Disclaimer: See all the others; status unchanged.

This is a sequel to 'Quirks of Friendship'
Pairing: 1+2(+1)
Rating: R
Contents/Warnings: Shounen Ai, Alcohol abuse, some angst, Duo POV
Word count: 890

AN: Written for [ gw500 ] challenge #35 - 'expectation'. Part #12 of the 'Road to Recovery' micro-series.

Pearly Gates of Hades
by kebzero

He probably didn't think I noticed him glaring at my ass. Well, I did. He's not the only one trained in stealth and subterfuge - and the detection of the same. I let him have that much, though - look, but not touch, and all that.

It made him miss the liquor store we walked passed. That made it worth it.

My fingers twitched a little again. Yeah, so I was edgy. Even after living in the same house for years, I still couldn't figure Hilde out, sometimes. I wasn't sure how she'd react to Heero staying with us, not for real. Sure, she'd been polite and lenient when I called her. Her on-the-phone voice is usually much calmer than the in-your-face one. I'd explained Heero's situation as best I could - the drinking, the shape he was in, how I wanted to take him in for a while to straighten him out...

...of course, that was before I knew he was more bent than I'd thought. How Hilde would react to that really bothered me. She and Heero have never really talked much - or seen each other much, for that matter. The other guys all came visiting once in a while, or invited us. Heero just vanished, covering his tracks. Most of Hilde's impression of him was probably formed from what I had talked of him - which was quite a lot, really. The other guys could tell their own stories. Heero couldn't, since he wasn't there to talk.

In my mind, I played out the events for the next few days. We'd come back, Hilde would be glad to see us - well, Heero, anyway. I'd probably get yelled at for leaving with barely a note stuck on the fridge saying 'gone, back soon'. Well, we'd get through that little trial of fire, and get Heero settled in. He'd take my bed-

I'd almost forgotten that part. I'd promised him my bed, said I could take the guest bedroom - that is, the couch. We do have a real guest bedroom, but after the last time Trowa and Quatre visited, we turned it into a storage room. Quatre bought the bed shortly after - a big old brass thing. Good riddance, it had really squeaky springs. It amused him. It had kept Hilde and me awake.

Anyway - Sally would come by, probably tomorrow or the day after... We'd need to put Heero to work at the yard - keeping him busy should help him forget alcohol.

I could see the hole in the fence that was our entrance. I prayed Hilde had gotten rid of any we might have left.

Yeah, I take a beer every now and then. The wine was an experiment of Hilde's. Tried some fancy cooking. Didn't agree with either of us, so the bottles were left for show. Quatre saw them once, and brought us another as a gift the next time. Didn't have a heart to tell him we didn't drink - by his reverence for the old bottle, it was probably something rare and frightfully expensive.

I hoped Hilde had sold that one, not just poured it out. Hey, I'm a peddler; money matters to me.

Just keeping Heero away from alcohol wouldn't cure him, though - but it would help. With Hilde's aid and Sally's advice we'd make it work, somehow.

As long as Hilde and Heero didn't end up hating each other. I mean, they can both be so damn stubborn! Not saying I'm not, but those two certainly best me, most times.

I prayed Heero wouldn't say or do anything to piss her off. See, Heero is one of those people you can almost count on to ask a woman merely on the wrong side of a diet when she's expecting. Adding 'twins' is optional. I'm not saying Heero hasn't got tact - he just doesn't exercise that mental muscle a lot. He's more of a straight shooter.

At least, that was the Heero I knew. I didn't think he'd changed all that much. It remained to be seen, really. Off the bottle, he seemed pretty much like I remembered him - short of the crush thing. Still, not hiding it anymore was a burden off Heero's shoulders, that I was sure of. I pitied him because I didn't feel the same way. He's a good guy - just not...

I shook my head. Damn if he was going to have me question myself why I didn't feel the same way. As guys go, Heero isn't bad looking, and-

Another headshake. My fingers twitched again. I stopped, took a deep breath, turned to face Heero with a half-hearted grin. "Well... We're here."

He nodded, glanced through the gate of wrought iron, up the path veering between piles of various scraps and junk to the house.

Okay, so the gate isn't the prettiest thing, but I got it cheap. Best way of selling it is putting it where people can see it, right?

My heart started pounding again. As I'd told Heero, she did own half the house. One way or another, she'd hit it off with Heero, I was sure of that. Strong personalities tend to affect each other greatly. "Okay, let's go," I said, and started walking up the path to the house. Heero followed.


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