Fortune + Chapter
The next evening I stayed up late to finish reviewing a property deed.
I often did this. My body told me when it needed sleep, and it wasn't
always in the night-time hours. I wasn't a regular guy in many ways.
The door slid open quietly, and Quatre came in almost nervously. He carried
a teapot and a couple of cups. "You want something to drink? You didn't
eat much at supper."
"Thanks," I said, surprised and delighted. I never let the staff stay
up with me -- if I need something I fetch it myself. Though that
usually means I don't bother. "Why are you up so late as well?"
There was a slight flush to his cheeks, but he shrugged, elegantly. He
wore only a loose polo shirt and linen pants. He didn't look like he'd
been to bed at all. He looked beautiful enough to frame. "I can't settle
tonight, Trowa. I felt -- well, I want to talk to you about some
I smiled at the childish phrase. I still saw him like this, when he was
most relaxed with me. He was confident in himself, very mature in so many
ways. But he had an enchanting naivety that insisted on reasserting itself
every now and then. I tried to remember he was still in his teens. His
lifestyle to date had forced him to grow up so much more quickly and brutally
than his peers.
A little like myself, in fact.
"I want to help you some more, Trowa. I think I could come and work for
you properly, couldn't I? You've said I could manage it. I wouldn't expect
a huge salary -- I don't really know what reasonable salaries are,
though I've helped you with your payroll, I guess."
"Quatre, I'd love it -- "
"You work too hard!" he blurted out. "It's not good for you! I see you
get paler and more tired as the week wears on, and you said that exertion
and stress was dangerous to you -!"
I flushed. Everyone told me that, almost every day of my fragile life.
Nobody ever offered me personal help in coping with it.
"Thank you, Quatre. Thank you for caring."
"Trowa..." his voice was almost a whisper. I thought I could see a dampness
to his eyes as he gazed at me. "Who will you pass this business empire
on to? You need to get married, to have sons and daughters who'll be company
for you, and will take it on. Fill up this huge house!"
I laughed, softly. "I think it unlikely at the moment, Quatre. No-one
wants to take on such an invalid. And I don't exactly meet eligible partners
at the bank or the hospital. Where else do I go?"
His eyes continued to gaze at me, until I felt almost uncomfortable. His
next words shocked me, for all sorts of reasons.
"May I kiss you, Trowa? Would it offend you, kissing a boy? I want to...
I've wanted to for a while. You may find it comforting -- I don't
have anything else to give you."
"You don't have to give me anything," I gasped back. My heart was hammering
against my ribs. My eyes were drawn to his pink, full lips. "But I think
I would like it..."
He moved over to where I sat at the desk, and he leaned over me, bringing
his bright face down to mine. Instinctively, I raised my head up to him.
His mouth was cool and moist, but brought the heat of another body to
mine. He pressed down on my lips and I sighed. I'd not kissed anyone on
the lips since Mother died.
It was soft, like feathers. Moist, like dew on the morning lawn.
It was like coming home.
He didn't try to progress it any further -- no tongues, like I've
heard Annie laughing about in the office, after a night out with her guy.
He didn't touch me, except to anchor himself with a hand on my shoulder.
It didn't seem strange, kissing another man. It was Quatre, after all.
And definitely not unpleasant.
Oh God, no....
I wished it could go on for ever.
But as Quatre straightened up with a nervous smile at the corners of his
sweet mouth, my attention was distracted by a movement behind the half-open
door to the hallway.
"Quatre, did you see something in the corridor? Someone?"
He tensed. "No, Trowa." He moved a step away from me. "Have I upset you?"
"No!" I said, instantly stricken. "That wasn't what I meant --
no, no... I'm sorry, I was imagining things. Forget it -- I'll
have that tea now, OK?"
It had happened before, of course. I wasn't imagining things - I knew
now. But I wasn't sure what I could -- or would -- do about
I believed that Duo was spying on us. On him.
But what danger did this represent?
"Mr Barton, I really wish you would reconsider your -- ah --
domestic arrangements!" My lawyer, George Nicholas was consumed with a
tangled mixture of outrage and the need for diplomacy. My family had been
his best and richest client for three generations.
"You know that it may be misconstrued -- your -- ah --
sponsorship of these boys? You have incurred almost double your usual
expenditure this month. Your trustees are asking what role these young
men play in your business development."
"My business development? They're friends -- they're employees,
if that makes it any more palatable to you."
He cleared an uncomfortable throat. "I must question that as well, Mr
"I beg your pardon?" I couldn't remember being questioned like that since
I was considerably younger. Nicholls looked surprised at my response.
"Mr Barton, I am sure that your financial advisors have told you of the
recent attempts to encash cheques on your personal account -- with
"And have there been any developments, to discover the culprit?"
