Disclaimer: Don't own any part of Gundam Wing or the characters, more's the pity. This is for fun...no profit involved.

Warnings: yaoi, swearing, violence

Pairings: 1X2

A/N: This is for Azamiko, who wanted Heero's POV…and one-hep-cat, who also expressed the same curiosity.

TAKING POINT IN THE RAIN

The rain keeps running into my eyes as we make our way from the smoldering Oz base back towards our Gundams. But that's a minor irritation compared to the pain lancing through my leg and the steady throbbing of the torn muscles in my shoulder.

Not that pain matters, particularly. I'm a soldier with a job to do. All else is irrelevant.

The mission was successful; that is the important thing.

Maxwell and I left behind nothing but bodies, devastation and destruction.

Fuck, I'm starting to think like he talks.

We infiltrated the base, extracted the information we were after, killed anyone who saw us, and then rendered the base inoperable through the judicious use of explosives.

Judicious? I think Maxwell might have gone a bit overboard on the C4. At least, the shock wave felt a bit more—potent—than necessary. A waste of resources.

But it made him smile.

Hell, everything makes him smile. He can keep that damned grin on through battles, wounds, exhaustion—. I find that fact both annoying and intriguing.

"—pick me a few flowers—," he's saying, going on about the weather, I think.

Yes, I listen to him as we walk. I always listen, though I can tune out the less pertinent commentary when needed.

Naturally, since I am walking point, I have to be aware of what lies ahead of and around us. I must watch for ambushes, stray patrols from the base we just trashed, and pursuit from that same former base.

Trashed—another Duo-ism.

I would choose words like "eliminated" or "neutralized." He says "trashed" or "wasted" or "fuckin' blown to Hell." And he'd probably grin on that last phrase.

"You're a lousy date, Yuy."

I catch the sound of my name dropping from his lips, a sardonic edge to it, and find myself responding almost out of reflex. "What are you babbling about, Maxwell? We're on a mission—not a romantic getaway, baka!"

Despite the fact that I call him "baka" on a fairly regular basis, he's not one, and he doesn't take offense at the term. He simply keeps on talking, breaking the monotony of the steady downpour of rain.

"Well what else do you call walking in the rain together?"

What indeed?

Torture; that's what it is. Sweet torture.

If he'd seen the way he looked, sprinting past me to that perimeter fence, his braid slapping against his rain-soaked fatigues and plastering itself to his rear end, he'd understand why I took point out here in the rain-soaked forest.

If I had to look at the way wet fabric clung to his body, it would've driven me crazy. The ultimate distraction in the midst of—.

"Part of the mission," I answer, keeping my tone neutral.

He babbles on with a quick summary of the nearly-catastrophic mission, while I reflect on how close he came to falling straight into a squad of very angry, deadly Oz soldiers, who were thoroughly pissed that we'd just killed an indeterminate number of their buddies.

When his foot slipped on that chain link, my breath just froze in my throat. I had a flash of insight into what it would be like to fight the rest of this war without him.

Without the teasing and the chatter.

Without his screams of rage and determination in the midst of battle.

Without his ability to blend in and infiltrate the toughest crowds.

Without that laugh, and the glimmer in those fierce eyes.

Without being able to catch that occasional glimpse of a smooth, perfect ass as he slips off a blood-soaked garment and heads for the bathroom naked to tend to a wound, or wash off the stench of blood and combat.

While my mind takes that chilling detour, I've automatically responded to his banter, saying something about "limping" and how my leg had gone numb, which it thankfully had.

"This'd be a whole lot more romantic if we weren't bleeding."

"What is it with you and the rain?" I can't help but ask. He seems more insistent than usual about teasing me today. Maybe it's distracting him from the pain of a slashed forearm, a bullet-grazed calf, or the scrapes he got on his back when the blast from the explosion threw him backwards onto a cement runway. The back of his shirt and jacket are shredded in places from that impact on the abrasive surface.

