Mr. Tangerine Speedo
Chapter Four: It's the Magic Mushrooms Relena Put in the Omelettes
Quatre galloped down the stairs in front of Duo, laughing about something. He still needed a shave. The button down shirt he wore was better than the one he'd worn the day before. It was sturdy cotton and a gentle shade of pink that suited his gentle personality. It just needed to have a few more buttons buttoned and it would be perfect. The vest over it, however, was black leather. Scarred, black leather. With chains and buckles! It was form fitting and cut to show entirely too much of the entirely too tight denim jeans coming and going. Fucking Christ, he stuffed his pants. He had to have stuffed them. With a basketball or something.
"Trowa, breathe," Heero ordered.
I glared at him. "Why does everyone keep saying that?"
"It might be that you're turning bright red," Heero said, tapping his chin, "or it might be the fact that you're choking."
I pointed at Quatre with a tilt of my head. "Duo made him stuff his jeans with a bowling ball!"
Heero had the audacity to look amused. "I don't think he stuffed anything in there. I've seen him naked."
Oh, look, someone was strangling Heero. Good. Serve that insensitive bastard right.
"Trowa! Let go! Quit choking Heero!" Quatre bellowed in my ear, yanking on my bangs. "What is wrong with you?"
"He saw you naked!" I had to let go of Heero's neck to point at that insensitive bastard.
Quatre rolled his eyes. "So did Duo, are you going to try to choke him, too?"
"You ever touch my Heero like that again, I'll so kick your ass," Duo snapped. "Besides, it wasn't like that, Tro."
Heero, the pervert moron, shoved my other hand off and flopped onto his back on the floor. "Not gay!" he squeaked, then started laughing his I just took out a few transport loads of Aries, an Oz base or two, and not only did I not see a pink limo, I got to self-destruct! laugh.
"Let me see if I have this correct," Quatre said in his sweet voice, the one that meant he was going to whip out a thermonuclear weapon in the next moment if you didn't do the smart thing and surrender. "You tried to strangle Heero because he saw me naked?"
Perhaps I should have waited until a bit later to teach Heero a lesson about respecting personal modesty.
The sweet slipped into a thoughtful frown. "I don't think I like that."
Duo hissed like an annoyed Persian cat, ignoring his giggling love slave. "Well, I know I don't like it. Heero is mine, you got that forelock? Mine! See that collar? It means he belongs to me, not you. If there's any Heero-strangling going on around here, it'll be done by me." He pulled himself up to his full height--still a good fifteen centimeters shorter than me. "Mine, not yours!"
"That's Dorothy's collar." I thought about tossing him a smirk, but decided that I would rather be strangling Heero. "Besides, you haven't even managed to spank Heero without having a panic attack, so any Heero-strangling will have to be done by someone else."
"I did not have a panic attack! And it's not the Spawn of Satan's anymore because, because, uh...because it's on Heero and he's mine therefore I own it! Yeah!"
Heero finally stopped laughing and glowered at his furball. "You put frozen carrots on my butt. You barely swatted me once then you put frozen carrots on my butt. You panicked." Heero snorted in disgust. "Frozen carrots."
Quatre snickered. Duo jerked on his bangs and groaned. "You're never going to let me live that down, are you? You schmuck!"
Heero grunted. "No. Not until you actually take the spanking tutorial and introductory domination course from ex Mistress Dorothy like you promised."
Quatre's jaw dropped and he blinked at Duo. My jaw didn't drop, but I blinked, too. Duo turned eighteen different shades of red. "Heero!"
Heero tugged at the D ring on the collar. "We're going to a pet store and a sex shop so you can buy your own collars for me. I will need at least three."
I thought about frowning. Quatre was entirely too fascinated by this.
"Three? What the hell for?" Duo demanded.
"I will need a collar for daily wear, outside of our apartment. I will need a collar for formal wear. I would like a collar for casual wear around our house and for playing basketball in, but it's not necessary. I will need a training collar; it should be sturdy, strong, and not chafe my skin. You should purchase your own leashes, cuffs, chains, and rope but that can wait until you've taken your classes." Heero glared. "You will pay attention in class, Master, this is important. There will be a test."
"I'll go with you, Duo! It'll be fun." Quatre smiled one of his brightest smiles, the kind that lights up the room and makes everyone suddenly feel as if happiness were a way of life, not just something you do when you've managed to run out of enemies before you've run out of ammunition. The smile broadened and his eyes twinkled. "You can practice your spanking on me."
