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 26


Late evening was far more normal for the five Gundam pilots than any of them had dared to hope for. Doctor J had indeed identified a new location and, to their shared delight, the five were on a "vacation" of sorts with a full week off from duty unless a truly desperate situation arose.

Heero had been keeping his mentor up to date on the circumstances and interactions of the five teens and the man had decided it was time for them all to get even more well acquainted. Quatre's reluctance to accept the new couple had been the final barrier for a truly unified circle within the pilots. But with his commendable efforts to rescue Trowa specifically for Wufei's benefit, the scientist from L-1 thought it was time for them all to build the bonds of trust they'd need in the coming days.

The five teens found themselves sitting in a large beach house of all things, watching the stars twinkle over the waves as they ate pizza and laughed quietly amongst themselves at various random jokes.

As things quieted briefly, though, violet eyes suddenly went wide and Duo looked irritated about something.

"Um, Heero? Trowa?" He glanced at the two pilots who were debating some fine point of munitions storage and boring Quatre and Wufei endlessly before continuing, "I totally forgot to thank you guys for wiping out that stupid scanner OZ had built."

"No problem," Trowa shrugged. In point of fact, he'd been far less concerned about the mission objective than he felt he should have been since being reunited with Wufei was of greater importance to him at the time.

Heero, however, looked at the agitated Deathscythe pilot quizzically and asked, "Yeah, Duo, it was a breeze and you knew it was taken care of when I got back yesterday. Why worry about thanking us tonight?"

Duo tried to look insulted by the other boys' tones and then glanced down at the floor before admitting, "Well, Trowa and Wufei ended up suffering for it," he glared at the Chinese teen before Wufei could deny this statement, "and Quatre almost got himself in trouble after the fact, so I thought saying 'thanks' for a change might be appropriate."

"You're welcome," Trowa commented easily. "By the way, Heero? When was that thing supposed to self-destruct today? It was one of those latent fuses wasn't it?"

"Hai," the Wing pilot shrugged. "It would have been activated by any attempt to turn the stupid thing on before about 1600 this afternoon. But if it got to that point without been activated, it should have just gone off on its own then."

"What kind of explosives did you use?" Quatre asked with curiosity. His own training in explosives had been limited and he was trying to expand his abilities as a Gundam pilot to suit the coming changes they all anticipated.

"Nothing fancy," Heero paused, thinking about the exact details and then shrugging his shoulders. "I connected some low-temperature thermoplastique to the interior wiring. It wouldn't explode, pre se, but it would slag the internal mechanisms so completely that no one would be able to reconstruct it after it melted down."

Trowa nodded and was about to change the subject when he heard a chuckle from Heero's side of the table. Green eyes narrowed in suspicion, he looked at his partner from the assignment and asked, "Well? Are you going to share with us what's so humorous, Heero, or are we supposed to guess?"

Heero just shrugged, "Oh, nothing much. Trowa, I was just thinking that if anyone had been around that thing when it went off they'd have gotten quite a face-full of smoke. I didn't want the destruction of the thing to look too obvious, so I set it up to look like a smoldering electrical fire when it went off. I just can't help wondering if any of those OZ idiots ended up in the infirmary because of it. Their security was so damned lax, most anybody could have gotten to it, so we'll probably not even be suggested as responsible this time."

Duo rolled his eyes at this remark. "Oh, right, like we actually *care* if they blame us? Since when, Heero?"

"Since we all want a nice quiet week off, Duo," Heero remarked and went back to eating his pizza ignoring any further discussion of the matter.

*****

Quatre had been silent through most of this and only briefly wondered if there was any chance that the scanner had been the reason Zechs Merquise had been called to the facility in the first place. The Arabian teen had tried diligently to *not* think of the gorgeous OZ officer, but as they had relaxed into their new home by the sea, he had allowed a few thoughts to cross his mind after all.

//I wonder if Zechs hates me for standing him up tonight?//

Quatre sighed and nibbled on a breadstick.

//He really seemed nice and if he wasn't, well, who he *is*, I'd sure have liked to go out with him. Without that stupid helmet he was so elegant and handsome, I can just imagine how nice it would be to spend an evening with him. Or, dare I think it? Spending much longer than *just* an evening would be even better! The way those pants clung to him, I can just imagine what it would be like to…//

"Quatre?" Wufei's voice broke through the hentai thoughts suddenly. "Are you all right? You look a bit flushed."

"Huh?" Quatre blinked rapidly and tried to come up with an explanation that was at least slightly feasible. "Um, well, uh, it's a little warm in here, that's all. Uh, yeah, that's it. Too warm."

Trowa chuckled and turned his attention to the quietly concerned Chinese boy, moving the discussion topic to one he had meant to address from their earlier reunion. "Fei-kun, may I ask you a question?"

A radiant smile turned his way and the other teen nodded, "Of course, koi. What is it?"

