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Bite. Snikt. Teethe. Repeat.

Chapter Text

Daken Akihiro was a lot of things. Recently, he had become a parent. Whether or not he could say he was a good one was yet to be seen. He also knew he was trying to become a better person, which so far was not working out so well, considering he was trying NOT to kill people for a change. Most recently, somehow that involved him him falling out of a train and flat on his face. Members of the Snikt family were evidently NOT the most graceful of beings.

 

"You all right there?" Victor Creed asked, offering Daken a hand. 

Daken Akihiro scowled, sitting up and feeling his bones shifting, crackling back into place. Grabbing part of his neck, he moved part of the bone so some parts of him weren't numb anymore. "Describe 'all right'."

"At least we didn't have to go through those metal detectors again," Victor grunted. "What a pain in the-"

"Language," Deadpool called out before muttering a curse under his breath. "Shit, now Cap's got me doin' it too. This is what happens when we all become freakin' parents."

Victor Creed was becoming his go to person when it came to parenting, which sounded insane when one considered the things he had done in his lifetime. However, Daken related to him the most, with them both having been use, manipulated, and raising children that would have been used as tools for some grand master plan. It was funny how those things worked out. It was also aggravating how much Daken had to put up with Wade Wilson nowadays, seeing as the latter was a friend of his sisters'. He was truly beginning to despise the "cookie".

Tyger Tiger stared at all of them before glancing at Mystique. "You've never done that."

"I have, you've just never been there to see it," Mystique admitted miserably. "Now, we have children to rescue, unless your sources were mistaken."

"They never are. I just can't believe that all of you want to be involved with this," she stated, her words mostly pointed at Daken and Victor.

Deadpool and Mystique she understood as the former had shown constant hatred towards anyone who hurt youths over the years and went well out of his way to punish those who hurt the innocent. Mystique? Practically the same despite her years fighting those within the Xavier Institute, for she had still always demonstrated precautions with the students there. The other two? Tyger wouldn't have guessed, not until more recently. Who knew they could have a heart?

Daken was a lot of things, and he knew he had changed by now. He was putting up with a great deal, and for what? His sisters, his daughter, his...father, and ironically, even himself. He was doing something for himself that went beyond the search for power. He was giving up something, losing power, to help himself. Perhaps he really had gone insane. Somehow, he didn't mind it.

The Dark Wolverine didn't meet her gaze. "Just remember our deal."

"No harm to your offspring, and Madripoor is mine once more," she uttered softly. "Truly mine. Do you really think I have that little honor?"

Arriving at their destination, he narrowed his eyes. "Just consider it reassurance."

A part of her wondered what trick was there, for Daken Akihiro always had something to hide. Yet, there seemed to be something honest about him this time. He had also shown a side of himself when speaking to his child she had never seen, never expected. "Are you really the person I knew?"

He watched as the transport entered the city, children being walked out of cages.

*SNIKT*

"Maybe you never knew me at all."

He dashed forward, and gunshots echoed in the air. His enemies' eyes widened at the sight of him, terror exuding from their very beings. He couldn't deny that he delighted in it, enjoying when they screamed and cursed in fear.

Daken Akihiro was a lot of things, but he certainly was NOT a hero.

.

..

...

 

Not yet.

Chapter Text

Akiko had known her family was, "special" for a lack of better terms, but when Professor Pryde assigned the class to do a research assignment on their heritage, Akiko realized just how little she knew about her complete family tree. She knew that her aunts were clones, just as she partially was. She knew her father was the son of her really old grandpa, who just happened to be immortal. Her heritage...

Well, her grandpa was Canadian? Her father was at least half Japanese? And Akiko's own heritage, well, she'd probably never know who her mother was, and while she was curious, she didn't want to trouble anyone about it. Everyone had enough problems with that already. But what about the rest of her family tree? Even Broo knew that his kind shared a Hive Queen, whatever that was. Where exactly did her family come from? Where was the source? Surely with her grandpa being as old as he was, along with her dad, they had to have fallen in love more than once, right? She'd seen her dad make kissy faces at more than a few people after all.

In the library, she took out a book on Canada, researching the country best as she could understand. Her grandpa spoke French sometimes, and it made sense as to why as she read about the history there. Colonists were jerkbutts that took land from a lot of people that already lived in Canada. In fact, she was learning a lot of Europeans did that. Ororo told Akiko that the latter should meet someone name T'Challa and voice some of her opinions to him, finding some of what Akiko said amusing. As for the toddler, she didn't think it was funny at all. The X-Men didn't want to show her anything to bloody or bad, but Akiko had seen and heard lots of stuff already, long before they had ever met her. Besides, she would find that information on her own if she truly was determined enough.

It made her wonder if she was a bad person, being descended from people who did such bad things. Akiko paused, smacking her cheeks and pursing her lips. Nope, she wasn't doing that again. She was Akiko Laura Howlett. She was a good kid, and she was going to be a good person, no matter what people wanted to make her out to be, and she was determined to use her abilities to do the right thing. Reading, she grimaced at seeing what European Canadians did in the past, taking down notes.

It wasn't just that French Europeans settled there, but Irish and German ones too. Did that mean she could be part Irish? Or better yet, she could be German like Kurt! She beamed, giddy at the thought of possibly being distantly related to one of the best X-Men there. That would be amazing! She could be a Wolverine and a partial Fuzzy Blue Elf! Perfect!

At least the nicer part of the assignment was researching Japan. Her father's part was so much nicer since she knew so much more from learning her father's language and customs, especially from their traveling back during the holidays. It was so nice to meet her other grandparents too. She bet her grandmother was really pretty, and grandpa really kind, just like her father described. Honor played a large role in the culture there, and she wanted to carry that as a role in her life too.

Now, for the fun part...Making the family tree. How many times had her grandpa married again?

...

..

.

Oh boy.


 

Katherine Pryde gaped at the sheet before her, not sure what to make of the sight.

 

Logan Family Tree 0

Logan Family Tree 01

Logan Family Tree

Logan Family Tree 2

Logan Family Tree 4

Daken Family Tree

 

 

"Did I get them all?" Akiko asked excitedly. "Do I get an A?"

Kitty stared at her student, incredulous. "Um, you know that you only needed to do two generations, right? And like, only immediate family members?"

"...No A then?"

Pryde palmed her forehead. "Yes, Akiko, you'll get an A."

Akiko jumped up and down, and her teacher realized something. Holy shit, Akiko hadn't met Deborah or Megan Kinney yet. Nor had she heard about some of Wolverine's ex-girlfriends or fiances, especially Mariko. Shit. Oh no, what about his alternative future children and spouses? Raze Darkholme? Jimmy Hudson? Maureen, Jade, and Scotty? Oh fuck, Silverfox.

"Miss Pryde, is everything okay?"

"Yeah, sweetheart," her teacher groaned. "Just a small migraine."

They were doomed, so doomed.

Chapter Text

Daken and Akiko were very different people, but father and daughter always tried to meet somewhere in the middle. For example, they both liked riddles and problem solving. They both liked debating over things, even if she didn't always understand some concepts. Both enjoyed studying and though her understanding of the world left much to be desired, it was refreshing in some ways because it made Daken question things himself and use such perspectives to his advantage (much to the sorrow of others). He constantly tried his best to teach her ways of life while being neutral so she could form her own opinions and still be herself, in spite of him not always agreeing, because he wanted her to be her own person, and not just Logan's granddaughter or his daughter. It was a major problem in their family, always following part of some legacy. Still, there were times he did want them to have more in common, and this was one of them.

"Flowey is really creepy," Akiko signed, frowning as they watched the plant disappear under the soil.

Daken pinched the bridge of his nose. How on Earth did Gabby convince him this was a way of bonding with his child? "Don't let appearances deceive you, little one. Everyone wears a mask of some kind. Some are more dangerous than others."

She paused before exiting the lair. "Including you?"

Her father tensed, a tightness in his chest. "Yes, including me. I've done more than my fair share of hurting people, Akiko, not unlike 'Flowey'."

Akiko didn't say anything at first as her avatar walked through the snow, and Daken couldn't blame her. She knew he was a murderer though, didn't she? She had to have known he had done bad things. Actually, how much did she know about him-? "Flowey attacked a stranger. Someone who couldn't remember anything. You might attack for power, but you wait till someone is more awake. You have more honor in you."

If only she knew. Both stiffened as a crunch sounded in the pixelated forest, both seeing the stick she crossed over. Daken narrowed his eyes, knowing that if it had taken place in real life, he would've hunted down the bastard, and likely killed whoever or whatever they were after questioning them. Akiko visibly panicked when she couldn't move at a bridge, franically pressing buttons at the controls and Daken gently placed his hands over hers, calming her as the mysterious figure approached.

"Human. Don't you know how to greet a new pal? Turn around and shake my hand."

Akiko was whimpering, her scent filled with fear, and she even shut her eyes as she did so, but gaped when there was a massive farting noise, giggling when it was over while her father scowled, a vein ticking in his forehead. As for his daughter, she was bursting into laughter, even holding her gut. Things only got worse when the damn skeleton began telling puns. PUNS. Who the bloody hell liked puns!? Did Gabby have a concussion when she suggested this game?

Daken nearly lost his mind (more than he already had) when it came to the skeleton's brother, Papyrus. The puzzles were simplistic, and he complained about everything, a narcissistic jackass. Worse yet, Akiko hated fighting with anyone, so instead she would say friendly things or...Compliment people. In fact, she would flirt with them.

