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Fic: A Different View (1/1) R

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  • Diana
    Title: A Different View Author: Diana Rating: R (Violence mostly, a touch of swearing) Short Summary: In a seedy bar, a young Southerner meets a jaded
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 8, 2001
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      Title: A Different View
      Author: Diana
      Rating: R (Violence mostly, a touch of swearing)
      Short Summary: In a seedy bar, a young Southerner meets a jaded Canadian.
      Sort of AU, but movieverse.
      Archive: Anyone who wants it, just let me know.
      Disclaimer: The X-men are not mine. Not even vaguely. I don't even want
      them. They're in my head and that's bad enough. I'm not making any money
      out of this, just doing it in the hopes that Scott, Ororo and the rest will
      shut the hell up.
      Note: Let me state right now, I doubt I will ever write straight Logan/Rogue
      fics. Make do with what you get. This is just an idea that I thought would
      be interesting to write. As much as I think the interest could continue
      through a full exploration, I don't have plans to continue along the movie
      storyline. If you desperately want it to happen, try it yourself. I'd be
      very interested in reading it. :-)
      Oh, and this is dedicated to the wonderful person who put the movie
      script up on the official site. This never would have happened without it.
      Are you aware there are six million beta movie scripts on the internet, but
      only one real one?

      WORDCOUNT: 3300

      =====

      The first time I saw Morgan she was in a cage. The place hadn't had any
      name that I could see from outside, just a flashing neon sign promising
      girls, girls, girls. You may find this hard to believe, seeing as I'm an
      18-year-old male and all, but that's not why I went in. It just seemed to
      be the only place open at 3am, and I was a hair's-breadth from dying of
      thirst. No, seriously. I was so thirsty I didn't even notice until
      half-way through my beer (which the bartender didn't card me for) that there
      was an almost-naked woman dancing not three feet away from me.

      The cages were slightly raised above the bar, so the first thing I saw were
      boots, black patent leather numbers with stiletto heels. They went up to
      her knees. From there, black fishnets sheathed muscular thighs that
      disappeared into tiny black hotpants. Her toned stomach was bare, her
      halter top - black again - tight as a second skin, displaying beautifully
      the gifts God gave her.

      It wasn't that she was more well-endowed than any of the other women in the
      room; she had a compact, muscular build, rather than a voluptuous one. It
      wasn't even that she was more beautiful. There was just something about
      her. In the way she tossed her mane of chestnut hair over her shoulder. In
      the sullen tilt of her chin as she surveyed the room. In the challenging
      grace with which she prowled the cage. She had an aura about her that was
      animalistic, predatory and very definitely dangerous. I discovered my mouth
      was dry for reasons that had nothing to do with thirst.

      "So ya like the Wolverine, huh?" It was the bartender, wiping at the bar
      and leering at my reaction.

      "Wuh-Wolverine?" I repeated.

      He nodded towards her. "Her. Thought it was a bit of a fancy-schmancy name
      myself, but it suits her, don't it?"

      I could only nod. Wolverine. She looked like she was going to snarl at any
      moment.

      Not long after, the low, thrumming music ceased, the lights started to
      flicker on, and the girls stepped down from their cages, filing behind the
      bar and disappearing out the back. None of the patrons seemed inclined to
      leave, though, remaining by the bar, joking with the tender. So I stayed
      too, nursing the dregs of my beer. No one noticed the skinny guy at the end
      of the bar - they rarely do - and I didn't have any place else to be.

      In twenty minutes or so, it became apparent why the men had been waiting.
      The door behind the bar opened, and the girls, more sensibly dressed now in
      jeans and sweaters, bundled up against the cold outside, emerged in twos and
      threes - safety in numbers. They were greeted by wolf-whistles and ribald
      comments as they threaded past the bartender, who handed out money like some
      sort of strange father figure. Some of the girls blustered through the
      crowd of men, disappearing out the door as quickly as possible. Some
      flirted back, lingering by the bar to join quick-fire exchanges of innuendo
      that burned my ears.

      She stepped out last, a slight and sudden hush falling on the bar. She was
      still wearing boots, but these were solid, sturdy. Without the added height
      of the heels, though, she was revealed to be quite short. There was little
      sexy about her outfit now, worn jeans and leather jacket, a plaid shirt
      underneath. Her hair had bene loosely tied back, but her attitude seemed
      more forcible than ever. Not aggressive, just indifferent. Other people
      meant little. She was smoking a cigar, I was amazed to note. Not in a
      coquetteish, Monica-Lewinsky way, either, but in a no-nonsense,
      business-like way.