But at least he's alive; that's really all that matters.

"Just—it's the stereotypical romantic setting—a walk in the rain—holding hands—oblivious to the elements—."

I manage a derisive snort. Romantic indeed! "Been reading one too many romance novels, Maxwell?"

"Oblivious to—everything," I hear him sigh.

"Hardly," I reply snidely, just so he knows I overheard. And while I point out all the minute observations I'm making as we walk, I skip over the real reason I took the lead. And then I make the mistake of suggesting that by the time we reach our Gundams he might not be able to pilot.

"I'm fine," he snaps, crossing his arms and glaring. "And don't you ever fuckin' question my piloting, Heero Yuy. I can fly 'Scythe wounded, exhausted, drunk or dead!"

"If you were dead, it would be impossible—," I point out, deliberately baiting him.

"I'm talking figuratively!" he blurts in frustration. "Haven't you ever heard of hyperbole?"

I give him a look. "Of course I have—it's 'obvious exaggeration for effect,' and—."

"—and that's what I was doing. Exaggerating. For effect. Now just shut the fuck up and walk."

When he shoves my shoulder, it takes me by surprise. I hadn't expected physical contact at that point. The pain that stabs through the joint sends me stumbling a few steps, very nearly sinking to the ground from its intensity.

Fuck, it's worse than I thought!

"What happened to your shoulder? I didn't see you get hit."

"I didn't. It twisted when we went over the fence."

His eyes widen, and I can see that he runs the scenario in his head, instantly affixing the blame squarely on himself.

"My fault," tumbles from his lips in a whisper. "If I hadn't been so clumsy—."

"It wasn't your fault and you weren't clumsy," I snap, realizing by the quick glance he gives my face that he hadn't meant to think aloud there.

"Your boot slipped on wet wire, which could have happened to anyone," I tell him.

We shouldn't be having this discussion now, but with the throbbing of my shoulder taking its sweet time subsiding, I'm not yet ready to resume our forward march.

"Yeah, but it didn't. It happened to me," Duo argues. "And you got hurt saving my sorry ass."

"It's not a 'sorry ass,'" I tell him absently, trying to move my shoulder and ease the ache. "It's a perfect one—," slips from my subconscious and out of my mouth.

As Duo would say, "Oh fuck!"

He stares—jaw slack and face dripping with rain.

Goddamn, he's gorgeous.

"Wha—what did you just say—?"

I am so screwed.

I just admitted to Duo Maxwell that I've looked at his ass, and found it attractive. This was not something I'd meant to mention during wartime. Or ever.

I have no idea when or how the wayward attraction began, and despite his teasing comments about romance and the rain, I'm not sure it's welcome.

But when a few of my brain cells re-engage, I begin spewing a load of crap about how it was logical that I saved him, trying to phrase it in such a way that he will think he merely mis-heard me.

Nice try.

He claps his hand over my mouth, stifling my frantic cover story. "You're babbling, Yuy. You never babble." And the shrewd gleam in his eyes—those deep indigo eyes—assures me he's not fooled for an instant.

I try to say he's got a point, but it's muffled by his icy fingers, tight across my lips. And I have to resist the urge to kiss the palm that's pressed against them.

I divert my gaze over his left shoulder, knowing that direct eye contact at this moment might cause irreversible damage to my self-control. And then I glimpse a movement in the trees—the flash of a light uniform between dark green, dripping leaves.

I rip his hand from my mouth, taking him down to the forest floor and shielding him with my body even as I take out the first soldier rounding the corner.

Duo's amazing. Even startled by my sudden move, he's quick to catch on and join me in blasting away at our enemies. We roll apart and make our escape into cover, pinned down by what I'd guess is a stray patrol from the base—a few soldiers who missed the big event and now are intent on tracking down the perpetrators.

That would be us.

See? I am sounding more and more like Duo. The sarcasm and wit just rolls off him.

