Disclaimers:  I don’t own anything.

Notes:   Another part of my long Chibi fic.  Enjoy.

Young Hearts

Part Four

Duo followed Heero down the hallway, watching the small boy that the Japanese youth carried in his arms.  He was concerned,
to say the least.  It was obvious that the boy would have trouble dealing with the fact that he was a clone.  That had already
been proven by the way he had reacted when he began to actually believe it.

The boy had broken down and cried.  Duo, of course, had comforted him, while Heero had just stood there, staring at them.  At
least the boy still had emotions, Duo thought.  And he was sure that Heero had them too, perhaps buried deeply within himself,
but they were there.  Duo just wished he knew how he could get Heero to show some emotion, any emotion.

He sighed, looking down at the gun he was carrying.  He had picked it up when Heero was walking out of the room.  Well, he
couldn’t just leave it lying on the floor.  

Duo thought back on how Heero had gotten the kid to believe he really was a clone.  It had been surprising, hearing all of that
coming from Heero.  The stuff about the dreams he had of his mother, the time he spent with Odin, the fact that he didn’t like
the smell of gunpowder.  It was just so much to take in at once.  Heero rarely ever said anything about himself, and here Duo
had gotten more information in five minutes, just listening while he talked to his clone, than Duo had been able to get over the
past three years, by trying to get Heero to talk to him.  It was a major shot to his ego.

He looked up and noticed that he was just a few steps away from the infirmary.  How long had he been thinking to himself
anyway?  It didn’t really matter.  He just shook his head, clearing his thoughts as he put a smile on his face.  There was no need
to upset the kids.  He had to at least pretend to be happy for their sakes.

Quatre and Wufei stepped over as Heero and Duo walked into the room. Apparently, Trowa hadn’t come back from his search

“Is he okay?”  Quatre asked, gesturing to the boy that Heero was carrying.

“He passed out.”  Heero simply replied.  “He should be fine.”

“Here, Quatre.  Do something with this, buddy.”  Duo said, tossing the weapon over to the blonde.

Quatre caught it, gasping when he saw what it was.  “He had this?”

“Yup.  Luckily Heero talked him out of using it though.”  Duo said, slapping Heero on the back.  

Heero just grunted, laying his clone on a nearby examination table.  He moved his hands over the clone’s body as if searching for
something.  Then he reached into one of the pockets of the shirt the clone was currently wearing, and pulled out two
ammunition clips.  He handed them over to Quatre.

“You came back!”  A happy voice squealed.

Duo looked down, just in time to see his own clone run over and throw his arms around Duo’s legs. Duo noticed Sally standing
near where the clone had been, and assumed that he had just been examined by her.  “Of COURSE I came back!  I said I
would.  And you know as well as I do, that I NEVER lie!”  Duo replied, leaning over and sweeping his clone into his arms.

The clone raised one eyebrow, looking at him with a curious expression.  “I don’t mean to insult ya, but I know I don’t lie.  I
don’t know if YOU do or not.”  The boy replied.

“I ain’t insulted.  I guess I am a stranger to ya.”  Duo replied, stepping further into the room, carrying his clone in his arms.

Duo looked around the room.  He saw several of the clones curled up in chairs, most of them clinging to another clone.  The
clones of Une and Treize were leaning against each other, both asleep.  The clones of Relena, Wufei, and Zechs were doing the
same, with Relena’s clone in the middle of the three of them.  

He sighed, seeing the clone of Quatre, his small body curled up on one of the chairs that lined the wall, shivering in his sleep.  He
wasn’t leaning up against anybody, wasn’t sitting anywhere near the other clones or adults.  He looked cold, all by himself, his
arms around his body, his knees pressed to his chest.  Duo hoped that boy would let someone into his heart, if only so he
wouldn’t grow up to be a bitter person.

Duo got an idea, and whispered it quietly to the clone he held tightly in his arms.  The little boy looked over at the chair, then
turned back to Duo and smiled.  “Okay.”  He answered, nearly giggling as Duo set him down on the floor.

Duo’s clone jogged over to the chair that Quatre’s clone was currently curled up on, Duo following behind him just a bit
slower.  Still, the two of them reached the chair at about the same time.  Duo gently and slowly lifted Quatre’s clone, hoping
that the boy was just as much of a heavy sleeper as his older self was.  He smiled, remembering countless times when it had
nearly taken an earthquake to wake Quatre up.

