Rating: The entire story gets an R rating (so be warned)
Setting: a few months after the end of X2.
Summary: Logan runs after the death of Jean.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of any of the Marvel characters,
however the creation of Danielle aka Panther is mine. This is the
first in a series of chapters to follow.
Feedback reasonable and not nasty - greatly appreciated. If you
wish to archive this story please email me first. Trust me, I am sure
I will be thrilled, but want to know where it is.
I left the mansion left the one stable thing I had in my life a
place I really could think of as `home'. Left it to run again.
I was desperately in need of time alone more to escape the torment
of losing Jean the woman I opened my heart to, was rejected by, and
lost out on forever. She gave her life to save us from certain
More than anything, it's been three months and the school just isn't
the same without her around.
It tore my heart apart seeing Scott try to cope with the loss of his
girl the one woman he thought he would spend the rest of his life
with and who I tried to steal away.
There were times he attempted to reach out to me, but the words failed
to be said. Then again, what the hell would I have to say to him when
I am dealin' with my own hurtin'.
Part of him still hates me and hell, I don't have much of a likin' of
him either. Then again, I am a jerk and I don't really blame him for
hatin' me anyway.
I'm sure Scott will always wonder why Jean would take interest in a
guy like me, and I will always wonder if she might have ever decided
to leave Scott for something dangerous and uninhibited something I
could have offered her.
I hit the road on Scott' motorcycle. I know he'll be pissed once he
realizes I took off on it again, but I really could care less.
I found myself back in Laughlin City and back to the life I knew
before Marie tore me away. She's another reason I had to run.
You see, Marie is a fine girl and that's exactly the problem she's
a kid. I shouldn't be thinkin' the things I sometimes do concernin'
her, but I find that I wish I was more than just her sworn protector.
She is the one I have to give credit to for bringin' out the hidden
side of me awakening feelings I had buried long ago. She reminded me
what it was like to care for someone, and have someone care for me.
Maybe that's the problem I have with her. I mistook her kindness for
an arrogant asshole like me for something more. I wish I could have
been more than just a friend. But, damn it, I'm old enough to be her
friggin' father and what the hell would she do with someone like me
I don't know shit about relationships I know plenty about flings and
one-night stands. I've tried, believe me, I've tried but with no
But, it don't matter.
She's got her little geeky boyfriend, Bobby. He has taken my place as
her protector, her savior, her wanna-be lover.
So, between Jeannie dyin' and Marie, I ran back to Laughlin this
shitty little town where I spent a couple years of my meager life
brawlin' in the bar, drinkin' and womanizing. I needed a way to deal
with the pain.
I remembered every detail of the small town it was as close to a
home as I could have had. But, you really can't call livin' out of a
camper home. And right now, I don't even have that. It's just me and
the bike and sleepin' in the snow if that's what it takes, unless my
charmin' good looks find me some lonely soul willin' to share a bed
My gut is craving a beer right now and off I go inside.
I know I will probably have my ass tossed out. Last time I was here,
old Mac told me never to come back since I am a mutant I think he
referred to me as `freak' - and I almost killed a man because he knew
The place was still the same dive drunken people everywhere,
scantily clad women looking for lonely men, and the cage the cage
where I was the brawlin' champion and earned a meager livin'.
I recalled the typical sounds of people wailing out loud cheers for
the fighters. I remember the smells and the dim lighting - the damned
place still looked the same.
I walk up to the bar and ask for a beer. Old Mac remembers me and
hesitates to hand over the bottle. Maybe he was afraid I would spring
my claws on him. But, alas, Old Mac bid a hello. He tells me the
place ain't been the same since I left, leavin' me to assume he's been
steadily losing' money on them cage fights.
What good was it without the King of the Cage the Wolverine? I
never lost and was the house's sure bet to win.
A band played off to the side of the bar more my style of music
beats out that Pop music crap the kids at the school listen to.
I can also sense Violet watching me with her deep stare and I try to
ignore it by askin' for another beer.
"What's wrong, Wolvie darling? You look so forlorn you got
troubles? I think I know what you need, darlin'," Violet says placing
her hand on my shoulder.
I didn't answer Violet ain't my type of woman, especially since
she's married to Mac, and let's face it I just ain't in the mood.
