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04 February 2008 @ 01:36 pm
Fic: Demeter's Daughter, Chapter 6, Part 1 (Sinister/Rachel Grey)  
Sorry for the delay, folks! resolute and I have finished this story, so it's all done and we'll be posting the rest of it this week and next.

Title: Demeter's Daughter, Chapter 6 (part 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 is from the Grace Griffith song Demeter's Daughter.This is a multi-chapter fic, co-written by sionnain and resolute. Please be advised of the warnings, as this fic deals with extremely adult themes and contains explicit sex and BDSM. Especially this chapter.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Rachel sat on her bed, combing her hair. She usually didn't bother, just dried it and ran her fingers through a few times. It mostly behaved. But sometimes it seemed right to comb it.

It feels good. I do it more when I'm happy. Rachel was not dumb. She knew she wasn't dumb. She also knew, though, that she was not very reflective. Especially when she was feeling a little stressed. It was easy for everyone -- Rachel included -- to mistake that for stupid.

It was obvious that she was happy here. A prisoner. A medical subject. Held captive by her family's nemesis and torturer. She knew he'd done awful things to he father as a boy. He'd created Maddie and broken her, nearly destroying Scott in the mess. He'd kidnapped and tortured Scott and Jean repeatedly. He'd tortured her brother, nearly killing him.

Rachel combed through her hair. But he's been . . . not kind. Steady. Predictable. The routine and control Nathaniel had established were good for her. It was what she needed, was drawn towards. The X-Men wanted her to be her own person. They insisted on it. But they look away from the person I am. When I try to be what I am, what I want, it's not up to their standards.

Nathaniel had gotten so angry. She could tell, even if he couldn't. The Phoenix fed on all emotions, and would tell her, if she asked nicely, how people felt. His anger, though, had been so obviously in her defense.

Lots of people defended Rachel. But they defended the Rachel they wanted to see. Nathaniel had been defending her, as broken as she is. While bandaging her back.

Rachel flushed. She still wasn't sure about that. That part. Getting hurt to get control -- it was the sort of sick game bad people played. She got up and put her comb away. It was almost time for lunch. Not quite. I'll go see if I can find him. She opened her door and began heading for the lab. Nearly there, she stopped.

He must be playing music. Rachel turned and followed the sound, stopping at the doorway to a room she hadn't seen yet.

Nathaniel played through several Liszt pieces, finally settling on Chopin. Darker, quieter, less frantic than Liszt. The notes were less discordant, less syncopated. He felt the tension in his muscles subside. It was so unlike him, that outburst (which, for him, it had been) in the laboratory. He should not care that Rachel was mistreated by her shortsighted family. It was only that Nathaniel hated her wasted potential. She could be so much more than what she was.

He looked up as he felt her approach. She hovered at the doorway, obviously uncertain if she should interrupt. "You may enter, if you wish," he said, continuing to play. She did not seem, mentally, to be upset. A quick scan of her mind showed her curious, cautious. But not upset. Not frantic, or sliding downward into some spiral of anguish. Just curious and sore and a bit--amused?

Rachel stepped into the room. She looked around, interested in what sort of place the man would make for himself. Her room, after all, was done to her needs. Not the things she imagined he liked.

It was tidy. Well, that's consistent. Everywhere in the compound was clean and orderly. Every room she'd seen. In the far corner were two tall shelves, loosely filled with books. A reading lamp stood near them, its light angled over a comfortable-looking armchair. A small table sat next to the chair, another lamp on it. Closer to the door, along the wall, there was a small leather couch. The piano was . . . a piano. A baby grand? Rachel wasn't clear on the distinctions.

"That's nice," she said. She sprawled out on the couch, wincing only a little at her back. It was clearly getting better. "You play well."

"Thank you," he said politely. "I have had a lot of time to practice." He looked at her, vaguely annoyed with her being here, in this room. He kept her in the wing with the laboratory, because that was where she belonged. This was his wing of the complex, for lack of a better term, and it was somewhat unsettling to share this space with her. Experiments belonged in their place, in their cages.

You invited her in, his inner voice reminded him. "It is a parlor grand. The piano. I almost found a concert grand, simply for the sound quality, but I thought that a bit much. I would ask if you play, but I think I know the answer."

