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

Notes:  The adults and children sit down to dinner . . . but trouble soon follows.



Young Hearts



Part Twenty-Six


“I’m glad to see that you’re feeling better, Duo.”  Quatre beamed at his friend as they started sitting for dinner.  He had been
slightly concerned when Heero had told him that Duo had caught a chill.  “I really am sorry that I didn’t leave a note to warn
you about the pool.”

Duo shrugged and grinned.  “Hey . . . it’s the quickest way for my kid to learn.  Remember that lesson, Chibi-Duo . . . no more
playing near large bodies of water.”  He said, shaking his finger at the little boy as he winked.

Chibi-Duo looked solemn for a moment.  “Yes, Daddy.  It won’t happen again.”  Then he giggled, obviously not able to hold
onto the serious mood for too long.

Quatre looked around and checked to make sure that all the kids were seated and ready to eat.  He smiled when he saw that
everyone was present, then turned his attention to Heero as the Japanese youth walked in with several serving dishes.  “Heero . .
. what did you make?”

Heero shrugged as he started setting the serving plates down.  “Nothing fancy.  I just used what was left from the Maguanac’s
stay here.  A salad with the leftover vegetables, some chicken pieces that I breaded with the few slices of bread remaining, and
spinach.”

Chibi-Duo frowned as the food was being passed around, the adults serving the children for the most part.  “Daddy?”  The little
boy asked.

Quatre stopped spooning food onto his plate at the tone in the boy’s voice.

Duo looked over.  “Hm?  What is it?”

Chibi-Duo bit his bottom lip.  “Ain’t we gonna say grace?”

Wufei frowned.  “Some of us do not share your faith.”

Quatre smiled a little at the boy.  A part of him was pleased to see that the child was doing something that the elder Duo had
never done.  “You may say it if you wish.  Whether we believe in God or Allah . . . or even the Shinigami, there is always a
Divine One.”

Chibi-Duo nodded solemnly and cleared his throat, putting his hands together as he closed his eyes and bowed his head a little.  
“Thanks for letting us live long enough to eat again.”

Quatre blinked at the child and shot a look to Duo, who had a sad smile on his face.  He understood the meaning behind the
words though, and decided not to speak of it.  “That was very . . . uhhh . . . nice, Chibi-Duo.  If there is nothing else, let’s all
have dinner.”


*****


Raberba scowled at the dark-green blob sitting on his plate.

Nearby, Chibi-Duo was poking at a similar blob on his own plate.  “Yech!  Didja hafta pick a veggie that’s so slimy?”  The long-
haired boy asked.

Odin frowned and pushed his spinach around with a fork.  “It isn’t slimy.  It’s just a bit overcooked.”

From where he was sitting, Quatre sighed.  “No . . . Heero used the canned spinach leftover in the cabinet.”  He smiled
apologetically over at the children.  “It comes that way, sorry.”

Raberba wrinkled his nose in distaste.  “Do we gotta eat it?”

Wufei shook his head.  “Eat it, or no ice cream for any of you.”  He growled.

Raberba gasped along with the other kids . . . except Chibi-Duo for some reason.  ‘No ice cream?  It was a barbaric idea.’  With
that, he started eating the blob, only to stop after one bite when Chibi-Duo asked a startling question.

“What’s ice cream?”  The boy asked.

Raberba blinked at him.  How could anyone not know what ice cream was?

“Ice cream is a sweet frozen food prepared from milk products and flavorings . . . typically served as a dessert.”  Odin spoke
up, obediently eating his spinach.

Raberba shook his head and continued to eat his blob.  It was disgusting.  And he had to stop again after only one more bite.  It
was too yucky.

“EWWWWWW!”  He exclaimed, dropping his fork to the plate.

Quatre was grimacing, but he schooled his features.  “Mind your manners, Raberba.  Heero went through all this trouble to cook
for fifteen people.  It is only polite to eat what you’re given . . . regardless of the vegetable selection.”

Raberba watched as Quatre ate the disgusting green mass for a moment, only growing angrier with each passing moment.  ‘He’
s not my father!  He can’t tell me what to do!’  He scowled as Quatre took another bite and then moved to the chicken.  ‘He
didn’t even eat all of it.  He took two tiny bites!  Why does he get to ignore it and I hafta eat it?’  Raberba looked down at his
own plate, a smirk coming to his face.  ‘If HE doesn’t eat it, then I won’t!’  Although he knew that he’d be punished for this,
Raberba filled his fork with the spinach.  He smiled innocently at Quatre a second before he flung it at the older blonde.

What he didn’t expect was that the uneven formation of the canned vegetable would cause it to veer off course.  It hit Tian Bao
instead.


