Title: Up at the Top
Rating: PG
Gundam Wing does not belong to me just borrowing
Pairing: Hx1 or Heero and Hilde whichever you prefer with a note that in this fic Sally and Wufei are just friends.

At the top the temperature seemed to rise just a bit more. A harsh sun pounding down on any whom dared to venture out of doors. The four in the rock climbing party paid little attention to the heat, concentrating instead on the more dubious task of getting to the top of the mountain, nothing to keep them from falling but their own hands and feet. Two had already successfully reached the top. Sweat pouring down their faces, muscles aching from the work out, skin caught in a cross of burning and tanning despite the amount of sunscreen they had applied.

Heero was the stronger climber of the four. Strong and fast he was surprised his female companion kept up with him so well, but no matter the out door activity she always seemed just a few moments behind. It fascinated him. His hand moved through his dark and thoroughly soaked hair, gulping down water and admiring the view that included the smile slipping across Hilde's face. Casually wondering why Wufei always insisted on taking the most difficult route to the top. It seemed the brooding Chinese young man always went the ways that were more perilous, and those ways did not make him braver or stronger really. Heero contemplated that he perhaps went those routes for reasons more personal than just improving skill. And for the briefest of moments Heero wondered if the girls hadn't been along if he would have joined Wufei climbing the harder route. He didn't have an answer. Distracted by the interestingly soft, nearly scratchy sound of his climbing partner's voice.

"You think they'll be much longer," Hilde asked looking over the edge and seeing nothing but the dry red-orange desert below.

"Hard to say," Heero replied. "Depends on which way Wufei decided to bring Sally up."

A light chuckle left Hilde's lips for moment; "I'm surprised we can't already hear them arguing."

"Hn… I think Sally's more patient than that."

"Oh she is… In fact I bet she beats him up here."

"We'll see."

Hilde wiped the sweat from her brow and took a seat on a large boulder after stretching to rest. Enjoying the view and company greatly. She grinned absently as she considered the ex-Gundam pilot who was sitting just a few inches from her. Chiding her self for being a silly girl with a silly…well she hated to call it a crush, because it wasn't. She genuinely liked the guy. And sometimes, just sometimes it felt like he genuinely like her as well. She didn't push though. She couldn't be like the fan girls she had gone to school with, scurrying to please and praise. Ask the inane and stupid little girl questions that usually never got an answer. No she was a down to earth girl... or rather a colony girl simple and plain. Courage enough to join OZ because she had thought it was the right thing to do. Courage to betray that organization and help a Gundam pilot because, again, it seemed the right thing to do, and because things weren't so clear. It was long ago though, all that. She was just a kid, and she never considered herself an adult really now that she was eighteen. She was sure she had plenty to learn and welcomed the challenge.

The wind picked up and she shifted looking over the expression that seemed constant on Heero's face. The pain of battle perhaps or the pain of nothing left to fight. When a perfect soldier has nothing left to battle there remains but himself to try and find the way home. And home was a million different things to a million different people. It was never the same and Hilde wondered if Heero was still searching or if he had found his home… a place to bring him peace. Her violet-blue sometimes violet-gray eyes shifted back to the view. The long desert that stretched out nearly forever, rocky and brown with bits of green here and there to remind of life.

"What are you thinking about," Heero's voice broke in suddenly, gently.

She looked over at him, his expression mostly unchanged eyes still focusing on whatever they were focusing on.

"What?"

He looked over at her; or rather he seemed to be looking in. He did that often, not just with her but in general to try and discover what he needed to know. His stare, his glance easy as it was at the moment, liked to bury in deep. Something like a grin crossed his face as he moved his eyes to the ground.

"You were wondering weren't you," he asked softly. "What I was thinking about?"

"Maybe…what does it matter?" She tried not to get defensive but sometimes she got real tired of the mysterious act and she always let Heero or Duo know it.

"It's just that," he paused to look over at her again. His gaze softer than before and not as sure as she was used to seeing. "Sometimes it's okay to ask."

"Yeah I know," she replied. "So what were you thinking about?"

"Hn…" He nodded the strange grin turned to a grimace of sorts. "Relena."

"Oh."

Noting the tone of disappointment he continued, "And you."

"Really… comparing and contrasting?" She asked arms folded across her chest.

"Something like that." Heero replied. "But I think you might take it the wrong way."

"Why?"

"Because people are notorious for taking things the wrong way," was the reply. "I'm sure you've read the tabloids."

"No… I never do. Why, do you read them?"

"Only the headlines… I was wondering how Relena manages to stay out of them the way she carries on. And I was wondering when I stopped caring if she fell to the flames of political failure. As long as she's alive I can handle her down fall so long as she doesn't try and take the world with her," he confessed lightly.

"Why-"

"Am I telling you this," his gaze sharpened a bit, and then relaxed as he continued. "Because I can't carry it around and I figured you wouldn't mind hearing, because I know you won't tell anyone… And because I don't want you to think that I want someone like that."

He had said too much. He knew it. Hilde was struck dumb and he wondered what made him want to share. But he had answered that question earlier; he just couldn't keep it inside all the time. He felt something stir the minute Duo had introduced him to the dark haired young woman sitting only paces away from him. He never forgot how confused he was by her. She was so up front and genuine, a pixie to combat Duo's impish style. He never really thought he could compete with Duo's charm and then one day he realized Hilde was never going fall to those charms. She wanted something else. And she wasn't going to rush it, or make a play of it. She wasn't going to hunt him down and ask him miserable things when he just wanted quiet. She had a way of knowing when he was willing to converse, putting him in his place if he needed it. Offering an ear even when there was noting but silence. Somehow he imagined that she could hear in the quiet everything he was holding inside and to a certain extent he was right. He stood and looked back out over the desert.

"I'm glad," Hilde finally said. "I was worrying for a minute there that maybe- Wait… why were you comparing us then? I mean I know I'm nothing like Miss Darlain… not in mind or spirit."

His odd little grin found a way to become a normal smile, "I know."

She huffed with relaxed realization, "So I suppose you think you'll just be able to come in on your Gundam and sweep me off my feet now huh?"

"No. I'm sure you'd find away to knock me out and pilot the thing yourself," he stated dryly.

"Hmm. You think so huh?" She tried not to smile too broadly. "We have a lot to talk about."

"We do."

From below a loud shout was heard tearing the two from any continued discussion.

"That's cheating!"

"It's rock climbing Wufei there is no cheating, and it wasn't a race," Sally's voice broke in softly as she pulled her self over the ledge. She huffed and walked quickly over to Heero whispering happily, "I won."

"So you did."

The older woman smiled as she glanced over at Hilde who was smiling. "Looks like you won something yourself."

Heero shook his head, "Not quite."

Sally shrugged and replied in a low tone, "If you say so. Maybe she won instead… hard to tell in matters like this."

Heero's eyes were suddenly wide and then he grinned, "Hn."

End…