I've been wanting to write some Jed/Octavius slash for years now (ever since it became one of my OTPs back when the first Night at the Museum movie came out), but have sadly been unable to come up with a good plot for a fic. But low and behold, yesterday morning an idea came to me and I decided to write it while it was fresh in my mind. Even though I have two other fanfics to work on at the moment (one of which has a deadline...Eeek!) Oh well...*shrugs*
Anyways, I'm excited about finally having some inspiration for this pairing! I hope you like it! ^_^
Title: When in Rome (1/5)
Rating: PG-13 (eventually NC-17)
Summary: A new addition to the Ancient Rome diorama turns the lives of Octavius and Jedediah upside down.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but this fic!
Author's Notes: At the start of this fic, Jed and Octavius' relationship is just starting to blossom - they only know that they have strong feelings for each other. I just thought I'd say that in case you were wondering if they were in an established relationship already, at which I say "sort of"...
Larry entered Dr. McPhee’s office. He had received a call from the museum curator earlier that day, asking him to come in a half hour before his night shift.
“You wanted to see me, Dr. McPhee?” Larry inquired.
“Ah, there you are!” Dr. McPhee chimed impatiently. He removed his glasses and closed the book he had been reading. “Follow me, please…”
Dr. McPhee led Larry upstairs toward the hall of miniatures. “There is a new, yet temporary, addition to the Ancient Rome diorama.”
“Oh?” Larry raised an eyebrow. “What is it?”
“A colleague of mine who is the curator of the Natural History museum in up in Rochester asked me to hold onto his collection of figurines while the diorama is being built over there.” Dr. McPhee explained. “So, instead of keeping them in a box, I decided to make them a part of our own display.”
When they came up to the diorama, Larry noticed the ‘out-of-place’ figures over to the right. It was a large group: most of what looked like soldiers, a couple of generals, and one figure in the very front, dressed in regal clothing.
“What are they supposed to be?” Larry asked.
“It is supposed to be a Roman emperor and his army.” Dr. McPhee answered. “Probably returning from a long and impending war.”
“An emperor?” Larry mumbled with a surprised look. “This isn’t going to go well…” He must have said it a little too loud, because the curator looked at him strangely.
Larry quickly shook his head and then asked, “How long are they going to be a part of the display?”
“About two weeks…though, my colleague wasn’t sure exactly when they were going to be finished with their diorama.”
Larry frowned slightly, thinking about how this change would affect Octavius’ relationship with his soldiers and his empire that he was supposed to protect. He recalled a time when the little Roman told him about how he was in charge of the empire while his emperor, Hadrian, was away at war. Now as much as Larry knew that this was not a reality, he understood that this was a part of Octavius’ story and he always aimed to respect that. But how could he handle the presence of this unfamiliar ruler. It will no doubt be difficult.
“Now, I’m telling you about this because I want your word that you will not let anything happen to the new figurines.” Dr. McPhee ordered. “I’m serious, Mr. Daley. Don’t take them out of the diorama or anything – just don’t even touch them, period. If one of them is lost, broken, scratched – you will lose your job within seconds. Am I clear?”
Larry sighed and nodded. “Yes sir.”
As the sun descended beneath the horizon, life arose throughout the museum. Inside the Ancient Rome diorama, confusion quickly settled as the new emperor and his men looked around them.
“What is this?” the emperor demanded. “Where are we?”
Then one of his generals looked at the background mural of the Coliseum and gasped. “My liege! We are home!”
The Roman soldiers all cheered joyfully at the news. The Emperor gave a faint smile, more due to pride than joy. But then the unfamiliar soldiers standing at the other end caught his eye, making him march over to them.
“You there!” The emperor called. “Who are you?”
“We were wondering the same about you.” One of Octavius’ men replied.
“As your emperor, I demand you tell me your names.” The emperor’s voice was dark and forceful.
Octavius’ men looked around at each other in confusion. “You are not our emperor.” One of them spoke up. “Our emperor has gone to war and isn’t due to return for a few many years.”
The emperor’s forehead creased with anger. “How dare you speak to me with such ignorance! I am Marcus Arsenius, Emperor of Rome! Now, I demand you show me reverence!”
Another one of Octavius’ men shook his head. “As loyal Roman citizens and soldiers, I tell you in all honesty that you are not the emperor of Rome.” The soldier spoke defiantly. “The emperor of Rome is Hadrian – the one and only – and we serve only him and our general, Octavius.”
