So. Last chapter. It's quite a bittersweet moment.

First, I realize that i haven't really done the disclaimer, so to avoid any unnecessary trouble I'm just gonna do it right now: I DO NOT OWN "RATATOUILLE". (Although I wish I did.) RATATOUILLE IS THE PROPERTY OF DISNEY/PIXAR.

Alright, now that that's out of the way, I apologize to my readers for my extreme laziness and procrastination. I realize it's been, like, a month since I've updated, but I've had a lot going on and I wanted to make this chapter awesome cuz it's the last one. :). Hopefully, you readers will like it, which brings me to my next point: Thanks so much to all of you who have read and reviewed!! It really means a lot to me. :) :). If you could find the time to review this last chapter, it would make me unbelievably happy. :).

Alright, that's all I wanted to say. Enjoy!!

Away 17


"Cheri, please eat something," Colette urged Linguini, whose head rested in his arms on a counter in the kitchen of La Ratatouille.

"Colette, I can't," Linguini said, his voice muffled, tired, and dangerously close to cracking.

They had been having the same conversation for about 15 minutes, which wasn't a terribly long time, but for Colette's worn patience it was just past tolerable.

"Alfredo," she said, her tone demanding attention but at the same time kind and understanding.

Linguini slowly raised his head to lock eyes with Colette's, revealing that they were bloodshot and recently wet, which matched the water stains on his sleeve.

"Alfredo, what exactly happened?"

This was the main reason Colette was annoyed. Linguini had walked into the kitchen, soaking wet, gave her one glance that couldn't mean anything good had happened, and then collapsed onto a stool and indiscreetly cried.

After that, it was impossible to get any response out of him, other than the words "I can't." And that was what mainly annoyed Colette. She hated those words, and had a right to know what happened. Although she had noticed that Little Chef hadn't made the trip back with Linguini, and Little Chef's brother had stayed outside.

"Alfredo, what happened?" she tried again as Linguini continued to blankly stare at her.

"Colette…he…jar…stupid lady…cat…gun…police…"

That was all he seemed capable of saying, because after that his head dropped again to the safety of his arms.

"Cheri, I'm not a detective," Colette said softly.

Linguini didn't move. Against her nature, Colette decided to drop it.

"Alfredo, will you move so we can go home?"

No response.

"Alfredo?"

Nothing.

"Alfredo," Colette added a little more bite to the word.

Absolutely nothing. She wondered vaguely if he was asleep. It wouldn't surprise her, Linguini fell asleep faster than anyone she knew.

Sighing, she pulled out a stool to sit on and attempt a better vantage point of Linguini's face to confirm that he was, in fact, sleeping peacefully.

Head resting on her arms like Linguini's, but with her face up, she studied his rhythmic breathing and decided that he was asleep. It was no wonder, he had had a long, tiresome day, and he'd just exhausted himself crying.

Colette was about to join him in his slumber for lack of a better thing to do when she noticed a movement out of the corner of her eye.

Turning, ready to use her trusty pepper spray if needed, she found herself meeting the concerned gaze of Mon Chef.

"Oh, thank God," she said to herself as the little rat scurried across the tabletop, stopped in front of Linguini, inspected the sleeping redhead, and then turned to face a very angry Colette.

"Mon Chef, where have you been?" Colette demanded, her voice a mixture of anger and relief. Before the little rat could start his explanation via charades, she noticed a tiny scar on his back and gently turned him around. Her voice softened.

"Oh, Mon Chef…what happened?" she asked, her voice now dripping with concern. Without waiting for movements from the rat, she opened the first aid drawer conveniently in front of her and pulled out some antiseptic. And, although the little rat attempted escape, she managed in the way that probably only Colette could to put a little dot of it on his back and rub it in thoroughly.

"Do you think we need a band-aid…?" she asked, inspecting the tiny scar again. Frantic head movements from Mon Chef told her that he did not desire a large, sticky bandage on his back. The injury didn't look like anything too serious, anyway.

"Now, Mon Chef, I ask again: What happened?"

From the charades, she gathered that he had been walking downtown, stumbled into a shop, fallen off of something, carried something on top of his head, and that there had been guns. And there had been rain, although that last part was assumed by the little rat's wet fur.

"All right then. I think I'll just have Alfredo explain it to me later…."

Remy could tell he was not getting through, but that didn't matter right now. In his frantic attempts to escape from Colette's stupid antiseptic, (seriously, why'd Linguini have to convince her to buy that?), he had totally forgotten his original motive for coming back in here. Emile was taking care of informing the clan of Remy's safety, and it was Remy's job to do the same for Linguini. (And Colette, but that had been accomplished fairly quickly.)

Turning to the sleeping form of his best friend, Remy shook his head in amusement. It was just like Linguini to fall asleep while balancing one half precariously on a chair and the other half totally slumped on a table. It was a talent, really.

Gently, Remy nudged Linguini's arm. He didn't stir. Scratching his arm didn't work, either. Neither did softly biting it. Finally, Remy abandoned all hope for a normal awakening and climbed to the top of Linguini's head, assumed a comfortable position among the messy strands of red hair, and pulled skillfully on some choice strands.

Some small grunting sounds from Linguini confirmed that he was (finally) coming to. Remy pulled harder, which resulted in Linguini's head jolting up like a jack-in-the-box, almost throwing the tiny rat off his perch.

"Hmm…wha…Colette? What are we doing at the restaurant?" Linguini asked groggily. "My head hurts….."

Reaching up to soothe the inflicted area, his hand rested on something furry and soft that was definitely not his thick, curly hair.

"Colette…."

With a knowing, maternal smile, Colette just nodded.

Slowly, Linguini closed his hand around the fluffy object and brought it down to eye level.

A smiling Little Chef was looking back at him with a look that clearly said, "Seriously, you didn't believe it, did you?"

With a smile, Linguini drew the hand holding the tiny rat into as close a hug as he could get. "I knew it," he whispered.