1-5-2003

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Title: #9 Junkers
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@fastmail.fm>
Story Completed: Jan. 5, 2003
Genre: Domestic, Friendship
Pairing: None yet
Rated: G
Warnings: AU, OOC
Archives: At Mediaminer.org under Calic0cat. Anyone with archive permission for my other fics can help themselves; anyone else, please ask.
Disclaimer: Duo and Heero and the rest of the GW gang aren't mine. This story is. Nuff said.

Notes: The arc begins between one and two years after Endless Waltz. Duo POV in this story.

'Thinking'
"Speaking"
*** Time passing or scene change

Author's Notes: This is part of an arc of stories. I don't know for sure how many stories there will be or how often I'll be posting them. The length of each story in the arc will vary, anywhere from ficlet to multi-part. Warnings will vary from story to story as well, as will the genre. Pairings will probably eventually make their way in, but it will be quite a while since the first half dozen or so stories are drafted out and there's no real indication of pairings in them as of yet. Feedback is appreciated.

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Looking over the latest shipload of assorted salvage material, Duo kept a close eye out for a new restoration project. He'd really enjoyed spending his evenings working on the little classic convertible that was his "baby" and he was looking forward to finding another potential project. Not every old car - classic or not - was worth restoring. Since this project would be for sale once it was completed, it not only had to interest him, it also had to have real resale potential. After rejecting several cars, a small pickup, and a couple of motorcycles (tempting, but the two combined still wouldn't give a complete one and the parts from them would be worth more than the finished bike would bring by the time he had to purchase what was missing), Duo had just about decided that there was once again nothing worthwhile. Then, he spotted it. In rough condition, no doubt about it, but at least externally very complete. The upholstery was completely rotten, but the actual seats could be restored. A quick glance at the engine looked at least semi-promising, but the exhaust system was totally shot. Probably the single most expensive item on any restored classic vehicle was the conversion of the old engine to burn modern fuel and pass modern exhaust tests. It was either do that or buy a very expensive permit to run the vehicle with the old system on a "living history" license, in which case you also had to find a source for the fuel. The tires were long since rotted off, but the original hubcaps were still intact and only slightly dented. Checking the vehicle over a second time, he spotted a small plate bearing the inscription of a transportation museum. Well, that at least explained why something so old was still in such good shape for its age. His own car had come out of a museum at some point in its chequered past but wasn't quite as old as this one. Grinning at the thought of the challenge involved in finding everything he would need to restore this particular "old junker" as Hilde called them, Duo noted down its item number, dashed off an order for delivery of it to his house whenever a truck was free, and scribbled down a memo for Hilde to take its scrap value off of his profit share for the month. Later that day, someone left a note on his desk letting him know that it had been dropped off in his garage.

Duo was both shocked and delighted to come home that evening and discover Heero under the hood of the "junker", printouts of the wiring diagrams, engine schematics, etc. spread out over the worktable. Waving him over, Heero told him, "Duo, I've got a list here of the stuff we're going to need. I tracked down a few of the parts online, but it looks like we might have to get these ones custom-made or retool them ourselves from something similar."

Listening to Heero's surprisingly animated explanation of precisely what was or wasn't salvageable on the classic car, Duo could barely keep from cheering. If Heero was willing to work on rebuilding these old cars, it would give him something to do all day while Duo was at the scrapyard. And since he'd be doing most of the actual work, Duo could split the profits from the sale of the restored vehicle with him. Which would go a long way towards making Heero feel useful again. And if it turned out that the two of them could work on the cars together without killing each other, well, it just might be time to finally follow through on his wish to start easing his way out of the increasingly monotonous salvage business. Hilde's fiancé, though currently still with the Sweepers, had indicated that he would like to become more involved in the day to day running of the place, so he suspected Hilde and Rick would be happy to arrange some sort of a buyout of his share. Oh, it wouldn't happen overnight - the business was worth quite a bit, but neither partner was exactly raking in the money as most of the profits went back into improving operations. But if something could be worked out to reduce his working days (and, obviously, the salary he took home in exchange for them), then he wouldn't mind continuing to work at the yard part-time. It could take years for Hilde and Rick to completely buy him out, so he would still get a percentage of the profits over that time period in addition to whatever pay he collected for putting in some work hours at the business. The market for restored vehicles was currently quite "hot" and although that could change at any time it would easily provide enough income to get by on in combination with some wages from the scrapyard.

But first, he'd have to see how well Heero handled the restoration of an old vehicle, something rather different from working on a state-of-the-art piece of machinery like a Gundam. Heero had always seemed to enjoy working on first Wing and later Zero. He had even been perfectly willing to lend a hand if Duo was doing something to Deathscythe that was a two-man job. Back then, they'd worked together quite well. The question was whether they still would now. Maybe this would turn out to be a new career opportunity for them both.

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