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Warnings: Mature themes throughout the story, dealing with rape, torture and the psychological traumas of imprisonment in a concentration camp. Sexually explicit scene in Chapter 23.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 39
Chapter 40
Author's Notes



In a flash the Cajun is on his feet, striding back to the mansion. Beneath the whirlwind of thoughts sweeping his mind, he's dimly aware of Eric calling his name, senses the older man's footsteps catching up to his. As he crosses the threshold, Eric grabs his arm. Irritated, Remy shrugs him off.

"Have t'tell Roguie."

"Tell her what?"

Halfway up the stairs Remy stops and turns. Such a simple question. Such a devastating answer. How to tell the woman who has meant so much to him that she may be carrying his child. All the while knowing that she may never carry the child to term. If her mutant ability to absorb another person's psyche acted on the infant, Rogue would be subjected to underdeveloped thoughts that might permanently affect her. Their son, or daughter, would never grow up.

How she gon' have a chile when she so sick?

Remy crumples to the landing, overcome with sorrow at the thought of having yet another family taken from him. He was never meant to dream the dreams of normal men. How could he have forgotten the truth? A creature of the night. Far less than an angel. Perhaps slightly more than a parasite. Stealing through the shadows of other peoples lives, risking each breath for a momentary brush with a reality he can never possess. So he grasped for a bit of gold instead. Curled his fingers around the comfort of cold metal against his skin instead of the lingering warmth of a loved one's kiss.

This was what his life was destined to be. Not the X-men. Not Rogue. Just Remy Etienne LeBeau. Still the gutter rat scrambling in the dark for a bit of food and shelter until Sinister was ready for the next experiment. Seattle was a long time ago. Memories, even painful ones, lessen. And hope, ever faint, stirs. He had forgotten. It had happened again. Sinister had used him. Only this time, he had involved Rogue as well, putting her life at risk.

Eric waits, patiently, sensing something more in the young man's vacant gaze. Something precious and fleeting which gives way to haunting vulnerability. Again, he reaches out. Remy flinches away.



"Jus' need t'be alone, Eric."

With that, the lean Cajun again rises wearily to his feet and continues to the second floor, leaving Eric alone with his own troubled thoughts.

I suspect, my friend, we have both been alone far too long.

Remy stops in his doorway. The room is empty. He moves slowly across the thick carpet, pausing only to grab a corner of the coverlet and drag it back to the bed. He runs a hand across the cold, rumpled sheets. Finds a white-tipped strand of auburn hair on the pillow. Glimpses silk panties carelessly tossed over the other side of the mattress. He hears the soft whir of metal cutting through the air an instant before his hand flashes up to catch the object. Rogue's collar.

The door closes firmly. And locks. A woman's presence. The soft snap of a holster being opened. He can feel her eyes scanning the room, cooly appraising the situation. The crackle of leather boots as she walks over to him, putting him in mind of the sound of a rattlesnake slithering through the bayou. The sound, like her presence, grates on his nerves. Fingernails on chalk board. He casually leans back against the headboard, enjoying a small bit of satisfaction at seeing her lips tighten into a thin line.

"Somet'in' y'need from me, Mystique?"

"What in the hell did you do to my daughter?"

It could be her tone of voice. Or her choice of words. Or the fact that she has no qualms about getting in his face as she demands an answer. It's irritating. And his response is to give back as good as he gets.

"Y'wan' all de sordid details?"

Her palm cracks sharply across his jaw, stunning him. He has a momentary flash of a Genoshan guard striking him, and pulls back. Raven Darkholme, the mutant known as Mystique, hesitates, wondering what draws her adopted daughter Rogue to this man. Grudgingly, she acknowledges the Cajun's physical attraction. If only he didn't have such a cock of the wall personality. Too much like her son. Too much like her one-time lover, Sabretooth. She eases her hold on Remy's shirt.

"Rogue's notes on your case indicate you impregnated a woman while in the concentration camps."

Remy glances up, the surprise on his face evident.

"I take it you weren't aware of Rogue's involvement in your recovery?"

Remy shakes his head, considering this new information.

"Tell me, LeBeau, were you wearing a collar like this in New Genosha?"

If Mystique's physical assault caught him off-guard earlier, her sharp insight into Rogue's true condition forces him to reasses his opinion of her as a mother. Mystique may be many things that turn his stomach, but she is also fiercely protective of Rogue. Mystique's red nails tap impatiently against the holster strapped to her hip and thigh. Her frown deepens.

"So am I to understand that in spite of the Genoshan contraceptive Rogue may be knocked up? How? Divine intervention? I did not raise Rogue to waste her life being barefoot and pregnant for some Cajun casanova!"

Remy's eyes narrow. A familiar stubborness creeps into bones.

"Rogue wants de chile."

"What she wants and what she needs are two different things."

Remy slides off the bed, his eyes never leaving Mystique's as he approaches her.

"I wan' de chile."

Mystique throws him a dismissive glance over her shoulder as she brushes past.

"Get a cat."

As Mystique unlocks and opens the door, Remy's palm snakes past and slams it shut, preventing her from leaving. She turns, her lips curling into a mockingly agreeable smile as she crosses her arms defiantly beneath across her waist.

"All right, we can do this your way."

"Jus' like dat?"

"I'm not an--unreasonable--woman."

Remy snorts at her comment.

"Tell me, though, what possible benefit will come from Rogue knowing that she's pregnant with a child that will never be born?"

He opens his mouth to stammer a reply, then shuts it. Speechless. A flush of crimson floods his face.

"She's always wanted a normal life. What could be more--normal--than having a child with the man she loves? What do you think she would be willing to sacrifice if she thought there was any chance at all?"

Even to himself, Remy's voice sounds impossibly small.


"Are you such a selfish sonfabitch that you'd see her dead for a child that you and I know will never exist?"

"...she got a right t'know..."


"Henri gon' find out."

"Nonsense. I'll convince Rogue to begin the chemotherapy. When she miscarries, they'll see it as nothing more than excessive bleeding as a result of her illness."

"Dis is murder."

"No, LeBeau, this is Darwin--survival of the fittest."

With that, Mystique pointedly opens the door and strides out, taking a bit of Remy's soul with her.


Continued in Chapter 27.


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