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22 November 2007 @ 12:39 pm
Fic: "Demeter's Daughter" Chapter 2. Sinister/Rachel, Rated MA.  
Title: Demeter's Daughter, Chapter 2.
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 2 of a multi-chapter fic.

Chapter 1

Rachel woke very slowly. It took her a long moment to remember where she was. Sinister. She had been captured by Mr. Sinister.

She tried to remember what had happened last night, and nothing came. She was thirsty. Hungry. Her head ached horribly. Rachel stood and noticed her clothes were filthy. Salt encrusted and rank with sweat. She ignored that, ignored the pain, and tried to call for help. She shouted telepathically, screaming.

Rachel fell to her knees, dizzy. God, I hope I didn't crack my skull.

He heard her, on his way down the hallway. Ah. It would appear she was less docile this morning. Perhaps that was for the best.

He knocked politely, and waited a few moments before opening the door. She was on the floor, but the bed had been slept in. She needed a bath, and new clothes. He carried the tray in and closed the door behind him. "I did say that shouting for help was useless," he reminded her. "I have our location shielded. I do intend to allow you to leave, as I have said, so there is no reason for you to carry on in such a fashion. When I am through with you, I shall return you to the location of your choosing."

He put the tray on the dresser and looked at her. "I am quite intent upon your eating this breakfast."

Rachel lashed out with her telekinesis and smashed the tray. She glared at him. She couldn't keep the monster in focus. "I don't care what you intend," she whispered. "There's no way I'll cooperate."

Sinister sighed. "This sort of behavior is most unladylike." He concentrated, and an identical tray floated in from the hallway. "I rather thought you might do that." He moved fast. Sinister had preternatural speed, and he was on the bed before she could have divined his intentions. He straddled her, pinning her arms above her head. "I do not relish behaving in such a barbaric fashion," he said coldly, staring down at her with narrowed eyes. Sinister was an imposing man. He stood nearly six-foot-seven, and his body was strong and muscled. "Now,I am going to ask you nicely to eat breakfast, or else I shall forcibly feed it to you. You only get one chance, do make the right decision. Shall you eat what I have brought you, or shall with do this the...unpleasant...way?"

Rachel gasped as his weight nearly knocked the wind out of her. His hands were freezing cold. Rachel could hear the noises she was making as she pulled, twisted, struggled to get away. She fell back, her breathing too shallow, too fast. One more shot, she thought, and focused her telepathy on him, trying to fry his mind.

He threw his shields up, feeling her intent, and then backhanded her brutally across the face. Her head snapped to the side and then he caught her around the neck with his hand. "I did say I would defend myself, but I find it horribly ill-mannered to strike a woman, much less a guest in my home." He squeezed his hand. "You shall eat this, Ms. Summers-Grey, or I promise you that you will not like the consequences of refusing me again."

The additional blow to the head stunned Rachel. She couldn't really fight anymore. Worse yet, she couldn't keep her shields up anymore. It wasn't surrender, it was failure. Another failure in a long list of them. Rachel couldn't talk with his hand on her throat. Instead she lay limp. Trying to breathe. Trying to control the dizziness.

Sinister shifted his weight, then retrieved the second tray he had prepared. Oatmeal, wheat toast, fruit. Milk. He had fixed tea, but he had not brought her any. She could toss it as his face, and that would be a waste of perfectly prepared tea. Sinister forced her to eat. It took a bit of time, she did not seem inclined to fight, but she was not helping him, precisely, either. When he was finished, he climbed off of her and put the tray on the dresser. "You require bathing and a change of clothes. I do not wish to force you to do these things, but I shall if you resist." He let that remain, the threat ominous, and decided to wait in the bedroom while she showered. What if she attempted to harm herself in some fashion? "The bathroom is through there," he said, pointing.

Rachel was reluctant to admit that she felt better for eating. She couldn't remember her last real meal. The past week or so at the mansion had been awful. She tried to focus, and gathered up her telepathic shields, trying to keep Sinister out of her mind. Rachel doubted it was effective. She didn't have any illusions about her skills right now.

She swung her feet over the side of the bed and pushed slowly to her feet. "The X-Men are looking for me," she said. Rachel stripped of her clothes, not caring that he was watching her.

