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

Notes:  It’s been about a day since the last part.  Catherine delivers presents and spoils the kids a bit.



Young Hearts



Part Thirty-Six


Catherine watched over Quatre for a good while.  The sounds of the machines and equipment around her were now a comfort.  
They told her that Quatre was still alive and had a chance of recovery.  Sighing, she rubbed her thumb across the back of
Quatre’s hand.  He looked frail lying there.  It broke her heart to see him so ill.

A stray thought made her smile, even as she worried about Quatre’s health.  She imagined how each of the children would react
to the gifts she had gotten them.  She only wanted to see them happy.

She glanced up as Sally walked into the room.  “Hey, if it’s all right, I’d like to visit each of the children.  I stopped off at the
mall on the way here and got them all gifts.  Maybe it’ll help them pass the time while they’re stuck in bed.”  Plus, she really
wanted to meet all of the children.

Sally chuckled.  “All right.  They’re all awake now since they just ate.”  She made a motion.  “Go on.  I’ve got everything well
in hand here.”

Giving Quatre’s hand one last brief squeeze, Catherine stood and left the room.  She went down to her car to get the bags,
leaving her suitcase there for the time being.  She’d get that later.  For now, she just wanted to spoil the children.  Her first stop
upon her return to the house was in Trowa’s room.  All three occupants looked at her with such expressions of confusion that
she felt sorry for them.  Maybe she should have left a note behind to explain things.

“Quatre had a bad reaction to the medicine he was taking and Sally is looking after him in the makeshift ICU.  I’m sure he'll be
fine though.”  She set her bags down on the bed and rummaged through them for a moment.  “Now, I have something for both
of you kids.”

Raberba bounced a little in excitement while Triton looked interested, but slightly wary, as if he was still worried that someone
here would harm him.  Seeing him so worried, Catherine decided to give Triton his gift first.  She handed the silent boy an art kit
that had everything to get the child started - watercolors, crayons, pencils, chalk and markers along with a pad of paper.

Triton’s eyes seemed to light up as he looked at the wooden box containing all the art supplies.  When he looked back up at her,
there was a big smile on his face that thanked her as much as any word ever could.

“You’re welcome,” she said to him, even though he hadn’t said a word.  “Now, for Raberba . . .”  She pulled out a small battery-
powered keyboard that already had new batteries installed.  She had made sure of it before coming over.  She wanted these kids
to enjoy their gifts as soon as they got them.  She also handed him a set of headphones, so that he could play even when the
others were sleeping and not disturb them.

“Wow!”  Raberba settled the keyboard over his lap and tested a few notes before giggling.  “Thanks a lot!  I like playing
instruments, but I can’t get out of bed or I’ll get sicker.”  He started playing simple, but pretty, tunes.

Trowa smiled at the children.  Then he turned to Catherine.  “It was nice of you to get the children presents.”

Catherine shrugged.  “I remember one time when I was sick as a kid . . . getting a present cheered me up and made me feel
better.”  She stood up.  “Now, I have more gifts to deliver.”  With that, she left the room and made went down the hall.  She
didn’t know where the other kids were, as she hadn’t met them yet, so she just opened doors at random as she came to them.

She found an empty child’s bedroom and gathered it was Raberba and Triton’s room.  The fact that the bottom bunk was
hidden from sight by a makeshift tent assured her that she was right in that assumption.  The next door she opened, she made
certain to stay quiet.  It was Duo and Heero’s room.  She frowned at the sight of Duo’s leg encased in that cast, feeling sorry
for him.  Both young men were resting, that was a consolation at least.  Duo blinked open his eyes, rubbing them wearily as he
sat up and looked to the door.  “Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you,” Catherine apologized, watching as Heero looked over his
shoulder at her.  “Just delivering presents to the kids and I didn’t know where their rooms are.”  She smiled as she backed away
and quietly closed the door.  She hoped they’d be able to get back to sleep.

The next room she came to, she was pleased to find had two children in it.  If she remembered correctly from Sally’s
conversation with her on the phone, their names were Odin and Chibi-Duo, Heero and Duo’s clones.  She smiled at the sight of
Chibi-Duo entertaining Odin, making shadow puppets on the wall beside Odin’s bed.

“Hey, you two.  My name is Catherine.  Sally called me in to help take care of everyone here.”  She said, introducing herself to
these two adorable boys.  “Now, I’ve got something that will hopefully make you feel better.”

Odin looked intrigued, but Chibi-Duo seemed to sag just a little.  Catherine didn’t wonder about that.  The sweet little boy
probably thought that since he wasn’t sick, that he wasn’t going to get anything.  “For Odin . . . a fun role-playing computer
game that has a lot of puzzles to solve.  Maybe Heero will let you play it on his laptop.”  She handed the small, brightly-colored
box to Odin.

