"You will be a dead man soon."
They haven't been alone with each other for a long time, Antony and Caesar. Caesar barely ever breathes anymore without someone demanding his attention, either through speech, letter or war, and in the moments of quiet there is always Posca. Antony is sure that Posca is somewhere nearby even now, watching them in hunter's silence, but Antony doesn't mind. The important thing is that Caesar is there, for once himself more than an actor, considering Antony's words with a distant look on his face, which means he's thinking. He's treating Antony's words as the serious matter they are.
A strange softness spreads into Antony upon that realization, but he fights its seductive lull, straightening his back against the wall he's leaning to. No time for any of that; they are at Atia's house, at a party no less, where no secret is safe and nothing is missed. He watches as Caesar fiddles with his goblet, which is still as full as it was when a slave gave it to him earlier; Antony can be careless, but Caesar will never be. That means the conversation - argument, fight, debate, anything but an empty talk - may never happen, and expression on Caesar's face that Antony believes to be thoughtful may mean nothing. Tension is born and growing by the time Caesar turns his ever elusive eyes to Antony.
"What do you think I should do about it?"
Caesar's voice is light, as it always is. Any other man would take that lightness as mockery, but Antony knows better; the lighter the words, the heavier the meaning, and the softness in the eyes means that the predator inside is awake, and aware of everything. It's a strange comfort, the knowledge that there is menace in the air, and this time Antony allows it to come to him. There is still sense in his leader's head.
"Does that matter?" Caesar is standing close, so Antony has no problem reaching out for the goblet in Caesar's hand, lifting it away as he feels Caesar loosen his hold. Antony drinks, and moves just a little bit closer to Caesar; he imagines Posca tense in concern somewhere, out of sight, where he might as well not exist. Antony looks into Caesar's eyes, but doesn't see far; the shroud of benevolence that once existed for enemies only is there for everyone now, even for those who care or used to.
It pisses him off.
"You are Caesar. You do what you want to do." March into Rome, let traitors slip from his grip to plot more time after time, fill the Senate with every single creature he can think of. Antony loves that shameless, outrageous nerve, but hates the generosity and mercy, the pretense that those who fought against them would be content to roll over to their rule. They both know that Caesar knows better than that, yet Caesar pretends otherwise and expects Antony to do the same.
Knows that Antony will, no matter how angry he gets.
"You're not going to stop."
Whispering the words as he does, he sounds weak.
He almost feels like it when something new lights Caesar's eyes up.
"Do you want me to?"
Antony laughs out loud before he can catch himself, and now that he has slipped he can't stop himself anymore. What does he want? He has come with Caesar this far and hasn't had any complaints before, and certainly can't summon any regrets or doubts now. He gave up on such things a long time ago, about the time his father died and he realized that some things are beyond his will. He knows it's the same for Caesar; it's what brought them together in the first place, the likeness of the soul, the need to push and push no matter what. They have gone this far together and there is no turning back, nor the desire to do so.
"Whatever happens.." He lets the words linger between them, both sharp and hazy like a threat. He inches closer, waving the goblet at Caesar's face. "I will follow you, even to fucking Pluto." He takes the goblet back to his lips and gulps at the nothing inside. There is no reason to that, but that can be said about a lot of things related to him.
"But it's not your time to go there yet."
His reason belongs to one thing and one thing alone.
Their moment is reaching its end; he can tell, and so can Caesar, who decides to act on it. He grasps Antony by the neck and kisses him, twice on the cheeks and once on the mouth, and each of them feels like a brand. Brands are for slaves and animals, so Antony should be twisting and screaming at it like Cicero against the end of his precious Republic; instead he tries to steal more of them, but only manages one brief brush against Caesar's jaw before he's pushed away, against the wall. Caesar's hands stay on him a bit longer, thumbs pressing into the soft flesh between the throat and the jawbone before retreating. Antony almost moves forward for more, but stops. There is sound coming their way.
"It's not," Caesar agrees, catching Antony's attention back to the subject. Caesar's smile and eyes match for once. "Let us not worry about it yet."
His gut goes cold at those words, twisting like there's a knife in it, but the sound has reached them and of course it belongs to Atia, and the moment Caesar sees her he turns into an actor again, and their moment is over for good. Antony tosses his goblet at the nearest slave and walks to Caesar's side, catching Atia's eyes briefly to tell her that he will be coming to her soon. Her eyes fill with delight, which warms him, but doesn't make the smile he has summoned to his lips any more real.
/Let us not worry about it./ In a way, that was sensible; there simply was no point anymore.