Progeny III by Accalia

Lucilla was left standing alone in the Colosseum.

The former gladiators and Gracchus had left long ago with Lucius tagging along behind them; Maximus was borne out of the arena on the procession's shoulders. She had left arrangements to Gracchus of when and where Maximus was to be interred, but in the meantime, she had to make sure that Commodus would not take the throne once again.

// Your brother will need your help more than ever. //

'I'm tired of being strong.' She had said the words only a day ago to Maximus. And now, she would have to continue to be strong- for Lucius, for the people, for herself and her memories of Maximus. She had to see to it that Commodus didn't step back into his position as Emperor and ruin Rome even more than he already had.

But the image of her brother's bloodied face was branded in her mind. Seeing the scarlet smear from his hand and nose across his face and his troubled, dark eyes again in memory only served to increase her reluctance to see him by tenfold. Not to mention the fact that Commodus thought he was still the Emperor; after all, he had won the fight.

She would have to become the Protector of Rome, as her father had designated Maximus to be originally.* Maximus was dead, and there was no one to pass the job onto except for herself.

// What a Caesar you would have been. //

With a muted sigh of resignation, she turned toward the still-open doors and walked out, rose petals fluttering in her wake.


Commodus was pacing in his room, his steps treading softly across the hard floor, when Lucilla made her way in.


He looked up at her, and for the second time in several hours, she gasped, hands flying to her mouth again.

It was obvious that although the bleeding from his neck had stopped, the man hadn't taken her advice to wash up. His face still had the wide streak of red, now turned a rich burdundy as it dried. The wound on his neck was still a vivid crimson, and the armored breastplate was stained with rivulets of rust-colored dried blood. The sneer from the arena had been replaced by a grimace; his eyes, no longer troubled, had a frenzied look that alarmed her.

"You should wash your face, brother. Come." She took a chance in hoping that he would obey, but he did, following her silently to the baths to rinse the blood off his face and neck, exchanging the armor for his typical finery before they set off to go find the surgeon. His verdict: Commodus had a badly broken nose, and the bruises on his face would remain for a long time to come. The cut on his arm was shallow, but it could leave a scar. The wound on his neck was simply a puncture wound; the shock and pain had made the Emperor black out for a few moments earlier in the arena. Inwardly, Lucilla took great satisfaction in that knowing Maximus had marred Commodus' good looks, at least temporarily. She nodded, sent a servant to find out what Commodus' needs would be, and strode off with her brother in tow, feigning blitheness.

// You're lying... I never had to acquire your comfort with it. //

His sullen silence was beginning to worry her, when he finally spoke. His voice was bitter, hurt, angry, dangerously soft, and Lucilla lost what little facade of near-happiness that she had. She paled at his words.

"You lied to me."

*= I'm just assuming that the paper that MA was writing at the beginning of the movie when Maximus stepped in was some document that stated Maximus' succession, and that they found it afterward.

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