fic: Climb the Wind (1a/5?) Logan POV, adventure/character
- CLIMB THE WIND (1a/5)
Please see my initial post for summary, warnings,
disclaimer, etc. DO NOT start in head-first with this
chapter, then blast me by email that I didn't warn
you, eh? If you prefer pretty html, go here:
Notes: I'd like to thank my beta readers, Katta and
Crys. Katta has been over this same tread before,
albeit in different fashion. Also, my apologies to
those who get multiple copies across several lists; we
share too similar a fascination for Scott, I guess.
I'm allergic to uneducated Logan. The professor
didn't talk down to him in the film, and for the most
part, his English was good. So this is movieverse
Logan, not Logan of the comics. What's up with the
"ex*pression"? In yahoo groups, the e-word gets
strangely translated enroute to "statement." I'm
heading it off at the pass. Mentally remove the
Feedback welcome, adored, doted upon . . . . I put
much-o work into this one. I'd love to hear what you
thought, although I suppose asking if you "enjoyed" it
is not the appropriate verb to use.
"Logan � left tunnel. Jean, you're with me. We'll
each go down three hundred feet, then retrace. Do not
go farther. We're not in a hurry. Look for signs of
passage or occupation, then come back and we'll decide
what to do next. We should see something down one or
the other by three-hundred feet. I don't want to
split us up for long."
That was how it began.
We'd had a report of trouble from mutants in the
Baltimore subway � a few muggings and worse, a few
disappearances, feared it might be a group of renegade
Moorlocks. The professor had sent us to investigate.
Just Cyclops, Jean and I. No one sent the Storm Queen
underground. One, she can't call the lightening
there. And two, she's claustrophobic as all hell.
She'd stayed at the mansion with that blue fuzzball
they name a Beast. This little trip was more likely
to be days than hours, and there was still a school to
run. Listening to the Lovebirds argue the final
details for a wedding less than two months away wasn't
my idea of entertainment, but at least it gave me some
quality time to razz the Boy Scout.
We'd driven, not flown, and after dark suited up to
find an access down into the subway near the area we'd
been informed by our police contact was the site of
the most assaults. The trains were still on, so we
had to be careful. We'd done recognizance as a group
until we'd come to a fork in the tunnel: one still in
use, one not. Cyclops had given me the one still in
use. Now, I made a careful sweep of my tunnel. I
might have been irritated to be sent off alone but I
recognized it as a back-handed compliment. He knew I
could take care of myself.
Still, I sometimes wonder if what happened next would
have happened if Jean had gone with me down the unused
tunnel. But I don't blame Summers.
He does enough of that for himself.
Water seeped in from the sea and the subway walls were
damp with it. It stank of mildew and rot and old
piss. There was occasional trash � dirty pages of the
BALTIMORE SUN blown off platforms by the passage of
trains, green Wrigglies gum wrappers, a stray condom.
Strange place for a tryst. Something had dragged a
cat down here, eaten half of it and left the rest to
decompose. I stepped around it, wrinkled my nose.
I'd been in worse places. Hell, I'd slept in worse
places. That didn't make the sweet-stink better.
I wasn't, however seeing � or smelling � any signs of
recent occupation and I'd reached the 300 foot mark.
Hoping Cyclops and Jean had faired better, I turned,
took about three steps.
That was when I heard an explosion and Jean screamed;
it cut off abruptly. Another explosion and then a
crash like a wall caving in. Summers shouting. Other
sounds of struggle. I was already moving.
I have metal in my bones; it slows me down. I've
learned to adjust, learned agility and balance � but
I'll never be fast again. I don't know if it would
have made a difference, though, had I been a minute
quicker. By the time I got back to where the tunnel
divided, the sounds coming from up the other tunnel
were consonant with a minor war. Lots of red flashes.
Fucking idiot. He was going to bring down the tunnel
on top of them. I headed for them anyway.
By the time I got there, he *had* brought down half
the tunnel, cutting off the enemy retreat, and was
crouched behind part of a fallen wall. He had a clear
retreat himself, but wasn't taking it.
Jean was sprawled on the ground between them, and us.
The 'them' were not Moorlocks. Moorlocks didn't have
grenade launchers and automatic weapons. Shit. "Who
the hell are they?" I yelled at him over the sound of
rifles as I slid down in the wet muck at his side
behind his makeshift defense wall.
"I have no idea," he shouted back, shooting again,
screaming, "Jean, dammit! Crawl this way! I'm
Weakly, she raised her head, and at her movement, my
heart stopped pounding quite so hard. Then it started
up again. I saw what Cyclops was too busy to see.
What he didn't want to see.
She was cut nearly in half.
