Chapter XLV - Faunus in Villa


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 PROLOGVS - FAUNS

Fauns are supposedly mythical creatures who appear in the legends of Greece and Rome.
They are well known for their love of the forest, music, and sex, and they are generally charming to the people they encounter as they trot along their happy, woodland paths.
'Faun'
Reproduced with permission
Fauns are a peculiar, 'chimeric' race.
With horns, they might not sound like the loveliest of characters, but they have their own undeniable charm.
It's impossible not to love Fauns - with their handsome faces, which combine pointy ears, little horns and a head full of dark curls, with youthful features, sparkling eyes, and often a roguish smile.
These woodland creatures have handsome male bodies with lithe limbs.
While they’re not especially fond of clothing, usually disporting themselves naked, they like to adorn themselves with crowns of leaves and berries from their woodland home, especially before one of their legendary parties.
Faunus' Syrinx
Of course, they are best known for their syrinx playing.
With just a small, wooden flute, they can hypnotize you with fantastic melodies.
Hardly anyone can resist a Faun with a syrinx, and in truth, the power of their flutes has led some of them to 'act up', luring travellers into the forest, where they get lost, or stealing the hearts of beautiful young people away from the rest of the world.
Fauns and satyrs are commonly confused because they have some striking similarities in appearance and personality, however, they are separate creatures.
Satyrs are followers of the God Dionysus, the god of harvest, wine-making, and ecstasy among other things. Like Fauns, they love music, sex, and parties, but they are far less innocent than their light-hearted cousins. Satyrs are crafty creatures, and they can be downright destructive when they are bent on enjoying themselves, no matter the cost. They are also less physically charming than their woodland cousins. Their faces are less human, and their lower bodies are often in the form of a donkey.
Faunus, as his name suggests, is a faun  - and the 'archetype' of a faun.

DIFFICULTATES  AD VILLAM

'Problems at the Villa' - Suddenly Adonios realized it was very hot, and the sun was high.
Somehow he had been in the forest for a very long time, and he realized why Faunus had been so insistent about his  'meridiatio' (siesta), as it seemed to be midday.
Glaux continued to flutter in front of him, apparently guiding him back to the villa, but there was no sign of Faunus.
"Are you still there, Faunus ?", Adonios called out, feeling absolutely ridiculous as he spoke to the empty air.
"Of course !", came the soft reply, "But for a young lad you are rather slow.
I think in the future we need to get you to do some proper training, and become fit - like me !", Faunus concluded boastfully.
Adonios puffed and panted, desperately trying to keep up with Glaux, and eventually they left the forest, and came out onto the delicately manicured turf that led up the the marble and mosaic terraces of the villa.
Glaux then circled round and landed on Adonios' shoulder - his usual position.
He then fluffed up his feathers, ensured that he had a good, steady perch, and immediately dozed off, having completed his important mission.
Adonios mounted the marble steps leading to the terrace where Marcus, Petronius and Novius were sitting, with Aurarius in attendance.
What Adonios did not realize was that before he had come into view, Faunus had materialized behind him.
Glaux, sensing Faunus' presence, warbled in acknowledgement, and Marcus looked up.
Faunus Arrives in the Villa
