Page name: Family Ties [Exported view] [RSS]
2010-04-04 18:39:17
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It's the year 37 AD, and the emperor of Rome is dead. This has left two sons, the young Nero and his older brother, Claudius, to inherit the crown. At just fiteen years of age, Claudius will not be able to succeed the throne until he reaches full maturity at the age of eighteen, until then, it is their uncle Caligula who rules...

"Those damned brats!" Caligula hissed beneath his breath, slamming his goblet of wine down upon the arm of his chair, spilling the dark red fluid across his tunic haphazardly as his mind raged at the dilemma before him. "If not for them, this throne would be mine, forever! Not just on loan for some brief lapse of time until those pesky little ninnies grow out of their diapers!" His free hand caressed the golden arm of his precious seat, rubbing it violently as the thoughts turned in his mind and his left hand slowly tightened to a choke hold around the neck of his cup. The rage in his eyes burned the fearful gazes of all the surrounding servants, so that they turned their heads away, shaking hands and pulsing hearts signs of their obvious distress.

The-substitute-king paid the spineless things no mind, knowing he had already eliminated any that would dare betray him, keeping all those who remained behind faithful with the occasional painful reminder of what would happen to anyone that displeased him. He took a dark pleasure when he tortured them, imagining the faces of his young foes on each unfortunate slave and taking his time in the ruination of their minds and bodies. If only he could do that to the young brats, if only...

Restless, he rose up, flourishing his cape behind him, relishing the weight this symbol of authority pressed upon his strong, broad shoulders. The silver laurel nestled amongst his brunette curls symbolized his lack of true rulership, and he scowled beneath the unimposing glow of his status marker. Quickly, he made his way across the marble halls, down a flight of stairs to the cool, dark rooms of the cellars. Counting the doors he stopped at the seventeenth, pulling out a key and unlocking the heavy wooden door, slamming it shut behind him upon entering and locking it once again from within. His brooding mind would not let him sit and wait for his end any longer, he decided, he needed to do something NOW.

A rather inebriated Nero ran through the halls, shouting with glee. "UNCLE CALIGULA...I KNOW YOU'RE AROUND HERE...WE HAVE TO SPEAK ABOUT DECORATIONS!" He referred of course to when he became ruler, for he had no doubt some knowing that his lovely brother Claudius was not going to make it to that throne, but he certainly was and then he would be famous and loved by the people of Rome.

After a good few minutes and the inability to find his uncle he decided to interrogate a servant. "YOU, where is my uncle?" He asked, a fierce look on his face that reminded the poor servant just what they served, and that was a family of estranged wanna-be rulers that though horrible in their ruling were widly feared and espected because of it.

"He went that way, to the cellars." The servant replied with a low bow.

Nero eyed the way the servant bowed, making sure it was of the lowest bow and filled with complete respect before his fierce galre became a bright smile and he turned without thanks to run down to the cellars and began to call out to his uncle again "UNCLE CALIGULA! WHERE ARE YOU! YOU MUSTN'T HIDE FROM ME!" He opened each door until he came upon one that was locked. "UNCLE! COME OUT HERE THIS INSTANT!" He ordered, rattling the door. "I WANT TO TELL YOU THAT WE MUST HAVE THE PALACE DECORATED WITH VINES... AND WINE.... AND SERVANTS... AND, AND, AND, WE MUSTMAKE IT BIGGER!" He waited to see if his beloved uncle was going to respond to him, tapping his foot irritably on the ground.

Grinding his teeth, Caligula forced himself to fake a sense of calm affection to disguise his seething hatred. "Nero," he began, letting just the tiniest amount of irritation seep into his voice, "isn't it Claudius who will be having the crowning ceremony? Not you, dear one. Unless you're hoping for his death," he scolded, looking sternly at the small boy while concealing thoughts of how much it'd also please him to see the useless boy Claudius dead.

"I happen to know that Claudius will probably not be on the throne." Nero said, an evil gleam in his eyes. "Of course you could help with that, couldn't you, Uncle? You are in command of the guards, you could speed this up a bit quicker, couldn't you? People die here all the time." He said, circling his uncle now. "Did you try the wine? It's really good this time around." He said in a subject change.

Caligula blinked. The conniving little brat! Like HELL if he was going to get involved in this rugrat's schemes only to get the blame later. His thoughts churned quickly though, and he had to work to hide the smile that spread across his face...if he could expose Nero as his brother's murderer, then perhaps he could have him executed! Oh, it would be so perfect..."Yes, I did try the wine, and I see you have too, you're talking nonsense, Nero, I think you should go to bed." He pushed the boy by his shoulders out of the doorway, making sure to close and lock the door behind him. "Come now, I'm sure the serving maids have drawn your bath, and you know how they don't like to be kept waiting..."

A cross look slipped onto Nero's face. "They're MAIDS. Who cares what they like." He huffed and kicked his uncles door in a fit of childish frustration and went to his room. Upon seeing his brother he grinned. "Hello! Claudius, what's it like to know that when you're eighteen you'll be the emperor?" As he saw his brother's calculating gaze he didn't bother to wait for a response. "Enjoy the thought while you can!" He said, storming off to his rooms at the thought and stripping from his toga and tunic. "IS MY BATH READY?" He asked while he approached the basin of warm water. "Nevermind..." He jumped in and indulged himself in the warm water, he wished his brother was in here so he could drug him and then drown him. But such things come to those who wait.

Smelling something fishy, Claudius paced around his room, contemplating what to do. He knew that his younger brother was plotting something, the demon child would surely not be in such a good mood unless he was getting what he wanted, and thus far the only thing Nero wanted was a way to the throne. Knowing he had just come from the cellars he must have been talking to Uncle Caligula, and Claudius supposed he could go talk to him and find out what's going on, but he suspected his "dear" uncle kept a few secrets himself, and he did not fully trust him. He bit his lip, deliberating on whether to go to him, when it occurred to him that maybe...maybe Uncle Caligula was in on it too! Ooh! It just made him want to smash something, to think the two of them might be plotting against him. Now he HAD to go talk to Caligula, and if his uncle denied anything he'd know he was guilty...

When Claudius arrived, Caligula was going about some reports that had come in, humming quietly to himself, cheerful now that a solution seemed to have arisen. He didn't care if the mayor of this town or that town wanted to raise taxes, he stamped his seal on all of them, granting everyone's wishes, at least temporarily, because he was in such a good mood. The slamming of the study door surprised him, and when he looked up he was confused and alarmed to see Claudius there. The boy was a bit weak but he wasn't stupid, Caligula could recognize the threat in the sharpness of his eyes. Lucky for him, Claudius only saw what he wanted to see, and so far he had chosen to see Caligula as the loving uncle he put efforts into pretending to be. But if Claudius had changed his mind..."What's wrong, nephew?"

"What were you talking about with Nero?" Claudius' voice was quiet and low, a sign that he was angry but holding back his wrath. Caligula weighed the consequences of answering, debating what to do.

"Did Nero do something?!" he asked, feigning shock and dismay.

"No, but you know something don't you!" the teenager retorted, letting control of his mood slip and lashing out in anger at his uncle.

"I..."Quickly, Caligula realized he could turn this to his advantage. Maybe he could pit the two brothers against each other, and they'd kill themselves FOR him! It'd be oh too perfect! Putting a mask of guilt and worry on, he answered Cladius' question. "Yes...I know something, but..."

"But what?!"

"I'm concerned for you, Claudius', but what I say could be damaging to Nero and...and he was drunk, so maybe it was a mistake."

