The villa they’ve taken this time is not as well equipped with food or weapons as some of the others, to Agron’s chagrin. Set to the task of provisioning with Nasir, his mood grows fouler with each room turned upside down, but it’s not until they find the bathing chamber that his frustration finds a spark to kindle into actual fury.
The room is small, as is the bathing pool, which is well filled, steaming gently in the torchlight. A separate, smaller room contains a massage table, and the shelves lining the walls are absolutely packed with linen, an array of sponges, brushes, combs and strigils, and too many stoppered amphorae, jugs and other earthenware to count. Smaller pots and flasks contain herbs, unguents, and perfumes, and the mixed scents smother the air.
“Jupiter’s fucking cock,” Agron grumbles. “Romans and their useless pleasures.”
He opens some containers at random and turns his head aside in disgust when the cloying smells of sandalwood and some other heavy fragrance he can’t name waft out. “No weapons to speak of and food not fit for dogs, but at least we have enough fucking perfume to douse an army!” He flings the open flagon to the ground and immediately regrets it when the scent spreads, heavy and sweet, drifting through the room.
Nasir sticks his head in from the bath chamber and grins. “In Brictius’s case, a scent more pleasing than shit and unwashed cock might not come amiss.”
Agron mutters under his breath, rummaging through the rest of the shelves in the dwindling hope of finding anything useful. “What preening woman was this dominus? What the fuck are these?”
Nasir steps next to him and examines some of the stoppered pots himself. “Hyssop, chypre, willow bark, and… hm, this might be gentian, purchased at great cost from across the Alps. Some of these will prove useful in the treating of wounds.”
Agron eyes the pots in question and sighs. “I’d still rather some decent bread, or more than those meagre scraps of meat we found.”
Nasir shrugs, ever pragmatic. “There was some wine.”
“Hardly enough to fill half a cup for each!”
“Enough to lift weary spirits, and enough for a fighting force that needs to stay alert.”
“Yet if prissy Roman pig had seen fit to have food stores as well supplied as fucking face paints-” He makes to push over a shelf filled with dainty powder pots, but Nasir grabs his arm, pulling him around to face him.
“Agron.” There’s a small frown on his face. “Your anger stands in no proportion to small cause.”
He clenches his teeth, trying to unravel the grim knot of worry in his chest. “I would but see our task done to best capability.”
Nasir nods, but the frown remains. “And it has been. We found clothing and blankets, and have seen all of us to some food and drink.”
“Not enough.” Not with their numbers growing every day, with ever more lives placed under their responsibility. Not when so few of them can fight.
“Enough for today and tomorrow.”
“And then?” He casts one last disgusted look at the wealth of body supplies before he strides back into the bathing chamber itself, kicking at a discarded washing cloth. “What use are fucking oils and heated bath?”
Nasir follows him out of the supply room. He’s picked up a sponge that he is idly turning in his hands. “I can think of a few.” There’s a hint of amusement in his voice, but Agron refuses to be drawn in.
“We do not know how far the next villa lies, or how soon we may need to fight in proper battle. We stand too ill-equipped for open conflict.”
“We have managed so far, and shall again,” Nasir says patiently.
“If fucking water were not scented, we could carry it with us as drink supply.”
“We are not short of drinking water.”
“Yet short of everything else.”
He turns to the hint of irritation in Nasir’s voice. “What?”
Nasir looks up at him, brown eyes narrowed, and pulls off Agron’s sword belt with one practised motion, tossing it aside. “Cease fucking complaint.”
A sudden, hard shove against the middle of his chest sends him toppling, completely unprepared. Water splashes high when he hits it, then submerges him in sudden heat and the subtle scent of rose hips. He flails to the surface with a roar, then coughs when a sponge hits him in the face. By the time he finally manages to regain his feet, he finds himself no longer alone in the pool. Nasir is crouched low in the water by the steps, submerged to nearly his lips, with a devilish glint in his eyes.
“Have you lost mind?!” Agron sputters, wiping water from his eyes. His cloak, heavy with water, billows around him. He supposes he ought to be grateful that his sword and belt have been saved from rust and damp.
Nasir laughs at him without the slightest trace of remorse. “Not mind, only patience.” He drops below the surface suddenly, body slicing smoothly through the water like an otter’s, and resurfaces, wet and grinning, right in front of Agron. He has had time to take off his clothes, of course, the bastard. He places two fingers against the bridge of Agron’s nose and nudges at his frown as if it were no more than water droplets. “You seemed in need of distraction from foul temper.”
