Duo finished his second day of posing and art lessons and headed for home. He was learning and enjoying himself and his new friend, even if the Greek's sense of humor was a bit odd. He was trying to forget some of the ideas Domiodes had put in his head.
A pair of green eyes caught his attention and he stopped on a narrow street. He crouched down and coaxed a gray cat out from behind a crate. He smiled and petted the cat as it rubbed against his knee. He had seen a domestic cat before, but they were not common by any means. Duo was kind of surprised to see it out in the open; he'd learned that anything and everything could be food in this city.
A person pushing a cart turned down the street and the cat skittered behind the crate again. Duo stood up and went on his way. He stopped at a market to buy a few things Mona had asked him to pick up on his way home. A couple blocks later, Duo was waiting at a busy intersection when a man backed into him.
"Oh, sorry," he said, looking flustered. He ran a hand through his wavy brown hair. He was tall and broad, and looked too harried to notice that he'd just apologized to a slave.
"No problem," Duo shrugged.
"Say, uh, you haven't seen a grey cat around here, have you?" the man asked. His hopeless tone sounded like he'd been getting negative answers all day.
"Yeah, I have," Duo replied, "a couple blocks up that way." He pointed the way he came.
"Really?" the man asked, nearly jumping on Duo. "Could you show me where?"
"Sure, I've got a little time," Duo said agreeably.
The man put two fingers to his lips and whistled loudly. A dozen huge ex-gladiator types appeared from corners and alcoves. Duo felt a little intimidated as they all approached.
"This guy says he's seen Isabella, so we're going to follow him, got it?" the man barked at them. There were grunts and nods of confirmation. "Lead the way, friend," the man invited Duo.
"I am Solo, by the way," the man said as Duo led and the thugs dogged their steps.
"I'm Duo, pleasure to meet you, Solo" Duo turned to reply. Solo? This young man was the Solo? Solo ran one of the most infamous gangs in the city. He organized scores of ex-gladiators and similarly trained fighters and brawlers, and rented them out as body guards and hired muscle to politicians, officials, and anybody else who could afford them. It was well known that they would also do more notorious and less legal jobs, for a pretty price of course.
"So, who is Isabella?" Duo asked, making conversation.
"She's my wife's pet cat. She disappeared last night and Portia can't relax until she's found," Solo said and Duo got the feeling that if Portia couldn't relax, she was the kind of woman who would make sure her husband couldn't either. Duo grinned.
"Is she kind of small, with green eyes and lighter grey rings on her tail?" Duo asked.
"Yes! That's her!" Solo nearly whooped.
"Well, she was alive and well twenty minutes ago, if a little skittish," Duo informed him. He led the group to the street where he'd seen the cat and they fanned out to look for her. One of the tallest brutes ambled over to Duo and looked down at him through beady eyes. The man had a nose that looked like it had been broken no less than eight times and more scars that Duo really wanted to look at him long enough to count.
"Hey," he drawled, "says here you belong to Heero Winner Yuy. Ain't you that performing slave?"
"Yeah, I am," Duo answered, declining to mention that he was now also an art model.
"You're the one who performs at all those fancy parties?" Solo asked, looking up from his stooped position by a flowerpot.
"That's me," Duo replied wearily.
"Why doncha sing somethin' for us, then," the big guy suggested with a grin only half full of teeth.
"Yeah, let's hear a song, pretty boy," another thug snickered from across the street.
There were further agreements and jibes. Solo just shrugged and gave him an apologetic look.
"Ok," Duo said gamely, though he was getting irritated with these guys. He thought of a familiar tune and made up some lyrics on the spot.
"I once had a friend named Solo.
A very important man was this fellow,
always at least 50 thugs had he in tow.
So what has them searching up and down in this alley?
There are more fun things to do, we can all agree.
It's all because my poor friend has lost his wife's pussy!"
The thugs snorted and laughed.
"Hey!" Solo laughed despite himself.
Much to the amusement of Solo's men, Duo continued on his silly song as they searched for Isabella. He stopped and went silent when he thought he caught sight of her. He got down low and quietly called her name. He waited patiently and finally she showed herself. He moved carefully to her and she let him pick her up. He carried her over to Solo and received congratulations from him and his thugs in the form of cheers and hard slaps on the back. Frightened, the cat struggled a little, but Duo held her firmly.
"Why don't you carry her home?" Solo asked as he slung an arm around Duo's shoulder. "You found her, you can give her to Portia."
When Duo returned home that evening, he told Heero the tale of how he met Solo and found Isabella over dinner. He described the thugs and the cat, Solo's fortress-like house, his beautiful wife and her expensive taste in clothes. He even sang Heero the silly song he'd made up
Duo was always an entertaining story teller, and Heero didn't mind that he roamed the city on his own, but he was a little concerned. "Duo, be careful who you associate with, especially in such a bad area," he warned.