Arsenius pursed his lips and gave the soldier a contemptuous look. Within seconds, Arsenius’ head general drove a sword through the soldier’s stomach.
Arsenius gave a nod in approval to his general. “Thank you, Lucius.”
Octavius’ men quickly drew their weapons in defense, but Arsenius’ soldiers were faster. The emperor held up his hand and took a step forward.
“So-called ‘loyal citizens’ of Rome, my advice is to lower your weapons and join my men.” Arsenius said. He paused for a moment to see their reactions, but when they did not move, he continued. “Trust me, your resistance would be futile for I have twice the number of men, and could kill you all within minutes.”
General Lucius nonchalantly removed his sword from the fallen soldier’s abdomen. After a few minutes, Octavius’ men reluctantly lowered their weapons and kneeled before their new ruler.
“Good choice, men.” A wicked grin spread across Arsenius’ lips. “Now, as your less loyal brother-in-arms here said…you have a general?”
One of the other soldiers cleared his throat anxiously, and answered, “Yes. Our general assumed control over the empire while our emperor – I mean! – in your absence.”
“I see.” Arsenius raised an eyebrow, surveying the area of the diorama, before bringing his face close to the soldier’s. “And where, may I ask, is your general now?”
Next door, in the Old West diorama, the railroad and mountainside tunnels were abandoned while the newly-built saloon at the other end buzzed with noise.
Jedediah had been asking Larry for a place in which he and his people could rest and enjoy themselves after a week of hard work. So, Larry found a saloon house to add to the display. Inside, there was a lively band playing and behind the microphone was Jedediah, swaying his hips and tapping his foot.
Up in front were the few women that were a part of the display, subtly trying to get as close to the handsome, singing cowboy as they could. The second layers of people were the rest of Jedediah’s men, cheering and singing along. Then, sitting on one of the bar stools in front of the bar counter was Octavius, watching Jedediah with a pleasant smile. He had removed his helmet and set down on the counter next to his barely-touched bourbon drink.
Every few beats of the song, Jedediah would allow his gaze to find Octavius’ in the back, as if making sure his friend was still there.
“You are my sunshine – my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray…” Jedediah sang. “You told me once, dear, you really loved me, and that no one would come between…but if you leave me to love another, you’ll regret it all someday.”
Octavius inclined his head, his lips curling upwards a bit, as if understanding the meaning behind the words.
As soon as the song ended, the saloon erupted with cheers. Octavius stood up and gave his most reverent ovation. Jedediah gestured for his friend Amos to come up and sing the next song.
He then casually jumped down from the stage, nearly knocking over one of the ladies in front.
“Oh, sorry, little darlin’.” Jedediah apologized with a tip of his hat. “Didn’t mean to knock into you like that.”
The pretty young woman fluttered her eyebrows at him and put her hand on his arm. “Oh, that’s not a problem at all, Jedediah.” She cooed. “In fact, I was hoping you would and perhaps, ask me to dance.”
Jedediah smiled respectfully at her. “Maybe some other time, ma’am. I’ve got somebody waiting for me at the bar–.”
The young woman seductively moved her hand to the cowboy’s chest. “Come now, Jedediah, after all those long days workin’ with your men, surely you’d like to spend some quality time with a close friend in a pretty skirt.” She grabbed his hand, moving it to the long flowery skirt.
Jedediah removed his hand from her grip and inclined his head respectfully. “That’s very kind of you, ma’am.” He said. “But I already have a close friend who wears a skirt, and no offense little darlin’, but I kind of like his better.”
A look of surprise spread across her face, as if she could not believe the handsome cowboy’s rejection.
“Evening, ma’am.” Jedediah bid her a ‘goodnight’ and made his way over to the bar. Octavius greeted him with a warm smile.
“Hey there, partner.” Jedediah gave his Roman friend a pat on the shoulder. “Having fun?”
Octavius moved back to sit on the bar stool again. “I suppose…I find your form of entertainment to be…interesting.”
“Do you like the music?” Jedediah asked, leaning his elbows on the bar counter.
Octavius swayed his head to the side in an indecisive manner. “I don’t know…” He replied, not really sure if he liked the native country music of the Old West. “The compilation of your instruments makes quite a different sound of music than I am used to.”
