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

Notes:  Quatre wakes up and finds that his body has changed.  Then while out playing with Wufei, the two of them are
approached by a stranger with a proposition.



Secrets



Part Twelve


Quatre awoke feeling a good deal better than when he had gone to sleep.  His stomach was calm, his back wasn’t quite so achy
. . . and his head didn’t hurt now.  He yawned, cuddling closer to the warm body that was holding him securely, knowing
somehow that it was his mother without even opening his eyes.  There was something about the way that she held him,
something about her scent that assured him it was her . . . Quatre had always had a good sense of smell.

Slowly, Quatre opened his eyes, a smile on his face as he nuzzled his cheek against Mother’s chest, purring contentedly.  He
wasn’t afraid of the sound as he had been last night.  No, Mother had calmed him then . . . it was natural, he was supposed to
do this.  Still, he knew that he’d have to be careful when in public . . . he couldn’t purr around strangers, although the likelihood
of that seemed slim since he doubted that he’d be cuddling with, or stroked by, anyone in the middle of the village.

Mother’s hand moved against his back, her gentle laugh tickling his ear.  “I see you’re feeling better, Quatre.”  She said, giving
him a soft kiss on his forehead.

“Yes, I feel much better.”  Quatre replied, snuggling closer.

Mother sat up, pulling Quatre along with her.  She smiled gently, setting her hand against his face.  Her smile never left her face,
her eyes warm and loving as she looked at him.  Quatre could very well feel the happiness in her . . . in fact, he could feel it
quite clearly, as if it were flowing through him.  He found this odd, but kept it to himself, not wanting to worry his mother.  It
was probably just like the purring . . . a natural occurrence.

“Your face still feels warm . . . but it’s not as bad as it was last night.”  Lily said, caressing his cheek lovingly.  “Do you feel up
to coming down for breakfast?”

Quatre purred, pressing against his mother’s hand . . . he liked being touched.  It made him feel good to be in contact with
someone else.  “I think so.”  He said, nodding his head a little.

“Okay then.  I’ll go make you something.  You get yourself dressed and come downstairs.”  Mother said, kissing Quatre's cheek
one more time before she got up and moved to leave the room.

Quatre clambered out of bed.  However, he frowned as he felt something brushing the back of his heel and looked back.  His
eyes widened as he saw his tail . . . it hadn’t been that long when he had gone to bed.  Yesterday, it had only reached a little past
his knees.  But today . . . today it almost touched the floor.

“Mama?”  Quatre called, feeling frightened.  How would he hide this?  It was too long now to be hidden inside his breeches like
he had been doing for almost all of his life.  It almost reached to the floor . . . how could he hide it?

Mother approached, worry apparent in her every movement.  “What’s the matter, Quatre?  You aren’t feeling ill again, are you?”

“No, Mama . . .”  He said, turning a little.  “My tail . . . it . . . it’s longer.”  He replied, trying not to panic.  His tail swished
however, portraying his dismay.  “What am I gonna do, Mama?  It’s too long to hide.”

“Don’t be scared, Quatre.”  Mother said, setting her hand on his shoulder.  “We’ll just have to hide it in another manner.”  She
was quiet for a while, obviously thinking.  Then she reached out, curling her fingers around Quatre’s tail and holding it
carefully.  “I have an idea.”

Quatre watched as his mother tenderly wrapped his tail around his waist.  She left it loose, not forcing it, until it was wound
about him.  Then she pulled the ribbon from her own hair and tied Quatre’s tail in place.

“There, that should do.  You’ll just have to wear looser tunics now, and keep the unwrapped part of your tail tucked in your
breeches like you always have.”  Mother said, sweeping her fingers through Quatre’s bangs.

Quatre nodded, feeling like a fool for not having thought of that himself.  “Okay, Mama.”  He said, sighing a little.

Mother merely smiled, stroking Quatre’s cheek again.  Then she left the room, leaving Quatre to dress himself.  Once Quatre
was garbed, his headband covering the tips of his ears and all traces of his heritage hidden from view, he went downstairs to
breakfast to start the day.


*****


Wufei laughed as he played catch with Quatre.  He liked playing with Quatre . . . his best friend.  And while he didn’t understand
why Quatre always wore a headband, he had never once asked Quatre to take it off.  He figured that Quatre had his reasons.  
Maybe he had an ugly scar or something . . . or a birthmark he wanted to keep hidden.

