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

Notes:  Wufei has an emotional talk with Tian Bao.  Raberba discovers the music room.  And Trowa arrives and finds himself
needed for a number of problems.



Young Hearts



Part Seventeen


Wufei ran a damp cloth over the counter top, cleaning the mess that Quatre had made with his attempts at cooking.  Breakfast
had ended several minutes ago . . . it had been pleasant.  Quatre was now in the shower, cleaning the pancake batter from his
hair.  Heero was checking on Duo’s welfare.  And the majority of the children were around playing, although it had been made
clear that none of them were to go anywhere near the pool.  Tian Bao was the only one of the children that hadn’t left the
kitchen.

Over breakfast, the three adults had spoken of what they would do today.  Quatre had suggested going out and buying furniture
for the home they would be spending time in from now on.  They did need to purchase furniture for the children’s rooms and
their own, especially since the beds they were currently using did belong to the Maguanac and it was only a matter of time
before the group of men wanted them returned to them.  Along with suitable beds, they would need dressers and such, furniture
for the other rooms as well.  The house was almost virtually empty, save for a few necessities.  Quatre explained that no one
had resided here for a long time before the Maguanac had opted to live here, so it was only natural for it to be bare of furniture
and decorations.

Then there was the fact that they would need food for their stay here.  So a trip to the grocery store was in order for today.  
They weren’t going to go shopping immediately, since they still had to await the arrival of Trowa and his clone.  However, as
soon as Trowa arrived, they would all go out and see to the errands.

Wufei sighed as he finished his task, tossing the used cloth into the sink.  He walked over to the table and dropped down into a
chair, wiping the back of his hand over his brow as he closed his eyes and exhaled a long deep breath.  It had not been easy
cleaning all of the counters, the walls and the stove as well . . . not to mention the ceiling.  Quatre had sure done quite a number
on the kitchen with his failed cooking attempt.

“Why are you here?”  Tian Bao asked.

Wufei opened his eyes, looking over to where the child was sitting, just across the table from him.  “Someone had to clean the
kitchen.”  Wufei replied simply.

Tian Bao shook his head.  “That is not what I meant.  Why are you on Earth?  Why are you not home on L-5 with Meiran and
the elders?  There is much to do at home, and you are away from the clan.  Why?”

Wufei took a deep breath, then let it out slowly.  He had dreaded this moment, trying to figure out the best way to inform the
child of the dire truth.  He rose from his seat, deciding to take this conversation elsewhere.  “Come, we will talk someplace
where we are unlikely to be disturbed.”

Tian Bao nodded and followed.  Wufei left the kitchen, heading down a hallway until he found the library.  This would be a
suitable place to speak with the child.  He had always felt more at ease around books, so it should help both the clone and
himself get through this awkward moment.  Although there weren’t all that many books here, just what belonged to the
Maguanac most likely.

There were no chairs in the room, so he sat on the floor and motioned for Tian Bao to sit facing him.  The child did as
instructed, sitting on the floor just in front of Wufei, folding his legs to sit in the same manner as Wufei.  “You know of the war,
correct?”  Wufei asked.

Tian Bao nodded.  “The war is over.  That is what I know.  Otherwise, I would not have asked you why you are still on Earth.”  

That was a satisfactory response, so Wufei chose to continue.  “Well . . . first off . . . Meiran was killed in a battle shortly after
we were married.”

“Yes, that is how she would have wanted to die.”  Tian Bao nodded.

“She was Nataku . . . in death, if not in life.”  Wufei said, waiting until the boy nodded before continuing.  He took a deep
breath, letting it out slowly, fearing the clone’s reaction to the following information.  “The colony . . . is no more.  The elders
decided, rather than submit to the organization known as OZ, that they would cause the colony to self destruct.  Every man,
woman, and child are with the spirits of the ancestors now.”  As he had spoken it, the flashes of memory returned, reminding
him of the explosion that he had witnessed that fateful day.  “Later, I will take you to where I built a shrine for them, so you can
pay your respects.”

“Gone?  All of them?”  Tian Bao asked meekly, a look of thinly veiled horror and grief lingering in his eyes.  He was fighting to
keep a calm facade, Wufei could see that.

