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Claremont era


Author's Note: This is an ugly, horrible story. It is not appropriate for children or sensitive readers. Unfortunately, little of this besides Rogue is imaginary.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Author's Notes

This is an ugly, horrible story and is not intended for children or sensitive readers. Disclaimers etc. are given at the beginning of the first part.


Chapter 3

She awoke with a start, looking up at the hammer-beam ceiling in her bedroom. It was an archaic detail that most houses in the region didn't have, but then most houses in the area hadn't been built by her great-grandfather, a shipwright obsessed with medieval architecture. She climbed out from under the duvet and looked out of the window. Her father was walking out in the garden with his latest friend. She imagined that she wouldn't see them until dinner.

She pulled on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, and went downstairs. The studio was empty, so she went to the old stable. She found Momma, no, Mother, working on the old Cord that Great Uncle David had left there before hanging himself on a gray day in November of 1929. Mother was well under the hood, hitting something with a mallet.

"Need any help?" she asked.

Mother emerged from beneath the hood, wearing her standard paint-spattered boiler suit. Steel blue eyes burned into her own.

"You have something to tell me, that you don't want to."

"I'm going to a new posting. That's all."

"Carol, I can't abide liars. There's something about this which is bothering you. Tell me."

She wasn't afraid of anything or anyone, except for Mother.


Mother gave her a disgusted look, then disappeared back under the hood. She turned and tried not to run towards the woods.

Somewhere, in the dark, she was lying on the floor. It was best that way, in spite of the things that she had to lie in. If she tried to sit up, the cramps started. Ugly things, her own muscles like worms crawling under her skin, burrowing away, eating at the flesh within. Every time she dropped off to sleep, her legs curled up involuntarily and started to cramp again. Even lying straight out on the floor, stretched, there was some muscle ready to knot up under her jaw, or in the soles of her feet.

"The symptoms of dehydration?" asked the professor of medicine.

"Cramps, dry mouth (tongue that feels like leather), dark urine (which burns like hell), buccal ulceration (which hurt), rapid drop in blood pressure upon rising from a prone position that could induce fainting?"

"Good enough. And how long has it been since the patient had last taken fluids by mouth?"

"A day? Two days?"

"And the consequences, if the patient is left in a hot unventilated cell and is not given fluids?"

"Possible death, due to heart failure, within 48 hours."

"The treatment?"

Her mouth was too dry to respond.

The woods were comforting, and she knew them better than anyone. They went back for miles from the house, into the hills and down towards the Connecticut River.

She went in a different direction than her father had, as she knew his special places and had no desire to interrupt him. He had never seen her spying on him and his friends, though she had known about those places and what he did there since the age of 6. Hiding in the bushes, he was usually naked with men younger than himself, kissing and doing many unusual things that she had the sense not to ask him about. Her mother and father would always use special words when they talked about such things, words that she soon got to know the special meaning of. Other people's father's didn't meet new friends in bus stations, or at least didn't bring them home for dinner when they did. Other people's mother's didn't dress in men's suits and go out dancing with other women. She said nothing of this to any of her friends, or to any other adults that she knew. Her brother knew all about it as well, but for some reason was ashamed of it. After making his career on Wall St., he had told everyone he knew that he was an orphan. None of them had seen him or spoken to him in years.

Her route took her over the hill towards a clearing that she knew better than any other place in the forest. Whenever she felt threatened by things that were dark and terrible, she would come here and look at the old oak tree and the place where the heavy limb had been cut off, and she would remember how she had learned to kill fear.

Her lesson had started one afternoon when she was eight, in her brother's bedroom. She had been there with Mike, his creepy friend Greg, and Greg's even creepier cousin Chris in from Hartford. They were all reading comics. It was a Saturday, and no-one else was in the house. She was reading the Western comics and paying special attention to the gunplay, while the boys were all reading Superman and Batman. After a long discussion of whether Catwoman or Batgirl on the TV show was sexier, Mike went off to the bathroom. Greg jumped on her and pinned her to the floor. Chris had put his hands in places where Mother had said no decent person should touch a little girl. Greg's hand covered her mouth, but she was too enraged to scream. Chris didn't do anything that would have left a mark, but what he did hurt her somewhere deep inside.

"We can do this to you any time we find you alone in the woods," Greg had whispered to her. "If you say anything, what we'll do will be worse."

From the look in Greg's eyes, this was a certainty.

"Meat," said Chris. "You're meat."

