Meeting the Press
"Mister Winner, Mister Winner! One more question, please!" The reporter pushed his way to the fore of the group, stopping before the roped off platform.
The well-dressed young man paused in his turn from the podium. He smiled pleasantly, and nodded his head. "Go ahead, sir. You may ask your question."
The reporter flashed a grin before flipping through his notes. "It's been reported you were seen in the company of a..." he hesitated, his eyes flicked from the pad to the young man and back. "... in the company of a man known to be an entertainer and mercenary." The man looked up expectantly.
No longer smiling, the young blond glanced over his shoulder to his publicist. Murmured comments were exchanged. The young man laughed, and while loud the sound held genuine mirth and amusement. Facing his interviewer, he simply smiled. "Yes, Mister Cozby, I have been." A brief stunned silence fell, and as the well-dressed young man exited the room, minor pandemonium broke out.
The room was dark, seemingly empty and quiet but for the vid set showing a nearly finished news broadcast. The click of a button cut the sound and the figure lounging on the couch stretched an arm overhead, dropping the remote on the glass tabletop. The hand fumbled over the table's surface behind the couch, knocking the receiver off its cradle before clasping it firmly. Two numbers were pushed and ringing began on the other end.
"Yeah," the voice answered shortly.
"I just heard. Your gig is up, man. What're ya going to do?" Though the tone was low, the amusement was not lost on the recipient.
The male voice on the other end snorted. "You need a life."
"I have a life. It's just a little slow at the moment." The figure rose, and padded into the adjacent kitchen. A circle of light flooded when the refrigerator door opened. "Seriously, though, what are you going to do about it?" The figure had enough time to collect a glass out of the dish-drainer, pour orange juice and put the carton away before his question was answered.
"Quatre just landed. I haven't had a chance to talk with him yet." The sigh, almost silent, was still heard. "Is there anything else you wanted? I should go."
"Nah, just wanted to check on you is all." The glass was raised, and the figure drank for a moment. "You'll let me know if you need anything, right?"
The nod could almost be heard through the phone. "You got it. And you're always welcome here. When does Heero get back anyway?"
An unseen grimace flashed. "Not for another couple of weeks. God, never thought it'd be this hard." The remaining juice disappeared in three large gulps.
"Maybe you need a little time off. Maybe we all do."
The glass was rinsed and returned to the drainer. "Time off would be good. Have Quat call when he's settled. Maybe we can come up with something together."
"We'll see. Goodnight. And get some rest."
A hand raked lazily through tousled, blond hair. "It was inevitable, you know."
With a sleepy murmur, the blond man rolled up in his lover's arms and blinked down at him. "What do you mean? Nothing's inevitable. It's just not anyone else's business."
"You're not going to do anything about it?" he asked, his hand dislodged from its resting place, trailed over a shoulder; its fingers glided along the edge of his lover's back.
The blond leaned closer and pressed his lips to skin. "There's not a lot I can do. The press will say what they want, regardless of what I tell them." He smiled warmly, eyes traveling down the long length laying beside him. "You and I know the truth, and that's all that matters." He rolled them both over to bring himself on top, straddling the other's hips. Bent over with his arms braced to either side, he sucked his lover's lip into his mouth and tugged gently between his teeth.
"Quatre," the taller man warned even as his hands slid down the naked back to grasp the blond's hips. "Don't start something you can't finish." He gasped; his lover bit his lip as pelvis ground against pelvis.
Letting go of his lip, Quatre coaxed, "We've got fifteen minutes before the meeting. Plenty of time, merc boy." His lips were already traveling even as his hips moved into position.
"Merc boy?" he chuckled lightly. His brow raised while he drew his legs up, adjusting his hips to align with his lover.
Quatre settled himself with a hiss, his fingers curled into the sheet. Opening his eyes, a lazy smile curved, and he began to move in a steady rise and fall of his lower body. "I could have called you a gold digger, but I know how you hate getting dirt under your nails."
A low growl worked its way out. He clasped his lover's body close and rolled him onto his back, still in coitus. "I'll show you how mercenary I can be." His pace slowed teasingly, his lips and teeth savage over tender skin.
"Trowa," the blond gasped, eyes closed and fingers digging into flesh. "Finish it."
"Your command," Trowa murmured, kisses now gentle and soothing while thrusts hard, urgent and demanding. "Is my wish."