"So...you've found a young friend in the forest." Marcus said, cheerfully, as soon as he noticed Faunus.
Adonios nervously nodded.
"And this is one of the boys from the local village, I presume.", Marcus added condescendingly.
Adonios again nodded, but was now quite scared, as Petronius was looking far from happy - in fact most alarmed.
"Well I think that's enough !", Petronius said, getting up from his couch.
"And the boy is naked.
Not really appropriate when meeting the Dominus of the villa.", Petronius continued, being uncharacteristically aggressive.
"What's wrong ?", Marcus said to Petronius.
"He's a pretty boy - and might make an attractive slave if his owner wants to sell him - that's if he's not free-born - and I doubt he is, wandering around stark naked as he is.", Marcus added.
"Dominus - be careful.
He's not what he seems.", Adonios cautioned, worried that Faunus might do something if he was insulted any further.
Aurarius, at this point, made himself scarce, pretending to go off and get some more refreshments.
In truth he had an ugly premonition that something was about to happen that would effect them all - in some way that he could not put into words for himself.
"What do you mean, Adonios - 'not what he seems' ?", Petronius questioned, seeming to get even more annoyed.
"No wait !", Marcus said, interrupting Petronius.
"Boy, haven't we met before ?", Marcus asked softly.
"My name is Faunus,  - and how could we have met before, Marcus ? - this is the first time that you have visited this villa." Faunus answered calmly and slowly.
Marcus looked shocked - and Novius held up his hand, as if the stop any further conversation.
"I think that Adonios is right.
This boy is 'more than he seems' - and I too think that we should all be careful - and you, Petronius should stop giving yourself away." Novius said with unusual authority.
"The boy knows that you are called Marcus, and he knows that this is your first visit to the villa.
And how does he know these things - we must ask ourselves.", Novius explained - and then turned to Marcus.
"Now Marcus, why do you think that you have met this boy before ?" Novius asked.
Petronius was by then looking very concerned, but also stung by Novius criticism, and he left the terrace.
"I'm going for a swim - you do with the boy what you want....", he said petulantly, as he strode away.
"I don't know how I know him......", Marcus replied weakly, as Petronius left.
"I seem to recognise him from a very long time ago - but then, all those years ago, he looked just the same - the same age." Marcus said, rubbing his forehead.
"But you didn't recognise when he first came onto the terrace ?", Novius asked.
"No, but for some reason I didn't seem to see him properly - strange.", Marcus replied, obviously puzzled.
Novius then turned to Faunus.
"Faunus... my name is Novius, and I am the 'consiliarius' to the man you called Marcus.
I think you could help us if you could try to explain to us how you know Marcus' name, and how you know that this is the first time that he has visited this villa.", Novius said calmly and politely.
Meanwhile, Marcus sat with his head in his hands looking very upset, and Adonios was regretting that he had ever brought Faunus to the villa.
"Simple - Adonios told me." Faunus answered.
Novius looked perplexed.
"Did you tell him ?", Novius asked.
"Well no - not exactly.", Adonios replied, stuttering.
"You see, he knows what's in peoples' thoughts.", Adonios said, trying to explain.
"And you are Faunus ?", Novius asked - thoughtfully.
"Yes, Novius - I am Faunus.", the naked boy replied.
"You mean Faunus, as in a faun ?", Novius asked hopefully.
"Yes of course." Faunus replied, sounding really rather bored at this point.