Then they had let her go. Mike returned a moment later, and they started to discuss the merits of Wonder Woman's new white costume versus the Star Spangled bustier.

"They hurt me," she said, interrupting Mike's defence of the bustier.

"What'd they do?" he asked her.

"They touched me," she said.

"What's the big deal?" he asked, puzzled. "I touch you all the time." To prove the point, he punched her lightly in the arm, as he often did on long car trips.

"Nothing," she said, and fled.

This was the place that she had fled to. She knew, deep down, that Greg was dangerous, and that he was even more dangerous when Chris was around. If they came after her and waited for her here, they could hurt her for hours and perhaps even kill her, and no-one would find out until it was too late. She might be able to hide from them, but if they caught her unawares-

No. These were her woods, and she would not be looking over her shoulder for anyone. She had looked up and seen the branch that a storm had half broken from an oak, and she had an idea.

It took her a week to put it all together. First, there were the things that had to be stolen. Heavy rope, a construction knife, and a saw all vanished from the studio and the stable. After she made sure that the woods were clear of watchers, she had practiced on several other storm damaged branches to refine her technique. It all involved much tree climbing, but she liked that. When, on the following Friday, Mike asked if Greg and Chris could come over, she was ready for them.

She had been watching Greg and Chris in the woods before, even if they didn't know it. They were creatures of habit, always taking the same path at the same speed. That day, she was waiting for them, up in the tree. As she expected, they didn't look up and didn't see anything until she cut the rope and the huge, 500 pound tree limb came crashing down on them. It had been a gamble, of course. If the ropes hadn't worked properly or if the limb had caught on another tree, they would have had her trapped up there. It had worked, and now they were pinned to the ground, unable to move. She carefully removed the ropes from the trees and then retrieved the Louisville Slugger that she had been given for Christmas. Chris was out cold with a large purple lump on his forehead. Greg was stirring, and moaning. From the look of his leg, he had broken it. She got his attention with a couple of swift kicks in the bent part.

"Meat," she snarled, and went to work on them both with the bat.

She had returned everything to its proper place, though she decided later that she ought to have wrapped the saw in plastic to have kept the dew from it. A policeman came by and asked her questions. Did she know these boys? Yes. Did she know if they had any enemies? No, they were just friends of her brother. Had she seen anything strange in the woods? Black boys, perhaps, from Pittsfield? No, never. Then she should be very careful, as there were kids doing vicious things, and she shouldn't go out in the woods alone. Greg and Chris didn't say anything about her to anyone about it, and blamed it all on a gang of black kids. Two thirteen year old boys would hardly want to admit to having been hospitalized by an eight-year old girl, and she found it amusing when Greg's parents moved, in order to 'raise him in a safer environment'. Her mother had asked some pointed questions about where all the sawdust in her clothes had come from and what had happened to the saw, but she had said nothing. Mother hadn't punished her. In fact, Mother seemed quite pleased for once. A few years after that, her brother had given her all of his comics. She had thrown all of the super-hero ones away.

Between spasms, drifting in and out of consciousness, she began to worry about ridiculous things. What would they think when they went through her books? They would all have a laugh over the Harlequins, most like. What would they do if they found her diary? Logan or Ro would burn it unread, she was sure of that, but Longshot might read it, and ask questions. Alison would read every word of it, and she was sure that Betsy would too. Beyond that, she owned nothing but a few clothes that would sit in drawers and closets until the desert claimed them. She would not be remembered, not even institutionally by the police or security apparats. She wondered if anyone would tell Momma.

Mother was waiting for her in the kitchen. She still had the boiler suit on, and Father had not returned.


There was no avoiding it.

"This new assignment. It's special work, security. I may not be able to see you or speak to you for a long time."

Her mother busied herself with pouring some tea, as if she had just said that she was planning to go for another stroll in the woods.

"I believe that you said it was on Diego Suarez."

"I don't know where it will be, I might not be coming back at all." Her voice was shaky, not like it ever was on the parade ground. Her mother looked up, glaring.

"Carol, there is nothing that you cannot do if you put your mind to it. I do not believe there is any force of nature that could prevent you from doing anything that you want to do. If you want to come back, you will. I know it."

Her mother stared at her with steel-blue eyes that allowed no contradiction.

"You will return. You will live. Now pass me the relish."

