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 27


Lost in a variety of thoughts, Quatre had missed much of the tender exchanges between the other pilots including Duo's admonishment of Trowa to watch over Wufei. However, when the two couples had reconfigured the seating arrangements, he had refocused on the group.

A slight feeling of jealousy arose inside the Arabian teen, but this time it was not against Wufei in particular, but against the fact that he himself was alone. Quatre sighed and stood up to gather the few paper plates that lay scattered about in an attempt to escape, but as he walked by Trowa and Wufei, a bronze hand had come out to rest gently on his own pale wrist.

"Quatre?" Wufei asked gently, "I am sorry if this still upsets you, but I thought...?"

"You thought right, Wufei," Quatre smiled and turned his hand to change the contact into an embrace of sorts, his own hand clasped warmly around Wufei's wrist. "I'm not upset that you two are happy, not at all. In fact, I'm really glad to see you and Trowa reunited. It's just, well, it's a little lonely being left out like this."

"I know," Wufei nodded before releasing Quatre's arm. "I felt that way for months, especially whenever I ran into the rest of you. Being kept isolated by Master O was really hard to handle at times."

"We can well imagine," Heero remarked in a measured tone, "But, Wufei? Quatre? Look, we're not isolated any more. Wufei, you're not going to be alone again. Quatre, I'm sorry, but friendship is all I can offer you but it's better than nothing."

"Friendship *is* a very precious thing to have," Quatre agreed with a small nod. "It's a priceless gift to be certain."

"Thank you Heero, for yours." The Arabian teen smiled at the solemn youth and noticed the look of argument in the eyes of the boy on Heero's lap before adding hastily, "Yes, Duo, and yours, too, plus Wufei's and Trowa's. You guys are all great friends. You've trusted me and taken me back after I was such a jerk about everything. We can move forward and not worry about it, okay? Besides, I wont be lonely forever, right? Sooner or later, I'll meet someone special, too, you know?"

"Yeah, Q-Ball, you will!" Duo grinned. "Cute guy like you won't be left running around loose for too terribly long, you'll see!" Duo swung an angry glare at his lover who was glowering at him after hitting him lightly. "Hey!! Heero, what'd you do *that* for?!"

"Cool it, baka, before Quatre thinks you're inviting him to a damned three-way!" Heero maintained the mock-anger for far longer than even he had thought possible before a small grin broke free to touch his lips.

"A 'three-way'?" Wufei asked innocently, "What might that be?"

"Don't ask," Trowa remarked suddenly and stood quickly, terminating the discussion by leading his confused beloved out of the room.

Aquamarine eyes were wide and confused as Duo looked at Heero with annoyance and then punched him in the arm solidly.

"Ite," Heero griped quietly.

"Shit, Heero! Watch what ya say, dumbass!" Duo was furious for reasons Quatre couldn't possibly understand at this point. "Until we get some answers here, keep thoughts like that in our bedroom!"

Quatre glanced at the pair and said doubtfully, "Um, you *were* joking, right? Because if you weren't, well, I'm *not* interested in coming between..."

"I *was* joking," Heero interrupted him and sighed. "Never mind, Quatre. That remark was in very poor taste and Duo's right, I need to keep my mouth shut."

Duo pouted as he walked out of the room and Heero had the sudden sinking feeling he was going to be going through an awful lot of ibuprofen in the foreseeable future.

Confused about some of the odd references to sex and other things, Quatre wisely kept his mouth closed. But he did make a mental note that Trowa seemed far more touchy about the subject than usual. The blond Sandrock pilot had long suspected that the tallest of the pilots was the most innocent of them as well, but the look on his face when Trowa had led Wufei from the room was not been one of the usual embarrassment of a virgin. Instead, Trowa had looked worried and concerned while Wufei seemed to have missed the sexual overtones entirely.

No longer willing to risk any of the friendships he was being offered, Quatre chose to remain silent about all of this and hoped that since Duo and Heero seemed to have a plan to deal with whatever was disturbing Trowa, he'd just stay out of it.

*****

After dinner, the five Gundam pilots moved out into the pleasant evening air on the beach house's deck facing the Atlantic Ocean. [1]

Sleepy after a long day of first worrying over his lover and then moving not only their few possessions, but their mobile suits, too, Wufei was happily ensconced in Trowa's arms, the pair of them sprawled in an over-sized deck chair.

Heero was lounging on a blanket on the hard wooden floor of the deck doing his best to ignore his slightly hyperactive lover who seemed to be having trouble calming down.

Quatre was sitting all alone in a chair but didn't seem to mind it so much this time. His own thoughts kept tracking back to a tall man with long platinum hair and piercing blue eyes.

As the five boys had left the environs of the OZ base behind by hundreds of miles earlier that day, the Arabian teen had felt an odd sort of guilt about not calling the masked OZ officer to cancel their date for the evening. A mental sigh echoed in the blond's mind as he reminded himself for the umpteenth time that the man was the enemy after all and breaking a dinner engagement with him was the only real option.

But in his heart he kept wondering, did it really make any difference that they were on opposite sides of the war? If their relationship had nothing to do with the battles and sneak attacks the Gundam pilots so often made, then why couldn't they share some pleasant company? He was being unreasonable in the extreme, but coming to grips with the new relationship between Trowa and Wufei had been quite hard for him and it wasn't terribly strange that he, too, simply wanted someone to love that would love him in return.

