This one is unusual for me - for one thing, it's written in first person POV. My beta doesn't usually like that, but she said it works for this story, so I guess it does.

This one-shot has actually been bouncing around my head in one way or another since I saw X2 for the first time - this was just the version that made sense as a fic. It was inspired by the scene at the beginning of X2; when Logan first arrives at the base at Alkali Lake.

Abandon Hope

When I heard the sound of a souped-up motorcycle engine, I was, once again, searching hopelessly through the 'abandoned' base at Alkali Lake. I was terrified, at first - I thought that I had finally been caught by a patrol; there was no way out of the aboveground base save the one I'd come through, and that was where the bike was. At least, no way out if you didn't have thumbs - the escape doors were probably all frozen shut anyway.

As the bike began to power down, I made a snap decision - I ran for the entrance. Damn it all, but if they were going to finally catch me again I sure as fuck wasn't going to run like a whipped dog - I was going to face them head-on, maybe take a few bastards with me. Hopefully this time they'd kill me, rather than dragging me back to Stryker.

I froze as soon as my muzzle cleared the large door and I could see the man climbing off the bike. I recognized Wolverine - of course I did; not like he'd changed much, right? It had been somewhere near sixteen years, and he looked exactly the same - new bike, new jacket; but the man? Not a bit.

I shook my head, shaking off the snow and resettling my ruff against my neck. I barked, once, stretching my front paws out on the ground a little to show I wasn't being aggressive - not like I had a lot to work with, here.

Wolverine looked up at me, and around at the doors. I jumped back to a steady position on all four paws and waited. He looked up, and then walked a little closer, reading the metal plate on a nearby rock - not a true rock, this one was made of poured concrete, but he'd know that as well as I - before looking past me at the slightly ajar doors into the abandoned, aboveground, part of the base.

I barked again, and he ignored me. My tail dipped down against my own direction, and I whined slightly as he approached me. He snorted, cracking a tiny smile, and murmured something to me. He didn't recognize me. Why didn't he recognize me?

I jumped a few feet before running away, darting off into the trees. I stopped, once I was out of easy sight, and turned, watching him as best I could. He was poking around curiously inside the walls of the old base - like he didn't remember it at all.

Oh, God! Maybe that was the problem he had with me . . . maybe he didn't recognize me, because he didn't remember me. Perhaps Stryker had decided he would make a better tool sans all those pesky memories of his life before - his brother, especially. Wolverine certainly wouldn't have been easy for Stryker to control - and doubly so, if Stryker had done half the dumb shit I thought he had to Wolverine. On the other hand, if Wolverine's mind were to mysteriously go blankā€¦

Well, fuck. I had hoped, briefly, when I saw him, that he would be able to help me - maybe get inside the base, the way I couldn't - not unaided; you never really appreciate thumbs til you don't have 'em anymore - and figure out what they'd done to me. I don't know - steal a file, hit a doctor - maybe there was some kind of machine in me, or whatnot. You never knew with Stryker, the crazy fuck.

Instead, it looked like he didn't even know enough for me to help him anymore. How the fuck do you erase a man's memory? I know there's ways to brainwash, and hypnotic tricks and shit, but none of that would work on Wolverine - not for long, at any rate. Never had before, anyway.

A telepath might could- But Stryker hated 'paths; of any kind. There was a cute little empath locked up in one of his cages for a while - one of few that got out unscathed. Physically, anyway. I had no doubts that mentally, the kid would be scarred for life - assuming he lived too long after Stryker's men went after him again.

I knew my brain was just throwing up these facts, random and unrelated, to try and keep me from focusing on what I now knew. I'd always thought that Wolverine had just . . . escaped. He was certainly strong, resilient, and clever enough to do so - his brother had just walked away when he was through being played. Who the fuck gets in the Sabretooth's way, I ask you? Nobody, that's who.

But now? God, I remembered training with him - with the rest of Team X as well, actually. Now there was a gang of twisted and fearsome men - or what passed for men, in wartime. It was hard to believe that this . . . this feral, the one who had survived more wars than most of us had learned about in basic, had been brought so low by . . . it had to have been Stryker.

I watched as he threw his head back, roaring frustration at the sky, those sleek, shiny blades shooting out from each hand as his muscles tensed. I tensed in reaction - I remembered those, as well. I even remembered when they had been smooth, natural and warm - bone, we'd guessed, though no one would ask him.

Wolverine must have come here looking for answers - lord knew how he'd figured out to come here, or why, but someone could have put him on the scent, I supposed. I wished I could talk to him - tell him about the underground expansions, about the supposed 'eradication' of the facilities. Not just for my own, selfish, purposes, either. I felt bad for him - such a proud man, reduced to this; not even knowing who he was.

I watched as he dropped to his knees, his fists landing solidly on his thighs as he bowed his head. I shuddered, remembering other times I had seen this man so tense - had seen the tendons on his neck standing out and his arms near trembling - not from exhaustion, but from sheer readiness.

As he started to speak - cursing to himself was all I could hear, even if there was anything else to hear - I felt my hope slipping away as well. I threw my own head back and howled; a sound thick with misery and mourning - for my old . . . friend, I supposed I could call him, as well as myself.

I suspected I would stay as a wolf, never again able to shift back and forth from my human form to this one - eventually, I supposed, I would forget. Forget who I was, what I had been - become nothing more than a somewhat unusually coloured animal ranging wild in the woods at the border of Canada and the good old US of A - marked by Alkali lake on one side, and the base on the other - may it, and its inhabitants, rot for what they have done to me.