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

Notes:  Quatre tries to stay calm as Sally treats his injuries.

Strays and Misfits

Part Six

Quatre followed Duo with a sense of dread.  Another owner . . . just the thought of it made Quatre queasy.  Of course, if his
last owner hadn’t passed away in his sleep four nights ago, Quatre would still be with him . . . and that was something Quatre
most definitely didn’t want.  Still . . . what if this new owner turned out to be worse than the last?

He bit lightly into his sore bottom lip as he entered the examination room and saw Heero filling out paperwork . . . no doubt to
take custody of him until they reached this new owner.  Quatre went to the cot and sat on it.  He knew that his ears were flat
against his head, but he didn’t really care.  Humans had given him nothing but pain his whole life.  He would have been thrashing
his tail, but it hurt too much to move it.  That human . . . the Catcher . . . he had brutally stepped on Quatre’s tail during the
blonde’s first - unsuccessful - attempt to get away from him.

“Well . . . aren’t you just adorable when all cleaned up?”  Sally smiled warmly and took one of his hands into hers.  “Poor dear .
. . let me see what I can do.”

Quatre only stared at Heero while Sally worked.  The doctor put medicine on the cuts . . . then bandaged his fingers, explaining
that they would be tender for a while as they healed.  Quatre understood . . . he had been hurt before.  It was nothing new to

When Heero finally looked up at him, having apparently finished with the paperwork, Quatre had to fight off the urge to hiss.  
This human was doing this, forcing him into a new home . . . with another human.  What business did he have shoving Quatre
around?  Still, Quatre knew it was not his place to even think such things . . . the human would probably hurt him for having
such an attitude.

Heero put the clipboard down and walked toward Quatre, staying far enough away so as to not invade his personal space.  
“Trowa is a good guy . . . very shy and nervous around strangers.  He’ll probably be more afraid of you than you will be of

Quatre blinked.  He had been expecting the human to lecture him about how lucky he was to have a new master.  “W-Why
would he be afraid of me?  I don’t even have proper claws.”  Quatre said, bowing his head.

Heero nodded in agreement.  “True, but he won’t know you.  It took months of my brief visits for him to get used to me.  
Actually, the first two weeks, he wouldn’t even let me in the house . . . I had to stand out on the doorstep.  His sister was the
one who let me in the first time . . . she’s not home as much as she wishes she could be.”  He shook his head, sighing a little.  
“On the lighter side, you’ll probably be in the house most, if not all, of the time.  Trowa never leaves his home.”

Quatre mulled over that while Sally finished with his hands.  He didn’t know if he wanted to stay cooped up in a house the rest
of his life . . . he had already been doing that.  Although, he wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of going into public places either . .
. there would be a lot of humans there.

Quatre winced his eyes shut as Sally approached to take a blood sample.  He didn’t like needles . . . not at all.  How could he
forget the instrument that had led to the deaths of his family . . . of his friends in the camp?  He fought off his fears though, his
heart beating wildly in his chest.

“What about his sister?”  He asked suddenly, opening his eyes to focus on Heero, thinking that perhaps talking would help to
calm his fears, even if only a little.  “She won’t appreciate having me shoved at her.”

Heero let out a breath.  “Only because this is going to surprise her.  When she told me she wished she had more help with
Trowa, I promised to see what I could do.  She probably has heard that before, so she’ll be understandably shocked when I
bring you there, but she’s very sweet and will probably mother you to no end.”  He sighed again, rolling his eyes.  “Lord knows
she’s been on my case about eating properly for months now.”

“Well, you should listen to her!”  Duo chided.  “You’re thin as a rake.”

“I am not.  You’re exaggerating.”  Heero smirked at Duo.  “Granted, I’m not that far off.  I just haven’t had the time.”  He
turned back to face Quatre.  “I’m sorry for doing this without asking you, but wouldn’t you rather be someplace where you
only have to deal with two humans on a regular basis . . . rather than a whole group that just come by to stare at you as if you
were a freak?”  Heero shuddered minutely.  “You deserve better than that, and I wouldn’t have suggested it if I didn’t think you’
d have a good home with Trowa and Catherine.  Still . . .”  He held up a clipboard, on which was the paperwork he had just
filled out.  “If you REALLY would rather stay here, I can tear this up right now.  I haven’t signed it yet.”

Quatre blinked in amazement, not even noticing that Sally had departed the room to analyze his blood sample while Heero had
been talking.  This human would do that on his say so?  He glanced at Duo, who was making faces at Heero’s back, and felt a
smile curl his lips.  “No . . . that’s all right.  I suppose I could TRY this place for a short time.  After all . . . it IS only
temporary, right?”