Oh god, maybe she did inherit something from him after all.

When he asked her if she knew what she was doing, Akiko innocently looked up at her father. "I thought it was extra nice words that made people bright or talk funny. You and grandpa do it all the time."

She wasn't lying. He knew because it wasn't in her scent and everyone knew she was a terrible liar. They really were different. She was gonna give someone a heart attack like that.

 And if he thought that was bad, he didn't know pain until it came to the date with Papyrus. There, he learned what his daughter looked like when she was blushing. Not when she was flushed with embarrassment or happiness, but when she was blushing with a crush. The skeleton had made her laugh with his antics, his puzzles, and his annoying efforts in the date with his horrendous taste in clothing, but then Akiko had to go and have a crush on a fucking video game skeleton!? And that one!? If she had to pick one of them, couldn't she have picked the other one!? The more mature and supportive one!? The one with a bloody job!?

Hell, he would've been perfectly fine if she got a crush on Undyne later in the game, but the skeleton? Really? Oh, and the skeleton had to break her heart on the date by rejecting her. She was actually a little heartbroken. Why, just why!?

After playing the entire Pacificist route, which Akiko thoroughly enjoyed, Daken groaned, rubbing the sides of his forehead, trying to chase away his migraine. He couldn't help but smile a little though, glad to see that Akiko wasn't too broken up over her first heartache and in fact, was happy that her first crush was happy in his new life. Still, that didn't mean that once she was asleep in bed, that he didn't play the Genocidal route for the pleasure of killing all of the irritating people he encountered in that journey, including the asshole who broke his little girl's heart.

Yep, he and his daughter were very different people.

 

Chapter Text

Daken Akihiro was a lot of things. Many of those things he wasn't proud of, and a lot of those things that he was proud of, others wouldn't approve of. However, something he was proud of, and that others did approve of, was his attempts to be a little bit better, even if he did mess up every once in a while. Sure, he had some minor setbacks, like that escapade in California a couple weeks ago when he "accidentally" killed members of a Heat manufacturing group (whoops), which was a little bloodier than some people liked, but thankfully it was not easily traceable to him...For the most part.

"Chichi, why does Uncle Kurt keep lookin' at you funny?"

"'Strangely', Akiko," Daken amended, smirking at 'Uncle Kurt's' suspicious expression while the television played the news. A building engorged with flames was up on the screen, and the elf had to change the channel as the reporters stated that the images might be graphic for some viewers, ignoring how the kids wanted him to turn it up. Daken almost laughed when the children booed, almost. "Any other questions about The Illiad?"

Akiko pouted, "..All of this started over three goddesses fighting over a title of who was prettiest? This is crazy."

"Well, that's why the fruit gifted was called The Apple of Discord," Daken stated. "The Trojan War, the Illiad, and the next piece, the Odyssey, are all parts of a chain of events tied to that. A single act cost thousands, millions of lives, and changed the fate of multiple ancient countries and very gods themselves, for Aphrodite became not only the goddess of Love, but also of Beauty."

"It wasn't worth it," Akiko murmured out loud. "I'm not done reading, but, Achilles and Patroclus, Hector, Odysseus, Paris, all of it could've been avoided and, I don't get why. Was there a point?"

Daken looked down at his daughter, considering the question to even himself. "In their minds, they had something worth fighting for, even though the acts were foolish. To us, their memories are lessons to learn from, and that is why we must remember them, to know where they erred and what we must do to live better, regardless of whether or not they truly happened. We live in the moment as well, and, I've learned that no matter how many plans I may make, or how many mistakes others I can chance with, there's always going to be something unexpected in my own path."

She tensed, eyes widening for a moment before looking at herself, smiling sadly. "Guess I'm your Apple of Discord, huh?"

He hummed, "No, more like my Athena. You even come with a headache sometimes, but you're still a welcome guide and warrior of mine."

Akiko brightened, then frowned, "Don't kill Jiji."

"Only if he tries to eat me," Daken winked, causing a nearby Logan to halt, utterly confused.

"What did I walk in on?"

"Nothing!"

Both snickered, not minding Logan's groan of silent agony and dread at whatever mischief the two were up to. 

No, Daken wasn't proud of a lot of things, but he was proud of small moments just like these.

Chapter Text

"Father, why do you want power?"

"Why do you limit yourself? You care about power, but that is something you already have. Power is something that comes easy to you. But you choose not to care. You limit your heart. I do not know why. Unless you think caring for others is more dangerous than seeking power."

Daken blinked at his daughter's question, the memory of his sister's words racing through his mind. Why did Akiko constantly remind him of those who mattered most? Laura, Gabby, Akihiro...Then again, she also reminded him of Logan, Junichiro, and himself. He did have some levels of affection for Logan, but the other two? Junichiro there was some guilt admittedly, but he didn't have much care for himself. Akiko didn't approve of the last part.

He was tempted to say the same thing he said to Laura back then, that power was all he had, and maybe it was all he needed. But, that wasn't quite true, was it? Now, he had a family, friends, possibly a home. Originally for most of his life he sought to kill his biological father as revenge for the death of Itsu, for the life he was given and the death of Akihira out of denial of what he had done. Then upon finding Logan was innocent, he wanted power to overcome his father's legacy, to become more than what he was, than what his father was. Daken Akihiro had to ask himself in that moment, what was it he truly desired, and what was his goal? What did he ultimately wish to attain? For some reason, deep down, he still wanted power, but for what reason? Why did he need it?

With such a simple question, Daken Akihiro felt part of his world slip out from under him. "...I've wanted it for so long, I'm not sure what else I can want. I don't know what I can be, Akiko. It's all I've ever been, all I've ever had, before I had Laura, Gabby, you...It's, something I can't get rid of so easily."

God, he hoped somehow she'd understand, that she wouldn't hate him. She was of an age that most children couldn't, wasn't she? Akiko pursed her lips, glancing at her classmates for some reason, and looked back at him. "Chichi, did you know Broo sometimes eats meat even though he tries to be a vegetarian? Or that sometimes I have the urge to stab something, hurt people even though I don't want to? For Broo, I don't know everything, but he said he didn't have the those feelings before until somebody did something to him, made it 'like a drug'. I don't know what drugs are, but they make it hard to be 'normal'. For me..."

Her voice was hoarse, and Daken didn't know if it was because it was naturally hard for her to talk, or if it was the subject. In any case, she was trying her hardest to communicate in ways Daken didn't think she would've been able to. "I don't remember everything. I don't think I want to, but I think I hurt people. I think I liked it, 'cause I was hurt. I wanted to hurt back. There are hard days here and, I want to hurt people here sometimes. I see myself hurting them, and I know how I can do it. I know I can do it without people knowing. It scares me, and it's hard to stop thinking that stuff, to stop feeling that way. I don't know if I can, but I try. I try to be good, and I know Broo does, and I know you do too. I know everybody here is lost somehow, and, that's okay. You're just, finding your own way."

She smiled at last, meeting his gaze. Akiko's voice rasped, "You'll find your path, someday. I'll be here, waiting for you."

Akiko had been trembling during her confession, terror in her scent when it came to admitting that she wasn't the perfect, innocent image that so many likely saw her as. Daken gaped, realizing the vulnerability she was placing herself in to help him. He held her then, wincing as he felt her shaking. "Akiko, it's okay to feel those things. What you choose to do with those feelings is what defines you...And you have shown yourself to be far better than I."

After a moment, she let it all out, crying. They may be different, but he had never been more grateful for it in those few seconds. They sat there for a while, their thoughts wandering who knew where until she was only sniffling.

"What about you, Akiko? What do you want to be?"

"Happy," she murmured. "I want to be happy when I grow up."

He had expected her to name a career, a role, or even just say she wanted to be a hero. But, happy? Well...

"I hope you're happy too."

...

..

.

"And I want you to be happy too, Chichi."

 

Chapter Text

Akiko sat in an office, swinging her feet back and forth as she sat on a chair. The nearby window let light inside, the dust inside sparkle a little because of it. Smells surrounded her, all so different from the kind from the mansion. Some were overpowering, like the stuff from the air freshener, but she'd smell far worse than lavender and vanilla. Professor Pryde was talking to a lady at a desk, chatting with the woman as if they were friends, and Akiko hoped they were. Humming a little, the toddler glanced over a mirror decoration on the wall across from her, strolling over and grimacing a little at how loud her shoes were, leaning up to look at the metal patterns surrounding the reflective glass. She grinned at the floral, rose-like patterns, but frowned when the metal came across her leather gloves, sighing.

Her nose twitched, and she looked back in time to see a boy with pale irises and black sclera. He reminded her of Remy. Blinking, she stared at the cup in his hand, her stomach rumbling at the sight of his milkshake. She blushed in embarrassment, twiddling her thumbs until he held it out to her.

"Hungry?" Slowly she nodded, starting to sign, then stilling, frowning. He grimaced too, "Sorry, I don't sign. Are you deaf?"

He had made sure to face her, moving his mouth slowly while he reached for a writing pad and pen. Cup in her hand, she shook her head, touching her throat. "No, just hurts to talk sometimes. Sorry. I'm Akiko." She winced, focusing. "Are you sure you don't want-?"

"I'm sure," he smiled, sitting on the couch next to her, writing pad in hand. He offered it to her, and she smiled, placing it in her lap. "It's nice to meet you Akiko. I'm Skaar. My aunt said that a student from the Xavier Institute was coming. Is that you?"

She took a sip and made the sign for "Yes", but tensed, then wrote it down, apologizing for having signed first. He chuckled, telling her not to.

