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Hank was staring at him, another one of his odd looks on his blue face. Charles grunted to truly get his attention, “What’s wrong with you?”

The shriek Hank let loose was viciously reminiscent of him as a teenager, and he slammed his hands on his computer screen. “Some warning!”

Charles frowned at him, “What’s troubling you, Hank?”

Hank’s eyes shifted nervously about, and, without going too deeply, Charles couldn’t ascertain what was wrong with him, “Um…I was restoring a computer drive, one of the ones we got from uh…Stryker’s lab.”

Charles grimaced at the name, “I didn’t think you’d found anything.”

Hank’s scent turned even more sour and his heart rate spiked even higher, “I got a video, it’s still pretty rough, but…it’s enough to know way more than I wanted to. I’m not really sure what this is, but…damn, just watch. I need to not be the only one with this in my head. I’m sorry, Charles.” He hid his face in his arms as he pressed play.

The black screen popped into picture, and Charles felt like he’d been punched in the gut by an eighteen wheeler. “Jesus Christ.” He gasped out, horrified.

It was the room Logan had been held in, with him standing just inside the door as if he’d been shoved in just moments before, but he wasn’t alone in the room. There was a female in there with him. Long red hair spilled over her shoulders as she lay on a thin cot, curled in on herself, crumpling the plain blue dress she was wearing.

She shot up from the cot, and glanced towards the camera, revealing her young delicate face before turning her tear stained eyes back to the man who had just entered the room. The man on the tape crossed the room in a blur, pinning her to the wall in one swift motion.

Then Charles realized that the video wasn’t silent.

When her back hit the wall, the female screamed and video Logan roared, growling deeply as he shoved her dress up to her hips and pulled his shorts down. She continued making horrible sounds as the creature with Logan’s face took the female violently. She pushed against his shoulders and threw her head back against the wall, but the man violating her didn’t stop.

“Turn it off.” Charles growled at Hank.

Hank shook his head, “No, you need to keep watching.”

The male on the screen groaned, thrusting into the female one last time and stilling there. The female, to her credit, pounded her fists on his shoulders and yelled, “You son of a bitch!”

Charles expected her death to follow shortly after, or maiming by his claws. Instead the screen Logan nuzzled into the side of her neck and she slid her hands into his long hair. The girl started talking, kissing the side of his face, “I was so scared they’d hurt you. You okay?”

The male’s reply shocked the horrified audience even more. He simply growled, “Mine”, before pulling out of her and nipping the side of her neck, and moving down her body. To her stomach.

Charles felt sick, “She’s pregnant.”

Her condition had somehow been obscured until then, but the swell of her midsection was unmistakable. The man on the video nuzzled the bump, and the female smiled, “We’re okay. Baby’s just upset that Mommy got a little too anxious, kicked the crap out of me.”

The growl he let out then was different from the ones they’d heard before on the video. He pulled her dress up, revealing her stomach, which was mottled with bruises on the right side. He put his hand over the bruises, a furious expression on his face. The woman put one of her hands over his and put the other on his face, “Hey, I’m fine, honest.” She giggled shortly, “Better then fine after that greeting.” The look he gave her was terribly familiar to Logan, but the woman seemed unfazed, smoothing her dress down, “I swear these look worse then they are.”

She grimaced suddenly, grabbing her stomach, “Oh, have to say that greeting probably wasn’t the best for my current situation.” Logan looked stunned. She laughed again, “Yeah, seems our little bug really didn’t like you being gone.” She looked genuinely alarmed for the first time, “I don’t suppose you know anything about childbirth, do you?” He just looked at her, horrified.

The next few minutes of video were essentially just the female gritting through the early stages of labor, trying to keep the feral mutant calm, babbling incessantly. Then the door to the cell opened again, and the pair both turned to face it, clutching each other. The female let loose her own growl at the sight of a herd of armed guards, “Oh, hell no, you’re not taking him again.”

But they weren’t after Logan. They were after her, yelling at ‘Weapon X’ to get back or they’d put a bullet in her brain. She fought but was obviously holding back for the sake of her child, and was held by two of the guards in minutes. The guards kept screaming, trying to get her out.

Logan kept fighting. Then he got too close to his female.

The screen went black in the struggle, but the audio kept playing for a few seconds, long enough for an ear piercing female scream, a gunshot, the sound of a body hitting the floor, and Logan’s ground shaking roar.

Charles stared at Hank, “Do we know who she is?”

Hank shook his head. “No, without any idea of where she’s from or her name…there’s really no way to figure out who she is…unless we ask Logan.”

Charles rubbed his hands over his head, “We can’t do that. He’s close to being in a good place, this…knowing he was with a female, knowing…she’s dead…that would destroy him.”

“So we say nothing, we just keep this to ourselves?” Hank asked, blinking at Charles.

He nodded in reply, “I can hide the knowledge from you, if you’d like, but no one else can know. There’s nothing about this that would bring anyone anything but pain. There’s nothing we can do now anyway, she’s long dead. They both are.”

Chapter Text

“Where are you taking me?” Maia screamed, jerking her arms in her captors grips to no avail. She’d never been exceptionally strong, and they were obviously military men. There’d been rumors of a military base outside of town, but she hadn’t believed them. Valleyview, Alberta was the last place a military base should have been near. The ice skating rinks of her youth were far from her mind, however. Her mind was on their minds. And their minds were centered on one word: mutant.

For as long as Maia could remember, she’d heard the thoughts of others. First her mother, then her father, then her brothers, then her sister, and then the mental voices of everyone else near her had trickled in. When she had been very young, she’d read the mind of a friend without realizing it, and the other girl had ostracized her almost instantly. After that, Maia had come to the conclusion that no one else needed to know that she could hear their every passing though. Honestly, she could usually ignore the mental ramblings of other people, and had done so most of her life with no issues. No one besides that girl in her childhood had ever accused her of being anything other than perfectly normal. All those years of being careful, of not making eye contact unless absolutely necessary, of being normal, were over in an instant.

She’d been stupid. So, so stupid.

She’d been at prom, in a pretty green dress that flattered her pale red hair, which had been curled and twisted up elaborately by her mother, and she was on the arm of a boy she half-way cared about. Everything had been perfect. Until thoughts that weren’t her own came crashing down on her against the barriers she’d established. That usually never happened, not unless she’d made eye contact with the person before, and their thoughts were directed at her, like her mother thinking about calling her children to dinner.

The thoughts she heard outside the auditorium though, were loud and clear. A boy, one she’d never paid much attention to, but had made eye contact with in the second grade, was set on running his truck through the wooden doors of the auditorium with the express purpose of harming as many people as possible. Forgetting herself, Maia had screamed, begged people to move, begged them to save themselves. They’d stopped and stared at her for a moment. In the end, however, they had ignored her, and gone back to making out and drinking spiked punch.

The boy she’d never paid attention to, the one no one had ever paid attention to, had slammed his truck into the auditorium, right into the crowd.

At last count, five of her peers were dead.

How many more of the injured would pass, she would probably never know. Within two hours of the crash, a man in a uniform had herded Maia away from her parents, and before she realized what was going on, he had sedated her.

When she woke up, she’d been stripped and dressed in a grey tank top and loose sweatpants, and was being carried down a hallway by military men, their hands gripping her arms painfully.

She was a mutant. As soon as the news reports had started using the word, she’d know it applied to her too. She had exposed her ability in an effort to save others, and now she was in a military facility being dragged somewhere. It had to be a nightmare.

Then they realized she was awake, “Weapon X is gonna be real happy to see you. Hasn’t eaten in a while, and you look pretty enough to eat, even out of that dress.”

They were going to feed her to something. Fabulous. Eager to learn more, to better prepare herself for her impending death, she looked up at both of them, catching their eyes for a second, just long enough. That told her a lot more about her nightmare.

It wasn’t a nightmare. In her dreams and nightmares, she could never read the minds of others, but she knew these mens’ thoughts: One was internally begrudging having to touch her, afraid that her mutated DNA would somehow rub off on him. The other was gleeful both externally and internally about how she was about to get what she deserved for being a mutant.

Vague thoughts of shredded bodies passed through their minds. The pissy one even recalled vomiting over some hunk of meat that had been pulled from Weapon X’s room.

Maia heard their voices in her head, like they were speaking in her ear, the crude one was thinking, “Maybe if there’s anything left of this bitch, I’ll take a turn with her.”

Maia did her best to kick him in the crotch as punishment for those thoughts, but ultimately failed. He squeezed her arm hard for that, “Cut that out, you little bitch.”

“Quit calling me that!” Maia growled, jerking again.

“Shut up and take it. You might live longer that way!” His tone was mocking, but the thoughts in his head confirmed she wouldn’t live long. Whatever they were taking her towards, it was bad, really bad.

They opened a large metal door and threw her in, slamming it shut behind her as she fell face first onto the cold concrete floor.

At first, nothing happened. Maia didn’t move, too afraid to draw any more attention to herself. Whatever was in the room hadn’t seemed to notice her yet, because she heard nothing with her ears or with her mind. After several minutes, Maia pulled her arms in, tucking them under herself and coming to her knees, ignoring the sharp sting as her bruised legs pressed against the floor.

A few more minutes passed. Or so Maia assumed.

It was hard to tell how much time really had passed, the room was pitch black, and very cold, the only sounds coming from behind her. Fear of whatever they’d been certain was going to eat her ebbed in favor of fear of the temperature and the bare skin of her arms and feet. The solution to both fears seemed to be to pull herself into as tight a ball as possible and hope her thick curtain of red hair hid as much of her as possible.

The relative silence was broken suddenly by the shrill sound of metal on metal, like a door opening, but not the one behind her. Something stepped into the room in front of her, and Maia prepared herself to die.

Chapter Text

Weapon X woke from sleep aware of several things. One, the hunger that had plagued him for days was still there, and two, there was an absolutely delicious scent wafting through the vents that graciously brought air into his tiny box for him to breathe.

There was a taint to the delicious scent though: fear.

Pain he understood. He felt pain every moment of every day. Fear he didn’t understand. There was no room for fear in his tiny world. Fear was weakness, and beings that showed fear usually met his claws. He could hear a heart hammering away outside his cell.

Visions of electric probes and bullets ripping through flesh that almost instantly knitted back together swam in his head. Whoever was stupid enough to wake him up would pay. At least the torture was on a relatively consistent schedule, and this was not one of the usual times. His cell opened slowly, and, with a snick, his claws ripped through his skin, ready to destroy his next victim.

Just outside the cell, he stopped, all the fury leaving him. The delicious scent and the fear came from one and the same. A female form was curled on the floor in front of the room’s only exit, a river of red hair that looked unbelievably soft hiding the female’s face from him. He stared, trying to make sense of why his captors had tossed a female in his prison with him. Was she here to torture him? If so, why hadn’t she started? He took a step forward, his cold feet sticking slightly to the metal floor.

The female gasped suddenly, and her head popped up.

Abruptly they were staring at one another’s face, and it was more than he could bear. He’d seen females, killed a few, and wanted to kill several more. They had been grown, though, soldiers or doctors with hardly anything other than scent to differentiate them from their male counterparts. This one, however, was wholly female. She stared at him with big blue eyes, and that damned red hair fell in mesmerizing curls past her bare shoulders. Her skin was different from his own with it’s pale color and, even from the distance they were apart, he could imagine it’s softness.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” The female whispered, holding her hands out in front of her, “I know that’s what you think I’m here to do, but I’m not. They sent me in here for you to kill me. Eat me.”

He growled deeply at her, and she squeaked like a mouse, jumping back so her backside was pressed against the exit.

The scent of fear was renewed, and she started panting, “Oh, please don’t kill me.”

There was an unknown urge to get her to stop in a way that didn’t involve cutting through the perfect pale flesh with his claws, and he stepped closer.

She gasped again, fixing him with those big eyes that were now glistening with moisture…tears he recognized slowly. She took two deep breaths, and stood. The female was of average height for the females he could recall seeing, but something about her made her seem smaller. She was utterly non-threatening. Or at least that was what he thought until she held a hand out to him, “I’m Maia.” He stared at the shaking appendage, unused to an empty one being extended towards him and his reaction not being to hack it off. She trembled all over in fear, but took another deep breath, “You, uh, shake it in one of yours.”

The man narrowed his gaze on her hand, and then again on her eyes. He took one shuffling step forward, unsure of what to do, but aware that she seemed to be inviting him closer. The sudden snick as his claws retracted startled her, but she managed not to jump too badly, she just gave another tiny gasp.

He couldn’t help the grunt of amusement that escaped him. He was quickly finding he liked those tiny gasps. A new expression found it’s way on the female’s face, but her hand stayed extended as she spoke, a little more bravely, “Making fun of me is rude. You haven’t even shaken my hand yet.”

He slid his hand into hers and instantly wished he hadn’t. Her fear had abated just enough that it was clear what the delicious scent was. Her. Underneath the skin of his hand, her’s was soft, yielding perfectly, her pulse thrumming beneath his touch, making the scent all the more heady.

She breathed deeply, slipping her hand from his grip, “There, that wasn’t so bad, was it? If you aren’t going to eat me, we might as well be civilized. What’s your name?”

His head instantly ached, as it always did when he tried to remember his past. Did he even have a name? He turned away from her, his body swaying slightly.

The female, Maia, reached out and put both hands on his back, “Hey, no, stop! It’s okay, you don’t need to tell me right now.”

He was fixated on it though. What was his name? The pain continued to lance through his head, and eventually it was all he could focus on.

Maia stepped even closer, trying to get her face in front of his, “Please, stop. I can read your mind, and I can tell you’re hurting yourself.”

He stilled. She could read his mind?

She nodded frantically, “Yes! I mean, it’s harder than with most people, but, yeah, I can.”

What the fuck was Stryker thinking?

Maia looked puzzled, “Who’s Stryker?” When he didn’t answer, realization dawned in her eyes, “You can’t speak, can you?” He shook his head once, so imperceptibly that she wouldn’t have been able to notice if she hadn’t been staring him right in the face.

The skin around her mouth was suddenly pulled backwards, her eyes tightening in the corners. “That’s okay. You don’t eat me, I’ll keep you company. Deal?”

She seemed satisfied with his thoughts because the skin around her mouth pulled back farther, “It’s called a smile, wild man. You’re not going to eat me, so damned right I’m gonna smile.” Her heart raced, but the stench of fear was gone, leaving behind the sweet scent of her skin. He liked her smile and the divine way she smelled, Stryker be damned.

Chapter Text

Maia couldn’t have prepared herself for the wave of calm that had come after his agreement to not eat her. It didn’t make a damned bit of sense. The man had claws that shot out of the backs of his hands! Metal claws that looked more than capable of producing the horrible things her pissy captors had unintentionally shown her. She had to be crazy. Had to have lost her mind along with her freedom.

He liked her smile though. He’d been recalling it every few minutes for the last hour, moving around the room and growling at her occasionally. He seemed confused by her presence. From the headache she was getting from his scattered thoughts though, she couldn’t blame him. Things would be easier if he could talk, but whatever their captors had done to him seemed to have left him incapable of producing speech. She was just lucky he knew English. The few foreigners who didn’t speak English or French had always made her head hurt, and he was doing a bang up job without a language barrier augmenting the problem. A Chinese thinking wild man might have made her head literally explode.

Maia dropped to the ground, crossing her legs underneath herself, never once taking her eyes off the man in front of her. His mind was so strange. Usually the minds she heard came to her as streams of speech only she could hear. The nature of hearing inner monologues was that most of the time she heard a whole lot of half-baked sentence fragments. This man, however, was jarringly different.

All she heard was lone words, and only if she really focused. Right now though, she got the sense he was cursing at whoever ‘Stryker’ was. ‘Fuck’ and ‘Stryker’ were pretty much the only words she could glean from his mind. Well…that wasn’t exactly true. She was also getting ‘red’, ‘smile’, and ‘smells’ over and over. So he wasn’t going to eat her, but he thought she stunk…

“You know, you don’t exactly smell like roses.” She groused, needing to fill the silence. She didn’t do silence well. The thoughts of others were usually drowned out by rock music funneled almost constantly into her ears by her favorite green ear buds and half busted Walkman. What she wouldn’t do to have them now. Not hearing him at all might make her head hurt less. She began the painstaking process of blocking her mind from him. It was never a foolproof process, hence the thoughts of the vehicular manslaughterer leaking through, but it should be enough to keep her from being overwhelmed by the cursing and repetition.

It was a terrible idea for Maia to pull herself out of their respective heads. Without the intermittent words to focus on, her eyes started doing more of the focusing. On him. On the fact that he didn’t have a shirt on. On the fact that, even in the unnatural lighting, his skin was impossibly tan. And good God was there a lot of it to look at. And then there were the muscles coiled tightly under his skin. In all her life Maia had never seen a man so built. Then her mouth went dry as her eyes locked on a trail of dark hair that grew down the center of his chest and over taut muscles before disappearing under the waistband of his shorts. The shorts he was wearing left very little to the imagination, and her mouth went completely dry.

She was only aware of her abject ogling of his body when the metal door behind her was jostled as a slot she hadn’t noticed was opened. “Eat up, you animals.” A voice growled, but that was all the information Maia got. Whoever was about to feed them wasn’t one of the two men she’d seen. A grocery sack and a plastic tray of food were shoved in perfunctorily.

The man inside the room lunged towards the tray, and Maia tossed herself to the side, not about to get between the feral man and his food. “Shit, wild man!” She exclaimed.

He froze, a hunk of raw meat halfway to his mouth on claws she hadn’t noticed pop out since she’d been too busy throwing herself out of the way. How convenient. If she hadn’t had the good sense to give him that space, he might have skewered her, regardless of his agreement not to do so. So… not malicious, but certainly not as harmless as she might have been trying to convince herself he was.

He was staring at her again, and, when her stomach made an unbidden growl, his head ticked to the side. His eyes ticked to the meat on his claw and after several long moments, he held it towards her.

Maia shook her head, but was awed by the gesture, “I can’t.”

He looked confused for a second, and Maia dared move closer.

She gestured to the tray, glad to see it wasn’t all raw meat, “I can’t eat raw meat, I’d get sick, but if you’ll share, I’ll help you finish off that wilty spinach.”

Honestly, the spinach and other vegetables on the tray looked horrific, but they were going to be better for her than trying to consume raw meat. She just hoped they weren’t feeding him people, that would be beyond horrific. He didn’t move, so she did, settling cross legged on the floor, leaving plenty of space between them while allowing her to reach the food.

When they’d finished eating, the tray was pulled back through the slot by a metal chain, but Maia grabbed the plastic bag before it went through. It couldn’t hurt to have. Her mother had taught her for years to look for alternate uses for things, though she doubted her mother would approve of any of the ideas Maia had for the bag.

They’d made a mistake, hadn’t they? The bastards had obviously assumed she was a meek school-girl who was only going to get a few seconds of life once she’d been thrown inside, but that wasn’t the case. Maia was the youngest of five, with three of them being boys. She was tougher than she looked, and, even with her new companion seemingly being a few cards short of a full deck, there had to be a way for them to work together to escape.

That would need to wait though. Maia could feel her eyelids growing heavy after a few hours of sitting and staring at the wild man pace, and moved to lay down on the cold ground. She was almost asleep when she felt herself being picked up. Instantly awake, Maia’s heart hammered in her chest before she realized it was just her companion and he was taking her to the cot that set against the back wall of the room. He lay her down and walked away. “Thank you.” She whispered after taking a minute to let the shock wear off, curling up to keep herself warm.

He grunted in response.

Maia smiled in spite of the whole situation, “Goodnight, Wild Man.” Her eyes closed before she got a chance to take in the stunned expression on his face.

Chapter Text

The female whimpered in her sleep. It had been five meals since she’d arrived, and he still wasn’t used to the constant noise she made. Since he’d put her on the cot that first night, he hadn’t gotten much sleep, but had instead been gifted with a new way to pass the time: watching her sleep.

While he wasn’t used to the constant noise, he was familiar with the noises she usually made as she slept, and this one was new. It warranted closer investigation.

The female was shivering. Her waifish body shook more violently with every breath she took. He let himself touch her for the first time since that first night, attempting to wake her, but finding himself stunned by how warm her skin was despite her chilled behavior. She leaned into his touch in her sleep, and he sucked in a breath.

Illness.

It had tainted her sweet scent, and he’d been too preoccupied to notice, too busy trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Too busy trying to understand what Stryker had planned now that the original plan of her swift demise had been foiled. Was this what Stryker had been waiting on?

He didn’t get sick, they’d tried several times, injecting him with vile smelling liquids and talking about things like ‘AIDS’ and ‘The Plague’. He’d hardly shown symptoms before his body killed the intruders, but that had been enough for him to learn the stench of human disease.

Hers didn’t quite smell like disease, but it was enough for an idea to dawn on him. While he didn’t really feel the temperature in the room, she wasn’t him, she didn’t have the immunities he seemed to have. She was cold, had to have been for the entire time. She’d only been fed once a day too, but he knew that their captors ate three meals every day. A feeling akin to guilt gnawed at him.

He knew gnawing hunger, he knew cold, and he hadn’t noticed that her tolerance for the two were far lower than his own. She’d become sick from the combination of the two. That explained why she’d begun sleeping more and more, and also why her last waking period had been considerably quieter than the others. He had stupidly assumed she was tired of hearing herself talk. That didn’t seem to be the case at all. She hadn’t felt well.

He looked around the room for something to help her with, though what he thought in the sparse room might be of use, he really didn’t know. There was only the cot, a shower head, and a toilet, both mounted to the wall. Her using the toilet had been an amusing event the first several days, but they’d almost come to an agreement for one another’s privacy. He turned away when she used the facilities, and she did the same for him, though he really didn’t understand the issue she had with bodily functions. She regarded the meat they fed him with the same disdain.

Maia started coughing violently, drawing his focus back to helping her. With nothing but himself, he did the only thing he could think of short of begging their captors for help. That was just likely to get her killed. No, the only thing he could do was hope he was enough.

He’d stayed away from her for the most part, giving her more space then was probably necessary, so doing more than touching her arm was a bit of a shock as he eased himself down next to her on the cot. He pulled her to his chest and just did what felt natural, instinct guiding him to tuck her head under his chin and to wrap his arms securely around her back.

The relief in her was instantaneous. She relaxed into him, her breath steadying, the movement of the hairs on his chest keeping him intimately aware of each breath that left her body. After several hours, she shifted slightly, getting impossibly closer to his warmth, flattening her hands against his chest and turning her face deeper into the chasm between them.

When she was startled awake by their morning meal being shoved through the slot in the door, the female stared at him, their faces just inches apart. He hadn’t seen her look so caught off guard since when he’d almost caught her with his claws getting to the first meal they’d shared.

He was caught off guard when she squeaked, and pushed back from him, “Holy shit!”

It had yet to cease to amuse him to hear curse words leave her mouth. She seemed too delicate for the words she used, but then again, she was too delicate. He had to get her to do more than pick at the green on the tray. She was scowling slightly at him as he grabbed the meat from the tray and, with a snick of his claws, cut away a thin slice, which he then tossed at the door they had kept electrified once they’d realized he wasn’t going to mutilate the pretty female.

It took a few tries, but he finally handed her the final product. Maia blinked slowly, “Did you…just electrocute meat until it was cooked?” He nodded slightly in reply, and the corners of her lips turned up in the expression he favored, “Well, damn, Wild Man. Personal space heater? Chef? I must have lost my damned mind.”

She ate the offered meat anyway, and he watched every bite, an odd sense of satisfaction building in his chest. When she pointed out his staring, he just glared at her.

Her strength had obviously not recovered yet though, and a short time later, she was visibly falling asleep again, not to mention rubbing her arms to keep warm. Without asking her permission by pantomime or waiting until she read his mind, he picked her up again and returned to the cot, curling around her.

Maia lay there stiffly without a word for a while before she relaxed, and looked up into his face. She seemed to be studying him, so he just stared back. “What are you?” She asked, voice hardly a whisper.

His first instinct was to recoil from her, but she twined her arms around him, halting his movement simply by stunning him. Since the handshake, she hadn’t initiated contact with him, but now they were doing something more than just sharing warmth. She tucked her cold feet against his legs, “I think I’d kill for a pair of socks and a blanket." She sniffled, "Hell, I’d even kill for a box of tissues at this point.” There was a long pause, but he could tell she was still awake, “Thank you, Wild Man. I’d be dead without you, wouldn’t I?”

She probably would have.

It took a couple of days, her using him as a tissue at one point they’d both rather not dwell on ever again, but she got better. The day after she seemed fully recovered, and a blanket followed their food tray. The day after, soap and a change of clothes for the both of them.

Chapter Text

Honestly, after the exciting adventure of having a cold induced cold and her companion awkwardly caring for her, Maia had expected captivity to return to the same pattern as the first five days. It hadn’t. She had tried one night to sleep back on the floor, but her companion had been firmly against that, depositing her on the cot again. That hadn’t lasted very long either, as she’d shivered once and earned a speculative scowl from him.

She gave him a small smile, “Would you mind?”

His only response was to join her.

Maia sighed, and let herself relax. He threw off warmth like nothing she’d ever known before, and she was already more than a little addicted to sharing in that warmth as she slept.

A few days later, for the first time since she’d arrived, Maia woke up before he did. She took a second to look at his face, to really look for the first time. He had strong features that matched the rest of him, coupled with rather un-masculine eyelashes that were currently hiding his forest green eyes from her, and she found herself missing the dark woodsy color she’d become so used to looking at. His lips looked like they’d been carved out of marble, as did his nose, which looked as if he’d broken it at some point and it hadn’t quite healed properly.

Of course she only knew that because of a friend from ninth grade summer camp who had been obsessed with Owen Wilson’s face. She’s learned a lot that summer that she probably shouldn’t have known for a while longer, enough to make using the toilet anywhere near a man mortifying.

It had been over two weeks, and Maia still dreaded every time she had to use the restroom. The first time, however, had been the worst. She’d woken up the second day feeling like her bladder was going to burst, and had been forced to spend several minutes evaluating the reality of exposing herself like that to a mostly deranges claw wielding man or just peeing herself and her sweatpants, and living through the smell.

She’d decided to do the braver of the two options, mostly out of fear of him having to smell her for however long it took to get cleaned up. She’d already figured out that his senses were heightened, and even she was aware that the smell of urine was not one that needed to be experienced in even greater detail. Later that day she’d had to take care of her other business, and that had been even worse. Right after she’d flushed the stainless steel demon though, he had gone right over and, as her brothers would have described, peed like a race horse. After that, well…she couldn’t find it in her to be bashful about bodily functions. They respectfully turned away, but she didn’t make a big deal about it, especially after he’d held her against his body when she’d been sick.

That had been a miserable few days, but she’d be a fool to not have seriously appreciated his warmth and firm body. Maia regretfully eased out of his grip, glancing up at the camera that watched their every move. She bent over and touched her toes, grimacing as her spine cracked. Despite being able to cuddle up next to her cell mate, they were still sleeping on a cot. She was honestly surprised that it was holding up beneath the weight of both of them.

Maia began her daily ritual of staring at the door until food was slid through the slot. She’d tried once to shove her hand in the slot, but Wild Man had pulled her back just before a gunshot that could have taken her hand off. She hadn’t needed to read his mind to know he was pissed at her. He had to think she was an idiot at this point. He’d saved her from losing life and limb several times already, most dramatically being when she’d run at the door on the second day and had gotten close enough to feel the electricity she hadn’t noticed before he jerked her away.

Two weeks, and she was beyond stir crazy. Half of her wanted to open her mind to his again just for entertainment, but she wasn’t a masochist enough to subject herself to another raging headache. A snarl from behind her sent a shiver down spine. As a rule, he was eerily quiet for such a big man, unless he was growling at her for being an idiot, so the snarl was terrifying.

She turned around slowly, “You okay?”

He was still asleep, but his face was contorted in what seemed to be agony. He gasped several times, and Maia put a hand on his shoulder, “Hey, hey, wake up.” He bolted upright, causing her to stagger back, “Wild man?”

He didn’t respond to her nickname, he just stared through her with bloodshot eyes, and he roared at her, claws extending with a snick.

Maia had nowhere to go. Her options were him or the electrified door behind her. He approached faster than she could move anyway, so she just crossed her arms in front of her, closed her eyes, and used her last breath to yell, “No!”

She expected searing pain, and it came, but it wasn’t in her body like she’d been prepared for. Her arm felt like it was on fire, and when she opened her eyes, she was stunned to find him frozen before her, the claws on his right hand having just slid against her skin. He was blinking at her slowly, like he wasn’t quite awake.

Maia let the barriers in her mind fall. She couldn’t afford to keep them up anymore. Ignoring the blood oozing down her arm, she reached out to him, hoping to stir him. His first coherent thoughts were about the blood dripping from her arm onto the floor. She touched her fingertips to his face, “Hey, hey, look at me. It’s just a scratch. I’m okay.” His eyes drug from her blood to her face, and she read his guilt both in his mind and his face. She also now knew why he’d attached her: He’d been having a nightmare. Maia cupped his face in her hands. “It was just a dream, Wild Man, a bad dream. It’s just me. No one here is hurting you.”

It took a few seconds for him to realize the truth in her words to sink in through his confusion, but he was finally able to focus on her scent, fixating on the warmth in it. Maia smiled at him, “There you go.” She slid her arms around his neck, pulling him closer. She couldn’t protect him from anything, not really, but she could make him feel at least a little safe, give him a little comfort. She’d been accidentally hurt by her younger cousin when she was twelve, and had forced herself through the pain to comfort the poor kid. It was almost one of her specialities, and the reason that she was the favorite female cousin compared to her ice-queen sister, Sarah.

He nuzzled his face into the side of her neck like a dog would, but the sensations it brought didn’t make her laugh like being nuzzled by a grown man should have. She certainly wasn’t laughing when one phrase came to the forefront of his mind much more coherently than before.

’I hurt her.’

