Note: This chapter includes a lot
of not-nice stuff, including violence and implied sexual assault.
If you're young and/or sensitive to these things, it may be
best to skip this.
"Hell wasn't a major reservoir
any more than Heaven...was a fountain of goodness;
they were just sides in the great cosmic chess game.
Where you found the real McCoy,
the real grace and heart-stopping evil,
was right inside the human mind."
~from "Good Omens"~
by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Bobby stirred restlessly in bed, grasping for lucid consciousness
through the haze of dulled pain and fading painkillers. He
tried to raise his arms above his head to stretch, only to
have the sharp pain in his chest and arms snap them quickly
back to his sides.
"Hank?" he mumbled groggily through parched lips.
He heard no reply, although he thought he heard a noise nearby.
"Hank...?" he tried again.
This time he heard no noise, but his hair began to prick
up on the back of his neck. Fighting against the groggy fatigue
that weighted down his swolen eyelids, Bobby slowly opened
And found himself staring straight into a pair of intense
green eyes that sparkled dangerously.
"Rogue?!" Startled, he tried to jump backward in
bed, crying out in pain as the sudden movement ripped out
some of the stitches in his abdomen. Instinctually, he simultaneously
braced himself against the pain and iced up his left arm with
battle-honed speed to place an icy vise grip on Rogue's neck.
Rogue blinked at him in apparent surprise. Although his grip
did not hurt her, she looked mournfully at Bobby with hurt
and sadness. "Ah -- Ah didn't mean for what happened
... to happen, Bobby," she stammered.
Bobby's grip only tightened, and his eyes narrowed. The adrenaline
coursing through his body dulled his pain, and his focus was
directed entirely at Rogue.
She placed her bare hand on Bobby's iced one at her throat
and coughed uncomfortably. "Please let me go, Bobby,"
she said plaintively. "Ah understand that you're angry
"Angry?" Bobby said heatedly, his hoarse voice
rising in volume. "Angry?! I'm more than fucking 'angry,'
"Bobb--" Rogue's plea stopped short as she felt
the air in her lungs begin to freeze. Her hand tightened around
Bobby's icy one.
Bobby's anger only intensified, and he felt new energy surge
through him. "I bet this is how you felt when you beat
me to a bloody pulp, huh, Rogue?"
Rogue's eyes were open wide, pleading with him to let her
go. They quickly clouded over as Bobby continued to freeze
the air in her lungs, and Rogue's grip on Bobby's wrist laxed
until her arm dropped to her side.
Bobby let go of her throat when she slumped forward onto
him, her limp form draped across his recently stitched-up
abdomen. He felt all energy evaporate from his body, and he
leaned limply back into his pillow as he stared numbly at
his now-thawing hand.
Shaking, he placed his bruised right hand on Rogue's shoulder,
trying to rouse her. "Rogue? Rogue, please tell me you're
all right. Please? Rogue?" His efforts only served to
aggravate the pain in his abdomen and tear some of the stitches.
But he continued trying to shake Rogue into consciousness.
"Oh god ... Rogue? Please? I didn't mean it ... god ...
I don't know what happened ... Rogue?"
Bobby jumped back when Rogue suddenly sat up. "Rogue?"
She smiled dangerously at him and reached out to cup his
bandaged jaw in her right hand. Closing her grip tighter,
she said menacingly, "Always the underachiever, huh,
Bobby? Never one to actually finish a job."
Bobby screamed out as his jaw shattered in her grip.
"How about I give you a lesson in completion?"
Her smile tightened at the sight of the tears of pain welling
up in his brown eyes.
"Say goodnight, Robert Drake."
The team's two doctors heard Rogue's frantic screams as they
stepped off the elevator down the hall. With a quick glance
at each other, they broke into a sprint toward the MedLab,
ignoring for the moment the scalding heat of the freshly-brewed
espresso that splashed from their coffee mugs onto their hands
"Rogue?" Hank called out as he ran.
"Hurry! Please!" Rogue cried. "It's Bobby
-- I --"
"Calm yourself, child," Beast said as he rounded
the corner into the room. His manner was calm, but his voice
betrayed his concern. "What has happened?"
Rogue stood up from Bobby's bed, revealing the young man's
bloodied body. Stunned by the sight, Hank and Cecilia momentarily
froze with horror in the doorway.
Rogue promptly knocked them out with a burst of concentrated
ice aimed directly at their heads. A smirk on her face, she
walked with catlike grace toward the doctors' prostrate bodies.
As she closed in on them, she noted with satisfaction a small
pool of blood forming beneath Hank's head.
"One of the originals," she murmured. "One
of Xavier's favorites." She chuckled. "This
will hurt him greatly."
She heard a moan escape Hank's lips, and a wicked grin crossed
Rogue's face. She stepped back for a moment. A good kick
would feel really good about now. And with super strength,
it might be especially satisfying to see how a 350-lb blue
gorilla might ricochet off the walls.
