AN: So I actually have more than this written but the ending seemed like such a good place to leave off….sorry it's a bit short! I hope you all enjoy! Also a change in Pieter (peter's) name spelling….Sigh I just got a review that made me realize a very silly mistake I made several times in the initial draft of this chapter…I keep screwing up Rogue's name…granted, I think word's spell check is partially to blame…
"Y'all gonna join us?"
The sweet Southern voice carried over to the pair as they walked into the library to find Pieter, Logan, Rogue, and Warren seated, ready to play.
The many windows were curtained and the lighting dimmed, hazy smoke from both Logan and, surprisingly, Rogue's Cuban cigars drifted through the room and a round table sat dotted with glasses of whiskey and neat piles of chips, creating an atmosphere that reminded Harry of the back rooms of Moscow clubs. At 17, he had been training with a notorious and very harsh Russian master of Survival Magic- a branch of wizardry that not many had the guts to take on.
That same master, who went by Mstislav, had several business deals with the Russian Mafia and some of the best and most important dealings went on behind the thick, soundproof walls of Moscow's nocturnal party scene, where scantily clad bodies, flowing liquor, and high stake card games were the norm.
The Russians, Harry had found, had a tradition of mixing drink and business. Harry vaguely remembered Mstislav's wry voice saying, "You can't trust a man with your money until you've been drunk with him". He had then casually pulled his wand out before twisting around to stun a rather ordinary looking man that had been walking a few feet behind them.
Pulling the man's hands out of his pockets and pointing out the gun in the stranger's left hand and wand in his right, he had concluded with, "Though you should never be so foolish to actually trust anyone".
So, along with spells to detect snipers, avoid frostbite, and jumpstart your own failing heart, Harry learned how to mix drink, money, and cards and to hold back his blind faith in humanity, however small it may have been. Consequentially, it had improved his poker skills.
Shaking off his reverie, Harry realized he had missed Remy's response to Rouge's friendly question. A gloved hand on his back gently ushering him to a seat between Pieter and Rogue clued him into Remy's apparent agreement.
After seating Harry, Remy grabbed a chair of his own and sidled up between Logan and Warren.
Logan cast a suspicious glance at Harry before addressing Remy, "The kid know how to play?"
Remy scowled at him, though before he had the chance to say anything, Harry gently butted in with a small grin and, "Yes, actually I do". Logan scoffed before downing his whiskey. "We'll see."
Several hours later proved Harry's skills, when the vast pile of chips before him began to rival Mount Fuji and even Logan had to admit that he had one of the best poker faces he had ever seen.
"Where did you learn to play like that?" asked an impressed Warren as they started to count chips and pour more whiskey. Harry blushed a bit and shrugged his shoulders before tilting his lips up and saying, "Moscow actually. With the Russian Mafia." Pieter's eyebrows went up at this and stayed up as Harry went on.
"I was studying with a man who had connections with them and almost every week we would go to the clubs so that he could conduct business over drinks and poker." Rogue spoke up next, fascinated with his story. "Wasn't that dangerous, especially for a student?" Harry gave a crooked grin. "Trust me Rogue, that was one of the least dangerous adventures I've gotten into over the past couple of years." Her eyes gleamed now. "Now y' know y' can't just leave it at that!" Harry realized he had the avid attention of everyone at the table, though Logan attempted to feign indifference and hide his curiosity.
Sighing, the wizard tiredly resigned himself to dealing with several very interested mutants before Remy, catching his exhaustion, started to push his chips to the middle of the table. "Remy don' no' bout y'all but dis Cajun be thinkin' dat Harry paraît fatigue. Leave 'im be fo' t'night."
The look Harry sent with was filled surprised gratitude. The others glanced at watches and clocks and realized it was very, very late, though one might argue it could be considered very early. In any matter, they gathered the chips together in one giant pile and cleaned up their mess before saying goodnight and drifting off to their rooms.
Harry and Remy began to walk to the elevator on their side of the mansion, quiet until they reached it and Harry said, somewhat shyly, "Thanks Remy."
Remy cast him a dashing grin. "Pas un problème." He became serious a moment later, before looking straight into Harry's eyes. "Remy be watchin' out fo' ya." Before either of them could say anything else, the elevator dinged. After getting out they walked toward their bedroom doors. Harry started to say goodnight, eyes cast down and face red, when they reached his door but Remy stopped him with a single word.
Remy reached out one hand to him, which Harry accepted hesitantly, and carefully pulled the wizard closer toward him, until Harry thought that he could feel Remy's heart beat against his own chest. His own pulse began to race and his eyes grew wide as he watched to see what the other would do next.
