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 23


Brushing the sleep from his eyes, Wufei rolled over on the bed and stretched lazily, feeling strangely happier than he had in several days.

He wondered where Quatre had gotten off to, it wasn't the blond's usual preference to get up early and Wufei distinctly recalled that they had slept in the same bed during the night. He felt rather odd about that in retrospect, but he didn't remember their conversation or he might have been even more concerned.

Staring up at the ceiling, he pondered exactly why he hadn't felt too upset in the hours before dawn when he awoke to find his arms wrapped around the Arabian teen's waist and the other boy's head pressed gently against his own chest.

//How does the saying go about the lamb laying down with the lion?//

He snorted softly to himself at that mental image.

//Then which of us is the lamb and which the lion? I certainly don't feel like either one right now, but this must mean we've finally gotten completely past that most regrettable incident. That's a relief. It was hard to invite Quatre to share my room yesterday, but I don't recall it being particularly hard to invite him to sleep with me like that. I must be getting soft!//

He chuckled to himself as he stood and grabbed a towel before going to take a shower.

//Won't Tro be surprised to find out I actually let Quatre get that close to me again? I hope my angel gets back today, though. I much prefer to have *his* arms around me all night than anyone else's!//

A happy smile played along Wufei's lips when he eventually slipped into the steamy confines of the shower where he paid little attention to the stinging in his cheek each time the soap got to the sensitive scar tissue that was finally starting to heal.

*****

Yawning, Duo walked into the kitchen to get some coffee and frowned as he picked up a piece of paper from the counter.

He read the words that were written in the delicate tracery that was Quatre Raberba Winner's handwriting and scowled angrily before yelling, "Heero!! Get out here! Q-Ball's done something stupid again!!!"

The Japanese teen was out of their room and in the kitchen, pistol in hand, in seconds.

"Where is the little bastard?!?" Heero seethed. "What the *fuck* did he do this time? If he's hurt Wufei again, I *swear* I'll kill him right now and to hell with needing a fifth pilot!!!"

If Duo had been any less angry, he might have smiled at the display of rampant overkill by his lover. However, he was almost at the same level of anger but for different reasons.

"Nah, he didn't do *that*," Duo growled and then noted with relief that the shower was running and that undoubtedly meant that Wufei was unaware of the new situation that was evolving around them all.

"Stupid little bastard decided to go in after Trowa, it seems." Duo wrinkled his nose up in disgust. "I found this note, and it may not say that exact thing straight out, but we both know how his mind works! Damn it all! If he's gone in there making noise, you can't very well head back in now. SHIT!!! This SO pisses me off!!"

"Hn," Heero responded noncommittally. He scanned the note and then handed it back with a crooked little grin on his face.

Duo stopped ranting long enough to watch as the gun vanished into whatever space it occupied inside the black spandex shorts before Heero turned away from him to casually pour a cup of coffee for himself.

Dumbfounded, Duo continued to stare as Heero walked over to the dining table where he sat down and proceeded to sip his coffee and regard his atypically silent lover over the rim of the large mug.

"Well?" Heero asked mischievously, "All done overreacting, baka, or was here more?"

"What?!?" Duo finally found his voice again. "What the hell do you mean by that? I am *not* overreacting! That little shit is going to make it impossible for us to get Tro outta there today! Don't you think…"

Heero cut Duo off with an amused snicker.

"Oh? Really, koi?" Heero chuckled and glanced down into his coffee again. "Are you so sure about all that?"

By now tired of the mysterious behavior of the other boy, Duo sighed and went to sit opposite Heero and said with annoyance, "All right, Yuy, you seem to know more than you're saying. Spill it!"

Snickering again, Heero shrugged. "Weren't you the one that pointed out that Quatre *is*, after all, a fully trained Gundam pilot, Duo?"

The violet-eyed boy stopped to consider this and then nodded. "Yeah, I guess so. Why?"

"And didn't he complete the same infiltration training we did *and* isn't he capable of accomplishing a simple assignment like this? I mean, he has done this all before, you know."

"I know that, Heero, don't be stupid!" Duo groused, he was beginning to see where the conversation was headed and he felt foolish already because of it.

"And all he said on the note was that he was going to do a little reconnaissance and that he'd be back later?"

"Yeah, yeah," the American teen put his elbows on the table and dropped his chin onto the back of one hand so he could glare at the boy opposite him. "Geez, Heero, it seemed to be so much worse when I first read that damned thing."

"I know, koi," Heero practically whispered as he reached up to gently stroke one of Duo's cheeks reassuringly as they both heard the bathroom door open and Wufei's quiet footfalls coming towards them. "Then give it time, Duo. I can still go back in after Trowa later, but for now, try not to upset Wufei when he finds out about this, okay?"

Duo frowned unhappily as he glanced at the black haired boy who walked innocently towards them with a small smile on his face. "Do we have to tell him about this? Maybe it won't matter?"

Heero just shook his head. The secrets being kept from one another were getting to be problematic and he wasn't about to let a new one cause trouble that could be contained from the start. Despite the fact that there was little he could do about it, Heero was still concerned about Duo's suspicions about Wufei's past.

As Wufei came up to them, though, he didn't even ask about the missing Arabian teen. Instead he just smiled that same endearing little smile and sat down at the table before asking knowingly, "Still nothing on the 'net about Trowa being captured, Duo?"

The Deathscythe pilot stared at him in open-mouthed shock. "Huh? How'd you know that Heero and me are keeping watch on that, Wu?"

The Chinese teen laughed softly and even Heero just looked at Wufei with a slightly puzzled expression.

"I did not know," Wufei shrugged, "But while I was in the shower, it occurred to me that if I was stuck the way Trowa is and he was out here, then *someone* would be doing that, would they not?" He chuckled softly as he stood and walked into the kitchen.

Behind him, though, a darkness descended over Duo's features and the braided boy felt a sudden twist in his stomach. He hadn't considered it quite that way before and even though it was dreadfully overprotective of him to think it, he silently responded to the comments.

//Hell no, Wu-chan! If it was *you* trapped in there, Heero and me woulda' gone in guns blazing to pull you out before even an hour coulda' slipped by yesterday morning!//

He glanced at his partner and saw a similar look of barely restrained fury in the cobalt-blue eyes he adored and felt immediately vindicated for his reaction.

//And until we know just what exactly happened to you, babe, we *aint* gonna let you go anywhere near OZ again! I can't shake this feeling that they're the bastards that did something to you, and until *that's* settled, I'm going to personally see to it that you've got an extra shadow 24/7!!//

The Deathscythe pilot grit his teeth as he got progressively more intense in his decision to protect the smaller teen from danger.

//Preferably that "shadow" will be a deadly acrobat that has deep green eyes and loves you a helluva lot more than he's willing to admit to publicly, but for now, you've got Shinigami and the Perfect Soldier and you are staying right where we can keep an eye on you!!//

Duo wouldn't have dreamed of using these kinds of nicknames for his friend aloud, but as long as both he and his lover felt something was terribly wrong with their seemingly delicate friend, their decision would stand. He now silently wished their Arabian teammate all the luck in the world and hoped he might indeed do something as bold as attempt a rescue of the HeavyArms pilot if that was what was necessary.

They needed Trowa back as soon as possible almost as much as Wufei did and the sooner the better.







Full Author's Notes to Run at Conclusion.



End Notes for Part 22 and 23:

Dedications: This posting run is dedicated to my dearest Ryoko. Why? Because she listened to me bitch and whine about the stupidity that has hit Casa de Llama and didn't thwap me for it and that deserves a brownie (with ice cream)! Or at least a fic posting run!

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