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

Notes:  The children are put to bed.  A number of the children are talked to by the adults.



Young Hearts



Part Twenty-Seven


Trowa sighed as he escorted Triton out of the dining room.  He was disappointed in the poor behavior that the children had
shown at dinner . . . throwing food . . . Trowa shook his head.  And to think, Triton had participated.  Even if only one handful
had been thrown from Triton’s hand . . . he had still taken part in the incident.

An odd sound drew Trowa’s attention and he looked down, only to blink when he found Triton to be crying.  It was obvious
that the boy was fighting to keep silent while his tears fell freely down his young face.  His bottom lip trembled, his body
shivering slightly as he made little sniffling sounds, hiccuping every now and then.

They were by the stairs when Trowa stopped, kneeling on the ground so that he could be at eye level with the child.  “Triton . .
. is there something wrong?”  He asked, brushing his fingers across Triton’s face, only to frown when the boy flinched away
from him, whimpering.

Now Trowa saw what had Triton so upset.  Triton was afraid that he was going to be punished, afraid that Trowa would beat
him or worse.  In Triton’s mind, there was no other explanation for Trowa taking him and only him from the dining room as
Wufei had told him to . . . to Triton, this could only mean pain.  Trowa felt sorry for causing the boy distress.  He should have
informed Triton of his intentions from the beginning.  As soon as Wufei had told him to take Triton, he should have explained
that he would only be putting him to bed and nothing more.  But he hadn’t, and now he felt terribly sorry for it.

“Sshh . . . I’m not going to hurt you, Triton.”  Trowa said, wanting to assure the child.  “You did misbehave, and I am
disappointed in your behavior, but I am not going to hurt you because of it.  Okay?”

He smiled as Triton gave him a beseeching look.

“Have I hurt you yet?  Have I given you cause to think that I would?”  When Triton shook his head, Trowa let his smile widen a
little.  “I only meant to bring you to your room to tuck you into bed and make sure you’re comfortable.  The only punishment
you’re getting is going to bed early without dessert.  Understand?”  When Triton nodded with a tiny smile of his own, Trowa
opened his arms, holding the boy gently.  “Come on.  Your face is all splotchy now and I bet you feel warm.  We’ll wash your
face and then get you into bed.  You’ll be okay sharing a room with Raberba, right?”

Triton smiled a little wider and nodded, wiping the back of his hand across his face.  Then he shyly wrapped his arms around
Trowa’s neck.

Touched by the growing trust that Triton had for him, Trowa carefully stood up, lifting Triton off of the floor.  The child was
so skittish . . . it made Trowa marvel at the little things he did that were normal for other children.  He lightly rubbed Triton’s
back as he carried the boy up the stairs and to the nearest bathroom.

When there, he set Triton down and got a washcloth, wetting it with warm water.  Then he gently wiped the soft cloth along
Triton’s flushed face, cleaning away the tears.

“There . . . isn’t that better?”  Trowa asked, smoothing Triton’s hair back only to watch as it fell to cover his one eye once
again.

Triton smiled, nodding his head.

Tenderly taking hold of the boy’s hand, Trowa led him to his bedroom.  “All right, get some pajamas from your dresser and get
into bed.”  Trowa said, keeping his tone calm.  He didn’t want to further upset the child.

Triton nodded and let go of Trowa’s hand, quickly making his way to the dresser that contained all of his clothing.  Even though
Trowa was in the room with him, Triton changed his clothes.  Doing that, yet again showed Trowa that Triton trusted him.  If
Triton felt threatened, there was no way he would have taken even his shirt off . . . at least not without a good deal of hesitation
. . . and Triton hadn’t hesitated at all tonight.

Smiling, Trowa moved over to the bed.  He was about to hold aside the sheet that acted as a barrier so that Triton could crawl
into his makeshift fort, when the stomping of little feet drew his attention to the door.  He blinked as Raberba entered the room.  
The child was flushed and scowling . . . obviously angry at something.  Trowa would have chuckled if Triton hadn’t suddenly
run over and latched onto his leg.  Anger was never good as far as Triton was concerned.

Before Trowa could say anything, Raberba screamed and slammed the door closed, kicking it hard once it was shut.  Triton
whimpered fearfully, clinging desperately to Trowa, hiding behind him somewhat.  Trowa looked down and Triton looked back
up at him with an expression of pleading on his frightened face.

