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

Notes:  Lily worries over Quatre when he has an adverse reaction to his new clothing.



Secrets



Part Seven


Something was wrong.  That was the first thing that Lily could tell as she opened her eyes.  She wasn’t sure what was causing
her feeling of disquiet, but she was determined to find out.  She sat up and looked around the small encampment.  They had
stopped for the night not too far from the edge of a lake.

She frowned in concern as her eyes fell on Quatre.  He was whimpering and crying softly, as if he didn’t want to awaken
anyone.  Lily was worried that he’d had another nightmare, so she immediately pulled his tiny form into her arms.  Her frown
deepened when his small body stiffened and he let out a whimper.

“Quatre?  What’s wrong, sweetie?”

Quatre’s sad little voice was strained, his eyes reddened and filled with sparkling tears.  “Mama . . . hurts!  Make hurt stop,
Mama!”  He cried.

Lily set Quatre down and felt only a deep worry as every place she touched on the child seemed to cause him more and more
pain.  “What’s hurting you, baby?”

Crying, Quatre’s cheeks reddened with a blush.  He tugged at the clothing that he was wearing, wiping his other hand over his
eyes.  “Itchy.”

Lily’s eyes widened and she gently pulled Quatre’s tunic off.  Her breath caught in her throat when she saw Quatre’s angry,
reddened skin.  He had a rash . . . a bad one, covering everywhere that the tunic had been touching him.  He’d scratched himself
so much that he was bleeding a little in several places.

“I’m sorry, baby.”  Lily apologized, carefully pulling the breeches off of Quatre’s legs, only to see that the clothing there had left
the same effect to his sensitive skin.

“Itchy hurts.”  He pouted, scratching his fingers over the skin on his chest, resulting in more whimpers from him and a fresh
open sore as his extended claws broke skin . . . being in such distress, he mus have inadvertently let his claws extend.  This was
not a good thing.

“Quatre, don’t.”  Lily whispered, taking hold of his hands.  “You’ll only hurt yourself more if you scratch.”  She sighed when he
started crying more.  “Don’t worry, I’ll help take care of this.”  She looked over her shoulder to where Howard was still asleep.  
“Howard?”  She called out, needing some assistance.

Howard jumped in his sleep before opening his eyes and looking over at her.  “Is there something wrong?”  He asked, concern
wavering in his voice.

“Yes, Quatre’s had a bad reaction to his new clothes.  Can you watch the other children?  I’m going to give him a bath in the
lake.  The cool water should help to alleviate the pain and itchiness, at least a little.”

“Yes, of course.”  Howard replied.

Lily rose to her feet, trying to pick Quatre up as carefully as possible.  He still cried out in pain, but she could do nothing to help
that.  “Thank you, Howard.”  Lily said, then rushed over to the lake.

She set Quatre down on the grass just long enough to strip off her shoes and her simple black dress . . . underneath she wore
her underdress, so she wouldn’t be completely without clothes.  Then she lifted Quatre into her arms again and carried him into
the water until it came up to his chest.  She held the poor child in her arms as he clung to her, his tail thrashing through the
water angrily.  No doubt he was cranky . . . he probably hadn’t slept well, if at all, because of that rash.

“It’ll be okay, Quatre.”  She hushed, hoping that the cool water was helping to soothe him.  “Do you feel any better?”

Quatre sniffled.  “Little better.”  He answered.

They stayed in the water for a short while longer.  When they returned to the campsite - Lily dressed only in her soaking
underdress - the rest of the children were awake.  Howard produced a blanket and wrapped it around Lily’s shoulders.  She was
quite embarrassed about being seen in such a state of undress, but it couldn’t be helped now.

“Thank you, Howard.”  Lily thanked the man, then blinked as he held a number of familiar leaves out to her.  “Aloe?  Where did
you get these?”

“I have a small plant . . . been keeping it for some years now.  That’s the last of it, but I can see it will be put to good use.”  
Howard said.  “I’ll get something soft to wrap him in.”  He said, gesturing to Quatre before leaving, not giving Lily a chance to
thank him yet again.

