Laura's Journal

An X-Men Evolution Fanfic by Quill N. Inque

I do not own X-Men.

Chapter 1

The Professor says I should write down my feelings in this journal to help me adjust to living at the Institute. Almost everything here confuses me. For example, Logan, my self-appointed "father", got angry during a "Teamwork Exercise" he called "football". Apparently, the rules of the game say you can't jump from tree to tree to score a point. How was I supposed to know that? I had the target, I was being pursued, and I took the easiest path of evasion. But maybe I should start from the beginning.

I wasn't technically born. I was the brainchild of an international criminal and terrorist organization known as HYDRA. I was grown from a test tube, and cloned from the DNA of Wolverine, alias Logan, alias Weapon X. HYDRA created me to be the perfect assassin and trained me in killing, espionage and stealth, all the while seeking to erase my emotions and free will. To test my healing factor, the experimented on me and tortured me to see how fast I would heal from various injuries, like the time I was doused with gasoline and set on fire. And I killed for them. Many times.

When I was around eight, I was subjected to what HYDRA termed, "The Procedure", which coated my skeleton and retractable claws in unbreakable and super-sharp adamantium. The pain was indescribable. I still have nightmares about it.

But despite their best efforts, the sadists at HYDRA failed to extinguish my humanity, and after several failed attempts, I eventually escaped. That was when I met Logan for the first time.

Working for HYDRA, I went up against many, many enemies, human and mutant.

But Logan was, and is, the only person I have ever feared.

And I blamed him for what I was, for what I had gone through over the years. When he reached out to me, I turned him down, even though he's the closest thing I have to a relative of any kind.

That was a year ago. I spent that particular year freezing my ass off in the Canadian mountains.

Then he found me again, despite my best efforts, and again he offered to take me back with him. This time, I stopped and thought about it. What would it be like to be a "teenager"? To go to school? Was it even possible for me to fit in? What if Logan was lying?

I thought that last one was unlikely. Logan may be an enormous ass, but he keeps his word, that much I'm sure of. Besides, I figured that the prospect of free room and board, with three guaranteed meals a day, was worth the risk. The next thing I knew, Logan had whisked me onto a flight and flown back to Pennsylvania, where the Institute was located. It seemed like only minutes had passed before I was standing nervously in front of the imposing-looking building I would soon call home.

Logan beckoned for me to enter the spacious dwelling. "Well, c'mon. Chuck's expectin' ya."

I assumed that "Chuck" was Logan's nickname for Charles Xavier, a telepath of enormous ability and one of the most powerful mutants on Earth. I stepped inside, claws at the ready, poised to confront….

A balding man in a wheelchair?

He certainly didn't fit the mental description I'd had of him.

The Professor gestured toward one of the chairs in front of him. "Please, sit down."

I sat. I was too nervous not to comply.

"First, let me welcome you to the Xavier Institute for Gifted Young People. My name is-"

"Professor Charles Xavier, alias Professor X, telepath, height five foot ten, age 43, eye color brown, leading mutant rights activist," I said automatically and without thinking.

The Professor cocked an eyebrow and smiled. "It appears that she's done her homework, Logan."

"What can I say? She takes after her father," replied Wolverine with a smirk.

"I don't have a biological father." I stated matter-of-factly. "I am a clone."

Logan came right over to me and knelt so we were at eye level. "Kid, you can be as specific as ya damn well want, but you share my DNA, and as far as I'm concerned that makes you my kid." His voice softened so only I could hear him. "I want to be there for you. I went through the same things you did, and I didn't have nobody to help me get my life back on track.

There was an awkward silence until Logan asked, "What's yer name gonna be? Won't do for everyone to keep callin' ya X23 all the time. It's gotta be somethin' with an L, though..."

"Laura." I said after a momentary review of the fake names I'd used while on the run. "I want to be called Laura."

The Professor smiled. "What a fine name for an extraordinary young woman. Logan will show you where your room is."

"Awwww, look at Logan, acting all paternal," commented a tall man with red glasses as we rounded the corner. I recognized him instantly. Scott Nathaniel Summers, alias Cyclops, his power was the ability to shoot beams of energy from his eyes.

Logan's claws extended with a "snikt" and he got right in Summers' face.

"Listen, four eyes, if ya wanna keep the ability to father yer own children, ya better mind yer own damn business," he snarled as Cyclops quailed visibly.

Walking back over to me as if nothing had happened, he pointed up the staircase. "Yer room's down the hall and to the right, third door on the left." He leaned in closer. "An' if any o' these knuckleheads give ya trouble, lemme know an' I'll sort it out."

I couldn't help grinning at the thought of things Logan would do to those people in order to"sort it out". I climbed up the stairway slowly, with a caution borne of necessity, but no sooner had I turned the corner when I ran into a blue, furry….thing. Instantly I had my claws out, and I barely managed to stop myself from eviscerating him purely from force of habit.

His golden eyes widened at the sight of the metal protruding from my hands and feet. "Vhoa! High strung much? Seriously, you need to- Hey… I remember you! You're the von who broke into the mansion last year!"

I cringed inwardly. It seemed everyone still held a grudge against me for that...unfortunate misunderstanding.

Blue-Thing's voice brightened. "My name's Kurt Wagner. What's yours?"