      She leaned against the bar in the gap between me and the regulars. The
      bartender detached himself from the raucous conversation and drifted down to
      her. He slapped a folded wad of notes on the bar. Immediately, the told
      few bills began to unfold, the pile slowly unravelling. I found my eyes
      fixed on it with a desperate sort of hunger. There was more money there
      than I'd seen in a good while. My attention was snapped as her hand closed
      over the pile, picking it up and out of my line of vision. I blinked, and
      looked up to her. There were dogtags hanging around her neck; did that mean
      she'd been in the army? 'Wolverine' the side that was catching the light
      said. My gaze moved up to her face. She was older than me, certainly. How
      old, though? My estimates veered between not much and quite a bit. Her
      eyes were marked with a weariness that didn't belong in anyone under the age
      of 35.

      "Yer good," the bartender drawled.

      She paused in her counting of the bills to look at him, a long level look.
      She said nothing though, and soon returned to her counting.

      The bartender nodded, not seeming too perturbed. "Well, 'Wolverine'. If ya
      want a more permanent sort of arrangement, the offer's open."

      She finished her counting. "I'll think about it." Her accent revealed
      itself now, a native Canadian. She peeled a bill off the pile and handed it
      back to him. "Whiskey. The cheap and nasty stuff."

      As he took the money and wandered back up the bar, a couple of guys detached
      themselves from the group of regulars and drifted down towards her, walking
      with that careful-stepping gait that screamed their drunken state. They
      stopped just behind her, and I shrank back away from them.

      "Hey sweetheart," one slurred. The taller one, but the less brutish-looking
      one. "Haven't seen you around here before." So many things in his tone. A
      sniggering lasciviousness, alcohol, unpleasantness. I suddenly wished I was
      anywhere but here. I couldn't get any further back, the bar pressing
      against my spine as it was.

      She - Wolverine - didn't say anything as the bartender brought her whiskey
      and went back up the bar. She raised the glass and, with a toss of her
      head, downed the lot in one swallow. She slapped the glass back on the bar
      with a grimace.

      "Hey." It was the other one, the shorter one, not that much taller than
      her, but menacing enough for three, who spoke this time. "We're talking to
      you." His hand, a big hunk of meat, came down on her shoulder.

      As if she'd been waiting for this, Wolverine pushed off from the edge of the
      bar, taking a step backwards. With another toss of her head, she slammed
      the back of her skull into the nose of the small guy. There was a faint,
      but horrible, crunch, and then a thud as her elbow jabbed back hard into his
      chest. He staggered backwards a little, crying out. She merely stepped
      back to the bar, taking the cigar out of her mouth and stubbing it out in an
      ashtray.

      And so I was the only one who saw the taller, thinner guy pull the
      flick-knife out of his pocket. The grin on his face as he flicked it open
      suddenly made him the more menacing of the pair.

      "Look out!" a voice made high with fear squeaked. With a start, I realised
      it was me.

      Wolverine spun around so quickly I wondered if she'd even needed my warning,
      or if she'd somehow known about the knife anyway. One hand came up,
      knocking aside the first swing of the blade. There was a sound, like a
      knife tearing through wet silk, and then her other hand came swinging
      through, skewering the wrist of the guy's knife-hand with one metal claw.

      The knife clattered to the floor, unnaturally loud in the sudden complete
      silence that had fallen over the bar. The only sounds were a faint groan
      from the smaller guy with the now-broken nose, and a sort of gagging noise
      from the taller man as he looked at the foot of metal upon which his wrist
      was impaled. When the claws disappeared back into her knuckles with another
      sibilant sound, he fainted, hit the ground in a boneless heap.

      And then there came the chik-chak of a gun loading. I swivelled my gaze
      back to the bartender, who was now sighting along a rifle. "The offer's
      withdrawn," he said, curt and cold. "We don't like your type 'round here."

      Your type. My type. *Mutant*.

      In another time and place I might have found it funny, the sudden surge of
      kinship I felt with this stern woman who had just proved herself so deadly
      so quickly. I mean, we appeared to have nothing in common, the skinny kid
      with too-wide eyes and too-soft accent and the terse, hard-as-nails woman.
      Nothing in common except 'something different'.

      While I philosophised, she acted. A whirl, another rip of metal through
      flesh, and the barrel of the rifle was suddenly half as long, then it was
      flipped out of the bartenders hands and skittered away into a shrouded
      corner. Her arm drew back, and I could see the next stroke, the claws
      shearing down through his shoulder and chest, so clearly that it was a shock
      when it didn't fall.

