An X-Men: Evolution fanfic by Lavender Gaia
Editing by Laine
Chapter 1: Taking Care
Disclaimer: I do not own X-men Evolution or X-23. They are all property of Marvel.
Note: I'm using some details from the X-23 comic, but they shouldn't affect your understanding of the story and I'll try to explain everything. If you haven't read the comics, I highly suggest you pick them up from your local comic book shop. Issues 1-4 are out now!
If anything can go wrong it will.
Nothing is so bad that it can't get any worse.
It wasn't supposed to end up like this. All he wanted was a calm run through the woods before the sun got too high and the world once again become more crowded for its own good. Besides, this was one of the best ways to calm down after a hectic morning with over a dozen teenagers that didn't involve alcohol in large quantities.
But then he saw her. God, he had forgotten just how little she was. Naturally, she was on the short side, he couldn't forget that as the fact glared at him in the mirror every day. She was just so small. His expert glanced guessed that she couldn't be sixty-five pounds was he stared at her. Her back was resting against a tree trunk, hugging her legs to her chest. Her dark brown hair, which seemed almost black in this light, provided this perfect curtain from the world. The way to hide without actually going anywhere.
"X-23," he greeted her roughly.
She looked up, meeting his gaze. "Wolverine."
The young girl made no move to get up, so he just sighed and sat across from her, resting against his own tree trunk. "What are you doing here, Kid?"
"Shoulda known that was coming…" he grumbled. "No luck finding a job, then?"
"Wrong. Plenty of luck. But none that my conscious will let me take," the forest green eyes in her small face clouded over, but it seemed not to be from the frustration of having no money. "But I'm fine. Nothing for you to worry about."
A stomach grumbled, and while he recognized the exact sound it made, he still knew it wasn't his. Logan smirked at the fact that even their stomachs demanded for food the same way. "How long has it been since you've eaten?"
"I caught a rabbit a few days ago. Not too much game around here."
"Rahne took care of most of it while she was here. After a few days of her midnight hunting I expect everyone ran for their lives," he chuckled. X-23 did not. "Look, you need to eat."
"I'll find my own way, ok? I'm not a child, I can fend for myself," she looked away, focusing on a spot that was not Wolverine's face staring at her with that "give me a break" attitude.
"Come back to the Institute, at least let me feed you," he offered, reaching over to pat her shoulder.
Her claws popped out as she moved away from this touch. "I don't need your help! I can take care of myself!"
Logan sighed. "Look, most of you there is my DNA," he looked at her claws pointedly as they sliced some bark off the tree. "So my thought is that makes me kinda your dad or somethin' like that. And it's in the Dad's Basic Book of Conduct that food and other things that keep you alive are part of my job."
A scowl came over her pretty face. "You can't force me to stay there."
"Not trying to. Just thought you could use a proper meal before you go on your way. The only ones who are back at the Institute are me, Professor X, Storm, Hank and Jamie, so we won't bombard ya or anythin'. C'mon," Logan stood up, extending a hand to X-23. "You may not want it, but your stomach sure does. Unless you'd rather eat some leaves from these trees."
She stared suspiciously. Finally, when she realized there were no other options, she took it, just for a second, electing to walk behind him. His supreme hearing could barely pick up her steps. She had trained well, and her light, quick form only aided in her stealth.
Ororo was watering plants outside when they came up. "Hey, 'Ro! I found a stray, can I keep her?" Logan grinned. X-23 looked at him startled, so he quickly corrected himself. "It's a joke, a joke! I promised you food, nothing more."
"Hello there," Storm greeted the young girl in surprise. "Why don't you come in?" The three went into the kitchen, X-23 looking around nervously around every corner. "Logan, she's skin and bones!" Ororo hissed softly.
"Think I don't know that? It took me long enough to have her agree to some breakfast," he growled back, looking at the twittering girl behind him. "So, whatdya wanna eat? We got pretty much anything you can dream of."
"How about I make you some chocolate chip pancakes?" Ororo offered. The girl didn't respond, but there was a hint of curiosity in her eye that made the older woman smile. "I think that'd be best."
"You know, pancakes aren't something you can just whip up," Wolverine said casually. "Take a shower while you wait. It'll make you feel better, and then you'll be nice and fresh when you go and look for your job."
She glared at him, but knew he was right and didn't complain. "Fine."
He grinned broadly and showed her the bathroom. "Here you are, Kid. Take your time, no rush."
Ororo was already flipping pancakes by the time he went back downstairs. "There's coffee. You look like you could use some."
