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09 October 2011 @ 07:08 am
Qua Arete (I) [Maecenas x Octavia)  
Title: Qua Arete (I)
Pairing: Maecenas/Octavia, Octavia/Livia, Titus Pullo/Octavia, Mark Antony/Octavia, Augustus (Octavian)/Octavia
Fandom: Rome HBO series
Genre: Humor, tragedy, dark humor, satire, classical parody
Rating: R
Summary: Everyone wants to fuck Octavia. Or as Atia puts it, beauty and virtue are the worst curses for a woman.


A/N: My professor convinced me to rewatch this series. Now I'm writing fanfic for it again cos this show is just that badass. Warning for dark humor, satire/sarcasm and other objectionable stuff. Fic is sort of an outside-in character study on Octavia.

i. doublespeak

         A generation of men is like a generation of leaves; the wind
         scatters some leaves upon the ground, while others the
         burgeoning wood brings forth - and the season of spring comes
         on. So of men one generation springs forth and another ceases.

“You speak beautifully. You turn Homer’s ranting into nectar.”

Maecenas smiles. He does indeed.

“Thank you, madam. But the beauty of poetry is nothing next to the beauty of a woman. A real woman” (he cups her cheek) “real flesh, real blood” (he kisses her hands) “You can strip her raw, you can taste her sweat” (licks her jaw) “and still—still—you will never have unraveled her.”

Octavia nods, stifling a yawn. The hour is late. The hour—

“You grow weary of me?” he mocks, feigning perfect distress.

She blushes. So timid and docile. It’s unnerving. She reminds him of a charmingly well-cooked dove. He wonders how she’d look with the innards out: heart and kidneys, oh liver oh lungs! (he especially wants those).

“Oh no, not at all,” she begins to protest. “I am tired, that’s all. It’s been a long day. Have you seen my brother, I should say goodbye.”

“No, no, don’t go. Let’s play a game, dear Octavia.”

“A game?” she asks in surprise, as if he’d turned crazy.

Maecenas’ smile widens. Twin little dimples and a curling tongue. He hides his silver well (his perversity better). With such a lovely, lovely mercurial face, he can enchant stone alive. Octavia will be hopeless.

Leaning closer (her hair smells of hyacinths) Maecenas whispers softly into her ear, “Yes, a game. Let’s play how long it’ll take for me to make you scream.”  

He laughs as Octavia shoves past him. She’s outraged, pissed, hellish pomp and posh. He’ll have her polished and giddy (satiated and stuffed) soon enough. With his magnificent tongue, he’ll drive her deep into the ground and bury her there.
. . .

Antony is a fool for leaving her. She is, after all, the exemplar of a Roman woman. Maecenas recites this to her every chance he can procure. In pained voices and with dulcet, saccharine gestures, he strings the lyre. He plucks tunes and sings arias. He pays her compliments and coins (small gifts, treasures from the heart). He brings her flowers and kittens and puppies and bunnies. He—

She ignores him. Spiteful bitch.

Gods, he hates her. He strikes at her with the malice of a coiled asp. Still, she does not relent. And he is exhausted from the chase. Fascinating.

He’s never encountered a woman (or boy) he couldn’t have. Usually, persuasion sufficed to cripple their knees. Sometimes, a dash of fear was the key. But he always won them over in the end.
. . .

“I know you fucked Octavian. He’s your brother. Are you not ashamed?”

She scoffs. “You fucked your brother. And you fucked your mother. And—if I recall correctly—you fucked Octavian as well. My indiscretion appears tiny in comparison.”

“The magnitude of sin differs from men to women. By the way, you ever fornicated with a dog? I’ve seen women, Egyptian priestesses of Anubis, do so. I’ve heard it’s quite pleasurable. The penetration is supposed to be…exceptional.”

Octavia turns away, abandoning her plate of food in revulsion. She rises to leave. He grips tightly onto her glass-wrist and pulls her on top of him. The plate flings high and clatters to the floor. Octavia watches the clash between grape and marble.

Deftly, he bypasses the infinite ripples of her dress and finds her—ah, there.

He frowns. Her cunt is dry and violently tight.

“You’re disgusting. I hope you know that,” she spits angrily.

He bares her breasts with an expert flourish. Long, slender, elegant fingers dancing on alabaster. He even removes his ring.

Octavia stares at him, challenging. He takes the bait (he never was one to surrender). In three sharp breaths, he takes her nipple into his mouth, bites down hard.

He enters her. She lets out an (accidental) abrupt cry of misery.

