2-16-2004

Title: #88 - Surprising - Part 4
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@fastmail.fm>
Story Completed: February 16, 2004
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Friendship, Romance
Pairing: 1x2, 3x4
Rated: PG
Warnings: 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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Considering how wonderfully the morning had started, this had turned out to be a very disappointing and frustrating day. A very *long*, frustrating, disappointing day. One that Heero just wanted to be over.

While it *was* good to see Quatre and Trowa again, he couldn't help wishing right now that they were anywhere else but here, in his and Duo's home. 'At least the kitchen is small enough that we had a good excuse to shoo them out while we prepared dinner. Not that we really had any privacy, they could have popped back in at any minute, but at least we didn't have to spend every minute trying to act glad that they're here... Trying to hide the fact that we just want to be left alone to salvage some small part of our weekend plans...' he thought unhappily.

And now, with dinner over with, they still had the whole evening to endure. Turning on the tap to fill the sink, Heero closed his eyes momentarily, tired of the whole charade. Tired of playing gracious host when he desperately wished their surprise guests would just *leave*.

"The two of you cooked, let us do the cleanup."

"Nah, Quat, we've got a routine. Heero and I'll have things straightened up in no time flat. You guys just go on into the livingroom and pick out a movie. We'll join you once we get the dishes taken care of," Duo insisted, firmly herding Quatre and Trowa towards the doorway.

Heero kept clearing the table and left the task of clearing the room to Duo. The strain of keeping his disappointment and frustration under control all day while trying not to completely shut down emotionally - while in fact trying to show a friendly interest in their guests - was exhausting. It would have been easier to let the full force of his training kick in and revert to his wartime detachment but he couldn't let that happen. He didn't want to face the concern and questions that would inevitably result in.

'And I'm not sure how easy it would be to turn it back *off* again either...' Heero admitted silently as he started washing the dishes. The cold, miserable knot of worry that had appeared the moment his control training had kicked in this morning - the moment that their lovemaking had been interrupted - tightened in his chest. It had been going so well... They had been so close... And then...

A sharp pain in his hand drew Heero's attention back to the task he'd been performing. "Dammit," he swore softly but sharply. He lifted his hand out of the soapy dishwater and gingerly uncurled it, revealing several large chunks of bloodstained glass and a number of smaller ones.

"Heero?"

Sighing, Heero turned his head to meet Duo's questioning look. "I put too much pressure on one of those cheap glasses..." he admitted wearily. "It broke."

Duo stuck the dish of leftovers in the fridge and crossed the room to see for himself. "Shit!" he exclaimed quietly. "You want me to bring the first aid kit down here or you want to go upstairs?"

Heero hesitated for a moment. He did *not* want a big fuss over this; he just couldn't face that right now. If Duo brought the kit down to the kitchen, they'd end up with way more "help" than they needed to tend to the cuts. "Upstairs," he decided, grabbing the dishtowel off the counter and holding it under his injured hand so that he wouldn't drip soapy water and blood all over the floor.

"Okay, I'll tell the guys - ask'em to take care of the kitchen - and be right up," Duo answered.

Heero nodded in grateful acknowledgement - asking the others to finish cleaning up the kitchen would keep them occupied and ensure a bit of privacy for tending to his hand - then headed out of the room, Duo right on his heels. He disregarded the exclamations that greeted his passage through the livingroom, leaving Duo to explain. 'I just want to be left *alone*...'

***

Seated on the closed toilet lid, Heero watched dispassionately as Duo finished wrapping his hand and taped the gauze in place. "I'm going to catch the morning shuttle instead of the afternoon one," he stated flatly. "That will give me more time to prepare for Monday morning."

He couldn't afford to spend all day tomorrow under the same pressure as today. This week was the first series of meetings with Tanaka Industries, beginning with a breakfast meeting with Tanaka himself early Monday morning. His original plan had been to catch the Sunday afternoon shuttle which would have gotten him to the L1 colony very late Sunday night. Taking the morning shuttle instead would give him the entire evening alone at the hotel. Time alone to get his thoughts organized and put today's disheartening events behind him. Time to find his focus and to prepare for a week of absolutely crucial conferences that would formally begin the business relationship between Tanaka Industries and Take Two Salvage.

"Heero..."

Meeting Duo's worried gaze, Heero cut off the protest with a simple, "I need to."

Duo opened his mouth, then closed it without speaking. He shook his head in resignation and Heero let out the breath he hadn't realized he was holding as Duo said quietly, "Okay. Want me to drop you off at the shuttleport or are you going to drive?"

Relieved that Duo wasn't going to argue the point, Heero responded, "I don't want to leave the car in the parking lot all week. And I don't want you to desert our guests to go drop me off. I'll take a cab."

"I'm sure Quat and Tro could amuse themselves for an hour or so. Sure you don't want me to take you?"

Heero nodded silently. He was sure. It would be easier that way.