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

Notes:  The rescue mission.  Something goes wrong.

Warning:  Child abuse, molestation.  Squick ahead.  Non-Con Jx?



Lost Innocence



Part Five



Duo walked quickly and with purpose.  The five of them had split up.  Wufei, Quatre and Trowa had gone off in search of the
children.  Heero had gone to find and confront Doctor J, much to Duo’s concern.  Duo, while looking out for children or any
pedophiles, was really there for one purpose.  He had someone he had to find and talk to.  He opened a door and blinked when
he saw the room’s sole occupant.

It was Howard’s clone, known only as H-01.  He just HAD to be.  He was ten, definitely no older than eleven.  The kid was
huddled in a corner, facing the wall, his fingers scratching at the surface as if he wanted to claw his way in.  He looked
downright terrified.  And then, Duo noticed.

The youth’s back was literally covered in long slender lashes.  Blood soaked the torn clothing, making it cling to his back and
sides.  Duo gasped, raising his hand to his mouth.  Good Lord, what had that bastard done to the boy?  He could see smears of
blood on the sleeves, on his fingers and his legs.  And there were chains binding his wrists.  Duo was horrified.

He moved forward, dropping to his knees beside the young man.  Duo reached out, only to pull his hand back as the youth
recoiled, crying out with a sharp whimper.  “Hey, kid.  Relax.”  Duo hushed, holstering his handgun.  He reached out, delicately
setting his hand on the clone’s shoulder.  “The cavalry is here.  The old man DID have an agreement with you, right?”

The youth blinked and then he did relax, his body visibly slumping.  He turned widened eyes to face Duo, exposing even more
bruises to Duo’s gaze.  “02?”  He whispered, looking at Duo, dried blood covering the side of his face.  “Duo Maxwell, I never
thought I’d be so glad to see someone who wasn’t J.”

Duo chuckled humorlessly, his eyes scanning over the various injuries.  He let a frown come to his face, worrying for the
youth.  “Did J do this to you?”

The kid nodded.  “Yes.  I-I ... I was disobedient.”

Duo tenderly pulled the shirt away from H-01’s back, looking at the lash marks.  They were fresh, but there was blood clotting
the wounds, drying on his skin.  “What did you do?”

The youth ducked his head, a shudder coursing through his much-too-skinny body.  “I would not give 07-04 to that man.  I
tried ... I tried to keep him safe.  I am not allowed to make those decisions.  I am supposed to see to their health and make them
ready for sale.  Nothing more.  But I didn’t want them to hurt anymore.  The children should not suffer.”

Duo carefully turned the youth to face him.  “Caring about someone isn’t a bad thing.  What you did - standing up to J - it was
very brave of you.  If it means anything, I am grateful for what you did.”  He said, taking off his jacket and wrapping it around
H-01’s shoulders.  “You’re coming with us when we get out of here.  No way in hell am I leaving you behind.”

“You would take me w-with you?”  The boy asked, his tone one of amazement.

Duo smiled.  “Of course.”  He easily picked the locks of the chains binding the young man.  He dropped the chains to the floor,
taking care in running his fingers over the welts and cuts in H-01’s wrists where the metal had dug into his skin too harshly.

Smiling to the youth once more, Duo tapped his headset.  “02 here.  H-01 has been located.  Anyone else having any success?”

The guys all answered with a negative response.

Duo gazed at the boy in front of him and smiled.  “Guys, I’m putting H-01 on.  He can probably tell you where the kids and J
are.”  When he heard a bunch of affirmatives, he removed the headset and handed it over to Howard’s clone.  “Just talk into it.”

H-01 tentatively reached out and took the headset.  He slipped it on, looking a little amazed, as if it had only JUST sunk in that
the Gundam pilots were there and that the children in his care were finally going to be rescued.



