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

Notes:  Trowa wakes up and notices that Triton has wandered off.

Young Hearts

Part Twenty

Trowa awoke with the distinct impression that something was missing.  He didn’t recall when he had fallen asleep, his last
memory of him being by the bed and watching his clone.  He had been kneeling on the floor, his fingers brushing along the
sleeping child’s scalp.  And so, he was still kneeling on the floor, his head having been laying on the surface of the bed.  He
rubbed his neck as he righted himself, stifling a yawn with the back of his other hand.

Looking to where Triton had been sleeping, he noticed that the child was no longer there.  Trowa did a quick scan of the room
and sighed when he didn’t see the boy anywhere.  He had hoped that the boy wouldn’t need to do this.  Trowa calmly stood and
stretched, sighing as a number of his joints cracked.  Had it been any of the other children, he might have worried.  But this was
Triton . . . and the only reason that Triton would go anywhere without Trowa was if the child wanted to find places to hide.  
Trowa understood the child’s need, and he knew that he wouldn’t scold Triton for wanting some aspect of control and safety.

Trowa headed downstairs and noted all the places that he thought Triton might be without actually checking.  There was no
danger to the boy, so he’d let Triton hide for now.  Besides, it was time for lunch, so he meant to make something for himself
as well as his clone, knowing that if he was hungry, Triton would come out.

He reached the bottom step just as someone rang the doorbell.  Wufei was already en route to the door, coming from the
kitchen, when Trowa felt a small hand slip into his.  Trowa looked down, only to see Triton looking back, his green eyes wide
with nervousness.

“It’s all right, Triton.”  Trowa smiled kindly at the child.  “I’m not angry with you.  I want you to feel safe here.  And if finding
places to hide, even from me, makes you feel safe . . . then you can find all the hiding places you want.”  The answering smile
that Triton gave him, warmed Trowa’s heart.  

Trowa looked to the door and tensed a little as Wufei started to open it.  Seeing who stood just outside the door, he had a feeling
that he would need to catch Triton quickly and calm the child before he went into hiding and didn’t come out again.

As soon as the door was fully opened, Rasid entered the house and spoke in that deep baritone that went to the very center of a
person’s being.  “Greetings, Mister Chang.  I trust that everything is well?”

Trowa sensed as Triton stiffened beside him and waited until the last second to pick Triton up to prevent him from bolting.  He
remembered his own nervousness when he had first met the members of the Maguanac.  Although he had not shown it
outwardly, he had been quite scared.  So he knew that Triton had to be completely terrified.

He held Triton securely in his arms as the boy let out little sobbing sounds, thrashing and struggling against his elder self.  “Sshh
. . . sshh.  It’s okay, Triton.”  Trowa said, attempting to soothe the boy with whispered words.  “They won’t hurt you.  You’re
safe.  It’s okay.”  He shook his head at Rasid as the tall man took a step forward.  “Don’t.  It wouldn’t help any.”  He warned,
rubbing Triton’s back.  He continued to talk softly to the child, knowing that he had to do something to ease his frightened
spirit.  “I know . . . I felt pretty much the same way when I first met them.  It’s okay.”

Abdul, easily the least threatening of the Maguanac, took a few cautious steps forward.  “Hey there, little guy.”  He said quietly.

Triton turned his head to regard Abdul with wary and frightened eyes, still pushing against Trowa’s chest in an attempt to get
away from him and all the strange men that stood around the room.

Abdul smiled and took off his sunglasses, keeping his movements slow.  “A peace offering?”  He held the shades out for Triton
to take.

Trowa smiled as Triton looked around at the Maguanac in the room.  He knew what the child was thinking . . . that if the
Maguanac had really wanted to hurt them, they could easily have done so already.  “It’s okay, Triton.  They won’t hurt you.  
This is Abdul . . . that’s Rasid, over there is Ahmad and Auda . . . they’re friends of ours.”  

