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 12


Sadly, Quatre was not surprised in the least when he returned an hour later to find Duo still glued to the laptop and Wufei apparently locked up in his room again. With a resigned sigh, he put the groceries away and then went to knock on Wufei's door.

Quatre was startled by the fact that the bathroom door swung open instead, revealing a Chinese teen dressed in only a towel and blinking water out of his eyes as damp black hair blocked his vision. As he moved to go to his room, Wufei quite literally bumped into Quatre who had failed to move out of the way.

"Nani?!?" The smaller teen exclaimed as the loose towel slid a little lower on his hips, then he backed away from the blond and apologized, "Gomen, Quatre, but why are you just standing here in the hallway?"

"Um," Quatre blushed as Wufei unselfconsciously adjusted the towel back into place, "I was looking for you, Wufei." He finished with his best I-didn't-see-anything,-really,-I-didn't! grin.

Ignoring the other teen's discomfort since he simply didn't notice it, Wufei answered with a shrug, "Obviously, you have found me. How can I be of assistance?"

"Well, uh," Quatre stammered as he realized that he had rushed in yet again without a fully formed plan in mind, "I thought maybe we could talk or something." He shrugged helplessly and assumed he would be told to go away, but Wufei surprised him again.

"Certainly," Wufei nodded, "that is probably a very good idea for both of us. We can talk in my room if you like." The Chinese boy didn't wait for an answer as he casually went about the task of getting dressed, once more unaware of the discomfort this brought to the other person in the room.

As Quatre frantically looked for something else to occupy his eyes instead of the vision of way too much casually exposed bronze skin in front of him, he noticed the novel that Trowa had gotten for Wufei sitting on the bed. He picked it up and glanced at the description on the back.

"Is this book any good, Wufei?" He asked innocently as he turned it in his hands.

"Yes, it is an interesting set of conjectures about what *might* have caused a war in a time period that pre-dated the Gundams as well as the concerns humanity faces today." [1]

The Chinese teen looked at the other boy and noticed the extreme effort Quatre was making to avoid looking at him while he spoke, then smiled a little as he handed the blond an Ace bandage. Now safely dressed in a pair of jeans at least, Wufei asked, "Could you help me wrap my ribs please, Quatre? I still can not seem to get it to remain in place no matter how the manufacturer changes the clip design."

Quatre glanced at him in astonishment. The very idea that Wufei trusted him enough to help care for the injuries that he himself caused amazed him. Wordlessly, the Arabian teen wrapped the bandage with expert hands and Wufei gave him a silent nod of thanks as he turned to pull on one of Duo's loose-fitting t-shirts with a soft grunt of pain.

Now dressed, Wufei gestured to the bed and the pair sat down to talk in earnest. As Quatre returned the book to its owner, he noted the slight softening of Wufei's eyes as Trowa's OZ identification card fell from it only to be swept up possessively by the Chinese boy.

"That really is an unusually nice photo of Trowa, isn't it?" Quatre asked with a smile.

"Yes, it is," Wufei smiled back, not a trace of hostility on either boy's face. "How can someone as handsome as he is have such difficulty getting a good photo of himself?"

Quatre shrugged, "That's beyond me! We tried any number of times to get decent ones last time we were at my family's Egyptian estate and never had any luck. Heero thought we should get good shots of all of us for identification purposes so we kept trying, but it became rather the joke of the week that all of Trowa's were atrocious!" He giggled a little as he thought of the one where *neither* of Trowa's eyes showed at all due to the omnipresent bangs. As he tried to stop laughing, though, he noticed that his companion was not only not smiling but actually looking rather depressed again. "Um, Wufei? What's wrong?"

"Nothing, really, Quatre," Wufei shook his head, "It is just that I was never asked to provide such a thing and I certainly was not invited to that particular get together. I guess now that I am with you and the others more, I realize how much I have missed out on by being kept apart from the four of you most of the war."

"Ah, right." Quatre looked at him apologetically as he added, "I'm sorry, Wufei, but I always thought you stayed away because you didn't want to be with us in the first place. I guess that's why it never even occurred to me to invite you to the estate."

"I know. Never mind," Wufei tried to smile once more, but the effort wasn't worth it as he added, "time passes and we can not change the past no matter how much we might like to. So, that said, how do we address the future?"

Quatre paused, more than a little confused. "'Address the future', Wufei? What do you mean?"

"How are you and I going to get past whatever differences remain between us, Quatre? How are we to become friends? I would prefer to move away from any enmity that might remain if possible."

"'Friends', Wufei? Us?" Quatre asked, stunned. "You really want the two of us to try to be friends after all that's happened?"

Wufei sighed. "This is getting redundant. How many times must I urge everyone to simply forget what happened and move past it? We are adults, are we not? Can we not act like adults and just acknowledge the errors that occurred and proceed from there?"

A slight chuckle escaped Quatre's lips as he remarked, "Well, I kinda doubt that we are technically adults at the age of 16, but we function like them." He sobered as he continued, "You're right, of course, that would be how we'd handle it if we were perfect, but it's hard to try to forget it when I just finished bandaging your ribs *and* I can see the line of stitches across your cheek. That's an awful lot of hard evidence to ignore."

A deep sigh and a glance away told Quatre that Wufei was all too aware of how his present appearance came across as well as how much he disliked the situation. Feeling a bit humbled, the blond teen offered, "Look, I'll try to get past it if you'll try to remember we aren't going to be able to pretend it never happened, okay?"

