AN: A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who still loves this story and takes the time to review it or message me to finish it. I have every intention of doing so, but I know I take forever to write. In my defence, I've been busy being a grown-up, which hasn't been a lot of fun. However, what kept me really busy in the past two years is a parody musical I co-wrote called "The O.C.: The Musical". If you're curious about it, you can watch it at [www.]theocmusical[.com]. Enough self-promotion! Enjoy!

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Okay, we're breathing a little fast here. Alright, don't hyperventilate. Don't be fuckin' coward. Y' can do dis.

He placed his hand on the door, and with one swift motion, he pushed it open. Loud country music mixed with sounds of glasses clinking and pool balls colliding greeted him. Harry's Hideaway was packed with people, which wasn't surprising considering it was a Saturday night. Remy quickly scanned the room for Rogue's distinctive auburn hair with the streak of white. He noticed her from across the room, taking the orders of a group of men who would normally look terrifying except they were laughing and smiling at what was likely Rogue's infectious charm. Then there was Rogue's smile - the way the corners of lips curled up and how her eyes became half-moons when she smile - it was completely mesmerizing.

Suddenly he was ripped back to reality by two strong hands on his shoulders, dragging him out of the bar.

"You're not welcome here, bub." Logan growled.

Remy stared into a pair of the most unforgiving eyes he had ever seen. He had never been greeted with such distrust, which was saying something considering he had betrayed many people in the past. Yet, he was always able to charm his way back into their good graces. Bobby was a prime example; despite learning that he had fooled around with two of Bobby's sisters on the same night, Remy was still able to convince Bobby that it would be a good idea to go into business together. The hardness in Logan's eyes however was a sure sign that there would be no charming his way out of this situation.

"I know." Remy responded.

"So, what the fuck are you doing here?" Logan asked.

"I… wanted to see her." Remy replied honestly for he had nothing lose at this point.

"Well, you saw her; so, you can get the fuck out of her life forever now." Logan barked.

Speechless and yet unable to will his legs to move, Remy stood there. His mind wandered back to Rogue, who was on the other side of the door and the 250 pounds of pure muscle in front of him. The door suddenly flew open.

"Logan! You out here? We've got a back-up of drink orders." Jean said, but immediately stopped in her tracks when she spotted Remy.

"Okay. I'm done out here." Logan replied. He turned around and was about to head back into the bar until he noticed that Jean was not giving any indication that she would follow.

"You coming?" Logan asked.

"In a second." Jean replied.

Logan hesitated as he struggled with whether he should let her stay out there. He took a glance at the broken and desperate man standing before them, and his eyes softened ever so slightly.

"Look, it took her awhile but she's doing well now. If you care about her, don't fuck it up." With those last words, he left and returned to the bar.

"Y'know, I didn' come here t'fuck it up." Remy explained.

"I know." Jean stated softly.

"I was going to leave but before I knew it, I was driving down Highway 55. I couldn't stop myself. I needed to see her…" Remy's voice trailed off as he realized that he sounded like a stalker.

Jean took pity on him and said, "She really is doing well."

"I get it." Remy murmured, as he understood that what she really meant was that Rogue was doing well without him screwing it up.

"I don't think you're a bad guy, Remy, but Rogue's the closest thing I have to a sister. You have to understand that Rogue has had really bad luck with guys. Her heart has been broken one too many times. She seems tough but she's fragile, and it took her six months to get put herself back together. Do you get what I'm saying?"

"I get it, but it's hard t'get her out of my head… mon coeur." Remy admitted.

"Love is too big of a gamble for her right now, especially when she lost so much on the last hand." Jean responded.

"Yeah, I get it."

"You have to let her go." Jean said kindly. She gave him a sympathetic smile before she returned to the bar.

Still unable to leave, he stood there for awhile, staring at the neon sign of Harry's Hideway, unsure of whether he could actually let her go.

"Is he gone?" Logan asked.

"Yeah." Jean replied.

"We're not telling Rogue that he was here, okay?" Logan said, which sounded more like a command rather than a request.

"No. I think we should tell her. They might run into each other." Jean said.

"You didn't tell him to leave? What the fuck, Red?"

