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

Notes:  Heero and Duo shop for the four kids in their care.  Duo and Chibi-Duo have a nice sappy moment together.

Young Hearts

Part Nine

Heero frowned as they stepped into the mall, his eyes going wide for a moment as he took in the sight of all the numerous stores
inside.  For a brief moment, he felt a flicker of relief that Duo was here with him . . . he had no idea where to start.  Then he
remembered that he was with Duo, and that the American would probably drag him to each and every store even if they needed
nothing inside of it.

A small hand slipped into his palm and Heero looked down, seeing the clone of Une smiling back at him.  Taking a glance over at
Duo, he found that the American was holding Relena’s hand and leading her into the mall.  Odin and Chibi-Duo were nowhere to
be seen.

“Duo, where are Odin and your clone?”  Heero asked, following the other youth.

Duo looked around, then smiled.  “Over there.”  He said, pointing before he walked in the direction that he had indicated.  Heero
followed him, allowing Une’s clone to hold his hand as they walked.  He saw no reason to take his hand from her.

A few moments later, Heero found himself standing in front of the window of a toy store.  Odin and Chibi-Duo had their faces
and hands pressed to the glass and were both looking inside.  Chibi-Duo’s face was covered in awe and longing as he looked at
the numerous toys on display, while Odin’s gaze was focused intently on a simple red ball.

“I always wanted a toy that hadn’t been owned by anyone else, something that was really mine.”  Chibi-Duo murmured, looking
at the toys longingly.

Duo smiled.  “I promise we can look at the toys later.”  He said, taking hold of Chibi-Duo’s hand and urging him away.  “But
only after we get you guys some clothes, okay?”

Chibi-Duo nodded.  “Okay.”  He grinned, taking one last look at the toy store before he followed Duo.

Heero was surprised that Duo was being so practical as to buy the things that were actually needed first.  He had thought that
Duo would have given in and taken the child inside the store, probably to buy something frivolous.  “Come on.”  Heero urged,
placing his hand on Odin’s shoulder and guiding the boy away.

Odin nodded, giving no reply at all.  He simply followed as the six of them headed to the nearest clothing store.  As they stepped
inside, Heero blinked in surprise, feeling lost.  The store they had just walked into was quite large.  Heero had no idea where to
start.  He hoped that Duo had some idea of what he was doing.

“Come on, Heero . . . we’ll get the girls their clothing first, then the boys.”  Duo announced, leading the way.

Heero nodded, silently following.  Beside him, Une’s clone walked, her hand still clasped within his own.  On his other side, was
Odin, who stayed just as quiet as Heero as they walked into the girls’ department.

He stared in confusion.  This hadn’t been a part of his training.  How was HE supposed to know what a little girl would like?  
‘Puppies . . .’  He shook his head at that thought.  The memory was too painful for him right now.  

Heero winced as Une’s clone headed straight for the dresses.  “Overalls would be more practical.”  Heero said, trying to avoid
an uncomfortable situation.

The young girl sighed, stopping in her tracks.  She looked down at the floor.  “I know . . . but I always had to wear them.  I
always wanted pretty dresses, but my father never would get them for me.  An impractical waste of money, he said, since I
could wear hand-me-downs.”

Heero nodded, taking the girl over to the dresses.  “Then you will have them now.”  He said, deciding there would be no reason
to deny her choice of clothing.  It was unnecessary to force the child to wear something other than what she wanted . . . except
in times when certain dress codes were deemed important.

While Une’s clone happily browsed through the dresses, Heero turned his attention to Duo, watching as the young man dealt
with Relena’s clone.  He picked out a pink dress, to which the child curled her nose in a most disgusted fashion.

“What’s wrong?”  Duo asked.

Relena’s clone sighed.  “Um, it’s okay I guess.”  She replied, although she didn’t look as if she really meant it.

Duo shook his head, putting the pink dress back on the rack.  “Uh-uh . . . you look like you were just force-fed brussel sprouts.  
What’s wrong?”

“Umm . . . PINK?  Do I GOTTA wear it?”  She asked, sneering at the garment.

“I thought you liked pink.”  Duo replied.  It was a good assessment . . . both Heero and Duo had seen Relena with pink objects .
. . her limousine for example.

However, the child shook her head.  “No way.  Makes me feel like a Barbie doll!  No one ever asked before though.”

“All right then . . . you can pick something you like.”  Duo offered, gesturing to the many racks.

Relena’s clone smiled brightly, passing the dresses altogether and heading for the jeans.  She picked a plain corduroy jumpsuit
and a white T-shirt.  “Hey . . . can you pull my hair back for me later?  I don’t like it getting in my way.”

“Absolutely.”  Duo grinned.  “Hey, let’s at least get you one dress.  You don’t have to wear it all the time, but you should have a
couple for parties or other formal stuff.”  

