9-29-2003

Title: #81 Results - Part 2
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@fastmail.fm>
Story Completed: September 28, 2003
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Friendship, Romance
Pairing: 1+2
Rated: PG
Warnings: AU, OOC, Swearing
Archives: At Lev's Lair http://www.gwaddiction.com/levlair/ and at http://calic0cat.freeservers.com/ (my site) and at Mediaminer.org under Calic0cat. Anyone with archive permission for my other fics can help themselves.
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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Bypassing his own office, Heero headed straight for Duo's. They were going to have to arrange payment and pickup ASAP for the one item he'd ended up buying at the bankruptcy auction.

He rapped lightly on the doorframe to catch Duo's attention, uncertain whether to wait for Duo to finish his call or just head on to his own office for now. Duo flashed him a welcoming grin and held up his hand to signal for Heero to wait. Heero leaned comfortably against the doorframe while Duo wrapped up his phone call and hung up.

"So, how'd it go?" Duo asked.

"It wasn't a total waste of time. Bought the flatbed for a couple of hundred less than we'd figured but the crane went too damn high for the shape it was in," Heero answered. "Wouldn't have wanted to go much higher on the truck either; the engine needs a lot of work. Don't think any of that equipment has ever had regular maintenance."

"We'd kind of figured that," Duo grimaced. "Watson's been on the verge of bankruptcy for at least a couple of years. Had a real reputation for being sloppy and disorganized."

Heero nodded in silent agreement. They *had* known that the equipment probably wouldn't be in great shape but it had been worth checking out; Take Two could use a couple more trucks and a crane as well as a few other pieces of equipment, regardless of whether they ended up with the Tanaka contract or not. And the truck wasn't a bad deal at the price they'd ended up paying; he just wouldn't have wanted to pay much more. "Anyway, I think we'd better have the truck towed and overhauled; no point taking a chance on completely wrecking the engine or finding some other problem - potentially a dangerous one - by driving it halfway across the colony."

"Sounds like a good idea," Duo acknowledged. "You wanna take care of it or should I? I managed to finally get pretty much caught up on paperwork today so..."

"Thanks," Heero said gratefully as he handed over the paperwork for the truck purchase. "I had a few things sitting in my Inbox before I left; I'm sure the pile just got deeper while I was gone for the day." He raised a quizzical eyebrow as Duo coughed and hastily turned away towards the filing cabinet. "Duo?"

Duo cleared his throat and said vaguely, "Uh, yeah, I might've added a thing or two to the stack..."

Heero gave him a suspicious look. Obviously, *something* was going on here. "There better not be another order for dozens of different individual, really esoteric, rare parts from Klein waiting for me; it's *your* turn to tear your hair out finding her crap this time," he grumbled half-seriously. *None* of them wanted to handle those damn orders from Klein Corp so they all took turns. The woman always wanted just one or two of an item but they were inevitably the most bizarre, hard-to-find items imaginable and there would be dozens of different ones on a single request. The time and effort it took to fill one of those orders was completely out of proportion to the profit involved. But Klein had been a customer since before Hilde even inherited the scrapyard. The company paid on time and was a reliable customer; Take Two wasn't about to refuse its business. Tempting though the thought might be at times.

Duo snickered and shook his head, "Nah, nothing like that. You'll see."

Giving his best friend another suspicious look, Heero headed off to his own office. Spotting the Tanaka logo on the thick envelope laying in his Inbox, Heero froze for an instant. He was vaguely aware of a sound behind him - undoubtedly Duo had followed him.

He picked up the envelope almost reluctantly. It was strange. He'd been waiting anxiously for this yet now that it was *here*, he wasn't sure he wanted to open it. Heero stared at the package for a few moments, his attention finally distracted from it by a letter opener abruptly being held over top of it.

"Go ahead, Heero. Open it. Just remember that *this*," the letter opener tapped the package, "has nothing to do with *this*..." Warm arms wrapped around him in a quick but reassuring hug and a tender kiss brushed across his cheek. "Okay, buddy?"

Heero tore his gaze away from the envelope and met Duo's intent gaze. "Okay," he said very softly. Sometimes he *did* have trouble keeping things separate like that. Remembering that his relationship with Duo - both the friendship part of it and the newer, "something more" part of it - was unconditional. Not linked in any way, shape, or form to him being "perfect".

