From One Cage to Another
by pari106

Disclaimer: Dark Angel belongs to FOX, Cameron, Eglee…X-Men belongs to…whoever it belongs to.
Not me.

Rating: PG-13

Code: Crossover: Dark Angel (Alec) and X-Men (Logan/Wolverine)

A/N: Okay, I was inspired to write this by the many comments that the beginning scene of Dark Angel's
"Proof of Purchase" was taken from the scene in X-Men where Wolverine is fighting for money. I have no
knowledge of X-Men…I've seen the movie and loved it, but that's the beginning and end of my credentials
as far as that goes. Still, I tried to write Logan. I hope I did okay. Please let me know what you think!

A/A/N: For those of you who don't know both shows, this story is set in the Dark Angel universe. It's the
year 2020 in America, which is now a third-world country. A Y2K-ish event, called the Pulse, sent the
States into a depression, and we're still there. Max and Alec are X5s – soldiers who were genetically
engineered using animal DNA to achieve "perfection". Max escaped as a child, and later brought down the
secret government organization that created them – Manticore. Now NSA agents are hunting them and all
the others like them, trying to exterminate them before the general public can learn of their existence. (And
just so you don't get confused: Alec is also sometimes referred to as 494; Max as 452).

As for Logan…his type are called, simply, mutants. They are born with their special abilities. Or, at least,
most of them are. That may or may not be the case with Logan, as you know from the movie if you've
seen it. This story is set after DA's "Proof of Purchase", but before the X-Men movie. So Logan has no
recollection of his past or where he comes from; how he became the way he is. I've taken the characters
from the X-men movie (same age and everything) and thrown them into the DA world (although Logan is
the only you'll actually see). In this story, I assume real mutants have always existed, Manticore and the
NSA just never knew about them…or we've just never seen them deal with them.

So…go on and read and review already! And if anything else confuses you, just let me know.

Logan wandered the dark, dirty streets of Seattle, wondering what he was doing here.

'Here's as good a place as any,' he reminded himself. Another day – another uphill struggle to survive.
Another cold, hard city full of cold, hard, nameless people just trying to get by like he was. Well…

Maybe not *exactly* like he was.

The majority of the American populace didn't have to watch their backs every moment, fearing exposure
for who they are; what they are. Logan was mutant. He went from city to city – from truckstop to bar to
truckstop. Travelling at night to lessen the chance of detection; washing dishes or bare-knuckle fighting for
a meal or gas money.

It looked like tonight would be more of the same. Logan's truck had gone empty just outside the city
limits, and he didn't have a dime on him. He also didn't have a great enthusiasm for either dishwashing or
fighting. He was weary. He'd been driving all night, he hadn't eaten in two days; he was hungry and tired.
Tired of always moving; tired of always fighting. Tired of not knowing where he came from or where he
was going; knowing only what he was and that he could not let this secret be revealed.

But, tired or not, the world wasn't going to stop just because he said so. He wasn't going to earn gas
money or a good meal by lamenting his lot in life. So when Logan came across the dingy little bar, he
hesitated only a moment before going in. The sign outside advertised "Bare-knuckle fighting; amateurs
welcome." Well, he was no amateur…but they didn't have to know that. And the sign said the night's
event was a last man standing competition. The prize? Five hundred dollars. Not exactly fair pay for a
whole night's fight. But in this time and place, money was money, and "fair" wasn't a word many people
remembered the meaning of. So Logan couldn't complain.

He only wondered where he should sign up.

**** ****

The sound of a man's fist connecting with his opponent's face reverberated through the crowded bar.

The onlookers cheered.

And Alec let himself absorb the blow, going down on one knee for good measure.

This was the tenth guy he'd fought tonight…eleventh? He couldn't make this look too easy. And that
punch would have knocked the average man cold. But then, Alec was far from average. The Neanderthal
in the cage with him wouldn't have lasted a second in real combat, if Alec hadn't wanted to put on a good
show. As it was, Alec didn't want to rouse any of the crowd's suspicions. So he went down on his knee,
letting the guy's blow hit its target. Then he let him hit him again.

Alec swayed on his knees, but didn't topple. He even reached out behind him with one hand, grasping the
chain link of the cage wall…just for effect. His left eye was nearly swollen shut…and his lip was

The Neanderthal hit him again. And again.

On the fifth punch, Alec smiled. His face split in a wide, predatory grin.

He was really going to enjoy bringing this guy down. The beating he was taking he didn't mind so much –
they were both here for the money. But the guy's attitude was really starting to get on Alec's nerves.

The man sneered down at him.

"Had enough, son?" the Neanderthal spit at him through half a mouthful of crooked teeth.

Son? Alec had never been any man's son.

