Rogue curls into a tight ball, fiercely wrapping her arms
around her body. Her eyes never leave the man she loves. His
chest rises and falls, and rises again in the rhythm of deep
sleep. She shivers. Her body may be by his side, but her mind
is within, remembering distant nights in a distant place.
It begins with an overwhelming sense of loss, of leaving
the lights of home and journeying into the darkness of the
world. It stirs in Rogue's mind the memory of her own painful
but necessary farewells after her powers manifested. From
her father's house in Caldecott to the uneasy shelter Mystique
offered. And, more recently, the sanctuary of Professor Xavier's
X-men. All left behind in forced abandonment, because it was
the "right" thing to do. Because some great unknown
pulled her along in a new direction.
Remy Etienne LeBeau, however, left because of a woman. Rogue's
eyes widen in shock. He was coming to her rescue. Or so he
Oh mah lord...
Her head snaps back as if struck. She's assaulted by a whirlwind
of images--like dark confetti razors cutting through her soul.
The strength of Remy's experience compels Rogue's own body
to react in sympathy. She doesn't notice as bruises darken
her skin. The dull, achey beginnings of infection, then infestation.
Rogue's nails claw her swollen thigh, seeking release from
the consumptive larvae that have assumed nightmarish proportions.
Less than a man.
Reviled. Beaten. Starved. Degraded and dismissed as less
than human waste. The dregs of mankind. Worthless. Through
it all, he holds fast. Rogue sees herself through his eyes--the
saving grace of his wretched existence. She knows the pattern
too well. It's been replayed over and over with the other
victims she's treated. They retreat from day to day reality,
taking refuge in the past. Or seeking hope in the future.
In Remy's mind, it's Rogue's face, her hands, her voice reaching
out to him, pulling him through the dark days and bone-chilling
nights. His fingers may be curled in the rough, moldy bedding
of the camps, but it's her body that he clings to. The scent
of her skin that he inhales. When a guard yells at him, it's
her playfully chiding voice from a Danger Room session that
A life they've never shared unfolds before her eyes.
In a room alive with candles and crystal, he proposes. Before
God and man, he willingly speaks the devotions which bind
him to her for eternity. Husband and wife.
Rogue gasps as he leads her image into their new home--and
makes a point of showing her the nursery. The Rogue that might
have been leans against him. Both of their arms wrap around
her waist, coming to rest on the soft swell that will one
day be their son. Remy's eyes sparkle with pleasure. Rogue
swallows hard, overcome by a sense of intimacy with Remy that
she's never experienced until now. She smoothes the tears
from her cheeks.
Less than human.
She cries out in sudden fury as the Genoshan guards pull
Remy from his bed, dragging him across the compound to their
quarters. Her muscles tense with his as he struggles. Her
breath catches when his does as they both realize what the
guards intend. Rogue's fists clench involuntarily. Her body
trembles. A guard strokes his cheek. She flinches. Another
guard runs his hand down Remy's back. Rogue curls up tighter.
He's thrown across a bed. She gasps at the roughness. His
thoughts overwhelm hers. Rogue is vaguely aware of her nails
digging into her shoulders as she falls to the floor in a
fetal position. She slowly rocks back and forth, denying the
truth of Remy's thoughts.
His memories overlap, contrasting what's happening in the
camps with what happened to her outside of Harry's. A spark
of guilt. He let her leave. He let her be attacked.
And when he found Rogue's body after the Genoshans had raped
her, all he could do was to try and pick up the pieces left
Rogue cries out as he's violated, body and soul.
Maybe de Genoshans right. Maybe dis no more den what I
Rogue's body reacts to the shock of Remy's body being thrown
onto the rough wood floor after the guards finish and return
him to his hall. For a moment, he doesn't move, doesn't make
a sound. Slowly, he crawls across the floor, then stops.
Dis what it was like for you, Roguie?
The initial strength of Remy's psyche begins to fade, enough
for Rogue to regain some semblance of composure. She forces
her clenched, aching muscles to relax, slowly unwrapping their
death grip as she sits up. As she fumbles for the Genoshan
collar, she issues a quick command to the Danger Room's computer.
The crackling blue bars of Remy's makeshift holding cell disappear.
The collar snaps into place around her neck.
Rogue gathers Remy's peacefully sleeping body into her arms,
cradling him for several long, grateful moments. He's alive.
He's safe now. She tries to comfort herself with those thoughts.
She staggers to her feet. Physically and mentally, she feels
like she's been through a Class 10 Danger Room session. Drained.
The doors slide open, bringing her face to face with the others.
Scott frowns at Remy's unconscious form.
"What do think you're doing?"
"Does he look like he's a threat, sugah?"
Her weary voice betrays her exhaustion.
"What about Mr. Sinister?"
"What about him? If ah wasn't a lady, ah might bring
up all the times ya found yourself into hot water with that
snake. Does that mean you were workin' for him? Ya
gettin' worked up over somethin' that ain't happened yet,
Scott notes her condition with concern but steps aside, allowing
her to pass. She walks unsteadily for a few yards, before
sagging slowly to her knees. Immediately, Storm and Eric offer
their assistance. At Storm's insistence, Rogue reluctantly
eases Remy into Eric's arms. A moment later, she's surprised,
but grateful, to find herself also being lifted up and carried.
"Ah ain't leavin' him again."
Storm's throat tightens with emotion.
"Of course not."
Rogue sinks into darkness as Storm follows Eric and lays
her on the same bed as Remy. Eric throws her a quizzical glance.
"She did not wish to leave his side."
He nods in complete understanding. They leave, turning off
the lights and closing the door to Remy's bedroom behind them.
Continued in Chapter
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