4x2, romance, yaoi, lemon (a little)
Written for Dacia with much love, from a plot bunny of hers.
Part Five... Year 5
"Great evening!" enthused the
director of the City Gallery. "WEI always knows how to throw a party!"
He leant in towards Quatre, who tried bravely not to flinch away. It was
past 10 pm already, the function room was hot and crowded and noisy, and
the man in front of him had already drunk far too many glasses of expensive
wine. His hot breath smelled of canapés and alcohol, and his face
had a ruddy circle high on each cheek. "And the gallery idea of yours
-- brilliant, brilliant! Ticket receipts have already increased,
and this is traditionally a quiet month."
"And how are people receiving the new art? The local exhibits?"
"I was surprised, I don't mind telling you. I mean, we didn't want a sudden
swamping of stark blue canvases and sliced farm animals, now did we?"
The man leered, and Quatre bit back a sigh. "But the quality has been
excellent! Obviously there were works we would never have thought to show
"That would have been a sad loss for the Gallery, of course?" Quatre prompted
"Yes indeed!" The director waved the stick from out of a chewed smoked
salmon roll, and nearly put out Quatre's eye. "Isn't that what I've been
saying? My fellow directors are looking forward to next month's submissions
already, and maybe we'll consider a rolling theme, or special occasion
As the man swayed a little back towards the buffet table, Quatre took
the opportunity to slip away. A couple of photographers peeled themselves
away from a far wall and looked like they were making their eager way
towards him; he wheeled quickly in another direction and backed up against
one of the other WEI department managers. He turned gratefully to talk
"It's gone well, Winner," the man said, lifting his glass in an imaginary
toast to Quatre. His eyes flickered towards the confused photographers
and he grinned. "Inspired idea, and very tabloid-friendly, eh?"
"You should know, Magnus, you're in Promotions," Quatre smiled in return.
"Your lot spread us all over the papers and snap away at us for the glossies.
It's all for the benefit of WEI, of course."
"Of course," Magnus nodded. "But your lot had the idea in the first
place! A new gallery area, solely for the showing of new, modern artists,
with an open submissions policy and a regular turnover of exhibits. And
free entrance for school parties and concessions! Excellent, I must say.
Sounded like a few of your team were reluctant to go back to their old
jobs in the corporation, after the success of your glamorous little plot
to save the Gallery."
"Maybe the coffee was better," retorted Quatre, good-naturedly. "I hear
the stuff in Promotions is so perilously close to the kitchens, you might
have washed up in it a few times."
Magnus raised an eyebrow, good-naturedly. "'Stuff', Mr Winner?
Since when have you used the parlance of the common man at such a formal
event? Guess the makeshift nature of your department is rubbing off on
you. I hear you work the kids there way beyond homework time."
Quatre tensed slightly, and didn't answer. Magnus was wise enough to know
he'd stepped over a mark. "Sorry," he apologised. "Didn't mean to sound
so trite. I've had the work experience kids in myself, before now. Some
of 'em can't count paperclips, but some have contributed well. I hear
your guy is one of the better ones. Rhodes said he's only just sixteen,
but he thought up the idea in the first place -- and he's been
a fierce little guy since the day he started, determined to make a
difference, he said, even though his placement's only for a few weeks."
"Sounds like Duo," smiled Quatre, but his attention was a little distracted
Magnus waved the half-full glass at him. "You making the speech soon?
Or looking for someone?"
Looking for someone... Quatre couldn't remember when he hadn't
been doing that.
"Where is Duo?" he asked.
Duo had found the whole event intimidating. Fucking intimidating,
as his school friends would have said. The hotel was the best and the
biggest in town -- hell, the damned foyer was larger than his apartment
-- but he'd never been in such a place in his life and didn't quite
know how to behave. The guy at the front door had looked a little suspicious
when he said he didn't have a coat to give up to him, but he'd produced
his special invitation with a triumphant flourish and been respectfully
waved through to the function rooms.