Wufei nodded.  “I was the last member of the clan . . . and now, there are two of us.”  Unshed tears glistened in the child’s
eyes, his body trembling slightly as he apparently fought off the urge to weep.  “Do not be saddened.  They remain with us in
spirit, and I would choose to live here even if the colony was still there.  Those that live with us, here in this house, are more a
family to me than my own blood was, and I am honored to call them friends.  It would honor me more if I could call them
brothers, but I will not overstep the bounds of our friendship by doing so.”

Tian Bao was dry-eyed, if a little pale.  His small body shivered with the effort not to cry.  Still, Wufei wasn’t sorry over his
choice of words.  If it were him in Tian Bao’s place, he would have wanted to hear the truth, as harsh as it was.  There was no
advantage to mincing words to make things sound better.

Without uttering a word, Wufei reached out, pulling the child into an awkward embrace.  He didn’t recall ever having hugged
another person in his life.  It seemed now was the perfect opportunity to do so.  The child was having a difficult time with his
emotions at the moment.  Training dictated that he set aside his feelings and stay strong . . . a tactic the child was failing
miserably at.  “It is all right to cry, Tian Bao . . . I did when I watched the destruction of our home.  It took me a while to come
to terms with my grief . . . I admit that I did not handle it all that well to begin with.”

Tian Bao wordlessly choked back a sob, tightly throwing his arms around Wufei’s body and clinging to him.  Wetness seeped
through Wufei’s garments, alerting him to the fact that the child was in fact finally letting his tears fall forth.  His small fingers
dug sharply into Wufei’s skin, sobs wracking the child’s body.

Wufei patiently held his clone, not sure of what else to do.  Tian Bao’s world had just been shattered . . . everyone he had ever
known was revealed to be dead.  He and Wufei were the last now, and the burden of carrying on their family line fell on both
their shoulders.  

A smirk slowly made its way across Wufei’s face.  “You see now why I thought to call you Tian Bao?  You truly are a treasure
from heaven . . . a gift given to me by the ancestors watching over us.”

Tian Bao sniffled, pulling away from Wufei’s body if only a little.  He looked up, meeting Wufei’s gaze.  Tears mingled in his
dark eyes, falling along his cheeks in rivulets.  A brief flicker of a shy smile lit up his face.  “I . . . I would be honored to be
called your brother.”

“I think I would like that.”  Wufei replied, wrapping his arms around the child once more and holding him tenderly.  It was
apparent that the boy did need the reassurance of such an embrace, so Wufei would comply in the hopes of soothing his spirit.  
He stayed on the floor, holding his little brother, satisfied to stay there as long as was necessary.


*****


Raberba wandered the halls of the large house, just for the sake of exploring his new home.  He wiped a hand across his eyes,
sniffling sadly.  Considering the news he had received last night from Quatre . . . telling him of his . . . no, of their father’s
death, it was only natural for Raberba to still be depressed about it.  He loved his father, despite the arguments and the bad
moments, he did still love him.  But now he was gone, his father was dead . . . Raberba would never see him again, and that left
him terribly saddened.  He wondered about his sisters.  Were they still alive, or was Quatre waiting for the shock of Father’s
death to fade before breaking even more bad news to him?  Raberba hoped it was the former.

Forcing back his tears, Raberba grabbed the handle of a door and pushed it open.  He blinked, not finding the room oddly vacant
like most of the others.  In this one there were a few large objects arranged on the floor.  Raberba couldn’t tell what they were,
since white cloths were draped over everything in sight.  Still, his curiosity was piqued and he just had to enter.

He walked over to one of the cloth-covered objects.  Twisting a small fist in the dusty cloth, he took a few steps backwards,
uncovering what lay hidden beneath.  The corners of his mouth curled into a delighted smile, looking at the object he had
uncovered.  It was a beautiful piano, its smooth, black surface clean without a trace of dust anywhere on it.

