Title: Summers in Slavery
Author: Lornadane ([email protected])
Summers in Slavery
As soon as we got to the room I stormed toward the bathroom. I wanted to break the gold chain around my waist and crush the red stone in my navel under my heel. But I couldn't afford the punishment I'd incur. It would hinder my escape. Especially if it involved being chained back to Remy's bed, or locked in the stocks. So I dropped them on the floor outside the shower stall, along with the leash to my collar and the ornamental cuffs.
I turned on the hot water until it was nearly scalding and scrubbed myself raw. I wanted to wash away any touch the slave girl had placed on my body. My skin became as red as a sunburn. I almost took the top layer of flesh off my cock from the force of my cleansing. Every inch of me tingled with stinging pain, but I relished it. I was clean. I stayed in the shower until the water turned ice cold. Alex would have to suffer, but I didn't really care at the moment.
Eventually, my shivering drove me from the shower. I toweled off quickly and stepped back into the bedroom. Alex was seated on the coffee table, not wanting to get oil on one of the couches. *Such a good little slave,* I thought sarcastically. A fire had been built. Looking up at me, he said nothing. He knew better than to speak to me. I dropped my chains and adornments onto the coffee table and watched his eyes widen in surprise. He probably expected me to destroy them.
After looking at him for a moment, sizing him up, wondering what he would do, I walked over to Remy's armoire and opened the doors.
"There's a guard outside," Alex said quietly.
I turned my head to glare back at him. Then I stalked to the bedroom door and flung it open. There wasn't just one guard, but three. And the farthest one from me held the control box to my collar. Remy wasn't taking any chances.
The guards swung around to face me, a threat in their every movement.
"Shut the door, slave," one of them ordered.
"What if I don't, you cowardly, shit-brained, wannabe warrior?" I asked with a sneer.
He snarled and made to lunge at me, but the guard next to him grabbed his shoulder, pulling him back. "You know he's only trying to goad you, Emil."
"Emil?" I taunted. "Isn't that kind of a girlie name?"
"If you don't shut the door right now," the second man threatened, "Kar will activate your collar and then I'll shove my spear so far up your ass it'll come out your mouth."
I gave him a malicious grin. "Haven't got the balls to fuck me yourself?"
The one who'd spoken moved a lot faster than I'd given him credit for, shoving me back so hard I landed on my ass. Then the door slammed shut and I heard it lock. I could hear their angry mutterings outside. I got to my feet and gave into a moment of childish rage, pounding one fist against the door and hollering, "Motherfuckers!"
I whirled around, ready and willing to pick a fight with Alex, but he'd judiciously disappeared into the bathroom.
*Coward*, I thought, almost yelling the word out loud. Feeling out of control, unable to contain the fury inside me, I circled the room, pacing like a caged animal. I was waiting for Remy, who might not even return.
It seemed like hours had passed before Alex finally emerged from the bathroom. I'd been tempted to drag him out of there earlier, just to see what he'd do, but I'd pushed the compulsion back, knowing I'd only regret it later. When I saw him move toward the bed I intercepted him, grabbing him by the shoulders and leaning menacingly into his personal space.
"What are you going to do, Alex?" I asked. "You going to let him breed you like cattle?"
He closed his eyes with a sigh. Then pushed my hands away. "It won't come to that," he said. "Remy's not going to send us to Escalada."
My lip curled up. "Because he *loves* you?" I asked, my voice laced with sarcasm. "Get real. He'll do whatever he damn well pleases. And if you haven't figured it out by now, HE DOESN'T LOVE YOU!" The last part of the sentence I hollered at him, annunciating every word.
"I know," Alex told me softly. "I'm not stupid, Scott."
"Could have fooled me," I said, bitterly satisfied when I saw his face grow dark. I was ready for a fight. It never came. My hot-tempered brother crumpled before me for a moment, before his face grew cold and stony.
"I'm not going to fight you, Scott," he said. "You can try all you like. You can even hit me if you really feel like you need to. But I won't hit you back."
"You fucking coward," I spat. "You dumb fucking coward."
He ignored me and climbed into the bed. I looked at him for a long moment, clenching and unclenching my fists, tempted to take him up on his offer to beat him to a bloody pulp. But the rational side of my brain had finally taken over. I let out a breath and asked, "what makes you think he won't send us to Escalada?"
Alex had turned away from me. "I don't know. It just seems like the way Remy is acting, that he's trying to goad you."
"What do you mean?" I asked. "Goad me into what?"
"I don't know. Trying to escape, maybe."
"But he's posted three guards at the door," I said. "He knows I couldn't get passed them."
Alex turned over to look at me. "I don't know what he's up to. If I did, maybe I'd tell you. But I don't. I've never been able to read him. Maybe he will send us to Escalada. It just doesn't feel like he will."
"If he does, I'll find a way to kill myself before I get bred. I won't be a stud for him or Escalada. I won't have my children raised to be sold into slavery!" I spat.
"It won't come to that," Alex said again. "And even if he did breed us at sometime, I just don't think he'd sell our kids into slavery. Look at Henry. Do you think someone who acts like he does around Henry could just let his slaves' kids be sold?"
"I don't know what the fuck to think anymore. Maybe he would if the price is right." I sneered.
"No," Alex replied, turning away from me again. "I may not be able to read him, but for some reason I feel sure he wouldn't do that."
I was quiet for a while, my thoughts in a whirl. I stood there watching Alex, wanting to say more, wanting to keep him talking, perhaps wanting to provoke him into fighting me. But he wouldn't. He'd said he wouldn't fight me and I believed there was nothing I could have said that would have changed his mind, that would have caused him to strike out at me. Finally I said, "You've really given up now."
"Not now," he answered. "I gave up a while ago, when I realized I couldn't escape. When Remy held the one thing most important to me against me."
"Who?" I asked. "Who is it? You owe me that."
He shook his head. "I don't owe you anything."
"Fine," I snapped. "Then at least tell me what's gotten into you? You use to be more of fighter. Now you're acting like some lovesick fool. Do you really love him?"
Alex grew quiet for a long, long time. But just as I was about to pull him out of the bed and shake the answer out of him, he said, "Maybe. I feel something. Need. Maybe I just need him. Need this." He waved his arm vaguely.
"It's sick," I spat the words like poison from my mouth.
"You think I don't know that!" He roared, turning over to glare at me. Then he grew quiet again and said, "Rationally, logically, I know it's wrong. But emotionally I can't stop how I feel. I'll do anything...*anything*, to have him touch me with some tenderness, no matter how small."
"Even sell out your own brother?" It had to be asked.
He wouldn't answer, so I repeated the question stepping toward the bed with my hands balled into fists. Still he wouldn't say anything, just kept his eyes on the bed. I asked him again. And then I started throwing more and more questions at him: Would he sell out the X-men? His father? Lorna? All for an ounce of Remy's love? I began to rage at him, coming so close to using my fists that I had to pull back across the room, gain some distance to keep from hurting him physically. Though I wasn't against lashing out at him verbally. But eventually he wore me down with his silence. With his refusal to even look at me. It was like ranting at a stone wall.
"You're pathetic," I finally said, unable to keep the weariness out of my voice. "I can understand now why you always felt you couldn't live up to me. Because you can't. Maybe I shouldn't come back for you."
Then Alex said, so softly I almost didn't hear, "Maybe you shouldn't." He'd turned away from me again.
I was on him in a flash, my fury renewed. I yanked him on to his back and straddled his chest, bending over him so that my face was only inches from him. He kept his eyes shut.
"Look at me!" I bit out through clenched teeth.
He shook his head.
"God dammit! Open your fucking eyes, slave!" And I slapped him hard across the face. His eyes popped open. But there was no anger. Only resignation. This was how he expected to be treated. It pissed me off to no end, so I slapped him again and again.
"You shit!" I hollered. "You little piece of worthless shit! You fucking slave!" I slapped him again, this time hoping for something other than resignation from him. "You told me not to make you choose. Well, I won't! I'm coming back for you! And I'll drag you out of here by your balls if I have to. And you know why?!" I dug my fingers into his chin to make certain he was looking at me. He didn't answer, so I told him. "Because you're my dip-shit cowardly brother and I love you and I am NOT leaving you here like you left me at the orphanage!"
I glared at him, but inside I was stunned at my own words. *Where the hell had that come from?* And still Alex said nothing. But at least there were tears in his eyes.
I pushed off him, my cock hard and needing. But this wasn't about sex. And I wasn't going to rape my brother, no matter how much I wanted to pound into him over and over until he came to his senses. I know Alex would have let me fuck him, even in the furious state I was in, but it would still be rape and I'd still regret it later on.
So I went back to pacing the room, back and forth, circling the couches, like a restless hunter with no prey in sight. Several times I went to the door, tempted to fling it open. But then I remembered that it had been locked. Once in a while, in a rush of anger, I'd slammed my fist against the door. When there was no response, I'd start to pace again, waiting for Remy, preparing for a confrontation. He never came.
As the grey morning light filtered through the window, I began to slow my restless pacing. By then I knew Remy wasn't coming home. My anger began to dissipate and eventually I gave into my emotional fatigue. I crawled into bed beside Alex and pulled him into my arms. He'd fallen asleep hours ago, and woke with a start as I grabbed him, none to gently. He tried to jerk away. But I'd be damned if I'd let him. I would have the comfort of holding him, if nothing else. He quieted a few minutes later and I kissed the back of his neck where it met his shoulder, satisfied to feel him shudder. There was still this attraction between us, this need. Anger and hurtful, hate-filled words weren't enough to drive it away.
Drowsy and warm from the heat of his body, I grazed the length of him with my hand, from shoulder to hip and back. Lazy strokes, smiling as he squirmed, until finally I cupped his balls possessively like Remy, like his master. For several minutes I rolled the loose silky skin between my fingers, almost laughing as he forced back a moan and stiffened. Then I gave him one slow stroke down the length of his semi-erect shaft until I reached the root. And grasping as much of his cock and balls tightly, I stilled him against my body. Soon after I fell asleep like that with a final whispered, "good boy," in his ear, as he remained quiet in my arms.
I woke at dusk, the sun just dipping below the horizon. Alex wasn't beside me. But when I sat up, I saw him sitting on the couch facing the window, a book in his hand, staring unseeing out over the city. I laid back down in the bed, still drained and seeing no reason to get up.
The sun had disappeared completely and darkness shrouded the room when Remy returned. When I heard the door unlock, I was on my feet in an instant, crouched into a fighting stance. Remy entered with an arrogant smile.
"You fucking bastard! I'll be dead before I ever let that motherfucker breed me to his whores!"
Remy chuckled and my fury increased tenfold. I flew at him and was hit with a wave of desire so powerful I never reached him. I saw Alex rise up off the couch for a moment, as if to come to my aid, but then he sat back down,
"I grow tired of your defiance, cher," Remy said, his voice laced with warning. "You'll do as you're told. Now go back to bed."
Weak from the intensity of his power, I made my way back to the bed and crawled under the covers, shaking with need. I watched Remy as he bent to kiss my brother. I watched him as he sat on the couch while the servants
brought him food. Watched him with lust and hunger as he ate, occasionally feeding Alex scraps from his plate. Then I watched with envy as he sat back, pulling Alex down onto his lap, savoring a no doubt expensive red wine while he stroked my brother's hair, murmuring soft questions and listening with a nod or a smile to the answers Alex gave. Once in a while he'd dip his finger into the wine and then place it against Alex's lip for him to suckle like a babe in his mother's arms. I shuddered every time.
My lids were heavy, my cock swollen with desire. But I could barely move, unable to even stroke my cock. My limbs felt heavy and useless. The sensations within me held me still. I was like a puppet and Remy pulled the
strings. It was the strongest control Remy had ever had on me and I could now seriously believe how Alex hadn't been able to plunge the knife into him that one night when he had the chance.
When he left Alex, ordering him to remain on the couch, and came over to me, he played my body like a master, bringing me to the point of orgasm over and over, then backing off at just the right moment to keep me from going over the edge. Touching, tasting, scenting. His hands were everywhere, ghosting across my flesh. His tongue dipped into passages he'd never explored before. For hours he kept me heightened with arousal, never finding release until I was begging, pleading with him to fuck me by the time he finally thrust into me. I came screaming his name, riding him hard in the afterglow, gasping out words of love, of ownership.
And when he finished, he held my gaze, nodding his head with a smile. Then he rolled off of me, calling Alex over and telling him to clean me off. Without hesitation my brother bathed my chest and groin with his tongue, lapping up my seed as I lay there spineless, unable to move. When Remy left to shower, he rolled me onto my stomach and cleaned the semen from my ass, dipping his tongue in deep to get every drop. Remy returned shortly after and pulled me into his arms. I was asleep in minutes, as if he'd planted the suggestion in my brain.
Late in the night Remy, Alex and I were awoken by a guard. A problem had arisen in the city and several council members were at the door of the palace demanding to see Remy. He waved at the guard and rubbed his eyes.
"I'll be dere shortly."
Then he was up, dressing quickly and was gone in moments. I lay back down, still groggy, my mind fuzzy from the residual effects of Remy's power. But the longer he stayed away, the clearer my thoughts became. Here was my
opportunity. With Remy distracted by the councilors and with the guards hopefully called away to contain whatever crisis was occurring in the city, I might not be missed for hours.
Carefully, I turned to look at Alex. He'd fallen back to sleep. I prodded him a few times, each time just a bit harder than the one before. He never stirred. I could feel my heart speeding up and my stomach churning into knots. The time was now. I couldn't hesitate.
I slipped out of the bed as quietly as I could and moved to the door of the bedroom. It was unlocked And when I opened it, there were no guards standing watch. My eyes lit up with excitement and fear. I left the door partly opened and went over to Remy's armoire. Thankfully it made no sound when I opened it.
