by Sunhawk
Moments of Rapture 2x1 contest entry.
Warnings: Angst, OOC, language, Duo POV.
Standard disclaimers still apply.

The Long Haul

And there it was; that moment that makes me do this shit. That split fucking second that makes my life worth struggling on with. That look in Heero's eyes. It's fear. True fear. For me.

My hand had slipped and for thirty damn eternal seconds I had teetered above a drop that even my fly-boy couldn't have survived. I strained every damn muscle I owned getting my ass back on that rock face, using fingers and toes and damn near my teeth. But it was worth it to hear him screaming my name with fear in his voice.

Don't get me wrong, I don't do this crap on purpose. I don't go out of my way to put my butt on the line. Well, no more out of my way than making the effort of taking up these stupid adrenaline pumping hobbies with my psycho boyfriend. But I don't screw up on purpose. I don't slip on purpose. But... when it happens, when I get to hear that voice and see those eyes with naked fear in them... it makes putting up with his God damn idea of 'fun' worth all the effort.

Because that's when I know he loves me. Really loves me.

We're... soldiers. Or we were soldiers. The like of which the world had never seen before. Raised from the time most kids were playing with teddy bears and Tonka trucks, to be ruthless, single minded killers. Let's just say we're pretty damn screwed up and leave it at that, ok?

When we first got together, I think it was just necessity. Who in the hell else could go to sleep with either of us at night and wake up alive in the morning? Who else would understand the triggers and the huge no-no's other than someone who'd been through it? We were horny, hyped-up on adrenaline and anger, teenagers. We were hormonal. We were lonely. We were scared. We were fucking desperate.

A bad mission. Enough bitter resentment to loosen a couple of tongues and we'd each figured out that the other one was just as lonely, just as desperate, just as... hormonal. So we fell back on soldier's training; make do with the supplies and equipment at hand.

We'd screwed each other until neither one of us could walk. It was a wonder we hadn't killed each other. But my God, it had been the best damn sex I'd ever had.

We'd gotten up the next day and gotten on with the fighting. Gotten on with the mission. But if we happened to cross paths after that... who were we to argue with the logic of battlefield protocol? Make do. We'd made do until our balls damn near fell off.

We'd thought it was the war. We'd thought it was teenage hormones. We'd thought it was because we might die any minute.

But then the war ended and we'd figured out that peace time was even scarier than a damn war. We'd stuck together because we hadn't known what else to do. Well... and the sex was still the best either of us had ever had.

We joined the Preventers because change is a scary thing and not fighting was a hell of a big change. So we got to keep fighting, we just had to be neater about it.

Then came the first major screw up on a Preventers' mission. Bad info led to a faulty plan that led to two teams being deployed in a manner that got my ass shot.

I got to see Heero Yuy take hold of the proverbial rule book with both hands and shred the shit out of it. He broke ranks, abandoning a mission in the dead fucking middle to come running after me. Heero 'the man is the mission' Yuy. I remember to this day how his hands were shaking when he threw himself down beside me on the concrete. And the fear in his eyes. I'd seen his fear for me for the first time.

And that was how he told me he loved me. Without ever saying it. Maybe without even knowing it. And I guess I knew I loved him back. Without ever saying it.

Didn't I say already that we're pretty damn screwed up?

We've been together a long damn time now, and I'm not going to try and tell you that things have always been wonderful. Hell... I'm not going to try and tell you that things are wonderful one day out of ten. But, you know? I can't imagine him not being there. Don't know what the hell I'd do without that constant in my life.

We were two hot-headed teenage terrorists who grew up into a pair of damn stubborn men. We fight. A lot. Even thrown a punch or two over the years. I left him once, though it only lasted about a week. I don't even remember what that fight was about. We'd run into each other at Trowa's place. Heero'd asked me if I was coming home soon. I'd told him I'd think about it. He'd shrugged, I'd shrugged, and we'd been in bed together before the damn night was out.

We tell each other we're there for the sex. We tell each other it's easier to get by with a shared income. We don't tell each other much of the deeper stuff.

That's what times like this are for.

When my hands finally found purchase and that eternal moment of feeling the touch of the reaper on my heart was over, Heero was dropped back beside me. His hand locked on my wrist so roughly that I yelped in protest.

'Watch what the hell you're doing, you idiot' he snapped, glaring at me for all he was worth.

I should have been angry. I should have cussed him and told him to let the hell go of me. I should have cursed his damn, stupid adrenaline addiction and told him to get the fuck on with the climb. It's a scene that has played out between us a hundred times.

But something was different that day. I can't for the life of me tell you what.

He hides his fear behind that gruff anger. Behind that sudden offensive behavior. His attacks always throw me off balance and I fall into a defensive stance nine times out of ten; cussing and cursing and shoving at him. This fuels his false anger until it's real, and we go on our merry way. Carping and snapping and acting like assholes.

I hung there on the face of that cliff, with Heero's hand grinding my wrist bones to hash and I looked up at him with the wind playing with that hair of his, and the sun shining on that body of his and I understood all that for the first time.

I remember wondering if he came close to getting it.

