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

Notes:  Lily flees the palace and finds her children.  They leave their home and run, stopping only when they have no other
choice.  Then they meet a man named Howard.


Part Two

Lily stepped out of the secret passageway, her heart beating wildly as she looked around.  In her arms, she held the young
prince, her charge, Quatre.  His catlike tail whipped around in an agitated manner, alluding to the fact that he was frightened.  
His sharp nails had extended from his fingernail beds, digging into Lily’s chest, sharp enough to scratch her skin even through
her clothing.  Lily could understand his fear . . . his entire family had just been slaughtered and he had most likely seen all of it.

The scent of burning flesh reached her nose, and she winced.  Taking hold of her cloak, she drew it around Quatre’s small
body, trying to protect him from the sights and smells of the smoldering village around them.  He had seen enough death in the
night . . . there was no need for the two-year-old to witness anything further in these early morning hours.

Thankfully, she saw no one nearby, save for the corpses that littered the streets.  She wept for the poor souls that had lost their
lives, hoping that someone other than herself and her children had been able to make it out alive.  Pulling her hood over her head
to obscure her face, she hurried off into the forest, hoping that her children were waiting for her within.  She didn’t know if
they had been able to flee into the forest, as she had instructed them to do should there be an attack.  She was afraid that they
had been caught, that someone had stopped them.

Weaving her way through the trees, she headed for the hiding place.  She desperately hoped that her children were safe.  Finally,
she pushed aside a bramble of thorns, carefully of course, and stepped into the clearing that was hidden behind it.  This clearing
was nearly impossible to find unless you already knew where it was.  It had been Lily’s youngest boy that had found it, during a
game of hide-and-seek with his elder siblings and mother.  Needless to say, he hadn’t been found, and when asked where he had
hidden, he showed them to this place.

Lily nearly cried in relief as her children all rushed forward and engulfed her in hugs.  “Solo, Duo, Une . . .”  She whispered,
dropping to her knees and embracing them.  “I was afraid you had not made it.”

There was no answer, not that one was needed.  There was just hugging and crying, the contented embrace that they all fell
into.  Une was Lily’s only daughter and her eldest child at eight years of age.  Solo was second oldest, Lily’s first son, just as his
name indicated.  He was seven years old.  And then there was her youngest, her little angel, Duo.  He was only four years of
age, the last child that Lily had borne before her husband’s untimely death.

All of her children differed in personality and attitude.  And yet, there was one similarity between them all.  Lily and her brood of
children all had long hair, varying in shades, but always kept woven into braids.  Solo’s hair was more like his father’s, a dark
blonde.  Une had hair like her aunt, and Duo’s hair was like Lily’s.  While Duo and Solo had just the single braid trailing down
their backs, Une and Lily usually wore two or more braids.

“Solo, lend me your cloak.”  Lily whispered, drawing herself away from her children.

“Yes, Mama.”  Solo replied, removing his cloak and handing it over to her.  Lily could see that her children had hastily dressed
themselves . . . their clothes were on haphazardly.  But this was to be expected since they had been forced to hurry.

“Thank you.”  Lily pulled Quatre away from her body, setting the child down on shaky legs.  He was crying, his hands wiping at
his eyes tiredly.  “Sshh . . . there, there now.”  Lily hushed, draping the cloak around the child’s small body.

She couldn’t leave him clad in just his nightshirt, not on a chill morning like this.  And his tail would have to be hidden, just in
case they happened to run into anyone.  Creatures such as Quatre were not well liked by normal humans.  Even if he was just a
sweet little boy, he could be hurt if his true nature was discovered.

Quatre looked up at her, but said nothing.  He merely stood there, shivering, rivers of tears marring his flushed cheeks.  Every
now and then he’d hiccup or sniffle, his lips trembling.  The sight of the distressed child was breaking Lily’s heart . . . she hated
to see him suffer.

“Don't cry, Quatre.  I’ll take care of you from now on.  I swear it.”  She said, only wanting to calm the poor child.  “You won’t
be alone.”  She ran her hand through his soft, blonde hair, only to frown as her fingers brushed one of his pointed ears.  “We’ll
have to do something about those ears of yours.”

Lily thought for a moment, then came up with an idea.  She grasped the bottom of her dress and tore a strip from it.  Carefully,
she tied it around his head like a headband, making sure that the tops of his ears were covered.  Then she flipped the hood of the
cloak up, to further ensure that he was hidden.

