The Land Of Blood And Honey 3/?? [Movieverse]
- Disclaimers in part one.
The Land of Blood and Honey
"I don't like it."
"Neither do I." Creed hunkered down into the
leaf-litter a little more, peering over the small
ridge at the gypsy encampment below. Normally he
would have ignored it - gypsies had been camping in
that valley practically forever, and it didn't cost
him anything to respect their territory. They always
left HIM respectfully alone, after all.
This wasn't the usual group, though. And something
smelled... off. Like maybe they had a very sick puma
in one of those caravans. But why would they cart
around something like that? And whatever it was, it
was making some of them edgy. The horses weren't even
twitching, though, so it had to be something that had
been around long enough for them to get used to it.
Logan growled softly. "Something's wrong," he
insisted. "I'm goin' down there."
"If it floats yer boat," Creed agreed reluctantly.
"I'll stay up here an' keep watch in case they try to
brain you." He'd rather the group didn't know about
them yet, but if Logan was going to force a
confrontation it was better now, in daylight, where
the surprises could be kept to a minimum.
He watched the other man scramble down the hill,
deliberately doing it loud and clumsy to get their
attention. That was good. You didn't want them to
know right away that you could sneak up on them.
Logan got down into the encampment and was immediately
surrounded by suspicious, grubby figures. Creed made
himself comfortable in the soft dirt, settling in for
a long siege. The runt probably didn't know any of the
gabble that lot spoke, and they'd be cagey about
admitting to speaking more than broken English. They
always were. Like Creed, they liked to play their
cards close to the chest. He liked that.
Eventually, after a bit of sniffing around and a lot
of banging on the side of a small, grubby caravan,
Logan handed over a couple of notes to an elderly man
and was shown inside. A minute later he was back out,
and Creed could see the tense fury in the man's stance
even at that distance. He was already moving when
Logan waved him down.
Things got quiet as he drew close and they realized
who he was. The campsites around here were good, and
nobody got moved on, but there was always the unspoken
corollary that if they were going to stay good, the
big blonde man had to be left alone. He'd only had to
kill two overzealous officials and a few gypsies from
two different groups before everyone'd caught on.
"What's goin' on?" he asked Logan, who was stiff and
pale with rage.
"They got a kid in there," the younger man gritted
out, looking back at the small, windowless caravan.
Creed raised a shaggy eyebrow, and gave the elderly
man an enquiring look. The man shrank back a little.
"Furry freakchild. Stupid. Dangerous. Is very sad
that our tribe was cursed with it," he agreed, eyes
flickering a little. This one understood more than he
"And make some cash by lettin' folks see it, I bet."
Creed looked at Logan, and sighed. Damnit. Fuckin'
bleedin' heart loser. He was going to mess up the
whole damn arrangement any minute. "How much?"
The elderly man wasn't stupid. "For you, free," he
said, smiling ingratiatingly.
Creed snorted. "Not to see it. To buy it," he
elaborated. "We got a... collection, ya might say."
He kicked Logan surreptitiously in the shins to keep
The man frowned at the first two sentences, then
smiled greedily at the third. "Two thousand pounds,"
he said promptly.
"For that, I'm lookin' first," Creed growled, and
stepped up to shove his head through the small door.
There were no windows, but the open door and a few
cracks in the board walls showed him a bare wooden
room, some straw piled up in a corner, and a skinny,
ugly thing trembling against the far wall. He
snorted, leaning back out into the fresh air. "Two
thousand for that? Two hundred."
"One thousand five," the man bargained. "It is
unique. Good for your collection."
"I already got a boy one looks a lot like it, but with
less fur," Creed told him, grinning unpleasantly. "A
pair'd be good, but I don't need yours that bad." The
thing had reeked, but under the stench it had smelled
female. "Five hundred."
