The End of Innocence Part 17

Trowa drew his horse in between Heero and Milliardo, his eyes scanning the valley below. Despite everything, the Baron still had twice as many men as they did.

"This could be tough," he said quietly.

"Aye," the blonde man replied.

"We could lose."

"Aye, we could, but we won't."

The Viscount smiled turning his gaze to his friend of many years. "Is everyone at ready?"

Heero nodded, his eyes glittering.

Trowa glanced around him, his eyes finding his other friend with the soldiers, where he preferred to be. The Chinese man gave a single nod and Trowa unsheathed his sword, raising it high above him.

Then, with a last desperate thought for his blonde lover, he dropped the sword and raced down the hill, letting out a fierce battle cry. At his movement, the men behind him surged forward, ready to fight, defend and die for what they all believed in.

The two armies met with a deafening clash, the snow around them instantly staining red with the blood of the first-fallen. Trowa urged his mount forward, swinging his sword in a wide arc, feeling it bite into flesh with each stroke. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Heero abandon his horse for the ground, his cobalt eyes icy as he hacked at the shield of his opponent.

For the first time, all three of them had something truly worth fighting for and their fierceness showed it.

Swinging his weapon again, he watched emotionlessly as the man before him fell. He reigned his horse around to see Heero fighting off two at once, one from each side. Kicking the animal's flanks, he started to cut a path to his friend, the roar of the battle around him ringing in his ears.

Drawing closer to Heero, his horse let out a scream of agony and fell sideways, throwing Trowa from the saddle. He scrambled and rolled to get out of the way of the thrashing animal, the standing, he turned and quickly ended the life of the wounded animal, rather than let it suffer.

A shout sounded from behind him and he whirled, raising his sword at the same time, the blow of sword meeting sword sending a bone-jarring jolt through his shoulder. His emerald eyes betrayed no hint of emotion as he was forced backwards by a volley of blows, unable to do anything but defend. Suddenly, his eyes narrowed as he saw his chance, he sidestepped and swung. Without a sound, the soldier fell at his feet.

The Viscount was turning, trying to find a glimpse of his friend in the confusion, when a searing pain shot through his side, sending him to his knees. Raising his head, he saw a young man standing over him. The man raised his weapon and leapt forward with a yell.

Before the blow ever landed, his eyes widened and he fell forward. Trowa rolled to avoid his limp form, looking up to see Wufei standing above him, a feral glint in his eyes.

"Are you alright?" He questioned, pulling Trowa to his feet.

"Aye, my mail protected me for the most part. I'll have a nasty bruise, I'm sure."

The Chinese man nodded and side by side the pair began fighting their way towards Heero.


Duo found Quatre up on the battlements, leaning on the stone wall, his pale face thoughtful as the breeze of the afternoon ruffled his blonde hair.

"You'll freeze up here," the chestnut-haired boy said gently, wrapping a cloak around Quatre's shoulders.

"Thank-you, cousin." The blonde replied, pulling the cloth tighter around himself.

Duo leaned on the stones beside him, his eyes scanning out over the land beyond. They both knew that right out of range of their sight and hearing, a bloody battle was being waged.

"They'll be alright," Duo whispered, putting an arm around Quatre's slim shoulders.

"I hope so," The boy replied, leaning his head on his cousin's shoulder. "I'm so tired, Duo. Of all this struggle... fighting... my father tried so hard to create a peaceful existence here. Am I going to pay the same price as he did?"

"No, we won't let it happen to you." Duo answered. "And one sometimes has to fight in order to gain peace. It's a sad truth, but the two go hand in hand."

The blonde sighed and looked back over the lands.

The pair stayed until the dimming light of evening and falling temperatures drove them back inside to seek the warmth of the hall. There, they found Sally sitting by the hearth, a pensive expression on her face. Realizing that the woman, despite all her courage, was just as worried as they were, they joined her, lending their quiet strength to hers.


Quatre climbed the stairs to his chamber with a weary sigh. Two more days had passed and if he could get them to open the gates, he'd be riding out to find the Viscount, at this point.

They'd heard nothing... not a word and the wait was starting to grate heavily on his nerves.

