|Regulus Black (mummys_boy) wrote in snark_n_bark,|
@ 2007-10-14 12:26:00
|Entry tags:||complete, gaius, regulus, severus|
It's Good to be a Hedonist
Characters: Gaius, Regulus, Severus
Summary: Gaius wants to try a new restaurant and brings along the two men whom he thinks will appreciate it most.
"It's along here. It can't be far, I'm certain," Gaius said, giving Severus and Regulus a lopsided smile before peering once more down the quiet London street. This outing had been his idea; ever since he'd heard of the place he'd wanted to go, but with his and Sirius' schedules being so off from each other the last few weeks, he'd decided to scope the place out himself before bringing his lover along, and Regulus and Severus had seemed the ideal companions to critique the place. He bit his lip, wondering if he'd gotten the directions wrong, but a quick glance at the map he'd drawn on a piece of parchment showed that he had the right area. Of course, since Vesuvius was a wizarding restaurant - reputedly one of the most decadent in England - it wasn't necessarily going to be obvious at first glance, and a bit of persistence might be required.
A glimmer on the side of an alley caught his attention, and as Gaius turned he saw the small, shimmering emblem of an erupting volcano, obviously with a Muggle-repelling charm on it. "Ah, here it is!" he said, turning to beam at his companions. "They definitely don't want just anyone finding this place, do they?" He glanced around quickly, and when he was certain that no Muggles were about, he drew his wand and tapped the volcano, which caused a antique looking wooden door to appear in the brick wall. "Well, this is it! Ready for adventure?"
Severus stepped forward, his expression a little dubious. Although Gaius had suggested the outing, Severus had agreed, thinking it sounded like the sort of thing Regulus might enjoy, and he wanted to use the occasion to express his acceptance and gratitude for what Regulus had done for his family. Now he was wondering if he should have asked how hedonistic and adventurous this evening would be. Not that he was against hedonism or adventure, but he didn't want to do anything that might shake the tenuous truce that had formed between Remus and Regulus.
Then again, perhaps he didn't have that much to worry about. He felt certain Regulus wouldn't want to endanger the truce either, and he and Gaius had not shared the same intimacy that he had shared with Serenus and Tybalt, and there was not that level of charged tension between them. He was safer than if he had been with anyone else, and so he relaxed, deciding to go along with whatever small indulgences the restaurant offered and enjoy it.
Regulus nodded in response to Gaius' question, although he was not quite so eager as Gaius seemed to be or as sanguine as Severus seemed to be. It was easier being with Gaius than with Severus; although he knew Severus was grateful to him, things were still not easy or comfortable. But perhaps, he thought, tonight would help build their comfort levels with one another. He didn't know if they could ever regain the trust and security they had shared as young men, but anything would be better than polite distance and discomfort.
Gaius grinned wickedly at the other's dubious expressions, then beckoned for them to follow him through the door.
Inside, Vesuvius was dimly lit, with golden glass hoods over iron braziers suspended from the ceiling. They proceeded down a short corridor before the opening widened into an atrium.
Here is was lighter. The room was large, with marble floors and walls broken into the illusion of separate areas with ornate pillars. Between the pillars were swags of shimmering fabric which gave the place a lush, decadent feel. Everything was done in rich purples and golds over the cooler white tone of the marble, and Gaius smiled, pleased with the decor. In the separate seating areas he caught sight of people lounging on cushioned divans, and the serving staff moved among them, bronzed young men and pale young women clad in sandals and clinging togas that were translucent even in the low light.
A toga clad man stepped toward them from one side, smiling with perfect teeth in his tanned face. His hair was long and golden and Gaius couldn't help but give him an appreciative smile. "Yes, gentlemen? May I help you?" he asked in a deep, almost velvety voice that reminded Gaius of Severus' at its most sexy.
"Yes, we have a reservation, under the name of Blank," Gaius replied, gesturing at Severus and Regulus. "For three."
"Very good, Mr. Blank," the maitre d' replied. He snapped his fingers, and a young witch moved out of the shadows, holding what appeared to be a swath of fabric in her arms. "If you gentlemen will use the room on the right, you can change into your dining robes. There are places for you to leave your regular clothing and shoes. Would you prefer male servers, female servers, or a mixture?"
Gaius knew about this part, but he'd not warned his guests, and he turned to them now with a smile of devilish delight. "Well, what do you two think? I know where my vote is cast, but what about yours?"
Severus raised one eyebrow at Gaius, wondering what else Gaius had not told them about. "I have no strong preference. If you wish to enjoy the aesthetics of all male servers, I have no objection."
