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

Notes:  Small time skip.  Quatre’s rash is healed.  And the group finally finds a place to stop and make arrangements to settle
down.  Lily’s children quickly make friends with the local village children.



Secrets



Part Eight


Lily sighed as she ran a soft brush through Quatre’s fine hair, in the hopes to soothe the child.  It wasn’t that he was still hurting
from the rash . . . that had faded completely about three days ago.  No . . . it was the fact that the further they went, the more
skittish Quatre became around people.  She hoped that they would be able to find a place where he could grow up without that
fear.  They had to settle down in a village, if only for the sake of the children.  They deserved to have friends.

A giggle from inside of the wagon drew her attention to another source of her melancholy.  Duo, easily the most active of her
children, was playing with some twigs that he had plucked from the kindling bunches, when Lily was sure that he would rather
be running around with other children.  She didn’t understand the purpose of the game, but Duo did . . . as did Quatre.  She
would have let the two little ones have their way, except for the fact that they needed fresh air and sunlight.

“Duo, sweetie . . . we’ll be arriving at a village soon.”  She shrugged as he looked up at her.  “Perhaps there will be some
children that you can play with for a while.  I’m sure you must be tired of being cooped up all the time.”

Duo shook his head, fiddling with the twigs.  “I’m okay, Mama.  If Quatre can’t play with the other kids, I dun wanna.”

Lily smiled.  “Quatre can go play if he wants to.  He just has to be careful not to allow anyone else to see his tail or ears.”

“Play?”  Quatre asked, looking up at Lily with hopeful eyes.

“Yes of course you can play.”  Lily said, lovingly stroking Quatre’s cheek.  “You just have to remember what I told you . . . all
of you do.”

“Yes, Mama.”  Came the chorus answer from her brood of offspring.

Lily chuckled, but decided to go over them just one last time.  “The most important rule of course is that no one, absolutely no
one is to be allowed to see Quatre’s ears or tail.  There are people that would hurt him for what he is, and I don’t want him
getting hurt.”

“Neither do we, Mama.”  Une spoke up.

“Good.  And you must all look after him.  I never want to find that Quatre has been left alone . . . if something should happen . .
. if someone should approach him . . . one of you must be there to help him out.  He’s still a baby and needs support.”  Lily
said.  Then she smiled and lifted Quatre up, bouncing him lightly on her knee.  “And you . . .”  She grinned, playing with the
adorable child.  “Do you remember what you are to do if someone tries to take your headband or cloak?  Or if someone should
try to hurt you?”

“I run home to Mama.”  Quatre replied, wrapping his tiny arms around Lily’s body.  “Mama.”

“That’s right.”  Lily replied, stroking Quatre’s back tenderly.  “Never fight with another child.  And never let anyone take your
headband or cloak.  They hide what you are, and I am sorry to say that you must remain hidden, if only for your safety.”  Lily
sighed, feeling as Quatre shivered a little.  “If you are ever separated from your brothers or sister, you run home to me or your
uncle Howard.”

“Yes, Mama.”  Quatre spoke quietly, curling closer to Lily’s body.

Lily frowned at the approaching sounds of village life.  In her embrace, Quatre stiffened, a shudder coursing through his tiny
body.  He reached up and tugged on Lily’s dress, his wide eyes full of terror.

“Mama . . . hide.”  He whimpered, covering his pointed ears with his little hands.

“Sshh . . .”  Lily hushed, rubbing his back gently.  She eased his hands down, smiling kindly at him.  “No need to be afraid,
Quatre.  I’m here . . . and I know you have to hide.  Don’t be scared.”  She soothed, stroking his hair in a way that she knew
would soothe him.

Slowly, Quatre calmed.  Lily obliged him, covering his ears with the headband once again, making certain that his tail was
tucked down the back of his breeches . . . his cloak further covering his little body.

“There now . . . all set.  See, everything will be fine.”

“Okay.”  He chimed, happily hugging Lily’s body.

