Sitting in his office, pleased with himself, by what he had done, both good and bad, was the honourable Brutus. There with him was Cassius, and he too seemed satisfied by his actions.
I knocked on the door before letting myself in, to join the ranks of the self-righteous. The two senators withdrew from their conversation, and then turned to me with worried smiles.
“Ah, Mark. Come in, come in,” offering me a chair with a gesture of his hand. Cassius stood silently by the window, watching me as I sat across from Brutus.
“What may I do for you?”
“I’m not… interrupting am I?” I asked, staring at Cassius, who had a look of distrust, yet he forced a shrewd smile.
“Of course not,” Brutus replied, “you are always welcome. My office is your office.”
“But where are the others?”
“Yes, your compatriots. Decius, Publius, Cinna, Metellus, Casca…?”
“Oh of course! Well, no they will not be joining us tonight.”
I found it difficult to not glare at them. To not spring from my seat and tear them to shreds for what they had done. To be in their presence, false friends like these.
“Very well,” I grinned. “So, uh, Brutus. Or… do I call you Caesar now?”
Brutus looked to Cassius, who replied only with a look of his own, verifying the mistrust he had for me. Cassius then excused himself, “I think I’ll leave you to it,” and left the two of us alone in the office.
“No, no, there’s no need for that. I wouldn’t dare trample on the memory of a dead man like that.”
“Indeed,” I chuckled, but then turned suddenly sour, “just his corpse. Because… you are an honourable man.”
His glibness altogether disappeared, and Brutus went to the defensive.
“Ah, I see you know.”
“Yes I know. A frightful Casca told me. I of course blame myself for having not intercepted him in time.”
“Does Lepidus know?”
“No,” I growled, “Nor does Octavius. But they will soon enough. That is... if you don’t kill me as well.”
“Mark, I would never--”
“Of course not. Because you are an honourable man. All of you,” I said referring to Brutus’ co-conspirators, “are honourable men. You were only doing what you thought was necessary.”
“Look, Antony,” Brutus explained, “I know Julius was your friend, and he was my uncle. I loved him. And it eats me up inside, that we killed him, but we did what we had to. He was becoming more powerful, and we were unprepared to let our republic fail because of one man.”
“That one man, WAS the republic,” I retorted, “and if I were a better man, I would have stopped him from meeting you that night, both Calpurnia and I would have convinced him to wait until middlemarch had passed like the analyst said.”
“I know you must hate me, Mark--”
“No, I don’t hate you Brutus. Nor Cassius. Nor any of the others. Like I said: you are honourable men. What is treason, but a matter of dates?”
“Precisely,” Brutus said getting a smile in edgewise, confused by my tactics. For I was bipolar in my method of questioning. I was alternating my morals before our conversation had even ended, without any persuasion from Brutus.
“The world will understand. Rome will understand. They will be grateful Caesar is gone. They will forgive his murderers. You have freed the public from the tyranny of a dictator.”
“Yes.” Brutus nodded.
“You are liberators!”
“Yes!” Brutus shouted now, standing up as he did so.
“You, Cassius, Decius, Publius, Cinna, Metellus, Casca, and Cicero all lured him to the forum, and you all took turns killing him, stabbing him in the back.”
“No, Cicero wasn’t there,” Brutus blurted out. Then I smiled genuinely at last, and pulled out of my pocket, a tape recorder, which had caught his entire confession.
“Then I suppose Cicero has nothing to worry about. My only wish is that Cassius was here as well.”
Brutus didn’t answer.
“My guess is that he probably warned you not to talk to me. Not to trust me. I suppose that makes you as naïve as Caesar, who put his faith in you.”
Brutus' expression changed again from pride to guilt. He had been tricked into revealing what happened, so he slumped back into his chair. Setting his elbows up on his desk he burrowed his face into his palms, and wept.
Meanwhile I rose from the chair, and turned to leave, when Brutus called, “I’m sorry, Antony. So sorry.”
Without looking at him, for Brutus disgusted me, I replied, “Were you sorry Brutus, when Caesar looked among his assassins and found you there to greet him with your sword? I can only imagine what his last words might have been… et tu Brute?”
Once again, Brutus didn't answer, and he resumed crying, as I left to turn my evidence over to the media, and then the authorities. “I would leave Rome while I still had the chance. Because some people, plebeians, slaves... your countrymen. Romans... they won't show restraint like I have. Goodbye, Brutus.”