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

Notes:  Quatre awakens to a new day.  He, Trowa, and Catherine discuss Quatre’s health problems and what should be done
about them.

Servitude, Retribution, and Enchantment

Part Eighteen

It was like he was floating through a mass of vivid, luminous colors.  Beyond those glorious hues, Quatre could swear that he
could hear his sister, Iria, humming to him.  It was a song she’d often hummed to soothe his nightmares.  Then a wave of
sadness filled Quatre as his sister stopped humming and a bird took over.  No . . . no, it wasn’t a bird.  It was a flute.  Someone
was playing the flute, and it was his favorite song.  

Quatre blinked his eyes as the darkness slowly gave way, turning into the room that he’d fallen asleep in.  Turning his head,
sleep still trying to claim him once again, Quatre saw Trowa sitting by a window, his eyes closed and his face turned toward the
window as he played the flute.  He looked so calm, serene.  For a while, Quatre just laid there and watched Trowa, content to
hear the lovely tune that he played.

However, all too soon, Quatre began to feel a sort of tightness in his throat, as if something was squeezing his stomach . . . he
could almost feel it.  He winced his eyes shut, moving his arms so that they wrapped around his stomach as he rolled over onto
his side.  He didn’t want to open his mouth to say anything, feeling like he would lose it if he attempted.  But he knew that he
couldn’t just lay there.

“Trowa.”  Quatre whimpered, his voice no more than a groan.

The sound of the flute quickly stopped.  Hands fell on Quatre’s side only moments later, gently rolling him over.  “What’s
wrong?”  Trowa asked, concerned.

“My stomach . . . I think I’m gonna . . .”  Quatre replied, stopped from finishing his statement by the bile that arose in his
throat.  He swallowed it back, knowing that it was only a matter of time now.

Trowa stood then knelt and reached under the bed.  He pulled out something, then rolled Quatre over onto his side, his face only
inches over the clean chamberpot that Trowa had gotten from underneath the bed . . . well at least it had been a clean
chamberpot.  Only seconds after Trowa had rolled him over, Quatre vomited, his stomach lurching repeatedly as he emptied it
of everything inside.  

“Guard!”  Trowa yelled out, as Quatre continued retching.  They both knew that a guard always stood just outside the bedroom
door, in case someone got an idea to assassinate Trowa, or if Trowa ever needed anything.

The guard ran into the room.  “Yes, my lord?”  He asked.

Quatre laid back, his stomach grumbling but thankfully not feeling as if he would vomit once again.  Trowa brushed his fingers
through his hair lightly, then turned away.  He got off of the bed and walked over to stand in front of the guard.  Quatre
watched as Trowa handed the chamberpot over to the guard.  “Take this.  Get rid of it, and go find Catherine.  Tell her that it’s
important and to bring her herbs with her.”  Trowa said.

“Yes, my lord.”  The guard said, hastily leaving to do as Trowa had ordered.

Trowa returned to sit by Quatre’s side.  “How are you feeling?”  He asked, his fingers tenderly stroking the side of Quatre’s

“Okay I guess . . . other than the fact that I just vomited.”  Quatre replied, feeling quite embarrassed.

“Catherine will be here soon.  She’ll see to it that you are well.”  Trowa said, offering a slight smile.

Quatre nodded, his thoughts returning to earlier.  “That tune you were playing . . . what was it?”  He asked.

“I do not know.”  Trowa shrugged.  “It just came to me I guess.”

“My sister, Iria used to hum it to me when I had nightmares.”  Quatre said sadly.  

Trowa’s expression darkened.  “I’m sorry . . . I did not mean to bring up such painful memories for you.  I will not play it

Quatre reached out, grasping his hand.  “No . . . please . . . don’t say that.  I’m happy to remember such memories.  They are
not painful to me . . . not when I look back on the good times.  W-Will you play it for me again?  Please?”  Quatre asked,
wanting to keep the happy memories that remained in his mind.

Trowa nodded.  He walked over to where he had been sitting by the window and picked up his flute from where he had left it
when he had so hastily moved to help Quatre.  Then he returned to Quatre’s side and sat beside him.  Smiling once again, he
lifted the flute and took a breath before he began to play the gentle tune.

Quatre sighed as he listened to it once again, reveling in the memories that it brought up.  He wanted to focus on those good
memories, not lose himself in the pain of knowing that he would never again see his sisters’ smiling faces, to hear their laughter
ringing throughout the castle halls.  He was glad to have a reminder of the happiness they had all shared while he had been
growing up surrounded by their love.

