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

Notes:  Duo takes care of the apartment.  Wufei gets settled.  Quatre is taken care of.



Strays and Misfits



Part Nineteen


Duo yawned as he put a load of clothes in the washing machine.  He was exhausted, and he knew it.  He just wasn’t happy
about it.  He had wanted to get so much more done today.  ‘After I finish lunch, I’ll take a nap.  I can’t take care of Heero if I’
m sick.’  He nodded to himself.

He started the load and headed for the kitchen where he had some soup warming up on the stove for himself.  'I've been living
on a pure adrenaline rush for so long, that it's strange to not have to worry about stuff.'  He mused to himself, then dished up his
modest meal.

He had already prepared everything for dinner.  He’d made a casserole from some broccoli, the rest of the meatloaf from last
night, some American cheese and some mashed potatoes.  Since everything was already cooked, he would just have to put the
casserole in the oven as soon as Heero got home so it would heat up.  Right now, the casserole dish was sitting, covered, in the
refrigerator.  

He hummed softly as he wiped the counters a little and took his soup into the living room so he could curl up on the couch and
listen to the radio.  He ate slowly, savoring the taste.  It was still too new a concept to know that he had a home.

He smiled to himself, setting his empty bowl aside.  With a yawn, he stretched out along the length of the couch, then curled up,
a pleasant purr rumbling in his chest as he fell into a peaceful slumber.


*****


Wufei glanced around his new bedroom, finding it difficult to believe that it was his and his alone.  He had never had a room to
himself before.  In the camp he had lived in a barracks with over a hundred other males.  In the school, he had shared his dorm
room with nineteen other males.  It was strange to know that he had a place to call his own.  It was also unsettling in a way.  He
had never been alone before.

He unpacked his few belongings, placing his clothes in the set of drawers.  Then he walked around the room.  It wasn’t large.  
And there wasn’t much in it by way of personal effects, but it was his.  He swallowed when he felt a purr trying to start.  His
efforts to stop it were helped when there was a knock on the door.  As always, he stood at attention at the foot of the bed, as he
had been taught to do in the camp and school.

“Enter.”  He called, standing with perfect posture, just as he had been trained to do.

Treize opened the door and peeked in with an amiable smile on his face.  “Are you all unpacked?  I called the restaurant.  They’
ve got a table reserved for us.”

Wufei swallowed again.  This time against the low growl that was building at the mere thought of eating at the same table as Une.

Treize noticed and seemed to understand the reason for his reaction.  “Wufei, I know you don’t like that there was an intimate
relationship between Une and I.  I even know that you can’t accept it right now, nor would I expect you to.  You were raised to
believe it wrong, and you are entitled to believe what you wish.”  He sighed a little.  “I do, however, ask that you not be as
outwardly hostile toward Une as you were earlier, especially when in my daughter’s presence.”

Wufei frowned a little in thought.  Treize did seem to understand his discomfort.  Though Wufei still felt it wrong for the two of
them to breed, he also understood the man’s reasons for not wanting him hostile toward the tainted feline.  Besides, the man did
have a child.  It was only natural that he wish to look after her.

Wufei took a deep breath and let it out slowly.  “Thank you for understanding.  While I am not comfortable and will not offer
friendship, I will be civil toward Une.”  He nodded, lowering his eyes to stare at the floor.

Treize nodded in acceptance.  “Thank you.”  With that, he stepped aside so that the doorway was open.  “If you’re ready, shall
we go?”

Wufei bowed and walked out of the room.  Then he waited for Treize to proceed before him.  He was not looking forward to
the upcoming meal, but he had given his word.  Perhaps he could ignore the female.  Yes, that’s what he would attempt to do.


*****


Trowa sat beside Quatre and watched as the feline slept while occasionally running a cool, damp cloth over his heated brow.  
Catherine had been concerned about Trowa earlier, to the point where she had offered to get the medicine that was meant to
calm his nerves when they got rattled.  Five minutes alone with Quatre had caused his nervousness to dissolve like a sugar cube
in a cup of hot tea though, so he had declined her offer.  For the first time in so long, Trowa didn’t feel the need to rely on
drugs to calm his shaken nerves.  He had always hated taking them anyway and had avoided it whenever possible.

