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

Notes:  Relena arrives and meets the clones.  I warn you, this is a nice Relena.

Young Hearts

Part Twenty-Two

Relena smiled as she approached the door.  She was glad that Heero had called her, even though his reasons were not the best.  
She liked all of the pilots, but Duo had a certain charisma.  When he smiled, it made her want to smile as well.  Not that she was
interested in Duo in a romantic way, but he - like Heero - was sort of a protective brother to her . . . he was family, as much as
any of the pilots were, although she hadn’t said so to any of them.

She brushed some imaginary dust from her slacks and rang the doorbell, nervously flipping her bangs back and hoping that she
didn’t look a fright.  This was a one of a kind moment . . . she was about to meet herself in a few moments.  Still, even though
she was a bit nervous, she had to fight off a laugh when she heard a young voice yell from the other side of the door.

“I’ll get it!  Hey . . . lemme down, okay, Rasid?”

She could hear Wufei’s warning to the child to be careful and tried to imagine who it was that would be answering.  The little
voice called from the other side of the door.

“Who’s there . . . OH!  Thanks!”

From the shadows moving against the peep hole, Relena guessed that someone had lifted the child up to see.  Her suspicions
were confirmed when she heard the child describing her appearance.  A moment later, the door opened and Relena forced
herself not to let out a squeal of delight at just how adorable the little boy was.  She crouched down and smiled at what was
obviously Duo’s clone.  ‘And no one ever adopted him?  I wonder why.’  She smiled and held her hand out.

“Hello.  My name is Relena.  What’s yours?”

“Ummm . . . Chibi-Duo . . . ummm . . .”  The little Duo looked behind him and then looked at Relena a few times.

It was then that Relena glanced over and smiled at the little girl that was her own clone.  The child was hiding behind Wufei,
obviously wary of her.  Relena merely smiled.  “Hello there.  You can come closer, I won’t bite.”

The little girl came forward and looked at her curiously.  A young boy with long blonde hair, obviously the clone of Milliardo,
stepped over beside the little girl and openly stared at Relena.  “You . . . you look like my mama.”  He said in a whispered voice.

The little girl smiled.  “Will I really be as pretty as you when I grow up?”

Relena smiled and nodded.  Then she looked up at Wufei.  “Lady Une called and informed me of the situation yesterday, but I
didn’t want to show up unannounced.  So in that aspect, I’m glad that Heero called and asked if I could come look after Duo.”  
Before she could continue, Chibi-Duo spoke up.

“Are you SURE you can look after my daddy?”  There was a stubborn look about him that echoed his older self.  She found it

“Yes.  I’ve been called in on a few occasions when he was ill and needed someone to make sure he took care of himself.”  She
smiled and turned her gaze back to Wufei.  “Lady Une has tried to contact my brother and Miss Noin, but she hasn’t been able
to reach them as of yet.  You know how they get when they’re in the middle of a project.”

“I quite understand.”  Wufei nodded.  “Allow me to make introductions . . . everyone except Heero and Duo are in the kitchen.”  
Wufei offered, gesturing for Relena to enter the house.

She did, and closed the door behind herself.  A little hand slipped into hers, and she looked down, smiling when she saw Chibi-
Duo holding her hand.  The little boy was simply adorable . . . Relena couldn’t help but want to smother him with hugs and
kisses . . . but she decided not to do that just yet.

“Be warned . . .”  Wufei said, gaining Relena’s attention once again.  “Trowa’s clone is . . . skittish . . . of any and all human
contact.  Don’t approach him unless you assure him of friendship and ask his permission beforehand.  Also, he does not speak,
so attempting to engage him in conversation would be a wasted effort.”

“I’ll be cautious of him.”  Relena replied, following Wufei into the kitchen.  She smiled warmly when she was brought face to
face with the rest of the clones.

Chibi-Duo took his hand away from hers and ran over to another little boy . . . most definitely the clone of Heero.  What a sweet
looking little boy, she thought, although the cold expression on his face made her worry for him.  The worry she felt faded a bit
though when Chibi-Duo poked him and told him to quit the glaring.  The coldness in the boy’s expression then thawed a little
into neutral.  ‘He’s deciding what to make of me . . . which is to be expected.’

She entered the kitchen and fought off a laugh as she saw Quatre and his clone eating almost completely in synch.  The same
could be said about Trowa and his own little clone, although the two of them merely sipped at some beverage.  Relena smiled
kindly at the boy when he looked up at her with a startled expression.

Relena took a moment to collect her thoughts, feeling as if there were some clones she had not had the opportunity to meet yet.  
‘Okay . . . I’ve met Duo’s, Milliardo’s, and my own . . . seen Heero’s, Trowa’s and Quatre’s.  Where . . . Oh!’  She looked
around at the sound of a slight scuffle and smiled in amusement.  Wufei’s and Treize’s clones were playing what looked like tug-
o-war with a plastic jar of peanut butter.

