Quatre sighed and rolled
over in his sleep. He was dreaming that he was racing across the
desert sands on Shadar, his favorite horse. The wind was blowing
the mane back into his face. He loved this, it made him feel so
He couldn't understand, though, why Shadar was wearing bells on his halter. It seemed rather strange. His people really preferred to move as quietly as possible, even when riding in fun.
Suddenly he was shaken, hard. "Hey! Wake up!" a voice intruded his dream.
"Go away," he mumbled. "It's too early to get up, Angil."
He was shaken again, pulling him out of the dream and into the nightmare that his life had become. He found himself staring into a pair of violet eyes. "What?"
Duo sighed and straightened up. "You need to get up. Trowa's been ringing for you for the past five minutes at least."
Quatre blinked. The bells in his dreams. That's what they really were. He blinked again. "Up?"
"He is probably looking for breakfast. You'd best go find out what he wants though. After yesterday, you don't want to make him mad again."
Slowly Quatre rose to his feet. He started to reach for the clothes lying on the chest at the end of the bed. Then he remembered the orders he'd been given last night. Trying to keep from blushing, knowing that Duo was probably watching, he went through the door that led to Trowa's quarter's.
Moving softly, Quatre let himself into the room. At first glance there was no sign of Trowa anywhere. "Master?" he called quietly, wincing at the word even as he said it.
"Here," Trowa spoke up. His voice was coming from the room beyond.
Quatre walked swiftly across the room, finding himself entering a large, lavishly decorated bedroom. Trowa was sitting up in a huge four poster bed. The bed was draped in yards of what appeared to be silk, with a large thick comforter on it.
"Since this is your first full day, I will excuse you your lateness. But if it happens again, you will be punished. Is that understood?"
"Yes, Master," Quatre whispered, walking up to the bed.
Trowa looked him over and nodded. "You are to go and fetch my breakfast and bring it back to the terrace. You can get to it through those doors." He indicated the doors at the far end of the room. "But first I want you to run my bath. The bathroom is through there." He pointed to the door on the side wall.
Quatre blinked. Run a bath? How was he supposed to do that? "Master?"
"Is there a problem with that?" Trowa sounded slightly annoyed.
"I don't know anything about running a bath, Master. Your bathing facilities are nothing like those in my homeland."
"How do you bathe?"
"In what ever water source we come across, usually." Quatre paused. "Master," he added.
Trowa frowned. "Very well. I'll have Duo show you how to work the bath. For now, just go and fetch my breakfast."
"Yes, Master." Quatre turned to leave.
Trowa's voice stopped him. "One thing. You may wear clothing when you leave this area. But only then."
Heero was sitting on the sofa when Trowa walked out of the bedroom. He'd run his own bath that morning, which wasn't really that big of a deal. He usually did it anyway.
"Things go all right last night?" Heero asked.
Trowa shrugged. "They appear to have. I'll just have to wait and see."
Heero nodded. Duo had reported that he'd found Quatre crying when he'd returned to the room the night before. "Where is he now?"
"He should be returning with my breakfast." Trowa sighed. "I need to borrow Duo for a while, later."
Heero's eyes narrowed. "Why?"
"He's going to have to show him how to work the bath. Apparently, he's never used one before."
Heero shuddered. "Where do they wash?"
"Wherever they find water."
Heero made a face. "That's disgusting."
Just then the door opened and Quatre walked in, carefully carrying a tray of food. Trowa nodded slightly, noting that Quatre had taken the time to stop and remove his clothing. "Take it outside. I'll be there momentarily."
"Yes, Master." Quatre tried to ignore the two men watching him as he walked across the room.
Heero nodded approvingly as Quatre disappeared into the other room. "Very nice. You definitely got a good one there. I don't blame you for wanting him naked."
"It's part of his punishment. I figured he might as well get used to being looked at. He seems rather ashamed of his body."
Heero shook his head in disbelief. "I don't know why."
The door opened a second time and Duo walked in. Unlike Quatre, he walked with quiet confidence. He knew exactly what was expected and how far he could push. "I figured since you weren't in your room, you'd be here."
"We're eating outside."
Duo nodded. "Fine. Did he make it back?"
"Yes. He's out there now."
"I wasn't too sure there. He had no idea what to tell the cook. It's a good thing I was there or who knows what you might have wound up with."
"Thank you," Trowa told him.
"You have a job this morning," Heero informed him.
"Show Quatre how to work the bath."
Duo laughed softly. "That's right. He had no clue what it was last night. I didn't even think to show him how to operate it. I'll teach him up right. Anything else you want me to show him at the same time?"
"Not at the moment. I'm sure something will come up though."
"Probably." Duo smiled as he headed through the door and into the other room.
After Trowa was satisfied that Quatre had brought a decent breakfast, he dismissed him. He informed him that, after cleaning and straightening the bedroom, he wanted Quatre to meet with Duo.
Quatre stood staring at the room. He wasnt certain exactly what Trowa expected him to do. He tried to remember what Angil had done after he got up in the morning, but nothing came to mind. Usually the morning ritual consisted of packing everything up to move on. They had rarely stayed in one place for long.
Walking across the room he stared at the large bed. The covers where obviously in disarray, but Quatre wasnt sure how they were supposed to be. He was afraid to ask, though. There was no telling what Trowas reaction might be.
After a fifteen minute struggle Quatre was ready to give up. He was sweating and breathing heavily and the bed now looked even worse than when hed started. The pillows were the only thing that might be close to the right position. One sheet seemed to be too wide for the bed and the other didnt seem to fit at all. There where at least three blankets and none of them seemed to be right. The thick comforter that had been bunched at the end of the bed now laying the floor. It was so large and thick that nothing Quatre did to it seemed to move it much.
