Disclaimer: I do not own any aspect or character of the Marvel Universe nor elements of the X-Men Origins movieverse. Violence, language, adult situations, etc.
A/N: So a few months ago I wrote a rant about the dvd special features, in particular about a deleted alternate sequence. I said I'd write my take on it and try to fix the clusterfuck of continuity stuff, so I did lol well at least in respect to what I would've liked to see done with that alternate sequence. I basically mixed and matched what I liked from the canon scene and the alternate sequence. I added some perspective and narrative stuff, and filled in what I thought could've happened immediately after the you guys enjoy!
The Flipside of a Coin
"…Nothing motivates the men in your family like revenge."
Logan watched Stryker with the intensity of all his repressed fury, trying to sift through the miasma of primal instinct and rage to understand. It wasn't until the other man sat on the edge of the table and glanced behind Logan did he sense another's presence.
He slowly turned, his incredulity knocking him off axis when he saw her standing there. It was her. Her cool scent—like sandalwood—proved that she wasn't an illusion that was staring at him with stoic resolve. He gaped at her, his mind arrested with shock while his senses tried grasping for control.
"Who are you?"
The suspicion was laced in his astounded tone, but his brows were knitted together with the same hurt that radiated out of his brown eyes. Her lips parted, but nothing came out, replaced instead by the chilly reply of the man in the labcoat.
"Oh, she's real old friend."
The aloof matter-of-factness of the colonel's statement was like a blow to his chest. It knocked the wind out of him and brought him down—kneeling on bended knee and grasping with the pain that sunk through him.
"Did you really think we would just let you walk away?"
Logan gasped to choke down his pain, but the grunts of devastating hurt bubbled up his throat just the same.
"You're a dangerous man. We like to keep an eye on dangerous men."
He stared at the nothingness that flared behind his eyes, at the rage intermingling with the betrayal that blazed in his heart and mind's eye while Kayla exchanged a strangled glance to the cold-hearted colonel.
"Tell him about the day you died."
The words reverberated through the haze in his mind, and all Logan could do was turn a demoralized gaping expression towards the woman he'd become the animal to avenge. She didn't look at him—didn't even try to hold his gaze. Instead, she stared at the colonel, at the man that held her leash and silently commanded her to behave.
"They gave me a shot of hydrochlorothiazide. It reduces the heart rate so low it appears you flatlined."
Unabated, his mind replayed the overwhelming horror of that day, when he found the woman he'd loved bloodied in the underbrush. He'd felt torn apart, and the fiber of his being cried out in pain and grief as he'd held her to his chest. Logan felt that grief wash over him like a cold splash of ice water. It seeped into his very marrow, numbing him into an expression of hollowed anguish.
"Don't be angry with her. She's a real credit to your species."
The misery abated back into incredulous shock as he stared back at her, at the emotionless mask of the woman who stood motionless as Stryker imparted the crux of the betrayal.
"Did you know her sister has diamond-hard skin? Kayla's mutation is tactohypnosis. She can influence people as long as she touches them."
Logan visibly wilted, his gaze falling away from the emotionless woman back into the chaos of his anguish and misery.
"Quite a useful tool in the seduction."
Stryker mused cavalierly as a final stake into the other man's heart while Kayla wavered and took a step forward.
"Best to keep her at arms length."
Flashing the firearm concealed in his labcoat, the colonel eyed her warningly. His gaze flickered to Logan and back to hers, coaching her to behave. Rescind to her helplessness and betrayal, Kayla took a breath and stared apathetically at Logan.
"It was never real."
Logan's betrayed glower shot up to bore into the woman who'd just cemented the breath of their treachery with her callous proclamation. His lips parted in a tense breath before the truth weighed onto his tongue.
"It was real for me."
He watched the glimmer of a tear glaze in her dark eyes, but he didn't feel it, couldn't feel a thing.
"I told you if you came down this road, you wouldn't like what you found."
Logan, dejected and angry, looked away and bowed his head, shutting his eyes as the man who'd spun his betrayal now vied for his attention and understanding.
"Listen now. I don't want to terminate you, Logan. Frankly I don't know how to at this point."
Logan's eyes opened, vacant and hollow while his face remained dejectedly miserable.