Heero nodded, taking a moment to sign the paper.  “And if you don’t like each other by the end of that time, you can come back
here . . . I’d offer to bring you home with me, but I really don’t have the room.  It sucks, I know, but there’s nothing I can do
about my situation right now.  I do what I can.”

“I-It’s all right.”  Quatre said, bowing his head.

It was then that Sally came back, carrying with her three syringes.  She set two of them aside, approaching Quatre with the
third, a smile present on her face.  Quatre’s eyes transfixed on the syringe, a quiver passing through his body as Sally pulled off
the plastic cap.  He couldn’t do this . . . it was too much.  But he had to sit still, had to let her continue.  He wouldn’t get out of
here if she didn’t finish her job . . . but he couldn’t shake the fears, the terrors creeping over to cover him totally.

As Sally reached out to swab a spot on his arm to give the injection, Quatre finally snapped.  He couldn’t handle this.  With a
frantic heart, he pushed himself off the cot and backed away, baring his fangs at Sally.

“No!  Don’t come near me with that!”  He screamed, backing himself into a corner and crouching down, a vicious snarl passing
his lips as he glared.

“Quatre, what’s wrong?”  Heero asked, taking a step forward.

This time, Quatre didn’t suppress his urge to hiss at Heero.  He wouldn’t let anyone touch him with one of those things.  They
only brought pain . . . they brought death.  How could they . . . why did they want to hurt him?  Had he done something wrong?

Duo grabbed Heero’s arm, his eyes full of sympathy.  “Heero . . . Sally . . . keep back.”  He said with a calm tone, as if he
understood now . . . maybe he did.

“Duo, you know what’s wrong?”  Heero asked, turning to look at his feline with confusion.

Duo didn’t reply to Heero.  Instead, he turned to look at Sally with a stern glare.  “Have you forgotten the chosen method of
execution at the Winner Camp?”  He asked, a question that brought a shudder to Quatre’s frame.

Sally frowned, understanding dawning in her eyes.  “I’m sorry . . . I had forgotten.”  She sighed.  “But I do still need to give
him these shots.  They’re for his own good.”

Duo nodded.  “I know.  Let me handle this.”  Duo held his hands up to show he had nothing in them as he approached the tense
blonde.  “All right, Quatre . . . calm down now.  It’s okay.”

“No, it isn’t!  She can’t stick me with those things!  I won’t let her!”  Quatre yelled, his tail thrashing wildly.  He couldn’t stand
the thought of being killed.  Not again . . . he couldn’t go through this again.  It was just like when he had been in the camp . . .
his father . . . his sisters.  He had watched them all die.

Duo sighed and nodded.  “Quatre . . . calm down and listen to me for a second.  You know what rabies does to us, don’t you?  
Even if you don’t have it yourself, you should know what it is . . . what it does to us.”

Quatre shuddered.  He HAD seen once . . . when a member of the camp had refused the vaccine, the doctors had cruelly agreed
not to give it to him.  Several felines had gone mad with the disease, only to be put down by the people running the camp . . .
executed without care or remorse.

“Yes . . .”  He whispered, the swinging of his tail slowing.  It still hurt to move it too much.

Duo’s smile was soft and understanding.  “All you’re getting is some medicine to help, I swear.  Sally’s one of the good guys.  
She’s getting paid to see that we are healthy.  If this was a bad place, they wouldn’t have cared what that Catcher was going to
do to you.  Right?”

Quatre’s eyes darted around and he noticed that neither Sally, nor Heero, had moved.  There was no hint of aggression from
either of them.  They were giving him space, letting him calm.  They weren’t trying to force him to the ground and inject vile
liquids into his veins, like he had seen in the camps . . . like his owner had done to keep Quatre docile.

His eyes fell on the three needles, then he looked to Sally again.  “What’s in them?”  He asked, not letting down his guard just yet.

Sally smiled in that warm way of hers.  “One is a rabies vaccination, one is a booster . . . to guard against feline distemper and
other illnesses, and the last is an antibiotic.  You have the beginnings of an infection in your hands.  I want to make sure your
wounds heal properly.”

“Quatre, it’s okay, really it is.  Sally gave me a couple shots.  Tell you what, it was a pain in the butt . . . literally . . . but it had
to be done.  Sally only wants us to get healthy.”  Duo said, reaching out his hand to Quatre.  “Come on, buddy.  Trust me.  I
won’t let anything happen to you.”

