Cigarette

Sighing, Rogue entered her bedroom and fell on her bed. With a quivering bottom lip and watery eyes, her head shifted to the right. Her cheek fell against the soft mattress as her gaze met the empty single bed not too far from her own.

His bed.

"Dammit," she hissed as a tear betrayed her and slid out of her eye stubbornly. She sat up hastily and rubbed it away before it could stain her cheek with its salty trail.

"You okay?"

Her face shot up and she saw Gus standing by the door, a tray in his hands. "It wasn't enough that you walked me back to mah room earlier, now you're bringin' me dinner?" She asked, tearing her eyes away from his.

"Raven thought you should eat something."

"Well, she thought wrong. Thanks but no thanks, Ah'm not hungry," she whispered, looking down at her gloved hand. The wet mark from her tear was quickly drying from the material across the back of her hand.

"You know," Gus began, taking a slow step inside the room. "It's not-"

"Please, don't," she murmured in protest, catching his movement in the corner of her eye.

He took another step, clearing his throat. "I wasn't going to say it wasn't your fault."

"An' Ah'm sayin' don't come in mah damn room." Her face snapped up to look at him again, her green eyes glaring daggers. "This was our room. What makes you think that you're even the slightest bit welcome in here?"

"It's not like he's here, Rogue," he muttered defensively.

"Have some respect, Gus," she spat indignantly, standing up from the bed with her hands balled into fists. "Ah don't care if he's not here, or if he's comin' back or not – this is where we slept an' where-" She froze, her anger seething as her breath came through her gritted teeth. "Look," she said roughly, pressing her fingertips to her temple in frustration. "Ah don't need ta explain ta you that. Just understand, alright?"

Gus stood silently for a moment before nodding briefly. "I'll leave this in case you change your mind," he said softly, placing the tray gently on the table by the doorway.

Rogue dropped her hand from her head and met his eyes. "Thank you."

"You're welcome. Goodnight." And with that, he left as quietly as he came, leaving Rogue in a daze. With a loud sigh, she blew her white bangs from her eyes. She curiously walked over to the table to see what Gus had brought her, but instantly wrinkled her nose at the food. She wasn't going to be able to stomach a thing that night.

Instead, she left the food where it lay, tracing her hand along the edge of the table. She followed the perimeter of the room, her hand sliding along the wood of her dresser absently. She stopped when she reached her vanity, noting the mirror. Her hand floated up, gently plucking a small photograph that stuck out from the frame. Her green eyes fell sad once more as she scrutinized the picture as if it was the first time her eyes had seen it.

It was a small photograph, but the old cliché still applied – that particular picture said a thousand words. It was from their time in California, when she and Remy had taken a leave of absence from the team after being depowered. As her eyes traced up her then tattooed arm, Rogue felt as if a hundred years had passed since the picture was taken. The photo was so simple and to anyone else it might have seemed downright silly to hold onto, but she couldn't stand to part with it.

Rogue had just come home from work at the garage; her hands and clothes had been covered with oil and grease. She knew Remy was out doing a pinch, so she would've had the house to herself. There was nothing more that she wanted to do but sink into the tub and forget about the day – especially that one customer who refused to listen to Rogue tell him that his transmission was busted. Man, what a jerk.

However, once Rogue had managed to climb tiredly up the front porch steps, she had a feeling she wasn't alone. She glanced at the driveway – Remy's motorcycle wasn't there.

"Dammit," she muttered, her hands flexing into fists. She might have been overreacting, but her sixth sense still managed to work even in her depowered state. Something wasn't right.

She pushed open the front door cautiously, peeking around it. Immediately, she was assaulted by light. "What the hell!" she cried out.

Strong arms wrapped around her. "Sorry 'bout de flash," he whispered close to her ear. "Wanted t' capture dis moment f'ever."

"An' what moment would that be?" she asked incredulously as she pushed herself from him. "Ah'm disgustin', Remy!" She held up her practically black hands for him to see.