“Oh, all right.  I guess just a few won’t hurt.”  The girl nodded.  “But if I get dresses I want jeans with nothing frilly on ‘em.”

Duo nodded.  “Got it, Lena . . . nothing frilly.  You don’t mind if I call you Lena do ya?”

“No, I don’t mind.  I guess I can’t go by my real name . . .”  She sighed.  “I want boys’ jeans, just like what Chibi-Duo’s gonna

“All right.”  Duo agreed, taking Lena by the hand and getting her a selection of dresses, then other garments . . . T-shirts and the
like.  Heero noticed that the colors were rather bright . . . reds and yellows and a few orange hues . . . definitely no pinks
though.  Duo waited while Lena tried her chosen garments out for size.

With a shrug, Heero turned his attention back to Une’s clone, helping her to choose her own garments as best as he could.  She
tried the first few of each on, to make sure that the sizes were right for her.  She stayed with more darker colors, blues, greens
and violets.  Mainly, she picked out dresses and skirts, but she did get a few pairs of jeans and jumpers, a number of T-shirts.  

As Une’s clone added a lilac top to the clothes in the cart that Odin had retrieved from somewhere, Heero turned to Duo.  “What
about Noin’s clone?  Shouldn’t we get her garments as well?”

“Yeah . . . I’ll get her clothes, why don’t you go get the girls their um . . . under things.  I don’t think I can deal with picking
out that.”  Duo said, a slight blush coloring his cheeks.

Heero shook his head.  “Fine.  I can do that.”  He said, taking the girls over to a far wall and choosing the appropriate
underwear, as well as socks and leggings.  It was quite unusual for him to buy such things, considering the girls were both his
superiors . . . well, at least their elder versions were.  Still, it was quite odd.

He returned to the cart, dropping the selections in.  He saw that Duo had deposited a number of pale pastel colored garments
inside the cart.  A few dresses, and shirts . . . a number of jumpers and denim garments.  They must be for Noin’s clone, Heero
decided.  “They’ll need bedclothes.”  Heero announced.

“Already ahead of ya there!”  Duo replied, dropping a number of nightgowns and pajamas into the cart.  “Those are for Noin’s
clone.  Just need to get something for Lena and Une’s clone now.”

In only a few short minutes, Duo and Heero had gotten a number of nightgowns and pajamas for Une’s clone.  Relena’s clone
however, refused to wear nightgowns or anything ‘girly’ so they would have to wait until they got to the boys’ department to
get her nightclothes.

“Coats!”  Duo suddenly announced, clapping his hands.  “The girls need coats . . . oh, and gloves, hats.  Can’t have them
catching colds outside.”

Heero nodded.  “Yes, it would be wise to dress them appropriately for the weather.”  Heero responded, pointing out a rack of
winter garments.

Duo practically skipped over to the rack, the girls giggling as they followed behind him.  In less than ten minutes, the girls had all
the winter gear they needed, Lena once again staying with a bright red shade, while Une’s clone settled for a dark shade of violet.

“I think we have everything needed for the girls.”  Heero said as soon as Duo and the girls had returned to the cart, setting the
coats, gloves, hats and scarves into it.

Duo looked over the items in the cart for a few moments, as if calculating if that was true, then nodded.  “Yeah, looks that
way.  If we need anything else we could always buy it later.”  Duo said.  “Come on, let’s get the boys some clothes.”

“You guys don’t have to go to all this trouble, really.”  Chibi-Duo piped in.  “I don’t need nothing.”

“Give it up, kid.  You’re getting new clothes.”  Duo grinned, taking hold of Chibi-Duo’s hand as well as Lena’s.  Heero pushed
the cart, deciding to stay silent for the most part.  Une’s clone and Odin followed on either side of him.

“Well, why don’t you get some clothes too?  Maybe a pair of jeans?”  Chibi-Duo asked.  “It don’t feel right you buying me all
this stuff and nothing for yourself.”

“I’ve got enough clothes, kid.”  Duo said, smiling down at his young clone.

“I think you’d look quite nice in a pair of blue jeans.”  Heero commented, lowering his gaze the moment he realized what he had
said.  He fought off the blush that threatened to creep onto his face, avoiding the querying look that Duo passed him.

Duo smiled.  “I’ll make a deal with you.”  

Heero blinked and looked up, meeting Duo’s eyes briefly.  “Huh?  What?”

“I’ll buy ONE outfit that consists of blue jeans and a shirt that isn’t black . . . and YOU buy a new pair of sneakers that aren’t a
butt-ugly color.  It’s high time you got rid of those ugly yellow sneakers.”  Duo said.

