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

Notes:  Heero heads downstairs to greet Quatre and Wufei.  The children are put to bed.



Young Hearts



Part Fourteen


Heero opened his eyes.  Glancing at his watch, he saw that indeed it had been two hours since he had allowed himself to fall
asleep.  A slight movement from Duo caught his attention.  While Duo’s skin was no longer chill, the young American felt just a
little too warm to Heero as he placed the back of his hand first to Duo’s forehead, then to Duo’s cheek.  

Then Heero heard something from outside, the sound of the front door opening and closing.  He slipped from the bed, taking
care not to awaken Duo, and quickly got dressed in the clothes that he had been wearing earlier.  Gently, he tucked the blankets
in around Duo’s body, ensuring that he’d be warm.  Then he turned and left the room, quietly closing the door behind himself
before he headed downstairs to see who had arrived.

Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, Heero saw that it was Wufei and Quatre, along with their respective clones and the
clones of Milliardo and Treize.  All of the children looked tired, except for Raberba . . . Heero was almost certain that was the
name that had been given to Quatre’s clone . . . who was fast asleep in Quatre’s arms.  Actually, upon further observation,
Heero found that Raberba’s face was marred with tear tracks and his body jerked every once and again, letting a few weak
sniffles out as he clung to Quatre’s body.

“What happened to him?”  Heero asked, gesturing toward Raberba.

Quatre sighed, setting down the few bags he had been carrying.  “I . . . well, I had to tell him about Father.”  Quatre said,
lowering his gaze.  “He deserved to know.”

Heero nodded minutely.  To learn that his father was dead was probably what had contributed to Raberba’s current emotional
state.  Heero considered telling Quatre about the pool.  He didn’t know if now was the right time to bring this up, but he felt that
he should warn Quatre in case the young man didn’t know.  Plus, Wufei should be warned to ensure the safety of all the
children.  “Quatre, you should be informed that your pool controls are malfunctioning.”

Quatre gasped, his free hand flying to his mouth.  “Allah, I forgot.  I meant to call you when I got here.  I didn’t expect any of
you to get back before me.  Was anyone hurt . . . the children . . . are they okay?”

Heero held up his hand.  “We are all fine.  Chibi-Duo apparently slipped and fell in.  Odin jumped in to save him but was not
strong enough to pull the other boy to the edge.  Duo jumped in to get them both.  All of them are resting now.”  He looked
around at the other boys.  “Which I believe your clones should be doing as well.”

“Yes.”  Quatre nodded.  “I believe we all could do with a good night’s rest.”  He picked up the bags he had set down earlier.  
“Come along, Treize . . . let’s find you and Raberba a room.”  He said.  He paused as he was passing by Heero and looked to
him, quite a serious expression on his face.  “Forgive me for failing to notify you.  I did mean to call.”

“There’s been no harm.  Neither the children nor Duo seem dangerously ill.  Duo has a slight fever, but no other symptoms.  
With rest he should be fine.”  Heero said.

Quatre smiled, but only barely.  Then he continued on up the stairs, Treize following close behind him.  Treize was obviously
fighting sleep.  Heero watched them until they were out of sight, then turned back to Wufei.

“Do you need help bringing in any parcels?”  Heero asked.

Wufei shook his head.  “No, most of the things we bought can stay in the car for the time being.  I have already brought in what
they will wear tonight and tomorrow, as well as necessary toiletries.”  He replied.  “If you will excuse me, I will take these two
and also seek out a room.”

“I don’t wanna go to bed.  I wanna see my sister.”  Zechs’s clone argued, tiredly rubbing his eyes.

“I am sure that she is well, Milliardo.”  Wufei sighed.  “You can see her in the morning.”

Milliardo shook his head, clinging to a stuffed monkey that was hanging around his neck.  “No, I wanna see her now.”  He
stated.

“I’ll take him to see Lena.”  Heero said.  “I know which room they are in and can guide him there.”  

“Thank you, Yuy.”  Wufei said, stepping past Heero and walking up the stairs.  His clone followed behind him, carrying a single
small bag.

Heero stepped over to the pile of stuff that he and Duo had purchased earlier.  He picked up Duo’s duffle bag, which had been
packed during the short stop they had made at Duo’s small apartment.  They had made a similar stop at Heero’s residence,
where he had packed his belongings.  He picked up his own bag as well.  

He shouldered the bags, then returned to the stairs and held out his hand.  “Come along, Milliardo.  But please be quiet . . . there’
s no need to awaken the girls.”  

Milliardo nodded, quickly taking hold of Heero’s hand and allowing himself to be led up the stairs and to the room where Lena
and Une’s clone were currently sleeping.  Heero waited by the door, while Milliardo ran in, looked Lena over to make sure she
was well, quietly kissed his sister on the forehead then ran back out.  “Thank you, sir.”  He said politely, yawning.

“Come, it is time for you to get some sleep.”  Heero said, once again guiding the boy away.  This time however, he found the
child a place to sleep.  Wufei was waiting by a door.

“I put Milliardo’s things in here.”  Wufei said, then turned and walked away, eventually turning into another room and closing
the door behind himself.

Heero glanced into the room, seeing that Treize occupied the other twin-sized bed in the room.  On the bed, in a small pile, were
a few garments as well as a toothbrush and toothpaste.  Heero showed Milliardo where the bathroom was.  He waited until both
boys were in bed before turning off the light and closing the door.

Heero returned to the room where Duo was resting.  He opened Duo’s bag, pulling out a pair of shorts and a T-shirt.  Carefully,
he garbed Duo’s sleeping body.  Then he changed out of his own clothes and into a pair of sweat pants.  They would do for
now . . . there was no need to wear anything more, especially since he would be sharing warmth with Duo.

