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

Notes:  Zechs is called before the Sultan for a special task.

Acquiescent Concubine

Part Ten

Zechs finished his stretches and began his nightly exercise routine.  He was still annoyed with Relena for having practically
shouted his real name earlier.  It wasn’t that there were any concubines who DIDN’T know his real name, but he didn’t want
anyone outside to hear it.  He’d almost been abducted from the harem once already due to someone learning he was here and he
didn't want to repeat the experience.

Luckily, Rasid had disposed of the individual.  Unfortunately for Zechs, the event had ended with himself getting punished as
well, since his face had been seen unveiled by several outsiders.  It wasn’t his own fault, yet the laws were specific.  The faces
of the concubines were for the Sultan’s eyes only, though there were a select few privileged to view them.  The lashing had left
no lasting scars, and Rasid himself had tended to Zechs' back as he had healed.  The man had been so very sorry for causing
harm; it was one of the many reasons that Zechs was reluctant to leave him.

Zechs paused in his exercises as he heard the telltale sound of a staff hitting stone.  Since he had not heard any scuffling among
the other concubines that spoke of them quickly putting their face veils on, he knew who it was behind him.

“Good evening, and welcome home, Wufei.”  He smiled and turned to face the ex-concubine.  “If you’re seeking Une, she’s a
little busy settling two of the new concubines in.  I suppose you’ve heard of the happy news concerning her brother?”

Wufei nodded.  “Yes.  Lord Rasid told me earlier.  I suppose that Catherine has been informed.  Cathy has been disheartened as
of late, and the news would do her good.”

Zechs smirked, and nodded his head once.  “She has.  She’s a little jealous, but it HAS given her new hope that her own brother
will be found.  After all, Une wasn’t even looking for her brother.”

Wufei chuckled.  “She didn’t see the point.  She had long ago given up the hope of ever finding him again.  They were so young
when they were separated.  At any rate, I am not here to see Une.  Although, I will seek her out in a little while.  Rasid has sent
me to summon you.  He needs your assistance for a certain task.  There is no need for your veil.  We are not entering an area
where you will be seen.”

Zechs frowned in puzzlement and followed Wufei.  His eyes widened in surprise as he was led to a bedchamber that he had
thought empty.  Had the Sultan acquired yet another concubine?  Then he blinked as he entered the room and spotted the pale
youth that was sleeping on the bed.

He bowed to the Sultan when he saw the large man standing at the youth’s bedside.  “My lord, you summoned me?”

Rasid smiled warmly.  “Ah, Zechs.  Thank you for arriving so quickly.  I need your assistance.”

Zechs frowned as he raised his gaze.  “Why?  Is something wrong?”

Rasid sighed deeply, casting his gaze to the slumbering blonde.  “Yes and no.  Nothing is wrong with me, but Quatre, my
newest concubine, is quite ill.  He needs someone to tend to him when Sally is not available, and I have selected you.”

Zechs frowned.  “Me?  Why me?  Surely a woman would be better suited to the task than I would!”

The Sultan sighed and shook his head.  “No.  Poor Quatre has just left his home, and his twenty-nine elder sisters.  Putting him
in the care of a woman, especially when his fever burns so deeply, might only cause him unnecessary grief.  I do not wish him
to suffer so.”

Zechs shook his head.  He did not want to do this task.  Surely, there had to be someone else.  “Then I can suggest Catherine.  
She wants her . . .”

Rasid shook his head again.  “No, because if I somehow do manage to find her brother during the time that Quatre is ill, she
might ignore young Quatre to see to her own brother’s needs, leaving Quatre to feel abandoned.  Catherine would not mean to,
but I have seen the proof this morning in Une.  She has abandoned all to see to her brother’s care.  Things that she used to love
doing, she has forgotten all about it all in favor of Heero.  It is not something I can risk.  I chose you, because you know how to
be an older brother, and the two of you are similar in coloring.”

Zechs sighed and looked at the frail boy.  He had to admit, he already felt a swell of protectiveness rising within him for the
youth.  “Very well . . . it will be as you request, sire . . . and I will not shirk my duty despite my initial rejection.”

