Joyeux Noël

December 24, 2017:

Neither Elinor Ravensdale nor Remy LeBeau want to be alone on Christmas. Fortunately, neither of them have to be.

Elinor's Apartment, Hell's Kitchen, NYC

It's like Christmas threw up in here and then invited the dead to party hearty.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It occured to Elinor sometime after their rooftop brood that Remy probably doesn’t’ have much going on for Christmas. Part of her figures he’d find himself a game to play and earn himself some extra cash for… whatever he uses it for. The other part however knows how much it sucks to be away from family, during the holidays. Especially when there is a lot of family drama. So she would have told him to show up to her apartment close to Midnight on the twenty-fourth, since that’s the best time to ring the holiday.

Christmas has thrown up in her apartment. There are lights framing the living room, garland hung from the walls, candles that smell like fir trees and of course a small Christmas tree in the corner. There is a table with Christmas cookies on it and other various goodies strewn about, and the smell of mulled wine fills the room. Classic Christmas music is coming out of a small Bluetooth speaker while Christmas movies are playing on her TV.

As delicious as the cookies are, none of the guests are eating them since they’re all quite dead. Either through their own will or through Elinor’s magic, there are several ghosts mingling about in plain view of the living. Bobby is dressed in his full Ninja Turtle gear and is bouncing around the apartment fake fighting anyone who responds to him. Esperanza is sitting on the couch with Jean-Marc reminiscing of Christmas’ long past. Even Nico, the former bouncer turned undead bodyguard seems to be enjoying himself, even if he’s keeping a watchful eye on Cassandra, whom he doesn’t fully trust not to steal anything.

Elinor herself is dressed in a bright red sweater dress, over a pair of warm leggings, fuzzy red socks and a Christmas hat. She flits around the room talking to her ghost friends, and welcoming those who are only stopping in for a minute. She keeps gravitating toward the cookies, unable to resist them even if she’s worried there will be none left for her living guest.

It's true.

Remy LeBeau had zero plans for Christmas. And it's also true that this was quietly a source of upset for him. Whatever can be said about the LeBeau crime family, they rung in Christmas in style: huge family gatherings, giant trees, jovial caroling, lights, presents, and of course, food, ye gods, the food. So Elinor's invitation came as a welcome one, one that produced one of his rare expressions of quiet gratitude.

He arrives wearing black slacks and a green turtleneck with a white scarf hanging over that, along with his duster, which he of course takes off at the door. He has a few things in his arms; one precisely wrapped silver present, one covered pitcher, one covered dish. "Looks real good in here," he greets with a smile, his red-eyed gaze sweeping across the chattering ghosts. The dead, it seems, make better company than one can possibly imagine, and he's appreciative of their presence too, simply because it brings the whole vibe of chatter and cheer back to mind. He looks relaxed, happy even, and disinclined to do the thing he does where he lays on the smarm and the charm until it makes people wanna hit him.

"Thanks. I've been collecting things over the years and I almost have everything that I need. One day I'll have a nice enough place to build one of those fancy snow villiages that surban house wives love to set out." While she attempts sound like she's joking, it's easy to see in her eyes that she wants one of these epic snow villiages. When he brings the food she looks very interested in what it is that he's brought. "Is this some local fare that you've brought in? You really didn't have to cook, but I'm glad you brought something." Her spice tolorance is minimal, but she's thankful that there is more to eat than just cookies.

She takes the silvery present and puts it under the tree where there is only one other box there, wrapped in candy cane striped paper. His lack of smarm is concerning. While she knows he's appricative of her company, it's still weird to her when he turns all of that off and is just Remy. "Can I get you something to drink? I'll admit that my parties don't normally have guests to serve things to." She says with a sheepish smile.

"It's just a chili roll, sha," Remy says, with a flash of a smile. He opens it up, displaying what looks like a cheese, pecan, and spice concoction meant to be spread on the crackersTriscuits, by the look of themthat he's got on either side of the thing. He sets that on the table, along with the pitcher, adding, "And that's milk punch, which is very alcoholic. But yes, please, a drink would be lovely."

It's a sure bet he's noticed this desire for suburban snow villages. Sadly too late to act on that one this year, but he will remember. Then he greets the others. "And Joyeux Noël to all y'all," he adds with a broad smile. He won't leave out the ghosts, after all, now that he can see them to include them. He turns that smile on Elinor, letting her choose whatever to serve him; he's not that fussed.