The blonde clone groaned, but didn’t awaken.  Duo just held him, watching as his own clone climbed up into the seat.  Then he
arranged it so that Quatre’s clone was wrapped in Chibi-Duo’s arms, safe from falling off of the chair as they were both laying
down.  As soon as Duo let go of Quatre’s clone, the boy rolled over in his sleep, wrapping his arms around Duo’s clone, curling
closer to the source of warmth.  Duo couldn’t help but smile at the reaction.

“Thank you.”  Duo whispered, smiling at his clone.

Chibi-Duo just smiled up at him, then closed his eyes snuggling against the boy he was holding securely in his arms.

Duo stepped back, and turned away from the adorable scene.  Quatre was standing in front of him.  He was smiling, and Duo
returned the smile cheerfully.  “What’s up, Quatre?”  He asked.

“Thank you, Duo.”  Quatre said, gesturing to the two clones curled up together.

“No problem, buddy.”  He paused, a thought occurring to him.  “One question Q-man.  Just why is your clone like that?  It’s
okay if you don’t wanna answer.  I don’t want ya getting upset if it’s too personal and you don't wanna tell me.”  Duo said,
knowing full well that he was rambling.

Quatre held up his hands, stopping Duo from continuing.  “It’s okay, Duo.  I don’t mind talking about it.”  Quatre said.  He took
in a deep breath, pausing a moment before he spoke again.  “I was not a happy child.  Since I was born in a test tube, I was
constantly teased by other children for not being born naturally and as a defense I began teasing back.  Out of anger at my own
kindness, not understanding why I was nice when no one else returned the feeling, I acted out in anger, hurting people before
they could hurt me.  I felt myself worthless, less than human.”

“Jeez, Quatre.  I just kinda assumed you had a relatively easy life.”  Duo admitted.  “Sorry ‘bout that.”

“No need to be sorry.”  Quatre replied, smiling.  

Duo opened his mouth, intending one more time to apologize.  It just wasn’t right that he had made assumptions of Quatre’s
life.  However, before he could open his mouth, a sharp shriek filled the air.  Duo quickly took a glance around, to his relief
seeing that the noise hadn’t awakened any of the children.  Then he looked to the source of the sound, Trowa’s clone.

The clone of Trowa was up on one of the examination tables, looking warily at Sally who held a syringe in her hand.  Every time
she would try and touch him, he’d back away or dodge her.  She looked to be getting quite frustrated with his actions.

“Hey, Sally.  What’s the problem?”  Duo asked, smiling as he approached the table.

“Well, this young man just doesn’t seem to want me to take a blood sample.”  Sally replied, sighing.  “I’ve finished examining
the other clones, except for Heero’s.  But he just won’t let me touch him.”

Duo hopped up onto the table, sitting beside Trowa’s clone.  The boy was scared again, it was obvious.  Well, they had to calm
him down, to show him that he wasn’t going to be hurt.  “That true, buddy?”  Duo asked, grinning at the shivering boy.  “Well,
don’t worry.  Sally here would never hurt ya.”

The boy looked up at Duo, his disbelief apparent on his young face.  

Duo turned his attention to Sally, as he rolled up the sleeve of his shirt.  “Hey, Sally, you got another one of those?”  He asked,
gesturing to the syringe in her hand.

“Yeah.  I do, Duo.”  She replied, thankfully understanding what Duo had in mind.

“See, kid.  It ain’t so bad.”  Duo said, forcing himself not to flinch as the needle penetrated his skin.  “It doesn’t hurt, not really.  
She’s only trying to make sure you’re healthy, and wants to get a look at your blood.  Wanna let her do her job?”

Trowa’s clone silently nodded.  Slowly, he stretched out his arm, flinching as Sally gripped his wrist firmly.  Duo could see him
shivering as Sally pressed the needle into his arm.  Undoubtedly, this was very frightening to him, although Duo wasn’t quite
sure why.  He had a suspicion, but unless the boy or Trowa actually told him, he couldn’t be sure whether he was right or not.

Sally examined Trowa’s clone, doing everything to Duo first to lessen the fear the boy felt.  Duo didn’t mind, if it helped the boy
even a little.  He looked up, spying movement across from him.  He watched as Heero’s clone slowly opened his eyes, pushing
himself to a sitting position as he wearily rubbed at his eyes.

“I see you found him.”  Trowa’s voice called out, from the doorway.  “It would have been nice to have been informed.”