"T'ink dat matters t' me, cheré?" he said with a lazy smile, extracting a camera from out of sight. "I wanted t' remember y' walkin' in t' our home after a hard day's work always," he explained, his tongue darting out to wet his lips as his eyes grazed her body appreciatively. "We've finally got our slice of normal – figured we should live it up."

Rogue's eyes softened. "But, Ah thought ya-"

"I'm here wit' you, Rogue. Dat's all dat matters," he murmured as he pulled her close again.

Rogue smiled and relaxed in his embrace. "Ah'm happy you're home," she whispered before planting a tender kiss on his cheek.

"Me, too, cheré." He dipped his face down and brushed his lips against her. Rogue closed her eyes and allowed him to deepen the kiss, instantly forgetting her dirty hands and disgusting clothes. She wrapped her arms around his neck, sighing softly against his lips.

Suddenly, another flash went off beside them and Rogue pulled back, only to see Remy smirking. He had held up the camera and captured the intimate moment.

"You are such a dork," she giggled, realizing what he'd done.

"An' y' love me f' it," he responded, catching her smiling lips in another searing kiss.

"Dammit," she muttered as she dropped the photograph onto her dresser. She bit her lip in a futile attempt to keep it from trembling, but it quivered anyway beneath her teeth.

She sighed shakily, bracing a hand against the dresser as she pressed the other to her head. Her mind constantly cascaded her with memories of the day and hours before.

Remy's hand smacking her without regret.

His boot above her head once he'd knocked her to the floor.

The cold glow of his once inviting, warm eyes.

Poisonous gas snaking through the air, seeping into and constricting her lungs.

Was he really gone?

"He can't be," she choked out, clenching her eyes shut, reluctant to let the tears fall once again. She rubbed her fingers along her forehead, hoping offhandedly that the never ending headache would go away.

"It can't be too late to save him," she whispered, letting her hand fall from her head as she opened her eyes. The emerald irises that blinked back at her from the mirror glimmered with unshed tears as her face flushed a semi-permanent pink from repressing everything. "It can't be," she repeated, her voice so faint it failed to reach her ears.

Is this how he felt when she left him in Antarctica – this empty, inconsolable cold pain that just wouldn't fade? She felt so guilty, like if she'd done something different, they would be sitting here on separate beds and living happily in their pseudo intimate relationship.

She sighed, pushing off the dresser and falling back onto his bed. Her legs hung off the edge as she landed onto the mattress. The bed felt cold. Empty.

She whimpered as she twisted on the bed, curling up and facing her side of the room. Would he watch her like this? Or had they already been so lost before they 'moved in' together? Did he gaze upon her with disdain? Did he want to escape what little they had left as she slept dreaming about him?

If Ah could just tell him that Ah'm sorry an' that Ah love him one more time… She closed her eyes and focused her on her breathing. The scent of him surrounded her, assaulting her senses, taunting her. His scent was strong enough to remind her that he'd woken up next to her the morning before, but faint enough to tell her that he hadn't been there in over a day.

How much weaker would the scent be as the days passed? Would the fabric of his comforter always hold that aroma that was so distinctly Remy, or would it fade over time and erase him from their room with each day he was gone?

She groaned, opening her eyes and sitting up. Why am Ah mullin' over this? He did this ta himself. He doesn't remember me – at least not like he used to!

She swung her legs over the side of the bed, her eyes drifting to their nightstand. Another framed picture sat there; the two of them were smiling brightly, also from their time in Volanda. It was one of the few pictures she still kept in sight from their time there. They somehow were not touching directly, which made it less painful to see on a regular basis. Every other photograph was stored away in a box at the bottom of Rogue's closet. Probably never ta be looked at again, she thought with a wounded scoff.

Next to the frame sat a few mementos of either of theirs – a pair of Rogue's earrings, a book that Emma had recommended they read as part of their therapy, a pack of playing cards that was most likely not complete plus an opened pack of cigarettes.

Rogue ran her hand over his things, lingering over the cigarettes. She gathered the box in her hand, bringing it closer to examine. She hadn't seen him smoke that often anymore, but she knew he had smoked a few over the last couple weeks. Guess the last month has been more stressful than normal, she thought offhandedly with a scowl.

