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

Notes:  It’s been about a day since the last part.  More in the household start getting sick.



Young Hearts



Part Thirty-Three


Raberba snuck along the hallway.  Technically, he was supposed to be in bed for his afternoon nap, but he really wanted to see
how Triton was doing.  He felt that it was at least partially his own fault that Triton was ill.  If it hadn’t been for him asking Duo
to give Triton his scoop of ice cream, then Triton wouldn’t be so bad off.  The concept of allergies was somewhat lost on him.  
He didn’t really understand.

He walked into the bedroom to see Trowa sitting at Triton’s side, taking care of the silent little boy.  “Is he gonna be okay?”  
Raberba asked, biting his lip worriedly.

The tall teenager turned to him with a small smile.  “He’ll be all right.  Sally gave him some medicine that will help make him
better.”  Then his smile faded.  “Shouldn’t you be napping?”

Raberba shrugged.  “Well . . . Quatre seemed kinda distracted.”  He watched as Trowa frowned a little, wondering what he had
said wrong.  “Is something wrong?”

Trowa stood up and stepped over to the door, looking back to Raberba.  “I knew I heard Quatre sneezing earlier.  Will you look
after Triton for me?”  He asked.

Raberba nodded.  “I’ll look after him.”  He said, smiling as he carefully climbed up onto the bed as Trowa left the room.  He
didn’t want to wake Triton up, so he made sure to be extra careful.


*****


Trowa walked toward Raberba and Triton’s bedroom, pausing only to check in on Duo.  His lips curled in a slight smile as he
saw that the long-haired young man was fast asleep and looked rather peaceful.  Heero was not too far away in his own bed,
sniffling and rubbing his nose.

“You too, huh?”  Trowa said.

Heero looked up and shrugged.  “It’s okay.  I can handle it.”  He wiped at his nose and gave Trowa a quizzical look.  “Is there
something wrong?”

Trowa smiled a little.  “Raberba’s awake.  He said Quatre seemed distracted and so Raberba was able to sneak away from him.”  
He sighed.  “I was wondering what was taking Quatre so long to put the boy down for his nap.  Since I was up, I decided to
check in on Duo . . . I see he’s in good hands.”

When Heero nodded, Trowa eased back out of the room, closing the door quietly and hoping he hadn’t inadvertently disturbed
Duo’s much-needed rest.

Trowa entered the children’s room and walked over to the bunk beds, a sad smile on his face at the sight of what he found.  
Quatre was asleep on the bottom bunk, the front of Triton’s fort flipped up over Raberba’s bed.  His cheeks were somewhat
pink, a light sheen of sweat glistening on his skin.  Trowa raised his hand, lightly brushing the pale youth’s bangs back, only to
bite his lip at the heat that radiated from the delicate form.

Being extremely careful, Trowa eased his arms beneath Quatre’s body and pulled him out.  He held the delicate bundle close as
he stood, frowning with each little sound that Quatre made.  The blonde moaned in his sleep, his one hand coming up to grasp
Trowa’s shirt as he leaned his face closer to Trowa’s body.  Still, he didn’t awaken, and for that Trowa was grateful.  He
doubted that Quatre would ever want him to hold him like this.  With a sigh, Trowa left the bedroom, Quatre’s lithe body
cradled in his arms as he headed back to their bedroom.

He paused outside the door when he heard Raberba’s voice.

“And so then . . . the princess kissed the frog and he turned into a prince.  The prince then explained that he had been cursed at
birth.  So the princess learned that sometimes things aren’t always what they seem.  She and the prince got married and they
lived happily ever after.”

Trowa stepped into the room then and smiled as the children both looked up at him.  He was glad to see that Triton was
breathing evenly, that he seemed calm in Raberba’s presence.  “Thank you for looking after him a moment.”  Trowa said,
moving over to the empty bed and gently setting Quatre down.

“He okay?”  Raberba asked, worry tainting his young voice.

Trowa deftly unbuttoned Quatre’s top, easing the garment from his body.  He didn’t waste time gawking at the form he was
revealing, instead just wanting to make sure that Quatre would be comfortable as he rested.  He took off his shoes and socks,
unbuckled his belt, then dragged his pants down and off his slim legs.

“He’s just caught Duo’s cold.  He should be fine as long as he rests.”  Trowa said, pulling the blankets up and over Quatre’s
mostly-bare body.  The last thing Quatre needed was to catch a chill.  He turned and raised his eyebrow at Raberba, noting that
the child’s cheeks looked a little flushed.  “You look like you’ve got it too.”

“I’m fine.”  Raberba pouted, wiping at his nose.  “Anything else you need me to do?”

Trowa shook his head.  “Not at the moment, but why don’t you lie down with Quatre for a while so you can be nearby if I do
need anything?”

