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The Land of Blood and Honey 1/?? [Movieverse]

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  • Dyce-Elihara
    Disclaimer: None of the characters named belong to me, except for Annie and Geordi. I have not been given permission to use these characters, and I have made
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 28, 2001
      Disclaimer: None of the characters named belong to
      me, except for Annie and Geordi. I have not been
      given permission to use these characters, and I have
      made no money by their unauthorized use. This piece
      of fiction is intended solely as an expression of my
      own interest in and affection for the characters
      within it, and not in any way as an indictment upon
      Marvel and their increasingly predictable and
      regrettable mischaracterization of said characters, or
      how poorly Marvel has handled recent storylines
      involving said characters.

      Author's Note: This is for all the people who sent me
      feedback. :) There were lots of them - far too many
      to list here, people'd get bored - and I appreciate
      each and every one of the things they wrote me.

      I didn't reply individually to each and every one. I
      figured they'd prefer I wrote this, instead. ^-^

      This is a sequel to The Godless Among Them and
      Slavery, Deliverance, and Faith, which can both be
      found here -->

      The Land of Blood and Honey
      (Part One)
      By Dyce

      Logan opened his eyes, and stared at the ceiling. The
      pink light of dawn was just coming through the
      windows, which meant he'd slept a little late, but not
      so much that it mattered. He didn't move yet, since
      it was a nippy morning and once he started he was
      going to have to keep moving fairly fast. Instead he
      gazed at the ceiling, blankets snuggled around his
      ears, and thought about the day ahead. Breakfast
      first. He and Creed had agreed that the kids could
      learn to get by on short rations later. They had to
      get fed up good first, especially while they were
      still layering on muscle. It was better to go into a
      no-food situation in the peak of condition than it was
      to go in prepared by always being hungry anyway.

      None of that sissy sugary crap for breakfast, though.
      Porridge full of dried fruit, with eggs and bacon.
      That was a good, solid breakfast, and stuffing it into
      the kids every morning for the last eight weeks was
      showing some good results. Clarice had always been a
      bit on the skinny side, and Jonny and Kyle... he
      didn't know how they'd joined up, but they had... were
      downright scrawny at first. Lots of exercise and good
      food was fixing that, and he was pleased about that.
      He liked seeing the kids getting some flesh on their
      bones. It made him feel like he was doing a good job,
      taking care of them right.

      They were good kids. Well, except Geordi, he was a
      pain in the ass. But he couldn't help it. Once the
      hormones settled down and he worked through the
      residue of sixteen years of resentment, he'd be okay.
      Even Creed was almost patient with him. Logan figured
      he knew how it felt to be a tiny fragment of
      consciousness on a wild ride of testosterone and
      over-sensitive instincts and a lot of generalized
      resentment. He hadn't ripped the kid even one new
      orifice, and there were times when Logan wouldn't have
      blamed him at all.

      Okay. Time to start the day. Logan kicked off the
      blankets, wincing a little - it was definitely getting
      colder in the mornings - and made his customary start
      to the day, which was dousing his head in icy water
      and yelling "OUTTA BED!" at the top of his lungs.

      He heard the grumbles and the mutters as six pairs of
      rapidly toughening little feet hit the floor, and
      grinned, heading for the kitchen.

      Creed was presumably already up, since there was fresh
      coffee in the pot. There was no electricity in their
      little hut... it was usually rented out for wilderness
      retreats by students, or so Logan understood, which
      was why there were two 'teacher' rooms, and a couple
      of bigger ones with bunks... but it belonged to Creed,
      and he wasn't a big fan of electricity. He liked
      woodstoves and candles just fine.

      Logan liked them too. The coffee-pot sat on the back
      of the stove all day, and the stove kept the rest of
      the house reasonably warm, as long as all the inside
      doors were left open, and the outside doors kept shut.
      It was still dim here at the back of the house, but
      the oil-lamp in the middle of the table was lit.
      Logan turned it up a bit, and poured himself some

      Marie stumbled into the kitchen, still yawning, her
      hair ruffled around her face and a bulky sweater
      pulled over her pyjamas. "Gimme that," she said,
      pointing to the cup with an adorably mulish pout on
      her face.

      "Get yer own," he grunted, but he smiled fondly at
      her. It was a lot easier to get attached to Marie,
      who was cute and liked him, than it was to get
      attached to Geordi, who wasn't and didn't.

