Author's Chapter Notes:
Apologies for the scum I wrote into this chapter.
When Rogue woke up the next morning, the sun was blazing bright through her sheer curtains. She knew he would be gone when she opened her eyes. It would have been too suspicious if he’d stayed.

She stretched slowly, deeply, feeling the lingering pain from muscles not often used, and the remnants of both of their pleasure between her legs. She threw off the covers, and headed into her small bathroom to shower. The handlers would be along soon to give her fresh sheets accompanied by a side of an unwanted and invasive physical. She’d have breakfast too, then try to discreetly talk to the other mutants. Ask them what they knew, if they’d seen Jubilee. Most of them were too scared, too aware of the handlers observing them. But maybe she’d get lucky this time.

She was starting to lose hope. Starting to doubt how wise it had been to put herself at risk without knowing how deep and far this network of trafficking actually stretched.

They hadn’t known what to expect once she’d tailed the two assholes at the bar for a few nights. Just that she’d seen enough to see they were drugging suspected mutants and taking them to a warehouse down in the city.

From there, the trail went cold, Rogue and the others couldn’t see how they were getting the mutants from the warehouse, to wherever they went afterward. They were transported in a discreet van, dumped in the warehouse, and never came out again. But when the warehouse had been abandoned, both Rogue and Remy had done a thorough sweep of the place. No mutants. No clues. There was something they were missing. Something big. What the hell happened to the mutants once they’d been drugged?

After talking it over with Scott and Hank, they’d determined the only way forward was for one of them to get taken. See if they could sort out the trail from the inside. Rogue had immediately volunteered, knowing she was the strongest one there. If anything went wrong, she’d be able to handle herself.

After Hank implanted a tracking device into her right arm, Rogue would go down to the bar where Jubilee had disappeared. Flash a few tricks in plain view of the customers, maybe pretend to be drunk and hover off the ground a few inches. Thanks to a text from the bartender Ashley, they’d been kept informed of the two suspects’ comings and goings at the bar, and when he let her know they were there again, the trap was set.

She was surprisingly nervous. Which made her laugh to herself. She was invulnerable. Could beat the living crap out of these two creeps any day of the week. Could do more than that if she wanted. But it was the relinquishing of her power that made her edgy. She downed a shot of bourbon handed to her by Ashley, trying to calm her nerves. She had to be believable, or it would never work.

Rogue had instructed Ashley of the plan, given him the emergency number for the mansion to let Scott and the others know what had happened if she was successful. Of the X-Men currently at the mansion, only Bobby was normal looking enough to have performed surveillance inside the bar. But he was too nervous in surveillance situations. He always did something to draw attention to himself. Logan had commented on it a hundred times, trying to get him to blend in with a crowd, but Bobby was useless. He was better in a combat mission, as hard as it was to believe.

She accepted the second shot of bourbon, from Ashley and downed that one too, finally starting to feel her nerves settle. She motioned for a shot of vodka this time, winking as she did so. That was Ashley’s cue to serve her water poured from a vodka bottle. She didn’t want to be too drunk to handle herself, just make it appear that she was slightly incapacitated.

Rogue chatted with her fellow barmates, laughing, talking a little too loudly about a secret she had. Saying, “Oops!” in a sloppy giggle as she let herself levitate off the barstool for a moment. She felt like an idiot for acting that way. She got one, “Freak.” A, “Goddamn mutie.” from another, and Ashley told them to get out of his bar if they were gonna talk that way.

But she didn’t have to wait long. Just moments after the two name-calling morons left, she heard a, “Hi there,” from just behind her left ear. She plastered on a smile and turned, glad to see it was one of the two guys Ashley had described to her. Not the mean looking one, the black-haired one.

“Hi yourself,” she said back to him, laying on the accent extra thick.

“Couldn’t help but notice you’re all alone,” he said smoothly. “Care to join me and my friend over there? Just a friendly drink if you’re looking for some company.”

“Oh, that’s just too nice of ya!” Rogue said back winking. “Ah’d love to.”

