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

Notes:  Quatre awakens to a new day, but trouble awaits.



Strays and Misfits



Part Fifteen


Quatre awoke slowly, feeling safe and warm.  He purred softly and snuggled into the blankets, feeling content.  He didn’t even
flinch at the feel of a gentle hand shaking his shoulder.  “Hmmm?”  He blinked open his eyes to see Catherine fully dressed and
happily smiling down on him.  “Good morning, Miss Catherine.”

“Good morning, Quatre.  Did you sleep well?”  she asked.  She placed a cool hand on his forehead and frowned a little in
concern.  “I’ll go make breakfast.  You can call Trowa.  Once breakfast is made, I want you to go straight back to bed.  You’re
warmer than you were last night and I don’t want you getting sick.  I guess you’ve had way too much excitement.”

Quatre nodded and allowed a smile onto his face.  “Yes, Miss Catherine.”  He said, ducking his head as Catherine affectionately
tousled his hair.  He slid from the bed, rubbing his eyes wearily, only to frown as his legs seemed to want him to collapse back
onto the inviting comfort of the mattress.  He felt uneasy and a little dizzy.  He didn’t like this feeling.

“Quatre?  Are you okay, sweetie?  Maybe you should stay in bed.  I’ll get Trowa.”  Catherine spoke, her hand settling on his
arm.

Quatre very nearly yelped in alarm.  If he couldn’t do a simple thing like wake Trowa up, then what use would he be otherwise?  
“No, Miss Catherine.  I’ll go wake him.”  He said quickly, forcing his legs to move.  He rushed from the bedroom as quickly as
he could, stopping only when he found himself standing in front of Trowa’s bedroom door.

Catherine brushed past him, on her way downstairs.  Quatre took a breath, his hand shaking a little as he reached out to open the
door.  Would Trowa be mad at him still?  He had bitten Trowa, had hurt him.  He hadn’t meant to, but he had caused Trowa
pain.  Maybe Trowa would hurt him in return.  It would serve him right.  Quatre deserved to be punished for hurting his new
owner.

He moved into Trowa’s room quietly, padding just as silently over to the young man’s bed.  Biting his lip, he knelt down, his
eyes roaming over Trowa’s handsome features.  He had never seen anyone like Trowa before, so quiet and hurting, just like
him.  He hadn’t known there were humans suffering like this, that there could be someone as afraid of people as Quatre was
himself.

With a trembling hand, Quatre reached out, ghosting his fingers over Trowa’s cheek, never truly touching him.  Yet, he could
feel the warmth of the young man’s skin on his fingers.  Idly, Quatre wondered what it would be like to really touch him, but he
knew that he wouldn’t do that.  Trowa would be mad at him if he did something like that.  He didn’t want to provoke further
anger in the human.

Tilting his head to the side, Quatre curiously watched Trowa sleep.  He slid his hand down over Trowa’s face, along the column
of his throat.  He sniffed lightly, finding that he liked Trowa’s scent.  It was a strange sensation.  But he liked it deep down
inside his body.  He didn’t understand why.

As much as Quatre was enjoying himself with his quiet contemplation - with his idle views of Trowa’s slumbering form - he
knew that he couldn’t sit here all day.  Miss Catherine had asked him to wake Trowa up and he couldn’t ignore that.  With a
sigh, Quatre settled his hand on Trowa’s shoulder, shaking the young man lightly.


*****


Trowa didn’t understand it.  Usually, his dreams taunted him with horrid images that his memory was branded with.  This night’
s sleep though, was filled with dreams of the sea, and of meadows, and of a small figure that cried out to a part of Trowa, to the
part of him that wanted to be able to protect someone.

For the first time in a very long time, he felt at peace.  A peace that was shattered when someone shook his shoulder.  He let out
a soft cry as he jerked awake, falling out of bed even as he caught a hint of movement.  He got up quickly, climbing back onto
the bed, and frowned when he saw there was no one there.  He was about to get up and leave when he heard a soft sniffle.

“Who . . . ?”  He asked.  The sniffle was repeated.  Trowa carefully leaned over the other side of the bed and looked.  He
blinked at the sight of the feline curled up on the floor beside his bed, shivering in fear.  “Quatre?”

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean it, really.”  Quatre whimpered, his voice full of an aching despair.  “I wouldn’t blame you if you want
to beat me.  I’ve been beaten for less.”  He curled up tighter, his ears flat against his head.

“Why would I . . .?”  Trowa began, only to realize the truth as his shoulder throbbed in remembrance of last night.  He smiled a
little at the frightened feline.  “I’m not angry with you, Quatre.  What Catherine was doing had to have hurt you worse than the
small nip hurt me.  Now come on . . . I’m sure Catherine sent you to get me . . . no doubt she’s making breakfast.”

Quatre looked up at Trowa with tear-filled eyes.  Yet, he shook his head, tears dripping along his cheeks.  “N-No . . . I-I am not
hungry.  Go on without me.  Please . . . please leave me be.”  He whispered.

Trowa reached out, meaning to offer some form of comfort.  However, he never touched Quatre in any way as the feline all but
scurried underneath Trowa’s bed, hiding himself in the darkness.  Trowa didn’t like this.  It couldn’t be good for Quatre’s
health to hide under there.