Agron growls. “You devious little-”
Nasir stops his mouth with his own, shoves him back until his shoulders hit the edge of the bath, and crowds close against him, water sloshing between them. His tongue is warm and deliberate in Agron’s mouth, teasing his own to follow suit and play. It’s hard to resist when presented with an armful of insistent, wet, naked Nasir, so Agron gives in to the kiss, though a part of him struggles indignantly to retain his ire.
Eventually Nasir pulls back just far enough to look into his eyes, warm hands framing Agron’s face. His dark hair is plastered sleek against his skull, and his eyes are serious despite the amused curve of his lips. “I do not mock your worries,” he says softly, “but I would see them eased. The people in your care are stronger than you think. They can take a few days of meagre meals, in exchange for freedom, and they will aid in the fighting when it comes.” He smiles, slow and sweet, and brushes a thumb across Agron’s lower lip. “As I did.”
Agron stares at him, dripping hair and earnest gaze and all, and feels the knot in his chest melt just a little; just enough. “If half of them take to it half as well as you did, Rome shall have cause to tremble.” He takes a deep breath and wraps his arms around his lover’s waist, dragging him close into his lap. “You stood undeserving target of my mood,” he murmurs, dropping his brow against Nasir’s. “Apologies.”
Nasir laughs, sliding his hands across the width of Agron’s shoulders. “None required, but you may mend misstep with small favour.”
Agron narrows his eyes at the mischief in his voice. “Name it.”
Nasir kisses him again, soundly, then leans back to reach for the drifting sponge. “Allow me to show you uses of much maligned bath.”
Agron cocks a brow, but offers no resistance when Nasir peels him out of his sodden cloak and garments, tossing them carelessly to the side of the pool. It’s only when he drags the soaked sponge across Agron’s chest, drizzling water over his skin, that he grabs at Nasir’s wrist, halting the motion.
“I would not…” He swallows, suddenly tongue-tied before Nasir’s questioning gaze. He makes a half-hearted attempt to grab the sponge himself. “I do not need you to perform bathing service. You are no longer body slave.”
A flash of heat behind Nasir’s eyes alerts him seconds before Nasir twists his hand out of his grip and flicks a splash of water into his face. “No, I am not,” Nasir agrees in a low voice; almost a purr, but with a hint of warning. “And I do not need you to shelter me from choice to indulge my own pleasures. Now hold fucking still, unless you want a dunking.”
Agron is startled into a burst of laughter. When Nasir’s eyes narrow, he lifts his hands in a gesture of surrender and leans back.
“I would not thwart your will,” he concedes, still grinning. “I place myself at your leisure.”
Nasir glares at him for another second, before his features smooth back into a smile. “Good.”
Agron watches him at first as he works the sponge across his body: the intent look in his eye, the way his wet hair curls a little in the steam. All too soon, though, the motions themselves draw him in – the warm water sluicing across his skin, the pleasant scrub of the sponge as it cleanses him of days of accumulated sweat and flakes of crusted blood – and he lets his head drop back against the edge of the bath, eyes falling shut. When the sponge swipes between his legs, he makes an involuntary noise and gropes for Nasir’s other hand, seeking to tug it to his stirring cock.
Nasir evades him easily. “Not yet,” he teases when Agron gives him the look of the deeply wronged, and drops a kiss on his lips. “Others may seek to use the bath later. Would you have them soap themselves in your come?”
“No worse than greasy creams and cloying bath oil, surely,” Agron grumbles, but relents. “At least let me return favour.” He takes the sponge from Nasir’s hands and takes him by the shoulders to turn his back to Agron’s chest. Nasir settles easily against him, letting his head drop forward and exposing the lean expanse of his back. Agron works the sponge down from his shoulder blades, admiring the way his wet skin glows smooth and golden in the torchlight. The tips of his hair float on the water, fanning out in silken strands and capturing the smell of rose hips that, after all, Agron is coming to appreciate. He dips and wrings the sponge, letting it follow the lithe contours of Nasir’s body, furtively pulling him a bit closer still. Utterly relaxed in his hands, Nasir makes no motion to stop him when he lets his cock slide between his buttocks, riding light and teasing up his cleft, but he withdraws when Agron’s free hand moves between his legs.
“I said, not yet.” He laughs at Agron’s glower, and rises suddenly, water streaming off his body, one hand gripping Agron’s. “Come.”
“I have been trying to,” Agron protests, but allows himself to be dragged out of the bath and towards the dimmer supply chamber. Nasir uses one of the folded linens to dry him off, quick and vexingly efficient, then nudges him towards the massage table. “Lie down.”
