by Bronze Tigress

Rainbow Sherbet + Chapter 6

Friday : TGIF! The Boys Go Dancing

Friday afternoon begins with an assignment for covert security duty coming in for Agents Sand and Stone - otherwise known to their friends as Quatre Winner and Heero Yui. The fact that they have been summoned to see Dorothy doesn't make them terribly happy -especially Heero, who takes one look at his partner that threatens utter mayhem and says to him, "Don't you dare..." Dare what, exactly, is not stated, however, and they take themselves off to the other wing of the building.

This leaves the other four agents - Wind and Rain, and Shade and Shadow - to themselves, and since all is otherwise quiet it promises to be a dull afternoon. Wufei, caught up on paperwork and tired of folding cranes, pops over to chat quietly with Trowa. Zechs sits back in his chair from where he has been pulling up a picture and profile. With a great huff of air through his bangs, he comments to the room in general, "Gyaaaah. It would have to be that one. I knew I'd get stuck going out with all the brainless chits in the whole Kingdom, but did it have to be her first? Gott... I thought the name sounded too familiar when I typed it in."

"What's so bad about her, Zechs? You've got her on the 'suitable' list, how bad can she be?" is Trowa's question.

"'Suitable', as in 'suitable for His Highness the ditzy Crown Prince Milliardo Peacecraft to be seen with in public'. In this case, that's not anything even remotely like 'suitable for Zechs Merquise to spend an afternoon with while retaining his sanity'. She's a leech and a gold-digger - and those are some of her better points. She's also a little slow, and a horrible dancer - unless a miracle has occurred since the last time I had the great displeasure of watching her waltzing..."

"And you're doing this why, exactly, then?"

"Une's idea. Establishing cover, mostly. I'm pretty much on permanent assignment to these little soirees of Relena's unless I'm on assignment elsewhere at the time. People will tell the slightly half-witted Ambassador a lot if they think they can get something out of it - or by accident if they think he won't understand it. And flirting with the society maidens is all part of the cover, according to her. Evidently I can't get away with showing up without a date any more; the rags are starting to wonder. Fortunately, this girl isn't terribly likely to be trying to undress me on the dance floor..."

"Hmm?" is Wufei's startled interjection at that comment.

"Oh, you don't have the slightest idea how bad it gets, do you? Treize had a few quite scathing comments to make on the subject when I was getting ready to attend a few of these things in Bremen. I think they were mostly scared away from me by the mask - and I flat refused to dance at all, since I was usually on guard-dog duty anyway, but I got to hear all about some of the worst offenders -most of whom are probably on that list, in the 'suitable' category, by the way. And I imagine it's going to be a good bit worse, since my rank is that much higher than his was. I'm sure it'd be a dream assignment if I actually liked any of these girls, but..." he simply rolls his eyes as the conclusion of this thought. "And speaking of girls one likes, Triton - you've been off in a daze again today, and I'm betting it had something to do with the flowers we spent two hours discussing yesterday..."

Trowa flushes a little at the reference to his evening the night before, but Wufei, rather uncharacteristically, joins in with a "Yes, do tell; how did your evening with the illustrious Mistress of Covert Ops go?"

Cornered, Trowa begins at the beginning. "Well, the flowers were a hit - thanks, Zechs, I'd never have thought of freesias, and they didn't have anything remotely daisy-like." Zechs smiles and nods at this, and Trowa continues, "We had dinner at the cafe on Kiev -nice and quiet - and we, ah, discussed a few things that maybe we should have talked about sooner. Stuff from the past, you know? We six don't exactly have the most normal pasts, do we? So. Anyway, I think we got a few misunderstandings straightened out. And she's a very good kisser..." The dreamy look that has been hovering for most of the day is back on Trowa's face with the last sentence.

Zechs and Wufei take a look at Trowa's expression, then take a look at each other, and are just about to launch into teasing him when a noise at the end of the hall catches their attention. Looking around the corner of the wall, Wufei motions to the other two, and then raps on his own doorframe for Duo to come take a look. It is Quatre, although it still startles his teammates to hear him speaking in the baritone range where his voice seems to have settled, and he seems to be talking to someone. "Oh, come on, I only have to stop by the office for a second to shut down the systems and grab a file."

