Disclaimer: Everything belongs to their respectful owners.
A/N: Aiyo this is something that sprouted out of nowhere so it's a bit messy, and I'm getting rusty over writing sIGH. But, it's Jeyna so that kinda makes me happy. Enjoy!
Heavy breathing, sweat dripping, body bracing.
A lash of thunder.
His body reacted on reflex, arching itself to the wood when the leather whip teared through his shoulder blades, splinters buried into his chest like needles.
But, they were nothing to what he felt on his back.
His once soft golden hair was matted to his head, drenched, as if they had pushed his head into a bucket of water just a moment ago. He blinked away the water droplets that went into his eyes, the sun making him feel as if he was going to melt under the its glaring rays.
He heaved his breath through his nose, and closed his eyes.
Heavy breathing, sweat dripping, body bracing.
This time, he gritted his teeth when it came down on him, baring them into a silent snarl. The iron shackles around his wrists collided with each other, squeezing his pulse and scratching his skin until they turned red, irrational and bleeding.
His head was bowed, too exhausted to do anything else as the last of hell was over, leaning against the pillar of wood he was bounded to. He could hear the murmurs of watchers from a distance as they left, the sound of his own blood roaring in his ears as he tried to pry open his half lidded eyes, only allowing himself to stare at the sandy ground of the coliseum. Sandal covered feet came into his line of sight, and a grunt tore out of his throat when fingers yanked his hair back, exposing his face to the sun.
He willed himself not to close his eyes, and merely squinted when he saw the guard's face behind the helm, vicious and unmerciful. "I do not think we would see each other again, Roman," He spat the last of his sentence into his face, and Jason didn't even flinch. "News have rumoured your praetor will come and get you, and my king has allowed it," He let go of his blond hair that caused him to bow his head again. "Pity," He continued, unlocking the chains that were attached to the wooden pillar. "My king would have just let me killed you instead, but since that will only anger your praetor and will be the cause of war," The wheeze of his laughter that came next was brief. "A praetor's whore you are."
Without warning, the guard kicked him in the chest, choking him momentarily as he was jerked back, the ground scratching his knees. "Get up, you will look presentable in front of my king, and not like scum."
Jason spat blood to the side, catching his breath as he willed himself to rise from his kneeled position, letting himself being manhandled out of the area and dragged across city with his head straightened, only allowing himself to look forward with his eyes cold and lips thinned. Whispers and stares were directed to him as he passed the people of Greece, some pausing on their walk when they saw him half naked and bloodied, but still standing tall when they made their way to the palace.
The pain was almost unbearable as his muscles stretched from effort of walking, but he didn't care at the moment when he heard he was going to be send home, and that made him have determination in himself to stand a bit longer before he could collapse. The guard yanked the chains as they made their way to the east entrance of the palace, and there they encountered another guard on duty. They muttered an exchange of few words while Jason observed them both, and once there was a nod of agreement from the other party, he was handed to the other guard, where he pulled him deeper into the building.
"You will need a tunic, Roman," The new guard grunted among the small halls, the servant halls, as they made a corner to the right. Jason could smell the odor of his own body in the confined space, and his back was starting to throb. "Your praetor will be here in a moment."
Jason only kept quiet, wincing when he tried to straighten himself up.
When she finally did come, Jason wouldn't let himself breathe a sigh of relief in front of them all.
He snapped his eyes open from where he sat in his cell, leaning against the cool wall to help his burning back when the guards called him out. Grimacing, he willed himself to stand up, and he could feel his back wet with blood. He was led upstairs, and then into the centre court where he saw her first. She was standing in front of the king of Greece, head tall and posture strong. Her hands rested on her sides as she had a talk with Perseus, her stance wary for any inconvenience while her sword lay ready at her waist. Perseus only nodded to every word she said, one of his hands rubbed his chin with thought while he too had a sword strapped around to his side.
Both of them looked up when he came towards them, his steps steady as their eyes followed his every move. Perseus nodded to him in greeting, before turning towards Reyna with almost a pained look on his face. "This is only a warning, Praetor Reyna," He said quietly.
Before he could continue, he looked over at the two guards who bought Jason out, standing dutily by their prisoner's sides. "The chains are not necessary for him now, you may free him," The guards looked doubtful at first, but followed their king's orders as one of them took the steel out from Jason's wrists, before leaving the three of them standing in the clearing. Perseus faced Reyna again. "I barely managed to convince the lords to not kill him and instead punish him for what he did, but only barely. The people are not too keen on the idea as well," He pursed his lips. "If there ever was a next time, I'm afraid death would be upon him. "
She nodded stiffly, and Jason noticed her brushing the hilt of her sword with a hand for a moment. "I can promise you he would not," She told him in a low tone. "He would be under my care for the time being."
Perseus gave Jason a glance. "For the time being?"
