WORDCOUNT: 1075 words
NOTES: Written for the Snape-A-Rama Instant AU Challenge, thus, AU. Also, this may as well take place in America, since I have no idea what planes and flight attendants are like anywhere else, so: Dulles is an airport near Washington, D.C. And hey, I'm less than a year late, go me!
PROMPT: Snape HATES flying. It’s a good thing Flight Attendant Lucius is so sympathetic.
PROMPT BY: elsajeni
Lucius looked up from the coffee mugs he was arranging when Sheila came in from the passenger section. "What's the matter?"
She gave an exasperated sigh. "Two A," she said. "I'm at the end of my rope. He just doesn't want to be satisfied with anything."
Lucius clucked his tongue in sympathy. He'd been working with Sheila long enough to know that if she was frustrated, the man must really be a pain. Still, he owed her a favor from the last flight, when those disgusting children had started crying during take-off, and Sheila was the one who sat and comforted them. "Want me to take him if he rings again?"
Sheila grinned. "Thanks, Luke. You're the greatest." She took the other end of the refreshment cart, and they moved into the cabin.
Lucius was facing the rear of the plan as they worked their way forward, but he saw Sheila cringe, and he turned around to look. The light above aisle two was blinking on and off, as if the man thought it was some sort of bell he could chime repeatedly to get their attention. Lucius sighed inwardly, put on his blandest smile, and left Sheila to deal with the refreshment cart.
On this particular aircraft, aisle one was turned to face aisle two, creating an open space between them that was much coveted by the longer-legged passengers. Even on a relatively empty overnight flight like this one, where people spread out and took up lots of space, the front two aisles were usually shared between a few passengers. But somehow this man had convinced anyone else who had been sitting in the front rows that they'd rather be somewhere else.
Lucius approached carefully. He could see as he came up the aisle that the man was sitting next to the window, jabbing the call button over and over again, but he didn't get a good look at him until Lucius drew even with the row of seats and turned to face him.
Two A was not an attractive man, by any means, and Lucius would have had a hard time explaining exactly why it was that his breath caught for a fraction of a second before he began speaking. Certainly he'd been scowled at before; that wasn't it. But there was something… arresting about the intensity of the man's black eyes, set deep into a lined, sallow face, and Lucius almost forgot what he was going to say.
Training and routine saved him. "Is there something I can do for you?"
Two A took his finger off the call button and glared. "I need," he said, slowly and clearly, "a glass of water." His voice was deep, almost a sub-audible rumble, and he enunciated each word as if he were speaking to a child.
Lucius didn't take offense. He was trained not to. "The beverage cart will be coming by in just a few—"
"I need," the man interrupted, "a glass of water. And you are going to bring it to me."
Lucius did not roll his eyes. He did not tell the man that there were eighty other passengers on this plane, and he did not tell the man that there weren't that many more flight attendants on board, so he'd better stop trying to piss them off one by one. Lucius did not do these things, because Lucius was exceedingly well-mannered, and he was always polite. Even to the rude ones.
He pasted a smile on his face. "Of course."
A few moments later, he was handing Two A his precious glass of water, and the man didn't even thank him. Lucius hesitated a second, wondering if there was anything he could do to get the man to say something else, or at least look at him.
Ridiculous, of course; Lucius had absolutely no interest in the voice or eyes of a stranger he met on an overnight into Dulles, for God's sake. And yet, and yet...
"Is there anything else I can... do for you?" Lucius heard himself saying, and it was only thanks to his superb self-control that he did not so much as color at the possible implications of his wording. Flight attendants were taught early on to say, "Is there anything else I can get you," just in case some passenger got the wrong idea. But perhaps Two A didn't think of such things.
The dark-haired man set his water down on his tray, carefully, and then looked up at him. The glint in his eye showed that he'd thought of what Lucius might really be saying, and Lucius felt his breath catch again.
"When we get to Washington," Two A said after a brief, intense look, "will you be taking another flight out immediately?" He looked back at the water, as if he didn't want to watch Lucius turn down his indirect proposition, and Lucius wondered at the contrast between the man's earlier arrogance and this display of insecurity.
"I'll have a few days," he said, and then on impulse, "You make it through the rest of this flight, and maybe I can show you a few things in the capital."
The man raised his head, studied him again, and finally nodded.
Lucius turned and made his way back to help Sheila with the beverage cart, thinking smugly to himself that this was definitely one time he was glad she'd been unable to deal with a surly passenger.