"Nor do I," Regulus said. "A mixture or all male will be fine with me."
"All male, then," Severus said decisively.
"Very good," the maitre d' said. "Once you change, Alana will show you to your dining chamber."
"This way, please," the witch said, tilting her head in the direction of a door on the right. Gaius followed, accepting the robe that she offered him before entering the room.
Inside, there were several curtained areas, as well as a rack where several street robes were already hung, with shoes lined up neatly beneath. Gaius waited for the others to enter. "I thought it would be a nice surprise," he said, holding up his robe with a sheepish smile. "I hope neither of you mind?"
Regulus held up the robe he'd been given and studied it. "No," he said, shaking his head. "It looks comfortable, and you know how I feel about comfort," he added with a smile, a slight dimple winking in his cheek above his neatly trimmed beard.
"It isn't black," Severus said, a note of disappointment in his voice. "But considering other garments I have worn willingly, I see no reason to object to wearing this." He rather thought it might show off his legs, and he always liked that.
"Great!" Gaius beamed, relieved, and ducked into one of the curtained areas. He stripped swiftly, leaving on only his underpants, then wrapped the silken robe around himself. It came barely to his knees, and the top was open in a vee over his chest. Not that he cared, but he hoped that the others wouldn't be too daunted. Well, that Regulus wouldn't be, at least; knowing Severus, he'd flaunt it quite willingly.
He stepped back out into the open, turning to hang up his robes on the rack and place his shoes beneath it. Then he stood waiting for the others, eager to see what other delights the evening held in store.
Severus strode into one of the curtained off areas and shed his clothes with quick efficiency, and he slipped on the robe, gazing down at himself to admire the drape and fall of it. It did showcase his smooth legs nicely, and he thought if the evening was enjoyable enough, he might bring Remus back. If nothing else, he knew Remus would enjoy the view. He exited the changing space, hung up his clothes and put his shoes next to Gaius', and then he turned to his youngest brother.
"Well?" He held out his arms by his side. "Is this hedonistic enough?"
Regulus stepped out of his own changing area in time to hear Severus' question, and he paused to admire both of them for a moment. He knew he could only look rather than touch, but it was hard to resist enjoying such a pleasant view as the one before him now. His robe revealed some of the scars that even Severus' salve hadn't been able to make disappear completely, but he was not bothered by revealing them; he couldn't exactly hide the ones of his face, after all, and he had grown accustomed to knowing his body was marred in an indelible way.
"I would say so," he said. "Certainly it's a far cry from the ascetic I knew."
"Things change," Severus said with a little shrug. "Asceticism has lost its appeal for me."
"Good," Regulus said quietly, giving a little nod.
"Hedonism is vastly preferable," Gaius agreed, grinning at them both appreciatively. Severus was pale where Regulus was tanned, and he liked the sight of both of them. "Shall we go, then?"
Stepping back out into the atrium, Gaius found Alana waiting for them. "This way," she said, and started down an aisle on one side. There were a series of low planters here, full of lush greenery and exotic flowers. Alana stepped into an opening between two of the planters, and into a semi-private area.
Four divans were arranged around a sunken table. Plump cushions were piled all around invitingly.
"Please, have a seat," Alana said, gesturing to the divans. "Your servers will be here momentarily."
Gaius moved to the farthest seat, lying down upon it, his eyes dancing with amusement. "Very nice," he said, arranging his robe so that he wasn't displaying too much skin. He sighed extravagantly, placing one arm back over his head in a vaguely provocative pose, wanting to tease the others just a bit. "I think I could get used to this."
Severus chose a divan adjacent to Gaius' and settled on it with natural ease, pleased by the comfort it offered. He glanced at Gaius, noticing the little show he was putting on, and snorted. "No doubt you could. I foresee this becoming your favorite restaurant or new dining arrangements in Black's house - provided you can get your house mates to agree." He let his gaze roam Gaius' form appreciatively. "Considering the benefits, it might be easy to do."
Regulus stretched out on one of the remaining divans, turning his attention to the surroundings rather than to his companions; the reminder that Gaius was not single - and neither was Severus - was necessary if he wanted to build a friendship with either of them, and he was determined not to do anything foolish to risk his second chance. At least there would be servers he could enjoy admiring without guilt or limitations.
Gaius winked at Severus, then looked at Regulus, who was studying the restaurant. He gave a silent sigh, wishing that Regulus could find something - or someone - who made him truly happy. Then three young men were entering the dining chamber, and Gaius blinked before smiling broadly; all three of the young men were the definition of "tall, dark, and handsome". At least the scenery really was very pleasant. If the food were half as good, they were in for a real feast.