They were professionals, she decided quickly. They played well off the other, not forcing her into any unwanted conversation. They ordered her drinks, and unbeknownst to her would-be kidnappers, Ashley made hers virgin. They laughed and talked with her. Professionals, she thought again, when she started to feel dizzy, the dimly lit bar starting to swirl in front of her. She hadn’t even seen them slip her something.

There were just flashes of awareness after that. A feeling of movement. Lights. Gloves. Splitting headache. Dry mouth. Confusion. Then a tingling dizziness that made her feel weak. Vulnerable.

The next time she was fully aware of herself, she was in a big open space, like an old school gym. She was laying in one cot in a row of a dozen or so, and fluorescent lights were buzzing, making the pounding in her head so much worse.

She didn’t know where she was. How long she’d been unconscious. But she was starving and dehydrated, her stomach painfully empty and tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. She sat up and saw she was no longer in the dark black jeans and green blouse of the night she’d gone to the bar, but in drawstring sweatpants, and an over large gray t-shirt. She had no underwear on, and she shuddered at the awareness of what could have been done to her while she was unconscious.

She frowned as she felt the weight of something shift against her neck and her right hand sought the foreign feeling. A circlet a metal, cold and thin. She started to panic slightly. They’d heard rumors of this sort of tech, but hadn’t thought it was possible. Not yet. She tried to hover. Nothing. She gripped the metal rail of her cot and tried to crush it. Nothing.

Fuck fuck fuck. They hadn’t anticipated this. She thought she might be drugged given what she knew about Jubilee’s disappearance. But an inhibitor collar hadn’t been in the cards. This changed everything.

Rogue heard a set of smooth even steps approaching her and looked up. A man she’d never seen before was approaching her, a small tablet in one hand. She narrowed her eyes at his approach, and clenched her fists, wishing she had her full strength available. She could tell he was trouble. There was an arrogance in his posture, a smugness about his expression. His brown hair was streaked with gray, and he had deep frown lines on either side of his mouth as he looked at her.

“Get up, mutant,” he said once he’d come to a stop in front of her.

“Nah,” she said thickly, not at all feeling up to dealing with this asshole who was ordering her around like she was scum. “Don’t think I will.”

The shock was as unexpected as it was painful. She gasped and clenched her jaw as the shock ran through her body. After several agonizing seconds, it finally stopped and she closed her eyes as she breathed through the remnants of pain.

“Let’s try that again,” he said lightly. “Get up, mutant.”

Slowly, glaring at him the entire time, Rogue stood up on slightly shaking legs. She felt weak. Drained. Unprepared.

“That’s better. Now. Follow.”

“Why?” she asked in a slightly raspy voice.

“You’re late for orientation,” he said simply.


Her attempts to talk to the other mutants at breakfast had failed again. The moment she tried to discuss anything about the handlers, the house, or what they may have seen, they all took on similar looks of terror and moved away from her, like her curiosity was contagious. She couldn’t blame them. She’d been fortunate so far; multiple Parades, but only two engagements. And those were hardly comparable to what the other mutants were going through. She was aware how lucky she was to have been as powerful as she was, and only been engaged by someone she knew, who didn’t want to hurt her, shame her, degrade her. Someone who had done as much as he could to prevent her from feeling that way.

The days passed in a blur of stir-crazy boredom and dread. She appeared in Parade after Parade, the cuts in her arm now starting to overlap. She’d have scars from this mission for a long time, she thought dispassionately one night as another Patron watched the blood flow from her fingertips, slight revulsion on his face as he turned to the handler and asked to be taken back down to the second floor.

She knew Hank must be close to completing the device Logan had told her about, but she was starting to worry. It had been close to two weeks since she’d last seen Logan. Each time she performed and wasn’t selected, the handlers looked at her with growing disappointment. Was it six weeks now that she’d been here? Or was it seven? She was starting to lose track of time, starting to feel defeated. The only thing keeping her going was knowing Logan would be back. He’d bring Hank’s device, and they would be able to figure out a plan to find Jubilee, and get them both the hell out of there.

