Disclaimers:  I own nothing, not a thing.

Notes:  The clones have lunch.  Quatre has a talk with his own clone.



Young Hearts



Part Five


Heero walked through the halls, wondering to himself what was wrong with him.  He had made a joke, had been pleasant to
Duo.  Why the hell had he let down his guard like that?  He sighed, continuing to walk, eventually ending up at the cafeteria.

Wufei was standing near the counter, looking over all the food choices with a confused expression on his face.  Heero stepped
over to him.  “Having a problem?”  Heero asked.

Wufei nodded slightly.  “Yes, I do not know what these children would like to eat.”  He sighed.  “I will have no problem
choosing something suitable for my own clone, but the others would probably not like what I choose.”

“Then perhaps it would be best to wait for the clones to get here.”  Heero stated.

Wufei nodded, then the two of them walked over to a nearby table and sat.  Heero closed his eyes, crossing his arms over his
chest as he sat, patiently waiting.  He was in no hurry.

Only minutes later, Duo strolled in with the boys, Trowa and Quatre close behind them.  Shortly after that, Sally also walked
into the cafeteria, the female clones, except for the one of Noin, following behind her.  The girls were dressed identically as the
boys, just wearing simple jeans and sweatshirts with plain sneakers.  Heero stood as Duo walked in, although he purposely
avoided meeting his gaze, not wanting to look into those beautiful eyes again.

“Okay, everybody line up.”  Duo announced, clapping his hands together.  He turned and gestured to Trowa, Quatre, Wufei, and
Heero.  “You guys too, right next to your clones.  We all might as well get something to eat.”

Duo smiled, as everyone complied.  He arranged it so that he was next to his own clone and that they stayed at the end of the
line with the ones that didn’t have their adult counterparts to help them.  Heero kept an eye on Duo and the others, even after he
had gotten the food for himself and his own clone, just a simple dish of rice and steamed vegetables, but it would do.  He also
saw that Wufei had gotten the same for his clone and himself as Heero had.

Trowa moved through the line, his clone glancing around nervously as he walked behind his older self.  Trowa quietly ordered
two bowls of chicken soup and nothing else.  Heero couldn’t help but be concerned by that.  It just didn’t seem like it was
enough food, for either the clone or Trowa.  However, Heero wouldn’t pry into matters that were of no concern to him.

Quatre was next, smiling as he leaned over and asked his clone what he would like.  The small blonde looked up at Quatre with
disbelief in his eyes, as if he hadn’t been expected to be asked for his own opinion.  The blonde clone placed his hands on the
counter and stood on his tiptoes, just barely able to see over the top of the counter.  He was much smaller than the others,
making him seem younger somehow.  “That.”  He pointed, to which Quatre giggled, looking at the item the clone had wanted.  
It was a sloppy joe, something that would probably end up all over the front of his clothes, but still Quatre put up no argument
and got it for the clone and himself.  Heero smirked at the grin the smaller blonde now wore, although it had only been for a
brief moment.

“What do you want?”  Duo asked Une’s clone, when it was their turn in line.  

The clone of Une thought for a moment, then spoke quietly.  “Tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, please.”  She smiled.

Duo nodded, then turned to Treize.  “How ‘bout you?”

“Pizza.”  Came the immediate response from the boy.  The clones of Zechs and Relena gave the same reply.

Chibi-Duo tugged on Duo’s pant leg, gaining his attention.  “What’s that?”  He asked, pointing over the counter, which he
himself could barely see over.  He was almost as small as Quatre’s clone.

Duo smiled.  “That, my little man, is a cheeseburger.  Want one?”

Duo’s clone nodded, smiling.  “Yeah.”

“A cheeseburger it is then . . . I think I’ll have one too, with a side of fries for each of us.  Sound good?”  Duo grinned.

Chibi-Duo nodded unsurely.

Duo quickly got everyone’s food, and walked over to a table, setting out each clone’s food before he sat himself in a seat.  
Heero just watched as everyone ate, smiling as some of the kids seemed to have trouble with their food.  Une’s clone ate
happily, swinging her legs over the edge of her chair.  The clone of Relena was poking at her slice of pizza, but then ate it, a
smile spreading on her face as she did so.

His eyes were drawn over to Quatre and his clone, watching as the child tried to take a bite of his sloppy joe, only to have
almost half of it spill out the other end and down the front of his shirt.  The small blonde’s face paled as he looked down at the
mess, gently placing the rest of his food back on the plate.  He looked up at Quatre, fear clearly written on his features.  “I’m
sorry.”  He said meekly, his small frame beginning to tremble slightly, a silent tear escaping one eye.

