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

Notes:  Trowa prepares to take Quatre to see Meiran.

Servitude, Retribution, and Enchantment

Part Thirty-Two

Trowa quickly changed his traveling clothes then packed while Catherine tended to Quatre’s bruises and injuries.  He was
agitated and close to violence.  How dare that bastard touch Quatre’s beautiful body?  Trowa was fuming, angry over how close
he had been to coming home to a corpse instead of the lively little blonde that he’d grown so fond of.

Noin’s voice behind him was calm.  “I will see to it that every man still loyal to Dekim Barton is dealt with.  There is also the
matter of the money that the man squeezed from his people.  And I do believe there are several people in the dungeon that do not
belong there.  I will send messages to Queen Meiran regularly to keep her updated.”

Trowa found Noin’s calmness to be soothing.  “Thank you.  I hope you find what you seek.”  He turned and smiled at her,
although that expression faltered quickly.

Noin returned the smile.  “I thank you for your well wishes.  I’m looking forward to meeting the healer tending to Quatre.  
Perhaps she can stay and assist me in finding someone adequate to replace her . . .  as well in getting me used to my new

Trowa nodded.  “Catherine has been like a sister to me ever since she rescued me from a group of mercenaries.  I’m sure the
two of you will get along well.  I’ll introduce you to her as soon as she’s finished with Quatre.”

Noin’s smile softened as she was raising her hand to settle it on his arm.  “I have never been so glad that someone disagreed
with me as I was today.  Had we stopped as I had wished . . .”  She shook her head.  “But you knew better.”

Trowa pulled some slave garments out of a trunk.  He had gotten these made for Quatre shortly before he had gone to Taura,
knowing that Quatre couldn’t remain locked away indoors forever.  “It’s not that I knew better.  I just didn’t see the need to
waste time.  I only stopped on the way to your kingdom because of Mariemaia and I didn’t see any reason to stop on the way
back.”  He sighed, clenching his fingers on the garments he held.  “I was almost too late.  A few more seconds and . . . he
would have been suffocated . . . would have been . . .”

The princess slid her fingers along Trowa’s cheek.  “But you weren’t too late.  You saved him.  So go to him and see to it that
he’s ready to travel.”

Trowa offered a tentative smile and nodded.  “Thank you, your highness.”  He replied, picking up an ornate box before striding
over to the door that separated the room he was in from the room where Catherine was tending to Quatre.  “How is he?”  
Trowa asked, looking worriedly at the blonde that was laying unconscious on the bed.

Catherine walked over to him, taking Trowa’s hand in hers.  “He’ll be well, Trowa.”  She said, a kind smile on her face.  “I
bandaged his throat and shoulder . . . the injuries weren’t too severe.  Thankfully there wasn’t a great deal of bruising or
bleeding from the . . . considering what had happened I would have thought he would be more severely injured.  He was very
lucky, Trowa.”

Trowa let out a relieved breath.  “Thank the Gods.”  He whispered.

“I’ll leave you to him.  I think it’s time I introduced myself to that Princess you returned with.”  

“Oh, before I forget . . . The Princess would like you to stay on for a while, if only until she gets the run of the lands.”  Trowa
said.  “Would you consider it?”

Catherine nodded.  “I’d be happy to stay.”  She replied, her eyes kind.  “I’ll meet up with you and Quatre at Meiran’s in a short
while.  Take care of him, little brother.  He’ll need your strength and kindness for a while.”  She smiled, leaning forward and
giving Trowa a kiss on the cheek.  “I’ll leave you two be for now.  Be gentle with him . . . he’s been through a lot.”

Trowa watched her leave, grateful to have someone so kind in his life.  Then he turned and strode over to the bed, setting the
clothing and box down beside him as he took a seat.  He laid his hand along Quatre’s face, brushing his thumb over the soft skin

“Quatre?”  He spoke softly, wanting to ease the young blonde from his slumber.

Slowly, bright aquamarine eyes drifted open.  “Trowa?”  Came the hoarse voice of the slave, rough from the near-suffocation
and all the crying he had done not so long ago.  He rose quickly, throwing his arms around Trowa’s body and holding on tightly,
even as he whimpered in obvious pain.  His shoulder must still be quite tender . . . the injury wasn’t too severe, yet it was
recent.  “Trowa!”

Cautiously, Trowa wrapped his arms about Quatre’s shaking body.  “It’s okay now, Quatre.  You’re safe.”  He assured.  “It’s
time to go . . . I’m taking you to see Meiran now.”

Quatre pulled away, a hopeful gleam in his eyes.  “You truly mean it?”

Trowa smiled, running his hand along Quatre’s arm.  “Of course.  All you need do is allow me to dress you and we will be on
our way.”

Quatre’s smile was bright.  He nodded, removing his arms from Trowa’s form, giving consent in a silent manner.

“Good, then I will dress you . . . you just relax.”  Trowa said, gently laying Quatre down on the bed, smiling before pushing the
blankets off of Quatre’s beautiful bare body.  The bruises disturbed him, but he ignored their presence, deciding just to get to the
task at hand.

