Vencido

Summary: Logan learns a lot about how Laura works, especially when presented with a helpless, beaten adversary.

Rating: T

Notes: The title means "Beaten", and the Spanish parts are Google translated, so they may be inaccurate. If anyone can provide better translations, please let me know and I'll correct them. Ideally, this takes place mid-movie, after Charles and Caliban die but before they find Eden. I don't know when.

This has been sitting in my Google Docs, unfinished, since May 2017. I sporadically returned to it to write a few words here and there, but didn't crack down on finishing this until January 2018. To put it into perspective, there was about 3.5 pages written in October last year, and I didn't touch it again until January. The fic ended up being 15 pages long. Let me know what you think!

Disclaimer: I don't own Logan or X-Men or anything like that.


There's something oddly entrancing about watching a foe twitch and suffer in silent agony. Like observing a painting in a museum, Logan reflects, with the paint swapped for blood and the skin canvas decorated with deep purple bruises.

It's an even more captivating sight when he doesn't cause the damage.

And that itself is a rare occurrence, given how much chaos Logan causes on a daily basis - even when not provoked into fighting - so he hardly believes it himself. Hell, he almost imagines he'd somehow sleepwalked and attacked the bastard, if not for the very specific wounds that he knows he wouldn't bother with.

It's obvious who attacked him, from the intricate way his mechanical arm is in pieces; certain bolts and screws were taken out with near-surgical precision, metal bone substitutes crushed in a way that makes any sort of repair extremely difficult. Whoever attacked him knew the way his arm works, and knew intimate details on how to break it completely. The attackers clearly knew him personally.

It isn't a far cry to suspect the Reavers turned on this mess of a man, but Logan still has trouble believing it when his merry band of misfits finds Pierce's sorry ass on the side of the road like a dead animal.

Logan wonders, briefly, if the highway cleanup crew would've picked him up if they hadn't come across him. It seems natural that trash like him would get cleaned up, doesn't it? He almost lets a chuckle slip past his lips at the thought, but the sudden realization that Laura isn't sinking her claws into the roadkill dawns on him.

He doesn't pretend to understand Laura, for she's a mystery he doesn't think he's ever capable of solving. Usually, her choices are fueled by impulse or emotion, much like his own, and he can't fault her for that. He's used to the beast under his skin taking control, finds comfort in the feel of claws tearing into the soft flesh of prey.

Logan knows how to be an animal, but he often wonders if Laura does - and, if so, if he can even stop her from following his example. Does the old 'nature vs. nurture' argument apply to mutants?

He doesn't even flinch when she screams, but it does catch his attention. Her cry is not of pain or anguish, though, but frustration - it's the same shrieking war cry she makes for kills. She's angry, angry at the unconscious man on the ground for nearly destroying her life - and the lives of every single soul she knows - and he doesn't blame her a damn bit.

Which just makes him more confused as to why she hasn't killed Pierce yet.

She stands above his body, as still as a statue. Her knuckles twitch - he can practically feel the urging itch on his own hands - and yet she continues to hold herself back.

"Are you going to do it or what?" he rasps, impatiently tapping his foot. Whoever did this to Pierce could be still around and pose a threat, after all. "It's your call, kid."

Laura turns her head to look back at him again, her face scrunched up and teeth bared like she's ready to strike. And yet she never does, merely falls to her knees and balls her hands into tight, tiny fists.

"No," she mutters, and in that miserable tone, he sort of understands. Slaughtering in the heat of a fight is one thing, but Pierce is helpless, completely vulnerable. Logan might not have an issue with killing him like this, but Laura has learned better, has been taught by someone - probably Charles - not to kill in cold blood.

Gazing down at the blond again, Logan grimaces and kneels down for a better look. Pierce really is out of it, his breathing raspy and wet, like his lungs are coated with blood. Logan tests for a reaction by twisting an arm, and it isn't even a second later that Pierce gives a low whine and coughs. Clothes in shreds, skin decorated with bruises or dirt, and hair a matted mess - Pierce is too much of a primadonna to fake all of this for an ambush.

