GOLDEN LIGHTS
by SilverLady

***
Pairings: 1x2, 4x3 (eventually), 5x?
Rating: R
Disclaimer: Standard. You know them all by now so I won't bore you with a repeat.
Warnings: This story does show how a lot of people felt about the owning of slaves, a feeling that was very alive in this country not that long ago, as well as in many civilizations down through the ages. There are some good owners and some bad owners, like in everything. If someone owning another person bothers you, you might not like this fic. But then I'm not forcing anyone to read it. There are also M/M relationships in this fic (I'm very much a 1x2/3x4 fan.) so if boys being together (and I do mean together) bothers you don't read.

***

PART ONE

The market place was full of sights, sounds and smells. Brightly colored stalls full of the strange and not so strange. Shouting men hawking their wares, each trying to catch the attention of passers-by.  The odors of cooking foods mingled with the smell of animals, giving the air a unique scent that was pleasant and yet not.

Crowds of people pushed through the narrow street, each one intent on their own destination. There were a few who strolled, glancing at the items for sale in the different stands. These people were usually more richly dressed than most, obviously the upper class of the city who had time to look at things.

Trowa leaned heavily on his friend, Heero, as they walked through the market. They were both members of the upper class and had plenty of time to just look, usually. Today, though, they had a certain destination in mind and so paid little attention to the shouting traders.

Heero cut a swath through the crowd, making sure there was enough room for Trowa and glaring at those who didn't move fast enough to suit him. Those who were unlucky enough to be on the receiving end of one of his glares moved quickly. Heero wasn't someone to trifle with and most knew it. Those who didn't usually learned fast enough.

"Are you sure we'll be there in time?" Trowa asked.

"Of course," Heero replied. He'd been surprised when Trowa had asked him to accompany him to the market. He'd been even more surprised when he'd found out why.

Heero and Trowa had known each other for years and Heero counted the quiet man among his few friends. He had been one of the few that had supported Trowa after his accident and had been the one to persuade Trowa that it wasn't the end of the world. Out of that had come a friendship that had only strengthened with time.

"Why didn't you bring Duo with you?" Trowa asked. Duo was Heero's personal manservant and he rarely went anywhere without the youth. Trowa often suspected there was more there than either let on, but he'd never asked. What the two did was their own business. Besides, he didn't want to find out he was wrong. Heero deserved some happiness, there had been precious little of it in his life.

"I didn't think he would like where we are going."

"Oh, I suppose not." Suddenly Trowa winced as a sharp pain lanced up his left leg.

Heero saw the wince. "Are you okay?" he demanded, stopping to look at Trowa.

"I'm fine. It's just a twinge. I'm used to it."

Deep blue eyes studied him for a moment. "Are you sure?"

"Yes. Now let's get going before all the good ones are taken."

Ten minutes later Heero shoved his way through another crowd of people to a couple of seats near the front. This crowd was different than the ones in the street outside. They were all well dressed, rich merchants and landowners looking for new labor to work in their factories and fields.

"Are you sure you want to be here?" Heero asked as he took his seat next to Trowa. "You could have asked for a private showing. Andril would have been happy to oblige."

"Then I would have to have waited nearly two weeks. I already asked. He said he's very busy this time of year.  The latest prisoners from the wars in the south just came in and the landowners are getting ready to put in their crops and need all the cheap labor they can find."

Heero looked at Trowa a minute before nodding. He still couldn't believe Trowa had decided to buy a slave.

For the next two hours they sat and watched as various slaves were brought out to be sold. Though Trowa looked more closely at several, he had yet to bid on a single one.

"And now, fine sirs," the auctioneer said. "I bring you a special surprise. From the far off sands of Arbiria a fine specimen of young manhood."

Trowa sighed, but became much more interested when the next slave was brought out. He'd never seen anyone who looked quite like this youth. Apparently several others felt the same way, as they leaned forward to get a better look.

The youth as small and somewhat delicate looking, with golden hair that shone in the sunlight. His blue-green eyes were wide and frightened as he looked back at the crowd staring at him. It was obvious this was no slave meant for the fields. This was one to be paraded before men with exotic tastes.

Trowa studied him a moment longer. "I want him, " he quietly informed Heero.

"Are you sure? The bidding will go quite high."

"I don't care. He's the one I want."

