I watched X-Men Origins again yesterday, and I got to thinking about how things could be set back on track, time line wise. While this doesn't fix everything, it does fix one thing, at least in my mind.
Since I've never written for the X-Men fandom before, I have no beta for this, so I apologize in advance for any atrocious errors on my part, whether grammatically or otherwise.
Spoilers for all four movies, basically.
Thanks to a wonderful reviewer for the point out on the repetiveness on that one part, it's been fixed now yay!
And since I forgot first time around…
Disclaimer: Maybe if I win the Tennessee Lottery, I'll possibly, maybe, be able to afford the purchase to the rights to Gambit's pinky toe. As it is, I haven't, I don't, and therefore I am a sad kitty.
It was supposed to be a quick in and out job, a recon job to gather information for the school. The compound had practically been deserted for years, the former inhabitants having been transferred onto bigger and better things.
However, on the way out, they had come across a room full of long, floor length tubes that extended from ceiling to floor, most having been damaged by lack of maintenance or concern, and it had been Rogue who had stopped, her eyes wide with horror as she took in the mummified corpses of the mutants that had been imprisoned in them.
"Logan," she rasped out in a horrified whisper. She clutched at the soft leather of his jacket, a testimony to her duress. Ever since her powers had returned, more powerful than before, she hadn't even allowed herself to touch anyone through the barriers of cloth and fabric. "We can't just… what if some of them's still alive?"
"Kid, we can't just-" Logan's declaration that they couldn't save them all died in his throat as she looked at him with wide, fearful eyes. They were the same eyes he had seen when she'd arrived on his doorstep some months ago, shaking and crying when she told him that they were back, and that a woman had been killed because of them. He hadn't been able to fix that look then, but perhaps he could do something about it now. "Fine, let's see what lost strays you can bring home today, eh?"
The room was large, housing multiple rows and columns of steel and glass tombs. Each one they came across was either damaged or empty. Logan would have given up after the first few had it not been for that damn look in Rogue's eyes, a look she had always given him. It was as though he could do anything, fix anything, when he knew that he couldn't even fix a woman on a pile of burning rubble and a damaged psyche.
They were on the last row, and he dreaded having to face her eyes filled with disappointment. Not towards him, but for their failure in arriving in time to save even one.
"Logan!" She suddenly declared two tubes away. "I think this one's still alive!"
He came up beside her, and did a double take.
"I know him," he found himself murmuring softly.
There, floating in a sea of unknown fluid, looking almost peaceful were it not for the eyes, was the same face of a man that was… familiar. The first face he clearly remembered, and who had remembered him, claiming they were friends, knowing his name. He had wondered, had they really been friends, why he had never seen the boy after that. Now, looking at his still-young face, he could see why.
There was no way that the boy in there was much older than the one he had met on the ruins of an island.
"You know him? Who is he?" Rogue traced her covered fingers over the glass, a small smile forming at the thought that they could actually save one of them.
"Don't know, he never reintroduced himself." At her questioning look, he shrugged. "He's the first guy I remember."
He didn't elaborate, but then he really didn't need to. Rogue nodded slowly, understanding. "How do you suppose we get him out of there?"
"Well, it's not exactly like they left a user's guide lying around," he commented wryly.
"Logan, this was a military installation," she commented, reaching to the other side of the tube with a smirk. She pulled out an old battered book hanging by a chain. "Of course they would have them."
"Gimme that, Smarty Pants," he demanded, moving around her to snatch the battered book out of her hands. He flipped through it, figuring it could be written in ancient Tibetan for all the good it did him.
After a good while of flipping through, and, dare he admit it, looking in both the index and the table of contents, he began to flip some dials and turn some levers. Of all the convoluted ways to tell someone how to turn on or off a machine, the military had that down to an art form.
"Apparently, we have to wait now for the indicator light to turn from red to green, and for the pressure valvle to point to low, and then we wait for the goo to drain, and then we can take him out."
"Goo? Does it really say goo?" she asked incredulously.