Chapter Text

He’d almost killed her. Could have if she hadn’t managed to wake him up in time. Her scream had ripped through him, reaching him even in the dark recesses of his sleep-walking nightmare. She’d opened her mind back up to him too, he could tell now that they’d spent the last two weeks with her closed off. Maia had rambled something about him giving her a headache, and he’d felt bad enough about that. Now she was bleeding. She seemed to be ignoring the pain she had to be in, but he’d hurt her.

She was scowling at him as she held her spare pair of pants to her arm, “Come on, they’re just scratches. I have three older brothers and my sister is a sadist. Trust me I’ve had worse.”

That didn’t make him feel any better. She wasn’t pressing down hard enough. She gasped when he drew close to her, putting his hand over hers to add more pressure. He was fairly certain that her gasp, lovely as it was, wasn’t because she was glad to be close to him. At least he thought that at first, but then she put her other hand over his and smiled up at him, “It’s okay, Wild Man. Promise. I’m not going to die or anything.” Her blue eyes dimmed ever so slightly, “You startled me, not going to lie, but let’s be honest, we’re not the ones we should be afraid of.” She laughed softly, “And damnit, I’m completely insane, but, Wild Man, I trust you.”

‘I trust you.’ He wanted to say, but he couldn’t make his tongue and mouth move to produce words like she could. Maia tipped her head to the side so her neck was stretched temptingly in front of him, and then she pressed her lips his wrist.

Her blue eyes cut up at him, “I know.” Just what did she know? She smiled again, “I know you trust me, and I know you still can’t speak. Your mind though, it’s less…messy then it was before.” She stepped back, still holding his hand, “No headache. I don’t think I’ll have to keep us apart anymore.” Color raced into her cheeks, and she let his hand go, drifting to the pile of junk she’d been accumulating from their meals, messing with whatever it was she’d collected.

As usual, when mealtime came, he put himself between her and the door. She had a tendency to do stupid things when it came to their captors being close. “I do not.” She hissed from her pile. It was a relief that she would finally be able to know his thoughts, it would make their days less reliant on her rambles and his growls, but he wasn’t listening to her.

The man behind the door‘s scent was laden with satisfaction and recent release. “Almost got her, Weapon X! Surprised the little bitch didn’t shit herself. You two had almost gotten boring.”

Maia lunged at the door and growled, “Don’t call me that!”

He caught her before she could do herself any damage, and kept his arm around her even though she fought him. ‘Stop’ he thought, focusing on her, and, to his satisfaction, she stilled.

Of course she glared up at him like a furious kitten, but still, she stopped. Out of spite, she kicked him in the shin. “Ugh! I forgot you’re an ass.”

He chuckled, but when the food came in, he growled and kicked it out, keeping her from looking at it. The horny bastard outside had spent himself on their food. He’d rather listen to her stomach growl than let that shit get close to her. She gagged dramatically, “Ugh, gross!” Directing her voice to the door she screamed, “Go jerk off with your sister you fucking sicko!” He was continually surprised by her vitriol.

They ignored the cursing outside and she grinned up at him, “Like I’ve said, I have three brothers.” She leaned against his shoulder, “My oldest brother, Thomas is a sailor and fifteen years older than me, I learned a lot from him when our sister or mom weren’t around to glare.” She brushed her hands over his arm as if she was studying him, “I’ve never had anyone know about my power, much less anyone actively talking to me using it. It’s actually pretty cool even when you’re being an asshole.” She tapped on his arm, “Okay, Wild Man, time to put me down. The impulse to be an idiot has passed.” He let her go, and stood there for a minute until she asked, “Give me a boost?”

She was standing under the camera with plastic in her hands, and he followed her lead, letting her stand on his knee so she could put the plastic over the camera. She hopped off and smiled cheerfully at him, “Tired of giving them a free show. They can get their rocks off elsewhere.”

Their day continued without any further drama. Their night was a different story.

He kept from going to sleep too deeply, he didn’t want to risk stabbing her again. Every time he stirred, he’d take a deep breath, making sure that her scent wasn’t obscured by any infection from the wounds on her arm. About the fourth time he woke up, there was something new in the room. A scent, but it wasn’t the acrid odor of disease or the musky burn of infection. It was something he couldn’t remember smelling since he’d been with Stryker, not that he could remember his life before them.

Next to him, Maia arched her back, and sighed, her face scrunching up for a second. They were facing each other, one of her knees thrown over his legs. The scent was her. And it was so much better than anything he could have imagined. She smelled sweet without being cloying, and seemed much warmer than usual. She wasn’t sick again. No, she was aroused. She settled closer to him in her sleep, and he couldn’t resist the temptation to touch her face. She’d gotten paler in the weeks she’d been with him, but a flush was spread across her cheeks making her look more edible than usual. Her lips parted at his touch, and she gasped softly.

Without his consent, the previously vestigial organ between his legs began filling with blood. Then she rocked her hips, the heat between her own legs even hotter against his knee.

He flung himself off the cot. He’d resisted touching her for too long, and if she was going to make delectable noises and rub herself against him, he couldn’t trust himself not to. She whined, rolling into the space he’d just left, astonishingly still fast asleep. And damn him if he didn’t take advantage of her continued slumber and the covered camera to convince the offending organ to resume it’s usual lax state with sharp tugs of his hand. He was, he decided, a ‘fucking sicko’ just like the same men who were holding them.

He hadn’t felt shame before, but somehow, he was pretty sure this was it. He’d had enough done to him without his consent, and she couldn’t give it if she was asleep, no matter what her body might be saying. He’d already hurt her enough, he couldn’t inflict the same damage on her that they’d done to him. He wasn’t going to touch her again without her permission, no matter how badly he wanted to. She was going to kill him.

Maia’s first words when she woke up and saw him crouched in the corner, “Oh, shit. That wasn’t a dream.” He’d deny that the way color flooded her face didn’t make him want to smile.

Chapter Text

Where were three inches of water when a person needed them? The temptation to try to drown herself in their toilet water was strong, but her companion probably wouldn’t like that anymore than he liked being molested by a teenager who apparently had grabby hands in her sleep. She’d thought it was a dream, rocking her body against his and him touching her, but she’d woken up and It obviously hadn’t been. He looked absolutely wrecked.

Maia burst into tears. “I’m so sorry!” Then she recognized the tightness in her gut and cried harder. Of course. The last humiliating thing that could happen to her in captivity had arrived, and it had caused her to molest him. She always got a little achy before her period started, usually the only time the lack of a steady boyfriend had ever really bothered her.

She startled when hands clasped down on her shoulders, and her Wild Man growled low. ‘I’m okay’ he projected. He seemed to be getting better at that, and his mind seemed even more organized.

Maia pulled herself together despite the hormones. She was better than Aunt Flo. She let her head rest against his chest, “I totally groped you in my sleep though, didn’t I? I’m sorry. I was having a dream, and I didn’t realize I was sleep…touching. I would sleep walk as a child, but…”

‘Weren’t thinking of me, it’s fine.’ He projected clearly.

Maia’s breath hitched, and before she could stop herself, the truth bubbled out, “I was.”

His whole body stiffened, but his only thought was, ‘Wasn’t expecting that’.

“You mad?” She asked, looking up, recalling the way it had felt to be cherished and touched by him in her dream. He shook his head, and she couldn’t hold her gasp in, “Oh, well, guess that changes things.” She stepped away, “Little hormonal. Want to forget about the whole thing for now?” He nodded, and they spent the next few days pleasantly enough.

Maia got a wild idea one afternoon, “Let’s play a game. I was going to suggest this before…” She trailed off, and shook her head, “Okay, well, you sit and I’ll sit behind you. I’m going to go down the alphabet, and you let me know if anything… shakes out.”

‘Where’d you get this shit from?’ He questioned, but he sat down anyway.

Maia laughed, sitting cross legged behind him, “I was in a psychology class before, my teacher showed us a study on amnesia. That, and you aren’t making my skull explode anymore, so I’ll be able to help a bit.” She wanted to touch him, put her hands on his back or strong shoulders, but she didn’t, she just left her hands in her lap, “A…B…C…D…E…F…G…H…” His head ticked to the side, but he told her to keep going, “Okay…I…J…” That drew more interest from him, but he wasn’t ready to stop, “K…L…” He spun around, locking eyes with her, “That’s it? L?”

He nodded, smiling at her, and Maia couldn’t stop herself from stretching out to kiss his cheek. It was so stupid, so very very stupid, especially considering their recent encounter, but Maia couldn’t regret it for the world. The second she touched him, he pulled her into a bone crushing hug. His hands were warm, scorching against the bare skin of her arms as she settled herself onto him. She drew her lips from his cheek and rubbed her face against his beard, “L. L, my Wild Man.”

He liked that, liked her calling him hers. The possessive growl he let out shook her to the core, and he stood with her in his arms, pinning her to the wall of their enclosure. She wrapped her legs around him, trying to get her lips on his and his hands on her body, and was completely stunned when he suddenly pushed her off. “The hell?”

He shushed her. He actually shushed her. Maia stood staring at him in indignant shock, her whole body throbbing. “Seriously?”

Then the door opened and guards started screaming at them. Great, it was her original pissy captor and some friends. They wanted her. After a few seconds, Maia wasn’t focused on them though, she was focused on the fact that, behind the open doorway, there was someone else who’s mind she could read. A female. “Let me go, Wild Man. They’re going to bring me back.”

L didn’t seem convinced, but was just as aware of the guns they were wielding as she was. Maia walked with the guards, staying out of the pissy one’s head and avoiding the others eyes. Her heart fell through the floor when they brought her into a lab and she heard the voice that matched the mind, “Hello, Little Sister.”

Maia gasped, eyes locked on the dark haired female in front of her, “Sarah?”

Her sister nodded, her aquiline face carefully blank, “I need to draw some blood. The blood they brought me when they brought you in is gone.”

“Why are you doing this?” Maia asked, tears filling her eyes.

Sarah Kinney sneered, “Wanted to check how your mutant DNA effects your menstrual cycle. You are on the tail end of it, correct?” Maia didn’t respond, and Sarah continued, “I’m assuming you are. It was very thoughtful of you to track it on the calendar in your bedroom. You’re one of the lucky ones who’s never caught off guard. I bet these last few days have been hell. You always were a neat freak.”

Maia burst into tears, but couldn’t find it in herself to speak. There weren’t any words that would make the situation she was in any better.

“Tears won’t work on me, Maia. They never did before, they’re not now that I know you’re a damned mutant. I mean I always knew you were a fuck-up, but a mutant…that was almost a surprise.” She wrapped a tourniquet around Maia’s upper arm, and Maia didn’t even move, “So you read minds, right? That’s the report. You control them too? Is that how you made Mom and Dad dote on your every word?”

“No. They love me.” Maia whispered, frozen by the barrage of horrible images her sister was flooding her with as she drew vials of blood. “Why are you doing this to me? I’m your sister.”

Sarah rolled her eyes, “Half. You’re my half sister. Found that out with your first bit of blood. Apparently our mother’s a whore. I did always think it was weird that there were nine years between you and Louis. That, and the fact that Mom and Dad weren’t even talking when they’d had to have made you.” Sarah picked up some of Maia’s lank hair, “Your red hair was a clue too. Even before I got into mutant genetics. There aren’t any red headed Kinney’s.” She turned to the guards, “Before you take her back, give her some food. Don’t want her fainting and cracking her skull open. She’s too valuable.”

Sarah turned her attention back to Maia, “You’re a fool, Maia. Weapon X will kill you. It’s what he does, why he exists.”

“Then why keep us together? Do you want me dead?” Maia asked, voice soft and even as her brain began piecing things together.

“Research.” Sarah answered simply. She pulled the needle out of Maia’s arm, clicking her tongue, “You two are going to get a new room. That’s a kindness because I’m your sister, Maia. Enjoy it.”

“Don’t cover the new camera. You survived well past when we thought you would, but your life could still get a lot worse if you don’t do as you’re told. The only reason these men haven’t gotten their hands on you is for our mother’s sake. She thinks you’re dead, of course, but better a dead mutant virgin than a living mutant whore. I went home for your funeral, it was a beautiful service. Thomas cried like a little girl the entire time. I wanted to strangle him.”

“You bitch!” Maia screamed, lunging at her sister, the fog she’d been under suddenly dispelling completely. Guards held her back.

Sarah sighed passively, “Tie her down, I need some tissue samples too.”

Maia managed to bite one of the men before the other cracked her in the head with his gun. Her vision blurred, “I’ll kill you for this, Sarah. One day, I swear I’ll kill you.”

Sarah chuckled, pushing some of her dark hair out of her face, “Oh, Maia, you couldn’t hurt a fly. Your mutated DNA is the only interesting thing about you. You may curse like Thomas, but you’re weak.”

Maia lunged again, and when the men jerked her back, her head hitting the metal table she was on caused consciousness to flee her, but not before she heard her sister say, “Seriously? I wanted her awake for this.”

The blackness was a welcome relief.

Chapter Text

Every second without her was agony. Maia had assured him that they’d intended to bring her back, but what if they had been mistaken? What if they’d been fed wrong information? Was this what Stryker had planned? Letting him get attached to the female and then taking her away? That’d be just like the sick fuck.

The door to the cell opened, and he hoped, no, he expected to see her being shoved inside. She wasn’t. He could smell her though, and all the logic in the world wasn’t going to keep him from following her scent. He let his claws rip through his skin, the sound louder than usual in the deafening silence that surrounded him.

It didn’t take long to find her, and he was almost disappointed that no one had tried to stop him. The first thing he noticed was that, somehow, they’d rated better accommodations, there was actually a bathroom to the left. The second thing he noticed was Maia. She was laying on a much more substantial cot than the one they’d had before, and she was completely still.

As soon as he crossed the threshold into the room, the door snapped shut behind him and promptly began humming, charged with electricity again. He didn’t care, his every thought was being consumed by Maia’s eerie stillness. Even in her sleep….especially in her sleep… she was always moving, usually making an obscene amount of noise

He knelt next to her, claws sinking back into his flesh, and let out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding when her eyes slowly opened. She bit her lower lip and dissolved into tears, throwing her arms around his neck. He held her, becoming more and more confused when it became apparent that the only wounds on her were needle marks on the inside of her left arm, and a small square of cotton taped over a wound on her shoulder. The third thing he noticed was that the last tinge of old blood had faded from her scent. What was left was intoxicating, even more so than the first time he’d smelled her all those weeks earlier.

She hiccuped the tears to an end, and curled up in his arms. When she finally spoke, her voice was shaky, “I could hear my sister. That’s why I went with them. She’s in on this. She hates me even more than I always thought she did.” Several minutes passed before she spoke again, minutes he used to try to think of what he would say to her if he could speak, how he would soothe her with words instead of just his physical presence. “My parents buried me, L. My sister let them bury me, and she’s known the entire time that I was here. She acts like there’s something wrong with me, but…who in their right mind does something like that?”

Monsters. Maia babbled constantly, she was dramatic and hormonal, but there was no way her parents didn’t love her. She was hopelessly endearing, and he couldn’t have been the only one completely caught by her charming nature. He couldn’t be the only one who wanted her safe.

She smiled weakly at him, “You’re sweet.” She held one of his hands in hers, tracing her fingers over where his claws broke his skin over and over again, “Could you teach me to fight? My brothers never really would. I’m tired of being helpless.”

His instant reaction was to deny her request before she’d even finished making it. The thought of her having to fight, of him not being there to protect her was incomprehensible. But…she’d had to face her vile sister without him, had been alone with guards whose scents relayed enough for him to know that they weren’t immune to her physical charms any more than he was. They’d gotten lucky this time, but what would happen if they didn’t the next time?

Before he’d even really consciously decided to teach her to protect herself, she kissed his cheek, “Thank you, L.”

He bristled at that, narrowing his eyes at her and dumping her out of his lap as she stood. She just laughed shortly before gesturing to the camera in the corner of their new room. “Before we…you want to take care of that? No one needs to know what we get up to. If they’re so curious, they can ask.”

He readily did as she asked, slicing through the metal components like they were butter. Maia, in her annoying yet adorable way, took the pieces and piled them neatly beside the bed. And to think he’d thought he’d finally escaped the pile of junk. She glared at him again.

Maia was a quick study, and he could tell that her ability to read minds was gong to be perhaps her strongest asset in protecting herself. She lacked strength though. She was sturdy, took a hit well, anticipated most of them, but she just didn’t have the muscle mass or dexterity to do much about it. By the end of their first sparing session, Maia was breathless and sweaty, but apparently pleased with herself.

She giggled, laying flat on her back in the middle of the floor, “Of course I’m pleased with myself. I didn’t totally suck, and now I’ve managed to get you all sweaty too.” Well, she was better than he’d feared, but still, if she hadn’t accessed the mind of her opponent, things wouldn’t end well for her. They had a lot of work to do still. “I know that, L. Eye contact is how I read minds. I’m just mostly pleased I got you to sweat.” Maia pulled herself to her feet, and put her arms around his waist, chin on his chest so she could look him in the eyes. “You know, I didn’t appreciate being shushed earlier. Or being interrupted by my bitch of a psycho sister.”

He could get on board with her new plan for sure.

She yawned suddenly, “On second thought, you’ve already worn me out.” That was a fucking shame. She did look tired though. Her bravado was wearing thin, and the Maia that had bawled her eyes out was threatening to return. She smiled sadly at him, “You know me too well. Can we sleep now?” He just nodded at her, and found himself inordinately pleased at the thick blanket on the new cot. She was too, throwing herself on it and burying her face into it. When he sat down on the edge, she looked up at him, “At least my bitch of a sister is good for something.” She curled against him when he lay down, and put her head on his chest, “I don’t understand her. I can read her mind, but I can’t understand her. She hates me, but then we get this new set up. Completely crazy.”

They lay in the dim room for a while, but she hadn’t settled into sleep. “Yeah, I’m still awake. Guess I wasn’t as tired as I thought.” She moved her hand to his, hidden beneath the comforter. Fingertips brushed lightly against his knuckles as she shifted her hips. An invitation. A test.

His breath caught at the contact, his whole body tensing. Was she really suggesting what he thought she was? Instinct begged him to take her up on her offer without delay. She wasn’t a female that deserved that. Instead, he folded his hand over hers, interlaced their fingers, and pulled her on top of him. This time, he didn’t settle for a kiss on the cheek, and he would kill anyone who interrupted. The animal in him roared, thrilled with the turn of events, thrilled that he was finally going to make her his.

Chapter Text

Maia was continually surprised by his gentleness. L hesitated after their first kiss, unsure of what to do next, not positive she was even breathing, terrified he’d somehow hurt her. Silly man. Maia took a deep breath, the sound loud in the quiet room. The warmth of his hand and the sound of his heart hammering in his chest under her cheek. Then he moved his hand from hers, laying his palm flat against her stomach. Eyes locked with a simmering tension, watching one another's expressions carefully for clues. For signals to stop or keep going. Maia could tell he wanted her, could tell that she wasn’t the only one fully invested. She made no indication that she was uncomfortable or wished him to stop as his hand hesitantly roamed over her. Exploratory and careful, pausing briefly once he reached the hem of her tank top before curling his fingers under the fabric. Grazing her skin and sending a jolt through her frayed nerves.

Surprised at her own daring, but compelled by the burning need between her legs, she leaned forward and pressed her lips to his, bringing a gentle hand to his jaw. Hushed and discrete, as if they could be found out at any moment. As if they weren’t miles away from anyone that they knew, as if he wasn’t an amnesiac, as if they weren’t trapped in a slightly more gilded cage than the first one, and most importantly, as if she wasn’t seventeen and he wasn’t older.

His body stiffened, but then relaxed against her as he gave in to the kiss - at first tender and pleading but quickly gaining momentum. She could tell his tenuous control was being tested. Suppressing a moan against her neck, his hand slipped under her shirt and up her frame.

She arched her back with a soft sigh as he squeezed her chest, fingers grazing along the curve of her breast, pushing his hips against her. For the first time, she noticed that he was hard, his arousal pressed firmly into her side.

A prick of doubt formed in her chest. No matter how badly she wanted it, was this really the best idea? Did she really want to open this door? Nothing would be the same if they went down this road. She’d wanted him for weeks, known that about herself, known that there was so much wrong with the situation that it couldn’t possibly be a good idea, but he wanted her too. She could tell that, read it in his mind. What they were about to do was illegal. She couldn’t forget that. He may not even know that her age made it wrong, she was pretty sure he didn’t, but she did. She’d deal with the consequences later. Right now, in this moment, she didn’t care. And the warmth spreading through her body urged her to continue.

No longer unsure or cautious, her hand moved down his neck, across his shoulder and onto his side. Fingers greedily discovering him, grasping his body through his clothes as he his lips sucked at the pulse point. He let go, his hands continuing their exploration of her body. He tugged at the elastic band of her shorts, his breath on her neck, lips brushing against her skin.

“I told you not to screw with the camera, Maia.” Sarah’s condescending voice rang out. Maia and L jerked apart, his claws out in a second as he rose to his knees on the cot, pushing her down. The door opened a second later, and guards flooded the room, guns trained on L. Sarah followed right behind them. “Weapon X, I wouldn’t move. I’m not above having one of these brutes kill her.” She shifted her gaze from L to Maia, “I’m sorry you couldn’t follow my directions. Let’s see how this ends for you.” She turned to the guards, and gestured at Maia and L, “You know what to do.”

Maia grabbed L’s elbow when he was about to strike, “Hold on.” No one had any intentions of hurting them, and she wanted it to stay that way. One of the guards went for the mess of wires and metal that had been the second camera. With a practiced efficiency he wired a camera into place and bolted a gleaming metal cage around it. Maia had a feeling that they wouldn't be able to impede this camera as they had the first two.

Dread grew in her stomach when she realized Sarah had left and there were still weapons pointed at her. Their thoughts were turning far less passive. Several things happened all at once when the de facto electrician returned to his wall of mouth breathing companions: L roared and lunged, a rifle fired, and a guard's hand hit the floor still clutching the rifle. Maia ignored the screaming guard, her whole being focused on the glaring emptiness where L's mind had been in hers, "No!". She screamed, throwing herself from the cot to where L had fallen.

It took considerable effort, but she managed to roll him over, and she cradled his head in her hands, horrified by the brain matter that seeped between her fingers and the hole in between his frozen open eyes. He wasn’t breathing. Maia clutched his head to her chest and sobbed, "No, no, no, no, no! Come on, you can't be dead! I can't be alone here!" She pressed a kiss into his hairline, "Don't leave me, L, please don't." Her pleas continued for what felt like hours, but the guards had left, leaving only her dead Wild Man and the severed hand.

Rage filled her at the sight of the limb, and all disgust fled her. Grabbing the limb, Maia held it aloft in the direction of the new camera, "How dare you? The next person through those doors is going to end up just like this poor son of a bitch." The rage didn't last long, and she hit the hand against the food slot until it was hot to the touch and someone finally opened the slot for her to fling it out. The scent of charred flesh should have bothered her, but with the limb gone, L was her only focus. He was dirty, and that wouldn't stand. It took considerable effort, but she managed to get him into the new bathroom and into the shower stall. The water was more difficult to turn on than she’d hoped, but she was fixated. When the water finally popped on, it was ice cold, and she gasped. And screamed when there was another gasp in the tiny bathroom. “L?” She stared down at his body, but he wasn’t dead anymore. Color was flooding back into his face as the bullet worked it’s way out of his skull. Maia sunk to her knees next to him, “L? Why didn’t I know you heal? You never told me!”

When the bullet fell away though, and his eyes fluttered open, Maia realized she was in a whole lot more danger than she’d thought. There were no thoughts in his head, and she’d even made eye contact again, if her power ended at death, that should have resurrected the connection. Maia stumbled back when he sat up, her head hitting the tile behind her. She couldn’t read the minds of animals. His claws burst from his skin, dangerously close to her neck. “Calm down, L. It’s me, it’s Maia.” Her voice was trembling, but she almost cried when his claws sluggishly went back into his hands. “Yeah, that’s it. It’s okay.”

His nostrils flared, and he lunged towards her, grabbing her hips and fixing his mouth against her neck. Maia struggled, terrified that he was going to tear her throat out with his teeth, but then she became aware of something. He was hard and warm against her thigh. Whatever he had planned didn’t seem to involve killing her. Maia let her hands move from being braced against his chest to touch his face and smiled at him, “Okay, Wild Man. I’m all yours.”

He let go of her neck and grabbed the top of her soaked tank top, jerking the fabric apart to reveal her body to him. He took one ragged breath before he growled, “Mine.”

Chapter Text

She smelled divine. That was what had kept him from killing the female. Now, she was writing beneath him. He had a hand between her milky thighs, testing her, pleased by her willingness. “L!” She whined, rocking her hips as she covered them with a blanket, muttering about a damed camera.

He growled, and swatted at her hand when she reached between her legs. She wasn’t going to get in his way of taking what was his. He needed to taste that sweet fertile smell. She seemed to know what he was thinking and raised her arms above her head and let her legs fall apart. The flesh between her legs was wet and flushed, and all his. The organ between his legs began to bounce softly in time with his heartbeat.

She locked eyes with him, and the moan that came out of her mouth made him impossibly harder, “Oh, thank God. You’re here with me.”

He had no idea what she meant, and she smiled at him, touching his face with one tender hand, “I know, L. It’s okay. Just glad you’re healing. I was so afraid I’d lost you.”

He pulled her to the end of the cot and threw her legs over his shoulders, wasting no time in diving forward into her heat, his tongue laving long, full strokes against the seam of her flesh

Her mouth was open wide in a silent scream as her hands flew down, fingers finding purchase in his hair. The sharp sting of her lithe fingers pulling on the strands was delicious, but paled in comparison to the taste on his tongue. He continued exploring her, relishing in every moan that left her lips. “Please, I need you, now…”, her words trailed off.

He agreed.

He pulled the both of them up just far enough for her feet to find purchase, and positioned himself at her entrance. She kept her eyes on him as he rolled his hips forward, filling her in one complete movement. She had a hand over her own mouth, and a sharp tang of blood came from her. Once she’d adjusted to him, she took her hand from her mouth, “We need to stay quiet, L. Those sick bastards don’t need to get anymore out of this than they already have.” He could do that, he wanted to keep her to himself anyway. She was his. Her head fell back and she clung to him as he thrust himself in and out of her heat as if his life depended on it, biting down on her shoulder to keep himself from crying out.

Her release was beautiful, and when his followed seconds later the fascinating scent of the two of them combined was enough to make his head spin. She was his, this female, Maia, his frayed neurons supplied. Maia was his, fully, completely, and no one would take her from him.

Later, as they lay together under the blanket, she whispered to him, “I thought I’d lost you. And then you weren’t dead but you weren’t really here either.” Her hand stilled in his hair, and he felt a petulant urge to prod her into continuing. She laughed softly, resuming the calming strokes, “I couldn’t read your mind. Thought you’d gone completely animal on me, but…maybe your brain needed a bit to get itself back together and let you run on instinct. Does that make sense?”

Not in the least he thought dryly.

She groaned softly at that, “You’re such an ass.” Using her grip in his hair she tipped his head up to kiss him gently, “I can almost feel all your neurons stitching themselves back together. I don’t think that’s the first time they’ve done it either. Damage to certain areas of the brain can result in loss of spoken language, but you spoke before. Maybe the new bullet wound allowed that part of your brain to heal more…sort of like breaking a bone that hasn’t set right so it can be fixed properly.”

Where the fuck did she get this psycho-babble?

Maia scowled at him, but grabbed him with both arms and hugged him tighter to her bare chest, so he really couldn’t complain, “Psychology class, remember?” Oddly enough, he did. Memories had been flooding back since the middle of the sex they’d had.

He had given in. He realized numbly. Before, something had told him to hold back, to not let the animal urges control him, but he’d given in anyway. Now he remembered why. She was young. Too young. As his thoughts spiraled, Maia sunk her fingernails into his skull to get his attention, “Hey, no. I was completely willing.” Her voice got softer, “Besides, Wild Man, the two of us…well, that’s the least illegal thing going on in this hell hole.”

She had a point.

He felt obliged to recreate the experience, but more gently the second time around. He’d been too rough the first time, and they were both lucky she hadn’t been seriously injured. There was no more pillow talk after that, Maia began to fall asleep almost as soon as she had finished, and he wasn’t completely certain she wasn’t asleep before he had finished.

He didn’t take offense, she’d had a rough day. He simply got up from the cot and cleaned the both of them as well as he could with the ruins of her shirt, flipped off the new camera, and settled back down next to her, cocooning her body with his. He’d almost lost her. For a split second he’d thought she was the one the bullet had nestled in and his whole world had ended even before he succumbed to the actual projectile.

Maia stirred slightly in her sleep, pulling his arm to nestle between her breasts so she could press her lips to his knuckles and mumble, so quietly a normal human couldn’t possibly have heard, “love you”.

L pressed a kiss into her red hair, breathing the mingled scent of them that lingered in the room. He remembered his first word, the one he had blurted in his animal state, but it wasn't the one he wished he’d said, the one he wanted to say.

He waited until her steady breathing indicated she was deeply asleep before painstakingly testing the word on his tongue, trying to remember how to make his mouth move properly. She played it off, but she was an intelligent one, his female. He didn’t want to sound like an idiot.

“M-m-mine.” Great, he’d recreated the original word he’d uttered his madness, but that wasn’t it.

His second attempt was closer, but not good enough.

The third was just right, and he whispered into her hair, “Maia, mine.”

Chapter Text

L pushed her back onto their cot and dragged his nose down across her collarbone to her sternum, and settled on her stomach, taking deep breaths before growling deeply and surging up her body to nuzzle against her cheek.

Maia laughed, carding her fingers through his hair, “Okay, my Wild Man, what’s gotten into you?” He projected an image of her face thrown back in ecstasy, and she scowled halfheartedly at him. She kissed him and muttered, “Perv.”