"I told him that he needed to let her go, but there's no guarantee that he will. Anyway, I'm not going to lie to her. She deserves to be prepared - warned." Jean said defiantly.

"She doesn't need to know what's only going to hurt her." Logan said.

"Logan, if Scott was running around town and my friends knew and didn't tell me, it would be really hard for me to forgive them. Do you understand?" Jean explained.

"This is different. If Scott came around, I'd beat his face to a pulp so that you wouldn't even recognize him even if you ran into him." Logan said.

Jean rolled her eyes, but smiled nonetheless. "I'm telling Rogue."

"Telling Rogue what?" A voice chimed in. While they were in the middle of their conversation, Rogue had joined them without the two noticing.

"Nothing." Logan said quickly.

"Yeah right. What's going on between ya two?" Rogue asked.

Jean and Logan exchanged glances, both expecting the other to say something.

"C'mon, what is this all about? Stop giving each other weird looks and tell me. Let me guess. Jean is pregnant with a little wolvie in her belly?" Rogue chuckled, but stopped when she realized that she was the only one laughing.

"Oh my gawd! You're pregnant? That's amazing!" Rogue said and gave Jean a big hug.

"No. No. No. I'm not. At least I'm pretty sure I'm not." Jean said.

"Huh?" Rogue pulled back, confused.

"Okay, Remy was here. That's what we wanted to tell you." Jean said.

"What do you mean he was here?"

"He was here and left about ten minutes ago. I thought that we should warn you that he is in town." Jean explained.

"Ah know." Rogue said.

"You know? Did he hurt you?" Logan asked, clearly concerned from this new information.

"No. Not anymore. Ah'm okay. Ah told him it was over and he'll get it. But thanks for telling me." Rogue replied.

"Ah was actually getting excited for a little Wolvie-Jean baby for a second there. Then finally, the drama would stop revolving around me. Oh well, a girl can dream." Rogue said before returning to wait on her customers.

Logan looked at Jean and asked, "What do you mean you're 'pretty sure'?"

The air was cool and a swift breeze swept by her and Cookie, who shook his head to get rid of the wind. It was the closest to what she could remember as a perfect evening. The sun was starting to set. The sky was vivid from the brilliant blend of purple, pink, red, orange and yellow hues. She was listening to the latest demo of Tabby and the Boom Booms while walking along her favourite trail by the river with her faithful companion. Life was calm. Her heart still had a dull ache, but her mind was clear.

Ah'm better alone.

Right on cue, Cookie barked as soon as that thought formulated in her head. She laughed and gave him a pat on the head. "Ah know. Ah'm never alone 'cause ah have you."

Cookie barked again, but this time it was more aggressive and not directed at her. About 300 feet ahead of them was a tall man with a silver mane.

No. It can't be.

Rogue started to panic as she turned around, but Cookie was firm in his guard dog stance as he growled.

It can't be him.

She turned around and started walking in the direction from which she came while dragging a very reluctant dog behind her.

"Anna. Wait." The man said from behind her. Rogue kept walking, ignoring his call. He caught up with her though and placed a hand on her shoulder to stop her.

"Don't touch me!" She yelled as she pushed away his hand. Instinctively, Cookie bit into Erik's leg as hard as he could.

Erik let out a cry as he kicked Cookie off him. The dog landed with a thud but quickly got back on his feet, ready to pounce again.

"Mother fucker." Erik yelled.

"Get away from us." Rogue screamed as she stared into the eyes of the man who broke heart and two ribs all those years ago.

"What the fuck, Anna? I just want to talk." Erik said while he put his hands up the air, trying to show her that he was not there to hurt her.

"No. We are done talking. You were never supposed to come back. So, back off and leave." She said with all the strength she could muster.

"I'm sorry, but I wouldn't be here if it wasn't important. This is important. Please." Erik pleaded.

"No. Never again."

Erik's anger began to rise again, as he tried to maintain a calm demeanour. "For once, can you not act like a child and have an adult conversation?"

"For once, can you fuck off for good?" Rogue replied defiantly.

"You're still the same as always. Still haven't grown up."

"And you're still a stuck-up insecure asshole who doesn't understand what 'no' means."

"You act like you're the only one who was hurt that night."

"Well, according to the ER report, ah was." She reminded him.