      My eyes flicked from the frozen bartender to her to meet her icy eyes for a
      bare moment before she jerked her gaze away. It was merely part of her
      turning away, claws disappearing with a slightly wet hiss of metal. She
      stalked from the silent bar.

      A cacophony broke out as soon as the door clanged shut behind her, but I
      didn't stay to listen. I grabbed the pack at my feet and ran out of that
      bar. Sprinted as if my life depended on it. Which I was suddenly convinced
      it did. A hurried look around as I exited; the world was stained with the
      pale grey light of a false dawn reflected off the low, sullen clouds. More
      snow before nightfall, and there they were, footprints in the snow already
      fallen, off to the right. And further down the street, a figure, fairly
      short, compact. I ran after her.

      The snow crunched under my shoes and my breath whistled through my teeth as
      I closed the distance. At ten metres, she barked, never looking over her
      shoulder: "Piss off, kid."

      I closed the distance more, coming up beside her now and trying to slow into
      a walk, but her pace was fast. I had to keep breaking into a jog to keep
      up. "I was..." No way like the straight way. "I was hoping you'd help me."

      "Do I look like a damn nursemaid?" she snapped. Those tags around her neck
      jingled as she turned to glare at me, not slackening her pace.

      "No, but we're -" A swallow; this wasn't an easy thing for me to admit. Too
      much like acceptance, which I wasn't sure I wanted. "We're the same."

      She watched me for a long moment. A truck roared its presence a few blocks
      over, a long drone. She looked back ahead, face implacable. "We're nothing
      alike." Just a gesture and a few words, but I felt the sting of rejection
      like she'd slapped me.

      My pack was sliding off my back, and I had to keep twitching it back up.
      "I've got nowhere to go," I said baldly. Go for the sympathy vote. "No
      money, no one, nothing."

      "Not my problem." Her voice or the pavement beneath our feet; a toss-up
      which was colder.

      My pack slithered off my shoulder, through fingers numb even with the
      gloves, and landed with a wet thud on the ground. I stopped dead, Wolverine
      kept walking. Not even a pause. Suddenly I felt too tired even to cry. "I
      saved your life in there!" I called after her. One last-ditch attempt.

      "No you didn't." Words tossed over her shoulder and she kept going. I
      wanted to scream, to rage, to run after her and force her somehow to take me
      with her. I couldn't think past this monotone moment on the frozen
      sidewalk. I couldn't see the future. All I could do was stare at her
      departing back, brain as numb as my fingers, as my toes curled unfeeling in
      my boots.

      Then she stopped. Just stopped in the middle of the pavement. A slight
      thawing, a sliver of hope. I grabbed up the pack and sprinted after her.

      This time her pace was slower, less uncompromising. I could keep up easily,
      but we walked in silence. I felt liked I owed her something. A name at
      least. "I'm..." Not my real name. That guy ended with an innocent girl's
      choked gasps. Yeah, he's a real ladykiller. A real... "Rogue."

      We reached a road, and I almost stepped out into the path of a car the same
      colour as the sky. She reached out to grab my arm, and I flinched away from
      her hand. Even fully clothed... Accidents happen and I don't want them to.

      "What's the matter?" she asked.

      "I... It's just. You shouldn't touch me. It's... not a good idea." Come
      on, she deserved more than that. "You'll get hurt."

      She shrugged. "OK." Just took it in stride, as easy as that; it made my
      head spin. Waiting for the cars to pass, she pulled out another cigar,
      raised her hands to light it. She wasn't wearing gloves, and I found my
      gaze drawn to her knuckles, looking for some sign of the metal that lurked
      beneath. There was none. Like I'd imagined it all. But I hadn't.

      "Those... Doesn't it hurt?" I could hear that sound again, the knife
      tearing through wet silk. It made me wince.

      No need to explain what. "Yes." Curt, simple. She strode across the road
      and I trailed half a step behind.

      We walked half a block in silence. "Where are we going?" I asked.

      She pointed forwards. "That way." Just as I was starting to seriously
      doubt her talents as a conversationalist, she stated: "Your parents never
      called you Rogue."

      I gestured vaguely in the direction of her dogtags. "And yours called you
      Wolverine?" I was tired. Tired of everything. I didn't want to explain
      about a girl gasping for breath, lying in a coma, hiding in my mind. It was
      all too complicated. Couldn't I just be Rogue?

      "Who knows what they called me," she muttered, then turned to look at me.
      "My name's Morgan."

      Apparently I couldn't be. "Lawrie," I admitted. Lawrence, actually, named
      after a movie my mother loved. Back when I had a mother and a family and a
      normal life.

