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

Notes:  Heero and Une arrive to pick up Odin.

Young Hearts

Part Thirty-Nine

Heero looked out of the window with a great deal of tension.  He was worried about the kids and Duo back home, of course.  
But that was muted greatly by his worry for Odin.  The boy was his responsibility and he had failed miserably.  The feeling
didn't settle well in his stomach.  In fact, he felt quite ill at the prospect of losing Odin.

Une got off the phone and cleared her throat to get Heero's attention.  "You were right about where he was heading.  A shuttle
arrived on the colony not too long ago and a child claiming that his name was Odin was on board.  A young flight attendant by
the name of Charles has him in the security office.  From the report, the man found him on the shuttle and has been taking care
of him since.  Odin claimed to be worried that you'd be angry with him."

With a sigh, Heero responded.  He understood the child's reasoning.  "My laptop was damaged.  At that age, mistakes were met
with harsh consequences for me.  He wouldn't have anything else to go by."  He shook his head once.  "I'll have to reassure him
as soon as I see him.  How do I do that?"

"Are you upset about the laptop being damaged?"  Une's tone was curious.

Heero shook his head again.  "No, I was more upset about finding him gone.  A laptop is an easy thing to repair or replace and I
made sure to backup all of the important files, so nothing would be lost if the laptop got destroyed.  Odin though ... how do you
replace a child?"

Une looked pleased with Heero's answer and she smiled.  "That's what you have to tell him.  If he's anything like you, he'll want
to hear the truth and nothing less."

"Affirmative."  Heero nodded, then turned his attention to the window as he went over what he could tell the child.  "How long
until we get there?"

"Not much longer now."  She looked at her watch, then anxiously out the window.  "I do hope Odin doesn't get away from
them before we get there.  Being sick, he shouldn't be traveling in the first place.  There's no telling what this or another escape
attempt will to do him."

Heero didn't answer.  "Now that he's in the custody of an authority figure, he'll play helpless until left alone to make another
attempt at escape.  I doubt he'll be left alone though."  He regarded his superior with a sense of curiosity.  "I thought you were
against us raising the clones.  No disrespect intended, but why the sudden concern?"

"Maxwell was correct in saying that they are just a bunch of kids.  It's not their fault that the scientists created them.  It took me
too long to realize that."  She sighed and looked down at her folded hands.  "They seem to be good kids if Maxwell's ... son ... is
any indication."

Smiling at that statement, albeit briefly, Heero nodded.  "They are.  I agree that they deserve a chance to as normal a life as we
can give them, considering our professions."  A sudden thought struck him which he felt needed addressing.  "What happens
when we go back to work?"

"That will be entirely up to you and the others, Agent Yuy.  There are many agents that go into the field who have families, and
many others who decide it would be more stable to take a desk job so that they can go home every day."  Une shrugged.  
"Whatever each of your decisions are, you will each have a place in the Preventers."

Heero nodded at that and turned his attention back to the window.

The remainder of the shuttle ride was the longest Heero had ever encountered.  He didn't understand that.  Looking at his watch,
he could see that it had actually taken five minutes less time than was considered usual, but it had felt entirely too long.

"Lady Une, a pleasure."  The head of security strode forward and held his hand out for Une to shake.  "I'm so glad we could
assist you in this."  He led the way through the terminal.  "We occasionally get runaways trying to sneak onto the shuttles, but
we always found them before the shuttle has taken off.  I deeply apologize for this incident."

Heero spoke softly.  "Odin is not like other children."  He was surprised at the amount of pride he felt at that knowledge.  
"Where is he?"

"Follow me."  They were led to the Security office.  "He's over here."

The door was opened for them and Heero walked in.  He let out a breath of relief when he saw Odin sitting there wrapped up in
a blanket with a man tending to him.  The man was wearing a flight attendant's uniform and Heero assumed him to be Charles.  
Odin's eyes met Heero's and a look of apprehension filled his young face.  Without even pausing to think, Heero walked over and
dropped to one knee in front of the child, hesitantly and awkwardly pulling the boy into a hug.

"Are you all right aside from being sicker?" Heero asked, pulling back to cast his eyes over the child's slight body.