The first young man held a tray which contained a jug and three goblets, while the second's tray held a variety of breads and cheeses. The last one carried a silver bowl which steamed slightly and gave off the scent of citrus, and a towel was draped over his forearm.
The third young man approached Regulus, while the other two moved to place their trays on the table. Smiling, the young man knelt and held up the bowl to Regulus. "If you'd like to wash your hands, sir, we can begin the service."
Regulus sat up and turned his attention on the young man, who was tall and dark-haired - just his type. Answering the handsome young man's smile with one of his own, he washed his hands in the hot, scented water, the heat and the scent making the experience more than just perfunctory hygiene. "Thank you," he murmured once he had washed and dried his hands, and he admired the view as the young man walked away.
The young man approached Severus next, and the experience reminded him of the first time Remus had ever massaged his hands. Remus had begun with a bowl of hot water too, and at the time, Severus had no idea what to expect or how good it would feel. This was nice, and he liked the scent of the water, but he missed having Remus there to massage his hands and complete the sensual experience.
Gaius was next, and when he had finished washing his hands, the young man moved off. By this time the first young man had poured out goblets of wine, which he offered to each of them in turn. The final young man stepped back, gesturing to the tray of bread and cheese. "I'm Damocles, and my associates are Adonis and Orion. We'll be serving your every desire while you are here with us. Our dining style is simple - there is no menu as such, but we will bring trays of the foods our chef has prepared, and you can pick and choose as you like. Anything you desire, we will do. You have only to ask."
Biting his lip, Gaius glanced at Severus from beneath his lashes, wondering how his brother was going to react to that open-ended invitation. He took a sip of the excellent wine, which helped shield his desire to smile.
"You could peel some grapes," Severus said, a wicked gleam in his eyes. If they had servers who were willing to do anything, he saw no reason not to take advantage of the situation, and he would make it worthwhile with a generous tip.
Regulus didn't bother hiding his amusement as he lifted his cup and sampled the wine. "You are wicked," he said, "and utterly spoilt."
"I will return momentarily with the grapes," Damocles said, his eyes dancing with amusement, as though this was not an unusual request for him to receive.
He departed with the others, and once they were gone Gaius permitted the chuckle he'd been holding in to escape. "Yes, I agree! You look like an emperor, mein bruder, lounging there looking over your domain down the length of your regal nose! One would never believe that you used to be a professor; you seem quite at home ruling over all you survey!"
"No doubt my students would say I had practice in ruling my classroom with an iron fist," Severus replied, taking a sip of wine. "And there is truth to what Regulus said. I suppose I have become spoilt thanks to Remus. He takes excellent care of me and is patient when it comes to indulging my whims." He knew he had become spoilt, but he didn't care; after a lifetime of repression and solitude, he felt he deserved a little indulgence, and Remus was more than willing to do the indulging - and no one could say Severus wasn't accommodating when it came to returning the favor.
"Severus has requested peeled grapes," Regulus said, not particularly wanting to dwell on the subject of Lupin or Severus' conjugal bliss. "What do you intend to request?" he asked Gaius.
"You mean other than asking all three of them to remove their togas?" Gaius asked, his dark eyes sparkling with amusement as he looked at Regulus over the rim of his cup. "Well, no... I suppose that might be a little much, given that there are sharp knives and hot liquids about. Hmmm... I wonder if they will do foot rubs? Or perhaps I shall just content myself with the edible temptations. And what about you, Regulus? You've experience of the fleshpots of Egypt, after all." His tone was gently teasing, reminding Regulus of the time Gaius had visited with him in Egypt, a time Gaius had enjoyed very much indeed.
"But this is hardly a fleshpot," Regulus replied, "even as attractive as the surroundings are. I will request something harmless. Entertainment, I think. Perhaps one of them knows how to play an instrument and can provide pleasant music while we eat."
"An excellent idea," Severus said, nodding his approval. "I think we should have someone fanning us as well. Surely they have one of those large fans with ostrich feather plumes."
"Both of you are brilliant," Gaius replied with a nod.
The three servers returned then, Damocles holding a tray of fruit, including grapes. The one Damocles had called Adonis held a platter of savories; Gaius caught the scents of lamb and pork, along with various spices, all of them wrapped in what appeared to be grape leaves. Orion's tray contained vegetables, both cooked and uncooked.
"Oh, that smells wonderful," Gaius said, sitting up with interest as his appetite came to life. Adonis held out his platter with a smile, and Gaius selected a leaf-wrapped morsel, popping it between his lips and chewing it with appreciation. "Delicious! I've never had anything quite like it."
