Once cleanly shaven, Castiel had set off to the market again. He'd left Dean with instruction to clean himself under the water pump. He'd had the thing built in just as he was leaving for the battlefield 2 years ago. It still worked at least, though it took a bit of time and force. And patience.
Now, he was off in the streets set on buying some clothing and necessities for the slave. Even though he had little coin in his pouch, he was confident much more was to be given to him. Payment always came after service.
He took a stop at a butcher's shop. The thought of some fine meat made his mouth water. He was sick of flee infested horse meat, and only a bite to eat of that among the hungry men. Now he was alone and could eat as much as he pleased.
"How much for a lamb's neck and legs, Meg?"
"Attat! Glad to see you walking, Castiel!" Meg, a freed woman who acted far too informal for his liking, turned to him with a smile.
"As am I. How much now?" He liked her, but to an extent. She was known to be privy and often times he wondered if she were a spy.
"Oh, don't be so catonian, friend. If you are having a feast, I would be glad to be of service. Or of entertainment." She leaned over the racks of meat to wink at him.
Castiel sighed, like he always did, but the familiarity was welcomed. It had been a long while since someone had been humorous with him and not in a cynical way.
"You are always entertaining, Meg. And no, I have just bought a slave. " He inclined his head as if in pride.
"Ruby, will you shush him?" She turned to the other woman as a man kept yelling out about the meat and price.
"Civilians." Castiel nodded in understanding.
"Never mind them, but what about this slave? Handsome, I imagine? Have you put him to work yet?" She smiled leeringly.
"Not yet, got him this morning." Castiel explained, his eyes downcast in discomfort. He'd yet to feel really comfortable around the slave, which is why he made the hasty decision to get down to the market. On an intellectual level he understood that the slave was bound to be just that, a slave. The only thing to teach him was discipline and order him about. But to live with someone, slave or otherwise was bound to be... Difficult.
"Oh, making sure he is fed and pulsing with energy, I see? Get yourself some wine on the way, will you? He is sure to become much more pliant, then."
"I will see to it, then. Now about the meat?"
Away from Meg and her endless blabbering, a bag of lamb meat in his arm he searched around for a fabrics shop.
" A 100 denarii?"
"I'm a freeborn."
"A 150! You will do good on your family."
"I said no!"
Hearing the ruckus he pulled the curtain of a stellar shop away and inside found a young boy and Azazel in his blue toga a hand holding securely onto the boy's arm.
"What is this?" Both pairs of eyes turned to him, the boy's frightened blue and Azazel's fury melting into defeat.
"He's trying to buy me, Centurion!"
"Like I couldn't?
"Azazel. Send Crowley my greetings and a reminder that freeborns are not up for sale. "
Azazel pulled away from the boy, his scowl melting into a rotten grin as he took his time in approaching the Centurion who took his stand.
"And what are you going to do about it, soldier?"
"I'll gather 500 hundred men, slave."
"Is that a threat? Cesar's little whore is going to threaten me?"
"It's a warning. Now you'd better go and take the whipping from your dear master, for what I could do would leave you begging for the leash." He snarled into the vassal's face, who squinted his eyes and left with an indignant step.
"Are you alright, Samandriel?" He turned to the boy who he hadn't seen in so long, he'd barely recognized him.
"I'm fine, Centurion. I-I thank you, I am in your debt, you have-"
"I wish I could have done more. For you as for the people, it would be a service to eliminate the coward." He sighed tiredly, as this was an ongoing issue. Sure, he could kill Azazel and lose a couple of coins in the process, but Crowley would just get another weasel to do his bidding.
"You mustn't speak so, sir, the walls have ears." Samandriel gained proximity and stopped in front of the soldier.
"Though, I must say I agree. And I thank you for your service to the Empire, for the service to us, the people, and I envy your courage and bravery." He took the Centurion's hand and kneeled to kiss it.
"You have my devotion and gratitude." The boy turned his gaze from the grasped hand to the blue eyes above him.
"I am in your debt and willing." Castiel rolled his eyes feeling beyond embarrassed. The day was turning into such a mess, from Dean to Meg to the here and now.
"Get up, boy." Samandriel immediately straightened up, hopeful eyes searching the Centurion's.
"There is no need for that. I'm here for clothing."
"Take whatever you want, Centurion."
With an embarrassed nod, he took to looking around. The boy was too young and soft for this world. He'd known him since his birth, hardly recognizable now. The life in Rome was bound to end up bad for him, with the baby face he carried.