The four Agents watching are surprised to see a girl in a neat business ensemble stepping shyly around the corner, and then taking the arm Quatre extends to her. She is almost as tall as the Winner Heir - for that appears to be his current role - but it is still difficult to tell what she looks like, as she keeps her face demurely averted. From what little they can see of her, however, her dark complexion and hair marks her far more surely as being of Arabic descent than does Quatre's own fair colouring. She waits silently for Quatre to finish gathering up a file from his desk, and turning off both his and Heero's terminals for the weekend. Then he turns to his companion and says, "Okay, all done, let's get out of here, shall we?" She just looks up at him and nearly -nearly - glares before evidently thinking better of it.

Zechs clears his throat, and asks, "Quatre - who's this?"

"Oh! Oh, this lovely young lady is going to be accompanying me to Relena's party tomorrow - and I'm afraid we have an engagement this afternoon as well. I'm so sorry, but we really do have to get going now. See you there tomorrow, Zechs?" With that, he leads her quickly back out the way they came in.

From around the corner an instant later, Heero can be heard asking, "Are you quite finished now? We can go?"

Quatre replies, sounding somewhat martyred, "Yes, Heero, we can go now..." and there is only the sound of retreating footsteps.

+

Later - nearly at quitting time for the day - Wufei again puts in an appearance in the other Agents' office. "Ah, Triton, I know Dorothy has working meetings tonight and most of tomorrow, so you are free this evening, yes? What about you, Merquise? Duo thought it might be nice to have a guys' night out, the four of us. Have dinner together, hit a dance club together, and, I quote, 'make all the girls jealous', unquote. Yes?"

The two seem to think it's an excellent idea. Trowa notes that it'd be nice to have something to do, and the company would certainly be welcome. Zechs, facing the prospect of dealing with an empty-headed girl all afternoon tomorrow, adds that it will be a pleasure to be able to speak intelligently to someone he's out with, and he only hopes they can actually dance. However, if he's going to be going out clubbing, perhaps someone could help him do something with his hair, since it's far too recognizable as is. He has temporary colouring already, but it needs to be brushed in, and a hand with that would be appreciated. Wufei nods, thinking that an excellent idea, and promises to send Duo around to discuss it.

Five minutes later Duo pops his head into their office and says, "Hey, it's just brush-in colour, not the wet-rinse stuff, right?" At Zechs' nod, he inquires about the colour and is told there's a choice of fantasy shades - blue, purple, emerald, and dark wine -and a lovely shade of chestnut. "Ooh, bring that - and can we use some of the purple? That'd be too cool... Got an idea. Okay -how about you guys go home and change, and then - you're still only a couple doors from each other, right? Good - why don't you just come on over together in half an hour, and we can all finish getting ready together. How 'bout jeans and a white T-shirt? We'll all match..." At Trowa's somewhat incredulous look, he rolls his eyes and adds, "Yes, I can find a white T-shirt in my closet, thanks so much..." Getting nods of agreement from both, he pops back out again.

Half an hour later, Zechs meets Trowa outside their respective apartments for the walk to Duo and Wufei's place, already looking very similar just by their outfits. Zechs has a brush and a couple of jars of coloured powders in his hands, which he shows to Trowa as they walk through the corridors. Duo answers the door, dressed in the same costume, and leads the two into the living room. Once there, he hands the purple powder to Trowa and waves him to a chair. He seats Zechs on one end of the couch, plopping down behind him with the jar of brown powder and the brush, immediately setting to work on turning him into a brunet for the evening. By the time Duo has finished this task, Wufei has made his appearance as well, also dressed, but with his hair still down and carrying a comb and three elastic hair ties.

Duo looks up at Wufei and grins, waving him to a spot on the couch and beginning to add streaks of the chestnut powder to his hair. When he is satisfied with the colour, he caps the jar and sets it down on the table. Then he takes up the comb, and divides off a section of Wufei's hair near the front, combing it forward to fall carelessly over half his partner's face; the remainder is pulled neatly back into its customary sleek tail, held closely at the nape of his neck. Duo taps his shoulder then, telling him, "You're done! Go look..."