"One thousand," the man said firmly. "The expense of
"It's scrawnier than a starvin' dog, it's sick, and it
probably can't even talk," Creed shrugged, feigning
disinterest. "Eight hundred, and I'm doin' ya a
"Done!" the elderly man said immediately. He smiled
another ingratiating smile, and Creed muffled a
chuckle. He'd probably already tried to pawn the
freak elsewhere, and gotten knocked back. Eight
hundred pounds would be a windfall for this lot, and
they wouldn't have to keep feeding or housing the
scary freakthing they'd bred themselves.
Creed pulled the money out of the pouch around his
neck, careful not to show how much was in there, and
to count it out in relatively small, used looking
bills. "Here," he said, shoving it at the man. "And
I want a blanket or something to carry it in. I ain't
gettin' its stink all over my clothes." A worn
horseblanket was brought while the old man counted his
money carefully, and Creed thrust it at Logan without
looking. "Go get it," he ordered. "And be careful
Logan, who had been growling under his breath, did as
he was told. A minute or two later he reappeared, the
stinking, scrawny thing bundled up in his arms and
held as gently as a newborn baby. Creed made a
cynical noise. "We're done here," he told the old
man, who was happily tucking away his ill-gotten gains
in some hidden recess of his shirt.
"Yes, of course," the man agreed immediately. "Do not
let us keep you."
They were hustled out of the camp as quick as winking,
and up the ridge to get back to the house. Logan was
cursing under his breath in a furious monotone, still
holding the whateveritwas tenderly.
Creed looked at it. It had batwing-like ears, drab
brown fur, a monkey-like face and round, sad eyes.
Which were looking mournfully at him. "It's probably
dumb as a stump."
"She," Logan growled. The little creature flinched,
and he petted it soothingly. "She's a girl. You know
"She, then." Creed shrugged. "You're the one who
wanted her. You owe me eight hundred pounds."
* * *
"What is it?" Annie asked, trying to climb over her
father's restraining arm to get a closer look at the
"Don't go near it," Creed said sternly, pulling her
back and tucking Clarice more firmly under his arm.
"Neither of you. You don't know where it's been."
"She's a she, not an it," Jonny said firmly, squatting
beside the bedraggled little creature that was gazing
up at him with sad, frightened eyes. "And the lot of
you can piss off. You're scaring her." Everyone
boggled at him, unused to such a forceful... or
indeed, audible... tone from him. He frowned. "I
mean it. Sod off."
Creed wandered off with undisguised relief, taking
Annie and Clarice with him. Geordi was right behind
them, looking just as relieved. Marie and Logan had
to be all but bodily pushed out, though. Jonny let
Kyle take care of that, staying crouched and
harmless-looking. When everyone else was gone, Kyle
After giving her a few minutes to get used to them,
Jono reached out a gentle hand to touch her head.
"Hi," he said softly. "I'm Jonny." With his
fledgling telepathy... barely more than empathy at
this point... he reached out with as many comforting
thoughts as he could muster.
Something in the furry girl's head grabbed him and
pulled him in so fast he didn't even have time to
blink. For a sliver of an instant he was frightened,
but then he felt Kyle's hand on his shoulder and
relaxed, closing his eyes and letting himself be drawn
in. It wasn't meant as a threat, he realized after a
moment, just an unformed talent latching onto
something like itself.
::Hello,:: he sent cautiously.
::Aww, don't be scared,:: Jonny sent as comfortingly
as he could, bolstering the thought with the
comforting awareness of Kyle's presence, the surety
that nothing bad would happen while he was around.
::That's Kyle. 'E's...:: Jonny flailed around for a
minute, then decided on the description Annie usually
used. ::Hunting-brother. Like a littermate.::
::Something like that.:: Jonny risked stroking the
matted fur again. It'd be nice and soft, if it was
clean. ::He won't let anything bad happen to us.::
Some of the fear faded. #bigscaryhairygrowly?#
::That's Creed and Logan,:: Jonny explained, carefully
attaching mental pictures to the names. ::They're
different from ordinary people, like us.:: He drew a
couple of comparisons, making a picture of the girl in
his mind and showing her the similarities she had with
the other feral types. Creed and Kyle were both
almost furry, and all four of them had the pointy
teeth, and Annie even had slightly pointed ears.