Time stopped. The world froze. Heero's puffing up like a pair of male Siamese fighting fish routine came to a jerky standstill before continuing on in extreme slow motion. Duo's train wreck of an expression that couldn't decide between hopeless embarrassment and a cheeky grin derailed like a Salvador Dali painting.
Quatre did not just say that. No, not Quatre. I must have been hearing things. I must have been dreaming. I had to have been flashing back to an Oz torture session where they mixed up their truth serum with botulism or LSD or something. Maybe it was something I ate.
Quatre whipped around and wiggled his cute little butt in Duo's direction, smiling and blushing over his shoulder. "What do you think? Spankable?"
Heero snarled, "I've already reserved the use of the Preventer's CPR dummy for the next five weekends. Master does not need to practice spanking on you."
Mushrooms. That's it. Mushrooms. It was the magic mushrooms Relena had them put in the omelettes in a last desperate bid to catch Heero. This wasn't real. It was a Relena plot. My Quatre was not bending over and flashing his butt at Duo while wearing jeans that were frayed, worn, stuffed, and three sizes too tight.
"I'm on drugs." It was such a relief, I almost smiled.
"You must be, you're grinning like an idiot." Duo shook his head and glowered at Heero. "Whatever you're on, Tro, share."
I thought about reassuring him that all of this couldn't possibly be happening because we were in a drug-induced hallucination provided by our hostess in one of her failed attempts at romance, but I was still upset with him because he'd seen Quatre naked and I hadn't. I hadn't been there. My Quatre was too innocent for such goings on.
Quatre's hand curled gently around my bicep and he frowned in concern up at me, nibbling on his lip. Up. It wasn't as up as it used to be. Why hadn't I noticed that I was shrinking before? I'm pretty sure I blinked in surprise. He was still short and slim, still more boyish in build than stocky, but he was taller than Heero. He as nearly as tall as Duo was.
"Trowa? Are you all right?"
I blinked at him. "I'm shrinking." Maybe it's a side effect of the mushrooms?
Quatre always did confusion so adorably well. "Shrinking? Don't be silly. You're just as tall as you always were."
I blinked at him again. "I have to be shrinking, otherwise you're getting tall."
Quatre added his cute pout to the adorable confusion. "I had a little growth spurt, it wasn't much of one, but it was a growth spurt."
I blinked at him again. Twice, for good measure. "You're tall. When did you get tall?"
He blinked back at me. "I'm not really tall. Iria said that this is probably it for me. I might get another few centimeters, but," he shrugged, "I take after Mother, not Father."
I slapped my hand to the middle of my solar plexus. "But you used to be this tall, and now you're this tall!" I moved my hand up to my clavicle.
He smiled. "That happens when you grow up, Trowa. Iria says that I'm just a late bloomer."
Late bloomer. Late bloomer? Bloomer!?!
"Trowa?" Quatre pounded me on the back. "Breathe, Trowa. Breathe."
I waved him off. "I'm fine."
He smiled the sweetly diplomatic smile he usually gave to politicians and Relena's schoolgirl friends. The smile that fed the egos of those who didn't know him. The smile that said that he was, as Duo usually put it, laughing his ass off at the person he was smiling at.
I glowered at him. "I'm fine."
He laughed then. "All right, if you say so."
Duo rolled his eyes. "Well, now that's all cleared up, can we go? Earl's probably drinking up the squeezins now."
"Where's Wufei?" Quatre's brow wrinkled in that cute way of his.
Duo snorted. "Zechs told him that he was too young and inexperienced to have developed the proper strategic planning abilities to beat a former member of the Specials elite at chess. I dunno if he fell for it because he was insulted or if he fell for it because he's all moony-eyed over Zechs. Maybe both." The ball of hair shrugged. "I planted some camera caps and surveillance stuff in my skivvies to give him something constructive to do when he loses and gets mad at Zechs."
Quatre sighed. "We should just go to a liquor store instead of this Earl character. Wufei wouldn't have such a problem with it. Honestly, Duo, why do insist on buying quasi-legal liquor?"
"Jeez, Q. It's not the illegal part that Wu has a problem with, it's the part where it'll knock him flat on his ass and get him dead dog drunk that he has a problem with. He wants to get something all girly, like chardonnay or something. There is no way in hell I'm letting him weasel his way out of this. I wanna see him get drunk, really, really, really stinking drunk."