Across his upper bicep, there's a deep, long gash sliced through his jacket's fabric, and a matching cut shows across his collarbone. Crimson pools down by his shoulder and begins to clot on his chest, but the blood's strong stench is almost comforting to Logan.

Still, despite how nasty Pierce looks, it doesn't seem like there's any permanent damage aside from whatever the fuck happened to his mechanical arm. Lazily, Logan lifts the remaining stump and lets go, watching it flop uselessly into the dirt with slight amusement. The asshole doesn't move - which isn't such a bad thing, really.

"He's fixable," Logan reports gruffly, "there's a slice across his chest, but it isn't too deep. Aside from that, one arm's cut to pieces, and the other… completely destroyed."

"I don't want to help him," Laura hisses quietly.

"Me neither," Logan admits.

There's a brief pause between them, the air thick and almost strangling. Pierce's wheezing gasps are the only sound between the three of them, and it's so annoying, Logan contemplates kicking at his ribs to shut him up.

Goddamnit. Logan misses Charles, and wonders what the old man would do in this situation. Would Charles be able to figure it out even in his old, seizure-prone, brilliant mind? Would he be able to quell Laura's anguish? Poor girl, all she's stuck with is Logan now.

Is what Logan wants to do in this situation synonymous with the right thing to do? No, he scoffs to himself, it never is, because he isn't meant to make these decisions. He's not supposed to give pause and wonder what to do with a broken enemy, and he's certainly never hesitated to make a kill.

Until Laura, that is. The girl brings out sides of himself he doesn't recognize - mostly because he isn't snarling and slaughtering like a beast unless it's to protect or aid her. Right now, though, she doesn't need his help with this man, and they're mutually paused and stopped to think it over.

"We can just leave him," Logan finally suggests, trying to find a way to pacify whatever Laura's conscience is doing to attack her right now. "He'll die because of his own shit choices, and we'll have nothing to do with it."

But a compromise isn't enough, and she shakes her head. "...he may have information we need. Something that may protect my friends," she says, her tone more to herself than Logan. "We bring him with us, and if he tries to attack..."

Her claws unsheath, fists balled again, and she heaves a great sigh. The weight of this decision rests on her tiny shoulders, but Logan can't think of a stronger person to carry it. "Lo mataremos," she hisses, and Logan doesn't need to know Spanish to get the gist of that threat.

"Alright, fair enough," he agrees, suppressing a cough. "But he'll take the trunk."


They smuggle him into a dusty motel when the housekeeping maids aren't looking, tossing him onto a bed. He flops onto the mattress lifelessly, mouth hanging open and eyes still tightly shut behind cracked lenses.

The sight reminds Logan of a corpse, and the claws under his knuckles beg to mangle something once more. He ignores the urges, focusing on sewing the son-of-a-bitch up.

Pierce has more injuries than Logan noticed before, and almost entirely depletes their bandage supply. The bleeding's stopped for most of the shallower cuts, and only the large gash on his arm needs stitches. Logan isn't gentle with them; he threads the needle and digs it through the gash, forcing together shreds of skin that have no business knitting back together. Pierce whines with an ugly face full of pain and tries to wriggle away, but Logan just has to get rougher and rougher until he's practically leaning all of his weight onto the blond.

"I know it hurts," he hears himself growl at one point, "but you moving will only make it hurt more. So stop it." Of course, his words don't reach Pierce's thick skull, and he deals with the struggling man until his patience wears paper-thin.

The deep red of the wound is replaced with dashed black, the stitches looking sloppy and rushed, but clean enough for Logan to be satisfied. Pierce is still, his chest rising and falling in slow breaths, and Logan opts to cuff his fleshy hand to the bedpost.

Laura watches the whole thing, eyes wide as an owl's, but makes no comment. Logan is sure her mind's swirling with conflicting emotions, just like his.

