Mercury Rising : Part Three
by Jana

The green LED read 8:00 the following evening when I gathered my towel and goggles and left for my evening swim. It was nearly an hour later than usual, but I'd gotten rather involved in writing my current program and time just seemed to slip away from me.

The light inside the pool was on and since it wasn't quite dark out, I left the floodlights off and stripped down to my bathing suit. Instead of my usual dive, tonight I entered the water via the stairs and slowly adjusted to its cool temperature. After about twenty minutes of fairly vigorous swimming, I climbed the ladder and dried myself off before reclining back onto the lounge. I turned my attention toward the guest house as I heard the front door close and watched as Duo made his way over to where I sat.

"Hey."

I smiled. "Hi."

He seated himself on the chair next to me. "You're out here late."

"Yeah. I was working on a script."

"You mind if I go for a swim?"

I didn't know why he felt the need to ask my permission, but I answered. "Nope. Go right ahead."

"Thanks." He stood and reached for the hem of his shirt and lifted it over his head. I tried not to be too obvious as I watched him, letting my eyes travel downward over his chest and well-toned stomach, stopping at the small golden ring that pierced his navel. "That's all the piercings I have," he offered.

I blushed slightly at having been caught watching him. I didn't know how to respond. "It's interesting." It was.

He let out a small laugh. "Water warm?"

"Very."

He nodded and proceeded to unfasten his shorts. I turned my head away, not because I didn't want to see him, but because I did and I was already partially aroused just seeing him without his shirt and that I'd had the pleasure of watching him remove it.

"It's great swimming out here at night."

'Of all the times for him to start talking to me.' I bent my legs at the knees and brought them up toward my chest to hide the rising bulge in my suit before turning to face him. "There's a nice atmosphere. I think it's the pool light."

He looked over at the pool and I took the opportunity to let my eyes quickly travel the length of his Speedo-clad form. Big mistake. His body was lean and firm and I could see the muscles in his upper thighs rippling as he bent to take off his sandals. His body was exquisite, far better than I had imagined.

"You coming in?" he asked.

I shook my head. "I just got out."

"Oh. Okay." He reached behind his back and brought the end of his braid in front of him.

I closed my eyes. 'Please don't tell me he is going to let down his hair.'

"My hair is nothing but one big snarl if I don't take the braid out before I swim." He paused. "You sleeping?"

I opened my eyes. "No." The spread fingers of both his hands were working slowly through his hair as he undid the braid, undoing me in the process. I wondered what it might feel like to run my hands through it and whether it was as soft as it looked. I clenched my fists tightly as I watched him finish the task. He tossed most of his knee length hair over his shoulders as he climbed up onto the flight deck. "Are you sure don't want to come in?"

That was the second time he'd said the word come. I swallowed hard. "No thanks."

He shrugged his shoulders and walked to the very tip of the diving board and raised his arms high up over his head. He was in profile now and I could easily see the bulge of his manhood stretching out the black spandex of his suit from this angle.

In a few seconds he'd be wet and if that wasn't bad enough I couldn't stop myself from envisioning how his body must look as it moved through the water. I was painfully erect and I looked down into my lap at the wet spot on my navy suit.

The second I heard him hit the water, I rose and swiftly made my way into the guest house. Once inside, I headed for the bathroom, leaning against the door after I'd closed it. I reached down into my bathing suit and wrapped my hand around my cock and groaned, "Oh God..." I immediately began stroking myself roughly, I was so close...just from seeing him like that. I closed my eyes and pictured him naked, it was so much easier now and it was an unbelievable turn on. I moved toward the sink as I pushed my suit down and rested my thighs against the porcelain, thrusting my hips forward as I moaned his name aloud and prepared to climax.

"You okay in there, Heero?"

Before I could answer, the heard the doorknob rattle and door swung open just as I reached to close it.

Duo's eyes were incredibly wide as he stared at me, bathing suit down at my ankles and cock in hand. "Whoops..."

He stepped outside and closed the door. I locked it and leaned back against it, giving myself a few more firm strokes before coming hard, fast and as quietly as I could. I looked up into the mirror across the room. "Shit." Why hadn't I locked the damn door?

I cleaned myself off, all the while hoping that Duo had the decency to be no where in sight when I exited the room. I was mortified that he'd seen me and having to face him now would just make things worse...if they could get any worse. I ran my fingers through my hair, took a deep breath and unlocked the door.

I froze as I stepped out into the hall and felt my face flush.

Duo was leaning up against the door frame with his arms folded at his waist and a very amused look on his face.

