Disclaimer: I don't own Wolverine or Sabertooth. All rights belong to Fox and Marvel. Also while I'm at it, I should give some credit to Emily Bronte and her book Wuthering Heights. As some of you have noticed the whole Elizabeth, Tom and John love triangle and based off the love triangle in Wuthering Heights and I took a lot of inspiration from WH for the adult characters in this story.
Chapter Nine: Epilogue
Wind swept down to stir up dead leaves and a gray fox crept down among the roots of a tall cottonwood. A storm was brewing in the upper passes and any moment it'd come crashing down the slopes like an avalanche of thundering gales and lashing rain.
The furry of Canada would be unleashed on this summer night.
The whole valley seemed to be holding its breath; even the bugs had gone silent. Like the fox, creatures large and small were bunkering down into one shelter or another. Despite the lavish bounty of warmth and growth, they all knew that, in this wilderness, Mother Nature's kindness never lasted forever.
The crack of gunfire seemed unreal, almost blasphemous in this stillness before the storm and the trees shook their branches like enraged fists, as a small boy in a red robe ran past their trucks.
James was running like he'd never run before. No longer did the air claw and rip at his lungs and throat, threatening to strangle him. No longer did exhaustion cause his legs to tremble, or his heart to ache. No longer was it dust and pollen that made his eyes burn and water. Now it was different. Tears made his eyes water. Fear caused his legs to tremble and it was sorrow that made his heart ache. The night, the wind the exercise and the coming storm seemed to almost embrace him, to lift him up and give him the strength he needed to fly. Fly far away from what had just happened.
He nearly screamed in rage, when something heavy crashed into him, tackling him down to the forest floor. He knew immediately that it was Victor, without even seeing him. He could smell that it was the older boy and struggled quickly out his arms, gaining his feet and bringing up his fist in the boxing pose his father had once taught him.
"I didn't mean it!" he screamed, his eyes still as wild as they'd been in the mansion, "I didn't mean it!"
"Yes you did!" roared Victor, looking him full in the face and then softening his tone some, "He deserved it and you gave it to him."
James stared back pale in the darkness, his big eyes becoming uncertain. Slowly, he lowered his fists, looking at Victor warily. Stepping forward Victor put his hands on the smaller boy's shoulders. "We're brothers, Jimmy. You realize that?"
James opened his mouth then closed it, looking into Victor's grim face.
"And brother's protect each other," Victor continued, giving James' shoulder a reassuring squeeze. "You have to be hard now. Hard enough so that nothing can ever touch us."
James hesitated the wild fire in his eyes fading, as he thought about his father, the father he'd known, not that monster who'd called him son. "I want to go home."
"We can't," Victor said. He had no intention of ever seeing that place again and if he wasn't going back, than neither could Jimmy. "We stick together no matter what and take care of anyone who gets in our way! Can you do that, Little Brother?"
James looked up at him, his sweaty face growing solemn. Silently he nodded.
They could hear the manor dogs barking in the distance now and Victor turned, looking back at the sight of lanterns bobbing in the darkness. The voices of the servants and Dr. Kymbol could be heard, as they hurried through the woods.
"They coming," Victor whispered, looking back down at James, "Can you run?"
James was no longer crying. There was fear in his eyes, but he also looked determined and surprisingly strong, for a boy so young. He nodded and took Victor's hand. Together, they turned and ran through the trees, over dead leaves and fallen logs.
The first powerful gust of the storm swept down, hitting them in the face with the invigorating smells of rain and mountain pines.
"Keep on running!" Victor called, increasing his pace and pulling out ahead. To his surprise, James easily kept up, sticking right by his side. Behind them the dogs continued barking amid the roaring wind. Wordlessly, the boys exchanged looks and with instinctual understanding they both jumped forward with a vicious burst of speed, bolting through the woods and up the mountain like wild animals. Neither one of them of them had ever felt such a surge of freedom and release.
Before long, they left the dogs far behind and the storm gathered all around them. The whole rest of world seemed to fade. Embracing the wild freedom and chaos, they forget everything else, as they dashed through wind and rain. They raced each other, raced the storm, raced reality. They outran their past and it was only the three of them; James, Victor and the stormy wilderness here and now and always.
AN: I finally finished this story. I know it took me like two years and I'm really grateful to those of you, who have stuck loyally to it for the whole time. I want to thank those of you who have reviewed every chapter. Specifically, I'd like to thank Lucky's Girl, quoththeraven5 and Smizzlemort.
For anyone who doesn't know, I wrote the sequel for this story, before starting this one and it can be found on my profile page. It's called Sons of the Wilderness 1849 and takes place four years after this one in a Canadian mining camp. Please check it out, if you haven't read it already.
I have plans for a whole "Sons of the Wilderness" series, though after as long as it took for me to finish this one, I'm not sure if I should launch a third story. If I did, it would take place a few years after the 1849 story, probably in the late 1850s, and would be about them living as feral brothers in the wild. Eventually I'd bring in a Native American tribe and the US army and hopefully set them on the path to fighting the Civil War. Does that sound like something y'all would like to read? Let me know. If I get enough encouragement, I may go ahead and start it and try not to procrastinate like I did with this one.
Thanks again for reading and for all you support and reviews. Be sure to leave a last review to this chapter and let me know what you thought of the story over all and how you think I could improve it, my writing of the characters, or my writing style in general. I'd really appreciate it.
Love you all.