He rose to his feet, still smiling, blood dripping down his chin and staining his own, perfect teeth… He let
his knees wobble a bit, to give the appearance that he was actually hurting.

"Not yet," he told his opponent calmly.

The man just shook his head, incredulously.

"Alright…but you asked for it."

He readied his right arm for another swing…intending to put this crazy kid out of his misery.

And he never even saw Alec move.

Then he was lying on his back, out cold. The crowd was going wild. Alec just stared down at the fallen
man, face expressionless.

'One more down,' he thought.

Hopefully the other bozos out there would take the hint and stay out of the cage. Then he could take his
money and get the hell out of there.

"I'm taking ten," he told the ring manager, and strode out of the cage.

He needed some time to clean up and heal in private. The last thing he needed was for someone to notice his regenerative capabilities. That was one of the things, he'd wager, that had gotten him into trouble the last time. One of the reasons he couldn't go back to Annie's bar, or any of the other haunts he'd fought in over the last month. After the performances he'd put on in each they no doubt expected him to be spending the next few weeks recuperating. He didn't want to give anyone the chance to expect otherwise.

**** ****

The onlookers cheered.

Logan paused on his way to the bar, his interest piqued by the crowd's fervor around him. He'd seen so
many cage fights…had participated in so many…that he'd just as soon never look at one if he didn't have
to. But he stopped now to watch the fight in progress.

This one had drawn a crowd. Logan was used to people coming out in droves for things like this. In a
world like theirs, where the Pulse had purged life of the finer luxuries, the chance for entertainment – of
any kind, no matter how crude – was a treasure to many. But this pack was even larger than the norm, and
whoever it was in that ring had them going wild.

Logan found himself taking a detour – drawing nearer to the cage to see what all the fuss was about.

He saw alright.

He parted the crowd just in time to see a blonde kid – probably no more than 22 years old – fall to one

Logan shook his head.

Jesus…this wasn't a fight. It was a tragedy. Half of the kid's face was swollen and bloodied. From what
Logan could see of the rest of it, he was a good-lookin' guy. A pretty boy. All balls and no brains,
apparently. He looked fit enough, but that monster he'd entered the cage with…

That guy was at least six feet tall. Older – mid-sixties or so, but all muscle, with longish graying hair. His
skin was tough and weathered and covered with tattoos. He had a face to frighten his own mother.

Pretty boy had gone into the cage with that?

And he wasn't even defending himself. Logan watched with a grimace as the man pounded his younger
opponent twice, three times. The young man didn't even raise his fists. One blow hit him particularly hard
and he fell back against the chain link behind him, fingers grasping for the cage wall. It was just the second
round, and Logan thought it miraculous that that boy wasn't dead yet. He was almost tempted to run in
there and pull the fool out before he met a bloody fate.

The crowd was calling out from around the cage, and then Logan began to pick up on some of what was
being said.

"Fuck…that had to hurt," someone said. Similar remarks were flying around everywhere.

"How many fights has that guy won already?" someone else asked.

"Eleven," came the reply.

"Crazy bastard!"

When Logan heard this, he frowned and seconded the sentiment. That guy had beaten eleven men already,
and he was still going strong? And the kid had *still* decided to try and take him on? He *was* crazy.
Crazy and cocky…a very bad combination.

That's when it happened.

At first, Logan thought he was imagining it. But soon he realized this was not the case; he was not seeing
things. He was smiling. That kid was smiling. He'd just received another bone-breaking blow when a
wide grin slowly spread across his face.

That grin froze Logan still. Something about it…

"Had enough yet, son?" Logan heard the big guy sneer.

The blonde kept smiling, then rose shakily to his feet. He wasn't shaking much, though, Logan realized.

"Not quite," the young man stated calmly. His voice didn't even quaver.

That's when Logan thought that maybe all was not as it seemed.

"Alright…you asked for it," came the big guy's response.

He never even saw the other man move.

Hell, *Logan* hadn't seen him move. One minute, he was just standing there…Mr. Tattoos was getting
ready to deliver "the blow"…and by the next, the mighty had fallen.

The crowd went wild. Pretty boy had won.

"Thinking of taking your chances," Logan suddenly heard a voice say behind him.

He turned to see an old man standing next to him, arms crossed.

"Maybe," Logan replied guardedly.

The old man shook his head and whistled.

"You probably don't want to do that," he said. "That kid's crazy."

Logan had to smile at that. That seemed to be the general consensus around here.

"That's the twelfth win in a row for him," the old man informed.

Logan's eyes snapped to his at that. Twelfth… that was him those men had been talking about? *He* had
beaten eleven men before this one?