"Well, now we just wait for Sleeping Beauty to awake," he scoffs, and Laura raises an eyebrow in confusion. It hits him, then, that the scientists who injected Laura and the others kids with who-knew-what in their prison labs probably didn't show Disney movies.

Logan doesn't bother explaining, but does remember Laura taking quite well to the old Western Charles had been watching in the hotel. He hopes she'll get the chance to watch all the movies she likes someday.

"Took more than a few Band-Aids," he tries to joke, but his mouth feels dry and he has no humor to spare. Still, Laura scoffs and cracks a slight smile, so he considers it a victory.

They settle what little items they have on the opposite bed in the room. While Laura flips through the television channels, examining all the buttons on the remote, Logan gives himself a shave in the bathroom, but both of them can't help but sneak a peek at their lifeless prisoner every chance they can.

The edge of the razor is dull, barely cutting through the thinnest of scruff on Logan's chin, but the scrapes of the weapon against his skin is sickeningly comforting. He likes the rhythm and the pattern, likes the difference in power between him and it. The razor was probably a lot sharper once, or maybe his skin was weaker - either way, it can't harm him even at its best now.

Like Pierce, he thinks with a humorless chuckle.

Eventually, he gives up and leaves the snips of beard in the sink, pooling water in his hands and scrubbing down his face. The man that looks back at him in the mirror is too familiar - Logan hates it.

He wonders what Caliban would say about all this shit. Something snarky and cutting, Logan hopes, so that he can feel the full weight of his impulsive decision like a boulder resting on his shoulders. Ideally, his old friend would say something to knock some sense into him, to convince him to dump Pierce's ass outside - or perhaps persuade the two Wolverines to skewer him in matching sets of claws.

And yet, despite all the obvious hatred between the albino and mercenary, Logan can't bring himself to imagine Caliban calling for anything particularly cruel, especially with Pierce defenseless. Caliban is - was - a better man than Logan could ever hope to be, preferring his words as weapons instead of bone-deep blades.

But that's just it - Logan is a man, and it's because of Pierce that Caliban was. Where does trying to make peace and solve problems without bloodshed really get you in the end?


Pierce cries out in his sleep that first night, body twitching and turning as best it can as his mind surely plunges him into nightmare after nightmare. Sure, if anyone deserves it, he does - but Logan's getting annoyed.

The man's convulsions rip out new stitches in between bits of rest he manages to snag, creating a fucked-up routine that develops quickly in the early morning hours: when Pierce thrashes, Logan sews - and when Pierce sleeps, Logan sleeps.

At one point, Logan starts murmuring to him - not words of comfort, but threats. "I swear to Christ, if you don't stop, I'm going to do much worse than your buddies," and "I could just shoot you in the head like you probably did to Gabriella, I bet you'd be quiet then." Pierce gives no indication that he hears, though, so it just makes Logan feel like a lunatic, whispering in the dead of night to no one.

Rambling makes him feel a bit like Charles, if he's honest.

When he fails with words, restraining Pierce further becomes a very tempting idea - but Logan's aware that it doesn't help much, and may make things worse. So, he sucks it up and accepts that he's made this shit choice with Laura, so he needs to see it through.

Speaking of Laura, the poor girl can only hiss in annoyance and cover her ears with a pillow through the night. Logan wonders if she regrets her (their) decision yet - then he reasons that she hasn't gone back on it yet, so probably not. He may not know her completely just yet, but he gets the feeling she isn't one to lament on things she decided for herself.

At one point, Logan decides to test her patience: he offers to gut Pierce to shut him up for good.

Unfortunately, Laura declines.


It takes six hours - one-fucking-fourth of a day they could've used for traveling - for that son-of-a-bitch to open his eyes. And Logan is ready, having quickly caught the warning signs of Pierce's consciousness returning.

