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

Notes:  The group makes plans.



Lost Innocence



Part Four


Duo looked around at his friends.  He wished that he hadn’t been the one to have to deliver the news, but there was no one else.  
“I’ll go see how Heero is.”  He pushed himself from the table and headed outside, thinking that his friends could use some time
to let the information sink in.

To Heero’s credit, there was no sign of him being sick.  However, the Japanese ex-pilot was pale and bent over.  It was as if he
was keeping himself from being sick by sheer will of force.

Duo approached cautiously, not knowing what to expect from his friend.  “You okay, Heero?”  Duo asked, reaching out to set
his hand on Heero’s shoulder.

Heero sneered, jerking away from the contact.  “Don’t,” he muttered.  He stepped away, his head bowed, a shiver coursing its
way through his body.

“Heero?”  Duo asked with confusion.  Why was Heero acting like this?  He wasn’t blaming Duo for telling him the truth, was
he?  “Heero, I had to tell you.”

Heero shook his head.  “I know that.”  He said with a sigh, closing his eyes.  He took a breath, his hands clutched into fists at
his side.  “I just ... this brings back memories.”  He shuddered again, his fists tightening minutely.  “Memories I would rather
have forgotten.”

Duo suddenly felt faint.  Why hadn’t he realized this before?  J was a sick bastard.  Of course this wasn’t the first time he’d do
this.  And he had trained Heero.  The thought that J had done to Heero what he’d done to these kids; it was almost unbelievable.  
It made Duo feel sick.

“Oh God!  I’m sorry, Heero.  I-I didn’t realize.”  Duo stammered.  His legs gave out beneath him and he collapsed to the
ground, his form beginning to tremble.

Heero turned, moving to kneel beside Duo.  “I guess I should be thankful he never went too far with his . . .”  He stopped,
unable to continue that line of thought.  “He did nothing more than touch me ... photograph me.  I suppose that’s small
consolation.”  He shook his head.  “But what he’s doing to these kids, it could of happened to me.  It would have if ...”

Duo reached up, grabbing Heero’s shoulders.  “Don’t you dare think like that.  Would haves and could haves don’t matter.  He
hurt these kids.  He hurt you.  He deserves to rot in hell, regardless of how far he got with anyone.”

A small, almost imperceptible smile curled Heero’s lips.  He nodded.  “What do you need me to do?”

Duo grinned.  “Let’s go back inside and discuss it with the others, okay?”

“All right.”  Heero replied, rising to his feet and helping Duo to do the same.

Duo nodded in thanks and followed Heero inside.


*****


Quatre closed his eyes and took several deep breaths as the maelstrom of emotions in the room and outside threatened to
overwhelm him.  He sighed as he felt a hand gently begin to rub his back.  “Thank you, Trowa.”  Quatre smiled to himself.  Out
of all of his friends, Trowa seemed to be the one who had the best grip on his emotions.

“Any time.”

Trowa’s voice was also like a balm that gave Quatre enough strength to get a grip on himself.  He opened his eyes just as Heero
walked back in, closely followed by Duo.  He smiled shakily, although he felt worried by the guilt and pain that Heero was
exuding.

“So, what do we do?”  Quatre asked, a sigh passing his lips as Trowa’s strong hands left his back; as the tall youth moved to sit
in his own chair once again.

Duo slid into his seat.  “Well, we gotta go get those kids.”  Duo stated.  “I think we should go tonight, as soon as possible.  We
can’t leave those kids in J’s hands.”

Quatre nodded.  Yes, they should get the children to safety.  “Do you have a plan?”

“Not exactly.”  Duo slumped in his seat.  “I have ideas but nothing really solid.  But I do need you guys to do some things.”

“What do you need from us?”  Wufei asked, his eyes portraying his intense wish to help.

Duo smirked.  “Wufei, I need you to contact Une and let her in on the situation.  Get her to authorize us to make this rescue.  
We’ll need equipment from her and possibly a doctor in case anything should happen to one of us or the kids.”

Wufei nodded and rose from his seat.

Duo turned his eyes to Trowa.  “Trowa, we’ll need transportation.  To get to L-1 and then a car - maybe a van - once we get
there.  The van should be stocked.  Water, blankets ... maybe some fruit or something.  Who knows if J feeds these kids well
enough.  Think you can manage?”

“Of course.”  He said, pushing himself from his seat.  As he left through the backdoor, Quatre caught a glimpse of him taking
out his cell phone.

“Okay, Heero.  I need you to hack into J’s system.  See if he’s moved his operation yet.”  Duo smiled, reaching over to set his
hand on Heero’s arm briefly.  “You gonna be okay?”

“I’ll be fine.”  Heero spoke with a whisper, easing his arm from Duo’s grasp.  He got up and left the room.  Duo watched him
leave, then turned his attention to Quatre, giving him a frail smile.