::The big ones take care of us.:: He added a few
pictures of hearty meals and warm beds.
::Aww, no...:: Jonny petted her gently, scritching
behind one batwing ear. She seemed to like that as
much as Kyle and Annie did, rubbing her head up
against his hand. ::You're not a monster. You're a
mutant, like us. With nice fur.:: He showed her a
mental picture of the Beast, with his blue fur and big
teeth, adding a feeling of how nice Beast was, and how
safe he made you feel.
The new girl snuffled a little, and curled up with her
head on his lap. #oldsmellynamedselfMeggan.#
"Your name's Meggan, huh?" Jonny murmured aloud. He
wasn't used to talking telepatically, and his head was
starting to hurt. So was his chest, for some reason.
Maybe he'd been concentrating too hard to breath
properly. He petted her gently. "You're gonna be
okay now, Meggan. This is a nice place."
* * *
That night, when Meggan had been tucked into bed after
all the food she could safely be allowed to eat -
she'd obviously been on a near-starvation diet until
now - the rest of the group gathered around the
"She sure didn't like the bath," Marie said, twiddling
a strand of still damp hair. "I don't think she's
ever had one." She wrinkled her nose. "She had
"Poor kid," Logan said quietly. "Any idea how old she
is?" he added, looking at Annie.
Annie shrugged, resting her chin on her hand. "Sorry.
If she was physiologically closer to baseline human,
it'd be easier, but she's so little and scrawny and
furry that it's hard to tell. She could be anywhere
between Clarice's age and Marie's. Maybe younger."
"What happened to 'eyes that see all'?" Logan jibed,
still looking cranky.
Annie made a face at him. "They do. I can tell you
how tall she is, how much she weighs, her size to mass
ratios... whatever. But I don't think even she knows
how old she is, and she doesn't have enough of the
normal physical indications for me to tell." She
paused. "She hasn't been interfered with in any way,
though. That much I could tell. Just neglected." Out
of the corner of her eye, she saw Jonny nod a little.
Everyone else was carefully not looking at him. Annie
wasn't sure why pretending certain things hadn't
happened was what you were supposed to do, but she
went along with it. Obviously Jonny had been
'interfered with', as Jean had insisted on putting it,
while he was at the facility she'd found him in. And
obviously this had caused some kind of trauma. Annie
wasn't sure why - after all, *she* hadn't been
traumatized - but she'd figured out that primate minds
didn't work quite like feline ones. They seemed to
have an awful lot of trouble letting go of the past
and moving on.
Everyone had gone quiet and awkward, so she just kept
talking. "Jonny did pretty good convincing her to
trust us," she said brightly. "She didn't bite even
when Marie was brushing her fur, and that must have
hurt. There were a lot of knots." The silence kept
going, and she opted to throw in something nice and
controversial. "So whose is she?"
"What do you mean, whose is she?" That was Geordi,
frowning in puzzlement. Geordi could always be
counted not to understand her, which was nice, because
it meant Annie got to talk for much longer without
being told to shut up.
"I mean whose is she?" she said patiently. "Me and
Clarice are Dad's, and Marie is Logan's, and you're...
well, you're kinda Logan's, I guess..." She gave him a
dubious look. Marie giggled, and Geordi growled.
"And Kyle and Jonny kind of belong to each other. So
whose is Meggan?" She gave her father a hopeful look.
"No," he said flatly. "The runt wanted her. He can
"Fine," Logan growled, giving his counterpart a nasty
look. "Someone's gotta take care of the kid."
"Yup." Creed grinned. "And it's you. You realize
you're probably gonna have to toilet train her."
