This one goes out to all the ladies. And by ladies I mostly mean Margaret P. who has put up with my bullcrap for far longer than I expected her to. Seriously, she should get a prize or something. So, Margaret, sorry for monopolizing your lunch periods with inane chatter about stories I was writing, we should see if we can get Maggie's mom to make us some fajitas in celebration OF THE FINAL CHAPTER OF ONLY THE GOOD.
Weep for yourself, my man, you'll never be what is in your heart But it was not your fault but mine
Weep little lion man, you're not as brave as you were at the start
Rate yourself and rape yourself, take all the courage you have left
Wasted on fixing all the problems that you made in your own head
And it was your heart on the line
I really f cked it up this time
Didn't I, my dear?
But it was not your fault but mine
-Little Lion Man, Mumford and Sons
Rogue wasn't all that surprised that she woke up alone simply because she was growing accustomed to the sensation; the only thing left of her mother was a spot on the bed that was quickly growing cool. She was getting used to being alone. It wasn't even so bad when she thought about it.
If she was alone for the rest of her life no one could hurt her again. And she was okay with that. (Not really, but she was going to pretend to be okay with that until she was actually okay with that.)
So, for the first time in three (was it four now? Longer?) days, Rogue slid out of bed and Rogue crawled into the shower and Rogue washed her hair and Rogue brushed her teeth and Rogue did her makeup and Rogue put on her clothes and Rogue hesitated for only a second before she opened his door and stepped out into the halls. Because she was fine. Beautifully, incredibly, amazingly okay.
If she couldn't convince herself she was okay, she could sure as hell convince everyone else.
"C'mon! C'mon!" Remy slammed his elbow into the steering wheel of the black Dodge Neon and decided that was an awful decision as his shoulder stretched beyond the safety zone of capacity. Hissing in pain he settled for bringing his knee up into the dashboard viciously and hoping that at some atomic level cars could feel pain. "Just move, dammit!" he shouted at nothing, because that was precisely the problem.
He'd checked under the hood, he had enough gas, steering, breaks and calibration where fine, ideal even, but Devil Car refused to start.
"Was it just not enough?" Remy shouted at the roof, though he wasn't really shouting at the roof. "I had t' suffer more, huh?" Car horns blared in an accusing manner from outside of the cab and Remy spared a moment from raving to shoot them and obscene gesture that hurt all the way up his arm, but made him feel a little better on the inside before his thoughts returned back to Devil Car, Hell Situation, and Screwed-Up Life.
His eyes burned and his arms went limp and he planted his forehead on the top of the steering wheel.
He couldn't win.
He was getting tired of trying.
Blinking back the feeling of acid in his red eyes, he sat up, because even if he didn't want to keep trying, he wanted to get home more.
A hardware store loomed in front of him on the other side of the street Devil Car had died next to, practically placed under his nose.
Lightning struck his brain.
An idea that was either genius or idiocy half formed in his mind, but he was going to roll with it because it was the only one he had.
So, he rolled with it, but it wasn't until he was man-handling a five-foot section of white fence into the back of Hellmobile did it really strike him how ridiculously ludicrous this idea was. After all, any plan that requires you to steal a five-foot section of fence in broad daylight just reeks of insanity.
However, on some level, he was a little proud of himself. Any old fool could buy something. It's mundane. It's average. Purchasing something doesn't make it yours. You didn't work for it. You didn't sweat or bleed for it. Stealing it though, stealing something with the skill and style that Remy did, it made it yours. It made it special.
"Alright, Devil Car." He mumbled into the steering wheel, his fingers tentatively poised over the key in the ignition, his large frame uncomfortably stuffed in the small cab. "I just wanna go home." He pleaded with Satan's Automobile. "I gotta girl there waitin' for me, and she can't beat the hell outta me f'r scarin' her so bad 'til you get me there, so please."
He turned the key.
And Lucifer's Neon purred to life.
