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

Notes:  Heero decides to act on his feelings.  Meiran takes care of Quatre.  



Servitude, Retribution, and Enchantment



Part Forty-Eight


Heero mumbled softly in his sleep, the feel of a faint warmth breezing across his cheek.  There was a small wave of
contentment drifting through him.  He furrowed his brow a little and realized that someone was tenderly stroking his hair.  
Surprisingly, the knowledge did not frighten him, leaving him only with a sense of curiosity.  Still tired, he blinked his eyes open
and felt his breath catch in his throat at the sight before him.

Duo was gazing down on him with a softness in his eyes that had never truly been there before.  When the long-haired man
noticed that Heero was awake, he smiled gently.  "Hello," he uttered softly.

Heero felt an answering smile on his own face.  "How are you feeling?"  He let his eyes roam across his master's features,
searching for anything that might require his immediate attention.  Despite the fact that they could only have been asleep a few
hours at most, Duo looked remarkably better.  He was still pale, and the circles were dark around his eyes.  But there was an
energy in his eyes that had vanished so many days ago.  He didn't know how much he had missed his master's exuberance until
it had left him.  And to see it now left Heero happy.

As if Heero's words were all that Duo needed to be reminded of his fragile health, the young man winced with a small groan.  
"Like a herd of wild horses decided to trample me through a scorching desert."

Heero nodded in understanding.  "I can get you some water."  He moved to his elbows, intending to sit up.

Duo shook his head, pressing a trembling hand to Heero's chest.  "I can wait a bit.  There's no need to strain your ankle when
we both know it's only a matter of time before either Hilde or Trowa will come through that door to check up on us."  He
chuckled weakly, sliding his hand along Heero's arm when the slave was lying down once again.  "Worry-warts that they are."  
Then he sighed and looked at Heero again, a frail smile lighting up his sickly features.  "Have I ever told you just how beautiful
you are?"  He tilted his head and his smile turned sad, the fingers on Heero's arm retracting as if he were afraid of a negative
reaction to his touch or words.  "When I was sober, that is."

Heero blushed a little.  Before he could respond Duo shook his head.

"Of course I have.  I remember every moment you've been in my care, except that one night."  He sighed and simply gazed at
Heero, something sad lingering in his eyes.  "And I don't mean just physical beauty.  Although you definitely have that.  But you
have a beauty of spirit and a strength of will that I only wish that I can one day have."

Duo's words sent a pang of emotion straight to Heero's chest, causing his heart to throb wildly.  He felt himself being pulled to
Duo, though not by any physical means.  For the first time he was seeing a glimmer of the real young man his master was.  This
was the gentle master that Hilde had often spoken of.  The kind and loving boy that several people championed.  This was who
Heero wanted to see more often.  He closed his eyes and leaned up, giving Duo a brief and gentle kiss.  He felt a thrill of relief
and admiration when Duo merely kissed back, his shaking fingers settling against Heero's side.

This was what Heero wanted.  Someone who would understand that he was afraid, if not the reason behind that fear.  With a
swallow, Heero came to a decision at that moment and pulled his lips away from Duo's, trailing his mouth in feathery kisses
down along his chin and throat.

"What?  Heero?"  The confused man asked, his fingers drifting through Heero's hair with the barest of touches.

Heero merely smiled and slowly kissed his way down to Duo's chest.  "Sshh, Master.  Just let me do this for you."  His mouth
found a dusky nipple and he circled his tongue around it, deciding he didn't dislike the taste of Duo's skin, or the feel of the
hardening nub as he gently applied his teeth to it.

Duo whimpered softly and shifted a little, his hands now gripping Heero's shoulders.  "You don't have to ... I mean ... I'm not
asking for this."

Heero paused and raised his gaze, a shy smile on his face as he regarded his master.  "I know.  I'm doing this because I want to."

A blush darkened Duo's cheeks, sweat already beginning to bead on his skin.  Heero couldn't say he didn't enjoy the appearance
of Duo's desire for him.  It was something that had frightened him before, but now it only made him want to do more.  He only
wished that he had paid more attention to his training sessions before.  Now he was left with little-to-no knowledge of what he
should be doing.  Shyly he pressed his mouth to Duo's chest again, wrapping his lips around one of his master's nipples and
suckling it lightly.  He raised his hand to the other, idly stroking it and teasing it with the tips of his fingers.  Each gasp and moan
Duo made caused a spark of power to travel along his spine.

