Disclaimers:  I own nothing.

Notes:  Part three of my Chibi fic.  They’re still at Preventer’s HQ, and now it’s time for physical exams and showers.  Enjoy.



Young Hearts



Part Three


Duo had watched worriedly as Trowa’s clone had fainted.  Still worried while Quatre had checked him over.  He sighed in relief
hearing that the boy was just stressed out and unconscious, that it wasn’t too serious.  At least that was some consolation.

He looked up as Lady Une began to speak.  “I want all of these clones looked over by Sally.  She took that clone of Noin to the
infirmary.  Once she’s given them full physical examinations, get them a shower or something and into clean clothes.  They can’
t go around in your uniforms forever.”  She said.

Duo raised his fingers to his forehead, giving her a mock salute, even as he held his own clone with his other arm.  “Yes, Ma’
am!”  

He looked around, seeing all of the clones warily looking at Lady Une.  He could see they were afraid of her.  And who could
blame them after what she had said?  Only a few of them still looked calm, Heero’s clone for example.  That mask of his was
already set in place, but maybe it wasn’t too late to get him to act like a normal boy, to show his emotions.  Duo knew he’d have
to work hard on him, possibly even enlist the help of his own clone to get the other boy to lighten up.

A small face peeked out from behind Wufei, a pair of little hands gripping the fabric of the Chinese youth’s pants.  Smiling
quickly, the clone of Relena ducked back behind Wufei.

Duo smiled.  “Come on, guys.  Let’s get going.”  He said, cheerfully.

He stood by and waited as the others passed by him.  Wufei had a strong grip on his clone’s arm, while Heero held Treize’s
clone, keeping the two boys apart.  On Heero’s other side walked his own clone, while the clone of Relena shyly grabbed Wufei’
s free hand.  Duo just found that very cute for some reason.

Duo suppressed a giggle as he started walking, following the others.  He stopped and looked down as he felt someone tugging
on his pants.  The clone of Une was staring up at him.  “What do ya want, darlin’?”  Duo asked, keeping a pleasant smile on his
face.

The clone of Une glanced to her older self, then back up at Duo.  “I don’t wanna grow up to be like her.  She’s mean.”  The
young girl said, in a whisper, apparently talking about Lady Une.

Duo lifted his gaze to his commanding officer, watching as the lovely Lady lowered her gaze to the floor and closed her eyes.  
He didn’t know if she had overheard the child or not.  For all he knew she was just thinking of her earlier mistake with Trowa’s
clone, or just thinking of anything in general.  But if she had overheard, it must have hurt her feelings terribly.

Duo looked back down at the girl.  “You can grow up to be anything you wanna be, Little Lady.”  Duo said.  “But don’t go too
rough on Lady Une, she was right to be mad at us for disobeying her orders.  Even though I still believe I did the right thing in
saving all of you guys.”

The little girl smiled up at him.  She grasped his hand, and Duo led her away, still carrying in his own clone with his other arm.  
The boy just laid his head against Duo’s shoulder, his small arms wrapped around Duo’s neck.  He seemed content just to be
held by Duo, and Duo was happy to oblige.

Duo just walked along happily, holding the hand of Une’s clone, while carrying his own clone, humming to himself.  He was
ignoring whenever one of the other ex-pilots looked in his direction, rolling their eyes or huffing at him.  He was just happy, and
felt like humming.  Besides, a few of the clones seemed to like it too.

A sudden commotion at the front of the group got Duo’s attention.  The sound of shrieking filled the air, and several mumbled
voices telling someone to calm down.  He pushed his way past the other guys and clones, losing his hold on the hand of Une’s
clone.  

Finally, he saw what was going on.  Trowa’s clone had apparently awakened, and was now thrashing around in Trowa’s arms,
squealing and causing a major raucous, pounding his small fists against Trowa in a desperate attempt to get away from him.  He
was acting as if Trowa was physically hurting him, while Quatre was trying to calm the boy with soft-spoken words that did
little to ease his fear.

Eventually, after it was apparent that Quatre’s tactic of trying to calm the boy with words was not working, Trowa just put the
boy down.  The clone stepped back several paces, until his back hit a wall, then he slid down to the floor, wrapping his arms
about himself as he shivered.

Quatre slowly approached him, crouching before the boy.  Duo couldn’t quite hear the blonde’s whispered words from where
he was, but it was obviously working since the young clone began to calm down.  Slowly the tremors going through his body
stopped, and he looked up at Quatre, eyes sparkling with fresh tears that also ran down his flushed cheeks.

