There had always been something about waking that Remy had hated; yet equally, there had always been something about it that he had loved.  Waking meant getting up and facing a new day; it also meant lingering on in that soft, warm space between sleep and willful consciousness.  It was the security of such bliss that he loved; it was the knowledge that such security could not last that he hated.

That was the reason why he was lying there now, this ominous churning feeling in his gut.  Security was one thing, and right now there was no other place he'd rather be than in bed.  Getting up was another, and although it was the logical, rational, run-of-the-mill thing to do, for once it meant that he had a hell of a lot to lose.  This was today's space between sleeping and waking, and he spent it silently weighing up the cards Lady Luck had dealt him.  Queen of Hearts and Jack of Spades.  Two of Hearts and King of Diamonds.  What else was there?

He ruminated over it, the various combinations, until he had a stack so precarious that it could only topple over.  Why did he always come back to the damn cards?  Why?  They didn't mean anything, just like those damned Diaries didn't mean anything.

Screw the cards.  Screw the Diaries.  The decision lay with him.

"Merde…" he muttered to himself; but still he lay there, unwilling to make up his mind.

He knew she was awake.

He could feel her wakefulness, even as she lay there in the crook of his arm; he knew too that the same hopes and fears were going through her own mind.  If only she were asleep.  If only he could get up and tiptoe away like the coward he was without her even noticing.  If only he would stop thinking of if only's, because he knew that if he did happen to tiptoe away, he'd only have to take one look back into her face and he'd be running right back to her to lie by her side.

No – there was no use in mulling over it.  He had to catch that plane and he had to return to the US.  They'd both known the score, from the very moment they had crossed paths again.  They had known the dangers, the risks, the consequences.  They had had every chance to step away, and in the end they'd made their decision despite knowing the price they would have to pay.  They'd had their one night of forbidden pleasure – they'd made their choice as adults and had to accept the repercussions as adults.

In other words, it was a damn fine mess they'd both gotten themselves into.

He sat up, slowly, and her arm fell limply from its place about his chest, landing somewhere uncertainly in his lap.  There was something unwilling in the action as she let go of him, yet something akin to a surrender.  In moving her arm she had left him free to walk away; in leaving it in his lap she had left her invitation open to him.  He looked down into her hand for a moment, hesitant.  Palm upward, fingers curled – an offer.  He considered accepting, reaching out for her hand with his own; but he knew he could not.  Without words he shifted sideways from under the covers and out of bed.

She sighed, relinquishing him, and he heard her move, for the first time betraying her wakefulness outwardly as he searched for his clothes and began to dress again regretfully.

"Do you have to go so soon?" she asked quietly from behind him.

"Have to get my stuff ready," he explained, pulling on his shirt and doing the buttons up from the bottom. "Not to mention checkin' out of de hotel and checkin' in at de airport."

"Don't you want anythin' to eat before you go?" she persisted.

"No t'anks, I'll grab somethin' on de way out."

It was getting easier the more he talked.  Just so long as he didn't look at her.

"Don't go, Remy," she said at last, after a momentary silence.  He paused, frowning.  Up until that moment everything had been going so well.  But who was he kidding?  How on earth was he supposed to just walk out of there without even making eye contact with her?  He turned, slowly.  She was still lying half under the covers, her head leaning against her hand, looking up at him beseechingly.  Dammit, day or night she was just so damned perfect – nothing on this godforsaken earth could change it.

"I can't stay, chere," he replied quietly.

"You can," she answered, pleading. "Cancel your flight, stay with me.  At least for a couple more days."

"I can't cancel, not at dis short notice," he explained, as calmly as he was able despite the agony her distress was causing him. "B'sides, I got commitments to keep, t' de Guilds.  I can't let them down."

"Is it so important?  Please, Remy, just a few more days, so's we can finally just sit down an' work this out…"

"Rogue," he interrupted her, before regretting the cutting note to his tone.  He sighed and walked over to the edge of the bed, took her hands in his. "Rogue, you knew dis had to happen.  We both did.  We gotta accept dis like adults.  I can' stay, not now.  It's too soon, an' dere's too much at stake."

"Then at least let me go with you t' the airport," she replied, searching his eyes. "Lemme see you off."

He hesitated before answering. "No, chere.  I'd rather you didn't.  It'll just make t'ings worse.  I…I don' wanna be leavin' you, chere.  Please don' make t'ings any harder than dey are already."

"Ah love you," she said, her eyes filling. "An' you want me t' stay here and watch you walk outta that door without me havin' said a proper goodbye?  It ain't fair, Remy!  Ah love you!"

He squeezed her hands, willing her not to cry, not for him and not for them.

"Rogue, mon coeur, b'ecause o' last night, I finally got round t' figuring somethin' out.  The future's blank, chere.  Ain't such a t'ing as destiny.  The future's what we make of it.  That's why you saw nothin' for us.  B'cause we ain't written it yet." He released a hand, gently reached out to stroke her cheek. "An' that's why I'm gonna come waltzin' back for you, chere."

She looked at him – sudden hope sprang into her eyes. "You will?"

"Yes.  When everythin's sorted in Nawlins, I'll come back for you, I promise, chere."

He leaned in, kissing her softly; but in both their hopeless desperation they reached out for one another, remembering, knowing; what was intended to be tender became a thing of passion, and for a short time he would have abandoned all resistance and climbed back into her eager arms.  But even as the kiss ended they both knew that their minds had been made up, and she sighed, looking into his face intently, rubbing the back of her hand across his cheek.

"Don't keep me waitin' too long, cajun," she murmured.

"I won't," he assured her, running his hand through her hair one last time, looking into her eyes, imprinting that last image into his mind lest he should ever forget it.

He stood up.

No cards, no diaries, no fate, no destiny…

It was easier then to walk out that door.

*

Endnote:  The end.  Well, not actually – I did write another 'episode', but kinda ran out of steam on that because it was getting way too cliched (well, more than it already was anyways ;).  So you can decide whether the Remster manages to do right by Rogue or not J

BTW, I was very pleased to showcase my beloved London in this piece.  All the places used in this fanfic are real places.

Oh, and the moral of this story is – don't drink wine when an ex-boyfriend comes to stay.  Drink responsibly.  Okay? I'm not kidding.

Okay, I'm kidding really. But if you can discover the real moral of the story, I shall be suitably impressed…:)

[Remy: There are morals in dis here story???

Ludi: Shuddup!]