I ducked one of Duo's flailing arms. "You're taking Quatre with you to commit a crime?"
"Nope! I'm taking Quatre out to buy beaded jewelry. The booze is a gift." Heero's mangy Maltese had the utter gall to actually grin at me. "Besides. I'm a Preventer Agent. Buying untaxed and unregulated liquor would be a felony."
"You're taking Quatre out to commit a felony!"
Quatre patted my biceps. "Trowa, there's no need to yell. We aren't--"
Heero grinned. It was the sort of grin that Duo usually wore when he was doing something nefarious with the enemy that involved a large order from the Practical Joke Warehouse. "He's not your lover, Trowa."
"Well no shit Sherlock," Heero's fuzzy Shih Tzu grumbled. "Can we just get this little carnival on the road?"
Not on his hairy little life. Not if I had anything to say about it, and did I ever. "Not with Quatre, you're not."
"Don't be silly, Trowa." Quatre laughed and squeezed my arm. "Let's go, Duo."
Before I could open my mouth to say anything, the two of them slipped through the front door. Heero paused on the threshold to grin at me again. "Not gay!"
Fucking Christ what was wrong with him?
Still giggling, or the Heero equivalent thereof, he said, "Coming or staying?"
Stupid question. There was no way I would let that lunatic Rat Terrier of Heero's loose on the streets with Quatre. "You know that collar should be around Duo's neck."
Heero frowned. "Duo is my Master, therefore I wear the collar."
Right. Duo was the Master. "You should consider purchasing the Idiot's Guide to Sexual Slavery."
Heero shrugged and led the way to the waiting car. "Master doesn't believe in instructions. He used the owner's manual for my toaster oven to wrap his sandwiches in."
"You should see what he did to the toaster oven. I just bought it, too." Heero sighed. "When a man owned a toaster oven, he was officially settled down. He killed the toaster oven."
That just confirmed my opinion on that long haired maniac. He corrupted everything he touched. Now, he was determined to corrupt my Quatre. Sweet, innocent Quatre. Not if I had anything to say about it. Without Deathscythe's cloaking capabilities to cover his ass, the fluffball was a sitting duck.
Just to make matter worse than they already were, the hairy Chihuahua was driving and Quatre had chosen to sit in front. Heero, the lost cause in the flesh, sat behind Duo and held onto the end of his braid. Could you get any more pathetically honeymoonish than that? Quatre thought it was cute and said so, three times. It's not cute. It's not even adorable. Besides, Quatre's hair isn't that long so I couldn't see a single reason for him to think it was so damned cute.
What would be cute would be for us to turn right back around and get Quatre back to where he belongs. Chardonnay was not girly. We could drink it and slip Quatre sparkling grape juice.
I carefully did not frown. We'd left Relena's rich section of town with a hop across the bypass and a quick exit into what was shaping up to be a slum. The neighborhood was getting rough and if we continued as we were, it would only get worse. It was now imperative to Duo's continued well being to turn around. Immediately. "Duo, where are you taking us?"
"Earl's place. It's in the--"
"This is great!" Quatre plastered his face to the passenger side window. "We're planning on some urban renewal programs in this area and I wanted to take a look for myself but Rashid wouldn't let me. It's a little hard to get a good feel for an area with ten or so Maganacs surrounding you. Especially since they're all taller than I am. Can we take a quick little tour?"
"We're not going that far. Earl lives with his nephew about a block up. Besides, you look like an easy mark dressed like that. Don't need the trouble. Though, it'd be sweet to see Heero in action again." Duo sighed in bliss. "The way his muscles just flow when he's punching you in the gut. Pure poetry."
"Duo, you're weird." Quatre laughed; everything from his hair to his toes sparkled. Not that I could see his toes from the back seat.
The hairball smirked at. "You love me anyway."
Quatre grinned cheekily. "Does that mean yes to Sheik Quatre and his Harem Boy Duo?"
"There will be no Sheik Quatre and his Harem Boy Duo!" Heero bellowed. For a change, the perverted rat bastard and I were in complete agreement.
The psychotic ball of fluff just laughed like the psychotic fuzzball that he is. "You've been reading Iria's romance novels again, c'mon, admit it."
