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22 February 2004 @ 12:16 pm
FIC: "Christmas in Paris", Orli/Heath, R, complete  
Title: "Christmas in Paris"
Author: Osiris Brackhaus (OsirisBrackhaus@aol.com)
Pairing: Orli / Heath Ledger (A Knight's Tale)
Rating: R
Feedback: Yes please! Any kind of - I'd like to know how to improve my skills!
Warnings: RPS, major sap,
Summary: Trying to meet his lover for a surprise Christmas visit can be harder than though...
Credits: To Beryll, for inspiration. To May, for beta.



"Excuse me, Monsieur?", the taxi driver asked with a heavy French accent, almost absent-mindedly honking at a passing car. "The hotel is down the road. You there will have to walk."

Heath blinked at the man, hardly able to believe what he had heard. "What?", he asked bluntly, trying hard not to add some very explicit comments. This day had been nothing but a line-up of increasingly improbable catastrophes, and that he was supposed to walk the last bit towards the hotel his airline had offered him in a weak attempt at recompensation for his cancelled flight was just the one bit he really hadn't needed at all.

"C'est la neige! Complètement fou!", the driver explained with a wide gesture encompassing the whole city. "Too much of snow!"

Snow. Of course.

Heath felt like slapping the man for giving him the same answer he had kept on hearing since he had landed here in Paris this morning, but he knew better. All day, snow had been falling in flakes thick enough to look like cotton flowers, covering the city faster than anyone could clean up. His plane from Prague had been one of the last to land in Paris, all others had been re-directed to cities suffering less from the weather. What a stupid idea it had been to take that flight anyway, Heath thought grimly. He should have listened to the airline's staff in Prague who had told him that it would be very probable that he wouldn't be able to catch his connection to Mexico tonight. But of course, he had insisted on leaving right then.

Giving a deep sigh of helpless misery, Heath nodded and took out his wallet. To his surprise, the driver shook his head.

"Non Monsieur, c'est déjà payé - Airline paid me."

Which was the least they could have done, Heath thought, but a pleasant surprise after all these disasters today.

"Here", he said, handing the man a bill that would have covered the trip anyway. "Have a tip on me. After all, it's Christmas Eve."

With eyes growing wide of surprise, the driver took the money, smiling widely. "Merci beaucoup, Monsieur, merci. Vous voulez que je vous aide avec la bagage?"

"Sorry?" Heath cursed himself at not speaking at least a bit of French. It would have been so nice to come to Paris one day with Orli and show off a little.

"Need help with suitcase?"

"No, thank you." Having decided to leave only this morning, he had grabbed what he could get his hands on, so he was travelling with very little luggage. A big backpack, nothing more, and there was little in it.

So with another sigh, Heath pulled his jacket closer around himself and stepped out of the car into the whirling snow. His hotel was somewhere in the center of Paris, in the Latin Quarter, the lady of the airline had told him, as all others close to the airport had already been booked out. What a complete mess.

The driver had already opened the trunk of the car, holding Heath's backpack. Snow was still falling heavily, flakes looking as big as chickens to Heath's frustrated mind. Only a few people were hurrying along the dark street, their steps all but swallowed by the snow that covered everything.

"Ça y est", the taxi-driver stated as the blond actor took what little luggage he was travelling with. "Joyeux Noël á vous, Monsieur, joyeux Noël quand même!"

This one sentence didn't need translation. Heath had heard it probably a million times since he had landed in Paris. Merry Christmas, Sir, the man had said. Merry Christmas anyway.

"Merci", he got out despite his dire urge to scream. "Á vous aussi." To you as well. Given the prospects of his current Christmas Eve, it sounded almost like a curse. This would be the most dreadful Christmas ever.

