Alright, here's the next chapter. College is kicking my ass. So much damn money, for everything little damn thing that I need for classes. Piece of advice, if your going into college for a major that involves computers (mine's Graphic Design), get boot leg copies of the programs that you need. Not that I'm encouraging the illegal (in most countries) piracy of programs that cost upwards of $300 dollars a piece (think Adobe just about anything, great programs, worth every penny, I'm sure) but that can leave you feeling like you just got raped by the bank. Not pleasant, I assure. Can't walk around, feeling constantly dirty, have a sore wallet for days…
ANYWAY, here's the next chapter, as I believe I've already said. Not to sound redundant, here we go.
"I don't remember anything really. I got out before they could finish 'conditioning' as that 'Doctor' said. Sadistic bastard. Guy like that gives muggles a bad name." He told her.
"Muggles?" She asked.
"Huh? I don't remember. Something important maybe? I doubt it though. I can't remember anything about a family though, and I don't think I had one before either. Maybe… I don't know. Hurts to think about it." He said honestly.
"Your like me, you heal and have claws, were family." She said resolutely, as if those facts cemented her statement. She said it with such childish stubbornness that he had to question just how old she was. Especially after her statement of love being a useless emotion. But he found himself agreeing with her somehow, and she smiled brightly. "I'm Laura Raven, nice to meet you, Mider." She said as she quickly cut his palm and hers, forcing him to shake her hand or lose control of the truck.
"Mider?" He asked, watching his palm heal. He looked away from it before he noticed the slightly glowing scar left behind. Laura hadn't seen hers either. "Mider Raven… I can live with that." Raven said as he pulled onto a more trafficked highway while siren blaring cars turned onto the same road they had just been on.
Chapter 7: Caged
A party of five people stood next to an oddly shaped jet, simply taking in the sight before them. When they had begun their search for the facility, they had little more to go on then the fact that it was close to the original. That little tidbit of information proved useless as it seemed Sabretooth had been near the old building and heading to Neverland, not actually close to it. Wolverine had stayed behind to look around when the others left to find some leads. He had hoped to find something of his past or maybe a clue to where the new place had been set up. Meeting up with them two days later, he hid a pained look on his face. No one speculated on which clues he had not found. They were still no closer to finding it or the boy when Hank picked up a newspaper that was a few days old. He never understood why people couldn't take another second to make sure their trash made it into the receptacle. That thought fled as he saw a small article that would have been in the back section if all of it had been there.
"Factory Explosion alerts forest Rangers of moderately high toxin levels in stream…"
It didn't say much more then that, mentioning that Canada was going to start cracking down harder on factories dumping waste into rivers. That wasn't what made him nearly drop the paper or head off in search of his companions. No, it was the last sentence. "The company president was unavailable for comment on the explosion or chemical dumping being done by the Neverland Advancement Corp." The others had read the short article quickly.
"Shit." Was all Wolverine had said. The others shared his sentiment but didn't voice it in the same way.
"We must hurry, if the boy managed to escape, he may be lost or hurt." Storm told them, and Hank agreed. He couldn't help but notice that the incident had been covered up extremely well. The loss of an entire 'factory' by an explosion was generally big news. That's how they found themselves in front of a disaster site, not sure how to proceed. Everything was destroyed. Blackened, burnt, melted, broken, smashed, destroyed… There was little left besides a still standing gate that looked as if a car had crashed through it. A large piece of shrapnel was equally as likely. There were footprints and tire tracks leading every which way, destroying any chance of finding anything helpful that wasn't under rubble.
"Place smells like fire and oil. I can't even smell the damn trees, let alone pick up a scent." Logan grumbled to himself. If Logan and the Professor were to be believed, then the boy most likely had a healing factor, which meant that there was a slim chance of surviving the explosion if he had been in it. They set to work, looking for any traces survival. After the first day, Hank and Ororo left the others to talk to the people in the town nearby. They had hoped to find someone who had seen who they were after.
It was all for naught, on both fronts, though. It had been another three days and no one had seen anybody matching the description that Hermione had told them. Scott, Jean, and Logan hadn't found anything but a few charred bodies and a fairly decimated coat some fifty yards from the explosion. Wolverine had a good idea that it was Sabretooth's, but it smelled like everything else and could not be certain. He had found something else as well. He hadn't told the others, and he wasn't really sure why, but he felt it should be kept private. Plans, data, blood samples… And they were his. He had no idea how they had gotten his blood… Well, it probably wasn't as hard as he thought, considering how many scraps he got into, but it made him feel dirty and violated that these people had something of him. And they had used it too. The computers were trashed and useless and any other information that might have told him what it had been used for had either been destroyed in the explosion or done purposefully. Considering that the samples he found were intact, he assumed the latter.
