Rogue sighs, sinking deeper into the hot water of a well-deserved
bubble bath. Her own bit of heaven. Within moments, Valerie
Cooper's fist raps sharply on the door, demanding her attention.
A second later, Mystique's voice cuts in. Rogue mentally counts
to three. True to form, she hears Hank arrive to intercede.
She frowns at the rise and fall of voices arguing, disturbing
thoughts which are already in turmoil. She perks up at Kurt's
unexpected arrival. She hears Valerie's gasp then catches
the smell of sulphur and brimstone as Kurt teleports. The
hallway outside her refuge becomes blessedly silent. Rogue
sinks under the water, losing herself to the swirling warmth
which mirrors the swift currents of her own mind.
She doesn't want to consider Valerie's request. On the other
hand, she's never left a job unfinished. It doesn't help to
close her eyes. She still sees the photos of New Genosha spilling
from the manilla folder. She still remembers the line of mutants
being led to their deaths. Sees their faces in her dreams.
With a start, Rogue breaks the surface of the water as she
quickly sits up.
Could'a been Remy.
A tear slips to her cheek. She knows more than the others
how close they were to losing him. And with that knowledge
comes a deeper understanding of what Eric Magnus Lensherr
also endured. It is this man's face which troubles her. Remy
is, for all purposes, safely home. But Eric's eyes remind
her of the ones left behind. The ones who still wait for the
loving embrace of their families.
With the U.N.'s backing, Valerie has the authority to assemble
an official investigative team, including members from Amnesty
International, to return to New Genosha. Technically, Rogue
is still an active operative for Amnesty International. Emotionally,
she's torn between staying with Remy and jumping at the chance
to deal a crippling blow to the New Genoshan camps.
Her gaze falls to the Genoshan collar on the sink. Her frown
deepens. Self-consciously, one hand traces her throat, the
other rests lightly against her stomach. Her jaw tightens
at the bitter anger that surges through her body. Even squeezing
her eyes shut doesn't help her forget the oh-so-sympathetic
expression on Hank's face as they discussed the results from
her latest battery of tests. Rogue sighs.
Ain't his fault, sugah.
Her laugh is short and harsh as she recalls Dr. McCoy's theory
regarding the Genoshan collar.
'Bio-electrical contraceptive device'.
Birth control. Genoshan style. Rogue flicks a bubble from
her knee, letting her thoughts wander. At first, she wasn't
willing to listen. It was just too incredible to imagine;
too illogical. After all, the Genoshans had perfected the
science of bonding mutants to specially designed uniforms
which would regulate all bodily functions.
Adding contraceptives to the collars just seemed to be so
much over-kill. Until Kurt pointed out that there were often
delays in processing the Genoshan mutants. And Rogue knew,
firsthand, that the guards enjoyed taking liberties with new
mutants before they were completely enslaved.
No one could have predicted the effect on her own unique
A firm knock at the door interrupts her thoughts. Rogue groans.
"Remy needs you."
She's out of the tub, wrapped in a towel and unlocking the
door in seconds. She opens it, heedless of the puddle of bubbles
gathering at her feet. Eric notes her disarray without comment,
drawn instead to the sudden concern in her eyes.
"It would be best if you saw for yourself."
Rogue grips his arm.
Eric places his hand over hers.
"The others know the truth."
Rogue sags against the door frame.
"How did they react?"
"I believe the phrase is 'all hell's breaking loose'."
"Oh mah lord."
Continued in Chapter
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