Outside, in the cooling air of evening, three teens chatted amiably for awhile, discussing little
of consequence yet enjoying the easy companionship they now shared so freely. Eventually
the gradual drop in temperature got to be too much and they went inside, bidding each other
good-night before going to their respective bedrooms.
Flopping down on his bed, Quatre yawned hugely and wondered aloud, "Can this really be
happening? Is it even possible that things are starting to get better around here?"
His musings were interrupted by another yawn and he laughed gently, "Allah, how'd I get so
tired? All I really did today was some shopping and a whole lot of talking with the guys. Oh,
and walking on the beach, that was fun. Hmm, but I did wake up a little more abruptly than I
usually do this morning and that always makes me feel out of sorts, maybe that has something
to do with it? Guess I was a little busier than I thought, huh?"
The Arabian teen changed into his admittedly garish paisley pajamas with a tiny smile. The
brightly colored clothes were a gift from his sister Iria and he silently thanked her for them
again before crawling under the covers. As he waited for sleep to claim him, his thoughts
//I sure hope that Rasid will think moving the Maganacs to Xanadu sounds good. I miss him
and the guys. They deserve a home that's better than a bunch of tents. I'll make sure to send
him a message about it first thing in the morning, I'm too tired to do it right now.//
Snuggling deeper into the pillow, another image came to mind and it was greeted with mixed
emotions. A tall, handsome man with almost waist-length platinum blond hair seemed to gaze
at Quatre and he grumbled mentally about it.
//Merquise, don't you ever read your e-mail? What's taking you so long to get back to me,
huh? For someone who seemed so interested a couple days ago, you're sure disappointing me
now. Then again, I *am* trying to use you to get at your boss, so I'll try to be patient a little
Quatre's thoughts trailed off and he felt sadder than he thought he might.
//I wish we could've gotten that date in when we might've still been able to be friends, Zechs.
I kinda think that wont ever happen now that I need you to lead me to that bastard
Khushrenada and I doubt either one of us will ever get past how that's going to turn out. But
even if you hate me or come after me for your own revenge later, it'll be worth it. I still owe
Wufei for what I did to him and this is a way for me to pay that debt. I just hope that this
works and things will get better soon, too. It hurts to see him hurting so badly and Trowa so
unhappy, they don't deserve all that grief.//
Pulling the blanket up around his neck more tightly, Quatre sighed softly and found sleep was
long in coming. The young Arabian pilot had a challenging future ahead of him and if he was
able to accomplish what he was planning, there were rewards awaiting him that he never could
Wufei and Trowa returned to their bedroom hand in hand, both feeling far more relaxed than
they had been since the disastrous first morning spent there.
Pulling the seashell he saved from dinner out of his pocket, Wufei asked, "Do we still have that
box of things from the apartment around here, Tro? I think that I would like to keep this as a
souvenir for now."
"It's on the dresser, love," Trowa offered with a smile as he peeled off his clothes and changed
into the now comfortably wrinkled shirt and shorts he'd been wearing in bed lately.
"So I see," the Chinese teen nodded and placed the Calico Scallop shell in it, surprised when it
slid down into the box, hitting something that gave off a soft thunk. "I wonder what that
was?" Wufei remarked, about to search the container of miscellaneous items, but changing his
mind as he realized that Trowa was already pulling the covers down and giving him an inviting
look to join him as he lay down on their bed.
Unbeknownst to either teen, the heavy gold signet ring which bore the Winner family crest on
it's surface now nestled against the delicate seashell creating an odd conjunction of two gifts
from the same boy, one given out of guilt, the other out of friendship. Yet both would remain
hidden away in the unassuming little collection of pieces of their lives until after the move to
their new home in space.
Quickly changing into his own sleepwear, Wufei crawled into bed and stretched luxuriously next
to Trowa who watched him with a fond smile. "Are you comfortable, koi?" the slender teen
asked then rolled onto his side and opened his arms in invitation.
"Definitely." Turning a radiant smile on him, the smaller boy snuggled close and sighed happily
before commenting, "There is no place I would rather be than right here, warm and safe with
you, my angel."
