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

Notes:  Meiran worries about Quatre, and decides to see how he and Trowa are doing.  She also talks with Wufei.

Servitude, Retribution, and Enchantment

Part Twelve

Meiran slowly raised her hand to her head, confused as to why she was in bed in the middle of the afternoon.  She could feel the
sunlight on her face, and knew that if it were morning, it wouldn’t be in her face . . . she had purposely arranged the placement
of her furniture to avoid getting a blast of sunlight in her eyes when she woke up in the mornings.

Suddenly Meiran sat up in bed, gasping, her eyes wide as she remembered.  Quatre . . . he was in danger.  That cruel king,
Dekim had destroyed the Winner Empire.  Meiran had to see if he was okay.  Without thinking, she leapt from the bed and
hastily crossed the room to stand before her mirror.  The black cloth had already been removed, and it still lay on the floor in
front of the mirror.

Meiran paid it no attention, instead beginning the spell that she needed just as soon as she stepped over to the mirror.  “Show me
Quatre.”  She said, watching as the mirror flashed a sharp violet before obeying her command.

Tears sprang to her eyes as the image in the mirror showed the lovely young prince.  He was lying on a bed, his body covered
by blankets.  He was staring straight up, his eyes focused on nothing, blood was caked across his forehead and in his hair
somewhat.  He looked like an empty shell . . . and for that Meiran began to weep.  Perhaps Trowa had been too late to save him
from whatever Dekim had planned.  Meiran cried, fearing that Quatre was lost forever . . . that the world had lost the great
treasure of his kind heart and gentle spirit.

There was a young girl sleeping beside Quatre.  Meiran didn’t recognize her.  She idly wondered who she was.  However, her
thoughts quickly returned to her worries over Quatre and his apparent poor health.

As she watched, Trowa walked into her view, stepping into the scene that played out before her eyes.  He sat on the edge of the
bed, setting a bowl of what looked like broth on a nearby table.  He lifted Quatre to a sitting position, keeping the blankets
covering him up to his waist.  He draped a cloth over Quatre’s chest, tucking it up under his chin.  Then he took hold of the
bowl and slowly began to spoonfeed the broth to Quatre, wiping at the corners of his mouth every now and then with a napkin
as the broth dribbled from Quatre’s lips.  

It warmed Meiran’s heart to see that Trowa was caring for the young prince.  At least now she knew that Dekim was no longer
a threat to Quatre.  They were apparently still in Dekim’s castle.  And if they were, then Dekim was no longer alive, or at the
very least safely under lock and key somewhere.  

Meiran watched them until Trowa finished feeding Quatre.  She saw the look of utter despair on Trowa’s face, and felt
concerned for him as well now, especially after noticing the dried blood on his throat, although there didn’t seem to be any
wound.  Perhaps the blood was from someone he had killed during his mission.  

As Trowa set the empty bowl aside and settled Quatre under the blankets again, Meiran released the spell.  She then called forth
another spell, a communication spell.  “Trowa.”  She called out.

Moments later, Trowa’s face appeared before Meiran.  “Yes, my Queen?”  Trowa asked.

“Are you out of danger?”  Meiran asked.

“Yes.”  Trowa said.

“Good.  Care to give me your report?”  Meiran asked, brushing aside her tears as she watched Trowa’s face.

Trowa nodded.  “I arrived as planned . . . security was not that tight.  Apparently, Dekim had given Quatre’s sisters to his
guards to have fun with.”

Meiran gasped.  “By the ancients!  Are they all right?”

Trowa shook his head sadly.  “Negative.  All of them were slain.  Their blood was used in whatever ceremony Dekim had
planned for last night.”

Meiran narrowed her gaze, a feeling of hate fluttering through her mind for Dekim.  “Ceremony?  Elaborate!”

“After I located Mariemaia . . .”

“Who?”  Meiran interrupted.

“Mariemaia.”  Trowa replied.  “She is Dekim’s granddaughter.  However, he treated her like she was worth less than a slave due
to the fact that she is the bastard child of his daughter and some soldier who Dekim considered a fool.”

“That bastard.”  Meiran seethed.  “Please continue.”

Trowa nodded.  “After finding her, I followed the sound of chanting.  When I stepped into the main chamber . . . I saw Dekim
preparing to have sex with Quatre.  I killed Dekim and his priests and . . .”

“Go on, Trowa.”