"Head back." Logan told them as they called it a day. Scott was tired, Jean looked to have a massive headache, Hank was deep in thought and Ororo was looking to the skies, fighting off the storm that was coming. They all looked at him when he spoke though.
"There's nothing here." He continued. "The place is destroyed, like we wanted. Mission accomplished. I'm taking the bike. See ya' back at the Institute." He told them abruptly, standing up and making his way towards the jet. He always took one of his bikes if it was possible. There was nothing like the open road to calm one's nerves, and there were few missions that ended in a satisfactory manner to him. Scott stood up quickly and blocked his path.
"So you're just going to give up? We might not have known him, but he's one of us, and Hermione was counting on us!" Scott all but shouted at the man. Logan refrained from strangling the boy, but only just. He knew that, all of it. He may never have met the kid, but he knew him better then anyone else he was likely to meet. Circumstances had seen to that. The look in Logan's eyes as Scott looked at them in defiance made the boy shiver. The bearing of Logan's slightly sharp teeth and low growl didn't help things either. Scott moved out of his way.
"You're an idiot, you know that, right?" Jean asked quietly as Logan's engine nearly redlined, kicking up dirt and debris in the process of peeling out.
"Why? He was-" But he was cut off by his girlfriend.
"He probably feels worse then you do about not finding him. Professor X said they had similar powers." She said.
"And as such he was most likely experimented on in the same manner that Logan was." Hank continued. He worried about Logan, but he knew that the man could take care of himself. In that way, maybe he should be more worried about the motorcycle's health, the man did have a tendency to drive a bit zealously. But he was more worried about his niece. The news that her friend had not been found would crush her. He wasn't sure how the other boy would deal with it though, Neville, probably a bit better then Hermione, but still.
"And while there is the slim possibility that he survived the experimentation and explosion, he would most likely try to get as far away from here as possible." Storm told him. Scott nodded, understanding. Wolverine might still have some hope, but what they sought would not be here. Sometimes his actions were faster then his head, it was something that he had made a lot of progress in, but he still had much to learn. Especially if he was to be a team leader, which many of the children of the Institute looked to him as.
"We'll head back in the morning." Hank told them with a sigh. The others nodded, feeling unsatisfied with the whole thing.
It had been close to ten hours since they had escaped that it happened. A small ding alerted him to their lack of gas in the tank. They would have to find gas soon, but they had no money, and just happened to be out in the middle of nowhere in Canadian mountains. They could have headed to civilization in America, but crossing the border probably would have required identification. A driver's license at least, and neither of them had anything like that. And Raven doubted they would take a pair of dog tags as proper identification. A half an hour later, the engine started to shudder and finally sputtered and died after five more minutes.
"Damn." He said to himself softly, the car moving slowly down an incline. They were in luck though; a small general store was at the bottom of the hill. Laura was still asleep. After talking for a few hours, she had finally crashed and hadn't woken up since. He felt his stomach growl slightly and knew that he needed food. She would probably want some as well; he could hear her stomach rumble periodically. There was the slight problem of cash though. 'Well,' He thought, 'I suppose I don't have to pay for it.' With that thought in mind, he made it into the gravel parking lot and positioned it as best he could next to a large camper.
"Evening." A fairly friendly woman said with a smile as Raven walked into the 'Valley Top General Store'. Raven gave her his best smile as well, even though it was a strain. He didn't need her to be suspicious. There wasn't a whole lot there, mostly camping equipment that wouldn't help him. What the hell was he going to do with a camo tent and a tree stand? It wasn't like he could walk out with them in his pocket. He walked around the store, pocketing the smaller items and bagged food that wouldn't make much noise. With about ten energy bars, some bags of granola, beef jerky, and a small length of hose, he made his way to the counter. The woman looked at him suspiciously; he had been walking around for close to five minutes and came to the counter with nothing. He smiled at her.
"Sorry, couldn't find what I was looking for." He told her, smiling at her again, not knowing that his eyes were slightly glinting. Or that the silver in his eyes had become a bit more apparent. She smiled back, at ease. Raven felt that there was something being said without words, and whatever reservations he felt about taking the things were gone. She liked to overcharge her customers anyway.