"Help yourself to more," Adonis relied, nodding toward a stack of small plates on the table. Gaius took one, and helped himself to several of the savories, then leaned back to enjoy them.
"My brother asked for someone to fan us while we eat, if that's not too outrageous," Gaius said, giving Severus a wink. "While my friend would enjoy some music."
"We can do that," Adonis said with a nod. "Once I have served you this, I will fetch my lyre."
Regulus chuckled, amused by that pronouncement. "I should have requested something more difficult. Then again, I'm beginning to think if we requested some shepherds and nymphs to dance for us, you could provide them."
"Perhaps next time," Severus said, casting a knowing look at Gaius. "I imagine Gaius will want to return very soon, and I think Remus ought to visit this place at least once as well."
"I suppose you intend to tell Serenus and his husband all about it as well?" Regulus raised a questioning eyebrow, and Severus lifted his chin haughtily.
"Of course!" He imagined the four of them dining here... although perhaps that might not be the wisest idea, since with all four of them together, they might test the limits of the restaurant's decorum.
Gaius continued to eat the tasty bits on his plate, listening with amusement to the other two. "I think I'd live here if I could," Gaius replied contentedly. He licked his lips, then took the napkin that Orion held out to him and dabbed them clean, before wiping his fingers. "Although I wouldn't like for either of you to think I'm just useless ornamentation."
Rising to his feet, Gaius crossed to Severus' divan, plucking a grape from Damocles' tray. There was a knife there as well, and Gaius used it to peel the grape, before sinking down to his knees by Severus' side and holding the grape out toward his brother's lips. "What do you think, hmmm? Am I worth keeping around, too?"
Severus was surprised by the unexpected gesture, but he wasn't about to refuse it. Curling his fingers around Gaius' wrist, he held Gaius' hand steady as he accepted the grape, his lips brushing Gaius' fingers. He chewed slowly, holding Gaius' gaze, and when he spoke at last, his voice was a lazy drawl. "I suppose you are. You do have your uses, not to mention aesthetic value."
Regulus watched the by-play, his eyes growing wide when it seemed as if they were almost flirting with each other. Gaius' posture, the offering of the grape, the sight of it disappearing between Severus' lips, the barest flash of tongue - he hastily drained his goblet in hopes of dowsing the heat he felt rising in his face. Certainly they had given him an image he would not soon forget.
Gaius' smile was complacent, although he shivered a bit at the feel of Severus' lips against his skin. He knew that Severus and Serenus had more than a purely fraternal relationship, and of course he, himself, had been more than platonically close with Serenus, but this was a bit different. Not that he expected anything more, but it was definitely entertaining for Severus to play with him like this.
He glanced up, noticing that all three of the servers were looking at them with interest, and he chuckled, seeing that Regulus seemed a little flustered, too. Rising gracefully to his feet, he leaned over to give Severus a kiss on the cheek, before returning to his own divan. "Now that I have the emperor's approval, I am safe in continuing my meal, yes?"
"Yes." Severus gazed around the room with lofty hauteur. "But someone had better get the rest of those grapes peeled." With that, he sat up and reached for one of the plates on the table, ready to try the savories himself since Gaius had seemed to enjoy them so much.
Appearing amused, Orion approached Severus' divan and knelt as Gaius had, and he began peeling the bowl of grapes, which earned him an approving look from Severus. Clearly the service here was far better than - and much different from! - any other restaurant he had visited, and he knew he would be returning.
Damocles refilled Regulus' goblet and offered him the tray of vegetables, and Regulus reached for a plate of his own, accepting the distraction gratefully.
"How is Cymbeline?" he asked, trying to find a safe and neutral topic that would not lead to anyone being fed grapes. "I have not forgotten I owe her a piece of cake."
Severus snorted quietly. "I assure you, she will not let you forget. She is very much like me, but she has Remus' sweet tooth." He paused, eating one of the tidbits on his plate while he considered how to answer the question. "She is better," he said at last. "Whatever you said to her made a lasting impression, I think, and while she is still not overjoyed to have a sister, she is making an effort. Lysander is thrilled by the change since he regards Gaia as 'his baby', and overall, the tension in the household has decreased. I doubt we will have anymore episodes like that one."
"Good," Regulus said, his words meant sincerely. "I am glad to hear it."
"As am I," Gaius said, nodding. He looked at Regulus, smiling at his friend affectionately. "I'm so relieved that she ran into you, Schönes, and that you were able to help her. It seems you were very much a hit with her, which is interesting - Cymbeline seems rather choosy, so you've been honored with her esteem." His eyes sparkled as he took another sip of his wine. "Perhaps you should think of having a few of your own?"