Seconds after Pierce's eyes start to twitch behind the lids, Logan's poised to attack, the tips of his claws pressed against the skull tattoo on the mercenary's throat. Laura stands firmly at the foot of the bed, eyes burning into their enemy, as if she's challenging him to push them too far.

There's an echo through Logan's claws - the pulse of a heartbeat, quick and pounding and desperate. Pierce struggles as he comes to, strained breaths pushed through his nose until his chest heaves and his mouth gapes, gasping for air.

And without warning, Pierce's eyes fly open, the stump left behind of his 'enhanced' arm twitching wildly in an attempt to strike against any perceived threat. It seems to dawn on his half-conscious mind that he isn't able to move it, though, so he swings the fleshy one - or tries to, anyway. The cuff on his wrist catches and yanks it back, and Logan can't deny that the resulting cry of pain is a bit rewarding.

Sweat plasters blond hair to Pierce's forehead, his chest continuing to heave as a pair of widened blue eyes stare into Logan. His gaze is unfocused, like his mind is on a separate plane of existence, so Logan gives him a pass for the attempted attack.

The man's bloodied lips move erratically, like he's trying to say something but no words will come. Eventually, all that leaves his mouth are garbled syllables, pieces of sounds that have no business being recognized as anything intelligent in the English language.

For a while, the two of them just stare at each other. Logan begs him mentally to push him over the edge, to justify a slit throat.

But there's just pain and confusion in Pierce's eyes, his chin raised slightly as he tries to make sense of what's happening around him. It has to be disorienting, Logan imagines, since the last thing the blond probably saw was a dirt road.

"Está asustado," Laura murmurs beside him, and Logan breaks the staring contest to look at her. She definitely doesn't look concerned, but the initial hatred in her eyes has died down a bit, and she even looks a little pensive. "He's scared."

"Of us," Logan replies, because that's the only thing he can think of.

Laura just shakes her head, and Logan understands.

Pierce is afraid for a different reason - one that both Logan and Laura can relate to all-too-well.

It isn't a simple case of noticing who has him captive - no, Pierce's gasping breaths and widened eyes are enough of a testament to what is plaguing him. It's something far more frightening - far more personal, even - than having two mutants at your throat.

Logan can't even begin to wonder what it could be, for Pierce finally manages to say a word before his consciousness cuts out again.

It's only one word, but it says all that needs to be said.

"X-24…?"


This time, only forty-five minutes pass before the bastard wakes up again.

Logan is in the middle of checking the good arm - poking and prodding the stitches gently to see if they need redone - when it's suddenly yanked away defensively, reeling back as close to Pierce's chest as he can manage with the cuff.

The blond doesn't speak to him yet, merely shoots a glare his way and groans in pain. He's definitely lucid enough to be angry, and Logan isn't sure whether to call that a fortunate happenstance or not.

Logan merely raises his hands defensively - look, no weapons, except for the ones you and I both know are under my knuckles - and takes a few steps back, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed.

Laura is standing nearby, her untrusting gaze glued to Pierce. After a few moments, the blond finally notices her, and his fingers twitch against his chest in an attempt to wave. Laura's eyes merely narrow, her jaw trembling as she clenches her teeth.

"H-hey, baby," Pierce greets, a callback to his choice of words in Mexico. He's a lot less confident this time, though; his voice is raspy and hoarse from misuse, his breath shaky as he tries his best to grin like usual, his stupid gold tooth glinting in the low light of the motel room. The confidence is a sad attempt at masking his pain and whatever makes him whimper in his sleep. Logan sees right through it, but decides to simply watch how this interaction will go.

He's not yet said all he wants to, but he can at least wait until one of Pierce's directs victims confronts him first.

Laura unsheathes her claws and points them at the man on the bed, mumbling, "Jonah, Gideon, Rebecca, Delilah, Rictor."

"H-huh?" Pierce stammers, not completely conscious yet (or maybe he has a concussion, who knows?).

