Wolvie Fanfiction: The Meaning of Pain

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction & Films' started by sniktsnakt, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
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    Hey, people. Long-time lurker in these parts, but just recently been catching up in participation. I noticed the fanfiction section just barely, and decided, what the heck? I'll start posting here, too.

    Starts out rough, gets better as it goes. And, of course, it's always great to hear reviews, rants, or just statements that this is being read at all. I'll just throw a few chapters up right now, just to have the excuse to stop studying for my two finals tomorrow.

    Hope you enjoy.

    Summary: He got away from them and spent the next 15 years trying to figure out who and what he was . . . an animal, the Wolverine, or the human named Logan. This is his story. Rated PG-13 for violent images and language. Features our favorite Cajun and others! (Starts movie-verse after X-3, with me trying my best to fix everything I think they messed up. We'll see how well that goes ;)).


    Chapter 1: Dear Journal, Signed Wolverine


    May 22, 20—

    I swore I’d never do this.

    I talked to Chuck some months ago, just after getting back from Alkali Lake after that dead-end lead. I wanted answers, but he said some crap about “the mind having to figure things out for itself.” To hell that he already said he’d do everything he could to help me. Instead of giving me anything useful, he gave me this.

    A damned journal.

    Even another one of his lectures would have been more useful.

    Stupid. Like writing things down might help me figure things out. Damn that idea. I’ve lived enough of life, and I ain’t one to think too much. I just get things done. Besides, I ain’t a writing man, either, and never have been. I can just see it. “Dear Diary, Signed, Wolverine.” HA! Wheels must have been crazy.

    He really was crazy, old fool. He thought I was more human than I am. He thought Jean was more human than she was, too. For a man who could read minds, he really didn’t know people that well.

    I’m just an animal, and I know better. I’ve known better. That’s why I could do it. That’s why I had to do it.

    But he’s dead now, just like all the others. At least I didn’t kill him. I didn’t have to stick these damned metal claws into his chest and rip his heart out. I had to do that, with her, and it was like ripping my own damned heart out, too. I think I’ve died a thousand times these past couple months, and thousands more before that. Died every time they died. But whatever keeps bringing me back . . .

    Who’d have thought that a mutation of healing could be so damned painful?

    Can’t get away from it, though.

    I can’t get away from who I am, from the death that tracks me. It’s always tracked me, but I’ve never cared—not before. I didn’t have anything to lose, not really. It couldn’t get me.

    I’m a survivor.

    Damn that Jean wasn’t. The professor wasn’t. Hell, even pretty-boy One-Eye wasn’t.

    It was so much easier, before all of them. Before it all.

    Damn them. Damn Xavier—giving me this damned journal. Why the hell am I doing this anyway? I already know what I know, and writing things down won’t help me remember that damned past that is forever lost to me, now, and heaven help the man who puts his grubby paws on it.

    A damned journal. Stupid. I’d ask One-Eye to burn it, smash it, or whatever he does—but he’s dead along with everyone. Damn it.


    August 14, 20—

    Damn journal.

    Stabbed the thing clean through a couple months ago and tossed it in the corner. The devil must have brought it up again. Would have been just fine never to see it again.

    Damn it all.

    It’s 2 am in the damned morning—just had another damned nightmare flash thing. Wish they’d just stop. They don’t do a damned thing, now. Stryker’s dead. I as good as killed him months ago. His damned body’s probably rotted and eaten down to nothing but a bleached skeleton by now.

    Damn him most of all.

    I guess that’s right, though, even if everything else in the world has gone to the dogs. It’s right that he’d be eaten by wild beasts, lost in those wilderness of Canada. That’s right. Shows there must be some damn hope for some damn justice in this damned world after all.

    But justice aside, he’s dead, and with him died with any hope for me to ever find out who I used to be.

    Buried in Alkali Lake.

    Maybe Stryker was right. Maybe he wasn’t lying. Maybe whoever I was before was as much of an animal as I was after. That I am now. Maybe before, I was animal enough that this damned pain would heal up and harden like my damned bones that just won’t break, no matter how much it hurts. Wish Magneto had ripped the damned stuff from me when he had the chance. Wish Jean had had the power enough to tear right through me and finally kill me off into dust and numbness. Wish it would mean something when I slice those damned metal claws into my own damned heart, trying to end it all. But it doesn’t mean a thing. Doesn’t mean a thing but more damned pain.

    Damn the cost of survival a hundred times over.

    Cause that’s what I am, now. I’m Wolverine. I’m a survivor, just like Stryker said.

    That’s what everyone sees. All the kids here are scared to death, and the damn world’s not staying too happy either. All hell’s going to be set loose—if not now, then it’ll come soon enough. Wolverine’s gotta stay tough. Unmovable. And damn Storm’s worry about me, because it doesn’t matter anymore.

    I know that death happens. Seen it too many to count, just in my fifteen years of memory. Never really thought too much of it, before. Pain was always what I hated—never death.

    But Death was a good thing. Death was The End. The end of pain.

    Damned thing’ll never come for me. All I get in its wake is that pain, damned pain. And damn me if I ever let pain stop me.

    I gotta move on. I’ve left the past. I just gotta make it leave me.


    August 16, 20—

    Damn it.

    Damned memories just won’t leave me alone, and the damned professor’s damned dead voice just won’t leave me alone, and damn Storm for her damned ‘You need an outlet’ lectures.

    So I left a damned hole in the wall of the kitchen. At least I didn’t hit Mr-I-am-a-Diplomat, though I probably would’ve felt better if I had.

    They shouldn’t be complaining, considering, especially Blue Boy. Got enough money to fix another damned hole in the damned wall, but Storm was speechless anyway, and not in a good way either. Couldn’t speak for a full damn minute. People don’t act like that, she said. Damn people. She doesn’t understand.

    You wanna hear, then? You wanna hear what a damned life I’ve had?

    Summers used to say I was dangerous. If only he knew.

    I can’t tell them. They just wouldn’t understand. They’d pity me, maybe, or be afraid, because they can’t understand how much of an animal I really am. I don’t think anyone knows—Chuck didn’t even know, really. Just Stryker, and me.

    The kids, Storm, even Beast . . . they were born human. There’s something there, I think, that just starts you off looking at the damned world like a human, no matter what they do to you. No matter that you’re a mutant.

    I wasn’t born a human. I wasn’t even born a mutant. Not in this life, that is, because everything before is Nothing.

    I’m different, even here, at Xavier’s damn school where different means normal.

    For the kids here at the school one of the greatest shocks of their lives was finding out that they were different—that they weren’t as human as they thought. That they were mutants. That they were different, and the world would hate them for it.

    The greatest damned shock of my life wasn’t finding out how different I was from all of them—but realizing, after all, that I was a damn human. That I was one of Them.

    It was the damnedest shock of my life.

    TBC . . .
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2008
  2. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
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    Chapter 2: For the First Time


    Birth is a wonderful thing. A miracle. Beautiful.

    The newborn is brought into the bright light, covered in blood and filth, its fists balled in furious confusion as it screams and roars its new-sprung lungs, its eyes squinting against the terrible, unfamiliar light. The world is a stranger, and there’s nothing bright light, fear, and a strange, terrible sensation—pain. Pain where there was nothing before. Terrible, searing, crunching pain as if life was starting the new life out with a beating—a warning of what life would hold, and of what he was bound to become.



    His body tried to scream, or breathe, and gasp, but hot, cold, burning, bitter liquid rushed into his blood-flooded lungs and choked him.

    Suffocation. Terror.

    Pain. White, deeper than bone, deeper than life itself, streaming down and cutting through his very soul as blood-darkened fluid flowed around him.

    Metal gleamed, and for the first time, cruel metal blades sprung from his knuckles.


    He reared out of his restraints, not hearing the cries of pain and terror as he struck out, snarling. He stood out of the bitter liquid, dark blood pouring off him like a curtain of rain as he struck out blindly, cutting the men around him down. They clung to him, their painful fingers slipping on his bare bloody skin as he wrenched away, leaping from them even as his blades sunk into their human flesh. They’re screams struck him, paining his ears, and the scent of blood filled his mind, as he cut them down with a frantic, furious strokes.


    He snarled. The animal rose up, and, and unbreakable metal slashed without care or precision, their only aim to get away, and to stop the damned pain.


    I don’t remember much from the beginning. Most of that’s just the dreams, or the damned flashbacks. From what I do remember, I’m glad that’s all there is. I remember the pain, the fear, the anger—animalic, wild, uncontrolled. Yeah, that damned anger was there from the beginning. Kept me alive, got me free, and carried me out of that place into the open air.


    The agony faded into a dull ache as he fled, leaving him weak and shaking as he ran down the echoing black halls, his feet sounding heavily on the hard stone. He could hear Them after him, shouting, making noise that hurt his ears and made his nose twitch at the thought of more blood, more pain.

    He didn’t know why he felt it, or what it was, but he hated it. He feared it. The animal in him snarled to get away.

    The darkness parted before him and he ran unsteadily, his feet unsure beneath his heavy body, and a great grey wall grew up in front of him, blocking his path. He stopped on his heels, jerking back to snarl at the approaching echo of footsteps chasing him, his angry breathing loud and blood-roughed in the closed space.


    He didn’t like it.

    He backed against the wall behind him, the metal cold against his bare, blood-slicked back. He snarled at the contact, leaping back and striking out to leave three deep gouges in the thick metal, but it didn’t cry out or move, not like They did.

    He stared at the gouges, something moving in the back of his mind beneath the panic and confusion.

    Open the door, damn you!

    He snarled at the strange thought, but his eyes snapped towards the unmoving wall in angry confusion, flicking his blood-soaked hair to slap against his face, and sending dark drying smears to smack across the already stained sides of his face. He didn’t know what that was supposed to mean, but something guided his hands, and he thought of sliding the wall aside, strange as it seemed. He struck out again, leaving more deep cuts through the metal. He snarled, demanding it get out of his way or die.

    It didn’t move.

    And They were coming.

    Panic filled him, and he struck again and again against the metal, and pain split his hands as new red poured down his knuckles from contact against the roughly-cut surface as he attacked it with all force and fury. It pushed outwards with a broken screech of a sigh at last, defeated enough to let him pass. He pushed it open with all of his might, and then there was light.

    He staggered back from the sudden blinding shaft, throwing his hands to shield his eyes with a harsh growl as the brightness attacked him. He shrunk back from this strange, frightening new pain, cringing against the wall in blank fear and confusion.

    Then They were there.

    Four soldiers, one already bleeding from a long strike over his arm, rounded the corner, their guns at ready. Their was a frozen moment as the four pairs of grim eyes connected with the wild and bloodstained creature before them as he shrank in the light of the sun. He froze at the sight of them, and his lips curled up in a feral snarl as he jerked around towards them, his bloodied blades rising.


    The sound of the gunshot echoed a hundred times over in the small tunnel. The bullet embedded deep in the animal’s chest, throwing him back against the wall as he staggered with a strangled gasp at the surprise of the new, tearing pain.

    He wanted to scream, to howl, but blood filled his mouth and choked the cry. Pain blinded him, filling his vision with red and terrible white.

    They were still there.

    A hand jerked out, and claws buried deep in the stone wall as he dragged himself to his feet. Blood leaked down his chin, but he lifted his eyes and snarled.


    It struck his shoulder and he staggered back again, only to throw himself forward blindly.

    He had to stop the pain. He had to stop it.


    The bullets were useless. Moments later they were shattered, and the men lay still in their own blood, their faces and bodies torn. The animal dragged himself from off the last blood-soaked body, gasping around the bitter fluid that filled his mouth, his sight, and roared in his ears.

    The bright light from the broken opening in the door filled his eyes, and he lay on his bare, bleeding stomach as he lifted his head weakly towards it as he grasped his hand over the gaping wound in the center of his chest as he struggled to stand.

    The agony was fading, like it had faded before. Strength slowly returned, and even as the pain trickled away he stood, newly clothed in blood as he stared at the light.

    Clink. Clink. Clink.


    Four hard metal chunks dropped unnoticed from his bare torso, twisted from the impact against his invulnerable bones. New sounds of echoing footsteps reached him, and while his fists clenched and his claws trembled in a mixture of furious terror and savage need to fight, he stepped forward and ran towards the light.

    The door opened grudgingly, and he stepped out, then froze at the sudden sensation of wind, of the ice-cold white snow under his bare and soaking feet, of smell of everything, beyond the almost overwhelming taste of blood on his tongue.

    The scent of new soldiers, the sound of their beating hearts reached him. He glanced back towards the known closure of the tunnel, then turned and ran into the open world, springing forward. The door groaned further open as the soldiers poured out, but he was already gone, leaping over a height of rocks to escape the terrible sound of the guns as they whistled over his head.

    He landed hard, but was already up and running as they shouted and ran after him, lifting guns to their shoulders, and loud pops struck the white, cold earth as he fled, leaving dark red marks in the snow behind him as he ran, and ran, and ran.
  3. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
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    Memories came slowly, though I didn’t even think of them as memories. Didn’t know a damn thing that was going on—probably as innocent and damn naive as a newborn. I didn’t remember anything, and even when I was just running away from them, the confusion of my awakening faded and I knew just the Cold, the Pain of my bare skin and feet and hands as I scrambled over frozen snow and damned sharp rocks. I learned the names, in a way, but didn’t think of what they meant. They just Were. I knew Pain. Fear. Those who chased me were Men, who carried Guns, the loud, metal damn pain-givers that I grew all-too-familiar with in those early days. The redness was Blood, and it meant more Pain. I knew I was hunted, though I didn’t know what to call it, or why. I just knew, somehow, that I was not going to let them catch me again.


    The wood was still, as if the cold frost that hovered over the white, brittle branches was holding its freezing breath. Distantly, surreally, a faint bird’s song twittered out of the silence, though it quickly went still as well as if even it felt the damp spirit of the wood.

    There he crouched between the grey trees, almost invisible for his own darkstained stillness. Completely unmoving save for the slight rise and fall of his bare chest, and the white mist that left his mouth at each exhale.

    He was crouched there, his arms around his bare chest and his bloodstained face bowed. Bare feet had sunk into the freezing snow, and now were pressed together as he knelt there as if for some lonely seeking of warmth. He was shivering, but he hadn’t stopped shivering since he had gotten away. Maybe he never would stop.

    The snow hurt, but not as bad as the guns and the men. His feet, hands, and body had bled more than once during his naked flight away from the compound, and he was already beginning to forget what had happened there, and the terrible fight he had faced in his escape.

    It didn’t mean anything to him, the noise, the confusion, the further pain and weakness as red splashed the white snow around him. He remembered it as a blur, another confused memory, uncertain what had happened except that he had gotten away.

    Forget everything but the pain, and those who had given it to him, again and again.

    Remembering only the confusion, the fear, the hatred, the pain. Remembering the terrible sound of bullets, the sound of blades cutting through flesh, the screams. Remembering the snarling of his own voice as he got away.

    He lifted his head slowly with a soft rumble of a growl in his chest as his eyes darted over the still wood, the trees, the open sky. There was no noise, no unnatural scent but for his own drying blood. They had left him alone, for now.

    He stood slowly, letting his hands fall to his sides as he looked about, breathing in the world. Breathing in the confusing, meaningless clutter of scents.

    He licked cold lips with his dry tongue, and something within him twisted unpleasantly. He put a hand to his stomach and looked down, feeling the sick twisting inside of him as he wiped his damp forehead with a shaking hand.

    He was weakening. He could feel it, now that his mind was settling and beginning to comprehend his surroundings. Something was wrong, something not exactly pain, but it certainly wasn’t pleasant.

    Grrrrr . . . . .

    He pulled his hand away from his stomach quickly, giving a warning growl. A bird fluttered over his head and he stepped back automatically, his head snapping up towards the small creature before it disappeared back into the trees.

    He stared around suspiciously for a moment, sniffing the air again before satisfied that nothing threatening was near.

    He looked back down, staring at the cold snow that hurt his feet and legs as he walked, and licked his lips again before reaching down and taking a handful in an awkward grip before lifting it to his mouth uncertainly.

