Romantic Dinner for Two.

As a chef, Rémy knew that some things needed time to cook. He once had heard the human expression 'the order of the factors doesn't alter the product', which he thought was a great fallacy if applied in food. If you were doing a chocolate soufflé, you simply did not add the whites of the egg before the yolks, and you certainly didn't whisk the whites with the cream of tartar! And as such, some food needed to simmer down, let it be coaxed into readiness with a slow, steady burn.

Which Rémy thought made a pretty good metaphor for most human relationships, all in all, or at least the ones he had witnessed.

Or make that 'the one' he had witnessed.

Sure, after Gusteau had closed, Colette and Linguini had talked. A lot. And he had stayed out of it for the most part, unless Colette had specifically looked at him or anything, even though the urge to go to Linguini's head and make him do something had been strong. But considering the fact that the three of them had pretty much gotten the meanest, fiercest food critic to apologize to them and congratulate them, it all sort of paled down. So Colette and Linguini went back to their relationship, and then Ego even said that he had an idea for a new business. So things were okay.

... except for the fact that it's been almost eight months after that, three months after they opened 'La Ratatouille' and yet Colette and Linguini were still in the same kind of relationship than before. Dates, yes, and sometimes they had breakfast together - since they're usually so busy during dinner and all - but that's it. Rémy had tried to 'talk' to Linguini about it, but, nothing. Linguini either pretended he did not understand o her flushed and exclaimed that Rémy didn't understand, as if he wasn't Linguini's best friend.

Sure, Rémy knew about letting things cook, that everything had it's own time and sure, sure, he knew that he wasn't exactly the most patient mammal in the city, but he also knew that there was such a thing as overcooking a meal, and Linguini and Colette were this close of reaching that point. Time to turn the oven a little more.

So he decided to take matters into his own paws. After all, there was only so much time a rat could waste.

Emile, however, was looking at him the same way he had when they lived at the country, part fear and part 'dear Rat in the Sky, was is my older brother so crazy' which Rémy now reflected, he had almost missed.

"I don't know, Rémy... are you sure?"

"It's nothing bad, Emile! It's just a surprise for them!" Which it was, really. And Rémy wasn't even hoping for getting anything out of this. He just wanted to see his best friend and his Sous-Chef happy, and perhaps even deciding to live together or even marrying.

Perhaps it was because seeing Emile with his litter had stirred something inside of him, or perhaps because Janine had been dropping the hints about wanting a litter of their own with the delicacy of a hammer against a walnut, but there was something to do first.

Emile sighed, shaking his head. "Fine, fine. What do you want me to do?"

Rémy grinned. "Get some guys to go to the Montmartre, Colette and Linguini should be there: make sure you're not seen but also make sure that they stay there for at least two more hours. See if you can get them to buy some red wine, just try to tell Colette and she'll pick up a good one."

Emile nodded. "We can do that. What are you going to do?"

"I have to talk with some of the rest of the family," Rémy said, rubbing his paws. "It's dinner time."

Mondays were their day off at the bistro. After the weekend, when they were the busiest, it only made sense to have that day to rest, and for Colette and Rémy to 'discuss' the week's menu, always leaving some room for when Rémy had a bout of genius and created something new (or recreated something old) while Linguini and the rats cleaned the whole place.

Colette sighed, shaking her head as she saw some of the rats run behind La Ratatouille to go to their nest, which was all the way up on the ceiling of the building, perfectly hidden from health inspectors. "Somedays it really surprises me that now instead of screaming when I see a rat, I think about 'home'."

"Tell me about it," Linguini offered with a small smile as he opened the door, making sure not to drop the wine. "I really wish someone would think of making a Rat-English dictionary, you know? Sometimes it's really hard to know what the Little Chef wants."

Colette was about to laugh but then she frowned and sniffed. "Do you smell that?"

Colette's sense of smell was very, very good. Not quite as good as the Little Chef's, of course, but good enough to catch a lot of nuances to food that Linguini could just dream or getting. There was definitely the scent of chocolate coming from inside as well as something else he didn't know exactly what it was; but he did know that it smelled divine and that it was coming from the front of the bistro.

They shared a confused look as they took of their coats. The kitchen had been used, that much was obvious: there were a bunch of rats that were loading the dishwasher, and a few others where cleaning up.

The bistro, itself, was dimly lit, one of their rats pressing play on the stereo so that soft violin music flew through the place. There was just one table having a pair of candles lit. There were rose petals on the table, on the floor, around the already set plates. The entrée already there - asparagus with garlic - with the dessert's trolley carrying the main course, and Linguini was pretty certain that it was filet mignon with mushroom sauce.

The door from the kitchen creaked open and he and Colette moved aside. The Little Chef and the rat that Linguini thought was probably his wife - did rats had wives? - came in, pushing up the other trolley, where they brought a slowly melting case of chocolate fondue and one single pot full of strawberries. Little Chef waved at him, and Linguini sort of waved back as he stared in shock. But shock was better, though. Otherwise he'd start flailing and then--

"What is this..." Colette asked, dreamy.

And Linguini could feel it coming, the starts of a flailing attack.

There was a loud "POP!" which made both he and Colette startle towards where Little Chef had just gotten open a bottle of wine before he jumped towards the table, bowing a little as if to tell them how to sit. Both he and Colette were surprised enough that they did. The rat-chef grinned - that, he was used to - and then he looked at Linguini in such a way that Linguini had to remember his mother.

'Linguini, don't you mess this, now!' the rat's eyes seemed to be saying. When it seemed that he was waiting for an answer Linguini nodded a few times, which made Rémy smile again. He bowed towards Colette - she nodded, her expression still confused enough that Linguini didn't know if her reaction would be anger or happiness - and then he whistled: the rats that remained at the floor ran inside the kitchen, and Little Chef smiled before he ran down the table towards his rat-girlfriend, also joining the rest of their friends.

"Um..." he started, ready to apologize if he had to.

But Colette just chuckled, shaking her head, which meant that she was, probably, okay with having a nosy rat arranging a date for them.

"They really did go through a lot of troubles for this," she said before she took her wine glass, her smile something that made Linguini want to squirm and dance in glee at the same time as she leaned her hand against her face. "Pour me some wine?"

Linguini nodded, not quite trusting himself to speak just yet. Oh, he was going to have to buy Little Chef the biggest, most expensive cheese in the world he could find.