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

Notes:  Heero grudgingly agrees to take Duo to visit Triton.



Young Hearts



Part Thirty-Two


Heero frowned as Duo shifted on the bed.  “What’s wrong?”  He asked, setting aside his book.

It was morning now and he’d been at Duo’s side most, if not all, of the night.  It was still relatively early in the morning, but
Sally had already visited once and was now down in the kitchen making breakfast for everyone with Wufei’s help.  From the
sound of small feet rushing past the bedroom door, Heero guessed that some of the children were awake as well.  He’d gone to
check in on Chibi-Duo and Odin not too long ago . . . and had found that both boys were still asleep, probably worn out from
the events of last night.

Duo groaned and turned to look at Heero.  “Can’t sleep.”  He spoke in a croaking voice.  Then he winced.  His voice, usually
gentle, sounded gravelly and rough.  When she had been in here earlier, Sally had warned them that laryngitis was a possibility.

“Duo . . . Chibi-Duo is sleeping soundly right now.”  Heero said, rising out of the chair he had been sitting in and moving to sit
beside Duo on the bed.  “Granted, he’s using Odin as a human teddy bear . . .”  Heero felt pleased that Duo’s mouth quirked into
a smile at the mental image.  “But that’s to be expected after a nightmare.  It’ll take him time to understand that we won’t toss
him aside.”  Taking a chance, Heero brushed Duo’s damp bangs away from his flushed face, frowning at the sheer heat coming
off of the young man’s body.  “Just like we would never toss you aside.”

Duo coughed a moment before he shook his head.  “It isn’t Chibi-Duo . . .”  He swallowed and cleared his throat.  “It’s Triton.”

Heero smiled a little in understanding.  “Duo . . . it wasn’t your fault.  You couldn’t have known this would happen, so go to
sleep.”

Instead of doing as instructed, Duo pushed himself up into a sitting position, although it was obvious that it weakened him a
great deal.  “I can’t . . . I’m worried ‘bout Triton.”  He said, his voice grating and harsh.  “Be a pal and take me in there to see
him, would ya?  At least . . . so I can apologize to the kid.”

Heero sighed.  “And if I don’t, you’ll probably just go there on your own.”  He sighed again.  “All right . . . let’s bundle you up
and cover your mouth.”  He moved to wrap Duo in blankets, being cautious of the young man’s broken leg.

Pausing in his task, Heero rubbed his nose, frowning.  Then he grimaced after he inhaled through his nose.  He had, for lack of a
better term, the sniffles.  It was the first sign of coming down with something.  Sally had warned them of that possibility as
well.  It wouldn’t be long before he was sick . . . and probably most of the children, if not all of them, would catch this cold.


*****


Trowa lay on his side, frowning at the slight form of the child curled against him.  Triton was asleep, whimpering weakly.  He
absently scratched at his skin, at the fading rash that covered much of his little body.  Trowa gently took hold of his wrist,
stopping him from scratching more.  It wouldn’t do the boy good to scratch . . . it would only make things worse.  In reaction,
Triton whimpered again, rolling over and pressing his face against Trowa’s chest.

“How is he?”  Came Quatre’s gentle voice as he sat up, his hand settled on Raberba’s side.  The younger blonde was still asleep,
cuddled up in the blankets that had been covering them.

Trowa shook his head.  “He’s feverish . . . the rash isn’t as bad, but he hasn’t gotten much better.”

Quatre smiled faintly.  “I’m sure he’ll recover.  It’ll just take time.”  He said, stifling a yawn with the back of his hand.

Trowa felt his own lips quirk slightly.  That yawn made Quatre look like a sleepy child himself.  “If you’re still tired, you can go
back to sleep.”  He said, feeling a longing deep inside of himself to see Quatre’s innocent face during slumber once more.  
Quatre was simply angelic as he slept.

Quatre shook his head.  “No . . . once I’m awake in the morning, I stay awake.”  He deftly put a pillow in his place and Raberba
clutched to it.  “It’s hard to believe I was once this tiny.”  His eyes became gentle as he regarded the sleeping form of his little
brother.

The sound of the door opening drew Trowa’s attention and he did smile as Heero entered, carrying a half-conscious Duo.  The
smile was more to comfort the distraught-looking American more than anything else.  “It wasn’t your fault, Duo.”  Trowa
assured.  “You didn’t know I was allergic to strawberries.”