"I rather think they are not looking very hard," he said, casting his eyes upwards politely. Not that she would notice. He was reading her mind--which was very easy, she had no shields whatsoever. She was completely exhausted and physically unwell, and cared little for her own safety. Even her pronouncement about her teammates looking for her sounded half-hearted at best. "And you best hope they do not find you until I am finished with you, else we shall potentially have a bit of a problem. Do remember that. The water takes a moment to heat up, mind."

Rachel turned on the shower and stepped in under icy water. She shivered but washed quickly, stepping out before it really warmed up. The towel on the rack was actually nice. Fluffy. Not like the towels in the camps. Rachel suddenly felt dizzy and put her hand out to the wall for balance.

Oh. That's what happened last night. Rachel remembered now, like a nightmare. Something bad had happened in her head, and she'd called this monster 'sir,' had thought he was her owner in the camps.

Rachel was afraid. Not of Sinister. Of the fact that she was crazy. Hallucinating Shi'ar, the camps. Unable to tell what was real. I should have let Hank imprison me, she thought. Rachel made it to the dresser and stumbled, falling to her knees. The towel came loose, hitting the floor. Rachel knelt there, shivering.

He looked down at her a bit distastefully. The girl was a mess. How was it, precisely, that she functioned as the host for the Phoenix? "Have you some great aversion to taking proper care of yourself?" he asked, not really expecting an answer. He reached down and hauled her up. Her body was wet from the shower, but she was freezing. "I did say the water took a moment to heat up, did I not?"

She wasn't looking at him. She wasn't looking at anything. The girl had not used hot water because she was barely cognizant of her surroundings. He turned her so that he could see the mark on her back. The deathmark, placed upon her by the Shi'ar. The stylized Phoenix was beautiful, in its own way. "What danger could you possibly be to an entire race of advanced alien beings? You cannot even feed yourself." He was beginning to think the girl was not worth his time. "I should do them a favor and kill you. They do have quite the resources for scientific study. I do not even imagine you would mind terribly much, would you, girl?"

Rachel put her hand on his chest for balance as he pulled her up. She wasn't paying attention to his words until he mentioned the Shi'ar. She realized, dimly, that he wasn't threatening her. He was weighing his options.

She didn't think. Just reacted. The Phoenix was there at her command, a talon of cosmic energy pushed through the monster's chest, burning and twisting. Rachel pulled free of him, using her powers to molecularly create clothing out of the air and rock around her. Dressed in black and gold she tore at Sinister with burning claws.

He felt the pain of it burn sharper than anything he'd felt in a long time. Few things managed to truly hurt him, not anymore. He stumbled backwards, off-balance, but regained his composure. He did not cry out, did not scream. He had been too well conditioned for that. His body felt like it was on fire from within. But he at least had some proof that the girl was not a complete waste of time. He nodded, satisfied. There was some fight left in her. She was in some form of shock, perhaps.

He shoved her hard, away from him. Her hand on his chest had displeased him. He did not like to be touched. The pain of her attack settled around him like a blanket, and he viciously ignored it and the additional pain of his healing factor. He looked at her. "Perhaps I shan't, after all. Though I find your lack of self-preservation odd, girl. Do you not even wish to know why I have brought you here?"

Rachel moved to hit him again and paused. It hadn't occurred to her to ask. Things just happened to Rachel. She never had control of her life. Rarely had control of her person, her body. Control of her mind was also a chancy thing.

She pulled the Phoenix back under her control and looked at Sinister. "Okay," she said. "Why?"

"Ah, she is capable of speech." He was still distracted by the pain, so he paused a moment, breathing deeply, before answering. "I wish to study you. You are of a remarkable line. I wish to puzzle out the mystery of this being for which you are host. I have no intention of harming you, providing you follow my directions. I am interested in your powers and how the Phoenix relates to you. For instance, it is most curious that it does not resist my attempts to force you into wellness, yet when I mentioned killing you, it became most vexed indeed--I surmise that was not you alone that burned me, else you would have done it prior to this moment. And yet, you have used your telekinesis to fashion clothing from the very molecules--which, I did provide you with some, may I just mention--and yet you have done nothing so gifted since your arrival. Does the Phoenix heighten your abilities, then? Are they quite substandard without it?"

"There's nothing substandard about my abilities!" Rachel retorted, stung. She backed up, sitting on the edge of the bed. The extra power provided by the Phoenix was fading, and she was still ill from her poor treatment last week. "It does," she added, "give me extra energy, or cover up pain, so I can keep fighting when I'm hurt. And I think if I am unable to fight back it protects me, if it can."