"What I could really use is a beer, but I cleaned the last one out yesterday. I think Hank or someone's been nickin' 'em, I coulda sworn I bought a six pack a few days ago," Logan grumbled, pouring himself a mug of coffee, drinking it black.
Storm rolled her eyes and flipped another finished pancake onto the plate. "Oh, yes. And next thing you know, we'll find out Jamie, Kitty and Jean have been sneaking into the liquor cabinet for midnight drinks. You go through those beers like oxygen, I'm sure you just didn't realize how many you were drinking."
Snorting into his cup of coffee, Logan decided not to continue arguing on the subject. The possibility that she was right was foreign to him. "I'll just pick up some more later…"
"You do that." She had just finished the last pancake when X-23 came in, brown hair dripping water down her black clothes, green eyes opened wide. She reminded Ororo of a scared doe as she timidly moved towards Logan. Surprisingly enough, standing next to the oaf of a man calmed her down slightly. "I finished your pancakes. Here you are," she set them on the table with a big glass of milk.
"Thank you," X-23 whispered softly, staring at the circles on her plate.
"I know you're hungry, why aren't you eating?" Logan asked roughly, sizing his daughter up with a raised eyebrow.
"I'm…I'm not sure what it is," she replied honestly.
"Pancakes. With chocolate chips. Don't know how to describe it much more'n that…"
"I've never had any of that before," She told him, regarding it carefully.
Ororo blinked in surprise. The African Goddess had never met anyone, particularly a child, who had never had chocolate before. "Well, everyone else thinks they're delicious. Please, try them."
Logan used his claws to cut through all the pancakes, moving so fast that no chocolate stuck to the indestructible adamantium. "There ya go. Enjoy."
X-23 picked up her fork, spearing a piece of the soft cake and bringing it to her mouth slowly. One taste and she was hooked. Within two minutes, all the pancakes were finished. She barely muttered a word of thanks when Ororo flipped more on her plate before diving in again.
After three helpings of the delicious breakfast, X-23 was finally full. They couldn't believe she could fit so much food into such a small body, but she was Logan's kid and must have gotten his appetite as well.
'She's exhausted,' Logan thought, watching as the girls eyes kept drifting closed.
"Are you tired?" Ororo asked kindly. "I get that way sometimes too after a good meal." This was more of a hint to Wolverine than anything else, if the sharp glance was any clue.
"Ok, c'mere, you," he grunted, scooping her up and carrying the girl towards the stairs.
"What are you doing!" She protested, pounding on his muscles and trying to wriggle out of his grasp.
"Settle down!" His hard, commanding, Danger Room voice was used. It meant no nonsense, no matter what was going on.
Her eyes opened in surprise as he pushed open a bed room door and dropped her lightly on the bed. She watched as he reached into a bureau drawer, then tossed something cloth at her. Upon further investigation, she realized it was a really big shirt.
"You need to sleep. That battle uniform you're wearing doesn't look at that comfortable, so just wear one of my shirts. I promise no one will even come near the door, so don't worry about it, ok?" His dark eyes fixed on her green ones and she knew he wasn't going to budge. Truthfully, she wasn't quite sure she wanted him to.
After as second, she nodded her agreement and he sighed in relief. "Good girl. Now get in that bed and get some rest." As an afterthought, he patted her head gently, then left her alone to change.
X-23 slipped off the suit she had been wearing for days and was surprised at how far down the t-shirt went on her. It was like wearing a dress, from what she remembered from the few time she had in undercover missions. Yet, at the same time, it was nothing near that shoddy, hospital gown-type outfit she had worn back at SHIELD. It smelled of lavender washing detergent and the comforting scent of Logan and his aftershave.
Hesitantly, she crawled into the bed, amazed at just how soft it was and how warm it kept her without growing overheated. Two seconds after she had mused about how wonderful a pillow was, she was asleep.
The room was very dark. Light was minimal, the only amount slipping through a crack or the curtains or from the hallway under the door. She was trained to see as much as possible in pitch black, but merely shed the shirt and replaced it with her suit by touch. X-23 stood by the door, listening for any approaching footsteps. There were none, so she quickly slipped out of the bedroom.
The hallway was empty and she remembered how to get to the stairs and quickly jogged, keeping her steps silent. Before she could go down the first step, a calm voice greeted her from behind. "Oh, hello there. Did you sleep well?"
She spun, extending her claws to face her attacker. Professor Xavier didn't even blink. 'Oh, it's only him…' Her hands fell to the ground, claws still out.