Raberba bit his lip, then nodded.  He didn’t look too happy about it, but he didn’t fight either.  The little boy kicked off his shoes
and Trowa helped him into bed, lifting the blankets so the child could maneuver his way in.

Trowa gave the boy a slight smile as Raberba snuggled up against Quatre.  In response, Quatre smiled in his sleep, just a delicate
curl of his lips, but he looked to be enjoying the physical contact.  Trowa adjusted the blankets around the two of them, making
sure they were both well-covered, before turning and walking back over to his own bed.  He sat on the edge, smiling down at
Triton as he swept his fingers through the boy’s unkempt hair.

“Feeling any better?”  Trowa asked.

Triton shook his head with a pout.  Barely a moment later, he sneezed.

“You too, hm?”  Trowa sighed.  Sally was right.  This was spreading rather quickly.  But it was hardly surprising, given the fact
that the clones didn’t have any immunities toward the common cold.  It was bound to spread like a wildfire among them.

Triton nodded, whimpering sadly.

“All right.  You just wait here and I’ll go get Sally, okay?  Do you think you can do that?”  Trowa asked, letting his thumb stroke
one of Triton’s cheeks.

Triton bit his lip, but nodded, his little fists holding the blankets in a death grip.

“It’s okay.  Quatre and Raberba are here.  You’re not alone.”  Trowa said, trying to ease the boy’s fears.  “I promise I won’t be
gone long.”

Triton nodded, taking in and letting out a deep breath, though he ended up coughing.

Trowa sighed, rising from the bed.  He left the room again, moving more quickly this time as he searched for Sally.  He hadn’t
gotten ten feet before he nearly collided with Wufei as the Chinese youth was leaving one of the bathrooms.  Wufei looked
positively miserable, his eyes reddened, his mouth hanging open as he struggled to breathe.

“Remind me to kill Maxwell.”  Wufei groaned, wiping at his nose with a tissue.

“How many are sick?”  Trowa asked, genuinely curious.  He hadn’t left his room for much, having wanted to stay by Triton’s
side in case the boy should need anything.  The welfare of everyone else, including himself, was secondary to Triton’s well-
being.  “I noticed Quatre was ill . . . and Raberba seems to be coming down with something . . . and Triton is as well now.”

Wufei sighed, rubbing his eyes.  “Me . . . Yuy and Maxwell . . . Odin is unwell, as is Treize and Milliardo.”  He took a breath,
only to break into coughs.  “The others have so far avoided illness.”  He looked up, eyeing Trowa oddly.  “Looks as if you’ve
caught it as well . . . you’re looking pale.”

Trowa shrugged.  “It isn’t surprising.”  If he got sick, then he got sick.  There was no use in worrying over it.  “Do you know
where Sally is?  I’d like her to look Triton over.”

“Last time I saw her, she was heading to check in on Odin.”  Wufei grimaced.  “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to bed.”

Nodding, Trowa let the ill youth pass, then he continued on his own way.  He knocked lightly on the door to Odin and Chibi-
Duo’s bedroom, then opened the door.  He smiled kindly as he found Chibi-Duo sitting on the edge of Odin’s bed, humming a
little tune as he set a cool compress over the other boy’s forehead.

“Taking good care of him, I see.”  Trowa commented.

Chibi-Duo looked up and smiled a little.  “Everyone’s gonna be okay, right?  That nice lady-doctor said so.”

Trowa walked over and placed his hand on Chibi-Duo’s forehead, relieved to find that the child was still cool.  He nodded,
giving the boy a reassuring smile.  “I was actually looking for Sally.  I’m sure she’s glad to have someone helping her, but try
not to overdo it, okay?  No one wants you to get sick due to exhaustion.”  He glanced down at Odin, seeing that the boy was
sniffling even in his sleep.  Then he looked around the room.  “Do you know where Sally went?”

The little boy nodded.  “She said she was gonna go look in on Treize an’ Milliardo.”  Then he went back to tending to Odin and
resumed humming.

Trowa smiled and left the room.  He walked down the hall a little, but was brought up short by the sight of Relena and little Lena
carrying blankets.  They both wore the same determined looks on their faces, and Trowa forced himself not to chuckle at the
sight.  “What’s up?”

Lena sighed.  “We’re bringin’ pillows and blankets to the boys.  Boys can be such babies when they’re sick.”

Trowa raised an eyebrow at that observation, but merely shrugged.  “So, you two are tending to Treize and Milliardo?”

Relena sighed and nodded.  “Midii and Tian Bao are helping Sally as best as they can.  I wish I could help with the others, but . .
. we have our hands full as it is.”