"I don't play anything, or sing," Rachel said. "Unless you count singing along with my headphones on." She smiled. "I am pretty sure you wouldn't consider it music, if you ever heard me." She looked around the room again. "So, why all this? I mean -- this is a lot of effort. Work, and money. With the things you did to help the mutants, you could probably live more openly."

Rachel stood easily and walked over to Nathaniel. Stood next to the bench and looked over his shoulder at the rail where the music went. It was empty. "You'd probably have to stop kidnapping people. But if you worked publicly, the X-Men might have just given me to you. Emma certainly would have. Have you been playing all of this from memory? I think Emma was nearly ready to just give me to the Shi'ar, honestly. I was making Scott upset."

"I do not think it is your fault if Scott Summers is incapable of dealing with you," Nathaniel said, vaguely irritated at her invasion of his personal space. "My study of him has shown him to be a man who accepts others only if they do not present a significant challenge to his worldview, or require him to interact with those who are not willing to make an effort that they have no significant issues." Nathaniel's fingers moved lightly over the keyboard, finishing the piece. "And in answer to your question, there are two things which one has in abundance when one is immortal. Money, and time. I will likely have to leave this place when you do, and I shall be obliged to recreate it somewhere else. And there I shall have a piano, and books. I do quite hate to be bored."

He started playing again. Mozart, this time. "Yes, it is from memory. I stopped requiring sheet music sometime in the thirties." He used to play for Faye, he recalled, and she told him he should give up science and be a concert musician. Why was he thinking of these things, now? There was no reason. Faye was long dead. "As for your other point, I likely could live more openly, but I am neither comfortable with that nor used to it, to be frank; besides, someone is always trying to kill me, no matter what good thing I might have done for someone else."

He looked over at her and smiled slightly. His tone was almost derisive. "The perilous life of a supervillain."

Rachel smiled. "X-Men don't have it so easy, either," she said. "God, right after the mutants all disappeared, being in the mansion with the Sentinels all around . . . " She moved back to the couch, sprawling out on it. "I was seeing a shrink for a while. She was really nice, I liked her. SHIELD said I had to go do it before I was a danger to everyone. But, anyway, she said I have P.T.S.D." Rachel looked at Nathaniel, her smile now a little crooked. A little forced. "Do you know what the treatment is, when it's as bad as mine? 'Learn to live with it.' That's the treatment. Learn all the ways you sabotage your own life and screw up over and over, and learn to fight yourself every single day."

"That seems tiresome," Nathaniel said, his fingers stilling on the keyboard. "And I do not imagine that particular treatment advocates forcibly shutting off your powers and pretending like you are some hideous monster. If so, I would cease paying that professional immediately." He started playing again, though his mind was not entirely on the music. "It is no wonder you were exhausted. Why do you fight giving yourself the things that you need to remain calm and in control, Rachel? I am most curious." He played Rachmaninoff, which he thought might be soothing.

"Because . . . " Rachel lay back, staring at the ceiling. The music was really nice. She relaxed, trying to think. "Because when I do the things that make me feel better, the way they look at me and yell at me overwhelms any benefit. And when I try to live up to their standards, I get approval, but I crack under the pressure." It was so obvious when she put it like that. Lose-lose, all around.

She sighed. "My family, my friends, they don't want to look at how I'm messed up. They want me to get over it like they all do. And I can't." Rachel swallowed. "I sometimes think," she whispered. Not sure if he heard it over the music or not. "I think that I let myself get captured, or taken, sometimes. Just to get away."

He thought about that as he played. "Perhaps you do. It is not straining credulity to think you allow yourself to be taken by force, just so that you may feel less guilty about having what it is you so obviously need. There is no reason for you to suffer undue guilt over this, for instance, because I did not give you a choice in the matter. I merely brought you here and forced order and routine upon you. And you seem to be thriving. Perhaps you should tell your fellow X-Men, when you return home, that you require a strong hand and a balanced schedule?"

Rachel blushed 'strong hand' and looked at him quickly, thinking of his fingers on her clit. He didn't move or look at her. That wasn't what he meant, I guess, she thought. "Ah, they're more about free will, and responsibility, and decision-making," she said. "And the stuff that happens, it's not really -- it doesn't fit well with a schedule." She thought about it. "I was doing okay, with the Starjammers. I think. The others thought I was losing it, because I was killing that Shi'ar. But I was okay, in my head -- except when they made me stop." She frowned. "Of course, I was also sleeping with Korvus for the first bit. And that wasn't really good for me. Well, and there were the nightmares."

