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fic: how to make it in america.

Posted on 2012.03.11 at 01:59
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Title: how to make it in america.
Fandom: Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Characters: Naevia, Nasir, Crixus, Agron, Chadara, Mira, Spartacus (mentions everyone, basically)
Rating: R for language
Summary: The AU Brooklyn hipster fic, wherein Naevia and Nasir drink coffee and make a lot of art while Agron and Crixus do manly things such as eat hot dogs and drive pickup trucks.
Warning: Much language and much gentrification.
Disclaimer: I definitely don't own Spartacus: Vengeance or any affiliated names or ideas. Nor do I own 
Author's Notes: This is the pointless fic wherein I gleefully force the Spartacus crew to live out my daily existence.

“Shit,” muttered Nasir at the same time Naevia shouted, “Holy fuck!” and came running from the bathroom, tripping over the jeans pulled down around her ankles.

“Crap, Naevia, underwear maybe?”

“Shut up, my vagina’s the least of your concerns.”

“You’re right,” he said, upturning a table, sending negatives and bills all over the apartment. Grabbing his cell phone off the floor, he read slowly aloud as he typed out a text. “Have – you – seen – my – portfolio?”

“Okay, great, but Nasir – ”

“Hold on.”


“Okay, what?”

“You’ve got serious mice.”


Crixus glanced over when the bell above the door jingled and barked, “Get out.”

“I need your help,” said Agron, approaching the bar.

“No. Get out.”

“Seriously? Rhaskos doesn’t even work here anymore.”


Agron slid onto a barstool, grabbed an empty tumbler, and helped himself to the beer tap.

So,” he said, “no bouncer, no ban.”

“It’s my bar. I could take you.”

“I’ll believe that when I see it.”

Drawing himself to his full height, Crixus knocked the tumbler – already half-drained – from Agron’s hand.

“You fucking cunt,” he growled. “I owe you for what you did for Naevia at The Abbey last week, but don’t fucking think that makes us friends.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it. But as much as it pains me to say it, you’re not completely useless. The L’s down again and you have a car and a license to drive it.”

“I’m listening.”

“Nasir’s got a chance at a gallery opening but I left his portfolio somewhere.”


“No fucking idea.”


“I’m not giving you my fucking keys,” Chadara said, gesturing with a tagging gun in a way that made both Agron and Crixus step back into a rounder of blouses.

“Watch your language,” snapped Seppia as she came out of the back room, and Chadara rolled her eyes and bit back a comment about fucking heiress teenagers whose daddies buy them clothing lines.

Agron ignored the way Seppia was eyeing him from across the boutique and asked, “When’s your lunch break?”

“An hour ago. It’s not in my apartment, guys. I would have called him.”

“Do you even know what it looks like?” Crixus asked.

Chadara raised an eyebrow and replied, “Giant black binder filled with a bitchload of homeless people, old Polish couples, and Agron nudes. What’s on at The Gaul tonight?

“Lady’s choice. Good night for a rebound.”

“Fuck off.”


Mira shut the door in their faces.

Agron continued to pound on it.

“Come on, Mira, this’ll take two seconds!”

“I told you, I’m not giving you anything on the DA, Agron,” her muffled voice shouted from within the brownstone. “Go harass Spartacus himself if you’re that desperate for a headline.”

“It’s not about that,” he shouted back.

Silence held for a moment before the lock clicked again and the door opened once more. “Two seconds,” snapped Mira, sporting a quilt and some rather fantastic bedhead. “Put your fucking tape recorder away. And Crixus, I don’t work until eight. You better have a bitch-ass reason for pulling me out of bed.”

“Lady’s choice, tonight, remember? I need you at six.”

“Hell no.”

Mira,” Agron interjected, cursing fucking Crixus and his fucking ineffectual staff relations, “did I leave Nasir’s portfolio here?”

She shrugged. “Maybe.”

“Can we come up and have a look?”

“I am sleeping,” she said very monosyllabically, as though explaining astrophysics to a very small child. “I will call you if I see it. I’ll see you tonight, boys.”

“Not Agron, he’s banned,” Crixus started to say, but Mira had already shut the door again. “And leave Spartacus alone, Agron!” came a muffled yell.


Agron had no intention of leaving Spartacus alone, though he could not have been less interested in the Batiatus trial at the moment – okay, so he was a lot interested, actually, but he had more pressing concerns at the moment.

“Things not to mention,” he said in a low undertone, starting off a mental checklist as he and Crixus entered the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. “The Cold War, the Vietnam War, McCarthyism, Republicans – “

“The Patriots,” Crixus suggested.

“The Times.”

“The best friend running away to Costa Rica thing.”

