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

Notes:  A very short part.  Sorry about that.  There will be more coming though.

More Notes:  Triton comes to a decision.

Young Hearts

Part Forty-One

Triton jerked awake with a small gasp.  Only Catherine's arms kept him from toppling off of her lap.  He looked up at her with
wide, frightened eyes, unsure of when he had fallen asleep.  The only thing he knew was that someone was holding him,
restraining him, and at first, that was frightening.  But then she ran her hand through his hair and smiled at him, and he began to
feel a little burst of warmth deep inside.  He felt safe with her, safer than he'd felt in as long as he could remember, almost as
safe as he felt when he was with Trowa.

Still, he didn't feel comfortable.  He liked the feel of her holding him, but not for too long.  Too long, and he felt trapped,
confined.  He wriggled his way out of her grasp to stand in front of her, his small hands on her knees.

"You okay, sweetie?" she asked, gently brushing her fingers through his hair again.

He shivered at the contact, but managed not to flinch.  He liked her.  He didn't want to be afraid of her.  Or of anyone for that
matter.  The people here were nice and so far not one of them had hurt him in any way.  On the contrary, they'd taken care of
him when he and the others had gotten sick.  And Trowa and Catherine were his family.  He'd never had family before.  At least,
he didn't remember any.  He didn't care if he was just a clone.  He liked having people who cared about him.

However, he couldn't escape the feeling that he was going to end up doing something wrong.  That he'd make a mistake and
they would all hate him for it.  He didn't know what they expected of him.  Surely, they at least wanted him to talk.  He'd noticed
the sad looks whenever he responded non-verbally.  Catherine may say not to rush himself, but he knew she wanted him to

He did try.  But every time he opened his mouth, his throat would close and no sound would come out.  As much as he tried, he
just couldn't do it.  Maybe it was because he was so afraid of disappointing Trowa and Catherine.  What he needed was
someone who maybe wouldn't judge him so rashly, someone not quite so worried about him.  But who?  Miss Relena and Miss
Hilde were terribly busy with everyone who was sick.  And Doctor Sally had Quatre to worry about.  Maybe someone in that
group of men who had come to the house, the ones who had so terrified him at first.  He'd seen some of them wandering
around the house, running errands and doing chores.

Yeah, that's what he would do.  That really big one in charge was too scary to even consider.  Maybe that one that had given
him his sunglasses.  He seemed nice enough.

Triton looked over at the bed where Quatre lay.  Raberba was still up there, asleep next to the older blonde.  He looked back over
to Catherine, biting his lip.  Then he glanced to the door and back to her.

"Do you want to go?" Catherine asked, her fingers delicately brushing against his scalp.  It was calming, the way she was
carding her fingers through his hair.

He nodded to her, then looked toward Raberba again.

"You go on," Catherine said.  "I'll look after Raberba."

Triton gave her a weak smile and nodded one more time.  He stepped back away from her, then turned to the door and left
quickly.  He darted down the hallway and back to Trowa and Quatre's room.  He and Raberba had been staying in there.  He felt
better being near Trowa.

Quietly, he opened the door and entered.  Trowa was still asleep, so he tried to stay quiet, but not too quiet.  Trowa seemed to
be able to hear when he and Raberba were trying to be sneaky.  Several times he had caught them trying to leave the room when
they were supposed to be resting.  It hadn't taken them long to learn how to make just enough noise to keep from getting
caught.  Triton was good at learning quickly.  He'd had to be.  Mercenaries weren't forgiving.

He grabbed what he needed and left the room again.  He had to find the man who'd given him the sunglasses.


Abdul hummed softly to himself as he fixed a leak in one of the kitchen pipes.  It wasn't a bad leak, but it was one that needed
prompt tending to so it wouldn't get bad.  He didn't enjoy the task, but he had drawn the short straw.  He still thought Ahmed
had cheated, but he had no way of knowing for certain.

He heard a soft footfall and shuffled out from under the sink to see who it was.  He blinked when he saw the little clone of Mr.
Barton standing there.  He believed the boy had been given the name 'Triton'.  He smiled in what he hoped was an encouraging
manner.  "Hey there!  Should you be out of bed?"

Triton walked closer looking like a frightened kitten.  The child swallowed a couple of times before holding out the sunglasses
Abdul had given to him.

Abdul smiled at the boy.  "I have another pair.  You can keep those if you like them."

Triton shifted from foot to foot for a moment while biting his lip.

Abdul had a feeling that something important was about to happen, so he sat patiently.

The quiet child shuffled closer.  He sat on the floor in front of Abdul, setting a plastic toy down between them.  The boy took a
deep breath before looking down and pulling the lever that activated the toy.  Abdul noticed that he was shaking, and his skin
was pale.  He looked nervous.  But then, this boy always looked nervous.  No, now he looked downright terrified.

"The dog says-" the toy said, followed by the sound of a dog barking.

Very quietly, barely louder than a breath, the words, "Woof woof," passed the little boy's lips.  He didn't look up, he merely sat
there and shivered, staring down at the toy.

Abdul blinked when the child tensed and those tiny fists clenched.  Then he smiled kindly.  He knew better than to discourage
this child, this boy who had never uttered a word so far.  "That's right," Abdul smiled a little wider.  He reached down and
tugged the lever himself, and obligingly clucked after the electronic voice announced the chicken.

To his relief, Triton relaxed a fraction.  He moved a little closer to Abdul, still hesitant and unsure.  Then he seemed to come to
some internal decision and climbed up onto the Maguanac's lap.  He picked up his toy and placed it into his own lap, then
activated it again.  His body was still trembling, ever-so-slightly.

"Baa," he voiced a little louder than before.

Abdul made it a point not to shout out his joy to the world.  The fact that Triton was speaking was amazing.  But too much
excitement might just get him to clam up again.  So, instead, he smiled and softly encouraged the boy, and together they played
with the learning toy.

To Be Continued...