For You I Suffer
A multitude of conflicting thoughts vied with each other in my mind, swirling with such turmoil that I could scarcely parse them. But one managed to rise to the top of the chaos - the bloody stain that marred the fine cloth of my master's sleeve. How grievous was his injury? Was his arm in danger? His very life?
It was far easier to focus on the physical than to try and comprehend why my master had acted thus. I struggled to understand why Heero had treated Treize so brutally. Clearly he knew what agonies the ambassador had inflicted upon me, but what did his reaction mean? Was I forgiven even as Treize was condemned? Was Heero truly sorry for what I had endured or was he simply annoyed that his property had been damaged?
"It was not his wish to give you to that wretched man." Quatre's non sequitur broke the train of my circular ruminations. Distracted as I was, it was a moment before his meaning became apparent, and then I was so surprised that I could make no comment. Quatre continued walking, our path to the baron's chambers now apparent. He did not look at me but spoke softly so that no one might overhear him.
"The ambassador had expressed an interest in you since seeing you at your introductory banquet. From the start Heero had little patience with the man, so he did not in the least enter the ambassador's request. But the bastard forced his hand."
My master had been forced to act against his will? I could scare credit the notion. I remained silent, desperate for my trainer to continue, my attention so trained on him such that I could not even feel the cool stones against my feet.
"Zechs was correct, just now, when he said that the treaty could not be undone simply because the ambassador might wish it. But before it was signed, the ambassador's willingness to see the negotiations through - or rather his lack thereof - was very much an obstacle. He carried with him the full authority of his king to enter into the treaty or to leave Calderash with nothing. Well aware of the inordinate power he wielded, the bastard dared to force Heero's hand. He made being granted an assignation with you a bloody condition of his ratifying the treaty.
"Oh, of course, Heero tried to put him off at first, excusing the demand as a poor attempt at a joke. But the ambassador would not be swayed. As the negotiations drew to a close and the time drew near for the treaty to be signed or abandoned all together, the ambassador made his final play. He told Heero that, either he complied with his unreasonable request, or the entire Slaburry delegation would leave posthaste, leaving Calderash without a much needed trade partner. The bastard even went so far as to float a motion to the trade assembly that the talks be abandoned within the day before Heero realized that he would have to bow to the man's selfish whim. So he agreed, albeit with great reluctance, and the treaty was signed.
"The other night when we interrupted them, Heero was attempting to make things easier for you by having your first experience away from him be with Lord Zechs and Lady Noin rather than with the ambassador. Oh, the bastard was none too happy about that, but as Heero had given his word, he could find no leverage to quibble. But, my poor Duo, could you ever have been truly prepared for what he did to you? Since last night I have wracked my brain trying to see how you might have been spared, but even now no solution comes to mind1"
I felt my jaw fall agape at the revelation. Several emotions warred within me for dominance. First was unabashed fury that Treize had the gall to treat my master so infamously, turning the welfare of my country into mere currency for his depravity. But the others were so much sweeter. Pride that I had been useful as more than a pretty bauble. Relief that my suffering had not been in vain. Joy that my master had not parted with me willingly. And most of all, a burgeoning hope that I had perhaps judged Noin and her opinions too hastily. Was it possible, I wondered, my heart swelling at the prospect. Could it be that my master did indeed care for me even a little?
We arrived at the baron's quarters before I could even begin to organize my whirling thoughts into some semblance of order. My stomach began to tie itself into knots as I anticipated being alone with my master for the first time since that dreadful evening with Treize. If I had been hesitant to face this moment before, I was that much less eager now that I knew Heero was fully aware of what had occurred. But even so, I wanted to understand the meaning behind his violent reaction towards the ambassador, and so anticipation and reluctance rolled within me in equal measure.
One of the attending guards moved to open the door as we approached, and I braced myself for the impending meeting. But the sitting room was empty as Quatre and I entered, the fire crackling in the hearth the only sign that any living soul was in residence. Quatre seemed as puzzled as I was at the baron's absence, for I was certain that he would have come back to his rooms after leaving the garden to see to his wound.
"Maybe he went to see the palace physician...," my trainer murmured, echoing my own conjecture. Our questions were soon answered by the low voices that spilled from the bath chamber. I could make out no words, but the pairing of a male voice with a mature female one provided clarification. Quatre led me to the bath chamber and we came upon Helen and the baron, the latter shirtless as the former tended to his injured arm.
