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

Notes:  Duo wakes up and is introduced to some other concubines.

Acquiescent Concubine

Part Eight

Duo frowned as he came to wakefulness.  He was in a warm and soft bed.  That was NOT good in his estimation.  His eyes
snapped open and he looked around frantically.  He didn’t know the room, didn’t recognize anything.  When he remembered
where he was and why he was there, the panic only grew with an added bit of despair.  ‘Oh GOD!  What did I do?  What have
I let myself become?’  He forced his sobs back.  Crying showed weakness, and he’d shown enough of that the previous night.

‘I hafta get out of here!’  Looking around again, he spotted a pile of deep violet cloth lying on a table next to the bed.  He
sneered as he lifted a piece.  ‘This would make a whore blush.  Then . . . who am I to think like that?  I’m no better than a
whore myself . . . never mind the price.’  Still, the scanty clothing was better than nothing.

Once dressed, he ran to the door, only to growl in frustration when he discovered it was locked from the outside.  He quickly
braided his hair as he turned to the only other escape venue . . . a window that was letting in a warm breeze.  He took in a deep
breath and looked out.  He was pretty high up, but the wall looked climbable.  He was just about to climb out, when a deep voice
spoke from behind him.

“Trying to run away?”

Duo shuddered.  He recognized that voice.  He bowed his head, sighing; before he turned to face the owner of the voice.  It was
Rasid, the Sultan.  The large man was standing in the - now open - doorway, his fine clothing suiting his royal stature.

“Look, I filled my part of the bargain.  You got what you wanted.  You don’t need me anymore.”  Duo spat, turning to look at
the window once more.  He was about to climb out when a large hand settled on his shoulder.

“The agreement, young Duo, was that you would STAY here.  After all, I did promise that not only would the current little ones
be placed in good homes, but that future ones would be as well.”  With that, Duo was gently spun around so that he was facing
Rasid.  It surprised him that there was no anger in the Sultan’s tone or expression.  “As for what transpired last night . . . if you
do not wish it, you will never have to come to my bed again.  There are many concubines that I have had here that have only
graced my bedchamber once as a result of an arrangement.”

Duo frowned deeply at Rasid.  He didn’t want to be here at all, and once free he wouldn’t be alive long enough to care about
new children.  He had once vowed that he’d die if he had to sink to the measures he had just endured.  Oh, he would never do
something like jump or hang himself, but he could neglect to care for himself.  He had nearly starved a couple of times growing
up, and it wasn’t as unpleasant as many people made it seem.

“Come along now.”  Rasid said, then took hold of Duo’s hand and led him out of the room.

“Where are you taking me?”  Duo asked, grabbing the veil that hung at the side of his head and bringing it across his face,
hooking it to the catch on the barely visible headpiece that he wore.  He knew the rules, and even if he didn’t want to be here, he
also didn’t want to be whipped as a punishment for being seen by someone other than the Sultan.

“I am going to show you around, Duo.”  Rasid smiled.  “The other concubines will be fond of you once they meet you, I am

Duo frowned but said nothing.  He didn’t want to meet anyone.  However, he allowed Rasid to lead him along, knowing that he
didn’t have the strength to oppose the larger man even if he wanted to.  In only a few seconds, Duo found himself being shown
around the common area, taking note of the various areas as Rasid pointed them out.

As they came to the doors that led to the gardens, Duo’s attention was caught by the approaching figure of a young woman as
she ran to Rasid.  She wore dark veils, a deep maroon edged by a subtle rose shade.  Her auburn hair hung to her shoulders, her
eyes glittering like jewels.

“My lord!  Has there been any news?”  The young lady asked, her eyes wide and hopeful.

Rasid sighed and shook his head sadly, releasing his grip on Duo’s hand as he did so.  “I am sorry, Catherine.  I haven’t found
your brother yet.  The world is a big place.  I will not give up the search though.  I promise you that.”

Duo watched, noticing when Rasid’s attention was caught by something within the gardens.  Duo didn’t know what, so he
stayed behind while Rasid walked ahead.  Then Duo turned to Catherine, who looked to be on the verge of tears.

“Your brother?”  Duo asked.

