4-5-2003

Title: #67 Tackling Tanaka
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@fastmail.fm>
Story Completed: Apr. 5, 2003
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Friendship, Romance
Pairing: 1+2
Rated: PG
Warnings: AU, OOC, Swearing
Archives: 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.

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

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Heero took the seat indicated by the receptionist. 'I can't believe how nervous I am,' he thought with a certain amount of chagrin. 'A former Gundam pilot reduced to a quivering mass of nerves by the prospect of presenting a bid for a salvage contract.' A very *big* salvage contract. One for a very old, established firm run by an extremely traditional man.

Tanaka Industries, like WEI, was a highly successful firm that was even older than the colony it was based on. And like WEI, it was still under the direct control of the family that founded it. But there the similarities ended.

While WEI was open and progressive, a policy begun under Quatre's father and expanded under Quatre's own guidance, Tanaka Industries was very traditional and staid. Tanaka himself, the current CEO, ran the company with an iron grip. He refused to conduct business in anything other than Japanese and would not deal with anyone less than the CEO or a partner in the ownership of the company he was doing business with.

Duo had made it clear to Heero that Take Two Salvage would never have dreamt of submitting a bid if he hadn't chosen to buy in. And Heero could certainly understand why. The Tanaka contract itself was a big job to tackle. And the CEO's idiosyncrasies only made things more complicated. Duo's Japanese accent wasn't nearly as bad as he insisted it was, but Tanaka was reputed to be incredibly picky about that kind of thing.

There was also the simple fact that prior to Rick and himself buying into Take Two, the company simply did not have the resources to handle something as big as the Tanaka contract. If they did happen to win the bid, one of the four owners - probably him - would spend most of their time handling the contract. And the firm would have to subcontract a certain amount of the work to the Sweepers simply because they did not yet have the trained personnel to handle everything themselves. But the contract would guarantee Take Two's financial stability over the next five years as it involved extensive work dismantling old factories on Earth and in the colonies as well as several resource satellites over the course of that time period. It would be slow work since a substantial amount of the equipment being removed was to be reworked or recycled within Tanaka Industries and therefore considerable care in the removal process would be necessary. But if Tanaka was satisfied with their work, there would be other jobs.

Heero reminded himself again that Duo had told him not to get too anxious over this. That losing the contract would not be a serious blow. And since he actually did most of the firm's accounting, he knew that was true. The future of Take Two certainly didn't ride on this one contract, though landing it would be a big boost. But landing the contract meant a lot to *him*. It would prove once and for all that he could make it in the "real world", even under heavy pressure, without Duo right there beside him.

Though the morning definitely hadn't been the same without a morning cuddle to start things off on the right note. He and Duo had gotten in the habit of setting the alarm a whole half hour earlier so that they could just lie there together for a while in the morning. No kissing was allowed in bed, however; a rule they'd set by mutual agreement after things came a little too close to getting out of hand one morning. And hands had to stay above the waist. After only a few weeks of exploring new areas of their relationship, they weren't ready to take things to the next stage yet. They'd been doing a lot of kissing and cuddling but that was about it. As Duo had pointed out, if they weren't even ready to hold hands outside of their own home or to admit to their closest friends that they were "dating", they had absolutely no business even *considering* becoming lovers; a sentiment that Heero agreed with whole-heartedly. But he'd gotten used to those morning cuddles and with Duo on L2 and him here on L1, that wasn't exactly an option.

With an effort, Heero dragged his thoughts away from Duo and forced himself to mentally rehearse his presentation again. He'd been a little worried about this because he hadn't spoken much Japanese since the end of the war. So Duo had suggested that they speak nothing but Japanese at home. And for the past week or so, that was what they'd done. 'It was nice,' Heero thought wistfully. 'I hadn't realized how much I'd missed speaking it...' Duo had always spoken Japanese to him occasionally, but as much as he appreciated those thoughtful touches, it wasn't the same. 'Duo didn't seem to mind sticking to Japanese this week... He was pretty rusty at first, but it came back fast once we'd been using it for the first day or so... Maybe he wouldn't mind if we spoke Japanese more often?' Maybe. It was certainly worth asking, anyway.

"Yui-sama?"

'It's time...' Heero rose instantly in response to the secretary's summons and followed her down the hall to a meeting room. As the door closed behind him, he thought, 'As Duo would say, here goes nothing...'