      "You've got nowhere to go, Lawrie." It wasn't a question. A statement of
      fact. I nodded anyway. She was still looking at me, and I wondered if my
      whole pathetic story showed on there somewhere. Somehow I knew she
      understood my situation anyway.

      And because she was still looking at me, neither of us saw the motorbike on
      the road as we stepped out.

      It was like some sort of horrible dream. Because people don't get hit by
      moving vehicles right in front of your eyes in real life. They don't get
      lifted off their feet by the force planted in their lower back, tumbling up
      into the air with the momentum. Morgan landed ten metres down the road,
      face down and limbs twisted. The bike was black and powerful, the rider the
      same, dressed in leather with a visored helmet. It snarled to a stop
      further down the road, the back wheel skidding around. The rider kicked
      down the stand, left the bike purring in the middle of the road to stand up,
      pulled off the helmet to shake out a mane of tawny hair.

      I took an unbelieving step backwards, my eyes going back to Morgan's
      unmoving figure. A mistake, that step, as my weight settled on a drain
      covering rusted and frozen and protesting. It gave way under my boot, just
      enough for my leg to fall through until the jagged metal bit against the
      meat of my thigh. No, not now. I wrestled with it, wrenching at my leg,
      metal tearing at me. I looked up, and the rider was walking back towards
      us, the dead Morgan in the road, the trapped me in the gutter.

      But then she wasn't dead; she was struggling to her feet facing me, spitting
      blood into the snow. Even as I watched, the horrible disfiguring graze
      along the right side of her jaw and face faded, disappearing into perfectly
      healed skin. The rider broke into a run, now distinguishable as a woman,
      her face contorted into a feral snarl, teeth longer and larger than any
      human's had a right to be. Morgan's eyes looked a little glazed and even as
      she heard the crunch of snow under heel and turned around, I knew she'd be
      too slow.

      The first punch took Morgan square on the jaw, knocking her head back. It
      was followed by a solid body blow, sinking into her stomach. Even as she
      started to fold up, the final fist came through, an uppercut swinging in and
      launching her into the air. Morgan flew half the distance separating us and
      landed on her back in the snow, her breath whooshing out of her. Her eyes
      closed.

      I was screaming at myself inside my head. Get out, move it, move it! My
      knee was caught in the grate, too big to fit through. I twisted
      desperately, and wrenched it through leaving a jagged tear in my jeans and a
      trickle of blood running stickily down the inside of my calf. But my boot
      stuck.

      The rider started towards us, her gait slow and menacing, her eyes vicious
      and teeth bared. Suddenly there was a flurry of wind, picking up snow and
      flinging it towards her. And the clouds seemed lower, grimmer. The rider
      turned, and I followed her gaze. There, through the rushing snow - two
      figures in the road beyond her. A man and a woman, in dark, form-fitting
      costumes that could have been uniforms. Something about the man - perhaps
      the silver sheen to his eyes, perhaps the way the wind ruffled through his
      hair, ice-white despite his dark chocolate skin - made me sure he was
      responsible for the sudden weather change. The woman beside him had a visor
      with a red tinge wrapped around her eyes.

      The reason became apparent as she raised a hand to the side of it, and a
      sudden beam of red light flashed towards the rider. She leapt out of the
      way, and a section of curbing behind her disappeared in an explosion, a
      flurry of snow and a cloud of cement dust.

      When it settled, she was nowhere in sight.

      The new arrivals walked towards us, the white-haired man stopping over
      Morgan as the red-visored woman came up to me. She had dark hair, pulled
      back severely into a braid. I suppose you definitely wouldn't want it
      getting in the way.

      "My foot's stuck." I was quite proud of how steady my voice was, all things
      considered.

      She only took a moment to gather the whole situation, and raised her hand to
      the visor again. I flinched, seeing again the pavement exploding, and she
      saw that too. Stepped closer and held out her hand. "Hold on to me. And
      look away."

      So I did as I was told, and felt the drain give way completely underneath
      me. If I hadn't been holding on to her arm, I would have fallen in
      completely. As it was, I staggered away with her support, and looked up the
      road. The white-haired man was hefting an unconcious Morgan. He looked
      towards the visored woman with a slight question in those now-blue eyes.

      My escort nodded. "Let's go," she said, her tone all business, curt in a
      different way to Morgan. She looked to me. "Come on. It's not far."

      And that was the first time I met Morgan, and Sarah, and Oliver. It was the
      moment everything changed. It was the moment I stopped running. It just
      took me a little while to realise it.
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