Rating: The entire story gets an R rating (so be warned); this single
chapter standing alone is PG-13 mostly for language.
Setting: a few months after the end of X2.
Summary: Logan runs after the death of Jean.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of any of the Marvel characters,
however the creation of Danielle aka Panther is mine. This is the
first in a series of chapters to follow.
Feedback reasonable and not nasty - greatly appreciated. If you
wish to archive this story please email me first. Trust me, I am
sure I will be thrilled, but want to know where it is.
I left the mansion left the one stable thing I had in my life a
place I really could think of as `home'. Left it to run again. I
was desperately in need of time alone more to escape the torment of
losing Jean the woman I opened my heart to, was rejected by, and
lost out on forever. She gave her life to save us from certain
destruction. More than anything, it's been three months and the
school just isn't the same without her around. It tore my heart
apart seeing Scott try to cope with the loss of his girl the one
woman he thought he would spend the rest of his life with and who I
tried to steal away. There were times he attempted to reach out to
me, but the words failed to be said. Then again, what the hell would
I have to say to him when I am dealin' with my own hurtin'. Part of
him still hates me and hell, I don't have much of a likin' of him
either. Then again, I am a jerk and I don't really blame him for
hatin' me anyway. I'm sure Scott will always wonder why Jean would
take interest in a guy like me, and I will always wonder if she might
have ever decided to leave Scott for something dangerous and
uninhibited something I could have offered her. I hit the road on
Scott' motorcycle. I know he'll be pissed once he realizes I took
off on it again, but I really could care less. I found myself back
in Laughlin City and back to the life I knew before Marie tore me
away. She's another reason I had to run. You see, Marie is a fine
girl and that's exactly the problem she's a kid. I shouldn't be
thinkin' the things I sometimes do concernin' her, but I find that I
wish I was more than just her sworn protector. She is the one I have
to give credit to for bringin' out the hidden side of me awakening
feelings I had buried long ago. She reminded me what it was like to
care for someone, and have someone care for me. Maybe that's the
problem I have with her. I mistook her kindness for an arrogant
asshole like me for something more. I wish I could have been more
than just a friend. But, damn it, I'm old enough to be her friggin'
father and what the hell would she do with someone like me anyway? I
don't know shit about relationships I know plenty about flings and
one-night stands. I've tried, believe me, I've tried but with no
success. But, it don't matter. She's got her little geeky
boyfriend, Bobby. He has taken my place as her protector, her
savior, her wanna-be lover. So, between Jeannie dyin' and Marie, I
ran back to Laughlin this shitty little town where I spent a couple
years of my meager life brawlin' in the bar, drinkin' and
womanizing. I needed a way to deal with the pain.
I remembered every detail of the small town it was as close to a
home as I could have had. But, you really can't call livin' out of a
camper home. And right now, I don't even have that. It's just me
and the bike and sleepin' in the snow if that's what it takes, unless
my charmin' good looks find me some lonely soul willin' to share a
bed with me. My gut is craving a beer and off I go inside. I know I
will probably have my ass tossed out. Last time I was here, old Mac
told me never to come back since I am a mutant I think he referred
to me as `freak' - and I almost killed a man because he knew it. The
place was still the same dive drunken people everywhere, scantily
clad women looking for lonely men, and the cage the cage where I
was the brawlin' champion and earned a meager livin'. I recalled the
typical sounds of people wailing out loud cheers for the fighters. I
remember the smells and the dim lighting - the damned place still
looked the same. I walk up to the bar and ask for a beer. Old Mac
remembers me and hesitates to hand over the bottle. Maybe he was
afraid I would spring my claws on him. But, alas, Old Mac bid a
hello. He tells me the place ain't been the same since I left,
leavin' me to assume he's been steadily losing' money on them cage
fights. What good was it without the King of the Cage the
Wolverine? I never lost and was the house's sure bet to win.
A band played off to the side of the bar more my style of music
beats out that Pop music crap the kids at the school listen to. I
can also sense Violet watching me with her deep stare and I try to
ignore it by askin' for another beer.