"You don't want me to be friends with Solo?" Duo asked. "He seems like a good guy to know."
"No, it's fine, just be careful in that district," Heero said and changed the subject. "How did everything go today with Domiodes?"
All of Duo's attempts to distract himself were suddenly forgotten. He fidgeted with his too-long bangs and pushed food around on his plate, trying to avoid looking at Heero.
"Anything wrong?" Heero asked. Duo knew better than to hide anything from him. He'd have that Greek barbarian's head on a spike outside the front door if anyth-
"Oh no! Everything was great!!" Duo replied quickly.
"That's good. How much longer does he need you?"
"He's about half done, so two more days, and then just sporadically as he carves the larger version," Duo said, pouring more wine.
"How are the painting lessons?" Heero asked, taking a sip.
"Great! I'm learning a lot!" Duo answered and groaned inwardly about his play on words. He was learning a lot more than he wanted to know.
Wonderful, now he was thinking about the ideas Domiodes had put in his head again. It was making him confused about his feelings for Heero. He did like Heero a lot, so much that it hurt when Heero was hurt, and he was happy when Heero was happy. He wanted to see Heero smile, he felt like he would do anything to see that he did. Anything?
He knew Heero was beautiful, but where did the recognition of beauty end and sexual attraction begin? Did his friendly, loyal feelings turn into love? He thought there, maybe yes. Maybe he did love Heero in some way. He wanted Heero to be happy and satisfied so much, sometimes it made his heart ache. Then there was the matter of sexual attraction again. Did he want to have sex with Heero? He could scarcely fathom it
He hoped Domiodes would not bring it up again the next time they met, and much to Duo's relief, he didn't. He didn't speak of it at their final session either. They congratulated each other heartily after the last session. Duo thought the little statue looked great. It really did look like him, he was very impressed. Domiodes had carved Duo's hip-length braid of hair on the mock-up, but he had told Duo the hair would be short on the real thing. Duo hadn't seen himself with short hair for years. He promised to come if Domiodes needed him for the actual carving.
Domiodes called on Heero to invite both men to view the final version on the afternoon it was finished. The sculptor talked excitedly all the way back to his studio.
"It's truly a masterpiece! I can't tell you how proud I am of it!" he exclaimed.
In the studio, he removed the drape with a flourishing, "Taa daaa!!"
Heero forgot how to breathe. It was stunning. Duo was silent too.
"Well, what do you think?" the artist asked eagerly, clasping his hands together.
"Unbelievable," Heero exhaled, still admiring 8 feet of stone-smooth, glossy alabaster Duo. When he could make himself move, he walked slowly around it for the full view. Duo had Mercury's winged sandals and God-like curls under his helmet.
"Short hair?" Heero asked.
"I thought it should be a little more conventional," Domiodes answered with a placid smile. He moved to clean up a few tools and scraps and let the other two admire his work.
Having regained his senses, Heero turned to Duo, who also had a look of disbelief. Horrified disbelief.
"What is it?" Heero asked quietly.
"That!" Duo hissed, thrusting an accusing finger at the offending part. "It's tiny! I don't look like that!"
Heero put a hand to his mouth to stifle his chuckling. "Relax, Duo, they're always small in art, haven't you noticed? It's expected. It's just fine."
"No, it's not fine! It's embarrassing!" Duo whined. "Make him change it! Please, Heero? Please please pleeeease?"
"No, Duo, it's beautiful the way it is," Heero argued, not seeing Duo's point. "Besides, everyone will know that he did not base that part off of what you really look like. It's artistic tradition to make them small."
Duo grumbled off to look at a few paintings and Domiodes approached Heero, who was still admiring his work.
"Duo is upset about the penis," Heero told him quietly, trying to keep a straight face.
The artist laughed. "The size, you mean?"
"Yes, he's foreign, he doesn't quite get it," Heero apologized for him.
"Small is considered more aesthetically pleasing," Domiodes agreed. "I certainly couldn't use what he had naturally," he added, testing Heero's reaction. The General was known for being stone-faced, but he did give Domiodes some kind of reaction, mostly in the way his eyes went a little wider and his face tensed up. Trying not to picture it? The Greek smiled and excused himself to get something.
"Here is my promise to you," he said, hefting the smaller version of the statue over to Heero, "without it, I can not sculpt him."
"Thank you," Heero said, taking it gladly. "You may make arrangements to use it anytime, of course."
"I will be," the Greek promised, "but right now, I have to make shipping preparations, so if you will excuse me."
Heero carried his prize home as Duo glowered as he plodded along next to him next to him. Duo looked at the mock-up Heero held and brightened.
"See, now that's more like it!" he exclaimed. "That is what I really look like!"
Heero instinctually looked down before he really knew what he was looking at. He gulped. Domiodes hadn't told him he'd used Duo's real parts on this version! Heero groaned. Now he'd be looking at it every day. He wondered where he could put it so no one would see and not offend Duo at the same time.