Quatre smiled back, trying to be encouraging.  “What do you want me to do?”

Duo took a breath, and then opened one of the folders in front of him.  “I need you to help me look over these schematics and
figure out a plan.  You have a good mind for these things.  I never was good at this kind of thing.  I’d rather rush in and hope
for the best, ya know?”

Quatre shook his head.  “Duo, if you were really like that, you wouldn’t have waited for us to get here.  You would have run off
to J’s base to handle it yourself.”  He smiled, reaching across the table to settle his hand on Duo’s arm.  “You don’t give
yourself enough credit.”  His smile widened as Duo flushed a little.  Duo HAD come up with good ideas in the past, and Quatre
didn’t like it when Duo sold himself short.  “Come on, let’s see how to do this.”  He stood, moving over beside Duo and looked
at the plans Duo had spread out.


*****


Catherine smiled in gentle amusement as Daniel bounced in his booster seat.  He was securely buckled in the backseat and
making general sounds of amusement as they passed landmarks.  “Did you have fun, Daniel?”

Daniel nodded.  “Yah, Aunty Cathy!  Thanks SOOOO much for gettin’ me all this stuff.  D’ya think Daddy’ll like it?  He won’t
be mad that ya got me those books, will he?”

Catherine smiled kindly as she turned her attention back to the road.  “No.  I know your daddy.  He’ll probably feel bad that he
didn’t think of them himself.”  She let her smile slip, hoping that Duo and the others had thought of a way to get the other kids
out.

She pulled her car to a stop in front of Duo’s house.  Putting her smile back on, for Daniel’s sake, she got out and ran around to
the backdoor, helping the sweet little boy out.  “Okay, Daniel ... let’s go show your Daddy how nice you look.”

Daniel smiled widely, all but bouncing where he stood.  Catherine took a moment to grab the few bags she had put in the
backseat - there were more in the trunk - and took hold of Daniel’s hand, leading him over to the front door.  As soon as they
entered the house, Catherine looked around, happy to find that Duo and the guys were sitting in the front room.  Duo was
reading something in a file with Quatre looking over his shoulder.  The other three were standing around, paying rapt attention.  
Duo looked up, catching her eye.  He closed the folder, setting it aside.

“Daddy . . . Daddy!  Lookie what Aunty Cathy bought me!”  Daniel squealed, running over to stand in front of Duo.  He
grabbed the front of his jean jumper with one of his little hands, pulling at it lightly as he proudly showed it off to his daddy.  “It
got a ducky on it!”  He giggled, pointing to the yellow duck embroidered on the front pocket.

“Wow!”  Duo smiled brightly, rising from his seat, only to scoop Daniel into his arms.  “What a great looking duck.”

“I got new sneakers too!”  The boy exclaimed.  “And lots o’ other stuff!”

Catherine smiled, setting down the few bags she was carrying.  “Hey, some of you guys mind giving me a hand?  There are
more bags in the trunk.  I want to get dinner started.  I’m sure Daniel’s getting hungry.”

Duo grinned as he tickled Daniel.  “Good idea, Cathy.  I’m afraid there’s not much . . .”

Catherine shook her head and held up a plastic bag.  “I did a little grocery shopping.  Not much, but enough for dinner tonight
and breakfast tomorrow.”  There was more than enough for the six adults and one child, but Catherine figured that the guys
would have four hungry little boys when they got back from J’s place.  She could see that Duo understood.

“So, what kind of stuff did you buy my little man here?”  Duo asked, fluidly changing the subject.

“Well, not too much.  A couple outfits for him to wear until you can take him shopping yourself.  Of course I bought some
pajamas, underwear, socks ... the usual.  I also bought extra sets of pajamas and clothes, for ... you know.  But I didn’t know
what sizes, so I bought several of each size, just in case.  Whatever isn’t used can always be returned.”  She smiled, noting the
grateful look on Duo’s face.  “I also got some blankets and pillows, a few toys for Daniel to play with, car seats and a few step
stools you can set up around the house.  You know, one for the kitchen so he can reach the sink, and one for the bathroom sink
and also I got one for the toilet so he doesn’t always have to ask for help when he needs to go.”

“Thanks.”  Duo said, flashing a smile.

Quatre walked forward and took one of the bags from her.  “Let me help you, Catherine.”  He offered, while Heero, Trowa and
Wufei silently exited the house, probably to help bring in all the stuff she had purchased.

Catherine smiled gently at the blonde.  “Thank you, Quatre.”  She walked with him into the kitchen and watched him put the
food she had bought away.  “Leave the nuggets out.”  She walked over and took the bag of chicken from him and set about
preparing them.  “How are you doing?”

