Innocence Reclaimed Part 2
"Maaaaan, Quatre. It's seven am and a Saturday at that. Can't you find anything non-work related to do?" Duo muttered sleepily as he fell in a chair across the table from his friend.
The blonde laughed as he set aside a handful of papers and got up to make coffee for Duo. "I hate to tell you, but I've been up for almost two hours. How do you feel?"
"Alright. I'll heal."
Duo watched his friend move around the kitchen. The blonde always cut a handsome form, with those slightly unruly bangs and sparkling blue eyes. This morning was no different, dressed in a loose, black sweatshirt, sneakers and form-fitting jeans. Duo sometimes found himself wishing that Quatre was more like him. No one understood the violet-eyed man more than his blonde friend. But, every time Duo felt himself wishing for that, he also felt a wrongness about the idea. It was that feeling that kept Duo from seriously tying to pursue his friend.
Although, considering Quatre's record with girls, one had to wonder. They didn't exactly hold his attention for very long. He'd meet a girl and start seeing her then after a month or two, he'd be bored. Duo told him once that it was because he needed a variety... toss a redhead into the mix or something. Quatre insisted that he really was only interested in green-eyed brunettes. Duo chuckled silently, he was partial to blue eyes himself, the darker blue the better.
He sighed. "I'll tell ya, Quatre, I think I'll lay off dating for a while though."
Quatre smiled as he set a cup in front of Duo. "I was hoping you'd say that. I've been thinking about the same thing myself, so I had an idea."
"And just what would that be?" Duo took a sip of his coffee. "Wait! Don't tell me! You're finally going to agree to sleep with me!"
Quatre blushed and shook his head. "You'll never change will you?"
"Nope. Seriously though... what is your idea."
"I was thinking we could take a trip. Now, before you start... I need to take this trip anyway. I'd just prefer to have someone with me that's not an employee."
"And where are we going?"
Duo raised an eyebrow. "England?"
Quatre nodded and handed some papers to Duo. "The company found some land we'd like to acquire there. It'll give us a chance to move WinCorp onto foreign soil."
"I take it the owners are willing to sell." Duo said scanning the papers.
Quatre nodded. "Actually it's owned by the English government. It seems that the family that owned it, died out some time ago and no one wants to buy it."
Duo glanced up. "Why? It says that it has a perfectly livable manor house and a lot of land."
"There's also some ruins of an old stone keep in the woods. The locals claim that the keep and the lands around it are cursed, therefore they are all afraid to buy it."
"What kind of a curse are we talking about?"
"I don't know, wasn't really concerned. Duo! Don't tell me you believe such things!"
"Nah." Duo tossed the papers back to Quatre. "Just interesting. So, when are we leaving?"
"Is next weekend too soon?"
"Nope. Not like I have much to pack." Duo laughed.
"I figured we'd go shopping this morning and if you'd like I can send some of my security over to Kit's apartment to retrieve you things."
Duo stretched and winced as his muscles screamed in protest. "Remind me not to do this again!" He grumbled at Quatre as the blonde paid the driver and stepped out of the car.
"I hate to tell you, but we still have to go home." Quatre laughed as he retrieved their luggage.
"Not me... I'm applying for citizenship!" Duo groaned. Six hours from Sea-Tac Airport to BWI, a two hour layover in Baltimore before making the eleven hour flight to London's Heathrow, then a four hour drive to this remote little town almost on the Scottish border. And Duo stressed "little town", at least the manor house looked roomy.
Standing against a backdrop of dense forest, the large house gleamed white in the sunlight. Duo counted at least three floors in the massive building. "Quatre, this place must have at least a hundred rooms!"
"There are almost two hundred rooms. Most, obviously, aren't used anymore. The North, South, and West wings are closed off."
"Oh. Are you sure it's alright for us to just show up and make ourselves at home?"
Quatre dangled a key in front of Duo's face. "I told the people handling the sale that once I got a good look at the place, I'd probably sign the papers. I also told them to stock it for several months for me. My cousin and I intended to take an extended holiday."
Duo blinked at the back of Quatre's head as the blonde unlocked the door. "Cousin?" He asked, grabbing his bags and wandering inside.
"It just seemed easier."
Duo didn't respond. Cousin had struck a chord somewhere deep in his mind. Wordlessly, he followed his friend as they climbed the stairs to locate a couple rooms for themselves.
It only took a couple days to settle into the manor. Both men were enchanted with the huge place. Duo could be heard bantering playfully with Quatre about how the pair of them should settle down here, together. Quatre would respond with his usual blush and chuckle.
One morning after such an exchange, Duo replied with. "I can't figure out why that always makes you blush! With as many girls as you've slept with... I can't imagine that anything would make you blush."
"I can't tell you... it just does." Quatre replied, looking over the papers that had been left for him to sign. Finally, adding his signature to the bottom he looked up. "I need to go into town today. See if I can get a phone line and DSL set up."
"Can't get away from work, can you?"
"I need to fax these papers to the office and check on a couple things and then I swear, I'll take a break."
Quatre's eyes laughed as he held up his hand. "Promise."
"I think I'll go with you."
The sleepy little town was close enough that they decided to walk down. And once they took care of the business with phones and computers the pair decided to stop into a little restaurant for lunch.
All during their meal, Quatre noticed Duo intently watching a young waitress with hair the color of flames. Finally, he couldn't contain himself any longer.
"Thinking of changing your tastes?" He leaned over and spoke lowly.
Duo started and looked at Quatre. "Excuse me?"
"You seem to quite interested in that redhead."
Duo's gaze went back to the girl. "No... it's weird... I swear that I know her, though."
Before Quatre could reply, the girl came to their table, refilling their coffee. "I'm Meia." She smiled. "I'll be taking over for your server should you need anything else."
"I believe we are probably done. Thank-you." Quatre replied.
"You two must be the Americans that are staying at the old Khushrenada estate."
The name gave Quatre chills, although he had no idea why. "Yes, we are. Do you know about the place?"
"Everybody in this area knows about that place and stays away from it."
"I heard something about a legend or curse." Duo spoke up.
Her brilliant blue eyes fell on the chestnut-haired man. "A curse some say, other's call it an revenge. It's said that the Khushrenada family committed a horrible act to gain possession of the lands. Since then, every member of the family has died violently and at an early age. About twenty years ago the last family member perished... the price for deceit."
Her eyes took on a strange expression. "An older story tells of lovers torn apart... an enchantment performed to bring them together in the future. Anyone who tries to spend too much time in the old keep, or on the lands, are driven away by horrible dreams. The spell serves to protect the old hall until it's true master walks it's halls, once again."
She leaned down and touched Quatre's arm. "All who have tried to live there have been cast out. But, the keep will protect you in your time of need. It's been waiting for you to come back to it, Quatre Winner!"
Quatre jerked his arm from her grasp and she gasped, standing suddenly, her eyes clearing. "I don't know what kind of game this is but, I'm not amused!" He said, jumping up.
Duo slid from his seat and paying for the meal, ran to follow Quatre. "That was creepy." He commented to his blonde friend.
"A crazy story to entertain tourists." Quatre replied. If so then why does it bother me so? Dammit! Why does it feel familiar?
"Yeah? Then how did she know your name?"
Quatre stopped and stared at Duo for a moment. "There has to be a reasonable explain for it. Maybe she knows the agent that's handling the sale or something."
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