Disclaimer: I do not own the X-Men, Fox and Marvel do...this includes Logan, much to my dismay...I'm simply borrowing them for my own amusement...Angela and Buzz do belong to me, along with several other characters that will be introduced as the story progresses...hands off of them, they don't like it when other people touch them...
Author's Note: The title of this story has no connection whatsoever to the title of any songs...it just fits the overall theme of the piece...also, this story picks up a couple weeks after "Torn Asunder"...if you haven't read that yet, I strongly suggest that you do so or else stuff in this one won't make sense...enjoy!
A slight figure made its way furtively through the forest at the southern edge of the nameless island in Hudson Bay. At first glance, you would mistake it for a slender human, its movements reminiscent of a master of ballet. On closer inspection, you see that the figure is not human. Its features have a distinctly Oriental cast, yet also feline in nature. This image is further borne out by the slender tail whipping back and forth behind it.
It watches as a sleek black jet rises from the water and shoots off into the night. There are people on that jet who recently liberated it from captivity, though they don't realize that yet. It saw one of them, saw him and recognized him. It also knows the recognition wasn't shared. It takes a moment to wonder why he was there in the first place. It's been more than fifteen years since he was part of the team. Fifteen years since he made a gloriously bloody escape with Hellcat.
Hellcat. The word conjures images of promises made and broken by its surrogate father, William Stryker. They were to be mated, together for life, bound by forces beyond the natural. It had been assured that she would love it forever, give it children it could bring up in it's own image. It had been training for the day it would be sent out into the world to find her, to bring its mate back home. But Father died before she could be brought home and left his most valuable creation alone. It didn't care about that anymore. It knew what it had to do, to keep the memory of Father alive.
With a final glance to the sky where the jet had disappeared, the figure slinked through the shadows to the docks at the other side of the hidden base. It had a long way to go and a lot of work ahead of it before all was said and done. It only had two objectives now that it had been released.
It had to bring Hellcat home.
It had to kill Wolverine.
It had been two weeks since that bitch Anissa took me from the mansion. We were still piecing together how that happened and with help from Buzz, we figured it out. Seems she really was a telepath, but she was also a shapeshifter. Unlike Mystique, she still looked human in her normal form, so it was easier for her to move about undetected. What we didn't know was that she held the same exact look for the past twenty-five years. The files Buzz managed to decode indicated she was forty-five years old. Talk about holding on to your youth.
He was still in the process of decoding the rest of the information on the disks and hard drives we'd taken from the base. The files Angela had found on us didn't tell us much that we didn't already know. There was nothing in mine that gave any clues as to what I'd been doing prior to their capturing me. I had a few vague memories about the Canadian Special Forces, but that could have been from any point in my unnatural life. If I sound bitter it's because I am. Sue me.
The only useful thing in my file was confirmation that I did have some kind of implant in my brain. Chuck had that Dr. Endicott come back and do some kind of scan. Since the adamantium on my bones makes a normal MRI impossible, she had to go in with a probe through my sinus cavity. The bad part about that was the lack of anesthetic. It just doesn't work on me. So we had to be content with me biting on a strip of leather and gripping Angela's hand for dear life. It's a good thing she's got adamantium on her bones too or else I'd have crushed it a hundred times over.
The good news? The thing was in there and working perfectly. The bad news? She wasn't sure it could be removed or disabled without causing massive trauma. I was pretty sure I would heal from even that, but she wasn't. That's the problem with human doctors. They think they know everything. Jean would have known what to do. The thought made my chest tighten even as I felt a pang of guilt at the pain. I love Angela with every fiber of my being. But Jean was special to me, too and I couldn't help but miss her. At any rate, I thanked the doctor and got the hell out of the infirmary. Part of the mansion or not, I wasn't in the mood to be in anything that looked like a lab for a long time.
Which brings me to the present, two weeks after Angela mounted a desperate mission to bring me home. I know why she did it. It's because she loves me. She'll tell anyone asks that she did it to keep the world safe from me, but I know better. She also knew her enemy better than they knew her. They trained her too well and she turned every ounce of it against them. It would be a long time before they tried anything that stupidagain. They'd have to come up with something we couldn't plan for to get past the security upgrades Buzz put in. Angela's right about that kid; if computer use could be a mutation, then he had it tenfold.