I was dressed in minutes. Black leggings, a long black coat that I could draw up to hide the inhibitor collar from the back, a high collared shirt to hide it in the front, and black boots. The clothes were snug. Wouldn't fit quite
right in certain places And the boots were loose on my feet. Just the sensation of wearing clothes after so many months caused me a great deal of irritation. Though the leggings were a smooth cotton and the shirt silk, they
made my skin itch and tingle uncomfortably. And I felt hot. Sweat started to bead up along my spine after only a few minutes in the clothing. But I ignored the discomfort, letting the excitement of escape overcome it. The clothes would do until I'd made it home.
With a last look at Alex, who hadn't even turned in his sleep, I slipped out the door and down the hall. The palace was quiet. Almost too quiet I feared. For a time paranoia set in. I saw no one and began to worry that perhaps this
was a trap. But I squelched my fear. The guards could easily take me. One push of the button on the box that controlled my collar and they'd have me.
Finding the 'playroom' was fairly easy. I made a few wrong turns, but eventually I found myself standing before its familiar door. By that time I'd had to avoid a few of the guards. Oddly enough I found this reassuring. I could tell by their manner that no one seemed to be looking for me yet.
In front of the 'playroom' door I turned slowly around thinking back to that day I'd been captured. I'd been dragged into the room from the right. Backtracking the way I'd come, I found the last set of stairs the guards had yanked me down. I went up slowly, carefully, my hearing and sight on full alert. There was no one at the top of the stairs. But at the end of the hall two guards stood talking. I ducked into a darkened doorway, studying the corridor, trying to remember which way I'd come down. After a moment I had the direction. It led passed the two guards. Cursing softly, I took several slow deep breathes, waiting and hoping they'd move on.
It took a while, precious moments I couldn't afford to spare, but finally the guards separated. One walked right by me. But the shadows of the doorway concealed me from view. I moved on.
On through the dark halls, up dimly lit staircases, until I realized in frustration I was lost. And that frustration almost got me caught. I was high up in the citadel again. Nothing looked familiar. If I'd been here before it
had only been that one time. And I'd been dazed from the jaunt and in pain >from the penile device.
I started moving faster through the corridors, trying to keep to the shadows and doorways. But as I rounded a corner, the early morning sunlight streaming through a tall narrow window distracted me and I came face to face with one of the servants of the palace. I turned slightly, ready to run back the other way when he bowed, saying, "Milord? Are you lost?"
I whirled back to face him and came to my full height. The servant was looking at me carefully as if hoping he hadn't offended me. I immediately adopted a haughty look, trying to intimidate, praying that he hadn't looked
too carefully, and seen the collar hidden beneath the neck of the silk shirt I wore. I stalled for a moment, trying to decide what tale I could weave that might get me directions to the portal room. Finally, figuring I had nothing
to lose at this point, I used the direct approach.
"I'm looking for the portal room," I said in a sneering tone.
The servant blinked for a moment, waiting for an explanation. I kept my eyes on him, although I desperately wanted to look around to make sure no one was coming. When I continued to stare, saying nothing else, he became nervous. Mentally I crossed my fingers, hoping he was only anxious because he felt he was questioning a nobleman. Whatever went through his mind, though, caused him to help me out.
"It's two floors down, Milord. Directly beneath us on the right."
I gave him a curt nod and strode confidently back down the way I'd come to the staircase, three corridors away. By then I was breathing hard and sweating profusely. It was early morning and I'd been gone for hours. It was only a matter of time before I was missed. If I wasn't already. Alex could be awake by now. And although he had said once that he wouldn't hinder my escape, now I wasn't so sure I could trust him not to betray me.
Reaching the stairway, I flew down the stairs, taking them two and three at a time. I was running now with a growing sense of dread.
But then the portal room was there. The door was unlocked and standing open. I should have been suspicious, but my focus lay solely on the portal across the room. A large stone circle stood on a dais, four steps from the floor.
The stone was a foot wide and framing a swirling oily substance that changed colors as it moved. A panel stood to the right of the circle, red digital numbers glowing in the dark room.
I sprinted the distance from the door to the steps of the dais and was up on it in one leap when a wave of nausea hit me like an out of control train and I crumpled to the floor like a rag doll. My collar had been activated.
I immediately heard boots hitting the marble floor, coming closer. Then they appeared within my sight, black leather boots exactly like the ones I wore. *God no!* My mind screamed. I was so close. So close! I could feel tears
flooding my eyes.
"Strip him and cuff him," Remy said. He hardly sounded angry. More amused than anything. I tried to shut my eyes to force back the tears, but my lids wouldn't move. I could only stare helplessly at my reflection in his boots, until he turned away.
Hands unbuttoned my coat and tugged off my boots. They weren't gentle. My leggings and silk shirt came away with a hard yank. Then two guards lifted my torso up off the floor and dragged me down the steps. As I lay on my belly, unable to move a muscle, my arms were cuffed tightly behind me. If I could have I would have opened my eyes wide in surprise as my legs were bent up and my ankles were locked into cuffs attached to a foot long metal bar, a cuff on each end to force my legs apart. Then the restraints around my wrists were pulled back and locked down into the middle of the metal bar. I was bowed back in a painful arch.
Once my arms and legs were secured, the guards pulled me up by my arms until I was in a kneeling position before Remy. The cuffs and metal bar held me up, but I swayed unsteadily. My head had lolled back and to the right, allowing me to see Remy's face above me.
He was smiling pleasantly, his eyes sparkling with amusement in the now brightly lit room. A numb kind of terror went through me. He wasn't angry. This had been planned.
"You never disappoint me, Scott," Remy chuckled. "I give you an opportunity to escape and predictably you take it. I am sorry dat I had to let you come dis far. But I had to show you de futility of escape."
He took the back of my head firmly in one hand and bent to brush his lips against mine. My muscles twitched with my useless attempt to pull away. "I'll never let you go, mon cher. I'll never tire of you," he murmured in my ear.
"Not even when you bend to me completely. I t'ink I might even enjoy dat more. I certainly love seeing your brot'er so broken." If I could have I would have cried. Inside I felt I was dying. A part of me was shattering.
Remy stood up and ruffled my hair. "Escalada was a stroke of luck." He looked at me quizzically. "You didn' t'ink I'd seriously send you to dat man to breed?" He laughed at his cruel inquiry as if it were a joke. "Well, I suppose you did, eh? It's no matter now. De slave he present to me was an unregistered Alpha. He lied. I could tell dat she was more dan he claimed. Healing only fifty percent faster dan a human would 'ave left scarring, no matter what he tried to tell me. And he's made several unauthorized and undisclosed visits to Eart'. It was only a matter of time before I had him arrested. He was charged yesterday when he came to see me. He's been stripped of his estate and his Genoshan born slaves will be sold. De mutant ones will come 'ere 'til I decide what to do wit' dem." He caressed my cheek tenderly at that point. "But none of dat is your concern, mon couer. You must t'ink only of how I will punish you. And what you will need to do to earn m'forgiveness."
He stepped back still looking at me. "I knew I'd 'ave to break you de same way I broke your brot'er. Too stubborn, you Summers. Very much from de same stock. And wit' my marriage coming up I needed to do it soon, to keep you
from causing trouble. You'll go to a trainer, cher. But first I'll give you an incentive to behave."
He turned toward the door and said, "Look. Here's your brot'er come to join us."
A voice rang out across the room, but it wasn't my brother's. "Scott!"
Every muscle in my body that was returning to life froze. Hurried footsteps slapped against the cold marble floor and with a great deal of effort I forced my head to turn in their direction.
"No," I whispered. I could feel Remy's smile, indulgent, as if he were humoring a favorite child. My heart began to race even faster until I thought it might burst out of my chest. My breathing increased with every slap of the feet that ran toward me. "No, Jean!" I rasped, my voice getting stronger. "Oh God, NO!"
Then Remy stepped into my line of sight, intercepting my wife. "Ma chere," he purred. And Jean came to a sudden halt before him, not even trying get around him.
When he stepped to her side I could see her swaying, the lids of her eyes heavy with bliss, drugged by his power. Christ! I closed my eyes slowly, praying that when I opened them again this would be just a dream.
But it wasn't a dream. My wife was standing off to my left, an inhibitor collar around her neck, naked and under Remy's sway. I had once been told that his charm power, for whatever reason, had an even stronger affect on
women. I could see the proof of it now. He'd wrapped his arm around her waist possessively and was whispering in her ear. Her lips were parted in a lazy smile at his words, but her eyes remained on me.
Everything seemed to slow to a crawl. I could hear Remy's soft voice murmuring French and English. I heard my name once. I saw him gently guide Jean over to stand directly in front of me. I was able now to slowly shake my
head from side to side, the movement increasing with every second until reality seemed to come screaming back at me and I was shouting at Remy with every furious shake, "NononononoNO!"
He stopped speaking to Jean and smiled at me. Still indulgently, but with a hint of malice. His words were clear now. I no longer felt as if I heard him through a glass bowl.
"Look who's come to visit, Scott."
"You motherfucking bastard!" I roared. "You cowardly piece of shit!" Every foul name I could dredge up spewed from my lips. Remy just kept smiling, saying nothing until I'd worn myself down from my fury. Tears poured down my face by the time I was finished.
"Let her go," I rasped at the end of my rant. "Please, Remy, for God's sake, let her go." I dropped my head in defeat.
"Are you finished, cher," Remy asked in that indulgent tone he continued to use. I nodded once. A movement to my left caused me to look up. Alex was standing there with Lorna.
"Oh God," I croaked. "Alex."
He just looked at me in desolation. He had his arm around Lorna's waist. Lorna looked shell-shocked. She stared at me blankly, saying nothing.
Remy beamed. "De whole family is here now, eh? Alex?"
Alex turned to look at Remy and nodded slowly.
"Come. Kiss your sister-in-law," Remy said. As Alex looked back at me for a moment, I saw Remy whisper something to Jean, who giggled. Then Alex stepped forward and place a chaste kiss on Jean's cheek. But Remy had other plans. Jean grasped Alex's face between her hands and brushed her lips against his. He froze and she increased the pressure, enticing him, pressing her full length against him wantonly.
Remy chuckled and caught my desperate glare. "I t'ink Jean has been hiding a powerful attraction to your baby brot'er, Scott."
"You're doing this," I said hoarsely through clenched teeth.
"P'etetre. But regardless, she seems to be enjoying herself. Jean," he called. She looked back with a dazed smile. Alex had taken her wrists, gently holding her at bay. "Would you like to pleasure your brot'er? Maybe fuck him,
or take him in your mout' watch him cum?"
Her smile broadened and she nodded.
"No!" Alex cried. "Master, please! I've done everything you've asked. Don't make me do this!"
Remy looked at him for a long moment seeming to consider his plea.
"Jean," I said in the silence, "you can fight this. You can break his spell. Come on, hon. Don't let him control you."
She smiled at me, her look one of amusement that said she wasn't doing anything she hadn't thought of before. Then she reached for Alex, just brushing his nipples with her fingertips.
"You see, mon cher," Remy laughed, "de fun we'll have?"
"Bastard!" I snapped. "Leave her alone! She wouldn't be doing this if you weren't using your power on her."
"Dat's a true shame. Can you just imagine de picture she and your baby brot'er would make?"
"Please!" Alex said again, desperation in his voice.
Remy sighed. "Very well. You been a good boy. Perhaps later." He turned to Jean. "Jean, come here." My wife's shoulders slumped and she pouted, but stepped back to him. He took her arm and guided her about six feet away from me, saying, "But you deserve some entertainment, Scott, for all de trouble I've put you t'rough. Lorna?" Lorna's head snapped up and she gazed at Remy, her expression still blank. "Come kiss your almost sister-in-law."
"No!" Alex and I both shouted, knowing exactly what Remy had in mind. But Remy gave a warning glance at Alex and held his hand out to Lorna. She shuffled over to him like a mental patient heavily drugged on thorazine and
took his hand. I shook my head.
"Please, Remy, Master. I'll do anything. Leave them out of this. I'll do anything you ask," I begged.
"I know you will," he nodded with vicious smile. "I know you will." Then he murmured to Jean again. She smiled seductively at Lorna and pulled her into her arms.
Their kiss began tentatively, gently, as if in greeting. Jean cupped Lorna's buttocks and thrust her hips slightly again and again. I watched in horror and arousal, unable to look away, still shaking my head. The kiss became more insistent, more passionate with every minute that went by. Lorna seemed to come alive under Jean's touch. She opened her mouth with a soft gasp, letting Jean's tongue slide in without hesitation.
I couldn't speak. A quiet gurgle came from between my lips. I was screaming inside, every muscle tense from the hell I found myself in. I wanted to run to Jean, snatch her away before she went any further. This would leave scars.
We wouldn't survive this without deep ugly wounds. I twisted my wrists in the metal cuffs, scaping the flesh, but unable to do more damage. I welcomed the pain, but I really wanted to make my wrists bleed, to whittle away the outer layers of muscle and skin and get down to artery and bone. To slice in so deep that Remy would have to stop this nightmare just to keep me alive.
But the metal was smooth. Little friction, no rough edges to cut. And when I realized this, I began to struggle in earnest. Alex put a hand on my shoulder then, to keep me from falling. I glared up at him in fury. But when I saw his face my anger faltered.
Sadness. A terrible *I warned you* sadness played across his eyes, his mouth. And I understood his pain. Understood the burden he'd had to keep from me because I would have said something to Remy. I wouldn't have been able to keep my anger in check. And Lorna might have suffered for it. I gave him one curt nod.
He backed away, unable to watch anymore. And I couldn't really blame him. I could only imagine all he'd had to go through just to keep her safe. To keep her out of Remy's bed and away from the auction block. I would have done the same for Jean. And after all that he'd done, it wasn't enough. Remy was still using Lorna. Corrupting her as he was corrupting my wife. I dropped my head, closing my eyes once more in defeat. This was one more battle Remy would win. One step closer to winning the war.
