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

Notes:  Trowa takes Quatre and Raberba back to their room.  Heero looks after Duo, then checks on the welfare of the clones.



Young Hearts



Part Eighteen


Trowa helped the tired blonde and his young clone to sit on the bed.  Quatre had directed Trowa to the bedroom that he and
Raberba were currently using.  At the moment, Raberba was sitting across Quatre’s lap, the two of them looking paler than
normal.  Their cheeks were marked by tear tracks, Raberba clinging to his elder self out of what looked to be desperation.

After the episode in the music room, Trowa felt that it would be a good idea for Quatre and Raberba to get some rest . . . they
were both obviously weary.  Trowa knelt down, slipping off Quatre’s shoes and untying Raberba’s sneakers, setting both pairs
of footwear to the side.

He glanced over, noting that his own clone was standing in the doorway, probably wary of entering unfamiliar territory.  Trowa
sighed, rising to his feet.  He gently pushed Quatre back, arranging it so that Raberba lay curled up against him.  The smaller
blonde clutched tightly to Quatre, sniffling sadly as tears fell in rivers from his eyes.

“But I’m not tired, Trowa.”  Quatre complained with a whine, wiping a delicate hand over his own teary eyes.

Trowa flicked his eyes to Raberba, taking note of the child’s condition.  He shook his head, sighing deeply before speaking.  
“Quatre . . . crying wears you out and you know it.  Besides, Raberba probably needs your company right now.  The child is
clinging to you as it is.”

Quatre smiled sadly, running a hand through Raberba’s golden hair.  “Yes, you’re right.  But the Maguanac are on the way . . .
someone has to greet them.”

Trowa pulled the blankets up and over Quatre and Raberba’s forms.  “There are others here that can greet the Maguanac.  When
Rasid and his men get here, I will awaken you.  But right now you do need to sleep, if only for a short time.”

Quatre nodded slightly, wordlessly settling down.  He continually ran his hand through Raberba’s hair, silently offering comfort
to the distressed child.  Trowa turned, but didn’t get a single step before he felt a hand clasp his wrist gently.  He turned, only to
be lost in shimmering aquamarine gems.  “Thank you, Trowa.”  Quatre smiled faintly, releasing his delicate grasp.

Trowa nodded.  He turned and continued on his way to the door, taking hold of Triton’s hand as he reached the doorway.  He
turned back, smirking at the sight of Quatre cuddling close to Raberba, finding the sight to be quite adorable.

Trowa quietly closed the door on the sleeping occupants and headed down the hallway.  He briefly glanced at a door as he was
walking by it when he heard the muted sounds of someone coughing.  Since he had already been informed of Duo's illness,
although not the reason behind it, he steered clear of the door.  The last thing he wanted was for his young clone to get sick.

He smiled briefly as Triton looked up at him.  “No need for you to get sick, right?”  He watched as the child paled a little as he
nodded.  Trowa sighed, kneeling before the child.  “Don’t worry, Triton.  I won’t leave you if you get ill.”  He said, brushing his
fingers through the boy’s hair.  “I promise.”  He hated the ‘Survival of the fittest’ rule that he had been forced to live by.  He’d
nearly been left behind a few times when he had been a child when he had been too sick to keep up with the rest of the
mercenaries as they moved.  He had only kept around during that time because even when sick, he was still entertaining.

He shook off those thoughts as he rose to his feet, taking hold of Triton’s hand as they headed back downstairs.  Trowa picked
up their bags from where he had left them earlier, near the front door.  He started up the stairs again, but stopped as he noticed
Wufei step out of a room, closely followed by his clone.

“It is good to see that you have arrived, Barton.”  Wufei greeted, bowing slightly.

Trowa nodded.  “We arrived a short while ago.”  He said.  “Quatre and Raberba are sleeping and would like us to greet the
Maguanac when they arrive.”

Wufei blinked, his brow furrowing slightly.  “Sleeping?  At this hour?”

“Yes.  Believe me, both of them needed the rest.”  Trowa stated, not going into detail.

“They were the ones I heard playing a few minutes ago . . .”  He said, although he didn’t pause for a reply.  “Grieving is never
easy.”  He shook his head.  “I’ll await the Maguanac’s arrival down here.  You take your belongings upstairs and locate a room.  
We will decide on the room arrangements for the children and ourselves when Quatre is awake.”