    It was cold and unpleasant against his tongue, but after a moment the solid changed and pleasant liquid filled his mouth, cold and sweet, clearing out the stale taste of thick blood in his dried throat. He reached down eagerly for another fist of it, for though it was cold he could feel some strength returning to him, and his mind began to clear.

    Thirsty, something told him. It didn’t seem exactly right to be eating the snow like that. Seemed like there should be something sweeter, stronger, and a lot of it. But he took another bite of the snow and swallowed it with a snort at the bland, freezing taste.

    It would do, for now.

    His stomach was cold and frozen, but at least it was still, for now. He looked back down, folding his arms around his bare chest for warmth, and something glinted in the light of the sun.

    He paused, cautious as he saw the shine lying across his chest, then brought up curious fingers to finger the metal tag that hung around his neck. He held it up, staring at it and the marks on the smooth surface.

    The bird landed on a branch close to him, eyeing him with black beady eyes, and he looked back with a glower and a warning growl as he let fall the dogtag against his chest, already forgetting it. The bird just twittered at him and darted away for good, though he stared after the odd moving thing. After a moment he shook his head, like a dog shaking off some sprinklings of water, and pale droplets of diluted blood flicked slight marks into the snow around him.

    The wind shifted, and he went suddenly still and stiff, smelling the men who had been creeping up on him from downwind—from where he had come, and from where his blood-stained tracks led. His teeth bared in a soundless snarl, his brow furrowing and his eyes narrowing as his fists tightened at the thought of his hunters.


    Claws shot from his hands without thought and he snarled at the pain which shot from his wrist to where they broke cleanly through his skin.

    It was time to go.

    TBC . . .
  4. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
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    Chapter 3: Death and Pain


    I heard somewhere why we feel pain. Maybe from her. Jean, that is. She probably heard me muttering about it sometime. Explained something about some damn protection thing—like your body’s telling you when to stop, or a warning that you were going to die. I never really understood that—not really. From the beginning pain was just pain. Meaningless—fading quickly but leaving behind a damn ache, and a damn memory of it. It’s too bad that my damn healing factor couldn’t just do away with pain in the first place. It doesn’t mean a damn thing anyway. It never has.


    He shrunk, shivering, over the crest of a hill, hiding around the trees and his whole posture alert as his eyes darted over rock and shadow.

    He didn’t know time, but the bright light—the Sun, something told him—had come and gone, but he couldn’t have told you how many times, because Days and Nights were nothing beyond light and darkness. Time just was.

    His legs were lagging, and his breath was loud, though he warned himself to be quiet. Noise was something he learned would bring Them, though once they saw him he could use it to scare Them. His step was naturally careful, and though his skin was white from cold, he left no blood behind.

    He had learned that, too. They were following him, tracking him, perhaps by scent, but he had seen them following the terrible red that he had left behind, in the beginning. It had hurt, but he had made sure to stop and rub himself with the snow to get all the blood off that he could, so he would leave less tracks.

    They were smart. He had learned to avoid them, when he could, by using their scent, but then they would hide upwind so he couldn’t smell them, and would sit quiet so he couldn’t hear them.

    They had shot him more than once, that way. But he had learned.

    Something was wrong, though. His body felt heavy, and growl as he might, his feet wouldn’t lift as quickly from the snow, and something in the center of his body rolled and made him feel sick. He had eaten as much snow as he could, trying to quench this odd feeling, but it was no good.

    He was Tired. He was Hungry.

    But he couldn’t sleep. They were after him, and even when he paused to rest for a moment, they grew closer. He couldn’t rest, or they would catch him again.

    He walked onward, his constantly numb feet catching on sharp stones and leaving faint traces of blood behind that he couldn’t help. He managed to reach the bottom of the hill before he paused, panting as he leaned heavily against the trunk of a thick tree.

    He slid down the length of it, sitting with his back against it in the bitter cold and huddling his knees close to his chest with a soft growl as he looked about the woods. Nothing moved, not even the wind, as if aware of the strange creature in the trees’ midst.

    With another wary look around the wood, he drew up a handful of snow and sucked on it, letting it warm in his shivering mouth before he swallowed the liquid, but it didn’t settle the unpleasant rolling of his stomach.

    The glint of metal on his chest caught his eye again, and careful fingers lifted the dogtag. He sniffed it, stared at it and its metallic, empty scent, and then frowned, his brow furrowing at the letters.


    It might have come to a shock to him that he could read it, but it didn’t, because it was odd to think whether he should or shouldn’t—he just could. He just knew for a fact that that was what the strange marks on the metal said.


    Was that his name? It brought to mind something feral—something wild and dangerous.

    It could be his name. It felt . . . right, somehow.

    He leaned back with his head against the tree, letting the cold metal drop back against his bare skin. His breathing filled his ears, and while he was so cold his whole body ached with it, weariness soon overtook him, and he slept.


    Hunger, pain, thirst, sleep. Most people just grow up with them, with the words, with what they mean. But I remember the discovery of the power of sleep when my damned eyes couldn’t stay open and I fell asleep despite my best efforts. I remember waking up from sleep the first time from the throes of my first nightmare to confusion. Cut right through the tree I was sleeping by without even thinking, and nearly got crushed by it. Reality, dream, and fading memory were the same in my confusion, and I didn’t dare sleep for days for fear that the darkness would once again transport me back to the room and the agony of it.

    I didn’t understand the pain of my hunger, or the growing weakness of my body. It wasn’t until I came across a wolf pack devouring a cold, hard carcass that I realized that snow was not enough to live off of. I tried to approach the animals, but they attacked me. I attacked them and chased them off, weak as I was, and though I didn’t like the damn blood that they’d left all over the place I tried to eat what they had left behind.

    My first meal ever was stolen from a wolf pack and eaten off the ground with my teeth and claws, like the wild animal I was.

    Like a wolverine.


    The red meat was not gone, but a pleasant sensation left him feeling stronger and better than he had . . . ever. He stood from the mess of red, his hands stained and his face sticky, like it had been in the beginning, when his own blood had begun to dry on his face.

    He moved away, licking his lips as he sat on his haunches, lifting the cold, biting snow and wiped off his hands, his feet, his mouth.

    He couldn’t leave tracks.

    He paused for a moment, looking down at the red mess of the slaughter he had feasted from. Food. Experience of his returned thirst again and again told him he would be hungry again, and he didn’t know how to get more.

    Blood. He could smell it. He had eaten it, with the meat, and the bitter taste still lined his mouth. The same sort of smell he recognized whenever he buried his claws into one of his hunters.

    He was hesitant to leave this place, however, where he knew there was food. Yet the men were still behind him, he was sure. He hadn’t heard them for some time, though—since he had hid in a small, dark cave under a rock, curled up against a freezing blizzard that made his toes and fingers break open and bleed before sealing back closed, but leaving them aching.

    He didn’t know why it did that. He didn’t know why he bled, or hurt, but he knew he didn’t like it, or the cold. It gave him pain, and though it went away soon after, he didn’t like it.

    Finishing with his rough cleaning and licking the last traces of moisture from his seemingly-constantly-numb fingers, he looked down at one of the wolves that he had hit with his claws.

    It hadn’t moved from where it had fallen. None of the ones he had hit had.

    Its belly was sliced open, spilling its fresh meal and its own slashed innards over the snow, and its fur was thick with blood that stained the snow underneath. Its eyes wide and unseeing. He inched towards it cautiously, with a warning growl towards the still creature, but it still didn’t move. It didn’t even twitch with fear or caution.

    It didn’t smell right.

    He bent down, sniffing it.


    The pain in his fist was sharp, but familiar now, and he knew it would disappear soon enough. Life was pain, and because he didn’t understand it he didn’t wonder. It just was, like the cold, like the hunger, like the thirst and the men hunting him. Like the dogtag around his neck that he knew gave him the name of the Wolverine.

    He held one bladed-fist forward as he reached out a cautious hand towards the wolf. Slowly his hand reached down, brushing the fur, and finally resting on the cooling flesh of the body.

    It still didn’t move.

    He pushed at it, then prodded at the stiffening flesh with the tip of his claws.

    Nothing. No sound of the heart or scent of feeling or fear. Nothing.

    Just stillness.

    The belly didn’t heal itself upwards, not like he had seen his own torso mend together within moments of a terrible wound, again and again. The breath didn’t start again.

    He took the risk to stay close by that night. He curled up under the roots of a fallen tree to sleep, and while it wasn’t as warm as his cave the night before, it was well enough. He returned to the feeding place before the sun rose, and saw that the wolves were still there.

    Dead. Frozen. They smelled like the mess of blood and shredded meat he had fed upon the day before. And then he began to understand.

    They weren’t going to come back. They were gone. Dead. Forever.

    No healing, no end of pain. They weren’t like him. To stop the pain, they had to stop it all. The end.

    He looked towards the shredded mass of red from which he had eaten before, recognizing the scent of blood.

    For the first time in his life he saw Death—or, at least, for the first time he looked it in the face and beginning to understand the truth.

    Death. And he had done it. He had Killed it.

    And the men, who hunted him. He had killed some of them too. He had to have. He had heard them scream and cry and fall on the snow and lie still, just like the wolves. He just hadn’t understood what it meant.

    But now he knew.

    A part of him snorted. Death Was, like the snow, the cold, the hunger. It was life.

    But the thought made another part of him shiver. He wanted to run, to cry, to scream and howl at the thought and terror of it. But instead he gave a low snarl and stalked forward, leaving the dead wolves. He ate his fill from the now-frozen carcass of whatever the wolf pack had been feeding on, and then tested the wind before running forward again, following the stale scent and rough tracks of the wolves in the melting snow.


    I’d guess I followed those wolves for weeks. The scent of the men who had followed me grew old and eventually vanished completely. Yet they were never far from my mind, even as the memory of my beginnings continued to fade into nothing.

    I realized I had killed them, those men I had struck at in the blur of memory that made up the whole of my existence. I had killed them, burying my cold pale blades into their damned hearts and ending them for good. And it seemed that their only goal was to try and kill me.

    I didn’t regret killing them. I never have.

    I watched the wolves, followed them, found how they found shelter, and hunted. I saw the deer, saw the wolves outsmart and kill the creatures, saw them rip into the innocent pale throats and fling the blood all over each other, the trees, the snow.

    I never killed one of the wolves again, but continued to feed from their hunt, though the meat was cold when I got to it, every time.

    I tried hunting myself. I can’t remember the number of times I failed—either by just scaring off the damn creatures, or being too damned slow to catch them as I darted across the snow, naked and cold.

    I was not a wolf. I knew it, even then. I was not the deer we hunted, or the rabbit. The bark the deer ate, and the kind of dry grass that those we hunted ate made me sick. Meat alone sustained me, and the animal in me wanted fresh meat. It wanted to hunt.

    I made my first kill on the hunt by climbing a tree waiting. Hunger made me patient, until a doe grew near and I leaped on it, stabbing it deep and shredding it until its heart stopped. I ended up stabbing myself in the knee and getting half trampled, but I was triumphant. I was a hunter. I was a survivor. I ate the deer hot, while its blood was still warm and flowing, and the wolves ate after I did, that night.

    Damn wolves taught me more about life and death than any of the men did.

    TBC . . .
  5. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
    Likes Received:

    Chapter 4: Hunter and Hunted


    Pain and hunger were my only constant companions that winter. I watched one of the wolves die—too damn tired and hungry to last the damn bitter cold of the winter, and their companions ate him so quickly there was nothing left for me. Saw my own fingers grow black, only to heal again and again. I grew weak, and in the cold of the winter I decided to leave them. I was a damn survivor then, too. I would not die no matter how weak I got—not by injury, cold, or hunger. I didn’t need their company, and so I headed out to the cold white world—alone again.

    It was not long after I left them that I smelled man again for the first time in a length of time that yet had no meaning for me, yet seemed so far distant. Yet my fear and memories remained. My first reaction was to flee, but I smelled meat. I was so hungry and so damned weak that it took over even my caution.


    The meat sat on the ground, untouched and cleanly cut, unlike the times that he had eaten with the wolves. The scent of man had passed into the trail and snow, but now he stood cautiously, sniffing and looking about thoroughly for any trace of the animal that might have killed the meat and left it.

    He had never seen anything like it.

    Yet he could smell nothing, and there seemed to be no imminent danger. He drew out his claws anyway, and crouched down with a soft growl as he inched forward slowly, his mouth watering at the sight and scent of the meat.


    Fire shot up his leg as metal ripped into his calf and jerked against his metal-plated bone. He howled and leaped away, only to give a terrible snarl as the steel teeth dug deeper into his leg, catching him and tearing him, and scattering red droplets like rain around him as he fell, his bare back cold and freezing on the icy snow.


    Sharpened blades cut through the chain biting him to the ground and he scrambled back, snarling at the pain until he was a safe distance from the now-forgotten meat.

    Blood poured down his leg, and odd metal teeth clamped deep into his muscle, creating a jagged, deep tear in his calf.

    He snarled and growled as he tore the teeth open with his claws, forcibly wrenching the sharp tearing things from his ragged flesh. He tossed it aside, holding his leg and whimpering softly as he waited until it was healed.

    The pain went away slowly, though he sat shaken, but newly afraid and therefore furious.

    Man had done this. The hidden teeth had been a trap, hiding beneath the snow harmlessly, so that he hadn’t seen it before it had been too late.

    Man had hurt him again.

    He shredded the trap into slivers of metal, then went about the area carefully and set off four remaining traps hidden there—shredding them and ripping into the earth, the trees, and the metal in his wild fury.

    His anger finally abated, he stole the meat and setting into his prize with absolute unrestraint brought on by near starvation.


    Damned hunter trap. I never stepped in one again, and damn it if I didn’t become the best damn trap-thief north of the border. I even found other animals that had been less fortunate, dead or dying, and was able to steal and eat those as well. It was a good time—a better time, at least.


    Wolverine sat hunched in the new, shallow snow that had fallen the night before, his eyes narrowed as he watched his prey—the two targets he had been following for some time now, and had watched them time after time as they’d made this familiar trip up and down the land, setting up their traps.

    They were dressed in heavy furs—he could smell the stale, old scent of dead things easily, though it didn’t hide their hated scent. They were warm and human, and carried guns. It was the guns that had kept him from killing them straightaway the first time he had seen them, but he had grown bolder over time, and now he drew close enough to hear their meaningless mumbles and growls.

    He had already considered more than once simply going down and killing them. Their guns might cause pain, but it would go away, and the hatred that burned and growled in his throat at the sight of them would be satisfied. But he had recognized that these men somehow caught the meat that kept him fed, and being fed kept the anger in him content to wait.

    So he watched them, making note of their placement of the traps, of their wariness.

    They were afraid of him.

    Were they hunting him?

    He didn’t know, but he was damned sure that they would never be able to catch him. Not these two, anyway. He was sure of that. Memories kept him wary nonetheless.

    But he had never come this close before. Their growls were more distinct, but dull and almost constant, unlike the wolves’ growls and howls.

    He could hear them.

    “Here’s another one,” one of the men said, and Wolverine twitched, cocking his head at the sounds that were so familiar, yet strange. Almost as if he might be able to understand, if . . .

    “Damn it,” the other swore, lifting the broken trap from where it lay amidst a dark stain of blood. He looked around warily, hefting his gun. “It’s not natural, I tell you. Something wild’s got onto our traps—something devilish. Remember?”

    Of course they both remembered that trap they had found, some weeks back—shredded and bloodied as it was, and the bait gone. None had been ripped to shreds like that since, but there were clear signs of their catches being stolen, and now and again the traps came up oddly twisted or scratched, as if some wild animal had ripped into it to open it.

    But no wild animal could tear through solid steel with its claws like that.

    The scent of their fear rose as they looked around, and a soft rumble of a growl rose in Wolverine’s chest, thought too soft for them to hear.

    “Let’s go.”

    The hunters moved, and for once Wolverine let them go, though he stared after them, his brow furrowed.

    ‘Something devilish.’

    He knew what that meant, somehow. And he didn’t like it.