*****



Heero let out a breath as he listened to H-01’s directions regarding J’s whereabouts and moved with haste.  Howard’s clone had
stated that the latest of the 01 series hadn’t been “broken in” yet, and Heero wanted to stop J before he got to that point.  Since J
had left H-01 only minutes before the five of them had arrived, Heero had a feeling that he would be in time to save HIS “son”
from horrors that used to frighten him, and Heero had never been used in that aspect.  ‘That was good thinking on Duo’s part.’  
Heero thought, grateful that Duo had found H-01.  ‘Since we now know where the children are, we can get out of here quickly.’

The one thing that Heero was not looking forward to was the upcoming confrontation.  He knew that he had to confront J.  But
he had no idea about how the encounter would go.  All he knew was that Duo was going to be on his way to be his backup as
soon as H-01 was tended to.

Rounding a corner, Heero found himself facing a door.  It was just a door, like any other door he had seen in his life.  There was
nothing so unusual about it.  However, there was an ominous quality to it, for the simple fact that he knew J was behind it.  This
was the door that led to J’s private living quarters.

Taking a breath, Heero kicked open the door.  At the sight laid out before him, his heart very nearly stopped.  J was on the bed,
wearing nothing more than a flimsy robe.  He had his fingers all over a terrified little boy, a child who was Heero’s duplicate.  It
was eerie to be faced with this physical manifestation of his worst memories.

“Step away from the boy.”  Heero ordered, narrowing his eyes.

Instead of obeying, J merely chuckled.  He yanked the child forward, wrapping his hand around the boy’s throat.  “Heero, I
must say I’m surprised to see you here.  I was under the impression you hated it here.”

Heero flicked his eyes to the frightened little boy.  “Yes, but as you know, something was important enough to compel me to
return.”  He glared at J.  “Let the boy go.”  He swallowed and felt his stomach turn at the idea of what he was about to suggest.  
“We both know there’s someone else you’d rather have in your bed.”

J laughed outright.  “You know me well, boy.”  He smiled, his eyes roaming over Heero’s body.  “I see you’ve grown since I
last saw you.  Will you really do as I say to spare this brat?”

Heero swallowed and nodded.  “Yes.”  He answered, trying to hold his gun steady, even as he felt his body tremble.

J’s lips curled into a twisted smile.  “Then I suggest you drop your gun.  Open the top drawer of the dresser beside you.  You’ll
find a set of chains inside.  I had them made especially for you, just in case you ever returned to me.”

Heero shuddered, but did as instructed.  He bent slowly, setting his handgun on the floor.  As he rose to his feet again, he
pushed the door closed, knowing that he was sealing his own fate by doing so.  Now that he was closed in and unarmed, there
really was no escape for him.

He retrieved the chains from the drawer, finding it disturbing that J had Gundanium chains.  He wouldn’t be able to break free of
them, not without a key.  Even the locks were made of Gundanium.  He shook his head, approaching the bed with the chains in
his hands.

“Strip and get on the bed.”  J said, sliding off the other side of the bed, still holding the child in front of himself.  “Chain yourself
securely, your legs and then your arms.”

Heero nodded, a numbness setting into his limbs as he peeled off the layers of his clothing.  He eyed the frame of the bed, hope
fleeing him as he found the frame to be made of Gundanium as well.  J had planned for this eventuality.  Even if not expecting
Heero to arrive today, he had thought that Heero would return eventually, and he had planned for it.

The seconds passed by as if they each lasted an eternity.  Yet, Heero wished time had passed by at a slower pace.  As he locked
the shackles, first around his ankles, and then his wrists, he felt only despair.  He had hoped never to be in this situation again.  
But here he was, his arms and legs bound to the frame of a bed, the chains secured around the headboard and foot board.  Three
sets of chains held him in place, one for each ankle . . . the third for his wrists.  He was trapped here, unable to close his legs,
wishing that he could move his hands far enough to strangle J if ... no, when the man moved over to him.

J smiled again, carelessly dropping the child.  The boy scurried away from his creator, moving to the nearest corner to hide.  J
climbed onto the bed, moving to straddle Heero’s thighs.  Heero felt sickened.  He also felt sorry that he had eaten dinner with
his friends.

