The End of Innocence Part 13

After seeing the women settled, Trowa strode angrily to the chambers that he had given to the Baron. Rapping sharply on the door, he waited for the ginger-haired man to bid him to enter.

"Ah, Viscount." Treize said smoothly looking up at the green-eyed man. "Please sit."

"No thank-you." Trowa replied evenly.

"I see that something has upset you."

"Yeah. I never formalized my offer for Relena Peacecraft, there was no betrothal. And Heero had no interest in her cousin at all!"

Treize waved a hand idly. "Simple details. Now that we are all together, they can be settled quickly."

"Did it ever occur to you that I didn't formalize it because I had decided not to marry after all?"

Treize sat forward, leaning his chin on the backs of his hands, his fingers intertwined. "I have formalized it for both of you. This is not a request. I require you to make a decent match and provide heirs for this land, to prevent Winner's son from reclaiming it. Mistress Peacecraft is an excellent match, as is Mistress Catalonia. I'm telling you both that you will marry these girls."

"You're ordering the marriages?"

"Now you are starting to understand. And you know the consequences for going against my orders."

"All too well, Milord." Trowa snapped. "If you will excuse me, I need to see to the preparations for the holiday celebration."

"Certainly." The Baron sat back and smiled. "I figure we'll hold the weddings at the end of the season... say on New Year's Day?"

"Fine." Trowa ground out, turning on his heel and stalking from the room.

He was in such a hurry he didn't see the figure standing in the shadows, just beyond the chamber door.


"Duo!" Heero slammed his fist against the solid wood of the chamber door. "Unbolt this door immediately."


"If you don't, I swear I'll find something to break it down with!" The cobalt-eyed man shouted angrily.

After a moment of quiet, the door opened and Duo threw an armload of clothes out through it, slamming it shut again.

Heero swore violently as he heard the bolt slide back into place. "Dammit, Duo! Do you honestly think I'm going to marry that simpering..."

The door jerked open and Duo stood in the doorway. "I didn't see you protest very loudly."

"Let me in, so we can talk about it."

"Here's fine." The violet-eyed youth replied frostily.

Heero grabbed his arm and propelled him into the room, kicking the door shut behind him. "No... it is not! What I have to say is between us, no one else."

Duo sat on the bed and crossed his arms, glaring at the man he loved.

"I am NOT going to marry that girl."

A chestnut eyebrow arched. "I'm under the impression that, that would be going against the Baron's wishes. And we can't have that can we?" Duo sneered.

"I don't give a damn what the Baron wants!" Heero growled angrily. "I'm not tied to this country. If I have to, I'll take you and live elsewhere. Someplace where he has no power."

Duo jumped to his feet, his violet eyes blazing. "It's not just about you, Yuy! It's about me and Quatre, also. And even your precious Viscount Barton! I won't leave my cousin behind and neither the Baron or the Viscount will allow me to take him away from here! They'd rather watch him die right under their noses!"

Heero grabbed his shoulders and shook him. "Dammit! It IS about all of us! It's tearing Trowa apart... as much as it is the rest of us! Do you know he's already started looking into the best way for all four of us to get out of here, undetected? Trowa loves him... possibly even more than I love you!"

He stopped and stared at Duo, both of their faces showing their surprise at his words. This wasn't how either of them had imagined him saying it. But it had been said.

"You..." Duo whispered.

"Yeah, me." Heero said carefully. "I do love you... more than I'll probably ever be able to tell you."

"You seem as surprised as me." The Scot replied.

"I am... I never thought that I'd ever feel anything for another person." He drew Duo into his arms and held him tightly. "And I'll be dammed that I'll let anyone come between me and you!" He said fiercely.


Wufei walked glumly from the hall towards the stables. Walking inside he looked around until he spotted Sally sitting in one of the stalls with the new foal.

Sensing his presence, she looked up and frowned. "What is it?" She asked seeing the troubled expression on his face. "What's wrong?"

"The Baron's here."

"That much I know." She replied standing. "I took care of the horses."

"Do you know about the rest of the people that accompanied him?"

"No, just that there were five others."

Wufei sighed and sat on a bale of hay. "He's ordered Trowa and Heero to marry, the people with him are his wife and the young ladies he picked, with one of their families."

Sally gasped. "No! But..."

"No buts... you know better than others that one can't go against the Baron."

He looked at her, his dark eyes searching her distraught features. "Sally, Trowa's planning on leaving and taking Quatre with him. Heero and Duo also."

She nodded slowly, already guessing what he was going to say next.

"I will be going with them." He sighed as she knelt in the hay before him, taking his hands in hers. "I have to."

"I know."


"I haven't much. I can be ready to go at a moment's notice."

Wufei's eyes showed his surprise. "You're willing to leave the safety of this estate? You do realize that we could be caught? If that happens, we'll all be executed."

She pulled him down and kissed him lightly. "I'll go wherever you go."