“The wife running away with the best friend to Costa Rica thing.”

“Batiatus Sr.”

“Batiatus Jr.”

“Okay, but it would be kind of great if I could mention Batiatus Jr.,” Agron pointed out.

“Leave it,” Crixus warned. “Batiatus Sr. was like a father to him, and he’s gonna be super pissed if he catches some no-name reporter sniffing around the office without license to be there.”

“That’s probably a better story, actually,” Agron mused, hand fumbling in his bag for the tape recorder. “And I’m a journalist, thanks.”

Crixus grabbed Agron by the back of his shirt and dragged him back outside the office. “Change of plans. I’m getting you as far away from Oenomaus as I can. You can text Spartacus when we’re at least two blocks away.”

Agron socked him in the jaw, to which Crixus retaliated by kneeing him in the groin.


As it turned out, Spartacus was in the middle of a very long, very tiring court date and wouldn’t have been in his office, anyway. He was defending a Tunisian man from Bed-Stuy and his young lover, accused of murdering the family across the hall. It was one of those frustrating cases wherein the evidence of their guilt was virtually nonexistent yet the prosecution was immovable. In any case, he didn’t know where Nasir’s portfolio was, either.


(Meanwhile, back in Williamsburg, Nasir was in a state of agitation and Naevia was in a state of undress.

“Ashur’s a tool,” he declared, snapping shut his cell phone as she rifled through Agron’s closet.

“Did we not know this already?” she asked, pulling on an enormously oversized flannel shirt that sported several fairly suspicious stains. “Can I take this one?”

“Whatever – oh, yeah,” Nasir replied, actually catching sight of what she was wearing. “Take it away. I need to take that man to Beacon’s for some decent clothes. I swear to God, he wouldn’t remember to shower if I didn’t remind him.”

Instagram could be permanently banned from the United States and Nasir, who had firm Ideas on the app, would only appear about half as joyful as he did each time his boyfriend walked into the room. Naevia, therefore, had a permanent stance of ignoring any and all complaints he lodged against Agron.

“Doesn’t he prefer Buffalo?” she asked, pulling him back out of the bedroom.

Naevia, possessing neither a large enough apartment nor access to a studio, had once again set up an immense canvas in Agron and Nasir’s slightly larger living area. Even those who were close to her had difficulty recognizing the half-finished naked figure depicted as Saxa, the friendly German prostitute who lived downstairs, but Naevia insisted that it was experimental.

Nasir disregarded the flyers and paintbrushes in his way and flung himself into a rickety armchair. “I can’t decide if I want to kill Ashur or just castrate him and leave him to his shame.”

“What’d he say?”

“Moral of the story, he’ll call the exterminator if I tell my parents about Agron.”

“He can’t do that!” Naevia cried, indignant, sitting cross-legged on top of her canvas. “Cousin or not, he’s the super – it’s his job, damn it."

Nasir rolled his eyes and shifted in slight discomfort. It was only because they were family that he and Agron were able to move into their apartment at such a low rent, but Ashur had taken every opportunity since to use that fact to his advantage. Pulling his hair back into a ponytail and sticking a cigarette between his lips, he said, “Right, whatever - El Beit?”

“Medium French press.”

“Soy milk?”

“Yup,” she said, then added, “Screw it, I’ll call him. He can’t force you to come out over a couple of fucking mice.”)



“I haven’t been to his place in months.”


“Backpacking across Europe with her brother.”


“Still in jail. Heard some fuck tried to stab him.”

“That little bitch, Sedullus.”

“Still licking his fucking wounds, I hope. Why are we stopping?”

“Because we’ve been driving around for three hours and I need the feast of champions.”


On the corner of Driggs and North 7th, the two men sat on a bench enjoying their Crif Dogs – bacon wrapped with pepperoncini, American cheese, and mustard for Crixus, philly tubesteak for Agron – in peaceable silence when Crixus asked, “So what’s this gallery thing anyway?”

“This place a few blocks over on Bedford are interested but they only saw a few prints.”

“Any of you?” Crixus asked, popping the last bite of hot dog bun into his mouth.

“I – “ Agron started, cheeks flushing a little, then stopped. It suddenly occurred to him that he didn’t know. “No,” he decided. “He doesn’t show those around.”

“But if they’re good – “

“They are good,” he growled.

“ – then they’ll probably go up in the gallery.”

Sautéed onion slipped down Agron’s throat and before he realized what was happening, he was choking on melted cheese and bits of meat processed beyond recognition. Nasir’s photographs were good – they were great, of course they were. How could they be anything but when he had dedicated his life and poured every ounce of passion into his work?

