After the ax, there was no chance that Mira would ever be as adept with a bow as she once was. The mass of scar tissue covering her shoulder and collar bone meant that she could no longer elevate her arm for any prolonged time without pain.
She trained in daggers now, with Saxa, learning all the ways she could be swift and deadly without placing undue strain on her shoulder. Thrusts, feints, modified slashes—she did her best to learn them all, knowing Saxa would reward her with kisses for good work.
For excellent work, such as when Mira surprised Saxa with a leap similar to the one she had used against the Roman soldier who had attacked Naevia so many months ago, Saxa would give her a brilliant smile, toss her over her shoulder, and take her to bed. Mira strived for excellence.
Saxa had never held with ornamentation or fripperies. They could either be grabbed in a fight or would make noise during a hunt or ambush. Her one concession to vanity was her hair, worn loose.
She was glad for it as Mira combed her fingers through her hair, getting out the tangles. Saxa sat on the step below Mira, luxuriating in the feel of her lover playing with her hair.
Mira imitated the Roman styles she used to know, braiding and twisting Saxa’s blonde hair. When the German expressed her displeasure at being made to look like a Roman lady, Mira began to create new styles, holding them in place with rope and sticks until Saxa would shake her head and send her hair tumbling back down. She would then smile and look expectantly up at Mira, who would laugh and kiss her before beginning again.
They spent many nights like this, Saxa sleepy and content, fingers trailing along Mira’s calf, as Mira smiled and let her fingers sift through golden hair.
“You seem happy,” Spartacus noted, helping Mira with the firewood.
“I am,” she smiled and looked over at Saxa, who was laughing with Nemetes about something.
“I am glad for that.” He placed a hand against her cheek, briefly. “I am glad you found someone who can give you the love that you deserve.” Mira waited for the flash of bitterness she had become accustomed to during her interactions with Spartacus. Instead, all she felt was affection. Spartacus was still a good man, and what she felt for Saxa was far more fulfilling than what she had felt for him.
“I pray that one day you can find such happiness as I have found with her,” she said, readjusting the wood as her shoulder twinged. Saxa noticed the movement, and hurried over, her face concerned.
“Mira…” Spartacus began.
“I know your heart is with your wife,” Mira smiled, “but you are allowed happiness. I do not think she would begrudge you that.” Saxa reached them then, taking the wood from Mira with a stream of frustrated German. Mira rolled her eyes and swatted Saxa on her back as she left.
“Gratitude, Mira, for your kind words. Now go, see to it that Saxa does not have my balls for allowing you to collect firewood.”
One night by the fire, as Saxa massaged Mira’s shoulder and Nasir dozed with his head in Agron’s lap, Crixus looked between the two and began to laugh.
“I never would have guessed your people would be so easily tamed by a pretty face and tender hands, Agron.”
“As were you, Crixus, you fuck,” Agron responded lazily. Most of the enmity between them had vanished, and they now traded barbless insults as a matter of course. Saxa picked up a stone and tossed it at Crixus’ head.
“Do not think us tame because we love, Gaul,” she said. “You fight with the same rage we do when heart is threatened.”
“That I do,” Crixus admitted, gazing fondly at where Naevia lay, already asleep. Agron snorted, disrupting Nasir’s sleep. Saxa smirked, drawing her hands down Mira’s arms and wrapping them around her waist.
“Bett,” Saxa murmured in her lover’s ear, kissing her neck. Mira moaned, and rose, reaching down to help up the German.
“Yes, I would tame you with my tender hands.”
The night echoed with the sound of their laughter.