"Which was? Maybe I can help." She told him. He hadn't thought of an answer to this question and said the first thing that came to mind.
"A bezoar." He said a second later. She looked at him oddly but told him they didn't carry that, nor had she ever heard of it. He tried to hide his confusion as well. "Not many have." He assured her.
"Can you tell me where this road leads?" He asked, pointing in the general direction of the road he had come from. She looked thoughtful for few moments.
"Depends on how far you follow it. Before they put that damn highway in this used to be the one of the main routes across the country. They're a few towns about a hundred miles down, but no real big cities. Ends somewhere near the border of Ontario and New York." She finished. He nodded to her and gave his thanks; the fact that he hadn't bought anything and had walked out with a small map didn't register to her. Outside, Raven had the hose stuffed deep into the Campers reserves, attempting to siphon it into the truck. A mouthful of gas later, the camper was steadily supplying the truck. They were back on the road a few minutes later, Laura had never woken. It went like that for the next couple of days, Raven would get gas when they needed it and Laura had taken to conning some of the older people at wherever they stopped. They had been able to stop at a bar for a real meal after a day of that. Granola and jerky could hold hunger off, but it got old quickly, and it was a poor substitute for real food.
"Slow down, you're going to eat your fingers." Raven told the girl across from him. Laura, it seemed, had never had a burger before, and was relishing the encounter. She stopped and glared at him for less then a second before she went back to the burger. He had to admit, it was good. It was nothing on fresh fish and chips, but the cheese, bacon, onion rings, and some sort of sauce made the burger very good. Raven walked to the bar and watched the TV. The news had briefly mentioned a factory explosion that Raven thought was Neverland, and grinned. He turned to tell Laura about it when he noticed that two men were talking to her, and she didn't like it.
"Oi, back off." He told them as he made his way back to the table. He felt a strong need to defend or protect Laura, even though he knew she could take care of herself. That was most likely the reason he felt he should interfere. She could probably take care of herself a little too well.
"The hell is your problem, eh? Take off, hoser!" The smaller of the two men said, his larger friend nodding and cracked his knuckles in a fashion that seemed slightly familiar. Maybe all large and stupid people cracked their knuckles in the same way.
"Yeah," Large man said, "We gonna have us some fun." He said in a way that left no guessing as to their intentions. Raven had to remember to keep his claws retracted; the slight sting in his knuckles reminded him they were very close to the surface.
"So babe, the oonie match the drapes?" The smaller man asked before he was picked up by the neck. Raven strained to hold him there with one hand while he pulled back with the other, letting loose a punch to the man's nose that had him flying into a nearby table. The table cracked in half and the man groaned before passing out.
"You hurt the boss!" The large man told him, and lunged at him faster then Raven thought he would. He was taken down by the large man into the bar, sending bottles and drinks flying. Raven threw the man off of him and was about land a blow to the man's head when a shotgun went off. The bar owner stood behind the counter.
"You wanna' fight? You take it to the cage, dammit!" The owner shouted at them. "And ya' owe me a table and a few bottles of scotch and bourbon, so I'll be takin' whatcha' make."
"Fuck that, Murphy, you seen what he done!" The large man shouted, and he started to advance again. Raven got ready.
"And I seen what you done too, Johnny, and you take another step my boys here are gonna' take that table you owe me outcha' ass." Murphy said, leveling the shotgun at Johnny, and motioning to a couple of guys by the door. Johnny stopped, glared, and walked through a door in the back. "That means you too, ya' punk ass knob." Murphy told him, with the gun pointing in his direction. Raven merely raised an eyebrow and followed the crowd that was going into the door Johnny had gone into. Laura followed a few feet behind, glad that Raven had helped her. She probably would have killed the men, and she knew that they didn't need that kind of attention. The fight was held in a large angled platform with chain link fence attached to steel bars, making a cage that would have been pretty hard to get out of. It was over in less then a minute. Johnny was carried out and dumped into the snow with his partner and Murphy collected the money that was betted on the match.
"Eh, kid, you give em' a show, and they'll bet more. The more they bet, the more you can make, after my thirty percent of course." Murphy told Raven.
"I've got places to be." He told the man, who he noticed had a slightly greasy air about him.
"You can make some good money, kid. Drifters always need money." The man told him, and waited for a reaction.