He lets Nasir urge him down onto the warmed marble, lined with soft cloth. He drops back and turns on his stomach when directed, but sighs in exasperation when Nasir takes a detour to the well-stocked shelves.
“Attempt to smother me in perfume and see worn tether snap,” he warns, eyes following Nasir’s every move. Nasir turns back to him with an expression of long-suffering patience, holding up a small clay pot. “Scentless oil for posturing gladiator. I promise no unmanly scent shall touch you,” he mocks.
“Hmph.” He has a dim notion that he really ought to take offence, but finds it difficult to hold on to the thread of indignation when Nasir nimbly climbs up on the table with him, straddling his thighs. Warm oil trickles onto his back, running down his ribs in ticklish rivulets, pooling between his shoulder blades and in the small of his back. He squirms. A moment later, Nasir’s warm hands dip into it, smoothing the slippery liquid across his skin.
He groans when those hands run briefly over his buttocks, cupping the twitching muscles there. He can feel Nasir, more than half-hard, against his ass, the warm weight of his balls and the minute tensing of his legs against his own.
Agron tries to roll over then, to sit up, take action, but the sudden weight of Nasir on his back prevents him, silky damp hair brushing against his shoulder blades. He bucks up experimentally, and Nasir growls, just a little. “Stay down,” he says, emphasising his words with his hands flat on Agron’s back. Agron takes a deep breath and wills himself to relax, to give in. He settles for shifting his legs enough so his hardening cock has room to move.
Nasir smooths his oil-slick hands down Agron’s back, and gradually Agron allows his muscles to ease into the touch. Nasir takes his time about it, hands moving in slow circles, rubbing and kneading, working his thumbs into hidden pockets of tension on either side of Agron’s spine. Agron groans when he hits a tight spot, and Nasir rubs it slowly, coaxing the tight knot of muscle to loosen.
It’s intoxicating to be undone so thoroughly, touch by touch. Often, their opportunities are limited by the manoeuvres of skirmishes and the lack of privacy, so they make do with quick fucks in barely draped-off alcoves, a torturously quiet rut in a shared tent in the early hours before everyone else wakes, or a frenzied suck-off behind a tree or stable or whatever shelter proves handy. It’s never less than amazing, of course, but by the gods, sometimes he’d give anything to have an hour or two to lavish attention on every inch of Nasir’s body.
But this… to have the luxury to lie here, drizzled in oil, and not have to rush to the end of things? To allow his cock to swell slowly and deliciously without having to get off within minutes, arousal filling him warmly by inches from the inside out? Gods, he could get used to this. He could lose himself utterly in the seductive, steady motion of Nasir’s hands, warm palms and strong fingers teasing out every bit of tension in him and dissolving it with calm, sure touches.
“Your hands work miracles,” he manages, head turned sideways, trying to rein in his mounting need for more.
Nasir is smiling; he can hear it in his voice. “I but enjoy rare opportunity,” he murmurs, echoing Agron’s own thoughts. “To have your body laid out like this, and time to see it melt beneath my touch – I would give much to do this more often.”
Nasir’s hands slide lower and outwards, following the slight hollows between his ribs. Agron chortles and wriggles just a little when his fingers brush across ticklish flanks and the sensitive grooves of his hips before cupping the swell of his cheeks. They tease and knead until Agron’s breath quickens, all thoughts of relaxation dispersed in the slowly rising heat in his groin.
When those fingers finally slip between his thighs, Agron can’t help the moan that drops from his mouth. His legs fall open instinctively, trying to give Nasir room between them, but infuriatingly, Nasir’s knees close around his, urging his legs back together.
“Wait,” Nasir breathes, leaning close to his ear, and Agron makes a frustrated noise.
“I thought your purpose bent towards pleasure, not torture.”
He hears and feels a low chuckle gust against his nape, but Nasir says nothing. A moment later, the sudden drip of liquid down his buttocks makes Agron suck in his breath in surprise, then relax slowly when Nasir’s hands return to spread the oozing oil from his ass down to the twitching muscles of his thighs. Two slippery fingers dive between them, teasing the tender patch of skin between his balls and his clenched entrance, but once again when Agron tries to open his legs in invitation, the pressure of Nasir’s knees stops him.
He hisses in frustration. “What-” he starts, then inhales sharply in startled realisation when Nasir’s cock, heavy and slick with oil, pushes against the backs of his thighs, slowly, slowly inching into the tight cleft between them, hot throbbing length teasing the sensitive skin on the insides of his legs. Agron can feel the distended head of his cock, wet with more than just oil, rubbing lightly back and forth inside the channel created by Agron’s clenched thighs, and then easing the length of his shaft forward and back, the tip nudging against the soft weight of Agron’s balls just enough to prod his own cock into sudden, aching hardness.
