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 23

The beach house was silent for most of the rest of that sorrowful day save for quiet whispers.

Only Heero, Duo, and Quatre moved through the house as Trowa remained beside his lover's seemingly fragile body for as long as Wufei remained beyond their reach. The Chinese boy's lapse into unconsciousness had been startling but not entirely unexpected, the weight of facing repressed memories proving too much for him for a second day in a row.

Quatre had considered recommending they contact his sister Iria for medical advice to aid the stricken pilot, but decided against it. If having the four people closest to him know of this concealed pain made Wufei withdraw, then there was little hope that discussing it with a relative stranger would do any good at this point.

However, that decision had been made in the early afternoon and it was now dusk and Quatre was having second thoughts. As he pondered this again, though, Duo joined him in the kitchen, slumping down into a chair at the table and burying his head in his hands. At this point, even the American's braid hung limp and defeated, symbolic of the hopelessness he felt.

Sighing deeply, Duo remarked, "This is *not* going well at all, is it, Quatre?"

"No, Duo," the blond responded, "it's not. But what did we expect? We agreed that Wufei was hiding the fact that he'd been raped for a reason and now at least we have some indicator of what it might have been."

"What do you mean?" Duo asked, head lifting as his natural curiosity brought him out of his fatigue.

The Sandrock pilot shook his head sadly, he wasn't pleased that he had come to a conclusion the braided boy hadn't already arrived at. Duo was highly analytical and if this had not occurred to him, then Quatre suddenly doubted he had it right after all.

"Well, maybe I'm wrong," the Arabian teen said slowly, rethinking his logic as he went, "but it seems to me that since we all know that bastard Khushrenada is still alive, then Wufei either hasn't tried to get his own revenge for this or he doesn't want to try. His sense of justice would've required some accounting from that asshole, so why *is* Khushrenada still alive at this point? It makes no fucking sense!"

Duo was more than a little surprised by the usually gentle blond's use of profanity, but the events of the day had left all of them frazzled and somewhat out of character.

Eventually, the Deathscythe pilot nodded and said, "That makes sense to me, and I agree Wu would've done something about him if he could've, but what does this really tell us, Quatre? Does this mean that Wu's tried and failed like that weird thing he said before he passed out or that he's afraid to face him again? And if that's the case, who can blame him?"

Pausing to consider the rest of the plans the Gundam pilots had made regarding avenging their fallen comrade, Duo snarled angrily, "That bastard's the most powerful man alive right now, I doubt any of us could get past his guards to make him pay for this. We may not be able to grant Wu any peace after all, damn it to hell!"

"But we're still going to try, aren't we, Duo?" Quatre asked, suddenly concerned by the defeatist tone of the conversation. "We have to! It's only right!"

"What's only right?" Heero asked, walking into the room, a slight frown on his face.

"It's only right that we do something to help Wufei, Heero, don't you agree?" Quatre asked, hoping he wasn't going to be alone seeking vengeance, but refusing to give up on the quest before it even began.

"Of course we are, Quatre, settle down," Heero remarked as gently as he could. "There's still plenty of time for that, we just need more information and a window of opportunity."

"Oh?" Duo asked, suddenly interested once more. "You get something back from Doctor J on any of this, Heero?"

Heero shook his head, "No, not yet. He's hesitant to give me any answers as long as I refuse to tell him why I need to know."

Brows furrowed in confusion, Quatre asked, "Why aren't you telling him, Heero? I thought you told Doctor J pretty much everything all the time. What makes this different?"

"What makes it different, Quatre," Heero answered with a sigh, "is that anything I say to J may be transmitted directly to Master O and Wufei may not want that. It's not our place to decide whether his mentor is told about this or not. For all we know, O knew about this already and I'm just being overly cautious, but I'm not willing to give that man an excuse to try to pull Wufei away from us. Not now, not after all we've been through together."

Heero took a breath and glanced at both pilots before adding firmly, "One thing I'm dead sure of is that for Wufei to have a fighting chance to recover from all of this, he needs to stay with Trowa *and* with the rest of us, but O might not agree."

Duo's eyes lit first with anger and then pain as he considered this and asked, "Why would he do a damn fool thing like that, Heero? Wouldn't O realize this?"

