^_^; Yea~h another one. Since I'm finally almost done with Captured, I had the chance to attack all the other ideas I've had in my mind. I don't know when I'll get to work on this one as classes start wednesday, but I thought I'd send out this teaser since it'll probably be a while before I get to write again.
I hope you enjoy it. It isn't much, I know, and it probably gives the wrong impression on what this story will be about, but...
Okay, enough teasing =)
"Hey Trowa! Bring us another round of drinks - and you better f***ing hurry it up!" a burly man of middle age hollared over the noise in the room before revealing his cards. "Three kings! Try to beat that, Madison!"
Another loud chortle filled the room as Trowa pushed himself out of his makeshift bed on the floor and walked stiffly to the back. Finding a tray and five empty cups, he began filling them with whatever alcohol that happened to be in the barrel in front of him. 'Like they'd know the difference...' Trowa thought idly as he turned off the knob.
After living his entire fifteen years in this hell hole, he'd grown accustom to his "owners" and knew that being how drunk they were now, they wouldn't know the difference between beer or kerosene at the moment.
Balancing the tray with ease on one hand, he pushed past the ragged cloth of a doorway and made it across the room to the five drunken merchants. He placed the mugs in front of each man and turned with the intent of returning to sleep when a strong, calloused hand reached out and snagged him.
"Where do you think you're going...Trowa?"
The familiar stench of the man already clued the brunette on who it was without him having to even look up at the face.
Madison. Owner of the horse stables a hut down, not to mention owner of a few other "things".
"Why so quiet, Trowa? You know you like it." The black-haired man laughed and after moving his hand on certain places on the boy, he pushed the teen off, slamming his own cards down onto the table. "A full house! Thought you got me, huh Kurt? Hope you got enough money to dig yourself out of this shit."
Kurt Barton. Owner of the trades market. A very wealthy man, as well as ruthless and frugal. He was also the man who found Trowa fifteen years ago along a dirt path just on the outskirts of this town. There wasn't a day in Trowa's life that he wasn't reminded of how lucky and fortunate he was for Kurt to take him in and raise him. Still, it tdidn't take long for Trowa to realize he was just a legitimate slave, bound to repay Kurt for his "generosity" for the rest of his life.
Trowa didn't mind that much. It didn't seem that anyone else wanted him, being abandoned on the side of a road those many years ago. Still, at times when things got quite bad, he did wonder. Wondered what it was like to have a real family. Wondered what it was like to be free of this lifestyle. Wondered what it felt like to be actually loved and cared for.
But that was ridiculous, as his friend Heero reminded him so many times before. To be loved meant to be hurt were the exact words his friend had spoken to him the first time they met three years ago when Heero had moved into town.
He found that Heero was like him in more ways than one. The stoic boy was also left to one of the men at the card table, though he wasn't abandoned like he was. Heero had a family once, but they died in the plague. He had been about two years old when his parents and younger sister died. Heero never talked about it, not even to him, but that was understandable and he didn't pry.
John had taken him in when he found the boy staring impassively at a house engulfed in flames. The house, which was discovered later, was Heero's, his family who died from the plague also burned in the fire. The child must have lit it for his hands smelled of gasoline as John had reported to the town's people. That alone caused most people to stay away from the cobalt eye boy, not that Heero minded much.
Trowa found him one day bandaging his arm by the river just behind his house. At first, Trowa just sat beside him staring across the water and to the woods beyond. It was not until the boy had made what was most likely a frustrated sound before Trowa offered his assistance.
Heero had given him a hard, defiant glare, before giving him the roll of bandages. Trowa almost smiled at the act. Almost.
While he bandaged the other's arm, which he soon found out was injured when he "fell" down the stairs, they started talking. Soon enough they became friends though that exact word wasn't used at any means by Heero, but still, they came to an understanding.
It didn't take long for anyone to find out that Heero could be a very loyal ally as well as the opposite. Any who crossed paths with him the wrong way indeed felt the consequences for at least a week afterwards.
Trowa took one last glance behind him before moving to the door. He'd never be able to get any sleep now with all the noise. He was about to step outside when a loud voice stopped him.
"Trowa!" Kurt barked. "Where the hell do you think you're going?!"
At any other time, Trowa would have turned around and walked right back to bed, but that was other times when his owner wasn't as drunk as he was now.
"Out," he replied simply, calmly.
"What the f*** do you mean --"
"Just let him go, Kurt. S'not like he can go anywhere."
A mumble was the only reply and Trowa stepped out of the shack. A cool breeze blew gently across his face and he closed his eyes, inhaling slowly. Then in a blink of an eye, he took off to his left and down the gravel road. He did this quite often lately. Just something about the wind blowing across his face and the swift passing of the rubbled buildings around him gave him a sense of freedom and life that he'd been cruelly shut away from.
He must have let his mind wander off again because he soon found himself on the ground. Shaking his head once, he glanced up and met blinking violet eyes.
"Ite ite, that smarts -- Oh shit!"
Trowa watched as the other boy, with a remarkably long braid, scrambled to his feet and began gathering the scattered apples that laid shrewn across the road. Trowa picked up what was around him and brought them over to the other.
"Sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going," he found himself saying as he placed the apples in the wooden bucket.
"S'okay. I wasn't paying much 'ttention neither." The boy then extended his free hand. "Trowa right? I'm Duo. Duo Maxwell. Just got in town a few days ago."
Trowa shook the proffered hand. "Madison's new --"
The expression on Duo's face darkened before lighting up again. "Yea. That's right. I don't plan on staying that long though, not if I can help it."
Duo gave him a friendly pat on the back. "I know what you're thinking man, but don't worry about it. I can take care of myself. Been doin' that my whole life."
Trowa only nodded, apologizing once more since having nothing else to say.
"I said it was okay. Don't worry about it, Trowa. Man! Didn't know you'd be such a worrisome guy."
"How did you--"
"How'd I know you're name?" Duo interrupted, glint in his eye. With Trowa's nod, the braided boy continued. "Just seen you around. I guess my curiousity got the best of me and I asked around to see who you were. Don't get me wrong. I'm not a stalker or something weird like that. You just seemed different somehow. I dunno." He shrugged then shook his head upon seeing the look Trowa was giving him. "Look at me, already throwing the wrong impression of myself to someone. Well, forget all I said. Anyway, I gotta go. I'll see you around?"
Trowa waved back as Duo left, apples in tow, down the road he'd just come from. If he'd didn't know any better, he'd just made another friend, a close one if given time.
He waited before Duo disappeared before continuing his run again. This time however, he didn't have any more run-ins with anyone and made it to his secret spot. It wasn't really a secret, but there were barely any visitors at this hour of the night. It wasn't much, just a dense grove of trees at the edge of town enclosing a small lake from the visible eye. Trowa found himself here many a nights just lying on the grass and staring up at the black sky. It was calming to say the least.
Tonight as he looked upwards he was fortuned to see a mass of stars polka dotting the night sky. He spotted a particular one twinkling just so that it appeared to change from a brilliant white to blue, and he watched it curiously. It must have been a trick of the eye however, since the longer he stared at it, it only shone as all the other stars did.
Still, it also had another effect. The longer his eyes were fixed to that star, his eyes soon grew heavy and he could feel himself falling asleep. Yet it was different than the other times. Instead of the act of going to sleep just for the sake of doing it, this time, a comforting feeling followed him to oblivion, surrounding him until he couldn't feel anymore.
And unknowingly, the hidden desire he longed for his entire life surfaced to his consciousness that night, and all who cared to listen, heard it.
* * * * *
September 4, 2000