The End of Innocence Part 7

Trowa stopped in his pacing and slammed his fist into the rough stones of the wall. What the hell was taking so long? The healer had been in with Quatre for what seemed like hours. He couldn't possibly be that ill. It was just a fever. Wasn't it.

Just when he was about to burst into the room, demanding to know what was going on, the door opened and a young auburn haired woman emerged.

"Milord." She spoke gently.

"Well, healer?" He demanded.

She sighed and looked up, her lavender eyes meeting his green ones. "There's not much else that I can do. He is ill, but it's a simple illness. Physically, he could recover in no time. But..." She hesitated for just a moment. "It's his will."

"What do you mean?"

"He has no will to live. Without that, he'll waste away and die. There's nothing I can do to fix that." She fixed her gaze on him again, her eyes sparking. "You are the only one that can give that back to him."

Trowa frowned. "And how am I supposed to do that?" He asked angrily.

"Set him free."

"Pardon, madame?"

"It's simple. Quatre is a free spirit... he can't tolerate being confined. Set him free."

"That's quite impossible. I confine him for his own protection." He answered, walking behind her.

She whirled and faced him the lavender in her eyes flaring with anger. "Then you have condemned him to die. And with him, you will lose all chance of making peace with the people of this village." She turned back and started down the hallway, pausing for only a moment before she disappeared into the gloom.

Trowa could have sworn he had heard her ask, "Is it really for his protection? Or is it for yours?" before she left.

"DAMN!" He roared, striking the wall once again.


Heero slowly pushed Duo's chamber door open, not wanting to disturb the young man if he were sleeping. His news could wait until he woke. He had nothing to worry about. The Scot was sitting in front of the window, his chin in his hands, staring out with a pensive expression.

Walking over to stand beside Duo, he spoke softly. "What has you so thoughtful today?"

Duo looked up, his violet eyes lighting with joy at seeing Heero. "Ah, I was just thinking."


"I miss my family. I heard from the servants that Hilde is to be wed, but none of them will speak of Quatre."

Heero frowned. Quatre was the reason he was here to begin with. He knelt down so that he could look up at Duo. "I need to speak to you of your cousin."

Duo's eyes flashed with rage as Heero finished his story. "How could he?" He cried. "How could anyone go as far as to chain a creature as gentle as my cousin?"

"Duo..." Heero started as the chestnut-haired boy jumped up and fled the room. He shook his head, his cobalt eyes grim. This isn't going to be a pleasant scene, he thought to himself as he followed Duo out the door.


A resounding crash brought Trowa out of his sulking. "What the hell!?" He looked up to see a young man standing in the doorway, his violet eyes flashing.

"How could you?!" He cried, rushing across the room.

Heero must have told Duo that his cousin was ill, Trowa decided silently, refusing to respond to the Scot's demands.

Duo pushed Trowa out of the way and moved swiftly to Quatre's side. "Quatre!" He cried, his panicked eyes taking in the blonde's flushed, thin face.

He leaned down and held his cousin tightly, whispering in his ear. "I don't know if you can hear... but I swear, I'll get you out of this. Somehow, I will."

He gently lay the blonde back on the bed and stood, his angry gaze settling on the new Lord. "You!" He spat. "You did this to him! By locking him away and chaining him, you've done this."

"Funny," Trowa replied evenly. "The healer implied much the same thing."

"Lady Catharine is known for her wisdom. You'd do well to listen to her."

"I'll not listen to some foolish villager's demands to release her previous lord!" Trowa bit out.

"It's not a foolish demand! He'll die this way!" Duo fought to control his anger.

"Then it's choice to do so."

"Damn you! Don't you people even care what lives you destroy?! He's not harmed anyone!" His control slipped and he slapped Trowa as hard as he could muster.

Trowa tasted blood in his mouth as he drew his fist back, to find it confined in a steely grip. Turning his head, his eyes met the glittering cobalt ones of his friend.

"No." Heero spoke simply. "Enough."

The two friends stared at each other for several moments, before Trowa dropped his hand. "Remove him from this chamber." He growled.

Heero took Duo by the wrist. "Come. You can't help him when you're this angry." He said gently drawing the violet eyed boy from the room.

As Duo headed down the hall, towards his own chamber, Heero turned and looked at his friend. "I'd hope to think that such a situation will not continue. Even you are better than this."

Trowa lifted his head and regarded Heero. "Don't interfere where you aren't welcome, Heero." The authority of his position creeping into his voice.