Trowa said nothing.  He started on his way up the stairs, knowing that Triton was, as always, right behind him.  However,
before he could take more than two steps, Wufei called out and stopped him.

“Oh!  A word of caution.  Don’t go near the pool.  Duo is sick because his . . . son fell in and had to be rescued.”  Wufei said,
shaking his head.

Trowa paused on the step he was currently on, turning to look at Wufei.  “Son?”

“It was Chibi-Duo’s idea from what I understand.  The rest of us are taking the role of older brothers to our clones.”  Wufei
replied.

Trowa nodded.  “Yes . . . I am more comfortable at this time with the idea of Triton being my younger brother rather than my
son.  But I can understand Chibi-Duo’s need for a father.”

“Triton?”  Wufei queried, looking confused.

“Yes . . .”  Trowa gestured to his clone.  “Catherine named him . . . after her long lost younger brother.”  He said, not telling
Wufei of the part where Trowa might actually be that younger brother himself.  It was best not to hope for a family . . . it
wouldn’t hurt so much when he was let down if he didn’t let himself hope for it.  “If you’ll excuse me . . . these bags are quite
heavy.”

“Sorry to keep you.”  Wufei said.  “I’ll leave you to your task.”

Trowa nodded, then turned back to the stairs, climbing them once again.  Triton followed close behind as they searched out a
place to put their bags for the time being.  He sighed, wondering if Quatre was faring okay or not, hoping the grief wouldn’t
weigh too heavily on the young blonde as he consoled his clone.


*****


Duo pouted, arms crossed over his chest as he glared at Heero.  However, the intimidating effect was completely spoiled by the
presence of a thermometer sticking out of his mouth.  Here he sat, propped up in bed with a number of pillows behind his back,
feeling completely miserable and achy.  He did NOT like being sick.

Heero was sitting on the edge of the bed.  Having gotten dressed while Duo had been eating his breakfast, he was now wearing a
pair of jeans and a plain gray T-shirt, along with the new sneakers that he had bought for himself yesterday.  “Glaring at me and
at the thermometer will not make the readout come faster.”  Heero stated.

Duo huffed, although said nothing, knowing that Heero would just begin again if he accidentally dropped the thermometer from
his mouth.  He just sneered in Heero’s direction, internally muttering various curses in his mind.

When the thermometer finally beeped to let them know it was done, Duo sighed in relief.  He was almost happy to see it done.  
But when Heero shook his head, sighing at the readout, Duo knew that he had a fever.  “Bad?”  Duo asked.

“Quite high.”  Heero replied, turning off the thermometer and setting it on the side of the bedside table.  He then reached over
and picked up a package of cold medicine, popping a couple pills out of the foil backing.

Duo groaned, making a face at the thought of having to take those.  “Do I have to?”  He whined, pouting sadly.

“Look . . . take these now, and you’ll probably be better by tomorrow.  We can stop this before it becomes a major problem.  
Unless you would rather continue to worsen and then you could be stuck in bed for days.”

Duo sighed, taking the pills from Heero’s hand.  He grabbed the glass of water from the bedside table, tossing the pills in his
mouth.  He downed them easily with a few swallows of water, setting the glass back down once he had taken them.  Heero
smirked, apparently happy that he had taken the medication.  “I hate taking stuff that makes me sleepy.”  He grumbled.

“Yeah, I know.  But the sooner you’re out and about, the less time Chibi-Duo has to worry about you.”  Heero replied.

Duo glared.  “That was a low blow, Heero!”

“No.”  Heero shook his head.  “I was just stating a fact.  That kid . . . needs you.”  He frowned, pausing before he asked a
question.  “Were you really like that as a child?”

Duo closed his eyes briefly, taking a breath.  “No, I never had anyone to cling to.  I was always returned to the church before I
could get to that point.”  A thought occurred to Duo and he looked up at Heero, biting his lip nervously before finally speaking
his mind.  “Hey, Heero . . . would you mind checking on the kids for me and telling me how they are?  I-I can’t help but
worry.”  He cast his gaze downward, feeling embarrassed.