With a sigh, Heero pulled his mouth from Duo's chest, giving the hard nub one last lick before he settled his cheek against his
master.  He listened to the thrum of his strong heart, lazily wrapping his arms around Duo's body.  He felt unsure, and he didn't
like the sensation.  He wanted to do more with Duo.  For the first time, he wanted to give Duo everything, but he didn't know
how to start or what to do once he did manage to start.  "I'm sorry I didn't pay attention," he said with a bare whisper.  His
cheeks began to warm, shame filling him.  "I don't know what to do."

Duo's arms gently circled him and pulled him into a warm embrace.  There was the pressure of lips against the top of his head
before Duo spoke.  "Why do anything, then?"

Heero pushed away, pleased that Duo hadn't held him too tightly.  "Because I want to!"  He bit his lip and tried to piece things
together in his own mind.  He knew the basics really, so it wasn't all that difficult to figure out.  There was only one way that
Duo could get inside of him, so there was little mystery about that.  And he did vaguely remember Duo and Hilde mentioning
something about it.  Honestly, he had shoved anything they had told him to the back of his mind, or away altogether.  He hadn't
watched when they had shown him what he was supposed to do, how he and Duo were going to be interacting.  He regretted
his stubbornness now since it left him at a distinct disadvantage.

He looked at Duo, considering his options.  Since Duo didn't have the physical strength, Heero pushed himself up and moved to
straddle his master.  The only problem was that he had briefly forgotten about his sprained ankle.  He tried to hide his wince as a
sharp pain shot up his leg.  He had to clench his eyes shut and grip the blankets with his fists on either side of Duo's body.  He
blinked his eyes open again when firm, albeit shaky, hands grasped his arms and gently maneuvered him into lying down again.  
He was confused, but comforted as Duo held him close, his arms a safe haven around Heero's nervous frame.

"Heero, don't hurt yourself trying to do something you really aren't ready for."  Duo raised his hand, stroking his fingers through
Heero's hair.  "It's different between two men than it is between a man and a woman.  Lubrication is needed.  You would have
to be stretched.  Rushing it just because you feel the need to please me would only cause you injury, and I do not want that to
happen."

Heero frowned, almost pouting, as he lifted his fingers to lazily play with one of Duo's nipples again.  "But ... there must be
something.  I really do want to do something for you."

Duo’s arms tightened around him briefly as the man's breath hitched a little.  "Oh, Heero, the offer alone means the world to
me."  There was a pause before Duo spoke again.  "All right.  But you have to listen to me.  It's something I didn't try teaching
you yet, not that you paid attention to the lessons anyway.  But it is something we can both enjoy.  Okay?  It might seem strange
to you, and you can stop at any time.  All right?"

The concern wavering in Duo's voice settled Heero's mind more than anything else.  He looked up and smiled shyly at the
genuine worry in Duo's eyes.  He nodded, trusting his body and soul to Duo.

Duo granted Heero a weak smile of his own before parting his lips once more.  "Okay ... first, you'll have to turn so that you're
basically lying with your feet at the head of the bed.  Mind your ankle, though.  I don't want you hurting yourself."

"Okay," Heero agreed.  He was a bit confused as to how moving into such a position could lead to anything.  But he realized
Duo's intentions the moment he was settled on his side, his face inches from Duo's blanket-covered crotch.  His hands were
shaking as he reached to tug the blankets down and he bit his lip at the sight of the undeniable proof of Duo's passion for him.

The inexperienced slave jumped as Duo's hand caressed his thigh, his eyes flying down to look at his master.  Duo was smiling
though, and that made Heero feel a little better.

"When you're ready and no sooner, Heero.  Do whatever you feel is right," Duo said, sliding his hand up and down along Heero's
bare leg.

Heero allowed himself to relax as he realized that Duo was doing nothing more than gently caressing his sensitive skin.  Heero
returned his attention to Duo's erection.  He gazed at it, looking at every inch of it.  He was curious about how it would feel, so
he tentatively ran his fingertips down along the length of it and then back up again.  He smiled at the softness of the skin, even as
Duo gasped from the light touch.

