3-19-2003

Title: #56 Surprise
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat
Story Completed: Mar. 19, 2003
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Friendship
Pairing: None yet
Rated: PG
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. Duo POV in this story.

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

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

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"What do you mean, we're not going to work today?" Duo demanded. "And why are you putting suitcases in the car?"

Heero smirked at him and said, "Not telling. It's a surprise. You'll see when we get there."

Duo crossed his arms and gave Heero a very suspicious look. His best friend was up to something. And considering how many nights lately he'd been waking them both up with his nightmares about Solo and others who died of disease or starvation during his years on the streets, he strongly suspected that there was a connection. He just didn't know what that connection could be.

"Come on or we'll miss the shuttle," Heero warned, giving him a firm shove towards the passenger door.

"Shuttle?!" Duo exclaimed as he climbed in. Now he was even *more* suspicious. Shuttle trips cost money. They didn't go hopping a shuttle unless they had one hell of a good reason to do so. It was just too damn expensive. 'What the hell is he up to?!'

***

Duo climbed out of the cab, feeling very tense and distinctly unhappy with Heero. Finding out that they were going back to his old colony for the third time in as many months was *not* what he'd wanted to hear. Not at all the sort of "surprise" he'd been expecting. He'd thought maybe Heero was dragging him off to visit Q and Tro for a few days to get his mind off things. Or maybe for a quick trip down to Earth to visit Relena. Definitely *not* another trip back to the damn *source* of his nightmares. 'Why the fuck Heero would go and drag me back here again...'

Duo's silent complaint was suddenly forgotten as he looked up and spotted familiar faces. Many familiar faces. And realized that they were all, like himself and Heero, dressed in tough, serviceable clothing like jeans.

"Welcome to Habitat for Humanity construction site 56," a man wearing a construction helmet and brightly coloured vest announced loudly. "I see that the last of our volunteer crew has arrived, so I'll just get everyone equipped with safety gear then we'll get you into your work groups, introduce you to your crew leaders, and get started. With such a large group, I'm sure the Maxwell team will get a great deal of construction done this week. Thank you all for coming out to join us."

Duo felt like he'd just been slugged in the gut. *This* was Heero's surprise? God, he must have spent hours on the phone just *calling* all these people... And for all of them to have taken time out of their busy schedules - a whole *week* by the sound of things - to come here and help with this... He looked around, throat and chest tightening with emotion. Howard. Quatre and Trowa. Wufei. Relena. Zechs and Dorothy. Rashid. Abdul. Catherine. Une. Mariemaia. Mama Lucia. Arnold and Kendra. Hilde and Rick... Wait a second - "Who the hell is running the yard?" he demanded.

"Jennie's looking after it," Heero answered. "Arnold gave her the week off from supervising at the restaurant so she could handle the salvage yard office. And Howard dragged a couple of Sweepers along to help her out - I think he might be having a try at matchmaking since they're both single, around her age, and like kids. If there's anything she genuinely can't handle, she can reach us by cellphone."

Duo stifled the urge to hug Heero - too many watching eyes - and contented himself with bumping his shoulder against Heero's. Half under his breath, he muttered, "You know, Yuy, I was royally pissed off at you for dragging me back here again. Now I'm stuck wanting to smack you and hug you at the same time."

Heero gave Duo a startled look, then asked, "You are okay with this, aren't you? I thought it might help..."

"I'm okay, Heero. You just really caught me by surprise." 'Really, really, *really* caught me by surprise...' Duo added silently. Almost as much as when Heero had calmly mentioned over supper one night that Une had called and offered them jobs with the Preventers. Oh, and he'd already turned her down but if Duo really wanted to join, the offer was open. He certainly hadn't been interested - he had enough guilt to last a lifetime now, thank you very much, and wasn't about to take on a job that was likely to add to it - but he'd been shocked as hell that Heero hadn't. And incredibly delighted that Heero was happy where he was, happy enough to turn down a position he'd have jumped at in a heartbeat a year ago.

But then, there were a lot of ways that Heero was different now from then. Coming up with an idea like putting together a Habitat for Humanity volunteer team made up of their friends in hopes of helping Duo deal with a bad case of survivor guilt was definitely one of them. As they started across to join the line waiting for safety equipment, Duo added softly, "And yeah, Heero, it just might..."

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- tbc -