Heero nodded. If this were Trowa's choice, then come hell or high water, this would be the slave that he would purchase.

"I'll open the bidding at one thousand gold," the auctioneer called out. "Do I have one thousand gold?"

"One thousand," a voice called out.

"Two," another voice shouted.

As Heero had predicted the bidding did go quite high on the little blond, but in the end he was triumphant.

"That's a lot of money to pay for a single slave," he commented as they made their way to the office to pay for Trowa's newly acquired possession.

Trowa shrugged. "It's not like I can't afford it." Trowa's father had died in the same accident that had left him practically crippled and had left everything to Trowa. "I have more money than I could possibly spend in my lifetime."

Heero glared. "That's not the point and you know it. Why a slave at all and why this one in particular?"

Trowa shrugged again. "I didn't like the idea of those men drooling over him. You know what they wanted him for."

"A Vamir," Heero replied bluntly. The Vamir were the slaves that served in the whorehouses on the east side of town that catered to those with exotic and expensive tastes. Supposedly they had been named after a king in the southlands who'd had unusual sexual tastes and had accumulated a varied collection of slaves to meet those tastes.

Trowa nodded but said nothing.

The young boy looked up fearfully as the door opened. He'd learned quickly that bad things often happened when the door opened, especially since food was usually just shoved through a small hole in the door.

He blinked back tears as bright light flooded into the room. Not all the tears were from the light in his eyes, though. "Get out here, boy," a surly voice called. "Your new master is here."

He rose to his feet and shuffled his way to the door, moving as fast as he dared with his hands and feet both shackled.

"Why is he shackled?" an unknown voice demanded. It was deep and hard. The owner was obviously used to getting his own way in things.

"It's the practice…." The slave master began.

"Remove them at once."

"Yes, sire."

Within a moment the shackles had been removed and the boy sighed in relief. It had been a long time since he'd been free of those hateful chains, except for the time he'd been paraded before all of those horrible men.

"What is your name?" a third voice asked softly.

The boy looked up to find two young men watching him. One leaned heavily on the other, his face half cloaked by a long shock of rich brown hair. The eye that he could see was deep green, like the forests high in the mountains in his homeland.  The other stood tall and strong, his deep blue eyes cold and assessing as they looked him over. Thick, almost black, hair tumbled carelessly into his eyes.

"You were asked a question," the slave master said angrily. "Answer him quick."

"Quatre."

He flinched when he saw the hand raised toward him. He was surprised when the dark haired boy's hand snapped forward and grabbed the man's wrist. "He is no longer yours," he spoke, his voice seemingly even colder than before. "You will no longer raise your hand to him. Understand."

"But, sire, he must be taught how to behave."

"That is no longer your concern," the other boy said softly, his voice quiet but just as firm as his companion's. He looked at Quatre, studying him for a moment. "Quatre, I am Trowa and this is my friend, Heero. I am your new owner and you are to do what I say. Is that understood?"

"Yes, sir." Quatre looked downward as he spoke. Was this how Abdul and the others had felt around him? As if his life was no longer his own.

"Excellent. Follow me." With that Trowa turned and headed out.

Quatre noticed how badly Trowa limped, using Heero as a sort of support. What had happened to hurt him so badly? he wondered to himself. And what kind of a master would he be? Oh, Great One, I want to go home. Tears sprang unbidden to his eyes as he thought of home and the people there. He missed them all, even Carlia, who was a pain and often tried to get him to marry her. Now marriage to Carlia didn't seem so bad.

PART TWO

Twenty minutes later Quatre found himself going through a set of ornate doors into a large courtyard. In the center of the courtyard was a thing of wonder to him; a fountain spraying water high into the air. There were also more plants than he had ever seen in one place.

A door on the other side of the courtyard opened and a young man stepped out. He was dressed in a simple shirt and pants that were plain in both color and material.  Thick honey colored hair was pulled back into a long braid.

As he got closer Quatre found himself being closely studied by blue-violet eyes that were full of curiosity and intelligence.

The boy smiled as he looked at Heero. "Welcome home," he said quietly. His voice was deep and husky. "I wasn't expecting you to bring back a guest. There aren't any rooms ready at the moment but it…."

Heero held up his hand and the boy fell silent. "He's not a guest."

An eyebrow arched in surprise. "No?"

