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

Notes:  Trowa gets to know Quatre a little better before Duo and Heero leave and Quatre is put to bed.



Strays and Misfits



Part Ten


Trowa clenched his fists at his sides as he led the feline to his bedroom.  Although the prospect of a stranger being in his
sanctuary frightened him, the fact that it was a feline made the situation somewhat better.  He glanced at the smaller youth
trailing him and immediately felt bad when he saw that Quatre had his ears lowered in a sign of nervousness.

He cleared his throat and tried to think of something nice to say.  “Umm . . . I always wanted a feline companion.”  Then he
winced at how bad that sounded.  He’d heard snippets of Heero and Catherine’s conversation earlier.  “Sorry.  That sounded
wrong.  I-It’s not that I want to own anyone.  I just . . .”

Quatre shook his head.  “It’s . . . it’s okay.”  The little blonde whispered, clutching his stuffed rabbit close to his chest.

Trowa frowned.  “No, it isn’t.  You . . . you aren’t an emotionless thing to be passed from one person to the next as if you didn’
t matter.”  Then he blushed and looked at his feet.

“Thank you.”  Quatre whispered quietly.

Trowa said nothing more on the subject.  He didn’t know what to say really.  He reached out and opened his bedroom door as
they got to it, heading inside with the nervous feline behind him.

“This is my room.”  Trowa said, leaving the door open.  He felt too uneasy about closing it, about leaving himself trapped in his
room with this stranger, even if he was an injured feline.

It wasn’t a large room, yet Trowa liked it well enough.  His bed was on the opposite side of the room, his laptop resting on a
clutter-free tabletop.  Everything he owned and loved was in here . . . a dresser containing the majority of his clothing,
bookcases filled to overflowing.  He loved to read.  It was one of the things he was sure he could do without being forced to go
outside.  He had lost his interest in sports . . . well, not really.  He missed playing basketball.  But the hoop his father had put up
for him was outside.  He couldn’t go outside.

“You have a lot of books.”  Quatre said, grazing his fingers across the books in one of the bookcases.

“Yes, I-I like to read.”  Trowa replied shyly, stepping over to the case Quatre was in front of.

Quatre turned to him, curiosity warring with fear in his aquamarine eyes.  “What are they about?”  He asked.  “I . . . I cannot
read.  But I like books.  They smell . . . nice.”  He ducked his head, biting his bottom lip lightly.

Trowa blinked.  The feline couldn’t read?  He shook his head.  Of course . . . he had heard something to that nature when Heero
and Catherine had been talking, something about Heero getting a tutor for the one named Duo and for Quatre.

“Well, there are a lot of different topics.”  Trowa said, looking thoughtfully over the books.  “These are for my schoolwork.  I
have a tutor that comes over.  I couldn’t go to school and Cathy wants me to have an education.”  He gestured to the pile of
books on top of the bookcase, then motioned to a section on one of the shelves.  “These ones are all about feline companions,
the history of the species.  And . . . and this one here is about the W-Winner Camp.”

Quatre’s ears fell flat against his head.  His hand trembled as he reached up to touch the book.  Timidly, he pulled the book out,
tears dripping from his eyes as he surveyed the cover, the picture set there depicting the front doors and walls of the camp
itself, which had barbed wire running across the tops of them.

“I-I’ve always been interested in felines.”  Trowa said, feeling worried.  He hadn’t meant to upset the blonde.  “I always wanted
to meet one.”

Quatre carefully set the book back.  He looked up at Trowa with wide, fearful eyes.  Taking a breath, he spoke with a shaky
voice.  “Where are your chains?”  He asked stiffly, his body shaking.

“Chains?”  Trowa asked, confused.

Quatre nodded a little.  “Well, yes . . . to chain me to the bed, or to the wall.  You know . . . chains.”

“W-Why would anyone WANT to chain a feline?”  Trowa asked, taken aback by the question.  It was horrible to do that to
felines, to abuse them.  The mere sight of Quatre’s wounds had left Trowa feeling sick, but to know that someone had chained
him to a wall in the past . . . it left Trowa angry and wishing that he could do something to make the blonde forget.  “That’s just
cruel.”

Quatre’s eyes lit up with a hopeful gleam.  “You . . . you don’t have chains?”

