Specific request: Gen please! Or at least no relationship with Hit Girl without aging her significantly! I'd love a story where Wolverine runs face to face with Hit Girl, who makes him recall all the young kids he's trained and wonders if he's crossed the line. Shenanigans welcome.
"Come on, Mindy, time for a lesson. Today you're going to learn how to drive someone's nasal bones into his brain with the butt of a gun, and then we'll get some ice cream. Sound good, sweetheart?"
Mindy wore street clothes and stood just a step or two away from him, her arms crossed in front of her chest. "Big Daddy's gone, fucker."
"No, child," he said, laughing in that way she loved. "It all turned out all right, I'm back. This story has a happy ending, just like I always told you."
Her dad smiled broadly and reached out his hand. She felt a twinge of hope in her stomach for just a moment, before she noticed that one side of his mustache wasn't as thick as the other. That was the giveaway, one of the clues he'd taught her to look for—the unexpected and unusual was almost always bad.
A Luger appeared in her hand and she only hesitated another second or two before she blew the bastard away and woke screaming again.
Sometimes his voice was off, or his eye color was wrong—she'd almost missed that one and knew he'd have been disappointed—and once his pants were on backwards. Those were the signs that he wasn't right.
She did dream about her daddy sometimes, sometimes when it was okay, but they were dreams about other things and he happened to be in them. They'd be together in the ice cream shop which turned out to be the entrance to a surreal world of carnivals and chocolate museums. They'd be at the movies and the rest of the seats would be filled with talking zoo animals. They were typical goofy dreams like she often had and he was there, and it was as if he'd never gone. Those were good.
But the dream where he insisted that he was back, that one always had a sign that showed her it wasn't Big Daddy, but a bad guy pretending to be him. Every time she waited for the sign, then she killed him. But she woke knowing something was wrong, and she couldn’t make the feeling go away even though she saw the signs, and did what she was supposed to. Bad guys always gave themselves away with those signs. He'd taught her—that was how it worked.
Logan shook his head and spoke in a low growl. "Come on, Rogue, I know you've got it in you."
"I can't." She grabbed the edge of a long glove and pulled it up tightly before doing the same to the other, a gesture he noticed was as common as someone else smoothing a hand down her shirt or flipping her hair. "Logan, I don't want to hit you."
"And I don't want you to end up dead." He'd worn his typical daily outfit--boots, jeans and a t-shirt--instead of workout clothes, because he wanted this to seem realistic, not like an exercise when he was teaching her survival and fight moves. This was different.
"All I have to do is grab somebody." She held up a gloved hand, palm toward Logan, and wiggled her fingers.
"But will you?"
Rogue pulled her head back a little, frowning. "Of course I will. I don't like the idea of doing it, but I will if I have to. I'm no fool."
"I didn't say you were." He sighed and put his hand on his hips. He wanted her to hit him—hit him to hurt him—because he figured if she could handle that, the feeling of hitting a brick wall and causing pain while feeling pain at the same time, the feeling of delivering a blow that could actually do damage, then she could handle almost anything. Like hitting someone she used to care about. Or touching him, bare-handed, if necessary.
He felt like telling her that it was okay, never mind, it wasn't important. But deep down, he thought it was. When he felt this way, like he should give in and go easy on her, he looked at that white strip of hair and remembered holding her, lifeless, in his arms.
"It's coming, Rogue. The day when you might have to defend yourself against someone you never thought was capable of hurting you. I want you to be prepared."
"You're talking about John, I know." Her hands went to her hips now. "I know he's with Magneto and doing all sorts of things he shouldn't be doing. But that doesn't mean he would hurt me."
"But if he did try, yes, I'd defend myself."
"So prove it." He shrugged. "You know you can't hurt me, kid. What's the harm? Hit me."
Logan's head turned and he blew out a breath. "Apparently, I have to go talk to the Professor. But we're going to do this again." He raised his eyebrows and nodded as he walked past her. He was pushed forward a half-step when her foot came up hard against his ass.
"Good start, oh, very clever," he said, turning and pointing. Her giggle followed him out. He'd missed hearing that, how it made her sound so much younger, and he was in a much better mood by the time he reached the Professor's office.
"The intercom system works here, doesn't it?" Logan asked. He snatched a glass paperweight off the desk and tossed it between his hands. The red teardrop designs in the center looked too much like blood, so he put it back down.
"I want you to accompany Storm and Rogue on a very special assignment. I want you to find a little girl. You might have seen her on the Internet in a daring rescue during what was supposed to be a "superhero" unmasking of someone who calls himself Kick Ass."
