Wow. This is my tenth story. I can't believe I've posted that many. I thought for quite some time about what I wanted to do for this. A sequel? Another comedy? Pure fluff? In the end, I didn't like any of those. I wanted to challenge myself with something I hadn't done before. So I decided to do something sad.

Under normal circumstance, I'm not one who favors a lot of angst. I like to keep it light. And I certainly don't care for character death. But I wanted to know if I could do something sad for my tenth story. So here it is.

I hope y'all like it. If not, I understand. But my fingers are crossed. And the next story won't be nearly as…sad. We'll get back to the fun stuff soon. Cross my heart and kiss my elbow.

-M.A.

XXXXX

"This is Rogue. Sorry I can't get to the phone right now—"

"She's too busy gettin' the best lovin' in her life from this here Cajun beast."

There was the very audible sound of Remy getting slapped.

"Merde, that hurt, Roguey."

"—but if you leave your name and number I'll try to get back to you as soon as possible."

"Which won' be anytime soon 'cause Remy gonna keep her occupied for the very foreseeable future," he chimed in just before the tape ran out of time. It wasn't on the recording, but following his improvised voicemail recording, he had received a very painful pop to the back of his head. He had pulled her into his arms and kissed her silly, because he knew that she wasn't really annoyed with him. Why else had she not deleted the recording? She saved it.

"Remy…it's Jean. I know you said you weren't interested in coming out with us tonight, but we would really enjoy having you here. And the invitation is always open. So you can call…or whatever. But we…" She cleared her throat awkwardly. "We miss you, Remy."

The recording ended. Remy, whose legs dangled over the side of his balcony carelessly, lifted his gaze to the night sky. He took a lazy drag from his cigarette. He wasn't supposed to be smoking inside the mansion. It was against the rules. But no one was going to stop him or chide him. No, no. We mustn't do anything to upset Remy. He's in a very delicate condition. He needs time. He'll come around eventually. Just give him time. And, no matter what you do, don't upset him further.

They said these things when they thought he couldn't hear them. But he heard every word. If he felt so inclined, he might have raised some hell about his coddled treatment. But he wasn't so inclined. He didn't care.

Remy took another long drag from his cigarette. He had quit the habit quite some time ago. Back when he and Rogue first got together. She said that she hated when he smoked. So he stopped. Simple as that.

But there was no to protest his smoking habit now. And his addiction came back with vengeance.

He idly wondered how many nights he had spent, seated on this balcony, smoking, and not feeling. The calendars had indicated that it had been a little over two months but it certainly didn't feel like it. Since that day, time had blurred together. He didn't remember eating or sleeping. Or feeling. Since that day, he couldn't remember feeling anything.

That's why his teammates were so worried. Because he had been wandering around for a month or so he had been void of any signs of emotion. He was supposed to be feeling something—anything—during this time but there was nothing. That's not to say when he first heard the news, he hadn't been feeling.

He was raw. He screamed. He swore. He howled. He threw desks and punched holes into walls and blew up anything he could get his hands on. By the time he had dropped to his knees and moaned with bone deep sorrow, he had completely trashed the room.

Since then, nothing.

In the background, the phone rang. Remy made no attempt to answer it. After a few rings, the answering machine picked up.

"This is Rogue. Sorry I can't get to the phone right now—"

"She's too busy gettin' the best lovin' in her life from this here Cajun beast."

SLAP!

"Merde, that hurts, Roguey."

"—but if you leave your name and number, I'll get back to you as soon as possible."

"Which won' be anytime soon 'cause Remy gonna keep her occupied for the very foreseeable future."

Beep!

"'Ey, brothah. We was jus' checkin' up on ya. Wanted to know if you were interested in comin' down for a visit. Tante…she's worried 'bout ya. We all kinda are. But she especially been raisin' hell 'bout you needin' to come down." Henri laughed softly. "Ya always were her favorite. Um…jus' call me back, eh?"

The message ended.

Remy wondered what he should be feeling. Oddly enough, anger was at the forefront of his mind. They both had been injured. They both damn near died. They heard the arrival of the X-Men. So she lifted her head. Brought her face so close to his he thought that she might kiss him. But she didn't. She cradled his bloody and bruised face in her hands.

"Listen up, Cajun. They won't be long. But we'll havta go our own way for a bit. Meantime, don't die on me, hear? Ain't your time."

