Hats and Heads
If it is one thing I've learned over the years, it is that whenever Wufei's old war buddies - all of them friends of mine, as well - are visiting, you take great care in knocking on any closed door before entering, just in case. It is polite to delay a few seconds beyond that, in case there's a sudden silence before the sounds of someone rushing for cover.
Wufei has related some of the walking-in-on experiences he had during the wars and later, but he kept the details to a minimum and chose to be vague on the rest. In truth, I didn't quite believe him.
At least not until the first time Heero and Duo visited our present home for the first time. In their defense, it was almost midnight, and the study must have seemed fairly secluded. Perhaps they had spent most of the evening in front of the fireplace - Wufei and I have had many pleasant times at the sheepskins spread out there.
Of course, I didn't actually see anything in the dimly lit room - I saw the dark mop of Heero's hair above the back of one of the large recliners. He made the funniest jolt when I called his name, and then Duo looked around the armrest, grinning like a cat who just got his cream.
I'm not sure whether I simply imagined the fact on that expression, given all the tales Wufei has served me. It was rather dark, after all.
There is also the time I found two pairs of trunks floating in our pool, but no owners - not until I heard the muffled noises coming from the changeroom. I chose to retreat and opted instead to simply ask Quatre over tea whether he had a good swim. The way he almost choked on his Chai and consequently blushed spoke more than I think he would have wished.
I can understand passion overcoming you until you simply have to act upon it, regardless of your surroundings. While I believe my husband and I are somewhat more tempered than any of the three Preventers or the CEO of Winner Enterprises, we did covertly christen Quatre's billiard room upon one occasion.
Whether we did it first, I wouldn't dare inquire.
Regardless, since the ground rule of knocking closed doors was laid down, there has been no incidents beyond the rare rush for discarded clothes. As for the guestrooms, Wufei and I choose to leave those alone until our guests have departed. With luck, the potential laundry has not gone completely stiff before then.
This time, both couples were visiting. It had been seven years since the war first broke out, and on that occasion Wufei had called for an evening of reminiscence, set for the day prior. The pilots had all answered quickly. Lady Une and Sally Po had unfortunately declined. With three of their top agents absent, they had felt the agency needed all the help it could get keeping the odd outbreak of anniversary violence subdued. I believe Wufei even contacted my brother and sister-in-law, but I suppose it was too much to hope they would return. The trip from Mars is a difficult and time-consuming one, and with two very young children I imagine it would be an unpleasant journey.
Perhaps it is just as well - Heero has never gotten along with my brother, and the rest of them can only put up the front of civility so well. I suppose it does take a lot of strength to act polite in the company of someone that was once a sworn enemy, out for your blood.
All in all, last night had proved a pleasant reunion. They were to stay for a few more days, though.
It was still fairly early in the evening, and I was heading for the kitchen downstairs. Wufei had said he would cook that night, and I was growing curious as to what he was making. As I had told him earlier, I originally planned on finishing a couple of letters and perhaps gather the latest headlines from the newswebs, but halfway through the correspondence with the young Baron Fleicher, I grew weary. While otherwise a fine man, the Baron can be slightly pompous, and he is overly formal. My letter to him, subtly asking for his financial support in our upcoming election campaign, therefore had to be very precise, pulling just the right ropes. Similarly, my attempted appeal to the Lady Grimstone had to be overly cautious. She deplores any signs of waste, embracing frugality.
I got as far as passing the closed doors of the living room, overhearing voices. While it would not be polite to eavesdrop, I didn't see the harm in simply walking past slowly, listening intently. The voices of Heero and Duo came through clearly enough, Heero answering in brief sentences, Duo sounding somewhat exasperated.
"Come on... Put it on, just for me. You'd make me so happy..."
Heero sounded almost like a petulant child as he hesitantly replied. "But it wouldn't feel natural if I wore that..."
My curiosity peaked, I couldn't help but close up to the door rather than proceed to the kitchen. I barely touched my fingers to the oak door before Duo continued, far more snappy now than the faux honey-laced voice from just a moment ago. "Don the hat, Heero. We're not doing this until you've got this thing on your pretty little head."
"I refuse," Heero flatly stated.
I took a quick breath, wondering just what was going on in my living room - albeit, my imagination was fast at work picturing some plausible scenarios. I slowly folded my palm and brought it to my chest, tugging at my blouse. I knew of the term 'barebacking', but at first only related to horseback riding without a saddle. Then one day Duo broadened my horizons by using the term in a context that might have involved riding crops and studs, but certainly no horses.
"I'm telling you, no action until I see you wearing this!"
I could make out Heero snorting dismissively. "Then just turn your back to me, and we're good to go. You don't have to see me at all, Duo!"
"Oh, I'd still know, Heero, believe me. Now, come on!"
"No," came Heero's curt reply. I could almost envisage him frowning, blatantly refusing to wear what Duo wanted him to. I imagined him not wearing anything at all, and started to blush. While I have long since gotten over my teenage crush on him, there is no denying all the pilots are handsome, young men. All things considered I could have done far worse than ending up with the only straight one.
"God, don't be such a damn baby, babe." Duo paused, his voice shifting from upset to the subtly more devious tone he used when goading people into submission, something he can do quite well. "Or could it be that big, bad Yuy is afraid to put this little thing on? It's not like you've never worn one before, either - just last month, when we were celebrating-"
"But that was special," Heero objected. "That was our anniversary, and-"
"And this isn't? Every time is special, Heero - don't you get that? Look, even Trowa's wearing one!"
Again, I drew a sharp breath. At first, I thought the faint shuffle of footsteps I'd heard were just my imagination - but perhaps I was very wrong about that. I couldn't help wonder what on earth was going on inside the den, Duo's comment fast adding the image of Trowa to the pair - and with Trowa present, surely Quatre was in there too.
