Good Fortune + Chapter 2 (cont)

"Get out," I said, quite clearly. "That was our arrangement."

"Ahh... yeah," he dragged out the words. Grimaced a little. His hand on Quatre's arm got tighter. "That -- well, that's not possible at the moment. Y'see, I need some help getting' by, and I thought I'd look up old friends..."

Had he spent the whole lot? Wasted it on drugs? Gambled it? Who the hell knew?

We stared at each other for a minute, both understanding fully what was going on.

"No more money," I said. I held on to the door post for discreet support. I saw his eyes flicker to my white knuckles, and back to my face. He raised an eyebrow. He was still as good-looking as ever -- the boyish build was giving way to a more mature, adult handsomeness. He looked superior in so many physical ways to Quatre, clutched to his side.

"Who said I wanted money?" he laughed.

"Don't give him anything, Trowa!" Quatre cried out. We both looked at him in some surprise. "Leave us alone, Duo. It's all over between us --"

"Yeah?" His voice had dropped to that low, menacing sound that I had thought I'd banished from my dreams. "Do you give him everythin' now, blondie? And he does the same for you?" He glared over at me -- a challenge of some kind. And then he swiftly twisted his hand into the back of Quatre's neck, wrenched the blond head up to his, and pressed his mouth down on to him.

"No!" I cried. "Leave him alone! He doesn't want you!"

It was a matter of seconds, I suppose, but it felt like one of those old movies, when the film slows down, and the principal characters stretch and leap to reach each other, all with an agonising sluggishness.

Duo's hands were all over Quatre, kissing him, hugging his slim body in tight to him, fingers gripping at the cheeks of his ass. Quatre was wriggling, sure, but he didn't seem to have the strength to fight him off.

And I - like some knight in armour, like some avenging hero -- threw myself at Duo, knocking them both apart. I felt as if I flew through the air -- I could feel the soft wind in the hall from the open front door, hear the rustle of the trees along the drive outside. I saw my hand connect with Duo's chest, saw their lips burst apart, and the shocked, pink tip of Quatre's tongue as it left the warmth of Duo's mouth.

I saw no anger in Duo's face, not even surprise, I think. Just the coldness of those deep, violet eyes, veiled with something I'd never understand. I vaguely heard an unintelligible cry from Quatre, then saw Duo staring carefully at me as he raised his hand in return. A much stronger hand -- a hand experienced in defending himself. In attacking enemies.

I had no time for the fear that should have followed my rash action. I never even felt the answering blow. All I heard was his voice from such a long way away that I thought he must be elsewhere in the house. "You fuckin' fool, Rich Boy! You fool..."

+

They tell me the maid found me on the stairs and called the paramedics. There was no-one else around, and the front door was wide open. They also told me, when I regained consciousness, that there had been severe bruising to my chest, the ripping of tendons, the twisting of already weak muscles. If I'd been in better condition, it would have been a matter of weeks in bed to recover.

But I'm not in a better condition.

I heard the discussion, though they thought I was unconscious again. They think that the fabric of a lung was damaged in my fall. My heart seems to be failing me on one side, like a stroke -- from the shock of facing the burglar that they assume broke into my house and attacked me. I've given them no other details yet, and they've not harrassed me about it. The doctor thinks that the emotional shock and the sudden, excessive activity has crippled me. He doesn't think I can pull out of it. And the chances of any physical transplant, in my condition -- despite my wealth, despite the frenzied pleas of my lawyer and other associates -- are negligible. I wouldn't survive the surgery.

They couldn't say how much longer I'll last.

+

The hospital was very quiet, but even so, I never heard him come in. There was no sign of the usual nurse at my bedside, even though she often fell asleep herself.

It was a vision. The thing I prayed hardest to have. To see. To touch.

"Quatre! You came..."

"Of course I did, Trowa." His face was full of shade -- I wondered if it were pain. Though it may just have been my failing eyesight. He bent quickly to me, but his lips were like cotton wool on my cheek. I wondered if I were losing sensation, or whether he had just been overly sensitive.

"I was frightened for you, Quatre. I thought he'd taken you."

"No," he said. "I'm here."