Her face was white from pain and shock, blood
glistening around her in the muck, spilling from her
mouth and over her chin. She shook her head at me. I
felt a brush on my mind, a little like the professor's
but much fainter. *Get him out! He won't listen to
me. Logan, please! Take care of him. For me.*
She lowered her head again, coughed once, and stopped
No one had bothered to explain to me that she and
Scott had some kind of permanent mental link. He had
a piece of her in his *head*, for God's sake, and the
reverse. No wonder he'd been so damn cocky when I'd
made a move on her after I'd first gotten to the
mansion. I'd ticked him off � but not as much as I
should have. Later, I understood why. How the hell
do you fight mental fusion? I'm sure in battle the
link was useful, too, let them move as one creature.
He knew the instant she died. He *felt* her die.
And he just went berserk.
Letting out a sound that wasn't really human, he
ripped the visor off. Pure, uncontained energy
blasted down the tunnel like a tsunami of red, knocked
open the seal he'd put on the enemy retreat just
minutes before, and took some of them with it. Took a
lot of them with it.
I don't think he noticed, or cared. Visor back on
now, he was over the top of the fallen wall and
running. To her.
At the time, of course, I had no idea what the hell
was going on. I remember shouting at him, "She's
*dead*, Summers! Get the hell out!"
He wasn't listening to me. He flipped her over and
picked her up like she weighed nothing. She's as tall
as he is, and he doesn't have augmented strength.
Instead, he had desperation. Adrenaline is an amazing
He got her most of the way back before the few
remaining goons in the tunnel recovered wits enough to
shoot at him. It's not that easy to hit a moving
object unless you're good. So they went for the large
target: his back, not his head. Luckily, the
uniforms have built-in kevlar. He took a hit in his
shoulder and square in the middle of his back. Kevlar
or no, the explosive blast of an automatic weapon
knocked him senseless over the top of the broken wall,
dropping Jean's body at my feet. He landed beside it,
all breath gone out of him. I could see now what had
been done to her. It looked like a grenade had torn
through her, and I wondered later � when I had time to
wonder � how she'd managed to live for the few minutes
she had. She must have held on by sheer cussedness,
to get through to him, drive him away. As soon as she
saw me arrive, she could let go. Damn, she must have
been in pain. Brave woman. But love is a powerful
thing. I don't think I realized until her death just
how much they'd loved each other.
But that came to me later. Right at the moment, we
had a little problem. Our �gunman' was flat on his
back and I had no weapon besides what lay in my hands.
That's how they caught us.
Oh, I put up a fight. Summers tried, but he was so
dazed from grief and the pain of taking two bullet
bruises that he wasn't much use and they were in too
close for him to get good effect from his visor
anyway. He tried to rip it off again � he wasn't too
worried about body count right then � but they'd seen
what he could do visorless, so they grabbed his arms
and knocked him to his knees, immobilizing him. And
then they used him against me. Yanking his hair back,
they shoved a gun muzzle so far into his mouth that he
*'Take care of him. For me.'* Jean's last words.
I stopped fighting.
They got my hands behind my back, handcuffed me. I
could get out of it, but not instantly, and not before
the goons could blow my brains out � or his. No fear
on his part, though. He just didn't seem to give a
damn. I've seen shock like that before. No reaction
until they hauled him up and started to force-march us
up the tunnel.
Then he fought like a leopard, twisting and bucking,
screaming, "Jean!" over and over. Hysterical. He was
trying to get to the body.
I looked away, felt my eyes sting. Not for her. For
him. I'd cry for her later.
They finally had to drag him back by the hair and
knock him out. He just wasn't sane.
It finally occurred to me to ask one of our captors,
"Who the fuck are you, anyway?"
I got a fist in the teeth for my trouble. Then
someone knocked me out, too. They must have figured
it would be easier.
I woke alone. In an empty room. White. Completely
white. There was absolutely nothing there except a
pail in one corner. Also white. Perfect florescent
light spilled from four fixtures in the ceiling, too
high to reach even if I jumped. I wasn't dressed in
my uniform. Instead, I wore some kind of coverall
with a zipper down the front. As white as the rest.
The whole room smelled of Lysol. Getting my (bare)
feet under me, I paced off the space. Eight by eight,
roughly, and about eight feet high: all proportional.
It was cool enough to be uncomfortable, not cool
enough to give me frostbite, even if I'd been able to
get frostbite. No sound at all seeped in from
A White Room. Very effective. The shitheads knew
what they were doing.
Whoever they were.