Another night, and two more Parades under her belt. She had been asleep when the third single bell had echoed throughout the house. A small ray of hope had her shedding her clothes quickly Maybe this time it would be Logan. But as she waited minute after minute for her door to slide open, her anticipation left her. He wouldn’t go through all of the floors of the house as the current patron appeared to be doing. Last time he’d come right to her door, paid in advance, engaged her immediately. She closed her eyes as she waited, wishing for the sound of a double bell to sound. Her arm was already so sore. She wanted to sleep. She wanted to get the hell out of this place and crush all the handlers beneath her feet as she destroyed it, brick by brick.

FInally, her door opened. She could see the this patron had small feet, and was wearing a black and gray striped pair of dress pants. The familiar words and choreography of the Parade washed over her, and she performed her trick dispassionately. Hoping this man too would be put off by her ability to kill him easily.

“Oooh,” the patron said in a slick sounding voice. “This bitch has a nice look about her.”

She could sense the handler nodding enthusiastically, encouraging the patron to engage her, discussing her stats again, pointing at the fine state of her body. She felt sick. Degraded. Enraged. Like she wanted to scream and cry and run. For a second she considered it; what would happen if she ran; just pushed past the two men and made for the stairs. But the collar was still active. Her bio monitors and tracker still fully functional. Cameras watching her every move. She wouldn’t get past the end of the hall.

“Yes,” the patron said slowly. “I think I’ll take this one.”

Rogue felt the blood drain from her head. It had been inevitable, she knew. But now that it was here, an engagement with a stranger, she didn’t think she could go through with it. What would they do if she refused that they hadn’t already done? Shock her? Beat her? Kill her?

Her ears were stuffed with cotton, her vision darkening, and she realized she was on the edge of passing out. She tried to breathe, shake herself out of the utter terror that had gone through her body. She heard the words of the handler, discussing the terms of his purchase.

“Excellent choice, Mr. Farro. You’ve been apprised of the house rules as well as the emergency signal if things go awry.”

“Yes, yes,” Mr. Farro said, starting to push in past the handler to her room.

“Please, Mr. Farro,” the handler said as held one arm out and stopped the man from moving forward. “Part of the rules are that a reminder of the protocols is presented at the start of the engagement.”

Mr. Farro huffed impatiently, and took a step back. “Fine. Just get it over with.”

“The controls for collar functions are under this menu setting. Your funds have been transferred and your purchase is complete. Per the agreement you signed, you will be monitored throughout the engagement, and recordings will be destroyed following the completion of your allotted time.”

“Great. We all set here?” Mr. Farro asked quickly.

“Yes, Mr. Farro,” the handler confirmed. “Enjoy your evening.”

“Yeah, you too buddy,” he said laughing at his own cleverness.

The man entered her room and Rogue stepped back away from him quickly. As soon as the door slid shut behind him, he held up the tablet and shocked her.

She fell to her knees and convulsed with pain, seeing him smiling above her. Finally, the pain ended. But she didn’t get up. She knew what type of man this was already. Someone who enjoyed his power over others. Someone who enjoyed inflicting pain.

“Well now,” he said grinning at her. “Why are you down on the floor?”

She didn’t answer, but kept her eyes on his stupid small feet as she tried to breathe past the lingering pain.

“Are you a dog?” he asked her in a quiet voice. “Speak,” he demanded suddenly, giving her no time to respond before shocking her again. She gritted her teeth as she held back a scream and grappled at the wood floor for something to hold on to as wave after wave of pain ripped through her.

When the shock ended, she was shaking, but managed to stutter up at him, “Y-yes.”

“‘Yes’, what?” Farro asked as he started to circle her.

Shame. Dark and deep ran through her as she tried to summon the words. She looked up at him to memorize his face. Late forties. Balding with brown hair. Glasses. Short, no more than five foot four inches. A bit of a gut. Light colored mole on his forehead. After all this, she was going to find this man, and make him pay.

She knew she didn’t look submissive as anger blazed up from her eyes, as she slowly rose to her feet. She couldn’t help herself. Couldn’t help the words from coming out. “Yes. I’m a dog. Want me to fetch you some slippers?”

Apparently her tone had been a shade too flippant. He backhanded her. Hard. She felt the harsh sting of her lip splitting, and smiled darkly back at him. He must be stupid. Or hadn’t paid attention to her info card or the handler’s description of her abilities. She didn’t care what happened to her right then. She had been pent up for weeks. Waiting, being degraded. Forced to hurt herself. She felt her shame lessen, strengthened by the rage she felt pulsing through her.

