The Sampson Effect: Chapter 1

Betaed by Skippyscatt

Heero drew his horse to a halt and eyed the bundle of rags in the ditch. It had moved, he was sure of it.

Turning to the lieutenant next to him, he commanded. "See what that is."

"Yes, My Lord." The man dismounted and walked over to the ragged mass. he poked it with his foot, gently. If he kicked it, his lord would be angry. The bundle quivered and shuddered away.

"My goddess! My lord, it's a boy."

"What do you mean 'it's a boy'?"

The corporal looked at his King and sighed. His majesty was in a snit. He hated this yearly retreat and inevitably his people suffered, he wasn't an unusually cruel man but his tongue was sharp.

"I asked you a question. If you are incapable of a simple answer . . ."

"I'm sorry, Your Majesty, it's just . . . it's a boy. A slave. Possibly a pleasure slave of some sort. But he's so thin and dirty I can't really tell."

Heero edged his horse closer so he could see without dismounting. The flash of amethyst eyes that greeted him nearly broke his heart. The boy was so thin that he was no more than a bundle of bones with skin stretched over them and so dirty that the color of his skin was more grey than anything else. But those eyes, those beautiful, pleading eyes. Eyes that cried out to him 'help me.'

"Bring him to me."


"Simple command. Bring. Him. To. Me. Wrap him in your cloak. I'll replace it."

That was his way. Tear into someone for being foolish, snap orders, but make sure that no one was mistreated. Any other lord would have just taken his best cloak and never worried about whether he got it back or not.

"Of course, Your Majesty, but . . . he stinks. He's been in the ditch for a while. He smells like sewage."

Heero just held out his arms for the cloak-wrapped bundle, and when the soldier handed the boy up, he snarled softly. The boy didn't weigh anything and he did indeed smell awful. But he clutched weakly at Heero's tunic and looked at him with such gratitude that he couldn't help but feel that this was going to be worth his trouble.

Duo worried at the ball in his tongue and let his body relax. This man was rich and powerful and he'd just saved a worthless slave's life. Whether that was good or bad he didn't know, but at least he wouldn't die in a ditch.

Heero looked at the suddenly limp body in his arms, he was afraid the boy had died on him. But the bright amethyst eyes looked back at him with some emotion that caused tears to well up in them.

"Don't worry, Pacchiri. I'll take care of you." He smiled down at the boy who smiled weakly back.

He never noticed the Sargent Major who nearly fell out of his saddle. 'His majesty smiled. Oh, goddess'

It was only a short ride to the small tower on the hill. Heero had promised his father that he would spend two weeks a year here. And he never broke that promise even though it was becoming more and more annoying every year. There was never anything worth doing here and he worried about his work for the whole two weeks. He never had understood why his father had been so insistent that he do this.

When they rode into the yard, servants rushed up to hold their horses and help them dismount Heero allowed a groom to take his horse and lead it away. He strode into the tower orders flying in all directions.

"I want a bath, warm not too hot. Food. A light broth only. No, don't touch him. He's filthy and so am I. I think he has vermin. Get the bath and put penny royal in it."

Heero made it to the bathroom without noticing his new slaves red face and humiliated expression. When he started unwrapping the boy, he noticed his feeble attempts to help and gently patted his hands away.

"No. Relax. I'll do it. You're too weak to do more than hinder." The amethyst eyes flashed at him. "It's all right, don't be afraid Pacchiri. I'll take care of you. You'd like to be clean, wouldn't you?"

A hesitant nod was his only answer.

"Don't be afraid. It's ok to talk if you want. I'm not like some masters. Oh, hell . . . they didn't cut out your tongue did they?"

The boy stuck the tip of it out of his mouth then snapped it back with a slight whimper.

Heero just remarked, "Well, that's a relief. We'll have you talking in no time."

