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 25


By noon at the apartment, Wufei was standing in the kitchen and feeling confused and somewhat frustrated.

"What do you mean, I can not go get some groceries, Duo?" He cocked his head and scratched lightly at the line of sutures that had begun to itch. As soon as the stinging sensation hit him from aggravating the healing wound, Wufei flushed red and sheepishly answered his own question.

"Oh, right. I stand out too much, do I not? Serious security error there. Forget that I asked." The Chinese boy turned to walk back to the bedroom he almost never left at this point but was stopped by Duo's hand settling gently on his shoulder.

"It's not like that, Wu," the braided boy offered with a smile. "I agree we need some food and stuff, and I agree that you *do* stand out, but I meant you should wait until Q-Ball gets back. Heck, with his preference to shop at the least provocation, he might pick things up on the way back from the base. Who knows?"

"Hmph," Wufei grunted unhappily. "I am a spectacle like this. Maybe I should just go back to staying in the woods alone since it mattered not how I looked."

Duo chuckled and ran his fingers lightly across the line of stitches with a half-smile. "Oh? Did you think I meant this, Wu? Heck no! I meant a cute guy like you is gonna stand out no matter where you go, that's all. And as for going back to hiding away from civilization, forget about it. Heero's worked too hard to get us to function as a team and now that Quatre's getting up to speed with that, I am *not* going to let you disappear!"

The American teen traced one thumb along Wufei's lower lip and then kissed him lightly on the cheek, trying to reassure his worried friend. "Besides, Q-Ball's probably gonna try to get Tro back here on the double for ya. You don't want to go off without Trowa, now do you, Wu?"

Wufei had allowed the mild surprise he always felt at Duo's touch slide away and be replaced with the comforting warmth that was intended and so he had missed some noise from the living room as his eyes slid closed with a soft, sad sigh. "I wish that Trowa actually *was* here, Duo," he sighed again, "I miss him."

"And I missed you too, koi," Trowa's voice answered unexpectedly from behind him.

Coffee-dark eyes popped open and Wufei spun around to find himself face-to-face with the boy who had hardly left his thoughts during the last few days.

"Angel!!" Wufei shouted joyously and launched himself at Trowa.

The slender teen's face radiated pure happiness as he plucked the smaller boy off the floor and into a firm embrace. With a small laugh of delight, Trowa indulged himself and spun around with Wufei in his arms, earning himself a set of laughs from the on-lookers as well as a mock-glare followed by an intense kiss from the boy in his arms.

While the newly reunited couple was celebrating, though, Duo immediately noticed a frown on Quatre's face where the boy stood at some distance from the others. Misinterpreting it, Duo assumed that the blond disliked the public display of affection between the two and he walked towards him with every intention of chewing him out yet again for being a poor loser.

Heero was on his way to join them in the crowded kitchen area and detected trouble in the air. He forestalled it by simply asking, "What is it, Quatre? What's wrong?"

This quiet question caused Trowa, too, to sober slightly and he moved Wufei protectively into one arm. He looked at the unhappy boy, saying, "It's not your fault, Q. I told you that already. Just tell them what happened and we'll all go from there."

"If you say so, Trowa," the aquamarine-eyed youth said with a sigh. He looked up and said simply, "I'm sorry, everybody, but we're gonna have to relocate immediately. I made a mistake at the OZ base and I may have compromised our location here. I hope this won't ruin things too much."

"Huh?" Duo asked as he tried to reset his assumptions.

The temporary loss of words on the part of the usually loquacious American, though, allowed Wufei to break free of the arm that enfolded him and go to the slightly taller Arabian boy and embrace him warmly.

"Arigatou, Quatre," Wufei said quietly as he released the startled youth from the brief hug. "I have no idea what you might think you did that was so dreadful, but you got the most important thing accomplished and that is all that matters to me. Thank you for bringing Trowa home."

"Um," Quatre was blushing again as he realized that Trowa was giving him an amused glance and he wondered how the taller teen would react to the news that he himself had slept beside the boy he loved the night before. Pulling his thoughts together, though, he answered, "You're welcome, Wufei. I know how worried you were about Trowa and I'm glad it helps to have him 'home' even if we do have to move immediately."