What, exactly, are you doing? a voice asked behind him.
Quatre spun around to find Duo standing in the doorway. Straightening the bed, Quatre answered.
Duo was amazed that he could say that with a straight face. Is that what they call it?
Quatre looked back at the bed. Its not very good though.
You could definitely say that.
I dont know why you have to have so many things on this. And none of them fit right.
Duo walked over to the bed. He couldnt believe just how badly Quatre had messed up the bed. He knew Trowa was not that restless a sleeper. Well, for starters, that sheet tucks around the mattress.
Quatre looked perplexed. Why?
Dont tell me. You dont have beds either.
They would be difficult to move.
What do you sleep on?
Depends on your status. The poorer people just sleep on the ground.
Duo sighed. It was obvious to him that it was going to take more time then Trowa had thought to train this guy up right. Maybe he should think about sending him to Mandira. All right. Watch me. Ill show you how to do this. He paused. I dont suppose you made your own bed, have you.
Quatre blinked. No. Im supposed to do that?
I told you that yesterday.
Quatre ran the conversation from yesterday through his head. I guess you did.
Duo hung his head. You need to pay attention. If you dont youre going to find yourself on the receiving end of that board a lot more.
Quatre shuddered, remembering the pain and humiliation hed suffered the night before. He wanted to avoid that as much as possible. I will.
Okay. First you take this sheet....
Quatre moved closer to watch as Duo began to make the bed.
It was late that night before Quatre climbed into his own bed. After showing him how to make a bed and run a bath, Duo had decided that he had a lot of other things he needed to know and had proceeded to show him. Twice. After doing Trowas, Duo had dragged him to Heeros quarters and made him help there.
Finally, after what seemed a horribly long time, Duo had deemed them done for the day and sent him on his way. Hed barely entered the small bedroom when the bell began to ring, summoning him to Trowas. Apparently in helping Duo, Quatre had managed to mislay several important documents. Trowa had made him search the entire room for them, which had taken nearly two hours. Quatre was just glad that Trowa had not deemed it a punishable offense and beaten him for it. He knew that if he did it again, he would be.
Burying his face in his pillow, Quatre struggle to hold the tears at bay. He was exhausted and homesick. All he wanted to do was sleep, so that for a little while at least he could forget how awful his life had become. The only thing that had kept him going since his capture was the hope that someone would come and save him.
Great One, please send help soon. I dont know how much longer I can last. If this is one of Your tests, let it be done soon. I have truly learned any lesson You have wished to teach me.
With a soft sob, Quatre closed his eyes and went to sleep.
The next two weeks passed in a blur of endless days and too short nights. Duo was a hard taskmaster, pushing new chores on Quatre constantly, insisting that they were things he must learn in order to please his new master.
Master. It was a word he was growing to hate. If Duo wasnt finding something for him to do, Trowa would come up with something he need done. And always immediately, never in a few minutes or whenever you get to it. Now.
He was on just such an errand at that moment. Trowa had decided that he wanted a specific bottle of wine from the wine cellar and had sent Quatre to fetch it. He was entertaining several guests, including the strange foreign boy, Wufei.
Entering the wine cellar, Quatre stared around in amazement. Hed never seen so many bottles in one place. With a sigh he walked down the aisles. Its a good thing, Angil taught me to read this language.
He finally found the row with the right kind of wine and began searching for the specific bottle. Trowa had been very exact in which one he wanted, so Quatre knew that returning with a slightly different one would not be acceptable. And with the guests that where there, a mistake would guarantee a beating. Trowa seemed to want to show the others he was in complete control. Which, actually, he was.
He was just reaching for the bottle when he heard voices. Apparently someone else in the large house had decided on wine.
Did you hear the latest story from the Southlands?
Some nomad leader named Kadir went up against Lord Jordin. The guy apparently didnt like the terms of the treaty and tried to rebel. His Lordship took care of the problem, though. Killed every one of them. After he made good examples of them. Bet none of the other nomadic groups will try anything now.
Only good thing for them. There was a pause and the sound of clanking bottles. Heres what he wanted. Lets go.
Quatre stood staring at nothing. It couldnt be possible. His father, dead. Along with all the others, Angil included. He knew that Angil would follow his father to the end. His last hope of escape was gone forever.
No. No. No. No. NO!
It took all of Quatres willpower to keep from screaming. The nightmare was now complete. It was now obvious to him that even the Great One had turned his back on him.
Very slowly and carefully, he took the bottle from the shelf. He would not allow these horrible people to see his grief. That would only dishonor his fathers memory. Moving like the old man he now felt himself to be, he walked out of the room and back towards Trowas quarters.
When he returned with the bottle, he found that the murder of his people was the talk amongst the men gathered on Trowas terrace.
They said that fool actually thought he was doing the right thing. That his god would protect him, one man was saying. There was laughter in his voice as he spoke. Jordin showed him the error of his ways right quick. Made sure he died real slow and with a whole lot of pain.
Jordin likes doing things the right way, another man said.
Quatre carefully placed the bottle on the table. Is there anything else, Master?
Trowa looked at him. No. You may take the dishes back to the kitchen and then go to your room. If you are needed you will be called.
Yes, Master. Quatre began to gather up the dishes and silverware.
Hey, isnt this choice morsel one of those Southerners? The man that was looking at him had a lecherous look on his face.
He is, Trowa replied calmly.
You know that fool, Kadir, boy?
Quatre continued to gather the dishes. Duo had been very specific about things like this. He was not to speak to anyone except Trowa, unless Trowa gave him permission otherwise.
