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Michael / Mercury
The Quality of Mercy
Wed Sep 20, 2006 10:13

Michael gingerly touched his bandaged nose, eying the miniscule bump marring its otherwise flawless surface. As of the previous week it had been broken twice, the first time in anger and the second to make sure it was healing straight. Too bad the rest of him couldn’t do that. The actor rather felt like he’d just escaped prison only to be thrown into a different sort of jail.

Fowler had taken advantage of his doped-up state to offer a position (of sorts) with the Bureau. It wasn’t exactly the career choice Michael had envisioned as a lad, but he was technically out of work for a month – longer if his nose was slow in healing. He wanted to think that alone had been the reason for accepting this outlandish job, but the chance to work – really, honestly work—alongside Devon had more to do with his agreement.

So here he was. Aforementioned companion was barely a days out of the intensive care ward, having spent a week and a half slowly going crazy, a fact mentioned at least once every five minutes. Crosswords, childish puzzles, horrible movie novelizations; nothing could get rid of Devon’s foul mood. Not until Michael had shown up with a change of clothing, a razor and the news that his drinking partner would be settled into a more casual out-patient room for four-eight hours.

Which accounted for the fact that Jane was spending the next two days tending to her brother while Michael trussed himself up like a freshly laid-out corpse and played teacher. Not even the sexual comments tossed his way only that morning could cheer the Brit up. Turning away from the window’s reflection, he stared at the door across the hall, and tried very hard to banish thoughts of turkeys and Thanksgiving.

He could do this. Game face on, the criminal squared his shoulders and marched into the classroom on the fifth floor of a building he’d broken into only weeks before.

“Afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I trust all of you are here for my lecture on recognizing various forms of monetary fraud?” He paused, mentally smirking at the slow nods and wary faces. One supposed guest lecturers were normally culled from the 50-and-over crowd. Well, too bad. The FBI wanted the best to teach their brightest, and that was exactly what he planned to give them.

Opening the briefcase that he’d borrowed from Devon, Michael extracted a small stack of fake bank notes and passed them to the nearest student. Some were of his own make, others obviously substandard quality and the rest were real. He watched carefully as each agent perused the lot; at least half of them mistaking his for the real ones and vice versa.

Oh boy.

No wonder Robert had be so conciliatory. What in the hell were they teaching these kids? Despite being slightly younger than seventy-five percent of his new class, Michael felt rather like the old man out. Or was that odd? He could never keep that saying straight.

“Alright. I want you,” he pointed towards one of the more arrogant-looking agents,” to tell me the differences between this bill, “ a genuine bank note was held aloft, “ and this one right here,” one of his recent creations was held up next to it. “Who can tell me which is the forgery, and which is the legal tender? Anyone?”

Gratifying, and very sad, that not one hand rose.

“Right. Well, that’s why we are here. If you take a look at this one in my right hand, you will notice a tiny smiley face in the bottom left corner. Also, the paper is about a fourth of a gram heavier than the one made in your treasury.”

“Smiley face means it’s the work of Macavity.”

“Very good. Any other observations?”

An older gentleman in the back raised his hand. “Yes, sir. You haven’t told us your name. I’ll need that information for my boss.”

Their instructor really couldn’t help himself and would blame what happened next on his pain medication (not that he was taking anything stronger than Advil, but…). “How clever of you to notice. My name is Michael Pierson, but you may address me in this room as Professor. Now that the nomenclature thing is settled, let’s take a look at….”

And, since it only took about ten minutes for the initial shock to wear off, Michael mentally counted coup against his nemesis (though he wasn’t completely if he was getting to Rob or back at Devon by this point) for the rest of the day, minus a break for lunch, by walking his new pupils through the exhaustive process of learning to spot his own forgeries, and those of other associates that he didn’t feel any particular loyalty too.

By five o’clock, he was certain of two things. The first involved the tie he wore, recent plans including hanging it from the nearest tree and leaving the damn thing there to rot. The second involved finding Devon’s guardian angel. It was something that he’d been itching to do for days, but with Devon still in the ICU up to this morning, leaving his side hadn’t been a question at all. Since Jane was taking over nursemaid duty, however, his time could conceivably free itself for another couple of hours.

Now, where was that blasted special agent. The bald one.

“Put those back, Pierson. Giving asters would be entirely inappropriate.”

Michael ground his teeth against rejoining with a snarky comment. It had been his idea to run Fowler to ground and get the stripper’s work address. The half an hour spent prying said information out of the senior agent had been like the tooth fairy frequenting an old folks home and just about as fruitful.

Classified information, the git had said. Only when Michael threatened to toy with the building’s alarm system had Rober capitulated, perhaps realizing that his new ‘employee’ was completely serious. Not that Michael had expected being hauled through the Holland Tunnel in the agent’s own car. But there they were, standing inside a flower store near the airport and arguing over the proper arrangement, for Chrissakes!