Sinister nodded. "That is quite interesting. And you can speak with it, talk to it? You hear it respond to you, in your mind?"

Rachel nodded. "We can just feel each other, or we can have a conversation, or it can talk to other people using my body." She looked at him. "You haven't really hurt me yet," she said. Thinking aloud. "I mean, not that wasn't my fault. Just, answer me this. Are you drugging me, in the food and stuff?"

He shook his head. "No, I am not. I shall, if you refuse to sleep, but you did not disobey and went to bed as I had prescribed. I have no intention of harming you if you obey, as I have stated, and I have only subdued you to force you to take sustenance. It is a wonder why your being does not insist you remain in top physical condition. You are quite obviously overwrought and malnourished." He shook his head. "Most unhealthy. If you would just eat and sleep in regular intervals, I would not have to do anything painful. Well," he amended, because he did not lie, "The tests may involve some pain, but I do not think it will be of a nature you cannot endure, by any means."

He waved his hand and returned the room to rights, sweeping up the mess she'd made of the first tray. "Please do try and restrain your urges to toss food about, if you would. Perhaps you should sleep again, for a few hours."

Rachel took a deep breath. "I -- I'm actually. Hungry." The admission hurt. But the monster's point was valid. She was in no shape to fight, like this. She was hungry. Exhausted. "Is there. Can. Is there more food?"

He could feel something from her. Not embarrassment, at the admission, as he had thought she would feel. No, not that at all. Oh, perhaps she was a bit unsettled at asking, but mostly she was--


That was very interesting. He would make careful notes today, while she slept. "Certainly. Is there something specific you would prefer? I have a fully stocked kitchen. Protein, I am certain you need. Am omelet, perhaps? There is tea, as well as coffee, if you wish it." Perhaps her behavior called for some kind of reward. That would be a system that worked well with her, perhaps.

Having asked, Rachel did not now know what to say. Deciding on what to eat sounded exhausting. Part of her just wanted, wanted so much to not think. To lay down and let him do what he intended. One more failure for the books. "I don't know," she said softly. "Um, coffee? I would like coffee. And, whatever."

He gave a low bow and turned to go. "As I have previously stated, there are books and films if you wish. Though I insist you rest at some point, you require far more sleep than you have obviously been getting." He left her and went to the kitchen, which was a serviceable enough facility with plenty of food. He fixed her a cheese omelet, more toast, and milk. A mug of coffee. He had forgotten to ask her how she took it, and spent a moment thinking of what he knew of her. She would likely prefer it with cream and sugar, yet she would not ask for that from him. He added it anyway, and carried the tray back to her room.

Rachel had gotten as far as sliding to the floor. She'd meant to get up and lay in the bed, but her brief moment of fight had deserted her. She leaned against the wall, her eyes half shut. When he returned she opened them. "That smells good," she said tiredly, holding out a hand for the tray. Not getting up. Almost hiding, pressed into the corner between the bed and the wall, knees drawn up. Small. Protected.

He did not give her the tray. He also did not respond to her tired words, because he was not a man who was particularly interested in small talk or petty compliments. "You shan't have this unless you are in bed. I did not mean that you should lie trapped like an animal on the floor." He remained where he was. "If you require assistance, I shall help you. However, I would prefer it if you were able to move yourself onto the bed on your own efforts."

Rachel pushed herself up and crawled onto the bed. She didn't realize how easily she'd obeyed until she was sitting, waiting for him to give her food. Rachel blushed, humiliated. But it's not the first time I've humiliated myself to get by, she thought. It won't be the last.

Sinister sat the tray on the bed. She had asked for food, so he expected that she would consume it without force. He sat on the chair, across from the bed, and studied her. She looked better, from the little bit of food and sleep she'd had since he had brought her here, though there were still dark circles beneath her eyes, which looked dull and almost lifeless. He was mentally composing notes about her in his mind. Perhaps in a day or two, she would be recovered enough to begin scientific tests. "If you wish for more, do let me know."

"Telepathically? Or is there a phone?" Rachel asked. She pulled the tray towards her and began eating. The food was good. Very good, actually. It's probably the same food he eats, she thought.

"This is good," she told him. "The coffee. How did you know . . . ?"