He sunk his hand between her thighs, one long finger seeking out the wet heat there. Maia arched her back instantly, fully aware she was giving him exactly what he wanted, but she just didn’t care. His hands were magic. Terrifying with the metal hiding just under his skin, capable of gutting her in an instant, but his fingers knew exactly where to stroke inside of her to have her gasping just as quickly. He’d been insatiable since that first night, and she had absolutely zero complaints. Especially once he figured out that he liked her being on top even more than she did. So after a few minutes of fingering, Maia was on top, her forearms braced on his solid chest. She leaned close to him, causing them both to moan at the change in angle, but she continued rocking her hips against his, “I think I know a way to get us out.”

His eyes went from lustful to deadly in a second, and in his mind he ordered her to continue, punctuating the command with a particularly sharp snap of his hips. Maia kissed him, “No, we’ll finish this, then we’ll talk.” It then apparently became his mission to get them both off as quickly as possible. She couldn’t complain at all, even if she was probably going to be sore.

She explained her harebrained scheme to him as they lay side by side on the cot, her voice barely a whisper. “When they were in here before a bunch of them made eye contact with me. I’ve got a pretty good idea of the layout of this place, including the exits.” She chuckled softly, “Really, it’s just a matter of us getting out of this room.”

With the door the way it was, that wasn’t likely to happen he thought.

Maia clicked her tongue, “Hey, I can’t have you being a Negative Nancy on me now. I’ve got a plan for that. I’m smarter than I look, you know.” She nipped at his chin, “Don’t answer that. But seriously, you’re going to have to pretend to kill me.” He really didn’t like her plan, “Come on, a little blood and some acting on my part, no big deal. We just need to get the door open.”

They fought about it, and when he raked his claws against the side of her head she threw herself to the floor and clutched her head, screaming like he’d sliced through to her brain instead of just grazing her. It was almost too easy. guards came into the room, but they were ready for them. When L had destroyed the first camera, Maia had managed to get a piece of wire about a foot and a half long. L went to slicing and dicing, and Maia went to using her wire as a garrote. She was slight, but her body weight was more than enough to cut off air long enough for her victim to drop. The second man she went after wasn’t caught off guard like the first one was, and got his gun to her head before she could do a damned thing about it. L roared, her captor realized what was going on, and he started screaming about shooting her.
————
“Maia, I can’t believe you’re so stupid.” Sarah growled, stitching her head wound closed in the lab they’d dragged her into after scaring L into submission. Her hands were fixed in metal bindings, and she’d been gagged by medical gauze because she kept cursing at Sarah, “You've never done anything I’ve ever told you to. Thomas mentions something in passing, Louis or Elliot dare you, and you’d practically fall over yourself to comply.” Sarah pressed into one of the wounds on her skull out of spite, the pain bringing tears to Maia’s eyes, “You make me so mad.” A lab tech handed a paper to Sarah, and she sighed in disgust, “You stupid bitch.”

Several people in lab coats came in and started arguing, but Maia’s head was swimming. She couldn’t concentrate on anything, much less read anyone’s minds. Sarah cursed, “Damnit, Maia. Stay awake.” She gestured to one of her lab techs, “Shoot her up with some adrenaline, she’s lost a good bit of blood. Head wounds are such bleeders.”

One of the men scoffed, “Why waste it? Just get rid of her.”

“Look at her blood test. There’s so much to study here.” Sarah urged the other scientists, brandishing the paper at him as her helper pushed a vial into Maia’s arm.

Her favorite guard approached from his position by the door, passing the paper along, “Could just kill the both of ‘em right now. Be done.” He growled, shoving his rifle into Maia’s stomach.

Sarah shook her head, “No, DeWalt. We need them.” They continued to argue, and Sarah finally clapped her hand on her hips, “Fine, let’s go ask Stryker what he thinks about this development. Surely he won’t completely ignore the geneticist who knows what the hell she's talking about.”

Maia struggled while they were gone, but she was exhausted, and even with L’s training sessions and the adrenaline coursing through her veins, she wasn’t anywhere strong enough to break out of the bindings. She couldn’t have even get the gag out of her mouth. She wished that when the door opened it was Sarah, but it wasn’t. It was DeWalt. “Just you and me you little mutant whore.” He had a hand gun pointed at her, “Your pussy of a sister isn’t here to stop me this time.” He ripped the gag out of her mouth, “I want to hear you scream. I want him to hear you scream from down the hall. I want him to hear you beg for your sorry little life.”

“I won’t.” Maia whispered, her heart was hammering in her chest, pressure building in her head.

He laughed, “You won’t really have a choice, I’m gonna make you. Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve sent a mutant back screaming to her maker. It’ll be nice to get two of you.”

“You’re going to get yourself killed.” She muttered, eyes glued to the gun pressed into her gut as he unknowingly projected images of her dead mangled body. She wished her mutation hadn’t decided to kick back in. This man wanted to gut her.

He laughed again, “I tell you, you’ve got brass ones for a slut who lets an animal fuck her.”

She looked him in the eyes, feeling a surge of power not unlike the first time she caught eyes with someone, but this time it was so much stronger, fueled by rage, “He’s more man than you could ever imagine to be. You’re worthless scum, and you deserve to die for what you’ve done.”

DeWalt’s face went slack, and he nodded, stepping back as if in a daze, “I’m worthless scum, and I deserve to die for what I’ve done.” Eyes still locked on hers, he stuck the muzzle of the gun into his mouth and pulled the trigger.

Maia couldn’t contain her screams.

Chapter Text

He could hear Maia’s screams, but couldn’t get to her. Just like before, when the door opened, Maia wasn’t there, but he could follow her scent. He ran faster than he ever had in his life to get to her. She was back in their old cell, but he really didn’t care. She looked far worse than she had the last time they’d been reunited like this. She looked up slowly when he entered, blinking like she couldn’t see clearly, “L, I killed a man.” He couldn’t help but scoff and show her his claws as a reminder of his own homicidal tendencies.

Maia shook her head, “I did it with my mind, L. A guard. I told him to kill himself, and he did. Blew his own brains out right in front of me. I’ve never been able to do anything like that before.” Nothing he could say could cover that. He instead pulled her into his arms and back down onto their tiny old cot, swearing to protect her from ever being in such a situation again. Their freedom wasn’t worth destroying her beautiful soul.

It took a couple of weeks, but she eventually shook off the ghost of the man she’d killed, and, despite her sister’s best efforts, the trauma hadn’t been repeated. He hated seeing her come back shaken every time, but she was at least pleased that her range had improved. She said she was able to stay connected with him even when they weren’t together, and she found solace in that.

The changes that occurred in her body during those weeks would have been imperceptible to anyone who didn’t stare at her all the time like he did. Her hips, once hovering between girlish slenderness and womanly curves, were suddenly firmly in the womanly category, with a tiny rounding between her still too sharp hip bones. Her breasts, while still proportional to the rest of her slim body, had grown, the color of her nipples darkening just enough for him to notice. And every day, she smelled more and more like him. She was his. Completely. Or so boasted the animalistic pride in his head he didn’t completely understand. Why the changes in Maia’s form excited him so much, why they made him want to ram himself inside of her and at the same time, even more ready to kill to protect her than before, he didn’t know. Something’d changed.

His pride turned to worry suddenly when, one morning, Maia jerked out of his arms and flung herself at their sorry excuse for a toilet, vomiting violently. Then she did the same the next day, the day after that, and the day after that. Each time, she ended up pale and weak for hours afterwards, laying in bed beside him, trembling. On the eighth morning, she finally spoke about it, her face paler than usual and drawn in fear, that damned scent covering up the one he loved as she whispered, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” His worry turned to fear when she stopped eating. He thrust their plate under her nose, but she shook her head weakly, “No, I can’t eat.” He kept pressuring her until she vomited on them both, too exhausted to move so she didn’t get sick on herself. He picked her up gently, and walked her into their shower, peeling her clothes off of her and rinsing the sick from her skin. She vomited once more before he was done, and seemed completely out of it. “I think I need help.” She whispered, laying on their stripped cot as he sat on the floor next to her, stroking her hair out of her face. She fell asleep, and stayed asleep even as he paced in front of the doorway, growling, demanding the only way he could to get help without her in a position to be his voice. The only response to his anxiety was a new blanket and clothes being shoved through the slot that usually produced food.

Over the next few weeks, Maia rode a rollercoaster of sickness that he was helpless to stop. Eventually, however, she got better. She slept a lot, but when she was awake, she was better. Maia even felt up to trying to get him to talk, cajoling and teasing him. She was frowning at him, “Hey, my Wild Man, I think I’m okay. I feel alright. Honestly, you don’t need to worry so much.”

He took immense pleasure in the shocked look on her face when he growled, “Mine.”

A few seconds later, she began laughing, “I sure as hell hope so.” The laugh was hollow though, “I’m pregnant, L. Least I’m pretty sure that’s what’s wrong. It’s the only damn thing that makes sense.” She looked around, “A baby, L. In this place. What the hell are we going to do? I mean we can’t even get out of here without me fucking it up. We can’t raise a kid here.” She started panicking, and, again, all he could do was pull her to his chest.

The weeks and months that followed started a new pattern where Maia was pulled out by her sister every week for blood tests and examinations. Then they started wanting him alone:

“Weapon X, we can flood this room with a sedative and drag you out, but by the time you’re unconscious, she’ll be dead. Your choice.” Had been the first and only warning he needed.

Sometimes they sent him on missions, sometimes they were just satisfied with torturing him. Sarah Kinney was the worst, and he’d already been given Maia’s permission to kill the bitch should the opportunity present itself…after the baby was born. She’d just finished stabbing him a couple dozen times when she smiled pleasantly at him, “I’ve sent some men to go grab my dear sister. She’ll rejoin you shortly, unless you’d like to stay. She might appreciate that.”

He understood her advice. She wanted to jab a needle into Maia’s stomach. Neither one of them were on board with that plan, but, as usual, a gun pointed at Maia’s head was usually a pretty good deterrent. She used a strange tool to help guide the needle through Maia’s skin, which she said would keep her from hurting the baby, but that didn’t help either of them relax. He’d barely kept from killing the woman when she’d used the needle to pull nearly clear fluid out of Maia. They didn’t relax until they were back in their pathetic little cell, and L had lovingly mauled every inch of her.

He then spent some time projecting the best sound in the world to her, their baby’s heartbeat. He’d heard it for weeks, and she appreciated it greatly, talking to their daughter. They were both pretty certain it was a girl. He had noted that the baby smelled more like her than him, and she relied on her motherly instincts as well as what she’d gleaned from Sarah. Her powers had grown, and his mind had been able to heal itself much faster than it ever had before…or so he thought. He really had no point of reference. He didn’t even know his own damn name.

Maia fell asleep in his arms, and he cradled the ever growing bulge between her hips. His whole world was right here, these two girls, his mate and his daughter. In his dreams, they were curled up on a bed in a farmhouse, and they were safe and happy. His nightmares weren’t much worse than reality, but they were enough to make him grateful for every minute of peace he could muster here with Maia. As the months grew on, he enjoyed those quiet moments even more as their daughter grew and made her presence known by kicking and jabbing her mother. He hated she was causing Maia pain, but they both took her activity as a sign of a healthy baby.

Those moments grew infinitely precious as they started pulling him out of his little world almost daily. Every time he came back bloody, he did his best not to touch Maia until after he’d cleaned up. It went against every fiber of his being to see blood on her, and he wasn’t going to taint her anymore than he already had. She and their daughter had to get out of this place, and he would do whatever it took. Maia wasn’t a weapon, she had a family who…mostly… loved her, and he would give them both up for her and their daughter to make it back to that family. To safety.

Chapter Text

Maia lay on their cot alone, stroking her belly. Sarah said she was too skinny, but they didn’t feed her enough for her to have put any weight on for her baby, even with L feeding her everything she could stand. Sarah and L both kept telling her that the baby was fine though, Sarah even seemed content with the baby’s size as Maia neared the end of her pregnancy. L’s favorite past time was to curl up next to Maia and hum to their daughter as he listened to her heartbeat. He was a giant sap, and Maia loved him with all her heart.

L had been gone for several days, and both she and the baby were at their wits end. Maia hissed, stretching slightly, but keeping her back as to the camera as possible. She was in labor, had been for about two hours, and their little girl was pissed. She’d been kicking the crap out of Maia off and on since L had been taken away, and Maia had the bruises on the right side of her stomach to prove it. L was going to be pissed. He got frustrated when their daughter made her grimace by moving around too much. Bruises were going to make one of the veins in his forehead pop. He was going to be a great dad though.

Maia burst into tears at that thought, for what had to have been the fifteenth time since he’d been gone. What the hell was she doing to do if he didn’t come back before someone realized she was in labor? The contractions are far enough apart that she was pretty sure she had a while to got before they started making her scream her head off, or so her high school health class knowledge told her. She took a minute to day dream and dry her face a bit.

The door to their cell opened, and she shot up from the cot, glancing towards the camera. L crossed the room in a blur, and pinned her to the wall in one swift motion. Maia screamed a little, surprised by his sudden reappearance and rough treatment of her. He shoved her dress up to her hips and pulled his shorts down, entering her without too much preamble. She was overly sensitive, and knew she was making a fool of herself with all the noises she made as he thrust into her. She’d missed this. Since they’d realized she was pregnant he’d treated her like a porcelain doll. Maia threw her head back and pushed against his shoulders to get him to shift inside her a bit to keep pressure off her cervix. Damnit, she wanted to be able to enjoy this reunion. At last, L groaned, thrusting into her one last time and stilling there. She needed to distract him from the fact that she hadn’t come so she could get him to focus. So she hit his shoulders repeatedly and yelled, “You son of a bitch!”

L responded by nuzzling into the side of her neck, and she slid her hands into his long hair. She kissed the side of his face, “I was so scared they’d hurt you. You okay?”

He growled, “Mine”, before pulling off her and nipping the side of her neck, moving down her body. He nuzzled her stomach, and she smiled, answering his probing thoughts, “We’re okay. Baby’s just upset that Mommy got a little too anxious, kicked the crap out of me.”

He growled, pissed like she’d been afraid he would be, and pulled her dress up, revealing her stomach, which was mottled with bruises on the right side. He put his hand over the bruises, a furious expression on his face. She put one of her hands over his and put the other on his face, making him look her in the face, “Hey, I’m fine, honest.” She giggled shortly, “Better then fine after that greeting.” He glared, but she ignored him, smoothing her dress down, “I swear these look worse then they are.” He wasn’t convinced.

Another contraction had her grabbing her stomach suddenly. Right, sex was a way to speed up labor, she remembered that now from her class, “Oh, have to say that greeting probably wasn’t the best for my current situation.” L was stunned, but followed her thought process. She laughed at his panicked thoughts, “Yeah, seems our little bug really didn’t like you being gone.” She was genuinely alarmed for the first time, “I don’t suppose you know anything about childbirth, do you?” He just looked at her, horrified. Neither one of them wanted anyone else involved though.

Maia wanted to kick him. His dick had gotten her into this mess in the first place, and now his dick had made things worse. She would have been yelling at him if he hadn’t been panicking so badly. Honestly, she hadn’t expected him to be so terrified, but she should have. Every time her face scrunched up, he felt horrible, “Cut that shit out. We did this together, you don’t get to blame yourself. Women have been having babies for thousands of years just fine. I can do this. We can do this.” He wasn’t convinced.

Then the door to the cell opened again, and the pair both turned to face it, clutching each other. Maia cursed at the sight of a herd of armed guards, “Oh, hell no, you’re not taking him again.”

But they weren’t after L, they were after her. The guard who had replaced the one she’d killed yelled, “Get back, Weapon X, or we’ll put a bullet in her brain. Eyes down, whore.”

Maia fought beside L, relying on the months of training he’d given her, but she had to hold back for their daughter. In the end, another contraction made her stumble, and she was caught by two of the guards, who kept screaming, trying to get her out of the room to her sister, where they were imagining horrible things were in store for her and her baby. Maia bit one of the men holding her just as L got close. Maia screamed reflexively as gunfire rang out, and felt herself hit the floor, knocked off balance by something.

L roared, but she couldn’t focus on him. She’d been shot. Blood welled from her chest, more of her own blood than she’d ever seen in her life, and when she coughed reflexively, blood bubbled out of her mouth. Maia found an entry wound just above her right breast, and stared at the blood on her hand in horror. Her whole body was suddenly freezing. Another contraction minimized the agony from the sucking burning of the gunshot wound enough for her to yell for L.

He was at her side in an instant. “Maia?”

Maia had never seen him so panicked, but an eerie calm came over her. So this was how it ended. She’d been playing with death for so long now, it was easy to see what she had to do. “Take her.” Consciousness was ebbing away already, and it was exorbitantly difficult to breathe. A collapsed lung, her brain supplied, one that was crushing her heart with it’s own blood. Her words were gasped out, but she knew he understood every one of them, “Save her, L. You have to save her.” She smiled up at him, “I won’t live long enough for her to be born.” She knew that, could feel her heart beating slower, could tell that every strangled beat brought her closer to death. They still had hours of labor left, her water hadn’t even broken, but she didn’t have hours. Maia clutched L’s hand, looking him in the eyes, as she moved his clawed hand to her stomach, channeling all her pain into her words, “I love you. But I don’t matter, she does. Get her out.”

He fought her, tears in his eyes as he muttered her name over and over again, but he couldn’t save her, they both knew that. Her field of vision slowly narrowed, and she couldn’t speak anymore. Maia let her head fall back, and all she felt were the twin sensations of his lips on her cheek and a careful claw cutting her belly open. Her eyes closed, and she focused solely on how much she loved them both. She imagined, as she passed out of consciousness, that she heard his gruff voice tell her he loved her over the screams of a newborn. After that, nothing.

Chapter Text

God damnit, he was tired of nightmares. Especially not when they didn’t make a damned bit of sense. This one was extra special, and unfortunately recurring, his least favorite. He was fucking Jean from behind, a hand wrapped tightly in her hair. He’d woken up to a sticky mess in his bed, which was actually worse than when he clawed his furniture in his sleep. Clawed furniture he could forget about for a few days, at least until he got a spare minute to fix it, but messed bedding…yeah, leaving that was a nonstarter. So he found himself downstairs bright and early intent on shoving his sheets in the first empty washing machine he could find…for the sixth time in three weeks.

Of course his luck was so shitty that Scott caught him, and the little bastard had the nerve to laugh, “Good night? Didn’t see anyone leaving, so that’s an improvement. Charles really hates when your guests stay the night. It sets a bad example for the kids.”

“Shut the fuck up.” Logan growled, but the asshole couldn’t keep his mouth closed.

“The drinking isn’t much better, and Ororo hates your smok-” Logan cut him off with a right hook.

They brawled for a few minutes, and they had almost resorted to claws and laser eyes when Jean came on scene. “Hey, cut it out!”

“Jean!” Scott yelled, looking like a kid that had gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

She stood between them, hands on on her hips, a perfect impersonation of a flustered mother, “What are you two thinking? The students are about to be up and about at any minute. They don’t need to see you two fighting first thing in the morning!”

“One Eye started it.” Logan said darkly, slamming the washing machine door shut.

Scott scoffed, “Come on, Jean, he threw the first punch. I was just giving him a hard time about his urgency to wash his sheets.”

Logan resisted the urge to gut the other mutant. Jean wouldn’t like that, she looked mistrustful as it was in the morning light. “Could’ve been I was trying to avoid your sorry ass.”

Jean sighed, shooing Scott away, “What’s going on, Logan?”

Logan started to walk away from her, “Can’t a guy wash his damned laundry in peace?”

She wasn’t giving up though, as stubborn as she was, he should have expected her following him into the hall, “Logan, I can tell something’s up. Did you have another nightmare? Please, let me help you.”

Logan wheeled around to stare at her, “I don’t need your help, Jean. You think I wet the damn bed?” Her expression said it all, and managed to make him even madder, “For fucks sake, I did not wet the bed. It was a wet dream, Jean. I came in my sleep like a teenaged boy. Is that all?” She opened her mouth to say something, and he growled, “Fine, you want to know? Just look. Maybe then you’ll leave me alone for a fucking hour.”

It was cruel. But letting her see every moment of his dream was sure to scare the girl away. She stood blinking for a few minutes, and finally stared at him, “Who is she?”

Logan stared back at her, “You really need to spell it out for you?”

Jean shook her head, “If you think that was me, it’s not, I don’t have a birthmark on my shoulder, and that wasn’t a dream. It was a memory.”

Logan felt like she’d punched him, “A memory?”

She nodded, and frowned, “We should talk to the Professor.”

He scoffed at her, “I’m not going to the Professor about some broad I may have screwed back in the day.”

“I think you should.” Jean whispered, “Logan, the room you were in in your dream…I’m pretty sure it’s the same one we broke you out of at Alkali Lake. We thought you were alone.”

Logan could smell a sudden jolt of fear from behind him, and turned around slowly, “What do you know, Hank?”

The blue haired man flinched. “I…uh…don’t know anything.”

Logan let his claws slide out of his skin, “Squeal, Furball.”

Hank whimpered, and Logan was inches away from skinning him when the Professor intervened, “Logan, enough. I think it best we talk in my office. Jean, would you please have Scott cover Logan’s classes.” Logan followed him, trepidation in every fiber of him. Things had been much simpler when it had just been a hormonal surge. A memory. A memory of a girl he couldn’t remember. A memory that Hank and Charles seemed to know something about. A memory they hadn’t told him about.

Charles smelled like scarcely covered anxiety, but looked serene, his hands folded in front of him, “Logan, about eight or so years ago, Hank recovered some video from your time with Mr. Stryker. Less than five minutes and damaged, but the girl Jean saw in your memory… she’s in it.” He gestured to the screen behind his desk. “We didn’t tell you then, and I apologize. I believed that something like this might be best left in the past.”

So he watched himself burst into that damnable room, and roughly fuck a red haired woman. A teenager really. A pregnant teenager. Pregnant with his child. The video didn’t tell him that, but he knew it, knew by the way he’d touched her stomach, they way he’d been gentle with her even while being rough. Her smile. Her blue eyes. Every strand of red hair. He didn’t remember her, but he could tell by the way he’d been with her that he’d cared deeply for her.

She was in labor, he understood that, and he felt the same panic that video him was obviously feeling.

Then they weren’t alone.

She was no match for them, and he wasn’t able to save her. Her scream would haunt him forever.

When the video ended, Logan turned on Charles, “Who was she?”

Charles shook his head, “We don’t know. There were no records recovered from the facility about her. You now know as much as we know.”

“Which is shit.” Logan snarled, “All we know is I fucked a girl, knocked her up, and she died.”

Charles looked down at his hands, “And the child.”

“And the child.” Logan echoed, but the words felt wrong, like he knew something else. He ignored the feeling, and walked out of the room. The girl’s face followed him, and he wondered how he’d ever thought she was Jean. Jean was beautiful and kind, but the girl, she appealed deep down to the animal that lived inside of him. She hadn’t belonged to him, she’d belonged to the Wolverine, and now she was dead. Charles was right, he’d have been better off not knowing. He didn’t do emotions.

Chapter Text

“Hey, Kitty, you seen Logan around? He wasn’t in class today, it was Scott.” Rogue asked her roommate when she got back from her after close quarters combat class shower.

Kitty shook her head, eyeing her fingernail polish critically, “He stormed out of the Professor’s office pretty early this morning, that’s the last I’ve seen of him.”

Rogue frowned, rubbing her towel over her wet hair, “Stormed out? Like…normal Logan or…?”

“He was pissed about something, more so than usual I’d say. He almost ran me over.” Kitty said, dragging her eyes from her fingernails, “What’s up with you?”

Rogue shrugged, pulling on her clothes, “Ah don’t really know.”

Kitty eyed her skeptically, “You know if you want to talk, I’m here for you. That’s part of why we’re roommates, you know. You sure you’re peachy?”

“That, and Ah’m less likely to kill you if we accidentally bump into each other.” Rogue said dryly, pulling her hair up into a ponytail, something she’d only just become comfortable with, “Ah’m fine. Ah just…Ah think there’s someone else who needs someone to talk to this morning.”

Kitty’s seriousness faded away, “Well, as long as you’re thinking it, you and Logan did both miss breakfast. Might be a conversation starter if you want to try to get something out of him. We both know you’re going to have a tough time though. He’s harder to get to know than you are.”

Rogue glared half heartedly at the older girl, “Thanks.”

Kitty smiled brightly, picking up her books for her next class, “Any time!”

Rogue made her way downstairs to the kitchen, and, avoiding Storm, managed to make two sandwiches and get outside without being told by anyone to get to her class. All the powers thrumming in her head actually seemed to agree that finding Logan was important, and she found him by the lake. “Lunch?” He took the sandwich from her, but didn’t say anything. He didn’t eat it either, even when Rogue ate hers sitting crosslegged next to him. She let the silence drag as long as she could, but finally broke down, “Anything Ah can help ya with?”

He scoffed, “Hell, Marie, I wish.” She let the silence drag again, knowing he wasn’t going to tell her anything any faster or more if she badgered him. Her patience paid off, probably more than she’d wanted to, “There’s a video. I wasn’t alone with Stryker. There was a girl. Shit, couldn’t have been any older than you. She was pregnant, now they’re probably dead. Shit, I don’t know. Head’s all screwed up. I don’t even know her name.” He started to get up, “Hell, why am I dumping this shit on you? Get to class, kid.”

Rogue put a gloved hand on his arm, “Hey, maybe Ah can help you unlock some of those memories.” He stared down at her, “Ah’ve been practicing hypnosis stuff with Jean an’ the Professor… Maybe I could help you, Couldn’t hurt, right?”

He scoffed again, but the hard edges on his face smoothed out a bit, “You’re not going to leave it until I let you, are you?” She shook her head, and he smiled wryly, “What the hell, I couldn’t possibly want to stab myself anymore than I already do. You’re a menace.”

Rogue gave him one of her own rare smiles, “You’re the only one who’s not secretly afraid of me.”

Something in his eyes got even sadder, but he just sat down in front of her, “Alright, kid, have at it. Just be aware, what I’ve seen…it’s not pretty.” He sighed heavily, “Not the worst you’ve seen, but…try to keep yourself out of my memories.”

“Sure.” She lied. He was too distracted to realize it, and hadn’t payed enough attention to that aspect of her borrowed powers to realize she hadn’t learned how to keep the memories of others from bleeding into her own head. She would see everything he saw.

He shook his head and started to stand once more, “Shit, I can’t do this.”

“Logan, wait!” Rogue had already taken off her glove, and forgot herself in the midst of her desire to help the one person she felt gave a shit about her. Her bare hand made contact with his forearm, and they were both pulled into his scrambled memories:

A beautiful red haired woman stood in front of him, hardly a few years older than Rogue, not really a woman at all, dressed in a grey tank top and sweat pants. The skin around her mouth was pulled back in a smile, her eyes tightening in the corners as she said in a sweet voice, “That’s okay. You don’t eat me, I’ll keep you company. Deal?” She smiled even wider after a few seconds pause, as if amused by something he’d said, “It’s called a smile, wild man. You’re not going to eat me, so damned right I’m gonna smile.”

The memory changed suddenly. He was now standing over the woman who was eerily pale on the ground surrounded by a puddle of blood. She was still beautiful, even covered in her own blood with half her torso shredded by a gunshot. She wasn’t quite dead yet, but her pallor indicated she didn’t have long. Her mouth opened and closed several times as she struggled to breathe, and when she finally spoke, her voice was barely above a whisper, “I love you. But I don’t matter, she does. Get her out.”

One of her hands pressed his down insistently as her head fell back and her blue eyes lost focus. He kissed her chilled cheek, and his claws bit into her skin. A minute later, he was holding a baby in his hands, and her mother’s heart wasn’t beating anymore as she stared sightlessly up at them, her face a peaceful mask Rogue had never seen on any of the dead she’d ever laid eyes on.

The memory cut out, and then he was running through snow, the baby girl in his arms, tucked tight against his chest to shield her naked body from the icy air. He hesitated just a moment at the edge of the lake, but changed course, only to find himself laying flat on his back with a bullet in his neck.

The baby wailed, still safe in his arms, but he couldn’t move to quiet her. He was conscious, but he couldn’t move a muscle. Severed spinal cord. A man stood over him, William Stryker, Rogue’s own memories supplied, “So close, Logan, but you’ve failed.” He pulled the baby from Logan’s arms, and held her in his arms, looking her over critically, “Hello, X-23. Happy Birthday.”

He extended one hand to his men, and a gun was placed in it. Baby still screaming in the crook of his other arm, he pointed the gun at Logan, “Adamantium bullets, Weapon X, and this time, no little red headed mutant whore is going to be there to bring you back. Thank you for this little one though, I’ve got some great plans for her.” He pulled the safety on the handgun back.

Rogue managed to pull her hand away from Logan’s arm just as the bullet exited the chamber. Logan stood frozen, staring at her as she stared back at him. She stumbled to her feet, shaking, grabbing for her glove on the ground, “L-Logan, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to!”

He turned away from her with a growl, “Go to class, Rogue.”

Rogue stared at his back, wanting to help him, but she was pretty sure she’d just made things a whole lot worse. Tears welled in her eyes. “I’m so sorry, Logan.” She did what came naturally, and ran. By the time she came back to the Mansion, it was dark. She was still so confused, feeling a grief that wasn’t hers, and feeling guilt that was…mostly… hers. She’d wanted to make things better, but instead, she’d made them worse. The pain that had been in Logan’s eyes… that was because of her. Maybe they’d all be better off without her around. She couldn’t hurt any of the people she cared about if she wasn’t there.

Chapter Text

Sarah Kinney was originally one of two, three minutes younger than her twin Thomas, born to Leslie and Ronald Kinney. When they were two years old, their parents had another baby, another boy, Elliot. Four years after that, the last Kinney boy was born, Louis. The next nine years seemed to drag on:

Thomas became obsessed with ships, and dreamed of joining the navy as soon as he could. Sarah was drawn to science, exploring the world around her in as much detail as possible. Elliot was perfectly content to work in the factory beside his father, even at a young age. Louis seemed destined for stardom.