Logan shook his head. "I heard something about her, I think."
"I would very much like to talk to this girl, to let her know that we may be able to help her. Storm has such a way with young children, and Rogue's closer to her age . . . if one can't connect with her, perhaps the other can."
"Why do you want me to go?"
"I don't want them to go alone." The Professor explained that he was picking up a lot of concern among mutants in that area, fearing for the girl's well-being, especially since many of them assumed she was a mutant, too. Many were on guard as the word was that she was being targeted by a group of kids who thought she was their ticket to fame and fortune, or at least infamy. These days, five minutes of fame were five minutes to some people, no matter what grimy path they walked to get there. The Professor explained that his sources said they wanted to kidnap her and get a ransom, presumably so they could drop out of high school and live lives of luxury. He finished his explanation with a mildly amused look on his face.
So they were targeting a little kid? Logan would like to run into them and show them the drawbacks of being famous and having someone know who you were when you did something that despicable. He'd like that very much.
Logan didn't have to ask why he wasn't sending Scott, who surely would have been his first choice if Scott hadn't been too wrapped up in grief to even leave his room most days. Logan felt for him and resented him at the same time. He would have liked to hole up in his room, too. But he didn't feel it was an option.
"So what is she?"
"Oh, she's not a mutant. But she's clearly special." The Professor inhaled for a few seconds and then sighed. "I'm not that concerned about these teenage boys, not really, but I have a feeling about her, Logan. I'd like to extend an offer of friendship and help, and this situation would be a good way to do it." He turned away then, so Logan knew that was all he was going to get.
"I'll go," he said unnecessarily. Logan was aware that the Professor already knew exactly what he was going to do. Xavier wasn't psychic, but Logan never seemed to tell him no, and he certainly wasn't going to let Rogue and Storm go alone if the Professor was uneasy about it.
"I knew you would, thank you. Will you send Rogue to see me, please?"
"Yeah," Logan said, but stopped before he reached the door and turned back. "Why don't you just call her the same way you did me?"
"She's a teenager, Logan. I'd rather not get inside her head if I can help it. Dangerous waters, those."
As he went to get Rogue, Logan wondered if the reason he never said no had anything to do with the fact that the Professor could slip into his mind unnoticed and starting tossing bits and pieces around. He imagined the man right now, smug that he had Logan wondering such a thing.
Logan watched the little shits run, and looked down at his torn shirt. Too bad it wouldn't heal like the scratches on his chest. He should have worn that god-awful black thing after all, just to keep his own clothes intact. He sighed, knowing he couldn't even bitch about it since he'd been the one who insisted that they please not have to change.
He'd found someone he thought was this girl or she'd found him, he was still unclear on which was more accurate, and he'd only gotten a glimpse of her back and started heading her way before a little group of what appeared to be teenage boys in Halloween costumes showed up. These kids might have managed to come up with what they thought was a diabolical plan (and blabbed to so many others that everyone in the area, including the girl, knew about it), but they apparently weren't willing to go to great lengths to carry it out. They were like little kids playing house, and just going through pretend motions.
They'd thrown some things at Logan, had come after him with a bat that he sliced as they swung it, but didn't have any real conviction behind their movements. He'd trained younger kids at the school that could do 100 times the damage these boys seemed capable of, and all without even using their gifts.
When he'd grabbed the biggest one and only showed his claws in the hopes of scaring him out of his bravery, the kid had yelped and clawed at him, tearing his shirt, and said that Logan had better let him go or he was going to go home and tell his dad. Logan sighed, made a threat and let him go.
Now there was no sign of the girl. He went to find Rogue and Storm.
He jerked, his claws snicking out instinctively, when he realized someone was right behind him. Before he could draw back to strike or defend himself, his eyes focused on the little girl wearing a mask and sporting the purplest of purple hair.
His body sunk back a little as he exhaled. "Son of a—" He stopped himself, as he often did around the kids at the school.
The girl's lip curled in a snarl. "Bitch," she said, and slammed the blade home.
Logan grunted when he felt the steel slice into him, and he grunted again when it split into him a second and third time. He raised his hand to fend off another blow and had it sliced for his trouble, the cut deep and sure enough that it would have lobbed off fingers if not for his bones' adamantium shell. He saw a blur of purple and felt his throat open, stopping the shout that had been forming. His claws withdrew as he groped at his neck.
He dropped to his knees and let his head fall forward, gasping and choking for a moment until his windpipe healed itself and his flesh melted back together to stop the flow of blood. He stayed like that another few beats, calculating what to say to stop her, so he wouldn't have to even raise a hand to defend himself and possibly hurt her. She's a baby. A deadly baby.
