Disclaimer: I don't own Victor, or any other characters/content that Fox or Marvel already own. I'm not making money off this and have no legal rights.
Sons of the Wilderness: 1845
Summery: Leading up to the murders of John Howlett and Tom Logan, was the piecing together of an ugly puzzle, connecting James, Tom and Elizabeth.
AN: This is the first part of a series I'm writing on Sabertooth and Wolverine in the 19th century. It's a prequel to "Sons of the Wilderness: 1849" which I've already finished. It won't matter what order they're read in.
Basically I'm just trying to fill in some of the years we glimpsed in the credits section at the beginning of the Wolverine Origins movie. I loved the brother connection they made and I'm having fun developing the relationship between Sabertooth and Wolverine, as they grow up. This is NOT slash, only brothers.
Just to let you know, this story probably won't have Wolverine in it as much, since he's just a little kid. It'll be more focused on Victor and the adults at Howlett Manor.
Rated T: For strong language, child abuse, violence and sexual implications. However, I'll be sure to put a warning at the top of chapters so you'll know when to expect it.
Chapter One: Father and Son
Warning: Chapter contains child abuse
Summers at the base of the Canadian Rockies were always vibrant, green and noisy. Every plant animal and insect was making the most of the warm weather and the air literally buzzed with life. The chores of cicadas, crickets and other insects rose through the humid night air with great noise and excitement. At the river, which flowed down from the mountain, deep-throated frogs added their own base line and the water itself gurgled a melody over stones and fallen foliage. The pine forest around it sashayed in tune with the whimsical night breezes and above it all ghostly rags of clouds chased each other over the waxing moon. It was summer and the whole wilderness sung and throbbed in a celebration of life.
Amid this wild, disorderly sprawl, the trim, well tended grounds and colonial terraces of Howlett manner seemed like a china doll lost in a Never-Never tree-house; proper English civilization in a world, where even table manners were foreign. Nonetheless, the two-story mansion stood proudly, surrounded by hedgerows, fields, orchards and clean flower gardens, filled with roses and lilies, lavender and honeysuckle. Clearly these gardens were the love and pride of a dedicated gardener. A small, white pair of lady's gloves sat beside a hand-spade near the tool-shed door.
Beyond this shed, through a gap in the hedgerow, the groundskeeper's cabin sat under the eves of the forest. It was more a part of the wilderness than the manicured lawns of the manor. Rough and rundown, it was a sorry eyesore. Broken, rusty tools were falling apart on the muddy porch amid the shattered remains of gin jugs and the dead branches haphazardly stacked as firewood.
Amid the celebrating sounds of the summer night, the slams shouts and curses coming from the cabin were grossly discordant.
"God damn yeh Boy, hold still!" yelled Tom Logan his bearded face glowing red with drink and rage in the oily lamp light, as he tried to keep a good grip on his son's coat with one hand and hold a thick stick in the other. Thwack! The blow landed solidly against the teenager's shoulder and Victor staggered in his father's grip, his fanged teeth gritted, as he stubbornly refused to cry out.
"All day long I work in the sun and bugs for that rich bastard, try'n to put bread in your ungrateful stomach and yeh tell me thars none left!" Twack! Twack! His stick fell in fast succession. Twack! With the final blow on the boy's back, Victor fell out of Tom's grip to the dirt floor.
"Gawah, yeh better stay down," warned Tom, wiping his mouth with the back of his dirty hand and stumbling a step backward to catch his breath. "Where's my gin?" he demanded, after a moment of glancing a round the one room, searching its dim, messy interior for some sign of liquor.
Still panting on the floor, Victor turned furious gray eyes up to his father. A bruise was slowly fading to match the rest of the pale, freckled skin of his dirty face and he wiped a little blood away from a wholly healed lip, before getting up to his knees.
"Well?" demanded Tom, "I asked where the gin was, Boy. We better not be out'a that too."
"We aint," muttered Victor bitterly and got up, kicking dirty clothes and empty sacks out of his way, so he could reach under the bed and take out the nearly full jug of gin that'd rolled under there earlier.
From where he'd sat down on top of the table, Tom watched his son, still holding the stick in one hand, the lamplight reflecting flaringly in his stormy grey eyes. "Gauh, Victor," he said with a throaty half sigh, half sniff. He let the stick fall to the floor, as Victor returned with the liquor. Almost fondly Tom put a hand on his son's shoulder and leaned toward him. "Yer gett'n so damn big!"
Victor didn't say anything, as he handed his father the jug. Just kept his mouth shut and his eyes down.
"And yer tough as nails!" Tom continued, shaking the teenager slightly, "Hell tougher! I love yeh, but how else am I going te keep yeh down in yer place?" As he took the gin, Tom suddenly grabbed Victor's wrist, lifting the clawed hand to the light.
Victor tried to pull swiftly back out of the grip, but Tom jerked him forcibly forward, keeping a steel grip on the wrist and examining the claws. "Yeh still got them!" he accused, "I thought I told yeh to cut them monstrosities off!"
