Twisting the Family Tree

18 Children

"Okay, run m' t'rough this again, Docteur?" Gambit's finger sat on Scott Summers' name. He was propped up in the hospital bed. There was a spot of red on the bandage around his head. Sinister made a note of it on his chart.

"Scott Summers was in love with Jean Grey. My experiments show their genomes are very powerful when combined. When Grey died, I created her clone, Madeline. Scott and Madeline had Nathan Christopher."

"So technically he's also Jean Grey's son? Bein' as Jean and Madeline are clones, not twins."

"Correct." Sinister checked the bandages on Gambit's arm and replaced the one that Vertigo had tried to change for him. Useless creature in the surgery. He'd have to assign her elsewhere.

"Now, Nat'an Christopher becomes Cable by goin' t' the future?" Gambit looked up at him as though he thought the scientist was just teasing.

"Yes. After Apocolypse injected him with a nano-virus, Nathan's siter from an alternate timeline took him to her future."

"O-kay." The younng man drew out the word. "Y' lucky I watch sci-fi, else y'd have lost me."

"That is how Rachel Summers ends up on the chart. She's the biological daughter of Scott and Jean."

"Right. Two chilen. No stretch marks. Lucky femme." Gambit rolled his eyes. Sinister tapped his nose in reproof.

"Now we also have Alexander Summers and Lorna Dane."

"Polaris? Green-haired femme with magnet powers? Bakes a mean casserole and like t' be on top when she fucks?" Gambit stared at him again. "How'd that happen?"

"You've heard of the Brotherhood of Mutants?"

"So fucked up." Gambit shook his head. Whether it was at the complexity or the thought that the Polaris he'd slept with had gone on to a relationship with a Summers, Sinister couldn't say. "So Alex and Pole don't got kids?"

"Yet."

"Yet," Gambit parroted obediently.

"There is a third brother. He is also without issue."

"Who?"

"Stryfe."

"Hold up. Weren't Stryfe Charles Xavier's chile from an 'alternate dimension'?" It was quite clear that Gambit thought 'alternate dimension' meant 'acknowledged bastard child.' Sinister let it go.

"Not according to my research. Now then, Scott came to my attention when he and Jean traveled back in time."

"There goin' to be a quiz on this?"

"Yes."

"Merde. Hold up. Is the time travel on Summers' or Grey's side?"

Sinister considered. He hadn't thought of time travel as endemic to the bloodline. He made a quick note to follow up on it. "I believe it is on the Grey side. I took samples from both Summers and Grey when they came back in time and I started a breeding program."

"Black Womb." Gambit smiled proudly at remembering the detail. Sinister gave him a nod.

"Yes. I've introduced combinations of genetic strains which were carried to term once a year."

"And y' got records?"

"Of course. Only three of my progeny have wriggled free. Now, from the project we have Henry McCoy. Whom you know better as?" he prompted.

"Bete."

"Very good."

Gambit yawned. He rubbed at his eyes with his good hand. "Desole."

"You will continue to tire easily until you are healed. Rest. We'll continue the review when you wake up."

"Oui, M. Essex." The red eyes closed and Gambit's breathing evened out. Sinister made another note on his chart and went to visit his other experiments.

****

"What have you done with the rest?" Cycolps asked. He would have demanded an answer, but he was just too damn tired. There was a cast on his leg and tape around his ribs. Sinister looked up from the tablet.

"They are confined, but unharmed by me. As you well know."

"Who do you have 'contained'?"

Sinister chuckled. "You'll have to wait and see. Once you're healed, I'll allow you to join them. Until that time, consider it a forced vacation."

"If I weren't cuffed to the bed, I might," Cyclops shot back. He tugged on the hospital restraints. There was metal over the fabric and he scowled at the clinking sound. It was bad enough that the cast ran from his ankle to his hip. He wasn't exactly going to run away. Not without knowing where the rest of his team was.

"You have proven yourself to be a recalcitrant patient," Sinister stated. "They are as much for your own safety as my convienience. We wouldn't want you to injure yourself further, now would we?"

