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

Notes:  Wufei worries when Meiran suddenly turns ill.  Duo and Hilde have an argument over Heero.  Then Duo has a
conversation with Heero.



Servitude, Retribution, and Enchantment



Part Twenty-One


Wufei frowned as he left the room, glancing back at the door and worrying for the health of that slave . . . Heero was his name.  
He shuddered, the sight of all those wounds on that young man’s body bringing up memories in his own mind, reminding him of
the pain he had gone through himself these last five years.  In his mind, Wufei could still hear the loud crack of the whip, could
still feel the tearing pain of leather slicing into skin.

He looked to Meiran and Treize, grateful that the two of them had found him.  He would probably be dead if she hadn’t
interfered and bought him.  And now, for the first time since she had rescued him, Wufei truly didn’t want to die . . . he didn’t
regret his decision not to kill himself.  He smiled to himself, his heart feeling lighter as he looked at his two . . . friends.

The happiness about his sudden epiphany was shattered as he watched Meiran.  The young Queen did not look all that steady on
her feet as she walked along the hall.  Treize was ahead of her, so he didn’t notice.  However, since Wufei was behind the two
of them, he could keep an eye on them both.

Suddenly, Meiran’s legs gave out from under her and she collapsed.  Wufei rushed forward, catching her in his arms.  However,
since he wasn’t at full strength himself, Meiran’s weight took them both to the floor.  He gasped, a few aches winding through
his body as he sat up, cradling Meiran’s form in his arms.

“What happened?”  Treize asked worriedly as he knelt down in front of Wufei, his hand reaching out to brush the hair from
Meiran’s face.

“I’m just a little tired . . . that’s all.”  Meiran replied, her eyes barely open as she stared up at the two of them.  She looked more
than just tired, in fact she seemed positively exhausted.

Treize sighed.  “You used magic for that slave, didn’t you?”  Treize asked, clasping one of Meiran’s hands.  Wufei just watched
the two of them curiously, wondering about what he was missing here.

Meiran smiled slightly.  “I had to.”  She replied, her voice quiet.  

“W-Why did you have to?”  Wufei asked, taking a chance and asking a question.

“That boy . . . Heero . . . he was dying.  His injuries are very severe.  While I was making and applying that ointment, I used
some of my own energy to strengthen it.”  Meiran said, smiling kindly at Treize.

“You risked your life . . . again.”  Treize chided.  “The last time you did this you nearly died because of it.”

Meiran glared at him.  “And I would gladly do it again!”  She snapped.  “Both of them would be dead now if it were not for me!”

“Who did you save before?”  Wufei asked.

“Duo . . . I saved Duo.  He was a street orphan, a young man I found dying in an alleyway three years ago, crying over the
corpse of his brother.  He was not recovering.  No matter what my healers and I tried, he was wasting away before our eyes.”  
Meiran said.  “I saved Duo, and now I saved this young prince, Heero.  I see Duo cares for him, even if he has only known him
a short time.  I could not let Duo suffer because of his death . . . he would undoubtedly blame himself for it.”

“Can you get up?”  Treize asked, the back of his hand brushing against one of Meiran’s cheeks.

“No . . . I was barely able to make it out of the room.  I’m too tired.”  She replied, sighing.

Wufei felt confused again.  “If you are so tired, why didn’t you rest inside the room?”

“I didn’t want to faint in front of Duo.  It’s best that he doesn’t know what I’ve done for him or for Heero.  Promise you won’t
tell him.”  Meiran said, her eyes conveying that she really wanted his promise of secrecy.

Wufei nodded.  “I won’t tell him.”  He said.

“Enough of this.”  Treize announced, wrapping his arms around Meiran and lifting her.  “Let us get Meiran into a bed so she can
rest.”  He said.

“Yes, that would be wise.”  Wufei replied, rising and following behind Treize, hoping for Meiran’s recovery.


*****


Duo awakened, the amount of light in the room telling him that it was well past mid-afternoon.  He had slept for most of the
day.  He raised his head from the bed, taking a long look at his slave’s face.  Heero was asleep, his face serene as he rested.  
Duo reached up, lightly tracing Heero’s features, sighing as he hoped for the young man’s health.