"He's mine," Trowa informed him, his voice firm. "I want you to show him to the room and then have him cleaned up and dressed. When he's ready you can bring him to the inner courtyard."

Trowa turned to Quatre. "This is Duo. He will show you where you will sleep and what your duties will be. You are to do what he tells you. Any disobedience will be reported to me."

Duo looked at Heero for a moment. Suddenly, Heero's reason for not taking him with them today became perfectly clear.  I can't believe Trowa would buy a slave.

Heero looked calmly back, his eyes promising an explanation later.

Slowly Duo nodded. "As you wish," he replied, his voice flat. He glanced at Quatre. "Follow me." Turning he headed back through the double doors.

Quatre hesitated for a moment before following.

The walls of the hallway he found himself in were richly decorated with tapestries, paintings and mosaics.

After a couple of minutes Duo opened a small, almost hidden door. This door opened into a plain, dimly lit corridor.

"Do you work for Trowa?" he asked, after a few minutes

Duo glanced back over his shoulder. "I am Heero's personal manservant."

"Oh." Quatre was quiet for a moment. "How did you get that job?"

Duo paused outside of a door. "I am a slave, like you. Heero bought me at the auction a year and a half ago. He is my third master."

Quatre blinked in surprise. "What happened to the other two?"

Duo gave a small, dangerous smile. "They died."

"I'm sorry."

Duo opened the door. "I'm not. They were both bastards. Heero's much nicer." He stepped out of the way, indicating that Quatre was to enter the room.

Quatre found himself in a small sparsely done room. There were two beds and a small desk against the far wall. At the foot of each bed there was a small chest and in each of the walls beside the bed was a door.

Duo indicated the bed on the right. "That one will be yours. You are to keep it made when you're not sleeping in it and all of your clothes are to be in the chest."

"I don't have any clothes."

"We'll take care of it." Duo suddenly blinked and looked at Quatre. "I don't believe I caught your name."

"It's Quatre."

Duo nodded. "See that bell." He pointed to the bell that hung above Quatre's bed.

"Yes."

"Whenever it rings you are to respond, immediately.  It doesn't matter what time of day or night or what state you are in. That ringing means Trowa wants you. You go through that door, " he pointed to the door at the foot of Quatre's bed. "and follow the corridor to the end. Trowa's rooms are beyond the door at the other end."

"Where does the other door go?"

"To Heero's quarter's." He walked back out the door. "Follow me."

After walking a short ways down the hall, they entered another small room. In the center of the room was a long table with benches down both sides.  On one sidewall were several doors.

Duo indicated the door in the center of the wall. "The corridor beyond that door leads to the kitchen. We eat here, though. If Trowa requires meals in his rooms this is the way you go to get the food.  The door to the right leads to other areas of the house. You can get pretty much anywhere in the home without being seen. Most people don't know that though. "

He walked across the room and opened the door on the left. "This door goes to the bathing facilities." He opened it and went through.

Quatre found himself in a room with a large tub in the center of it. On the far wall was a long box with several holes in it. "What is that?" he asked, indicating the box.

Duo gave him an odd look. "That's where you…. Relieve yourself."

"Really? Not outside?"

"Not here. Takes too long." Duo turned to the tub and did something to a pipe on one side.

To Quatre's amazement, water began pouring out of the pipe and into the tub. "How?"

"Don't you have indoor plumbing?"

Quatre shook his head. "There is little water in my homeland and it must be used sparingly. Also, we travel a great deal and don't really have a permanent home."

"Where do you live?"

"In tents most of the time. Except during the Delmin. Then we live in the caves."

Duo shook his head in disbelief. No wonder the leaders were so determined to conquer the southern people. They obviously need to be taken in hand and taught the proper way to live.

"Get undressed."

Quatre took a step back. "What?"

"Take off your clothes."

"I can't."

Duo sighed. "Look, you can do this the easy way or the hard way. Either way those clothes are coming off."

"But why?"

Duo glared at him. "I don't even think your people take baths with their clothes on."

Quatre's eyes widened. "No."

"Then get undressed."

"But you're still here."

Duo huffed. "So?"

"I can't undress in front of you. It isn't proper."