"Jonah, Gideon, Rebecca, Delilah, Rictor!" Laura repeats, the names forcing themselves out of her mouth. She continues to say them, over and over like a mantra, each time getting louder and more desperate until she sounds like she's pleading.

Pierce squirms uncomfortably on the bed, attempting to sit himself up, but the pain in his shoulder - along with the fact that he only has one working arm - has caught up to him, and he winces, inspecting his body with what looks like morbid fascination.

"...the hell happened to me…?" he mutters, taking in every bruise and cut along his body. His eyes linger a little too long at what's left of his mechanical arm, an uneasy expression settling onto his face once he notices how broken it is.

Laura, fed up with the aversion to her words, slams her hands onto the bed - the resulting sound not quite as loud as she probably had wanted it to be, but their prisoner still jumps a mile. She directs her angry, wild glare right into Pierce's eyes, but he has trouble keeping eye contact. Whenever he tries to look away, she grabs his chin in a hand and outright forces his head back, to look at her again.

"We brought you back here, and we can throw you back out if you don't listen," the young mutant snaps, her tone unafraid and laced with hate. She's never had any real reason to fear the Reavers, Logan knows - the power difference is laughable - but he's never seen her act so direct with this man in particular.

It makes a warm feeling pool into his chest, but he'll be damned before he admits it's pride.

The blond is still silent, so Laura recites the names once more. Logan had first been confused at the names, but Pierce knows the context, knows the kids. Understanding worms its way onto his bruised face, and he finally clicks his tongue.

"You wanna know where your friends are," Pierce chuckles, his eyes narrowing. "Well hell, Laura - I do, too."

"To kill them," Laura spits, regarding the man as if he's gum at the bottom of her shoe. (In reality, he's even lower than that.)

"Well, sure. We all gotta correct the mistakes we make, Laura. You bein' the mistake, of course." The smug look on Pierce's face is enough for Logan's claws to slide out of his knuckles instinctively, but Laura is one step ahead. The stress of the situation pushes her to the edge, all the anguish and pain she's been holding in just exploding out of her like a firecracker.

"¡Mientras más hablas, más quiero matarte! Estás atrapado aquí, ¡y no tenemos miedo de destruir tu otro brazo si es necesario! ¡Dile a tus hombres que dejen de perseguirnos! ¡Llévame a ver a mis amigos!" Laura screams until her face is red, her words quick and sharp like small knives stabbing out each syllable. "¡Entonces déjanos en paz y déjanos vivir!"

Logan doesn't speak Spanish, but he can obviously see that Laura is pouring her heart out. Pierce seems to pick up on what she's saying, but he isn't intimidated; he merely rolls his eyes and retorts, "Listen, it's cute and all, that you think we're just gonna let you go and you'll be free somewhere off in your magical comic book home, but the truth of the matter is, we can't."

"Why not? What business is it of yours what we do?" Laura demands.

Pierce shakes his head and grins, shit-eating and very punchable. "Oh, baby, haven't you heard? There just ain't no place on earth for muteys - especially kinds like you."

Laura swipes her claws across his face, and Logan takes a step forward without thinking. He grabs her wrist, pulling her away from the wounded man. She is thrashing and screaming, a wild animal that's severely pissed off, but Logan is larger and able to pull her away. By the time he places her on the other bed, she's pursed her lips together and crosses her arms.

"Don't pout just because I won't let you make our decision for nothing," he scolds, but she just glares up at him like he's caught her hand in the goddamn cookie jar or something.

With a scoff, he turns back to Pierce, just to make sure she didn't accidentally skewer their 'guest'. Luckily, her slash had only left some cuts across the bastard's face, not cut it in half or anything. The wound's deep and red, but not enough to warrant a tourniquet; Pierce attempts to bring a hand up to touch his cheek, but the cuff stops him. Instead, he wipes his cheek against his shoulder, smearing crimson across his skin and coat like paint.

"Good to know you're still a fighter, Laura. Always liked that about you," Pierce sneers. His words are mocking, but his expression betrays how angry he is at her attack.

