Author: Mi
Pairings: None yet
Rating: G
Warnings: AU. Some shounen-ai, although it's just eyeing.
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is not mine. Everything else is. Everything.

Spotlight + Part 9

So... this was what a real photo gallery looked like.

If you had asked him outright, Duo would have told you that he hadn't known what to expect when Quatre had invited him over to see Trowa's latest exhibition. But that would have been a lie.

Duo had only been to one art show in his entire life, and it hadn't really been an art show, truthfully. During the time that he lived at the church he had had several Mothers, but he had been seven Mary Anne had come. She had been young, not more that twenty-two, and had just come back from a year abroad as a missionary in the name of Christ. She was enthusiastic and young and fun, and infused the old place with a new spirit. Her greatest passion had been the arts, as she believed that art was one of the only true forms in which God showed Himself to His children. Duo could not remember a single instance when Mary Anne had come to his dormitory and not brought some kind of art supply. On good days she brought pens, or brightly colored chalk; on bad days it would be nothing more than a few sheets of colored paper.

On one autumn day came bearing a brand new box of shiny crayons. Each wax crayon was wrapped with crisp paper that matched its color, and each had its own name; not ordinary color names like ‘red' or ‘blue' but names like ‘burnt sienna' or ‘gunmetal gray' or ‘soft mauve.' Duo had been alone in the hall when Mary Anne presented him with the bright yellow box; in his seven-year-old eyes the box was rightfully his. He loved those crayons, loved to draw with them and read their names aloud to himself when he was alone. He loved to count them, and made sure that all 36 went safely back into their box when he was done playing with them. When he finished using them he would wrap the box in his favorite blanket and hide it under his pillow. Eventually he would tire of them and give them to the other children to play with, but for a few months they were his favorite toys. He imagined that each crayon had its own separate personality; his favorite was ‘Royal Blue', in part because he had a friend in the orphanage named Royale and a friend named Blue. But he also liked that particular crayon because while it seemed so much more important than its brothers it didn't act any differently that the other crayons. Royal didn't argue against mingling with the other blues, even though he knew that he was superior. He was the king of crayons, and the other crayons in the box were his loyal subjects. Even when he had been worn down to a stump from so much use he still had a regal air about him.

When Mary Anne had seen how intensely Duo played with the crayons she suggested that he put up some of his pictures on the walls of the church. Duo had been embarrassed. Mary Anne suggested that all of the kids in the orphanage put up their artwork; an art show for the entire church.

So Mary Anne had gone around the orphanage and the church and collected works of art from everyone who lived there; even the old rector had contributed a piece. She displayed them all in the entry hall, taped to the stone walls with scotch tape. Each of the pieces had a little paper underneath it with the name of its artist and a title if the artist had chosen one. For weeks people entering the church for mass or service would stop a moment and look at one of the drawings in marker and construction paper, or at a sculpture made of paper cups and plastic silverware in the shape of a fruit basket.

Duo had been expecting an epic of similar proportions when he walked into 141 W. Mercer St. with Quatre and Trowa.

It was completely different.

+

Duo's first thought was that it was white. The room was white, the floor was white, the ceilings were white; even the little placards that hung below each picture were white. Duo didn't mind a little white but this was ridiculous. As Duo was noticing the room he was forced to notice the pictures, their dark grays and blacks standing in stark contrast to the blankness of their surroundings.

Actually there was only one picture.

One picture, in black and white, of someone's leg. Or was it of someone's hand? Duo stared at it a little more. It was a leg. And a hand. It was a hand next to a leg and the fingers of the hand were beckoning to him. Obligingly, Duo moved forward. And then he moved again, to see the picture better. The picture was farther away than he had originally thought. One more step should do it. There, now he could see it better. As soon as he could see the hand clearly a flicker of light caught his eye. It was light reflecting off of another picture, about five feet off to his right. He turned and went over to look at it. Again, it seemed farther away than it looked. This one was of two eyes looking to the left; Duo looked too. Following the gaze of the picture, Duo walked down the narrow hallway to his left. Just when it seemed like he was chasing a dead end the hallway opened up into a circular room. A gigantic atrium.

On the walls, about three feet apart from each other, were Trowa's pictures. Some were black and white and some were color. All of them were of people, or at least used people for models. After watching Trowa do a couple more shoots Duo wasn't sure that he actually took the pictures of the people.

In the middle of the room was a huge picture, about six feet high by three feet wide. Duo walked closer to it. When he was about four feet away he realized that it wasn't just one picture. It was many pictures, arranged together to form one image. And it was a familiar image.

It was black boy.

+

Duo realized that he had been staring at the giant photo mindlessly when he felt a light touch on his left shoulder and he started. It was only Quatre.

"So, what do you think?" Quatre had a proud air hanging around him; it was tangible and Duo could feel it.

"Who is that?" Duo was still staring at the larger-than-life picture of black boy. It wasn't a very creative nickname. Duo wanted a better one.

"I think it came out very well. And the turnout has been good so far. The photos were good this time around, but of course, they always are." Keeping to his own agenda-typical Quatre.

"Who is that?" Duo repeated, without really listening to what Quatre was saying. Quatre stopped talking and looked over at the giant collage of photos.

"In that one? I thought you would have met him by now. He's one of Trowa's regular models, they've been friends for years. Since before we met, I believe. His name is-"

"Heero. Heero Yuy. And you are?"

