted as loud for their mothers as anyone else.

The sons of whores were actually crying.

"Caesar was good to me," Brutus was saying. "But Servilia is my mother. And when I saw those bruises on her face . . . when I saw our great father treat the finest, noblest woman in Rome like a . . . like a slave girl . . . well, I guess I forgot all about all the good things Caesar has done for the city."

"Bastard! Villain!" shouted voices from the crowd.

"No, no!" Brutus raised his hand for silence. "Good friends, no. Caesar didn't force himself on my mother. Poor mother invited him into her bed of her own free will! It was only afterwards, when he was tired of her, that he beat my mother like a common prostitute. Surely you think she deserved it?"

"No! No!" The throng roared, weeping with fury. "You did right, Brutus! You did right!"

The young nobleman shook his head. "You do me honor, my good friends. But I can't agree with you. Caesar's blood is on my hands. I alone bear the guilt. Now I wish to make things right by sharing power with Caesar's loyal friend Marc Antony. Surely we can trust him not to make Caesar's mistakes. A man like Marc Antony will never waste your money, or dishonor your wives and daughters!"

"To the Tiber with Marc Antony! Let him follow Caesar into Hades!" The crowd surged forward, dangerously excited.

Brutus scowled like a stern but caring schoolmaster. "Good friends, I cannot allow you to talk that way about a Roman soldier. Let Marc Antony come forth and defend himself!"

"Bring him out! Bring him out!" roared the crowd. "Let's finish what Brutus started!"

Brutus left the stage with a low bow, tossing what was left of his pear to his muscular rival. "They're all yours, big man."

A/N: Will Brutus go all the way? Will mighty Antony stand against him? What about young Octavian? Please review!