"Hey, I'd appreciate it if you didn't shish kabob Chuck here," another voice behind her said. There was no need to turn around; she knew it was Logan. "You look better."
Truth be told, she was more alert and satisfied than she had been in days. But she'd never admit to them that they were right. It was against her code. "I'm fine."
"X-23, would you mind if I talk to you about something?" Xavier asked calmly.
She looked behind her to judge Logan's reaction. He nodded. "Sure, I guess…"
"Excellent. Follow me," the Professor lead Logan and X-23 towards the elevator, where they rode downstairs and then into this office. "Take a seat, please."
"I'd rather stand," she grunted, but Wolverine pulled her down next to him on the couch.
"Now, Logan's told me that you are looking for a job. I was thinking of how I could help you. You're still young, so the most you could probably do is work at a fast food place or something of the sort," he explained. "I can give you a referral, and I'm sure you know your social security number."
"…Alright then. Well, I'm sure we can do it if you have your birth certificate," he assured her.
"I don't have one." X-23 was getting annoyed.
"Hmmm...I really don't think I can help you then. Most places don't like paying off the books. There's a small chance. Or…you know, there's always something else you could do."
She looked at him curiously. "What?"
"Stay here. Become one of my X-men. Go to school. Try to be like any other fourteen year old girl. Of course, there will be some differences," he chuckled lightly.
"You planned this, didn't you?" She demanded of Logan, standing up angrily.
"Look here, kid-"
"I'm NOT a kid!"
"Yes, you are! And as a kid you need a place to stay, where you get food and you're safe with people to take care of you! Since I'm the closest thing you have to a dad, it's my job to see to that," He put a light hand on her shoulder, wincing as she flinched at his touch. "I don't ever want to see you sitting out in the woods cold and hungry. You don't deserve that."
"We've quite a nice place here," Charles said. "I can promise you three meals a day, plus snacks if you're hungry. You can train with Logan. There are people your own age here who you can get to know. Bayville High isn't the best institute for learning, but you can get an education there."
"What's the catch?" She hissed. "What do you expect from me in return? Kill your foes? Make sure the rest of the kids keep in line or else they'll have to answer to me? What is it!"
Wolverine begun to scold her, but Xavier cut him off. "That's a very fair question. You'll be expected to follow the rules just like everyone else; no drugs, no alcohol, no fights other than friendly spars, don't break things. There will be chores for you to do. And you must do your best at school. We don't thing you should have perfect marks, but do the best you can. Most importantly, you have to know that if you need help be sure to ask for it. That's all we want to do."
"C'mon, you can't tell me that sounds like a bad thing," the other teacher said softly as she began shaking.
"How about a trial period? Say, two weeks?" Charles said softly, trying to calm her down as well.
"In two weeks, if I don't want to be here, I don't have to?"
"Correct. But, in those two weeks you have to give it your all. When it's over and you want to leave, we'll do everything we can to get you settled elsewhere," he assured her.
The eyes of both men bored into her as she made her decision. "Ok…but don't think this means I'm gonna stay here forever! Just until I get back on my feet!"
"Whatever you say, kid," Logan grumbled with a huge grin on his face as he ruffled his clone's hair.
"I'm not a kid, stop calling me that!" she pushed away, albeit somewhat playfully.
Ororo opened the door. "Oh, I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"
"Actually, our young guest here has agreed to stay for a short period of time," Xavier smiled at X-23.
"Well, that's excellent! Welcome to the Xavier Institute, child," Ororo smiled happily. "I think the first thing we need to do is give you a name."
Everyone turned expectantly to Logan, who blinked in surprise. "Right…hmmm…'Ro, I'm no good with names. You know I can't even remember my own name half the time!"
"Sarah," X-23 said suddenly. "That…that was her name…Can my name be Sarah?"
"Kinda weird for a kid to pick her own name, but this is a kinda weird situation. Works for me, Sarah," Logan wrapped an arm around her small frame and squeezed caringly. "Sarah Logan. I like it."
The new Sarah Logan stared around the office at her new family, in her new home. She'd made it through years locked up in a cell, operated on, trained to the max anyone could possibly train, killed anyone they asked her too.
And now, standing in this room, for the first time she was scared.
A/N: I adore X-23. She's been through more than everyone else in that Institute put together, but she still TRIES and she's a very good person at heart. So I'm glad I can write a story about her. Like I said in the note at the beginning, there will be some comic details thrown in, but don't let them distract you.
Sarah isn't a random name, but you'll learn why I chose it later.
Questions, comments, reactions and reviews are greatly appreciated.