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 18

While Trowa stood guard over an empty research lab, Heero was arriving home after ditching the boring little car he had stolen at the OZ base in a vacant lot about two miles from the apartment where the other pilots awaited him. Stopping to change out of the overalls he had been wearing for the mission and back into the familiar spandex shorts and tank top, the Wing pilot felt far more at ease as he prepared for a reunion of his own.

"Hey there, handsome!" Duo grinned as he greeted Heero at the front door of the apartment with an enthusiastic kiss. "Glad you're home on time for a change, koi! See? I knew ya could do it!"

Wufei and Quatre both stood a respectful distance away from the two lovers and seemed happy that things were falling back in place for the circle of Gundam pilots as planned. Neither immediately realized something had gone terribly wrong, though.

Duo's smile was short-lived when he looked past the Perfect Soldier and frowned. "So? Where's Trowa? Isn't he with you, Heero?"

Heero scowled as he shook his head, "No, I thought he left already and came back on his own. We got things wrapped up a little ahead of schedule and I assumed he'd taken advantage of the confusion there to cut out early and get back to Wufei."

Cobalt-blue eyes took a moment to take in the look of concern on the face that still bore the line of stitches across one high cheekbone. Wufei's injuries were healing slowly and to Heero's surprise, the smallest pilot seemed more subdued than when he and Trowa had left only a few days before. The Japanese teen wondered what might have gone wrong during their absence and hoped that it wasn't more problems with their Arabian teammate.

The Chinese teen looked distraught and he asked with pain in his voice, "Could he have been captured, Heero? Do you think they have taken Trowa prisoner?"

Heero stopped to consider this and then shook his head. "No, I don't think so, Wufei. The base was a confused mess because of an unexpected inspection by Zechs Merquise, so he probably got caught up in that."

"This happens sometimes, Wufei," Quatre offered quietly, a look of worry in his eyes that Heero found reassuring. If the blond was so gently sympathetic, and it was clear that he was being genuine with his words, then that particular issue was not the one disturbing the ShenLong pilot.

"It does?" Wufei asked dubiously.

"Sure. I know you rarely had assignments like this with any of us before," Quatre continued, "so you might not be used to this, but usually it's just little things that keep us from getting away as planned. Unless, of course, it's a search and destroy mission. If we're late from those, *then* you should worry, but if we need to be quiet getting out, occasionally we need to wait for the shadows, so to speak." He tried to smile with the last sentence but he could easily see that this was a state of affairs that was distressing the smaller teen and he looked to Duo with a plea for aid for the concerned boy in his eyes.

"Take it easy, Wu," Duo soothed, moving to stand by his Chinese friend, rubbing his back gently as he had the night before in bed when Wufei had become agitated.

"Quatre's right, this isn't all that weird. Tro's gotten himself out of plenty of tight places, too, so even if something went wrong, have some faith in the guy. Heck," he tried to smile, "if Heero says things were nutso in there, then it'll probably be even easier for him to sneak out when they're not looking. OZ may be a military organization, but when they're uptight about a visiting bigwig, they often get sloppy."

"If you say so, Duo," Wufei answered, looking decidedly uncertain that he believed even half of what he was being told. His own imagination was feeding him an almost endless stream of ideas of the ways things could go wrong for his beloved and he was having trouble pulling back from that to see the more positive views being offered him.

"Hell yeah, I say so!" Duo finally said with a wide smile. "And since he'll probably show up any time now, why don't you think about how to welcome the guy home, okay? As for me and mine," he turned to go back to Heero with a leer firmly in place, "I do believe it is time for me to see to it that Heero understands I'm *really* glad he's back! See you boys later!"

The familiar Shinigami grin covered the worry that Duo felt as he made quite a production of pinching Heero's ass through the spandex and then pulling him back to the room that they would displace Quatre from immediately.

The blond chuckled and called out, "Have fun!"

Quatre then asked more quietly, "Want some coffee, Wufei? Seems we're on our own for awhile and I believe you like that better than tea, right?"

Startled, Wufei turned to face the other boy and nodded slowly.

The dark blanket of Wufei's depression had made a rapid return with the realization that Trowa wasn't going to be back on time and now the Chinese teen felt that things had gone from bad to worse. The premonitions of things going wrong for the boy he adored had been too correct and he tried unsuccessfully to force his worries away from his thoughts.

As he followed Quatre into the kitchen, Wufei asked shyly, "Um, if Tro is not back by then, want to sleep in my room tonight? Obviously you are no longer going to have the other bedroom any longer and there is an extra bed in mine."

A sunny smile crossed Quatre's face as he turned to the boy beside him. "Do you really mean it, Wufei? Do you really want me to share a room with you after all?" He paused and then looked away in embarrassment as he added, "If Trowa's not back, I mean. If he's here, well, I'm certainly not going to intrude."

"Hai," Wufei answered quietly, "We might as well make our plans to suit the current situation, Quatre, and I for one am not sure at all when he might return."

The dark-eyed teen sighed sadly before forcing himself to at least try to look hopeful as he added, "There is certainly no reason for you to have to sleep on the couch when there is a more comfortable spot available."

"We'll see, Wufei, all right?" Quatre smiled, he appreciated that he was making such an effort for him, but it was clear the Chinese boy was hoping it never even came to that point. "Let's hope that Trowa makes it home soon, okay? But thanks for the offer."

Wufei nodded sadly and it was clear that he was slowly sinking back into the silent darkness he had lived in for the previous few days.

A slight frown marred Quatre's face as he started making coffee for them both. He, too, was concerned about Trowa's delayed return so he struck up a conversation about basically nothing and tried to distract Wufei as best he could.

While Quatre had no idea that what he was detecting in his friend was as serious as depression, the Arabian teen had a good idea that whatever it was the emotions were draining the vitality of the ShenLong pilot and he wanted to help prevent that if he could.

Somehow, Quatre was able to draw Wufei into conversation and the pair in the kitchen drank coffee and talked, both working hard on not mentioning the main thing on their minds but it was a very long day just the same.

Full Author's Notes to Run at Conclusion.

on to part 19

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