Disclaimer: Nope, no ownership of the X-Men here. However, I do own the A-Men, the B-Men, the C-Men… you get the picture. I was hoping to collect the whole alphabet, but Marvel just had to grab X first, didn't they? shakes fist at them
A/N: Here we are, the last chapter! And look, February Fifteenth is finished ON February fifteenth! Coincidence? I think not! Kudos to you who actually guessed I'd do this. Yes, I actually planned it this way, how droll! I'm that much of a loser. But hey, I get free promotion from the calendar, so it all works out great! Well, I'm sure you're all wanting to know how this ends, so let's get going!
Caliente, Star of Chaos, Lid'l Rogue, Taineyah, T., tia/rorytin, Arain Rowan/Arin Ross, Peace215, Linda Keene, Rogue14, The Rogue Cajun, Girl number 1, Personage, Katrina5, roguelebeaux003 heartsyhawk, Lisa, PsychoRomyChica, Jukebox, danielle britton, Risty, dark107angel, chibidrummergirl, Luna, sPoOkZ13412, bitrona, Rogue4787, Cloud of Blood, lonewolf, eopona, Vaillance, Zen Bailong & UniversalAnimeGirl – This is the end, my friends. So as a sign of my undying gratitude, I'll present everybody with their very own crack bunny! Careful, they get kinda hyper sometimes…
Malevolent Darkness – If you're reading this on the 15th, happy birthday! If not, happy belated birthday!
Gothic Cajun – You bought me Tootsie Roll Pops? You are now my new god. And I hate to burst your bubble, but I can't be the next American Idol – how about the Canadian one? Which still makes me shudder…
XxFleurdelySxX – Oh, no author alerts for you? That's sad – but yay, I knew you'd never miss my updates on purpose! Right?! suspiciously glares Gee, you're right, I really do bug you for happy endings a lot, don't I? Well, go see what I came up with. But I'm sure you don't want me to really answer your question of disappointing me cough Pointblank cough cough!, it was simply rhetorical, right? ;-)
Lightspeed Suzuka – I'm actually more a fan of pina coladas, but hey, alcohol is alcohol! I won't be picky. ;-)
Calliann – I made you late? Sorry! But hey, what devotion to the fic! I'm definitely feeling the love, aww!
Goldylokz – I love the melodrama too. Too bad we can't stick in old British narrators and uber-dramatic music, make it kinda like one of those intensely cheesy old shows… stupid technology.
Princess of Monkeys – We could make millions of Belle clones (wait, just bear with me for a sec, this gets better!), and then provide one to everybody so they could horribly maim and torture her! Is that a good enough world for you? But hey, you know what'd be a great world for me? One where your fic is updated! ;-)
SassyGrl024 – Yes, I got your email. Thanks for taking the extra time to do that! Gold star for you. And a hug! hug
Panther Nesmith – I love the Cell Block Tango! Mmm, Remy in fishnets and skin-tight black clothing… Hey, he could pull it off. ;-)
Krac – Yeah, I just had to stick one last reference to you and Lapin in there, cuz I didn't give you Belle road pizza. What kind of toppings would you like on that? Some taunting, maybe? Or irony? I really wanted to kill her, I swear, but the damn plot stopped me again!
Lady Farevay – Tee hee hee! Oh, the flattery! I'm right there with ya on the giddy, clappy hand thing, I do the exact same thing. Sometimes with added chair-falling-offage too. Glad I could convert you to my crack bunny phrase – how can you not love it? Anyhoo, thanks for the lovely review! (hey, that rhymes!) Hope you like the ending.
Green Eyed Lilys Daughter - Oh, he'll definitely have a bed to sleep in - hopefully mine! ;-) Ok, maybe not. Hmm, you got me thinking with those horribly mean endings, you shouldn't plant such horrible ideas in my head. Ooh, thanks for the Johnny doll – I went to see a movie the other day and saw a huge poster for one of his upcoming films consisting of just his face, and I just stopped in the middle of the lobby and drooled for a good 5 minutes.
Seven Sunningdale – I find your lack of compassion incredibly amusing. But that's ok, I'd prefer Belle dead too. By a bullet to her brain or splattering on the sidewalk doesn't really matter to me… Damn plot. I wanted to kill her, I really did! If you want, you can pretend she dies. Hey, if I'm Ebert, does that make you Roeper?
vespie – Damn happy couples indeed. I just sat by my computer on Valentine's Day, lonely and alone, trying to live vicariously through my fic. :-(
Remy's Angy – Your review made me laugh. Yeah, why should they live if they can't be together? I could go all Romeo & Juliet on their asses… Actually, now that you mention it... evilly grins You people should really stop giving me such horrible ideas, it just makes me want to use them!