Lily was simply amazed that his mood could change so suddenly.  Not a minute ago, Quatre had been terrified.  And now, here
he was, humming some meaningless tune and enjoying a warm embrace.  He truly was an amazing little boy.

Lily looked around the village as they entered it, smiling pleasantly to the passers by that politely waved to them.  This looked like
a nice village . . . so full of children.  She could see a good number of them running around, playing games, a few of them even
stopping to look at the wagon that Lily and her family were traveling in.  Lily wondered if they would be staying here for long.  
She wouldn’t mind getting a chance to rest for a bit.

As if reading Lily’s mind, Howard spoke up.  “I think we’ll stay here the night at least.  I want a chance to look around . . .
maybe we could settle down here.  We’ve been traveling a while, crossed two borders . . . these are the lands of Queen Serafina
if I’m not mistaken.  She has a loyal and strong army to protect her kingdom from what I’ve heard . . . should be more than
enough to prevent those soldiers from chasing after Quatre here.”

“That’s good.”  Lily nodded, stroking a hand along Quatre’s back.

Howard brought the wagon to a halt outside of an inn.  He hopped out, running around to the other side to offer Lily his hand
and helping her out.  Lily thanked the man, smiling as she stood by and watched as Howard helped the children.  He took Une
and Solo down from the horse, picking Duo up and holding him in his arms as a youth came over from the livery next door.  
Howard even gave Duo his coin purse, allowing the little boy to pay for having their wagon put away and animals tended to.  
Lily smiled, glad to see that Duo was getting along so well with his ‘uncle’.

Lily’s attention was drawn away from Howard and Duo, as something tugged on her skirt.  She looked down, a smile quickly
coming to her face as she saw an adorable little boy staring up at her.  He looked to be about Quatre’s age, his hair black and
hanging loose around his face.

“Can I play wif him?”  He asked, pointing one gold-toned finger up at Quatre.

An older girl quickly came up behind the little boy and grabbed his arm.  She looked to be around seven or eight . . . about the
same age as Solo and Une.  “Wufei . . . don’t bother the lady.”  She hissed, then turned and curtseyed to Lily.  “I’m sorry, Ma’
am . . . my little brother doesn’t know no better.  I didn’t know he got away from me.  My mama told me to watch him, but he
keeps sneakin’ away.”

Lily smiled, kneeling down in front of the little girl.  “It’s quite all right.  What’s your name?”

“I’m Meiran Chang.”  She said, then gestured to her brother.  “And this is Wufei.”

Wufei reached forward and tugged on Lily’s sleeve.  “Can I play wif him?”  He asked again.

Lily turned to Quatre, bouncing him a little.  “Quatre, do you want to play with Wufei?”  She asked, knowing that the little Asian
boy was watching with keen interest.

“Wanna play.”  Quatre giggled, squirming to get out of Lily’s arms.

Smiling, Lily obliged and set Quatre down.  She watched as Quatre and Wufei immediately set to chasing each other around,
then turned her attention back to Meiran.  “You know, I have a daughter about your age.  Perhaps she can help you watch those
two?”

“Really?”  Meiran asked, her eyes twinkling with happiness.

“Une?”  She called over her shoulder, watching as Une approached.  “Why don’t you and Meiran watch over those two?  And
remember what I said . . . Quatre is not to be left alone.”  Lily said.  “Your uncle and I will be at the inn if you need us.”

“Yes, Mama.”  Une grinned, taking hold of Meiran’s hand and skipping off in the same direction that Wufei and Quatre had
disappeared in.

While she watched her daughter run off to play, Lily noticed a pair of little eyes watching her with curiosity.  She smiled at the
child that was hidden in the shadows.

“Hello there, little one.”  She whispered, wondering if she could coax the little boy out of hiding.  “Why don’t you come out?  I
won’t hurt you.”