As Trowa continued to play, Quatre’s mind drifted, remembering countless times that his sisters had helped him sneak out of the
castle to play beyond the walls, out in the open air away from guards and tutors.  The way they had picnicked in the fields,
happy as they played with the children of the village.  In his mind, he heard the tune that Trowa was playing, however it was
Iria’s voice that hummed it to him, her fingers gently running through his hair as she smiled at him, soothing him in the night
after another of his nightmares.

All too soon the tune stopped and Quatre opened his eyes.  He saw Trowa looking down on him, his face calm . . . although his
one visible green eye held worry.  Quatre became aware of a warm wetness on the side of his face, knowing they were tears
although he couldn’t recall when he had shed them.  Once again, Trowa’s gentle hand reached out, stroking across Quatre’s
face, tenderly brushing aside the tears.

Before either could say anything to each other, Catherine burst into the room.  She was out of breath, carrying a case in her
hands as she ran over to the bed, climbing up so that she knelt beside Quatre.  She set her case down beside her, opening it to
reveal a large number of jars and pouches.  “What happened?”  She asked, laying her hand against Quatre’s forehead.

Quatre looked away, ashamed.  “I vomited.”  He admitted.

Catherine gave him a kind smile, then turned to look through her various vials.  “And how are you feeling now?”  Catherine

“Nauseous . . . tired.  I don’t feel all that good.”  Quatre replied, wondering what was wrong with him.

“I’m sure this is just due to the stress you’ve been under lately, Quatre . . . you have gone through a lot within this past
month.”  Catherine said, pulling out a jar full of some powder.  Quatre didn’t know what it was, but he did trust Catherine.  
“Trowa, send one of your guards for a goblet of warm water.”  Catherine said.

Trowa nodded, removing himself from the bed as he walked to the door.  He was only gone for a few moments and then he
returned to Quatre’s bedside.  “It’s on its way.”  Trowa said.

Catherine nodded.  “Good.”  Then she looked to Quatre once again.  “This is ginseng.”  She said, holding up the small jar.  “You
aren’t the only student of Meiran’s you know.  She’s been teaching me quite a bit over these past few years . . . says I have
potential as a witch.”  She smiled.  “I don’t think I’m all that good.”

“She’s just being modest.”  Trowa said, smirking slightly.  “You should see her if she truly gets angry . . . curses come naturally
to her then.”

“I only cursed one person, and he tried to hurt you.”  Catherine retorted, playfully slapping Trowa’s arm.  “Besides, it wasn’t
permanent . . . all of his hair did grow back eventually.”

Quatre broke the lighthearted mood.  “Are you sure I’ll be okay?”  He asked.

Catherine sighed.  “I don’t know, Quatre.  You have vomited repeatedly between the time when you snapped out of your shock
and this morning.  I was reluctant to give you anything before, since I just do not know what is wrong with you.  Other than the
vomiting you really have no other symptoms.”  She sighed again, then looked over at Trowa.  “Perhaps we should take him to
see Queen Meiran.  I’m sure she would be able to determine his illness.”

Trowa nodded.  “Yes, that’s a good idea.  Besides, I’m sure both Meiran and Quatre would enjoy the reunion.”  He turned and
smiled at Quatre.  “Wouldn’t you?”

“Yes . . . it has been years since I have seen Meiran.”  Quatre said, nodding.  “I would like to see her again . . . Nataku as well.”

“There’s just one problem . . . I must go to Taura and speak with their royalty about taking over these lands.  I told Meiran that
I would go as soon as Quatre regained awareness.”  Trowa said, sighing.  “I do not want the two of you traveling alone . . . I
may now have enemies and it would be safer for you here.”

“I understand.”  Quatre said, turning his gaze away.  He had been looking forward to seeing Meiran again, but it didn’t look as if
it would be happening any time soon.  It wasn’t as if Quatre could travel on his own, even if he weren’t ill . . . he was a slave
after all, nothing more than a worthless object to be used, bought and sold.  He was only Trowa’s servant . . . perhaps it was
time that he learned his place.

“Quatre . . .”  Trowa whispered, his fingers lightly grasping Quatre’s chin and turning him to face him.  “As soon as I return
from Taura, I will take you to see Meiran.  Your health is important to me, but I will not allow the two of you to risk yourselves
to get there.”