"Shut the fuck up," Logan growls, moments from sliding out his own claws. "We didn't bring you here out of the goodness of our hearts, you know. You owe us now, for saving your sorry ass."

Pierce cocks his head to the side, pressing his tongue to the side of his cheek in thought. "Uh huh," he muses. "And uh, what's stoppin' me from calling on my associates to come ambush you right now, then?"

"You and I both know the answer to that," Logan snorts, swallowing back a cough. "I can guess it wasn't fucking Freddy Krueger or a tiger that attacked you on the side of the road."

The glare on Pierce's face is priceless, and almost makes all the effort saving his life worth it.

"In any case," Logan continues, knowing he's gained the upper hand, "I expect you to cooperate, and help point us in the right direction without alerting any of your friends."

"Why should I?"

"Because you're our prisoner, and I can bet all of the fucking X-Men comics in the world that you weren't this courteous to Caliban," Logan bites out, the reminder that his friend is gone because of this piece of shit looming over him like a large shadow.

"Caliban ended up bein' very helpful," Pierce points out, "with the right persuasion."

"Don't say his name again, or I'll use that persuasion on you," Logan warns with a low voice.

At that, Pierce goes silent again, his gaze drawing over to where his mechanical arm should be. "Did you happen to… see any pieces of it?" He asks, his voice uncharacteristically quiet and almost upset.

Unfortunately, Logan has minimal sympathy for him. "Just shattered bits. It didn't look fixable, so I didn't bother," he reports, and doesn't miss the shaky breath Pierce sucks in at the words.

"It might be - just don't have the parts," the blond mutters, and goes quiet.

It's not necessarily the same, but Logan wonders how he'd feel if his claws were ripped out by force. Despite how many lives they have taken, it isn't a pleasant thought; like it or not, they're a part of him, and removing them would leave him with missing parts.

"Why did they attack you?" Logan asks, breaking the heavy silence. "You're in charge of them, right? What would make them turn on you?"

Preoccupation with his arm makes Pierce vulnerable enough to answer without any trademark snark. "Wasn't quick enough catchin' the kids, so bosses decided I was a bad limb that needed to be cut off. Plenty'a other commanders waitin' to be put on the job."

It sounds like the truth, but Logan is still skeptical. "They crushed your arm, beat you, and left you for dead. If it really wasn't personal, you would've just been shot like Gabriella."

Pierce just gives a listless shrug, refusing to meet Logan's eyes. "I said what I said, mutey."

It dawns on Logan that it doesn't really matter why Pierce was attacked by the other Reavers. Who cares how he got here, as long as he has some use in getting them to Eden? Details are irrelevant in the end, anyway.

"Fine, whatever," the older man scoffs. "We'll be staying the night and on the road by sunrise tomorrow morning."

Pierce raises an eyebrow. "I guess I'll be comin' along with you, then?"

Logan smiles, baring his teeth. "You don't have a choice."

"Noted." Pierce tries to play it off coolly, but there's no denying he's a bit intimidated. He adds a hasty remark before Logan walks away: "Oh, and FYI - Gaby knew what was comin' to her when she left with those kids - ain't no stars in the sky that could align to save her."

"I should've thought about that, too," Logan points out gruffly, "when we decided to pick your ass off of the road."


The night is quiet, and Logan doesn't feel comfortable just sleeping with an enemy in the bed beside them. So instead of getting some actual rest, he lays in bed on his side and keeps his eyes focused on Pierce, watching the blond slowly drift off to a light sleep. Laura's curled up beside Logan, her gentle breathing comforting against his back.

In an hour or so, Pierce's eyes snap open again with a gasp - though he assumes he's the only one awake, and mumbles something to himself. Logan can't quite make out the words, but Laura shifts beside him, indicating that the noise had woken her. She's got the better hearing, anyway. (Must be a second generation mutant thing.)

