1-14-2003

Title: #20 Herein Referred to as Lessee...
Arc: Life With Heero
Genre: Domestic, Friendship
Pairing: None yet
Rated: PG-13
Warnings: AU, OOC, Swearing
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. Heero 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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"You're sure you don't want to come, Heero?" Duo asked hopefully as he pulled on his jacket.

"Duo - for the fifth time - yes, I'm sure," Heero said firmly. 'That would not go over too well with Hilde. She wants some time with you and your mutual friends. I don't blame her for that - you're her friend, not me. We share a house; we see each other all the time; she doesn't even have you to herself at work now that I'm working at the yard too. She's entitled to spend some time with you when I'm not around.'

"I want to finish re-assembling the engine for that one motorcycle," Heero told his friend. "That band doesn't really sound like my kind of thing anyway."

"How do you know? You might be surprised..."

Exasperated, Heero told him, "Fine, I promise I'll go along next time, okay? Now get out of here before you end up being late and getting me in Hilde's bad graces again, please?!" He made shooing motions as he herded Duo towards the door.

"Okay, okay, I'm going..." Duo exited the house, then re-opened the door and called back in, "Oh, by the way, there's some paperwork on the kitchen table that you need to take care of, 'kay?" Without waiting for a response, he closed the door again.

'Paperwork on the table? What could be so important that it couldn't wait till morning?' Heero wondered. Duo had never brought work home before and had scolded him the one time he had tried. Deciding that the paperwork must be pretty important, he abandoned all thought of working on the motorcycle and headed into the kitchen instead. Picking up the papers, he started to read through them. Within a few moments, he had dropped the papers on the table in shock.

Dropping into a chair, Heero shakily picked the papers back up again and started over. 'By this agreement made and entered on... between Kingsford Realty, herein referred to as Lessor, and Duo Maxwell and Heero Yuy, herein referred to as Lessee, Lessor leases to Lessee the premises situated...'

Duo had gotten the realtor to change the rental agreement. The house would now be legally rented in both their names. Spotting another sheet in Duo's distinctive handwriting, Heero picked it up and read it in stunned silence, 'You're paying half the rent now, your name goes on here too. This has been just as much your place as mine since you first moved in, this just makes it official. Just sign the damn papers so I can drop them off when I make the payment tomorrow, okay?'

Setting Duo's note aside, Heero picked the rental agreement up again and re-read it. 'I can't believe he did this...' Heero closed his eyes for a moment as the agreement blurred before his eyes. Maybe Duo had considered the house to be Heero's as much as his ever since Heero moved in. But he certainly hadn't. Now, though...

Opening his eyes again, Heero looked around the kitchen from a new perspective. No, not "the" kitchen. Not Duo's kitchen. Their kitchen. Picking up a pen from the table, he added his signature below Duo's. Carefully smoothing and straightening the documents, Heero laid them back in the centre of the table before he stood. A small smile tugged at his mouth as he moved from room to room, re-examining each from his new perspective.

Their workout room. Their living room. Their garage.

Looking out the back door, Heero scowled at the sorry excuse for a garden. Their garden - that was the first thing on the list of things to be fixed. Those half-dead bushes and weedy, half-wild flowerbeds had to go. Making a mental note to discuss the garden with Duo - they would need a budget and a plan regarding what to replace the current mess with - Heero moved on through the rest of the house, noticing little details like squeaky hinges and floorboards, a crack in the plaster, a drippy faucet, a ceiling that could use a fresh coat of paint. Dozens of tiny little things that he had never really noticed before. Some were minor irritants, other things really should be taken care of.

'Does Duo have any idea how much this means to me?' Heero wondered. Stupid question, really. The very fact that Duo had gone to the trouble of having the rental agreement changed the very first month that Heero contributed to the rent meant that he had to have a pretty good idea. Shaking his head slightly at his best friend's perceptiveness, Heero continued re-familiarizing himself with their house. Their home.

***

In bed but not yet asleep, Heero heard Duo quietly enter the house. When Duo finally crawled into bed, Heero immediately rolled over and hugged him fiercely. "Arigatou, Duo," he breathed emotionally.

Duo hugged him back and told him softly, "Nan demo nai, Heero. Nan demo nai."(1)

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(1) I used this phrase before and didn't bother translating it. I probably should have. "Nan demo nai" means "It's nothing".

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- tbc -