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

Notes:  Heero tries to make Duo feel better during the examination.  As they are leaving, they meet a terrified feline who was
just brought in.  Just why is he so afraid though?

Strays and Misfits

Part Four

Heero sighed as he gently rubbed Duo’s back.  He felt bad that Duo had to sit on a cot in nothing more than a flimsy paper gown
. . . but he knew it had to be done.  This was all for Duo’s welfare . . . they had to be sure he was healthy before he could be
registered under Heero’s name.

“Cheer up, Duo.  When this is all over, I’ll take you someplace nice for lunch to celebrate.”  He smiled as Duo’s tail ceased its
lashing back and forth.  However, he frowned when the feline absently reached up to scratch one of his furry ears.  “Are your
ears bothering you?”  Heero asked, concerned for the stray he had taken in.

Duo sighed as his ears twitched.  “A little, yeah.  I’ve been able to ignore it, but this place . . .”  His ears flattened against his
head, his arms moving to wrap around himself.  “I hate this place . . . and I hate ear drops.”

“It’s too bad you might need them, then.”  Said a young woman as she entered the room.  “Hello . . . I’m Doctor Sally Po.”  Dr.
Po was a kind-faced woman with blonde hair that was held in two thick twists.  She smiled at Duo in understanding, sympathy
in her eyes.  “First things first . . . I have to get a sample of your blood.  No sense in me giving you any shots that you don’t
need, is there?”  She approached Duo slowly and always kept her hands visible.  “This will pinch, I’m afraid.”

Duo tensed up as the doctor approached, clutching at the cot with his hands, his sharp nails digging in deeply.

Heero hated seeing the young feline so tense, so he did what he could to calm him.  He simply stroked Duo’s hair, scratching his
scalp lightly with his nails.  Duo relaxed a little, but only enough so that Sally could get the blood sample without too much of a

“There, now.  That wasn’t so bad, was it?”  She smiled and handed the vial over to a nurse who had accompanied her into the
room.  He left quietly, taking the sample to be tested.  “While we’re waiting for the results, let me continue.”  Sally said, keeping
a kind smile fixed on her face.

Heero did his best to keep Duo calm throughout the examination, but he knew that the stray was going to be frightened
regardless.  He constantly reassured the feline that he wasn’t going to abandon him, that he wasn’t going anywhere.  He winced
in sympathy when Sally found that Duo did have an ear infection and would need ear drops to clear it up.

“I hate ear drops.”  Duo grumbled as Sally approached.  “They tickle and burn at the same time.”

Sally’s smile remained understanding.  “I know.  I had an ear infection once.  You’d think they’d invent something less . . .
annoying.  Now . . . the sooner we get this done, the better it will be for you.  The infection isn’t that bad yet, so it shouldn’t
burn too much.”

Heero held Duo’s hand as Sally administered the drops.  When Duo started growling and whimpering, his tail thrashing, Heero
simply pulled the feline into his arms.  “Sshh . . . it’ll be okay, Duo.  It had to be done or you would have started to feel pain.  
Not too much longer now.”

Sally nodded.  “He’s right, Duo.”  The nurse entered the room again, handing a file over to Sally.  The doctor quickly read
through it, nodding to herself.  “You’re perfectly healthy, but you are due for your booster and rabies shots.”

Duo whimpered again, his ears falling back.  “Do they have to be administered in the usual place?”  He asked.

“I’m afraid so.”  Sally replied.  “They get into your system more effectively, and it’s less painful for you to receive them in your
posterior.  Why do you think we make you wear the paper gown in the first place?”  She smirked, then glanced down at Duo’s
hands.  “And I had best clip those claws for you today.  They are very serviceable for strays, but you’ll be helping Heero out
and won’t be needing them anymore.”

Heero released Duo with an encouraging smile.  “This will be the last of the hard part, Duo.  Everything else will be easy.  If it’ll
make you feel better, I’ll close my eyes.”