Quatre almost smiled, but still the knowledge that he was nothing more than a slave weighed down his happiness.  And beyond
that he felt sad that Trowa wouldn’t be there with him, afraid to be left alone once again.  He berated himself for those thoughts,
hating the spells that Dekim had set in place, wishing he was bonded to no one.  Why had Quatre once again given up his body
and mind, just for a moment of pure bliss?  If only he had kept himself under control . . . then neither of them would be in this
position.  Trowa had told him that he couldn’t go through with it, only moments before Quatre had begged him for it.  If not for
Quatre’s weakness, he wouldn’t have been taken . . . he wouldn’t feel so drawn to the young man that had claimed his
virginity.  Those spells would have never been cast if he hadn’t begged . . . if only he’d listened when Trowa had said that he
couldn’t do it.

“Quatre?”  Catherine’s sweet voice called out, a gentle hand laying against one of his bare arms.

Quatre rolled over onto his side, burying his face in a pillow as he avoided the two people that were sitting on the bed.  He
couldn’t face them . . . not when he knew he was so weak, so foolish to give up everything for only a moment of pleasure.  
Trowa wasn’t to blame . . . he had just been in the wrong place, consumed by the magic in the air.  It was Quatre’s fault and no
one else’s . . . all his own fault.

Distantly, Quatre heard as the door opened.  “Here is the water.”  Some guard said.

“Thank you.”  Catherine replied, probably taking the goblet from whoever had brought it.  A few moments later, Quatre heard
the door closing shut, as the guard left most likely.

“Quatre . . . please look at me.”  Trowa’s quiet voice urged.

Reluctantly, Quatre obeyed.  He rolled over onto his back, looking up at Trowa, his heart full of shame when he looked at the
young man that owned him, that had taken him.  His mind drifted back to that night, to the feel of Trowa’s body against his
own, the way Trowa had filled him so completely.  Quatre felt himself blushing as his body began to tingle, feeling a need for
Trowa’s touch again.  Self-hatred flooded him, knowing himself weak for craving such things from his “master.”  He shouldn’t
want it, these feelings weren’t his own, just something conjured up by a spell that Dekim had created to gain Quatre’s total

Once again tears fell from his eyes, only now he felt each and every one of them.  They burned, hot trails of liquid leaking from
his eyes and running down the sides of his face to drop to his pillow.  Only Quatre was to blame for the state he was in.  Trowa
was just an innocent, he had walked in on the ceremony . . . he wouldn’t want Quatre, didn’t want him.  No one could now, not
after he had been corrupted by Dekim’s spells.

“Why are you crying?”  Trowa asked, his callused fingers gently sliding across Quatre’s face, leaving a trail of fire in their
wake, the sensation of Trowa’s hand exciting Quatre more than he would have liked at the moment.

“It’s n-nothing.”  Quatre said, turning his head away quickly to hide his shame.

“You’re lying.”  Trowa replied, then he sighed.  “However, I won’t force you to talk about it if you do not wish to.”

“Thank you.”  Quatre said, continuing to avoid looking at Trowa’s attractive face.  

“Quatre, can you sit up and drink this?”  Catherine asked, her voice sweet and soothing.

Quatre nodded.  “I guess so.”  He replied, slowly pushing his weary body up.  Trowa’s hands circled his body, helping Quatre
to get into an upright position.  “Thank you.”  Quatre whispered to Trowa, as the young man removed his hands.

Catherine slid closer to Quatre, holding out a goblet to him.  “Here, drink this.”  She said.

Quatre nodded, wrapping his fingers around the goblet and pulling it to his lips, glad that Catherine’s hand stayed where it was.  
He was just so tired, he felt that he might drop it if he were holding it himself.  He slowly drank the liquid, noticing the sweet,
yet slightly bitter taste as he swallowed each and every last drop.

Catherine smiled, taking the goblet away once Quatre had released his hold on it.  “Now lie back.”  She whispered, rummaging
around in her case once again.  This time she pulled out a vial of liquid.  

Quatre did as he was told, once again being helped by Trowa as he laid down on the bed.  He wondered what Catherine meant to
do, but was reluctant to ask.  

Catherine smiled as she moved closer.  She pulled the blankets back from Quatre’s body, exposing everything above his waist.  
She pulled the top off of the vial, the scent of coriander immediately assailing Quatre’s nostrils.  He breathed in the scent, finding
it soothing for some reason.  

“I blended this the last time Trowa was ill.  I hope it will work as well on you.”  Catherine said, pouring a few drops into one of
her hands.  Then she handed the vial over to Trowa, along with the cap.  Trowa silently replaced the cap and put the vial back in
Catherine’s case.  Catherine rubbed her hands together briefly, then took a breath and placed her hands against Quatre’s
stomach, slowly beginning to massage the oil against him.  “I want you to be able to keep some food down, Quatre.  And this
will help your stomach.”  Catherine said.