      "Can't. It's too hard." Marie wasn't a morning

      Annie was, and she bounced into the kitchen with a
      cheery beam. "Hi, guys!"

      "Ge' me some coffee?" Marie asked hopefully.

      "Sure." Annie slopped some coffee into a mug, and
      handed it to Marie. She didn't bother asking if she
      could have any - the unvarying 'No' had eventually
      gotten to her. Instead, she poured herself some milk,
      which they got fresh every day from a farm not too far
      down the road. "Is Dad outside?"

      "I guess." Logan shrugged. "Only just woke up.
      Coffee was on, though."

      Annie nodded. Creed had a tendency to take a swing
      around the edge of the property - checking the
      perimeter, he called it - when he woke up in the
      morning. Sometimes he'd bring back a fresh rabbit or
      two. He was the only person Logan had ever met more
      wary than he was... still, he was the one Magneto
      might come after. That'd probably freak Logan out,

      * * *

      "Xavier School for the Gifted, Ororo Monroe speaking."

      Creed grinned. "Yer least favourite person," he

      "Oh." The distaste in her voice spoke volumes.
      "Where's Logan? He's the one who usually calls in."

      "Left him watchin' the cubs." Sabretooth picked idly
      at the tattered phonebook that graced the phonebox,
      leaving furrows in the paper. "Just lettin' you know
      that Magneto ain't got us yet."

      "Wonderful." The woman sounded pissed that he was
      still alive. He respected that. He'd want to see him
      dead, too. "Are the children all right?"

      "Fine." They were eating, they were sleeping, they
      were finally putting on some muscle. "You keep
      yourself nice, sweetcheeks, huh?"

      "Drop dead," she snarled, hanging up the phone. Creed
      laughed. He was starting to like her.

      He'd come to town for a reason, though. There were
      things Logan shied away from doing. He'd already
      taken care of one of them - there was a small arsenal
      of firearms in the back of the jeep, and a roll of
      cheap paper. He'd get Annie to draw the people-shapes
      on it.

      He'd picked up other things, too... drugs and poisons,
      mostly. He needed to teach the kids how to identify
      them... and how to use them. Well, Annie and Clarice,
      mostly, but he'd show the others too. He'd have to go
      someplace bigger for the rarer and more expensive
      things, but he could work with basic stuff for now.

      He headed for the post office, and casually terrified
      the postal workers until they coughed up the package
      he'd been waiting on. More of a crate, really. Anyone
      opening it would have seen a clutter of toys and books
      suitable for various ages... and the toys and books
      would go to the kids. The money, assorted small
      gadgets, and supply of blowfish toxin hidden inside
      them were just useful extras.

      He was in a good humour when he got back to the cabin
      to find Logan already running the kids through the
      morning workout. Annie was teaching Kyle and Jonny
      some more bits and pieces of various martial arts
      disciplines, while Logan had the other three throwing
      knives at a tree. The tree was holding up fairly
      well, which meant Geordi and Marie still hadn't gotten
      the knack. Clarice was had been doing okay yesterday,
      but she still wasn't strong enough to get the knife
      into wood. "Hi!" she squeaked now, running over to
      him. She looked kinda cute all grubby, in baggy
      overalls and bare feet. "Did you bring anything

      "Some fun stuff." He ruffled her hair amiably, nearly
      knocking her over - he had to start remembering how
      easy she tipped over - and roared. By now everyone
      had learned that meant 'pay attention', so they
      stopped what they were doing and wandered over.

      He'd fished some of the goodies out of the crate, and
      now he held up a small leather pouch on a long cord.
      "Here." He tossed it to Annie. "Wear that."

      She weighed it experimentally in one small hand.
      "What's in it?"

      "Money, a blade about as long as your finger, and a
      lighter," Creed grunted, fishing more of the pouches
      out of the crate. "Wear it even to sleep,
      understand?" He tossed the other bags to the other
      kids, and was pleased to note that none of the catches
      were dropped or fumbled.

      "Why?" Geordi asked, looking suspicious.

      "So if we gotta clear out in a hurry, we won't be
      broke an' defenseless," Marie told him, rolling her
      eyes a little. "It's a good idea." She put hers
      around her neck, and gave him a lopsided little smile.

      "Forget it." He still felt a little bad about letting
      Magneto shove her in that machine. "When yer better
      trained, I'm takin' you all on a drive an' throwing
      you out of the car with whatever you've got on you. I
      won't be givin' you any warning, so never take that
      pouch off, understand?"