"All right," Wufei agreed. "So, how *do* we find a way to communicate better, you and I? After all, if Heero is right, as I believe that he is, we face challenging changes soon and the five of us need to be able to rely on one another, ne?"

"Hmm," a frown marred the blond boy's forehead as he considered this, then he brightened.

"First up, I guess, we can agree on a few things, right?" Wufei looked at him inquisitively and Quatre continued. "We agree that all five Gundams need to be used in a more unified manner, as well as all five pilots learning to be a team, right? Then, we can agree that no matter what we face, it's going to be worse than anything that's happened so far or Heero wouldn't be so worried over it, I think."

"Last," the blond boy smiled warmly to make it clear where his feelings lay, "we *both* think Trowa should be happy, no matter who he's with."

Wufei snorted, "Hmph! Put into perspective, our personal lives do indeed seem a bit trivial compared to world peace, but, yes, we can agree on all of those things. But what *I* need to know is this: Are you now convinced that Trowa owes *neither* of us his attentions? He is a free man and can come and go as he wishes." With a sad shrug he added, "For that matter, he may decide he is not interested in me either at some point, but it is *his* life."

"Fat chance!" Quatre retorted. "Trowa's head over heels for you, Wufei! I can *not* imagine him dumping you any time soon if ever at all! Can't you see that?"

A slight blush stained bronze cheeks a rosy hue as Wufei nodded a little yet answered with a hint of hidden sadness, "Perhaps. But perhaps not. Times change, people change, and if he should decide that he wishes to move on whether to someone else, or to you as you had once hoped, or to simply being alone, Trowa has every right and we have a duty to not get in his way if he does."

Aquamarine eyes rolled dramatically as Quatre expressed his disbelief, "As if! He'd have to lose his memory or something before he'd leave you, Wufei! But if you want to be so damned noble about it, I won't disagree with you. Of *course* he has that right and so do you!"

"But I don't want to leave him," Wufei remarked in confusion, "Why would I want to do that?"

"You *wouldn't*, silly!" Quatre exclaimed in exasperation, "That's my point! He's not going to want to leave you any more than you're going to want to leave him, so I'm not going to try to think of ways to convince you that I'll understand if he does. Frankly, if he *does* decide to leave you, he's a bigger fool than even *I* am! Now that I'm getting to know you better, you're an all right guy, Wufei."

Frowning, Wufei accepted the backwards compliment as graciously as he could, "Thank you, I think, Quatre. However, when all is said and done, our ultimate responsibility remains to the war effort and we must not neglect our duty."

Shaking his head at the fact that Wufei simply could not focus on personal matters even when that was what he had wanted to discuss, Quatre stood to leave the room. Before departing, though, he turned and asked one last time, "So, does this settle the questions about possible friendship and our ability to fight alongside each other, Wufei?"

After plucking the book back up from where it was laying, the Chinese teen regarded him evenly. "I should think so, Quatre. As far as I am concerned, we agree on what matters and as long as we keep moving forward things should work out in an acceptable fashion."

"Whatever!" Quatre exclaimed in frustration as he gave up entirely and he walked off to start cooking dinner.

When he finally ended up at the sink peeling potatoes, Quatre groused to himself, "Wufei's gonna be noble about everything even if it kills him! Honestly, how can he *not* see what the rest of us see? Trowa's totally lost on him. Well, I was wondering if I could ever truly accept the fact that Trowa's not interested in me and I guess the answer is 'yes'. And as soon as he gets in tomorrow morning, I'm going to have to have a talk with *both* of them and make them both see that skating around each other like they were doing yesterday is a *big* mistake!"

Firmly convinced that he could spare his friends some heartache, Quatre turned his energies fully to cooking once again. Granted, by the time dinner was ready no one in the apartment had any idea what they would do with 10 pounds of cleaned potatoes, but it was good stress relief for Quatre to have peeled the entire bag.









Author's Notes:

[1] This is a short summary of the excellent novel "Red Storm Rising" by Tom Clancy. If you enjoy the convoluted warfare in Gundam Wing, you just might enjoy this novel as well. After all, if Wufei likes it then it must be good, ne?

Full Author's Notes to Run at Conclusion.

End Notes for Parts 11 and 12:

Dedications: In a radical departure from the Llama-Normal Policy (isn't that an oxymoron? "Llama" and "Normal" are mutually exclusive, aren't they?), tonight's entire posting run is dedicated to Shea Maxwell, SteelSong, and Aurelie! These lovely ladies sent me the information I needed to survive the German Cuisine Crisis of 2001!

[stops to toss Pocky into the air in celebration]

Yes, that little extra note after my name last night brought offers of aid and information that saved my chibi's butt this afternoon after her teacher restated what she wanted on that Social Studies project at the last moment! So, to the three of them from all one of me, danke!

And a special note to SteelSong: Sweet heavens, dearest Goddess, but the Germans eat Ferengi on Toast?!?

[falls over laughing at the image of Quark being served for breakfast at Deep Space Nine]

I went and looked this stuff up (um, for anyone who wants to know, it's a dairy product with a rather serious squick potential that might be lessened by a large glass of very dark bock beer) and oddly enough you can even order a "Quark Maker". I immediately went hentai in my thoughts and laughed so damned hard my kid thought I'd gone nuts. Ah me. You are the best and the brightest, dear lady!

on to part 13

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