A/N: Gilderoy/Gaston crossover for A Wild Pairing Appeared! competition on the HPFC. I know, right? XD
Disclaimer: Anything you recognise from the HP universe belongs to JK Rowling. Anything you recognise from the animated movie Beauty and the Beast belongs to the Walt Disney Studios.
A small town in Alcase-Lorraine, France
Gilderoy looked at himself in the mirror. His hair was immaculate, as always. He flashed a pair of pearly white teeth. He could already hear the excited murmurs of the crowd. And why wouldn't they be excited? In a few moments, they got to see the amazing and marvellously good-looking Gilderoy Lockhart; lucky them, being able to feast their eyes upon his features for a good hour or so. Gilderoy had had a gilded hand-mirror for that time during book signings where he wasn't able to stand in front of his full-length mirror, but his publishing agent had taken it from him. So now he had to do with an even smaller bronze replica, that he hid carefully in his sleeve. He turned his head and winked at his own reflection. Yes, he was ready.
"It is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure that we welcome tonight: Gilderoy Lockhart!"
Gilderoy entered the stage with his peacock feather in hand, and waved at the crowd of enthusiasts. He knew this session was important. It was the first overseas session, and though he was disappointed at the location (honestly, he needed to have a word with his agent when this was over, everyone knew that it would have made much more sense to commence the tour at Place de La Concorde or the Eiffel Tour square, something grand anyway instead of this little town, this quiet village, where undoubtedly every day was like the one before), he was determined to make an everlasting impression – not that that would be difficult of course. But he had done some preparation. In the hours before the book signing, he had even bothered to learn a few words of French.
"Bonjour, mes admirateurs!" he beamed at the crowd. This of course was met with approval.
For the next hour, he was signing books and autographs, taking pictures with whoever requested it and reading excerpts from his newest book Travels With Trolls. The women, and even some of the men, were fawning over him, trying to get as close as they could – he couldn't blame them of course, if he were them, he'd want to be as close to himself as possible too.
Suddenly, the crowd parted a bit and there were awed whispers. There's Gaston. For a brief moment he wondered who this Gaston person was, then it dawned on him. It must be the town hottie, not used to competition, poor soul. He'd seen their type before, in other towns, with other names. He was about to make a snide remark, when a goose landed on his table with a small bow. How very rude. And so… unsophisticated!
"What's going on here?" a voice boomed and a tall, muscular and well-dressed man appeared, a blunderbuss slung over his broad shoulders. Gilderoy quirked an eyebrow as he looked the man up and down. As a specimen, he is intimidating. Of course, he had nothing on Gilderoy, but still, it wasn't a pain to look at him and he could see why the townsfolk would admire him.
The tall, dark, strong and handsome brute of a man placed his hand on the table and said: "Well, you haven't given me an answer yet."
Gilderoy stood tall. "The name's Gilderoy Lockhart, but of course you already know who I am," he smiled. "You're just here hoping to get me to sign anything, don't you?"
He placed an arm around Gaston's broad shoulders. "Gaston, is it not? A nice big smile, Gaston, together you and I will rate the front pages." And many a bedroom wall, he added in his mind. My, what a man that Gaston!
Much to his surprise, Gaston brushed his arm of as soon as the picture was taken. He picked up one the books on the pile and flipped through them.
"Ah! Year With The Yeti! One of my favourites actually. Let me tell you how I tracked the creature down and…"
"How can anyone read this? There's not even pictures in it," Gaston exclaimed and carelessly dumped the book back on the pile. Gilderoy gasped. That was no way to treat a book, especially not if it had been written by the best wizard the world had set eyes on for eons!
Apparently sensing trouble, his agent began to pack away the books and the crowd let out a disappointed sigh. Could you blame them, really? Of course it would pain them to part from the dazzling Gilderoy Lockhart so soon already. He shook hands and flashed smiles, but the session was over far too soon for his liking.
They were to stay two more days in the town, for his agent had also arranged for him to do a photo shoot in the rural area – the waving fields of wheat would go so well with his forget-me-not coloured robe! – and give a reading the day after.
He realised Gaston was still standing besides his table, taking him in with a scowl. "This is my town," he half-growled. "My town, my people, my rendez-vous. The people around here don't take well to your pale complexion. You'd do well to remember that."