Quatre only smiled at his younger self, stroking his fingers through the blonde’s hair.  “It’s okay, you won’t be punished.”  He
picked up a couple napkins, getting the globs of food off the clone’s shirt, then took another napkin and dipped it in his ice water
before he started to dab at the stain on the boy’s shirt, trying to clean as much as he could.  “We’ll have to get you another shirt,
but that’s not a problem.”  He smiled again.  “Just eat your food.”

The clone looked up at Quatre curiously.  Then he picked up his food and ate.  Heero turned his attention back to his own food,
deciding that he wanted to eat his own meal rather than worry about how the others were doing.


*****


Quatre smiled down at his clone as the child finished eating.  His face and hands were covered in his food, as was the front of
his shirt, but Quatre just found it adorable.  He couldn’t believe that he had been that cute as a child.  Quatre looked up, noticing
that most of the others had finished eating too.

“Come on, let’s get you cleaned up.”  Quatre said, smiling down at the small boy.

The clone looked up at him, but only nodded in reply.

Quatre didn’t like that reaction.  He could sense the fear in the boy, knew that he was still worried about being punished.  Quatre
knew how strict the household had been when he had been growing up, and since the clone had the same memories, the boy
undoubtedly thought that making such a mess as he had, that he’d be punished somehow.

He got up out of his seat, leading the boy out of the room.  Before stepping out into the hallway, he turned back.  “I’m just going
to get him cleaned up.”

“Fine.”  Heero grunted.  “Meet us in Une’s office when you’re done.  She caught me in the hall earlier when I was looking for
clothes and said that she wanted to talk with us.”

Quatre nodded, feeling slightly concerned.  Why would Une want to talk with them?  He hoped there wouldn’t be a repeat of the
earlier incident.  The last thing they needed was for Une to scare the clones again, especially Trowa’s clone.

He pushed the thoughts aside as he walked down the corridor, smiling kindly and greeting the people that walked past him.  He
glanced down and saw the clone looking up at him, curiosity showing in his eyes every time Quatre said hello to someone
passing by.  Obviously the clone didn’t know why Quatre was being so pleasant . . . he hadn’t been so as a child.

They stopped in a restroom, where Quatre and his clone washed their hands, the clone also having to wash his face as well.  All
the while, the boy remained silent.  Once the clone was sufficiently cleaned and dried off, Quatre took him out of the restroom
and once again walked through the hallways.

Finally, they reached the storeroom, and Quatre escorted the boy inside.  This was where they kept the supplies in case of a
natural disaster.  There was clothing, canned food, first-aid kits, and various other items that might be needed.  The room was
huge, but thankfully everything was labeled and marked to make it all easy to find.  

“Here, take this off.”  Quatre said, tugging at the stained shirt that the boy wore.

The clone quickly complied, pulling the shirt over his head and dropping it to the floor.  He stood there, crossing his arms over
his chest as he shivered slightly in the chilly room, waiting while Quatre turned to look at the shelves.

Quatre quickly glanced along the shelves of boxes, reading the labels printed on them.  Soon, he found what he was looking for,
and opened the box, smiling when he saw the children's clothes, identical to what Heero had brought earlier for the clones.  He
pulled out a sweatshirt, holding it up and smiling as he turned back to hand it over to his clone.

When he saw the child, Quatre’s smile immediately vanished.  The small bloy was huddled in a corner, his knees drawn close to
his chest as he whimpered.  Quatre felt a pang of remorse for not explaining to the child why he was bringing him into this
room.  Quatre himself, remembered several times when he was punished by being locked up in a room alone.  The memory
caused him to shudder.  Perhaps the clone was thinking the same would happen to him now, or that he would be beaten now
that they were out of sight.

Quatre knelt in front of the clone, laying a hand on his small arm as he tried to calm the boy somewhat.  “Sshh . . . it’s okay.  I
won’t leave you in here.  We’re just here to get you a new shirt.  That’s all.”

The clone looked up, sniffling as he wiped a small hand across his teary eyes.  “Really?”

Quatre nodded, handing him the sweatshirt.  “I would never hurt you.”  He replied, sitting back and waiting for the boy to put on
the shirt.  A sudden thought struck him and he smiled.  “I think it’s time we thought of a name for you, young man.”

The clone pulled his head through the neck hole and looked up at Quatre with a dubious expression on his face.  “I already have
a name.”  The boy replied.

“Yes, but we both can’t go by the same name . . . it might get confusing.  And since everyone already knows me as Quatre
Raberba Winner, it would probably be best to change yours.”  Quatre said.

