Primigenia’s barracks dripped with splendor. Julius treaded the halls and soaked it all in, marvelling at the extravagance paid to something as common as a soldier's quarters. It became immediately apparent that Brutus had accrued quite a debt with Crassus, all for Julius’ sake. Julius smiled to himself, remembering his first visit to the barracks. Brutus had been so proud to show him what he was doing with Primigenia, but their visions did not align. Brutus’ pouting face and the way he wouldn’t turn back at Julius’ call were aggravating then, but now Julius could smile at his behavior. Brutus was always stubborn, yet the bratty side to him was dear to Julius. It was one of the few things the man had retained from their childhood together. In the end, Brutus always did for him, without being asked. He never made Julius ask him for anything. He gave of himself freely, even if it took a little extra thinking on his part. Still, Julius had been surprised when Brutus offered to step down as Primigenia’s general and take the oath to him. Despite how much he wanted Brutus as his sword in Rome, as one of his wolves, Julius would never have asked. Would never have forced it.
Julius followed a branching hall toward the din of a whetstone in use. Inside the armory he found Brutus sharpening gladius after gladius. Julius watched him silently for a moment. Taking in the huge frame he had grown into. Brutus indeed, in every sense of the word. Julius laughed to himself, but the sound carried and Brutus turned his head up at it. His brow furrowed and lips curled into a pout.
“Peace, brother,” Julius said before striding into Brutus’ space. “I came to thank you. For everything you’ve done for me to this day. And to tell you to come home.” Julius reached out and held Brutus’ arm. He squeezed on the tight muscle, willing away the tension held there.
“That is… your estate, Julius. Though I watched it while you were proscribed it is no longer my home.”
“You are my brother.” Julius snaked his hand around Brutus’ shoulder, leaning down at the same time to bring his mouth close to Brutus’ ear. “Your place is with me.” He nearly pressed his lips to Brutus’ skin, but thought better of it. Brutus would come to him in time. Just like before. Just as he always did.
The gladius in Brutus’ hand clattered to the ground. He stood to his full height, a few inches above Julius. “Is that the only reason?” He asked.
“Of course not,” Julius replied, raking his eyesight up from the larger man’s collar bone to his face, “you are also my sword are you not? What man returns home without his blade in his hands?”
“What man leaves home without it?”
Julius sighed. “You served me better here, in Rome, than you could have outside of it. I have known the loneliness of being run out of my own home. You do not have to. So come.” Julius put his hand on Brutus’ arm again.
“We were apart for so long, I didn’t know if you still wanted…” Brutus bent forward to press his lips against Julius’, who relaxed and sighed under him.
Julius wrapped his arms around Brutus neck and hauled himself up to kiss him again. “When have I not wanted you? This?”
The only other person Julius could count on was here in his arms. The only one he could return to that felt the same despite how much he had changed. How much they both had changed. Whatever wore them down was healed when they were together.
“Let us go.”