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

Notes:  Heero and the others return home from shopping.  Duo is allowed to leave the bedroom to spend time with Chibi-Duo.  
And Raberba gets to know Triton better.



Young Hearts



Part Twenty-Five


Heero smiled as he opened the door to the estate, letting the kids run in ahead of him.  “Your stuff should be in your rooms
already.  Why don’t you go and play while I check up on Duo?”

Chibi-Duo paused and looked solemnly at Heero.  “Will you let me see my daddy if he’s feeling better?”

Heero knelt down to be at eye-level with the boy.  “I promise.  If I feel that you can visit Duo, I will call you.”

Chibi-Duo stood there for a moment, and then lashed out to give Heero a quick hug.  Then he was gone, heading upstairs with
Odin in tow.

Heero smiled at the little giggle that he heard coming from his own adopted brother.  ‘Ah, Duo . . . seeing Odin so happy makes
me wish that I had known you when I was a child.’  He sighed, clearing away the thoughts . . . it would do no good to dwell on
them now.

He caught a glance of movement and stood, halting Ahmad as he was carrying some of the groceries in from the cars.  Heero
snagged a couple of items from the bag, heading to the kitchen briefly to rinse off something before he headed up to the room
that he shared with Duo, taking with him a number of paper towels as well.


*****


Duo sighed as he watched the program that was currently on television.  Relena had left him alone a few minutes ago, saying
that she had to go to the bathroom, but Duo didn’t mind.  Hey, when you had to go you just had to go.

He heard a light knocking, but chose to ignore the sound.  Only his friends knew he was here, and an enemy probably wouldn’t
bother knocking . . . so he doubted that he was in any danger.  Much to his delight, Heero walked into the bedroom, holding
something behind his back with one hand.

“Is the program so interesting that you didn’t even hear me knock?”

Duo blinked and smiled brightly at Heero.  “Hey!  I thought it was Relena.  She said she was going to go to the bathroom . . .
should be back any time now.  I was about to ask why she was knocking.”  He sat up a little straighter.  “Hey, Heero?  I’m
feeling TONS better . . . do ya think I can get up now?”  All he wanted to do was to find his newly adopted son and hold him to
assure the kid that everything was okay.

Heero held up a finger.  “One moment . . .”  He picked up the thermometer that he had left in the room earlier and shook it.  
“Open.”

Duo rolled his eyes, but did as he was told.  He hated this part, but if it would get him out of bed, then he wouldn’t complain.

Heero nodded when he pulled the thermometer out of Duo’s mouth.  “Your temperature is back down . . . but I don’t want you
overdoing things, or you could end up back in bed.”  Then he smirked slyly.  “Now . . . since you’ve been such a good patient,
I have a surprise for you.”

Duo gave Heero a mild glare.  That smirk looked FAR too suspicious.  “If you brought me a lollipop, I swear I’m going to belt
you!”

Heero laughed once at that statement, much to Duo’s amazement.  “Duo . . . I swear . . . if I ever did that to you, I would
DESERVE to get belted.  No . . .”  With that said, he placed a basket of cherries on the bed beside Duo and proffered a tub of
whipped cream.

Duo’s eyes went wide as he looked at the offered treats.  He couldn’t believe this . . . Heero had bought them for him?  “Heero .
. . what . . . how did you KNOW?  I mean . . . not even HOWARD knows!”  It was true.  Howard usually had cookies or chips
of some sort for Duo to snack on.  Duo had never told anyone that he’d prefer fresh fruit or raw vegetables . . . he didn’t want
them to laugh at him.  Everyone just expected him to love junk food . . . when as a child he had been happiest eating apples or
other produce.

Heero chuckled.  “A soldier prides himself on being observant.  And I noticed that while you pretend to be a junk food junkie,
your real favorites are fruits and vegetables.  When you think no one is looking, I’ve spotted you chomping on carrots and
celery.  But your true favorites . . .”  He held up the basket with a smile.  “Are ripe, red cherries.  Add a dollop of whipped
cream and your face just lights up as you eat them.”  With that, he reached over and set a few paper towels on Duo’s lap.  
“Now . . . go on and enjoy them.  I’ll go get Chibi-Duo.”

Although Duo wanted to see the little boy, he had to thank Heero in some way.  “Wait!  Heero . . . ummm . . . would you like
one?”

Heero grinned and plucked out a cherry by its stem.

Duo felt his jaw drop as Heero popped the whole thing into his mouth . . . stem and all.  ‘What is he DOING?  Is he doing what
I think he is?’  Duo forced himself to breathe when after a few moments, Heero pulled the stem out of his mouth . . . which
was now tied securely around the pit.

“I’ll go get Chibi-Duo now.”  With a soft chuckle, Heero was gone.

Duo blinked and looked at the paper towel that had the stem and pit on it.  “Oh man . . . if he keeps doing stuff like that . . . I
don’t know WHAT I’ll do.”  He groaned, falling back against the pillows behind him.