"Can I ask what your powers are? You don't have to answer."

Akiko thought for a moment, looking at her gloves. Her grandfather and father said it wasn't a good idea to tell some people about who she was related to, or what her abilities were 'cause they had done some bad things that could get her into trouble. She wasn't ashamed of them, and she wanted to let the world know she was their child, but, she also knew to respect their wishes. Skaar must've sensed something was wrong.

"It's okay if you don't want to-"

"Chichi doesn't want me to tell," she admitted, her throat sore. "He gets in trouble a lot, and, he doesn't want his trouble to get to me. I got his powers so...I'm not ashamed of him, but I don't want to make him sad."

Skaar snorted, "I know how that feels." She blinked up at him, a silent question in her expression. He looked back in confusion. "Don't you know where you are?"

She started to sign again at first, but then wrote instead, "I've never left the Xavier School. Mrs. Pryde says I'm here to study. That I'm safe. It's a bit scary."

"Never?" he murmured.

She was about to answer, even writing out a reply on her pad when Mrs. Pryde called her then. Akiko stood up, cradling her milkshake to herself. keeping her eyes even with Skaar's she bowed as taught by her father. "T-Thank you, Skaar. I like the milkshake. And, it was nice talking with someone. I'm not so scared anymore."

She dashed away, going to Mrs. Pryde's side, who in turn was gaping at the boy that Akiko had been talking with. "Akiko, are you all right?"

Akiko didn't hesitate, putting on her best smile. "I'm fine. Why?"

"Just, curious," Pryde muttered. "So, what did you think about your...Playmate?"

The little girl considered him for a moment, holding the milkshake tightly. "He's kind, and gentle. I like him. Can we be friends?"

Her teacher stumbled, and then chuckled, confusing the toddler. Before them stood a woman with dark hair, glasses, and who wore a clean-pressed suit. "Hello, Akiko, my name is Jennifer Walters. I will be the one you're shadowing today. I'll admit, you're the youngest person I've ever had to do it." She looked at the cup Akiko was holding. "May I ask where you got that?"

"The nice boy in the other room," Akiko signed before blushing, taking out her notepad.

Jennifer chuckled, "No worries, I have a friend who is deaf and uses sign language. Quite the shot too."

"...Shot? Like, vaccines? That's creepy," Akiko remarked.

Pryde palmed her forehead with a loud smack, and handed Ms. Walters a pack with Akiko's numbing cream, an extra pair of gloves, instructions, and a small snack for later. "I think that's everything. Now Akiko, remember everything that your grandpa and father told you? What Xavier told you?"

"Don't tell anyone who I'm related to, no wandering off, and always do what Ms. Walters tells me," Akiko verified.

"And let her know if you feel or sense something is off," Pryde stated. "Some of your senses are more developed than hers, no offense."

"None taken, if what you've told me is true," Jennifer conceded, folding her arms.

Akiko furrowed her eyebrows. Did that mean the lawyer lady knew who she was? As if Mrs. Pryde could read her mind, which Akiko didn't think was a power of hers, the teacher said, "Yes, she's aware of who and what you are. There are a few people we can trust, and she's one of them. She's also been given a list of people your guardians are also willing to trust under emergencies. Am I clear?"

Nodding, Akiko looked up at Ms. Walters, who beamed down at her. When Mrs. Pryde left, the lawyer lady stopped waving and led Akiko inside to where the other kid was waiting, and he was sipping another milkshake. Akiko grinned, silently greeting him, and the gesture gained Walters' notice. "Well, nice to know you two are getting along."

Skaar frowned, "I can get along with other kids. What about Molly?"

Walters didn't respond to that, acting as if she knew something that the younger two didn't. Excusing herself, she left the children alone. Akiko tilted her head, "Adults are weird."

"You said it. Hey, want to go smash something?"

Akiko blinked, "What?"

Chapter Text

"Skaar, are you sure it's okay for us to be out here?" Akiko uttered, barely a whisper as she slowly exited the jet.

The pale eyed boy beamed, offering her his hand, "It's okay, I'm the strongest one there is out here. Trust me?"

She hadn't meant to, but she couldn't find any lies in his scent. For some reason, he was sure of himself. EIther he was extremely cocky, or he was really telling the truth. In either case, even if he was wrong, maybe she could protect him too? Akiko looked around briefly at the jungle foliage around them, the smells exciting and possibilities of new territory getting the better of her curiosity. Tentatively, she followed Skaar's lead, placing her gloved hand into his.

"Okay."


"Your nephew did WHAT!?"

Jennifer Walters groaned, "He absconded with your granddaughter, stole a ship from SHIELD, and according to their tracking device's last coordinates, is headed towards the Savage Lands."

Wolverine turned towards Banner, who held his hands up in the air as a white flag. "I had no part in this."

"You're the one who set up the last 'play date'."

Banner had the gall to appear offended. "No I didn't, I just...Let them interact, and that was because your SON could handle himself! I didn't know you had a granddaughter!"

Fury stepped between them, pinching the bridge of his nose, "Let's just be grateful both of them have advanced healing factors, and that Banner's son isn't aware of her identity."

"And when he finds out that my granddaughter's father sliced his face up!?" Logan growled. "You really think this is going to end well? Why'd you even leave them alone Jennifer?"

The lawyer grew into her green form, refusing for Wolverine to lose himself in his rage. "They were getting along Logan. He even gave her a milkshake and they talked. They liked being around each other and damn it, it'd be nice if some of us would be friends without the need to attack each other, for once!"

When he didn't reply at first, she continued. "Look at us. What is it that civilians, everyone thinks when we're around each other? No matter who or what we're up against? It's not for us to work together. They want to see us fight each other. Storm versus Cyclops, Iron Man versus Captain America, Wolverine versus Hulk...Everyone want to see who comes out on top. Worse yet, if we have kids, they think that said kids will continue the parents' grudges. It doesn't have to be that way. It never did, and yet for some reason it always does. Aren't you tired of that? Don't you want to give something else a chance for once?"

Logan narrowed his eyes. "Those two though? He's a bomb, and she's unknowingly a trigger, kids or not. That's a big risk."

"What isn't?" Jennifer asked, eyes softening. "I didn't put them together in the first place, but we should let them work it out. It's their future to decide, not ours."

"...I still don't like this," Logan grunted.

Nick nodded, "We're still getting them out of that place."

"Who knows what that poor girl is going through right about now," Banner murmured, folding his arms regretfully.


 

Akiko giggled breathily as she rode a sabretooth tiger, gripping gently onto its fur as Skaar had taught her. Soaring through the air, she squeaked a little on the landing, nearly falling off until Skaar ran to them, steadying her.

"You having fun?" She nodded, grinning brightly even as he brushed some stray leaves out of her hair. Akiko frowned at the sight of her damaged writing pad though, saddened that it would make communicating more difficult. Skaar grimaced too. "Sorry."

Akiko shrugged, getting off the kitty and petting its snout before letting it bound off. "I can talk. Just hurts."

He hesitated. "How come?"

Tense, she answered, "People who made me, wanted weapon. I was 'sposed to be quiet. Was too loud sometimes."

Her sentence drifted as she watched the sabretooth wander off, and Akiko thought of her uncle, the one who saved her. At least she finally got to see his namesake in person. She could tell him that the sabretooth cats were just as fluffy as he was. The thought made her brighten and she snickered. He tilted his head, shaken out of whatever worrying thoughts were bothering him. "What is it?"

"One of people who saved me named Sabretooth. He's fluffy too," she said, softening a bit.

Skaar was a bit puzzled at that, not sure what to say. "Akiko, how old are you?"

"I'm...Three, almost four," she admitted. "You?"

"Six, but my aging is accelerated so biologically I'm a teenager so...Er, call me ten or eleven?" he offered upon seeing her confusion at the way he was starting to explain things. "Sorry."

"I, understood some things," she croaked, rubbing her throat. Skaar took out a water bottle and handed it to her, the cool liquid helping the soreness. "We learn some biology in school. I don't get it all, but I think I understand you aging faster. People age differently in my school all the time. It's confusing, but I'm getting used to it."

He mumbled something barely intelligible about alternate timelines and dimensions being confusing, and when Akiko asked, he said it was nothing. She knew he was lying, but didn't pry, suspecting it was another one of those things she wouldn't quite understand yet anyways. She wanted to understand, and she would try to, but there was still a lot she knew she wasn't ready for, and should take a few steps at a time. She needed to find her own pace, no matter how fast or slow.

"Are you all right? We could leave."

She blinked up at him, glad he could sense her being uncomfortable and making the offer. Yet, at the same time...Was it bad of her to want to stay a little while longer? "I, think I want to stay, just for a little while, but I don't know why."

Was this what her father meant by him not understanding his yearning for power? For being lost? She tried to understand back then, and thought she had some clue, like when it came to Broo's hunger and her yearning for violence beyond her control, but this? She wanted something for a reason she didn't know. Was that bad?

Skaar could sense her reluctance. "Want to talk about it?"

"...I don't want to trouble you."

"You're probably one of the first people who's gone out of there way NOT to make me angry," he chuckled, something in his eyes making her feel sad. Why did he seem so heartbroken? "And, do you even know who I am?"

"Yes, you said you're Skaar," she replied, unsure to why he asked. He was looking at her funny when she said that. "What else do I need to know? You're nice, you're good-"

He ruffled her hair, smiling sadly. "I should take you home, in a couple minutes though. I've probably made your family really worried." Pausing, he added, "I do mean it though, do you want to talk about it?"

