Duo slid with ease into the familiar seat, and smiled
casually at the approaching female.
“Morning,” Hilde said, as she strolled up towards him.
“What can I get for you?”
He considered the question momentarily, and decided,
“The usual, if you don’t mind.”
She grinned at him. “Why should I mind? You’re the
nicest looking customer in the whole place, and damn
if you don’t know it.”
Duo laughed. “I don’t know whether you’re trying to
get me to double your tip or cut it in half!”
Hilde widened her eyes in mock horror.
“Oh, please, no, not my tip!” She clasped her hands
over her heart, winking, and proceeded to walk away,
hips swaying seductively. Duo waited – and nothing.
That was certainly annoying. He heaved an exaggerated
sigh and pulled out his wallet. There, in a side
pocket, was the small, plastic covered drawing of
Blue-Eyes – that was how Duo had decided to refer to
the man now. He had found “Mr. Perfect” to be too
annoying a name – after all, how perfect could the guy
be if he didn’t even *exist*?
The small picture was just one of the many he had
begged Quatre for. In fact, he was almost positive
that the aqua-eyed blond was a picture away from
physically hurting Duo with one of his seemingly
Not that Duo was at the point of caring. What had
started as a bit of fun between friends had snowballed
into some sort of… mini obsession. Duo had allowed
himself some slack in the beginning – an obsession
wasn’t quite so bad if the subject wasn’t real, was it
But now… He felt like growling. Things were getting
out of hand. There was a sketch in his wallet, one
hidden in the drawer of his desk at his work, one
sitting harmlessly upon his bedside table, and
numerous others scattered around for his enjoyment and
perusal whenever he felt so inclined. It was terrible.
Never did a day go by without Duo having to pull out a
picture and stare at it, cursing his luck for knowing
about such a damn gorgeous person – and knowing that
that person was simply *imaginary*.
He just knew that somewhere out there, someone was
gaining great enjoyment out of his plight. They were
probably laughing their ass off at him.
It certainly didn’t help that Quatre was acting so…
perky, lately. The artist – the one who was
responsible for Duo’s current state of obsession – had
been going around with some strange secretive
expression on his face. He was looking too innocent,
and Duo knew from experience that when Quatre looked
innocent he was up to something. Duo just hoped it
wasn’t something to do with him.
“Duo?” He blinked and turned to stare at Hilde’s
concerned face. He gave a sheepish laugh.
“Must have zoned out for a sec there, Hil. Sorry bout
The girl shrugged. “No problem, Duo.” She placed his
coffee and cake down and hesitated to leave, looking
embarrassed. He smiled at her, trying to be
reassuring, though he had a slight inkling of what she
wanted to ask.
“Say, Duo,” she lowered her eyes, gazing at the table.
“You… um… well, I thought that maybe it’d be pretty
nice if we could have coffee sometime… You know, when
I’m not stuck in this!” She pulled at her apron,
smiling crookedly at him.
And there it was, out in the open. In other
occurrences, Duo would have readily agreed, after all,
there was no reason not to – she was pretty, smart,
funny… But he couldn’t.
Duo met her eyes honestly. “I’m flattered. Really, I
am! But, well…”
“Oh! There’s someone else! I’m so sorry!” He looked in
her eyes, and saw no bitterness there. Say yes,
something prompted him. Say no, the imaginary blue
eyes pleaded with him.
“I… I just can’t. It wouldn’t be fair to you. Besides,
c’mon, Hil, you can do better than me!”
She looked at him strangely, but smiled. “I’d be lucky
if I found me a guy half as great as you are, Duo.”
He tried to hide behind his bangs, feeling
embarrassed. “Aww, Hil.”
She patted him on the back, laughing. “No need to be
modest with me, Duo Maxwell!” She shrugged easily.
“Hey, it was worth a shot. No hard feelings, ok?”
Duo could breathe much easier all of a sudden. “Yeah,
no hard feelings. You’re a pretty great gal, Hilde.”
She winked at him. “And I’m looking at a pretty great
guy.” She got a suspicious glint in her eye. “So, tell
me about this person!”
Duo laughed. “And be your gossip for a week? I don’t
She nudged him with her elbow. “Don’t flatter
yourself,” she said in jest. “You’d only make a couple
After much more cajoling on Hilde’s part, and a
promise of another slice of his favourite cheesecake,
Duo gave in, tossing the picture from his wallet
before her. She grabbed onto it so fast he blinked.
The girl was like a flock of carnivorous vultures when
it came to other people’s love lives.
Hilde let out an appreciative sound. “Wow. That’s
certainly some nice eye candy. This is a pretty nifty
drawing, too. Quatre, I assume?” Duo nodded. “So, when
did you meet this guy?”