I lit up a cigar and began puffing away on it, in between hits from my
beer. I'm feelin' the urge to ask for somethin' harder somethin' I
can loose myself in and forget the hell I am livin' right now. So, I
order up another beer and a shot of whiskey.
"Hey, girls, play something soulful for Wolvie," I hear Violet say.
The lead singer looks over to me.
"I'll assume it's woman troubles by that look on yer face," she says
in a cute New York accent.
I feel absorbed in the tune and listen to all the words of the song.
Her voice was pleasing fillin' my ears with lyrics of having to let
go of love. Somehow I feel a little enlightened. The words she sang
and the way she sang it seemed like she was singin' only for me and
she seemed so sincere.
I begin to wonder why anyone would want me them words Jean said to
me privately about being dangerous and only for flirtin' with swam
around in my now intoxicated brain. Jean, young Rogue and Professor
Xavier were the only ones who really accepted me as a mutant.
Oddly enough here at the bar, I can just barely pick up the scent of a
mutant it is a scent that's very different from regular people.
But, my senses are a bit impaired and I cannot make out from where
exactly it is comin'from.
Now, I hear the crowd screaming in unison as the current cage champion
put down another opponent.
"Hey, how about a bout in the cage for old times sake? You can have
free beer all night," Mac begged me.
"Free beer and what else?" I snorted before taking another long drag
on my cigar.
"OK all of tonight's tips and half of the bets," Mac answered.
Yeah, I drive a hard bargain. But, if I am gonna get into that cage
again and get beaten on then it's gotta be worth my while. I downed
my beer without taking a breath, put out my cigar, and left for the
I can hear Mac whisper to Violet, "Guess that means yes."
"Never in my day did I see a man of the likes of this feller. He is
undefeated unstoppable. He returns to Laughlin City to reclaim his
title of King of the Cage," the ring announcer said.
The bar erupts with the roars of drunken men all awaiting the match
fight between some dumb schmuck and me. The funny thing was the
current ring champ was none other than Stu.
"Back to challenge me? I'm gonna take yer head off," Stu said.
Just for the hell of it, I stand my ground and let Stu beat on me it
was like a repeat performance of the last time I faced Stu - taking
several kicks and punches to my body, sending me down on my knees.
It felt good to be beaten I liked the pain and I begged him to punch
me some more. Stu was lookin' at me funny. He musta been wonderin'
what the hell was wrong with me.
Yes, I wanted pain and lots of it and if he didn't give it to me, then
I was just gonna go find a dark corner some where, get shit-faced and
then pick on someone until they beat on me.
He throws a few punches and I take them without fightin' back.
Hurt me; hurt me bad for bein' a jackass and tryin' to steal Jeannie
away from Scott.
Hurt me more for the sick disgustin' thoughts I had about Marie. I
should be beaten to within an inch of death just for those thoughts
Stu throws a right hook to my jaw and I land on the floor on my back.
I lay there thinkin' about all the hell I am puttin' myself through.
I hear everyone yellin' that I been defeated and I look around as
they begin to exchange money.
I get up a snarling and everyone stops I ain't out of it yet.
That's when I notice the band's lead singer leanin' on the cage. Her
friend is behind her with a look lacking any enthusiasm.
But, she's lookin' at me I don't know why.
Is it my dashin' good looks? Maybe it's the heavy biceps and broad
chest? No, maybe she just likes the feral animal personality.
I don't know, but she wouldn't stop starin' and I was stupid for
starin' back Stu went for broke and nailed me in my crotch again
the one place I hate bein' hit and I can feel my berserker rage
kicking up as I got to my feet.
I felt Wolverine take over and pummel him with several hard blows from
hands that contained metal. Stu fell right out of the cage and into
the crowd. I think he pissed me off so bad I might have actually
killed him if I went at him any more.
I listened to the crowd roar hateful things at me and all I could do
was snarl back at them - just like the feral animal I am. And, I was
hankering for another bout. The release of anger felt so good the
pain felt good and I wanted more. But, no one else dared get into the
"Here he is the returning champion and King of the Cage the
Wolverine," Mac announced before both he and I exit the cage.
I didn't want to be the new champ. I just wanted someone to kick my
ass. But, as I step out of the cage I stop for just a second catching
that unusual scent in the smoke-filled air before continuing on.