I opened my mouth to speak, but closed it again. I had no idea of what to say.

"I'm really sorry I barged in on you like that. I saw you run into the house and I thought you might have been sick or something. And then I heard you moaning....turned out to be a different kind of moaning though."

"Duo...." I blushed even further and was glad he cut me off; I wasn't sure what I was going to say.

"Listen, don't worry about it, Heero. Feel better now?"

"Yeah." I cracked a small smile. He was so damn casual about it. I doubt I would have reacted the same had I caught him masturbating. I put an immediate halt that line of thought. 'Bad idea, Heero.'

"I should go."

"You wanna hang out for a while?"

I looked over at him. In my severe state of embarrassment, I hadn't noticed that he was still dressed in only his bathing suit, his very skimpy bathing suit...and that he was wet. There was water dripping from his hair....droplets rolling down his face...down his shoulders....down his chest...down his.... "Maybe some other night."

"Cool."

I walked toward the door and he followed behind me, opening it to let me exit. "Night."

"Good night."

I hurried home and collapsed onto my bed and tried not to think about what had just happened, certain I would never be able to face him again.


I woke in the morning with a much clearer head. My cheeks still warmed as I thought about last night, but I found myself chuckling on more than one occasion about it. The only thing that saved me from complete and utter mortification was the fact that Duo had no idea that it was him that caused me such an urgent need to seek pleasure by my own hand right there in his bathroom. I found myself hard again as I thought about seeing him in nothing but that small black Speedo.

It was then that I realized that I wasn't sure if I could control the probable reaction to being in the same room with him. I had horrific visions of coming to full arousal every time he was near me. It was a nightmare...a wonderfully sexy, erotic nightmare and I needed to find a way out of it or I'd be spending the rest of the summer in my room....with the shades drawn.

I rose and headed for the shower, still wondering how I was going to handle this and breakfast in twenty minutes would be the first test. Adjusting the water temperature to several degrees colder than usual, I stepped inside and convinced myself that I was over-reacting and that if I was wrong I would be able to successfully crush my desire before it made itself known.

I was well aware that it was bullshit, but I was known to have more than an adequate amount of self-control....even if it had failed me last night.


Last night's situation seemed all but forgotten as I greeted him when I entered the kitchen and things between Duo and I were pretty much as they had been. We'd learned to deal with one another on a surface level, this seemed to please Cynthia.

Duo casually mentioned at breakfast that he was having company that night. Cynthia had given him permission have a few friends over last week and he informed us that tonight was the night.

"A few of the guys are coming tonight at around eight." He turned toward me. "You're more than welcome to join us, Heero. Nothing fancy, just some subs and chips and stuff."

I was a little surprised that he'd extended me the invitation, even though I was sure it was only done out of courtesy. I wasn't much of a joiner and this was someplace I was certain I wouldn't fit in. I knew he was aware of that as well.

I thanked him politely without outright declining the invitation, but I think he understood my intention.

Cynthia couldn't leave well enough alone. "You should go, Heero."

I glared at her. "I'll give it some thought." It was not a complete lie, I would give it another moment of my attention later on, though it was really pointless.


It was unusually cool for a mid-July morning and I turned off the air conditioner in my room and opened the windows. I could hear music coming from the guest house and assumed that Duo was doing some last minute cleaning and preparations for his guests. I tried to make out what he was listening to, all but the bass lost in the distance.

I knew that he listened to music quite frequently, but since he'd always been plugged in, I had no idea what type of music he was into. I somehow doubted it was classical, but then again, he had surprised me on more than one occasion.


I spent the afternoon compiling the scripts I'd written the night before, pretty much pleased with the outcome of my efforts. I'd just began running the programs and looking for bugs when I heard a knock on the door.

"Heero..dinner in ten minutes."

"I'll be down in a few minutes. Thank you, Cynthia."

I closed out everything I was working on and made my way over to the window, wondering if Duo was going to join us for dinner. I found him walking toward the house and smiled, heading downstairs.

Discussion over dinner centered mostly around Duo's get-together. I figured that Cynthia did it intentionally in order to get me to join the party. It mildly pissed me off and I think she finally noticed and drew the conversation to a close. There was little else said during dinner.

I retreated back to my room afterwards, leaving Duo and Cynthia in the kitchen. I'd no doubt they knew I was annoyed. It was several minutes later before I heard a knock on my door. "Heero? It's me...can I come in?"

It was Duo. This was the first time he'd been up here I was certain that Cynthia had put him up to it. I looked around the room to make sure it was tidy, straightening out the comforter on my bed before responding.

"Sure, the door is open."