Quatre nodded, biting back a moan as Catherine’s hands soothed him.  Her hands caressed his stomach, moving along his sides,
then slid up along his chest, firmly pressing against his muscles.  He breathed deeply, sighing as his stomach stopped flipping,
the nauseous feeling slowly ebbing away.

“Feeling better?”  Catherine asked, her hands ceasing their massage.

“Yes, much better.”  Quatre replied, offering a slight smile.

Catherine smiled in return.  “That’s good.”  She turned to Trowa, her smile fading.  “You better get going.  The sooner you
reach Taura, the sooner you’ll return.  Meiran should see Quatre as soon as possible.”  Catherine stated.

“Yes.”  Trowa said simply, nodding in agreement.  “I’ll be taking Mariemaia with me.  If there’s any trouble, I want the two of
you to get out of here as quickly as possible.”

“Of course.”  Catherine replied.

Trowa stood, leaning over and laying his hand on Quatre’s arm one last time.  “I’ll see you soon.”  Trowa said to Quatre, then
turned to Catherine.  “Take care of him, Catherine.”  Trowa said, then strode out of the room.

They watched Trowa leave, then Catherine grasped Quatre’s arm.  “Come on.”  She said, urging him to rise.

Quatre sat up, his brow furrowing in confusion as to why Catherine wanted him to get up.  “What?  Why?”  He asked, not
exactly sure of what he was trying to ask.  His confusion doubled as Catherine reached over and picked up the veil from the
bedside table.

Catherine smirked.  “We’re going to see Trowa and Mariemaia off on their journey.”  She said, then added.  “Besides, you could
use the exercise.”

“Okay.”  Quatre replied, sitting quietly as Catherine helped him to put the veil on.  Then she got off of the bed and ran around to
Quatre’s side, helping him to stand and then to walk, her arm wound around his waist as they slowly made their way out of the

Quatre felt tired after only a few minutes.  It had been a month since he had gotten any exercise, and all he had eaten in that time
according to Catherine was broths.  It really wasn’t surprising that he couldn’t get around all that well.

“Are you sure they won’t be gone by the time we get where we’re going?”  Quatre asked, trying to keep his legs moving.

“We have plenty of time.  Trowa and Mariemaia have to pack for their journey, and the servants need time to get horses or a
carriage ready.”  Catherine said.

Quatre nodded, not sure if he could say anything else even if he wanted to.  He was just tired.  By the time they reached the
courtyard, Quatre was nearly panting, sweat glistening on his skin as he leaned heavily against Catherine.  He saw Trowa helping
Mariemaia into a carriage . . . apparently they had gotten there just in time.

“Trowa!”  Catherine called out.

Trowa turned, nodding when he saw Catherine and Quatre standing by the heavy wooden doors that led into the castle.  He
waved once before getting into the carriage, waving again as he leaned out of one of the windows.

Quatre smiled, although no one would be able to see it with the veil he wore, and raised his hand, weakly waving to Trowa as
the carriage was pulled away.  “Goodbye.”  He said as loudly as he could manage.

“Good journey!”  Catherine exclaimed a great deal louder than Quatre’s farewell had been.

They stood out there for several long minutes.  As soon as Trowa’s carriage was out of sight, Catherine gently urged Quatre to
turn and they headed back inside.  When they reached Trowa’s chambers again, Catherine helped Quatre to get back into bed.  
She carefully removed the veil from his face, then covered him with the blankets once again.

“By the time Trowa returns, you should be able to walk around on your own again.”  Catherine smiled, her fingers idly twisting
in Quatre’s hair.  “Even with the vomiting, your strength has been returning.”  She said.

Quatre nodded, his eyes heavy.  “I feel fine now, just tired.”  He said.

Catherine smiled.  “As soon as Trowa returns we’ll take you to see Meiran.”  Catherine said.  “Now, you just get some rest.  I’ll
get you something to eat when you awaken and perhaps we can try getting you some more exercise.”

“Okay.”  Quatre replied tiredly, his eyes already having fallen shut.  He heard as Catherine began to hum a gentle tune, something
other than what Iria used to hum, and yet it was just as soothing to him.  Within moments he had drifted off to sleep, her fingers
gently woven into his hair, her voice calming his spirits.

To Be Continued . . .