“You’re quite the disobedient boy, Heero.”  J sneered, grabbing Heero’s chin and forcing him to meet the scientist’s crazed
eyes.  “You were supposed to return to me after the war.  You didn’t.  I gave you the benefit of the doubt, thinking perhaps you
had suspected an uprising what with that Mariemaia brat.  But again, when that conflict ended, you still did not return.”

He squeezed Heero’s face hard enough to bruise.  “You went and joined the Preventers, made yourself a life.  You rotten little
ingrate.  I trained you, gave you a home, fed and clothed you.  You should be grateful.  You should have done as told.  But you
didn’t.”  J smirked, letting go of Heero’s face, his fingers moving in a sweep along Heero’s bare chest.  “Let me tell you
something, my boy, if you had come back I would not have needed these little brats.”

Heero’s eyes flew wide.  The clones had been made because of his disobedience?  These children, they suffered because of
him?  No.  He shook his head, wanting to deny it, wishing that he could.

It was his fault.  All of this was his fault.



*****



Trowa was glad of his long legs as he walked through the hallway.  He knew his destination, and even if he didn’t, the sound of
an angry adult yelling at someone to come out of hiding would have given it away.  Trowa picked up his pace as he heard a child
let out a wail of distress and a man’s raised voice call out.

“GOTCHA!  Oh, you’re going to pay for the aggravation you just caused me, you little brat!”

Trowa winced in sympathy as he heard the sounds of one person hitting another.  He got to the door just in time to hear the man
tell the child to keep still.

Carefully, he reached out and turned the doorknob, feeling a swell of relief when he found it wasn’t locked.  Without wasting a
minute, he quietly pushed the door open, stepping inside and closing it again just as silently.  He had to fight off the urge to shoot
the man before him.  The bastard was holding the child down, his one hand tight around the boy’s neck, while he opened his
robe with his free hand.  He was forcing the child face down, holding his face against the pillows.  To Trowa’s rising fear, he
saw that the boy’s face was turning red.  He couldn’t breathe.

Sweeping up behind the man, Trowa raised his gun and brought the butt down against the back of his neck.  His strike was right
on target and the man fell to the side with only a grunt.  Trowa whipped out his handcuffs, securing one cuff to the bastard’s
wrist and the other to the bed frame.  Now that the man was dealt with, Trowa turned to look at the child, only to find that he
wasn’t on the bed anymore.

Trowa looked to the door.  It was closed, which meant the boy was still in the room.  And since there was only one piece of
furniture, Trowa had a pretty good idea as to where he was.  Trying to seem nonthreatening, Trowa put away his handgun and
knelt down, peering beneath the bed.  He frowned, finding the young boy to be cowering under there, his arms wrapped around
his head, his body shivering severely as he whimpered.

“Hello there.”  Trowa said gently.  “I won’t hurt you.  Won’t you come out?”

“No!”  The little voice screeched.  “Go away!”

Trowa winced at the sound.  “There’s nothing to be afraid of.  The bad man won’t hurt you ever again.  I promise.”  Trowa
said, sighing.  Then a thought struck him.  “H-01 sent me.  He’s very worried about you.”

The child peered at him, then hid his face again.  “You’re lying!”  The voice was still loud, but not as ear-splitting.

Trowa shook his head, remembering to keep his voice calm.  The child had every right to be afraid and distrustful.  “I wouldn’t
lie about that.”

He felt a deep urge to hug the boy as the small child started crying.  He eased his pack off his back, moving slowly as he opened
it.  “Please come out.  You must be cold and hungry.  I have a warm blanket and some food for you.  You don’t have to do
anything you don’t want to,” he said, pulling out a soft, ration bar and a blanket from the pack, setting them both on the floor by
the bed.  “Come on out and my friends and I will take you and the others away from here.  You’ll be able to be in the
sunshine.”  He carefully avoided the words ‘play’, ‘toys’ and ‘games’ because he knew that those words could have a darker
meaning to the little boy.  “You’ll have a soft and warm bed to sleep in all to yourself.  And you’ll never have to see J again.”

The little blonde boy peeked out at him.  “Really?  I never hafta see the monster man again?”