Silently waving goodbye at the shivering man, Heath turned around and looked at the small alleyway his hotel was supposed to be in. It was so narrow that even the Parisians, frighteningly courageous as they usually were in such matters, had abstained from parking at both sides of it. That meant that there wouldn't be any place for a pedestrian left if any car went through.
Though, this specific problem wouldn't happen to him, Heath noted with a fatalist grin. The last snow plough that had passed had apparently considered the alley below his responsibility. Now almost three feet of dirty snow neatly closed off the entrance of the alley, fresh snow already adding more and more inches with every passing minute.

Why the hell couldn't I have stayed in Prague, Heath asked himself once more. At least there I would have had the crew to keep from feeling too lonely with.

He had been in Chechnya for some re-shoots of 'The Grimms', and when Orli had called this morning for his good-night call from the set of 'Troy', Heath had suddenly felt so incredibly homesick like never before in his whole life. It had taken some time for him to realize that it hadn't been their mutual flat in London he missed, but plainly to be close to his lover.

They had agreed on being apart on Christmas when the subject had come up the first time, reluctantly though, but Heath would have never thought it would be as hard on him as it was right now. When somewhere around eleven this morning, a radio in the canteen suddenly started playing 'I'll be home on Christmas', Heath had found himself sitting there, almost crying.

That was when he had decided that if he hurried, he would arrive in time to be with Orlando for his Christmas Eve. And that had been his first step to doom.

With a forbidding frown, Heath planted his first foot onto the heap of snow, almost expecting something unpleasantly wet and dirty to happen. Yet, even with his second step, nothing such came to pass, and he swiftly climbed into the alley.

What little life had been visible 'outside' now seemed utterly remote, faint, hardly there. It struck Heath as odd that in the very heart of one of Europe's biggest cities, there were places one could feel so pleasantly alone. Taking in a deep breath of the surprisingly crisp air, he looked around, grinning at the cars in the street, covered by snow and just as immobile as he was himself.

"There's really no way to get out of here, huh?", Heath asked them softly, grinning as he imagined the first car answering with a happy sigh. True, he thought, given the exciting and dangerous life these cars lead, they probably enjoyed the rest. Traffic here really was a thing of its own.

The snow was lying almost foot-high on the road, a little less on the pavement. Very few windows in the alley were lit, and the silence felt almost overwhelming. The only sound Heath heard was the crunch of his steps and the soft crackling of the falling snow.

Passing around a slight bend in the road, Heath stopped in confusion. He could already see the alley's other end, and yet nothing here looked anything like the entrance of a hotel.

Oh my god, the young actor though grimly. What kind of shack have they sent me to?

Searching in his pockets for the hotel's address he had been given, Heath took out the piece of paper. Rue Christine, he read, right where he was. So where the fuck was this goddamn hotel?

Somewhere close to the alley's end, there seemed to be a small restaurant, golden light flooding the road from a large window. Maybe there they will know something about this hotel, he thought.

Hands buried deep in the pockets of his jacket, Heath strode down the alley, still cursing himself for having left on this trip in the very first place. How could he have been that stupid to think he could spend Christmas with his lover when Orli was on the other side of the earth? At least, on a perfectly spontaneous decision?

As he neared the restaurant, he noticed by the sounds that it apparently was quite frequented, odd as there was virtually nobody out on this road. After all, it was Christmas Eve, half past seven, and everybody should have better thing to do, shouldn't they? But then again, Heath added mentally, maybe these were some other poor suckers stuck at this place like he was. Maybe they really couldn't go anywhere else.

One house before the restaurant, something odd to his right caught the young man's attention, and as he looked over his shoulder, Heath stopped dead in his tracks.

There was a huge archway to his right, dark and unlit, but it had been the courtyard beyond that had stunned the actor. Square, with a small fountain in its center, it looked like a postcard-image, framed by the archway. Covered with snow, there were small potted evergreen trees standing in the corners, some stone benches, two replicas of antique statues. But, most important, beyond the fountain, in perfect symmetry with the archway, some few steps rose up to a huge glass door, small golden letters backlit by gentle golden light spelling the name of the hotel he had been looking for.

It all conveyed such calm and stylish welcome that Heath actually forgot to wallow in his misery. At least for a few heartbeats.

