Part Eight: Past Dreams
Rome, March A.D. 68
Methos was cold, tired, and angry with himself. He had a secure life in Athens, a comfortable home, servants, a position as a voice teacher and actor. What do you go and do? Impress a half-mad Emperor; get yourself dragged to Rome, just when the political situation is so volatile! Rome! He could smell the stench of too many people in too small a space; plumbing doesn’t help much when you pipe all the waste into the river Tiber. Despite the cold wind the reek was clear. Even the weather was foul, cold and rainy, and with the wind the Roman style of architecture was drafty and frigid.
wasn’t even looking forward to this evening’s entertainment.
Roman orgy my eye! Horrible food, I mean what do you do with stuffed
dormice, not to mention roast peacock. As for the entertainment—he’d
seen enough dancers, acrobats, and singers to last several lifetimes,
not to mention the mimes! As for the other entertainment—watching a
bunch of strangers debauch themselves was not his
idea of a
good time. The only thing that was actually good was the wine,
excellent Falernian and Chian, but he had to restrain his enjoyment
of it to keep his mind sharp.
Methos was looking for a way to retire gracefully when the chief steward approached Nero. “Caesar,” he whispered, just loud enough for Methos, who was seated close to Nero, to hear, “I have prepared a small entertainment for you and your special guest.”
They left the great hall for a chamber down one of the many labyrinthine halls of Nero’s Golden House. The room was hung with heavy drapes to keep out the cold wind, and braziers burned charcoal and incense to scent and warm the air. Two couches had been arranged facing a curtained alcove. Nero and Methos reclined on the couches, and the steward poured the wine.
“Caesar, in honor of your Greek guest, I have arranged for an enactment of the old myth of Endymion, the beautiful shepherd, who was beloved by the moon goddess, Selene. She charmed him into eternal youth and beauty, but also eternal sleep. Every night she visits him, asleep on his bewitched hillside and enjoys his body, but he never wakes.”
The curtain across the alcove was drawn back revealing a wide couch, piled high with pillows at one end, and covered in green linen, resembling a hillside, but Methos only saw the youth laying on the couch, a beautiful boy of about seventeen. He was stretched out, nude except for a thin veil of silk draped across his hips, almost on his back, hips slightly turned towards them, the closer leg bent, one arm across his stomach, palm down, the other hand next to his face, palm up, fingers curled. His body was nearly hairless, except for a thin, dark line that ran down the flat stomach and disappeared under the veil, the skin smooth and olive-hued. But it was his face that drew Methos, the thick, long hair flowing across the pillows like an ebony river of waves, the wide, high forehead, the thick eyebrows shaped like extended black wings, the full curved lips, slightly open, deep in charmed sleep.
From behind the curtain came a young woman wrapped in a silvery robe. She had a pale face that was almost beautiful, and hair the color of bronze, pulled back, falling in curls and tendrils. She opened the robe, revealing a body that was surprisingly muscled, with small, high breasts. She kept the robe on, over her shoulders, its long sleeves reaching her wrists, although she swept it to one side as she sat on the side of the couch, away from the viewers.
She began to caress the boy, her strong-looking hands starting in his hair, winding it around her fingers, playing with the dark, soft waves, then skimming over that face, cheekbones, jawline, barely making contact. Down the thick column of his throat, her hands flat, making full contact now, stroking down to his chest, fingers tweaking the buds of his nipples, making them darken and harden. He moaned very softly, and the veil over his manhood billowed as the cock beneath surged and pulsed into full tumescence. She kissed him, gently nibbling on his full lower lip, then picked up a vial of oil, poured some into her hands and warmed it, then removed the veil. The cock revealed was large, thick, dark with blood, throbbing with his heartbeat. She took it in her oiled hands and stroked it.
Methos felt that stroke as clearly as if it were his cock in her hands, his excitement observed by Nero, who was amused to see his world-weary guest so affected by something so simple. Methos knew he was being observed, but did not care; he was too aroused to care, lost in the boy’s face, in his expression of unconscious pleasure, an expression that intensified when the woman straddled the boy’s body, sinking down on his hard cock until it was deep within her. The boy’s eyes never opened, his mouth never closed, he was moaning softly, rhythmically, in time with the motion of the woman on top of him, his hips rocking up, at first in that same rhythm, then faster, harder, searching for release, although his face still bore a look of relaxed, oblivious pleasure. He arched, almost sitting up, crying out, then fell back, limp, no longer responding now he had reached orgasm.
The woman moved against him, draining him until he could come no more, her head thrown back, apparently lost in her own ecstasy. Then she leaned over and kissed him, got up and closed her robe, then the curtain.
Methos was aching, wanting, and for once he blessed Nero when he said, “Methos, keep these two for tonight, use them how you will. I will see you for voice lessons when my cold is better.”
“Thank you, Caesar,” he managed to stammer to Nero’s retreating back.
The young woman came from behind the curtain and bowed to Methos. “My name is Ash, and the boy is Aren.” Her voice was a light soprano, musical, and Methos noticed her golden eyes. As she came closer, he felt the faint sign of a pre-Immortal, and felt a surge of disappointment. He wished it were the boy, Aren, not her. She began to undress him, stopping when she found his sword, concealed in his Greek chamlys. Ash said, “It is dangerous to be armed around Nero, he fears assassins.” She placed it out of sight, and finished undressing him.
She pulled him into the alcove and walked around him, describing him to the boy. “Aren, you will like this one, he is young and handsome. He is tall and slender, sinewy, not scrawny, built like a retiarius. He has smooth ivory skin, a nose fit for an emperor, a tender mouth, and the most beautiful golden-green eyes.”
The boy stubbornly refused to open his eyes, still appearing asleep. Methos was feeling strangely suspended between the two slaves, he felt he was caught in a game where he didn’t know the rules, or the stakes, or the prize for winning, or even if there was one. He didn’t care, as long as they let him play.
Ash went to her knees before him, her oiled hands seeking a response from him, finding it, causing him to shudder. His was still staring at Aren, his softening cock trailing a silver thread of come in the ebony curls as it retreated.
Ash saw the gaze and said, “Do you want to touch him? Touch him, he loves to be touched, he is not asleep as he pretends. Or do you want more? Do you want to make love to him? He loves to be taken that way. Do you want to stroke this,” her hands slid down Methos’ cock, “deep into him?”
Methos could only moan, “—Yes—”
Ash took his hand and led him to the couch. “Look, Aren, see what the gods have sent you.”
Methos should have been angry, asked to parade himself for a slave’s approval, but Aren had finally opened his eyes and Methos was drowning in those black, liquid pools. Methos sank down beside Aren, wanting that golden skin under his hands, under his mouth, under his body. He reached for him.
Methos woke to a feeling of intense disorientation, followed by profound loss. His cock was throbbing; he had been about to touch skin he hadn’t touched in two millennia. He didn’t know which was worse, the ache in his groin, or the one in his heart.
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