Aro – That's not funny, eh? I don't know, I found you saying (writing) that QUITE funny! Hah hah… ;-) But hey, glad you put off your own personal hygiene for my fic. That's dedication!
Well, that's done and done. Now here you have it, like a cherry on top of a sundae, the finishing touch, the pièce de résistance, the final chapter of my little pet project. Et voilà!
Chapter Fourteen – Confessions
Three a.m. is the best time of the day for a thief, mainly because it's the perfect time for a heist. That was precisely why Rogue was sneaking through the New Orleans Museum of Art at that very instant. It has been exactly six years ago, almost exactly to the minute, that she had last been here. She never forgot the layout of the building, hoping she would one day use that knowledge again.
Her logic and rationality screamed at her to stop, to leave. All the thieving and terrorist instincts engrained into her by Mystique told her to get out of the city while she still could; it definitely wasn't a smart thing to stay where two Guilds, not to mention a bloodthirsty feral mutant, wanted her dead. But she could care less right now – there were more important things to do.
For the past five years, every February fifteenth, Rogue had wished she could come back here. To try and recapture lost chances and opportunities. It was the exact same reason she was here tonight, for her last attempt. She only hoped he would be here too.
It didn't matter whether it was luck or fate that brought them together that first time. The important thing was the instant connection they had formed, the powerful impression that they left with each other. She hadn't known his name for the longest time, even though he dominated her thoughts. Now she knew it, knew him, and knew that she loved him.
Rogue loved Remy LeBeau. She decided she would tell him, no matter what. She had guarded her heart so closely over the years, but now she was ready to put it out on the line. She was almost positive he felt the same, so maybe they had a chance together, to be happy… If he didn't, or if he couldn't… Well, she would be heartbroken. That was a fact, but she accepted it. The risk was well worth the reward.
As she silently slipped into the room, she saw a dark figure standing there, in front of the jewel collection. The very same ones she was sent to steal six years ago. Rogue's heart beat all the faster as she stealthily walked towards him. Somehow she knew that he was already aware of her presence, so she didn't say anything; she simply moved beside him and joined him in staring at the gemstones. Her eyes automatically went to the rubies, just like they had before. Not quite knowing what to say to him, she was thankful when he spoke first.
"Y' know, I came here ev'ry February fifteent' fo' de past cinq ans (five years)," Remy quietly informed her.
Rogue's thankfulness turned to surprise. "Really?"
"Oui. Ever since dat night when I met y'," he said, with a far-off look in his eyes as he recalled the fond memories. "Was like y' haunted m' or somet'in', couldn' get y' out o' m' head. Not dat I wanted t' or anyt'in'… Did y' feel it too?"
"Yes," she confirmed. "Couldn't get yah out o' mah head either..."
Taking a deep breath, Remy slowly told her, "I t'ink y' stole m' heart right den."
Rogue had to break out into a huge smile, both from his admission and the anxious look on his face. Turning to look up at him, she took his hand in hers and softly said, "Yah stole mine too. Ah couldn't stop thinkin' 'bout yah. Ah wanted to come back too, every year… but it just never happened 'till today."
"Well, we bot' finally made it, neh?"
A silence fell over them both, and Rogue decided to break it. "Ah'm sorry, Remy... Fo' all that's happened. Ah can't help feelin' it might've been better if Ah never came."
Remy's eyes widened. "What d'y' mean, chère?"
"Maybe Ah shouldn't have come to N'Awlins… Seems Ah just made a mess o' things, sugah," she regretfully explained. "Ah just made everythin' mo' complicated, screwin' up th' Guilds' peace pact an' all. Not t' mention the whole Sabretooth thing. He was an' old associate o' Mystique's, always hated her, Ah can't help but think that if Ah wasn't there none o' that would've happened-"
A gentle finger placed to her lips cut her off. "Shh," Remy murmured. "Don' say dat, none o' dis was yo' fault. Can't tell y' how glad I am dat y' came… Y' helped me, chère. If y' didn' show up, prob'ly would've married Belle an' been miserable. But y' came an' showed me what I was missin'."
"An' what's that?" she nervously rasped, mouth dry and stomach full of butterflies.
He cocked his head and stared at her intently. "Didn' know dat anybody could feel so much fo' someone dey didn' even know," Remy started, not quite answering her. "Tol' myself dat I was bein' foolish. But den y' turned up 'gain, an' Remy got t' know y', an' it just got stronger… Nothin' like dere was wit' Belladonna, not even close. Y' make m' happy, y' make m' feel complete, like a good man when 'm not…"
"Remy," Rogue interrupted, but he kept talking.
"Non, chère," Remy continued, closing his eyes. "'M not a good man. I be a killer… Don' have anyt'in' t' offer y'."
She sighed, and for a second Remy had to wonder if she would agree.