He couldn’t believe that Heero had done that.  Was that some sort of signal?  Did Heero want him like that . . . or was it just
some way to show off?  Good God . . . if he could do that to a cherry stem with his tongue . . . the idea of Heero having such a
talented tongue sent Duo into mindless imaginings.  He was to the point of drooling over the fact that Heero was gifted with
such dexterity, when he heard a timid knock at his door.

Duo wiped his mouth off and sat up straighter, smiling broadly as Chibi-Duo peeked into the bedroom with Odin right behind
him.  He pushed aside his thoughts of Heero, deciding to worry about it later and waved the two boys in.

“Come on in, you two.”  He smiled.  “Want some cherries?”

Heero appeared in the doorway behind the two children.  “Duo . . . don’t you spoil their dinner.  Just as soon as the others
arrive, I’ll begin cooking.  I’m going to use what’s already in the house . . . get rid of that before we start on what we bought
today.  I should be able to make an appropriate meal.”

Duo sighed.  “Just one cherry each then?”  He pouted.

Heero rolled his eyes, but nodded.  “Only one.”  He agreed.  “When you get out of bed, I want you to put on warm clothes and
thick socks . . . you shouldn’t catch a chill.  It might only aggravate your illness and cause a relapse.”

“Geez, Heero . . . It’s just a cold.”  Duo groaned.

“I don’t want you gettin’ sicker, Daddy.”  Chibi-Duo pouted, his little hands on the edge of Duo’s bed, looking up at his elder
self with wide, frightened eyes.

Duo patted the spot on the bed beside him.  “Get up here . . . the both of you.”  He set the cherries aside as the children climbed
up, deciding that the snack could wait until later.  He looked at them both for a moment, then smiled a little.

“Listen to me, both of you.  I’m fine.”  He held up a hand to forestall his son from saying anything.  “I KNOW that’s what Solo
said again and again before he died, but do you honestly think that Heero over there would even consider letting me up if I was
in any danger?  I may gripe about it, but I’ll do as he says.  As long as I listen to him, I will be fine.  Okay?”  

Duo smiled warmly as Chibi-Duo sniffled and nodded.  “C’mere.”  With that, he pulled both children into a huge hug.  Chibi-
Duo, because the child needed the contact to be sure that everything would be okay.  And Odin, because Duo didn’t want the
little boy to feel left out.  He released the boys after a moment.  “Now . . . Odin, would you get those socks Heero was talking
about?”

Odin nodded.  “Yes, sir.”  With that, he scrambled off the bed.

It made Duo smile to see Odin’s reaction.  It wasn’t that of a soldier following an order.  It was that of a little boy who honestly
wanted to help.  The ‘sir’ was only added because Duo was older.

Duo turned to Chibi-Duo.  “Would you get my robe?  It should be on the chair over there.”

“Okay, Daddy!”  Chibi-Duo squealed in excitement as he got off of the bed, causing Duo to chuckle a little.  It made him happy
to see that the boy had cheered up some.

He smiled as he donned his socks and robe.  “Now . . . let’s see what you guys got!  I missed out on all the fun of helping you
choose the beds, and I wanna see them.”  He then spied the cherries and decided it would be better to put them and the whipped
cream away first.  “First off though, we have to make a pit stop at the kitchen . . . don’t want these to spoil.”  He smiled again,
allowing the children to pull him up.  He followed happily after them.


*****


Trowa looked out the car window and sighed.  “Looks like there’s going to be a storm later.”  He commented.  He shook his
head and turned his attention to the small child sleeping on his lap.  ‘Such a short amount of time . . . and you’ve made so much
progress.’  And it was true.  Though still a bit jittery, Triton had started asserting himself in little ways.  Plus, he had chosen a
toy that would eventually get him to talking.  Trowa smiled and gently rubbed Triton’s back.

“Hmm?”  Triton blinked his eyes open and peered up at Trowa.  There was a brief instant of trepidation lingering in the child’s
eyes . . . and then Triton smiled shyly and curled closer to Trowa, a soft sigh passing through his lips.

Trowa blinked as he felt his breath catch in his throat.  Without words, Triton had just said, “I trust you not to hurt me.”  That
was the biggest compliment that Trowa had ever gotten.  He closed his eyes against the prickling sensation and carefully hugged
the boy.  When he opened his eyes, he glanced over to see Quatre smiling happily at him.  Trowa felt his lips quirk in answer as
he nodded.  Quatre was right . . . Triton was making excellent progress.

Triton made a soft little grunting sound, timidly wrapping his arms around Trowa’s upper body.  Trowa enjoyed the contact . . .
if only because he knew that Triton couldn’t hurt him as so many others had done in the past.  He pushed aside the memories,
deciding instead to focus on the child resting against him.  Trowa let his smile remain as he tenderly swept his fingers through
the boy’s soft hair, idly stroking his scalp in what he hoped was a soothing manner.

“Looks like we’re almost home.”  Wufei commented.

Triton turned to look out the window, his head still resting against Trowa’s chest as the car passed through the gates of the
estate.  Trowa was happy that the boy was reacting so well . . . just yesterday Triton probably would have panicked about being
held, feared Wufei even if the Asian youth had only been making a comment.  Triton was recovering well . . . perhaps in time he
would actually get up the courage to speak his mind and not hide if he got frightened by something.  He wasn’t all better yet . . .
but he was getting there.