    But he didn’t think too much about it as he turned away from where the men had walked in their clumsy, slow, large feet. Sure, the feet helped them walk on the snow like the scrawny rabbits and hares he had learned he could catch, if he was lucky, but it was different from the men who had hunted them, before, who had sunk into the snow but been able to move more quickly. It was strange, but he didn’t have an explanation for it.


    The weather was not quite so cold—or maybe I was just numbed to it by then. The hunters practically gave me breakfast in bed every morning, and though I was almost always hungry, at least I wasn’t starving. I found a small cave and found I could sleep there for some warmth, and might have been—well, if not happy, at least settled. It didn’t last forever, though. It wasn’t long before I stole some meat from a trap and ate it only to find that it was laced with some sort of poison. I was damned sick, and near coughed up my damn lungs before the end. Thought I was good as dead for sure, but I lived on anyway. Started to wonder if I even could die, except by those damned hunters in the shadows of my memory who hunted me like a rabbit, or a deer—perhaps to cut me open, to rip me open like I ripped open that first deer that I killed. I was sure they wanted nothing more than to eat me damn clean down to my damn bones.

    And damn you if you laugh about that, because there’s nothing funny about it.


    Logan paused, lying on the carpeted floor next to his bed and holding a pen in a hand that seemed like it should have been more awkward, but it wasn’t. He lifted his head, sniffing as he looked towards the door. His sleep-ruffled hair seemed to stand up in its odd style even more sharply than usual.

    There was a soft knock—one which probably wouldn’t have even been audible for a human. A moment later the doorknob slowly turned, and the door opened a crack.


    A small face bearing two wide, shining green eyes peeked around the door.

    It was little Kylee, the youngest of the students at the school and barely seven years old. She’d been found abandoned in New York—left alone after she had started to grow a distinctive layer of tabby-colored fur. Now her eyes had grown pupils like that of some sort of feline, which were currently wide in the dim light and from fear. Her eyes went to the empty bed, and her nose twitched as she sought out the missing man.

    Logan stood from the other side of the bed, and the girl ran forward on short legs and wrapped her arms around his waist.

    “Bad dream, kid?”

    He rested a hand on her short-cut, strawberry hair that reminded him so much of someone else. The girl didn’t pull away, but nodded soundlessly.

    Logan lifted her up easily and swung her onto his tangled sheets. Distant thunder echoed outside his window, heralding some coming storm, and he wondered if this was natural, or if perhaps Ororo was having a bad dream herself.

    There were times, ever since the professor died, and Jean . . . The weather just wasn’t right.

    Logan couldn’t say he blamed her, though.

    He pulled the sheets up around the little girl and sat down next to her, brushing her hair from her eyes with large fingers. “Well, you fall on back ta sleep now, Tiger.”

    The girl nodded, her eyes already drooping as she curled her fingers over Logan’s bedsheets, breathing out a long, soft purr. He pulled his hand away, just watching her as her breathing evened out towards sleep.

    He bent down silently, lifting the notebook and pen from the floor and lying on the bed next to Kylee as he opened it again, frowning at the page unseeingly.

    He hadn’t known Kylee very well, before, but apparently her age and size had endeared her to Jean and Scott. She had been able to get away from the soldiers, that fateful night when the school had been attacked, but had lost a mother that day. Scott had disappeared not many weeks after, and Kylee had been left an orphan once again.

    No one could say why she had immediately bonded with the gruff Wolverine. She’d been withdrawn and gloomy for weeks, and he had come across her huddled in Scott and Jean’s room about a month after it had happened. They’d had a short chat and the girl somehow ended up asleep in Logan’s arms, and he asleep beneath her.

    Was the first good sleep he’d had since he’d—killed . . . her.

    Cut his claws right through her heart.

    Since then, it was an almost nightly occasion to hear the feline-ish girl’s soft footsteps, her barely audible knock, and then her soft sniff as she scented him out. More than once he’d come back from his nightly haunts and found her huddled up in his covers, soundly asleep.

    He rarely slept when she was there, though. Not on the bed, at least. He remembered all too clearly waking up from one nightmare and finding himself in another—that he had speared Rogue right through her chest.

    Just like Jean.

    Damn it.

    Damn memory. Another one that would never go away, and kept his sleep fearfully light as he listened for another uninvited visitor to his room.

    Even locking it didn’t do any good, seeing as Kitty had shown up more than once just by walking right in. Near scared him out of his boots, having her pop out like that.

    “What’re you doing?” Kylee asked, and Logan looked over sharply.


    The girl’s odd green eyes looked befuddled as she cocked her head to the side in confusion.

    “Mr. Scott always said you were ‘ee-lit-trate.”

    Logan snorted and his lip curled. “Damn boy scout didn’t know a—” He cut himself off with another snort and a glance at the girl, whose eyes had grown wide as saucers at the curse word she knew he had cut off. “Go to sleep now, or you’re off to your own room, and I don’t care—those kitty-cat eyes of yours are useless tonigh’, kid.”


    Thunder echoed their words and Kylee burrowed deeper into his covers, burying her chin into the warmth there.

    “’Night, Wolvie.”

    “’Night, darlin’.”

    Logan watched her until he was sure she was asleep, the glow of the light soft on her young face. His gaze was drawn towards the window where a sheet of furious rain had begun to whip out its wrath on the world beneath.

    TBC .. .
  6. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
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    Okay, taking a break. Might post a couple more chapters after I study for another hour.
  7. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Break from studying.

    I really hate finals.

    I thought I saw some hits on here. I'd love to hear if you guys are interested!


    Chapter 5: Spring


    The men had disappeared shortly after his illness with the poisoned meat, and when he followed their scent he found an odd sort of place—a cabin—but they were gone and the place was empty and dark and stank of men. He didn’t want to stay there, and didn’t grieve their disappearance long, because he had learned not to trust the damned men or their damned food anyway, and he couldn’t sleep with the scent of them all around him, even if the habitation was warmer than his usual hide-outs. He moved on.


    I’m not a nature-lover. Not one of those “I’m-goin’-out-to-find-myself-in-the-wilderness” kind of people. See, I already tried that, right in the dead of the winter, and it wasn’t a pretty thing. But as winter turned to spring I found time to think around the once-constant damned cold. The world’s a damn beautiful place, if you don’t think about the blood, the pain, the killin’ that runs the whole damn thing.

    It really is a damn beautiful place.


    Meat became scarce again after he left the trapper’s trail, but not so much as before, and he was strong. He traveled day by day, hunting when he could, and the world began to change.

    The constant whiteness began to melt away. Beneath that, odd green things began to grow from the dirt underneath, and the grey trees began to grow buds.

    The world smelled different.

    He found a river, and though the roaring white current frightened him, and didn’t move despite his snarls and a furious swipe of his claws to the depths. But he found the water there a thousand times more satisfying than ten times as many handfuls of snow, and while it chilled him, the cold was less sharp than the white crystals.

    His bare feet trod more easily on the damp brown dirt. The air was softer against his winter-numbed skin, and feeling began to return to his fingers, and the awful, painful black burning of his skin faded away for good.

    Food became more plentiful, and his maddening drive through the dead, winter-still woods slowed as he gazed about, almost overwhelmed by the explosion of sight and scent and sensation.

    The past continued to fade. His beginnings were already all but lost in the fight for survival, and even winter’s terrible memory of struggling survival amidst the pain was passing in the face of spring.


    Spring seemed like damned heaven to me. Near forgot everythin’ ‘cept eatin’, drinkin’, an’ sleepin’. A dog’s life.

    But I grew restless and continued my journey, though I had no idea where the hell I was headed, or what I was lookin’ for. Just knew that the world grew warmer, greener, and after some days, the scent of man crossed my path again.

    I was more than a little tempted to turn back righ’ then and stick to the wilderness, but I had grown stronger in spring, and though I knew pain, I had defended myself from men, wolves. . . I even killed a damn grizzly that was trying to steal one of my kills. I wasn’t invincible. They hurt me—all of them did—but I always healed—and I always won.

    I was wary. I’d learned how to be cunning, like the damn trap that had caught my leg in the damn cold of the winter. I had learned to think like the greatest hunter, but also to avoid fighting the mountain lion when the deer would be an easier kill, and more filling. But I was no longer afraid. Of anything.

    I was the best at what I did, and I knew it already.

    So I walked right past that first scent of man, and moved past it. They were just another animal—another prey, or perhaps a predator, but one that could die. One I had killed, and knew I could kill again.

    I saw three of them, just walking through the woods. Figured they must be like wolves—hunting together, but they didn’t notice me and I wasn’t hungry, so I let them go.

    I can’t say the same for the next ones, though.


    Wolverine strode through the brush almost silently, his lithe and filthy form blending naturally into the wood. His hair had been roughly cut back with his claws, and his beard cut back into rough muttonchops. The remnants of his meals were too hard to clean from his chin and upper lip with the thick, long hair there.

    He was constantly alert to any danger or possible meal, but for now he was relatively relaxed as he moved, pausing only occasionally to listen more closely to a sound that had caught his attention, his nose twitching at the host of scents around him.

    The wood was pleasantly quiet, comfortable now with a new predator that was likewise comfortable in its presence. He paused to sniff at a tree, recognizing this as the territory of a wildcat, and a big one at that. He moved on, more wary, but not overly so.

    Big cats were wary of him too, and for good reason. Still, he would have to be careful to try and pass peaceably, if they happened upon each other.

    The sun was getting high, and the Wolverine was beginning to long for a midday nap next to the languid river he’d been following since before the sun had risen. He yawned and shook himself, then began searching for a safe place to let his guard down . . .


    Fire shot up his arm like the slice of the bear’s claws. He dropped to the ground automatically with a snarl, furious at the pain but unheeding to it.


    He knew this pain. He knew the guns.


    The Wolverine shrank into the brush, almost disappearing as he waited, forgotten memories rising as waves of hatred, fear, and fury as blood dripped down the length of his arm.


    Wait. He had to wait. He was a hunter, not the hunted. Not anymore.


    The man was a stupid man. Like a rabbit, moving too far from its hole. He ran forward, the gun held loosely in his hand. Wolverine wrinkled his nose at the bright orange clothes he wore and snorted softly.

    Was it a warning? Was he poisonous, or was he so bold so as to think that any animal would flee rather than attack him?

    How could he not have seen him, even if the man had been hidden downwind?

    Annoyance at himself made his eyes narrow. A low growl rumbled in the depths of his throat. The pain was his own fault. He had grown soft, with the coming of spring.

    “Got anything?” another man called from where he was still hidden in the bush.

    Damn, fool men. They thought they were the hunters.

    “Swear I got something—a bear, maybe.”

    The man drew close, looking around.

    The wolverine struck.

    The man didn’t even have time to scream. Nine inch blades buried clean through his chest, and a hand over his mouth stifled the sound save for a muffled gurgle as he fell.

    “Oh, ****!”

    Fear. He could smell it on the other man, as he raised his gun and shot wildly. Fear made the shot go wide.

    It didn’t matter one way or another. Red filled the wolverine’s vision as a rage overtook him.

    He leaped forward, slicing the gun clean through the barrel. The man screamed like a dying rabbit, but then that cry was cut short and the man fell, his blood bubbling in his throat as he convulsed on the ground. One last strike and he went still.

    Wolverine’s mind and eyes cleared slowly, and he came to himself as he stood bloodstained over his latest kill.

    He stepped back, shaking with the rush of the kill and the remnants of a rage that he didn’t understand.

    He had felt the rage before—when fighting the bear, when it had mauled him across the chest and ripped him deep. It had taken some time for him to heal from that one.

    With a half-snarl, the Wolverine shook himself and turned back to his kill.

    Its blood was already seeping in to the dirt beneath the corpse. He turned it over, readying his claws as he sniffed at the fresh blood.

    And he stopped.

    He was hungry. He hadn’t eaten for a day, now, since he had killed a deer and stuffed himself on it and had to sleep it off for half the day and night. It was hard to travel and still stay fed.

    But the thought of eating this man made something odd in him turn upside down, like the poison he had once consumed with the meat from the trap.

    He shuddered, turning away from the body. The scent of blood suddenly seemed foul and bitter.

    His claws retracted, and his skin quickly moved over to seal up the wounds left behind. He absently rubbed his knuckles as he glanced back at his latest kill, smearing the small spots of fresh blood from both himself and the man over his fingers.

    Maybe the orange color was a warning. Maybe the body was poisonous, and instinct alone warned him not to eat it.

    He just knew something wasn’t right.

    He shook himself with a soft growl and turned to the river.

    The river was slow here, and he cleaned the blood from his hands carefully, letting the cold numb the dull ache from where his claws had contracted. Before it hadn’t bothered him, and it still didn’t much, but without the numbness and constant pain of winter, he had learned he didn’t like even that small remnant of pain.

    Pain was a part of life, but that didn’t mean he had to like it.

    He drank deeply from the stream, lapping straight from the river before splashing some over his face to shock himself from the churning of his stomach. He shook himself, letting the droplets fall back down into the cold water. He wiped the moisture from his eyes, then froze in mid-gesture as he caught sight of something in the water.

    A man!


    Flawless blades buried themselves in the river, cutting through cleanly and rising up into the air again without striking anything solid and soaking him from his blind lunge. Wolverine reeled back, panting as he perched over the water, his fist raised for a killing stroke as he searched for his target that had impossibly evaded him.

    He snarled at it, daring for it to emerge, his nose twitching as he searched for the elusive scent.

    There he was!

    The man was ready to attack—his hand raised over his head and three sharp claws ready to strike . . .

    But no. It rippled, like a dream, like cold winter-mist. Yet he could see the image, as the arm slowly lowered, mirroring his own.

    He bent down with a low growl, sniffing at it, watching as the man did the same.

    He looked different than a man, though. His chest was bare, his hair wild, and something gleamed over its chest . . .


    He reeled back and the man disappeared from the water. Something hit him then. Strong, like a memory, laughing at him.

    It was a reflection—showing the trees above his head, the sky, the clouds. He turned sharply with a snarl, searching for the man that must have been standing behind him, but the wood was silent and still. He turned back to the water, and saw the man in the river—the reflection—do the same.

    It was him.

    His reflection was a man.

    A plain, clear voice spoke out the implications of that.

    If his reflection was a man . . . then he must be a man.


    He turned away with pitiful mix of a howl and a snarl, his fists still clenched tight and his claws gleaming in the sunlight. He ran back to the men he had killed, staring at the bodies.

    The last one he had gotten to was too broken—its face was a ruined mess, its torso ripped too much. So he went to the first one, drawing close cautiously as he stared at the corpse.

    Staring at the man’s hands, at his own hands, which seemed so similar, though his were larger and still damp from the river water.

    The only differences were the claws.

    He let them vanish, let the pain fade. Turned the cooling arm over to compare the workings of the veins that ran beneath his skin. His hands shook, and with a feverish intensity he moved forward, ripping open the man’s shirt to see his bare chest, bloodied and torn as it was—staring at his face as he traced his own rough features.

    No claws. No paws, no fur like the wolf or the deer or the mountain cat.

    He was . . . a man?

    He was a man!

    He tasted bile in his throat and turned away to retch.




    Damn. Damn.

    Hell, there’s no way I can tell anyone what that felt like.

    Damn humans, can’t even understand something like that. Can’t understand how it feels to open your eyes and see in the mirror your worst enemy.

    Except maybe the kids here. Mutants don’t exactly have a good name, to outsiders, and they had to wake up one day to seeing that in themselves. These kids have lived through more than most damn people should ever have to.


    TBC . . .
  8. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
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    Well, this is the last chapter for tonight. I've done cramming, and I'm off to bed.

    If there's any response to this by tomorrow maybe I'll post a few more.

    Good night.


    Chapter 6: Logan, the Wolverine


    Ororo stepped down the hall, rubbing her forehead as the thunder sounded over the house. She half expected to run into the Wolverine’s dark, wandering person. He paced during the day, went to bed late, paced during the night, and woke up early to pace the grounds again, like a restless wolf in a cage. She wondered sometimes if the man ever even slept.

    Maybe he didn’t need to. He was as disrespectful and snappish no matter how much—or little—sleep he seemed to get.