A look of disgust look crossed his face and Quatre tossed the newspaper away. "They're getting worse." Picking up his tea, he glanced at his lover over the rim of the cup. "Have you been..." He paused, not quite certain what question to ask.
Trowa finished spreading jam on his toast before returning the look. "It hasn't bothered me, no. But I am afraid of what it's doing for your image and ICP's funding."
"Don't worry about me. I've lived through worse." Quatre smiled and picked up the paper again. "As for ICP, if donations appear to be declining, I'll make up the difference." He reached across the table and squeezed Trowa's hand. "You're doing a wonderful job, and no one can say any different."
The two ate in silence, punctuated only by the soft crunch from Trowa's toast. Pushing his plate aside, Trowa leaned back and watched his lover scan headlines, frowning, smiling and chuckling at the contents. "You have to admit, some of what's been written is fairly humorous, considering."
Quatre stared at him, paper folded at the corner. "You are joking, right?"
"No, not at all," Trowa answered, a grin twisting his lips. "The write up yesterday, for example." He paused in thought. When he spoke, he lowered his tone, and added a pompous tinge to his voice, "Speculation as to whether Trowa Barton is somehow related to the Barton family has brought a call for an investigation of Mister Barton's history. Some sources have stated it is possible Barton's intentions are to take over Winner Enterprises." He laughed as he finished. "As if I'd want it."
Shaking his head, Quatre murmured, "If they only knew." He flipped the paper back a couple of pages. "Today's article would have the world believing you're not fit to run the Industry for Children's Program. And rumors say you're after the money meant for the kids." His eyes lit up with suppressed humor. "Now, if the truth were told, and these so called reporters found out they make more..."
"Quatre," Trowa protested mildly. "We've been through this a hundred times. I will not give myself more of a salary. It doesn't benefit the program, and I hardly need what I do receive." He rose and swiftly rounded the table. "You are too generous as it is," he said, his arms draped over his lover's shoulders.
The blond tilted his head and accepted the kiss, his hand sliding behind Trowa's neck. "Whatever I have is yours. You know that, you just won't believe it."
Giving his lover another kiss, Trowa straightened. "I accept you and believe in you. But not your company, or your money." His hand lingered on the other's shoulder. "I'll see you tonight, unless you want to meet for lunch?"
Quatre's eyes brightened. "Excellent idea! Let's meet at Louis' Bistro. I've been dying to have his salmon aspic again."
"Louis' sounds good," Trowa answered, suppressing the shudder. "Though I'll pass on the aspic." He squeezed the shoulder beneath his hand and headed for the door. "See you at lunch."
"Quatre!" Trowa cried, working his way through the noisy crowd around their table. The blond looked up from the ground, his knee firmly pressed into the back of an unknown man, a wrist held firmly in his grasp.
"It's okay Trowa. He's down." He dug his knee into the back sharply, and the man grunted. "Louis has called the authorities."
Trowa took in the overturned chairs, the skewed tablecloth, and an up-righted palm plant before looking from his lover to the man beneath him. "Another kidnapping attempt?" He opened his case and searched through the contents.
"This man thought he could surprise me." Quatre shook his head and pressed his knee into the man's back once again. "Will they ever learn?"
Bringing out a pair of handcuffs and a couple of pre-filled papers, Trowa frowned. "Not likely." He tossed the cuffs to his lover, picked up a pen and started to fill in a few blanks on the police report. "I can't even leave you alone for five minutes..."
"I can't help it if these goons think I'm weak without you." Quatre glared darkly at the man now standing with his hand cuffed behind his back. "It would almost be worth calling Rashid back just so I can eat lunch in peace." He shook the man in annoyance.
Trowa finished the paperwork as two uniformed police officers arrived. He stood and smiled when he recognized them. "Sandy, it's good to see you again." He nodded to the woman's partner before gesturing behind him. "The perp is handcuffed and ready to go. Paperwork's all complete. Let me know when the date is set and I'll make sure Quatre's there."
"Hey Trowa," She said, scanning the forms. "Quatre, maybe you should hire a bodyguard just as a deterrent." Her partner started to lead the handcuffed man away.
Quatre snorted and added his signature to the forms. "I appreciate the suggestion Sandy, but I enjoy my privacy a bit more." Straightening, he gave her a warm smile. "Besides, how else would we be able to see you so often?"