Regulus was startled by that suggestion until he saw the gleam of mischief in Gaius' eyes, and then he chuckled and shook his head. "No, I think not. I am, of course, pleased that I somehow won a place in Cymbeline's estimation, but I have no desire to procreate myself."
"Serenus used to say that," Severus said, looking rather evil-minded himself. "Now he has twins."
Gaius chuckled. "No, mein bruder, I believe Regulus, because I share his feelings on the subject completely. Thank Merlin that you and Serenus have been so fruitful, for it means that I am under no pressure to add to the Snapean population explosion. Which is a very good thing, indeed, for the idea of being pregnant makes me feel almost as faint as the idea of actually sleeping with a female." He looked up as Damocles offered him more savories. "Fortunately for me, there are an abundance of beautiful men in the world, so I don't think I shall ever been tempted to stray to the dark side."
"Whereas if Sirius and I never have children, our branch of the Black family tree will die." Regulus stretched out on his side and nibbled at the tidbits on his plate. "Perhaps one of us should consider adopting an adult, but then again, our parents would probably say it isn't important that the name is carried on so much as it is the blood."
"Who knows? Perhaps one of you have a by-blow running around," Severus said, taking a sip of wine. "Does the thought of your family line dying out bother you?"
"Yes and no," Regulus replied. "I have thoughts about my own mortality, of course, and having children is one way to leave my mark on the world. At the same time, however, I am not eager to undertake the responsibility of parenthood, and I am dubious about my own ability to parent a child." He smiled wryly. "I lack good role models in that respect."
"You can leave your mark in other ways," Gaius said softly, feeling a pang for Regulus. "I teach, which means I touch many young lives, and hopefully leave an impression on them which will carry on. I have no doubt that you could be a good parent, if you truly wanted children, but if you do not, you can leave a legacy in other ways. Albus Dumbledore has no children, after all, but can anyone say that he hasn't left a mark on the world?"
"I am no Albus Dumbledore," Regulus said with a little snort of amusement. "I am not even a Severus Snape, who will be in history books for his part in the two wars. I do not know in which way I will try to leave my mark, but I doubt it will be through fame of that type."
Severus listened quietly. "Fame is not always a thing to be desired. Given the choice, I imagine Potter would trade it for a normal life." He was rather surprised to hear himself saying such a thing, but if the boy's reclusiveness after the war had done nothing else, it had shown he was not the attention-seeker Severus had thought him to be. Potter was many things, most of them annoying, but he was not a Lockhart in training. "But you will find a way if you put your mind to it. As Gaius said, there are other ways than through fathering children."
"No, perhaps we can't aspire to be Severus, but then who can?" Gaius asked, grinning wickedly at his brother. "But since Severus' immortality is assured, we should concentrate on Regulus'. Let's see... what would be appropriate? You could aspire to great philanthropic works, but that's been done." He gazed at Regulus coyly. "You're much more suited for something like World's Greatest Lover, or perhaps Handsomest Man Alive, aren't you?"
Severus let out a derisive snort and rolled his eyes at that, although Gaius' coy look wasn't lost on him, making him wonder if perhaps Gaius had a thing for Blacks.
Regulus shook his head, amused by Gaius' nonsense. "I appreciate the vote of confidence," he said lightly. "In the past, I might have qualified, but not now, I think. I will have to find something that does not hinge on my good looks or prowess. Something to do with charm instead, perhaps?" he suggested, earning another snort from Severus.
"Do not sell yourself short," Gaius chided. "But you do have a great deal of charm as well, certainly. You could be the Wizarding World's most famous host, perhaps?"
"Perhaps," Regulus replied. "But we hardly need to decide the method I shall use to achieve immortality tonight. These surroundings suggest more frivolous subjects, I think. Perhaps Severus should tell us about his new cosmetics instead."
"Or perhaps Gaius should regale us with amusing tales of his adventures in teaching," Severus said. "He can remind me why I am grateful to have retired."
"Or that," Regulus agreed. "Anything will do as long as it does not have the weight of the world attached to it. We have a luxurious room, exquisite food, and pleasant scenery," he said with a pointed look at their servers. "We should be enjoying them all while we can. The world will be waiting for us when we leave."
"To frivolity and luxury, then," Severus said, raising his goblet.
"I'll certainly drink to that," Gaius said, lifting his own goblet. He looked at Regulus. "To the joys of the moment? If no one else remembers, at least we shall."
"To all of the above," Regulus said, lifting his goblet as well. "Because it's good to be a hedonist."