Good Fortune + Chapter 1 (cont)

+

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 stuff..."

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 it.

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 Barton."

"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 forged signatures."

"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 cool.

"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 remember."

+

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.

"But Duo?"

"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."

"Money?"

"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, I think."

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 kill him."

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 in.

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 them.

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 wouldn't.

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 himself.

"Off!"

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 it.

"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 throat.

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 groan.

Quatre pulled up from him, gasping for breath, his hands touching at his throat.

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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