Trowa nodded at Triton’s unspoken request to make everything all right.  He knew that Triton didn’t like Raberba’s anger.  Of
course, he didn’t like seeing Raberba angry himself, so Trowa felt he had to at least say something.  Trowa approached the
scowling blonde even as Triton followed behind him, his tiny hands clutching at Trowa’s leg.

“Did that make you feel better?”  Trowa asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

Raberba jumped, his eyes wide when he noticed that Trowa was behind him.  “I didn’t know you were here!”

Trowa shook his head.  “That doesn’t matter.  I asked if taking your anger out on a defenseless object made you feel better.  
Did it?”

Raberba scowled.  “No.”  He pouted, furrowing his brow a little.  “I didn’t MEAN for the food fight to start!  I was just angry
that Quatre was telling me to eat the spinach when he didn’t eat it himself.  I wasn’t aiming for Tian Bao.”

Trowa sighed.  “But the food fight did happen, and you were the one who started it.”  He paused, then decided to explain Quatre’
s eating habits to the boy.  “Quatre generally eats a little bit at a time of everything.  It’s something he’s learned through the
years.  He said once that it made eating things he doesn’t like a little more bearable.  He would have eaten the spinach if you
hadn’t taken such rash actions.  He likes to set a good example for others.”

Raberba snorted, crossing his arms over his chest.  “He isn’t my father.”  He muttered angrily, casting a glare at the floor.

Trowa suddenly realized why Raberba was so upset.  It wasn’t just that Quatre hadn’t eaten the spinach . . . there was more to
his actions.  “It hurts, doesn’t it?”  Trowa spoke, watching Raberba carefully.  “You should talk to Quatre about it.  He saw it
happen.  He’ll also tell you that violence is not the way to solve anything.  He nearly lost himself because of anger.  I’d hate to
see the same thing happen to you.”

Raberba just looked down at the floor, not saying anything in reply.

Trowa sighed.  “Why don’t you go get washed up and ready for bed?”  Trowa suggested.

“Fine.”  Raberba huffed, stalking over to his dresser and getting a pair of pajamas.  Then he quickly left the room, heading for
the nearest unoccupied bathroom most likely.

While the little blonde was gone, Trowa returned his attention to Triton.  He guided the boy over to his bed, holding the blanket
aside so Triton could crawl in.  “I’ll have to get you another blanket.”  Trowa commented, nodding toward the one that Triton
had used to make his fort.  “You stay right here.”  He smiled.

Triton nodded back.

Trowa left the bedroom and headed quickly to a linen closet in the hall.  He found a spare blanket, one of many that had been
purchased this afternoon.  With it in his arms, Trowa returned to Triton’s bedroom, shaking the blanket open as he entered the
room.  He flipped the blanket that Triton had used for his fort up over Raberba’s bunk, letting it lay there while he set the fresh
blanket on Triton’s bed, tucking the corners under the mattress.

He made sure that Triton was comfortable and snug in his bed, then returned Triton’s makeshift fort to its previous state.  
Kneeling on the floor, Trowa pushed aside a corner, smiling a little.  “You get some sleep, okay?”  Trowa said, picking up the
boy’s bear from the floor and handing it over to him.

Triton nodded, wrapping his arms around his bear.

“If you need me, I’ll be right down the hall.  You remember which room, right?”

Triton nodded again, breaking out into a yawn.

Trowa smiled.  “Okay.  Sleep well, Triton.”  Trowa said, lightly brushing a hand across the child’s face before he retreated,
allowing the blanket to hide Triton’s bed once again.

It wasn’t much longer before Raberba returned to the room, his hair damp.  At least he had done what Trowa had told him to . .
. Trowa was glad about that.  But Trowa did not like the fact that the boy was still scowling.

“Your face is going to get stuck like that one of these days.”  Trowa commented, picking Raberba up from the floor.

“No, it’s not.”  Raberba shot back.

Trowa shook his head, setting Raberba on his bunk.  “Get some sleep, Raberba.”

Raberba said nothing in reply.  He crawled under his blankets, laying with his back to Trowa.  Without a word, he pulled the
blankets up over his head, acting very much like a spoiled brat.  Trowa sighed . . . he hated thinking of Raberba like that . . . but
he was acting like it.  Shaking his head, Trowa left the bedroom, shutting off the light before he departed.