Odin looked beyond perplexed, but a tiny smile briefly appeared on his face.  Then he pushed back the blankets on his bed and
started to get up.

Catherine stopped him with a gentle hand on his shoulder.  “Hold on a moment, Odin.  I know you’re eager to show Heero what
you got, but you are still sick.  I’ll take you to go see him in a moment, okay?”

“Okay,”  he said with a slight sigh, sitting there patiently on the edge of the bed.

Catherine turned her attention to Chibi-Duo, only to find that he was fidgeting nervously.

“Did I do something bad?”  Chibi-Duo asked, looking pale and afraid.

Catherine knelt down and pulled the child into a hug.  “Not at all, sweetie.  But . . .”  She reached into one of the bags and pulled
out a 5000-piece Lego starter set.  “Don’t you want YOUR gift?”  She asked, holding the brightly colored box out to Chibi-Duo.

Odin leaned over and touched the plastic container.  “Wow!  Now we can build more stuff.”

Chibi-Duo’s eyes widened as he took the blue Lego-shaped box with trembling hands.  “For ME?  Really?  But . . . but I'm not
sick.”

Catherine snorted softly.  “So what?  The others get toys and you don’t just because they’re sick and you’re not?  That hardly
seems fair.”

Odin nodded solemnly.  “Yeah.”

Chibi-Duo sniffled a little, wiping at his eyes.  “B-but there was . . . there was never enough . . .”

“Ohhh . . .”  Catherine pulled Chibi-Duo into another hug as the child started sobbing.  “You were never really given gifts before,
were you?”

The boy’s breath hitched.  “Not ‘til Daddy gave me the oven and the kitty.”  He pulled away and sniffled again.  Then he smiled
shakily.  “Can I go show my daddy?”

Catherine let the boy go, ruffling his hair.  “Go on.  I’ll follow with Odin in a minute.”

The long-haired child squealed with joy and scrambled out of the room with his box of Legos, only to return a moment later to
hug Catherine again.  “Thank you, Aunt Cathy!”  Then he was out of the room again.

Odin was smiling a little too, but the smile was quick to fall.  He looked down, obviously still trying to hide himself behind
whatever training he had received at his tender age.  “He would have been hurt if he’d been left out.  I think he got left out a lot
on L-2.”  The boy was quietly speaking, never looking Catherine in the eye.  “He’s been telling me what it was like there.  He
talks a lot.  Says it’s better to fill the air with his own voice than to have to listen to nothing and end up thinkin’ about all the bad
things.”

Catherine nodded, filing away that bit of information.  It gave her some insight into Duo’s personality, why he was the way he
was.  “Well, then I’m glad I bought those Legos for him.  I know Duo loves building and working with his hands, so I thought
it would be perfect for Chibi-Duo.”

Odin snorted.  “Yeah . . . Chibi-Duo is always playing with my Legos.  He makes cool things, but . . .”

Catherine chuckled as she found his robe and helped him put it on.  “But they’re your Legos, hm?”  She smiled when Odin
yawned.  “Sleepy?”

Odin nodded, rubbing a small fist over one eye.  “Yeah, just a little.”

Catherine smiled, picking up his slippers and sliding them onto his tiny feet.  She picked him up, cradling him close.  “Well, I’ll
take you in to see Heero and you can nap with him and Duo.  Maybe we can convince Chibi-Duo to take a nap too, hm?”

Odin nodded, yawning again as he settled his head against Catherine’s shoulder, clutching his new video game against his chest.  
“Yeah.  He hasn’t been sleeping much.  He’s always taking care of me.”

Catherine crossed the hall and entered Heero and Duo’s bedroom.  She smiled seeing that both young men were sitting up and
listening to Chibi-Duo’s prattle as he showed Duo the Lego set.  Duo was smiling lovingly at the child and opening the little bags
that held the Legos, dumping the plastic pieces into the container.

Heero shook his head when he saw Catherine.  “I’m trying not to let Duo spoil these kids and you bring presents.”

Catherine walked over and set Odin down on the bed.  “These kids can stand a little spoiling.  Besides, it’s very dull lying around
in bed all day with nothing to do but wait to get better.”

Duo finished opening the bags and snorted a little.  He didn’t say anything though.  Sally had mentioned he had a case of
laryngitis.

“Why don’t you show Heero what you got?”  Catherine asked Odin, sliding her fingers through his hair lightly.

Odin bit his lip and shyly held the game out to Heero.  “Do you think . . . ummm . . . can I play with it on your laptop?”  He
asked, dropping his gaze to the sheets.  He looked like he expected to be told ‘no’.  It almost made Catherine pick him up and
cuddle him again.