There were small lanterns with candles standing on the stairs, and beyond the door, in the reception, he could see a Christmas tree decorated with nothing but tiny lights and crystal snowflakes.

Apparently, not all was going to be gruesome, Heath stated to himself. But I shouldn't be hasty. They can still have a roach problem or something like that.

Managing his first smile since he had landed in Paris, the young man walked into the courtyard, leaving the last sounds of the city behind him. In summer, the courtyard had to be lovely, he thought. And a perfect place to rest after a day out in the sun.

Heath had just put his foot onto the first stair as suddenly, a young woman in a gray costume opened the door.

"Oh Mister Ledger, I'm so sorry", she burst out, her accent slight and nothing he could immediately put his finger on. "We thought you'd arrive only in half an hour, so we haven't cleaned the yard yet."

Blinking at the lady in slight confusion, Heath wondered how someone could worry about a snowed-in courtyard when the whole city was smothered by the stuff.

"Come on in, Sir", she added with an inviting gesture, "there's really no point in staying outside any longer than necessary."

"Thank you." Still a bit surprised, the young actor followed her into the hotel, relieved to have met the first French person who apparently didn't loathe to speak in a foreign language.

The lady went to the counter and sifted through some papers. "Oh, here it is. Yes." Looking up at Heath, she smiled and he couldn't help but noticing that she actually was quite a pretty thing. Not as pretty as Orli, of course, but none the less. "Mr. Ledger, would you mind waiting for a few minutes at the bar? As we received your reservation on such a short notice, your room's not in perfect condition yet.

"Umm - okay." This could just be the first sign of the next disaster he had feared all the time, Heath stated in his mind. But still, everything else looked nice and welcoming enough that he was willing to give the place a chance.

So he went over to the back of the lobby, throwing his backpack onto one of the chairs, quickly followed by his damp jacket. In a corner behind a column, hidden from view from the counter, there was a small bar, a young man behind it polishing glasses with a slightly bored expression.

With a soft sigh, Heath ordered himself a drink and sat down next to the open fireplace, staring at the dancing flames, at their countless reflections in the Christmas Tree's crystal decorations.

He felt like a complete mess. What the hell had made him believe his Christmas would turn any better if he tried to be with his lover? Despite everybody insisting him the he would never be able to leave this continent under this weather? What an idiot he had been.

Sure, Christmas with the crew in Prague wouldn't have been much better, but at least he would have had somebody to get drunk together with.

"Mr. Ledger?" Unnoticed, the young woman from the counter had walked up to him. "Would you mind coming over, I fear we do have a slight problem here."

Now, here it comes. Putting on a perfect fatalist smile, Heath followed her to the counter, expecting everything from sudden fires in the hotel to the before mentioned invasion of French killer cockroaches.

"So what's it?", he asked, noticing her guilty smile and that she stood behind her counter as if it would be any protection from his wrath she was about to conjure up with her news. "Don't tell me it's because of the snow."

"Well, Mr. Ledger, actually....", the young woman started, then trailed off as she noticed he definitely wouldn't see anything funny in what she was about to say. "Look, there have been a hell of a lot of flights cancelled today. And even though something like this shouldn't happen, Sir, I'm terribly sorry to inform you that we have been overbooked for tonight."

Gesturing helplessly with her hands, she looked at him apologetically, adding: "Look, we only got one suite left for tonight, and as sadly unprofessional it looks, there's you and another guest we are still expecting booked for this room. You were here first, of course, but I am afraid the other guest's reservation was filed earlier than yours. We're in a perfect legal mess here, Sir, which of course is no help to you at all, and I'm afraid we -"

"Ma'am." Heath interrupted the young lady with a gesture of his hand. "I've been shoved around the place all day like lost luggage. Just get over with it and tell me where I have to go to get drunk and sleep."

"I'm so sorry, Sir."

"Yeah, thanks. But I think I'm already sorry enough for myself. So, lady, what's it gonna be now?"

