The End of Innocence Part 18
Quatre opened the door to his chamber and looked out. "What is it?"
Duo stopped in front of him, struggling to catch his breath. The blonde lay a hand on his shoulder, "What has you up and running like this in the middle of the night?" His eyes widened. "Is it them? Are they back?"
Duo shook his head. "Not yet, but there are wounded. They started wandering in here and there this afternoon. Lady Catharine has been caring for them, but she says that her small cottage won't hold anymore. She says there are more and more coming and asks if she may use the main hall."
Without a word, Quatre rushed down the stairs calling for some of the servants as he went. "Bran! There are wounded from the battle, gather some of the men and have them brought from the healer's cottage to the hall! Then have a lookout posted and bring any new wounded that come in here to us!"
"Aye, milord!" The young man bowed and ran out of the hall with several men.
He turned to some of the female servants that had gathered. "All of you, we are going to need supplies of clean water, linens and pallets! Stoke up the fires and make sure the hall is plenty warm!"
Duo stood back and watched his cousin with something akin to awe. This was the first time he'd actually witnessed the blonde take up the mantel of authority. He realized, as he watched the blonde direct the servants, that the boy had learned much more from his father than he'd ever let on.
"Sonja, Nan," Quatre turned to the two girls. "I want you to gather up several of the others and make sure all the chambers are clean and warmed. We don't know who will be coming in."
"Yea, milord." The girls curtsied and went to gather some of the young women.
"Now, if there are any of you who are learned in herb lore, you're needed more here than anywhere else. Lady Catharine cannot do this by herself!"
Seven more stepped forward to assist in the treating of the wounded. Sonja turned around, "Milord? I too am skilled in healing, the Lady has been teaching me."
"Then you stay here to assist."
The group went to work clearing the chairs, benches and tables from the center of the floor. Shortly there were pallets laid out in the cleared area and a huge fire roared in the hearth, throwing it's warmth out into the room. As the first of the battle weary and wounded began to arrive, Quatre and Duo both threw themselves into the midst.
Duo stood up from the soldier whose chest he'd just finished binding. "You'll be fine." He smiled. "You've got some broken ribs. The binding will help hold them in place and if you don't push yourself they'll heal in good time. One of the other's will bring you something to help with the pain for a couple days."
As the man thanked him, his eyes skimmed the room for his cousin. He finally spotted Quatre, bent over another soldier, carefully stitching the sword cut that ran across his leg. The chestnut-haired boy shook his head, admiration shining in his violet eyes. He knew that his cousin was still in a lot of pain from the attack on him almost a week ago.
But you'd never know it to watch him. His eyes continued to shine, his voice low and soothing as he spoke with the wounded man. Duo knew the wound to his back would heal, it was a deep bruising, nothing more, but it was going to take more time than Quatre was giving it.
He was lucky that it hadn't been broken. The healer had said that lesser blows had been known to snap a man's back and render him unable to move for the rest of his days. She had also been arguing with the blonde that he needed to be less active. He could cause irreparable damage to the muscles, they were weakened from the bruising and could tear easily, causing more permanent damage. Quatre had refused to listen, insisting that he was fine.
He approached the blonde as he finished stitching the wound and moved away to let one of the others clean and bind it. "Have you taken a break today?"
"Nay," Quatre answered. "There's been so many of them, I didn't take the time."
"I think it's time you do, I'll go with you."
Quatre opened his mouth to argue and Duo shot him and angry look. With a sigh, he nodded and followed his cousin to the kitchens. One of the girls handed them a tray with food and water and Duo led the blonde into the herb garden behind the kitchen. Sitting down, Duo handed Quatre a slice of warmed bread with honey on it.
"Eat. You're going to make yourself sick if you don't." He took a bite from a slice of apple.
Quatre sighed and looked down at the food. He hadn't had much of an appetite since this started. "They've been coming in for three days, Duo. Three days and not one of them can tell me anything about Trowa or the others." He set the bread back on the tray and decided to at least drink some of the water.
"I know." Duo said quietly. "There's naught we can do but wait."
The blonde shifted and winced as pain shot through his back.
"How is it?"
"What? Oh... alright. It twinges now and then."
Duo frowned, he knew better. Twinges wouldn't caused the sudden paleness that came to Quatre's face. "Lady Catharine says that it's slowing, she wants you to rest for a while. She can spare both of us."
Suddenly bone weary, Quatre nodded and Duo drew him over to lay his head in his lap. "Sleep for a while, please."
"Alright, but only for a very short time." As his eyes started to drift closed, he spoke again. "Cousin?"
Duo closed his eyes and leaned his head against the side of the building. Thank-you?? I couldn't even protect him when it was needed and he thanks me for it.
Later, the early evening found Quatre in the kitchens talking to one of the servants about how to best continue feeding everyone until they were well enough to return to their homes. He was just finishing up when Duo let out a cry from the main hall.
He rushed out to see Duo being gathered up into Heero's arms, the chestnut-haired boy both crying and laughing all at the same time, smothering Heero's face with kisses. Wufei silently walked across the hall to his wife and with a short hug, led her to their rooms, where they would celebrate in private, as was his way.
Quatre scanned the hall, his heart lurching. Gods... please... no... There was no sign of Trowa among the newly arrived men. He walked slowly up to Heero, his sapphire eyes pleading.
Heero gave him a small smile and nodded his head towards the door. "The courtyard."
With a wave of relief, Quatre flew out the door.
Trowa has just removed his mail and washed the dust from his face when he heard a noise behind him. Turning he drank in the sight of the blonde standing a few feet away. As Quatre didn't move he frowned, Why does he just stand there? Did his anger truly run that deep?
The blonde stood glued to the ground, his heart pounding wildly. Why am I so afraid?
