They drove for hours. By the time they were unloaded into what appeared to be a warehouse of some kind, Rogue's legs had gone to sleep from the cramped position she had been sitting in for so long. Wolverine kept hold of her though, carrying her as she stretched her legs, to get the blood flowing back into them. They were shoved into an elevator, twelve soldiers packed in around them. They seemed to think there was safety in numbers, Wolverine was content to let them keep thinking that for now.

**We're in Tech, do you have the location?** Wolverine tentatively radioed, the earpiece had been conspicuously quiet since they were taken, he hoped it was still working.

**Location confirmed, full contingent ETA, two hours,** Tech replied immediately, before falling silent again.

Wolverine refrained from sighing in relief, he was thankful he only had to keep Rogue out of harm's way for a couple of hours, it was going to be the longest two hours of his life.

When the elevator reached its lowest level, sub level two, he was herded out, and straight into a lab. The chains were immediately connected to a wall, leaving him immobile and vulnerable, with Rogue still in his arms. She had her legs again wrapped around his waist, and was acting as if she was frightened and hiding, he could however feel her calm breathing and her slow movements as she gathered information on their surroundings.

"What the fuck is this?" one of the doctors now in attendance asked exasperatedly, gesturing toward Rogue.

"He had her with him when we got there, when she didn't manage to escape we used her as leverage to secure him, he grabbed onto her and wouldn't let go, he's protecting her I guess, we let him keep her because it shut him up and made him docile but he's your problem now, do what you want with her," the lead soldier replied.

The doctor quickly gave instructions for Rogue to be removed, it took fourteen men, and one hell of a fight, but they eventually managed to drag her out of his arms. She was pinned down to one of the gurneys in the room, and hurriedly strapped down, fighting the whole time. Wolverine could detect her fear growing again, until they had stepped out of the elevator, she had managed to keep her concern to the level of general nerves. When they stepped off that elevator the fear had begun to creep in, now though she was bordering on sheer terror – she obviously knew what went on in places like this.

"It's alright sweetheart," he growled, trying to calm her down, even as he continued to strain to get out of his bindings and to her.

A surprised voice a few minutes later drew the attention of everyone involved, and all turned to regard the newcomer. Wolverine growling menacingly as he immediately recognized Stryker.

"Well I'll be, what do we have here, well if it isn't the Rogue herself, what a pleasant surprise, and you're already friendly with the Wolverine... Well doctor, take good care of this one, she's perfect for your little project," Stryker said with a chuckle. "Get a collar on her first thing, her mutation is incredibly potent," the General added.

"Her m-mutation sir?" the doctor queried, clearly it hadn't occurred to him the girl might be a mutant.

Without a word Stryker grabbed the arm of a nearby guard, his arm was bare to his elbow where his sleeves were rolled up to, and Stryker pressed the bare flesh to Rogue's face. She screamed even before the contact began, squirming as far as she could to get away from the exposed flesh but it did no good. As soon as the soldier was unconscious, Stryker dropped him. "Get a collar on her doctor, unless you want more guards like that, and believe me, with a female around you're going to need as many guards, and as much leverage as you can get, to keep the Wolverine in line." Without a word Stryker turned and walked out of the room.

"Rogue?!" Wolverine called to the girl, who was sagged against her restraints, trembling. This wasn't good.

"I'll be okay," she whispered, though she didn't move, bar the trembling that continued unabated.

**Tech, we have a problem, they've figured out who Rogue is, Stryker's here, anything you can do to push this quicker would be great,** he radioed, hoping the signal would still get through the expanse of concrete above their heads.

**We're inbound Wolverine, updated ETA twenty five minutes,** Lynx responded directly.


In short order a thin metal collar was snapped around Rogue's neck, the guards drew straws to see who would test to see if it was working, it took the loser a few more minutes to sike himself up to touch her. Rogue was beyond trying to move away by then, though she did turn her head away with a whimper. Wolverine knew, from their intel, that Rogue's mutation involved an aspect of psyche integration, he was dreading the thought of what she had gotten from the last guard to touch her – it took a seriously sick individual to work in a place like this, not the kind of person she needed in her head.

Ten minutes later, Rogue was tagged, blood had been drawn from both of them for testing, and they were moved into a cell. Wolverine was surprised by the setup, there was a larger cell, in the centre, with four smaller cells lined up down each side. Each small cell opened into the bigger cell, and also had a door that opened from the hallway that ran around the whole cell block in a u shape. It was almost like a communal living set up, except, they were the only two mutants there.