She noted that half the pack had been smoked already. It didn't bother her, she decided. Everyone had their vices. She herself had never really indulged in smoking though. There were times when she'd wordlessly steal a drag or two from Remy while sitting on the roof at the institute or on the porch in California, but otherwise, it simply wasn't her thing.

With the pack in her hand, she glanced over her shoulder to the window. The sun had set hours ago, but the moon still hung low in the sky. Silently, Rogue stood up from Remy's bed and strolled over to the window, noting the clear black night, dotted with bright stars. Carefully, she activated her powers and slid through the open window, flames licking the windowsill and scorching the walls slightly. Rogue snorted nonchalantly as she propelled herself towards an isolated part of the institute grounds. Security was still high with the damn sentinels manning the front gates and other sporadic points of the estate, but Rogue eluded them and the security O.N.E. guards easily.

She flew low to the ground, thankfully not seeing anyone outside. The more privacy she had the better. The way the others had looked at her when they'd gotten back from Apocalypse's Sphinx… it was more than she could bear. The only one who'd given her some sort of consideration had been Gus and Rogue knew it was all part of some plot that Mystique had concocted to get the two of them together.

And it made her sick. Then again, when hadn't her dear foster mother tried to manipulate her into doing something completely outrageous? It would worry me more if she didn't have an ulterior motive to this whole Gus thing! She mused with a sigh, her escape from the main grounds illuminated by her trail of flames.

Her flight took her to a secluded patch of land where the trees gave way to a small clearing. She liked to go there sometimes to meditate because few ventured out there to bother her. The area had been there forever, despite the many attacks on the institute.

She landed on the field swiftly, breathing in the crisp air. The moisture on the grass sizzled under her feet as the fire surrounding her extinguished. She took a few steps as she glanced around, surveying the area. The air was still and the bright moon illuminated the field up until the shadows of the surrounding forests overtook the night. She peered closer to the woods, sensing a slight rustling among the trees. In the distance, a bird chirped faintly and flew from the trees, its gray feathers shining silver in the moonlight.

Content that the bird was the only noise she heard in the trees, Rogue sat down among the soft grass. The ground felt cool under her backside as she settled in the long blades. She instantly regretted being in her uniform as she could only vaguely feel the tickle of the grass blades around her against the spandex hugging her skin.

With a sigh, she lay back into the grass, the blades shielding her face from the moon partially. She held her hand up to the sky, loosening her glove, finger by finger until the yellow leather slipped off her pale hand. She repeated the action with her other hand, throwing the gloves beside her in the field absently. She lifted her head up slightly to slide her hand underneath. Her head fell back on her hand gently, her naked fingers twisting in the chestnut locks.

He used to do the same thing.

She halted abruptly with a scoff. Her free hand fumbled for the pack of cigarettes that had fallen beside her when she'd landed. Shaking the box close to her face, she freed a single stick from the opening of the package. Her lips found the filter and slipped it out, discarding the rest of the pack to the same fate as her forgotten gloves.

Holding the cigarette loosely in her lips, Rogue snapped her fingers and produced a small flame with her stolen powers. As she lit the cigarette, she mumbled, "O' course, Ah have ta permanently have the powers of the man that took the love of mah life without a single explanation as a constant reminder… Just mah luck," she sneered. She took a slow, deep drag, allowing her lungs to adjust to the intrusion of the poisonous yet wonderfully delicious smoke. She pulled the cigarette away from her mouth with her index and middle fingers, exhaling the smoke in the same, leisurely manner.

She closed her eyes and repeated the action, taking her time with the cigarette. The tension wreaking havoc in her body seemed to relax as she focused on her breathing. The headache that had pounded against every portion of her skull seemed to diminish as well. For the first time in over three days, Rogue believed she was on her way to a state of peacefulness again, at least as much as she could manage all things considered.

That is, until footsteps crushing the grass above her head roused her from her tranquil state.

The cigarette tumbled from her fingers as she sat up and stood in a fluid motion, flames bursting around her as she suspended herself off the ground in defense. The nerve of some people! "Ah swear ta God, Gus, if ya followed me-"

Words seemed to die on her tongue and her surprised anger washed away as apprehension and relief swarmed over her. "It can't be," she murmured, unsure if she wanted to levitate closer to him to make sure or recoil a few feet back in uncertainty.

