Disclaimers:  I do not own Gundam Wing or any of its characters.

Notes:  Wufei arrives to pick Quatre up and finds out something disturbing.

Acquiescent Concubine

Part One

Wufei looked around as he rode in the carriage that was bringing him to the Winner residence.  It had been a month, and Sultan
Rasid deemed it time to go and retrieve young Quatre.  Wufei had to smile at that thought.  Quatre would become a jewel in
Rasid’s harem . . . his selflessness already doubled his worth.  Many of the concubines were impatient already, wanting to meet
this youth who would sell himself if only to spare his sisters from the same fate.

He adjusted his hold on the parcel that he carried.  On his lap was a box of trinkets for the sisters of Quatre Winner.  He knew
that it was scarce compensation for the loss of their father, and now the enslavement of their only brother, but Rasid had
insisted on the gesture.

Wufei straightened his garments as he stepped from the carriage.  He knocked sharply on the door, waiting patiently.  When one
of the young women opened it, he instantly knew that something was wrong.

“What has happened?”  Wufei asked, narrowing his eyes.

The young lady, Wufei recognized her as Iria, looked mournfully at him.  “I am sorry . . . but my brother has fallen ill and will
be of no use to the Sultan.  His health is so poor . . . I fear he only has a few short days left to live in this world.  We might have
been able to save him had our resources not been depleted already.”

Wufei took a deep breath.  He had no choice but to do this.  “If he still lives, there may yet be a chance to save him.  Regardless
. . . I have come to collect him.”

Another young woman came forth.  “But he’s SICK!  You can’t take him NOW!”

Wufei shook his head.  “My lord’s house may very well be the only hope your brother has.”

The young woman, that he did not know by name, snorted in barely veiled disgust.  “Some hope!  If he lives, he’ll just be some
rich man’s whore!”

Wufei turned to the woman and glared at her attitude.  Iria seemed genuinely mournful.  However, this woman . . . she seemed
almost glad that Quatre was dying.  “And death would be better?”  He almost forgot his rule about not hitting women when the
young blonde nodded.  “Too bad, then.  I am here to collect Quatre . . . or your lands.”

Iria stepped back away from the door, opening it as she moved.  “Come in then.  Quatre is in his room, resting.  Please . . . be
careful in transporting him.”

Wufei smiled at Iria and stepped into the house, ignoring that other girl when she closed the door behind him.  “I will be.  I
promise you that he will be well-taken care of and treated gently.  His Lordship is not a harsh man, and might very well set
young Quatre free in time, as he has done with many concubines before.  Take heart.”  He handed the box of baubles over to
Iria, bowing to her as he did so.  “A gift from Sultan Rasid . . . perhaps it will assist you in your burdens for a short while.”

Iria wiped her teary eyes with a gentle hand, taking the box.  “Give him our thanks.”

Wufei nodded.  “It will be done.”  He then turned and strode up the stairs, heading to Quatre’s bedroom where he had been told
the blonde was currently resting.

He knocked lightly on the wooden door before entering.  He heard no acknowledgment of his gentle rapping, and when he
stepped inside, his breath was stolen from him.  Iria had not been jesting when she had said that Quatre was ill.  He hastily made
his way to the youth’s bedside, taking a seat there as he looked down upon the young man.

Quatre was as pale as death, his eyes sunken and surrounded by harsh dark circles.  His breath came to him uneasily and raspy,
as if each attempt to breathe in and out was a dreadful labor to make.  Shivers coursed through his body, weak whimpers
leaving his throat every few moments.  It was a shame to see the young man in such an ill state.  The sight was heartbreaking.

“Quatre?”  Wufei spoke, laying his hand along the side of Quatre’s sweaty face, frowning deeply at the heat that radiated from
his slender form.

Slowly, Quatre’s glassy eyes drifted open and looked at him.  “W-Wufei . . . you have come to t-take me to the Sultan?”  He
asked uneasily, licking his dry, chapped lips and swallowing with difficulty.  “I am sorry . . . I would bow . . . b-but I cannot m-
manage it.”

Wufei shook his head.  “I would not expect you to bow in your condition.  How long have you been ill?”

Quatre took a deep breath with some apparent effort.  “Since after . . . your last . . .v-visit.”  He closed his eyes.  “Started . . .
as n-nothing, but . . .”

Wufei placed two fingers to Quatre’s lips to still them.  The blonde shouldn’t be talking now, as it was most definitely tiring to
him.  “Hush now, save your strength.  We have the best healers at the palace and you will be well soon.”

Quatre closed his eyes and smiled softly.  “Then . . . my sisters . . . are safe?”

Wufei nodded, amazed that he could still think of the welfare of his many sisters when he was as ill as he was.  “Yes.  As long
as you live, they will be safe.”  He brushed Quatre’s forehead and frowned again at the fever that burned within the blonde.

Quatre’s face relaxed.  “Good.  I w-will . . . hang on . . . f-for them.”  He blinked tiredly.  “I am ready to go.  What must I do?”

Wufei sighed.  He pulled the blankets back away from Quatre’s form.  “All you need do is allow me to carry you to the awaiting
carriage.  Do you wear any charms, or jewelry?”

Quatre weakly raised his hand.  “Just this.”  He said, indicating a silver signet ring that held an aquamarine gem in its center.  “It
was . . . my father’s . . . all that I have left of him.”

“Then I am sorry that I must do this.”  Wufei said, gently taking hold of Quatre’s hand and pulling the ring from his finger.  
“You are not permitted personal belongings, as you are little more than a slave now.”  He set the ring on the bedside table.  

He looked around for something to wrap Quatre in, knowing that the weather was beginning to turn chill.  In the end, he decided
on a blanket, and carefully wrapped Quatre in it.  When he was satisfied that Quatre was sufficiently covered, Wufei pulled the
slender youth into his arms.

“Come, the Sultan awaits our return.”  Wufei said, adjusting the weight of the youth in his arms as he turned and strolled out of
the bedroom.

The moment that he stepped from the bedroom, Wufei was met with the angry glares of numerous, crying women.  Quatre’s
sisters, no doubt.  He trained his eyes ahead of him, not making eye contact with any of them, knowing that it would be better
just to leave as quickly as he could.

However, he was stopped when one of those young women stepped in front of him and blocked his path.  Instead of speaking,
she pulled back her hand, delivering a good strong slap to Wufei’s face.  In just an instant she was gone again, as if that was all
that she had needed to do to condone his actions.

Wufei took a breath, wincing at the sting in his cheek.  He continued on his way, bowing to Iria as she held the door open for
him.  “I am sorry for Talia . . . she is usually the gentlest of my sisters.”  Quatre whispered, as Wufei climbed up into the
carriage with the youth.

“No need to apologize.  I do not fault them their hatred of me right now.  You are their only brother, and I am the one taking you
from them.”  Wufei said, arranging Quatre so that he lay on a seat.  He then sat across from Quatre.  “You rest now.  We have a
long way to travel.”

Quatre nodded.  Not saying anything, he silently drifted off to sleep.  Wufei took a breath, letting his eyes trail over the youth’s
form.  He was terribly ill and needed the best care possible.  With that thought in mind, Wufei stuck his head out of the carriage
window and barked instructions for the driver to continue on through the night.  There was no time for stopping.  Returning to
the interior of the carriage, Wufei cast a simple warming spell, sealing the interior of the carriage from the chill air outside, intent
on keeping this carriage comfortable for the ill youth.  There was no need for him to catch a further chill.

To Be Continued . . .