Author: Ravengirl
see part 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

A/N: To all of you who responded to this fic... thanks so much. I really didn't expect much feedback for my little flight of fancy. Hope you enjoy this part.

// = direct thought
:: = mindspeech

Wet + Part 2

:: Ten years after... ::

"I'm very sorry to be the one to tell you this, Mr. Yuy, but your father passed away two weeks ago. May I offer my sincere condolences?"

The office might best be described as dark. Black-coffee leather chairs, a massive mahogany desk, oppressive cherry-wood paneling and darkly-stained oak floors gave it a brooding air. Oddly enough, the owner of this den of gloomy splendor was its complete antithesis.

Sprawled across a loveseat the color of wet loam, Heero ran a detached eye over the man seated primly behind his impressive tribute to masculine décor.

Thaddeus Selkirk, Esq. stood perhaps 5'6" in his stocking feet. His slender build and wavy, white-blonde hair must have been the envy of many a woman, along with the pair of wide, long-lashed eyes gracing a face almost too pretty in its fine-boned delicacy.

It was no wonder the poor bastard had a taste for furniture that would not have looked amiss in some big-game hunter's trophy room. He probably needed the atmosphere just to assure the world at large that -- yes -- he was a man.

/How the hell did Lowe end up with this guy as executor of his estate?/

"Mr. Yuy?"

Turning his gaze from a glass-encased set of pearl-handled, nineteenth-century dueling pistols, Heero met the lawyer's puzzled grey eyes.

"I heard you. Lowe's dead. Anything else I need to know?"

Selkirk did a creditable imitation of a guppy, mouth repeatedly opening and closing without one sound to show for it.

"Mr. Yuy... I..."

"Look, my father and I... we weren't close. Hadn't seen him in six years. I'd just as soon you tell me what I'm here for and get it over with."

Thaddeus made a concerted effort to remain professional, shuffling a few papers around and clearing his throat several times. Finally, he clasped his hands together and leaned back in his chair to study Odin Lowe's estranged son.

Heero Yuy's appearance could be summed up in two simple words: devastatingly beautiful.

While something inside him squirmed with embarrassment at associating the term 'beautiful' with a fellow male, Thaddeus' innate honesty declared there to be no other description which could possibly do the man justice.

Dark, fashionably wind-blown hair framed a face that was all sharp, ascetic angles and a pair of intensely blue eyes which seemed to stare straight into his cringing soul.

Those eyes were the only physical trait Yuy shared with the man who'd sired him. Odin Lowe had been a tall, blonde, well-muscled Viking with an easy-going air about him that neither invited nor discouraged familiarity.

His son was a whole 'nother ballgame.

Whipcord lean, Yuy's body was little more than rock-hard muscle and bone. His slim, compact form, a study in coiled tension and leashed strength, put the lawyer vividly in mind of a stalking feline... one of the larger varieties. The man watching him through narrowed, calculating eyes was no housecat.

And if Thaddeus was not mistaken, the 'back the fuck off' attitude Yuy exuded was in no way unintentional.

Sighing inwardly, the lawyer reached down to open his desk's locked drawer. This was not going to be easy, by any means, but Odin had warned him of that in advance.

/Kid'll rip your face off, soon as look at you, Thad. Don't you let 'im. Best way to deal with Heero is straight-up. Anything else and he'll probably kill ya... Jei trained him in a whole buncha weird kung-fu shit from real young. Just make sure he gets the keys... and ask about the ashes thing. Tell 'im I'd be obliged if he and Kirei'd do it over the Harbor./

Looking into homicidal cobalt, Thaddeus Selkirk believed every single outrageous statement Odin Lowe had ever made concerning his son. Abruptly, he wanted this meeting over and done... his last act of friendship towards a man who'd always treated him fairly.

Heero watched with interest as Selkirk vanished behind his mahogany fortress for a moment then reappeared, three items in hand. A heavy ring of keys jingled slightly as it was placed gently atop a weighty manila packet. The final object appeared to be a curved silver urn.

/Oh shit. Please tell me that prick wouldn't do this to Mom./

Selkirk regarded him solemnly over Lowe's distracting legacies.