I asked you a question, boy.
You may answer him, Trowa said calmly.
Quatre looked at the man. How dare he speak about my father? He wasnt fit to clean Fathers boots. Hes nothing but a fat ridiculous slob. I have heard of him, Lord.
Didnt know him?
There is much land in the desert, Lord. Some tribes never see each other.
The man laughed. Too bad. Bet youre glad you live here now.
Quatre carefully lifted the tray of dishes. It is the most amazing city I have ever seen, Lord.
You got that right. He looked at Trowa. Smart kid. Training him up right smart there.
Trowa inclined his head slightly. I told you all he needed was proper guidance.
Quatre walked slowly out of the area, tuning out the sound of the voices as they continued their talking. As he headed toward the kitchen his eyes kept wandering to the knife lying next to his right hand.
This was the answer. The way to finally get out of the nightmare. He would join his father and his people, riding across the sky with the Great One.
As he passed through his room on his way to the kitchen, he carefully dropped the knife. Hopefully, Duo would be kept busy tending to Heero until after he returned so that he could hide the knife. If everything went as usual he would have more than enough time before Duo came to bed.
Ten minutes later Quatre sat on the edge of his bed. The knife had been exactly where he dropped it, surely a sign that he was doing the right thing. He had learned the lesson the Great One wanted him to and now it was time to leave.
He had found a set of clothing in the bottom of the chest that would serve his purpose. He would not enter the next world naked, nor did he want to be found in such a state. It was not right.
Picking up the knife, he looked at it for a moment. Wait for me Father. I shall be with you soon. Great One, protect and guide me through the Desert of Time to the land beyond. Allow me to ride with my people until the end of time.
He closed his eyes and plunged the knife into his chest. There was a deep, blinding pain and then nothing.
With a sigh, his body slumped to the floor.
Trowa frowned as he rang
the bell again. It had been more than five minutes since he had
first called for Quatre and there was still no response. He
thought the boy had been getting better at understanding where
his duties lay.
Whats wrong? Heero asked as he walked into the room, followed by Duo. I know youre not upset the others left so soon.
No. Ive been ringing for Quatre for more than five minutes. He glanced over at Duo. Could you go and see whats keeping him? It had better be damn good.
Duo nodded and went out through the side door.
Heero watched as Trowa limped over to the sofa. I thought he was doing well about things.
I dont think he likes Lord Gendar.
No one with half a mind likes Lord Gendar.
Then why do you let him come here?
He is amusing, in his own loud way. Besides he makes just about anyone look smart next to him. And Wufei likes to laugh behind his back at him.
Always the thoughtful host. There was a hint of sarcasm in Heeros voice.
Just then the side door slammed open and Duo burst in, carrying Quatre in his arms. The young blond was limp and still. His delicate face was devoid of color and Duos hands were stained red with blood. You need to get a doctor. Now! he exclaimed.
Heero was on his feet in a flash. Whats wrong? he demanded already heading for the outside door.
It looks like he tried to kill himself.
Trowa looked stunned. Take him into the bedroom.
Duo nodded as he moved across the room. Trowa got to his feet and followed him. Just put him on the bed.
Duo yanked the bed covers off the bed and carefully laid Quatre on it. I found a steak knife on the floor next to him, with blood on it. He must have gotten it when he took the dinner dishes back to the kitchen.
Trowa nodded slightly as he stared at the sight in front of him. Quatres chest and side were covered with dark red blood. His skin was starkly white in contrast and there didnt seem to be any movement at all coming from the boy. Is he...alive?
Barely. Duo had ripped off a piece of his shirt and was pressing the folded up cloth firmly against the wound in Quatres chest. Its hard to tell how deep the knife went.
Trowa was shaken to the core. He couldnt believe that this gentle young man would try and take his own life. Hed begun to enjoy having the softly-spoken boy around. Hed even started to wonder if maybe they could become friends. I dont understand.
Duo looked up. Hes been miserable since he got here. Hes just gotten good at hiding it. Id say that he knew that nomad a lot more than he was letting on.
Miserable? Why? He has a good place to live, plenty to eat, and I dare say Im not that harsh a master, am I?
No. But the deserts breeds those who are more wild than most. Youve collared a wild animal and hes still fighting those bonds.
Trowa blinked. Duo was the second person to compare the owning of a slave to owning a wild animal.
Before he could say anything more, Heero returned with the doctor in tow.
The doctor took one look at the still form on the bed and immediately shooed both Heero and Trowa out of the room. Let me tend to my patient. This one can stay and help. As long as he stays out of the way.
Trowa started to protest, but Heero drew him from the room There isnt anything we can do right now, expect be in the way. Let the man do his work.
Trowa let Heero guide him over to the sofa, where he sat down with a deep sigh. I cant believe....
Heero sat down next to him. He was equally stunned by what had happened. Duo, even at his worst, had never tried anything like this. You cant always predict what some people will do.
Im not being too hard on him, am I? Im not asking him to do more than hes capable of, right? What did I do wrong?
Heero sighed. It wasnt anything you did.
I dont know. Youll have to ask him when he wakes up.
If he wakes up. Trowa shuddered. To loose such a golden ray of light would make the world that much duller and dimmer.
The doctor is doing everything he can.
It still might not be enough. Trowa came to his feet and began to pace across the floor, his limp growing worse with each step. It would be my fault.
No, it wouldnt.
If I hadnt bought him....
He would have been in a much worse situation right now and you know it. Someone was going to buy him. There is nothing you or anyone could do to change that. At least here he has a chance at a half decent life.
