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 3


Evening found the five Gundam pilots comfortably ensconced in their new location and all trying a bit too hard to pretend no one was worried that Heero and Trowa would leave in the morning for the slightly delayed infiltration mission.

Quatre sat quietly playing solitaire and wondering how long it would be until one or the other couple simply vanished into their bedroom for the night. He'd been slightly relieved when Wufei had offered to share a room with Duo after the others left, but for one night, at least, he felt all the more alone.

"Would you care for a game of cards?" Wufei suddenly asked him with a smile. "You look bored, Quatre."

"Huh?" The blond glanced up to find the Chinese boy and Trowa standing near the table where he sat, both of them obviously going out of their way to spend time with him. "Um, well, I guess so, Wufei. Trowa? Did you want to play a game, too?"

"I donít see why not," the emerald-eyed teen answered casually as he and Wufei sat down.

"What'll we play?" the blond asked.

"Poker suits me," Wufei shrugged then winced slightly as he unintentionally pulled the bandage around his ribs loose for the third time in a row. "Excuse me a moment, please," he said with a sigh of annoyance, standing to retreat to the privacy of the room he would share with the slender HeavyArms pilot that night.

"Need help?" Trowa offered, moving to stand and follow him.

"No, I shall have to handle such things on my own now, Tro, but thank you just the same," he smiled. "Perhaps you can simply make conversation without me for a few moments?"

Trowa looked uncertain but stayed in place and Quatre suddenly felt very nervous about being left alone with the tall teen. As the blond was trying desperately to think of something intelligent to say, though, Trowa asked, "By the way, Quatre, any idea why we had to move safehouses? I keep forgetting to ask Heero about it."

This topic startled the Sandrock pilot completely and he answered truthfully, "No clue. I know it might have been my time at Iria's place, but I would have thought it might have been an issue sooner if it was."

"Nah," Duo remarked suddenly, walking over to the pair with a bowl of potato chips and plopping into a chair. He picked up the deck of Trigun cards that Quatre had been using and began shuffling them without explanation. "It was me, I screwed up."

As the braided boy handled the cards, Heero pulled a chair up as well, placing a container of onion dip down next to the chips.

The Japanese pilot nodded and said simply, "Duo got a little sloppy when he went to get Wufei's antibiotics, I'm afraid. We aren't sure if it was traced or not and Doctor J thought it wasn't worth the risk to stay where we were just in case." He shrugged and glanced back at the hallway where Wufei was walking towards them, shirt off, fighting with the Ace bandage that simply would not cooperate.

"Trowa?" The Chinese boy asked, contritely, "Could you give me a hand after all, please?"

As the tall pilot rose to assist him, Duo began clapping and gave a long wolf whistle. "Sexy, Wu, very sexy!" The braided boy grinned and got a gentle slap on the back of the head from his lover for his trouble as the injured pilot blushed in embarrassment.

"Cool it, baka!" Heero warned and Trowa simply smirked as he re-wrapped the bandage without a word. "Get your mind out of the gutter for a change!"

Duo made a face at the grinning Japanese teen and remarked, "Why? I thought you *liked* it when my mind was in the gutter, Heero!"

"Save it," Heero warned in a low tone as the other two rejoined them at the table, Wufei pulling his shirt back on and letting Trowa help him regain some of the dignity he seemed to have lost briefly.

//I am *not* going to survive this!// Quatre thought to himself with a sigh as he squirmed uncomfortably in his chair, tailored slacks suddenly a bit too tight.

He had never found Duo's incessant interest in sex a nuisance before, but now that his own loneliness was becoming more apparent to him, it was getting to be a problem. It didnít help either that he couldnít claim to find none of the others attractive in the least, he did but he tried to clamp down on his feelings.

Quatre was considering finding an excuse to go take a shower or anything at all to get away from his friends and he jumped as a card landed in front of him when Duo began dealing without further discussion.

"Five card stud, Wolfwood's wild!" Duo grinned as he flashed an image of the dark-haired bishounen in the unflattering blue leisure suit. "We priestly types gotta stick together, ya know!"

"Sh'yeah, right!" Quatre grinned in spite of himself more at ease as the environment became more lighthearted.

"Pass the dip," Trowa remarked as he gathered his cards in, arranging them to suit himself before trying a single chip and deciding he wasn't interested in the fattening snacks after all.

Wufei missed an opportunity to remind the boy he adored to eat properly as he looked at his cards with obvious disgust and commented sourly, "How is it I *always* end up with the card with the two onnas on it? What's their names again?"

"Millie and Meryl," Quatre offered helpfully.

"Wu's got the Queen of Hearts again, guys!"

"Duo!" Trowa hissed at his friend in good humor then turned to the boy he adored commenting, "Um, Fei? You aren't supposed to tell us which cards you have, koi."

Coffee-dark eyes went wide at the public use of the term and the Deathscythe pilot giggled.

Heero hid a chuckle behind a handful of potato chips while Quatre tried to convince Duo that paperclips really could be the betting chips of the night since they were out of jelly beans or other convenient candies for the job.

"But ya canít *eat* paperclips, Q!" the American complained, comically biting on one as if to prove what was so glaringly obvious already.

The poker game went on for a few companionable hours and the five finally succeeded in forgetting the fact that they would be split up the following morning.

*****

"Good night! Thanks for the game, everyone!" Quatre smiled as Heero and Duo bid him pleasant dreams on the uncomfortable couch before chasing each other to their bedroom, Duo slamming the door with a loud laugh.

"Are you sure you'll be okay, Quatre?" Wufei asked, once more concerned the blond might get into the bad habit of going without sleep again.

"I'll be fine, Wufei," Quatre nodded happily. "It's just one night, and I picked up a copy of the 'Fantasia Trilogy' at the video store anyway." He fluffed a pillow and tossed a blanket onto the floor next to the bowl of microwave popcorn that awaited his attention. "That'll keep me busy for a good three hours at least!"

"More like over 8 hours if you watch all of it," Trowa quietly corrected him, bending down to steal a handful of popcorn from the bowl earning him a frown from the black-haired boy standing beside him.

"First, Mr. Barton, I do *not* feel like sleeping next to someone who smells like popcorn!" Wufei chided as Trowa popped a few fluffy pieces into his mouth just the same, a silly grin on his face as he crunched on them loudly. "Second, how do *you* know how long that set of DVD's is?"

Trowa smirked and pressed a piece of popcorn to Wufei's lips which parted with a show of mock-irritation as the Chinese boy consumed the offered snack food. "It's his favorite movie collection other than 'The Record of Lodoss War'. I've seen both the original 'Fantasia' *and* the 2000 edition about a half-dozen times and the set comes with both plus the 'Legacy' volume." He shrugged as if this alone explained everything Wufei might possibly need to know about the matter.

"Oh, I see," Wufei remarked dryly. Changing his mind about the popcorn, he leaned down and scooped up a handful and returned Trowa's favor by feeding him a few morsels.

As he realized they were eating all of the blond's snack, Wufei felt guilty. "Gomen, Quatre, I believe we are taking your popcorn. Would you like me to make you some more?"

Quatre giggled as he put the disk for the original "Fantasia" into the DVD player and then flopped onto the blanket. "No, Wufei, that's fine. I never finish a whole bowl anyway. Well, good night then."

"Rest well," Wufei said as he and Trowa turned to go to the room that they would share for this night at least. Trowa simply raised one hand in a silent wish good night as they walked away.

Quatre sighed in longing and then turned the TV on getting comfortable for a long night of animated classics and insomnia. He really *did* need to find someone new soon, this fifth wheel lifestyle was getting to him all of a sudden.

on to part 4

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