The cool of the evening increased as the call of seagulls echoed down the dunes and they fell into a comradely silence for awhile. Eventually, though, Quatre decided to indulge his curiosity about a feature of their new home of the moment.

"Um, Heero?" Quatre asked somewhat hesitantly, as he stared up at the stars, "How come a four bedroom house this time around? Um, I mean..." he blushed in the darkness and commented as carefully as he could, "don't we only need three? I mean, uh, you and Duo, and, uh..." Embarrassed at his own forthrightness, Quatre finally stopped talking and simply shut his mouth.

Duo, however, was not embarrassed in the least as he moved to crawl up the blanket that Heero was sitting on, cobalt-blue eyes closed. The braided boy's face might well have had a note reading "incoming with intent to pounce" as he approached his lover.

"Yuppers, Q-Ball! You're right as rain, my man!" The violet-eyed boy commented as if to distract the otherwise unmoving youth he was stalking towards on all fours.

Suddenly Duo exclaimed, "OOF!! HEY!!!" as his target moved faster than expected and Heero, grinning, swept him up in his arms to hold him tightly against his chest.

"I understand what you mean, Quatre," Trowa said with a gentle smile as he cradled his sleepy love closer to himself. "There's no reason to be embarrassed. We all know the score after, how long has it been now? A week? Two? Since Fei was hurt, that is." One slender hand tenderly combed its way through the loose ebony silk that cascaded down Wufei's neck and the Chinese boy nearly purred contentedly at the relaxing touch.

Trowa continued to speak in a quiet voice, lulling the smaller boy in his lap into sleep as he clarified, "Fei and I may not be lovers in the usual sense of the word, but I dare say we prefer not to sleep alone. I missed holding him these last few nights, he *is* rather cuddly. For that matter," he glanced up with the same tender smile as he regarded his blond friend, "I understand that even *you* spent a night sleeping with him while I was gone."

"Um, well, uh," Quatre stammered yet again and Duo stopped teasing and just *stared* at the Arabian teen in apparent amazement.

"You *what*, Q-Ball?!" Duo exclaimed in mock-shock. "Ya, hentai, ya better not have done nothin' to upset Wu when ya did that!"

"Of course not, Duo!" Quatre answered in affront.

Trowa chuckled and interrupted the friendly banter, "Shh, guys, I think Fei's asleep. Hold it down, okay?"

"Sure, Tro," Duo commented easily and relaxed against Heero who grunted either pleasure or agreement or something else only someone well-versed in Yuy-ese could decipher.

"No problem," Quatre answered with a half-smile.

"Anyway, Quatre," Heero finally finished for Trowa, "we didn't really get much choice this time around as to accommodations. Doctor J had picked this place off the list of available safehouses and here we are. I'd rather have an extra bedroom than be short one, wouldn't you?"

Quatre recalled the uncomfortable couch back at the apartment and nodded. "Well, I'd agree with that, Heero and if this is what we're assigned, well, why complain? This is a pretty nice place, after all."

Trowa glanced up at the beach house and considered how impressive it truly was.

Three stories tall with a traditional widow's walk on the roof, it looked more like a wealthy family's summer home than a refuge for five teenaged terrorists. Before he could comment, though, the slumbering boy in his arms whimpered slightly and buried himself more deeply in the warmth that surrounded him. Distracted by the slight frown on his beloved's face, Trowa forgot his thoughts about the house entirely and resumed stroking Wufei's back comfortingly.

"Not half as nice as your estate near Cairo, Q-Ball. Hey, Heero?" Duo turned to his lover to complain, "How come J couldn't see his way clear to let us high-tail it over there? Servants, king-sized beds, indoor swimming pool, plenty of luxuries..."

"And 24 hour kitchen service, right, baka?" Heero snorted. "No, J wants us to be on our own more and I agree. We never know when all of Quatre's properties will end up off-limits for our use due to possible attack by OZ."

Ignoring the discussion entirely, Trowa quietly rose to his feet, carrying the sleeping Chinese boy with him. There was a strong sense of shared deja` vu when, cradling Wufei against his chest, the quiet teen bid them goodnight.

"Fei and I might sleep in tomorrow, guys, it's been a rough few days for us both, it seems." It wasn't until these words were spoken that Heero noticed the hint of tiredness in his friend's voice and remorse filled the Wing pilot yet again for leaving the OZ base without Trowa.

Holding Wufei the way he had so often after the Chinese teen had first awakened from Quatre's attack, Trowa seemed happier and more content again. He turned to look at the blond who sat alone, saying, "Thanks again, Quatre for your help this morning. It's a great relief to leave that base behind."

Trowa smiled as he nodded to his friends and slipped back inside and up the stairs to the bedroom the couple would share on the third floor.

Now that only the three of them remained, Quatre suddenly felt like he was intruding and faked a yawn, then said, "Boy, am I tired! Time for bed for me, too! See you later!" And he, too, vanished inside the overly large vacation home.

Quatre would sleep on the second floor in the smaller of the two bedrooms located there while Heero and Duo shared the master suite. The fourth bedroom was located on the third floor along with the stairway to the widow's walk, places destined to play unexpected roles as the five friends faced the greatest challenge of their new unity.







[1] Geographical note: The beach in mind here is located in North Carolina, specifically in the area called the Crystal Coast mainly because that's where llama-types enjoy spending vacations. If you really want to know more, consider this somewhere between Atlantic Beach and Emerald Isle, and, yes, I even know where the Gundams are stored, care to take a guess?



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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