But what kind of a life is this. Being the property of someone else. Having to do what youre told, when you are told.
Its the only one for him. You know that as well as I do.
Trowa shook his head as he continued to pace. It had seemed so simple, before. Hed wanted someone to perform certain tasks specifically for him. A personal manservant, in a capacity similar to the one Duo performed for Heero. Thought not entirely the same. There were certain aspects of that relationship he didnt want. Since all menial jobs were done by the slave force in the city, the easiest thing to do would be to go out and buy one himself.
Now things were far from simple.
It was nearly an hour before the doctor finally came out of the bedroom to confront the two waiting men.
Well? Heero demanded. Trowa only looked up from where hed finally settled when his leg had nearly given out on him.
Well have to wait and see. The next twenty four hours will be the most critical. Ive done everything I can, but he lost a lot of blood. Fortunately the knife glanced off one of his ribs and didnt go as deep as it could have. He would have done a better job if hed simply slit his throat.
Trowa blinked. What should we do with him?
If you dont mind, Id rather leave him where he is for now. You can move him tomorrow after Im sure hes stable.
Is there anything we need to be watching for? Heero asked.
I explained everything to the young man I left with him. Hes perfectly capable of keeping an eye on him for the night.
Heero looked calmly at the doctor. I dont think even Duo could stay awake all night. What should we be watching for?
The doctor sighed. Fever, erratic breathing, bleeding and too much movement that could tear out the stitches.
Heero nodded slightly. If there is any problem, well send for you immediately.
The doctor smiled. He knew Heero very well. Im sure you will. He picked up his bag and started out.
Doctor, Trowa said softly, staring at his hands.
Yes, Lord Trowa?
Dont say anything about this to anyone.
As you wish.
Trowa looked up, a far away sadness in his dark green eyes. Thank you.
With a slight nod the doctor turned and left the room
Heero looked at Trowa. You know you could have....
Trowa lifted a hand into the air, halting what he knew Heero was about to say. That is not even a consideration. I dont want you to even mention it.
It is an option.
No, its not. Trowa looked at him. I will figure out what to do when the time comes. Right now, what is important is to see that Quatre heals.
Heero sighed. Hes your slave.
Pain. It was the first thing to register to Quatre. A deep, burning pain in his chest that grew worse every time he drew a breath.
Why does it hurt so much? Is dying so very painful?
Quatre, a voice whispered at the edge of his consciousness
Father, he said in a choked voice. Even that made him hurt.
Wake up Quatre.
Slowly Quatre opened his eyes, hoping to see his father and the others hovering around him. Please let me be with them. Or let it all have been some horrible nightmare.
But the person he found himself staring at wasnt his father. A pair of familiar violet eyes were looking worriedly at him.
No, he moaned, rolling away from the view and gasping at the pain it caused. Tears began to trickle down his face. Why? he choked out. Why couldnt you have just let me die? I want to be with my father.
Duo reached out to touch the sobbing boys shoulder. Quatre...
Quatre jerked away. Dont touch me. Go away and leave me alone. I just want out of this horrible nightmare. I want to go with my father.
Quatre rolled over and sat up, sliding back against the wall. Dont say his name. I hate him. I hate all of you! Go away and leave me alone! Quatre wrapped his arms and began crying in earnest, trying to ignore how much it made his chest hurt. I just wanted to be with my father again. After you hateful people murdered him. Quatre glared up at Duo. You murdered him and then laughed about it. He, everyone I ever knew, were just a big joke to you. You call us uncivilized and then go and hunt down innocent people for no reason. Quatre began gasping as his tears came faster. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.
Duo gathered the now unresisting boy into his arms. The nomad, Kadir. He was your father, wasnt he?
He.....he just wanted to.......to live as our ancestors have always done. He...he never bothered anyone.
Neither Quatre nor Duo noticed Trowa standing in the doorway, listening to the heartbroken cries of the blonde. Slowly he turned and walked back down the hall.
Heero looked up as Trowa walked into the room, moving as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders. Trowa?
Trowa looked at him. Ive come to a decision.
Quatre awoke to a very
strange sight. Duo was practically standing on his head in the
chest at the end of his bed, muttering something under his
They had moved Quatre back to his own room the day before. In some ways he was glad, it meant he didnt have to see the things that were no longer his to enjoy. Plus, he knew Trowa never came in here and he wouldnt have to see the person that was the cause of all of his problems.
What are you doing? he asked, his voice thick with pain and unshed tears. He seemed to cry a lot these days.
Duo glanced up. Looking for something.
I kind of figured that.
Duo smiled as he rose to his feet and walked over to the bed. Laying his hand on Quatres forehead, he looked the other boy over. How are you feeling?
Duo nodded. Thats not surprising. Youre very lucky.
Quatre looked at him for a moment. Am I?
Whether you know it or not, you are.
How can you stand living this way?
Its the only life I know.
Just then the bell above Duos bed rang, once but firmly. Duo sighed. Id best go tell him I cant find it. I really dont know what I did with it.
Quatre blinked. Wont he be mad?
And that doesnt worry you?
Duo smiled. Dont worry. I know how to handle my Heero. He turned and headed out the door. Before leaving he paused and looked back. Rest. You need to get your strength back. And know this, everything happens for a reason. You just havent learned what that reason is yet. With a flip of his long braid, he was gone.
Quatre closed his eyes. Hes wrong. There is no reason for this.
The next time Quatre opened his eyes he was even more surprised that before. Sitting quietly on the other bed was Trowa.
Duo said youd been sleeping for a while. Trowa commented, deliberately keeping his voice pitched low.
