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

Notes:  Quatre wakes up.  Duo tends to the frightened young slave.  He and Quatre have a talk.

Captive Hearts

Part Seven

Quatre shuddered violently as he scaled the levels of consciousness.  What would he find upon awakening?  Would his master
want to strike him for being lazy?  Of course, he didn’t even remember which master he was with . . . was it Queen Une or one
of his previous ones?  Would Quatre find that he was in danger or wanted for something that he found to be less than
pleasurable?  He shivered again, blinking open groggy eyes, his mind covered by a thick haze as his vision slowly focused.

Where was he?  This place was unfamiliar to him, the cloudy daze still fogging over his memories.  He blearily looked around,
more tired than he could ever remember himself being before in his life . . . well except during his training.  Quatre shuddered at
the thought of those dark days, pushing the memories from his mind lest he get hopelessly trapped in the despair and fear that
those memories brought to him.  

He was in a bedchamber, that much he could tell . . . but of course he was usually in one of those, he was a bed slave after all
and knew what was expected of him.  This was a rather nice bedchamber though, but too small to belong to Queen Une . . .
where was he then?  There was no ornamentation . . . nothing elaborately foretelling of wealth.  The most splendid object in this
room was a small vanity table against the wall opposite of the bed.  Quatre could see it from where he lay.  As simple it was, the
craftsmanship was very detailed . . . probably a gift from someone that cared a great deal for the owner of this room.

Quatre slowly became aware of a warmth spread along his side.  He turned his head, blinking when his eyes lost their focus
briefly.  When he could see clearly again, his found himself looking at someone’s back.  There was a body laying in bed beside
him.  Although while Quatre was under the covers, this person was laying above them, no more than napping most likely.  

A long, thick braid of chestnut hair caught Quatre’s attention and finally he remembered where he was.  This was Master Duo’s
bedchamber.  Quatre rolled himself over onto his side, looking thoughtfully at the braid belonging to one of his new masters.  He
had seen Master Heero brushing the lengthy tresses earlier.  He wasn’t sure of how long ago that had been, but he vaguely
remembered hearing the two of them talking about Master Duo’s hair.  Only Master Heero was permitted to touch it apparently,
his prerogative to brush Master Duo’s hair when he wanted to.  

Quatre idly wondered what hair such as this felt like.  Master Duo’s hair was shiny and clean, so long and it looked soft . . .
even though he knew that he shouldn’t, Quatre couldn’t help but want to run his fingers through it.  Biting his lip, Quatre
tentatively reached his hand out, stopping before his fingers could even graze the tightly woven locks.  This was wrong.  He
was not permitted to do this.  Master Duo’s hair was only for Master Heero’s hands . . . for his enjoyment and not for a lowly
slave like Quatre.

Still, Quatre couldn’t ignore the desire to touch the braid.  It couldn’t hurt to just touch it once, to feel it for himself.  Master
Duo was asleep . . . he probably wouldn’t even feel Quatre’s hand grazing the confined hair.  Just one small touch couldn’t hurt
any . . . Master Duo would never know of it.  With that justification in mind, Quatre timidly drew his hand forward, brushing his
fingertips over the silken rope with fascination.

The pleasantness he had felt by touching that soft braid was shattered though, as Master Duo’s body jumped in reaction to
Quatre’s touch.  He sat up, then turned to Quatre.  In reaction, Quatre shrank away, fearful of a reprisal for daring to do
something forbidden to him.  “I am sorry, Master Duo . . . I meant no wrong.  I was only curious.”  Quatre whimpered,
clenching his eyes shut out of fear.  He raised his arm, hiding his face from an assault if Master Duo chose to hurt him for the
error he had made.

“Quatre . . .”  Master Duo’s soft voice sighed, a gentle hand sliding down along his arm until it grasped his wrist and pulled it
away from his face.  “Don’t be afraid.  You’re not going to get punished for touching my hair.”