"There is another option. I can make all this go away. You can live, knowing that the woman you love didn't care about you…"
Logan's lips pressed together as the anger bubbled in him. Stryker weighed the pause and crouched down to lull his proposition.
"…or, we erase your memory of all of it. All the horrible things in your life…"
The anger flickered in his eyes into subtle intrigue as he tilted his head towards Stryker.
"Your father, the wars, Kayla…and you get to start over again, clean. You wanted to be done with this life forever. This, is the way."
Logan's expression grew sorrowful and etched with grief as all the pain of his existence was paraded to him and burned in his mind's eye. His jaw clenched and his lips parted as the weight of his circumstances teetered back into frame.
Victor watched, expression implacable, from his perch on the scaffold, staring intently at his brother through the panes of glass while Stryker stood from his perch and left the devastated feral at war with his thoughts. Everything in Victor roared with triumph, except for the hollow ache that welled in his chest. He'd seen his brother brought low, slammed back into the harsh reality that Victor had shielded him from for over a century, but while part of him was envious that he hadn't single-handedly brought Jimmy down, another part of him hated the bone-crushing hurt he saw in his brother— hated that he'd partially caused it.
Logan pushed the hurt away. Swallowed it down and forced it into the recesses of his soul. He ached, but the hollowness of it was numbing him into despondency.
"That story you told me about a man who gets flowers for the moon, I had it backwards. I thought you were the moon and I was your wolverine. But you're the trickster, aren't you? I'm just the fool who got played."
He watched as a single tear slipped out of her glistening eyes and rolled down her cheek as the mask of apathy began to chip away. The sobering effect of his resolute dejection left him numb to her and uncaring anymore.
"Worst part of it is, I should've smelt it; I should've known. But I ignored my instincts. I ignored what I really am. But that won't ever happen again."
Logan spoke through clenched jaw, his words pushing through the lump in his throat. His eyes were hollow and dark as he regarded Kayla, the weight of his words spilling over her and splintering her resolve. He turned away from her and stood, fists clenched at his sides as he regarded Stryker with firm control on his numbed emotions.
"Let's do it."
Stryker nods his approval and ignores Kayla, whose façade finally crumbles, as she turns and leaves the two men.
The colonel gestures for Logan to follow him through the operating room and down a corridor towards an enclosed chamber. On one side of the chamber is a monitoring lab with plate glass windows that look into the sprawling chamber. A single restraint chair is bolted down on a pedestal in the middle of the room. It looks more like a torture device than a memory wiping machine, but Logan doesn't care. He's absolutely rescind as two techs lead him to the chair and strap him in, restraining his arms to the chair and setting the cerebral device over his head. The colonel observes from inside the monitoring room, nodding his approval as the technicians prep the electromagnets and set the wavelengths of the machine. He allows the head technician to begin the process with the flip of a switch, watching as the painful strain flashes across Logan's face and his whole body stiffens from the onslaught.
Logan is assaulted with flashes of memories lived, every image a blow that he couldn't fend off. The wars bombard him with stark resolution. Images of Vietnam blaze through his mind, until the memory of the firing squad strikes through him with vicious clarity. He hears Victor's defiant cry echo through him, sees his brother's roaring face a split second before his own bewildered expression that only flashes back to the animal that his brother's become. The ferocious insanity of Victor's expression haunts him, drives through him like spikes of icy pain that he's defenseless to crawl away from before another onslaught tears through him.
Assured of his staff's competency, Stryker pats the lead technician on the shoulder, and exits. More pressing matters need his attention, and with Logan's cooperation ensured, he heads back down to the operating room to oversee the final implants of Weapon XI.
He sensed her standing there, trying to muster her courage while he was wrist deep in the creature that had formerly been Wade Wilson. The colonel hoped she would be smart enough to leave him be.
Without looking back at her, he dismissed her with cold callousness.
"Not now Kayla."
Her courage bubbling, she stepped towards him and began her beseeching plea.
"I've done everything you've asked."
Stryker turned slightly towards her, knowing it was useless to feign resoluteness with the volatile creature.
"My sister…you said if I helped you you'd let her go."
Stryker turned to face her, the mild-mannered professionalism masking his displeasure as he stepped towards her.