"What did he say?" Claudius' reigned in his temper, sensing his uncle would divulge the foul comspiracies of his wretched brother.

"He said that...he said he was going to kill you, and he plans to take the throne," Caligula said, feigning reluctance and upset perfectly. "But he's just a child...and he was"

"I see..." Claudius' eyed hardened, and he suddenly became very calm. "Tell no one about this, I will deal with the little pest myself."

He left quietly, making an effort not to be seen. Wouldn't want the little twit to get wind of what had just transpired.

And Caligula smiled to himself in the study, humming once again and throwing the rest of the requests in the fire, too pleased to care for work and taking the moment to relish his genius.

Luckily for Nero his handservant had heard the conversation between the two and had run back to the bathing emperor to be. "Sire, there is plot against you. Your Uncle and your brother seek to kill you." the servant said, looking to the door fearfully. "Claudius will be here at any second."

Nero studied his servant carefully and figured out he wasn't lying in the least. He hissed in anger and stood on the side of the bathroom door, quickly throwing his tunic on and grabbing his knife from the confines of his previously discarded toga.

He listened carefully for signs of his brother. "If you are lying to me, you will also die with him." He said, pressed against the wall. "Get in the tub, face away from the door so he can not see your face. Strip, do it now."

The servant knew better than to ignore his lord so he stripped and sat in the tub, knowing he was a diversionary and knowing full well Nero could let him be killed in his place.

"I'll get them both for this.." Nero whispered to himself, looking around to be sure no one else was in the room hiding to try and assassinate him.

Claudius knew that his chances of winning a fight against Nero were not much higher than the chances that he'd lose. He didn't want to risk dying in the battle and leaving Caligula in charge of the empire, so he had to devise another plan. "I'm sure it would please dear old </i>uncle</i> if I died while getting rid of Nero, but that's not going to happen, now is it?" He smirked to himself, heading towards the kitchens where the year's supply of wine was kept. It would more than suit his purposes for a mysterious plague to strike the castle, wiping out everyone within, servants, courtiers, hand maids...and more importantly, everyone EXCEPT one particular member of the royal family. The Senate would have no choice but to put him on the throne, premature by a few years sure, but he IS the rightful heir, and the people would herald him as the chosen one from the gods, being the only person spared by the wrath visited down upon the empire. Yes...everyone had to die. He reached into the folds of his tunic, pulling out an amulet with a hollow chamber within. Carefully, he took a little pinch of the white powder contained inside, and sprinkled it into barrel after barrel of wine. When he was done, he replaced the amulet in his clothes and returned to his room, disposing of it safely and checking the stores of antidote he had kept hidden for years. It was time Rome crowned its new King, he decided, and that king will definitely be me!

"Oh to hell with waiting!" Nero replied after waiting for a while. He went out to search for his brother. "CLAUDIUS....COME HERE BROTHER!" He sounded out, seeing him stand over a barel of wine and then retreat to his room. "Oh oh oh... poisoning the wine, brother. So, my servant was right, you intend to attempt to kill me..?" He growled to himself. "UNCLE!" He shouted for his uncle as he decided to burst into his brothers room and then proceeded to pounce on and restrain him, holding a knife to his throat. "Guess what, brother? Now you'll be executed for plotting conspiracy against the throne. For trying to kill the whole palace..." Nero wanted to errupt in laughter, but he refused to be distracted. He made sure other still wore the amulet that had been spilt into the wine that had remaining residue of the poison to prove himself valid.

Claudius knew he'd walked into a bad predicament and waited for his uncle to show up so he could twist the truth and say that Nero was framing him for the act. "Careful, brother, you're the one standing over me, wouldn't want uncle to see you attempting my murder..."

When Caligula heard Nero's yell he immediately felt his hopes rise. Nero sounded happy, did that mean he had succeeded? He hurried quickly to Claudius' rooms, hoping he'd find the corpse of the eldest prince and a very guilty looking younger prince caught literally red handed. His heart fell when he saw Nero pinning the older boy to the floor, both of them still very much alive, and both glaring angrily at the other. "Nero! Get off him! That's your brother!" Acting as innocent as he could, he considered waiting to call for the guards.

Claudius saw his chance and tickled Nero's side, causing him to jerk his arm and accidently stab Claudius in the shoulder. He screamed, feigning terror and horror, smug that Nero would never be believed after this act.

Caligula yelled, "Nero!" eyeing the wound on the older boy, disappointed to see it wasn't fatal as he began yelling, "GUARDS!!!!". The fact that Nero may well be arrested for attempted assassinated pleased him well enough, but it was a pity his aim had been so poor.

Nero cursed his brother and in a fit of anger he plunged the knife into the other's stomach. "UNCLE BE QUIET. He was poisoning the wine! He still wears hte amulet that proves it! My servant came to warn me that brother plotted to kill me! It is self defense! He would have killed you too! The wine is poison!" He said with anger, wondering how traiterous his uncle was about to become.

As the running footsteps of the guards approached faster and faster, Caligula looked between Nero and Claudius, marvelling at his good fortune. He was sure Claudius would die, even now he was coughing up blood and his chest was heaving as he labored to breathe. A shaky, bloody hand reached up, grabbing onto Nero's throat, squeezing tightly. Even as the life fled from his body, rage was filling Claudius' eyes, and even if it was the last thing he did, he intended to kill his brother.

Fearing for his own life Nero found strength enough to dislodged the bloodied blade from his brother's stomache and slice through his throat "LET GO!" He screamed, prying the vice-gripped fingers from his neck and crawling away from the body, scared at what he'd done. He clung to his uncle's robes. "I was.. trying to protect you." He said, though it was a lie, he was only trying to save his own hide and find ample reason to kill his brother so there would be no one in the way of the throne when he came of age, one day he knew he'd have to kill Caligula if said uncle became such a problem as his brother had.

"Nero," Caligula whispered, gravely aware of how near the bloody knife was to his own unarmed body, "You must know how this looks? You could have planted that amulet on him, and you're going to claim self defense in his bedroom?! And just this morning, while you were said you were going to kill him!"

He knew he was giving the boy an out, since he had been drunk earlier, but for now he might be satisfied by simply casting the suspicion of foul play on Nero's part into everyone's minds. If he got lucky again, some radical citizen would rise up and he'd be rid of the last pest standing in his way.

Nero felt his world falling apart. "Please, uncle, I'll do anything, I was inebriated earlier and my words were folly! I'd never kill my own brother unless I had to... and in this case I had to." He said hurriedly, pouting up at his uncle. "Please, the guards will be here, I will do anything." He felt like quite a coward grovelling at his uncle's sandals, but he had no other way out unless it was to kill his uncle as well and that he was a bit weak to do being still just a boy. His brother had been overpowerable but his uncle was strong and commanding, very different. He'd never be able to run Rome on his own in his youth and manipulatively he knew it so now he begged for his life and non-imprisonment.

Caligula narroed his eyes, smiling inwardly as an idea came to him. Yes, it'd save the boy, but it'd also make him suffer, and he would take some pleasure from that.

"Stab yourself, and make it convincing, then put the knife in Claudius hands. I'll claim that when I got here it was too late, the fight was over, and you can make up whatever story you want."

Nero huffed. "Stab myself!? Where? Isn't that going to hurt?" Nero quested, holding the knife out to arm's length. "This isn't fair.." He looked pleadingly up to the other. "But, uncle... where does one get stabbed and have it not fatal?" He wanted to ask his uncle to inflict the wound, but he knew death would mroe or less be certain if he asked that. "If I stab myself in the chest or stomach ill the leg they'd never think anything.. ah! This is such a mess!" Nero decided to just stab himself in the leg and say Claudius had attacked him from under the bed but he'd managed to get the best of him. "Okay the leg then.." He inhaled deeply and figured it idn't have to be a bearingly deep wound so he thrust the blade part-way into his skin, staring tranceldy as the blood flowed out upon removal of the blade as he set it back into his brother's hand. "We tripped and he fell on his own blade, I tried to help him, he slipped again and cut his throat... how does that sound?"

