A/N: Okay. Well. Yes. Remember back when I wrote the Beholder chapter of It Only Takes a Moment? Remember how I had them briefly talk about Paris and going to Paris? Well…this isn't related to Moments, at least, not purposefully, but ever since I wrote that, something about them in Paris has been clattering around in my head and this scene in particular ended up sticking in my craw until I wrote it.
Now, I wrote it quite a bit ago, actually. I just hadn't posted it, because frankly, I thought it was silly fluff not worth posting. I still don't think it's particularly worth posting, but I just re-found it today and realized I had something complete that I hadn't offered to you guys, so I figured, what the hell? Here you have it.
If you're actually from the place where I mention this takes place, please forgive me. I didn't really research your town. I just found a name of a town with some of the overall qualities I was looking for and used it.
Any similarities to the actual town are extreme coincidences. Further notes below.
Disclaimer: Oy, sheesh. Do I have to do this again? I don't claim ownership, I don't claim anything.
Thanks: As always, to Kysra who insisted that this could be posted and that it wasn't as pointless as I thought it was.
En Rose (In Rose)
"C'est lui pour moi, / Moi pour lui dans la vie, / Il me l'a dit, l'a juré pour la vie…"
("It's him for me / me for him throughout life / He has told me, has sworn for life…")
- La Vie En Rose, Edith Piaf (translation by me)
Nothing could ruin his mood. Not even a half-rampaging girlfriend whose mood was made worse by lack of niceties such as hot water and food and sleep or anywhere to sleep.
He paused in his apparently fruitless ministration to glance out the balcony doors as a light spring breeze blew in the scent of the lilacs and peonies that were already growing in the little courtyard they had yet to fully explore downstairs. He grinned.
"…and now you're not listening to me."
He turned that smile onto his girlfriend – no, fiancé – and found himself increasing the wattage of the grin.
"You were saying that no place is open on Sunday," he told her, sparing one of his hands to make 'continue' motions.
She narrowed her eyes at him dangerously at his perceived cheek, but he wasn't afraid.
"Not a one," she continued, reading by his contented look and the easy way in which he went back to trying to figure out on which end of a screw a washer went that he wasn't really feeling her frustration just yet. "Not a bloody one," she emphasized. "What kind of place doesn't have one supermarket open to buy food at on a Sunday?"
"This place?" he hazarded a guess.
"This place!" she confirmed. "Nevermind that, they don't even have a supermarket at all," she continued. She didn't pause to wait for a remark from him, but he knew that despite the fact that she was relatively new to experiencing and releasing emotions, she was perfectly content to go off on offended diatribes. "No, they have la boucherie to buy the meat and la laiterie to buy milk and la boulangerie to buy the bread and a—" she faltered. "—well, you get the point, and none of them open on Sundays." She held up a finger before he could speak. "Ah, I forgot," she amended. "The boulangerie does," she nodded as he waited. "Until 10 AM." She watched his expression. "Would you like to try to guess what the local time is?"
He glanced out the balcony doors and could see through shadows and the fall of the light enough to guess, "After 10 AM?"
"After 10 AM," she stressed, beginning her circuit across the floor again. "Don't these people buy food after 10 AM?" she asked rhetorically.
"It's a small little suburb just to the west of Paris," he answered as if she didn't know – hadn't been involved in the choice of the location at all, nor considered its placement as charming, the same as he.
She glared at him, crossing her arms and standing right smack in the middle of their notably empty living room.
He laughed. "Hey, don't look at me in that tone of voice," he said, blowing a strand of jet black hair away from where it had come lose of the bindings to fall over his eyes. "You're the one who proposed Europe – 'someplace out of the way where no one will be likely to recognize us or care who we are' I seem to recall were your words."
Her left foot began tapping against the hardwood floor. "And who chose to come in on a Sunday?"
He shrugged and tapped the screwdriver against the stubborn project in front of him, half-hoping it would somehow magically do the trick and mostly wishing they had phone service set up so he could call Vic for help. "It just worked out that way."
She took a deep, steadying breath and offered him a healthy glare. Not that he minded. He loved any show of emotion from her, even those of this kind of pique.
"We could have been here yesterday if you'd taken Bruce up on his offer," she pointed out.
He raised a brow at her in abject surprise. "Didn't you want to do things like normal people?" he asked. "No fancy stuff, no calling attention to ourselves, just two people trying to make their way in a new place, like anybody else?"
"Yes," she confirmed. "Normal people who hire movers and buy their furniture already assembled," she kicked at the box their coffee table had come in (now littered in uselessly labeled pieces A through double D on their otherwise bare living room floor) and glared meaningfully at the box against the inner hallway that still contained their bed frame. "And who take up offers from their very generous fathers that would allow them to fly to their new home in an overnight Learjet."
He was still in a good mood and couldn't hide it, even if he tried to frown for the sake of the moment and her mood. "I knew it," he let himself fall onto the floor, sitting hard. "You're marrying me for my money!"
