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

Notes:  Catherine finishes reading to the boys.  Hilde arrives to help out.

Young Hearts

Part Thirty-Five

“ . . . ‘Hey!’ yelled Kangaroo.  ‘What kind of joke is this?’”  Catherine kept her voice soft and soothing.

The two children snuggled up on either side of Trowa were sound asleep, but she would not stop reading since she had caught
Trowa hanging onto her every word.  He had woken sometime during the story.  It was rather sweet that he was listening so

“‘A practical one,’ said Camel calmly.  ‘Have a snack.  I’ll see you later . . . when the cement on my sidewalk is dry.’  The
end.”  Catherine closed the book, quietly setting it on the bedside table.

Trowa mumbled softly, either from weariness or care not to wake the boys.  “Serves the kangaroo right.”

Catherine let out a soft puff of breath that worked as a chuckle.  “Now, I think you should get back to sleep.  You need to rest if
you want to get better.”

Trowa nodded and closed his eyes.  “I’m glad you came, Catherine,” he said, his voice trailing off, falling easily into sleep.

“So am I.”  She reached forward and stroked the hair away from her brother’s face, feeling a great swell of love and joy in her

Once she was certain that Trowa was sleeping peacefully once again, she crossed the room to the other bed to check on
Quatre.  She frowned as she gazed at the blonde.  Something was wrong, she was sure of it.  He hadn’t stirred once since she
had gotten here.  Of course he was asleep, but from the way little Raberba was shifting in his sleep, Catherine gathered that
Quatre was the type to move while he dreamed.

Acting on her instincts, she placed the back of her hand to Quatre’s forehead, only to pull it back in alarm.  The poor blonde
was burning up, which should not have been happening considering the fact that Sally was making sure everyone took their

Taking great care not to awaken the sleeping boys - which included Trowa - she took the two-way radio she saw sitting on the
bedside table and stepped out of the room.  She turned it on and spoke tentatively into it, not sure of how radio protocol
worked.  “Um . . . hello?”

The radio was only silent for a moment.  “This is Sally.  What’s wrong, Catherine?”

Catherine smiled, relieved to hear the doctor’s voice.  “Umm, can someone come to Trowa and Quatre’s room?  I think there’s
something wrong with Quatre.”

Sally’s voice was suddenly filled with worry.  “What do you mean?  Has his fever gone up?  Is he in any pain?”

Rasid’s voice was soon to follow hers.  “I’m on my way, Miss Catherine.”

Catherine sighed.  “Thank you, Rasid.  Quatre hasn’t moved once since I got here, and he’s very hot to the touch.  But he doesn’
t look like he’s in any sort of discomfort.”  She nodded to Rasid as the large man came into view.  “Trowa and the little ones
just fell asleep.  I didn’t want to wake them.”

Sally’s voice once again spoke up from the radio.  “I’ll meet you in the makeshift ICU . . . Rasid knows the way.  I’ll be able to
decide the problem there.  You did the right thing to call me as soon as you noticed a problem.”

Rasid made just enough noise so as not to alert Trowa as he passed Catherine and entered the bedroom.  Nothing woke a
sleeping ex-Gundam pilot quicker than someone sneaking around.

Catherine waited outside.  “I don’t know what’s wrong with him.”  She whispered.

Rasid bundled Quatre up in his blankets and lifted him as if he were a small child.  In the Maguanac’s arms that was just what he
looked like though.  “Doctor Po has almost a full hospital here.  She planned for every possibility.  She’ll more likely than not be
able to do something.  Please, follow me.”

Catherine nodded, trailing behind Rasid as he walked hastily through the hall.  “How far is it?”

Rasid chuckled.  “Not far.  Doctor Po wanted the room to be close to the other bedrooms, so we converted one of the guest
rooms Master Quatre had decided to keep free for visitors.  He was hoping that Mister Merquise and Miss Noin would be able to
arrive soon to see their younger selves.”  He turned and walked through an open doorway.

Sally was already there when Catherine walked in.  “Hello, Catherine,” Sally greeted, waving Rasid over to the large bed in the
room.  “I can’t tell you how relieved we all were to hear you were here to help us.  There’s only so much one man, two women
and a few children can do when there’s a house full of sick men.”  She chuckled softly.  “Women get sick, they still clean and
cook.  Men get the sniffles and they are immediately five years old again.  Amazingly enough, Duo is the best behaved patient I
have.  Of course, Chibi-Duo is a great influence on him.  All that sweet child has to do is give Duo those pleading eyes and Duo
caves.”  She motioned to the bed Rasid had just settled Quatre into.  “Let me look him over and I’ll be able to tell you what the
problem is.”