She narrowed her eyes. "The rumours you heard are what they are, rumours, news from the winds. Such things would not come between us."
Perseus nodded. "Indeed, and I apologise," He called for one of the maidens that walked past, and she came with her head bowed. "He may use one of the rooms to clean himself, Praetor Reyna, and new clothes shall be given to him," He muttered a few words to the maiden, and straighten himself up to meet his eyes. "She will lead you the way."
Jason nodded in gratitude, for his back was becoming worse than before, and he needed to sit down. "Thank you, Your Majesty." He murmured, before following the maiden to one of the rooms, the feeling of his praetor's stare heavy on his body.
Once they reached their destination, the maiden quickly got his bath ready in the large circular tub, before leaving the room without a word. He made his way to the bathroom, and let his hand dip into the water, already liking how warm it was.
He could hear the door opening and closing, and the soft patter of footsteps coming towards him. Then, there was a soft touch of her palm on the back of his arm.
"You're bleeding," Reyna mused quietly as he glanced back to look at her, her dark eyes staring at him, and he could see the slight disappointment shining through them. He looked away, her look too painful for him to bear. "Sit down, so that I can help you clean your injury."
He sat at the edge of the tub while she took a small towel from the other side of the tub, and starting to peel the tunic off his body, all the while grunting with effort as his injured muscles were stretched. Once he got it off, she sat behind him, dunking the towel into the water and twisted it so that it won't be soaking wet. The moment she dabbed it onto his skin, he hissed with protest.
She hesitated, but then continued to clean his wounds as he gritted his teeth to endure the pain. They stayed like that in silence, only the distant sound of the people going through their daily lives outside could be heard. It was then Jason sighed. "I am sorry."
The wiping didn't stop when she spoke. "I know you are."
He could feel the way her fingers moved through the cloth as she continued to work, and her other hand was pressed on his shoulder blade to steady herself. "You're angry with me."
"So you say."
He craned his neck to catch her eye, but she ignored him. "So I was correct."
She finally did stop then to meet his stare, her eyes hardening. "What do you expect me to feel after you had trespass and almost got yourself killed, Jason?" She demanded. "You even took down a few guards along the way, and yet you expect me to not be angry at you?" She shook her head in disbelief, and started to wipe his back again. "Why did you do it?"
He pursed his lips. "I can't tell you, it is for personal reasons."
He winced slightly when she pressed a bit harder than before. "If you must know, your personal reasons would have gotten you killed," She informed him quietly. "The graecus truly hate us, they would do anything they could to get rid of us. One flaw they could find would be our downfall. It is only fortunate that Perseus is our friend, but he can't save us forever."
He knew there was a hidden meaning behind her words, and he knew it was true.
Even she couldn't save him forever.
"They have something of mine that belongs to my mother," He murmured. "And I would want it back."
He knew he quipped her curiosity. "What is it?"
He pursed his lips. "Something that was passed down through generations, I do not want to lose it."
He nodded. "Yes."
He turned around so that she was forced to stop. Taking her hands in his, he looked into her dark eyes, almost as black as the onyx rocks he saw that were sold at the markets. "You must believe me."
She searched his face, and then raised her hand so that her a finger was brushed against his scar above his upper lip. "I do, but you cannot walk into here as if they have accepted you as their own. Even if you do, you must cover yourself from harsh eyes."
He turned his head slightly towards her hand, closing his eyes for a moment before meeting hers again. "I did, but they have the eyes of an eagle, I was found out after the salesman made a commotion and made a run for it," He let a smile take form. "Too reckless."
"Indeed," She murmured, letting her hand move down to his neck, where it barely touched his skin. "Such things coming from you surprises me, I thought you would be more careful, since you would have never let yourself get caught, and it should be an embarrassment since you are my navigator and a high position in the authorities," She let it brush against his shoulder briefly. "Curious, no?"
He caught her hand with his before it rested on his shoulder, his fingers curling into the palm of her hand as he leaned forward slightly. "Did you not wish to not act upon the rumours you have heard?" He questioned her softly, his eyes searching her wary expression. "Or has your mind be changed?"
He could feel the way her hand squeezed his for a moment, before she too leaned forward so that their noses were almost touching. "Perhaps," She replied in the same tone he was using, and he willed himself to look into her dark eyes. "For rumours are just rumours, information being passed to so many mouths that they have twisted it into their own amusement, and others daft enough to listen."
He was about to reply when there was a knock on the bedroom door, and the sound of it opening. "I have left some clothes for you on the chair, Roman," Came the feminine voice of the previous maid from outside the door. "And some food, if you are ever hungry."
All the while she said this, Reyna was still staring intently at him, and he didn't want to back down as he didn't break eye contact with her. "Thank you," He raised his voice loud enough for the maid to hear. "I shall see to it."
Once the sound of her leaving the room has passed, Reyna stood up, leaving the cloth on the edge of the bath. "I shall leave you then, I did what I could with your injuries, you need to apply medicine for them to heal, and then we shall leave."