"I already apologized for that. You know I'm sorry." He said with feigned sincerity.

"If you were really sorry, ya wouldn't be standing in front of me right now. Ya would've done the decent thing and stayed out of my life for good."

"And I will but I need your cooperation on something. Something important. Just hear me out." Erik said, with all the charms of a sleazy politician who was clearly aware that he was losing a debate.

Rogue merely glared at him in silence.

"I don't know what you've heard, but I'm running for office."

"What does that have to do with me?"

"I need you to… cooperate. The opposition is digging around and looking for anything that could end my campaign." Erik said.

"And ya don't want me telling them about what a monster you are?" Rogue asked.

"I don't want you spreading lies about what may or may not have happened." Erik replied.

"Y'have to be kidding me. Ah can't believe this is happening. This isn't real right now."

"Look, what happened between us was unfortunate but it would only hurt you more if you made it public."

"Are you threatening me?"

"No. Think of it as an advisement. I wouldn't want the press ripping you apart and painting you as a liar." Erik said as he leaned menacingly close to her. Rogue stepped back as she recalled how dangerous Erik could be.

"So, do we have an understanding?" Erik asked in a tone that suggested there was only one right answer.

In spite of her fear, she replied, "No. Ah'm done doing whatever ya tell me to. Ah owe you nothing."

"Why do you have to make everything so fucking hard?" He yelled, as he raised his hand, but right before his fist was about to make contact with her, Erik was pummeled to the ground.

"Didn' your mere ever teach you to never hit a woman?" Remy said between punches to Erik's face. Erik tried to fight back but Remy's weight made it difficult to free himself. Shock overcame Rogue as she tried to process what was happening before her. The two men that she had given all of her heart to at different points in her life were now engaged in a fistfight. It felt entirely surreal. However, when she saw Erik's face covered in blood along with Remy's hand, she snapped out of her stupor.

"Remy! Stop!" Rogue cried as she tried to pull Remy back. He struck Erik a few more times before letting him go. With a hand around his abdomen and blood streaming down his face, Erik ran off. Remy was about to pursue him but Rogue held him back. He turned to face her and asked, "Chere, are y'okay? Did he hurt you?"

"Ah'm fine. Your hand." She said as she pointed to his hand.

"I think dat's more his blood t'an mine." Remy said.

"What are ya doing here? Ah thought you left." Rogue said, still in disbelief about the events that had occurred.

"I was leaving but I just wanted to say 'good-bye'. I swear I wasn't stalking you. You weren't home so I'd thought you might be out here and den I saw you wit' dat guy and I'm sorry." He tried to explain, as he realized how insane he sounded.

"Don't be." She said softly. She gently took his hand into hers and examined the bruised knuckles.

"Let's go back to my place. Ah'll fix ya up." She said quietly.

During the walk back to Rogue's apartment, there was only silence. Although there were a million things Remy wanted to say to her, he kept quiet for fear that she would un-invite him if he tried to proclaim his love again for her. He did notice that she held his hand the whole back, and the gentle caress of her hand merely served as a reminder of how much he missed her touch.

Upon arrival at her door, she let go of his hand to look for her keys. He tried to hide his disappointment. She unlocked the door and they walked into her chaotic but charming one-bedroom apartment. Memories of their time together in that apartment came back to them both, but neither said a word. Rogue unleashed Cookie, who ran towards his water bowl. Rogue went to the bathroom as Remy awkwardly stood at the entrance, unsure of how comfortable he should make himself. She returned with a first aid kit, and walked towards the kitchen sink. He stared at her, still not wanting to make a move in case this was all a dream.

"Well, are ya gonna come over here so we can wash the blood off?" She asked.

"Right." He said and walked towards her.

She turned on the sink and tenderly washed the blood off his hand. He winced slightly when the water made contact with his knuckles where there was exposed flesh. "Don't be a baby." She said with a lightness in her voice.

"Well, chere, you're being kinda rough dere." He replied.

"And ah thought you liked it rough." She said cheekily.

Remy fought his instincts a didn't take the bait. The moment was too perfect and he knew that if he flirted back, it would ruin the moment. So, he just smiled at her.