Duo clasped Heero’s hand and shook his head.  “Keep an eye on her.”  He said.  Then, blushing a deep crimson, Duo got off the
cot and bent over it, biting his bottom lip in worry.

Heero rubbed Duo’s back as Sally prepared the needle.  He had a sudden idea of how he could calm the feline.  “Have I told you
yet that I think you’re very brave?”

Duo glanced up at Heero, confusion obvious in his lovely eyes.  “What do you mean?”

Heero smiled warmly at the feline.  “Because of one day’s good treatment, you’re trusting me to watch your back . . . literally.  
I’m . . . honored.”

“Just . . . tell me when it’s over.”  Duo replied, quirking a smile in return.

Heero chuckled as Sally finished with the second shot.  “It’s over, Duo.”  He said, patting Duo’s shoulder.  That had worked
perfectly . . . engaging the patient in conversation always worked well when it came to distracting them from injections.

Duo stood upright with a surprised expression.  “WHAT?  But . . . I didn’t really feel anything.”

Sally laughed.  “I come from a LONG line of acupuncturists.  I know where needles can go so you won’t feel much . . . if
anything.  Now . . . about those claws . . .”  She gently took hold of one of Duo’s hands.  “So . . . can you read?”

Duo swallowed as the doctor studies his claws.  “Some . . . I know a few words.”

Sally smiled and glanced over to Heero.  “You did file a statement about how you came across this fine young feline, didn’t you?”

Heero nodded.  “I filled one out with the forms of ownership.”  He grimaced at the word.  He did not want to own Duo at all.

Sally nodded as she gently started clipping Duo’s claws.  “Watch carefully, Heero . . . that way, you can do this yourself if Duo
requires help with it.”  She smiled warmly at Duo as she resumed.  It didn’t take long, and she always seemed to make sure that
Duo could pull his hands away if he felt inclined to do so.  “There . . . all done.  Now all you need are a few things.  You can get
dressed now, Duo.”

As Duo walked behind a privacy curtain, Sally handed a packet over to Heero . . . contained within it were a few papers along
with a set of shiny blue tags.

Heero looked through them with some confusion.  “What’s all this?”

Sally held up each sheet of paper.  “This . . . is a rundown of what my findings were today . . . the results of his tests as well as
what his blood type is.  This one is a diet for him.  Duo?”  She smiled at the feline as he stepped out from behind the curtain,
wearing his jeans.  “You’re going to be on a special diet with more calories than normal.  I want to weigh you again next
month.  Okay?”

Duo nodded.  “All right.”

Sally nodded back.  “Now . . . this paper is a certificate of ownership in case anyone questions you . . . there is a copy on file
here as well.  You can get tags at any five and dime store, but this certificate is a legal document . . . if anything should happen
to your copy, request another as soon as possible.”  She took a breath, then continued.  “This one is a prescription for ear drops
and antibiotics for that ear infection.  Everything else is just standard feline care instruction . . . which I doubt you’ll need
because Duo isn’t a kitten and has been a stray for some time, so I believe you know how to take care of yourself for the most

Duo nodded again with a small smile.

Heero took the packet again.  “Thank you, Dr. Po.”  He smiled over at Duo as the feline slipped his shoes on again.  “Are you
ready to go now, Duo?”

Duo pulled on his oversized shirt and nodded.  “More than ready.  Thanks.”

Heero handed Duo the plastic collar with the tags hanging from it and started out the door of the examination room.  Duo
followed behind him, fixing the collar around his neck, although he did grimace distastefully.  Heero would have said something,
only he was stopped when there was a loud crash and a sharp exclamation.  He jumped back in surprise as a blur shot past him.

“What was THAT?”

Instead of hearing an answer, he heard a string of swearing from the direction of the exit.  “See what I mean?  THAT is what I
have to put up with!  I can’t control the blasted beast!  You’ll just have to have him put down!  He’s too wild!”

Heero frowned.  “Felines aren’t meant to be controlled.  Right, Duo?”  He looked around, only to frown when he didn’t see his
companion.  “Duo?”

