A/N: Okay here goes. First X-men fic. (Be gentle)
Rating: Will probably reach M, eventually.
Disclaimer: I do not own the X-men, San Francisco, New York or anything recognizable from the X-men Movie verse, comic verse or X-men Evolution (should that even be used). All recognizable characters are the property of their respective owners. I am making no money from this piece of fan fiction. Me no claimee – you no sueee.
Warnings: Lots of swear words, spoilers for all three X-movies (eventually) and what will probably seem like massive OOC-ness.
Archive: If ya want it, go ahead. Just let me know, kay?
Reviews: Make the world go round.
Chapter 1: As the Smoke Clears
Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, CA,
September 2nd, 3.33 PM.
The afternoon sun burned mercilessly onto the eyes of Chuck Whitman as he wiped the sweat from his brow and attempted to straighten his back. He and his boss, Lou, had been there since daybreak, lugging heavy rocks, chunks of metal and large slabs of asphalt. They hadn't taken any breaks until now, either. It has hard work and, squinting into the sinking sun, he grumbled: "…It's Sunday for fuck's sake. 'Supposed to be my day off, too. 'M not even gettin' paid."
Yes sir. His good mood and general civic spirit had evaporated right along with his dreams of catching the game on TV, a cold beer, and doing absolutely nothing today, except going to church like he always did. As it was, he couldn't wait to go home to his wife, Lucy, and maybe playing the 'hardworking husband' card to get a backrub.
Surveying the site and noting the massive amount of work left for tomorrow, he sighed and thanked God, that the entire thirty man team, and not just him, had been bullied into working by his boss that morning. It made him feel like less of a schmuck. Misery loves company and all that.
Aforementioned bastard boss was leaning against the bulldozer, having a smoke and listening to the news on the radio. Louis Garcia Vallejo was a massive mount of a man, or as his wife Maria would call him: A 'heap big hunk of Homo Sapiens'.
Always kind and easygoing, Maria had thought the entire mutant panic was interesting and even a little ridiculous:
"They're just humans like us, dear. Call them, oh I don't know… Humans Mark 2."
That was until last night. His dear wife had been white as a sheet as she watched the news bulletin from Alcatraz Island, only a mile away from their neighbourhood. Bolts of fire had been clearly visible even from their porch, and the commentator's terrified report of the apocalypse-like battlefield, as viewed through a tele-lens from the shore, had seemed surreal. Maria had looked at him, while clutching their youngest daughter, Alba.
"Louis, oh God, is this the End?"
Yep, the humour of the situation had definitely worn off for her by then.
She had not liked his volunteering the team for clean up duty in the morning one bit. It was too soon. What if the mutants were still there? It had only been a few hours since the battle, it was far too dangerous. But he had been insistent.
"It needs to be fast, love. The city has to move quickly. What if there are human survivors in the wreckage? I've worked earthquake clean up before. Don't worry, I know what I'm doin' and so does my team. There'll be cops present. It's all good."
The radio droned on in the background. The empathic voice of the reporter caught his attention:
"As the smoke clears from around Alcatraz Island, the nation can only wonder at the sheer destruction left behind by the battle that unfolded here only a day ago. On Friday night, families of the deceased will congregate on the remains of the once proud symbol of our fair city, the Golden Gate Bridge. Here a memorial service will be held for the brave men and women, who faced the terrorist faction, known as 'The Brotherhood' and paid for our continued safety with their lives. Our hearts go out to those left behind, along with our gratitude…"
Lou was caught up in the news broadcast and his own thoughts, and so he didn't hear the call of his colleague who was leaning on a shovel about thirty yards away from him.
"…Several humans and mutants alike are still missing and presumed dead, as the generous construction crews of this city that are pulling free overtime in an attempt to clear the wreckage on the island, have yet to find any human remains. Did any survive? It does not appear so. Many families - too many, will be burying empty coffins…"
"Listen, that's us Chuck… heh 'the generous construction crews.' That there is pure PR gold."
"Lou, for fuck's sake, man. Turn off the radio. I think I hear somethin'!"
The burly construction boss raised his eyes to the heavens in exasperation.
"Chuck, man, you're trippin'. There aint nuthin' there - no survivors, no remains, no souvenirs, no NUTHIN'."
Still, he turned of the radio and walked over to where his younger colleague was picking around the debris with his head comically tilted to one side in the classic cartoon pose for 'I'm listening for something'. Suddenly Chuck stopped.
"Listen. There it is again."
Chuck made his way over the half dissolved, wet wreckage of a car, idly noting that it didn't seem quite as burned out as the rest of them.
Now curious, Lou followed. He manoeuvred his considerable bulk over the wreck and, panting heavily, he made his way to a five foot high pile of shrapnel that seemed to have been blown against the far side of the car, like snow in a strong wind. He shook his head in incredulous awe. He had heard that a couple of telekimetics…telemechanics… tele-something-or-others-anyway had participated in the battle and had been responsible for the utter destruction on the island, but damn! To throw SUV's around like it was nothing…
"Jeezus…" He mumbled to himself.
"Shh… over there." Chuck pointed to the bottom of the shrapnel-drift.