"The police are looking for him -- they'll find him."

"I don't think so," he replied, in that soft voice he has. I would have replied back, to reassure him, but I stopped because I could see there was someone else behind him. Not a member of the hospital staff. Not one of my advisors.

Duo.

"Don't call out, Trowa," said Quatre, quickly. "No-one is around."

"What do you mean?"

Duo came round to stand beside him. There was something very odd about his _expression. It didn't have its usual truculence -- the barely veiled aggression. In a strange way, he seemed to look even younger than Quatre. Through my fog of fear and confusion, even his voice sounded different. Insecure.

"I told you you didn't have to tell him. You should have let him have some peace."

"He deserves to know," said Quatre. His voice was normal -- and yet the words weren't. "He shouldn't have been snooping on us. He was meant to be in bed, doped up."

"You told me to do it --"

"Shut up!"

And then he slapped him. Quatre slapped Duo.

I felt the rush to my chest, the sudden bleep on the monitor.

Duo's head snapped backwards, then back to face us again, a red stain already appearing on his smooth cheek. He gave no sign or sound of pain, but his eyes were very wide.

My Quatre! I don't know what had possessed him to do it, but what would Duo do to him in retaliation? I was truly, genuinely afraid.

"Security..." I whispered. So stupid of me to have sent them all out. I had just wanted to be alone, for when Quatre came to see me. My Quatre.

And then Quatre smiled.

He stepped towards Duo -- not away from him, as I pleaded in my heart for him to do -- and he placed his fingertips to the red mark. Smoothed it.

What was he doing?

"Duo..." he said softly.

Duo never moved. His body was tense, I could see the muscles of his arms fighting to hold himself still. The reaction would come soon, surely?

Quatre kissed him.

My heart wrenched, and it was nothing physical. Quatre stared me in the eyes as he did it; he opened his lips and his tongue crept out to meet Duo's. Duo stood as if he were stunned, but Quatre ran his hand around to his braid, and tugged him nearer.

"Look, Trowa," he murmured, sucking lightly on Duo's lip, as he'd often done to me. "How tasty he is! You know that yourself, don't you? Such a pity that you wouldn't have welcomed a threesome, despite the slut you've become in these last months! Did you really think I'd want to give him up? For you?"

I gasped, I couldn't find any words. I didn't know what the hell was going on.

Quatre let Duo go, and came nearer to the bed. He settled himself on the side of it, leant over me, and grasped my chin. Jerked my face up to his.

"Such a very corny plot, my beloved Trowa! This might be one of those pathetic TV movies that your little assistant watches in her long, empty evenings, dreaming about me, I daresay. I can hardly believe that you fell for it! Naïve, rich and lonely man takes in beautiful young boy. Loses his heart. Loses everything..."

"No... he will never have anything..."

"You fool," he whispered down to me. "You've never even suspected how misplaced your fears really were. The fortune hunter is nearer than you ever imagined. And after a bigger prize than the mean little cheque you cast Duo off with!" He must have seen the shock on my face. "Yes, my dear -- the real fortune hunter has been with you all long. In your bed; willingly -- and often. He's worn a mask that you've smiled at; that you've caressed. That you've showered with gifts. While he's bided his time and fucked you until you've lost your senses, and he's accepted your signature on a deed of gift that will ensure he is rich himself for all time."

"No -- you can't know --"

"Know that you've changed your will? That you've signed it all over to me?" He laughed, and it was a cold, hostile sound in the hospital room. "What do you think I do at that stuffy old lawyers? In that sterile office of yours, surrounded by your most personal papers, protected by childish passwords and locks that a street child could open in their sleep? As -- in fact -- I have done. I know everything about you, Trowa. Everything about you, and your repressive father, and your wimp of a mother. You and your gigantic empire, the value of which most people have only guessed at."

He smiled. "Not me. I know. For who has been effectively running it for you, while your illness has kept you out of action? Keeping your staff happy, signing your deals, investing your money wisely? I have, Trowa. I, Quatre -- your trusted, helpful, most able companion!"

"What have you done?" I whispered hoarsely. The pain in my chest was dreadful.