      They all nodded. Logan was giving him a surprised,
      rather approving look. "It's a good idea," he agreed.

      Creed snorted, and tossed him an empty pouch. "You
      can fill your own."

      "Wouldn't have it any other way," Logan grinned

      Creed grinned just as toothily. "Good." He pulled
      open the back door and hoisted the bundle of assorted
      firearms onto his shoulder. "Go back to kicking and
      tossing, kiddies. You're starting guns tomorrow."

      * * *

      "Okay, this is getting weird." Geordi pulled his
      knees up under his chin. They were having their quiet
      conference in the girl's room, and while Jonny and
      Kyle had both been permitted to stick as much of
      themselves as fitted under Annie's comforter, neither
      Clarice nor Marie had chosen to lend him more than a
      pillow to sit on. "Why are they teaching us all this
      stuff? And why *guns*?"

      "I guess they're trying to take care of us," Annie
      shrugged, curled up in a small blonde ball between the
      other two guys. "They want us to be able to take care
      of ourselves, and this is the only kind of training
      they know."

      Geordi frowned at her. "And what kind of training
      *is* it?" he asked, trying to keep a handle on his
      temper... less because he didn't want to offend
      anyone, and more because he was sick of Annie
      sanctimoniously telling everyone that they had to be
      nice to him because the testosterone was going to his
      head and he'd calm down in a few years.

      "Mercenary. Commando. You know, like in Mission
      Impossible?" Annie opened her yellow eyes guilelessly
      wide. "We're learning a profession." There was a long
      silence. Everyone stared at her. "What?" she said a
      bit plaintively. "I liked that movie!"

      "Me too, but..." Marie scrunched up her pretty nose
      and gave her friend a puzzled look. "But why would
      they teach us to be mercenaries?"

      "Because it's all they KNOW," Annie said with
      exaggerated patience. "Weren't you LISTENING?"

      "Yeah, but..." Marie shook her head in bewilderment.
      "What if we don't *want* to be mercenaries?"

      Annie shrugged. "Hand to hand fighting,
      sharpshooting, lockpicking, and a knowledge of Useful
      Poisons are skills that never stop being useful," she
      said brightly. "Trust me, these are skills worth

      "You said that about fishing with our feet, too,"
      Clarice pointed out from her nest of blankets.

      "And if you're ever lost in the wilderness without
      arms you'll THANK me for that," Annie retorted.

      Most of the others snickered. "We'll keep that in
      mind," Marie agreed, trying to keep her face straight.

      "Good." Annie nibbled absently on a frayed claw.
      "Anyway, the faster we learn, the faster we'll be able
      to go on jobs and stuff."

      There was another long silence. "Jobs?" Kyle asked

      "You know, jobs. Stealing stuff, guarding stuff, the
      odd assassination..."

      "Assassination?" Geordi did not squeak. Not because
      he didn't *want* to squeak, it was just that his voice
      didn't go up that high any more.

      "Sure." She gave him that slow, toothy grin, the one
      that made her eyes seem to glow. "I'll do those, if
      you're too chicken."

      * * *

      Training picked up after that. The two men stopped
      running the teenagers to exhaustion every day and
      started them on other things. Annie got the position
      of assistant instructor, since her training in the
      Facility where she'd grown up had been fairly
      extensive. The other five soon found their heads
      being stuffed with a dizzying array of information.
      They all had to have driving lessons, especially the
      kind that involved going very fast on slippery roads.
      They all had to learn some basic lock-picking skills.
      They had to lean how to use various kinds of weapons,
      and how to disable them as well. They had to learn
      how to identify various sorts of poisons, and how to
      counteract them. They were still getting extensive
      physical stuff, and a lot of
      survival-in-the-wilderness training.

      And Geordi started noticing something else, that he
      was fairly sure the others weren't picking up on. The
      focus of all their training was on necessity. They
      were being taught how to disable any number of
      opponents with their bare hands, but also how to kill
      them... in case it was necessary. How to shoot to
      wound, incapacitate with small doses of drugs or
      poison, hit someone in just the right spot to render
      them unconscious without doing permanent harm... but
      every lesson carried over into fatality, just in case
      it was necessary.