She was about to walk out from the bathroom when he wrapped his fingers around her wrist to stop her, causing her to look at him enquiringly.
He didn't know why he stopped her, it was out of reflex if he had to admit it to himself. Just the thought of her leaving him at the moment didn't exactly settle well with him. Slowly, he stood up, not letting go of her wrist as he just looked at her. "Join me."
She blinked. "What?"
"Join me," He repeated in a low tone, and then he could see the realisation dawning in her eyes that made the blood rush to her cheeks. "You are tired as I, and the journey has worn you, the water will help ease the pain away."
She stared at him, her lips pursed at his decision. Then, she chuckled, raising her face so that her lips were grazed against his jaw. "Unbelievable."
His breath was caught in his throat, and he stood still when she leaned back slightly to meet his eyes. "Yes?"
The only answered he got was when she let go of his hand and took a few steps back, turning her back to him. He took that as a queue and faced the other side as well, hearing the sound of her armor and weapon dropping to the floor, and then there was the sound of water being disturbed.
He glanced to her, and saw that her back was still facing his way, only this time there weren't any coverings to conceal her flawless skin. The water had stopped just at her shoulder blades, mostly likely above her chest from where she sat down. He had to remind himself to not stare as he looked away from her slender slope of her shoulders, and the way she was rebraiding her dark hair.
He quickly undressed himself, and stepped into the water, wincing a bit when the water stung his shredded skin. He settled down behind her, letting his chest brushed against her back as he pressed his lips onto the back of her neck.
She let out a small laugh. "I was starting to think you have forgotten," She remarked as he moved his mouth along her shoulder, his hands sliding down her arms and rested on her elbows. "You have proven me wrong."
He stopped at one particular spot at where a scar was given to her during the time she was at war with other enemies, and kissed there gently. "You are hard to forget, Praetor," He mumbled as he ran a finger down her spine, his pride inflated when she arched slightly, her breath hitching. "And we are familiar with this, I would never expect you to play ignorant in these type of things."
She turned around so that she faced him, catching him off guard when she wrapped her arms around his neck and bought her body closer to his, close enough so that no space existed between them. He could feel every curve of her, the smoothness of her skin against his, and only focused on resting his hands on her waist when she pressed her nose to his cheek, her breath warm against it.
"Is it?" She whispered, one hand sliding down his chest and rested on his heart. "You doubt me?"
He mentally shook his head to get rid partially of the distraction she caused upon him and pushed her gently back as he too moved with her, so that her back was resting on the wall of the bath. He kissed her chin. "You said we are a rumour, news in the wind," He let a thumb bushed against her bottom lip as he trailed his lips up to the apple of her cheek. "Am I a rumour, Reyna? "
Raising her head, she kissed him with such passion he had ever felt from her since the last time they met which felt like years ago, with her hands cupping the sides of his face. He had one arm wrapped around her, while his other hand was planted on the wall, responding to her demand as eagerly as she was. He could feel her legs wrapped around his waist, and suddenly she chuckled.
"Miss me?" She breathed into his mouth, deliberately letting her nails grazed against his neck as she rested her hands on the back of his head, her fingers playing with his hair.
Oh, he missed her yes, probably more than he should. Reyna, with her dark eyes that could cause a man to kneel in fear as a storm brew in those orbs, her smile as soft as a mother when excited children crowded her, her gentle press of her lips to his forehead when he first got himself badly enough to the point of death. In those months he was captured and tortured, he prayed to the gods that she would come, and now she had, he was almost drunk with the fact that he really did miss her.
He leaned back slightly so that his mouth was only a breaths away from hers, and retracted his hand from the wall so that he could trace the line of her jaw with the back of his fingers. "Yes," He admitted quietly amongst the small room they were occupying, and she lowered her gaze that her eyes were dropped. He could almost assume she was being shy in this. "If you must terribly know, then yes, I do."
"Trust you to be so blunt and truthful," She commented as she continued running her fingers through his hair at the back of his head. She met his eyes. "I almost hated you for it."
"You've always hated me when we first met," He told her, pressing a kiss at the corner of her mouth. "Almost killed me when we were sparring, the bruise on my thigh lasted me for a whole week."
She hummed in agreement, trailing her finger so that it ran down to his collar bone. "You were a threat, if I let you beat me in anything, we would have switched places for now."
"Praetor Jason," He mused, laughter bubbling at his throat as he moved his lips to the end of her jaw line. "It does not sound as horrible as you would think, I quite like it."
He could feel her fingers squeezing his shoulder briefly when he let his teeth graze there. "So you think," She sounded a bit strangled. "I think it sounds horrible."
"So you think," He echoed her words as he occupied himself by letting his hands run down her sides. "You would have been under me then."
She kissed him again to shut him up.