Heero flipped the case over, reading the back of it.  It was really an educational game, made to resemble the basic outline of a
role-playing game.  It had heros and villains, a damsel in distress.  But the puzzles that needed solving would test skills he’d need
in school.  It was a game geared toward young children.

Heero reached over to the table beside his bed and grabbed his laptop.  He patted the mattress beside him, then flipped open the
laptop to start it up.  “I think it would be beneficial for you to play,” Heero stated simply.

Odin scrambled to sit next to Heero.  Catherine smiled, helping the boy take off his robe and slippers and tucked him into bed
beside Heero.  “You two have fun playing,” she said.  She turned and her smile widened at the sight of Duo and Chibi-Duo
working together to build something she couldn’t quite identify.  “You too.  But I want you all to take get some rest.  I’ll be back
in an hour and if you’re not asleep, I’ll take your toys away.”  She turned to smirk at Heero.  “That includes your laptop.”

Heero spared her a glare, then returned his attention to the screen.  He merely grunted in reply to her threat.  Odin was settled at
Heero’s side, his small body tucked beneath one of Heero’s arms.  He was leaning close, letting Heero help him as his little
fingers awkwardly moved across the keyboard, spelling out his name when the game requested it.

Catherine returned to Odin and Chibi-Duo’s room to retrieve the bags and went on to the next room.  She smiled when she saw
two young girls, knowing immediately who they were.  She was really glad that Sally had told her of the names of all of the
clones.  These two, she remembered, were named Midii and Lena.  The two girls weren’t sick, but it was almost nap time, so
they were there getting ready to take their afternoon naps.

“Good afternoon, you two.  I’m Catherine.  I’m handing out goodies and you two lovely young ladies were my next stop.”  She
reached into her bag and pulled out the two kits she had bought with the girls in mind.  “One for Midii and one for Lena.”

Lena opened her kit and smiled brightly at the mini gardening kit.  It had everything she needed to start and indoor garden.  
“Wow!  Cool!  Thanks!”  The girl looked around before placing the kit neatly on the dresser.  “I’ll start it later.”

Midii was quietly looking at the knitting kit Catherine had given her with a soft smile on her face.  She looked up at Catherine.  
“Thank you, Miss Catherine.  I’ll be very careful not to lose anything.  I’ve always wanted something like this, but my father
said it was too frivolous to waste time or money on.”

Catherine scoffed.  “Learning how to knit is not frivolous.  You can take a ratty old sweater that’s falling apart, pull it all out,
and knit a pair of mittens and a scarf with the wool.”  She smiled and ran her hand along Midii’s hair, “I’ll leave you two to nap
now.”

Lena grinned and headed for bed, all but bouncing onto it.  Midii was more calm about climbing into her bed.  Catherine happily
walked over and tucked each of the girls in.  When they were settled in, she turned away and left the room.

Catherine opened the next door slowly and peeked in.  She smirked slightly when she noticed that she had opened the door to
Wufei and Tian Bao’s room.

Wufei leveled her with a tired glare, even as he rubbed his reddened nose with a tissue.  “Were you never taught to . . . to
knock?”  He punctuated that question with a sneeze that caused several strands of hair to fly about his face.

“Bless you.”  Catherine walked in, carrying her heaviest bag.  “I was delivering gifts to all the kids and it’s this little guy’s turn.”  
She handed the bag over to Wufei.  “I remember you being very quiet that time you came with Trowa to the circus, so I figured
that your little brother might enjoy something like books.”

Tian Bao’s eyes lit up as he tugged at the side of the bag, trying to look inside.  “For me?  I can start my own library?”

Catherine nodded.  “Yup.  I know Duo bought a whole mess of books, so I’m going to give you the receipt from the bookstore
I got these from, Wufei.  So you can get this little fellow something different if he already has something I bought available to
him here.”

Wufei accepted the slip of paper with a small smile.  “My thanks,” he said, bowing politely.

Catherine nodded and patted Tian Bao on the head.  “You two get some rest.  You really shouldn’t be up.”  She didn’t wait for a
reply.  Instead, she left the room, heading out to search for her last stop.

It didn’t take her too long to reach her final destination.  She smiled in understanding as she gazed upon the two boys who
looked absolutely miserable.  She knew they were going by the names of Milliardo and Treize.  “Hey there.  I’m Catherine.  How
are you two doing?”

The blonde was scowling, even as he rubbed the back of his arm across his nose.  “I’m bored!” he exclaimed.

The boy with the shorter, darker hair nodded in agreement.  “I wanna get up and play,” he pouted.

Catherine smiled and fully entered the room.  “I thought that might be the case.  I bought the two of you something that might
help.”

The two boys sat up eagerly as Catherine reached into her last bag.  She pulled out two handheld game systems and handed
them over to the boys.  “There you go.  I bought different colors so you don’t get each others' mixed up.”