Duo’s voice came from inside the exam room.  “Wow!  How did you fit under there?”

Heero walked in and chuckled at the image presented before him.  Duo was on the floor, peering beneath the cot in the room, his
black furry ears perked up and his tail swishing . . . looking very much like a curious kitten.

“What happened?”  Heero asked, stepping further into the room.

A low growl came from under the cot that Duo was looking under.  “Go away!”

“No one’s going to hurt you.”  Heero said, trying to get a look under the cot . . . but he couldn’t see much of anything . . . there
was only a hint of a tail sticking out from under the cot, a pair of wide eyes glimmering at him from the darkness.

“I’ll get that little shit!”  Came a furious voice from just outside the door.

Heero felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise . . . he recognized that voice.  He turned to the door, glaring furiously as he
blocked the larger man’s entrance to the room.  This was the bastard that had tried to hurt Duo . . . he wasn’t about to let him
go after the terrified feline underneath the cot.

“Get out of my way!”  The Catcher . . . the man the receptionist had referred to as Samson . . . shouted as he stopped short in
front of Heero.

“No.”  Heero replied simply, crossing his arms over his chest.

“You’re interfering with a catcher’s duties!  I could have you arrested for this!”  Samson spat, his smile smug.

“No, he isn’t.”  The receptionist, Kelly, said as she came up behind Samson.  “I’m SO glad you’re back NOW, Samson.”  She
smiled at Heero.  “Mr. Yuy . . . do you recognize this man?”

Heero nodded.  “Yes . . . he’s the one who had Duo pinned up against the wall.”

Samson blinked, his smug expression fading.  “The little long-haired slut?”

“You admit it, then?”  Heero quirked an eyebrow.

“Good.”  Kelly smiled.  “You just admitted your guilt in front of a registered government official.  If you treated that poor little
feline the way you treated young Duo, it’s no wonder he ran from you.”  She shook her head, then glared at Samson again.  “I
don’t advise going anywhere.  The police are NOT easy on criminals who try to run from the law.”  Two security guards
stepped over.  “Gentlemen, if you would be so kind as to escort Mr. Samson here to someplace a little more private to await the
police . . . I’m sure he’ll go along quietly.”

Samson’s lips tightened in a cold sneer.  Yet, he said nothing.  He obediently followed the guards, putting up no fight as he was
led away.

Heero turned back and walked over to the cot, then he knelt down to look into the shadows.  “It’s all right.  He’s gone now.  He
can’t hurt you anymore . . . and no one else will hurt you.”

“Just go away.  Leave me alone!”  Came the frightened voice from beneath the cot.

Duo was beside Heero, a gentle smile on his face.  “No can do, little buddy.  Now, chill out and come out into the open.  If you
stay under there, someone might come by and drag you out . . . and that wouldn’t look good.  Not that you CARE about looking
good at this point, right?  Humans suck for the most part, but Heero here seems a decent sort.  And if he says no one will hurt
you, then no one will hurt you.”

“You’re just saying that ‘cause he’s your owner!”  The voice growled.

Heero smiled a little.  “Only on paper.  I hate the idea of owning anyone.  Duo is too smart and independent to be owned.  I’m
just making sure he has a place to stay.”

“H-How can I believe you?  You could be just like the others.  Lies . . . all they did was lie.”  The voice whimpered.

Heero sighed, rising to his feet.  Duo continued to chatter, trying to lessen the tension, trying to draw the young feline out.  Out
of the corner of his eye, Heero noticed the receptionist handing a clipboard to Sally.  He approached the two women.

“What is that?”  Heero asked, indicating the clipboard.

“The report on the initial investigation . . . how this poor feline was found.”  Sally replied sadly.  She held the clipboard out to
Heero, her eyes filled with sympathy as she regarded him.  “Take a look.”