"Nothing, love," he grinned. "Nothing so awful, for I need to protect my inheritance, don't I? All that money... and until now, no-one to leave it to. I can look after it for you. I have no intention of realising any of this grotesque wealth until I'm ready to enjoy it to its full! Then I will have my own choice of young boys in my bed. My own choice of staff, and lawyers and friends...."

His voice grew a little tighter.

"My own choice of life."

I struggled to retain my sanity.

"You two -- Duo -- he was so cruel to you --"

Quatre laughed again. "Duo's been my partner in this." He turned to face that man, standing very still at the back of the room. "What, Duo -- you'd disagree with that? Surely you'd not call yourself a servant!" Quatre turned back to me with a self-satisfied smile. "You see, Trowa, he'll do -- always -- exactly what I ask. You'll never know why. You'll never know the history behind us, behind our twisted relationship. It's grown up over years on the street -- years of finding a way to survive. Suffice it to say that it's always been that way."

"The arguments...the violence..."

"Ahh... but he acts so very well, doesn't he?" Quatre's _expression was filled with something like glee. "Very talented, is Duo. I chose him for that, after all. For that -- and his talented body."

I stared at Duo, trying to find some denial there. "You and Quatre -?"

"Q?" he replied. His arms were crossed defensively against his chest. His eyebrows scowled over dark, stormy eyes. He looked like he wanted to be anywhere else but here. "I should say he's the talented one. He wrote the script!"

"Did you like our show?" Quatre murmured, brushing a stray hair off my forehead. "Poor little rich boy -- so excited at the thought of sampling the street life. I arranged that for you. But you only wanted it through others -- never personally at risk. And all the better if you gained a pretty little bedfellow in the process, eh?"

"I - never -- " I was nearly weeping.

"Frustrated little rich boy," he continued, in a sing-song voice. "So scared of admitting how much he wanted to fuck me! So ripe for company like ours! I hope that we performed well for you."

"Noo..." I moaned.

"Oh Trowa -- still in denial? Look, my dear man -- look and listen!"

He turned to Duo, and tugged him away from the wall.

"Show him, Duo..."

The braided man looked from me to Quatre -- he looked less than willing, for whatever Quatre intended. But my blond lover laughed. "Remember, Duo? Do you remember, Trowa? You do know that eavesdroppers never hear good of themselves -- or good for themselves..."

He looked as if he would slap Duo again, and I was horrified to see the taller man flinch from his raised hand.

"Remember, Duo..." repeated Quatre, softly. "I say 'That's Trowa... he's my friend...'"

"No," said Duo, rather hoarsely. But he cleared his throat, and the harsh voice that I recognised as his followed. "You may like being a pet, blondie, but I gotta life of my own. And it includes you, OK? 'S long as I'm around, you better be ready to move on when I say. Or -- you know what the alternative is, don'cha?"

Quatre saw that I was remembering when I'd heard such a speech -- just before Duo left. How I'd thought it another example of Duo's dominating hold over my sweet friend. How could he reproduce that so easily -- unless he'd learned it? Unless the whole conversation had been staged?

"There's more, love," came Quatre's seductive murmur. "More that I created for our audience of one -- just for your entertainment!" He pulled Duo's head to him again, kissed him hard. Then he pulled away a little, still holding Duo round the waist. He slipped his hand down the front of his pants, making Duo gasp. The words started to fall from his mouth as Quatre caressed him.

"Show me..."

"What's that, Duo?"

"Touch it... me first..."

"Duo, Duo," he sighed. His eyes were bright and hard. He flashed them at me, daring me to remember my shameful spying -- the night I'd seen them together. When I thought I'd seen Duo as the master.

"Remember, Trowa? So good to let you lead, Duo, just now and then," Quatre hissed, eyes still on me. "Hold my throat, Duo...Make marks on me, as you come... you can kiss them better in the morning..."

I knew that I was weeping now. Weeping with shame and misery and horror.

"Why?" I cried. "Why me?"

"You don't need to ask that, Trowa. Mr Rich Boy Trowa. I am not the kind of man who can live for ever in shit -- who would find something rewarding in poverty. I have skills -- I must use them to bring me my good fortune." It was an unconscious -- or not? -- echo of my own pathetic joy, only weeks ago.