"I'm on your side!" he shouted, looking up and hoping to somehow convey that even though he could feel his own frown—a little girl shouldn't even be allowed near the weapons she just used with as much skill as he'd seen anyone do it. Not that he'd had much of a chance to see shit—she was good.
"Jesus, kid, I'd hate to see what happens to your enemies." He looked at his hand and shook it hard once, damn, as it finally healed and the stinging stopped.
She backed far away, eyes wide. "What the fuck?"
Logan's eyes widened, too. "It's okay--I heal." He stood, slowly, and held his hands up, palm out. "Don't go all ninja on me again—I'm here to help you, if you can keep yourself from cutting my head off first."
The girl gaped at him briefly and her head tilted. "Your hands?"
"That's a long story." And one I don't even know, to tell you. "Don't worry, I only use them on . . . on the bad guys," he said. He made fists and extended them slowly so she could get a closer look.
When his claws cut through the flesh of his knuckles, he saw it briefly, the child inside. It was a fast glimpse, one that a person could easily convince himself he imagined, if he wanted to. But Logan didn't want it to have been imagination or wishful thinking. He was glad he got a tiny glimpse of the girl, her eyes widening in genuine surprise and fear.
And then the little girl was gone and she was lethal and calculating again, looking at his adamantium claws with awe and maybe, he thought, maybe even a bit of jealousy. In that look, he could also see that she still didn't trust him. That was okay, because he wasn't sure he trusted her, either. No one had gotten the goods on him like that in years. And never anyone who only came up to his waist, that was God damn sure.
She crossed her arms in front of her. "I don't need your help with those little cunts."
"Whoa!" he said. It didn't feel right to scold her, she seemed beyond that and it wasn't his place—was it?-- but hearing it come out of that mouth . . . . "Kid, do you even know what that word means?"
She worked her mouth and blinked a few times, before she jutted out her chin, confident again. "It means fuck you, who do you think—"
Logan lunged toward her, claws still extended, his sights on the boy coming up fast behind her with what looked like a big canvas bag in his hand, maybe a garment bag or a body bag, he didn't know, he only knew he meant to reach that kid before he got to the girl.
The kid stopped short when he saw Logan, though. He'd apparently been expecting the girl to be alone--not that that would have saved the dumb little shit. He caught up to the boy in a few easy strides.
"Oh my God, that was fucking great!"
Logan nodded, though he thought it was anything but great. These kids had no idea what they were doing and how dangerous it could be. It could ruin their lives if they ended up in prison. Or they could actually get close enough to this girl, Hit Girl she'd said was her name, for her to get to them. That would probably be worse.
He'd grabbed the kid, explained the situation and explained how none of them had better ever come near her again, for their own damn good. They'd have to answer to him if they did, and if there was anything left of them when she was done. The kid had cried, and once Logan let go of him he'd even stumbled and fell when he turned, and froze there for a moment before he'd scrambled to his feet and gotten away.
Logan felt sorry for the kid by the time he'd disappeared around the corner. Mostly because if he tried it again, he had no doubt this girl wouldn't stop where he had. She'd make him really cry.
"Did you see him piss himself?" She smiled and bounced as she walked. "You should've kicked him in the ribs when he fell. Too easy on him."
Logan nodded again. Had it been an adult, he absolutely would have. "You need to not kill people, or even seriously hurt them. You realize that, don't you?"
He was unconvinced. They were walking to where he figured the girls were waiting in the jet, having explained they really were here to help and having finally won Hit Girl over enough for her to at least walk next to him. She hadn't made him any promises about going anywhere or talking to anybody else, but she was willing to do this, at least.
She'd been silent for a while, and he could feel, despite doing his best to ignore it, that he needed to find out why.
"Something wrong, kid?"
"I--I killed you."
"I'm still here."
"But you were trying to help me. And I thought your hands were a sign that you were a bad guy. I didn't even hesitate, or give you a chance to explain. "
"They look bad," he said softly. "You were scared."
She shook her head. "If you didn't heal like a freak you'd be dead, because of me." She stopped and stared ahead. Her voice softened. "I don't like thinking that. And Big Daddy'd be disappointed, because that's a bad mistake."
Logan put a hand on the back of her shoulder, ignoring the freak. "Kid, I have metal claws, you thought I was a threat to you. I don't blame you . . . exactly." That a grade-schooler had slit his throat wasn't exactly something one could just overlook, but he also wasn't sure what person out there he should hold it against.
She stopped and looked up at him, and her chin actually quivered. "But I did that . . . and you're one of the good guys."