"No..." he said, slowly. He seemed to be trying to gauge my mood. "The
-- the presenter has always made his escape too quickly when challenged.
The police have only the description of a tall, dark, long-haired man
"Then I'll thank you not to make assumptions that cannot be proved."
"Mr Barton!" he protested. "Isn't it likely that there have been other
instances, and that the forgery hasn't been discovered? This must be stopped!
And you'll admit that we have never had an problems until your --
your guests arrived on the scene!"
I rose from my chair. My face was burning, but I wanted to try to remain
"I had hoped to discuss with you today a matter of a provision for --
for someone. A financial provision. I don't think that this is the time
now for that. I'll call you at a later date."
"Mr Barton!" Nicholls was still trying. "Trowa, please, listen to me.
I knew your parents, and even your grandparents for a while. I think that
they would be concerned to see this situation progress any further. How
long have you known this man? These men?"
"I don't think that's any of your business, is it?"
His voice softened. He probably saw me as a grandson, or something. I
didn't see him as a grandfather, at all. "I suppose that I am worried
about someone taking advantage of you. You are -- vulnerable. You
are very rich, and without heirs at present. I would advise against committing
yourself to someone whose motives are not yet clear to us."
I was very tired of this. I seemed to be feeling very emotional recently.
I'd had to step up the painkillers, and my sleep was even more erratic
than usual. I'd be damned if I admitted it was because of Duo's thieving
presence in my house and my life.
"What the hell are you suggesting, George? I think that you've been watching
too much daytime TV. Those TV movies, the ones where the poor sick heiress
is seduce by the fortune-hunter, and signs away her fortune to him, just
before he smothers her with a pillow or something -- do you really
think this is like that?"
He flushed. Tried to smile reassuringly.
"When you say it like that, of course not --"
"I can look after myself, George. I've had to since I was twelve, if you
Quatre was sat at my feet, by the fire, sorting through the files from
my latest acquisition. I had had to take some rest because of a turn around
lunch time but I was enjoying just sitting, watching him work.
"You came back from your lawyer's office too disturbed, Trowa," he said
quietly. "It will take you some time to settle now."
It was astonishing how quickly he'd learned the pattern of my illness.
And cared for me accordingly.
"It was a disturbing meeting, Quatre. He tried to tell me that you --
well, that you and Duo were fortune hunters. That you were after my money,
that I was a fool to have taken you in."
"I've heard the same from the staff," he said, much to my surprise. Did
he know that Duo had been trying to embezzle from my bank account? "You've
lost a couple of clerks already, didn't you ask why they left? Please,
Trowa, you must be sensible. It's inevitable that people will think it
-- we're just street rats that you know nothing about. You've brought
us into your fabulous house, given us the run of everything. People think
it's foolish -"
"People are jealous," I snapped.
"Yes," he sighed, but he smiled up at me. "I'm sure they are! That's not
the point, is it?"
"And I do know about you, Quatre. Not all your history, admittedly --
but does that matter? I know what sort of man you are now, how you behave
to me now. That's more important, surely?"
He flushed, I hope from pleasure. "And I'm not a gold digger, Trowa."
"I know that!" I almost shouted, so keen was I to reassure him.
"What do you mean?" I said, cautiously.
"You're afraid of him," stated Quatre. He pushed at some of the papers
on the rug, aimlessly. He was afraid to meet my eyes, I think. "Most people
are. And you hate him."
That childlike vocabulary, again! "I -- I can't say I like him,
Quatre. And he has been very -- aggressive towards me. I don't
see how you two have stayed together. When you seem so very different!"
Quatre sighed. "He's difficult, Trowa. Do you think I don't know that?
But I owe such a lot to him."
"Nooo... not that."
"Can't I help you -- help you break free of him?"
"No," he laughed lightly, and the wide blue eyes came up to mine. "Never,
A sudden thought chilled me. "Has he -- hurt you, Quatre? Physically?"
Quatre didn't reply. He just kept staring at me. But I think that I saw
a veil sink gently over the brightness of his eyes.
"If he did, Quatre," I said, very carefully, and very deliberately, "I'd
The blue pools of his eyes opened wider, and he shook his head fiecely.
"Please don't talk about something you don't understand, Trowa."
It had become our habit fo Quatre to kiss me goodnight after an evening
together. That night, he seemed to have forgotten the habit.
I missed it.
The following evening was very strained, with Duo joining us at table,
and already fairly drunk. Quatre had attemped to mediate, but the tension
had risen by the time the fruit and cheese was passed round. I'd lost
another couple of kitchen staff that week -- Duo had slapped one
of the girls during a particularly rough piece of what he called horseplay,
and abused the assistant chef as a mean bastard one too many times. I
had left the table early, pleading a headache. It was cowardly, I know.