Something felt off, and Duo turned, an odd feeling of foreboding causing a shiver to run along his spine.  He looked around,
trying to figure out what was wrong, why he suddenly felt extremely nervous.  There was something missing, he decided.  He
didn't know how he knew, but he just knew it.  After doing a quick head count, he realized that it was one of the clones.  
Someone was definitely missing.  And once he realized who it was, he gasped.

“Heero, we have a problem.”  He announced, unable to keep the worry out of his voice.

“What?”  Heero asked, sounding annoyed.

Duo cleared his throat.  “Uh . . . Your clone is missing.”

Heero spun, as did Trowa, Quatre, and several of the clones, all looking to see if Duo was telling the truth.  Sure enough, Heero’
s clone was not with them.

“Damn.”  Heero muttered.  “He used this little incident as a distraction to escape.  I should have seen it coming.”

“What do you mean?  Are you saying he planned this?”  Quatre asked.

“He feels just as I would in this situation.  He views this as being captured by an enemy, and is no doubt looking for a possible
means of escape at this moment.  We do not have time to discuss this.”  Heero replied.

“Fine.  Then we better start a search.”  Trowa said.

Quatre stood.  “I’ll take the clones to the infirmary, while you three do a search.  I’ll inform Sally of the situation and have her
call for some help.”

“Thanks, Quatre.”  Duo said, kneeling to put his clone down.  He turned the boy to face him.  “You go with Quatre, little man.  
I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

The boy nodded, although Duo could see the apprehension in his eyes.  Duo sighed as he stood, ruffling the bangs on his clone’s
head before backing away.

He turned quickly, not waiting for anyone to say anything else.  He had to find that clone before the boy did something foolish.  
A clone of Heero, alone in a base.  That was probably a very dangerous thing.

Over ten minutes later, Duo was still walking through the hallways, having no luck in finding Heero’s clone.  The boy was very
good at hiding, already a trained killer probably.  He knew that Heero himself had started his training early, much earlier than Duo
had.

Something caught Duo’s eye and he slowed his pace.  The door to an emergency weapon’s locker was hanging open, the hinges
pried apart.  This was bad.  Not only was the clone loose in the base, but he had a gun too.  Duo sighed, looking around for any
sign of where the boy could be.  A door, not five feet away from him was slightly open.  

“Must be where he went.”  Duo whispered under his breath.

Cautiously, he approached the door, pushing it open and carefully stepping into the dark room.  He reached out and flicked on
the light.  Right in front of him, pointing a gun directly at his face, was Heero’s clone.

“Don’t come any closer.”  The boy ordered.

“Hey, kid.  No need for weapons here.  Just give me the gun.”  Duo replied, slowly stepping closer, and holding out his hand for
the weapon.

“The safety on this weapon is off.  I suggest that you stop approaching, or I will be forced to fire.”  The clone said calmly.  It
was eerie how much he sounded like Heero.

Duo stopped in his tracks.  “Fine, fine.”  Duo said, raising his hands above his head.  He sat on the floor, not too far away from
the door, his legs crossed in front of him.  “What do you plan to do now, little man?”

“You are my hostage.  I plan on escaping this elaborate lie you’ve conjured.  If I have to, I will kill you, and leave your body in a
more public place as a way to distract my captors while I escape with a car from the parking garage we first entered when we
got here.”  Heero’s clone said, his voice remaining calm throughout his statement.

Duo gulped, believing every word the boy had said.  It was plainly obvious that he had meant each and every word.  He lowered
his hands, dropping the foolish act that he was calm, when he knew this boy could kill him any minute now.


*****


Heero walked through the hallways, checking each and every weapon’s locker he came to.  He knew that if it were him all those
years ago, he would have tried to find a weapon as quickly as possible.  Next would be a suitable hiding place until he could
formulate a plan.  It was actually quite simple for Heero to understand his clone, he was acting just as Heero had when he had
been a child.

Finally, he found a weapon’s locker that had been pried open.  After checking it, he saw that one weapon and several ammo
clips were missing.  Quickly glancing around himself, he looked for a possible route that his clone had taken.  He spied a door,
opened just a crack.

As he approached the slightly opened door, he heard voices coming from inside.  It was Duo.  “Okay . . . let me get this
straight.  Your plan is to kill me and use my body as a distraction while you escape using a car.  Am I right?”  Duo asked.

“Correct.”  The voice of Heero’s clone replied.