"But how did he stab himself TWICE before slitting his own throat?"

Caligula almost laughed, cheered up immensely by his primary threat to the throne being dead and his second biggest threat's pathetic attempts to lie. A new plan began to form in his mind as he devised ways to destroy the impetuous brat.

"Listen, when he stabbed you in the leg, you fell, and the two of you wrestled. You managed to get the knife away, and, freaked out by your beloved brother's sudden insanity, you stabbed him in the shoulder. You stopped there, calling me for help, but as you had Claudius pinned beneath you he rolled his body upwards against you, trying to get free and accidentally impaling himself on the knife. You were horrified, you didn't know what to do, he was suffering, and then he tried to strangle you. It wasn't until you began seeing black dots that you finally slashed his throat, saving yourself but losing your brother. You don't know what just happened but that's HOW it happened. Now start crying, and put on a good show, or both our lives are done!"

As he finished explaining he could hear the guards coming up quickly behind him. He turned to the first one, ordering, "Quick, get the doctor! Claudius is dead! And Nero is injured!"

The guard ran off, followed by one other, as the rest of the royal guards filled the room, the captain Linnaeus approaching the fallen boys.

Nero almost lost his head when Caligula told him to cry, he found himself beginning to laugh instead at the sight of their captain though he began to cry a little. "Linnaeus! That was not my brother! I came to ask him to escort me to the forum, and and he came out form under his bed, stabbed me in the leg so I fell and we began to wrestle. I was able to get the knife from him, he was so lost in his harming, sir, I stabbed him in the shoulder to restrain him and called for uncle but but he was trying to get free and he impaled himself. I was so scared, I didn't know what to do, he was suffering and then he tried to strangle me and I couldn't breath and was beginning to lose sight so I cut his throat to ave myself.. but he's dead. My brother's dead! Lost to some sick illness that made him a crazed murderer!" Nero exclaimed, clinging to the captain, making himself as believeable as possible, he'd repeated his uncle's words nearly verbatum, hoping they'd work.

Linnaeus rushed to Claudius' side, checking for signs of life, but could see the obviously fatal wound and knew there would be nothing to do. Each wound was as Nero had said, except the guard had to wonder at why the boy, if he was in so much supposed shock, would so quickly want to explain the situation in lieu of looking guilty. And the boy was laughing, and something about that laugh made his insides grow chill. The leader of the guards was no idiot, he suspected that something was amiss...though it did not surprise him to hear that the heir to the throne had gone insane. Privately, he believed ALL of the royal members to be insane, and often thought that the empire would be better off without them. As one of his medical officers took a look at Nero's leg, Linnaeus went to Caligula, whispering quietly in his ear. "Is what the boy says true?"

"I don't know," Caligula replied soberly, despite the fit of laughter he was having inside at the little boy's antics, "the part about me arriving too late...sadly, that was true. I would have tried to pull him off his brother except he had that knife and...and I didn't know what was going on. He claims his brother poisoned the wine supply, and when he came here to confront him Claudius attacked him...that amulet there, contained the supposed poison..."

Linnaeus crossed the room to the dead prince, gingerly plucking the amulet from the pools of his blood. Flipping it over he examined it, till he found what he had been looking for. Indeed, there was a latch that he easily popped open, and within that latch there was a mysterious white powder. Pocketing the amulet as evidence, he went back to the doorway, searching for the doctor that had been sent for. Upon seeing him, he nodded to Caligula, and turned to stare at Nero. He still didn't believe the wicked boy, but he dare not accuse him when his facts seemed to be true...After glaring into Nero's eyes and making note of the absence of grief, he nodded briefly. "Indeed, it seems what Nero said was true. Doctor, take care of the p-, excuse me, Crown Prince. I will go alert the servants about the wine."

"About the wine, Linnaeus," Caligula called, his mood somewhat relieved that he had managed to escape blame. "Feed it to the prisoners."

"...A-all of them?" The captain's face blanched, knowing there were some 200 or so people, children and women included, being kept in the underground cells.

Caligula simply nodded, his thoughts somewhere else. His fingers strokes his chin as he contemplated his future moves.

"Y-yes, sir." Sighing, Linnaeus left, a knot in his gut as he went to the kitchens, hating what he was about to do.

Nero tested his newly bandaged leg and found it was still walkable. "Well.." He waited until the servants and everyone else had left before continuing, being sure no prying ears were to be hearing them. "I am in your debt, uncle." he said, casting a disgruntled look at his brother's form. "Ugh, that's going to be incredibly hard to scrub out of the stone... wel it's not like I am going to clean it so I guess it doesn't matter." He said in referrence to the sizeable amount of blood pooling around his brother's dead body. "Uncle, how will I ever repay you?" He asked, wondering what his uncle could possibly want. He also wondered why his uncle would feed the prisoner's the wine, other than to get rid of it. "I refuse to drink for a while too.. probably poisoned the house supply as well."

Caligula smiled as benignly as he could, reaching out to pat the boy on the head. "Don't worry about it, Nero, I'm your uncle, that's what I'm here for. Now come, let's get you cleaned up."

He led the boy towards the baths, treating him tenderly like a child, reminding him of how young he is. Caligula knew that if not for the boy's vulnerable age, he might well have killed his uncle alongside his brother, and he wouldn't have been bothered by it in the least. Caligula schemed to get close to the boy, to make him need him and trust him, and slowly, very slowly, twist the boy's already perverted mind into something he could use to his advantage.

Nero was a little bit confused at the gentleness his uncle used upon him and remembered to watch him closely. His uncle knew he'd just commited cold blooded murder. Why did he cover up for him? "I still owe you my life." Nero replied calmly, scrubbing blood from between his fingernails. "Why is it blood is so messy?"

He grinned despite his worries and such because while his brother was out of the picture he was very much next in line to rule.

Leaving Nero to bathe, Caligula laughed about the current circumstances. Things were looking up, with one pest down and the other in debt to him, he might manage to keep the throne indefinitely. Pleased with himself, he headed towards the cells, inquiring the guard on whether or not the prisoners had been given wine yet. When it was confirmed, he went inside to watch them die, laughing horrendously as he watched them suffer and expire.

Nero finished his bath and was preturbed that his beloved uncle hadn't told him how to pay him back yet. He dressed finely and all but ran to follow the sounds of his uncle's laughter. His uncle almost never laughed. When seeing the reason why he blinked several times and surpressed his own giggle.He decided to wait outside the door and not spoil his uncle's fun.

The prisoners were crying, huddled in groups on the floor, some clinging to the bars of their cages and begging for help. Caligula walked along the row of cells, trailing his fingertips over the thick metal poles lining the hallway, stepping on and squishing the unfortunate fingers beneath him. He made his way about halfway down the hall, taking his time and absorbing the air of despair and hopelessness, pain and suffering, before turning back. The screams and the cries were sweet delights for his ears. He laughed again, thinking how his nephew Claudius had planned this for himself and the rest of the household, and it made him giddy to think he had narrowly escaped this fate. Some prisoners had clearly not drunk the wine, and they stood pressed up tightly against a corner, cowering in fear as the poisoned criminals went insane, smashing themselves against the walls and collapsing into spasms, white foam dripping out of their mouths and bodies covered in sores. He was impressed, whatever Claudius had used was fast acting and more than efficient. For a poison to yield such results...he might have to go back and find the source of it, the servants could use a little more variety in their discipline. Having taken his fill of the grotesque scene around him, he strolled out of the room, completely calm, his bloodlust almost satiated. He was surprised to find Nero waiting for him in the outer hall. "What are you doing here?

