“…I’m just damned tired, that’s all, Quat. You always
think that one day the right person will come along,
and bam, you’re married with three kids, and
everything’s perfect! Well, newsflash, no cute little
country-house for me!” Duo folded his arms together
and stared at Quatre.
The blond narrowed his eyes, and flicked his
paintbrush calculatedly across the canvas. “D’you
think that looks okay?” he asked, distractedly.
Duo huffed. “You’re not exactly the friend of the year
when the muse bonks you over the head.”
Quatre chuckled and set his brush and palette down
reverently. He removed the thin wire-framed glasses he
always used when painting and looked carefully at Duo
while sliding down to sit on the couch by the
brunette. “I just never realised this was bugging you
so much. And when exactly did you start wanting a cute
little country-house and three kids?”
Duo scowled. “I don’t. I was making a point. It’s like
when we were kids, and we had these crazy dreams, but
we sort of took it for granted that we’d end up with
the perfect person and live happily ever after.”
“Right… I remember that. It sort of came between the
being a rock star and being a fire-fighter, didn’t
“Fine, fine,” he relented. “I know. But you have to
realise, Duo, that you make a pretty fine catch.
You’ve just been… hooking on to the wrong bait, that’s
Duo gave him a look. “Why are you comparing me to a
Quatre grinned. “I’m just making a point, too. Don’t
stress it, there are lots of fish in the sea. Don’t
give up just yet, the right person will come along and
you’ll hook them straight away.”
“Quatre!” But Duo was starting to feel better, and he
grinned at his friend. “You’re horrible. You’ve got me
hungry for salmon now…”
Quatre beamed innocently at him. He bounced up from
the couch they were sitting on, picking up his
paintbrush once more. “You’re not old, Duo. It’s not
time to give up just yet.”
Duo sighed, wrinkling his nose. “I just… I just need
something to give me hope. Just anything, just so I
know that it’s not completely impossible.”
“Like what?” Quatre rose his eyebrows, sensing
something interesting coming up.
“Oh, you know, like if I just… knew what I was looking
for. What my perfect guy would look like. If he’d have
brown eyes, or… or blue eyes. A strong shade of
cobalt, maybe. Real intense eyes, that sort of… catch
you, and hold you, and I didn’t ever want to look away
from him, from his gorgeous eyes…”
“Duo? You do know that you just switched tense right
in the middle there?” Duo looked up to catch his
“Oh, shut up. You know what you should do? You should
put those artistic talents to good use and paint me up
my perfect guy.”
“So it’s a guy now? Last I checked you were going
He shrugged, a tiny inclination of his shoulders. “I
do. There was just this guy, the other day. He keeps…
popping into my head! It’s getting a little annoying.”
“And yet you think he’s your perfect guy…?”
“I know, I know.” He grinned half-heartedly. “It’s
ridiculous. I never even saw his entire face, just his
“It’s not like you to let opportunities go like that…
Why didn’t you go up to him?” Quatre had an interested
look on his face, even as he slid his glasses on and
gave the brush in his hand another flick against the
“I… dunno. I was sort of content to just… look at what
I could see of him. And… I didn’t know if he really…
Quatre pursed his lips. “So you’re willing to settle
for second rate, just as long as they’re the ones
making the first move? That’s not exactly…”
”What?” he groused. “Not exactly what?”
Quatre chuckled uneasily. “Well, what do you know, I
just lost that train of thought right there!” When Duo
didn’t find the humour in his statement, he just
sighed. Duo glared at the streak the paint made as
Quatre flicked his wrist yet again. “I just don’t want
you to have to settle for second best. You’ve gotta…
fight for your perfect relationship to happen.”
Duo didn’t say anything, but as Quatre kept staring
expectantly at him, he finally relented. “Fine. You’re
right. You’re always right,” he muttered, somewhat
“Why, thank you.” Quatre smiled briefly, before giving
his brush a final swish across the canvas. He brought
his brushes and palette to the sink at the end of the
room, and began washing it out carefully, whilst
telling Duo, “Push that against the wall, would you?”
