I don't own X-Men Evolution, though I wish I did. Or maybe just adult X23 (from the future scenes from the end of Ascension II). Her, a tropical island, and some coconut oil. Yeah, that's all I want. Is that so much to ask?
X23 comes to the Institute to join the X-Men. But can a living weapon become human? Can a girl trained from birth to kill learn to live her own life? And what is Hydra up to? Who is this strange new attacker determined to take down X23? Takes place after Ascension II, and prior to what will hopefully be a season Five.
The wind rustled through the branches of the woodland trees. With them came a myriad of other, lesser sounds. Birds chirping, water pouring down a waterfall a distance off, and... there... the softer sounds of her prey, the deer. Gracefully the huntress leapt forward, grabbed the tree branch at the next tree and flipped gracefully up and over, landing on the soles of her feet, hands gripping the edges, legs bent. She moved in complete silence, the results of a long lifetime of training. The deer below her didn't hear so much as her boot scratch against the bark as it continued to quietly chew its grassy meal.
X23 moved swiftly and silently. The deer died likewise.
Physically hauling the body proved little problem for the tiny but deadly fourteen year old. Though heavy, the greatest problem was the beast's mass and size making it awkward. She solved that by lashing a crude leader rope around its legs and dragging it behind her. Back to the cave she now called home.
A fire was lit, and she tossed tossed a few branches onto the burning embers to rekindle it. Her new home was dark, it was damp, it smelled on occasion with the stench of dead animal carcasses. But she wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. She was free now, and that was something she would gladly trade all the comforts of the worlds richest palace for. A palace... or a mansion. As always, X23 shook her head, banishing such thoughts from her mind as she turned her attention to more mundane tasks. Skinning and cooking her dinner, for instance. A small part of her knew she was doing such tasks to avoid thinking about him, the man who was something of a father to her... but right now she wasn't ready. So she pushed down such thoughts and ignored them.
Cooking her meat, X23 sat down cross-legged, unzipping her black jacket to allow a little more of the cool evening air to seep in against her body. It had been an exceptionally hot day, and black was unfortunately her only color of choice. Suitable for camouflage yes, but sometimes she wished she could've stolen a spare set from the Hydra fortress before it was destroyed. Ah well, it would last. The material was very durable, and so far had yet to show a single scratch or mark.
Finishing her meal, she gathered the bones and took them to the other side of the mountain, tossing them down. She didn't want any unwelcome visitors in the night attracted by the smell, and frankly she doubted they'd want to meet her either. The last bear who'd tried to take her cave for its own had left after having its nose nearly sliced clean off.
X23 shrugged of her black jacket, down to the pale green sleeveless shirt she wore underneath, stretching out her tired limbs. Today had been taxing, but X23 was determined to finish her katas before bed.
Slowly, carefully, she stretched out her hands, palms flat as she moved her body in fluid motion, striking slowly but accurately at opponents only within her mind. Her haunted green eyes narrowed, and she swung out her foot, equally slow to bring it back in. Her heartrate never rose, her breathing never changed from a slow, steady intake and outtake. With a low bow (a concept she still hadn't quite understood from her training) she finished her kata.
Lying down in the makeshift bed of animal pelts X23 had collected and cured in the last few months, X23 fell into a light sleep, drawing her black spandex jacket up over her bare shoulders. It was not too cold, and she could survive in worse, but it was comforting anyway. True, most of her enemies were either dead or believe her to be dead, but she would never lower her guard, not even now, and give them a chance to make her theirs again.
As always, though she slept lightly and was perfectly aware of her environment, she dreamed. Her dreams were filled with bloodshed and terrible experiments. Experiments performed on a twelve year old girl.
From his vantage point, a dark figure could easily make out the thermal warmth of his target through his Night Vision binoculars. She was easily visible, a swath of red and orange next to the much brighter white of the fire roaring next to her. She'd grown careless in her long time away from Hydra, the figure thought.
Well, so be it, only makes my job that much easier, he thought to himself.
Switching the binoculars off the dark figure slid them back into his backpack, sliding it back around over his shoulders. A camouflage trenchcoat covers his shoulders, the edges whipping about his legs as he started to move. Running at incredible speed, he moved in closer towards his target, his legs pumping with incredible speed. And in one solid, swift leap he'd cleared a nearby tree, landing on its topmost branch... easily a good thirty feet off the ground. And from his new vantage point, he could finally make out the details about his target.
"This is gonna be too easy," he said to himself, reaching into his backpack for some more equipment. A rifle barrel came first, but suddenly his keen eyesight noticed something. He grabbed the NV binoculars and again focused on his target.
Very clever, he thought to himself. Using your jacket as a cover. No knockout darts would be able to penetrate. Well, I'll just move in closer...