*****


Wufei checked in on Odin and Chibi-Duo.  Both boys were clean and in their pajamas.  Chibi-Duo was in bed, but Odin was
looking up at Wufei with a hopeful expression.  Wufei knelt down to be at eye-level with the boy.

“Do you have something you wish to say?”

Odin glanced at where Chibi-Duo was curled up, before turning back to face Wufei.  “Sir . . . he didn’t throw all that much, and
he’s never had dessert . . . can you let him have some ice cream?”

Wufei blinked.  “Did he . . . ?”

Odin shook his head.  “No . . . no, he tried to talk me out of asking, but . . . please?”

Wufei walked over to the bed to see Chibi-Duo.  “What do you think about this?”

Chibi-Duo shrugged a little.  “It doesn’t matter that I didn’t throw all that much.  I wasted food, so I might’ve just as well
thrown the whole plate.  I deserve to be punished like the others.”

Wufei smiled warmly.  “I am glad to see that you have a good sense of honesty.  Your father should be very proud of you.”

Duo’s voice spoke up from the doorway.  “Damn straight I am . . . a tad disappointed, but proud.”  He walked in and sat beside
the small boy.  He smiled gently at Chibi-Duo before pulling the boy into his arms.  “It’s okay.  I understand that you just
wanted to do what the others were doing.  That doesn’t make wasting food right, though.”

Chibi-Duo nodded, wrapping his arms around Duo.  “I know, Daddy.  You ain’t mad, are ya?”

Duo shook his head.  “No . . . I’m not.”  He tightened his embrace around Chibi-Duo briefly, then pulled away, a smile on his
face.  “Okay, time for bed.”

Chibi-Duo nodded, laying down again.  Duo tenderly tucked the boy in, while Wufei tended to getting Odin into his own bed.  
Odin was quiet and obedient . . . Wufei had no troubles with getting him to lie down.

Duo’s voice was soft as he spoke to the child.  “Do you want me to tell you a story tonight?”  He asked, weaving his fingers
through Chibi-Duo’s hair.

Chibi-Duo shook his head.  “You should go to bed, Daddy.  I don’t want ya gettin’ sicker.”

Wufei smiled at the boy’s kindness.  “None of us want that, my friend.  You should listen to the young one.  And you . . .”  He
said, turning his eyes to look at Odin.  “You, should go to sleep.”  He ran a hand over Odin’s hair.

“Is . . . is Heero mad at me?  Is that why he’s not here?”  Odin asked, his bottom lip trembling . . . although it was obvious that
he was trying not to show his disappointment and hurt.

Wufei shook his head.  “No . . . he went to tuck Midii in.  I saw him as I was on my way here.  Do you want me to go and get
him?”

Odin nodded sadly and glanced over to where Duo was hugging Chibi-Duo.  “Please, sir?”

Wufei nodded and turned to the door.  He walked to the room where Heero was tucking Midii in.  “I shall finish tucking the
young lady in, Yuy.”  Wufei said, approaching the girl’s bedside.  “At the moment, there is a little boy nearby who wants you
there.  Odin is of the opinion that you are so angry with him that you do not wish to be the one tucking him in.”

Heero seemed taken aback by that, but quickly shed his shocked expression for the usual neutral look in his eyes.  “I hadn’t
thought of him seeing it that way.  I only knew that if it were me who had been led away by J after an incident like tonight’s, it
would mean a harsh punishment for acting in a manner not suited for a soldier.”

Wufei sighed, shaking his head.  “Yuy . . . Heero . . . you must remember two things.  One . . . Odin is not you.  Two . . . you
are not J.  Right now that little boy wants his big brother to give him a hug and tuck him into bed.  He will rest more peacefully
if he is not burdened with worry over how you are perceiving him.”

Relena smiled from where she was braiding Lena’s hair.  “Wufei is right, Heero.  You’ve done so well with Midii, but Odin does
need you now.  They’re all so young and still very confused.”

“Yes . . . I’ll go see to Odin.”  Heero nodded.

“Good night, Mr. Heero.”  Midii said, sitting up and hugging him quickly.

Heero blinked, lightly hugging her in return.  He still wasn’t all that comfortable with such shows of affection.  It was new to be
touched like this.  Carefully, he extricated himself from the child’s arms.

“Goodnight.”  Lena giggled, smiling brightly at him.

Heero nodded.  “Good night.”  He said in a murmur, leaving the room.