Quietly, Heero climbed into bed, positioning himself behind the slumbering American, hesitantly draping his arms around Duo’s
form.  He hoped that the braided youth wouldn’t despise him for taking such liberties when ensuring his health.  Heero gasped,
surprised when Duo turned in his light embrace.  Duo snuggled closer to Heero, pressing his feverish face up against Heero’s
chest, while one of his legs curled over and around Heero’s body, pulling the two of them flush against each other.

“Heero.”  Duo murmured lightly in his sleep, a gentle smile crossing his attractive features.

Heero blushed slightly, a faint smirk curling his lips as he set his head down on the pillow.  The whispered sound of his name
passing through Duo’s tempting lips gave Heero some amount of hope.  Perhaps Duo wasn’t so averse to the idea of them being
together . . . maybe there was a chance, even a slim one for them to be more than just friends.  Heero sure hoped so.  With a
strange warmth in his heart, Heero closed his eyes and settled himself down to sleep.  He pressed his cheek against the top of
Duo’s head and took a long deep breath, inhaling Duo’s scent before sleep claimed him for the second time that night.


*****


Quatre sighed, taking a seat on one of the twin beds in the room.  In his arms, Raberba stirred, moaning as his small hands
clutched tightly around Quatre’s body.  The boy sniffled, burying his face deeper against Quatre, the feeling of dampness
spreading through Quatre’s shirt as the child wept on him.

“Sshh.”  Quatre hushed, running his hands along Raberba’s back soothingly.  He set his head down on the boy’s head, gently
rocking the youth back and forth in the hopes of calming his disrupted feelings.  Quatre could feel the hurt and pain in the child,
knew that he was suffering, and he wanted to help.

Across from them, sitting quietly on the other bed, Wufei’s clone simply watched them.  He was tiredly wiping at his eyes, but
did nothing in preparation for bed, as if waiting for Wufei to tell him what he should do.  He was quite obedient, probably from a
strict upbringing.

“Tian Bao . . . go and get ready for bed.”  Wufei instructed, stepping into the bedroom.  He took a quick glance in Quatre’s
direction, but said nothing.

“Yes, sir.”  The child replied, taking his pajamas and heading into the bathroom.  A few moments later, he came back out, his
hair loose from the tight ponytail he had been sporting earlier.  

Wufei picked up Tian Bao and set him down on the bed, covering him with the blankets.  Then he took his turn in the bathroom,
changing into his own bedclothes.  However, he did not go back over to his bed.  Instead, Wufei knelt in front of Quatre.  “Go
and get yourself ready for bed, Quatre . . . I will keep an eye on Raberba until you return.”  Wufei said, setting his hands on
Raberba’s back.

Quatre nodded, gently pulling Raberba away from himself.  Wufei took the boy, whispering something in Chinese quietly.  
Raberba sniffled, but latched onto Wufei, hooking his legs around Wufei’s waist as he buried his face once again.  Quatre
reluctantly left the room, taking with him a set of his pajamas which he changed into.  Once he was ready for bed, he returned
to the bedroom.

“Thank you, Wufei.”  Quatre said, taking Raberba when the child was handed over to him.

Wufei nodded, saying nothing in reply.  The Chinese youth walked over to the other bed, climbing under the covers to lie beside
his clone.  Quatre carried Raberba to the bathroom, as well as bedclothes for him to wear.  

Quatre set Raberba down on the edge of the bathtub.  Gently, he tugged off the sweatshirt that the boy was wearing, tossing it
into a nearby hamper.  He smiled at the boy, nimbly swiping his fingers along the child’s cheeks to brush away his tears.  His
eyes were red, his nose runny . . . and every now and then he would hiccup.

Quatre got up, grabbing a few squares of toilet tissue.  He held them to Raberba’s nose.  A moment later, the child blew his
nose.  Quatre tenderly wiped his face off, keeping a kind smile curling his lips as he tended to the saddened boy.  With gentle
urgings, Quatre got Raberba dressed in his bedclothes, tossing the jeans he had been wearing into the hamper along with his
socks.  He left the boy’s shoes in a corner, then picked Raberba up again, deciding that his teeth wouldn’t all fall out if they
missed just one brushing.  Besides, Raberba needed to sleep.  It was plainly obvious that the child was exhausted.

On his way to the bed, Quatre turned off the light.  Then he climbed into bed, setting his clone down first.  When they were
both in bed, Raberba curled close, setting his head down on Quatre’s chest while Quatre covered the both of them with
blankets.  Quatre hugged his clone close, weaving his fingers through the boy’s hair, humming a tune gently while his cheek lay
atop the child’s head.

Quatre forced himself to remain awake, wanting to be sure that Raberba was resting peacefully before he gave into slumber
himself.  Eventually, Raberba’s breathing evened out, his sniffles subsiding.  He whimpered in his sleep off and on, but Quatre
knew there was nothing he could do to stop that.  The child was grieving the loss of his father.  Even if he was a clone, he did
have memories of the elder Mr. Winner as his father . . . so to the boy Quatre’s father was his own father as well.  Quatre only
hoped that the boy wouldn’t grieve for too long . . . children should be happy.  Raberba deserved happiness, just as much as any
other child.



To Be Continued . . .



Okay, a lot of people have been asking me how old the clones are.  So I’m going to tell you.  Roughly, their ages are as follows:

Treize, Milliardo and the clones of Une and Noin are about ten years of age.
Triton is about eight.
Odin, Chibi-Duo, Lena, Raberba, and Tian Bao are seven.

The ages correspond with their time in the pods and cannot be altered so please don’t ask me to make them younger.  I hope this
answers your questions.