Wufei heads to the bathroom to check the mirror, and Trowa is waved to a position on the couch. Duo takes the purple powder from his hands, and proceeds to brush a few streaks of that colour into the shock of auburn hair. He nods approvingly and then jerks his head towards the bathroom. Trowa obediently goes. A moment later, his rather startled squawk can be heard, then Wufei's voice answers, "Yes, twins... do you not think so?" Two voices are raised in laughter at that.

By this time, Duo has begun brushing the purple streaks into Zechs' hair, being careful to keep his strokes light enough not to disturb the first layer of colour. Finally, he gathers the now quite dark mass into a single ponytail high on Zechs' head, looping the covered elastic tightly. "Alright, you're good. You wanna shoo one of them out here to do me?"

Zechs nods, and shortly, Wufei comes back out of the bathroom to finish the costuming process. "Zechs said you wanted someone to come out and, I quote, 'do you'? Do you really think we have time for that?"

Duo blinks. "I did say that, didn't I?"

"Ai. You did. Did you know he carries mascara?" is Wufei's next question to Duo, whose mouth opens in shock.

"No, but damn it's a good thing he does - I completely forgot about those white eyebrows..."

For some reason, Wufei finds this very funny, and Duo mutters under his breath as the other two emerge. "What?" comes Zechs' plaintive question. "It doesn't work unless I do the eyebrows dark too... Oh, shut up... Gah!" By this time, Wufei has finished his own task of copying Zechs' current hairstyle on Duo's head, and the four are ready to go. Oddly enough, they all seem to have picked plain black leather jackets as an outer layer, but none of them seems to notice that little fact. If they do, no-one mentions it.

+

Dinner is relatively peaceful, despite the fact that they have picked a busy diner that caters to a fairly rough crowd. That the four unconsciously move together as if trained to do so for years on end probably contributes to the quiet they enjoy. And, even given the effeminate hairstyles they wear, any casual trouble is firmly discouraged, once they are seated and have taken off their jackets, by the ripple of well-muscled biceps casually revealed by rolled-up sleeves.

Duo orders for all four even before they've all been seated - house burgers all around, no mustard on this one, no mayo on that, no cheese on the third, and no relish on his own; he pauses only once, to confirm that Zechs wants lemon in his iced tea. It doesn't hurt Duo's performance any that he has eaten with each of them before, and the house burger is, in his words as he slides with catlike grace into his seat by the wall, the only thing really worth eating on the menu. Still, two of his three companions are duly impressed; the third is merely smugly proud.

During dinner, Duo suggests a couple of dance clubs, and they settle on one that happens to cater to a very mixed crowd, but boasts music that is set to a level where it is possible to carry on a spoken - vs shouted - conversation at the tables beside the dance floor. It is a surprise when Zechs proposes, given the nature of the club, that they can thus get away with dancing only with each other. "What? I am going to have to sit through four solid hours of listening to 'the latest style' and fending off drunken advances tomorrow afternoon; hells, I'm going to have to play at making drunken advances half the afternoon too. I didn't come out here tonight so I could practice defending my virtue! At least none of you three are planning on separating me from my clothes."

Zechs pauses to stab a chip, then looks up and, chuckling slightly, says, "Or at least, if you were, this isn't the way you'd do it. High explosives," he says, waving his fork towards the trio, "or something very sharp and pointy, but not with your bare hands on a dance club floor. Tell me I'm wrong." Looking around at the open mouthed expressions, he adds, "Unless you don't want me to look menacingly at all the cute thangs that are going to come try and haul you guys away?" Wufei closes his mouth first, but it is Duo who manages to speak first, muttering something about ZERO and mind readers who see the future...

+

And a good time is had by all, especially the spectators at the club who gather to watch the four beautiful young men grinding and gyrating on the floor. It is difficult to tell which of the four is most impressed by how well the others dance, and who is most surprised by one of his teammates. Trowa, perhaps inspired by the fact that Wufei has just done so, catches Duo from behind in a very sultry swivel-and-grind of the hips. Zechs takes full advantage of his greater size and Trowa's flexibility to hoist his partner into a series of jive lifts. He then offers his linked hands to Wufei, who takes advantage of the lift offered to perform a few rather dazzling aerial flips of his own. Fortunately the loft ceiling is high enough to allow for these acrobatics! Finally, Zechs turns to Duo, sweeping him an outrageous bow before stepping up, dipping him deeply enough that his hair sweeps the floor, and then sending him into a series of spins before handing him off, laughing madly, into Wufei's arms where he clings dizzily for a moment.