"You never told me how to repay you..." Nero said, shrugging. "Did you have fun tormenting the prisoners? Your laughter was intoxicating." He said, trying to not laugh at the horrible pun he'd made against wine and the inebriated. He was also glad he'd allready been drunk that day and had missed the poisoning. He waited for an answer from his 'beloved' uncle, tapping his foot almost impatiently."I would have come in and asked, but I didn't think you wished to be btohered."

"Of course I enjoyed it. I'm sure they deserved it, or, most of them at least. It was probably a blessing for the rest...If you'd like, there's still a few could go in and watch?" Caligula opened the door wider, standing aside to let Nero in. "Don't worry about what I want, people who lo-, I mean, family...does thing for each other without expecting anything in return, and isn't that what we are?." He smiled, hoping it was convincing enough to hide the fact that he had gagged on the word "love".

"But.. I wont feel right about myself if I don't repay you." Nero replied with a searching look over his uncle. He huffed and looked at them all. "Uncle, they're all dead, there's nothing to watch except them dragging out bodies everywhere." He said, pouting and exiting the room again. "Come on, I will do anything, I will.. clean or something, tell me what I can do? I will even play as your servant and bide to your every wish for an extended period of time."

Caligula smiled genuinely at his nephew for once. The image of Nero as his servant was tempting...especially considering the special way he treated his servants, but he knew he mustn't let passing pleasures distract him from his true goals. "Mhh...consider us even. You save me from being poisoned and I saved you from the guards."

He knew better than to ask for anything of real value or the brat would feel think he had spared him for profit. He had to get closer to him, had to make Nero trust him...

"Yeah I saved you from poison, but... that just doesn't seem a fair trade somehow. But, if you insist.." He stated, forwning. He saw that his uncle's smile was genuine and he wasn't sure to be afraid or otherwise.

"Now, you should be sleeping." Caligula tenderly put his hands upon the boy's shoulders, guiding him towards his room. "Is there anything you need?"

"No, thank you.." Nero said with complete confusion at his uncle's gentle touch. He shrugged and decided the other was just feeling touchy-feely. "I have to go to the forum tomorrow, do you need me to pick anything up?" He asked.

Caligula laughed. "No, thank you. I believe I have everything I need here. You might want to start talking with the senators, there'll have to be a formal ceremony recognizing you as the new Crown Prince. I've got my own business to take care of, so you won't see me much."

He left the little prince to find his own way back to bed, cheerfully heading towards the servants' chambers to pick out a particularly attractive girl. Hell, he might as well celebrate tonight...He found the door, opening it quietly and shutting it and locking it behind him. He was the only one with the key to unlock these doors, so that no one could ever go in or out without his permission during these visits. Approaching the still form on the bed, he pulled out of his sleeves a long handkerchief. He knew the girl was awake, her body was too stiff to be naturally sleeping. Glad to inspire fear in her, he gagged her, and within the next few moments her pain filled screams would escape from the room like phantom mice fleeing a raging fire. There'd be no rest till dawn, when he'd slip out quietly, leaving her to pick up the damaged pieces of her soul and piece them back together.

Nero hummed as he went back to his room, laying casually on his bed. He was bored. Terribly terribly bored. He didn't know how to not be bored. Not in this situation. He huffed and looked outside. Perhaps all he needed was to go out and have some fun out in the town. He knew he wasn't technically allowed out, but he wanted some wine... un-poisoned wine and the sounds of his uncle doing... things with his servants made him practically ill. He went out to his balcony and began to climb down the side of it, using his toga to do so.

Once on the ground Nero found himself thinking it had been a bad idea to go, there were several strange people hiding in the dark and he knew at any moment they might try to assassinate him. He frowned and decided to go to the armory on the other side of the building and grabbed a knife for protection purposes. "Should of kept the knife I used to dispatch Claudius." He said, frowning at his own stupidity. He walked around and around, thinking the city was very very boring at night when all that was about were random travellers and people painting signs up on the walls to advertise their businesses. "Wow.. Rome is boring at night.." And then suddenly he heard music and laughter. He walked until he found the cause of it and noticed a place was open and by the roudy and silly sounds coming from it was filld with drunk people. Well, he was the crown prince, he was thirsty.

Upon entering the tavern he grinned, this was just his kind of party. He walked up to the bar and asked for his own bottle, a lot of people looked his way and whispered things, he knew they knew who he was, who in Rome did not? But they didn't care as he wasn't trying to poison them, they apparently all knew he had killed Claudius and knew that he may just do the same to them. They had the poison fact wrong, but who cared in the public? At least they feared him. News certainly traveled fast.

He drank and drank and danced with the commoners there, giddy with drunken happiness. After what seemed hours of this he noticed one in particular kept comming back to dance with him and eventually they left together, Nero grinning for no reason as he was not yet versed in what the man wanted from him. He didn't care, he was simply a very clingy drunk. "Take me back to the palace besides my bedroom window." He ordered, feeling he'd had a little too much. He was pleasantly just on the verge of dizzyness and the next thing he knew is that his back was pressed against cold hard stone and his tunic was pushed up. "Hey, what do you think you're doing?"

The man grunted. "I thought this was what you wanted, emperor?"

Nero smiled at the word emperor. "Thought what was what I wanted?"

"You came on to me.." The man said, pressing a much too hard kiss to Nero's lips.

Nero went still, realizing what this man meant suddenly and began to struggle. The man grabbed his wrists, muttering something about Nero being as fiesty as he knew he'd be and Nero tried to kick him, bite him , everything he could but the man pressed on.

"As the Crown Prince I order you just now to leave me alone or meet your death!"

The man didn't listen, feeling it was all apart of this act and suddenly a free hand that he had originally had pinned had escaped and desperate trying to move was ignored for a hand that grabbed the man from the back pulling him onto a very long and sharp blade.

"Linneaus!!! You've saved me, oh sweet captain! That man was insane!"

"Crown Prince, you know full well you are not to be out of the palace! Not at this time of night! You could have been killed."

Nero gave a full pout at the scolding. "But I am soon to be emperor one day I should be able to go out and have fun I was bored."

"Why didn't you take a guard then?"

"Do YOU trust these other guards Linneaus? I certainly don't." Nero said, hugging the captain "I trust you though, you saved me, dreamy soldier man." He practically clung to the other, smiling in a silly manner. "at least that man was pretty." He said, looking at the dead body. "What if I had been mollested by an ugly person? That wouldn't have looked good. OH don't tell uncle about this?"

Linneaus didn't dare touch the other he was a little worried to have Nero pressedup against him with the knowing what had transpired earlier in the day."I MUST tell your uncle, I can not keep this from him, he'll have my head." And suddenly he noticed something about Nero that he'd rather not of noticed, the boy washard. That means either the attack from the now dead civillian aroused him or he was aroused to be against him. "And it's time to get you back in to the house now. Have you been drinking?"

Nero nodded. "I don't trust the wine in the house. It's poisoned still probably." He said, looking up at the other. "So, what do you want to do because I am NOT going to bed yet."

"You ARE going to bed, because you are drunk and a danger to yourself."

"You said I should have brought a guard, well you're a guard, come out and have fun with me."

