Title: Lost Hope

Summary: alternative ending to Target X.

Author: Kairan1979.

Fandom: X-Men Evolution

Category: General/Angst.

Disclaimer – I don't own X-Men : Evolution TV Series.

Wolverine stood silently, watching the soldiers who surrounded the fallen HYDRA control ship, which was still smoking after the explosion. From the distance they looked almost like ants.

His mind refused to accept the horrible truth his eyes and nose were telling him. And the truth was that X-23 died when the control ship exploded. Even her healing factor couldn't survive it.

The closest thing he had for family was killed.

HYDRA put his clone through the living hell. She suffered from hunger and thirst; they tortured her, put through inhuman training, and then gave her adamantium claws, not bothering about anesthesia. When the training was complete, HYDRA sent her on suicide missions, again and again.

If Logan had a slightest clue that she existed, he'd tear HYDRA facilities apart one by one and rescued her before they did all these horrible things to her. But when he met the girl the damage was already done. X-23 was a violent unstable teenager with killer instincts, driven by hatred and revenge. It was a pure luck that nobody in the Institute was killed when she attacked.

Logan looked for the girl after he convinced Fury to leave her alone, but she disappeared. He asked Professor to use Cerebro, but unfortunately Chuck was too busy. First with Magneto and Acolytes, then the supernatural stuff about the return of Apocalypse started. Logan was forced to stop the searching. X-Men needed him, and X-23 could take care of herself, or so he thought.

He couldn't find X-23; she had found him.

Logan was kidnapped and fell from the plane in an attempt of escape. He dislocated his shoulder badly, but the most humiliating part of his was that Gauntlet and Omega Red weren't looking for him. He wasn't their primary target – only a bait to lure X-23 out of the hiding.

Wolverine remembered the concerned look of her face when he tried to stand up after the metallic tentacles of Omega Red, and X-23 offered the shoulder to lean on. That look was soon replaced by an angry scowl, identical to the one Logan saw in the mirror too often, but sudden hostility couldn't fool him. X-23 was genuinely worried about his well-being. HYDRA couldn't completely erase her personality; couldn't turn his genetic twin into emotionless killer.

He tried to convince her that they are walking straight into trap. How naive it was! X-23 recognized the trap long before he did, and walked straight right into it, because it was a part of her plan all along. To be captured.

"The only way I'll be free, the only way HYDRA and S.H.I.E.L.D will stop hunting me, is if I'm no longer alive".

Her words ringed in his ears again and again. She was preparing herself to die in blaze of glory, taking her tormentors with her. Why he couldn't recognize it until the very end?

"It doesn't have to be this way!"

"Yes, it does!"

Logan allowed himself to hope when he met her; all his hopes were shattered when the girl died.

Madame Hydra and Gauntlet were dead too. Not that Logan cared much about them. All he wanted is their deaths to be as slow and painful as it's possible.

And Logan was left with unanswered questions. Was S.H.I.E.L.D really planning to use the girl as a weapon, just like HYDRA bastards? Knowing Fury, it's not much of a surprise.

He smelled Nick Fury long before he saw the one-eyed Colonel, Fury was chewing the toothpick, as always.

Speak of the devil.

"Where's the girl, Logan?" Nick Fury asked gruffly.

Logan felt his blood boiling.

You picked the wrong time to ask questions, bub!