I return to the bar after showerin' up. I sit down and order up a
beer and a bottle of whiskey. I glance off to the side Mac and
Violet are there chattin' with her and her friend.
I down my beer and start working on the whiskey. The pain from
fightin' had all but worn off and I wasn't happy. I wished I could
die right now.
My sharp hearin' catches the sound of a camera shutter goin' off and I
look over and she's obviously taken my picture. She looks away to her
friend tryin' to hide from the deed she did.
The two women look as if they are softly arguing and after a moment, I
hear her approachin'.
I didn't need to look up I could smell the scent of leather and her
light vanilla perfume filling my nostrils the same scents I picked
up on earlier as I passed by her after the fight.
And, there is something else I am too drunk to pick up on right now.
I really ain't in the mood for company, but curiosity and interest got
the best of me and I opted to raise my eyes to her. I can't say I
looked too enticing I was really unhappy.
She hopped up onto the bar stool next to me, camera in hand, and she
leaned into me surprisin' me with a delicate kiss on my cheek.
"I hope that cheers you up. I know who you are and I think you're
cool. Do you mind if I take a candid shot?" she whispers to me in
that New York accent.
I look her over she's dressed all in black leather and her hair
cascaded down in waves of mixed browns and golds. And that body she
was all woman, with perky full breasts and hips I could just hold onto
and grind into all night long. I won't apologize for undressin' her
with my eyes.
Then, I realize the scent I was tryin' to decipher that of a mutant.
She's a mutant like me.
"If it makes you happy," I respond and she took a picture of me
leaning against the bar puffing away on my cigar.
I was tryin' to hide the solemn look on my face hidin' it with
furrowed brows, lengthy sideburns, and a hateful stare.
"Hey, something's buggin' you. Wanna chat about it?" she asks me.
Wow. Nothing like askin' a total stranger what's on his mind. I look
into her eyes her big expressive brown eyes that make me want to melt.
Bein' a survivor, talkin' about my troubles ain't what I want to do.
But, somehow I change my mind feelin' like I need to talk. So, bad
ass Logan rises and takes her hand leadin' her over to a free booth
way in the back and out of sight. I hesitate at first, but then I let
"She died a few months back," I start.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," she says with surprise. "You and her were an item?"
"It's not what you think. I would have liked it to be, but she was
involved with someone else," I reply.
"Oh. Well, it's gonna take time to heal that pain. It's ok, I
understand. I'm sorry if I got pushy at all," she says and lightly
squeezes my hand.
"No, you haven't been pushy. I guess what bothers me most of all is
that I will never be able to tell her how I really felt. And, I wish
I could have done something to save her life," I say.
I explain what had happened that fateful day at Alkali Lake and the
tension that continued between Scott and me. I try to hide the pain
in my heart but my voice trembles as I speak. I can tell she could
sense how bad I am hurtin' since she took hold of both my hands in hers.
"She chose to give her life to save all of yours an honorable thing
to do when all other attempts failed," she said.
"As for Scott, you gotta realize he's never gonna be totally cool with
you you wanted his girl," she added.
I knew she was right. I looked away feelin' tears wellin' up in my
eyes. Just what Wolverine needs to do in front of a bunch of drunken
She gets up and slides onto the seat near me, and that's when I felt
her arm drape around my shoulder pullin' me close.
"Hey, let it go. Here's my shoulder if it makes you feel better to
cry. I won't tell anyone," she said.
I snickered and sniffed then inhaled deeply fightin' back that urge.
"Thanks fer listenin'," I say. After that, she got up and went back
to her friend.
It was then that the booze started to really wear off. I can't retain
a hangover for long a curse with this healin' thing I got.
Something struck me funny though. Bein' that close to her I finally
realized what it was I was sensing it was something primal I
sensed she was feral, untamed and animal, but having the gentle
softness and sweetness of a good woman.
Maybe it's the booze cloudin' my better judgment.
Maybe I'm just getting a little horny after all.
But, when I looked back, she and her friends had gone.
I ran outside or maybe a better description is that I stumbled outside.
I sniffed the brisk night air hoping to pick up her scent.
I realized I didn't even get her name.
But, all I could smell was a light hint of vanilla perfume and car
exhaust, and I go away with the thought that only time will heal my
pain and I got plenty of that.