"Kayla, it's not as simple as that. Her mutation is unique—quite beautiful, we just need a little more time to analyze it—"
The unscrupulous colonel tried to rationalize with her, to appeal to her sense of patience until the gruff rumble cut his plea short.
"You never said anything about wiping his memory."
Stryker whirled around just in time to watch Victor drop down from the ceiling's scaffold. The imposing mutant rose from his graceful crouch slowly, with the purpose of a predator battling for control of its impulses. Victor glared the colonel down, his broad shoulders hunched and his stance dangerous, the steel blue of his eyes crisp with anger.
"Will he remember me?"
"I wanna know, if he'll remember me."
The measured pitch of his tone speaks volumes for his rage as he tilts his head in a contemplatively vicious gesture so that he can eye the colonel with ferocious determination.
Stryker pauses, weighing his options, but he knows he can't lie—knows that Victor can smell it if he does, so he regards the feral with firmness and shakes his head.
"No. Of course not."
Victor's betrayal is palpable, even though his features never waver.
"Then let him go."
He demands and stalks towards the man, his gait murderous and mutinous.
"You can't beat him, Victor. Not without the adamantium."
Victor prowls into the man's personal space and snarls.
"Then give me the adamantium—!"
"The tests came back. I'm sorry—!"
"WE HAD A DEAL!"
"You'd never survive the operation!"
Victor eyes the man he's one pace away from decimating, brooding over the irrevocable truth he can smell coming off the bastard. The beastly fury he's suppressed this long doesn't want to accept it—can't accept the helplessness that claws at his insides. Victor glares intently at Stryker and just wishes he'd killed him the minute he came into view in front of their cell door. But instead of the murderous rage he feels towards the man, something else claws its way up his throat.
"I can take anything he can."
The surly sneer is almost desperate, but the blazing rage in Victor's eyes cancels it out, leaving a vicious predator that can't accept his fall from supremacy—won't accept that even he has limitations.
"No you can't. Not yet."
Stryker refutes with a serious expression that turns reassuring when Victor glowers mutinously at him.
"You're my favorite soldier, Victor. Be patient, your time will come."
Both men whirl to stare at Kayla, who'd been watching desperately as Stryker tried to rein Victor in. Her aghast expression of guilt and horror is directed beseechingly to Victor.
"We have to stop this!"
She runs, trying desperately to make it towards the corridor she knows Logan went down, hoping against reality that she can do something to stop it—to fix her mistakes. But she didn't count on Victor's hatred winning out against his rationale. He grabbed her by the throat and hefted her up, his snarl contemptuous as he chokes her effortlessly.
Kayla screams, her cry echoing throughout the complex and into the chamber where Logan is suffering the agony of having his memory wiped. The assault of memories blistered into a stream of images that had anguished him before morphing into the woman he'd loved. Her smiling face and melodic voice murmured to him over the chaos and pain, whispering the three words that had anchored him to a life empty of war and bloodshed.
Everything snapped into jarring reality. Logan's growl became a rancorous roar as he jerked out of his restraints and tore out of the chair, his claws slicing through steel and screeching against the cement floor when he ambled blindly about. He panted and shouted his rage when the technicians tried to hold him down. Their futile and foolhardy efforts were rewarded. Logan made mincemeat out of them, staggering about in the carnage and ambling towards the door. He yanked the cerebral harness off his head and threw it to the ground as he purposely focused his efforts on running out of the chamber and prowling down the corridor after the echo that had brought him back from the brink of despondent resignation.
Meanwhile, Victor angrily relished chocking the frail who'd taken Jimmy and made him weak—who'd been the source of his brother's betrayal and his own villainy towards his own flesh and blood. He sneered darkly at her as he strangled her slowly, enjoying the useless struggle that she put up.
"How about this time you die for real?"
He growled and choked her harder. She gasped helplessly and clutched at his wrist, trying hard to focus and breathe through the vice-like grip that strangled the life out of her.
"Let me go!"
She commanded and imparted tacto-hypnotically, forcing every ounce of her determination into her ability. Victor tried to fight against the crippling command, his shoulders shaking with the effort before he yelled with livid exasperation and threw Kayla down to the ground. She hit the ground hard and cried out, grabbing her throat and looking up with fearful relief at the sadistic mutant before an irate shout roared throughout the room.