She turned the sink off and proceeded to dry his hand. Then ever so delicately, she wrapped his hand with gauze. When she was done, she held his hand for a few seconds before letting it go. A heavy silence fell over them as they stood an inch apart. Neither wanted to make a move though since history had shown that they couldn't be trusted to keep their feelings in check.

Finally, Rogue looked up at Remy and said, "Thanks."

"Dere's no need for dat." He replied.

"If ya hadn't been there, ah don't know…" Rogue said as it finally hit her what had happened earlier. She had seen Erik and he tried to hurt her. Again. Tears started falling as she found herself retreat internally back to the dark place that had taken so long to climb out of. Without any hesitation, Remy took her into his arms and held her.

"Ah'm sorry." She whispered.

"It's going to be okay." He said calmly. He held her tightly and Rogue let him because in that moment, all she needed was him and she was too tired to fight it.

Eventually, exhaustion took a toll on her and she fell asleep in his arms. Remy picked her up and carried her to bed while Cookie followed. He laid her down gently and pulled the covers over her. Cookie jumped onto the bed and curled up at her feet. Remy watched her for a few moments as he tried to sort out all the emotions that were clouding his judgment. He gave her a kiss on the head before leaving the room to let her rest.

Sunshine flooded her room and touched her face. She blinked a few times as she woke from her slumber. She sat up and oriented herself. The alarm clock flashed "12:00" and she realized that she had been asleep for 16 hours.

The events of the day before came flooding back. She grabbed her robe and got up quickly. When she entered the kitchen, she found Remy sitting at the table with a freshly brewed pot of coffee.

"Coffee?" He asked. Before she could answer, he poured her a cup and handed it to her.

"Thanks." She said.

"How did y' sleep?" He asked.

"Good." She replied.


"So, did ya stay here all night?" She questioned.

"Oui, but just on de couch. I was going to leave but I wanted t'make sure you were okay." He responded.

"Thanks." She said, clearly grateful that he hadn't abandoned her during the night.

"But I'll go now if y' want me to." Remy said.

Though her mind was screaming "yes", her heart's desire won out. "No. Please stay. Ah can't be alone yet." She said softly.

"Okay. Did y' want to talk about what happened yesterday?" He asked.

"No. Ah don't want to think about it. Let's talk about anything else." She requested.

"Logan didn't kill me. Dat was a surprise." Remy said, but felt stupid as soon as he said it.

Rogue let out a small chuckle. "Ah know. He kinda surprised me with that too. You must have looked very pathetic."

"Oui. Dat's true." He agreed.

"Now, if ya had run into Lucas…"

"…I'd would've been blasted into a million pieces with a shotgun." Remy finished.

"Something like that. Though, he has been head over heels for a lady who is all leather and spice, and not so nice. So his weapon of choice may have been a whip instead of a shotgun."

"Hmm… I don't know how I feel about a 300 pound man using a whip on me."

"Definitely wouldn't be as fun as the night after Hank's play last year." She said, but immediately regretted bringing up that night.

"Dat was a night to remember." Remy responded.

Rogue didn't say anything. She took a sip of her coffee and looked down at the table. It was a strange feeling sitting across from Remy. It felt so familiar and yet, so different. Uncertain. Restrained. Being in his presence reminded her of the girl she once was, of when she was happy. And that part of her was struggling to free itself of the chains that she had put on it. That part desperately wanted to feel that type of uninhibited happiness again. Yet, her mind was reminding her about the pain that inevitably comes with allowing her heart to be free.

For Remy, a sense of urgency hit him. It was becoming increasingly hard for him to suppress that part of him that wanted to tell her that he loved her. The uncertainty that surrounded them in that moment merely reminded him that life rarely gives second chances.

"Rogue, I love you." Remy started.

"Remy…" Rogue said, but stopped herself. In that moment, her heart won out and she wanted to hear what he had to say.

"I love you since dat day we locked eyes at de Hideaway. I never stopped. I don't t'ink I can stop." Remy said and stared into her beautiful green eyes.

"Ah can't either." She quietly said.

"But ah also need time. Ah'm still trying to figure out what's going on inside and ah can't make any decisions right now about us." She said.

"Dat's okay. Take all de time y' need. I'm not going anywhere." He leaned towards her and offered his hand. Without any hesitation, she took it.