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

Notes:  Trowa takes his clone shopping.  Duo and Heero continue with their shopping trip and have lunch with the kids.



Young Hearts



Part Ten


Trowa hated the road that he was currently driving along.  It was full of potholes and uneven pavement and all sorts of things
that could cause his clone to awaken.  After one particularly harsh bump, Trowa glanced over, noting the slight flinch the child
made in his sleep.  It was obvious that he would wake up soon.  Trowa only hoped that he wouldn’t react too badly.

Only moments later, the entire truck was rocked by a rather rough spot.  Trowa heard a frightened gasp, looking over just in
time to see as the clone whimpered and tried ineffectually to pull at the seatbelt binding him to the seat.  He was terrified . . . it
was apparent on his features, and with the way he wriggled.  The clone was panicking, fear of confinement overriding his
common senses.  He managed to get out of his seatbelt, then began rolling down the window, rising to stand on the seat.

Trowa quickly pulled over onto the side of the road and slowed to a halt.  He didn’t want the child to jump out the window and
hurt himself.  Frowning, Trowa reached over and wrapped his arms around the child’s body, pulling the thrashing boy back and
closer to him.  

The clone reacted by biting Trowa’s arm harshly, yelping and crying as he tried to wriggle away from his elder self.  He fought
and clawed at Trowa’s arms, kicking and shaking his head from side to side.  Through all of this, Trowa merely held him, not
too tightly though . . . he didn’t want to hurt the boy.

“Sshh.”  Trowa hushed, his arms secure around the young clone.  “It’s me . . . it’s Trowa.  Do you remember me?”  Trowa
asked, keeping his tone quiet and calm.

Slowly, the clone stopped thrashing.  He lay in Trowa’s embrace, breathing raggedly in short pants and gasps.  He grunted
lightly, nodding his head in affirmation of Trowa’s query.

“You’re safe with me . . . you know that, right?”  Trowa asked, loosening his hold.

The child squirmed out of Trowa’s arms, moving farther away and facing Trowa.  Once again he nodded, his eyes roaming
over Trowa’s features as if to make sure it was the right person, then he looked down at the floor.

“I’m going to take you shopping for new clothes, and then we will go and spend time with a friend of mine.  We’ll be staying
the night with her.  Okay?”  Trowa wanted to be sure that the child knew just what was to be happening.  It would keep him
relatively calm, or at least more at ease if he knew where he was heading.

The clone nodded, watching Trowa out of the corner of his eye every now and then.  He quietly put his seatbelt back on, curling
his legs close to his body as Trowa drove the truck back onto the road.  The clone was frightened, but Trowa knew that
nothing would be able to help that.  So he just carried on with his plans, heading for the nearest shopping establishment.

As he parked in one of only a few empty spaces, Trowa heard a sharp gasp.  He looked over, watching in concern as his clone
shivered.  The child’s eyes were darting around wildly, his attention focused on the many people that walked around outside.

“I know this won’t be easy for you, but you need clothes.”  Trowa said, seeing how terrified the boy had become once again.  
He wasn’t too thrilled about being around so many people himself, but he knew that he had a job to do.  The child did need
clothes.

The boy turned to Trowa, his eyes wide with fear.  He shook his head, sliding back away from Trowa slightly.  He did not want
to go out there.

Trowa unbuckled his seatbelt.  “I’m sorry.  But you do have to come with me.  You won’t be alone with all those people, I’ll be
there with you.”  Trowa assured him, watching as the child uncurled his body.

The child hesitantly unbuckled his own seat belt.  Then he moved closer to Trowa, slipping his hand into Trowa’s palm.  Trowa
lightly held the boy’s hand, knowing that it had taken a good deal of trust for the clone to do even that.  Trowa moved slowly,
getting himself out of the truck and guiding his clone along with him.  The boy jumped in fear as Trowa shut the door of the
truck, sticking close to his elder self as Trowa walked across the parking lot and into the department store.

However, once he was inside, Trowa paused, unsure of what to do.  He wasn’t an expert at shopping . . . didn’t truly know
what to buy for a child.  Perhaps he should have asked for help from one of the others.  Trowa threw that thought out quickly.  
He couldn’t have allowed anyone else to come with them . . . the clone was frightened enough as it was.

Well, clothing should be first, Trowa decided . . . all he had to do was find out where boys’ clothes were located.  Trowa
looked around, seeing a number of signs to lead the way around the store.  He squinted, trying to read the printing on one, but
just couldn’t make it out.  With a sigh, he gave up, lowering his head and shaking it in annoyance.

When he raised his gaze, Trowa looked around again.  This time he sought out employees of this place.  When he found one, a
perky red-haired girl, he walked over to her, tapping on her shoulder lightly to gain her attention.  “May I help you?”  She asked
politely, a warm smile on her face.

With the clone hiding behind him, Trowa nodded.  “Yes, where can I find the boys’ clothing department?”  He asked.

