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21 November 2007 @ 11:32 am
Fic: "Demeter's Daughter", Chapter 1.  
Title: Demeter's Daughter, Chapter 1.
Authors: sionnain and resolute
Fandom: 616-verse X-Men, ends up AU
Pairing: Nathaniel Essex, aka Mister Sinister, and Rachel Grey
Rating: dear heavens, NC-17
Warnings, Notes, etc: Contains graphic sex and graphic violence. Dub-con. Makes references to non-con. In addition, Resolute thinks the X-Men treat Rachel pretty poorly, and her biases show.
Summary: Rachel Grey is the only scion of the Summers-Grey line that Sinister has so far ignored. When Rachel returns from space, scarred and broken again, she is in no position to defend herself from him.

AN: The title and quote are from the Grace Griffith song Demeter's Daughter.This is Chapter 1 of a multi-chapter fic.



Demeter's Daughter

The sweetest flower that ever bloomed
grows far deep inside a bush of thorns
And happiness then is like the rose,
for without pain nothing good is born.


Rachel walked out of Hank's lab, her face still. Impassive.

"Rachel --"

She ignored Hank calling behind her, his smooth voice harsher with urgency. Rachel took two more steps and launched, levitating down the hall. Rachel burst through the window at the end, not caring that it shattered. She had to get away from them. Had to get out of the mansion and its pressure, so intense it felt like she would be crushed.

A mile or so above the mansion, Rachel spread her wings. The Phoenix's wings, burning and dark, stretched out across the sky. It was a relief to feel them. A relief to not be so contained.

"None of them trust me since I got back," she whispered.

{{trust you}}

"I know you do." Rachel sighed and closed her eyes, letting the Phoenix carry her. Listening to its voice whisper in her mind. Comforting. Strong. Trusting.

Not like Scott, who had ordered her off the team on medical grounds. Ordered her grounded until Hank cleared her. "Which he won't do," she said aloud.

Rachel suddenly felt like she couldn't breathe. Thinking of Scott, and the way he spoke to her. Chastised her. The anger in his voice. She doubled over in mid air, holding her stomach. She was choking, breathing too fast, too shallow, gagging on the suffocating feeling.

She fell, dizzy now, sobbing, that was it, she was sobbing and couldn't stop long enough to get a breath. The Phoenix leaped from her mind and caught her, held her about the tree-covered grounds of the mansion until the agonizing panic attack faded. Rachel uncurled, shuddering. Wet with sweat, soaked.

"Help me," she whispered. Not that anyone could hear her.

{{mine}}

The Phoenix helped Rachel back to the mansion. To her room. Where there was a note from Scott saying she owed the school a window. Rachel crawled into her closet. To the back of the closet, and curled up behind her clothes. She sat there and did not sleep.

Sinister had been watching her for some time now, spying on the last of the vaunted line of which he had spent over a century studying, and he was well-aware that the girl was completely unstable. The Phoenix entity had nearly destroyed Jean Grey, who was far more mentally sound than her dimension-hopping daughter. Rachel was, as far as Sinister could tell, powerful but completely at the mercy of her emotions (a pity, he thought), unable to control herself, her powers, or the godlike being that burned like a star in the center of her very essence.

His interest in the Summers-Grey line had fallen off, in recent decades. After all, Scott and Cable had destroyed his hated master, Apocalypse, and there was no longer any reason to cultivate the line. What were they now, but mutants like the rest of homo superior? He should have no interest in her, Rachel Summers-Grey.

However, he was--perhaps to her misfortune--unmistakably bored. The mutant birth problem had been solved--thanks to him--and he had nothing else of late to do. Quite a horrible thing for a man who was used to being very involved in his work. So it came to him, as he watched her remotely--flying in circles, angry and afraid--that perhaps she could become his next project. After all, he had cultivated a certain amount of grudging respect for what he'd done, and no one was at present trying to kill him.

She would be perfect. A few months in his laboratory, and he could solve the mystery of the Phoenix itself.

But how to do it?