They watched her move through the halls like she was some sort of china doll. Like it was a miracle she was even moving because she was so fragile. None of them dared touch her for fear she would shatter into a million pieces.
Rogue wasn't entirely sure she wouldn't.
Kitty, Kurt and Ororo were standing around the island counter in the kitchen, sipping on steaming mugs in absolute silence when she walked in. They stared at her.
"'Ro," She rasped out, her voice old and unused. "I was wondering if I could pick some flowers from the greenhouse."
"Of course," Ororo said slowly because, even though she absolutely detested anyone picking her flowers, she wasn't about to deny Rogue anything at that moment. "Anything you'd like, child." She smiled softly at the younger woman, daring to hope she would return it as a sign that she was doing well. Well, not 'well'. There was no way to be well after they'd planted the stone rose in the garden. No one was okay after the Stone Rose.
Rogue could only find it in herself to nod back, and then nod again in acknowledgement to Kurt and Kitty who were staring at her with a morbid sense of awe to see her functioning.
She turned out of the kitchen just fast enough that she only had to hear the beginning of their whispers and just slow enough to miss Scott's shoulder as he turned into the hall with her.
"Rogue," he caught her elbow to steady her as she stumbled a bit. "Are you alright?" He blurted before he could even think the question through.
Was she alright? Was he an idiot?
"I- I didn't mean-." He quickly attempted to amend.
"Peachy keen." She didn't look him in the eye as she removed her arm from his hand. "I was just headin' outside, if you'll excuse me."
Scott had been the first to notice it in the Danger Room, and he was the first to notice it now, as she slipped away from him down the hall and around the corner. That she wasn't alright. Not at all. Not even a little bit.
Because Rogue and Gambit were like one unit, and when one of them went down, the other became an amputee.
Perhaps charging into the situation with nothing but a blind sense of enthusiasm and a stolen section of fence wasn't the best idea. Both of which seemed absolutely idiotic now that he was actually here, sitting in the drive, filled with so many conflicting emotions he felt like vomiting.
He sat for a few minutes more, attempting to regulate his breathing to no avail before he gave up and decided quick-like-a- band-aid would be the best approach (though there wasn't really any good way to approach this)
Remy gave a small cry of pain as he slipped on the wet gravel of The Institute's driveway and reached out to steady himself too fast for his shoulder to handle. He wrenched his arm back into his chest and lost his footing again and went slipping and stumbling to the ground, sending what felt like another gunshot through his chest. He could only lay on the wet drive for a few minutes, coughing and wheezing in pain and absolute, unadulterated terror.
He was here.
Remy caught the door handle of Devil Car and used it to haul himself into a semi-upright position, panting heavily and wishing he'd had enough forethought to steal some pain meds while he was still at the hospital. He only gave himself a minute to recover and check to see if he'd torn his stitches (He had.) before he set his jaw and hauled the fence out of the back of the car.
All the while little thoughts buzzed through his mind like angry bees, telling him that he'd screwed up too bad this time; that he couldn't fix it. That there was something different about the old mansion this time around. It didn't feel like a home anymore for some reason.
"It's gonna be fine." He growled to himself, dragging the fence behind him as he cut a path towards the front door. "It's gonna fantastic." He muttered as he clambered up the steps. A small spot of blood was leaking through his shirt. "It's gonna be goddamn amaz—"It finally struck him what was so different about the old place. What was so off. What was so unnatural.
There was a tombstone.
In the garden.
There was a tombstone in the garden.
He felt so numb he didn't even notice his feet were leading him towards the garden, the back of the fence still dragging behind him because he had forgotten how to unclench his fist.
There was a tombstone in the garden.
He didn't want to look, every fiber of his being was telling him not to look, but he had to.
Remy LeBeau, Thief, scoundrel, and X-man. A good man, though he'd never admit it. A rose was carved into the black granite underneath of his name.