"After all de trouble I went t'rough to put dis party toget'er and you're not enjoying yourself, cher?"
I opened my eyes to see Remy's boots in front of me. I couldn't lift my head to meet his gaze. So he crouched down in front of me and lifted my chin, forcing me to look into his eyes.
"Stop, Remy," I said brokenly. "Don't do this to Jean. To Lorna."
"But dey are so beautiful toget'er. And unlike you, dey're 'aving a very good time at dis party." He winked and added, "I see de show isn't completely lost on you." Then he reached for my cock and stroked it gently. I was half hard already. His touch brought me fully to life.
"Please...please," I said over and over until he stopped my plea with a finger on my lips. He tapped my top lip rhythmically for a moment.
"T'ink of dis as your penance, Scott, if you like," he finally said, "for trying to escape. It is partly why I'm doing it."
I closed my eyes again, but he squeezed my erection gently with a warning and tapped my eyes. "Keep dem open. I want you to watch it all. I want you to see exactly what I'm capable of."
I opened my eyes and looked over his shoulder. Lorna and Jean were wrapped in each other's arms, smiling at me. Remy had stopped them just to make certain I didn't miss a minute of the show.
"I let your brot'er step outside because of de love he's shown me. He understands why I 'ave to do dis to you."
"No he doesn't," I snapped. "He doesn't understand. *I* don't understand. You knew I couldn't get away. You didn't have to drag my wife into this...this sick world."
For a moment I saw a flash of anger cross his face and a cold terror ran through me. But then his eyes softened. "Scott, mon cher, you still try to deny how much dis world attracts you, how much you love what has been done to
"No!" I said with a strangled cry. "I don't!"
"Look at how wit' a touch I can awaken such desire in you." Remy smiled. "But keep denying if you like. Not'ing will change. You'll still be mine."
He moved to crouch beside me, somehow managing to keep full contact with my cock, stroking and fisting until I gasped, about to climax. Then he backed off. "Easy, cher, easy," he murmured. "Not yet. Not for a good while."
I snarled at him, but he laughed and said, "Unless you'd like to join dem. I might let you if you ask nicely."
I shook my head vigorously. "Fuck you, you sick bastard!"
He laughed again and waved his hand at Lorna and Jean. "Well, den, on wit' de show!" My wife took the lead, as she and Lorna began to kiss again at Remy's order. She broke the kiss to trail her lips down Lorna's jaw to her throat. Just above the collar, she sucked at the skin. I knew it would leave a mark and I cringed. Jean had never been into biting or love marks. Every inhibition was crumbling as Remy held sway.
Lorna threw her head back, clutching Jean's upper arms tightly, gasping at the pain she inflicted. Then Jean moved down even lower. The tip of her tongue came out to just taste Lorna's right nipple. I couldn't help it. Every
dark fantasy I might have had at night in my bed at the mansion came bubbling up to the surface and I groaned, feeling my cock grow more heavy with desire. Remy chuckled softly in my ear. "You t'ought about dis, didn' you, cher? All dose beautiful women at Xavier's. How could you not, hein?"
"Yeah. Storm was one of my favorite fantasies," I snarled, trying to goad him, hoping a rise out of him would put a stop to what Lorna and Jean were doing, or at least cause him to strike out at me in anger. I would have welcomed the pain.
But he only laughed more and gave my cock a quick stroke. "She's a beautiful woman, no doubt. T'ough I wouldn't 'ave figured you for somet'ing so...exotic. Non. Figured you too vanilla. Straight American dream, eh?"
I almost snorted. He had no idea. His hand ran down my cock again, slowly, lingering, drawing out my want. But when I closed my eyes he grasped me hard. "Keep dem open," he growled.
So I watched, unable to stop my body from reacting to his touch and to the erotic performance in front of me. Had I not spent months naked and used for sexual pleasure, maybe I wouldn't have responded so easily. But it didn't
matter now. My body strained against my bonds with the need, my cock weeping and hard. Yet, as I neared orgasm, Remy backed off, pinching down forcefully on the tip of my penis. I cursed at him, but he only barked out a laugh and began to fist me again into hardness.
By this time Jean had Lorna stretched out on the cool marble floor beneath her. She had placed one of her knees between Lorna's legs and as she kissed her deeply, she gently pumped the knee against Lorna's crotch. I twitched and shuddered at the gasps and moans coming from Lorna. Jean was aggressive, biting and sucking at Lorna's mouth, tweaking her hard nipples until they seemed to strain from her breasts. Then her tongue made its way down Lorna's neck until it reached one of the tight buds. Jean circled the rosy flesh over and over and soon had Lorna writhing in pleasure, her arms thrown above her head, her fingers intertwining. Lorna whimpered and begged for release. I almost let out a plea of my own. Had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep my mouth shut. It was too much, I wanted to say. It was beautiful and perverse and so goddamn arousing. I hissed when Remy pushed his thumb into the slit of my cock.
Jean plundered the nipple below her, sucking it hard between her lips as one of her hands stroked down Lorna's belly, smoothing the soft skin again and again. She backed her knee away from Lorna's crotch and her hand paused in midair for a moment. But her lips, teeth and tongue never ceased. And Lorna's body never stopped undulating with pleasure. Mesmerized for a minute, my breathing shallow and raspy, I watched Jean's long delicate finger swirl around Lorna's navel and then trail down all the way between her legs. Lorna had bent her leg up so that I couldn't see where Jean's finger had gone. But I could imagine where it landed when Lorna squealed and arched her back. Jean smiled, the rosy nipple caught between her teeth. Then she drew her hand away to set it on the floor next to Lorna's stomach. She trailed the tip of her tongue down the same path her finger had gone. But just as she reached the curly green tinged hair of Lorna's groin, she looked up and smiled at me.
I drew in a sharp breath, once again just on the edge of orgasm. I was even closer this time. I could feel my scrotal sack tighten. Suddenly white light flashed across my eyes and burst of pain so sharp I nearly passed out ran
through my cock and up my spine. Remy had attached the penile device around my erection. I couldn't even scream. All the air had left my body. And Remy continued to finger the tip of my cock. I tried to gasp and managed to rock forward just an inch, my body threatening to spill over onto the hard marble floor. But seeing what might happen, Remy pulled his hand away from my cock and grabbed my shoulder, yanking me back into place.
"None of dat, homme," he snarled in my ear. "I'll not let you hurt yourself to avoid your punishment. You stay still and watch de rest."
If I hadn't been in so much agony I might have laughed at the absurdity of his statement. My eyes fell back on Jean and Lorna. They were both watching me through hooded eyes. When Jean saw that my focus was back on her once
again, she dipped her lips down between Lorna's legs. Lorna's knee was still bent up, preventing me from seeing Jean's profile. But it didn't take much imagination to realize what was happening. Lorna began to thrust her hips
into Jean's roving tongue, arching her back up off the floor and moaning in ecstasy. I saw Jean put her hand to Lorna's crotch and her arm began pumping back and forth. Lorna writhed and came with one long piercing scream, as if letting go years of rage and longing. I grimaced, clenching my teeth hard against the onslaught. Remy chuckled.
"Now dat's a talented tongue."
I jerked my head away from his voice in fury. "You unholy son of a bitch! I'll make you pay for this. Somehow I'll make you pay."
Jean was sitting back on her heels, that lazy seductive smile playing around her lips. Her mouth glistened a little from Lorna's moisture. She turned as she heard me cursing Remy and licked those beautiful lips, drawing a groan
"P'etetre you will," Remy said, not at all angry at my outburst. "I'll take my chances. You're worth it, mon cher."
I quieted at that, startled by the odd compliment. First Jean, for whom it'd taken years for me to believe loved me. And now Remy, who could have anyone in Genosha or on Earth. I shook my head in amazement. How did I bring about this love in Jean, this obsession in Remy? I just couldn't fathom it.
Remy stroked my back affectionately as Jean rose to her feet and then gave Lorna a hand up. It appeared the show was at an end. I gave a silent prayer of thanks that it was over for now. Suddenly the dazed blissful look on Jean's face evaporated and her eyes widened in fear, panic, horror and revulsion. She wrenched her hand from Lorna's and rushed toward me. "Scott!" She sobbed, dropping to her knees in front of me. "My God! Scott! I didn't...I'm sorry..." She reached her hands out but didn't touch me, looking as if she were afraid to.
"He...his power..." She looked over my shoulder at Remy then, her eyes flashing with anger. "You filthy bastard! You aren't..."
"None of dat, chere," Remy said and Jean slumped back on her heels, once more under his power.
"It's okay, Jean," I told her, even though she might not understand or believe. "I know you couldn't stop it. It's okay."
"Of course it's okay." Remy patted my shoulder. "It's perfect." He called to Lorna who shuffled over to him without a word. "Take Jean outside to Alex and tell him to take you two back to your room," Remy ordered. "Den tell him to
wait for me in my bedroom. Scott and I will be dere shortly, after we've worked out our differences."
Lorna took Jean's arm and pulled her to her feet, then led her out the door. I heard Lorna speak to Alex, her voice monotone, almost dead sounding. There was a faint scuffling sound and I heard Jean raise her voice. She seemed to
have come out from under Remy's spell and was arguing with Alex. "Let me go!" I heard her snap. And then Alex's low heated tone cut through her protest. I don't know what he said, but she grew silent after that. I listened for more, desperate to hear Jean's voice again, but they must have left. A sense of profound sadness came on me then. There was really no way I'd be able to carry out my threat of paying Remy back in kind. Not on his own turf. Not
when I couldn't even successfully escape. And now that he held Jean captive there was no way I'd escape without her. The situation was hopeless.
I looked up when Remy moved to stand over me. He'd kept silent as I listened, letting it fully sink in that there was so little I could do. Now he wanted my attention. "You can' win dis, Scott," he said quietly. "I hold all de cards. If you choose to fight me I can 'ave her sold. Or I can give her to one of de noblemen. Or noblewomen. I could fuck her in front of you while you're bound like dis. I could 'ave your brot'er fuck her. Or one of de guards. I could 'ave her whipped. So many ways to punish you."
He stopped talking then and merely looked at me. His expression was soft, almost compassionate. I sighed in defeat. "You promise you won't hurt her?" I asked.
Remy crouched down with one knee on the floor and cupped my cheek. "I promise," he replied. "I 'ave no reason to hurt her except as a way to control you. I might even send her home in a few years when I believe dat you won' ever try to leave."
I nodded. "For her sake then. I'll obey you for her sake. But don't expect love."
"I'll accept dat for now." He smiled gently. "But time is on m'side. Your body already acts as if in love to m'touch."
I just looked at him blandly. He knew well enough how close he was to having me bend to his will. Even holding Jean hostage wouldn't change that. So I wasn't going to make it any easier for him.
"Don' look so glum. P'etetre in a few months I'll allow you to visit your wife to see dat she is well cared for. It's what I've allowed Alex to do. And she *will* be well cared for as long as your obedient. She'll be allowed clothing and some freedom in de palace. Like Lorna she'll 'ave an attendant to see to her needs and to protect her from any of m'guards or servants who might t'ink to use her. Even de t'reat will be severely punished. And," he
added, "she'll be kept away from any noblemen or councilors so they'll not be tempted by her beauty."
"Fine," I sighed, when he seemed to be finished. "What now?"
"Now you'll go back to my room. Your punishment is over. I need not stretch it out. De week before m'wedding, you and Alex will be sent to a trainer for safekeeping. You'll remain dere until I return from my honeymoon. Den t'ings
will go on as before."
"What about your bride-to-be?" I asked, trying to keep the sarcasm out of my voice.
"Lady Boutin?" Remy asked as if the answer was obvious. "She understands de way t'ings are. She's quite taken wit' you and Alex, and she knows she can never replace you two in my heart. So she won't ever try."
I took a deep breath. "Can I ask one more thing?"
"Ask whatever you'd like, Scott," Remy replied. "I wish to have everyt'ing out in de open now. I want dere to be no more secrets 'tween us."
I almost laughed at this. He wanted me to have no secrets from him. But he'd lie to me, I felt certain, if he thought he could use it to his advantage. I kept my anger in check so that I could hopefully get an honest answer from
him. "If you ever tire of me or Alex will you promise never to sell us? And never to breed us? I couldn't take that."
Remy looked at me for a long time, his eyes gentle, his mouth quirked in a soft smile. Then he took my face between his hands and brushed his lips against mine. I felt such longing, such desire and love from him it nearly
surpassed the pain I was already experiencing from the way my limbs were twisted in the restraints and my cock was throbbing in the mechanism wrapped securely around it. Then he moved back and looked at me again.
"I don' t'ink I'll ever tire of you, mon couer," he said quietly. "But if dere comes a time when I do, I'll send you home."
I felt the breath leave my body and tears come to my eyes. "Okay," I swallowed. "Okay."
He smiled gently again and stood up. "I'll call de guards to release you. You can remove de cock ring when you get back to de room."
He turned on his heel, but a sudden movement from the portal had him wheeling around to face it when a burst of bright pink kinetic energy exploded against his chest.
Everything happened so fast that it all seemed to go by me as if in a dream. As Remy was knocked back from the force of the kinetic blow, I turned my head to watch him fly across the room. But a flash of blue shot passed me and I heard flesh meet flesh. I blinked to clear the sudden haze across my vision.
"Holy shit!" Came a gruff voice and I turned to see Logan and Remy coming toward me.
"Remy?" I mouthed, my throat suddenly dry.
"Good Lord! Scott!" I turned my head back around to see Henry McCoy dragging an unconscious Remy back over to me. Then the three exploded into action. Hank taking the lead dropped the body of someone I'd thought had been Remy Lebeau and stepped between me and the portal as Storm and Rogue came through.
"Gambit!" He snapped.