Deep within her mind, another figure leaned back against
the wall of the cave that served as her prison. Her eyes squeezed
shut and her mouth set firm with grim determination, she concentrated.
Get it right this time, girl.
A shard of fear threatened to break her concentration.
Without another glance toward the injured doctors or their
dying patient, Rogue walked into the MedLab back office, where
lab tests were conducted and medical records kept. Second
row of cabinets, third door, behind the lab notes. And under
Hank had more than just the strangely addictive cream-filled
cakes in his secret stash. He had Belgian chocolates.
And, oh, how she craved chocolates.
Prolonging the urgent anticipation, she daintily, carefully
unwrapped the small morsel. Slowly, she drew it to her lips
and placed it on her tongue.
And, oh, how she savored the taste.
How long had it been since she'd had truly good chocolate?
Probably not in years. And her taste was too cultured, too
refined to lower herself to buying a cheap fix of American
Hank, however, had good taste, she judged.
She smirked and popped another truffle into her mouth.
The power of chocolate was simply amazing. She marveled at
why she hadn't realized it before.
Too busy trying to rule the world in a man's body, she supposed.
Fully appreciating the fortifying effects of chocolate took,
perhaps, a more feminine touch.
She savored the taste of the chocolate in her mouth. So sweet,
so smooth, so utterly...
She walked out of the office and surveyed the three unconscious
figures in the MedLab.
And, oh, how she tasted power.
As she walked out the door, she paused to deliver a sharp
kick to the blue-furred doctor's midsection.
Deep within her mind, another woman -- a mirror reflection
of herself -- lay curled up in fetal position on the dirty
floor of a cave, cringing as a dark, drunken figure hurled
epithets and empty liquor bottles at her.
'Tried to steal mah likker from me, didn't you? Didn't
you?' he screamed at her.
'Ah just--' She stopped short, wincing as he spat in her
'Speak when spoken to, girl,' he said, his voice suddenly
Warm, wet and tinged with the sickening smell of cheap whiskey,
the spittle stung her cheek. She moved to wipe it from her
face, and the man delivered a sharp kick to her stomach. She
bit her lip to keep herself from crying out in pain, knowing
that any sound she made would be grounds for another punch
'Did Ah say you could move?' He sighed dramatically and leaned
forward, his face less than a foot from hers. 'Y'know, girl,
your mother cares a great deal about you -- although Ah'm
quickly startin' ta wonder why yer worth all the trouble.
An' since she's off slavin' away tryin' ta make enough money
to feed and clothe ya, Ah guess it's mah responsibility ta
discipline you in her absence.'
She squeezed her eyes shut as he unbuckled his belt and pulled
it free from his portly waist. She sqeezed them tighter as
he began a fevered assault, whipping the strap across her
legs, back and arms. Her helpless rage overwhelmed her when
the belt struck her cheek, and with hot anger she grabbed
hold of the strap and yanked it from the drunken man's hands,
pulling him to his knees at her feet.
They both sat in stunned silence for a moment, the woman
surprised at her action and the man stupidly disoriented.
When their eyes met, a slow, cruel grin spread acros the man's
'Looks like ya made yer decision, girl,' he said as he rose
to his feet, hands moving to the button of his jeans. 'You
know the rules -- should know 'em better 'n anyone else by
Eyes squeezed tight, the girl curled herself into fetal position
on the dirty floor. She knew what was coming, and the intense
panic that washed over her pushed her into an almost catatonic
trance. Awareness only dimly returned when she felt a glass
whiskey bottle shatter next to her cheek, peppering cuts and
slices across the smooth skin of her face.
She bit her lip and squeezed her eyes even tighter against
the pain. As she felt a coarse hand fumble for her waistband,
she fought to withdraw even further into herself. She didn't
want to see, didn't want to hear, didn't want to feel what
was going to happen.
Wave after wave of fiery pain and emotion flooded through
her mind and body. Don't fight. Don't think about it. Birds
... flowers ... swimming in the river ... sunlight ...
She felt herself begin to drift away from the body as the
man's assault on it continued. Green grass, flower patches
She looked back.
Primal, untamed rage flowed through her at the sight of the
man's body over her own, and she regained her sensibilities
at once. With superhuman strength, she pushed him aside and
scrambled to her feet, then pulled the man to his knees and
delivered an onslaught of her own.
He only laughed at her.
The more she punched, the more she kicked, the more he laughed.
She roughly pulled him to his feet and threw him against the
He disappeared on impact.
The woman fell to her knees, staring in stupefied silence
at the cave wall's uneven face. She looked at her hands --
and the blood that covered them -- and silently wept.
In the shadows, the darkness only smiled, soaking up her
pain as it turned away. It craved more chocolate.
To be continued.
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