9-27-2005

Title: #104 Preparation - Part 5
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@fastmail.fm>
Story Completed: September 26, 2005
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Friendship, Romance, Domestic, Drama
Pairing: 1x2, OCxH
Rated: FRT (Fan Rated suitable for Teenagers)
Warnings: Language (Coarse Language, Profanity)
Archives: At my site http://www.calic0cat.net and 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.

Author's Notes: This is an open-ended arc focussing on Duo and Heero's lives together, starting about two years after Endless Waltz. The length of each story in the arc will vary, anywhere from ficlet to multi-part. Warnings, rating, genre, and POV will vary from story to story as well. The arc as a whole will probably never truly "end", but the smaller plot arcs within it will.

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

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"No."

"Hilde, just look at the numbers..."

"No," Hilde repeated firmly. "There are things in there worth salvaging; there have to be." Everything that her uncle and her grandfather before him had accumulated had been acquired for a reason, and she wasn't about to give up on finding some things that still had value. She hated waste, and anything less than the careful, thorough inventory that they'd been conducting would inevitably mean that some salvageable materials would end up being junked and wasted. Appealing to the person most likely to feel the same way, she urged, "Right, Duo?"

Duo looked up from his copy of the inventory figures and projections. "I dunno, Hil, maybe Rick's got a point. We're all breakin' our backs here, and it's really not payin' off." He frowned and shook his head. "Maybe we do need to reconsider our approach, think about cuttin' our losses and just gettin' this over with..."

"We are not going to 'cut our losses'; we have a job to do, and we're going to do it *right*," Hilde insisted stubbornly, feeling betrayed by Duo's wavering. Turning to the one partner who had yet to express an opinion, she demanded, "Heero, you agree with me, don't you?" Surely, Heero of all people wouldn't want to skimp on a job.

Heero exchanged an uneasy look with Duo before admitting cautiously, "The numbers really do support Rick's suggestion. From a business viewpoint, it doesn't make sense to continue an operation that won't pay for itself."

Unwilling to admit that inventorying the sheds was a lost cause, that virtually all of the salvage stored in them by her family really was just plain old junk, and feeling very much as if she was being ganged up on by the men, Hilde snapped defensively, "You don't know that. We haven't even been at this for a week, maybe we just haven't gotten to the good stuff yet. It's too soon to make that call."

Rick sighed wearily. "Honey, would you please just consider whether that 'maybe' is really worth how exhausted we're all getting?"

Her husband's annoyingly patient and oh-so-reasonable tone grating on her nerves, Hilde stubbornly crossed her arms and glared at him. "Why don't *you* just consider how well-rested you'll be after a night on the couch, *honey*?"

"Now, Hilde..." Rick began.

Duo interrupted hastily, "Listen, Hilde's got a point. Yeah, the numbers do kinda speak for themselves, but it *hasn't* been a full week yet, either. How about a compromise? Spend tomorrow working on the inventory as originally planned, then look at the figures again at the end of the day, and make our decision then? What do you think, Heero?"

Heero nodded. "Agreed."

"Rick?" Duo prompted.

"Yeah, sure."

"Hilde?"

Still not happy about the possibility of foregoing the inventory and simply junking the sheds' contents en masse, but well aware that she was outnumbered, Hilde grudgingly answered, "Fine." One more day of the thorough inventory was better than nothing. She'd just have to be sure to work extra fast tomorrow in order to improve her chances of finding something to justify sticking to the original plan.

Maybe she'd get an early start in the morning. After all, Rick wouldn't be there to tempt her to linger in bed.

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