"I ain't dead…" He mumbled to himself. "I… I'm not dead…"
But he had a tombstone. It had his name on it.
The world pitched forward and he fell to his knees, his eyes level with the calligraphy of his name. He felt sick to his stomach.
"I'm not dead." He said, a little louder this time as he reached forward to brush his fingers against the cold stone.
"Who the fuck is in my grave!" He screamed, furious all of the sudden, his fists pounded the ground, his throat was tight, his eyes burned, and he had a tombstone. He practically threw a fit. Retching and screaming and writhing and cursing on the ground, pulling out tufts of grass and his own hair and tearing at his own bandages and stitches and beating his fists against his own name until his knuckles were bloody. Because he had a grave. And he wasn't in it. He had a tombstone. And it wasn't his.
They thought he was dead.
He wept for himself and eventually he ran out of energy enough to curse everything he'd ever know. His sobs kept up until he was just so tired he couldn't maintain them anymore.
It was around then he noticed he wasn't alone.
At the sounds of someone else's crying he whipped around so quickly he could almost hear the stitches in his shoulder groan in protest.
She looked beautiful. Her mascara was smeared, she obviously hadn't slept in a few days, hadn't eaten in longer. Her eyes were rimmed in red, her hands were clothed in black, and a half dozen red roses lay forgotten and abandoned at her feet.
"Am I going crazy?" Rogue breathed shakily as she stared at him in wide eyed horror. He looked awful. His nose was angled oddly in a fashion that really only served to make him look more masculine, the purple bruises spreading underneath his eyes, making him look ageless and exhausted. She could see the white and red of bandages at the top edge of his collar and the dark discoloration of blood at the center of his chest. The knees of his pants were soaked through with mud and rain water. He was breathing wetly and for some goddamn reason there was a fence sprawled on the ground a few feet away from his grave.
"Rogue," Remy struggled to stand, using the stone rose as leverage.
She shrank away when he reached for her. "You're not real." Her lower lip trembled. "I watched…" Her voice broke. "All the blood- and the fire… and I saw- I saw the roof…" She choked on the words.
"Sh," He hushed her softly, edging closer like he would have a wild animal he was attempting to subdue a wild wolf. "I'm real. I'm here." He assured her, his arms and his hands held out in a placating gesture that he wasn't going to hurt her.
"You'll leave." She said into her hands.
"Never again." He told her.
She shook her head. "You lied to me before. You're doing it again. You'll leave. You're not real."
"Chere," He started.
"Don't you call me that!" She screamed. "Ah'm not about tah let you get away with anything else jus' 'cause you think you can charm your way outta mah bad books, you jackass! You died on me! I ain't about tah forget that! And why the hell are you laughing at me!"
"You're so pretty when you're angry," He coughed through the laughter and the tears before he added a "Chere."
Rogue turned red to her ears both with the compliment and her righteous fury. How dare he, ghost or manifestation of her insanity or whatever he was, laugh at her. She cocked back her fist and aimed it straight for his crooked nose.
"Enfer!" Remy stumbled backwards into his tombstone, clutching his nose which had started to bleed again. "Merde, chere! Can we at least wait 'til I get more meds 'fore you beat the shit outta me?" He hissed.
"I…I hit you." Rogue was staring at the blood on her knuckles, not at all listening to his pained rantings.
"Yeah, y' did." Remy wiped at his nose.
"But… you're not real." She frowned. "You… you… there was blood everywhere…"
Before he could really even comprehend what was going on she was on top of him, ripping at his shirt, jarring any and all of his scrapes burns and gashes.
"Ow!" He yelped as she yanked the black shirt over his head. "Go easy on me, chere!"
"Oh my god…" She gasped when she finally saw the mess of bloody bandages and purple flesh that made up his chest. Her trembling fingers reached forward and graced the spot where he'd been shot.
He winced in pain.
"Remy?" She looked up at him with wet eyes.
"Chere." He looked down at her.
And then she was sobbing.