Rogue was led ahead of him, meaning Wolverine was unable to get close enough to her to slip his arms back around her. When she was roughly shoved into the large cell Wolverine watched, worried, as she staggered, before collapsing to the ground and curling into a fetal position. He was pulled up short just inside the door, and quickly stripped of the bands and chains, the cuffs were left, though the mechanism that locked them together was released, he now had some movement from his hands and arms.

Immediately he shoved the guards out of his way and moved over to Rogue, kneeling down beside her he gently scooped her up, and carried her toward the large bed at the end of the large cell; all the rest of the cells were locked off for now. Setting Rogue down on the bed, he moved to cover her with a blanket but she clutched at his arm.

"Don't let go," she begged, her eyes opening for the first time since the incident in the lab, her own chocolate brown eyes swirling with shards of ice blue.

"I don't know what to do sweetheart, how do I help you?" Wolverine asked softly, nuzzling her hair covered cheek. Even though her skin was 'safe' now he wouldn't touch her skin unless she allowed him to.

Rogue smiled tiredly. "Just hold me?" she requested softly. Without another word, Wolverine climbed into the bed and spooned himself around her.

"I've got you Rogue, I'm not letting go," he murmured reassuringly in her ear.

"Marie," she breathed in return, "My name is Marie."

"Mine's Logan," he returned, holding her tight as she settled deeper into his arms and appeared to fall asleep. He could only hope that was a good sign, he had no idea what exactly happened when she used her mutation.

Fifteen minutes later, the still silence of the lab was shattered as alarms began to sound - their rescue party was here. Wolverine was disturbed by the fact that the sudden noise didn't rouse Rogue, in fact even him picking her up, and carrying her to the helicopter, once their cell door was blown open, still didn't rouse her.

"What's wrong with her?" Lynx asked, eyeing her as Wolverine brushed past him.

"I don't know, Stryker forced her mutation, before they slapped the collar on her, she's been pretty out of it since that all happened," Wolverine explained, as he walked, almost jogged, down the corridor.

Ordinarily he would have returned to base for the debrief with the ground crew, he hated flying, but Rogue needed to get seen by someone, fast, and he wasn't handing her over to anyone else to get her there.

"Back to base?" Tech confirmed, eyeing Rogue's still form.

"Yep," was Wolverine's gruff response.

"No!" came a sudden gasp from the girl in his arms, her soft croaky voice barely audible over the sound of the rotors beginning to power up. "There's another lab, four female mutant prisoners, if you don't hit it straight away they'll move them..." Rogue's comments faded off, before with another sudden burst of energy she rattled off a string of coordinates.

"Can we get there?" Wolverine asked Tech.

"Yeah, that’s about ten minutes by air but we wouldn't have a ground crew," Tech pointed out.

"Rogue, what's the guard load like?" Wolverine asked the girl in his arms, who was now in a semi lucid state.

"Minimal, dozen guards tops, everyone else was transferred to deal with them bringing you in," she murmured in response, before she began to run through a detailed list of guard changes, access codes, and the layout of the base.

Ten minutes later, Wolverine wrapped Rogue up in a blanket, and lay her on the floor, sliding her under the jump seats in the cargo area. She protested, wanting to come too, insisting she could help them find the prisoners. "Marie, you can't even hold yourself up, you'll be a liability out there, you can guide us by comm," Wolverine murmured softly to her, as he soothed her and smoothed her hair. When she reluctantly agreed, he turned to Tech. "Set her up with a comm in case we need directions from her... and keep an eye on her, something's going on inside her head, she's possibly not fully in control of herself," Wolverine filled him in on the last part quietly, Tech was going to be alone with her, best to watch his back just in case she wasn't entirely herself.

The rest of the team, seven highly trained and experienced mutant mercenaries, made their way to the perimeter of the base. They split into two groups to take the front and back exits simultaneously. As it turned out Rogue was right, the lab was largely deserted, two doctors, ten guards in total, four prisoners... but it was the contents of the bank of freezers in one of the lab rooms that caught everyone's attention.

"They're fetuses, there must be over a hundred here," one of the men commented, as he scanned the shelves of jars that looked like a scene from a horror film.