Duo winced. “That’s the hard part,” he said. Quickly
changing the subject, he picked up his empty place and
waved it in front of her. “You promised me cake,” he
Hilde grumbled, grabbing it from him. “Men these
days,” she huffed, shuffling off to the counter. “No
more respect for women, I tell ya.”
He spared himself a grin, then picked the small
picture from its current place on the table, tucking
it safely back in his wallet.
Within moments, Hilde was back, a new slice of cake
with her, and an extra fork. “So,” she started,
cutting a piece from the cake and chomping down on it.
“Don’t think you’re getting out of telling me all the
Duo scowled at her. “S’none of your business,” he told
her, stealing the fork inches away from her mouth and
eating the piece of cake perched upon it himself.
She pouted prettily. “Of course it is!” Duo kept his
eyes pointedly away from her.
“At least tell me how you met him,” she pleaded, eyes
widening ever so slightly.
He surrendered. “I didn’t,” he said. She looked
confused. “He doesn’t exist,” he told her, seriously.
She rose her eyebrows, and Duo sighed. “Quatre and I
were having fun, and I was just describing to him my
perfect person. That just sort of happened.”
Hilde looked amused. “So you’re pining away for a
*picture*?” She giggled.
“Glad you find me so amusing,” Duo drawled.
She was quick to pat him reassuringly on the head,
ruffling his bangs while she was at it. “Well, hey, no
competition! I can’t compare to *that* guy now, can I!
At least I don’t have to feel bad!” He checked to see
that she was joking, just to be sure. She was.
“That’s Quatre’s really something, huh?”
He was about to answer, when a familiar face caught
his eye from beyond the window. He blinked, leaning
forward to try and get a better look. But the
afternoon rush was happening, and he couldn’t find the
person that had caught his attention.
“Sorry,” he apologised, wrenching his eyes away from
the window. “I thought I recognised – Wait!” Hilde
jumped as the expression was out of his mouth before
he could stop it.
But it was him! It was Blue-Eyes, Mr. Perfect, the guy
from the drawing! Duo mumbled something incoherent to
Hilde and was sprinting out the café. He skidded to a
stop when he was out and looked around.
His eyes locked onto a still lone figure, standing out
amongst the quick moving crowd. But after numerous
times of staring at pictures or Blue-Eyes, Duo was
positive he could recognise the guy – even by the back
of his head.
He started running towards the guy, and as he was mere
*steps* behind the still immobile figure, he stood
What was he doing? He was chasing after a stranger,
just because the *back of his head* looked similar to
what he imagined his dream guy’s would. It was insane!
A young, well-dressed blond lady walked straight into
him, obscuring his vision. She apologised profusely,
backing off – but it was too late. The man was gone,
leaving Duo to wonder exactly what was happening to
He sighed, catching his breath, and began to trek back
to the café. He owed Hilde an apology.
And suddenly he felt like something much stronger than
“You realise I could hate you for this, Quat?”
Duo shot the blond an evil look from where he was
sitting, only to have Quatre grin and tuck himself
even more nicely along Trowa’s lean body.
He groaned, both from frustration of his current
situation and the excessive amounts of sappiness the
two other men were showing. “Do you guys even know
what the movie is about?” he asked.
Trowa raised his eyebrows, and Quatre smirked. “Do we
need to?” Duo scowled, and Quatre shrugged. “It’s not
like you’ve been hooked to the movie yourself.”
Duo made a sound, prompting Quatre to say, “Well, you
haven’t! You haven’t even looked at the TV screen
once. You’ve just been… sitting there, staring at that
picture and complaining to me about it.”
Duo stuffed the picture violently into his wallet. It
caught on the edge, and bent a little, making Duo pull
it out hastily and straighten it out carefully.
He made sure none of the edges were bent, and slowly,
when he noticed Trowa and Quatre leaning in closer
together, traced his fingers lightly over the outline
of the face. Around the jaw, up to his cheeks, across
his rumpled hair, lightly past those eyes that
reminded him of the man at the bar. It seemed like so
long ago that he had seen those eyes in real life, and
he was beginning to wonder if it had simply been some
And then today, he could have sworn that the man he
had… chased, had been Blue-Eyes from this picture come
alive! It was totally unjustifiable, but when the man
had walked past the café windows, Duo’s eyes had just
been… drawn directly to him. And he had been standing
still, in Duo’s reach, almost like he was waiting for
Duo didn’t know what he was going to do. He quickly
stuffed the picture back into his wallet, and tucked
it carefully in his pocket. He gave Quatre and Trowa a
quick glance, but they were both completely absorbed
in one another.
Duo coughed awkwardly, suddenly feeling like a
complete intruder. “Look, I’m gonna go. Have fun
watching the rest of the movie, guys.”