It seemed obvious that her relationship with the X-Men was tenacious at best. If he could sever that relationship completely, force her to flee--he could find her, take her somewhere. One of his lairs, some place they could be alone. Her family would think she had broken, at last, and had run away.

It would require a delicate touch. But he was good at such things. He was a patient man.

His initial salvo was simple. He saw her there, on the floor of her closet. Breathing fast, afraid. Her thoughts were as open as a book before him. useless don't want me dangerous afraid unwanted danger too much no.

He implanted the simplest of suggestions. *Dream, tonight, about that alien curse. Dream about them all dying, and it being your fault.*

Sinister smiled in the darkness. To break her, it wouldn't be that hard.

The light was turning gray before Rachel dropped off. She woke not long after, blood filling her mouth. She'd bitten her lip to not scream.

The door to her hiding place was suddenly wrenched away. Emma stood there in her nightgown. Utterly furious. "Don't you ever. Ever. Hurt him again," Emma said. She reached down and grabbed Rachel by the hair, pulling her out. Rachel lost track of what happened, something dark and heavy filled her mind. She came back to herself moments later. Emma was diamond, the room swirling with cosmic fire. "Enough of this!" Emma slapped Rachel with her diamond palm, slamming Rachel to the floor. "You are childish and a danger to me and those I value," Emma said. She turned back to flesh as Rachel pulled the Phoenix force back in. She was crying too hard to answer.

Emma leaned over the girl and touched her head. Nails pressing painfully against her scalp. "If you won't control yourself, I will." With a painful spike of power Emma forced wards into Rachel's mind. Cut her off from her telepathy. She left without another word.

Rachel sobbed and pulled herself under her bed. She wasn't sure what she had done, and her mouth still tasted of blood.

Sinister watched this, taking notes with interest. He had begun a journal. Rachel Summers-Grey/Phoenix.

Subject has had telepathic powers forcibly shut down by a telepath of lesser talent, due to her inability to control her own emotions. In order to incapacitate subject, speak of failure and subject bringing harm to those she supposedly loves.

He wondered if Rachel would fight back. If she would force the wards out with her nigh-unstoppable power. He watched, waiting to see. It appeared she found crying a much better use of her time. He sighed. Quite a waste of talent.

He could teleport to her room. He could remove Emma's wards, return Rachel's telepathy. Perhaps it would lend credence to the idea that Rachel was too much a danger to reside at the mansion. If she were kicked out, then Sinister would not have to wait for her to voluntarily leave. But he did not want to get caught, and he was not certain that someone would not find him in the mansion if he were to appear there.

He waited until Rachel fell back asleep. To break someone, you must give them comfort and then take it away. Sinister went into her dreams. They were terrible and dark. He changed them, based on what he knew of her. Gave her Christmas, with her family surrounding her. Mother and father, uncles. Grandparents. Security. They were hugging her, and it was warm, and there were only pleasant things to be found.

***

Rachel was running. Running, steadily, around the perimeter of the mansion's grounds. It was well past lunchtime. Not that she'd eaten lunch. She'd been out here since before dawn. Running. She'd woken in tears, again. Every morning for almost two weeks. Nightmares plaguing her until the worse dream came. The awful, awful dreams where she was loved. Nothing helped. Nothing made them stop.

Emma had grudgingly returned her powers to her a few days ago. Rachel had just stayed as far away as possible from anyone else. Not liking the looks they gave each other. The way they talked about her when she wasn't there. The awful things they thought.

She stumbled, finally. Fell. Rachel lay on the dirt under the pine trees, dry-heaving. She hadn't eaten in a while.

The girl was running herself ragged. She was barely eating. Barely sleeping. She hated the dreams he was giving her. Sinister made notes of it, carefully, each night in his diary. How she felt, in the midst of the dreams. Unworthy of love. Desperate that the illusion be real. She was slowly cutting herself off from those around her. Good. Phase one was progressing nicely. Sinister consulted his notes.