Akiko considered his offer, pursing her lips, and took another sip of water. "This feels one-sided. You do a bunch of nice things for me, but I've done nothing for you. What can I do for you?"

Skaar hummed, and teased, "Tell me your problems and...Be my friend?"

"...Still one sided," she giggled, "But, only if you tell me yours too. That's what friends do."

She held out her hand, extending her pinky. "I hear that friends do this. Called 'pinky promise'."

He smirked, "'Pinky promise'."

 

Chapter Text

Skaar liked Akiko. She was quiet, but oddly aware of those around her. He wondered if it had anything to do with her mutant ability, or perhaps it was because she seemed fascinated with any detail around her. He recalled how she mentioned she was made in a lab, and never left the school. The Institute likely had good intentions, but even with those good intentions, was she essentially made a prisoner there as well?

It was partially why he brought her to one of his favorite places on Earth, a place he could be himself. It was a place he could vent when he needed to. Of course, he wasn't really going to while she was there, since she didn't really seem to know he was the son of Hulk, not yet. He didn't want to scare her. What would she think of him when she found out? Would she hate him? Be afraid? He didn't want that, not when she was so relaxed around him. Everyone else either feared him or put him up on a pedestal because of his father's legacy. They often wanted to use him. So far, she didn't seem to. She was young enough, that he could almost believe that she wasn't like that. He hoped she wasn't.

His pinky lay intertwined with hers, and her smile was bright until it faded. "I, I don't know how to start."

He shrugged, "Pick somewhere."

"Not that easy," she murmured, taking another sip.

He could hear the roughness in her swallow, the scratchiness of her voice. When humans, and humanoids, speak, a series of muscles clamp together to vibrate at certain tones to produce sound. Hers weren't meeting properly, and with every attempt came the slight scent of fear. his father mentioned a condition that was similar to hers, "Aphonia". It was usually caused by some kind of trauma, often psychological. This wasn't something easily faked, not when he could detect the muscles moving the way they shouldn't. It worried him. Maybe that's why he did it, bringing her out here? Deep down, she reminded him of himself. Though different in their traumas, they both earned their scars in their infancy. He wondered how she retained some semblance of innocence when he didn't though.

She was watching him, "S-Skaar?"

Her scent belied her pain, even if she was hiding it outwardly. "I know you can't tell me who your father is, but, can you tell me anything about your family? How you feel about them?"

Her eyes widened, and she pursed her lips. She seemed to do that a lot when she got lost in her thoughts. "My family tree, is big, but I haven't met most of them. I got some of my grandpa's powers, and, they scare me...'Cause I don't know what they mean for me. He lost his memories, and 'pparently he has lots of kids. My dad's complicated, and wasn't always good according to him. My aunts, were also made in labs, but they were clones and I...I don't know who my mommy is. Is it bad I'm okay not knowing who she is? Am I bad?"

She was looking at her gloves the entire time. Skaar wondered if her powers involved what lay beneath them. There had to be a reason for the gloves after all. He paused, looking at his own fists where tattoos drifted down his own arms to his knuckles. "My father's father killed my grandmother. My father 'accidentally' killed his father. Father was in love many times, but when the world gave up on him, throwing him away despite how many times he'd done good, my mother fell in love with him, and he loved her. She was killed, and he didn't know I was in her. I got angry, and came back to kill him. I learned the truth, and, we don't hate each other. I guess I'm bad, huh?"

He was shaking, and flinched when her hand fell over his. Peering nervously up at her, he found that her scent wasn't afraid at all. Nothing of her showed fear nor anger. "No, you're a person that gives strangers food and takes them places to cheer them up. You, remind me of someone. He thinks he's bad too. A lot of people do. I see a different side, one he doesn't show to many. He's not a good person, but he's a decent one. Sometimes, being decent is better than being good."

Skaar gaped a little, taking in the toddler's words as she stood up, drinking some more water. "Akiko, thank you, for not asking who my father is."

She smiled, "Thanks for the same."

The child made a gesture then, and slowly showed him some simple gestures, the most basic of signs. He learned the most important ones that anyone should understand for any emergency: help, hurt, and toilet so that he could ask where the bathroom was. He showed off his tattoos, she showed some of her scars, and they just, talked. It was nice to do for once.

Both froze when they heard a crackle of wood breaking, and Skaar stood in front of Akiko, on guard. He ushered the little one towards the jet, anger filling him when a large shadow blocked them. A man in a loincloth and his hair in a semi-mohawk stood before them. With him was a group of people in warrior-like gear, all glaring at Skaar and Akiko.

"Stay behind me Akiko," Skaar ordered, glaring at the man. "What do you want?"

The man was watching Akiko strangely, but quickly looked past them, "We were not originally here for you."

That's when the children heard a screech, and Skaar felt himself being picked up by claws that dug into his arms, Akiko yelping as she, too, was picked up by pterodactyls. The two began panicking until not only the tribe moved to save them, but the man that had spoken to them leapt into the air, striking the one holding Skaar with a spear, and the one holding Akiko with three. Bone. CLAWS.

Landing on the ground, Skaar saw that the man held Akiko in his arms, the two sharing a look of understanding. She stood, gaping at him. "W-Who are you?"

The man smiled softly, "I am Erista, chief of the Fire Tribe, son of Gahck, and Logan...The one you call The Wolverine."

Chapter Text

Skaar was a lot of things. He was the son of Caiera the Oldstrong, of the Shadow People of Sakaar, a warrior that defended the weak and fought for those who could not fight for themselves. Hecould hear her voice all the time, and she always tried to guide him, to be never be afraid to show his true face. He didn't always listen, but he tried. Like him, she had lost everything, and yet, unlike him, she came out from the ashes still kind, still strong enough to open up her heart and mind to Skaar's father even though they were meant to be enemies. Skaar was also the son of Holku, the Hulk, and from him he gained rage, and multiple faces. He gained a heart for vengeance. Perhaps he gained some semblance of that from his mother as well, but it seemed stronger than with his mother. Yet, he also heard her tell him once that Hulk said he would bear all the burdens of Sakaar despite no one believing he could or should. Bruce Banner sometimes said he would do the same for Earth. It scared Skaar more than anything.

He was Skaar, son of the planet  Sakaar, fourth planet from the star Tayo, a world of diversity and savagery. He had fought since the moment he was born in flames.   He had to grow up fast, but so did his father. He didn't hate his legacy anymore. Skaar and his father weren't one in the same, no matter what anyone believed. So, he understood better than anyone could believe when he looked upon a child of the Wolverine, what it meant to live in that shadow.

Skaar clenched and unclenched his fists as he smelled fear pouring off of Akiko, directed towards both the man called Erista, and towards him. Looking at the man, he did bear resemblance to not only Logan, but somewhat to Daken, especially with the mohawk-like hair. Worse yet, she looked like both of them now that he thought about it. And her gloves? He tensed, realizing that red was blooming from them. He moved forward, softly uttering her name. She flinched, trembling. He stopped just in front of her.

"Hey, it's okay," he murmured, worry evident in his tone. "I'm not going to hurt you. I'm just going to check your hands, okay?"

There was also some blood on her arms, likely from wounds made by the pterodactyls. Guilt filled him. He was supposed to protect her, and she got hurt anyways. Hesitant, she placed her hands in his, one of the tribe members bringing over some kind of ointment, placing some of it in their own scrapes to show it wasn't poisonous. He narrowed his eyes, but accepted it. Taking them off, he hissed, before his eyes widened at seeing two wounds between her knuckles seal before his very eyes. It would've been unnoticable to most due to the crimson coating it, but his eyes were more perceptive than most.

He rinsed it using an unopened water bottle, and applied some ointment anyway, stilling when he heard her hiss. "Your arms..."

Skaar grinned at her reassuredly, "I heal pretty easily, probably like your dad. He's Logan, right?"

She stiffened, fear drifting off once more, as did worry. "...No. My dad's, another one of grandpa's kids." Akiko glanced at Erista, confusion dancing across her features. "I thought we knew all of them."

Erista smiled bittersweetly, "I was born after Logan left the Savage Lands long ago. It's not surprising he wouldn't be aware of my existence. He and my mother made love after they had a glorious battle."

Skaar swiftly covered Akiko's ears, scowling, but Akiko pulled his hands off. "Um, Skaar? I know what sex is. It's okay...And grandpa is more kinky than I thought he was."

The boy blushed, groaning into his palms and cursing in multiple languages. Then he handed her a water bottle after realizing her throat was probably becoming sore again. Erista chuckled, "Come, join us for a feast, my little niece, and her green friend."

Akiko shared a look with Skaar. "Should we? We've been out here for a while."

He looked to the skies where they had just been attacked by dinosaurs. It was a mighty big coincidence that this "Erista" fellow just suddenly appeared to rescue them out of the blue. "Sure, but let me make a call first?"

She went back in the jet with him, and held his hand once inside. "Skaar, are you mad at me?"

"No, why?"

Akiko wasn't able to meet his eyes. "Everyone at home, told me not to tell anyone who my family was. That Jiji and Chichi make others angry. You looked angry before."

He raked a hand through his hair. "Akiko, trust me on this, you'll know when I'm angry. No one likes me when I'm angry because, I literally turn into a big, green monster when I get angry."

"What?"

"Anyways," Skaar uttered when he cleared his throat. "You can't always help who you're related to, and...I was really mad at who I was related to for a long time. I uh, even kind of stabbed him."

