A/N: Early-access fics are now up on my Patron.
"I can't be King of Wakanda!" Peter protested feebly. "I… I'm not registered to vote!"
T'Challa looked at him with gentle remonstration, as T'Challa tended to look at people. "It is the most viable alternative to me staying in Wakanda and ruling myself, which is not possible. I have business which must be attended to, elsewhere, and personally."
"But-!" Peter began, his protest a little stronger now.
Nonetheless, T'Challa overrode it. "Someone must seat the throne in my stead. An Avenger is the most logical choice. As my teammates, they are equal in honor to me. And unlike many of them, you have few responsibilities of your own."
"I have school!"
"It is summer," T'Challa reminded him. If anything, his gentleness was almost exaggerated.
"I have summer reading!"
"You can do it here. Is not most reading in America done on the throne?"
"Was that a joke?" Peter asked, but T'Challa was already walking away.
He expected Peter to follow, and as in most things, he was proven right. Peter followed after him on what he soon realized was the royal tour.
In fact, T'Challa had been giving him a tour of the facilities—so to speak—for the last hour, and it had only recently dawned on Peter that just because he'd been brought along on the Quinjet as an extra pair of hands to take out a Centipede remnant (note: whatever that was) trying its hand at vibranium smuggling… did not mean that the Wakandan King would then thank him for his troubles by giving him a look at Afrofuturist superscience. Tony had been only slightly un-blasé'd ("Yeah, sure, I guess, as long as you've got a supersonic jet that can get him back to the States before curfew. His aunt's a real stickler about no superheroing in the AM, although I guess since we crossed the international date line…")
And now that Peter's state-sponsored geekout had become a cram session on Wakandan culture, Peter was realizing he'd basically just been given the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist equivalent of 'nose goes'.
"This is the Hall of Wakanda, where the royal tapestries depict some of the most important moments in our history. If you must cling to walls in the palace, please, do not do so here."
"This is nuts!" Peter insisted, and regretted raising his voice as T'Challa favored him with an… unamused look.
"I should also say that I am recalcitrant to allow you to use your 'webbing' while I am uncertain of the chemical composition it decays into. If you must do so, try to avoid the air conditioners. You could do untold damage to our filters."
"Don't you have a vice president or a grand vizier…" Peter remembered every movie he'd ever watched. "Maybe not a grand vizier…"
"Wakanda is divided into tribes, such that it would give your American 'partisanship' new meaning. If I appointed a member of one tribe to the stewardship, it would be seen as showing them unwarranted favor by many others. They would take exception. Violent exception. An honored outsider upon the throne is, at least, a compromise that pleases no one. In politics, this is very favorable."
"Yeah, yeah, I get it," Peter groused, "you guys are more Game of Thrones than Parks & Rec. But I cannot be—"
T'Challa silenced him with another glare as they reached the end of the Hall of Wakanda. "I have seen your program, The Game of Thrones. I do not consider the analogy apt, on account of their primitive technology and often times gratuitous sexuality."
That said, T'Challa led Peter through a set of curtains and into what could've passed for James Bond's id. The place was like a waterpark themed after a Turkish bath. There were dozens of women, and nowhere near enough clothes to go around. As steam rose up from God only knew where, the women soaped themselves, toweled off, showered, bathed, even gave each other massages. And all of them were built. You could fill a dozen Pirelli calendars without repeats, and that before they went all politically correct.
Upon seeing T'Challa, the women all snapped to attention—Peter could sympathize—and said something in Hausa that Peter couldn't understand, but was obviously some form of greeting. Good morning, Charlie, he thought to himself.
"Uhm…" Peter said. "Maybe I should wait outside."
"Nonsense," T'Challa said grandly, as if he were showing off. "These are the Dora Milaje. While you are here, they will serve as your personal protection."
"Yeah, that makes perfect sense." Peter rubbed the back of his head. "Because that's the part I'm going to have trouble with—I can take care of myself."
"They will also tend to your sexual needs."
Peter choked on some spit. "Can I talk to you outside?" he wheezed.
"What's wrong?" T'Challa asked good-naturedly. "Can you take care of that yourself as well?"
Outside—thankfully—Peter sat down on one of the benches that faced the tapestries. He hacked up a little of the offending spittle, but swallowed it again. If T'Challa didn't like weblines hanging around the palace, he'd surely take offense to spitting on the floors.
"So, uh… how's that again? With the sexual needs?"
T'Challa produced a bottled water from nowhere—Peter wouldn't put it past him to find some way to have pockets on a skintight bodysuit—and offered it to him. Evian. Peter drank some.
"The Dora Milaje—the adored ones—are the wives in waiting of the Black Panther. This is largely a ceremonial position. If I was ever to act on the… implicit contract… with them, we would be immediately wed. Naturally, as appealing as the prospect itself would be, these consequences are less than ideal."
"Because…" Peter paused to take another drink. "Game of Thrones."
"More or less," T'Challa agreed. "However, in my absence, they are pledged to serve and defend you instead. But, as an outsider, they would not be expected to marry you. This gives them something of a gray area in which to indulge themselves, as apart from myself and… nuptials… they are unable to sate themselves."
"So, basically, you have a bunch of horny virgin Amazon bodyguards and they'll do whatever I say?"
"Of course not," T'Challa said. "It is forbidden for the Dora Milaje to talk to anyone but themselves and their beloved."
"So… they won't do that," Peter said. "Anything else?"
T'Challa shook his head.
Peter gripped the water bottle with both hands. "They are going to get like twenty episodes of Maury out of this, I just know it…"
T'Challa reached out and placed a palm on his shoulder. "I am certain as responsible a man as you will resist temptation. At least, to a reasonable extent. Besides, it is not such an imposition as you may think. Many of the Dora Milaje practice… what is the English?... lesbian liaisons. Another gray area in which they may find succor."
"Okay, yeah, sure," Peter nodded. "I'm not such a jerk that I'm going to mess with a bunch of lesbians. Respecting women juice up in here."
"Of course," T'Challa considered, "that does not mean they are not curious as to more traditional forms of coitus. Not to mention those who may wish children."
T'Challa's wristwatch vibrated. He touched it briefly and it stopped. "My flight has been prepared. I must depart."
"But… Wakanda! There has to be more to running it than a harem of bicurious Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders!"
"Wakanda is a modern republic," T'Challa assured him. "It will largely run itself. My advisers will be of great help to you. Just try not to do anything I wouldn't do."
"Oh, like I've never heard that before."
T'Challa took off, obviously considering the conversation at an end. This time Peter didn't follow him, for the same reason he'd gone on the tour before.
He'd just worked his way up to shittalking Iron Man. No way was he saying no to the Black Panther. And his all-girl swingers club.
Still, Peter hung his head. "So much for my summer vacation."
Beside him, the curtain parted and a woman's face emerged from the small opening, skin wet, hair wrapped in a towel, a soap bubble marring the otherwise perfect symmetry of her bone structure.
"Beloved, do you need to bathe?" she asked. "We have plenty of warm water and we have finished all our vaginal shaving."
Peter wondered how to break it to them that he had a thing for redheads.