I was sitting on the patio enjoying an after dinner cigar when the door opened behind me. My nose told me it was Rogue, who joined me more often than not at this time. "Hey kid. How's it goin'?"
"Not too bad. You holdin' up ok?"
"Yeah. I'm fine."
She nodded and fell silent again. I puffed on my cigar, listening to the sounds of the mansion winding down for the evening, the crickets in the grass and distant sounds of traffic off Greymalkin Lane. This is my favorite time of day, the moments just before true night falls. The day holds no mystery and the night is when I'd always done the best (or worst) of my work. The moments in between were always the best.
Rogue cleared her throat, breaking the silence. "Did Angela tell you that Scott didn't want us to go after you?" She asked and I could hear the tension in her voice.
"Yeah, she did." I replied, flicking the ash off my cigar. "I can understand it. There were too many variables you guys didn't know about. Anythin' coulda gone wrong."
"Have you talked to him about it yet?"
I snorted. "What is there to say? 'Hey Cyke! Heard you wanted to let me twist in the wind. Care to explain?' Yeah, that'll go over real well."
"He shouldn't have done that. We could have stopped them if…"
"Rogue…Marie. Listen to me." I turned to her and gave her a hard look. "If I had been in his shoes, I don't know if I would have come after me either. There are times when it's best to step back and regroup. That was one of them and it turned out for the best in the end anyway. Don't blame him for doin' what he thought was right."
She nodded but I could tell she wasn't convinced. "Did Angela tell you why I went with her against his orders?"
I shook my head. "No, she didn't. But I would have expected it anyway."
"I told her…" She trailed off and swallowed hard before continuing. "I told her I had to. Because I love you too."
Oh shit. Here it goes. "Rogue, listen to me…"
"No, let me finish." She said, cutting me off. "I do. Love you, that is. But not like she does and not like you love her." She turned to me, her big brown eyes shimmering with tears. "You're the best thing that ever happened to me. For a long time, I used to think that maybe, when I got older, you'd look at me different and then what I was feelin' would be ok. But then you brought her back and I can see it, what it is between you. I don't feel anythin' like that, not even close. I look at you and I know it's forever for you. I know there's nothin' I could ever do or be to change that." She swallowed again, fighting her tears. "When you were missin', I thought I would die if I lost you. But I realized it wasn't because I was in love with you, it was because I was losing the person I look at like a…a brother or a father even. I was losin' the only family I had." She finally lost her battle and two fat tears rolled down her cheeks.
I was dumbstruck. How do you respond to something like that? "Rogue, I don't know what to say." Is what came out and I put my arm around her shoulders and pulled her close.
"You don't have to say anythin'. I just wanted you to know." She said, wiping her tears with a gloved hand. "And I wanted to tell you that if you ever do anythin' like that to me again, I'll have to kill you."
I laughed and she joined me with a weak giggle. "I promise, I won't get kidnapped again, ok?"
I gave her a quick kiss on top of her head and let her go. It touched me that she thought of me as family. I don't have any memories of any kind of family in my life, just loneliness, pain and horror. Except for Angela and now this place, Xavier's mansion. We sat there a little longer before she said goodnight and went back inside. I finished my cigar as the last of the light left the sky and I stood up and stretched. I took a quick walk around the perimeter, checking to make sure everything was secure before heading back inside. No sense in letting a perfectly good opportunity to hopefully bust some heads go to waste. Unfortunately, the only thing I encountered was a raccoon rambling along the trail. Pity.
As I made my way back to the patio, the door opened and Angela stepped outside. She smiled when she saw me and met me halfway. "Hello tiger." I said, wrapping my arms around her. "Everythin' ok inside?"
"Yeah. Some of the girls want to have a slumber party tomorrow night and they invited me." She replied with a grimace. "I never had those when I was a girl. I just know there'll be giggling and hair braiding. I hate having my hair braided."
I laughed and kissed her before pulling her close. "Rogue came to me earlier with quite the bombshell." I said.
"Yeah, I know. She came to me first." She replied, pulling away a little. "I told her she had to tell you because you have a right to know."
I raised my eyebrow at her. "Really? What'd she tell you?"
She giggled. "I can't tell you that! It violates the girl talk rules."