'I believe,' I said calmly. 'That this trip was your idea... making you the idiot, not me.'

He blinked at me for a moment, confused, I think, by my not trying to disembowel him. But he recovered quickly. 'Which one of us is the idiot? The guy who had the idea, or the guy who agreed to it?'

I laughed, and he finally let go of my arm. 'Just a pair of morons with more brawn than brains, I guess,' I told him. 'Now can we get on with this? My other hand's starting to cramp.'

He resumed the climb then, stealing glances at me as we moved. I'm not sure if it was trepidation, or confusion that was making him look at me that way, but I let it slide.

He blazed the trail, hammering in spikes for handholds as needed, and I followed. I had to think about that, though God knows my mind ought to have been on other things. I'm not a follower. Never fucking have been. Not that I'm much of a leader either, just always kind of been something of a lone wolf.

So I have to wonder sometimes why I follow Heero's lead in so much.

Maybe he just doesn't have room for anything else.

I snorted; wondering if that made me more flexible than him.

'What?' he growled, glancing back at me.

'Just thinkin', Yuy,' I grinned. 'Something you should try now and again.'

He glared that pissed off glare. 'Maybe you'd stop slipping if you put more concentration on what you're doing, instead of daydreaming.'

Well now, that rather rankled just a bit, despite my mood. He made it sound like I'd almost fallen a dozen times. Somehow implied that I couldn't have made it to the damn top without him hauling me there. Fuck that.

So, in spite of all my grand, lofty thoughts of love and need and all that damn shit, I let him hit my buttons again. Let him piss me off. Yeah, I needed him. But not like that.

'What the hell are you doing?' he snapped when I broke away from the route he'd chosen and began to climb beside him, instead of behind.

'Got tired of the damn view,' I growled and forgot about him, putting my attention on those places where rock met fingers. I don't need Heero Yuy to smooth my damn way.

Somehow, it turned into a stinking race. I'm not sure how; neither of us is that fucking stupid, but sometimes we get that way. Hilde tells me it's something in the male body chemistry. That 'stupid' just builds up over time and has to come out or we'd explode. I'm not sure she isn't right. It came down to nothing but grunting and cursing then, as we both had to put that afore-mentioned concentration where it belonged. There was some part of my head that was screaming bloody murder, but it couldn't over-come the adrenaline and the testosterone. And the pissy attitude. Thank God we weren't that far from the top.

I won, getting lucky with a small bit of outcropping that let me get enough of a toe-hold that I almost threw myself over the top. It crumbled away under the force of my kick, but not before I was belly-flopped on semi-solid ground.

Damn good thing, because I was right there when I heard Heero kind of gasp, and I scrambled almost without conscious thought toward where he should be coming up.

He hadn't been a heart-beat behind me, but something had happened, he'd lost his grip, or something had given away. I knew it before I even saw him, or he'd have already been up and over the edge. I was reaching before I knew what was going on. Steel strong fingers closed around my wrist and I locked with him before I even made sure of my position.

It was precarious. Belly down on a slight incline with not a lot to grab on to, and my somewhat-larger-than-I-was lover hanging from my arm over a drop high enough to kill him at half the distance.

'Fuck!' I gritted around a mouthful of gravel.

'Shit!' Heero replied and I heard a whole different kind of fear in his voice.

I felt myself shift forward and scrabbled with my free hand for something to hold on to. We locked gazes as surely as we'd locked arms and I snarled down at him, 'Grab the hell onto something, you asshole!'

'I'm trying,' he snapped back and I watched him hugging rock. He wasn't finding purchase. I slid a bit more and his eyes widened as he suddenly seemed to understand that I wasn't anchored.

'Sometime today would be good, Yuy!' I yelled, putting the fear behind the anger, where it fucking belonged.

He searched with his feet, trying to find some toe-hold that would ease the weight I was bearing... but he wasn't finding it. I guess that's what had given way under him.

'Come on, flyboy,' I ground out, and couldn't get the fear behind anything at all.

I could feel the rock scraping the skin off my knees as I tried to dig in and failed, slipping forward just a hair more. Heero went still.

'Let go,' he commanded, though his voice was soft. 'Let go before we both go over.'

'Fuck that!' I yelled, tightening my grip, digging in in anticipation of his opening his hand. 'I'm not letting the hell go, so you better get your ass up here!'

'Duo...' he began in that warning tone he has, and I couldn't believe he wanted to hang there and freakin' debate it.

'We came up together, we'll go down together!' I bellowed, doing my damnedest to catch hold with free arm and legs. 'Climb, you son of a bitch!'

I didn't have the leverage to pull him up, and he finally seemed to accept that I was not going to let him fall alone. So he used me, hauling hard to get his free hand up where he could catch the edge and then the arm he'd been pulling with had to start pushing, because I was almost more off than on.

With his weight eased, I was able to get myself righted and together we got him pulled up over the edge. I think he would have just collapsed right there, but I suddenly just couldn't deal with him lying there, his legs still dangling over nothing, and I switched my grip from arm to shirt, and hauled him another couple of yards to safety.

