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

Notes:  Another shopping trip.



Young Hearts



Part Twenty-Three


Quatre frowned as he looked around the furniture store, doing a mental count.  Someone was missing, and it didn’t take him a
second glance for him to figure out who it was.  The children - for it was unfair to call them clones all the time - were all
looking at various beds.  

Heero was attempting to keep Chibi-Duo from bouncing on one bed, while Odin and Tian Bao looked on and snickered.  
Milliardo and Treize were simply sitting on the beds they had chosen, whereas Midii and Lena were laying down and giggling
about something or other.  Triton was holding Trowa’s hand, and the boy didn’t look at all comfortable with being here.  The
only one that Quatre didn’t see was Raberba.  Quatre looked around for a moment in worry.

Then he smiled when he saw the boy.  Shaking his head in relief, pushing back his lingering fears, he approached the child.  
“Raberba?”

“Hm?  Oh . . . sorry.  I didn’t mean to fall behind.  Everyone pick?”  He looked a little disheartened.

It took Quatre less than a minute to find out the reason behind his longing expression.  “Everyone except for you and Triton . . .
and I can guess what it is you want.”

He put his hand on the post of the bunk bed that Raberba was looking at.  He smiled gently as the child shrugged and looked
down.  Clearly, he didn’t think that he would be getting the bed that he truly wanted.

“Let’s see what Triton thinks.”  Quatre suggested.  “I’ll be right back.”  Quatre smiled and turned, only to find that Trowa and
Triton were already there.  Kneeling down, he faced the frightened little boy, hoping that Triton wouldn’t run away from him.  
“Oh!  Good . . . what do you think, Triton?  You will, after all, be sharing your room with Raberba.”

The silent little boy looked up at Trowa.  When Trowa nodded, the boy warily walked over to Raberba and tilted his head, biting
his lip nervously.  After a moment, he glanced at the bed.  With one shaking finger, he pointed to himself and with his other
hand, which also trembled, he pointed to the bottom bunk.  Then he switched his pointing to indicate that he wanted Raberba to
take the top bunk.

Quatre and Trowa looked at each other and smiled.  The child was still terrified, and trembled where he stood.  But at least
Triton was starting to communicate and assert himself in little ways.  That was a good thing.

Raberba blinked.  “You want the bottom bunk if we get it?”  At Triton’s nod, Raberba turned to face Quatre.  “Can we get
them?”

Quatre chuckled and nodded.  “To be honest, I always wanted a bunk bed.”

Raberba nodded.  “Father was too scared that I’d fall out, even with the side rails in place.”

Quatre walked over and placed a hand on Raberba’s shoulder.  “I miss him, too.”  Quatre sighed, secretly glad that Raberba
hadn’t had to see what had happened with his own eyes.  That was the hardest thing for Quatre . . . the image of the resource
satellite blowing up with his father still on it.  It had caused Quatre to snap, and he was glad that little Raberba would never have
to deal with that emotional stress.

A hand on his own shoulder, made Quatre turn.  He gave a weak smile to Trowa, who stood beside him.  “Are you okay?”  
Trowa questioned.  Triton, once again, had hidden himself behind Trowa’s body, although he did peek out at Quatre curiously.

“Yeah . . . I’ll be fine.”  Quatre replied.  He took a breath, then sighed.  “Come on, we had better find a salesperson.  I think we’
ve got just about everything we need now.”


*****


Relena sighed and gently pushed Duo to lie down.  “You have GOT to rest, Duo!”

Duo folded his arms and grimaced.  “Relena . . . you KNOW how much I hate being stuck in bed!  I’m very active!  All I
wanna do is move to the sofa downstairs so I can watch TV.”

Relena crossed her arms over her own chest.  “You must not be thinking straight, Duo.  You know how susceptible children are
to illnesses.  You could be contagious.”

Duo let out a breath and fell back to lie down.  “I’m gonna go nuts here in a minute.”  He groaned, throwing an arm over his
face.

Relena smiled.  “How about a compromise?  I think I saw a small TV somewhere when Heero was showing me around earlier.  
If you promise to stay put while I go look for it, I’ll bring it in here.  I’ll make you some tea too.”

“That would be great.”  Duo grinned.  “Oh, and I like six spoons of sugar and a little milk.”

“All right.  You stay put and I’ll be right back.”  Relena smiled, taking a moment to brush her fingers along Duo’s cheek.  She
was pleased to find that his skin didn’t feel quite as warm as it had only a few hours ago.

She had only just gotten the kettle on, when she heard the front door open.  Curious to know who was home so early, she
walked out, only to find Rasid and several other Maguanac bringing furniture in through the front door.  They set one rather
comfortable looking sofa down in the living room.

“That was quick.”  Relena commented.  “I didn’t expect anyone back for hours yet.”

