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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



The Blackbird comes in low and swift, no more than a brilliant flash in the early morning light, thanks to the Sh'iar devices. The first strike nails the anti-aircraft guns. In moments, the second and third targets are also taken out, leaving charred metal remains. Dark smoke and flames erupt across the isle of New Genosha, mixing with the belated wail of aircraft warning sirens. Scott sets the Blackbird down in the middle of the main internment camp. He turns to face the rest of the X-men.

"Everyone have their assignments? Valerie, you're in charge of coordinating communications. Forge, Tseidel, we need the collars off these mutants--fast. Do what you need to then get them on the transports."

His jaw sets into a grim line as he continues.

"Hank, you know what you need to do here. Jean and I will get the records to use as evidence. The rest of you--find Rogue. Let's move, people!" Remy grabs Scott's arm.

"Goin' all out to bring Rogue back, eh? Too much for me to be expectin' de same was it?"

For a long moment, Remy's steady, questioning gaze holds Scott's. There is no anger, only traces of a hurt too deep to speak of.

"I'm not leaving here without you, Remy."

"Jus' 'member dat."

"Ya ready, Cajun?"

Remy swallows hard against the sudden dryness in his mouth, but he gives Logan a curt nod as he drops a trio of cards into anxious fingers. The Blackbird's hatch opens onto hell.

Eric watches Ororo intently, concerned by the faraway look on her face. A moment later, he understands, as Jean's telepathic probing tentatively extends to touch his mind as well. He's fascinated by the experience of so many minds interacting--until he senses Rogue. With Ororo's guidance, he reaches out to her. On the table, Rogue turns her head slightly towards them.

>>The others have arrived.<<

>>Ah know.<<

Sinister's fist slams onto the table.

"The tissue is genetically inviable."

Rogue struggles through hazy consciousness to understand Sinister's words.

"Ah don't understand."


Rogue sees the hard lines of his face a moment before the back of his hand strikes her cheek full force. His fingers tighten painfully in her hair as he yanks her head back.

"Insufferable harridan! You try my patience pretending ignorance of the cancer infesting your body."

Sinister releases her, his voice sharp with bitterness.

"Cancer cells have invaded the embryo, this specimen has been rendered useless."

Rogue turns her face away from his, finally giving in to tears. In desperation, she searches through the X-men for the comfort of a familiar touch.


Even though she senses his presence, he does not respond.

>>...mah baby...<<

This time, she feels a spark of interest, but grief chokes her thoughts before she can form a reply. She's grateful beyond words that he reaches out to her again.


The curt French: "I'm here."

"What are you doing?"

Ororo's concerned voice draws Rogue's attention back to Sinister. She watches in confusion as he prepares another tray of scalpels and sutures. Sinister strips his gloves. The distinct snap of new gloves being pulled on sends a shiver through Rogue. From the corner of her eye, she sees a flash of silver a second before pain grips her. She bites down on her lip hard, digs her nails into her palms, trying to bear the pain until it subsides. Instead, it intensifies into a fiery blaze. She screams.

Rogue's distress sears through the X-men's psi-link in spite of Jean's efforts to dampen the effect. Jean feels Scott's hand in hers, his mind reaching out in support to hers, and she draws on that strength to offer comfort to Rogue. Her brow creases in concern at Rogue's lethargic response to her mental touch.

"Scott, we're losing her."

He nods.

"Hank's prepping the Blackbird for field surgery. Valerie's clearing us for emergency transport wherever we need to go. All we have to worry about is finding Rogue."

"What about Sinister?"

"He better hope we find him before Mystique does."

>>And Remy?<<

Scott pauses, letting Jean narrow the psi-link's focus so that he shares Gambit's turmoil. Shares the same love for Rogue that Scott feels for Jean. The same loss that he has experienced so deeply himself.

>>No one should have to go through this. Not even Gambit.<<

Jean's hand squeezes his. Scott returns the squeeze.

"I'll talk to him, Jean, when the time's right."


Continued in Chapter 34.


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