“I leave the blasted things in your capable hands, Fowler.” But his tone hovered just this side of respectful.


He watched in fascination as the older man cast what had to be an experienced eye over the selection. “We’ll need some of these for grace and gentility, “ several pink roses were taken, “and a couple of these for sophistication, “ two calla lilies were added. Another glance up and down the counter netted three Bells of Ireland. “For delightful whimsy,” was the only comment.

“Now you are conveying her in high esteem, without asking her if she’s being faithful to you, or available for an affair.” Rob grinned at Michael’s affronted expression.

“Devon would kill me if I ever propositioned anyone else, “the conman admitted. “Why don’t you get her a flower? Isn’t it the civilized thing to do?” Rob snorted, but cast his eyes across the store anyway while Michael set about paying top dollar for his own little collection. Whatever else the agent was, he was an impressive gardner – which said something about his character overall.

“Why are you and Caleb the only ones who don’t give me grief over Agent Holmes?”

The question popped out before he could take it back. Michael collected the change from his purchase, stepping aside so Fowler could pay for a small collection of Lisianthus and orange roses; the meaning of which escaped Michael. Mental note – find a book on flower meanings.

“Because I’m not above wishing a couple well when they demonstrate maturity in the face of opposition,” Rob expounded, his accent giving a dignified air to the response. But he wasn’t done, merely steered Michael back out into the street and all but shoved him back into the sedan. Once they were both inside and the car eased into traffic, he continued.

“If Devon is happy, he’ll return to his job with a clear head in a couple months. Also, I have the privilege of having one of the most notorious men on the planet on my payroll. One who knows if he doesn’t toe the line, I might stumble across some information that Interpol would give their eyeteeth for.”

Michael cast him a dirty look.

“That’s blackmail.”

“So it is.”

“You know, Fowler, I’m really beginning to like you.”

It was about that time they pulled into the parking lot of Mercy’s club, noting the plethora of attendees. Michael traced the route in his head, determined to remember this location. When Devon was able to move around without wincing, he’d bring him here to thank the young woman in person. Aw Christ, he was getting to be a softy. Mumbling under his breath, the actor-turned-unwilling agent clambered out of the passenger seat with his flower offering and shortened his strides so Fowler could keep up, also carrying his small bouquet.

On entrance, he quickly decided that whoever had decorated the place should be shot. It was straight out of a seventies’ mobster movie, with tacky gold-and-scarlet décor, and … a tiny disco ball above the bar. There were several small stages set around the interior, with the main stage across from the bar. Ah, speaking of which, he abandoned Robert long enough to secure a shot of brandy (this enforced sobriety was beginning to wear on his nerves) and then started looking around for one Mercury Elfman.

She wasn’t hard to find.

“Ladies and gentleman, the Pussy-In-Boots club is proud to present this evening’s main attraction …Sweet Mercy!”

At five feet and eights inches, Mercury, stepping onto the main stage, boasted an agile, lithe frame. Covered from shoulders to ankles in silk panels - each slip of material was a varying shade of blue, light robin’s egg to the darkest of violet. Under the softened stage lights, they illuminated the pale hair draping down across her shoulders. Two heart beats, and the music filtered out - a slow, wistful beat at first.

The dancer stepped forward, delicate feet whispering across the wooden boards, a sacrifice to the greater mood of her audience. The tempo subtly strengthened, pitched low so it wouldn't offset the performance. One arm rose, extending upwards to the sky. It coiled, sinuously, floating back down to drape across the top of her head. Underneath the silk, her hips dipped once, then twice, soon swaying freely in echo of the beat. Twisting on the balls of her feet, Mercy slowly rotated, pelvic gyrations speeding up subtly.

In steps measured to promote the fluid movements of the dance, the blonde drifted towards the solitary pole in the center of the stage, eventually wrapping a hand around its thick length. The other appendage joined the first, before she swung up to balance gracefully, legs wrapping themselves around the structure. Hips still rolling easily, she coiled herself around the pole, the rounded portion of her buttocks gliding suggestively against the steel. And the lovely artist held the pose a full minute, before she began to slide down towards the ground. Feet soon pressed against the cool wood, followed by the rest of her agile frame.

Coy fingers trailed across the expanse of her hips, and removed one of the scarves, tossing it into the audience. One silky leg exposed, subtly muscled. Her fingers crept along the limb, brushing teasingly towards the apex of her thighs. A flick of her wrist, the scarf opposite the first torn away: leaving but four panels of material left. She spun, lights flickering along her form, patterns emerging from the visual feast, shadows glinting across her tanned flesh like the caress of a lover. Oh, to be that silk, or her fingers, darting up towards the hidden swells of flesh, twin delights of the female gender.