He'd been pleased to see Rashid at the door to the WEI event, but the
big guy was on duty and hadn't been allowed to stop and chat with him.
He looked even larger in a formal suit and tie but still the same calm,
stolid expression that served him so well in his work. Not so stolid
around a pack of cards... mused Duo smugly to himself. With a rueful
smile exchanged between the two of them, Duo had walked on in.
It had been like plunging into a bath of cold water, with the resulting
shock! A very large, high-ceilinged, beautifully decorated 'bath', admittedly,
with lights so bright he thought he ought to be confessing something,
people milling everywhere with voices too loud and clothes too exclusive,
and tables full of food and drink with no attendants to restrict the intake.
Ah... food! Duo had been happy at the buffet table for a while, eating
stuff he wasn't quite sure the name of, and sipping cautiously at a rich
red-coloured fruit punch. He'd started to relax a little.
Around the far end of the table, there was a group of guys with smart
suits and ridiculously bright, wide neckties, laughing and clapping and
slapping other guys on the back, and generally braying their business
all over the place. There was the clink of glasses being knocked together
in mock toasts, and in real toasts. He recognised a few from the
department he'd been working in .
"Duo!" One of the young executives called over to him. "Hey kid, you OK?"
Duo jumped when he heard his name called -- he'd thought he was
unnoticed, or at least he'd tried to be. "Yeah," he called back and grinned.
It was Rich, one of the guys in Marketing, also a trainee, though on the
permanent staff. He was surrounded by half a dozen of the other guys in
the department, and some others from accounts. Rich was a bit of a dork,
but Duo quite liked him. He was one of the first trainees who'd been friendly
to him during his work experience, and had nudged Duo along during the
time he'd been at WEI so that he didn't make a complete ass of himself.
Shit, he was the only one Duo allowed to call him 'kid'!
Duo gave his friend the thumbs up, but when Rick beckoned for him to come
over and join the group, he shook his head. How long can I hover around
here? he thought, feeling as much a dork as Rich. He brushed crumbs
off his new red shirt and gripped the glass of punch in his hand even
more tightly. He just didn't feel very confident here; this was Quatre's
world. Like, he was happy enough with the guys, but this evening was something
He hadn't seen Quatre since he first arrived. Their eyes had smiled welcome
over the heads of a whole bunch of important looking people, Quatre shaking
hand after hand in greeting them all. He didn't get around to greeting
Duo, but Duo guessed that was the way it was when you were the heir to
the organisation that was hosting the whole shebang. You were the
guy they wanted to see; you were in the front line.
Duo kicked one of his boots at the table leg. He felt young. He
didn't like it one miserable jot.
When the waiter passed with a tray of empty glasses, he followed him and
slipped out of the room in his wake. They pattered down a corridor to
the kitchen -- the staff had seen him in the function room, so
he assumed they'd think he was allowed to wander at will. He gazed around
the large, clinically-bright room, apparently admiring the well-wiped
counters and savouring the rich aroma of the cooked dishes, all the time
smiling innocently at the staff as if he had as much right to be there
as they did. It seemed to work, or else they were all too busy serving
to care about one young man who wasn't really getting in their way. Eventually,
they'd all gone and he was left alone. He picked himself another plate
of the first-round of sandwiches and snagged another glass of the vibrantly-coloured
punch, then made his way out of the kitchen by another route.
I think I've done my duty now -- I've had enough of the whole
social thing. He decided to find the lobby again and sneak back home.
He knew where the buses went from; worst came to the worst, he'd use the
emergency money in his back pocket for a cab.