Catherine watched Sally for a moment as the doctor checked Quatre’s pulse and other vital functions.  “Do you have any idea
what’s happened?”

Sally frowned as she delicately pushed one of Quatre’s eyelids back and shone a light into the eye.  “There is occasionally a bad
reaction to this medication.  If that’s the case, then I’ll have to ease him off this medicine before starting him on something
new.  If that’s not the problem, these tests will help me determine what I need to do.”

Catherine didn’t even pretend to understand what Sally was doing.  Of course, Sally could have put on a grass skirt and a
coconut bra and chant while burning incense and Catherine might still think Sally was practicing a new age form of medicine.  
Catherine fought a snicker at the mental image.  It was highly inappropriate at this time, and also very inaccurate.

When Sally muttered a curse, Catherine took a step forward.  “What is it?”

Sally made quick work of spreading open Quatre’s shirt and putting on her stethoscope, checking the blonde’s heartbeat and
breathing.  “His fever is far too high.  He’s unresponsive.  His breathing is shallow and his pulse is weak.  He’s slipped into a
comatose state.”  She reached over and pulled a cart over to her, hooking Quatre up to the machine, as well as a number of
others.  The rhythmic beeping of the machinery only served to disturb Catherine.  Her worry multiplied tenfold when Sally
inserted an IV into Quatre’s arm and placed an oxygen mask over his nose and mouth.

“He’s not dying, is he?”  Catherine asked, wringing her hands together.

“Not if I have anything to say about it,” Sally replied, then ran her hand through her hair.  “I should have seen this coming.  
Quatre told me once that he’s had trouble taking medications in the past ever since his empathic abilities first began.  I had no
idea it would be this bad though.  I should have watched him more closely.  But with all the people here sick . . .”  She sighed

“What about Raberba?  Is he in any danger?”  Catherine hoped the boy would be okay.  The last thing he needed was this.

Sally shook her head.  “No, I have him on a different medication.  And I think Quatre’s condition is mainly due to the different
physiology he has . . . his empathic abilities for one.  Raberba has shown no signs of having this skill.”

“He wouldn’t,” Rasid stated.  “Not yet, at any rate.  Master Quatre did not often speak of the origins of his unique abilities.  But
he did say they did not manifest until he was ten years of age.”

“That makes sense.”  Sally nodded. “Raberba is approximately seven years of age.  No matter, just to be safe, I’ll keep a closer
watch on him as well.”  She pulled the blankets up over Quatre’s body, tucking it in around him.  “I want someone in this room
at all times.  We’ll take turns.  If you must, bring in more of the Maguanac and apprize them of the situation.  But if you do,
please be sure to warn them to steer clear of Triton.  We don’t need him running off and hiding while he’s ill.”

“Yes, of course Doctor Po,” Rasid said, giving a bow.

“Um, excuse me for asking . . . but why haven’t you called Hilde, or Quatre’s sisters?  Surely they’d want to help.”  Catherine
said, hoping she wasn’t crossing any lines.

Rasid turned to regard her.  “We have contacted them.  However, many of Master Quatre’s sisters are living on the colonies and
their work prevents them from traveling here quickly.  Miss Schbeiker has contacted us to say she is on her way.  She should
be arriving soon.”

Sally’s voice interrupted.  “Catherine, would you mind staying here for a bit?  I was in the middle of helping Relena and the girls
with lunch.  Well, actually we haven’t even gotten started.  Odin and Heero are quite opposed to eating.  It’s a hassle, but we’ve
become used to it.”

Catherine smiled, nodding.  “Of course.”  She watched as Sally and Rasid took their leave.  Then she walked over to Quatre’s
bedside, pulling a chair closer.  She sat, then reached out to take hold of Quatre’s hand.  She simply sat there, watching him,
hoping that he would get better.


Hilde let out a breath as she straightened, wincing a little as her back muscles protested.  ‘You’d think I was carrying triplets.’  
She turned around and paid the taxi driver, thanking the man for the fact that he had carried her bags up to the door for her.  It
was a good thing she already lived on earth or else she wouldn’t have been able to come here today.  Une had contacted her to
let her know about what had happened, and she was curious to see the children.  Hearing they were ill though, was not to her

Plus, she felt that she needed as much practice as she could get caring for children.  Although, she doubted she’d actually be
around many of the children for a few days at least.  Her doctor had warned her to stay away from anyone contagious.  Getting
sick while pregnant wasn’t exactly a good thing.

