Who: Ben and Fitz What: Experiencing Mardi Gras Where: The Streets of New Orleans When: Tuesday 25th February, early evening Rating Low Status: Complete
Mardi Gras was nothing like it had been in Paris. “Woo!” Fitz cheered as a float passed them. One of the girls dressed in- what looked like underwear and feathers- something very revealing, tossed him some beads. He laughed, slipping one strand over Ben’s head. They’d moved down the street, drinks in hand, not worried about physical contact or affection… it was wonderfully freeing. Fitz was shirtless, the shirt ended up tucked in his back pocket (hanging out) as at some point in the afternoon he’d been stripped and his torso painted in green and purple. His hair and face had been adorned with shimmer (which stuck around despite the glisten if swear) and he had a handful of beaded necklaces on- a couple had been twisted into bracelets.
He nuzzled Ben’s neck as they watched the floats go by. People were dancing and throwing beads and waving and it was just a lot of fun. As one float got near the crowd roared, a wave of a cheer cascaded to them. Atop the float two men stood there in white suits adorned with green and purple. Above them was an arch and the platform they stood upon said ‘Just Married’ around the rest of the float were people who appeared to be wedding guests and a priest. It was an unusual thing… it really appeared that someone had been married- but there was no bride.
Ben had fared better than Fitz, meaning that he still had his shirt on, even though now a few of the top buttons had been undone and was showing off a bit of his chest. It was some new thing that Fitz had ‘bought’ him, it was much more fitted than anything he would’ve gotten for himself personally but it made his boyfriend happy to see him wear it for this Mardi Gras so Ben went along with it. It definitely was different to anything that he had seen in Paris many years ago but the French influence was still strongly present in the city and in a way it made him feel like he was home again.
With a few strings of plastic beads around his own neck he walked down the street, an arm curled around Fitz’s back and hand resting on the slim waist. It was so liberating to be able to walk down the street like this and no one was scowling at them. Seeing the two men on the float brought to light the whisperings that he had heard were true, men could marry men and women marry women. “Don’t they look like a happy couple, mon amour?”
“They do.” Fitz beamed, joining into the cheer as the wave passed them. “This world is so amazing.” For everything that was strange and unusual, there were things that were just astonishing. Of course Fitz, the ever social butterfly and adaptable human, had acclimated to the future better than some.
“Oh! Beignets!” He said, pulling Ben off the parade route into a bakery. “Better than Paris you think?” He wondered as they made their way up to the counter. “Two please. And two of…” Fitz eyed the menu, “Let’s try the vanilla french roast.” Fitz paid with the modern money he’d made from guests of the carnival, still shocked at the prices of things- which was why some things he’d… well didn’t worry about money for. The clerk told them he’d bring them out and Fitz dragged Ben to a table. After they sat, he looked at Ben’s face and expression and winced slightly. “I’m sorry… I should have checked with you first.”
Ben chuckled softly as Fitz dragged him away from the excitement of the carnival floats to a small bakery. He loved his boyfriend’s energy and the fact he was such a social butterfly, it was just who Fitz was. “We shall see, but I don’t think it will be as nice as that little bakery we had up the road back in Paris.” They always got sweet treats from there, or the cook would at least go and get them for him and he shared them with Fitz, his then secret partner.
Sitting down at the table he offered Fitz a small smile. “I used to order food for you all the time, after ten years I trust your choice from the menu.” Reaching over he tucked that stray hair back behind Fitz’s ear, he was so lucky to have a beautiful man like this, he knew that so many people here would be jealous and want a man like Fitz for themselves but nothing could drive them apart.
Of course that hair lasted only a second tucked away as the lock joyfully flopped back out when Fitz sat back in his seat with a laugh. Under the table his foot rested against Ben’s an old habit from all those dinners they’d shared where they couldn’t physically touch. “You were also paying… or the only one who could talk at the time.” He said, reaching a hand out across the table to take Ben’s. In Zion, this was okay in limited amounts. People knew or understood or ignored. But not outside, not when they were both human. But there they were, sitting in a bakery, holding hands in the middle of New Orleans as a float with two married men rolled down the street.
“I swear I’m dreaming… And I’m going to be so mad when I wake up.”
It was a stubborn hair and as often as Ben threatened to cut it off he really did love that little lock. As the foot found his under the table he nudged it back, smiling widely over at Fitz, old habits were hard to break and it was unbelievable that they could be so open about their relationship here, that was one thing he did like about this modern time.
“I hope it’s not a dream, I am quite enjoying this freedom. I do miss our time but we can do things here that are not allowed back then, who would think that couples like us could get married now?”
“Married, I still don’t believe it.” He shook his head. “I-” Fitz paused, pulling his hand back as the clerk walked over- another habit. There was a fine line between being open and flirting ‘in town’ and doing something that could get you lynched.
“Two pastries and two coffees.” He said, placing plates and cups down on the table. “Sorry… I couldn’t help but eavesdrop just a little… you two aren’t from around here… are you?” Fitz shot Ben a look. So many words spoken with just an arched brow. “France, right? And England.” The clerk asked.