“For a little guy, you have some big plans.  Do you even know where you are?  How will you even reach the pedals of the car?  
What will you do for money?  Do you know anyone on this planet?”  Duo babbled.  Heero could tell that the American was
frightened, it was just something in his voice.

“You talk too much.”  The clone said, followed by the sound of an ominous clicking sound.  Heero knew that was the sound of
a gun being cocked.  “I could kill you here and now and get another hostage.”

Heero wasn’t about to let Duo get killed.  He pushed the door open, slowly stepping into the room.  The boy immediately trained
his gun on Heero, and Duo turned back to look at him.  “Hey, Heero.  Glad you could make it.”

“Duo.”  Heero greeted with a slight nod.

“Take a seat.  Me and the little man here are just chatting.”  Duo said, speaking cheerfully, although Heero could tell it was all
just an act.

Heero fought against the urge to draw his own weapon and just shoot the clone.  He knew he couldn’t hurt the boy.  That was
not a suitable option.  It would only serve to convince the boy that he was right in assuming that he had been captured by an
enemy force.  Besides, Heero didn’t like the idea of hurting a child, even if he was a threat.

A little girl, handing him a small flower as a little dog wagged its tail happily at him.  

Heero shook his head, driving the errant thoughts from his mind.  No, now was not the time to remember the past.  The boy
was obviously under the assumption that he had been lied to, that he was not a clone.  Heero had to convince him otherwise.  
But how, he wondered, without giving away personal information in front of Duo?

Heero closed the door behind himself, taking a cautious step into the room.  Then he sat beside Duo, crossing his legs in front of
himself, just as Duo was sitting.  “What do you think you are doing?”  He asked the clone, glaring slightly at the boy while he
surveyed his movements, looking for any indication of a weakness that could be exploited.

“I am going to escape.”  The boy replied.

“To go where?  Odin Lowe will not be waiting for you out there.  He has been dead for years, over a decade.”  Heero calmly
replied.  

“That’s not true.  I don’t believe you.”  The boy said, a slight wavering in his voice.

Good, Heero thought.  The boy was having doubts.  This could be used to Heero’s advantage.  If he could just find proof that
what he said was true, he could convince the boy.  But what proof did he have?

“It is true.  You are just a clone, created in a lab by scientists.”  Heero said, leaving out the part about those scientists wanting to
use him and the others for purposes other than good.

Duo slapped Heero’s arm.  “He is not JUST a clone.  He’s a kid.  There’s no point in making him feel as if he’s worth less than
a natural born person.  He’s got feelings you know.”  Duo hissed.

Heero noticed that the boy was staring intently at Duo.  Obviously something the American had said had gained his attention.  In
one quick motion, Heero stood, rising to his feet, to stare down at the boy.  He felt as Duo also stood, standing to one side and
just behind Heero.

“My choice of words may have been wrong, but it doesn’t change the facts.  He is a clone, and his memories are mine.  He just
refuses to accept that.”  

“I don’t believe you.”  The boy said, his voice lowered to a whisper as he glared at both Duo and Heero.  “You’re trying to trick
me into giving up this weapon.  You’re lying.”

“Hey kid,”  Duo said, his hand gripping Heero’s shoulder.  “I may run and hide, but I never tell a lie.  And believe me, whatever
Heero tells you is a fact.  He’s just not the type to tell anything but the truth, no matter how painful it sounds sometimes.”

Heero sighed, realizing that he would have to talk about something personal.  He had to let the boy know that he wasn’t lying,
and the only way to do that was to tell him something that only he himself would know.  He opened his mouth, trying to gain the
courage to admit his own past in front of another person, and for a moment nothing came out.  Then he finally let the words fall
from his mouth.

“You have dreams of a woman with long dark hair, smiling and dancing . . . your mother.  But you can never remember her
face.”  Heero began, not speaking of how the dreams had always turned to nightmares ending with that same woman covered in
blood and a child screaming.  Those dreams had long ago ended, but the memories of them remained.

“That would be an obvious assumption.  It is natural for young children separated from their parents by unknown circumstances
to dream of them, usually their mothers.”  The boy countered.

Heero nodded, that was true.  He thought of something else, and decided to try again.  “You were ill recently, correct?”

The boy nodded.  “Yes.  But that does not matter now.”

“Odin Lowe took care of you.  It was the first time he had shown any kindness toward you, or treated you as more than just a
tool to be used to his advantage.”

“Again, an obvious assumption.  Since I was ill, someone must have taken care of me.  And since Odin Lowe is an assassin by
trade, you assume that he is uncaring by nature.”  The boy replied, once again shooting down Heero’s attempt at convincing him
that he was a clone.

