after having to do it by himself for so long, soma had hoped that bandaging up his wounds after a battle would get a little less painful over time. nothing could have prepared his past self, a much younger and less scared boy sold away practically on a first come first served basis, for the stinging pain of treating a fresh slash from a sword on his body. the sting never got any better no matter how often it happened, nor did the feeling of his flesh being sliced open. all of it hurt way too much to put into accurate words, and he would most likely never get used to the pain no matter how many times he took a blow, but he was - if nothing else - used to receiving
the pain. maybe not completely able to take it quietly by no means, but used to having it inflicted at least. the amount of markings on his body, both smooth as silk and about a jagged as broken glass, told anyone who looked at them enough about how much pain he was in at any given moment in time. that was part of the entertainment, however, and more often than not he hadn't gotten much sympathy from it, if ever. the crowds called for his blood on a regular basis, and soma had accepted that his life was going to be full of such cries until the day he inevitably died by someone else's sword or the sharp teeth of some vicious animal come to take his life. the day he was sold could have ended in anything, sex slavery if the person whom he couldn't even remember had his way, yet being a gladiator hadn't even come up as an option for either of them. he was young enough at the time to be trained, sure, but young boys like him, who were more often praised for a pretty face than fighting ability, were usually kept away from something that would take away a potentially more profitable buy.
even so, despite all the injuries he'd received over the years in one form or another, soma was - not exactly happy - but relieved that such a fate didn't happen to him. it was the norm for the time, still was if the rumors he heard about when no one thought he was listening were anything to go by. would have been happy with that instead, though? absolutely not. the idea of giving up his virtues in such a way still sickened him no matter how often he'd thought about it, and although he would rather be free someday than anything else, he could still handle fighting some other gladiator or animal than doing anything that had a better chance of breaking him and leaving him less than human. at least in the arena he could say he was fighting for his freedom. at least in the arena he didn't have to feel so shameful that he would rather die than keep doing. the rewards for being a warrior for the community far outreached anything else he could have been sold for. sighing, soma continued to wrap the bandages around his forearm, hissing as even the slightest bit of pressure sent pain flaring up the rest of his arm and his spine. thankfully, it was the only wound he'd gotten from the battle today, but it was still bad enough that he would most likely have to see a healer at some point, and it was bound to leave a nasty scar, one more among the many already in his possession. soma wouldn't be allowed much time to heal and rest like he wished he could. his current injury was most likely going to reopen itself multiple times in the coming weeks, and he was not looking forward to having treat the same wound over and over again. but he was used to it. there wasn't very much he could do about it. he might as well have been a servant without having to be at the king's side at nearly all hours.
with his arm as well treated as he could currently get it, soma held it gingerly to his bare stomach, not willing to put to much pressure or energy into anything at the moment, his thoughts wondering off to the king who had bought him so many years ago. he couldn't say his king was a particularly kind man. deserving of his royalty, of course, giving off the presence of someone who was born to lead as he pleased. then again, soma was unsure if he could call any king a kind person, most either involved in the battles or participating in things he would rather not think about. admittedly, soma had been blinded by a hate he was unable to speak neither back then or now, and it often still colored his perception even if his relationship with his king wasn't the same as it had once been. it wasn't a great change, but it wasn't necessarily bad per se. confusing was likely the best way to put. very, very confusing. as much as soma detested the idea of being used as a sex object, it never quite felt like that whenever his king choose to give him a different kind of attention from the usual. had he been captive for so long that nothing phased him anymore? soma had no idea, but the more and more his king touched him when no one else could see, the more and more confused his own feelings became. one of these days, he was either going to die or be a free man, and having such a thing weigh on him until whichever end fate chose for him was almost too much. having a lover was something that had never crossed his mind before. soma wished it never had in the first place. a king couldn't hold a gladiator as a lover; soma was all too aware of his place and role to even think about believing something like that.
the door to his quarters creaked open, but soma chose not to look for the time being. only one person would be coming to see him at this time of night. turning him away wasn't really an option either, even if his arm was still hurting so badly he would rather it be cut off at the elbow. though, that pain was likely much, much worse than what he was currently going through, the thought of how awful that would be didn't deter his desire to just have it be over with already. still, just because he wasn't sure about having company tonight, soma couldn't ignore his king, who even was gracious enough to give him a room away from the servant's quarters, and probably was the only person who treated him with some kind of decency. "your highness," soma spoke aloud after a moment of silence, paying more attention to his arm than anything else in the room at the moment. not even sleep was going to make it stop hurting, and he had a feeling that he wasn't about to be getting to properly rest any time soon either. still, any kind of affection, even if it might not have been entirely real, sounded like heaven right about now.