Rogue ran through the underbrush; it had been relatively clear and well-kept for the first several hundred meters after she had run from the mansion. Leaving her baby was the hardest thing she had ever had to do in her life, she swiped angrily at a fresh fall of tears as she continued to jog to where she had hidden her car earlier.
Logan was inside her head, telling her to go back, she didn't have to leave James, the X-Men would protect her, he would protect her. She couldn't bring herself to believe that, she was their enemy, some of the things she had done in that capacity were terrible, though none worse than what she had done to Logan. He was better off without her; James deserved a better mother than her.
When she got to her car she climbed in and drove, her route was pre-planned, she had planned it over a month ago when Mystique had tracked her down. Her sizable round belly had immediately given away her reasons for leaving, it hadn't taken Mystique long to realise who the father was. The look of evil glee on the older woman’s face as she began plotting how they could draw Wolverine in, using his child as bait, had sickened her even more than usual.
She lamented the day she'd allowed herself to fall into the Brotherhood's hands, it would have been better for everyone if she had let Sabretooth and Mystique kill her right back when they first found her. Hiding out in that abandoned warehouse to escape the rain had seemed like such a good idea, little did she know the pair were going to use that very warehouse to stage a 'suicide' that same night. Fighting back had been the most logical choice at the time, when she had wanted to live. Unfortunately it told the pair she was a mutant, and when they had offered her food and shelter, as opposed to rape and death, she had chosen foolishly.
Now though, she no longer cared, she hadn't for a long time, even before that horrible mission where she had inadvertently absorbed Wolverine's nightmares. She didn't blame him for that, he couldn't control what she had taken from him. The images had driven her to attempt to kill herself twice, however, both times she still had his healing factor rattling around inside her, and his determination, despite what she had done to him, to not let her die. It was two months before she realised she was pregnant, whether he had known that or not, he was happy that the revelation stopped her from attempting to kill herself again.
That was when she decided she had had enough. She packed and left that night, leaving a note to say she needed a break, using the excuse that her mutation was going haywire and she needed to sort her head out. Then she ran, trying to hide, moving regularly, and covering her tracks as best she could. Logan helped her every step of the way, though he continually pushed for her to seek out the X-Men.
When Mystique found her, she was sure she would kill her for her betrayal but she seemed too distracted by her plotting to acknowledge that fact. She encouraged Rogue to stay hidden, they didn't want Wolverine to find out about the baby until they had it in their hands.
Because she knew who the father was, Mystique knew when the baby was due, Rogue was terrified that she would come back to collect the baby before Rogue could escape. She would have left the place she had been staying the day after Mystique did but she had gotten to the point where she couldn't travel any longer. Her belly stopped her from fitting behind the wheel of her car, she couldn't sit down for long periods, and the stress was making her sick. Given the circumstances, it was a relief when James was born early. She had spent the first week sleeping and feeding baby, gaining her strength and health back quickly, then she had run. As fast as she could, without drawing attention to herself, to the one place she knew James would be safe.
If she was lucky it would be another two weeks before they realized she was gone, she wasn't counting on being lucky.
Three days later her luck ran out, she had rented a room in a run-down roadside motel, in a small backwater town in the middle of nowhere Arizona state, and had just collapsed into bed to sleep when the room door had splintered off its hinges. The hulking form of Sabretooth filled the opening, a black void backlit by the starry sky behind him. All she could think as he approached her was, thank god James was safe.
When she regained consciousness, she was surprised, she had expected him to kill her outright, not take her prisoner but a prisoner she was. Her hands were cuffed, the chain of the cuffs hung from a hook in the ceiling of what appeared to be a box truck, that she was shut inside. Knowing Sabretooth’s modus operandi there was no point screaming for help, the truck would either be in an abandoned industrial area, or somewhere deep in the desert. She stood up straighter, trying to relieve some of the pressure from her aching arms, she must have been hanging for a while as her hands were completely numb.
Within minutes the box truck door opened, she got a quick glimpse of moonlit desert, before both Sabretooth and Mystique entered the cargo area.
"Rogue, Rogue, Rogue, I am so disappointed, I thought we had an understanding, you would hand over the child and I wouldn't kill you, I would have even let you raise the little parasite if you had kept your part of the bargain, instead you screwed us over, now I just have to determine how badly," Mystique stated angrily. "Where is the child?"
Rogue breathed a sigh of relief, her ruse had worked, they didn't know where she had left him, he was safe for a while longer. Hopefully the baby could hide among the population of the mutant school, without fear of the Brotherhood ever picking him out. For his sake she hoped so.
She felt Sabretooth’s clawed hand close around her neck. He had held a grudge against her for a long time, so she didn't doubt she'd be able to goad him into killing her fairly easily. He hadn't liked her since she refused his sexual advances right from the beginning of their association, even going so far as to drop him with her mutation on more than one occasion. It hadn't helped their working relationship when she had suggested to Magneto that Sabretooth may have been the one to leak Wolverine's location, when the X-Men rescued him less than four hours after they had managed to take him prisoner.
She had only quite rightly pointed out that Sabretooth was the only person to know where she was holding Wolverine, and given the difficulty Charles Xavier had tracking the latter two the most logical leak would have been Sabretooth. She didn't bother revealing that Wolverine's memories had enlightened her to the fact he had been wearing a tracking device, sewn into his belt, for that exact reason.
"You were asked a question, girl," Sabretooth growled menacingly in her ear, as his other clawed hand moved over her body to paw at her breast.
She hissed in pain. She had breastfed James as much as she could, knowing it would be important for him to get the best start after being born early. She had been trying to express off the excess milk until her supply could dry off, now that James was no longer drinking it. Clearly it had been a while since she had had a chance to do that, if her painfully heavy breasts were any indication.
"Can't have been away from the little whelp for long," he chuckled, squeezing her breast again. The stimulation causing a release of sticky, sweet smelling fluid, that soaked into her shirt as it dribbled down her stomach.
"Where is the child?" Mystique asked again, stepping right up in front of her.
"Somewhere you will never find him," Rogue replied defiantly.
"Wrong answer," Mystique replied, slamming a fist into her stomach, sending her diaphragm into a spasm.
As Rogue gasped for breath, she tried to think of things to say, as soon as she was able to speak again, to goad Sabretooth into finishing her off. Twenty minutes, and countless blows, later Rogue finally managed to string together the right combination of words for Sabretooth to swing a clawed hand in her direction. His claws ran deep, deep into her body, separating flesh and spilling her blood. Mystique's reaction immediately told her she was as good as dead, as the woman began to frantically try and get her to give them James's location, as she tried in vain to stem the bleeding.
With a soft, satisfied smile Rogue let herself drift on the wave of weightless nothingness that was her coming death. She didn't feel the sudden gust of cool air against her skin as the truck door opened, or hear the furious and shocked shouts of her captors. Neither did she feel the strong hands that lifted her limp body off its altar, and gently lay her on the floor.