The slave let his fingers travel along, sifting through the thick dark curls of hair.  He gently cupped Duo's balls in his hand and
smiled at the feel of them, the weight of them against his palm.  Then he moved his hand back to Duo's jutting cock, wrapping
his fingers around it.  Duo had an impressive size, but he wasn't huge to the point of it being unnatural.  Not that Heero had seen
any others beyond books and having seen Trowa in the nude only hours ago.

Heero caressed Duo's loins for several minutes to get a feel for his master's member.  He made sure to glance down at Duo
every now and then, and each time he was pleased to see that Duo was doing nothing more than gliding his hand along Heero's
legs.  Even though a glaze of desire and need had entered his eyes, he was holding himself back from doing anything Heero
might find objectionable.  Duo hadn't even removed the loincloth that barely concealed Heero's own state of arousal.

Feeling a swell of emotion because of this, Heero made up his mind to do all that he could to please Duo.  Not only now, but for
as long as Duo wanted him.  He blushed a little at the progress of his thoughts and cleared his throat nervously before he leaned
forward to give the very tip of Duo's manhood an experimental lick.

He pulled back and took a moment to study the taste in his mouth, caressing Duo's length with his fingers all the while.  Salty
and musky, with a not unpleasant bitterness.  It wasn't all that bad, perhaps something he could get used to.  His contemplation
of the taste finished with, Heero took a breath as he leaned in again, and then tentatively wrapped his lips just around the tip.  He
took his time to take in as much as he felt he could without choking himself and applied a gentle suction as he drew back along
the hardened shaft again.

Duo groaned beside him, his fingers trembling against Heero's leg.  He cleared his throat, his voice shaking as he spoke.  "Heero
... Heero, is it all right if I take your loincloth off so I can give as good as I'm getting?"

Heero pulled back to look at Duo and flushed in embarrassment.  He somehow knew that if he were to say no, Duo would
respect that.  Still, he could see the longing in his master's incredible eyes, and it matched what Heero was feeling himself.  He
smiled shyly and nodded before returning to what he had been doing, trying not to focus on the feel of Duo's fingers sliding
silkily up his thigh to the ties that held his only garment on.  He returned to what he had been doing, trailing his tongue along the
length as he took it in again, tasting all that he could and sucking as he retracted his lips, only to repeat the action again and
again.  He quickly became lost in his oral study and the world around him faded until he felt Duo's warm lips wrap around his
cock.  Heero lost his rhythm, groaning deeply at the strange and yet wonderfully pleasant sensation.  That hot mouth was so
very different from the feel of Duo's hand on him.  There was warmth and wetness that even lubricated hands could not
compete with.  Not to mention the suction that Duo applied, or the feel of his tongue pressing firmly into the slit to taste his
leaking fluids.

Heero shuddered at the feel, then quickly returned to his task of pleasing Duo.  His body started to tremble as images began to
filter into his mind, the past and his own imagination taunting him.  He remembered the night when Duo had been drunk, the feel
of those hurtful hands pressing against him.  He feared the drunkard that Duo had been, worried that perhaps Duo would give in
and drink again.  And if he did, then perhaps he would not stop with just his hands.  What if being with Duo would only bring
pain?  Maybe Duo would hurt him.  It must hurt to be taken, especially by something as large as Duo's member.  He didn't even
realize the shaking in his body had gotten worse while his mind conjured horrible images, until Duo abruptly stopped.

Heero stopped as well and glanced down to see Duo giving him an odd look.  The slave swallowed nervously; worried that
maybe he had done something wrong.  "Master?"

Duo sighed and made a motion with his hand.  Heero complied as quickly as he could, moving back up to lie at Duo's side,
facing his master and seeing the confusion and concern in his hyacinth eyes.

There was a moment of silence and Duo casually slid his fingers along Heero's cheek, causing a new shudder to course through
the slave's body.  "Not that I'm complaining, Heero.  But what brought this on all of a sudden?"

