For You I Suffer
Time passed before it was finally over but I cannot measure it. Much of what occurred remained only as a dim haze of terror and pain. When it was over, my only clear impressions were that my ass hurt and my throat was excruciatingly sore. At some point I found myself lying beside the ambassador's snoring form. I turned my head to glance at him, but even that hurt. Bile rose to burn my throat at the sight of his peaceful expression. I rolled myself over until I could find purchase on my hands and knees, trying not to be overcome by the sudden dizzy that assailed me. My wrists were throbbing, finger-shaped bruises evidencing the remains of a punishing hold.
My long hair fell on either side of my head, blocking my view. Now that I could not longer see him, the nausea abated somewhat now that and I tried to gather my scattered wits though it proved difficult. My clamps, cockring, and dildo were lying nearby and they somehow found their way into my hand, though I was unaccountably averse to touching the latter. Slowly I crawled away from the sleeping man, sweeping my over my shoulder so that it would not trip me. I was nearly covered entire with dried stickiness and speckles of blood dotted the upper part of my inner thighs. I ached from head to toe, but I kept moving forward inch by excruciating inch until I came to the door of the ambassador's suite.
I sat there for a long time, chin braced on my arms as they clasped my knees tightly to my chest. I could not control the speed of my breathing, and every breath caused further abuse to my battered throat. My ear was attuned unconsciously to the slumbering delegate, aware of every grunt and shift. But I kept my eye trained on the door, hoping with all of my might that it would open so that I might leave this darkness and return to the light. Not that I was truly expecting anyone to help me. The fire was just now beginning to smolder in the hearth, meaning that I had been here a few hours at most. Surely no one would come for me until morning at the earliest.
Sometime during the long evening, Treize must have opened another precious bottle of the Luftkrieg for a second bottle lay abandoned on the floor. Although fear and adrenaline prevented the wine from having any further affect on me, the ambassador had indulged without restraint. Drunkenness and exertion had eventually waylaid even him for he had abandoned his plaything in favor of sleep.
I would realize this only later as at that moment, my powers of recall were sorely lacking. Though I could not then put cause to my anxiety, I shivered as I worried with every grunt that he might wake. But I also knew with absolute certainty that if the ambassador should awake, I would kill him. I did not fully understand why I felt such a burning hatred toward the man, but in my present state of confusion I did not question it. I knew only that I was more than prepared to take his life.
Fortune was with me for once. Treize never woke during the long minutes I remained crouched by the door. The warmth from the dwindling fire attempted to aid my own exhaustion in lulling me to sleep. But I was unable to relax either my overset mind or my aching body. There was an antique timepiece housed in a beautiful wooden case in the corner of the room. It ticked with strict precision as it ceaselessly marked the passage of time, and each second the sound grated more against my raw nerves.
Images flashed through my head in a jumble, indistinct and dark but instilling dread in my heart and threatening to rob me of breath. The clock's ticking seemed to grow louder until it rang in my ears with unbearable volume. I began to cry, unable to utter a sound past the awful grating pain in my throat. Tears dropped heavily onto my arms until they were covered with a fine sheen. I raised them so that my arms covered my ears. I squeezed them close to my head, trying to block out the incessant clatter, but the din easily penetrated the flimsy barrier. I began to rock back and forth, sobbing silently, my eyes never straying from the door.
Just as I thought I might go mad from the relentless passage of time and my own nebulous fright, the door opened. For an instant, I was overcome shame, wanting nothing more than to hide from this newcomer. I began to scuttle behind the door, but when I my gaze fell on shining blond hair I was overcome with relief.
Quatre did not see me at first, concealed as I was by the inward-opening door. His gaze lit instead on the sleeping Slaburry ambassador and the discarded bottles. His pleasant features twisted in a confused frown as he took in the delegate's insensate condition and my apparent absence. He looked about, clearly searching for me, but when I reached out a tentative hand to touch the leg of his breeches, he gasped, startled by my silent approach. One look at me, however, quickly replaced his glower with shock and dismay.