Maecenas laughs. “Told you I’ll have you screaming.”
. . .

Octavian is a nasty little shit if there ever were one.

Maecenas loathes pandering to the idiot (no, not true, Octavian’s damnably brilliant). Boiling in anger, rancor and (in a manner of speaking) indignation.

Maecenas is a man easily annoyed by the unsophisticated, the uncultured and the brutish. Poetry is a fine art to be wooed. It takes years, centuries, to nourish it correctly. And an artistic genius (such is his plight) has it particularly difficult. Octavian simply does not understand—unappreciative ass. He has no finesse, no talent for beauty. Vulgarity trails him, chaffing his ribs and determined to castrate.   

But the man is Princeps (fancy title for a tiny prig) and all must do as Princeps dictates. And so, Maecenas smiles cordially and accepts Octavian’s toasts and honors, horridly ineloquent they are. Worthwhile friends are so tricky to seduce nowadays.  
. . .
She thinks she is clever, attempting to disguise her pining as contempt. Pathetic. Octavia thinks he does not see through her ruse, the lowered lashes and muted signs. She still has feelings for Agrippa. Lingering they may be, but nonetheless a spike screwed inextricably into Maecenas’ spine.

It is amusing, almost cute. Agrippa is now no better than a bouncing ball of soggy sinew and pulpy fat. He resembles a hen. A nervous, bumbling one. The kind that’s good with light dressing and stuffed with apples.

“Having fun?” Maecenas asks.

Octavia jumps and flies out of Agrippa’s slippery embrace. The air swallows a draft of guilt.

He hums and leaves the two lovers be. Fucking against an atrial column, how rude. How absolutely selfish to put on a lavish drama and then deny him admittance.
. . .

One day, he decides to dabble in sculpture. While his flair for stone lacks a certain Praxitelean eroticism, Maecenas’ eye for muses more than compensates.

“Stand still, my love, or I shall crucify you to the spot.”

He chips at the marble. Didn’t look right. Another assault. Again.

“I said be still, Octavia. I swear, if you weren’t so exquisite, I’d flay you alive and toss your burning skin to the dogs. After I sampled a bite, of course.”

“It’d take heaven to move me,” she snapped through clenched teeth.

“Sarcasm doesn’t suit you, my dear. In any case, you’re quite wrong. There is no heaven. As for hell, Pluto can suck my cock. This, sweetheart, this is all there is. This shithole we have for paradise and damnation.”

She raises a brow. “You’re quite the pessimist, aren’t you?”

“No, I’m a realist. Quit fidgeting, Octavia. I understand the world. Unlike the grandiose fools, I know my limitations. Take your darling brother, for instance, he has some absurd notion of a thousand-year reign of peace.”

“You don’t believe it can happen?”

Maecenas carves out her lips. Dainty lunettes. He thins out the line (no need to speak). There, he’ll have her immortalized before the week is done.

“Believe what, love?”

Irritated, Octavia rolls her eyes. “Do you believe my brother will fail?”

“Oh that. Of course he will. I’m astounded he’s even endeavoring such a feat. He is a man. He will do well to remember that. He only has to look at his ‘divine father.’ We are wretched worms struggling to climb an eternal mountain. But some of us desire to be worm-king.”

“He’s plotting something again. He always is. You should be cautious. It could be you he kills next.”

Maecenas pauses, glancing up. He observes her carefully for any hints of guile. Sensing none, he continues, “Actually, it’s you he has in mind. He wants to marry you off. And seeing as how you’ve been widowed—yet again—it’s only a matter of time.”

“Marry? Again? I’d rather die first. Men are good for nothing but foisting one brat after another onto your shoulders.”

“You’re quite right. Men are very stupid. They should all just perish. Step wisely, Octavia. You’ve been ill-used by your most illustrious and eminent brother. What a pity, how you must hate him. And yet, he loves you dearly. He still lusts for you.”

“I don’t. Hate him, that is. He’s my brother.”

“Yes, and a calculating bastard. But enough of Caesar. Would you like to come with me tonight?”

She shoots him a wary look. “Come where?”

“A debauchery. I know how fond you are of orgies.”

Octavia does not answer. Maecenas has the cunning intuition of an undying epidemic. He knows just where to strike to maximize fatality. For him, infliction is a game. And the sickness is the brutal trophy of victory.

“I shall see you at eight. Wear something…transparent. In fact, don’t wear anything at all. Cheers.” 
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on December 25th, 2011 02:53 am (UTC)
Thanks! Maecenas is my favorite character. :)