Duo began moving the canvas and its easel to the edge
of the room, wincing as it screeched slightly. “All
done,” he stated, looking at Quatre. “What’re you
planning on doing now?”
“What you told me to,” he declared, looking through
his art supplies. Quatre finally found what he was
looking for – a moderate sized sketchpad and graphite
pencils of different shades of grey.
Duo looked amused. “And what exactly was that?”
“Why, putting my so-called artistic talents to good
use, of course.” He grinned cheekily. “You want a
picture of your perfect guy? Quatre Winner, at your
service.” He bowed with great flourish. “I only wish I
had one of those nifty little hats.”
A peal of laughter surged out of Duo before he even
knew it. “All right, then,” he relented. “Go right
Quatre coughed professionally, putting a posh
expression on his face. “Oookay, sir, make yourself
He had inflicted his voice with a strange accent, and
Duo couldn’t help but say: “Quatre, I am extremely
glad that you found your calling in art, and not in
The blond scowled in jest. “Fine, Mr. Funny Man, but
I’m doing you a favour here!”
“That, and you’re bored and have nothing better to
Quatre pulled a stool up, and perched himself up on
it, choosing not to answer. Instead, he gestured to a
more adequately sized easel, and motioned for Duo to
get it. The braided man did so, placing it in front of
“Acceptable for you, Monsieur?”
Quatre nodded minutely, placing a haughty expression
on his face. Duo grinned. He fell back onto the couch
and stretched out. “Well, shall we?”
The sketchpad was placed onto the stand, and Quatre
nodded. “Go right ahead. Describe him to me. And be
exact, we don’t want him to come out looking like…
Petunia now, do we?”
Duo shuddered. “No thank you!” He leant his head back,
closing his eyes. He waited for those cobalt eyes to
appear, and sure enough they did, swimming into his
“He’s got amazing eyes,” he said slowly, carefully.
“They’re so intense, I can just look into them
forever.” He waited to see if Quatre was taking it
seriously, or as a joke. When no jest came, he relaxed
In his mind, he built upon the image inside. The eyes
would be obscured, with… dark, dark brown hair. It was
constantly messy, he decided, but simply alluring. The
sort of hair that would make Duo want to run his
fingers through it. He was talking as he imagined it:
the hair crowning the eyes, and sharp features on his
face. They would soften when they looked at him, Duo
decided, a small smile appearing on his face.
“Pouty lips,” he murmured, and they appeared on his
imaginary Mr. Perfect’s face. “Just slightly. He’s
serious, but has a wicked sense of humour. Strong
Mmm. The face was complete now, and in his head,
behind his eyelids, he knew it was going to be
imprinted there for a long time. An eye winked at him,
a smirk flickered on the lips, and Duo sighed,
snapping his eyes open.
The vision disappeared, but it would be there again,
the next time he shut his eyes.
“Damn,” he said, feeling tired. “I could have sworn…”
He shook his head, clearing the fuzzy haze that had
swept over him.
Quatre was still working busily, concentrating with
the kind of intensity that he always used when working
on one of his works. His hands were sweeping across
the page, occasionally changing pencils, smudging
this, sharpening that. There would be no coherency
from him now, not for another few hours, at least.
Duo had once asked Quatre why he worked so hard, so
continuously, whenever he started something. Quatre
had said that the beginning was the most crucial, for
that was when he was creating the soul of the piece.
After that, as he worked on it more, working it to
perfection, he was giving it it’s outer appearance.
Without its soul, Quatre had said, it would end up as
Duo looked at Quatre, and he felt the other man’s
peace enter him slightly also. Quatre looked entirely
happy like that, and Duo knew that the only other time
he looked that way was when he spoke of Trowa.
‘Trowa is the most amazing artwork I have ever seen,’
Quatre had said once, simply, and Duo finally
understood, as he looked at him now. He hadn’t been
talking about the external appearance; he had been
talking about his soul.
Quatre found his soul, his muse, his love… his had
found his everything in Trowa.
The seriousness of what he had been musing caught up
with Duo, and he laughed quietly, not wanted to
disrupt Quatre in his work.
He wandered out of the room, padding silently out the
door, and collapsed onto the living room couch.