He stood silhouetted by the moonlight, his unnatural white hair gleaming silver and shielding his dark face. Cold red eyes peeked at her underneath the luminous bangs, devoid of any emotion that Rogue could decipher. "Evenin', chére," he murmured. His voice crawled across the empty space between them and Rogue fought off the shivers that climbed up her spine.

"What-" Her voice came out in a croak as her mouth suddenly went dry. She swallowed down the butterflies in her stomach and tried again. "What are ya doin' here, Remy?" she asked in a soft tone. She didn't dare move, afraid of what he could try, even though she wanted nothing more than to take him by the hand and walk him back to the institute so they could figure everything out.

"I had t' see y'…" he began, blinking his eyes erratically. "I… I started t' realize what had happened right before…" He sighed, wrenching his eyes away from hers.

Rogue tilted her head slightly in thought, trying to capture his eyes again. She tentatively touched down on the grass, her flames flickering out. "Before what, sugah?"

"B'fore I tried t' kill y', Rogue," he admitted angrily, turning from her completely. He stood with his back to her and his hands clenched into fists at his sides.

She took a step towards him with her hand extended. If she could just find a way to comfort him he'd come back… "You were only-" she began.

"Doin' what? Followin' orders?" he snapped as he whirled around, capturing her covered wrist in his hand. "Do y' know why I did dis, Rogue? Why I let dat monster do dis t' me?"

She gasped at the force of his hand around her wrist. She trembled under his touch. Even through his glove and her uniform, he was so cold…

Like Death, she thought with a shiver.

"I did it because I didn' have a purpose anymore – not t' you, not t' de X-Men."

"That's not true an' ya know it," Rogue whispered evenly. "You know we'll always be-"

"Who are y' kiddin', Rogue?" he scowled, releasing her hand. "Y' know it was only a matter of time b'fore dey won."

"What the hell are you talkin' about?" she asked incredulously. "Did you have so little faith in us that you were willin' ta throw in the towel, just like that? After everythin' we've been through?"

"Wouldn' be de first time one of us has, chére," he muttered morosely before turning his back on her again. He started his trek towards the woods from which he mysteriously appeared.

With a snarl, Rogue was up in the air, beating him to the punch before he could evade her. "Why did you come here, Remy? It isn't enough that you broke mah heart once today? Are ya tryin' ta set a world record or somethin'?" He opened his mouth to speak but Rogue landed on the ground with her arms extended, shoving him forcefully. "No, you listen ta me, Cajun. Ah have been sittin' in our room, looking at our things an' rememberin' our life together an' you've just gone and erased it with a drop of a hat because the goin' got rough again."

He glared at her and for the first time since his transformation, Rogue finally saw a flicker of emotion within the red orbs. It was pain. It was hurt. It was remorse. She backed down from the defensive position she had reflexively drawn herself in, just incase he wanted to attack her again. The flames around her dissipated and she watched as his eyes softened and she saw those emotions shine brighter.

"I came back t' say dat I was sorry," he whispered, keeping his eyes locked with hers. "I knew dat dis was goin' t' hurt y' – hurt us - an' I did it anyway. I t'ought… maybe, jus' maybe, you'd be able t' live on wit'out me if I wasn' dere t' hold y' back."

"That wasn't yoah decision ta make, Remy," she replied thoughtfully. "What… did you think that with Momma here an' bringin' Gus that Ah would…" Upon Remy's slight nod, Rogue felt the tears well up in her eyes. "Remy, darlin'," she whispered, stepping closer to him. "Ah told ya befoh, Ah've loved you since the moment Ah laid eyes on you. Nothin' is ever goin' ta change that moment or those feelin's. Not even this." She raised a hand to cup his face, but realized she'd discarded her gloves yards away. She dropped it dejectedly, the tears spilling from her eyes.