Quatre opened his eyes, peering at Master Duo cautiously.  Was this a trick?  He remembered Mistress Une doing such things,
hitting him after telling him that he wouldn’t be punished.  Was Master Duo like she was?  Would he assault Quatre after
assuring him of safety?  So far Master Duo had not hurt him . . . in fact he had even apologized for causing his illness to
overcome him again.  That was something no other master had ever done before in Quatre’s memory.

Master Duo seemed far more considerate than Mistress Une had ever been to him . . . well except for in the beginning.  In the
beginning Mistress Une had been nice to him, had been sweet and tender when in bed with him.  It had almost been a pleasure
serving her, at least until she had started hurting him that is, then she snapped for seemingly no reason, or cried and blamed him
for causing this reaction in her.  He hadn’t understood and that made her more violent toward him . . . Quatre never knew why
he was being hit when she got angry.  Things were always better in the beginning, and then there was betrayal and pain.  Quatre
knew that all to well.

“You w-won’t hurt me, Master Duo?”  Quatre asked timidly, his heart hoping it to be true.  “I touched what I shouldn’t have.  I
heard Master Heero say it was his right to brush your hair if he wanted to, that makes it his.  I should not have crossed the
bounds of my position.  I will take my beating . . . I deserve it, Master Duo.”  He rolled over onto his back, laying himself open
to any assault that Master Duo could think to hurt him with.  He would lay there and he would take the beating he had brought
on himself.  He shouldn’t have touched Master Duo’s hair.

“I’m not going to beat you, Quatre.”  Master Duo said, smiling kindly at Quatre.  Odd, Master Duo’s smile made Quatre feel
safe . . . he had never felt that before when in the presence of a master.  “My hair belongs to me . . . Heero earned the right to
touch my hair.  He gained my trust and believe me that wasn’t an easy thing to do when we first met.  My hair is very important
to me.  It holds memories of pain and of happiness, it’s a marker to those I’ve lost . . . plus it feels great against the skin.”  He
winked, and Quatre blushed at the facial gesture.  Perhaps he had read more into Master Duo’s words, but he gathered that
perhaps Master Duo was talking about his hair feeling good against the skin during carnal acts.

“I am safe here, Master Duo?”  Quatre asked, snapping away from the thoughts he had sunk into with Master Duo’s words.  He
did not want to think of sex . . . it wasn’t a good memory in Quatre’s mind, none of the times he could remember had been
pleasant for him.

Master Duo smiled again . . . Quatre liked Master Duo’s smiles, they were good and made Quatre feel better, although he didn’t
know why something as simple as a smile could do such a thing.  There was just something about Master Duo that left Quatre
feeling secure . . . it was no more than a feeling, something that Quatre couldn’t explain, not even to himself.  “Of course you
are safe.”  Master Duo responded kindly.  He rested himself on his side, propped up by his elbow.  With his free hand, he
reached around to his back and pulled his lengthy braid from behind himself.  Setting the thick weave across Quatre’s waist,
Master Duo smiled warmly yet again.  “Go ahead . . . touch it all you want.”  He said, gesturing to his hair with a welcoming

Quatre raised his hands, setting them delicately on Master Duo’s braid.  He looked to his master, hoping that he wasn’t upsetting
him in any way.  He was still fearful of reprisal.  When Master Duo nodded, Quatre slid his fingers across the braid, reveling in
the silkiness of the hair.  It was obvious that Master Duo spent a lot of time caring for his hair . . . it was so beautiful, and
wonderfully soft and pleasant smelling.  A soft blush came to rest on Quatre’s cheeks as he gave into temptation again and
brushed the end of Master Duo’s braid across his cheek.  It felt like the finest of silks against his flesh and Quatre sighed despite
himself, blushing even deeper when he realized the sound had been audible.

“Forgive me.”  Quatre said, looking down and feeling deeply embarrassed, as he set the braid to the side of him.

“No reason to need forgiving.  I’m glad that someone can get enjoyment out of touching my hair.”  Master Duo said, his fingers
delicately turning Quatre’s face to look at him.  “Let me know if you want to do that again . . . if it will cheer you up, I’ll be glad
to let you roll around in it.”

