The End of Innocence Part 10

Quatre slipped out through the back of the hall, towards the gardens. Trowa had allowed him the remainder of the day to himself, much to the surprise of the blonde. It seemed that since his illness that the Viscount was being more relaxed with him. Allowing him more freedom. In return, Quatre carefully avoided starting any disagreements with the man.

He wanted to keep this little bit of freedom that he had.

He decided upon visiting Hilde, to see how she was faring. He knew that she had been wed, quietly a short time after he had recovered. Despite assurances from the servants, he still worried about her.

And he was lonely. He hardly ever saw Duo anymore. For two months now, the only time he laid eyes on the violet-eyed youth, he was with or near Heero, which left little room for Quatre to see his cousin.

But, he was happy for Duo. It had been a long time since he'd seen any true joy in his cousin and Heero Yuy seemed to be the one that could give it to him.

Walking up to the little cottage on the edges of the garden, Hilde opened the door. "Quatre! What are you doing here!"

"It's alright, Hilde. I've been allowed to see you."

She smiled. "Oh! I'm so glad!" She grabbed his hand and drew him in out of the crisp winter air.

Quatre sighed as the warmth of the little cottage crept into him. "It's getting colder," He said. "I dare say we'll be getting snow soon."

She handed him a mug of tea and gestured for him to sit by the fire. "Yeah, it is almost the Yuletide, we're due for a storm." Looking him over, her blue eyes flashed. "You look good, cousin, but you'd think he'd provide you with a warm coat!" She grumbled.

Quatre sipped from his mug. "I haven't told him that I don't have one. I don't wish to impose upon him. I'll be alright, Hilde, I'm not outside much now."

"Impose! It's his place to provide for the people!"

"Hilde," The blonde leaned forward and took her hand. "Please, let's not argue. I haven't been allowed to see you in so long. What is... is... let's just leave it be for today. I came to see how you were getting along in this marriage."

She sighed and sat back. "I'm getting along in it just fine. Edward is a decent man, just as the Viscount said. And..." She blushed lightly. "I dare say that in the Spring, he'll have his first son."

"A baby!" Quatre cried. "Hilde, that's wonderful!"

The two cousins spent the rest of the afternoon talking to one another and planning for the day the Hilde would have her child. For the first time since his father's death, Quatre started to feel a true sense of rightness.

He left his cousin's cottage shortly after the sun set, after meeting her husband briefly and deciding that the young man was a good person. He didn't need to worry about her welfare.

Walking out into the chilly night air, he decided to go around the hall and visit the stables, He hadn't seen Sally since the Viscount's arrival, although he'd been assured that the young widow had kept her position, he wanted to make sure she was alright also.

He supposed he shouldn't worry so much, everyone seemed well taken care of. But, they used to be his people, he was accustomed to looking out for them. Some habits were hard to break.

He lay a hand on the door to the stables and hesitated, he could hear voices coming from within. Opening the door a little he peered in and saw the stable mistress engaged in and earnest conversation with the young Chinese man, that had arrived here with the Viscount. Deciding against disturbing them, he closed the door and turned to walk across the courtyard.

Wrapping his arms around himself and shivering lightly, he looked around. He really didn't want to go back yet... he had enjoyed this day so much. Maybe a little longer, he could check on his mother's gardens. They had been the woman's pride, or so he had been told, and when he became old enough, he had taken the responsibility of them, from the gardener. He knew that the man had taken them back over since the situation here had changed.

Inside the stable, Sally stormed across the floor to the supply room. Stopping at the door, she wheeled on Wufei. "Look! Just drop it! I am NOT going to agree to marry you. How many times do I have to tell you that? Just leave it alone... or get out of my stables!"

The Chinese man scowled and followed her into the room. Grabbing her arm, he spun her around. "You should have thought of that before."

"Thought of what? I'm a widow... I have the right to take an occasional lover without having to marry them! I have that freedom now! Do you understand that?" She fumed.