He nodded as he passed by Duo, who was exiting the bedroom Odin and Chibi-Duo occupied.  With a yawn, Duo headed into
the bedroom he and Heero were sharing, obviously going to ready himself for bed.  Heero found that to be a good thing.  He
didn’t want Duo to overexert himself, not when he was still in danger of becoming ill again.  Duo had to take it easy for a couple
of days.

Taking a breath, Heero opened the door to the children’s room, stepping inside.  He saw that Chibi-Duo was already snugly
tucked in, his eyes following Heero briefly before he closed them.  Heero walked over and took a seat on the edge of Odin’s bed,
trying to think of the optimum way to open a conversation with the boy.

It was Odin that began though.  “Are you mad at me?”  He asked.

Heero blinked.  He had never before seen so much emotion on the child’s face.  Maybe he was learning to be a normal child . . .
Heero found that thought comforting.  If Odin could so quickly assimilate into childhood, then he would have a better chance of
being happy.  Heero had no hopes for himself . . . but Odin could be normal.

Placing a brief, fleeting smile on his face, Heero swept his hand through Odin’s wild hair.  “I am not angry with you.”  Heero
stated.  He took a moment to collect his thoughts and gather the correct terminology, then spoke again.  “I am disappointed in
your actions concerning tonight’s meal.  Wasting food is not acceptable.  However, I hold no anger over your reactions to the
situation.”

Odin’s smile was small, but it was there.  “That’s good.  I don’t want you to be upset with me.”  He said, then averted his
gaze.  “I . . . I was wondering . . .”

“Hm?”  Heero was concerned.  Was there something else that the boy wanted?

When Odin spoke next, his voice was low, no more than a whisper.  “Well . . . I saw Duo give Chibi-Duo a hug . . . I was
wondering if maybe you could . . .”

“You want me to hug you?”  Heero inquired, arching an eyebrow.

Odin nodded, a faint blush staining his cheeks.  “Yes, please.  I . . . I was comfortable when I was hugging you in the mall
yesterday.  I felt . . . safe.”

Heero nodded and smirked.  “Yes, it was pleasant.”  He said, bending a little and pulling Odin into his arms.  The child curled his
little arms around Heero, pressing close to the teenager’s body.

Heero held Odin for a short while, tenderly brushing his fingers through the boy’s soft hair.  When Odin finally let go, Heero
settled the child in bed, pulling the blankets up to cover him.

“Go to sleep now.”  Heero said quietly.  “I expect you to behave better at mealtimes from now on.”

“Yes, sir.”  Odin nodded.

Heero rose from his seat, turning and heading for the door.  He paused there for a moment, looking back to watch as Odin
snuggled closer to his pillow.  Heero felt his lips twitch into a slight curve, but let the expression drop.  He switched off the light,
leaving the room and closing the door behind himself quietly.


*****


Wufei escorted Relena to her bedroom door, biding her a polite goodnight before he strode to his own bedroom, which he was
sharing with Tian Bao.  Quatre was just finishing with the bedding, getting things ready for Tian Bao.

“Thank you.  If you would excuse us . . .”

Quatre nodded and headed for the door.

As he passed by him, Wufei grasped his arm.  “Winner . . . I wish to speak with you as well.  I will join you in the hallway.”

Quatre’s face broke into a rueful smile.  “I can guess why.  I’ll wait.”  With that, Quatre left the room.

Wufei walked over to sit on the floor and motioned for Tian Bao to sit facing him.  When the child had complied, Wufei took a
breath before speaking.  “Tian Bao . . . I hope you’ve had time to think over your actions at dinner.”

Tian Bao nodded.

“Very well . . . then I won’t have to relate what happened.  However, I must stress very strongly how your actions have
brought dishonor to the Chang name.  Not only because you started a fight, but because the fight began out of anger . . . and
caused others to get into trouble.  You showed a lack of pride in yourself and a lack of respect for others.”  He had always been
told that the hardest job he’d ever have was one of a parent.  He'd never believed it until now . . . and he was merely acting as an
older brother.

Wufei let the pause drag out for a moment.  “Now . . . as there are eight children present besides yourself, you will give your
dessert to each child in turn before you may start having any, starting with Treize tomorrow night.  That makes a total of nine
days without dessert, counting tonight.”  He nodded in satisfaction as Tian Bao accepted the punishment.  It wasn’t truly that
harsh, and it would teach the child to think of others before giving into selfish desires.  “In addition . . . starting tomorrow
morning, I will begin teaching you ways to channel your anger into more productive ways of expression.  You must learn to
control your temper, my little brother.  I will not lie and say it will be an easy task for you . . . I remember what it was like to be
your age.  Do you understand?”