He thought she would be somewhat bother by that. Instead, she just shrugged. "Tradition in my family. I didn't know, but I accidentally stabbed dad and grandpa. I didn't and, still don't know how to fully control my claws."

She looked embarrassed about the last part. He realized she had put the gloves back on, where the blood was drying up. So, that's why she wore them. "Oh."

"Um, Skaar? I'm sorry, but is there a bathroom? I've been drinking a lot of water so..."

He laughed, and gestured to where it was on the jet, trying to hide his snickers as he watched the tiniest Wolverine he'd ever encountered run off.


 

"I have another son?"

Jennifer smacked Logan in the back of the head, "When will you learn to use some damned protection!? I swear, I'm going to end up being the one negotiating child support for you!"

"That'll be a mess from hell," Fury grumbled, taking some aspirin. "Look kid, I'm still pissed at you for not only stealing one of my quinjets, but also endangering someone who is technically a civilian under our jurisdiction and protection. You should be aware that anyone from the Xavier Institute could be used for their powered abilities, and might be seen as a target. It's even more dangerous now that you realize, and that anyone there knows, that she's one of the relatives of Wolverine. Every member of his family has been hunted down or used as a weapon, including her."

Skaar grit his teeth, "I just wanted to let her have some freedom. She seemed really happy here. She even got to ride a sabretooth tiger."

"Victor's gonna love hearing about that," Logan snickered, getting smacked upside the head again.

"Can't she spend a few more minutes here, please?"

Logan considered it, and all eyes were on him. Jennifer sighed, "You're officially her legal guardian. What do you say?"

"...We're coming over, but yes, she can spend some time there, provided that you do everything in your power to keep my granddaughter safe. Got it?"

Skaar beamed. "Thank you!"

"Don't make me regret it, bub."

"HE SAID IT!"

"Shit."

Chapter Text

Akiko Laura Howlett was a lot of things. She was a creation of genetics spliced between Daken Akihiro (one of many offspring of the hero known as the Wolverine), and an unknown biological donor. Despite the latter, she had a large legacy on her shoulders. On one hand, her grandpa was a big time hero, who just happened to be known for "Being the best at what he did, and what he did wasn't very nice"...Although she was starting to suspect that he was far better at procreating than killing with the number of additions she might have to make to the family tree. On the other hand, there was her direct father, someone who for some reason preferred to name himself a bastard dog, just seemed messed up overall on multiple levels.

But, she also knew that they had their own problems, like everyone, literally EVERYONE, around her seemed to, and, that they had sides to them few ever saw. She loved them, and she knew they loved her too. So, maybe even the most seemingly questionable people should be given a chance, right? Right?

Skaar was getting agitated again, grumbling something to himself as they followed the guy who was apparently her uncle (he certainly smelled like her jiji), through the jungle. Akiko dug through her pocket, and handed him her chocolate bar, not minding when he wrinkled his nose in confusion. "What's this?"

She had taken a sip of water in preparation for a possible question, thankfully. "On TV, eating candy always helps with anger issues for some reason. Does this help?"

"...Are you telling me to eat a Snickers bar?" he snorted, unsure as to whether or not she was serious.

Akiko pouted, saddened. "It doesn't work?"

His head dipped for a moment, and he tore off part of the sleeve, stuffing the wrapper into his pocket, and eating the confection. "Thanks, Akiko."

She beamed, glad when he held her hand comfortingly. Arriving at the tribe's home, Akiko squeezed Skaar's hand a little tighter, her nerves starting to get the best of her. Skaar picked her up, placing her on his hip. Erista furrowed his eyebrows, looking like he wanted to say or do something, but restrained himself. "What is your name, little one?"

Oh, he never asked before. How was he so sure she was related to Logan anyways? "...Akiko. How-?"

"You smell like my father's blood," Erista stated. "I saw him a few times when he revisited from a distance, and he's been wounded here as well. I meant to see him, and I've tried, but he's eluded me."

Skaar grimaced, holding her tighter to him, and Erista took notice. "You're free to leave at any time. I am not holding you here to get his attention. I only saw you when I was hunting Sauron's minions."

"Sauron," Akiko murmured, tilting her head. "Like Lord of the Rings?"

Her father read her the novel series over multiple nights as bedtime stories, as well as the The Hobbit. He found it amusing that she wanted to learn the multiple forms of Elvish and Khuzdul, but allowed her as long as she maintained her studies in English, Japanese, and French. The third was apparently part of her Canadian heritage, but she secretly took lessons from Remy to make things easier, and a few lessons from Kurt in German. Languages were fun. Weird, but fun. Besides, she couldn't really match the other kids in the sciences or field exercises, so why not practice the basics like languages or math?

Skaar snorted, "That's where he got the name from. Sauron is a scientist that was named Kyle Lykos. He was part of a group that traveled up here and was bitten by a mutant pterodactyl. We uh, aren't sure how or why, but he became an energy draining vampire after that. He became a friend of Professor Xavier, secretly draining mutants to stay alive, and after draining power from Havok, Scott's brother? Well, he became a giant energy-vampire pterodactyl too. He's still smart, but kind of crazy. Oh, and he can hypnotize people too."

Akiko just stared for a moment, glancing between her apparent uncle and Skaar, then threw her hands up in the air. "My life was just starting to make sense."

"...It probably wouldn't help if I told you I'm half alien, would it?"

"One of my friends is a mutant alien dinosaur. His kind eats people and he's vegetarian. You being half alien is normal for me," Akiko said factually.

Skaar peered up at Erista, "What does Sauron want with us?"

"I was merely hunting him because he has been troubling our people for some time," Erista shrugged. "I do not know if he knew of your existence before now."

"He knows of mine," Skaar stated. "We've met before."

Akiko shook her head, "Maybe he knows Jiji?"

"Yes," both Skaar and Erista replied in agreement. "But if you've been hidden as well as suspected until now, it's highly doubtful he's aware of your identity."

She didn't say anything, only frowned at the place on Skaar's shoulder where he had been wounded. Even if it all had nothing to do with them, she should've protected him. "...I'm sorry, Skaar. I should've been stronger. Then you wouldn't have gotten hurt."

He shifted her on his hip. "Hey, I'm the strongest one out here, remember? I'm gonna be okay, okay?"

Akiko doubted her friend's words, but nodded anyways. Sitting around the tribe's namesake, a beautiful woman with dark red hair and green eyes caught her attention. Some of her features matched Erista's and Akiko realized that the woman must've been Gahck. She toddled over, bowing. "T-Thank you for the meal."

The people there had varying expressions of confusion, but the woman just laughed, causing Akiko to blush. "You are adorable, little one. Are you Logan's?"

"He is my grandpa," Akiko admitted, anxious as to the elder's reaction.

It must've shown. "Do not worry. I was not clear with my intentions to Logan, nor after were we exactly the best when it came to communication. I fear it may have troubled my son when he was growing up, but he has become a good leader, and an even better man in spite of it."

Akiko nodded, "He saved me and my friend."

"Good," Gahck affirmed, beaming proudly at her son. "It was nice to meet you-?"

"Akiko," the little girl said, smiling back, not as afraid as she was before.

Returning to Skaar's side, she giggled as she saw him gnawing on some kind of animal's leg. He was clearly embarrassed, but he wasn't so ashamed when she let him know Logan and others at the Xavier Institute ate in very similar ways. She was fairly used to messy eaters. She even took some advice from her uncle on how to eat some of the food, yelping when the spicier parts of the meal burnt her tongue, and reveling when her step-grandma scolded Erista. Afterwards, Skaar commented that he felt full, and needed exercise. Erista and some of the other people there expressed similar sentiments.

Akiko, wasn't used to such words or phrases. "Work off?"

"You know, when you've eaten too much you feel the urge to move and stretch?"

She thought for a long moment. "No, most people I know go into 'food coma'."

Erista bristled, "That sounds horrible."

"Akiko, do you want to spar?" The toddler stilled, grimacing as Skaar stood, waiting. Seeing her hesitate, he waved his hands. "It's okay if you don't want to. I just wanted to work off some of the food I ate and I just thought it'd be kind of nice to, well, practice fighting with someone who wouldn't want to hurt me. Not for real?"

"Skaar, do people often want to hurt you for real?" she cracked out, needing to take a drink to soothe her throat. He didn't answer, not verbally, and she took another few seconds to think. "I'm still learning how to fight. Most of what I know is 'self-defense' and how to run away, to ask for help. And my powers..."

Reluctantly she removed her gloves, staring at the backs of her hands and wincing. "Skaar, when I sneeze my claws pop out. I don't wanna hurt people. I don't wanna hurt you."

Gently, he took her hands in his. "If you don't want to spar, that's fine, but if you're not sparring because you're afraid of hurting me, then that's not a good reason. Besides, your uncle's got claws too. Maybe he can help you?"

Erista nodded, excited to interact with his niece. "I had to learn how to use my claws on my own. I gained the ability to heal when I was toddler. My mother says I was afraid of a sabretooth, but I gained my claws much later in life, when I was a child. Even then my claws grew in one by one. I didn't think I'd even have the number I do now, because it was just one on each hand at first."

"...I don't know if it makes total sense that your powers came in when you encountered a sabretooth, or just somehow poetic irony," Skaar commented. Erista was obviously confused, but Skaar waved it off. "Point is, can you help?"

"I will do my best," Erista said, beaming.

