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

Notes:  Duo wakes up with a hangover and learns what trouble his bad habits have caused.  Hilde speaks with both Duo and
Heero concerned what happened.



Servitude, Retribution, and Enchantment



Part Thirty-Three


Duo groaned at the throbbing ache in his head.  He knew that he’d had a lot to drink the previous night, and couldn’t remember
how he had gotten home.  Still . . . he had the vague sense that something had happened.  He felt the need to apologize to
someone for something.  If only he could remember what he had done wrong.

He sat up, raising his hand to his head, and waited for the room to stop spinning before turning to Heero.  He frowned deeply,
seeing only an empty place in bed where Heero SHOULD have been.  Had the slave run off . . . had he succeeded in escaping, or
was he merely in Duo’s dungeons now because he had been caught by a guard?  Duo hoped that neither was the case, that
Heero was still in the house somewhere.

He rose to his feet and collected the clothes that he had worn the previous night.  They stank of the liquor he had consumed, but
he didn’t feel like getting a fresh set when he intended to get right back into bed after he found Heero.  His concern for Heero
and a nagging dread took precedence over his own appearance anyway.  He dressed quickly, and looked around his bedchamber
quickly, although he knew that he probably wouldn’t find Heero here.

Duo hadn’t even stepped out of his room when he came face to face with Hilde.  “Oh!  Hilde?”  He blinked, confused by the
glare in her eyes.  Still, he had a question to ask.  “Have you seen . . .?”  Before he could utter another word, he found himself
bringing a hand to his now stinging cheek where Hilde had just slapped him.  Her eyes were cold flints of anger, and he couldn’t
fathom out WHY she could possibly be angry with him.  “Why did you do THAT?”  He asked, deeply confused by Hilde’s
actions.

Hilde only seemed to grow more irate at that question.  “You mean to tell me that you were so drunk last night that you can’t
remember what you did . . . and what you ALMOST did?”

Duo shook his head, his brow furrowing as he tried to recall his actions.  There was a vague memory, but he couldn’t make it
out, couldn’t recall much of anything.  The nagging dread he felt intensified as he frowned in thought.

“Hilde . . . what did I do?”

Hilde took in a deep breath and clenched her teeth together . . . Duo could barely make out the furious expression through her
veil.  She entered the room and closed the door behind herself, pushing Duo back a ways until he was standing before his bed.

“Last night you came home blind, stinking drunk and NEARLY raped Heero!”  She yelled, looking as if she would hit him again
any minute.  “He almost ran away in his terror of you!  He said that he had thought you were going to be different than the
others, but that he was wrong.”

Duo stumbled back and collapsed onto the bed as the memories finally hit him.  “I . . . I didn’t know what I was doing.”  He
whispered, shaking his head.  There it was, as clear in his mind as if it had happened just a moment ago . . . Heero, lying in bed,
his features awash in pale light, making him appear to be glowing.  “Heero . . . he looked so beautiful with the moonlight shining
down on him.”

Hilde let out a breath and shook her head.  “If drinking like that will cause you to break your promises, then don’t go out
anymore.  I’m speaking as someone who cares about you and about Heero.  You’ve set his training back . . . I don’t know how
much.”  She walked over and gently placed a hand on his shoulder.  “And the tiny bit of trust he had in you is gone now.  You’
re back to square one.”

Duo groaned in regret, covering his eyes with his hand.  “What am I gonna do?”

Hilde snorted.  “You’re going to leave him alone for the most part.  Maybe if you stop going out and getting drunk like you do,
he’ll see you for the kind master that I know you to be.”  She smiled a little, running her hand down his arm.  “But first, I think
you owe him an apology . . . at least make the effort to appear regretful . . . he might respond to that.”

Duo nodded, sighing.  “Where is he?”

“He’s in my room.  He was so upset last night . . . he needed someone to comfort him.”

Duo sighed again, raking his hand through his unkempt hair.  “That’s good.”  He said, letting out a long breath.  “It’s a relief to
know that he’s someplace safe.”  He paused, then asked, “What time is it?”

“Almost time for the midday meal.”  Hilde answered, shaking her head in what had to be disappointment.

Duo thought for a moment, considering what he should do very carefully.  He couldn’t afford another mistake, not now, not
with Heero.  “Okay . . . If you can convince Heero to eat in the dining hall with me while you’re present, I’ll apologize to him
there.  As it is . . . I stink and I think I should bathe and get dressed in some clean clothes.”

Hilde grasped his arm.  “You most definitely should . . . there’s no need to remind Heero how you act when drunk.  He’s had
enough of that already.”  She turned and strode over to Duo’s closet and walked in.  She rummaged around for a few moments,
then pulled out a simple, green loincloth, a veil, and a pair of soft slippers.  “I’ll get Heero dressed, but I don’t know if he’ll
agree to dining with you.”  She sighed.  “If he does agree, I’ll tell him how he’s expected to behave . . . I doubt you’ll get much
of a reaction from him.  At least, not any reaction that you’d like to see from him.”