He moans, dropping his forehead to the clean linen underneath him, and his entire lower body tenses, clasping his thighs eagerly around Nasir’s hardness, lifting his hips just enough so he can thrust his own swollen cock between the soft cloth and his tense belly. Nasir takes advantage of his raised hips, sneaking a hand underneath him to close warm, slick fingers around Agron’s pulsing flesh.
Agron bites off a curse and concentrates on the slow, intimate thrust of Nasir’s cock between his legs. He lifts and rolls his hips to accommodate the motion, to get the most out of the slippery friction. Nasir’s hand around his cock is just oiled enough to work him in effortless counterpoint to the push and retreat of his hips. He slides his fingers slowly up and down his length, with a slight, maddening twist every time he reaches his tip, coaxing back the thin skin there to tease at the slick bare tip with calloused fingers, slowly rubbing back and forth until Agron thinks he’ll lose his mind.
And all the while, Nasir keeps up the steady, slick rhythm of his cock fucking the gap just below Agron’s buttocks, riding high enough so his cock pushes hard against Agron’s swollen balls and the sensitive skin behind them. If Agron raises up on his elbows, cranes his neck and looks down, he can see the dark pink tip emerging between his thighs, glistening and bare, before Nasir pulls back and starts the whole agonising movement over. He drops his cheek to the reassuring solid warmth of the marble beneath him, head reeling with the perfect shove and rub against his most sensitive flesh, the mind-numbing pleasure of slippery friction and sensuous rhythm without the focused burn and stretch of penetration.
He doesn’t think he can hold out too long against the delicious torture of it all, but Nasir’s movements are finally growing less controlled and more erratic, his breath blowing faster against Agron’s nape.
“Your thighs rival those of Ganymede himself,” he murmurs into Agron’s ear, and Agron laughs breathlessly, one hand reaching back over his head to cup Nasir’s nape under the thick fall of his hair. Nasir leans closer still, nuzzling and nipping against his neck, while his hips keep thrusting, his cock sliding wet and hot against the underside of Agron’s aching balls.
“Gods,” Agron growls and tenses his legs further, closing around Nasir’s throbbing shaft in a firm, rippling squeeze. Nasir breathes a curse into his shoulder and his fingers tighten around Agron’s cock.
“I… am… not… done,” he grits out, ramming forward hard to prove his point. Agron snorts, although he barely has the air to spare for it.
“I’d have you done,” he hisses back, releasing and then squeezing his thigh muscles again to provoke Nasir into another harsh moan. “I’d have you writhe and tremble and come all over me, so when I leave this room, my thighs will still be dripping with your seed.”
Nasir’s breath comes in a shuddering burst against the side of his neck, his hand flying up and down Agron’s cock, pumping him hard and fast. Agron twists his head as far as it will go to capture those gasping lips with his own in a sloppy, desperate kiss. He bucks and thrusts mindlessly in Nasir’s grip, rutting against the crumpled linen, the wicked twist of Nasir’s fingers and the heated thrust of Nasir’s cock between his slick, clenching thighs. He makes a muffled sound into Nasir’s mouth when his balls draw up and his release shoots out of him in wet hot streaks of come, toes curling and buttocks squeezing hard. Nasir keens a low, plaintive moan that Agron feels sure he’ll carry with him for the rest of the day, rendering him utterly useless to all other sounds. His teeth sink into the side of Agron’s throat as his body goes rigid, his cock shuddering and spurting between Agron’s legs. The warm trickle of their mingled come mixes with the oil, leaving them in a heaving tangle of slippery mess.
When Agron regains his breath, he finds his shoulders shaking with soundless laughter. On top of him, Nasir grumbles and slides to his side, cracking one eye to frown at him. “What prompts such mirth, and how do you have fucking breath?”
“I don’t,” Agron assures him, rolling onto his back to try to gasp more air into his lungs. The mingled scents of oils and perfumes don’t seem quite so annoying now. “I was but laughing at myself. Apologies for ever doubting invigorating benefits of well-appointed bath. I’m sure it’ll help me slay a hundred Romans, if ever I regain use of my legs.”
Nasir gives him a sweet, lazy smile, one hand coming to rest on his sticky thigh. “I am happy to have been of some aid in teaching its use.”
“And most skilled at it. Only one problem remains,” he adds, and Nasir twists his head with an effort, blinking confusedly into his face.
Agron grins, and stretches to kiss his soft, breathless lips.
“We’ll need another fucking bath.”