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

Notes:  Meiran is feeling a good deal better.  Duo has another talk with Heero.



Servitude, Retribution, and Enchantment



Part Twenty-Three


Meiran opened her eyes, feeling better than ever.  Carefully, she pushed Treize off of herself and to the side, arranging him so
that he would be comfortable.  She pulled on a dressing gown, so that she would have at least some amount of modesty if
someone happened to walk in, then pulled the blanket up on the bed to cover her lover’s sleeping form.

Quietly, she tended to the wounds on his palms, regretting that Treize had been hurt, even though it had been unavoidable.  She
wrapped cloth around his hands, not too tightly though, and tied the bandages off, deciding that it would have to do for now.  
She’d look at them again in a short while.

With a smile curling her lips, she took a seat on the bed, leaning over her unconscious lover’s attractive body.  Tenderly she
curled her fingers in his short hair, toying with the strands.  “Rest well, my love.”  Meiran whispered, bending and pressing a
delicate kiss to Treize’s forehead.

The young queen lingered beside her lover for a few more moments, then rose from the bed.  She dressed herself, adjusting her
crown and checking her appearance in a looking glass until she was satisfied that she looked acceptable.  Only a short while
later, she heard a knock upon the chamber door.

“Enter.”  Meiran called out, taking a moment to adjust the blankets that covered Treize’s body once again.

Hilde opened the door and stepped into the room, a tray carried in her arms.  She closed the door behind herself and approached
the bed, setting the tray down at the foot of the bed.  “I have brought a meal for you, my Queen.”  Hilde said, bowing
respectfully.

Meiran was quite surprised to see Hilde here.  She had been expecting Wufei to bring her something to eat.  He had said that he
would.  Of course Meiran had been a little out of it at the time, so perhaps she was mistaken.  “Where is Wufei?”  Meiran asked,
seeking to satisfy her curiosity.

Hilde stood up straight and smirked a bit.  “He was embarrassed, and a bit unwilling to enter here in the event that you and
Captain Treize were still seeking pleasure with one another.  We switched jobs and he is taking Duo some fresh cloths and water
to tend to Heero with.”

“Ah, I understand completely.”  Meiran replied, smiling knowingly.  It wasn’t all that surprising to her that Wufei had been
nervous.  She just hoped that he would get over this shyness and join the two of them in this relationship . . . it would save so
much time if he realized for himself that both she and Treize did care deeply for him and wanted him to be a part of their trio.

“Would you like to eat now?”  Hilde asked.

“What have you brought for me?”  Meiran inquired, smiling as she took a seat on the bed near the tray, looking over the
contents.  To be honest she was quite hungry . . . transferring energy such as she had just done, always left her ravenous for
food.


*****


Duo patiently awaited Hilde’s return with the cloths, hoping that she had gotten that chip off of her shoulder.  He knew that she
didn’t like Heero . . . him being her first master and rejecting her probably helping with that anger in her.  Still, he couldn't abide
her abuse toward the injured slave.  He sighed, adjusting the blanket over Heero’s body, trying to make sure that he was suitably
comfortable, or at least as comfortable as he could be.  Given all those wounds to his body, he probably wouldn’t be all that
comfortable though.

“So, what do you expect of me?”  Heero asked weakly, his blue eyes glaring at Duo with intense malice.  Duo knew that Heero
cared nothing for him, probably hated him right now . . . it was only natural.  It would take time for him to work out all that
anger, Duo would be patient with him.

“I expect you to get well, first of all.”  Duo said, offering a smile.

Heero’s gaze narrowed slightly.  “And afterward?”

Duo shook his head.  “You know what follows after you regain your health.”  Duo replied, not actually saying the words.  Heero
knew full well what he was implying.

“Over my dead body!”  Heero spat, angrily.  “You’ll have to beat me until I can’t fight anymore, then take what you want by
force!”

Duo frowned.  “And become scum like the creep that got you in this condition in the first place?  I do believe I’m insulted!”

“Good.”  Heero replied, the faint trace of a smile curling his lips briefly.

Duo sighed, raking his hand through his hair.  He had to explain in some way, or at least try to do so.  Heero had to know that
Duo wasn’t some emotionless, cruel bastard.  A bastard yes, but not cruel.  “Honestly, I would never take something not freely
given.  As much as I detest slavery, it’s a part of life.  I really wish I had been the first one to buy you.  You’re very beautiful.”  
He curled his finger around a lock of Heero’s hair, just toying with it for no reason.

Heero merely growled in reaction.  He sneered, turning his head abruptly to get Duo’s hand away from him.  He groaned in
obvious pain, but turned back only to glare at Duo again.

“I’m just stating the facts.”  Duo replied truthfully.  “I would have liked to be able to seduce you without having to deal with all
the emotional scars your previous masters have given you.”  He sighed, tracing a single finger along the contours of Heero’s
face.  “Still . . . never let it be said that Duo Maxwell ever backed away from a challenge.”

Heero raised his hand, slapping Duo’s hand away from his face.  The look of pain that crossed his features was enough to let
Duo know that the move had seriously hurt the insolent slave badly.  Still, his voice carried his rage.  “I am not some horse to be
broken!”