“Sorry, Trowa.  Guess we just kinda forgot about ya.”  Duo replied, smiling.

Trowa merely huffed at him, stepping over to a nearby wall and leaning against it, crossing his arms over his chest.  Duo just
kept watching him, grinning once again as he noticed that Trowa was intently staring at his clone, watching the boy as if
concerned for his safety.  It was nice to know that Trowa cared for something, other than that circus he had spent time at.

“Done.”  Sally said, stepping back away from the examination table.

Duo hopped off the table, then looked to Trowa’s clone.  The boy was still sitting there, peering over the side of the table.  It
was a long way down, at least for him it was.  And he looked reluctant to jump.

“Need some help?”  Duo asked.

The boy looked up at him, just staring at him for several seconds until he slowly nodded his assent and raised his arms.  Duo
picked him up and set him on the floor.  The boy silently walked to the nearest corner and sat on the floor, pulling his knees to
his chest and wrapping his arms around himself.

Duo stepped over to an empty chair and sat.  He impatiently waited while Sally finished with her last patient, Heero’s clone.  
While he was waiting, he noticed that most of the clones had woken up, although a few still slept soundly.  

As soon as Sally was done, Duo stood.  “Let’s go already.  I’ll take the kids to the showers.  Quatre, you’ll help me?  Right,

“Of course.”  Quatre smiled.

“I suppose I can arrange for some food.  They probably are hungry.”  Wufei said.

“I’ll get clothes for them.”  Heero huffed.

Trowa moved away from his place at the wall.  “I’ll assist Heero.”

Before Duo could open his mouth to tell them to get going, Sally interrupted.  “I’ll take care of the girls, Duo.  At least that way
you’ll have fewer children to worry about.  You boys can use the showers in the locker room.”

Duo nodded to her, grateful to not have to worry about the girls.  What if they had needed help?  He just wouldn’t have felt right
going into a shower with a little girl.  It just seemed wrong to him for some reason, especially since the two girls were clones of
the former Queen of the World and of his commanding officer.


Only minutes later, Duo stood in the locker room, looking around.  Quatre stood next to him, the clones of the boys in front of
the two of them.  Quatre’s clone was scowling, upset over waking up in Chibi-Duo’s arms.  Duo had sighed at the way the little
blonde boy had pushed away Chibi-Duo, not liking that reaction in the least.  It wasn’t kind, and Chibi-Duo was undoubtedly
affected by it.  Duo knew how much his clone craved human contact, at least he had at that age, so it must have been painful to
the boy to just be pushed away so roughly.

“Okay, we’re going to need shampoo, and soap, and towels.”  Duo said, looking around him.  He walked over to his own locker
and opened it.  Inside were his clothes, the set he had worn to work that day, just his usual priest’s garb today and his favorite
leather jacket.  There were also some other clothes folded up at the bottom of the locker, in case of emergencies, a pair of pants,
a T-shirt, and an extra pair of boxers.  You never knew when you might need to change clothes with this job.  There was also a
hairbrush, and a couple of spare elastic bands for his hair.

Sighing, Duo started peeling off his own clothes, taking off his shirt first.  Quatre stepped over to him.  “What are you doing?”
The blonde asked, putting his hand over Duo’s to stop him from unbuttoning the shirt.

Duo glanced at his clone a moment, then looked back at Quatre.  He leaned closer, to whisper to his friend, slightly embarrassed
about admitting this.  “Uh . . . my clone wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what to do in a shower.  You remember me telling
you how the water was rationed on L-2?  Well, I didn’t have my first shower until Professor G found me.  All I got before that
was a couple quick baths a few times a year, if I was lucky.”

“Oh . . . I see.”  Quatre replied.

“Besides, someone should go in there to make sure no fights break out.”  Duo replied, smiling this time and gesturing toward the
clones of Wufei and Treize.  Those two just did not look like they could get along.  At the moment they were just glaring at each
other.  But who knew how long it would be before they resorted to more violent actions?

“You’re right.”  Quatre agreed.  “I’ll go get everything they’ll need ready.”

“Thanks, Q-man.”  Duo said.

Duo resumed unbuttoning his shirt.  He dropped it on the bench that ran between the rows of lockers.  Then he sat and pulled
off his boots and shoes, finally taking off his pants.  He left his boxers on, deciding that he didn’t want to scare any of the kids,
and if he was right about Trowa’s clone, Duo knew that seeing him without clothes would definitely scare the hell out of the
poor boy.