He felt exhausted, and all he really wanted to do was
fall asleep and let Mr. Perfect soothe him in his
So he did, and this time he imagined the face holding
out a slender fingered hand, beckoning Duo to come
closer. He laughed as the joy flooded through him, and
Duo grasped the hand tightly, as he would clutch a
saving lifeline. The dark haired man smiled, and Duo
was swept tight into an embrace he never wanted to be
let out of…
Duo groaned, and tried to go back to sleep, to Mr.
Perfect, but the hand shaking him wouldn’t stop. He
opened his eyes, more than slightly annoyed.
Quatre was beaming.
“You’re cheerful,” he muttered, voice scratchy.
“It’s done,” Quatre said, grinning. “You want to see?”
Duo was almost afraid to take the piece of paper
stretched out to him. What if it wasn’t like he’d
imagined it? What if it wasn’t as good as he… All
thought trickled away from him.
The face staring at him was magnificent. The eyes bore
into him; the lips were curved slightly upwards in a
smirk identical to the one he had thought of. A strong
chin rested on a slender hand. It was the face
straight out of his imagination.
“Quat…” he shook his head, settling for a smile and
the look of amazement stuck on his face. “You have
amazed me, yet again. I’m speechless. How do you do
Quatre laughed. “Took me awhile, but I finally got it.
And I wander out, to find you dead asleep, and it dark
out. Guess I zoned out again.”
“Yeah… I didn’t want to disturb you. I’m glad I
didn’t!” Duo couldn’t seem to stop staring at the
portrait. It was so lifelike he almost found himself
reaching out to push the haphazard fringe aside to
give him better access to those lush lips.
Quatre coughed, looking at Duo. The strange silence
that had entered the room was dense and he needed
something to lighten the mood. “You know…” he said
slowly, “You must realise that after this portrait the
three children thing might not be so possible
It worked. Duo wrenched his eyes away from the picture
with visible effort, but winked. “Never say never, my
“It’s late out. Do you want to crash on the couch
Duo shook his head. “Thanks, but it’s okay. He looked
out the window, at the darkening evening. “Wow, it
really is late, huh. I don’t know where the day went.”
He got up from the couch, still staring at the picture
and holding it reverently.
“Here,” Quatre held his hand out. “I’ll put it in
plastic so it doesn’t get bent.”
Duo held the portrait out, somewhat reluctantly, a
movement that Quatre picked up on.
“Don’t worry,” he chuckled, “You’ll get it back. Just
wanna make sure it’s kept safely, okay?”
Duo grinned ruefully. “Honestly, Quatre, tell me… Am I
completely pathetic for doing this? I’m going crazy
over a picture of a guy who doesn’t even exist! Gah!”
Quatre shook his head slowly. “You’re not crazy, Duo.
You’re just a romantic.” He smiled softly. “And don’t
worry, you’ll find that someone special one day. And I
swear, the minute you do, some part of you will just…
Duo nodded. “Yeah, I guess.” He laughed, suddenly.
“You are, of course, speaking from experience, am I
Quatre shrugged, but Duo could sense the grin before
it had even begun to form. “Just you wait, Duo
Maxwell. Cupid’s going to hit you hard one day, and
when he does…” He grinned, slightly evilly, and Duo
made a petrified face.
“Well, off with you, then,” Duo gave the blond a small
shove. “Get him safely put away and then give him back
Quatre barely kept him waiting, and soon he was back,
the portrait now safely in a plastic sheet, and backed
by cardboard. Duo took it when it was offered, and
ambled over to the door.
“I’ll drop by the gallery sometime tomorrow, okay?
Right after I get off work.”
“Oh yes,” Quatre said, bleakly, “Another thrilling day
at work, doing whatever it is you do.”
Duo stuck his tongue out. “Well, not all of us are as
lucky as you.”
Quatre shoved him out the door, making Duo stumble and
laugh simultaneously. “It’s not fair that most people
think you’re so damn angelic. If only they knew the
Quatre winked. “A little like Misters Jekyll and Hyde,
Duo returned the wink, saying, “Well, you’ll need to
get yourself one of those evil laughs, first.”