"A chili roll." Something about it resembles the cheese balls her family used to get, and it's pretty obvious how it's eaten. "Well I'll try anything." She says cautiously, but looks at the milk punch with a touch of confusion. "How do you milk a punch?" Though she's very curious and seeing as how she isn't going to be driving home, siply stumbling into her bed later, she shrugs and grabs a few glasses to get it served up for herself and her guest. The mulled wine will keep for sure, and the longer it sits the better it will be.

When Remy greets the ghosts, they greet him with smiles and the best hand shake some can muster with their abilities. However it's Jean-Marc that look excited to have another person who speaks his language. *"Joyeau Noel Monsieor! What brings you to this side of the pond? It has been ages since I have spoken my own tongue with someone else!"* He says in French. Granted, two hundred year old Parisian French, which is bound to have a lot of different words than the Cajun French Remy is used to.

"Yes ma'am," Remy says cheerfully. "It's got bourbon, dark rum, milk, a touch of vanilla, lil' simple syrup," and here he holds up his thumb and forefinger. "Just a lil' pinch of nutmeg. It's another traditional drink from back home. It's sweet, so you know, go slow with it, cause it'll sneak right up on you. If'n you don't watch yourself you'll be drunker'n Cooter Brown before you know what hit you."

And as she serves it up she might note that it even smells sweet, but not really in any kind of a cloying way.

It takes a moment for Remy to sort through Jean-Marc's accent, but the truth is the differences between Parisian French and Cajun French are about like the differences between British English and American English. There are switches in words and spellings; there are certainly differences in cadences and dialects, but they are not, as many assume, terribly incomprehensible to each other. Remy looks rather delighted, and he says, «Ah, good evening my good man. I'm afraid I'm very much from this side of the pond. Remy LeBeau, recently from New Orleans. It is a pleasure to make your aquaintance.» He gives a little bow, since he's pretty sure the Frenchman can't shake hands given his whole 'being dead' problem.

"I'll take it slow." Elinor says with a smirk as she sips the beverage and nods her head in approval. "Oh yeah this could easily get me in trouble." She says with a smirk, and heeds his warning for now to not drink it too quickly. "I got my mulled wine recpie from someone at the cemetary, it's not overly spiced and it has a lovely orange flavor. I've been making it for a few years now and I can't have Christmas with out it."

She lets the men discuss things as she turns to Bobby and has to have an impromptu fight with him, which looks as if it's been perfectly coriographed years ago. Jean-Marc smiles and he too needs to take a second to decipher what is said before he responds. «Ah, the new country. I spent a winter in New Orleans, fantastic people, wonderful food and the women."» He makes a kissing motion on his fingers. «"So how did you meet our beloved Elinor?"»

Remy, for his part, wants to try the mulled wine and so does. He sips it, grinning as Elinor has her play-fight with the young man. "I approve of this," he tells her, raising a glass as if to demonstrate it. But he won't interrupt overly long, not with polite conversation to make with a man who actually saw the historic New Orleans as it looked so many years ago.

But he won't grill on that, having been asked a question.

«Our paths crossed more than once; she helped me, I helped her, she drove me a little crazy, I drove her a little crazy— thus is the way of stunning women!» He grins, figuring Jean-Marc will understand well enough. «Have you known her long?» Small talk with a ghost is stretching his inventiveness just a tad, but Remy hangs in gamely enough.

"It definatly takes the chill off of Winter. Not that it gets all that cold here, but anything helps right?" She says between her fiece battle with Bobby, and manages to not spill her drink while she fights.

«"Ah yes. Were I still a breathing man, I would have courted her ages ago."» Jean-Marc responds, reaching up to slap Remy's arm, but it just phases through it instead, leaving a chilly tingling sensation as it passes through his flesh. «"I met her when she got into this city, and I showed her around as best I could. I guide her in all things romance, though she never seems to enjoy my poetry. Which is I suppose the sign of a modern woman no?"»

It's about this time that Bobby stops his fight and walks over to Remy, reaching up to tug on his sweater. "Can Ellie open her present now?"

No sappy poetry. Check! Remy grins and keeps his thoughts on that one to himself, namely that he wants to go dig some up and recite some to her just to annoy her. He'll save that for when they aren't having a perfectly lovely evening.

He looks down to find the young man tugging on his sleeve, and he smiles. "Well of course she can. It's her present, yeah? She can open it whenever she wants." He winks at Elinor, and sort of kind of ruffles Bobby's hair. He just holds his hand high enough that it doesn't…you know. Pass right through his head or anything disturbing like that. He had Jean-Marc's warning with the clap on the arm to tell him that was a distinct possibility.

Unlike Jean-Marc, Bobby is a little more solid to the touch. There is actually a faint feeling of hair underneath Remy's fingers, perhaps it's his connection to Elinor that makes him a little stronger than the other ghosts. Still when he gets permission he jumps for joy and bounds around the apartment. Thankfully for her downstairs neighbors, he doesn't rattle their ceiling.