The feral turned to see Logan baring his adamantium claws and crouching down in a battle stance, his snarl murderously directed at his brother. Victor sneers a snide smile just as Logan starts charging at him. Victor growls, having taken off towards Jimmy the minute he rushed towards him.
They collided in a fury of blows, brother against brother. Nothing around them mattered anymore, not with their sole purpose intent on destroying the other. While Kayla and the others coward away from the brawl, Victor and Logan raged against each other in a flurry of blows, slashes, and hits that quickly became a violent barrage neither could stop. In a split second, Logan threw a blow and flipped Victor to the ground before kicking his brother clear across the floor towards the glass panes.
Victor staggered to his feet with the wind still knocked out of him just as Logan charged at him and shoved his claws into his older brother's chest, propelling them threw the glass wall to plummet down to the hard ground below. Victor roared in pain, having taken the brunt of the fall and groaned when Jimmy pulled a clawed fist out of his chest to brandish them against his brother's throat. Snarling down on his brother, Logan tried to restrain the fury that threatened to take him over, only to earn a raspy laugh from Victor.
Flashing his blood tinged teeth in a nasty grin, he cackled sinisterly up at his brother.
"Feels good, doesn't it?"
When no deathblow came, Victor focused through the pain and took in Jimmy's expression. His younger brother was flushed with repressed rage, boiling with intent, but wavering on finishing him off.
"All that rage."
He husked through tight jaw, his steely eyes darkening with approval and understanding. Victor could see the animal waging war inside of Jimmy—could see all the years of control crumbling away under the onslaught of his ferocious fury and ravenous rage. He loved it, was proud of Jimmy with all his roaring being. This is what he'd tried to foster in the runt, and he was struck by the irony: The only way he brought his true nature out, was to have betrayed him. But that betrayal was payback for Jimmy's betrayal. He had abandoned him first; had broken their pact, leaving him alone for the first time in over a century.
Victor smiled up at Logan, a smug smile that was withdrawn with pride and guilt, all at the same time.
Logan's gaze flickered with hurt, but only for a moment as the strain of his rage contorted his features.
He turned to look up at Kayla, who stared down at the scene with pleading eyes.
"You're not an animal."
"Oh, yes, you are."
Logan glowered down at Victor's irrevocable smug expression. Victor's brows lowered and his expression became implacably controlled.
The command was hard, but his eyes weren't.
Logan could see the tumult in the blue depths of his brother's eyes, and it shook him to the core. He hesitated, bared his teeth in conflict against the pain and the rage he felt towards and for Victor. Logan's breathing was ragged and his expression was fierce, but when his claws slowly retracted, Victor's brow furrowed in confusion and his lips pressed together. Logan read the silent question in his brother's eyes: What're you doing?
His answer was a swift punch to Victor's face, knocking him out with the vicious blow. Logan slowly crawled off of his unconscious brother and glowered down on him, but was unable to even look down on him without feeling something ache in his chest. He staggered away from Victor and tried to get his bearings.
He was an animal. He always would be. But he wasn't like Victor.
Because he wasn't like him, he could never kill him, regardless of all the pain and misery he had caused.
He heard his name and he turned. Her words registered, but his surroundings still seemed so far away—he was still caught up in the hurt he'd seen in Victor's eyes, hurt he knew he'd caused first but didn't know how to take back.
They couldn't take it back, no matter how bad he wanted the flipside of the coin. He didn't know if Victor wanted it, and because of that, he knew nothing would change between them.
Not unless one of them changed.
"Nobody kills you but me."
If he hadn't spoken, Logan wouldn't have believed it. As it was, it took him a moment to realize what had happened. One minute he'd been careening over the side, and the next his hand had lashed out and caught Victor's. The rest was a flurry, a tempest of moments that had brought them back-to-back, like the old days.
It had been instinctual to fall back into rhythm together. No one else knew them like they knew each other, and there had been a comfort in that—albeit a comfort taken out of necessity for survival.
Offering his hand to Victor had been a truce he'd unconsciously tried to offer. He hadn't expected Victor to take it. With a small smirk, Victor had clamped his hand in Jimmy's, a slight gloating gleam in his blue eyes as he climbed out of the gnarled cement.
Hauling him up, Logan wavered back to the anger. Now that it was just them, toe-to-toe, the betrayal stung again—left him seething with suppressed rage.