"Duo," he whispered and it broke through my numbness. I flung myself toward him, grabbing him about his legs with an embrace so tight I knew I would leave bruises on his shins. But I did not care for if I let him go I would be irrevocably lost.
"Duo, what in heaven's name...?" he exclaimed softly. Although the dim light did not immediately reveal the extent of my hurts, Quatre was not an imperceptive man. He knew that something was wrong even if he could not identify the cause. His handsome features swiftly rearranged themselves from bafflement to purpose. He reached down and pried himself free of my desperate hold. At first I fought him, tightening my grip in fear that he meant to leave me. But he placed a hand on my head, smoothing my hair as he attempted to alleviate my panic.
"Do not fret, pretty one. Just come with me." His voice was gentle and familiar and cut through the dread clamoring in my gut. I looked up at him. He flinched slightly, but when I would later catch sight of my appearance, I would only be impressed by his restraint. "Can you stand," he asked?
Once I understood that I was not to be abandoned, I gathered my wits enough to nod. He helped me to my feet and braced me when I proved less than steady. I could see the questions swirling mightily behind his soft regard prompting me to avoid his searching gaze. But he held his tongue. As he led me toward the hall, I gave in to the perverse urge to look back at Treize. My stomach immediately became queasy once more. My step faltered with my distress and it was only Quatre's sure grip that kept my legs from giving way completely.
The stones of the hall floor felt blessedly cool beneath my feet. I forced myself to keep pace with my trainer, fighting the need to empty my rolling belly. I am sure that the Slaburry guards stared after us as we left, unused as they were to naked slaves and particularly to one in my condition. But I barely registered their presence. I simply put one foot mindlessly before the other, trusting in my trainer and not bothering to take note of where we were going. Eventually, however, I saw that he was not taking me back toward the baron's suite. I almost managed to raise enough curiosity to wonder about our heading, but any inquisitiveness was easily submerged by the utter exhaustion that threatened to rob me of thought altogether.
My reserved curiosity was satisfied when we finally came to a set of doors in the section of the castle inhabited by Windshire's resident nobles. The doors' carvings depicted a tree wreathed with a spiral of flying doves. I would later learn that the beautiful insignia was the crest of Quatre's family, but at that moment I was incapable of ciphering it.
"These are my rooms," Quatre said, answering the question I had not asked. He nodded toward the ubiquitous guards to grant us entrance, adding "send for bath water quickly" to his instructions. One of the guards nodded and deserted his post to fulfill the request. Soft carpet replaced hard stone beneath my feet as we entered my trainer's hitherto unknown domain.
I had a vague impression of light tan carpeting, a settee of slightly darker beige, and a merry fire. There was a mantle above the hearth and it proudly displayed various, skillfully rendered cameos of handsome, smiling persons, some of whom held an unmistakable resemblance to my trainer. The layout of the suite was similar to the baron's, though of course not as spacious or opulent in its appointments.
Through a door to one side of the sitting room was the bath chamber, complete with a large, cast iron tub. Hot water appeared with alacrity in response to Quatre's request even as Quatre led me toward the room. Three, strapping young men, each near to my own age, hefted large buckets of water - two apiece - and emptied them into the tub. While we waited, Quatre sat me on a low chair in front of a simple vanity mirror, though he was careful to face me away from it.
If the youths took ogling note of me as Windshire's servants had been want to do, I did not want to know. I foolishly turned away from them, only to gape in horror as I finally caught sight of myself in the looking glass.
My hair sat as a rat's nest atop my head, matted and tangled with dark fibers from the ambassador's carpet. All but two of my fancy combs had been lost to Treize's marauding fingers and those that remained hung precariously by a few strands of hair. My cheeks were colorless, stained with the salty trail of the tears I had shed in copious amounts during the night. Indeed nearly all of my flesh was sickly pale, colored only with bruises and marks from careless fingers and teeth. Ironically, only my neck remained free of any blemish.