That night, as she lay in bed looking at the ceiling, she thought about what Mother had said, and the first time she had said it. She had expressed a desire to go to the Moon, and Mike had told her that it was impossible, because she was a girl. You had to be a jet pilot to be an astronaut, and girls couldn't be jet pilots. Mike had been right about the last bit, but Mother had sent him off to bed without dinner anyhow. The colonel that she had been sleeping with had told her that there was no hope of her flying jet within the next twenty years, unless she was willing to go outside normal channels and into the units that didn't exist on paper. The colonel was too old to be involved such things, but as she looked at the colonel's sagging body, she made up her mind that she would be piloting a fighter jet within a year.

She did feel regret, that she might not see the old house or Mother or her father again, but if it was a choice between that or the jet, she would fly, and she would see Mother again. She closed her eyes and went to sleep.

There was a commotion outside again. She was too weak to move now, to hide from them.

"Which bloody cell did you put her in?"

"This one?"

"That's not her, unless she's a bleeding hermaphrodite. Open all of them."

Her door was opened, and two faces looked in. One was Page, the other an older, white-haired man with a Voice of Authority.

"There had better be a bloody good reason for this, " said Authority. "I've got a bleeding brigadier after me, wanting to know where she went. I want to see you in my office, now."

Page vanished. Authority glanced at her in disgust, then turned to another very frightened looking guard.

"You. We have 15 minutes. Get her hosed down, then hose down the cell and put someone else in it. You. Find a mutt-suit."

"We haven't got one. Only magistrates-"

"What about the evidence room? Isn't there one in the evidence room?"

"But, it's evidence."

"Get the fucking thing and get her into it. I don't want them seeing anything and asking questions."

"About cleaning her off-"

"Do it. Now."

"She's all covered in filth."

"Put on an ABC suit. Just get her out of there and clean her and do it now, or you'll be out in the desert with the apos for the next twenty years."

The warder saluted shakily and ran off. The Voice of Authority remained, looking at her with disgust.

"You've caused a lot of trouble, you have."

He turned and went away. Two minutes later, two people in rubber suits that covered them from head to toe picked her up and carried her into a white tiled room. She couldn't walk by herself, the cramps were too painful. They laid her out on the floor. It was hard, but it was clean. She was the only thing that smelled bad in the room. She was thinking about trying to sit up when it hit her. A cold wall of water, pushing her against the wall, tearing the filth from her. She couldn't scream, only croak through her abscessed throat. None of her struggles seemed to affect the warders, who stood there with a bemused looks on their faces, directing the firehose at different parts of her. They backed her into a corner with the blasts, then when she collapsed one of them turned her over and they washed down the front of her. When they were finished, she couldn't manage more than a moan, but they pricked her with something and it didn't seem to matter anymore. They came in with a shiny greenish-yellow suit and she tried to run, but she could barely flinch away. Two female warders stretched it over her soaking body, until it covered everything below the neck. They gave her water, but she was too weak to drink. Instead, with some annoyance and brutality, they shoved a tube down her nose and into her stomach, which they filled with a cloudy liquid that they squeezed from a clear plastic bag. They dragged her to a truck, where she was bound in manacles head and foot, and they drove her to another building somewhere else.

Where it was she did not know. She didn't need to drink, now, they had taken care of that. This place didn't smell, but she knew that if she so much as breathed improperly, she would be punished again. She didn't know what the rules were anymore, only that she had broken them. Her life was over, but she hardly seemed to care. A slit on the door opened, and two sets of eyes looked in.

"No ID on this one either." Female, military.

"And you say that you are sure that she was a mutant?" Male, older, patrician.

"She flew. Wipeout took her down."

"All the way?"

"No. She was coherent when they left her."

"She's bloody catatonic now."

"There were some irregularities in her processing."


"She somehow ended up in the cells at Police Central. Seems that one of the guards attacked her."

"Knowing that she was a mutant?"

"No. They didn't know that."

"Inhuman. What is the name of the animal responsible for this?"

"Leung, sir. One of those filthy apos assigned to the police. Refused to carry a gun. Went against his so-called beliefs. Don't know how people like that can call themselves Christians."

"They're moral cripples, happy in their misunderstanding of the words of God. A good stint in the Magistrates would beat the weakness and perversion out of them. Show them what God was all about."

"I certainly would think so, sir."

"Put him on the D list."

"Sir, his father is a citizen."

"Major Anderson, we cannot have a potential citizen who behaves in this manner if he is in a position of responsibility. Can you imagine what he would do if he were to be given responsibility for a mutate?"

"Even so, it could be bad for our relations with the police."

"Do it. We don't have enough casualties on our side this weekend."

One set of eyes disappeared from the slit. The sound of clicked heels echoed in the corridor, and the one set of eyes stared back at her with almost a look of pity in them.