Leaving the gin on the table, Tom stood up and viscously threw Victor to the floor. "What't hell will I have te do with you Boy? Lock yeh in the cellar? Rip yer damn nails out with pliers?" He leaned down to pick up his stick again.
Hastily Victor turned over and backed away. "Pa, I did cut them!" he protested, "I cut them lots'a times! They just keep growing!"
With a grunt, Tom bent down and hoisted the boy up to his feet, before pushing his back firmly against the cabin wall and holding him there, while he lifted the stick over his head. "Aint fit for civilization!" growled Tom drunkenly, "Lived 'ere all me damn life, but when John Howlett moves in- Ha!- I suddenly aint fit!"
Thwack! The stick hit Victor on the side of the head, leaving a red swelling mark.
"Elizabeth and me! We know this country! We known it like we knew each other!"
"It was in our blood. We were everything!"
"Till rich boy come…" Tom panted, his grey eyes fading from rage to sadness, and he sniffed, "Suddenly ah aint fit."
Dropping his stick, Tom started to collapse drunkenly to his knees, but Victor caught him and, warping his father's arm over his shoulder, he helped the man to their one chair. Silently, Victor took the cork out of the jug and handed it to his father. "Here," he mumbled, "Yer tiered. Since we don't got no food you might as well drink."
Passively Tom took the gin, but then grabbed Victor's arm again, pulling him close so he could stare into his eyes. "Victor?" he asked almost desperately, "You… you won't leave me?"
Uncomfortably Victor turned from his father's foul breath, but answered. "Course not Pa. We're family. All I have is you. I aint leaving."
Dropping the jug, Tom suddenly hugged his son then sniffed and took a deep breath. "I don't really hate yeh," he said, as he let go. Picking up his jug again, he gave a dry chuckle. "Civilization be damned!" he took a gulp, and seemed to cheer up a little more. "Y-you know… you know, your claws…" he took another large gulp, sighed and wiped his mouth, "Your claws remind me o' a bear." He smiled.
With a wary glace, Victor sat on the floor, picking up the stick his father had beat him with. "That's a good thing?" he asked uncertainly and started absently scratching pictures into the wood.
Tom took another gulp, "My Boy, bars are the biggest toughest animals in this here wilderness," he congratulated. "Them's Canada's own children!"
"Use to run in te them in me trapp'n days!... gawh." Tom let out a stinking breath and leaned down. "One nearly damn killed me once."
Victor looked up, his gray eyes shining with curiosity and excitement, despite the stink of gin in his face. If Tom Logan could do one thing well, besides drinking, it was story telling.
"Twaz a she grizzly!" continued Tom, "Ah was setting me traps 'long the river and it was salmon season, so I didn't pay her much 'ttention. See, bars aint even the wee bit interested in eat'n a man, when their favorite dish is flocking up the rivers in the thousands. But there is someth'n even more important to a bear than food. Yeh know what that is Boy?"
Victor shook his head.
"Family!" explained Tom and put a heavy hand on his son's shoulder. "I made the mistake'a stumbling into that she-grizzly's cubs! Next thing ah know, she's a'lummb'n my way, roaring someth'n fierce. You'd be surprised how fast a grizzly can run, even though they're big and fat as all can be. I took one look at her and, I swear, I went pale as the underbelly o' a fish! The wrath of God himself can't be more terrifying than that of a mama bar a'fear'n fer her cubs!"
"I couldn't out run her and had to turn an' fight her with nothing but me bare hands and a hunting knife! I tell yeh, Boy, it was not something I'd want to ever do again. Still got the scars see!" Tom first pulled up his sleeve to show a line of deep scars gashed up his forearm then pulled apart his dirty shirt to show an ugly slash of five scars across his chest. "She darn near killed me!"
Victor looked at the scars with a hint of admiration in his eyes. "But she didn't. Did yeh kill 'er first?" he asked.
"Naw," said Tom, taking another long drink and wiping his mouth with his sleeve, "Could have… ah could have, but she did have them cubs, and I wasn't going to hold it 'gainst her for wanted to protect her own blood. I managed to get away and escaped by climbing a cliff. Bears are fast, 'cross the flat ground, but damn clumsy with rock climbing. Gawah…" Sighing, Tom leaned back in his chair and drank steadily, for the next few minuets.
Victor sat silently on the floor, looking thoughtful, as he continued to dig pictures into his father's stick. Suddenly there came the thud, as Tom and his jug fell onto the floor. The man had finally drunk himself into a stupor and began snoring into the dirt floor, slobber dripping down to make mud.
Taking a deep breath, Victor got up and started to help his father to the one, dirty cot in the corner of the room. Tom moaned and grunted, looking up into his son's face, as he was laid on the bed. "You… grizzly, Son," he mumbled and grabbed Victor's sleeve, before muttering, "…Thank you."
Victor pushed his father's grip off and tucked the old gray blanket up around him. "Well, that's what family does." He said softly, "Look out fer each other."
AN: Thanks for reading to the end of the chapter! Please review, even if it's only to say hi. It's nice to know people reading my story, even if they don't leave a long comment.