Phase Two: Subject must be convinced that she is a danger to those she loves. Having reminded her, through implanted dream visions, that others are capable of loving her, she must be convinced her presence among them is a danger.

The girl's mind was terribly easy to infiltrate. It was a simple thing really, to show the next vision. The fire, and the slow shadow eclipsing the sun as the ships arrived. The burning flames, the screams of her family and friends. The Shi'ar army, marching implacably, slaying all in their path. Just because of her.

Rachel lay in the dirt, dizzy and sick. She wasn't sweating, and knew in some corner of her mind that this was a bad thing. She pulled herself to her feet. When she saw the Shi'ar ships, she screamed.

She fell back into the woods for a moment, then launched herself into the air, screaming. The Phoenix force launched with her, giving her strength and power as she flew. She reached about a mile up, filled with rage and fear when the ships disappeared.

*SCOTT* she yelled telepathically. *Shi'ar! Here! They've cloaked themselves!*

Her father's mental voice answered immediately. Concerned. Rachel stayed in the air, watching all directions until the others could tell her where the Shi'ar fleet had gone.

*Rachel.* Emma's voice. Cold and painful. *Return to the mansion immediately.*

*But the Fleet!*

*There is no fleet. There are no Shi'ar. Come back at once.*

Rachel flew halfway back before the next vision hit. The mansion in ruins. The Shi'ar stalking the ruins. The panic that gripped her was incapacitating and she fell to the lawn just outside the swimming pool. Unable to get up.

Sinister carefully wove the visions before the girl. Her family, being led out in chains. Executed in painful and humiliating ways. We will destroy your line, we will see this ended. He knew a little of Rachel's history, of the world she'd lived in before. Hunting mutants down, killing them like they were animals. He made some of them laugh. Sinister increased the images until he knew they were too much, until she would have to know that it was not real.

Imagining this, and being unable to stop such horrific visions....

Her mind was so easy to read. He took the image of her handler from some memory, and had him stand before her prone form. Collar in hand. "Come on, Red," he said, winking. "'Up, girl. Lots of muties to kill tonight."

Rachel pushed herself to her feet, swaying from exhaustion. "Yessir," she muttered. Rachel stumbled into the mansion, eyes closed against the visions of the dead and dying.

Emma and Hank met her at the door. Not Scott. Never Scott, who would not look at her or face her in any way. Not since she'd proven herself so unreliable. So dangerous.

"Emma, she's not -- " Rachel heard Hank say. She lost the rest as she fell, hearing only the screams of the dying.

"I'm crazy, Emma," Rachel said as Hank carried her to the infirmary. She could see Emma's face. The former White Queen glanced at Hank and did not disagree.

Sinister settled back, watching. He pulled the visions away, and shielded any sign of his presence from Rachel's mind. They would think it was all her.

Phase Two: Nearing completion. Next objective--procure subject for study.

Hank put Rachel down on the gurney. Rachel saw the looks again, saw Emma catch Hank's eye. He moved to the restraints.

"NO!" Rachel screamed and jerked away. But her own efforts to exhaust and sicken herself had been effective. She fell off the gurney, only to be caught by Hank and strapped onto it.

"For your own protection, Rachel," he said. Rachel moaned. Emma walked to her head and put her hands on Rachel's brow. "Do you think that is wise, Emma?" Hank asked. "Should we not tend to her physical difficulties first?"

"She'll just fight us, Henry," Emma replied. "Don't be tiresome. This won't take long." Rachel felt the cold, painful slide of Emma's mind against hers. Her eyes opened, blazing, lighting the room. "Henry!" Emma shouted. "The Phoenix!"

"I'm on it," Hank said. He jumped to Rachel's side, a collar in his hands.

"No!" Rachel said, gasping. With enormous effort she forced the Phoenix to back down. "I've got it. It's under control. Hank. Please!"

Emma took that moment to shove her way into Rachel's mind. It hurt. Badly. Rachel shut her eyes and bit her abused lip, drawing blood from sores not-yet-healed. "Henry," Emma said. "There's nothing here. No tampering." Rachel moaned. "I'm putting her out so that you can tend to her."