"I will tell your uncle what's happened right now instead of tomorrow if you do not get inside at this instant!"

"You're so... evil!" Nero said, hugging the other tight. "Mean people are not favoured with me, you better not make me go inside when I become emperor." He licked the guard on the cheek and began to stumble back inside the palace finding he was a little more inebraited that originally thought. He tripped over his own sandal and after a laughing fit about it he thought the cold stone of the floor felt quite nice and ushered Linneaus away, and began to sleep.

By morning Caligula had returned to his own bed. At some point Linnaeus had found him out and told him what Nero had been up to. Caligula didn't care if the brat went outside, it would be better for him in fact if the boy managed to get himself killed. He supposed he'd have to at least fake concern and worry, and that irritated him, but it wasn't a big deal. Laying in bed, he decided not to get up yet, and instead spent time combining the pleasant memories of last night with the dark fantasies of his future. For the moment, everything was comfortable, and there were no immediate concerns to get rid of. Caligula stretched, enjoying the feel of his bedsheets and being one step closer to the true ruler of Rome. A thought occurred to him, and he debated whether or not to punish Nero for going out last night by keeping him from going to the Forum. If he did, the boy's anger could be damaging, but on the other hand pissing him off would be would remind Nero that he wasn't yet emperor and he still had to obey Caligula. Grinning, that's what he decided to do, but of course he'd mask it in the feigned emotions of worry and father-like distress. Maybe this way, he'd also find out why Nero wanted to go to the forum, and see if the boy was brewing any schemes of his own.

Nero woke on the hard floor of the palace, clinging to his toga which had come to be used as a blanket. "Oh by the gods I have a headache." He said, rolling over, feeling rather ill. "Never, drinking, again." He said, hauling himself to his feet and emptying his stomach near a disposal ditch. After retching he went shakily to his room and lay on his bed, the curtains shut to keep out harsh light from his eyes. "Never ever again."

Caligula knocked loudly on the door of Nero's room, giggling to hear the boy moan inside. "Wonderful, he's got a hangover," he thought, "this will be fun." He smiled, anticipating getting into a yelling match with the boy, all of which would be certain to aggravate his headache further. "Nero!" he shouted, feigning anger, "Young man, WAKE UP!!"

"On second thought, maybe I need more wine.." Nero thought as he heard his uncle yell at him. "WHAT do you want you yelling beast!?" He demanded of his uncle, opening the door with a disgruntled look, his tunic was dirty and his hair was a mess, he even had dark circles under his eyes. "Why must you yell, uncle?"

"You have some explaining to do, young prince! What were you thinking going out by yourself at night? You could have gotten yourself killed. You're lucky Linnaeus was there to stop that man from hurting you!" Caligula glared, purposely continuing to fake angry as an excuse to keep yelling. If he was lucky, Nero would also get angry and insist on being let out more and Caligula would get to lock him up, which would make Nero want to go out on his own and rebel, and at the least result in these daily morning torments...

"I was bored so I felt like going out! Who areyou to tell me not to? Next time I will be a guard, besides I don't want to go out again, it's even more boring there than it is here, and at least here I don't normally wake up with a pounding headache and the attempts of rape present on me from the night before." Nero replied, wincing angrily as pain shot thorugh his head at the raised voice of his uncle. "I was lucky to find Linneaus, but I told him not to tell you!" He pouted in a child-like manner and clung to his uncle. "No, don't let me go out ever again! I feel so horrible! Wine is evil!"

"I AM YOUR GUARDIAN!" Caligula seethed, truly angry now that Nero hadn't taken the bait. "And if you don't want to go out anymore, then you won't mind if I forbid you, hear me? FORBID you from going to the market!" He quickly calculated the advantages and disadvantages to keeping Nero away from the market. If Nero couldn't go, then he could, and perhaps procure some of the poison Claudius had been using. It wasn't too late to poison one barrel of wine or perhaps the bread or something else and blame it on the deceased prince.

"Might you correct that to I can't go at night?" Nero asked, angry at the other. "You may be my guardian, uncle, but you're not my father, and you're pissing me off now, so do shut up with all the yelling!" Nero exclaimed, tears in his eyes from how bad his head hurt. "Go shout at a servant or soemthing. You're just mad because you didn't go out last night."

"No, you're not allowed to go at all until I decide that you can. Consider it your punishment for your behavior last night. Besides, you can't go out in public in the state that you're in, look at you, you're crying! You really want the people to see the Crown Prince beaving so weakly?" His voice lowered, but only enough so that people wouldn't think he was purposely being cruel to the boy despite his true intentions. 

Nero was enraged as his uncle continued his raised voice. He pressed his hand over his uncle's mouth. "I cry because my head is killing me and you insist on raising your voice. I don't care, I wont go to the stupid forum then, but LOWER YOUR VOICE!"

Caligula bit the prince's hand, displeased that he dare shush him so. "Don't you ever touch me like that again unless I give you permission!" Calming himself, he resumed being the stern father figure. "Now, get yourself washed up, have something to eat and maybe some water, and then go back to bed. Nothing is going to cure your hangover, but maybe it'll help." Promptly he turned, leaving the boy to take care of himself, and went stalking down the halls to his own rooms.

Nero glared at the other who'd bitten his hand "You're so mean!" He said, getting some bread to eat, trusting it wold calm his stomach and then he grabbed himself a large jug of water and sat in bed, drinking it slowly."I don't know why he had to come here and yell at me when I was all ready doing things to make myself feel better. I have to have a word with Linneaus! LINNEAUS! LINNEAUS YOU GET HERE THIS INSTANT!"

The captain of the royal guard heard Nero yelling and...stayed exactly where he was. He knew he'd get in trouble, but if the royal pain really needed to see him he knew the little prince would manage to find him out on his own. If the matter wasn't that urgent, then he figured he could get away with ignoring him for now. Most likely he was just being pissy because he got in trouble with Caligula. Well, it was his fault...He sipped at his tea, tapping his fingers against his cup, and contemplated his position in this household. His job was to protect the royal family...but he suspected that they might be trying to kill each other off, and what are you supposed to do then? "Royalty..." he muttered, snorting with disgust, "they're all freaking insane!"

Nero huffed, tired of yelling. He got up and regrettably went to find Linneaus to give him a piece of mind, when he found him not too far and sipping tea he bristled. "OH my god! You SO heard me calling you! Why did you not come? You're in a lot of trouble for telling my Uncle what I had gone out for last night! I am no longer allowed out!" He said, growling in displeasure. "And yet here you are sipping tea, ignoring my calls! Must I remind you what could happen to one that ignores the future emperor?" Nero asked, leaning close to the other while he spoke.

"I thought you had a headache?" Linnaeus raised his eyebrow, unruffled by Nero's temper tantrum. It would take more than a death threat to worry the guard, which is probably why he was good at his job. He sighed, putting his cup down and turning to face the boy demon, "It would be in your best interest for your Uncle to know you go out at night, especially if you are doing it so recklessly. The next time you pull a stunt like that, I might not be there to save you, and then what? Hopefully, you've learned a lesson or two." The older man sat back, keeping his face neutral and his voice calm.

Plopping himself in Linneaus' lap, facing the stoic captain he frowned, "But you realize he yelled at me?" He asked, his face in a most ridiculous pout. "He can be so mean. He came in there pounding on my door and shouting! You're not allowed to tell on me anymore." He said matter of factly, playing with the captain's uniform.

