Remy knew he could do this, but that didn't mean it didn't make him stop and wonder just why he was so comfortable taking on the pressuring-stalker role. He fit in so perfectly. He was Cinderella's prim little foot and the stalker role was the glass slipper, or some such shit.

Of all roles to mold to it had to be this type.

Anyway, ruminating about this realization of his personality would have to be ignored for now because the object was moving out. Cashier Whitney was getting off his shift at 11p.m on a shady Friday night (Remy had lost track of the police sirens he'd heard ... peril!). Whitney was tugging himself into his tight leather jacket and grabbing his man purse bag thing — um, yup, how had Remy thought the kid was straight? Even Remy didn't don a man purse.

Locking up now. And Remy would time it all just right.

Coming closer now. Whitney coughed into his shoulder and pulled out his phone and started texting.

And as he passed, Remy stepped out from the alley he was concealed in and Whitney shouted and chucked his phone at Remy in a dramatic state of alarm.

It hit Remy in the throat and he choked for a moment.

"Fuck man!" Whitney snapped. "Who the hell jumps out at someone from an alley at 11p.m?"

Remy held his hand up to suggest he had to take a breather. He cleared his throat, tried swallowing a couple times to make sure all was well and working in proper condition. He kneeled and picked up the phone, which was somehow perfectly fine. He said, "Well in my defense, I was just walking casually and you whipped your phone at me. Rude."

Whitney took his phone back and then his eyes went wide. "It's you."

Remy squinted. "Oh shit. You're that cashier."

Whitney squinted back, those bug eyes going into slits. "Like you didn't fucking know."

"Are you suggesting something?" Remy asked.

Whitney turned away. "Whatever man." He kept walking, like this was over. But of course it wasn't, because Remy had entered pressuring-stalker role and like any good professional he could not just abandon this.

"But really, running into you here like this, doesn't it like... set something off in your head?" Remy asked, walking on the poor kid's heels. "You know, like destiny and stuff. Like we were destined to meet here now, at this exact time and place."

"Um, no?"

"If you hadn't tossed your phone into my throat we would've physically collided. But also literally, fates collide. Deep huh?"

"No, not really."

Remy picked up the pace and swung himself in front of Whitney and held his arms out wide. "Can I at least get a hug?"

Whitney stopped. "What? A hug? Why?"

Remy stared, determined, tense.

"No, honestly. Why? I don't know you."

"I haven't had a hug since my pap passed, like two days ago," Remy said.


"Pap. Papa. Dadda. He died two days ago."

"He fucking did not."

Remy dropped his arms. "Shit, man. You better have been like 100 percent sure that I was lying, because otherwise you could scar a kid."

Whitney gave Remy what was likely the most exasperated look Remy had ever seen, and that was saying something because Remy had received a lot of exasperated looks in his whole sixteen years. He was, after all, a little shit most of the time. Right now though, he was more like a big shit. And poor Whitney had to be subjected to it.

But it was all for a greater good.

"I'm homeless and I don't know my dad," Remy said. He then grinned and put his arms back up. "Now hug. I'm actually surprisingly not smelly."

"Your haircut is like... fresh," Whitney said.

Remy froze. "No."

"That's not a retort."

"It is."

"Who the fuck are you and why are you following me?" Whitney spat. Fed up then? He had a light voice but when he was stressed, it just got lighter, almost girlish.

"Well okay," Remy said. He twiddled his thumbs, super innocent. "Since I saw you at the cashier stand in your workplace, I became taken by your eccentric looks and would like to perhaps..." He made an obscene gesture. "Be friends."

Whitney stepped back. "Why did you make an obscene gesture and then say friends?"

"I thought this was a friendly gesture..."

"It's sexual."

"Well, then it's not unfriendly."

Whitney scratched his head. "Listen, weirdo, I'm not interested."

Remy put a hand to his forehead in a display of melodrama.

Whitney sighed. He fiddled with his man purse thing and then tried to step around Remy, but Remy stepped in his way. "Let me pass," Whitney said. "You're freaking me out."

"Sorry, but you know what I want," Remy said. "I may be small and disarmingly cute, but that doesn't mean I'm not feisty." He tossed off a cheeky smile. "I'm looking for an old friend, who I know is a mutual friend of ours. His name is Patches and you and him go way back, so let's stop being aloof and just spit out some information."

Whitney blinked at Remy, and then sneered. "I don't know what..."

"Stop playing dumb you frog."

Whitney scowled. "What the fuck do you even want with that guy?"

"I owe him," Remy said. He pounded on his chest all proud like. "I don't like being in someone else's debt. I wanna pay him back but he's slippery as fuck, especially as of late... and I just need to get in contact with him." Or some such bullshit. It wouldn't do any good to show hostility towards Patches because the likelihood of this guy cooperating would diminish dramatically.