Heero frowned in confusion, fighting to stop his trembling.  He didn't want Duo to reject him.  No, all he wanted to do was to
please Duo.  He didn't care what happened to himself, not really.  He hoped for some amount of pleasure, but didn't count on it.  
He just wanted Duo to be pleased, to be happy and to keep him safe, to make Heero feel wanted and needed.

"I don't understand what you mean," Heero whispered, lowering his eyes shyly.  Didn't Duo want sexual gratification?

Duo sighed again and shook his head.  "Heero ... I've had you here for months, and for all that time you haven't been willing to
even look at me without fear and I think there was a touch of resentment in there.  Why, after all this time, are you suddenly so
willing to do something that I'm not sure you're really ready for?"

Heero closed his eyes, his trembling beginning anew.  Duo would cast him aside for this, make him leave.  He didn't want to
leave.  Who would look after Duo; keep him from hurting himself with that foul drink if he was forced to leave his side?  Trowa
could only stay for so long and Meiran had other duties to attend to.  No one else could stay with Duo like Heero could.  No one
else was charged with seeing to his care.  No, Heero was Duo's slave, his servant in this bedchamber.  It was his duty, his
want, to take care of his master.  Not only for sexual release, but for anything else Duo should require.  For the first time since
his coming here, Heero wanted to fulfill those duties, to finally give himself over to everything he had denied thus far.  He was a
slave and it was time he realize that.  He was no longer a prince.  He was merely a possession, and he could only hope Duo
would not abandon him now that he had come to cherish his new acceptance.

"I only want to ... to make you happy," Heero whispered, leaning closer and pressing his cheek to Duo's chest.  "You want my
body.  It will make you happy to satisfy yourself with me.  And I ... I am curious to know what it'll be like."

Duo’s hand stroked across his head, a comforting touch Heero found he enjoyed greatly.  "If you want this, why are you so
afraid?  You're trembling like a leaf."

Heero burrowed closer, his erection flagging without the stimulation of his master's mouth or hands.  "I'm sorry.  I ... I am
worried.  I didn't pay attention when I should have.  Y-You won't hurt me, will you?  When you take my body ... it won't hurt?  
Hilde said it wouldn't, b-but you are so large.  It can't possibly fit."

There was a stretch of silence, and Heero feared that he had asked a bad question.  Perhaps Duo would be angry with him now.  
He had failed to learn what Duo had tried teaching him.  It was his own fault that he'd had to ask.  Heero found himself recoiling
in the confines of Duo's warm embrace.  He drew his arms closer to his chest, holding them between their bodies, forcing
himself not to shiver in fear.

Then his fears were relieved as Duo sighed brokenly.  "I ... Did I make you believe that?"

Heero shook his head, relaxing slightly.  He pressed his fingertips to Duo's chest, just content to rest them there.  "No.  Just ... I
can't imagine not feeling pain.”

Duo sighed again, and there was a sadness lingering in the soft sound.  "I'd be lying if I told you there would be no pain at all,
but with lubrication and proper stretching to loosen the muscles, the pain should be minor and quickly forgotten."

Heero blinked and looked up into Duo's gentle gaze.  "You sound like you know from personal experience."

Duo gave him a truly sad little smile, one that left Heero worrying for his young master.  "Yes, I do.  I have been ... on the
receiving end."  He went silent, perhaps contemplating his next words.  "There are those that will knowingly cause pain, and
those who enjoy receiving it.  I am neither of those."  He pulled Heero closer against him.  "If you ever are ready ... if you ever
choose to be with me like that ... I will never knowingly cause you any pain."  He looked away, his eyes going distant as he fell
into memories of the past.

He could see that Duo was thinking of something unpleasant and he didn't much like the troubled expression on Duo's face.  It
didn't seem right for his master to be delved in worry, to be so troubled.  Heero decided he would have to help his master; to
distract him from the dark thoughts and make him forget whatever it was that concerned him.  Tentatively, he wrapped his
fingers around Duo's half-hard member and gave it a fleeting stroke, pleased when it twitched beneath his touch and grew
harder as he continued to caress it.  He remembered the feel of Duo's hand around him all those nights ago, when he had first
expressed his curiosity to his master.  It had felt decidedly good, incredible really.  So Heero tried to emulate the motions Duo
had used against him.  Heero moved slowly, tightening his grip and sliding it along the hot skin of Duo's member, unsure if he
was doing it properly.