*****


Wufei froze, his fork held in midair, when he saw what the tiny blonde had done.  He glanced at Quatre, who nodded.  Wufei
was about to stand and take Raberba up to the room the boy shared with Triton, when Treize started laughing while pointing at
the spinach dripping down Tian Bao’s cheek.  ‘This does not look good.’  Wufei thought, taking a breath.  ‘I had quite a temper
at that age.’

True to Wufei’s foreboding, Tian Bao scowled at Treize and flung a fork-full of his own spinach at the russet-haired child.

The next thing that Wufei knew, there was food flying everywhere.  Triton was under the table, having immediately dived for
cover as soon as things had gotten so messy, although he had thrown one handful of salad, probably just as a reactionary
measure.  Lena, Midii, and Milliardo were giggling madly while throwing food.  Chibi-Duo had thrown a couple of limp spinach
leaves, then had joined Triton under the table.  A quick look under there had told Wufei that the child was now eating as quickly
as he could.

Odin had lettuce on his head, but he also had a small smile on his face as he threw spinach at Milliardo, and Treize continued to
throw food at Tian Bao.  The older diners seemed to be at a loss of what to do since there was a great deal of noise coming
from the squealing children.  After a moment, Wufei stood up, deciding that he had had enough of this foolishness.

“ENOUGH!!”  He yelled, slamming his hands down on the table and causing a number of glasses to tip over and spill.  “Stop
that, all of you!”  He took a deep breath to calm himself.  “Triton, Chibi-Duo . . . please get back in your seats.”  He almost
smiled when he noticed that Chibi-Duo had cleaned his plate.  ‘The boy probably just wanted to join in briefly.’  He also noticed
that Triton looked worried . . . no, the boy looked downright petrified.

After a moment of silence, Wufei spoke.  “I must say that I am fairly disappointed . . . in ALL of you.  I believe that I speak for
everyone?”  He paused as the others nodded in agreement with him.  Heero couldn’t hide the small smile on his face from Wufei
though.  “Whilst I agree that the canned spinach is . . . well there are no words to describe it.  That however, doesn’t excuse the
fact that you wasted it.  You have also made a mess of the dining room.  Tian Bao . . . I will speak with you later on how to
control your temper.  Had you not reacted, only Raberba would have been punished tonight for his poor manners.  Now . . . all
of you are to finish what’s left of your dinners, clean up the mess you made in this room, wash yourselves, and go to bed . . .
without dessert.”

The children grumbled and pouted, several of them bowing their heads.  They all looked positively miserable, but Wufei would
not back down from this.  They had to learn their manners.  Throwing food was simply not acceptable.

Triton immediately began eating his dinner again, his hands shaking as he did so.  Wufei hoped that he had not damaged the child’
s already battered psyche.  Trowa quietly set his hand on the boy’s back, rubbing his shoulders lightly.  It seemed to calm the
child though . . . Triton’s hands slowly became more steady.

Chibi-Duo, since he had already finished his meal, began cleaning the area around his seat.  The other children resumed their
eating, although Raberba defiantly avoided the spinach on his plate.  When they were all finished, they cleaned the mess.  Relena
and the older youths watched their progress, keeping an eye on them at all times.

Wufei, deciding that it was time to start getting them ready for bed, turned to look at his friends.  “Okay,  I think it is time for
the children to ready themselves for bed . . . one at a time would be best I think.  I don’t want any of them getting in further
trouble.”  He nodded his head in Trowa’s direction.  “Trowa, why don’t you take Triton upstairs and get him ready for bed?”

Triton looked over at the sound of his name, his eyes wide and full of fear.  Perhaps he expected a further punishment . . .
Wufei felt sorry for distressing the boy.

“Of course.”  Trowa responded.  “Come on, Triton.”  The tall youth said, extending his hand to the young boy.

Triton quickly walked over to Trowa and took hold of his hand, obediently following the older youth out of the dining room.  
Wufei watched them leave, then returned his attention to the other children.  One by one, as the minutes ticked by, Wufei
dismissed each of the boys and girls, until eventually only Raberba was left cleaning.  He had been the one that started it all, so it
was only right that he be the last allowed to leave.

By then, only Wufei remained in the dining room, watching Raberba.  Relena had gone to tend to Lena and Midii and Quatre had
volunteered to watch Tian Bao.  At the moment, Raberba was scowling and grudgingly doing what he had been told.  Only when
the room was clean did Wufei allow him to go to bed.  It was still relatively early in the evening . . . but this was a punishment
after all.

Raberba ducked his head and rushed by Wufei, muttering something under his breath.  Wufei decided to ignore it this time.  
However, he felt a need to discuss the boy’s attitude with Quatre.  Shaking his head, Wufei turned off the light in the dining
room and headed upstairs to check and see if everything was going well with the other children.



To Be Continued . . .