"The book's old, Marie. The word's twenty-seven letters long and smudged."
She glowered at him for a second, and had he been a normal man, he would have cowered. She had insisted that no one call her by her name anymore, ever since the cure had worn off and Dr. McCoy had said that if she had taken it again, her body would simply reject it, having built immunity to the cure. However, Logan refused to fully grant her this one request. Even though she was a good five years older than when they had first met, and perhaps fifteen years more mature due to the circumstances of their lives, he couldn't help but still see that little imp stowing away in the trailer of his old truck.
"There's one thing I don't get," he said instead, thinking hard back to when he first woke up with no memory. "I could have sworn his eyes were brown. Or was it green?"
"Well, maybe the irises just got a bit… bloodshot after being in there for so long?"
"No, I mean they were normal. He didn't look like some punk kid with funky contacts that would turn his sclera black." At her amused expression, he sighed. "I do know what a sclera is."
"Okay, that aside, did his eyes ever… glow?" she asked suddenly, taking a step closer to the tube, peering closely at the young man suspended.
Something prickled at the back of his mind. "Glow? What do you mean?"
"Well, his eyes. It's like they're starting to glow."
Logan took a step closer, squinting to both see and remember what it was he was trying to remember. A deck of cards, irises glowing red, fifty-two scraps of plastic paper sending him through the wall in a glow of magenta…
He grabbed Marie and pulled her back several yards, hiding them both behind one of the already damaged tubes, wrapping his arms around his young charge with his back toward the blast he knew was coming.
"Logan, what are you doing?" Marie asked in a near panic at being so close to someone.
"You'll see soon enough, kid," he said simply.
Sure enough, no sooner had he finished his sentence did an explosion sound behind them, sending shrapnel and twenty-seven lettered goo spraying around them. Logan grunted as he felt a piece of metal sink deeply into his back.
"What on earth was that?!" Rogue demanded as soon as the goo and dust settled.
Logan let her up, reaching behind him to yank out the piece of detritus protruding two inches from his spine. Damn, that hurt like hell.
"That kid's a regular firecracker," was all he muttered before standing up, tossing the bloodied scrap to the side. He felt as muscles and tendons wove around knitting bone as skin reconnected. Not even a scar to be seen.
Rogue had gotten to the man first, concerned that he had injured himself in the explosion. "You okay there, Sugar?" she asked soothingly, brushing away damp strands of hair away from the groggy mutant's forehead.
Sugar? Logan snorted as he came closer to the pair. The familiar boy was huddled, naked, shivering as his eyes darted around the room swiftly.
The boy shook his head harshly, as though to clear it, before turning to the sound of Rogue's voice. He blinked a few times before a lazy smile spread over his chattering teeth.
"Well, ain't you just the prettiest femme I've seen in a while?"
Rogue snorted. "Why do I get the feeling that I'm the only 'femme' you've seen in awhile?"
The boy didn't answer. Instead, he seemed to concentrate more on getting his breathe under control and his eyes to focus as he brought a hand questioningly toward the white stripe falling over Rogue's face.
For a moment, it looked to Logan as though Marie would actually let the young man touch her hair. Then she jolted backward, her eyes blinking, leaping to her feet and out of the guy's reach. "Um, I should, well, I saw some old clothes back that way… I'll just go… I'll be right back."
It was then that the young mutant seemed to realize he was completely unclothed. Glancing down for a second, he looked back up to Rogue's retreating form with a wicked. "Don' be too judgmental, chére! It was freezing in there, you know!"
Logan choked as Rogue paused and turned back toward the young man, squawking indignantly. "Don't blame the temperature for your short-comings, Sugar!" With that, she rushed back to where she'd been heading before.
"Can't tell you the last time I saw Rogue blush like that," Logan mused quietly.
"Rogue? That her name?"
Logan did not like the look that the young man was casting over where Marie had just left. "Yes, and I'd really hate to have to kill you as soon as I save your sorry ass, so don't even think about it, Bub."
