A Special Kinda Birthday
by J.B. McDonald
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
"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.
"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
"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
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
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
"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!
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
"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
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
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
"Do we have to have de singin' waiters?" he moaned through his hastily
"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
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
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
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
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
"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...
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