Duo flushed, adjusting the bit of cloth he had covering his mouth, and Trowa could guess he was smiling derisively underneath
that makeshift mask.  “How is he?  Is he awake?  I know you aren’t mad, Trowa, but I just GOTTA apologize to the little guy.”  
Duo said, his voice so hoarse it was barely understandable.

Trowa nodded.  Beside him, he felt Triton’s body stiffen at the sound of Duo’s voice and knew the boy to be awake.  Trowa
knew he would have to talk with the child . . . it was important that Triton not blame Duo for what had happened.  Duo
obviously loved the kids, and having one of them mad at him would crush his spirit.  He didn’t want his friend to suffer.

“Triton . . . you have a visitor.”  Trowa said, gently setting his hand on Triton’s little shoulder.

Triton looked up, his eyes red and moist and filled with absolute misery as they regarded Trowa.  Then he turned his head to
look at Duo.

“Hey . . . listen . . . I’m really sorry that my error made you sick.  I . . .”  Duo broke off as Triton turned his head away,
whimpering as he clutched at Trowa’s tank top.

Trowa frowned and gently made Triton look at him.  “Please don’t be mad at Duo, Triton.  I never told him of my allergy to
strawberries because it never came up.  He would never harm you or any of the other children on purpose.”

Triton let out a weak grunt before turning his head to look at Duo again.  After a moment, the child nodded.

Trowa smiled at the pure relief that filled Duo’s eyes.  He knew it would take a while for Triton to trust Duo again, but at least
forgiveness was a part of the equation.

“Come on, Duo.  You’ve seen Triton and have apologized.  Now, it’s back to bed with you.”  Heero said, turning to leave the
room.

Duo snorted, his voice barely heard as he choked out.  “Great . . . you’re trying to get me in bed, and it isn’t even with you.  
That’s no fun.”  Then he broke out in a fit of coughs as Heero carried him out.

Trowa heard Sally’s voice outside.  “I’ll be in to check on you, Duo, once I make sure Triton is doing better.”  At the sound of
a raspberry from Duo, Sally entered the bedroom.  She was shaking her head and chuckling.  “Now . . . how are you doing
today, little one?”  She asked as she knelt down beside the bed.

Trowa smiled as Sally gently checked Triton over.  He truly hoped that Duo would get better quickly.  He knew his friend, and
doubted that Duo would put up with being confined to a bed for very long.

Sally smiled.  “All right.  You’re looking much better than you did last night.”  She said, sweeping her fingers through Triton’s
hair.  Then she looked up at Trowa.  “Make sure he gets rest and drinks plenty of fluids.  I’ll give you some more topical cream
for that rash.”

“He gonna be okay?”  A little voice asked.

Trowa smirked, turning to look at the tired little blonde who was wearily rubbing his eyes.  Poor Raberba, the child looked tired,
not to mention sad.  He was probably worried about Triton . . . after all, he had been concerned enough to want to see Triton
last night.

“As long as he rests, he will be.”  Sally replied, smiling kindly at Raberba.  “In a few days he should be as healthy as normal.  
Say, why don’t you and Quatre go down and get some breakfast?  I believe I saw Wufei in there a few minutes ago getting
things ready.”

Raberba nodded, then looked up at Quatre.  “Can we bring sumthin’ up for Triton?”

“Of course we can.”  Quatre smirked.  “And for Trowa as well.”

Trowa found himself smiling again.  Maybe the boy was more like his older self than Trowa had believed.  Last night, he had
shown nothing less than spoiled behavior . . . today he seemed kind and considerate.  Perhaps there was more to his personality
than Trowa had thought.

As soon as Raberba and Quatre had left the room, Raberba once again rubbing at his eyes, Sally turned to look at Trowa again.  
“Okay, open your mouth, Trowa.”  She grinned, reaching into her black bag and pulling out a long sterile cotton swab.  “Since I’
m here, I might as well take a sample from you.”

Trowa gave a quick nod, doing as she had instructed, waiting patiently as Sally swiped the swab along the inside of his mouth.  
Besides, he was eager to know if Catherine was his sister or not.  He didn’t want to let it show, but he truly was anxious to
know the truth, though he feared the outcome would not be what he hoped it would be.


*****


Heero entered the kitchen and smiled slightly when he saw Wufei standing at the stove.  Rubbing his nose in an attempt to clear
it, he groaned, feeling so very weary.  He hated to admit it, but he had been sorely tempted to just go back to bed as Duo had.  
Heero had mentioned to Sally when she had come to check on the American that he thought he was coming down with a cold as
well, and she had taken his temperature and handed him a couple of cold capsules.  Heero had dutifully taken his medicine and
brought the now-empty bowl that had contained Duo’s breakfast into the kitchen.

