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

Notes:  Quatre starts feeling ill.  Lily and his family take care of him.



Secrets



Part Eleven


Quatre poked his dinner around with a fork, sighing as he shifted in his seat.  The chair that he had sat in most every day since
he had gotten old enough to have his own chair at the dining table, now felt hard and uncomfortable.  He didn’t like it.  He
wanted to go outside and sit in a tree . . . he liked trees.

“Quatre, eat your dinner and stop moping.”  Mother said, reaching over to brush a hand through his hair.

The little blonde ducked away from her touch, his tail twitching.  “I’m not moping.”  He sighed, wishing that Duo were here.  
But no, Duo was up in his room, sent to bed early without supper.

There was a pause before Mother spoke again.  “Whatever is the matter, Quatre?”

Quatre scowled and shifted again.  “I don’t know, Mother.  The chair . . . it just isn’t comfortable anymore.”

Mother’s voice softened slightly.  “It’s all right, Quatre.  You’re probably hitting your growth spurt, so things that used to be
comfortable simply aren’t at the moment.  I’m sorry that there isn’t all that much I can do for you.”  She passed a roll over to
Uncle Howard.  “Why don’t you eat your dinner?”

Quatre sighed and was about to start eating, when a twinge in his stomach made him stop.  “I’m not really all that hungry.”  He
whispered, putting his fork down.

Mother looked up in concern, Quatre’s family turning their worried eyes to look at him.  “Are you feeling all right?”  Mother
asked.

Quatre smiled a little.  Mother was always ready to tend to him and his siblings.  His smile died though, when a slight wave of
nausea swept over him.  He frowned deeply, wrapping his arms around his middle.

“I don’t feel too well, Mother.”  He said, closing his eyes and taking a breath.

Mother’s fingers swept across his cheek, a gasp coming from her mouth.  “Oh, my.”  She whispered, laying her hand against
his face firmly.  “You’re quite warm.”

Slowly, Quatre peeled his eyes open, his vision blurring slightly.  He watched as Mother rose from her seat, helping Quatre to
stand as well.  Quatre felt horrible . . . his body was all achy, his head hurt . . . his back hurt . . . he simply felt bad.

“Come on, to bed with you.”  She said, wrapping an arm around his shoulders and leading him from the room.

“Do you need any help, Mother?”  Une called, her tone portraying concern.  Quatre felt glad that his family cared so much about
him.

Mother stopped in the doorway, turning to look at the rest of the family.  She said nothing for a moment, then nodded her head.  
“Yes.  Une, go and ready a bath for your brother.  Get Duo to help you carry the water . . . I’m sure he hasn’t fallen asleep yet.  
Solo, fetch my ointments and salves.  Something in there should help to ease this illness.  Howard, could you brew a weak
broth?  I would like Quatre to eat something.”

The children all jumped into action.  Howard was a bit slower to move.  He wasn’t an old man, yet he wasn’t quite as young as
he had once been.  Still, he nodded and smiled.  “Yes, of course, Lily.”  He said.

Done with giving instructions to the others, Mother led Quatre up the stairs and to his bedroom.  She sat him down, kneeling in
front of him.  “What ails you, Quatre?”  She asked worriedly.

Quatre shivered, wrapping his arms around himself.  “I don’t know, Mama . . . I just don’t feel good.  I . . . I feel cold . . . and
my back and head hurts . . . my tail too.”  He swallowed, whimpering a little as his stomach flipped.  “And my stomach feels
like it’s doin’ somersaults.”

“This very well might be natural for Feles’.”  Mother said, laying her hand over Quatre’s cheek.  “I wish I knew more about
your real mother’s people.  Maybe if I did, I could offer you some comfort.”

Quatre leaned into his mother’s touch, feeling a strange need for her hand to stroke his face.  “You are helping, Mama.”  He
said, smiling as she caressed his cheek lovingly.  It was then that a weak, rumbling purr came from deep within Quatre's chest.  
He blinked, jumping in surprise . . . he hadn’t known that he could purr.  Suddenly, he felt scared.  His heart pounded in terror.  
“Mama?  I’m sorry . . . I didn’t mean to . . . honest!”

Mother all but jumped to her feet, wrapping her arms around Quatre’s body.  “Sshh, now . . . don’t you worry none.  I’m sure
you couldn’t help it.  It was a natural thing.  You are part feline.  I’ve been wondering when you’d start doing that . . . must be
a sign of you maturing.”

Fearing this new ability, Quatre clung to his mother’s body, trying to will away the urge to purr again as she began stroking her
hand along his back.  “I’m sorry, Mama . . . I don’t want to be different.  I want to be like you and the others.”  He whimpered.

“Don’t you say that, Quatre.”  Mother chided, gently pulling Quatre away from her body.  “Look at me.”  She urged, waiting
until Quatre’s eyes met hers.  “You are from a proud and ancient race, Quatre Raberba Winner.  Never be ashamed of what or
who you are.”

“B-But Feles are hated . . . they hurt people.”  Quatre shuddered, his eyes filling with tears.

Mother’s hands cupped his cheeks, her thumbs brushing over his skin.  “Your real mother was a Feles, Quatre.  And she was a
good woman, a kind and loving person.  Would your father have married her had she not been?”

Quatre shook his head a little.  “N-No . . . Father would have only married her if he loved her.”  He replied.

“Then don’t you go thinking that all Feles are bad.  Yes, there are ones that would harm us, but that can be said of humans too.  
There are good people and bad people . . . humans and Feles alike.”  She said, smiling kindly at him.  “What you were born as
means nothing to me.  And it’ll mean nothing to everyone who loves you.  Anyone who would hurt you, well then they never
really cared.  You are a good person, Quatre.  Your mother would be so proud of the man you’re turning into.”