Rachel wanted to struggle. She failed at that, too.

***

Rachel sat in her room. Waiting. Emma had cut off her powers again, and Peter stood guard on her door. The others. The senior staff. They were deciding her fate. Without her telepathy she could not eavesdrop as she was accustomed to doing.

{{they will take me from you}}

"No, they won't," Rachel muttered. I have to get out of here. She considered her options again.

Peter was talking to someone in the hall. Kitty.

Oh god. They would. They would send Kitty, to get my guard down. They would send her to make me relaxed and calm. And then . . .

The fear was too intense. The Phoenix roared in her mind, crashing through Emma's psychic blocks. Rachel blew away the wall of the house and fled, arrowing out across the Atlantic. Where no one could hurt her. Where she couldn't hurt anyone.

Rachel angled up. Heading for space. Not thinking, just trying to get away.

Sinister knew she was trying to flee. He had to intercept her, but even he, with his cunning and his powers, was no match for the Phoenix. He had to trick her, had to get her incapacitated so that he could bring her to his lair. He was in his Alaskan base, deep beneath the tundra, a cold fortress of metal steel and dark, tomb-like walls. It wasn't the most cheerful place, but it was remote and hard to find. He had several shields in place, here, that would keep anyone from finding her.

Sinister sent the image of Shi'ar scout ship towards her. He wanted to confuse her, to drive her downward, not upwards. He would have to time this perfectly, else she would fall too far into the depths of the ocean and the Phoenix would likely take over, rendering his plan useless.

"Fall, little bird," he murmured, concentrating. "Fall so that I may catch you."

Rachel dodged the cannon of the Shi'ar, nearly sobbing. She was in no shape for a fight. Had to get away. But she couldn't return to the X-Men for help. Already they would be sending people after her. Rogue, for certain. She was fast enough.

Lower. Rachel had to get lower. She dived, struggling for greater speed. A sudden dizziness struck her, a vertigo. She struggled to clear her head while staying ahead of the Shi'ar. Without warning the ocean was suddenly right in front of her. Rachel had a moment of panic, of outrage, then hit the water.

Nothing.

Sinister teleported the moment she struck the water, and managed to catch her just in time. He teleported the both of them back to his base, and down to the room he had prepared for her. A bed, a dresser. Some books. It had a bathroom. He was considerate, a gentleman. There were clothes for her in the closet. He had a television set and a stack of DVDs for her, based on her preferences. He was very thorough in his research.

The bed had soft sheets, a thick down comforter. He pulled the water from them both with his telekinesis, and laid her upon the bed. He made sure that the shields were up, and then settled himself in a chair. He took notes while he waited for her to rouse.

Physically, subject is disheveled from flight, but showing signs of physical and emotional stress. First course of action will be to restore subject to more optimum health levels before intense study can begin. Subject has naturally vibrant red hair, fair skin. Genetically resembles the Grey line. Presumably has green eyes. Subject is approximately 1.8 metres tall, slight, but possessing of musculature consistent with physical activity.

Rachel moved. Trying to remember where she was. What had happened.

Shi'ar.

She flung herself into the air, arms spread, and crashed into a ceiling. Hard. Rachel fell to the floor, landing half on the bed before thumping gracelessly to the ground. She shook herself and looked around. A Shi'ar ship? No. A room. A bedroom. With things that were not hers.

She pushed herself to her feet, holding onto the wall for balance.

There was a man in the corner. Rachel looked at him. She blinked.

"You're Mr. Sinister."

Sinister rose to his feet, as was only polite. He gave a low bow. Had they met, before? He couldn't remember. "Indeed I am. And you are Rachel Summers-Grey. I do not believe we have had the occasion to be introduced. Please do sit down. You may have given yourself a frightful bump on the head."

Rachel didn't reply. She threw herself at him, fiery wings stretching out of her hands and arms. Talons raking at him. She assaulted him telepathically as well, bombarding his mind as best she could.