"And don't try to pull rank on me." Heero replied. "I am the same as you, I stay out of loyalty not necessity. Push me and I will seek my own lands." He turned to leave.



"I appreciate your companionship but let me warn you. I don't care if you want that boy in your bed. But keep him out of my way... I will not tolerate interference with my handling of young Winner. Bed him all you want, but if he steps over the line once again, I will send him... and you if needed... away from here. You'd be best served to remind him that he is a prisoner."

"Yes, Milord." Heero spat stalking from the room.


Sally looked up at the sounds of the doors slamming in the upper chambers of the hall. "Seems that things are heating up." She whistled.

"What is that supposed to mean?" Wufei snapped, taking the young golden stallion's lead from her hand.

She fixed her blue gaze on him. "Meaning that certain people... or at least one person... are having trouble coming to terms with their feelings. And it sounds as if they are taking it out on everyone around them."

She slipped a bridle over the head of another stallion, a blood bay with long black socks and mane.

"Woman, you are jumping to conclusions as usual." Wufei snapped.

"Am I?" She grabbed a handful of black mane and pulled herself onto the bared back of the horse. Flashing a saucy grin at the Chinese man, she kicked her heels into the horse's side and sped off.

Wufei swore under his breath and jumped onto his horse, speeding off after her. "Dammit, woman!" He'd been ordered not to allow her off the grounds alone.

Catching up to her in the woods behind the estate, he pulled up beside her, the two of them racing between the trees. As she pulled on the lead, signaling her horse to slow, he drew up along side of her.

"Dammit! Can't you do anything normal?" He demanded.

She laughed, her eyes sparkling. "I suppose not. I spent too much of my life trying to do things the normal way. All it ever got me was a bad marriage and an early widowhood."

Wufei looked at her, his eyebrows lifted in surprise. That was the first time she ever mentioned anything about her marriage. He'd heard rumors, but he preferred not to think of the things he'd heard about the estate's unusual stable mistress.

They approached a shallow stream, running through the forest and Sally slid from the back of the bay. Leading him to the water, she dropped the lead as Wufei did the same.

He knew that she had trained the stallions to stay put if the leads were on the ground.

Resting her hands on her hips, she watched the horses drink from the clear water.

Wufei watched her. As time had passed he was becoming more and more aware of the woman. Of her presence, strength and her gentleness that she tried so hard to hide.

He didn't like it one bit. She was distracting.

And she was looking at him, an amused expression on her face.

"What!?" He snapped.

"Do I have a bug in my hair?"

That did it! He snorted and stalked over to her, grabbing her by the shoulders, he kissed her fiercely, telling himself that he was trying to scare her. Make her realize that she shouldn't be so mouthy. There were punishments for such actions.

It wasn't working. With a stifled whimper, she slid her arms around his neck and melted against him, kissing him back with increasing ardor.

It wasn't working for him either. Groaning into her mouth, he pushed her backwards until her back struck a nearby tree, pressing her against the rough bark as his hands slid down her sides.

He pulled back, his black eyes glaring down into her blue ones. With a smile, she took his hands and pushed him back. Turning him away from the tree, she kneeled down in the soft moss of the forest floor and pulled him down with her.

For once, Wufei decided not to think.


"What happened to your husband?"

Sally and Wufei sat on the riverbank, the afternoon breeze drying their skin from their recently spent passions. She had pulled her tunic back on and stretched her long, bare legs out in front of her. He had dressed in his breeches and was sitting next to her, his legs crossed under him.

She turned to him. "Excuse me?"

"Your husband. How did he die?"

"I don't think that's any of your business."

"If I'm to become your next one, I think I should know what happened to him."

A look of pure shock, laced with horror crossed the woman's face. "M-my what?!! What makes you think..."

Wufei glared at her. "Woman, after what just happened, you can't possible expect us not to wed."

She jumped up and grabbed her breeches, yanking them on. Grabbing her boots, she jumped on her horse, stopping the stare down at the shocked man. "I most certainly do NOT expect any such thing! Just because I let you..." Her words trailed off.

Narrowing his eyes, he snapped. "Don't be an idiot, Sally."

"The day my husband died, I swore that no man would ever possess me again. I mean to stick to that vow. I may be willing to share my body with you, but nothing else." She hissed.

Kicking her heels into the horse's sides, she took off towards the estate.

Wufei slowly pulled on the rest of his clothes, swearing violently under his breath. He was not going to have a reputation for ruining women. She would marry him, that he'd make sure of. His honor depended on it.



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