"What's wrong, Wolvie darling? You look so forlorn you got
troubles? I think I know what you need, darlin'," Violet says
placing her hand on my shoulder. I didn't answer Violet ain't my
type of woman, especially since she's married to Mac, and let's face
it I just ain't in the mood. I lit up a cigar and began puffing
away on it, in between hits from my beer. I'm feelin' the urge to
ask for somethin' harder somethin' I can loose myself in and forget
the hell I am livin' right now. So, I order up another beer and a
shot of whiskey.
"Hey, girls, play something soulful for Wolvie," I hear Violet say.
The lead singer looks over to me.
"I'll assume it's woman troubles by that look on yer face," she says
in a cute New York accent.
I feel absorbed in the tune and listen to all the words of the song.
Her voice was pleasing fillin' my ears with lyrics of having to let
go of love. Somehow I feel a little enlightened. The words she sang
and the way she sang it seemed like she was singin' only for me and
she seemed so sincere. I begin to wonder why anyone would want me
them words Jean said to me privately about being dangerous and only
for flirtin' with swam around in my now intoxicated brain. Jean,
young Rogue and Professor Xavier were the only ones who really
accepted me as a mutant. Oddly enough here at the bar, I can just
barely pick up the scent of a mutant it is a scent that's very
different from regular people. But, my senses are a bit impaired and
I cannot make out from where exactly it is comin'from. Now, I hear
the crowd screaming in unison as the current cage champion put down
"Hey, how about a bout in the cage for old times sake? You can have
free beer all night," Mac begged me.
"Free beer and what else?" I snorted before taking another long drag
on my cigar.
"OK all of tonight's tips and half of the bets," Mac answered.
Yeah, I drive a hard bargain. But, if I am gonna get into that cage
again and get beaten on then it's gotta be worth my while. I downed
my beer without taking a breath, put out my cigar, and left for the
cage. I can hear Mac whisper to Violet, "Guess that means yes."
"Never in my day did I see a man of the likes of this feller. He is
undefeated unstoppable. He returns to Laughlin City to reclaim his
title of King of the Cage," the ring announcer said. The bar erupts
with the roars of drunken men all awaiting the match fight between
some dumb schmuck and me. The funny thing was the current ring champ
was none other than Stu.
"Back to challenge me? I'm gonna take yer head off," Stu said. Just
for the hell of it, I stand my ground and let Stu beat on me it was
like a repeat performance of the last time I faced Stu - taking
several kicks and punches to my body, sending me down on my knees.
It felt good to be beaten I liked the pain and I begged him to
punch me some more. Stu was lookin' at me funny. He musta been
wonderin' what the hell was wrong with me. Yes, I wanted pain and
lots of it and if he didn't give it to me, then I was just gonna go
find a dark corner some where, get shit-faced and then pick on
someone until they beat on me. He throws a few punches and I take
them without fightin' back. Hurt me; hurt me bad for bein' a jackass
and tryin' to steal Jeannie away from Scott. Hurt me more for the
sick disgustin' thoughts I had about Marie. I should be beaten to
within an inch of death just for those thoughts alone. Stu throws a
right hook to my jaw and I land on the floor on my back. I lay there
thinkin' about all the hell I am puttin' myself through. I hear
everyone yellin' that I been defeated and I look around as they begin
to exchange money. I get up a snarling and everyone stops I ain't
out of it yet. That's when I notice the band's lead singer leanin'
on the cage. Her friend is behind her with a look lacking any
enthusiasm. But, she's lookin' at me I don't know why. Is it my
dashin' good looks? Maybe it's the heavy biceps and broad chest?
No, maybe she just likes the feral animal personality. I don't know,
but she wouldn't stop starin' and I was stupid for starin' back Stu
went for broke and nailed me in my crotch again the one place I
hate bein' hit and I can feel my berserker rage kicking up as I got
to my feet. I felt Wolverine take over and pummel him with several
hard blows from hands that contained metal. Stu fell right out of
the cage and into the crowd. I think he pissed me off so bad I might
have actually killed him if I went at him any more. I listened to
the crowd roar hateful things at me and all I could do was snarl back
at them - just like the feral animal I am. And, I was hankering for
another bout. The release of anger felt so good the pain felt good
and I wanted more. But, no one else dared get into the ring.
"Here he is the returning champion and King of the Cage the
Wolverine," Mac announced before both he and I exit the cage. I
didn't want to be the new champ. I just wanted someone to kick my
ass. But, as I step out of the cage I stop for just a second catching
that unusual scent in the smoke-filled air before continuing on.