The officer laughed, and smacked the folded forms on his arm. "You two take care and I'll buzz you with the court date." She waved and followed her partner out of the café.
"Call her back," Quatre demanded in a low voice.
Trowa glanced up to see him visibly shaking. "Quatre? What's wrong?"
"I'm going to hurt that ...that kidnapper some more!" He pointed to an overturned plate. "He ruined my aspic!"
"...so anyway, I was thinking maybe taking you up on the offer," the voice over the phone droned on.
Trowa blinked and focused back on the caller. "I'm sorry, what was that Duo?"
"You know, me come for visit? Sheesh, Tro, Q giving you a hand job or something?"
"I can only wish," he chuckled into the phone. "No, it's this damned news reporter." He shifted through a small pile of newspaper clippings. "A Jack Cozby. He's driving Quatre crazy with the articles he's posting."
"Q have an idea of what to do about it?" the voice was oddly muffled on the other end.
"I'm not sure he's planning on doing anything." He frowned at the receiver. "What are you doing, Duo?"
"Ah... you don't wanna know."
"Duo," Trowa began, and shook his head. "You're right, I don't want to know." He looked up as the door opened; he smiled catching sight of Quatre. "Anyway, about coming for the visit, when can we expect you?"
A slight shuffling noise was heard. "Tomorrow about noon? It'll take a bit to find a shuttle this late in the day." The phone went silent.
"Are you still there?" Quatre paused at his words and Trowa shook his head slightly.
"Yeah," Duo's breathless reply came. "Just had to take care of something real quick. So, I'll see you tomorrow then."
Trowa stared at the receiver for several long moments. "I think..." His head jerked in mechanical movement from shoulder to shoulder. "No, not even Duo would..."
Dropping onto the couch next to him, Quatre gave an inquiring look. "What's he done now?"
"I think the bastard just jerked off while we were talking."
Quatre slipped from his bed, easing out quietly trying to not disturb his sleeping partner. He stood and listened intently. The noise - if it could be called sound - was soft, almost not there. He felt more than heard the presence and pulled his discarded boxers on slowly, minimizing the rasp of cloth over skin.
The apartment was dark, light from beyond the building blocked by specially made curtains. It had been the barest hint of darker shadow in the black of the room that gave the figure away. Quatre lowered his body to the floor, keeping the couch between himself and the shadow. He shallowed his breathing, and crept forward, eyes glued to the intruder.
A muffled thump sounded near the figure. Quatre heard a sharply indrawn breath, loud in the too quiet room, and the figure bent. Now was the time to attack. He rose swiftly, planted a foot on the couch and leapt. Arms wide, he plowed into the shadow from above, his momentum knocking the startled figure over. Both landed on the floor, Quatre straddling the intruder.
"God damnit, Quatre! What the fuck you go and do that for?" a familiar voice shouted.
Arms trapped in his grip, wriggling body striving to upend him, Quatre gaped unseen. "Duo?" he questioned. Lights flooded the room, and looking around, Quatre saw Trowa in the doorway to their room, still nude but at the ready in case of need.
"Yeah, who were you expecting? Santa Claus?" Duo snickered, stopping his attempt to escape.
"You weren't supposed to be here until tomorrow." Quatre narrowed his eyes.
"You really need to stop breaking in. One of these days he's going to hurt you," Trowa added, coming farther into the room.
Duo grinned, a roguish light gleamed in his eye. "Nice duds there, Tro. Care to let me try them on for size?"
Quatre smacked his arm lightly and sat back. "Why are you here now?"
Shrugging lightly, Duo rested his hands behind his head. "A seat came up at the last minute so I grabbed it. Didn't think you two would be asleep already. Besides, your security sucks and someone has to test it out." He bucked his hips up suggestively. "And unless you want me to try you out some, ya might want to get off me now."
Startled, Quatre jumped to his feet. "If you have suggestions on the security of my building, please let me know. And I apologize for the welcome."
"It's been all the kidnapping attempts," Trowa stated, leaning casually against the back of the couch. "There's been too many to keep count. You showing up unexpected," his shoulder rose to conclude his statement.
Duo stood, and leaned over for the bag he'd dropped. "Understood. Next time I'll holler when I'm inside."