Duo walked over to Quatre and looked him straight in the eye. "You might as well get that idea out of your head right now. You are a slave now and will do what you are told, when you are told. No matter how you personally feel about it. Believe me, undressing in front of people is one of the least things you might be told to do. Some of the things my masters in the past have made me do would turn your stomach.

"Since you are new to this I won't report it to Trowa but I could get you in deep trouble for your refusal. He did say that you were to do what I told you."

Quatre's eyes grew wider with each word Duo spoke, until they seemed to take up his entire face. After a moment he swallowed hard and reached for the tie on his pants. It only took him a minute to undress completely.

Duo looked the boy over with a clinical eye. He made note of the lack of body hair that indicated just how young the boy was. What little hair there was on his body was the same golden color as the hair on his head. The body itself was slender and compact, with the promise of a strength not yet discovered. He is going to be very beautiful when he grows up.

He nodded his approval before turning away. He had also noted the body-wide blush and decided to give the young boy a bit of privacy. Though with his exotic looks he might as well get used to being looked at in this manner. I'm sure many of Trowa's compatriots will want to see him. ALL of him.  This was definitely going to be interesting, he thought.

PART THREE

Quatre sat staring at the wall of the room he would now call home. Duo had told him to sit there and wait for him to return.

Quatre's body was still red, as much from embarrassment as from the through scrubbing Duo had given him. Apparently Duo had found him very dirty.

He couldn't believe that Duo had not only insisted on washing him, a invasion of privacy that would never have been allowed if he had been at home, but that he'd undressed and climbed right in the tub with him. Angil would have fainted if he'd seen that happen.

Tears sprang to his eyes at the thought of home, a place he would probably never see again. Was everyone dead or had some managed to survive the attack. It had come so suddenly and had been so violent that no one had really had any chance to react.

Maybe someone had survived and was even now searching for him

"Crying won't change anything," Duo informed him sharply as he walked back into the room, carrying a bundle of clothes. "Be glad you got a decent master."

"But men aren't supposed to own other men," Quatre protested.

Duo's eyes widened. "You'd best never let anyone hear you say that. If you're lucky all they'll do is beat you." He laid the clothes on the bed. "Besides. Things work just fine."

Quatre couldn't believe that Duo could calmly accept his status. "And you call my people barbarians!"

"Living in tents. Hiding in caves. No running water."

"Our freedom. To come and go as we please. With no master but ourselves."

"No one to take care of the weak. Scraping by, barely able to eat."

"Doing what you want. Choosing your own path on the Road of Life."

"Homeless women and children, begging on the streets."

Quatre threw up his hand in exasperation.  "How can you be so complacent?"

"How can you be so na´ve?" Duo picked up a shirt. "Put this on. I'm sure Trowa will want you to look your best tonight. I understand several guests are expected."

Quatre snatched the shirt away. Please, Great One, deliver me from this land of heathens.

Duo nodded as he watched Quatre dress. "Just remember this. Outside this room you are Quatre, slave and the property of Lord Trowa of Batona. You do what you are told, when you are told. Trowa's orders always supercede all others, but any one above you can give you orders. That is just about everyone, since you are new. "

Quatre nodded but said nothing.

Duo turned and headed for the door. "Follow me."

Duo lead Quatre to another richly decorated courtyard. This one had tables and chairs scattered about, either under the shade of trees or the man made shade of a large cloth draped structure. Nearly a dozen men, including Trowa and Heero, lounged about. They had apparently just finished eating.

Duo walked over and bowed to Trowa. "I have done as you commanded."

Trowa nodded as he looked beyond Duo to Quatre. "Excellent. Heero, he is prompt as always."

"I still want to know how you turned that little hellion around," one of the other men said with a shake of his head.

Heero gave a slight smile. "And you will continue to wonder."

"Is that the one the called Shinigami?" a portly looking man asked, looking Duo up and down.

"The one and only."

"Pray tell who is the other one. I don't believe I've seen him before."

Quatre blinked as the young man that spoke rose to his feet and walked over to him. The man was no taller than he, with black hair pulled back into a tight tail. His skin was golden bronze in color. His eyes were so dark they appeared to be black and had a slight slant to them. His clothing was all white, but of a style Quatre had never seen.

"That's my new purchase," Trowa replied. "I just got him today."

"If I had known they were selling creatures like this I would have gone."

"And still not got him. I was quite willing to pay more than I did."