Duo jumped. He turned around, but he wasn't sure that he had actually moved since the sight that greeted him was almost identical to the photo he had just been looking at. It was the same boy that he had seen a week and a half ago, still dressed in the same black turtleneck and trenchcoat. He was still wearing the giant Celtic cross but the barbed wire choker was gone. In its place was a light red shadow all around Heero's neck with tiny puncture marks every inch or so. It had been real barbed wire. He was wearing only two earrings this time, a long silver chain with tiny silver links and a silver teardrop on the end hung from his left earlobe and a silver cuff with a Celtic knot design cupped his upper left ear. His eyebrow was still pierced, and when he spoke Duo thought he could see a flash of silver on his tongue. He was holding a smoking cigarette in his right hand, and it was a good few seconds before Duo realized that he was being asked a question.

"Duo. Duo Maxwell. Pleased to meet you... Heero." Duo extended his hand for Heero to shake, but Heero didn't shake it. Instead he brought it up to his lips and softly kissed the knuckle of Duo's ring ringer. Duo was puzzled, but no so much so that he missed the ring on Heero's left pinkie. It was a squarish steel ring identical to the one that Trowa always wore. Duo would have thought more significantly on the subject but at that moment Heero distracted him. He bit his knuckle. Duo yelped in surprise and drew his hand back to look at it. There wasn't even a mark. It had been more of a nip. What a way to greet a guy, Duo thought. What if he has rabies?

"The pleasure's all mine." Heero smirked, "Don't worry, I don't have rabies." Duo just stared. "Quatre." Heero nodded at Quatre, who was shaking his head.

"Heero. This is Duo Maxwell, Tori's new roomie. He's also, generously I might add" here he looked pointedly at Heero, "agreed to be Tori's new model. You won't have to work as much now, I'd wager."

"Well if anyone could afford a losing bet it'd be you Mr. R.W." Heero was still smirking at Duo and Duo shrunk back from him just a bit. Heero was showing teeth. "Trowa won't drop me, you know that as well as I do. Even so, he couldn't have picked a better model." He looked Duo up and down in a way that made Duo yearn for a big, thick, parka. "Nice." He wouldn't have minded being in Alaska to wear it either.

"Trowa didn't pick him. I did." Quatre huffed.

"Indeed. Well, I congratulate you on your taste Quatre. Enjoy that, it will be the first and last time." Heero turned to Duo and his body posture spoke very loudly to Quatre that they were finished. Quatre's proud air had dissipated and it was quickly being replaced by the air of a very out-of-temper cat. "Well, what do you think?" He arranged himself to look exactly as he did in the large photo and looked pointedly at Duo.

"Ah... very nice." Duo couldn't think of anything else to say. ‘Like a crazy psychopath' probably wouldn't have gone over too well. On the other hand, Heero seemed like the kind of guy who would take that sort of thing as a compliment.

"Mmm. So you're Trowa's roommate. We did meet, once, that first day." He took a few steps towards Duo, all the while staring at him in that disturbing way. Duo thought of turning tail and running but he sensed that it probably wouldn't ameliorate the situation. Heero stopped a foot away from him and tilted his head a little to the left, as if sizing up Duo in his mind, which he probably was. "I'll be seeing you around then, pretty." He smiled at Duo and then walked right past him. Duo stayed stock-still facing the pictures until he was sure that Heero had left. After about fifteen seconds he turned around to check. He had. Quatre looked about ready to boil over.

"I really don't like that... boy." Quatre was practically seething. "I've told Trowa time and time again, but for some reason they're very attached to each other. Nothing I do or say can get rid of him." Quatre had gotten his piece out and was fast on his way to calming down. "But to be fair, he does make an incredible model, doesn't he." Duo looked up at the display.

"Yeah." But that didn't mean that he didn't also make his blood run cold and his skin clammy all over. There was something about Heero Yuy that Duo Maxwell did not like; not one bit.

+

After an hour and a half of looking at Trowa's photos Duo and Quatre agreed that it was time to go. They walked through the gallery looking for Trowa and found him in the foyer explaining to a guest his technique. Since Trowa didn't talk too much it was a short conversation.

"Trowa, it's time to go, don't you think?" Quatre walked calmly over to where Trowa was trying to extricate himself and put a weighty hand on his shoulder. It was obvious to everyone that Quatre was in charge.

"Mr. Sheene, Mr. Quatre. R. W. Mr. Sheene, Mr. R.W. is my business partner. He is responsible for making all of my exhibitions possible." Mr. Sheene nodded at Quatre. "Mr. Sheene is very interested in photography."

"It's a lost art." Quatre and Trowa nodded.

"A pleasure to meet you Mr. Sheene, but we really do have to go. We hope to see you again at all of our following shows, the first of which is... " Quatre led Mr. Sheene away from Trowa as he explained to him Trowa's schedule. He made a little signal behind Mr. Sheene's back that told Duo and Trowa to leave; he'd meet them outside.

When they got outside Trowa turned to Duo and held up a hand. "Well?"

"It was amazing Trowa, thanks. You really have talent."

"Anything you liked in particular." Duo knew that he was just trying to make small talk until Quatre got back, but he appreciated it.

"Well... the big collage was... impressive." Trowa nodded.

"It's one of my more popular pieces." Duo hesitated a little.

"I... met the subject matter. He was very... " Duo was trying to think of a polite way to describe his encounter with Heero Yuy. Quatre saved him the effort.

"Rude." With Quatre there they all started walking back towards Duo and Trowa's apartment. "I keep telling you how much I dislike him Tori, but you seem so attached. He was even rude to Duo." Trowa raised an eyebrow at Duo. Duo tried to look as innocent as possible but his slight blush and his look of distaste gave him away.

"He was a little... odd." Trowa stopped to look at them both.

"So you don't like him either Duo?" Duo wanted to say no but he couldn't; he shook his head. Trowa started moving again and they all walked in silence for a minute. Finally, Trowa spoke.

"I guess this would be a bad time then to tell you two that we're having him over for dinner tomorrow night."

+

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