Quatre stared at his friend, contemplating his unabashed sexuality. "Duo," he began. "When did you say Heero was to return?"
The longhaired man glanced back at his friend. "Thursday. Why?"
"Would he..." the blond began speculatively. "...object to you and possibly him, assisting in a little mission for me?"
Duo straightened and shot a look at Trowa; Trowa watched his lover carefully. "Uh... I doubt he would," he said and then amended, "As long as it's legal."
"Good." Quatre walked around his friend slowly, nodding his head.
Clearing his throat, Trowa asked, "What are you planning?"
Quatre gave a small grin, his eyes flashed. "Meeting the press."
Trowa regarded his partner solemnly as Quatre straightened his tie for him. "Are you sure you want to go through with this?"
Brushing off a near invisible piece of lint, the blond replied, "I am willing. But if you have any doubts, please let me know." Trowa lowered his head and gave him a kiss. "I take that as a no, then?" Quatre's lips curved into a smile against his mouth.
"It's an excellent idea. Though I'm not sure how excellent the esteemed Mister Cozby will think of it."
"Hmm," Quatre murmured vaguely, hands smoothing down the material of his lover's outfit. "Frankly I don't care what that... jerk thinks." He stepped back and gave a nod. "You're ready. How are Duo and Heero coming along?"
Trowa cast a glance to the closed door behind them. "They did roll out of bed a few minutes ago. Amazing for how late they were up this morning. I believe they'll be ready on time. You know Heero."
Quatre nodded and, as the light tones of the doorbell sounded, he looked towards the living room. "Looks like it's show time." He brushed a quick kiss over Trowa's lips and left to let in their guest.
Even as he heard the warm greeting coming from the other room, Trowa heard the door open behind him. "Our visitor is here," he announced softly, and turned.
Duo was examining the equipment set up earlier that morning; Heero adjusted his cuffs, making himself ready and looked to Trowa for further instructions.
"Give Quatre twenty minutes. He wants this reporter to believe this will be a normal interview." He found his grin matching Duo's, and from the look in Heero's eye, he knew the reporter would experience anything but normal.
Returning to the living room, Quatre passed a highball glass over to his guest. "Here's that drink I promised you."
The man, busy setting up his notepad and looking over his list of questions, accepted the drink without looking and swallowed. Choking, he looked incredulous at Quatre. "Mister Winner! It's not even noon yet." He placed his glass on the far side of the occasional table.
"Come now," Quatre almost crooned, taking a seat on the couch next to the man. "It's noon somewhere." He took a drink and waited expectantly.
"Yes, it would be." The reporter frowned slightly, gathering his notes together before turning to his host. "Mister Winner, please stop me..." his voice died away as the young man shook his head sadly.
"Jack, Jack, Jack," Quatre began. "Please call me Quatre. Mister Winner is so formal, and after all," He smiled and touched the man's arm. "You know so much about me already, formalities are not necessary."
The reporter smiled hesitantly in return. "Yes, well, Quatre," he read from his notes. "If you would indulge me, I would like to talk a little about Winner Enterprises and what direction you see the company heading." He looked up to see the man in question finish off the last of his drink.
Quatre closed his eyes; his tongue licked the inside of his glass and batted an ice cube playfully. He released a long sigh and opened his eyes to gaze at his interviewer. "I refuse to talk business today. It's much too boring." He jumped to his feet suddenly, announcing, "I need another drink. Would you like a refresher?"
Caught unaware, the man could only blink. "No, I still have mine." He made a notation as the blond disappeared behind the counter. "What would you like to talk about Mister Winner?" he called out, writing encrypted impressions on paper.
"Really, Jack, I insist you must call me Q." The man jumped in his seat to find Quatre half draped over the back of the couch.
The reporter swallowed, his eyes widening in disbelief as the blond lowered his eyelids and licked his lips.
"Is it getting warm in here?" Quatre murmured. "You don't mind if I get a little more comfortable, do you?" Without waiting for an answer, he stood and slipped his suit coat off, tossing it negligently to the floor.
"No..." the older man whispered, his breath quickening.
Quatre rounded the couch, his fingers at his tie, swiftly unknotting it. "I find my home so..." He watched the other man as he slowly tugged the tie from beneath the collar. "Relaxing." He sat close at an angle facing his interviewer with an arm resting casually over the back of the couch, his fingers grazed the man's hair. "Don't you?"
