Hi all - new to the group here. I've been posting a story on a
couple other sites for a few days now, and I just thought I'd catch
this group up - seemed like an appropriate place to post. I'll post
the first 4 rapid-fire, and then dole out one a day. :) Hope you
Title: Mortal Fear
Series: 1/10Feedback: yes please
Warnings: language, sex...maybe a bit violent in later installments.
Archive: by all means e-mail me if you would like to post on your
Disclaimer: Naturally, I do not own the Marvel characters - the story
and characters and their histories are a blending of Movie-verse and
Comic-verse lore mixed in with a big old heapin' helping of my own
imagination (Karne-iverse) that totally brutalizes existing histories
wherever I felt it made my story.
Summary: Logan and Rogue meet; end up on the run from the Friends of
Humanity. Interesting twist to Rogue's mutation.
Just how fast is he going? Rogue wondered bitterly. It felt like
ninety miles an hour. The truck's tiny haul hit another bump,
jamming her shoulder harshly into the crate she was wedged against.
Rogue twisted beneath the tarp and grumbled. She'd been coiling her
neck at an awkward angle underneath the heavy fabric cover for hours
now, and she was beginning to think that perhaps the kink was
But at least the aches and soreness were welcome diversions from the
raging cold biting at her skin. Some parts of Canada had the sort of
icy chill that ate through flesh like acid and burrowed into the very
bone marrow. Cold that froze hot blood into splintered shards that
cut and gnawed and sliced from the inside out. Unfortunately,
Alberta in winter was one of those places, and Rogue was too much a
Southerner to have acclimatized.
She'd managed to doze off earlier, before the truck had made it onto
the highway. But at that point she'd been rudely awakened by the
interstate's high-speed tossing which now made sleep all but
impossible. Rogue had no idea how long she'd been packed in there or
how dangerously close she might be to frostbite. Unlike most of her
plans, this one hadn't been so well thought through. The decision to
abandon her bus in order to stow away in the truck's cramped hitch
had been made on the spur of the moment
once Rogue had seen him in
the rest stop parking lot.
He's a mutant, her brain chanted in internal litany, the thought
warming her. Rogue knew he was a mutant she'd seen the razor-sharp
claws slice through his leather gloves when the danger of the
fistfight had up-leveled. His opponent had pulled a gun
a gun the
mutant had instantly shredded with only a few quick, sharp
movements. In all the years she'd been running, he was the only
mutant Rogue had ever encountered. The only other mutant, that was,
other than herself.
The truck began to slow, Rogue noticed, and she wondered if he was
stopping for food. She hoped so she desperately needed to uncurl
her body from its forced ball and warm up a little. The vehicle
rolled to a halt, and Rogue had to will herself not to throw aside
the tarpaulin and sprint for the heated truck stop she mentally
envisioned. She decided to give him five minutes to get inside
before making a break for it. Rogue really wished she'd thought all
of this out better. How was she going to approach him? What would
she say once she did? All she'd known was that she hadn't wanted to
let the man leave without her, so she'd acted hastily. But lesson
learned: spontaneity was definitely not her forte. Out of morbid
curiosity, she tried to clench her frozen hand into a fist and winced
at the stabbing pain.
Without warning, the canvas covering was suddenly yanked aside, and a
brilliant, white sky blinded Rogue. Sunlight speared into her
retinas. Before her eyes could adjust to the piercing brightness of
day, she was being roughly hauled up from under her armpits. She
felt like an abused rag doll in the hands of a mighty beast. Her
body was too battered from the journey and brutal cold to do much
more than dangle limply above the earth without protest. And then
the ground came slamming up to the soles of Rogue's feet and her
confused leg muscles crumpled beneath her. The person manhandling
her did nothing to halt her body's downward descent as she collapsed
into a bruised heap. Her bag was thrown down next to her in the snow.
