Yet another one stewing in my brain. I'm beginning to wonder just how many burners there are up there. All the usual disclaimers, don't own, wish I did...

I know I've done versions of this plot before, but I keep coming up with a new twist, so here it goes.

Victor Creed can kill without thinking, rape is recreation, but a tiny bundle on his doorstep has him stumped. When the tiny clawed fingers grip his, his life changes, forever. But can he do it, can he raise his cub or will he have to seek help from very unlikely sources.

Prologue

"You can't run frail." April could feel his breath on her neck. "No one can save you."

She ran faster, but he kept gaining on her. She felt his claws rip into her back and she let out a sobbing scream. He was going to kill her, this time. She deserved it. She looked down at the bundle in her arms, how could she have thought to keep his child from him.

"I'm gonna cut you open and roll around in your skin when I catch you." She screamed again as his hand caught her ankle and she fell, twisting her body to protect the child in her arms.

She jolted awake. Another damned nightmare. She shook her head. She was going to have to tell him, sometime. Her hand shook as she reached for the glass of water on her nightstand. He would be back for her soon, and she knew he'd kill her for being so stupid.

Victor had been very clear, preventing a cub was her responsibility, not his. He just wanted convenient sex, the rougher the better. She knew she had scars on her back, hips and thighs from his claws digging into her. She didn't mind. He took good care of her otherwise. None of the others in the program were allowed to touch her, and even Stryker ignored her.

It wasn't like she was that important anyway. Her father had screamed just how useless she was over and over as he hit her, growing up. Her mother just looked at her like she was dirty scum on the floor, and usually held her when her father decided she needed a good beating. The worst one she remembered was on her tenth birthday. She'd started her period, and had been terrified she was going to bleed to death. She went to her mom for help, and was slapped for her trouble. When her father came home he'd given her twenty lashes with his studded belt for getting that "dirty blood" all over her new clothes.

After that her father had other ways to punish her, sometimes he would come into her bedroom at night, sometimes he'd punish her in the middle of the afternoon, and as she got older, the more he found reasons to punish her. After her mother died of a drug overdose, he'd started bringing friends to help him with the punishment. One of those friends had been Victor. She knew he paid her dad a lot of money to take her away, and here she only had to take care of him.

He'd been gone for about five weeks, with the rest of the team. She knew she was going to have to do something before they got back. She was afraid of the women that worked here, and didn't have anyone she could talk to. She knew what they called her "Creed's Whore" but she was safer here than she'd been in her entire life.

All she wanted was safety, not to be hit, or beaten, not to have multiple men using her for their entertainment. Victor was safe, as long as she didn't piss him off.

She remembered the day she first saw him.

April cowered in her corner, not even really a bed, Dad wouldn't waste money on furniture for her, when he could buy his booze and drugs. She heard voices outside the door and cringed even further back. Dad must have one of his buddies over. She tried to stop the tears, they would only get her beat before the stranger dragged her into the only room with a bed, the one room she was terrified of going into.

"...don't know why you're interested, she's a lousy fuck, can't clean worth shit, she's just wasted air." Dad was saying.

April heard what sounded like a low growl, and then a rough voice, "I don't like ta share, just be glad I'm in a generous mood. Now take the cash and get the fuck out."

She moaned as the door opened and the biggest man she'd ever seen walked into the room. He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her into the hallway. Instead of turning toward her Dad's room he dragged her out the front door and practically threw her into the passenger seat of an old truck. He climbed into the driver's side, and with aa low growl, took off down the road at dangerous speeds.

She didn't know what to expect so she just stayed still.

"You got a name, frail?" His voice shocked her. The silence in the cab was only punctuated by her heavy breathing, and the occasional sizzle of him taking a drag off the cigar hanging from the corner of his mouth.

"A...ap...April.". She finally stuttered out after he turned his black eyes to glare at her. She really wanted him to keep those on the road.

"What kind of stupid name is A..Ap..April." He finally growled. She just cringed further against the door.

"Well, at least you're saddle broke, and I ain't gonna have ta fight assholes off ya. You'll do." He turned back to watching the road.

He'd been true to his word, she only had to deal with him. Not that that was easy, his moods were more mercurial than her Dad's, and harder to anticipate. She'd shared his room at the base for two years now, and as long as she only fought him when he wanted her too, he didn't hurt her, much. She figured it was the best deal she'd ever get, and had done everything possible not to piss him off. His words, after that first night haunted her.

"Don't piss me off, frail, I'll just kill ya and buy another whore." She knew if he found out she was pregnant he'd kill her. She had to find a way to fix it before he came back.

She knew she could leave the base whenever she wanted, but there had never been a reason before now. She picked up the phone on the dresser and called the main gate.

"This is April, can you call me a cab. I would like very much to go shopping in town." She hated the weakness in her voice, the pleading.

"Yes ma'am." The guard said and hung up the phone. She quickly dressed in street clothes and waited for the call that would tell her the cab was here.

She scurried down to the gate, trying to ignore the looks from the guards. She hated the contempt in their eyes. She heard the whispers as she passed, only whispers because they knew better than to speak any louder. The last time anyone said anything to her about being his whore, they'd ended up in abour a hundred pieces.

"You're mine, they can keep their yaps shut." She remembered his words after that incident.

She climbed into the cab, and kept her head down. She gave the driver the address of a mall near the base. She paid the driver with the "pin money" he'd left her with. She walked slowly through the mall, not really noticing anything around her. She walked the mall for hours. She knew she needed to buy something or he'd be angry she'd left.

She walked into a store, not really noticing what kind of store it was. She wasn't really aware of her surroundings. She walked through an electronics department and was startled to hear about a melt-down at the base, one of the cooling towers has collapsed. She covered her mouth, as she watched the footage, hoping to see him, hoping she didn't. She never really knew how she felt about him, mostly fear.

She knew she couldn't go back to the base. He'd told her if anything happened she was to get out and get to a certain address, but now, she didn't know if she dared. She had a chance of him not finding her, at least not until she could do something about her situation.

She found a bus and climbed on, she really didn't know what she was going to do. She couldn't go home, her Dad would kill her, and if he didn't, the baby would be in the same place she'd been.

She saw a billboard for a family planning clinic, on one of the placards on the bus. She wrote the address down, and got off the bus as close to the address as she could get.

She walked until she got close to the address but instead of an office building, she found a church.

"Can I help you?" The woman was wearing a head covering and wore a skirt past her knees, and a blouse and sweater buttoned to her throat.

"I don't know..." The woman took her to the back of the church, and made a pot of tea. Somehow, over that pot April made a friend, her first real friend of her life, Sister Agnes. She found something else over the months, and as her delivery grew closer, she finally was able to think clearly about her future, and that of her child.