1-10-2003

Title: #16 In Love
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat
Genre: Domestic, Friendship
Pairing: None yet
Rated: G
Warnings: AU, OOC
Archives: Also at Mediaminer.org under Calic0cat.
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 eventually make their way in. Feedback is appreciated.

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By the end of the first month of the restoration project, it was becoming quite clear that this car, at least, would not be being sold. Oh, Heero still was working on the assumption that it would be, but Duo had seen the way he stroked a loving hand over the curve of a fender and had noticed that Heero now quite consistently referred to the car as "she". It was perfectly clear to Duo.

Heero Yuy was in love. With a mostly-dismantled, beat-up old car. There was absolutely no way that Duo would sell Heero's baby once it was completed. Some other project would have to serve as the true test case for Heero's interest in restoration. This was a labour of love. Duo had yet to figure out just how to persuade Heero to accept the car since he unfortunately knew precisely how much every last part had cost, but it would be a while before that became an issue anyway.

"Heero, the exhaust parts are on backorder and the engine parts will take at least three weeks to be custom built," Duo said apologetically. He had coaxed and cajoled and used every possible source he knew of, but there was no faster way to get the parts that they needed to finish Heero's car. "So, since we're sort of stuck till that stuff comes in, I brought a little something else home to work on while we wait." Leading Heero out to where he'd parked the scrapyard's stake truck, Duo hopped up on the bed and pulled off the tarp.

"Motorcycles?" Heero asked a bit uncertainly.

"Um, yeah," Duo said, shrugging. He eyed the somewhat less than promising tangle of metal on the truck bed. "There isn't really room in the garage for another big car. And I don't know whether this will turn out to be three cycles or just one - they're all in pretty rough shape. But I'm fairly sure we can get at least one complete bike out of the three with hardly any extra parts needed. Then once we sell that, we can use the money to buy parts to finish another or just strip the others down and sell the good stuff. Sometimes the parts are worth as much as or more than the whole machine."

Joining Duo on the truck bed, Heero took another look. Seeing the gleam of interest in his eye, Duo hid a grin. Okay, Heero had been bit by the restoration bug alright. And so far they had been doing okay at working together, too. This could solve a number of problems, from his growing boredom with work at the scrapyard now that most of what they did was straightforward strip, catalogue, resell - no actual true salvage work involved - to Heero's employment difficulties. There was just something about turning a piece of useless, worthless old junk into a beautiful, valuable piece of machinery that did wonders for a person's mental state. Hopefully, it would have that effect on Heero.

Heero had already made quite a bit of progress. His agreement earlier that month to go for supper at Arnold's with Howard and the Sweepers had been a pleasant surprise and his evident enjoyment of the evening an even bigger one. And while his request just yesterday for the use of the car had made Duo hopeful that Heero was finally getting some of his self-confidence back, he hadn't even imagined Heero picking him up after work and casually informing him that he had already done the grocery shopping. It looked like maybe Heero was ready to start taking control of his life and leave the past behind.

But the argument that had so nearly ended with Heero leaving, plus the whole issue of Heero's wardrobe - or lack thereof, though enough of Duo's outgrown clothes had fit to solve that problem for the time being - had made Duo realize that waiting till there was a finished restoration project to sell in order to supply Heero with some income wasn't a very good option. He had an idea in mind to increase Heero's feeling of security regarding this being "home", but it would have to wait till Heero could contribute to the monthly rent payments. And Heero needed some source of spending money so that he didn't have to dip into his savings. Duo certainly wouldn't mind lending him some - his budget wasn't quite that tight - but he was a little leery of what that offer would do to Heero's already severely battered self-esteem. So, at least for the time being, Heero still needed a job. And something he had noticed today, something he should have noticed earlier - a couple of months earlier, preferably - had given him an idea of just where he could find that temporary job for Heero. Maybe.

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- tbc -