"Mr. Lowe entrusted me with his ashes and the keys to his condominium, along with a sealed envelope. I am not aware of the nature of its contents, but I assume it contains instructions as to the disposal of his belongings.

His will states that you are the sole heir to the entirety his property, and as there is no other surviving family, probate will not be an issue. The condo on Main is yours free and clear. It is completely paid for, as is the Sea Nymph. Any taxes have already been dealt with. If you-,"

"What?"

Sandy brows veed.

"I beg your pardon?"

"You said... the Sea Nymph. What is that?"

Selkirk bestowed a faint look of surprise upon him.

"The Sea Nymph was his ship, Mr. Yuy. I thought you would have understood that. He did intimate that you'd spent some time on the ocean?"

Heero's swift intake of breath was startling in the office's hushed confines.

"Some."

Tight vocal chords strangled the single syllable almost beyond recognition. Thaddeus' brows rose as Yuy struggled visibly with a strong, unidentifiable emotion before crushing it into submission and shoving it back down from whence it had come.

"Are you alright, Mr. Yuy? May I offer you a glass of water... or perhaps a brandy?"

"No." Heero cleared his throat and sat up, posture now rigid. "No, I'm fine. That's a pretty heavy ring just for a condo."

He waved a hand towards the pile of metal resting on heavy paper.

"It holds the keys to the Nymph, as well. She is in dry-dock for the moment, and locked up tight... or so I'd presume. Mr. Lowe was not one to leave the care of his craft to chance. The yard is a reputable one in a small town close to Martha's Vineyard. But I'm sure this will all be documented in his private files. Everything you need will be in his office at the condo."

Heero sat silently for a moment then rose, stepping forward to stand in front of Selkirk's desk. Running a finger down the sealed, bluish-silver vessel, he looked up at the lawyer.

"He tell you what he wanted done with these?"

Selkirk looked momentarily uncomfortable.

"He asked that you and your mother release his ashes over Boston Harbor. But he also said to tell you that if you felt you could not do so, to leave them with me. I am willing to undertake the task."

Cocking his head to one side, Heero thoughtfully eyed the other man.

"An odd request to make of your lawyer."

Thaddeus shrugged.

"I was also his friend, Mr. Yuy."

Hefting the key-ring in one hand, Heero raised the thick envelope in the other and hiked a brow in question.

"You have directions to his place?"

The bow-like mouth twitched in amusement.

"My dear sir, you are a mere minutes' walk away from it. We are already on Main St. of downtown. When you leave this building, proceed to your right. At the first major intersection, cross to the opposite side of the street and keep going until you're just past St. Peter's. Southgreen is right next to it. The building is 19th century brickwork with rounded facades. You'll recognize it without any trouble. And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm late for my lunch date."

Scooping a slip of paper from his desk, Thaddeus retrieved his coat and came around to Heero.

"Here. The written address. And," he indicated a cluster of keys on the ring, "this one opens the front, inner and back doors of the main building. These are for the condo... basic lock and deadbolt. There are two front doors into the main building. The one you want will be on the left if you're facing it."

"Thanks." Heero glanced up from neatly printed lines. "I'm assuming Lowe already took care of your fees?"

Selkirk's mouth pursed with displeasure, and Heero suddenly entertained visions of disapproving priests and forbidding school-masters. He stifled his laughter, knowing the short blonde would find no humor in the situation.

"Not that it is any of your business, but I'm doing this free of charge. As I said, Odin Lowe was more than just a client. Overseeing the transfer of his estate safely into the hands of his son is small recompense for the debt I still owe him. Do you mind?"

Selkirk opened the door and made an impatient gesture for Heero to precede him. Heero obeyed meekly, standing in the wide hall outside the office, juggling keys, urn and envelope as curiosity stirred for the first time in years.

"Selkirk?"

The blonde shot the lock then turned to frowningly regard his deceased friend's irritating progeny.

"Yes?"

"You said you owed him a debt. Why?"

"Owe, not owed, Mr. Yuy. He saved my life two years ago when the sailboat I was on capsized during a storm. If he had not been out that day, I would have drowned. Good afternoon."