Rasid smiled warmly.  “Thank you.  Would you please settle him in for the night.  I think another bath would do him good.”

Zechs smiled.  “Yes, my lord.  What color shall he be garbed in?”

Rasid thought briefly, but answered quickly.  “White with an edging and accents of aqua.  The colors suit him well.”

“It will be as you wish.”  Zechs smiled, bowing his head in respect.

When Rasid had left the chamber, Zechs looked back down at the slumbering blonde.  Yes, white would be perfect.  There was
an air of innocence about the boy.  He wondered why aqua would suit the youth, but he knew better than to question the
judgment of the sultan.

With a sigh, Zechs leaned down to gather the new concubine in his arms, only to frown at how very light the boy was.  ‘Poor
child, you will not lack for people to look after you.’  He carried Quatre to the common area and nodded to a few of the curious
individuals who were trying to see the newest addition to the harem.

“Mi- sorry ... Zechs.  Who is that?”

Zechs sighed and smiled at his sister.  He understood that she hated having to call him by a different name, but was pleased that
she was at least making an effort.  “This is Quatre, the newest member of our family here.  Do we have any white and aqua
sleeping garments?  Something light so that he won’t be overheated would be best.”

Relena pursed her lips in thought.  “We should.  I’ll go have a look.  Whatever is wrong with him?”  She asked, brushing her
hand lightly over his cheek.  “His skin is so warm.”

Zechs carried Quatre to the baths and lay him on the floor carefully, stripping him of the traditional garb of an unclaimed
concubine.  “I don’t think we’ll know until Sally has a look at him, and I think she is asleep right now.  The Sultan won’t wake
her if it isn’t an emergency.”  He frowned when he saw that Relena was just standing there.  “Relena, why are you staring at
him?  Will you go and get the garments?  Or at the very least a veil to cover him?”

Relena seemed to shake herself out of whatever thoughts she was having.  “Oh!  I am so sorry, brother.  It’s just ... he looks so
much like you did when you were younger.  I’ll be right back.”  With that, she was gone.

Zechs shook his head as he stripped off his own garments and gathered Quatre into his arms once again.  Carefully, he entered
the bath with Quatre held close in his arms, frowning when Quatre whimpered a little.  

“Sshh.  You’re safe.”  Zechs hushed, taking a seat on one of the long, stone benches, making sure that Quatre’s head remained
above water.

Slowly, Quatre’s eyes drifted open and Zechs saw the reason for Rasid’s wise decision on the color of Quatre’s garments.  
Quatre simply had the most beautiful sparkling aquamarine eyes that Zechs had ever seen.  Still, there was a touch of illness in
those eyes, a haze that seemed to fog over them.

“W-Who are you?”  Quatre asked in a weak voice.  “Where am ... where am I?”  He closed his eyes again, only for a moment,
then looked to Zechs again.

Zechs smiled, raising his hand to brush across Quatre’s cheek.  “My name is Zechs, and I am one of the Sultan’s concubines.”  
He had to frown when a look of fear flickered in those pretty eyes.  “I only mean to care for you, as Rasid has given me the task
to see to your every need.  After I bathe you, I will settle you back into bed.  You must rest if you are expected to recover.”

Calmness seeped into Quatre’s eyes and Zechs smiled again.

“Th-Thank you.”  Quatre responded tiredly, shivering as he leaned closer to Zechs' body.

Zechs knew that the young man was frightened.  It was obvious in his movements.  He only hoped that he would be able to
dissuade that fear as time wore on.  Carefully, Zechs began his task, running a soft, soapy cloth over Quatre’s young body,
using his other arm to keep Quatre steady as he cleansed him.  At some point during the washing, Relena returned with the
garments, but she said nothing.  She set the clothes on a nearby surface and left the room quietly a moment later.

Lastly, Zechs washed and rinsed Quatre’s pale hair.  Always he was delicate, cautious in each and every one of his movements.  
He did not want to unintentionally hurt Quatre, whether it be physically or emotionally.  The boy was fragile now - in so many
ways - and it would be easy to cause harm.  Zechs had to be careful with him.