He entered his room and crossed the floor to the window. Heedless of the cold, he threw open the shutters and sat down, leaning his chin on the stone sill. Peering out into the dark, he let the worries, he'd been holding at bay, finally claim him. Here, there was no one to see him cry. He fell asleep with his cheek resting against the cold stones.

A burning pain jolted him from his sleep as someone grabbed a handful of his hair and jerked his head back. He cried out as his eyes flew open and met the face of a man he'd never seen before.

Tall and burly, his dark hair unkept and dark eyes ruthless, he dragged Quatre to his feet as the blonde struggled wildly to get out of his grasp. "Foolish of your lover..." He sneered. "To leave you all alone here with such a pitiful guard."

Soundlessly, the blonde kicked out, striking the man and with a violent oath he swung his fist, sending Quatre sprawling to the floor. Before he could get to his feet, his attacker was on top of him, straddling his waist and pinning his arms above his head.

"You are quite a pretty thing aren't you? I can almost see why a ladies man like Barton was seduced into freeing you." He leaned down, his foul breath fanning across Quatre's face. "The Baron knew, you know. That's why he came. And now... he wants you dead. You, your family, even your precious lover."

He grabbed the neck of Quatre's tunic, with one hand, and jerked hard at the material, ripping it open. "Your skin is almost as pale and soft as any highborn lady." He laughed. "I'll bet you're as skilled too. Tell me, did you give your lord much pleasure in bed? I'll bet you did, you have a whorish look about you."

He reached down and cruelly pinched one of Quatre's nipples, drawing a cry of pain from the boy. "I think I'll sample you for myself, before I kill you."

Renewing his struggle, Quatre fought like a wild creature, calling on every once of strength in him. Managing to free one hand, he swung his fist, striking the man in the jaw. Cursing, his attacker leaned forward, grabbing handful of bright hair and forcing his head back, ground his lips against Quatre's, bruising them with his violence.

The blonde did the only thing he could do, he bit down on the man's lower lip, drawing blood with his sharp teeth. Rearing back, the large man raised his hand to strike the blonde again and Quatre bucked underneath him, throwing him off balance.

Knocking the man off himself, Quatre scrambled towards the bed, not even bothering to try to get to his feet. Reaching the edge and trying to slip his hand under the mattress, he cried out as lights exploded behind his eyes and a crushing pain shot through his lower back. Momentarily stunned, he fell to the floor, unable to do more than gasp for air.

"So, you want it in the bed, eh? I think I'd rather have you right here on the floor, screaming beneath me." His attacker leered, dropping the poker he'd used to strike the boy with.

As he leaned over to grab the blonde, Quatre rolled over, a glint of metal in his hand. He swung with all of his strength, sinking the sharp dagger into the side of the man's throat. His attacker made a gurgling noise and fell forward landing on top of Quatre, his warm blood flowing onto the blonde's skin. Shaking wildly, Quatre struggled to push the heavy weight off of him.

"Quatre!" Duo's voice echoed through the room.

"Duo! Help me!"

Duo ran to him, grabbing the man and dragging him off of the boy. Quatre rolled to his hands and knees, as soon as the weight was off of him. Trying to stand, he fell back over as blinding pain shot through his back.

"Gods, cousin!" Duo whispered, seeing the swelling in Quatre's cheek, the long bruise forming across his lower back, and all the blood. "Are you bleeding? How badly are you hurt?"

"Duo... help me up. I don't think I can stand on my own right now." He gasped shakily.

The violet-eyed boy gently helped his cousin to his feet and to the bed, sitting him down.

"I'll be okay," Quatre smiled wearily at him. "The blood is all his."

"Are you sure?"

"Yea. I've had worse injuries falling from my horse. I'll heal, the pain will subside. See?' He moved a little bit. "It's getting better already."

Duo snorted.

"Really, cousin, it is!" Then his sapphire eyes widened in horror. "The others..."

"Are fine. There were only four of them, it seems one for each of us. Sally and I took care of them. Only, they delayed me in getting to you."

"He surprised me. I was sleeping... stupid..." Quatre shook his head. "I should have bolted the door. Lucky, I remembered that there was a dagger under the edge of the mattress." He smiled softly. "Trowa had put it there, he said in case I needed it."

"Well, good thing he did!"

"Aye. Now, help me up. I need to clean off this blood." The blonde replied with a wince.

"And maybe have Lady Catharine take a look at this wound."



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