She rang the doorbell and waited patiently for the door to open.  She smiled at Relena when the young woman opened the door.  
“Hilde, how wonderful to see you.  I haven’t seen you in almost a year.  Wow, you look fantastic.  You certainly have changed
since then.  How far along are you?”  Relena said, greeting her with a flood of questions in just one breath.

Hilde took it in stride, smiling pleasantly as she settled her hand over her enlarged stomach.  “Hey there, it’s good to see you,
too.  Just entered my seventh month.  But I didn’t come here for a social visit.  I heard you could use some help here.  I won’t
be able to do much, but I have a recipe for chicken soup that’s been handed down in my family for generations.  It’s just about
guaranteed to bring the color back to their cheeks.”

Relena frowned a little in concern as she lifted the heavier of Hilde’s bags.  “Are you sure that’s wise?  If I had known of your
condition, I would have told Une to leave you out of this.”

Hilde laughed merrily.  “Oh, it’ll be fine so long as I take the proper precautions.  I’ll make sure to keep my activities limited to
cooking and maybe some laundry.”  She picked up her other bag and walked into the house as gracefully as she could.  She left
her bag just inside the door and proceeded to head straight for the kitchen.  She was brought up short by a little boy with a
strikingly long braid who was carrying a wet cloth.  “Why hello there,” she smiled.  “And who might you be?”

“I’m Chibi-Duo, ummm . . . ma’am.”  He tilted his head to regard her before looking back to the wet cloth in his hands.  “I gotta
get back to my room.  Odin was feeling warm, so I came down to get something to help him feel better.”

Hilde smiled warmly.  “It was very nice meeting you, Chibi-Duo.  I’m Hilde.  I’m a good friend of Duo’s.  We met during the
war and helped each other out quite a bit.  But we’ll talk later, okay?  Right now, you should go on back to your room and help
your friend.”

The child smiled brightly before heading out of the kitchen, passing Relena.

Relena was still smiling as she approached.  “Well, you got here just in time to help with lunch.  I’ll take your bags up.  I hope
you don’t mind sharing a bed with Catherine.  With so many people here, we’re kinda running out of room.  It’s a good thing
Quatre’s sisters weren’t able to come.  I don’t know where we could have put them.”

Hilde chuckled, shaking her head.  “It’s no problem.”  She looked around the room, taking note of the dirty dishes stacking up in
the sink.  “Well, let me get that soup started, then I’ll see about cleaning up a bit.”  She began rummaging through the
cupboards, not really noticing as Relena left.

She wiped down the counter and gathered together the ingredients she needed to make the soup, humming lightly as she did so.  
However, she paused when she heard the footsteps enter the kitchen, and she turned to see who’s company she had.  “Hey,
Sally.  Long time no see,” Hilde greeted.

“Hilde, I see a lot has changed since I last saw you,” Sally replied, gesturing with a wave toward the younger girl’s bulging

Hilde grinned, pressing her hand flat to her stomach. Well, not flat, but against it.  “Yeah, got knocked up,” she sighed over-
dramatically.  “But I couldn’t be happier about it.  Even if my lowlife of a boyfriend couldn’t have left fast enough the moment
he heard I was pregnant.”

Sally grinned, nodding.  “I passed Relena in the hall.  She told me you were here.  I gather you won’t be leaving even if I tell you

“Not a chance in hell,” Hilde said plainly.

“Ah, well, I tried.”  She shrugged.  “You can help out, but I’m going to be keeping a careful watch on you.  At the first sign of
illness - if I see one sneeze, one cough - you are going straight to bed until I am satisfied you are well.”

“Yes, Ma’am!” Hilde gave a mock-salute, standing at attention as best as she could.

“All right then.  When you’re done fixing lunch, how about you take a couple bowls on up to Duo and Heero?”  She shook her
head, sighing.  “Maybe you’ll have better luck getting Heero to eat.  He’s lost his appetite and is quite stubborn about it.”

“I’ll make sure he eats something,” Hilde promised.

Sally smiled.  She gave Hilde the directions to Heero and Duo’s bedroom, then left saying something about needing to check on
her patients.  Hilde didn’t envy Sally all the work she had on her hands.  