Then he found a corridor of much quieter, sober rooms, and he paused to
look inside the first one -- the door was ajar, and it was empty
of guests. All he could hear from the rooms he'd left behind was the erratic
hum of voices and the occasionally burst of laughter. He drew a breath
and slipped into the quiet, warm room; it felt like some kind of sanctuary
after the bright liveliness of the function. It was a kind of games room,
he thought. There were chairs and small tables for drinks. One side was
dominated by a full-sized billiards table, with a couple of felt-covered
card tables at its side. The lamps were deliberately shaded in here, and
everything seemed furnished with wood or dark fabrics. It created a light
like a particularly luscious early summer sunset. There was still the
lingering smell of cigar smoke and fine spirits, obviously from previous
guests. Or so Duo imagined; it wasn't like he'd been in any private games
clubs in his short, not-yet-fully-adult life.
Whatever he thought of it, it was a comfortable, restful room. He sat
down on one of the armchairs and ate his sandwiches slowly. The punch
slid down very pleasantly, even more than the earlier glasses. He felt
his body relax and sink down into the cushions; he considered kicking
off his boots, but thought he ought to fight off the temptation. It was
a damned pity, but he ought to watch his step here...
"Where have you been?" came a slow voice at his shoulder. "I've been looking
for you to take some of the congratulations off my shoulders --
after all, you had a hand in this scheme from the very beginning."
"Fuck!" Duo lurched up in his seat, the empty plate and glass sliding
off his knees and tumbling on to the floor. He bit back the expletive,
but way too late. He snapped his head round to glare at the speaker. "Dammit,
Quatre, you scared the hell out of me! Don't creep up on me like that!"
Quatre's face twisted briefly with concern, but then he relaxed and smiled.
"Guilty conscience, Duo? You've been drinking too much punch, maybe?"
Duo looked up into his friend's bright blue eyes then down at the glass
on the floor. He bit his lip rather ruefully. "So OK, I had a glass or
two. Someone gonna challenge me on that?"
"Maybe not," admitted Quatre. "But anyone with half a brain would be tempted
"And you," said Duo, the lights over the billiard table sparkling
their reflection in his eyes, "could most certainly be said to have that,
"Right," agreed Quatre. "At the very least a half, I should say." His
smile got broader. "And anyway, Rashid's been watching you for the last
hour back in the function room, and took great pleasure in telling me
just how many glasses you'd had since you arrived."
Duo remembered the times he'd looked across to the large man standing
stolidly at the entrance to the room, and caught his eye. Every time it
seemed that Rashid had studiously ignored him, and instead had fixed his
gaze on any guests who were arriving, showing unnatural concentration
as if they were rare insects worthy of dissection. And I felt sorry
for the poor sap, always on duty, always working...
"He's a stalker," snapped Duo. "A sneak."
"His job is to protect me. And you," said Quatre, calmly.
Duo stood up, brushing the last crumbs off his shirt and snorted. "You
think I'll get violent or drunk and throw up on the carpet here? You think
I'm just a kid who can't take it?" He knew he sounded belligerent. Quatre's
hand landed gently on his shoulder as if to pacify him, and the two of
them leant into each other a little.
Duo lifted his eyes and looked back at his friend -- he'd barely
seen this guy all evening! He knew there were press there, and government
representatives who had responsibility for the issue of research grants
and suchlike, and the management board of the Gallery itself. The whole
event had been laid on to celebrate the first six months' success of the
new initiative at the City Gallery -- and also the formal confirmation
for the work to begin on the new, additional Winner Foundation wing. The
'art challenge' (as it was called in the press) had captured the imagination
of artists and visitors alike, and was appropriately cute to have captured
the eye of the media, too. Duo had overheard snippets of excited chatter
about a link with other major galleries, and with art colleges.
Oh, and there'd been plenty of chatter about the cute Quatre Winner,
Quatre... His father had attended at an earlier stage of the evening,
but it was Quatre who was in the forefront of the whole event.