Heero finished getting the boy out of his rags and looked him over. He was a mess. He'd been whipped, kicked, punched and generally abused. The blood that smeared his body came from cuts and abrasions and Heero didn't want to think of where else. He gently lowered the boy into the tub and supported him by wrapping his left arm around him from behind.

"Now I'm going to wash you. You really stink." The soft sob that followed that proclamation made Heero realize how that must have sounded to the terrified boy. "I know it isn't your fault. I don't understand how anyone could treat a pacchiri like you so badly. Just hold still and let me wash you. Then we'll get you something to eat. You'd like that, I know."

The boy just nodded and splashed ineffectually in the water, still trying to help Heero accomplish his task. Heero patiently washed the thin body letting out the water and refilling the tub.

"What have they done to your hair? This is . . . tar? Why do you have tar in your hair? And it's . . . I've never seen sores like this before. What did they do?"

The boy turned his head away, but not before Heero saw the tears. They slid out of his eyes and trickled down his thin cheeks to drip off his chin into the tub where they dissolved into the dirty water.

"Don't cry. I'll get you some nice broth the second we get clean. I'm going to get in the tub now. I want to wash too. Don't try to do anything just yet. You're too weak and I don't want you slipping and hitting your head. Be still!"

Heero's sudden command was brought about by the boy stubbornly trying to get out of the tub. Heero quickly tugged off his boots and pants, he had to put Master Stubborn back in the tub again, then shuck out of his shirt and slip in behind his slave, who was adamantly insisting on getting out of the tub. For what reason Heero couldn't understand.

"Stay put. Do you want me to punish you already?"

The boy froze so suddenly that Heero realized that he'd frightened him. He reached out and took the boy by a shoulder. When he got him to turn around, the look he got was so terrified and sad that he rushed to reassure him

"I won't punish you harshly. You will obey me. But you will find that my punishments aren't unnecessarily cruel. Now, punishment for not staying in the tub like I ordered."

Heero took the boy's hand and smacked it gently, remarking that he was too weak for more. He finished washing the boy and then washed himself

He got himself and his slave out of the tub and dried off. He put Pacchiri on the floor and dressed himself, then rummaged around in a chest until he found a light robe for the now trembling fellow. He wrapped him in the robe and carried him into the bedroom.

"I'm going to put you in this cot. It's for my page, so it might be a little short. . . " Heero started tucking the still trembling boy into the cot, but he tried to slip out onto the floor. "Stay put." Heero sighed. "Do you want me to tie you to the bed?"

A frightened look and a weak head shake met this question.

"See . . . now you've exhausted yourself. When you get better, you'll have pages' duties . . . oh. Is that what's the matter . . . stay in the bed. It's yours. I don't have a page. I don't have the patience for young boys. I usually frighten them into some kind of panic."

There was a tap on the door and a servant girl peeked in. Heero told her to put her tray on the hearth and clean up the bathing chamber. She eeped and scuttled in, placing the tray carefully on the hearth. She edged around Heero as if she was afraid he was going to strike her. Heero just took a step to the side moving out of her path to the chamber.

Heero took a heavy ironstone mug from the tray and, gathering up a spoon and a napkin, came back to the cot. Sitting on the edge, he smiled at his slave and showed him the broth

"You'll like this. Cook is very good. You look like you haven't eaten in a couple of days."

The slave held up five trembling fingers and then three more. He watched hungrily as Heero dipped up a spoon of the broth. Heero carefully tipped the spoon of broth into his mouth, he swallowed quickly and his mouth popped open like a baby birds. Heero carefully fed him half the mug, then stopped.

"You shouldn't exaggerate." At his slaves indignant look, he blinked. "You really went without food for eight days?" Nod, sigh. "I'm disgusted. No one should treat a person, no, not even a dog like that. I'm going to see that it doesn't happen again."

Heero noticed his slaves longing look at the mug, he smiled but shook his head.

"No, Pacchiri. I'm sorry. If you eat any more now, you might get sick. And that would undo all the good and might even be worse on you. I'll give you more when I'm sure you won't get sick."