“Quatre, you’ll get sick if you stay under there.”  Trowa said, moving to kneel on the floor by the bed, peering beneath it so that
he could see Quatre.

“Please, I want to be alone.  Please go away . . . please.”  The blonde feline pleaded from beneath the bed.

Trowa frowned.  Still, if Quatre wanted to be alone, then he couldn’t change that.  And he wouldn’t disrespect Quatre by trying
to drag him out.  No, doing that would only start a whole new set of problems.  Quatre’s psyche was too fragile right now.  He
wouldn’t be able to handle such a thing.  He needed patience and kindness, and Trowa was going to oblige him this once.  
Besides, maybe Catherine would know of a way to get him to come out on his own.

“All right, Quatre.  I’ll leave now, if that’s what you want.”  Trowa said, slowly rising from the floor.

A whimper was Trowa’s only answer.

Without wasting another moment, Trowa left his bedroom.  He hurried down to the kitchen, calling out to his elder sister as he
entered the room.

Catherine must have heard the worry in Trowa’s voice, for she turned to look at him with a concerned frown.  “What’s wrong,
Trowa?”  She turned the stove off, giving Trowa her full attention.

Trowa looked down in shame.  “I . . . I was a bit startled when Quatre woke me up, and I think I frightened him.  I didn’t mean
to.  I swear I didn’t!”  He said, breaking out into shivers.  He couldn’t stand this.  Quatre was hurting.  And even though he had
only met the frightened feline yesterday, he couldn’t help but feel worried.  He wanted to protect Quatre, wanted to make sure
that no one ever hurt him again.  But how could he when he couldn’t even walk outside his own door or talk to a stranger
without breaking out in a cold sweat?

This was all his own fault.  If he hadn’t scared Quatre, the little blonde wouldn't have hidden from him, wouldn’t be curled up
beneath his bed.  Trowa felt as if a stone had just dropped into the pit of his stomach.  How could he have been so stupid?

Catherine blinked.  “Of course you didn’t!”  She shot back, her gentle hand sweeping through his disheveled hair.  “Where is he
now?”

Trowa felt a little relieved that Catherine wasn’t blaming him.  Still, he couldn’t stop blaming himself.  He shouldn’t have scared
Quatre.  “He’s hiding under my bed.”  Trowa said, biting his lip.  “Catherine, he’ll get worse if he stays under there, and I don’t
want him to get sick.  They’ll take him away!”

Catherine shook her head, her fingers moving to caress his cheek.  “Hush.  It could have happened anywhere, anytime, to either
of us, Trowa.  He’s so timid, either of us could have scared him.  I’m sorry it happened to be you, but you can’t blame
yourself.”  She smiled in that way of hers that always seemed to comfort Trowa.  “Come on, let’s go see if we can coax Quatre
out.”  With that, she headed out of the kitchen and up the stairs, Trowa following close behind her.

As Catherine reached out to open Trowa’s bedroom door, Trowa stopped her.  “I don’t think he’s in there anymore.”  He said,
shaking his head.  “I left the door open when I left.  It’s closed now.”

Catherine nodded and looked around.  “Okay, you check my room and I’ll check Quatre’s.”

Trowa nodded and wordlessly headed for the master bedroom, not even considering that this had once been his parents’
bedroom.  He always found it difficult to go in there, except for the nights when Catherine would soothe him after one of his
nightmares.  But his only concern was for Quatre now, not who the room used to belong to.  Nothing else mattered beyond
Quatre.


*****


Catherine knocked softly on the door before entering.  “Quatre?  Sweetie, are you in here?”  A soft whimper drew her attention
and she felt it pierce her heart.  “Oh, Quatre . . . it’s okay.  I won’t hurt you.”  She knelt down and peered under the bed,
looking at the terrified feline huddled there.  “Hey there.”

Quatre’s eyes were wide and full of fear.  His ears were flat against his head.

Rather than reach for Quatre, which she knew would be a mistake when he was so terrified, Catherine settled herself on the
floor and smiled warmly at him.  “You want to hear a story?”

Quatre nodded once, his body trembling.

Catherine stood up.  “Okay, I’ll be right back.”  She said, her smile fading as she exited the room.  She found Trowa in the
hallway and sighed.  “I’m going to read to him.  Maybe that will help soothe him a little.”  She gave her younger brother a smile,
laying her hand on his arm.  “Just in case, why don’t you call Doctor Po?  Quatre hasn’t had his antibiotics yet today, and he
was feverish when he woke up.  It won’t take much to make the poor kitten ill.  I left the card with the phone number on the
fridge.”

Trowa nodded and walked away.

Catherine felt a burst of joy, despite her worry for Quatre.  For Quatre’s sake, Trowa was willing to talk to a stranger.  It was a
big step for him, to talk to someone.  Still, Catherine wouldn’t dwell on this now.  It could wait until later.  Right now, Quatre
needed her attention.  With a smile on her face, she went into her room and pulled an old storybook from her bookcase, then
returned to Quatre’s room.

She settled herself on the floor with her back to the bed and cleared her throat.  Feeling reasonably comfortable, Catherine
opened the book and turned to the first story.  “Once upon a time . . .”



To Be Continued . . .