'You God damn idiot!' he panted, working up to really getting pissed off at me. Being on hands and knees above him, I shut him up by straddling his damn hips and giving his mouth something else to do. He fought. I bit him. He gave in and finally started kissing me back. Breath for the both of us was a sobbing, wheezing thing.

When I drew away, I took hold of his t-shirt with both hands and shook him. 'We're bloody well hiking back down, you son of a bitch,' I told him, growling the words out past a tightness in my throat that I just didn't want to talk about.

I expected him to argue. I expected him to call me a wimp. I wasn't expecting him to tangle his hands in my hair and pull me back down for another lip-lock.

'Tomorrow,' he said, his tone of voice telling me more than anything else had, just how close it had been. 'We'll hike down... tomorrow.'

I collapsed on top of him, lying there until my chest didn't feel like I was in the throes of a heart attack anymore, until he finally shoved at me. 'You're going to sunburn your damn ass... get off.'

'Sun burning my ass would require my removing my shorts,' I informed him and managed to illicit a snort from him, though it still sounded shaky.

I felt his thumbs hook in my waist band and I sat up to look down at him. 'Or I could remove them for you,' he smirked up at me, something else hiding behind the cocky grin.

'I'm not much interested in hiking out tomorrow with my ass on fire,' I grumbled. 'Tent?'

'Tent,' he agreed, and I could feel him hardening beneath me. He almost groaned when I pressed down against him. 'Tent... now!'

We didn't waste any time after that. Base camps are a wonderful thing.

Our needs are... probably as twisted as we are. Heero is a damn aggressive guy. I suppose I am too, but I'm not such a hard ass about it as he is. Most times, he pitches and I catch. We like it that way. I like my men strong; I want somebody who can take what I dish out and come back for more. Heero... I'm not always sure just what he likes, but he seems to like me. Seems to like that I get a little wild sometimes.

But other times... he needs something else. Needs to give. Needs to just... let go. And that's ok, because sometimes I just need to take charge. We're lucky that most times we're in synch that way.

Might have something to do with what triggers it. Fear, I think. It makes me need to gather what's mine close. Makes him need to turn command over to another.

So I took us into that tent and proceeded to pitch. Because it was what we both needed.

But... just as the rest of the day had been laced around with something... different, so was the sex. I just couldn't give him the roughness he begged me for. Just couldn't seem to manage the hard and fast rhythm he tried to force.

Slow. Slow and steady and drawn out. That's all I could think... I just didn't want it to end. I just wanted to be there, right where I was, for as long as I could manage.

And something opened up between us, and with my weight on my arms, raised above him, I could see in his eyes that he felt it too. It wasn't just the sex, it wasn't just the physical, I could feel the other... could feel the emotion between us. The one that kept us together through every damn thing that seemed to come along. I wanted to give voice to it, but didn't know how. I wanted him to give voice to it, but he didn't seem able. But, fuck if it wasn't there. It was as solid a thing as the rock under us.

Our cries were... wordless, when they erupted from us, and I wondered idly what the local wildlife thought. I imagined birds taking flight in fear for a mile around.

I think I murmured something to that effect against the side of Heero's neck just before I fell asleep, soothed by the rumble of his chuckle deep in his chest.

I woke alone, which is never a surprise. Heero's an early ass riser on the best of days, and I suppose sleeping in a damp sleeping bag on a slab of solid rock hadn't made for the best of nights. I know it hadn't for me. Or maybe it was the dreams of falling. I'm not really sure.

I dug around until I found some clean shorts and climbed stiffly out of the tent to go find my errant boyfriend. I had expected to see him hunched over the campfire, worshipping at the pot of the caffeine God, but was surprised to find the fire not even built up yet.

A quick scan of the obviously limited area, found him standing near the spot where we'd climbed up the day before, and I padded bare-foot across the rocks to join him.

The sunrise made him a damn impressive sight. I moved in and wrapped my arms around his waist, and he let me without comment, simply laying one of his hands over mine. We watched the dawn together, until the sun had cleared the distant line of hills and then he finally spoke.

'You really wouldn't have let go, would you?' he asked, voice almost a whisper.

'Nope,' I agreed, my chin resting on his shoulder.

'You're an idiot,' he rejoined and I chuckled.

'Guess so,' I said amiably and he got quiet for a long time.

'You know... don't you?' he finally said, as close as he could come to it.

'Yeah,' I assured him, and wondered for a little bit if we'd ever be able to say it. I gave him a squeeze and drew away; as close as I could come.

'We've got a long hike ahead of us,' I said brusquely, heading back toward the fire. 'And some lazy-ass didn't stoke the fire when he woke up.'

'God forbid you ever haul your own ass out at a decent hour and do it yourself,' he said, and sounded much more relaxed, back on familiar ground.

'It's not my fault you have some genetic flaw that won't let you sleep in, Yuy,' I groused, much more comfortable myself.

Hey... it's what we have, don't knock it. Didn't I say we were pretty damn screwed up? It is what it is, and I guess we don't have to give it a name to understand that. It's about... not letting go, no matter what.

And nothing else much matters in the long haul.

The End

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