Duo found his eyes running quickly over his friend. Quatre was wearing
a grey coloured suit in a silk fabric that hung fluidly from his broad
shoulders. It had obviously been made to measure for him; there was no
way an off-the-peg garment would fit that well around his torso, and have
pants that moulded against his hips like they moved with his skin. It
was perfectly smart and yet had a style that befitted a handsome young
man, rather than the more traditional suits his father wore. His shirt
was a muted blue -- a colour that suited him well -- and
he'd foregone his necktie. There was a glint of fine silver at his neck.
Duo realised with a jolt of pleasure that he was wearing the chain he'd
He realised that the sight of Quatre was a whole jolt of pleasure in itself.
What was up with him tonight?
"So it's going well?" he asked, his voice a little more contrite.
Quatre nodded. "Very well. And I meant it -- that I want to share
the congratulations with you."
"And the grovelling... and the sucking up?" added Duo, and then he grinned.
"That as well," said Quatre. He laughed, softly. Duo felt the usual warmth
when he made Quatre laugh. "Plenty of that, of course. But that's
what I'm here for -- to handle all that." Obviously the evening
had been a trial as well as a triumph; but Quatre Winner was very well
equipped to deal with both with perfect poise.
Duo sighed, so softly that he didn't think Quatre had noticed.
The blond man looked a little tired round the eyes, but there was a vibrancy
to his body that showed how wired up he really was. Duo knew the look;
he knew the excitement that was coursing through him. Quatre spent so
many of his hours behaving just as he should, and facing up to the public's
expectations; he spent so many more in concerning himself with how others
felt and what they were achieving. Exciting, yes -- but exhausting,
"You need something for yourself," Duo said, abruptly.
Quatre looked quizzical. Duo had the terrible feeling that he was acting
like a dork now, too, but he couldn't seem to stop himself. So what was
up with him tonight? He was suddenly afraid that someone would arrive
at the door to the games room and move him on, or Quatre would be called
away by one of his managers. Or maybe his friend would just give Duo that
gentle smile of his, and turn away in embarrassment or boredom.
He suddenly felt awkward with Quatre. He'd known him for years. It was
"You know," persisted Duo. His voice sounded a little odd, even
to his own ears. "You give too much away of yourself, all the time. You
need things just for you -- really special things. You deserve
the best of everything."
Quatre was taken aback at Duo's very personal words. He raised an eyebrow
as if to dismiss the comment, but inside he felt a rush of surprised pleasure.
He took his hand from the other man's shoulder but it hovered between
them; he realised he didn't know whether to withdraw it or touch Duo in
some other way.
"Hey..." He could tell that Duo was embarrassed. He kicked his boots on
the floor whenever he was disconcerted, and Quatre watched him doing it
now as he spoke. "Sorry, Quatre, talking total crapola tonight. Don't
know what's up with me. Guess you were right about the punch."
Quatre caught a breath that bubbled dangerously in his throat and swallowed
it back down. "It ... hey, I'm not saying you're drunk, OK? But... it
can make you act differently..."
"Uh-huh. Or make things a lot clearer." The words were only mumbled.
Quatre looked steadily at Duo, standing there, almost the same height
as him. The younger man wore smart black pants, just a little too long
and curling up on the top of his boots. The silver buckle of his belt
caught a glint from the lights around them. His shirt was a deep russet
colour, and unbuttoned a few inches, showing his throat and the top of
his torso. Beads of sweat glimmered against the muscles there. The colour
of the shirt complemented his colouring; his eyes shone the brighter in
contrast against the darkness of its fabric.
Duo was flushed now, and he pushed impatiently at the hair that fell over
his brow. Quatre watched him, unable to tear his eyes away. He was worried
that he was staring, but he knew there wasn't a hell of a lot he could
do about it. He watched the way that Duo's braid clung to his back, snagging
on the cloth as the young man tossed his head to resettle it. The hair
was the same brunette colour as always, thought Quatre, but then again
it wasn't. Tonight it caught the glow from the subdued lighting in the
room -- it seemed to show the colours of autumn; the shine of beech
leaves; the richness of real chestnuts. Quatre chided himself for being
so fanciful, but despite that he knew how it would feel, and he wanted
to touch it; run it through his fingers.