Tian Bao nodded.  “Yes, Wufei.”

Wufei smiled at the child.  “Then come here.”  He held his arms open and hugged the little boy as he had seen Duo do with his
own son.  He had often wanted to be held as a child after a scolding, to be reassured that he was still loved.  From the way that
Tian Bao was acting, he could guess that the child expected to be told to go straight to bed.  He smiled and picked the boy up.  
“Now . . . go to sleep.”

The boy did as he was told, climbing into bed and settling himself.  Wufei tucked him in, smiling once more as he bid the child a
good night’s rest.  Then he stepped over to the door, knowing that he had to speak with Quatre now.  The blonde was leaning
against the wall across from the door, a gentle smile on his face.

“I like how you handled that, Wufei.  You might want to have Tian Bao skip Raberba in that dessert thing, though.  He was the
one who really started it.”  Quatre shook his head, his smile fading.  “I am sorry about him, and I won’t make any excuses for
his behavior.”

Wufei held up a hand.  “Quatre . . . Raberba’s attitude is a big problem, and his mood swings might frighten young Triton.  Is
there anything you can do?”

Quatre shrugged and shook his head sadly.  “All I can do is talk to him.  He’s understandably confused and hurting over the
news of our father’s death.  But that doesn’t make his behavior tonight right.  He knows better than that.  I’m just sorry that the
other children had to be punished because of the situation . . . especially Chibi-Duo and Triton.”

Wufei felt his own pang of sadness when he remembered Odin’s heartfelt plea.  “On a lighter note, I believe that Odin is learning
the meaning of friendship.  The boy tried to talk me into letting Chibi-Duo have dessert.”

Quatre smiled a little.  “That is good news.”  He sighed then, although kept the smile on his face.  “I’d better go check on
Raberba and make sure that Triton is all right.  I’ll speak with Raberba in the morning, Wufei.  I don’t want a repeat of tonight’s
incident anymore than you do.”

Wufei nodded.  “You will be well tonight?”  He asked, concerned that his friend might have a panic attack, such as the one he
had experienced in their shared quarters yesterday afternoon at Preventers HQ.

Quatre’s smile brightened.  “I’ll be fine, Wufei.  I won’t be alone tonight . . . the rooms were arranged so that no one but Relena
is left alone in a room.  Relena, being a guest in our home doesn’t have to bunk up like the rest of us.  Trowa will be enough
company for me . . . as long as I am not alone, I will be fine.”

“Good.  Sleep well, Winner.”  Wufei nodded.

Quatre’s smile only seemed to widen.  “Thank you.  Good night, Wufei.”

Wufei smirked in return, watching as Quatre turned and walked away from him.  Then he turned and headed into his own room,
deciding that he might as well ready himself for bed.  There was no sense in staying up when he would likely need all the rest he
could get tonight.  Undoubtedly, teaching Tian Bao the aspects of controlling his temper and a few meditation techniques was
only going to end in Wufei gaining a throbbing headache . . . he remembered how impatient he had been as a child . . . this was
not going to be easy.


*****


Quatre felt a smile curling his lips as he quietly opened the bedroom door.  He padded silently over to the bunk beds, first pulling
aside the blanket that shielded Triton from view as he checked on the welfare of the children.  Triton was sleeping soundly . . .
his arms snugly wrapped around his stuffed bear.

Giving into temptation, Quatre reached out and let his fingers stray across Triton’s cheek, brushing away a wisp of hair from
the child’s eyes.  Triton moaned lightly, a pale smile on his face as he turned toward Quatre’s hand.  If only the boy was so
loving when awake, Quatre thought, letting his hand linger against Triton’s face for a little while longer.

Quatre pulled his hand away, straightening Triton’s blankets out before he took a step back, letting the blanket acting as a wall
fall shut again.  Then Quatre turned his attention to Raberba.

The boy was buried in his blankets, all of him covered.  Quatre shook his head, knowing that the child was upset.  He
remembered all the times he had been angry or feeling hurt . . . covering himself totally with blankets had been his way of hiding
himself from the world, a small escape for him.  Obviously, Raberba was thinking the same way.

