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

Notes:  Trowa arrives at the circus with his clone.  Catherine meets the child for the first time and quickly comes up with a name
for him to use.



Young Hearts



Part Twelve


Trowa smiled a little as the circus came into view.  He could almost smell the hot dogs that several of the performers . . . as well
as the customers . . . enjoyed eating.  Trowa preferred Catherine’s cooking though.  But that was because she treated him like
he was family . . . like a brother.

He glanced to the side, at his young clone, and offered what he hoped was a calm smile to the terrified child.  “No one here will
hurt you.”  He said, trying to assure the boy that he would be safe here.  “Actually, Catherine might become like a lioness to
protect you.  You should have seen her one time during the war . . . she scared Quatre off.  You remember Quatre, the one with
the blonde hair that got you to come out of the van.”

The boy’s eyes widened as it to say, ‘Why would anyone want to scare Quatre off?’  He didn’t truly ask it, but it was obvious
by the shocked expression on his face.

Trowa shook his head, answering the silent question with a faint smile on his face.  “Because she wanted to protect me.  I was .
. . unwell . . . and she didn’t feel that Quatre’s presence would be good for me.  She kinda likes him now.”  He slowed then
stopped the truck and watched as the look in the boy’s wide eyes changed from one of question to a look of pure fear.

“You can hide if you want to.  I understand.  I’ll bring Catherine here, okay?  She’ll protect you from everyone else.  You’ll like
her.”  Trowa said, thinking back on Catherine and how he was fond of her.  “There’s just something about her that draws me to
her.  I don’t think we’ll ever be more than just friends, but . . . I can’t explain it.”  He blinked, shaking off the thoughts.  “You
can stay put if you want, though.  I’m taking the keys so I’ll be the only one able to unlock the door.”

He watched the clone scramble, moving to sit on the floor of the truck, then push himself as far back as possible.  Trowa sighed
as he reached over and locked the passenger side door, then got out of the truck before locking and closing the driver’s side.

Trowa turned, taking a few steps away from the truck.  He was about to walk into the encampment, when he heard Catherine’s
pleasant voice.  “Trowa!”  She called out joyfully, running over to greet him.  “It’s so good to see you.  Have you come to stay
awhile?”

Trowa held up his hands.  “It’s good to see you too, Catherine.”  Trowa said, smiling if only slightly.  He returned the gentle hug
that Catherine gave her, not fearing her like he did so many others.  

Catherine took hold of his hand, then turned.  “Come on, I’ll fix dinner and we can talk.”  She said, taking a step.

“No, not yet.”  He said, turning and heading back to the truck, Catherine’s hand still clasped with his own.  “Cathy . . . don’t
make any sudden moves or loud noises, okay?”  He said.

“Why, Trowa?  What happened?  Do you have a wounded squirrel in there like last time?”  She asked, watching the truck warily.

“No . . . something much more fragile.  Something much more frightened.”  Trowa said, reaching out and unlocking the door.  
He opened it, reaching out his other hand to the boy huddled on the floor.  “Come on out.  This is Catherine.  She sort of
adopted me as a brother.  I swear to you that she won’t hurt you.”

Trembling, the child took hold of Trowa’s hand, allowing himself to be led out of the truck to stand partially hidden behind
Trowa.  Trowa looked back, just in time to see Catherine blink at the fragile boy.  She knelt down, a bright smile on her face.  
“Oh . . . hi there, sweetie.”  She said kindly.  “What’s your name?”

“At that age . . . I didn’t have one.”  Trowa said, responding for the silent boy.

Catherine looked up at Trowa, obvious confusion on her face.  “Huh?”

Trowa sighed.  “He’s a clone of me . . . complete with my memories.”  Trowa said.  “He won’t speak and he has no name.  I
did not have a name of my own until just before coming to Earth in my Gundam the first time.”

Catherine reached out to the clone, frowning when he flinched and hid behind Trowa more, his body shivering in fear.  “Trowa,
what happened to you that would make you that frightened?”  She asked.

Trowa shook his head.  “Trust me, you don’t want to know.”  He replied.