+

The lawyer's directions were easy to follow, leading him straight to his destination with ease. After stowing the urn in his car, it took approximately four minutes of walking before he found himself standing in front of a beautiful old red-brick building. If he'd wondered why Lowe had chosen Hartford, of all places, to settle, he did so no longer.

The atmosphere of history-infused stone and brick was a tangible thing here... he could almost see the sheltering shadow of the Charter Oak, that legendary tree which had helped keep Connecticut a relatively free colony while others were plundered and victimized by England's corrupt monarchy.

"Hey there... something I can help you with?"

A cheerful, oddly-accented voice disturbed his ruminations and Heero turned from studying Southgreen Condominiums to find a man of fifty or so smiling at him from a few feet away.

He was obviously a resident. Keys in hand, he was halfway through one of two iron gates leading into the building's landscaped front. Heero decided that polite behavior was definitely called for in this situation. Whether he decided to keep the condo or not, it wouldn't do to alienate the people who would be, if not his neighbors, then his fellow owners.

Crossing the distance between gates, he extended a hand.

"Heero Yuy. My father owned B2."

The slightly wary smile became an out-right grin and his hand was seized in a firm grip. White teeth flashed in a still-youthful face and sunlight sparkled off a smooth-shaven skull.

"Ah, then it is a pleasure. Odin was a great guy... he'll be missed. I am sorry for your loss, Mr. Yuy. You are here to have a look at the place, yes?"

"Yes... he left it to me, and I thought I'd go over things while I was still in town."

"Well," the man gestured towards one of the doors stationed between curved facades, "that will take you where you want to go. Second floor, right at the top of the stairs. No elevator. This is a small association... only twelve units, six on each side. We're pretty picky about who lives here. Mostly professional singles... the only two couples we've had were childless. In fact, one pair used to own Odin's place before they moved back West. We are a quiet bunch, though... we like our kid-free halls."

It was a friendly warning and Heero took it as such. If this man was a good representative of Southgreen's population, they probably ranged from 35 to 65 years-of-age, white-collar workers all. They wouldn't want a young family or a swinging twenty-something disturbing their solitude.

It was suddenly apparent why Odin had chosen this place... it must have been perfect for the antisocial seaman.

"Can't blame you," he told Odin's former neighbor amiably. "I like peace and quiet, myself."

"Great!" The wide smile was back. "Maybe I'll see you around, then."

Giving Heero a wave, the man ran up the front steps with an agility belying his apparent years. He turned before entering the building to look back at Heero.

"I'm Ron, by the way... D2. Come by if you need anything."

When he vanished behind the heavily carved portal, Heero reached for the latch on the gate in front of him. Time to see what his father had been up to in the six years since he'd left Boston without warning.

+

Five months after the fall that destroyed his peace-of-mind -- along with a good chunk of his sanity -- Heero had the dubious pleasure of witnessing the reconciliation of his parents.

As Kirei had demanded, Odin sold The Water Witch and became a reserve member of the Coast Guard. He rented an apartment in the suburbs where his ex-wife and son lived, started doing part-time boat-engine repair with a friend, and took up sculpting as a hobby.

Three months into his lease, Kirei exasperatedly declared that if he was going to hang around her house all the time, he might as well move in. So he did.

At the time, Heero supposed it to be a Good Thing. There was a new bounce to his mother's step that had disappeared years ago and even he had to admit that Odin seemed to have reformed.

But... he could not bring himself to trust the man. He knew it was unreasonable -- a reaction brought on by the vivid dreams of a damaged mind. He couldn't stop it, though. If he closed his eyes, he could still see... oh god, could see him: a beautiful phantasm of sea-mist satin and chestnut silk, staring at his father out of terrified amethyst pools.

Could still feel his own fear beat heavily through his veins and taste the sharp taint of gunfire on ocean air.

The unconquerable unease permanently colored his view of the older man, and Heero couldn't help a feeling of guilty relief when -- a little over three years after he'd reentered their lives -- Lowe vanished into thin air without a word of explanation.

Now, standing just inside the closed door of his father's home, Heero felt the old antipathy rise within him.