"Look at meh," she ordered him, leaving no room for argument. He opened his eyes and was saddened to see pain in those beautiful emeralds.
"Yah're everythin' Ah am," Rogue declared.
"Y' ain't a killer, chère."
"Yah're everything Ah am," she repeated. "We're both orphans, we're both thieves… An' Ah've killed somebody too. Mah flyin' powers? They ain't mahne, Ah stole them an' more from anothah mutant. Mystique set meh up, sent meh into a situation where she knew Ah'd use mah powers t' defend mahself, but it went wrong an' Ah absorbed all th' woman's powers… Ah killed her."
Remy was taken aback by her admission; he could see how tortured she was over what had happened, that was plain to see. "Chère, dat wasn' yo' fault, y' didn' mean t' kill her! Dat doesn' make y' a bad person," he tried to comfort her, placing his hands on her shoulders.
"Yah should take yo' own advice," she suggested. "Yah didn't mean t' kill Julien either, it wasn't yo' fault. Ah've been in yo' position, yah can grieve, yah can be sorry, but Ah learned that yah can't let it consume yah! Yah are not a bad person. Yo' th' sweetest, most amazin' man Ah've ever met."
He simply gazed at her for a few seconds, and then suddenly enveloped her in a strong embrace. "Merci, chère," he mumbled into her hair. "Dat means a lot. Y're definitely de most 'mazin' femme Remy ever met. Don' t'ink anybody can match up t' y'…"
They stood together a bit longer, savouring the safety and warmth in the other's arms, not wanting to let go.
"Remy," Rogue cautiously began. "Are yah alright?"
Slowly Remy pulled back a bit and exhaled, "Don' know yet..."
"What happened at th' council?" she asked tenderly.
"Got exiled," he stated simply.
"Oh, Remy," she breathed, placing a soothing hand on the side of his face.
"'S okay. Knew it would happen. Had t' be done, Remy was seen as a traitor fo' killin' an Assassin durin' peacetime," he muttered. "An' Marius was expelled fo' his part in de plot t' kill me - dat makes Bella de head o' de Assassins, an' she be on de warpath 'gainst Remy. Couldn' stay even if I wanted t', or she'd go t'rough de whole Guild t' get t' m'."
"Ah'm so sorry…"
"What? Why not? Yah were kicked outta th' Guild, outta yo' family!"
"Would've happened anyway."
"Not if yah let meh take th' blame fo' it! If yah knew what would happen, why'd yah let it go on?"
"It gave us a way out."
With that, a look of sheer confusion appeared on Rogue. "Huh?" was the only thing she could voice.
He chuckled to himself. "Knew dat Remy'd get exiled, an' de betrothal was officially cancelled. 'M a free homme now."
Comprehension seemed to dawn in Rogue's eyes. "Yah mean…"
"Merde," Remy groaned, bending down to lean his forehead against hers. "'M so sorry, chère. Y' didn' t'ink dat Remy was gonna stay an' marry Belle, did y'?"
"Well, Ah… Ah wasn't sure," she stuttered. "Ah couldn't blame yah if yah were, she's-"
"Non!" he fervently stopped her. "She's nothin' compared t' y', Rogue. It was y' all along. When I left y' in de mornin', I was gonna get m' t'ings an' come back t' y', I swear. Wrote Belle a letter tellin' her dat I couldn' marry her, an' I was on m' way back t' y' when I got de note from de chat (cat). Even on de roof it was y' I wanted t' save… It's always been y'."
Rogue was struck speechless by his revelation, and could only gape at the man in front of her.
"Remy's such an idiot," he chastised himself.
"No yah're not," she protested amusedly.
"Oui, Remy is. Should've tol' y' de first time I saw y', an' y' have no idea how much I wanted t' tell y' befo'… Je t'aime (I love you)."
Something inside of her informed her that was coming, she was expecting it. But it felt so surreal to hear it said out loud, so much more intense, and she was shocked. For a moment Rogue couldn't move. Finally she noticed that Remy was anxiously watching her with hope in his eyes, and she knew what he was waiting for. Quickly she placed her hands on the side of his face, making him look straight into her eyes.
"Je t'aime aussi (I love you too)," she whispered, overjoyed not only at his confession but the opportunity to finally tell him as well.
The apprehension vanished from his eyes when they filled with joy; Rogue would've giggled at the fact that Remy was worried she might not reciprocate his feelings, but he merrily laughed and swung her around in his arms before she had the chance. She squealed in surprise and delight, but was cut short when her feet returned to the ground and he swept her up in a kiss.
They thought their first kiss was amazing, but it was nothing in comparison to this one. Now that all their feelings were finally out in the open, it only seemed to enhance the passion existing between them. Their hands roamed across their bodies while their lips and tongues caressed each other's. They moved closer, yet it still wasn't close enough; unfortunately, that just wouldn't be appropriate in the middle of a museum.
