Disclaimers: I don't own any of the GW Universe. I'm not making any money off this story. It's written out of love (care to guess love for whom?), so please don't sue me I need to send them flowers.
Written: February & March, 2001
Book 1 of the all-new "Gifts" Arc
Overall Rating: PG-13
Pairings: (3+5) (1x2) ([1 & 2] + 5)
Category: Angst Yaoi Shonen ai Violence Friendship Sap WAFF
Enigma Story Category: G-Boys High Adventure!
Warnings: Angst, yaoi, shonen ai, violence, intra-circle bloodshed, language, friendship, and a whole ton of yummy SAP & WAFF!!! plus "AU-OOC" for those who can't cope
Notes: Wufei had seemed like an outsider to the other four pilots until one dreadful day when Quatre allowed his jealousy over the love of a boy who was not his get the better of him with disastrous results. Heero and Duo try to hold the team together while Trowa does whatever he can to help Wufei recover. Can the five teens rebuild what was shattered in a moment's rage?
Special Note: This huge fic was inspired by a lovely pic that I hope you'll take a moment to go see it here.
As memory took Trowa back, he recalled a conversation with Quatre one night before he had gone on the sabotage mission and he found a few warning signs that should have been caught before it was too late.
The HeavyArms pilot had lain awake staring at the ceiling of the bedroom he shared with the Sandrock pilot wondering if Wufei was happy being with the rest of them. Quatre padded in softly, pajamas hanging loosely around his waist and not sure why Trowa was still dressed instead of asleep as he had expected.
"What's up, Trowa?" Quatre asked.
"Hmm?" Trowa glanced at him, then smiled, something the others saw less often than Quatre only because they were alone together while Duo and Heero amused themselves privately. "Nothing to fear, little one. Just wondering if Fei is enjoying being with the rest of us instead of off alone like usual."
Trowa had automatically referred to Quatre with the nickname he himself had received during the years with the first group of mercenaries he had lived and worked with. The teen never meant it to be taken as an endearment, but that was what Quatre assumed it was in his own view that he and Trowa were simply lovers who had never consummated the relationship.
An uncharacteristic snort came back as Quatre threw himself on the bed knowing he had little chance of sleeping. He had been disturbed by visions of a mission gone awry before they had rendezvoused. Children and women and been held hostage within an OZ base Sandrock had been ordered to destroy. It was not until after the bombing run that this fact was revealed on the news. Purely synthesized images of the deaths of these innocents plagued the Arabian boy.
"Oh? 'Fei' is it now?" He groused and turned to face the wall ignoring the boy in the other bed entirely. "Who cares? If he doesn't want our company, then to hell with him!"
"Quatre!" Trowa looked at him, awestruck. "That was cruel, don't you think?"
Silence was his answer. Trowa knew better than to press when the other boy acted this way, he'd learned that much from sharing a room with him for so long, so he simply got up and left to take a shower and read for awhile. When Trowa returned he was tired enough that he simply laid down and drifted off within moments, never seeing the tears of frustration in the aquamarine eyes across the room from him.
That had been the night before the sabotage mission which preceded this entire situation.
Now, as Trowa gently gathered Wufei to him once more, he gave in to the regret.
"I am *so* sorry, Fei. I should have realized Quatre had the wrong idea about how I felt to begin with." He sighed sadly, and buried his face in the loose hair as he had so often in the last few days. He found the scent of the other reassured him and alleviated his fears that the Chinese boy would simply vanish if he wasn't careful.
Trowa drifted off to sleep once more, assured that for the moment at least, Wufei was there and warm and doing better. Now if only the dark-eyed boy would awaken fully, perhaps then Trowa could find peace by speaking what was in his heart.
Later in the afternoon, Heero had gone to check on the pair.
In contrast to his reputation of being a cold-blooded killer who cared little or nothing for his fellow man, Heero actually was well aware of the stresses which had lead to the regrettable incident in the first place and he was concerned by it. Surprisingly, he also felt responsible for seeing to it that Wufei recovered quickly and he had been pleased to see that Duo was dedicated to this goal, too.