“Come on, Heero.  Try something a little more personal.”  Duo whispered, lightly jabbing Heero in the ribs with one of his
elbows.

“I am tiring of this.  If you cannot give me one good reason not to kill you both, I will have no alternative but to fire.”  Heero’s
clone said, aiming the gun at Duo once again.

Heero glanced to the floor.  Then he looked back to the clone, his eyes settling on the gun for just a moment.  He had an idea of
what to say, but was reluctant.  If Duo found out, Heero was sure to be laughed at for this.  It was just so embarrassing for a
soldier to admit.  Heero took a deep breath, deciding that he had to say it, or else be killed by his own clone.

“You can’t stand the smell of gunpowder.”  Heero admitted.  “You never told Odin Lowe or anyone else, for fear of being
replaced and abandoned.”

“You’re KIDDING!  Aren’t you?”  Duo gasped.

Heero closed his eyes.  “Why do you think I rarely fire my weapon?  I carry a gun, but I only use it when there is no other
alternative.”

“Wish I’d known that when you came to get me outta that OZ prison.”  Duo muttered.

Heero shrugged.  “It wasn’t something you needed to know.”

“Must also be why Relena’s still breathing.  Guess if you didn’t have that little problem, you would have shot her the first time
she got in your way.”

“If I remember correctly, you shot me before I could get the opportunity to pull the trigger.”  Heero replied, the clone’s
presence totally forgotten for a few brief moments.

“Well, if I had known she would always follow you around and endanger missions with her obsession of you . . . ”  Duo began,
but he shut up when a slight whimpering sound drew both Heero and Duo’s attention.

Heero stared, wide-eyed at the sight of his clone.  He definitely hadn’t expected this sort of reaction.  The boy was trembling,
the gun he clutched in his hands was shaking, as he had obviously been convinced that he truly was a clone.  

However, now that he saw the boy’s reaction, he understood it.  In the clone’s memories, in his own memories, his whole life
had been centered on having order and predictability.  Having everything he thought he knew become a lie, telling him that he
had not lived any of his experiences himself, and there would be nothing but confusion left.

The boy’s bottom lip started quivering, his eyes beginning to glisten.  Behind him, Heero heard Duo gasp.  Apparently the
American was also shocked to see so much emotion from the boy.  But Heero kept his gaze locked on the boy in front of him.

The young clone’s legs gave out from underneath him and he slumped to the floor, dropping his arms.  The gun he held in his
hands made a slight clattering against the hard floor, although he didn’t drop it.

Duo rushed past Heero, quickly dropping to his knees in front of the boy.  He pried the gun from the boy’s fingers, putting it on
the floor and sliding it away from them.  Heero just watched, unsure of what to do, as Duo wrapped his arms around the now
sobbing child.

“I’m not real.”  The boy whimpered, keeping his arms at his sides.

“That’s not true,”  Duo said, his hands stroking the child’s back as he gently rocked back and forth.  “You’re real.  Just because
the circumstances of your birth are different from most people . . . it doesn’t make you any less of a person.”

The boy was still sobbing, trying to suck in large gulps of air as he fought his tears.  He slowly raised his trembling arms,
hesitantly wrapping them around Duo.  “I’m sorry.”  He whispered, gently embracing Duo.

“Nothing to be sorry about, kid.”  Duo replied, continuing with the soothing actions, rocking back and forth, cradling and
caressing the boy.

For several minutes they stayed that way, Heero just watching the two of them.  He wondered what it felt like to be held by
Duo.  Already his clone was able to experience something he longed to do, something he could never admit to, or ever attempt.  
He was privileged enough to feel the warmth of Duo’s body, to be held and touched by the beautiful American.  Heero sighed, a
hint of jealousy creeping into his heart at the sight of them.  He knew he would never get to feel that, to be held like that.

Heero stepped forward, seeing that the clone’s arms had fallen away from Duo’s body.  Duo looked down, just as Heero leaned
over to get a look at the boy himself.  The child was asleep, his face still damp with tears.  

Slowly, Heero reached out, and lifted the boy from Duo’s arms.  “Let’s get going.”  Heero said, holding the boy as carefully as
he could.  He started walking, not looking back to see if Duo was following or not.  He pushed away the thoughts of Duo’s
warm body, not wanting to wonder about the feeling of the American’s arms.  He knew it would never happen, so why dwell on
it?



To Be Continued . . .