Grateful for the trust and love that he felt, Trowa leaned forward and placed a sweetly
undemanding kiss on Wufei's lips. Eager to share his feelings more fully, the Chinese boy
pressed back firmly, lengthening the kiss without any effort to deepen it.
Eventually needing to breathe, they broke apart and lay quietly gazing into one another's
Gathering his courage, Wufei finally brought up a subject that he had been silently worrying
over. After taking a deep, steadying breath, he said, "Angel? There is something that I need to
talk to you about, but I am not certain how to begin." He glanced down, feeling guilty without
even giving his partner a chance to respond.
Moving one hand to gently take Wufei's chin and draw it back up, Trowa encouraged him,
"Don't worry, love. Whatever it is, I'm sure we can handle it together. What's on your mind?"
"Well," the sloe-eyed boy began cautiously, "this afternoon, while we just rested in here
together, I was thinking about what happened the other morning when we tried to, um, well,
you know." Thoughts of the rape kept Wufei from being able to even mention more directly the
act of love they had tried to share and sent tremors of fear through him yet again.
Face paling slightly, Wufei took a shuddering breath and forced himself to complete the
thought, "The thing is, Tro, I have no idea when I will feel ready for more intimacy than what
we share like this. But that is not fair to you. I mean, I assume that you want more after what
happened the other morning and I…"
Trowa lifted a single slender finger to the worried boy's lips and hushed him tenderly, "Shh,
love, don't worry. It's all right, really." He smiled even as he shook his head and replaced the
finger with his own lips for a brief kiss, sending silent reassurance and love where it was
Once the other boy seemed to calm a bit, Trowa pulled away slightly and reassured him,
saying, "No, dragon, you're not being unfair to me at all. Frankly, I was wondering some of the
same things myself." He took a steadying breath and then stated simply, "Fei-kun, I'm a virgin
and I'm perfectly content to remain one for as long as it takes until you're ready."
"You mean you are willing to wait on something as important as *that*," Wufei asked in mild
surprise as self-condemnation entered his voice, "for *me*? Even though you know that I
"Stop, please!" Trowa said in a pained voice, halting his love before he could label himself with
the many negative descriptors that Wufei now seemed to connect with himself and sexuality.
"Why can't you see that *you* are all that matters to me? Why do I seem to need to tell you
over and over that I love you unconditionally and will do whatever it takes to keep my
promises to you? Of course I want to wait for you, I wouldn't want to share my first time with
anyone else. And do *not* say anything about you being dirty or unworthy because of what
was done against your will, because you're not!"
The taller youth drew in a deep and shuddering breath, forcing back a desire to cry, even as
Wufei's eyes searched his face, seeing the truth in his words even as Trowa added, "To me,
you are still pure. Nothing that has happened changes that and unless you turn to someone
else because *you* want to, then I'm going to assume that when the time comes, it will be as
new and as wonderful for both of us as it can possibly be." Emerald eyes, filled with a strange
combination of sorrow and hope, gazed into the openly adoring face of the boy that was now
the entirety of Trowa Barton's world.
"Ah, my angel," Wufei sighed, one hand lifting to caress an ivory cheek gently as he stated,
"You do love me that much. I knew that, but somehow it is hard to remember at times when I
think about the past and the pain. Somehow, I feared that I might drive you away but now I
see that this is not even possible, is it?"
"No, not possible at all," Trowa answered, eyes sliding half-shut gratefully as he realized his
impassioned words had penetrated to his love's soul. "I won't leave you. Do you remember
everything that we talked about in the kitchen yesterday? When I said that even if I was
away from you physically I would still never leave you? I meant that."
Wufei frowned slightly, forcing himself to admit, "Actually, no. I apologize, but I do not
remember everything we talked about at the time. I recall vague memories of my childhood and
you telling me that you loved me, but it is blurry beyond that, I am sorry, angel." He looked
away, ashamed by even this minor deception.
"Don't be," Trowa smiled sadly and lifted the other's chin to look into coffee-dark eyes once
more. "It was a rough day and if you don't remember all of it, that's probably for the best. But
does that make sense? That even if I'm gone, I haven't really left you?"
"In some odd, illogical way, it does, koi," Wufei smiled slightly and nodded, "And the same goes
for me. Even if we are apart physically, I will still be with you somehow."