*****


Raberba looked around the newly furnished bedroom with a feeling of awe.  It was just like he’d always wanted his room to be.  
With an indulgent squeal, he scurried up the ladder of the bunk bed and flopped into the top bunk.

“Wow!  It’s so HIGH!”  He leaned over the railing and blinked down at Triton.  The quiet boy was frowning in worry and
looking at the corner of a bedspread that he held in his hand.  “Whatcha wanna do with that?”  Raberba asked, curiously.

Triton jumped a little, then looked up and bit his lip.  After a moment, he climbed the bottom rung of the ladder and struggled
with tying the bedspread to one of the rails.

“You need help?”  Raberba asked.  At Triton’s nod, Raberba held out his hand.  “Give me the other corner and I’ll tie that one
for you.”

Triton gave Raberba a small, gratitude-filled smile and handed the other corner to him.

‘It’s not like he’s gonna tell everyone how nice I’m being.’  Raberba thought, sticking out his tongue as he concentrated on
tying the knot.  After a few minutes of trying, he had a knot that he knew would hold.  When he was done, he scooted to the
end of the bed, and smiled when he leaned over and saw that Triton had done a similar thing with a pillowcase at the foot of the
beds.

“What you want to do that for, anyway?”

Raberba got his answer soon enough, as Triton pushed the pillowcase aside and crawled into bed.

“Ohhh . . . okay.”  Raberba nodded.  He didn’t really understand, but he got a sense that Triton wanted to hide for some reason.  
Raberba shrugged it off and climbed down.  He sighed when he looked at his dog.  There was NO way that he was going to be
able to get the huge thing up to his bunk.  Not on his own, anyway.

“Umm . . . Triton?”  Raberba asked cautiously, scuffing his toe on the floor when Triton peeked out at him.  “Since I helped
you, will you help me?  I need to get my dog up there.”

Triton just stared at Raberba a moment before nodding.

Raberba smiled and scurried back up to the top bunk.  After a moment, he saw the top of his dog.  He grabbed it and pulled it
up.  “Yeay!  Thanks!”  He exclaimed, pushing the dog to the foot of the bed and just looking at it for a moment.  Then he
climbed down.  He was surprised that the other boy wasn’t hiding.

After a moment, Triton scurried into his fort . . . only to come back out with his speaking toy.  He solemnly offered it to
Raberba, and the blonde could see that Triton’s hands were shaking.

“What?  You’re lending it to me?”  Raberba asked.  At Triton’s nod, Raberba felt a small burst of warmth spread through him.  
“Hey . . . why are you hiding from ME?  I’m smaller than you.”

Triton blinked a moment, as if realizing for the first time that Raberba was right.  Then he smiled a little and shrugged.

Raberba smiled back, if only for a moment.  He was beginning to understand what Quatre had meant about Triton . . . the other
boy was just scared of everybody, even Raberba who was a good deal shorter than him.  He wondered why . . . but decided not
to ask.  There would be no point in questioning Triton since the other kid didn’t talk anyway.  No wonder Quatre had asked him
not to tease Triton . . . maybe they wanted him to be more confident . . . to talk.  Raberba nodded if only to himself, knowing
that he would do his best not to pick on Triton.  He wanted to hear what Triton’s voice sounded like and didn’t think the taller
boy would talk if Raberba was mean to him.


*****


Quatre sighed as he approached the bedrooms.  The good thing was that Duo had recovered enough to keep Chibi-Duo occupied
. . . the tension in that little boy had most definitely drained since Quatre had seen him last.  Even though he had been jumping on
beds in the furniture store, it had been quite apparent that he was only hiding his feelings from the others, trying to keep up a
brave face as his elder self often did.

Quatre smiled.  He was glad that Chibi-Duo was happy again . . . and that Duo was better.  Duo, Chibi-Duo and Odin were all
up in the kids’ room, showing off their bedroom and talking about various things.  The rest of the children . . . well most of
them anyway . . . were down in the study, which had been converted into a game room where the kids could play with either
the board games or video games.

He froze as he looked into the open door of the room that Raberba and Triton shared, and wished that he had a camera with
him.  Both boys were lying on their stomachs and each had a coloring book in front of them.  While they were not side by side,
they were within a close proximity of one another so that they could each reach the box of crayons between them.

A clicking sound from behind Quatre, caused the blonde and the two children to look at the source of the sound.

Trowa was standing behind Quatre with a camera in his hand and a small smile on his face.  He didn’t comment on the camera,
but addressed the two boys.  “Dinner is ready, you two.  Wash your hands before coming down to the table or your food will
taste like wax.”

Quatre smiled as he watched the two boys get up.  Raberba quickly hurried out of the bedroom and into the nearest bathroom.  
Triton picked up each crayon from the floor and put them and the coloring books away before he followed after the little
blonde.  Quatre decided he’d have to talk with Raberba about cleaning up after himself . . . but it could wait a little while.  At the
moment, he was feeling quite a bit hungry.  Talking could wait until after dinner.



To Be Continued . . .