Heart of the Night Part 10
Quatre jumped as a quick kiss on the side of his neck accompanied the soft spoken words. He glanced behind him as he leaned over to pick up the book, he'd been reading, to frown at the young woman with soft, brown eyes and chocolate colored hair standing behind his chair. "Adrianne," He murmured setting the book on his desk and turning around.
"Some greeting!" She pouted walking across the small room to sit on his bed. "And here I left all my customers just to come up and see you."
"I'm sorry. You startled me." He leaned one arm on the back of the tiny wooden chair and studied her. He glanced at the clock sitting on the table by his bed. "What are you doing up here this time of the afternoon anyway? Shouldn't you be getting dinner ready for the masses?"
"It can take care of itself for a while. I thought I'd take a break to come check on you, no one has seen you all day. I knew what day it was and I thought maybe you'd be feeling a bit down." She idly twined a stray lock of hair around her fingers as she spoke.
Quatre smiled to himself. It didn't surprise him that she had shown up to see if he was alright. Adrianne Douglas was one of the first people he had met when he came here to attend university. Deciding almost immediately that he didn't wish to deal with the crowded rooms at the school itself, he'd sought out one of the local boarding houses, taking one of the smaller rooms it had to offer. Adrianne had one of the few houses in the city that had a room left that he could afford, this particular one catering to young students of the city.
She was a tiny woman, slender, the top of her head just reaching the tip of Quatre's nose. Untamed dark, brown hair that constantly escaped its bonds and gentle, brown eyes that always sparkled with some inner amusement hid an inner strength that had kept the twenty-seven year old woman going despite the loss of her husband and raising a young son on her own.
The moment the sad-eyed blonde knocked on her door Adrianne had determined to take him under her wing, happily mothering him as much as she did her son, Sean. She'd comforted, teased and bullied her way into his heart, eventually drawing out the source of his pain and teaching him to live with it without it consuming his life. That had been nearly three and a half years ago and she had become the closest thing to family he had now.
"I'm fine," He answered finally. "Better than I thought I would be."
"I'm glad to hear that," She said. "I still remember your first year here, you had me frightened for you; you were so melancholy. You still get pretty gloomy for the occasion." Standing she brushed off her skirts. "Now, for my other mission; Sean has informed me that we must all celebrate your birthday together."
"That's not really necessary Adrianne," Quatre started.
"Nonsense! I happen to agree with him! After all you'll only turn twenty-three once." She winked at him. "Besides, this will probably be the last year I can do this, what with you graduating in a couple more months. You'll be gone before I know it."
"I doubt that. I'm planning on finding a job here in the city," He stood and walked to the door with her. "Maybe you can put up with me for a while longer."
"You are welcome here for as long as you wish to stay, you know that." Adrianne swatted him with the towel she'd been carrying. "Now, tonight after dinner, you are to come to my rooms for a small party, understand?"
"Yes, Ma'am!" Quatre laughed as the small woman hurried out of the room.
"You better or Sean will never forgive you!" She tossed over her shoulder as she disappeared down the narrow stairs just off to the side of his room.
Quatre shook his head and went back to his desk, closing his book and setting it aside. He should have known better than to try studying today. He hadn't been able to concentrate much at all, despite what he had told Adrianne. Glancing again at his clock, he reached for his coat, shrugging it on. He had a student he was supposed to tutor before dinner and considering that it was his only source of income right now, he couldn't afford to skip out on it.
As he stepped out of the boarding house he stuck his hand in his pocket and frowned. Pulling out a small box he held it up looking at it in surprise. The ruby pendant that Trowa had given him all those years ago; he'd put it in there a couple days ago and forgotten about it.
A flash of sadness crossed his face as he studied the little box. It was the very last tie to his guardian that he had. About six months after he'd come here he'd set about cutting off all connections to Lord Barton. After he'd decided that Trowa would not be coming for him. All the time he'd been here the man had never visited, never even written to see if he was alright. He'd left it to Sebastian to maintain contact, to see if his studies were going well... if he needed anything... more money.
So, Quatre decided he was going to stand on his own. He wouldn't depend on anyone. He'd started by working for Adrianne to pay for his room and food. Shortly after that he'd started taking tutoring jobs to cover any extra expenses he needed. He scraped a lot of times, but he got by. And he never touched the enormous sum of money that he knew Trowa had had deposited into a bank here in the city for him. The only thing he didn't pay for was school; Trowa had them bill him directly for his tuition. There was nothing he could do about it and he would not give up on school.
It was a promise that he'd made.
Quatre stuffed the box back into his pocket and started down the street. He'd stop and have the pendant sent to Trowa's lawyer.
It was time to sever the last tie.
"I figured I'd be finding you here,"
Trowa raised his head and looked blankly at Sebastian. "I prefer it in here, where it's quiet." He said stressing the last word.