Bad idea, he noticed immediately. The area around the targets cave was littered with traps, designed to catch and take out human foes. Lethal looking ones. And even if the dark figure could get in close without getting killed, he'd alert her to his presence. X23 would be much more difficult to capture while awake. She might even escape his grasp.
Tomorrow then, he thought to himself. You have to come out of that cave sooner or later, he added, as he dropped back down, silent as a night owl, and made his way back to a secure position, out of range of X23's keen senses. Sooner or later you'll come back out... then you're mine, he added. With a grin, the dark figure chuckled, running his lips across razor sharp, deadly canines.
Morning came with surprising swiftness, as X23's eyes popped open. A very well trained survivalist, she was capable of falling asleep and rising from it in an instant. After a brief stretch, she set about her daily work. Basically, cleaning and fashioning the few bones she had into knives. Designed specifically for throwing, they compensated for her lack of weaponry. She could easily down a rabbit from over sixty meters away, thirty if it was moving. Making knives and keeping them clean in the water she kept in the cave. An old Hydra soldiers helmet provided an excellent cooking pot, and gave her a source of clear water without having to trek down to the creek a half mile away. Still, a trip in the next day or so would be needed. Her hair was starting to become grimy and filthy, and her clothes needed a wash too. The cold water was unpleasant, but necessary if she wanted to stay clean and healthy.
Again, images of running hot water invaded her thoughts, but only briefly. She angrily pushed them down again, but her dreams had only strengthened her desire to have something other than a life of mere survival. Other images filtered through her head. The students at the Xavier Institute, so happy in their normal lives. Wolverine, the only one in the world who could possibly understand her. The only person she could call family.
Other images. Hydra soldiers. The mercenaries Gauntlet and Omega Red, tracking her. Madame Hydra. Again, X23 shoved them out of her head and into the recesses of her subconscious. They were gone, and had no further part in her life. She was free now, and that was all that mattered.
Logan strapped on his helmet and revved up his bike, determined to enjoy this quiet Friday afternoon for a very long drive. The students would be back soon, and he was not eager to face them after their sudden (and temporary) freedom from school. They'd be ecstatic, and he had no desire to get caught in the crossfire of wild teenagers.
Thus, the open road beckoned, and he decided to accept, riding out into the horizon as he was wont to do on occasion. Who knows, this time he might actually find her. But he doubted it. His semi-offspring was even better than he was at keeping herself hidden from the prying eyes of the world.
Still, he preferred to think he'd run into her, and not Sabertooth. Their last meeting hadn't been very satisfactory to either of the longtime rivals, and Logan knew the big behemoth was aching for some payback. Good thing he was too.
X23 decided later that day that she would take a trip to the creek and get herself and her clothes cleaned. The trek wasn't far, and she could use a break from her knife-making. She needed time to think, anyway. Her urges to seek out Weapon X, the man known as Logan, and his comrades was proving to be a distraction. And she needed to resolve something soon.
Finally reaching the stream of flowing water, X23 made her way down a deep inlet, just deep enough to reach up to her chest if she stood on the rocky bottom. She stripped off her clothes, laying them on the grassy side for now as she waded in and splashed cold water on her limbs. She shivered, but shook it off and continued in, letting the freezing water envelope her as she ducked her head in and let the slow flowing water slid between the locks of her hair.
X23 lifted her head, gracefully throwing back her long, burgundy locks as the water sprayed everywhere. She didn't care, she was alone, she was free...
Suddenly her head snapped up, and she glanced to the left. Too late her sensitive nose registered the smell of gunpowder. Too late her keen ears recognized the rustle of leaves under leather. X23 growled, ducking down low, submerged into the water up to her chin, casting about all her senses in every direction to try and locate her attacker.
Suddenly the ground next to the stream exploded, showering the area with dirt, as X23 used this opportunity to dive out of the water. Belatedly, she scooped up her clothes as she ran, ducking behind a nearby tree as another blast nearly took off her feet. She glanced out from behind the tree, searching again, her survival more important than modesty.
When no further sound, sight, or scent of her attacker became apparent, X23 realized they'd retreated, and quickly slipped into her black uniform, zipping up her jacket. The mask she'd abandoned after the night at the Institute. It'd been stifling, and made her feel less human and more like a weapon. She sliced it to pieces and dumped it in the bay that gave Bayville its name. She popped her claws, and as usual grit her teeth against the ensuing pain of having the flesh between her knuckles sliced clean open, only to heal around the new metallic blades pressing between them. Now she was ready.