Quatre smiled.  “Thank you, Master Duo.”  Quatre said, his smile fading a moment later.  He was not used to smiling, even if it
seemed to delight this new master so very much.  The light glinting in Master Duo’s eyes and the grin that crossed his face
attested to the fact that Master Duo had liked seeing him smile.

“I’ll have to be sure to make you smile more, Quatre.  I like it when you look happy.  It makes me feel better.”  Master Duo
said, raising his hand to brush aside some of Quatre’s hair.

“As you wish, Master Duo.”  Quatre replied, only wanting to make his masters happy.

A soft knock on the chamber door made Quatre flinch, feeling startled.  Master Duo’s hand settled on his shoulder briefly, then
he turned to face the door.  “Come in.”  He called out, and the door opened.  A young woman strode in, and Quatre recognized
her from earlier.  Her name was Hilde if he wasn’t mistaken and she was a slave like Quatre was . . . well almost like Quatre
was . . . Hilde was not a bed slave.

Quatre watched, feeling somewhat nervous as Hilde approached the bed.  He didn’t know what her intentions toward him were.  
She sat on the edge and smiled down at him though, relieving some of the tension from Quatre’s mind.  Perhaps she was nice,
like Master Duo was.  And even if she wasn’t . . . with Master Duo here, she wouldn’t hurt him . . . she was a slave and could
be punished for doing such things, especially if they were against the master’s wishes.  And Master Duo had said that Quatre
was safe here.

“It’s good to see you awake, Quatre.”  Hilde said, her hand firm and cool against the skin of his heated face.  “But I see you still
have a high fever . . . Duo should give you your medicine soon, so that should help.”  Then she looked to Master Duo.  “I would
have come up earlier, but my duties took longer than I had thought they would.”

“That’s okay, Hilde.”  Master Duo smiled.  “You’re here now.”

Hilde sighed.  “But not for long.  I have to help prepare Heero’s food soon . . . it’s almost time for his evening meal.”

Master Duo frowned.  “Speaking of Heero, shouldn’t he be home by now?  Inspections don’t usually take this long.”

“You know Heero . . . he gets too involved with the people sometimes, letting them convince him to share a drink with them or
to meet visiting relatives.  He is well loved by his people, it’s only natural for them to want to spend time with him.”

Master Duo nodded.  “Yes, you’re right.”  He sighed.  “Well, you had better get to making his dinner then.  You know how
strict he is about being punctual.”

Hilde giggled.  “I know, sometimes he’s just so fussy about that.”  She looked to Quatre again, still smiling.  “You do as Duo
says and get some rest.  I look forward to seeing you able to walk around and help out around here.”  She slipped her fingers
into his palm, giving his hand a gentle squeeze, while her other hand stroked along the side of his face.  Then she stood and
moved away, looking at Quatre with deep concern written on her face.  

This Hilde was a nice young woman . . . Quatre liked her.  Although he was a bit confused as to why she was disrespectful of
her masters . . . she did not address them properly, plus she giggled and jested as if she were an equal to them.  She was a slave,
so why didn’t Master Duo punish her for such insolence?  This was highly confusing to Quatre, but it wasn’t his place to ask
questions of his masters.  He kept quiet, watching as Hilde left the room.  Then he turned his gaze back to Master Duo and
waited patiently for instructions.  If Master Duo needed anything of him, he would immediately do it.  He did not want to seem
lazy or disobedient when he had only just come into this household.

Master Duo didn’t seem to want anything of Quatre though.  He was quiet, merely stroking Quatre’s arm, or fiddling with his
hair in an idle manner.  After a few moments, he pulled away and rose from the bed.  He straightened out the sheets where he
had been laying, seeing to it that there wasn’t even a single wrinkle.  He strode over to the vanity, moving a brush over to the
other side of the table.  Then he looked at it thoughtfully and moved it back.

