disclaimer: the boys aren't mine. i just play with them for my own entertainment. if they didn't like it, they'd complain... right?

this is a sequel to 'mercury rising' (it is highly suggested that you read mercury rising before you read this)
pairings: 2X1, 1XOC, 1X2
overall rating: NC-17
cumulative warnings: yaoi, AU, pov, possibility of kinky things, citrusiness; some implied, some shown and a shitload of angst
spoilers: *coughs* ermmm... no

notes: this is for kelly; who is adamant in her belief that my mercury duo is in need of a major attitude adjustment..... and that heero has just the tool for the job. *hentai grin* she didn't ask for the angst... that just comes with the territory.

summary: heero wants something from duo that he isn't likely to give him without some sort of confrontation....

a change in the weather
by jana
part 1

The 25th of December pretty much came and went without a hitch.

I arrived at my parents house on schedule; one day before the holiday as promised. The only notable omission from Christmas Day was Duo himself and I was probably the only one amongst us who was bothered by it. I was actually relieved that he'd decided not to join us; but still more than a little pissed off that he hadn't said a word to me about it.

His parents had arrived shortly before noon and Mrs. Maxwell immediately offered up an apology for her son's absence. There were many things that Duo was, and I told myself that a liar couldn't be counted among them. I had no doubt that even his own parents believed his assertion that he had a prior engagement and that it had previously slipped his mind. I, on the other hand, knew better. I'm guessing from the way the news was received by Cynthia that she might have suspected something was amiss as well. I successfully hid my anger throughout the gift exchanging ritual and by the time we'd seated ourselves at the dinner table, I'd managed to let myself get caught up in all the festivities and I didn't think about it again until long after the house returned to its normally quiet state at around 8:00.

I changed into a pair of sweats and a t-shirt as soon as I went upstairs and into my room. I find that I'm able to think better when I'm dressed comfortably. I laid on my bed and tried to decide what it was about him not showing up that angered me and decided that my initial reaction to the situation was accurate. He should have told me that he'd changed his mind; if not yesterday when we'd parted company in Princeton, then via phone this morning. It was rude of him to do otherwise, even if it had been a last minute decision on his part. It was he last summer who'd none too tactfully alerted me to the gaping holes in my interpersonal etiquette.

It wasn't likely that I would be forgiving him for this anytime soon.


I cut short the visit to Doylestown without explanation and returned to my apartment in Princeton just three days after Christmas.

There were 4 messages on my answering machine when I got home and caller ID indicated that they were all from Duo. The first one seemed to imply that he had been expecting me to call him about his absence at my parents house on Christmas without really coming right out and saying so. I found the notion to be ridiculous, actually laughing out loud as the recording played itself back and wondering if he in fact had taken temporary leave of his senses. There was a small pause before the machine beeped and began playing the second message. It was much along the same lines as the first though I found myself less amused by it. I deleted the remaining two messages without even bothering to listen to them.

The visit to my folks house had been a nice buffer between the hectic close of the semester and the upcoming 3 weeks I had off. I spent the next few days sleeping late, playing on my computer and generally indulging myself in the overwhelming urge I had to do absolutely nothing.

I would have been lying to myself if I didn't admit that the situation with Duo bothered me... and on several different levels. The most obvious problem I had with it was that he'd bailed on me. It was compounded by the fact that joining us for Christmas dinner had been his idea in the first place. The second was that he'd not had the decency to call and tell me himself. I couldn't help but be curious as to what it was that made him change his mind. I had expressed more than a little concern regarding his intention to out us to our parents. I wondered if he'd given that idea some further thought and came to a similar conclusion. The third and perhaps the worst part of all was the attitude he seemed to hold that it was me who was somehow responsible for making things right between us again; or as right as they ever were.

Not much had changed since the summer. The arrangement seemed to work well for both of us. There was no commitment, a barely discernable amount of emotion and a whole lot of great sex. I wasn't quite ready to give up whatever it was that we had together. I did however manage to resist the rising temptation to contact him, even going so far as to delete the e-mail I'd spent over an hour formulating. Just typing it out had made me feel a whole lot better about the affair and R.E.M.'s song 'Letter Never Sent' came to mind. I silently gave my nod of approval to Stipe and his ever cryptic lyrics


Much to my surprise, I'd been invited to a New Year's celebration by a fellow classmate and something in my new found attitude suggested that I accept. Vincent and I were both CSci majors and had been in most of the same classes for the past several years. He seemed to pick up fairly quickly on the changes I'd undergone over the summer and when he'd casually extended his invitation over lunch, it never entered my mind to decline it.

I was growing more apprehensive as the evening wore on though. I was unsure that even the tremendous strides I'd made in dealing with people would be enough to get me through an entire evening with a large group of people; most of whom I'd done nothing more than say a polite hello to.