"I've still got places to be. But you make that fifteen percent, and I can stick around for a few days." Raven told Murphy. They settled at something close to nineteen percent, with Raven to make the fights last as long as possible. It was the same deal that the man made with all of the fighters that went through his ring. He never lost that way, 'Sides, drifters were stupid, didn't know nothing about money. Raven fought a few times a day, but it had lost its thrill when he realized that the men he was fighting had no real training or experience. That and the fact that Murphy was taking more like seventy percent instead of whatever it was they agreed on. He didn't care despite that fact; he had figured that the greedy man would do it anyway. He would make sure he got it back before they left though.
Logan almost felt sorry for his bike. The thing was built like a rock, but it wasn't made for speed. Well, not the speeds he was doing. And not for twelve hour stretches. He'd give her a good tune up; maybe replace the transmission once he got back to the mansion. It was at the end of the second day since he left the others that he stopped at a bar that he had frequented often in his younger years. Well, younger was a relative term to him. His life was a series of stages. Anything before meeting up with Chuck was considered his 'younger' years. He supposed it was because he was forced to mature somewhat. Be less reckless, and all that.
"Nice bike." He commented to himself, as he passed a truck with a newer bike in the back. His bike backfired with a loud 'bang'. He rolled his eyes and patted its gas tank. "You know I love you." He told it. He might not have good relations with people, but he did with his bikes. Maybe it was because they didn't talk back, usually. He parked and made his way into the bar, only to be stopped as soon as he opened the door. It smelled of something familiar, and strong. Very strong. It was the same smell he himself had no matter how much he washed. It was too deep. He couldn't draw attention to himself, especially if it was an enemy. There were a few still out there like him. 'Sabretooth', He thought to himself. If he was here, he'd be able to get some questions answered. Hopefully the hard way. He must have been here for days for the smell to be that strong though. 'Adamantium, it never goes away.'
"You gonna get somethin'" A man behind the counter asked him. This was the owner, couldn't remember the name though. Thought he was something big, which was all he could remember about him.
"Yeah, give me a shot and a beer." He told him. Logan looked around the room slowly, trying to find where the smell was coming from. The problem was that it was everywhere. He dropped a few coins on the table and downed his shot. Didn't matter what it was, it wouldn't do anything to him anyway. He sipped his beer for a moment before he noticed that people were starting to go into a room in the back. He knew that room, he'd fought there before. He got up and followed them when the smell became stronger as they opened the door. He was a little surprised at what he saw inside the cage through the cigar smoke. A kid no more then sixteen or seventeen was getting ready to fight some lumberjack. What's more, the kid looked bored. The fight started and he knew a show when he saw one. The kid was toying with the man probably a hundred more pounds then he was. The kid's moves were well trained, but lacked discipline, like he knew all the theory with little application.
It was when the kid was thrown into the side of the cage that he caught the scent again, stronger then ever. The kid… That might be the kid. The boy looked up as he was about to be grabbed by the neck and Logan thought that he recognized him from the Hanks' niece's description. Only the hair was too short, there was no scar, he was several pounds of muscle heavier, and the eyes were a bit off, like a grayish green, but still bright. He was close enough to the description and yet different enough that Logan could be mistaken. But as a cut on the boy's face healed, he knew that either he was right or this was one damn coincidence. And he didn't believe in coincidences. This was him alright. With the proximity he noticed that the scent was similar to adamantium, but different, even though he definitely smelled it. That made no sense, unless Sabretooth was here. But the large, lion like man, wasn't here. Then there had to be another one. The thought disturbed him more then he would admit, even to himself. The fight ended with a knock out and a trip to the local doctor a few moments later.
"Is there no man brave enough to take on the Raven?" The owner asked the crowd. A few shifted nervously. "Come now, I'm sure that in a room full of big, strong men such as yourselves, one of you will be brave enough to fight this punk?" The man taunted further. Logan sat his beer down and made his way to the entrance, taking his jacket and shirt off in the process.
"I'll teach the brat a lesson for ya'." He said as he entered the ring.
"I knew I remembered you." The owner said to himself mostly. "Alright you cheap bastards, you are all in for one hell of a fight. Fighting against the current 'chumpion', Raven, is the amazing, the incredible, the returning champion of the cage… Wolverine!" Murphy shouted as he jumped out of the ring and pulled a length of chain and a large lock. The chain was locked after a moment, something that usually indicated a match where a lot of money would be exchanging hands.
