Class Subject: Care of Magical Creatures
Prompt(s): [Crossover] X-Men
Word count: 1969
Remy LeBeau is taken from the XMen cartoons. See the end of the work for translations. Some words are duplicated, this is deliberate for speakers of Cajun French to show emphasis.
"Let me buy you a drink, Sha? It's breakin' my heart to see such a pretty face looking so sad during Mardi Gras."
Harry started at the voice, breaking him out of his spiral of self-pity, hand flying reflexively to the holster at his hip before he caught himself. Voldemort was long dead, the war long over. Heart beating too fast for comfort, slamming against his ribcage, Harry turned towards the man fully, reflexive denial dying on his lips when he saw him.
Eyes, black as night, bored into Harry's. the man's eyebrow quirking in gentle question as he fiddled with a deck of cards, the motion hypnotic and strangely soothing.
Wait,what? Some long denied part of Harry's mind, recently brought back to the surface which was definitely Malfoy's fault, commandeered his brain, ruining what scraps of a plan Harry had thought up for this evening.
It wasn't much of a plan, but it had been a comfort in the beginning of his downward spiral, a life raft in his sea of panic. It boiled down to this; Find a bar, get drunk in that bar, don't talk to anyone else today.
And he'd nearly succeeded.
This bar was small and somewhat dingy, tucked away down several side streets and so away from any stray wandering tourists drawn in by the Mardi Gras festivities. The bartender had calmed somewhat from the battle ready stance she had slipped into when Harry first entered the bar when she realised he was just there to drink, not to presumably ask awkward questions, and she was willing to help him in that regard, even with his unfamiliarity with American currency despite his time in the States. Harry didn't care at this point. The drinks had kept coming, and she stopped looking like she was getting ready to smash a bottle over his head when he kept paying and tipping. It was a win-win. But now...
The man grinned, and Harry felt himself relax despite himself, fingers pleasantly warm as he grabbed for his glass and drained the last of it.
"Deux autres s'il vous plaît mon ami!" The man called to the bartender, who seemed to fully relax in his presence, clicking her tongue at the other man as she busied herself fulfilling his order. He turned back to Harry, eyes slowly rolling over him in an almost salacious manner causing Harry's stomach to flip and his skin to light up. It was nice, in a way he hadn't been expecting, preparing himself for the sickening rush of panic he experienced in his teenage years and found it missing, replaced with satisfaction.
"My name's Remy, Sha," Remy said, raising his glass in a toast, "Laissez les Bon Temps Roulez!" as Harry clumsily responded in kind.
"Harry," Harry answered, sipping his drink slowly. It was good whisky.
"Your accent, Harry, you ain't a local New Orleans boy, or even a local American," Remy said, taking the cards out of his pocket and fluttering them between his hands, the snapping sound almost masked by the gently playing jazz emitting from the jukebox in the corner, "English?"
"Yeah, I'm here for work," Harry answered, pausing slightly, trying to find the right words, the delicate balancing act that talking to Muggles, or No-Majs as the Americans called them, required.
"I have an English friend, he never lost his accent either," Remy chuckled, leaning forward to rest his head on his palm, the other twisting the deck of cards rhythmically, looking up at Harry,
"Are you here for long?"
"Not sure," Harry sighed, swirling the ice in his drink, suddenly very tired, "Part of the reason I'm in this bar."
"I will drink to that mon ami," Remy laughed, "I'm in a petite trouble myself so I believe we are both in hiding."
"It's just... Old childhood troubles coming up again. I think I'm free of it and then it just comes back around again," Harry broke off, biting his tongue and staring at his drink. Why was he telling a random stranger this? Wordlessly, wandlessly, he cast a detector spell, every nerve tense despite the soothing fluttering of the cards. Nothing. Remy wasn't magical. Harry wasn't being influenced by anything other than alcohol and his own terrible decisions.
"Like I said, I hate to see a pretty man upset, it's a curse," Remy said, voice softer, accent thickened into a soothing purr, "I offer nothing more dan a listening ear. After that?"
Remy shrugged, splaying his free hand.
"We can part ways and you will never see me again, or we can remain friends, or something else, non?"
"You make a compelling argument," Harry murmured, dimly noting the way he was slightly slurring his words, drink slightly stronger than he expected from Americans.
"And maybe you can help me with my problem. A little lagniappe for me, yes? Company and drinks."
Harry nodded slowly, ignoring the way the room slowly shifted around him, collecting his thoughts for a few seconds before he spoke, "Am I going first?"
Remy slapped the pack of cards into his other hand, cutting Harry off with a wave of his hand.
"I'll go first, yeah? I spring dis on you, the least I can do."
His accent thickened for a brief moment before he seemed to make the conscience effort to push it down, clicking his tongue against his teeth as Remy thought, card dancing between clever fingers.
"I'm polyamourous, yeah?"
Harry nodded. This day was already unusual enough, what was one more thing atop everything else?
"I got a girlfriend, yeah?"
Remy pulled in a shaky breath, fingers drumming against the wood, cards spinning but never once slipping out of his iron control.
"I- I messed up. I didn't listen to what I was I was being told and it backfired, badly."