Catherine nodded.  “About ten or so years ago, slave traders ambushed my family’s gypsy camp.  We were all scattered.  One
trader caught me and another grabbed my baby brother.  When I was first brought to Lord Rasid no more than two years ago, I
begged him to keep me as a concubine and seek out my brother.  I would have taken the freedom offered to me . . . my master
wished me released from bondage, he was a kind man . . . and I will probably get my freedom once Triton is found, but I
thought it best if I was someplace easily located and safe.”  She choked on a sob.  “But it’s been such a long time!  He could be
anywhere!  He could even be dead!”

Duo reached out and placed a hand on Catherine’s arm.  He didn’t like watching anybody cry.  “Hey, don’t think that way.  If
you give up your hopes, then there’s nothing left to live for.”  Duo knew what he was talking about.  He had sacrificed himself
for the sake of those in his care, so he no longer had any purpose.  He saw no reason why he should continue to live.  He gave
the girl what he hoped was an encouraging smile.

Catherine returned the smile, although the expression was a weak one.  “I thank you for your kindness, for listening to my
troubles.”  She said.  “What is your name?”

“I’m Duo.”  

“And I am Catherine.”  She smiled warmly.  “I thank you again.”  She turned and walked away.

Duo watched her for a moment, and then entered the gardens, wondering if he would be able to find a way to escape in there


Rasid entered the gardens.  He didn’t like leaving Catherine behind when she was in such a state, but he was also certain that
Duo would not allow her to suffer alone.  The boy had a good heart, much too good to let someone cry without comfort.  
Perhaps if Duo had an attachment here, he would not be so set on escaping.

He smiled as he saw one of his favorites, Une, sitting on the ground.  On her lap, Heero rested, deeply asleep and looking quite
peaceful.  Une hummed a loving tune as she delicately stroked her fingers through Heero’s hair.  It was such a pleasing scene
that Rasid thought twice about interrupting the moment.

“I see you have met one of my newest acquisitions.”  Rasid said, gesturing down at Heero.

Une’s eyes turned toward Rasid, a bright smile filling Rasid’s heart with warmth.  “No, I have met my brother, Sire.”  She
practically beamed.  She looked down at Heero again.  “My youngest brother, sold into slavery the same day I was.  He was
four.  I never thought I would find him again.”

It was then that Rasid noticed the tears in her eyes, the gentle droplets that all but streamed down her smooth cheeks.  Rasid
knelt beside her, brushing his thumb across one cheek, wiping away some of those tears.  “Why then do you cry?”  He asked.

“I am so happy.”  She smiled, raising one hand to her mouth.  She dropped that hand a moment later, grazing her fingers over
the bandages that covered Heero’s hands.  “W-What happened to him?”

Rasid took a deep breath, letting it out slowly.  “Ah, that is not a pleasant topic to discuss on this happy day.”

“Please, my lord.”  Une pleaded with her voice as well as her eyes.  “I want to know what happened to my baby brother, who
has hurt him in such a manner . . . why he was so frightened of me when he first laid eyes on me.”  She took a shuddered
breath, waiting for Rasid’s reply.

Rasid did not have the heart to disappoint her.  “His last master . . . his only master . . . was the one who did this.  From what I
know, the man was an inventor.  And when he failed in an experiment or for whatever reason he felt necessary, he would beat
young Heero with his cane, mostly on his hands as you can plainly see.”  Rasid said, gesturing toward the broken fingers of the
poor young man.  “Heero was brought to my court accused of murdering his master.  It was determined by Sally that there was
no possible way he could have done it, not with his hands like this.  The son of his master abandoned him without care, so I
took him in . . . as a concubine . . . it was all I could do to spare him going to the auction block.”

Une choked back a sob, tenderly brushing her hand over Heero’s cheek.  The youth moaned lightly in response, a small smile
coming to his lips.  Une held her breath a moment, stilling her fingers as she turned to look at Rasid.

“I thank you, my lord.  He would not have survived long in the auction house.  They would not have cared for him even half as
well as you have.”  She whispered in all sincerity.

Rasid smiled tenderly at Une.  “Perhaps you should speak with Catherine later.  Hearing your happy tale might give her renewed
hope.”  He was about to continue when he spotted a familiar darkly clad concubine circling the base of one of the trees.  His
tender smile changed to one of amusement and he walked over to the youth.  “Those branches would not hold your weight,
young Duo.  Besides, the walls extend beyond the reach of even the highest branch.  And even if you were to succeed, the
guards know the manner in which my concubines are dressed.  You would be caught and I would have to punish you so as not
to seem too lenient.”