Raberba ran his fingers over the side of the piano, just for the enjoyment of touching it.  He had always liked music . . . it was
one of the few things that had made his father proud of him.  His ability with musical instruments was one of the only things he
liked about himself as well.  A sudden thought struck him and Raberba looked around the room again.  Seconds later, he ran
over to a tall covered object, pulling the cloth off of it quickly and nearly smiling again as he found what he had been looking
for.  It was a cabinet, nothing more nothing less, but inside of it was what Raberba wanted.

He opened the glass door, already seeing what he wanted within.  He stretched his body, reaching up, only to frown when he
couldn’t quite reach the instrument that had caught his attention.  Looking around the room for anything that might help,
Raberba’s eyes settled on the bench from the piano.  He ran over, pulling the wooden bench over to the cabinet.  Then he
climbed up, and easily took the violin and bow from where they hung.

Not wanting to get into any trouble, Raberba pushed the bench back to where he had gotten it, then turned his attention back to
the violin.  The delicate instrument was immaculately clean, although Raberba didn’t understand how it could possibly be so well
taken care of since the room apparently was unused for quite a while.  Perhaps that huge man that had been here yesterday had
cleaned it.  Raberba shrugged, not really caring how or why it was in such good condition, he was just glad that the violin was
here.

He tucked it up under his chin, drawing the bow across the strings and played a number of notes.  He smirked, finding that the
instrument was perfectly tuned.  Raberba sighed, wishing that his father were here to listen . . . it had often been a pastime for
the two of them.  After a hard day of work, Father enjoyed listening to his playing.  Even if he knew the memories were not his
own but those of his elder self, he did look back on them fondly.

This time when he drew the bow across the strings, it wasn’t just for a test to see if it was tuned properly.  No, this time he
played a melody, a somber string of lyrical notes that echoed the sadness clutching at his soul.  He simply wanted his father
back.


*****


Quatre sighed, delighting in the feeling of being clean again.  He vigorously ran a towel over his hair, drying it, a similar towel
draped about his waist.  Satisfied that his hair wouldn’t drip anymore, he tossed the towel aside, hastily getting dressed.  He didn’
t want to be away from his friends or the children for any longer than was necessary . . . the loneliness would overwhelm him if
he let it, and he didn’t want to let it take him over again, not like it had just yesterday in the store.  That had been quite
embarrassing, losing it like that, and the children seeing it . . . that made it so much worse, made him feel so awful for being as
weak as he was.

He shook off the feelings of fear that were already mingling in his mind, not wanting to be overcome with terror again.  No, it
wouldn’t do to let his fear consume him, or to run to his friends because of a terror he couldn’t control.  Still, his mind echoed
with memories that clawed to come to the surface, despite his efforts to keep them back.  Pain and loneliness swept through
him and he moved about his room quickly, in a hurry to get dressed and back to where he wouldn’t be alone anymore.

A sudden thought struck him and he stepped over to a desk, then dropped the remainder of his garments on one corner.  Taking
a moment to button the front of his pants, Quatre dialed a phone number.  He did have to make this call, plus it would serve to
keep Quatre calm enough to get dressed.  Usually he had no problem being alone for such a short period of time, but today was
different for some reason.  Whether it was because of the confession he had made to Raberba or something else, Quatre wasn’t
altogether sure, but he just needed the reassurance that a friendly face could provide.

Quatre picked up his shirt and pulled it on.  His fingers were shaking as he fastened the buttons, so he only had a couple of them
done by the time his call was picked up.  Rasid’s face appeared on the vid-phone, nodding a pleasant greeting to him.  “Good
morning, Master Quatre . . . is there something you need of me or my men?”

Quatre smiled brightly, the fear washing away almost immediately.  “Yes, Rasid.  If you are not busy today, would you consider
helping us transport furniture to the estate?  The guys and I are going shopping today for needed items.”

“Of course, Master Quatre.  We would be more than willing to assist you.”  Rasid replied without hesitation.

Quatre was grateful to the older man.  He finished with his shirt, taking a seat in a chair near the desk as he pulled on his socks
and shoes.  “Thank you, Rasid.  After we buy the furniture, we plan on grocery shopping, so perhaps you could drop off the
furniture while we’re out . . . although be aware that Duo might be here when you arrive.  He’s taken a chill and would benefit
from some rest today.  While you’re here, you can collect the rest of your belongings if you wish, or leave them be . . . it is nice
to have reminders of your presence.”

