Innocence Reclaimed Part 3

"Alright! Alright! I'm coming!" Duo yelled as he walked down the hallway to the front door. "Jesus! You'd think people would learn a little patience!"

As he approached the door the insistent knocking stopped.

"It's about time you stopped trying to beat the door down." Duo grumbled as he threw open the door.

A slender man with dark unruly hair was walking away as the door opened. Hearing Duo's voice he turned and fixed his blue gaze on him. "Winner?"

"No. Maxwell." Duo's gaze wandered appreciatively over the slim form. "And you are?"

"Heero Yuy. I'm looking for Quatre Winner... he's supposed to have some work done in order to set up a DSL."

"Ah! Yes. This is the right place." Duo was unsure why he decided to introduce himself the way he did, except that Quatre had started it with the real estate agency. "I'm Quatre's cousin, Duo." He said holding out his hand.

Heero didn't even look at him as he brushed by and walked into the house. "Where is he going to want this computer set up?"

Well, aren't we friendly! "Probably in the study." Duo replied. "I'll show you the way."

The cobalt-eyed man followed Duo without a word and once in the study, he went right to work, ignoring the chestnut-haired man. Duo decided to hang around and watch, after all there was nothing wrong with admiring an attractive form. And this form was definitely attractive, wearing skin tight jeans and a loose tank-top... Duo quickly decided that if nothing else.

He was in lust...

Eventually, Heero turned and glared at him. "Is there a reason you are hanging around?"

Duo's eyes widened ... uh-oh... busted. "Eh... not really... I'll go. Just give me a yell if you need anything." He quickly made his way from the room.

"Jeez, Duo... all you need to do is get caught ogling a man around here and they will probably boil you in oil or something." He grumbled.

"Talking to yourself?"

Duo squeaked and jumped. "Christ, Quatre! Don't do that! The guy from the computer company is here. I put him in the study, is that alright?"

"That's fine. It's the best place for me to work." The blonde replied as he headed down the hall.

"You might want to arm yourself!" Duo called after him. "He's not very friendly!"

Quatre chuckled. "I probably won't be eyeing him like he's lunch either!" He threw over his shoulder.

"That's completely unfair!" Duo pouted.


A few days later, during the evening, Quatre turned off his laptop and leaned back. He stretched his arms above his head, wincing. Been sitting in one place too long! He looked out the study window, it was a nice clear evening. Duo had gone to town to see if there was any such thing as a nightlife around here, maybe he'd go for a walk.

Not bothering to grab a jacket, he wandered out into the cool evening air. He marveled at the quiet beauty of the woods around the estate. Out here, he felt more comfortable than he'd ever felt in the city. Although until he came here, he didn't realize how much he disliked living in the city. Stopping for a moment and breathing in the clear air, he smiled. Maybe he'd keep the manor house here and use it for a vacation place. There was plenty of land for both him and a WinCorp office.

He walked for a long time, not even paying attention to where his steps were taking him until he stopped short, a gasp upon his lips. "The old keep." He whispered.

Looming above him in the night sky, the old keep gave the appearance of an ancient woods guardian, waiting to strike down any who trespassed in its domain. Quatre shivered at the thought and then chided himself for being pulled in by rumors.

He walked slowly around the structure, amazed at the condition it was in. He had expected to find a pile of rubble, maybe a partial wall but nothing else. Most of this building was intact. Parts of the upper walls had crumbled away, only one wall was missing completely. From out here he could see the remains of the hall and the central staircase leading to the upper level, which from where he stood looked pretty much intact, also.

Overcome by curiosity he wandered in through the opening left by the missing wall, his steps taking him across what must have been the main hall. He stopped in front of the crumbled hearth of the huge fireplace, that must have been used to heat this part of the building, lightly tracing his fingers over the rough stone.

Suddenly his breath caught in his throat as a strong feeling of despair washed over him. He found himself surrounded by swirling emotions and sounds... laughter, joy, sadness, terror... cries of pain and shouts of love. Struggling to breathe he tore his hand away from the stone and stumbled backwards, his sapphire eyes wide.

With a strangled cry he threw himself from the building, skidding to a stop as a dark shadow loomed over him and a strange cry rent the night. His feet slipped out from under him and he fell, his head striking a rock. The last image he saw before his consciousness slipped, was the shadow descending towards him at unstoppable speed.

Then all went black.


Duo sat at a small table in the only pub he could find in town. It was small, but interesting. The people seemed friendly enough and at least there were decent drinks and music. He'd run across the redheaded waitress from the diner, but she didn't seem to have much interest in talking. So, not really knowing anyone else, Duo found a table in the corner and watched the different people interact with each other. It was a pastime he'd always found amusing.

Later in the evening, Heero wandered into the pub, unnoticed by Duo. He spotted Meia at the bar with the young man she was dating. An unusual couple at best, Heero always thought. Meia was the daughter of one of the local families that had moved to the area a couple generations ago. Kyle was rumored to be of one of the oldest families in the region, his roots extending hundreds of years into history.

The pair had met a few months ago and had been inseparable ever since. Rumor now was that despite his family's wishes, Kyle meant to marry Meia. Heero honestly wished the young couple the best.

Ordering a drink, Heero took the stool beside Kyle, speaking quietly to the young man. During their conversation, his cobalt eyes wandered around the room, eventually coming to rest on the table in the back corner. Leaning back in his chair, his legs stretched out in front of him, completely relaxed was the young American that Heero had met earlier that week at the old Khushrenada estate.

He had noticed the young man more than he let on, when they met. What was the good of getting involved with someone who was just going to leave in a few months anyway? Then again, in Heero's mind nowadays, there wasn't much use in getting involved with anyone. It never worked out very well.

Still... something about the violet-eyed American fascinated him. He watched Duo for a while longer, taking in the sight of him dressed in black from head to toe, black sneakers, jeans and a buttoned shirt... the look suited him well. Heero was just about to turn around when Duo moved and their eyes met and they both swore that something close to an electric jolt slammed through them.

It was like they knew each other... that they were meeting again after a long separation. Duo's eyes widened as Heero's narrowed... what the fuck!?! Without a word, Heero slammed his glass down on the counter and stormed out of the building.

Duo just sat and stared after him... he had absolutely no idea what had just happened. But, obviously the other man wasn't very pleased about it.



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