"On it, mon ami!" Remy answered, knowing what he wanted. I could barely understand what was happening. Remy ran to the portal, intercepting Storm and Rogue and the rest of the Calvary coming through. Gambit gestured to them with a nod to Henry and they turned away from where he stood shielding me from their curious looks. I felt a flush go through me from the shame of being bound as I was.
But at that moment, two of the guards, who must have heard the commotion came barreling through the door and any attention to my predicament was drawn away with the beginning of a fierce battle. A loud shriek from Banshee drove the guards back.
"Take control of the palace," I shouted to Henry over the din. He nodded and began bellowing orders into his headset. Within a few moments most of the X-men who'd come through the portal -- and from what I could see it must have been the whole roster, including the Generation X kids, Pietro and Wanda -- had moved out to secure the citadel. Only Hank, Logan and Remy, the *real* Remy Lebeau I surmised, remained with me. Nathan came to kneel beside me for a moment. I flushed in shame as my son looked at me with tears in his eyes. "Dad," he said with so much love. More than I'd ever heard in his voice. "Dad, it's okay."
I closed my eyes and nodded. "Go help the others. Find Jean. Make sure she's safe." He stood up without question, looked at me one more time and then headed out the door. I felt a good deal of relief. He was one of the last people I wanted seeing me like this.
"Let's get you out of these, Cyke," Logan said with incredible compassion. After all these years I still couldn't believe he could be that kind to me. I'd expected a smirk and a smartass comment. But he was quiet, sincere in his
kindness. He popped a claw and made short work of my restraints. Hank caught me before I hit the floor. My arms and legs were numb from the position I'd been forced into for such long time, and I could hardly move to stop myself from falling forward. He lowered me all the way down to the cool marble and then looked at the collar around my neck.
"Inhibitor?" He asked, though it was obvious. I think he was feeling almost as embarrassed as I was, now that the heat of battle had died in the immediate area surrounding us.
I nodded. "Do you have my visor?" I asked. Simple expedient questions. I wanted to stick to simple plans. My mind began to click back into battle mode, leadership tactics. And I'd thought I'd lost that ability months ago. It was like riding a bike.
He nodded and pulled it out of a small gym bag slung over his shoulder. "We weren't sure what to expect. I have your uniform too. Scott?"
"Later," I said more gruffly than I meant to. "Just get this thing off me."
Logan stepped over and bent down. "Hold still," he told me and placed the very tip of his claw against the top of the collar. With one downward stroke, he cut through it without even nicking my skin and pulled it from around my
neck. Thank God for adamantium claws. I closed my eyes tightly as I felt him pull it away and Henry positioned my visor back into place. I occurred to me suddenly that I hadn't even taken a last unfiltered look around.
But Hank was distracting me as he bent toward my groin. "I think I can just unclasp this..."
"No!" I hollered, causing him to jump. "No," I repeated more quietly. "I'll take care of it. Help me sit up and give me Remy's coat."
Gambit turned hearing his name. I suddenly realized he'd been standing over the unconscious form of his doppleganger since the other's had left. I felt a chill go though me at what he must be thinking. As he began to shrug off his trench coat I said, "No. Not yours."
He scowled. "Dat ain't Remy."
"Sure," I answered. "Just give me his coat. It's roomier."
He nodded and began to strip off my former master's coat. He wasn't very gentle about it. And when the false Remy stirred, he pummeled him back into unconsciousness. After he placed the coat over me carefully, Gambit went back
to stand guard over his doppleganger. Or so I thought. I watched him as Hank began to explain how they'd found me.
But a minute into Henry's explanation I saw a glint of steel appear in Remy's hand as he bent down over my master's throat.
"No!" I roared. "Remy don't!"
Gambit swung around, knife in hand and a snarl on his face. "Why not?! De bastard deserves to die!"
"X-men don't kill." It was all I could think of to say. God knew I had wanted him dead often enough. But now, faced with the certainty of his execution, I couldn't bare to have it happen. I realized with a cold terror that I didn't
want him dead. No matter what he'd done to me, I didn't want to see him die.
"Maybe dey should," Remy replied acidly. But the knife disappeared and he stood up and moved away. I breathed a sigh of relief and he gave me a puzzled frown. "What's dis all about, homme?" He asked coming toward me.
"Why don't you catch up with the others," Hank interrupted me, speaking to Gambit in a tone that brook no argument. Gambit glared at him for a moment. "We'll take care of Sinister's clone." Henry said to him.
"I t'ink you should send him back to Sinister," Gambit snarled. "If you don' want to kill him."
"We'll take care of it, Remy. I promise." Henry clutched his shoulder and ushered him towards the door.
"Merde! You'll treat him wit' kid gloves after all he done." He wheeled around and looked at Logan. "You kill him, homme, if he tries anyt'ing. Oui?"
Logan nodded. "Sure kid. I'll keep an eye on him."
Gambit nodded and was out the door without a look back.
The circulation had returned to my limbs and I painfully pushed myself up into a sitting position. "What happened, Hank?" I asked. But he put a hand up waving me to silence and listened into his headset. He nodded and looked back at me.
"The palace is secured. They've found Lorna, Jean and Alex and have freed the slaves."
I took a deep breath, my mind going into a whirl with tactics, analyzing the situation, considering all the alternatives to an all out war. But there were only two goals to accomplish: free the mutant slaves and return them to Earth. Again I felt amazed at how quickly I was turning back into Cyclops, leader of the X-men.
"We need to take control of the city. There are a good many mutant slaves >from Earth here. They ought to be recognizable by their inhibitor collars." Hank nodded again and began relaying orders into the headset. I went back
over all the information I had gathered during my time here. When Hank had finished speaking to Storm and Rogue, the official field leaders at this time, I said, "I need one of the flyers to find Councilor Constantine. I'm
fairly certain he'll be an ally. One of the guards ought to be able to give you the location of his estate."
"I'll take care of it," Logan said, heading toward the door. I heard him say, "Banshee," as he headed out of the room.
"We don't have much time," I said to Henry. "I'm not sure how many mutant slaves there are in this country." Hank's eyes widened at this remark. "We need to get them away from their...owners before they're hidden or killed.
I've no doubt most of the owners are not going to let them go without a fight."
"What is this place?" Hank asked in astonishment.
"Oddly enough, a twisted place of reverence for mutants," I replied. "I'll explain it all later." I pushed up, trying to get to my feet, but my limbs were still partly numb. Henry bent to help me and I smiled weakly.
"Very strange, indeed," he commented, but said nothing more.
"What happened to Gambit?" I asked as he helped me to my feet.
"He's been enjoying Sinister's hospitality for five years now." Hank replied simply.
"Shit!" I said, realizing that my situation, while bad, probably didn't compare to Remy being held prisoner by that madman. "No wonder he's out to kill."
"Yes," Hank continued. "I think I would have felt the same way. Apparently Sinister had created this clone." He pointed at the doppleganger. "He then had Gambit captured. He used him to imprint his memories on the clone, making him a very close copy, but a more powerful one. Remy isn't sure how powerful he is, but he does know this clone has better control over his powers. And I think Sinister's plan to use the new clone for his own purposes backfired, because the clone began to have ideas of his own. Having Remy's memories gave him autonomy and a hunger for freedom. He escaped Sinister's care, leaving Gambit to take his place. I'm fairly certain Sinister knew Gambit was the real thing. But I doubt he cared much. In fact I'm certain he was angry enough about his loss to take it out on Remy. Remy was in bad shape when he got back to us a few months ago."
"Wait a minute," I said, a thought occurring to me. "I thought the Neo took out Sinister. That's what I read in the files."
"We'll need to update those files then," Hank replied in all seriousness. "But you should know how hard it is to kill that devil. The Neo probably took out half a dozen Sinister clones, never even coming close to the real thing."
I nodded in agreement.
I was able to stand on my own, shrugging into my former master's coat, when Jean, Lorna and Alex arrived.
"Scott!" Jean shouted and ran toward me. Knowing she was going to throw herself into my arms I turned quickly to catch her on my hip.
"Easy," I said. She backed off, giving me a puzzled look. "It's okay," I assured her. "Just a problem I need to take care of in private."
Her eyes widened in horror. "That..." she hissed. I nodded.
"Oh Scott, what happened?"
"We'll talk about it later. Right now there are a lot of things that need to be taken care of." I looked over at Alex. He had a tentative arm around Lorna's waist, but his eyes were locked on our still unconscious would be master. He looked up suddenly, as if sensing my gaze, and flushed slightly in embarrassment. I felt Jean bristle beside me. I turned my eyes on her and saw anger.
"Jean," I said, putting all my need into my voice, "take Alex and Lorna back to the mansion."
Her eyes sparked with the anger she held in them. "Scott..."
"Please," I cut her off. "I need you to do this for me."
"You need me here," she replied matter-of-factly.
"No. I can take care of this." I glanced over at Remy. "I can take care of him. I need you to take care of Alex and Lorna for me."
I could see it was going to be difficult to persuade her. "He still loves him," she hissed. "I saw it in his thoughts."
I closed my eyes. "You haven't read his mind, have you?"
She shook her head after a moment. "He was projecting."
"Then you haven't gone deep enough. You don't know the whole story," I said.
"I think I know enough. Lorna's told me plenty," she snapped.
I sighed. "Please. Lorna doesn't know as much as she might think. Please. Take them home. Don't read Alex's mind. Let me try to explain it to you when I get back. I promise I'll tell you everything."
Jean echoed my sigh. "Alright. But I'm not going to try to stop him if he leaves."
"Fair enough," I said. "Just do me one other favor." Jean rolled her eyes, but then nodded. "Tell Xavier to leave him alone. Don't let him mind wipe him. Even if he asks for it. Not until I get back at least."
She narrowed her eyes at me, pursing her lips. "Xavier's not at the mansion." I looked at her in surprise and she said, "when you disappeared, and we couldn't find any trace of you on Earth, he contacted Corsair. Since both you
and Alex were missing, he thought perhaps one of Corsair's enemies had decided to come after you both. He's with your father."
I nodded. "Makes sense. Well, I should be home before he gets back. Just watch out for them."
"Fine." She wasn't happy about it, but I knew she'd do it for me. I kissed her gently.
"I'll be home soon."
Without another word she walked over to Lorna and Alex and took Lorna by the hand. Alex took another look at his master and came over to me. "Scott?"
"It's okay, Alex," I said, placing my hand on his shoulder. I wanted to kiss him, but I knew this wouldn't go over well with Jean. Or Lorna. Or possibly Hank for that matter. "Go home. Take care of Lorna. I'll be there soon." I
looked into his eyes and saw what I feared most. He was going to run. I shook my head. "Don't Alex. Don't leave before I get back. Wait for me. Please."
He hesitated, uncertain. "I'm not making you choose," I continued. "It's out of your hands now. I just want you to wait until I get back before you leave. You'll need the time to take care of Lorna anyway. She needs you."
He looked very tired and sad then and I thought he was going to say something about Lorna, but then he hung his head and said, "Okay. I'll wait."
I blew out the breath I didn't know I'd been holding and squeezed his shoulder. He didn't say anything more, just turned and walked toward Jean and Lorna who were standing by the portal, waiting for him. There was a swirl of
colors and the three walked into the portal and vanished. I sent up a silent prayer that they'd make it home safely and that Alex would stay until I got home.
It took six hours for the X-men to take control of the city. Storm called to say that when the mutant slaves were set free, most of them had joined in the fight to take over Genosha's capital city. And oddly enough that reverence
for mutants I'd mentioned to Hank worked in our favor. Most of the guards gave up without much of a fight. Especially when they had learned that their Patriarch had been taken hostage.
Councilor Constantine was brought to me within the hour escorted by Banshee and Logan. He didn't seem distressed as he confidently strode toward me. "I knew Lord Lebeau was bringing trouble on himself when he kidnapped you and your brother," he said. "How did they find you?"
I smiled. "You were right when you said we had powerful friends." By that time Hank had explained everything to me. "One of the noblemen did make a play for Johnny Storm. But since he's not a mutant, the inhibitor collar failed." Constantine chuckled. "When the retrieval units retreated through a portal near the Fantastic Four's compound, Reed Richards called Henry." I gestured to Hank and the councilor bowed to him. "He and Jean, my wife, had made contact with Richards months ago when I'd disappeared. They'd explained the situation, but hadn't been able to come up with a plausible explanation of the portals. But after the attack on Johnny, and then the kidnapping of my wife, they were able to put the clues together. It was only a matter of time before Richards had the mechanism to open the portals. After all, he was the one to discover the Negative Zone."
"I warned Remy." Constantine looked down at the body of his Patriarch. After the beating he'd received from Gambit, he hadn't regained consciousness. I'd checked him once or twice to make sure he hadn't died, but I wasn't going to press my luck and bring him around. I'd have to decide how to subdue him though, and soon. If he awoke fully cognizant, he'd be dangerous. I'd seen his power in action. Both the kinetic force *and* his charm power. The X-men had taken him by surprise that first time. I couldn't underestimate him now.
"What will you do with him?" The councilor asked.
"I'm not sure. But he's not the reason I asked you to come here."
"I didn't think so," Constantine responded. "You want the 'earthers' freed."
I nodded. "I'd like to say that we're here to free all the slaves, but that's not my concern right now. I'm hoping your world will come to that decision on its own. And I'm not willing to sacrifice my people on that account. However,
I have to look out for the people who have been kidnapped from Earth. Not just the mutants, but the humans who've been taken too." Zaki had immediately come to mind when palace had been secured and I desperately wanted to find him. But I held off for the moment, waiting for the correct time to bring it up. I didn't want him to be used as a pawn against me.
"I understand," Constantine said. "Let me gather the other councilors. There's a good portion of the council that wants to ban the kidnappings. You'd be surprised."
"Yes, I would," I agreed.
The councilor smiled. "I suppose that doesn't really give you much of a sense of relief."