By this point the Chinese teen had moved back into the protective arms of the handsome youth who seemed to be unable to stop smiling. Trowa wrapped not just one arm but both around Wufei's slender shoulders and held him gently to his chest, reveling in the feel of the beating of his heart and knowing that Wufei was safe. [image: http://www.angelfire.com/anime/saotomechan/sweetxsweet/3x5cuddle.jpg ]

"Want to fill me in here, Quatre?" Heero asked easily as he motioned to the blond to follow him into the living room. Before they disappeared around the corner, the cobalt-eyed boy asked, "Since it looks like we need to move out, Duo, could you please start getting us packed?"

Duo laughed and stuck his tongue out at his lover. "Sure thing, Heero, but honestly! Can't we find a place to stay long enough for me to get bored with it next time?"

An amused grunt was his answer to this playful remark, though, as Heero remained focused on finding out what he needed to from Quatre before contacting Doctor J to get them a new safehouse.

The Japanese teen was pleased that he had already warned the strange old man that they'd probably need a new location since Trowa's departure from the base had been delayed. It was always a good policy to move whenever a mission had complications like this one had, so he fully expected to get a destination within an hour of asking for it.

They could move out far more quickly than this, of course, in fact, they usually did, but this time there was the added complications of not wishing it to be too obvious that they were leaving in a hurry. More than once the four pilots who had previously shared residences had been very nearly identified after the fact by nosey neighbors who took a bit too much interest in their comings and goings. And there was nothing as interesting to those types of people as seeing four attractive young men with too many packages loading up an often stolen car for their departure.

Through the afternoon, Heero would coordinate things with Quatre and Duo and they'd all leave the other two alone to spend some much needed time together.

Duo wished that Trowa might get to the bottom of whatever was bothering Wufei, but as it was, the couple was glad to be together and they spent most of their time cuddling in happy silence while awaiting word on where they were headed.

*****

Late afternoon was approaching and Lt. Zechs Merquise was anxiously awaiting the end of yet another boring meeting so he could get ready for the first date he had gone on in months.

It had taken him time to stop considering the evening at the Opera with Treize as a "date" since it had turned out so very badly, but now he felt nervous about the upcoming evening with the young man he had only met briefly that day.

//I hope I wasn't too forward.//

He pondered as he nodded absently as the scientist in front of the room pulled a plastic cover off of a device that had been hidden from view. The OZ officer knew the machine he was being shown was supposedly some kind of scanner that could reveal the Gundam Deathscythe even when its cloaking field was activated, but frankly, he just didn't care.

//What did he say his name was again? "Quatre", right. Hmm, that name seems familiar, wonder why?//

Before his thoughts could ramble further, though, a muffled explosion from the front of the room resulted in an out-pouring of noxious gas from the device and everyone began to cough and gag.

As several people tried to determine if the machine was on fire or not, Zechs was busy trying to help the other audience members evacuate the smoke-filled room even as his own throat burned and ached from chemical exposure. The young officer's heroic efforts resulted in everyone being removed from the gas including the now unconscious scientist that had refused to leave the smoldering machine.

Once Merquise knew that everyone was out of the room and safe, he collapsed against a wall in the hallway and coughed until he tasted the acrid hint of copper in his mouth.

A purely mental groan went through Zechs' mind as he began to lose consciousness. His last thoughts were self-derogatory yet revealing.

//Well shit. You saved the day again, Milliardo, but this time it means missing a date with someone new. You really need to work on your timing, you know that, Peacecraft?//

Eyes shut and body limp, Zechs Merquise never even felt himself being lifted to be taken to the base's medical wing. He would be trapped there as their star patient for three days, more than enough time for the Gundam pilots to relocate successfully as well as enough time to make the very idea of tracking down the "sweet little blond", as his mind had labeled Quatre, out of the question.

In fact, it would take an unexpected turn of events for Zechs Merquise to ever even realize that the boy he had taken an immediate liking to was none other than Quatre Raberba Winner, terrorist as well as heir to the greatest fortune in space.







Full Author's Notes to Run at Conclusion.