"Don't be disgusting."
"Just sayin'." Creed shrugged.
Logan growled at him, pushing his chair away from the
table and stalking off, presumably to check on the
kid, who was tucked up on a couch in the den, since
that was the one that had a fire. Annie thought that
was nice. Her Dad came and checked on her and Clarice
a couple of times a night to make sure nothing had
eaten them, and she liked hearing him peek in.
"We should go to bed too," Marie said, giving Creed a
dirty look. "I doubt we're going to get to sleep in,
even with a new kid around."
"Damn right. The runt's gonna be busy, so I'm taking
the rest of you for a nice, healthy run." Creed
grinned broadly. "Get yer rest while you can."
All the kids groaned pitifully, and headed for the
Annie detoured to peek into the den. Logan was in
there, crouched beside the couch, making soft little
murmuring growls. Meggan was curled up in a little
ball under the blanket, but her thin, furry face
looked peaceful. Annie sneaked away and left them to
Behind her, Logan sighed softly, reaching out to tuck
the blanket more securely around the kid's thin
shoulders. Damnit, he was going to have to work on
this disturbing new trend towards soft-heartedness.
He couldn't keep finding cute, unwanted little girls
with melting brown eyes who obviously needed him to
take care of them because nobody understood what
adorable little cubs they were and how much they
needed to be loved and protected.
He paused, ran that thought through his head again,
and groaned. He was really going soft.
But she was so small and helpless-looking. He
smoothed the fur on her head. "Poor kid," he murmured
softly. "You've had a rough run, huh?" Her eyes
popped open when he touched her, but he kept talking,
murmuring soothing nonsense while he stroked her fur,
and after a while her eyes closed again. She butted
her head into his hand a little, then dozed off while
he was still struggling not to make the kind of girly
cooing noises that would cripple his reputation
* * *
"And this is?" Creed held up a small red and white
"Fly agaric," the kids chorused dutifully.
"Very good." He held up a limp green shoot. "And
"Bracken." A few eyes were glazing over, but so far
they'd all seemed to recognize everything, even if
some of them limped on the definitions.
"Good." Creed wasn't entirely sure how he'd acquired
the extensive amount of botanical information he
seemed to have, but it was damn convenient sometimes.
It was amazing how many people these days would have a
dozen bodyguards, extensive security systems
surrounding them, telepaths scanning the minds of all
who approached, then sit down to a big plate of
well-cooked toadstools and bracken-fed steak.
"Annnd... this one?"
the kids droned.
"That's them." He held up a small green leaf. "And
There was a long pause. Creed grinned. "Oh, come on,
you GOTTA know this one..."
Everyone except Jonny looked blank. Jonny snickered.
"It's baby spinach," he offered. "It was in the salad
we had for lunch today." Jonny hadn't really eaten any
of the salad... his appetite was still dropping off
alarmingly, although he wasn't losing any weight
yet... but at least he'd apparently looked at it.
"Yup. The rest of you still need to work on that
'powers of observation' thing." Creed put the leaf
back in the box with all the other samples. Logan was
going to give the furry brat a little lesson later.
They still weren't entirely sure how much English she
spoke or understood, but she seemed to be able to
follow what people were saying. "I'm gonna put an
identifiable, poisonous bit o' flora in dinner
sometime in the next week, and don't think I'm going
to tell you where it is before you've eaten enough to
get good and sick." That, he believed, was Incentive
To Learn, and he was sure it worked much better than
giving them sissy star stickers or something equally
All the kids looked suitably intimidated. Creed
beamed. This teaching stuff was not only easy, but
fun, too. "Okay, everyone go take your shoes off."
"Why?" Geordi asked cautiously. The kid was settling
down a bit, lately. Getting to be just slightly less
of a pain.
"Because we're going for a barefoot run," he told
them. They all groaned out variations of 'not AGAIN!'.