Tentatively, Akiko nodded, and after Skaar gave many preparatory cautions about his "green monster" form, she saw it at last. He was fidgeting, waiting for her reaction, and she just shrugged. "...Cool tats. Explain your clothes."

"What?"

"How'd your clothes grow with you?"

Skaar palmed his face, "That's a question people have been asking for years, and not just of me. Let's just say, science. If you need me to be more specific, gamma radiation science."

Akiko pouted, "That's not an answer."

"Sure it is," he smirked, leaning forward with his hands on his hips mockingly. "Just not one you'd like. Now, show me your best scary face."

"My what?"

Skaar and Erista exchanged looks. "This might take a while."

 

 

Chapter Text

Erista of the Tribe of Fire was many things. He was the son of Gahck and the one known as Wolverine. He was the son of the former chief, and a chief himself. He was the protector of his people, and now he hoped he would be accepted as an uncle and into a family he had never known. So far, she was understandably more attached to her friend, and fearful of him who was a stranger. He hoped to earn the little one's trust, and maybe, just maybe meet the one who had earned his mother's respect, the tribe's respect so long ago. He hoped to meet his father, the child's grandfather. Yes, there was some anger there, but for him at the very least, it was hard to hate someone who made his loved ones happy, many of whom included those he rescued from the clutches of the evil one known as Apocalypse.

Erista just wanted to be a good man like him.

"I don't think she can beserker rage," Skaar murmured as he sat down on a rock nearby. "She's a Wolverine, that can't beserker rage."

Erista leaned forward, curious. "Beserker rage?"

"Bloodlust and uncontrollable rage that consumes the mind and that gives someone unparalleled strength and other abilities to defeat their enemies in combat," Skaar explained excitedly. "The Hulks and the Wolverines are known for having that ability. If she doesn't have that or can't access it, she might be in trouble."

The girl's uncle gaped with a "WTF" expression. Skaar was obviously insane and Erista was questioning the youngest one's safety, and he lived in a jungle with dinosaurs and a number of animals that could eat him on a daily basis. "I think uh, I used to do that when I was a youth, but, my elders helped me get that under control. Does my father and other members of my kin help with that?"

"No, this isn't a teenager angst thing," Skaar insisted, deadpanning. "It's an actual, murderous superpower that our kind can get."

"Yes, I'm well aware," Erista said, nodding. "I killed tyrannosaurs with it, and they were very tasty. A bit gamy and tough meat, literally, but yummy with the right herbs. I just didn't know there was a name for it."

Skar blinked, "You ate dinosaurs."

"Yes, you just had some stegosaurus as a matter of fact."

"...I don't know whether to be disgusted or awed," Skaar whispered. "In any case, what do I do? Apparently even you had Beserker abilities. If she doesn't, then everyone's gonna freak out. That's a major trait of her bloodline's heritage. It's kind of line Hulks being big and able to cause mass destruction."

Erista shrugged, "Is it? She still has the claws? And even then, what does it mean to be a 'Wolverine'? And, does it even matter if she is? Did it matter if you were a 'Hulk', as you say? I thought you wanted to step away from that legacy."

"Well, kind of? I don't know."

The man smiled. "I was always told stories about my father, and while I've come to appreciate The Wolverine because of them, I've also made my own legacy as the chief and protector of my people. I am not my father, and my people are well aware of that. They do not hate me for it. In fact, they've shown and said they appreciate it in ways I never expected. Isn't it the same for you? For my niece and other members of either family?"

Skaar beamed, "Yeah, thanks Erista."

"Good, now go spar with Akiko. But if you hurt her I'll stab you in her stead," Erista promised.


 

Everyone in Akiko's family told her that she didn't have to be violent or a killer, so why did Skaar say to Uncle Erista that part of a Wolverine was being bloodthirsty? Is that really something that her family was? Her Chichi was trying to be better, her Jiji seemed nice, and her obas were rarely violent, so why did Skaar think differently? What was Akiko missing? But, then again, she had wanted to meet her father halfway, and that included being stronger, so, maybe that meant trying to become not only more 'sophisticated' like her Chichi had been teaching her, but, also being more agressive? No, she wasn't a killer, but, maybe being more...Assertive? Was that the right word?

She stared at her knuckles, wrinkling her nose as she focused, willing her claws to come out. Blood leaked and she winced as the wounds stung, the skin sealing and cutting repeatedly over the bone blades, but understood that her family members went through far worse considering theirs were coated in metal. Theirs were actual knives, which meant they were cut with sharper stuff, like getting constant paper cuts in the same places over and over again. It was worse when you stabbed something or someone 'cause the pressure of it made the knives dig in harder, or stuck got stuck in them and got under the skin. It really sucked sometimes, yet, they did it all the time to help others. They were strong and as for her? She was afraid. Maybe she should stop being afraid.

"Akiko, you okay?"

She looked up at Skaar, putting on her best smile. It didn't turn out as well as she had hoped. "Yeah. Hey, Skaar? Can we spar now? Show me how to fight? I want to get stronger."

"Are you sure?

The little one didn't hesitate this time. "Yeah."

Akiko Laura Howlett wanted to become a Wolverine.


 

Both of them had obviously been holding back, but Skaar hadn't anticipated a great deal of Akiko's "skills". For instance, how the Hell did she crawl up walls like Spider-Man!? She was also silent enough that he could barely keep track of her, Then there was the time she chewed off a branch in amazing speed and almost whacked him with it. She never struck or stabbed him though, clearly afraid to do it, yet he knew she easily could have, and it was starting to tick him off more than the times he actually had been harmed by other members of her family.

And there she stood, big wide eyes, panting in excitement from adrenaline, and fear all at once. But, it wasn't fear of him. She was ogling her claws, swallowing harshly as they trembled. His anger quickly dissipated as soon as it came.

"Akiko, there's gonna be people who'll want to hurt you for real, who'll want to hurt your family. If we'll going to spar, you need to at least hit me." Akiko glanced at his arms where he had been wounded before, paling. It really was getting hard to believe that she was a Wolverine. Then again, she was extremely young. Maybe he ought to call it off. "It's okay. We can stop here-"

There was a loud screech and Skaar twisted to see a raptor behind him, ready to claw at his face. Scowling, he got ready to break its neck when a blur rushed past him. Blinking, he gaped at the sight of Akiko, eyes glaring at the one about to hurt him as she tore into the flesh of the dinosaur, her foot kicking its jaw hard enough so that a crack echoed in the forest around them. She landed in a nearby tree, baring her sharp canines with grit teeth, and leapt again, striking its other side before pressing her claws to its throat. Her scent practically spelled out for the dinosaur to back off, and terror filled the predator's gaze.

"Leave," she ordered. her voice and tone clear. The creature made some kind of yelping noise, limping as it dashed away. Akiko blinked, and fell to her knees, and panting much to Skaar's shock. "S-Skaar, are you okay?"

Her voice was pained this time, and he could hear the way she was forcing herself to speak. He ran back to the rock with her water bottle and handed it to her, glad when she took it, gulping down the liquid and wheezing afterwards. "I'm fine. What about you? You just took on a dinosaur!" He realized what he just said then, sitting up. "Akiko, just took on a dinosaur. Not just any dinosaur, a bloody raptor. A literal, bloody raptor."

She was looking at him, confused, "She was gonna hurt you."

That's when he saw the wound on her cheek and shoulder. Akiko got hurt trying to protect him. She took on a raptor for him, and even though she won, she still got hurt.

He was about to hug her when he heard a roar, and saw Daken Akihiro rushing at him. He was kind of thankful when Logan moved between him and Daken, and flinched when Erista accidentally stabbed Logan in the effort to protect him and Akiko from Daken, Logan having gotten caught in the middle.

Logan cursed under his breath, and Erista began apologizing profusely.

...

..

.

What was it Akiko said? Stabbing Logan was a family tradition?

 

Chapter Text

"You stabbed my dad?"

Skaar held up his hands as a white flag. "Technically I think I only clobbered him? He slashed my face."

Daken smirked, entertained as he watched the terrible, overshadowing Skaar being intimidated by a little girl who didn't even reach his knees as she growled at him. The kid actually looked scared and it took tremendous effort not to laugh. And here Daken had been worried the son of Hulk was going to hurt Akiko. Instead, she looked ready to tear her apparent new playmate a new one. 

He wasn't the only one amused by the sight. All having made a temporary truce (although Daken was still going to kick Logan's ass later), Daken peeked outwards from his perceptive vision at his newly found half-brother, unsure how to think or feel. With Laura, one of the first things they did was fight, but that was more for testing each other's abilities than anything else. She later became, much to his surprise, his best friend and confidante in many ways. They understood each other for better or worse. He wasn't as close to Gabby, but he felt just as protective, if not more so.

This man, Erista, the first thing he learned was that he protected someone Daken cared for multiple times over, and like Daken, stabbed Logan when they first met. It was a pity he apologized so much afterwards, but it reminded Daken of his sisters and his daughter in some ways. Still, like Skaar in other ways, the guy was kind of stealing his schtick.

"Look, would it make you feel better if you and your father stabbed me back?" Skaar sighed.

Daken blinked, unsheathing a couple claws and ignoring Banner's scowl. Akiko glared at her father, and he shrugged, grumbling unintelligibly under his breath. Right, be a better example. Be on his best behavior, and remember what Johnny and Laura were teaching him when he was away from Akiko. Walters sat next to Daken, crossing one leg over the other as she handed him an expresso.

"Here, helps me calm my temper," she deadpanned.