"Good, that's all that I ask, Fei-kun." Relieved, Trowa resumed the pleasant task of stroking his
love's back and was rewarded with a delicate yawn and the feeling of Wufei burrowing closer
"I have no idea how I can sleep so much and still be tired," Wufei complained around another
yawn, never realizing that this subtle sign of depression was expressing itself again.
Trowa shook his head slightly and pulled a blanket up around them both warmly, "I don't think
it's anything to worry about. You've been through a lot lately. Just rest, I'm sure everything
will be fine."
"But, angel," the Chinese youth tried to insist around another yawn, "this afternoon I promised
you more hugs and kisses and now I am just too sleepy."
Loving touches continued to soothe and lead the way towards rest and the taller teen assured
him, "That's all right, love, you can give them to me tomorrow and the next day and the next.
We have all the time in the world for that."
Wufei snuggled closer and asked in a quietly hopeful voice, "Will there be time for that on
Xanadu, too, koi? Will we really get to be together?"
"Of course we will," Trowa answered confidently. "As long as Heero's calling the shots you
know he wont let them split us up, dragon. Now you need some sleep, okay?"
Nuzzling the warm skin beneath his cheek, Wufei gratefully murmured his acknowledgment and
drifted into slumber, content in his soulmate's arms.
For his part, though, Trowa was not relaxed, his mind filling with dark thoughts.
//I'm sorry, koi, I didn't mean to get upset with you like that earlier, but it hurts when it seems
like you keep forgetting that I love you unconditionally. The fact that you were raped doesn't
change that in the least.//
A shudder ran through the slender body as Trowa felt the agony yet again that even saying
the word in his mind caused. He tried to avoid thinking about the details of the event, of how
much pain and sorrow Wufei must have experienced at the time and then had felt during the
long months alone as well as how much there was yet to face. However, in the darkness of
the night, with the sound of the surf outside the window reminding him of the terrifying
morning he'd thought Wufei had committed suicide on the widow's walk, Trowa found himself
reviewing the last three days in his mind.
//So much heartache in such a short amount of time. To go from admitting to each other that
we cared and then jumping from love to sex so quickly was probably pretty stupid, but it
seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Then, instead of finding joy, I almost destroyed
you, and in the process, myself as well. Then two more days in hell as your memories returned.
I only hope to god that we know all there is to know about it, you deserve the peace of
having this finished.//
Trowa felt an ache in his soul and the mental voice dipped lower as the Mercenary personality
came to the fore, considering various options for locating and disposing of what he considered
to be nothing more than a piece of trash in human form.
//Khushrenada, you fucking bastard! Why did you force yourself on my dragon? It's going to
hurt him all over again when I finally leave to come after your sorry ass, but I've got to do it.
For Fei and for me. I will avenge him, you can count on it!//
Amidst the angry yet meticulous plans being made, decisions as to weaponry and additional
personnel ran through the life-long soldier's mind and he realized that going in alone was not
the best option and this disappointed him.
//Looks like Shinigami and possibly Perfect Soldier both might be needed for this operation, but
I'd rather not take both. Someone needs to stay behind and protect Wufei. From everything
I've seen so far, the Warrior has been lost to us and I doubt that Wufei has the power left to
defend himself in the condition he's in now. If only we knew sooner, if only we could've done
something to keep him from disintegrating. Hell, if only that asshole had never touched him!//
The agonized soul that wrapped itself around plans of vengeance was angry and hurting.
To Trowa's Mercenary personality, Wufei's Warrior personality was a separate individual and his
own soulmate, a man that was now sorely missed. But there was no way for any aspect of
Trowa to have been so certain of the state of Wufei's inner self. It was possible that the
Warrior had not been lost, merely submerged helping to fight the pain as best he could or
perhaps even in hiding, regretting what he saw as his own failure to protect and defend
himself regardless of the size and strength of the enemy in question.
As the emerald-eyed boy allowed the last of his anger to flow away in the early morning hours,
a last vision appeared in his mind's eye.