"Well I usually wait until Midnight." She says with a look to Bobby. "But I suppose I can make an exception this year." She walks over to the tree and picks up both of the presents that are there. She hands the striped one to Remy and holds the silver one in her hand. "I didn't want you to not have something to open on Christmas." They are having a lovely evening, which is why she's kept her snark at bay as well. Still this is the longest they've both been civil in one setting. Maybe there are such things as Christmas Miracles. "It's not much but I hope you like it." She gestures toward the couch, which is now clear, so they can open their gifts.

Remy settles onto the couch, smiling at Elinor. "Indeed, the same," he says, tilting his head towards her package.

It might surprise her to learn that he's one of the people who opens their packages carefully, slipping fingers beneath tape to preserve the paper rather than ripping into it. Then again, maybe not; he is a cat burgler, after all.

When she opens her she'll find a delicate gold necklace in the shape of a phoenix; the gold has been worked perfectly to give the impression of flames. The eyes are citrine, and the chain is sturdy. Gift giving can be a little fraught in a new friendship, before tastes and interests are fully understood, so he watches her to see what her reaction might be.

It is very difficult to shop for someone you don't know all that well. Still something did catch her eye and she couldn't resist picking it up. She isn't at all surprised that he carefully opens the package, it extends the antisipation of what's inside. Elinor is simliar, but Bobby rushes over and bounces next to her. "Just rip it open!" He cries out, and Elinor obliges and even tosses the crumpled paper at the boy.

One she sees what is inside, she pauses and lightly runs her finger over the delicate charm. "It's stunning, thank you." She says with a genuine smile, but she pulls her eyes away from it to see his reaction to his gift.

The small box contains a mans leather bracelet. Thin strands of black leather are braided together and held together with a steel clasp. In the center of the bracelet there is one charm, a small Fleur de Lis. If he looks closely, there are small indents on the leather that looks like faint runes. "I enchanted it a little." She says quietly. "If you turn the charm, you can hide in the shadows like I do for a short time. Good for a quick escape when you need it."

Remy stifles a chuckle when Bobby makes his enthusiastic plea for the two adults to get on with it already. And when she not only does it, but baps him with the paper, he lets out a full, rolling, deep laugh. There is some serious relief that she liked hers; it flickers over his face, betraying the very real uncertainty that had been there. Sure, he might have pretended to be Mr. Smooth Operator, 100% certain sure, but he wasn't, and this time he is not really successful at hiding that fact.

When he sees his own gift his eyes light up. He runs his fingers across the leather, then smiles at her as he slips it onto his left wrist. "Merci beaucoup, sha," he murmurs, genuinely touched. Both because she has chosen something that reminds him of home and because she put a bit of herself, a bit of her magic into it. Something useful to him, as well. He reaches to try to gently take her hand, and unless she pulls away will raise her knuckles to brush a gentle kiss over the back of said hand.

Elinor is glad for the laugh as it cuts the tension a little. Opening gifts is nerve wracking and it has been a long time since she's given one to someone else. She too mirrors that relief when he opens his gift and immedately puts it on. "It will need to recharge after you use it, but you just need to let it sit somewhere really dark for a day and it's good to go." She did test it out herself just to make sure that it works.

She does allow him to kiss her hand, trying to school her features with a polite smile than what her mind is actually screaming at her. "Thank you as well. I'm glad you like it." Glad doesn't seem to cover her releif, but when her hand is free, she removes the necklace from the box and hands it over. "Will you help me put it on?" She asks before turning her back toward him and lifting up her hair.

"But of course."

Remy gently lifts the necklace and fits it about her neck. He clasps it gently, then murmurs, "Voila." He puts a little distance between them after that, but nothing overt; covered, as it is, by a reach for his mulled wine, a re-settling into the sofa's surface as if he's just getting comfortable and relaxed. Which. In fact. He is. He runs his fingers over the bracelet once more, and says quite honestly, "I can't think of a better gift I ever did receive." The instructions are more than noted, the care and proper feeding of magical items being something he's wholly new to.

The necklace is a great contrast to the red sweater she is wearing. She too puts a little more space between them, reaching for her beverage and taking a hardy sip. "Thank you." She looks over Remy's shoulder as Cassandra and Espraza start making kissy faces at Elinor, which she clears her thraot and turns her attention to the Television instead. When he speaks again, she looks slightly confused and looks at his face to see if he's pulling her leg again. "I'm sure you've gotten other great gifts as well. All gifts are the best when you're really young."