Master Duo turned to Quatre, casting a nervous smile.  Quatre didn’t like seeing his master so agitated . . . it made him feel
worried.  Still, he quietly watched as Master Duo went around the room, fixing things that didn’t need fixing, pacing around here
and there.  Master Duo stepped over to the hearth, picking up a kettle from the stone floor before it.  He hooked the kettle on a
length of metal, then swung it so that the kettle was suspended over the fire.  He looked back at Quatre again.  “Need hot water
for your medicine.”  He said, even though Quatre hadn’t needed an explanation for his actions.

He didn’t wait by the kettle for long.  Instead, Master Duo started pacing again, drawing his braid from behind his back and
fiddling with the ends of his hair, clutching around the length of it now and then nervously.  He bit his lip, looking down at the
floor as he paced.  Quatre had to wonder if his master was deciding on a punishment or some other thing that probably wouldn’t
be to Quatre’s liking.  Had Quatre done something wrong?  Had he upset Master Duo in some way?  He didn’t think that he had
done anything to merit punishment.

It became too uncomfortable for him to just lie there and wonder.  Carefully, even as dizziness swam through his head, Quatre
pushed himself up to a sitting position on the bed, his wounded body aching in protest to the movement.  He bent his knees,
bringing his legs up underneath him as he steadied himself with his hands, taking a few breaths and closing his eyes briefly to
clear his head.  When he looked up to Master Duo, he found that the young man had not noticed his movement.  Master Duo
still paced back and forth in front of the bed, apparently deeply lost in thought.

Quatre opened his mouth and closed it several times before he was able to gather enough courage to speak.  “Master Duo . . . Is
something troubling you?”  Quatre asked, fearing that he would be beaten for speaking when he hadn’t been told he was allowed
to do so.  He lowered his head, showing the proper respect by not looking directly at his master.

He heard as Master Duo sighed deeply.  “I’m just bored, Quatre.  I always get bored when I’m waiting around . . . never did like
waiting much.”

Quatre nodded.  He knew what he had to do now . . . he had to provide some form of distraction for his master.  It was his
duty.  Without raising his gaze, Quatre pulled the blankets away from his body, frowning at the bandages that covered his pale
form.  This would probably hurt him, but he had to do all that he could to ensure his master’s happiness.

“Uh, what are you doing?”  Master Duo asked, his voice somewhat closer than it had been before.  He must have moved closer
to the bed, that was the only explanation.

“You said you were bored.”  Quatre replied.  “I will help, Master Duo.”  Quatre said, reaching to his loincloth and trying to take
it off.  His hands were shaking, making it difficult to work with, not to mention the cuts to his fingers that ached with each
attempt he made to remove the garment.  But his master was bored and needed entertainment . . . Quatre was entertaining, at
least that’s what most of his previous masters had thought.

“No!”  Master Duo shouted, loud enough to scare Quatre.  He jerked back, away from his master’s voice.  Firm, yet gentle
hands stopped him from scurrying away though.  Master Duo tilted Quatre’s face up, making him look at him.  He smiled
faintly, taking a seat on the bed near Quatre.  “No, this is not what I want.”  He said, making sure that Quatre’s loincloth was
securely fastened before covering the lower half of his body with the blankets again.

“But this is what I am for, Master Duo.”  Quatre whispered, hoping that he was doing the right thing by arguing.

Master Duo sighed again, shaking his head slightly.  Master Duo’s expression was unreadable, leaving Quatre feeling confused.  
“Listen, Quatre . . . you’re beautiful, but I love Heero.  I had wanted to express my feelings to Heero first, but you do deserve
this explanation.  I won’t hurt him, or ruin any chance we have by sleeping around . . . especially with someone who is less than
willing.”  He smiled, his hands tenderly caressing Quatre’s face.  “Besides, I don’t like being the one on top.”

Quatre’s eyes widened.  “You . . . you LIKE it?”  He asked, shocked that his master would like being used in such a manner.  
“How could you LIKE it?  It’s painful!”  He exclaimed, his body breaking out into shudders.