I wasn't sure I felt anything else at the moment.
I was reading in my room when I heard Quatre come up. With Duo --
I could hear a murmured voice from both of them.
What excuse can I give for my subsequent behaviour, except the truth?
I was curious to see them together when they weren't aware of me. It had
been gnawing at me -- Duo's appalling behaviour and carelessness
for anyone else. And Quatre's loyalty to him. What was it between them?
I sidled to my bedroom door and out into the corridor. From my landing,
I could see down to their room. They were both stood outside the door
to Duo's room, heads bent to each other.
They were very close, Quatre pressed back against the wall of the corridor.
His hand was at his side, flattened on the frame of the open door. As
if he were seeking support from somewhere. I couldn't hear a word they
said, only the hum of their voices, the tone of the conversation.
Duo seemed calm, but there was a tense fierceness in his manner, as there
had been all through the earlier meal -- his tall, wiry body was
taut, his hands slightly clenched. He leant over Quatre. Quatre was saying
something -- he appeared to be arguing something with Duo. And
Duo was shaking his head. Then, quite suddenly, Duo slammed a hand against
the doorpost, effectively trapping Quatre. Quatre stopped talking. He
looked up at Duo with that open, questioning look that I'd come to know
so well, and Duo kissed him.
It was that quick -- I didn't see Duo's head move down, didn't
see his hand grasp Quatre's neck. But suddenly his mouth was hard on Quatre's,
and the blond head went back, and I knew that this was no innocent, friendly
peck on the cheek.
I felt a hot wave sweep across my body, and for a second I couldn't breathe.
Panic swamped me. But I fought to regain my control -- fought to
go on effectively spying on them. I could see Duo's hands around Quatre's
waist. I saw one of them slide into the front of his pants, saw Quatre
shudder. There may have been some more murmured words, but all I could
see was the way that Duo held him -- the way that he caressed him.
Roughly -- possessively. Duo sucked at his neck, started to tug
him with him into the room. It seemed that Quatre resisted slightly --
but only slightly. His legs came up from the floor, and he started to
follow Duo, their arms still entwined. And as they moved, Duo's head came
up, and it seemed he would look back up to my floor -- up to where
I stood, stunned.
I darted back behind the bannister, heart going like a sledgehammer. I
didn't hear steps coming towards the staircase. All I heard was the door
creaking shut. When I looked back down over the rail, they'd both gone
And how shameful I was! -- I crept down that staircase, a spy in
my own home. And I halted outside Duo's door, and I listened.
There were no words -- but there was sound. There were moans and
rasping breath, and the occasional low laugh. I pressed at the door, and
to my shocked fascination, it swung very slightly open; they'd not locked
it behind them. Duo was usually so very secretive. And so I could see
Quatre was laid back on the bed, his shirt also off, and Duo lay half
over him. And he was kissing him; deeply, consumingly. Nothing like the
soft touch that Quatre and I had shared at good night time. I think that
I actually heard my heart beating, as an external sound. Prayed that they
Quatre moaned, a sweet, plaintive sound, and Duo raised his head, his
tongue still licking around his swollen lips. He was grinning. He was
quite monstrous, I reasoned -- but I couldn't help feeling an admiration
for him; he looked at his most gorgeous, fierce in his passion. He slid
a strong arm under Quatre's shoulders and rolled him on to his side. Then
he laid himself on his back beside him.
"Now..." he murmured, and tugged Quatre to a sitting position.
The blond man dipped his head to kiss him, and his hand fumbled at the
clasp of his pants.
"Show me..." growled Duo.
Quatre knelt up beside him, his hair tumbled over his forehead. I could
see his big blue eyes, glistening, fastened tightly on Duo's. He peeled
open the fly of his pants, ran his thin, nimble fingers inside, fondling
Quatre pulled the soft, clinging fabric of his pants over his slim hips,
and they pooled round his knees. With a shock, I saw he had pulled the
boxers down with them. He was naked now. He was more beautful than I could
ever have imagined. His skin was pale and smooth, but it had a luminosity
in the dim light of the room. I wouldn't have been surprised if my heart
had stopped entirely at that moment. I wondered wildly if I'd ever seen
a naked man before, apart from myself. If I could have dreamed what it'd
be like, it would have looked like Quatre.
He was wriggling, pushing the pants away off his legs, on to the floor
behind the bed. I couldn't help my eyes being drawn to his cock --
it was so big, compared to his slight, slim body. It was erect, dark red.
Something glistened at the tip. I found my hand sliding to my own groin,
and snatched it away, ashamed.
"Touch it," groaned Duo. Was this a game that they played? His orders,
snapped out in short, sharp words; Quatre's obedience, without question?
