Disclaimer: I don't own them and I don't make any money off of them.
Warnings: Male/Male sex, graphic, language, violence
Soldiers series + Part 8
The men turned out not to be
such a bad lot. They were all career agents harvested from many organizations.
I saw a few faces that I knew, but not well, and one I knew by reputation.
Heero seemed to know them all.
This was making me uncomfortable. I was the cheerful guy, the one who
made friends in a snap. Maybe I couldn't keep them once they figured out
that I used to kill people wholesale and that the words 'Wish I still
had my Gundam' and 'Don't sneak up on me or I might shoot you', weren't
jokes, but until then, I was the man when it came to knowing everyone
and everyone knowing me. To suddenly be the wallflower, and to see the
man I used to think of as 'Mr. No Personality', step forward and start
talking first, was more than just odd feeling, it was just 'wrong'.
"Captain Maxwell and I will be evaluating you on many levels," Heero was
saying as he walked up and down the line of men dressed in exercise outfits.
"You are all here because you have excelled in your areas of expertise.
It is the job of Captain Maxwell and myself to see if you are capable
of working well in a group situation and if you can be trained to have
multiple capabilities. We need talented individuals for these positions.
You must be able to fill a mission requirement immediately, no matter
what that requirement entails. Captain Maxwell is an expert in weapons,
computers, and detonators. I am an expert in infiltration. While those
are our main areas of expertise, we are both also capable of working in
many other areas."
He went on at length and the men shifted from foot to foot, bored. I watched
them and jotted down notes on my clipboard. By the time Heero was through,
I had pretty much divined everyone's personality. Looking down at what
I had typed, I had made notes like; Rogers: jerk, lacks upper body strength.
Lemon: brown-noser, faking interest, no balance. Simmons: shy, strong
arms, runner's legs. Lupez: small, hyper, spit and polish; looks too gun
ho. Krandall; looks good, potential. Skill was one thing, but a man's
personality played a big part in how he reacted in a given situation.
"Jones," I said suddenly and the man looked at me questioningly. "You
"Sir?" he asked and Heero looked puzzled.
"You know why," I said and the man looked guilty, as if he had been caught
"Yes, sir, sorry, sir," the man replied dejectedly. "See ya, Clover!"
he said to another man in the line and that man looked disappointed.
Heero raised an eyebrow. I could tell that he was totally baffled. I grinned
to myself, but kept myself straight faced as I said, "Sorry for the interruption,
Heero nodded. He wasn't going to question me in front of the men. I knew
it would be coming, though, as soon as we dismissed them. "If you would
like to speak to the men, now, Captain Maxwell?" Heero asked.
I kept it short and sweet. These kind of guys didn't give a rat's ass
about speeches or orientation. They only cared about what kind of trainers
we were going to be and what kind of action they were likely to see. They
wanted to know if they could depend on and trust us. Heero and I were
going to be their team leaders, and we were going to be the ones sending
them into life or death situations. I could see them looking me over already,
not listening to a word I was saying, and making dozens of assumptions
about me, most of them dead wrong. Whether they were thinking I was a
killer and a Gundam pilot, or a effeminate man with a braid, I knew that
only action in a mission was going to change their minds about those assumptions
I ended my little speech about working together, and being a team that
could operate no matter what part of it might be lost, and then Heero
sent them all off to the obstacle course.
"They look so damned young," I chuckled.
Heero didn't laugh with me. I looked at him and saw that his _expression
was very tense and unsure. I knew what it was about, but I made him ask
me. "Why did you reject Jones? He's an excellent pilot."
"He's also Clover's lover," I replied, not looking up as I made more notes.
"They thought that they could pull one over on us, but I saw them making
moon eyes at each other. I don't know if it started before or after they
were chosen for the team, but you know as well as I that you can't have
couples working together."
Heero stared as he digested my explanation, and then he gave a short nod.
"I would have made the same decision." He added with a tone of respect,
"You are very observant." That kind of thing made a good soldier and a
lack of it made a dead one. I knew Heero was just as observant, if not
more so than I. He had just been too busy 'organizing' and talking to
notice Jones and Clover.
I shrugged and smiled. "You were busy. I didn't have anything else to
do but look at them."
"May I see your other observations?" Heero asked.
Well, damn, I was flattered. I handed over my clipboard. He read over
my notes. I could tell that my style confused him and he frowned.