Determined to find out why, Trowa moved slowly forward, his green eyes never leaving Quatre's blue ones. As he approached he saw the fading bruise on Quatre's cheek and his eyes took on a dangerous glitter. Reaching out, he gently caressed the yellow and green mark on the blonde's face, before leaning in to kiss him.
"Who hurt you?" He asked, raising his head.
"It's not important." Quatre replied, drawing Trowa back for another kiss.
This time as the kiss deepened, Trowa reached for him and sliding his arms around Quatre's waist he pulled him tight against him. At the contact Quatre broke the kiss unable to stop the cry of pain that escaped his lips. Trowa stepped back and whirled the blonde around, jerking the back of his tunic up to reveal the angry bruising on his back, still in livid shades of blues and purples.
Turning Quatre back around, his emerald eyes darkened in rage. "Who?" He demanded tersely. "Who did this to you?"
"No! Quatre, either you tell me here or I will go in and demand it from everyone in there." He lifted the blonde's chin and looked into his wide blue eyes. "Now, tell me who did this!"
"I don't know his name," Quatre whispered softly. "The Baron sent men to kill me, Duo, Sally, and Hilde. It happened about a week ago."
Trowa's hand went to the hilt of his sword. "Were you hurt in any other way?" He asked icily.
Quatre blinked for a moment before he realized what the Viscount was asking. "Nay. He tried... but I fought him... I-I used the dagger you gave me. Duo and Sally killed the others."
"You killed him?" Trowa's heart clenched. This was the very thing he tried to protect Quatre from.
"Aye." Quatre stepped in and wrapped his arms around Trowa's waist leaning his head on his chest. "Please, I'm alright, really I am. Lady Catharine has looked at it and she says that it will heal in time." He hugged tighter, feeling the rigidness of Trowa's muscles. "Please," He begged.
Trowa sighed and slid his arms around Quatre's shoulders, his body relaxing slowly. "I wanted to keep you out of danger."
"You couldn't be everywhere at once."
"I love you."
"And I you." Quatre replied gently. Not moving from the circle of his arms, he raised his head to look at Trowa. "The Baron?"
"Dead. Wufei managed to get to him. You're safe now."
"Until a new Baron is decided upon."
This time Trowa chuckled. "I have a feeling that the new Baron will be a lot better than the old one."
Quatre stepped back. "Welcome home, milord." He whispered softly.
"I hate being called that, especially by you." Walking arm in arm towards the building, Trowa looked up. "I am home." He murmured in wonder. He finally had a place to come back to.
A few days later, Milliardo Peacecraft arrived at the estate with several people and wagons laden with supplies. He stated that since they were also caring for his men, that at least he could help. The occupants of the hall received his assistance and company gladly.
The morning after he arrived, Duo came downstairs to find Milliardo and Heero sitting at the table, deep in what appeared to be a serious conversation. Wandering over, Duo leaned down and kissed Heero, noting the grave expression in his eyes.
Looking from one to another, he finally asked. "What is going on here?"
"Duo, sit down, this involves you also." Heero said quietly.
"It seems that Lord Peacecraft is aware of my parentage."
"Aye," Milliardo spoke up. "And as a representative of the people in this area, we would like Heero to take his rightful place as the new Baron."
Heero had to laugh at his lover's shocked reaction. "I'm thinking about it but, there are certain agreements that must be reached first." He said slipping an arm around the violet-eyed boy's shoulders.
Duo just blinked at him, too stunned to speak.
"And what would those be?" Milliardo asked.
"First... I will not be pressured into a marriage. Duo is my mate and that's how it will stay. I will name a suitable person as my heir."
The blonde man nodded slightly as Duo let out a small squeak.
Heero raised an amused eyebrow at Duo. "Secondly... I will never take back my birth name. Heero Yuy is who I am. My father's name does not have a good reputation, I'm not interested in reclaiming it."
Milliardo thought for a short moment before replying. "I don't see much problem with that."
"Then I will accept your offer." Heero stood, pulling the still speechless Duo up with him. "Now, if you'll excuse me... I believe that I'm going to have to do something to snap Duo back to his senses."
Milliardo chuckled as Heero led the other boy away. If nothing else the pair could make things more interesting.
That evening saw everyone assembled in the main hall, where Milliardo announced that Heero would be stepping into the title of Baron, amid the cheers of his friends. Duo for once stood quietly not saying a word, still trying to absorb all of it. Heero smiled, his cobalt eyes glittering as he pulled the boy to him and kissed him.
Wufei and Sally smiled at each other, as usual quiet and private in their joy. But everyone one could see it in their eyes, along with the love they held for each other. He slipped his arm around her waist and she leaned up to whisper something in his ear. The Chinese man's eyes widened and he stared down at her in shock.
Quatre threw his arms around Trowa's neck and kissed him, his eyes full of tears as he laughed. Trowa's eyes shone as he saw his lover's joy, it seemed that everything they had fought for was finally going to be theirs.
They had found their peace.
Medical practices were not like they are today, but I have struggled to try and keep them within period. Some common things used were: willow bark in varying degrees to ease pain, laudanum to induce sleeping, Yarrow or Shepherd's Purse to fight infections and possibly, Mustard Seed to aid in the prevention of scarring. Cauterizing a wound with a hot poker or knife to stop severe bleeding... and although surgery was not done yet, there were some people that practiced the art of stitching a wound. Another way of treating less severe bleeding and fighting infection would be by using Golden Rod.
Also, if a wound is already infected... the most common method of treatment was to cut away the poisoned flesh and then cauterization, followed by bandaging, pack with an ointment made from any of the above plants to encourage healing and fight infection.
Quatre's wound to his back would most likely have been treated with a potion of wine boiled with the root of the comfrey.
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