In tandem, both men bent over and eyed the base of the heap. There was a small gap in the metal pile, and they both squinted, trying to pierce the darkness within. It seemed that the undercarriage of the car was still relatively intact in spite of the tires having been blown all to hell. Chuck wrinkled his nose at the still lingering smell of burnt rubber.
"Hang on Lou. I'm gettin' the flashlight."
Chuck returned to their bulldozer and picked up a MAG light from the tool box. All the while, he couldn't help but wonder. What if it was a survivor? What if it was a mutant? Should they call the cops over? His musings were cut short by a yell from the other side of the car.
"Chuck! Get your ass over here… Somethin's movin' in there!"
Chuck sprinted across the rubble, circumventing the car and stopping at the gap, where he threw himself on the ground to point the flashlight into the gloom.
A wet bundle of black fur hurtled out through the gap and vaulted itself into the arms of a chocked Lou, who held the creature at arms length, while he tried to locate his heart, which seemed to have displaced itself into his throat.
"A cat. A goddamn CAT, Chuck. You fuckwad!" he growled, when he had caught his breath. "That's it. Back to work. Break's over!"
The tiny feline, who seemed to have taken a liking to the big construction worker, daintily placed its paws on his chest and liked his nose, making it twitch uncontrollably.
"Heh… that's a good kitty," he murmured as he set the cat on the ground. Straightening to wipe his hands on his overalls he paused.
Meanwhile, Chuck had been getting to his feet slowly. He was standing with his eyes closed, trying to get over the head rush caused by adrenaline and his sprint across the ground, when Lou's half choked "Hey Chuck?" made him turn to his boss.
"Wha…" He didn't get any further as Lou held up his hands, tinted a deep shade of crimson and glinting wetly in the sun. Wait. Wet blood meant…
"There's something still bleeding in there, man!" Lou whispered.
Immediately Chuck was back on his belly in front of the gap, shining the flashlight around wildly, almost instantly catching the reflection of a generously sized pool of red liquid near the rear axel of the car.
He transferred the flashlight to his other hand and reached in as far as he could, blindly feeling around and disregarding (or forgetting) the risk of catching HIV or the like. After what seemed minutes he came into contact with something hard that definitely wasn't metal.
"I think… I think I've got a boot, Lou. And pants! There's someone in here. Get help! We need to move this shit NOW!"
Lightly nudging the heavy boot with his hand he listened for a sound, any sound He was hoping fervently for any sign that whoever was in there was alive. He didn't get his wish as the person inside did not move a muscle. All he got for his efforts was a handful of pant-leg and a good feel of the size of the footwear.
Not female, he guessed.
"Hang on, buddy. Hang on" he whispered.
As the rest of the team responded to the booming shouts of their boss, Chuck sent up a prayer to heaven that it was not too late to save just one life out of this disaster. Even if it was a terrorist, like he feared. Hadn't the 'good' mutants worn all-leather uniforms?
"Dear God, give this poor soul a chance. Show mercy. I'm sure that even a criminal can reform, start over. God, oh God please! Doesn't everybody deserve a second chance?"
The team worked fast and expertly in the rapidly fading light, clearing the debris away from the prone form on the ground. A paramedic team was called, and they immediately started to set up their gear, guessing at what injuries they would find under the metal heap.
Finally, after about an hour, a reinforced door that had created a barrier between the shrapnel and the body underneath was removed, and the paramedic team approached the car wreck. As the light of their hastily erected projectors hit the form on the ground, Chuck bit back an oath.
"It's just a kid" he said quietly to Lou. "God! Look at 'im."
"I'm lookin'" Lou choked out. "He looks like my boy Charlie. Can't be more than eighteen, if that. Jeezus!"
The boy was kind of short, not even close to six feet, from what Chuck could see. Five seven perhaps? And rather thin too. He wore faded and beat-all-to hell cargoes tucked into heavy boots and a long sleeved T-shirt of indeterminable color under his denim jacket. It might have been a turtle neck, though. There was too much blood and too little intact fabric left to tell. His brown hair was matted with the stuff; only one or two strands were dry, showing that the kid had blond highlights. Scratches and abrasions covered his pale face and right shoulder, where the shirt had been torn. Apparently he had been thrown about a lot too. These minor injuries were not the main concern, though.
Chuck shook his head and tuned into the paramedics' rapid fire conversation. He tried to make heads and tail of the jargon, but in his chocked state all he picked up were snippets.
"Pierced Abdomen … Fractured scull … broken ribs …Cold sores? What the hell?" Do you see this, Jack?"
"Yeah, I see it. Oh fuck, check this out …feel like…might be spinal damage…"
At the last bit, Chuck closed his eyes.
Sweet Lord. If you survive this, child, God must surely love you.
TBC. If you think it's worthwhile. (Ahh… who am I kidding. It will be continued)
A/N 2: I haven't decided on a pairing, if any for this story. I kinda like slash fic, but I'm thinking John/Marie. (There doesn't seem to be a big audience for slash in this fandom)
Now, I'm not the sort of writer, who will hold chapters hostage for reviews, 'cause that kinda sucks. But please consider hitting that lovely little button. I would like to improve my writing, and I will try to respond to individual reviews if you leave an email address. I'd love to hear your opinions and/or any suggestions you might have.
Next: Meanwhile at the Mansion… Chapter 2: A Change in the Wind