"Ain't your call to make, Chere."

She pressed her finger to his lips. "Don't sass me none, Gambit."

"Then you remember—ain't your time neither."

She smiled at him indulgently and pressed a kiss to the side of his mouth.

The X-Men came. They were torn apart so their injuries could be tended to. And even though he had been tempted several times, Remy did as he told. He didn't die on her. He fought so that when he woke up, he could hold her hand.

Only he couldn't.

She made him fight just so she could die on him. Just so he could wake up and be heartbreakingly alone. Remy didn't understand why she would do that to him. Why she would be so cruel. It should have made him angry.

But it didn't.

The phone rang once more. This was not unusual. Since the accident, he had been receiving phone calls nonstop. Family. Friends. People concerned about his well-being.

"This is Rogue. Sorry I can't get to the phone right now—"

"She's too busy gettin' the best lovin' in her life from this here Cajun beast."

SLAP!

"Merde, that hurts, Roguey."

"—but if you leave your name and number, I'll get back to you as soon as possible."

"Which won' be anytime soon 'cause Remy gonna keep her occupied for the very foreseeable future."

Beep!

The recording wasn't that old. It was kind of odd, hearing how full of life and happy he had once been not so long ago. The man on that recording seemed like a stranger now.

"Gumbo," a gruff voice called on the answering machine. "I know you're there. Answer you damn phone. I know you're there." He sighed. "I just wanted to know if you were interested in goin' out and grabbin' a beer. Hell, we can even cause some trouble if that'll get you outta your funk. But you can't stay in that room forever. Trust me…I know what you're feelin'. You can't lock yourself away forever. She…she wouldn't want that for you."

He hung up. Remy inhaled sharply. Logan was the only one to even begin to address the issue. Everyone else danced around it. They didn't say it, as if he wasn't completely aware of what they really wanted to say. If anything was going to make Remy LeBeau feel, it was that. It would make him frustrated.

The Cajun pulled out another cigarette, lighting it with his powers. He lifted it to his lips before letting his hand drift down to his stomach. Though covered by his shirt, Remy knew exactly where the ugly scar on his stomach was. He traced it with idle fingers. She was brandishing a similar one.

They both had been hit. Together. The ugly blade had to be pulled from both their bodies. And now all he had left from that mission gone wrong was an ugly scar.

Maybe, if he was going to feel something, it should be sadness. That seemed natural. But he wasn't even feeling that. It was the reason he hadn't gone to the funeral. Not to say that he hadn't considered it. He had intended to go. Bought a suit and a bouquet of roses and everything. But at the last minute, he backed out. He just couldn't bring himself to do it.

Instead, he sat on the balcony, his white button down open and his first cigarette in his fingers. He was sure it was lovely ceremony. He wished he could have made himself go. But he couldn't. They wanted him to speak. But how could he? How could he go up there and speak when he was an emotionless zombie? How did they expect him to go up there and deliver a speech about the woman he loved who was no longer there? What did they want from him?

Were they trying to be cruel?

No, no. He couldn't do it. So instead he stayed at home. The roses were still in a vase in his room. They had died long ago but he hadn't the heart or the drive to throw them away. Remy was certain that it was symbolic or something but he didn't think about it too hard. It wasn't like it mattered.

The phone rang.

"This is Rogue. Sorry I can't get to the phone right now—"

"She's too busy gettin' the best lovin' in her life from this here Cajun beast."

SLAP!

"Merde, that hurts, Roguey."

"—but if you leave your name and number, I'll get back to you as soon as possible."

"Which won' be anytime soon 'cause Remy gonna keep her occupied for the very foreseeable future."

Beep!

"Heeeyyyyyyy…Rems. I think Jean mentioned that she called you already but I was like, wondering if you wanted to hang out tonight. It would be, like, really fun. You always make things way more fun. Even Scott thinks so, even if he wouldn't say it. Like, ever. Um…anyway. Things aren't the same without you. So you should totally hang out with us sometime. We miss you."

He was sick of phone calls and patronizing teammates and concerned family. What, exactly, did they want from him? For him to just get up and be ready to party like nothing happened? Like the world—his world—was right again? Maybe they didn't realize it but his world shattered. According to the calendars, it shattered two months ago. And every attempt he made at picking up the destroyed pieces only resulted in cutting his fingers.

