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

Notes:  Quatre, Trowa, and Wufei head to the toy store with the children.  Quatre is shocked when Triton does something

Young Hearts

Part Twenty-Four

Quatre chuckled as he led Raberba into the toy store.  This was something else he had missed out on when he had been a child
himself.  Being the son of a noted businessman made it too dangerous for him to be out in the open, or so his father had often

“Well . . . go on and look around.  Pick something you’d want to play with.”  He looked over to where Triton was looking up at
Trowa with an air of uncertainty.

Trowa knelt down to be at eye level with the boy.  “It’s all right, Triton.  We know you already have the bear.  You can get
something else.  Right Quatre?”

Quatre followed Trowa’s lead and knelt by the boy, far enough away so as not to make the child nervous.  “That’s right . . . go
ahead and pick something.  No one will get angry with you.”  As the boy nervously released Trowa’s hand, Quatre smiled in

When both of them stood after Triton had skittered off, Trowa shook his head.  “He’s waiting for the blow to come.  The thing
that will prove to him that this is all a farce to lure him in.  It will take a while for him to trust anyone.”

Quatre turned and smiled warmly at Trowa.  “He will learn to trust, my friend, Trowa . . . YOU did, after all.”

Trowa offered a brief, fleeting smile.  “Thanks.”  He whispered quietly, then turned and walked away, probably in search of
Triton to keep an eye on the boy.

Quatre merely watched him leave . . . sighing as he watched Trowa.  He would like to be more than just a friend, but that was
unlikely, and Quatre wouldn’t risk their friendship for his own small hopes.  He shook his head, sighing again before he walked
further into the store and went to see what the other children had chosen.

A number of  hours later, the kids were finally ready to leave.  The kids had all chosen their toys . . . strangely Tian Bao had
chosen a stuffed animal, a panda, although Quatre hadn’t thought that the boy would want something like that.  Of course Wufei
also purchased a good deal of games, chess and checkers, and several other strategy games, not just for Tian Bao, but for the
other children as well.

Triton had mostly picked out coloring books and crayons, a couple of pads of paper that he could draw on.  Raberba, to Quatre’
s amusement had picked a stuffed dog that was bigger than he was . . . the poor boy couldn’t even carry it around without
falling over.  Quatre had decided to splurge and purchase a video game system and several games geared toward children . . . as
well as accessories so that multiple people could play at the same time.

Treize had taken a liking to interlocking building blocks, as well as a remote controlled racing car.  And Milliardo seemed to
enjoy the several packs of toy cars that he had found, as well as the number of puzzle books.  Quatre smiled, glad that the kids
had toys they’d like.  All the children had something now and Trowa and Wufei were standing at the checkout getting ready to
purchase the items.

However, one child was unaccounted for.

“One moment . . . I think Triton is still looking.”  Quatre said, squeezing Trowa’s arm briefly.  “I’ll go see if I can find him.”

Trowa looked around and nodded.

Quatre hurried around the store, hoping to find the child before Trowa and Wufei got to the cashier.  If Triton wanted
something else, he’d probably feel bad if they had to bother the cashier again.  Quatre didn’t want the boy to feel guilty, not
when he was already such a timid child.

At the sound of a soft giggle, Quatre walked over to the educational section.

“The cow says . . .”  The electronic voice said, followed by the unmistakable sound of a cow mooing.

Led by the sound, Quatre found Triton.  What happened next took Quatre by complete and total surprise.  Had it been any of the
other children, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal.  But it wasn’t any of them . . . it was Triton.

“Moo . . .”  Triton giggled after mimicking the sound in a softly spoken voice.

Quatre took a few steps back, nearly falling to the floor in his shock.  He sidestepped into another aisle, out of eyesight of
Triton, letting himself gain his composure again.  The boy had spoken . . . he had actually opened his mouth and made a sound .
. . Quatre couldn’t get over that.

He took a few deep, calming breaths, then stepped back into the aisle, smiling as he approached Triton slowly.  He didn’t see
any need to embarrass the child, so fought to suppress the urge to jump for pure joy as he announced his presence with a calm

“There you are.”  He said softly, walking toward the boy with cautious steps.  He was glad when Triton didn’t turn and run off,
or cower before him.  Still, the child looked quite frightened.  “We’re about ready to leave.  Have you found something else you
like?”  He kept his voice encouraging, knowing that positive influences would do the boy good.

After a few moments, Triton held up the electronic toy with unsteady hands, his eyes swimming with hope and nervousness.

Quatre felt like dancing with delight.  ‘I will HAVE to tell Trowa.  This is a good thing.’  He took the toy from Triton and
reached over to get a few interchangeable cards, smiling at the look of awe and gratitude that Triton had on his face.

“Come along, Triton . . . the others will be waiting.”  He smiled warmly as Triton walked in front of him, thrilled by the simple
show of trust.  ‘This is very good.’

Upon their return to the checkout lane, Quatre set the toy and cartridges on the conveyor belt, noticing that Trowa had taken
notice of it and was looking at him curiously.  Quatre gave Wufei a smile, doing a quick headcount to make sure all of the
children were there before he spoke.

“Wufei . . . Trowa and I will be right back.  I just have to make sure we have everything.”  Quatre said, laying his hand on
Wufei’s arm for a moment.