Hilde began humming again, smiling as she worked to fix lunch for everyone.  When she was finally finished, she had two large
pots full of hot soup.  She got a tray ready, setting two bowls on it, filling them halfway with soup.  Silverware and two glasses
of water were also placed on it, as well as napkins.  Relena, Catherine and Sally came down and fixed similar trays, a few of the
children helping as well, then left to take the trays upstairs.  Hilde moved a good deal slower than the rest, but that was to be
expected.  She took it carefully on the stairs, moving slowly to make sure she didn’t fall and hurt herself.  She balanced the
heavy tray on one hand when she reached the bedroom, opening the door with her free hand.

Duo was sitting up in bed, looking miserable even as he read one of a dozen magazines that were scattered on and around his
bed.  He was breathing through his mouth, his nose red and running, his eyes looking puffy.  His leg was elevated by a couple of
pillows and every now and then Duo would glare at the offending plaster that surrounded his broken limb.

Heero on the other hand was lying on his side, facing away from Duo and the door.  He took in a loud breath through his nose,
only to end up coughing.  He curled his legs close to himself as the hacking coughs tore through his body.

Duo looked over him, sympathy in his eyes.  Then he turned his eyes to the door and a smile graced his face.  He waved.  “Hey
Hilde,” he said, his voice a grating whisper.

“Duo, I don’t think you should be talking.  You sound horrible.”  Hilde entered the room, closing the door behind herself.  She
almost laughed when Duo retorted by sticking his tongue out at her.  She walked over to the beds and set the tray down on the
bedside table that was between them.  At least she knew Duo wouldn’t be asking about her pregnancy.  He knew full well who
her boyfriend had been, had met the man, and had knocked the senses out of him when he had walked out on her.  He had
always been a good friend.  They met almost every weekend for lunch, or just to talk.

“I have your lunch here, so you just eat it all like a good boy, okay?”

Duo grumbled silently, taking the bowl of soup from her.

She made sure one of the glasses of water was within his reach, then turned her attention to Heero.  She eased herself to the
bed, sitting on the edge.  Cautiously, she shook Heero’s shoulder, trying to gain his attention.  “Heero?  I have your lunch.”

“I’m not hungry,” Heero muttered, curling his legs closer to himself.

“Sally warned me you might give me some trouble.”  Hilde grasped his shoulder firmly, pulling him to lie on his back.  “Come on
now, give the pregnant woman a break and eat the food she lugged all the way up here.”

Heero blinked, his eyes fixed on her stomach.  “You're pregnant,” he stated flatly.

“And you are just as perceptive as always.”  She reached for the bowl of soup and the spoon, even as Heero pushed himself to a
sitting position.  “Now, I made this soup from scratch.  You’ll hurt my feelings if you don’t eat any of it.”

“It’s very good, Heero,” Duo wheezed, then coughed.

Heero frowned, ducking his head.  “But I’m not hungry.”

Hilde set her hand on his arm, running a soft caress along his skin.  “I know, but it’s not good for you to avoid meals.  It’s only
half a bowl.  Surely, you can stomach that little bit.”

“All right,” Heero nodded with a resigned sigh.  He took the bowl that Hilde was holding, then slowly began to eat.  He didn’t
look all that happy about it, but at least he was eating.  For that, Hilde was grateful.

Hilde sat there and watched him until he was finished.  Duo had already finished by then and was back to reading his magazines,
though his eyes were drooping and he looked ready to collapse any minute.  With a smile, Hilde helped Heero to recline again,
then tucked him in and smoothed back his hair.  He was asleep before she managed to put his empty bowl back on the tray.  She
got up with some minor difficulty and moved to Duo’s bed.  She grabbed his magazine and pulled it from him, crossing her
arms over her chest and glaring at him when he looked ready to say something about it.

He sighed, then shook his head.  “Fine,” he croaked.  “I’ll go to sleep.”

“No more talking.”  Hilde chided, helping Duo to lie down.  “Just get some rest.”

Duo did just that.

Hilde smiled, happy that she had been able to help.  She picked up the tray and left the two glasses of water on the bedside table
in case Heero or Duo got thirsty.  She was happy the tray was lighter now.  Then she left the room and returned to the kitchen.  
making sure she washed her hands thoroughly, she found herself happy that she had decided to come here.  And she could
hardly wait to meet the rest of the children.

To Be Continued . . .