The Land of Blood and Honey 1/?? [Movieverse]
- 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
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
"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
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
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
"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
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,
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
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
"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
"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
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...
"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
"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
"What does he want?" Logan inquired with a certain
"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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