"How much? I'll double it."

Trowa shook his head. "He's not for sale, at any price."

The man sighed. "To bad. I'd be the talk of the court if I came back with such an exotic creature."

Quatre bite his tongue, trying hard not to say anything. He hated the way they talked about him as if he wasn't even there. Or too stupid to understand them.

"I'm sure you would be. And earn quite a few points in your father's book as well, right Wufei," Heero commented dryly.

Wufei laughed. "Perhaps." He looked at Duo. "Though that one would sure be worth something." He studied Duo. "Why call him Shinigami? I thought that meant Death God."

"It does. Let's just say that his last two owners didn't live long after buying him."

"He killed them?"

Heero smiled slightly. "So they say. No one ever proved it."

"I would think not. He wouldn't be standing here if they had." Wufei paused. "Did he?"

Heero smiled again. "What do you think?"

"You know?"

"Maybe."

Wufei laughed. "Fine. Keep your secrets. May I see him, though? I've heard stories."

"I'm sure you have." Heero looked at Duo. "Strip."

Duo instantly began to remove his clothes. Within moments he stood before the men, completely naked.

Quatre didn't know what stunned him more. The fact that Duo had willing bared his body to these men or the way they stared at him.

"Very nice," Wufei commented, returning to his seat. "I can see why you were willing to tame him. Have him take down his hair."

Heero's eyes grew cold. "No."

Wufei blinked at the frost in Heero's voice. "Why not?"

"No one but I ever see his hair loose. Not even Trowa."

Wufei sighed. "Very well." He looked over at Quatre again. "Trowa, why don't you show us what you got? I'm curious to see if he really all he appears to be."

Trowa looked at him for a moment. "Quatre, remove your clothes."

Quatre stared at him. "Wh….what?"

Trowa stared at him. "I said strip. Now."

Quatre's mouth fell open in shock. Bare his body to these strangers.

Trowa's eyes grew hard. "Now. Or Duo will do it for you." There was a threat in the tone that promised Duo wouldn't make it a pleasant experience.

"Need to work on training him properly," Wufei commented.

"Duo…." Before Trowa could say any more, Quatre was reaching for his shirt. Two minutes later he had removed all of his clothing. He instinctively began to cover himself with his hands.

"Hands behind your back," Trowa snapped. Quatre quickly complied.

Wufei nodded. "Very nice. I'm sure he will be quite impressive once he is properly trained."

"That is the inherent problem in purchasing a slave brought in from the south lands," Trowa commented. "I think he will be worth it, though."

"I could work with him…. It wouldn't take long."

"No, thank you. I would prefer to do it myself."

"More's the pity."

Trowa laughed slightly. "For you, perhaps."

"True." Wufei looked at Quatre again. "At least there is no denying he is truly blond. Such an unusual coloring."

"With hair like golden light," one of the other men, who had been silent during the exchange, commented.

Wufei turned to him. "Pardon?"

"It's from a poem I read once. That's the only line I can recall though."

"Quite descriptive." Wufei turned back. "If you ever consider selling him."

"You'll be the second person to know," Trowa promised him solemnly.

"And who will be the first?'

"Me."

Wufei laughed. "Very true."

Just then several scantly clad women walked into the courtyard. They all carried trays of various sweets.

Trowa looked at Quatre for a moment. "Duo, take him back to the room."

Duo glanced at Heero, who nodded slightly. "Then report to my room. It needs cleaning."

"Yes, master." Duo gathered up his clothing and turned to leave.

Slowly Quatre reached for his own clothing, then followed Duo.

"You did it this time," Duo whispered as soon as they were out of hearing.

Quatre swallowed hard, but said nothing.


PART FOUR

Heero was silent as he followed Trowa into his room. Trowa was limping badly, a sure sign that he was tired. Yet, as long as he was in the house, he rarely asked Heero for help. It was a fact that often had Heero wondering what was really running through his friend's mind. He would have thought it would be the other way around.

"So, what are you going to do?" he asked, sitting in one of the chairs.

Trowa sat down on the sofa opposite him. "About what?"

"The new slave."

"What about him?"

"He should have done what you told him the first time. You have to show him that he no longer has any say in what he does. You are the master of his destiny now. "

Trowa closed his eyes. He knew that Heero was right, that the only way to ensure obedience was to correct problems quickly.  And yet… "And what do you suggest I do?"