“Why do you need Trowa?”  Wufei asked, but shook his head before Quatre could give any sort of reply.  He rapidly fell into
grumbling, shaking his head again.  “Leaving me with all the toys . . . injustice.”

Quatre smiled faintly, then moved away from the checkout.  Trowa followed behind him.  Once they were out of sight of the
others and away from anyone who could overhear, Trowa spoke up.

“What’s this all about?  And why did you get that for Triton?”  Trowa inquired.

“Because I found him with it.”  Quatre replied, knowing that he was smiling.  “Trowa . . . he repeated after it.  Sure, it was just
to mimic a cow, but isn’t that a good thing?  And he does want the toy.  It would be wrong not to encourage him.”

Trowa blinked, shaking his head briefly.  “Wait . . . back up a second.  He repeated after it?”

Quatre nodded enthusiastically.  “Yes . . . true, all he said was ‘moo’ but that’s better than nothing, isn’t it?  And a couple of the
cards will get him repeating letters and numbers.”  Quatre sighed, remembering the look on the boy’s face when he had walked
over to him.  “When I first approached him, he looked as if I had caught him doing something bad and that he’d be punished for
it.  I think it shocked him when I took it along with those other cards.  He really wants the toy, Trowa.  Maybe it’s his way of
testing us to be sure he is allowed to speak.  And then he walked AHEAD of me, Trowa . . . he turned his back on me.”

“All right . . . calm down.  It is wonderful.”  Trowa said, smiling warmly.  “And it makes me glad that you were the one who
happened upon him.  He’d have hidden it from everyone else, I believe.”  He looked around briefly, then plucked a handheld
electronic game off of a shelf . . . it was various casino games.  “For Duo.”

Quatre smiled.  “He’ll love it.  Come on, let’s go . . . I don’t think Wufei appreciated being left alone with all of the children and

The two of them returned to the checkout line, Quatre smiling shyly to Wufei in apology.  As they waited for the cashier to
finish ringing everything up, Quatre noticed that Triton was looking a little bit tired.  The boy was rubbing his eyes wearily.  
After a few moments, he stepped over to Trowa and tugged on the tall young man’s jeans, gaining his attention.  Grunting a
little, Triton raised his arms, silently requesting to be picked up.

“Tired, eh little one?”  Trowa smirked, bending slightly and indulging the boy’s request.

Triton merely yawned and wrapped his arms around Trowa, laying his head against his elder self’s shoulder.  He snuggled close,
a soft grunt passing his lips as he closed his eyes.  Quatre was glad to see that Triton trusted Trowa so much . . . to allow
himself to be held without hesitation . . . he hoped that one day Triton would allow other people to touch him, to allow physical
contact from others.

They left the store shortly after that.  Wufei and Quatre packed all of the toys into the back of the van, while Trowa got into the
back seat, Triton still sleeping against him.  None of the three adults had wanted to disturb the boy’s sleep, and Trowa worried
that Triton would be frightened if he awakened somewhere other than where he had fallen asleep . . . so Trowa would continue
to hold him.

Once everything was inside the van, Wufei ushered the children inside.  Quatre stepped forward then, having had a sudden

“Just a moment, Wufei.  I need to speak with Raberba a moment.”  Quatre said, placing a hand on the boy’s shoulder as Wufei
nodded and got into the driver’s seat.  He smiled and knelt in front of the worried-looking child.  “It’s all right, Raberba.  You
haven’t done anything wrong.”  Quatre assured the boy.  “I just want to ask you a favor.”

Raberba frowned for a moment, then shrugged.  “What is it?”

Quatre took a deep breath.  He knew that he was going to be asking a lot of Raberba.  “It’s about Triton.  You’ll be sharing a
bedroom with him, so there’s something you should be careful of.  Well, there are probably several things to be careful of, but
this one is very important.”  Quatre took another breath.  “One of his choices for a toy was an electronic game.  It’s educational
and geared toward young children so they can learn their alphabets and numbers and other things.”  Quatre brought his hand up
to caress the little boy’s face.  “It is really important that you don’t tease him if you catch him repeating anything the toy says.  
Do you understand?  Can you do that?  You don’t have to be outwardly nice . . . just don’t tease him.  Please?”

Raberba looked over to the van, to where Triton was curled up, asleep in Trowa’s arms.  Then he nodded.  “I won’t tease him.”

Quatre smiled, softly stroking the side of Raberba’s face.  “Thank you . . . I’m sure you’ve noticed how quiet he is.  Even if he
doesn’t know you’re being nice to him, I do . . . and I appreciate it greatly.”

Raberba’s cheeks turned pink and he shyly lowered his gaze.  He was a kind boy, really he was . . . it was just that he was
afraid of being himself, of lowering his guard.  Quatre understood that.

“Now, come on and get in the car.  We’re heading home.”  Quatre said, offering a smile.  “I’m sure your room is all set up by
now.  The Maguanac always do their work impeccably well and with haste.”

Raberba smiled brightly and all but clambered into the car next to where Trowa was sitting.  Quatre got in after him, closing the
door as soon as he was sure that everyone was all settled within the car.

To Be Continued . . .