His gaze shifted over to the book lying on the table and he felt a smile curl his lips.  He was looking forward to continuing where
he had left off in the book.  Quatre had been the perfect audience, and Trowa liked how the feline’s fears seemed to vanish as he
was swept away into the story.

Quatre whimpered a little, his eyes blinking open as he frowned.  “Iria?” he asked with a raspy voice, feeling around the bed
with his hands, his breathing becoming erratic.  “Where’s Iria?  What’s happened to her?”

Trowa settled his hands on Quatre’s shoulders when it looked like the blonde was getting ready to jump from the bed.  “You had
her with you when you were in my room earlier.”  Trowa said, then sighed as he thought.  “But not later when I was reading to
you.  She’s probably still under my bed.”

Quatre’s eyes were wide and pleading.  “Would you get her for me?  Please?”

Trowa nodded and stroked the hair away from Quatre’s eyes.  “I’ll be back in a few minutes.  Okay?”

When Quatre nodded, Trowa stood up and walked out of Quatre’s room and headed for his own.  He moved over to his bed and
knelt down on the floor to look underneath it.  When he saw the wayward rabbit, he smiled and shook his head.  “Why did you
have to go hiding like that?  You had Quatre very worried.”  He had to drop to the floor in order to be able to reach the stuffed
animal, but he chuckled as he pulled Iria out from where she was laying.  “Come on, let’s get you back to Quatre.”  He stood
and turned around, only to freeze when he saw Catherine standing in the doorway.  Immediately, his cheeks grew warm as a
blush spread across his face.

Catherine smiled and shook her head with obvious amusement twinkling in her eyes.  She motioned to the stuffed bunny.  “You
better get her back to Quatre.  I’ll bring lunch up for the two of you in a little while.”  With that, she walked down the hallway
toward the stairs.

Trowa sighed, relieved that she hadn’t teased him about talking to a stuffed toy as she had often done when they had been
younger.  He returned to Quatre’s room and smiled reassuringly as he walked inside.  “Here she is.  She was wondering where
you had gone.”

Quatre tiredly held his arms out and hugged the rabbit close when Trowa handed her over.  “Will you read to me more?”  His
ears perked up slightly and a shy little purr could be heard coming from him.

Trowa nodded and sat down, reaching over to the table to pick up the book.  “One of my sister’s co-workers is stopping by.  
This will help me pass the time.”  He chuckled softly at the delight that entered Quatre’s expression, then flipped open the book
and began to read.  “The nine black wagons of the Midnight Carnival seemed smaller by daylight and not menacing at all, but
flimsy and fragile as dead leaves.  Their draperies were gone, and they were now adorned with sad black banners cut from
blankets, and stubby black ribbons that twitched in the breeze.  They were arranged strangely in a scrubby field; a pentacle of
cages enclosing a triangle, and Mommy Fortuna’s wagon lumping in the center.  This cage alone retained its black veil,
concealing whatever it contained.  Mommy Fortuna was nowhere to be seen.”  Trowa continued reading to the entranced
Companion, content in the quiet moments he was spending in Quatre’s presence.


*****


Wufei fought the urge to growl at the female in the front seat of the car.  He and Zechs had been delegated to the backseat.  As
it was, he restricted himself to sit stiffly in the seat beside the blonde as they approached their destination.  It didn’t help matters
that he knew they were bringing that infernal contraption with them.  And knowing that it was currently folded up in the trunk
was not a thought Wufei cherished.  Of course they HAD to have the wheelchair or else Zechs wouldn’t be able to join them.

Zechs let out a soft breath.  “So, what can you do besides glare at Une’s back and hiss at my wheelchair?” he asked, probably
as a way to ease the tension in the air.