I was caught between wanting to know what was up - perhaps literally - very badly, and not wanting to know at all.
"Get on with it, Yuy! We're all just waiting for you now."
My jaw fell upon hearing my husband's agitated voice. If I had leaned any more against the door than I did right then, I would certainly have passed through it. Were they all planning to- I mentally shook my head. One thing was imagining the first foursome in a group romp of some sort, but I would wish to keep my husband out of it.
Then on second thought, I wasn't so sure. It definitely would be a sight. I couldn't help but glance down at the keyhole, growing ever more curious.
"Don't be a party pooper, Heero."
With Quatre's statement, I at least knew all five of them were present - and perhaps about to do naughty things in my living room, all depending on Heero's choice.
"But-" I heard him object one final time.
Duo sighed, apparently too tired to argue much further. "Just wear it, babe."
While he might have let go a low growl of disagreement, the soft shuffle sounds coming through the keyhole suggested he'd caved, allowing Duo to dress him according to his wishes. Finally, I heard him sigh. "Is it on?"
"Yeah, you're good to go," Duo answered.
There was a slight pause. "It feels weird."
Duo let go a brief chuckle. "Well, I didn't say it was a perfect fit, but it'll do."
There was a faint murmur of agreement from the other pilots.
"You deserve a kiss," Duo added, and the interlude and weak catcalls that followed suggested Heero got just that. Quite a sound one too, judging from how long it took until Duo spoke again, clapping his hands together. "Okay, finally! Let's get this party started, guys! Wufei?"
"Sure," my dour husband answered.
"Gentlemen, assume your positions..."
The mild joined laughter that followed did little to still my heart, and my thighs pressed closer together. I could all but imagine the orgy underfoot at the other side of the oak doors.
The feet I heard approaching the door were an effective mental cold shower. I took a step back before it dawned on me this was not the dim, wet sound of bare feet on marble. Still, I stepped aside, preparing an excuse to explain my presence. Yet, the door never opened. I heard the click of the light switch by the door, then the feet retreating again - and my curiosity returned. Certainly, they couldn't be-
It overcame me then. I leaned down in front of the keyhole and peered inside, but all I saw was black. They had apparently drawn the curtains before the windows, as well.
Lacking sight, I was all ears - though all I heard at first was the pulsing rush of my own blood.
When my cell phone started vibrating in my pocket, it jolted me, and only dumb luck kept me from falling forwards, pushing open the door. I struggled to calm my breath as it dawned on me what the sensation at my thigh was.
I picked it out, noted I had an incoming text message from Wufei, simply stating, 'Relena, please join me at the den.' It was a good thing he didn't call. Being caught peeping was not proper, though I'm sure at least one person at the far side of the doors would have gotten a kick out of it.
Then, Wufei's message replayed in my mind, startling me a second time. Was I to believe they wanted me to join them in - in - whatever they were doing? Certainly, I felt shock, but there was no denying I was mildly intrigued. My otherwise straight-forward husband apparently had some sides yet I knew nothing of.
I stood up, brushed off my pants, cleared my throat and after a deep breath, I put my hand at the door handle. I could certainly think of worse ways to spend an evening than in the company of five young, good-looking men - even though I had up to that point been certain all but Wufei were gay, and as good as married to boot. Perhaps I had gotten it all wrong.
That notion certainly remained with me as I walked into the dark room, only to have it burst out in light, confetti, cheers and party whistles. I'd brought up my palm to block the light, and through my fingers I saw them all - fully dressed, impeccably so.
"Happy birthday, Relena!"
"Congratulations," a deep, mellow voice beside me spoke. I turned to face Wufei's smirk, just as he stepped in and kissed my cheek.
"Aw, come on, Wufei - do it properly!"
There was more laughter following Trowa's request - one which Wufei saw fit to follow up. I'd barely overcome the surprise by the time the kiss ended. At least I had something else to blame my racing heart for now.
It was then I finally noticed; in addition to tall glasses of what I correctly believed to be champagne, they all had small party hats, ridiculously undersized for their heads. I caught sight of the tiny golden cardboard crown akilter on top of Heero's messy bangs, clinging to him for dear life with the rubber band below his chin. Despite how he raised his glass in greeting, his otherwise grumpy expression, along with his appearance, made it awfully hard not to start laughing. I think I managed to stop at a smile.
Wufei offered me a glass of my own, leaning in to talk over the rather loud music someone saw fit to start up. "That was quick - you didn't run all the way down here, did you?"
My smile faded a bit, and I sucked down a breath, washing it down with a sip of champagne. "Why do you ask?"
He cupped my cheek, studied my eyes seriously. "You look a little flushed. Is everything alright?"
At that, my face warmed even more, and I glanced away. "I'm fine," I curtly replied. Mustering a smile, I met his eyes again, only to drift upwards, glimpsing his party hat. I tapped one of the tacks of his bright purple crown. "So... is Prince Charming going to invite me to dance?"
He let go a snort, glancing at the stereo set. "You want to dance to this?" Still, he smiled at me. "Well, if you can suffer my two left feet..."
I shrugged and took his hands in mine. "I think I can manage. You don't give yourself enough credit, Wufei. You can dance just fine." I wondered if he'd ever get over that accidental trip at our wedding reception. Then again, I was thankful for how that incident were to remain in people's minds, rather than my slightly belated appearance at the church.
As we sought out our own rhythm amidst the thunder of the stereo, I idly wondered if it would be too conspicuous for me to leave the party early - with Wufei in tug.
Glancing over at how the other two couples were also capable of slow-dancing to the speed-beat rock sending shockwaves through the marble floor, I suspected it wouldn't be a problem before too long.
And I would remember to lock whichever door we chose to hide behind.