Logan watches, breathlessly, as the girl climbs out of bed, taking a seat across from Pierce's bed. The motel's cheap, but at least had the decency to furnish the rooms with a desk and chair. Laura seats herself comfortably, and Logan still lays there watching; if he needs to intervene, he will, but he trusts her. Despite her earlier outburst, he doesn't think she'll make anymore rash decisions.

Pierce realizes he's not alone, and stares her down for a moment, his chest rising and falling quickly as his mind returns to reality.

"You know," Laura whispers, her voice hushed in the dead of night, "That thing that attacked me, that you brought after us… it is a killing machine."

The blond shuffles a bit on the bed, doing his best to sit up. He looks shaken, but still holds his composure well. "X-24? Of course he is," he murmurs back, clearly not in the mood for a conversation right now.

"I should have realized it, a long time ago - X-24 is a monster, sé que le tienes miedo. But you… you are just a man."

"A fantastic observation, darlin'."

"I'm not finished," Laura spits, forcing Pierce's silence before she continues, "You are not someone to fear or run from. All of you are just bad men who take orders from worse men."

"Well, that's cute - you tryin' to be a little guru, Laura?"

She shuts down Pierce's attempt at humor. "Charles said that bad men can change their ways; so long as there is a small bit of good somewhere, they are not monsters." For a brief moment, she flicks her gaze over to Logan, indicating that she knows he's awake - and doesn't say anything. She just smiles, briefly, before turning back to the blond with a frown. "Do you think you're a monster?"

Logan expects an immediate 'no,' but Pierce hesitates for a brief moment, the late-night talk appearing to affect him a bit. Instead of a real answer, he spits out, "That cue ball's filled your head with nonsense."

"Charles is - was very smart." Logan can hear the hurt in her voice as she says the word was. "He cared about his friends and family - I know he cared about me."

Pierce scrunches his face up in disgust. "You know, huh? What the hell do you even know, Laura? No, seriously - what do you actually know about anything or anyone that's not from a fucking laboratory?"

"I know more than you think," Laura shoots back. "I hear you tossing and turning when you sleep, and I know something evil chases you in your dreams. I know you are not able to fix your arm, and it's tearing you apart inside."

"Since you're so smart all of a sudden, you should know you're on my fuckin' nerves. Keep quiet and let me sleep," Pierce hisses, attempting to turn away from her. The handcuff catches him, however, and he can only hiss in pain and remain in the same position, frustrated.

Laura doesn't relent, whispering, "I know your men betrayed you, nearly killed you, and left you to die - and now you don't know what to do or where to go."

There's a pause so long that Logan wonders if Pierce really had fallen back to sleep, or fell unconscious somehow. Laura doesn't move, her eyes wide and unblinking like those of a cat in the night. (Or perhaps a wolverine.)

Finally, there's a raspy voice that breaks through the silence. "If you kids would'a just stayed in that lab like you were supposed to… none of this would've happened." Pierce's head turns to look at the stump of his arm; there's pressure building in his words - Logan can hear the emotion stirring beneath his tone.

"Is that really why they hurt you?" Laura pushes on, unaware. "Because you didn't kill us quick enough?"

"Thought you muteys were supposed to have enhanced hearin' and shit. That's what I said, isn't it?"

"No te creo. I don't believe you," the girl presses. "Why would they attack you , one of their leaders?"

"Because of just one moment of fucking weakness!" Pierce finally hisses, his lips curled back like a dog as his anger spills over like hot water. "I thought… I thought about just callin' it all off! Too many men were getting killed over you brats, so what did I care if you escaped somewhere? You wouldn't be my problem anymore if y'all died or lived out there!"

For the first time, Laura is caught off-guard. She stares at him for a moment, slack-jawed, and says, "You were going to stop…?"

"Thought about it. Even joked about it with Zander and the Reavers, and here we fucking are! They gave me that arm, so they took it away and left me there!" Pierce yells, louder and more serious than Logan's seen him before.

Laura bites her lip. "Then… there isn't any way you can stop them."