The Japanese teen had taken on the mantle of leadership for this small group of terrorists hesitantly, but someone needed to be ready if what he feared was about to occur came to pass. History warned the observant that the balance of power often shifted within an organization as its efforts were rewarded with explosive success. Heero feared that such a shift was due within OZ or its parent organization, the Romefeller Foundation.
Shutting the door with a sigh, the cobalt-eyed pilot crossed his arms and leaned against the wall, eyes closed as he thought how best to cope with Quatre's anticipated return the next day. Heero knew already that neither Duo nor Trowa were completely free of any anger over the incident, but he was less worried about Trowa than he was his own volatile lover.
Despite his sorrow, Trowa at least understood what had driven Quatre over the edge and while the tallest pilot might demand an apology, that would be about it, Heero assumed. Personal violence had never been Trowa's style, and while there would eventually be some long discussion to avoid such misunderstandings in the future, Heero knew he could count on Trowa to insist on staying near the injured boy much as he had from the very beginning of this.
Duo, on the other hand, had a fiery spirit and he protected his friends fiercely, even against another friend. Heero himself had been on the receiving end of some of that anger when Duo had misinterpreted an argument between him and Trowa.
Neither Heero nor Trowa even recalled what the disagreement had been about. But Duo hadn't bothered to even ask and had taken Heero to the floor with an unexpected punch. This horrified Trowa and amused Heero, who used his "suffering" as an excuse to lure the braided youth to bed with him for a few days.
All in all, though, that incident was a good training ground for the current situation and Heero promised himself to do a better job of controlling things this time.
As he continued to lean against the wall, looking more like a guardian angel for the pair behind the door than a trained assassin, Heero found his thoughts drifting back to his own impressions of the developing friendship he felt for the Chinese boy.
It had taken a few days for Wufei to relax enough to feel comfortable around the others to even suggest being included more in their daily activities.
Heero snickered softly as he remembered a few meals they had shared. As Duo had said, Wufei eventually found it amusing to cook dinner on occasion for the group. Pizza was the dish the others preferred he prepare but he still liked to try some more complicated oriental cooking even if the others found it a bit hard to take at times.
One night in particular, competition in the culinary world took dominance over competition on the battlefield.
"The Wasabi Incident", as Duo dubbed the night their resident Japanese pilot tried to match Wufei in making sushi was quickly becoming legendary. Heero won by virtue of the fact that Wufei drank too much sake to try to conceal his extreme reaction to the infamous "Yuy Spicy Roll" recipe.
"Um, Wufei?" Duo had asked right before the other boy dropped a rather large dab of the green horseradish paste onto a slice of sushi Heero had just finished. "You might want to try that *before* you add more wasabi to it!"
"Nani?" Wufei had looked at the innocuous looking piece of rice and tuna wrapped with seaweed. "This looks too mild to be tasty. Trust me, Maxwell," he smirked self-confidently, "there is little Yuy can do to match *me* in making sushi!"
A slightly golden-colored hand shot out to hold Wufei's wrist gently but firmly. Heero cautioned him only once. "You should listen to him, Wufei. Duo's been eating my cooking longer than you have." He released his grip and watched as Wufei popped the entire thing into his mouth. "Besides, I *like* spicy food!"
"GAH!!!" Wufei had gasped as the green fire hit his throat and tongue, heat racing through him quickly leaving him sweating profusely as he drank the rice wine far too quickly.
Duo was busy snickering until he realized something else that was a possible danger for the overly proud teen. Not once since they had started sharing the safehouse had Wufei been seen drinking so much as a beer, and Duo guessed correctly that he had little experience with alcohol.
In fact, the Chinese pilot ended up quite ill and he swore never to touch sake again.
After a few less than sympathetic remarks all around, everyone agreed to avoid sushi making in the future and sake drinking for Wufei at least. Even Heero felt a bit of regret for his role in making Wufei sick, he had deliberately baited him into "The Wasabi Incident" and now he regretted it.
If they wanted sushi again, they'd order it. Carry-out had its place in everyday life, even for Gundam pilots.
Even Heero knew there was room for improvement in the circle of pilots.
If Wufei didn't take a simple warning over food to heart when it was offered, would he listen on the battlefield? Or was it possible that the battlefield was all the mattered for these young men? Heero doubted that as well, but he was still considering options as any good leader would do.