He reached out and gently ran his hand over the boy's head, fingers catching in a knot of tar. The boy whimpered and cringed.

"I'm sorry. I'll see what I can do about that tar later. You go to sleep now. Your eyes are so heavy you can hardly hold them open. Sleep. Be a good boy."

Heero helped his slave get as comfortable as he could. Tucking him in gently, he didn't realize that it hurt just to lie on his back. But the slave was too frightened to protest so he left the poor thing with the impression that he was to stay in that position. So he did, pressing on open wounds and deep bruises.

He was going to be good this time, he couldn't take anymore. He hurt in places he hadn't even been aware he had. His tears trickled down his cheeks. He knew that masters didn't like slaves who cried but he couldn't help it. He was so weak, so weary. All he wanted was a few moments of surcease from hunger, thirst and pain. So far this master hadn't hurt him, but there was always the chance that anything might set him off.

Master had taken him out of the ditch, washed him, fed him and let him lay in this bed. If only he could lay on his side or stomach, but Master had said stay and so he would. Even though it hurt so much that all he could do was let his tears fall and pray Master didn't get mad at him.

The door opened and Heero came into the room, he'd left for a few minutes to see that everyone was taken care of, as well as the horses. He went into the bathing chamber and came back out with a bundle of cloth. He wrinkled his nose at the smell. His new slave had been in the ditch for quite some time without the ability to even care for himself. The resultant smell was . . . strong.

"Here, Girl. Clean this and make sure it gets back to its owner."

He tossed the cloak to the same girl who'd brought Heero the tray of food. She squeaked and snatched at the cloak, the bundle hit her in the chest and she managed to get it corralled. Her babbled assurances that it would be taken care of to My Lord's satisfaction made Heero snarl. He couldn't get these bumpkins to call him majesty for anything.

A soft sniffle attracted his attention to his new acquisition. He was startled to see tears trickling down his cheeks.

"What's wrong? What hurts . . . damn." Heero was ashamed to see his slave cringe away from him "I'm not going to hurt you. I just forgot that you won't talk. You have to talk to me so I can help you feel better."

A soft whimper was his only answer. He carefully examined the situation and realized that the boy had to be in pain.

"Fool. I didn't mean for you to stay on your back. I just meant for you to stay in the bed. Roll over. Get comfortable."

Heero helped the boy roll over onto one side and tucked him in again. He gently stroked the back of his hand down one soft cheek and was embarrassed when his slave kissed it.

"Don't do that. I don't want you to. I wish you would talk to me. But. . . you will when you will. I came to tell you that I'll be having audiences for a while. My physician will be here soon and I'll have him look you over. If you won't talk to me at least tell him what hurts you so he can tend it. Will you do that for me?

His slave bowed his head and shivered. The boy seemed to be afraid to look at him, afraid not to and afraid that anything he did would make Heero angry. A thing he had to admit that was devoutly to be avoided.

Heero attended to the few audiences that were necessary and when his physician arrived he took him directly to his quarters despite the odd look he got.

"I don't believe how beautiful his eyes are and so expressive. Right now mostly I get terror. He's so afraid of everything. He won't even talk. I want you to examine him throughly."

"Yes, Majesty. I'm sure I can remember how to treat an injury."

"You're laughing at me. I'll have you punished for lese majesty."

"Then who would put up with your temper."

Heero shrugged and opened the door to his quarters. His slave was sleeping curled up on his side. Covered completely with a blanket he looked so much like a chrysalis that Heero half expected him to turn into a butterfly.

He tapped the boy gently on the shoulder and got a soft moan and one amethyst eye for his troubles. The eye blinked sleepily, then shut again. Heero patted him gently on what he hoped was an unbruised spot and demanded, "Wake up, Lazy bones. Open those pretty eyes and come out."

Chang was astonished to see that his usualy abrupt king was being gentle with this person. He was willing to be pleased with this boy just for that. When Heero managed to coax his slave out of the blanket, Chang was disgusted to see the shape he was in.

