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

Notes:  Duo puts Heero to bed then busies himself with a few chores.  Quatre awakens to the scent of cooking and heads
downstairs to investigate.



Strays and Misfits



Part Eleven


“Okay . . . I want you to go to your room, change into your pajamas, get into bed, and close your eyes.”  Duo said as they
walked into the apartment.  “You look exhausted!”  He folded his arms, giving Heero a stern look.

Heero blinked in obvious confusion.  “Let me see if I get this straight?  You want me to take . . . a nap?”

Duo nodded.  “You are exhausted.  I’ll take care of the groceries and I’ll tell the movers that you’re resting and that they better
keep it down or they won’t be getting a tip.”  He gently pushed Heero in the direction of his bedroom.  “Now, go on!  I’ll wake
you when dinner is ready.”

“Yes, MOM!”  Heero chuckled softly and went into his room, leaving Duo the task of putting the groceries away.

Duo shook his head, smirking at Heero’s light teasing.  He left his collar on so that the movers wouldn’t give him a hard time.  
As he started putting the groceries away, he occasionally fingered the tag.  A smile came to his face, imagining that it was the
silver tag of a free feline.  He’d seen them before, but they’d always been unattainable for him in the past.  He’d long since given
up the hope of ever getting one of his own.

He closed his eyes against the slight burning behind his eyes and smiled as a soft purr started in his chest.  One human had
turned his whole life around.  Not only his life, but hopefully the life of a Winner feline as well.  ‘I have to do something really
special for him.  The guy doesn’t realize just how much his efforts have changed my life.’

With a smile, he finished putting away the groceries.  He went to the bathroom and put away his toiletries, leaving the medicine
that Sally had prescribed for him in the medicine cabinet.  Then he went to the spare room, to his own room, and cleaned it up a
bit, moving the old boxes out to the front room.  There weren’t all that many, but it was better that the room was empty when
the movers got here with the new bedroom set.  He’d have to ask Heero where he wanted this stuff though.  But that could wait
until later.  Finished with the room, he went back to the bathroom to wash himself up a bit, cleaning the dust and dirt from his
hands.  As he made his way back to the kitchen to start dinner, his eyes fell on the door to Heero’s bedroom.

It wouldn’t hurt to check on him, Duo thought, feeling concerned for the human that had taken him into his home.  Moving
quietly, Duo turned the doorknob and pushed the door open.  He stepped inside the room, a gentle smile coming to his face as he
saw Heero.  The young man was already fast asleep, lying there on the bed in his pajamas with the blankets halfway up his legs.  
In all probability, he hadn’t had the energy to cover himself more thoroughly.  Getting changed was most likely enough to sap
the last of his strength.  Duo had been right to put Heero to bed.  The guy was exhausted.

Duo silently padded into the bedroom, approaching the bed and the young man who slept upon it.  He didn’t want to disturb
Heero’s sleep, yet he wanted to be sure that he was comfortable.  However, as he stood by the bed, he found himself filled with
curiosity.

He remembered the comment he had made to Heero at Catherine and Trowa’s house, how if he should lift his shirt, he would
see Heero’s ribs.  Would he really see Heero’s bones?  Was Heero’s health that bad?  True, he had undressed Heero last night.  
But he hadn’t really looked at his physique.  He had noticed the scar on Heero’s side, but at the time he’d been more concerned
with getting Heero to bed, not checking out his body.

Duo frowned.  Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to check and see.  Heero would never know if Duo was careful about it.  He was asleep
after all.  Biting his lip, Duo came to a decision.  He reached out, using only the very tips of his fingers as he lifted Heero’s
pajama top.  His frown deepened upon seeing the state that Heero was in.  He really wasn’t taking care of himself right, just as
Duo had feared.  Well, that was gonna change.  Duo’d make damn sure that Heero got healthy again.

A faint smile curled his lips as he adjusted Heero’s top, gently covering the young man with the blankets more completely.  He’d
make sure Heero got better.

Heero murmured lightly in his sleep, turning his head.  Duo thought Heero to be quite adorable when he slept.  Seeing Heero like
this just made him smile more.  A faint knocking sound from the living room made Duo’s ears twitch.  He turned, knowing that
there was no way that Heero had heard the sound.  Not only because he was asleep, but because his room was too far back
from the living room to hear it.  Duo felt glad that his senses were stronger than a human’s.

With a smile firmly set on his face, Duo gave Heero’s cheek a gentle brush with the backs of his fingers, knowing in his heart
that he would see to it that Heero recovered his health.  Then he turned and left the room just as quietly as he had entered it.  
Almost purring in happiness, Duo returned to the front room and opened the door, letting the movers into the apartment.


*****


Quatre’s nose twitched at the scent of food being cooked and he opened his eyes, his mouth watering in hunger.  He felt a brief
moment of panic and took a few calming breaths to reorient himself to his new surroundings.  He was left feeling an equal mix
of joy and fear.  He was away from his former master, away from the starvation and the cold basement floor that had been his
bed.  At the same time, he didn’t know what he could expect from his new master and mistress.  They could turn out to be just
as horrible as Quatre’s last master, even if they had treated him kindly so far.

He rose from bed, blinking his eyes wearily to focus them.  Quickly, he made the bed, knowing better than to leave anything
untidy.  Biting his lip with uncertainty, he left his stuffed rabbit on the pillow, not knowing if it would be appropriate for him to
bring the treasured toy with him.