As Duo got up and approached the group of clones, Quatre stepped back into the room.  “Everything’s ready, Duo.  I’ll be
waiting out here.  Call me if you need me.”

“Thanks.”  Duo replied.  Then he turned to the children, all of which had taken off the oversized clothes that the guys had given
to them.  “Come on . . . shower time.”

Duo walked into the large white shower room, the seven clones following behind him.  Trowa’s clone seemed apprehensive . . .
scratch that . . . terrified about taking a shower with the others.  “Gentlemen . . . this is the shower room.”  He turned to face
them, and took on the tone of a flight attendant.  “We ask that you refrain from running or fighting while in here.  Also no
eating, drinking, or flash photography.  There is only one setting to the showers, and some of you might find that it isn’t as
warm as you’d like it to be.  I’ve been TRYING for warmer water . . . believe me.”  

He reached over and tugged at one of the curtains for the benefit of Trowa’s clone.  “Should you feel the need for privacy, these
lovely curtains pull all the way around.”  He proceeded to demonstrate by pulling the curtain around to form a small 3’ x 3’ stall.  
“To reduce the possibility of fighting, you will go where I direct you.  Each of you will find a toiletry bag, a bath towel, and a
bar of soap on a rope hanging on the bars in front of you.”

Before he directed any of the clones, Duo hit the control that would turn the showers on.  “Okay . . . we have twenty minutes
before the water turns off.”  Rather than call the clones by name, he walked to each boy and pointed to an area, making sure he
separated the clones of Treize and Wufei so that they were as far apart as possible, and making sure that his own clone stood
between the clones of Heero and Zechs . . . just in case.  He was hardly surprised when Trowa’s clone pulled the curtain around

“Anyone have any questions?”  

A number of negative answers replied to his question.  He glanced down as his own clone tapped him.  “What’s up, little man?”  
He asked, kneeling down so that he could look Chibi-Duo in the eyes.

Chibi-Duo smiled a little, out of what appeared to be a mixture of shyness and embarrassment.  “Ummm . . . YOU know . . .”

Duo nodded.  “I could use a shower myself.”  He pulled the elastic bands out of both his braid, and his clone’s.  “Let’s get
started.  Wait until we get to where we’re going to be staying . . . wherever that is . . . I can’t wait to introduce you to the
wonders of bubble baths!”

“Bubble baths?”  Chibi-Duo frowned, his face scrunching up in curiosity.

Duo chuckled.  “Don’t worry, you’ll find out soon enough.  And I have no doubt that you’ll love it.”

Duo reached over and grabbed the washcloth and soap.  He stepped into the stream of water, noticing that his clone stayed right
beside him the entire time, watching every move he made.  Duo quickly lathered up the washcloth with the soap.

“Okay . . . you got your soap . . .”  He handed the soap on a rope to his clone.  “And you got your washcloth.  As you’ve seen,
I’ve already gotten it all soapy.  You just take the washcloth and scrub yourself.  Basically, it’s just like a bath, but you don’t sit
down.”  Duo said, a huge grin on his face the entire time as he demonstrated by rubbing the washcloth over his own chest.

“Okay.”  The boy replied, rolling his eyes a little.  He did know some things, wasn’t totally without bathing experience, but Duo
was really just joking with him.  By his reaction, Duo knew that the boy had realized this.  If the boy had been mad, his reaction
would not have been to simply roll his eyes, that much Duo was sure of.

Duo took this moment to look around and make sure the others were doing okay.  As far as he could tell, none of the other
clones were having a problem.  Of course, he couldn’t be sure about Trowa’s clone since the boy had pulled the curtain around

“Now what?”  Chibi-Duo asked, pulling Duo’s attention back to him.

“Now, we wash our hair.”  Duo replied, grabbing the shampoo.  He knew, that his clone really had no experience in washing his
own hair . . . Sister Helen had always done it for him when he was that age, and he hadn’t really washed his hair before getting
to the Maxwell Church, except for that one time when Solo . . . Duo shook his head, stopping the thought before the memory
could cross his mind.  He didn’t want to dwell in the past at this moment.  He wanted to concentrate on now, and the clone
beside him.

Duo looked at the label on the shampoo bottle and saw that it was one of those two in one shampoo and conditioners.  He didn’t
usually like using them, but it would have to do for now.  He’d just have to buy better stuff for his clone later.