"Well. Let me look at you. Come, roll over."

The boy looked at Heero and when Heero just nodded encouragingly his lip quivered a little, but he obediently rolled over and 'presented'. Drawing himself up onto his knees, he pushed the robe up over his hips and, wrapping his arms around his head, he opened himself to their use.

Chang sighed, this was going to be one of the kind of examinations he hated.

"Boy, neither of us will use you. Stay like that for a moment. I'll begin my examination by checking for tears."

Heero didn't know what his physician was talking about, nor did he know exactly what the boy was doing, but he was sure he didn't like any of it. He waited while Chang examined his slave.

Carefully inserting one finger into his anus, he frowned and then removed the finger.

"He's torn. Not too badly, but it'll have to be treated or he'll be badly infected in no time. It's almost too late. Infection is beginning to set in"

Chang washed his hands in the basin provided then he finished his examination by gently easing the boy out of his robe and looking at his back and thighs. He also examined the sores on his head.

"Well?" Heero was impatient. He wanted to know why his property wouldn't talk.

"He's been badly abused, as if you couldn't already tell. I'll give you some better salve and some suppositories for his torn anus. He's too thin. Be careful what you feed him. Too rich a food and he'll be sick. Am I telling you anything you don't already know?"

At Heero's grunt Chang demanded. "Well, what do you want to know that I have to tell you?"

"Why won't he talk?"

"Possibly he's been trained not to. Beaten every time he uttered so much as a syllable. Or he's so afraid of saying the wrong thing that he won't say anything."

Heero looked at the slave who looked back with dismay. He was already stronger. Heero realized that he'd managed to slip out of the bed, eat the rest of the broth, and get back into the bed without help.

"You're a sneaky little thing, aren't you?" At the frightened look he got, he shook his head. "No, I'm not going to punish you. If you wanted that soup that badly, I'm just glad you were strong enough to get it. Come. Would you like some more? No, don't just nod, you have to speak."

The slave just gave him a look of abject terror.

"Heero, don't put such a price on food. He'll never learn to trust you if you put a price on basic necessities."

Heero gave Chang a short nod and turned back to Pacchiri. "Yes, he's right. No price on food. Come, just nod if you want more."

Duo nodded he wanted more of the soup. His empty belly seconded the nod. He looked down at his midriff with a startled blink

Heero couldn't help laughing. He got a shamefaced grin in return.

"Well here, I'll get you more. If you want anything else, ask for it. Come, just one word."

Duo tried, they could tell he did, but no matter how hard he strained, how red his face got, nothing came out but a strangled croak.

Chang looked at him sharply. "Stop. Now. Let me see you."

Duo stood up and carefully removed the robe. He tried to assume a pose, but he was still so weak that all he could do was stand with his arms at his sides, waiting, eyes closed, for the blow to come. Instead, he found himself held gently by the arms. Heero stood behind him and supported him by grasping his upper arms. Chang took something out of his sleeve and looked at Duo through it.

"He's got several curses on him. I'll take them off and we'll see what happens."

The Chinese physician made several passes of his hands over Duo's body and shook his hands after every one like he was shaking off water.

"Well, that should help. I'm not sure what they were all for, and I don't care. They're gone. Boy, see if you can talk now."

Duo tried again but he still couldn't speak. He sighed and his shoulders drooped. He looked so disappointed that Heero had to reassure him

"Don't worry. We'll figure it out, Pacchiri. Come back to bed. I'll get some more soup for you in a little while. Chang, isn't there some tea or something to help him get better sooner?"

"Yes. There are several teas. I'll make a compound of the proper ones and send it to you soon. You may have trouble getting it down him. It'll be quite bitter."

Heero gave Duo a sharp look. "I won't have trouble with you, will I?"