The clone bowed his head.  “If you say so.  W-what are you going to call me?”

Quatre smiled again.  “What do you want to be called?”  Quatre asked, knowing that the question would shock the boy.

The clone’s eyes widened.  “You’re asking ME for MY opinion?”  He asked, staring up at Quatre with total surprise.

Quatre nodded.  “Of course.  You’re your own person, entitled to ideas and opinions just like everyone else.”

“I-I don't know.  No one ever asked for my opinion before.”  The clone said, lowering his gaze to stare directly at the floor.

Quatre chuckled kindly, laying a hand on the clone’s shoulder.  “You think you have to tell ME that no one’s ever asked for your
opinion?  I remember that quite well.”  He paused, smiling briefly as the clone looked up at him.  “And you can drop the tough
act when you’re around me.  I understand with the others . . . but I’ve been in your shoes.”

The clone smiled shyly.  “Umm . . . Well . . . you only go by Quatre, right?  I’ve heard those others when they talk to you and
they only call you Quatre.”

Quatre nodded.  “Yeah.  I mean . . . the name IS a mouthful!”  Quatre said, smiling.

“Yeah.  Still . . . I like my name.  Can I keep it and just go by Raberba?”  The boy asked.

“Is that what you want, or what you think I want to hear?”  Quatre asked, hoping it was the former.

“It’s what I want.”  The boy replied, lowering his gaze.  “Are you mad at me?”

“No.  Of course not.”  Quatre said, keeping a smile on his face.

Raberba stayed silent for a few moments, then he looked up, a curious expression on his young face.  “Quatre?”  He asked.

“Yes?”  Quatre replied.

“How come you’re . . . nice?  You care.  You trust people!  How do you do that?”  Raberba asked.

Quatre smiled again.  “It’s not something I can teach you.  You have to learn it for yourself . . . here.”  He said, placing his hand
over his heart.  “Otherwise, when you say that you care, it’s just words . . . meaningless.”

Raberba nodded and sighed.  “I-I’ll try.  But I don’t know if I can.”  The boy replied.

“Of course you can.  You just have to take a risk and open your heart.”  Quatre replied, ruffling Raberba’s hair in an attempt to
offer a comforting gesture.  After a short moment of silence, Quatre spoke again.  “Come on . . . I’m sure the guys are waiting
for us in Une’s office.”  Quatre stood, offering Raberba a hand.

“Do we really have to go?  That lady is mean.”  Raberba replied, accepting Quatre’s help and taking his hand.

Quatre nodded.  “Yes we have to go.  And don’t be so hard on Lady Une.   It was perfectly understandable for her to be angry
with us . . . we did disobey her orders by helping all of you clones.  Although her outburst was upsetting to most of you, we
deserved it.  That doesn’t mean that I think I did the wrong thing by saving you.  On the contrary, I believe you deserve to live
just as much as any child, clone or not.”  He said, opening the door and walking out of the storeroom, Raberba walking along
beside him, his small hand still held in Quatre’s.

Raberba looked up at him, a brief hint of a smile crossing his face for a few short moments.  He nodded, and they continued
walking, the young clone never once trying to get his hand away from Quatre’s grasp.  Whether that was an attempt on the boy’
s part to be more friendly or if he just hadn’t noticed where his hand was, Quatre couldn’t be sure.  Either way, he didn’t mind
the contact.

After a few more minutes of walking, Quatre and his clone stepped into Une’s office.  Looking around, Quatre saw that Duo
and all the others were already there, standing in front of Lady Une’s desk.  The children were standing behind the adults,
looking at Une with wary and fearful expressions.  Obviously, all of the clones remembered the last time they had met Une.  
Even the Lady’s own clone was cowering, hiding behind Duo while peeking at Lady Une from behind Duo’s leg.

Raberba finally tore his hand away from Quatre’s, moving to stand behind Quatre as they stepped further into the room.  Quatre
sighed, then stepped over to the group, standing beside Trowa then giving his complete attention to Lady Une.

“Now that you are all here, I have some things to discuss with you.”  Lady Une said, remaining in her seat behind her desk.  
“Because of your complete disregard of my orders, you are all to be given two weeks paid suspension.”

“What?”  Duo gasped, his tone exclaiming how shocked he was.

“Please, let me finish, Mr. Maxwell.”  Lady Une continued, then waited until Duo stopped muttering his protests of being
suspended.  “Now, during this suspension you will be caring for these clones, helping them to better fit into society.  I want all
of you in one place, in case of trouble.  If you are all together there is a better chance you can protect them if need be.”  She
stood, looking directly at Quatre.  “Mr. Winner, would you be so kind as to offer one of your estates as the location of their
temporary home?  Or should I assign a safe house?”