INTRABIT  TERENTIUM

'Enter Terentius' - Novius then turned to Adonios, and at that very moment Terentius strolled onto the terrace, presumably taking a break from his seemingly endless perusal of the villa records.
Terentius
Seeing Terentius, Novius left off what he was about to say to Adonios, in order to greet Terentius.
"And what have we got here ?", Terentius asked.
"A new slave - maybe bought by Petronius ?", he suggested, with a twinkle in his eye.
"What we have here, Terentius my friend, is an enigma......
Let me introduce Faunus." Novius began, with a puzzled look.
"Hello Terentius.
And have you found any problems with the financial records this morning ?", Faunus asked.
"Well no....", Terentius replied, before he realised how strange the question was.
Terentius then spoke confidentially to Novius.
"He's not very well mannered for just a boy, and how, by the Gods, did he know that I had been checking the finances - did someone tell him ?", Terentius said quietly, looking somewhat annoyed.
"Nobody told him anything - that's the enigma.", Novius replied, equally quietly.
"And he also knew the name of our Dominus, and the fact that it was the first time that he had visited the villa - and yet he looks just like a slave or a village boy - and - to cap it all, Adonios tells us that 'he knows what's in peoples thoughts' !", Novius explained.
"So how did he come here ?", Terentius asked, obviously intrigued.
Faunus Appears
Adonios' Dream
"Well, I was hoping that Adonios would tell us ?", and Novius looked questioningly at Adonios.
Adonios then cleared his throat, and began nervously.
"It started last night, when I had a dream about Glaux flying into the forest - looking for something.
In the morning Glaux was restless, and I felt that he really had  found something in the forest, and wanted me to follow him so that he could show it to me.
We went into the forest - and then Faunus appeared.
Faunus said he knew Glaux, and that Glaux had told him all about me - he can talk to birds and animals.
And he wanted to come to the villa to see Marcus - I mean the Dominus, but he calls him Marcus - and to have something to eat, and to have a long 'meridiatio'." - and Adonios  paused and looked round to see if everyone was still listening.
"Well - that's enough for the moment." Terentius interrupted.
"Marcus, may I suggest that we all make our way to my private 'officium', where we can discus this further without the possibility of being disturbed or overheard.", Terentius then said.
Marcus looked up.
"Yes, that's a good idea.
And where's Aurarius - I need a drink.?", Marcus asked.
"Aurarius is hiding.", Faunus explained
"He's frightened about what's going on."
Marcus looked at Terentius.
"I'm not surprised - so perhaps you could get me some strong wine." Marcus then said to Adonios.
"And I suppose you know about Aurarius hiding and being frightened because you can understand his thoughts ?", Novius asked Faunus.
"Yes - of course.", Faunus replied nonchalantly.
"So what are my thoughts at this moment ?", Novius (perhaps foolishly) asked.
Faunus stared intently at Novius, and gave one of his seemingly inimitable smiles, (but a smile that reminded Novius of Petronius - when Petronius was younger).
"Novius....", Faunus said warmly, "you are very pleased that I have come, at last, to help you." 
Novius looked sheepishly at Marcus.
"Really Marcus - I can't take much more of this  !",
Terentius clapped his hands to get everyone's attention.
"Right now - let's go to my 'officium' !"
And so they all made their way to Terentius' 'officium' - with Terentius leading the way, accompanied by Marcus, and with Novius, with Adonios (and Glaux) following, and Faunus bringing up the rear, and promptly dissolving in a barely visible cloud of glittering pine needles - which, needles to say, nobody seemed notice.
Terentius 'officium' was on the top floor.