"I surmised that you would enjoy something sweeter, but would not ask me for anything comforting. You did not shower in hot water, yet would have if I had heated the water for you. Few people like their coffee entirely black. It is an incredibly bitter beverage. Even I prefer it with sugar." He watched her as she ate. She was thinking it was surprising that he could cook. "Cooking is rather like science, at which I am quite adept. I have also lived a great many years, and omelets are not particularly challenging fare." His brow creased slightly. "Is your method of denying yourself things which you enjoy some form of punishment?"

"What?" Rachel paused, the fork half-way to her mouth. "I don't punish myself. And I don't deny myself things. That's ridiculous. That's, like -- I don't do that." She put her fork down. Her hand shook a little. "I think I'm not hungry anymore," she said.

"No, you are, and I went and made that because you asked me for it. Finish it, else I shall force you to do so." He studied her. "Why did you not shower in hot water, then, earlier? Did you truly wish for it to be cold? I am curious because this is most odd. Why should you deny yourself something so simple?"

"I -- " Rachel felt a headache coming on. "I didn't do it on purpose. I'm not, like, denying stuff. I'm not punishing myself or anything. That makes no sense. I -- I didn't do -- " Rachel picked up her fork and tried to take a bite. "Um. I think I'll get sick. If I eat this."

Her head ached. She felt cold. The smell of the food made her dizzy. She noticed, vaguely, that the lights in the room were ringed with little strobing halos.

She was ill. He leaned forward. "I think that you are suffering from some severe mental trauma," he said, and reached for paper and a pen on the desk. "It would be beneficial to your mental health if you would write these things as they happened to you--you seem astoundingly unaware of your own psychoses. I cannot imagine why the Phoenix allows this." He jotted notes down. "Last night, you attempted to reward me with sexual favors for forcing you to eat dinner. Have you any idea why that might have been?" He waited, pen poised to take notes.

"What?" Rachel pushed the tray away and pulled her knees up. It wasn't good enough. She scooted to the edge of the bed, ignoring the stabbing pain in her head. She had to get somewhere safe, so she could rest. Rachel moved towards the corner, trying to squeeze into it.

He watched her, fascinated. "You are like an animal being hunted," he said, taking copious notes. "Girl, I mean you absolutely no harm, I am only attempting to talk to you in a rational tone about this fascinating behavior of yours. If I addressed the Phoenix, now, would it talk to me? Would it answer why you are doing this, attempting to make yourself small and unnoticed? I am a dangerous man, I realize, but I am not intending you any harm." He could tell she was upset. Her mind was whirling, frantic. "What do you require to calm down from this mania?"

He kept talking to her. Rachel could barely hear him. He was going on and on about how fascinating she was. His words just increased the pressure, made it harder to breathe. I don't punish myself, she thought. Things just happen.

Something slipped in her head.


Rachel relaxed as if drugged, suddenly. She closed her eyes, only partially aware that she was speaking.

{{she cannot}} The words rolled painfully through the room, sub- and super-sonics frequencies making the walls vibrate.

Fascinated, he leaned forward. How many men could say they had done this, had a conversation with the Phoenix itself? Rachel was gone, subdued by her passenger, and the being glowed out of the girl's eyes, spoke to him with focused intent. "She cannot calm herself down, you mean?" He took careful notice of how Rachel looked, of how the Phoenix sounded. Like a million bells ringing, at once. Sinister was as close to enthralled as he was capable of being.

{{pieces shards scraping bleeding}} The otherworldly voice paused. {{we did not injure her this way}}

It almost sounded as if it were apologizing. "I imagine it was not you, but her traumatic childhood experiences. That seems to be what she relives, when she can no longer adequately handle her reality. Does this not cause you significant distress, as she is your host? Does it impair your ability to function? Are you able to heal her, then? I imagine not, else you would have by now. Do you know of anything that would work?" He fired off the questions, voice brisk and efficient. "My gratitude for your appearance, of course. I had not thought to speak directly to you, so soon. Shall you attempt to harm me, when we are finished?"

{{no healing}} Rachel's body moved, lithe and powerful under the Phoenix's control. Her head arched back, showing her throat. {{she needs control}}

The voice--Sinister felt like he could feel it, somewhere, deep in his body. He began to feel almost wary of it, but he pushed that aside completely. "Yes, I would agree that she most certainly does." He found himself staring at Rachel's exposed throat. He cleared his own. "And you are not able to give her that?"

{{i give her strength. not control}} The Phoenix subsided, pulling away. Rachel found herself on the floor. But not curled up. Her head ached less.