“Did you hear me say that I was going to try and break you?  I am twice insulted!”  Duo said, getting a little impatient with
Heero.  The young man just would not learn.

Heero’s voice was quieter, although not without ire.  “Yet you do nothing to stop the insults.”

Duo took a breath, letting it out slowly as he thought over what to say.  “No . . . because you need to lash out in any way you
can.  So long as you don’t raise your hand against me, I will do nothing to harm you in any way.  Hilde . . . I scolded her
because she attacked you when I doubt she knows all of the facts.  It’s not like you ordered someone to rape her on the way to
Crossroads where she was resold after being rejected by you.”

Heero’s eyes closed briefly, a moment of regret entering his lovely blue eyes when he reopened them.  “No.  At the time, I didn’t
even know what . . .”  He trailed off, a pinkish tinge to his cheeks.

“Sex?”  Duo asked.  “You didn’t know what it was?”

Heero nodded slightly.  “Yes . . . I didn’t even know about it, other than that I would have to do something with my bride on my
wedding night.”  He sighed.  “Hilde was . . . just shoved at me.  I didn’t know what to do with her.  I certainly didn't find her . .
. attractive.  Sure she’s pretty, but . . . she never really got my attention.  I mentioned that to my father, and he’s the one who
sent her away.  I can understand why she blames me.”

“Do you find ME attractive?”  Duo asked.

“What?”  Heero replied, his eyes wide.

Duo grinned, he liked surprising Heero.  He looked cute when shocked.  “It’s not a baited question.  Just pretend that you’re still
in your palace and you happen to see me wandering about.”

“It would never happen.”  Heero stated.

“Huh?  Well . . . Why?”  Duo asked, a bit confused.

Heero turned his gaze away, staring up at the ceiling as he answered.  “My father didn’t like me being in the line of fire.  Most of
the time I was practically locked in my room.”

“That’s no way to treat a fellow human being.”  Duo gasped, appalled that Heero’s father would ever do something so cruel as
that.  “That’s worse than enslaving someone.”  He shook his head, feeling like he was getting off track.  “Anyway . . . you’re
trying to change the subject.”

Heero sighed again, not replying right away.  “I don’t know.  I haven’t known you too long to have an opinion one way or
another.”  

Duo smiled.  “So there is hope.  Good.”

Heero opened his mouth, but anything he meant to say was cut off when someone knocked on the door.  Duo called to them,
telling whoever it was to enter.  In a moment the heavy door was pulled open and Meiran’s slave, Wufei entered the chamber.  
“I have brought the cloths and water for you.”  He said, keeping his eyes averted, like a good slave.  Although, since he didn’t
wear a veil and did wear a tunic, Duo had to guess that Meiran had freed the young man.

“Where’s Hilde?”  Duo asked, pushing himself up to a sitting position.  Had Hilde been so angry that she hadn’t come back?  He
hoped that he hadn’t upset her too terribly with his words.

Wufei stepped closer to the bed, setting the tray he carried down on the bedside table.  “I . . . I requested to change jobs with
her.  Treize and Meiran are . . . busy with each other and I did not wish to walk in on them in an embarrassing moment.  Hilde
wished to have a moment to calm herself . . . she was quite upset.  Trading jobs seemed an adequate way for the both of us to
avoid unpleasant experiences.”  He looked up, his eyes portraying how frightened he was.  “I hope this does not offend you.  I
will go and fetch her if you wish me to.”

Duo chuckled, shaking his head.  “No, it’s quite all right.  Don’t worry about it.”  He said, offering a smile.  “Why don’t you
help me tend to Heero here?”

Wufei smiled briefly, only a flicker, but the expression did appear.  “Yes, sir.”  He said quickly, picking up the goblet from the
tray.  Duo helped Heero to a more upright position, frowning with each whimper of pain the young man made, but it had to be
done.  Wufei waited until Heero was breathing steadily, then held the edge of the goblet to his lips, helping him to drink the liquid
within.

Heero drank as if he had been dying of thirst.  When the goblet was empty, he finally let himself breathe again, panting for a few
moments until he regained control once more.  Then Duo laid Heero back, just as slowly if not more so than when he had raised
him.  Heero closed his eyes, a grimace of pain etched on his features.

Wufei set the goblet back on the tray, picking up a soft cloth from the tray.  He soaked it in the water in a basin, ringing it out
before he handed it over to Duo.  Duo then set the cool cloth over Heero’s heated forehead, smiling when relief filled Heero’s
vibrant eyes.  He was glad that the cloth was helping even a little.

“Get some rest, Heero.  When you wake up again we’ll see about getting some food into you, okay?”  Duo smiled.

Heero nodded slightly, closing his eyes without a word.  Duo watched warily, hoping for the best, content to just watch Heero’s
attractive, albeit bruised, features.  In a short time, Heero fell asleep, his breath growing steady and deep, his chest rising and
falling in an even rhythm.  Duo was glad to see that Heero was resting, once again hoping for the health of this beautiful young
man.



To Be Continued . . .