Rasid turned to her and bowed respectfully.  “Yes . . . Master Quatre already knew what he wanted before going to the furniture
store . . . for the most part anyway.  It took three stores to get everything we require.”  Rasid paused to glance around the
room.  “We brought an empty truck as well . . . we’ll be taking out the remainder of our belongings, as well as items that Master
Quatre has no further use for.  I believe we will start down here.”

“Just let me know when you’re ready to begin with the bedrooms and Duo and I will get out of your way.”  Relena smiled.

“Of course, Miss Relena.”  Rasid replied, bowing again.

Relena then went back to what she had been doing earlier.  She readied the tea, then found the television she had promised to
look for.  She took the television to Duo first, deciding his tea could wait a moment . . . besides, she knew that he was already
bored, no need to make him wait any longer for something to occupy him.  The smile on his face was more than enough thanks
for her as she hooked it up and handed over the remote.

Duo immediately began flipping through the channels.  Shaking her head in amusement, Relena left the bedroom and retrieved
the cups of tea . . . she had made one for herself as well.  Duo thanked her as he sipped at his, having settled on watching some
classic movie Relena didn’t know the name of.


*****


Heero sighed as he turned off the ignition of the car.

“Why’re we here?  I thought that guy with the funny hat was gonna buy food at that big warehouse.”

Heero glanced at Chibi-Duo in the rearview mirror.  “Ahmad bought the things that we’ll be using a lot of at the wholesale store.  
Things like milk, eggs, bread, meats and such.  Unfortunately, there is very little by way of selection there, so we’re here to buy
specific items.”

Chibi-Duo nodded.  “It’ll be interestin’ ta not steal food from a market for a change.”

Odin frowned at Chibi-Duo.  “You stole food?”

Chibi-Duo nodded again.  “Had to.  Either that or starve, and starvin’ is worse than freezin’.  Least if ya freeze, ya just feel
sleepy after a while.  S’why the chill after being in the water wasn’t too bad.”

Heero paused and turned in his seat to look at the child form of Duo, as Lena leaned over the seat that she was in to look at him.  
“You’ve frozen?”

“Almost froze solid b’fore Solo found me.”  Then the child shrugged as if it was no big deal.

Odin’s frown deepened and he reached over to grab Chibi-Duo’s braid lightly.  “Never gonna happen again.”  He said with a
nod, his face portraying nothing but seriousness.

Heero smiled warmly at the protectiveness that Odin was showing for the slightly smaller boy.  “Odin is right.  We’ll make sure
you never feel cold or hungry again.”  At the smile Chibi-Duo gave, Heero opened the car door.  “All right . . . everybody out.”

Lena bounced a little as she moved to walk beside Heero, taking hold of his hand.  “Umm . . . Mister Heero?”

Heero looked down at the girl.  “You can leave off the ‘Mister’ part, Lena.  What is it?”

The girl turned to whisper with Midii for a second, then turned back to Heero.  “We wanna help!  Can we?  Please?”

Heero looked at the two young girls who seemed so eager to assist.  “Very well.  Abdul is going to pick up cereal and the like.”  
He nodded to Abdul as the man got out of the van parked next to Heero’s vehicle.  “Abdul was told what cereals each of you
young ones like.  Stay with him.  Okay?”

Lena and Midii cheered and followed the good-natured Maguanac into the store, each of them letting Abdul hold hands with
them as they moved across the parking lot to the entrance.

Chibi-Duo looked up at Heero, both he and Odin allowing Heero to take hold of their hands.  “What’re WE getting?”  He asked.

Heero smiled as he entered the store and saw that they had carts with seats for older children.  “Walk or ride?”  He asked.  Since
both boys wanted to walk, he got a regular cart.  “We’re picking up the produce.”  He said in answer to Chibi-Duo’s question.

“Huh?”  Chibi-Duo looked at Heero in confusion.  “What’s that?”

Odin answered.  “Fruits and veg-eat-ables.  They’re important.”

Chibi-Duo beamed.  “They’re yummy, too!  Are we gonna get apples?  I know how to pick the best ones!”

Heero smiled back, if only briefly.  “Apples, pears, peaches, oranges, bananas, cherries . . . I think Quatre said something about
liking grapes.  And then there are the vegetables.  Cucumbers, celery, carrots . . .”

“YUCK!”  Chibi-Duo exclaimed, making a face that clearly declared he didn’t like that certain vegetable.  “I don’t like those
mushy carrots!”

Heero chuckled.  “You never will.  That’s why I steam them so they’re still crunchy.  We also have to get a great deal of salad
items.  So . . . Chibi-Duo, you can pick out the fruit since you’re the expert, and Odin can help me with the vegetables.  Deal?”

Chibi-Duo nodded enthusiastically.

“Good, then let’s go.”  Heero nodded.  He watched for a moment as Chibi-Duo went skipping off over to the apples, then turned
to gather the needed vegetables with Odin, always keeping Chibi-Duo within eyesight.  He didn’t want to lose the child.



To Be Continued . . .