Quatre turned his head away. Is there something you need, Master?
Trowa winced at the dull, flat tone in which the words were delivered. I wanted to see how you are doing. And to talk.
I dont believe we have anything to say.
Trowa watched him for a minute. He wouldnt admit it out loud, but he had already come to like and admire the young blonde. He would do what was necessary to try and make the boy as happy as possible. If you want, I can sell you to a friend of mine. Hes a good man and a good master. He doesnt make to many demands or expect much from those who serve him. In fact, youd probably be left to yourself most of the time.
Quatre turned back over to look at Trowa with hurt blue eyes. Why cant you just let me go? he choked out.
Slowly Trowa shook his head. I cant do that.
Why not? I just want to go home.
To what? There is nothing there anymore.
Its my home.
Trowa sighed. As much as he would like to do what the blonde asked, he couldnt. I cant release you. Its the law. If I decided I dont want you I have to sell you to someone else.
Trowa nodded. You are considered a prisoner of war. As such you cannot be released until after a duration of no less that five years. After that, its up to the discretion of the owner.
Quatre could only stare at Trowa in disbelief. Five years? he finally whispered.
Trowa nodded again.
Quatre turned his head back to the wall. What about slaves like Duo?
Since he was born a slave he can be released when he turns twenty one, if his owner decides to do so. Trowa knew that was the only reason why Duo was still considered Heeros slave. Heero had already promised to release Duo from his slavery the day after his twenty first birthday, which was in a little less that two years.
Trowa closed his eyes. If I could release you, I would. I didnt think this would make you so unhappy. Do you want to be sent to my friend? The decision is yours.
Quatre struggled to hold back the tears that once again threatened. It would be no different than it is now. I dont care what you do. Pain lanced through his chest as he drew in a deep breath, trying to calm himself. If I may, I would like to sleep now. My chest hurts.
Trowa rose to his feet. He was no stranger to pain. Do so. It will help you feel better. He stood watching as Quatre slipped into a quiet sleep. Moving across the room, he reached down to brush a stray lock of hair from Quatres eyes. Sleep, little one. I will try and make things as easy as possible for you. And I swear, the day you can be freed you will be.
With a soft sigh, Trowa turned and left the room.
Duo didnt even look up when the door behind him opened. He kept his attention on the task before him, which was using a cool damp cloth to sponge down Quatres fever racked body.
The fever had come up suddenly two days before and it took all of Duos patience and skill to keep it from getting even worse that it was.
Quatre moaned and tossed, yet did not awaken. He had not regained consciousness since slipping into the fever induced sleep.
How is he? Heero asked as he sat down on Duos bed.
No better, no worse.
Has the doctor been by?
Yeah, earlier. He left some medicine that he hopes will help.
Has he found the reason for the fever?
The wound was infected. Probably got something in it from the knife he used. He took out some of the stitches to let the area drain.
Heero watched the restlessly tossing boy. Is that the only reason?
Duo glanced back at Heero. You know something I dont?
Trowa talked to him right before the fever came up. He told him the situation.
Duo nodded. About not being able to release him?
Yes. Apparently, he also offered to sell him to Lenir.
Hes a good man. He would take good care of Quatre. But why?
I guess he thinks its him that is making Quatre miserable.
Duo shook his head. Its the situation, not Trowa.
I know that and you know that and I think, deep in his heart, even Quatre knows that. But Trowa has gotten it into his head that this suicide attempt was all his fault.
Duo snorted. If you want to blame anyone for it blame Gendar. That loud mouth fool is what set him off.
Heero nodded. He had suspected as much.
So now what happens?
We wait and hope he gets better. I gather that Trowa has decided against selling Quatre. As to what else he plans, I dont know.
Duo turned his attention back to Quatre. Maybe hes right after all, he murmured.
Maybe weve been calling the wrong people barbarians.
Trowa was staring out into the garden when Heero walked in. Whats wrong?
Trowa turned to look at him. I was just talking to the doctor.
What does he have to say?
That the infection that caused the fever is clearing up nicely.
But the fever hasnt gone down.
He thinks that the fever is more that just physically induced. He says Quatre isnt really trying to fight the fever off.
A different form of suicide.
What does he suggest be done?
There isnt much we can do but wait. Trowa turned back to stare sadly out across the garden. I dont know what to do.
Heero was quiet for a moment. Maybe a change of scenery would help.
Trowa frowned. How?
Heero shrugged. I think he hates this city as much as anything else. Get away from it and the people that live here. Show him the way you normally live. Maybe he will be able to accept the situation if he realizes that what hes seen isnt the whole picture. Give him a chance to know you better.
You told me to show him who was in charge. Wouldnt that be like giving in to him?
Heero looked at him pointedly. You like him, right?
Trowa was quiet for a minute. Yes, he finally answered.
Then you have to find the right balance. If you can find it, you will have someone who is totally loyal to you.
What did you do with Duo?
Show him that I wouldnt put up with his shit. And then showed him that we could be a very good team if hed let me in. Heero smiled slightly. It was worth it.
So, go beyond the normal master slave relation.
Hes a high strung, sensitive boy. I think hell respond well. But dont go to far the other way, or he will think that all he has to do is turn on the tears and youll give in. You dont want him to forget who is in charge.
Trowa sighed. This is becoming a lot more difficult that I thought it would be.
You didnt have to decide to have a personal slave. Things can get very complicated when things get as personal as they do in that situation.
I know. I hope things work out, though. There is something about him that.....
Heero nodded. Youll figure it out.
I hope so.
Trowa looked up as Quatre
walked slowly into the room. It had been a week since the doctor
had given the small blonde permission to start doing light work.