Oh God, he thought, misery and frustration swamping him. Oh my God.
I've known it for years, haven't I? But I thought I could live with this.
I thought we could just be friends. I never knew it would be this painful...
Meanwhile, standing only a foot away from the blond man, Duo was finding
it difficult to breathe. He stared back into Quatre's eyes and was worried
he didn't seem to be able to focus properly. Quatre seemed disturbed about
something but all Duo could think about was the harsh beating of his own
heart. The other man stood very close to him -- or perhaps he,
Duo, was overly sensitive to it. Quatre smelled good... Quatre's smile
was very nervous... and suddenly Duo wanted Quatre to reach out his strong,
careful hands and put them on his shoulders again. There were words in
his mouth asking to be released, but they were tangled up with the inexplicable
urge to laugh and a desire to shout something out aloud. He didn't know
what he wanted to shout! Probably something about Quatre --
something about the way he was making him feel. Something about the strange
emotions that were suddenly swamping him ... nah, he thought, don't
fool yourself, Maxwell! Such feelings had been brewing impatiently
inside him for quite a while now. Hadn't they?
"That weekend," he said, suddenly. His voice sounded hoarse. "When we
They'd never managed to repeat the adventure -- never found the
mutually convenient time. Quatre nodded, encouraging him to go on. Looked
like he wanted to speak, but bit it back.
"All I wanted was to be with you. You know? All I wanted was to touch
you." He saw Quatre's eyes widen suddenly with shock. Was that fear there,
too? "I never said anything -- didn't know how to. What to say.
It's been ... bugging me ever since." Duo groaned to himself. What
the fuck is wrong with me? I'm disturbing Quatre -- fucking it
all up... He shifted his gaze down, pretending he was searching for
his spilled plate. "Look, I don't know where all this is coming from.
It's late ... whatever. This isn't really my scene, is it, I'm not really
part of this stuff. It's been a few months since I worked at WEI, and
I was just a trainee there, a gofer, whatever. Nothing special. Things
are all back to normal for me now. It was sort of kind of you to invite
me to this, but it's better if I just get lost --"
Quatre's hand moved very suddenly, grabbing at his shoulder. "No!"
he said, so sharply that Duo jumped. He couldn't remember ever hearing
Quatre speak that fiercely before.
"You mustn't go," the blond urged, though he dropped the tone of his voice.
"Nothing special?" He couldn't be further from the truth... "Hell
Duo, this whole business is only good because you're here!"
Duo searched the other man's eyes -- he didn't fully understand
the _expression there. He gave a nervous laugh. "I'm the comedy interlude,
Quatre shook his head, impatiently. "You're acting like it! But
that's not what I mean, and you know it. Look at me, Duo -- look
at me, properly!"
He gripped at Duo's shoulder; he guessed he was too rough, but it was
suddenly desperately important that he didn't lose this moment between
them. Duo lifted wide blue eyes to him, moist with confusion, bright with
... something new. There seemed to be a shiver running down his body.
"You don't have to bully me, Winner," he groaned.
"Yes, I think I do," Quatre growled back. "You can take it, you said;
you said you didn't want to be treated like a kid. So look me in the eye
and be honest with me!" He watched the younger man flush with indignation,
but stand his ground. Listen to me, thought Quatre, his whole heart
thudding through his veins. I didn't know this would happen tonight
-- I've practised for this so many times, in my mind --
I've dreamt of this so many nights. Now I don't know what to say...
Duo was almost staring him in the face, but Quatre could feel the trembling
in the lean body in front of him, the vibration playing through the hand
he had on Duo's shoulder.
