Faintly, as she drifted into consciousness, she could hear a piano in the background. The pianist hit every key with perfect accuracy and filled her world with sombre sounds. It was Moonlight Sonata, if she was not mistaken, and it made her forget herself and where she was. In truth, she didn't want to remember. Remembrance always hurt her so much.
It was so cold, and she could not help but shiver, though several warm blankets were laced over her body. There was a dull ache somewhere in her body, throbbing with every laboured breath she took. She wasn't sure where it came from, but she couldn't deny it was there, burning, searing, killing.
Moaning slightly, she curled her body further over her until she could go no further, clutching at her knees, and she grabbed hold of her stomach, fighting down the vomit in her throat as she realised her baby was too still.
"Oh God," she groaned deep in her throat, burying the guttural cry deep in her chest. Her muscles throbbed with pain as she gasped and choked on her own bile, fighting to maintain control when it was obvious she had none.
"Elisabeth," Sinister said in her ear, "go back to sleep."
She opened her mouth, gagging as the words brewed in her vocal cords but were never spewed forward. Even her mind wasn't working right, so she couldn't seem to grasp onto him and force the monster to let her go.
"You're losing this baby, Elisabeth, but I'm doing what I can to save it, but you have to stop fighting me. It'll be easier if you just do what the drugs wish of you and let me do what I must." Sinister lay a hand against her back, inserting a long, thin needle into her spinal cord. "I can save your child."
Elisabeth heard nothing more of what he might have offered and felt her eyelids hang heavy as they fell slowly down, eclipsing her in darkness as her baby writhed suddenly in her womb, crying out to a mother who could not hear it.
She felt the warm water trickle down her check, pooling on the pillow by her head. Above her, a woman she could not remember, sat humming under her breath the same melody, which had haunted Elisabeth and her dreams since her last bout of consciousness.
"You're awake?" The woman sounded dead when she said it. "Sinister will be happy you survived. I'll retrieve him." The woman stood and disappeared as Betsy watched her with glazed eyes that seemed unable to focus on anything.
Attempting in vain to move her arm, Betsy's eyes drifted around the darkened room, scanning across everything with extreme care and caution. Her body had been invaded with an extreme lethargy, and the fog in her mind was worse. Deep down, she knew she was in an evil place, but she could not draw upon the energy to move from it.
She wasn't in pain anymore, she could tell that much, but what that meant she did not know. Perhaps she had lost the child but simply could not feel the emptiness of being alone, or maybe Sinister had saved it, maybe he had done that. She did not know.
"Vertigo said you were awake. How do you feel?" Sinister asked, standing above her and blocking her view.
"Alive," Betsy muttered, wondering if she sounded as odd to him as she sounded to herself. Her voice seemed to be so far away, so out of her meagre grasp. What had he done to her to have left her so utterly wasted?
Sinister walked slowly to a table against the wall and picked up a vial of dark, maroon fluid. "This, Elisabeth, is how close you came to delivering that child months before it was meant to be born. You lost about fifty times the amount of blood that I show you here, which accounts for what you are feeling."
Betsy paled further, closing her eyes as the realisation of how close she came to losing her baby hit her like a brick. "But it's alive now? It hasn't been harmed?"
"Only time will tell how much the fetus has been damaged. As it stands, I doubt it will be anything major, perhaps lower comprehension or an underdeveloped organ." Sinister walked across the room to the door, looking down a long hall before turning back to her. "Elisabeth, I need you to understand how careful you must be."
Sinister leaned against the wall, crossing his arms across his chest. "That is what you should have been told the moment you conceived. It was simple oversight on my part, I'm afraid. Your child is undeniably a mutant. There is no doubt it has inherited its father's genetic structure."
"It has Warren's mutant powers?"
"The wings, I'm not sure if they will come into play, but the skeletal structure, the hollow bones, the adapted lungs, they're all there, but there's one major drawback and that is the length it takes to develop. The lungs are not even halfway to where they should be for normal infants, and the bones are lacking rigidness. If it was born now, it wouldn't survive a night."