My heartbeat raced at the sight of his bared torso, and my deprived gaze reveled in the delicious sight before fixing on where Helen was deftly applying a needle and thread. My gasp was matched by Heero's soft grunt as she pierced the skin around the raw, angry looking cut. The slash was not as deep as it might have been due to Heero's quickness during the fight. But Treize's sword had bitten into the muscle and I flinched as my master stoically bore the necessary treatment, his resolve no doubt aided by the bottle of expensive whisky he held in a white knuckled grasp. I frowned as he took a swig, doubting very much that he should be adding to the amount of alcohol already in his system.
Helen worked with a sure hand, no doubt having had much practice at suturing after raising several sons, and she was soon finished, the cut closed with a row of neat stitches. It was apparent that she shared my opinion on Heero's chosen method of dealing with the pain for she scowled at him as he took another drink. But he ignored her evident disapproval, merely nodding at her in thanks as he slowly moved his arm to test its mobility. He paled the slightest bit as the stitches pulled, but he made no further comment. He reached to the floor with his uninjured arm to retrieve his bloodied shirt from where he had dropped it. The three of us watched silently as he quit the bath chamber for his bedroom, bottle still clasped firmly as he juggled it and the shirt in his good hand.
"Well," Helen sighed, the motion of her ample chest shaping the deep breath and giving physical expression to her consternation. "I dare say he'll live. He's young and strong, so that arm won't be troubling him for long. Now then," she ordered, turning a gimlet eye on the pair of us, "would someone care to tell me what the bloody hell happened?"
I did not look at my trainer, but my silence indicated my intention to leave any explanation to him alone. Although my anger toward him had subsided somewhat with insight into his motives in revealing my secret to the baron, the impression of disloyalty still lingered. I could feel the weight of Quatre's worried gaze as he responded to Helen's demand.
"The Slaburry ambassador challenged the baron to a sword duel during the garden party. Heero was injured, as you saw, but he won and ordered the ambassador to leave Calderash immediately and to never return upon pain of death." Helen looked at the blond man closely until Quatre colored slightly under the weight of her perceptive gaze.
"So, you told the baron about what happened to my boy, eh?" Both my trainer and I blinked at her, startled by the swift accuracy of her deduction.
"Um," Quatre muttered, "well, yes. I thought it was best that he knew," he added in hasty justification.
"And quite right you were at that, young master," Helen replied. I gaped at her, shocked at her abject approval of Quatre's actions. Helen perceived my surprise and reached out to place her hand against my pale face. Her smile was sad as she petted my cheek. "Duo, do you not see that Lord Quatre had the right of it? It does a body no good to keep so terrible a secret. What that man did to you was wrong, son. Would you have him go unpunished for mistreating you so?"
I was certain that I had no more tears to shed, that that damnable nightmare could ring nothing more out of me. But Helen's motherly kindness managed to reach the deep place where I had thought to try and bury my feelings. The last vestiges of fear and pain I had so desperately wanted to disregard were unearthed, and I fell into her embrace, crying with nearly the same intensity as I had the night before in Quatre's bed. This time, however, I could feel my scars beginning to heal, Helen's affection sealing my own wounds just as surely as she had my master's. I did not hear my trainer depart, all my attention caught by the bittersweet release of my carefully hoarded anguish.
I do not know how long we stayed thus, my head against her bosom and her hand softly stroking my hair as she hummed beneath her breath. I finally recognized the tune as a popular folk lullaby that my own mother had sung to me when I was a babe, realizing only then that my tears had slowed and that my sobs had finally ceased. Helen did not ask how I was feeling or try to draw me out further in any way. Instead she merely lifted my head away from her sodden dress and examined me with an appraising eye. Satisfied with whatever she saw on my tear-stained face, she grunted and deftly removed my decorative accoutrements before urging me into the steaming bath that had been drawn in anticipation of Heero's arrival. His wound made a bath inadvisable, and so I found myself subjected to a tub of fresh water rather than the dregs from my master's absolutions, which I secretly preferred.