"From what I could hear, you've been doing your own fair share of shouting too." The captain leaned back, pressing himself against the chair to distance his body as much from the heir to the throne as possible. Memories of how the boy clung to him and the hardness between his legs last night brought a faint blush to his cheeks, but his face did not betray him in any other way and his tone remained nonchalant. "I will continue reporting on you because it's my job, and even the future emperor could not convince me to do my job wrong."

"Oh you are a naughty boy, aren't you?" Nero asked, stroking his cheek. "All right I am no longer angry at you. You do have a job to do afterall. And you did save me from.. whatever was about to happen." Nero said a little too innocently than what should of perhaps come out of his mouth.

Linnaeus gave Nero a stern look. "I think you are still drunk. Perhaps you should return to bed now. He shifted positions so that the boy would get the hint and get off him, indicating that he was about to leave too.

Nero gave the other a pout. "I don't get it, why doesn't anyone ever want to spend time with me?" He asked, storming off to said room to lay on his bed in misery, but luckily his head was feeling a bit better.

Linnaeus shook his head. "That boy...he'll be the death of me. Or maybe that uncle of his..."

In the meantime, Caligula had been hunting down all the servants that had been attending to Claudius before his untimely end. He interrogated them one by one, his methods getting more and more vicious as he sought out the source of the poison that had caused such delightful effects. The waiting servants lay cowering together, huddled in fear, moaning while they watched their comrades one by one expire under the care of Caligula. So far, no one had confessed, and the temporary emperor was getting more and more upset as the day went by wasted. Eventually, letting out an enraged yell at the rest, he summoned his personal guards. "Get rid of them, all of them! if any of them survive I WILL find the culprit and punish him."

Nero was feeling much better a little later in the afternoon. He was beaming as he found his uncle. "Mn, I must say, uncle, I hope I am as commanding as you one day" He said, grinning fully at the man. "Perhaps you could command me while we take a walk in the forum?" He asked, trying to get the other to go with him so he had an excuse to go out as well."We can take Linneaus and I promise to be a good boy."

Califula frowned, being blunt, "You're sucking up. What do you want? What's in the forum that you need so much? It's not much of a punishment is it if you're not punished at all..."

"I just want to go and shop and stuff. You know, find new togas and be amongst our empire's people... can you blame me? It gets boring being locked away in here all day." Nero replied, pouting. "And I wasn't sucking up, you really are incredibly commanding."

"So you're saying I'm bossy?" The emperor raised his eyebrow, looking at the boy skeptically. He wasn't sure if "commanding" was a compliment or not. "Linnaeus isn't your personal bodyguard, he's the leader of the guards, so you can't just expect him to be your chaperone whenever you want. I'm sure he has important things to take care of, like keeping you, me, and the guests that we favor safe. He has to train the other guards, make sure they're always alert, that they know what to do in any event, all that stuff that I couldn't be bothered to do, he picks up on it, so leave him alone, and don't make his job harder. If you want to go to the forum you'll just have to wait till I decide you're responsible enough, in the mean time, perhaps you should attend to your studies?"

"No, I am saying you're commanding." Nero informed pouting at the other. "Oh come on! Linneaus is the guard leader, you're the emperor and I am the heir sooo technicaly he IS our personal body guard, his job is to protect the royal family, remember? " He asked, shaking his head about studies. "I will not learn my studies. I don't have to."

"But who says I want to go to the forum? Maybe I think you'd embarass me in public. Your behavior last night doesn't speak very well of how you would conduct yourself. Hmm, perhaps if you do your studies today, tomorrow Linnaeus and I will escort you to the marketplace?"

"I would never embarrass you, uncle." Nero replied in a voice that could only be almost seductive if he wasn't only about twelve in age. "Sounds like a deal, but do you promise? I don't want to waste time studing when I could be out having fun..."

"Out having fun? You're supposed to remain indoors regardless of whether or not you are studying!" Caligula's temper spiked for a brief moment, but he reconsidered his decisions. "Fine, if you can behave and keep yourself out of trouble and finish your studies today, then I promise I'll bring you out tomorrow."

"Thank you, Uncle!" Nero said happily, kissing the other for a brief moment on the lips, running off to find linneaus to tell him of the news. "LINNEAUS, DARLING!, Uncle says I may accompany you and he tomorrow to the forum." He said, grinning.

Linneaus sighed, just what he wanted, to escort the two most frightening people in rome."Um.. that's good."

Nero grinned and ran off to his bedroom, sending a wink to the captain before doing so, studying as long as needed.

Caligula licked his lips. The prince had left a sweet taste behind that was somewhat tempting, somewhat arousing. The sadistic side of him entertained a few moments of chasing after that delightful thought, but in the end he shook his head...maybe later there would be time and an opportunity for that, but right now he had other things to take care of, like fully taking advantage of Nero's momentary distraction. He slipped out of the palace, hurrying down a maze of different alleys and side streets, on guard for any sign that he had been followed. It had taken a long while, but finally he had figured out where to obtain the poison Claudius had managed to procure, and he held in his hand the amulet taken from Linnaeus' chambers while the guard was busy with Nero. Instead of asking where Claudius had gotten the poison, he instead asked where Claudius had gotten the amulet, and had been far more successful to his delight.

Studying was set aside as Nero finished a grueling three chapters of reading and answered several questions given to him by his private tutor, and then after studying his greek lessons he was moe than happy to have the rest of the evening to himself, well.. except that it was to himself. Nero was quite the lonely boy, having no one to torment or play with. He wondered where his uncle went, in the end deciding to rummage through his uncle's room. To him it was only fair. He grinned as he found a book illustrating several rather brutal rapes in the form of a story. "What the hell uncle, this is sooo going to be used as blackmail..." He said, almost afraid of the book. He took it with him to his own room, using it as casual light reading, wondering when the other would return. "LINNEAUS! I HAVE BLACKMAIL!" He shouted excitedly.

Linneaus entered Nero's room. "Whatever do you mean now?"

"I found this in my uncle's room now we know who's been raping the visitors that come to the palace."

"Nero, how am I supposed to know for sure that it belongs to Caligula hmn? How do I know you didn't simply buy it for yourself?That could be your book. So technically you're blackmailing yourself...although if that does belong to your uncle you may want to put it up, I don't think it's something you wish to be caught with."

Nero turned pale as he looked at the book in his hands and realized Linneaus was right, there was nothing to say that the book was truly his uncles. "Linneaus... you're a life saver. Now go put this back in my uncle's room please?" He asked, not wanting to be caught with the book in fear that his uncle would return soon.

Linneaus snorted. "I apologize, Nero, but I don't know exactly where you got it from and all I have to do is say that you gave it to me to put back. I think you should put it back yourself, go on now, quickly." He ushered, gesturing to the doorway.

Nero huffed "Nothing ever works out for me!" He said angrily, running off to his uncle's room, frowning as he didn't remember where he'd gotten it from.

When Caligula got home he went immediately to his rooms, thinking of where he might hide his newly acquired amulet. He was surprised to find the door already partially open, and immediately made efforts to conceal his presence, becoming extra quiet and careful not to be seen as he peeked inside and found Nero going through his things, holding a book in his hand. Snarling, he pounced on the boy, shoving him back onto the bed, pinning him down. "What are you doing with that?!"

Nero's eyes widened in fear as he was pinned down. "I'm sorry! I was bored and went to find you to tell you I'd finished my studies and then this caught my eye.. I was just about to put it back! Calm down!" Nero pleaded from under his uncle, staring up at him.