Slowly the dark-haired child came out of the shadows, approaching her warily.  It was then that Lily noticed the dark bruise
covering nearly half of his young face.  It pained her to see the injury, the fact that it was in the shape of a hand left her further
upset, as did the sight of the blood dripping from a split in his lip.  Who would hurt a child, she wondered, extending her arms
and picking the boy up just as soon as he was close enough.

He was an adorable child, but then again she thought that of most every child she saw.  This one had a wild mane of dark,
brown hair.  His eyes were soft and such a sharp shade of blue.  He could be no more than four at most, a perfect playmate for
little Duo, if only for the fact that Lily’s son would most likely dote attention and affection on this boy . . . something this child
obviously needed.

“And what’s your name, little one?”  Lily asked, rising to her feet and walking over to the wagon.

The child looked at her nervously before answering, a slight shiver moving through his little body.  She could see that he was
afraid of her.  “Heero Yuy . . . Ma’am.”  He answered quietly, taking his bottom lip into his mouth and nervously chewing on it.

“There’s no need to be afraid, Heero.  I won’t do you harm.”  Lily assured, setting Heero on the wagon.  She reached over and
grabbed a pouch, flipping open the flap and rummaging around inside of it briefly.  “Let’s take care of that little cut, okay?”  She
said kindly, gently dabbing at the blood that dribbled down the boy’s chin.

Heero blinked at her, as if not believing that anyone would help him.  He probably saw little kindness in his own home . . . the
poor boy.  As she tended to his injury, the child slowly began to relax.  Lily applied a soothing balm to the bruise on Heero’s
face, lessening the ache that she knew he must be feeling.  When she was finished, Lily was rewarded by seeing the small smile
on Heero’s young face.

“Would you like to meet one of my sons?  He’s your age and has been very lonely lately.  I’m sure he’d love to play with you
today.”  Lily offered, watching as Heero’s eyes lit up.

“Play wif me?  N-No one ever wants ta play wif me.”  Heero blinked, then seemed to be in thought for a moment.  “I . . . I’d
like to.”  He nodded.

Lily smiled, picking Heero up and setting him on the ground again.  She looked over to where Howard was just finishing up with
the details for the care of the wagon and animals and gestured the man over to her.  “Howard, can you bring Duo over here?”  
She called.

“Of course.”  Howard smiled, setting Duo down and taking hold of his hand.  He led Duo over.

Lily dropped to one knee, smiling at her son.  “Duo, there’s someone I want you to meet.”  She said, setting her hands on Heero’
s shoulders and guiding him forward a little.  “This is Heero.  Maybe you and he would like to go play for a while?”

“Really, Mama?  I can go play?”  Duo asked, disbelief in his voice.

Lily chuckled, ruffling her son’s hair lightly.  “Of course you can.  Quatre and Une have found friends to play with.  You two go
on and have fun.  But don’t stray too far away.  And come back to the inn when I call you.”

“Okay, Mama!”  Duo cheered, hugging his mother happily before he took Heero by the hand and ran off.

Lily smiled.  “Solo, why don’t you go keep an eye on those two?”  Lily said, looking to her eldest son, who stood not too far
off.  “You don’t have to . . . I’m sure you can find something else to occupy your time.”

“It’s okay, Mama.  I’ll keep watch over them.”  Solo replied, giving his mother a kiss on the cheek.  He then walked away,
following after Heero and Duo.

Solo was certainly a kind boy, very obedient.  Lily treasured him, just as she did all of her children.  She rose to her feet,
brushing the dust from her clothing.  “What say we go and get a couple rooms?”

Howard nodded.  “After you.”  He smirked, gesturing for Lily to walk ahead.

Inside, they were met by a plump woman with a kind face.  She greeted them cheerfully, happily obliging all of their requests.  
Howard rented two rooms from the woman, then asked if there was any property around town up for sale.  The woman
introduced Howard to her brother, saying that he was looking to sell a few parcels of land.  Howard and the gentleman went off
to talk, leaving Lily the opportunity to bring up a question that nagged at her mind.

“Do you know a little boy named Heero Yuy?”  Lily questioned.