"Duo, you're here because you contributed to the success of this scheme,
and because we all want you to be here. And I --" he drew
a deeper breath because he knew he could hear his voice shaking. "I
want you here -- I want you here more... more than anyone else
ever could." All those years of public speaking coaching, he thought
wryly. And now I stammer and dry up! But I just want him to listen
to me... to believe me... to understand...
He started again. "That weekend, you said. You felt things that weekend
that made you uneasy -- unhappy..."
"No!" Duo interrupted, then looked shocked, as if the words had escaped
involuntarily. "I mean -- no, that wasn't it, not unhappy."
Now the fierceness was in his eyes, as if he challenged Quatre to laugh
at him. "I'm not as good with the speeches as you, Quatre. I don't know
how to say this..."
Quatre almost laughed aloud at the ridiculous image of them both as tongue-tied
as each other. One man who was the master of celebrity interviews, and
the other who had rarely been caught without a smart answer.
"So, if you weren't unhappy with it..." he paused, struggling to find
the right words. "Well, neither was I." Master of understatement,
he groaned to himself. "You say you don't know where all your feelings
tonight are coming from, but I think my own feelings are much the same
-- and I've had them for years now."
Since I met you, came the thought, a huge relief flooding through
him with the admission at last.
Duo's eyes narrowed. "You mean maybe you're the stalker, not Rashid?"
Quatre flushed. "Duo, I'm sorry. If you feel that way, it's I who should
get lost --"
Duo had immediately regretted his flip words, even as they tumbled out
of his mouth. "No!" he rushed to reassure, and somewhere along the way
he saw his hand settle firmly on Quatre's arm. "Hell, Quatre, that was
just one of my fucking bad jokes. It backfired on me. I'd never think
of you that way. You've always been there for me -- I've never
known anyone like you!"
Quatre seemed to be grinding some words out from between his teeth. 'You've
known so few, though ..."
And then Duo did let the anger out. What was the guy going on about?
"Don't patronise me!" he snapped. "I'm not as fucking young as you think
-- haven't had some kind of sheltered life. Not like you!"
It was a fair point, but never voiced between them before. Quatre had
all the benefits and luxuries of his world -- but never the freedom
of Duo's. The blond man opened his mouth to protest, but shut it again.
His words were carefully measured, as if he tried to avoid anything provocative.
"You're right. I'm sorry."
"Don't fucking apologise, either!" Duo was still snapping. He shook his
head impatiently, deliberately swallowing the sudden anger. "I mean that
I'll never know anyone like you. And that's what I like; what I
want. It's been good -- it's all been good." Where were the
words, for God's sake? What was he really trying to say? "It's always
good, being with you. There's no-one means so much -- could mean
"I just don't want you to miss out. On other friends -- other experiences."
Quatre's voice was uncharacteristically nervous. It gave Duo a burst of
"Ain't gonna happen. How can I miss out? I can have everything I want
with you. Already do."
"You do?" Quatre paused, searching Duo's _expression.
"I do," said Duo, firmly.
"So you say you're not so young," said Quatre, softly. "So you say..."
He still sounded nervous, but his eyes were searching Duo's face now.
His other hand drifted almost imperceptibly around Duo's waist; when it
settled there, Duo felt the shudder run through them both.
"Yeah. So I say..." he murmured.
Quatre knew he should be evaluating this new feeling; this feeling that
was barely under his control; this feeling that allowed Duo to step forward
both physically and emotionally and provoke him in such a way. Dammit,
he couldn't have evaluated a glass of punch at that moment, his head was
so full of astonished pleasure and anticipation! When Duo put up a hand
to cup his cheek, he gasped aloud and his hand tightened round the younger
"I don't ... Duo, you shouldn't joke about this ..."
Duo's laugh was very soft and mischievous -- yet tentative, too.
"I'm not. Keep up with me, man. I may be laughing, but it's not at you
-- or this."