"Why am I having such a difficult time with this if the slow development is normal?"
"For the simple fact that your body is not accustomed to the needs of this child. One strong push on your stomach in the wrong spot could fracture every bone in its body. Undo stress has a similar result because of involuntary muscle contractions. Warren would have had more success carrying this child to term than you."
Betsy laughed painfully, shaking her head. "It never ceases to amaze me what oddities manage to creep into my life. God, I thought after everything else I've gone through, I wouldn't have any problem with this."
"And you're laughing for what reason?"
"I'm laughing because it's so funny! Ha! I can't manage to do anything right. I can't save this baby on my own, I couldn't save Warren, and let us not forget dear Tom who was shot to death trying to protect me. I should have been the one protecting him. I wonder how many lives I've destroyed. I can hardly begin to count the list is so long. Oh, Nathaniel, tell me this isn't funny, and I doubt I'll believe you."
"You're delusional, Elisabeth, go back to sleep," Sinister said gently, pushing her down with a stern hand. She resisted slightly before falling back with no complaint, her body limp once more.
"Nathaniel, though I hate you more than mere words can describe, you have managed to surprise me this evening," Betsy murmured with a smile. "Who would have thought that Sinister would have a heart."
"My only concern is for your baby."
"I'm sure it is." Betsy chuckled quietly, moving slightly beneath the old, worn covers. "Then why do you touch me with such gentle grace? Don't be ashamed, Nathaniel, I never took you for a monster. Never you." Betsy's eyes closed slowly as she continued to murmur, "not you, not you."
Sinister looked down upon her with a sour expression, touching one finger to her check. "But that, Elisabeth, will be my undoing, for Apocalypse has no reminder of a heart in his chest or the slightest bit of life in his soul. He will prove to be the monster, while I can only try."
"Are you hungry?" Sinister asked, entering her room, and Betsy looked up with bitter amusement etched in her violet eyes. "Are you?"
"Slightly," she confessed with a faint smile on her lips, catching his eyes for a brief moment in time before looking away. "Are you going to spoonfeed me, Sinister?"
Sinister's face remained stone. "No, Elisabeth, I am not, but you need proper nutrition." Betsy continued to smile as Sinister looked upon her dryly. "Mock me while you can. It's doubtful I will remain as compassionate as I am if you continue with it."
"And this is what you call compassion? Let me go home."
"And where would that be? England? Westchester? Soho? Tell me, Elisabeth, where exactly do you want me to take you?" Sinister looked upon her expectantly, awaiting an answer while knowing it was unlikely she could respond. "The question seems unanswerable, doesn't it?"
"Then take me far from you," Betsy murmured, brushing her limp hair from her face with the back of a weak finger. "And I'll be happy, then, I promise you that's all I need."
"You seem to think there are more options open to you than there are, Elisabeth, and there aren't. You cannot walk, I will not allow you to walk, for it might trigger an effect on the baby neither of us want. You can scarcely move anyway you've lost so much blood. I want you to tell me how you possibly think you'll survive without me."
"I'll die if I stay with you!" She spoke sharply, feeling a stabbing pain her abdomen at the sudden rage, and she fell back against the pillows, trying to hide the pain.
Sinister rushed over to her, placing a hand on her belly, feeling for signs of obvious distress, but Betsy went to work trying to pry his cold fingers from her body, fighting with a hand that was unwilling to move.
"Stay still!" Sinister snapped angrily, using his other hand to push her back onto the bed. "What part of this horrid situation are you not comprehending? This baby will not live unless you accept my help, and you will not live unless this baby does. I worry about you, Elisabeth, I worry that you seem to place no care on this baby's life."
Betsy stopped her struggle at the cruel words, staring at him in mild disbelief but also vague understanding, and she turned away from him, ashamed of herself and her selfish needs and fears. "I care, but I can't stay here with you, not when I'm so terrified of what you could do to me if you wished."