"I don't have that freedom!" Wufei yelled. "I'm not to lay with a woman unless that is her profession or she is my bride! Do you understand THAT!"

He swore under his breath and grabbed her face in his hands, kissing her violently. As he tilted his head and demanded more from her, his hands left the sides of her face and clasped her waist. He felt her push on his chest and then give up, parting her lips and sliding her hands behind him and up around his shoulders.

Ending the kiss, he refused to let go of her. "Can you understand? My very honor depends on it, every foundation that I built my beliefs on depends on it."

He reached around and ran his thumb across her cheek, seeing the shock in her blue eyes. Then, with a defeated sigh, he added, "And my honor prevents me from ever touching you again, unless we are wed. I don't like that idea at all."

This time when she tried to step back, he let her go. "I-I need to think about this." She said quietly, fleeing the room.

Wufei sat down on one of the feedbags and leaned his head against the wall. He'd let his feelings show, that was unusual for him... and disturbing to him. With a frown he wondered just when she had become so important to him.


Trowa paced his chamber impatiently. He'd let Quatre go for most of the day, trying in his own way to respect the advise that Lady Catharine had given him. He'd hoped that allowing the boy to visit his family for a short time would be enough.

Looking out over the dark courtyard, he was beginning to regret his sudden decision. Hours, the blonde had been gone for hours and he could smell snow on the air. There was a storm coming. With a curse, he slammed the shutters closed and checked the fire. Making sure it would burn awhile, he grabbed his cloak and headed downstairs. It looked like he was going to have to retrieve the boy.

So much for trust.

Heero and Duo were sitting by the fire in the main hall, talking quietly to each other, when the Viscount stormed by. Duo looked up and watched the slender man leave the hall, slamming the door behind him, with a worried expression.

"He won't hurt him." Heero said, laying a hand over Duo's. "He may get very angry, but he won't harm him."

"He already has." Duo replied.

"I know you don't like or trust him, but I've known him most of my life. You have no idea how much he regrets his actions towards your cousin."

Duo snorted.

"I'm serious, Duo. He's cursed himself everyday since."

Duo frowned and stared into the fire. "Quatre loves him, you know. And that frightens me. It means he'll accept anything without complaint."

"I know he does. I also know that Trowa is confused as to his feelings for Quatre, but I believe that he cares also. He just doesn't know it himself or even how to deal with it."

Duo sighed. "Maybe someday you'll explain more about your Viscount to me."

"And maybe then you'll learn not to dislike him so much. Come." Heero stood and pulled the chestnut-haired boy to his feet. "It's warmer in our chamber."

Duo blushed lightly and followed, never taking his hand from Heero's.

Outside, Trowa wrapped his cloak tighter around himself and walked through the maze of bushes and vines, that in the summer offered a riot of colors to this corner of the courtyard. He's looked everywhere else and was beginning to believe that the young lord had finally managed to flee. The wind was picking up and it was getting colder, Winner would catch his death out on a night like this.

Rounding a corner, he spotted the blonde sitting on a stone bench beside a small grave stone, the wind whipping his hair around his face. Where the hell is his cloak? Trowa thought angrily as he approached the boy.

Drawing near he saw the name etched into the simple stone. Quatrina Winner This must be his mother's grave. Trowa felt a wave of sadness, the boy's father should be beside her. Instead the former lord was buried somewhere on the Baron's lands, at the site that he'd been executed. The sadness tempering his anger, he stopped in front of Quatre.

"Where's your cloak?" He asked quietly.

Quatre looked up, his blue eyes thoughtful. "I didn't have one."

"You little fool!" Trowa pulled his cloak off, ignoring the bite of the cold wind, and wrapped it around the blonde.

"Milord! You'll freeze!" The boy protested.

The Viscount didn't reply as he jerked Quatre to his feet and started to pull him towards the main building. When the smaller boy stumbled on the path, Trowa turned and swept him up, carrying him the rest of the way. Grimly he kicked the door to the hall open and strode straight across the room to the stairs.

One of the servants ran to close the door as the others watched their new lord carry their former one up the stairs and disappear down the hallway.

