disclaimer: the boys aren't mine. i just play with them for my own entertainment.

cumulative rating: NC-17
pairings: 2+1, 1X1, 2X2, 2X1 it's heero and duo, folks. do i ever write anything else?!?!
warnings: yaoi, AU, light angst, POV in later parts, OOC (depends), citrus in various forms (too long a list to mention)
spoilers: you're kidding....right?

notes: my muses took off on this one. im trying to keep them in character as much as possible given the obvious total rewrite of their pasts.

this was *supposed* to be another PWP, but it took on a life of its own and ended up to be fairly long and i'm pretty sure it's not a pwp anymore, but i'm unable to put my finger on exactly what it is. *sweatdrops*

it is also the first time i've attempted to write a fic where heero and duo are NOT heero and duo... meaning there was no war and that they grew up having lived relatively normal lives; very much unlike their soldier counterparts. it is also my first attempt at a strict 2X1.

summary: heero and duo are both 20 and in college and it is summertime. they don't know each other.. but they will.

// thoughts //

mercury rising
part 7

I woke at dawn feeling no better about what had happened the night before. I made the decision that it would be best if I stayed out of Duo's way for the next few days. I imagined there would be some kind of confrontation between us about what I had seen and I really didn't want to talk about it.

What Duo did was his business and if mentioned, I would surely have let him know that I thought it an inappropriate thing to do out in the open. I could see my comment taking things in a nasty direction.

Yes... it would be better to just avoid contact with him until all of this blew over.


Duo didn't show up for breakfast the following morning. I attributed his absence to one of two reasons. He either was sleeping in or he was trying to avoid me. I figured that the party had probably lasted well into the morning hours and that he was most likely nursing a hangover to boot. But I hoped it was the latter; since I was still no where near ready to face him.

Cynthia had come to the same 'sleeping late' conclusion and mentioned it over breakfast. I was glad she had; it gave me the perfect excuse for me to skip my morning swim; citing that my presence out there could disturb his needed rest. I decided that I'd take a trip into town today. There were some things I needed to pick up but above all I just needed to get out of the house; before Duo showed up.


I opted instead to take the 30 minute drive to the mall. Crowded places and shopping weren't high on my list of desired entertainment and so I rarely ventured there. It required a fair amount of concentration to determine when I'd last been here. I grimaced as I recalled it. It hadn't really been that long ago; it was only the previous summer in fact.... while trying to escape from last summers help. I was beginning to sense a pattern here; and it was one that I found I highly disapproved of.

While the two instances were as different as night and day, my reaction to them was the same; I ran.

I ran from that girl because I disliked her and I was running from Duo because I liked him... and because of what had transpired the night before. The word coward instantly came to mind; but I wrote it off and settled on chalking it up to my total lack of social graces and inability to rationally deal with and confront my emotions. It wasn't that much of an improvement over my initial thought.. it might even have been worse.

I took the escalator up to the food court and ordered a large container of Boardwalk fries and made my way over to a table in the corner. My recent discovery required some thought and I decided this was probably a good a time as any to give it some. I dipped a fry into the small cup of vinegar and popped it into my mouth. How was I going to change this?

It was too late to worry about what had transpired last year, but there was still this year to deal with; as well as some kind of general lifestyle adjustment that was needed. I looked around the large open space, finding that mine was the only table that was occupied by a single person and for a moment; I wished Cynthia were here with me. I wasn't sure what it was that I would say to her or how I would even begin to describe my dilemma. I inwardly smiled as I realized that she was probably very much aware of my numerous inadequacies and more than likely had a few words of wisdom to offer me on the subject.

I finished my fries and stopped at Staples on my way out to pick up some computer supplies before heading home to speak with her.


I entered the house at around 2 to find a note on the kitchen table. I picked it up and read it.

Went out for a while.
Duo was here twice looking for you.
Be back before dinnertime.


// So much for him wanting to steer clear of me. //

I set the note back down on the table and headed straight up to my room. Cynthia would be home in about three hours. All I needed to do was to avoid Duo until then; until I had a chance to speak with her. I was fairly confident that I could pull it off...... until I heard a knock on the door.

// Or maybe not. //

"Heero? You in there?"

Tenacious.. it's the only word that came to mind.

I stood and opened the door.

"There you are. I've been looking for you all day."

"I went to the mall."

"Can I come in?"

I blushed a bit, but stepped aside to allow him to enter. He sat on the edge of my bed and looked up at me, handing me the stack of CD's he'd borrowed. "I wanted to return these. Thanks."

"No problem." I took them from him and walked around the bed to return them to the CD rack.

"Listen....." he began.

I froze.

// Please don't say what I think you're going to say. //

"About last night..."

// ...... //

I turned toward him and he looked.... hesitant. "I'd rather not talk about it if you don't mind." I continued putting the CD's away.

"Okay. But I just wanted to apologize."

I didn't look up at him. "Accepted."

"You don't even know what I'm apologizing for."

I looked over at him; he'd risen from the bed and was facing me with his hands on his hips. "Whatever it is, I accept. Is that all you came here for?"

"You are a piece of work, Heero. You know that?"

He was angry... and perhaps hurt.. I couldn't see the expression on his face; I didn't want to.

"I don't even know why I bother trying to talk to you."

I could see out of the corner of my eye that he was crossing the room to exit and found myself wishing he would... and as fast as humanly possible.

He made no attempt to hide his anger. "Aren't you going to say anything?" he spat out.

// Definitely pissed off.. //

I let out a sigh and turned toward him. "I reacted poorly last night and I should probably be apologizing to you." I couldn't tell by his expression if I'd said the right thing.

He took two steps forward; bringing him closer to where I stood. "I can understand your reaction. I should have been more discreet."

I was shocked by what he'd said and I merely nodded.

And then he grinned at me. "You were pretty damned embarrassed."

"I don't get out much."

He laughed and I felt myself smiling.

I smiled because I was relieved that the whole thing was pretty much history and because I found that Duo's laugh just affected me that way; a lot of what he did affected me that way.

"Is he your boyfriend?" I don't know why I asked that or even if it was appropriate.... I just really wanted to know. I hoped he would answer me.

"Umm... no."

I nodded.

"I was a bit tipsy." He looked over at me. "No lectures please." he winked.

"Then why were you kissing him?"

He looked a bit surprised. "Like I said, Heero, I was feeling pretty good and....." he trailed off; like he wanted to say something else, but decided against it at the last minute.

"And?" I asked him.

He looked up at me. "And he was there......"

I nodded to let him know that I understood. I really didn't though and he somehow sensed that.

"I guess that's never happened to you... that you find yourself with someone cause the person you really want isn't there."

"Can't say that it has."

He smiled again. "I should be going."

I nodded again and followed him toward the door. "Maybe next time you should invite that person... the one you wanted." It seemed like a logical solution to his dilemma and I wondered why he hadn't thought of it himself.

He looked at me; the expression on his face more serious than I'd seen it since he arrived. "I did. You didn't seem interested."

He turned to leave. I watched him walk down the hallway and descend the stairs; my jaw pretty much slack the entire time.

// Did he mean what I think he meant? //

I closed the door to my room and sat on the very edge of my bed. I replayed his words; over and over and over. There was no other meaning I could pull from them as many times as I repeated them.

I was stunned. He wanted me.

on to part 8

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