Helen bathed me and washed my hair, her usual thoroughness tempered by a notable caution, as though she feared I might break if mishandled. I found it within me to reassure her with a subdued smile as I left the bath, and she returned it wryly before toweling me off with a return of her accustomed vigor. We retired to the sitting room, and though I had expected to find my trainer waiting for us there, he was gone. Helen made no comment regarding his absence and I was far too tired to summon up the necessary curiosity to question it. She turned her attention to my hair, brushing it with soothing strokes, and I was nearly asleep by the time she deemed it sufficiently dry.
She gently shook me into some semblance of wakefulness before urging me to my feet. A sturdy hand on my arm led me in the proper direction and I soon found myself standing in the doorway of the baron's bedchamber. Any suggestion of exhaustion instantly vanished as a burning blue gaze stopped me cold. My breath caught in my throat and I feared my frantic heart might escape from my chest from the shock of finding my master fully alert, for I had fully expected him the alcohol he had consumed to have rendered him senseless.
He sat on the side of the bed, bottle in hand, his attention leveled on the door. He had apparently been waiting for me, for he quickly employed the full intensity of his deep gaze, pinning me where I stood. Only at the periphery of my awareness did I register his curt dismissal of Helen. Whether she took affront at his abruptness I know not for even she dared not linger. Long moments passed as I suffered under the burden of that piercing regard, and I passed them in fruitless speculation, wondering what I had done to deserve his silent censure.
The panic that Heero's actions after the match had quieted quickly returned. Anxiety slammed into me, tightening my chest with the fear that my master did indeed blame me for what Treize had done to me. I agonized over the possibility that he hated me now for succumbing to the force of Treize's dark will. I wanted to shout in my own defense, to insist that I had tried, that I had struggled fervently in my efforts to refuse him. But the wretched truth rendered me silent. Resist him I had, but in the end, I gave myself over to his abhorrent desires. Easily my fear-stricken mind ignored the fact that my acquiescence had been bought at a highly dangerous price, that my submission had only emerged as my very life had threatened to depart.
My eyes widened as Heero let the whisky fall to the floor, the thud from the empty bottle muffled by the thick carpet. He stood slowly, the tale tell shuffling of his feet as he regained his balance the only indication that he was impaired. My heart raced as he prowled toward me, his gaze never wavering from my own, enamored even as my trepidation grew.
"M-my lord...," I stammered, managing only those two words before my master hauled me into his arms. I started to caution him to take care of his wound, but before I could speak further my lips were captured in a punishing kiss. He fair crushed me against him so that I could barely breathe. I could taste as well as smell the lingering hint of liquor on his breath, and my lips soon throbbed beneath the rough pressure of his. But my gods, I cared not. The only reality to which I paid heed was the glorious fact that my master was touching me at last.
My greedy fingers curled against his back, my lack of nails the only thing preventing me from scoring his back in my eagerness to hold him. The heat pouring from him chased away any hint of chill from my skin. I relished the sensation though in some corner of my mind it occurred to me that his temperature was likely the product of a fever caused by his healing injury. But at that moment, the warmth felt like nothing less than acceptance and I moaned as it spread through me. Whatever fire had been stoked in my master's blood was contagious, moving through me and covering my skin in a thin sheen of sweat. My hands clutched at his back, my fingertips taking careful note of every feature of his smooth skin. Touching wherever I could, my hands moved ever lower until they encountered the barrier of his breeches.
I felt as much contempt for the fine cloth as I would for a loathed enemy, hating it for hiding any part of my master from me. I reached between us, my hands barely fitting in the limited space remaining from the closeness with which Heero held me. My lips parted in welcome at the invasion of his tongue, a whimper escaping as he left no part of my mouth unconquered. I mustered what coordination I could as his licked fire into my mouth, struggling to undo the ties at his waist. At last I succeeded and pushed down on the offending clothing until the breeches were past his hips.
Ever was I unable to resist the siren call of that part of my master which I so craved. I took hold of his member in a covetous grasp, stroking him with clumsy eagerness rather than skill. Heero growled into my mouth, the sound arousing a shiver of lust through my already enflamed flesh. I gasped in surprise as his hand suddenly clasped tightly around my waist and I was lifted off of my feet. My hand abandoned its endeavor and I wrapped my arms around his neck to help him hold my weight. My legs wrapped mindlessly around his slim hips as I deepened our kiss, enraptured by the blatant show of strength.