Master Duo’s arms tenderly surrounded him, pulling him into a gentle and oddly comforting embrace.  His hands stroked firmly
along the planes of Quatre’s back, hushing him with soothing whispers before he addressed Quatre’s statement.  “It’s only
painful if the person on top wants it to be painful.  I’m sorry that you’ve never known the pleasure that can come with a loving
partner . . . maybe someday you will.”  Duo said quietly, pulling Quatre away from himself and brushing away the few tears that
had escaped Quatre’s weary eyes.  

“Are you such a partner, Master Duo?  Loving?”  Quatre asked, curious.

Master Duo smiled, chuckling lightly.  “As I said, I don’t like being on top.  I’m not comfortable being in charge.  I’ve been in
both positions before . . . both willingly, and I prefer the bottom with someone who actually cares enough to be gentle.”

“But you are in charge of me, Master Duo.”  Quatre said, trying to understand his master.  He was just so confused.  For the
first time he wasn’t being used for his body . . . he wasn’t used to such kind treatment from a master.  Master Duo was unlike
any he had ever had before . . . so was Master Heero.

“No, I’m not.  Heero is your master.  He ordered you to be a companion to me, not a slave.  I’d much rather have you as a
friend than a servant.”  Master Duo said.

“I have never had a real friend, Master Duo.”  Quatre replied, tears brimming in his eyes.  “I-I think I would like to have one.”  
He said warily, his voice quiet.

Master Duo smiled again.  “Good, then if you want to be my friend, there are just two things I want you to do.”

“What is that, Master Duo?”  Quatre asked, hoping too much wouldn’t be asked of him.

“First, stop calling me ‘master.’  Friends should see each other as equals.  And second, I want you to freely speak your mind . .
. at least around me.  Heero won’t mind if you do, in fact he lets all of his slaves freely speak, just as long as we don’t have
guests staying with us.”  He grinned brightly.  “Do you think you can do that?”

Quatre thought about it for a moment, then smiled if only a little.  “I will try, Mas . . . I will try, Duo.”  He said, amending his
reply in the middle of the word he had been told not to speak around Duo.  It would be difficult not to call Duo ‘master’ but he
would give it a try.

“Great!”  Duo exclaimed.  “Now, you wait here, and I’ll go get the water for your medicine.  I’m sure Hilde will be up with our
meal just as soon as Heero is served.”  

He removed himself from the bed, heading over to the hearth and picking up a worn cloth from its place on the mantle.  He used
it to pick up the kettle, then brought the kettle over and filled the goblet that sat on the bedside table.  Quatre watched Duo as he
set the kettle aside.  Then Duo took a pinch of herbs from their container and dropped them in the water, stirring the contents
around with his finger before returning to Quatre’s side.

Quatre reached out to take it when Duo offered it to him.  He did feel a little better than he had that morning, somewhat stronger
although not much.  Still, Duo’s hand remained on the goblet as Quatre brought it to his lips and drank, sipping at the tea until it
was all gone.  Then Duo took the goblet away and set it on the table again.

“Come on, lay back down.  You should be resting.”  Duo said, coming around the other side of the bed and climbing onto it.  He
helped Quatre to recline, covering him with the blankets again before he settled himself beside Quatre’s tired body.  “Are you

“Yes, thank you.”  Quatre replied, offering a brief smile.

Duo stayed beside Quatre, giving him reassurance with his very presence.  Quatre merely lay where he was, allowing Duo to
brush his fingers through his hair, idly stroking his scalp.  The touches were soothing . . . Quatre started feeling sleepy and told
Duo of this.  He didn’t want to get punished if Duo needed him awake for some reason.

“Then go to sleep.”  Duo said quietly.

Quatre nodded tiredly.  He looked over to Duo, feeling very foolish and nervous about the question he was about to ask.  “Duo .
. . May I . . . May I hold your braid?”  He asked quietly.

Duo smiled, reaching behind his back and pulling his braid over his shoulder.  He said nothing as he set his braid over Quatre’s
body, watching as the blonde curled his fingers around it delicately.

“Thank you.”  Quatre yawned, holding the braid close as he felt himself drifting off to sleep.  It wasn’t long before his
sleepiness completely overcame him.  He fell into a slumber, feeling truly safe for the first time in so very long.

To Be Continued . . .