Duo shook his head, his eyes wide. Then he suddenly drooped like a puppet with cut strings

Heero tucked him back into the bed and left him to rest. He went with Chang and sat in the outer room where Chang gave him a full report on the condition of his new property. After some consultation, it was decided that Chang would come each morning to treat him and Heero would care for everything himself. "It's the only way he'll ever be any use to you. He'll have to depend on you for everything. Food, clothing, bed, physical comfort. If you do this right, he'll be loyal to you alone."

"I don't want a slave. I can buy much better trained one's in any market in Sanq. I need a . . confidant. I don't want to be alone anymore. He's perfect."

"You don't trust me? I'm hurt."

"Chang, I trust you. But you're not a bed slave. I have needs that I can't fulfill. You know that."

Chang looked chagrined. He did know exactly that. Any favor shown to one made everyone else jealous. Heero had lost one lover to poison, he wasn't about to put anyone else in that unenviable position. But no one would be that jealous of a slave, nor believe that he could influence a king in any way.

"Yes, he could be your last chance. Don't fail."

Heero looked at Chang sharply. He didn't fail. Ever.

"What about the sores on his head."

"Traction sores."

"And those are caused by?"

Chang Wufei grimaced. "Pulling the hair out by the roots. Very painful. The tar was to give a better grip. I don't condone violence. " Wufei smirked at Heero. "But when you find this particular group of slaver's I'd like to be there."

"I'll see what I can arrange."

Wufei got up and left wishing, not for the first time, that he had a companion himself.

The next few days were frightening for the slave and frustrating for the king. Heero fed, bathed and cared for the slave he called Pacchiri. The slave submitted to his ministrations, trying frantically to figure out what he wanted. His every effort to please his master was greeted with 'don't' or 'get in the bed.'

The first problem came that night when Heero tried to insert one of the suppositories. His slave presented on command, but when he tried to insert the suppository, the boy started crying. Heero realized that he was hurting the boy, but he didn't have any idea how.

So he did the sensible thing and sent for Chang.

"He's just so tense it hurts. Anything would."

"Can't you make them smaller? Or thinner?"

"Wouldn't help. He's so afraid it'll hurt that he tenses up, then it hurts. A viscous cycle. I'll make some tea." Wufei took several packets from his sleeve. "I've compounded several teas. This one will help him sleep. I'll explain all about them."

Wufei started steeping tea. Heero had set an iron pot near the fire and kept hot water available all the time. He also kept broth. Wufei was startled to see this, then wondered why he was startled.

As he waited for the tea to brew, he showed Heero the packets and explained what each tea was for and how to brew it properly. Heero took notes.

The second blow up came when Heero finally decided that the tar had to come out of his slaves hair. He had tried to wash it, but the tar had defeated him. So he sat him down before the fire place and tried to melt it out, but the temperature necessary was too hot

"I'm going to have to cut it out. Hold still."

Duo ducked and covered his head with his hands. He didn't want his hair cut. It was important that he not allow it. He wasn't sure why, but he was sure he was right. He shook his head and pulled away

Heero didn't have much patience on a good day and, so far, this one hadn't been very good. He'd had problems with several local lords encroaching on each others grazing rights and sorting that mess out had taken all morning and now this silly boy was defying him.

"Be still. I'm going to cut that tar out of your hair. I'm tired of working around it. It won't melt, so this is the only alternative."

Frantically shaking his head, Duo tried to scoot away but Heero caught him. He covered his head again so Heero, losing patience completely, caught his hands. Trapping his wrists in one hand, Heero pulled a string out of his pocket and wrestled his slave's wrists behind his back and tied them. Of course there wasn't much to the wrestling, Duo was still much too weak to put up resistance. All he could do was squirm and tug ineffectually at the cord.

"Now hold still so I can cut this mess out once and for all."

Heero pulled each lump of tar out to the extent of the lock it was attached to and cut off just enough to remove all the tar. He didn't notice his slave's tears until he was almost done.