Duo gasped, his hand rising to grasp Heero's shoulder.  "Heero, don't," he whispered shakily, his eyes fluttering shut.

Heero stopped, a stab of worry echoing in his heart.  "I'm sorry.  Was I doing it wrong?"

Duo shook his head.  "No ... no, it felt very good.  But I don't want you doing things like this just because you feel you have
to."  He frowned in thought, his eyes opening to gaze at Heero.  "I want you to do something like this because you get pleasure
from it.  I ... I'm tired of fear dominating your actions.  Even now you're afraid and ..." Duo shook his head again and simply
held Heero's shoulder.  "I don't know if this sounds right, but I don't want to feel used anymore.  I'm tired.  Tired of people
expecting me to behave one way or another.  People see me as the jester, so expect me to smile all the time.  No one can smile
all the time."  He sighed, looking away, his eyes focused on a place beyond Heero.  "I don't remember the last time someone
really saw ME.  I ..." He bit his lip and flicked his eyes to Heero again, hopelessness in his expression.

That's when Heero saw it.  For the first time, he could see just how isolated and lonely his master was.  Duo had been as much
in isolation as Heero had, but in a different way.  Instead of locked within unforgiving castle walls, Duo was surrounded by an
emotional distance, a barrier he had put up to protect himself.  Only now those walls were harming him, driving a wedge
between himself and everyone who cared about him.  

"I'm sure that Master Trowa and Queen Meiran know you for who you truly are," Heero whispered, trying to console the
stricken man.

Duo smiled faintly, reaching his hand up to caress Heero's cheek.  "Perhaps.  But sometimes I can't help but feel ... like I've
never been more alone."

Heero wrapped his arms around his master, pulling the longhaired man as close as he could.  Duo buried his face against Heero's
shoulder, his own arms shaking as they clung close to the slave.  A moment later, Heero could feel wetness against his skin and
knew it for what it was.  Duo was crying.  He wasn't making a sound, his breath never even hitching, but he was weeping,
silently letting go of the nightmares clinging to his spirit.  Heero only held him tighter, soothingly running his hands in circles on
Duo's strong back.

Hoping to make a difference, to somehow bring life back to those beautiful eyes, Heero opened his mouth again.  "I ... I am
afraid," he uttered quietly, closing his eyes against the aching throb of his own heart.  "Not of you.  But I am afraid of the day
you will take my virginity."  He gulped, nervous about what Duo was thinking now.  "I am scared that it will hurt, most
definitely.  But there are other things that frighten me more, things that I cannot bring my voice to tell you of."

He pulled away slightly, wanting to see Duo's eyes as he confessed one last thing.  "But I would be lying if I said I didn't want to
give myself over to you completely.  I want to feel you inside of me."  A blush rapidly spread across his cheeks.  "I want to
know what it is like to be ... to be loved by you."

Duo's shaking fingers touched his cheek again, slipping down to slide across the slave's lips.  "I don't think my heart has ever
felt so light," he whispered.  He lowered his gaze, focusing on Heero's lips as he continued to speak.  "I ... I have loved - really
loved - only one person and he betrayed me, shredding my soul.  He used me and my feelings for him for his own agenda,
attacking someone dear to me."  He swallowed, looking up into Heero's eyes again.  There was an aching void in that gaze.  He
looked so lost, so vulnerable and yet filled with such sincerity.  "I want to learn how to trust again.  I think ... with you, I can
learn how to love again."

Heero gulped, his heart swelling with emotion.  He bit his lip, considering his words before finding his voice.  "I have ... never
loved anyone.  I lived sheltered and hidden away, protected from the world and refused even the feel of the touch of sunlight to
my skin."  He felt awkward, unsure of what he should be doing with his hands, or if he should do anything with them at all.  In
the end, he settled his palm at Duo's hip, idly stroking his thumb across his master's warm skin.  "I don't think I know what love
is."  He shifted slightly closer, the heat of Duo's slender body making him shiver.  "I want to learn.  For you ... I will give all that
I am.  I just ... I want to make you happy."