    She didn’t understand why he had stuck around this long anyway. He didn’t spare an opportunity to remind her that he didn’t need this lousy school, and he never bothered to answer her questions on why he stayed. He just would grunt and turn away, reaching for a cigar, or simply shrug.

    “That’s just how life’s playing out right now, darlin’,” he’d say, and go on with his business.

    Always his business. It didn’t matter if he was working in the danger room, or helping the older students or newest graduates-turned-X-men with their conditioning and training. It didn’t matter if he was sitting on the steps with a cigar between his fingers and a suspect bottle next to him or if he was fixing the drain beneath the kitchen sink—it was his business.

    So he didn’t like her very much. She couldn’t honestly say that she liked him very much either. They were complete opposites: Storm, the goddess of the elements, in control, the life-lover, and the Wolverine—a weapon, an animal, a killer. Wild. He made her wary, and it was not rare for her to wonder if it was safe to have him around the children at all. He scared some of them, she knew . . . And, deep deep down, maybe he scared her, too.

    So he had come and gone amidst the ranks of the X-Men for more than a few missions between his own personal quests—traveling from New York to Genosha to who knows how many run-down towns across America. But he was still there, most of the time—simply showing up to breakfast some mornings after missing for a week or two without a word of greeting. And he had been sticking around more and more, as time went on. In fact, she didn’t think he’d gone off on his own for two months now—a new record, for sure.

    He’d helped them out of hotspots more than once. She—along with many of the students—owed him their lives more than a few times over. Besides, Xavier had seen hope for him.

    That’s why she let him stay, for now.

    She wondered how she could force him to leave and never come back, if it came to that.

    Storm paused when she passed his door, spying the soft lamplight filtering out beneath his door and causing a break in the dancing pattern of the rain on the window as it reflected down onto the floor.

    That was odd. In his room or wandering, the Wolverine never seemed to bother to turn on the light unless someone did it for him.

    She stepped forward and noticed the door was open a crack—another cause for concern. Everyone knew that Mutant High’s local feral valued his privacy above almost everything else, and the slight crack in his territory made her wary.

    She put a soft hand on the door and pushed it open silently. Thunder pealed outside, and Storm readied herself for whatever might be inside the room.

    She stilled as her eyes fell upon the two inhabitants of the large bed.

    The top of Kylee’s red hair could be seen fluffing out from under Logan’s covers as she lay curled up to the man beside her. Next to her the Wolverine lay sprawled on his stomach, his hand still loosely clenched around a pen, and a thick notebook working as a makeshift pillow against his hairy jaw.

    That startled her more than Kylee’s presence. It was well known that the little girl had become a sort of foster-daughter to the burly, savage man, despite the contrast of her sweet pleasantness and his own constant grumpiness. Even though, it did worry her to see the girl in the same room as the Wolverine as he slept. She couldn’t forget what had happened to Rogue; though the months had long since faded the horror that he had actually stabbed the girl was still plain in her mind.

    He’d been lucky it wasn’t anyone else. He’d been lucky that she had reached out to him, almost instinctively. Luck alone had saved Rogue’s life that night from Wolverine’s innate savagery.

    Yet Rogue still seemed as comfortable around the man who had almost killed her as around anyone. In fact, if the now college-bound X-Men girl didn’t still have a crush on Logan, Storm knew nothing about girls.

    She frowned, ready to pull out of the room undetected.

    The pen . . .

    It was an odd thought—the Wolverine writing. He always seemed so gruff and crass that the thought of him reading and writing was practically absurd. Her surprise only grew when she saw that the thick book had a fair few pages filled, and the page he slept on was half-covered with his crooked, but again surprisingly neat hand. She carefully bent down, curiosity overcoming the danger of sneaking up on the dangerous mutant.

    There were three distinctive gouges clean through the center of the book, but the words skipped around the rough tears that had clearly been made by the man’s own claws.

    ‘That’s what makes my claws itch. Damn parents and families turning against their own kids, turning them out like trash. Like Kylee here, the tiny little fur ball—barely six when they tossed her on the streets, to live or die. At least I could take care of myself, and it wasn’t any friend or family that did this to me. I don’t think so, anyway. No damn way to be sure.’

    And that was all. The rest was covered with his face or sprawled arm, and Storm didn’t feel daring enough to try to move him to read more.

    The Wolverine. A wild beast, even according to Hank. The mansion’s feral. Heartless, some said. An animal at best, and dangerous without a doubt. The mansion had more than one gash or hole in the wall from his claws and fists, and even if they’d been plastered up, painted over, and hidden—they all had seen them.

    He—this haunted, snarling werewolf—had a journal, and even if it was about as vulgar as his normal speech, there it was.

    Storm retreated cautiously, beating down her curiosity as she silently turned off the light and closed the door behind her.

    What else did the Wolverine keep hidden in his personal journal?

    She was pretty sure she’d never know.
  9. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
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    Logan was up early and grumpy, as usual. He stalked into the school’s kitchen, helping himself to an almost ridiculously massive mug of coffee. He took a deep swig, grimaced, and sat down heavily at the table, apparently completely oblivious to his yawning, blurry-eyed, but clearly cheerful miniature shadow that plopped down next to him at the table and reached over a small hand for the bacon. She couldn’t reach the plate of waffles, so Logan reached over and snatched one for her before plopping it on her plate without so much as a glance at her. The girl didn’t seem to mind, though, and cheerfully doused the whole thing with a savage amount of syrup and strawberries.

    Storm stood in the kitchen doorway, letting the still-waking-up students pass as she watched the burly man and his young companion. Rogue came over and plopped down next to him with Bobby on her other side, and the students filled in around them.

    It never ceased to amaze her that no matter how gruff, rude, and just plain frightening the Wolverine could be, somehow he had become a central part of the children’s lives.

    He had saved them from Stryker’s men.

    Storm may have taken her place as the responsible leader of the school, but whether she liked it or not, Logan had stepped up beside her, and maybe even above her in the team of the X-Men.

    He didn’t even seem to notice.

    But that was part of him. Wolverine would probably balk at any official leadership, but when it came to decisions it often came down to it that he simply took charge. If some of the kids got in a fight often enough he was the one to step in and break it up as soon as he felt that it got out of hand. He was the one that always seemed to notice when one of the kids was off in his own thoughts and thinking too hard about their recent losses, and while one would think that his hard exterior would frighten the kids or make them close up and shrug him off, for some reason they almost always opened up, even if there were some that he just seemed to bash heads with again and again and again, and others who seemed simply terrified of him. There were just a very, very few who still seemed terrified of him and made it clear they weren’t comfortable being in the same building as him.

    Ororo sighed, her brow furrowing slightly as she worried about those ones.

    But even those disliked him, feared him, maybe even hated him—they still listened to him.

    She had seen him organize a cleanup of a room after an out-of-control popcorn and soda food fight, as dead serious as he divided the jobs as if he were planning a battlefield assault, and with the same businesslike air.

    He’d headed more missions since Charles’ death than Storm had.

    In fact many of the kids often seemed more comfortable with the rough Canadian than they did with Storm, and even those who didn’t like him still somehow had some sort of awkward truce. And while it made her somewhat sad, she thought she understood.

    She was the mother. She had to lay the ground rules, now, and expect them to be kept.



    It happened in a fraction of a second. Kurt Wagner transported into the kitchen, filling the morning air with the stench of burning sulfur, and an eye-blink later Logan had stood so quickly his chair ended up halfway across the room, and his blades hovered threateningly over the mutant’s throat.

    “Dammit, elf! How many times do I have to tell you not to bamf around in the kitchen?” he growled.

    Kurt blinked, teleported out, only to appear on the other side of the table—well away from the reach of the dangerous claws. “Guten morgen,” he said, completely unfazed. “Mein gute. You must have had a bad night. You look awful.” He grabbed himself a plate and a waffle, and Logan growled out a snarling oath, which made the blue mutant blink. “Come now, mein freunde. Not in front of the children.” He looked down the table. “The berries, if you please, Varren.”

    Ten seconds later, and an occasion that might have seemed life-threatening was all but forgotten. Logan’s claws vanished and he retrieved his seat with a growling grumble, and all the curious students continued on with their breakfast.

    Storm shook her head, trying to relax the tension that had leaped into her shoulders at the sound of Wolverine’s claws being unsheathed.

    Another typical morning at the mansion.

    Why was it that so many of the kids were comfortable with him again? Oh, yes.

    Logan was the rebel—almost like an overgrown teenager himself. He was the one that fought with her about smoking in the school. He was the one who made kitchen raids in the middle of the night and helped sniff out the hidden cookies that Storm had secured away for the next day. He was the one who took the kids out into the woods and brought them out filthy and covered in mud and responded to her indignant outrage with a rare-but-very-wolfish grin and, “Let them have their fun.”

    He was the one who, although he may not die for them, he would live and fight for each and single one of those under his charge if they were in danger.

    And he would keep living, and keep fighting, no matter what. And that thought, more than anything, was powerful.

    Wolverine was one person who most the kids knew could keep them safe, if no one else could.

    He might be asocial—practically an invisible shadow lurking around and barking at whoever got on his nerves . . . but most of the kids were growing familiar with that, now. And his disinclination to chatter up a storm only made it so that when he talked, people listened. When he listened, people talked. She’d seen more than one student—young and old alike—sitting across from him on one of his favorite moon-lit windowsills, having a heart-to-heart talk in the dead of the night—them in their pajamas and Logan in his ever-constant jeans and wife beater, his wild hair creating an odd silhouette against the moonlight in through the window.

    He just had that way with people, even if in the light of day he would never own up to it. Like a rough-looking housedog—dangerous to strangers, gruff and tough on the outside, but protective as a mother lion to his own.

    Storm stifled a chuckle at that thought. That was one good thing about not having two psychics in the house, she mused with a sad smile. She could be much more creative in her mind, so long as no one else ever found out.

    She’d hate to see the destruction if Logan every found out she’d been comparing him to an over-sized, scruffy, big-pawed hound dog, albeit a feisty and sometimes just plain nasty one.

    She glanced over, frowning suddenly at the still-gaping hole in the kitchen wall from one of Logan’s more violent outbursts the day before.

    That was another thing he needed to take care of—that temper of his, which had only gotten worse since Jean and the professor’s death. But even the alarm from that seemed to be slowly wearing off of the mansion’s residents. The kids had just fallen silent, not speaking, but not exactly alarmed anymore at Wolverine’s tantrums at this point. A sort of foster-father/rebel-older-brother to them all.

    It was just Logan, the Wolverine. He just was.

    And Kurt, somehow, seemed to fit along better with all of them since his return to the institute. Even with Wolverine, though they were about as different as two men could be. Storm had seen them sitting out on the porch like good old drinking buddies more than a few times.

    Logan finished his coffee and pushed his plate away, standing roughly and yawning broadly like the animal whose name he had chosen—or that had been given to him. He shook himself soundly and pulled a cigar from his pocket, giving a last glare at Nightcrawler as he did so, but Kurt didn’t notice (or at least he tactfully pretended not to as he asked Peter to pass the milk).

    His eyes caught Ororo’s, and stayed on hers as he lit up and took a long draw, almost as if he were daring her to say something, though his eyes lacked the challenge. He just didn’t care if she protested, and didn’t care if she didn’t. He was doing it anyway. He wasn’t looking for a fight this early in the morning, despite all appearances.

    Rogue said goodbye and Logan lifted a hand briefly back at her.

    “See ya later, kid,” he muttered.

    He could have been talking to a number of them. He probably was talking to all of them.

    It didn’t matter. He would see them later. He had decided, some time ago, to stick around. Ororo wondered when that turning point had been.

    Was it before he had killed Jean, or after? Or was it way before that, when he had saved Rogue on the Statue of Liberty—or when he had seen her for the first time, alone and all but abandoned in the wilds of Canada?

    Storm sighed as he walked past her, and waited until he had padded down the hall until she swept up a slight breeze to get rid of the remaining smoke and stench from both Kurt’s coming and Logan’s cigar.

    That was the Wolverine.


    Logan strode towards his room, muttering absent greetings to the kids that passed him with their sleepy “good mornings”—except for Kitty, who smiled and met him with a cheerful, “Good morning, Wolvie!” Her younger friend, Jubilee Lee stayed in the shadow of her friend, not meeting the large man’s eyes as she kept her head low as if trying to stay invisible despite her outrageous yellow coat.

    He made sure to give her one of his darkest glares for Kitty, but she didn’t even seem to notice, though Jubilee glanced over at him and her eyes widened before she looked away and hurried away. Logan grimaced.

    He went into his room, running a hand through his still-damp hair from his morning run, before he had returned to wake Kylee and get her dressed for the day. He dug out the journal and pen that he had carefully buried under the depths of his mattress, then sat back on the floor against the bed frame and wrote.


    I didn’t know what to do, exactly. I half wanted to turn back into the wilds and just forget it all. Forget I was a man. Forget everything all over again.

    But I couldn’t. Already then, I had spent plenty of time wondering what I was, and why there weren’t others like me. Now I thought I had an answer.

    I once saw my wolf pack get in a fight with another wolf pack—something about territory, and surviving. I just couldn’t figure what I had done to make my own kind turn against me.

    TBC . . .
  10. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
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    Well, finals are over and I'm shot to death over here. I think I'm going to turn in early, but thought I'd drop off another chapter or two, just to see if I can tempt out any responses out there.

    One way or another, I hope you're enjoying this.


    Chapter 7: Out’n’Back


    He stole the man’s trousers. They were too big around the waist and a bit long, but he didn’t really notice or care.

    He found a worn leather wallet in the pocket. He sniffed it carefully, then opened it up, staring at the pictures inside.


    A human with long hair—and her shape was different. A woman.

    Two small ones—pups. No—kids. That was it. They were kids.

    Something irked the back of his mind and he turned the photos over to pull out the odd cards and papers from the wallet. He sniffed each worthless item before casting it aside with a snort.

    Credit cards, receipts . . . a driver’s license that the Wolverine stared at for a long moment, until the symbols formed together to form words.

    Read. That was it. He could read. Just like his tag—the one he had had from the beginning.

    Name: John McLellin. Birthdate 1/10/1973. Eye color: Brown. Hair: Brown. Height: 5:10”.

    He blinked at the information. A name. He paused, lifting his dogtag from his chest.

    Birthdate. . .


    Just a vague memory of pain, fear, and hatred.

    But no. That wasn’t how it was supposed to be, something told him. The little ones. The kids. Even smaller ones, like helpless pups with their eyes still closed.


    But he didn’t have any parents. He didn’t have a memory of any childhood. Time was short—limited—and all he remembered was this.

    He looked down at his fists where he knew his claws could shoot out of his knuckles. They were not a child’s hands. They never had been.

    He had never been small. He just was as he was, since the beginning.

    But that wasn’t right. That wasn’t right at all. Something was missing.

    He shook his head.

    Eye color: Brown. Hair: Brown.

    Brown. A color. Color like the world—brown, green, red, blue . . . . That’s right. He could remember color.

    He stared at the card a moment later before tossing it aside with the other useless papers. He looked up, sniffing carefully.

    Blue sky. He knew that. Somehow he had known that for a long time, he just hadn’t thought about it.

    But he was uneasy. Something moved inside of him, making him restless, making him want to hunt, or run, or sleep until he could wake up and know . . .

    Know what?

    Everything’s all wrong.

    He snarled, throwing aside the rest of the wallet aside and causing longer, lighter papers to scatter.


    He blinked at the thought, but then reached down and picked up one of the bills.


    It meant meat, water. Good, sweet water, and warmth.

    What the hell?

    He gave a low growl and sniffed at it closely, examining closely all the small print, but none of it made sense.

    Damn it.

    He crumbled up the money and let it drop to the ground. The wadded bill rested there in the dirt, unmoving and completely useless.

    Paper. Just damn, useless paper. No good out here.

    But it meant something.

    With a final grimace he snagged the bills and stuffed them roughly in his pocket.

    What the hell. It’s not like the stuff was hard to carry around.

    He walked onwards.

  11. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
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    Probably the damndest thing about people is this thing they got with their money. I’ve seen them kill each other over a handful of it. Seen them sell themselves to get it. I’ve wondered who was the first one to ever think of trading some piece of damn paper for something of worth. He must have been a damn fool. One way or another, I guess we’ve all turned out just like him.