The Dark Wolverine raised an eyebrow, but accepted it, taking a swig as if the foul substance were alcohol. "What I wouldn't give for some Clos de Bèze right now."

Erista was only confused, but the other adults seemed to have some clue. Logan groaned, "Just get me some malt or beer, and I'm good."

"Swine," Daken grumbled, chugging down some more of the substance before offering some to Erista. Erista sniffed it, wrinkling his nose, but accepted it. He immediately began choking, and Daken smiled with schadenfreude. "Sorry, I suppose I must have forgotten it's an acquired taste."

Erista looked sorrowfully at Daken briefly, but sighed, glancing back at Akiko. "...She was very brave today. She and her friend decided to practice sparring after our feast, when a raptor moved to attack them. I was about to interfere when she struck it, defending Skaar. She didn't kill it, but it was clear afterwards she had been afraid, yet strong to face such a foe for the sake of someone else despite abhorring such violence, and how draining it was for her. It was admirable."

Only the sounds of the children's voices (mainly Skaar's since Akiko couldn't speak very well), and the noises from the crickets and other wildlife of the Savage Lands filled the air. Daken felt waves of emotion fill him. He was enraged that she had been put in that danger in the first place, his knuckles turning white. He was terrified, worried for her well-being. He was, happy, and proud that she had been able to do such a thing at all. Sad that he had missed it. He wished he had been there to comfort her. He was confused by the emotions he was feeling, because even though Laura said it was "normal", sometimes they were too much all at once. He grit his teeth, expression softening once he saw she appeared to be going through her own emotional struggle as well. Then, she had a look of determination, tugging Skaar into a clearing.

Skaar blinked at her, then beamed when she got into a battle stance, taking out his sword. There was some nervousness in her, and her feet were a little awkward, but Daken recognized what position she'd taken. With the exception of her arms, she was in a ballroom dance start, the waltz as Daken had taught her at the winter holiday party. Akiko exhaled then, her features relaxing as she closed her eyes. Skaar frowned, confused by how she stood, and called her name. Akiko merely nodded, waiting for him to make a move.

He didn't, and when he hesitated, she jumped into the air, seemingly into the darkness of the trees above them. Skaar frowned, searching above him, as did the other adults. However, both Daken and Erista grinned as they watched Akiko silently, literally dance to a beat that only they could hear right up to Skaar. She jumped behind him then, one clawed hand slide under his throat and the other tap his sword.

They could barely hear the whisper as she murmured into Skaar's ear, her eyes slowly opening so that a Hulk could see directly into the eyes of a Wolverine.

...

..

.

"Clink."

She smiled pleasantly, sweetly just as if everything was normal, and it took a few good seconds for Skaar to react from his momentary shock.

He yelped, swatting at her while she clung to his long hair, wrapping it around his neck like a noose and eyes as a blindfold before leaping off, and truly climbing up into the trees that time. Skaar growled, tearing the makeshift hair items from his face and throat, searching the ground for a presumably thrown off Akiko. He didn't find her, but there were noises echoing in the trees, all bouncing off one another so that it was difficult to find the real source. Worse yet, she began whistling an eery tune, whereupon the trees, and a few birds echoed back. Skaar covered his ears, as did Jennifer and members of the Wolverines. Daken searched around though, keeping his eyes out for Akiko, and breaming with pride as she flew out of the shadows, not only kicking the sword from Skaar's grasp, but punching him and-

*SNIKT*

Her claws were directly pointed at his jugular and carotid, just as Daken had taught her for her biology homework. Skaar gaped while the whistles and noises around them died down. Akiko wheezed then, squatting to catch her breath, and Skaar burst out laughing, his hand over his chest. "Where did you learn that!?"

Akiko blushed, "Chichi, helps with my homework in school, and he taught me how to dance. Gabby watches movies with me. I learned a lot there too. Laura and grandpa help me exercise and teach me not to be so scared...I'm still working on the last part, but Chichi helps with that one too."

She wasn't the only one blushing at that point. Skaar rubbed his jaw, "I'm just glad you were finally willing to lay one on me."

Daken growled, narrowing his eyes. Skaar's green complexion started turning red. "I don't mean like that! I just meant when we were sparring earlier, she wouldn't even try to lay a finger on me. Even with all that cool stuff, I didn't think she'd hit me. I'm glad she did this time."

Akiko's expression turned serious. "...Stupid."

"Huh?"

Her stare was cold, colder than Daken had ever seen it, or expected from her. "You're being stupid. Sparring doesn't mean taking hunks or purposely hurting one another. It means practice...I only did it 'cause I was mad you hurt Chichi, and 'cause you were bein' stupid earlier. Be more careful with yourself, idiot."

Akiko's father felt the tension leave his shoulders as he breathed. As proud as he was, he also adored the child that he'd come to know, and that was the caring, possibly overemotional child that made him question everything, including himself. "That's my girl."

Erista shook his head, "Well, now that this event is over, who wants some triceratops?"

"I do!" the kids called out, following Akiko's newfound uncle.

...Daken needed to stop being surprised. He just, this needed to stop.

Chapter Text

"God, I hate pollen season," Quentin grumbled, bowing his nose.

Akiko wrinkled her own a little, but offered him a box of tissues while Broo brought their snotty friend a blanket. Genesis sat down next to Akiko, giving her a letter. "It's from Skaar. You thinking about visiting him soon?"

"Maybe, if father doesn' t stab him," Akiko signed. "Does father stab everyone?"

Everyone went quiet at first, unsure what to say until Kubark said, plainly, "Yes."

The youngest one there frowned, eyes drifting downward to her hand where underneath the surface, her claws lay. "My family makes a lot of people angry. I don't know why. They're nice."

"Yeah, well," Quentin murmured, "I guess some people are...Allergic to nice?"

He got a lot of weird looks, but Akiko giggled. "Sure, like how my dad's allergic to shirts."

Their expressions made her laugh a little bit more, and the rest of the group joined in, all lightheartedly poking fun at themselves and some of the ones they knew.

"Wait, Akiko, let me tell you about the times Logan's been used as a fastball special. Okay, I know you've never been in a fight, but there's this thing where the strong people like Colossus pick up your grandpa like a baseball, and throw him at stuff and he screams like 'AAHHHHH!'," Quentin described, breaking into coughing fit after using a high pitch to make a screeching baboon noise.

"Yeah, and he usually waves his arms like this with this really weird look on his face like he's about to poop his pants," Odie demonstrated, dancing around a bit.

Broo chuckled, bouncing up and down. "I remember this one time She-Hulk did it and she said he had a 'firm lil' butt" and he blushed so hard that...Akiko, where are you looking?"

Akiko gave a pointed glance over all of their shoulders at Logan who was behind them, arms folded and red faced. Kubark swallowed, wheezing, "I'm allergic to death."

Logan was about to say something when Akiko threw a pillow in his face. A feather fell out and caused him to sneeze. Logan's fury dissipated as he sighed, and picked up said pillow, beginning a pillow fight with all of them. It wasn't long before other teachers tried to intervene, only finding themselves getting dragged into it as well.

It was a good night.

Chapter Text

Akiko knew her father was a complicated person, and that he wasn't entirely good, but who was? Everybody had a little bit of bad, because then why would they have so many emotions? Why would they be angry? Why would they feel like they wanted to hurt? It's why there was a balance for other emotions too. Being sad or angry or hurt wasn't always bad, 'cause they let others know you needed help, but a lot of people didn't know how to use those feelings. Akiko hadn't known, and sometimes, she still didn't know. Sometimes, a little bad in the world was needed, because if everything was good, then there would be no life, no kindness, nothing real.

In a way, that's what made her father pretty. Yes, he did bad things, but he was good too. He was complicated, but he did his best, and like her, he was growing. Akiko was proud of her father, and she was proud to be his daughter. Yet, she also wished she knew more about him. She wondered if he would ever tell her more, and why he was so afraid of letting her in? 

Johnny watched as Daken moved his pawn, the latter grimacing. "Why are you so reluctant to let her out?"

"The last time she went out, she was kidnapped by Banner's spawn and attacked by dinosaurs," Daken deadpanned, leaning back in his seat.

He looked at Akiko, who was sticking out her tongue as she practiced her multiplying tables. She was smart, but she wasn't a genius. Still, it was rather impressive for newly turned four-year old. It was nice to see Laura tutoring both her and Gabby, the sight oddly homely. Logan walked in with Kurt in tow, sandwiches in hand. Daken didn't think he'd ever get used to things like this. Johnny looked in the same direction, guessing at Daken's thought.

"She's not a pet Daken," Johnny said. "And she seemed to handle it a lot better than expected, didn't she?"

Daken moved yet another pawn, deep in thought. "That doesn't mean she should dive headfirst into New York City."

"She won't," Johnny chuckled. "I'm just saying that Valeria is about the same age, and Franklin's just a few years older. We could set up a playdate. She'd have an entire team of heroes there, and not just the Fantastic Four. Banner's coming over to play poker with Ben for old times' sake, and Spiderman and Stark are coming over for their armor."

Daken stilled, "Banner already knows of her existence, but Spiderman and Stark don't. Are you suggesting that they should know?"

"Not necessarily that she's yours, but that she is a relative of Wolverine's, maybe?" Johnny suggested. He sighed, "We can't hide her forever, and we can't keep her locked up. Someone's going to find out about her, and the students here already know, and you know they leave. It's not exactly like they keep secrets forever. I'm surprised they've been so willing to keep it as long as they have."