He watched as Triton slowly reached forward and snatched the sunglasses from Abdul.  Then the child clung to Trowa, digging
his small fingers into Trowa’s skin as he attempted to bury himself.  

Trowa sighed deeply, the child held in his arms finally giving up his futile struggles, latching to Trowa out of pure terror.  
“Yeah.  I know.  Had I been small enough the first time I met them, I would have done the same thing.”  He rubbed Triton’s
back, feeling as the trembling set in.

“Will he be okay?”  Rasid asked, keeping his distance from both Trowa and Triton.

Trowa nodded, holding his trembling clone and feeling as the child wept against him.  “He’s just frightened.  He’ll be fine.  Just
keep your distance from him.”  He turned to go into the kitchen, only to stop as Heero blocked his path.

“Does this belong to him?”  Heero asked, holding out a stuffed bear.

Trowa nodded.  “Yes, it does.”  He lightly shook the child in his arms, hoping to gain his attention.  “Look, Triton . . . Heero
found your bear.”

Triton raised his gaze, blinking at Heero with reddened, teary eyes.  With a shaking hand, he reached out and timidly took the
bear from Heero, then clutched it to himself as he buried his face against Trowa’s chest.

Trowa sighed.  “Come on . . . let’s get some food into you, okay?”  He smiled a little at Heero, nodding slightly.  “Thanks.”

Heero simply nodded in reply and headed upstairs, probably to check on Duo or the kids.

Trowa watched as Heero left, then turned and walked to the kitchen, deciding to get Triton away from the crowded
entranceway.  He was glad that this room was unoccupied.  “Okay . . . let’s see what we have here.”  He opened the
refrigerator and sighed at the lack of food inside.  There was very little to work with in there.  There were some salad items and
some milk and juice on the almost empty shelves, but little else.  Trowa spied a couple packages of cold cuts and nodded.  If he
could find a loaf of bread, then he could start Triton on the very basics of cooking.

Still holding Triton in his arms, Trowa reached in and pulled out a package of sliced turkey and spoke softly.  “Hey, you think
you can get that jar of mayonnaise for me?  It’s that white stuff there on the middle shelf.”

Triton pulled back away from Trowa a little and blinked at him before looking in the open fridge.  After a moment, the child
reached in and pulled out the jar that Trowa had requested.

“Great.  Now . . . let’s find a loaf of bread.”  He put the turkey on the counter and smiled as Triton put the jar of mayo down as
well.  Then he turned and started looking through the cabinets.  ‘Come on . . . I KNOW we have some . . . ah!’  He found a loaf
of bread and returned to the counter.  Then he set Triton down on a nearby stool and smiled as the child clung to his bear.  
“Now . . . do you want tomato on this?”

Triton nodded.

Trowa motioned toward the fridge.  “You can go get it.  If you see anything else you want in there, bring it to me.”  He watched
as Triton climbed down, still holding his bear, and walked to the refrigerator.  He waited while the child looked around.  After a
moment, Triton walked back to the counter.  He had a tomato in one hand, his bear in the other, and a head of iceberg lettuce
under an arm.  Abdul’s sunglasses were hanging from the neck of his shirt . . . the boy probably didn’t want to lose them.

Trowa chuckled lightly as he got two plates, the cutting board, a butter knife, and a sharp knife to cut the tomato with.  Then he
helped Triton back onto the stool.  “Okay, will you put everything on the bread?”  At Triton’s look, he nodded.  “I like to cook.  
I started cooking when I was a little older than you are now.  It . . . it helps to do something, doesn’t it?”

Triton frowned in thought for a few moments, then nodded as a tiny smile came to his face.

Trowa handed the butter knife to Triton and stood beside the boy, supervising the child as he made two sandwiches.  While
Trowa watched the boy’s progress, he kept himself busy, cutting a few slices of tomato.  When the top piece of bread was set
on the sandwiches, Trowa and Triton sat at the kitchen table.  Both drinking a glass of milk, they ate their lunch in silence.  
Trowa was glad to see that Triton had calmed.

To Be Continued . . .