“Okay, make sure your hair’s wet.”  He turned his back to the spray, wetting his hair as quickly as he could.  Then he stepped
back, giving his clone room to do the same.  He popped the bottle open.  “Give me your hands.”

Chibi-Duo didn’t hesitate.  He held both of his small hands out to Duo, cupping them.  Duo poured some of the shampoo into
the boy’s waiting hands.  Then Duo poured some into his own hand and put the bottle back where he had gotten it.

“Now, wash your hair . . . Like this.”  Duo smiled, lifting his hands to his head and working the shampoo into a good lather.  He
then ran it down through the length of his wet hair, washing it thoroughly.

While he worked on his own hair, he watched his clone, making sure the boy was doing okay.  Chibi-Duo seemed to have
gotten the hang of it.  Once done, Duo rinsed his hair, then helped his clone to do the same.

“That’s it.”  Duo said.  “Shower’s done.”

“That was fun.  I like showers.”  The boy replied.

“You just like the water.”  Duo shot back, teasingly.  He grabbed the towel as he and his clone stepped away from the spray of
water, making sure it didn’t get wet.

Duo knelt down and wrapped the towel around Chibi-Duo’s body.  The boy giggled as Duo rubbed the soft fabric over his body.

“Everybody done?”  Duo asked, looking around at the other boys.

Since none of them, except the clone of Zechs, had to worry about washing long hair, they had all finished before Duo and his
clone.  Even Trowa’s clone was done, standing near the door with the other boys . . . not too close to them . . . his towel
wrapped securely around his body.  The other clones had their towels around themselves in a similar fashion, although not so
protective of the bit of cloth.

“Waiting for me?”  Duo asked, looking at the faces of each boy.  Several affirmative nods answered his question.  Duo smiled at
that.  “Let’s get going and see if Heero and Trowa have gotten here with your clothes yet.”  He said, although he wanted to get
himself a towel too.

As he stepped back into the locker room, Duo glanced around.  He noticed that there were seven piles of clothing sitting on the
bench.  Heero and Trowa must have arrived while he was in the shower with the kids.  Before Duo could open his mouth and
ask Quatre for a towel, something was thrust in front of him.  He stopped short, blinking to see what was in front of him.  It
was just what he had wanted, a towel.

“Thanks.”  Duo said, as he took the towel.  Then he noticed that Heero was the one that had given it to him.

“Do you always take a shower with your shorts on?”  Heero asked, one corner of his mouth quirking into a small smirk.

“Was that a joke?” Duo gasped, placing his hand over his chest as he feigned shock.

Heero simply turned and walked away.  Duo watched as he left the locker room, not knowing where Heero was headed.  He
looked back to see where the clones were, and saw that Quatre and Trowa had herded the small group over to the clothes.

Duo shook his head, rubbing the towel over himself as he stepped over to his locker.  Once he was sufficiently dried, he got
dressed, putting on a dry pair of boxers and his priest’s garb.  Then he fixed his hair into its usual braid after brushing it.  As he
finished tying his boots, a small hand tapped on his shoulder.

“Will you braid my hair again?”  Chibi-Duo asked in a quiet voice.  He was dressed, wearing a simple pair of jeans and a plain,
gray, sweatshirt and white sneakers.

“Sure thing, kid.”  Duo replied.

Smiling, the boy turned his back to Duo, allowing him to run a brush through the slightly tangled hair.  Then he separated it into
equal sections and quickly braided it, securing the braid at the end with a small elastic band.

“Why are you wearing that?”  The boy asked, while Duo was braiding his hair.  “I remember havin’ to wear something similar
and it was itchy and hot and altogether uncomfortable.”

“I got used to wearing it after a while . . . and now I use cotton for these outfits, not wool like the ones I had to wear at the
church.”  Duo replied.  He hoped the boy wouldn’t ask any questions about the church or Sister Helen.  Duo just didn’t think he
could handle bringing up the past yet, and the boy certainly wouldn’t be able to deal with it yet.

Duo looked around and saw that the others were ready and waiting.  “We all ready to eat?”  Duo asked, loud enough for
everyone to hear.

“Yeah.”  Several of the clones replied.

“Well, then let’s go find Wufei and see if he’s got any food for us.”  Duo said.  He grabbed his leather jacket out of the locker,
then closed it.  He did hope Wufei had gotten food for the kids, no need to have them starve, and he was sure they were hungry.

To Be Continued . . .