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

Notes:  More Quatre suffering.  not much else to say about this part.

Captive Hearts

Part Five

Heero rolled over, trying to force back consciousness for a few more moments.  He didn’t feel like waking up yet.  A sudden
realization hit him in his grogginess.  The other side of the bed was empty.  Heero kept his eyes closed as he blindly reached out,
searching for the warm body that was supposed to be there.  His hand met nothing but the cool bed sheets, until he reached the
pillow.  Then he came in contact with something that felt distinctly like parchment.

He grumbled as he slowly forced his eyes to open.  He looked over, his eyes focusing to see that he was alone in bed.  Worry
lanced through him, wondering where the slave had gone.  He saw the parchment on the pillow beside him and lifted it into his
line of sight.

“Heero, I’ve taken Quatre to my bedchamber.  You have a fever and I didn’t want to disturb your sleep since you obviously are
in need of it.”  Heero said, not knowing why he was reading the note out loud.  “Get some rest and don’t worry, I’ll take good
care of Quatre.”  He knew it was from Duo, despite the fact that it wasn’t signed.  The poor handwriting gave it away.  Duo
didn’t write all that well, considering his lack of a formal education, it wasn’t surprising.

Heero sighed, crumbling the parchment into a ball.  He threw the covers from off himself as he sat up.  There was no way that
he would waste his day in bed, not when he had things to do.  He had a business to run . . . a household to see to.  There was
no time for him to rest.

He quickly dressed, throwing on what he usually wore . . . a pair of black breeches and a plain green tunic.  He had no need for
variety.  He had his common clothes, which he was wearing now.  There were the clothes he wore if he had meetings with
dignitaries or for his business, not too much different from his common clothes.  There was his formal attire, for if and when he
was invited to royal court or other functions.  And then there were the garments he wore on missions, the darkest of his clothes
made for stealth.

Hastily, Heero left his chambers, making his way to Duo’s room.  He didn’t bother knocking, just opening the door and stepping
in.  A small smirk crossed his face as he saw what he was looking for.

Duo was leaning back on his bed, a book in his hand.  His brow was furrowed slightly, his lips moving as he silently sounded
out the words that he couldn't quite understand.  Reading was also difficult for him, but at least he was trying to better his skills.

Quatre was lying beside Duo, apparently fast asleep.  His one arm was draped across Duo’s waist, his head resting against Duo’
s chest.  As Heero watched, Quatre shifted in his sleep, a soft whimper leaving his lips.  Duo wove his fingers through the
blonde’s hair, gently stroking while he continued to read his book.

“How is he?”  Heero asked, smirking when Duo jumped slightly, the book slipping from his hand and falling to the floor.

“You scared the HELL out of me!”  Duo hissed in a whispered voice, placing his hand over his chest as he took several calming

Quatre moved again, his brow furrowing as he mumbled something incoherently.  Heero approached the bed, watching as the
blonde settled down again.  Heero sighed, glad that he hadn’t caused the slave to awaken.  Quatre did need the rest is he was
expected to recover.

“Why aren’t you in bed?”  Duo asked, gaining Heero’s attention.

“I have duties to perform, Duo.  I can’t stay in bed all day.”  Heero replied.  He gestured to Duo’s braid, noticing the disheveled
state it was in.  “Your hair needs brushing.”  Heero said, changing the subject.

Duo grinned.  He gently maneuvered his way out from under Quatre, carefully slipping out of bed to stand in front of Heero.  
“Well, his Lordship does remember that he requested to have the choice of whether to brush my hair himself or not, now doesn’
t he?”  Duo asked, smirking at Heero.

“Yes, I remember quite well.”  Heero replied, taking hold of Duo’s wrist and leading him over to a vanity table that he had given
to Duo as a present several months ago.

Duo sat on the chair in front of the table, his shoulders just above the back of the chair.  Heero got down on the floor, crossing
his legs as he sat.  Then he reached out, untying the ribbon at the end and slowly beginning to unravel the braid.

Once the chestnut strands were loose, free from the braid that had confined them, Heero ran his hand over the beautiful
waterfall of hair.  He reveled in the silkiness of Duo’s hair under his fingertips.

“Brush?”  Heero requested, his fingers still trailing over Duo’s hair.

Duo reached over to the vanity, handing a brush back to Heero.  Heero smiled and carefully began to brush Duo’s chestnut
tresses, starting at the ends and patiently working his way upwards.  He found this job to be soothing, not only to Duo, but to
himself as well.  He felt as each of his worries were brushed away along with the knots in Duo’s hair.

Heero was still amazed that Duo let him do this.  He knew how protective Duo was of his hair, never letting anyone touch it . . .
with the exception of Heero and one other person that Heero did not want to think about right now.  He was trying to relax and
thinking of that certain individual would not help those attempts in the least.

Heero just concentrated on Duo’s hair, diligently working through all of those knots until they were gone.  Even after Duo’s hair
was neat, shimmering in the morning light that streamed in through the windows, Heero brushed.  He just enjoyed the calmness
that the simple action brought to his mind.

However, he did eventually separate the hair into plaits, knowing that he couldn’t spend all day brushing Duo’s hair . . . no
matter how much he wished he could.  Heero sighed, resigned to the fact that he did have to get some actual work done today.  
He braided Duo’s hair, taking his time to make sure that no hair was out of place.  Once done, he tied the ribbon at the end,
fingering the soft braid once before he got up off the floor.