I smiled back. "No. Not especially. But calling them together isn't going to make much difference. We *are*`going to free the 'earthers'. With or without they're approval. I simply want the guarantee that no more mutants will be
taken from Earth. We can start negotiations with them. But right now I want a list of all registered mutants and humans who were kidnapped. Then I want them freed by this evening. Everyone of them."
"That's asking a lot. It's not enough time. Perhaps in a day or so."
"In a day or so some of those 'earthers' could be hidden or dead," I snapped. "You know as well as I do that there are plenty of nobles out there who aren't going to take this lying down. And while they might not outwardly
fight us, they'll use whatever means are at their disposal to keep what they think is theirs. I think it'd come down to murder if we aren't quick enough in rescuing them."
I watched Constantine pale, but he couldn't deny the ugly truth of my words, not after having been associated with Escalada and his ilk. "Very well. But I'll need the help of your X-men. I can have the list immediately, once we've
found Remy's Minister of Slave Affairs. He resides here in the palace and I'm sure he has a copy on hand here."
"Good." I looked over at Sean then. He, Logan and Henry had stood by listening intently. A sense of amazement that they'd defer to my command went through me. In spite of all that I had gone through -- and I was certain
they'd had a good idea of what had gone on here -- they still respected my input. I choked a little at that loyalty. But I still feared what would happen once I got home. Once the whole story had gotten out.
"Banshee," I said, "take the councilor and find this Minister of Slave Affairs. I'm sure the guards will be helpful in finding him."
"Aye," he said. But as he took Constantine's arm and started to lead him out of the room, I stopped him, unable to wait any further.
"There's a Lord Alcie," I said to the councilor. "He has a slave he bought from Remy recently. He'd be called Neil, but his real name is Zaki."
"Yes, I know of him," Constantine responded.
"I want him brought to me. Can you give directions to this Alcie's home?" The councilor nodded.
"Give them to me," Logan spoke up. "I'll find him for ya, Cyke."
My head whipped around and I found myself at a loss of words. But Logan just gave me a knowing smile. "I'll get Rogue or one of the other flyers to get me there fast."
I grinned, feeling a little woozy. Logan seemed to understand everything. All those years I'd misjudged him. "Thanks," I choked out.
Henry placed a supportive hand on my shoulder as I watched Logan and Sean escort the councilor out the door. "Why don't you go take care of yourself, now?" Hank asked. "I've got your uniform if you want to put it on."
I looked over at Remy, my Remy, lying on the floor. Areas around his eyes and nose were beginning to bruise and swell. A patch of dried blood ran from the corner of his mouth. A wave of pity ran through me. He'd been a cruel,
selfish bastard, without a doubt. But there'd been moments of tenderness and I'd known he'd loved me, regardless of how obsessive that love had been. I hated seeing him so battered now that it was all over. But now I had to
figure out what to do with him. He'd be dangerous once he'd regained consciousness.
"In a moment," I said to Hank. "I need to take care of him."
"Scott!" I looked up as Warren came rushing in. "I knew it!" It was Remy's pleasure slave, Warren. "I knew you'd cause a problem for Remy. He's an idiot."
I smiled. Warren came to a halt in front of me. He was bruised in several places, and was holding his left arm. A long gash ran down the forearm. But he was grinning from ear to ear and dressed in a guard's uniform. "You should see the other guy," he laughed, seeing me looking at the wound. "I helped your friends take over the city, but I wanted to see if you were okay."
My smile broadened. "Thanks, Warren."
"Stephen," he said. "Stephen Brown."
I laughed. "Sorry. Stephen."
Hank coughed delicately and we both looked over at him. "I'll explain later." Then a thought suddenly occurred to me. "Stephen? Do you know how to get to Remy's suite?"
He smirked and said, "Yeah. How could I forget?"
"There's an inhibitor collar in Remy's study. It's across from his desk on one of the shelves. Can you get it for me?"
Stephen looked puzzled, so I said, "I think it's Remy's. I think it's tuned to his mutagenic signature. If I'm right, we'll have a way to keep him from attacking or escaping when he wakes up."
He nodded. "Sure. I'll be back in a few minutes."
After he'd gone, I bent down over Remy and brushed back a few blood matted strands of hair. Gambit had given him quite a severe beating. Henry's first blows hadn't been any kinder. I touched his face gently, feeling for broken
bones. But it was all swelling and bruising. Nothing that looked as if it'd be permanent. His shirt was torn in the front where Gambit's burst of kinetic energy had met flesh and his chest was bruised also. I was fairly certain he
had a few cracked ribs. But his breathing was even. He didn't seem to be struggling for a breath.
"Scott?" Hank crouched down next to me. "Will you tell me what went on here? I'd like to help if I can."
I blinked back a few stray tears, wondering how I could feel such sadness at a time like this. I should have been happy to see him so broken, his beautiful face bruised and battered. I should have laughed at his downfall.
But all I could remember was his last kind words to me. That I'd been worth the trouble of keeping. That he'd never get tired of me.
"It's a really long story, Hank," I finally said. "Maybe I'll tell you what happened sometime. But not right now."
"I understand," Hank said. Though I knew he didn't really understand.
Remy moaned and I pulled my hand from his face. He coughed up a little blood and moaned again. I didn't have the heart to knock him senseless again, and when Hank reached for him with that intent, I blocked his arm. "I don't think he'll be much trouble right now," I said, a feeling of protectiveness going through me.
"Here you go, Scott," Stephen said, returning with the collar. "Hope it works."
Carefully I lifted Remy's head up and slipped the device around his neck. I was just about to secure it, when he lashed out blindly. "Non!" He opened his red eyes to look at me in horror, the glow fading as I locked the collar in
place. He moaned and rolled away from me, pushing up to his knees. I watched with a terrible sense of unease as his fingers scrabbled at the metal frantically, tearing his nails as he tried to get it off. After a moment he
slumped back. He was quiet for a long time. I couldn't say anything to him, and Hank and Stephen seemed just as disturbed by his actions as I was. I think even Stephen was feeling what I felt, that perhaps Remy didn't deserve
this. I swallowed at the thought and stood up, backing away from my former master.
"So de master becomes de slave again, eh?" Remy said suddenly. Slowly, painfully, he turned to look at me. "What makes you t'ink dis will hol' me, cher?"
I blinked. "It's worth a shot. Better than killing you outright."
He smiled, fresh blood glistening on his lips. "I suppose dat's some consolation. Gambit wanted to kill me, no doubt?"
I snorted. "He came close."
"But you stopped him, cher. I'm touched." Remy's grin grew even broader. He looked like clown from a B horror flick.
"X-men don't kill," I said like a mantra.
"Don' lie to yourself, mon couer. You couldn' watch me die. You know you'll never get me out of your head. No one will ever be as good as me," he boasted. But it wasn't really an exaggeration.
"Hank," I rasped, "get him out of here."
"Scott, Scott," Remy said as Hank moved to lift him to his feet, "not your wife, not Alex, no one. You'll dream of me, mon cher. You'll long for m'touch. In your darkest fantasies you'll wish you were back in my bed wearing dis collar."
"Get him out of here!" I could feel the panic welling up in my throat. "Hank!"
Hank yanked Remy all the way up and began to drag him out the door. "Mon cher, you'll love me forever. No one will ever touch you like I touched you. No one will love you like I love you. Like you needed. Jean won't be enough." He kept his voice quiet, confident. So sure of himself.
"GET HIM OUT!" I roared, shutting my eyes tightly, placing my hands over my ears to shut out his voice. But it lingered in my mind and I knew he was right. No one would ever be enough. No one would ever love me like he did.
I felt a hand on my shoulder. "He's gone, Scott," Stephen said softly.
I opened my eyes and saw tears in Stephen's. "He's so fucking good, isn't he?"
"Yeah," I whispered.
"I see you've found Remy's collar," Councilor Constantine said from the doorway. Banshee was behind him looking down the hall with curiosity.
"He was a slave?" I asked.
"He was a mystery," the councilor stated. "But, yes, I believe at one time he was a slave. He's the only mutant I've ever known of who was free here in Genosha. What will you do with him now?"
"I don't know. I can't...I won't have him killed. If I did that, I'd have to kill everyone who'd owned mutant slaves in this country." Constantine nodded.
"Let me deal with him," he said. "I can keep him at my estate. Not as a slave, but a...political prisoner. He'll be under house arrest. We'll consider this a coup. My fellow councilors will take control of the country until
we can elect another Patriarch."
I looked at Stephen. He shrugged his shoulders. "Not my area of expertise."
Constantine moved toward me and placed a hand on my shoulder. "He'll be taken care of, I can promise you that. He'll be safe from any enemy who might see this as an opportunity to have him murdered. He'll essentially disappear."
"It's your country. Your world. Do what you think is right. I'm not sure if I trust you, but you seem more honorable than most of the councilors I've come across." I paused and looked at him. "I just want the mutant slaves freed and
something done about the portals. And no more kidnappings." Constantine nodded and handed me the list of all the registered 'earther' slaves.
I looked at Sean, who'd come up behind the councilor. "Get this to Rogue and Storm. See how many people they can gather to round up all these slaves. They're going home."
He took the list and flew out. Constantine watched him leave and then turned back to me. "He'll be well cared for, I promise."
I gave him a curt nod, not wanting to hear anymore. Suddenly there was indignant shouting in the hallway. "I protest this despicable treatment! I'm a member of the ruling class!"
"Tell it to someone who gives a damn," Logan replied, nonchalantly.
A graying stately man strode into the room and looked about. His eyes flashed in anger. "Constantine!" He shouted when his glance fell on the councilor. "What is the meaning of this? I've been told to free my Neil. I paid a fair
price for him, and these...these ruffians tell me I'm to let him go? I think not!"
"Lord Alcie," Constantine spoke calmly, "the city has been taken over by the X-men. All mutant slaves from Earth and all human ones too are to be set free. I seriously doubt we have the manpower or the willingness of the army
to fight. You're Neil is from Earth. Therefore he is now free."
"But he's mine!" Alcie said peevishly. "He doesn't want to leave me. I know he doesn't."
I looked toward the door where Zaki stood and almost wept. He stood there quietly next to Logan, his eyes on the floor, looking worn and fragile. I pushed passed Constantine and bolted over to him. But as I reached him I
stopped, taking in the sight of him, afraid to overwhelm him. He looked so lost. "Zaki," I murmured.
He looked up and smiled. "Gift of Allah," he said. "I've missed you." Out of the corner of my eye I saw Logan raise an eyebrow, but he said nothing and stepped away. Zaki reached up tentatively and touched my visor. "You have
such beautiful eyes. They must have such power in them to be shielded so. I wish..."
I swallowed and gently placed my hands on his arms just below his shoulders. "What, Zaki? What do you wish?" I murmured.
"I wish I had such power. Perhaps I could have saved you from all this." He gestured weakly at the room with his hand.
My tears began to flow freely. "Oh, Zaki, even with all my power I couldn't save you." I pulled him into my arms and held him tightly, ignoring the pain to my cock. "I missed you too." I whispered in his ear and felt him shudder.
He clung to me desperately and sobbed on my shoulder for a long time. "It's okay," I said over and over. "You're safe now."
"This is an outrage!" Lord Alcie harped.
"Shut your yap, bub," Logan growled, "or I'll shut it for you."
Alcie sputtered, but eventually shut up.
When Zaki seemed calmer, I pushed him gently up off my shoulder, and stroked his cheek. "You're free Zaki. You can go home."
He smiled sadly. "There is no home for me in Pakistan. I'd be ashamed to show my face. Better that my family thinks I'm dead."
"Then you can come back to Xavier's mansion with me," I told him. "There's room enough for you there. There's a place for you."
He closed his eyes, still smiling softly. "All that power. I'm only human. I wouldn't fit in there."
"Yes, you would," I argued, sounding almost desperate, "We could give you an education. Get you an American citizenship. You could do whatever you choose."
"I cannot," Zaki said, shaking his head. "I cannot go back, Gift of Allah. Please, I've been here too long."
"Scott," I said in defeat. Zaki looked at me puzzled. "My name is Scott."
"Scott," he repeated. "Please. I cannot go back. There's nothing for me there."
I couldn't understand. I wanted to make him see that it'd be okay. That he *could* return. But then I looked in his haunted, hollow eyes and saw the truth. He'd never acclimate. He'd never feel right back on Earth. Hell, I probably wouldn't feel right either when I finally got back there. So I let him go. I dropped my hands from his arms. "Okay. But if you ever change your mind, there is a place in Salem Center for you." He smiled and nodded. Then I
frowned. "You're not going back with Lord Alcie, are you? I'll drag you back to the mansion before I allow that."
Constantine approached at that moment. "He's a free man. And he's welcome to stay with me and my family. I'll find him something to do."
For the first time Zaki's eyes lit up. "I would very much appreciate that, Milord."
"Are you sure?" I asked, wanting to be certain he'd be safe, he'd feel comfortable.
"Yes. I know of Lord Constantine. He is fair and kind." Zaki said to me.
I looked over at the councilor. "Thank you."
He bowed slightly. "I'll go make arrangements to have Zaki and Remy taken to my estates." Zaki's eyes widened in shock, but Constantine eased his fears by saying, "I'll have Remy taken out to the country estate in Landover. You'll
stay here in the city. You won't have to see him, ever." Zaki sighed in relief.
"Thank you, Milord."
"You'll pay for this, Constantine," Lord Alcie suddenly shouted. "I'll ruin you. Don't think I won't."
I narrowed my eyes. "Logan, will you see Lord Alcie to the door."
"My pleasure, Cyke," Logan answered with a feral smile. He took Alcie's arm roughly. "So you like keepin' slaves, bub? Do you like torturin' them too?" He asked as he led Alcie away. I almost felt sorry for the nobleman. Almost.
I smiled at Zaki. "You're safe now. But if you ever change your mind."