Wufei turned his attention to Zechs, jutting his chin forward proudly.  “I was learning to be an instructor at the University.  I am
fluent in Chinese and Japanese as well as English and Russian.  I also know some Spanish and French and I was working on
learning German.  I’ve read several works by Shakespeare, Tolkien, Lewis and numerous others.  I can play any number of card
games as well as chess, checkers and backgammon among others.”  He paused to take a breath.  “I also enjoy the martial arts
and . . .”

Zechs’ eyes seemed to brighten a little.  “Excuse me, but would Tai Chi be among the martial arts you enjoy?”

Wufei nodded.  “Yes, I practice every morning.  Why?”

Zechs swallowed, a faint blush tainting his pale cheeks briefly.  “Well, if you can tolerate my wheelchair, maybe we can go
through some of the motions together.  There’s nothing wrong with my arms.”

Wufei inclined his head.  “Just so long as you keep it away from my tail.”  He smiled faintly, if only for an instant.  “I also did
some weight training and enjoyed playing basketball, as well as other sports.”

Zechs nodded.  “Good.  If I had to get stuck with a babysitter, at least Treize was kind enough to make sure I wouldn’t want to
strangle him right off.”

Wufei felt his hackles rise.  “I am NOT a babysitter.  I was trained to be an exemplary companion.  If it is a babysitter you were
expecting, then perhaps Treize chose the wrong person for the job.”  He looked out the window as the car slowed down.  “Is
this it?”  He looked up at the tall building they had slowed in front of, which looked like any other office building.

Treize nodded, as he pulled into the underground parking garage.  “Yes, this is the Oasis.  The ‘View from the Mountaintop’
restaurant is on the top floor.”

Wufei waited until everyone else was out of the car before he dared standing up.  It took a while due to the collapsing
wheelchair needing to be set up.  He growled a little at it, but was careful not to make it look as if he were growling at Zechs.  
That would never do.  He was a Companion.  He had to be respectful of his owners.

The elevator ride up was quiet and Wufei felt tense.  He was close to the two things he disliked and all the soft words wouldn’t
change how he felt.  It was a great relief when the elevator doors opened and he could get out of the cramped space and away
from Zechs’ wheelchair and Une.

The heavenly scent of freshly grilled fish tickled Wufei’s nose and it took a conscious effort on his part not to start purring.  
Fountains trickled on either side of the elevator and they passed a lovely indoor koi pond with an artificial waterfall as they
approached a man standing at a kiosk.  This place looked quite expensive.  It made Wufei slightly nervous to even be there.

Before they had reached the kiosk, the man standing there looked up and smiled.  “Ah, Mr. Kushrenada, how good to see you
once again.  Would you like your usual table?”

The way they spoke told Wufei that Treize ate here often.  Wufei was impressed.  His new owner was a man of means and
stature.  He felt reassured by that.

“Yes, that will be fine, James,”  Treize nodded.

The two men and two felines followed James as he led them to a table that was relatively secluded but granted the party a
spectacular view.  The large ceiling to floor windows looked out over the city skyline.  In the distance, one could even see the
ships in the harbor, making their way out to sea.  Wufei had never seen anything like it before in his life.  He had been born in a
camp, then sent to a school when he had gotten older.  He was entranced, his eyes following the way the sun shown against the
windows, making the buildings almost glow.  A flock of birds passed through his line of sight and he tracked them with his
gaze.  He raised his hand, his fingers lightly pressing against the cool glass of the window.

“Impressive view, isn’t it?”  Treize’s voice softly spoke from beside Wufei.

The Asian feline turned, a blush coming to his cheeks as he realized that he had been purring.  “Yes . . . I have never seen
anything like it,”  he replied, ducking his head shyly.

Treize smiled.  “Come on, let’s sit.  I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry.”

Wufei said nothing, though he did do as instructed.  He moved over to the table, where Une was already sitting and Zechs was
reading through a menu.  Wufei settled himself in the seat between Zechs and Treize, with Une seated across from him.  This
would be the best place for him to sit.  He did not think he could sit beside Une without growling at her yet.  As he opened his
own menu and scanned the options available to him, he found himself hoping that he could get accustomed to the brown-haired
feline.



To Be Continued . . .