Shining and wickedly sharp, the dagger which he had forgotten to give to Heero for
safekeeping now appeared and, for once, it brought a true lightness to Trowa's heart. In a
strange melding of dream imagery and something he would never understand, he saw the blade
in an entirely different way. Khushrenada's blood dripped from the tip of it, each droplet
somehow transforming into a butterfly that fluttered away as it dripped off, each colorful
creature free to go wherever it wished in an open sky.
The bizarre image allowed Trowa to return to himself as he grasped at least a part of the
symbolism his mind was offering him.
//Freedom. That's what I can give my love, freedom from the fear that one day he'll have to
face the person who nearly destroyed him. I can avenge Fei and maybe that will set us both
free to get on with the life we were meant to share together.//
Trowa was completely right, to help heal the damaged soul of the one he loved, more gifts
were needed but not from himself alone. To begin to bring closure to this horrifying event in
Wufei's life, not only Trowa but Heero, Duo, and Quatre would need to work together to give
to him what could only be considered avenging gifts.
1. DEDICATION: Even though each posting run of "Unconditional Gifts"
carried individual dedications to specific people along with the infamous
"Hall of Fame", in the end there can be only a single ultimate dedication and
it goes to Ryoko, of course. She pre-read this evil fic from hell and
inspired me to see new ways to torture the boys even as I struggled with ways
to avoid killing poor Wufei. Kitten? This one's for you, with love from your
2. "Avenging Gifts", Book 4 of the "Gifts Arc," will begin being
written after I take a much needed break from the angst and go write some
lemons and maybe some humor. The next installment in the arc will be focused
primarily on the quests for personal peace at Xanadu as well as justice for
Wufei, and, ultimately, vengeance for them all. Action and adventure will vie
for control with the angst, and the story will move much faster, and
hopefully be easier to write. "Unconditional Gifts" took forever to complete
partially because the material was so draining but it was also so tightly
interwoven in a small period of time that I found it a challenge to keep
reminding myself and the readers what day it was. Anyway, I hope that
everyone will be patient with me and I will try to get the next portion of
this Enigma Angst Epic together in a reasonable period of time.
3. Regarding the rating for this fic: I'm shocked that no one asked me
this, but I feel like taking a moment to explain why this is labeled "NC-17"
when there's almost no graphic sex included in this tale. As I researched the
material for this story, I realized that nonconsensual sex is too often used
as a means to titillate instead of as the serious subject that it truly is.
Because of this, I am now joining a small yet growing number of authors of
fanfiction who will be labeling all stories that prominently feature rape as
"NC-17" even if there isn't any blow-by-blow description of the act itself. I
doubt that this will make people more aware that this shouldn't be taken
lightly, but I feel better for making my stance clear for you now.
4. My Muses and Me. Ah, we know who to point a finger at for all of
this, now don't we? It was, of course, Melpomene, my angst muse who kept me
awake at night with evil dream-images of what *really* happened to Wufei. She
also dictated all of the more painful interactions between the pilots,
especially Trowa's outbursts of both anger and sorrow, and overall I
appreciate it despite the migraines and depression that came with it. Erato,
my lemon muse, is annoyed that she only got to insert two limes and that one
was definitely *not* a happy one, but she also scripted out the flashbacks
for Wufei and those were worse. Thalia, my humor muse, refused to help out
until the anime card deck part came and she perked up for that. Ultimately,
Calliope, my muse of epics, takes full credit for this being so ridiculously
long and involved. I hope that she'll let the next book be shorter, though.
This is just too much to cope with, isn't it?
5. With a touch of luck there will be some little fun things from me
before "Avenging Gifts" starts its posting runs, so feel free to sign up at
EnigmaFanficUpdatesfirstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to know when
something new of mine is available at GW Addiction and/or Sweet&Sweet!
6. Oh? Are we at the end of the notes? Sugoi! To keep a "Gifts Arc"
tradition going, you get a treat for reading this far! Book 1 offered
cookies, Book 2 gave out lemon meringue pie, but Book 3 has something even
better! Fei has offered each and every reader that gets all the way to the
end a slice of his yummy devil's food cake and he hopes you enjoy it and that
you'll return when Angst Theatre reopens for the debut of "Avenging Gifts"!
~E-sama the Llama~