He returned my smile. "I know, Gift...Scott. I know."
I couldn't help it. I didn't care who saw me at that point anyway. I took Zaki's face between my hands and kissed him gently. He opened his mouth with a sigh and I pulled him closer, again ignoring the pain to my groin. I kissed
him passionately, longingly. I'd miss him. He'd always have a tender place in my heart. The first man I'd ever wanted without coercion.
Then he was pulling away. "Good-bye Scott," he said and followed Constantine out the door and down the hall and out of my life. I gave a silent prayer that he'd recover fully and hoped that I would see him again someday.
Hank returned a moment later. "I think it's time you got some rest, Scott. Why don't you go back to the mansion?"
I shook my head. "I want to make sure all the slaves are released. Then we've got to negotiate with the Council on closing those portals. Or at the very least, getting some guarantee that they won't be using them to kidnap anyone
from Earth anymore. Although the fact that we can now get back here ought to be somewhat of a deterrent."
"I can handle the proceedings adequately I believe," Hank began to argue. "You've been through hell, and I think you need to take care of yourself. As your doctor..."
I grinned. "Can it, Hank. I'm fine. I do want a shower, and I want to get into my uniform. But I'll be fine. These negotiations shouldn't take that long. Not once I mention the Avengers and the Fantastic Four."
Hank looked annoyed. "Very well. No one ever takes me seriously as their medical doctor anyway. Why should you be any different?"
"Well, maybe if I didn't know about your twinky addiction, I'd take you more seriously." I quipped.
He sniffed. But then he smiled and handed me the duffle bag he still had over his shoulder. "Here's your uniform. I've gotten in touch with Rogue and Storm. Pietro's split off to lead a team, and Banshee took a group himself. I
understand most of the army has joined our forces. There wasn't much resistance when they saw the power we wielded. They seemed in awe, Storm informed me. Very strange world you've gotten yourself involved in, Mr.
"Very strange life, Hank. A very strange life." He laughed and I told him I was going to find a place to shower and change and I'd meet him back here in an hour or so. Then we could supervise the return of the 'earthers' from this
room. Stephen spoke up at that moment. I'd forgotten he was there.
"If you don't mind, I think I'll head home," he said.
"Sure," I said. "You know you're welcome at the mansion if you need a place to stay."
"Naw. I think I'll just go give my Mom a heart attack by popping in on her." His grin suddenly faltered. "If she's still there. Fuck. I've been here five years. No telling what's changed."
I clasped him on the shoulder. "It'll be okay. But if you need anything, anything at all, just look us up in Salem Center, New York. Xavier's Institute for Higher Learning. Even if you just want to come for a visit. I'd be glad to have you."
Stephen smiled again. "You bet. I'll keep it in mind." Then he strode over to the portal. "Anyone know how I can get back to Kansas?"
He turned and laughed at our expressions. "Kidding. But I'd like to get as close to Memphis as possible." Henry went over to him and began fiddling with the control panel next to the portal. Without a word, I headed out the door in search of a shower. After wandering through the halls, not really aware of where I was going, I ended up back at Remy's suite. It seemed appropriate somehow. A closure perhaps. Now I was going to be able to walk out of that room a free man. I removed Remy's coat and draped it over one of the couches, then went into the bathroom.
I set the temperature of the shower to as hot as I could stand it and stepped into the heat to ease my aching muscles. With a hiss I unclasped the penile device and let it drop to the floor of the stall. I came with a painful grunt, and long low moan of relief when it was over. It was the last time I'd ever wear that thing and I felt a moment of pure happiness.
I stood in the rush of hot water for a long, long time doing nothing. Just letting the tension ease from my muscles. I'm not sure when the tears began to fall, but I heard myself sob suddenly and I lost the slim grasp I'd held on my control. Sliding to the floor of the shower stall, I curled into a tight ball and let it all go, sobbing for dear life. For loss. For anger and fear and hatred and love and coercion. I cried for Alex. I cried for Jean, who'd never really understand and Lorna, who'd never forgive. I cried for dear wounded Zaki. And I cried for myself, for the changes in me that would never be denied, no matter how hard I tried to ignore them. Nothing would ever be the same. And I sobbed broken hearted for the changes I'd never asked for in the first place. I sobbed at the loss of color in my world once again. The return of my hated red visor.
And I cried for Remy. My Remy. No one else would ever be enough.
The water was cold when I'd come back to myself. I shivered, but just let it pour over me, letting it wash away the last of my heartache. This would happen again, I knew. This wasn't the end of my emotional turmoil. It was
only the beginning. Time would eventually lessen the pain. But there'd be a long road to travel. I indulged fleetingly in a fantasy of rescuing Remy from his new prison, taking him back to the mansion and teaching him how to truly
love, without coercion, without fear or selfishness. Then I shook the image away and tended to washing myself.
I tried to keep my thoughts at bay as I pulled on my uniform. I succeeded, distracted by the stifling feeling of the kevlar suit. I'd been too long without clothing. Like the clothes I'd worn to escape in, it itched in strange places, and was too snug in others. My cock felt choked in the cup I forced it into. I was tempted to rip the suit off and just wear boxers for the rest of the time I was here. I'd figure something out for later when I had to go back to the mansion. But I took a few deep breaths and tried to relax in the discomfort. And eventually, as I made my way back to the portal room, the stiff uncomfortable sensation from wearing my uniform eased up.
By the time I made it to the portal room, Pietro had returned with his team and a large group of 'earthers'. Henry and Pietro were directing the mutants into groups for the return home. Jubilee, Paige and Jonothan were handling
the protesting nobles who'd come to stop the exodus. I entered the fray and for a moment the room grew still.
"Get those people out of this room," I said to the three young X-men. Jubilee gave me a withering look, but she ignited her power and several of the nobles fell back. I strode over to the crowd and stood just to the right of Chamber. "This is nonnegotiable. These mutants you had kidnapped are now free." I spoke with a dark menace in my voice. There'd be no discussion of this matter. "You had no right to steal them from their homes and families. You have no right to them. I suggest you leave now before I throw you out."
There was a roar of protest and I lifted my hand to my visor, letting go just a hint of my power in the midst of the irate group. Several of them gave up without looking back. The others took a moment to weigh their options and
then left without another protest.
"We coulda handled it, Cyke," Jubilee snapped with her usual charming demeanor.
I gave her a genuine smile of pleasure. "I'm sure you could have, Jubilation." I knew she hated to be called that. "I just needed a little bit of fun."
"Whatever," she smirked and then blew a large bubble with her gum, letting it burst with another smirk. She hadn't matured a great deal in the time I'd known her. But much of her manner was simply an act to hide her nervousness
in the midst of conflict. Her powers had grown impressively as had her control, but she was only just now shedding the anxious young girl she'd been, the one who'd lost her parents all those years ago. I smiled mischievously at her. We had a lot in common, but had never had an opportunity to get close. She still saw me as an uptight adult, unhip and way too goody-goody for her tastes. I was pretty sure she took her cue from Logan. He was the only one who ever really made an impact on her. The only one she never made derogatory comments about. In fact she defended him with a fierceness I could envy.
Paige smiled back at me shyly and it was nice to know I still had some leverage with the younger X-men. Jonothan couldn't smile but he gave a half-joking salute. "Guess we'll go help the other blokes round up the next wave," I heard him say in my head. I nodded and turned back to where Hank and Pietro were organizing the freed slaves.
Sending the mutants home was slow going until Hank got a handle on the portal control panel. The retrieval units and those responsible for the portals refused to help. Their job security was at risk and short of telepathy or torture there was little we could to do force them to help. I did try to find one of the mutant slaves with telepathic ability. But the ones I did find had precious little control over their ability. Or their power was too weak to be of any help.
So Hank took over figuring exactly how to work the controls. He of course appreciated the challenge. But to be perfectly honest we weren't absolutely certain that the rescued 'earthers' made it to their destinations. We asked all of them to call the mansion once they returned home. And I received word from Bobby that a good many of them had called to say they'd made it when I sent him back to check on Jean, Lorna and Alex.
All in all there were a little over five hundred kidnapped mutants and only fifty-seven humans found in Genosha and sent home over the next two days. We had a few casualties. Several 'earthers' were killed before we could get to them. My teammates moved fast, but not fast enough. And a few of the mutants had vanished, hidden away by their masters. A few chose to stay of their own free will, either to remain in the care of their former masters or to be promised a position in Genosha's government. I had no illusions that those staying with their masters would be anything but slaves. However, it was their own decision and I wouldn't make it for them. I turned a blind eye to anything but the most blatant signs of coercion. Constantine took to overseeing the future of those who wanted to remain free in Genosha in the same way he had seen to Zaki. My admiration for him grew in the little time I spent with him.
The most difficult mutants to free were the ones who'd been given over to visiting kings and diplomats. Genosha had the only portals and the technology of the inhibitor collars, and therefore had been able to corner the market on mutant slaves. Very few of the 'earthers' had been sold outside Genosha's borders. But those that had been given as gifts and those few that *had* been sold caused an uproar on the international stage. Formal protests were lodged. One or two threats of war were issued, especially when it became known that the sitting Patriarch of Genosha had disappeared. But since kidnapped mutants were mostly a rich man's novelty, there wasn't much sympathy for those few who owned one and the protests died out within a matter of days. Most of the mutant slaves in other countries were rescued by the X-men with ease once their location had been pinned down. Unfortunately the highest percentage of casualties came from this group, due to the fact that the owners had more time to prepare for the X-men's arrival.
One other problem that arose were the children born to 'earthers'. A good number of the mothers who'd birthed these children wanted them to come home to Earth. And the children who were being raised as slaves were set free.
Those being raised by their fathers, often the master of the slave that had given birth, were given a choice if they were old enough, either to return to Earth or remain in Genosha. If they weren't old enough to decide they were more often than not returned to their mother. Each situation was dealt with individually. We tried to base it on what was best for the child. I'm sure we made mistakes. We did our best, but the inevitable resentment arose against us for meddling in the affairs of Genosha.
On my second day of freedom I entered the Council Chamber with Constantine to make my demands on behalf of the mutants of Earth. The kidnappings would stop, the retrieval units disbanded, the makers of inhibitor collars would close up shop and the portals would be destroyed. My demands were nonnegotiable and backed by force; that of the X-men with the aid of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four if necessary.
Of course a good many of the Councilors protested. Not only the demands I made, but also the loss of their slaves. I stood quietly by while they blustered and fumed, and eventually their ranting died out. Most of them realized there wasn't much they could do. While a great deal of their technology was advanced, their war machines couldn't match the raw power we wielded. And the Council didn't have the support of the armed forces in this matter. After all, only the noble class could afford to buy and keep mutant pleasure slaves. It was obvious the lower classes wouldn't tolerate going to war over rich men's toys. It'd more than likely cause a civil war and Genosha was in enough turmoil with the coup d'etat Constantine and his peers had arranged.
Within a few hours the Council acceded to all my demands. Except for one. Not all the portals would be destroyed. Two would be left functioning. The one in Remy's palace and the one within the walls of the capital city. They would only be used for emergencies and kept under tight security. By the third day of my freedom, all the portals except the two that had been agreed upon were destroyed, buried under slag. The X-men helped facilitate their destruction in order to make certain the demand was carried out.
As for the former Patriarch of Genosha? Rumors flew through the country and the world as fast as lightening. Most thought Remy had been executed by us. Some believed we had taken him back to Earth to stand trial for the kidnappings. A small group of Genoshans spread the rumor that he'd been forced to abdicate and was now living in retirement on one of his country estates.
Constantine was as good as his word. No one suspected the truth. Remy appeared to be safe under the Councilor's care. In the last few days I spent in Genosha overseeing the exodus of the former slaves and the shutdown of the portals, Constantine kept me updated on Remy's status. His facial wounds were healing along with the ribs that had been cracked. Physically he was recovering. But he rarely spoke and wouldn't eat unless Constantine personally ordered him to. I tried hard not to feel anything when his name was mentioned and outwardly I gave no sign that I cared. Constantine seemed to think I needed to hear about my former master and I did want to know. But I also wanted to deny any concern I felt toward Remy to those around me and ultimately to myself. So I listened without expression, only nodding a little to acknowledge that I'd heard.
I was thankful not to meet anyone as I made my way to the room I shared with Jean. I made a mental note to settle Alex in the boat house tomorrow. It hadn't been in use at the time I'd been kidnapped. Jean and I had decided to stay up at the mansion for the time being, to be closer to the team, since the team had become smaller in the last few years. I thought my brother might be more comfortable with more privacy. I refused to give thought to the privacy it might provide the both of us. Tried hard not to consider my ulterior motives for giving him more privacy. I buried those thoughts deep as I stripped and fell into the bed.
But my dreams wouldn't let me bury those forbidding thoughts. I had him in my mouth, in my arms and in my body and the images swirled around until Alex was Remy and Remy was Alex and I was a part of them both. It was haunting and beautiful and tragic and I awoke with the thought that I had to keep Alex with me. For better or worse, I couldn't let him go. I wanted him too much. Needed just to be able to see him every day. But that was a lie. I needed much more than the sight of him.
I groaned and turned over in the darkened room. It was late at night. Jean was asleep beside me. But she opened her eyes when I rolled over and pulled me into her arms. We made love. It was a quiet and peaceful lovemaking. I felt tears on my face at the end and Jean kissed them away. I had missed her. And there was a part of me that was desperately glad I still found her attractive. I'd been afraid that perhaps I wouldn't feel the arousal I'd once had for her and afraid that this would make me feel less than a man. But I couldn't for the life of me drive away the thoughts of what Remy had let me experience.
"You're thinking about him?" Jean said quietly. There was no judgment in her tone. No anger or jealousy. I sighed and turned onto my back.
"I was thinking how much I should tell you. I can't lie and tell you it was all torture." I looked over at her a little tentatively. But she only smiled and took my hand.