"Sex seems to have a calming effect on you, I have noticed. You said earlier that he did things to you, things you enjoyed because you had both been imprisoned. I surmise you mean that he understand you prefer a rougher touch and a bit of force with your pleasure. Why, then, was it not a beneficial arrangement?" His words were very clinical, detached, but he had caught her thought. He knew she was thinking of his hand on her, touching her. He realized he was playing faster, a little louder. Sharper, somehow. "I shall give you a copy of my report, if you wish, when you leave. You may show them. I know your family despises me, but perhaps they could read it." He actually looked at her for a moment. "There are portions I am happy to omit."

"Oh my god, no!" Rachel sat up and stared at him, her mouth open. "No way! They -- you don't understand at all, do you? They think this is what's wrong with me! Not that I got hurt, or that bad things happened to me! This! This, right here! This being calm and relaxed and happy when you hurt me!"

Rachel was standing next to him, looking down into his impassive red eyes. "Lorna thought Korvus was bad for me not because he was rough but because I liked it!" She was shouting now. "It doesn't matter if you leave out how I get off or not, I'm still sick!"

Nathaniel stopped playing. "Yes," he said quietly. "Yes, you are sick. You are suffering from severe mental trauma, which, when left to fester on its own, will cause you significant mental and physical ailments. You require certain things to function at your capability. Why should it matter more that your family does not approve of things than the obvious fact that you require them? Are you always so willing to place everyone else's needs and comfort above your own, though yours are far more dire in nature?"

"Yes," she said quietly. "I have to. I -- "

Rachel stopped. She couldn't explain, yet. About killing so many of them.

Nathaniel waited. "You may as well say it," he said conversationally. "Do you think I, of all people, shall judge you? For the things you have done? I assure you, I can counter each and every thing you say with something equally as monstrous if not more so, and I do not feel bad about it at all."

Rachel sat on the piano bench next to him. Nearly leaning on him. Not quite. "I killed so many of them," she whispered. "Not my actual family. But the others. I hunted them down. And I see them now, and . . . I remember being glad when they died." She held up her hands. They were shaking visibly. "I have to at least try, to be something they want. I have to try."

Her voice cracked. "Nathaniel," she said. "I'm shaking. Bad."

So that was it, the horror of it, the thing for which she suffered such guilt. "Of course you were glad. You had done your job. Soldiers, they have similar reactions. You were sent to kill, you killed, and then you received a modicum of pleasantry and humane treatment. That was their intent, Rachel. You were conditioned precisely as they wished. There was nothing you could have done, especially at such a young age, to have felt otherwise." He took in her appearance; the wide eyes, the shaking hands, the gradual tension he could feel in her body next to his. "What do you want, Rachel? What do you need to make yourself stop shaking?" He was curious if she would actually ask.

Rachel stood quickly, moving away from him. "I -- I'm going to go lay down," she said. She backed towards the door and stumbled at the couch. "I'll see you at -- uh, dinner. I guess. I'm not hungry for lunch."

He stood up and moved towards her, shutting the door with his powers. "I am afraid that is not an acceptable answer." He raised a brow. "Do you honestly believe I am going to allow you to simply run away rather than finish this conversation? I would think you would know better than that. Now, answer my question. Do not make me force you--"

Nathaniel paused. He approached her. She moved backwards, away from him, and eventually her back hit the door. He smiled. "Or," he said softly, "That is what you need. For me to force you." He reached out and slapped her, not hard, but enough to get her attention.

Rachel let him. "I can't need this," she whispered. "This is what I was trained to be. Messed up, just totally sick. I have to be stronger than this." She put her hands on the door behind her, Steadying herself. "I should, I should just be able to go, lay down, rest, and it should be okay. I'm supposed to -- I'm supposed to fight my non-healthy traumatic responses, right?"

"All of your protestations are what you should do, what you should need. But they are not at all what you want, are they?" Nathaniel reached out and touched her cheek lightly. "Aren't you tired of fighting yourself, all the time?"

I'm not so tired, here. Rachel tried to bring up her telepathic shields. Hoping he hadn't heard that remark. "It's hard. But that doesn't mean I should give up on them." She stared at him wildly. He was touching her. "I mean, I shouldn't give up on me. On myself."