Another swallow. The man's eyes glued to Quatre's other hand as he undid one shirt button at a time. "Oh... yes. Quite... relaxing," he sighed. His tongue ran over lips, both too dry to wet. "Your house is one of the most... relaxing homes I've been to, Quatre." A finger pressed to his lips.
"Q, please," the blond mouthed, so close only his finger kept their lips from meeting. "If you keep disobeying me, I'll have to punish you. And you wouldn't like that would you?"
Something in the young man's tone gave the reporter thought that he would enjoy whatever punishment the blond had to give. When Quatre leaned back, giving him space, he took a deep breath and took refuge behind his notes. "Do you have a relationship with Mister Barton?"
"Let's talk about you, shall we?" Quatre purred, one of his hands playfully twisting the man's hair between his fingers, the other idly stroking his thigh.
"Wha... what do you want to know?" the reporter choked out.
"Are you married?" Quatre breathed. Unable to answer, the older man shook his head. "Good. I'm sure you know my..." He quirked his lips slightly. "...preferences."
"Yesss," the answer low and drawn out.
"Do you ...like me, Jack?" Quatre leaned into the man, his pen fell to the carpet.
Closing his mouth, the reporter nodded slowly.
"Good, because I need someone like you." His breath ghosted up the man's neck, and along his jawline.
"What about..." the older man swallowed, trying to think. "What about Barton?"
"Mister Barton helps me... train," Quatre offered by way of explanation.
"Train?" he questioned, trying to get his mind back in working order.
"Oh yes. He's the best cat trainer in the colonies and quite possibly on Earth." Quatre smiled.
Quatre's laughter was soft, caressing. "My cats." He leaned back, putting some distance between them. "I believe he's in a training session now. Would you like to observe him in action?"
Blinking at the sudden change, the reporter nodded. Quatre was already standing, pulling him to his feet. "Good because I just love to see the man at work."
The room's low lighting did not disguise or hide its contents, and the reporter stopped immediately upon entering. "What..." His mind couldn't quite take in the picture presented. The wide deep lounge and the many pillows scattered at one end, to the hooks, chains and leather straps at the other end, and a circus ring in the center, did not keep him from knowing that iniquity's den had once been a long formal dining room.
A tall slender man rose, the one who'd been seen in the WEI owner's company at many occasions. He held out a hand, and the reporter took it, more from force of habit than desire. He couldn't remove his eyes from the man's attire, couldn't keep from flushing at the knowing look and Quatre's laugh.
Black leather pants without a fly hugging his hips, feet as bare as his chest, the green-eyed man smirked. He straightened the faux shirt collar, and smoothed down its very real tie. Leather cuffs adorned with steel studs were snapped around both wrists.
"Jack would like to see how you handle the cats," Quatre was saying, even as his fingers traced an invisible trail down the naked chest, circling the navel and plucking at the low-riding waistband.
"They were napping a moment ago," Trowa said, gesturing to several large pillows along the far wall.
They had moved forward into the room, almost to midway and the reporter now noticed the two men curled together on the cushions. He sucked in a breath. One stretched lazily, eyes gleaming in the low light watching the group. His whiskers twitched; a black paw stroked the hair on the head nestled against his torso.
"Duo! Heero!" Trowa commanded sharply. Both young men sat up immediately, attention focused entirely on the voice calling them. "Heel."
Scrambling over one another, the two men moved faster than the reporter could have believed anyone could on hands and knees. When they reached the trainer, both men sat back on their haunches, paws firmly on the floor and faces upturned to the one commanding them.
His hand scratched behind one triangle ear. "Duo is a panther, strong, silent and deadly." The long-haired man rubbed his head against the hand. Silky black ears perched on top his head, nearly invisible whiskers twitched with minute vibrations of the man's face. Black paw-like mittens covered his hands. He was entirely nude except for a black thong and a sleek long tail curved about his legs.
"And Heero is a Siberian tiger. Innocent looking on the surface, but very, very dangerous beneath." As if to prove his point, the tiger snapped at the hand reaching to pet it. Trowa chuckled, and lightly smacked the large cat's nose. The young man pulled back, glowering with quivering whiskers. Dressed much the same as his long-haired companion, the only differences being the color, and his whiskers and tail appeared to be shorter. While the other cat wore rich black, the tiger's white coloring highlighted the appearance of purity, fading to smoke grey, with strategic black stripes making a vivid contrast hinting at his dangerous nature.