Duo frowned, knowing her words to be true.  Silently, he watched as Hilde left the room, taking a silver ankle band from the
jewelry case with her, as well as a pair of plain hoop earrings.  Heero was still a pleasure slave and it was time that he be marked
as such.  Meiran had already taken the time to pierce his ears . . . Duo had avoided telling Heero of this since he just hadn’t
known how the youth would have reacted to the news.

He sighed, closing his eyes as he worried over Heero’s welfare.  This was all his own fault and he knew it.  If he hadn’t gone
out drinking last night, then he wouldn’t have tried to initiate a more intimate act than Heero was ready for, and Heero wouldn’t
have run off.  Duo couldn’t help but feel that he was a complete and total idiot.

Mentally berating himself for the fool he had been, Duo strode into the bathing room and stripped off his clothes.  He did have to
get cleaned up before he could go to lunch.  And once there, he would sincerely apologize to Heero . . . if Heero even showed up
that is.


*****


Hilde held Heero’s garments close to herself as she strode to her room.  She couldn’t help but be concerned for the former
prince . . . this had to be difficult on him.  Now that she wasn’t consumed with bitterness over their previous relationship . . .
knowing Heero’s side of the story had helped with that . . . she felt protective of him.  The poor young man had been torn from
his home and thrust into an unfamiliar world . . . he had never even seen the sky before he had been kidnaped.  Hilde felt guilty
over her earlier treatment of him, over how cruel she had been to him.  She had to help him now, to be there for him when he
needed comfort.  It was the least she could do.

Quietly, she pushed open her door and stepped into the small chamber.  She set the garments down on her desk, then crossed
the room to her bed.  Heero was still asleep, his arms curled around himself as he slept.  He looked so frightened, even in sleep .
. . Hilde frowned at the sight, knowing that Duo had hurt him terribly last night, even if it was unintentional.

She sat on the edge of the bed, just watching Heero for a few moments.  Would it be right to disturb him from sleep, she
wondered.  Although she knew that she had to, she couldn’t dissuade the thought that maybe she shouldn’t even tell him that
Duo wanted to speak with him.  Perhaps it was too soon for apologies.  Hilde shook her head.  No, she had told Duo that she
would invite Heero to the midday meal, and that was what she would do.  She didn’t lie . . . not to Duo anyway.

Hilde gently set her hand on Heero’s arm.  “Heero . . . it’s time to awaken.”  She spoke softly, rubbing his arm to rouse him.  
She didn’t want to jar him awake, that would only leave him more traumatized than he already was.

Heero’s eyes were slow to open.  He groaned sleepily as he focused his weary gaze on Hilde.  “It’s morning?”  He asked tiredly.

Hilde smiled, shaking her head.  “No . . . it is afternoon.  I let you sleep in.  I thought you needed to rest.”

Heero blinked, but said nothing in reply.

Hilde took a breath.  Now was the time to break the news to him, even if she didn’t truly want to do this.  “Heero . . . Master
Duo requests that you join him for the midday meal.  He wants to apologize for his actions last night.”

A frown quickly settled on Heero’s face.  He grabbed the blankets, which were his only covering, and pulled them closer to
himself, backing away from Hilde on the bed.  “No . . . he’ll hurt me again.”  Heero whispered, casting his eyes down, a slight
trembling beginning to course through his body.

Hilde sighed.  “I know how frightened you must be right now, Heero.  But you can’t stay locked in here forever.  I won’t make
excuses for him . . . but I want you to know that . . .”  She sighed and tried to find the right words.  “He is a good man, Heero.  
He feels very badly about what he did and he wants to try and make amends for his behavior.”

Heero shook his head, as if he didn’t even want to listen to her words.

Hilde placed her hand on his shoulders as gently as she could.  “You won’t be alone with him.  I promise you that I won’t let
him hurt you again.  Even if it costs me my life, I will protect you from him . . . and it will not come to that, I promise.”  She
smiled kindly into his wide eyes, trying to offer encouragement to the frightened young man.  “He knows that he is in the
wrong, and won’t punish you for his own mistakes like so many others would.  Please . . . I’m not asking for the sake of the
drunkard who tried to hurt you last night.  I’m asking for the sake of the young man who willingly took a blow from a whip for
you.”

Heero bowed his head, obviously contemplating Hilde’s words.  His voice was soft as he spoke, his eyes lowered.  “He was
drunk then too.”  He whispered.  Then he sighed, closing his eyes for a few brief moments.  “But if you wish me to, I will go.”

Hilde smiled, brushing her hand along Heero’s cheek.  “You will not regret it, I assure you.”  She rose and went over to the
dresser to get the clothing she had brought for him.  “Here, I have the garments you are expected to wear.”

Heero nodded, running his fingers along the soft fabric of the loincloth.  He said nothing as Hilde assisted him, only frowning
when he saw the hoop earrings that he had to put on.  Still, he remained silent, rising from the bed only when he was fully
dressed.

He smoothed his hands along the loincloth, then raised his hand to adjust his veil.  “I suppose I am ready.”  He sighed, letting out
a quiet breath.

Hilde smiled as she took hold of his hand.  “Do not fear.  He will not harm you, I swear.”  Hilde said, leading him out of the
room.



To Be Continued . . .