Remy was staring at his pale pink lips with all the focus of an artist. He reached out a single finger to softly brush the lower lip in a slow caress before trailing up Harry's cheek. Unconsciously it seemed, the two drew even closer, until their bodies were flush against each other.
Remy's other fingers came up so that he cupped the side of Harry's face and their lips were agonizingly close to touching; eyes closed, breathes mingling, foreheads just brushing. A brief exclamation from Remy. "Ah, Ange." And then, their lips met…
Remy was lost the moment his lips touched Harry's. He had meant for the kiss to be nothing more than a goodnight, a light, sweet peck to send Harry off to sleep smiling. But this, this was anything but an airy brush of lips. This was a warm, deep, open-mouthed affair that seemed to last forever. His one hand tangled in Harry's locks, the other clasped his slim waist, holding them together. Harry's arms were wrapped around his neck and, Mon Dieu, holding Remy as if he never wanted to let go. And Remy couldn't think of any reason he should let go, except for perhaps the inevitable lack of air. Even that was debatable when faced with continuing this kiss that was beyond a kiss, this kiss that was a hello and a promise, an embrace and an invitation.
However, their need for air caused them to eventually break apart, panting and still entwined. Reluctantly, they made space between their bodies and looked into each others eyes.
Harry looked awed and a bit frightened. "I-I've never…That was…" Remy nodded and smiled, a sweet, tender smile that Harry had never seen before.
"Je vous remercie pour le baiser mon ange." He dropped a swift kiss, more like what he had been aiming for before, winked, abandoning his sincere manner, and said teasingly. "Bonne nuit, avant que mon contrôle me laisse.
Harry blushed furiously and they released each other completely. Remy stood waiting as Harry entered his bedroom, ignoring the impulse to join him while the door shut carefully. He closed his eyes and grinned, white teeth gleaming.
"Until t'morrow Ange."
Behind his door, Harry, ears tuned to even the smallest of noises, smiled as well as he stripped his clothes off for bed. "Until then Remy."
Hogwarts, Headmaster's Office
"A bit of lemon please." Severus handed a cup of steaming tea garnished with a thin slice of lemon to the Albus. "Ah, lovely. Thank you Severus." The dour potions master nodded and fixed his own slightly sweet cup with a dash of milk. Perhaps not the expected drink of the former Deatheater, but he had taken it just so for years now. He sipped and mentally hummed. Perfect.
The two wizards were quiet, sitting in large, plush armchairs before the fire. It was an unusually cold summer night. Fawkes perched nearby, head tucked under his wing as he napped, and the portraits covering the walls of the office snored happily away.
Severus broke the silence. "Do you think he's alright?" There was no need to query after the identity of the 'he'.
Dumbledore tugged his beard a few times and set his cup down on a nearby table. "I believe he is fine Severus. Harry is remarkable in his ability to adapt to a new setting." Severus looked pensive. "Albus he has never before been so…damaged. Add that to explosive new powers and an entirely foreign country…" He trailed off. The other wizard's eyes twinkled. "An entirely foreign country Severus?" His tone was amused as he repeated Severus' words. "It's America. They speak the same language-" He was interrupted by a snort and a short, "To a point."
Albus continued firmly. "-And have many of the same cultural norms as Britain. Not to mention Harry's familiarity with foreign lands- including America. He spent a few months there with that delightful chap with all the motor-bicycles and…what was that word? Knotted-dye?" Severus grudgingly supplied the word. "Tie-dye Albus."
"Ah, yes, quite right." He picked up his rapidly cooling tea and with a frown and flick of his finger, reheated it.
"Now, onto more unpleasant matters." At this the snoring from the portraits stopped and sleeping eyes snapped open. Fawkes shook his feathers and raised his head, beady black eyes alert. Dumbledore looked worn and tired, older than just a few moments before.
Holding his tea in one hand and reaching into a pocket with the other, the older wizard pulled forth a folded piece of parchment. He held it out to the potions master who looked now a touch anxious. Severus knew whatever this was would not ease his sudden worry. Albus confirmed his apprehension.
"I received a very unsettling letter that I'd like you to take a look at."
Pas un problème.
Not a Problem
"Je vous remercie pour le baiser mon ange."
Thank you for the kiss my angel
"Bonne nuit, avant mon contrôle laisse-moi."
Good Night, before my control leaves me.
Harry woke up content for the first time in what felt like years. The grief of the war, losing his friends, and leaving his country was still there but, Harry realized with growing surprise, he was beginning to remember the good things about his friends as well. Something in him rebelled at the thought. Was he dishonoring his friends, their memory, by leaving them and then….healing? He mentally shook off his anxiety, boxing it off in his mind for later contemplation.
Thanks to all my reviewers!