When Louis was eight years old, their father quit his job out of the blue. It was part of an early mid-life crisis stemming from Ronald and Leslie each only being sixteen when they’d ended up pregnant with Sarah and Thomas. The fighting that year was worse than anything the four children had ever witnessed, and culminated in their mother going on a business trip to upstate New York without the permission or approval of her husband. When she returned, their relationship seemed radically changed, and they returned to the loving parents their children had been familiar for much of their childhoods.

Only Sarah thought the sudden change strange. Only Sarah thought about how odd her new sister was. Tiny. Red-headed. Beautiful. Unnatural.

Maia wasn’t like her. Sarah knew that the moment she’d laid eyes on her baby sister. The older they got, the more obvious that became: “Sarah? Are you leaving?”

Sarah had looked up from her suitcase at her seven year old sister, “Yes.”

Maia frowned, eyes cast to the floor, “Why do you have to go?

“I can’t stay in this town anymore.” Sarah had answered simply.

“You’re not coming back, are you?” Maia whispered.

Sarah had turned to look at her, taking in the little girl with her pale blue dress and long red locks. She always looked so fucking perfect, even when she’d been rolling in the mud with one of their brothers. But Sarah hadn’t told anyone she was planning on leaving their sleepy little town for good. “What makes you think that? I’m just going to New York for school.”

Maia shrugged, “I don’t know…”

Sarah had rolled her eyes and scoffed at the little girl, and she’d never stepped foot in that bedroom they’d shared again.

She’d gotten a doctorate, seen her sister at her graduation, thirteen and not at all a victim of teenaged awkwardness. Thomas had yelled at Sarah on that visit for how she treated their sister. Sarah then went four blissful years without laying eyes on her sister, had been recruited by William Stryker and Dr. Rice for their top secret program and been so damn proud of herself and her accomplishments.

And then when she did, when she finally saw her sister again, Sarah wished with all her heart that the time apart had continued forever. Maia was a mutant. A telepath. She’d been mocked by her coworkers for not noticing her own sister was a freak when that was what she studied for a living, but she’d been the one laughing when Stryker had put Sarah in charge of Maia after the stupid little girl had managed not to get herself killed by Weapon X.

The victory had been short lived once the guilt set in, and she’s struggled every single day to keep her agony off her face. She’d resented her sister, but she had never in her wildest dreams wished this hell on the younger female. Her heart had been in her throat out of fear for her sister’s safety, but Maia was special. Not only did Weapon X not kill her, he seemed to fall in love with her. Sarah had found out months into Maia’s captivity that he’d gotten Maia pregnant, and it had taken every string she had to keep her coworkers and Dr. Rice from just killing Maia.

It hadn’t mattered. In the end, she’d failed.

“Sorry for your loss.” Dr. Rice muttered before leaving the room, leaving Sarah alone with Maia’s corpse.

Sarah pushed Maia’s red hair out of her face, and stared at her baby sister’s empty blue eyes. “Oh, Maia.” She did the only thing that felt right, and started the grim task of cleaning her sister up. Their parents didn’t need to see their youngest daughter as she was, a hole in her chest and her belly sliced open. Sobbing, Sarah stitched her up, more gentle with her sister than she’d been in her whole life. When she’d finished, she kissed her sister’s cold forehead and draped a clean hospital gown over her to replace the ruined dress she’d been in, “That’s the best I can do. I’m so sorry, Maia. I failed you.”

Guards had come in almost as soon as she’d finished, and dragged her away. The next day felt like she’d finally become a prisoner, the tides turning, at least until they arrived in Mexico. Stryker had received her in his borrowed office, “Dr. Kinney, please sit. I’m so sorry about how you were brought here, but we were in a hurry.” He had a bundle in the crook of his arm when he finally turned around, and Sarah’s heart clenched violently. The baby. Maia’s baby was still alive. She hadn’t even thought about it. Stryker continued talking, approaching her slowly, “You did a fabulous job with your sister, so I trust you’ll do your next assignment just as well.” He held the bundle out to her, placing it in her arms, “X-23, your niece.”

“Oh.” She replied, still stunned, forcing herself to look down at the creature who had been a large factor in her sister’s death. She was beautiful. Maia’s baby was beautiful. Pink and tiny, and completely reliant on Sarah, her mouth opening and closing pitifully as she searched for food. Sarah tucked her arms tighter around the baby. She may have failed Maia, but this little girl was a second chance. She’d failed her sister once, and she wouldn’t do it again. This time, she wouldn’t fail. Sarah would protect the baby for Maia.

Three years later, the baby wasn’t quite a baby anymore, and her mutation expressed itself in a fantastically violent outburst that had left her covered in blood curled in Sarah’s arms. “It’s alright, love. I’ve got you.” Sarah cleaned the little girl up, the one that was suddenly much less Maia’s and much more Weapon X’s, but it really didn’t matter. She got the stubborn set of her chin from her mother, from Maia.

In bed that night, Sarah stroked her hand through the fine brown curls on her niece’s head, “Do you want me to tell you a bedtime story? Your favorite one maybe? Since it was a hard day?” There was a nod of confirmation from the little girl, who snuggled in closer to her. In spite of their situation, Sarah smiled, “Once upon a time, there was a beautiful queen in a beautiful kingdom, but she was taken away from her castle when she was very young for an old nobleman feared her beauty and power being left to rule the kingdom. He had her imprisoned with a ferocious beast, hoping the beast would tear out her heart. The beast, however, was so struck by the queen’s beauty that he began to care for her, falling more in love each day, though quite certain she did not return his affections due to his monstrous appearance. When he discovered that the beautiful queen loved him, he freed them both, revealing himself to be a handsome prince. The queen took the hidden prince back to her kingdom, they were married, and together they ruled for many years. During their rule, they were loved by all, but loved nothing more than the time they spent raising their own beloved beautiful princess.”

“Im’ma princess.” Her niece muttered in her sleep, and Sarah kissed her forehead, breathing in her sweet little girl scent, wishing Maia was there to see the girl she’d died to bring to life. Even Sarah had to admit that it almost seemed worth it, to die so someone you loved could live. If only that was how the story ended. The older her niece got, the less power Sarah had over Rice’s interest in testing ‘X-23’, but she prayed daily that she didn’t let Maia down again. She wouldn’t survive that failure.

She didn’t. She died before her niece turned six because she’d objected to coating her niece’s tiny bones in adamantium. Her last thoughts were of how much she regretted all but the last five years of her life.

Chapter Text

He had a daughter. Somewhere, he, Logan James Howlett, the Wolverine, had a daughter. He had never seen anything more perfect in his life. Stryker had her. Stryker had his daughter.

Rogue had shown him that in his own memories. As soon as Rogue had pulled away, he’d headed straight for Charles and the fur-ball, and relayed his newly rediscovered memories to them. They had both scrambled into action and left him alone with his thoughts just long enough for another memory to surface all on it’s own:

He was standing in an empty bedroom looking at different colored patches of paint on the wall, a handmade wooden crib sitting in one corner, waiting on the rest of the room to come together…a nursery. Logan heard familiar footsteps behind him, could smell a familiar sweet scent, and just as pale arms came to wrap around his chest, he bolted awake in the memory.

The woman was laying on his chest, one hand splayed over his heart, the other on top of his as they rested on the bulge of her stomach. She smiled up at him, “I like the yellow. I don’t think our little girl is going to be a pink lover.”

The baby shifted, and the woman grimaced, “Shit, she hit my bladder again.” She tapped his arm, “Help me up please sir, I need to pee. Preferably not on the both of us.”

He helped her up, and they stood nose to nose in silence for a minute. She slid her hands up to his neck and pulled herself up for a kiss. She smiled broadly as she pulled back, “Thank you, my Wild Man.” She drifted into the restroom, her white dress flowing around her knees as the memory ended.

She had carried his child, died giving birth to their baby, and he didn’t even know her name. “You need to find them, Hank.”

The fur-ball sighed, “I’m trying, but there’s nothing to go on. No babies abandoned in Canada at that time, no…” He topped suddenly, “Wait…she wasn’t a baby. Someone had to have reported her missing.”

Hank started mumbling to himself, clicking on his computer, and Logan left him to it, refusing to sit on his hands. Short of scouring the entire world on foot, there really wasn’t anything he could do. Hell, he couldn’t even figure out how to smooth the whole incident with Rogue out. She’d triggered the memories, no matter what he’d said, he’d needed that, but he’d been horrible to her and she couldn’t read his mind to know how guilty he felt.

Logan headed to her room, hoping to find her, but ran into Moira instead. The human smiled at him, “She’s not in her room. I managed to convince her to go to the mall this morning with some of the others.”

“I fucked up.”

Moira hardly blinked at his crass confession, “Well, she’ll forgive you.” He raised an eyebrow at her, and she gestured towards a door, “Please, step into my office.”

They ended up in what had once been a gym before they’d had to upgrade to a bigger space, Moira perching on an ancient weightlifting bench. He broke the silence, “What’d she say?”

Moira brushed her gray hair out of her face, “That she used her powers on you without your permission.”

“I don’t care about that.”

Moira sighed, “She doesn’t know that, Logan, and she’s eating herself up out of guilt.”

Logan eyed her critically. She may have once been a spy, but her scent told him she had more to say, even if her face didn’t, “What else?”

“You have a daughter, Logan.”

It was jarring, hearing someone else say it out loud so plainly. He shrugged it off, “Apparently.”

Moira stand at him a few more minutes, as if the problem was an obvious one, but she wasn’t as patient as she used to be, “You can’t be so dense that you haven’t noticed how Rogue hangs on your every word? She’s seen you as her father figure since you brought her here, but there’s a possibility that you have a child out there…” She hesitated for a moment, “She’s only ever been really sure about you, but you’re suddenly not something she feels like she can rely on. She’s adrift right now.”

“Shit.”

Moira nodded, “Yup, and you’re the only one that can fix it.”

“I should talk to her?” She nodded again, and he sighed, hands in his front pockets, “The mall?”

“They left about an hour ago.” Moira confirmed, coming back to her feet, “And Logan, I’ve got some of my old contacts doing some research for me. We’ll figure something out. For now, go take care of Rogue.”

He left her and grabbed Scott’s motorcycle, heading to the mall. She was easy to find, her scent familiar to him, and tears filled her dark eyes when he held out an arm to her. Rogue hesitated for just a second before she tucked herself into his side, muttering about how sorry she was, and he just held her. Logan took her from the others and they ate lunch mostly in silence, but he could tell she was calming down.

They were sitting out on the lawn, him smoking a cigar, her reading a well worn book from the library, when Scott came to find them. “You took my motorcycle again.” Logan arched an eyebrow at him and he spluttered in frustration for a second, “Whatever, don’t do it again. Hank said he’s got something.”

Logan stood slower than he wanted to, but ruffled Rogue’s hair, “You stay, get some more sun, just be careful not to read all the words off the pages.”

“Ah’ll try not te.” She responded wryly, returning to the book as he walked away.

Hank was practically shedding in excitement when Logan found him, screaming, “Logan!” Logan just stared at him, trying to appear uninterested for his own continued sanity, though if Hank didn’t get to the point fast, he might strangle the other mutant. “Right… so I went looking for women that matched the description and apparent age of your… you know. I found her.”

Charles rolled in to hear the news, and Logan mourned the lost opportunity to throttle Hank, especially when the mutant began babbling, “She was reported missing in Valleyview, Alberta by her mother in April nineteen eighty three, but…the Canadian government closed the case and reported her as dead in May. She’d just survived a mass vehicular homicide attempt by a fellow student, the detectives who investigated her disappearance decided that she’d probably had a head injury and wandered into the wilderness.” He finally took a breath, “Reports by other students say she somehow knew what was about to happen. She had to have been a mutant, and Stryker caught wind of what happened and took her.”

Logan clenched his fists and his teeth, every fiber in him wound tight. “What was her name?” Hank blinked, as if he didn’t realized that he hadn’t said. He pulled a photo up on his computer, and Logan took in every detail of the young redheaded woman, feeling like his chest was being sat upon by an elephant. It was a photo from her memorial service. Text below the picture read: ‘12-28-1966 to 4-9-1983’ and below that ‘Maia Grace Kinney, beloved daughter gone too soon.’.

Chapter Text

Hank didn’t know what to do, he really didn’t. The look on Logan’s face when he’d seen the photo of the girl, of Maia, had been horrendous. The older mutant had looked ready to slit his own throat, and had stormed out before they could say anything else.

“He needs a minute.” Charles said calmly.

“I think I need a minute.” Hank gasped out, pushing his glasses farther up the bridge of his nose, “What did we do? Ignoring this for so long, where did we think that was going to end up for us? Charles, he’s got a kid out there, and we could have known about her years ago if we’d just told him…”

“He wasn’t ready.” Charles whispered softly, just a hint of regret on his face, “We can’t blame ourselves, Hank. He might have lost his mind entirely if this information had been brought to his attention too early with what we knew. We interpreted the video incorrectly, and, had he not regained positive memories, he might have made the same error in judgment.”

Hank was sure Charles was right, the Logan of a decade ago wouldn’t have processed the news at all, he’d probably have killed them, but it didn’t make Hank’s roll in what had happened any less devastating. He’d agreed all those years ago to keep Maia’s existence from Logan, but he’d gone a step further…he had stopped looking for information about her. He hadn’t ever seen this day coming, and now he was woefully unprepared for the questions Logan and the others were asking.

Hank stared at the picture of the red headed girl, and wanted to apologize to her. Ten years, and he hadn’t done a thing to find her or her daughter, a baby they’d assumed had died with her mother. She hadn’t though, Logan had held her, had tried to escape with her and failed. Then Hank had failed to find her. He had nothing to go on, hadn’t looked for her at all.

The police reports had been vague and had taken an obscene amount of time to decipher. Even on the original files he’d gotten the damned video off of, files he’d rescanned with his more modern computers, there was nothing but that video that made any mention of Maia. Someone had made her disappear, and they’d done a bang up job even he was envious of. Logan wouldn’t appreciate that as an answer though.

Hank spent the next few hours digging through digitized files, and finally came to be the owner of the old address of one Maia Grace Kinney. Valleyview, Alberta wasn’t that big, and he was able to look at property taxes to determine who still owned the property. Leslie Kinney. Maia’s mother, who lived there alone, her husband having died in the late eighties. There was a phone number.

Charles interrupted his train of thought, “Hank, perhaps this is a conversation best had in person.”

Hank nodded, “Yeah, that sounds like a better idea.” He sat silently for a minute, “How did we get this so wrong?”

Charles looked down at his hands, “I’m afraid I’m not sure, Hank. Perhaps I underestimated the humanity inside Logan at that time. I wasn’t sure he was capable of love and affection, it was easy to assume he’d forced her. I was wrong.” He looked up at Hank, his expression mournful, “Will you forgive me for making you keep this secret?”

“I agreed to keep it, it’s not your fault that I did.” It hadn’t been a hard decision to make, and he hadn’t wanted to think about he dead girl any more than he’d had to stumbling upon that video. “So, who’s going to Canada?”

Charles sighed heavily, “Logan and myself, obviously. It’s possible Jean would like to come, and Scott would want to come with her.”

“They’re practically attached at the hip.” Hank laughed, trying to lighten the mood.

It didn’t really work, but he did get a wry smile from Charles. “There’s a strong emotional bond between those two. He’s the only reason she escaped the clutches of Alkali Lake for a second time. That being so recent has made them leery of being apart.”

Hank sighed, “Escaping from Stryker.” He put his head on his desk, “There’s no telling what hell that little girl has gone through.” He sat up suddenly, “Charles, what if we drowned her?”

Charles went a shade paler than usual, “We can’t think like that, Hank. We know Stryker had other hideouts. Also, I believe Logan would have been triggered by her presence.”

“Kid isn’t dead.” Logan growled, and Hank almost pissed his pants. He hadn’t even heard the man return.

“She isn't, Logan. I’m certain she must be very like you.” Charles said magnanimously.

Logan growled something Hank was sure he didn’t want to know, but followed it with, “You want us to go to Canada?” Charles nodded, and Logan growled again, “What the fuck can we learn there? We sunk Stryker’s Alkali Base.”

Charles gave him a vague answer, “Yes, but there’s another reason to go to Canada, Logan.”

“Leslie Kinney.” Hank supplied, “Maia’s mother.”

Logan visibly recoiled, “Why would we go dredge up shit with that poor girl’s mother?”

“Because she might give us some idea of why Stryker took Maia. She might know something that will help us find your daughter.” Charles told him.

Logan shook his head, “No, there’s no need for that. We don’t need…”

“Logan, we’re going to Canada.” Charles said firmly.

“I am not going to be face to face with the mother of the girl I killed.” Logan snapped.

Charles hardly looked phased, “You did not kill her, Logan, and her mother deserves someone to tell her the truth. She continually pressed police to look for Maia. I don’t believe she ever bought the story they sold about her wandering into the forest with a fatal head injury.”

Logan ground his teeth together, “This is shitty Charles, and you know it.”

Charles leveled him with a dark stare, “Would you like the truth, Logan?”

“Of course!”

Charles nodded, “It is possible, Logan, that being near Maia’s mother might trigger more memories.”

Logan saw through him, and Hank wished he’d been anywhere else, “These memories hurt, Chuck. I don’t see how more of them can help.”

“You might know where your daughter is, Logan, and not remember. Isn’t it worth trying?” Hank said, surmising what Charles was getting at.

Logan sighed, “Wheels, I sure as hell hope you’re right. I’m not fucking up an old woman just because you want to mess around with my head some more. I won’t do it.”

Chapter Text

Seventeen years old. The girl he’d knocked up had been seventeen years old, barely eighteen when she’d died from blood loss, both from the gunshot wound and the slice from his claws. He was responsible for her death. And now Charles was dragging him back to Canada, against his will under threat of mental coercion, to the home of Leslie Kinney. Maia’s poor widowed mother.

There wasn’t a name for a mother who’d lost a child, and Logan hadn’t given it much thought before. The cheery woman that met him at the door wasn’t what he’d expected. She couldn’t have been sixty, and her dark brown hair lay in the same way her daughter’s had. They had the same smile, and her green eyes looked at the group expectantly, “Can I help you?”

Charles returned her smile, turning up his stupid old man charm, “Yes, Mrs. Kinney, I am Charles Xavier, and these are my colleagues Jean, Scott, and Logan. We wanted to speak with you about your daughter.”

Her smile turned wistful, and against Logan’s every assumption of the little old woman who lived alone stereotype, she stepped aside, smiling at them, “I always do enjoy talking about them, even with strangers. Please, come in.”

“Them?” Jean asked, helping Charles over the doorframe.

They sat in the living room, but Logan refused the woman’s offer. He’d killed her daughter. He wasn’t about to sit on her flowered cloth sofa.

“Sarah and Maia. My girls.” She answered Jean’s question belatedly, gesturing to a family picture on the wall beside Logan, and he stared at it, completely enamored.

Leslie and a man were seated, surrounded by their five children, presumably in birth order. A man in his mid twenties stood on the far left with a woman of similar age to the right of him with cold features and her mother’s inky hair, next to them were two other boys, who both looked just like their father. On the far right, much smaller than the rest, was a younger Maia, the only one who wasn’t looking at the camera, her eyes fixed to some point far above the photographer’s right shoulder.

Logan nearly popped his claws out when the old woman put a hand on his arm, suddenly across the room and at his side, “That’s my Maia. She was beautiful. I was never good at raising girls. I never seemed to be what both of them needed, they both always seemed unhappy. And now they’re gone.”

“Gone?” Logan asked before he could stop himself.

She nodded, letting out a ragged breath, “Maia was a teenager. Sarah died in a lab explosion where she worked about five years ago. It’s just me and my three boys now, though Louis rarely comes to visit anymore.” She laughed shortly, “My worst fear fifteen years ago was when Thomas mentioned he wanted to join the navy. That was the last picture we took as a family. Now Thomas is missing half his left pinky and both my girls are dead.”

Charles seemed to know that Logan was about to lose it, “We’d like to talk about Maia’s disappearance.”

For the first time since they’d entered her little house, she seemed startled, “Her disappearance?” She sat gracelessly on a burgundy sofa, “You didn’t say death. Everyone always says her death. Do you know something about my daughter? I know she was special, different. She tried to warn those kids, and then she vanished. They tried to tell me she was dead, but she wasn’t, was she?” She stopped suddenly, taking a breath, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…”

“She was alive in eighty four. We have photographic evidence.” Charles said bluntly.

Leslie blinked a few times, “I knew it.”

She focused in on Scott’s glasses. “Maia never made eye contact either. I thought there was something wrong with her for a long time, but besides that, she was a normal little girl. If eerily insightful at times.” She looked down at her hands, “She was a mutant, wasn’t she?”

“That’s quite possible, Mrs. Kinney. We are looking into a facility in which we found footage of your daughter, and they focused on mutant research.” Charles said evenly, seemingly unsurprised that she made the jump to mutants so easily.

Leslie sighed, “I never wanted to think of her as different from her siblings, but she was. I regret not coming to terms with that sooner.”

“None of your other children are mutants?” Scott asked.

The old woman shook her head, “No. As far as I know, she got that from her father. My husband, Robert, bless his soul, never treated Maia as anything less than his. But Maia’s father was a man I had an affair with at a week long conference in Upstate New York. He was a professor at one of the colleges nearby.”

Jean went pale and bolted for the door. Charles struggled to keep the concern off his face, “Is there anything else?”

Leslie stood abruptly, heading for a cabinet beside her tv. “Yes, actually, a box was sent to me about a month after the government men came to tell us that Sarah had been killed. I have no idea of what’s in it or who it came from, but maybe you will.” She handed a metal box no bigger than Logan’s fist to Charles, and looked at them all, Jean smiling sympathetically at her, Scott sitting next to Jean on the love seat, and Logan as he leaned against the wall still. He held the box out to Logan, “You should look at this.”

Logan took the box from Charles, and was instantly sure he wouldn’t be letting anyone else touch it. It was adamantium, and the lid had been melted on. Logan let his claws loose, and was oddly aware that Leslie didn’t seem too startled. Instead she chuckled softly, “Well, guess that answers wether you all are all mutants or not.” She stood back up, getting close to Logan again, peering at his claws, “Those are the same metal as the box.”

“Yeah.” Logan grunted, “You might want to step back.”

He forced the box open and nearly dropped it. Inside was an oddly familiar sharp female scent, a piece of paper, and a lock of fine brown hair tied with surgical thread. The scent was on the paper, and Logan pulled it out carefully. Eight words: ’If you’re somehow alive, find her. X-23.’

Logan would never admit his fingers were shaking as he pulled the hair out. Away from the perfumed note, the scent still lingering to the hair after five years surged into his brain. The scent belonged to his offspring, the animal part of his brain offered, memorizing the sweet vanilla scent. His daughter was a brunette, the color just a few shades lighter than his own, and she’d been alive at least five years ago. That, and someone was apparently looking out for her. That gave him far more hope than it should have.

Leslie clapped a hand over her mouth, looking at the note, “That’s Sarah’s handwriting. What the hell?”

Charles gave her a brief explanation that left her breathless, “I have a granddaughter Sarah was… protecting.” She looked up at Logan, “You’re her father, and my Maia’s really dead.” Leslie had apparently reached her breaking point, “I’m sorry, I need to be alone right now.”

Leslie went into the back of the house and Charles motioned for them to head out. A message was waiting for them back on the Blackbird from Hank, asking them to call him. “I found a facility farther North that’s registered as abandoned by the government twenty years ago, but it’s been drawing power for the last decade.” He rushed out, excited at his discovery.

“She could be there.” Charles said quietly after he hung up the phone. “It’s up to you, Logan.”

Logan cracked his neck, “Let’s go get her.”

Jean and Scott insisted on stealth, but it went against every fiber of Logan’s being. It looked like an ordinary warehouse, but it shouldn’t have been staffed at all. They moved into the facility silently, avoiding the limited security crew easily. There were a few people walking around inside, but they didn’t keep their attention. There was a segment of the facility with tighter security than the rest, but the designer hadn’t accounted for Jean’s ability to fly them to the odd roof of the section and drop them through a ceiling tile.

“It’s a dollhouse.” Jean gasped out. It did look like a little girl’s fantasy, pink and flowers everywhere, paper scenes on fake windows. Nothing was real, and everything had been made practically indestructible. The only signs that it was a prison were the occasional scratches that marred the cheery wallpaper and the fact that everything was bolted down.

“I smell something.” Logan growled, and they moved through the rooms as he tracked a sweet scent, all stunned into silence by the little fantasy world someone had created. They found a bedroom, a bed and closet the only things inside…besides an occupied rocking chair facing the corner of the room.

A small figure was sitting in the chair, a grey hoodie pulled up protectively, the sweet smelling female rocking back and forth. They were about to approach her when Jean and Logan realized in unison that someone was coming. The trio of X-Men hid in the closet, Jean clutching both their arms in fright when she saw the plethora of frilly dresses inside. “Shhh.” Scott urged, patting her hand.

Dr. Dean Rice walked into the room. Logan recognized him from his own research into the Weapon X program, and had thought he’d killed the man. Judging by the man’s limp, he hadn’t done a good enough job. “Good morning, Darling. I’ve already been told you’re having a rough day. Little girls don’t bite, you know that. Your Nanny and I are quite disappointed. She had to get stitches.”

The female growled, and Jean’s hand on his arm was all that kept Logan from busting out of the closet.

Dr. Rice pat the female on the shoulder, “Now, now, you know we don’t use our mouth for anything other than speaking and eating. I hate to punish you like this. I am proud you dressed yourself today, even if you snubbed the pretty dress Nanny laid out for you.” He put his hand on the top of her head, “Since you won’t be eating like a big girl today, I’m going to go to the kitchen and fix you something you can eat.” He sighed dramatically, “We’ll try to be better with our manners tomorrow, won’t we?” Silence answered him, but he didn’t seem too worried, “Good girl. I’ll be back soon, and if you’re very good for the rest of the day, I might Zander by to play with you. He does enjoy your time together. You're practically his sister.”

After he’d been gone a few minutes and Jean was sure they were alone, she opened the closet door. Jean approached cautiously, Scott right on her heels, and she said softly, “Hello?” Silence followed.

Several minutes passed before the female broke the silence with an agonized moan.

Logan took a few steps closer, ready at any second to put his claws to use or to retract them, whichever was needed. “We’re here to help.” He said lamely.

The female’s head turned to the side to partially face him, one sightless blue eye searching the air fruitlessly, the majority of her face still covered by her shoulder.

From the edge of the hoodie, lank red curls spilled forth.

Chapter Text

Before L Maia had never considered herself having children. Ever since she’d realized she was a mutant, the idea of passing that ever present fear of discovery on to a child was terrifying, but she wouldn’t give her baby up for the world. L felt the same way too. She’d fallen asleep on his chest when she was about seven months along, one hand splayed over his heart, the other on top of his as it rested on her stomach. He was dreaming. She hadn’t mentioned to him that she’d started to be able to read his mind when he was asleep, but he was only the second person whose dreams she’d been able to see. The first had been her mother. She took a breath and focused on where his mind was:

L was standing in an empty bedroom looking at different colored patches of paint on the wall, a handmade wooden crib sitting in one corner, waiting on the rest of the room to come together…a nursery. He was staring at the three paint splotches, his eyebrows furrowed. This was the life he imagined outside of their cage. She loved it. What she wouldn’t give to have met him somewhere else. So much would be different. Maia walked up behind him on instinct, and wrapped her arms around him. He felt her. Her unintended intrusion into his dream jolted him awake, and she covered up her fright by smiling up at him, “I like the yellow. I don’t think our little girl is going to be a pink lover.” The baby shifted, and Maia grimaced, grateful for the distraction, “Shit, she hit my bladder again.” She tapped his arm, “Help me up please sir, I need to pee. Preferably not on the both of us.”

He helped her up, and they stood nose to nose in silence for a minute. She slid her hands up to his neck and pulled herself up for a kiss. She smiled broadly as she pulled back, “Thank you, my Wild Man.” She’d drifted into the restroom and contemplated her apparent dream walking.

Maia didn’t think about it long though, as her daughter stretched again and brought her attention back to the future. Or rather the past. When she got back into bed with L she started talking, “You know, I was thinking about what things would be like if we hadn’t met here, if we’d met out there in the real world. I think you’d be some sort of blue collar guy, like the ones in Valleyview.” She touched the side of his face and looked into his eyes, “I would have pursued you I think, and you’d be absolutely horrified because of how young I am. I’m stubborn though, and I know you think I smell amazing. You might have been able to convince me to wait until I was eighteen for sex, but I think we’d be right here not too long later. You, me, and a baby, picking paint colors for a nursery after you made a crib by hand. I might have become a teacher, kids wouldn’t ever get anything over on me.” His mind read both amusement and agreement as he kicked one of her legs over his and eased himself inside of her to show his little mutant exactly what he thought about their complimentary imaginings.

Two months passed in a blur.

Maia had given her life for her daughter’s, she couldn’t regret that. She’d let the darkness take her, confident that L would save their daughter and she’d have a good life. That was all she could ask for. It didn’t work out that way. She’d come awake in a morgue freezer, her chest burning and her belly itching like hell. Instinct had her roll on her side and cough up blood. An animalistic strength burned through her and she shoved the door to the chest open, freeing herself. The strength fled as soon as she fell from the open freezer, and she laid on the floor, panting. She pulled the gown up slowly, and nearly fainted at the sight of herself.

Black thread zigzagged across her skin, which was angry and red but almost completely healed. The cause of the itching being the healing skin pulling on the thread. Someone had stitched her back up after L had saved their daughter. Her daughter. Her daughter had done this to her, had passed L’s healing ability to her mother. When Maia got her hands on them both, she was going to hug them so tight and kiss every inch of their faces. She didn’t know where they were. Maia struggled to her feet, swaying dangerously, but managed to make it to the morgue door without falling on her face. She didn’t make it far though. Dr. Rice found her, “Oh my. Our own Lazarus.”

“Go to hell.” She spat, “Where are they?”

