When Scott woke up he was in the bed. He was exhausted to the point of needing more sleep, but there was something nagging at him. He didn't realise what it was until he moved his foot.

The tag was still around his ankle, so tight as to be cutting into the skin enough that it would leave at a minimum a mark, at maximum it would cut into his skin if it left unattended.

Scott sat up suddenly, clutching his head as a wave of nausea swept over him. He fought through it as the fear hit him hard. Snatches of memory of what happened right before…wait! Did he have a seizure?

A whole different level of fear hit him. And then another.

He'd had a seizure.

They'd pull his ticket for sure, for at least 6 months until he could prove he was seizure-free. And what if he wasn't? What had she given him? Would it be permanent? And then the second thought hit him.

She knew who he was.

The last thing he remembered was her voice. 'Oh yes! We *are* going to have fun.' She knew who he was. That meant that his brothers were in danger and he wasn't there for them.

He needed to get out of here!

Scott hauled himself out of the bed, his legs shaky, and used the wall to help him steady himself. He was dressed in loose black joggers and a plain grey t-shirt, no socks or shoes, and he resolutely put out of his mind the fact that she had dressed him while he was unconscious.

By the time he had reached the cage he was stronger, more stable on his feet, and he checked over every inch of the wire, looking for some kind of weakness he could exploit. There was no sign of the woman and Scott took advantage of her absence to transform so that he could check for any weaknesses on the ceiling.

Trying to transform wasn't as easy as it usually was, which shook Scott more than he would ever admit. He wondered what the hell she'd done to him, how she'd dosed him. But then he remembered…the powder on the meat. He cursed himself but really, Scott knew he hadn't had any choice in the matter.

In the end he gave up and instead scaled the fence as best he could. It took a while, but eventually he'd looked over every inch of the wire, top and bottom, and he cursed how well the woman had made it.

There was nothing for him to do so Scott retreated back to the house and went back to sleep. He needed to get his strength back.

Scott had no idea how long he slept for, but the laughter of the woman woke him. He felt more rested, though, so it must have been a while.

'Gus? Oh Gus! Come out and talk to me.'

There was the sound of something being dragged along the cage wall – probably her fingernails – and Scott rolled his eyes. She really did think she had a flair for the dramatic. He got up but stayed hidden, waiting to see what she'd do and say next.

'Oh I'm sorry, don't you like the name Gus? Maybe I should call you Scott instead.'

His blood ran cold. Scott had known that she'd seen who he was but had hoped that she'd not recognised him. A futile hope, he had known, but he had hoped nonetheless.

'Come now, Scott. Anybody would think that you didn't want to talk to me. We have much to discuss. Your abilities. And if you have them, do your brothers have them too?'

That put the fire back into his blood and before he'd even thought about it Scott was eagle and flying at the cage wall, screeching his defiance.

But the woman only laughed.

'That's more like it! Now, transform back and talk to me before I decide to reveal to the world that Scott Tracy is a mutant who can transform at will into an eagle. And if you can then what can your brothers do? Hmm?'

Scott flew to one of the platforms and hunched up, staring at the woman. He didn't have much choice, really. The longer he could keep her away from his family the more chance they had of finding him.


He clacked his beak in agitation, but it only made the woman laugh more. Scott knew he was putting off the inevitable. She already knew who he was but willingly appearing before her as his human self felt wrong, like being vulnerable somehow. But he'd do it if it kept her attention on himself and away from his brothers.

Well, there was still something Scott could control – he flatly refused to transform in front of her. Flying back to the house he changed back and looked through the wardrobe. Most of the clothes were not to his tastes but in the back were a pair of blue jeans and a black hoodie. They would have to do.

The walk down to the cage felt long. Dirt and leaves crunched under his bare feet but Scott stood tall and walked with an easy grace that belied the turmoil he was feeling. By the time he'd reached the cage wall the woman had installed a table on her side and there was a small tea pot and cup and saucer. It was cruelly reminiscent of tea at Lady P's.

She raked her eyes over him, leaving Scott feeling dirty. He'd had plenty of people eye him over the years, but she was different. He ignored the way she licked her bottom lip as he stood before her.

'Maybe I should introduce myself. You can call me Duchess, Scott.'

'What do you want from me?'

'Want? Oh I want so, so much. But for now I want you to get used to being with me. You're going to be here for a long, long time.'

'My brothers will be looking for me.'

'I'm sure they will. Don't worry, I have friends who will provide a body for them. They will never find you, Scott. You're not my first and I know what I am doing.'

'I'm sure you think you do, *Duchess*, but I can assure you that you do not know my family. They will be here any moment.'

The Duchess threw back her head and laughed. She laughed until tears rolled down her cheeks and she was forced to use the napkin to wipe them away.

'Oh, Scott. I needed…'

She tailed off as a muffled boom sounded somewhere, and she stood suddenly as an alarm sounded.