Romance novels? There would be no more of that. I know, I've read one of Cathy's romance novels. Once. The only difference between a romance novel and porn is that the hero will eventually declare his undying love in the most emasculated manner possible before managing to figure out how to give the heroine multiple orgasms. In porn, they skip right to the multiple orgasms. Nope, none of this underground pornography for Quatre. I wouldn't let Cathy read hers until she'd adequately proven that she understood that she was to aim to hit where it hurt most, not miss, when she wasn't doing her circus routine.
Quatre's grin deepened. "I could wear one of those billowy white shirts if you wear the ripped up dress."
Billowy white shirts? Not on my watch. Duo could wear the dress, though. I'm sure that if I could find the proper surveillance equipment, Wufei would pay good money for the result.
"Oh, you evil, kidnapping, savage slave holding yet so enticingly handsome desert prince of sexiness son of a camel driver lower class swine!" Duo whined. "I demand that you take me! I mean, take me back to my home!"
Quatre chortled. I had to admit that was cute. "No, my sweet, innocent, yet seductively sensuous down on her luck member of the British aristocracy who accidently tripped over a rope, knocked herself out, and fell into the hold of a merchant ship! I will have you as my virginal harem boy." Quatre frowned at Duo. "Are you still a virgin?"
A virgin? Interesting.
"No! Heh heh. Of course not!" Duo cringed behind the wheel. "Not all the way. Completely."
Hmm. A good dose of blackmail material on the yapping little terrier could only be a good thing. I suppressed a smirk. "You're either a virgin or you aren't."
Heero glared at the world. It was his version of a pout. "Master refuses to have sex with me."
"Oh really, why not?" Quatre poked Duo in the shoulder. He shouldn't be poking anyone, that just wasn't his way.
You didn't have to see Duo's stiff, faked grin to hear it cracking his face. "Hey, where is Rashid anyway?"
Quatre snorted in amusement. Unlike Heero's or Wufei's, it was a gentle sort of classy snort. "You're not getting out of this, Duo. I want to know!"
The car jerked to a stop and Duo yelled, "Shut up! We're here!"
Quatre twisted around and simpered--simpered!--at Heero. "I want to hear more about this later, Heero." Quatre should not be simpering, especially not at Heero!
"Trowa, breathe," Heero ordered. That perverted rat bastard.
Quatre frowned at me, concern written in his gentle eyes. "Are you all right, Trowa?"
I tried to say, yes, I'm fine but all that came out was, "Heero!"
Quatre's frown deepened a little. "Is something wrong with Heero?"
"You're flirting with Heero!"
Quatre smiled. "Oh. I've got to practice. I have a date."
He was missing the point, dammit! "Flirting!" I felt like I'd been caught in some sort of centrifugal force of nature. Wait. "Date?!"
"With Nicholas, you remember Nicholas don't you? You did threaten him." His little half smile told me that he found it amusing.
A date!!! with that pervert!!! Not on my watch. "Don't you think it's a bit soon for that?"
"Whelp," Duo said, hopping out of the car and sticking his head through the door, "you two do this little thing of yours, I'm gonna go buy some 'shine." The door slammed shut with Heero following right behind him.
Quatre threw his door open. "Wait up, Duo! I want to--"
I pinned Quatre's shoulder to his seat before he could get out. There was no way in hell I would let him out in that slum, not without sufficient backup. He'd just have to wait for a Maganac Corps escort before he'd wander around by himself.
Quatre blinked at my hand in obvious confusion. "Pardon me?"
"You're not going out there. It's dangerous." I'm not surprised I had to point that out. Quatre always wanted to see the best in everyone. Even hoodlums that would cut your throat just because you were there.
In a move fast enough to put a go cart packing two Verniers to shame, he grabbed my wrist with both hands, ducked under my arm, twisted, and face planted me in the window. Agony shot from my wrist, which was bent far enough to brush the backs of my fingers against my forearm, all the way to my shoulder, which was threatening to come out of its socket.
The lock he had on my arm slackened enough for me to face him. He was kneeling casually over the back of the seat and glaring. "I was a gundam pilot, you know." He bared his teeth at me. Quatre! Bared teeth! Quatre! I could feel my jaw unhinging and my eyes popping open. "I can take care of myself."
"Qua-tre!" Duo whined from a dirty storefront. "You cracked the window!"
"It's Relena's car," Heero said.
Quatre stood up and locked eyes with me. "I'm not a little boy."
Qua-- "Quatre, I--"
The car door slammed shut.