Disclaimers: I don't own any of the Gundam Wing Universe. I'm not making any money off this story. It's written out of love, so please don't sue me.

Written: March-May, 2001
Overall Rating: R
Pairings: (3+5) (1x2x1)
Category: Angst Yaoi Shonen ai Friendship Sap WAFF Lime AU {Beware: Darkness Descending!}
Enigma Story Category: G-Boys High Adventure!
Warnings: Angst, yaoi, shonen ai, language, friendship, sap, WAFF, limey hints, dark themes taking control, plus "AU-OOC" for those who canít cope

Notes: The priceless gifts of love and friendship that were exchanged by the Gundam pilots brought them closer together, but two of the team will soon be "hidden" as Trowa and Heero must infiltrate an OZ base. Wufei, Duo, and Quatre must share an apartment while the others are gone, creating a potentially explosive mixture. Are these new bonds strong enough to unite the circle in the face of the unexpected crises which arise as well as the approaching darkness?

//someone's thoughts//

<<flashback>>


Hidden Gifts
Part 1


Two young men wearing OZ uniforms stood at gunpoint before three world-renowned terrorists. Strangely, they didn't appear too worried about it.

"And you *promise* be home on time, both of you? Safe and sound for a change, right?" Duo Maxwell asked with a smirk, pointing a pair of handguns at them and knowing full well neither could make such a promise with any certainty of keeping his word.

"Of course not, baka," Heero Yuy growled, "Just give us our pistols and get out of the way!"

"No," the braided boy shook his head in firm negation. "Not until you promise, Heero. Wu needs to know you're gonna get Tro back here in one piece and I could stand a little reassurance myself for a change!"

"Oh? And why all the concern, Duo?" Chang Wufei asked turning to frown at his friend. "I am quite certain that Trowa is more than capable of getting himself back here as planned as is Heero. How is it you have so little faith in them this time?"

Duo shrugged then added guiltily, "I just got a bad feeling about this one, that's all."

"We'll be fine, Duo, thank you," Trowa Barton smiled and took his gun, holstering it with a practiced smoothness he hated. The tall teen had spent far too many days disguised as one of the enemy and given a choice, he would not be standing there wearing a uniform that would have guaranteed him death at his own friends' hands under other circumstances.

Quatre Raberba Winner, a little to one side and the least confident of them all finally spoke up. "Are you sure it's okay for me to stay here with you and Wufei, Duo? I mean after what happened and all, you never seemed toÖ"

"Shut up, Winner," the braided boy snarled. "We can talk about this *after* the guys head out, understand?"

"Duo?" Heero asked, warning tone clear but supplemented with a frown. "I thought this issue was settled days ago. We agreed to give *Quatre* another chance, right?" He carefully emphasized the blond pilot's given name in the hopes of reassuring the Arabian teen that his safety was not an issue, but the Japanese pilot could no more guarantee that than he could guarantee his own safe return.

"I'm sure I can find somewhere else to stay, Heero," Quatre offered and hoped it would be accepted. He didnít relish the thought of sleeping under the same roof as an angry Shinigami without the Wing pilot's stabilizing presence, too.

"No." Heero flatly refused.

"Why not?" Duo asked in annoyance. "I'm sure Q-Ball would be happier elsewhere and Wu and me would be happier, andÖ"

"Maxwell," Wufei put a single bronze hand onto his friend's shoulder, "Do not make decisions for me, please. I agreed to give Quatre a second chance and I fully intend to keep my word. Why is it that you are having such difficulties letting this go?"

Duo turned towards the Chinese pilot and his eyes took a moment yet again to scan over the still recovering boy.

//Ya wanna know 'why', Wu? Damn it all! Just look at yourself!//

He took a mental breath and tried to calm down and failed miserably.

//You still have stitches in your cheek, buddy, those'll probably leave a scar for sure. You may be hiding it with Tro's help, but your ribs aren't healing fast enough, and there's about a dozen *other* reasons why hiding under those sweats I picked up for you. Shit, Wu, why give the little bastard another shot at you? *Why*, damn it? Why?!?//

"Duo?" Trowa interrupted his internal reverie. "Please? Why canít you let this go? It's not like you to hold a grudge against a friend." The emerald-eyed pilot had moved closer to Wufei as he spoke, allowing his own eyes to travel the path that the chestnut-haired teen's had and he, too, took note of the visible evidence of the blond's destructive power.

It had been nine days since Quatre Raberba Winner had allowed sleep deprivation to get the better of him as his own jealousy broke loose and wrecked havoc on Chang Wufei's body. The young Arab was unable to accept that Trowa Barton had chosen another to love, and he felt that perhaps he could put an end to his own sadness by convincing Wufei to leave the brunette alone through the use of force. In the days that followed, he placed himself at the mercy of the tall HeavyArms pilot but he had goaded him into striking him in an attempt at evening the scales.

Or so Quatre had thought at the time.

Over the days that had passed as the other four teens seemed to enjoy the pleasures of each other's company to varying degrees, Quatre had felt more and more like an outsider and it had left him with time to think.

The blond teen came to realize that a small part of him still clung to the idea that Trowa could be his if only he could get the other boy to see it as well.

Once this was clear in his mind, he also realized that he had hoped Trowa might react differently to having injured him the way the tall boy had when Quatre had baited him into striking him. In some small corner of his mind, the Arabian youth still hoped that seeing him injured that way might have gained him the same gentle nurturing Trowa had so freely given to the Chinese boy and Quatre was more than willing to trade a possibly broken nose for that treatment. But he was wrong and it had been Wufei who had been ready to help him during the intervening time leaving Quatre feeling utterly defeated.

Wufei had quietly tried to help ease the other boy's pain, but Quatre had eventually refused any assistance, preferring to be miserable than accept help from the black-haired boy.

Duo had actually caught the blond simply staring at Trowa and Wufei from time to time and he had wisely deduced that there were lingering feelings. The braided boy had wanted to confront Quatre with this, but Heero had stopped him. Duo's own lover had pointed out to him that no one could force Quatre to give up his feelings and until he saw with his heart that Trowa was out of reach, the problem would not go away.

Denied this outlet, Duo was still in favor of giving Quatre the taste of Shinigami's wrath he had been denied, but this too was refused by the leader of the Gundam pilots.

So, here they stood.

One boy who wanted to leave. Another who wanted him gone. A third who felt sorrow that the first one was hurting since he, too, knew the pain of wanting Trowa's attention without getting it. A fourth who still failed to appreciate how he could have caused such confusion inadvertently. While the fifth was simply wishing the mission that had been assigned could have been postponed.

None of them were happy about the upcoming division of their group but there wasn't any choice for any of them.

on to part 2

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