"We're still searching, Sir. As I said, there were many planes cancelled today, and after all, it's Christmas. There are people spending the holidays here voluntarily, after all."

"So you haven't found a room yet?" Heath's voice had a slight tinge of a threat.

"Sir, please understand, we're trying as hard as we can, and if you'd just wait, we'll have a room for you in -"

"What the fuck's happening in this goddamn town? It' can't be that hard to find me a place to curl up and feel miserable and lonely? Huh? Or am I wearing a 'torture me!'-badge?"

"Sir, please," the lady tried to calm him down, but Heath just didn't want to stay calm any longer.

He was just taking in a deep breath to hurl some more explicit questions at the woman as suddenly, the door to the hotel's lobby banged open. In a flurry of snow, a person tumbled into the room at high velocity, a suitcase flying through the air, both man and luggage skittering across the polished floor like hockey pucks.

"Oh my god - ", the lady behind the counter exclaimed softly, immediately rushing to see if the person on the floor was hurt.

"I'm fine!", the man on the floor exclaimed, and Heath could feel all hair on his arms raise up straight. I'm already making up things, he thought. This is NOT Orli's voice.

"Sir, are you alright?", the young woman asked, and the person on the floor sat up, shaking his head like a confused puppy.

"No. I'm fine. Don't worry. Happens to me all the time." Wearing only a T-shirt and some faded denims, the young man on the floor didn't only sound like the man Heath was sharing a place with since almost two years by now, he also looked like the real thing. This is just too mad.

"Orli?" Heath walked over to his lover on the floor, slowly as if he was afraid of scaring away this lovely illusion if he dared to move too fast. "Orli, is that you? What are you doing here?"

"Sitting on the floor," the other actor replied with an amused frown. "And who else should I be?"

"I - Shouldn't you be in Mexico?"

"Shouldn't you be in Prague?"

For a moment, both men stared at each other, still stunned in disbelief. Then, Orlando leapt up and flung his arms around his lover, hugging and kissing him like wild. And despite the young woman still standing next to them, staring almost as disbelieving as the two men only moments ago, Heath didn't mind one bit.
It was only after quite a while that they noticed her still standing there, staring.

"We're not on 'Candid Camera'," Heath asked her, "are we?"

The lady blinked twice, then apparently decided that it was about dire time to turn professional again and said: "Err - no, Sir. Definitely not. I - I take you know each other?"

"Yes, definitely." Heath bearhugged Orli once more, reveling in the hardly believably joy of holding him in his arms.

"And, please excuse me if I assume too much, does that solve our room problem, Sir?"

"We have a room problem?", Orli asked with dread in his voice. "Oh please, lord, no! I've had the worst day of my life already, and I just don't want to -"

"Shhh", Heath said, gently closing his lover's mouth by putting his finger to his lips. "No, Ma'am, I think there will be no problem with the room any longer."

"Yes." The lady still couldn't really believe what had just happened in her lobby, but tried not to gawk anyway. "It's just one bed, Sir."

"Wouldn't have wanted it any other way."

"Then I'll just be over there finishing the papers." Slightly nervous, she rushed of to her counter, leaving the two men arm in arm in the middle of the room.

"So what the hell are you doing in Paris?", he asked Orlando, noticing with a pang of concern that he had seriously been walking through that weather outside with nothing more than his T-shirt.

"It was supposed to be a surprise", Orli explained with a soft pout and a cheeky smile. "I wanted to be able to sneak up on you on Christmas, telling you I was a present. But what are YOU doing here?"

With a wide grin, he pulled Orli close to him, saying: "Couldn't stand to be alone on Christmas Eve. I just wanted to come over to your place and be with you."

"Oh." Orli rubbed his nose as he did always when thinking hard. "Oh. What a luck we met!"

"Yeah. Someone up there must really be fond of us. Or do you think all this snow would have turned up if someone wasn't trying to trap both of us here in Paris? Gods, I'm so glad you're with me tonight!"