"X- I mean, L-Laura. Laura Logan," I stuttered. I was beginning to feel funny. My heart started pounding in my chest, and my face began to feel hot, to say nothing of the fluttery feeling in my stomach. What the hell was wrong with me? I'd never felt so….off before. I'd never gotten sick, either, due to my healing factor.

"Are you okay? Your vace is red." Kurt looked at me with a concerned expression on his face.

"I'm fine. Um...Can you help me find my room?" I felt like such an idiot.

Kurt smiled. His canines were unusually sharp and long, a feature I instantly liked. "Sure. Right this vay. Vhere did the Professor say it vas?"

I tried to remember. I really did. But I couldn't. Which, by the way, should have been impossible, given my photographic memory. Maybe his mutant ability projected an aura that messed with the thought process. It was the only possible explanation.

"I...don't remember," I said somewhat guiltily.

"Don't sveat it. I forget stuff all ze time!"

After a few false starts, Kurt and I finally managed to locate the small room that had been set aside for me. Since I didn't have any luggage, I made a note of where it was and decided to look around the mansion, in order to memorize possible escape routes and emergency exits. Such information could prove vital, should HYDRA find me here. And that was assuming HYDRA even existed anymore. I smiled at that thought. After all, I was the one who had ensured that Madame Hydra and most her cronies had met a fiery demise aboard their airship over the Canadian wilderness.

My nose twitched. There were so many different scents here, and not all of them were pleasant. The thought of scents made my stomach growl, and I was reminded that I hadn't eaten since Logan and I left Canada. My increased metabolism requires an abnormally large food intake, but Logan just called it a "teenage thing". Anyway, I quickly picked up the smell of food and made a beeline toward the kitchen.

Except that when I got there, I found out I wasn't in the kitchen. My nose had led me to a large room dominated by a plasma screen TV, which several other students were looking at with dazed expressions, as if hypnotized. Drinks of every sort littered tabletops and counters, and plates of food were sitting on the coffee table. I tried to back out, knowing I was in unfamiliar territory, but then Kurt spotted me as I was almost through the door.

"Laura! Wait, Laura, vhere are you going?"

It was like his voice was a catalyst or something; as soon as I heard it, I struggled to get my brain and mouth to connect. "Um…."

"Don't be shy! Ve're all friends here! Hey, everyone, come and meet Logan's mini-me!" Grabbing my hand, with his three furry fingers, he gently pulled me back inside.

I had to stop myself from gasping. The moment his warm skin made contact with mine, it felt like electricity was going up my arm. My face felt hot again, and my legs became shaky; I thought I was going to pass out. The fluttery feeling had returned in my stomach, too. I immediately concluded that I was infected with some kind of deadly disease. Why else would I feel like that?

A girl about my age, with brown hair lighter than mine, stepped forward. "Hey! I'm Kitty. We've all been, like, totally excited about meeting you!"

Now I remembered her: Kitty Pryde, aka Shadowcat, her power was the ability to phase through solid objects. The fact that she was glad to see me after what I did was astonishing. "Why?" I asked simply.

" 'Cause we care about what happens to our friends," commented an older girl with a strong Southern accent. "Ah'm Rogue, bah the way."

Friends. I had friends, real friends, and I hadn't even been here for a full day. I hadn't done anything to endear myself to them, quite the opposite, and yet they welcomed me with open arms. Tears began to leak out of the corners of my eyes, and I fled the room.

"What's with her?" I heard Kitty say. "Did we do something to offend her?"

"Nah. She just feels overwhelmed." Said Rogue. "In a few hours, she's gotten a father, friends, a roof over her head and a bed to sleep in, none of which she's ever had before. She's not sad, she's happy."

Outside the doorway, I was amazed that Rogue could understand what I was feeling so accurately. Maybe her background was similar to mine. Sniffling and wiping my eyes, I reentered the room and did my best to smile.

"So, what's your name?" asked Kitty.

"Laura Logan," I replied proudly, glad for a chance to use it. However, my interest in the conversation was lost when I was reacquainted with all that food beside her. I dashed forward and started eating, stuffing as much food into my mouth as I could.

"Um…You're supposed to use the plates," said Kitty.

"And forks," added Bobby Drake, unmistakable in his ice-covered form.

"Why?" I asked, confused. I'd never needed such things before. Why start now?

Kurt thought for a moment. "It's just etiquette. Think ov it as a social norm. Don't worry about it, though," he continued cheerfully, showing me those canines. "I'm sure you'll get ze hang ov it before long."

"Wanna try your hand at Donkey Kong?" Rogue asked, gesturing toward a game controller.

"What is 'Donkey Kong?"

They all looked at me with horror, and I thought for a moment that I'd done something to offend them. Kurt patted the floor beside him. "I'll show you," he said, flashing those canines at me again.

I picked up the console hesitantly. "What do I do?"

Kurt winked a yellow-gold eye at me. "Vatch me first," he said. "Then you try."

Apparently, the buttons on the controller have a corresponding action to the character on-screen, especially if you press them in a certain order. I especially loved the combo that lets you throw the TNT barrels. This "Donkey Kong", I concluded, was some kind of training exercise meant to challenge one's dexterity. But it was also, as Kurt put it, "a lot of fun."

It was over an hour later that I crawled into bed. I was tired, but in a good way. The moment I hit the pillow, I was sound asleep.

And for the first time, I didn't have any nightmares.