I shook my head and we went back into the mansion. Life had finally settled back into what passed for normal around here. We made our way to our room and Angela paused just long enough to check in with Bobby down in the security center. Once she got the green light, she turned to me and slid her hands under my shirt. I growled and lowered my head to kiss her, burying my hands in her hair. She answered with a growl of her own then shoved me back on the bed and pounced on me. I smiled and pulled her back down to me, just enjoying the feeling of her on top of me. She sat up, straddling me and reached over to turn off the light on the nightstand. Moonlight streamed through the windows, bathing her in an unearthly silver glow that only made her more beautiful than she already is. She slowly peeled off her tank top before stretching out on top of me again.
"Have I told you yet today how much I love you?" She whispered, almost purring as she kissed my neck.
"I don't think so." I said, my voice husky.
"Mmm, I'll have to remedy that then, won't I?" She was definitely purring and it was making me crazy.
"As you wish."
She told me, all right. I had no doubts, but she proved it to me again beyond any shadow that night.
It's dark where you are. It's been dark for days. You don't know how many, you lost track a long time ago. But this is just one of the prices you pay when you don't cooperate: sensory deprivation.
The only sense that's really left to you is touch. You can feel the floor beneath you, the walls around you. The food they give you is tasteless and without discernible smell. The slot they push the food through is so well-made and well-oiled, even you can't hear it when it opens You did manage to figure out that this room can't be any bigger than 6 feet square and now it's getting smaller. At least, you think it's getting smaller. You know what they're trying to do; they're trying to break you. They're waiting for you to start screaming and begging to be let out, but you won't give them the satisfaction, you just won't. But it's getting harder to believe that.
They know how sensitive your senses are and they've taken every precaution to deny them to you. Part of you want to pound your fists against the door and beg them to let you out, but the largest part of you is praying they'll fuck up and open the door. You still have your claws, you pop them out from time to time to make sure you can still feel. But right now you'd rather feel someone's lifeblood running down your hands as you gut them.
A while later, an hour, a day, a year, you don't know, but you finally hear the sound of the locks being opened and the sound is deafening. The door swings open and the dim light that spills in from the hallway is blinding. A figure stands at the door and the different scents coming off of it are overwhelming. You curl in upon yourself in an attempt to block the sensory information out.
"Wolverine, how many times do we have to do this?" He whispers and his voice assaults your ears.
"How long until you let me go?" You growl back, your voice rusty from disuse.
The man chuckles and you remember his name: Stryker. "You know that isn't how this works. You belong to us now. Accept it." He motions and two more figures enter and grab your arms, hauling you to your feet. "Now that you've learned a little more of your place, I have something I'd like to show you."
The soldiers drag you out of the room and down the hallway. The pools of light from the fixtures above continue to sting your eyes, but they're getting better. The worst part for you is the smell. The myriad scents that assault you threaten to bring you to your knees, even the ones that aren't so bad. The soldiers are rough with you, kicking your legs and landing punches to your kidneys as they take you to wherever it is you're going. Finally, they open a door and lead you into a lab like nothing you've seen before.
As your eyes adjust to the too-bright lights, you see a figure is strapped to a table. You separate the scents in the room and you realize that's Hellcat they have there. She's hooked up to so many wires you can barely see an inch of her flesh. As you watch, an attendant casually presses a button on a console and she writhes in agony as electricity is shot through every nerve in her body. Less than a second later, it stops and she gives off the barest whimper. The attendant makes a note on a clipboard and repeats the process.
A growl starts low in your chest, building in volume until it comes out as a howl of rage. You shake off the soldier on your left and punch the one on your right. He goes down hard and doesn't get back up. You pop your claws out and lunge towards Stryker, but a sharp pain in your neck distracts you. You reach up and remove the dart just as your fingers go numb and your legs collapse beneath you. You fall to your side, your claws sliding away, unused.
"Wolverine, my boy, you can't hurt me. I just wanted you to see what's in store for you now. We will break you. We've broken others just like you. Don't fight it, you'll never win." He gestures to someone and again you are lifted off the floor. They put you on a table next to Hellcat and you look over at her. She turns her head to you and looks at you with eyes that are so full of pain it breaks your heart. You feel a needle slide into your vein and a moment later, everything goes black.
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