There were no words that Quatre could think of that would justify the emotions welling up inside of him . . . nothing in his mind
that was good enough to express his feelings.  “Mama . . .”  He sniffled, throwing himself into Mother’s arms, curling against
her, that rumbling purr beginning again, only sounding louder this time.

“Mama!  The bath is ready!”  Une called out.

“Come on, Quatre.  You need a good soak and then we can get you to bed.”  Mother urged, easing Quatre away from her body.  
“If you’d rather . . . Duo can help you bathe.  I know young men would rather not have their mothers tending them in the bath.”

Quatre smiled a little, nodding his head.  “Thanks, Mama.”  He said, getting up when Mother helped him to do so.


*****


Lily was gentle as she helped her youngest son.  Even though he wasn’t of her own blood, he was no less her child than any of
the ones she had borne from her body.  She loved him as she loved her others, caring for nothing above their happiness.

“Come.”  She urged, leading him out of his bedroom.  She saw Duo in the hall and beckoned him over, asking him if he would
help his younger brother in the bath.

Duo readily nodded, not wasting even a second before he agreed to.  Quatre was family and none of her children would hesitate
to offer him help.  He was one of them, regardless of his origins.

Lily handed Quatre over to Duo’s care, watching proudly as Duo helped his younger brother to walk to the room where Une had
set up the bath.  She stood there, watching the two of them, until Duo had gotten Quatre into the room and closed the door.  
Then, Lily strode into Quatre’s room and went about getting things ready for him.

She turned down the bed, getting a nightshirt from Quatre’s wardrobe, finding his hairbrush and placing it within easy reach.  
Solo entered the bedroom not too long after, carrying the case of Lily’s herbs and remedies.  He gave it to her, then went to help
Duo with Quatre’s care.

Lily rummaged around in her case, glancing at the labels on the various jars and pouches.  She thought for a moment, trying to
decide what would be right.  Then she made her choices, taking a soothing ointment out, as well as a small pouch of grounded
herbs.  The ointment would help to soothe Quatre’s aches . . . the herbs would ease his stomach troubles and send him into a
restful slumber.

Done readying the room, Lily waited . . . it was all that she could do at the moment.  It wasn’t long before Solo entered the
room, carrying Quatre in his arms.  Lily clucked her tongue, approaching Quatre and brushing her fingers through his long,
damp hair.

“Poor dear.”  She murmured, noticing that her son was almost completely asleep already.  “Solo, set him on the bed.”

“Yes, Mama.”  Solo said, doing as Lily had told him to.

Quatre wearily sat there on the bed, swaying a little.  Solo held him upright though, adjusting the drying cloth that was wrapped
around his waist so that it covered him better.  Not waiting to be told to, Solo picked up the nightshirt that Lily had gotten out,
and he garbed Quatre in it, removing the drying cloth completely and tossing it aside.

Howard entered the room then.  He handed a bowl of broth and a spoon over to Lily.  Lily thanked him kindly, then knelt down
in front of Quatre.  She reached over and opened the pouch of herbs, dropping a pinch of the medicine into Quatre's broth.  She
stirred it around, then looked up at her son.

“Do you think you can stomach some broth?”  Lily asked, setting her hand against Quatre’s heated cheek.

“I’ll try, Mama.”  Quatre replied wearily.

Lily smiled, watching for a moment as Solo climbed onto the bed behind Quatre and set to brushing his hair out.  While Solo
busied himself with that task, Lily began to spoonfeed Quatre, her heart aching for her child as he fought to keep his eyes open.  
The poor boy was only able to eat about half before he turned away.  By then, Solo had finished brushing and weaving Quatre’s
hair . . . and was just tying the end of the braid so that it wouldn’t unravel.

“All right now, lie down.”  She whispered, urging Quatre to lie back.

Solo’s hands guided him and soon enough Quatre was laying on his stomach.  Lily brought the blankets up to his waist, then
delicately pulled up the blonde’s nightshirt, exposing his back.  She reached over to where she had left the ointment and opened
the jar it was contained in.  Spreading the substance over her palms, Lily then tenderly applied her hands to Quatre’s shoulders,
rubbing the soothing ointment into his skin.  She ran her hands over his muscles, massaging the soreness away.  She smiled as
he began purring again, noting that he had fallen into a peaceful slumber already.

“There, that should help I think.”  She said quietly, tugging the nightshirt back down and covering Quatre’s body once more.  
“You go on and finish your dinner, Solo.  I think I’m going to stay up here with your brother for the rest of the night.”

“Yes, Mama.”  Solo said, carefully easing himself off of the bed so that he didn’t jostle the little blonde sleeping on the surface.

Lily smiled, watching as her eldest son left the bedroom with his uncle Howard, closing the door behind the two of them as they
left.  Now that she was alone with Quatre, Lily allowed her smile to fade.  She turned worried eyes to look at the pale blonde,
hoping that this was a natural occurrence in Feles’ . . . she knew so little of the race.  For all that she knew, this could be how
they matured.  Quatre was reaching that age about now . . . she hoped that he wasn’t ill.

Shedding her shoes, Lily climbed into bed beside her youngest child, wrapping gentle arms around his slender body.  She smiled
a little as he curled closer to her, his purring becoming louder as she stroked his back in a gentle manner.  She would stay here
tonight . . . to be here should Quatre awaken and need anything.  Setting her cheek atop his head, Lily allowed her eyes to close,
wanting nothing more than for Quatre to be well.



To Be Continued . . .