But it was my eyes that frightened me the most. I had not had occasion until recently to spend much time noting my appearance. Since coming to Windshire, however, I had come to acknowledge that I was not entirely uncomely and that my eyes, with their unusual amethyst hue, were by far my most attractive feature. But now, after having been subjected to the ambassador's twisted amusements, my gaze was like that of a dead thing - glassy and lifeless, reflecting only a haunted wariness I had only seen in hunted beasts. Red and irritated, the dark smudges beneath them made them seem even larger than normal, giving me the look of an abused child.
Quatre must have caught my appalled expression for as soon as the tub was full, he dismissed the servants and came to my side. Keeping his hold gentle as if he were dealing with a skittish rabbit, he took my arm and urged me to my feet.
"Now then," he said, reminding me of Helen's mothering tones, "let us get you cleaned up." Quatre must have removed his cape and doublet as the menservants were filling the tub, for he was clothed only in his close shirt and breeches. He settled me in the blessedly hot water and toed off his expensive footwear with as much disregard as one would apply to dirtied work boots. As I eased back into the water, hissing slightly as it stung my scratched and bruised skin, he rolled up his sleeves and picked up a soft sponge.
I sat listlessly as my trainer tended to me. He did not speak except to murmur the occasional instruction for me to turn this way or to sit forward and the like. With gentle thoroughness he washed away the tacky fluids that clung to my skin, though the sense of them lingered even after he was done. I tried to repress a wince as he ran the sponge over the particularly tender bruise marring my right hip, the outline of fingers evident in its shape. But Quatre saw my reaction and noticed the bruise, his lips pressing together into a thin, angry line as he lightened his touch over the spot.
Once he had finished with my body, he washed my hair, combing out the tangles with such great care that I felt only the slightest of pulls at my scalp. Eventually he was satisfied and bade me stand so that he could wrap my body and my hair in thick, fluffy towels. I looked down at the scum floating like a film on top of the water, feeling as though the filth remained with me still.
Quatre did not take the time to properly dry my hair. Although I knew from experience that there would be unpleasant consequences for his negligence I cared not. I simply followed him when he helped me from the bath and led me to his bed chamber. His bed was not nearly as high or large as the baron's, but it was a solid, well-crafted piece nonetheless. The bedding matched the curtains, which were closed against the darkness, giving a faint impression of soft green in the dim light.
I remained silent as he turned back the covers and settled me on the soft mattress. A lamp was shining on the small nightstand next to the bed and I watched dully as Quatre doused it with a quick breath. He joined me beneath the covers without removing any additional clothing, pulling them up around us like a billowy cocoon. Only once we were lying together in the darkness did Quatre begin to speak.
"Duo," he began, stroking damp tendrils away from my cheek. I shut my eyes and moved closer to him, burrowing into his chest and wishing, contrarily, that it were broader. His graceful arms closed about me, the cloth of his shirt irritating my sensitized skin. Maybe if I did not acknowledge my name, I mused, he might let things go unquestioned, but of course, he would not be dissuaded.
"Please tell me what happened." I shook my head, knowing he would feel the gesture against his chin. "Pretty one...."
"Do not call me that," I rasped harshly. It sounded too similar to something else, something that whispered false endearments in my head. "I am not your pet!"
"Duo?" he replied, confused for he had said nothing of the sort.
"I do not remember." It was not a blatant lie. Everything was shadowy and vague, like a dream that dared not linger upon waking.
"Duo, you are covered in bruises and there was...." His throat worked against the disgust apparent in his tone. "There was blood. Duo, why do you sound as though you have been shouting for hours on end? Why are you shivering in my arms?"
"I do not remember! I do not remember!" I repeated the words over and over as if they were some pathetic mantra. A hated tear slid down my cheek though I had thought I had none left. Quatre hugged me tighter.
The attempt died as his lips fell victim to mine. I kissed him hard, paining my own tender lips, hoping to distract him from the relentless questioning. My groping hands made short work of his shirt, ripping it down the middle as I tugged sharply at the open edges. He blinked at me in shock as I pulled it from him and tossed it off the side of the bed. I crawled on top of him, pressing my mouth against his neck, my movements gauche and clumsy as though I were new to lovemaking. He remained still beneath my pawing hands, not resisting until they drifted purposefully toward ties of his breeches.