Catherine nodded, not asking anything further on the subject, then rose to her feet.  “So, why did you bring the little fella here?”  
She asked.

“I need to collect my belongings.  All of the pilots, as well as a few others have been cloned, ten clones in total.  The five of us
have been given the assignment of seeing to their care for the time being.  We’re going to be staying in one of Quatre’s estates.”  
Trowa replied, then he smiled.  “Also, I figured a good meal would be beneficial for him . . . and you do cook very well.”

Catherine blushed faintly.  “Oh stop, there’s no need for flattery.  Of course you can stay.  Do you need any help with
anything?”

“There are a few bags in my truck . . . I purchased several things for the boy.”  Trowa replied, bending slightly and picking up
his clone.  “Could you help me bring them in?  I would rather not carry around all of his things in bags, so I purchased him
luggage as well, just enough to hold what I bought for him.”

Catherine nodded.  “Of course I’ll help.”  She jogged over to the truck, shaking her head as she saw all that Trowa had bought.  
Trowa reached in and grabbed several with his one free hand, smirking as Catherine took hold of a few others.  “Come on,
Trowa.  I’ll show you where the trailer is.”

Trowa complied, following as Catherine led the way.  He greeted the performers around him with a nod if they spoke first,
whispering calming things to his clone if he felt the child stiffen in his arms or attempt to get out of his grasp.  A few minutes
later, Trowa stepped into Catherine’s trailer.

He set his clone down, watching as the boy found a dark corner to hide in rather quickly.  Trowa set the bags down, searching
through a couple until he found what he wanted.  With a few long strides, Trowa reached his clone’s side, holding out the
stuffed bear that the child had picked out in the store.  The clone reached out, wrapping his arms around it hastily as he brought
it to his chest.

“He’ll calm down soon.”  Trowa said, turning to look over his shoulder at Catherine.  He sighed, moving over to a nearby chair
and sitting down.  “It would be easier if he had a task to do.  With the mercenaries, I sometimes forgot to be afraid when I was
working.”  

“Well, then why doesn’t he help me bring the rest of the bags?  You can pack, while I keep him busy.”  Catherine offered.  “But
after dinner.”

“Yes, that would probably be a good idea.”  Trowa said.

“Great, I'll just get dinner ready then, while you set the table.”  Catherine smiled, turning and heading to the kitchen area.

Trowa chuckled lightly, feeling more at ease now.  He got up, locking the door of the trailer to prevent the clone from
attempting an escape, then went into the kitchen.  He gathered what he needed, then set the table.  Then he opened the
refrigerator.  “What do you want to drink?”  He asked.

“Juice will be fine.  Give that boy a glass of milk though . . . it’s good for him.”  Catherine said, stirring the contents of a pot.  
“You’re lucky you got here when you did.  I was just starting dinner when I heard that hunk of junk of yours pulling up.”

Trowa smiled, pouring two glasses of juice and a glass of milk.  “Almost ready?”  He asked.

“Yup, just about.  Get the kid in here and I’ll dish up.”

Trowa nodded, heading back out to the other room.  He looked over at his clone.  “Come here.” He said quietly, watching as the
boy rose to his feet, slowly approaching to stand in front of Trowa.  “After dinner, you will go and help Catherine with all the
stuff we purchased today.  Okay?”

The boy nodded hesitantly, clutching that bear more tightly.

“She won’t hurt you.”  Trowa said.  “You can trust her.”

The child nodded again, his face still showing fear.  There was nothing else that Trowa could do about it though.  He sighed,
taking hold of the child’s hand and leading him to the kitchen.  He guided the boy into his chair, then took a seat himself,
watching as Catherine bustled about for a few more minutes before she sat across from him.

Dinner was pleasant.  Catherine and Trowa conversed between mouthfuls of food.  Although Trowa didn’t eat all that much, he
found the food to be delicious.  The clone merely watched the two of them, listening and paying careful attention.  He visibly
calmed around Catherine, which was quite a good sign.  It meant that he was slowly beginning to feel a tentative trust with her.  
It would be a long time before he trusted her completely, but it was good that he was at least this calm around her.