He’d stared at her like she was a piece of meat, but had hardly missed a beat, “Dead. I’d show you their bodies, but even I’m not that cruel. Stryker’s men tracked them down and killed them. The baby did something before it died though, didn’t it? You should be dead too.”

“They’re not dead.” Maia gasped, her brain not comprehending what he was telling her, “You’re lying.”

“You’re such a doll.” He had the nerve to laugh at her, “They’re dead, Maia, and your sister is Stryker’s bitch now because she insisted that we keep you with that animal.”

“He wasn’t an animal.” She hissed, her stomach clenching.

He shook his head, “Yes, he was, and you’re naive to think otherwise. You were just something warm for him to entertain himself with.” Maia lunged, growling at him, the animal in her rising up again, but he was ready for her clumsy attack. She never had learned to have the strength and grace that L had innately, and she was still dizzy. A syringe sunk into her neck and she was out almost instantly. Hell started when she woke up.

He’d dressed her in a frilly white gown and strapped her to a metal table. Torture was a mild word for what they did to her to see the extent of what her daughter had left her with, compounded with the grief that overwhelmed her mind, Maia wished she was dead. Eventually the healing faded enough that they stopped slicing her up all the time, but Maia clung to the animal, her last connection to L and their girl. Maia lost all sense of time, staying in that stark medical room for what felt like years, clinging to the idea that L was coming for her, that they weren’t dead and he would come back for her. They had to be alive.

Things were worse when Stryker came to visit. He just satisfied himself with beating her and telling her what an animal she was, describing in brutal detail what had been done to L and the baby. When he left, however, Dr. Rice always felt the need to spend time cooing at her, treating her like a child. He even dragged his teenaged son by and made them get a ‘family’ picture taken. The man with a gun pointed at her head wasn’t in the final product. At least that particular visit from Zander hadn’t led to him being left alone with her while she was strapped into a chair or on a table. He like to see just how far he could push her boundaries before his dad returned. Zander’d gotten his hand in her panties once before Dr. Rice had come back in and he’d made the excuse that she’d needed an itch on her thigh scratched. His father bought it and had gushed about how sweet their bonding was.

She couldn’t decide if Dr. Rice thought she really was his child or if she was a family pet. Animal or child, she wasn’t Maia anymore, and she wasn’t part of his family in any way. They kept her blindfolded and moved her a time or two, and she didn’t think things could get worse.

She was wrong of course. She was always so wrong. She was being tortured by a man who had a tendency to try to get his hands on her bare skin and to taunt her about letting ‘Weapon X’, an animal, fuck her. She’d wanted to kill him for a long time. His luck ran out when her blindfold slipped. At first she was blinded by the bright medical lights. She’d gotten used to darkness and the dim lighting of her tiny cage, but it didn’t take too long to recover. Then she was caught up by the same surge of malevolent mental energy and caught his eyes with hers. He realized the mistake, but she opened her mouth before he could do anything about it, her voice hoarse with disuse. “Don’t say a word.” He gasped a bit, but couldn’t form words. “I want you to make yourself feel the pain we’ve felt.”

By the time anyone realized what was going on, he had sliced lines into his skin, gutted himself, and was digging into his own skull with a scalpel as he bled to death in agony. Her satisfaction at his pain was short lived. Dr. Rice was disappointed.

“Dear girl, I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this.” He whispered to her as he fit speculum in her eyes, forcing them open. “If you hadn’t been naughty and killed my associate, I wouldn’t have to be doing this. But you know as well as I do that the eyes are the window to the soul.” He dripped something into each eye, and they burned. She screamed. Her vision faded until she was left with shadows. Blinded, her mutation was useless. She’d been hobbled.

Then Stryker died, drowned, Dr. Rice told her, and he moved her again, to a place where no one would think to look for her. She began to come to term with the truth, L and their daughter were dead, and she was destined to live in torment until she finally joined them.

“You’re a doll.” He’d always told her, but she hadn’t realized he’d let the phrase go to his head until he took her to the house he’d created for her. Maia had spent the first few hours scratching at walls and fumbling through more rooms than she’d had access to in forever. There was no way out, at least not one she could find blind. No way to kill herself. No way to kill anyone else. Or so she’d thought at first, but then her ‘Nanny’ had brought her a meal and she’d had an idea that only ended up making things worse for herself. She chose self-starvation, but not eating was a poor choice. They wouldn’t let her die like that. It gave Dr. Rice another way to control her, to make her a doll for his little house. Gnawing hunger became her constant companion.

Nanny would come every morning and dress her, hands lingering too long on her skin, and began the torture that was feeding time. Dr. Rice would usually come in then to check on her, chattering happily about whatever torture he had planned for some other poor mutant, she rarely listened and never comprehended. He’d succeeded in turning her into a doll, and dolls didn’t talk. She hadn’t said anything in a while, and he suddenly seemed bothered by that, “I hate seeing you so unhappy.” He whispered one day as he brushed her hair, “I’ll reduce the sedative. I want to see you smile.” Her brain sluggishly realized that was why she had been so dizzy all the time, why she felt like her limbs were made of lead, and why her attempts to escape had been so short lived.

He’d probably drugged her the entire time to some degree or another, but the reduction of the sedative was enough for Maia to understand what he had planned for her next. That couldn’t happen. She wouldn’t let it happen again. She wasn’t going to let him take that from her. She had to keep trying to end it one way or the other. The next morning she’d rebelled by dressing herself, which had made Nanny mad, “Little bitch, it’s your ass on the line if you’re not in one of those fucking dresses in five minutes.”

The woman had pushed her though, and Maia’s new plans of rebellion didn’t settle well with her. Nanny had tried to force her out of her hoodie and sweat pants but Maia had bitten the hell out of her, nearly coming away with a chunk of flesh. That earned her a time out with a large drug dose from Dr. Rice, it wasn’t enough to kill her, but it was enough that her own brain saw fit to torture her with the familiar sound of L’s footsteps. She’d failed. Rice pat her on the head, finishing whatever he was saying before leaving her torture chamber. Next time she’d do more damage. Maybe then he’d give her enough to end the torture before he got what he wanted, assuming he hadn’t already. They had a habit of knocking her out with gas and experimenting. At least the benefit of being Dr. Rice’s doll was that she didn’t have to be awake every time they did sick stuff to her. Her own head did a good enough job torturing her as it was. How often had she dreamed about hearing L’s footsteps, of hearing their baby cooing.

Then she heard L’s voice, low and sexily gruff, “We’re here to help.”

She turned, head swimming at the movement even though she could tell the sedative was wearing off. The person with L’s voice kept talking. It needed to stop. She couldn’t take it, couldn’t take hearing his voice. Dr. Rice had freed her hands. He should have rethought that before trying this game. She wouldn’t let L’s memory be tarnished by anything this facsimile said or did.

Maia growled, struggling to her feet after undoing the demented rocking chair’s waist belt. They wouldn’t use his voice to torture her before they did what they were going to do. She would kill this person, even if she had to do it with her bare hands, murder without her mutation. There were noises of surprise as she lunged, revealing others were in the room, but she didn’t stop. She had to do this, for L, and for their daughter: Laura.

Chapter Text

Of all the things he’d expected, she hadn’t been one. Logan had expected to see his daughter, a little girl, but this… The female in front of him wasn’t his daughter. He wasn’t sure what she was. A leather muzzle was strapped to her face and her sightless eyes were wild, but this wasn’t his daughter. Maia. This angry red headed creature was Maia. And she was trying to strangle him.

Scott was panicking, whispering loudly about getting her to stop. Jean was silent.

Maia scratched and growled and her thin fingers scrambled against his skin, but they did nothing to him. Logan unexplainably knew what to do. He grabbed her arms, and shook them, “Enough, damnit!” Her eyes widened in shock, and she went limp in his grip, panting behind the mask. “Jean, get this damned thing off her.”

Jean just stared, but Scott actually managed to have the balls to duck under Logan’s arms to unbuckle the metal monstrosity from her face, which she tried to bite him for.

Logan shook her arms again, “Fucking stop that shit.” She turned her attentions to him, lunged at him, and sunk her teeth into his neck. Logan growled lowly, and let go of her hands to get his own free from where she’d pinned them between their bodies. He remembered hearing Kitty talk once about a dog she’d had a child that had had a problem with biting on occasion, and he pulled her close to him, his arms around her body lifting her closer to his neck. He let one hand sit on the base of her neck as he growled, “Let go, Maia.” She gasped as she obeyed, and went completely limp, whining softly in his arms.

Had he done this to her? She was crying, and he wanted to make her stop. The anger and tears had tainted her sweet scent and he hated it. They had to get her out of this place. “Time to go.” He said, picking her up. He was almost useless on their way out of the facility though because she started fighting him almost as soon as they’d left her macabre bedroom. Scott had had to grab Jean’s arm though to get her to move, so Logan was on his own fighting the little harpy. Before they got out of her cell though, her heaving breaths seemed to get the best of her and she went completely lax.

Logan put her over his shoulder and let loose of one set of claws. Four-Eyes was cocky, but even he couldn’t compensate for Jean’s weird quiet while trying to get the four of them out with minimal damage. Dr. Rice tried to stop them, spouting off shit about her needing him, but Logan didn’t care to listen, and skewered the man who’d tormented the female in his grip. Rice had tried to touch her even as Logan’s claws were sheathed inside his disgusting body. “She’s mine.” He whispered, hand just touching some of her hair before Logan tossed him away. He was dead before they left the building. She wasn't his.

Logan was relieved that Charles had gotten a room in the inn outside of Valleyview. He didn’t know what the hell was going on, but Leslie Kinney didn’t need to see this. As soon as they rejoined with Charlie, Maia woke up. Logan tightened his grip on her, unsure of what she was going to do.

“You’re safe now, Miss Kinney.” Charles said softly, putting a hand on her arm. Maia shook, and flung herself from Logan’s grip, hitting the ground hard. She cried out and started crying again.

Jean just sat in the chair across the room staring at her.

Charles reached a hand out to Maia again, “You’ve been through a great deal of trauma, Miss Kinney, but you’re safe here. No one is going to hurt you.”

Logan picked her up again and put her on the bed, using a hand to keep her from getting close enough to bite again, “Easy kid.”

Maia went completely still, turning her face towards him, and said in a small seeking voice, “L?” She was asleep before she could say anything else, and Logan sat awkwardly next to her.

Charles smiled softly, “She’ll be asleep for a while. I helped.”

Jean looked at him, her expression nearly as lost as Maia’s had been, “Her mind is fractured, Logan.” She sighed heavily, “We can’t even take her home to her mother.”

Scott seemed just as rattled as Logan was, but he was able to focus, “Why can’t we take her home?”

Jean scowled at him and waved her arms at Maia, “Look at her!” Both Logan and Scott looked at Maia. It didn’t sink in for either of them. Typical men. Jean rummaged through the bag she’d brought, pulling out a copy of the original photograph of Maia, “Look at her!”

Logan felt like he’d been punched, “She looks the same.”

Jean nodded, “Exactly. She can’t go back to Valleyview looking like a teenager when she’s supposed to be almost thirty.”

“How?” Logan asked, staring at the female. How had he not noticed that besides her cataracted eyes, she looked the same as she did from his memories?

Charles wheeled a little closer, peering at her, “Hank would have to run some tests, but it’s possible that your child passed some of your DNA to her in-utero and it has caused her to heal like you.” He frowned, “I wonder how they managed to blind her if that’s the case.”

“Don’t care.” Logan growled, putting himself between Charles and Maia. He had done this to her. Her behavior seemed so similar to his own feral behavior, and he was overwhelmed by guilt.

Charles frowned, “Logan, it will be important to know these things.”

Logan couldn’t resist the instinct to pick her up and take her into the adjoining room that he and Charles were sharing. He finally took a minute to look at her, to really look at the woman he’d been so sure he’d killed. Her hair wasn’t as bright as he remembered it being. That was the first thing he noticed. His eyes traveled over her inhumanly pale flesh, remembering the freckles that dusted over her nose. There were freckles on her back, he remembered. Shit, she still looked like a teenager, a frail teenager. Her lips were tinged blue like she wasn’t getting enough oxygen even though her breaths were steady and even.

Now that they were alone and she was asleep, her scent had turned even more familiar. The animal in his head raged with absolute triumph, demanding he make her his again so that their mingled scents would return. She needed to smell like him. She’d smelled enough like the lock of brown hair had that he’d found her, but his brain was finally discerning the differences between the two female scents. He laid his jacket over her and pulled himself away from her.

Maia moaned softly, and he looked back at her. Her fingers were reaching out towards him. Before he knew what he was doing he reached out to her, brushing his hand over her head, ruffling her red hair gently, “Get some sleep, kid. I won’t be far.” Logan waited a second for her to relax back into sleep before he went back to the others and growled, “How did we not know she was alive?”

Charles shook his head, “There’s no real paper trial, Logan. We couldn't have known.”

“They’ve had her alone for ten years. She sure as hell wasn’t blind before.” Logan told them, running his hands through his hair in frustration, “If she’s alive, where the hell is our kid?”

“Your daughter.” Charles corrected. “We’ll have to ask Miss Kinney what she knows when she wakes up. She needed to rest though. Hearing your voice overstimulated her brain, she literally could not process the idea that you and ‘L’ are the same person. She thought it was a trick.”

Jean responded to Logan’s questioning stare, “She thought you were there to torture her.” She put her face in her hands, “She was certain you were there to rape her.”

He felt his blood boil, “Did they do that to her?”

Jean shrugged gracelessly, “I don’t think so, she seemed pretty determined for it not to happen.”

Logan pushed the rest of their discussions out of his head. She’d tried to kill him to protect herself from being violated. His mind supplied a whole host of things they could have done to her in ten years, particularly when she’d had enough of his DNA in her bloodstream to bring her back from near death.

He registered-after pushing away his dark thoughts- sounds of discomfort coming from the room to his right: Maia. The other three X-Men had gone to sleep, Charles on one bed with Jean and Scott on the other, and he considered waking them. He chose against it though, not everyone needed to be tormented. So much for Charles saying she would sleep for a while. She was sleeping, she just wasn’t sleeping peacefully. That same strange impulse that he’d felt earlier compelled him to stand up from the chair he’d been sitting in. He moved silently, like he was on a mission, opening the door. What he saw inside twisted his chest mercilessly: she looked lost and afraid, trying to escape from a reality that no longer existed. Logan walked closer to the bed, deliberately slow, measuring every step, the soldier in the back of his mind determining the best way to wake her up. In the end, she started getting more and more distressed, and he leaned in and shook her shoulder gently, whispering her name. It took a few gentle shakes for her to finally wake up, and she stared at him with an unnatural darkness in her sightless eyes.

In the blink of an eye she backed away from him as much as the bed would allow, a look of fear on her face, “Leave me alone!” She held her hands out in front of her, “Don’t touch me! I’ll be good! I’m sorry!”

He had to do something to abate that fear, he couldn’t stand her fearing him, even if he relished in others dong so. Logan got onto the bed, “Hey there, I’m not going to hurt you.” She was a teary mess, but he took her hands in his and brought them to his face, “See, it’s me. No one here is hurting you.”

Her fingers were cold on his cheeks, but he let her move them across his face to the bridge of his nose and the scruff on his face. Her whisper was hardly a sound, but one of complete awe. “L? Really?”

He felt the corners of his mouth turn up in spite of himself, “Yeah, it’s L. You’re safe, Maia.”

In one breath she surged forward, and threw her arms around his neck, sobbing hysterically. She slid down into his lap as sleep began to drag her back, looking up at his face. “You came back for me.”

“I did.” He told her, unsure of whatever promise he must have made her, or whatever her mind had concocted. He just held her, wondering why she felt more like home than anything he’d ever known.

Jean was standing in the doorway, a small smile on her face. She said softly, once Maia had fallen back to sleep, “She finally believes you.” Logan held Maia in his arms, not understanding why she’d somehow survived his claws just to be curled up in his lap ten years later. He remembered what they were missing though. A little girl with brown hair who’d been through only God knows what in her short life. Jean nodded at his thoughts, “We’ll find her, Logan. I’m sure of that.”

Logan shifted Maia in his grip as she fell asleep again, “We’d better.” If Maia was fractured like Jean said, he didn’t think she could handle a negative outcome. He didn’t think he could either.

The first thing Maia asked when she woke up and stopped fighting him, of course, was where their daughter was. He wished like hell he had an answer for her.

Chapter Text

This had to be another nightmare. He couldn’t really be there, not when she’d long decided he had died. They were only ever nightmares when she woke up though, and she didn’t want to wake up from this one. None of them had ever felt so real, but laying in his arms felt more real than anything she’d felt in a long time. Then she realized she was awake, and immediately started fighting the male. He grabbed her arms again, getting her wrists in one hand, and shook them, “Damnit, don’t fucking bite me again!”

Maia let herself relax, memories sorting themselves between nightmare and reality. “Shit, I’m sorry.”

He scoffed, “No need to apologize.”

“Where’s our baby?” She asked softly.

He took in a sharp breath, “I…uh…I don’t know. I was hoping you would.”

Maia rubbed her face with her hands, “I thought you were dead. They told me you were both dead, and I believed them. I’m such an idiot.” She sat her hands on her lap, “It’s morning.”

“Uh…yeah.” He mumbled in response.

Maia reached for the edge of the bed, pulling herself towards it. “I can see a little light.” She felt the comforter under her hands, it was different than the last time she’d been awake, “Where are we?”

“Upstate New York.” He told her shortly.

Maia reached out towards him, “Is there a bathroom here in ‘Upstate New York’ I could use?”

He chuckled shortly, “You’re still feisty, that’s good.”

She sat in silence for a few beats, “No, seriously, I’ve got to pee.”

He tried to help her stand, but as soon as she got her feet on the ground she was instantly dizzy. In trying to combat the dizziness and stand on her own, she ended up twisting away from him, and he couldn’t catch her before she tumbled into a side table and then to the ground. He cursed, pulling her to her feet. Pain seared through her stomach, “Fuck!” Maia clutched her side, tears filling her eyes. “I forgot.” She whispered, leaning into his chest, still bent over.

“What?” L hissed, “What’s wrong?”

“I need someone to get this out of me before I pull it out myself.” Maia growled out, pissed and in pain. She wanted nothing to do with her own problems, with the fact that he was probably still a hallucination, or that he didn’t know where their daughter was. His panicked silence told her she needed to interact with the outside world again, so she pulled her hoodie up to just above her belly-button and twisted just enough for him to see. “Bathroom please.” He mutely helped her into a bathroom and she shrugged him off once she felt the toilet, “I’ve got it.”

Once she’d done her business she teetered out of the bathroom, but stopped in the doorway, not knowing where to go on her admittedly shaky legs. “What the hell was that thing?” He growled lowly from within the room.

Maia straightened her clothes and laughed shortly, leaning against the doorframe, “I decided to hell with it all, and stopped eating. Rice’s solution was to put in a feeding tube. One of these days I’ll kill the bastard.”

“Already did.” He said gruffly, sweeping her off her feet.

“Holy hell! You’ve got to warn a girl before you do shit like that!” Pain in her stomach kept her from staying rigid in his arms too long, and she rested her head against his shoulder, “He’s dead?”

“Shish kabobbed.” He said bluntly, and she tried not to shiver at feeling the words in his chest.

“He’s dead?” Maia asked, barely breathing.

“Dead. Dead.” L told her, “Bastard tried to touch you while we were getting out of that place.”

“He’s dead.” Maia repeated softly, trying to figure out her emotions. She burst into tears.

“Am I hurting you?” He asked, voice tense as he scrambled to adjust his hold on her.

Maia shook her head, “He’s tormented me for so long, and now he’s gone. The longest year of my life is over. You’re here and not lobotomized anymore, we’ll be able to find our baby, and I’m just so happy!”

She felt his sharp intake of breath, “A year?”

Maia shrugged in his arms, wiping at her face, trying to get control of her emotions, “I mean, I’m not sure, but that sounds about right.”

His cursing was immediate and primarily consisted of ‘fuck’ repeated over and over again.

“What?” Maia asked, panic rising.

L cursed again, “It’s… it’s been…”

“Spit it out!” She hissed. At least when he’d been mute she’d been able to read his mind. This was more than frustrating.

He sighed at her side, “It’s been more like ten years, Maia.”

She sunk her fingers into her own thighs, her heart hammering in her chest, “What?”

He didn’t respond to her, “Hank, get this fucking thing out of her stomach.”

Whoever L had brought her to, Hank, spluttered a bit, “Uh…what?”

Maia scrambled at L as he tried to put her down, “No, wait, no, ten years? You’ve got to…”

“Cut it out.” L growled into her ear, pulling her off, “That needs to come out now.”

She was disoriented for a moment, her damaged eyes more blinded by the bright light wherever they were. She reached out to where she could hear L’s breathing, “Come back here and talk to me, asshole.”

“Shut up and let him look at you.” L growled.

She could feel hands on her, urging her to lay back, “How long has this been in? It looks irritated.”

“I just bumped it on a table.” Maia told the man, noting the odd texture of his hands. The weird feeling helped detract from all the other times she’d been touched though, so she let it pass. She wasn’t one to talk about any one else’s personal grooming, Lord knew she had been exceptionally gross for the better part of all those years, “I don’t know how long it’s been, apparently it hasn’t been a year like I thought.” She growled the last part in L’s direction.

“We’ll talk later. Let him help you.” L growled.

Maia threw her head back, “For fucks sake, I don’t even know your name!”

“Hank.” Said Hank helpfully, “I’m Hank. I do almost everything here.”

“Nice to meet you.” She said, tossing a saccharin smile his direction before turning her head back to L.

“She meant me you furry ape.” L growled. She felt his hand on her shoulder, “The name’s Logan.”

Maia felt a tension ease in her chest, “Logan. It suits you.”

“We call him the Wolverine.” Hank said before tugging the tube out of her stomach.

The burn of the tube leaving her body was better than the feeling of being stabbed by a knife that her repeated injuries had elicited, but it still hurt. “Shit!”

Hank laughed awkwardly, putting a bandage over the hole in her side, “Yeah, sorry. Um… wait a few hours before you eat anything, and when you do, make sure you dye it so you can tell if you’re leaking food. There should be some food dye in the kitchen.”

“She can’t see, idiot.” Logan growled.

Hank stuttered, “Uh…I forgot. Someone else will have to check then. I can look at your eyes if you want.”

Maia shook her head, “Obviously my sense of time passing is shit, but…after a little while my eyes get better. Rice kept having to put more acid in to keep me from snagging people. It’s been a bit since the last dose. I really should be fine in…a little while.”

“May I ask why he wanted to blind you?” Hank asked, checking the bandage again.

Maia shifted uncomfortably, “I can read the minds of people I make eye contact with, and…” She took a deep breath, heartened by L…Logan’s presence at her side, “If I have eye contact with someone and tell them to do something…they do it. No eye contact, no mind control. I’m just lucky Rice liked my eyes. There was talk about pulling them out of my head.”

Logan growled, and it sounded like his fist made contact with the wall. Maia was aware of a door closing.

Hank chuckled tightly, “I’m going to take him leaving you with me as a compliment. He’s been worse than usual since he brought you back here.”

“How long ago was that?” Maia asked softly, grimacing when he poked at a bruise on her arm.

Hank hummed a bit, “Just over three days. None of us have actually seen you since the Blackbird landed. Logan took you straight to the boathouse, and has only shown up here to get food and beer.” He hesitated for a second as he touched around her eyes, “So you have no sense of time?”

Maia shrugged, “Apparently not. I would have put money on it having been a year…but ten? Shit, my daughter’s halfway grown already. If she’s even still alive.”

“She was five years ago.” Hank rushed. “Your sister was taking care of her.” He picked up her arm, “You’re a little dehydrated, but you shouldn’t drink anything for a bit. Mind if I give you a bag of IV fluids?”

“That’s fine.” Maia whispered, trying to imagine her sister taking care of a baby. There was hope at least.

Hank put a tourniquet around her upper arm and pat her shoulder, “You good?”

“Yeah.” Maia said absently, “Where’d L-Logan go?”

He hummed a little, “No telling. I’m sure he’ll be back soon. He’s kind of obsessed with you. Kept asking me how to take care of you while you were coming in and out.” He answered her unvoiced question, “As far as I know, you’ve been awake off and on. This is the first time Logan’s brought you out of the boasted though.” Hank chuckled, “Logan playing nursemaid is new for all of us.”

Maia felt a blush spread across her cheeks, “There’s a lot of layers to him.” She stifled a yawn, “Why am I so tired?”

“You’ve been through a lot. Rest, I’ll wait here until Logan gets back.” Hank covered her with a blanket when sleep overtook her again. She dreamed of Sarah and Laura.

Sometime later she startled awake to a pinching in her arm and an antiseptic scent up her nose. She was back in Dr. Rice’s clutches. Her first instinct was to fight, and she pulled a needle out of her arm and lunged out with it in the direction of the man who’d had his hands on her. “Don’t touch me!” She cried.

“Maia, no!” The man screamed as the needle sunk into him, where she couldn’t tell. She didn’t care.

She pulled herself to her feet, looking around trying to discern an exit in the unfamiliar room with her nearly useless eyes. A door opened, and she moved towards the noise. Hands grabbed at her and she fought the people trying to restrain her with teeth and nails.

Arms finally locked around her, “Shit, I thought you were okay.” It was L’s voice, but L was dead. She flung her head back, making contact with a jaw. The man holding her held her tighter, hissing, “Kid, cut it out!” She kept fighting, fingers scrambling over flesh, her head flailing even though it was throbbing, but it all stopped when he growled, “Maia, enough”, and sunk his own teeth in her neck. She froze instantly, the tiny animal remnant in her brain telling her that she wasn’t the one in charge anymore.

“Careful Logan.” An older male voice cautioned. Not Dr. Rice. “No, Miss Kinney, Dr. Rice is dead. I am Professor Charles Xavier, and you’re at my school for the gifted. You’ve been here for several days.”

“Days?” What was happening with her? Why couldn’t she remember? She struggled to focus, sinking back into L. No, he was Logan, she had to remember that. Memories of her last awake time flooded back in as her body was able to focus on the sharp pain at her neck. She shook, wrapping her arm around his but otherwise going limp as she panted, “I’m so sorry. Hank, are you okay?”

“He’s fine.” Charles whispered to her, “Hank is almost as sturdy as our Logan. Logan, I believe you can let her go now, Miss Kinney seems to have recovered her senses. She was disoriented upon waking.”

Logan released her neck, but held her as he murmured in her ear, “It’s Logan. I’ve got you. You’re safe.”

Maia pressed herself back against him, relaxing into the feeling of his arms around her, “Only with you.”

He made a short noise that might have been a laugh, “We need to work on that. Hank’s not a pincushion, and I’m not always going to be around.”

He had to be though, she couldn’t be human without him, and she couldn’t find Laura on her own.

Chapter Text

“Logan, it isn’t wise to keep her isolated.” Charles warned.

 

Logan glared at the other man, “Chuck, she’s still violent when she wakes up, and the girl’s a damned narcoleptic. Sleeps half the day and is up half the night.”

 

“She’s adjusting.” Charles said evenly, “Miss Kinney might adjust faster if she’s around others. Think about it, Logan, shouldn’t she be given the chance to interact with her peers?”

 

Logan bared his teeth, “There it is, there’s you judging me about her age. You think she should be around teenagers instead of an old man like me? Is that it?”

 

Charles response was a long suffering sigh, but anything further was cut off by the shower in the other room turning off.

 

“She’s a mess, Charles.” Logan groaned after a minute, rubbing his face with both hands.

 

Charles nodded, “Hank sent her blood work off to a colleague of his, and, had you bothered to come to the main house in the last two weeks, you would know the results.” Logan raised his eyebrows to prompt him to keep talking, “Mr. Rice had her body flooded with synthetic chemicals and large amounts of sedatives. It’s withdrawal, Logan. She’ll need time for her body to regulate itself, her mind in particular.”

 

Maia emerged from the bathroom, red hair wet still but her clothes all on the right way. Logan counted that as progress. “Professor?” She asked, scanning the room fruitlessly with her hazy blue eyes.

 

Charles smiled as if she could see him, “Yes, Miss Kinney. How are you feeling?”

 

“Better. I’ve had a good nurse.” Maia said, a smile coming to her face, and damned if that wasn’t a kick in the gut to Logan. The pretty girl from his scattered memories was returning more and more each day. Skin still flushed from the shower, Maia almost looked healthy. Her hair had already started regaining it’s shine, which made it even harder to keep his hands out of it.

 

Her stomach growled. Fabulous distraction, “Hey, Kid, get a jacket on and we’ll go up to the mansion for lunch. Charles wants to make sure I’m not cooping you up out here.”

 

Maia moved around the room with measured confidence to where the jacket he’d bought her several days earlier was draped on her bed. “Professor, I hardly feel cooped up. Spending my time outside with Logan has been amazing.” She shrugged the garment on obediently, thought she’d fought him about wearing it before. That had been a more difficult argument than he’d expected, but she’d been keen to point out that he often wore nothing more warm than a plaid button down. She’d won at first, but had been shivering within the hour. “Anything about our daughter?”

 

Charles sighed regretfully, giving an answer Logan had already known, “No, unfortunately. With Rice and Stryker both dead things have been difficult.”

 

She nodded understandingly, but Logan could tell by the way her heart beat that she was disappointed. He was too. It had been a solid two and a half weeks since they’d found her, two since she’d stabbed Hank with her own bloodied needle, but there had been no leads on their girl. “What can I do to help?”

 

“Regretfully, I’m utilizing Cerebro as often as possible, and Hank is searching all the files he can in order to find her.” Charles said as reassuringly as he could.

 

Maia looked pensive for a moment, plucking nervously at her jacket. “I…I don’t know much about your Cerebro, but…would it help you if you knew her name?”

 

Logan and Charles fixed her with identical stares. “Her name?” Charles asked, Logan was too stunned.