Trowa nodded.  “Never ever.”  He slowly picked up the blanket and opened it, holding it open for the child.  “I know that you’re
scared and I don’t blame you, but will you trust me?”

The child grabbed the ration bar and nibbled on it as he studied Trowa carefully.  When the bar was half-eaten, the little boy
nodded and cautiously crawled out from beneath the bed.

Trowa smiled gently at the boy, extremely pleased at the courage he was showing.  “All right, I’m going to wrap you up in the
blanket so you’re kept warm.  Then I’m going to pick you up and carry you outside where a nice lady is waiting to check your
throat and make sure you aren’t hurt,” Trowa said, hoping to keep the child calm.  “I promise not to do anything to hurt you.”  
When the clone nodded, Trowa wrapped the little boy up and lifted him into his arms.  “Okay, let’s get out of here.”

“Yeah.”  The little boy nodded.

Trowa smirked, doing as he said he would do.  He suddenly felt struck by a sense of awe.  Here he was, holding Quatre’s clone
in his arms.  Quatre’s clone.  If only he could hold the adult version.  That would be bliss.  But he knew it wasn’t meant to be.  
Quatre was too good for him, too luminous a soul.

He delicately ran his fingers through the child’s silken, blonde hair.  Tentatively, the boy leaned closer to him, wrapping his little
arms around Trowa’s neck.  He was an innocent, a pure soul.  Trowa felt heartbroken by the mere idea that J had even thought
to hurt this child.

Shaking his head, Trowa fluidly rose to his feet and strode out of the room, raising his hand to his headset.  “03 here.  I’ve
retrieved 07-04 and am taking him out to the rendezvous point.”

“This is 04.  Is the boy ... was he ...?”  Quatre’s familiar voice called, a waver to his tone.

“Negative, 04.  The boy was spared that.”  He smiled to himself, holding the boy a little closer, feeling a swell of protectiveness.  
“Be careful, Quatre.”

“I will.  Take care of him, my friend.”  Quatre said.

Trowa wouldn’t have done anything less.  He swiftly made his way out of the base, heading to the waiting van.  He hoped the
others would have luck on their sides.



*****



Quatre approached a door with Wufei at his side.  From what H-01 had told them, the room they were nearing was not guarded,
nor would there be any threats from within.  Quatre also knew that the door was locked, but could easily be opened from the
outside.

He took a deep breath and opened the door with caution, almost falling flat on his face when he saw what waited for them
inside.  ‘Well, considering that this is J ... but he could at least have given them SOME children’s toys to play with.’

The room was sparse with five cots along the wall and a simple card table with folding chairs in the middle of the room.  On one
of the cots was a crude doll which looked like it had been made by tying a rag over a balled up sock.  A roughly drawn sketch
of a face was etched in marker on one side.  It would have been cute if it weren't the ONLY toy in the room.  The walls were
metallic, as was the floor, a cold, grayish shade.  There was a rack in one corner that had some robes and several T-shirts
hanging from it, a shelf below the rack was covered with neatly folded sets of pants.

Quatre turned his attention to the occupants of the room and felt his heart break.

An Asian child was glaring at them.  His face showed signs that he had recently been crying.  He stood up and moved into a
protective position in front of the brown-haired boy sitting at the table who was sporting a nasty-looking bruise.  There was a
cut above the boy's left eye and a split in his lip.  Someone had hit him, probably more than once.

Quatre made sure to keep his hands in sight as he put his weapon away and crouched down to appear less threatening.  "Hello.  
Are you 07-03 and 07-05?"  He asked, grimacing.  "Those aren't fitting names for fine young men such as yourselves, but we'll
worry about that later."

The little Chinese boy, 07-05, clenched his tiny hands into tight fists.  "Take me.  Leave him alone!  Don't hurt him, too!"  His
lower lip started to quiver.  "Please?"

Wufei was the one who spoke.  He stepped forward, holstering his own handgun.  "Those who would harm children have no
honor.  Children have no way of defending themselves."

07-05 blinked up at Wufei.  His eyes widened, then he looked closely at Quatre.  "You came ..."