Quatre sighed.  “It’s horrible.  To think that little children are being used like that.  I can guess where J got our DNA.  Every one
of us had been captured at one point in time except for Trowa but he was working undercover as an OZ agent.”  He leaned back
against one of the counters and shook his head, sighing sadly.  “We have a rough plan, and are working on refining it.  Duo
wants to get there, get in, get the kids, get out, and get back here all before Daniel wakes up tomorrow morning.”

Catherine frowned.  “The kids should be checked over by a doctor.”

Quatre nodded.  “Wufei is handling all the phone calls.  Sally said she would come and give them a general checkup.  I’m sure
she’ll know a good pediatrician.”  He chuckled softly.  “Fun shapes?”

Shaking her head, Catherine laughed at the abrupt change of subject while regarding the frozen chicken nuggets.  “Yeah, Daniel
WAS with me at the time, so he picked them out.  I made sure to avoid the cookie aisle though.  I’m not sure what Duo’s rules
are regarding sweets.  Although I’m almost certain he has something around here to give to Daniel as a dessert.”

Quatre laughed.  “Knowing Duo, yeah.  He’s not a pig, but he does have a slight sweet tooth.  During a brief break Duo started
mumbling to himself and I swear the words ‘dessert fairy’ was a part of that quiet self-discussion.”

It was easy to laugh along with Quatre.  With his help, Catherine got dinner started quickly.  It wasn’t too much later that
everyone sat down to eat dinner together.


*****


Duo hugged Daniel close as he carried the child.  Daniel was fed, clean and in a new pair of pajamas.

Daniel yawned cutely and blinked as he looked around the room.  “Wha?  Daddy, this is your room, isn’t it?  Where you gonna
sleep?”

Duo smiled and pulled the comforter down.  “I’m letting you sleep in here tonight.”  He said, setting Daniel on the soft mattress.  
He pulled up the blanket, brushing his fingers across Daniel’s soft cheek in a loving manner.  “I have somewhere to go.”

Daniel’s eyes popped open and sadness entered them.  “Where ya goin’, Daddy?”

Duo wanted nothing more than to comfort his little boy.  He sat down and brushed Daniel’s bangs away from his little face.  
“Well, your grandpa asked me to do something for him.”  He ran the back of his hand against Daniel’s cheek in an attempt to
soothe his spirit.  “It’s really important, so I’m going to go do it for him.  Your Aunt Catherine will look after you while I’m
gone.”

The child’s lower lip began to tremble, tears welling in his eyes.  “You gonna go ‘way too?”  His voice was soft and full of
pain.  “Dun you want me?”

Duo felt horror as he realized what his words would sound like to a small child.  He’d heard them enough himself.  ‘Stay here,
these people will look after you,’ he’d heard that so many times from people he thought had cared about him.  Feeling horrible,
Duo pulled Daniel into his arms and hugged him tightly.  “Of COURSE I want you.”  He smiled as he got an idea and drew
back.  “Here ...”  He reached behind his neck for the clasp of his cross and took it off.  Then he re-clasped it and held it so it
dangled where Daniel could see.  “I’m going to loan this to you.  I want you to look after it until I come home.  When I come
home, you can give it back to me.”

Daniel’s eyes followed the glinting metal.  “Ooooo, pretty!”  He said with an awed voice.

Chuckling, Duo placed the cross and its chain in Daniel’s hand.  “Yeah.  It was a gift to me when I was very young.  If you
take good care of it, I’ll get you one of your own.”  And he did have a couple of spare crosses.  During the war, he’d left the
actual cross that Sister Helen had given to him in a safe place, but had always felt strange not to be wearing the item so he had
bought several that were of the same size.

Daniel smiled and held onto the precious item as he cuddled himself in bed.  “G’nite, Daddy.”

Duo gently tucked the blankets in around Daniel and bent forward to kiss the child on the forehead.  He smiled, making sure the
blankets covered him loosely.  “Good night, Danny.”  He said, easing to his feet and walking to the door.

He turned the light off and left the bedroom, leaving the door open a crack so that the light from the hallway would enter the
room a little.  He didn’t want Daniel waking up in the middle of the night and getting scared.  And this way, if he needed to go to
the bathroom - or needed anything in the night - it wouldn’t take him so long to find his way out of the room.

Turning, he headed down the stairs, sighing as he walked.  Heero and the others were waiting at the bottom of the stairs.  “Time
to go.”  Heero stated simply, handing Duo his jacket.

Duo sighed again, shrugging on the garment.  He nodded, following his friends out of the house.  With a smile, he waved to
Catherine who was sitting on the sofa.  “Take good care of Daniel.”  He said on his way out.

He didn’t hear Catherine’s reply.



To Be Continued . . .