“I’ll be glad to be of any help.  I have an estate not too far from here, only about an hour’s drive.”  Quatre replied.

“Then why the hell do you live on base?”  Duo gasped.  “If you got a mansion, why live in a dinky little room with Wufei as
your roommate?”

Quatre looked away.  He didn’t want to get into it right now.  He unconsciously began to shiver, memories trying to break
through the barrier and invade his mind.  But he wouldn’t let them.  No, he had to keep focus.  He looked up at Une.  “Do you
need anything else from me?”  He asked, his voice wavering slightly as he spoke.

Lady Une shook her head.  “No, not at the moment.  Okay, now here’s the part that I’m sure Duo will enjoy.”  She sighed and
stepped around her desk, carrying several envelopes in her hands.  “I am authorizing you to use my expense account for
whatever these children need.”  She handed an envelope out to each of the ex-pilots.  

“We can’t accept that.”  Quatre said, trying to hand the envelope back to Lady Une.  “I won’t spend your money.”

“Nonsense.  Please, just accept this as my apology for how I reacted earlier.  I should never have yelled at these children.”  Lady
Une replied, shoving the envelope back into Quatre’s hand.  

Quatre nodded, although he didn’t like the idea any better than he had before.  He sighed, opening the envelope and pulling out a
card.  It was almost identical to an ATM card, except that it had the Preventers insignia stamped on the front of it.

“These cards will all access my account, and only my account.”  Lady Une said.  “And I want reports on the welfare of these
children at least once a week.  See Sally on your way out.  You should buy some items for that clone of Noin.  Sally has all of
her necessary measurements ready for you.  She should have a decent set of clothes to wear, even if she never fully recovers.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”  Duo replied, a grin spread across his face.  

“You're dismissed.”  Lady Une announced, returning to her seat.  “Take care of them, gentlemen.”

“We will.”  Quatre smiled, noticing that the Lady’s gaze had been focused completely on her own clone as she had spoken that
last sentence.  He walked out, keeping a hand on his clone’s shoulder as he strolled out of the office.


*****

As soon as he was out of Lady Une’s office, Trowa spoke out.  “I guess this means we are all splitting up to get our stuff from
our respective homes before we go shopping.”  Trowa commented.

“Yeah, looks that way.”  Duo replied.  “Now, what do we do with these kids?”  He asked, gesturing to the clones of Zechs,
Une, Treize, and Relena.  “Who's taking them?”

“I will take Treize and Zechs’s clones.”  Wufei answered.  “But I know nothing of what a girl would want to wear.”

Duo grinned.  “I’ll take the girls.”  He said.

Trowa looked down, hearing a definite objection to what they were talking about.  He nearly smiled at the sight of Zechs’s
clone, holding protectively to the clone of Relena.  She looked terrified to be taken away from him, and he didn’t look too thrilled
about it either.

Duo knelt down in front of the two children.  “Don’t worry, I won’t let anything happen to your sister.  You’ll see her again in a
few hours.”

Zechs’s clone stared up at him, not appearing to believe him.  However, he did release his hold on Relena’s clone, allowing Duo
to take hold of her hand.

Trowa shook his head.  “Since you are shopping for these girls, Duo.  You might as well go to Sally and get those
measurements for Noin’s clone.”

“Got it.”  Duo said.  “We’ll all meet up at Quatre’s place I guess.”

“Yes.”  Quatre replied, looking up from what he was doing.  For the first time, Trowa noticed a pad of paper and a pen in
Quatre’s hands.  He was writing something, flipping through the sheets a few times and continuing to write.  When he was
done, he tore off the pages and held one out to each ex-pilot.  “Here’s the address.  I guess I’ll see all of you later.”

“Don’t get worried if I don’t make it there tonight.”  Trowa said, taking the paper.  “Almost all of my stuff is still at the circus
with Catherine.  Since they were close by I was staying with them, at least until I found a place of my own.  But I will try and
make it there by tonight.”

“I understand.”  Quatre said.  “See you all later.”  He grinned, turning and walking away, escorting his own clone away from the
group and down the corridor.

They all split up.  Trowa didn’t leave headquarters right away.  First he went to the locker rooms, where Heero also went.  They
did need to change into civilian clothes before they left.  Nothing was said between them as they changed, and soon they split up
once again, each going separate ways as they left the base.



To Be Continued . . .