Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Gundam Wing. I just borrow the characters for a little while, but return them in better condition than I found them.
Summary: After suffering a mental breakdown and at the urging of a few of his friends, Quatre Winner takes a long needed sabbatical from Winner Enterprises Incorporated. As he spends time on a horse ranch in the middle of Colorado, he finds unexpected adventure and a whirlwind passion that sweeps him away. However, betrayal and danger wait in the shadows and their reach extends far beyond the busy streets of New York City.
Pairings: 3x4, 1x2, 5xSP, 6x9
Warnings: AU, probably some OOCness thrown in there. Eventual lemons (rating will change when it gets there), yaoi and slash, with some hetero thrown in there. If you don't like it, don't read it.
Author's Note at the end.
He had driven here in silence, not bothering to turn on the radio or the CD player that came with the rental Jeep Wrangler. The gift Noin had bought him before leaving, a burned CD full of Bach music, still lay in his laptop case on the passenger seat. Teal eyes looked out of the windows constantly, but he wasn't looking out for other cars on the road—hell, he hadn't seen another car for an hour and a half outside of Salt Lake City. No, he was too busy looking around at the beautiful mountains and the fields of lush crops and pastures.
More than once he had to pull over and get out of the car just to look around, taking a few pictures with his digital camera and then another few on his Blackberry as he passed by small horse ranch where a few horses were grazing in the pasture. Quatre knew he looked like a complete tourist in his brown slacks and a button down, white shirt. Honestly, he didn't really care. This was his vacation and he damn well could look like a tourist if he wanted.
It was unheard of for Quatre Raberba Winner, heir and CEO of Winner Enterprises Incorporated to take a vacation. In the five years since his father's heart attack and retirement, Quatre had been working like a maniac from before dawn to well after midnight. Unlike other CEOs in other companies, he preferred to be heavily involved with the company and take an interest in his employees. He was often called soft-hearted by his Board of Advisors and the other company CEOs in New York, but he had just simply stated that he felt the company shouldn't be run another way. His father had done the same thing before him, after all.
The only time that he wasn't as heavily involved in the running of the company was when he was going through college and getting his Masters in Business Management, although he did do several minor projects at his father's request throughout his years at Harvard University. However, in his final two semesters, he had to take over WEI completely because of his father's heart attack. Iria, one of his several sisters, had moved to New York City from Kentucky to take care of his father and help him get acclimated into the position of being CEO at such a young age. However, he had done and managed to finish his Masters on time as well.
Teal eyes glanced to his GPS and he glanced at the first mailbox that appeared over the horizon on his right hand side. According to his ever trusty Garmin, he was approaching the quaint ranch that had been arranged to take him in for the next several weeks. If it weren't for Duo talking his boyfriend into helping him find a place to send Quatre to recover from his serious break down, perhaps he would be in some place a little more tropical to relax. After all, Heero still kept in touch with several men from his Special Forces unit that was formed in Iraq. He had said that this Barton fellow owed him a favor and that this would be more than enough for repayment, as well as good for Quatre to get away for a while without much access to internet.
And, after a glance at his phone and lack of service, his Blackberry wasn't going to be in much use either.
Heaving a sigh, he turned down the dirt road and tightened his seatbelt a little at the sight of the washed out, pot hole filled driveway. Glancing to his GPS, he couldn't help but raise a blond eyebrow at the words flashing at him. "Destination reached? Are you kidding me?" He glared at Garmin, then grumpily punched the off button and began his bumpy ride down the driveway.
It took him about ten minutes of more driving as he approached a rather large hill and crested over it, his eyes widening as a rather large red barn came into view with a quaint white farm house across the way from it. Beyond it were extensive pastures what seemed to be some trees on the edge of the horizon, though Quatre couldn't tell how close it really was. It was difficult to tell how near or far something was in this part of the country.
He smiled a bit, driving towards the farmhouse and he put the jeep in par before getting out. Lifting a hand to shield his eyes, he looked towards one of the closer paddocks where dust seemed to be coming from and his curiosity started to get the better of him. Uncaring that he was dressed in expensive business casual clothing, he made his way to the fence of the paddock.
Angry snorts and a loud, high pitched whinny reached his ears as Quatre approached to look over the high fence. Dust rose up in billowing clouds and engulfed him as the angry horse ran itself in circles around the round pen, screaming in anger and challenging whoever would hear it. He seemed drawn the beautiful creature, the fluidity of it's – no, Quatre noted, her –movements was breathtaking. The pure power of her muscles as they bunched in her flanks and hindquarters as she moved was enough to send a shiver down the blond's spine.
Her color beneath the dirt and sweat that streaked heavily in her fur was that of the finest sand and her mane and tail, though knotted and in disarray, was that of the darkest ebony. She was poetry in motion, her stride was long and her elegance seemed to radiate from her even though she was angrier than a nest of hornets. Quatre leaned against the rail of the fence, in awe of the mare's beauty and grace as she reared up on her hind legs to lash at the air in a show of defiance to her captivity.
As she came down to all fours once more, she faced Quatre slightly to eye him and snorted almost in a derisive manner. His teal gaze met her amber eyes, the moment drawing out before she whickered lowly and took a step forward towards him. The young man carefully, slowly extended his hand as he was caught beneath the wild horse's spell and he let a gentle smile curve his lips upwards in response to yet another curious step towards him.