LOQUERE  AD  OFFICIUM  TERENTIUS

'A Talk in the Office of Terentius' - When Terentius arrived, he immediately dismissed Philipos, with instructions that they were not to be disturbed, and they all went into Terentius' private study.
As the outer slaves closed the double doors to Terentius' study, Faunus conveniently materialised - so no one had seen him entering the villa, or passing through the main atrium, ascending the stairs, or passing through the corridors.
Terentius then offered Marcus a seat behind Terentius impressive marble table, and Novius and Terentius each also took a seat, while Adonios (with a snoozing Glaux), and Faunus stood respectfully.
"So, this is better..... a little privacy.", Terentius said, smiling weakly, and not even realizing that Faunus had disappeared and appeared on their way through the villa.
"So, how far have we got ?", Terentius asked.
"Well so far we know that there seems to be some sort of strange connection between Glaux and this young Faunus.", Novius suggested.
"May I interrupt ?", Faunus asked, obviously trying to be very polite.
"Of course.", Novius said.
The Goddess Athena and Glaux
"Glaux has just said that it is not a strange connection, and that we are both simply obeying the Goddess Athena, sister of the God Apollo." Faunus said quietly.
"Yes, of course.", Novius said, trying to hide his embarrassment.
"And we all here respect the involvement of the great Goddess in this matter.", Novius added, trying to ensue that nothing sacrilegious was said.
At this point it may be worth explaining that almost all educated Romans believed unreservedly in the existence of the Gods, spirits and supernatural beings. That, of course, was at the core of the 'Munera' and the 'Ludi' in which Marcus and Petronius were deeply involved. The less educated were, in our 'modern' terms, simply deeply superstitious. Even Vespasian, only the previous year, had claimed to have involvements with supernatural beings when he was in Alexandria, and was, himself  credited with 'magical' healings - and he was, by general consensus, and very 'down to earth' individual. The problem that Faunus was now presenting, however, was the actuality of the presence of an apparently real supernatural being - who it seemed, was about to impinge on the lives of Marcus and his friends - rather after the manner of the Cumaean Sibyl.
"So could we get back to our Dominus - Marcus as you call him - and your claim that you met himbefore ?", Novius asked.
(Novius felt that Marcus was in some way a key to this mystery, and wanted to pursue any connection between the mysterious Faunus and his master.)
So Faunus answered.
"Yes - we met before - but it's very much a secret - but I will tell you - because if I do not, then  perhaps you will not let me help you in the future.
One night I was walking in the forest, with Glaux, on the outskirts of Athens, when I met this boy.
My mistress told me to take note of the boy, as her brother had looked with interest on the lad, and so I did.
I was looking like any other teenage Athenian boy - so as not to alarm him, and spoke to him briefly.
Later I met him a few times in a small gymnasion in Athens.
My mistress told me that the boy, called Marcus, had a very harsh father - determined to make the fine lad into a mindless bureaucrat like himself, but that in the future, this Marcus would loose his father, and the God would provide him with a truly good father, who would bring him fame and fortune.
So I was told to find him, when he had grown - and help him - and here I am - with Glaux."
All was silent in Terentius' study, except for Glaux warbling, as if in agreement.
"Do you remember that, Dominus ?", Novius asked gently.
"Yes vaguely." Marcus replied wearily.
"And do we believe that ?" Terentius asked, a little sceptically.
"I think we must.", Novius replied.
"After all, Faunus has told us that the Dominus was a young lad in Athens, and attended the gymnasion there.
Now how could he know that ?", Novius asked.
"Yes...I must concede that the evidence is strong.", Terentius admitted.
"And much else tells us that this is no village lad, or runaway slave.
Now if he is a faun, or something else, I cannot tell, but the boy is undoubtedly in touch with higher powers, that he identifies with Athena, and her brother Apollo, and we already have Glaux, who we have accepted is a gift from the gods - so why not this boy...?, Novius stated elegantly.
And then Marcus looked up.
"And you, boy...what do you want from us ?", Marcus asked.
"A chance to help you, Marcus....and Patroklos.
And you forget that I have a name - it's Faunus.
Even the boy that you love best, you call 'Boy', when his real name is Archos.
You are Dominus, but you should respect the names of those who serve - and in some cases love you.
But what I want, in a simple way, - for the moment - is a roof over my head, a bed to sleep on, some food, and a chance to have my siesta.", Faunus said slowly and deliberately.
Novius and Terentius looked at one another amazed - particularly when Faunus mentioned Archos and Patroklos - (for the significance of these names see Chapter XLII).
Marcus looked up.
Adonios, who had been listening intently, noticed that Marcus somehow now looked remarkably younger, and was smiling.
"Of course, Faunus.
Where are my manners ?", Marcus said, apologetically.
"Adonios - call the slave-boys, and order a meal and wine for our guest.
And have a room prepared, with a bed.", Marcus added, as he rose from his seat, and made his way to the doorway.
"And Adonios, send a slave-boy to Petronius' apartments and have him bring one of your loincloths and tunic for Faunus - we don't want him running around the villa naked......
Later, Faunus, when you have rested, we must talk.", Marcus said, as he left Terentius' study.
What nobody seemed to notice, however, was Faunus' two little horns dissolving, leaving Faunus looking just like a normal, but remarkably handsome, young man.