As he delicately stroked the youth’s face, Duo was pleased to watch as Heero’s eyes slowly drifted open.  Heero’s breath came
to him uneasily, and he flopped his head to the side to see who was touching him, looking so weary even though he had just
awakened.

Duo pulled his hand back, forcing a smile on his face as he waited for Heero’s eyes to focus on him.  “Good afternoon.”  Duo
greeted.

Heero merely blinked, parting his chapped lips slightly.  Before the pale young man could utter a sound, the door was opened and
Hilde stepped into the room.  “Duo, Treize told me you were in here.”  She said, walking over to the bed.

“Don’t tell me you just got here.  I left you hours ago.”  Duo said, moving to sit up.

Hilde shook her head.  “No, I’ve been here for quite some time.  But when I met Treize in the hall a few hours ago, he said you
were resting with your slave.  I decided to wait before I came and saw you.”  She smiled, sitting on the edge of the bed beside
Duo.  “How is he?”

Duo frowned at Heero, noting that the youth seemed ready to pass out at any second.  “Meiran says he will recover . . . I believe
her.”  He said, not willing to say exactly what he felt.  He’d rather believe Meiran than think that Heero could die.

Hilde nodded, but didn’t comment.  “Do you need anything?”

Duo looked down at Heero.  “Is there anything you need?”  He asked the ill young man, letting his fingers graze across Heero’s
heated flesh as he lightly brushed his bangs back.

Heero opened his mouth, gasping in a raspy voice.  “Water . . . please.”

“A glass of water, please.”  Duo smiled.  “And a basin of water with some cloths.  Cool compresses would probably be helpful
to him right now.  He is awfully warm.”

Hilde nodded.  “As you wish, my lord.”  Hilde said, bowing before she hastily left the room.

Duo returned his attention to Heero, smirking as he brushed the bangs away from the young man’s face.  Duo sighed, noticing
that Heero reminded him of Solo somewhat.  They both had the same unruly hair, although different colors.  They both had
determined eyes that said that they’d rather die than bow down to anyone.  Heero was defiant and spirited, not wanting to
answer to anyone regardless of his current status, just like Solo used to be like.  

Duo could see that spirit in Heero’s eyes.  Even though he was beaten and had no strength, there was a fire in his eyes that told
he wasn’t broken.  Solo had looked like that before the soldiers had killed him.  Even though he was dying, Solo had still had his
spirit . . . they hadn’t broken him even when they had killed him.

“What are you looking at?”  Heero asked, his voice a bit more strong, his eyes glaring at Duo slightly.

Duo smirked, seeing that Heero’s strength had returned a little.  He was more awake than he had been only a few moments ago.  
“I was just admiring your looks.”  Duo said, grinning.  He brushed his hand through Heero’s hair again, a question flittering
through his mind that he felt he had to ask.  “Your name, Heero Yuy?  Does it mean anything?”

Heero glared at him again.  “Does YOUR name mean something . . . Master?”  He nearly spat.

“Yeah . . . it means two . . . as for my last name . . . For a winter, it meant home, until soldiers destroyed the church that my
brother and I were taking shelter in.  My brother and I took the last name Maxwell in honor of the priest that was killed that
day.  He was the first and only father figure to us.  So . . . does your name mean anything?”  Duo replied, not appreciating
having to bring up his own past, but knowing he had to answer that question.

Heero sighed, his eyes softening briefly.  “One and only.  That’s what I was told when I had asked.  I guess it was because I’m
an only child and will be the only child of my mother.”  Heero said.

Duo looked away, the similarities becoming too much for him.  This was just so odd.  Heero and Solo were so much alike.  Duo
had to wonder if it was all just a coincidence or not.

“Is something wrong?”  Heero asked suddenly, gaining Duo’s attention once again.

Duo feigned a smile.  “It’s . . . your name, that’s all.  My brother’s name was Solo.  He once told me it meant ‘only one’ and
that I was an accident . . . I wasn’t supposed to happen.”  Then he chuckled again.  “Children aren’t very welcome to
prostitutes.”