The place was gorgeous. High white ceilings, tall windows set into the great room's curving face, a greenish soapstone woodstove occupying the wide marble hearth and a pair of French doors leading onto a small, ornately carved balcony harmonized perfectly, giving the observer a feel of cleansing light and open space.

The room's surrounds were undeniably attractive, but to the man whose mind dispassionately catalogued its attributes, every piece of furniture or decoration -- from the woven Eastern rugs scattered across chestnut-stained wood floors, to the antique nautica adorning the walls -- practically shouted his father's name.

Kicking off his hiking boots, Heero padded towards the hall, sock feet making very little sound against wood and thin carpet.

The condo was set up railroad-style... one room piled right behind the next, with a slim hall ending at the final door.

The kitchen was first, the large, rectangular opening cut into the wall that separated it from the great room granting the back part of the condo some much-needed light. The bathroom came just after, tiled in cobalt with a glass and granite shower stall.

The next door was closed and locked, so he left it for later, strolling past into the final room. Odin had made this one his bedroom. An enormous king with a heavy oak headboard took up nearly all the floor-space.

Just above it, a large oil painting glowed softly in the dim eastern light streaming through a single side window and clear-paneled door set in the far wall.

Heero stared at the canvass, an unpleasant mix of astonishment and anger churning within him. It wasn't often that one of his mer-pieces went up for auction, but 'Wet' had been too painful for him to keep.

Entwined figures -- a confusing tangle of human limbs, finned tail and serpentine braid -- hung suspended in aquatic stasis, the blue-green water around them supporting and cushioning their embrace. The viewer could detect no distinct facial features -- perhaps the jut of a cheekbone or shape of a pointed chin -- and that lack only added to the painting's ethereal quality.

As Heero recalled, it had sold for just under a million. Now he knew the identity of the buyer. He didn't even want to think about why his father would have chosen this particular example of his work.

Turning abruptly from one of the last visual vestiges of his youth, he focused on the door opposite him. A slight frown furrowed his forehead. According the floor plan, the condo should only have two spare rooms.

Intrigued, he walked over and tried the handle. To his surprise, it turned and he found himself standing in what was obviously a sun-room. It had, apparently, once been a balcony. Through glassed-in posts, he could see that every other unit possessed a similar structure, only without the insulation.

Glancing around, he realized that Lowe had made this his workshop. Shelves of awls, chisels, hammers and brushes... blocks of clay and stone... a tall, sheet-covered object in one corner... all of these proclaimed that his father had turned a small sculpting hobby into a full-time occupation.

Heero wondered if any of the bronze pieces in the great room were Odin's. If so, it was obvious from which half of his ancestry he'd received his artistic bent. Kirei didn't have a creative bone in her body. His pragmatic mother was proud of her son's achievements, but damned if she understood how he got from raw paint and canvass to a finished work.

Shaking his head in amusement, Heero turned to go back inside, when his reawakened curiosity got the better of him. Mentally kicking himself, he let go the knob and walked slowly towards the covered statue.

Oddly reluctant to reveal its subject, he circled the bulky object.

It was life-size... nearly as tall as Heero's 5'10". The base was much wider than the top, so there was obviously more to it than the predominant figure.

/Enough, Yuy. You're just being stupid, now. Uncover the damn thing, for chrissakes!/

Paint-stained fingers twitched white cotton away from stone, then went slack in utter shock.

Heero stood, rooted to the spot, as all the blood deserted his brain for greener pastures, leaving him shaky and nauseous.

Allowing his unstable legs carry him downwards, he knelt less than a meter from the sculpture, hands twisted together like a penitent before his god.

The medium was marble, so pale it appeared translucent. The base took the form of a breaking wave, its froth the statue's backrest. And the subject...

A supple tail curled in on itself, its feathery fin splayed against creamy marble breakers. The slim, human torso had been rendered precisely, all the way to the faint protrusion of nipples.

An abundance of long, flowing hair streamed out, as though tossed by a high gale. One slender hand was raised to push it back from the heart-shaped face.

It was a master's rendition of a merboy, caught in an unguarded moment.

It was haunting.

It was beautiful.

It was Duo.

+++

A/N: BTW, Southgreen condos really do exist. I happen to own Odin Lowe's apartment.

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