Trowa’s breath hitched and he closed his eyes.  “I . . . I don’t know what came over me, Meiran.  I couldn’t think straight.”  
He said, his voice barely a whisper.

“Trowa . . . what happened?”  Meiran asked, growing increasingly worried.

“I . . . I RAPED him, my Queen!”  He blurted out, a tear falling from his visible eye.  “He was helpless and . . . I KNOW he was
begging, but . . .”

Meiran’s eyes widened in shock.  However, she shook her head, knowing that she had to calm her friend.  “Trowa . . . Trowa
calm down and listen to me!”  

Trowa nodded, remaining quiet as he looked to Meiran, a guilt-stricken expression on his usually calm face.

“Trowa . . . I KNOW you.  I know what you’ve been through in your life . . . with the mercenaries.  Dekim’s ceremony
probably triggered whatever happened.  It was not your fault.”  Meiran said, watching as Trowa brushed a hand across his face
to rid himself of his tears.  “What happened after that?”

Trowa’s voice quavered a moment, then he grew calm and controlled again.  “We fell asleep.  When we woke up this morning,
Quatre was upset about the fact that he was now going to be my slave since I had taken Dekim’s place in the ceremony . . .
Dekim had wanted his complete loyalty.”

“He wasn’t upset about what happened between the two of you?”  Meiran asked.

“He was . . . but I was just as upset and we came to an understanding.  Then he asked about his sisters.  I couldn’t LIE to him,
my Queen!”  Trowa answered.

Meiran nodded.  “I know you couldn’t, Trowa.”  She replied, wishing she could reach out and stroke a hand across his face, or
to touch him and be able to offer some amount of comfort.

“He saw the graves, mentioning something about celebrating the birth of his niece and then . . . he just blanked out.  I’m doing
what I can to take care of him, and I’ve sent for Catherine.”  Trowa said.

Meiran offered him a slight smile.  “You’ve done well, Trowa.  Stay there for the time being.  Quatre’s probably just in shock.  
He loved his sisters, and was loved by them all.  Look after him and be there for him when he snaps out of it.”

Trowa nodded.  “It’s the least I can do after . . .”  He sighed, not finishing that thought, quickly changing the subject.  “What do
I do with the girl?”

Meiran thought for a moment.  “I take it that you have no wish to rule.”  She smirked.

“No, my Queen.”  Trowa replied.

“I have an ally near you.  The royalty of Taura are good rulers.  Speak with the king and I am sure they would agree to help you
out in some way.”  Meiran said.  “You know the way to their palace?”

“Yes, my Queen.  I will rule here for the time being.  Once Quatre has recovered, I will make my way to Taura . . . I would
rather be here when he awakens from his shock.”  Trowa said.  

“Yes, that is good of you.”  Meiran smiled, glad that he was thinking positively of Quatre’s current state by using ‘when’ instead
of ‘if.’  “Be well, my friend.”

“Goodbye, my Queen.”  Trowa nodded, then his face faded from view.

As soon as the spell was released, Meiran sank to the floor, curling her arms around herself as she began crying once again.  
Quatre was so kind . . . his sisters had been such wonderful young women.  It was tragic to hear of them being hurt or killed.  
Meiran wept for them, for their suffering and silently she prayed that Quatre would recover.

A blanket was draped over Meiran’s shoulders and she clutched tightly to the edge of the soft cloth.  “Thank you.”  She
whispered, thinking that Treize had found her like the last time.

However, it was Wufei’s voice that spoke to her.  “You should lie down.”  He said.

Meiran smirked and turned.  “It is good to see you up and about, Wufei.”  Meiran said, changing the subject.

Wufei shook his head.  “You’re tired.  You should lie down and rest.”  

Meiran gave him a bright smile, which was not faked.  He was acting more like the Wufei that she knew and loved.  He was
actually telling her what to do instead of cowering away from her as he had been doing.  “You’re right.”  She sighed.  “I am
tired.  Will you assist a weak woman?”

Wufei blushed, bowing his head slightly.  “From what T-Treize has said . . . you are anything but weak.”  Wufei replied.  Then
suddenly he yelped and scrambled off to cower in a nearby corner.

“What?”  Meiran asked, then looked to where Wufei had been and saw Nataku standing there, looking at Wufei.  She must have
nudged him, like she often did with Treize.  Meiran shook her head.  She crawled over to where Wufei was shivering with his
face buried in his knees.  “Oh, Wufei.”  She said, gently reaching out and laying her hand on his shoulder.  “This is my familiar.  
Her name is Nataku.”