Gently, Quatre tugged the blanket away from Raberba’s head, making sure not to move too hastily in case the child was in
between awake and sleeping.  What he found only made him frown.  Raberba’s eyes were red from crying, his young face
flushed with sadness.  Quatre climbed up, sitting on the edge of Raberba’s bed.  He reached his hand out, stroking his fingers
through Raberba’s golden hair.

Raberba’s eyes fluttered open and he yawned, bringing his small hands up to rub across his face.  He blinked when he saw
Quatre, a sniffle and a whimper coming from him before he all but threw himself into Quatre’s arms.

“I’m sorry!”  Raberba cried out in a slight voice.  “I didn’t mean to get everyone in trouble!  I-I was just angry . . . you . . . you
weren’t eating the spinach!”

Quatre closed his eyes, sighing in understanding.  “It’s all right, Raberba.”  Quatre hushed, stroking his hands in soothing
circles.  “I’m not truly angry with you . . . only a little disappointed in your behavior.”

Raberba sniffled, lifting his head, his aquamarine eyes shimmering with tears that he would only allow Quatre to see.  “R-Really?”

Quatre nodded.  “I know I’m not your father . . . that you only wish to see me as a brother.  But is that any reason to treat me
with so little respect?  Had you done as intended, I would have been hit with that spinach . . . and how would it have looked to
the other children for you to do such a thing?”

Raberba buried his face against Quatre’s stomach.  “Sorry.”  He said, his voice muffled.  “I wasn’t thinking.  I just . . . I . . .”

“I know, you were feeling hurt.  Father isn’t here to be with you . . . he isn’t here.  I’m sorry that I’m a pale comparison to
him.  But there is nothing I can do about this.”  Quatre whispered, bowing his head, a stray tear falling from his eye.

“T-Trowa said you saw it happen.  Did you?  Did you see Father die?”  Raberba asked.

Quatre gulped, a painful lump forming in his throat.  “Y-yes.”  He shuddered.  “The satellite exploded with him on it.  He
destroyed himself for the good of the people.  I couldn’t stop him.”

“What happened after that?”

Quatre screwed his eyes shut.  “I did horrible things in my grief, Raberba . . . terrible things.”  He whispered, stroking his
fingers through Raberba’s hair again.  “I built a weapon, a powerful weapon that warped my mind.  I lost sense of myself . . .
of what I was doing . . . I nearly killed someone dear to me.  And I . . . I destroyed a colony.  I cannot blame this on some
machine that I built . . . it was my doing, my hands that are tainted with blood.  I should have let Heero kill me.”

“No.”  Raberba said sharply, digging his fingers into Quatre’s sides.  “You’re real nice.  I never met anyone so kind.  If you had
died . . . who’d be takin’ care of me?  I don’t want you to be dead.”  He whimpered, his voice becoming difficult to understand
through his tears.

“Have no fears, Raberba.”  Quatre said, hugging the child to him.  “I have no intentions of leaving you any time soon.”  He
sighed as Raberba clung to him, feeling the gentle sobs that wracked his little body so greatly.  “I’m here for you . . . I’ll take
care of you.  Just, please . . . don’t do anything like start a food fight again.  I hate punishing you . . . any of you children.  But
next time, you’ll have to do more to make up for it than to just go to bed without supper.”

“Okay.  I’ll be better . . . promise.”  Raberba sniffled, curling close to Quatre’s body.  “C-Can you stay here awhile?  J-Just until
I fall asleep?”

Quatre smiled.  “Of course I can.  You just lie down and get some sleep now.”  Quatre said, urging Raberba to get back under
his blankets.  Then he settled himself alongside the child, smiling to himself as Raberba snuggled closer to him, his head against
Quatre’s chest.

Quatre lay there, content to stay there as long as needed.  He wove his fingers through Raberba’s soft hair, lightly humming to
soothe the boy.  Once Raberba was deep in sleep, Quatre quietly slipped from the bed.  He watched as Raberba turned and
wrapped his arms around that giant stuffed dog, smiling as the child sought comfort with the holding of a favorite toy.   

Quatre hoped that he was doing the right thing by leaving now.  He hoped that nothing would disturb Raberba’s slumber
tonight.  With a sigh, Quatre adjusted the blankets to cover Raberba better.  Then he turned and walked to the door, casting one
last glance at the slumbering children within before he headed to his own bedroom.



To Be Continued . . .