"Ah! Rogue! Non, non, non! I'm fine, chere!" He hated it when she cried. "Look at me!" He held out his arm. "I'm fine!"
"You got shot!" She wailed as she sunk down to the ground, the mud seeping into her dress. "I thought you were dead, you jackass! You left me!"
"I didn't want to!" He fell to his knees next to her, folding her into his chest quickly before she could come to her senses and pull away from him.
"But you did!" She cried into his neck. "And you knew you would! You lied to me!"
"Never again." He repeated as he stroked her hair with his good hand. "I'll tell you everything. Anything you want to know." He assured her.
There were a lot of things she wanted to know: Why he had lied to her. What he was trying to protect her from. How he survive a flaming roof collapsing on him. But there was only one thing she needed to know.
She mumbled something unintelligible into his neck.
"What was that?" He asked into her hair.
"Promise me you love me?"
He laughed and cried and both of them hurt. "I love you Anna Marie Darkholme." And she laughed and cried into his neck. And they laughed and cried together.
"Remy," Rogue sniffed and wiped at her eyes after a few minutes. "Why do you have a fence?"
"It's dumb." He rubbed the back of his neck.
"Nothing you can say right now would be dumb." She pulled her knees up into her chest and propped her chin on them.
"I…" He coughed awkwardly.
"Oh, this has gotta be bad." She gave a watery laugh. "You're blushing!"
"Am not!" He said a little too quickly.
She grinned, wiping at her eyes and sniffing again, smearing mud all over her face.
"Alright," He cleared his throat. "I was kinda hopin' that maybe we could build the rest of it together."
"Rest of what?" She asked, looking over at the fence again. She had to look at it for a moment before it hit her like a ton of bricks.
It was a white picket fence.
He was giving her a white picket fence.
And she was sobbing again.
"Ah! Rogue!" Remy began to panic again. "You don' have to! I was jus'- I- I'm sorry!"
"Are you asking me to marry you with a fence?" She wailed.
"It's harder t' steal a diamond ring from a hardware store!" He said defensively. "Look, if you don' wanna—"
"Of course I want to!" She punched him in his good shoulder. "I just never thought you were gonna propose to me while we sat, covered in mud on top of your grave after I just spent a week thinking you were dead!"
"I guess it's not really a fairytale ending…" he considered.
"It's perfect." She sniffed. "I missed you."
"I missed you too, chere." He kissed her cheek, leaving a muddy smudge.
They both looked to The Institute.
"Is it bad in there?" Remy supposed the worst part was over with but he could already feel his ribs cracking with John's tackling embrace, a sore spot on his shoulder where Logan would smack him, a warm spot around his neck where Ororo would wrap her arms, a bruise where Pete would shake his hand awkwardly because he wouldn't know what else to do with himself, and a damp spot on his stomach where Jamie would sob into his shirt. Not to mention the countless other hugs and sobs and awkward awkward mutual head nods of acknowledgment he was going to have to endure.
"Let's not go in just yet."She gently pressed herself into his chest and he leaned back against his tombstone.
"Dance with me." He said.
"What?" A smile split her face.
"Dance with me." He repeated, tugging her upright before se could even think to protest. She laughed as he swayed with her, humming.
She laughed again as she recognized the tune and he twirled her around.
"I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun." He sang to her. "'Cause, darling, only the good die young"
And this story ends with Remy LeBeau dancing on top of his own grave.
Well, that was emotionally draining. The song is Only The Good Die Young by Billy Joel, also known as the song this story was named after.
Well, that was emotionally draining. The song is Only The Good Die Young by Billy Joel, also known as the song this story was named after.
This is the part where I'm supposed to tell you that I don't own the x-men or something, but I'm too tired.
Take the half a minute and tell me what you think? I love you guys a whole lot. All of you. Even the ones who didn't fav, alert, or review this (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! I still love you!)
Nap time for Jamie Hook.