“Done.”  Heero said, reaching over to set the brush back onto the vanity table.

“Thank you, Heero.”  Duo chimed happily, jumping to his feet.  He turned, giving Heero a quick hug.  He pulled himself away
from Heero, a grin on his face.  “Looks like someone woke up.”  Duo commented, his gaze shifting to look over Heero’s

Heero turned, a smirk tugging at his lips as he saw that Quatre was awake and watching them.  The blonde’s expression was
one of tired confusion, his eyes not quite opened fully.  His head was lifted off of the bed slightly, the rest of his body sprawled
across the bed.

Duo walked over to the bed, Heero following quietly behind him.  Just as they reached the bed, Quatre lowered his head, and he
lay there, panting.  Even that meager amount of exercise had exhausted him.  His body just seemed to be growing weaker now.

“How are you feeling?”  Heero asked, concerned, as he and Duo sat on the bed.  The blonde had seemed to have been getting
stronger.  And now here he was, unable to even hold his head up for more than a few short moments.

“I’m tired, Master.”  Quatre said, his voice weak and strained.  He tried to push himself up, only to collapse again.

“Maybe I shouldn't have moved him.”  Duo said, getting up and moving around to the other side of the bed.

“Then we won’t be moving him again.”  Heero stated, reaching out to brush sweat dampened bangs away from Quatre’s deathly
pale skin.  “We do want him to recover his health, not to get worse.”

Duo sighed, lifting Quatre by his armpits and gently rolling him over onto his back.  “I’m sorry.”  Duo said, to both Heero and
Quatre.  “I guess I should have listened when Sally said that he shouldn’t be moved.”

Heero didn’t say a word.  He watched as Duo sat there, cradling Quatre’s small body in his arms.  The slave trembled, still not
trusting them apparently.  Duo stroked his hand along Quatre’s side, leaning forward to whisper soothing words into Quatre’s

Only moments later, there was a sharp knock to the door.  Before Heero could say anything, Hilde walked into the room, Zechs,
Otto, and Sally following behind her.  Hilde quickly approached, setting a tray down on the bedside table before hastily and
quietly leaving.  Guards frightened most of the slaves, especially Zechs because of the mask he wore.  Heero vaguely noticed
that the tray Hilde had brought in had food on it, probably Duo’s breakfast.

“Ah, Zechs . . . how long ago did you arrive?”  Heero asked as Zechs, Otto, and Sally stepped closer to the bed.

“Only a few minutes ago, Milord.”  Zechs replied, bowing slightly.  “We went to your bedchamber first, to deliver our report,
but you were not there.  I assumed you were caring for the slave you rescued, and Hilde told us where we would find him.”

Heero nodded.  “Did the journey go well?”  Heero asked, watching as Sally walked around to the other side of the bed.

“Yes, we were only stopped once . . . but the soldiers believed our story of transporting a shipment of merchandise.”  Zechs

“Good.”  Heero nodded, his eyes never leaving Sally as he watched the physician examine the blonde slave.  

“I told you not to move him.”  Sally chided, lifting Quatre from Duo’s arms and laying him flat against the bed.  She pressed her
hand to his head, frowning almost immediately.  “His fever is dangerously high . . . where is the sleeping potion?”

Duo turned and grabbed the small vial, handing it to Sally.  “I’m sorry.”  He whispered, bowing his head.

Sally opened the vial, then pressed her finger over the opening.  She tipped it.  When she pulled her finger away, a single drop of
the potion glistened on her finger.  “Open your mouth and stick out your tongue.”  She said to Quatre, handing the vial back to

Quatre obeyed, although slowly.  He never uttered a word though, keeping silent as any good slave would.

Sally pressed the drop of potion on the tip of his tongue.  “Okay . . . swallow.”  Sally whispered, running her hand along the side
of his head as he complied.

The potion worked quickly and within moments, the slave was asleep. “Will he be okay?”  Duo asked, his voice meek.

Sally shook her head.  “I’m not sure, Duo.  He needs rest . . . his fever is much too high for my liking.  I'll have Hilde bring up
some cool compresses.”  She checked one of the bandages, the one that covered the gash in his side.  “The salve does seem to
be working.  The amount of infection is decreasing.  Just keep applying the salve and changing his bandages.”  She stood,
leaning over to wrap the blonde in the blankets.  “I suggest you light your hearth, Duo.  He should be comfortable, and not cold.”

Duo nodded.  “Yes, of course.”

Sally brushed a few stray hairs from Quatre’s face.  “I still have other patients to tend to, but I’ll return at dusk to check in on
him again.”  Then she slowly backed away, bowing to Heero before she left the room.

“My lord . . .”  Zechs said, bowing slightly.  “Forgive me for interrupting, but you do have duties to perform today.”

Heero nodded.  “Yes, I know.  Today I inspect the lands.”  He said, then he looked up to Duo, letting a small smile curl his lips.  
“You take good care of him, Duo.  And eat your breakfast.”

“Yes, sir.”  Duo mumbled, his gaze cast down at Quatre’s sleeping form.

Heero shook his head, worried about both Duo and Quatre.  Quatre was ill, and Duo was blaming himself for the blonde's
current condition.  Heero could only hope that Duo would get over his self blame.  Heero rose, and turned toward the door,
quickly leaving, Zechs and Otto following close behind him as he departed.

To Be Continued . . .