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: May-July, 2001
Overall Rating: NC-17
Overall Pairings: (3+5) (1x2/2x1) (?x5)NCS
Category: DARK Angst Yaoi/Shonen ai Friendship Rape-Memories Sap Lime AU-OOC
Enigma Story Categories: G-Boys High Adventure! & Gundam Nightmares
Warnings: DARK, angst, yaoi/shonen ai, friendship, remembrance of non-consensual sex, sap, lime, language, violence, fear, AU-OOC

Notes: The hidden gifts that Wufei discovered brought him a sense of joy at the time, but now shadows of a dark and painful past return and his world begins to shatter. Can Trowa find the strength to truly love him unconditionally and somehow keep the Chinese teen from being irrevocably destroyed?


Unconditional Gifts
Part 17

The start of the second morning of their stay at the beach house found the remaining three Gundam pilots quietly going about their day to day lives.

Duo and Heero were in the kitchen sharing some coffee and quietly strategizing the best approach to the day. As they talked, Quatre wandered into the room looking a little messier than usual, still wearing his rumpled silk pajamas.

"Yo, Q?" Duo asked with concern, "What's wrong, buddy? You look ragged."

Quatre frowned and scratched his head, "I didn't sleep well, Duo, no big deal."

"I'll be the judge of that," Duo insisted, rising to stand by his blond friend and he asked, "Nightmares again, Quatre? Or something else? You're not getting sick, are you?"

"No, I'm not getting sick, I just had these weird dreams all night long," Quatre sighed deeply and then reached for the box of tea bags then turned on the tea kettle. "I think it's guilt over that whole thing with Zechs Merquise."

Heero's head rose at the sound of the Lightning Count's name, "Merquise? What's he got to do with anything?"

Duo snorted softly, "Oh please, Heero! Don't tell us you forgot that he's the reason we had to leave the apartment a couple days ago."

"Of course I haven't forgotten, baka," Heero answered with a shrug. "It's really not an issue, Quatre. We told you that before and this is a much nicer safehouse than that dinky little apartment ever was. It was a mistake any of us could have made, let it go."

"That's easy for you to say, Heero," Quatre groused. He wasn't completely awake and the erotic images of the tall bishounen hadn't faded from the Sandrock pilot's mind just yet.

Duo nodded and moved over to sit back down with his lover. "Yeah, it's easy for us to say since it's true. There's nothing to worry about now, he's hundreds of miles away and I doubt you'll bump into him again anyway."

"That's the problem," Quatre complained, pouring boiling water over the tea bag and setting it aside to steep. "I finally got a date and it just *had* to be with him of all people! Now I feel bad for never apologizing and even if he *is* the enemy, he was kinda cute and all."

"Oh ho! Is *that* the way of it? Gettin' hot and bothered for the wrong man?" Duo smiled to take the edge off his words. "Lighten up, Q-Ball, like I told ya, you're a real sweetheart of a guy and there's someone for everyone. Who knows? Maybe there's some cute surfer dudes around here you can go out with? We *are* at the beach, ya know!"

"I rather doubt that he'll meet a surfer, Duo," Trowa offered as he walked into the room, hair still damp and brushed back so that both emerald eyes sparkled attractively in the morning sunlight. "There's no surf to speak of in North Carolina."

"Hey, Tro!" Duo chirped happily, getting back up expecting to see the teen's dark-haired love right behind him.

As he moved to pour a cup of coffee, Trowa asked, "Where's Fei? I thought he was down here with all of you." He sipped at the "black" coffee thinking how the drink reminded him of his lover's eyes, a deep brown so dark as to be considered black, shimmering and infinitely attractive.

Trowa was about to add his usual cream and sugar as Duo answered, suddenly concerned, "Isn't he with you, Trowa? I've been down here for over an hour and I haven't seen him."

"What?" Trowa turned, green eyes narrowed dangerously as he assessed the situation, deciding he didn't much care for the conclusion he was arriving at. Dropping the full mug negligently into the sink, he turned on one heel and went towards the door to the deck, saying, "He was gone when I woke up. I assumed he was down here and I grabbed a shower without even thinking about it. Damn it all, I thought he and I had an understanding!"

"Shit!" Duo cursed, flying into motion as his own mind filled in the blanks in what Trowa had said and leaving some rather frightening possibilities staring him in the face. "You look out there and I'll double-check upstairs."

"I'll see if he took the car and left," Heero offered, halfway to the door, concern written across his usually impassive face.

Quatre glanced at the others and wondered what he might do to help and then realized something the others might have missed. Without speaking, he went to the front closet and pulled out the binoculars he had spotted. He assumed they were placed there to allow renters of the beach house to watch the ships on the horizon, but he planned to use them to scan down the beach in case Wufei had simply gone for a walk.

Stepping onto the windy deck and seeing Trowa shouting Wufei's name and running towards the waterline with no evidence of the missing teen in sight, Quatre pulled the binoculars to his eyes and searched the horizon.

By the time Trowa had convinced himself there was no sign of his lover near the house on the oceanfront side, he had returned to find the blond teen frowning unhappily into the glasses.

"We can't see very far from here, Trowa!" Quatre commented worriedly, voice raised to overcome the noise of the wind and the surf, "The dunes are too high!"

"Options?" Trowa demanded tersely, he knew that if Duo had found Wufei in the house, they'd have been notified by now and he was becoming more frightened with every passing moment. All of Duo's comments about Wufei's possible suicidal tendencies had run through Trowa's mind at lightning speed as he became convinced that the oriental teen truly was missing.