He heard it, of course he did. "No. You should not. But every time you allow your concerns over how they will feel if you do the things necessary to take care of yourself...to me, that sounds very much like giving up." His fingers slid down, over her throat, rested lightly against her rapidly increasing pulse. "You sacrifice yourself and your wants so that they are happy, but you are miserable. You give up what you need so that they do not think you are a monster, but in doing so, you cannot be anything but broken." He rubbed his thumb against her pulse. "I do not think you are a monster. I am not judging you in any way, I do not have the emotional connection to you to care overmuch what it is you need to function."

Nathaniel tilted his head. His fingers tightened the smallest of amounts on her neck. "I am quite the advocate of doing what must done, regardless. Surely you can tell me, of all people, what it is you need now to feel better?"

Rachel moaned, then flushed furiously red. "I -- " Rachel swallowed hard. "I want to feel quiet. I want it, and I don't want to feel bad for how I get it."

She closed her eyes.

Nathaniel paused to consider her, standing before him. Trapped, and liking it. Nervous and anxious. Restless. What she needed was simple. It wasn't that hard of thing, not at all. He could give it to her. His hand tightened. "And what is it that makes you quiet, Rachel? You know what it is. You may have it, as long as you ask. Open your eyes," he said sternly. "If you are not ashamed, then look at me."

"I am ashamed," she whispered. She opened her eyes anyway. Rachel managed to look almost at his chin. She couldn't get any higher, couldn't look in his eyes. "I want you to make my head quiet," she said. "Want hurt."

That was enough for the moment. It was not like earlier, in the kitchen, when he'd whipped her back nearly raw. No, this was a mild panic compared to some of the others he had seen. He thought for a moment, then grabbed her hair--he had ascertained early on that she did not like that at all--yanking her head back. He slapped her, hard. Her face jerked to the side, and he pulled on her hair again. He paused a moment, then struck her again. He did it next on the other side of her face. He varied the location, the intensity, the speed in which he did it. He took care not to break anything on her face.

His hand in her hair almost sent her under. That was the surest sign of displeasure, of failure. Her good handlers, the ones who pet her and fed her candies and made sure her collar wasn't too tight, even they would pull her up by her hair when she messed up.

But this wasn't her childhood. Wasn't the camps. This was Sinister, Nathaniel, and he began to slap her with a clinical detachment that Rachel could feel. The blows stung. Nathaniel was strong and he wasn't going too easy. Rachel brought her hands up to block the blows. He telekinetically forced her hands away and hit her again. Rachel cried out in anger and twisted, using her own telekinesis to shield herself. Not attacking, but defending. Consciously, intentionally using her powers.

Rachel stared at Nathaniel. Alert, now. Angry. Under the surface anger she felt the quiet, the ease that she had had all day, return. Rachel met Nathaniel's eyes and licked her lip where it was bleeding.

He could tell the moment when it worked, the half-second before she began to fight back. Something sharpened in her mind (which he was of course monitoring), and she was staring him, breathing hard, powers keeping him away from her. It was not necessary. He knew when to stop. He almost spoke, and then he watched her tongue lightly touch the edge of her mouth, where her lip was bleeding.

Nathaniel's mind was locked with hers, so that he could correctly monitor her responses and her mental state. He realized as he watched her lick at the blood at the corner of her mouth that he was not shielding particularly hard. There had been no reason, when he was hurting her, to keep his mind from her; surely there was no need to hide his detached interest, his slight annoyance when she did not fight back.

What he was sending were neither of those things. He was not sure if her mindset was such that she would notice, but his interest in her was no longer quite so clinical.

Rachel's breath caught. That wasn't what she was expecting. There was an intensity that had nothing to do with science. She stared at him. He hadn't released her arms.

"I think lunch is on the schedule next," she said quietly. "I'm hungry, Nathaniel." She held his gaze. "I can go get it myself, if you are -- ah, busy."

Nathaniel stepped away from her. He turned his back, composing himself, and his shields went up tight. "That is entirely unnecessary," he said smoothly, and when he turned back to face her, there was no hint of the sudden, hot rush of lust he'd felt while watching her. "I am also hungry, and you are correct, that is next on the schedule." She was still leaning back, against the door. Staring at him. "You may wish to move," he said blandly. "You are blocking the door."

Rachel jerked and turned, opening the door. I was imagining it. She stepped out into the hall and walked to the kitchen. He was behind her. She could hear him, behind her. Rachel extended her telepathy towards Nathaniel, looking for any sort of hint, or sign. Looking for the heat she'd felt a minute ago.