Remy considers that, turning his mulled wine over in his hands. He doesn't seem to be pulling her leg, but seems willing to share a bit anyway.

"Didn't really do Christmas till I was ten," he admits. "That was the year I picked Papa LeBeau's pocket, got brought into the family, yeah? Before that I was just one of a pack of street rats. We went to school; we had to avoid attracting attention, but in the late afternoons we robbed tourists, gave our stake over to Francis, the guy who ran our gang. But! Mais, at ten, my first real Christmas, that was somethin'. Got a pocket knife from Papa LeBeau; still got it, too. Not really a weapon knife, mind. Good utility knife. Got my first pair of real lockpicks from him that year too; spent that year practicing, getting better."

He grins at her. "Sort of messed up, I know. But still good memories. Sometimes messed up isn't the worst possible thing. How about you? Best one for you? As a child, I mean."

These rare moments of Remy sharring his past are growing more frequent. Not that Elinor minds, she enjoys learning what makes him tick. Again she goes into Listening mode, turning on the couch to face him and sips on her beverage as he speaks. She smiles as he finishes story and nods her head. "It was special to you, who cares if other people think it's messed up. I'm sure everyone has something that someone else considers is messed up." She gestures to the undead Christmas party she's throwing with a grin.

When he asks for her best Christmas she bites her lip, before she looks over at Bobby. Her voice does take a sadder tone, but she begins. "When we were eight, my father was snowed in at the airport Christmas eve and it didn't look like he would get home on time. So I was staying with Bobby's family, and his mother went out of her way to make it the best she could for the both of us. It was.. that ideallic Christmas you see in all of those sappy Hallmark movies." At this point Bobby comes over and slides on the couch next to Elinor to lean on her. "We baked cookies, played video games and Ninja Tutrles all night. I was worried that Santa wouldn't find me, so Bobby and I decided to stay up all night to wait for him so he knew. We of course passed out at ten PM, but when I woke up, my stocking was on the mantal along with gifts from Santa. My father showed up in the early afternoon and we all celebrated together. I don't even remeber what presents we got that day, just that we all had that time together."

She ruffles Bobby's hair as she gives him a bittersweet smile. She leaves out the part that it was the last Christmas the two had together like that, nor all the changes that came that following year. This was just about the good stories right?

Remy can kind of figure it out for himself; since he can see the kid is still a kid. A very dead kid. He couldn't have died that much longer after that Christmas. Maybe a year, maybe two.But it's kind of sweet, the way he sticks around, the way Elinor keeps playing with him, entertains him. He gets into listening mode himself; he can picture it, really. He watches the kid lean on Elinor. Childhood friends. They might have been best friends had he gotten his chance to grow up.

"Weh," he agrees. "Lot of times, the presents are the least bit of it for sure." In this case as well, though he still likes his present. The fact that she thought of him, that she put all this together…well, it means a great deal to him, though he's not entirely sure how to express that. "What did your Dad do?" he asks, in lieu of going down that road. Something that left him traveling on Christmas, apparently.

"A lot of presents get forgotten over time, but the memories stay." Of course, she could easily be quoting one of those movies, but still she nods her head. "He was an Air Traffic controller. So he was often working around Christmas because it was so busy. Every few years he'd have it off but by the time he worked that out I was alreayd in High School and becoming jaded about the holidays. He's got more of a desk job now, but it was rough for a few years there. Thankfully Bobby was next door."

Bobby and Elinor would have been very close had they had the chance to grow up together. There would have been a lot of poor life choices that she might not have made, but in the end that was not the path she traveled down. Still, there it is again, the things that they don't say, staying on the safter topics and dodging what they're really thinking.
The idea that Elinor's dad had such a normal job takes Remy by surprise for sure. He wasn't sure what he was expecting, but something that mundane wasn't it. But that seems like the kind of thing one ought not say (indeed, lots of dodging and tiptoeing, but that is what one does, sometimes, to keep the evening nice). "So when did you figure out you could do what you do? Since always or did it just sort of pop up in puberty?"

By now he wanders to get at some of the food, but comes back with his plate. For all they're trying to dance around various subjects, he's relaxed and enjoying himself just fine.

Elinor's dad is super normal compared to Elinor and her mother. "I've always been able to see ghosts, though I didn't understand what they were until I was nearly ten. I thought they were imaginary friends, until I realized that I still saw people after I attened their funerals." Which again she snuggles Bobby, but doesn't vocalize the obvious. "The shadow powers took longer and came gradually. That was closer to puberty when they fully manifested and I had to start adopting a nocturnal lifestyle. Those powers were harder to control as well, and were tied to my emotions, it's taken a lot of effort to get them as controlled as they are now." She too gets up to grab a few snacks, because he is right, this Punchy Milk will quickly go to her head, and her cheeks are already flushed. "What about you?"