"They're just first impressions," I said defensively.
Heero handed me back my clipboard and said, as he walked towards the door
that led to the obstacle course, "You should know by now, how wrong first
impressions can be."
Okay, I'm scratching my head here. What had he meant by that line? Was
he criticizing me for taking down first impressions, and pointing out
that he had been wrong to do the same thing, or was he pointing out my
several, spectacular screw ups and rubbing my nose in it? I hate cryptic
remarks! If you're going to say something, just... well, say it! Heero's
stiff back wasn't a dictionary to 'Heero speak' either and I can tell
you that I wasn't in a good mood by the time that we reached the field
and the men running through the course.
My headache was coming back full force. My confusion, the sun beating
down, and the lack of a solid lunch, were beginning to beat on me, physically,
like a sledgehammer. I wasn't about to ask Heero to remember that I wasn't
far out of my hospital bed and that the doctor had given me express orders
not to lift a finger until my next check up with him. Instead, I stood
by Heero's side making notes, just like he was, and tried to ignore the
concert of growing misery in every part of my body.
The men finished and gathered around us. It made me nervous. When you
grow up on the streets, you learn to blend in and NOT be noticed. When
you're a terrorist in a dirty war, you really grab onto anonymity with
both hands and wrap it around you tight. Being the target of so many intent
looks, usually meant that you were captured by the enemy and about to
say hello to Mr Sadistic Interrogator, Mr. Bastard Warden of cell block
A, and lastly, Mr. Executioner. I tried to keep my hackles lowered and
managed a tight, but professional _expression.
Heero surprised me by saying, "Sloppy. I can see that you're used to working
individually. Your time and your performance through the course was abysmal."
These were some of the best, or so they thought. There was angry looks
and one man dared to retort, "It's a hundred degrees in the shade, Captain
Yuy! The course is level four. It tests individual strength, not group
performance. You can't even get two men through those obstacles at the
same time. I'm sorry sir, but if you had wanted to test us on group cohesiveness,
you should have told us to use course six."
Brave man, or very stupid, I thought. Heero didn't look angry though,
he looked as if he had expected him to say that. Knowing Heero's extensive
training, I was almost sure he had orchestrated the entire thing to get
just that reaction. What I didn't know was, why.
"You should be able to maneuver the course together no matter what difficulties
there are," Heero told him. "Your goal is to work together to get through
it as quickly as possible. The walls are very high, the ladder with the
repel ropes has large gaps, and the tubes are low. Working together, you
could complete the course in much less time."
The man who had spoken eyed the course and then looked Heero up and down.
Not brave... very stupid, I thought as he said, "I'd like to see you try
I made a note of his name, Potter, and put a little cross next to it.
I'll light a candle at mass for you, sonny boy, I thought with a silent
snicker, after Heero makes hamburger out of you.
"Duo?" Heero turned to me and, caught off guard, I blinked stupidly.
"Yeah, Heero?" I asked and tried not to wince as I pulled myself back
together. "Captain Yuy?" I amended. I could just hear Heero's frustrated
sigh, but he didn't let the others hear it.
"Are you up to running the course?" Heero asked.
Heero was honestly asking if I was all right enough to do it. He fully
expected me to tell the truth. I needed to say, 'No, way in hell can I
run that course.' but... that dipshit, Potter, would eat that up and Heero
would look bad.... hey, and so would I! I wasn't about to stand there
and tell Heero, and everyone else, that I was a wimp and that I was going
to let a headache stop me. "Sure thing, Captain Yuy," my mouth said without
any prompting from my brain. It was good at that, real good. "Let's go."
I made a mental note to put my doctor on speed dial as I moved to stand
with Heero at the start of the course.
Heero gave me an intense look. "You realize that we have to do this perfectly?"
he asked in a very low voice, "and that the respect that they give us
will be based on how well we do?"
"Yeah, I do," I growled back, "So try and keep up with me."
Heero frowned, but then a small smile tugged at the corner of his lips.
There was a sudden gleam in his eye and then he was off and running. I
cursed him in surprise as I raced after him, but then I remembered my
training and let him stay in front. I knew I was faster, but Heero was
much stronger than I was. He needed to be point man for what we had to
There were some things in the course that we had to do single file, but
a slow man never goes before a quick one. When we reached the tubes, Heero
went first, his stronger upper arms making him faster at this, and I followed,
choking on the sand he threw up, but determined to be right on his tail.