He's right, she thought dizzily. Dammit. Rachel tried to set the monster on fire, her vision blurred.

He gave a mildly irritated scowl at her attack, though he had been prepared for it. It hurt, of course, but he had been sensitized to pain a long time ago. His healing factor began to work--complete with its own unique pain, as Apocalypse never gave gifts without punishment--immediately, healing the wounds she inflicted. He was able to force her back, down on the bed, and hold her there.

"Do stop," he said, rather firmly. "You shall injure yourself further, and you are already unwell. I would suggest that you take a few hours to sleep, and then perhaps consider some sustenance. I shall bring you some broth in a bit, and perhaps crackers. I think you may be malnourished, and the use of your powers may possibly be making you ill in such a state." He glanced at her. "I have brought you here for study, not to harm you. I shall be perfectly frank that I mean you no physical harm, however, I shall defend myself if necessary."

Rachel fought as hard as she could. "Not taking anything from you," she panted. She willed the Phoenix to attack him.

{{no.}}

Rachel cried out. Betrayed. "What?" she said.

{{no.}}

No explanation. Rachel sobbed and went limp. Unable to fight any longer.

Sinister peered at her, curious. Something had happened, some inner dialogue. She was trying to make the Phoenix hurt him, but it was not complying.

Very interesting.

"I shan't like it if I have to forcibly inject you with fluids," he said, heading towards the door. "But I shall. You are quite unwell, and of no use to me until you are in better physical form. This requires sleeping and ingesting nutrients. I will drug you, if I must, to see that you regain your health. I should think it is easier for both of us if you merely comply to the natural wishes of your body." He gestured towards the room. "There should be adequate clothing for your needs, and I have selected several books and films for you. You may go where you wish, however, I shall be able to monitor your movements and there is no way out of here unless I escort you. I am quite prepared to be pleasant about this entire thing. I would hope you would as well, though I am concerned you lack no sense of self-preservation."

Rachel waited until he left. She looked around the room. There was a desk. Rachel slid off the bed and dragged the mattress over to the desk, putting it up against the wood. Making a cave. Her head was swimming by the time she was done. She crawled in, telekinetically dragging the dresser over to block the entrance. She curled up on the hard floor, shivering.

At some point she fell asleep.

He went into the bedroom several hours later with a tray of food, and sighed when he saw the configuration she had engineered with the bedroom furniture. He put the tray up on the dresser and removed the mattress first, putting it back on the bed. He moved the dresser with his powers back to its proper place--he did not appreciate a mess--and then reached it and bodily yanked her out by the hair.

It was possible the girl was crazier than he had anticipated.

Rachel woke to the fist in her hair and went limp. She let them drag her out, wondering if it was a medical exam today, or a mission. A hunt. She reached for her master's other hand and rubbed her cheek against it. "Sir," she whispered.

Sinister put her back on the bed. Her behavior was most strange. He peered at her. "Hmm. You appear to be suffering from some sort of delusion." He waved over the tray. She was being obedient, so that was a start. "Perhaps you would be so good as to consume some of this."

She stared at him. Unmoving.

"All right, I suppose I shall have to insist." He sat next to her and picked up the bowl of soup, then began feeding it to her. Sinister soaked crackers in the broth, and made the girl drink milk from a straw. It required a bit of force, but he insisted and did not relent until the entire bowl of soup, the crackers and the bread, and the milk were completely gone.

"There. Now you will eat three meals a day, and possibly put on some weight. You appear much too thin." He peered at her. She seemed...remote. Distant. Completely unaware.

Rachel was used to the force. The fingers pushing at her jaw muscles until she cried out, then pushing the food in. Holding her nose and making her swallow. She fought for a few minutes, then gave in.

She always gave in, in the end. The guards always won. She was a hound, a dog, and the only good in her life came from the men she had to please.

Rachel dropped to her knees, her hands going to her master's belt. After dinner, she had to be grateful. She unbuckled it and closed her eyes.