 

She nodded, shifting awkwardly, looking even more like a teenager than she usually did, “Yeah, I mean, you don’t carry a baby for nine months without giving it a name. I was waiting until she was born to really talk about it, just to make sure our instincts weren’t wrong and I saddled a boy with a girl’s name.”

 

Logan was standing in front of her before he knew what he was thinking. Her heartbeat quickened at his closeness. He put one hand on the side of her face, “What, Maia? What were you going to name her?”

 

She closed her eyes, and leaned ever so slightly into his hand, “I was going to talk to you about it, but… Laura. I wanted to name her Laura. I’ve called her Laura in my head since the moment she was born.”

 

“Laura.” Logan echoed, linking the name to the scent from the box. Laura was so much better than X-23.

 

Maia smiled, putting one of her hands over his, “I didn’t know your name then, but I thought you’d appreciate it. L. Laura. Logan.” She looked up towards his face, still smiling, “My Wild Man.”

 

That was the kick in the teeth: He was sitting in front of Maia, her soft presence behind him as she received the alphabet, “A…B…C…D…E…F…G…H…” He remembered his head ticking to the side at ‘H’ sounding familiar, but he told her to keep going. She took a breath, “Okay…I…J…” That had drawn more interest from him, but he wasn’t ready to stop, “K…L…” He’d spun around, locking eyes with her. She smiled broadly at him, her face more beautiful than he’d remembered up to that point, “That’s it? L?”

 

He’d nodded, smiling at her, and she’d stretched out to kiss his cheek. The second she touched him, he pulled her into a bone crushing hug. His hands moved over the bare skin of her arms as she settled herself onto his lap. She drew her lips from his cheek and rubbed her face against his beard, the sensation primally satisfying. Then she whispered, “L. L, my Wild Man.”

 

He’d instantly liked that, liked her calling him hers. The possessive growl he let out had her shaking, and he stood with her in his arms, pinning her to the wall of their enclosure. She wrapped her legs around him, the heat between her legs pressed against him. Her lips had moved over his, and he’d let instinct lead his movements. He became a heat seeking missile intent on marking her fair skin everywhere he possible could. Then he’d heard a commotion in the hallway, and had pushed her off. She’d squawked in indignation, her face pink from kissing, but he’d been completely focused on protecting her.

 

And now he was standing in front of her with a hard-on and Charles in the room. He really needed someone to shoot him in the head. He took a few breaths and urged his body to quite being a pedophile.

 

Maia laughed, “Sorry. I overstepped. Know I’m ‘Kid’ now, but…I called you my Wild Man for a long time.”

 

“I… remember.” Logan muttered.

 

Maia’s eyes widened, “Really?”

 

Charles chuckled, the shit-head, “Being in your presence helps Logan remember some of your past.”

 

She was a demon. Had to be. The female reached her free hand out, skimming it up his arm and neck to rest on his cheek, and used her new anchor point to press a soft kiss to his lips. She pulled back smiling at him, “Relax, I’m better now. So are you. Let’s go.”

 

Charles hummed at something she must have thought, “Yes, it might help locate her if you assist.”

 

Logan shook his head, “Woah, no, she’s still…”

 

“Right here, and, as I’ve said, feeling much better.” Maia snapped, glaring at him. She huffed haughtily, “I didn’t even draw blood this morning.” She glanced Charles’ direction as if to remind Logan they had an audience before she returned to staring him down, “I’ve spent the last week thinking about what I can do. Can we start with food and move from there? The last…ten years… of my life have gotten me nowhere. I’m ready to move forward.”

 

The girl may stumble and fall all the time, tripping over her own feet as she moved around the boathouse, usually bumping things ‘he’ had moved, but she had an uncanny ability to find his face with her big blue eyes. Logan sighed, “Come on, there’s some people you should meet anyway.”

 

He held her elbow loosely with one hand, keeping her on the worn path, and kept the other hesitantly behind Charles’ wheelchair, ready to help if needed. The piece of machinery wasn’t exactly meant for off-roading, part of why it had taken two weeks for Charles to get concerned enough to wheel his own ass out to the boathouse to check on him.

 

Maia hesitated when she heard the front door open, turning beseechingly towards Logan, “This is terrible. I’ve suddenly…Uh…What if they don’t like me? I mean…I’ve hurt some of them!”

 

She looked every bit the teenager she appeared, and Logan scoffed, “Kid, they’ve all gone a little crazy at some point or another. We’re all fucked up.” He urged her forward, “Welcome to Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.” Maia visibly startled at the cacophony of noises that came with the place being packed with children and teenagers. She grabbed hold of his hand, and refused to let go until he put her in a chair in the kitchen. He tipped his head towards the female who was already occupying a seat at the table, “Rogue, this is Maia. Maia, Rogue is to your right. Play nice.”

 

Both girls groused about being told to play nice, but were able to start up a conversation without being too awkward. That was a plus for sure. He returned with a helping of some meatloaf he’d found in the fridge, and despite the fact that he had no idea who had made it or how old it was, it had smelled fine. He put the plate in front of Maia and put a fork in her hand.

 

Rogue blinked several times at Maia, “Ya need mah help?”

 

Maia shook her head, “I’ve got it, really. He just doesn’t have the patience to watch me fumble around the table to find the appropriate cutlery.” She smiled, “That’s why he’s been feeding me mostly finger food for the last two weeks.”

 

Rogue snorted, “Nah, Logan just can’t cook.”

 

“I believe that.” Maia said as she smiled in his direction.

 

Logan had to get away. He turned and left the kitchen, barely mumbling that he’d be back. He needed to clear his head before she drove him crazy. Maybe keeping her cooped up with him for two weeks hadn’t been the best idea, but after she’d attacked Hank, Logan couldn’t bear to have her out of hearing range. He couldn’t even get too far away when he wanted, sitting heavily with a beer in his hand in the sitting room right outside the kitchen. It was a damned shame he couldn’t really get drunk.

 

“It’s been a while.” An accented voice said from behind him, about twenty minutes into his beer.

 

“Ororo.” He acknowledged, tipping his beer her direction as she sat in a chair across from him.

 

She looked into the kitchen where Rogue and Maia could still be heard talking. “Well, she looks better than she did the other week.” Logan grunted in response, and she frowned slightly, “You look better too. That, and that’s the first beer I’ve seen in your hands in weeks. Haven’t seen you smoking either.”

 

Shit, she was sounding like Jean, but at least the telepath was on a mission. “Back off.”

 

Ororo kept pushing, “She’s a pretty girl, Logan, and she seems to bring something out in you.”

 

Logan growled at the woman, “Drop it.”

 

She leaned towards him, “You two share a child, Logan. That’s a big deal, and…I know we never really had anything serious, but if there’s something between the two of you still, it’s probably for the best we never did. I don’t want to cause any problems. We’re still friends though, right?”

 

Logan resisted the urge to throw his beer as he stood, “For fucks sake, you’re not causing problems. I’m not ever going to touch her like that! I was an animal then, I would have screwed anything. She’s a child! Why would I want to do anything with her?”

 

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he could smell Maia, could hear her heart hammering right behind him. He hadn’t even noticed her and Rogue leave the kitchen. Rogue had a gloved hand on Maia’s elbow, “Uh…Maia, maybe we should go…somewhe’e else.”

 

Maia shrugged out of her grip, stepping closer to him, bumping a table but still moving until she was right in front of him. It seemed for a moment that she could see again when she locked her eyes on his face, her jaw set stubbornly. Her hand cracked across his face, “You deluded asshole.”

 

She held her hand against her chest, silly girl had probably broken something, and his face only barely stung. “Maia, you should…”

 

She wasn’t done though, “No. I’m not an idiot, Logan. It’s been ten years, you didn’t remember me, so were bound to have moved on. That’s fine, really, but don’t you dare for a second act like I repulse you, we both know that’s a lie. Also, don’t you dare use my looks to justify anything. We both know I’m almost thirty. You need to get your head out of your fucking ass and decide what the truth is. You can’t coddle me one minute, dump on me the next, and expect me to be okay with it. You’ve done the same song and dance for the last two weeks. I’m done with it. I need to focus on Laura, and you obviously aren’t.”

 

Shit. He had no idea what to say. He’d used those excuses to control himself at the same time he’d seen to her every need. He hadn’t had to say anything to send out all sorts of messages. She was right.

 

She crossed her arms over her chest, “Rogue offered to share her room if we moved into the mansion. Think I’ll take her up on it. You’ve been doing so well on your own in the shower the last two weeks, but we wouldn’t want you to screw up and fuck a child, would we? I’ll be hanging with the teenagers.”

 

Rogue looked over Maia’s shoulder helplessly at him like she’d made the offer in an effort to be nice. Logan reached for Maia, but she heard his step and moved back. “Maia, come on. You can’t.”

 

She scoffed at him, “Yes, Logan. I appreciate your help, but I need to not be around you right now.” She turned and knocked the side table over. He tried to grab her as she fell, but she pushed him off, growling, “I’m fine!” Rogue helped the other girl to her feet, mouthing an apology to Logan as she led Maia upstairs.

 

Logan stood in shock, wondering what the hell had just happened. He wanted to run after her and run the opposite direction all at once. Charles rolled out of his office, shaking his head, muttering, “Oh, Logan.”

 

She was driving him crazy, and he needed a drink a whole lot stronger than a beer.

 

It took talking with Charles, two days, and more than a beer for him to gather the courage to face the redhead again. Her pale face and wrecked scent were his fault for sure. Emotions were more trouble than they were worth. They were both worried about their daughter, right? They had to find her…find Laura.

Chapter Text

Rogue was a nervous girl, shifting every few seconds as she sat on her bed next to Maia, “You, uh…shouldn’t actually stay in here. Ah can get a little crazy sometimes.”

Maia shook her head, she’d heard enough from Logan that she understood crazy, “I’ll find somewhere else. Sorry for putting you on the spot there, I just had to tell him something.”

“He cares about you.” Rogue muttered, tugging on her gloves out of habit.

“I know.” Maia groaned, standing up from Rogue’s desk chair. “He does, but he’s confused. I’m confused, it’s just awful. I couldn’t handle him babying me and hating me at the same time.”

“Ah don’t think he hates you.” Rogue whispered, “Ah’ve been in ‘is mind.”

Maia laughed, “So have I. That’s why I know he can’t stay away. Can’t get his head on straight with me sleeping on the next bed either.”

“What’s it like?” Rogue asked.

Maia could see a dark shape where the girl was, but that was it, there weren’t any facial features or body postures for her to cue off of, “What’s what like?”

“Sex.”

Maia almost choked on the bottle of water she’d been sipping on since Rogue had handed it to her. “I…uh…what?” Rogue stayed silent. Shit, Maia was not prepared for that question. “Uh…”

“Be honest?” Rogue asked softly, “Ah’m curious, and you know…Ah can’t really touch people. If ya don’t want to, that’s fine. You’re just…the only one Ah feel’ll be honest with me who’s got any experience.”

“I shouldn’t.” Maia told her, but something in the teenager’s voice told her the girl was searching for something, and silence wasn't it, “Okay, uh…the first time was…overwhelming. He’d just been shot in the head, I was sure he was dead and I was completely crazy. Then he wasn’t, and he was completely overwhelmed by the animal side of him. I won’t lie, it hurt. And then it didn’t. After we were so much closer to each other.” Maia scoffed, “Of course you see where that’s gotten us.” She shook her head, “It’s nothing to compromise yourself for, Rogue. If it’s someone you really care about, just wait until you’re both ready.”

“Ah may nev’ah be. Can’t touch.” Rouge groaned.

Maia reached out, glad she made contact with fabric and not skin, “Hey, mutations develop and change all the time. Rice kept expecting mine to adapt for my blindness. What I’m trying to say is…you’re young, Rogue. Try not to worry about your sex life for a while, okay?”

Rogue sighed, but her voice seemed lighter, “You’re easy to talk to, like Logan.”

Maia smiled in response, “He and I are more alike than he’d like to admit. Even more so after Laura.”

“You’ll find her.” Rogue said, her voice as certain as she could make it while drowning in her own doubt.

“I know.” Maia said certainly. She felt those words in every bone in her body. “For now, I need to find a place to sleep tonight. I’m feeling the strong urge to hide.”

“I can find you a room.” Came a voice from Rogue’s door.

Maia caught a distinct red hue at the top of the blur in the hall, “Jean. Thank you, that would be nice.”

Maia joined Jean in the hallway and followed her closely, “You seem to have hit it off with Rogue. I’m not surprised. Logan’s got a soft spot for her.”

Maia sighed, “I’d really rather not keep talking about him right now.” She bit her lip, pausing in the middle of the hall, “Jean, I’m sorry.”

“For what?” She asked, even though they both knew what was on Maia’s mind.

It was one of the things that had been bothering her since she woke up, “Logan told me that I was the result of an affair my mother had with a professor in Upstate New York. That’s why I’m a mutant and none of my siblings were.” She took a deep breath, “Hank mentioned your parents live nearby, that your father is a professor. Two redheaded mutants with mental abilities…what are the odds?”

Jean sighed heavily, her posture mimicking Maia’s in it’s stiffness. “That’s what I thought too.”

“I’m not going to do anything to upset anyone, I just wanted to see if you thought the same thing.” Maia told her softly. “My dad is dead now, but I had a pretty kick ass set of parents. I’m not gonna mess anything up for your family. Be kind of hard to explain anyway since I look like a teenager.”

“You’re a year and a half younger than I am, and while my dad doesn’t know about you, he did tell my mother about his affair when I was a kid.” Jean told her, “You wouldn’t really mess with anything. If anything they’d both be thrilled about Laura.” She laughed shortly, “I told them years ago that Scott and I aren’t planning on children. My dad would be thrilled to have a granddaughter.”

Maia stared in Jean’s direction, astonished, “Are you serious? I mean, we’re mutants. Laura at the very least inherited Logan’s healing, who knows what else.” She rubbed her temples, trying to shake the headache that had been forming, “Your parents, your mom especially, how would they be okay with us?”

Jean took Maia’s hand, “Because I put them through hell when I was a kid. They never told me about the affair, but I read it in their minds. I also know how disappointed they were when I said I didn’t want to be a mother, but they understood. My mother is the most understanding person I’ve ever met and she’d jump at the chance to be a grandmother in any capacity.”

Maia smiled and let her…sister…lead her down the hallway, “So I’m taking baby pressure off of you?”

Jean laughed again, “Exactly.” She paused, opening a door, “This will be you, third door on the left.”

Maia felt around the room a little. It was basic: a bed, desk, chair and side table both with lamps. A window parallel to the door let in a lot of light, and the door didn’t have a lock. It was perfect. “Thank you.”

“Of course.” Maia rubbed her head again, and Jean noticed, “Hey, is your head hurting you?”

“Yeah. I’m just thinking about how I’m going to go crazy if I don't have something to do." Maia groaned, "I never did actually graduate, think the Professor would mind me sitting in a couple classes?"

"Not at all!" She exclaimed, "Besides, you never had mutant classes. Audit some of the classes, I'm sure you'll learn a lot." Jean hummed slightly, interrupting her own topic of conversation, "Your head's hurting pretty bad, Hank has something to help, I'm sure. Want you to take you to him? I forgot I'm supposed to be meeting the Professor in Cerebro to help look for Laura."

It was jarring to hear someone else say Laura’s name. She’d kept it to herself for so long. ”That’d be fine. I need to apologize anyway, for...stabbing him with a needle." Maia told her, face flushing with guilt. She’d been horrible to the man, and he’d only been trying to help her.

Jean laughed, "Trust me, Hank's fine."

He was, actually, fine. And blue. He was blue. And the strange feel of him she remembered for heir earlier encounters was fur. He was a furry blue man. Okay. She could handle that, even if her instincts were telling her to beat the crap out of him for shining painfully bright light in her eyes.

He giggled like a little girl, "It's incredible! Your eyes are so much better than they were two weeks ago! I mean they look like they belong to a hundred year old Romanian grandmother, but...at this rate, these remaining cataract like sheets of scar tissue should disappear in a few weeks. Full recovery!"

Maia grimaced at his boisterous voice, "That's fabulous, but... my head is still killing me."

He went still for a second, as if he'd forgotten the whole little spiel Jean had blurted out before running off. "Oh, yeah. There's not much I can give you that won't possibly interact poorly with what those sick bastards were trying to do, and even though it's been a couple weeks, I'd rather be safe than sorry."

"I understand." She said firmly, not wanting to think about what Rice's plan had involved.

He gave her some standard pain relievers and suggested she rest her eyes for the remainder of the day, that straining to see was probably causing the headache in the first place. Maia worked her way slowly back to the room Jean had shown her and spent the rest of the day in bed, contemplating everything.

The following morning Maia awoke in an empty room. She hadn't realized how accustomed she'd become to having Logan either pacing the room or lounging on the other bed. Once her heart had stopped hammering in her chest and she remembered where she was, loneliness hit her hard. Hell, she even missed the blissful moments when he held her as she settled back into herself. She couldn’t be alone. Fortunately for her, Jean had apparently talked to the Professor, and there was a list of class descriptions and times taped to her new door.

She spent two agonizing days sitting in on classes, listening to the students. The movement, the life in the school was almost enough to keep her mind off Logan. Or so she pretended whenever Jean and Rogue asked. She was positive they both saw through her, but they seemed to have learned enough about her not to ask, and, try as she might, she’d stopped sleeping. The time she spent in her room alone sobbing or staring at the inside other eyelids wasn’t really productive, but she could feel her power struggling to reach out from her damaged body and that was a slight comfort. ‘Baby steps’ Jean had advised, and the other students now all advice to share with her since she was sitting in on their classes. All she thought about was how she’d screwed up with Logan. She’d done it to focus on Laura, but now she could only think about him.

Maia was sitting in one of those classes when she heard it; the tale tell sound of Logan’s booted feet on the slick wooden floors and the scrambling of students, their sneakers scuffing against the floor as they moved out of his way. He’d finally come back to the mansion. She kept her face pointed towards the instructor, Scott, but couldn’t help the ache in her gut when Logan paused at the doorway of the room only to continue walking a beat later.

She pulled her knees to her chest and didn’t hear another word of Scott’s lecture.

Maia screamed when someone put a hand on her shoulder. Heart pounding in her chest, she looked around wildly, only calming when she caught a flash of blue to go with the stammered, “I-I’m sorry!”

Panting, Maia was grateful her arms had been locked around her knees. Shit, she hadn’t even heard Scott end his lecture, but the classroom was devoid of any other sounds besides a rattled Hank. She unwound slowly, only speaking when her feet were on the ground, “It’s okay, I wasn’t paying attention. I should have been.” She sucked in a breath, “What’s up? Did the Professor find something on Laura?”

“Not yet.” Hank replied heavily, “Are you still getting headaches?”

Maia smiled thinly at him, “Only when I’m up for more than two hours.”

“Which you have these last two days.” He said, a bit of a teasing tone in his voice, “We do talk about you, you know? Jean, the Professor and I. We want you to get better.” She didn’t respond. “Try these.” He put a pair of glasses in her hands, and she arched an eyebrow at him. “Hey, put them on, they should help.”

They weren’t magical, but the coke-bottle lenses did seem to help take some of the strain away, “Thank you.” Maia whispered, giving him a far more true smile.

“Of course!” He replied, his answering smile evident in his voice. He put a hand on her arm.

Maia went quiet. She could hear Logan again, and when she looked over her shoulder, she could just make out his figure in the doorway. “Logan?”

He turned away.

“Hey!” She called, tripping to the door, catching herself on the frame to poke her head out of the classroom. She heard him stop, and held a hand out towards him, “Logan, please. I was an idiot.” Maia trembled at the truth in her own words, “You’re it for me. We’re better together.”

He clicked his tongue in disbelief.

“No, Logan. We are. Have you been able to think of anything else? I haven’t. Not really even Laura. Just you.” Maia confessed, “I can’t think straight when you’re not with me.”

“I’m bad for you.”

Maia felt tears fill her eyes, “No, you’re not. If this is about you leaving me…that wasn’t your fault.”

His silence was answer enough.

“I did it, Logan.” Maia’s whole body shook as she made her confession, “The only reason I lived was because her mutation was triggered in my bloodstream, but it wasn’t in hers. I was dead for hours. I knew you wouldn’t leave me, but I knew she wouldn’t survive. I was right, but it doesn’t mean I don’t feel guilty.”

“What did you do?” He asked, voice low and dangerous.

Maia hiccuped once, straightening, “I compelled you, Logan. I made you take Laura and leave. I looked you in the eyes and made you run, and then I was told you were both dead. Whatever guilt you have about fucking a teenager or leaving me, that’s nothing compared to the guilt I’ve lived with for nearly a decade over getting you both killed. I made the wrong choice, Logan, and it’s haunted me. I’m in the wrong. Me, not you. You don’t get to be the fucking masochist. I keep screwing up and making things worse.” She stood in the hallway trembling, adrenaline rushing through her.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” Logan growled, and suddenly he was on her, both her forearms in his hands, her back against the ridged wall. “Kid, I wouldn’t have left if I’d had another choice. I’m difficult to manipulate, but you’ve managed to figure out a new way.” He pulled the arm Hank had touched to his face and rubbed it across his stubbled cheek, “I can’t stay away from you.”

Maia followed instinct and went slack in his grip, tipping her head to the side, exposing her neck to him. “Then don’t. Don’t stay away. I was wrong. I need you to stop hating yourself. I need you.”

Chapter Text

He’d screwed up with Maia. Big time. “What the fuck do I do?”

Charles gave a long suffering sigh, “Miss Kinney is correct, Logan. You have been denying your feelings. I was hoping seeing her amongst the others might allow you more freedom to be honest with yourself, but Miss Kinney’s patience wore out quicker than I expected.”

“She’s a damned saint.” Logan growled.

Charles shook his head, “She’s mentally fragile, Logan, much in the same way you are. I did not want to put additional pressure on you by insisting that you allow yourself to lean on her”

“That’s some crazy bullshit, Chuck.” Logan told him, “I’m bad for her.”

“There’s a reason you were, and are still, drawn to her. She’s stronger than you have given her credit for these last few weeks. She’s very bright as well, and understands you more readily than I do.” Charles told him, “You need to consider what the real reason is that you are keeping her at arms length. I don’t believe you are bad for her.”

“I don’t know.” Logan said defeatedly. “Going back to the boathouse. Keep an eye on her for me, Chuck?”

“She’ll always be safe here, Logan.” He said magnanimously.

Logan’s dream that night was just that, a dream: He was in a bar. With Scott. "So, I met this girl, and she said she's gonna meet us here tonight. Even said she would bring someone to keep you company.”

Logan stared at the younger man, "This is a blind double date?"

"No!" He answered loudly, drawing attention from the man behind the bar. He lowered his voice, "I mean...is it really a blind double date if I've already met my date?"

Logan took a long sip from his beer, "I can't believe I let you talk me in to this."

"Your bike is in pieces, I was your only ride off the property with Professor X and Hank out of town and Ororo on matron duty." Scott reminded him.

Logan put money down on the bar for his beer, "I'll walk back."

He stood from his stool and was suddenly face to face with a gorgeous red headed woman. She held out a hand, "Hey! You must be Logan, Scott's friend from work. I’m Jean.”

Logan chuckled shortly, shaking her offered hand, "'Friend' isn't quite the word I would use."

Jean laughed a little awkwardly, leaning to kiss Scott on the cheek, "Well then we're in the same boat. My friend isn't really my friend." She looked out into the bar, eyes searching the crowd on the dance floor, "Ah, there she is. Maia!"

Another redhead walked up, just as beautiful as Jean but obviously younger, clothed in a peach colored dress that was barely legal over the girl's fit little body. She threw her arms around Jean's shoulders, "Sorry I'm late! I ended up parking down the street like five blocks."

Jean murmured into her ear for a second before turning back to the men, "Scott, Logan, this is Maia, my younger sister."

The girl locked her blue eyes on Logan's face, the color a stark contrast from Jean's warm greenish brown ones. She smiled at Logan like she had a secret, "Not that much younger, mind you. My mom just passed down better genetics than Jean's did."

"Maia's Canadian." Jean rushed to tell Logan.

Maia nodded, "Yup, I'm from Alberta. Jean only just convinced me to move closer to her a few months back. I’m still adjusting.” She blatantly ogled Logan from head to toe, "I have to say, the selection of men here is much better than middle of nowhere Valleyview."

"I was born in Alberta." Logan found himself saying.

She smiled more widely and took one of his hands in hers, "Well come on, neighbor. I want to dance."

He wasn’t a dancer, had always hated it, being so close to so many other people, but they all faded away when she patiently guided him through the dance steps. The night ended with him in her bed, as well as many nights after that one.

“Do you want kids?” She asked one night, six months after they’d met in that bar, her red hair splayed across his naked chest, her nose buried against the ridge of his collarbone. She was so slight against him, so much so that he hardly felt her. Except he was intimately aware of every square centimeter of their bodies that touched, and every press of her chest on his as she inhaled at an ever increasing rate.

“I guess.” He mumbled, trailing a hand across her jaw, “Hadn’t ever really thought about it.”

“Well, we should get married.” Maia replied, sitting up suddenly, half turning away from him.

“The fuck?” He exclaimed, not liking her expression at all.

Maia flushed, the color spreading from her cheeks down her neck and settling farther down her chest, “Uh…well..you see…I’m kind of two months late.”

“Late.”

She nodded, “As in if I pee on one of those fancy new sticks, I’ll probably get a stupid little happy face.”

“You think you’re pregnant.” He said numbly.

Maia finally looked him in the face, an odd sort of smile on her lips, “Yeah, I do. Fucking scary, but…we’re going to be fucking awesome parents, and…I want to be your wife.”

He laughed, both in agreement and sheer panic as he said, “Then let’s get married.” Holding their tiny little girl in his arms months later made it all worth it. He couldn’t remember ever feeling happier or prouder.

He’d woken up before he’d been able to put the newborn into Maia’s waiting arms, but in his dream she’d been whole and happy. And both of them the most beautiful things he’d ever laid eyes on. He spent the next few days thinking, trying to pull his head out of his ass as Maia had so accurately suggested. Because deep down, he wished like hell they’d met outside of Stryker’s lab, and her age wouldn’t have mattered to him one bit if he’d been able to keep her safe in his arms, both her and Laura.

Logan finally got the balls to go back to the mansion two days later, and Maia’s ragged appearance was enough to make him sick. It was easy to track her scent through the building, and he watched her for a moment from the doorway, her wane face staring blankly at Scott as he rambled on in the front of the class. She looked smaller than she had before, her hands resting listlessly on her lap. He couldn’t watch her like than for longer than a few seconds before he stalked to Charles’ office, “Fuck, Chuck, she looks terrible.”

Charles sighed, putting papers he’d been scouring on his desk, “She misses you, Logan.”

“I’m not someone anyone misses.” Logan mumbled, earning a dark glare from Charles before he stormed right back out the office doors and back to the classroom doorway.

In the intervening minutes, Scott had shut the hell up and freed the poor kids from the mind numbing experience of listening to him speak, but Maia was still in the room. And she wasn’t alone.

Hank was sitting next to her.

“Thank you.” Maia whispered, giving Hank a bright smile, one that Logan had only ever seen her give to him. Jealousy flared in the pit of Logan’s stomach.

“Of course!” Hank replied cheerfully, like he knew he had an in with Maia. He put a hand on her arm.

Logan took one step back. He’d wanted her to move on, to find someone that could do far more for her than he could, and Hank could be that. He was far closer to either of her ages than Logan was, be it chronologically or biologically, and he was every bit the gentleman she deserved.

Maia looked over her shoulder, her face adorable behind thick glasses, and so damned hopeful as she called his name. “Logan?”

He turned away. Hank was better for her. The best he could do was leave her to Hank and bring their daughter back to her. Hell, Hank was patient, gentle, and far better father material than Logan could ever dream to be.

“Hey!” Maia called, and he heard her tripping to the hall, catching herself on the doorframe of the classroom. He wanted to keep going, but he couldn’t, not when she was reaching out towards him. “Logan, please. I was an idiot.” Maia’s voice trembled, “You’re it for me. We’re better together.”

He clicked his tongue in disbelief. He couldn’t say anything at all. How the hell could he be it?

“No, Logan. We are. Have you been able to think of anything else? I haven’t. Not really even Laura. Just you.” Maia whispered the end of her proclamation, “I can’t think straight when you’re not with me.”

He sucked in a breath, refusing to turn around to face her, “I’m bad for you.”

He could smell the salt of tears suddenly break into her scent, “No, you’re not. If this is about you leaving me…that wasn’t your fault.”

His stayed silent, but turned to face her.

“I did it, Logan.” Maia’s whole body was shaking, the glasses Hank had given her gripped in her hands as she continued speaking, “The only reason I lived was because her mutation was triggered in my bloodstream, but it wasn’t in hers. I was dead for hours. I knew you wouldn’t leave me, but I knew she wouldn’t survive. I was right, but it doesn’t mean I don’t feel guilty.”

“What did you do?” He asked, scouring his choppy memories for the answer to his own question.

Maia hiccuped once, a tiny endearing noise before she straightened her spine and leveled her gaze his direction, “I compelled you, Logan. I made you take Laura and leave. I looked you in the eyes and made you run, and then I was told you were both dead. Whatever guilt you have about fucking a teenager or leaving me, that’s nothing compared to the guilt I’ve lived with for nearly a decade over getting you both killed. I made the wrong choice, Logan, and it’s haunted me. I’m in the wrong. Me, not you. You don’t get to be the fucking masochist. I keep screwing up and making things worse.”

He took a second to process her words. She thought she’d made him leave her.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” Logan growled, in one fluid movement gripping both of her forearms in his hands and pushing her back up against the wall of the hallway. As smart as she was, she didn’t understand his mutation. Then again, he’d never bothered to explain it to her at all. He should have, their daughter seemed to take after him in that department after all, “Kid, I wouldn’t have left if I’d had another choice. I’m difficult to manipulate, but you’ve managed to figure out a new way.” She had his heart. He would have obeyed her command for the same reasons she’d given it: neither one of them had expected her to survive and Laura was of upmost importance. He would bear the guilt of leaving, not her.