Ignoring the hint from his master the old man wandered across the room and sat in the chair across from him. "You're not going out tonight?"
"You didn't go out last night either,"
"No." Trowa shot the old man a cold glare.
"Matter of a fact," Sebastian leaned forward and studied the brunette. "You've not gone out all week. All you've done is lock yourself in here or in his room and sulked."
"I do not sulk," Trowa muttered icily. "I just don't feel like going out."
"Aye. You never do right around this time... or Christmas... or the anniversary of when we took him in... and several other insignificant dates I can think of."
"Sebastian, leave it be."
The old man snorted as he rose. "The longer you go without feeding the more irritable you get, do you know that?"
"You know that the older I get the less blood I require, it's not important." Trowa turned back to the fire.
"Doesn't make your disposition any better. Thinking about Quatre all the time just makes it worse."
"I told you not to mention him to me." Trowa tensed his voice taking on a dangerous edge.
"Ah! We get to the heart of the matter!" Sebastian shot back at him. "All the boy did wrong was to fall in love with you and you threw him out of this house like he was some sort of thief!" The old man's fists clenched, three and a half years of anger and frustration at his master and friend boiling to the surface.
"Sebastian..." Trowa's voice dropped, his anger rising.
"I always thought you were a good man, despite what you are! I wouldn't have stayed here all my life if I hadn't! I'm starting to think I was wrong! You've lost what was left of your human heart and that boy is the one that's paying for it!"
"ENOUGH!!!!" Trowa shot from his chair, towering over the old man, his eyes glowing in rage. "I've heard enough of your meddling thoughts! I WON'T hear any more!" He swept past the man and stormed from the room, stopping to grab his coat as he slammed out the front door and disappeared into the night.
Sebastian sat back down and leaned to look into the fire. There had to be some way to reach him, he'd been like this ever since he'd sent Quatre away. It was clear to the old servant that his master was suffering...
Trowa's anger cooled as he traveled and he found himself standing on a cliff overlooking the ocean miles from his home. One advantage of his prenatural state being the unusual abilities he possessed, the ability to travel on foot faster than most coaches could travel was one of them.
Letting the crashing waves and smell of the salt air soothe his frayed nerves, he sat on the rocks and stared out into the night. It angered him that Sebastian was right; the old fool was always right. No matter how much he dwelled on the problem he could not find any solution outside of staying away from the boy.
He sighed and folded his arms around his knees. He was getting tired, his heart ached constantly. Maybe it was time to settle out his estate and just sleep. In the state of his death sleep, he could go for a hundred years or better before his hunger would finally waken him. Long enough to maybe forget. To forget all the human attachments he had formed here.
Who was he kidding? He could sleep for centuries and he'd never be able to erase the memory of the young blonde that had entangled his heart. He'd know almost from the time he'd brought the boy home that he was the one person that he would ever completely love.
Still, at least while I sleep, I won't remember. I can be free from this torture for a while.
Glancing up the brunette swore under his breath as he saw the graying sky. It was getting morning and he was too far from home to make it back before sleep overtook him. Standing, he looked around him. He knew where he was and he knew there was another of his kind nearby. One that would offer him shelter for the day.
Turning away from the water he moved swiftly until he came to a small cottage nestled in a grove of oaks outside a tiny village. Not bothering to knock he slipped into the house as the first rays of sunlight peeped over the horizon.
"Well, well, I'd say that was a bit of a close call," A low musical voice greeted him. "What brings you to my end of the country, Barton?"
Trowa turned to face a young man with long, flowing, chestnut hair, bright violet eyes and a small smile on his pale face. "Got caught off guard. Mind putting up with an old friend for the day?"
"Not like you." The young man said slipping across the room to open a door on the other side of the room. "I don't remember us ever being friends," He said as he stepped away from the door. "But you are welcome to stay."
Trowa nodded once as he stepped past the young man and into the room.
"Tonight, you simply will have to tell me what drew you so far away from your home." He winked at the man. "Consider it payment for your room." And then he turned and melted into the shadows of the room.
Trowa closed the door and lay down on the simple bed, noting that not a single hint of light entered the room, and closed his eyes, the deep sleep of day stealing over him.
Quatre opened one eye and groaned at the brightness of his room. Rolling over he shoved his pillow over his head and tried to go back to sleep. Suddenly he tossed the pillow away and bolted from the bed.
"Daylight!" He mumbled as he reached for his clothes.
Dressing quickly he grabbed his books and ran from the room. Rushing down the stairs he stopped at the entrance to the house's dining room. "I'm not staying for breakfast Adrianne!" He called out. "I've got to be at the school early this morning."
The small woman flashed him a bright smile and waved as he turned and ran from the house. Luckily he was close to the university and managed to skid through the front doors just at the time he was supposed to be there. Quickly catching his breath he hurried down the hallway to one of the rooms near the end.
"Good morning!" He called out brightly as he stepped into the room.