Trowa frowned. There was an air of depression around the boy that hadnt lifted, even after being allowed out of bed. He had tried to get the boy interested in something, but nothing seemed to work.
You wanted to see me, Master? Quatres voice was flat and dull, as if it was an effort just to form the words.
Trowa had discussed Quatres condition with the doctor and had been assured that it was nothing. That it would just take some time for him to recover from his injury and fever.
I need you to go ask Heero to come here as soon as he has the chance.
Yes, Master. Quatre turned and headed out of the room.
Is there something wrong?
Quatre looked back at Trowa with a strange look in his eyes. No, Master. Why would there be anything wrong, Master?
Trowa winced at the words. Quatre had started ending every sentence he said to Trowa with the word Master. You seem tired today.
Its nothing, Master.
Trowa sighed. He knew he would get no more answer than that. Very well. You may go.
Yes, Master. Quatre opened the door and left the room.
Trowa sighed again. He needed to come up with something to make things better for Quatre. He wasnt exactly sure why he felt this way, but he did.
Quatre walked slowly down the hall. Though his chest still hurt and sometimes he felt short of breath, neither was the reason for his slow pace. He felt as if some great weight was pressing down on him and it was an effort just to move. He often thought about curling up in a corner somewhere and letting the world pass him by, but that option didnt seem to be working. He had even been denied the release of death.
When he reached the door that led into Heeros quarters, he paused for a moment. He could have sworn he had heard a low moan coming from inside the room.
He frowned. What could Heero be doing that would make him moan?
Reaching out he knocked lightly on the door.
Come in. Heeros voice was rough and hoarse, as if hed been breathing heavily. Quatre heard Duo giggle slightly.
Quatre opened the door and walked in on a sight that stunned him. Heero and Duo were sprawled on the floor, completely naked. That in itself was a shock to the small blonde, but what they were obviously doing was even more shocking.
Duo was lying on his back under Heero, his legs wrapped tightly around Heeros waist. He had his head thrown back and his hair was loose and flowing around him. There was a sheen of sweat that covered his body and made him seem to glow softly.
Heero was equally as sweaty as he arched over the long-haired boy beneath him. His hair was more mussed that usual as it hung down into eyes, half lidded with emotion. There were long red marks down his back where Duos nails had scratched him. Quatre couldnt tell for certain, but it seemed apparent that he had his cock buried to the hilt inside Duos body.
Duo moaned slightly and rubbed his very obvious erection against Heeros belly, trying to get him moving again.
Heero shifted slightly, causing Duo to arch up and moan again. Did you want something?
Quatre could only stare in surprise. I didnt know Duos hair was so long, was the only thought that ran through his mind.
He blinked. Yes, sire. Master Trowa wants you to come to his room as soon as youre available. Some how he managed to get the whole sentence out in a normal tone of voice. He was trying desperately to sound as if he saw this kind of thing all the time.
Not come in his room, Duo muttered under his breath, moving his hips to try and get some friction. Hed been so damned close before theyd been interrupted.
Heero thrust more deeply into Duo. Hush, he admonished. He looked back at the stunned blonde. Tell Trowa Ill be there shortly.
Yes, sire. Turning Quatre practically bolted from the room
Duo laughed brightly, a laugh that turned into a moan as Heero began to move again. Sure surprised him, he gasped. Oh, yes, Heero. A little harder.
Heero smiled slightly, but obeyed his partners wishes. A bit innocent, isnt he?
Oh, yeah. Duo gasped, arching his back.
Heero smirked slightly, enjoying how responsive Duo was. Closing his eyes, he let feelings he rarely let free wash over him.
Duo wrapped himself tighter around Heero as he felt him begin to move harder and faster inside him. An act that had once been pure torture for him was now something he enjoyed doing, but only with the silent boy above him. Hed never though he could feel this way about anyone.
Oh, Heero, he moaned as the pressure built inside him. Tossing his head restlessly from side to side, he urged Heero on, his incoherent moans filling the room.
Heero nuzzled his face into Duos neck, loving the sounds of passion he was making. Duos response to him never failed to amaze him. It was so wild and free, like the boy himself.
Duo let out a long moan that turned into a scream as a wave of pure pleasure poured through him. Arching his back one last time, he screamed again as his body exploded.
Heero gasped and threw back his head as he felt Duos climax. The grip of Duos body on him grew tighter as wave after wave rocked the boy. Closing his eyes and gritting his teeth, Heero allowed his own climax to take him.
Hard tremors continued to shake Duos body as he felt Heero surge into him one last time. He moaned weakly as he felt Heero fill his body with his essence.
With a soft gasp, Heero collapsed on top of him. It was a weight he bore gladly. Heeros body was trembling with the force of his release as he buried his face in Duos neck. Duo wrapped himself even more tightly around the body weighing down on him, relishing the feel of Heero around him and inside him.
For several minutes they simply lay there, enjoying the feeling of closeness. Finally Heero began to stir, withdrawing carefully from Duos body.
Duo moaned in disappointment as he felt Heero leave him. Dont go, he whispered.
Heero placed a gentle kiss on Duos forehead. It was a common plea for the long-haired boy to utter and Heero understood the full meaning behind those two softly whispered words. He felt the same way.
Trowa wants to talk to me.
Duo frowned as he looked up at Heero. He can wait.
Heero laughed softly, a sound that filled Duo with wonder every time he heard it. He still couldnt believe that two people with such scarred souls could find contentment and pleasure in each other. I wont be long.
Duo rubbed himself against Heeros groin, enjoying the feeling of Heeros body stirring back to life. Just long enough.