After dinner, Catherine rose from her seat.  She held out her hand to the clone, waiting patiently until he slid from his seat and
took hold of it.  Then she left, taking the clone with her, leaving Trowa with the task of clearing the table and putting the
leftovers away.


*****


Catherine looked down, casting a warm smile to the child that walked along beside her.  He looked simply adorable holding that
bear.  Trowa had sure been a cute child.  “You know, I’ve known Trowa for about three years now, and he’s never spoken
much about his past.  I know it wasn’t pleasant for him, so I don’t ask.”  She stopped, kneeling down in front of the boy.  “And
I won’t ask you either.  I just want you to know . . . I’d protect Trowa with my life, and since you and he are basically the
same, I’ll consider you just as much a part of my family as he is.”

A brief flicker of a smile appeared on the child’s face.  It was enough to satisfy Catherine though.  

“Hey . . . you know what . . . you look kinda like my baby brother.”  She pulled a locket out from under her shirt, opening it and
showing the pictures inside to the nameless boy.  It was a picture of Catherine’s parents . . . Catherine and her father on one
side, Catherine’s mother on the other side.  In her arms, Catherine’s mother cradled little Triton.  “I lost them all a long time ago,
just a short time after this picture was taken.”  She reached up, gently brushing her fingers over the boy’s cheek, surprised
when he didn’t flinch away.  “I think I’ll call you Triton.  Would you like that?”

The boy nodded slowly, the smile lingering on his face a bit longer this time.

“That’s a great smile you have, Triton.”  Catherine said, rising to her feet again.  “I’m glad I was able to help put it there.”  She
held out her hand, smiling as he took hold of it.  “Come on, let’s get those bags back to the trailer so you can get some sleep.  I
bet you’re pretty tired.”

When they got to the truck, Catherine handed Triton a couple bags, deciding to take the rest herself.  On the way back,
Catherine stopped in her tracks, hearing the booming voice of the circus manager.  He wasn’t yelling at her, but his voice did
carry a good distance.  More likely than not, one of the others had done something he hadn’t liked again.

Catherine’s eyes widened, turning quickly.  Triton was gone.  The bags he had been holding were lying on the ground, but the
boy was nowhere to be seen.  “Great, Trowa trusts me with this kid, and I lose him in less than half an hour.”  Catherine
muttered to herself.  She picked up the bags, heading quickly to the trailer to tell Trowa the news.


*****


Trowa was calmly packing when Catherine rushed into the trailer, almost completely out of breath.  “Trowa, it’s Triton . . . I
mean your clone.  I lost him!”  She exclaimed, dropping the bags she held.

Trowa’s eyes widened.  “You lost him?”  He asked in disbelief, dropping the garment he had been folding only a moment ago.  
“How could you lose him?”

“We were on our way back.  I heard the Manager yelling at someone and then I looked over at Triton to see if he was okay.  But
he was gone.”  Catherine replied.  

“Triton?”  Trowa asked.

Catherine blushed slightly.  “I . . . well, I gave him a name.  I asked him and he said he didn’t mind . . . well, actually, he just
nodded, but still . . .”

“Catherine . . .”  Trowa said, interrupting her.  She was worried, it was quite obvious, but there was no need to panic.  “Where
did you see him last?”

“Near Mike’s trailer.”  She replied.

Trowa sighed, feeling very relieved.  He knew for a fact that Mike kept his trailer near the animals.  As one of the handlers, he
was quite adamant about keeping a close watch on those in his care, most specifically the large cats.  

Trowa knew where the clone was, the same place he would go in the same situation.  Trowa had always had a fondness for
animals . . . the lions especially.  He had seen a circus once as a child, only in passing with the mercenaries, but from where
they were he could make out the lion cages.  They had captivated him even then.  The child would have the same memory, since
Trowa had been younger than he was when he had seen them.

He went back to packing.  “Look with the lions.”  Trowa said calmly.

“What?”  Catherine nearly shouted.

