"Here's to Us"
Written By: Presser
Pairings : 1x2
Disclaimer : Gundam Wing characters aren't mine
Rating : PG-13 except for part 12 which is NC-17
Warnings : AU, some sap, some fluff, some angst.
Feedback : Yes please!
"Here's to Us"
~ 1 ~
"Thank you, and please come again." Duo smiled as he watched silver curls fade through the doorway of his shop. He picked up the cup and plate, fork and napkin left behind by Mrs. Dornan, a sweet lady who lived round the corner from The Emporium. She was almost always his last customer for lunch on Thursdays. Duo walked quietly past the display case of spice cakes and sweet rolls he had made that morning and into the tiny kitchen where he brushed crumbs from the plate with the napkin and then washed the dishes by hand. Cup, plate and fork went into the drainer, then were picked up and dried.
Into the cupboard they went; back into the shop Duo
went. He walked from the small seating area (enough for a dozen if
every seat was taken) to the retail side of The Emporium and idly
adjusted the displays of hand-made soaps, scented candles, and perfumes
that he also produced in a room behind the kitchen. His work done
for the moment, Duo settled into his seat behind a small, rough-hewn
table that served as his
Really need to get back in shape, Duo thought as he perused an article on Japanese martial arts. Seems like there's a place somewhere in town that teaches -
Duo's thought was interrupted by the tinkle of the bell at the top of the door to his shop. He looked up to see a Japanese man entering. "May I help you?"
"No." The man paused, uncertain. "Just looking."
"That's fine; just let me know if you need anything at all."
Duo went back to reading his magazine, but he was struck by the appearance of the man. Definitely Japanese, Duo thought, but definitely unusual. Instead of the usual coal-black hair, this man's locks were a deep chocolate color. And messy. Bangs fell into his eyes, which Duo found fascinating. Were they blue? He couldn't tell from the brief glance he had been given before the man ducked his head. Early twenties, Duo thought, about the same as me. The man wandered through the tiny shop, examining soaps and perfumes, stopping at the display of candles. He selected one after another, sniffing each before returning it to its place. Deciding on one, he held it up and said, "How much?"
"That's one half of a pair. The set is three ninety five."
The man picked up the corresponding candle and looked toward Duo, raising his eyebrows as he did.
"Yes, that's the other one."
The man moved toward Duo, his head down. He laid the candles on Duo's table and moved to pull his wallet from the inside of his coat.
"That's a good choice. Sandalwood with a hint of jasmine." The man nodded without speaking. He paid for the candles, which Duo wrapped in tissue paper before placing them into a paper bag with the words "The Emporium" hand-lettered on one side. The man turned to go when Duo called to him.
"Oh, sir?" The man stopped and turned. "Don't forget your change." The man's lips thinned slightly. He returned to the table with his hand out. Duo dropped the coins into the open palm, his fingers grazing the golden skin. The man looked up and hesitantly said "Th-thank you." He turned and left the shop, Duo calling out after him.
"Thank you, and please come again."
Duo sat still for a moment, watching the man walk past the swirly script on the front window of the shop. His eyes /were/ blue, Duo thought with wonder.
* * *
"Oh, Duo, you would have just /loved/ it! Of all the bands that have come to the college, this one's the best if you love alternative rock like I do." Duo smiled as he poured more coffee for Jason and Rachel, a young married couple who frequented his shop when not in classes.
"Sounds like you had a great time."
"We did! It was fantastic!"
"Good. More spice cake?"
"None for me," Rachel said, squishing the final crumbs on her plate between the tines of her fork.
"It's tempting, but no," Jason said.
"Look, I've got to see about the others here; I'll be back in a moment." Duo scurried behind the counter to place the coffeepot back on the burner before returning to tend to the wants of his other customers. Thank heaven for concerts, Duo thought. Don't think I'd make it otherwise. He checked in with two other couples, then bussed some dishes left by the threesome that had just paid. As he returned from the kitchen, he noticed a face in the window. It's that Japanese fellow from earlier today, Duo thought. Before he could react, someone raised a cup and said, "More coffee, Duo?" Duo shook himself and moved to refill the cup. When he looked up again, the man was gone.
"D'you see someone you know?"
"Huh?" Duo raised an eyebrow at Rachel.
"Just a minute ago. You were staring out the window."
"Oh, I don't know. Someone was by the shop today, and I thought I saw him looking in."
"Him? Anyone...interesting?" Rachel smiled slyly at Duo and winked at Jason.
"Oh, come on, Rach. Duo's way too picky to be attracted to a passerby. Look at all the handsome guys you've brought by the shop, only to have them sniffed at."
"Hey! I'm not a snob, Jason." Duo straightened his shoulders a bit. "I'm just...choosy, that's all."
"Uh huh. And just about every eligible bachelor in town isn't quite your type. Am I right?"
"Well...." Duo grinned sheepishly. He didn't try to hide the fact that he was gay, but he didn't flaunt it, either. Rachel and Jason had discovered his sexual orientation a couple of years ago when they found him moping over a macadamia nut cookie. As new regulars at The Emporium, Rachel had felt comfortable expressing concern, and Duo opened up, sharing the angst of his recent breakup with the couple. Since then Duo had been something of a project for Rachel, who was determined to find the right man for him.
"Leave him alone, Jason," Rachel said her lower lip jutting out. "Maybe the man Duo saw is just his type."
"Well, he /was/ unusual," Duo said quietly.
"He's Japanese, but his hair isn't black; it's sort of chocolate brown. And his eyes are blue!"
"Does sound tempting." Jason smiled as he raised both eyebrows. Rachel shot him an angry look. "Hey, Duo, maybe he'll come back into the shop. Give it a bit of time, okay?" Jason's sincere tone softened Rachel's look.
"Yeah, well. I gotta clean this place up. Scoot, you two! It's after closing time!" Smiles and coats and handshakes and hugs collided comfortably, and Duo saw his friends out the door, which he locked behind them, pulling the shade over the long rectangle of glass. He walked back to the table to gather dishes and cups, taking care in the stacking of them.