Quatre let out a maniac cackle, and Duo grinned as it
echoed behind him as he walked out into the hallway.
He couldn’t stop Quatre’s words from echoing over and
over in his head, though – ‘Cupid’s going to hit you
hard one day…’ Duo scowled. The fat angel and his
arrows might have all ready done that, and screwed him
over hard. He bet they were having the last laugh at
him – was he really falling for a picture?
The gallery was Quatre’s life, pride, and joy. He had
invested every ounce of money – and hope – he had
possessed, when he had pursued his lifelong dream and
opened an art gallery.
The plan was to be able to showcase stunning work by
talented artists, who hadn’t quite made it big yet. It
had begun as that, but grew into much, much more. It
was now something of a coffee house, as well, with an
area for people to lounge about and relax, all the
while enjoying spectacular works of art. The artists
whose works Quatre hosted were all friends of his, and
they could often be found at the gallery, willing to
chat with a fan or potential buyer of their work.
It was quite the hotspot for many people around their
area, and Quatre had never been happier. He was rather
well known and loved by all, and not only because of
Not that it had all been calm seas and smooth sailing
for Quatre when he had started out, Duo mused. There
had been problem number one, and it had been a rather
large problem, too. Quatre’s father. Bigshot business
man, who had not been at all happy when his one and
only son had announced bravely that he wanted to be an
Mr. Winner had thrown a fit, ranting and raging at
Quatre about the foolishness of his decision, about
the stupid mistake he was making.
However, Quatre’s determination and plain stubbornness
had made him stick things through. Mr. Winner had even
resorted to throwing Quatre out, but the blond had
never once given up.
Eventually, with a little harmless meddling on Duo’s
side, Mr. Winner had been won over. His absolute love
for his only son had won out over the fear that Quatre
was ruining his future. The man had been convinced the
moment he first saw Quatre’s work – Duo had, of
course, arranged for his car to stall right outside
the gallery, whilst Quatre had been working on
showcasing some of the work.
Duo grinned. It helped to be a natural at mechanics,
and to have friends willing to help him out – one who
just happened to work as Mr. Winner’s chauffeur. He
smirked. Perhaps ‘friend’ wasn’t the best word to
describe the relationship he had with Wufei – it was
something more along the lines of Duo holding juicy
pictures of the Asian man in revealing situations with
the blond head of security for the Winner Enterprise.
Duo was definitely not beneath using blackmail.
Things hadn’t seemed quite so simple during that
terrible time, but now, looking back, Duo could see
the humour in it.
Whilst trying to get the gallery up and running,
Quatre – and Duo – had run into numerous other
problems – furnishing the place, trying to persuade
some individuals that it wasn’t going to become an
‘Adult Art Store’ and accidently ordering weasels
instead of easels – Duo had yet to convince Quatre
that it had been an honest mistake – being only some
But it had all been worth it. Duo was convinced of
that every time he saw Quatre’s delighted expression.
He slid his car smoothly into the vacant parking spot
right outside the gallery, the attractive sign
advertising ‘Expressions’ catching his eye
immediately. Quatre certainly had an eye for flare.
He wandered in, pausing to look at and admire some of
the pieces of artwork displayed. There were people
scattered around, but no Quatre. Duo went into the
back rooms, where miscellaneous items were stored,
only to see Quatre engaged in a passionate lip-lock
with a tall brunette.
He coughed, taking great delight as the pair broke
apart hastily, smoothing down shirts and trying to
hide blushes. He winked. “Don’t worry,” he soothed,
“It’s not like you’re doing anything I haven’t done
Quatre made a face at him, while walking closer. The
brunette – Trowa, of course – had a bemused expression
on his face, and was watching them interact with great
interest. “You just had to walk in while we were in
the middle of something, didn’t you?”
Duo shrugged flippantly. “I have impeccable timing,”
he offered. The braided young man ambled towards
Trowa, offering his hand and a smile. “I’m Duo,” he
said, “I may run and hide, but I never lie. And I’m
not lying when I say that I’ll kick your ass if you
ever screw Quat over.”