I was right behind him when we emerged and he reached behind him and jerked
me out as he lunged forward. Pulling me after him, I landed on my feet
running right beside him.
We reached three successive walls. Again, Heero was first. He lunged for
the top of the first wall as my hands clasped and slammed under one of
his feet, using my weight to give momentum to his jump. Swinging up to
the top, Heero reached back and grabbed my arm. I swung up, quick as a
monkey, but I had barely reached the top when Heero jumped down on the
far side, pulling me over with him. We landed together and sprinted for
the next wall.
Adrenalin erased my headache from my notice along with all my aches and
pains. My heart throbbed and pulsed in my ears, blood rushing madly as
muscles flexed and strained. Time seemed to slow and the universe condensed
itself down to Heero and I. I was suddenly acutely aware of his scent,
of his flexing muscles, of his bright eyes, and of his wide battle grin.
He was on an adrenalin rush too, flying high and loving the release that
came with pushing a body to its limits. It was just like in the war, working
together, trying not to die, but willing to die to complete our mission.
There was the same sense of camaraderie, only this had a new level to
it. This was somehow sexual. Running the course, depending on each other,
sweating and riding the edge of endurance, hands clasping with hard grips,
and bodies moving together, we were both striving towards a culmination,
a climax at the end of the course. Yeah, I was damned hot for him, and
yeah I was getting out all my pent up sexual frustrations then and there,
but you know, I was loving every minute of it, so go ahead and call me
a pervert, I don't care, I'm getting down and dirty on an obstacle course
with Heero Yuy.
We reached the ladder and the repelling ropes. The end of the course was
on the other side. Almost there, I told my body. Keep it together. Don't
you freakin' embarrass us by passing out or having a heart attack now!
Still, I was glad when Heero helped me over the first part of the climb
by simply grabbing me by the waist and heaving me upward. Damn! He's strong!
I needed that help though, I could feel my body starting to cut through
the adrenalin and tell me what a very bad idea this had been.
I made it to the top and don't ask me how. I wasn't seeing too well by
then and my headache was back a sickening throb of pain. My hands shook
as I tried to fasten the straps. Suddenly, Heero was there, almost body
to body with me, and fastening the straps for me. I felt the greatest
sense of relief and comfort just then. Those confident hands were attached
to the man I trusted most in the world, and every sense I owned knew that
he wouldn't let me down, that he would get me to the end of that course
with some dignity in tact.
"Ready?" he asked and I looked up and saw his concern, his anger at me
for not having told him that I wasn't up to the course, and a grim determination
that told me that he was going to drag my ass across the finish line one
way or another.
"Ready," I replied. "Don't worry about me." I threw myself over the edge
and began repelling down, letting long hours of training take over. Heero
was a second behind me and I took a perverse pleasure in spending my last
bit of strength beating him to the ground. When my feet touched ground
though, though, I staggered and dropped to one knee. Heero was there for
me again, unhooking me from my harness, putting an arm around me, and
making me stand. He let go then and nodded towards the finish of the course.
"I can make it!" I growled, more at myself than at Heero, and then began
a stumbling run.
I finished and experienced a surge of adrenalin and relief, that was so
much like an orgasm, that I was trembling and feeling a powerful rush.
I stood, panting like a bellows and trying to not pass out, as Heero faced
our excited men and, well, basically rubbed their noses in it. If I hadn't
felt as if my heart was about to jump out of my chest, I probably would
have been there and helping him do it, too. Listening to his strong voice
dressing the men down and explaining matter of factly what the meaning
of team work was, I had this sudden urge to grab him from behind and press
myself against his hot, dirt and sweat soaked back.
Heero dismissed the men and I waited until they were gone before I let
myself sit abruptly down on the ground, head hanging and hands lax in
my lap. Heero kneeled beside me and looked into my face. "I'm sorry,"
he said. "You seemed all right, or I would never have asked you to do
the course. I think you should see the medic. You're very pale."
I blinked and my eyes cleared. I realized that he was gripping my arm.
His eyes were the softest, warmest blue I had ever seen in my life. His
face was flushed red from exertion and his bangs were damp with sweat.
Kiss him, dammit! Every hormone in my body screamed it. God! How I wanted
to taste those lips of his, take hold of him, and pull him down with me.