"Why couldn't he have used that?" Duo continued to complain. Heero just walked numbly beside him, trying not to look down again.
That night Duo masturbated for the first time since his conversation with Domiodes. Just that one talk had messed him up for a few days, he'd been afraid of what he'd fantasize about. And then he would wonder if it was because he liked it, or Domiodes had been suggesting it... But he was over that now, he was back to normal.
He smoothed his palm over his stomach, thinking how the girls used to touch him. Especially Sara when she was teaching. Slow, sensual, teasing. Sometimes, she would use a fine brush and paint designs on his body with temporary ink. She loved to tease with that brush. He used a fingertip to draw swirls on his skin, trying to imitate Sara's intricate designs. He sighed mentally. It felt good, he had been getting a little pent up. He spread his legs and stroked his thigh. Finally, he let one hand touch his hard cock. He was hard so fast, he was definitely more than a little pent up. He sighed at the feeling of his own hand. Seventh best, but still pretty good. Good enough right now.
Not in the mood to play much more, he brought himself up to orgasm quickly. Sometimes, he liked to tease himself, bring himself up and relax, then do it again, but he had already gone too long without.
When approaching orgasm, there was always a level at which his thoughts just kind of flew and he no longer controlled them. Usually, at that point, he didn't really think anything at all, just about pleasure, and his partner if he had one. Tonight, though he imagined strong hands on him. He moaned as his own hand strengthened to fulfill the fantasy. Golden skin on his pinkish-tan. He tossed his head and moaned again, the image arousing him further. His mind even supplied a voice.
Duo came explosively, and had to bite his lip to keep from crying out. He trembled in the aftershocks as he lie with his eyes squeezed shut. He did NOT want to think about what he'd just imagined, what that meant. That voice had been Heero's, there was no mistake about it. He had definitely just fantasized about Heero. Not sex per se, but about Heero touching him. He did not have to ask himself if he would really like that because, obviously, he knew the answer to that.
Letting out a shaky breath, he opened his eyes and went about cleaning himself up. He pulled a blanket to his chin, rolled on his side, and curled up. It had been incredibly intense, but then again, it had been a few days. He sighed and forced himself to come to some sort of conclusion about the fantasy. He liked how he imagined Heero touching him. He liked how Heero took care of him, confided in him, protected him, and yes, Heero himself was very attractive. If Heero were ever to touch him like that, he would probably enjoy it.
It made him feel ashamed. He did not want to be one of those slaves who lusted after their master, that was pretty messed up. But he reminded himself that his and Heero's relationship went beyond that, they were friends, so it wasn't a master/slave thing. There was just more to it than that. He groaned and rolled over. So he might be in love with his friend, that wasn't much better.
The next morning at breakfast confirmed it. He chopped fruit nervously and loudly, just like he had that morning after the awards, and his confession in the rose garden. God, it seemed so obvious now! He groaned to himself. Heero might even know! He looked out into the garden at Heero, who was reading a report and looking thoughtful. Duo was reminded of how thoughtful he'd looked in the bath... He forced himself not to think about that now.
He brought breakfast and sat down across from Heero. Heero regarded him.
"Everything all right, Duo? You seem jumpy."
"A-ok, Heero! Don't you worry about me!" Duo insisted with a mouthful of figs.
Heero smiled a little, like he was about to say something that amused him. Duo swallowed hard. He really loved that smile.
"You're not still thinking about that statue, are you?" Heero teased gently.
"Statue? OH! No!" he laughed nervously. No, I've got something new to freak out about, Duo thought to himself.
"You can have the smaller one, if you want," Heero offered hopefully. He really wanted it to go somewhere else so he didn't always want to stare at it.
"That's ok," Duo replied, "Domiodes give it to you, and you should have it. I mean, you didn't really get anything out of the deal." Of course, he'd given Heero almost all of the money he'd made, but it went to the freedom fund
Now that he was willing to admit it to himself, strange feelings where coming out of no where. How nice Heero was to him, he was probably the only slave having breakfast with his master right now. How sexy Heero's bare shoulders were in his tunic. How he had very nice table manners. How he always seemed to be concentrating on something, how perfect his features looked when he did. Right now they were fixed on, well, they were fixed on HIM.
"Are you sure you're all right?" Heero asked, concerned. He could have sworn Duo was staring at him. Did he have food in his teeth, or a big stain down his front?
"Oh yeah, I'm just little spacey, that's all," Duo said quickly. He looked down at his plate and missed Heero self-consciously swiping his tongue over his front teeth.
Small is beautiful?? To Romans it was, for art anyway. It was meant to de-emphasize the naughty bits so attention was not drawn from the artwork as a whole. That's why all the statues are small, it was more pleasing to the eye.