The one other person there raised his head and stared blankly at the blonde, his grey eyes still fogged with sleep and his black hair mussed as usual. "Morning," he said wearily. "Tell me again why we are here?"
"Because you are failing Latin and asked me to help you," Quatre said sitting on the bench beside him.
"Oh, yeah... Latin," He said lying his head back down on the table.
Quatre laughed and poked him in the ribs, drawing a yelp from the young man. "Vachel, you aren't going to get anything done this way!"
"I swear Quatre, you are a sadist!" Vachel shot back giving the blonde a wounded look.
"Book!" Quatre laughed pointing at the stack beside the black-haired man.
The blonde smiled as Vachel reached groggily for his books. Vachel Roche was another person he'd met when he'd come here and over the time the pair had become fast friends. Quatre sometimes thought that if it weren't for Vachel's need for an inexpensive tutor and the fact that they both had a common secret, the fact that neither of them cared much for women, they probably would have never been friends. The two of them were from completely different worlds. Quatre was here because he wanted to be. Vachel on the other hand, was here because his father had threatened to give his inheritance to his younger brother if he didn't. Quatre was looking forward to at least having a decent career in law and maybe living comfortably... Vachel would eventually inherit the vast family fortune, along with his father's title and lands.
Vachel was one that didn't care much for the rules of society though and he decided he genuinely like Quatre. The pair had formed a solid friendship over the years... even if the young lord tried periodically to take their friendship a little further.
"I'm telling you, Quatre! For getting me up at this unholy hour, I expect you at least go out with me one evening."
Quatre fell silent at the man's words, his thoughts turning to Trowa as he opened his book. Am I planning on spending the rest of my life alone, simply because one person didn't want me? His hand slipped into his pocket where the pendant used to rest, gone now, sent back to Trowa yesterday. And I'm lonely...
"Hey! Don't look so sour!" Vachel leaned over and peered into his eyes. "I'm only asking you to dinner... not my bed! Aw... forget it! I should know by now that I am not the one that interests you!"
"Alright," Maybe it really was time to finish severing ties.
"What?" The dark haired man sat back in surprise. "What did you say?"
"I said alright, I'll go out with you." Quatre turned back to his book. "Now... take a look at..."
His voice faded off as Vachel stared at him incredulously. After all this time, he was saying yes? All these years of suffering a one sided affection, the stunning blonde was going to give him a chance? I wonder what happened to change his mind.
Trowa accepted the glass of wine from the young man and frowned. "It's nothing, Maxwell."
"Bullshit!" The violet eyed vampire sat across from him and leaned on his hand. "You never stray far from home, that's one thing we can almost always count on. You're too concerned about him showing up and going after who ever might be near you."
Trowa sighed and stared into the glass of blood red liquid. He found himself telling the young man about Quatre and how he'd picked him up and taken him in, his developing feelings for the boy and his eventual sending him away. When he'd finished silence fell through the room as he gazed broodingly into his glass.
"I knew you had a ward. It's hard not to hear of it as unusual as it is for one of us to have a mortal living with them and you had two." He sat back and studied Trowa. "I'll tell you Barton, it doesn't really surprise me that you fell for him; you've been looking for someone since before you were turned."
Trowa looked up at him in surprise. "How..."
"We may not exactly be friends but I guess we are as close as our kind can get. I've spent enough time around you to see what you are like." He winked at Trowa again. "But, why would you send him away? If you love him that much then keep him with you."
"It's not that simple. I've vowed never to make anyone else the same as me, you know that... no matter the reason and I can't stand the thought of watching him grow old and die." Trowa stood up and started to pace the room. "And I'm afraid of killing him, Maxwell."
"You're kidding? You have more control than most I know."
"Not with him... not with that. It's impossible for us to be together in any way. Vampire and mortal... it can't be done... it just ends in death."
"Who the hell told you that?" When Trowa didn't answer the man's eyebrow's shot up. "Nakki?? Nakki told you this and you believed him? You know that he fed you a pack of outright lies just to keep you with him!"
"I didn't need to be told, I've seen it." Trowa said quietly.
"I still say bullshit! The hunger gets strong, sure... but it's controllable."
Trowa turned and stared at the man. "You talk like someone who knows,"
"Whatever that bastard told you and I don't care what you think happened... a physical relationship with a mortal is more than possible. Just a bit complicated; unless of course you want them to know what you are."
Trowa shook his head, "No, I killed someone that way."
"I don't believe it. You rarely kill period, only when you think the person completely deserves it." A thoughtful look crossed his face. "There may be a way for you to be together though. Something I heard about a while ago."
"What would that be?"
"Forget it. It's just a rumor."
"What is it, Maxwell?" Trowa said tersely.
"If it even exists, it could be very dangerous. I've heard rumors of others that tried it and it destroyed them."
"Will it put him in danger?"
"No, just you."
"Then tell me, I'll decide for myself."
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