"What? Why are you crying?" Heero took Duo's chin in his hand and gently turned his face to him "Come now. It's not that bad. Chang says that when the sores heal, your hair will grow back. Don't cry."

An indignant look was his reward. The crystalline tears continued to flow down the thin cheeks

Heero realized that he had tied Pacchiri too tightly. He loosened the bonds and stood up. When he stood, his slave turned slowly to him and knelt at his feet. He leaned into Heero and rested his cheek on his thigh. When he didn't make any objection, Duo took the tie of his trousers in his teeth and started to pull the bow loose.

"Don't do that. Come. Let me untie you. I'm sorry I tied you so tight, but you shouldn't argue with me."

Duo sat back on his haunches. He didn't know what to do. He'd made master angry by resisting getting his hair cut. That usualy meant that he was going to be punished. But Heero had only tied him up and cut it anyway, but he hadn't cut it back to the scalp, or pulled it out like the other masters had. He'd only cut enough to get out the tar.

Now he didn't want him to please him with his mouth or obviously his hands. He had no idea what to do. He was scared, frustrated and angry. All he could do was try not to cry. Big boys didn't cry.

So he didn't, instead he sulked. He crawled into his bed my bed! and pulled the covers over his head and pretended to sleep. He wished he could tell his master that his name was Duo not Pacchiri, whatever that meant. Probably something insulting, like Bumbaby or the equally disgusting Hole.

Heero slipped in the door, using all his much vaunted stealth. He saw Pacchiri curled up in his blankets. The boy looked like a hedge hog, even his head was covered.

"Hey. Pacchiri. Wake up. I've got more soup for you. This time it has potatoes in it."

One amethyst eye looked at him in outrage. "Not hungry? I'll just take it back to the kitchen."

This remark was answered by a rustling scramble, out stretched hands, and pleading eyes.

Heero settled on the edge of the bed. He poked at the pillows with one hand and managed to get his new slave settled against them without spilling the soup. When he was successful, he started to feed Pacchiri.

The silly boy didn't want to be fed, he wanted to feed himself, so Heero let him try. He soon found that eating with a spoon sitting up in bed was a lot harder on him than drinking broth from a mug.

Heero caught the spoon before Pacchiri could get soup on the sheets.

"If you are disobedient, I will punish you. If you're good, I'll reward you. Do you understand?"

Heero watched as the slaves face crumpled into a dismayed expression and then he hung his head. Heero cupped his chin in one palm.

"Look at me. I want you to talk to me. It's all right to talk. Don't chatter my head off, but tell me what you need. We aren't going to do much until you're strong again, which will take days yet. Then I'll start training you. Now . . . do you want more? If you do all you have to do is . . . well, ask for it. Somehow. Wufei said not to make food a reward for talking so. . . but how are we to communicate if you won't talk."

Duo thought about that, his face scrunching up in a fashion that Heero found alluring. Then he smiled and Heero felt his heart jump.

Duo bit his lip. This was going to be hard, none of his other masters had ever wanted to know what he wanted. All they wanted to do was fuck him and hurt him, then toss him aside to care for himself as best he could. He peeked at this master through the ragged bang that hung over his eyes.

"Don't be afraid. If I don't like it I'll tell you, but I won't punish you for it."

Duo patted his lips, then pointed to the mug. Heero blinked.

"Ok, food?" At the eager nod, Heero smiled. "Very well, then. Let me see. What else? Oh, I know. Here." Heero clutched his biceps and shivered dramatically. "Cold." Then he put the back of his hand against his forehead and then shook it like he was wiping off sweat. "Hot. Now you think of some."

They spent several minutes thinking up signs that would help them communicate, only stopping because Duo was obviously drooping with exhaustion.

Heero smiled, pressed his hands together, then put his cheek on the back of one. "Sleep. Oh, and if you need my attention, snap your fingers. Just don't get cheeky about it."

Duo smiled slightly and settled down in his blankets again. He felt better than he had just a day ago, but he knew he had a lot of healing to do before he was any use to his master. He just hoped, again, that this one was better than the last. At least he had a bed, food and warmth--for now.