He twitched his ears, looking to the door of his room with nervousness.  He was tired and wanted to go back to sleep.  Yet, he
was also hungry and wanted to see if he was allowed sustenance.  Quatre’s stomach roiled and he set his hand to it, his hunger
deciding for him.  Shivering slightly out of fear, he crept out of the room, following the scent that drifted in the air.

Quatre wasn’t sure what to expect.  Was he supposed to stay in the room?  The fact that it was his own room could have meant
that they planned to keep him locked in there rather than chain him to a wall like his last master had.  Perhaps he would get into
trouble for daring to leave, for defying their unspoken orders.

As he made his way toward the delicious scent, he figured that he would know soon enough.  Of course, he had some hope that
his life was going to be better than it had been.  That nice human, Heero, had said so.  Quatre didn’t know much, but he did
know that no power on Earth could force a stray to stay with a human unwillingly, and Duo had stll had the scent of the streets
on him.  Quatre knew that if Duo didn’t want to stay with Heero, that he would flee.  And he got the sense that Heero would let
him leave without question.

When he reached his destination, he saw Catherine humming away at the stove while she stirred something.  Trowa was busy as
well, setting two places at the table, but only two.  ‘Do they mean to starve me, after all?’  Quatre wondered, his ears falling at
the very thought of that.  Maybe they didn’t really care about him.

The thought left him feeling a little disheartened.  With a sigh, he walked into the kitchen and settled himself on the floor,
ignoring the slight chill that passed through his body.  He felt saddened that he was to be treated only a little better than at his last
master’s home.

“Quatre?  What are you doing out of bed?”  Trowa’s soft and concerned voice was like a balm, soothing and covering his
aching spirit.

Quatre blinked and felt hope returning, if only somewhat.  Maybe he had been mistaken.  Maybe there were only two place
settings because they had expected him to still be asleep.  Quatre bowed his head, not sure if he could face them directly as he
spoke.  “Umm . . . I smelled the food cooking and was wondering . . .”  He flushed and bowed his head even further down.  He
swallowed as Catherine knelt beside him, her familiar scent alerting him of her proximity.

“Oh, you poor dear.”  Catherine said with a quiet voice, gently laying her hand on his arm.  “Quatre, sweetie, I was going to
bring your dinner up in a bit when I came in to check on you.  If you’d rather eat with Trowa and I at the table though . . . I
can always set another place.”  He raised his head and blinked when he found her to be smiling kindly at him, though there was a
touch of sadness to her smile.  “You don’t have to eat off the floor.”

Quatre couldn’t help it.  He smiled back and allowed Catherine to help him off of the floor.  As he sat in a seat by the table, he
flushed in embarrassment.  “If I was supposed to stay in my room . . .”

Catherine gently interrupted.  “We just want you to get well.  Once you feel strong enough, you have the full run of the house.  I
doubt you’ll be up to running errands any time soon.  But if there’s ever a time you wish to go out, you’re welcome to do so.”  
She brushed the hair from his eyes affectionately, her fingers lingering against the side of his head for a moment.  “You’ve had
enough heartache in your life, Quatre.  Trowa and I just want you to be happy.”  She looked up at her brother, her smile never
wavering.  “Isn’t that right, Trowa?”

“Of course.”  Trowa said, then ducked his head shyly, a faint blush coming to his cheeks.

Catherine smiled warmly.  “Trowa, be a dear and go get Quatre’s medicine so he can take it with dinner.”  Then she turned to
Quatre again.  “I made some soup for you that you can drink out of a mug, if you’d like.  Your poor hands must hurt terribly
when you use them.  Or you can have a bowl if you’d prefer.  The instructions state that we shouldn’t let you eat anything too
heavy for a while due to your mistreatment.”

Quatre flushed and studied the table, as if it held some great fascination.  “Umm . . . the mug would be nice . . . my hands do
hurt, a little.”

Catherine nodded.  “Okay.”  She tenderly brushed her fingers through his hair, lightly grazing across his ears in a way that left
Quatre wishing she had stayed by his side a little longer.  He really missed those affectionate touches.  He remembered dearly
how his sisters had often done similar things, the gentle way they’d hum as they scratched his ears or caressed him in some
manner.  Even a simple brush of a hand to his arm was welcome.  He let out a quiet sigh, his ears falling a little as he sat there.  
He missed his family.

Quatre’s ears twitched as Trowa’s soft footfalls sounded behind him.  Before he knew what was going on, Trowa had pulled
the extra chair around next to Quatre and gently set Iria down on it.  Quatre blinked and looked up at Trowa.

Trowa blushed and looked away.  “She . . . looked lonely.”  He said, his blush darkening considerably before he moved to the
fridge and retrieved a container of juice to begin pouring out the drinks.

Quatre couldn’t stop the smile from creeping across his face.  He looked to Iria, to the stuffed rabbit he had named for his long-
missed eldest sister.  His smile fell though, remembering that sister.  How he wished it was she that was sitting beside him, or
any of his sisters for that matter.  But Iria, Iria had been the closest he’d ever had to a mother.  She had taken care of him.  She
and Father had always protected him.  But they were gone now, taken from him.  And he missed them terribly.



To Be Continued . . .