It wasn’t that Agron necessarily minded the idea of his friends, family, half of Williamsburg, and random tourists from Albequerque witnessing him in all his glory. In his opinion, it was a sight everyone should behold at least once in their lifetime. But those moments captured in black and white told of something else, something beyond the physical form.

They told of heroic poses struck and jokes cracked as Nasir readied up his camera and kissed him once, hard on the mouth to get him to shut up already, I’m not shooting a porno here. The way his mouth set in a small, serious line at the click and shutter but black hair falling gracefully into shy eyes gave him away. They told of adoring, unyielding hands and bodies pressed into twisted sheets and the camera lost somewhere in the bed until they realized it was getting dark.

Those were the things that made Agron remember football. He remembered football, and the girls he dated back in high school, and he wondered how he could have ever been such a self-hating twat. Those were the things that put him on the brink of marching up to Astoria, banging on the door of 67 Steinway Street, and declaring, “I’m never going to bear children and I know the Qu’ran probably says I’m eternally damned or something, but I love your son, damn it.” Those were the things that friends and family and half of Williamsburg and random tourists from Albequerque were point-blank not allowed to have.

“Okay, yeah,” said Agron. “Whatever. Doesn’t mean people will get them.”

Crixus shrugged, searching his pocket for a lighter, and said, “Some might.”


Naevia wasn’t wearing pants when they walked in and both Crixus and Agron stared, jaws slightly agape, until she commented wryly, “Take a picture, it’ll last longer.”

“Sorry. You’re wearing my shirt,” Agron said, as Crixus set to searching the messy apartment for his fiancé’s jeans.

“Nasir gave it to me for work. He’s taking you to Beacon’s tomorrow for some actual clothes.”

“I prefer Buffalo.”

“Where are your pants?” Crixus called from the bedroom.

As she hadn’t brought any, and as she thought it was adorable that he was worried about her being semi-dressed in front of a gay man in a committed relationship, Naevia ignored him.

“Actually, is Nasir even home?” Agron asked, looking around distractedly. “We really need to talk.”

“No, didn’t he tell you? He’s having his meeting with Aurelia and Varro right now about the gallery op.”

“Without his portfolio?”

Naevia frowned. “No,” she said. “He found it this morning.”

“He – what?” he spluttered. “But. The… He. I. But how – “

“Under the armchair. He didn’t text?”


“Oh. Well, Ashur’s been sort of a cunt to him all day so it probably slipped his mind.”


Lady M
apostrophee at 2012-03-11 07:23 (UTC) (Link)
Is was SUCH a great, fun read! I heart Modern AUs! Fantastic work here!
lillium inter spinas
selonbrody at 2012-03-11 07:47 (UTC) (Link)
Haha, thanks so much! A lot of the places I mention and niches I fit people into are from my own life as a Brooklyn hipster so I had ridiculous fun writing it.
shadows and sparkles
funkyinfishnet at 2012-03-11 08:49 (UTC) (Link)
Oh this is so delightful. It made me giggle so much. You place the characters brilliantly in this AU world and make them work so wonderfully. Thanks for the shot of fabulous fun :)
lillium inter spinas
selonbrody at 2012-03-11 23:21 (UTC) (Link)
Oh god, let me tell you, I had way too much fun deciding who the characters would be when transported to modern-day Brooklyn. Thank you for your feedback!
lobster87 at 2012-03-11 09:01 (UTC) (Link)
oh my god this was genius!! Never really thought about reading Modern AU's before, but the summary was intriguing and everything was wonderful! Maybe you could do a follow-up with Lucretia and Ilthyia reprising roles :D
lillium inter spinas
selonbrody at 2012-03-11 23:26 (UTC) (Link)
This totally started as a crack idea that was never going to get written, and then somehow it came into being. I've never written a modern AU before, so this was a hilariously self-deprecating experience.

I'm pretty sure Ilithyia would be the vice president's daughter/mayor's wife/queen bee of upper crust Manhattan society, and Lucretia would be an up-and-coming film agent saving the name of Batiatus. I'm still not sure what Quintus did exactly to be on trial.
(Deleted comment)
diwali90 at 2012-03-11 14:04 (UTC) (Link)
2 lines

“The best friend running away to Costa Rica thing.”

“The wife running away with the best friend to Costa Rica thing.”

You win! I would have loved to see Ilithyia and Glaber in this somehow, but it was perfect the way it was!
I would love to read more AU crack from you. Great writing.
ashedrake at 2012-03-11 15:32 (UTC) (Link)

Those were the things that made Agron remember football. He remembered football, and the girls he dated back in high school, and he wondered how he could have ever been such a self-hating twat. Those were the things that put him on the brink of marching up to Astoria, banging on the door of 67 Steinway Street, and declaring, “I’m never going to bear children and I know the Qu’ran probably says I’m eternally damned or something, but I love your son, damn it.” Those were the things that friends and family and half of Williamsburg and random tourists from Albequerque were point-blank not allowed to have.

