7-22-2004

Title: #98 Notification - Part 1
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@fastmail.fm>
Story Completed: July 19, 2004
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Friendship, Romance
Pairing: 1x2, OCxH
Rated: PG
Warnings: Swearing
Archives: 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. Hilde 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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"Yes, that will be fine. Two weeks from today at 9:00," Hilde confirmed, making a notation in her planner. "We'll be expecting Ms Jarvis." She was careful to keep her tone pleasant, no trace of her irritation and dismay showing in voice or expression as she bid good day to the secretary. Once she disconnected the call, however, she made a disgruntled face at the darkened screen of the vid-phone. Ah, the joys of dealing with governmental red tape.

Sighing, Hilde rolled her chair back from her desk and rose. Time to go break the bad news. She paused in the doorway to Rick's office and motioned for him to follow her. She could hear Duo's voice coming from Heero's office so she headed straight for there, Rick close behind her.

The sight of Duo perched casually on the corner of Heero's desk, the two of them arguing good-naturedly over the number of workers needed for the first phase of the Tanaka contract, made her grin for a moment despite the news she was bearing. Obviously, whatever had been wrong between the two of them last week had been settled. Duo's ill temper was gone, Heero was more relaxed and open, and the easy give-and-take of their friendship had returned.

'Thank god,' Hilde thought gratefully. 'We do *not* need any extra sources of tension right now. Preparing for Ms Jarvis will cause more than enough stress all by itself.' She scowled at the thought.

"Uh oh," Duo observed, "somehow I don't think you're here to invite us to join you for lunch. Spill it, Hil."

Deciding that there really wasn't a good way to break the news, Hilde said bluntly, "We're being audited. Guess those late forms last year finally caught up to us."

"Aw *crap*," Duo groaned. "Just when I thought we'd dodged the bullet on that one..."

Sounding distinctly less than thrilled, Rick asked, "How long do we have to prepare?"

Grimacing, she answered her husband's question. "Two weeks. I've been notified that Ms Jarvis will be here the Monday after next at nine sharp."

"Not a lot of time but not the minimum legally allowed," Heero noted. "Any details?"

"It's a general salvage business license renewal audit so pretty much everything's fair game. Financial records, workplace health and safety, inventory tracking, you name it."

"That doesn't sound too bad. Heero's got everything pretty organized now; we shouldn't have any trouble with the inventory tracking or financial stuff," Duo said hopefully.

"Uh, yes - and no. Guys, we have to be prepared to account for every piece of scrap on the premises and in inventory."

Rick frowned. "Why would that be a problem? Heero's inventory program is extremely detailed; we can locate and pull absolutely any piece of equipment in our inventory within minutes."

Hilde repeated with emphasis, "We have to account for *every* piece of scrap *on the premises* and in inventory." She saw the look of dawning comprehension and horror on Duo's face and nodded grimly.

"Oh shit. Those damn sheds..." Duo groaned.

He leaned over and thumped his head against the desk a couple of times before Heero swatted him and ordered, "Stop that and explain."

"Y'know those sheds along the back fence? And there's a couple on the other side of the house, too..."

Heero and Rick both nodded. Brow furrowed, Rick prodded, "Yeah, so?"

"Well, other than the one I kinda - borrowed the use of - during the war..."

Hilde finished for Duo, "We have no idea what's in them. They've been just sitting there, full of god-only-knows-what ever since my grandfather ran the place. The only 'inventory' we've got for them is a couple of boxes full of assorted handwritten invoices for stuff like 'half tl misc pts' which presumably means 'half truckload of miscellaneous parts'. Cleaning the crap out of those sheds has been on the to-do list ever since I took over but..." She shrugged and made a face. "There just always seems to be something more urgent than dealing with a bunch of old junk that's probably not even worth anything."

"Even the one shed that I used doesn't have, like, an actual *inventory*. I just know what kinda stuff I had to shift around to make room and camouflage my suit," Duo admitted. "The place was packed practically to the rafters with all kinds of crap. Most of it was either so corroded it was worthless or totally obsolete and non-recyclable."

"Holy shit," Rick swore. "And we have to completely inventory all of that in *two weeks*?"

Hilde nodded miserably. "Yes. And since the sheds aren't up to code..." Her voice trailed off as she spread her hands and shrugged helplessly.

"We can't put employees on it. We have to do it ourselves," Heero completed with a groan.

"Yes," Hilde agreed. "And Anderson's coming to tour the place on Thursday which blows that day all to hell for me. If he likes what he sees, then Friday'll probably be shot too while we work out the contract details."

"And I have to finish planning phase one of the Tanaka job and get the subcontracting hashed out with the Sweepers by the end of this week. Duo's got that bankruptcy auction to attend off-colony on Wednesday..." Heero frowned.

Rick interjected, "I've got a final site visit and customer sign-off scheduled for next Monday. And we've got a delivery of scrap coming in next Tuesday; that'll have to be inventoried immediately too."

"We are *so* screwed," Duo moaned. "We're gonna have to work nonstop to get those sheds inventoried and cleaned up in two damn weeks."

"Back to sixteen-hour-plus workdays," Hilde agreed with a heavy sigh. She and Duo had pulled a *lot* of those when they started trying to turn the business around after the war. She remembered those days with a certain degree of fond nostalgia but that didn't mean she'd ever wanted to have to revisit them. Especially not now that she was married. She could already predict what working those kinds of hours was going to do to her sex life, newlywed or not. "Yippee."

Looking and sounding equally unenthusiastic, Duo echoed, "Yeah, yippee."