He took a handful of bland grey tunics, both for him and Dean. He couldn't find much for his taste. Most was women's clothing, all varieties of it. Around that mess of cloth, he found a toga made of soft wool. Stripes of brown and gold ran over the green, making it look quite expensive but not aristocratic. He'd decided it would fit the slave.
He found some dark grey cloaks and took both for him and Dean.
Taking that too under his arm, he picked up a pile of loin cloth and decided it was enough for starters.
"How much for all of this?"
"Just 20 brass obols, for you, Centurion."
"Don't be foolish. These are no times for favors, I asked how much?" He stressed the words with a shake of his arm.
"I will not sleep if I take more." Samandriel shook his head in defiance, only furthering the soldier's impatience.
"Please, Castiel. You have been missed. This is as much as I can do for you."
With a scoff and a scowl he threw the requested coins and left with the clothing.
Up the creaky stairs, he was reminded of the stupidity of his decision. Two trips to the market under Apollo's unforgiving sun had him breathing and sweating heavily. He couldn't afford to bathe himself one day after the other.
He stopped by the entrance and found Dean sitting on the ground by his bed fiddling with something in his hands.
"Fought beside me, that thing." He called for the slave, who turned sharply to him eyes widening and making a tumbling stance.
He took slowly towards the surprisingly taller slave. Maybe he should have rethought that. No good to appear lesser.
"Do you like the design?" He gestured to the fourth Legion's flag in his hands.
"I like the lions." Dean answered reluctantly, almost shyly, and it was still so weird to hear his voice.
Castiel took the flag with his free hand and turned it over. The words Legio IV Ferrata stood out in bold golden letter over the red background, the four lion heads roaring in battle cry.
The damaged and worn cloth brought memories too vivid for Castiel's already exhausted mind. He threw it back on the bed and turned to the slave with the offered clothing.
"These are for you. The tunics and loin cloth are to be worn everyday. You will ask for permission if you wish to change them. Usually, I take my clothing to the washer's once every week. Be mindful of that. The cloak is to be worn at night. With the hood on." Dean nodded along nervously and took bit by bit of what was now his.
"And this." He took the toga in his hands.
"This you will wear only when I tell you to. Only when I tell you to. Which will probably be for gatherings and parties you will attend with me." He explained, Dean's fingers nimbly taking the soft cloth.
"And the meat, you will cook for dinner. You do know how to cook?"
"Yes." He should really speak more. Every syllable was a surprise.
"Good." Castiel replied gruffly. The whole power difference was messing with his usual mannerism, it was making it difficult to keep track of his wording.
He took to a small chest he had and pulled out a small knife hanging from a leather string. He went for the slave who was occupied with the meat and clothes.
"Here." He pulled up front and tried to ignore the green jittery eyes as he wrapped the string around his neck.
"This you will wear every day, wherever you go and take off only when you sleep. Even then you will keep it close to you. Are we understood?"
Those words, those words and it felt like something in his mind shook. Hearing that same word as a 6 year old boy coming from his mother's lips behind a shut door, screams of plea as a leash came down, again and again and again-
"Is something wrong?" Dean's eyes came into view and that wilderness brought things into focus.
"Do not call me that again." The broken voice came only naturally.
"I-Do you mean..."
The slave pulled back as if burnt- he must have seen something in his eyes- and turned to organize the cloth in piles.
Castiel stood for a while, trying to push back eerie thoughts and the guilt he felt at scaring the slave. He was a soldier for Jupiter's sake. A tool's emotional stability wasn't of import.
He settled at that and returned to his own goods.
Having to share space with someone on a constant proved to be taking a toll on him. For the first 2 weeks of Dean's service he'd done everything to keep the slave busy. But then, he was left with nothing to do. Dean would dust the house, sweep the stairs, cook the food, bring the water, feed his horse, Grace and do anything in between that was asked of him. And Castiel would... Sit, sleep and eat.
The Cesar was serious about this supposed vacation and made sure no assignments were given to him. He checked.
He came to realize the master/slave dynamic wasn't really working out for him. He couldn't have a person living with him and not acknowledge him. Sometimes his words would slip and he would ask Dean a question, something mundane, but it was still bad for discipline to treat a slave as a companion. Though, the idea to treat Dean as less than a human was vile and unfathomable for the soldier. But to do more than that was... Illegal for one, and if expressed publicly was bound to end him as a Gladiator, or worse. What's more, he didn't know how. The slave was too closed-off, not afraid, but cautious in his movements and speech. Castiel accepted the respect he deserved, however the image Dean represented was that of a caged lion.