But honestly, I could quote the entire thing back to you because I love every line. I never thought a present day Spartacus AU would work and yet here you are, being awesome.

So much love.
lillium inter spinas
selonbrody at 2012-03-11 23:32 (UTC) (Link)
It occurred to me as I read that again that I really should have included or mentioned Duro in this, and now I'm kicking myself. Mph. Oh well.

You are so sweet! I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! To be honest, I'm pretty sure the only reason this worked was because this is my stomping ground and I know what kind of shenanigans go down. I really don't think I could manage an AU in any other setting.
stargazer60 at 2012-03-11 16:24 (UTC) (Link)
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
lillium inter spinas
selonbrody at 2012-03-11 23:32 (UTC) (Link)
A thousand thanks!
bowsie22 at 2012-03-11 17:23 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that is so sweet.I love that Agron went to all that trouble for Nasir. Love it =D
lillium inter spinas
selonbrody at 2012-03-11 23:33 (UTC) (Link)
I'm pretty sure these guys would go to ridiculous lengths for each other. They are love.
soitg0es at 2012-03-11 18:57 (UTC) (Link)
Ingeniously awesome in every way.
lillium inter spinas
selonbrody at 2012-03-11 23:33 (UTC) (Link)
You're too sweet!
persephassax at 2012-03-11 21:31 (UTC) (Link)
I had no idea who half of them were. But this was hilarious in all the best ways. (And touching, as well.)

I need to come visit you. Maybe over break (next week) at some point. BECAUSE I NEED TO WITNESS YOUR RIDICULOUS LIFE, OBVIOUSLY.
lillium inter spinas
selonbrody at 2012-03-11 23:37 (UTC) (Link)
Des, this is Nasir and Agron:

Agron is being a sassy gay gladiator, but Tumble the 'Nagron' tag and prepare to die of epic adorableness.

Also, mi casa su casa. Come be with me.
barracuda_m at 2012-03-12 01:06 (UTC) (Link)
I'm totally in love with your fic. It's just brilliant, and funny, and awesome, and Agron, and Nasir, and Nevia, and EVERYONE)))) I want to translate it into Russian. I'm sure our fandom would love it as much as I did. How do you feel about it? :)
lillium inter spinas
selonbrody at 2012-03-12 01:10 (UTC) (Link)
I would be beyond flattered, особенно потому, что я говорю немного русский язык.

(Apologies if that is woefully inaccurate! I took Russian for a year of high school after I'd finished the highest level of French they offered.)
chynnadoll17 at 2012-03-13 16:03 (UTC) (Link)
This was really great, especially how well you wrote about the Agron/Nasir relationship, even though they didn't have any face to face interaction. I would love to read more in this verse :)
lillium inter spinas
selonbrody at 2012-03-14 02:36 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, thank you so much! Well, thanks to all the comments my flist have left here I know way too much about the random details of Agron and Duro's childhood and the DA's Office butting heads with Mayor Glaber, so there might just be a part two at some point.
kalichan at 2012-03-14 05:08 (UTC) (Link)
I recognize ALL of this, and it is awesome. I wasn't even sure how modern AU would work with these people, but you managed to keep 'em all perfectly themselves, and also, Brooklyn. I LOL'd too many times to count. And I LOVE Crixus and Agron's, um, relationship, and Naevia is made of win. As are you. Thanks for writing!
lillium inter spinas
selonbrody at 2012-03-14 05:27 (UTC) (Link)
I was hoping someone from the city would read this! It's one thing to silently giggle to myself about Agron getting to Bedford and freaking out because he forgot the L's down for the weekend again, and another for someone else to actually recognize those things. I'm so glad you read and enjoyed it!
leobrat at 2012-03-24 19:57 (UTC) (Link)
I am such a jerk. I just realized I never commented on this, despite having read it and loved it. I think I read it on my phone, and thought I went back later to comment, but yeah...I guess I forget things.

Anyway, I absolutely ADORE this, and this universe, and how you've managed to shoehorn in practically everyone, and Spartacus is a *DA* and Nasir and Naevia are roomie's, and Rhaskos is Crixus's bouncer and EVERYTHING SO MUCH.
lillium inter spinas
selonbrody at 2012-04-05 23:45 (UTC) (Link)
And I am an asshole for never responding. So we're even, I guess.

Anyway, THANK YOU. Modern AUs are tricky to do without getting too contrived, but it was TOO fun figuring out who these people would be in my world.
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