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 11


Morning at the apartment where the three Gundam pilots were in residence was rather subdued.

Breakfast was a non-event compared with the day before since Quatre had no excess energy to burn off through culinary efforts. Wufei was quietly drinking a cup of coffee as Duo checked his e-mail on the off-chance that there was news from Heero or Trowa.

"Hot damn!!" Duo cheered suddenly.

The new message chime had caught Quatre's attention as he wandered by and he walked back to Duo, asking, "What is it? News from the guys?"

"Shit yeah!" Duo bounced out of his chair and went to pull Wufei over to the computer, explaining, "There's a message for us both, Wu! Granted," he added a saucy wink, "*I'm* the one the really good stuff is for, but there's something here for you, too!"

"Nani?" Wufei frowned. He wasn't accustomed to the way the other pilots handled missions as a group and this was a novel experience for him. The very idea that either Trowa or Heero would take the time in the midst of an enemy installation to send anything of a personal nature seemed odd. As he focused on the screen, though, he started to smile.

"What is it? I don't see anything addressed to Wufei here," Quatre remarked with a frown.

"Oh yes there is!" Duo snickered. "Look again and think the way that Heero thinks, Q-Ball!"

The frown deepened as Quatre tried diligently to do just that and failed. With a sigh, he said simply, "Okay, Duo, I give up. What's here for Wufei? I assume that the schematics for the scanner they're going to destroy are for you, but what's here for him?"

Wufei smiled and silently pointed to the notation that accompanied the text of the message, it read "'RSR' contains relevant reconnaissance." Dark eyes glinted as Wufei placed a hand in the pocket of the jeans he was wearing but he offered no answers to Quatre's confusion.

"C'mon, guys, this isn't fair!" Quatre whined.

Duo decided they had teased him enough and said simply, "'RSR' is 'Red Storm Rising', Q-Ball."

"And this is the 'relevant reconnaissance'," Wufei offered, withdrawing his hand and showing him the OZ identification card with Trowa's picture on it. "I guess this means Heero put the card in there for me to find, did he not? I wonder why?" He glanced at his friends and wasn't surprised when Duo rolled his eyes and grinned.

"Knowing him, this is his backwards way of letting you know how to track down Trowa while he's on the inside if you need to, Wu. Heero never was one for taking care of things like this in the most straight forward way."

"Perhaps," Wufei frowned. "But why would he even *have* this card in the first place?"

A puzzled frown crossed Duo's face briefly, then he shrugged. "I don't know why he'd have kept it, but at least we know it has nothing to do with this mission since we're here in the States and OZ facilities don't even use ID cards here. Why look a gift horse in the mouth, Wu? Just be glad Heero held onto it so he had it to give to you now and enjoy it, all right?"

Wufei looked unconvinced. He didn't doubt for a moment that this was the meaning of the message, it simply fit the evidence too well for it to be otherwise, but the actual intent was so far afield from what Wufei knew of Heero Yuy's personality that he doubted it was this simple.

With a sigh, the Chinese boy nodded and asked, "Did you need me for anything else, either of you?" He offered no explanation for the question as he watched the other two pilots.

Quatre seemed to be searching his mind for a plausible excuse to keep Wufei there or to talk to him further, but was coming up dry.

Duo, however, was already submerged in the schematic design Heero had sent and he just waved a hand negligently over one shoulder saying, "Nah, not me, Wu. I've gotta get started analyzing this bad boy in case he's got a little brother hiding somewhere. I don't want to risk getting Deathscythe scrambled by something I had a shot at out-smarting!"

"Very well," Wufei remarked and then turned and walked away.

Neither of the other two pilots present could recognize the classic signs of depression that the Chinese teen had been displaying. Isolationism, silence above and beyond what was normal even for him, and Wufei's general lack of interest in his usual concerns were all abundantly clear, but neither Duo nor Quatre knew how to confront the problem effectively.

As the door to Wufei's bedroom closed once again, Quatre nearly screeched, "You idiot!! You just let him go crawl back off into that little hidey-hole of his!! Duo, didn't we agree to try to draw Wufei out more?"

Duo froze for a moment, anger and chagrin mixing in equal amounts.

Pride won out, though, and the American turned on the blond teen growling, "I am *not* an 'idiot', Winner! Yes, we agreed to that, but this device could mean the destruction of 20% of our shared mobile suit resources as well as my own life! Excuse me for considering it a high priority that I find a way to circumvent that *before* it happens!"

Duo took a breath before he went on, "Besides, why do either of us even pretend to know what's going through Wu's head anyway? He's a damned cipher right now and until the guys get back, at least, until *Trowa* gets back, that's probably just the way it's gonna stay, too, so don't go blaming me for this! You've got a mouth, blondie. If you want to talk to Wu, go ahead! Talk to him! He isn't hurting anything being quiet like this and you're keeping me from figuring this shit out, so either go talk to him or sit down and shut the hell up about it!!"

Aquamarine eyes wide with pain, Quatre was thoroughly taken aback by the unexpected torrent of words.

As Duo finished ranting and turned back to the screen, Quatre took a breath and answered quietly, "No, I don't think this is a good time for me to go try to talk to him on my own."

The unhappy Arabian boy walked into the kitchen and stared at the countertop for a moment before saying softly to himself, "Since when did things get to be this difficult all the time, anyway? When it was just Heero, Duo, Trowa, and me, we never went through so much grief. Is this even worth it? I know Heero wanted to unify the team and all, but this is getting too weird for me now."

Once Quatre had fully convinced himself that it would be best if he stayed out of the other two pilots' ways, he finally realized that there was something useful he could do instead. Without mentioning his plans, he made a short list of household items they needed and headed out to go buy them hoping this small action might at least help later.

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping, right?

on to part 12

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