"Stop. Duo, stop!" I started at the unaccustomed sharpness of his retort. His hands grabbed my hands, holding me away from him. His aquamarine gaze captured my own, his eyes filled with sadness. "Do not do this."
I could not withstand the love I saw in his gaze. I slumped against him, weak as a kitten, as I began to sob anew. My eyes were gritty and yielded few tears and my throat burned with the effort, yet I continued to cry without pause for a long moment. Quatre held me as close as he could, stoking my back gently as I hiccupped like a mewling infant, warming me against the chill that threatened to freeze me from within.
In the face of this kindness, my subconscious could no longer hold the dark images at bay. Memory came flooding back with a suddenness that found me unprepared and left me reeling before them. The taste of wine sat cloying on my tongue. My skin shuddered at the feel a callous, mauling touch. Every bruise ached as though I were still being restrained in a ruthless grip.
Without warning my throat seized, closing my lungs to air. I clawed at it, leaving deep scratches again my previously unmarred skin. Quatre grabbed my hand to stop my self-mutilation, but he could not grant me breath. My vision began to fail even as my body shivered with dark pleasure, my hole clenching as though I was being violated anew. Though the gathering darkness I could dimly see Quatre's lips moving, but I could not hear him over the blood pounding in my ears.
I was near to fainting when I felt a vicious sting against my cheek. I inhaled at the sudden pain, welcoming the rush of air even as I stared at my trainer in shock. Quatre's eyes were large in the darkness, betraying a similar emotion. His hand remained poised near my face, his palm already beginning to redden from the slap.
But it had the desired effect. Slowly, I began to calm, heaving as I took air deeply into my starving lungs. The hand that had slapped me landed softly against my injured cheek, soothing the minor hurt. I reached up and clutched it tightly with my own, desperate to reassure myself that I yet lived.
"My god, Duo," Quatre whispered. Tears glistened in his eyes, reflecting the moonlight shining weakly through the covered windows. "What did he do to you?"
Words began to flow from my lips, haltingly at first then faster as though forced out by the terrible weight of them. I held nothing back, relating even the most inconsequential of details. I told him about the wine and about the ambassador's contempt for Calderash and her baron. I told him how Treize called me his degrading endearment as though I should be happy to enjoy his notice. I told him how for hours Treize had rutted on me, how he had killed me over and over again only to allow me at the last possible moment to continue living. Every nuance, every horrible aspect of the night spilled out of me in an endless stream, painting a gruesome portrait of the endless cycle of death and reprieve.
Through it all, Quatre held me tightly, crying with me and murmuring choked assurances as though he could undo everything I had endured. He wiped my tears while ignoring his own, pressing gentle kisses against my forehead, my lips, and my smarting eyes. He tried to keep his expression from showing anything but tender solace, but he was unable to hide the affronted rage that flashed in them as I wept.
My babbling slowed as my recollections finally became too vague to relate. A kiss against my lips lingered and my arms slipped around his slender chest. Quatre continued to cry, his soft heart aching beyond measure at what I had suffered. I kissed him to comfort him as much as to console myself. This time it was him who moved over me, his lips tracing sweetly down my throat. He brushed them over my chest, pressing them softly against a swollen nipple, and then lower, pausing at every contusion and discoloration to kiss away all trace of the Slaburrian's horrid touch. I relaxed and tensed in fear by turns, the lingering feel of the ambassador's fingers only slowly succumbing to my trainer's compassion.
When Quatre sat up for a moment, dislodging the covers, I groped for them, foolishly wishing to keep myself sheltered from his view. But he just smiled that sad smile as he retrieved a small jar from the nightstand. He removed the top and the distinct smell of witch hazel softened by gardenias drifted to my nose. I could not stop myself from retreating as his touch drifted to my much-abused entrance. It was only his comfortingly familiar touch against my shoulder that kept me from fleeing the bed entirely. I forced myself to settle, trying to convince myself that this was not the wretched ambassador but someone who cared for me. Still my breathing sped unconsciously as he carefully smooth the healing balm over my abraided flesh.
