The first scent that caught his attention was the smoke. The first sounds were the shouts of the crowd, heard faintly above the thunderous revolutions of his truck's engine. After weeks of wandering, driving aimlessly across the Canadian wilds and seeing the same damn things day after fucking day, he now felt somewhat appeased. He had begun to notice that age-old anger rising in his gut was never satisfied, he'd found, and he pushed it away with irritation. Same as he'd done a thousand times before. He wondered absently what made it so hungry, but decided out of impatience that he didn't care enough to find out.

Besides, he had the perfect way to satisfy it.

The closer he got to the bar, the worse the road got. Apparently this was a popular place...who knew how many big rigs dragged their chains this way and fucked up the road as they went. His balls were just about to jump ship by the time he pulled into the parking lot, and he stepped sorely out of the cab as soon as the engine had wheezed to a stop.

The pain quickly wore itself out, just as he'd known it would, and he ignored it.

The air wasn't much colder outside the truck than in, and he had no problems with waiting in the fresh air for a bit. He was dreading the noise he could hear inside the bar; it had multiplied since he'd first detected it. It sounded like a couple of bears had barged in and were mauling the people inside.

Logan wished they'd hurry the fuck up.

He popped his neck, reluctantly resigning himself to his choice, and strode silently inside.

The walls of the place didn't do much to muffle the ruckus, so Logan wasn't too surprised by the noise. He couldn't have prepared himself for the attack from the air, however. Sweat, beer, peanuts, denim, vomit, cotton, money, tobacco, gasoline...the list went on. He was immediately drawn to the unmistakable hint of copper in the air, the scent that came with the pounding of bodies against steel. His was a feral reaction, but the odor's familiarity preserved the anger in his veins, and he didn't fight it; it would keep him on his toes while he fought. A hundred other smells that he noticed after these first strong whiffs had him dying for the freshness of the road. He found it hard to breathe without noticing something new for his nose to examine, and even harder to stop himself gulping at the air like some kind of rabid dog...though his instincts were dying for him to do just that. Still, he managed. He'd had practice.

The ring was surrounded by fifty or sixty people, all of them hollering at the top of their lungs. The noise grated against his eardrums and his anger spiked. He shoved his way through the crowd, most of the people slouched on row after row of empty kegs, and finally got himself over to the door of the cage.

The loser of the last fight was being dragged out in front of him, not too gently, and Logan threw his jacket and shirt on the floor after the guy was out of the way. The champ was hooting and hollering just like the rest of them, and it pissed him off. /This cocky fuck better shut his mouth damn quick,/ he thought viciously to himself. He didn't really have any reason to believe he could win; the champ was at least a head taller than his five foot three frame, and twice as wide. But he'd been in fights before. The big guy would hit the floor in what, three punches? Four?

It really pissed Logan off when the crowd started laughing at his back.

But no one was gonna turn down an opportunity to see some idiot get the shit knocked out of him; as the ref announced the fighters ('Dirty Joe an' his new pal!') the audience roared and jeered and shouted slurred insults at the two men.

Logan couldn't block the noise out completely, but he could concentrate well enough to do his job. Besides, even if he'd been hog-tied to the floor, the champion couldn't have taken him down. The bigger man took a swing at his challenger, fist blurring towards the little guy's face like a sledgehammer ready to crash. But it veered suddenly off course as a grubby hand swatted it away, the champ's punch no more than an irritating waste of time. The big man felt the strength of the slap uncomprehendingly, but he didn't get the chance to think about it too hard before a heavy fist caught him on the jaw and slammed him back against the other side of the ring.

Logan knew a few things about cage fights. You never grabbed the other bitch. You didn't use your head, your feet, or your nails. You didn't kick him in the balls. If you wanted to get the money you were owed, you used your fists and fought like a man.

And if you wanted the crowd to cheer you on, you let the other guy take the first punch.

Logan didn't really give a fuck whether the people in the stands liked him or not. He just wanted to make sure he got paid. Hell, he didn't give a rat's ass about the money, either. But fair was fair and when he got cheated, he got pissed.

Public places were the worst locations for that to happen.

So he fought clean to please them, and they kept him relatively civilized by not shitting in his face. It was a one-sided deal, but it kept everyone Logan did his part without complaint.

The big guy fought like a rhino, dumb and slow but innocently sure he could win. His first punch was impossible to miss and Logan heard his opponent's bones crack as he swatted the fist away. Elephant Boy looked at his broken wrist with a confused expression, wondering at the unexpected jolt of pain, and Logan waited for the giant to meet his eyes again before he took one heavy fist and slammed it into the big guy's jaw.

The bastard grunted as he was knocked backwards, his fall rattling the chain-link fencing that surrounded the cage. The crowd was over its shock at shorty's strength, and was making more noise than ever before. Some of the onlookers cheered the stranger on, and some urged the champ back to his feet. It didn't matter to Logan which was which.

It wasn't over too long after that. Elephant Boy wasn't as strong as he'd looked at first, especially after seven other fights that night; Logan could smell that many different challengers on his skin. As two boys dragged the loser out of the ring, his head lolling unconsciously between his shoulders, the ref came in and handed Logan a whiskey. He didn't bother with congratulations, just asked the new champ what he wanted his fighting title to be, but his eyes were wide. Shorty had taken down a mountain in three hits. It was a feat to be proud of.

"M'name's Wolverine," Logan said in reply to the ref's question. His voice was hard as steel and twice as cold...and if anyone else wanted to laugh at him after his victory that night, they had to be in the cage to do it.