Heero smirked as he rose gracefully to his feet. Looking down at the fey beauty, he shook his head. You are a little minx, he commented, extending his hand to help Duo to his feet.
Duo rose reluctantly. Wrapping his arms around Heeros waist he smiled up and him. But Im youre little minx.
Heero placed a kiss on the tip of Duos nose. Forever, he whispered.
Duo sighed and rested his head against Heeros chest. There was no doubt in his mind that he would remain with Heero until death parted them. And even that wouldnt keep them separated for long.
Heero pulled slowly away. Turning he walked over to the sofa where he had discarded his clothes earlier. I wonder what Trowa could want.
Duo admired the view for a minute. Who knows whats going on inside that boys mind.
Heero sighed as he pulled on his pants. I think this problem with Quatre is weight heavily on him.
Duo pouted in disappointment as the view hed been enjoying was hidden once more. I think the boy just needs to get a clue. Its not such a bad life.
Heero turned and walked back over to Duo. With the right person.
Duo looked up at Heero and smiled. Of course.
Heero brushed his hand through Duos hair. Youd best braid your hair. Then join me in Trowas room.
Duo bowed slightly. Yes, master, he answered, a hint of teasing in his voice.
And dont you forget it. Heero pulled Duo fiercely to him, pressing his lips firmly against the other boys mouth.
Duo groaned and pressed himself against Heero. He could feel the blood surging hotly through him again.
Heero pulled away and headed for the door. Dont be long, he threw back over his shoulder as he walked out of the room.
Duo stood still, a stunned look on his face. Bastard, he finally whispered, moving to get his own clothes. He frowned. First hed need to clean up though.
Trowa walked slowly down the hall. The doctor had finally decided that something more serious was need to help Quatre and had made a suggestion that he felt might do the boy some good. Trowa was seriously considering it, but he needed to talk to Felix before he could make a final decision.
I told you not to put those plants there. They are supposed to be in the other dining room. If you cant pay attention to your work, Ill replace you with someone who will. Im sure there are plenty of people who would love to work in the main house.
Trowa walked around the corner to find a rather small man glaring angrily at another man, one with a rather large plant in his arms.
The small man turned around. He was about fifty years old, with dark brown hair streaked liberally with gray. There were fine wrinkles around his eyes where he squinted when he was angry. He ruled the house with an iron fist, and was often angry at someone.
Yes, Lord Trowa?
If you have the time I need to talk to you for a few minutes.
Felix nodded. Of course, Lord. He turned to the other man. Take that plant and all the others and put them where they belong. Immediately.
Yessss, sir. The man cowered under the steely glare.
Trowa smiled. Felix was one of the few people that could actually glare down Heero.
Felix watched the slave leave. Why dont you come back to my office? It will be more private.
Trowa nodded. Sounds fine. This shouldnt take long.
Felix smiled at Trowa. I keep telling you, take all the time you want. My job is to serve you.
I know. But Ive known you for what seems like forever. It doesnt feel right to be ordering you around.
Felix shook his head as he walked down the hall. It has been forever, for you. I remember the look on your fathers face when you were born. He was very proud of you.
Of course. He had his son and heir.
Felix looked back at Trowa. Believe it or not, he was proud of you. He was always bragging about you to his compatriots. He just had a hard time telling you that.
Trowa looked down for a moment. I wish he had said it to me, just once. I never felt as if I lived up to his expectations.
Felix opened the door to his office and indicated that Trowa should enter first. He would have been heartbroken to see what that accident did to you. And I dont mean physically, either.
Trowa blinked in surprise as he entered the room and sat down in one of the few uncluttered chairs. I dont know what you mean.
Think about it. Im sure you will figure it out. Felix walked around the desk and sat down in his chair. Now, what can I do for you?
The doctor suggested I take a trip and get away from the city for awhile. I was wondering if you would be able to handle things in my absence or would it cause too much trouble.
Felix looked at Trowa for a minute. How soon can you be packed?
Trowa blinked at him in surprise. Hed expected a lecture on responsibility.
Felix leaned back in his chair. I am here so that you can do just that. Take as long as you want and enjoy yourself. He looked Trowa over carefully. Its not you that the doctor thinks should get away from the city. Its that pretty little slave of yours.
Trowa sighed. I never could get anything past you. Yes, its Quatre. The doctor thinks the environment is hurting his health. And hopefully the change of scenery will help his mental state as well.
Being stabbed doesnt help.
Trowa wasnt surprised that Felix had heard. The story that had gotten around was that Quatre had been hurt protecting Trowa from an attacker. Trowa hadnt disputed the story. True.
Felix nodded. How long were you planning on being gone?
I really hadnt decided. I was figuring on just leaving that open.
Very well. I can keep things going around here just fine.
Trowa nodded. Thank you.
No need to thank me. Its my job.
I still thank you. For everything. I havent told you often enough how much I appreciate your support and help. I dont think I would have made it though my fathers death without you.
You are a lot stronger than you think. Im just glad we didnt lose you both. There a slight seen in the older mans eyes that Trowa chose to ignore.
Trowa rose to his feet. Could you start making arrangements for the things well need.
Felix nodded. Of course. How soon do you want to leave?
An image of the listless blonde rose in Trowas mind. As soon as possible.
I can have everything ready in four days.
That would be fine. He smiled slightly. It will give Duo enough time to get a decent wardrobe together. He was always amazed at how..... particular Duo was about his clothes. He was worse about his hair, though.
Is Heero going to accompany you?