Wufei lifted his head, looking between Meiran and Nataku repeatedly.  “You have . . . a TIGER . . . for a familiar?”  He asked,
sounding genuinely shocked.

Meiran reached out, pulling Wufei into a gentle hug, wrapping the blanket that Wufei had given to her around the two of them.  
“She won’t harm you.  Her duty is to assist me in my spell casting . . . to see and sense what I cannot . . . to guard me when I
am in a trance or when Treize isn’t here.  All those under my protection are also under hers.”

Wufei pulled away, a glare on his face.  “Ah . . . so I am to be protected now, am I?”

“Wufei . . .”  Meiran replied, trying to ease this tense situation, laying her hand against Wufei’s bruised face.

Wufei ducked his had and smiled slightly.  “I suppose I have become so weak that I require protection.”

“You are NOT weak.”  Meiran replied, not wanting Wufei to talk like that.

Wufei pushed himself to his feet, stepping away from Meiran.  “I AM!  I AM weak!  Look at what I have become!”  He
shouted, gesturing down at himself.  “I’m nothing more than a slave, worthless and weak.”

Meiran rose to her feet and stepped over to him, dropping the blanket and leaving it behind on the floor completely forgotten.  
She grasped Wufei’s shoulders, frowning as he turned his head away.  “Look at what you have SURVIVED!”  She felt tears in
her eyes but willed them back, only wanting to help Wufei.

“No, if I were strong, I would have fought harder against those men.  I would have killed myself when I had the chance.  
Instead, I just let them turn me into a worthless little slave.”  Wufei said, his gaze still not on her.

Meiran didn’t want to hear that.  She shook him roughly, causing his hair to fling around and fall in front of his eyes.  “I don’t
ever want to hear you talking like that.”  She released her grip, hearing a strangled whimper.  Gently, she pushed aside the
curtain of ebony tresses and felt ashamed of herself when she saw the tears trailing down Wufei’s face.  She reached out,
tenderly wiping them away.  “I’m sorry.  But you are not weak.  You are strong for surviving, for still being able to voice
opinions after all the harsh treatment you were put through.  You are strong for not using the quick escape of suicide.”

“I wish I could believe that.”  Wufei whispered, his eyes cast downwards.

Meiran offered a slight smile, weaving her fingers through Wufei’s hair to cup his head.  “You will, Wufei . . . just give yourself

Wufei nodded, blinking his eyes as he took a hesitant look into Meiran’s eyes then looked away again.  “I-I will try to believe
that.”  He said.

“Good.  Now, I think we both need a rest.”  She slowly led Wufei toward the bed.  “Come, you are still . . . ill . . . from your
injuries.”  She said, purposely avoiding using the word weak.

Wufei nodded, but said nothing as he allowed himself to be led.  He climbed up on the bed, Meiran following after him.  She did
need some rest herself.  She lay on one side, and watched as Wufei laid down as far away from her as he could possibly get and
still be on the bed.  He was resting on the very edge of the bed, so close that if he rolled even slightly in his sleep he would fall
off of the bed.

“Wufei . . . you don’t have to sleep so close to the edge.”  Meiran said, rolling onto her side and reaching out to slide her hand
along his bare back.

“Are . . . are you sure?”  Wufei asked, uncertainly as he rolled over and looked at her.

Meiran nodded.  “And I swear I’ll keep my hands to myself.  You don’t ever have to worry about anyone touching you unless
you want them to.  You are no longer a slave, Chang Wufei . . . I want you getting used to that.”

“I’ll do my best.”  Wufei replied.  

Slowly, he slid over on the bed and hesitantly wrapped his arms around Meiran’s body, his arms shaking as he moved.  Meiran
just laid back on the bed, not making a move to touch him, proving that unless he wished it, she wouldn’t do anything.

Meiran could feel his shuddered breaths, knew he was trying to calm himself.  “Y-you can touch me.”  He whispered, his voice
barely audible.

Meiran slid her arm around his body, her other hand gently stroking his arm.  “Go to sleep, Wufei.”  She said, watching as
Wufei closed his eyes.  When she was sure that he was asleep, she let herself drift off, just hoping for him to recover from this.

To Be Continued . . .