Trowa accepted his handshake, nodding. “That is
Duo beamed. “Thank you. I came up with it a long, long
time ago. Life motto, you could say.”
Trowa looked at him, sizing him up. “You couldn’t kick
my ass,” he decided, with finality.
“Don’t ever underestimate my rage,” Duo said, simply.
Trowa inclined his head slightly, acknowledging the
statement. “It doesn’t matter. You’ll never have to.”
Duo gave him a sharp look. “I’m taking that to heart.”
Quatre chose that moment to intervene, hitting the two
of them on their heads. “You may not talk about me
like I’m not in the room!” he exclaimed. “I can look
after myself, thank you, Duo, and Trowa-“ he paused.
“Well,” he said tilting his head in thought, “I’m not
mad at you.”
Trowa smiled slightly. “Good,” he rasped, leaning
closer towards Quatre.
Duo ruined the moment by making kissy noises. Quatre
glared. Duo cowered. “Screw you,” Quatre muttered,
causing Duo to gasp.
“Well, I never! Quatre, using language? I never
thought I’d see the day-“ The blond hit Duo on the
“I don’t know why I bother to help you out,” the
artist said, “but seeing as I pride myself in being a
better person than you, I’ll still show you what I
worked on especially for you.” He beckoned him to the
easel standing near the three of them, covered with a
plain white cloth.
“Voila,” Quatre said with a flourish, whipping the
Mr. Perfect, blue-eyes, was staring straight at Duo
again, this time in full body – and paint-coloured –
“Damn,” Duo whispered.
He was shirtless, head tilted at an angle, hand
resting on hip. Low slung black pants hung below his
navel. The illusion of wiry muscles entranced the
violet-eyed man; the dark brown hair was perfect,
scattered about. And still, the eyes were boring into
him, deep, deep cobalt, captivating him, placing Duo
under their spell.
He could feel Quatre looking smug, but honestly,
couldn’t bring himself to care.
Nothing mattered, not while he was here, staring at
the most beautiful being on earth. He was being
unusually sappy – again, he didn’t care.
Quatre was tugging Trowa on the arm, urging the tall
man to leave. Duo ignored them.
Mr. Blue-Eyes was perfect.
Trowa was looking at Quatre. “Is this what you get up
to when I’m not around?” he whispered, nudging the
slight blond. “Painting half-naked pictured of good
looking me-“ he stopped, staring hard at what they
could see of the portrait while outside the room.
“Quatre!” he exclaimed.
The aforementioned widened his eyes. “What?” he asked,
slightly worried about his lover’s exclamation.
“That’s Heero,” he said, in a slightly lower tone.
“You know, my friend? Works with computers?” Quatre
was still looking blank. “Heero,” he repeated. “The
guy that looks identical to that-“ he nodded with his
head towards the painting – and the still entranced
“I-oh! Heero!” Quatre was staring at the painting.
“Are you-is that-how can-?”
“You really didn’t remember who he was?”
Quatre nodded. “I didn’t have a clue! Duo was just
describing his ‘Perfect Guy’ to me, and I started
sketching, and, well, you know how I get when I’m
working on something.” He shrugged helplessly. “I
didn’t realise it was Heero I was drawing – painting –
both,” he stumbled. He winced. “And now Duo’s
completely crazy over this picture, and I feel so
bad-“ He scrunched his eyebrows together. “Why am I
Trowa was smiling. “I wouldn’t know,” he said, moving
into the shadowed section of the gallery and pulling
Quatre with him. “Heero does need someone to make him
have a little fun…”
“And Duo needs someone who will make him feel
special!” Quatre finished. “We won’t say anything to
either of them, then,” he whispered conspiratorially,
“and I definitely won’t say anything to Duo about
that-” he gestured, “-being real…”
“At your house party, then?” Trowa asked, nuzzling
against Quatre’s neck.
“That’s close enough,” the blond murmured, “and then
we can-unn-” he let out a moan as Trowa licked up the
side of his neck, nibbling on his ear, all while
working a path toward his lips –
After that, he couldn’t quite remember what they had
been talking about.