A Special Kinda Birthday
by J.B. McDonald

Part 3

Bobby opened his eyes sleepily, morning sun pouring into the room. He groaned softly, closing his eyes again. He hadn't gotten in until three that morning, and it couldn't be later than ten. In fact, it was probably closer to nine. Getting home late and waking up early was starting to take its toll. Then he smiled slightly. But it was going to be worth it, and it was almost over--last night had been his final night at Aloha Joe's.

Bobby cracked an eye, feeling a very intent presence above him, and saw Remy sitting on the bed, one arm planted on either side of Bobby's chest, watching him. "Hi," Bobby murmured, smiling.

"Hi," Remy echoed.

Bobby started to get up, only to have a hand placed firmly on his chest.

"Why do you need de money?"

Bobby blinked. Money? What mon--oh. Yeah. He relaxed against the bed again and stretched luxuriously. "Can I tell you later?"


Drat. "Later today?"


Double drat. "In..." Bobby glanced at the bedside clock (it was, indeed, only nine twenty), "two hours?"


Triple drat. Foiled again. Somehow, though, he was too tired to mind much. "Please, Remy? Let me shower and eat and then -- I promise -- we'll go for a drive. Just you and me. And I'll explain. I swear on BuzzBuzz's grave."

Remy was quiet for a long moment before rising to the bait. "BuzzBuzz?"

"My pet bumble bee when I was little."

Remy thought about that, then shook his head slightly. "You were a seriously disturbed kid, cher."

Bobby snorted and stretched again, reaching above and pushing against the headboard. "Says the boy who was raised as a thief."

Remy didn't respond, just smiled down at Bobby. "What do you need de cash for, Bobby?" Asked quietly, but very insistently.

Bobby smiled beguilingly, a trick he'd learned from Remy. "I'll tell you. But first, I wanna shower. An' I wanna eat. An' brush my teeth. I've got the nastiest taste in my mouth..." Bobby stuck his tongue out and made a face.

"You promise me, Bobby?" Remy asked softly, red on black eyes searching Bobby's, feeling like they were looking through to his very soul.

"Yeah. I promise. I'll explain."

Remy hesitated a moment more, scrutinizing the face beneath his. "A'right," he said at last, shifting back. "I trust you."

Bobby smiled sleepily, stretched again, then rolled over, falling to his knees on the floor, and stumbled toward the half bathroom to brush his teeth.


Bobby chuckled and started his blue Honda. "Luuuucy," he mimicked, "you got some 'splainin' ta do!"

Remy pulled black sunglasses away from his eyes and looked at Bobby over the rim. "I don' sound anyt'in' like dat."

"No, not until you say 'splain.'" Bobby grinned mischievously and turned off the gravel driveway, onto the access road.

Remy sighed and leaned back, propping one arm up on the windowsill. Bobby watched him out of the corner of his eye, noting the stubble already present on the Cajun's chin, giving him that roguish look so many people -- Bobby included -- found attractive.

"Why you smilin'?" Remy asked suspiciously.

"I'm happy," Bobby answered truthfully.

"Y' tired. You sure you don' wan' me to drive?" Remy asked, shifting slightly in his seat.

"I'm fine. Lots of coffee this morning," Bobby answered, and glanced at the clock. Twelve o' clock, straight up. Perfect.

"Which brings us to why you been stayin' up late," Remy continued smoothly. "What do you need de money for?"

Bobby sighed and glanced in the rearview mirror, wondering how he was going to stall for twenty minutes. "Welll..." he started. Speak slowly. That oughta help. "I needed more than I had..."

Remy shifted to look at Bobby more squarely, and Bobby purposefully didn't look at the thief, knowing that the instant he did he'd have a harder time stalling.

"'Cause I didn't have enough..."

"Bobby," Remy said, and there was a definite note of irritation.

"How'd you find out, anyway?" Bobby asked, suddenly curious, and more than a little grateful for the distraction.