He pulled the arm Hank had touched to his face and rubbed it across his stubbled cheek, intent on removing the other male’s scent from her skin. “I can’t stay away from you.” He admitted, scared by the truth in his own words.

Maia went slack in his grip, tipping her head to the side, exposing her neck to him. Her physical submission appealed to him just as much as her words did. “Then don’t. Don’t stay away. I was wrong. I need you to stop hating yourself. I need you.”

The way she said the last word broke him. He’d tried to stay strong, to let her go while at the same time worrying about her every need, but in the end, he wasn’t strong enough.

He let her forearms go, and put a hand on either side of her face, pinning her to the wall with the rest of his body as he crushed his lips down on hers. The fingers that had been holding onto the glasses released, and the last lingering point of Hank clattered to the floor. Instead, Maia sunk her hands into his hair, moaning into the kiss. He pulled back to let her breathe and took in the flush of her skin and her wild eyes, “You’re mine.”

She smiled at him, a smile far brighter than the one she’d given to Hank, “I’d better be, my Wild Man.”

He renewed his claim on her lips, moving his hands down to her hips to pull her up more to his level. Maia wrapped her legs around his hips readily, letting him sink even closer to her. The scent of her acute arousal reached him just after he ground his hips against her perfectly aligned core. Had she been in a skirt, he couldn’t have stopped himself from burying his aching cock into that warmth between her thighs.

“Logan! Miss Kinney!” Charles yelled suddenly.

Logan instinctively moved his hands off the twin swells of her ass, and whipped his eyes to where Charles stood…amongst no less than two dozen students, expressions ranging from idolatry to disgust. “Shit.”

Maia moved her hands from his hair to hold onto his shirt as she let her legs drop, the color of her face doing it’s best to match that of her hair. She buried her face into his chest, “We’re not alone, are we?”

Logan laughed in spite of himself, “No, no we are not.”

Her fingers held tighter to the fabric of his shirt, and whispered, “I’m going to need you to make alone happen.” He didn’t move, mortified by losing control so completely in front of students, but his turn as a statue was over when she pulled herself closer to his head and growled, “You. Me. Boathouse. Now.”

He wasn’t sure he’d ever run that fast in his life.

Chapter Text

For the first time in days, Maia felt alive. Logan’s arms were wrapped tightly around her as he carried her to their boathouse like a caveman, and it was the most perfect thing she could imagine. “You don’t have to be so caught up on my age anyway.” She whispered into his ear, “We’re Canadian, and the age of consent in Canada is sixteen. Every bit of what we did back then was legal.” Maia sunk her teeth into his neck as he fumbled to open the door, only releasing to suck on the skin she’d bitten, overly satisfied by his pained groan.

“Son of a bitch!” He exclaimed, “You can’t do shit like that!” He was panting now, still struggling with the key in the lock.

“Why not?” Maia asked coyly, taking the key from him and unlocking the door. He’d more than likely been seconds from breaking the thing down, but it needed to stay between them and the rest of the world.

Logan just took her straight to the bed, and laid her down. “You’re mine.”

Maia smiled up at him, bracing her hands on his shoulders, “Always.” She pulled him down and into another kiss. Logan moved from her lips after a few minutes to kiss down her neck, “I could have gone home weeks ago. The Professor offered to let me go back to Valleyview, said I could pose as a niece or something so no one would question, but I told him no.” He paused over her collarbone, waiting for her to continue. She was more than willing to oblige the man, “I couldn’t leave. And it wasn’t even about being away from people looking for Laura or accidentally hurting my mother. You’ve been it, Logan, since the moment they threw me to you and you chose not to eat me. I didn’t fit in at home. Not in my family, not in my stupid little town where my peers would rather get run over than listen to me. I never fit in until I was with you. We fit. You and me. The two of us and Laura.”

Logan kissed her lips again, “Of course. I’ve got my head out of my ass now.”

They began scrambling with their clothes, and at some point in the scuffle, Maia got dizzy and nearly careened off the side of the bed, “Shit!”

Logan caught her though, his hand warm under her arm, “Easy. You okay?”

She nodded, moving her hands up the arm that he’d grabbed her with, “Yeah, just a little ungrounded.”

“Your eyes?”

Maia nodded again, “Everything is blurry as hell, makes balance hard when you’re heart’s racing. But that’s okay. I’m okay. Just grab me again if I get too far off track.” She all but attacked Logan, with such ferocity and force in her kiss that she barely recognized herself, and slammed him up against the headboard so hard that the painting hanging behind them rattled, settling herself into his lap, completely naked save for the tank top she’d been wearing instead of a bra under her hoodie.

He gave a low grunt of surprise against her mouth, but didn’t pull away, and her hands held on to his open button down to hold him in place. Her kisses were harsh and biting, like she wanted to devour him, with just enough teeth to make him moan.

Possess. Consume. Make him hers. Let him know who he belonged to. It repeated over and over like a mantra in her head, as if she was a madwoman. Maybe she was. Maybe that’s what he’d turned her into over all the missing years, because somehow, now, having him with her here like this isn’t enough. She wanted him to belong to her.

After a moment, Logan pulled away, breathless. “The hell you doin’?”

“Reminding you,” Maia hissed back, before capturing his lips in another searing kiss and running her fingers through his thick hair.

“Of what?” he managed between kisses, sounding amused. She didn’t mean this to be funny.

As if to prove it, Maia bit down on his lower lip – hard. Logan groaned, and moments later she tasted a hint of metallic blood trickling into their kiss. It coated her lips, the tangling of their tongues, and only drove her on, until the pulsing between her legs was unbearable. She’d never been this rough before; never even wanted to. But it’d been too long, too many years apart, too many years terrified that what she is about to willingly give to him was going to be taken unwillingly by someone else. That’s the root of it, she connected distantly: She didn’t feel like she was in control of her own body anymore, and this was her taking control back.

She finally pulled away, wishing more than anything that he was more than a Logan colored blur. With his healing, his lip wouldn’t still be bleeding, but she could imagine crimson droplets blooming where her teeth had punctured his skin. She could imagine his pupils dilated with desire, eyes full of bewilderment.

He reached up with one hand to dab the blood away from her lip, and Maia finished her earlier statement with a dark sort of pride coursing through her veins, “That you’re mine.”

“Christ, Maia,” he practically whimpered, the sound of her name pulled from his lips sounds like a prayer.

She moaned in need, hand searching below his waist and finally wrapping around him, making him groan. And God had she missed that sound most of all, of L, her Wild Man, falling apart just by what she did with her hands and lips and tongue.

His fingers inched inside of her, going slow, gentle, and it was simultaneously the most agonizing and pleasurable experience of her life, feeling his long, nimble fingers move in a way he has to distantly remember she loves. She came in no time, panting at her first release in nearly a decade.

“I missed you,” she said breathlessly. “I don't know how I survived a day without you.”

“I'm not sure how I went so long without you either,” Logan whispered

“From now on you'll never be alone again.” Maia told him. She couldn’t help but kiss him at that, sure he was tasting tears, but he didn't seem to care as he kissed her back with equal fervor.

“Neither will you.” He murmured in her ear, wiping away her tears, “Promise.”

Maia smiled at him and said, “Promise me something else?”

“Anything.”

Sitting up, she pulled her tank top over her head, and she felt his warm hands slide up her hips to splay just under her breasts. “Promise me we won't stop until we pass out.”

Logan chuckled darkly, and it was the most beautiful sound in the world to Maia. He was probably smiling, which was possibly what she'd missed the most in the last nine odd years, because his eyes would light up and the corners of his mouth upturn and his nose would scrunch a little, and damn if that didn't totally do it for her too. His smiles were so rare, but she could imagine he was smiling now, “Well, darlin’, you’ll have your work cut out for you if that’s what you’ve got planned. I’m known for my recovery time.”

Maia grinned maliciously, raking her fingernails down his chest, “Well, good thing I’ve got the advantage of remembering exactly what you like.”

It took them a while to properly find their rhythm, but when they did it was total bliss, feeling Logan inside her as he trembled towards his first, second, and then third orgasms. She marked his arms and back with the half-moon indentations of her fingernails, lightly bit the inside of his thigh and when he took her for the third time that night her teeth sunk into the flesh of his shoulder and she thanked her lucky stars that his stamina had not been underestimated at all…by either of them.

He won.

By the time the morning light spread across the room into her eyes, Maia was completely spent. “Damn.”

He stroked a hand up and down her arm, his chest rumbling with a self satisfied noise under her head. “You remembered quite a bit, but…”

“You have the refractory period of a teenager.” Maia finished for him, reaching down for the blanket she could feel lingering somewhere near her thigh. Logan stopped her from pulling it up with a hand on her arm, and Maia groaned, “Seriously, not even you can recover…”

He splayed a hand over her lower stomach, silencing her words. She knew what he was looking at, could remember the way her scars shimmered in light, in the light of a sunrise they’d be almost beautiful. “I hadn’t noticed these.” He said, voice soft. In the dark he’d kissed the raised scar from the bullet wound, brushed his fingers gently over the still healing scar from her feeding tube, and laved his tongue across the raised ridge his claw had etched into her body, but, without light, the other scars were easy to miss.

“Stretch marks.” Maia supplied, putting her right hand over his, slotting her fingers between his as she looked up at his face. Even though she could only tell hair from skin, she could imagine the wrecked expression he probably had on his face. “I carried her inside of me for nine months, there were going to be marks regardless of how she ended up being born.” Maia snuggled closer to him, tucking her face into his chest, “I used to look at them to remind myself that she’d existed. You can’t hallucinate stretch marks.”

“You’re beautiful.”

“So are you.” Maia said with a small giggle, “You and all your hair and rock hard muscles.”

“Not sure anyone else would have the balls to call me beautiful.” He replied, urging their joined hands to the blanket and pulled it up over them, “You need to sleep.”

Maia shrugged, “So do you, even if Little Logan thinks otherwise.”

“Did you just…”

“Call your dick ‘Little Logan’? Yup, I did. You can punish me for that later, sleep now, right?” Maia closed her eyes and held his hand tight.

Logan pressed a kiss to her forehead, “Right.”

They settled into sleep, and for the first time in a long time, they both slept peacefully. Maia had odd dreams though, but by the time she sat up in bed, they’d fled her mind. Logan was sitting up already, and something metal clicked off to the side of the bed, “What’s that?”

“Phone.” He said shortly, “The Furball got a lead. We’re heading to Mexico. Ever been?”

Maia shook her head, “Nope. As far as I know, I’d never left Canada until I was brought here. Laura?”

“Some murders. Victims were torn apart by blades.”

“Oh.” Maia said numbly. “I’m gonna need a shirt.”

“You’re staying here.” He growled.

Maia made an impressive show of standing up from the bed without face planting into the floor or the nightstand. “Like hell are you going after our daughter without me. I’m coming. With or without your help.”

“You’re crazy.” Logan muttered, sweeping her naked body off her feet so he could kiss the hell out of her. He let her go with a groan, “Shit, stay here while I get you some clothes.”

As it turned out, Maia and airplanes didn’t mix…at all. Logan held her hair back while she vomited up the food he’d fed her before they’d piled into the plane with Rogue, Scott, and Jean, and she was so disoriented and nauseous she barely knew her own name. By the time they got to Mexico, Maia was completely exhausted. Jean fussed over her as they settled into the motel Scott had acquired, “You need to rest, Maia. We’re going to go see what we can find. If any of us find anything solid, we’ll come get you.”

Maia laughed weakly, her head spinning and stomach clenching, “Least you brought the glasses. I can almost see to read billboards with them on.”

Jean ruffled her hair gently, “Rest, Maia, or Logan’ll be a pain in all of our asses.” She hesitated at Maia’s thoughts, “I promise, Maia. Scott and I are going to the police to see where they are with the investigation, and Logan and Rogue are going to the scenes. We shouldn’t be gone more than a few hours.”

“I’ll hold you to that.” Maia mumbled, taking a tiny sip of water from the cup Logan had just placed in her trembling hands. “Go find out where our girl is.”

“We will.” Logan told her before he kissed her forehead, “Stay inside and rest. We’ll be back soon.”

‘Soon’ was apparently a relative term, either that or she hadn’t been as weak as they’d thought. A seemingly short nap later, and Maia was feeling much better, completely gross, but better. She made it into the shower with a change of clothes without too much trouble, and even managed to turn the thing on without hurting anything. She’d just finished rinsing the soap from her hair when she heard something.

Maia stepped out of the shower, listening again and hearing footsteps across the motel room floor, “Logan? Jean? Don’t pitch a fit. I was just in the shower. Even managed to shave my legs right!”

No one answered, and Maia stepped out into the bedroom. Logan’s form stood near the doorway. She smiled hopefully, “Did you find her?” No response. Dread filled her. “Logan, did you find her?” Nothing. She had to see more than just his outline. Holding her towel tight around her, she reached for the glasses Jean had set on the nightstand. Before she could discern glasses from nightstand with her fingertips, a warm body pressed up against her. “Logan?” His arms wrapped around her, forcing her to drop her towel.

Teeth pressed against her shoulder, and a low familiar growl rumbled through his body and into hers. She could feel his arousal pressing into her backside. Maia took a deep breath, “Did you get shot again?” No response. She turned in his grip, skittering her hands up his chest. “Okay, Wild Man. It’s okay, we can talk later, when you’re feeling better. Take what you need.”

She let her hands move farther up, let them dance across the muscles of his neck and up into his hair. Maia froze. His hair was short. She gave into what her instincts had been telling her. “You’re not Logan.”

He jerked her back with a snarl, tossing her onto the bed. “No!” Maia yelled firmly despite her fear, scrambling across the bed, headed for the door. He beat her to it.

Chapter Text

“Are you good with this plan?” Scott asked when they stepped out of the hotel room.

Logan shrugged, “Not much choice. She can hardly walk straight right now.”

“Hank seemed pretty confident that those glasses will help her eyes recover faster as long as she’s resting too.” Jean reassured him, “She has every intention of staying in bed…maybe taking a shower, but that’s it. I left some crackers next to her glasses too in case she gets hungry.”

Logan looked Jean over, “Sisterhood looks good on you.”

A slight blush came to Jean’s face, and she shrugged, “She’s exhausted. I can’t help it, and I know she’d do the same for me.”

Scott grinned like an idiot, kissing the side of her head, “I think it’s cute.”

Logan scoffed, “Give me a break, bub. We’ve got better things to do than for you two to be playing a cute contest.”

Jean and Scott both sobered, and the red head handed him a piece of paper, “Those are the addresses of the murder scenes, you two go there while Scott and I talk with the locals.”

The couple walked away, and Rogue raised an eyebrow at Logan, “Now, Ah wonde’ why they don’ want us talkin’ to people?”

Logan chuckled, “No clue, Stripes, no clue.”

The first two scenes they went to had nothing, no lingering scents at all or anything any of Rogue’s lingering powers found of interest. They’d simply been returned to the public for too long. The third scene on the other hand…

“Fuck.”

Rogue eyed him critically, “What?”

“She was here.” He said, looking around, finding a splatter of blood on the dusty ground, “She was hurt.”

Rogue shivered, “I’m not going to be the one to tell Maia that.”

He bent down to touch the blood, which was still tacky, “It wasn’t bad. Not enough blood. Flesh wound. If Laura’s healing is anything like mine, she’d have fully healed from something like this in a minute or two.”

“Well that’s good news. Maia can be scary when she wants to be. She nearly made Bobby piss his drawers when he tried flirtin’ with her.” Rogue told him, poking at a set of claw marks. “She’s only got two claws.”

Logan chuckled once, “Good thing, not sure her momma would appreciate me teaching her my favorite uses for that third claw.”

Rogue grinned at him, “Probably gonna need te’ cut out the cursin’ too.”

Logan shook his head, “Shit.” He went completely still before making eye contact with Rogue.

Her expression told him she’d realized the same thing he had. They were being watched.

Whoever was watching them wasn’t subtle, and wasn’t prepared for them to converge on the location…she…was using to observe them from. “Who are you?” Logan asked gruffly, claws against the Mexican woman’s throat.

She stared at his claws, not in fear, but in awe, “Dios mío, tú eres su padre.”

“Padre. Father?” Logan asked.

She nodded furiously, “Si, si! El padre de Laura!”

“Laura?” Logan growled, “How do you know that name?”

She shivered in his grip and took a few deep breaths, “La Mujer Roja.”

“What?”

“La Mujer Roja.” The woman repeated, and managed to get over her emotions enough to finally speak English, “I saw her in a dream nine years ago, right after I was given a baby to watch when Dr. Sarah Kinney had to work. The baby wasn’t Dr. Kinney’s, she hadn’t even named her.” She sighed heavily, wiping sweat from her brow, “She was beautiful, and the way she held the baby in my dream, she looked like a Madonna. She told me the baby was named Laura, that she would join her soon, she asked me to watch over her until then. She was an angel.”

“Laura’s mother is alive.” Logan growled.

Rogue put a hand on his arm, “But she wasn’t nine years ago, right? For a little bit, she was dead.”

Logan let the woman go, staring at her, “You were asleep?”

“Si.” She affirmed, “I’m Gabriella, and Laura needs your help.”

So he hadn’t imagined the times Maia had been in his dreams as more than a character, the few times it seemed like she’d actually been there. Dream walking. She was a dream walker, even if she didn’t realize it herself. He chuckled, “That girl.”

Gabriella scowled at him, “Laura needs help!” She waved a phone in front of his face, “Watch!”

He did. He took the phone from her, and Rogue pressed the play button. There she was. She wasn’t the baby from his memories anymore, but she was without a doubt his, even if he couldn't see the claws protruding from her hands as she cut up dummies. She was fierce, and her facial expressions were all him. In fact, very little about her reminded him of Maia, at least until she retracted her claws and stood in the center of the laboratory.

Damn. Her eyes were dark like his, but they were shaped like Maia’s, and she used them just like her mother did. Her voice sounded like Maia’s too, “I want to sleep.”

Gabriella’s voice came over the video as they walked down stark hallways, “I know, just a few more things.” She urged the girl, “Were your claws always like this?”

Laura shook her head, “No, they used to be all bumpy, like…”

“Bone.” Gabriella supplied, punching a number into a keypad to reveal a small bedroom.

Laura nodded, “It hurt. A lot. Auntie knew it would.”

“Okay, Laura, I’ll let you sleep now.” Gabriella’s hand reached out to smooth down some of Laura’s hair, “Sweet dreams, hija.” The video cut off.

Logan looked up at Gabriella, “Where the hell is she?”

Gabriella held her hands up, her accent even thicker than before as she said, “I don’t know. I’ve worked there ten years, and I don’t know. They blindfold us, drive around for a while, and we stay for days at a time before they take us home. If we’re lucky.” She laughed hysterically, “I'm not lucky anymore.”

“What the hell’s that suppose’ to mean?” Rogue asked.

Logan took a deep breath, and knew before she ever said the words, “They poisoned me.”

“With what? Why?” Logan asked her, trying to place the rapidly strengthening scent. Jean may have some way to counteract what ever it was if they could figure it out quickly enough.

Gabriella shook her head, blood trickling from her nose that she wiped away hurriedly, “I don’t know what it is. I just knew I didn’t have much time. I had to get someone’s attention.”

He took another deep breath, “She was never here.”

“No, I have a shirt of hers in my bag. A vial of her blood.” She let the bag drop from her shoulder, and it opened when it hit the ground, releasing Laura’s scent from a grey t-shirt that flopped out, “I used knives to kill those men so it would look like she did it.” Gabriella confessed tearfully. “They were bad men, and I have sinned, but I needed someone to find her! I can’t protect her anymore. They poisoned me, took me home. They would have been better off doing to me what they did to poor Dr. Kinney.”

Her heart was hammering in her chest, and her eyes had gone completely bloodshot. Logan set her down on a wooden crate when she started swaying, “You don't have much time.”

She smiled at him, “No, but I succeeded. Better than I’d hoped. You’ll find her. You’ll save Laura.”

He nodded, “Of course I will. She’s my daughter.”

Gabriella pat the back of his hand, and reached for her bag, nearly falling off the crate. He picked it up and handed it to her. “I never told her about her mother. Losing Dr. Kinney was hard enough for her, losing real family would have been devastating.”

“Sarah Kinney was really her mother’s sister.” Rogue told her, and Gabriella blinked at her in shock.

“Dios mio.” She wiped more blood away from her face, “They, uh…”

Gabriella started coughing, and Rogue looked to Logan, fingers on one of her gloves, “Should Ah?”

Logan nodded, “Hurry, she’s almost gone.”

Rogue gave the dying woman a sweet smile, “Ah’ma try not to make this hurt. We’ll get Laura.”

Gabriella nodded, and clasped Rogue’s bare hand in hers, “Santa María, ruega por mí. San José, ruega por mí. Jesús, María y José, ayúdame en mi última agonía.” She made a ragged noise as she took a breath, her whole body shaking in pain, “Aunque ande en el valle de la sombra de la muerte, no temeré ningún mal, porque…tú…estás…conmigo.”

Rogue and Gabriella fell apart. “¡Mierda!” Rogue exclaimed, pulling her glove back on, breathing heavily.

Logan sat Gabriella’s body up carefully, and put both her hands over the Rosary she’d pulled from her bag. He stood, holding the dead woman’s bag out to Rogue, “You okay?”

Rogue nodded, “Yeah. She really didn’t know where they took he’, but…she saw a whole lotta awful shit.”

He was about to ask another question of the young woman when his cellphone rang from his back pocket. Logan cursed as he fumbled with the thing, and growled into it, “What?”

Jean took a shaky breath, and he instantly dreaded her next words, “She’s gone, Logan. Maia’s gone.”

“What the fuck do you mean ‘she’s gone’?” He gritted out, heading back towards the hotel.

Rogue spluttered behind him, “Wait, Logan, what should we do with her?”

“Leave her!” He yelled, “She’s gone to her God, we can’t help her now.”

Jean gasped at his tone, and Scott took the phone from her, “Logan, we got back, and she was gone. There was a struggle. I’ve kept Jean out of there. Whoever took her, Maia put up a hell of a fight. Of course no one around here will confess to hearing a thing.” He whispered calming words to Jean before continuing, “Jean says one of them remembers hearing her scream and seeing her running out in the parking lot, but a couple men caught her and threw her into a van about a half hour ago.”

“We’ll be back in ten.” Logan hissed, closing the phone and picking up the pace.

Rogue was red faced and panting by the time they got back to the motel, but she looked better by far than Jean did, sitting in the back of a car Scott must have rented at some point. Logan ignored them all, storming into the room like she’d be sitting on the bed waiting for him to chastise her for going to get tacos without telling anyone. He’d expected that from her. He had never imagined this would be the scene waiting for him. The smells made his stomach churn: Blood. Semen.

Logan stared at the disheveled room in disbelief. It had started in the bedroom. On the bed. A towel baring the slightest trace of Maia’s arousal had been half kicked under the bed, and the scent of her fear permeated the stained sheets, along with smears of her blood. Bastard had violated her. Logan was sure of that, but she’d exploited the resulting moment of weakness. The lamp that had once been on the nightstand was smashed to pieces with blood on a foot section of the cord. Maia’d apparently tried to garrote her attacker with it. That was his girl alright.

The bathroom door had been torn apart, and Maia’s blood was on the corner of the vanity with several strands of red hair caked in it. Bastard had smashed her head into it. She hadn’t gone down there though, but her attacker had. The acidic smell of a high powered electrical charge still filled the bathroom. Maia’s bare foot had tracked her own blood over a void on the floor, and showed she’d gone out the door. What chilled him to the bone though was that the scent of the man who had hurt her was…his own. The trio of scratches down the wall beside the bathroom door was confirmation.

Rogue stood behind him, “What the hell happened here, Logan?”

He growled in fury and started running. Jean tried to stop him, but must have read his mind and got the hell out of his way. She ran to the car and turned it on with shaking hands, he jumped into the passenger seat, and Rogue and Scott barely had time to get into the back seat before she pealed out of the parking lot. He didn’t care that she was using his mind like a bloodhound GPS, they had to find his girls. Now. There wasn’t any other option. He’d tear the bastard with his scent apart with his bare hands if he had to.

Chapter Text

The man who was Logan-But-Not-Logan threw her back onto the bed. “Who are you?” Maia asked, reaching for her glasses again. He pulled her close to him, growling as he pinned her to the bed, her fingers still grasping for the nightstand. “Get off me!”

He just let out a huff, sniffed her hair, and then he buried his face between her breasts, licking and sucking so hard it hurt. He sniffed her breasts, and licked across a nipple. She planted her hands on his shoulders and pushed, but she barely moved him. His hands were rough, grabbing her firmly and squeezing her breasts too hard. He shifted so he was sitting between her legs, forcing them apart. He lowered his head between her legs.

“Not a chance freak.” Maia growled at him, and locked her legs around his head. If he wanted to get up in her business, she’d give him a front row ticket. She may not be able to fight him off, but she could do her damnedest to smother him to death.

A familiar snick sounded in the room, amazingly louder than her ragged breaths and his growls, smothered as they were by her thighs. Maia felt claws against the outside of her thighs, and, at their urging, she released her grip. It wouldn’t do anyone any good if she bled to death.

He yanked his shorts down and rutted against her thigh, his dick leaving behind wet trails that felt like acid on her skin. She bit and clawed, and at one point tried to get him still enough to try to lock eyes with him. He was an animal though, completely possessed with rubbing his face all over her and getting himself off. He tried a few times to thrust himself into her, but his cock only grazed painfully over her dry folds. He may have had Logan’s figure and strength, but Logan had an almost preternatural ability to find his way inside of her, even if he was half asleep. In the end, the facsimile spilled himself on her from the friction.

------------------

Less than three minutes. Maia almost laughed. This creature had the downside of a teenaged libido. She just thanked her lucky stars. She’d gone for years avoiding what had just almost happened. He had been far too close. He collapsed on the bed next to her, breathing heavily, and Maia didn’t waste a second, grabbing the lamp off the nightstand. She gave one sharp tug, the plug came away from the outlet, and she looped the cord around his neck. It took him a second to realize what she was doing, but at that point she’d wrapped it twice around his neck and had then pulled both ends, lamp and all, over the post of the bed. Throwing herself off the side of the bed, she used her body weight to pull the cords tight, and scrambled for the bathroom while he clawed at his own neck. She didn’t look back, hopefully he’d be stupid enough to claw his own throat up and he’d be the one to bleed to death.

Locking the thin door, Maia looked around desperately, but there wasn’t any light. No windows. She hadn’t even noticed earlier. She may have avoided being fucked, but she was still screwed. Only she would run to a windowless room trying to find an escape route.

Maia grabbed a fresh towel, wetted it in the sink, and rubbed furiously between her thighs with one hand as she used the other to find and begin to pull on the shirt she’d taken into the bathroom with her. Tossing the towel aside, she pulled on the denim shorts Jean had been so proud to have found for her. He’d cut her right thigh with his claws, but the trio of wounds was only bleeding sluggishly and didn’t really hurt at all. Good, superficial wounds were good, muscle damaging ones were not. Her only chance now was that she could outrun the stupid sexually inept copy of her Wild Man. Unfortunately her shoes were by the door…that was a problem. She’d have to run without them.

She heard the lock on the motel door rattle, and for one brief second she imagined Logan returning, or even her new sister. The voice that came wasn’t a familiar one though, and her hopes of escape evaporated, “You said he came in here? What the hell caused him to run off to a fucking motel? Thought he was supposed to be better than a bloodhound. They don’t run off.”

The creature in the room growled, and the bathroom door practically blew apart. Maia ducked, but that left him an opening. One of his hands grabbed her by the hair and slammed her head into the edge of the bathroom counter. Her head felt like it was exploding, and what was left of her vision blurred even worse. She crumpled to the floor, and couldn’t move for a second. She wasn’t sure she’d ever been quite so stunned in her life, and she’d been tossed around her fair share of times in the last decade.

The male voice whooped in triumph, “Well I’ll be damned boys! He found himself a cunt. Sorry to interrupt your fun, Cujo, but we got places to be.” The creature growled, “Alright now, it's time to go. Don't make a fuss.” There was a zapping noise, and she could feel a body land next to hers. She hissed and forced herself up, staggering over the body on the floor.

The man sucked in a deep breath and followed her as she did her best to run out the motel door. She just had to get out, right? “Damn, Twenty-Four here found Momma. Bitch has been missing for weeks! We’re getting paid muchos pesos tonight!” Hands closed over her upper arms, as she lost her footing, “Woah, easy Momma. Glad he didn’t cave your head in, but you fight, I’ll have to give you a matching crack on the other side.” She was completely at his mercy. Blood dripped from her head, or maybe it was from her nose, she really couldn’t tell. “Damn, let’s go, boys. Grab him, and someone call ahead.”

Maia felt herself get picked up, but by the time her body hit the bed of a pickup truck, it was lights out.

She stirred as someone picked her up. A man farther away said, “Sir, one of us could…”

A voice she hadn’t missed replied from underneath her, “No, I want to spend some time with her myself.”

Dr. Rice Jr. The sick little bastard who’d tried groping her before and had taken great pleasure in her pain. Maia forced her eyes open, pleased to note that her head wound hadn’t seemed to have set her vision back any farther. “Fucker.”

“Long time no see, right?” Xander goaded, cracking up at his own joke.

Maia ignored his words, focusing as best as she could with a raging headache, “Let me go you asshole.”

Rice shook his head, “Sorry, can’t do that. You’re property, Whisper. My property. You may have dazzled my father in to keeping you whole and reasonably happy, but you’re not going to get that same five star treatment here.” A metal door clicked closed behind them, and another, and another, “My father delayed experiments that should have happened years ago because he couldn’t part with his pretty little pet. I’d only just convinced him to start your treatment course when you were taken and he was put down.”

“Can’t say I regret that.” Maia hissed, taking long deep breaths to calm and steady herself, something Charles had encouraged in the few sessions they’d had to help her pull her mind back together.

