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Midday noms (Seia)
Alaric at first did not know what to say when she asked to know everything about him. What was there that she would want to know about what he had to say? How could he describe himself? She encouraged him when she encouraged him to speak in his native language, a tongue he spoke but only during the course of his dreams. 

"There.." He started then stopped. When he spoke again he spoke in his native tongue rather than the Latin he had learnt by force, and necessity for his survival. "There are times when I remember the cool touch of the thick forests of my homeland. When I dream I walk through the land, see my kin, my wife, and the life that I could have had before my ambition took hold of me and I went to fight against Rome. Barely a boy, skilled but overwhelmed by the might of Rome. There are times when I ask myself what could have happened, it was as though the Gods decided to flip a coin and decided to send my life down this path." He continued, returned a gentle kiss each time on her lips and the question came. 

Did he love her? 

His face looked down at her, his pale eyes gazed into her dark ones. 

"I do, yet.. I must ask two questions, Seia. Do you in return? And, you said men-?" He asked. There were times when he understood the subtlety within Roman language, and then there were times like this when he absolutely missed.
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I do. 
Warmth filled Seia's face again, but she had to answer honestly. "I don't know  -- I think I'm close to it, I've been thinking about you, since that day in the market ... and I was hoping, today, when I came, that maybe you..." 

She twisted her fingers into her chiton as her mind returned all the secret little thoughts and hopes. Who was she kidding? "I was hoping what I was feeling and wishing for could be love. I feel like maybe it shouldn't, since we still know so little about one another, but... " 

Seia knew she was stammering like a child and immediately gave herself a mental shake and a deep breath. It was time to man up, what did it matter if they were strangers? Her heart knew its own way around. Titus had been a stranger too, and love had grown. This Alaric had won her in much less time and with much less pain. She needn't be worried that the process wasn't wholly finished; if things kept going this way it would not take long. "Yes," Seia confessed at last. "Yes, I feel the same." 

His next question made her flush again, but in pain rather than pleasure, and the woman turned her face away. "...Yes, men." She didn't know how to start, but the memory of her previous shame made her know that it would be best to just get this out of the way. Maybe it would make him change his mind, but better now than when they were formally engaged and it could really bring her pain. Seia bit her lip, trying to think of how to explain, and finally started slowly. "...I admire men who are brave and kind. There have been several loves, although I am always loyal to the one I am with." 

She wanted to keep this short, and summarized the best she could. "The first was killed very shortly after I met him. The second, I wanted to marry and was forbidden from, he vanished from my life during my betrothal. The third was only allowed to be a friend - we only met after I was engaged, and at the time I did not know Titus well and was grieving over my marriage. I count him because he would have been a love, if circumstances and my own conscience had allowed it. The fourth, of course, was Titus." 

Seia looked at him, grimly serious. "I keep my promises, Alaric. I am loyal to the man I swear to love, and although I still care about, and worry about, the two surviving men in that list, my body would belong to you and only you. I have my own honor."
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Alaric was a man of few words. While Seia spoke enough for the pair of them, this time was no exception. At first he wondered whether his answer had been the right one, the confession of feelings would change things -- it always did. Perhaps had had damaged a potential friendship before it had time to develop. The moment it took for her to confess a return of his feelings was the same as the anticipation he felt before two opposing armies finally reached each other. He breathed a sigh of relief when she finally answered, and returned his feelings. 

With the change of her expression at his second question, instinctively his arm around her tightened and held her close to him. Protective of her. Alaric had loved other women in the past, he was a grown man and felt as though he had already lived many lifetimes. He nodded as she went through all the men she had lived, each one had been an important part of her life. Matters of love and marriage were two completely different things, he treasured Seia for telling him. His calloused fingertips ran along the top of Seia's hand and circled as he listened. 

"I understand, Seia...... and I trust that you," He answered, then thought he should elaborate with what had been said, and about himself. "There have been quite a few women for me. There had been ones that I loved, others... merely cared for,..." His voiced trailed off. 

"Getrude was Barbara's mother, my first.... although you could say that I was a different person back then," He teased with a grin, although there were times when the memories of his old life would whisper to him. "Then they were trying to make me Roman, I was married to an equestrian girl and her mind was not there.. I cared for her, but there was no love. Then there was Gala..." He began, it may have been awkward considering the pair of them were friends, and it was during the time when she had been married to Titus. "And then there was Suetonia, my last and Alaricus' mother."

He paused as his gaze searched hers to see what she would think.
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"There have been so many." Seia's voice was soft, almost whispered with disbelief, and she answered Alaric's light caresses with a quick squeeze to his hand, clinging to the rough fingers in mingled sympathy and pain. How had they both lost so many? And Gala, sweet Gala... Seia had never had too many friends to begin with, so the loss of even one was hard, but missing one who would have sympathized with her, and helped her....

Maybe Alaric was Gala's gift. Maybe this was her way of helping her friend, leading her to someone who could sympathize and help who was still in the land of the living. Someone who said he trusted her, and someone who had believed what she said when nobody else seemed to hear the words.

Seia's eyes filled, and she held tightly to the warrior's hand. "Titus and I, there was a stone we kept in the garden, with a pretty bench to sit on. It was meant to be a place to think about, and honor, the people who were gone from us...a quiet place. Maybe we could have the same thing here."
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Alaric's hand gently squeezed Seia's in return when she began to confide in him about the many she had lost over the years. While neither of them were children, they were not elders either -- so much loss for the pair of them to deal with. Patiently and silently, he listened while Seia answered. He did not know what Titus would have thought about his wife marrying a romanised German, but it was something small he was able to do for her and wanted to do it. 

"I think that would be a good idea, perhaps a little hidden corner as noise in the Domus can get quite loud," He began, the voices of the slaves and freedmen who would enter the home could be a distraction for them during their time to grief. "Who knows, maybe the dead would be able to see us reflect on the past and be able to speak with us?" Alaric asked. He was not a superstitious man, spirituality had never been his strong suit but perhaps the dead would like having a place to check in on their loved ones?
Occasionally he saw the faces of the dead, but they were in his dreams - and occasionally in his nightmares.
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