The kind innkeeper, her name Ella, clucked her tongue sadly.  “Oh yes, the poor boy.  His mother brings in the money . . . she
has some kind of a business going.  She’s away on business quite often.  I suppose the father gets riled up by the fact that his
wife is the breadwinner, takes his anger out on that sweet little child.”  She frowned, shaking her head.  “No children play with
the poor dear . . . too afraid of his father I guess.”

Lily sighed, feeling sorry for Heero.  “Can you tell me where he lives?  I think perhaps I would like to invite Heero to spend the
night in my keeping.  He doesn’t look as if he’s been eating well.  And I’m certain my son, Duo, would welcome the company.”

Ella nodded.  “I don’t doubt that his brute of a father kept him from supper these past few days.  I usually sneak him a little
something now and again, but he hasn’t come around to the inn for a while.  I think his father’s been keeping him away.”  She
smiled then.  “Right kind of you to do this, Miss Maxwell.  Heero’s home is just down the road . . . I’ll have my son show you
the way.”  

She snapped her fingers and a tall teenage youth came running out of the backroom.  He nodded and obediently did what his
mother told him to, taking Lily to the house where Heero lived.  It looked like a nice home, modest . . . looks could be deceiving
though, especially if Heero’s home life was as difficult as Lily had heard.

Lily thanked Ella’s son for showing her the way, watching briefly as he returned home.  Then she approached the front door
and rapped on the wooden surface sharply.  It was no more than a moment before the door was pulled open.  Surprisingly, Lily
found herself facing a young, beautiful woman.

“Are you Mrs. Yuy?”  Lily asked, offering a kind smile.

“Yes, I am.  I’m Elena Yuy.  What may I do for you this fine afternoon?”  She smiled, brushing a hand through her long, dark
tresses, pushing the errant strands of ebony hair behind one ear.  Lily had to admit that she was quite lovely, her features near
perfection.  Lily could see that Heero had inherited his looks from her . . . there was such a strong resemblance.

“It’s about your son, Heero.”  Lily smiled.  “I’ve only recently come to this village.  However, my son has taken a liking to
yours.  I was wondering if I could convince you to allow Heero to spend the night with us.  It has been so long since my Duo
has had anyone other than his brothers and sister to play with.”

Elena nodded.  “By all means.  I think it would be a wonderful idea.  I am sorry to say my Heero has few friends whatsoever,
the opportunity for him to have a friend is not something I would pass up.  I am sure you have heard the rumors about town . . .
pains me to say most are true.”  She turned and glared over her shoulder at the man standing behind her . . . her husband most
likely.  “I have words to exchange with my husband this night that I would not want Heero to overhear.”

Lily held up her hand.  “You need not explain.”  She said.

“Thank you.”  Elena nodded.  “I’ll just go and gather a few of Heero’s belongings.  You’ll be staying at the inn, correct?”

“Yes . . . until we can find a place to call our own.”  Lily replied.  She found Elena to be a delightful woman.

Elena disappeared into the house briefly, returning with a satchel.  “There’s a change of clothes, a nightshirt . . . and a few of
his favorite toys.  I’m much obliged to you for even offering to take him in for the night.”  She said.  “Things have been kind of
difficult ‘round here lately.  And I do need to speak with my husband about some things.”

“It’s no trouble really.”  Lily said, taking the satchel.  “If you have the time, you can join us for dinner tonight, or possibly
tomorrow?  I think it might be a good idea for our families to get to know one another.  Can’t say I’d be against having an
acquaintance here in town.”

“Tomorrow night would be better I think.”  Elena replied.  “Thank you again.”

Lily smiled.  “You’re quite welcome.  Good day, Mrs. Yuy.”  She waved and turned to walk away, leaving to return to the inn.

Along the way, she found Duo and Heero playing hide and seek with Solo.  She called them over, kneeling down in front of the
children.

