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This life or the next

By LadyKnight

Drama / Romance

Part one

Since the moment his brother died during the first battle of the rebellion in the Ludus of Batiatus Agron had been sure of only one thing: Everything could change in an instant, Everything.

Such realization came with some small sort of freedom for Agron. Nothing was forever, everything was subject to change, and all his careful planning was worth spit in the face of the ocean's tides. His brother was dead, and Duro took with him a piece of Agron’s heart, leaving the rest of a shattered mess in his chest.

That was how Nasir found him: Shattered, reckless, and without a thought for a future beyond the coming dawn.

But, as the flames of war burned, blood flowed, and death claimed all it could reach; Nasir put Agron’s heart back together.

It was slow at first, so slow neither realized. Agron only noticed the change in himself when he one day caught himself watching Nasir sleep. His large scarred hands twisted and toyed with the long dark locks of his lover's hair while he watched the man sleep at his side as he thought about the life they could have. One where they were both free of Rome, free of the blood, the fighting, and free to spend their days without fear. It was the first time Agron planned beyond the coming dawn since his brother’s death.

It was a strange moment for Agron, he could vividly remember, not too long ago, bashing a man’s head against a stone till his face was little more than blood and shattered bone. Agron remembered laughing, he remember that he thought nothing of his own safely and only of killing as many Roman Shits as he could. But, here he now sat, watching his lover sleep, thinking wistfully of a day when they might both be free of Rome’s shadow.

Then Nasir stirred, Agron was looking deep into his lover’s eyes, a brown so dark they could almost be black. And the moment had passed. And Agron was back to taking each day as it came.

Being in love, was to say the least, new, to Agron. Worrying about whether or not he’d survive the coming battle was less new. Agron once worried if he’d survive to see his family again, then he worried if he’d survive so he might continue to look after his brother. Now he worried if he’d be there to hold Nasir again.

It was worries like this that kept Agron up, the eve of battle upon him and Agron couldn’t help himself from tossing and turning as Nasir slept beside him.

Sleep,” Nasir groaned half asleep, rolling over to wrap his arms about Agron.

Agron cuddled closer to his lover, burying his face in thick dark hair. “I woke you, apologies.”

Rubbing sleep from his eyes Nasir pulled back just enough to look fully at Agron. “No need, but what thoughts keep you up so? Share them and see if we can put troubled mind to ease.”

“I am merely restless,” Agron said, he didn’t want to admit that he was worried. Nor did he want to tell Nasir that he would be going to Rome and Nasir would be bound for the Alps. There would be time enough for such talks after the sun had risen.

Despite his words, Nasir saw right through Agron. “You worry,” it wasn’t a question but Agron wasn’t about to answer either way. Instead Agron looked away, burying his face in Nasir’s hair.

“You worry for nothing.” Nasir informed him, taking Agron’s face in his hands and making the larger man look at him.

“You do not worry enough.” Agron countered, his voice unusually thick. Agron couldn’t put his finger on it, but something told him that it was quite likely this could be their last night together for a long while, if they had another night together at all.

For Nasir, it was easy to see all of Agron’s fear written clear as day on his lover's face. Even in the dim light, still half asleep, Nasir could tell exactly what Agron thought about, for the same thoughts hunted Nasir. Every time Agron left Nasir’s sight the Syrian worried, somewhere deep in his heart, where he refused to admit it, he worried that he might never see him, hold him, kiss him, again. That was how Nasir could know exactly what Agron worried about.

“I do not worry, because whether in this life, or the next, I know my place is at your side.” Nasir’s words both warmed and broke Agron’s heart. He knew that come morning he would have to tell his lover how he planned for them to part ways. The path Agron would walk was one that gave little chance to return to Nasir.

Taking Nasir’s face in his hands Agron kissed his lover as if it was the last time he would ever kiss him. In the backs of their minds, both feared that every kiss might very while might be their last kiss. Both had seen and delivered enough death to know that survival was far from certain.

“This life,” Agron murmured, his eyes shut, fingers tangled in Nasir’s hair, his forehead pressed to Nasir’s, and breathing deeply. “This life or the next, my heart is forever yours. I will love you so long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Nasir, I promise you, I will always wait for you, I will forever search for you, and not even the gods could stop me till I find you. This life or the next, I’m no longer complete without you.”

Anxiously Nasir held on tight to his lover, something about the way he spoke made it sound as if he didn’t mean to survive. “Do you forever mean to challenge the Gods over me?” Nasir joked, though his voice was thick and his heart wasn’t in it.

“If it means even one more moment at your side I would challenge every man that walks the earth. I would challenge the very winds, and the tides, and every God in every land.” Agron’s grip tightened, one hand wrapped around Nasir’s waist, the other tangled in his hair. “For you Nasir, I would climb the highest mountain and collect the stars from the very sky if you so desired them.”

For Nasir, who had only known life as a body slave before being freed by Spartacus, being loved by anyone was new, he could hardly understand why Agron was forever promising to go so far for him. Swallowing hard Nasir searched Agron’s face, taking in the close cropped hair, growing beard, and pale green eyes, Nasir was trying to sniff out just how serious Agron was, looking for any sign that everything was a joke and little more. No matter how long Nasir spent with Agron he could not shake his worry that Agron’s love for him was little more than passing lust. It was fear born of his lifetime as a slave, and though his heart knew better Nasir’s traitorous mind had a hard time letting go of the past, leaving him with a fear that only seemed to fade but never truly leave him.

But like everyone of Nasir’s searches before all the syrian could tell was that for some reason or another Agron truly loved him, and meant every word of it.

Finding talk of challenging Gods to be like kicking a bee’s hive and expecting to not get stung, Nasir wasn’t sure if he should be impressed or worried that the Gods might actually take offense this time; Agron did challenge them much too often in Nasir’s opinion.

“It is good then that I wish for no stars.” Nasir informed Agron, and to their shared amusement Nasir reached behind Agron, grabbing a good handful of his lover’s ass. “Only for you to warm my bed.”

Continue Reading Next Chapter
1. Part one
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