He stared at her, wondering what on earth she was doing. A quick scan of her mind showed him exactly why she was on her knees, as her hands went to her belt. This is how the girl says she is thankful for dinner, in the camps. She is twelve, thirteen at most, and she is so desensitized to sexualized violence that she would do this, to him, and not even think anything of it.

Sinister considered what she was doing, and what would work best for him. He stopped her, his hand on hers. "No," he said, pushing her hand away. He stood up, and gave her no further explanations. He was not quite sure how to return her to their present reality, but she was being a bit quiet and obedient, so he pointed to the bed. "Sleep there. Do not move the furniture again. Sleep on the bed, beneath the covers. It is very cold here."

He turned on his heel, walking towards the door. "I shall be back with breakfast in the morning. I do not sleep. Do not try anything."

Chapter 2.
 
 
touring: : home
always been so: : happyhappy
 
 
 
bewizeficwize on November 21st, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
*squees*

You have made me such a convert to this pairing - this strange, dysfunction, FUBAR pairing...

I *really* enjoyed this first chapter, although part of that is because it had a magic word in the description - multichapter. *bounces around a lot in ancipatory glee*

Okay, now for a more coherent review:

Sinister - a total bastard (which I love).

Scott- in some ways, he came out far worse than Sinister in this chapter. At least Sinister notices Rachel.

Emma - cold, calculating, ruthless. I love the way you write her in this, but I *really* dislike her.

Rachel - a total mess. I'm interested to see what happens as the story progresses. She's obviously at the very end of her wits. And it doesn't seem that Sinister had to do much to push her there. I can't help but wonder how much emotional trauma her own friends and family were putting her under.

Overall - I'm so hooked. *lol* I also really like the contrast between Sinister's thoughtful planned movements and calculations, and Rachel's hopelessly disorganized ones.

Keep it coming! Please don't make us wait too long. :)
inathunderstorm on November 21st, 2007 07:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! resolute actually wrote Emma in this one :)

resolute's Rachel is MADE OF LOVE AND WIN. I love her so much. (We RP Rachel and Sinister in a game so we think about them A LOT. *G*) I love the way Res writes her and I think you'll continue to enjoy her portrayal!

Thanks for liking my Sinister :D He does make me really happy to write!!

I'm so excited you're enjoying the story! We have another chapter to post and several more already written, and we know exactly where it is going and where it ends, so definitely there will be more :D
aka bloodnfire: Emma Frostsendthewolves on November 22nd, 2007 12:04 am (UTC)
Oh wow! I nearly didn't read this because I'm unfamiliar with Rachel Grey but I'm definately glad that I did.

Really looking forward to reading the rest of this :D
inathunderstorm on November 22nd, 2007 06:39 pm (UTC)
Yay!! Glad you are enjoying--Rachel is awesome, esp. resolute's Rachel!
Jess: little girlwillowaus on November 22nd, 2007 06:31 pm (UTC)
:hisses at Sinister:

He is mean. I do not like Sinny anymore. Bastard. :crosses arms: Bad, awful Sinny.

And poor Rachel. The poor confused girl. :hugs her hard:
inathunderstorm on November 22nd, 2007 06:32 pm (UTC)
Hey!!!!!!!!

You will like him eventually, I promise. :D
*giggles*

Amandaangelus2402004 on November 24th, 2007 04:38 am (UTC)
OMG! I so needed a sinister/rachel story! On to the next chapter!!
kiragecko64 on January 3rd, 2008 02:08 am (UTC)
I think this one might be my favorite. The writing is maybe not as lyrical, and the X-Men in my mind are not so cruel - all proof to the contrary being lies planted by evil writers. Still, the story balances them so perfect, develops their relationship more slowly and thoroughly then Unquiet Affair. Plus, she's, you know, a prisoner, and that changes the dynamics a bit. I love how you've turned all the parts of her past into different personalities. Good work, you guys, I want chapter 6 very badly.

kiragecko
(Anonymous) on April 13th, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC)
Can't wait to have my say
Hey - I am definitely happy to find this. great job!