"Get up," Rogue heard the man growl, and she squinted up at the
amorphous shape in front of her, hoping her pupils would undilate
quickly. She cupped a palm over her eyes to shield them, but could
only make out a dark form against the snow-white backdrop of sky and
landscape. It was him. Rogue knew it. A tingle of awareness
informed her of his identity, even if she still couldn't verify the
fact with her uncooperative eyesight. He wasn't tall, but he was
big. And really menacing.
Rogue tried scrambling to a stand and wobbled wildly; her protesting
legs didn't seem to want to work. The mutant grabbed her beneath the
elbow through her thick cloak to help her maintain some pathetic
level of stability. Muttering a curse under his breath, he
snarled, "I don't take passengers. Hitch a ride off someone else."
He gruffly dropped her arm and strode back to his truck. By now,
Rogue could make out a little more than just ambiguous blobs
didn't see a truck stop. For that matter, she didn't see anything at
all. Just snow. Miles and miles and miles of matted gray snow.
They were in the middle of nowhere. "Wait!" she cried out, panicking
and running sloppily through the powder after his departing
back. "Wait!" she repeated through a stiff, achy jaw. "You can't
He barely broke stride, only looking back to flash her a wolfish
grin. "Oh yeah?" he taunted in what appeared to be perverse
pleasure. "Watch me."
A bolt of pure dread rippled up from Rogue's stomach and landed as a
painful stone in her throat. He was really going to leave her to
freeze to death. "Wait," she implored, hating the frantic whine of
her voice. Her words were slurring slightly. "Please. If you leave
me out here, I'll die from exposure."
This time he didn't turn around, but Rogue could make out his broad
shoulders shrugging up in the universal sign of indifference. He
said nothing, but rather continued plodding, undeterred, to the
driver's side door of the semi, snow crunching beneath his boots in a
dreadful cadence. Cold electricity skittered through Rogue's veins
and ricocheted wildly in her stomach. Screw the whininess of her
voice she was genuinely terrified now. "Please," she begged.
But apparently neither compassion nor even a latent sense of chivalry
moved him; he began climbing up into the rig's cab. Desperation
poled through Rogue, and her frozen brain finally kicked into
action. "I'll pay you!" she cried out. He stopped; hot hope spurted
in Rogue's chest. "You just can't leave me out here," she pled.
He paused for a long time before finally turning to her and
asking, "How much?"
Rogue's brain scrambled to estimate his asking price. "Five-hundred
half now, half when we get to my destination."
"American or Canadian?"
"I-I'm an American," she drawled in confusion.
"Fuckin' Christ," he growled and rolled his eyes. "The five-
hundred! US or Canadian dollars?"
Rogue wanted to smack herself in the forehead. Duh! "Oh. US."
The man said nothing for a long time, and then finally stalked over
to her. Bore down on her was actually more like it, reaching her
with only a few savage strides. Rogue inhaled sharply and her eyes
widened as a zing of energy darted down her spine. God, he had the
intimidation routine down pat!
He loomed above her, breathing harshly through his nose, and regarded
her for a few minutes in silence. His rough, probing stare made
Rogue intensely eager to drop her gaze. It was the eyes they were
pure gold. Like a wildcat's. "You also pick up gas, tolls, food,
and whatever else I say."
Rogue nodded readily. Fine. Not a problem. She was prepared to
agree to almost anything at this point. Then the man asked, "What's
"Calgary," she supplied
He scratched his stubbled chin. "I can get you within a hundred
kilometers of it."
Rogue knew she was being taken for a ride, but another visual pan of
the barren vista surrounding them reminded her that being taken for a
ride was exactly what she needed. "Okay," she finally agreed with a
terse nod. "Deal."
Without so much as a word or handshake, the man turned back to his
truck, climbed up, and slammed the door.
"Well, it's nice to meet you, too," Rogue mumbled as she made her way
awkwardly through the snow back to her belongings. "And aren't you
just the most gentlemanly thing north of the Canadian border."