"A good lashing would set things straight, quick. You have to show these barbarians who is boss."

Trowa shuddered at the thought of marking that beautiful body with whip scars. "No. Nothing that will scar."

Heero nodded slightly. He should have known Trowa would say something like that. Trowa had never liked scars on anything, especially since he had so many himself. "I have something that you can use. I used it several times on Duo before he got the hint."

Trowa looked at Heero in surprise. He knew exactly what the relationship between master and slave was. "You will not touch him."

Heero blinked. "Not that." He rose to his feet. "I'll be right back." He quickly walked out of the room.

Trowa frowned as he reached down to massage his left leg. There was no telling what Heero might bring back.

Sighing a bit in frustration he worked on the aching muscles. He had overdone it today, in more than one way. He should have never walked to the slave market for one thing. His leg was hurting so badly, he knew it would take hours for him to go to sleep.

Plus, he really should have waited a few days to show Quatre to his friends. It would have been better to break him a little before throwing him if front of that group. He had hoped that Duo would have briefed the boy enough to ensure a better reaction from him. He hadn't wanted to embarrass the boy, but he really hadn't expected him to react the way he had. Why were the Southlanders so embarrassed by the sight of a naked body? It was a sight to be appreciated and admired, not hidden away.

Just then Heero walked back into the room. "If you don't want to leave any scars, use this."

Trowa blinked. It looked like a board. "It looks like a board."

"It is. If you don't want to whip him, spanking works just as well. This way you won't hurt your hand."

"But won't it hurt him?"

Heero placed the thin board on the sofa next to Trowa and sat down on the floor in front of him. Reaching out he began to kneed the muscles in Trowa's leg. "Of course. That's the idea." He frowned at the tightness of the muscles beneath his hands. "You overdid it."

"I know." Trowa leaned back and allowed Heero to work on his leg. "You really think its necessary?"

"You have to teach him quick. You let him get away with something once and he'll do it again."

"Was Duo really that difficult?"

Heero smiled as he remembered the wild boy he'd bought. "Worse. There is a point when discipline becomes abuse. Both of his former masters went way beyond that point. I wanted to show him that I was in charge without hurting him too badly. It seems to have worked."

"Did he really kill them?"

"They don't call him Shinigami without reason."

"Did he try to kill you?"

Heero nodded. "He was very much like a wild animal when I bought him. It took time to train him. But like any well trained animal it was worth it."

Trowa remembered that Heero had been away for several months after he'd purchased Duo. "It took you quite a while to break him, didn't it?"

Heero shook his head. "I didn't break him, I trained him. There is a difference. I taught him to obey without breaking his spirit. Duo without his spirit would be worthless. The other's didn't understand that."

"And that is what you're suggesting I do with Quatre."

"Yes. I'll help you as much as you want me to, but in the end its up to you on how you want to handle him. I do think he needs some sort of punishment for his behavior today."

Trowa glanced at the board beside him "Punishment for disobedience, reward for obedience."

"Right. But punishment should be swift, don't let him forget what he's done wrong. Though not too fast. Let him think about what you could do. You might want to vary the punishment, to keep him guessing. After a while he'll make up things in his mind far worse than anything you could do to him."

"And rewards."

"Don't be too generous with them. He is yours, to do with as you please."

"Owning a slave isn't easy, is it?"

"Not if you want a loyal one that would walk through fire for you. Believe me, an unhappy slave is a dangerous one."

Trowa thought about what Heero said for a moment, then nodded. Reaching over he pulled on the rope that would ring the bell in the sleeping quarters. "Hadn't you best go make sure Duo cleaned your room properly?" He stressed the word cleaned a little.

Heero smiled. "I'm sure I should. He still can't seem to make the bed right." Rising to his feet, he headed to the door. "Enjoy."

Trowa laughed softly after Heero had left. "I should be saying that to you."

After a moment a door that was partially hidden by a wall hanging opened and Quatre walked tentatively into the room. "You sent for me?"

Trowa looked calmly at him, waiting.

Quatre blinked. "Master?"

"Come over here."

Quatre walked slowly over to where Trowa sat, giving Trowa plenty of time to admire his purchase. He still wasn't sure what had possessed him to buy the blonde but he was please that he had. He was sure he could have a loyal manservant when he was done with him. Though not in the manner that Duo served Heero.