He entered with a smile, looking around the room before focusing on me. "Nice room."

"Thanks. Something I can do for you?"

"Yeah, actually. I was wondering if I could borrow a few of your CDs. I left most of mine back in the city."

He looked a little embarrassed, which was an expression I'd yet to see on him. He looked cute. I motioned toward the metal rack that held my CDs. "Help yourself."

He smiled and headed for the rack beside my bed. "Great collection," he commented.

I was sure that he was being polite. My musical tastes were not that of a typical twenty year old. Then again....Duo was anything but a typical twenty year old either, just in a very different way than me.

"I didn't peg you for the Tool type."

"It's a new interest," I told him. I looked down at the CDs he held in his hand. "Funny, I didn't peg you for the classical music type," I returned.

We exchanged smiles. I figured we'd both been judging each other unfairly and without enough information to do so. It wasn't usually my way, but he was an enigma and I needed somewhere to start. The thought of actually asking him about himself scared me and I'm sure I appeared unapproachable to him as well. I was.

"You sure you don't mind?" He was holding up about twenty CDs.

"I know where you live." I smiled toward him.

He chuckled and thanked me again, stopping at the door on the way out. "I really want you to come later. I think you might enjoy yourself."

I could tell he was being genuine this time, maybe he had been before as well. "I really don't think so..."

He shrugged his shoulders. "Whatever..." And made his way down the hall.

I closed the door after I'd watched him start his descent down the stairs.

He looked upset...

He'd put the effort in that I hadn't been willing to and I didn't even have the decency to accept his invitation. I felt like a heel...but it wasn't likely to change anything.


I'd accepted Cynthia's offer to watch a movie she'd rented. I found that for the most part, her taste in films was nothing like mine, but I was in the mood for something light and hoped she hadn't chosen a romance of any type. At 7:40 we seated ourselves in the den, her on the couch and I in the overstuffed armchair.

"So what did you end up renting tonight?"

"Being John Malkovich. [4] Have you heard of it?"

I nodded. I'd heard of it, but knew little of the plot. "Only by name."

The first hour of the movie was.... odd.

I didn't understand what it was about the movies namesake that caused the frenzy of people wanting to get inside his head. I totally ignored the premise that a hidden doorway could achieve such a thing.

Cynthia put the movie on pause. "You want something to drink?"

I nodded and stood, following her into the kitchen. I dug around in the cabinets looking for a snack while she got us each a can of Pepsi from the fridge. We were about to leave the room when Duo came in carrying a large glass bowl. "Hey...you mind if I borrow some ice?"

"Take as much as you need," Cynthia told him on her way out.

I basically ignored him, still feeling bad about our earlier encounter and besides....he had clearly been drinking.

"Still haven't changed your mind?" he asked, winking at me.

I shook my head.

Cynthia re-entered the kitchen and judging by her comment, she must have heard overheard our last exchange, hopefully not while eavesdropping, but it wouldn't have surprised me. "We're watching a movie. I'll send him back when it's over."

I stared at her in surprise.

"What?" she asked.

Duo smiled and winked at me again. "Cool!"

I waited until he left and turned toward Cynthia.

"You don't have to stay for long. Who knows, you might even enjoy yourself."

I sighed. I didn't stand a chance with the two of them against me and I think that deep down inside I wanted to go. I recalled Duo's earlier disappointment at my second refusal and how pleased he seemed just now by Cynthia's unwanted push. "Fine."

The movie ended about fourty minutes later. It didn't leave me with any clear emotion; I didn't like it or hate it. It did leave me with something to think about regarding Duo though, which seemed to be happening a lot lately. It made the idea of joining his get together seem a little less like a chore.

Several minutes later, I rose from the chair without being asked. "I guess I'll head back for a while."

Cynthia smiled. "Try to enjoy yourself, Heero."

I nodded and left, more than a bit nervous as I stepped onto the path that lead to the guest house.

Halfway there, I could make out the music even through the closed door and windows. It was Filter's "Title of Record" Track 10....one of my favorites. I concentrated on the lyrics of the song instead of my racing pulse. I approached the door and reached out to ring the bell. I could hear voices from inside, though not what they were saying. The next thing I knew it opened and Duo was on the other side. "Heero! Come on in." I smiled and entered.

The music was quite loud and there were about seven other guys just hanging out in the dimly lit living room/dining room area.

The main living area of the guest house looked somehow different tonight. It took me a minute to ascertain that Duo had rearranged the furniture. The changes, while not drastic affected the entire feel of the space. It was a pleasant variation.