“If you want me to do that, I will.  I’ll be back in a few minutes.”  Heero replied, rising from his seat.  Duo watched him leave,
smiling to himself.  He was glad that Heero was being so nice about it.


*****


Heero quietly closed the door behind himself as he left the bedroom.  If Duo needed the reassurance that his clone was well,
then Heero would oblige him.  Duo did need to relax if he was expected to recover his health.

Heero walked through the hall, searching out the children.  He heard laughter outside, and thought that perhaps they were out
there.  It was cold out, but Heero didn’t have his coat . . . no matter, he wasn’t planning on staying outside for more than just a
few minutes.  He walked through the kitchen to the backdoor, thinking it was more likely for them to be out there.  He opened
the door and stepped outside, only to smile as he was met by a pleasing scene.

Chibi-Duo was running around, giggling happily.  After a moment he stopped, slapping Odin on the shoulder.  “Tag!  You're it!”  
The child announced, then took off running.  Odin didn’t move though . . . Heero had been unfamiliar with this game as a child,
so he knew that Odin knew nothing of it.  Chibi-Duo ran back, a confused expression on his young face.  He tapped Odin
again.  “Tag!”  He said, a little more impatiently.  “You’re it!  You’re it!”

The expression on Odin’s face was one of confusion.  “It?”  He asked, his brow furrowed.

Chibi-Duo sighed.  “I tag, you chase me until you tag me.”  Chibi-Duo said.  “Haven’t you ever played tag?”

“Play?”  Odin asked, the concept unfamiliar to him.  All he had known as a child was training and nothing more.  Playing was
not a part of that training.

“Okay . . . basic rules of tag.”  Chibi-Duo said, smirking a little.  “I tap you and run like a bat outta hell.  YOU have to chase me
until you tag me, or someone else.  Let’s see if we can get the others to play.  The more the merrier.  Got it?”

Odin nodded, comprehension visible in his face.  Heero saw that the boy knew what to do now.  

“Good.  Now, tag!”  Chibi-Duo said, an instant before he slapped Odin’s shoulder and took off running.  This time Odin did
chase him, that is until he saw Lena standing nearby, kicking at the ground in a bored manner.  He tagged the young girl, who
immediately chased after him.  It wasn’t long before all of the clones outside were involved in the game, running around quite
happily.

It was nice to see Odin participating in games such as this.  It left Heero sure that Odin would adapt to his new surroundings
and perhaps shed his soldier's instincts in favor of acting more like the child that he was.  With a small smirk present on his
face, Heero turned and walked back inside, content in the knowledge that his clone would be okay in time.

He returned to the bedroom.  Duo was barely awake, nodding off as he waited for Heero.  Heero sighed, helping Duo to lie
down in bed.  “Huh?”  Duo asked, yawning as he repeatedly blinked his tired eyes.  He yawned again, only to end up coughing.  
When he had suitably regained control, he smiled up at Heero.  “The kids okay?”  He asked.

“Yeah.”  Heero said, making sure that Duo was comfortable.  “They’re outside playing.  And Chibi-Duo has gotten the majority
of them, including Odin, to play tag.”

Duo let out a laugh.  “Good!  That kid needs to unwind a little.”  He smiled, his eyes just barely open.  “You ever play tag when
you were a kid?  You ever PLAY when you were a kid?”

Heero chose not to answer that question.  Instead, he changed the subject.  “Hn.  Your mouth is going at a mile a minute, so
your condition can’t be too serious.”  He brought the blankets up over Duo’s body, stopping just under his chin.  “Get some
rest.  I’ll check in on you later.”

Duo nodded slightly, but his eyes were already closed by then.  He fell asleep quickly.  Heero nodded to himself, glad that the
medicine had kicked in.  Duo did need to rest if he was expected to recover.  With a glance at Duo, Heero grabbed his winter
coat and left the bedroom, knowing that he would need it later . . . it was better to take it now, than to disturb Duo’s sleep later
when it was time to leave, although he didn’t really know when they would be leaving.  He paused at the door, casting one last,
worried glance back at Duo.  He hoped for the American’s health . . . not only for Duo’s sake, but for Chibi-Duo’s as well.  The
child needed Duo and the solace that he could provide to the young clone.



To Be Continued . . .