"Likely story...did you read it? I bet you did!" Caligula pulled Nero's arms above the boy's head, holding them down with one hand while fetching the book with the other, opening it up to a page that described one of his favorite nightly visits to one of their male guests. "He quivered as I thrust into him, shaking in fear and forced pleasure, screaming into his pillow as I reached around and squeezed him, tight, my nails scratching the tender young flesh" he read, grinning savagely down at his nephew. "Is this what you want? Is this why you're here?" He tossed the book aside, his hands wandering over the prince's body, down to the hem of his tunic and slipping inside, caressing his thighs and hips. "I could give it to you, and there's nothing you could do to stop me..." His lips pressed down roughly over the boy's, sucking and invading his innocent mouth, moving down to the throat where he bit him playfully over the collarbone. He knew he couldn't go all the way, but he could certainly make the boy think he was about to, and he took joy in the fear and trepidation as a nervous sweat arose from the supple flesh of his prisoner beneath him.

Nero was quite frightened by his uncle's sudden display of lust. He was frightened and yet helplessly aroused by his uncle. "No! I did read it but it wasn't to be rude! Please, uncle, let me up..." He pleadd with the other, huffing and looking up to him with confused eyes.

"Your body is begging me to stay, Nero." His hands stroked the boy's arousal, scratching over his inner thighs, pushing his legs apart. He bit harder down on Nero's collarbone, tugging the skin and lashing it with his tongue. "You've read what I do...and you came here, to my bedchambers, and dare lie to me and tell me you don't want it? I'll show you what I do to the people who visit my bed..." Pulling Nero's tunic up past his hips, he positioned himself on top of the boy, revealing the bulge in the folds of his own clothing. "I'll make you my lover, and maybe that will cure your insolence." His bites trailed to Nero's neck, his free hand curling in the boy's hair and yanking his head back, baring his body to him.

"I came to return the book! Secretly I was going to use it as blackmail against you to get what I wanted, meaning go to the forum, but Linneaus told me it could be used against me since nothing binds it to you so I went to return it. I didn't mean anything by it, besides, we're related! You can't do this to me!" Nero reasoned as well as he could, subconsciously baring his neck to his uncle as his body fought against his will and desire to surrender to him.

"I can do whatever the hell I want!" Caligula's hand found its way to the tender point between Nero's thighs and he pressed his thumb slowly but forcefully into the boy, his mouth covering up the pained screams and shrieks as he drilled his finger deeper in, twisting as he went, ruthless and brutal. He kissed and licked the noy's mouth through each tortured moan, breathing hard, pausing to ask, "Shall I punish Linnaeus in your stead, then, for telling you to come back into my room?"

"No! Linneaus is not at fault for my errors!" He said, both wanting to protect the guard and wanting to keep this evil ministrations to himself for a reason that he didn't really know of. Was he so masochistic? Did this type of thing really make him lust?

"So protective, my dear? Maybe it'd be an even better punishment for you to see him hurt." Caligula tore himself away from the boy, making sure not to cross the line...yet. It's possible Linnaeus' torment might be more fun anyway, though he would hate to lose such a faithful guard. On the other hand, he WAS about to let Nero get away with going through his things...

"You will not touch Linneaus!" Nero shouted, standing and righting his tunic "He's done nothing wrong in this, I don't care what you do to me, but you will NOT touch him." His fists were balled and his teeth gritted. He glared his uncle down with loathing, wishing the other would come to his senses and see reason.

"Ha! Says you! Linnaeus! Get in here!" Caligula growled, his temper spiking as his body heated..he wanted something equally hot and passionate to counter him, and the guard just might do the trick. But there's no way staid old Linnaeus would succumb to his lusts so easily, and the challenge sent thrills down to his groin as he heard the pitterpat of rushing footsteps.

"Yes, Master!" Linnaeus recognized Caligula's mood, and offered as much cordiality and politeness to calm the situation.

"Is it true that you told Nero to go into my room?!" The emperor stalked over to the guard, grabbing him by the cloak, ready to tear his clothing away.

"I, uh, I-" Linnaeus' eyes flashed to Nero, looking indignant and disheveled and outraged, and his mind calculated what to do. Either of them were deadly when they wanted to be, and tonight it looked like they were both out for blood, though for the moment, Nero's anger was directed at his uncle and Caligula...He felt the bulge of the emperor's erection against his thigh, grinding into him, and he understood. Swallowing hard, his eyes returned to look into the other man's, steady now with his decision. "Yes, I told him to return something he said he had found here."

"I thought so!" Caligula spat, ripping away the guard's clothing. "Watch closely Nero, you did this to him!"

Nero was enraged by his uncle's words and he did something he'd never thought he'd do, he hit his uncle, hard across the face. "I said DON'T TOUCH HIM! HE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!" Nero said in a shaky shout, adrenaline not letting the shock of what he just did set in yet. He may have been a strange and awkward boy, silly and insane, but he did not feel his only friend deserved his own punishment. "I don't get what the hell is so DAMNED IMPORTANT about a stupid little book anyways!?"

Caligula froze, his hand tightening around the piece of Linnaeus' tunic that he still held. Shock bloomed across his mind, almost obscuring the red haze of anger that came billowing into his mind. His body went still, and in a low voice he uttered, "It's not about the book. It's about my privacy and respecting me." His hands began to shake from the effort of clenching them and his nails soon drew blood from his palms. Grinding his teeth, he managed to restrain himself from grabbing the guard's sword and cutting down the pestulent brat. Instead, he simply raised his hand and smacked the boy, hard, across the face, making Nero stagger and glaring at Linnaeus, daring him to do anything. Heaving out an exhalation of relief, he calmed himself. "You may not go out tomorrow, you will be confined to your rooms. You will not get to see Linnaeus, in fact, you will not be allowed to see anyone except the maids who bring you your food. If I feel like you deserve to come out, I'll let you know."

Turning away, Caligula looked over the naked guard, the mess of his room, and the ball of fabric still in his hand. He threw it down, walking out on the two of them, debating other places to hide his amulet.

Nero held his face where he'd been hit in return and was almost in tears. He glanced apologeticly to Linnaeus and sighed. "I am sorry. I don't know why he's getting so worked up over it anyways." He said, walking to his own rooms. "Oh what fun, just wait until I become the emperor. We'll see who needs the respect then, uncle." He mumbled to himself, plopping down on his bed. "What the hell was he going to do to me anyways? Honestly, kissing me! Touching me! He's my damned uncle!" He was growing angrier and angrier as he thought about what had all occured. He felt his uncle was in the wrong to have tried to punish him so harshly. But you enjoyed it, didn't you? a sick little voice in the back of his mind stated. "Confined to my room. HA." He had every intention to roam about as he pleased.

There was a soft knock at the door, and Linnaeus entered, looking somewhat insecure. "I know it's my job to make sure you're alright...but...really, are you alright?" He approached the boy heir, stopping some distance away, but measuring up the physical hints of harm. So far, there was only the bright red mark left behind by the slap, no obvious bruising...perhaps a slight trembling? He was torn between concern and embarassment at his situation, lingering by the door instead of intruding further in. Nero really was a delicate boy, all soft bones and hardly any muscle. Normally, all that he exuded was an air of crazed danger, but after tonight's events, he seemed almost...fragile.

Nero looked up in fear that it had been his uncle for a second. As he saw it was Linneaus he sighed. "I am all right, Linneaus. However, I do not want you hurt, please leave before my uncle catches you talking with me." He said, rising from his bed and walking over to the guard. He kissed him on the cheek before he looked into his eyes. "How can I become strong enough to stand up against him? I'm hardly half the bulk you are and have no skill with swordsmanship. Are all future rulers so weak?" He frowned in his question, feeling vulnerable.