He was getting nowhere.

Remy didn't understand what they wanted from him. And he didn't understand how they were already moving on. How the world was still going on. Sitting on the balcony gave him a front seat to everything that was changing. He saw the same birds flitter by. And he saw his teammates go in and out. He saw couples hold hands and kiss. He felt the breeze tousle his hair. Felt the sun burn his skin. He was sure if he left his room, he would see that others were still going on with their daily lives and the ocean still crashed.

Well that was good for them. Because maybe life went on without Rogue, but Remy LeBeau was stuck. He hadn't budged an inch.

How could they expect anymore of him? His Rogue was gone. She had died. She made him fight for his life just so she could give up on her own. Now they kept calling. Asking him to feel?

No. No way.

If he wanted to smoke himself to death on this balcony, then no one had any right to make him stop. To chide him. To tell him otherwise.

Remy LeBeau was a broken man.

The phone rang.

Snarling, the man got to his feet and stormed into his room. No more phone calls. No more pleas. No more "Remy please" or "We miss you." He was through with that. And he was through with his stupid phone.

Taking the phone in his iron grip, he squeezed. It heard and felt it give way under his grip. Growling, he charged and threw the wretched device. Before it could touch the ground, it exploded. The sound echoed through his room, making Remy aware just how deafening the silence was. His eyes wandered over to the answering machine.

His hand hovered over the erase button. No more concerned voicemails. That's what he told himself, anyway. But he couldn't bring himself to actually press the button. Instead, his finger drifted over the button that would allow him to listen to the recording that he and Rogue made not so long ago.

"This is Rogue. Sorry I can't get to the phone right now—"

"She's too busy gettin' the best lovin' in her life from this here Cajun beast."

SLAP!

"Merde, that hurts, Roguey."

"—but if you leave your name and number, I'll get back to you as soon as possible."

"Which won' be anytime soon 'cause Remy gonna keep her occupied for the very foreseeable future."

Beep!

He missed her. God knew that he missed her so much. He pressed the button again.

"This is Rogue."

Rewind.

"This is Rogue."

Rewind.

"This is Rogue."

He missed her so much it made his bones ache. But as Remy LeBeau tortured himself by listening to the sound of his dead girlfriend's voice over and over again, he knew why he hadn't been feeling anything for two months.

"This is Rogue."

Rewind.

"This is Rogue."

Rewind.

"This is Rogue."

If he felt anything—anger, sadness, rage, frustration—it meant that she was truly gone. And if she was truly gone, then he really would never see her face again. He would never kiss her lips again. He would never hold her in his arms or call her Cherie or make fun of her for her two toned hair. He would never see her blush or hear her sigh his name.

If Remy LeBeau let himself feel anything, it meant that Rogue was gone and he was alone.

"This is Rogue."

Rewind.

"This is Rogue."

Rewind.

"This is Rogue."

His legs seemed to give out from beneath him and Remy found himself seated on his bed, his finger still on the answering machine. Before he knew it, tears were running down his face. He wasn't sure how they got there. But when he noticed him, he also became acutely aware of the aching in his chest.

"This is Rogue."

Rewind.

The pain was from the crack from somewhere within. And all those emotions he had been holding in poured out. Like the flood gates had opened.

He just missed her. So much.

He pressed the paly button once more, allowing the recording the play all the way through. He had a message for Rogue.

"This is Rogue. Sorry I can't get to the phone right now—"

"She's too busy gettin' the best lovin' in her life from this here Cajun beast."

SLAP!

"Merde, that hurts, Roguey."

"—but if you leave your name and number, I'll get back to you as soon as possible."

"Which won' be anytime soon 'cause Remy gonna keep her occupied for the very foreseeable future."

Beep!

Abiento, Cherie.

XXXXX

Yes, I wanted the ending to be vague. No, I didn't forget the quotes around the last line. I had them in there originally but they just...it wasn't right. Originally, he was going to tell her "au revoir" but that didn't feel quite right either.

For those of you wondering what exactly happened to Rogue, I wanted it to be kinda ambiguous-ish. If you're familiar with X-Treme X-Men, it should make sense. I leaned heavily on that plot but added my own angsty twist.

Anywho.

I understand if not everyone was very fond of this story. I just wanted to branch out a little. It's a work in progress.

But until we meet again...