1-19-2003

Title: #21 Pleasantly Surprised
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat
Genre: Domestic, Friendship
Pairing: 3+4 implied
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. Quatre POV in this story.

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

Author's Notes: This particular fic took me by surprise. Originally, *all* fics in the arc were supposed to be either Heero or Duo POV. This one was giving me a really hard time when I tried to write it from either of those. So, I thought I'd try again from someone else's. Surprise, surprise. Change to Quatre's POV and it wrote itself. Oh well. See earlier fics for notes on the arc as a whole. Feedback is appreciated.

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"I don't know, Quat. I'll have to ask Heero," Duo said, shaking his head slightly. "And check with Hilde too - we're pretty busy. Taking a week off to come visit you guys would be nice, but not if we have to work overtime for the next two to make up for it..."

"Please try to come, Duo," Quatre urged hopefully. "It'll just be the five of us - well, and the staff of course, but no other visitors." 'No other *official* visitors at least...'

"*None*?" Duo asked, raising his eyebrow. "Not gonna have 'Lena suddenly 'drop in' 'cause she was 'in the neighbourhood', I hope?"

Trowa suddenly stepped up behind Quatre and placed a cautioning hand on his shoulder. "No," he answered. "No well-meaning meddling in other people's affairs, right Quatre?"

'Damn. So much for that idea...' Quatre thought disappointedly. It had seemed like such a good idea, too... He sighed, then promised, "No meddling."

"I'll talk to Heero and Hilde and see what we can arrange," Duo told them. "No promises though, guys. We really *are* pretty busy right now."

***

Quatre chewed on his fingernail thoughtfully, looking around the bedroom suite. 'Getting Duo and Heero to agree to come for a visit was the easy part,' he thought. 'Should I assume that Duo and Heero will share a room as they did during the war? Or should I give them separate rooms? I don't want to do anything to make this visit uncomfortable for either of them...' He jumped, startled, as a hand settled on his shoulder.

"Quatre, stop fussing," Trowa scolded gently. "Just give them connecting rooms. That way they can do whatever they like without making a big production out of it."

"Why didn't *I* think of that?" Quatre moaned in disgust.

"Because you're letting yourself get too worked up over this. Heero's talked to us on the phone a few times over the past couple of months so you *know* he isn't upset with you over the work question you asked that day at dinner. And other than warning you off from any ideas of meddling to try and patch up Heero and Relena's friendship, Duo hasn't seemed particularly concerned over Heero's well-being for a good couple of months. Just relax and enjoy their visit."

Quatre relaxed into the hands firmly massaging his tense shoulders. "You're right, Trowa," he acknowledged. "I just don't want to do anything to spoil whatever little bit of progress Heero has made since he moved to L2 with Duo. He's certainly seemed more at ease when I've spoken to him on the phone. It *has* only been a little over four months, though, so I guess I shouldn't expect *too* big a change."

"I don't know about that," Trowa said thoughtfully. "Heero had become fairly comfortable around at least the Peacemillion's crew and the rest of us pilots by the end of the war. It was only when he drifted off on his own after peace was declared that he really started to have difficulties. And Duo tends to have a definite positive influence on Heero. I think you may be pleasantly surprised at how well Heero will adjust now that he has some real support to rely on."

"But he had Relena before..." Quatre started to protest. 'And she had every reason to encourage Heero's adjustment to life in peacetime...' he thought.

Trowa interrupted him, "It wasn't the same, Quat. Just as, well-intentioned though Cathy is, she can't begin to really understand the nightmares or the gut reaction that has me hitting the ground and reaching for a missing gun at the sound of a vehicle backfiring, Relena couldn't really understand what Heero was going through. And her very lifestyle didn't lend itself to teaching Heero how to live a normal life. If anything, it allowed him to become even more isolated since he merely existed on the fringe of things - neither part of the palace staff, nor of Relena's political entourage. He didn't have to interact with anyone other than Relena if he didn't want to. Which meant that he *didn't* interact with others. Somehow, I doubt that Duo lets Heero get away with avoiding all contact with other people."

Quatre laughed at the thought. No, Duo certainly wouldn't let Heero get away with that. And Duo was one of the very few people that Heero would allow to talk him into doing something he didn't want to. "Maybe you're right, Trowa. Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised. I certainly hope so!"

***

Standing in the shuttleport and waiting for Duo and Heero to exit the WEI shuttle, Quatre was pleased to realize that Trowa had been correct. Heero hung back slightly, observing as Duo stopped to thank the stewardess and pilot. Heero then copied Duo's actions, stopping to speak with the two WEI employees and shaking their hands before walking away from the spacecraft to join Duo. "Trowa, did you see that?" Quatre demanded excitedly, nudging his companion in the ribs.

"Yes, Quatre," Trowa answered in a slightly amused tone. "I hate to say 'I told you so' but..."

"You told me so," Quatre finished for him. "I know, I know." He flashed Trowa a bright smile and added, "And yes, I do realize that I shouldn't make a big deal out of it, oh tall-dark-and-wise one."

Trowa snickered slightly in response. "Tall-dark-and-wise one? That's new, oh petite-blond-and-sweet one."

"*Trowa!*" Quatre exclaimed in disgust. "Petite? Sweet? Ugh! Can't you do better than that?"

"Short-blond-and-cute one?" Trowa offered in amusement.

Quatre swatted him and demanded, "Think again, buster!" 'Petite? Sweet? Short? Cute? Argh! Note to self: get Duo to go shopping with me before he leaves. I need a new outfit or two to put *those* images out of Trowa's head! I am a former Gundam pilot! I am CEO of Winner Enterprises Inc.! I am *not* petite, sweet, *or* cute! Short is, unfortunately, true...'

As Heero and Duo cleared customs and approached, Quatre broke off his good-natured bickering with Trowa to hug Duo enthusiastically. He then turned to Heero, hesitated a moment, then decided it was worth a try. Heero only stiffened for an instant before relaxing and hugging Quatre back. 'Yes! He's let me hug him once or twice before, but he's never hugged back! Duo, you're a miracle worker!' the blond thought happily. He hoped this visit would be full of pleasant surprises.

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- tbc -