“If he’s not there . . . then I’ll be worried.”  Trowa said, smiling a little.  “The lions won’t hurt him.  He’s not a threat to them.”

Catherine still looked dubious.  “Are you so sure of that, Trowa Barton?”  She asked, crossing her arms and giving him a glare.

Trowa sighed, putting down the folded shirt.  “Perhaps finding out for yourself will convince you.”  He suggested.  “If you
wish, I will go with you.  And if . . . Triton . . . is not there, then we will search for him.”

Catherine nodded, then grabbed his wrist and pulled him from the trailer.  Trowa had no choice but to follow her.  When they
got to the lion cages, Catherine stopped.  Just as Trowa had said, the boy was there . . . although Trowa hadn’t quite expected
the boy to actually be in the cage with the animals.

“He must have slid between the bars.  He is thin enough.”  Trowa commented, a gentle smile forming on his face as he observed
his clone.  

The boy was asleep, curled up next to a lioness with her cubs . . . as if he were one of them.  It was rather sweet, Trowa
thought.  The boy was no more afraid of the lions than Trowa was, and so it wasn’t at all dangerous for him to be near them.  
They accepted him, recognizing Trowa’s familiar scent on the child.

“I told you he was fine.”  Trowa said.  As he watched, the lioness gently nudged Triton.  In reaction, the child moaned lightly in
his sleep, snuggling closer to the large cat and her litter of offspring.

Catherine sighed.  “I guess you were right.  Sorry for worrying you.”  She apologized, a small laugh escaping her as the lioness
licked the side of Triton’s face.  “Do you think we should get him out?”

Trowa nodded.  “He deserves to sleep in a bed.”  He said, opening the door of the cage.  He was careful in removing Triton,
waking the child before getting him to leave on his own.  Trowa wasn’t about to anger a mother lion by appearing to steal one of
her cubs.  It was better that Triton left under his own free will.  Once Triton was out, Trowa closed the door of the cage.

Triton wearily rubbed his eyes, yawning widely.  Trowa picked him up, cradling him gently as he made his way back to the
trailer.  Triton curled closer, already asleep as he clutched his bear to his chest, probably not even realizing that he was being
carried.  The poor boy must be exhausted, Trowa thought . . . he had just had quite a long and stressful day.

“Better put him to bed.”  Catherine whispered, running her fingers through Triton’s hair as she held the door of the trailer open.

Trowa smirked, nodding.  He silently headed into the second bedroom, thankful that Catherine had such a large trailer, and set
Triton down on the bed.  Catherine appeared in the room only a few moments later, dropping off a pair of pajamas for the boy
to wear, along with the toothbrush that Trowa had purchased for him and toothpaste.

“Come on, Triton . . . you need to get changed.”  Trowa said, sitting the boy upright on the bed.

Triton yawned again, his eyes opening minutely.  He saw Trowa, and blinked.  Then he looked around, unsure of where he was.

“You’re in Catherine’s trailer.”  Trowa said, untying and pulling off Triton’s sneakers.  “It’s time for bed . . . so you go on and
get changed and brush your teeth.”  He said, handing over the needed items.

Triton nodded tiredly, taking his things and disappearing into the bathroom.  Several minutes later, he came back out, dressed in
his pajamas, and carrying the clothes that he had worn that day.  He handed everything over to Trowa, then climbed onto the
bed.  Trowa set the clothes aside, smirking as he pulled the blankets up for the clone, getting him settled in bed.

“If you need anything, I’ll be sleeping on the floor.  Catherine only has the two beds, and her sofa isn’t all that comfortable.”  
Trowa said, waiting for the child to nod before he turned away from him.  

He walked over to the door, smiling when he looked back and saw that the child was asleep again, snuggling against the bear in
his arms.  Trowa shut off the light, leaving the door open slightly, enough for just a sliver of illumination to show through.  
Trowa hoped that the boy would get a good night’s sleep.  Triton would undoubtedly be nervous tomorrow, once they moved
into Quatre’s estate and he had to be around others again.



To Be Continued . . .