Remy shifted back around until he didn't face Bobby quite so squarely. "I, ah, followed y'."


"I followed you," Remy said louder, enunciating. "I'm sorry, but I was gettin' really worried an' you wouldn' answer any o' my questions."

Bobby thought about being angry, and found himself pleased instead. Remy was that worried? About him?

"Now why you smilin'?"

"No reason," Bobby answered happily. Remy had been that worried. About him.

"You ain' mad?"

"Nah." Remy had been so worried about him, he'd gone to all the trouble of following him to make sure he wasn't in trouble. Worried about him, despite the fact that Bobby could take perfectly good care of himself against just about anything (except, of course, Hank).

"So, what do you need de money for?"

Oh. Drat. Foiled again. Maybe I should be mad, and then he won't think about the money. Bobby bit his lip and slowed the car for the stop sign. He had fifteen more minutes to stall.

"You didn't think I could take care of myself, so you had to follow me?" Bobby asked, though even to his own ears it didn't really sound angry.

"Dat ain' it, cher," Remy said in that tone he used whenever he was trying to sweet-talk someone. "I was worried 'bout y'. Wha' would I do wit' m'self wit'out y'?"

The accent had mysteriously thickened. A definite sign Remy was trying to charm him. "You could have just asked," Bobby answered.

"I did," Remy said, and there was an underlying note of irritation. Bobby mentally cringed and hoped he hadn't carried things too far.

"Bunch'a times," Remy continued. "I hadn' hardly seen you in a week, though. You were doin' taxes or Danger Room sessions or sleepin' or workin'."

Bobby had to admit that much was true. Ten more minutes. He had to stall for ten more minutes.

"So, what did you need de money for? Are you in trouble, Bobby?"

Bobby blinked. Trouble? What sort of trouble would he get in? It wasn't until Remy answered that he realized he'd asked out loud.

"I don' know. Mebbe you bet on a race wit' de wrong person, an' lost."

"I don't bet on races," Bobby answered, somewhat befuddled. "Well, with Hank sometimes. But he almost always wins. I'm really bad at picking horses. Or he's really good. I'm not sure." Bobby frowned as his mind tried to twist around and understand which it might be.

"Den somet'in' else," Remy said, sounding exasperated.

Five minutes. They were almost there.

"Somet'in' accoun'ants do."

Something accountants do? What would that be? "What would that be?" Bobby asked, almost laughing.

"I don' know," Remy answered, and now he was definitely exasperated. "I was never an accoun'ant!"

"I'm not in trouble, Remy," Bobby said, glancing quickly over and smiling. "But thanks for worrying."

Bobby couldn't see those red on black eyes behind Remy's black glasses, but a frown creased the other man's forehead. "Den why do you need de money?"

Bobby smiled as they pulled into the parking lot of the Hungry Hunter, then carefully parked and shut off the engine. "C'mon," he said, opening the door and gesturing with his head for Remy to follow. Not for the first time, he found himself nervous.

Bobby's stomach felt like it was trying to start a conga line right up his throat. He glanced back once to make sure Remy was following, then led the way into the restaurant.

The hostess smiled at them, very prim and proper.

"Reservations for Drake?" Bobby asked, glancing again over his shoulder. Remy stood just behind him, a slightly curious look on his face, hands relaxed in his pockets. Even in jeans and a black T-shirt, Remy looked at ease in the restaurant. Bobby felt distinctly under-dressed.

"Come right this way. The rest of the guests have already arrived," the hostess answered, looking almost ill at the mention of the 'guests.'

Remy's eyebrows rose far above the rim of his sunglasses at the mention of other people, and he shot a strange look at Bobby before following the hostess down a small hallway and into room reserved for large parties.

"Happy birthday," Bobby murmured just before they entered, smiling nervously. His fingers seemed to keep tangling together, and as he stepped away for Remy to enter first, he thought for sure his stomach and heart were going to leap-frog out of his chest. He was pretty certain his heart was going to win.