Trowa felt a small smile curl his lips.  “No.”  He replied, then blushed and ducked his head.  He realized he’d been talking to
someone, that he had been open.  He didn’t know why he felt like he could share things with Quatre.  He felt almost safe with
Quatre, but he didn’t understand why.  He’d never felt safe, not truly safe, not since that horrible night.  He shook off the
memories, not wanting to remember.

“If you ever want to look at the books, you can.  There are pictures in most of them.”  Trowa said, trying to keep his mind
from focusing on the past.

“Thank you.”  Quatre replied, reaching to take one of the books.  He sat on the floor, crossing his legs as he opened it, delicately
beginning to flip through the pages to look at the pictures.

Trowa watched, finding himself quickly mesmerized by everything that the little blonde was doing.  He didn’t understand this.  
Why?  Why did he feel this way?


*****


Quatre happily flipped through the pages of one of Trowa’s books.  He liked this place.  Trowa seemed like a nice human,
although frightened.  Quatre found it was easy to feel secure here, since Trowa was acting like he was more afraid of him, than
he was of Trowa.  Being around Trowa gave Quatre an unbearable urge to take care of him, like he was supposed to protect
him from the horrors of the world and soothe his spirit, to see to it that he took care of himself.  Maybe that’s why Duo was
staying with Heero.  Maybe he felt the same of his human.

“Hey, Quatre, you doing okay?”  Duo’s warm voice called.

Quatre turned, smiling when he saw Duo standing by the door, staying just outside the bedroom.  He looked up at Trowa,
frowning when he noticed that the tall youth was trembling again, probably afraid of Duo.  Quatre stood and quickly moved over
to Duo, smiling at his friend.

“You like it here, Quatre?  You want to stay?”  Duo asked, his eyes hopeful as he ran a hand along Quatre’s arm.

Quatre blushed and nodded.  “I . . . I could like it here.”  Quatre admitted, looking past Duo to see Heero and Catherine standing
nearby.  “T-Trowa seems to need help.  I would like to be helpful to someone.”

“I knew you’d be okay.”  Duo smiled, leaning forward and nuzzling his cheek against Quatre’s, a deep purr coming from his
chest.

Quatre smiled in return, answering Duo in kind with a soft purr of his own.  He liked the attention, had missed such gentle
touches.  Then Quatre pulled back, his smile fading as realization hit him.  “You are leaving now, aren’t you?”

Duo nodded.  “Yeah, Heero says we should get home.  The movers should be getting there soon with my new bedroom set.”  
Then he smiled and leaned in close, his voice lowered to a whisper.  “And I think Heero needs a nap.  He looks tired to me.  You
think I should put him to bed?”

Quatre flicked his eyes over to look at Heero, raking his gaze up and down the slender young man’s form.  He took note of the
weariness in his face, the bags beneath his eyes.  Then he smiled at Duo, nodding his head.  “Yes, I think you should.”

“Should what?”  Heero asked curiously, his eyes narrowed slightly.  “What should you do, Duo?”

Duo grinned, shaking his head.  “You’ll find out when we get home.”  He answered, obviously forcing himself not to break into
laughter.

Catherine chuckled though, stepping forward a few steps.  “Quatre, Heero tells me it’s time for you to take your medication.”  
She spoke, holding a glass of water and a handful of pills.

Quatre frowned, his ears falling again.  “Do I have to?  They make me tired.”

Heero moved closer, nodding his head.  “Yes, you have to.  They’re for your own good, Quatre.  We all want you to get
healthy.”

“That’s right.”  Catherine agreed, a gentle smile on her face.

Quatre sighed.  It didn’t look as if he had much choice.  He reached out, taking the pills from Catherine’s palm.  Taking a
breath, he raised them to his mouth and popped them in, reaching quickly for the glass of water that Catherine held and downing
the pills with one large swallow.

“Okay, Quatre.  You be good now.  I’m sure Catherine and Trowa will take good care of you.”  Duo said, scratching at Quatre’
s ears.  Quatre liked it when he did that.  It felt nice.  “I promise to visit you real soon.”

“Really?”  Quatre asked, leaning closer to Duo’s hand.

“Of course I will.”  Duo nodded.

Quatre smiled.  “Okay.  Goodbye, Duo.”  He said, then turned to face Heero.  “Goodbye, Heero.”

“Take care of yourself, Quatre.”  Heero smiled, lightly brushing his hand across Quatre’s arm.  “And take good care of Trowa,
too.”  He nodded, waving a farewell to Trowa, although Quatre didn’t know if the tall youth waved back or not.  He didn’t
verbally reply, that much Quatre did know.

