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The End Of Innocence Part #3

by: Kali


{Two children in pajamas are hiding on a staircase watching their parents talk}

Boy: What are they talkin' 'bout?

Girl: Shhhhhh! I can't hear them. Do you want them ta know that we're up!?!

Boy: O' course not! It's just.............. they seem so......... scared. Why?!?

Girl: How am I supposed ta know! Every time we walk into the room they stop talking.

Woman: We have to send them somewhere safe, somewhere away from all of this!

Man: Where!? All of my family lives in this town. What about your family? Can we send them to live with any of your relatives?

Woman: {Looks away from her husband} I......I don't have any.......Any that are still alive, I mean......

Woman's POV:

*He* will *never* get his hands on *my* babies. I will die before I let that happen. Even *Nazis* are preferable over him.

Man: {Pulls her into his arms} Don't worry honey. We'll figure something out. We have to, for their sake.

Woman: {Buries her face into his neck and starts to sob} I........I wish that I could believe that, really I do. But considering what we are up against......What chance do we honestly have?

Man: I don't know................I honestly don't know.

{They turn to go upstairs and see their children on the stairs. The two children immediately run up the stairs.}

Man: Oh God, they overheard us! How much *did* they overhear?!? April!! Erik!!! Come down here! We need to talk about this!


It's been more than 50 years since the Auschwitz death camp was liberated. But for some, it feels as if they were *never* freed.

Joseph's POV:

{Looking around at the buildings of Auschwitz}

Considering how little I remember, I guess I shouldn't be to surprised that my memories of this place are my most predominant memories. I grew up here after all. I can still hear .............the screams .............and the sobs of the dead and dying, and of those separated from their family. Like I was.......... If it hadn't been for April, I would've never............huh?............Who was April?

Joseph: Rogue, do you know if any one in my family was named April?

Rogue: Ah'm afraid not sugah. Ah don' believe that ya evah told the professor the names of ya family.

{A long silence follows. Joseph stares at his surroundings. Trying to remember as much as possible, while at the same time, trying to ignore the pain of the memories. Rogue fidgets, very uncomfortable with her abysmal surroundings.}

Rogue's POV:

{Closes her eyes.}

This place gives me the creeps. To think that so many human beings lost their lives here because of one little, mad monster. Joe......., no, Erik....... What was it like growin' up here? All alone, with no one to turn to.........I can't even begin to imagine what you went through. How could you have survived through all that?! <sigh> This is no good, girl! Ya should have never agreed to this! Who is it gonna help?!? Not Joseph. Despite what he may think, remembering this place.......this hell on Earth.......... is only going to bring him more misery. It's this place that created the darkness in him. Ain't no good evah gonna come from here!

{Opens her eyes. Notices that Joseph is nowhere to be seen.}

Rogue: Joseph!!!! *Joseph* where are you!?! Oh God, where did you go to!?! Joooseephhh?!?

Joseph's POV:

{Starts remembering some bits and pieces.}

This was my bunk. My bed. My home. For so many years........ Too many years........... How many lived in this "bunk house" over the years? How many survived? I can remember waking up some mornings to see the person next to me dead. They usually just pushed him off and took whatever was salvageable. Clothes, boots, gloves, any food he might have had stashed away. Some would even........ Eventually, his body, no, *their* bodies would just get dumped into the mass grave..................................... I helped.................... I did that!?! Just to survive?!

My parents..........died so soon after we were brought here........ It was strange, almost............... My mother *knew* the man who gave the orders to have them gunned down. She begged him to let us go. Said that she would do whatever he asked of her. He just laughed and gave the order. Saying that "we" would be his, and that she couldn't do anything about it. April tried to cover my eyes as it happened, but I wouldn't let her.

April tried to protect me afterwards, as she always did, but in the end......... she couldn't even protect herself, much less me. She was gunned down right in front of me, just like Mama and Papa were.

<someone else>:

"Makes you wonder why you get up in the morning, hmm?"

Joseph: Who?!? {Looks around for the source of the voice. Sees no one} Where are you!?! Who are you?!?

"A friend........ A friend who wants to help you. Unlike those false friends of yours, the X-Men. People who say they want to help you, but end up treating you like you are an inconvenience that they would rather get rid of. Who use you to get what they want."

Joseph: They have shown me nothing but kindness, even though I don't deserve it.

"According to them you don't.<sarcastic> Did they happen to mention that you used to work with them before? That when you supposedly "reverted to type" they were more than happy to hate you again, to fight you, to ignore that you had ever helped them at all? To ignore that you had been a friend to them when they needed you? But where were they when you needed them?! Presumed dead? Not one of their brightest of ideas, huh, Erik?"

Joseph: That wasn't me. I had been brainwashed........ for my own good.

"Brainwashed, smainwashed. Do you honestly believe that you were brainwashed the whole time? It was proven that Dr. Mactaggert's little experiment was a failure, by the X-Men themselves! The brainwashing effect wore off every time someone used their powers. Everything you did, was of your own free will. No one controlled you! They just seem to conveniently have forgotten that "little" fact."

Joseph: How do you know this? Who are you?

"I know a great deal about you, Erik. I am, really, the only friend you have right now. And if you are not careful, I am the only one who cares about what happens to you."

Joseph: Why?

"I cannot tell you right now. I will tell you when the time is right." Joseph: Why should I believe any of this? Why should I believe someone who won't show their face to me?

"You may not exactly remember me now, but you *do* know me. You have *always* known me, and trusted me. You must be very careful Erik. People will try to use you, not just the X-Men, but others as well. You need to remember everything. No matter how painful it may be. It is the only way that you will be able to defend yourself. Gardener is coming.............. He knows that you are awake. Be very wary of people who may try to befriend you, Erik, for they might work for him."

Joseph: Who is Gardener?

"You will remember who is he soon enough......... Too soon. You must be strong, stronger than you have ever been before in your life."

{She breaks contact. Amazed at how drained she is.}

I should be surprised that I am still alive after that effort. Didn't think that I still had it in me. Still, it was nice seeing him again. Will he be able to forgive me when he finds out who I really am? I had no choice in the matter. No choice at all. It wouldn't have been easy to explain to him what happened. Just *why* we were separated. I can barely understand it myself.

I know that the X-Men are good people, that they mean well. But I swear, if they hurt him. They will have deal with *me*.

Joseph: Hellooo? ........ Are you still there? .................. Am I still sane? Was I ever sane?

{Rogue enters and quickly hugs him.}

Rogue: Sugah!! Ah have been looking all over for ya! Where have you been?! Ah was worried Œbout ya!

Joseph: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to worry you Rogue. I just got caught up ................. in the memories.

{She gently puts her gloved hand on his shoulder.}

Rogue: You ok sugah, you look pale? Maybe we should get out of here.

Joseph: No, not yet Rogue. I have to go somewhere else first.

Rogue: {Afraid to ask} Where?

Joseph: To the gas chambers. I need to see it... The inside of it. Something important happened there. Something that I need to remember. Something that *directly* involved me.

Rogue: Your family was gunned down, honey, not gassed. Why do you need to go there? To put yourself through it?

Joseph: I don't know, Rogue, I just don't know. But I have to....