Rachel squeezed her eyes tight shut. "Did we say anything interesting?"

"Oh, yes, very much so." Sinister stood and walked over to her. He disdained touching others but this was rather unavoidable, and besides, the girl had been cooperative. He drew her to her feet and gently deposited her back on the bed. "You seem, now, to be quite more yourself. How fascinating. If you will excuse me, I should write up these notes. If you are finished with the food as you say, I shall remove it. Rest, and I shall return with lunch. If you rest, you may eat it elsewhere. Do remember that you cannot get out on your own, and I will be quite angry if you force my hand." He bowed to her, neat and low.

Rachel nodded. She was completely exhausted. "Okay," she said, yawning. She lay down on top of the covers, pillowing her head on her arms. "Thank you."

Sinister paused, his hand on the doorknob. "You are welcome," he said, quietly, and let himself out of the room.

* * *

A few days later, the girl had improved remarkably. She was decidedly more rested, and had eaten without him having to force her. She still did not speak much, but he supposed that was understandable; he was holding her against her will, after all, and that did not lend itself to casual conversation. Which he despised, at any rate.

Getting her to the lab the first time was easy. He led her there, not telling her where they were going. She was still weak, so he gave her his arm solicitously, though he did not particularly care for her touching him. It reminded him of the same wariness he felt when the Phoenix spoke to him. Odd. He would have to spend some time with his notes, perhaps. When he pushed the door open, revealing the lab in all of its gleaming steel glory, he felt her tense slightly next to him.

Rachel let go of Sinister. She wrapped her arms around herself and stepped cautiously into the lab. It looked cold. Full of equipment that she didn't recognize. It reminded her of Ahab. Reminded her of Mojo's world.

"This is -- I." She swallowed, her breath coming fast. Shaky. "Do I have to be in here?"

"Yes." He gave her no other words, merely shut the door behind him. "But not, I should think, for terribly long." Sinister had, at one time, hidden himself in an orphanage as a doctor for young children. They were often frightened by the medical facility, and their fear made them difficult patients. As Dr. Milbury, he had not been known as a warm physician, but he had been said to have been somewhat kind.

It had been a long time since Sinister had adapted that personality. He did not alter his appearance--there was no need for that--but he did alter his voice. It became softer, his syllables less clipped. As a mortal man, he had always spoken in a very precise, very proper accent. He had been a properly bred man. Apocalypse's altering of his emotions had caused his voice to take on a chilly, remote quality. Dr. Milbury had required a different sort of voice, so Sinister had created one for him.

"Come, see," he said now, in that voice, to Rachel. "I shall show you what these instruments are, and the purpose for which they are used. And then you shan't have hysterics and you shall see that it is mere science, and no hidden devices of torture." His hand on her arm gripped a little tighter, as his voice gentled. "This, here? This is a gene sequencer. What it does, you see, is isolate the genetic makeup of a strand of DNA..." he continued explaining, leading her around the room, towards the table in the back.

Rachel let herself be led. She listened to him. Not understanding everything he said. He was explaining as they walked. Rachel nodded, trying to take it. Sinister slowed, stopping in front of an exam table. Rachel glanced at it, then looked again. The table had restraints. Full body restraints. Wrists and ankles, legs, shoulders, head.

"That doesn't look." Rachel began to pull back. Trying to move away. Sinister did not let go. "That, I don't want that."

"Then behave, and you shan't have to have them," he said simply, putting her on the table. "The first thing I am going to do is take a bit of blood, so that I may study in-depth your genetic make-up. Luckily, I still have my results when I studied your parents, so I shall have a comparison. I am interested to see how closely you resemble them, considering they cannot be your actual biological parents given your timeline skipping." He looked at her. "If you struggle or give me trouble in any way, young lady, I shall have to use the restraints. Please weigh your options carefully before reacting. That is the mark of a mature person, you realize." He went and got needle and the vial, then returned with the tourniquet to put on her upper arm.

Rachel was nearly panting. She felt so cold. She had trouble hearing his voice. The words echoed oddly. "I don't -- what is that for?" It looked like it might be drugs. "No, no drugs. I can't -- " She looked around, trying to find the door. The equipment in the room looked confusing, it was hard to see where things were.