Lily smiled, setting Quatre down on the ground.  She broke the stems, squeezing the soothing ointment from them.  Then she
rubbed it over Quatre’s rashes, nearly covering him from head to toe.  He yawned as she did so, hiccuping now and then.  By
then, Howard had come back with a fur blanket, and Une had gone to fetch Lily’s dress from the lakeside.

Lily wrapped Quatre in the blanket, gently lifting him.  She carried him to the wagon, setting him down in the blanket-filled trunk
so that he could get some rest.  “You get some sleep now, Quatre . . . I know you’re tired.”  She said, brushing her fingers
through his soft hair.

Quatre yawned again, then snuggled against the fur blanket, twisting his small fingers in it.  Duo tugged on Lily’s underdress,
gaining her attention.  “Can I get up there?”  He asked.

Lily was perplexed as to why Duo would want to, but she lifted him onto the wagon.  Her unasked question was answered as
Duo laid down next to Quatre, wrapping his arms around the blonde’s small body with the utmost care, as if afraid that Quatre
would break.

“Don’t worry, Quatre . . . you’ll be okay . . . Mama’s good at makin’ us feel better.”  Duo whispered, just loud enough for Lily
to overhear.  It warmed her heart seeing that Duo was so considerate toward his adopted little brother.


*****


It was well past midday when Quatre finally awakened.  Howard was spurring the oxen to pull the wagon along the road.  Une
and Solo were once again riding atop Howard’s steed.  Duo was laying behind Quatre, watching him carefully.  And Lily was
busy sewing a layer of silk into Quatre’s garments so that he would be able to wear them.  Howard had supplied Lily with the
necessary sewing supplies, and Lily had cut up her old underdress to use as a lining.

“Mama?”  Quatre’s little voice called out.

Lily paused in her work, turning to smile at Quatre.  “Good afternoon, Quatre.”  She greeted.

“Hungry, Mama.”  Quatre said, pushing himself to sit up.  Duo sat up as well, staying close behind him.

Lily smiled and handed him a small pouch of berries that Une had gathered earlier.  “We’ll stop in a while for lunch.  This should
fill your tummy until then.”

Quatre beamed and accepted the pouch.  After consuming a couple of berries, he offered the pouch to Duo.  “You want?  They
yummy!”  Quatre smiled, one of his hands trailing to rub across his chest.

“Uh-uh . . . they for you.”  Duo replied, then reached out and took hold of Quatre’s hand, pulling it away from his body.  “Don’t
scratch . . . you’ll only get owies if ya scratch.”

Quatre sniffled, but nodded.  He continued eating his berries, pouting as he did so.  Seeing Quatre in such distress left Lily’s
heart aching.  She wished that there was something more she could do for the child.  With a sigh, she turned to look at
Howard.  

“We will need more aloe . . . or something to ease the aches and itchiness.”  She said, knowing that Quatre would not be able to
stop himself from scratching for much longer.

“We are near a village.  I suppose we should stop there.  I should have known better than to leave that last place without
stocking up on medicines . . . didn’t anticipate the need I’m afraid.”  He replied forlornly.  “I am sorry for this.”

Lily smiled, laying her hand against Howard’s back.  “There is no need for you to apologize.  It is as much my own fault as it is
yours.  I should have known better than to dress Quatre in these coarse garments . . . his skin is far too sensitive.”  She let out a
breath.  “So really neither of us can blame ourselves nor each other.  Let us just call this a mistake that will not be made again.”

Howard nodded.  “I can live with that.”  He smirked.  “Let’s get to that village.  Don’t want Quatre being itchy for too long.”  
With that, he spurred the oxen to move faster.

It didn’t take far too long to reach the village, nor to get the ointments for Quatre’s rash.  Lily wrapped Quatre in the fur blanket,
holding him in her arms even as the apothecary examined him.  She did not want Quatre’s true nature to be discovered, not by
anyone.  Quatre deserved to be happy, deserved to be safe and grow to be mature . . . and she would do everything in her
power to ensure that he would be all of those things.  She would never let harm befall him, not when it was in her power to
prevent it.



To Be Continued . . .