I wanted the real thing, not some adrenalin rush facsimile of sex. Tell
him? Yeah, right! Guess what, Mr. Body, we want more than just a roll
on the ground from Heero. Mr. Brain wants respect and something called
friendship. A small voice deep down piped up, 'love, too,' but I cringed.
That was the dream again, the idiot who had fooled himself into thinking
that there was a Heero out there who COULD love me. Wake up and smell
the reality coffee, I told it, and be happy we at least got to rub bodies
together on an obstacle course. It was certainly all we were going to
get. We? Okay, I just gotta stop thinking in third person...
"I don't need the medic," I said stubbornly. "I just need a decent lunch
and about a gallon of water to replace all the sweating I just did back
there." I grinned at him, trying to be the clown and make him relax. "That
was pretty fun, though, wasn't it Heero? Felt like old times..."
Heero wasn't fooled, but he understood about pride it seemed, because
he didn't insist. Instead, he helped me to my feet and we limped back
to the Preventer building. "It was like being on a mission together,"
he admitted as we entered the cool building and I sighed in relief. "You
haven't lost your skill. If you had been feeling a hundred percent, I
think we could have made even better time on the course."
"Definitely," I agreed. "We certainly showed those green boys a thing
Heero nodded. He wasn't taking me to where the men were showering and
putting on their uniforms, instead, he was taking me back to our office.
I didn't argue. I felt as weak as a kitten and my head felt three sizes
too big and full of molten lava.
"I'll finish the orientation," Heero said as he lowered me into my chair.
"If you feel the need, take the rest of the day off. If you're here when
I return, I'll drive you back to your home."
It felt weird sitting there in filthy, sweat soaked clothes in a neat,
efficient office, and I should have felt a bit self conscious, but...
all I could do was nod like an idiot. I stared at Heero, thinking, I don't
care if I die in this chair, I'm going to be here when you come back.
The thought of squandering this sudden camaraderie, this sudden closeness,
yeah, even though it was just in a professional way, wasn't something
to be contemplated. If I had to suffer for a little while longer to get
more of it on a car ride home, I was more than willing.
"I'm good," I told Heero, trying to sound like I really was. "I'll type
up a report on the orientation and send it over to Quatre while you're
gone." That sounded good. The reality was, though, that I was probably
going to collapse as soon as he was out of sight.
Heero stared down at me, for what seemed like forever and things moved
behind his eyes that I couldn't even begin to name. One of his hands reached
out and then thought better of it and lowered. "I'll be back soon and
check on you."
He turned and left. I wanted to shout. I wanted to dance. I wanted to
sing. How could something that felt so bad, feel so good too? Heero was
going to check up on me. He damned well cared! Well, I had suspected that
much when I'd been in the hospital, but it was nice to have it confirmed.
Maybe it wasn't anything more than just one human worrying about another
one, but get that kind of emotion out of Heero Yuy and the sky was the
limit. I was breaking down that damned wall of his and I fully intended
to crawl inside his defenses and curl up there, staking my claim to at
least his respect and maybe, just maybe, honest to goodness friendship.
"Is everything all right, Captain Maxwell?" the secretary asked and I
realized that I had been chuckling like a maniac. I stopped myself with
an effort. The man was looking nervous and clutching an electronic file
to his chest.
"I'm fine," I told him and waved him off. I think I was about to be the
new subject at the water cooler entitled, 'My crazy, ex Gundam pilot,
boss and what he was doing today.' Well, go ahead, I thought as he wisely
left me alone again, I had more important things to worry about, like
staying conscious long enough for Heero to drive me home. I picked up
the phone and dialed down to the cafeteria.
"Food prep," a voice answered abruptly.
"Captain Maxwell here," I told him, "Double espresso, stack a sandwich
with ham, cheese, and extra mayo, and throw something with a lot of sugar
on the side. I want it delivered up to my office, pronto." The man started
to argue that they didn't do that, but I cut him off, " Quatre Winner's
orders!" He shut up immediately. Well, Quatre did give me authority to
order people, why not extend it to ordering my lunch?
That mission accomplished, I stood up and forced my body to pace the floor.
It called me every name in the book via pain Morse code. I didn't care.
I'd pay for it later, but right then it seemed well worth it to keep that
look of respect in Heero's eyes.
[part 9] [back to