Fitz couldn’t help but break into a fit of laughter, sure they’d somehow gotten found out as being from another time- and whatever that revelation would have meant.
Ben chuckled as well, although it was for a different reason. “Oui. I was born near the eastern mountains of France.” He pointed to himself. “And he, in the mad streets of London.” Pointing at Fitz.
“We are travelling and enjoying a few weeks in this fine city. Is it like this all the time?” He asked, not knowing exactly why Mardi Gras was happening now or how long it would go on for, it also made them appear to be more like hopeless tourists instead of carnival workers out of their own time.
The clerk explained that the celebration was actually ending that day as it was the last day before the start of Lent, so all the debauchery was over… for now. He mentioned how he always wanted to visit France and hoped the couple enjoyed their beignets and then excused himself.
Fitz reached out and took Ben’s hand again. “I’m so not used to this. It’s how I’ve wanted to be for so long.” But he knew Ben’s reputation was a bit more important than a roustabouts. “If I am dreaming, I never want to wake up.” He squeezed his lovers hand before lifting the cup of coffee to take a sip. “Mmm.” Everything was so fancy and nothing was just what it said it was in the future- or so it seemed.
“And if I am dreaming,” Fitz added as he pulled apart some of the pastry while Ben started on his. “We’d marry and go back to France and buy your old home and throw lavish parties where no one could tell us what to do.” He chuckled as he took a bite.
When Fitz let his hands go Ben took a sip of his own coffee, of course it tasted different from what they used to drink but again reminded him of the freshly brewed stuff they used to drink back in Paris, he hummed his approval before putting the cup down and ripped a piece off his beignet.
That dream that Fitz was talking about, going back to France as a married couple and finding his old house did sound like a really nice one, though they couldn’t afford to do the later, maybe… “Well, we could get married…” He said, biting on the beignet.
“Oh yes, the Du Terte brothers, being wed. I can see the scandal now.” Fitz laughed lightly, not believing it could actually happen for them. Not after so many years.
He looked up Ben with soft eyes. “The dream is nice… but even I know it’s not realistic.” Who knew how long they’d be in the future for. And if they did go back, they’d be forced back into hiding. If they stayed in the future- well, they had no records, and those they did were out of date and Fitz’s didn’t even use his real name. They were brothers to keep others from questioning their living situation. “I love you, and I would marry you in a heartbeat. But people don’t just wake up one day and decide that day they’re getting married.”
Fitz paused and pursed his lips at Ben. “And I hate you right now for making me sound like the down to earth, logical one in our relationship.” He teased.
Fitz was been logical, thinking with his head and not his heart for once and yes, it was out of the ordinary for them. Yes in the past they would tell people they were brothers to keep them questioning things but most people inside of Zion knew the truth, they were lovers and sometimes he just didn’t care.
“Why not? That way you would actually become a Du Terte, we could only tell those we want to what the truth is and to everyone else, we’re just brothers.” It was reckless but sometimes they just had to jump in feet first. “Let’s do something crazy for once.”
“What if I miss being a Killian?” He asked with an arched brow. Honestly, he hadn’t thought much on it. His family name hadn’t carried any clout like Ben’s had, which was why they’d taken it. Fitz also didn’t use his first name, so names didn’t matter to him as much as feelings.
“Wait, wait.” Fitz laughed, holding up a hand to stop Ben. “‘For once’? If anything, this would be very much- oh.. What was that phrase again.” He snapped his fingers as he thought. “On Brand… that’s it. It would be very ‘on brand’ of us.” With a wave of his hand he just shrugged. “Fuck it. Let’s do it. Why not?” Not that he actually thought Ben would go through with it. It was all just a dream after all- right?
“Fitz Du Terte- Killian? I hear hyphenating your name is all the rage again.” It had been when he was younger, especially in the fancy circles he ran in, the more fancy names they could have after their first name the better.
“I believe we have to get paperwork done, a licence or something before we can… walk down the aisle, but we can at least make a start.” Maybe that nice clerk could help them with where in New Orleans they could go to start the process. “Husband.”
“And you realize if we present any form of id, we’ll be over a hundred years old.” Some people had secured fakes, maybe that was an option. But it sounded like a lot of work and planning for something so impulsive. Fitz lifted Ben’s hand to his lips and kissed the back of it. “Husband. And I don’t need anyone else to give me permission to call you that. Far I see it. The moment you kept me from turning myself in and we ran from France… My life would always run next to yours.”
They didn’t know if or when they’d get back to their own time, and as much work and planning as it was, Ben would be lying if he didn’t say that marrying Fitz was something he had wanted to do for years, even before Zion. They loved each other more than anyone else in the world and that was what marriage was about in his views. “I love you Fitz, I couldn’t let you turn yourself in when it was my doing, I would run anywhere in the world with you and for you.” He turned Fitz’s hand in his and kissed the back of it too. “Mon amour.”