He wrapped the tourniquet around her arm. "To take blood," he explained, showing her the vial. "Just this much is all I shall need. A quick pain and then you shan't even notice. Look, over there, do you see that machine?" He deftly pierced her arm with the needle and began drawing out the blood. "There, now, do not struggle so, I have nearly filled the vial. You may look if you wish, unless it shall unsettle you."

Rachel froze. Someone was whimpering. A trapped animal. Crying noises. Rachel stared at the vial. At her blood. The doctor pulled out the needle and Rachel couldn't help asking. "Did I do it right?" she asked, her head swimming. Confused as to what was happening.

Sinister peered at her curiously. "Yes, just right, very good." It was like dealing with a completely different person. The girl was as broken a person as Sinister had ever seen, and he had seen--indeed, he had broken--many. He put the vial away, and stopped the small flow of blood, putting a bandage on it. When he was at the orphanage, the bandages had small cartoonish faces on them. He did not have those, here. "Sit tight, and I shall return."

He went and made a few blood smears, then saved everything. He would study them while she was asleep. He took a stethoscope, a small light. Sinister went back over, and stood in front of her. He began a cursory physical exam; checking her reflexes, that sort of thing. Her skin was freezing. His was always cold, and even he could tell. Her eyes were wide and dilated, and her heart, when he listened, was racing very quickly.

She was afraid again, withdrawn.

He wondered how to snap her out of it. It was mildly irritating. He reached back and slapped her, across the mouth. "Miss Grey."

Rachel cried out. She wiped her lip, her fingers coming away bloody. The pain gave her something to focus on. Something to keep her grounded. "Sinister," she said. "Don't do that again." Her voice shook, but she was determined.

Sinister very nearly smiled. "Good, very good. I shan't, if you would please endeavor to remain here and focused." He used the light again. She looked annoyed but not vacant. Her eyes were normal. Her heart was still quick, but not racing. He found a cloth and pressed it, gently, to her lip. "You have traumatic remembrances, of a medical facility, I surmise?"

"Uh, you could say that." Rachel tilted her head as directed, letting him examine her ears, feel her throat. "The Hound training program depended a lot on drugs. tranquilizers, and also drugs to disorient. Drugs to make me trusting, or to induce fear, or anger." She quieted while he checked her heart rate and breathing. "And they were always checking my powers. Hooking me up to stuff and asking me to use telekinesis or telepathy."

"Yes, traditional and typical examinations for those with mutant abilities." He paused to make notes on his clipboard. She had a nice voice, Rachel, when she was not sounding as if she were mad or possessed. Low, with a great deal of variance. Not the dull, defeated voice she used when she was panicked. He made a note of that, too. "I shan't give you drugs, as long as you obey. Unless you have some illness that requires treatment." He tapped his pen on the clipboard, an unconscious gesture, as he used his powers to do a low-grade scan of her. He stilled, the pen going quiet. "You are doing something, with your powers. You are projecting something. Cease doing so immediately."

"What?" Rachel glared at him. "I'm not doing anything. Just sitting here." She tried to think what he might be talking about. Oh.

Her hound marks. The genetically-modified brands on her face that she hid permanently. There was no way she would show him those.

Sinister caught her beneath the chin and tilted her face up. When she glared at him, she looked strong. Competent. Not like a frightened and beaten dog. "Do not resist me, girl. Answer my questions and obey. These are not hard instructions. Show me what you are hiding."

"What I'm hiding is no concern of yours. None at all." Rachel jerked her chin away. Leaned back. "It's -- I have marks, on my face. From when I was a hound. I don't show them to anyone, ever. It's a psychokinetic illusion, it stays in place when I'm asleep or unconscious. But I won't show you."

He leaned forward, towards her. "Yes, yes you will. Do you know why?" He reached out and drew his fingers down her cheek, but he didn't actually touch her. "Your mind, it has been very open to me. And I have been reading it. I have scanned it for memories. For things which make you afraid. And I know precisely what those doctors did to you, and I know how to shut you down so that you retreat into some faraway place where you cannot fight me." His voice was low, hypnotic. Almost soft, almost kind.


"I know ways to hurt you, Rachel Grey, without laying a single finger upon you. More, I know purely mental torments of which you never dreamed." He breathed out, slowly, the threat evident in his posture and his voice and every other thing she could possibly read from him. "I will do them. Without mercy, without compunction, and I shall do them until you obey me. You are so very broken and it would be nothing, nothing at all, to make it so that you will never be whole again. Do not make me do this, Rachel. Show me what I want to see."