We fell gracelessly upon the bed, his balance impaired by drink and mine by lust, the soft blankets absorbing the force of our landing. Heero was on top of me and I reveled in the sensation of his full weight bearing down on me. He pulled away and hissed softly, and I looked up at him in concern, but the pained furrow of his brow soon provided the needed elucidation. He stared down at me intently as I turned my head and placed my lips gently against his wound, trying to sooth the hurt that our heedlessness had caused. A small drop of blood oozed out from beneath the strained stitches and I licked it away, wanted nothing of him to escape me.
But he was not alone in having his weaknesses revealed. I winced even at the light pressure of a blunt fingertip pressing into a one of the livid bruises decorating my arms. During my bath, Helen had washed away all of her carefully applied subterfuge and every one of the marks Treize had left on me showed darkly against my pale skin. The reflexive movement brought Heero's gaze back to mine and I marveled at the emotion I could see lurking just beneath the surface of his intent gaze.
"Never again," he growled before his lips pressed into a grim line, as though he was manfully struggling to hold back whatever else he might have said.
So many possibilities were captured in those two words I could scare fathom them. Was he promising to keep me safe should the Slaburry ambassador ever dare defy Heero's edict and show his face in Calderash again? Or, even more incredibly, did he mean that he would never give me away to another, that he would never be parted from me again? Hope swelled within me but bitter experience forced it down before it could take hold. I needed him to tell me plainly what he meant, to explain it so that there would be no painful misunderstandings. I might have plucked up the courage to beg him to speak further, to set my mind at ease if he would, but he captured me in another ardent kiss and all other desires proved fleeting against my need for his embrace.
Any thoughts of conversation flew away as I surrendered fully to my master's demands. Our lips remained locked in heated engagement as our hands moved over each other with haphazard thoroughness. My blood pulsed, making my swollen member throb as I suffered the ecstasy of a thousand caresses. We maneuvered blindly until we were more fully situated atop the bed, Heero's breeches somehow discarded along the way. I moaned helplessly at the sensation of unfettered contact, not even realizing just how much I had craved this until it was finally happening. Thus I was unable to stop the growl of protest that sounded in my throat when he suddenly rolled away from me. But it was soon silenced by his quick return, the distinctive scent explaining his errand.
Heero did not prepare me with the cream; rather he lifted his hips and slathered a generous portion of lotion over his cock. I was grateful that he had the presence of mind for even that solicitous consideration, for in the next moment he was inside me, filling me to the brim with a thick rod of velvet steel. He swallowed my surprised cry as he plundered my mouth with equal ferocity. My master clearly was not in the mood to be gentle and I was still sore from the abuse I had suffered the previous night. But any pain I may have felt was drown out by a surge of pleasure so intense as to make the insignificant twinge easily ignored.
He moved strongly within me, and I broke away from the kiss, the force of his powerful thrusts wrenching a gasp from my lips. Undeterred, he turned his attentions to my bared throat, his teeth nipping sharply at my skin. The small hurt only flamed my ardor and I clung to him even more forcefully, inviting all the delicious violence he might care to inflict. I wanted to be marked. I wanted his ownership of me to be undisputed. I wanted all the world to know to whom my heart belonged.
My cry turned to a shout as the tensions and frustrations of the past few days doomed our passion to brevity. Heero's cock slammed against that hidden region inside me, and I was pulled under by an explosion of pleasure. I cried out his name and declared my love and devotion as my body shuddered on a spurt of white hot bliss. My body clenched rhythmically with my release, caressing the part of my master which claimed me and drawing him down into the maelstrom with me. My eyes flew open, blinded by excruciating joy as he filled me with his essence.
I regained consciousness slowly, only then realizing that the force of my climax had rendered me senseless. Heero was still laying on top of me and I wrapped my arms around him instinctively, wanting nothing more than for him to remained joined with me forever. I wondered if now we might finally be able to find some common ground, if he would accept the pledge of faith he had wrung from me in the throes of passion. Could it be that he might even return the tiniest sliver of my affection?
But before I could gather the courage to beg that he love me, a soft snore fell against my ears. I did not bother to look at him to confirm my suspicions. He was surely exhausted from the fight and the pain of his wound, I reasoned, and the inordinate amount of drink in which he had indulged had finally done its work. So I simply held him as he slept, unwilling to acknowledge the tinge of desperation that turned my arms into a vice. A tear slipped down my cheek, bearing silent witness to the irrational shattering of my heart.