“That is gracious of you, Master Quatre.  We will try to be quiet when delivering the furniture to the estate.  Is there anything
else you require?”

“No, I think that’s all.  If there’s anything more, I can tell you when you arrive.”  Quatre replied, standing and tucking in his
shirt.  He put on his vest, making sure that his appearance was neat with a casual glance to a mirror that hung over the desk.  
“We are still awaiting Trowa’s arrival, and we won’t be leaving until he gets here, so I think there is plenty of time for you to get
here as well.”

“Very well.  We will see you soon, Master Quatre.”  Rasid nodded.  “Good day.”  He terminated the connection.

Quatre nodded to himself, satisfied that he was dressed and ready to leave the room again.  He was calm and he was dressed . .
. the phone call with Rasid had served both of its purposes.  With a smile firmly planted on his face, Quatre opened the door and
stepped out of the room and into the vacant hallway.  

A faint sound reached his ears and Quatre glanced around, wondering where it was coming from and why it seemed so
familiar.  It didn’t take Quatre long to realize what the sound was.  And once he did, he knew exactly where it was coming
from.  He'd recognize the sound of a violin anywhere.  

As he approached the music room he took note that the melody was quite somber, the tune that was playing was filled with deep
despair.  Quatre’s heart ached, his senses picking up on the intense sadness from within the room.  Quatre opened the door, not
surprised by the condition of the room or the instruments within.  He knew that Rasid and his men took care of all the musical
instruments, just in case Quatre should happen to visit and play for them.  It was something that Quatre enjoyed doing,
entertaining those he cared for with an improvised concert, whether violin or some other instrument, it didn’t matter . . . all of
them were kept in perfect condition and regularly tended to.

Quatre frowned, his eyes settling on the small figure of Raberba.  The child was lost in the music that he played, his eyes closed,
his body swaying back and forth slightly with the gentle sad melody that seemed to flow straight out of his heart and soul.  

Quatre knew what was causing this . . . the news of Father Winner’s death.  The child was grieving, a natural response to
hearing of a death to someone so close to him.  Even if the child was merely a clone, he did have Quatre’s memories and to
Raberba, Quatre’s father was his father as well . . . that was one of the reasons why Quatre had suggested being brothers
instead of father and son.  Raberba already had a father to love, the child didn’t need Quatre to take the place of the man they
both had loved and respected.

Without announcing his presence, Quatre strode over to the piano, taking a seat on the bench.  He said nothing, not wanting to
disturb the boy in the midst of such a soulful performance.  Instead, he flipped open the cover and applied his fingers to the
ivory keys, his foot making use of the pedals beneath the large instrument when it was necessary.  Quatre knew the melody that
Raberba was playing, knew it quite well in fact, so it was easy for Quatre to join in and accompany the music that Raberba was
skillfully playing.  It was a silent offer of comfort, a way to tell the child that he was there for him.  He just hoped that the child’
s grief wouldn’t consume him totally . . . not like Quatre’s had.


*****


Trowa sighed as he took the keys from the ignition.  The thought that he might actually have a family was weighing heavily on
his mind.  It was an impossible dream, something he had never thought possible for him to attain.  Still, he wouldn’t get his
hopes up . . . there was a good chance that it merely was coincidence and nothing more.  Catherine might be mistaken about
this.  Her brother had disappeared well over a decade ago.

A gentle tug to his sleeve brought Trowa back to the present.  He turned, looking curiously at Triton and watching the boy’s
eyes fill with confusion.  Triton softly grunted, then turned and pointed out the window at Quatre’s estate, before looking back
at Trowa with a curious expression on his young face.

Trowa understood well enough to answer the unspoken question.  “Yes, this is where we’ll be living.”  Trowa said.  “Quatre
owns this place, and many others like it around the world, even a few on the colonies.”