FAUNUS  ET  ADONIOS

'Faunus and  Adonios' - After Faunus had dressed, he politely said goodbye to Terentius and Novius, and went with Adonios to a little guest suite.
There a fine lunch-time meal had been set out, and in another room was an ornate gilded bronze bed, with light, luxurious cotton sheets, imported from India, and soft pillows stuffed with duck feathers.
(Imports of fabrics from India, it should be noted, were fabulously expensive in Roman times.)
As he ate his meal, and Faunus concentrated mainly on the fruit, Faunus began an earnest conversation with Adonios, while Glaux perched on the edge of Faunus' plate, politely waiting for leftovers.
While Glaux would 'steal' pieces of dormouse from Titus' plate, he was far more reserved with Faunus, as he knew that Faunus was a far more important person than any mere 'Emperor in waiting', and anyway Glaux and Faunus had been close friends for untold years.
"It seems that the Dominus has accepted you, and will let you live with us.", Adonios commented.
"Yes - it seems that way.....", Faunus said, distractedly.
"I want to talk to you seriously, because you are very special to me now, because you came when Glaux called - or rather when Athena called - but you must promise me that what I say to you will remain just between us - and remember, I know things about people - what they think and what they say, so it's no good saying yes, and then breaking your word.", Faunus said, looking very serious.
"I understand - but who would I tell, really ?
There's Petronius, but he seems to have changed recently, and I'm not so sure about him, and Aurarius is all wrapped up with the Dominus, and Demetrius is 'love-sick' with Aelius, so there's just me and Glaux.",  Adonios replied.
Faunus nodded, between bites - his table manners were not particularly patrician - but then he was a faun.
"I know - and I'm here to sort some of those things out.", Faunus remarked.
"Marcus, we can leave for a while.
Playing the part of Dominus, he will want to talk to me a lot - like interview me - but I expect that, and to begin with I'll keep him at arms length, and maybe amuse him by playing my syrinx."
"Yes, but what do you think's wrong with Marcus ?",Adonios asked - (by this stage Adonios was forgetting to use Marcus' proper title).
"I think that he's 'lost himself', but I won't say any more - not now." Faunus said.
"No - our real problem, at the moment, is Patroklos, or as Marcus calls him, Petronius - the boy whom you love.", Faunus said emphatically.
Adonios blushed deeply.
"You see, one of the problems with these Romans is that they keep changing their names.
They even do it with the Gods.
Take for example Athena - she was originally known as 'Athana' in at Knossos - not too dissimilar to Athena
Roman Goddess Minerva
Then the Etruscans came along and called her 'Menrva', and then the people of Latina - the Romans called here 'Minerva'.
The same with 'Zeus', who became for the Romans 'Jupiter'.
The only one they did not dare to rename was our Apollo."
Adonios got over his blushes, and looked on enthralled, as Faunus got into his stride.
"So we have a similar situation with the people here.
Marcus becomes Markos when he is a slave, and the back to Marcus - with some other names added - Octavian Gracchus, when he becomes free again.
Aurarius
Terentius, a Greek boy from Corinth, was originally called Eutychios, until Gnaeus Gracchus changed it to the Latin Terentius.
Aurarius was originally Archos, and then called 'Boy' by his first master, and then Gnaeus changed his name to Aurarius - because of some misunderstanding about an oracle from the God Apollo, and now Marc calls the poor lad 'Boy', but only when he fucks him.
And it's the same with all the slave - Aelius, and the rest, except you.
You have always been Adonios, and always will be.
And that brings us back to Patroklos.", Faunus concluded, pushing his plate away so that Glaux could finish the leftovers.
"But Faunus, how do you know all of this - all about these other people's names and things ?", Adonios asked.
"Well you know, Adonios.
Peoples minds are open to me, and much of what I speak of I have seen myself.
Remember, I do not age, and I can go anywhere unseen." Faunus explained.
"But no matter.
All this name changing is not good for people.
A name moulds a person and determines their fate, and you can't just go changing it without changing a lot of other things." Faunus continued.
Adonios thought about that for a moment, and nodded, as did Glaux.
"Now you don't know the real story about Patroklos - so I will tell you just a little.
Patroklos Throws the Discus
Patroklos was a farm boy, living near Athens, and he often practised throwing the discus, because he wanted to be an Olympic athlete, and our Apollo took a fancy to Patroklos, and wanted to use him for a complicated plan that he had, so...he used a means which Greeks call ἔνθεος (entheos), to merge part of his being into the boy - only a tiny part, mind you.
But, unfortunately, it went slightly wrong.
At the critical moment, young Patroklos was hit on the head with a discus from another thrower.
Everyone thought that Patroklos was dead, but he seemed to come back to life - but 'different', and with almost no knowledge of who he had been before.
It was not a good situation because the 'new' Patroklos relied too much on the 'atavistic' spirit within him."
At that point Faunus stopped, seeing that Adonios was finding some of the ideas difficult to understand.
Then he continued.
Petronius - Youthful
Petronius - Vengeful
"It was good in a way, though, as Patroklos had all the grace and 'χάρισμα' (charm) of Apollo, as well as the youthfulness.
But Apollo is also a vengeful God, and Patroklos had that too.
Anyway, regardless of the 'screw-up', it was the will of the God that Patroklos should be sold into slavery to Gnaeus Gracchus, and Gnaeus changed the boy's name to Petronius - which simply means 'country boy', which he was - but his χάρισμα made him a favourite of Gracchus.
Does that all make sense ?", Faunus asked.
"Yes, yes - it's fascinating.", Adonios replied enthusiastically, as he began to understand the enigma that surrounded the person that he looked up to so much, but also feared.
Faunus then stretched and yawned.
"Well, Adonios - I think I need to have my siesta now, so if you will let me sleep we can talk more, maybe later this evening ?
Perhaps a walk and a talk in the forest ?", Faunus said, getting up from his meal and walking to the bedroom.
And so Adonios left the guest suite, with Glaux once again perched on his shoulder.
He was unsure as to what to do when he left Faunus.
Aurarius, it seems, had gone missing, and Petronius was possibly still sulking at the swimming pool.
For Adonios everything seemed to have been turned upside down in the space of one morning, and he wondered if it would ever be the same again.
After what Faunus had tole him about Petronius he was nervous about going to his master until he had heard the full story, so instead he decided to try and find Aurarius.

