Title: An Eye for Aesthetics

Series: Seventh Heaven

Author: Sorceress Fantasia

Pairings: 1+2

Warnings: Heero POV, AU (Our world and time)

Archive: Finally Fantasia (my homepage)

Disclaimer: I don't own anything but the story. GW and all the brands mentioned here belong to whomever they belong to. Thank you for paying attention. :P

Note: This is present day Heero, which also implies a Heero who has never actually been directly involved in a war. Therefore, he is much more optimistic and normal like any present day kid. The same goes for the other characters. Hence, no OOC tags.

Thanks to Dark Tenchi for beta-ing!

I love photography.

The elation of putting beautiful things onto pictures is very satisfying. Whenever the button 'clicks', I know there'll be a unique picture for observation later. Just like fingerprints, no two pictures are exactly identical. The way a picture looks will be different if you take the photo a second earlier or a second later. The wind could blow suddenly and mess up your hair, or a bee could suddenly fly into the picture and freak someone out. Or even a sudden movement of your hands, and the picture would turn out to be a blur of colours. But a second earlier, every line and curve would have been very sharp.

The most important difference (in my opinion, at least) between fingerprints and photos is that the latter can be duplicated.

And I'm immensely grateful for that.

Some photos, especially those taken by professionals, are so beautiful I want to keep copies of it all nicely framed up in my room. That, and my sister who seems to have taken a liking to 'accidentally' destroying them.

I still don't understand how that picture of Mount Fuji could have ended up on the stove.

Anyway, the elation of actually snapping the shots and the elation of seeing the pictures I've taken is entirely different. Sometimes, I'd see some really beautiful things, and I would wonder if it was really 'my' art. Like that picture of the sea I took some time ago. I could see the horizon clearly, and it was the only thing separating the deep blue sea and the clear blue sky. It's all blue, but the blend of colours is amazing. When I saw the picture for the first time, the only thought that came to my mind was: did I take this? After all this time, I still find it hard to believe that even someone as unsociable as me could have an eye for the aesthetics.

My only regret about photography is that I don't have access to a darkroom, which means that I can't develop the photos myself. But even if I do, I wouldn't know how. I'm still very much an amateur, which is why I still obediently hand the negatives over to the stores now.

But how can I further develop my skills if I have nothing of aesthetic value to shoot at? And that seems to be the case recently. It's already near the end of the summer holidays, and I won't have much time to indulge in photography during term time.

I sigh. Picking up my camera, I head out. I would rather waste a roll of film outside than stay home and vegetate.

Snap. Snap. Snap.

I'll bet that people are already looking at me strangely and thinking, 'What the hell is that kid doing with a camera? Taking pictures of the air?' But they don't understand… because they don't look closely. All they have to do is look beyond the empty space to see the lovely greenery around here. The way the blades of grass lean into the breeze and the slow descent of the leaves onto the ground may strike others as boring; but personally, I think they're interesting to look at. Further inside the park, there're people walking around and happily talking. Perhaps because I'm pathetic in the social skills department, I've always envied those who can talk without a care in the world. And I like observing human interaction.

Luckily for me, summer holidays also mean that I don't have to cook dinner because Hirde will be eating out with her buddies from high school nearly every day, so I've got more time on my hands. Actually, ever since we've moved into this city, I've been the one doing all the chores, including preparing breakfast and dinner, just because I'm the good o'l elder brother. Although she's a girl, Hirde has never stepped foot into the kitchen other than for a glass of water or for the fridge.

Sometimes, I think she's taking advantage of being the younger one in the family.

Luckily our parents are providing our living expenses, or I think I would have burned myself out juggling work and school together. Although our apartment is under their names, they don't actually live with us. They're always flying all around the globe for their business, so I've always been the one looking after Hirde.

I think I'm becoming too domestic.

Handing my roll of film over to the guy at the counter, I leave the store with a note to return later in the day to collect the photos.

And I start getting bored again. Although the camera looks tempting, I think I'll give it a slide this time. Instead, I let my legs take me wherever they want to go. It isn't very long before I find myself in the busy part of the city, frowning at the sheer number of people on the streets here.

Ah, might as well observe the people. Hmm… contrary to what the manufacturer of Barbie Dolls think, pink does not look good when it's used excessively. And that woman walking towards me… I think she has enough plastic in her to start a Barbie Doll factory. Hey, so I'm biased against the doll. So what? But I really don't think it's my fault, honestly. It's some childhood trauma. Hirde used to have a room full of the thing, but I think she enjoys taking the clothes off more than dressing them up, because I could find naked dolls everywhere in the house back then. The only good thing about the dolls was that they made very good hostages.

Just as I'm about to go home and rest, I see him. The one person worthy of my full attention.

Brown hair… no , chestnut hair skillfully gathered in a neat braid. Fair complexion. Black clothes.

That sounds normal, but it isn't. It's special in a normal way. Damn, I don't even know how to describe what I'm feeling. But I can't help but feel attracted. And my eyes cannot leave him.

Suddenly, I can feel my nerves screaming at me. He's the one! The beauty I'm looking for in my photos!

I run towards him quickly, but the sudden screech and loud horn of a car reminds me of the fact that he is, unfortunately, on the other side of the busy road. When I look up again, he is already gone.

I curse. More than a little upset, I leave the area, ignoring the blatant stares and vulgarities the driver is hurling at me. It just isn't fair. Finally, after days of searching, I find someone beautiful, and I lose him on the streets. I didn't even get the chance to take a longer look!

My musings are still occupying my mind as I walk into the air-conditioned comforts of the store to get my photos back. True to their words, my photos are ready and I quickly pay up. I ran back to my apartment, too anxious to see how the pictures had turn out. Even though I missed that guy, at least I might be able to find something good in this stack. At least, that's what I've told myself to think. It'll be too depressing to think otherwise.

As I lounge in my chair, I pull out the stack and toss the paper bag onto my bed. The first few are disappointing. I might as well have been snapping at the air. The next few are somewhat better. At least, I can see something that's worth looking at. As I continuing flipping through the pictures, I'm suddenly surprised to see a mob of chestnut somewhere it shouldn't have been. I look closer.

It's him! He had been in the park earlier too!

I grin. It may only be his head at the corner of one photo, but I think that's good enough. The person in the photo is breathtaking, just like him in reality. Chestnut braid lying peacefully on his back, a few wisps flowing with the wind… I can't really see anything pass that, but my imagination brings me further. I see his sparkling eyes of… maybe blue? Pink lips? Perk nose?

I've never seen him up close, but the feeling I got just from that one glance is so special.

Smiling, I grab one of the photo frames on my desk and toss out that picture of the Grand Canyon and put in the new one. After I put the frame back, I lean back and gaze at it. Position, okay. Angle, okay. Lighting, okay. It looks wonderful. And I really hope it'll be able to stay there for a very long time. But just in case…

I pick up the paper bag and take out the negatives. I quickly find the one I need, and jot its position down on a piece of paper.

Let me see… One for the photo frame, one for my wallet, one for the photo album, one for the stove, one for the oven, one for the aquarium, one for the toilet bowl, one for permanent markers…