"This caring doctor persona is distrubing."

Sinister smirked. "I prefer to consider it disarming. I will add a sedative to your IV tonight. You haven't been sleeping."

"I hate sleeping on my back in enemy territory."

****

Logan paced the halls again. Storm sighed and rubbed her temples as he passed by the door of the office once again. She considered retreating to the war room. Yes, perhaps that was best, even though it lacked windows. She paused in front of Scott's office and laid a hand against it. "We will find you," she murmured.

The war room was still and quiet. The blue glow of the old LED emergency lights barely illuminated the space. It smelled of old coffee grounds and powdered sugar. She sat down at the head of the table where Scott normally started his briefings. Scott, Kitty, and Kurt had been missing for over a week. Logan said he'd smelled the Marauders in the area. That was one lead.

Still, it was quite evident that the Marauders hadn't left the blood on the site. That had come from the anti-mutant activists that had been attacking their teammates. Kitty was still recovering from the flu and Kurt was wrestling with the entire idea of harming humans. He wasn't sure if he wanted to go into the Church once again, or if he was going to remain with the X-men. It had been a simple outing for supplies. Storm took a breath, then released it, willing calm into her body.

//Ro, where are you?// Jean asked.

//Warroom.//

//I'll be down in a minute. I have something I want you to look at.//

Ororo sighed and rubbed at her eyes. Hopefully this would be something real, not another wild goose chase.

****

"Scott and Jean's clone made Nat'an Christopher who is Cable. Cable is fuckin' Domino. Y' hoping that Cable and Domino will have a chile. I t'ink y'r mentally unstable. Scott and Jean had Rachel in an alternate timeline. So, two chilen f' the Summerses."

"Very good." Sinister let the slight on his sanity pass. It was good to see a bit of the young man's personality returning. "This led to what?"

"Y' took samples of Scott and Jean when they was in the past wit' you." LeBeau frowned, his speech slowed. "And y' set up project Black Womb t' create stronger mutants. Selected breedin'."

Sinister nodded and allowed an encouraging smile. The brain injuries from fighting so soon after his surgery were finally mending themselves. "Black Womb led to whom?"

He got a pale smile for the alliteration. "M. Bete, the Avenger that y' want t' do research with. Nat'an Grey?"

"Actually, Nathan Grey is Madeline's child from an alternate time-line." The betrayed look in Gambit's eyes made him chuckle. "I am not teasing you. I never tease."

"Dat's pure bullshit, M. Essex, an' y' know it." The young man sighed. He rubbed at his injured side. "Ain't you got no way t' make my ribs heal faster?"

"Back to your studying."

"I get the new PX3-278 manual if I get this done right?"

Sinister confirmed the deal. He wiped the dry erase board clean and handed it back. "Draw out the Summers family tree for me. Starting with Scott and Jean's children."

"I'm developin' a pure hate f' the smell of these t'ings." LeBeau uncapped the red marker and started on Scott's family tree. His fingers shook from exhaustion, but he was an adult, all evidence to the contrary, and Sinister wasn't about to make him sleep. He turned to his own research data and settled back at the boy's bedside to catch the marker and board when LeBeau fell asleep.

****

Kitty Pryde was curled up on her side with a hot water bottle and fleece blanket that her captor had given her. She clutched the bottle to her chest and shook from her fever. A young woman with purple hair came into her cell with a sealed bottle of asprin and a tray of orange juice and chicken broth. "I brought some soup and juice for you, sweetie." She set down the tray. "If you trust me enough, I'll open this bottle right here and you can have some aspirin."

"I don't care if you're Sinister in disguise. Drugs. Please." She coughed wetly.

The woman frowned. "That sounds bad. I'll let the doc know that you're getting worse not better." She opened the bottle and knocked two pills into Kitty's hand. Kitty didn't even wait for the orange juice. She dry swallowed the pills. The woman helped her sit up and folded the pillow until it was holding her up. "There. If I leave this tray here can you reach it or..." she trailed off. "Here." She held the soup mug for Kitty to sip from. "I'll just sit with you for a little bit. See if we can't get some fluids into you. I am absolute shit at putting in IV's."

