Octavian sits on their bed, his back to the door, his head in his hands. He must hear her enter, but waits until she is standing before him to speak. "My mother is dead," he tells her.
"My dear," Livia says, "I know."
"You don't-- My mother is dead."
He lifts his head to stare at her. She is used to the terrifying blankness there, but not to what she sees cracking through beneath it: she last saw it on her own son's face, when she sent him to live with his father. But Tiberius already understands what kind of sacrifices are necessary, in this life; her husband, she understands, has barely started to learn that lesson.
She takes a deep breath. "Turn around, Gaius." The switch is in its box by the side of their bed. "Take your tunic off. And I think it would be best, during this, if you called me mother."
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