"Not necessarily," Heero shook his head. "There's no way of knowing if Wufei's told O about him and Trowa yet. Plus, we don't know why he isolated Wufei from us a number of months ago, and this might be all the excuse he needs to do that again. We can't risk that."

"Hmm," Quatre frowned thoughtfully, "How long ago was it that he got really strict about keeping Wufei away from us? There's something about the timeframe that's nagging at me."

Heero looked thoughtfully at the table as he ran through memories of battles and assignments, then he glanced at Duo and asked, "Would you say it was before or after that long infiltration mission that I did with Trowa in Berlin? It seems like it was back then."

"I'm not sure," Duo answered, "I think it was around that time for sure, but that was what? Four, five months back? Details get fuzzy when there's that much time gone by."

"That was four and a half months ago," Quatre said suddenly, a small smile on his face, "Right after the last time we stayed at that two-bedroom apartment we just left day before yesterday. I remember listening to some of the stories Trowa told me while he was trying to write up the report for that one. All that stuff about the two of you dodging Khushrenada and all, Heero."

"'Dodging' that bastard is something I *wont* be doing again, Quatre," Heero growled softly. "I'd love to get my hands around his neck right now."

"Wouldn't we all?" Duo added with a sigh, "But come on, Quatre, what is it that's on your mind about the timeframe? You got any bright ideas?"

Quatre shook his head in annoyance, "No, I guess not, Duo. It just seems like those events go together somehow."

"Who knows?" Heero shrugged and then set the topic aside in favor of more pressing matters. "Duo, how long has it been since anyone checked on Trowa and Wufei? I wouldn't be surprised if we don't hear from Wufei tonight, but Trowa's got to eat. Like it or not, *that* problem hasn't gone away, either."

Duo pushed his chair back and got to his feet. "I haven't been up there in an hour or so, Heero, I'll go take a look. You're right about Tro not eating, but frankly none of us feel like doing that tonight, so let it go, okay? I'll see to it that he gets caught up on his calories tomorrow."

Heero looked less than thrilled, but agreed. "All right, let me know how they are, okay? It was the right thing to at least try to get the answers, but I think I shouldn't have pushed for them so soon."

"Guilt, Yuy," Duo said with a frown, "doesn't do anyone any damned good. Stay focused on getting us a chance to take Khushrenada out of Wu's misery and let me see what's the latest from the third floor."

"What can I do to help?" Quatre offered.

"Hmm," Duo frowned slightly and then shrugged, "Think you can go scan the net for ideas on how to help Wu cope with this shit? We've not exactly done a great job flying by the seat of our pants on this one so far, so new approaches would be welcome."

A smile brightened the Sandrock pilot's face, "Sure thing, Duo. I'd really like to do more than carry around sandwiches and coffee like I did yesterday. Not to say that it wasn't helping, I'd just like to do more."

"Don't sweat it, Quatre," Heero reassured. "You've been a big help, no one's doubting where your loyalties lie anymore."

"It's not that, Heero," Quatre answered with a twinge of annoyance, he'd assumed that issue was forgotten. "We need to make the best use of *all* of our resources and I may have more to offer than even I have thought of so far. I'll see what I can dig up and maybe we'll get a new direction to try."

Quatre walked from the room without a backward glance, firmly resolved to find a way to assist the other pilots one way or another.

Duo followed the other teen's exit with a worried glance, then turned to Heero, asking quietly, "What's up with him, koi? Did he seem more than a little weird to you?"

"I'm not sure," Heero said, baffled by the blond's behavior. "I think he's feeling guilty about how it went this morning but we all feel that way. Or maybe he's got another crazy plan in mind like he did when he went into that base and brought Trowa out on his own."

This remark caused Duo to take a peek into the living room where Quatre was already hard at work on his own laptop, up-linked to the extensive Winner network searching for options.

"If that's what it is, then more power to him," Duo commented quietly, "We need all the aces we can stick up our sleeves right about now, you know?"

"All too well, I'm afraid." Heero answered and then walked past Duo to grab a cup of coffee before trying another way to access information they could use to track down an elusive OZ general. "Good luck upstairs, koi."

"Always need that, thanks," The violet-eyed teen dropped a quick kiss onto his lover's cheek and exited, hoping he wouldn't be walking into anything too dreadful in the too-quiet bedroom on the third floor.

Full Author's Notes to Run at Conclusion.

on to part 24

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