"Just like you said," Whitney said. "He's slippery as fuck. Don't have a clue where he is. But yeah, I know him. Knew him. Duno."

Remy sighed. That was not the right response. This was not what he wanted to hear and it was likely a lie anyway.

But that was Copper's job. To get the stress-release from this little liar.

"Sweet, thanks," Remy said. "Isn't it so much simpler and rewarding? Telling the truth?" He grinned like any grateful kid would and disappeared back into the alley.

Would Whitney report this to Patches? This persistent "homeless" kid who wishes to return a favor?

Oh yes, Patches would know exactly what was meant by that. Though it might've been degrading that Patches would likely connect Remy to homeless based on his oversized sweaters but whatever.

Who fucking cared. Patches would know he was being hunted — actively hunted. And he better be on his guard because when Remy found him, who could even say what would happen.

Even Remy had no idea what he planned to do.

When Remy got home it was pretty late. Everyone was in bed, and he tried his best to be quiet with his key and all that. Teresa used to stay up waiting but he'd made it such a habit to come home late she'd finally caved and started going to bed. He just made sure to message her whenever he was out and she'd calm a little.

When he came home he fixed himself a little snack. A salmon sandwich was awesome so he made one of those. He sat in the kitchen and looked out the window (he could not actually see anything except darkness) as he ate. He was tired but he was restless. He didn't know what to do. He wanted progress and was sick of waiting for something to come. He knew if he waited passively nothing would come of it, but... he'd just been active. And he had to wait anyway.

Remy was shitty at waiting. He was prone to childish behaviour and that was no secret.

Was there something more he could do?

Find Dominic directly? Though apparently Dominic and Patches weren't communicating, according to Kody's informants...

This was so frustrating.

He finished off the sandwich and left the kitchen. Passing through the den he saw Copper asleep on the couch.

Copper and Kody. Kody kissing him.

Remy couldn't imagine having Kody coming onto him. Kody was the leader of the Spades. The guy got what he wanted. He wasn't shy or inhibited or hesitant. Copper wasn't against the kiss and come ons, either.

Remy felt sick thinking about it. Copper was a rich priss and all that but he was a good guy. He was actually a decent fucking human, and to Remy, decent fucking humans were hard to come by.

He walked up to Copper in all his slumber glory. Beautiful fucker, with his disheveled light hair and his full eyelashes and his perfect complexion. Copper was like Remy now. Unsure of their ... of their whatever they'd had. Remy wanted Copper, half-way. Copper now wanted Remy, half-way. Giving up. Moving on. This was part of life's path and all that crap, but it was up to the person to halt the course called moving on.

People didn't have to move on. Unhealthy people stayed where they were. Healthy people moved on. By that logic, Copper, the healthier minded of the two, would move on.

And Remy, who was kinda fucked up and kicked-puppy like and had daddy issues and a rather unhealthy trend of behavior... well, he'd dwell, wouldn't he?

On either Copper or Patches. Either way he would hurt. He would hurt harder than he had any right, all because he was selfish and would drag this out until he finally figured his own shit out. Which he clearly wasn't good at doing because he would have already done it by now.

"Sorry for dragging you along on my circus," Remy murmured. He crouched beside Copper and wanted so badly to lean in and kiss his stepbrother until he woke up. Like he was a prince giving his magic kiss... but Remy wasn't the hero of a fairytale, he was the stupid wolf in the forest who thought he knew his shit but got sliced up in the end.

He could touch Copper though, because even with runty wolf paws he could touch without scratching. Even he was capable of at least that. So he touched Copper's shoulder, soft and uncertain. How did people come so selfless? Not wanting to move on, keep on hurting, for the sake of the other person — even when the other person was being so unfair and selfish? Leading them along on a string? Baiting them then kicking them away?

People were not kind like Copper.

Remy moved his hand up to Copper's face and traced his chin and cheek and forehead.

Remy stood quickly with a sigh. Damn, look at him touching a sleeping guy like this. He really did fit the stalker-creep role all too well.

He grinned sadly to himself and went to his room, where he curled up and wondered why he'd had to fall for Patches when Copper had been here all along. And why now he still couldn't let go, when happiness was the only answer that was glaring right in front of his face.

Copper was on the couch. The solution was laid out right there.

He loved Copper.

He loved Patches.

And apparently, he loved breaking hearts, even his own.

When Remy dragged his butt out of bed and into the kitchen for some breakfast, he was half-horrified and half-happy to see Copper and Teresa were singing Disney songs together. Teresa tried to make him join in, but although Remy had liked Disney films as a kid, he hadn't watched any in years. Apparently Copper had. A lot.

Copper had made pancakes, so they all dived in. Remy stacked his and soaked them in syrup and nibbled at them. Copper and Teresa talked about Florida and how they'd love to make another trip back.