“Ah, you’re not fond of the country ‘twang’?” Jedediah smirked. “So, you didn’t like my singin’?”
“No, it’s not that.” Octavius attested. “I thought your singing was fine…more than fine. It’s just that the music and the lyrics of the songs are simply foreign to me.”
Jedediah nodded understandingly. “Well then, I think you just need some more experience with it, that’s all.” He reached for Octavius’ hand and pulled him into a standing position.
Octavius shot his cowboy friend a look of uncertainty. “Oh, Jedediah…I don’t know if I can…”
“Don’t worry, partner.” Jedediah smiled reassuringly, and tugged at the string-ties of the Roman’s long red cloak until it came loose, allowing it to drape over the bar stool. “You’re with me.”
Jedediah led Octavius to the dance floor and pulling him close. “Alright, partner, put your hand on my shoulder and keep holding onto my hand like this.” Octavius did as he was told and they began to move awkwardly to the rhythm of the music.
Octavius glanced around at the other dancing couples, and couldn’t help but noticing that his position was mirroring that of most of the women.
“Why am I dancing like the rest of your women?” He inquired.
Jedediah smiled cheekily. “Well, I know in your world, that thing you’re wearing around your hips is considered manly, but here, it’s kind of girly.”
Octavius shot his friend a look of offense, at which Jedediah simply winked.
“Not to mention, you’re wearing sandals – and only women wear shoes that look like that.” He added.
Octavius rolled his eyes and sighed. “Well, your customs are just bizarre. I’ll have you know that your somewhat, long hair would be considered androgynous in my world.” A proud smile spread across the Roman’s lips.
“Oh, would it, now?” Jedediah smirked. “Well, I guess we just have to accept that we come from very different worlds, and deal with it.”
Octavius’ brown eyes softened. “Yes, I suppose…as we Romans say, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’.”
Jedediah raised an eyebrow, thinking about the phrase, and nodded in agreement.
“I guess that could be said for your native land, as well.” Octavius suggested.
“Yeah.” Jedediah smiled, feeling their dance movements finally sync together with the music. “You learn fast, partner.”
“Well, I’m giving it my best effort.” Octavius said with a wide smile.
“That’s good.” Jedediah wrapped his arm around Octavius’ waist, bringing their bodies together. “Maybe sometime I could come over to your side and see what kind of fun you Romans have.”
Octavius snorted lightly and looked away. “Oh, our entertainment is quite different than yours…more violent and bloody. I don’t know if I would like you to see that side of us Romans.”
“Ah, we cowboys get violent and bloody in the rodeos sometimes.” Jedediah shrugged. “I think I could handle whatever you got over there.”
Octavius sighed contently and brought his free hand up to play with the blonde locks of Jedediah’s hair. “So brave…”
It could be said that their fondness for each other was mutually well-known, though neither had yet spoken about the idea of ‘courting’ or moving toward a physical relationship. Neither one really knew how to ask the other about such subjects, and were too content to stay as they were until the proper time arose. They loved each other and that was good enough for the time being.
As the song slowly faded to an end, Jedediah paused their dancing. “So, you wanna head out? Maybe take a car drive to the first floor and see what Gigantor is up to?”
“That sounds good, my friend.” Octavius replied, stepping out of the cowboy’s hold. “Let me just check on my men first.” He walked back to the bar counter and picked up his Corinthian helmet, placing it on his head.
“’Kay.” Jedediah acknowledged, adjusting his own hat. “I’ll be down on the floor, waiting in the car.”
Octavius nodded and reached outward to lightly stroke Jedediah’s cheek before walking out of the saloon and back to his diorama.
Octavius made his way through the hidden tunnel that connected the two dioramas, contently thinking about his dear cowboy friend and how he could not imagine his life without him. But his smile faded quickly as two pairs of strong hands grabbed him within the second he was inside.
“What the hell is this?” Octavius demanded as he struggled against the firm hold. “What is going on?” He was hastily escorted to the back of the diorama. He then recognized the two soldiers holding onto him. “Livius! Maximus! What are you doing? I am your general!”
“Oh, but they are acting on much higher authority now, General Octavius.” Emperor Arsenius appeared in front of him.
Octavius stared dumbfounded at the emperor. “Who are you? What are you doing with my men?”
“They’re no longer your men, General. They belong to me now.” Arsenius declared. “And so do you.”
- Current Mood: sleepy