Heero watched as his new slave settle down again. He hoped that this boy would give him what he needed so desperately. He was tired of being alone. He knew he was a 'lover of men', he'd always known. His father had known too and hadn't minded. Or at least hadn't shown it if he did.

So he had no concubines, no mistresses, no confidant. This slave boy would give him all that and more. If he worked things right. And he wouldn't have to worry about poison anymore.

Heero brewed Duo's tea and put honey in it. It didn't help the taste, but it was good for him. He wondered idly what the slave's real name was, maybe he could figure it out.

"Here, it's your tea. You're being so good about drinking it. I know it tastes terrible. Wufei is always forcing it down my throat when I get wounded. I put honey in it, not that that helps much. But down the hatch."

Duo obediently took the tea and drank it, with a minimum of grimacing, and just one gag at the taste.

Heero accepted the empty cup and got Duo comfortable again. He couldn't believe how much he was becoming attached to this bright eyed creature.

"I want to know your real name. I call you Pacchiri, which is a name from my mothers native tongue. It means Bright Eyes. But you obviously don't like it. So I need to figure out what your real name is. Do you want to try?"

Duo nodded eagerly. This was good.

Heero settled Duo against the footboard of his huge bed and leaned against the head. "Ok. Let's start like this. Do you know charades?"

Duo thought for a second, then shook his head. So Heero explained the game to him and they started.

"How many syllables?" Heero had to smile at Duo's eager grin and vigorous hand gesture. "One."

Duo nodded, his hair flopping into his eyes. Then he held up two fingers.

Heero eyed them in exasperation. "You said one syllable. Now you're saying two?"

Duo shook his head, then bit his lip. He cupped one hand around his ear like a person hard of hearing would. Then he held up two fingers again.

"Oh, sounds like two?"

Duo gave a quick nod and settled back to wait.

Heero thought carefully, then began going through all the words he knew that meant two or sounded like two. When he finished, he couldn't help sighing at his slaves dejected look and slumped shoulders.

"I'm sorry. Give me another clue. I'm sure there are many words I've missed."

Duo thought again, then put one hand on his chest and held the other over his head, opened his mouth and acted out singing. Heero looked blank. Duo felt like smacking him, then immediately began to tremble. If Master ever thought for a moment he would have such an idea, he'd get such a beating.

Heero reached out and caught his trembling slave in his arms. "Don't worry. I don't understand, but we'll try again later. You don't have to be afraid, I'm not going to do you any harm." Heero cuddled and petted and whispered until Duo stopped shaking, then he tucked him into bed and went to find Wufei.

Wufei gave him tea and cake, then settled down to listen to his Lord's grumblings.

"And you should have seen his face fall. He looked like his heart was broken. Then he looked afraid, started shaking, and I spent the next candle mark comforting him until he fell asleep."

Wufei nodded. "You did well. I know you hate parlor games. Tell me the clues and I'll see if I can't figure it out."

So Heero told him all the clues and even acted out his slaves little mime. Wufei sighed.

"One syllable, means two. And singing?" Heero just looked at Wufei and waited. "Dammit, Heero. His name is Duo. Sometimes . . . I swear. If you weren't my lord and master, I'd swat you one."

Heero smirked at Wufei. "And I'd wonder what bug was crawling on me."

Wufei just made a shooing motion with one hand and went back to his tea and scroll.

Heero returned to his rooms glaring at all the courtiers who invariably followed him. He got on to the trundle bed and rooted into the covers, unearthing his slave.

"Wake up, little bright eyes." His slave gave him a muzzy eyed look and knuckled his eyes. "I figured it out. Well, not me really, Wufei did. But your name is Duo, right? Duo."

Duo couldn't help himself, he threw his arms around Heero's neck and kissed him right on the mouth. Heero happily kissed back.

First chapter. Please feed back. I'm hungry.