****

Scott stared at the ceiling, counting the little black dots in the drop panels. He'd already turned half of them into constellations. The appearance of Sabretooth was actually a relief. Creed smirked at him. "All trussed up like a proper toy. If I didn't think the doc would cut off my balls, I'd play with ya a little bit."

"Why don't you sit and have a chat. We can exchange insults. Discuss the latest bullshit your son's proposing in Congress. That sort of thing."

"That little shit needs his head knocked into a wall," Sabretooth growled. "Seems to me yers ain't much better. Ruttin' with his second in command."

"Domino is a lovely woman," Scott defended dutifully. "And I'm reliably informed that if I say anything against her, she also has a lot of guns and really good aim. Besides, it's his mother's responsibility to hate his girlfriend."

Creed chuckled. "How bored are ya?"

"If you've got a deck of cards, I'll play go-fish."

The murderer laughed at that. "Wait here. I think I can find those cards. Maybe even a lap desk or something." He stalked off to one of the small rooms off of the lab. Scott could hear muffled voices. Then, Creed was back, with cards, a dry erase board, and a limping young man in an white hospital gown. There was a bandage on his head and one that wrapped its way up his arm.

"Huh. You're Summers? Scott Summers?" The young man's voice was admiring.

Scott raised his brows. "Who's asking?"

"Call m' 'Gambit'." He settled onto the chair Creed had grabbed from one of the tech's stations. "Chatton here says y're willin' t' play cards? Even if it's somethin' simple? I ain't up t' poker, but I reckon I could focus enough for War or Go Fish."

Creed offered the cards. "I'll let you boys figure this out." He paused. "I'll be back in half an hour to put you back to bed. Doc'll kill both of us if he finds out yer up and about."

"Right." Gambit nodded a little uneasily. He looked young and ill. "War? Given the cuffs?"

Scott nodded. "Sounds good. Anything does really."

"Could be doin' lessons. Want t' help m' learn y're family tree?" Gambit rolled his eyes. He dealt the cards with the ease of a professional. "Or tell me 'bout y'r exploits as a pilot or somet'in? Stolt a jet when I was 13. Didn't end so well."

Scott grinned. They passed the half-hour with pleasant chatter that didn't drift further from cards than a few good books. Creed came back as promised. Gambit pouted at the man, but his fingers were shaking and he looked a great deal more tired than he had. "Thanks," Scott said quietly.

Gambit gave him a vague, sleepy smile. Creed frowned, then simply swept him up as though he were a child and took him away. "Remember, not a word to Sinister," he warned on his way back.

Scott huffed, but nodded.

****

"My kitten isn't getting better," Vertigo told Remy. She was settled on the foot of his bed with a crochet hook and ball of yarn. She stuck her tongue out of the corner of her mouth as she tried to get the motions right. "Doc's giving her some penecillin though, so maybe soon she'll be well enough to play with me."

Remy hummed in agreement. He focussed on making his hand stop trembling so that he could write out his lines. The Summers' tree was coming together slowly. "She's cute, hehn?"

"Adorable. Smart too."

He really wasn't sure if they were talking about an actual cat or not at this point. Vertigo was like Creed in a lot of ways. She didn't understand that humans shouldn't be pets. "What she look like?"

"She's got brown hair and eyes. A little pointy chin." Vertigo thought for a moment. "She's just tiny in general. Does this look right to you?" She offered the crochet and a small folded print-out of what looked like code. "Just look at the pictures. The letters make no sense."

He studied the pictures and the work. "Oui. Lookin' good t' me. I ain't got much experience with it, mind."

"Neither do I. That's the problem." She focussed on her task. Remy turned his attention back to the board and his shaky handwriting. If he actually finished it, he might get to focus on something he cared about.

He didn't feel it when Vertigo capped the marker for him and tucked him in. He didn't even feel her brush a kiss across his forehead.

****

TBC

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