"Allow me to disagree," Gilderoy said merrily. "All those people here, they came to see me. And when have you ever drawn full rooms like that? Exactly!" he ended triumphantly.
"I'm warning you. I'm the best hunter in the world. No one shoots like me. No one hits like me." He tromped off, his boots falling heavily on the wood.
Gilderoy chuckled. Once the town people had gotten a taste of Gilderoy Lockhart, the days of this Gaston would be numbered. Admittedly, he did have a swell cleft in his chin, but of course, that didn't even make him close to his own looks. He checked his appearance in his miniature mirror and smiled contently at his reflection. Yes, no one looked quite as dashing as he did.
That evening, Gilderoy went to the local tavern. Antlers were used heavily in the decorating, and above the fireplace, amidst the hunting trophies, there was a painting of Gaston standing one foot atop his latest kill. Gilderoy took a table that allowed him to overview the tavern and look around.
A jug of beer was placed in front of him and he glanced up. Gaston himself was standing at his table.
"No thank you, I don't take beer well. I'm more of a wine person myself."
"No one says no to Gaston," Gaston snarled.
Gilderoy was amused. Clearly, Gaston hadn't caught up with the message yet. "My dear, Gaston," he began, "I understand where your jealousy comes from, but honestly, there's only one Gilderoy Lockhart, and it's not you. You're more than welcome to share my table, however. I'm not one to deny my fans a chance to dine with me."
Gaston seemed to think about this, and then he put himself down opposite Gilderoy, the chair reversed so his strong, muscular arms were leaning on the back of it. It was a sight to behold.
Gilderoy looked around the tavern and came to the conclusion that no one was burly or brawny like Gaston, no one had a neck quite as thick as Gaston, and in short, no one was half as manly as Gaston. Apart from Gilderoy himself, of course. He didn't question the other man's motives to sit at his table when they were barely even friends. It was, after all, pretty obvious what he was going to do. It was inevitable really - ah well, that was the price you paid for being irrestible, he guessed.
"Tell me, Gaston, what is a man of your caliber doing in a town like this? Surely, there must be more than this provincial life?"
Gaston started boosting about his various hunts, but Gilderoy was only listening with half the attention. Hunting was so crude, and... sweaty... - here he gasped, for the image of a sweaty Gaston, his shirt off because of the heat, his black hair cascading on his shoulders, formed in his mind. While the mental image was far from dissapointing, he couldn't keep listening to these killing glorifications. Instead, he told Gaston something much more interesting. He told him about himself, about his voyages with vampires, himself, his break with the banshee, himself, his year with the yeti, and, most importantly, himself.
Gilderoy had a photograph in his luggage, that he never went without when he travelled. The photograph was old and tattered and had been fixed with Spellotape in more than one place. In the photograph, two men stood in what looked like a bookstore. The men on the left, handsome and stylish, with wavy brown hair, had his arm possessively around the other, a tall, dark, and equally handsome specimen of a men, with his black locks in a ponytail tied together with a ribbon.
It was one of his most cherished posessions. It was also the only non-moving photograph he had. Which was a shame really, for the stand-still didn't show the way the man's muscles moved under his shirt, or the way his perfect teeth curled in a smirk. (It also didn't show the way Gilderoy's hair shone nor his dazzling smile, but he could always look into his mirror for that.)
If it hadn't been for a small twist of fate, Gilderoy would not even have the photograph. He had intended to offer it to the other man, who had refused. "Here, take it with you," the other man had said. "That way, you can always look back and remember me. Plus it gives me a reason to come to London next time," he had added with a grin. One long winter Gilderoy waited, waited for him to take up this adventure in the great wide somewhere, but he had never come. When the year after Gilderoy was back in the little town, he learnt of the man's untimely death. (So unlucky he wasn't there! He might have been able to save him!) And now he had naught but that tattered photograph.
Gilderoy had had many lovers in the years that followed his first book signing in France. But not one of them was like Gaston. No one was quite the paragon of rustic lecherousness that Gaston had been. No one had the looks that Gaston had, the looks to challenge his own. No one talked like Gaston. No one was as burly and brawny as Gaston. No one complimented him like Gaston. No one made him feel the way Gaston had. No one could ever be like Gaston. And sometimes, Gilderoy wondered if he hadn't met his Prince Charming in this town full of little people, and had only discovered that it was him until their tale had already ended.