Tin Soldiers series + Epilogue (cont)

Lightning cracked over head and I flinched. Instinct told me to get the hell down from the roof and it was hard not to agree with it.

"Plan?" Heero prompted as he leaned to speak in my ear.

"Just follow me and fire your gun when you see the enemy," I told him with a wicked grin, knowing that it was bugging the hell out of him that we were now standing on the edge of the roof, watching the water cascading over the side, and he still didn't have a clue what I intended to do. Well, I didn't have a clue either. Surprised? No? Didn't think so.

Smoke. Okay, that was a plus. If the smoke was coming out, then someone had opened the gun hatches to let in air. I wondered if the men manning the guns were even at their posts. The roof was getting damned hot. I could see the rain steaming. There was definitely a fire close by. I had visions of the roof collapsing and both of us falling into a raging fire, but I locked that up pretty quick.

"Okay, over the side," I said. Heero blinked at me as if he wanted to question that decision, but then he grunted, knowing he didn't have any other option.

It was hard to see where we were going... okay, almost impossible. Pouring water, billowing smoke, almost zero visibility. When I swung over the side, some fickle god decided to make things even more interesting for me. Something jammed into my right hand. Scrabbling for a foothold, I chewed into my lower lip and watched as blood began pouring out from where I had a grip on the roof edge. Heero couldn't help me. He was already starting down, having found something to cling to, and I couldn't shout for him unless I wanted to give us away. Can I just say one thing here? This day SUCKS!

There! I found a place for my feet and hissed in relief as I was finally able to lift my hand. Someone had joined two pieces of metal roof together badly. It was the sharp edge that had cut me. The wound was deep and I didn't have time to take care of it. Clenching that hand into a fist, hoping to slow down the bleeding, I began, one handed and with water pouring down over my head, to attempt to shinny down a slick metal surface. Don't try this at home, kids.

How many times did I almost die in the space of two minutes? Let's NOT talk about it. I think the only thing that kept me from falling to a messy end on the rocks far below, was two of the guns sticking out into the rain, looking for targets. My feet landed on them hard, slid, and then found purchase just as I realized what I was standing on.
Heart seizure doesn't adequately describe how I reacted.

You have to realize that I was literally blind. The water cascading off the roof onto my head, the choking smoke coming out of the building, and the darkly tinted shielding in front of my nose, didn't give me any clues as to who was behind those guns. When a hand reached out of a hatch and grabbed the front of my jacket, I naturally assumed it was an enemy.

Shinigami is nothing if not daring and quick. I let go of the wall, trusted that grip on my jacket to hold, and drew my gun on whoever it was point blank. I almost fired, actually tensing my finger on the trigger, when I heard Heero's voice snap, "It's Heero! Get the hell in here!"

I grinned and let him pull me in. My feet hit a metal surface and I blinked through smoke to see three men in oxygen masks sprawled every which way and Heero calmly regarding me.

"See?" I laughed. "My plan is working perfectly!"

Heero rolled his eyes expressively as he let go of me and went to the door. He put a hand on it, testing it for heat. He pulled it away and then looked at the men with new respect. "They didn't leave their posts. Dedicated."

"Dedicated killers," I growled. "If they put that kind of effort into good, everyone would be better off."

Heero only grunted. I know he was about to ask, 'What now?' but the floor took that moment to buck under our feet. We stumbled, regained our balance, and then looked at each other. "Could be our men," Heero suggested.

"Or it could be the fire reaching explosive equipment," I countered.

"Pessimist," Heero growled.

"Optimist," I growled back, but couldn't help smiling as I pulled out my cell phone. "Positions?" I asked.

"Inside the building!" a voice reported promptly and my grin widened. "Upper levels impassible." My grin faltered.

"Secure prisoners!" I called back, "and then get the hell out! Captain Yuy and I will join both divisions on the north ridge."

"Acknowledged."

"This won't look good on our report," I said to Heero as I pocketed my cell phone.

"Sloppy," Heero agreed. "But we couldn't anticipate that our air support would fail or that the fools would decide to stay inside a burning installation."

"Going down with the ship," I sighed and then walked to the hatches. I tore a strip from my undershirt and wrapped it about my hand tight. Satisfied that I might be able to use it, I tried not to think of our chances as I asked Heero simply, "Ready?"