Yeah, he thought, in some kind of awe. Never been less of a joker in
He reached his other hand to Quatre's face, too. The irrepressible joy
was welling up again and his thumbs brushed the man's jaw line, feeling
the tight, smooth skin. Quatre's lips opened slightly, and his tongue
slipped out to moisten them. Duo felt the warmth from his breath; saw
the dampness on his mouth.
He leant his head forward and kissed those lips.
Time stood still for a moment.
Quatre felt the lips touch him and went into slight shock. He still gripped
at Duo, but now the hand he had on Duo's shoulder slipped around the younger
man's neck and tugged him closer. Duo's mouth tasted of damp fruit from
the punch, and the lips yielded at the touch of Quatre's tongue. How
many has he kissed before? Has he kissed a man before? Quatre
was almost ashamed of the desire that flared up and consumed him, at the
same time as he worried about Duo. But he couldn't resist it --
didn't want to! Duo felt hesitant but then confident against him.
He slipped his tongue into Duo's mouth and felt the other man's tongue
thrust back at him.
They clung more tightly. Duo tilted his head slightly to the side so that
they fit together more easily. A soft moan escaped him. His hands seemed
at a temporary loss as to where to settle, and one of them clenched too
tightly into Quatre's hair. His body pressed against Quatre's, and one
of his knees nudged gently between the other man's thighs.
Quatre knew he was more aroused than he could ever remember being. He
couldn't believe how quickly he'd lost control! He couldn't believe how
vital this reality was, compared to his dreams of how one day he might
caress Duo... Duo might let him... Duo might want even more from him.
His hands slipped across Duo's shoulders, sliding gently along the silky
fabric, feeling the shape of the other man's muscles, the knots of tension
at his neck. His tongue continued to explore Duo's mouth, so very excited
at the taste and possession of him, so very scared that he'd hurt or panic
But he was unable to stop, now.
They broke at last. Maybe it was just for air, maybe it was because there
were a few discordant sounds out in the hallway that distracted them,
as if some guests were passing by on their way elsewhere, or the staff
were moving to and from the various functions that were being hosted in
the hotel tonight.
Duo looked into Quatre's face with nervousness. His lips still felt a
little numb, and his heart raced. He wanted to touch the other man again
-- to reach his mouth back to that haven -- to feel that
slick tongue inside him, licking at him, Quatre's mouth passing its hot,
panting breath into him.
He had a hell of an erection, he knew it! Shit...
"If Rashid saw us now he'd tell us to get a room," he joked, shakily.
Quatre's eyes were half closed, the pupils very dark in amongst the soft
blue. He looked like he was drifting somewhere, somewhere warm and delightful.
Duo gazed at them, astonished; excited; fascinated by another view of
the man he'd known for so long as a friend.
Then Quatre drew breath, opened his eyes fully and smiled. "I doubt Rashid
would approve of us making out in a public hotel room, I'm sure you're
right." The smile was slower than before, and very warm, and meant solely
for Duo. "Anyway, I do have a room."
"Here? Tonight?" Duo's eyes narrowed.
"Yes. For when the event has finished, so that I don't have to make my
way back to the house. But I don't mean ... Duo, stop this, I don't think
"I'm not going to stop when it's the best fucking thing I've ever felt,"
whispered Duo, and leaned back in to nip gently at Quatre's lips. The
other man's body shuddered inside his clothes. Suddenly it was very important
to Duo that he touch that body -- and also inside the clothes.
"Mom is helping with the stocktake at the store tonight -- she
doesn't expect me back. I often stay out, round at Henderson's, or after
a party..." He ran a finger in between the buttons of Quatre's shirt,
brushing a fingertip against the tight, smooth skin of his chest.
Quatre moaned. Duo felt a ripple of hot excitement run through him at
the sound; he wanted to hear Quatre make that sound again. And that was
what Quatre wanted, too, wasn't it? "I'll ... look, I could go to the
room ... we could both go there, y'know? We could ... talk about
it. Something. Be more private."