Step by step, the mare approached Quatre as they looked at one another. It was almost as if a connection had happened between them, as if part of their spirits intertwined and fed from one another. Just as his fingers were mere inches from her muzzle, there was a feminine voice that shouted a warning from nearby by and it caused the horse's head to jerk upwards as she startled. She whinnied loudly, the pitch hitting that strange scream again as she raised up on her hind legs to rear once more and lashed out with her front hooves.
The blond stumbled back a little, just as startled, and he looked up at the lashing hooves. He raised his forearms to protect his head as one seemed to lash towards him, but the impact seemed to come at him from his right side and he went down into the dirt hard by the fence post. The mare turned and bolted across the pen again to start running herself in circles once more, screaming in fear and anger at her containment as the wildness seemed to take over her mind once more.
Quatre groaned a little, trying to move but found he was pinned to the ground by something quite heavy. He coughed a little, trying to clear the dust that had risen into the air once more as he opened his eyes. What he saw caused his breath to hitch in his throat, his aqua gaze colliding with a cool emerald and he froze beneath body he was pinned by. Even if he hadn't been pushed to the ground by the lean body on top of his own, he would have been pinned in place by the intensity of that gaze. The effect of it wasn't lessened by the caramel bangs that slightly obscured it.
"What the hell do you think you were doing?" By Allah, the man had a voice to match the look in his eye; cool and firm.
"Huh?" That was Quatre's ever so intelligent response to the question. However, he was saved from making more of a fool of himself as a woman jogged over to them.
"Are you two alright?" She asked, her clear blue eyes looking from the strange man to Quatre himself and there was concern evident in her voice.
"Yes, I'm alright." Quatre said, trying reassure as he glanced up at her a little nervously. "Just a little shaken." He looked from the woman to the man, who rolled to the left to free him. The blond slowly got to his feet, dusting off his slacks and coughing a little to clear the dust from his lungs.
"I don't like to repeat myself," the man stated, his voice laced with a frigid type of anger that had Quatre looking to him again. The man stood, fixing the CEO in place with his gaze once more. "But what the hell did you think you were doing? And who the hell are you?"
"Trowa!" The woman hissed at him, obviously a rebuke to his coarse words and behavior. However, she stopped talking when he lifted a hand and merely settled for glaring at him instead with her hands on her hips.
Quatre could feel his cheeks heat up in embarrassment and he rubbed the back of his neck a little. "I really am sorry for causing such trouble, but I'm Quatre Winner. My friend Heero said that someone here would be expecting me and I think that maybe I've got the wrong place?" He smiled crookedly, looking from Trowa to the woman.
Trowa's eyebrow arched at him, his arms crossing against his chest and he looked the blond up and down slowly. "Yuy sent you? He never said anything to me about this." A noise caught his attention and he looked to the woman standing beside Quatre, then his eyes narrowed ever so slightly. "Cathy…"
Cathy smiled slightly at Trowa, then gently placed a hand on the Arabian man's shoulder. "Don't mind Trowa, he can be a bit of a bear when it comes to surprises like this. Mr. Yuy called me last week about this, so you're in the right place." She held out a hand to Quatre. "Catherine Barton, and this is Trowa."
Quatre shook her hand gently, smiling a little and looking relieved. "Thank you," He murmured, looking to Trowa, "I'm sorry again for the trouble. I thought somebody was over here, kicking up the dust." He looked towards the mare, who had stopped to let her head bow towards the ground and looked a little defeated. Instantly a flash of the echoing emotion seemed to flow through him and he felt a great deal of sympathy for the elegant creature.
The tall brunette watched Quatre, sizing him up slowly in thought before he shook his head. "Stay away from here and stay out of the paddocks unless Cathy or I with you." He turned, stalking towards the barn to disappear in the shadows and out of sight.
Cathy grimaced a little, looking at Quatre and she hooked her arm through his, then giving a slight tug towards the house. "Please excuse him," Sadness creeped into her eyes a little as she glanced towards the barn doors, "Trowa isn't exactly god with surprises and even worse when it comes to social situations."
"It's quite alright, Miss Barton. Heero is the same way, so it's nothing I'm not used to." Quatre smiled gently to reassure her, looking towards the house as she began to lead him towards it.
"Call me Cathy, please. There's no need to be formal."
He smiled even more and nodded, "The feeling is mutual. I tend to save my formalities for the board room and that, currently, is the last place I want to be."
Cathy laughed slightly, leading him towards the house and smiling brightly. "Well then, I was just about to make lunch and the guest room is ready for you." As she started to tell him about the house and the ranch, Quatre couldn't help but spare a glance towards the barn. Worry briefly flitted through his mind for the other man, but beyond the barn his gaze looked towards the horse that stood in the paddock to find the mare had lifted her head to turn towards him.
"Oh," He looked towards Cathy and found her looking up at him questioningly. "Oh, I'm sorry. I'm just still amazed by this place." He chuckled a little, then asked some sort of insignificant question to start up the conversation again.
He had a feeling that this vacation would be interesting, if nothing else.
To Be Continued…
This little plot bunny came to me while at work one day and wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote it down. This doesn't mean that "The Price to Pay" is on hiatus or anything. Chapter 4 is about a third of the way finished and will be up within the next week or so.
Don't forget to review! It really does inspire me to write.