"It's all right," she murmured. "Tell me whatever you feel comfortable with. You don't have to tell me anything. I have some idea of what went on."
I shook my head. "I want you to know." I paused in thought and then said, "Everything. No secrets. Nothing hidden. I want you to understand how I felt." I turned on my side and cupped her cheek. "I love you, Jean. But I'm different now. Even more so than after Apocalypse. And God knows how hard it was for you then."
"You too..." she started, but I shook my head to silence her.
"There are things that have happened that I'd never have dreamed of doing. Never. Things, that even if I had done, I never would have believed I would have enjoyed." I couldn't bring myself just then to say it. To say that I'd found pleasure in Remy's touches, found ecstasy in his bed and in the way he made me feel. "I want you to be able to understand why I might act out of character. Why I can't spend the rest of my life burying these feelings, this incident. I would have fallen for him. I was so close. You have no idea how much I wanted to give in..." My voice choked on the words.
"Shhh..." Jean whispered. "It's okay. I know how powerful he is. How seductive. And I only spent a few days under his control." She bit her bottom lip thoughtfully for a moment. Then she said, "Show me, Scott. Open your mind to me. I want to see it and understand."
I nodded and she touched my mind with her telepathy. I could feel her thoughts slipping through the jumble of images until she found what she was looking for. That first night when I was taken from her, stripped, cuffed and collared. She watched through my eyes as Alex demonstrated his 'love' for Remy by sucking his cock. She gasped when Remy clamped the device around my own cock.
The images came faster and faster. The training, the stocks, my brother fucking my vulnerable mouth. She watched in horror as I was desensitized to men fucking other men. I felt her controlled jealousy towards Zaki, the one man I might have give myself to freely. I felt her anger toward Alex as he left me hungry that week, only allowed to be nourished by his seminal fluid.
And then that first night alone with Remy. The astonishing sensations I was forced to experience. Remy's empathy as well as his skill as a lover. I felt Jean try to hide the lust that was growing inside her as she watched me lose my virginity. Then she gave up. No secrets between us anymore. She was turned on.
But then she sobbed as I relived the memory of the whipping I'd received and she cursed Remy in my mind. And she cursed me for feeling as though I deserved it. I clung to her physical body asking forgiveness. And she gave it willingly because I needed it. Not because she felt there was anything to forgive.
I showed Jean everything that night. Every detail. Every fear, every thought, every aroused moment. And she watched it all, never turning away. I loved her courage. I couldn't imagine there were many people who'd be willing to sit through all the dirty painful memories of my ordeal. Especially a telepath of Jean's caliber who must have also felt all of it.
But she was human. And when she saw the last few moments I spent with Remy she broke down. "You did that for me. You would have obeyed him just to keep me safe." There was bitterness in her tone. "Damn him!" She snarled and sat up. "And damn you for making those promises!"
I flinched at her anger. "What was I supposed to do?" I asked bewildered. "What could I have honestly done? He wasn't about to kill me *or* let you go. Do you think I could have watched him rape you? Or have you whipped?"
Jean put her head in her hands. "I don't know. Oh God..." she choked out. "You would have loved him."
Sitting up I took her into my arms and let her cry. I cried a little myself. "Jean, it's over," I whispered into her hair. "We can't think about what might have happened. It didn't. Maybe...probably I would have fallen for him. But it's over now and I don't want to worry about what might have happened."
She nodded on my shoulder and then lifted her face to kiss me. She let go of herself then, drawing the breath out of me with her passion. Jean took me then with an aggression I'd never seen in her before. Her movements were wild, intoxicating. Her thoughts full of erotic images, images of me and Alex. I was shocked to realize how much of a turn on those images were to my wife. And a little bit jealous that she found my brother so attractive.
But the sex was better than I'd ever experienced with Jean. Remy had been correct when he had called me vanilla. Jean was all I'd ever wanted. More than I ever believed I deserved. And yet Remy had made me see how attractive I was to other people. And I imagine that gave me confidence to meet Jean's passion touch for touch.
Our lovemaking then became wild and desperate. Close to the point of violence, bordering on the need to draw blood, to hurt each other physically. But it was also intimate and personal. Our thoughts ran along the same paths.
Open and vulnerable. And it was nasty and so sexy. Jean said things to me I never would have believed would have come out of her mouth if I hadn't heard them first hand, snarled in my ear.
"I want to fuck you, Scott," she said between gritted teeth. "I'd like to tie you to our bed and ride you over and over." And then she smiled wickedly, so incredibly seductively that I nearly came right then and there. "I'd like to do that while you sucked Alex's cock."
I groaned and threw her off of me and back onto the bed. Then I began to thrust into her hard and fast. Her words drove me insane. "Fuck me, Scott! I'll make you forget him. I'll show you what *I* can do. What I've been afraid to show you."
And she did show me. All her dark, dirty fantasies. We battled for control then, mentally and physically. And in the end we were closer than we'd ever been. We'd seen each other's darker side and yet we loved each other still.
What I was certain would drive Jean and I apart actually drew us closer together. And I found to my relief, once we'd been sated and were holding each other tightly, drifting in the afterglow, that Jean now wanted Alex to stay as much as I did. After the passion I'd experienced with Jean I didn't feel jealous toward Alex any longer because of my wife's attraction to him. He needed me. And he would now have her support too.
So Alex stayed. Whether or not we invited him into our bed and whether or not he'd accept remained to be seen. But Jean never begrudged the time I spent with Alex. Nor the intimacy we shared just on the edge of sex. Sometimes at night she would even send me out to the boat house to soothe Alex when she felt him in the throes of a nightmare. I let her into my mind whenever this happened. Perhaps it was a sick kind of voyeurism. But it felt wonderful to have her there, giving advice, sympathy and understanding.
If Alex ever noticed, he didn't say. But as the weeks went by he seemed happier. Less quiet. Jean drew him out when he tried to escape into his solitude. I kept him company in that solitude.
Things returned to normal. Or as normal as it could be for the X-men. As normal as it could be once the others began to have some idea of what Alex and I had gone through. Nathan stayed for a week after I'd returned and we talked about all that had happened. I let him into a few of my thoughts. And like Jean he didn't judge me for the changes that had been brought about or my newfound intimacy with my brother. But too soon he was needed in New York. We promised to keep in touch as we always did, but we both knew how difficult that would be. I missed him when he left. And like all fathers feared for his safety, even though he was older than me.
Xavier was contacted. And even across the light years I could feel his relief and love. He would be coming home soon, he promised, but wanted to spend some time with Lilandra. I told him to take as much time as he wanted. I wasn't eager to let him know all that had happened. And I knew he'd want me to tell him everything. To understand it like a father and offer comfort where he could. He'd never probe my mind without my say so. But he'd see the signs of intimacy between Alex and me much easier than the rest of the X-men and I wasn't sure that he'd approve.
It was much harder to talk to Corsair, to my real father. I had to fend off his questions with vague answers and eventually he realized I wasn't going to say much about what had happened, so he dropped the matter.
"I'm glad you're safe, Scott," he said at the end. "And Alex too. I'll see you both when I bring Xavier home."
Inwardly I cringed. Not for me so much as for Alex. He hadn't wanted to speak to Corsair. Not this soon. I'd made some excuse for him when I'd gotten in touch with Corsair and Xavier. I'm fairly certain my father knew it was an excuse. And now I was being vague. So out of some ingrained familial feeling of obligation he was going to put in an appearance and personally make certain his sons were okay. I had to wonder how he'd feel when he found out his sons, having spent the better part of the year as naked collared pleasure slaves, still engaged in an intimacy that would outrage most of the world. I was cynical to say the least.
But I was thankful for his concern. We'd grown closer since I'd returned from the dead all those years ago, reemerging from underneath Apocalypse's control. And I knew now that he was concerned. Genuinely concerned. I don't think Alex understood this quite so well. Corsair hadn't been able to get back to Earth when Alex had returned from the dead, and while they'd had a chance to talk to each other through Sh'iar technology, I think Alex resented his absence. There was an unspoken tension. 'You could come home for Scott, but not me.' But to give Alex credit, he did understand that Corsair was in the middle of a decisive battle with rebel Sh'iar and would come as soon as he was able, providing he didn't get killed. Unfortunately, one battle led to another and another and then time just slipped away with my father unable, unwilling, or forgetting that he had a son who still wanted to see him.
Well, now he was coming and I could see the sparks that would fly between the two. Corsair could always make time for his eldest son. Alex having been kidnapped was only incidental. Even Xavier hadn't gone in search of Alex until I came up missing too. And truth be told, I shared some of this guilt. I'd only made cursory attempts to find Alex. Xavier had used Cerebro to try and locate him. But we'd both maintained that cavalier attitude that he'd just turn up again.
Alex never mentioned any of this. All these thoughts came to me out of my own fears. I knew some of it would be true. But Alex was no longer my hot-tempered brother. And what I really began to fear as the days passed were the sparks that *wouldn't* fly when my father came home with Xavier. Alex might simply avoid my father and his questions. And that seemed more dangerous to me than him showing Corsair resentment at his neglect. My brother was quiet now. Sometimes too quiet. And sometimes even Jean and I couldn't draw him out. It wasn't necessarily depression. It was a stoicism. As if he were just putting up with life. Putting it on hold. Waiting for something to happen.
Even Logan mentioned the change. He'd started going up to the boat house almost as often as I did, usually carrying a six pack. I have to admit I was worried, in a jealous way. From my jaded perspective I began to question most men's sexual orientation. Logan came under my scrutiny often enough and I worried that perhaps he and Alex might have become lovers. There was no proof. But the feeling stayed with me until I finally accepted that Alex might want more than me. That he might turn to someone else for comfort, just as I had Jean.
But Logan put my fears to rest not long after I'd returned from Genosha. He was waiting for me outside the Danger Room one evening. He'd just come from the boat house.
"Your brother's quiet, Cyke," he said without preamble. "Not the Havok we use to know."
I said nothing at first, just headed to the locker room and began to strip out of my uniform. Logan followed me and stood by without a word.
"He's been through a lot," I finally offered.
Logan snorted. "No kidding." Then he grew sober. "But he's been through a lot before and still managed to keep that temper of his. Now I can't even get much of a rise out of him."
I turned and looked at Logan wishing not for the first time I wasn't wearing my protective visor. Then he could see the seriousness, the silent warning I was giving him. "This is different."
"How?" Logan pressed. "How's it any different from any other time he's been kidnapped and tortured?"
"Because he's never been raped before," I snapped. "You want to help Alex? Then leave it alone. If he wants to talk, he'll talk."
Logan had stepped back a bit with his eyes a little more open when I'd mentioned rape. He knew what had gone on, at least vaguely understood how Remy had used us. But I had ever been so direct with him about what had happened. And apparently Alex hadn't either. Now he was nodding. "So it's true?"
"What did you think?" I asked, narrowing my eyes, sarcasm lacing my voice. "You think Gambit's clone needed any information about the X-men? He was already imprinted with most of Gambit's memories. He had all the information he needed. He just wanted Alex and me around to fuck or watch us fuck each other. He wanted the matching set." I changed my tone trying to imitate Remy's, the first day I was on my knees in front him. "You can' eat just one, non?"
Logan's eyes widened and he shook his head. "Jesus!"
"Yeah. Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn't it? Alex had to control that temper of his to protect Lorna. If Remy taught him one thing, it was control." I knew Logan was only trying to help, but his prying had set me on edge, making me defensive even though I'd felt some satisfaction knowing that Alex hadn't been confiding in him. But it was that defensiveness that led me to add, "And how to give great head."
"Christ, Scott!" Logan snarled. "He's your brother for Christ's sake!"
I felt the anger and defensiveness rush out of me. "Just leave it alone, Logan. I know you're trying to help and I appreciate it. But this kind of shit takes more to get over than a six pack and conversation. If Alex wants to talk about it, he will." I turned away for a moment to grab a towel from my locker when I realized suddenly that I had been standing naked in front of Logan for the last five minutes without even being aware. Quickly I wrapped the towel around my waist with a sigh. Then I turned back to Logan. His fists were balled up and I could see a tight muscle twitching in his jaw. Carefully I placed a hand on his shoulder.
"He needs you just to be there. To accept the changes that have been forced on him. I know he's grateful for it." Alex had mentioned Logan's attentiveness often enough to rouse a good deal of jealousy in me. I'd tried to feel Alex out at those times to find out if he and Logan were lovers. But he'd skillfully avoided giving anything away. Now I was sure that they weren't. Logan wouldn't have sought me out if they'd become intimate. He'd have been more direct with Alex. And now I felt I could afford to be kind.
"And *I'm* grateful to you for it. That you don't judge him. That you're concerned. I never realized how much you cared about my brother."
Logan's eyes shifted nervously and he began to look a little embarrassed. "Yeah, well, we had a history and all. He's a good kid." Suddenly I didn't feel so sure of Logan and Alex. I was so close to asking him what that history entailed. So close to asking him if they had been or were now lovers. But it wouldn't have been fair to either of them. If they wanted me to know they would have told me. So I patted Logan's shoulder and walked into the shower stall, thankful that he didn't follow me.
And Gambit? I rarely saw him, for which I was relieved. Actually I should say I pretty much avoided him. But I thought I about him often enough. I was curious about the time he spent in Sinister's lab. Between Alex, him and me, I'm sure Gambit had the most painful time. I couldn't imagine what it must have been like. No doubt Sinister took a great deal of pleasure subjecting him to one experiment after another. He was as fascinated with Gambit as he had been with me at one time. He'd used him to begin the Morlock Massacre, and who knew but Gambit what else he'd roped him into.