"Yes," Heero replied grimly, knowing our chances too.

"Heero..." I started and then was afraid I would jinx us. No goodbyes. No crying. We were going to make it. I had to think that. I had to think it very hard.

Have I ever said that we had the best bunch of soldiers under our command that you'll find anywhere? Well, I'm saying it now. The heat was intense. The targets were bolting and laying down fire as they tried to escape. Our men had their hands full, yet they moped up in good order and even had time to climb up after a pair of ragged ex gundam pilots. They plucked us off the side of the building before we fell to our deaths. Would we have? Hell yes. Heero saw that I was in trouble right away and the damned man was hell bent on saving my ass even though there wasn't a way in hell of doing it. My hand gave out and I couldn't make my fingers work halfway down. My knee was in the same shape. When it came down to swinging like a monkey to get around some difficulties, I wasn't up to it.

So, thankfully, we were rescued. Yeah, it was embarrassing. We were captains. We were supposed to be in charge and have things handled. I had a feeling that none of the men blamed us and that we hadn't lost their respect, but it still hurt in the masculinity department. I was only glad that everything was completed before the transport vehicles showed up with reinforcements.

"Could have used you a couple of hours ago!" I grumbled to one of the drivers, but he shrugged and talked about sheets of ice on what passed for a road while the troops unloaded and deployed.

The captain in charge of the reinforcements took one look us and jerked a thumb towards the command vehicle. "You look like shit! Get in there and I'll clean up."

I'm glad he didn't say, 'take over'. I think I would have punched him. Heero didn't look too happy either. The captain wasn't above rubbing our noses in it the fact that we didn't have a clean operation, but I'll be damned if I'll let him insinuate that we hadn't done our damned jobs. Considering that everything had been against us, I think that we had done better than our best.

We climbed into the command vehicle. It was full of communications equipment, but the rest of its contents had me grinning. Posh, it wasn't , but to me it was nirvana. It had heat, a broad futon for commanders to take quick catnaps in operation lulls, and a coffee maker. Filthy, shaking with cold, wet, exhausted and covered in wounds, I limped to the coffee maker and poured me a cup. Heero helped me sit as I kept the cup balanced. I held it close to my face to simply luxuriate in the steam on my frozen skin.

Heero rummaged through a locker and pulled out blankets and a few spare commando jumpsuits. He locked the door to both the forward cab and the outside world of sleet , rain, and soldiers. "Get out of your wet things and I'll get the med kit."

"You, too," I replied with chattering teeth. He wasn't soaked like I was, but he was still wet everywhere his suit didn't cover. Heero only nodded as he went about his business of finding the med kit.

I didn't want to let go of my coffee, but I knew it wouldn't do me any good if I stayed like I was. Setting the cup reluctantly aside, I undressed stiffly, hissing at every ache and pain. There was a lot of blood. It was caked on my clothes and it was plastered to my skin. The knee.... I bit my lip. It looked ugly.

Heero wrapped a blanket around me and I huddled in it as he sat on he floor and opened the med kit. He took out supplies, cleaned the wound on my knee out ruthlessly until I couldn't help whimpering, and then bound it up with bandages. He did the same to my hand and a few other places that I hadn't noticed. Done with that, he cleaned the blood off carefully and then handed me back my coffee.

I huddled under the blanket, sipping the hot liquid, and watched Heero begin taking care of himself. He stripped out of his suit and I stared at the rippling muscles of my lover appreciatively. When I saw that he was cut deeply and bruised in many places, I tried to get up and help him. He caught me before I fell. My knee was extremely swollen now , as was my hand, and they weren't going to be usable anytime soon.

"I can take care of myself," Heero assured me and I was forced to settle back and let him.

Once Heero was dry and patched up, he took up the jumpsuits and handed me one. "Ya know," I said huskily, weariness stealing over me as I put aside my empty coffee cup and reached out for him, "They always tell you, if you want to warm up fast, skin to skin is best."

Heero grunted. "You're falling asleep. If someone should come..." he was giving me a small smile though and climbing onto the narrow futon with me even as he spoke.