I return to the bar after showerin' up. I sit down and order up a
beer and a bottle of whiskey. I glance off to the side Mac and
Violet are there chattin' with her and her friend. I down my beer
and start working on the whiskey. The pain from fightin' had all but
worn off and I wasn't happy. I wished I could die right now. My
sharp hearin' catches the sound of a camera shutter goin' off and I
look over and she's obviously taken my picture. She looks away to
her friend tryin' to hide from the deed she did. The two women look
as if they are softly arguing and after a moment, I hear her
approachin'. I didn't need to look up I could smell the scent of
leather and her light vanilla perfume filling my nostrils the same
scents I picked up on earlier as I passed by her after the fight.
And, there is something else I am too drunk to pick up on right now.
I really ain't in the mood for company, but curiosity and interest
got the best of me and I opted to raise my eyes to her. I can't say
I looked too enticing I was really unhappy. She hopped up onto the
bar stool next to me, camera in hand, and she leaned into me
surprisin' me with a delicate kiss on my cheek.
"I hope that cheers you up. I know who you are and I think you're
cool. Do you mind if I take a candid shot?" she whispers to me in
that New York accent. I look her over she's dressed all in black
leather and her hair cascaded down in waves of mixed browns and
golds. And that body she was all woman, with perky full breasts
and hips I could just hold onto and grind into all night long. I
won't apologize for undressin' her with my eyes. Then, I realize the
scent I was tryin' to decipher that of a mutant. She's a mutant
"If it makes you happy," I respond and she took a picture of me
leaning against the bar puffing away on my cigar. I was tryin' to
hide the solemn look on my face hidin' it with furrowed brows,
lengthy sideburns, and a hateful stare.
"Hey, something's buggin' you. Wanna chat about it?" she asks me.
Wow. Nothing like askin' a total stranger what's on his mind. I
look into her eyes her big expressive brown eyes that make me want
to melt. Bein' a survivor, talkin' about my troubles ain't what I
want to do. But, somehow I change my mind feelin' like I need to
talk. So, bad ass Logan rises and takes her hand leadin' her over to
a free booth way in the back and out of sight. I hesitate at first,
but then I let it go.
"She died a few months back," I start.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," she says with surprise. "You and her were an
"It's not what you think. I would have liked it to be, but she was
involved with someone else," I reply.
"Oh. Well, it's gonna take time to heal that pain. It's ok, I
understand. I'm sorry if I got pushy at all," she says and lightly
squeezes my hand.
"No, you haven't been pushy. I guess what bothers me most of all is
that I will never be able to tell her how I really felt. And, I wish
I could have done something to save her life," I say. I explain what
had happened that fateful day at Alkali Lake and the tension that
continued between Scott and me. I try to hide the pain in my heart
but my voice trembles as I speak. I can tell she could sense how bad
I am hurtin' since she took hold of both my hands in hers.
"She chose to give her life to save all of yours an honorable thing
to do when all other attempts failed," she said. "As for Scott, you
gotta realize he's never gonna be totally cool with you you wanted
his girl," she added. I knew she was right. I looked away feelin'
tears wellin' up in my eyes. Just what Wolverine needs to do in
front of a bunch of drunken jerks cry. She gets up and slides onto
the seat near me, and that's when I felt her arm drape around my
shoulder pullin' me close.
"Hey, let it go. Here's my shoulder if it makes you feel better to
cry. I won't tell anyone," she said. I snickered and sniffed then
inhaled deeply fightin' back that urge.
"Thanks fer listenin'," I say. After that, she got up and went back
to her friend.
It was then that the booze started to really wear off. I can't
retain a hangover for long a curse with this healin' thing I got.
Something struck me funny though. Bein' that close to her I finally
realized what it was I was sensing it was something primal I
sensed she was feral, untamed and animal, but having the gentle
softness and sweetness of a good woman. Maybe it's the booze
cloudin' my better judgment. Maybe I'm just getting a little horny
after all. But, when I looked back, she and her friends had gone. I
ran outside or maybe a better description is that I stumbled
outside. I sniffed the brisk night air hoping to pick up her scent.
I realized I didn't even get her name. But, all I could smell was a
light hint of vanilla perfume and car exhaust, and I go away with the
thought that only time will heal my pain and I got plenty of that.