"And it was so very easy to seduce you -- I have plenty of patience for the things I really want. Tempt you with the bit of rough -- with Duo's brand of intimacy; make you face your need for it, for me. Remember your embarrassing shame, that you'd been sexually excited by him? It was a delight to me, to hear it! Then move him aside and come to comfort you myself."

"Oh God...so you didn't..."

"Love you?" he answered, merrily enough. Relentless in his cruelty. "Hardly, my dear man! You were pleasant enough in bed, when I'd taught you a few things. In fact, you've become a very willing whore for me! Who'd have thought it? But you were never my type. For one thing, you're too weak to keep up with me -- it's been an additional bonus, wearing your feeble body down with my constant demands. Thinking I can't keep away from you -- that my love always needs satisfying."

"How can you make yourself do that -?" I groaned. I felt as if I would vomit at the thought.

"That's Q," Duo broke in. His eyes were following Quatre as he walked around my bed. His voice was tinged with bitterness. "He can do it whenever he chooses. Whenever he has to. He has no limitations in that department."

"And the other night? When Duo came back to the house?"

Quatre shrugged. "An unfortunate miscalculation. I thought you were in bed, drugged. I had a wild desire to see him; to fuck him, I guess. It was stupid to bring him to the house, but exciting as well. To try to deceive you further." He grinned at Duo, possessively. I'd seen that look turned on me before now. Thought it was for real. "I was proud of you, Duo. You slipped back into character with no rehearsal at all. And you, Trowa -!"

"Me?"

"What an astonishing move of yours, to physically attack Duo! I couldn't have asked for better -- I was still at the planning stage, for that little confrontation."

"Planning? Why?"

A sly smile crept over his face and he stopped pacing. "What did you tell me -- severe stress and exertion? The things you must avoid -- that may hasten your early death?"

There was a strangled noise from Duo. I was incapable of sound.

"Mm.." Quatre continued, loving the sound of his own voice, I suspect. "Duo was always the distraction -- always the threat. I knew you'd fear him. A man like you has no protection against physical threat, no experience of it. I was to build up the jealousy and the fear. And I was to be your saviour -- I was to be the angel to his devil. When he left, you'd be weaker for it -- but assume yourself safe in my hands at last. Then it would just be a matter of waiting for the right occasion to tip you over the edge."

"Weaker? How could you guarantee that, you bastard?"

He raised an eyebrow at my pathetic little protest.

"You have been getting worse, haven't you? You should have stopped to reconsider that very ill-advised attack; you're in no state to recover from that. And you know that now, don't you?"

"But I might still have..."

"Oh Trowa!" he snapped. "Use your brain! I've only stood your clinging and your whinging for this long because I admired the man you were -- your intelligence, the success that you had in your life despite all your natural disadvantages. You're young, and an invalid, and quite revoltingly innocent -- but I never met anyone who didn't admire what you'd done, holding things together after your parents died."

"I don't understand..."

He leaned over me again. Duo drew in his breath behind him.

"It's not been bad luck that your health has deteriorated recently. Who's been in charge of your medication?"

"Wha -?"

"Your food? Your regular tea? And thanks to the money you gave Duo, we've been able to access all kinds of materials. All kinds of new, unregistered materials..."

No, no! My mind was spiralling, my control was shredding away into tiny, airborne pieces, my sanity with it.

"After all," the angel was saying to Duo, stroking the strong, angry face. "I'll inherit, it's true -- but I can't be expected to wait until I'm too old to enjoy it on my own. Can I?"

+

It's probably the last few hours now. I know, because Quatre told me so. He met with the doctors -- he stood talking to them in the corridor, his mournful face turned to me. Smiling the brave smile that he does so well. Even the hint of tears in his beautiful blue eyes.

Even now, when I seem to know I've been abused and betrayed -- I wish I could see those eyes for ever.

He'll stay to nurse me, he said. Nurse me to my death. Otherwise people will be suspicious. Sometimes I can't remember why he should say that.

I see no point in refusing him. He's everything to me. What would I do without him?

Who else do I have to share my good fortune with?

~Owari~

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