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//


Hidden Gifts
Part 5

Morning found the five Gundam pilots sitting together eating a sumptuous breakfast that Quatre had prepared around dawn due to boredom and nervous energy.

"More coffee, Heero?" the slightly hyperactive blond offered. He didn't handle even a single night's lost sleep well and he was trying desperately to make it up to the Wing pilot for waking Duo prematurely when an omelet pan had crashed into the kitchen floor earlier.

"Sure," Heero held his mug up and ignored the look of apology since he was tired of the Arabian youth always acting like he needed to be sorry for something lately.

"Trowa?" Duo asked with a frown, "Are you done with the business section of the paper yet?" He had finished his third stack of pancakes and was more than a little bored with trying to pretend he wasn't worried about his lover heading into enemy territory without him for a change.

Trowa glanced over the edge of the paper and asked innocently, "Which comics were you keeping up with lately, Duo? 'Garfield', 'BC', and what else?"

Wufei snickered softly at this, earning a glare from the emerald eyes he adored. Blinking in shock, he looked at Trowa wondering what he had done wrong, but never said a word.

"That ain't it, Tro," Duo frowned, then sipped at the freshly squeezed orange juice that fulfilled the apparent requirement for citrus at the moment. "I'm keeping an eye on my portfolio."

Trowa now moved the paper out of the way and simply stared at the braided boy. "Your 'what', Duo?"

"My stocks, Tro, you know, investments?" Duo smirked as he sipped at his coffee.

"When did you get the chance, much less the money, to get one of *those*, baka?" Heero asked in annoyance. He assumed this was one of Duo's infamous jokes and he was not in the mood for it. He had been *very* irritated to discover that the first aid kit had run out of ibuprofen and somehow they'd forgotten to pick up more when they were on their way there.

Duo's teasing had been more than a little too effective the night before. Three times in one night was a bit much for anyone even if they did take turns being on top, so Heero was tired *and* sore and not in a terribly good mood.

"Well, I donít exactly have one yet, Heero, but I will!" Duo grinned as his lover tossed a crumpled napkin at him. "You watch! When this damned war is over I'll be an investment broker and before you know it, I'll be as rich as Q-Ball!"

"Maxwell!" Wufei reprimanded gently, "It is unkind to use such a term for a friend, or have you forgotten how much nicknames can hurt one's pride, 'baka'?"

Quatre erupted in a giggle, cutting off any further lessons in manners the sole survivor of L-5 might have sought to offer. Through his laughter, the blond gasped out, "No, no, that's okay, Wufei! I'm fine with that name!"

"Nani?!?" Wufei's face was a study in comic shock.

"Really, Quatre?" Trowa asked, oddly concerned. "Since when, little one?"

Glimmering ebony eyes looked at both boys in confusion, but Wufei remained silent. The morning had been odd and Trowa's current attitude towards Quatre was unexpected but so had been the subtle reprimand about Duo and the comics strips, so Wufei decided not to take any more risks for the moment.

"Since he started calling me that last week, Trowa." Aquamarine eyes danced merrily as he added, "It sure beats the hell out of 'little one'!"

Emerald eyes blinked in astonishment, "Oh? Pardon me, but am I missing something?"

"Geez, Tro!" Duo chuckled, "Weren't you listening last week when we talked about this? Quatre's got a valid point, he grew over the summer, Wu didnít, and now Q-Ball here is not the shortest *or* the littlest one of us so he likes the new nickname better! If you still want to call someone 'little one' around here, it's gonna have to be your boyfriend there!"

This remark caused Wufei's eyes to widen further.

"Boyfriend" was not a term the Chinese boy had ever considered as a descriptor for himself in regards to anyone and he wondered what Duo really meant by that. The fact that the pair had not consummated this new relationship was a private matter, but it made Wufei wonder what the others actually thought about them. As he mulled this over, and decided the entire issue caused a feeling of sorrow deep in his heart, he let his eyes drop down as he appeared to study the tablecloth in minute detail.

Trowa glanced at the laughing pair and then at the silent boy in the chair next to him and wondered why Wufei seemed so withdrawn. He hadn't noticed his own odd behavior, but he was worried about not only the up-coming mission but also the odd things that had occurred the night before and he simply wasn't paying attention.

The ShenLong pilot suddenly noticed that he was the center of attention. He suppressed the wave of pain he felt and he offered, "They are quite right, you know. I am indeed the shortest. So what? It makes no difference to me."

Wufei shrugged as if it truly didn't matter, but Duo immediately realized that it did but there was no way to apologize just then and he felt terrible about it.

"Makes no damned difference to any of us who stop to think about it, Wufei," Heero growled looking at his watch in annoyance. "Trowa, we need to get a move on if we're going to get this mission accomplished and out of the way."

He stood to leave the room and was followed out by Duo who continued to plead his case that he was not trying to aggravate Quatre. Heero snorted and played it up as if he was thoroughly pissed about the situation, but he wasn't. This kind of teasing was a good sign, maybe Shinigami was getting past the earlier problems after all.

Without thinking, Trowa glanced at Quatre with a small smile and a nod.

"Oh, you're welcome, Trowa!" The blond responded brightly.

Wufei looked up and said, "I didnít hear anything, what was that about, Quatre?"

The Sandrock pilot grinned as he started collecting the dishes off the table to begin cleaning up the mess he'd created in his burst of nervous energy. "He just told me he liked breakfast, Wufei, no biggie."

A frown marred Wufei's face as he took this information under advisement but he simply filed it away with the other things that were bothering him so far that morning.

Trowa froze in place and stopped to look at the boy he adored apologizing, "Uh, I'm sorry, Fei-kun, it's like this..."

"Never mind," Wufei remarked with false calm as he stood and walked towards their room, face set in a neutral expression. "Perhaps you should change into that uniform, Trowa?" He hadnít meant to use the full name he used so rarely now, but he was hurt and it slipped out without his even being aware of it.

"Right," the brunette said quietly, watching the other walk away, back straight, shoulders squared. Trowa glanced at Quatre who had an odd little smile on his face as he carried a stack of plates to the kitchen.

The HeavyArms pilot waited until Wufei was out of range of hearing as he commented quietly to his ex-roommate, "Watch it, Winner. That wasn't funny."

Quatre froze and looked at him with the infamous "puppy eyes" as Duo had declared the facial expression the blond used whenever he wanted to get his way. "But I didnít do anything, Trowa."

"Keep it that way," the taller boy remarked flatly and then went in search of the apparently upset Chinese youth.

Quatre, however, stood rooted to the floor and then stamped a foot angrily. "Damn me for a fool!" He cursed at himself, certain no one could overhear him. "If I'm *ever* to earn my way back into their trust I've got to watch myself more carefully! If Duo had caught that little scene, I'd probably have gotten punched for it! And," he added softly, "I'd have deserved it, too. That just slipped out."

With a heavy sigh of true remorse, he turned and went back to what he'd been doing almost wishing he hadn't made breakfast in the first place.

The closeness the Arabian teen had shared with Trowa for so many long months seemed to come back at the oddest moments and he had 'read' the other's silent words all too easily.

If Quatre was going to learn new ways to handle the changed relationship between himself and the boy he had been fond of for so very long he was going to need to try a lot harder. Otherwise, he'd find himself alone in ways that would hurt far more than a simple night of lost sleep spent in the company of Mickey Mouse and an orchestra.

on to part 6

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