Finally, Quatre stood before him. "You were disobedient tonight."

Quatre blinked in surprise. "Master?" he choked out. He hated having to address this man in such a manner. Why had this happened to him?

"I gave you an order. You are to obey any order I give immediately, without question. But I found myself having to repeat the order three times before you obeyed. Didn't Duo explain things to you?"

"Yes, Master."

"And yet you ignored what he told you. Why was that?"

Quatre swallowed. "It isn't right to bare yourself before strangers!" he blurted out.

Trowa looked at the blonde and hardened his heart. "It doesn't matter what you think or feel. You will do what I tell you to. You're only duty from this moment on is to serve me and my wishes. Is that understood?"

Quatre looked downward. "But…."

"Is that understood?" Trowa's voice was cold and hard.

"Yes, Master," Quatre whispered.

Trowa nodded. "Good. We'll start your training now. Bring me that stool." He indicated the low stool that was on the other side of the room.

Quatre began to turn when Trowa's voice stopped him. "Before you do, strip. Until I say so you are not to be clothed in my presence. That is the first part of your punishment for disobeying me today."

Quatre immediately began to remove his clothing. He didn't want to find out what would happen if he was slow about doing so.

When he was completely nude he walked over to fetch the stool Trowa had indicated.  Trying to hide the blush he could feel rising in his cheeks he brought it to Trowa.

"Place it here." Trowa commanded, indicating the spot before him.

Quatre place the stool where he was told.

"Much better. I think you are beginning to learn. However, there is the matter of your slow response earlier." Trowa paused as if in thought. "Lay across the stool, face down."

Quatre did as he was told, trembling in fear at what Trowa might have planned for him. Although he'd never lain with another person, he did know the basics. Angil had warned him that there were men who would try and take advantage of him. He hadn't quite believe it was possible for two men to do such a thing, until Angil had described in very vivid detail, just how such a thing was possible.

Trowa admired the view before him for a moment, then picked up the board that Heero had left him. Without any warning he brought it down on Quatre's bared buttocks.

Quatre jumped when the board connected, as much because of the resounding crack as the pain. The first hit was rapidly followed by a series of stinging hits, no two falling in exactly the same place. Tears ran down his cheeks as he sobbed in pain and humiliation.

Finally, after about thirty or so hits, Trowa stopped. He looked at the now red bottom before him for a moment before he spoke. "Stand up."

Quatre rose slowly to his feet. His butt felt as if it was on fire. He couldn't believe that this man had just spanked him.

Trowa watched the play of emotions on Quatre's face. "Now return to your room. You are to sit on the edge of your bed until I ring the bell. When it rings you may go to bed, but not before then. While you are sitting there I want you to think about what I said."

"Yes, Master," Quatre choked out. He carefully made his way to the door.

"Slave." Trowa spoke up.

Quatre paused. "Master?"

"And I mean sit on the bed."

"Yes, Master." Moving slowly, he walked out of the room.

Trowa waited until he was gone before sighing and leaning back. He hoped he never had to do that again.

PART FIVE

Quatre sat on the bed, rocking slowly and sobbing quietly. Even though he hurt dreadfully, he dared not move, afraid that Trowa would send someone to check on him. He was sure that he would look for any excuse to hit him some more.

He could not believe the cruelty of these people. To deliberately hit someone simply because he refused to do some so crude as to bare himself in public. They had the nerve to call his people stupid barbarians, when this kind of treatment was not only allowed, but expected.

He would have never asked one of the servants in his father's home to do such a thing. And he certainly wouldn't punish them for refusing. The people who worked for his father were treated with respect, a concept that was apparently foreign in this 'civilized' city.

After what seemed like forever, but was probably no more than half an hour, the bell above his bed rang once.

With a choked sob Quatre immediately curled up on his side. He didn't even dare get up to get some nightclothes, afraid that he might be punished in some way for doing so. Trowa had commanded him to remain naked until he was given permission to wear clothes again. He wasn't sure exactly what that entailed and he wasn't about to take any chances.

Oh, Great One, what have I done to deserve such treatment? How have I displeased You? I will do anything You will, just please, deliver me from this torture.

Only silence met his fervent prayers. Quatre felt as if even the spirits had turned their backs on him.