07-03 spoke softly, looking over his friend's shoulder.  "Huh?"  He asked, confusion clear in his young voice as he set aside the
pencil he had been holding.

07-05 turned to face the other boy.  "They came!"  He said excitedly.  "They really came!  H-01 told us we have daddies who
wouldn't be happy to hear about what was being done to us!  He said they'd come and take us away!  And they did!  They're
here!"  He turned back to look at Quatre, his eyes brimming with tears.  "07-04!  He was taken away!  Is he ..."  He glanced at
the cot with the crude doll on it.

Quatre smiled at the boy as the child turned back to face him, but the question caused a pain to enter his heart.  Had Trowa been
just a few minutes later, he would not be able to answer this question with happy news.  "He is fine.  My friend, Trowa, has
gotten him out of this place."

07-05 nodded.  "Good.  The games J makes you play aren't fun."  He said, frowning darkly.

Quatre felt a fresh stab of pain to his heart.  "Has J played these games with you two?"

"Uh-uh."  07-05 said, shaking his head.  "I was the first one.  Today J took 07-01.  Tomorrow woulda been 07-03's turn."

"I dun wanna play those games."  07-03 pouted, wiping at his eyes.

Quatre smiled gently.  "You don't have to.  Do the two of you want to come with us?  You'll be reunited with 07-04."

"Yes, please."  07-05 said.

Quatre stood and walked over to the cot and picked up the doll.  He would buy his little copy the best toys that money could
buy, but he knew that this doll would be special to him.  Doll in hand, he returned to the little boys.  "Is there anything you want
to bring?"

The boys looked around.  Then they shook their heads.  There was nothing here that they wanted, nothing for them to take.  
Although there was a look of gratitude on 07-05's face when he glanced at the doll again.

Quatre knelt down.  "It'll be quicker if we carry you."  He smiled as 07-03 approached him, while 07-05 went straight for
Wufei.  He nodded at the Chinese ex-pilot and then headed out, carrying Trowa's clone in his arms.  With his free hand, he
tapped the headpiece he was wearing.  "04 here.  07-03 and 07-05 have been retrieved.  What is the status of the other children?"

Trowa's voice was smooth over the radio.  "07-04 has been tended to.  Sally checked him over.  He's been fed and given a
drink.  Now he's settled in and asking for his dolly."

Quatre smiled warmly.  "Hey, put him on for a second."  After a moment, Quatre felt his heart melt at the tiny voice speaking.

"H'lo?"

Quatre smiled again.  "Hey there.  I have your dolly with me and I'm on my way out with two of your friends.  Do you want to
speak with them?"

Duo's voice cut in.  "Hang on a sec, 04.  I'm gonna put Henry on."  There was someone talking in the background and then
Duo's voice again.  "Well, you look like a Henry to me.  Here ya go."

Quatre found it sweet that Duo had given H-01 a name.  He eased the headset off himself and placed it on 07-03, as Wufei did
the same for 07-05.  The brief breach of procedure was worth it.  The smiles that lit up the two little boys' faces as they talked
to the other clones made Quatre feel warm inside.  He took the headset back as the children said their goodbyes.

With a frown, Quatre addressed a topic that was nagging at him.  "02, have you heard from 01?"



*****



Duo scowled at the question.  "No.  And I've asked him to report.  It's not like him to miss a check in."  He looked up as he
approached the van with a stunned Henry, which is what he had decided to name H-01.  It seemed like a good name to him, and
H-01 hadn't objected.

"I'm almost at the van now."  Duo stated.  "Once Henry here is tended to, I'm going back in to retrieve 07-01 and Heero."  He
scowled.  Heero had mentioned before that J would be difficult to deal with.  'And that idiot went up against that child-molesting
monster alone.  If J has touched Heero in ANY way, I'll go Shinigami on him.  Bastard deserves to rot in hell.'