      And it worked better than it would have if the focus
      had been on killing. If it had, most of them would
      have balked early on. But it wasn't - instead, the
      killing was slipped in as a last resort, as a 'just in
      case', on the tail of more civilised and palatable
      alternatives. They all knew, trainers and trainees
      alike, that sometimes last resorts were necessary -
      after the nightmarish events of his kidnapping and
      immurement in the facility, even Geordi found himself
      accepting it. But after a while he realized that they
      were all being fed the idea that sometimes killing
      *was* necessary, that sometimes it *was*
      unavoidable... and that under those circumstances,
      they should just go ahead and do it, without worrying.

      They were being taught to think of killing as
      unpleasant but entirely viable option... just in case,
      of course.

      It freaked him out enough, when he finally realized
      it, that he bailed on morning training for the first
      time ever and went and hid up one of the tallest trees
      he could find. Not that they wouldn't be able to find
      him, of course, but an unofficial convention had
      settled in among them that someone up a tree was
      someone who wanted to be left alone.

      He wanted to be left alone. He wanted to go home to
      his family, in Canada where he fitted in, where he
      knew where he stood. But he couldn't go back... both
      Professor Xavier and his newly-discovered father had
      warned him of how much danger he might pose to his
      family. Xavier had been tactful. Logan hadn't. He
      couldn't put them at risk like that, and he couldn't
      stay at the school because apparently that was
      compromised too and he was STUCK here unless he wanted
      to strike out on his own, and he didn't want to do
      that, was ashamed of his fear of being alone and

      It didn't surprise him that Sabretooth was the one who
      came looking for him. His father tended to get all
      tangled up in guilt and confusion when he tried to
      communicate with Geordi, and they all knew he didn't
      pay much attention to the other, younger adolescents.
      He did, however, have a healthy respect for Creed, who
      had a tendency to smack him around the ears if he
      didn't behave. There was something about a casual
      cuff that left you deaf in one ear and your eyes fuzzy
      for a few minutes that made you talk more politely
      next time. "Go away," he said anyway, since he was
      currently twenty feet above any potential ear-cuffing.

      "Not unless you've got a damn good reason for skippin'
      out on a healthy eight mile run uphill," Creed said
      calmly. "Get yer ass down here, or I'll come up and
      throw you down."

      Reluctantly, Geordi climbed down, to a mere five feet
      or so above the ground. "What?"

      Creed leaned back against another tree, looking up at
      him. It was a mark of the man's supreme
      self-confidence that he could have a conversation with
      someone much higher than he was without seeming to
      feel anything but completely in charge. "What's
      crawled up your ass?" he asked bluntly. "I can see ya
      twitching from here."

      "You're training us to be killers, aren't you?" Geordi
      said bluntly.

      Creed actually looked a little surprised, bushy
      eyebrows twitching and unreadable black eyes widening
      a little. "Yeah. You're just figuring this out now?"

      Geordi gritted his teeth. He wanted to yell and kick
      and make the man see how fucked up this all was... but
      there was no point. Creed was a killer, he always had
      been. From his perspective, he was probably being a
      good, responsible parent, teaching his girls how to
      take care of themselves in the most efficient way
      possible. "Why?" he gritted out. "Why the sudden need
      to turn us all into efficient little murderers as fast
      as possible?"

      "Because someone has to," Sabretooth said grimly.
      "Listen, kid, you've got a healing factor. That makes
      you prize property for any one of a hundred private
      organisations, pseudo-military groups, or renegade
      government units. If you don't learn to defend
      yerself NOW, you'll wind up like your old man. Head
      screwed to kingdom come, body fucked with, and about
      enough sanity left to keep you makin' sentences. That
      what you want?"

      "No!" Geordi kicked the trunk of the tree furiously.
      "I don't want any part of this!"

      A huge hand came up and yanked him down out of the
      tree, bringing him down hard on his feet and yanking
      him in close. Geordi was already six foot two, and
      might get taller. Creed made him feel short. "You
      don't get that, kid," the older man gritted out. "You
      can't not get involved. You're a prize, a big juicy
      bone that's gonna get fought over by every scavenger
      on this planet until the day you fucking *die*. Your
      only choice is to come in on yer own terms, trained
      and prepared enough that nobody can screw with you too
      bad, or get dragged in untrained, unprepared, and get
      yerself so broken that you never put yerself back
      together. Do you understand me? There is no 'not
      involved' option here."