"And what a nice place they trapped us in."

"Yep. But you're freezing, love. I'll put you into a nice, hot tub, what you think, huh?"

"Awww..." Dropping his head against his lover's shoulder, Orli purred in anticipation. "That sounds lovely."

"So what about you collect your stuff from the ground and I fetch our key?"

Orlando nodded silently and slid out of his lover's embrace while Heath walked over to the lady at the counter who was already holding a key in her outstretched hand, smiling most fondly.

"Here you are, Sir. Room 42, forth floor, right under the roof. It's the suite with the nicest bathroom we have. And of course, we offer breakfast in bed, Sir."

Laughing gleefully, the young actor took the key and waved her goodnight.

"Have a lovely Christmas, Mister Ledger, Mister Bloom", the woman said as Heath and Orli went over to the elevator. "Despite everything."

"Joyeux Noël á vous, Madame, joyeux Noël!", Heath replied warmly, sneaking his arm around his lover's waist.

"Didn't know you speak French", Orlando said softly, deep admiration hardly hidden in his voice.

"I always strive to surprise you, love", Heath said as the elevator's door closed. "And once I've warmed you up sufficiently, I seriously intend to join you and surprise you some more...."


----

Fin.
 
 
 
AutumnSparkle: RedHeath - made by Nixxieautumnsparkle on February 22nd, 2004 05:49 am (UTC)
Oh! I feel so warm and fuzzy inside now! *does a happy fangirl-smile*

That was sooooooo wonderful! So funny and sweet and and and... *sighs blissfully*

Ooh there were so many funny parts!

With a forbidding frown, Heath planted his first foot onto the heap of snow, almost expecting something unpleasantly wet and dirty to happen.

:D

"Orli, is that you? What are you doing here?"

"Sitting on the floor,"


Hahahah!!

"We're not on 'Candid Camera'," Heath asked her, "are we?"


AHAHHAHAHAHHa!!!

Oh God, so funny and brilliant! And God, what a fantastic descriptions you used! I'm almost looking forward to Christmas already! Thanks for posting, I can only hope you have a lot more H/O stories for us to read!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on February 24th, 2004 08:19 am (UTC)
Hey Emy!

Thanks so much for the feedback! *blush* My, I didn't know I was THAT good ;-)
I'm very glad you liked it, and I hope I'll be able to deliver much more in the future.

Take care,

Osiris
AutumnSparkleautumnsparkle on February 25th, 2004 05:04 am (UTC)
Hahaha you *are* that good. And I still can't believe you're a guy :D So cool! Don't know why, but it's cool none the less hahah. How old are you anyway? (me? curious? (A) )
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on February 25th, 2004 06:50 am (UTC)
LOL never mind being curious... Same with me :D
I'm a 28-year-old accountant in RL, nothing fancy. So what about you?

Take care,

Osiris
AutumnSparkleautumnsparkle on February 25th, 2004 07:38 am (UTC)
I suddenly feel very young :D

I'm a 19-year-old student, I'm mastering in Spanish Language and Culture. Nothing fancy either ^^
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on February 27th, 2004 05:51 am (UTC)
Oh wow. I'm almost envious of the subject. :D
Where're you from?
AutumnSparkleautumnsparkle on February 27th, 2004 06:07 am (UTC)
Envious? *laughs*

I'm from Holland by the way... how about you? ^^
Joeypohewa on February 26th, 2004 07:53 am (UTC)
sitting at work reading this....big smile...big smile..
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on February 27th, 2004 05:49 am (UTC)
sitting here at work, replying to your comment.... ;-)

Glad you liked it, hope to be able to deliver much more.

Take care,
Osiris
cecine on March 17th, 2004 06:27 am (UTC)
Lovable... Sitting here with this huge grin on my face ^^
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on March 19th, 2004 10:00 pm (UTC)
Hey Marianne,

thanks so much, I'm glad you liked it! Hope I'll find more time to write during my vacation,

take care
Osiris