She sighed and shook her head. "Richard, be serious please," she bid.
He stood up and walked to her, putting his hand under her chin. "Okay, I'm serious," he allowed, only a slight smile still lingering around the edges of his lips. "Would you have really wanted everyone getting in on all of our business?" he asked.
"We're going to have to let them visit, eventually, you know," she reminded him, trying to hide a smirk.
He smiled wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close enough so that he had to lean down a little to make their foreheads touch. "So I wanted a little time alone with you, just to be a couple trying to set up their first apartment." He said. He pulled away to look in her eyes. "Is that so wrong?"
She couldn't say that it was. Not when he put it that way. "No," she admitted. "But at least the movers…"
"And miss out on all this fun?" he asked, stepping away from her to motion the disorderly chaos of half opened packing boxes and suitcases littering the living space of was their new one-bedroom flat and loft.
She looked skeptical as she turned around to survey the chaos, but he was used to those looks too. "You really did have a messed up childhood to call this fun, didn't you?"
He smirked. "Look who's calling the kettle black?"
She allowed him a small shadow of a smile before she looked around her and sighed. "We don't even have any electricity until tomorrow, you know."
"I know," he slipped his arms around her from behind, resting his chin on the top of her recently died hair. It still smelled a little of the chemicals used to mask her lovely lavender hair black, and he did miss the pure Raven!Smell of her hair, but for a chance at a normal life, he'd deal with it. "But I found some candles the previous occupants must have left in the kitchen drawers."
"Where are we going to sleep?" she asked.
"We can find the blankets and comforters in--" he started to look around the place, trying to make out where the boxes labeled 'bedroom' had ended up, presumably they had ended up in the bedroom, but he couldn't be sure of that, "—one of these boxes –"
"—the one I took the time to label properly, despite arguments to the contrary about the necessity of spending that time," she interrupted him, pointedly.
He grinned at her. "We can find the blankets and comforters and pillows in one of the boxes my fiancé so brilliantly labeled," he continued as if she hadn't interrupted. "and we can make a very cozy little nest wherever we prefer tonight," his hands found the place where her jersey t-shirt ended and slipped underneath to gently caress the flat of her stomach. "That is, if we do any sleeping at all," he purred suggestively in her ear.
He felt the give in her stance, the way her hands found his and didn't push them away. "We have no hot water…" she tried.
"I have had worse than a cold shower," he laughed. "Hell, I seem to remember that summer I was sixteen when I took a cold shower every time I saw you in that really hot little black bikini you had, remember?"
She gently smacked at his hands and he placed a soft kiss on her neck. "Why are you so put out by all this?" he asked. She turned her face away and he turned her in his arms to look her in the face. "Rae?" he pressed, searching out her eyes.
"I wanted our first new place to—" she trailed off and sighed. "Nothing's gone right," she finished. "No matter how much we planned, not one thing has gone right."
He smiled at her so tenderly, so full of love, that Raven, the Dark Empath, the so-called Stoic Ice Queen, almost cried.
"The most important thing did," he told her. She raised a brow in question and he pressed a gentle kiss to her lips. "I have you here, in my arms—" he answered when they pulled apart. "I don't care about any of the rest."
She pressed her lips together to keep from smiling too widely at that. "Cornball," she said, but he could see the love shining in her eyes.
He smirked, then felt his stomach growl. "Speaking of Cornbread," he said casually. "I'm hungry."
She laughed, briefly and sharply, before she stopped it and any mirth was replaced by a frown. "Are you sure you were listening when I was ranting about there being no place open when I went looking for food supplies a few hours ago?"
He kissed the tip of her nose. "Ah, but I have a plan," he told her. "We'll just go into the City to pick up some—" he trailed off. "What? Why are you shaking your head?"
She looked at him flatly. "We have no car."
He remembered just as she was spelling it out.
"It comes in on tomorrow's freight," she reminded him.
"Sacre bleu!" he exclaimed.
"Well, look who just joined the party," she said only slightly sarcastic. At his mildly panicked look, she chuckled. "So, I hope you like moldy crackers, since that's all I had in my bag."
"Well," he laughed. "Dinner's going to be quick at least…" he looked around them. "And seeing as how it'll be too dark to build the rest of this soon and we have no car to go into the City and explore…" he trailed off and kissed the side of her neck. "I guess we'll just have to find some other way to keep each other entertained tonight, huh?" he asked mischievously.
He watched her blush and felt again how cute it was that she still did that, even after they'd been together since they were in their teens.
"Is that all you can think about?" she chided.
"Are you kidding?" he asked, interspersing gentle kisses between every few words. "I lived under the same roof with you for years before we did anything, and even after that, we lived in a house full of other people so that we hardly had any time to ourselves, and did I sequester you off somewhere with sound proof walls?" He asked rhetorically. "No, I didn't," he answered himself, stopping his gentle rain of kisses to look at her in mock seriousness. "I, my dear, should be nominated for sainthood."