Quatre aided my struggle not to reject his minstrations by bending to place soft kisses against my quiescent member. It stirred only slightly, unable to fully recover from the turmoil of my thoughts, but the sensation moved through me like a wave of peace and I sunk into the pillows with a heavy sigh. My legs fell apart, easing his task and allowing him to reach further into my aching passage. He took me into his mouth, the contact remaining somehow non-sexual but imparting only his love and support. So tired was I that I barely reacted to the feel of his finger. Even when he brushed over my center of pleasure, I only uttered a soft moan, more of appreciation than desire. My shallow pants quieted as a languid contentment slowly crept through me, replacing the stress that had left my muscles cramped and sore.
When he finally slid his finger from me, satisfied that the balm had been thoroughly applied, I reached down and pulled him up until his eyes were level with mine. I wrapped my legs securely around his waist, silently offering myself to him. At first he was startled, surely thinking that sex would be the last thing I wanted. But he mistook the depths of the conditioning I had received since coming to Windshire. I might blame Heero for selling me to the highest bidder as it were, but at that moment I truly believed myself worthy of nothing else.
"Oh, Duo," Quatre sighed in gentle remonstration. "My pretty one, I do not ask this of you." This time the endearment fell clearly on my ears and caused no undue confusion.
"B-but I want to thank you," I stammered. Quatre winced at the sentiment, but smiled down at my perplexed expression.
"I do this only because I love you, Duo. You do not need to thank me, by heavens." He bent down to kiss me on my furrowed brow. "Besides," he continued softly, "I am not the one who holds your heart."
And it was true. Quatre had shown me nothing but adoration and kindness since my arrival. Even when his dedication to duty left me writhing and breathless with exhilaration and shame, I knew that he acted only in my best interests. Then why did my heart ache for a man who had proven that he held me in lower regard than the meanest beast in his stables? Why did I have to love Heero when he did not return my affections?
Why, my heart cried, railing against its cruel fate. I shouted the painful question against Quatre's shoulder. My fists beat weakly against his back as I cried, though I had no tears left to shed. I demanded of him to tell me why my baron would treat me thus, though I realized no answer would be forthcoming.
Somehow we came together; not fully, but our members discovered the pleasure to be found in sharing an accidental caress. I pulled my trainer closer with my legs, not letting him escape until moaned helplessly in my ear. He begged me for enough of a respite so that he could smooth our path with the balm. Quatre understood that I was seeking whatever sensation I could find to ease the pangs of my heart and the torment in my mind. I used him shamelessly and he let me, and, as much as I was able, I loved him for his selflessness. Soon we came to the end, both of us too keyed up and anxious to last for long.
Quatre shouted quietly into my hair as he poured his release over my stomach. My body was spent and did not reciprocate with outward evidence, but I found satisfaction in the way his arms held me close even as he relaxed on top of me. I held him as his breathing slowed and turned my head just enough to press a kiss of gratitude to his soft cheek.
"He does love you, you know. He just does not know how to show it." My foolish heart leapt as the certainty in his tone. But I repressed the nascent joy, knowing that even if Quatre believed it to be so, it was simply not true.
"Please," I whispered, "do not tell Heero what happened tonight." I knew he understood that my request referred to Treize's abuse and not the mutual comfort we had just shared. I felt his reluctance in the slight tension that stiffened his body as it pressed against mine. "Please," I repeated, trying to impart the gravity of my request.
I did not want Heero to know what Treize had done to me. Although something inside of me wanted him to experience the guilt such knowledge would surely impose, my humiliation was greater. I wanted to keep what had occurred a secret known only to we few. But also, in truth I did not want Heero to feel the pain of knowing that he had brought me to such grief. I loved him still and would spare him that anguish even if he lack of affection for me meant that he would never feel it fully.
Quatre moved to the side, his hold never slackening as sheer fatigue won over the darkness of memory, pulling me down into a deep, exhausted slumber. As quickly as consciousness slid away, I never realized that he did not answer.