“I had it first!”  Wufei’s clone tugged.

“I’m older!”  Treize’s clone tugged back.

“Not by much!”  Wufei’s clone tried to yank the jar away, and failed.  Treize’s clone was obviously stronger than him . . .
probably because he was larger and most obviously older in appearance.

Relena was about to step in and break up the fight when Lady Une’s clone nabbed the jar from both of them, causing both boys
to stumble a little.  “I’ll make ‘em.  Besides . . . fighting’s not right.”  She said, nodding to herself as she climbed up onto a chair
so that she would be able to better reach the counter where a loaf of bread and a butter knife were waiting.

Relena let out a little snort.  It was funny hearing any form of Lady Une saying something like that.  It wasn’t long before Wufei
introduced Relena to each child in turn, telling her the names they now went by.  Trowa’s clone . . . Triton . . . scurried out of
his seat and hid under the kitchen table when Wufei gestured toward him.  Apparently, he hadn’t appreciated getting the
attention.  Trowa sighed, but made no move to go after his clone.

Relena diverted her attention away from the frightened boy.  “So . . . where is Duo?”

“I’ll show you!”  Chibi-Duo volunteered, grabbing Relena’s hand.

“You are not to go into that bedroom, Chibi-Duo.”  Wufei warned.

“I know.  I know.”  Chibi-Duo sighed dejectedly.  “But I can at least show her where the room is.”

Relena smiled.  “That you can.”  She spared a glance back at Wufei.  “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure he doesn't go into the room.”

Wufei nodded his acceptance, but said nothing in reply.

Chibi-Duo pulled on Relena’s hand and she obliged by following the boy.  He led her upstairs and down a long hallway.  Finally,
they stopped outside one of the rooms.  “This is it.”  He said, letting go of her hand as he pointed to the wooden door.  “My
daddy’s in there.”

Relena smiled, setting her hand down on Chibi-Duo’s head, lightly ruffling his hair.  “Thank you for showing me the way.  Don’
t you worry, I’ll take good care of your daddy and see to it that he’s up and around in no time at all.”

Chibi-Duo let out a happy giggle and threw himself at Relena, hugging her with enthusiasm.  Relena returned the embrace, then
blinked and watched as the boy drew himself away and skipped off down the hall, returning the way they had come only a few
moments ago.  She shook her head with a small smile and knocked on the bedroom door.

Heero opened it a mere moment later and nodded in greeting.  “That was fast.  I only called an hour ago.”

Relena smiled and entered the room.  “I was all set up to leave the instant you called me.  You see?  I have learned not to pop up
unannounced.”  She turned and smiled at Duo, who was grinning at her in return.  “And you will be pleased to know that I did
NOT use the pink limo today.”  To her delight, Heero let out a brief snort of laughter and Duo snickered a moment before
erupting into a light coughing fit.  “Are you taking something for that?”

Duo made a face that said he was none too happy.  “Yeah . . . some cold capsules.  They knock me out.”

Relena nodded.  “But that means you’re resting like you’re supposed to be.”  She walked over and placed her hand on Duo’s
forehead, nodding when she could feel that he was only a little warm.  “It doesn’t seem too bad.  I’ve met the kids.  Your little
one seems to have a good influence on Heero’s . . . brother, was it?”

Heero nodded.  “Only Duo has adopted his clone as a son.”

Relena smiled.  “I’ll see if I can get the paperwork together to make it legal then.”

Duo’s eyes widened, a look of pure pleasure entering his sparkling eyes.  “Really?  That would be AWESOME!  It’ll do him a
world of good.”

Relena beamed at Duo.  “Really.  He’s so adorable, Duo . . . and so sweet.  It makes me wonder.”

Duo’s smile saddened a little.  “I was too smart and too energetic.  I got into fights because I didn’t take anyone’s crap.  I was a
troublemaker.”  He sighed.  “And, after a while, my behavior just tested the people . . . I was testing to see just how long they
would put up with me.”

Relena felt sadness for her friend well up within her and she leaned forward to hug him close.  “Is that why you constantly
press Wufei and Heero’s buttons?  You think that they’ll just toss you out?”

Heero’s voice came from behind her.  “Hn . . . Baka.”  He said, turning and quickly heading over to the door.  “I’ll go get some
juice . . . it’s time for him to take his medicine again.”  He left, not saying anything further.

“I guess he doesn’t care.”  Duo muttered quietly, his eyes downcast.

Relena shook her head, smiling sadly as she stroked her hand along Duo’s warm face.  “He does care, Duo.  He just . . . well, he
never was good at expressing his feelings.”

Duo didn’t meet her gaze.  He simply took hold of her hand, saying nothing.  Relena quietly held his hand, hoping that it was
giving Duo some amount of comfort.

To Be Continued . . .