"Chére, please don'…"

"What," she sniffled, roughly rubbing the tears from her cheeks. "Ah can't help it if Ah'm constantly reminded why we can't be together again." She sighed, wiping her wet hand down her side to get rid of the tears. "Can ya remember what it was like, Remy? How ya used ta hold me, when nothin' in the world mattered?"

Remy closed his eyes as if trying to imagine it all in his mind's eye. Rogue knew he wouldn't remember though. Death doesn't feel love – how could he recall such moments that she held so precious in her heart? More tears formed in her eyes as she knew it was a losing battle.

"I… promised everyt'ing was gon' be alright," he recalled softly, his voice almost inaudible.

Rogue's head snapped up. "What did you say?" she asked breathlessly.

"We were on de roof… an' I tol' y' dat everyt'ing was gon' be alright. I promised," he murmured, knowing everything was far from alright at this point.

"You remember that?" she choked, tears flowing freely from her eyes. "But… how?"

He shrugged awkwardly, as if he'd forgotten how to execute the motion as nonchalantly as he'd done before. "It's jus' dere, in de back of my mind."

She sniffled, wiping her tears away. "But it's there," she said, her voice slightly hopeful.

"Oui, it is." He paused for a moment, unsure of what to say next. Instead, he took a step forward, and another, until he was a breath away from Rogue's body. "I want t' remember more, but I can'."

She raised her head to meet his eyes. The burning regret in his eyes was practically tangible. She kept her arms at her sides, afraid to entertain the idea of touching him again, even though she wanted to cup his face in her hand and rub her thumb along his cheek and under his eye. Would she feel warmth radiating from the blazing embers within his irises or would it feel as icy as his hand did when he'd clamped it on her wrist?

As she stared into his eyes, he hesitantly trailed his own hand up, resting it on her shoulder first. She tore her eyes away from his to look at his hand as his gloved fingers weaved through a few of the dark brown locks. "What are ya-"

"Shh," he hushed, releasing the hair gently before sliding his hand up to her face. He began with a single finger under her chin, delicately tilting her face towards him once again, before cupping her head tenderly in his palm.

She bit her lip as his leather covered thumb caressed her cheek. The palm of his hand warmed slowly under her skin, chasing the deathly chill away. The leather felt rough against her flushed cheeks, but Rogue reveled in the contact as she swallowed down content sighs.

"I want t' remember," he whispered again, his face inching closer to hers. A tear fell from one of Rogue's bright green eyes, rolling over his gloved thumb. "But it's too late."

His hand began to fall from her face, but her hand snapped up, holding it against her skin. "How can you say that, Remy? How can you say it's too late ta save us?"

"Look at me, chére. I'm not who I used t' be an' we'd be kiddin' ourselves t' t'ink otherwise." His tone was soft and non-hostile, but Rogue could feel him drawing up into himself, away from her. His glowing eyes began to dim slowly and she knew she was losing him.

"Ah'll wait foh you, Remy," she whispered, her hand squeezing his. "Ah know ya don't want ta be here ta get over this…"

"I can' be here, Rogue," he corrected her. "Dis is somet'ing I need t' do on m'own."

"But we're helpin' Lorna… We can do the same foh you!" she insisted.

He shook his head, his white locks spilling over his shoulder. "I jus' can't, chére. Understand dat."

Her hand dropped from his and fell to her side. "Ah do… it doesn't make it any easier though." Her shoulders hunched forward, defeat overwhelming her posture.

Remy's other hand floated up and cupped her other cheek, gently forcing her to look at him. "Chére," he murmured, his voice practically scratching past his throat it was so low. "I will wait f' you, if you'll wait f' me."

Rogue's lip trembled. "Is that a promise?"

He shook his head sadly. "I can' promise anyt'ing, Rogue. But I'll still do m'best."

"Ah guess Ah'll take what Ah can get," she said with a meek smile. Her eyes met his again and she swallowed a gulp.

He was there. Burning bright behind the red irises – Remy was there! For a moment she could see that love that she'd gazed upon countless times before. Her heart beat in her chest knowing that having hope wasn't such a ridiculous wish after all.

"I have t' go," he told her suddenly, sadness and reluctance seeping through his dark lips.