Arms extended away from her torso, rising once more above her head. Hips gyrated, twisting in a physical parody of the copulation act, her shoulders soon following. Then, she dropped into a near crouch, legs gliding away from one another, sliding out until she sat in a perfect gymnastic split, the cloth covering the more intimate portions of her body. Staring directly at the audience, she grinned brazenly then easily tugged one of the scarves away from her torso, hand extending as the material floated down from her fingers. Amused, she spun away, and up to her feet again, stalking towards the pole.

Some always said that the second time around was always much more satisfying. Presumably, the steel rod thought so to. Mercury slinked around it, brushing her ass back against the thick structure suggestively, before whirling around, her tongue flickering out to glide up and down the cold metal. Lips glistened, moist from the heat in the room - her pelvis twisting forward. Up the stage prop she shimmered, bare thighs squeezing, legs draping themselves around it. Her back arched, the dancer leaned back -- saved from a terrible fall only by her own agility. And the other torso scarf was removed, also flung out into the audience.

Faint traces of silver glitter adorned her breasts, pale under the stage lights as she straightened back up. Just two scarves remained, her frame sliding rather erotically down the pole, only to simply step away once she’d reached the ground, prowling towards the front of the stage. The beat was frenetic, reminiscent of barbarian drum circles, sending heart to racing, blood to the boiling point. Gyrating her hips, Mercy turned in a circle, hands once again exploring the angles of her own frame.

Those digits lingered near her thighs, dipping underneath the dark silk and back out.. Dropping back into a crouch, she crawled to the edge of the stage before casting off the second to last panel, and tossing it forwards. Poised like a cat, her frame motionless but for those nimble fingers drifting down the length of her, idly caressing her breasts, perhaps in homage to the most ancient of physical acts; one could almost visualize a lover behind her, stroking across the planes of her stomach. And then, the last scarf was removed, drifting into the audience. Arms gently stilled across her stomach, head bowing as the lights dimmed. The show had ended in a decidedly un-climatic moment.

She rose after catching her breath, shoulders heaving from her efforts, braced against the onslaught of applause. Franco hovered nearby while she collected tips from those lucky enough to be seated around the stage. This was the reason that the boss tolerated her refusal to dance in the VIP room, because those girls who went back there were required to keep the customer satisfied by any means necessary. Each week she came up with a different stage show, unveiled at random to an unsuspecting audience.

Slipping back to the dressing rooms, she lit up a cigarette and spent a few minutes toweling off the sweat of her performance before sliding on thong underwear and a black silk robe. She tucked the pile of money into her purse and then ventured out of relative safety into general chaos. Franco was waiting for her with a glass of water and two men.

The younger, taller one stepped forward and handed her a tasteful flower arrangement. “You don’t know me, but you saved the life of a very dear friend. I wanted to thank you in person.” Then he had the temerity to hug her tightly while the other one…

Him, she recognized.

“Mister Fowler?”

  • ExcursionsRobert Fowler, Wed Sep 20 01:03
    Miss Mercury Elfman. Over the last week, that name had poked and prodded at Robert Fowler for some ungodly reason. A stripper, who likely took cash under the table for the right man, had pointed them ... more
    • The Quality of Mercy — Michael / Mercury, Wed Sep 20 10:13
      • Visits & RosesHolmes | Fowler, Wed Sep 20 14:39
        The last week had been hell. Devon hadn't wanted to go back into surgery for that damned plate in his head. Or, more aptly, on his skull. But the doctors assured him that this was practically... more
        • Nobody Here But Us ChickensA Couple of Comedians, Sun Sep 24 10:12
          The love of his life was a very angry grump. Michael slouched in his chair, watching Devon pretend to do a cross-word puzzle. One of the doctors had suggested it as a way to challenge brain cells... more
          • Yellow Bellied G-MenHolmes | Fowler, Wed Sep 27 01:21
            D-Day! If Devon thought he could actually handle it, he would have climbed right up on the little cot that was a poor excuse for a hospital bed, and done the happy dance in his skivvies. Seeing as... more
            • Insert Clever Title HereMick | Mercy, Sun Oct 8 01:51
              Devon was whining. Again. Michael glanced up from his copy of War and Peace , limbs sprawled insolently across the couch, and speared his roommate with one of his looks . The invalid dangled his... more
              • Something | Rob, Wed Oct 18 14:56
                Holmes men did not whine. All right, maybe a little. Devon was going absolutely insane here! For the first day, he was fairly out of it and ended up sprawling on the bed after getting some help from... more
                • Singers, Dancers and ... FedsSome People, Thu Oct 19 10:54
                  Michael didn’t wake up until he rolled over, attempting to burrow against Devon just a little bit more and found the man’s bed empty. Eyes snapped open, panic replacing sleep as quickly as he’d... more
                  • Playing Catch UpDevon Holmes, Fri Oct 27 11:03
                    Jesus, what the hell was he thinking? Devon stared down at the breakfast, picking at the food, dutifully eating. Sitting here in the kitchen, with his leg propped up on one of the stools, reminded... more
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