Duo closed the door behind us and he put his arm around my shoulder in a friendly gesture. "Hey everybody. This is Heero." I could smell the alcohol on his breath.

He removed his arm and pulled me by hand around the room, introducing me to his friends one by one. I was slightly relieved by their appearance, easing part of my reluctance in that I'd not wanted to stand out. After meeting them all, I understood that Duo was clearly the most *artistic* in the bunch. He had taken off the over shirt he had on earlier and his entire midsection was now bare to just below his navel, highlighting the tiny ring there.

He left me seated on the couch with what I determined to be his best friend, or at least the closest thing to it in the room. Jay was fairly easy going and after about ten minutes I finally relaxed and opened up enough to say more than five words at a time.

Duo flitted in and out of the three rooms, barely a blur as he hurried by. I was in the middle of a conversation with Jay when he plopped himself down on the couch next to me. Jay politely excused himself and I turned toward Duo. "I need to sit down a while," he told me with a smile.

"You've been running around a lot." I had been watching him but was sure he hadn't noticed. I was discreet.

"Yeah. I rarely enjoy parties when I'm the one throwing them."

I agreed with his statement. Though I had never done such a thing, I had witnessed it many times.

"You want anything, Heero? A soda, a sandwich...a beer?" I understood and appreciated that he was trying to make me feel more comfortable and wondered if he was aware of how nervous I was.

He pulled me up from the couch and dragged me into the kitchen. "Have a piece of the sub," he suggested. "It's really good."

I took a paper plate and placed a thin slice of the huge sandwich on it.

"Beer?" he asked from the fridge.

"No thanks. I don't drink."

He smiled and opened the brown bottle, drinking half of it down at once. "Soda?"

I nodded and he handed me a can of Pepsi. I opened it and took a sip, setting it down on the counter behind me and looking over at him. "You have a nice group of friends."

He smiled. "Thanks. Different than you thought?"

I nodded, feeling bad that I had pre-judged them...and Duo as well.

He seemed to read my thoughts. "I take very little at face value, Heero. Tends to put me in some interesting situations. I find that for the most part nothing is as it seems." He set his beer down on the counter and leaned back against it with his both palms resting on its edge. "I was probably about five when I figured that out, though I don't think I understood that it applied to everything until I was ten."

I just looked at him.

"Umm, sorry...I seem to get all philosophical when I've had a few beers."

I'd been witness to that phenomenon as well, once again not having experienced it personally. I looked at him quizzically.

"I'm not drunk if that's what you're thinking."

"I'm not thinking anything. You can do as you please."

"Gee...thanks, Heero. I feel much better now that I have your permission."

He'd surprised me. He looked angry now. "I didn't mean it like that."

He turned to leave. "Whatever..."

Again with the whatever. I'd grown to hate that word....especially when he said it.

I fought my strong desire to leave. It would only prove that Duo's indirect comments about me were correct, that I sheltered myself from things that didn't fit into my little world. I seated myself on the couch again and Jay sat down beside me. "So Duo tells me you are a CSCI Major..."

The conversation went on for a while. I asked Jay about his major and we talked about what little I knew of engineering. I then realized that I didn't even know what Duo was majoring in....and I knew why I didn't know. I'd never asked...hell, we'd hardly even talked...and I knew why that was as well.

I excused myself and headed for the bathroom. I'd just turned the corner in the hallway and I stopped dead in my tracks. Duo had one of his "friends" pinned up against the wall and the two were involved in some pretty heavy making out.

I think I may have gasped cause Duo turned toward me and opened his eyes; breaking off the kiss. I pretty much high-tailed it back down the hallway, through the living room and headed straight for the front door. I was glad that he didn't come after me, though I feared he might. I was embarrassed...very embarrassed.

I practically ran back to the house and took a moment to compose myself in the kitchen before entering the den. Cynthia turned toward me. "Well?" she asked. "How was it?"

"Interesting. Duo has a nice group of friends."

What else could I say?

"I'm going upstairs now."

And I did.

I closed the door to my room and sat on the edge of my bed, trying to sort out exactly what I was feeling. I made a mental list. Humiliation was pretty high up there. It wasn't something I expected to see. It was something that should not have been done in public.

I felt something else too. I'm pretty sure it was jealousy. It wasn't an emotion I was used to...but I was sure that was what it was.

Duo was kissing that guy....and I wanted it to be me.

I laid down on my bed and turned off the lights, falling asleep in a matter of minutes.


[4] Heero's views on Being John Malkovich are pretty much my own....I really didn't get it. *sweatdrops*

On to part four. Back to part two.