"Hey boss, there's another... prisoner?" Onyx called from an adjoining lab, the man had stood down from his fighting stance, and switched off his mutation, the slick black natural armour that usually covered his skin on missions was gone.

Wolverine walked through into the adjoining lab, pausing at the sight before him. Laid out under a heat lamp, tubes and wires running all over it, was a tiny baby, so newly born it still had crusting goop on its body. It was cold, despite the provided heat, the weak thready heartbeat was sputtering irregularly, the smell of death was already beginning to take hold. Under the scent of death was another, vaguely familiar, hint of scent.

"Oh god no," Wolverine muttered, as he moved over to the baby. Small dark eyes cracked open to regard him when he ran a hand over the tiny child's head - the heart monitor skipped again.

"Wolverine these are..." Lynx began, rushing into the room with a file he had been reading in hand.

"I know," Wolverine replied, in a devastated murmur, without looking up as he gently began disconnecting the baby from all the machines. His son was going to die, at this point it was inevitable, but he wasn't going to die here. "Destroy *everything*," Wolverine tasked to Lynx and the rest of their team, "Ground support will be here in fifteen minutes to help with the clean-up, me and Tech will get the prisoners to base," he advised, as he wrapped the baby in a soft blanket one of the team had found. "Get it all," he cautioned Lynx, he knew now what the unusual cell set up had been designed for. Obviously, the labs attempt’s at in vitro fertilization with his DNA had failed, they were going to try 'breeding' the old fashion way.

He heard the chatter over the comms as Lynx again assumed command of the unit, and filled in Tech and the ground crew on what was happening. The helicopter was fired up and ready to go when he reached it, all the rescued prisoners were strapped into seats. Rogue was up and about, gingerly helping secure the last few harnesses. As Wolverine stepped onto the helicopter all eyes turned to him, a quick scan of the faces told him which of the four women was the mother of the child in his arms.

Gently he set the child in her arms. "He's not going to make it, is he?" she asked softly, turning tear filled eyes to him.

"He's not going to make it," Wolverine admitted truthfully, he could have lied but he didn't think it would help. "Make him comfortable, feed him, love him... don't let him go alone," was his only request, before he turned away and busied himself buckling Rogue into her seat and securing himself, before giving Tech the go ahead to get them in the air.

They were ten minutes from home base when Rogue noted Wolverine, who was seated beside her, and was clutching her hand tightly, freeze. A glance at his face caught the brief flash of agony that crossed his features, before a single tear slipped down his cheek, a moment later a devastated sob came from the mother clutching the child.

The baby had died.

The crowd from the helicopter was unusually sombre, the greeting team noted, all the rescued prisoners were gathered around the one clutching a baby. A tall dark-haired woman glanced to Wolverine, brow cocked in a familiar gesture, he shook his head sadly in response. With that the group of women were led away to be seen to medically, leaving only Tech, Wolverine, Rogue, and the dark-haired woman.

"Rogue, this is Catherine," Wolverine finally spoke, "Mom, Rogue."

"How are you dear, you don't look well, we should get you seen by the meds as soon as possible, Logan take her to the private room, I'll send Sam to see to her once she can get away from the rest... and you look like shit too, Joe told me what you found, it wasn't your fault Logan," she said softly, giving the man a hug before sending them on their way.


Marie glanced around her in awe, it wasn't as fancy as the mansion but this groups medical unit was a lot more homely than the mansions 'steel on steel with bright white lights' medical unit. The beds were a lot more comfortable too, she found when Logan gently lifted her onto one.

"Do you want to talk about it?" she asked softly, once Logan had dropped himself wearily into a seat beside her bed. With a sigh, his head dropped forward to rest on her blanket covered thigh, she was momentarily distracted when she moved her hand comfortingly to his head. Gently running her bare fingers through his thick hair, enjoying the sensation of something other than suffocating fabric against her skin, she waited for him to speak.

"That baby... it's my son... they were trying to- to breed from me, ground crew will bring back the notes but something was obviously going wrong, it looked like every attempt had failed, they were all dead... dozens upon dozens... I couldn't save them," he admitted, a huff of sorrow and anger escaping him.

Rogue tried to find the words to express appropriate commiseration but she couldn't, instead she stayed silent, hoping her presence alone would be enough to comfort him; like his had to her.
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