End Notes for Parts 24 and 25:

Dedications: Finally!! I got the Disco Ball for the Hall of Fame back in order and I can light it up and we can dance again! So sorry for missing two nights in a row there, (and after working so hard to catch up last weekend, argh, such a baa~aad llama!) but better late than never?

[turns the light on, calls the honorees' names with adoration and enthusiasm]

This posting run is dedicated to the cool cats and delightful friends who've sent me C&C's over the past few nights even though I fell silent due to the crisis (no, it hasn't gone away, I'm just ignoring it tonight) that hit Casa de Llama! These folks include -- but are not limited to since AOL eats my mail! -- the following intensely delicious people (who each gets a special saying tonight! isn't that nifty? the ultimate microficlets?):

Azzie (who needs another fic from me since she works so hard to C&C everyone with kind words in a lovely shade of green!), SkyLark (who bounces with Koji and sprinkles flowers!), Danielle (who stays up late every night to read this silliness and deserves a cookie! ), AJ from NZ (who has worse weather than NC does, but it better leave Aukland alone or llama will have to come and stomp on a tsunami!), Aurelie (who is the French Otaku Princess once again! BOO-YEAH!), bearilou (who encourages llama-boy who is eternally grateful!), Lady Une 99 (who is also called "Sarah" or "Ms. Camero" and llama thought of her with that "Corvette" reference when Trowa was so pissed at Heero and considered changing it into a "TransAm" in her honor!), Shea Maxwell (who deserves only good things and tons of them!), Mahtob (who asks really good questions and guesses right on my foreshadowing way too easily!), Zan (who is wicked cool and older than the llama!), Mizuno (who is suddenly tickled by a purple feather to make her giggle!), Trixie (who has a fun email address that makes me think every night: "Milliardo Peacecraft as Zechs Merquise played by David Bowie as the Goblin King! YUMMY!!!"), Rubious (who's going to party down in Canada at AnimeNorth and we are all jealous!), Nazarri Blue (who is too sweet for words and gets a box of truffles!), d-huron (who writes cool stuff and is NOT an "evil bastard" when he writes sexy teasers for us to read at [3x5_5x3list]! ) jana-friend (who just finished a marvelous 1x2x1 fic "momentary lapse of reason" which can be enjoyed at her web page "shinigami&wing" at: http://www.1x2x1.org ), Starlight (who probably got more storms but we hope she's doing okay in OK!), SteelSong (drops the pattern to stop and flirt with her since she's got a kick-ass fic "TFSB: Edification" with BDSM promised [adults only web page available at: http://www.steelsong.com/mainmenu/menu4.html ] more soon, please, dearest Goddess?), Kayo (who brightens the darkness with kindness and makes even Melpomene smile!), Ashkara (who has some fics that llama-boy is dying to read as soon as time allows!), "goldmund" (who popped in and waved which was nice!), Lori (who has a forgiving heart since she puts up with my plotlines!), Liz (who hereby receives an extra award for reading this far down the list!), Da Black Cat (who has a cool nickname!), CiaEclipse (who is patiently waiting for a gift ficcie!),

+=+ saving the best for last, the disco ball shines on +=+

Kimmie (who might write another 5x3 LEMON if we ask nicely! [asks nicely: Onegai? Kimmie of Hi'kry? Pretty please with chibi-Gundam pilots on top?])

Ryoko (who keeps Sweet&Sweet shiney and bright and you can go read all the earlier parts of this fic AND it's predecessor PLUS look at all the lovely piccies that've been used at: http://www.angelfire.com/anime/saotomechan/sweetxsweet/index.html !!! [kisses kitten and runs away])

[turns off the disco ball and flops over, tired from all those names![

Gee, do I have that best fans in the whole wide Gundam Universe or what?!? Yeah, sure, I wrote 28 long parts of this sucker, but they've gone to the trouble of not only reading it but ALSO letting me know they like it! And encouragement like THAT deserves a huge long thank you from me to all of them!

Also, [sniffles] this is the LAST NIGHT the disco ball will be used for "Hidden Gifts" since the Conclusion will run next time and it contains the final TOTAL FIC DEDICATION! Want to know who gets that honor? Well, plan to scope it out along with the key questions in the Author's Notes at the end of Part 28!

on to part 26

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