Title: #101 Preparation - Part 2
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@fastmail.fm>
Story Completed: April 11, 2005
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Friendship, Romance, Domestic
Pairing: 1x2, OCxH
Rated: FRT (Fan Rated Suitable for Teenagers)
Warnings: Swearing
Archives: At http://www.calic0cat.net/ (my site) and at Mediaminer.org under Calic0cat. Anyone with archive permission for my other fics can help themselves.
Disclaimer: Duo and Heero and the rest of the GW gang aren't mine. This story is. Nuff said.

Author's Note: In light of the current controversy over using movie ratings for fanfic, I've switched to The Fan Rated Rating System explained at http://tfrrs.tripod.com/

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

************ Time passing or scene change

Author's Notes: See earlier fics for notes on the arc as a whole. Feedback is appreciated.


A cursory glance told Heero that the crate's contents probably weren't worth salvaging. Cautiously, he shifted the engine components with one protectively-gloved hand. Large flakes of corroded metal fell free, confirming his first impression. He grimaced in weary disappointment. Original manufacturer parts for early Boeing A-series shuttles were in high demand; this was the fourth crate of them that he'd had to relegate to "junk" because the air-tight seal had been damaged and the parts ruined by years of exposure to the air. He heaved the box off the ground and carried it over to the forklift loaded with junk.

"Shit. Those aren't any good either?" Duo demanded in disgust as he tossed an old bicycle up on top of the load of discards.

Sliding the crate into the last empty space on the pallet, Heero confirmed, "Corroded to the point of falling apart."

"Dammit." Duo sighed heavily. "Man, what a fuckin' waste. Well, at least I didn't break the seal when I moved'em during the war. They wouldn't have corroded all that bad in just a few years."

"No, the seal was probably broken when Hilde's grandfather bought them," Heero replied. Most likely, the man had gotten a great deal on the parts *because* the packing was damaged. If they'd been used or repacked promptly, they would have been quite serviceable. Left untouched, however, they'd become worthless junk.

"Most likely," Duo said dispiritedly. Raising one arm to awkwardly wipe his grubby, sweat-streaked face against his shoulder, he gave the pallet-load of discarded scrap an unhappy look. Shaking his head, he repeated mournfully, "What a fuckin' waste."

Glancing from the full load over to the nearly-bare pallet of salvaged items, Heero had to agree. For every load of scrap worth saving, there were at least three loads of absolute junk. And a good quarter of that junk would have been worth something if it had been properly handled instead of dumped in a shed and ignored for decades. This task was turning out to be depressing as well as back-breaking.

Forcing himself back into motion, Heero climbed onto the forklift. "I'll go get rid of this load."

"'Kay." Duo started towards the slowly diminishing stack that the two of them had been working on, then paused and turned back. "Listen, I'm gonna go check in with Hil and Rick, see if they're ready to call it quits for the night. If I'm not here when you get back..."

"I'll know where to find you." Namely, in the incoming shipment area, where Hilde and Rick were working on sorting and formally inventorying the "good" scrap. They'd originally intended to leave that job for their employees, but after Rick had twisted his ankle when the pile of junk he'd been climbing had shifted, he'd been sidelined for the evening in hopes that keeping it iced and elevated would keep him from being sidelined for a much longer period of time.

"Yeah," Duo agreed.

Switching the engine on, Heero gave him an acknowledging wave. As he drove out of the shed, he glanced at his watch, suspecting that Hilde and Rick would indeed be ready to call it quits for the night. An occasional eighteen-hour workday was feasible, but sixteen was about the maximum length that they could realistically sustain for two whole weeks. They couldn't get too overtired; as business owners, they couldn't afford to make the kinds of mistakes that sleep deprivation led to.

Depositing the pallet of junk alongside of the others, Heero made a mental note to check with Hilde about scheduling an extra pickup for tomorrow. By the time that the yard's employees separated tonight's discards into the appropriate recycling and junk bins for disposal, the bins would be nearly full. At least the four of them wouldn't have to do that part of the labour themselves; they just had to make the initial determination that the scrap wasn't worth salvaging, haul it out of the sheds, then have someone else deal with it in the morning. 'And there's going to be a lot of it to deal with,' Heero thought, eying the long row of pallets loaded with junk.

Maybe they should arrange for extra disposal containers as well as additional pickups. They were probably going to have to schedule some overtime or take on a couple of temporary workers, too. All of which was going to cost money; money that wasn't in the budget. And, so far, the very small amount of salvage that they'd found didn't make the chance of recovering those expenditures seem very likely. It wasn't going to bankrupt the business by any means, but it was definitely going to have a serious impact on Take Two's revenue for the quarter.

And then, of course, there was the non-monetary cost. The cost to their personal lives.

Heero sighed in resignation as he turned the forklift back towards the shed. Even if they did decide to call it a night now, his original plans for the evening were completely shot. By the time that he and Duo got home, all that either one of them was going to be interested in was a shower and sleep. And, tempting as a little fooling around in the shower might sound in theory, there was, as Duo had succinctly pointed out after they'd returned home hot and sweaty from their basketball game yesterday, "no way in hell" that the two of them could put theory into practice in the confines of the tiny shower cubicle at home. If they could even manage to squeeze in there at the same time, there wouldn't be any room *to* fool around.

Maybe bathroom renovation should be their next home improvement project.