Trowa nodded with a small smile.  “Well . . . everyone in my room is ill.  Raberba is in there now napping with Quatre, and I
know I’ve come down with it as well.  Chibi-Duo is fine, and he’s helping to look after Odin.”  He sighed, shaking his head.  He
had gotten off track.  “I’m looking for Sally.  Wufei said she was in with Odin.  Chibi-Duo just told me that she went to look in
on Treize and Milliardo.  Do you know where she is?”

Relena motioned to Duo and Heero’s room.  “She just left a moment ago.  She’s probably in with Duo and Heero, making sure
they’re resting like they're supposed to.  You probably just missed her while you were in Odin and Chibi-Duo’s room.”

“Thank you.”  Trowa replied, turning on his heel and heading back down the hallway again.

He was just reaching out to open the bedroom door when it was opened for him.  He blinked, suddenly finding himself facing
the very person he had been looking for.

“Oh, Trowa . . . I didn’t see you.  Did you need something?”  Sally asked as she closed the door behind herself.

Trowa sighed.  “I just thought I’d let you know that Quatre, Raberba and Triton all have colds.  Raberba is in my room.”  He
shook his head.  “Triton didn’t need a cold on top of recovering from his allergies.”

Sally frowned and motioned for Trowa to move forward, which he did.  “No, he doesn’t.  Poor child.  I’d best look in on him,
Quatre and Raberba.”  She paused and squinted her eyes.  “And it looks as if you’re ill as well.  Have you been eating properly?”

Trowa sighed again and took a step back, only to have to put a hand to the wall to steady himself.  “I’ve eaten some, but . . .”

Sally smiled a little.  “But you’ve been worried about Triton.  That’s understandable.  I’ll tell the girls to bring some soup up to
you.  I might as well see about getting some small radios that we use at the Preventers to communicate.  It won’t do anyone any
good if you and everyone else who’s sick need to get out of bed to come look for me or for anyone else who isn’t sick.”  
Letting out a breath, she headed to the room that Trowa and Quatre shared.

Trowa followed behind her, feeling a bit lightheaded.


*****


Une walked with a purpose to the Medical Wing of Preventer Headquarters, a plastic bag clutched in her hand.  She had a very
special visit to make.  Someone fell into step beside her.  “Any luck getting in contact with Merquise and Noin?”  Une asked, not
looking in the direction of her subordinate.

The young secretary shuffled some papers.  “No, Ma’am, but I was appraised that the next communications window will be at
about five o’clock this evening.”  She shuffled some more papers.  “Also . . . Dr. Po just called and stated that many of the
occupants in the nearby Winner estate are ill and she requests a number of two-way radios.”

Une nodded.  “I’ll sign whatever forms are needed shortly.”  The secretary left as quietly as she had arrived, going about
whatever tasks she still had to do today.

Une entered the medical wing and smiled as she approached the technicians and nurses.  “How is our young patient today?”

“The same, unfortunately,” one of the technicians said.  “We’re having trouble decrypting the locks on the machinery.”

“She’s a blank slate,”  A nurse said, brushing back a few stray hairs from the clone of Lucrezia Noin’s face.  “It seems the
scientists made it so that they would only have enough brain impulses to tell the lungs to breathe, her heart to beat and so forth.  
She isn’t learning.  We think the scientists put a block in her mind in the case one of their unfinished ‘projects’ were stolen
before the process was completed.”

“So you need the machine to implant the memories,”  Une mused, her eyes fixated on the pale child lying in the hospital bed.  
She looked so tiny there.  It was hard to imagine Noin as ever being such a fragile-looking little girl.

“Yes, Ma’am.  There’s no way around it,” someone replied, though Une didn’t pay attention to who it was.

Instead, Une reached into the bag she was holding and pulled out a simple stuffed bear with a soft plaid bow tied at its neck.  
She smiled as she settled the bear at the child’s side, wrapping one much-too-thin arm around the bear’s middle.  “There, that’s
better,” she whispered, brushing her fingers through the child’s long dark hair.  “Every little girl should have something cuddly
to hold onto.”

Clearing her throat, Une turned her attention to the technicians.  “Get that machine working.  I want men on it twenty-four
hours a day, every day until this little girl can think for herself.  Bring in more people if you have to.  Just get it done.”

“Yes, Ma’am!”  Came a number of replies, the men and women bustling about the room.

Une dragged a chair closer to the bed where the child lay immobile.  She sat, content to simply be there to watch over this little
girl.  Even if the child couldn’t hear or see her, Une didn’t think it was right for any child to be left alone, not in such a
frightening place as a hospital room.

So Lady Une sat there, her fingers weaving through the girl’s hair in gentle strokes.  She began to hum a soft tune, passing the
time for the both of them as they awaited any hint of good news from the technicians who were working to save the child.



To Be Continued . . .