Trowa started with the garters.  He pulled the left one up first, then the right . . . pausing when Quatre giggled.  “Are you
ticklish behind your right knee?”  He smiled when Quatre nodded, the youth’s cheeks turning pink with embarrassment.  Trowa
made no further comment, only letting a small smirk play on his face as he finished pulling the garter up to Quatre’s thigh.

As he made sure that the garters were secure, he felt humbled at the amount of trust that Quatre was showing him.  Trowa didn’
t have time to bask in the feeling though, so he moved quickly to the hose, which was aqua in shade.  He was very careful to
make sure that the hose didn’t catch on anything, and that it was correctly put on.  He swallowed deeply as he pulled the hose
up, and flushed when he had to tie the ribbons on the hose to the ribbons on the garters.  As tempted as he was to just run his
hands over the creamy, smooth skin of Quatre’s inner thighs, he would not betray the trust that Quatre was showing him.

After the hose was secure, he quickly covered Quatre with a royal blue loincloth, the ends of which reached almost to his
ankles.  He pulled Quatre to a sitting position then, continuing with his task.  Since the weather was cooling, he also dressed
Quatre in a short-sleeved, aqua tunic that was made of a gauze-like material.  Trowa had wanted to put Quatre into something
warmer, but he knew that Quatre was to be dressed as a pleasure slave . . . it was his position in life now.

“Almost done now.”  Trowa said, affixing a royal blue veil to Quatre’s face, covering everything beneath his eyes.  “There.”  He
smiled, once he had put soft slippers on Quatre’s feet and fastened a royal blue cloak around the blonde’s shoulders.  Lastly, he
covered Quatre’s hair with a royal blue veil, watching as it pooled down the youth’s back to end just above his rear.  The veil
was then kept in place with a circlet of silver, dangling from which was a simple aquamarine gem . . . the gem hung just at the
center of Quatre’s forehead.  “Blue suits you.”

Quatre bowed his head.  “Thank you, Master.”  He whispered.

Trowa hooked his fingers beneath Quatre’s chin, raising his head.  “No need to behave like this yet . . . you can call me by name
whenever we are alone, such as now.  I won’t have you feel inferior to me, when by far you are the kindest soul I have ever

Quatre’s eyes lit up with a smile.  “Thank you, Trowa.”  The slave replied.  “You have been a good friend to me.  If only we
had met in another manner.”  He sighed, then blinked.  “Trowa, what is in that box?”

Trowa looked down, smiling as he picked up the box that he had brought into the room.  “This, Quatre, contains the baubles
that you will be adorned with.  As I am a wealthy lord, you must be the showpiece of my vast fortune . . . to show others that I
am of good standing both financially and in status.”  He opened the box, the sunlight that washed through the nearby window
glittering off the silver and jewels within the box.

Quatre took in a gasp of air.  “Those are beautiful.”  He whispered, trailing his fingers over a band of silver.

“I chose these from Dekim’s treasury only a few minutes before I began packing my belongings . . . of course I paid for them,
since I have no wish to take from the people of this land.  But I wanted to have you wear something that suits you.  And
aquamarines match your eyes . . . still these baubles cannot compare in beauty to your lovely eyes.”  Trowa said.

Then he pulled a necklace from the box.  From the chain hung what appeared to be a long, slender piece of silver, no more than
an inch in thickness.  A large emerald was set in the center.  He draped the chain over Quatre’s head, pulling the veil out from
under it as he settled the amulet at his chest.

“Give me your hand, Quatre.”  Trowa said.

Quatre obliged, although there was confusion in his gaze.  Trowa lifted the silver amulet, placing it along Quatre’s palm.  

“Press on the emerald.”  Trowa advised.

Quatre did so, gasping when there was a small click.  He blinked, tentatively taking the top of the amulet and pulling it free of the
bottom.  The bottom half, as well as the emerald, remained hanging from the chain around his neck.  However, now instead of
the top of the amulet, a slender blade was revealed, a dagger in his hand.

“You’re giving me a weapon?”  Quatre asked, obviously confused.

“Of course.  I won’t have you walking around without protection.  I had it made in Taura . . . especially for you.”  Trowa
replied.  “However, since it is forbidden for slaves to carry weapons, I had to devise a way to disguise it.  This seemed as good
as any.  Use it only when necessary.”

Quatre nodded.  “Of course.”  He slid the blade back into its sheath, both of them hearing as it clicked shut once again.

Trowa then took hold of Quatre’s right wrist, sliding a silver armband up along the appendage.  It was a simple piece of silver,
bearing the mark of Trowa’s household, the crest he lived under.  It was a lion standing beside a dragon, a representation of his
relationship with the sorceress queen.  Wearing this, Quatre bore a mark of Trowa’s ownership.

Quatre merely sat quietly and watched as Trowa attended to him, watching passively while Trowa slid a number of silver
bangles onto either of Quatre’s wrists.  Rings followed on each of his fingers, then Trowa paused, fingering two silver hoops.  
“I hope you don’t mind . . . but Catherine took the liberty to pierce your ears while you were asleep . . . a simple magic spell she
learned from Meiran.”