Only when the need to breathe became too great did their mouths part, but they still remained wrapped together.
"Wow…" gasped Rogue in awe, her face flushed and cheeks red.
"Remy seconds dat," he agreed, staring at her. He would have been content to keep doing so, but it wasn't really the best place for that. The nagging thieving instincts at the back of Remy's mind kept telling him that he should get out of the museum, and out of the city. But that didn't matter, because this time he wasn't letting the woman he was holding go anywhere without him. So he spoke up and said, "Love t' continue dis, but we prob'ly shouldn' stay here too long, neh?"
"Damn," she cursed. "So where to? Should maybe get th' hell outta Dodge, huh?"
He favoured her with an adoring smile. "I'll go wherever y' go, chère."
"Well, Ah was gonna go wherever yah go, sugah," she replied.
"Guess it don' matter den, does it? Long as we're toget'er…"
"Aww, yah're such th' romantic, Remy LeBeau!" Rogue cooed.
"Course, chère. It gets Remy de ladies," he deadpanned.
"Ahh, but does it keep 'em?" she teased.
"It will, 'specially since dis Cajun found de only one worth keepin'," he smirked.
That remark earned Remy a sweet peck on the lips as Rogue threw her arms around his neck and beamed at him.
"Kinda funny, ain't it?" she mused.
"Us. Declarin' our love on February fifteenth, of all days. Valentine's Day is th' supposed time fo' true love an' annoucin' yo' feelin's…"
"Nahh, it be all about show," Remy scoffed. "Today's de day dat matters, it's all 'bout afterwards. Seein' if what was started still be dere."
"That's a good way t' look at it. B'sides, Valentine's Day is just a fake holiday perpetrated by th' floral and greetin' card industries t' make profits," Rogue stated matter-of-factually. "Never really liked it that much."
He grinned at that. "Ahh, chère, yet anot'er t'ing we have in common."
"But that don't mean yah can weasel yo' way outta showerin' meh with gifts next year!" she mock-scolded.
"Don' worry, Remy won' forget! He'll be showerin' y' wit' gifts everyday."
"Ooh, sounds good."
"But only on one condition, chère," he told her gravely, leaning in towards her.
"An' what's that?"
"Our weddin' will not be on Valentine's Day."
"How 'bout Arbour Day?" she laughed.
"Damn, Remy was thinkin' Groundhog Day," he suggested, joining in on the amusement.
"Yah crazy Cajun…"
"Oui, but I be crazy 'bout y'. An' y shouldn' talk, since y're just as crazy 'bout Remy, chère."
"Ah sure ain't denyin' that, sugah," she seductively whispered, tilting her head up toward Remy's. His only response was bending down and capturing her mouth with his, and the couple lost themselves in what was sure to be one of countless more kisses.
Moments later a guard walked through the door. He could've sworn he saw two people kissing on the security monitors… But there was nobody there. Maybe he was imagining things. He dreaded February fifteenth; all that Valentine's chocolate he ate must have gone to his head. Shrugging to himself, he quickly glanced over the various exhibits, which all seemed to be in order. He turned around and left, never even noticing the emeralds and rubies missing from the gemstone display case.
AWW!! Yeah, a nice happy shiny ending. Ain't that dandy?
SO! I guess I should wrap this up now. First of all, I want to sincerely thank all that read my fic, and especially everybody who took the time to review. I started this fic on a whim, just as something to do, but when I got all those reviews (I'm still amazed at the number!) it really encouraged me. You like me, you really like me! blushes GOLD STARS FOR ALL!!
Next, people have already been asking if there'll be a sequel, so I'll try to answer that now - I honestly don't know, I haven't thought of one yet. However, the door for one was left open, so if I happen to think of something that works, I'll seriously consider it. But yes, I will be writing more fics, I've got quite a few plot bunnies running around! But I think you're gonna hate me, cuz it won't be for quite a while – a new semester at school just began and I've got tons of work to do, and seeing as my marks will seal my fate of getting into university or not, I should probably focus on that. In theory. So sadly, writing time must be put off. Who knows, if I get spare time maybe a one-shot will pop out? But I DO have an epic fic in the process of being planned, so look for that in the summer, when I have more free time than I know what to do with. That is, if you want it… ;-)
Well, there you have it. I'll leave off with one last plea for reviews – it'd be fabutastical if we could go out with a bang and beat 700! So if you've been sneaking around and reading this but haven't reviewed yet, drop me a line! Hell, everybody drop me a line and tell me how I did. Ishandahalfarianites unite! So once again, thank you to all my past reviewers, and thanks in advance to all those who will review now! I'll leave you with my immortal words, "Quick like a bunny on crack!". Huzzah.