Good guys. Jean had tried to convince him of that, hadn't she? Logan didn't nod, but instead said, "I'm here to help you. And everybody makes mistakes. You won't make it twice, right?" He chucked her lightly under the chin with a knuckle when she shook her head, and then pressed on her shoulder so they'd start walking again.
"Yeah. You're . . . you're right. In comic books," she said, "there are good guys and bad guys, and they're easy to tell apart if you really look at them. You? You've got all the signs of a bad guy." She gestured at his hands. "How was I supposed to know? But I didn't give you a chance to explain, not at all."
She said the last so softly, he wondered if it was even meant for him. "It's not always that easy to tell what drives people, kid. Life isn't a comic book."
"The fuck it isn't. My life is like one. You don't know--you've probably never even read one."
Logan admitted he hadn't by not saying anything. She didn't speak for a while, and then she asked if he had any other powers.
"I have heightened senses, I have metal inside me and I heal. And I'm older than I look, I guess, for the same reasons I heal. That's it."
She peppered him with questions about the blades, then his memory when he told her that he really didn't remember anything but the last few years, and after several minutes of this he said he wouldn't answer anymore questions on the grounds that she was making his brain ache.
"It's a good thing you heal. I mean, considering your weaknesses."
Logan frowned. "What?"
"You let a little girl kick your ass because you underestimated me—which is common, by the way, don't feel bad—but then you told me too much. Never reveal anything about yourself. You never know when your ally will become your enemy. I mean, you'll know, because there'll be a sign. But you don't know when it will happen, and you don't want them to know too much."
Logan simply said, "I see." Mostly because he couldn't argue with a damn bit of it.
"That's not really your Kryptonite, though. That was just a stupid mistake."
"You know, the thing that makes you weak, like in Superman. Fuck, you've never even seen the movie?"
"I've seen it. I just don't know what you're talking about."
"Look," she said, impatience in her voice, "there are good guys and bad guys. Bad guys let you know they're bad guys either openly or in ways that they can't control. There are signs. Their badness is their weakness, in one way or another. But good guys always have one special weakness that they have to overcome, like Kryptonite. I don't know you. I could be wrong. But your biggest weakness seems to be that you don't remember anything, and can't decide if you're a bad guy or a good guy. And one day, that'll fuck you up." She nodded decisively. "It sounds like you have lots of other problems. But it's hard to tell in thirty minutes."
Logan wanted to argue and frankly wanted to yell at her a little, because she'd poked him in the wrong places, the sore ones. Maybe get her to stop cursing. Instead, he forced a smile. "Thank you, Dr. Freud, for that armchair analysis. Where do I send the bill?"
She giggled, and it reminded him of Rogue in the way that you didn't expect it, and could never have guessed how wonderful it would sound.
"Underneath all the bullshit, you're all right," she said.
He'd left her alone with Storm and Rogue for a while, and basically walked around in the dark, thinking. He'd dealt with kids that were far too old in their heads for their age, kids that had been through hell because they were mutants, but he'd never seen anything like this girl. It hurt to see her, to think that other kids her age were just leaving the Barbie doll phase and moving on to slumber parties and amusement parks. And she was looking at his claws with envy, because they'd fit into her collection of sundry and deadly implements, most of which had already been used for their intended purposes.
Fuck, it wasn't right.
She shouldn't be doing the things she did, thinking them, knowing them at all. She wasn't a mutant, yet she was. She was mutated mentally and emotionally into a different creature thanks to the way she was raised, he guessed, as sure as he was a mutant thanks to a genetic accident of evolution. That anyone made her this hard, this young, seemed criminal to him. But at the same time, what could she ever encounter in life that she couldn't survive?
That was what Logan was best at--surviving. And that's what he'd been teaching the kids at the school. That's why they trained so hard, and he pushed them harder. Because life wasn't fucking fair, and if you weren't tough enough you got chewed up in the God damn cogs of it. And mutants had one foot in the gears before they'd ever even had a chance to make a mistake, like Rogue who'd run away after she kissed her first boy. And Bobby, whose parents were so afraid of something amazing and different that they'd rather disown their own son than try to understand.
He'd trained Rogue. She knew the moves, she understood the strategies. She was tough. But the training he'd tried before they'd come here, that was no different than what had been done to Hit Girl. It was meant to harden her, make her impervious to pain--to causing pain. He was so tired of losing people, or more accurately, he was tired of watching people die. Sometimes you could go, and your body remained. He thought of Scott, and wondered if he was going to turn hard, or if he would be lost.