After a confused pause, Odin nodded.  "But, aren't you mad?  I broke your laptop and then I ran away!"  He sniffled and ran his
hand across his runny nose.

Heero shook his head, gently setting a hand on the boy's knee.  "A laptop is merely a collection of circuits contained in a plastic
case.  It can be easily replaced if it were truly broken."  He looked over to the man sitting near Odin.  "You're Charles?"

"Yes."  He patted Odin on the head.  "I found this little guy here and did my best to keep him comfortable.  Someone from the
infirmary was by and said he just needed rest and plenty of fluids, though she did suggest getting him to a doctor if he throws
up again or his fever doesn't go down."

"Thank you."

"It's no problem."  Charles rested his hand on Odin's back.  "When he started telling me the trouble was in, I was hoping he was
wrong."  He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small slip of paper and held it out to Heero.  "Here, Odin told me where you
live and I figure since we live in the same city maybe he'd like to get to know my son a little better.  They're about the same age
and it never hurts to make new friends."

Heero took the paper and nodded his thanks.  "I'm certain Odin would enjoy that.  There are a number of children in the house
we reside in though."

Charles smiled.  "The more the merrier."

Heero nodded.  "If you'll excuse us."  He rose and pulled Odin up into his arms.  Odin shivered slightly as he settled in Heero's
arms.  He wrapped his legs around Heero's body as he dropped his head to Heero's shoulder.

"Take care."

Another nod was all the reply Heero felt comfortable with.  He turned and left the room to find Une speaking with the Head of
Security.  At Heero's approach, she bid her farewell.

Not five minutes later they were on their way to the nearest hospital where Odin was checked over.  Two hours beyond that,
they were at an acceptable hotel.  Odin was summarily bathed and tucked into a warm bed, given the prescription he had been
written and was quickly falling asleep.

"Heero?" his small voice called as the teenager was picking up the pieces of clothing he had been wearing earlier.  While awaiting
the Doctor's attention, Une had taken a trip to a store to pick up a few necessities which included a couple sets of pajamas for
the ill child.

Heero sat and looked down on his charge, curious to know what he required.  "Are you in need of something?"

"You sure you aren't mad at me?  I did something wrong.  Doesn't that require punishment?"

"Not in this instance," Heero replied.  "You were found swiftly and with no injuries.  My fear that you would be harmed has been
calmed so that I only feel happiness at your return.  I do not have a sense of anger over your previous behavior.  It was wrong
of you to run from punishment and I expect you not to do so again.  You would not have been physically harmed."

A look of pure relief crossed the child's face.  Then he seemed worried again.  "Can I ask you a question?"


Little hands reached up and Heero obliged by bending down slightly.  "Heero, could you ... I mean, would you consider maybe-"
He faltered, and bit lightly at his bottom lip in a show of nervousness.

To quell that fear, Heero tenderly ran a hand through the child's hair and down his cheek in a way he had seen Duo do with
Chibi-Duo on several occasions.  

Odin blinked up at him, a timid smile twitching his lips.  "Will you be my daddy?"

Heero was taken aback by the frank inquiry.  But, he had no hesitation in his words.  It was undeniable what his every instinct
informed him to do.  "If it would please you, yes, I would welcome that greatly."

The smile that broke out on Odin's face was larger than any Heero had seen on him before.  "Thank you, Daddy."  He threw his
arms around Heero's neck and Heero returned it nervously, not wanting to unintentionally harm the boy.

They stayed that way for several minutes until Heero remembered that the boy needed rest.  "Get some sleep, Odin."  He pulled
back.  But to his surprise, Odin was already sleeping.  Smiling slightly, Heero softly grasped the arms still around his neck and
set them on the bed.  Odin mumbled something lightly.  Heero pulled the blankets up to his chin, then idly brushed the bangs
from the boy's eyes.  In his sleep, Odin smiled again and rolled to lie on his side.

Seeing the boy resting so peacefully, Heero felt a sense of happiness he couldn't explain.  He stood and returned to his task of
tidying up, letting that happiness rest in his heart.  He would have to ask Duo the meaning of this feeling when they got home.

To Be Continued...