Quatre turned to face him, lips swollen, cheeks
flushed. “You sure, Duo? You could-“
Duo nodded, smiling. “Don’t worry about me, Quat. I’ll
see ya around later.”
Quatre nodded, and made as if to get up. Duo gestured
for him to stay down. “Sit, Quat. I can let myself
He had his hand on the doorknob, and was almost about
to twist it open, when Quatre’s voice drifted to his
ears. “Don’t forget, Duo, I’m having that house
warming party in a week!”
“Yeah,” Duo said despondently, suddenly feeling very
sleepy. “I’ll be there.”
“Ahh… ahh… cho!!” Duo sneezed into a tissue, the very
picture of someone *not* in the pink of health. His
hair was twisted and knotted, and fell randomly in all
directions. His nose was pink from excessive sneezing
and he felt perfectly miserable.
“I hate being sick,” he grumbled, throwing out the
used tissue and grabbing another one from the rapidly
depleting box. “I hate having a cold.” Sneeze. “I hate
my voice being all scratchy.” Cough. “I hate looking
like… like…” He glared at his reflection in the
mirror. “I hate looking like I’m sick!” he wailed.
He groaned, easing himself into the couch. “My head
hurts,” he muttered. “My nose hurts. My throat hurts.
I can’t talk properly.” He sniffed.
He had just closed his eyes and leant into the embrace
of the couch when the phone – conveniently placed
right beside his ear – rang merrily.
He squeezed his eyes together. “No no no,” he groaned.
“Loud, so loud, so loud.”
Duo picked up the phone, gave it an evil glare, and
“Duo!” Quatre. It was nice to hear his voice, but all
things considered, Duo really only wanted to wallow in
self-pity for the rest of the evening.
“Where are you?” Quatre asked, sounding anxious.
“Me?” Duo coughed miserably. “I’m sick, and I’m at
home. Being sick.”
“You’re sick?” Now Quatre was concerned.
“Mm hmm,” Duo answered.
“But you *have* to come over!” he exclaimed, voice
rising a pitch.
Duo narrowed his eyebrows in confusion, whilst blowing
his nose again. He could just picture Quatre wincing.
He didn’t care. Quatre wasn’t sick. Then it came to
him in a rush.
“Your house thing! Oh, Quat, I’m so sorry. I can’t
make it. Sick, you see.” He laughed feebly, but
stopped immediately when his throat protested.
“But Duo, you have to come. Please, please, you have
to come over!”
Duo wasn’t sure quite what the big deal was. “Look, Q,
I’m glad my presence means so much to you, but I don’t
wanna infect everyone there. And I’m not exactly at
the most charming stage in my life either.”
“Oh, Duo, I’m sure you look fine!”
“Humph.” Duo gave another big sneeze into the tissue,
and threw it away, watching it float pathetically into
the wastepaper basket.
“Duo, I’m sure you’ll be fine. There’s someone I
really, really, *really* want you to meet!”
It was the third ‘really’ that got him very
suspicious. So he stuck to being stubborn. “I can’t
go,” he said.
“I look like hell,” he protested.
“I’m sick! Sick!” He threw in another sneeze for good
“Fine, I’ll be there!” He slammed the handset down and
scowled. Sometimes Quatre was the most persuasive guy
in the entire *world*.
And sometimes he was just more stubborn – and, though
it was hard to believe, annoying – than Duo.
He walked dejectedly to Quatre’s apartment door,
knocking lethargically. He could hear people. Happy
people. People who weren’t *sick*.
The door swung open, and Quatre was there, looking
extremely relieved when he saw that it was Duo.
“Oh, thank goodness,” he said, dragging Duo in.
“Hey!” Duo exclaimed, “Be a little bit nicer to the
guy who is *sick*!”
Quatre gave him a quick once over, and placed the back
of his hand against Duo’s forehead. Duo tried to put
on the most guilt-inflicting look he had.
Unfortunately, this happened to be Quatre, who knew
each and every one of his looks.
“You’ll be fine,” Quatre said, tugging on Duo’s arm.
“Not the best first impression, but it’ll do.”
Duo tried to look outraged, but a cough formed
instead. He didn’t think he looked *that* bad,
considering that he had to drag himself out of
comfortable night-wear and into more presentable
clothing in a matter of minutes.
Quatre pulled him past the living room, where he saw
some people giving him sly looks. Hilde was there,
flirting with a tall blond, and she gave him a wink
when she noticed him. Duo was hustled quickly to the
direction of the bedrooms.
“Quatre, would you mind-ahh choo!-telling me exactly
what is going o-“ he paused, and the sound of a deep
voice caught his attention.
“I’m getting out of here,” the voice rumbled. “I’ve
had enough.” Duo couldn’t help but think that it was a
very nice voice.