Quatre had already been thinking along these lines and he suddenly exclaimed, "The widow's walk! This house has a widow's walk! Let's try that, Trowa!" Without waiting for an answer, the pajama-clad boy turned and sprinted for the door that led back inside the beach house.

Following, Trowa asked, "How do we get to it, Quatre?"

"On the third floor hallway, I saw an extra door I assumed was a linen closet, but with some luck that'll lead to a staircase to the roof." Quatre was taking the stairs two at a time and Trowa was right behind him.

"I hope you're right," Trowa remarked, voice filled with apprehension. As panic built in his heart, the Mercenary personality began to slide forward ready to respond if the worst case scenario came true and it effected his mannerisms, rendering Trowa more like the silent soldier he became during battle.

They passed Heero at the second floor landing and he asked, "Anything?"

"No," Trowa answered stonily and then moved past Quatre to take the remaining flight of stairs three at a time. Heero and Quatre followed automatically, the three of them making enough noise that the other searcher in the house knew what they were doing even before he saw them all.

"Shit, shit, shit!!!" Duo exclaimed and fell into step as they made their way to the end of the hallway on the top floor of the house.

The door that Quatre had noticed did indeed lead to a staircase, a spiral one at that, and Trowa was up it and had the door at the other end open allowing sunlight to spill down on all of them before Duo even set foot on the first riser.

Bursting out onto the widow's walk, though, Trowa came to a sudden halt as his eyes took in a scene that baffled him.

Sitting motionless at the far end of the generous deck that covered the oceanfront side of the roof was his missing lover, dressed in the same shorts and t-shirt he'd worn to bed, eyes covered by sunglasses, and black silk hair loose in the heavy breeze. Wufei was seated on the floor of the deck itself arms crossed and leaning against the railing, head down. What confused Trowa was the fact that Wufei looked perfectly fine, yet hadn't reacted at all to his presence, something the slender teen found extremely odd.

"Fei? Koi?" Trowa called out, but the wind caught the sound and carried it away.

"WUFEI!!!" Duo screamed and launched himself at the unmoving boy, followed closely by the other three teens.

Finally a reaction came from the seated figure as Wufei lifted his head slowly, asking, "Nani?"

At almost the same instant, he was very nearly tackled by a braided American who didn't bother to pause despite the evidence that the smaller boy wasn't seriously injured or dead as Duo had immediately feared.

"What the *fuck* do you think you're doing, Wufei?!?" Duo demanded angrily, running his hands across the other boy's body quickly, convincing himself there were no weapons hiding from view as well as no blood from a previously undetected wound. Hotly, he snapped at his friend, "I dunno if I should kiss you or kill you for scaring us like that, babe, but I'm damned glad we found ya! He's okay, Tro!!" Duo shouted before he realized that the tall teen was crouched down beside the two of them already.

"So I see," Trowa commented, still confused even as he felt Quatre and Heero join them in staring at Wufei.

Blinking into the bright sunlight, Wufei looked a little lost as he asked, "What is going on here, Trowa?" His words, too, were scooped up and carried away on the breeze. Noticing the fear and shock warring on the emerald-eyed pilot's face, Wufei lifted his empty hands to him as if in supplication.

"Angel?" Wufei asked in growing concern, but Trowa suddenly took the offered hands into his own and tugged the smaller boy forward and into a tight embrace.

"You scared the *shit* out of me, dragon!" Trowa said into Wufei's ear, fighting the wind to get his words across. Trowa was barely able to control the fear that was coursing through his body and the expletive slipped out, surprising his lover who had rarely heard him so much as curse mildly. Even as the Mercenary personality slipped back into the recesses of Trowa's mind, his influence had been heard in his angry words and it shocked his lover.

Onyx eyes widened as Wufei realized beyond a shadow of a doubt that he had inadvertently upset the taller teen badly. He apologized without fully knowing what sin he had committed, "Gomenasai, koi, it wont happen again. Um, what did I do, anyway?"

"We didn't know where the hell you were, Fei! I thought you might haveā€¦" Trowa spoke then stopped, barely getting his runaway imagination under control enough to keep from admitting that he had feared the other boy might have taken his life rather than confront the truth about his past. "I was so damned worried!"

Blinking back his confusion, Wufei allowed himself to be drawn to his feet by Trowa who held onto him possessively even as the other pilots stepped closer to the couple as if requiring physical contact with the Chinese boy to be convinced that he was all right after all.

"What on earth did you think you were doing up here alone, Wufei?" Quatre angrily demanded then added, "Didn't you hear us when we were down on the deck looking for you?"

"Nani?" Wufei asked, leaning forward slightly, "What did you say, Quatre? I can not hear you over the wind."

Realization dawned on them all suddenly that of course Wufei hadn't heard them before. It was breezy at ground level, but here at the top of the nearly fifty-foot tall beach house it was positively gusty. The wind drowned out words from nearby and would have rendered words from the deck totally lost.

"Let's get back inside," Heero recommended, leaning in so that both Trowa and Wufei would hear his words.

"All right," Wufei agreed easily, and then winced a little from where Heero had placed one hand on an exposed arm. "Ite," he griped, glancing at the slightly sunburned skin even as all five of them headed back to the door that led inside.

"I wonder what the hell was going through Wu's head to pull a stunt like this?" Duo complained to Quatre as they walked into the kitchen ahead of everyone else.

"I guess we'll find out in a few minutes," the blond answered, going ahead and brewing coffee for all of them. His nerves were shot to hell and he didn't even bother with making tea, simply sitting down at the table with Duo to wait for answers.

Full Author's Notes to Run at Conclusion.

on to part 18

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