He reached out and knocked on the side door of the unmarked, black van that Trowa had acquired for this job.  Sally opened the
door from the inside, then lent a hand in getting Henry inside.  Duo nodded in greeting to Trowa, smiling at the little blonde-
haired child that was comfortably settled on the tall youth's lap.  Didn't look as if the boy had any intention of leaving Trowa's
side any time soon.

As soon as Henry was settled in a seat and under Sally's care, Duo headed back into the base.  He made his way swiftly,
following directions given to him by Henry.  In mere minutes, Duo found himself staring at a door.  He looked at it carefully,
taking note that the doorknob was broken.  Heero had been here.  He had forced the door open and had gone inside.  But why
was the door closed now?

A sickening moan made Duo shudder violently.  His blood ran cold in his veins, his heartbeat throbbing in his ears.  Oh God, no.  
This couldn't be happening.  With a shaking hand, Duo gently pushed open the door, his senses failing him as he witnessed the
horrible events playing out before him.

Heero was chained down to a bed, a ball gag shoved in his mouth.  Electrodes had been attached to various parts of his body,
his thighs, his upper arms, his abdomen as well as his chest and temples.  The control device for them had been carelessly
thrown to the floor.  J had obviously finished using that toy.  Beside the discarded controller lay a cat-o'-nine-tails, which lay in a
pool of crimsom.  It sickened Duo to know that J had used that on Heero.  He could just barely see the blood soaking into the
bed sheets.  He couldn't really see much of Heero's body, since J blocked his line of sight.  But still, he knew what the bastard
had done.

J was now settled between Heero's forcefully spread thighs, his bony body moving in a timeless fashion that served to only
sicken Duo further.  He was raping Heero, was touching him with those filthy fingers of his.  Duo shuddered, and then he saw
it.  His eyes widened, watching as J wrapped a length of cording around Heero's throat.  He tightened it.  Heero's face started to
turn red.  The bastard was killing him.

Duo's mind shut down as instinct took over.  He swept forward, stealthily approaching the deranged scientist from behind.  
Dropping his gun, he reached out and wrapped his arms around J, one hand grabbing at his chin, the other holding his
shoulders.  Before the gun ever clattered to the floor, Duo jerked the man's head to the side, snapping his neck with ease.

J slumped forward as if he were boneless, covering Heero's prone body.  Duo was breathing heavily, his eyes wide.  He couldn't
believe he had killed the man.  But then again, Heero's life had been in danger.  He'd had to do it, had to save Heero.  With a
grimace, he pushed J's corpse off of Heero and to the floor, frowning at the sight of his friend.

He took a quick glance around the room, taking notice that Heero's clone was curled up in a corner, his face buried in his knees,
his hands wrapped around his head.  Duo would have to take care of him.  But first, Heero needed his help.

He carefully unstrapped the ball gag, easing it from Heero's mouth.  He pulled the cording from around Heero's throat, dropping
it to the floor.

"You okay, buddy?"  Duo asked, frowning as he picked the locks binding Heero's wrists.  Some of Heero's fingers had been
broken, probably another torture that sick fuck had put him through.

He let his eyes scan over Heero's shivering and broken body.  Blood covered his chest, long, slender lash marks marring the
perfection of his form.  J had done this just like he had done to Henry.  He had taken pleasure in beating the both of them,
probably with the same weapons.

Duo blinked, his gaze settling on Heero's mid-section.  J was a complete and total son of a bitch.  The sick bastard had made
sure Heero would get an erection from what he had been doing to him, had probably made sure to manipulate Heero's body
perfectly to achieve this.  And then he had put a cock ring on him.  Duo's throat choked up, his eyes filling with tears that he
refused to shed.  He wouldn't cry in front of Heero.  He couldn't.  It wouldn't help.

"Let's get this off of you, Heero."  Duo said, reaching to help his friend.

"Don't."  Heero whispered, his voice shaky.  "D-Don't touch me."

Duo shook his head.  "I have to, Heero.  With your hands the way they are, you can't do it yourself."  He said, ignoring Heero's
pleading tone.  He delicately eased the ring from Heero's body, thinking of nothing but Heero's comfort.  Barely an instant later,
Heero's body jerked and he groaned, his body reaching a climax his mind had not wanted him to have.