The girl smiled again, pointing down a wide aisle.  “Go that way, turn right and just head straight ahead.  Boys and mens’
clothes are located at the back of the store.”

Trowa nodded.  “Thank you.”  He replied, then headed in the direction that he had been shown, the young clone fearfully
following him close.  He paused for a moment near a cart return, taking one of them.  He would rather not carry everything.  
Trowa pushed it with one hand, his other hand still held firmly by the child beside him.

When they reached the clothing department, Trowa looked around.  He pushed the cart into the section, finding first a shelf
display containing underwear.  He looked down at the clone, frowning when he had no idea as to the size of the child.  With a
shrug, Trowa reached over and grabbed the first pair he found.  He knelt down, shaking the loose pair unfolded, then held them
to the clone’s waist.  They would be too large, he decided.  He did this until he found the right size, then grabbed a couple
packages of several pairs and tossed them in the cart.

Next he picked up several pairs of socks, then moved to the back wall and stood in front of the jeans.  He looked to the child
beside him.  “You will need to try these on.”  Trowa said.  “I don’t know your size.”

The clone shook his head, apparently not wanting to do that.  Still, Trowa knew that he would have to.  He couldn’t get the child
appropriate clothes if they were unsure of his size.  Different companies sometimes had different views of sizes . . . the ones
that fit the child here, might not be the same as the size of the jeans the Preventers had issued for him to wear.  With a sigh,
Trowa chose several pairs of jeans of varying sizes and deposited them in the cart.

“You’ll need shirts.  Do you have any preferences?”  Trowa asked.

Slowly, the child reached up, grasping the front of Trowa’s shirt and tugged, grunting lightly.

“You want to dress like me?”  Trowa asked, wanting to be sure he understood.

The clone nodded.

“You do not have to dress like me.”  Trowa said, but when he saw that the child actually did want to wear garments like his, he
sighed again.  

He quickly made his way over to a rack of shirts, picking dark-colored turtlenecks.  Again, he knew that the clone would have
to try them on first.  He also chose a number of T-shirts and one or two dress shirts, then several pairs of pajamas once they
reached that section.

He stopped by the dressing rooms, looking down at the clone by his side.  “Come on.”  He said, taking the clothes from the cart
and nodding to the assistant on duty outside.  She showed them to a closet-sized room, then hung a colored hanger on the
outside of the door, returning to her station without a word.

The clone stopped just outside the room.  Trowa dropped the clothes on the bench, then turned to face the boy.  “Come on.”  
He said quietly, reaching out to take the child’s hand, gently urging him to step inside the small compartment.  “You do have to
try these on.  If you want, I will stand outside.”

The child nodded, then looked at the clothes.

Trowa smiled faintly, then strode out.  “If you need me, I will be out here.  Make sure you keep track of what fits you or what
you like.”  He said, then closed the door and stood just outside, knowing that he would have to be close if he wanted to offer
assistance when needed.

It took a while, but eventually, the child emerged from the room, his small arms loaded with clothes.  Trowa took them from
him, smiling faintly.  “Are these the ones that fit?”  Trowa asked.

The clone nodded, then went back into the room and got the ones that didn’t fit him.  Trowa dropped the clothes they were
going to buy into the cart, then took the ones they weren’t buying and put them in the child seat of the cart.  They returned to
the clothing section and returned the clothes that didn’t fit, then made their way to the shoe department, briefly stopping to get a
winter coat as well as accessories.  After getting sneakers, it was a quick walk to get the child some towels, then to the health
and beauty aides’ department, where they picked up the necessary toiletries that he would need.

Trowa stopped by the toy department, debating with himself whether to buy something for the child or not.  He had never had
toys as a child, but maybe they would help the clone fit in more if he got them.  “Find something you like, and I’ll buy it for
you.”  Trowa said.

The clone looked up at him, a genuine look of surprise on his face.  Apparently, he had not expected to be given toys.  Still, the
child made his way down the aisle, looking over the various toys while Trowa followed behind him with the cart.  He bypassed
the action figures completely, ignoring the imitation weaponry.  The doll aisle was passed by, as well as toy cars.

Finally, the clone stopped, looking back to Trowa unsurely before he reached up and grabbed a stuffed animal.  It was just a
simple black bear with bright green eyes.  Trowa knelt down beside his clone.  “Do you want this?”  He asked, running his
fingers over the soft fur on the stuffed animal’s back.

The clone nodded, biting his lip as he looked to Trowa.  He looked worried, as if he was fearing that Trowa would snatch the
bear away from him and put it back on the shelf.

Trowa smiled, rising to his feet again.  “You may have it then.  Why don’t you carry it until we reach the checkout.”  Trowa
said, his heart warming as the child gave him a tentative smile.  As small as it was, it still made Trowa feel pleased to see it.  
They finished their shopping a few minutes later, waiting in line so that they could leave.  Next to him, the clone hugged his
bear, still staying close to Trowa.