"Ah know," Rogue whispered in return. "Ah don't want ya ta go," she pleaded quietly as she dropped her gaze from his eyes. "But Ah know ya have to." Her eyes fluttered closed, unwilling to see him anymore. She just found him, the smallest glimmer of him, and then he had to go anyway. She wasn't sure if earlier when he'd almost killed her with his poisonous smoke was the most heartbreaking thing he'd done to her anymore.

She felt a minute pressure on the top of her head. It was cold, but steadily warming upon the minimal contact with her hair.

"Désolé, chére," he murmured against the white locks of her head, his breath cool against her scalp. He pulled away, the tepid night air filling the void of his chilling kiss.

His hand slipped from her face, trailing slightly in her hair and down her shoulder before falling from her body completely. Her eyes remained closed as he whispered close to her ear, "Adieu."

When she opened her eyes, he was gone.

She wanted to whip her head around, fly above the woods, anything in order to find him, but she knew it would be fruitless. He may not have been the same Gambit, the same Prince of Thieves, but he could still move like one. If he didn't want to be found, he wouldn't be.

So instead, Rogue stood absolutely still, ingraining into her memory the touch of his hand in her hair, across her cheek, the briefest of cold but welcoming kisses through her hair. She shivered as she felt the chill of his lips again.

He had always found ways to leave her breathless. A small smile curled her lips as she thought of all the times he would get around touching her.

"Not that he can remember them now," she murmured with a sigh as her smile faded. Blinking the tears from her eyes, she numbly walked forward, back to her discarded gloves. She saw the thin trail of smoke swirling up through the air from her forgotten cigarette. With a dismal smile, she snuffed it under her boot before snatching her gloves and the pack of cigarettes from the long grass. Grasping the items in her hand, she took off, refusing to look back to the clearing in case she caught the smallest sight of silver locks blowing in the gentle breeze.

She landed near the institute a minute or so later. Her eyes watered from her speed, or at least, that's what she told herself. She glanced up to her room, unable to fly back in the ajar window. Instead, she walked slowly around the perimeter or the house to the front steps, drawing attention from the few guards still standing watch. She sighed, running a bare hand through her hair.

As she made it to the front steps, she took a seat on the stone wall lining the main path to the doors. She looked down to the gloves and cigarettes in her hand, feeling lost.

"How ya doin', darlin'?"

Rogue blinked, glancing upwards to Logan who had just come outside. She shrugged shyly. "Ah'm alright," she lied. She closed her hand around the gloves and cigarettes, trying to smile somehow.

Logan snorted, taking a seat next to her as he slipped a cigar out of his jacket pocket. "We both know that's bull, Rogue," he said through the cigar as he placed it in his mouth. A zippo flicked in his hand as he lit the cigar. He took a few puffs before lowering it. "He was here, wasn't he." It wasn't a question.

"How did you-"

He glanced at her sideways as he took another drag.

"Raht. Damn yoah senses."

"Where's he at now?"

Rogue bit her lip, her eyes back down to the cigarettes in her hand. "Ah don't know," she whispered. "Ah didn't try ta follow him either," she added sullenly.

Logan nodded silently, absorbing her words. He lowered his cigar from his lips with one hand and gently placed his other arm around Rogue's shoulder. She curled into the embrace, knowing Logan didn't show this type of sympathy and sensitivity for most people at the institute, save for her and a few select others.

After a few quiet moments, he murmured, "It's probably best that ya didn't go after him. I've been there, darlin'. Times like this ya just need ta figure it out on yer own."

She nodded against his shoulder. "Funny how ya know exactly what it's like," she muttered darkly.

"You an' the Cajun were there with everyone else ta bring me back, Rogue. When I was ready, I came back. Gumbo'll do the same." He stopped to take another long, smooth puff off his cigar.

Rogue's eyes shifted up to him, watching him coolly smoke the cigar. The smoke curled out of the end, the dull gray trailing up into the night sky. "How can ya be so sure?" she asked in a tiny voice.