Raven hadn't noticed that anyone had joined him until the man was announced. He felt like he should remember him, like it was important. The man was worth knowing, he just didn't know why. Was he dangerous? He didn't look to bad, but Raven knew that looks could always be deceiving. He set himself in a stance the leaned more towards aggressiveness and the other man did the same. He felt a slight shiver go through his back. This man, Wolverine, was different from the others. He was… a challenge. There was something in the air that he couldn't place. Raven didn't notice that he now stood ready for full attack, no defense whatsoever.
Raven waited less then a second before he threw the first punch, which was caught and countered with one two his head, which connected soundly. The first clue that something was just wrong about the guy was when the fist connected. A sound like metal being struck with metal sounded. The second was the fact that the hit sent him directly to the ground. There was almost no in between state, just hit and then ground. His head cleared fast enough to move out of the way of a boot to the head and got up quickly. He was able to barely dodge another punch to the head and caught the man's extended elbow and pushed hard enough to make him off balance. While the man's center of gravity was compromised, he brought he knee into the man's gut as hard as he could. The knee connected, but the man ignored the pain in favor of elbowing Raven in the face.
"Come on kid, that the best ya' got?" Wolverine asked, smirking as the boy lunged at him again. Raven ignored the comment and threw another punch, pulling it back at the last second, using the momentum to whirl him around for a spinning kick. Wolverine caught the kick, but couldn't hold on and was sent into the 'wall' closest to him.
"So that's how its going to be, eh bub? No more kid gloves then." Wolverine told him as he picked himself up from the ground. The kid was good; he'd landed an honest blow to his face. Fast, strong, and could think on his feet. He lacked experience though. He'd correct some of that right now. He began fighting the same way that he would in any of his spars. Even though he wasn't using his claws, he didn't weaken or slow down his blows. It was all Raven could do to dodge, which he was failing at. If it wasn't for his healing factor and coated bones, he'd probably be broken, bloody, and limp. He picked himself up once again and knew that he wasn't going to win this fight the same way he did with the others. When the next punch came, he jumped back into a space between the metal bars and vaulted off the fence to the top of the cage. He wasn't sure how he had managed it, but he landed in the same way on the top and pushed off of it as well. Wolverine braced himself and crossed his arms to cover his face from the speeding fist that he was about to meet. The hit sent him to his knees and rattled the cage. Raven used the man's arms as a platform and pushed off again, landing in a ready stance in front of him from a flip. He was shocked at his acrobatics and agility, but didn't let it show. Raven expected Wolverine to have been laid out, but was surprised to see the man grinning in an almost mocking way.
"What, can't win a fair fight?" He asked. Raven watched in shock as the man's cut arms healed in front of his eyes. It all clicked in his head. The healing, the strength, the slight scent that reminded him of Sabretooth or Laura. This was the Wolverine. Weapon-X. The reason that Laura had been made into what she was, why she had been locked up and caged, made into a weapon. The reason he had been captured and experimented on. He was associated with the X-Men, though he couldn't remember who they were exactly. None of that mattered right now. He knew that he shouldn't blame the man for what others had done to him. He knew that it wasn't the man's fault. That he had been a victim as well. That the smartest thing to do would be to stop fighting. He knew all that, but it didn't stop him from lunging at Wolverine again.
This time it was Wolverine who was barely able to dodge. The boy had a glint in his eyes that reminded Logan of the descriptions his team mates said were in his eyes whenever he lost it. He was in a rage. Neither of them noticed that the glint had turned into a glow, or that one of the punches had burned Logan. The attacks were relentless and Logan knew he had to stop it before the boy remembered that he had claws. Wolverine ducked a punch and the boy slid to the side and jumped over him. Logan didn't understand how the boy could move like that. If it wasn't so brutish in his movements, he thought it would have reminded him of Kurt. That too was probably due to his lack of experience. Wolverine seized his opportunity when Raven overextended a punch and pulled it back too slow. He ducked and swung a wide punch. Raven dodged to the side, but didn't bother trying to block. A rookie's mistake. The fist turned into a chop that was aimed directly at Raven's neck.
Raven was slowly getting himself under control and knew that he couldn't dodge further and it was too late to block. From the recesses of his mind he could feel a rush of warm energy flow over him. It was soft and warm, and it would get him out of the way, he could almost feel himself somewhere else. But it was too slow in coming and the blow landed, cutting off the warm feeling. Raven hit the ground hard and didn't get back up. Murphy's shout of the winner was drowned out as a scream of 'You killed him!' rang out. Not a second later Logan was being stabbed repeatedly.
Well, that's the end of that chapter. It took a while, I know, and should update my other stories, I know that too.