X23 shifted position, holding out her bladed hand, and used the claws as a mirror, searching for signs of her enemy while remaining safe behind the thick tree trunk. A blast would shatter it, true, but it wouldn't severely hurt her. At least, nothing a few moments of her inborn healing factor wouldn't handle.
"Come on, show yourself," she whispered softly, her normally light, high-pitched voice harsh and low from disuse. Out in the wilderness, away from civilization, she'd never had a need to use it.
X23 leapt forward and rolled to the side as another rocket slammed into the base of the tree with a great burst of fire and sound. The shockwaves knocked her over, and the tree was far less fortunate as it crashed down nearby, making the ground tremble. X23 immediately regained her footing, running down low along the ground in a zigzag pattern, determined to give the psychotic sniper no easy target as she looked for some cover. She had to get some distance. Then, she could circle back, and find the sniper before he found her. Then she'd see how well he stood up to adamantium claws.
X23 immediately spotted a highway, and ran towards it. True, she had no desire to expose herself, but she was better neither did her unknown attacker. Safety in a crowd, the assassin's stalking ground.
A gas station rose in her vision, near view, and she sprinted towards it. It seemed a gift from God, but she learned long ago there was no such being. No such being could condemn a girl like her from birth to such a hated existence.
The sniper, whomever it was, realized her objective, and the next blast was carefully aimed, very close to X23. The blast impacted the left side of her body even as the missile thankfully missed, sending the dark-haired girl flying through the air to slam into one of the gas tanks, face-first. The metal dented from the hard impact of her body, and she collapsed, unconscious, bleeding from a multitude of wounds, her body broken and bruised. Half her uniform had been burnt clear off, the rest was ripped by flying debris from the explosion, rocks and metals and the like. Unconscious, her claws slid back into her fists, as her healing factor immediately kicked in and sealed the flesh over. X23 groaned, unable to move. She was helpless.
Her attacker moved in for the kill.
The dark figure took things slow. X23 was unconscious, and no healing factor would have her up and moving for hours with the sorts of wounds his last blast had inflicted upon her. Even if she did, he was more than strong enough to take her out on his own. Slowly, he made his way towards her, tossing aside the used rocket launched like the useless equipment it was. No need to wipe his fingerprints from it. They did not exist on any policy record in any country.
Suddenly the dark figure stopped and growled, low and menacing, even as he slipped behind a nearby tree. From the distance, he could see a new figure had entered the fray, next to X23. A dark-haired figure, male, around his mid-thirties. And the motorcycle next to the destroyed gas station, the red one, was obviously his. A good design. But it wasn't that which had caught the dark figure's attention. It was his scent. A scent disturbingly similar to his targets.
The other... damnit, he cursed inside his head. He dare not make a sound aloud, for fear of alerting the other. Swiftly, the dark figure departed. Another day, he promised. Another day.
"Christ kid, you look like hell," Logan swore softly, bending down to examine the broken and bloody form of X23. He was twice as surprised as she would doubtlessly be to see him here. He'd been out on one of his biking trips, and had stopped for some gas and a beer. And then the explosion had gone off, spilling his beer and sending him out to find the source. He still hadn't found it, but X23 needed help, and soon. She was clinging to life by the thinnest of threads.
"Its okay, kid, you'll heal... but you need help... I hope you don't mind," he said, reaching down. He tore off what remain of her jacket, bandaging her wounds crudely but effectively cutting off further blood flow. Gently he picked up her tiny form in his arms, being very careful not to further jostle her, not wishing to push her healing factor any further than necessary. Plus, he was positive at least a few of her bones had broken with her being tossed around. Unlike him, he reminded himself, her entire skeleton wasn't adamantium. Just the claws.
Gently, Logan help settle X23 down onto the back of his motorcycle, helping to secure her so she wouldn't fall off, then settled into the drivers seat and revved up the engine.
Logan grabbed the handles and flipped 'the' switch, going into overdrive as his bike sped through the air almost as fast as Quicksilver. Still, it wasn't fast enough. The Institute was still too far away, with its advanced medical technology. Logan poured on more speed, zipping back and forth along the highway. Thankfully, traffic was light, and since he'd already filled up at the now destroyed gas station, the tank was full.
He just prayed they'd get back in time. Even with her healing factor, X23 might not survive the wounds she had.
The matter of what had happened would have to wait.
Poor X23. Kid can never catch a break, can she? Well, don't worry, more to come. This story will help to explain how one day X23 will become an X-Man alongside the others (as seen in the Ascension II future vision). But its not gonna be easy, no sirree. Who is this mysterious attacker? Any ideas? I realize Logan being in the area is a bit of stretch, but go with it okay? Its cartoon forces of nature at work (also called convenient plot holes). Also, the motorcycle is obviously a reference to the first X-Men movie. Logan needs a bike like that.