    “Ah, come awn, Logan! We don’t need this!” Rogue complained, climbing over the rocks on which the Wolverine was standing, peering over the seemingly endless wood around them.

    “Sure you don’t,” Logan replied to that, not looking at her. “If you ever get lost in the wilderness somewhere, you’d be just fine.”

    “Then why are we here?” Bobby asked, coming up behind Rogue, who was busy glaring at Logan’s back.

    Logan gave a low growl. “Damn it, kid. It’s called sarcasm. You five wouldn’t last two days out here on your own. Not without one of those malls of yours.” He jumped down from his perch and moved forward, leading the way.

    “Oh, a mall,” Kitty sighed, reaching Rogue’s side and leaning on her heavily. “With an ice cream shop.”

    “Music shop and that one store—you know, Jubes? The one with the big cushions you can just lie in and sleep all day,” Kitty added.

    “And foot massages,” Jubilee said, shifting in her sneakers gingerly.

    Logan twitched slightly at that. “Foot massages?” he repeated to himself, his voice grumbling. What the hell?

    Yet Jubilee seemed to hear him and shrunk away.

    Damn the little brat

    She was the youngest one that had come along—mostly because of her friendship with the older students—but that didn’t mean that Wolverine had argued long and hard with Storm about keeping her back and letting him bring Colossus instead. But the strong kid had stayed behind because of his experience—just in case anything happened.

    They couldn’t be too careful, these days.

    Bobby twisted his hand, forming an odd sort of cone of snow. He bit into it. “What I’d give to be there instead of stuck out here in the middle of—”

    Suddenly he turned, stopping and crossing his arms over his layers of shirts and jacket. “All right, then,” he said. “You all think you know something, do you? Good, ‘cause this is what we’re doing. Storm’s not comin’ back for us for five days. Until then, you’re on your own.”

    “This is pointless, Logan,” Warren said. “If I ever did get stuck out here, I’d just fly until I found a road or town or something.”

    “What if you were hurt?” Logan challenged. “And damn it, kid, there are enough places out here that even you migh’ not be able to find people by, even for days. Try flying on an empty stomach for three days.”

    “Wait a minute,” Bobby spoke up. “What did you mean, we’re on our own?”

    Logan smiled, and if it was small the light in his eyes was almost gleeful, if one could describe such a look to belong to the famed Wolverine. Bobby went still—he hadn’t seen that expression on Logan’s face since before Scott Summers had gone MIA, and Logan had had something quite nasty up his sleeve for the leader of the X-Men.

    “Oh, I so saw this one comin’!” Rogue sighed.

    “Oh no,” Kitty agreed with her own sigh of doom.

    “You say you don’t need this. Fine. I’ll be ‘round, just in case. But you want to eat, you figure it out. I’m just followin’.”

    “Fine,” Bobby said, looking around at Kitty, Jubilee, Rogue, and Warren. “Follow me, I guess.” He started south.

    “No,” Rogue said. “Ah think we shoul’ head north instead.”

    Five puzzled eyes looked at her.

    “Damn it, kid, you can’t do that,” Logan muttered, looking a bit disappointed that his fun was being ruined.

    “Hey, it ain’t my fault a bit of you’s still stuck in mah head,” Rogue grinned at him. “Come on, y’all. Let’s head out. Ah may not be able to smell it, but ah’d say it looks like rain.”


    They don’t take these survival tests seriously. I guess that’s a good thing, in a way—or at least means something good about the kids. It’s hard to take something seriously until you can understand what it means, and these kids don’t understand sheer survival—not really. Not even these ones, though they know better than most. Most of them’ve been out on their own, like Rogue, or Sugar-rush over there, but it’s different to live as a person or an animal. See, an animal just needs to live to survive. A man, I’ve learned, needs much, much more than just that. These kids need more. They can’t run wild and survive out here like I did. I’ve lived out here in the wilderness. I could do it again, even put out in the middle of winter without shelter, food, or clothes. I’ve done it. But these kids . . . they need teaching. And I learned things, back then. But first they need to learn how the damn world isn’t going to stop for them just because they are at the top of the food chain, because out here there is no chain, no order. Just the land and the animal.


    The Wolverine walked on, the day after his discovery that he was a man—a deep scowl on his face as he walked awkwardly through the woods with one hand holding up his pants, which were in serious danger of slipping every time he let them go.

    He was hungry.

    But something had woken up in him, and for once in his memory, hunger just didn’t matter as much.

    He paused to drink at the river and munched on some green berries. They made his stomach churn, but at least they were something.

    He paused, wishing for the nap that had been calling for him for hours now, since he had fled the sight of his last kill.


    It was a strange word. That was it—a word. Something of a language—like the sun, and the cold, and the pain. Murder was a word too, it had meaning. It was like killing, only worse.

    It was bad.


    But they had murdered. They had wasted, killing without eating! They were bad!

    The Wolverine stopped in his tracks, scratching his head roughly and giving himself a shake with a soft snort.

    Human. He was human.

    Was he bad?

    Bad didn’t feel good. Bad was like pain. Bad was . . . killing?

    Bad was hate, and anger, and blood, and being sick and cold . . .

    He stopped again, this time in his mental tracks.

    But those were Life. Was life bad?

    What was good, then?

    Warmth. The sunlight. A long nap in the sun. Cold water, fresh meat.

    But he had to kill to get fresh meat, and he couldn’t help it if he was cold, or hurt, even if he tried not to get cold.

    Hot blood running over his hands, the joy of a fresh kill. The pain of the claws ripping through his skin as fury rose through him, snarling with animalistic joy and rage as they slashed through flesh and bones . . . These were good.

    No. They were bad.

    He snorted, running a hand through his hair.

    Damn humans think too much.

    But he was a human—wasn’t he? Was that why his head was starting to hurt?

    Humans tried to kill him—to murder him? They caused him pain, and he hated them.

    Were they bad?

    He gave a low groan, rubbing his forehead with both hands as the stolen pants slipped further down his waist and hung there precariously, unnoticed.

    He wanted to try, at least—to find out why they hunted him.

    But how?

    It seemed like he had understood the men . . . sometimes. Talking.

    He paused, lifting up his face and sniffing the still air and growling softly.

    He wanted to greet it the world. Wanted to wake things up. Wolves would growl and sniff when meeting, but what would humans do?

    He thought about it carefully for a while, standing there in the ragged and blood-stained clothes he had stolen from the man he had killed. He cast his mind back, trying to think what felt right to say.

    “Damn you.”

    The words were rough, hoarse, and almost more growled than articulated. He didn’t know exactly what they meant, and felt clumsy on his tongue, but they felt right, like growling in the face of an angry bear and daring it to attack him—and knowing he would win.

    He’d face it.

    “Damn you,” he said again, looking up to the sky. An odd feeling bubbled in his chest and he barked a laugh as he threw out his arms and shouted to the sky. “Damn you!”

    The wood went silent after his unnatural outcry, but he—the Wolverine—sat back on his haunches and laughed.

    TBC . . . .

    Anybody out there?
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  12. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
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    C'mon, people. I know some of you out there are reading. Drop a note, will ya?

    Well, I'll be posting another chapter in a few to see if that helps.
  13. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
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    Chapter 8: A Lot to Learn


    Guess I was a bit crazy. Still am, but I figure there’s nothing to do about that. Beast’s said I’m hopeless more than once—just about every time he comes down to visit, which is much more often now that . . . well, since everything happened.

    I tried thinking like a man. Figured if I ever wanted to walk around them, I’d have to keep my claws hidden—after all, I’d never seen any of their claws, and I figured they must keep them hidden too. I didn’t think to think that maybe they didn’t have them at all.

    I stayed away from them at first, though. Just watched them, like I’d watched the wolves. Like I’d watched the men before, along their trapping trail. And I kept moving.

    Wolverine stopped, sniffing softly as he peered down at the odd hard surface beneath his feet.

    A road.

    They were starting to come easier, now, the almost-memories—the knowing things without knowing how he knew it. And he knew, now, that that wasn’t normal.

    He had been hiding near the road for some time now, watching the odd carriages—cars—that passed every so often. Cars that stank, and rumbled, and made awful noises—but they weren’t alive. Machines. Not food, not even dangerous, unless he were to step out right in front of one, like he almost had the night before . . . .

    He was hungry.

    He had eaten a scrawny rabbit the day before, after having to dig almost completely beneath a large oak with his claws.

    He decided that whatever he was—human or not—he didn’t like digging.

    And he was still hungry.

    He heard another car coming and drew back into the trees, watching again—this time just two passengers.

    Two adults—husband and wife, maybe? Man and mate?

    He wondered if a woman might hurt him too.

    But no. Women could be dangerous, he knew, but there was something else. Something . . . soft beneath the steel. Something intriguing, beautiful, and worth the danger for any man.

    Was he a man?

    Only one way to find out.

    They were going somewhere, these people were, and he was following the road. The scent of cars and people was just increasing, and he drew back, walking alongside the black road in the shadows of the spring trees.


    It’s funny to go back to the wilderness with the kids. Going into the woods always kind of brings back those early days—when everything just was, and I didn’t know what it really meant to be a person. To be a human. To feel beyond pain and confusion and hate and simple pleasure.

    These kids are as helpless as lambs out here. If the terrain didn’t get them, no doubt they’d somehow find a very angry grizzly and get it to finish the job, if they really were left out here alone. I’ve already had to chase one off when Ice-Brain decided to get showy to cool everyone off out here. Ended up hitting the big girl right in the face with a snowball. Nice.

    They’re helpless and they can’t even see it, except for Rogue. She’s like a natural out here, damn kid. Good to know that something good came from her having my damn memories. Might just save her life some day.


    “What’cha you doin’, Logan?” Rogue asked from where she was trying to help Jubilee construct a rough sort of lean-to under a slight overhang of a cliff. Jubilee didn’t speak—whether because of her continued avoidance of Logan or the large wad of gum in her mouth, he didn’t know. It disgruntled him slightly—he was quite sure he had told the kids that they weren’t allowed to bring any food along—and sugar was at the top of the list for the Firecracker, at least. He’d seen and heard her on a number of her sugar-highs, and he knew the danger, even if him being around was like dumping a pail of water over the girl.

    “Keepin’ notes,” Wolverine gruffed, not looking up from his notebook.

    “No, not like that, Jubilee!” Rogue said suddenly, but it was too late.

    With a great shudder, their makeshift little lean-to fell limply on the ground—a mess, but a strangely anticlimactic fall nonetheless: with little noise, but just a little, pitiful slump that ended in ruin. Jubilee bit her lip and glanced at Logan quickly, stepping back from the ruins.

    Logan glanced up at the destruction without any outward reaction, closing his notebook and standing to stretch leisurely as the first raindrop hit the dirt at his feet. He pulled out a cigar and lit it with his pack of matches.

    “No fair, Logan!” Kitty said from where she was struggling with lighting a fire. “How come you get matches?”

    “’Cause I’m the teacher, that’s why,” Logan gruffed, taking a long, satisfied draw.

    “Oh, give it here, Kitty,” Rogue said, coming beside her and snatching the flint and steel she had. It took a couple tries, but after a couple minutes there was a spark and Rogue carefully started adding fine shavings to the flickering flame. Logan watched with detached interest as he recognized a shadow of his own actions in her motions.

    Another raindrop landed at his feet.

    Logan flipped the collar of his jacket up, slipped his damned journal into the plastic bag he’d brought along, and stuffed that into his backpack before leaning back and continuing his silent observation.

    “Darn it, Rogue, there’s not a living thing in this place,” Bobby said, clomping into camp. “Not anything to eat, anyway,” he added, pausing to lean down and pull large burs and thorns from his pants, which were beginning to look a little worse for wear.

    “If you didn’t stomp around like the Juggernaut out there, maybe you’d see differently,” Logan said. “’Course, you still wouldn’t have been able to catch anything.”

    Bobby frowned, and Logan blew a cloud of smoke in his direction.

    “Maybe yer city pigeon had better luck,” he said, and though the words could have been seen as encouragement coming from someone else, all four of the students glared at him

    Drip. Drip. Drip.

    The rain sputtered in Kitty’s infant fire.

    “No no no!” she moaned. The gust of Warren’s landing was just enough to puff out the last wavering spark.

    “No luck for food. What about you, Iceman?” he asked, looking to Bobby, who shook his head.

    Rogue sat back with a sigh, rubbing her forehead. “It’s goin’ ta be a looong nigh’.”

  14. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
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    The heavens opened and released a fury of rain that would have done Storm proud. Soaked within seconds, the kids grabbed their bags and huddled under the tree, as close to the trunk as they could get without violating Logan’s very large personal space as he smoked contently against the tree. Large drops pattered on the pine’s boughs and began dripping onto their heads. Wolverine just crossed his arms and didn’t say anything as the kids stared up at the sky.

    “How long is this going to last?” Warren asked, shaking his wings of as much water as he could and brushing his sopping hair from his eyes.

    “Probably ‘til mornin’,” Logan gruffed around his cigar. “So, what now, Icicle? Still think you know what your doin’ out here?”

    Bobby glared at him before looking away to glare at the rain, almost audibly grinding his teeth.

    “Now what, then?” he asked.

    Logan just blew another puff of smoke in his direction and shrugged. “What d’you think? It’s a bit late even for me to try to fix up a place to sleep, after that mess you made.

    They stood there, the drips becoming more frequent under the branches as they watched the sky grow darker.

    Kitty began to shiver, huddling in her jacket with her hair plastered over her forehead. Even Jubilee lacked her usual energy as she stared out at the rain, chewing her wad of gum soberly. Rogue was pulled off her gloves and shook them out, then rubbed her fingers together, her teeth beginning to chatter. Their breath showed up as white mist in the chilling air. Only Bobby, of course, showed no reaction to the cold, though icicles began rising over his head as he tried to stop the rain from coming down through the branches towards them.

    Ah, to hell with it.

    Logan tossed the remainder of his cigar onto the dirt and ground it under his heel.

    “Come on.” He stepped out of the meager shelter just as a gust of wind wailed down the cliff above him, lifting his hair wildly around his head even as rain pelted his brow.

    “Where are you going?” Warren asked, shivering with his wings around him.

    Wolverine didn’t answer—he didn’t even look back. Rogue was the first to follow, and Jubilee and Kitty followed next. The boys followed last, following the sorry party up the cliff.

    They hiked about fifteen minutes, and while the mud grew thick and the rocks slick, no one complained—either because of the noise of the downpour, or simply because there was nothing to be said. Upwards they followed Logan’s rain-blurred form, moving quickly to match his even pace.

    Finally he stopped, drawing close to the cliff and gesturing them inside to a sizable cave, which Warren could almost walk through without bending.

    “Everyone in.”

    They hurried in, shivering and dripping on the leave-strewn floor. Logan followed after the last of them, his own hair plastered flat as it ever was.

    It took a moment for Rogue’s eyes to adjust to the gloom of the cave, but Logan shook like a wet dog, then strode past her towards a fair pile of wood at the back of the cave. He picked out a couple fair-sized pieces.

    “All right, Sparks. Those’re mostly dry, but if you want to give ‘em a buzz, we’ll have a fire goin’ in no ti—” He turned, holding the wood out to Jubilee. The girl gasped and pulled back sharply at the sudden proximity and almost slipped on the mud as she recoiled.

    Logan paused, his jaw tight, and then he tossed the wood on the ground. He crouched down, pulling a match out of his bag. Soon a small fire was burning.

    “You knew this was going to happen,” Bobby shivered as the feral man bent down, gathering dry leaves and creating a safe circle near the entrance of the cave to allow the smoke to get out without suffocating them.

    “I guessed,” Logan grunted. “It doesn’t take a genius to see somethin’ like this was gonna happen.”

    “So ya went ahead and foun’ a cave an’ firewood and the whole lot,” Rogue said, her shoes squishing with water as she came beside him and put a hand on his shoulder. “Good thinkin’, sugah.”

    Logan just snorted at that.

    A few more minutes and they were all huddled around the merry fire, courtesy of Jubilee and Logan. Their jackets were resting on the rocks nearby, and Warren was rubbing his stomach.