When she reached her stuff, she slung the heavy bag over her shoulder
and drudged to the passenger's side. Dry, electric heat blasted
Rogue's face as she climbed into the truck and she all but sighed in
audible relief. She could tell it had just been turned on, though;
crisp coolness still lingered in the cab's air. Apparently the mean
man wasn't as affected by cold as she was.
Her aching hands could barely move, and buckling her seatbelt became
a strange performance art piece of stabs and misses until the metal
finally slid home and clicked into place. Rogue went to tuck her bag
in by her feet and discovered a floor littered with burger wrappers
and empty beer bottles. Her nose wrinkled. The man was a total
slob! Using her boot, she nudged a few items aside to create space.
After a quick engine rev, the truck swiftly regained its deadly
velocity on the deserted highway. Rogue dryly noted that her
estimate had just about been right
he tended to keep the speedometer
around eighty-five. Well, over a hundred fifty kilometers per hour,
at any rate. One cold-stiffened hand automatically clutched at the
The two of them drove in silence. Rogue's face, lips, and mouth were
still strangely numb, but her fingers soon began tingling in painful
needles. She once more clenched a fist and stifled her reactionary
grimace at the stabbing pins that shot through her hands.
Annoyance flicked at Wolverine. If she's so fucking cold, he
wondered, why doesn't she do something about it? Christ, her whole
body was shaking.
Impatience got the better of him using his knee to steer, Wolverine
grabbed his passenger's hand, peeled off the glove encasing it, and
pulled her bare palm to the dashboard heat vent. The sharp, pungent
odor of incredible fear instantly slapped the insides of his
nostrils. He couldn't remember ever smelling anything so
intense. "Shit, sweetheart, I'm not gonna rape you," he remarked as
he returned his hold to the steering wheel and his eyes to the road
in front of him.
it's not that," she stammered. "I just
just safer if you don't touch me. I mean, well, not directly
trailed off, staring at his leather gloves.
That was a new one a woman who wasn't scared of him, but rather for
him? "What's your problem, sweetheart? Don't like people touching
"Bad things happen when people touch me," she answered tartly through
a prim Southern accent. "Like how metal blades pop out of your
fists. And my name's not Sweetheart."
Wolverine cocked an eyebrow in curiosity. She must have seen him at
that last rest stop. Her implied message that she too was a mutant
wasn't lost on him either. "So, what is your name
He flashed her a shit-eating grin; her narrowed glare shot back dark
daggers. Fire flared in her deep brown eyes and her pouty lips
quivered slightly. It was the lips that caught his attention; he'd
always been a sucker for big, fat lips. Even when they were so cold
they tinged purple. "Rogue," she proclaimed haughtily. "My name is
"Wolverine," he provided in response.
She unwrapped her death grip on the door handle, removed the glove,
and placed her second hand next to the first on the dash's heating
vent. "I thought it was Logan."
Wolverine clenched his back teeth together. "How the fuck do you
Rogue looked up at him innocently. "That's what the dog tags hanging
on your rearview mirror say."
Logan's eyes darted to the mirror in confirmation. He hated
appearing foolish. "So what's your real name
Rogue glowered icily at him. "What makes you think Rogue isn't my
Logan simply raised an eyebrow as way of response.
"Marie," she stated reluctantly, but then smiled a slight, wistful
"You haven't said it in a while, have you
Marie." His statement
lacked the rising intonation of a question.
A soft, melancholy laugh slid out her throat. "No, it's been a long
time since I've even thought of using that name. How did you know?"
she asked, her eyes colliding with his. Then she shook her
head. "Sorry. Stupid question. Of course you'd know what I'm
talking about. I've, uh
You're the first mutant I've met. Other
than myself, I mean."