Duo pressed forward, taking Heero's lips with a passion.  He stole Heero's breath away with a searing kiss, his tongue flashing
inward and bathing every crevice with sweet attention.  Heero groaned, his fingers twitching at Duo's hip.  He leaned into it,
reveling in the tastes, in the feel of Duo's tongue.  Timidly, he twined his own tongue with Duo's, only hoping that he was giving
some fraction of the pleasure he was receiving from this simple intimacy.  His heart was threatening to burst from his chest, it
raced so hard, when Duo finally and reluctantly drew away again.

Through panting breaths, Duo spoke, his eyes glittering with some emotion Heero had never seen before.  It wasn't lust or
desire, but it ranked among them.  The smoldering depth of that gaze made Heero's knees feel weak and if he had been standing
he might have collapsed because of it.  He didn't know what it was, but he wanted to see it again, never wanted to see anything
but that expression.  And then Duo's voice resounded in his ears.  "I have never been happier than I have been at this moment."  
He ran his thumb across Heero's cheekbone, the rest of his fingers moving to cup the side of his head.

Heero had no words to express himself.  He wanted to fulfill all of Duo's needs, but didn't know where to begin.  He decided to
start small and accept all Duo wanted to give, to follow his master's lead.  "I am glad," he replied, sliding his hand from Duo's
hip and moving it to the small of his back.  He sidled himself lower, cuddling against his master's lean form and pressing his
cheek to Duo's chest, feeling contentment at the steady beat of the other man's heart.

Duo's fingers sifted through Heero’s hair.  He elicited a soft sound, somewhere between a moan and a sigh.  His chin pressed to
the top of Heero's head, his arms winding their way around the slave's body, holding him closer still.

Heero felt happy, safe in the confines of this embrace.  Giving in to temptation, he flicked his tongue out to taste one of Duo's
nipples again, amused when Duo jerked in surprise.  "Are you sure you do not want me to pleasure you?" he asked softly,
making no further attempt to entice Duo as he waited for an answer.

The reply was quick to come.  "No, not now.  I think I'm content with where I am."  He exhaled deeply, nuzzling Heero's hair
with his nose.  "When I'm stronger, I'll show you all I have to offer.  I'll teach you everything I know.  But for now, I'm tired."

Heero nodded in understanding.  "Then sleep, Master.  I'll take care of you."

Duo grunted his ascent.  Heero stayed awake a while after that, paying attention to Duo.  He felt as Duo relaxed completely.  He
heard his breath even out, his arms loosening their hold around Heero's form as he fell into slumber.  While he waited for his
master to fall into sleep, he considered his life and newfound acceptance of his place in Duo's life.  Perhaps he would explain to
Duo just why he was so frightened of being bedded, but he simply wasn't ready yet.  How could he expect Duo to comprehend
the fact that he could bear children and not be frightened away by the prospect?  Heero didn't want to be turned away anymore
than he wanted to be used as a brood mare.  He didn't know how or when he would confess it, but he would.  It was only a
matter of time.  He could only hope Duo would accept him for what he was.  If nothing else, he wanted to stay by Duo's side.


*****


Meiran swept along the corridor with Wufei at her side.  She moved as swiftly as she could, limited by the weariness that
gripped her.  She couldn't let Wufei and Treize know what was the matter.  It was too risky for them to be aware of just yet.  
Oh, she would tell them.  But she had to plan her moment properly.  Now was not that time.  Quatre needed her now.  His
health was far more important to her than her own.

She waved her hand before her, opening the door to her chamber without effort.  She gestured toward the bed, silently telling
Treize to place Quatre there.  Easing herself from Wufei's side, she approached her table, her eyes roving over the ingredients
though she didn't even know what she needed.  She was so engrossed that she didn't even notice as Wufei slipped the cloak
from her shoulders.  Only when she caught sight of the movement to her side did she turn.

Meiran smiled as Treize settled Quatre onto the soft bed.  His every move was careful and he tenderly pulled the fur from
Quatre's body.  "Please, leave us.  Quatre deserves his privacy."  Treize nodded, but didn't move from where he stood at the side
of the bed.  Wufei was similarly still, giving Meiran a harsh look.  It took no effort for her to realize why they weren't leaving.  
She smiled at them, gliding her hand along Wufei's cheek as she gazed softly upon Treize.  "Don't worry, either of you.  I'm
only going to talk with him.  I won't strain myself at all.  A simple potion to aide his health, no true magic involved."