"Don't think you're off the hook, Yuy!" I hear him shout. "You said my ass was perfect."

Yes. Yes I did.

And I've thought it for a longer time than I'll ever admit—especially to him.

"You heard me wrong!"

Although—he doesn't sound appalled by the admission. In fact, he sounds a bit pleased—smug, even. Dare I hope—?

"Fire-in-the-hole!"

Even as my mind is churning over the possibility that Duo might be pleased that I complimented his rear end, which would suggest he's not repulsed by the idea that I'm attracted to him—I fling myself down and cover my head, hearing the dull "pow" of the grenade going off, aborted screams, and then the patter of debris.

Smoke drifts in a lazy haze, obscuring the clearing left by the blast, as I lift my head and brush off leaves and twigs.

"Any movement, 'Ro?"

"None. I think you got them." I laboriously push myself to my feet, grimacing at the ache from my shoulder and limping over to check the bodies for survivors, or anything useful, be it information or spare weapons.

When Duo joins me, his limp a bit more pronounced, he is grinning viciously. "They picked the wrong time to fuck with the God of Death." His keen eyes shift to me. "Now—about my ass—."

I'm not ready for that conversation yet. "Forget it, Maxwell." Yes, please! Forget my foolish slip of the tongue…maybe until after the war. "We've got to clear this area before their reinforcements come. You know they had to hear that grenade."

Duo has never been accused of being overly subtle.

"You might've tried a less—noisy method of attack," I point out, still hoping to divert the conversation from all things "personal."

I find a couple of spare guns that look in reasonable shape, and toss one to him, telling him to stop bitching, and then starting off in my chosen direction.

I listen to him trudging along behind me, aware of every stumble and every time he limps on his wounded leg. I do not want to care, but I do. Care, that is.

I care enough to wish I could offer to carry him the rest of the way to our Gundams. But not only would he not welcome the gesture (he'd probably deck me); considering the blood volume I've lost, I'd probably collapse if I tried.

Instead I focus my attention on the trail, trying not to glance over my shoulder to look at the expression on his face. I suspect he's watching me, as I've caught him doing now and then. And he's probably mulling over my admission of interest.

If he doesn't say anything more about it, I can safely assume he's not interested in return. Right?

And if he's not, all I can do about it is deal.

I'll have to suck it up and move on.

As if there's any "moving on" from Duo Maxwell.

Fuck.

"I take it back, Yuy," he says just as the Gundams come into sight. "I was wrong about this not being a romantic walk in the rain."

I dare to look back, and he grins. "You sure know how to show a guy a good time—flattery and a firefight."

I swear, there's a lustful gleam in his eyes that makes me turn away before he can see my elated smile.

"And your ass is fuckin' perfect, too. I'd save it any time. You just put it in these capable hands and—."

I turn without conscious thought, yanking him up against me and kissing the living shit out of him. And he returns the hard, hungry embrace, his hands fisting in my shirtsleeves as he kisses back ferociously, something like a cross between a whimper and a growl sounding low in his throat.

And I try to touch it with my tongue, diving deep and just losing myself in the heat of his mouth.

Pulling away from him is the single hardest thing I have ever done. But I manage it—barely, glaring sternly at him. "If you want me to put my ass in your hands," I challenge. "You'd better keep up, Maxwell."

I pull free and head for my Gundam at a quick jog, knowing if I stop to look back, I won't be able to resist the fire I'd seen ignite in his indigo eyes.

I hear the patter of steps behind me as he dashes to his own machine, having shaken off the shock, I suppose.

And I wonder what will happen when we get back to the safe house. I cannot delude myself into thinking he'll be satisfied with leaving things as they are. It's not in his nature.

He'll need to poke and prod—test the waters—push to see how far I'll go.

Does he realize I'll take anything and everything he offers?

And I'm more than willing to put my ass in his hands—literally and figuratively. Any time.

Maybe I'll even take him for another nice, romantic walk in the rain.