Duo turned and gave Rasid a puzzled look.  “You’re not gonna punish me?”

Rasid smiled and shook his head.  “Not this time.  You are used to being able to come and go as you please.  I would be worried
if you DIDN’T try to escape.”  Rasid led Duo away from the tree, knowing that he would have to try and talk some sense into
the youth.  “However, it is not safe for you outside of these walls anymore.  No doubt that vender you stole from has spread the
news of your sentence.  Should you be found, I shudder to think of how you would be treated.”

Duo let out a breath that sounded like exasperation.  “Look, I’ll go crazy in here!  There’s nothing for me to do!  I can’t read,
and I don’t know how to play music.  The only thing I was ever good at was looking after the kids!”  Duo looked away, and
suddenly had the air of a lost child.

Rasid realized that the youth had a point.  Naturally, he would try to escape if he had no way to occupy his time.  “Hmmmm . .
.”  He looked around, feeling at a loss.  Then he spotted Heero, still resting in Une’s arms.  “Very well.”  

With one hand on Duo’s shoulder, he walked over to where Une and Heero were.  Heero was still asleep.  Une looked up at
Rasid, smiling as he approached.  Rasid smiled in return.

“Duo, this is Heero and his elder sister, Une.  As you can see, Heero is unable to care for himself due to injury and neglect by his
former owner.  I currently have two other female concubines looking after him, but I think that it would be better to have a
young man his own age tending to his needs.”  Une looked about to object, so Rasid decided to amend his words.  “With a great
deal of help from his sister of course.”  

Rasid tried to convey with only his eyes that this was important.  He had no desire to harm the lovely youth, but harm would
come to Duo should he escape.  Thankfully, Une seemed to grasp Rasid’s need to give Duo a task and nodded.

“I would be grateful for the assistance, my lord.”  Une spoke, continuing to gently brush her fingers through Heero’s dark hair.

Rasid turned to look at Duo.  “Do you agree to this?”

Duo nodded, his eyes transfixed on Heero’s form.  “Sure . . . he looks like he needs help.”

“Good.”  Rasid smiled.  He knelt down, giving Heero his attention.  Softly, he rubbed the youth’s arm, not shaking, but using
enough motion to gently awake Heero.  “Heero, wake up.  I must introduce you to someone.”

“Hmm . . .”  Heero asked, blearily opening his eyes.  When he saw Rasid, he gasped, jerking away from the larger man
fearfully.  Une’s arms came around him, but he only shivered at the touch, moving aside from both of them.  He knelt on the
floor, bowing his head, his hands held close to himself.  “I . . . I am sorry.  I did not mean to fall asleep.  D-Do you wish
something of me?”  He timidly asked, never once raising his eyes to look at Rasid.

“Heero . . .”  Rasid sighed, laying a hand on Heero’s shoulder.  “You must remember that you are no longer a slave.  There is
nothing here that you have to do for me . . . you can do whatever it is that you want, with the exception of leaving this palace.”  
Rasid smiled as Heero lifted his gaze.  “I merely wanted to introduce you to someone.”

Heero nodded.  “I . . . I will try to remember this.”  He said.

Rasid sighed, then gestured to Duo who stood behind him.  “Heero . . . this is Duo.  He is going to help Une look after you.”  
Rasid said.  “I originally had Relena and Dorothy tending to you because I felt that you needed someone to mother you a little.  
Now that I know that Une is your older sister, I am sure you would prefer her to spend as much of her time with you as
possible.”  He watched as Heero nodded, his eyes flicking to look at Une briefly.  “Duo, here, is new.  I thought you would
perhaps feel more comfortable if with someone your own age and gender who is also adjusting to life here.  Are you all right
with this?”

Heero’s gaze moved to Duo, looking at him curiously.  Then he meekly nodded, biting his lip before he spoke.  “Y-Yes, sire . . .
I . . . I would like this.”

“Good.”  Rasid smirked, rising to his feet.  “Duo, I leave you to your task.  If you three will excuse me, I will inform Dorothy
and Relena that their services are no longer needed with Heero.”  Then he walked away, leaving his concubines to do as they
wished with the rest of the day.

To Be Continued . . .