Wufei turned and frowned when he looked at Heero.  “Cold?”

Heero nodded, knowing that Wufei hadn’t meant the temperature of the room.  “Sally did tell us to expect it.  Though I believe
my illness is due to going out in the snow after Duo with so little covering on my body.  Sally is going back to Headquarters in a
little while to tend to some business and to gather a whole regimen of medicines for the children as well as regular cold
medicine.”  He sighed, then gestured to the stove in curiosity.  “So . . . what are you making?”

Wufei turned back to stirring the contents of two pots.  “Oatmeal and cream of wheat.  I figured that the kids would like to have
something warm and comforting after the fright they got last night.  Most of the children have already eaten, but there are a few
that have not come down yet.”

Heero nodded again and breathed in as deeply as he could.  Unfortunately, it only resorted in him coughing until his throat was
raw.  When he could breathe again, he found Wufei standing beside him, his hand on Heero’s back.

“Perhaps you should go back to bed.”  Wufei suggested.

“Yes, I think that would be the smart thing to do.”  Heero sighed.  Then he did what he had come down here to do and set Duo’
s bowl in the sink.

He was turning to leave when he heard little feet pounding toward the kitchen, and smiled.  He was hardly surprised when Chibi-
Duo bolted into the kitchen as if being chased by a tiger.

“Good morning.”  Heero said, reaching out to ruffle Chibi-Duo’s hair.  “Wufei’s almost done preparing breakfast.”

Chibi-Duo blinked and stared up at Heero.  “What are YOU doin’ down here?  You’re supposed to be watchin’ my daddy!  If
you’re down here, who’s wif my daddy?”  Chibi-Duo gasped and the little boy’s eyes widened in horror.  “You didn’t leave him
ALONE, didja?”

Heero laughed softly and shook his head.  “No . . . I didn’t leave him alone.  Sally is with him.  She’s checking up on him while
I get the dishes in the sink.”  He looked down and frowned a little when he saw that Chibi-Duo’s feet were bare.  “Why aren’t
you wearing socks?”

Odin entered the kitchen.  Unlike Chibi-Duo, he was wearing a pair of thick socks.  “We smelled food cooking and he ran off.”  
He held up another pair of socks.  “I got his socks for him.”  He handed them up to Heero.

Chibi-Duo pouted.  “Well, the food smelled good and . . . ummm . . .”  He blushed and looked down, as if ashamed of himself.  
The next words that he said were barely audible.  “I didn’t wanna risk everythin’ bein’ gone.”

Heero felt a wave of sympathy for the child . . . as well as for the life that Duo had obviously led . . . as he picked Chibi-Duo
up.  “We have plenty of food, Chibi-Duo.  You don’t have to rush to get your share.”  He set the boy down on a stool and
smiled.  “If you ever oversleep, one of us would just make something good for you to eat when you wake up.”  He started
pulling the socks on Chibi-Duo’s little feet.  “Keep your feet covered.  You don’t want Duo to worry about you getting sick, do
you?”

Chibi-Duo shook his head.  “Uh-uh!  I want my daddy getting better so we can play again!”  He grinned.

“Good.  I’m sure knowing that will make Duo feel a lot better.”  Heero smirked, helping the young boy off of the stool again.  
“You two go on and sit at the table and eat breakfast.  If either of you need anything, talk to Wufei . . . or one of the other
adults, okay?  I’ll be up with Duo.”

“Okay!”  Chibi-Duo nodded.

“Yes, sir.”  Odin responded at a more muted tone.

Heero turned and left the kitchen, sighing as he walked off.  He hoped that everything would turn out okay.  He didn’t want any
of the children to worry too much . . . and if they all got sick, things around here were bound to become very hectic.


To Be Continued . . .



Notes:  Thank you to all my readers for the wonderful reviews.  In response to Myca’s review, I’ll try to answer your questions
as best as I can.

The clones did age a year for every month they spent inside the pods.  However, now that they are out, they age normally.

And no, the scientists hadn’t yet programed their killing machine personalities.  That particular program would have been
initiated when the clones were roughly the same physical age of their originals.  It’s complicated, but the topic will be addressed
later in the fic, hopefully sometime soon.  I do have a sketchy plot, it’s just taking me a while to get around to it.