"Terrified? Do I scare you that much?"
"And more," Betsy confessed with a small voice, wanting to cry but unable to find the tears. "Why have you done this to me? Was it not enough that I am no longer myself that you had to take away more?"
"When will you understand this is not some personal vendetta? It is unfortunate you're not as mentally fit as you once were, but I am doing this for your baby and nothing more."
"Why should I believe you? You're evil and sadistic and cruel and unkind and every other horrid word a person could ever use to describe a devil. You are as your name says you are, and you expect me to trust you when I won't even trust my dearest friends? You're stupid if you're to believe that, Nathaniel." Betsy clenched her fists to her head, grimacing fiercely. "You're a stupid, stupid man."
"Stop it, you'll hurt yourself," Sinister said quietly, forcibly untwining her fingers from the tight ball. "Elisabeth, I understand you're not in your right mind, but you must stop fighting this. You want me to take you home? Fine, but you must realise I'll still be watching you."
"Yes, yes," Betsy muttered, shooing him away. "I understand, I understand."
The knock upon the door came loudly, and Bobby jumped in his seat on the couch where he'd been dozing happily. Glancing at the clock to discover the late hour, he wondered for a moment who it could be. Perhaps it was the X-Men, returned from their eight months' escapade, though he doubted it was. They usually made a more grande entrance.
The knock sounded again, louder and more insistent. Bobby shuffled slowly to the front door, muttering various curses, and eventually came upon the entrance. He peered through the window, slightly frightened by the huge, shadowed figure standing there. The porch light had gone out, leaving the visitor in darkness.
Something deep in the pit of his stomach told him to be on edge. Slowly, Bobby opened the door, his mutant powers already dropping the temperature by ten degrees as ice climbed up his legs, coating the inside of his track pants.
"Robert," the deep voice said, handing him a rather large bundle of blanket, and Bobby swore he could see a pair of legs emerging from the dark mass, "take care of her. I want nothing to harm her, or the life she holds, in any way, do you understand me? If anything happens to her, you are personally responsible and you will answer to me."
Bobby nodded mutely, gasping for breath as Sinister gently placed the body in Bobby's arms. He hadn't expected the person to weight quite as much as she did, and he was lucky he didn't drop in utter surprise or out of weakness.
"Promise me, Robert, that you will do your best to protect them both."
"Okay," Bobby muttered with a gargle, realising he should be reacting in a different, more offensive way, but the operative word was should and he wasn't doing that. Cyclops would be ashamed of him.
Sinister nodded, placing his trust in a man he had always took to be an imbecile and walked away into the night, wondering if he had made a grievous mistake. It had come down to placing his personal worries aside so that the woman he had entrusted into his care had a greater chance of survival.
Bobby shut the door with his heel, stumbling into the black living room and laying the body gently on the nearest chesterfield. Satisfied the body wasn't going to fall, Bobby reluctantly made his way to the light switch, terrified that when the room was illuminated, he would find that there lay the corpse of a friend.
Closing his eyes, Bobby turned the switch from off to on, and he sensed through his closed eyelids the light as it filled the room. He forced his eyes to open then coerced his lax body to the individual on the couch, reaching out with shaking hands to remove the blanket from the face. Grasping the wool fabric in his fingers, he peeled it away like skin from an orange.
"Betsy?" Bobby whispered in horror, immediately falling to her side and checking for a pulse, which beat strong and alive beneath his fingers. "Oh, you have a pulse, thank God, you have a pulse. You're alive. You're alive." He hugged her body to him, the worry and the dread lifting from him. "I was so scared. I can feel your pulse!"
Betsy moaned slightly, waking from her deep sleep at the touch of Bobby's arms around her and forced her arms to clutch at him in return, a sense of immense relief washing over her. "He took me home," she murmured, with tears of consolation streaming down her face, "oh, he took me home."