Triton’s jaw dropped in amazement, his eyes wide as if not believing.  Quietly, he drew his legs up closer to him, wrapping his
arms around his bear as he looked back to the large house.  He was probably afraid, if not of being hurt then of doing something
inside the house that would warrant a punishment.  A place like Quatre’s undoubtedly had breakables in it, and Triton most likely
dreaded breaking one . . . it was an understandable fear.

“Come, let’s go inside.”  Trowa urged, unbuckling his seat belt.  He waited as Triton did the same, then opened his door and got
out.  The boy scooted over on the seat, exiting the truck on the same side as Trowa, as if afraid to leave his side for even an
instant.

Trowa reached into the back of the truck, grabbing the pieces of luggage that he and the boy had, then walked over to the
house, his clone hastily trailing behind him.  He could hear the sounds of laughter, probably from the other clones playing around
the house.  

At the steps, Trowa stopped, his eyes drawn to a figure sitting there.  It was Une’s clone and she looked quite unhappy.  Trowa
wondered why.  She was holding a delicate-looking doll in her arms, a frown set on her young face as she looked down on its
porcelain features.

“Is something wrong?”  Trowa asked, setting his bags down and taking a seat beside the young girl.  Triton remained hidden
behind Trowa, his arms both winding around one of Trowa’s, as well as still holding his bear.

“It’s nothing important.”  The girl whispered, her eyes remaining fixed on her doll.

Trowa didn’t believe that at all, the girl was just trying to make it sound less important for some reason.  “I’m sure there’s
something wrong.  You don’t look happy.  Perhaps I can help.”  Trowa offered.  He lifted a hand, gently pulling back the curtain
of brown hair and tucking it behind her ear.  “I am told that I listen quite well.”

Une’s clone looked up at him, as if studying him to see if he was lying or not.  After a moment of silence, she finally spoke, her
words barely more than a whisper.  “All those other clones . . . they got names or someone told them what they’d be known as
from now on.”  Her frown deepened.  “No one thought to give me one.”  She looked down at her doll again.  “I don’t want to
be like that lady . . . she’s not a nice person.”

Trowa nodded.  “Well, things aren’t exactly easy for Lady Une.  She is the head of the Preventer organization . . . is raising a
child that isn’t even her own . . . and has to deal with Duo all day long.  That would upset anyone to the point of snapping
unnecessarily once and a while.”

Une’s clone giggled, covering her mouth with her hand.  “Mr. Duo isn’t that bad.  He’s fun.  He bought me this doll.”

Trowa smirked a little.  “Actually, Lady Une purchased it.  She did give us all access to her credit and that’s where the money
came from to pay for all the stuff that Duo and the rest of us bought.”

“I still don’t want to be like her.  I want my own name.  I don’t want to be called ‘Une’ like everyone calls her.  That’s my last
name, not the one I want to use every day.”  Une’s clone said indignantly, nodding her head decisively.

“A name of your own, hm?”  Trowa asked, more to himself than anything.  He thought for a moment, then remembered
something.  “How about we call you, Midii?  I knew a girl named Midii once when I was younger.  For a time she was my
friend, the only friend I knew as a child.”

Une’s clone blushed slightly.  “I think that it’s a nice name.  Do you really want to call me by it?”  She looked up at Trowa
hopefully.

Trowa smiled.  “I wouldn’t have suggested it if I didn’t want to.  I think the name would suit you well.”

“I like it.  Thank you, Mr. Trowa.”  She said, then kissed him on the cheek before getting up and running around the house to
where the other children were playing.

Trowa grinned and shook his head, rising to his feet.  He picked up the bags again, then walked into the house, Triton still right
on his heels as he walked.  Trowa looked around at their new home.  He closed the door behind Triton and himself, nearly
tripping before he set the bags down, the far-off sound of a violin drifting to his ears and distracting him briefly.

Instinctively, he follwed the music, Triton’s hand slipping to clasp his palm as they headed deeper into the estate.  Not too long
after the violin started, Trowa was surprised to hear as a piano began accompanying it.  The depressing tune made Trowa feel
concerned about the musicians, hoping that they were not as sad as their song sounded.