Something that day, however, seemed a little off about Quatre.  It was just a feeling, nothing more than that, but Quatre was
acting oddly.  It was as if the blonde was suddenly off-balance.  That was a silly thought, though.  Neither of them had, as of
yet, hit their growth spurts.  Wufei caught the ball and tilted his head, looking at Quatre quizzically.

“You okay, Quatre?”  He asked, his brow furrowing.  “You seem . . . distracted.”

Quatre frowned in thought.  “It’s probably nothin’, but I get the feeling that someone is watching us.”

That alarmed Wufei.  He didn’t know what the reasons were, but he knew that Quatre’s family had been on the run before they
had come to the village.  Maybe someone was chasing them.  What if whoever it was had found them?

“What?”  Wufei asked in alarm, hoping that his friend wasn’t in any sort of danger.  Quatre had been his first friend . . . that he
could remember anyway . . . he didn’t want anything bad to happen to him.

A cool voice spoke up.  “Calm yourselves, boys.  I mean no harm to either of you.”

Wufei looked around, his eyes settling on a rather large oak tree.  There was something about it . . . a sense that told him
someone was there.  “Who are you?”  Wufei asked, holding his ball with both hands as he watched the tree with suspicion.

A tall, bald man stepped out from behind the tree.  From what Wufei could see, the man was bulky with muscles.  The rich
robes that the man was wearing was the sign of his status in life, a sure symbol that he was a powerful mage.

Swallowing quickly, Wufei went down on his knees and pulled Quatre down to do the same.  Mages were very powerful, and
deserved respect.  “F-Forgive my impertinence, sir.”  Wufei said quickly, hoping to avoid being punished.  “I meant no
disrespect.”

The man chuckled.  “No need to apologize.  It is my own fault for sneaking around.  To tell the truth, I have been keeping an
eye on the two of you for quite some time.”

Quatre’s voice was small and full of fear when he spoke.  “You have?  Why?”

The man smiled at Quatre.  “Don’t be afraid.  Neither of you have done anything wrong.”  He assured, waving his hand in a
gesture to indicate that they were allowed to rise.  “Quite the contrary . . . for the entire time that I’ve watched you, I could feel
the start of power emanating from the both of you.  Last night, I sensed that one of you has gained the ability of empathy.  
However, as I have never observed either of you alone, I was wondering which of you it was.”

Slowly, Quatre raised his hand.  “It . . . It was me, sir.”  He said nervously, biting his bottom lip as he lowered his head.  “I didn’
t mean to . . . honest.  It just happened.”

With a rumbling laugh, the man approached, laying his large hand on Quatre’s thin shoulder.  “It is not a bad thing, child.”  The
tall man said, smiling kindly at the little blonde.  “It is a sure sign that you are meant for great things . . . skill like this in one so
young . . . it boggles my mind.”  He turned to cast his gaze at Wufei.  “And you, boy . . . you also have potential.  I can sense
the power in you.  It’s quite extraordinary to find two such powerful mages in the same country, let along the same village.”

Quatre blinked up at the man in wonder.  But Wufei was more skeptical.  He narrowed his gaze, frowning.  “Who are you
anyway?”  He asked, then dropped his head as he realized he was demanding answers from a man who could probably kill him
with just a flick of his pinky finger.  It was known that mages could do such things . . . at least he had heard the other boys
saying so.

“My name is . . . well . . . let us just say that my name is O.  I am a mage, as well as a teacher.  And I would like very much to
take the both of you with me to my home where you can get a proper education to go with these powers of yours.”

“T-To your home?”  Quatre asked, his body breaking out into a shiver.  “L-Leave h-here?”

O smiled.  “I know.  It is a frightening thing to leave one’s home.  I felt the same when I was taken to train my own skills.  But
it quite a necessary thing.”  The man said.  “If you will direct me to your homes, I will speak with your parents on this manner.”

“M-My mother is visiting with the widow Maxwell . . . Quatre’s mother.”  Wufei said, reaching over and taking hold of Quatre’
s hand.

“Lead the way then, boys.  This is a most important discussion I must have with your mothers.”  O said, gesturing for Quatre
and Wufei to walk ahead of him.

Too scared to disobey the mage, Wufei tugged on Quatre’s hand, leading his friend back to his home, hoping that things would
turn out well.  He glanced over at Quatre, a frown coming to his face.  Quatre was shaking . . . his face was pale, much paler
than usual.  Wufei understood that this was frightening . . . but Quatre looked downright petrified . . . and that left Wufei feeling
a little confused.  What had Quatre so scared?



To Be Continued . . .