What if he doesn't like it? Pleaselethimlikeit! Pleaselethimlikeit! Pleaselethimlikeit!

Bobby watched, hopefully, as Remy walked into the room and looked around warily -- only to have that wariness disperse completely as he pulled his sunglasses off his face and stared in stunned amazement at the man who stepped from the crowd of people, arms wide.

"Happy birt'day, Remy!" the man roared as the hostess fled.

Bobby grinned hugely as Remy twisted and looked at him, jaw slightly dropped, though no words came out. Remy turned and looked back at Jean Luc LeBeau, who laughed uproariously and clasped him in a giant bear-hug. After a stunned moment -- during which the rest of Remy's family started to laugh even harder -- Remy hugged the man back.

"How--?" Remy finally managed, looking from Jean Luc to Bobby and back again.

"You mus' be Bobby," Jean Luc said, reaching out and taking Bobby's hand to shake it firmly. "We've pro'ly met, but I can' 'member!"

Bobby laughed nervously and nodded his agreement.

"Y' frien' here," Jean Luc said, grinning back at Remy, "foun' de 'mergency address y' keep in y' wallet -- if I 'member correctly?"

Bobby nodded again.

"Oui. Well, he write t' dat, and it travel 'round de grapevine till it finally get t' me, an' I respond. Week an' a half later, de boy's chartered a plane for y' family an' frien's, rented hotel rooms, rented dis room -- all t' get us here f'r y' birt'day!" Jean Luc grinned at Bobby, winking. "An' even put up wit' an interrogation t' be sure dis wasn' a set-up."

Bobby shrugged uncomfortably. "It wasn't that bad," he laughed weakly.

Remy looked like some strange, real version of an anime character. "Dis is why you needed dat money?"

Bobby felt his blush deepen and nodded again. "Only I wasn't going to tell you all of that," he mumbled.

Jean Luc laughed. "I know! Dat's why I did it! Y' got some good frien's here, Remy."

Remy nodded, eyes sparkling as he looked at Bobby. "Oui. I know."

"Now c'mon!" someone across the crowded room shouted. "We wan' t' order! We wan' t' be eatin' cake! Dis is y' birt'day, after all!"

"We wan' singin' waiters!" someone else fairly cackled, and Remy groaned.

"Do we have to have de singin' waiters?" he moaned through his hastily concealed grin.

"OUI! Dey're an integral part o' de birt'day tradition!"

"I hate de singin' waiters!" Remy protested loudly as the others -- all members of his adopted family -- laughed and pulled him to a seat.

Remy smiled, waving one last time at the car as it drove away down the road. Still smiling, he leaned back against the rail of the porch and reached into his pocket for a cigarette, not quite ready to go inside yet.

His family was spending the night in a hotel nearby, and he'd have the next morning with them before they got back on the plane and headed home. A plane Bobby had chartered.

Remy shook his head slowly, a smile spreading. It was incredible. It was thoughtful and sweet and ... Remy chuckled at himself, shaking his head. He sounded like a sap.

But Bobby had just spent a week and a half working himself to the bone, just to give Remy a birthday present. Remy took a breathful of smoked and propped a foot up on the rail.

That smile was creeping up on him again as he looked out at the stars. Remy couldn't remember someone ever doing something like this for him. Not recently, by any means. Oh, he'd had fun birthdays when he was little, but no one had gone to lengths this great just to make him happy.

He took a last draw on his cigarette, then dropped it and stomped it out before picking it back up and walking inside.

He tossed the butt in the trash and continued on into the lit mansion, something inside him feeling oddly fluttery. Bobby had done all of that. For him.

Remy's footsteps hesitated. Where was Bobby? The smile was replaced by a slight frown as Remy paused in the hall, glancing down at his watch. Barely nine thirty. According to the people who'd seen him leave, Bobby had fled Hungry Hunter's around eight thirty, saying he had something else he needed to do still.