“I have some good news for you, Heero.”  Lily said, stroking his unmarred cheek lightly.  “I went to your house and talked with
your mother.  She said that it would be all right if you stayed the night with us.  She wants to have a talk with your father and
probably doesn’t want you getting upset by what’s being said.  Would you like to stay the night?”

Heero nodded emphatically.  “Yah!”  He said, his cheeks turning pink as he blushed.

Lily chuckled, laying a hand on his shoulder.  “Your mother gave me some of your things, your clothes and a few toys, so you
don’t have to go home to get anything.”  She said, holding up the satchel.  “So when Duo and Solo come in for dinner, you
come with them, okay?”

“Okay.”  Heero smiled.

“That’s a good boy.”  Lily replied, curling her fingers through his soft hair.  “You three go on and play now.  Have fun.  I’ll see
you in a short while.”

“Thank you, Mama!”  Duo cheered, enthusiastically hugging Lily.  “Heero’s lots of fun!”

Lily laughed, hugging Duo in return, glad to see that he was happy once again.  She smiled widely as Duo bounded away with
Heero giving chase, Solo following behind the two younger children.  Lily was happy for her children.  She certainly did hope
that Howard would find a nice place for them to buy . . . this village and the people in it were nice enough.

She returned to the inn, thinking about sleeping arrangements as she awaited Howard’s return.  They wouldn’t have dinner until
he got back from looking around the village with Ella’s brother.  When Howard did return, Lily was quite surprised to find
herself being picked up and twirled around by the elder man.

“Feeling happy?”  Lily asked, blinking at Howard as he set her down on her feet again.

“Absolutely.”  Howard replied.  “This place is just perfect.  There’s a plot of land just outside of the village, perfect for a nice
little home to be built.  I bought it . . . as well as a storefront in a prime section of town, right in the center of the marketplace.”

“A store?  Whatever will we sell?”  Lily inquired.

Howard smiled slyly.  “Toys of course.”  He replied, nodding his head.  “I used to do it as a hobby for a while, have a nice
collection of dolls and other things packed up in one of my trunks, as well as my old tools.  Used to make things for my nieces
and nephews before they moved off . . . my other nieces and nephews, mind you.”  He winked.  “And I didn’t see a toy maker’
s shop in town when I was looking around.”

“That’s right.  Most toys are bought in the next village, ever since Mr. Kelley passed away.  He was a kindly man, gave most of
his toys away for free, he did.”  Ella grinned.  “I think you’ll be getting a good deal of business, Howard.  We have a good deal
of parents ‘round these parts that can’t leave for the next village as often as they’d like.”

“I think it’s a wonderful idea, Howard.”  Lily said, nodding her head.  “Now, what say we call the children in for dinner?  They’
re bound to be getting hungry.”

“Sounds like a good plan to me.”  Howard agreed.  “I’ll go call them.”

“I’ll go and have your meals prepared, Miss Maxwell.”  Ella said.  “You go on and sit anywhere you like.”

“Thank you, Ella.”  Lily said, smiling at the kind woman.  She went over to a table, finding two that were relatively close
together.  She moved a few chairs, pushing the tables closer to each other, wanting her family to be able to eat together.  Then
she set the chairs up around them, taking a seat at the center of the table.

It wasn’t long before Howard returned, carrying Quatre in his arms.  The little blonde was pouting and tiredly rubbing at his
eyes.  Poor dear was probably feeling tired . . . no doubt he had worn himself out playing with Wufei.  Running alongside
Howard, were Duo and Heero, both of them giggling about something or other.  Solo and Une trailed behind their uncle, smiles
on their faces.  They each looked as if they had had a good day.

Howard handed Quatre over to Lily, then went around and got each of the others into their seats before he sat down across
from Lily.  They didn’t have to wait very long for their meals to arrive.  The children chatted about their day happily, telling Lily
of everything they had done.  Their enthusiasm only left her happy for them.