He lowered the cigar again and looked down to her, a knowing smirk crossing his lips. "Because whether either of us want ta admit it, Gambit an' me are cut from the same cloth. We know where we belong in the end, even through all the darkness. An' despite everythin'," he began, tenderly hugging Rogue a little closer. "We know he feels about you. An' a person is capable of a lot of things with the right type of motivation – his just happened to be misplaced."

She snorted a small chuckle, her fist closing around the cigarettes in her hand. "Like yoahs wasn't? But Ah highly doubt that Ah'm in a position ta compare you against Sabretooth as bein' the same as Remy allowin' himself to let that be done to him."

"Take it what you will, darlin'. It's up ta you ta make that ultimate decision of whether or not yer gonna sit around an' wait for him ta come back."

She glanced down to the cigarette pack again, crumpled in her hands. No doubt the contents inside were crushed beyond use thanks to her misuse. "We both built ourselves up ta a lot of expectations over the last few years, Logan. Between escapin' death an' our time off an' then joinin' the team again… Ah think that speaks foh itself."

"So what are ya sayin'?" That knowing smirk was back.

She lifted her head to meet his gaze again as she gently tucked the pack of cigarettes in her hand. "Ah'd be a fool ta think that everythin' is gonna be alright from here on in." She patted the cigarettes, feeling content with their place in her pocket. "But Ah'd be an idiot ta think if it's goin' ta end like this."

She stood up, tugging her gloves on one by one as Logan placed the cigar in his mouth again. "Where ya headed now?" he asked her.

"Upstairs. Ah think Ah'll be alright foh the time bein'," she responded with a faint smile. She bent down and planted a kiss on Logan's face through a thick sideburn. "Thank ya, sugah. Ah think you've been the first person to not overstep mah relationship with him since this whole thing happened an' you'll never know how much Ah appreciate that."

"I think I have an idea," he said, tapping off a few ashes from his cigar. "Good night, Rogue."

"You, too." She tucked her hair behind her ear and turned to walk inside, her hand snaking inside her pocket for the box of cigarettes once more. She fingered the pack protectively, thinking how odd it'd be to carry around a crushed pack of cigarettes that she'd probably never smoke.

She reached her room, peeling off her jacket and throwing it on her bed. She reached inside for the pack and placed it where she'd found it earlier that night on their shared nightstand. Her eyes shifted to the picture by the cigarettes, catching Remy's warm gaze as if it was penetrating her soul through the two dimensional photograph.

She'd seen the tiniest bit of that loving stare that night in him. The bright embers in his demon-like irises that she'd loved for so many years and hadn't been able to escape, no matter how much had happened between them. That was all the hope she needed.

It wasn't too late to save him – to save them. Not at all.

End.

-----

So this, boys and girls, is my reaction to Black Gambit and the events of the recent Blood of Apocalypse arc which has devastated X-Men in recent months. This includes the events up until #186, but not 187 because that travesty is being shoved in the corner of my mind labeled DENIAL. All in all, this is how 187 would've been handled if the characters had been written 'properly,' and not like the persona shells that were used in that God forsaken issue.

A few issues/events were touched upon as well besides the recent arc. One being my absolute favorite Romy moment ever – Uncanny X-Men 297 when Rogue and Remy were sitting on the roof after she'd been blinded by Strobe and Remy promised her everything was going to be alright. If you haven't read the issue, I recommend it highly. After I originally read 187, I reread UXM 297 and bawled my eyes out because ugh. Also mentioned is X-Men 45, when Rogue says "Ah've always loved you, from the moment Ah laid mah eyes on you." That's a sad issue in itself, but at least it's written better than this recent crap. And finally, Logan's stint as Death himself back from X-Men 95. Personally, I didn't know too much about it (I actually thought he was War for a bit there…) but a good friend of mine set me straight.

Oh, and this fic is very loosely based on the song Cigarette by Yellowcard. If you haven't heard it, find a way because it is an amazingly beautiful song.

So that's it! This is my therapy, and it feels better to get it out. Now I can jump back into Standing On the Edge of Summer with a not so heavy heart and write the fluff I'm used to.

Let me know what you think by hitting that little button down there!

-- Courtney