"Was born with the eyes," Remy admits, "but was just the eyes until I turned fifteen."

He pulls a card out of his pocket, flips it around in his fingers, back and forth. "Found out I could make things explode when this one coullion bitch tried to traffic my cousin and me. Threw one of these right in the guy of the man she sent to handle that little transaction. Boom. Got us out. Got me out, anyway. My cousin, he didn't make it, him. Things went wrong later in the escape."

Steering smoothly away from that he adds, "It ain't all explosions though. It's a manipulation of kinetic energy. Took me awhile to figure that out, figure out what could be done with it. For awhile there it was 'see Remy touch somethin', see it get charged up, see it go boom.' Had to figure that out right quick if I didn't want to kill nobody with it."

He's not charging up the card now, he's just sort of playing with it still.

"It seems we all have growing pains with our powers. As if puberty wasn't enough. I'm sorry to hear that your cousin didn't make it." Elinor says lightly as she finally tries some of the chili roll. The first bite is fine, and the second goes down easier, but it's around the thrid bite that she finally gets some of the spice and has to reach for the cooling beverage near by. Coughing a bit she decides to perhaps take it slow on the spicy food that she has a negative modifier against.

After she recovers she'll frown herself. "There were a lot of broken vases and things in the house as my shadow powers grew. I was babysitting when I learned that they could put people to sleep, so that came in handy when dealing with unruely children, or if I wanted to sneak out of the house when my parents were still up."

"Ha! Elinor Ravensdale, walking fais do do," Remy says with some amusement, red eyes sparkling. He is…just not going to comment on her spicy food fail over there. Nope. Nope. Nope nope and nope. "Easiest money ever I'm sure. Oh, y'all wanted to go to bed? D'accord! I'm off to watch me some Netflix, y'all!"

Well it's not like unscrupulous babysitting is exactly outside of his moral code.

As for talk of his cousin? He just lets it go, he just sort of lets it drift and slide away the same way wine is sliding down his throat. There's a whole line dance going on here about painful topics, and they're still more or less staying in step. He's not going to be the one to derail the dance for long.

"Hey, CDs were not cheap, and I needed the money!" Elinor says, trying to pull off her best innocent look. She's releived that he doesn't call out her spicy food fail, and he'll notice how she starts pushing off some of the roll with another cracker to make it easier to eat. "Honestly though I would just sit on the phone with my friends, sadly there was a severe lack of Netflix back then."

She smirks as she looks at him, happy to keep up the dance. Showing a glimpse of the past, a hint of the pain that comes with it, and quickly moving on to a happier subject. "After all, my sleep powers worked wonders on you on your home turf. You were out like a baby with a full stomach, I think you even drooled a little." She's teasing him a bit, it seems that even when they're trying to be civil, she can't resist poking him.

Remy smirks as she brings that up. "Well that explains why you didn't lose control and ravage me in my sleep. Clearly it was all the drool. I'mma have to work on that."

Look, if she's going to tease, he's going to tease, this is the way it works. But in this case it's a bit of a tease at his own expense on about six or seven levels. He bends forward to take a generous swipe of the chili roll, of course giving zero cares about the spices, red eyes dancing. "You could probably also make a fortune marketin' that skill to insomniacs though. Can't sleep? Call Ravensdale! $25 and out like a light! Forget missin' that plane or screwin' up that major presentation! Just call Elinor, y'all!"

"Yes, because that's all that's keeping me from ravaging you, your uncontrollable drooling problem." Elinor says dryly as they settle back into the comfortable teasing they can't seem to escape. It's easier than talking about uncomfortable subjects and that's fine by her. "Sure, that would get me so much money, however that means I have to make house calls and honestly I can't be trasping all of the city to put some uppity people to bed." She raises her glass in in a toast. "Though if I ever have children, that's going to make getting them in the bed so eo easy." She looks toward the TV when the movie ends, and the next one begins. "Have you seen this one? I can turn the music down if you want to watch it." It's National Lampoon's Chrismas Vacation, an 80s classic. Besides if they start watching a movie they can avoid talking.

"Let's do it," Remy says, settling back comfortably. He has not in fact seen it, and watching a stupid movie strikes him as just the thing to do.

Course. He's drinking. And he's watching this movie. This means he's going to totally end up sleeping on her couch. It's not his fault. It's hers. It is totally her fault.

Okay, it's totally his.

But.

He does not drool.

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