Nathaniel kept his shields up and went into the kitchen. He began fixing lunch, something simple and balanced and nutritious. Rice, baked chicken, a roll with the perfect amount of butter. A glass of milk for her, water for him. He wondered when the last time was he ate something just because it tasted good. Nathaniel had been conditioned by Apocalypse to eschew such weaknesses as hunger and thirst. Food had been rather perfunctory for him; he hate because starving was a nuisance and caused his painful healing factor to go to work.

He looked at Rachel. She was the same way, he had noticed. She ate what he put in front of her, because she was used to that. "What is your favorite food?" he asked her, curious if she could answer the question. "I ask because I do not think I myself would have an answer."

"My favorite food?" Rachel drank her milk down quickly and smiled. "Can I have coffee now, please? If drinks count, then coffee is my favorite." She sat, kicking her heel idly against the counter. "I don't know. I don't like protein paste. And I don't like crackers, much. Of any kind. The texture is bad. Cake makes me nervous."

She looked at him. "I like things that taste strong. Like Thai food. Coconut milk and hot peppers and lemon grass. Stuff that wakes me up. Why can't you answer it?" she added, curious.

"I was thinking, a moment ago," he said carefully, thinking through each word--Nathaniel was not used to speaking about himself in any great detail--"That I understand a bit of your predicament. I was conditioned, myself, but a very harsh man. Not having emotions--" she looked at him, and he sighed--"--having mostly stagnant emotions, it was likely easier for me. I was just thinking that I cannot recall the last time I ate something because I appreciated its taste." He set about making the coffee in precise, measured movements. "As it happens, I quite liked curry. I had not remembered that until you just now said it."

"I don't know," Rachel said, thinking it over, "if I really like it. How it tastes? I'm not sure what that means. I just like something that feels . . . " She got up and walked over to the counter, tapping her mug with her fingers while waiting for Nathaniel to finish the coffee. "Sometimes, everything feels like it's through a cloud. And other times, everything to so sharp it hurts. Is the thing that happened to your emotions, is it like a cloud? When you do feel something, is it sharp? Or hot? Or loud?"

He thought about her question very seriously. "Perhaps. I say I am without emotions, but I suppose it would be far more appropriate to say I am without strong emotions. However, I have theorized that the particular modification Apocalypse gave me, in that regard; it was not possible to make it permanent. I do recall being far more dispassionate than even I am now, when first it was done to me. I kept extensive diaries," he explained. The scent of coffee began to fill the kitchen. "The first thing I recall feeling was hate." He smiled humorlessly. "I know it is theorized that I planned to betray him before I even allowed myself to be strapped in that machine of his, but it is not true. I was not thinking clearly at the time, and after it was done, I knew only relief that I was no longer--"

Nathaniel stopped. He rested his hand lightly on the coffee carafe, which was very hot as the burning liquid filled the glass container. "Everything feels muted, as if I am looking at a painting through the bottom of a thick glass." He removed his fingers as the heat became too much, thinking on what he had said. "Well," he amended, "some things. There are some things I feel quite clearly. But mostly, it is as you said."

"Thick glass." Rachel nodded. "That sounds familiar. When I do the thing, that you don't like. The first night, you told me I rearranged the furniture? When stuff like that happens, it feels like watching a movie from very far away." She watched him move around the kitchen. "Can I help, with anything? I'm not a good cook, but, like, I can do something?"

"I believe everything is in order." Nathaniel turned to her. He looked at her, not as an experiment, but as a person. A woman. She was nearly a foot smaller than he, and he was easily twice her weight. Her body was toned, enough softness to be womanly, and her vibrant hair hit at her shoulders. She was physically very beautiful. Just to gaze at her, one would have no idea of the turmoil under which she continually struggled. "You may put those plates, there, on the table."

He was looking at her. Rachel watched his eyes shift as he studied her. She watched his face. She had a lot of practice watching people's faces, trying to figure out if they were pleased with her or not. Watching to see if she needed to run, or hide, or if something good was going to happen. Whatever he was thinking, whatever caused that slight tension around his eyes and the faint twitch of his mouth, it wasn't bad.