      "No buts." Geordi was pushed away, to stumble back
      against his tree. Creed folded his arms and gave him
      what might almost have been a sympathetic look. "It's
      fucked up, kid, I know that. If I could think of a
      different way, you think I wouldn't take it f'r Annie
      and Clarice? But there just ain't any other options.
      You can be a predator, or you can be prey. It's just
      the way this shit works."

      Geordi shook his head, growling unhappily. Then he
      realized what he was doing, and blinked. Creed,
      Logan, Kyle and Annie all did that, made little growls
      and purrs and other noises, usually without even
      noticing they were doing it. He hadn't noticed
      himself. He was getting more like them. The idea
      scared him, but at the same time he kinda liked it.
      It made him feel like he belonged. Like he fitted in.
      Knowing black eyes told him the growl... and his
      reaction to it... had been noted. How could someone
      so apparently thick notice every tiny thing? "I'm not
      committing to anything," Geordi said after a long
      moment. "But I'll stay. And train. Annie says it's
      an okay way to make a living."

      "There's worse," Creed agreed. "You won't starve."

      Geordi nodded. "I'll be back for lunch," he said, not
      quite able to back down enough to be hauled back like
      a naughty child. "Just gonna... you know, beat up
      some trees and stuff."

      Creed nodded and slipped away, blending into the
      forest so totally that even in worn jeans and a red
      and blue flannel shirt, he vanished within seconds.

      * * *

      That night, Logan was sitting on the big lump of
      hardwood that served as a chopping block for firewood,
      smoking and staring up at the stars. "They all
      asleep?" he asked, as a big shadow slipped out of the
      back door.

      "Mostly." Creed made himself comfortable on the round
      concrete edge of the septic tank. He hadn't bothered
      to hide it below ground. "The brat's takin' his
      revelation hard."

      Logan sighed, taking the cigar out of his mouth and
      fiddling with it. "Maybe we ain't taking the best
      approach," he said a little regretfully. "Xavier's

      "Don't work. You know that." Creed was a vague
      outline in the starlight, but Logan could hear the
      dismissive sneer in his voice. "If we don't teach 'em
      what they need now, they're gonna wind up like you...
      or worse."

      "Yeah." Logan didn't know what, if anything, Creed
      knew about the Weapon X program. He'd mentioned once
      that at some point he'd had tags like Logan's, but had
      lost them. That was it. He got a look in his eyes
      when it was mentioned, though, that suggested that
      whatever he remembered, it wasn't a pleasant memory.
      "Feels wrong, though. To keep 'em from getting made
      like us, we're making them like us ourselves?"

      Creed shrugged massive shoulders, his head tilting
      back to gaze up at the stars. "Better us," he
      rumbled. "Better teachin' 'em now, without screwing
      with their heads too much, than having it forced on
      'em later."

      "I guess." Logan snorted, mouth quirking in
      resignation. "Guess we're stuck with each other for a

      There was a long pause. The silhouetted shoulders
      slumped a little. "Yeah," Creed said grudgingly.
      "It'd be worse'n stupid to split up now." Neither of
      them would leave the cubs they'd either sired or
      adopted. And separating while they were lumbered with
      half-trained cubs was tantamount to suicide. "Heard
      from Mags."

      "What does he want?" Logan inquired with a certain
      hostile interest.

      "Me, back at work." Creed shrugged. "Told him no.
      Not a word the man likes to hear."

      "I'll bet." Logan puffed on his cigar for a minute.
      "So. We're stuck with each other for a bit longer." It
      was weird. He still hated Creed, but it had a kind of
      mechanical feel to it. He was having less and less
      trouble shoving it aside to work with the man...
      although admittedly they didn't work together all that
      closely. More a matter of organising the day's
      schedule then taking the kids out in opposite
      directions. Creed had his faults, but he was a pro,
      and he was treating this like a job.

      "Don't let the brat get to ya," Creed said
      surprisingly, after a long silence.

      "Huh?" Logan blinked.

      "The brat." Creed stood up and stretched luxuriously.
      "Don't feel guilty over getting his pure little self
      all messed up with nasty old violence. It's gonna
      happen no matter what you do. Best you can hope for
      is to ease him into it gentle-like."

      Such relative kindness and sensitivity was completely
      unlike Creed, and Logan said so. Creed snorted.
      "Don't get me wrong. I don't like you, and the brat
      pisses me off on a daily basis." He shrugged again
      and turned to enter the house. "There's just some
      things I wouldn't wish on anyone."

      (End part one)

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