    “You didn’t happen to get anything to eat?” he asked the Wolverine.

    Logan gave him a dark glare from where he stood near the entrance of the cave—the farthest from the fire and appearing all but oblivious to the cold and his dripping state.

    “I’m not a damn babysitter, kid. You won’t die from missin’ a meal, but Storm’d roast my hide if I brough’ you all back with pneumonia.”

    “Touching how much he cares about us all, isn’t it?” Bobby said dryly, nudging his feathered friend. “Warms me right up.”

    “Survival of the fittest and luckiest, Icepop. You all’ll live, and if you learn a lesson all’s the better. So long as my hide’s whole, you can be as damned miserable as you’d like to make yourself.”

    “Very touching,” Warren agreed, looking to Bobby.

    “Don’t you have anything to eat, Wolverine?” Kitty asked, frowning at Jubilee, who was now chewing on her flavorless gum with determination.

    “Wha’s wrong? She just eat her last candy bar?” Logan nodded to Jubilee.

    The girl pulled her yellow coat around her. “I didn’t bring any food,” she muttered, not meeting his eyes. “Just gum.”

    As if to support her words, her stomach gave a very audible growl. Kitty giggled, but Bobby just wrapped his arms around his stomach sympathetically.

    “I hear you, Jubes,” he said.

    “Hones’ly, you two,” Rogue said. “We’ll find somethin’ in the mornin’.” But her eyes flickered towards the man standing vigil at the cave entrance, and he saw that look in her eyes.

    Logan grabbed his backpack, pulling out three packs of jerky and tossing them towards the kids. “There,” he grunted. “Eat up, ya whiners. But that’s all I got, so after tonight . . . that’s it.”

    “Thank you,” Warren muttered, looking briefly upwards before grabbing for a bag. He opened it quickly and stuffed a handful into his mouth.

    “Thank ya, Logan,” Rogue said around a large bite herself as she shared a pack between herself and Kitty. “Brings back some good memories, huh?”

    “Just remember I ain’t always gonna be here,” he said. “I jus’ hope you all learned your damn lessons, and that you all ‘ll be listening real close tomorrow.”

    There was an unenthusiastic mutter of agreement, but no complaints. Logan sat back, satisfied. “Good, then. Get some sleep. It’ll be an early mornin’ for all of you.”


    Five days later Storm settled down the Blackbird and watched as Logan led the way to the ramp, looking as rough and gruff as he always did, and five bedraggled and filthy students dragged along behind him.

    “How’d it go?” Ororo asked as the Wolverine dropped down into a seat beside her, creating a sound of slightly muffled metal-on-metal as his elbow connected with the hard surface of the side of the seat.

    He grunted. “Kids still have a lot to learn.”

    TBC . . .

    <looks around hopefully at potential reviewers>
  15. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Responses, anyone? :csad:


    Chapter 9: Chance Encounter


    Camping. The end of the road led me to a campground of some sort. It stank of people, and the animals had been scared away so that the most I saw was a scrawny little rabbit.

    I could last some days without food, though, especially in the warmth of the season. I decided to take the risk.

    I drew close that night. I saw that the humans had shelters—cloth caves, and metal houses of some sort. You could have tossed me into the middle of New York and I would have been just as overwhelmed.

    Maybe, anyway.

    I saw fire for the first time, while I was hiding in the shadows. I must have made a sound of surprise or something when the flames first leaped up, since a kid picked up a rock and threw it at the bush I was hiding in; he must have heard me. It didn’t hit me, but it reminded me to be more careful.

    I smelled cooked food. Saw them eat strange things, that certainly were not meat, and that they took from little packages and didn’t have to hunt for them.

    That night, when everyone went to bed, I went foraging.

    I got shot at that night, but not before I’d decided that whether I was human or not, being around them was worth the risk of the pain.

    Just because of their damned food.

    Laugh if you want. But you try living your first months of life on nothing but a rare meal of meat—and rare in more ways than one.

    I remember the first time we had steak at Xavier’s, before Alkali Lake—before I left. Had mine ordered rare and warm—still cooked enough to my liking, but not burnt through and brown like everyone else likes it. One-Eye got so queasy (Kept telling me to go off and catch it with my teeth if I wanted it raw, damn him. Doesn’t know a thing about that.) that he eventually took it into his own damn hands. I ended up smearing a half-charred piece of steak all over his pretty-boy little face.

    Ah, those were the times.


    Wolverine darted away from the human camp, his hands filled with something he was positive was most assuredly good.

    He’d had to break open the lock to the cooler with his claws to get to it, but the treasure inside had been worth every second of the pain.

    Besides, the man had missed him when he had shot at him, so there was no harm done.

    He slowed to a jog, listening for any pursuers and relaxing when he heard none.

    He hadn’t expected any, though. Men were afraid of the night. They liked to stay inside, with their fire and lights.

    He didn’t mind.

    He stopped, falling back to sit against a tree as he beheld his treasures.

    He stuffed them in his mouth—graham crackers and sweet white bread alike. They were gone in moments, leaving him growling softly for more.

    But then, there was the last thing.

    It was brown and waxy—odd, and wrapped in such a way that he had ripped it clean open with his teeth to get to the inside. It smelled different, but he had seen the little ones eating it, and it hadn’t done anything bad for them.

    Was he a human? Or would this poison him, like the poison from the traps?

    He didn’t know, so he just stuffed as much as he could into his mouth, and suddenly moaned at the melting, sweet, terribly overwhelming taste that made him sit back as his senses were completely overwhelmed by it.



    Don’t look at me like that. I’m no damn woman—I’m not crazy about that stuff, and I’m not like damn Sparks and all her sugar highs. You just try going for your whole life without anything but meat and water, and then let me stuff a chocolate bar down your throat.

    Kids near went crazy without it our last survival trip. They’d always gone through that damn sweet stuff damn fast, but since we’ve been back they’ve been going through it like . . .


    Well, they’ve been going through it fast. No wonder why they jumped back so quick after the survival training. All of them’ve gone crazy since they got back--bouncing off the damn walls—just like they’re doing right now. They’ve got their damn music trying to shake the whole damn place down.


    Logan closed the journal with a snap, stuffed it under his pillow, and rose up grumbling. There was a squeal and a giggle that was clearly audible—to him, at least—through the ceiling above him. He stalked out of the room with a soft growl.

    A couple of younger students wisely steered clear of him, stepping out of his way without a word. They knew he’d been either locked in his room or gone missing for hours on end even more frequently than was usual for him, and when he was out and about he was strangely broody, even for him. Since he got back from the survival course a few dayhs ago, he’d hardly been seen except for a couple rare glances of his usual pacings around the grounds, and a break he had taken to fix a leaking pipe under the sink and to change the lightbulbs in the entryway—which was odd, because there were others who were more graceful on ladders and probably could have done the job even without a ladder at all—but again, that was Logan.

    The world wasn’t fair, Logan figured as he strode along. Sure, he understood that better than most, but still . . .

    If he wasn’t allowed a good bottle of beer inside the mansion, why in the world was it legal for the Sugarbomb and Co. to have such a stash of dangerous drugs in her room? Dangerous to her, at least, and anyone in her company.

    There was no use snarling at her for it like he wanted to—the girl was already terrified of him. Every once in a while he’d catch her staring at him, and when he caught her at it she’d just sort of freeze, like a startled deer.

    Logan grimaced at the image that he was all-too-familiar with.

    Scared of him, that’s what. Terrified.

    She’d looked that way ever since Alkalai Lake. She’d been one of them he hadn’t been able to save—hadn’t been able to keep out of Weapon X’s hands. He didn’t know what she’d seen, or what had happened, but ever since then the kid hadn’t been comfortable being in the same room as the man known as the Wolverine.

    Logan tried to tell himself that it didn’t matter.

    It shouldn’t matter. He’d never cared before what people thought of him; why should he start now? Especially for some no-good, loud, sugar-high teenager.

    He strode out the front door, taking a right across the grounds towards the stables.

    No one was about, really. He walked into the stables, glowering his very best so as to avoid any unwanted greetings or conversation. The few students playing cards in there made a quick exit.



    A single claw carefully pried at a floorboard in the corner, lifting it up to show a slab of concrete that had been painstakingly hollowed out by some sort of blade—his claws, of course.

    It wasn’t like they could get dull anyway, the Wolverine reasoned as he reached in to retrieve one of his prize possessions.

    A large bottle of beer, unopened and waiting.

    He replaced the board carefully, then scattered dust and straw over it again before striding out again, feeling uncustomarily smug as he headed towards the front gate.

    He didn’t feel like another attack from Storm—she seemed even more on edge than usual, as of late, and she’d actually zapped him the day before when she found him smoking in the kitchen . . .

    More of a prick than One-Eye had been, sometimes, though you’d never guess it.

    Of course, she probably hadn’t meant for it to be half so bad, but she had forgotten about his damn metal skeleton. Fried the freezer so bad they had needed to get a new one, and had knocked him out on his back for a good five minutes.

    Okay, maybe not five whole minutes—but it should have. As it was, he’d snarled and had his claws out and was back on his feet before even thinking about it, his hair smoking and his teeth bared.

    That added three more claw marks to the kitchen wall.

    It didn’t help that the whole school actually seemed to have thought the whole incident funny.

    Logan opened the gates and stepped outside to sit down on the curb, pulling a cigar out of his pocket and lighting it. He held it between his teeth as he glanced both ways on the road, then popped a claw to open the bottle.

    A long drink later he was feeling a hell of a lot better.

    So maybe drinking was bad. Maybe smoking was bad. For the kids, that was. He certainly didn’t want to see Rogue pick up a habit like smoking. It just didn’t seem right.

    For him, though, he figured it didn’t matter. Just like pain. Let the smoke eat away at his lungs, like the Blue Diplomat was always ranting about. They’d heal up anyway, just like everything else.

    He sat back, feeling the sun on his face and feeling content, despite the fact that even this prime choice of alcohol had little affect on him.
  16. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
    Likes Received:

    Beer. I remember the first time I tasted it—on this side of the memory-line, anyway—as clear as day. Must have been a real drinker, before. Of course, no one holds their beer like the Wolverine.

    Wolverine crouched in the bushes, his chest rising and falling with rapid breathing—though this was not from any exertion rather than adrenaline rushing through his veins.

    He was dressed in a soft, too-large flannel shirt he’d grabbed from a camp some days back, and his pants still hung loosely about his waist. The shirt had been buttoned carefully—though it had taken more than one try to get the holes and buttons aligned right, and the shoes he had likewise stolen hurt his feet.

    He was hidden. Hidden like a trap—like the kind that had caught him during the cold time, since he hadn’t seen it before it was too late.

    And he wouldn’t go off unless he needed to.

    His nose twitched as two burly men walked across the darkened street towards the loud building. Wolverine had seen them coming and going for hours, now, and had watched more than one place like this over the weeks he’d been traveling since he had found out he was a human. He hadn’t seen anyone get turned away yet.

    He had been watching. He was ready. He’d even cut back his hair, and though it stuck out differently than the other men’s. That, at least, seemed to vary enough that he didn’t think it would matter.

    He hoped.

    He straightened from the bushes. The animal in him snarled to return to the shadows, to get away from the cursed men or—even better—to kill them all, because they were a danger.

    He could do it. Easy. He wasn’t sure how he knew it, but without even thinking he knew there were probably a hundred people in the bar, and he could take them all down in less than five minutes if he needed to.


    He stopped in his tracks with a low growl, clenching his fists.


    He gritted his teeth, forcing his hands to relax.

    He was a trap. He needed to blend in, for now. No one else was showing their claws.

    He just wanted to watch. To see if they would attack first.

    He stuck a hand in his pocket and stepped forward, his hand clenched around the dirtied money in his pocket.

    He stepped forward slowly, breathing in at each step as if to adjust himself to the growing scent of man. He walked slightly jerkily, growling softly without realizing it, and standing straighter than he had in months as he tried to act like them while he wanted nothing more than to crouch into fighting stance and flee or fight.

    A trap. Ready.

    He would learn nothing if he didn’t wait.

    Who was he? What was he?

    He hunched his shoulders and took another step forward, his hands clenched.

    The scent of man was everywhere. It was thick—mixed with grease and sweat and so many scents that he couldn’t separate them all. They filled his nostrils—made his eyes start to water. He sneezed twice and shook himself, stopping in the shadows to try and adjust after the relatively gentle scent of the wilderness.

    And the noise.

    It was like a beehive. He’d come across one of those only a couple days ago, and though he’d felt a lot of pain in his life he had decided that he really, really hated bees. They were something that even his claws hadn’t been able to stop.

    A man stood next to the door, smoke rising from his mouth—from a cigar. He lifted his shadowed face as Wolverine paused before him.

    “You want somethin’?”

    Wolverine sniffed, then snorted—taking in the thick smoke, alcohol, and human sweat. The man was no threat. His eyes moved over the man’s rough face, his blurred eyes, his greasy hair.

    This was a man? This was the dangerous creature that had hunted him for so long?

    “Hey, bub, what’chu lookin’ at?” the man slurred. He struggled to stand straight without the support of the wall. He staggered forward, and Wolverine edged back as the man came to close—wary, but unafraid. “You lookin’ fer a fight?”

    He swung sloppily at Wolverine, and though the feral man easily ducked the wild swing, the threatening action had been enough. Wolverine lifted a fist and slammed it into the guy’s gut. The drunk doubled over and fell gasping onto the ground.

    Wolverine looked down at him. If this was all these men had to offer, he was in no danger at all. He snorted again and walked into the bar.

    A rabbit gave more of a fight.

    The air was jumbled, thick, heavy. It hurt his ears, muddled in his nose; it made his knuckles itch. His growl rose slightly in volume as he tensed tight as a bowstring ready to snap as the crowd suddenly seemed to surge around him like water, like a cage.

    For a moment he just froze, stiff as the men moved around him—but they didn’t seem to be paying him any mind.

    He pulled back from the general jostling—towards the back, where he could smell the excitement of the men—the excitement of violence. He jerked his head about like a wary animal—his heart pounding in his ears as he tried to keep his eyes everywhere for sign of danger.

    He growled as he saw the cage in the center—saw the two men inside—fighting.

    Someone was pushed against him—someone smaller, who just bumped against his weight.


    Wolverine looked down—the first time he had looked at someone shorter than him at close quarters—to see the person who had invaded his personal space this time, and had actually paused to say something. He wore a long coat and a hood pulled up and over his eyes, though he thought he saw a gleam in the shadows of it—like the red gleam of a hunting feline in the darkness of the wood. The spoken word formed its meaning slowly in his mind as his nose twitched.

    The human smelled different. He smelled . . . cleaner, though not by much. Smelled a bit of fear, of wariness—like a wolf aware of a larger predator in the area.

    He smelled like a cub. A kid.

    And one thing Wolverine knew automatically is that he wasn’t supposed to be in here. That was only more firmly confirmed when the kid knocked back against another man beside him. The man—who was much larger than both Wolverine and the kid (perhaps even put together)—turned sharply, grabbing the kid by the arm.

    “Damn it! Watch where yer goin’!” He threw the kid back sharply, and the force of the thrust threw the kid into another—and equally unpleasant—man, who swore as his beer sloshed down his muscle-ripped chest. Laughter followed, and he grabbed the kid, baring yellowed teeth.

    “You just tripped over yer last crack!”

    Wolverine stepped forward, his own teeth bared as he spoke the first and only human words that he could think of at the time.

    “Damn you!” he snarled, echoing his cry from the woods—the only words he could ever remember saying.

    “Why you—!”

    The large bulk took a swing—Wolverine felt his fist brush the top of his head as he ducked. The crowd roared as he returned with a blow that knocked the man back into the crowd.

    “Not here, idiots! The cage! The cage!”

    Hands grabbed him and the man, pulling them apart, and hands grabbed the kid. Wolverine snarled and pulled out of their hands, a rising terror and rage building in his heart as his body remembered memories that his mind had forgotten.

    A small hand touched his arm. “Not good idea trying to fight dem all, mon ami,” the kid said, sounding a bit out of breath, but surprisingly calm despite the excitement. The tone of the voice pulled the beast from the edge and likely saved the lives of all the men in the bar.