She didn't laugh aloud, but he could feel the amusement run through her. "It's not as if we didn't make up for lost time in the privacy of our bedroom."
He chuckled. "Ah, that we did…" he allowed, turning her in his arms. Then, one hand on her chin, he turned her face to him and leaned in to kiss her but a sharp rap on the door gave them pause.
"A visitor?" he asked, "already?"
Raven gave him a look and he knew she was thinking the same thing he was. "They wouldn't," he said. "Not on our first night."
She didn't look convinced.
He smiled, despite himself. "Well if it is the Former Titan Calvary, they better have brought food." Raven glared at him and he laughed. "What?"
"I'll get it," she said, stepping away from his embrace. "You go back to looking like you're trying to build our furniture," she teased.
"Wanna switch?" he asked as she crossed the living room into the entry hall. She paused at the door, leaned up to reach the peep hole and pushed aside the small swinging cover, putting her eye to it and pulling back in a little bit of awe.
He cocked a brow at her and waited while she opened the door only to be almost as surprised as she was to see a smallish plump woman with dark hair laced stylishly with gray and coiffed to simple perfection.
The smell coming from the covered dish in her hands was enough to spur Robin forward and bring a charming smile to his lips.
"Ah, mam'selle!" the woman said. "I am sorry to intrude," she added in heavily accented English with a discreet glance at Robin. "I bring food," she said, motioning the tray. "Not much, but…"
Raven was blinking and he could see her trying to figure out who she was, "You are the madame that gave me directions outside the boulangerie," Raven pointed out.
"Ah, oui, oui," she confirmed, smiling that she remembered.
"Please come in," Raven said, standing away from the door and allowing the older woman entrance. "I would offer you a seat, but…" she glanced at Robin, not angrily, but rather sheepishly, "We don't have any at present."
The woman laughed good-naturedly and shook her head. "No, no, I only came to bring you the food, I will not intrude any longer today."
Raven took the proffered dish and lifted the corners of her lips. "Thank you," she said sincerely.
The woman smiled.
"But…" Raven asked. "How did you know?"
The woman grinned. "Madame Guillon who lives over the pattiserie saw you, and she asked Madame Luigner who works at the laiterie and she told her that Madame Clouisette whose husband you know because you rented your apartment from him, told her you were newly moved in and only arrived late today. Well, Nanette, whose husband brings meat to my Gerard, told me and I said I remembered you, and what with us having no children of our own to feed, we had more than enough food to offer."
"Well, for all the trouble, madam, merci," Raven answered, awestruck as she glanced at Robin.
"Ah, de rien, ma petite," the kindly woman said, smiling warmly. "Welcome to St. Nom le Breteche." She looked at Robin again and Raven motioned him closer. "And what a good looking young couple you two make," the woman exclaimed kindly. "It will be a pleasure to have you both in the neighborhood."
"Oh, do pardon my manners," Raven said. "My name is Rachel Roth and this is my fiancé Richard Grayson," Raven introduced.
She extended her hand. "I am Jacqueline," the woman introduced. "You will meet Sophie Luigner in a little while, who said she would go into the shop and bring you out some milk for tonight."
"Please, you don't have to go through the trouble," Robin assured her.
"We are neighbors now!" Jacqueline said and winked. "We will get caught up tomorrow when you come to get some food for breakfast, oui?" she asked them.
Raven and Robin nodded.
"Good," Jacqueline said. "Bonne appetite, mes cheres!" she added waving as she walked out the door, leaving Raven to close it dumbly behind her.
Robin came close to take a big whiff of the wonderful aromas of the covered dish and grinned at Raven who smiled back.
Robin took the dish and walked to the kitchen where they had managed to place most of their kitchen boxes.
"Robin?" she called.
"Hmm?" he asked, looking through one box for plates or silverware.
"I really think I'm going to like it here."
Robin spotted the box marked "China" in big bold letters on a counter and met her eyes across the way. "Yeah," he smiled at her. "Me too."
Notes: Okay, so I want to apologize again, if anyone is actually from St. Nom le Bretache. As I said above, I didn't really research the town. I picked it for it's population count (lowish) and it's proximity to Paris.
The concept of things not opening on Sundays, I don't remember where I got – maybe in the same place/time as I got my concept of the different places that sell the different types of groceries, rather than a supermarket that sells everything…from my high school French teacher. She explained to us (just over 10 years ago now) that big cities in France may have supermarkets, but the predominant way of getting your groceries done in the smaller towns was by visiting the various places for what you might need.
I experienced a certain amount of this in my uncle's small town in Spain. People still go to the butcher for meat and the bread maker's for bread and etc. I don't know if this is still the case.
For my purposes, it didn't behoove me to verify it.
So, if you know that it isn't, then I apologize to you as well for my lack of research.
I hope y'all enjoyed it elsewise!
Please let me know what you thought, kay?