Whatever Nathaniel was seeing, he liked it. Rachel grinned at his directions. She started humming as she hopped up and set out the dishes as he liked them. Her -- captor? -- her, whatever he was, dammit -- Nathaniel. Nathaniel was pleased with her. Rachel set the table and grabbed her mug, pouring herself a cup as he brought the food to the table.

Nathaniel watched her as she moved, doing as he had suggested. She seemed perfectly content--humming, even--and with nary a hint of her usual tension. He scanned her mind rather quickly, and saw that she was pleased because he was. It was a shame, really. He was not a good man. If Scott Summers merely understood what Rachel needed, if he was willing to give her the direction and the punishment the girl so obviously sought and thrived under, why, then--there would be little stopping him from having a loyal, deadly weapon at his disposal.

He sat across from her at the table and passed the chicken. He wanted to ask her what she would do, when she returned, with this new knowledge she had found. He did not ask her that. He remained quiet, observant. Nathaniel had never been a warm man. Without the scientific inquiries, he was almost at a loss what to discuss with her.

Rachel ate quickly, not paying that much attention to the food. She watched him. "So, what are you going to do when we're done here?" she asked suddenly. "I mean, when you're done. Here. With me, I mean?" Rachel blushed suddenly for no reason she could name and hopped up off her stool. "Ah, need more coffee." She walked over to the pot and dumped a little more into her mug, keeping her back to Nathaniel for a moment.

"Are you quite certain all of that caffeine is good for your constitution? You are rather high-strung on your own merit," he said, but he could pick up a nervousness that had nothing to do with a stimulant. "I shan't try and kill you, I did promise, do you not recall? I shall return you to your family and then--I am not certain. Find some other project, I imagine. I do quite hate being bored. I would offer my services for some research facility, I have done that before. With an alias, of course. While the mutant gene discovery did earn me some leniency, I followed it with kidnapping an X-Man, so possibly that benevolence has been canceled out."

Rachel put extra sugar into her mug slowly. "Nobody has to know you kidnapped me," she said. She put the sugar away and measured out the cream. "Then you could do things without worrying too much -- or, worrying more, I guess -- about my family. I could just say I went away for a while. To get my head together." She smiled, still not facing him. "That would be pretty much true."

Nathaniel stared hard at her. He did not know what to say.

She is protecting me.

There was no recollection of the last time anyone had done such a thing. "I had simply assumed you would tell them. I expected it. Perhaps I erred, in thinking I knew what you would do. You are rather unpredictable." He took a drink of his water, wishing suddenly for something stronger. Port. Gin. It was only luncheon. Nathaniel hadn't drank in the middle of the afternoon since the day he had received word of Apocalypse's demise. He'd gotten exceedingly drunk that day, alone. It had been the last time. "Do what you wish. I am adaptable. A necessity when one is immortal."

There was an odd tension in the room. Nathaniel was unsure what it was.

"Oh. Okay." Rachel sat back down. She finished her lunch and cleared the dishes to the counter near the sink. "Are we doing anything this afternoon?" she asked. "Or, there's dvds to watch. I mean. Never mind, I guess we took the morning off. I'll just meet you in the lab, then, I guess. I don't think I'll tell them," she added hurriedly. "Too complicated."

"What? You shan't tell them about the--" he blinked. "Ah. Yes. You switch subjects very quickly when you are agitated. You do not seem as if you should be agitated--is something the matter?" He leaned forward and peered at her curiously. "And I am prepared to work on my reports if you wish to take the afternoon to watch films."

"I'm not agitated," Rachel said quickly. "Not, I mean, like you mean. I just think it would be hard to tell my dad about this and have him not go running off with a strike force of X-Men to hunt you down." She nodded and got up. "I'll go catch a movie, then. You know where to find me if you need something, of course."

"It would not be the first time your father has tried to hunt me down. I daresay it shan't be the last. Though I of course shall be appreciative of your silence on the matter, thank you. I certainly did not expect such a thing." He rose as she did, politely, and nodded. "Enjoy your film. I shall be in the laboratory." Nathaniel watched as she left. He would be glad to get some work done this afternoon, after the slight deviation from their schedule which occurred this morning. Still, each moment with her was new information that could be recorded and studied, so the morning was far from a loss.

Nathaniel made himself a pot of tea, and disappeared into his laboratory--and his work--for several hours.

Chapter 6, Part 2
touring: : work
always been so: : accomplishedaccomplished
rock and roll is: : sarah brightman, gothic