And then, Duo and Heero were leaving.  Quatre felt a brief worry as he watched them go, fearing what would become of him
now that Duo and Heero had left him here.  Maybe these people weren’t as nice as they appeared.  His worries faded though, as
Catherine returned, a warm smile on her face.

“Come on, Trowa and I will show you to your room now, okay?”  She spoke, her hand gentle on his shoulder.

“I . . . I get my own room?”  He asked, sure that he had heard incorrectly.

Catherine nodded.  “Yup!”  She chimed, taking careful hold of his arm as she led the skittish feline along the hall.  The sound of
Trowa’s footfalls followed behind them.

Right beside Trowa’s bedroom was a closed door.  Catherine reached forward, turning the doorknob and pushing it open.  “I’m
sorry about the color.”  She said, gesturing around with a wide sweep of her hand.  “It used to be my room.  I moved into our
parents’ bedroom a little while ago.”

Quatre looked around, his eyes wide.  True, the walls were shaded a pale rose, but it was more than he had ever gotten before.  
The most he had received from his previous owner had been a cold corner of a moldy basement, a worn mat had been his only
bed.  This, this was a palace compared to that.

“It is wonderful.”  Quatre said with a tone of awe, looking around with wide eyes.  There was no furniture in the room, except
for the bed, a single dresser, and a small bedside table.  The room didn’t look as if it had been used recently.

“Trowa, go and get some sheets and a pillow . . . a blanket too.”  Catherine said, laying a hand against Quatre’s back.  “I think
Quatre should get a nap in before dinner.  I don’t want him getting worn out or sick.”

“Yes, Cathy.”  Trowa replied, hastily leaving the room.  He returned only moments later, his arms loaded with supplies.  While
Trowa went about making the bed, Catherine spoke to Quatre again.

She ran her fingers across his cheek, waiting until Quatre turned to face her.  “When I get a chance, I’ll take you to the store
and we can pick some furniture for your room, okay?”  She said, her soft fingers stroking across his cheek in a loving manner.  
“I have to leave town on business, but as soon as I get back, we’ll go shopping.”

Quatre found himself purring at her touch, lost in the sensation . . . so long without such tender caresses . . . it had been so
long.  “Thank you.”  He smiled, his eyes drooping.

“We can pick up some paint too, and some more clothes for you.”  She added, a slight chuckle to her tone.  “My, but you are
the affectionate one, aren’t you?”

Quatre blinked his eyes open, not remembering when they had fallen shut, only to find himself leaning against Catherine’s body,
his head against her warm chest.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean . . .”  He whispered, beginning to pull away.

Yet, Catherine’s arms stilled him, her hands stroking along his back and head.  “It’s okay.”  She said, laying her cheek atop his
head.  “No one’s going to hurt you here.”  She whispered soothingly, her gentle caresses luring Quatre to slumber.

A soft purr began in his chest again, growing louder as Catherine’s hands soothed his aching soul, caressed his pained body.  He
didn’t register that he and Catherine were moving again until she tenderly pushed him to sit on the freshly made bed.

Quatre blinked wearily, rubbing the back of his hand across his eyes as he yawned.  The sound of velcro being pulled apart
made him look down and he found Catherine tugging off his shoes.  She helped him to lie down, tucking the blankets in around
his body.

“You get some sleep now, Quatre.  I’ll wake you when dinner’s ready, okay?”  Catherine spoke, weaving her fingers through
his hair.

Quatre nodded, his eyes falling shut.  “Okay.”  He replied with a mumble, unconsciously snuggling closer to his stuffed rabbit,
curling his legs close to his body as he drifted off to sleep.  He didn’t hear as Trowa and Catherine left the room.



To Be Continued . . .




Notes:

Okay, I’ll answer a few questions I’ve gotten.

No, Zechs is not a neko.  He’s a human and is Treize’s boyfriend.  And Wufei will be in this fic.  And yes, Wufei is a neko.

All of the guys are eighteen, even Quatre.  Heero was a child prodigy who graduated nursing school just a few years ago.  
Treize and Zechs are older, both of them in their twenties, as are Une, Noin, Sally and Catherine.  Hilde, Relena, Dorothy, Alex
and Mueller are pretty much the same age as Heero and the others.  And Mariemaia is seven.  (I think that’s everyone.)