The sight of Livianus’s bare arse hardened Attila’s cock in an instant. When the Roman bent over to lay his clothes on the bench, his balls hung like ripe fruits between his legs. Attila couldn’t avoid grinning. He knew Livianus would be impressed when he turned around.
Livianus stood straight and turned. “Oh, my!”
“It is not something to be forgotten that easily.” Livianus chuckled. “You don’t need battering rams—you could breach the gates of Constantinople with that.”
Attila guffawed and grabbed Livianus by the wrist, pulling him forward and toppling him into the pool. A plume of water soaked Attila, and he jumped in after his friend.
“Now I consider my bath officially opened,” said Attila, wiping water from his eyes. “You are the first Roman to enter it.” He smiled at his choice of words. “Come, Livianus. Let us have a competition, see who can swim the most lengths.”
“But Attila, you miss the point. A bath is not a swimming pool. It is for cleansing and relaxing—just the thing I need after my journey.” He cricked his neck.
“Nonsense. I can do that in the river.”
“You can swim in the river too.”
“And I do, but here it’s quieter.”
“Exactly.” Livianus went to the side of the pool. He folded his arms on the copingstone and rested his chin upon them.
“And more private.” With the doors barred, Attila had Livianus all to himself. No one would dare interrupt them. And if his guest was weary, Attila had the patience. “No matter. Forget the competition for now. Let me ease your aching muscles.” He drew up behind Livianus and began to massage his neck and shoulders.
“Ah, that’s good. Oh, I wish the Romans could see you now, see that you are not a child-eating devil.”
“Better they don’t. I prefer them to fear me.”
“But it bothers me. You are nothing like they imagine. The man I know is so different. I feel sad that you’re not known for your more gentle side.”
“Sad?” Attila slid his hands down to massage Livianus’s lower back. “If I’m not, I see no reason for you to be. In fact, I rather like it this way.”
Livianus turned around to face Attila. “But are you happy? Content with your life? You seemed somehow different when you opened the door.”
“No, in fact time hasn’t altered your looks at all. It’s something else. It shows in your expression, in your eyes.”
Attila sighed and looked to the roof. “Have you any idea what it is like to be a barbarian king?”
“You know I don’t, not personally.”
“It’s almost like being a god—”
“Mind your tongue. You’re sounding like a Roman emperor.”
“I don’t mean it in that way. Your emperors always basked in the glory of deification. I do not. And in any event, my people do not believe I am or will be a god.”
“So what are you saying?”
Attila let his eyes settle on Livianus. His friend frowned with concern. “I’m so glad you’re here.” Attila grasped Livianus’s shoulders and smiled at him. “I can talk to you as I can talk to no other.”
“You know whatever passes between us goes no further, unless you wish it.”
Attila nodded. “What I am trying to say, in my savage language, is that I feel the strain of living up to expectations. My own people expect me to always make the right decisions, to win every battle, to see they have food and shelter, to know every damn thing.” He smashed his fist into the copingstone. “And your people expect me to be a monster. It begins to tire me.”
Livianus nodded and smiled.
“What I really need is to feel wanted for myself, not for what I am supposed to be. For God’s sake, Livianus, you know this.”
“You have plenty of wives. Is there none that fulfils this role?”
Attila shook his head and sighed. “Atora, for a time, but she bores me. And she hasn’t the touch. Not one has the touch that can make me sing inside and feel…wanted. They all need me but they don’t want me.”
“I’m sure you’re wrong—”
“No.” Attila shook his head again. “I’m not wrong. It’s like nobody at all actually loves me. Nobody makes me feel like I did when…”
“When we were together?”
“Yes. This is what I mean. It wasn’t so bad before we met, but when you left I felt as if a great chasm had opened up inside me.”
Livianus slipped his arms around Attila’s waist. “A chasm?”
“One that only you can fill.” Attila pushed his lips forward, hesitated, then kissed Livianus on the cheek.
Livianus turned his head. Their lips touched. Attila tingled from head to toe and offered his tongue. Livianus tasted…Roman, a lifetime of grapes and delicacies. Attila pushed his tongue farther, and Livianus sucked it in until the root ached in Attila’s throat. Oh, the feel of a man. Attila’s cock stiffened again, and he felt Livianus hardening against his thigh. He slipped a hand under the water and wrapped his fingers around Livianus’s shaft. A tremor ran through his own body and seemed to transmit along Livianus’s cock and up his body.
“I missed this,” said Attila, reclaiming his tongue.
“So have I. I cannot tell you how much.”
Attila stroked Livianus’s shaft, then peeled back the foreskin and rubbed his thumb over the cockhead. Livianus breathed in sharply.
“Come with me.” Attila led Livianus by the hand to the far end of the pool where the semi-circular steps rose gently from the water. When they reached the bottom step, Attila lay down on his stomach, his legs trailing in the water, his back and shoulders protruding. He spread his legs. “Fill me, Livianus. Fill the chasm that you left and make me sing inside again.”
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