Trowa is, in turn, only too happy to spin Zechs about a few times, albeit a little more awkwardly given the height differential, then abruptly flips back-to-back with him, grabbing his wrists to hold their arms out straight to either side, and starts a shimmy. By the time the two are standing again, Duo has moved to face Zechs, and Wufei has stepped up in front of Trowa, both moving in close to bracket their teammates. The four soon more closely resemble a single writhing entity, knees and legs interwoven, hands linked, all moving together, instinctively reading and reacting to each others' movements.

All too soon the set ends and they pull apart to half-walk, half-stagger, arms linked around each others' waists and shoulders, to the booth set a little apart from the dance floor that they had claimed as their own and order another round of sodas. They are all giddy and laughing, nearly drunk on the movement and contact and sheer enjoyment of letting go; even Wufei seems to have caught Duo's hands-on approach, according to Zechs, who is most surprised by that. "Ah, Wufei here's a dance junkie, Zechs," is Duo's comment to that. "Turn on the right music and watch out... lock up the pointy instruments, hey 'Fei?" Wufei bats him good-naturedly on the arm, grumbling something about irreverent fools, but he is laughing as he shoots back that yes, it would probably keep Duo from putting them to some inappropriate use...

A few minutes later, when all four have had a chance to drink and breathe, Wufei remarks that their exposure to ZERO seems to have been good for something after all, and it would've been nice if it's other applications had been as much fun as this evening has been. Trowa agrees, and points out that they really should do this again, sometime soon. Zechs can only nod agreement to that, muttering something that doesn't rise above the volume of the music in the background. Duo, sitting closest to him, shoots a peculiar look at Zechs under cover of his bangs, but says nothing, merely taking a sip of his drink and turning the conversation to other topics, unrelated to work, wars, or women...

The four take another short set on the dance floor after that, switching partners often and easily, or moving all together as before. When a slower ballad comes up in the middle of the set, Zechs isn't really thinking about it when he gathers Duo, who happens to be his partner at the time, into a closer hold and begins to sway gently in time with the music, reacting automatically to the change in tempo. Wufei, noticing the pair, lifts one eyebrow, then catches Trowa's sleeve and hence attention before he can leave the floor, and mouths "Shall we?" to him before offering his own arms. A half-shrug is all the answer he is given before Trowa steps up to join him. A brief problem of dominance is quickly solved, each keeping one arm on the other's shoulder and a hand on the other's opposite hip. They trade out partners for the next song again, and for the next ballad Zechs makes a show of waltzing Trowa very elegantly about the floor, while Duo is in Wufei's arms again, looking very much like the pair of teens in love that they are.

They leave the club a few songs later; while it isn't yet too late in the evening, they all have busy days ahead on the morrow. And so they make their way home again, walking four abreast down the sidewalk, still chattering brightly and keeping close together, none willing to have to move back a rank or lose the contact. Duo may be the only one who could verbally explain the simple need to touch another human being, or the rush brought on by having met that need, but all four are feeling the effects. It has worn off somewhat by the time the four reach Duo and Wufei's apartment, where Zechs retrieves his brush and jars of colour, so that Zechs and Trowa are able to walk merely side by side through the corridors to their own apartments, but the close feeling of connection remains.

+

A little later on, behind a closed set of doors, a sleepy voice can be heard saying, "He was really enjoying himself there - I was surprised to see him so open about it..." Another voice answers, something not very clear, apparently because it is being murmured directly against the first speaker's ear. "No," comes the first voice again, "I mean, really enjoying himself out there. You weren't the one slow dancing with him..." A snort of laughter follows this announcement, and then no more is heard. Well, no more coherent speech is heard, at any rate...

[ch. 5] [ch. 7] [back to Bronze Tigress' fic]