Logan looked back into the cage at the young man. There were bruises and there was plenty of blood. But
the man stood tall…and his face was absolutely expressionless as he stared down at the man he'd just
knocked out. He didn't even look winded.

Logan suddenly got a very bad feeling about this.

"Never seen him around," the old man was saying. "But he's been in a cage before, that's for damned
sure." Neither he, nor Logan, realized the irony of his words. "Sure you want to go up against that one?"
the old man asked again.

Logan's expression was grim. What was it telling him that tonight's meal ticket wouldn't be as easy to
obtain as usual?

"Where do I sign up?" Logan asked.

**** ****

Alec held his head under faucet, out back in what served as the bar's lockerroom. He kept his eyes open,
and watched as the water washed the blood from his face and swirled down the drain…

Just the way that transgen's blood had run down the gutter the night he'd killed her…

Alec stared at the blood on his hands. There was always blood on his hands now, even when there was not.
He wondered sometimes if his brother, Ben, had had the same problem. From the moment he'd first killed,
the way they'd been trained, to the moment he'd died…neck snapped like a twig in some nameless woods
somewhere…had Ben seen blood on his hands? Alec had ever since he'd cut that X6…

Alec's eyes fluttered closed and he pulled his head out from under the faucet, resting his forehead against
the mirror in front of him.

What was he doing here?

What was he accomplishing? He could fight for the rest of his life, and it wouldn't help him forget. It
wouldn't wash the blood clean from his hands, it wouldn't wash his conscience clean. It wouldn't change
the past. He'd come here to lose himself in physical exertion and pain, but it was a futile effort. He always
found himself again, eventually. Unfortunately. His self was kind of persistent that way.

Alec turned off the faucet, but stayed where he was, fists clenched on the sink's rim.

What was he doing here? This was suicide. He should have left Seattle like Max had told him to do. It
would only be a matter of time before that NSA bastard, White, caught up to him again if he stayed here.

Maybe that's why he stayed here. Maybe he wanted capture. Maybe he wanted the same choice he'd been
given before – the choice between remaining loyal to his kind, and saving himself. He wanted that choice.
He wanted to choose correctly this time. He wanted redemption; to not have turned on those other soldiers.
To not have turned on Max…


Alec finally opened his eyes again, pulling back to face his reflection and the ice-blue eyes that stared back
at him there.

Max. Alec's mind filled with images of dark hair and chocolate eyes…pouty lips. Why couldn't he stop
thinking about her? How had she gotten so far under his skin? Was it just guilt? Lust? What the hell held
him to her? Was it the fact that she was X5? That she'd been rogue like his brother? That she'd loved his
brother? He'd seen that love in her eyes the day they'd first met.

Was it the fact that she was capable of love? Whereas he'd only ever looked out for himself? They'd both
been trained to kill, but she'd only ever done so in self-defense. He'd been an assassin. He'd done the
things they'd been trained to do. He'd told her it was only his job, but now he wasn't so sure.

Maybe killing was all he was good for. Maybe it was all he was meant to do. Maybe some sick part of him
was just like Ben. Maybe he *liked* it.

Why else had he made that deal with the devil…traded loyalty for survival? He'd killed that transgen for
White, so that he could survive. But was it just survival? It was so easy killing that transgen; it had been
so easy bringing that knife to the X6s throat…at first. He could have killed that X6. He could have…


He didn't kill Max. '…I didn't kill her…' The thought was the only comfort Alec had left. He hadn't let
himself sink that far. He didn't kill Max. It was the one good decision he'd made out of countless wrong
ones. He wouldn't have killed her; he couldn't. He would have traded his life for hers. That was what
he'd almost done, wasn't it? But Max hadn't allowed that. She hadn't let him die…

"Hey, kid," a voice suddenly interrupted Alec's reverie. He turned to the man standing in the doorway.

That was all they called him here; he didn't tell them anything else. He didn't give them the designation
he'd once carried, or the name Max had given him…

Alec remembered her smile when she'd named him; that cocky smile that had dared him to disagree.

"I told you, my designation's 494," he'd said to her anyhow.

"It doesn't suit you," she'd insisted. Then she'd thought for a moment. 'Alec' was what she'd come up


"Yeah. As in 'smart alec'," she'd explained mischievously.

Whatever. "I can live with that," he'd finally compromised.

"Good," she'd told him. "Because my second choice was…"

Well, nevermind. She hadn't liked him much then. Hell, she hated him now…

Alec snapped himself back to the present.

"Yeah?" he responded.

"You're on in five," the man informed him, excitedly.

Alec blinked. "You're kidding."

The man just shrugged and grinned. Alec sighed. Fine.

"I'll be out in four," he told the man, who nodded and slipped away.

Time to get back to the futile effort of forgetting.