Remy laughed, darkly, downing his drink and signalling for another in one fluid motion. Harry frowned, glancing over Remy once more, noticing for the first time the tight way he held himself in comparison to the fluid motions of his hands, all the signs of a fresh injury. Harry opened his mouth to ask, but was cut off once again by a toothy grin.
"I will heal mon ami, I'm tough tough. I want to apologise, but the words get stuck. I worry this is unforgivable, but she has seen me through worse. Ah-"
The bartender arrived with his refills, whisking away their empty glasses and replacing them with full. She paused, glancing between the two of them before peering deeply into Remy's unusual eyes as if she was searching for something. The glass bottle made a heavy thunk as she placed it down and moved away.
"Merci," Remy called, the bartender blowing him a kiss in response.
"If you still want to share Harry," Remy said, rolling Harry's name until he laughed, Remy's eyes sparkling, "I am always happy to share drinks with a lovely man."
Harry fought against the blush, but it still spread across his face, warm like the burn in his throat.
"My new boss is my old school crush," he said finally, ripping off the proverbial bandage, Remy hissing in surprise, eyebrows raised.
"Do they know?" Remy prompted after a few seconds of silence, topping up Harry's glass as if sensing it was going to be needed.
"He does now. He didn't even know I liked men until he just made some snide remark-"
'Bet you've had all the girls just swooning over you eh Potter?'
Harry growled. Even now, it still made his blood boil, head woozy with alcohol but he still drained the glass, coughing as it hit his system.
"Easy Sha. No rush."
Remy's hand was warm on his, thumb tracing a random soothing pattern on the back of his knuckles.
"Ah mais that is bad bad," Remy signalled for another round, keeping hold of Harry's hand until the drinks were delivered, the bartender casting a critical eye Harry's way before she complied.
"You're family Remy, but no more for him," she said, "Not even during Mardi Gras."
"You are too good to me choupette," Remy began, but she cut him off.
"No, no silver tongue and no sticky fingers."
Remy held up his hands in surrender at her glare and finger jabbing in his face, her nail curled suspiciously like a…
"So now he knows. The dangers of hot blood," Remy said, effectively distracting Harry, "Do you want to date him?"
Harry gaped at him, mind suddenly silent.
Date? Malfoy? Date Malfoy?
He'd pictured it of course, mind wandering in the dreamy warmth of Trelawney's tower, imagined some sort of future where Draco wouldn't insult his friends and family and something could happen. Childish dreams he thought.
Dimly he remembered Draco's face at the funerals, pale as a porcelain doll, back impossibly straight as he weathered the scowls and snarled insults, never once retaliating but instead taking them all as some sort of penance. Even the memory made his heart beat a little faster in his chest, face flush.
"Ah, jeune amour," Remy sighed, fanning himself with a hand of cards.
Harry sighed, scrubbing one hand along the stubble on his chin.
"I'll have to grow up and confront him at one point. Thank you."
"Anytime mon ami."
Harry cast a critical, slightly wobbly eye over Remy.
He was hiding something, that much was certain. He wasn't magical, or least not magical enough for Harry to pick up on anything. Eyes black as night with a flash of dull red around the iris' caught the eye immediately, concealed behind a shock of red hair, but what drew attention to him was his hands, constantly moving, cards a pennant between them.
"Apologies are just words if you don't back it up with actions."
Harry liked Remy, felt comfortable around him despite only knowing him a few hours. He wanted to help him, like he had just helped Harry, a complete stranger.
"You said you messed up? Apologise and then change, it's the only thing you can do to not feel this bad again," Harry said darkly, focusing on not slurring his words.
"I will do that my friend mais now? We get you home," Remy said, slipping back off the stool and pulling Harry up with him. Harry blearily looked towards his glass and found them both empty with no recollection of drinking.
"Geaux," Remy encouraged, looping one arm around Harry's waist and setting them both on a wandering path out onto the Louisiana streets.
Harry woke and immediately wished he hadn't, head feeling like an ice pick was being driven through his eye socket. He was never drinking again. How'd he even get back here? Must have told Remy at some point during the blurry walk back.
He groaned, burying his head further underneath the pillow, yelping as his face made impact with something sharp. Cursing everything, Harry blearily cracked his eyes open enough to see the small plain playing card half tucked underneath his pillow, blue pen scored into the surface.
All the best Sha, hope things go well ;-) Remy x
Harry grinned, for once looking forward to the future.
"He's a good man for a wizard."
Remy LeBeau threw a card idly at the opposing wall, the charged paper exploding into a firework of sparks before it made contact.
Logan grunted in response, taking a swig from his beer as he watched the local football game, one hand splayed protectively on Remy's bandaged stomach.
Rogue patted him on the knee with one gloved hand despite the heavy denim he wore.
"Go see him again, he gave you good advice, maybe he'll rub off on you."
"Mais la!" Remy groaned, casting his hands up in despair as Rogue and Logan chuckled at his misfortune.
Sha = Cajun variant of Cher
Deux autres s'il vous plaît mon ami = Two more please my friend;
Laissez les Bon Temps Roulez = Let the good times roll;
petite = Little;
lagniappe = a little something extra;
jeune amour = young love;
Mais la = exasperation