The pale youth was drifting in and out of consciousness throughout the bath.  When Zechs was finished washing him, he lifted
Quatre into his arms again, carrying the young man out.  He laid Quatre down, then rushed over to where the drying cloths were
kept and grabbed a few.  He wrapped one around his own waist, not bothering to dry himself just yet, then knelt down and
proceeded to rub the soft cloths over Quatre’s slender form.

When the youth was dry, Zechs dressed him in the simple white and aqua nightshirt that Relena had provided.  Now that Quatre
was tended to, Zechs dried himself, weaving his damp hair into a braid and redressing himself in his crimson veils.  Then he
scooped Quatre up and carried him back to his bedchamber.

“Will you stay with me?”  Quatre’s weak voice asked, startling Zechs.  He had not known that the youth was awake once more.

“You wish me to remain here tonight?”  Zechs questioned, laying the blonde in his bed.

Quatre’s pale cheeks took on a rosy hue as he averted his gaze.  “I have never liked being alone.”  The youth admitted.  “M-My
sisters rarely indulged me.  They had other things to tend to.  And father was either away on business or too ill to have the time
to stay with me.”  Sparkling tears collected in Quatre’s eyes, falling to dampen the pillow beneath his head.

Zechs didn’t have the heart to decline Quatre.  This was the youth’s first night as a concubine, his first night in Rasid’s keeping
and Zechs had been given the task to see to his every need.  If Quatre needed the reassurance that Zechs' company could
provide, then Zechs would gladly oblige him.

“As you wish.”  Zechs nodded, offering a kind smile as he swept those salty tears from Quatre’s feverish skin.  He looked down
at himself, taking note of the veils he still wore.  He slowly began to strip them off, pausing to speak to Quatre.  “I fear I must
beg your forgiveness, but I do not wear any sleeping garments.  If this makes you uncomfortable, I will go seek out something

“I-It's fine.”  Quatre stammered nervously.  “I suppose I must become accustomed to such things.  I am a concubine now.”  He
said bashfully, turning his gaze away.

Zechs set his hand against Quatre’s cheek, smiling when Quatre’s eyes met his.  “You do not HAVE to get accustomed to
anything if you do not wish to.  You are free to think here.  You don’t have to be a mindless drone for someone else’s pleasure.  
Rasid is not the type of man to want bed mates that do not stimulate his mind as well as his body.  Besides, if you do not want
to, you don’t have to ever spend time in his bed again.  He does not force himself on his concubines.  None of us do anything
unless we truly want to.  It is part of the freedom he gives us.”  He smiled again, enjoying the expression of comprehension in
Quatre’s eyes.  “Now, do you want me to get myself some clothing?”

Quatre appeared to think for a moment.  However, he shook his head, a blush tinting his cheeks as he did so.  “No, I think I
would like-”  He blushed a deeper shade, his words catching in his throat even as he spoke.  “I have always been curious, but I
had never done anything before ... before Rasid.”  He trailed off then.

“He was your first, eh?”  Zechs asked, but he didn’t need an answer.  The way his cheeks turned such a bright shade of red
was all the answer he needed.  “He was my first as well.”  Zechs admitted.  He removed the remainder of his clothing, letting
them stay on the floor.  He wasn’t shy about himself.

Quatre’s eyes trailed over Zechs' body slowly.  After a moment though, he cast his gaze away, his fingers fidgeting nervously.  
Zechs thought it sweet that Quatre was so bashful.  Maybe someday he would make a proposition to the young beauty himself.  
Quatre was quite attractive.  He was probably a pleasure to bed.  Zechs shook off the thought though.  Now was not the time to
consider such things.  Quatre needed to heal.  Carnal pleasures could wait until he was fully healthy.

“Come on, I believe you need to rest.  In the morning, Sally will be summoned and she will have to examine you.  She’s the
sultan’s physician.  You will be well in no time at all under her care.”  Zechs said, easing into bed behind Quatre.

With only the soft cloth of Quatre’s nightshirt between them, Zechs settled himself into bed, the pale blonde’s smaller form
pressed along the length of his body, his back to Zechs' chest.  Raising the blankets over the two of them, Zechs wrapped his
arms around Quatre, holding the young man close.  It was not long before either of them slipped into slumber.

To Be Continued . . .