“No . . . I don’t mind.”  Quatre said, lowering his gaze.  “I know that slaves wear earrings to mark their duties.  I had slaves in
my father’s castle . . . was taught the differences.  Pleasure slaves are distinguished from other slaves by wearing hoops.”

“That’s right.”  Trowa whispered, sorry that he had to do this to the blonde.  However, he knew it was safer for him to travel
this way.  Carefully, he put the earrings on Quatre, then added an ear cuff to his right ear as an accent . . . hanging from which
was yet another aquamarine gem.

Trowa slid from the bed to kneel at Quatre’s feet.  This was the last bit of jewelry that he had for the beautiful youth.  With a
sigh, he affixed a silver band around Quatre’s left ankle.  Hanging from the band was a single bell, a tool to make certain that
Quatre would be heard everywhere he went.  Quatre looked down, shaking his foot and causing the bell to jingle, not saying
anything about its presence.

“There, you’re all dressed.”  Trowa said, rising to his feet.

He took a seat beside Quatre, looking at the youth thoughtfully before he came to a decision.  He raised his hand, slipping it up
underneath the weighted veil that covered Quatre’s face and stroked his fingers along the blonde’s cheek.

“Perhaps it would be wise to give you a new name.”

Quatre looked up at him, confusion obvious in his lovely eyes.  “Why?  Do you not like my name . . . Master?”  He asked,
reverting to the formal connotation.

Trowa allowed a small smile to grace his face.  “I adore your name, Quatre.”  He whispered, then added.  “However, this is for
your safety.  If an enemy were to discover you, they could use you as a way to lay claim to your throne.  You are the rightful
heir and with your kingdom in chaos, it is a perfect target for predators.”

Quatre pulled away from Trowa, pushing his hand away from his face.  “I am not worthy to rule . . . I can’t.”  He said quietly,
bowing his head.

“Your people are dead, Quatre.”  Trowa said, laying his hand on Quatre’s shoulder.  “Those who live there now are wanderers
settling the lands, wretches plundering the dead for whatever remains.  You cannot return, even if you felt worthy . . . there is
no one left for you to lead.  But your name and visage could still be used by another.  I won’t allow anyone to  harm to you, or
use you in such a manner.”

Quatre nodded.  “I understand.  W-What will you call me then?”

The question threw Trowa . . . he hadn’t truly given it much thought.  He pondered the query for a moment, trying to decide on
a suitable name for the beautiful youth.  He wanted something with meaning, something that Quatre could be pleased with.  Still,
it was not easy to choose such a name.  In fact, it was decidedly difficult.  In the end, Trowa decided to choose a name from
Quatre’s own homeland, knowing that a name from that area would have the most significance to him.

Then it hit him . . . the perfect name for Quatre.  He raised his hand, turning Quatre to face him with a gentle touch.  “I think I
will call you Nadir.”  Trowa could see the blush on Quatre’s cheeks even through the veil that he wore.  “For you are most
definitely the rarest and most precious jewel that I could ever find in this world or the next.”

Tears glistened like diamonds in Quatre’s eyes, his breath hitching slightly.  He pitched forward, throwing his arms around
Trowa’s body and hugging him tightly.  “I do not deserve such a name, Trowa.”  He cried, his warm tears soaking into Trowa’
s tunic.  The contact, while frightening to Trowa, was not altogether unpleasant.  Trowa still did not enjoy being handled by
others, yet he knew that the blonde was in need of reassurances and comfort and so allowed this contact.

“Nonsense.”  Trowa replied, stroking his hands along Quatre’s back in what he hoped was a soothing manner.  “I’m in awe of
how you are holding up in light of what you have been through.  I am certain that I would not handle it even half so well . . . nor
would most people.  But you have a strength in your soul, a will that I cannot equate in mere words.  You are a rarity, and so I
give you a name that means such.  You are a pure soul, a beautiful light in this dark world.”  Trowa said, in the hopes that he
was helping even somewhat.  He was no master of words . . . rarely spoke up unless he felt the topic was truly important . . .
this was the most important matter he could think of.  Quatre needed the reassurances and Trowa was more than happy to give

Quatre sniffled.  “You are too kind to me, Trowa Barton.”  The blonde said, pulling himself away from Trowa slightly.  “If you
wish to call me Nadir, then I will be Nadir.”

Trowa smiled, sliding his thumb over the skin just below Quatre’s eye, brushing aside a glistening droplet.  “You will always be
Quatre to me . . . Nadir is merely what I shall call you in public.  I don’t want any harm to befall you.”  He rose to his feet, then
offered his hand to the blonde.  “Come, let us leave . . . we have a long journey ahead of us.”

Quatre’s eyes lit up with happiness, a sight that warmed Trowa’s heart.  He took hold of Trowa’s hand, unsteadily standing.  
Trowa circled his arm around Quatre’s waist, helping him to walk as much as he could.  The gentle tingling of the bell that he
wore followed them as they strode out of the room, heading to the carriage that would carry them to Meiran’s kingdom . . .
hopefully where the sorceress queen would be able to help return Quatre to full health.

To Be Continued . . .