Logan was a hard man, toughened by life and the metal that wrapped his bones, and losing Jean still hurt like hell. And maybe those were the wounds he was trying to protect Rogue from, the ones that no shield or martial arts moves or wall could ever prevent.
Maybe all the kids he'd trained and pushed so damn much to be hard and tough would have been better served in learning to handle the blows that came, because they'd come no matter what he did, instead of learning to strike out first.
Rogue approached with Hit Girl, who had announced that she was ready to go home and wanted to say goodbye to Logan. She wouldn't let him take her all the way home—no doubt, because that would be revealing too much. But they got close, because he told her it would make him feel better.
"Got any kids?" she asked, when they'd gone as far as she would allow.
"Not that I know of. But I shouldn't be answering your questions, in case you decide to kick my ass later, right?" He wasn't comfortable with the idea of saying ass in front of her, despite the worse words she'd wielded expertly, but it had slipped out. Oh, what the hell.
She smiled. "But maybe you have some?"
"It's possible," he admitted.
"You're good with kids."
He shook his head. "I'm better than I used to be, at least." That much he could agree with.
"Ever try to find out if you have any, like go looking for them? I mean, if you had a kid, wouldn't you want to find her?"
"I've looked for a lot of things," Logan said. "Haven't found them yet. And what do you mean 'her?' Could as easily be a boy. Or a man, since he'd probably be pretty old. At least as old as I look." Or even older, already gone.
Hit girl nodded slowly, then smiled. "Boy, man," she said, shrugging. "Either way, I'll bet I could kick his ass."
Logan laughed. "I have no doubt."
"I should go now," she said, and he wondered if he should shake her hand or hug her. He wanted to hug her, wrap himself around her and protect her, and yet it didn't feel right. But she hesitated there, and he thought for a moment that she was waiting for some such gesture.
She nodded her head toward the street. "That car? That belongs to the boy from the alley. He and his pussy friends drive around in it at night thinking it makes their dicks bigger."
So she wouldn't be hugging him, but he knew what she wanted in lieu of a socially acceptable affectionate gesture. Despite himself, he smiled. At least it was even more unlikely that any of the boys would bother her again, if they had an ounce of sense. She'd giggled and even clapped once as he'd clawed the shiny red body of the kid's Mustang into tiny little strips.
The Professor was pleased, because only a few days after their trip, Hit Girl had called him, from a payphone, of course. At least contact had been made, and a relationship could be nurtured. At least the potential was there.
Logan still thought someone ought to step in and fix things, somehow. But it wasn't a plan or a workable theory, just a feeling. He also had a feeling he'd see her again, and he liked that. Right now, though, he wanted to see Marie.
"Rogue," he called out to her when he spotted her in the hallway. "You busy now?"
She tilted her head to the side and shook it a little. "No, but I'm not going to train with you, at least not the way you want."
"All I want is some lunch. I thought we could just eat and . . . talk."
She blinked and the corners of her mouth turned up. "Yeah?"
"Yeah, if you want. Meet me here in about an hour and we'll go, okay?"
She looked at him for a minute before speaking. "Yeah," she said, nodding.
Logan smiled back and turned to go, but stopped and spoke over his shoulder. "You can bring Iceman, if you want."
"Okay," she said, brightening even more. "Did she . . . hit you in the head, or something?"
She did more than that, he thought. Logan nodded. "Yeah, yeah she did."
She was walking down a dark street, the kind she'd seen in comic books and movies that portrayed the world after some sort of nuclear holocaust or virus that wiped everyone out. It was quiet, and that was nice for a change. She looked down at her feet as she walked. A pink pinecone that someone had glued googly eyes onto rested against the curb, and she kicked it. She had a Luger in a loose grip, and realized that she could have shot the pinecone only after she watched it disappear into a storm drain. The voice came from behind her.
"Child, let's go and--"
She spun and fired, squeezing out the rounds before she even saw the familiar face that went with the voice. No hesitation. She didn't have to look for a sign--Big Daddy was gone. That he was there at all, that was the giveaway that it was a bad guy. She knew that now.
Logan had been a good guy, and when she saw the knives in his hands she hadn't hesitated. She'd attacked, and would have killed an innocent person if he didn't have some seriously fucked up, and pretty cool, genes.
But every time she had this dream of her daddy, every time, she'd paused to look for a sign even knowing that it was all wrong, hoping against hope not to find one, hoping that it could be him, whole, real, just this once. That was her weakness, her Kryptonite. Not anymore.
A tear dripped down her cheek in the dream, its real counterpart tracking its way down her temple while she slept peacefully. Despite the tears, she smiled. She knew she'd finally gotten it right when the voice came from everywhere.
That's my girl.