For disclaimer on Ratatouille, please refer to chapter one.
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Chapter Eight: A Pascal, a Henri, and an Emilie
Colette and Alfredo emerged into their darkened flat at the end of the long, eventful day. Elaina, wrapped underneath her father's coat, slept in his arms as he carried her inside. Alfredo shifted his weight to get a better hold on his child while clambering through the front door. With Remy in hand, Colette pushed the door wider and turned on the lamp that sat on the stand by the door.
The couple caught each other's glances, then Alfredo whispered while suppressing a chuckle, "What a day..."
Colette leaned forward to lower Remy down to the floor. Once he jumped off her outstretched hand, she rose back up and smiled softly at the man. Careful not to wake her sleeping child, she gave her husband a peck on the lips. Pulling away, she gazed up into his hazel eyes. As her right hand ran through his hair, she whispered, "Neither of us could've done this alone..." She kissed the top of Elaina's head before making her way to the master bedroom.
Tightening his grip around the girl once more, Alfredo began to march on over to pastel-colored bedroom. Gently, he laid her down on her little bed. Sitting on the edge of the mattress, he pulled off her shoes and school jacket. Once her blouse and skirt had been removed, he slipped on her nightgown over her head and tucked her underneath the rose-coloerd comforter. With a kiss on the forehead and a "bonne nuit", he turned out the light and joined Colette in the bedroom next door.
Pulling off his back vest and button-up shirt, Alfredo tossed the clothing onto the floor beside the bed. Taking the bow tie in his pants pocket, he lazily flung it on the nightstand. He kicked off his black dress shoes, leaving him with his white tee shirt, black dress pants and black socks on. Finally, he collapsed in an exhausted heap on the bed next to Colette, where she was already dressed in her silk camisole and matching pants, with a book propped up against her knees.
Looking up from her novel, the Parisian woman peered at him curiously while he flipped over onto his back. Placing his hands behind his head, he sighed tiredly-yet-content. A chuckle began to bubble up from his throat.
"Can't imagine what we'd do with another one..." he said, nodding his head in the direction of the room's entrance, towards their child's room. Colette turned her attention back to her book.
"Because we're not having another one," she said, almost aloof.
The traces of his smile that lingered on his face was soon wiped away clean, replaced with a quizzical look. Removing his hands from behind his head, Alfredo used his arms to hoist himself up.
"What?" he asked softly.
Glancing at him again, she continued, "We're not having another baby."
"... Why?" the perplexed man asked.
"One is plenty," she declared, tonelessly. "We can't possibly juggle two."
"So... you don't want to have a Pascal, or a Henri, or a..." He stopped abruptly when he caught sight of Colette's expression- the one she used when she has seen something strange. Dear lord, was he really acting that crazy?
"You already picked out names?"
He shrugged. Colette turned her head back towards text.
"Motherhood was nothing I wanted to pursue." There was a hint of remorse.
"Is... Would having more than one kid be that bad?" he asked, a bit disheartened. He sat up straight, looking toward the door. Did this mean she regret having Bella?
Her eyes strayed from the page of her book, unfocused somewhere in the space near her bare feet as she stretched her legs just slightly.
"I've got one child. One is all I need." She turned to him, her eyes sparkling with deep sympathy. "You, Elaina, the bistro... and the tiny chef. It's all I could ever want. I don't need more than that. I don't need more than you-"
Alfredo suddenly kissed her, holding it for a good minute. "Cheri..." she whispered once they broke free from the kiss, tracing her hand along his jawline.
Remy sat outside on the ledge of Elaina's bedroom window, gazing at the stars above. It was a favorite pass-time for him to take in the beautiful scenery of Paris. Even living in the city with Linguini for the past six years, it hadn't gotten old and tiresome. Sometimes he could stay up all night and watch the exciting world around him.
A scuffling noise from below made the rat jump. On guard, he peered over the ledge. The noise grew louder as it neared his location, and soon wheezing became audible.
"Remy!" it called out between heaves. "Wow, this is high up..." A pudgy, furry face came into view. "Remy!"
"Emile?" he bemused, only loud enough that he could hear himself whisper his younger brother's name. Scooting closer to the edge to help haul the larger rat up.
"Remy," Emile whined, once he landed sturdily on the ledge. "I'm hungry... Make me something to eat?"
"Emile, you can't just show up and expect I'll be able to provide food for you!" the cooking-savvy rat exasperated.
"Aw, but I'm sure your human friends won't mind! I'll even eat their table scraps if it's that big of a deal."
Remy's beady eyes grew wide, shaking his paws in front of the other's face. "No, I refuse you to eat through the garbage!" he proclaimed.
"Well, then," Emile started, as he began to climb through the open sliver of the window, "what can I eat?"