"A ruler's strength comes from more than just their physical abilities, it is often their mental capabilities that make them a strong or weak ruler. Why do you think they have strong guards like me to protect them? With us here, they don't need to worry about becoming physically strong, they can work on their mental strength. With time and training, you could become a great fighter, but you need to exercise both your mind and body." He hugged the young boy gently. "I cannot be near you for now, but as your guard, I'll do the best I can to make sure you remain well protected. Sleep well, my Prince."

"You too Linneaus." Nero replied, pouting at the other. "I still think you should train me.." He sighed and returned the guard's hug, finding t foreign but delightful all the same

"If you want to train, start by reading. War strategies, political strategies, history...these are all things that may help you as an emperor. But for now, sleep, I'll see you...whenever Caligula lifts his ban." Linnaeus closed the door to Nero's room, finding it strange that he could have tender feelings for such a psychotic little boy. He looked down at himself, studying hid half-nude body. Beneach his clothing his skin was tanned and muscled, light scars criss crossing over his chest. He could see bright pink trails from where Caligula's nails had scratched him, but they'd heal easily. His heart, however, still stuttered in perplexity over his earlier decision. He had almost allowed himself to be raped, and the idea disturbed him. He put it away in a dark corner of his mind, not wanting to think about it, he dismissed it as an act taken to protect one of his wards. But the image that had been banished from his mind left ghost traces of itself in his flesh, giving him goosebumps, and for the first time that night he became self conscious of his nudity. The night was almost over, and with both relief and haste, Linnaeus headed to his quarters to sleep.

Nero was beyond irritated. At having what he conidered his only friend leave him for the evening, he decided to clean his room.. it wasn't even messy but damn if he wasn't just that bored. He then took a bath and after that retrieved grapes and bread from a servant. After that he did as Lineaus suggested and began reading war strategies. He was upset that it was highly boring material."How the hells can the man read this boring stuff?" He huffed and looked out his window at the city below. Oh how it called to him and beckoned him onto it s streets. Should he risk venturing out? Probably not. He was sure what Caligula almost commited on him earlier, he didn't want that again. At least.. not at that forced level. "UNCLE I WANT OUT OF THIS ROOM."

Caligula hummed, almost cheerful, as he scraped wet plaster over the small hole he had carved into the wall at ground level, in the place where the statue of Minerva normally stood within the library. Once again he had gotten away, unsuspected of his devious plot, and now completely at ease that he would not be caught. The problem of Nero's pesky snooping did not bother him so much, he was sure that the boy wouldn't ever try it again. If he did, Caligula would surely delight in further punishing the boy. The look on Nero's terrified face tonight was delicious, and his reluctant arousal had stirred some warm flames into his uncle's loins. Perhaps later he would find a servent to subject to his lust, a young boy that may resemble the heir apparent through some ill misfortune. As the plaster dried, he sucked on the bristles of a paintbrush, pursing his succulent lips around the tip and moistening the point into a delicate peak. His mind wandered briefly, and he determined to find himself a slave boy before the night was out, before setting back to his task and dipping the brush into a small pot of paint, reapplying colorful touches to the new patch of plaster to make this spot blend in once more. Carefully, he drew an ankh, the Egyptian symbol of immortality, in the center of the new plaster, marking the exact spot of his hiding place. When the paint had dried, he returned the statue of the goddess to its original place, and disposed of his building materials discreetly, lest they should act as evidence to his intentions.

Nero for the first time seemed to realize that his door was much unlocked. The only reason he listened to his uncle was to avoid rape, but Nero was one hell of a fast runner if he wished to be and his doors could possibly lock from the inside. With that in mind he stepped out of the room, looking around carefully as he did. He snuck into the atrium and when he noticed his uncle wasn't around he decided to sneak out of the palace all together, knowing very well he'd probably get in a fair amount of trouble for his efforts. "FREE!" He shouted with much laughter as he left the building, only to be stopped by a wall of guards who grabbed him and drug him to his said uncle's room and gave a knock to the evil man's door.

"What?!" Caligula snarled, in response to the knock. The guards knew that he didn't like to be disturbed in his private chambers, so either Nero had miraculously collapsed of heart failure or one of the guards was going to take that little servant boy's place. When he opened the door, he was surprised and somewhat infuriated to see Nero standing before him, still very much alive. He eyed the boy up and down, taking in the firm grasp the guards had on him. Calm was restored once again, at the thought that maybe Nero had been caught committing a crime worthy of execution, but stayed just below the surface of his nerves, waiting to rise up once more, just in case. "What is going on here?" he spat, looking directly at his nemesis.

Nero glared at Caligula. "Well, you see uncle, I thought I had post arrive and therefore I went outside to collect it, you would reject my own mail from me, I shouldn't think. These guards arrested me to bring to you."

"My lord, whenhe left the palace he shouted "Free" I am rather certain he was trying to escape the punishment you placed upon him." He said, giving Nero a violent shove towards Caligula.

"Is that so? Escort him back to his room, and this time leave a guard or two to watch over him."

"Yes sir," the guard replied, bowing curtly and nodding at the entourage to begin heading out.

"Oh and when Linnaeus gets here, send him to me. We'll see how much he can stand paying for little Nero's crimes."

Caligula smiled to himself and retreated to his room, the look of horror on Nero's face imprinted upon his eyelids.

Nero fought his way out of the guard's grasps and ran up to his uncle. "Don't you dare punish him for my so called crimes! I don't see why you're pissed off anyways! What I discovered your dirty little secret. EVERYONE, CALIGULA LIKES TO RAPE LITTLE BOYS AND ANYONE ELSE HE COMES INTO CONTACT WITH, RUN FOR YOUR ASSES!"

This was the scene that Linneaus happened upon and he sighed deeply. "Nero, why can't you just for once pay attention and stop getting into trouble? Your punishment was almost over!" He wondered what he'd have to do to save the boy's hide this time.

Knowing that the guards were watching, Caligula had to work to restrain himself from smacking the boy across the floor. "Either shut him up or knock him out, either way, get him the Hell out of here!" he growled, glaring at the guards.

As Nero was led away, his mind bristled with ideas of how to get back at him. When a plan emerged, it began to turn the corners of his lips up, and it was with this grimace that he turned to look at Linnaeus. "Linnaeus," he whispered. "What do you think of our young emperor?"

Nero paced about his room, wondering how he would get out in order to save his captain. The capatain had done the same for him on several occasions and he wanted to repay him. /he'd just about given up all hope of escape when he realized his room had an open shelf that he could climb over the other side with. He grinned and began piling up his furniture.

Linneaus hid the worry he had for the young emperor as well as he could at Caligula's question. "He's the next in line for the throne. I think he has some growing to do, but he should make a ine ruler. I think of him as something to protect. Why do you ask?" He tried to hide the accusation already evident in his tone but failed slightly.

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2009-11-20 [The Vampire Armand]: There I fixed it.

2009-11-23 [elfflower1989]: <3 I love your writing <3 Bm kind of falling in and out of I'll reply to this later. *giggles* A relationship with Linnaeus and Nero...and I swear I thought Linnaeus was straight :P

2009-11-23 [The Vampire Armand]: Linneaus wasn't necessarily turned on, more or less he was afraid, but of course I could put them together. I am glad you liked my post.

2009-11-25 [elfflower1989]: Is Nero flirting?! XD

2009-11-27 [The Vampire Armand]: Yes-laughs-

2009-12-07 [elfflower1989]: Don't edit yet I'm not done but I have to go somewhere.

2009-12-07 [The Vampire Armand]: All right

2010-04-04 [The Vampire Armand]: I will post on this tomorrow.

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