And as Remy was contemplating life, Copper tapped him on the head. He snapped out of his daydream and looked at Copper in question.

"I said park," he said.


"Do you want to go to the park?"

Remy stuffed some pancake into his mouth, thought it over, and nodded.

"Okay, redress yourself so you look a little sociable, and meet me in the porch," Copper said.

Remy dragged himself back to his room, made an effort, and then wandered to the porch. He leaned against the door, waiting for Copper to finish the dishes. Technically, he should've helped with the dishes since he hadn't helped with making breakfast. He slowly pushed off the door and went to wander to the kitchen to save the day, but Copper came out before he could.

"I'm coming, coming," Copper said, distracted. He shoved Remy out of the way as he went to the storage closet to grab a new paper towel roll.

Remy watched in silence as Copper disappeared back into the kitchen.

He was such a homemaker. Remy looked down at the shoes as if searching for agreement in their soles.

At last, Copper returned and slipped on his shoes. He was wearing a button down and jeans and looked sexy as usual, and Remy smiled when Copper smiled at him.

Happy, happy, then.

Remy opened the door and they left.

They took the train to the park.

When they got off, Remy said, "You're in a good mood."

Copper grinned and slung an arm round Remy's neck and Remy felt warm and fuzzy and a little sad. "I have no idea what I am, but I'm tired of being in this state, you know? Like everything is on hold."

Remy swallowed and nodded. "If it's because I'm an undecided idiot then I'm sorry."

Copper's hold tightened. They passed a fountain with a giant mermaid statue and Copper stopped. There were lots of dogs in this park, and lots of people going for jogs. An active weekday. Remy felt an air of renewal and he wasn't sure if it was the park... or if it was just Copper exuberating this. Something was in the process of transition, but Remy did not know who or what it was.

Copper let go, and then stood in front of Remy. His hair was done, his eyes were sharp, and his smile was both flimsy and genuine.

"I love you, Remy," he said.

A shot of pain.

"I really fucking do," Copper said. "But I can't stay in this standstill. I can't."

Remy stuffed his hands in his pockets and braced himself. He didn't want to hear this. He was too selfish.

"I'm not saying when you figure out what you want that I won't be here," Copper carried on. "I very well may be. I'm just saying... I very well may not be, too. There's this thing... where although I love you, it's hard for me to keeping pining after someone who isn't sure. I'm all the way in. And you're not. And that's an imbalance I'm not a fan of."

Remy swallowed. Remy already knew this, already knew he wasn't fair, that Copper was kind.


Remy felt Copper's hand on his chin. He looked up and Copper kissed him. Hands, lips, warmth. How many times had they kissed? How many times had Remy yearned for this?

He kissed Copper back because it felt mad not to. Their lips glided and touched and Remy wanted to keep Copper with him like this forever. Copper's kisses were sweet and quick but he knew they could advance into something hotter and delightfully suffocating. But that had been a long time ago.

They parted. Remy resisted every urge inside him to resume. He for once wanted to be fair.

Copper kissed Remy's forehead and then stepped away.

Remy rubbed at his ears, trying to cool them off.

"So, anyway," Copper said, forcing cheer into his voice. "That movie date's going on soon. With that cashier."

"Oh, yeah," Remy said.

"It's weird, actually," Copper said. "I feel like I've met that guy before. Somewhere."

"The cashier?"


"I've never seen him," Remy said, shrugging.

Copper smirked. "Well, I guess I should've at least got his name. He just got mine when he put my number in his phone."

"You didn't even ask him his name?" Remy sputtered. "How do you actually pick anyone up? That's so rude."

Copper laughed. "I know... It just slipped my mind. I was so thrilled it was going the way I wanted." He grinned guiltily.

Remy sighed. "His name's Whitney, anyway."

Copper nodded, and then froze. He looked at Remy a little sharper, and Remy frowned.

"What?" Remy asked.

"Whitney. That's exactly who..."

Remy blinked, confused.

Copper shook his head. "Ah. Never mind. It's just a weird coincidence, I'm sure."

"What is it?" Remy asked.

Copper shrugged. "If you don't stop prying I'm going to kiss you again to shut you up."

Remy wouldn't have minded that. But he was going to stop being selfish, so he shut up. They sat at the fountain together with a weird feeling between them, a mix of casual and upbeat but there was that cloud that fogged everything up and tugged at the back of their minds.

AN: That hiatus... so many apologies! Remy and company are back in my heart and hopefully back in yours. I really love the theories you guys are pouring in... as well as those who remembered Whitney's name. Surprised you caught that actually ;)

I would like to thank the following for leaving their reviews and thoughts: Adria Zoi Parzifal, Guest(1), Guest(2), MonKiki, Maeve Selene, MizuAz, ramblingrobin, sheryl, Ephira, BlackRage, Bananafishh, XXHotSparklesXX, and toshica.