Quatre was walking ahead, and Duo stumbled on after
him, burying his nose into a tissue. He took a few
steps forward, and walked straight into a wall – a
wall that had appeared out of nowhere…
He looked straight ahead, and found himself staring at
another man. He looked down in horror. “Oh, so sorry,
I didn’t see you – ah choo!”
He was already feeling slightly unbalanced, and the
violent sneeze that shook through his body threw his
sense of stability off, making him topple forward. He
was caught by two arms, steadying him.
“Thank you,” he said, looking at the man properly this
time. His breath caught, and he blinked. And he
blinked again. Then he narrowed his eyes.
“Quatre!” he yelled, not noticing the flash of
surprise that ran through the other man’s eyes. “What
insane joke is this? Is it meant to be funny? What are
you trying to pull?”
Quatre walked sedately towards them, Trowa following
faithfully behind. “Duo,” he grinned, “I’d like to
introduce you to Heero Yuy. He is a friend of
Trowa’s,” he mentioned casually. “Heero, this is Duo
“You must be kidding me,” Duo gaped. He whirled around
to glare at a very smug looking Quatre. “I could do
some serious damage to you,” he threatened, “if I
wasn’t feeling so–“ cough, hack, “damned sick at the
A firm hand brought his attention back to the other
man, and he wasn’t quite sure what to think.
“You don’t seem to be feeling very well,” Heero said,
slowly, “Would you like to rest for a while?”
A heaving cough saved him from having to answer, and
the possibility of making a fool of himself. Instead,
he found himself being steered to the direction of
Quatre’s brand new guest room.
He was sat firmly down upon the bed, and with a quick
word of “stay there” Heero was walking briskly out the
Duo felt slightly faint. It was him – Mr Blue-Eyes,
Mr. Perfect, the guy from Quatre’s sketch, and quite
possibly the same man from the bar that night, and the
one that had been outside the café! He was positive,
but needing some extra confirmation, he pulled the
ever-present picture out of his wallet. Yes,
He had a name. He was… real. It was almost too much
Suddenly Duo felt horrified. He had acted like a… a
bumbling fool out there. In front of… him. Heero, he
reminded himself. He had a name!
Duo was almost giddy with delight. The fat kid and his
arrows had finally sent something good his way! “Thank
you, Cupid,” he whispered, staring at the white
“Heero,” he murmured, making the name into a caress,
His eyes snapped open, and they met with the blue eyes
– Heero’s eyes. “Oh,” Duo said, abashed. “I was
just... wondering where you had gone off too.”
“I went to get you some warm water,” the man said,
looking at Duo intensely. “Thought you might like
something to drink.”
Yes, Duo really liked this one. He accepted the drink
gratefully, smiling at the man. Heero was studying him
intently, and normally Duo would have been doing the
same, but thanks to Quatre’s utmost talent – well, he
had already memorised every aspect of the other man’s
“You… you said you were going?” he asked, then wanted
to hit himself over the head.
Heero tilted his head to the side. “Sorry?”
“Oh, just then, you said you had had enough… to
Trowa.” Duo wandered why his mouth wouldn’t shut up
and stop talking.
“I was planning to leave, yes. It had been a rather…
bad day.” Heero seemed to be waiting for something,
and he didn’t continue speaking until Duo met his
eyes. “Then something made me want to stay.”
Oh, yes, Duo really, really liked this one.
They hit it off immediately. Duo knew it wasn’t just
his imagination when he felt the spark there, and he
definitely liked all those subtle looks Heero had
continuously shot him. They had sat in the room for
most of the night, “hiding from the outside” as Heero
had drolly put it.
Duo got the feeling that Heero didn’t do the social
thing very often, but he was perfectly nice to Duo,
getting him drinks, making sure he was comfortable.
They talked, Duo made jokes, and sometimes Heero
smiled slightly, just a tilt of the lips – but those
small smiles meant more than anyone else’s laugh.
And by the end of the night, Duo didn’t love Mr.
No, now it was just Heero.
The night had flown by, and Duo only noticed it when
Heero had looked at his watch and mentioned that it
was close to eleven o’clock. They had wandered out the
room, to find Trowa and Quatre curled up on the couch,
in an otherwise empty room, people-wise.
“We’re going to go,” Duo called, but as they wandered
closer it became apparent that the two were deep in
“They look so sweet together,” Duo commented.
“Hn,” Heero said, but he was smiling fondly.
As they parted, Duo noticed Heero giving him an amused
look, and asked him about it.
“Oh,” Heero said cryptically, “I just realised that
you don’t seem to be feeling so sick anymore.”
The words brought on a round of sneezing, after which
Duo scowled at Heero, who was smirking. The smirk
softened into a smile, making Duo reflect the
“No,” Duo said, “I think I’m going to be fine now.”