Summary: Underneath his hat, Will tried not to think too much about what exactly he was doing.
Underneath his hat, Will tried not to think too much about what exactly he was doing. Because it would have been strange and kind of wrong if he had been doing it in just about any other situation, but here and now, it was what was needed. It was required. He pulled the hat down a little more snuggly on his head, as if that might do something to stop the ideas from getting out or maybe in- as if the hat were made of tin and maybe somehow protective. He looked across the table at the six pairs of inhuman eyes staring at him coldly expectant. There was a certain way of doing this and Will knew it was vitally important that he get it right because if he didn’t- well, the results wouldn’t be pretty, to say the least.
He reached out across the table, gripped the ceremonial vessel and raised it to his lips. He didn’t drink from the contents- it certainly wouldn’t have quenched, but it would have caused offense if he allowed his hostess to know that he didn’t drink, so he tipped the vessel up and mimed drinking. He partook of the ceremonial food- it was dry and crumbly, but he swallowed it down anyway- to do anything else would have been worse than not drinking from the ceremonial vessel, for his hostess had made it with her own pampered hand. Then he pretended to drink again for good measure.
The hat itself was quite ridiculous, wide brimmed, oddly floppy and colored embarrassingly, but like the faked drinking, it was required, so he wore it like a shield, protecting him from messing up his assignment (one for which he was wholly unprepared and had been thrust into with no advanced notice when his partner had been vitally needed elsewhere). Soon he would be called on to recite, or perhaps even sing, and so knowing this, his mind raced as he struggled to recall the ritual verses, ones he had never been familiar with. He settled on a verse he knew would please and was reasonably sure that he remembered well enough not to offend and ran through it again.
He was just beginning to think he might just be able to manage the situation without his partner when his hostess proclaimed, “After we finish our tea party, we should be ballerinas, Daddy!” And Will knew he was doomed.