Quatre's eyes clouded, just for a second, and Duo felt a sick horror in
the pit of his stomach. What the fuck had he been playing at...He
pulled his hand away sharply. "Hey, I'm sorry. More crapola. I said you
deserved the best, right? That's never gonna be me, I'm just Duo, just
Quatre gazed at him in wonder. His own hand quivered gently, like a nerve
was trapped somewhere. He reached out and grasped Duo's wrist, holding
off his retreat. "Stop that! You're the best thing to me, Duo, the very
best thing in my life! God, how could you ever think different? I should
have told you, should have said before, but I was always so worried that
it'd upset you; that you'd think I was abusing our friendship." He let
go of Duo's wrist and put the hand to the chestnut-haired man's face instead.
He ran his fingers along the chin, watching how Duo's head nuzzled up
against his palm. "Believe me, I want to be somewhere private with you,
Duo. I want to talk to you about it all ... I just don't know whether
it's right, tonight. Whether here is the right time or place." How could
he tell Duo how he wanted things to be good for him? Perfect for
him? He wanted to spend time, slowly acclimatising the younger man to
something more than friendship. He was terrified of frightening him; disgusting
him; disappointing him.
He realised with a sudden shock that maybe he was the one who needed
the acclimatisation. The feeling that churned inside him was suspiciously
akin to fear.
"But you say you've been feeling this way for ages?" Duo's soft voice
broke in. His eyes were wide and fierce, demanding that Quatre pay attention
Quatre nodded, not entirely trusting his speech. He touched at him, instead,
feeling Duo's face moving under his hands, the smile creasing, the jaw
tightening, the hair brushing against his arm ...
"So why the hesitation now? I bet the rooms are really special here. All
those thick towels and iced water in jugs and individual soaps, and decent
hot water for a long, long bath. Maybe we could get some more punch sent
up." Duo's words were jocular, but Quatre heard the tremor in his voice.
He was nervous -- but he was eager, too. "But then you've got your
speech to give, haven't you? Can't leave all those important guests without
a Winner to nurse them."
"To hell with the speech," said Quatre, quite sharply.
Duo's eyes glittered and his smile grew even broader. "No, Mr Winner --
you've still got to do your duty." He ran his hand down the front of Quatre's
shirt, stroking him beneath the silk fabric. His breath was getting shorter;
Quatre could see the gleam of new sweat on his temples.
"I don't want to wait to be with you."
"No, I know. I feel the same way. But we can wait. This has been
... this has been around for a while, right? It won't run away just 'cause
we can't get away from a corporate event. Um.." Duo's tongue slipped out
to moisten his lips and Quatre felt the blood rush away from his extremities.
"How long before the speech?"
Quatre shook his head; impatient, disorientated. How long for what -?
How the hell was he meant to know what time it was now -? Duo grasped
his companion's wrist and twisted it to look at the gold watch. "In ten
minutes time. So you go and give your speech and I'll slip up to the room
and wait for you there."
Quatre nodded, dumbly. He stared at the flush on Duo's cheeks; the rise
and fall of his chest under his vibrant shirt; the slim fingers ghosting
over Quatre's torso, as if unsure where they wanted to touch first. He
fumbled in his jacket pocket and brought out a card key. Duo took it.
They both stood for a second, breathing heavily.
"Just one card to the room?"
Quatre's heart lurched inside him. "You -- but you'll be there,
won't you, when I'm done here? Look, if you want to leave here, after
all, it's OK --"
Duo laid a hand on his arm and squeezed gently. "I'll be there to let
"Might be a while -- the speech ..."
"I'll still be there."
" -- congratulations -- some other speeches, maybe --"
"Go," said Duo, firmly. He pushed gently at Quatre, a strange motion that
hovered equally between dismissal and caress. "For fuck's sake, Quatre
Winner, go! Then the sooner you'll be back!"
[part 4] [part 6] [back
to FancyFigures' fic]