"Don't worry, little girl, I'll take it all away from you. No more worries, no more pain, and you will have a useful purpose in society. No one will ever hurt you again."

The slit slammed closed, and they left her in the darkness.

She awakened in the night, sweating. It was so unlike her to have nightmares, especially such vivid ones. She rose from the bed and went to her dresser. In the mirror, she saw a familiar face. Auburn hair with a white stripe, big green eyes, a filth-covered body twenty years younger than her own.

"You look like shit, girl."

The face in the mirror looked was staring off into space, its eyes empty.

"You're covered in it."

"They washed me."

The voice from the mirror was small, almost inaudible.

"It's outside, it's inside, it's you though and through. Shit."


"You've lost it, haven't you? Can't fight back. Don't know what to do, and Logan's going to die because of it."

The green eyes looked down.

"You know what you have to do if you want to live."

"I don't want to."

"I know how to save him. Give me control, and I'll get us out of this."


"Then we'll die."


"They'll do something to us. Kill us both, but the body will live on."

"Maybe I die either way."

"You will if you do nothing. Do you really want to die?"


"Then you have-"

The green eyes were looking up. The body beneath them was no longer covered in filth.

"You didn't deserve the power."

"Deserve it? Who gives a shit if I deserved it? I got it, and I used it for good. Not like you."

"You're like them. You like to hurt people. You enjoy it."

"You enjoyed hurting me. You left my body for dead, you miserable little bitch."

"If you hadn't hurt me-"

"I don't believe this. We're going to get killed and you're going to debate me on the moral issues associated with violence? Give me control, now."

"Will you give it up, if we get out of this?"

"I'll think about it."

"Then think of Berlin."


The girl vanished, the mirror vanished, the room vanished. She was in a cell somewhere. Genosha, in some sort of prison associated with the mutate processing service. Logan was certainly nearby, somewhere. She stood up and flexed the body. Severe bruising at the joints, administered by someone who would spend the rest of his life being through a tube. Abrasions on the back and buttocks. She bent all the way forward, tearing them open against the suit. Best to hurt now, not later. She threw a few punches, tried a few kicks. The arms and legs on this body were shorter, and not in the same proportions. Even worse, the power was gone, but she could remember how to fight without it. At least the body was in reasonable shape. She tried a few more stretches, then sat back down on the bed when she heard the footsteps coming.

The door opened, and two magistrates entered.

"You should have asked Ray to come along," said the male.

"He's taking the heat for me," said the female. "She's no threat. She's spaced. Gone away, not coming back. Should never have left her alone back there. Animals."

They came in close, thinking that it was still the weak little bitch, and not her. She used the heel of her palm to drive the man's nose into his brain as she kicked the legs out from under the woman. The man went down, probably dying. She slammed the woman's head against the floor, then put her neck in a hold. She recognized the woman from somewhere. A quick twist would make sure that they never met again, but she couldn't do it. Instead, she switched to a choke hold, which she held for two minutes. She checked them over quickly. The man was comatose, and would die if not given prompt medical attention. No threat. The woman was still breathing, shallowly. It was stupid to leave her alive. Stupid and dangerous. She stripped the woman of her uniform, and then, as an afterthought, draped the blanket from the bed over her unconscious body.

"No worries," she whispered, and left the cell.

It took some time to find Logan. She whispered his name through the slit of the thirtieth cell that she had looked into, but he had not responded. It took her a while to find the right key, but once she was inside, it was apparent that she wasn't going to be relying on him for much if it came to a fight. He had more bruises than her body did, and his face was covered in blood from a nasty cut on the forehead which had not healed. She leaned over him and whispered into his ear.


He groaned softly.

"Come on sport, up and at'em."


She should have said yes, but she couldn't manage it. His eyes opened, but unfocused.

"Carol, what you want? Sleepy."

"A kiss before dying," she heard her voice say.

The body grabbed hold of Logan and forced its lips down onto his. She tasted the blood and tobacco in his mouth. He struggled against her, which was more frightening than anything else because he was so weak. She made the body let go of him, but he stopped her, still holding on.

"Not like that darlin', like this."

It was different that time. His lips found hers and his tongue caressed her own, gently. It was over in a second, but it felt as if she had been kissed for the first time. His eyes unfocused again, and he went limp.

"Logan. Come on, sport."

His eyes opened again.

"Carol? Where's Rogue?"

He was looking at her, able to see her this time.

"We're here Logan," she said. "We're here."




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