Felix nodded, not at all surprised. The two did a great many things together, two wounded souls helping each other make it through. He was glad that Heero had found a soulmate in Duo and hoped that Trowa would one day find the same thing. The way he was acting about this little blonde slave of his made Felix hope that maybe he already had.
Any one else?
Trowa shrugged. Not that I know of, but Ill let you know. I dont want to drag a whole lot of people along. I want to leave all of that here.
Felix nodded. Might I suggest that young man, Wufei. He would be an excellent traveling companion. In my opinion, only.
I value that opinion. Ill ask him if hes interested and let you know.
Felix bowed his head slightly. Of course.
Trowa looked at the older man for a moment. Thank you, he said again.
A ghost of a smile crossed Trowas face before he turned to leave.
Felix watched the boy go. I hope you find what you are looking for. I think the road ahead will be full of twists and someone to be with you will make it smoother.
The sight that met
Quatres eyes when he walked into the small bedroom was one
that was becoming very familiar. Duo had his head stuck down in
the chest at the end of his bed, his butt stuck up in the air.
Normally, this would no longer give Quatre pause, but this time there was something different about Duos pose. This time he was bare butt naked.
Quatre blinked. He blinked again. Hed been trying really hard to forget the scene hed walked in on two days before. It was hard for him to understand why Duo would willingly (and it had been pretty obvious hed been very willing) submit himself to such an awful act. It went against everything hed been taught.
But you have to admit, it did look rather like they were enjoying themselves, a tiny voice whispered in the back of his mind. Wouldnt you like to find out what all the fuss is about?
Quatre shook his head, firmly silencing the voice. He was not that kind of a person.
Suddenly Duo looked up. About time you got back. If you dont move it, youre going to be late.
Quatre was puzzled. For what?
Ah ha! I knew you were hiding down there somewhere. Duo pulled out a rather ornate looking chain and rose to his feet. Tossing the chain on the bed with the clothing that was spread across it, he looked at Quatre. In the bottom of your chest you should find a box. You need to put on the clothes that are in it. Duo glanced at the clothing on his bed and made a face. I hate formals.
Quatre walked over to his chest and opened it. He easily found the box Duo had mentioned and pulled it out. Inside was the nicest set of clothes hed seen since arriving here. Carefully he pulled them out. Formals?
You didnt hear?
Were to attend Heero and Trowa at a party tonight. Crown Prince Michal is throwing it and that means formals.
Quatre frowned as he studied the clothes he would have to wear. Why did these people insist on wearing such tight things with so much junk on them.? If this was what the slaves would be wearing, what in the world would the rich ones be wearing?
Youd best get moving. Trowa will want you to help him with his clothes.
Quatre nodded and began dressing. Why are they going to this party? Hed not known either one to attend any party.
Duo huffed as he finished getting his shirt on. You really are out of the loop, arent you? Michal heard that Trowa was going away for awhile and decided it was a good excuse to throw a party.
Duo paused and stared at Quatre. Have you paid any attention to what Trowas told you?
Quatre ducked his head. Not really. Everyone seemed to be talking down a long tunnel to him, any more. Especially Trowa.
Trowa decided he wanted to get away from the city and take a vacation. From what I know its the first time hes done so in years. Him and his father used to go away a couple of months every year. Duo picked up the chain and wrapped it around his waist. I have a feeling his father was trying to get away from the memories of Trowas mother. She got sick a few months after he was born and died right after his first birthday.
Quatre frowned, but didnt look at Duo. He didnt want to hear about Trowas family. It made him more human and Quatre didnt want to start liking the man.
Duo continued talking, not noticing Quatres lack of response. The last time the went on a trip was literally the last time. There was an accident and Trowas father was killed. It was in that accident that Trowa was so badly hurt. Hes never gone again.
But why would the Crown Prince want to throw him a party?
Duo laughed. You didnt know? Theyre first cousins. Trowas mother and Michals father are siblings. Trowas second in line to the throne.
Quatre was stunned. Hed never realized just how important a person Trowa was. Then why cant he circumvent the law and let me go.
Duo turned around and surveyed Quatre critically. The chain goes around your waist and that one goes around your neck. They mean you are a slave.
Quatre picked up the two chains. After staring at them for a minute, he slowly put them on.
Duo rummaged around inside another box and pulled out two ornately carved bracelets. They were wide and made of silver, with several odd patterns carved on their surface. Attached to each one was a small half ring, also apparently made of silver. Put out your hands and Ill put these on.
Quatre put his hands out in front of him, watching silently as Duo snapped the bracelets around his wrists.
They indicate who owns you. Duo pulled out a second set. Though similar to Quatres, the symbols carved into them were different. Please put these on me.
As Quatre put them on Duo, he realized that the rings in the bracelets were so that chains could be attached.
Duo nodded as he took a step back. Good. Youd best go help Trowa now. There is such a thing as being fashionably late and then theres just plain late. We dont want to be the second, especially since Trowas going to be the guest of honor.
Are you going on this trip? No matter what Duo did when he was with Heero, Quatre had to admit to himself that he liked the boisterous young man.
Duo smiled. Sure am. Trowa dont go to many places without Heero.
Quatre couldnt stop himself from arching an eyebrow at that comment.
Duo laughed. Not for that. Trowa and Heero have been best friends a long time. They help each other through the bad times. Id say they are brothers in everything but blood. Duo sighed. And there have been a lot of bad times. At times I would say that Heero had a worse childhood than I did. A sad look crossed his face, then was gone, replaced by his usual expression. Ill see you later. Turning, he practically dashed out the door leading to Heeros quarters.
Slowly, Quatre headed towards Trowas rooms. He had a feeling this was not going to be a pleasant night.
Onto Parts Eleven-Fifteen