"Christ, Laura, no. They ain't my men anymore, and if I show my face again, they'll finish what they started," Pierce replies, his voice sounding miserable and tired, as though the recent events have finally caught up with him.

With a sigh, the girl shakes her head. "They're not going to stop until they kill us, or we kill them…"

"That's right. And you'll probably lose that battle, since they have X-24." Pierce's expression holds no satisfaction - he's simply stating what he thinks is a fact.

"But… why? What made you - them - decide that we have to die?" Laura asks, and Logan recognizes it as a question he's asked himself many times in his younger years.

Pierce is ignorant of how anguished Laura is, and just gives a shrug. His response is cold and ruthless, and he says it as if it's the most true statement in the world.

"Because no one wants you to be alive."

That seems to spark something in the young mutant; her eyes almost glitter in the darkness, taking a moment to choose her words carefully. She thinks before she speaks - in all the time he's known her, Logan can at least say that about Laura. And her expression is calm and collected, as though she finally found the upper hand on Pierce.

"You know what that feels like now." Her words are just as merciless, and hit right where they're supposed to - definitely more effective than anything she could do with her claws.

Though it's dark, Logan can make out Pierce's open mouth, gaping as he searches for a retort, or a smug reply, or something - but all he can do is sit there, contemplating his next move in the mental chess game with an opponent he severely underestimated.

"...I suppose I do," he finally whispers.

The quiet returns, and it seems both of them have said all they needed to say. Logan takes this opportunity to sit up, turning on the lamp beside the bed. Pierce's eyes wince as the light pours into the small room, attempting once again to cover his eyes with a hand but failing.

"Shit," he mutters, narrowing his eyes at Logan. "A bit rude, don't you think, Wolvie?"

Logan just snorts, shaking his head. He runs a hand down his face, scratching at his beard as he sits up and swings his legs over the side of the bed. "What's rude is you two yapping - I can't get any sleep."

"Lo siento," Laura murmurs, but he waves it off. It definitely isn't her he's angry at.

Pierce rolls his eyes, leaning against the cheap motel pillows with a huff. "So, what? You need a recap of all'a that, or did you get the gist? I should'a figured you were listening in."

"I think I got it all," Logan replies. "Look, are you going to help us? Or are those guys going to finish what they started?"

Pierce hesitates, his mouth open and trying to push a response past his lips, but ultimately failing to conjure up any words.

"You said it before, we wouldn't be your problem anymore. Help us get to Eden before those men, and you'll never see any of us again," Laura adds, somehow knowing just the right words to add on. (The two of them really do make a great team, Logan can't help but admit.)

"That's… I don't know," Pierce mutters after a minute. His face tells them all they need to know - he's weighing his options, calculating the risk versus reward, and the possible consequences of each decision.

Logan takes advantage of this, and goes in for the kill - as though this is a hunt and he's finally cornered his prey. "Think about it - us finding you? It was probably more than a fucking chance of fate. Or maybe it was - it doesn't matter, because the fact remains that the three of us should be dead, and yet here we are."

Still alive.

Logan may not have much time left, but he's determined to see this whole thing through to the end. Every pulsing beat in his veins is vindictive, every breath vengeful to those who dared try to stop him.

Laura nods in agreement to Logan's words, getting up from her seat and sitting herself next to him on the bed. Her fingers find his, lacing the digits together tightly as she meets his eyes. "We're alive," she whispers, the youth in her gaze almost energizing. Logan gives her a small smile - only for her, he'll smile like this - and both of them glance over to the mercenary.

Pierce looks uncomfortable, lips pursed and eyebrows scrunched down. He has to recognize the two mutants are waiting for a response, but he's lost in his own mind for a moment. His eyes trail from the stitches on his left arm to the crumbled remains of his right, and his jaw tightens as he really considers his choice.

"...Alive, yeah," he finally muses. "With any luck, it'll stay that way."

Pierce nods to them, and the response is enough for Logan.