*****


Heero sighed, loading the bags into the trunk of the car.  They had gotten clothes for the clones, and Heero had volunteered to
take them to the car.  Duo and the clones were still inside the mall, Duo shopping for a pair of jeans and a shirt that weren’t
either black or red.  Heero knew where they were, so he wasn’t worried.  The box containing his new shoes was the first to go
in the trunk, Heero had already bought them while waiting for Duo and his clone to emerge from the dressing room.  He knew
his size, what he wanted.  It had been no trouble to go to the nearest footwear store and purchase them.

When he had gotten back, Heero assisted his own clone in getting clothes, watching as Odin stayed with neutral colors.  White
and black tops with blue and black jeans . . . that had been what Odin had chosen for his wardrobe.  His pajamas were simple,
functional and comfortable, nothing more, nothing less.  

As soon as they had left the store, Heero had said that he would transport their new things to the car, leaving the clones their
coats and winter garments.  He didn’t want them catching a chill.  Duo rummaged around in the bags before Heero took them,
finding a small package of elastic bands.  Heero wondered what he meant to do with them, since Duo and his clone had already
braided their hair.

Once Heero finished shoving the bags of clothes into the rather spacious trunk, he closed it.  He turned on his heel and walked
back into the mall, heading into the store that Duo told him they would be in.  Within only a few minutes, Heero found the
children crowded around a dressing room, most of them looking rather bored as they waited for Duo to come out.

Duo stepped out, nervously picking at the blue shirt he wore and looking quite unsure.  “I don’t know if I like this.”  He said,
looking down at the blue jeans he wore.  Then he looked up and noticed Heero.  “Oh, Heero . . . you’re back.”  He said, then
smirked.  “So . . . um . . . what do you think?”  He asked.

“It looks good on you, Duo.”  Heero said, nodding.  All of the clones agreed with him, Chibi-Duo clapping energetically.

Duo blushed, then ducked back into the dressing room.  A few minutes later, he came back out, dressed in the clothes he had
been wearing before.  “I’ll get them then.”  He said, heading over to the checkout line.  As they walked out of the store, Duo tied
the handles of the bag together, then looked down at the kids.  “Hey, you guys hungry?”  He asked.

Chibi-Duo nodded.  “Yeah!”  He announced happily.  The other children also answered affirmatively.

“Good, what do you say we get the kids some lunch at the food court?”  Duo asked.

“Yes, I think that would be wise.”  Heero replied, setting his hand on Odin’s shoulder and leading the child away.  He knew that
Duo would follow behind him, all the other clones in tow.

They ordered their food.  Heero chose to stay at the counter to await the meal, with Odin by his side to help him carry it all.  
Duo took his own clone and the girls and went to find a place for them all to sit.  When Heero finally made his way over to the
table, he found Duo sitting in a seat, pulling Lena’s hair into a single ponytail.  

“There ya go, little lady.”  Duo said, smiling brightly as he hefted Lena onto the seat beside his.

“Thank you, sir.”  Lena politely replied.

Heero couldn’t help the trace of a smirk that made its way across his face.  He set the food down on the table, Odin doing the
same.  Then Heero handed out the appropriate food to each person seated around the table.  It wasn’t a good deal of food, just
enough to hold them until dinner.  Duo proclaimed that he was going to take them all someplace great . . . Heero wondered
where he possibly wanted to go.

The meal was relatively quiet.  Duo ate quickly, then got up to throw his trash away.  Heero felt a light tap on his arm as he
finished eating his own meal.  He looked to the side and down at Une’s clone.  “Yes?”  He asked.

“Will you braid my hair for me?”  She asked timidly.

Heero nodded, seeing no reason not to.  He wiped his hands off on a napkin.  “How would you like it?”  He asked.

Une’s clone blushed a little.  “Two braids, please . . . Duo bought me some ribbons.”  She held out her hand, which had two
long violet ribbons on them.

Heero took them, urging the girl to turn.  He silently ran his fingers through her hair, then separated it into halves.  He set one
half of the hair over the girl’s shoulder, then separated the remaining half into sections.  Once the hair was evenly set into plaits,
Heero began to weave it, twisting the ribbon in with the strands of hair.  

When Heero finished, he was left with a braid, but no way to tie it off.  He looked around for something to use, only to blink as
an elastic band was held out to him.  He looked up, seeing Duo smiling down at him.  “Nice job.”  Duo commented as Heero
took the band.  

Heero said nothing.  He secured the elastic around the end of the braid, then silently went to work on the other half of the girl’s
hair.  “There, done.”  Heero said, completing the task.

Une’s clone turned to him and he quickly found himself being hugged.  “Thank you.”  Une’s clone said, happily.  Heero only
blinked, not sure how to react.  Eventually, Une’s clone moved away.  He wasn’t used to hugs, so he had not known how to
react.  Perhaps the next time he got one, if he did, he would be better prepared to deal with it.



To Be Continued . . .