But I couldn't ask Gambit about his ordeal. I could barely call him Remy when I did see him. I don't think he would have told me anyway. So we avoided each other. I'd see him in Danger Room practices and mission debriefings. We worked missions together. I'd give him orders that he never questioned. But that was the extent of our conversations. I gave orders, he made some snappy comment. We'd discuss missions and their outcomes. But always in a group setting. Always with other X-men around. At down times I only saw him once in a while at dinner or occasionally in the rec room playing pool with one of the others. I think he spent most of his time with Rogue when he was at the mansion. I never asked.
But one night, about two weeks after I'd returned, I was sitting in the rec room half watching an old movie. Jean and Ororo had gone into New York City for the day. They'd just called to say they'd be home late after deciding to try out one of the hip new restaurants. Most of the others had gone out also. Alex had waved off any offers to go out. He was in one of his really somber moods and just wanted to be left alone. I agreed, but every so often I'd go down to the boat house to check on him, or call him from the mansion. He never failed to pick up the phone and say, "I'm fine, Scott. No bad thoughts." Henry was of course down in the lab. So I thought I was basically on my own in the upper part of the house when Gambit sauntered in.
The moment I saw him I pulled myself out of my slumped position on the couch and felt my body tense into battle readiness. But when he dropped gracefully into one of the easy chairs a twinge of guilt went through me. I didn't trust him not to start something. I'd never really trusted him.
"Watchu watchin', Scott?" He asked, not a hint of unease in his voice.
I cleared my throat, choking back my nervousness. "Some old movie. I'm not really watching it if you want the remote."
"Non," he replied.
I blew out a quiet breath, not sure if it would be rude to get up and walk out. Not really sure if I wanted to walk away. So I sat perched for a quick retreat and waited. He just sat there, one leg thrown over an arm of the chair, the side of his head resting on his hand with his elbow resting on the other arm of the chair. There wasn't a noticeable trace of discomfort in his body language as he sat there watching the TV. For once I was grateful for the visor. I could watch him without him being aware. Or so I thought.
"Watchu looking at, Scott?" He asked suddenly, quietly.
I sat back startled. "Sorry," I mumbled and got up. That was my exit cue.
But he stood up and blocked my exit so fast it made my head spin. I stepped back away from him, my heart racing and the palms of my hands starting to sweat.
"You tryin' to tell de difference 'tween us, cher?" I drew in a sharp breath at the word 'cher', but couldn't say a word. "You want to know if we look 'xactly alike, talk 'xactly alike, kiss de same way...fuck de same way?" There was barely concealed violence in his tone and I had to admit I was afraid. Not of what Gambit might do, but of how I might react.
"Gambit..." I started, trying to defuse his anger. It only heightened the tension.
"De names Remy, hein. I'm de original. Try not to forget dat."
"Remy..." I began again in almost a whisper.
"You didn' kill him," Gambit interrupted. "Whatchu do wit' him?"
"He's..." I stopped when I realized I was about to tell Gambit that his clone was safe. Not a good choice of words at the moment. "He's been taken care of. Constantine took charge of him. He's been fitted with an inhibitor collar."
"And you t'ink dat's gonna hold him?"
I nodded. "I think so. I have no reason not to. But even if he gets out of that, there are only two functioning portals left. He won't get back here."
Gambit snorted. "And dat's supposed to comfort me?"
I felt frustration welling up in me. "What do you want from me? I'm not going to kill him." I could have given Gambit the cliche answer, that my killing Remy would just lower me to his standards. But instead I gave him the most honest answer I'd given anyone with the exception of Jean and Alex. "I can't. I'm sorry. I don't want him dead."
He looked at me with narrowed eyes for a few moments and then said, "D'ccord." I watched the tension drain out of him all of a sudden. "Den I'll leave him be. But if he ever crosses m'path, I *will* kill him."
"Fine," I replied, some of my own frustration easing. "But I'll stop you if you attempt it while I'm around."
"You can try." Gambit smiled and I felt the breath go out of me. It was a look so like my Remy that I almost fell to my knees, the compulsion to serve him was so strong. I closed my eyes clenching my fists. When I opened them again he was looking at me with a smug curiosity.
"How could you ever t'ink I'd keep slaves? I grew up pretty much like one on de streets of New Orleans. I know what it's like to be a slave," he said. "And I know what it's like to be raped by a man. Ain' many men I'd be willing to fuck dese days."
I swallowed. "Look, I'm sorry. He looks just like you. He's got your smile, your arrogance, your confidence." Remy snorted. "He sounds like you. And he knew things about the X-men that you'd know. Whether or not he fucks like you, well, I couldn't say."
He chuckled at that. "Not gonna find out any time soon, homme." I barked out a laugh, glad that the tension had eased. We wouldn't be bosom buddies. We'd probably still avoid each other for the most part. But at least we might not be so on edge around each other when we did cross paths.
Gambit grinned suddenly and asked, "So am I as good as I'm always sayin'?"
"Better," I replied without thinking.
His eyes widened in shock and I sputtered. "I mean...that is..."
He waved a hand. "Non. I don' want to know anymore." Then he laughed. "Guess it's in de genes, eh?"
I gave an almost childlike nod and Gambit turned to go.
"I'm sorry, " I said, causing him to turn back around. "I'm sorry about Sinister and all the shit you had to go through for so long. And I'm sorry for that clone leaving you in his place."
He waved another dismissing hand. "Not your fault, homme. Sinister's de evil bastard dat started all dis." Gambit winked and added, "But he's been taken care of. Permanently."
I shook my head. I didn't want to know. But a sense of relief washed over me with the knowledge that Sinister might be out of our lives for good. Still, I had to make amends. "We should have looked harder for you. We shouldn't have just assumed you'd turn back up. I'm sorry for that. Storm kept looking. But
the rest of us..."
"Forget it, Cyke. You *should* 'ave looked harder. But even den I doubt you would 'ave found me. De Neo really put a fright on Sinister. I never seen him so paranoid. Dey destroyed over half his labs and his research." Gambit spat the last word out as if it were poison. "So he had to rebuild. He moved everyt'ing he had left into one lab and den put most of his efforts into security. It was so tight it took *me* five years to get out."
"Regardless, we...I haven't always been very...loyal to you. Or my brother," I added. "I mean we don't put a great deal of effort into finding our people when they go missing. We just figure they'll turn up eventually. I should have been looking for you and Alex a whole lot harder."
"Well, maybe dis'll be de wake up call, non? Maybe you'll trust Gambit a little more too, eh?"
"Yeah. Maybe I will." I smiled at him.
"'Course," he added, "I 'aven't been de most trustwort'y person on dis team. Maybe dis was some cosmic penance for all de sins of my past."
"No!" I snapped. "You didn't deserve being under Sinister's control anymore than Alex and I deserved being slaves." I reached out suddenly and grabbed Gambit's shoulder. "You're a good man, Remy. That clone may look like you and have a lot of your mannerisms. But he's a poor copy to the original."
"Would you say dat to de clone?" Remy pressed.
"No," I admitted. No I wouldn't say that because I was still half in love with the idea of my Remy. But I couldn't say that to Gambit. Instead I said, "No. I was conditioned not to say things like that to him. I wouldn't risk the punishment."
With relief I noticed that Gambit seemed to accept this as he nodded. We stood there quietly looking at each other. The silence became awkward after a moment and I saw to my embarrassment that I still had my hand on his shoulder. I dropped it immediately.
"Well," I breathed.
Without warning Gambit stepped forward and laid a hand on my cheek. "You fell in love wit' him, didn' you?"
The air went out of me. "How?" I managed to say.
"I can feel your love for Jean. When you talk about de clone, de feeling I get is similar. And after all he done to you, you still can' kill him."
"I was so close," I whispered. "If you hadn't arrived when you did, I might have been protecting him from you. He was so seductive, addicting." I leaned into Gambit's caress. "Can you do that? Can you make someone fall in love with you?"
"I wouldn't," Gambit said quietly.
"But could you?" His fingers lightly brushed my skin and I closed my eyes, biting back a soft moan. I could feel myself getting hard. But I wasn't sure if Gambit was using some of his power or if I was aroused by my own imagination. "Could you?" I asked again.
"Oui," he said. "I could. But I wouldn't." He moved closer and could feel his breath on my lips. "I won't." Then he bent forward and brushed his lips against mine. There was nothing I could do but open my lips up to him. And it was my Remy. His kiss awoke all the feelings once again, leaving me helpless against the onslaught. I let him pull me close, felt his arousal against my thigh, felt his hands settle on my ass, stroking, kneading urgently. He was as wonderful and as tender as my own Remy and I groaned into the kiss.
But then Gambit pulled away and reached to caress my cheek again, running the knuckles over the skin, causing me to shiver. "But I won't," he murmured. "As tempting as dat is, dat's not me. Dat clone's got good taste, t'ough." He smiled disarmingly causing me to grin. "Must be in de DNA." He dropped his hand and stepped back. "Just wanted to make sure you recognized de difference."
I laughed and he walked away calling over his shoulder, "don' you forget it, mon ami." It was several weeks before I saw him again.
It's finished!!!! I never thought I'd ever get to say that, but it's true. Thank you for putting up with all the time it took for me to get this done. Fifty parts and 205 pages. Heaven knows how many words. :) And yes, I made Part 49 longer than many of the parts just so I could have an even 50. Shameless, but true. hehe.
I'd like to personally thank Richel, my beta, who helped to make this little smut fantasy of mine into something much better. I can't thank her enough. Her suggestions were fantastic. And her analysis of the story was one of the highpoints of writing this epic. I couldn't have done it without her support and encouragement.
I'd also like to thank Kelahnus. She was there from the beginning, nagging me to write more. Without that I might have stopped long ago. I'm not very good at finishing what I start.
Finally, for all those who gave me feedback on this story, for the readers who wrote to tell me this kind of story wasn't their cup of tea and often made them squirm but still read it anyway, I give you a heartfelt thank you. It's priceless to know someone has read your stories and likes what they read. Priceless to get the kind of wonderful feedback I received. I've saved almost all of the emails sent to me. And I'll always look back at those emails when I'm thinking I can't write another word.
It's been a wild, wonderful ride. I hope everyone who's taken the time to read this story, and had the patience to put up with waiting for another part has enjoyed this story as much as I've enjoyed writing it. Thank you again.
I asked him if he t'ought dis collar would hold me. He tried to sound confident, gave a smart answer. It was better dan having me killed. And I'd 'ave to admit he was right 'bout dat. But he was wrong if he t'ought it would hold me.
Forgetting de fact dat I'm a master t'ief, de collar was originally programmed to inhibit my donor's powers. What my former captor wasn't aware of was dat I'm more powerful dan de donor. He didn' know I was a clone. Sinister had experimented wit' de charm power. He boosted my kinetic power too, but he really wanted to see what I could do wit' de empathy. De bastard's immune to emotion so it wouldn't affect him. I don't know what his plans were for me. I was pretty much a slave to his whims until he took de original and had most of his memories imprinted on me. Dat's when I really came alive. You see, a clone's a tabula rasa until he gets experience, or in my case, takes on someone's memories and knowledge. I don' t'ink Sinister was aware of what an opportunity he was giving me. I say de bastard don' feel, but he's still an arrogant son of a bitch. Probably t'ought he'd still be able to control me. But dat's his mistake. He allowed me more freedom dan de original and it was almost too easy to escape.
I'm a clone. Don' t'ink for a moment I don't accept dat fact. I do. But it galls me. I'm a copy of de original Remy Lebeau. More powerful dan de original. But still a copy. And most people know how wort'less a copy is. Not de sacred first. Not de one dat's valued. Never dat. Just a shadow of de genuine article.
Still, I made my own way. Used my charm to gain power. It took me a while to realize dat my empathy wasn't inhibited completely by dis collar. But once I knew, it wasn't long before I was free.
And dat's where Scott's mistaken. Dis collar won' hold me. And Constantine is in no way immune to my power. He's already started to believe he has control over me, dat he's seducing me. But dat's what I want him to believe. Dat he's in control. Dat first week I wouldn't eat unless he encouraged me to. He's been so kind in his treatment of me. I t'ink dat even if I wasn't able to use my power he'd still be kind to me. He's a good man. But I won't be held captive. I'll use him or anyone I have to to get free.
After all, I have a reason to escape. My days as Patriarch are over now. But Scott and Alex? Dey're still waiting for me. Dey don' know it. Dey'd probably deny it wit' deir last breath. But I know I'll have dem again. It's only a matter of time before Constantine releases dis collar. Den I'll get t'rough de portals to Earth.
Information is de key. It's de power as it's always been. And Constantine gives me plenty of information since he seems to t'ink it's useless to me. Already I know dat dere are two portals still functioning in de city. And one is in my palace. And I know every one of de corridors of dat palace, including de ones no one knows about. Easy enough for a t'ief to get in.
I also know how much wealth I have on Earth. Wealth I acquired before being brought here. I have some hidden wealth here as well. Constantine doesn't know about dat. He and de Councilors dat are allied wit' him have frozen all my funds. De ones dey know about at least. But as I remember Jean Luc saying...or as I remember what Jean Luc said to de original, never show dem your full hand.
It'll be easy enough to escape once dis collar is off. I t'ink tonight I'll make my first move. Let Constantine believe he's seducing me into his bed for de first time. I'll play de dejected prisoner. De one who needs comfort, forgiveness perhaps. He'll offer dat comfort. He'll fall for my charm. Den he'll fall hard for me. I'll make love to him wit' a passion dat will rend his heart. By tomorrow he'll give me whatever I ask for. But I'll play it carefully. Too much too soon could make him suspicious. So I'll ask for somet'ing small. Like a ride in de countryside. A day out of my prison. Little by little he'll give into my requests until he's t'inking it's all his idea to remove dis collar. A month perhaps. Maybe a little longer. Time enough to have him take me into de city on some pretext, only to give me a chance to get hold of my hidden resources. Den I'll lose dis collar and make my escape.
Scott and Alex will be waiting for me at Xavier's. And I'll have my boys wit' me again.
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