"I wasn't thinkin' nothing of the sort," he said, hands held up in mock surrender. He then studied Logan for a minute. "Lookin' a lot better than when I left you on the isle."
Logan blinked. Until then, he hadn't been sure he had been only imagining that he knew who this young mutant was. "A little, I guess. Still don't quite know who you are, though."
"I'm hurt that you wouldn't remember Remy LeBeau," he said as he leapt to his feet, with a grace that should have been impossible for someone who'd been immobile for who knows how many years. "I was sure that my charm would surpass any memory loss."
"Yeah, well, I get the feeling I knew you were a pain in the ass before."
Remy scoffed. "I bet you just don't wanna remember that I saved your ass before."
"Sure, Bub, whatever you say." Logan eyed the younger man for a moment. "So how did you get to be here? You don't seem like the type who would willingly volunteer for something like this."
Remy's almost cheerful expression darkened slightly. "I was dealt a bad hand and lost the game. How long's it been?"
"About twenty years since the island."
LeBeau's face paled slightly, but before he could say anything his attention was caught on Rogue, who was returning at a slower pace than when she left.
"Technically, she's probably old enough to be your daughter. Don't think about it." He wasn't sure why he was worrying himself so much over this, but he had the strangest feeling that he was watching a train wreck slowly unfolding before him. "And it wouldn't do you any good to try anything."
"Well, physically I ain't, so no worries there," he murmured softly. "Back so soon, chére? Miss me that much?"
He was answered by a face full of assorted fabrics. "Cover yourself already, and let's get out of here." She came up to stand next to Logan, arms folded over her chest as she looked anywhere but the changing man. "I contacted Storm, told her we'll be bringing back company."
"So sure I would follow you anywhere, huh?" Remy smirked. "You're too sure of your power over me."
"What I'm sure about is that you're a few years out of your league here, Hon, and you'll be needing all the help you can get."
Remy slipped his arms through the sleeves of an old battered trench coat. He muttered darkly as he laced up the boots that were probably a few sizes too large. "How much could things have changed over the past twenty years, anyway?"
"You're right. You'll be perfectly fine on your own, I'm sure." Rogue spun on her heels and started to walk away.
"Aw, c'mon, chére, don't be like that. All you had to do was ask!" Remy nearly tripped as he stumbled behind her while trying to tie the last knot in his boots, and soon he was walking a few inches beside Rogue.
"Fine. Please, oh please, come with us. I don't think I could bear it if you didn't." Her monotonous and dry plea was followed by an eye roll.
"There, wasn't so hard now, was it?"
"Like pulling teeth. So why are your eyes like that now? Logan said they were brown before." She muttered softly to herself then, loud enough for Logan to hear, but if Remy heard, he'd make no indication. "Course it would make sense if he got confused, you're so full of shit already…"
"Something about my mutation changing slightly, nothing important," he said with a wave of his hand, brushing off her question as he deftly changed the subject. "What's with the white?"
"Something about electrocution, nothing important," she quipped back.
Logan sighed and shook his head, wondering how long it would take for this collision to occur, how big the explosion would be, and how many casualties they would take. He started to follow as Remy began asking her the questions, mostly about what he'd missed the past few years, and he wondered how long it would be before she either punched him or kissed him just to put him out of her misery.
He couldn't help but remember that blush, though. He hadn't seen her turn that red since she introduced him to Bobby, a relationship that hadn't lasted long even after she'd taken the cure. He hadn't seen it then, but now he knew the signs to look for, the beginnings of derailment or the inevitable head on collision.
"What the heck is a CD?" Remy's dumbfounded question followed by Rogue's laughter caused Logan to sigh again.
Yep, this was going to be one hell of a train wreck.
So what happens after this, you ask? Not a clue. This was just a one piece vignette that popped into my head yesterday and just would not leave me alone until I wrote it. All I can assume is that there will be a train wreck... (And yes, I shamelessly adore this pairing, and have ever since I barely got into X-Men with the original 90's animated series.)