“Woof?” she intoned tilting her head to one side. He slapped her again, and then with a red face, pushed a button on the pad to deliver another shock. She was breathing hard by the time it was done, her body and cheek both throbbing.

“Get on your knees, mutie bitch,” he said roughly as he shoved her down further into the floor. She heard him fumbling to undo his belt and she closed her eyes tight, aware at that moment, she was out of options. Either she let this man rape her, or she sacrificed her only lead into Jubilee’s disappearance to draw upon her years of combat training to knock the shit out of him, powers or no powers. She could do it. He was already breathing heavily. She’d be punished. Severely. Anyone who rejected a client was usually sent back to the training camps after being beaten. But it would be worth it to save herself any further degradation at this man’s hand.

Rogue pushed up from the floor, and grinned as she easily punched into the man’s soft flabby gut. He was flabbergasted, eyes wide with shock, as he sputtered for the breath that she’d knocked from him. She enjoyed watching him writhe on the floor until he reached for the control pad which he’d carelessly dropped while trying to undo his pants. He was reaching for the button to shock her again, when her door slid open without warning.

A handler and the welcome sight of Logan’s brown leather boots and blue jeans stepped into her room and Rogue almost laughed with the sudden bubbling over of relief she felt. She hadn’t even heard the single bell signaling another patron.

“Wh-what the hell is this!” stuttered Farro as he awkwardly tried to get to his feet, his partially undone pants causing him to stumble.

“Mr. Farro, I’m sorry but you have been outbid,” the handler said calmly.

“What do you mean, outbid? I paid for this mutie whore. You took my money. Deal’s a deal.” Farro was looking at Logan derisively, sneer plastered on his face.

Must be stupid, she thought again. Anyone who could look at Logan while he struggled to maintain control of his claws, fury and death blazing out from his eyes, could only be an idiot.

“If you had read the rules to which you had been apprised of and signed, then you would understand we have a system which allows the overriding of an engagement at anytime if the bid is substantial enough to warrant such circumstances.”

Rogue was grinning. She couldn’t help it. She knew she would still be punished for her actions. But Logan was here. He was back. They would be able to form a plan. She wouldn’t have to subjugate herself to this awful slimy excuse for a person.

“And how much did you pay for this dog, huh?” Farro asked Logan, pointing at him with a shaking hand.

Logan blinked, clenched his jaw, but didn’t answer. Rogue didn’t know how he was doing it; maintaining control over his rage. He was more furious than she’d ever seen him before, including when he’d first found her. His hands were clenched at his sides, chest moving up and down as he breathed, a menacing sound coming from his chest. She swore she saw spots of blood between his knuckles where the claws were itching to be released.

“Mr. Hudson has paid triple your offering,” the handler said calmly as he stepped between the two.

Farro looked back at her and she raised one eyebrow back at him, mocking him.

His face reddened and he spat at her, “No way this mutie bitch is worth thirty grand.”

“Be that as it may,” the handler continued, “Our records indicate you do not have sufficient funds to compete or offer a counter-bid.”

Farro’s face, if possible, went an even deeper shade of crimson.

“Now. You have the option of a full refund, Mr. Farro. You also have the option of a ten percent discount on another animal of your choice, with an added time bonus of two hours for the inconvenience.”

“You think I’m gonna give you my money after this? You’re crazy,” Farro said as he shoved past the pair of them, ranting as he continued down the hallway. “You’re gonna get one helluva a bad review! A bunch of crooks…”

Thankfully, the sound of his ranting quieted as he slammed the door to the stairs behind him.

“Apologies for the delay, Mr. Hudson,” the handler said as he moved to pick up Farro’s discarded tablet. He moved toward the door once again and was gone with a softly muttered, “Enjoy your evening.”

Rogue looked up at Logan slowly, aware of just how close to losing control he was. He wasn’t looking at her. He was looking past her. His struggle was an internal one. And until he had come to an equilibrium with the animal inside, she wouldn’t be able to reach him. She moved slowly, sat on the edge of her bed, and waited.
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