"Well," Trowa's emerald eyes held a twinkle of merriment mixed in with the clear affection and love that none of the circle could doubt or question at this point. "When I got back this afternoon, you didn't greet me by name and I was wondering why you said what you did then."

Coffee-dark eyes frowned as Wufei tried to recall his exact words at the time but couldn't.

Duo, meanwhile, had leaned forward in his chair and asked, "Yeah, Wu, I been meaning to ask ya that myself! What was up with calling him 'Angel'?"

"Nani?" Wufei's own cheeks began a gradual shift in color as their usual bronze gained a hint of rose. The blush even highlighted the fresh scar tissue where Duo had removed the sutures to Wufei's delight earlier. Finally the ShenLong pilot stammered out, "I, uh, um, didn't say that out loud, did I?"

"Yes, you did, koi," Trowa smiled and reached out a hand to caress the other teen's bare shoulder where the tanktop strap had slid down giving the slender teen thoughts about trying to pursue more intimate caresses later. "Care to explain? Please?"

The blush intensified as Wufei noted everyone in the room was either staring or glancing at the tenderness Trowa was showing so openly.

With a sigh, Wufei reached into the pocket of his pants and pulled out Trowa's OZ identification card that had been found in the copy of "Red Storm Rising" he'd been reading. His plan to use the card as a bookmark had come to a halt during the delayed return of the HeavyArms pilot. Keeping the attractive image as close to himself as he could had helped him to remain calm and he would need that again in the near future.

"What's this?" Trowa asked as he flipped it right side up and then stared with astonishment at it.

"Um, a picture of you," Wufei spoke shyly since Trowa seemed less than thrilled that he had it in the first place. "It was a gift from Heero. He left it in the novel you got for me."

"Oh? The Tom Clancy one?" This distracted Trowa briefly, but anyone who knew him would have recognized that the topic was far from forgotten.

"Hai," Wufei smiled and then added, "It is a good book, by the way. Thank you for hiding it for me as a surprise, I have never gotten a gift that was hidden like that before."

"Good, I'm glad you like it, Fei-kun. But, Heero?" Trowa turned his eyes towards the now smirking Japanese teen, "Where'd you get this card? I thought I'd destroyed that after the mission where I'd been stuck with that thing."

Heero shook his head and refused to answer, but the smirk was spreading.

Trowa frowned at his blue-eyed friend and then turned back to his flustered love. "Fei? Koi? I still don't get it? Why call me 'Angel' because of this?" He held the card out and Wufei gratefully accepted it back, taking a moment to admire the image yet again.

"Well," Wufei began quietly, "I know this will sound odd since I am not from a religious background that espouses such beings, but this image reminded me of artwork I had seen in Europe. Pictures of winged beings, far more lovely than what any mere mortal has a right to be are painted across the ceiling of a chapel in Rome and this reminds me of them. To me," he sighed and then looked back at the speechless boy he was rhapsodizing about so unabashedly, "you are even more beautiful than they are. So, to me, you are like an angel."

Trowa forced himself to close his mouth as the embarrassing compliments came to a stop temporarily but before he could gather his thoughts, Wufei continued.

"Then again, when I consider that without *you*, Tro, I might have gone back to my lonely existence, I realize that your love and concern have rescued me, as well." The smaller boy smiled winningly at him, and Trowa knew his heart would have been lost in that moment if it had not already been freely given to this intoxicating youth. "Angels *do* go around rescuing people, do they not, love? I mean, I thought that was how it worked."

Wufei's slight confusion at the end of his words was answered by Duo who had stood up and gone over to his two friends and embraced them both, starting with Wufei. To him, Duo said quietly, "Yes, Wu, that's exactly what angels do and I agree, Trowa *is* pretty much like one of them. However, I think you've just embarrassed the hell out of your 'heavenly being', so you might want to not say quite so much in public next time, okay?"

Chagrinned, Wufei glanced at Trowa before nodding, "Hai, Duo, I shall try to remember that. Gomenasai, Trowa."

Trowa looked confused as Duo embraced him as well, saying, "And as for you, mister, take damned good care of that admirer of yours. You're not the only one that's crazy for Wu, so now that you've been designated his 'angel' you'd best live up to the title!"

"Aye-aye, sir!" Trowa mocked as he saluted Duo and moved to gather Wufei into his arms protectively. He watched as Duo walked over and dropped himself comfortably into Heero's waiting arms before turning to Wufei once more.

Trowa said softly so that only the boy in his lap would hear, "Thank you, love, for such kind words. I'll do my best to provide you with whatever you might need. And if it pleases you to call me 'angel', then go right ahead."

"Arigatou, koi," Wufei whispered back.

Placing a small kiss onto Wufei's forehead, Trowa added quietly, "And I don't give a damn how Yuy ended up with that card since it makes you so happy. Keep it and know that I *do* love you, Fei-kun."

"And I love you, Angel," Wufei answered with a contented sigh.







Full Author's Notes for this posting run will be at the end of Part 28, the Conclusion of "Hidden Gifts"!

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