As 9:00 approached, I showered and dressed casually in a pair of jeans and a simple white button down shirt and attempted not to focus on my social inabilities while I made my way down to the second floor of my building. I stepped into the elevator and pressed the 2nd floor button. I gazed at my reflection in the shiny steel elevator walls and ran my one hand through my still damp hair, the other tightening its grip on the bottle of Champagne I held.

And as much as I tried I couldn't ignore the fact that I was relatively certain that Vincent was attracted to me nor that I felt the same about him.


Vincent's apartment was located three floors directly below mine and occupied a corner as well. He too had a wraparound balcony that offered a panoramic view of downtown Princeton. It was nothing like living on the Upper East Side of New York City, but as far as housing in this area went, it was prime.

The door at the end of the hall to his apartment was open. Even if I'd not known exactly which one it was, I could have followed the sound; an obnoxious mix of loud voices and the reverberating bass of an cg techno song. I entered the brightly lit space, nodding at several people I thought I recognized from around campus. I headed straight for the kitchen, removing the bottle of Champagne from its paper bag and placing it on the counter alongside the various assortment of other liquors..


I turned sharply as a familiar voice called out my name. "Hey, Vincent."

He was dressed casually, a black button down silk shirt and a pair of dark low rise jeans; the waistband riding low enough on his hips so that a white band of his stomach was visible. The second thing I noticed was his hair. He wore it down tonight as opposed to pinned back in its standard ponytail. It reminded me of Duo's, though Vincent's was jet black and shy by what I estimated was at least a foot. "I see things are already in full swing."

He nodded and looked down at his watch. "It's nearly 10. I didn't think you were going to show. Can I get you anything? Something to drink?"

I shook my head to indicate that I didn't require anything at the moment. I wasn't aware if he knew that I didn't drink. I felt ridiculous telling him so. "Maybe later."

"Just help yourself when you're ready."

I smiled and followed him into the living area, noticing the drastic increase in noise level as we exited the kitchen. He lead me toward the center of the room, stopping just outside a circle of what I knew to be his closest friends. I recognized some of them from my own classes, but only by face. Vincent proceeded to introduce them to me one by one. I used my limited knowledge of lip-reading and managed to catch of few of their names. Most of them looked fairly inebriated and I guessed they wouldn't have noticed if I addressed them by something other than their correct names. I dismissed the group with a roll of my eyes; certain I wouldn't be spending much time with any of them that evening.

"They're crocked.."

I turned toward Vince and smiled. "Yeah. I can see that."

"You don't drink, do you?"

I shook my head.

He raised his glass a few inches and smiled at me. "Ginger Ale. Want one?"

I wasn't particularly thirsty, but agreed, fleeing behind him into the kitchen and away from the noise. I seated myself at the table an reached for pretzel. Vincent handed me a glass and sat across from me. "So, what happened over the summer?"

My face revealed my surprise apparently because he looked amused when our eyes met. "Yes, it's very obvious.

I brought my glass up as if to toast before bringing it to my lips and taking a sip. "I had an epiphany." I admitted.

He chuckled. "Ahhh. And does this epiphany have a name?"

I winked. "He might."


The next hour and a half passed relatively quickly and at 11:55, the television in the living room was blaring Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve from Times Square. Those of us who still had the capacity to stand crowded around the small set; watching as the master of ceremonies face made its way onto the screen. "He hasn't aged a bit in the past 10 years." I commented to no one in particular. There seemed to be a general agreement on the issue.

"Face lifts."

I turned to find Vincent standing beside me and I let out a low laugh. "You're probably right."

He nodded and we both watched as the huge crystal ball began its journey.

At 11:59 and 50 seconds, the entire room joined in the countdown.

"10.... 9..... 8.....7..... 6..... 5......4..... 3..... 2..... 1.. HAPPY NEW YEAR!" the mostly drunken chorus chimed; and at 12:00 and approximately 2 seconds, I found myself kissing Vincent and in no hurry to stop.


The party broke up shortly after 1:00 and I had offered to stay and help clean up. Everyone who'd attended was within walking distance of our building; though some looked more like they needed to be carried. Vincent saw his guests down into the lobby while I started collecting all the garbage and disposing of it. On my second trip into the living room, I turned off the music; sighing at the glorious silence that filled the room.

By the time he returned, I had already gathered most of the mess from around the apartment and brought it into the kitchen. He was grateful for my help and the two of us collapsed down onto the couch at almost 2:00. I think it was a little awkward for both of us. I had no intention of getting involved with him when I'd arrived here tonight. The kiss at midnight was nearly as much a surprise to me as it was to him. We were both more prepared this time and as I began sliding toward his side the couch, he moved to meet me halfway. "I take it you're not opposed to a second kiss?"

He smiled and shook his head.


on to part 2

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