Remy's mind flittered back to Aloha Joe's, and he quickly moved to the window and glanced out. No, Bobby's ratty old Honda sat in front of the garage. He was here, then.

Remy heard voices from the den and walked that way quietly, peering in. Logan sat on the couch, Jubilee curled by his side. She laughed at the television, then tossed popcorn into the air and caught it in her mouth.

Remy smiled slightly, saw Jubilee prop her fuzzy bear-claw slipper-clad feet up on the back of the sofa, and then he slid silently out of the room. Obviously, Bobby wasn't in there.

Remy skimmed up the stairs on silent thief's feet, gliding down the hall toward their room, a smile dancing around his mouth. There was a dim light beneath the door, and Remy opened it quietly.

Candles flickered on a table -- a card table? -- set up between the bed and the desk. A white tablecloth covered it, and plates were set out with food. Wine chilled in a bucket, and there were two chairs -- both empty -- pulled up on either side.

Remy smiled for what seemed the millionth time that night, and stepped farther into the room. One of his CDs played softly, the music filtering through the air. Remy turned and closed the door, then glanced around for Bobby.

He smiled slightly when he saw the young man, curled on the bed, head pillowed on a book. Blond eyelashes covered the dark circles under his eyes -- dark circles he'd gotten from no sleep, because he was trying so hard to get Remy a birthday present. Remy's smile widened. It was the best, kindest birthday present he'd ever gotten, made more so because he'd seen what Bobby had put himself through for it.

Remy stepped up to the table, quietly covering the food. It would all hold until morning. He bent, blew out the candles, and paused as something caught his eye. Softly, Remy picked up the birthday card and opened it, reading through. The card itself was short, but what Bobby had written took longer to read. Remy's smile grew, faded, and grew once more as he read -- and then re-read -- the note. Red eyes flickered up toward the sleeping man, then back down to what had been written. He blinked several times, trying to breathe normally though his chest felt constricted, as his gaze fluttered over the blocky handwriting. After warm glance at Bobby, Remy walked around to his nightstand and tucked the card carefully within the top drawer, his chest aching oddly.

Bobby stirred when Remy gently pulled the book away. "Shh, cher," Remy soothed, running his fingers through Bobby's hair, brushing it softly away from his face. "Go back to sleep." The words were barely breathed, flowing across pale skin. Bobby stilled again.

Remy smiled and set the book on the nightstand, then quietly changed from his jeans and T-shirt to sleeping clothes. He snuck under the covers, still smiling, and reached out to touch the man sleeping beside him.

"Remy?" Bobby mumbled, barely half-awake.

"Shh. Go t' sleep," Remy answered, curling closer.

"Dinner," Bobby whispered on a sigh.

"We gon' have dinner many ot'er times. Now go t' sleep."

Blue eyes were starting to flutter, trying to open, though Bobby's sleep-deprived body was fighting it. "But your birthday--" he managed to mutter before Remy silenced him, brushing lips across lips.

"Bobby, I ain' never had a better one," he murmured against the pale forehead. "I--" he stopped, wanting to say too many things and not sure how to do it. Instead, he brushed a kiss across Bobby's forehead and whispered, "T'ank you."

Bobby murmured something else and curled further into Remy, his body finally starting to win out in the fight over whether or not to wake up. "Happy birthday," he woke enough to say against Remy's neck, then let his head relax on the man's arm.

"Oui," Remy agreed almost silently. His smile returned, bringing with it that odd, vibrating sensation in his chest, and he wrapped his other arm around Bobby, holding him closer. "It was."

Happy (late) birthday to you!
Happy (late) birthday to you!
Happy (late) birthday, dear KJ!
Happy (late) birthday to you!

And may you have a clear shot with your roll at the singing waiters... ;-D

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