Heero nodded, taking it.  He scanned the contents, finding himself getting sick at the images conjured just by reading this.  The
poor feline had been abused . . . terrorized . . . by his owner.  Neglected, starved . . . he had been found naked and chained to a
wall in the basement.  Photographs had been taken when he had been discovered, revealing a battered body.  There was a
detailed description of each and every wound found on the companion.

“How could anyone do this to an intelligent being?”  Heero asked, more to himself than anything.  He smiled though . . . having
figured out how to get the feline out of hiding.  The answer was right here in the paperwork.  “Excuse me for a moment.”  He
said, handing the clipboard back to Sally.

It only took a few minutes for Heero to find what he had been seeking, and he returned at a brisk pace, finding everything just as
he had left it.  Duo was down on his knees, trying to get the scared feline to come out . . . Sally was standing nearby, watching
the scene.  The only thing different was the fact that the receptionist had departed, probably having returned to her work station.

Nodding to Sally, Heero smirked and knelt on the floor near to where Duo was.  Duo looked back at him, a smile spreading
across his face as he saw what was in his hand.  He moved aside, allowing Heero to take control of the delicate situation.

“Hey there . . . are you hungry?”  Heero asked, knowing the answer to that question already.  The feline had been starved . . . of
course he was hungry.  Maybe he was hungry enough to risk coming out of hiding for the protein bar Heero had gotten from
one of the vending machines in the lobby.

A shaking hand came out, reaching for the bar.  Yet, Heero had made sure he was just out of arms' reach.  He had to get the
feline out.  The blood on his hands alone proved that he needed medical treatment.

“P-Please?”  A whispered voice pleaded, the hand retracting into the shadows again.

“If you come out, you can have this.”  Heero said, slowly peeling the wrapper away.  “I promise, no one here will hurt you.”  
He smiled gently.  “I know you’re hungry . . . if you don’t come out on your own, they’ll probably call security and have them
drag you out.  I don’t think either of us wants that . . . so come on, at least this way you get this bar.”

There was silence for a moment, and Heero was certain that the feline wouldn’t trust him.  However, only a few seconds later,
Heero watched as the beaten companion dragged himself from underneath the cot.

Heero’s eyes widened, viewing the sheer amount of bruises and wounds.  The pictures and description hadn’t shown this much
. . . he shouldn’t be this badly hurt.  Fury welled up in Heero, knowing that Samson had probably had a hand in this.  The feline’
s lips were split, bleeding in a couple places . . . a gash over his left eye . . . as well as countless other wounds.  He wore only a
thin robe, and it barely covered him, giving him only a small amount of modesty.

And then Heero saw it and he nearly choked on his own tongue, bile rising in his throat . . . there was a splattering of semen
drying on the feline’s pale thighs.  Good God . . . Samson had actually . . . Heero shook his head, not wanting to continue that
line of thought.

“Here.”  Heero said, holding out the bar, as well as his other hand.  “Let me help you up.”

The feline blinked wide aquamarine eyes at him.  He raised a trembling hand, setting it against Heero’s, his whole body shaking
as he did so.  At the same time, he took the bar from Heero, sniffing at it a few times before he timidly began to eat.  It was as if
he was fearing a violent outburst from Heero at any moment.

Heero smiled reassuringly, rising to his feet slowly.  He didn’t tighten his grip on the companion’s hand, seeing that there were
injuries there that needed tending.  However, he did manage to help the little blonde up.  With care, Heero lifted the blonde from
the floor, setting him delicately on the cot.

“What’s your name?”  Heero asked, brushing a pale lock of hair from the feline’s face.

The youth blinked, as if surprised he had been asked.  “M-My name . . . it . . . it’s Quatre . . . Quatre Raberba Winner.”

“Oh, MY GOD!”  Duo exclaimed, his hand flying to his mouth.

Beside Heero, Sally gasped, dropping the clipboard to clatter noisily on the floor.  “Good lord . . . I never thought I’d live to see
the day.”

Heero blinked, terribly confused.  What was so startling about the feline’s name?

To Be Continued . . .