The grey rat's jaw hung open, shaking his paws even more fiercely. "You can't go in there!"
"Is that your human friends' baby?" Emile asked of the slumbering child in her bed from across the room, once he landed onto the desktop that was positioned underneath the window. "She's gotten fatter."
Remy slapped his head with an open paw, reluctantly following his brother's lead. "Bigger, Emile. You mean she's gotten bigger."
"Yeah, yeah," he absentmindedly agreed as he clambered onto the nightstand. "That's what I meant." Looking up at the lamp beside him, Emile jumped up and pulled on the dangling switch. The light shone right onto the girl's snoozing face.
"Emile!" the other rat scolded as he finally made his way up the nightstand. "You're going to wake her up!" He made a move to turn off the light, but the child began to stir.
"Great..." Remy muttered, flinging up his arms in defeat. He looked over to see her tiredly open her eyes.
She fixated her gaze on the large, red-furred rat. "Are you Remy's friend?" she asked in a small, sleep-induced voice.
Emile nodded enthusiastically. Looking over to Remy, he pointed eagerly at the girl. "Remy! She spoke to me!"
Remy marched over to Elaina and used his special non-verbal language he shared with the girl. This-is-my-younger-brother, Remy signed. He turned around and traced his tail along the flat surface. The child lifted her finger to trace along with the tail. "E..." she read. "M-I-L-E."
Sound-it-out, Remy coaxed. "Eeh-mm-ee-ll-ee... Emilie?" He shook his head, and traced the letter L with his tail. "Luh," she uttered. "L-l-l... Eeh-mee-ll. Emile!" The rat clamped his paw together and shook them in triumph.
Elaina gave a weary smile, and reached over for a stray crayon lying on the nightstand and held it up next to the obese rat. "Look, I have a crayon that's the same color as Emile!" Remy smiled at her. He jumped on the bed to pull the covers over her. Hopping back onto the nightstand, he switched the light off.
"Bonne nuit, Remy," Elaina faintly called out before she dozed off. "Bonne nuit, Emile."
Emile squeaked back a farewell, as Remy began to climb down the nightstand. "Follow me," he instructed the eager rat.
"Oh, Dad is going to freak when he finds out that you've been talking to humans," Emile exclaimed while following his brother's lead.
"I don't see what the big deal is," Remy rebutted while walking on his hind legs out the bedroom door. "He knows that I can communicate with them."
"I mean, actually talking." the fatter of the two clarified as he got down on all four paws to try to keep up with his agile brother. "It was one thing reading from a cookbook, another to be teaching a human to read." He followed Remy down the hall. "I don't know about you, but I don't think it's normal for rats to be teaching humans anything..."
"Well, I taught them how to cook, didn't I?" Remy shrugged, continuing to walk.
"Ah..." Emile slowed down, until he came to a halt. "Good point." He picked up his pace to catch up, going after Remy into the kitchen. He approached the entrance as soon as he caught sight of the small, grey rat open up the refrigerator.
Remy bounded inside to review the contents. "Hmm... We could make some crêpes in the morning... But for now we can polish off these grapes and cantaloupe that's getting kind of old." Snatching a cloth napkin that was left on the counter, Remy started loading the fruit on the fabric and tied it all up in a bunch. With his teeth, he picked it up by the knot and carried it out of the refrigerator.
Putting down their packaged medley of fruit, Remy shut the fridge. "This way," he told Emile before snatching the parcel in his mouth again. The duo traced the circumference of the room until they reached one of the windows. Unlocking the hinge, Remy stepped out onto the balcony, and untied the bundle of food. Emile climbed up behind him, falling down with an oomph on the landing.
"You know, Remy," Emile said once they had settled down with their midnight picnic. "You've done alright." Then the two brothers toasted their grape halves together while they proceeded to star gaze.
Author's Note: I noticed that many people confuse Emile to be the older brother, but he's actually younger! He calls Remy his "little brother" because of his size, not his age. Check out the book The Guide to Remy's World by Glenn Dakin. This story tells all the details you could ever want from Ratatouille.
I also realized that this has been the first chapter to have taken over to Remy's point of view. I had been refraining, since Linguini is the central character, and I wanted it to be clear that he cannot directly communicate with Remy- not even knowing his actual name!- which makes up one-third of the reason why I created Elaina, the new generation of Linguini's adventures with Remy.
Well, there were some... interesting circumstances to getting this chapter done. Without bogging you down with boring, personal details about it, let me just say that I'm finally starting classes on Monday. This means less time for fanfiction. So if you really, really want me to finish this, I'm going to rely on your reviews to let me know! This is going to be a tough quarter for me, and I'll need the encouragement to keep me going. Cheers!
24 September 2011