"Be sure of that," Wufei warned in that affectionately coarse way of his.

Treize strode over, raising his hand to caress her cheek.  "We only worry for you, love.  You've been unwell too long for my
liking."

Her heart ached with his words.  She felt guilty for not telling them the truth the moment she had found out.  She raised her free
hand to Treize's face.  "I love you both more than you could ever know.  If it makes you feel better, I will take a nap after I
finish tending to Quatre.  You can even come check on me if you want."

Treize chuckled, turning his head just enough to press a kiss to Meiran's hand.  "I don't think that's necessary."  He turned to
regard Wufei.  "Come on, we'll have a rematch on that chess game."

Wufei nodded.  As he turned, Meiran could hear his bitter mumble.  "I still say you cheated."

Apparently Treize heard as well, for the argument the two of them began started just after they left the bedchamber.  Meiran
chuckled, amused, then strode over to the bed and sat on the edge beside her friend.  She regarded Quatre for a moment, simply
taking in the sight of him.  It had been a while since she had last seen him in person.  He had grown so much, but still retained
that look of innocence that had captivated her years ago.  With affection, she reached out and tickled his nose, waiting for him
to awaken.

Quatre's heavenly aqua eyes blinked open.  He yawned, and then smiled.  "Hello," he spoke softly, weariness practically dripping
from every move he made.

Meiran caressed Quatre's cheek lovingly.  "Hello, yourself."  He lay there before her, making no move to try and sit up.  Perhaps
he was too tired.  That fact left her even more worried.  She had an idea of his illness, but wouldn't jump to conclusions.  She
would learn everything she could before deciding a course of action.  "I'm sorry to do this to you, but I need you to tell me
everything that happened from the time that Dekim Barton invaded your lands to when Trowa brought you to Duo's home."

Quatre nodded.  He cleared his throat and looked away.  After a deep breath, he began to talk, telling her of everything.  Meiran
asked more questions, getting him to explain every minute detail of what he could remember of the night of his rescue from
Dekim Barton's clutches.  What that monster had done to her adopted brother left her furious, but she fought to keep herself
calm for Quatre’s sake.

After a while, Quatre reached the end of what he could tell her.  "That's all I can remember.  So, now because of that man and
his priests I have to love Trowa because he's my master."

Meiran found herself chuckling and shook her head.  Quatre was misinterpreting things.  She felt it only right to let him know
the truth.  "Quatre, you are not bound to Trowa by magic.  The spell Dekim was trying to cast on you would have worked like
that, had it not been for Trowa's interference."  She leaned forward and caressed his cheek.  "You told me yourself ... you
resisted it every time Dekim told you to submit.  You did not vocally give in to his will.  The taking of your body would have
sealed your will to his, but only if you had given yourself to him beforehand.  Because Trowa took your virginity, without
demanding you announce his claim of ownership, he has no claim on you.  No, your feelings toward Trowa are real and
completely your own."

A light entered Quatre's eyes.  His entire face seemed to alight in joy.

"I am glad to see my words bring you happiness."  She sighed, taking her hand away from his face.  "It makes me regret telling
what I have to tell you."

"What?  Is it this illness?  Do you know what caused it?  Am ... am I dying?"

Meiran would have laughed if it were a more appropriate time.  Now was not the time for mirth though.  Quatre needed her
support.  "No, you are not dying."  She took a breath and prepared herself before confessing.  "Not all of Dekim's spells were
unsuccessful, Quatre."

Quatre blinked in confusion and fear.  "What did he do to me?  What's wrong with me?"

She reached down and gripped one of his shaking hands, offering comfort in the only way she could right now.  "It's only
wrong if you want it to be.  The first part of the spell, that potion he had you drink and some other factors ... it altered your
body in a way to accept Trowa's gift to you."

Pure confusion entered his eyes and he furrowed his brow.  "Gift?"

She adjusted her grip on his hand and moved it, pressing it flat to his own stomach.  "A gift of life, my little brother.  You are
carrying his son."



To Be Continued ...