“Your mother was a whore?”  Heero asked, sounding shocked.

Duo nodded.  “Second bastard of a prostitute.”  He said sadly.  “Well, actually the first son of a prostitute.  Mother was married
for a while, but her husband died just before Solo was born, had to go into prostitution to raise Solo.  I was an accident though .
. . she never even knew who my father was.  But Solo always said, just because it meant making no money for a few months,
she never even thought about killing me in her womb.”

Heero’s hand gently grasped his, a soft smile on his face.  “Your mother?  What happened to her?”

Duo shrugged.  “I never really knew her.  I was little when she died.  One night she went out to work, and just never came
back.  Last I saw her, she was walking off with some soldiers to ‘have a little fun’ I guess they got a little too rough.”  He
frowned, for the first time in a long time missing his mother.

Heero turned his head away.  Duo frowned, wondering if something was wrong.  He reached out, gently turning Heero to face
him again, saddened when he saw the look in his eyes.  There was something there, a forlorn look that Duo didn’t like seeing
there.  Perhaps it had to do with the topic they were discussing.  If so, then Duo felt he had to ask.

“And what of your mother?”  Duo asked while he brushed his hand over Heero’s cheek.  “I have heard you speak of your father
several times, but no so much your mother.”

“She was killed by an assassin.”  Heero whispered quietly, lowering his eyes.  “She was pregnant with me, standing on her
balcony when an arrow tore into her chest.  I was ripped prematurely from her womb as she lay dying.”

Duo nodded.  “Forgive me.  I did not mean to pry into such memories that must be painful for you.”  Now Duo saw why Heero’
s father had locked Heero up for his entire life.  The man’s wife had been assassinated and he had feared the same would happen
to his son.  He didn’t like that Heero’s father had kept him a prisoner in his own home, but he did understand his reasoning now.

Heero sighed, still not meeting Duo’s gaze.  “Do not think that a little bit of conversation will convince me to let you bed me.”  
With that said, he took his hand away from Duo’s and turned his head to face the other way.

Duo sighed, closing his eyes.  Heero definitely was a stubborn person . . . which made him all the more attractive to Duo.  He
wasn’t weak-minded . . . he had a good heart and a fiery spirit.  Duo smiled, glad once again that Heero wasn’t just an obedient,
mindless slave.  He opened his mouth, intending to speak, but instead he sighed, as Hilde walked into the room once again.

She strode over to the bed, carrying a basin of water, a goblet, a pitcher of water and a few plain cloths on a tray.  Silently, she
set the tray on the table beside the bed.  Duo frowned, noting immediately how sharp her movements were, as if she were angry
about something.  Duo had known Hilde for the past couple years now, he knew Hilde’s moods almost as well as his own.  And
it was plainly obvious that something was upsetting Hilde now.

Hilde sat beside Heero, grasping his chin and forcing him to look straight up.  Heero groaned, his face contorting into a pained
grimace as the fast movement apparently hurt him.  Duo frowned as he watched, not liking how Hilde treated Heero.  Hilde
soaked a cloth in water from the basin, ringing it out then folding it neatly.  Then she just dropped it on his forehead, roughly
fixing it over his skin and ignoring the weak whimper that left his lips.

That was the last straw for Duo.  “Hilde, that’s enough!”  He hissed, grasping her wrist and pushing her away from Heero, not
wanting her to inadvertently or purposely hurt him anymore.

“He’s just a slave.”  Hilde said, her tone venomous.

Duo glared at her, then reached over and took the cup of water, having a strange hunch about the contents of it.  He sipped the
lukewarm liquid, then turned his head away and spit it out.  “Hilde.  This water is stale.  Go fetch some fresh, cool water.”  He
reached up, pulling the cloth away from Heero’s forehead, intending to fix it, then frowned as he felt how coarse the fabric
was.  “And some softer cloths.  I won’t have him uncomfortable or drinking distasteful water.”