I yawned. "We did our part and we're resting. Nothing wrong with that," I replied and pulled Heero in under my blanket. We stretched out together and twined our wounded bodies together. It was wonderfully warm. I nuzzled against Heero's chest and listened to his heartbeat as I came down hard from my adrenalin high. I know Heero was experiencing the same thing. We shivered, our muscles trembling, and it didn't have to do with the cold any longer.

Heero's hands found my wet braid. He pushed it so that it draped away from us both and then he nuzzled my neck. The tension in his body told me what he wanted and, even though I knew that I was on the edge of passing out, I lifted my chin and let him kiss and nip at my sweat salted skin.

Don't ask me why that kind of adrenalin overload triggers sexual responses, but it does, big time. I guess it's because adrenalin makes a body climb a mountain of rushing blood and endorphines just like sex. It's a physical arousal that goes on and on and it's hard to accept an adrenalin equivalent of coitus interruptus by ignoring it.

When Heero's hand wrapped around my erection, my hand was already closing on his. We couldn't do much in the shape we were in, but hearing Heero groan, and feeling him shudder as I tormented the swollen flesh in my tight grasp, was enough to make me spurt hot come into his hand. When he lifted a finger and sucked on my essence there and then took my finger and joined it with his, making motions with his mouth as if he were giving both fingers head, I found myself pumping his erection in the same rhythm. He bucked in my grasp, and I ended up just making a tight sheathe for him as he fucked my hand. When he came, I watched his face flush red and contort in shear pleasure as he spurted through my fingers and onto my belly.

I was drained, literally, and so was Heero. We curled tighter, wrapping the blankets around us both, and knew that our bodies had finally stepped down from the mission and were ready to rest.

"What if they..." Heero began, but I shook my head, my mind already slipping past the point of caring.

"Let 'em find us together, who cares?" I said almost petulantly. "I wanna stay warm with you."

Heero's chest rumbled under my ear as he chuckled wearily and then settled down to rest as well. "I'm tired of being cold too. I'm not going to argue."

"Good," I mumbled.

Thoughts are weird when you're half asleep. You find very odd thoughts popping into your failing consciousness. I guess it was being so cold and near death, and then being so warm and safe with Heero, that made me think of all the circumstances that had stood in the way of our ever getting together. That train of thought narrowed down to one man who had been the most instrumental in keeping us apart and almost destroying our relationship before it could even begin. Filmore.

"Sleep," Heero ordered in a weary whisper against the top of my head.

"Filmore must be pretty damned cold where you sent him," I thought out loud. "After being so cold myself... I guess I can't help thinking about him. Maybe..." I yawned hugely and almost lost my train of thought. I found it again and finished as I slipped into deep sleep, "Maybe I should send him something..."

+

A man wearily shouldered the straps of his sled and pulled the supplies along the frozen ground, the wind driving the snow against him harshly. The plane, a week late, had dumped the supplies at the drop point off center and it had scattered everywhere. After a long time spent gathering it all back up, and discouraging a few bears who took interest in some of the shattered ration containers, the man made the long trek back to the metal building sitting low in the middle of the featureless, frozen tundra.

Unloading his supplies inside the building, the man, finally, closed the door on the cold and retreated into the marginal warmth created by over taxed heaters and a makeshift stove. Sitting down wearily, he snagged a very small package from the heap of supplies, pulled off his gloves, and worked it open with frozen fingers.

Reports, requests, a few magazines, and... Filmore looked at the white envelope, puzzled. He hadn't received any personal mail in some time. There wasn't a return address. Opening it, he pulled out a picture. It was a beach scene, palm trees swaying and the sun shinning down on hot sands and sparkling on ocean waves. Center of the picture was Duo Maxwell, dressed in shorts and a tank top, and Heero Yuy, dressed in a surfer's wet suit from the waist down and bare from the waist up. Yuy was sporting a necklace of shark teeth and Maxwell was wearing several hair wraps and hemp bracelets. It all looked very tropical and exactly like the dreams that Filmore had been having of late. Hallucinations, a deeper part of his mind called them.

Filmore turned the picture over and saw the writing on the back. It read in large letters, 'Wish you were here... NOT!'

Filmore suddenly experienced his own kind of heat. He crumpled the picture in one fist and shouted furiously, his voice carried on the wind to the freezing waste land all around him, "Maxwell!!!"

The end

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