Heero nodded.  “Agreed.  I never liked them anyway.”  He offered a shy smile, then quickly shook it off.  “Come on.”  He
headed over to the boys department.  “We have to buy their clothes before we can get yours.”  He then pushed the cart in the
correct direction, feeling quite embarrassed for having caused attention to himself.


Duo watched as Chibi-Duo picked various brightly colored items, then allowing Duo to hold them all for him.  He didn’t seem all
that eager to buy anything, and Duo had to constantly assure him that it was truly all right that he pick his own clothes.  Duo did
help with a few though, in choosing jeans and such, but relatively he stayed out of it and let Chibi-Duo make the decisions.  

Eventually, they made their way to the dressing room.  Duo knew that his clone would need help.  He remembered from his own
experiences that his clone wouldn’t know what to do with a zipper or even buttons really . . . all the clothes that he had ever had
were either worn out and held up with ropes, or could just be pulled on and off his body with ease.  There had never been
anything complicated in his wardrobe for a long time.

Duo just stood by and waited, not wanting to interfere unless Chibi-Duo actually asked for help from him.  It would be better for
him to try and learn things on his own, not have things done for him every step of the way.

Duo grinned as he watched his clone try on various brightly colored articles of clothing.  “Hey, short stuff . . . yellow does NOT
got with purple.”  He grinned, watching as the boy smiled sheepishly at him.  “If you’re going to get that shirt, you can wear it
with the denim pants you’re getting.”  He shook his head as he wondered where his clone had gotten his taste in clothes.  Then
his smile faltered.  He wondered if he would have been that flamboyant if he had ever been guaranteed a home.  Duo shook
himself out of the painful thoughts and smiled again as Chibi-Duo showed him the next combination.  “I think I’ll introduce you
to Howard.  You seem to have the same taste in clothes as he does.”

Chibi-Duo frowned a little.  “Shouldn’t I have the same taste as you?”  He asked.  Then he tilted his head and looked thoughtful.  
“Hey . . . I’ve been thinking . . .”

Duo opened his arms, and returned the hug that his clone was suddenly giving him.  “What about?”  He asked.

There was a long pause, as if Chibi-Duo was trying to make sure he asked the right question, then finally he spoke.  “I’m a
clone of you, right?”

Duo nodded.  “Yup.  Why?”  He suddenly became concerned.  “It doesn’t make you any less a person!”  He said quickly, not
wanting the child to feel inferior to anyone.

“No!”  Chibi-Duo exclaimed quickly, holding up his hands to stall anything else Duo might have said.  “No, that’s not why I’m
asking.”  He cleared his throat.  “Doctor Po said that in order to make a clone . . . like me . . . you need a piece of the original . .
. like you . . . so that the clone will know what to be.  Right?”

“When did Sally tell you that?”  Duo asked, furrowing his brow slightly.

“While you and Mr. Heero were looking for Odin . . . I asked her when she was checking me over.”  Chibi-Duo replied.

Duo smiled, then nodded, deciding to answer Chibi-Duo’s earlier question.  “Yeah, you need the DNA . . . sort of like the pieces
to a huge puzzle.”  He sat on the bench in the changing room and settled Chibi-Duo onto his lap.

“So . . . that means I’m a piece of you, right?”  

Duo smiled again, and hugged his clone while he nodded.  He suddenly had an idea about where this talk was going and felt a
lump growing in his throat.  “Yeah . . . you’re a piece of me.”  He said, his voice cracking slightly.  He looked down into eyes
that were suddenly unsure and afraid.

“Does . . . does that mean you’re my daddy?”  Chibi-Duo asked timidly, looking up at Duo with hope and fear warring in his
shimmering eyes.

Duo hugged his clone as tightly as he could without hurting the child and felt a small sob building up as Chibi-Duo hugged him
back just as tightly.  “If . . . if you want me to be, kiddo.”  Duo said, pulling back just slightly.  “I’m not the best person in the
universe to be trusting a kid to, but . . . if you want to be my . . . my son . . .”  He sniffled, pushing back the tears that
threatened to spill.  Leaning forward, he pressed a soft kiss to the top of Chibi-Duo’s head.  “If you want to be my son, that’s
fine with me.  I’d be more than honored to be your dad.”

“I want you as my father . . . daddy.”  The child whispered, his voice muffled by Duo’s chest.

Duo hugged him again, rubbing his clone’s back as the child started sobbing.  He knew the terror his young clone had been
feeling.  The fear that he’d be rejected yet again.  They stayed still for a moment, just holding each other.  Then Duo reluctantly
drew his arms away, wiping his fingers over Chibi-Duo’s face to brush aside the tears.  “Come on, we have to get finished in
here before Heero breaks the door down looking for us.”  He chuckled lightly, offering a smile as he helped his clone back into
the plain jeans and sweatshirt that each of the children had been issued at Headquarters, before gathering up their selections and
opening the door.

To Be Continued . . .