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

Notes:  Wufei goes home with his new owner.  Catherine and Trowa take care of Quatre.



Strays and Misfits



Part Seventeen


Wufei gazed out of the window of the car, looking back at the school.  This place had been his home for so long.  He was
unsure if he wanted to leave.  His one suitcase was stowed safely in the backseat.  None of the students ever had very many
belongings, for just this reason, as none of them were ever certain if and when they would be given employment and taken away
from this place.

He turned as Treize got into the car.  Wufei opened his mouth to ask a question, but changed his mind and kept silent.  He didn’t
know how he was expected to behave.  His new owner hadn’t informed him of what was expected of him.

“You can ask me a question if you want to.”  Treize said, smiling as he turned the key in the ignition.

Wufei sighed as he fingered his collar.  He was fully registered now and wore the blue tag of an owned feline companion.  
“What does your friend like?  I know there is much more than chess.”

Treize laughed softly.  “Yes, and he will get bored with chess if that is all you do with him.  I’m sure you can understand him
being frustrated though.  He’s a strong-minded individual and very independent.  To have to rely on others . . . it’s driving him
insane, so-to-speak.”

“Yes, I would not like that either.”  He said quietly, turning to look out the window once again, this time to watch as the home
he used to know disappeared in the distance.  He frowned, sighing.  He would miss his friends.


*****


“I don’t WANT a bath!”  Zechs scowled as Une approached him with the bowl of warm water.

Une chuckled softly.  “Oh, please.  You hate feeling grimy in any way.  You are FAR too vain,” she shot back.

Zechs opened his mouth to retort, then blinked as he heard the soft rumble of a purr coming from Une, a gentle smile playing
across her features.  “Did the baby kick?”

Une giggled as she took a seat beside Zechs.  “No, the little one is resting.”  She dipped the cloth that she held into the warm
water, then rung it out.  “You know, I am often amazed that you don’t seem to dislike me.  I was Treize’s lover, after all.”

Zechs shook his head.  “How could I possibly dislike you?  I could always see why Treize got into a relationship with you.  I
knew Leia when we went to school together, and you are a lot like her in nature.”  He laid back and submitted to the bath.  
“What about you?  How can you stand to take care of me . . . to even live in the same house as Treize now that you aren’t
together?”

Une smiled again, shaking her head softly as she deftly ran the cloth over his skin.  “We weren’t meant to be mates.  I am glad
that he took comfort in my presence for a time.  Besides, I enjoy having a family.  As strange as it seems, I would not wish to
go elsewhere.”


*****


Catherine smiled as she hung up the phone.  Thankfully, Hilde was a great friend.  She had agreed to go on the trip in Catherine’
s place and would be by the house in a little while to pick up the plane ticket from her.  At least there was one less thing for
Catherine to worry about now and she could concentrate her attentions on helping that poor feline companion.

Her smile fell as she thought of him, cursing the people who had dared to hurt such a gentle creature as him.  He was so
innocent.  It amazed her to no end to see how truly pure he was.  Even after all the abuse he had suffered, the cruel life that he
had been forced to lead, he had the kindest heart she had ever seen.  He wasn’t bitter or jaded.  He was loving and sweet,
desperate for any token of affection given to him.  Catherine would be sure to give him all the love he needed.

With a sigh, she headed out of her bedroom.  As she exited, she found her eyes drawn to the bathroom door, wondering if
Quatre was doing okay.  Biting her lip, concerned that maybe he wouldn’t appreciate her worrying over him, she approached the
door.  She knocked lightly, calling out to the little blonde.

“You okay in there, Quatre?”  She asked, frowning deeply when she got no response.  She knocked a little louder.  “Quatre?”

Again, there was no reply.  She didn’t like this.  Why wouldn’t Quatre be answering her?

“Quatre?  I’m coming in.”  She called out, slowly pushing the door open.

What she found inside, stole her breath away.  Her eyes widened, finding the poor kitten lying on the floor by the bathtub, his
shirt unbuttoned and hanging from one arm.  She ran to his side, dropping to her knees next to him.  Frantically, yet carefully,
she rolled him onto his back, choking on a sympathetic cry as she saw blood caked to his skin along one side of his face, a small
bump on his head.

“Quatre?”  She spoke, lightly tapping one cheek with her hand.  “Quatre, please wake up.”

Relief flooded her as twin pools of aqua blinked open.  “My head hurts,” he whimpered, raising one bandaged hand to the bump
on his forehead.

“Quatre?  What happened?”  Catherine asked, worried for the little feline.

Quatre bit his lip, then cast his eyes away.  “I was getting undressed and I . . . I got dizzy.  I don’t remember anything after
that.”

“Oh, you poor thing,” she whispered, running her hand along his cheek.  “Let’s get you back to bed.  Do you think you can get
up?”

Quatre shook his head.  “I, I don’t feel too good.”  He pouted, sniffling miserably.  “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be ill.”