"This doesn't change anything between us, Victor."
He meant it, with all the anger that welled in his gut. Victor looked at him acerbically.
The scornful look became mocking as Victor soberly stared into Jimmy's brown eyes.
"We can never be done, Jimmy. We're brothers, and brothers look out for each other."
Logan stared at him. He knew Victor meant it, but couldn't find the words to reply. Not that Victor gave him a chance to.
His older brother gave him one final hard look before leaping off the crumbling nuclear tower. He disappeared in the dust and debris just as hunks of cement began to rain down in all directions.
With a shaky breath, Logan jumped off as well, plummeting to the ground with bone-crushing force as the island fell in a demolished heap all around him.
"I'll find my own way."
Before he realized what he'd said, he turned to find himself alone on the decimated island. He hadn't even asked the guy's name, wouldn't be able to follow him now if he could. Looking down at the lifeless eyes of the mysterious woman, Logan, at least that's what his tags said, lowered her eyelids in respect for the dead as the sirens grew into loud wails all around him.
He stood up and looked into the direction that he could smell land. He ran, ran away from the sirens and ducked out of sight the closer he got to the city.
His head was pounding, and his surroundings were hazing over from the pain. Stumbling down alleyways, he fell and caught himself against a brick wall before he slipped down to the ground. Falling to his side, he curled up and held his head, groaning against the throbbing headache, closed his eyes and tried to remember, but couldn't.
He gritted his teeth, cursing under his breath. Nothing was familiar. Nothing made sense. Fisting his dog tags, he clenched them with the determination of a man lost at sea with only a life preserver as an anchor. The anguish started to exhaust him, to leech his energy until he gave in to the fatigue and closed his eyes, falling into an unconscious riddled with contradictions.
Victor had run with all his stamina the minute he hit the ground. He fought the urge to stop and run back after Jimmy, but he knew he couldn't—not after saying what he said. He'd been sincere when he said brothers were supposed to look out for each other, but it had also been a backhanded jab—a vicious reminder of Jimmy's broken promise.
The look in Jimmy's eyes had been enough of a response. So he'd lept down into the chaos and high tailed it out of there. Let the runt find his way for a while. Sooner or later, he'd come looking for him, and Victor would have it out with him—for real. He'd teach Jimmy what happens when you break a pact; would really make him hurt for betraying him.
Victor seethed with animal anticipation.
Gulping down a shot of bourbon, he signaled the weary bartender over to pour him another.
"Leave the bottle."
The woman eyed him skeptically, but when he unfurled his hand over the counter top and showed his long and wicked claws, she did as she was told and scampered to the end of the bar.
Snorting, he drank by himself at the end of the shady and grimy bar, only venturing a glance up at the TV when he heard the news drone on about the destruction of the nuclear power plant. No survivors were found, and it was being labeled a meltdown. A good way to cover things up and make sure people didn't snoop around.
Victor drank until the bottle was empty. It was times like these that he wished he could get shit-faced. Damned high metabolism made it impossible, and the cheap liquor didn't do much to quell his mood.
Leaving money on the counter, he heads out into the stinking night of the city, walking down the sidewalk and keeping away from the streetlamps. He doesn't know where he's going, let alone what to do next. He'd spent the last decade trotting the globe, killing and simmering with vengeance. He absently fingered his dog tags through his shirt. Now he had no job, or brother…
"You look lonely, sugar. Care to have a good time?"
He glanced up and saw the streetwalker smoking a cigarette under the awning of a seedy building. It was the bad side of town—the side of town he went unnoticed in—and the whore looked good enough. Something ached inside of him, but he smothered it—smothered the thoughts and missed feelings that left him lonely and isolated. Pushing all the grief and misery away, Victor smirked, walked over and loomed over the scantily-clad blond who hurriedly put out her cigarette with the tip of her red heel and tried not to look warily up at him.
"As a matter of fact, yer just what I need, hun."
He grinned lasciviously and took her by the arm before leading her into the seedy motel, where he'd lift his spirits by taking hers without an ounce of guilt.
THANKS FOR READING! PLEASE REVIEW!
Hope you guys liked my little take on the alternate sequence fitting into the storyline much better than what was actually done. =)