Quatre considered his options for a moment, trying to think of any moment when Duo had been less than trustworthy.  He could
think of none.  With a shaking hand, Quatre reached forward and clasped Duo’s hand, accepting the young feline’s help in
getting to his feet.

As they approached the cot again, Quatre released his hold on Duo’s hand, looking unsurely between Sally and the syringe she
held.  “Where . . . where are you going to stick me with that?”  He asked with a good deal of trepidation.

“You have a choice there.”  Sally said.  “You can either sit on the cot and let me inject this into your arm . . . or you can bend
over and take it in the rear.”

Quatre gulped.  He didn’t like either option.  He thought about it for a moment . . . then walked over to the cot and leaned over
it.  Maybe it wouldn’t hurt quite as much if he did it this way.  “Just get it over with.”  He whispered.

At the feel of Sally gently tugging the waistband of his sweat pants down, Quatre clenched his eyes shut, trying not to panic.  He
focused on his breathing, wincing even as Sally ran that damp and cold swab over his skin.

Fingers delicately brushed through his hair, lightly scratching at his ears.  Quatre found himself desperate for the contact, leaning
into it even before his mind registered the fact that he was being touched.  A voice spoke, but Quatre could not bring clarity to
the words, only hearing the reassurances, the softly spoken tones that brought a glimmer of light to chase away the fears in
Quatre’s heart.  Quatre kept his eyes closed, forcing away his fears, listening to the pounding of his heart and the gentle tones of
the one reassuring him.

He whimpered . . . pressing closer to the hand petting him.  And then . . . he felt as his pants were drawn back up.

“Okay, it’s done.”  Sally’s voice called, her hand brushing up and down along his side briefly.

Quatre blinked his eyes open.  It was over already?  But he hadn’t really felt anything.  Wasn’t it supposed to be painful?

“How are you?”

Quatre looked up, only to be further confused.  Heero . . . Heero was standing in front of him, looking down on him with
concern swimming in his eyes.  It was his hand that stroked Quatre’s scalp, his voice asking if Quatre was well . . . Quatre
realized that it was Heero’s voice that had reassured him.  The human had done that for him?  Quatre didn’t understand.  Why
was this human being nice?  Was it like Duo had said?  Were there truly nice humans . . . ones that wouldn’t hurt him?  It
sounded too good to be true . . . and yet, Quatre found he wanted to believe it.

“I . . . I’m okay.”  Quatre responded, blushing a little as Heero helped him back onto the cot.

“That’s good.”  Heero nodded.

“We’re just about finished.”  Sally said, handing a packet of papers to Heero.  “Like with Duo, this contains everything Trowa
should need to know about how to care for a feline, as well as the papers for ownership and Quatre’s temporary tags.  He’ll
need to get permanent ones issued if he decides to stay in that household.  And if he does stay . . . then Trowa will have to fill
out the paperwork and have it delivered to this office.  Right now, Quatre is in your custody . . . if anything should happen to
him, you will be held responsible.”

Heero nodded, reaching in and taking out the tags . . . they were colored a bright red, unlike Duo’s which were blue.  He helped
Quatre to put the collar around his neck, then looked up as Sally began speaking again.

“Also, there’s a prescription for oral antibiotics and vitamins that I want him to take.  Being locked in that basement has not done
his health good.”  She sighed, rubbing her temple a little.  “I also included extra bandages and an antiseptic ointment that should
be applied to his wounds often.  Make sure you tell Trowa and Catherine to keep careful watch on his claws . . . if they heal
improperly he could need surgery.”

“I’ll be sure to let them know.”  Heero replied.

“All right . . . I think that’s everything then.  Do you have any questions regarding either Duo or Quatre?”  Sally smiled.

Heero shook his head.  “None that I can think of.”

Sally reached into her pocket.  “Here . . . if you should need anything, give me a call.  My office and home numbers are listed.”  
She said, handing two business cards to Heero.  “And there’s one for Trowa as well.  Quatre’s health will be very fragile for the
next few days . . . if he gets sick, have them call me.”

“Thank you.”  Heero nodded.

Sally smiled.  “You can pay on your way out.”  She picked up Quatre’s sweatshirt, gently helping him to pull it on over his
head.  “You take care of yourself.”

Quatre blushed, ducking his head.  “T-Thank you.”

Keeping his head bowed, Quatre followed Duo and Heero out of the examination room, stopping briefly at the receptionist’s desk
to pay for the registration and medical fees.  Quatre didn’t know what to think anymore.  He was confused.  For all of his life he
had thought all humans to be evil . . . but now . . . was he wrong?

To Be Continued . . .