Uneasy discomfort slithered into Logan's blood. "Yeah, well, don't
be getting any ideas like I'm gonna mentor you, or something. This
is strictly business. I drive; you pay me money." After a moment's
thought, he added, "Speaking of
"Oh. Of course," she replied in a neutral voice and grabbed her
heavy bag. Logan caught a quick glimpse into the sack as she rooted
around for her wallet. The girl was packed for easy travel. "Here,"
she stated nonchalantly as she presented him with the two fifty:
twelve twenties and a ten. He noticed that her slender fingers were
still shaking and discolored from the cold.
After a quick count, Logan took the bills and deftly slipping them
into the pocket of his leather jacket. He noted her flinch as his
gloved hand brushed her bare palm. "Where'd a young runaway like you
get this kind of money anyway?" he inquired.
"I'm twenty-four," Rogue shot back, adding under her breath, "That's
not *so* young." After a brief pause, she asked, "And what makes you
think I'm running from anything?"
"Let's just say I know the signs," he grumbled, then repeated his
question. "So where'd you get the money?"
"I earned it," she drawled defensively, an indignant look arrowing
across her face. "I
When she didn't fill in the blank for a few moments, Logan
?" He couldn't wait for this story. He wondered if
she stripped or just out-and-out turned tricks. Probably not the
latter if her mutation made her wary of physical human contact.
Rogue heaved a long, heavy sigh. "I do hacking jobs for clients who
find me on the Internet. I was a junior in college studying computer
programming when my little condition surfaced," she added in
"Hacking? You mean illegal stuff?" Logan probed, shooting her a
"You a cop?"
One side of Rogue's mouth kicked up. "Let's just say I don't suspect
I would have been as good at licit programming."
"Is that where you got the name Rogue? Don't you computer nerds
usually give yourselves geeky on-line names, or something?"
"Wow," she responded with a condescending tone. "You're not nearly
as uninformed as you look. Who knew?"
Logan felt the sharp knife of anger slice through him people always
assumed he was stupid. He shifted in his seat and forcibly stared at
the empty road ahead, perfectly content to just let the discussion
end there. He'd never really been one for company or conversation
"Uh, so when were you in the Army? I mean, when'd you get the dog
tags?" She was looking around the cab as she spoke, a slash of
censure etched into her features. It appeared that Rogue was less
than pleased with his idea of cleanliness.
Logan let a low growl of intimidation rumble in the back of his
throat. "Oh, Christ. You're not one of those chatty chicks, are
The question was intended to brow-beat her into submissive silence
with its implied edict for silence. No such luck. A determined
sense of righteousness surfaced on Rogue's face and she crossed her
arms across her chest. "Yeah, I guess maybe I am. So were you in
the Gulf War, or what?"
Logan exhaled in resignation. "No, I wasn't in Desert Storm. I
don't know when I was in the military."
"What do you mean you don't know when you--"
"--Look, I don't remember, okay, sweetheart?" Logan interrupted, his
irritation mounting at a steady rate. *This* was why he didn't pick
up hitchhikers. "I don't remember anything before fifteen years
ago. I wouldn't even know my name's Logan if not for the tags."
A hard quiet hung in the air. Rogue gnawed on her lower lip, then
tentatively started figuring, "But you look like you're in your early
thirties. If you got your memory back fifteen years ago, you would
about eighteen? You would have had to have just
"--No," Logan cut into her musings. "I've always looked like this.
I don't seem to age much
must be a mutant thing."
"Oh. Hmmmm," Rogue considered, and then brightened. "The military
must have records! You can go to them with your dog tags to find out-
"--NO!" Logan roared. "I don't have many memories to work with, but
those I do have make me pretty sure the government is not the group I
want to get in touch with! End of discussion."
"Okay," Rogue said with a shrug of indifference. The calm reaction
from his prissy hitchhiker was a bit disconcerting. Logan was
accustomed to frightening people, and he'd come to expect that
predictable behavior. He barely smelled any fear off her now.
The two of them traveled quietly for a few minutes before passing a
billboard advertising a burger joint at an upcoming rest stop. Logan
wordlessly pulled into the exit lane.