Creed growled a little, to show he meant business.
"Yer gonna thank me for this one day. Trust me, when
you bust outta prison and gotta leave behind
everything they gave ya to wear in case there's
tracking devices or something in there and you're
running through the jungle naked, you're going to be
thinking 'Thank god my feet are tough enough that I
can run away good and fast'!"
There was another long pause. All of them were staring
at him. "What?"
"You sounded just like Annie then," Kyle said a little
"Yeah." Marie nodded, looking just as nervous. "I
think I liked it better when you were mean and
He looked at his daughter, who blinked right back at
him, her rather prominent nose wrinkled with
puzzlement. Then she grinned. "I like us being
He felt his mouth curl up in something approaching a
genuine smile. "Me too," he admitted.
"Oh, god," Geordi groaned. "Hairy nature-loving
bonding. Someone bury me in cheeseburgers and leave me
Creed growled and grinned. "I'll leave you to die in a
minute, boy. Shoes off, all of you, and leave 'em in
the cabin. It looks like rain."
Geordi groaned even more pitifully. "We have to run
in the rain?"
"One more complaint outta you, boy, and you'll be
running naked in the rain. Move!"
* * *
"They're too self conscious," Creed said firmly. "I
still think we should get 'em used to occasional
Logan looked a bit scandalized. "I dunno if that's a
good idea. They're adolescents, they might..."
"Might what?" Creed said bluntly. "Marie's
untouchable, and the other three are still just kids.
They ain't gonna get up to anything."
"Might be traumatized or something, is what I was
going to say." Logan took a swig of his beer. "They
got a whole body image thing going on with it."
"That's why we gotta get 'em used to it now." Creed
drained his own beer, and reached for another. "You
know they're gonna wind up strapped down naked on an
exam table sooner or later. Might as well prepare 'em
as much as we can."
They both stared down at the table. Wood. Stains.
Big, clawed hands. Creed flexed them absently,
watching the claws slide in and out.
"You're right," Logan agreed quietly, tonelessly.
"Bound to happen." Creed could hear the
hackle-raising tension in his voice. He'd made a
guess, based on his own hazy memories of the Weapon X
program, and it'd obviously beein right on the money.
Logan had regular nightmares, even now, and Creed was
banking that it had something to do with the claws.
By the reaction, being strapped down naked on an exam
table wasn't something the runt remembered fondly.
"We ain't doing them any favours pandering to them."
Creed pushed the advantage while he had it, doing his
best to make his rough voice sound reasonable and
patient. "We gotta put 'em through it now, while
they're safe and know it's not gonna go on forever.
Otherwise they'll break when it's for real."
"I know." Logan was still looking down at the table,
drawing a repetitive little pattern in a small puddle
of spilled beer. "What do you suggest?"
That was a good step forward. "Getting 'em used to
having to fight and run naked, for a start," he said,
sipping the new beer slowly. "Once they can hack
that, the other stuff won't be so bad." By 'the other
stuff' he meant the subtle games of humiliation and
disempowerment that were an integral part of long-term
prisonerhood. Logan nodded, and Creed went on. "They
ain't great with the hardware yet, but they'll
improve. They mostly just need practice now. We need
to make 'em practice more. Mostly, though, we need to
work on the other stuff. How to get th' information
you need. How to work a decent escape. When to run,
when to go to ground." He paused for a long few
minutes. "I dunno if it's possible to teach that
stuff. But I guess we should try."
"Yeah." It was weird how easily this was all coming
to him. Teaching the cubs was kinda fun. There was
something about having lots of wisdom to impart that
made him feel clever and important. He wasn't used to
that, but he liked it.
Then both men frowned and tilted their heads. That
muffled thud and scuffle didn't sound like the usual
sleep-twitches or nightmares.
There was a thump, and the click of a door opening.
Then another door.
"DAD!!!" Annie yelled, panic clear in her voice. "DAD,
(end part three)
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