Title: #85 - Surprising - Part 1
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@fastmail.fm>
Story Completed: December 3, 2003
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Friendship, Romance
Pairing: 1x2, 3x4
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. Quatre POV in this story.

************ Time passing or scene change

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


Quatre smiled cheerfully as he paid the cab driver while Trowa got their luggage out of the trunk. He was looking forward to seeing Heero and Duo this weekend; occasional phone calls and frequent e-mail messages just couldn't replace spending time in person with friends.

'I just hope they're home... Surprising them shouldn't be too risky though; they've been pretty busy with the scrapyard lately so I doubt that they would have gone away. Hopefully they won't have already made plans...' He picked up his laptop and briefcase and headed towards the house, Trowa close behind him.

Quatre rang the doorbell and waited impatiently. And waited some more.

"Maybe they're away," Trowa remarked. "I told you we should have called first..."

"I wanted to surprise them," Quatre protested. "Maybe they just slept in." He rang the doorbell again, ignoring Trowa's disbelieving snort at the notion that their friends would still be in bed this late in the morning.

Trowa stepped further back from the doorway and looked up at the front of the house. "I thought I saw the curtains move in the upstairs window just now..."

"Hah! Told you they would be home," Quatre gloated.

"I said I *thought* the curtains moved, Quatre. That doesn't prove anything," Trowa said drily. "Besides, surely one of them would have come to the door by now if they were here."

"If they slept in, it might take a few minutes. Or maybe only one of them is home; he might not have heard the doorbell if he was showering," Quatre said stubbornly. He reached for the doorbell again only to have Trowa grab his wrist.

"Let's give them at least a few minutes first," Trowa suggested patiently.

Quatre sighed and agreed, "Fine." He'd been looking forward to this all week; he couldn't help being a bit impatient. It had been several months since they'd last all met in person and that had been at the Habitat for Humanity project so they hadn't really had much of an opportunity to sit down together and just *visit*. All four of them had been so busy and it was so hard to find the time...

"If they're not home, we can call Hilde and find out what's going on," Trowa offered, resting a hand on Quatre's shoulder and squeezing supportively. "Maybe they're just out for the day."

"Maybe," Quatre sighed. 'This seemed like such a perfect opportunity...' he thought disappointedly as another minute slowly ticked by. 'Come straight here from the L1 meetings, spend the weekend, then on to L3 on the Monday morning redeye...'

"Why don't you try the bell one more time?" Trowa suggested. "Then we'll contact Hilde."

Quatre started to reach for the doorbell only to stop as he heard the scrape of a deadbolt. He beamed delightedly as he realized that someone *was* home after all. "Heero!" he exclaimed, darting forward to hug him enthusiastically in greeting. "We were starting to think maybe you weren't home! Is Duo here too?"

"Hello, Quatre. Trowa," Heero said calmly as Quatre pulled away and peered past him looking for Duo. "Yes, Duo is here. He'll be down in a few minutes. Come on in."

Quatre stepped inside as Heero moved out of the way. He looked around curiously. This was the first time he'd actually been inside the house though he'd certainly heard about it before. He heard Trowa greet Heero behind him as he looked up and down the narrow hallway.

"Just leave the bags here and I'll take them upstairs," Heero instructed. Quatre followed the direction of his gestures as he continued, "There's a bathroom down the hall that way if you want to freshen up and the livingroom is over there. Just make yourselves at home. I'll be back in a few minutes and I'm sure Duo will give you the nickel tour when he gets down here."

"Thank you," Quatre said, setting his briefcase and laptop in the hall for Heero to take with the luggage and heading off towards the indicated bathroom. He *did* want to wash up after the shuttle trip.

When he came back out of the bathroom, Trowa was waiting to get in and there was no sign of either Heero or Duo. As he walked down the hall towards the door that Heero had indicated led to the livingroom, he could hear the low murmur of voices upstairs. He frowned slightly, wondering why neither of them was back down yet, but continued on into the livingroom to wait. Tempting though it was to just go up in search of them, Heero hadn't seemed to want his guests upstairs. 'I hope there isn't something wrong... Maybe I shouldn't have assumed that they would want us to stay here...' Quatre worried.

It *had* taken an awfully long time for Heero to come to the door... Maybe the delay had been due to an argument over whether or not to let them stay; the luggage would have made it obvious that they were expecting to do so. 'Heero was very polite and a bit distant. And he barely hugged me back at all... He doesn't seem nearly as friendly or open as he was the last time we met... I hope that the stress of that big contract the scrapyard got isn't causing problems...'

"Hey, Q! Wasn't expecting to see you guys this weekend!"

Quatre swept an appraising glance over Duo as he entered the room and came over to exchange a friendly hug. 'His colour's a bit high - maybe they *were* arguing... Their voices were quiet, too quiet to make out words, but somehow they seemed... intense...' And when he hugged Duo, Duo kept the hug very brief and Quatre could feel the tension running through him.

"We - well, more like I, Trowa thought I should call first," Quatre corrected himself as Trowa entered the room with Heero close behind him, "- wanted to surprise you. It's so rare that I can make it over this way..." WEI *did* do business in the L2 cluster - just not on the particular colony that Duo and Heero were living on. It was one of the least war-torn and most economically stable L2 colonies and WEI was concentrating its rehabilitation efforts in the more impoverished areas.

"I hope that this isn't an inconvenient time for a visit," Trowa interjected. "I *told* him that we should call first but he insisted on surprising you."

Duo laughed, "Well, you definitely caught us by surprise!" Quatre couldn't help thinking that the laughter and words sounded a bit strained.

"But it's - nice - to see you again," Heero added, drawing Quatre's attention to him. Quatre realized that Heero looked a bit flushed just as he'd thought that Duo had.

'Oh no. They must have been arguing...' he decided unhappily. Quatre's suspicion was only reinforced by the way that Duo made a choking sound at Heero's words and glared at Heero pointedly.

"We'll need to pick up a few more groceries," Heero said, apparently ignoring Duo's reaction. "Why don't we all go get them and eat lunch at Mama's?"

"Good idea," Duo agreed. "You're gonna *love* this place, guys..."

"I'm sure we will," Quatre said politely, thinking pessimistically that Duo's enthusiasm seemed rather forced. He exchanged a worried look with Trowa, who offered a very faint frown in response as they followed Duo and Heero out of the room. 'Maybe surprising them wasn't such a good idea after all...'