    Wolverine turned sharply to him nonetheless, jerking away from the unfamiliar touch with a growl. The kid’s eyes widened at the near-berserker gleam in the man’s eyes and he jerked back automatically, his scent alarmed. The alarm passed abnormally quickly, though, and an odd caution mixed with something else took its place in his scent. When he spoke, he sounded almost . . . intrigued?

    “You from around here, homme petite?”

    Wolverine hardly glanced at him, his head still ducked and his muscle-ripped form tense as he stared at the large man who was all but ignored as he climbed from where he had fallen, looking quite dazed.

    “What your name?” The kid tilted his head, catching glimpse of the dogtags hanging from the loose neck of the too-large shirt. “You from da mil’tary?”


    Wolverine shook his head like an animal flicking an ear at an annoying fly.


    His name . . .

    Something hurt behind his eyes. He shut them, closing out the light, the noise, and the sharp, sudden pain in his head. He drew up a hand and pressed against his temples with a low groan.

    “’M,” he half-growled. “ ‘m . . . .”


    He ended in a soft growl, turning his face away and shutting his eyes again.

    The kid titled his head up, his strangely dark eyes looking back at him.

    “Dat some name,” the kid said with a crooked grin. “Nice ta meet you. Da name’s Remy. Remy LeBeau.”

    TBC . . .
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2008
  17. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
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    And so here cometh . . . yep, you know it--Gambit!

    I hope you guys are liking this . . . . I'd love to hear from you!
  18. squeekness

    squeekness The mighty squeek!

    Aug 29, 2005
    Likes Received:
    LOL, this was very good, the best I have read in a long time. Paragraphs and complete sentences are always a welcome change from many of the fanfics I have read on the internet. :p

    You really should post this at fanfiction.net if you haven't already (you can use the link in my sig to get to the site, my own story is hosted there).You will get a lot more actual feedback there than here. Many folks will read a thing but not comment, just watch and track your views here each week, that will help you keep track if anyone is even looking.

    This really was well thought out and very well written, you've obviously taken it very seriously and I like that. I hope to read more and since you've just added my number one Cajun, I'll be sure to check in on you again. Don't lose heart if no one replies, just keep adding on, even if it's once a week, just to keep the thread bumped. :up:
  19. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
    Likes Received:
    I know! One of the main reasons I set out to make my own was because of all the stuff there was to sift through to try and find something legible. :)


    Thanks so much! It's great to hear that someone approves around here. :)

    Here's another chapter, just for you.
  20. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
    Likes Received:

    Chapter 10: Wolverine Walked into a Bar . . .


    Kid bought me a drink. Probably wasn’t old enough to get it himself, but I guess they ain’t so picky up in north Canada. Suited me fine. Settled me right down nicely. Well, I guess Beast would say that’s an exaggeration or somethin’. All right, maybe not settled, but lookin’ back I’d say it was still nothin’ more than a miracle that it didn’t turn out worse that it did.


    For the tenth time in as many minutes the whole bar seemed to erupt as another man went down in the fighting cage, and for the tenth time in as many minutes Wolverine leaped to his feet, sloshing his fourth beer over the counter as he lifted his fists and felt the prickling of a familiar pain deep within his wrists.

    His teeth bared as he stared at the ended fight, a low growl growing in his chest as he felt the crowd pressing on him.

    The animal wanted out!
    He wanted to growl, slash, and generally leave this place behind for good. It seemed he might be a man, but what did it matter?

    But the beer . . . this was good. And some deep-buried part of him almost . . . liked it here, in an odd, growly sort of way.

    But it wasn’t that part of him that was in control—or almost out-of-control, as it were.

    “What—? What—goin’ on?” he snarled to the kid, the words blurting out before he had time to really think about them.

    “Cage fighting, mon ami,” Remy said calmly, flipping some face cards from his pocket from one hand to the other and pulling down his hood a bit further. “Man who win get d’money.”

    Wolverine paused, remembering the money in his pocket, which had already shrunk so much. Apparently beer was expensive.

    The crowd roared again—and the man in the cage raised his arms, howling like a beast as sweat flicked from his arms and hands.

    “Damn,” someone next to them muttered. “Not Nielson again. Every time he pulls through there just ain’t no fun in the bettin’. Steady winners take out all t’fun.”

    Wolverine wrinkled his nose and his eyes went to the cage, much like a wolf surveying a stretch of land before standing and beginning the hunt. His eyes almost glowed as he recognized the man in the cage—the large man that had tried to kill the kid, and then him.

    As if feeling his gaze, the big man turned, his lips curled in an ugly, victorious grin. His eyes met Wolverine’s and his look turned ugly—only more so because of the large bruise growing off the side of his face—the bruise that was not from any of the cage fights.

    “You think you’re tough because of one lucky hit, bastard?” the man roared at him. “Come and be a man, runt! Show yer a man!”

    The words stung at forgotten memories and forgotten pains, and a fury beyond the animal survival rose up as he put his cup down firmly and stood, his teeth bared in answer to the challenge.

    But no claws. He hadn’t seen any yet, and the last one carried out of the ring had been breathing.

    He was a trap.

    He stepped forward, and absently caught sound of the kid learning over the counter.

    “Put this all on homme petite,” and it took a moment for him to be able to understand the kid through his strange-sounding voice. “No—not that one. Dah hairy one, over dere.”

    Wolverine shook himself, pushing through the tall men around him towards the ring.

    “What’s yer name?” a man stopped him before the cage.

    Wolverine tensed, his mind hurting from the noise and chaos in his surroundings. The animal growled, and so did he, though softly.

    “Come, on, bub. A name.”

    A name. A name? His name?

    Just like the kid had asked . . .

    “Wol-verine,” he uttered roughly. The man had already turned away. “All right, folks. Tonight we got ourselves a new champion—the Wolverine! Will he be one to finally bring down the Demon King!?”

    The crowds roared, and the Wolverine stood and roared with them, his blood running hot—ready to kill the giant across from him once and for all.

    “You sure you wanna try yer luck, runt? They’re gonna be moppin’ the floor with yer brains once I’m done with ya!”

    Wolverine bore his teeth—but no. This was not to kill. This was to put the stupid one in his place—to hunt, and get food without killing by getting the useless paper the men were so stupid to trade for food and beer. His snarl took the hint of a grin.

    The man struck.

    He was slow. Slower than a mountain lion, slower than a wolf. Slower than deer, and the very last trace the Wolverine’s uncertainty vanished to replaced only by confidence.

    This man was weak. He was no hunter—no danger. The man was prey.

    There was no need for his claws. He cleanly sidestepped the first wild, strength-driven thrust and caught the second swing with his own, suddenly sure hand. And immediately, he knew he’d done something like this before.

    It was right. It was familiar, to fight—even without his claws.

    He knew what to do.

    He blocked the next powerful strike cleanly with his forearm, and it wasn’t even a hesitation before his own fist drove home to connect with his jaw. There was an awful crack, a splurting of blood over his fist, and the man went down—out cold with the first hit.

    Still alive. Wolverine could hear the man’s heart beat as he stood tall, the predator in him snarling for him to end it, but he stifled it and roared with the maddened crowd. He didn’t have to kill to be the victor.


    I don’t remember how long I fought that night. I didn’t always get away without them landing a hit. First time it happened I caught the guy on the cage and put my fist under his throat—was about a hair away from letting those claws do what they’ve always done best. Don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t stopped myself, and don’t really know why I did. Maybe being amidst man—even the most wild of the worst—started waking up what was almost forgotten to me

    Course, I won. Might have been wild, back then, but I still had my instincts, and there wasn’t anything holding me back, either. I just let them come, and let them fall.

    It’s funny that the first time I really felt like I fit in with mankind was in a cage, with them all wild on the other side.

  21. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
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    The man named Wolverine sat at the counter, holding but not drinking from another of his countless glasses of beer. It was some time after the fights, and he’d just been sitting there, drinking beer after beer. The man behind the counter smelled surprised for some reason, but he didn’t ask any questions as long as he kept the money between them, so Wolverine didn’t mind.

    He had plenty money to spare. The man’d even offered a room, but for the amount of about four big beers. He must have been crazy.

    Wolverine could sleep in the woods, but he doubted he could find a single bottle of beer no matter how hard he looked out there.

    Not to mention the food . . .

    He’d smelled it across the room, and asked the guy for a plate of whatever it was.

    Steak and potatoes. And some green stuff—vegetables, though he didn’t touch that, and when he ordered his second plate he’d skipped the greens altogether.

    Green stuff grew everywhere in the wood. Why should he waste his money on it?

    Money. He had been right—it was very valuable indeed.

    Someone walked out of the shadows, and he didn’t need to see his face to recognize his scent, even with the remaining clutter from the night’s earlier crowd. It was the kid.

    Most everyone had given him a good berth after his winnings in the cage, which suited Wolverine just fine. The kid, though, just came over and sat down.

    Sure, he still smelled wary, but he must have been too young to recognize the danger, with the casual way he was acting.

    He should be more careful.

    The kid said something. It sounded like nonsense.

    The Wolverine shook his head. He had become pretty good at understanding the men around him—it had been coming easier throughout the night. He must be tired if he was beginning to lose that.

    He glanced over and growled softly at the kid.

    The kid lifted his hands in what might seem an innocent gesture, but with his deep hood and dark-gloved hands it looked guilty, if anything.

    “Jus’ complimenting your fighting, mon ami. You quick on you feet out dere.”

    Wolverine just looked at him. The kid patted one of his coat pockets. “None thought little man like you come out ahead, but I saw. You move like you used to fighting. Had you pegged first step you took in dah door.”

    Wolverine sniffed at his beer. He wanted to drink more, but he was stuffed. He drank a little more anyway.

    He stopped as two tall men and a woman walked in through the front door. Wolverine looked up, his eyes narrowed as he watched them.

    The men may not have attacked him yet, but these ones smelled like trouble. They smelled dangerous.

    No. He had to wait. He had to be a trap ready to spring.

    And he could take them down without his claws, if he needed.

    But no. They walked past him, and their gaze was on the kid.

    They looked like hungry wolves narrowing down on a lone rabbit.

    The kid turned, and though the scent of wariness increased there was little, if any, fear.
    He really was an idiot.

    “All right, LeBeau. You thought you got away then, but we found you again, yes? You come quiet, and maybe we’ll let you live a little longer.”

    It wasn’t his business. It didn’t matter to him. He’d never stepped between a hunter and his prey before, not except when he was starving—dying for want of food.

    The kid had tensed, and now held his cards in a steady hand.

    “No,” Wolverine growled, putting down his drink and turning to face them. He stood, not liking having to look up to them so much.

    “Well, well, what’s this? The little rat find a little badger to play with?” the woman looked down at him. She stank of flowers, only far too strong, and it made his nose itch again.

    “Nah, dat’s dere’s Wolverine—toughest cage fighter nor’t of da Canadian border. So if you think t’ take both us, cher, come on ahead. Gambit’s waiting.” He cocked his head, flipping through the cards in his hands. “Or you three too scared t’ take us?”

    “You cocky little LeBeau basta—”

    The kid moved—and moved fast. He ducked and struck low, swiping the legs out from under the woman and knocking her heavily against a table behind her.

    The dim light flashed off a blade, and the kid flipped backwards. The blade sang through the air, and Wolverine lunged forward with a snarl.

    But the guy dodged, striking him low and kicking him onto another table that cracked under his weight. The man followed through, bringing down a gleaming blade.


    The man’s eyes widened and he twisted in the air, but still the nine-inch claws slashed against his ribs, spraying a fine mist of blood across Wolverine’s knuckles as he rose after him, the scent of blood fueling the fight.

    Wild now, he rushed at him, blocking two high kicks and catching the man’s ankle and flipping him around, but the man recovered, spinning in the air and landing to face him, daggers at ready.

    There was a thrill down Wolverine’s spine and he grinned as he dove forward again.

    This man knew how to fight.

    He barely had time to feel that odd appreciation when the man jumped forward, catching Wolverine’s falling blades and cutting in sharply towards his gut. He felt the knife slice through the fabric of his shirt as he spun back, twisting to cut the man from behind, but he flipped cleanly over his head and knocked his balance off with a blow to his kidneys.

    Wolverine rolled, coming up in a crouch with his blades ready. The man paused, taking a moment to stare at the six long claws as he muttered an oath.

    The kid was surprisingly holding his own. He’d pulled a sort of staff from somewhere, and now was backing up. There was a cut across his brow and he was breathing hard, but he wasn’t backing down yet.

    Damn fool kid had courage and at least a little bit of skill to back it up, if nothing else.

    The man in front of him struck, and Wolverine dodged, swinging a fist in a heavy backhand that struck him into the wall and left deep, bloodied gashes across his face. He went down, limp, and the Wolverine paused to make sure he wouldn’t rise again.

    Suddenly, the scuffle across the room went still.

    The Wolverine turned swiftly to see that the kid had finally lost—the woman had him in a headlock and a dagger against his throat, his staff frozen in his hands.

    “Stand back!” the man said, leveling a finger at him. “One move and she cuts the kid’s throat.”

    It wasn’t a smart thing. If they killed the kid there would be nothing to stop him from killing them. But he still stopped, ready to wait until he saw a weakness. Satisfied, the woman looked down at the kid.

    “All right, LeBeau. Drop it.”

    “I don’ think I like to, petite.”

    The blade pressed harder, and the kid stiffened, but he still appeared calm, now that his hood had fallen back to show his face and his strangely dark eyes.

    “This is the last time I ask nicely,” the woman hissed.

    “Always thought ladies like a man who stood his own,” the kid replied, then winced as the blade pushed hard enough to break his skin. “All righ’, cher. All righ’.” He opened his hand and his staff fell to the ground with a dull thud, but at the same time his deck of cards slipped from his sleeve and scattered over the floor, and it seemed that they seemed to almost glow as a bit of smoke rose from them.

    The kid swore. “Oops,” he said, then jerked his head back, butting against the woman’s nose.

    Wolverine smelled blood, but as he made to move forward to take care of the man the kid darted forward and grabbed his arm.

    The kid smelled alarmed at last, so Wolverine let him pull him away as he dove towards the cupboard and pulled him down sharply to the ground.

    Suddenly, it felt like the world had ended.

    It was like gunfire, but a thousand times louder. Instinctively the Wolverine pulled the kid under him as it burst his ears, seared his hair and face and skin, and blinded his eyes. Pain followed the heat, and the world crushed in around him as he hunched down, shut his eyes, and waited it to go away.

    TBC . . .
  22. squeekness

    squeekness The mighty squeek!

    Aug 29, 2005
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    Still loving this. I like the details --

    As if feeling his gaze, the big man turned, his lips curled in an ugly, victorious grin. His eyes met Wolverine&#8217;s and his look turned ugly&#8212;only more so because of the large bruise growing off the side of his face&#8212;the bruise that was not from any of the cage fights.

    This man was weak. He was no hunter&#8212;no danger. The man was prey..

    I hope you have Gambit stick around, seems he and Logan make an interesting sort of team. :)
  23. squeekness

    squeekness The mighty squeek!

    Aug 29, 2005
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    Posted the above review before you posted the second part. Loved the fight and how Gambit "dropped" the cards. Well played. :D
  24. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
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    Super looong chapter this time. Love to hear from anyone out there!

    Thanks Squeekness for your continued support!


    Chapter 11: An Animal


    He didn’t fall unconscious. No. The pain kept him awake—kept him alive. He just froze there, the familiar rush of agony coursing over him—the heat, the pressure of something massive laying over him, and sharp stab of something that was digging deep dug into his back. The pain made him angry, made him want to hurt—kill those men who had attacked him. Red colored his eyes as he felt blood dripping down his face, running down his side, even as his skin itched as he healed—feeling like the time he had stepped onto a hill of angry red ants that had swarmed over him.

    But the pain in his back didn’t go away, and it only hurt more when he moved.

    Something moved beneath him. Someone was struggling to breathe, in the darkness—someone besides himself and his pain-ragged breath that tasted like blood and smoke.