Heero was quiet, but Lily wasn’t surprised by this . . . she just smiled and brushed a hand through his hair now and again,
encouraging him to eat more every time he nervously stopped.  Most likely he feared that he’d be hurt, his father’s callousness
had most definitely left its mark on the child.  He smiled up at her when he finally finished his meal, thanking her for letting him
stay the night.

Howard paid Ella for their dinners, then he and Lily went about getting the children ready for bed.  Une and Quatre would be
rooming with Lily, while Howard and the other boys would be staying in the other room they had rented.  Each room had two
beds, plenty of room for all of them to rest comfortably.

Ella met Lily just outside the room she had taken as her own.  “Miss Lily . . . seeing as you have a little one, I was thinking . . .
maybe you would like to have use of a crib?  My little ones have long since grown up, I wouldn’t mind lending it to you for a
while.”

Lily felt a smile creeping across her face.  This woman was simply a kind soul.  “I thank you, Ella.  It would be much
appreciated.  I don’t want Quatre getting too attached to sharing my bed, but I’ve had little choice lately, what with all the
traveling we’ve been doing.”

“Mama no bed?”  Quatre asked tiredly, pouting.

“Sshh, now, little one.  You’re going to have your own bed, just like you did before.  You remember, don’t you?”  Lily
whispered, pressing a kiss to Quatre’s forehead.  “And don’t you worry . . . until you get used to it again, I’ll be in the room
with you.”

“Okay.”  Quatre mumbled, laying his head against Lily’s chest.  He was probably too tired to put up an argument.

“I’ll run on down and get it for you then.”  Ella said, smiling pleasantly as she walked away.

Lily decided to wait until after Ella had brought the crib up to change Quatre into his sleep wear.  She didn’t want the elder
woman to see him, even if she seemed kind.  One never could tell how someone would react to someone of Quatre’s kind.  
Even the nicest of people could end up hurting him terribly, and that was something that Lily didn’t want ever happening again.  
Quatre had been hurt enough already, he didn’t need more pain.

Since she was waiting, Lily decided to check in on the others.  She knocked on Howard’s door, waiting until she was given
consent before she walked in.  She smiled as she saw Heero and Duo bouncing on the bed, although Solo didn’t look all that
happy since he was sharing the bed with the two younger boys.

Lily stepped over, keeping a smile on her face.  “All right you two, stop your bouncing and into bed with you.”  She said,
tucking the three children in.  She kissed each boy on the forehead, which resulted in Heero blushing a bright crimson.  “You
three sleep well.”

“Good night, Mama.”  Duo and Solo said, settling down to sleep.  Heero merely waved shyly, ducking his head beneath the
blankets.

“Sleep well, Howard.”  Lily bade, nodding in the man’s direction.

Howard smiled, waving his hand.  “Good night to you as well.”  He said, blowing out the flickering light of the lantern just as
Lily departed the room.

By the time she returned to her own room, Ella had returned with the crib . . . her brother and son helping her to carry it.  They
set it down near one of the beds, then politely left.  Une was already laying in bed, her eyes closed in apparent slumber.  Lily
kissed her daughter goodnight, covering her more snugly with the blankets.

Lily moved over to the other side of the room and set Quatre down on her bed, gently changing Quatre out of his clothes.  He
reacted sluggishly . . . wearily . . . and soon enough, Lily had him dressed in only his nightshirt and headband . . . he hadn’t
seemed to want her to take it off, so Lily had left it.  She gently picked up the half-asleep child and carried him over to the crib,
laying him down.  Taking a moment to brush her fingers over his cheek, she smiled, covering him with the soft blankets.

Now that all of her family was tended to, Lily got herself ready for bed, changing into her sleeping garments.  She lowered the
flame of the lantern, not blowing it completely out, deciding that if Quatre awakened in the night he would want to be able to see
her.  She didn’t want to cause Quatre any strife, especially on his first night sleeping alone since he had lost his family.

Sighing, and hoping that her family would be happy in this village, Lily got into bed and went to sleep, snug in a comfortable bed
for the first time in a long while.



To Be Continued . . .