“Wow!  Thanks!”  Milliardo smiled brightly, flipping open the device.

“Yeah, thanks!”  Treize said.

Catherine giggled a little, moving closer to Milliardo’s bed.  “You are very welcome.  I didn’t know what kind of games you’d
like, so I just bought a variety.”  With that, she dumped the remainder of the contents of the bag out onto Milliardo's bed.

Treize threw his blankets aside and hopped out of bed.  He said nothing as he climbed up onto Milliardo’s bed, making himself
comfortable as he and the blonde looked through the packages of games laid out before them.  They were mostly action games,
some fighting and platform games.

Catherine smiled as she watched the two boys make their selections before she turned to leave the room.  “I don’t want you
playing for too long.  You should be resting when you’re sick.  I’ll come back in an hour and check on you and you had better
be asleep by then.”

“Yes, Miss Catherine,” came the reply, one boy echoing the other.

She turned, shaking her head in amusement as she exited the room and closed the door behind herself. It was a brief walk back
to Trowa’s room and she made it with a slight bounce to her step.  She had a bit of news to give him and was eager to get it
over with.

Catherine peeked into the room to see that the two boys had settled themselves quite comfortably in Quatre’s bed.  Raberba was
happily playing his keyboard while Triton sat beside him and doodled.  What song the little blonde was playing, Catherine had no
way of knowing since he had his headphones plugged in.  Triton looked up and Catherine winked at him while nodding her head
in Trowa’s direction.  The silent boy nodded in reply with a slight smile and went back to his artwork.

Trowa cleared his throat before speaking, uneasily pushing himself to a more upright position with shaking arms.  “What’s up,
Cathy?”

Catherine smiled despite her nervousness and sat next to Trowa.  “How are you feeling?” she asked, brushing her hand through
his hair, unsettled by the fever she could feel as her hand grazed his forehead.  “You had me worried earlier with your collapse.”

Trowa ducked his head, looking away.  “I’m sorry about that.  But everyone Triton even remotely trusts is ill.  I had to take care
of him.”  He looked back up at her.  “So, was there anything else?”

Catherine took a deep breath, trying to steady her nerves.  She was worried about how Trowa would take the news that she had
to tell him.  “You remember how I wanted tests done to determine whether or not you were really my brother?”

Trowa sighed, staring down at the blankets.  “You got the results back, then?”

Catherine blinked at Trowa’s tone.  It almost sounded as if Trowa didn’t want the tests to be positive.  If anything, it only left
Catherine feeling more nervous.  She took another breath and slid her hand along Trowa’s face, turning him to face her.  “Yes, I
did.  Trowa, you are my younger brother.”

Trowa simply stared at her for a moment before shaking his head.  “No . . . no, that’s not possible.”

Catherine reached forward to hug Trowa, only to freeze when he jerked away from her.  “Trowa?  What’s wrong?  I thought
you’d be happy.”  She frowned, confused by his reactions.  This was not how she had imagined this moment.

Trowa shook his head and looked away, his body trembling severely.  “Happy?” he asked with a tone of confusion.  “I should
be happy, shouldn’t I?”

Catherine bowed her head, clasping her hands together.  “I thought . . . I thought . . .”  She wrung her hands together, biting her
lip briefly.  “You know what?  Let’s just forget the tests were ever done and just go back to the way things were before.”  This
had gone all wrong.  Maybe she shouldn’t have ever said anything in the first place.

“No,” Trowa glanced over to the bed where Triton and Raberba were still playing amongst themselves, unaware of the
conversation going on just across the room.  He looked back to Catherine, speaking quietly so as not to alert the children.  
“Catherine, look, it’ll take me some time to get used to the idea.  But . . . for what it’s worth, I am glad.”  He looked away, his
long fingers fiddling with the end of the blanket, his hands shaking just as badly as the rest of him.  “There are things I’m
ashamed of.  Things you should know but I can’t tell you.  Not now, not in front of Triton.”  He sighed, briefly flicking his eyes
to look up at Catherine before he cast his gaze down again.  “We will talk later though.  In private.”

Catherine let out a breath.  “All right.  I understand your need to wait.  I guess it all was a bit sudden.”  She smiled at him and
stood, deciding to give him some much needed room to breathe and think.  “You get some rest.  I’m going to go sit with Quatre
for a while.  Unless, you’d rather I stay here.”

Trowa shook his head.  “No, Quatre shouldn’t be alone.  Not now.  I’d feel better knowing there was someone I trust to watch
over him.  Sally just doesn’t have the time to devote to him right now.”

Catherine nodded.  “All right.  I’ll see you later, Trowa.”  She turned and walked out of the room.  She hoped that, one day
soon, Trowa would feel comfortable enough with the idea that she could call him ‘little brother’ to his face.



To Be Continued . . .