    The kid.

    He shook his head and he grit his teeth as painful lights burst before his eyes.

    The kid stank of fear and some blood, and was pressed up tight against Wolverine’s chest. He moved, pushing his back against Wolverine as he tried to move. The sharp thing dug deeper into the Wolverine’s back and he groaned.

    “Mon Dieu. You alive, Canuck?”

    The kid was moving, and it hurt. Damn it, he needed to stay still.

    He growled, but no—he needed to speak. To tell him to stop pushing—it only made it worse.

    “Ss-top,” he gritted out. The kid immediately stilled.

    He had to get them out of there. He had to get the fire out of his back. He had to get out, because even as the pain from the blast was beginning to fade he could feel heat beyond the wreckage that lay over them.

    He felt his hands, pressed against the floor on either side of the boy where he had fallen to try and cover them.


    Claws dug into the broken flooring, and he pushed upwards.

    The sharp pain in his back grew nearly unbearable, and he snarled, as he pushed up, and up, and up, his muscles straining as blood ran down his back like dark rain.

    He wasn’t going to die in a hole like a frightened rabbit.

    He managed to turn enough to turn his claws on the fallen debris that trapped them, ripping through a ceiling beam that had fallen over them and bruised his ribs. He pushed it aside with a snarl and finally shoved out into the hot, smoking air.

    He grabbed the kid and boosted him out, then staggered up after him, his breath soft growls at the new dark, black-flaked burns and blood-crusted gashes he had received in his struggle, and at the continuing sharp pain from between his shoulders.

    The room was a mess. There was no sign of those they had been fighting, nor of the barkeeper. The roof had collapsed in, one of the walls had been completely blown out, and the stench of smoke and smoldering fire almost covered up the scent of blood.

    Damn. And all the beer bottles had been shattered.

    He turned to the kid, wiping a dark line of blood from his forehead, from a wound that had already vanished and even the dull throb of remaining pain was quickly fading.

    The kid stared at him—the hunched, blood-covered shadow that loomed over him. Wolverine’s stolen clothes were shredded and damply stained but eyes were sharp and strangely calm despite his agony in the flickering of the flames growing under the mess of the bar.

    Like a wolf rising out of a massacre—blood-covered, injured, but unfazed even as the stench of his own burning flesh seared his sensitive nostrils. His blades withdrew with a sharp SNAKT, and blood dripped from his knuckles.


    The kid nodded wordlessly, taking his words as a sort of permission to dart as quickly as he could over the debris towards the blown-out wall, where he turned to look back. The Wolverine paused, hunching slightly as he waited—his face twisted in a pain-filled snarl as he waited for some of the blinding-white pain to pass, waited for his breathing to slow slightly, waited for himself to heal. It didn’t happen fast enough for him. Lifting his head, he stepped forward, staggering slightly despite himself as he sniffed the air.

    The three were dead. He could smell it, as he stepped forward slowly over the rubble. Probably crushed by the falling beams, or blasted by the force of the explosion.

    Satisfied, Wolverine turned led the way, limping forward—ignoring the pain. The kid followed without a sound—well, more or less. The kid moved quietly, but still managed to bungle into a thorn brush. He was careless in the wood. Inexperienced.

    Damn, his back hurt.

    “Where we goin’?”

    Away. Wasn’t that obvious? Wasn’t that enough? Rough breathing was the only reply to the question.

    Wolverine knew when it was time to leave. After they had killed those men, not too long ago now, he had known it was time to leave. He’d traveled hard for a week before he felt safe enough to go near man again.

    It was time for them to get away again.

    Or him, at least.

    He halted in the shadows, turning sharply to the kid, though his breathing caught at the sharp movement as a shot of fire shot up his back. He hissed, putting a hand on his lower back as he faced the kid, who had taken out another deck of cards as was filing through them nervously.

    He glared at the cards, then at the kid. He should put them away. They were dangerous.

    “Jus’ cards, homme,” the kid said, flipping through them and holding up an ace. “See?” He held it out to him.

    Wolverine paused, then carefully reached forward took the card between two fingers warily. He sniffed at it, then handed it back, leaving a smudge of blood where his fingers had touched. It just smelled like paper and ink and the kid’s greasy scent.

    Giving the kid one final close look, he turned and started deeper into the woods.

    “Whoa,” Remy called, hurrying to try and catch up with him again. “Hold on. You can’t leave Remy all alone. And you hurt. You need a doctor, petite, and . . . .”

    Wolverine paused, glancing back at him. Again, the kid stopped in his tracks, looking taken aback by the feral look in his eye.

    The short man closed his eyes and shook his head, but staggered slightly and caught a tree to keep from falling.

    The sharp pain in his back dug deeper, and he groaned softly, reaching around to the excruciating pain in his back, but he couldn’t reach it.

    “What wrong, Monsieur Wolverine?”

    He came too close, and Wolverine turned sharply and snarled at him.

    “Mon dieu.” Blood had completely caked his back, and a large jagged jutting of wood protruded from between his ribs.

    Wolverine looked at him, panting. A red haze was fighting at the edge of his vision, but he fought it down. Words. He needed words. “C-can’t—reach . . . d-damn thing.”

    The kid had finally gone pale, and stared at him with wide red-black eyes.

    “Damn, Canuck. You dead. You need da priest, not da doctor.”’

    A soft growl answered that. “Pull.”

    “What? You need help. You bleed to death out here.”

    “Pull!” the Wolverine snarled. “Now!”

    He turned, bracing himself against a tree and waiting.

    He heard the kid step forward, heard the quickening of his heart beat and breath. The kid was as scared as he had been so far, even when he had had a knife pressed against his throat.

    The kid hesitated, then reached up and took hold of the wedge. Wolverine growled softly, bowing his head. Blood dripped from the hair that hung in front of his face.

    “Don’t spear me for dis, homme petite,” the kid whispered. “Gambit wasn’t born t’be a shish kabob.” He took a deep breathe, placing one hand against Wolverine’s blood-slick shoulder gingerly to brace himself. “All righ’,” he exhaled. “On three? One, two, three!” He jerked back, and the stake wrenched inside of him. It caught on his ribcage, then with a jerk the bloodied shaft broke free.




    Metal claws extended reflexively, cutting deep into the wood as he arched back.

    He whirled, and the kid jumped back, an ace card balanced between his now-bloodied fingers as he dropped the bloodied stake onto the ground. A spike of fear itched Wolverine’s nostrils.

    Damn it, kid! I didn’t mean for you to try and kill me!

    The automatic words came from deep inside of him, but didn’t get beyond his mind. He turned around sharply with a snarl, gritting his teeth as he waited for the pain to go away. It always did.

    He hunched there, leaning against the tree until the fresh taste of blood left his mouth, turning dry and bitter. Damn, he hated the taste of fresh blood. His, at least.

    He straightened slowly, his breathing still hoarse. The pain wasn’t all gone—this was as bad as getting shot, he figured—but it was bearable.

    It would go away.

    The kid was still standing there, a bit scuffed and singed himself. He was wary, and looked torn between bolting and attacking as he watched the skin pull itself together in the darkness.

    Wolverine withdrew his claws, baring his teeth at the renewed pain.

    He just wanted another beer.

    “Damn,” Wolverine growled a word that he was becoming most comfortable with. He twisted his neck, popping it loudly.

    He glanced at the kid, who was still pale and tense as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

    Calm down, kid. I ain’t gonna hurt you

    The kid was terrified, and Wolverine didn’t want to fight. Sure, he could beat the kid—kill him easy, even with him still healing, and with him and his strange exploding paper. But he didn’t want to. Not if he didn’t have to.

    The kid needed help. And he could help, couldn’t he?
  25. sniktsnakt

    sniktsnakt SNIKT

    Jul 28, 2008
    Likes Received:
    “’S okay,” he spoke for the voice in his head in a low growl. He held out his hands, open and palm-up, trying to show he didn’t want to fight. The kid took a step back, though, not looking comforted in the slightest. Wolverine hunched slightly, making himself look smaller, and took a sideways step forward. “Ssss—okay.”

    “Maybe yes or no, homme. I see you claws, and that cut go ‘way too fast for normal. You a freak man too. More freak than ol’ Gambit here, I tink.”

    A freak.

    He didn’t like the sound of that, and gave manifest of that in a low growl.


    “Dah cards,” he said, pulling out his whole deck. Wolverine took a cautious step backwards, clenching his fists again, and a crooked grin twisted the kid’s lips. “See? Anything Gambit touch he can blast as big as he want. That what happened in dah place back dere—jus’ little too much that time, yes?”

    Wolverine stared at him, then shook his head. He didn’t understand. His head was still ringing from the blast, and he felt tired from loss of blood. But it didn’t matter anyway. He brushed his arm over his face, smearing the soot and blood there.

    He didn’t like the smell. It reminded him of something—that charred smell of burnt flesh . . .

    He shook his head, confused for a moment. But then, it didn’t matter, did it?

    He needed to leave. They would come looking for him—hunting. Probably after the kid too.

    And if they caught him. If they caught them . . .

    He shivered.

    Pain was nothing. But something . . . there was something there. If they caught him it would be so much worse than pain. So much worse than having his guts spilled all over the snow like a wolf’s. So much worse than even being eaten.

    You a freak man too.

    He couldn’t just leave the kid out here all alone—dangerous or no. He was clearly far too inexperienced. He’d probably get eaten by nothing bigger than a bobcat, if he didn’t just fall over and die from starvation after a couple days.

    He took a deep breath at a last sharp jolt of pain, and let it out slowly as it went away. He crouched down, standing on the balls of his feet and resting his forearms on his knees as he looked up at the kid, who was now shivering.

    Was he cold? The sun had set, and the drying blood was chilling on his skin, but it wasn’t cold. Not really. Not like the white times. No, it wasn’t cold at all.

    The kid was too young to be on his own.

    Wolverine straightened slowly, arching his back and shaking himself. He scratched the back of his neck, frowning at the kid.


    There was a pause, and Wolverine knew the kid was deciding whether to follow or stay. He didn’t know where he would go if he chose not to follow. Probably would end up getting lost, or what Wolverine knew was worse—found by the people who had come after the kid. Or after them? Maybe they were all just after them—their kind? The freaks?

    He shifted on his feet, glancing at the way they had come, then back at the feral man half-crouched, half-standing before him. And a half a second before he moved, Wolverine knew what his choice had been.

    The kid took a step towards him.

    Wolverine nodded, feeling—what? Satisfied?

    Why? He didn’t care. The kid could’ve left, and he wouldn’t have cared one bit.

    Then why’d you help him out in the first place?

    He didn’t know. It was stupid—not his business, like trying to save a doe from a pack of wolves. What did he gain from it? Just hurt, with no food or warmth to speak of.

    Besides, he was the Wolverine. Somehow he just knew that he was supposed to be alone.

    But why did that feel . . . not good—but bad? Sad. Like cold rain after the snow, when his stomach was empty and the prey was scarce, and he would sit under the tree, his fingers and toes red with cold and nothing but the dirt to fill his senses as the freezing drops dangled from his hair in front of his eyes.

    But that was life. Sometimes there was food, warmth. Sometimes there wasn’t. Why did it matter?

    The animal knew the answer: it didn’t.

    It shouldn’t.

    Wolverine glanced back as the kid nearly twisted his ankle in a hole in the earth and snorted softly.

    But the wolves ran together. The wolves had their packs, their clumsy pups that made easy pickings as they romped through the wood, if not for their watchful packmates.

    Was this kid a packmate? Could he be?

    Wolverine ducked his head and strode forward more quickly, keeping an ear forward and an ear back for trouble.

    “We go to your place?” Gambit asked from behind him in the darkness. Wolverine glanced back at him.

    Maybe these . . . freaks. . .—Him. The kid. Two of them—Maybe they needed to stick together.

    Sure, kid. Sure.


    Logan yawned widely, and ended with an almost doglike shake of his head. He rubbed his eyes and glanced down at his wristwatch, but no numbers blinked back up at him from the scrambled mess of the shattered face. Damn. He must’ve broken it during that last fight with that fat guy—didn’t Storm call him Bubble, or something? No, that wasn’t it.

    Oh yeah. Blob. Nice name. It fit him—the ugly son-of-a-*****.

    He tore the watch off his wrist and chucked it towards a small garbage can someone had put near the door for him—probably as a not-so-subtle hint. It rebounded off the wall and would have landed in the trash if it weren’t for the fact that it was already heaped and overflowing with everything from cigar butts and beer cans to the latest shredded t-shirt and jeans he’d chucked over there after the run in with Marshmellow-boy and his circus of clowns.

    Logan sat up slowly, checking the glowing numbers of the bedside alarm clock settled on his dresser a good safe meter away from the bed. It was 2:30 in the morning.

    Good. Still early.

    He rolled off the bed, absently feeling his pocket for a cigar as he glanced back to his bed. He paused to fix the covers from where Kylee and kicked them off—it was getting colder, now that winter was beginning to set in—not that it was cold to him, but the kid had been sniffing a bit too much, even for her, the day before. Not everyone around here had a healing factor, as Rogue had reminded him more times than he could count during that week the flu had swept around the mansion just a month past.

    He’d finally just offered to let her touch him, just for a second. She’d glared at him like he’d gut-punched her and hadn’t talked to him for at least two days.

    He didn’t get women—even women-kids like Rogue.

    He grabbed his jacket from the chair and slipped it on, but didn’t bother with shoes as he slipped out the door, padding along the moonlit hall silently despite his unusual mass.

    There was a hell of a lot of history with the X-Men, he realized. A lot of it that he hadn’t really realized, before most of it had gone to hell. Storm’d talked about ol’ Blobbo like she’d known him as a bloated roll of a baby. She’d talked about it on the way back to the mansion—when she and Hank, Jean, and the Boy-Scout had gone out and taken him on for the first time.

    He’d always known that Ororo missed Chuck and One-Eye and (of course) Jeannie, but he hadn’t realized that she’d come to think of them as . . . well, family.

    Wolverine scratched his chin, frowning.

    But they were gone. And now what? He hadn’t exactly known what to do when he found out that when he launched himself at the giant-sized volleyball, intending to put him down for good, the guy’s gut had just curved around his claws like rotting bread-dough left out too long.

    He’d then gotten a knock aside the head for his trouble, and by the time he stopped seeing stars and pulled himself out of brick wall he’d crashed through, the Dumb’n’Dumber was gone.

    If Rogue’d been there, she could’ve absorbed him a bit—though Logan hated the idea of her having even a bit of the Brainless Dough-boy in her mind. Iceman would’ve been better, but both of them’d been out. Trying to patch things up (again), and Logan wondered how long it would take for them to break up (again).

    He trimmed the tip of his cigar with his claw, before pulling his lighter from his jacket and lighting up.

    Sometimes people had to make their own mistakes.

    Did the Blob have a weak spot? Storm would have been affective with her lightning bolt, but she still held firm to Chuck’s old creed—enough to drop the big guy probably would have been enough to drop him for good, and ‘Ro didn’t like that.

    Puffing away with a scowl on his face, he turned away from the window he’d unconsciously stopped before and turned towards the stairs. . . . then stopped.

    The smoke from his cigar blocked out most of the noisy scents of the students and whatever-the-hell they got into, but over that he caught the faint whiff of something . . . almost transparent.

    He frowned at the solid wall beside him, his nostrils flaring at the scent. His eyes narrowed.


    “Can I help you with somethin’, darlin’, or are you running solo tonight?”

    He waited. Seconds passed, and he wondered if she’d reappear at all. Finally, there was an odd shade in the wooden panel, and Kitty phased through the wall. Logan stepped back, allowing her room to become solid. She smelled a bit down, besides the fact that Kitty of all people was not one to be wandering at this time of night.

    She was one of the more responsible ones—too responsible, but not such a prick like a good many he could name from around here. She was young—not much older than Jubilee, but with a good head on her shoulders. Still, if he could walk through walls, he knew he wouldn’t be sticking around the mansion like Pryde did.

    “Somethin’ bothering you, Punkin’?” He leaned back against the wall behind him.

    Kitty rubbed her eyes, not meeting his gaze. “I . . . I don’t know.”

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