Rachel swallowed, her throat painfully dry. "I believe you," she whispered. "But, you -- you have to know. If you know all that. You have to know that I, I break. Over and over, I break. I know that. But I don't give up first." Rachel couldn't move. Couldn't find the strength to rouse the Phoenix. She was trapped and afraid, and knew it. "I'll break," she admitted. Hating herself deeply at the truth of it. "But you have to work just a little bit for it."

"Must we do this?" he asked, and his hand went down, around her throat. There was something...oddly compelling...about her words. But it seemed such a waste of time, of energy. "It would be so much easier if you would just do as I asked. I do not relish the thought of hurting you, despite what you might think. I merely want answers, and I shall do whatever it takes to get them." He squeezed her throat, and quick as lightening, his other hand went and yanked at her hair, pulling her head back. "Show me."

Rachel kicked at him. Clawed at him with her hands. His hand on her throat tightened immediately. She fought harder, trying to gouge at his face. It didn't work.

Sinister actually sighed. "This is incredibly childish," he said, and he began slapping her. Quick, sharp slaps to her face and her neck. Harder, and harder, and harder as he continued. "I will backhand you if you do not give in," he threatened. "It will hurt dreadfully and you will have a split lip for your trouble." He rapped her mouth sharply. "Now yield, and show me."

It wasn't the slaps that hurt her. It was the hand in her hair. The iron grip controlling her head. It was hard to think with his hand in her hair. Rachel tried to ward off his blows, raising her arms to cover her head and face. The man holding her just knocked her arms away.

He was so much bigger than she was. It wasn't fair. She wasn't old enough. Wasn't strong enough. Her powers weren't reliable yet, the wouldn't be until she was older. They knew that. The doctors and handlers, they knew that. But they hurt her anyway.

Sinister could feel her thoughts, her confusion. Her mind was shutting down again, and she was thinking again of the camps. "I am not your handler, girl. I am not some weak human who relies on power inhibitors to stifle those who are more powerful than they. I am an equal adversary, and if you wish to fight me, then fight me you shall." He hit her again, pulling her head back, aiming his blows with careful deliberation to fall on skin already bruised and reddened from his hand. "You are enduring this because you are allowing it, and no other reason. If you would fight me, then do so."

Rachel cried out and twisted, trying to fight Sinister. If it was Sinister. She struggled, lashing out as best she could. She thought she connected with his face at one point. Her handlers would hurt her for that. They would tie her down and use her again. She twisted almost all the way around, clawing at Sinister's bare arm. Anything to get out of this damn lab.

"Now that is a much better effort." His face hurt from where she struck him, and her nails raked like fire down his arm. He backhanded her, just as he'd threatened, and sent her sprawling off the table across the cold stone floor. Sinister licked at his lip. There was blood, there. He was mollified with knowledge that he had to have drawn blood himself. "Show me your marks, Rachel."

Rachel pulled herself to her knees. She gagged and spat blood on the floor. She ached, everywhere.


The Phoenix was right. The pain. Rachel felt almost calm. Almost still, in her head. For a moment there was quiet, the endless monotonous chattering of the dead, her family, the guards, the Shi'ar, all those who pulled at her, all those who shaped her -- for a moment, all the noise quieted.

Rachel opened her eyes. Sinister. He stood in front of her, wiping blood from his already-healing lip. She smiled, a genuine smile. "Quiet," she said softly.

Sinister stared. The difference in her was astounding.

Her mouth, bruised and bloodied curved into a smile. Her eyes shone. And he could tell that she was not lying. Her mind was quiet. And on her face, flickering in and out for the briefest of moments, were the stylized markings that pronounced her a Hound. Sinister stared at her, noting the woman before him; she looked proud. Vicious. Competent. He read power and control in her, even as she swayed on her knees.

"I prefer you with the marks. Your shame in them displeases me. I carry my own marking from a man who would have had me be his slave, and I triumphed over him just as you triumphed over those who marked you thus. You should wear them with pride, girl. Shame is a waste of your time, and it is detrimental. This person you are here, before me--this person is a worthy host for the Phoenix. Not a scared child."

That was more than he'd said to her since she had arrived, he realized. It was also more than he had likely spoken to anyone in several years. It just seemed such a waste, that she could not always be this creature before him, bloodstained and dangerous. That she could be so pathetic...a waste, indeed.