Pulling his knees up tight against his chest and wrapping his arms around them, Quatre sobbed harder.

"Why didn't you blow out the lamp?" an angry voice demanded, dragging Quatre from the exhausted sleep he'd finally fallen into.

Quatre opened tear-swollen eyes to stare blearily at Duo, who stood in the middle of the small room with his hands on his hips. "What?"

Duo glared at him. "The lamp. It's still burning. Do you know how expensive lamp oil is?  It doesn't just grow on trees."

Quatre blinked. He hadn't even thought about the lamp, burning merrily on the table. "It doesn't?" he asked in confusion.

Duo threw up his hands in disgust. "Don't do it again. When you go to bed, blow out the lamp. Got it?"
He stopped and made note of Quatre's lack of attire and tear streaked face. "What's wrong with you? Is this the way you always sleep?"

"N…nooo." Quatre tried to keep the tears at bay.

Duo frowned. "What you crying about now? I told you, all the tears in the world won't change your place."

"Hhhhe….he hit me." Quatre sniffled.

"Who? Trowa?"

"Y..y…yes."

"And?"

Quatre blinked in surprise. "He hit me," he stated, his voice a little stronger.

"So? It couldn't have been too bad. You're not bleeding or anything."

Quatre stared at him, too stunned to say anything. "He spanked me," he finally got out. "With a board. A lot."

Duo turned around and began undressing. "I don't know what else you expected. You not only questioned his order, but you did it in front of his peers. Of course, he's going to beat you for that. You should count yourself lucky. A lot of others would have done much worse to you."

"How can you….."

Duo finished removing his shirt, revealing the long white scars that marred his back. "He could have had you whipped."

Quatre stared at the scars in horror. Someone had deliberately done this to him?

Duo turned around to look at Quatre. "Instead of sobbing like a baby and feeling sorry for yourself, you should be thanking whatever gods you pray to for giving you Trowa for a master. If it hadn't been for him, you'd probably be on your knees sucking some guys cock right now. Or having some guy tie you up and beat you, just because it turns him on. I've been there. It's not fun. Trowa is a good guy and a decent master. If he punishes you, it's because you did something wrong. And the punishment will never exceed the crime."

"He told me I had to go naked until he says other wise." There was indignation in Quatre's voice.

Duo nodded, leaning into his chest to get out a nightshirt. "I don't know what you're complaining about. He probably just wants you to get used to people looking at you. It's cooler besides."

"You don't have to go naked."

Duo smiled slightly. "Heero is a bit possessive. In a nice way. Besides, when we go to the summer home you try to wear as little as possible. It's nothing to have most everyone naked or nearly so. Trowa's the only one who rarely sheds his clothes. I don't think he likes to have people looking at him."

"That's….that's horrible."

"Why? Why be so ashamed of your body?" Duo glanced up. "You have a very nice body."

Quatre gasped in shock. "You looked?!"

"Of course."

"That's awful. Your body is private, to be shared only with the one you share your bed with. Not to be ogled by a bunch of drooling strangers."

Duo walked over to the table. "I suppose you're a virgin, as well."

"Of course," Quatre snapped. "That is only to be shared with your lifemate."

Duo blew out the lamp. "I bet the bidding was high for you then," he muttered.

"What? Why?"

"Virgins are worth a lot. I'm sure there were a lot of men there who wanted to be the one to take your virginity."

Quatre's eyes grew wide with shock. Even in the near darkness, Duo could see that. "Men don't do that."

"What do you think most of the other bidders intended for you? I bet a great many of them run the brothels on the east side. They would have loved to add an exotic virgin like you to their stable. Hell, I'd say you wouldn't have been a virgin very long. Though the exotic looks would have continued to fetch some high prices."

"You mean….homosexuals?" Quatre whispered the last word. Angil had used that word in describing the facts of life to him. But he had said that such a thing was wicked and sinful. Men were only meant to lay with women, so as to get children to carry on their bloodlines.

Duo laughed. "I'd say you have a lot to learn, little one." With that he rolled over and went to sleep.

Quatre could only stare into the dark. Truly things could not get worse. He couldn't believe how calmly Duo accepted the horrible things that were allowed to be done in this place. Surely the Great One would come and smite them all for their wickedness.
***

Onto Parts Six-Ten