It wasn’t long before he found the music room.  The door was already opened, so the both of them just stepped inside.  They
stopped before getting too close, not wanting to disturb either Quatre or his clone as they played their tune, both of them
seemingly lost in the music.  It wasn’t the first time that Trowa had seen Quatre in such a state . . . and still the vision of the
beautiful blonde playing so masterfully tugged at his heartstrings, making him wish for the Arabian to handle him so lovingly as
he did those musical instruments.

Trowa sighed, knowing that the longing wish was no more likely to happen than it was for the clouds to rain elephants . . . it
just wasn’t going to happen.  Triton tugged on Trowa’s hand, gaining the tall ex-pilot’s attention.  Trowa looked down, only to
watch as Triton frowned, grunting a bit as he pointed toward Quatre’s clone.  Trowa turned his gaze to the child Triton was
gesturing to, growing concerned as he watched tears trail down the pale boy’s cheeks.  It was obvious that the tune played by
both blondes came from their hearts . . . and for some reason the both of them were depressed or mourning something.  Trowa
couldn’t help but wonder what was troubling the both of them.

After several long minutes that trailed on for seemingly hours, both Quatre and the child stopped playing.  Quatre wiped a hand
across his eyes, the child’s reaction almost identical as well as in sync with Quatre’s movement.  Without a word, the blonde
child set the violin atop the piano and turned to Quatre, crawling up to sit on his lap, his little body shivering as he clutched
tightly to his older self, weeping against Quatre’s shoulder.

To see Quatre and his younger self so depressed made Trowa’s heart twinge in sympathy.  He ached to take Quatre in his arms
and comfort him, to make him feel better somehow.  But his own fears held him from doing just that . . . his own aversion to
physical contact keeping him from attempting to show such kindness to even someone he wished to be more than just friends
with.

“Quatre . . .”  Trowa spoke up, taking a step further into the room, Triton following quickly behind him.  “You both play
beautifully.  But such a sad melody.”

Quatre turned, offering a false smile.  “Trowa, you’re here.”  He said, stating the obvious, a faint blush touching his cheeks.  
“Thank you for the generous compliment.”  His hands stroked along his clone’s back, soothing the child with gentle touches.  
He spared a short glance down at the child he held, then looked up at Trowa, who by now was standing no more than a few feet
away at most.  “I told Raberba about my father . . . our father.  He’s grieving.”  He said, although Trowa hadn’t asked.

Trowa merely nodded, not knowing what to say.  Instead of using words, Trowa decided to just offer comfort silently.  He set
his hand on Quatre’s shoulder, squeezing briefly before letting go and taking a step back.  “If you need anything . . .”  He said,
leaving the statement open to interpretation.  He would do anything to help Quatre if the blonde needed him.

“Thank you for the offer, Trowa.”  Quatre replied, a tear trailing from one eye quickly to fall from his chin and onto Raberba.  
He shook his head, closing his eyes and taking a long breath before letting it out again.  “The Maguanac are on the way . . .
when they get here, we’re all going to go furniture shopping.  Except for Duo . . . he’s sick and shouldn’t be walking around
right now.  Maybe one of us should stay here with him . . .”

Trowa clearly saw what Quatre was doing.  Quatre had changed the subject, avoiding the pain he felt.  “Quatre . . .”  He said,
stalling when he couldn’t think of one acceptable thing to say in this situation.  Throwing caution aside, Trowa took a seat
beside the blonde Arabian, hesitantly wrapping his arm around Quatre’s back, just barely coming into contact with his body.

Quatre reacted by leaning back against Trowa, still holding onto Raberba as he pressed himself against Trowa’s body.  His tears
fell more steadily now, as he had given up the effort to hide his own sadness.  Trowa quietly held him, saying nothing, just being
there for his friend.  It mattered little at this point that Quatre was touching him, nor that Raberba had also gotten closer and
lashed out, gripping the front of Trowa’s shirt with a small fist.  Triton sat on Trowa’s other side, his head on Trowa’s shoulder
as he held his bear.  Trowa was only concerned with Quatre at this point, seeing to his and his clone’s needs, his fear gone from
his mind as he comforted the child as well as the young beauty who taunted his dreams at night.



To Be Continued . . .