Rachel's mind, her thoughts, they crashed back into her like a tide. Her control, such as it was, didn't come with it. She could tell the marks were showing. Rachel tried to cover them and felt them flickering in and out on her face. "See?" she asked. "I knew I'd break."

She stayed there, kneeling on the floor of the examination room, the medical lab. "Can I go back to my room, please?" She didn't know why she was asking. She knew he wasn't one of her childhood handlers. Knew he was Mister Sinister. But she asked him anyway.

"We are done for today," Sinister announced, and sighed. "You really should get a handle on yourself, you know. It must be quite exhausting to be so overset all the time. Nevertheless, I have work I may do with your blood samples, and you may rest. Do you require assistance in returning to your room?"

Rachel pushed herself up. Stood. "I'll manage," she said. Rachel found the door. "It is," she said. Pausing to answer his assertion. She didn't turn around, didn't look. "It's exhausting. But I don't have anything else." She opened the door and left.

Chapter 3
touring: : home
Jess: sinister clownwillowaus on November 22nd, 2007 06:52 pm (UTC)
:hugs Rachel harder:

Still not happy with Sinny. Hmph.

He needs a teddy bear and then he'll be nicer and not need needles and blood and stuff. Meanie.

inathunderstorm on November 22nd, 2007 06:59 pm (UTC)
I love that you used that icon. *dies*
Slightly obsessed: x-menrachelsinisterpsychoresolute on November 22nd, 2007 07:02 pm (UTC)
mymatedavemymatedave on November 22nd, 2007 10:09 pm (UTC)
I love your Sinister/Rachel fics. And poor Rachel, from what you've written about her, she can't help but resist.

She can't just give in, she has to be forced to do it, even if she knows she can't win and it would be easier if she obeyed in the first place.

"I don't punish myself", she thought. "Things just happen." That seems be her motto.
Slightly obsessed: x-menrachelsinisterpsychoresolute on November 23rd, 2007 05:16 am (UTC)
Aw, yay! I am glad you like her! I play her on theatrical_muse, so I think about this a lot . . .
inathunderstorm on November 23rd, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I must give all props to Resolute for Rachel, she's totally awesome, isn't she?

:D Thank you for reading!!
mymatedavemymatedave on November 23rd, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)
very much so.
aka bloodnfire: Wolverine: Sniktsendthewolves on November 23rd, 2007 05:07 am (UTC)

I'll come back and give a better comment when I'm not running late for camping but I just wanted to say how much I'm enjoying this and am totally adoring Rachel.
Slightly obsessed: x-menrachelgreyresolute on November 23rd, 2007 05:18 am (UTC)
Yay! I love writing her, thank you!
inathunderstorm on November 23rd, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And Res's Rachel is totally fantastic. *draws hearts*
galamb_borong: pic#68472814galamb_borong on November 23rd, 2007 06:04 am (UTC)
I really like your take on Rachel. Sometimes I think the main joy of fanfic is the way people can spend more time exploring the characters' personalities than in the more action-oriented canon. Rachel in canon often strikes me as a bad-ass mini-Jean, but here she's much more well-rounded and her relationship with the Phoenix more complex. I especially like the touch of the Phoenix not always going along with Rachel.
Keep up the good work!
inathunderstorm on November 23rd, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC)
resolute's Rachel is really fantastic--I love her! Playing Mr. Cold Evil Villain with her is really awesome :) Her Phoenix is awesome and SCARY. So glad you are enjoying the fic!!
Amandaangelus2402004 on November 24th, 2007 05:04 am (UTC)
Awesome! Can't wait to see what happens next!!!
Slightly obsessedresolute on November 24th, 2007 02:17 pm (UTC)
Yay! There's more.
bewizeficwize on November 25th, 2007 04:31 pm (UTC)
Another excellent chapter. I like the way the relationship is building up between Sinister and Rachel. It promises to be very complicated, especially if he keeps digging to find out WHY she reacts a certain way to certain stimulus.

The ending bit of this chapter, with the marks that both of them bear, is really incredibly well written and very strong. It was nice to get a glimpse of Rachel like that - totally in control. In that moment, she could have done whatever she wanted, only she didn't seem to want...


Off to read chapter 3 now!
Slightly obsessed: x-menrachelsinisterpsychoresolute on November 26th, 2007 01:23 am (UTC)
:nods: I like to think that it would both complicated and possible, given their histories.