The man didn't seem a brute, but Castiel expected he had a hungry anger and an ocean of grief. He'd take him to the market and just one lurid look from a drunk would sharpen his gaze and set his jaw, shoulders pulling up as if he were a peacock. And at night, when the soldier would settle on the bed and give Dean the animal skins to sleep on, he would see his green eyes bright in the moon light gazing unblinkingly into nowhere. He had to admit he was curious about the fellow.
Dean was something he didn't know, something he couldn't even begin to guess. Most people he knew would jump at the chance to talk about themselves, but this one... It was as if he tried to talk as little as he could. And while Castiel understood this, and in respect was quite the same in that manner, he came to resent it. He wasn't a threat to Dean and in a way, was offended that the slave would go so far to avoid him.
That night he'd instructed the slave to cook porridge, and waited by the table as his plate was being filled. Even for a simple meal, anything Dean made smelled heavenly.
"Thank you." He said the words experimentally, just to see if it would make a positive difference.
Dean stopped stock still mid filling his own plate. He turned wary eyes to the soldier, and oh Dis, he was looked at like a drunk spilling nonsense on the streets. Castiel coughed awkwardly and was thankful the slave left it at that, before returning to his food.
And just before Dean left for the stairs where he usually did his eating, he tried once more.
"You can sit with me." He called at the slave's back and watched his shoulders hunch together at the spoken words.
"It is fine, thank y-"
"Gerrae. You will sit here." He cut in before he could be dismissed. So, yes, goes to show that being open about your kindness didn't work with the slave.
The slave turned this time and leveled him with a look he could only translate as defiance. A look he'd mostly seen in small children being reprimanded by their mothers, or lazy soldiers too cowardly to speak up against his orders. It took him aback that look, but what was even more surprising was that he actually sat down. On the chair furthest from him facing the wall ahead, but, nevertheless, it was actual progress.
Castiel watched for a bit, almost smiling at Dean's utter determination to ignore him. The slave ate as if starved, stray lumps sliding down his chin. Though, Castiel felt it was more of a way to hurry and be done with sitting there. It was comical really.
He went back for his own plate and just as he took the first spoon, Dean spoke up.
"May I go now?" Castiel, his head still dipped over the plate, mouth hanging open hallway to the spoon, just raised his eyes to the slave and gave his own version of defiance. Taking the spoonful, he kept the eye-contact taking his time in working through the lumps and swallowing slowly. Really, he could laugh at the absurdity of the situation.
"Most slaves would be grateful for the honor, Dean." He said matter-of-factly after he swallowed.
"As am I-"
"Do not lie to me. I told you the first day that it is your duty to speak truthfully with me." Castiel cut the slave again. He could almost hear that animal inside the man's graceful body growl in response. A peculiar glint in the slave's eyes spoke just how dangerous this man was, and just how surprisingly unafraid Castiel was of him. If anything, he found this intriguing.
"I do not need rewards. I do my duty because it is so. It is enough." Dean's voice came full and strong, much unlike the times he spoke before. It was refreshing and, somehow, it made the soldier glad.
"I wouldn't want you to see this is a reward. No matter what our roles are, you will be living with me. It is only fair that I be honest in return, and I must tell you that this is difficult for me." He paused, unsure if this was really a wise decision. But, Dean stayed calm, albeit his gaze turned more and more confused.
"I've never had a slave before, and I am not exactly well-thought in the ways of keeping one. But, I know that I would like for you to feel welcomed here, not caged."
"Until I can buy my freedom."
The swell of fear that he gave the slave too much, vanished as fast as it came, only to be replaced by defeat.
"Yes, until then."
Attat- Latin for "Well, well!" or "Oh my", basically a specific way of saying something along those lines.
Catonian- a way to describe a typical masculine emotionless face of a Roman
Denarii- Roman money
Freeborn- Roman society was split into freeborns, slaves and freedmen. Freedmen were slaves who bought their freedom, but they were still looked down upon.
What Castiel says about killing Azazel is true: In those times killing a slave wasn't considered murder, if it were your own slave you could kill them at anytime and not face anything, but if you were to kill another's slave you had to pay the owner back money
A brass obol is one-sixteenth of a drachma, which is really, really small money, like one-sixteenth of a penny.
Legio IV Ferrata refers to Castiel's fourth Legion, the words were on every Legion's flag, only with a different mascot and numeral
Dominus – Latin for master
Gerrae- Latin for nonsense
Thank you all for the reviews, it really motivates me to go through with this and of course, brightens up my day! So, keep them coming as these times without supernatural can make us all fanfic hungry. :)
And a question: Would it be better if I put an asterisk on all the things that need explaining or would it feel weird and dumb? Also, if you need any explaining that I can hopefully provide, I will do so.
Thanks for taking the time to read!