TERENTIUS  ET  NOVIUS

Large Roman Clepsydra
So winding the clock back a little (or refilling the 'clepsydra' - water clock), we find ourselves back in Terentius' private study.
"So what do you make of all of that ?", Terentius asked, as Adonios and Faunus left the study.
"Well it's been quite a morning - and a lot to take in.", Novius said, getting out of his seat and taking a few steps in order to stretch his legs.
"You know, nothing's been the same since Marcus came to the villa - as a timid little slave-boy.", Novius continued, shaking his head.
"I agree.", Terentius replied.
"Before, with Gnaeus, it was all straightforward - except for the business with Demetrios.
No oracles, no cursed pugiones (daggers) , no strange little owls, and definitely no fauns.", Terentius mused.
"And this boy - this Faunus - do you really believe what he says ?", Novius asked, puzzled.
"Well, I'm usually a lot more sceptical than you, but what he says is so compelling - and I can't see how he could know all the things that he spoke of.
For me there is simply no rational explanation - and I take myself to be a philosopher.", Terentius said, seemingly exasperated.
"Yes, I agree.
No explanation except the one that he gives - that he has some supernatural power or insight that gives him access to all this information - or as he puts it , that he's a 'faun' in the service of the Gods.", Novius concluded, resuming his seat heavily.
"The problem is - if that is true, what is he intending to do ?
Is he in some way a danger to the House of Gracchus ?
Maybe a greater danger than the conspirators against Marcus were ?", Terentius said darkly.
"What are you suggesting, Terentius.
That we somehow remove him from the scene before he can act against us, and Marcus ?
But wouldn't that be dangerous ?
If he has access to our thoughts, as he claims, then how could we make plans against him ?
And if does have the authority of the Gods, and in particular Apollo, then wouldn't we be taking a terrible risk.", Novius cautioned.
"Indeed...... Your counsel is wise, Novius", Terentius said thoughtfully.
"Perhaps we should bide our time, and see what transpires."

ADONIOS  ET  AURARIUS

Adonios wandered down to the ground floor of the villa, with a sleepy Glaux still on his shoulder.
Aurarius was nowhere to be seen, so Adonios went out onto the garden terrace.
He looked out over the immaculate lawns, and saw Aurarius sitting with his back up against the trunk of a cypress tree.
Slowly Adonios walked over to his friend.
It was hot late afternoon, and the scent of the cypress wood was strong in the air.
The poet Ovid, who wrote during the reign of Augustus, records the best-known myth that explains the association of the cypress with grief. The handsome boy Cyparissus, a favourite of Apollo, accidentally killed a beloved tame stag. His grief and remorse were so inconsolable that he asked to weep forever. He was transformed into 'cupressus sempervirens', with the tree's sap as his tears. The cypress therefore is a symbol of mourning
"What are you doing here ?", Adonios asked, trying to be casual.
"I needed to get away and think....", Aurarius answered, quietly.
"So what's the problem ? - Why aren't you with the Dominus ?", Adonios persisted.
"I need to be alone !", Aurarius snapped back.
"But he'll be looking for you - he'll be annoyed that he can't find you.", Adonios explained.
"I don't care !", Aurarius replied, moodily.
"Look !.... When Terentius first brought me to Baiae, and I met the old Dominus, I thought then that everyone in the villa was a bit crazy.
Well now I'm sure.....ALL fuckin' crazy !........," Aurarius said angrily.
"Well... except maybe you....", he added, more gently.
"But now... we've got a fuckin' faun in the villa, and all because of your stupid bird !"
"I know.",  Adonios replied sadly.
"But it's not the fault of Glaux, and it's not my fault.....but there's something going on here, and it's serious, and I think that only Novius might really understand it."  Adonios continued.
"Well I wish that Novius would explain it to me !", Aurarius replied.
"Then there's Marcus, not knowing if he's met the boy or not, and the boy,, or faun...or whatever, knowing all these things about us.
And then Petronius getting all annoyed, and going off in a huff.....
Aurarius paused, trying to control his feelings.
And then there's all this stupid business about Petronius being my elder brother - as if I wouldn't know.
And just for the record, he's not my brother, even if it may seem that way."
Aurarius then looked intently at Adonios, and a single tear rolled down his cheel.
"I want it to go back to the way it was just before we left Baiae.
That last night, when Marcus took me in his arms, and you to came to know the real Petronius....."
And then there was only the sighing of the wind in the cypress trees, as the two boys sat together - remembering.

And their remembering drifted into the dream of young Faunus - asleep in the villa, in the gentle warmth of the late afternoon.