Anyways, here 'tis.
('course this is all subject to changes, until I get the final draft done, it's a work in progress)
And I am looking for a compassionate beta, something I've never done before. . .anyone interested?
My version of some of what happened to Logan after he escaped the Weapon X program at Alkali Lake.
“It’s been almost fifteen years, hasn’t it? Living from day to day, moving from place to place. With no memory of who or what you are.”
Logan felt Xavier’s voice slicing through his brain. How did he know? How much did he know? Quickly Logan hid his thoughts behind his anger, showing only disbelief on his face as the older man continued.
It was easy, his true concern for Rogue, his unease at being on unfamiliar territory at the mansion, his rage at the unknown mutant who’d attacked him in Canada could overwhelm him, if he let it.
So gone, deep he sunk his conscious memories of his short life.
His few years of living normal, of perhaps, being human.
Pain. Snow. Pain. Ice. Pain. Cold.
Nothing but this engulfed the naked, wet man after his bloody emergence from the womb of the military facility at Alkali Lake. Blood still clung to his skin; his, theirs? It didn’t matter. He ran in a unseeing rage through the snow, desperate to get far away from the torture, far away from the brutality. He slashed his feet on jagged rocks, on frozen snow. Scraped his shoulders and hands on the rough bark of the surrounding trees. The blood seeping, the skin healing, only to be cut again. He shivered constantly, exposed as he was to the below freezing air. Hypothermia was rejected by his mutation, so his body existed on it’s fringe. His fragmented mind completely abandoned reality as one day passed, then another, then another. Lost in the Canadian Rockies, the endless forests, mountains, valleys. No food, no clothes, no shelter, just this eternal panicked flight.
Finally, his body gave out, his blind running became walking, his walking became stumbling, his stumbling became crawling, until even that ceased. One last glance at the sky. Was that a tear that fell from his brown eyes? He sank into the black. Warm unconsciousness becoming his blanket.
When Logan woke again, it was with perfect clarity. Thanks to his healing factor, there was no groggy, dazed period. He was unconscious, then he was awake. That’s all there was.
Other things; where he was, why he was, those were not important to the machine that was his body.
His eyes wide, his nostrils flaring, his brain immediately processed the moment. Was he safe? Was there direct danger? Logan found his fists clenched without knowing why.
He was in a bed, surrounded with comfortably scratchy, brightly dyed blankets. The walls were made of log, huge beams of dark wood. The sun streamed in through a window, lighting the room. Carefully he looked around, a chair set beside the bed, knitting needles stuck into a ball of yarn, suggested that someone had been here, watching him. A dresser made of the same wood as the walls and floor, small photographs in pewter frames scattered across the top, sat beside the closed door. Logan listened, his body still working on instincts that he didn’t know he had. Beyond the door he could hear a voice. A quiet humming, a word breaking into the song here and there. Feet shuffling on the floor. The smells of food; simmering meat, potatoes, carrots, celery slid through the air and Logan’s body reacted in the most normal way.
His stomach growled.
When was the last time he ate? Where was the last time he ate?
The thought only caused a lance of pain to shoot across his forehead and into the space behind his eyes. Logan rubbed his temples, trying to think past the hurt.
The door opened and Logan moved instinctively, with a natural grace into a crouch, positioning himself against the headboard, ready to spring. His fists clenched once again, thrust out on either side of him. The person that entered seemed not in the least surprised by the fact that he was awake, that he was in such a defensive posture or that he was growling.
Her voice and her smile were the only things about her that were not marked by time. Logan took in her short, white hair, the deep wrinkles on her tanned face, the curve in her spine that age had brought. She was a small woman, her worn blue jeans and large flannel shirt hanging over her tiny frame. The skin around her bright blue eyes crinkled as she smiled again.
She moved into the room slowly, as if showing him that she carried only a tray laden with a steaming bowl of stew, a large hunk of white bread and a cup of coffee. She set the tray down on the nightstand next to the bed, then eased herself into the chair, moving the knitting needles into her lap. She caught Logan’s stare with her own unwavering eyes.
“Wouldn’t you like to relax?”
Logan couldn’t smell any fear on her, her pulse was steady and strong, her respiration slow. She rocked herself as the needles started clacking, the string being pulled between them, manipulated into intricate, continuous knots.
Logan’s brain argued with his body as his feet slid on the sheet so that he was sitting, it fought with his hands as they reached for the bowl, screamed at his fingers as they brought the spoon to his lips. It shut up when his tongue tasted the rich broth, when his teeth chewed into the juicy meat and still just slightly crunchy carrot. He tore into the soft bread, sopping up the last of the stew until the heavy ceramic bowl was clean. Logan didn’t raise his head until he tasted the coffee. Strong and black, he could tell it had been slow perked from freshly ground beans.
His voice sounded strange to his own ears. How long had it been since he had spoken? All he could remember were hoarse, ragged screams.
“Why, you’re welcome. Nice to hear some manners.”
The elderly woman rose with a sigh and reached for the tray. Logan couldn’t help himself as he visibly flinched at her close proximity to him.
“No worries, young man. I’m just taking the plate. One dirty dish left today, two tomorrow. Have to take care of things when they come up. Leaving them just creates more.”
She turned and started walking out of the room.
“Wait. What. . .”