“I just regret the weeks of hormone treatments you missed whilst on your little walk about. We do important work here. We’re going to save lives. You’ve seen the result of one of our interim failures, or so I’ve been told. X-24. He survived longer than the rest of our inorganic subjects though, long enough to get a name.” He paused to take a breath, dropping her unceremoniously onto the floor next to a cot, “A copy so far from perfect he’s almost useless. Can’t even track a Mexican whore without getting sidetracked.”

“What?” Maia asked, rolling onto her side. She had no clue who he was talking about. She was such a snowflake she’d been mocked for being an Irish-immigrant for most of her childhood.

“We let a disgruntled employee go, and she stole some of our property on her way out. X-24 was sent after her, but I guess enough of Weapon X’s DNA was stable to smell you out though. That’s actually a promising development.” He hummed, clattering things on a metal tray by the door.

“Glad to be of help.” Maia gritted out, her elbow stinging from where she’d hit it on the ground. Ignoring the pain she touched her head injury. She’d been lucky, Frankenstein’s monster had been clumsy enough that his attempt to bash her skull in had only ended in a flesh wound. Between her three brothers she’d had enough head wounds as a child to know which ones could get swept under the rug without telling Mom. This one would have been far far under the rug and the brother that gave it to her in her debt.

She’d closed her eyes at some point, and started when he grabbed her arm and injected something in it. He walked away chuckling, “Oh, Maia, you’re going to be lots of help.” He kept laughing that damnable laugh, “Even more than your sister was, and she was brilliant. In the end it was her heart that got her in trouble. I’m going to guarantee you’re more cooperative. You know the basics of what’s happening, I’ve been assured my father told you.” He turned to face her, “I”m going to make this very plain: you cooperate, or we use your daughter.”

“She’s just a kid.” Maia whispered, horrified.

Rice shrugged, “I’ll let you decide that for yourself. My father may have been a romantic, but I want to see the look on your face when you see her for what she really is.”

Maia stared up at him, trying to make out his features out to see his expression. “What?”

Rice moved away, back towards where the last door had clanked closed. “Enjoy your time with her. If you play nice, I may let there be more play-dates as our experiments continue, provided she doesn’t gut you. I’m willing to take that chance, and you’ve survived being gutted by her father so the odds are in my favor either way.” The door opened with a mechanical whirr, and Rice stood in the doorway, a small figure at his side, “Alright, X-23, come greet our new guest.”

He left, and that was it. For the first time in her life, Maia was alone with her daughter.

“¿Dónde está Gabriella?” A sharp little voice asked. Maia took a step towards the door, hardly breathing. There was a soft snick noise, and two metallic claws glinted in the light from each of her girl’s hands, “¿Dónde está Gabriella?” She repeated.

Maia fell to her knees, shaking her head, “I don’t know Gabriella. But I know you.” She took a deep breath, oxygen flooding her starved system, “I know you, Laura.”

Her daughter surged forward, and for the second time in one day, she felt metal claws against her skin, “¿Cómo sabes que mi nombre es Laura?” The girl demanded.

Maia reached out with shaking fingers, her knowledge of French helping her figure out the gist of the Spanish her little girl was speaking, “I named you that. I named you Laura. I’m your mother.”

The claws moved away slightly, and her little girl’s head ticked to the side. “Mama?”

Maia nodded, “Yeah, baby, I’m your Mama.”

She heard the claws retract, and felt cool fingers on her face, touching her chin, grazing over her lips and nose and to her eyes. Laura traced around her eyes and across her eyebrows, “My eyes.”

Maia smiled, even as tears filled her eyes.

Because, Christ, she could see her little girl. Not clearly, the clarity she’d been used to before Rice Senior had blinded her, but the steady improvement of her vision had come to head in this moment. She didn’t give two shits that she couldn’t see the wall across the room any clearer than she had before. All that mattered was that when Laura’s eyebrows furrowed, she saw her own eyes on a face more precious than any other. “You look a lot like your daddy.” She reached up and touched her daughter for the first time, brushing her thumbs under Laura’s eyes, “But you have my eyes.” She laughed softly, “Past your daddy’s coloring, of course.” She couldn’t stop staring at her daughter, “God, baby, you’re perfect.”

Laura’s face scrunched, and Maia heard her thoughts as she heard her voice, “No. Soy peligroso. Mala.”

Maia laughed darkly, “Oh, baby girl, danger runs in the family.” Far in the back of her mind, she could almost feel Logan. He would find them. “And you’re not bad.” Maia wrapped her arms around Laura’s neck. The girl stiffened, but didn’t skewer her. That was a good sign.

Laura’s arms had just started to relax when the door clanged open again. Rice had returned. “Alright, that wasn’t near as much fun as I had envisioned. Time to leave Momma, X-23.”

Laura spun towards him, claws out in a split second, and Maia had to stifle a gasp at the growl she gave when she hissed, “No”. She was certainly her father’s daughter.

“Come on, I’d hate for you to hurt her like you hurt your Auntie.” Rice taunted.

Through Laura, Maia saw what had happened to her sister. Sarah had opposed coating Laura’s bones with the same metal as her father’s, and instead of just killing her, they’d made Laura do it. A scent trigger.

Laura hesitated, haunted by the reminder. Maia put a hand on her back, “It’s okay, baby.”

Maia was shocked when Laura spun again, and threw her arms around Maia’s neck, burying her face in her hair and gripping her unclawed hands onto the back of Maia’s shirt as she cried, “Mama!”

Glaring at Rice, Maia ran a hand up and down Laura’s back to calm her. As softly as she could, she whispered, “He’s not going to hurt me. We just need to hang on a little bit longer. Your daddy’s coming for us.” Maia read her disbelief, “I promise, Laura, I can feel him. We’re gonna go home real soon.”

Laura nodded against her, taking one more deep breath to memorize her mother’s scent before she pulled away and followed a Non-Rice figure out. Her thoughts went with her. Rice remained, and clapped his hands condescendingly, “You’re a regular beast tamer, aren’t you? She was soft on Sarah and Gabriella, but never like that. You almost made her look like a child. Almost. It’s a nifty trick. Maybe I’ll let X-24 have some more time with you. Seems he’s already gotten a head start on things.”

“Oh please. Fucker couldn’t nail the broad side of a barn.” Maia snapped, that dark energy that came with her power flickering back to life inside of her. It had an outlet now, two that grew stronger with every second. She didn’t give a shit that she was standing bloodied in a t-shirt, shorts, and bare feet. For the first time in years, she felt strong.

Rice scoffed at her words, “He’s a newer model. Enough about him.” He stepped into the room and closed the door. “I want to know about who else was in that motel room with you.”

“I’m not going to tell you anything.” Maia replied, crossing her arms across her chest.

He stepped closer, and she forced herself to keep her eyes off of him. “Maia, I’ve already told you. It’s you or your daughter. You’ve seen what we can do to an inorganic mutant with super healing, we can do the same to the brat.” He again laughed at his own words before he spoke them, “They always say they grow up so fast! We might make that a true statement.” He took another step closer to her. She could almost make out his face, “Stryker’s coming soon. I’ll put in a good word for him if you’re a good girl.”

Maia grappled with her emotions before tossing them away entirely. They wouldn’t do her any good, only her mutation would, “Well then, good thing I’m already a woman.” She let her hands fall to her sides and dipped her head invitingly, “Will you rest upon my little bed?” said the Spider to the Fly.

Chapter Text

He’d lost her. He’d been able to smell Maia’s blood for over two dozen kilometers, but her wound had stopped bleeding and after a few miles her scent had faded into the cacophony of scents in the bustling Mexican city. It was absurd that he was pissed over the fact that she’d stopped bleeding. He should have been glad that she wasn’t hurt badly enough to bleed to death, but he couldn’t help but wish she’d been a little more thin skinned.

They’d stopped in a parking lot to regroup.

“I can’t find her.” Jean said, slamming her hands on the steering wheel.

Scott put a hand on her shoulder from his spot in the back seat, “Jean, calm down.”

The car was shaking. Logan hadn’t even noticed.

Jean took a few deep breaths, but her face was paler than usual and her hands were shaking. Logan got out of the car and walked around to the driver’s side. “Move over, Red.”

Jean looked up at him, eyes wide, favoring Maia more than he’d ever seen before. “I-I…how did I lose her? We shouldn’t have left her alone.”

Logan gestured for her to get out again, “That’s my fucking line. Come on, get out, you’re gonna crash the car and kill the bastard in the back seat if you try to drive like this.”

“I’ve got her.” Scott said as he got out of the car and squeezed himself between Logan and Jean, pulling her hands off the wheel and guiding her out of the front of the car and into the back seat.

Logan got in the driver’s seat and looked at Rogue, who’d remained silent during the episode, “Anything?”

Rogue shrugged, “I’ve got passcodes and directions once we’re inside, but she really had no idea where they took her.” She rubbed her face roughly, groaning, “It’s a big place, no windows, probably mostly underground. She wasn’t outside the building very often.” Rogue paused for a second, “She fought for years for…Laura… to be let outside. They agreed, but a guard always had a gun on Gabriella. She didn’t care. She just wanted to see Laura get to play.” Rogue finally looked him in the eyes, “At least Laura was with someone who loved her.”

Logan scowled, “I’ll let you tell that to her mother.”

She grimaced in response. After a few minutes though, it was Rogue who had a suggestion on where they should go next. “Gabriella has this one memory of being outside at night, and she could see lights in the distance from the East, nothing from the West. So maybe…”

Logan put the car in gear with one hand, rolling down the window next to him with the other. “Then let’s go West. Eyes peeled everyone.”

It took fifteen days. Fifteen long days of them all taking turns and either driving, navigating, running into convenience stores to get food and use the bathroom, or taking quick naps in the back of the car before they finally got something.

“There!” Rouge suddenly shouted, pointing to a rock formation a few miles out from them. Jean and Scott jerked awake in the backseat at the sound of her voice, “Gabriella could see those rocks from the yard.”

Logan reached out one hand and grabbed her head, pulling her over the console to press a rough kiss her temple, grumbling, “Good work, Stripes.”

She positively beamed at him. Things had been overwhelmingly tense, even more so when Rogue had admitted that Gabriella was starting to fade from her mind. He’d been an ass about that, yelling at her before Jean started screaming at him. Scott had been the voice of reason that got them all to shut up. Didn’t that chap his ass.

And a day later, they had something.

So even if it fed the crush he was well aware she had on him, the girl deserved something of him not being an asshole.

They left the car, Scott bitching a little about how there wasn’t enough gas to get it back to the city as they walked away from it. Jean promised him that Logan would be perfectly capable of siphoning some gas from whatever cars they found when they ended up at the…compound, and damned if Logan didn’t appreciate that Jean’s acknowledgement of one of his less copacetic skills shut Scott up. Finally. They were all lucky he was focused on finding Maia and Laura, because four days in a car with only restroom breaks to keep him apart from Scott had almost pushed him over the fucking edge. He’d officially decided that Jean was a saint.

He almost kissed her when she stopped with a wild grin on her face, “There’s people nearby. Quite a few, definitely working on genetics research.”

“Maia?” Logan growled.

Jean shook her head, dismay on her face, “No, but she could just be asleep.”

His next question was stilted on his tongue, “Laura?”

A small smile came to Jean’s face, “I think so. She’s counting ceiling tiles…in Spanish…I think she’s trying to go to sleep.” She gave a tiny laugh, “She’s got a mind a lot like Maia’s…and yours. Wild.”

He scoffed, hoping to cover the little burst of relief at knowing Laura was okay, “Maia’s not wild.”

“Least you don’t deny you are.” Scott hissed under his breath, pulling out a pair of binoculars that had to have been what was constantly shoved up his ass.

Jean glared half heartedly at them both for that. “She’s more wild than you’d like to think, Logan. My sister can be down right predatory when she wants to be. Must be a Canadian thing.”

Her Canadian comment was enough to ease a bit of the tension in him. Maia and Laura didn’t need him to be an animal right now, going into a building they were too far to even see without having a plan first could get them all killed. Rouge had spent some time in the last four days writing down every passcode she could pull from Gabriella’s memories, and had even managed to figure out the pattern to one code that changed every week. She’d used that to distract herself from his angst, and now it was paying off.

Jean sat for several hours with a pad of paper in front of her, mapping out what she could see from her mental surveillance of the people inside. Her head popped up with a hiss, “Shit. Laura’s awake.”

“What’s wrong?” Logan rushed, in her space far more than he should have been.

Jean cut her eyes at him, looking confused, “She’s all over the place. She’s okay, but…pissed.” She pinched her eyes closed, “They have her tied down. She’s alone. I’ll keep an eye out for anything else.”

“We need to get in there.” Logan growled.

Scott gestured to the papers laid out across the ridge of rocks, “We all good with this plan?”

Logan scowled at him, remembering how well it had gone after the last time Scott had said the same damn thing. Maia had gone missing. “You really need to stop saying that shit.”

Scott mumbled an apology.

They made their way in slowly, fortunate that in the over two weeks since Gabriella had died no one had bothered to change the pattern of the passcodes. Of course only Rogue could make the dead useful after they croaked, as far as Logan was aware, so no one would have assumed that Gabriella’s knowledge was in danger of being revealed.

Jean led them through, at least until Logan caught the sweet vanilla scent that belonged to his daughter, and picked up the pace. When it came down to it, there was a single guard in between him and the door the scent was emanating from. Poor bastard didn’t even have time to get his gun up, and would have been fillet if Jean hadn’t used her mind to toss him at the ceiling like a dog toy.

They weren’t so lucky with the doors. The first was adamantium, but opened with a code Rogue keyed in. The second, not adamantium, however, didn’t open with the long code Rogue painstakingly keyed into the keypad. Instead, it triggered an alarm. Once the blaring started, Logan didn’t waste a second shredding the door with his claws.

There she was. For the first time in nearly ten years, Logan was in the same room with his daughter. She wasn’t just a bump on Maia’s stomach in an old video tape, the newborn in half baked memories of holding her tiny bloody body in snow, or the ferocious figure on Gabriella’s phone. She was absolutely glaring at him from her position strapped to a metal table, and she growled through a strip of leather between her teeth.

Jean brushed past Logan, and he barely grabbed her back before she got herself sliced by Laura’s two claws. “Laura!” Jean cried.

Logan chuckled, “She is her Momma’s daughter after all.” He stepped closer to her, putting his own claws in her line of sight, “Easy, Kit, we’re here to get you out.”

“Gabriella sent us.” Rogue added.

Laura relaxed slightly, but kept her claws out and sharp eyes locked on his every move. She sat up quickly once he’d cut her free, ripping the leather from between her own teeth. And then she launched herself at him. Or over him rather, skimming between Rogue and Scott to attack what could only be the rank bastard that had violated Maia. The science experiment threw her off and into Scott, who’s head hit the wall with a crack. Laura on the other hand, recovered quick enough to join Logan when he buried his claws into the creature’s body.

“We’ve got to go! They’ve rigged this place to explode!” Jean yelled, tossing guards away with her mind and trying to rouse Scott.

The body of the creature with his face and scent hit the floor as Logan pulled his claws out and grabbed Laura up. Very much like her mother, Laura bit and hissed and scratched at him, kicking a surprisingly clawed foot into his gut before he could get to Jean and Rogue to help with Scott and the guards, “Damnit, Laura, cut that shit out!” She went still at his voice, and let him carry her in one arm so he could slice up anyone who got in the way as he searched for Maia.

She wasn’t there.

Logan adjusted his grip on Laura as he headed to the others, out of the building, “Where’s your mom?” She didn’t say anything, so he finally looked at her. Laura was glaring at him. “Huh?” She just shook her head, jaw tightly closed. He looked her over, “Shit, you’ve got blood on you.”

Her expression said she didn’t care. Jean cared. The other three had gotten out of the building and Scott had come around. They were far enough away from the blast radius that Laura’s brown hair barely fluttered when the building exploded. As soon as Logan put her on her feet, she stalked off into the dessert, towards the town. Jean looked up at Logan, “She’s looking for Maia.”

Logan sighed heavily, “You three get to the car, I’ll get her and some gas.” Jean waved encouragingly.

Laura kept walking, completely ignoring him for miles. He couldn’t take the silence. That was not something he was used to. “We’ve got to get gas for the car. The others can’t take the elements like we can.” Rogue could, but he wasn’t going to get into that with his apparently mute child.

There was no scent of Maia anywhere though. Her determination waned after about an hour of walking, and she let him lead her to the nearest gas station. She ran over to the mechanical horse outside the station. She stared up at Logan and gave him a silent demand to start the ride. Logan reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet, putting coins in.

The horse started moving, and Logan nodded his head at her, “I’ll be in the bathroom, stay.”

The bathroom mirror was dirty and Logan wiped at it with his hand. He looked tired. He needed Maia. Seventeen fucking days. He turned on the water and ran his hand through it before splashing and cleaning his face. He peed, washed his hands, and went back out to the front to get Laura and a gas can.

He heard a growl as he exited the bathroom and looked up. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” he cursed to himself and ran over to where Laura was sitting on top of the store clerk. Her claws were out and her eyes were livid.

“Hey!” He yelled, grabbing her arm and lifted her off the young man. “None of that.” He pulled her towards the door, grabbed a gas can on the way out, and ignored the man shouting that they need to pay for the can of Pringles clutched in Laura’s hand that Logan had been too preoccupied to notice. He shoved Charles’ card into the gas pump and filled the can all one handed. He kept his other hand firmly around Laura. To her credit she didn’t struggle, she just hung there like an angry little cat, glaring up at him.

“Just wait until your mother gets ahold of you.” Logan couldn’t help himself. The silence was cloying and he missed Maia’s constant chatter more than anything. Damned kid was too much like him, and she wasn’t even ten years old yet. Hadn’t even been around his sorry ass and she was already fucked up.

“Mama.” She corrected, her voice was too loud for the space even with just the one word, like she was unused to being given the chance to speak at all.

Logan sighed, “Yeah, we’ll find your Mama.” He finally let her walk, and no, he wasn’t the least big smug when she sat between Rogue and Jean and scowled his same scowl as they drove back into town. Jean had grabbed new files on their way out, and she seemed confident about a list of coordinates she’d found. Their new plan was to get back to the X-Jet and use it to go directly to the desolate locations.

He hoped the last leg was a short leg of their trip, or the little girl radiating vicious intent was going to explode. He did note, distantly, the calm that had come over him when they’d been reunited. She was a fighter, just like him. There was no way the two of them wouldn’t find Maia. There was too much love for Maia and determined anger between the two of them for them to fail. He just had to keep Laura safe too, or Maia would never forgive him. He looked back at her dark eyes. Hell, he’d never forgive himself.

Chapter Text

Damned bastard had gotten called away right as he’d neared her and hadn’t gotten that close since. For the first two weeks the schedule was the same: Breakfast came right after she was brought into Laura’s room, and she got to spend precious time with her daughter before they took her away again. They left her pretty much alone except for the occasional blood test or mechanical scan, and her reward for docile compliance was her continued vision, which was healing at a rate faster than any of Rice Jr.’s men had noticed. Her other reward was being taken back to Laura’s room in the evenings.

Maia was curled around her little girl one evening, humming and carding her fingers through Laura’s dark caramel hair when the girl suddenly clung even tighter and pressed her face into Maia, her voice muffled as she said something.

Maia frowned. Like her father, Laura’s mind was too unorganized for Maia to be in it all the time, and she’d already realized her child was eerily silent. She didn’t want to give herself an unshakable headache or encourage her daughter to be a mute. So her only solution had been to block Laura completely when they were together. “What, baby girl?”

“Mine. My Mama.” Laura repeated, barely pulling herself away.

Maia nodded, kissing her forehead, “I have, and I always will be.” She added softly, “I love you.”

Laura snuggled closer and drifted off to sleep, her breaths evening out and her muscles relaxing. Maia loved every minute of it. The first few times they’d ended up cuddling, Laura had been stiff as a board and completely unaware of why her mother had insisted on holding her. Maia had been lucky Laura hadn’t reacted with claws. It had still taken a great deal of coaxing for Laura to relax around her. They should have had years to do so, should never have been apart for them to become so distant in the first place, but Maia was determined to make the most of the time they had.

She was grateful for that attitude when no one came to take her one morning. It was either the sixteenth or the seventeenth day, she couldn’t really be sure. For hours she tried to convince herself that the change in schedule was a good thing, but she wasn’t an idiot and her stomach rebelled more and more as the day went on.

When the door opened, Maia wasn’t surprised not to see Laura. She was surprised to see a man she hadn’t seen since she’d first been taken. “William Stryker. I thought you were dead.”

He seemed surprised for a second, but quickly schooled his features, pointedly keeping his eyes away from her general direction. “Miss Kinney, rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. I hope you’ve been enjoying your stay here.”

“Why don’t you just go fuck yourself.” Maia snapped, trying to decide if she was going to scream at him or vomit on him. Either seemed to be a viable option.

His response made her stomach settle, “Well then, rumors of you taking after Weapon X haven’t been exaggerated after all.”

“What the hell did he ever do to you?” Maia had been sitting on her cot, but now she’d shifted herself up onto the edge, crouched, ready to grab the bastard by the ears if she had to. Yeah, that was probably more ‘Weapon X’ posture than sweet ‘Miss Kinney’.

The man smiled slightly, “The same as you. You are all abominations. God made it my duty to eradicate mutants from this earth.”

Maia clenched a fist into the fabric of her grey sweatpants, “Then why your current plan? The one Rice is working on with me. Essentially the opposite thing.”

Stryker nodded, “Essentially. You’re a special girl, Miss Kinney. No other woman has survived carrying Weapon X’s child. If I can cure you, I can cure all future mothers of mutants. If there are no more mutant births, then there will be no more mutants. It’s almost easy.”

Maia felt sick again. “You sick son of a bitch.”

Stryker just looked at her, “You may think that, but this is what’s best. This is what God wants.” He stepped back towards the door, “I’m not sure you took Dr. Rice seriously enough. We’re moving you to another facility where I trust my employees to be smarter than these foreign hired hands, and less…’clumsy’ too.”

Maia shivered. So they’d caught on. She’d been compelling people to mess up her tests since the very start, and in almost three weeks no one had ever even noticed that all their results were garbage. Or so she’d thought. She’d been caught, and her ability to buy time was over. At least her backup plan had worked. He seemed awfully irritated. She clenched her teeth, resisting the urge to grin, “What you’re trying to do is sick, and incredibly illegal.”

He didn’t even blink, eyes pointed up at the ceiling, “You have no rights, Miss Kinney. Besides, think of your sacrifice here as being for the betterment of our great United States. Your country thanks you.”

“I’m a fucking Canadian you asshole.” She growled, standing.

He laughed softly, turning his back to her like she wasn’t a threat to him at all, “Be that as it may, I expect your full cooperation from here on out or we will use your daughter, regardless of how young she is.”

He was through the door before she could reach him to claw his disgusting eyes out. Maia slammed her closed fists against the door, “Come back here you fucker!”

She was alone for hours, staring at the ceiling, mind open, searching for anyone she’d made contact with coming near her cell. Nothing. Two men she’d never met before finally came in and ushered her into the back of a van and shoved a gag in her mouth when she started screaming for Laura. No one listened to her or looked at her in the hours that passed.

Stryker came to see her in her new cell, which was equipped with a small entryway that was separated from the rest of the cell by a grate. She couldn’t touch him. “I hope you enjoy your new accommodations, Miss Kinney. X-24 will be here soon to keep you company.”

She went completely still, terror inching up her spine. “I’m never letting that thing touch me again.”

Stryker laughed, “Weapon X is too far out of reach for our experiment, but X-24 will be a virile substitute. Enjoy, I’ll be back in a few weeks to see how things are progressing. Best of luck. If all goes well, you will be reunited with your bastard daughter in a few weeks. Heard she’s easier to manage when you’re there.”

Then he was gone again, and she was alone for a long, long time. Long enough for madness to begin to seep back in. She paced the cell until she was exhausted, and fell onto her newest cot to sleep before she got up hours later and did it again. She picked at the thick scab on her head, the one that had covered the skin broken by her skull cracking against the bathroom countertop, until blood dripped through her hair, over her ear, and down her neck. She didn’t eat the few meals that slid under the door. Not out of any real rebellion, but just because she couldn’t bear the thought of eating.

When the door finally opened again, Maia expected to be poked and prodded or tossed to X-24. She didn’t expect an older man dressed all in maroon with a helmet on his head or the ragged looking man at his flank. The ragged man spoke first, “Well shit, this ain’t Jimmy.”

“No.” The older man said, the one word echoing an accent Maia was unfamiliar with, “But she must be what Charles was looking for.” The metal grate separating them suddenly wrenched apart to create an arch he stepped through.

Maia’s heart was pounding in her chest, and she stood with her back against the far wall. She tamped down the urge to attack this unknown mutant, and used her words instead, “You know the Professor?”

He laughed, a low chuckle that did nothing to put her at ease, “Yes, Charles and I have known one another for a very long time. I was surprised, however, when he called to ask me to free mutants in a facility I was nearer to than he was. A highly unusual request. Then Sabertooth here thought he smelled the Wolverine.”

The man called Sabertooth was suddenly in her space, sniffing at her neck, “Weird. You smell good.”

Maia turned her head and caught his glance, baring her teeth at him. “Get away from me.”

His thoughts flooded into her mind, and they were eerily similar in rhythm to L’s. There was none of her mutation in her request, but he sensed the animal in her and backed off of his own volition. He scratched himself lewdly, “What can you do? They don’ just lock up pretty girls in cells like this for no reason.”

Maia didn’t answer, didn’t have the chance even if she’d wanted to, her attention was instead on the figure that had come in behind them. Relief flooded her, “Logan!”

She had taken one instinctive step forward before she stopped, staring at the man behind the two strangers. He had Logan’s face, but… “You’re not Logan.”

‘Logan’ tipped his head to the side, and shrugged, “No one else seemed to notice.” A woman’s voice coming out of Logan’s mouth was jarring, but Maia’s shock only grew when his claws folded back into his arms and his skin rippled until suddenly a woman stood in his place. A blue woman. She moved around the men to stand in front of Maia, “How did you?”

Staring at a seemingly naked woman who’d just been dressed in flannel and her lover’s skin, Maia blurted, “I…uh… read minds.”

“A telepath? I can see why Charles is so interested in you.” The woman said, dragging her eyes from Maia’s Ked clad feet and up. Maia looked away before the inspection made it up to her face. She’d read enough in the woman’s expression to know that she didn’t need to be in her mind right now.

“I’d like to leave now.” Maia said, mind open, sensing the tiniest hint of her daughter in her head. She almost sighed in relief. Nothing from the real Logan yet, though Laura seemed to be pissed at how slow he was. She turned her mind back to the trio in front of her.

“You can come with us.” The woman offered.

Maia made another mistake. She caught eyes with the blue eyed man under the helmet. She staggered under the weight of his mind, and the woman steadied her for a moment. Maia blinked at him, breathing hard, “You…I… Charles…”

HIs face went from placid to furious, “You can see into my mind? The helmet…”

Maia nodded numbly, echoing a phrase that Rice had used, “The eyes are the window to the soul.”

The fury left, and he smiled at her, looking more like a shark than his placating thoughts indicated, “So you can do something even the great Charles Xavier can’t do. Mystique is right, you can come with us.”

Maia shook her head, “I can’t.” There, there was the chaotic beauty of her daughter’s mind. Still a bit away, but ahead of any of the others. “My family is coming for me.” She looked into his eyes again. “Erik, they’re your family too. You can come back to New York.”

Erik blinked a few times, so still he looked like a statue. His voice was rough when he spoke, “I can’t.”

Laura was almost to her.

“You can.” Maia insisted, “The Professor keeps his mind closed. I can only hear a bit from him. I…I didn’t know who you were, but there’s someone he misses so much it hurts. He’d take you back in a heartbeat.”

Laura busted into the room focused entirely on her mother. “Mama!”

Maia stepped to the side so no one stood between them, and threw her arms out, “Laura!” The pint sized mutant ignored the others and threw herself at Maia. She didn’t cry, she just held onto her mother with every ounce of her strength. Maia peppered kisses on her daughter’s face, “Oh, baby, Daddy found you.”

Sabertooth was gawking at her. “Shit, Jimmy’s got a kid?”

Maia laughed over Laura’s growl at his tone. “Guess that makes you an uncle.”

Sabertooth shook his head, cursed a few times and walked out. Mystique followed, giving the mother and daughter a pained glance as she left. Erik stayed a minute longer, “She has adamantium on her bones.”

Laura growled at the word, and Maia smoothed Laura’s hair with her hands, “She’s done being hurt.”

Erik swallowed hard once, adams apple bobbing, “She’s not. She’s a mutant. She’ll always be hurt.”

Maia held her daughter tight when he busted a hole in the side of her cell, walking out into the forested surroundings and disappearing from view. Silence stretched for a few seconds, and Logan grew even closer, “Laura, you can’t leave your daddy like that again. He’s not too happy.”

Logan’s ire melted away as soon as he appeared in the ruined doorway and saw the two of them. He cursed of course, but it was half-hearted, “Fuck, Kit, you can’t do that shit.”

Maia walked towards him, smiling even as her muscles started to protest holding Laura’s weight, “Wild Man, you’ve got to stop using words like that. People don’t expect to hear such things from the mouths of pretty little girls.”

He grinned at her, moving so they stood close enough that their clothes brushed without weight behind, “Shit, Darlin’, I’ve heard words like that come out of your pretty little mouth before.”

Maia grinned back at him, “Not around our kid you haven’t.”

Logan leaned in to kiss her, but was blocked by Laura pushing herself between them, “No! My Mama!”

Logan looked pissed for a second before the three of them came to a realization as a unit. Laura hissed, and he sprung into action, claws out. “Maia, run!” Logan yelled, but she was frozen.

There wasn’t any out running this threat though, not for her. X-24 had risen from the ashes Logan'd thought they'd left him in, and even more than he wanted Maia’s flesh, he wanted Logan and Laura’s blood. He was ready to kill for all three.