Wufei stood, pulling her to her feet. Looking at her smooth features and soft blue eyes, he ran his fingers over her soft hair. "Then I won't ask you to stay. I'm going to see if we can be married within a couple of days. I want you as my wife before we leave."

Sally smiled. "Why not this evening?"

"Can we... that soon?"

"We can, when the bride is friends with the local priest."

"Tonight then. I'll come for you after the evening meal is served. Woman... you'd better be ready!"

"Try and stop me!" She laughed.


A knock on his chamber door drew Quatre's attention from his window. He glanced behind him, the strain of the last day showing plainly on his pale face. His features drawn, eyes red and swollen from his tears.

"Quatre." Trowa's voice echoed through the wood.

The blonde started and bit his lip. I won't answer. Let them kill me if they wish, but I won't be a servant to him or anyone else any longer.

Trowa leaned his head on the solid door and listened for sounds from inside. Finally with a defeated sound, he stepped back. He'd give him until after the morning meal, tomorrow, and then he'd tear the door down if he had to.

Nothing was going to keep him from the little blonde.

Quatre let out the breath he was holding as he heard the Viscount's footsteps fade down the hallway. He couldn't bear seeing the green-eyed man right now... and he could never bring himself to appear in the hall before the Baron.

If they wanted him there, they'd have to drag him, chained.

Just like they did his father.


"I'm worried about my cousin." Duo said sadly, resting his cheek on Heero's bare chest.

The cobalt-eyed man sighed and wrapped his arms around the boy. "I know." They hadn't heard a sound from Quatre's chamber all evening. He hadn't even appeared for the evening meal. "Somehow, Trowa will get through to him."

"He's so sensitive. This was a destructive blow to him, I'm afraid."

Heero ran his fingertips along Duo's bared shoulder. "You have to have faith in Trowa. He's doing everything as quickly as he can. Your cousin is a lot stronger than you think he is. Look at what he's survived thus far."

Duo raised his head and gazed into Heero's eyes. "You seem to know a lot about strength."

"I've had to survive a lot."

The chestnut-haired boy traced one of the many scars running along Heero's chest. "Yea, I guess you have."

Heero closed his eyes and strengthened his resolve. "My father."

"What?" Duo raised his head again.

"It's not easy for a man to find out that his only son and heir likes other men more than he likes woman. When my father discovered this fact, he had me tied out and whipped me until I'd been cut to ribbons. I think he had hoped to kill me."

"You don't have to tell me this." Duo whispered.

"Yea, I do. You need to know. I want you to know everything about me."

The Scot nodded and lay his head back down on Heero's chest, listening silently.

"I was about thirteen at the time. Just about the age, he figured, I should be discovering the serving wenches. Imagine his surprise when he caught me with one of the young boys of the village. After I didn't die from the beating, he decided to be rid of me. He turned me over to a group of soldiers that was passing by our home at the time. One of them took a fancy to me and you can imagine the sport he made of me."

Heero shuddered as the memories flooded through his mind and he felt Duo's tears on his skin as the boy tightened his arms around his waist.

"One night, I got a hold of a knife. When he came into the tent after me, I slit his throat and fled.

Trowa found me wandering through the woods a few days later. He had no home himself except the one he had made there, but he took me in and treated my wounds. Telling me that he was going to make something of himself one day and he needed good men like me to stand behind him." Heero let out a shaky breath. "He didn't care what my preferences were, just that I was honest and loyal. I've been with him since that day."

"You both were just kids."

"Sometimes, one has to grow up fast in this world."

Duo leaned up and gently kissed his lover. "Thank-you for trusting me enough to share this with me."

Heero pulled him down and kissed him deeper, his hands skimming lightly up his back and burying themselves in his silken hair. Pulling back, his cobalt eyes glittered in the light from the fireplace. "I want no secrets between us." He said huskily.

Duo smiled softly as he allowed the other man to pull him down into the bed. He'd found his love and it seemed that Heero had finally found his peace.


The next morning, Trowa still saw no sign of Quatre. Finally deciding that he had to do something he started towards the stairway. He just started up the steps when Milliardo Peacecraft stopped him. "I'd like a word with you." He said curtly.

"Is it important?" Trowa asked, trying not to show his annoyance.

"Anything concerning my sister is important."

Trowa sighed and nodded, following the platinum-haired man back down into the hall.

A short while later Trowa banged his fist on the door to Quatre's chamber. "Quatre! Open this door, I need to speak with you!"

Getting no response, he growled angrily and stepped back. Throwing his weight into the door, he stumbled as it flew open and he found himself inside the chamber. Damn thing wasn't bolted, he realized. Straightening up his eyes scanned the room and he quickly realized why.

The room was empty. The shutters to the window stood open and icy air raced around the room. There was no sign of Quatre.

Swearing he ran from the room and down the stairs, calling for Heero as he went.



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