Quatre's hand was sliding around his cock -- he was rubbing the
glistening liquid leaking from the tip all around the shaft, teasing the
skin up to the top then letting it fall back. I could hear his heavy breathing;
Duo's indrawn breath as he watched.
Slowly, he moved his hand up and down -- I saw his face dart up
towards Duo's, his eyes seemed to be searching for something. Instruction?
Approval? Whatever he saw, it caused him to speed up the pace. He began
pumping himself, putting his other hand to the bed, to hold himself up
as he worked his cock.
Duo was watching closely, and his _expression -- well, it was greedy,
there was no other word for it. I had never seen men together, of course
-- I may have read about it somewhere. Somehow, I knew that it
happened. That some men preferred it. It didn't shock me in principle.
How different was the real thing!
"Me first..." gasped Duo, and his hand shot out, grasping Quatre's, stopping
his pumping. Quatre didn't seem to complain; he twisted round to face
Duo's waist area, and I saw him tugging gently at the fastening of the
other man's pants. He didn't pull them down -- though I can't imagine
I would have wanted to see Duo in all his naked glory -- but I
could tell that he was loosening his underwear; he was freeing his cock.
Duo arched under his hands, lifting slightly from the bed. His hand appeared
on the top of Quatre's head; he clutched at his hair, it must have hurt
the blond. And then he pushed at Quatre's head, forcing it down towards
his lap. Obediently, Quatre bent at the waist, and his hand guided the
freed cock to his lips.
I thought that I might actually have a seizure! Quatre took Duo's cock
fully into his mouth, and from the angle that they lay on the bed, I could
see the thick, dark member sliding in between the soft, pink lips. The
ones that I'd kissed only a few nights ago. Duo gave a strangled yelp,
and his hand gripped even tighter on Quatre's head. He began to push again,
but up and down now, up and down his cock. His hips reached up with each
downwards stroke; his breath was noisy; as Quatre finished each movement,
he murmured something, just a sound, from deep in his throat.
I watched for a minute or so -- I knew, of course, where this would
end, but I was fascinated to see what Duo would do when he came. How it
would look. I could see that he was growing more and more excited --
his face was screwed up with what I assumed was pleasure. His moans grew
louder, his other arm reached out to Quatre and touched at his neck. Squeezed
"Yesss..." came out through his gritted teeth.
His muscular, well-developed body started to jerk under Quatre's pale
shape. I watched his hand leave Quatre's head, and join its mate at his
neck. I saw Quatre's head moving up and down his shaft, heard his own
laboured breathing. Duo suddenly shouted loudly, giving a vicious twist
to his torso, and from the convulsive swallows of Quatre's throat and
his sudden groan, I knew that Duo must be climaxing, his seed spewing
out from the top of his cock, into Quatre's mouth -- down Quatre's
And I also saw, with growing horror, Duo's hands tightening on Quatre's
neck as he came. I knew this was happening, because I could see the red
welts raising quickly and warningly on the so white skin. I knew, because
I could see Quatre's eyes grow wider than ever, and a bolt of fear appear
across them. I knew, because I heard him give the smallest, softest whimper,
and then all sound was cut off for him...
I think that I would have gone into the room, I would have gone to save
Quatre -- of course I would! But before my frozen legs could move,
the moment passed. Duo's body relaxed as the orgasm passed through him;
his hands left Quatre's neck and fell to his sides. He gave a long, satisfied
Quatre pulled up from him, gasping for breath, his hands touching at his
Duo was stretching lazily, seemingly unaware of the danger Quatre had
been in. Or uncaring of it. I waited to see what Quatre would do or say
-- but I don't think I was surprised when he made no comment. I
had a sick feeling that this may not be so shocking for them --
may even be part of Duo's usual behaviour. Another thing that I must have
read about, for I'd never personally come across anyone with such tastes.
Or anyone who had admitted to such.
"Blondie...you were good..." Duo was mumbling, the self-satisfied grin
back on his face. "You can finish yourself now...let me sleep..."
I found I was pressed tight up against the wall beside the door, my back
aching, my head throbbing. I couldn't watch anymore, though parts of my
body screamed out -- shamelessly -- for more of the excitement.
I couldn't believe what I had just seen. What had I seen? More to the
point, I couldn't believe that I had stood outside their door and watched
it. My world felt turned upside down.
And when I limped back to my room, I lay on the bed for over an hour,
trying to calm my racing heart, trying to breathe normally again. I took
double pankillers. I prayed. I don't know what the hell else I did.
But one thing I had to do was take hold of my rigid, aching cock, lift
it out of my pants and jerk myself off with a vigour and a passion that
I'd not experienced since I was an experimenting teenager.
And when I came, I gasped out Quatre's name.
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