“There.  Now we best get going.  We can’t afford to stay around here too long.  Those men could stumble across us at any
time.”  Lily said, keeping her voice at a whisper.

Lily lifted Quatre, holding him securely with one arm while she took hold of Duo’s hand with her free hand.  She led her
children from the clearing, staying within the safety of the forest for as long as they could.  She didn’t want to endanger any of
them, not her children and definitely not Quatre.

They walked for so long, hours on end, stopping only long enough to rest weary feet and eat a few berries they picked along the
way.  Quatre was asleep in Lily’s arms and Duo was stumbling along beside her.  Solo and Une were fighting weariness, not
complaining in the least as they followed their mother.  

It was nearing dawn the following day when they found themselves looking at a farmhouse.  From where Lily watched in the
forest, she couldn't see any sign of an owner.  The place looked abandoned, although it couldn’t have been for too long since
livestock still roamed inside of a fenced off area.

“Solo, Une . . . keep watch over Duo and Quatre.”  Lily said, gently handing Quatre over to her daughter.  “If it’s safe, I’ll come
back and get you.  If not . . .”  She sighed.  “If not, then you are to leave.”

“Yes, Mama.”  Une and Solo replied, looking down at the ground.

“Don’t go, Mama!”  Duo cried, holding Lily’s hand tightly.

Lily knelt down and stroked her hand over her son’s hair.  “But Duo, someone has to see if it’s safe or not.”

“I could do it.”  Duo bravely declared.

Lily smiled.  “Duo . . . it’s too dangerous.”

“But if you don’t come back, who’s gonna take care of Quatre?”  He asked, raising one eyebrow in question.  He had always
been a stubborn child, so much like his father.  “If I go, you’ll be able to watch them.”

“But Duo . . .”

Duo shook his head.  “Uh-uh!  I small.  I won’t be seen by no one.”  He said, then took his hand away from Lily’s grasp and
promptly ran toward the farmhouse.  He paused for a moment, and looked back at her.  “I’ll make sure it’s safe.”

Lily could only bite her lip and watch as Duo risked his young life for them.  She couldn’t call out to him without endangering
his life, nor could she run out and chase after him.  The best that she could do was to hope for the best.


Duo scurried over to the farmhouse.  He knew that he had to make sure it was safe.  He couldn’t let his mother endanger
herself, not when Une, Solo, and Quatre would need her to take care of them.  And Duo loved her too much to let her get hurt.

Looking around, Duo found an old stump outside one of the windows.  He climbed up, grasping the edge of the window with
his small hands as he stood on his tiptoes.  He did hate being so small.

Duo couldn’t see much of anything within the old farmhouse.  There was a stove and a table and not much else.  There were a
couple closed doors on the other side of the room, but Duo didn’t really know where they went to.  Probably a bedroom or
something, he thought.

Sighing, Duo climbed down off the stump and ran around to the back of the house.  He found more windows there, but couldn’
t reach them.  Duo bit into his bottom lip as he tried to figure out a way to get a look inside.  He looked around, finding an old
bucket lying on the ground.

Duo picked it up and set it underneath one of the windows.  Then he climbed up onto it and peered inside.  What he saw in there
made him frown.  There was somebody living here . . . and whoever it was, was asleep in bed.

Duo sighed deeply.  However, the sound must have been heard, for the man in bed stirred and looked directly at him.  Duo
gasped in fear and shock, his heart thumping in his chest.  Surprised, Duo lost his footing and stumbled, falling backwards.

He must have hit his head, since the next thing that he remembered he was opening his eyes.  A ceiling was above him and for a
moment he wondered where he was.  Then it hit him . . . the farmhouse, his family.

He sat up quickly, his head throbbing painfully, causing tears to prickle in his eyes as he looked around at his surroundings.  He
was in that bedroom, the one that he had been peeking into from outside.  But how had he gotten here?  And where was that

“Oh, you’re finally awake.”  A strange voice said.

Duo turned, his eyes widening in fear as he saw that man standing in the doorway.  He was a tall man . . . but everyone seemed
tall to Duo.  The strange man was just starting to go bald . . . he wasn’t exactly old, but Duo could see a few wisps of grey hair
here and there.  He was dressed as a simple farmer, in an old tunic and hose that had patches here and there.