Duo said nothing.  It was a natural reaction.  J had messed with Heero's mind and body.  He had tortured the Japanese youth.  
With a great deal of gentleness, Duo pulled a sheet up and over Heero's body, knowing he'd relish having even a little modesty at
the moment.

Duo tapped his headset.  "Sally, guys ... I'm going to need some help here."  He said, as he picked the locks to unbind Heero's
ankles.  "Heero's been ..."  He gulped, his voice coming out strained as he spoke.  "J got a hold of him."

Wufei's voice sounded horrified.  "Fuck!  How bad is it?"

Duo shook his head.  "Umm, looks like some electrical burns from where J shocked him.  There are lacerations from a cat-o'-
nine-tails, several broken fingers.  Then there's the damage from the actual ... act."

Sally's voice was calm considering the circumstances.  "03 and I are en route.  Is 07-01 there?"

Duo nodded, taking the pack from his back.  "Yeah, the poor kid is terrified.  Geez!  Didn't J ever feed these kids?"  He pulled
the blanket from his pack and covered Heero with it, ghosting his fingers over his friend's cheek.  He frowned, seeing that Heero
had fallen into unconsciousness.  "I'm just going to go check on the kid.  Okay, Heero?"  He said, although he didn't know if
Heero could hear him or not.

Heero's brow furrowed slightly, a muffled moan escaping him.  Then there was silence.

Duo sighed, shaking his head.  He stepped around the bed and approached the corner that the child was hiding in.  He knelt on
the floor, carefully avoiding the pool of blood around the cat-o'-nine-tails that had been used on Heero.  "Hey there, little guy."  
He spoke with calm tones, hoping not to frighten the child further.

Two deep blue eyes peered at him.  "Are you gonna hurt me too?  Was I bad?"

Duo shook his head.  "No, I'm not going to hurt you.  And you weren't bad.  It was good that you hid."

The child sniffled, rubbing his arm across his eyes.  "The monster man said he made us 'cause HE didn't come back.  That not
true, is it?"  He asked, gesturing to Heero with the word 'HE'.

Duo forced himself not to growl, but he really wished that J were still alive so that he could kill the jerk all over again.  "No.  No,
it's not true.  The monster man was just that.  A monster.  He liked hurting little kids and lies like that hurt."  He smiled, the boy
was truly adorable.  "But it's okay.  The monster man can't hurt anyone any more."

The little boy gave him a shaky smile in return.  "What's gonna happen to us?"

Duo smiled.  "You'll get taken away with the others.  We'll go to my place until Heero gets better.  I hope you'll be happy."  He
looked over his shoulder as Trowa and Sally entered.  "I didn't know what else to do other than to cover him."  He said,
gesturing to where Heero lay.

Sally nodded in approval as she checked his vitals.  "That was a good idea, Duo."  She said, moving around the bed and over to
Duo.  She smiled warmly at the little boy.  "Hey there, sweetie.  Why don't you come out?  That way, Duo can take you to
where the other children are and you can get some food and a drink and take a nap."

Duo noticed that Sally made a visual check of the boy as 07-01 stood up and stepped to where Duo could reach him.  "C'mere,
sport."  Duo said, accepting a blanket from Trowa.  He wrapped it around the child with a smile.  "There we go.  I'm gonna take
you to where the others are now and you are gonna get a meal.  Not much of a meal, but it'll help your empty tummy."

"Okay."  The child rested his head against Duo's shoulder and sighed sadly.  "Is it my fault the nice man got hurt?  He did get
hurt saving me."

Duo shook his head, delicately running his hand along the boy's back.  "No.  The monster man was the only one to blame.  You
couldn't have done anything.  He had knowledge that he shouldn't have used in the way that he did."

Taking a sparing glance back at Heero, Duo frowned.  He hoped that his friend would be okay.  With a sigh, he held the child he
was carrying close.  Then he left, taking the boy out to be with his friends.  At least the children were all safe.  Duo was grateful
for that.



To Be Continued ...