Logan didn’t know what to ask first. What had happened? Where was he? Who was he?
The woman stopped at the door.
“Tomorrow. Just rest now. You’ll be fine.”
And with a dry laugh and a click of the door knob, she was gone and Logan was alone again. He felt the warmth of the food, the comfort of the bed, the softness of the pillow pulling him down. He watched the dust motes dance in the sun beams, his healing mutation now working with fuel on his ravaged body. His eyes closed before he even knew he was asleep.
The nightmares were fresh, bleeding, open sores. They tripped him as he left deep, restful sleep, little land mines planted by a vicious enemy. Logan struggled against them, fighting for air, drowning in pain.
“Hush, wake now.”
He heard a soft voice speak in his ear, though no one was there. A cooling breeze over his sweat soaked body, a balm on his festering rage. He opened his eyes. The light was different, no sun beam crawling across the worn rug on the floor. Dawn then, his internal clock told him. He relaxed his death grip on the blankets. Was there something different about his hands? He felt the echoes of a familiar, yet phantom pain. He sat up, swinging his legs down, his feet cold on the floor. He chased the last of the dream away, scrubbing his face hard in his hands.
“I have no answers for you.”
The old lady had told him. She’d found him, naked, lying in the snow, dead to all but those who could see beyond the pale. She had brought him to her own remote cabin, into her home. Taxing her frail body to it’s limit with the effort. He didn’t think he owed her his life, for whatever reason he knew that something in him refused to be killed, but he knew he owed her his consciousness and all he’d been able to tell her was his name.
She had given him her bed, shared her food. She had thought that he just needed time and privacy to heal, to come back to the living. She explained to him the difference between them and the rest of humanity, as much as she understood.
“I’ve always know I was different. Different from my brothers and sisters, different from my parents, different from my friends. I knew when things was going to happen. Knew when the cows were ready for calving, knew when the rain was coming. This was before there was a word for it, before they labeled everyone that was different ‘mutant’. But even then it was too much, too scary, too different. My Momma told me to keep quiet about it, to not let on when I knew what I knew. I always tried, but sometimes, well, sometimes it’s hard, not letting people know when something’s coming.”
Her voice had gotten tired and ragged at the end of her speech, her blue eyes not as bright. Logan knew she was living out some difficult memory. He knew all about difficult memories.
“So I’d advise you the same thing. Keep whatever you’ve got inside of you. Your healing thing, and anything else you got. I don’t know what has happened to you. I don’t know why you were out there in the snow without a stitch on. I’m just glad I was there to find you.”
Over the next weeks, Logan worked to make her sure that she was glad she had found him. He cut wood for her stove and fireplaces. He shoveled waist deep snow away from her porch, making paths to the barn and chicken coop. As spring came on, he mended the fences around her milk cow’s pasture and cut dead branches off the ages old trees around her house. He patched the weak spots in the cabin’s roof and mucked out the horse’s stalls. He worked with a mindless vengeance on any task he could. The more physical, the better for him. He could turn off his brain when the sweat ran down his back, he could stop the whispering questions in his head with the satisfying swing of an ax into wood or a hammer into nail. Fighting with the weight of a fence post, the muscles in his arms straining with the effort, was so much preferable to wondering who he had been, where he had come from, or what the strange and terrifying dreams might mean.
They spent evenings sitting in front of the fire or as it warmed, out on the front porch. She with her ever present knitting, Logan just staring silently, either into the flames or out, into the surrounding forest. She told him stories from her youth and present, talking about her family and the nearby village’s townspeople until Logan felt he could identify them by sight only. He knew all about her husband, from their shy dating to their marriage, their fights, their love, the sadness they both shared at remaining childless. Her still deep anger and pain at his death ten years ago. He envied her memories, her place in life.
“I’m going to church this Sunday.” She said on one cool spring evening. “Want you to come with me.”
Logan started, his head already beginning to shake negatively before she finished.
“No, I’m not asking you to come be saved. Don’t hold much with all that nonsense, got my own beliefs and they don’t include some stuffy preacher man telling me that my soul is doomed to a fiery hell unless I kiss his ass.”
She laughed the dry, short chuckle. Logan had come to appreciate her sense of humor and an answering grin crept up on his lips.
“Nope, not telling you that. It’s just that I always go to church after the spring thaw, see what’s been happening over the hill, let the neighbors know that I am still kicking. And I know that people know that you are here. Even as far away as they all seem, people been passing by. They’ve seen all the work around my place you been doing. They know that I haven’t been calling around for cut wood. That I haven’t asked for help when butchering time came for that pig you took care of just before the last snow.”
She stopped knitting and leaned forward, her blue eyes pinning Logan.
“They know you are here.”
She sat back, her arthritic fingers dancing with the needles again.
“And we have to make an appearance. Otherwise they might think I have enchanted some lost, young lumberjack and made him my love slave.”
Logan sat motionless, staring at her. Then they both laughed, the sound spilling out of them into the cool evening air, scaring away a young doe that had come to feed at a salt lick.
“You’ll be my grand-nephew, Logan. Think you can call me Auntie? Aunt Mae?”
Logan nodded. At that moment he would’ve laid across iron train tracks in front of a speeding locomotive for her.
“Aunt Mae.” He tried out the sound of it on his tongue, and was delighted to see her smile again.