It was only *after* he'd returned the hug and kiss that he thought of his office door and glanced towards it to discover it was closed. Duo had obviously realized that they would want privacy for this. A faint smile tugged at the corner of Heero's mouth; it wasn't really surprising that he hadn't worried about that himself. He'd known without even consciously thinking about it that Duo wouldn't have displayed affection so openly without ensuring their privacy first.

"Okay," Heero repeated more firmly. Whatever the letter said, whatever the result of the bid was, it would be okay. *They* would be okay.

He took the letter opener from Duo and slit the envelope carefully, then pulled the documents out and started to read. After reading the whole cover letter the first time, he went back and re-read it, a bit confused by the contents.

"Well?" Duo finally asked.

Heero looked up, a bit startled at first that Duo hadn't just read over his shoulder. 'But I should have realized that he wouldn't; he wanted me to be the first to know and to get to tell him. After all, he could have just opened it before I got back...' "Tanaka split the contract," he said, handing the letter over to Duo. "We got the space part of it and another firm - which one, they're not saying till after the final contracts are all signed, sealed, and delivered - got the Earthside part of it..."

"Huh?"

Heero just waved towards the paper he'd given Duo in response to the puzzled query. He thought it was best that Duo read it for himself; the whole thing was a bit confusing.

Skimming through the rest of the packet's contents, Heero realized that they shouldn't have been quite so surprised. The bid *had* been broken down into various components and the language had certainly been there to allow for the contract to be broken up. At one point, they'd even discussed that possibility but it hadn't seemed very likely. Why would Tanaka want to bother dealing with two separate companies rather than one, after all? 'Obviously there must have been sufficient savings in doing so to make the extra hassle worthwhile...'

"Will this fuck up any of our margins on this deal?" Duo asked.

Shaking his head in response, Heero responded, "No. We *did* consider this at the time and I took it into account when I put the bid together. It wasn't very likely to happen but..." He shrugged slightly.

"But you always take *everything* into consideration, no matter how unlikely it may be. Good job, Heero."

"Thanks." Heero smiled slightly. That simple accolade and the congratulatory pat on the back that accompanied it meant almost - though not quite - as much to him as the earlier hug and kiss of reassurance. Success and, more importantly, the acknowledgement of that success by Duo, someone whose respect meant a lot to him, felt good. Very good.

It would have been nice to have won the whole contract but it had been impossible for them to put in as good a bid on the other portion of it as companies with facilities on Earth. By the same token, other companies with Earth-based facilities only would not have been able to come close to matching Take Two's bid on the space portion of the contract. Planetary takeoffs and landings were expensive. Far, far more expensive than intercolony transport.

"So, you want to go over all of this stuff tonight or do you want to go out to dinner and celebrate?" Duo asked, interrupting Heero's train of thought.

Heero hesitated. Celebrating the news by having dinner out sounded pretty good, especially after the long day at the auction. But on the other hand, he really *should* do at least a preliminary read-through on the documents. "Give me an hour - maybe an hour and a half - to do a quick once-over on all this, then dinner?" he suggested.

"Sounds like a plan," Duo agreed. "Any preference where for dinner?"

"We haven't had seafood in a while..."

"Okay, I'll see if I can get us a table at Hightide tonight."

"Okay," Heero agreed readily. Duo really *did* intend to pull out all the stops in terms of celebrating. Hightide was the best - though neither the fanciest nor the most expensive - seafood restaurant on the colony. Eating there would be a real treat. Assuming that Duo could even get a table. On a Friday night or weekend, there would be no chance at the last minute like this but in the middle of the week - well, maybe. If not, he was sure Duo would find someplace equally special to go.

Seating himself at his desk as Duo headed back to his own office, Heero straightened the stack of documents that he needed to read through. As he began working his way through them, he realized that he didn't really mind the fact that they hadn't gotten the entire contract. The space portion of it would still require considerable travelling and Take Two would still need to hire extra help and do some subcontracting but not nearly as much as if they'd landed the Earth-based part of the contract as well. Which meant that hewouldn't have to spend quite as much time away from home - from Duo.

And *that* was definitely a good thing.