“Don’t you worry yourself.”  Catherine smiled, leaning down to kiss his forehead.  “You didn’t do anything wrong.  Now, you
just wait here and I’ll get Trowa to help you back to bed.  Even as thin as you are, I don’t think I can carry you myself.”

“O-Okay.”  Quatre nodded, even as Catherine helped him to sit up, his back against the side of the bathtub.  His shirt fell from
him, lying forgotten on the floor.

“I’ll be right back,” she said, stroking her hand along his face before she rose.  She didn’t want him to have any doubts that she’
d return to him.

Rising to her feet, Catherine hurried from the bathroom and over to Trowa’s bedroom.  She knocked sharply on his door.  
“Trowa, it’s me.  I need your help with Quatre.”

She heard as Trowa unlocked his door, then watched as it was pulled open.  “What happened?” he asked, worry in his eyes.

“Quatre fell down and bumped his head.  I want to get him back to bed, but he’s feeling dizzy.  Would you mind carrying him?”
she asked, hoping her brother wouldn’t decline.  “Sally’s still here, but she’s down in the kitchen right now.  And you can come
back to your room just as soon as Quatre’s settled in bed if you want.”

Trowa nodded and walked quickly to the bathroom.  The tension and worry were visible from the way he carried himself.

Catherine smiled and followed behind her brother.  It did her heart good to see Trowa forget about his own fears for a moment.

Trowa knelt by Quatre’s side and gazed at the feline.  “Are you going to be okay?”

Quatre’s jaw trembled as he looked up at Trowa.  “I’m so sorry!” he cried.

Catherine bit her tongue to prevent the gasp that wanted to escape her as Trowa leaned forward to hug the poor kitten.  To see
Trowa do something like that, it was almost unbelievable.  Trowa hated physical contact, from anyone and everyone except for
her.

“Sshh.  It isn’t your fault.”  Trowa hushed.  “You didn’t ask for this.”  He moved his arms so that he could carry Quatre and
picked the slender feline up with little difficulty.  “Let’s get you tucked into bed.  I think your meal is almost ready, and your
stomach is grumbling.”

Quatre smiled faintly when, as if to prove Trowa’s point, his stomach DID grumble a little.  “You . . . you’re not angry with
me?”

Trowa shook his head.  “No, you haven’t done anything wrong.”

A small smile stayed on Quatre’s face as Trowa carried him, and the little feline set his head against Trowa’s chest.  Catherine
could hear the light purring coming from him as Trowa approached her.  Trowa nodded to her as he stepped into the bedroom,
and Catherine couldn’t help but pet the kitten’s head, seeing that he had already slipped back to sleep.  Still, that bump on his
head worried her.

“I’ll just get some water and a cloth.  That blood will have to be cleaned off,” she said quietly, brushing her fingers across
Quatre’s soft cheek.

“Okay.”  Trowa replied, heading over to Quatre’s bed.

Catherine moved quickly as she gathered the needed items, filling a basin with warm soapy water.  She grabbed a washcloth and
a towel from the linen closet, then left the bathroom again, returning to Quatre’s room where she smiled, seeing that Trowa was
sitting at the pale blonde’s bedside.

“Trowa, you can go back to your room now.  I’m sure Doctor Po won’t be gone much longer,” she said, setting the water on
the bedside table.

Trowa looked up at her, biting his bottom lip briefly.  “N-No, I  . . . I w-want to help, Cathy,” he said, his body trembling a
little.  “C-Can I?”

Catherine didn’t have the heart to say no to him.  “Of course you can.  If you want, you can get him cleaned up a little.  You
remember all the times you were sick and couldn’t stand up long enough to shower?  You remember me helping?”

Trowa nodded.  “Y-Yeah, it felt nice.  Y-You always made it seem like you w-were just talking to me.  I n-never even noticed
you were giving m-me a sponge bath.”

“That’s right.  You think you can do that for Quatre?”  She smiled, grazing her hand through Trowa’s hair.  “He’s not awake,
but I’m sure he’d appreciate the help.”

A small smile alighted on Trowa’s face.  “Y-Yeah.”  He nodded, reaching to pick up the washcloth and soak it in the water.  He
rung it out, then carefully picked up one of Quatre’s arms, easing the cloth along his skin.

“That’s right, you’re doing good.”  Catherine smiled.  “Now, I’m just going to go downstairs and see how Doctor Po’s doing
with Quatre’s breakfast.  If you feel at all uncomfortable, you can go back to your room.”

“Thank you, Catherine.”  Trowa breathed, continuing in his task, running the cloth across the expanse of Quatre’s chest, being
mindful of the bandages still covering most of his form.

Catherine couldn’t help but smile as she left the bedroom.  She was so proud of Trowa, of the courage he was showing just by
staying out of hiding while a stranger was in the house.  Maybe, maybe someday he would find the will to go outside again.  
Catherine could only hope so.  She hated to think of her little brother living the rest of his life cooped up in this house.



To Be Continued . . .