Kicking shut the door to Quatre's chamber, Trowa walked to the bed and deposited the blonde on it.

Quatre scrambled to catch his balance. "Milord... I..."

"I thought I asked you not to call me that in private." Trowa said evenly.

He paced back and forth across the room, fighting to calm his anger. No matter what, he'd not lay a hand on Quatre again. Never again.

He suddenly wheeled on the boy. "I don't understand! Are you trying to kill yourself? Is that it !?"

"N-no." Quatre answered softly.

"Then why, in the name of all that's holy, did you stay out in that weather dressed like that!? If you needed warmer clothing, you just needed to tell me." He paused and looked around. "Where are your belongings? The things you had before I came here?"

"I gave them away."

"Why would you do that?"

The blonde looked away from the Viscount, his face betraying his pain. "Because... they are things not befitting a servant."

Trowa stopped and looked at Quatre, then, with a sigh, he sat on the edge of the bed and ran his fingers through his hair. Leaning over he put his face in his hands and just sat there in silence.

Quatre watched him silently, not knowing what was going through the man's mind. Whatever it was, he determined, it pained him. Finally he reached out and laid a hand on the man's shoulder. "Milo... Trowa? I'm sorry..."

Trowa moved away from his touch, which even in his anger and despair aroused him. "No. It is I who should apologize." He said hoarsly. He raised his head and looked at the young blonde. "I've done nothing but abuse you. Why would you think you could ask me for the very things you needed?"

Quatre blinked slowly and started to reply, but Trowa cut him off.

"I'm sorry Quatre, very sorry. It wasn't my intent to come here and cause you more hurt. I took these lands, when the Baron offered them, because I hoped that I could keep the people secure... much the way your father did. That I could keep them safe. It was the only way I could think of to try and pay the man back for a kindness he did for me once."

He got up and walked over to the fireplace and stared into the fire.

"Y-you knew my father? Not just know of him?"

"Yea, and I hoped to model my own life after his." With a defeated sigh he reached out and rested one hand on the mantle, bowing his head. "As with everything else in my life, I've botched it. I couldn't even keep the son of the man, I admired so much, safe. All I've done is lash out..."

His words were cut off as Quatre flew across the room and wrapped his arms around the Viscount's slim waist, leaning his head against his back. Quatre felt him stiffen in shock at the simple touch, but refused to move.

"Don't." He whispered softly. "Don't do this to yourself. No person can live without making mistakes. Let us start over... I'll forget everything that have happened. Please... just stop doing this to yourself."

The Viscount shifted and turned to face Quatre, looking down into his shining sapphire eyes. "Quatre," He murmured, brushing the boy's tears away with his thumb. "Oh gods... Quatre, I..."

With a strangled sound he lowered his head and gently kissed the blonde, his arms sliding around Quatre's shoulders and pulling him tight. Slanting his head, he gently ran his tongue across the blonde's, asking... pleading but not demanding.

How could Quatre refuse? He loved him. He knew this, as he parted his lips and for the first time tasted the sweetness of another person. He knew that he did indeed love the man and he would do whatever was asked of him, because of it.

Trowa lifted his head, his green eyes betraying his confusion and need, and look into the sapphire depths of the one person that caused his confusion.

And saw what Quatre was feeling.

With a sigh, he laid one hand on Quatre's head and pulled him against his chest. Resting his head on the blonde's, he stared unseeing across the room. "I don't understand what you make me feel." He said quietly. "I never thought that I would want..."

He closed his eyes. "I... I just..."

"It's alright." Quatre replied. "I know. I understand and I'm not asking for anything more than what you can offer. Freely and without reservation."

"Quatre, I don't know what I could offer you. I don't know what I'm feeling."

The young blonde tightened his arms around the brunette's waist and listened to the sound of his heart under his cheek. "It's alright." He repeated. I'll take whatever you offer me, even if it's just the presence of your company as a friend. I'll accept that and be happy with it.


C&C Always Welcome


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