Duo scrambled back into a corner, looking around for a possible escape.  But the man was blocking the only exit.  Whimpering,
Duo buried his face in his knees and started crying.  He had failed his mother, had failed his brother and sister and Quatre.  He
only hoped that they would be okay, that mother wouldn’t try and come after him.

A hand settled on Duo’s shoulder and he recoiled, shuddering in fear.  “D-Don’t hurt me.”  He cried, terrified that this stranger
meant to do him harm.

“There’s no need to fear me, child.”  The man hushed, his hand gentle on Duo’s back.  “I wouldn’t hurt you.”

Duo sniffled, wiping the back of his hand over his runny nose.  “R-Really?”  He asked, watching the man warily.  “You ain’t
gonna hit me or nuthin’?”

The man smiled, shaking his head.  “No, I won’t hit you.  If I meant to hurt you, I wouldn’t have put you in my bed or
bandaged that injury you got.”  He said, pointing to Duo’s head.  “Now, what’s you name?  And what were you doing looking in
my bedroom window?”

Duo blinked.  He raised his hand, surprised when his fingers brushed over a strip of cloth that had been wrapped around his
head.  “I . . . I . . .”  Duo began, but then he didn’t know what to say really.  He didn’t want to tell this man about his family,
not sure if it was safe to do so.  But he had to say something.  And Mama had always told him never to lie.  “My name is Duo.  
And . . . I was just curious to know if anyone lived here.  The place looked empty.”  Well that was the truth . . . he had been
checking to see if the house was empty or not.  Duo was just leaving out the fact that his mother and siblings were waiting in
the forest.

The man sighed.  “I know, my farm’s a little rundown . . . haven’t been keeping up with my chores lately.”  He smiled.  “My
name’s Howard.  You here all by yourself, Duo?”

“Why do you wanna know that?”  Duo asked, narrowing his eyes.

Howard chuckled.  “No need to look at me so suspiciously, kid.  I was just wondering.  You look a bit too young to be
wandering around on your own.”  He smiled, hefting Duo out of bed and setting him on his feet on the floor.  “You’re free to
leave if you want.  Or, you can tell whoever you came with that they’re welcome to join me for breakfast.”  He ruffled Duo’s
hair lightly.

Duo bit his lip.  He turned on his heel and ran from the room, hastily exiting the little house.  He had to tell his mother about
Howard.  He entered the forest, then looked around for the area where he had left her.  He wasn’t stupid . . . so he had entered
the forest a few yards away from where his family was waiting, just in case.

“Mama?”  Duo whispered, looking around.

She stepped out of the trees ahead of him, Solo and Une on either side of her.  “Oh, Duo . . . you’ve been hurt.”  She gasped,
falling to her knees in front of him.  She lifted the bandage, checking the injury before replacing the wrapping.  “What

“I slipped and fell.”  Duo said, looking down shamefully.  “I got startled by the man that lives in the house.  He bandaged my
head and then let me go.  His name is Howard and he says we can join him for breakfast.  Can we go, Mama?  I’m real hungry.”

Lily sighed.  “I don’t know, Duo.  We don’t know this man or what he would do if we were to go in there.”  She ran her
fingers through his hair.  “I don’t want any of you to get hurt.”  She turned her eyes to Quatre, who once again was sleeping in
her arms.  “And Quatre . . . if that man finds out what he is . . .”  She trailed off, not going into detail.  Duo knew though.  
Because Quatre was different, he was in danger.  Duo didn’t see why anyone would want to hurt him, Quatre was a good little
boy and fun to play with.

“Mama . . . I’m hungry.”  Solo said, tugging on his mother’s sleeve.

“So am I.  And tired.”  Une added.

Lily clucked her tongue, sliding her hand along Solo’s arm.  “I know . . . I know.”  She bit into her bottom lip, a trait that Duo
had inherited from her.  “I guess we don’t have much of a choice really.  You kids need to eat and get some sleep under a roof .
. . we can’t keep walking around like this.”  She sighed.  “Come on, let’s go take Howard up on his offer.  We don’t have much
of an alternative.  But none of you are to mention anything about Quatre being different.  He’s your brother from now on.  You

Duo nodded, hearing as Solo and Une both gave affirmative answers as well.  “Come on, Mama, you’ll see . . . Howard is a nice
man.”  Duo said, taking hold of his mother’s hand and leading her to the house.  He did hope that Howard was a nice guy . . . he
didn’t want Mama to worry any more.

To Be Continued . . .