And where the hell had the put the Boy Scout? Was he
I'm not sure how long I spent in the White Room. Long
enough to lose all sense of time. Long enough not to
be fastidious about using the pail, either. They fed
me. Water and bread but nothing else. No meat. It
weakened me, even in that short time. Occasionally,
they emptied the pail. It was all done while I slept,
and I must have been drugged because I never woke in
the midst of it. I'd still like to know how they
managed the drugging. Probably through the
I exercised, I paced, I wondered what Xavier and the
others were doing, worried over how Marie would be
handling this, and just fretted generally until I
reminded myself how little good it was doing. I also
replayed that macabre scene in the tunnels. Over and
over. Sometimes I wept.
*Goddamn, Jean. How the hell did you get in the way
of a grenade?*
I blamed myself, too, for failing in her final request
to get Summers out, even though I'd had no clue what
losing her would do to him. I'd never have pegged the
Boy Scout for a berserker. At that point, I still
didn't understand entirely what had set him off.
After what I later learned was about five days, I
finally came face to face with my captors.
A near-seamless door in one wall opened. I'd been
dozing. The sound � after so much silence � yanked me
to consciousness and my feet both. I was attacking
before the door was all the way open. Element of
A stun stick met me. Like they use on zoo animals.
Knocked me five feet backwards on my ass. Hurt like
hell, too. Four guys entered. "Don't try it again,
freak," one said.
I popped the claws. Instinct. "Who are you, where am
I, and what the fuck do you want?" Predictable
questions but I had to start somewhere.
Another man � dressed in a suit not a uniform �
stepped past the guards. He was good looking in that
refined-man-in-his-late-forties kind of way. Even
features, attractively greying hair, good teeth a
little yellow from nicotine, or coffee, or both. Dark
eyes had a glint that screamed intelligence, but it
felt wrong, like snow that will blind a man if stared
at too long. Lazy-cruel.
"You still have your wits about you" he said, sounding
"What'd you expect? That I'd be climbing the walls?"
"They informed me that you have animal senses." His
quick glance took in the white emptiness.
Had this been some kind of fucking experiment?
"Anyone will start to lose it, if left alone long
enough without much sensory input. Animal senses or
not. I'm a man, pal. Not a wild animal. I ain't
talking to myself yet or hearing voices."
A cold smile. "How charming. I wish I could say your
. . . companion . . . had fared so well."
My gut went cold but I didn't move a muscle. Lunging
at him would accomplish nothing. Keep him talking,
find out what I could, don't resist needlessly, and
most of all, try to make myself human to him. Those
were the rules of a hostage situation. How I knew
that, I had no clue, but I knew it. "What happened to
him? Where did you take him?"
"He is in a room." The cold smile again. "You surely
didn't expect a map? As for what happened to him � he
seems to be . . . ill. That's why I'm here; I thought
you might be able to shed some light on the problem.
Before he dies."
I stood up. "Let me see him."
If I could get out of the room. If I could just get
out of the room �
"That's not possible," the Suit said dismissively.
"We'll tell you what you need to � "
"Look, pal, I can't say anything if I don't know
what's going on. I need to see him, examine him, not
listen to you recite some descriptive bullshit."
"Since when did you acquire a medical degree?"
"How do you know I don't have one?"
"*Dr.* Logan?" The cold smile grew thin, but
surprisingly, he stepped aside. "I thought it was Dr.
Grey. Unfortunately, the good doctor is past the
point of performing an examination."
For three breaths, I considered running the Suit
through before the goons at the door got me, but that
wouldn't do Summers any good. And they knew our
names. That was bad news.
"I will permit you to see him," the Suit said. "But
if you try anything, we'll kill you both, starting
with him while you watch."
I didn't reply to that. Of course I'd try something
if I got a chance � but only if I knew it would work.
"Take me to him."
They bound my hands behind my back again, kept me
barefoot and the stun sticks at ready. One of those
things could drop an elephant. We went down several
corridors. Metal. Doors with keypads. Surveillance
cameras at every juncture, and probably infrared trip
wires and other fun tricks, too. Little was labeled.
Rooms had no numbers. Nothing smelled distinctive,
only of disinfectant and WD-40. This was a big
facility, built for high security. Government type
security. Fuck. We were lab rats in some
federal-funded maze. Been there, done that, didn't
want a repeat. Something small and cold folded up in
At least I was out of my personal little rat maze, and
could see. If they'd been smart, they'd have
We went down. I was pretty sure we were already
underground in a bunker of some type, but we went down
further by elevator, exited, took two corridors and
stopped outside a completely unremarkable door. They
put bodies between me and the key pad as the Suit
punched in the code. But they forgot. I could hear.
And it was the same damn tones as a touchtone dial.
44-23-*11. I committed it to memory. The door slid
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