“He does not deserve special treatment!”  Hilde exclaimed, gesturing emphatically.  “He’s just a slave.”

“So are you, Hilde.  Or have you forgotten that?”  Duo replied, considering having her locked up for such disobedience.  She
was severely pissing him off.  Her attitude was just horrendous.   “I haven’t freed you yet.”

“Duo, I know you have made some STUPID choices since I have known you . . . but THIS?!”  She asked, pointing directly to
Heero.  “He’s just filth . . . why waste your time nursing him back to health while I can still do my duty to you?”

“Hilde . . . Watch what you say.”  Duo growled.  “I am THIS close to having you locked in a cell down in Meiran’s dungeons.  
Do you realize your status?  You are a slave, and have NO right to talk to me as you are, and yet I give you special treatment.  
Should I stop?  Because if I should, then right now you would be getting a beating for your insolence.”

Hilde bowed her head, shutting her mouth immediately.  “I apologize, Master . . . I forgot my place.  But I am only concerned
about your well-being.”  Hilde whispered.

Duo shook his head, tossing the rough cloth onto the tray.  “Go and do what I said.”  He ordered, turning his attention away
from the insolent slave and back to Heero.

“Yes, sire.”  Hilde meekly replied, taking the tray and hastily leaving.

Duo called out to her just before she reached the door.  “Hilde . . . if you are going to continue visiting me while I am tending to
my new slave, I suggest you get rid of that chip on your shoulder . . . or else don’t come back.  I would prefer you and Heero
to at least have a semblance of civility if not friendship.”

Hilde nodded and Duo couldn’t help but notice the tear that trailed down her one cheek.  “Yes, Master.”  She replied, opening the
door and leaving the room before Duo could say anything more to her.

“Asserting your authority over your lowly slaves?”  Heero asked, his tone one of disgust.

Duo closed his eyes and sighed.  As much as he had hated saying those things to Hilde, he had no other choice.  “She had no
right to speak to me as if she were better than me.  Any other slave owner would have beaten her to within an inch of her life if
she had dared to say such things to them.  Tell me, if she was your slave and she had spoken to you in such a disrespectful
manner, would she have been given a simple warning for that?”  Duo inquired, looking deeply into Heero’s eyes.

“No . . . she would have been punished.”  Heero said quietly, almost meekly.

Duo nodded.  “I thought so.”  He reached out and brushed back a stray lock of Heero’s hair, just to have something to do.  “Let
it be a warning to you too, Heero.  I won’t tolerate behavior like that from either of you.  You can speak your mind, but don’t
disrespect me.  When she’s free, she can yell at me all she wants.”

Heero glared.  “Yes, Master.”  He said angrily.

Duo smirked, deciding to allow that one for now.  Heero wasn’t trained.  It would take some time to work the anger out of the
youth.  All he had to do was show him just how enjoyable being a pleasure slave could be for him.  He reached out, lightly
tracing his fingertips over the edge of Heero’s face, moving them slowly inward and delicately outlining the young man’s
sensuously tempting lips.

Heero turned away.  “Get away from me.” He demanded, his voice strained as if he were close to panicking.

Duo chuckled.  “Heero, let me assure you that bedding you is the LAST thing on my mind.  As fun as it might be for me, you’re
just much too weak to enjoy it.  And I want a pleasure slave that will enjoy the act just as much, if not more, than I do.”

“I’ll never enjoy being touched by you!”  Heero hissed, glaring at him.

“How do you know?  You’re still a virgin.”  Duo replied, slipping his hand under the blankets and tenderly stroking the inside of
the young man’s thigh, not touching too intimately.  He smirked as Heero’s muscles tightened in response to the touch.  He took
his hand away a moment later.  “I’ll teach you . . . soon enough you’ll learn just how enjoyable it can be.”

“Never!”  Heero spat, although it came off as more like a whimper as he turned away.

Duo shrugged.  He wouldn’t give up on Heero so easily.  It would just take some time to train Heero, a lot of time.  Duo was a
patient man, he could wait it out . . . besides, he loved a challenge and Heero looked to be a great challenge.



To Be Continued . . .