"What have you been working on this morning?" Quatre asked, dragging the reporter's attention from the cats. He was looking over the equipment placed in the circle intently.
"Just the rings at the moment," the trainer responded, a hand on both heads. "I can show you how well they've come along, if you want."
"Oh please," Quatre requested, breathless. He turned his stare to watch the cats as they leaned into one another, the panther nipping at the neck of the tiger, and the tiger rumbling deep in his chest.
The cat trainer had picked up a small handled whip and snapped it off to the side. Both cats straightened, focusing on the man. Cracking the whip over their heads, Trowa commanded, "Duo, rings."
The panther leapt forward, brushing between both the reporter and Quatre to the large circle behind them. He jumped the short circle wall, and charged the first ring laid out. At seemingly the last minute, he dove headfirst through the hoop, clearing it on all sides, and landed in a roll. He sat up and shook his head, back on his haunches, paws planted on the floor, and looked to his trainer.
"Wonderful job!" Quatre exclaimed, clapping his hands. The reporter looked from the cat to the young business man, uncertainty and morbid fascination warring in his expression.
"Heero, rings!" Trowa commanded sharply, adding another snap of the whip.
The Siberian lunged through the opening already made, and launched himself from the lip of the circle, diving cleanly through the large hoop. He landed on paws and knees, and sprang once again, head first through the next hoop without pause. He rolled and came up close to the resting panther. Giving the black cat a definite smirk, he swished his tail to curl about his legs.
With a low growl, the panther struck, leaping in powerful grace on top the tiger. The tiger roared and wrapped paws around the other cat, twisting his body and rolling them over the floor. Mouths opened, teeth gnashed, and limbs entwined.
"Shouldn't you do something?" the reporter asked, not taking his eyes from the exposed flesh, the writhing bodies and animalistic sounds.
Trowa glanced idly at the spectacle. He straightened his collar, and tossed his whip on the table. "They won't hurt each other. But there won't be any more training for the day, I'm afraid." He leaned back against the table behind him, his arms crossed over his chest watching the newsman.
"Jack," Quatre said quietly, his hand grasping the other's arm firmly. "I do need to tell you something before you go."
This grabbed the reporter's attention and he looked to the blond still clutching his arm. "Yes, Q?"
Quatre deliberately leaned in close to the man, a hand slid up to cup behind the man's neck. "I have to tell you," he almost whispered breathlessly. "If you write any of this up in your hack of a paper... in fact, if I hear of you ever writing anything about me, Mister Barton or any of those I hold dear, I will personally spend every last dime I have to completely ruin you." He brushed his lips over the stunned reporter's before stepping back. "I hope I've made myself clear." Jerking his head towards the door, he tossed out, all friendliness gone, "You know where the exit is. I suggest you make haste." And turned his back to the man.
In less than a minute the sound of the front door opening and closing was made, and Quatre released a held breath. "And that is that," he commented, moving forward to stand before Trowa.
"Do you believe he won't write anything? Say anything?" He drew his lover closer, lowering his head for a kiss.
"Hmmm," Quatre murmured, opening his mouth and deepening the kiss. He pulled back after a moment, his brow darkened. "I'll put Rashid on him later. If he so much as breaths my name or those I'm associated with, we'll know."
Giving the suddenly tense man another kiss, Trowa asked, "Apple juice?"
Quatre grinned and shrugged. "Diluted just right, it looks like scotch."
A loud moan and gasp from the circle near them sounded. The two lovers looked and hastily averted their attention. "I think maybe we should leave them alone," Trowa suggested. Quatre nodded, already heading for the door.
Several minutes later found the pair of cats back on the pillows, curled up around one another. The panther stroked the tiger's hair, his tail swished in contentment. The tiger licked lazily at the bared stomach, his paw batting at the tail when it came too close.
"Think Q will let us keep these costumes?" Duo mused.
Giving another lick, Heero rolled over and sat up. He took in the ears, the paws, and the tail. "If he doesn't, I think we can come up with some ourselves."
Duo grinned. "I was hoping you'd say that." He held out a paw clad hand. "C'mere tiger." The white furred cat rumbled and pounced, making the panther laugh more than purr.