Evan walked by, and narrowed his eyes, "Daken's an asshole, but Akiko's all right. 'Sides, we protect each other, even if Daken doesn't get that."

Daken raised an eyebrow, "Yes, a school full of killers and thieves where every one of you has honor. Pardon my disbelief."

The teen opened his mouth, but the Human Torch interrupted him. "Daken, there aren't really any kids Akiko's age. She's been bullied, which makes it even more confusing as to how she hasn't been attacked in this school yet, and she knows little to nothing about the outside world. Her concept of reality was already warped when you found her. Do you think it's much better now?"

The Dark Wolverine recalled how he found her. He had told her he would get her, intending to free her, take her out of her prison. Was he really just putting her into another one? "What do you suggest, Johnny?"


 

It was obvious neither Reed nor Daken liked this plan. They agreed to meet in a neutral area. For some reason, Johnny was beaming, and Susan, although skeptical, tried to be cheerful as she led the children down the halls of the Richard Rodgers theater. Daken had different preferences in art styles, but the musical playing was acceptable, and apparently something that was supposed to be palatable for the children.

Akiko held onto his hand with her gloved one, eyes wide as she took everything in. They widened even more as she saw Valeria and Franklin, who in turn stared back. Both groups looked to their adults, and at the nods, they children cautiously walked to one another. Franklin was the first to hold out his hand. "Hello, I'm Franklin Richards, and this is my sister, Valeria."

His daughter wasn't quite able to meet his eye, visibly shy. Her voice was quiet, but she carefully shook the hand offered. "H-Hi. I'm Akiko, Akiko Howlett."

Valeria tilted her head. "Is Daken your dad?"

The four year old sent her pheromones to her father in a question, and at his quick, calming reply, she said, "Yes. Are those people your parents?"

"Yeah, they're both scientists. You know our uncle Johnny, right?"

Akiko brightened, the tension in her form lessening as she smiled  a little. "Yes, he's silly. He crashed into a wall the other day. Does he always fly without looking where he's going?"

Johnny made an offended noise while the other adults, including Daken, guffawed and giggled. Children really could be blunt, and harsh in their words without realizing it. The children began walking to their seats, not even paying any attention to the respective adults as they did so. 

Akiko managed to hear the woman murmur, “So far, so good.”

“They’re not dogs, Susan. They don’t bite.”

“But one is capable of stabbing,” the other kids’ father grumbled.

Akiko’s eyes fell to the floor. “I don’t think your dad likes me.”

“That’s just because he and your dad fought a few times,” Valeria stated, walking with hands behind her back.

For some reason it reminded Akiko of royalty seen on TV, the ones with great posture and held up high. She wondered for a moment if Valeria was going to do that fancy wave to those they passed by. She’d probably look really good while doing it. For some reason Valeria blushed and Franklin giggled. Akiko blinked, confused.

“What is it?”

“Er, thank you?” Valeria coughed.

Akiko blushed as well, realizing that at least one of them was a mind reader. “Oh.”

“Sorry, that was rude,” Franklin said. “I won’t do it again.”

“Well, sometimes we can’t always control it, right?” Akiko giggled, holding up her gloved hand. “It’s why I have these. When I sneeze, sometimes my claws pop out. I’m still trying to figure them out.”

They both looked at her hands, simultaneously agreeing, “Cool.”

The three of them walked onto the balcony seating, overlooking the stage, their respective family members sitting behind them, watching the children with caution. Akiko wrinkled her nose, deciding to try something.

“Can you guys hear me?”

Frankling gaped a little, then smirked. “Yeah. You do this often?”

“Not really, but I practice every once in a while with Aunt Jean,Akiko admitted. “I used to have problems talking with telepaths, apparently the ‘Wolverines’ have something called ‘telepathic tolerance’, but if I focus, I can let some people in. I just get headaches if I do it for too long. I just want to talk without the adults constantly thinking we’re going to attack one another. Plus, talking hurts a lot, and not everyone knows sign language. This makes things easier.”

Valeria cocked a brow, “Clever. So, have you ever seen Hamilton before?”

“No, there’s only been once or twice I’ve been, outside I guess might be the best word for it,” Akiko said in her mind, images of the lab and the Xavier Academy in her mind. “Dad’s trying his best to protect me. He’s worried that the bad parts of his past are gonna hurt me, or those who made me or gonna come after me. I think he’s worried your dad is gonna do something to me. What do you think?”

For a moment, they seemed offended, but then not. The two understood that Akiko had a limited view of the world, and she had no idea who any of them were, or what they were like. “Our dad’s a hero. He doesn’t like to hurt people, at all. Especially kids, no matter where or who they came from.

“Oh, he just looks really mad at me.”

Franklin looked back for a moment, and Akiko felt his hand on her shoulder. “Dad’s just letting bad memories cloud his judgement. He doesn’t hate you, not really. He’s just scared for us.”

“…Doesn’t feel like that,” Akiko murmured, unable to meet Franklin’s eyes.

Her own lit up a little as the room grew dark and the lights of the stage came on.

“How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore, and a Scotsman dropped in a middle of a forgotten spot in the middle of the Caribbean by Providence,  impoverished, in squalor, grow up to become a hero and a scholar?”

…Why did this song sound reminiscent of Akiko’s father to her?

“…Got a lot farther by workin’ a harder, by being a lot smarter, by being a self-starter. By fourteen they placed him in charge of a trading charter.”

Yep, this song was about Akiko’s father. She turned around briefly, squinting at Daken Akihiro, and he gave her a puzzled look in turn before she returned her gaze to the musical. Akiko had very, very mixed emotions. What was her father up to this time? Was this some kind of test?

She didn’t even care when the singer said it was about some guy named Alexander Hamilton, the similarities were too great, dammit. The father disappearing? Check. The mother dying? Check. The relative committing suicide? Check. Daken fending for himself? Triple Check. Daken becoming an epic book and writing lover? Endless number of checks.

He also was always planning ahead in ways no one else could see. And traveling, and he found a place in New York? Never backing down? Yes, Daken Akihiro was stubborn. He’s always changing things so they suit his needs. He’s changed things drastically before on a global scale. Technically, he is an immigrant. Reputation, what reputation? And…There’s all the people that’s fought for him, died for him, trusted him, loved him, and SHOT HIM?!

No, wait…Yeah, her father’s been shot, stabbed, eviscerated, burned, and who knew what else. Yep, this play was about Daken Akihiro for sure.

Maybe she’d learn more about him in a way by watching the musical, even if it wasn’t the same story as his.


 

Nope, Akiko’s father was immortal. He was gonna live, others were gonna die, and, he was going to tell his own story. She wanted him to tell her his own story, and she wanted his story to continue and…

Daddy, how old will I get? "

"I honestly don't know, little one," he answered. "We think with your healing powers, that you'll be able to live as long as I can, maybe longer, but no one lives forever, not even the immortals."

"...That doesn't make any sense.’Immortal' means 'to live forever'. How can you live forever, and not live forever?"  she asked.

He was quiet for a quiet, and he looked lost, unsure. It was one of those times that Akiko knew he need time to adjust, so she didn’t pressure him. She waited for him. She always would. "There's, a difference between being alive, and living, Akiko. Your heart can beat, you could still breath, but you can feel little to nothing and still be considered to be alive. However, to live means to thrive, to enjoy life to the fullest, to have fun and to feel. Immortals, they learn to feel everything to the point where they become numb to everything around them, and may forget how to care and feel. Thus, they are no longer part of the living, because they are dead inside."

"That's going happen to us? To Laura and Gabby? Grandpa? Me? To you?"

She didn’t want to imagine everyone she cared about dying. She didn’t want to think about her loved ones’ lifeless eyes like those in the labs, their bodies being turned into ashes or dirt, or left behind. She didn’t want to bear it. "I, I don't know Akiko. I can't promise you it won't happen, the future is never certain. But, I can promise you that I'll be here for you when you want me to."

But, he wouldn’t be there one day, would he? Even the immortals don’t live forever. One day, he couldn’t be there, no matter what any of them wanted.

“What did you think of the play?” Franklin asked, smiling.

She pursed her lips, “It was, emotional. Are all musicals like that?”

Valeria shrugged, “Not all, but most are. We could recommend some if you like. Hey, you want to visit the Baxter building sometime? We’ve got a inter-dimensional temporal window. We can see the Earth at different periods of time.”

“…Even the Ice Age?” Akiko inquired shyly.

Valeria nodded. “Yep.”

“Do you like ponies?” Franklin burst out.

“Never met one,” Akiko said.

He gawked, and took her hand, racing her down the hallway. “We’re changing that RIGHT NOW!”

Akiko gaped, and giggled as they all ran together.

 

Chapter Text

"So you stabbed a velociraptor?"

Akiko frowned, "I was just trying to keep my friend safe. I didn't kill it."

She even sent the two images of what happened. They still thought the maiming of a dinosaur was cool for some reason, and Akiko couldn't understand why. Maybe there was just something wrong with her. Valeria nodded, "So, what happened to your newly found uncle?"

"He's having some bonding time with Grandpa , Laura, and Gabby back at the Academy. He's supposed to go back home soon, since he's the leader of the tribe, but I'll get to spend more time with him too."

"What does your dad think about him?"

Daken just shrugged in the background, "I can speak for myself. Logan likely has children everywhere. Unless they bother me, I have no quarrel."

"That's surprisingly mature," Reed commented. Akiko's father looked about ready to stab him, but was probably holding himself back because of the temporary truce for the kids. The other three of the Fantastic Four glared at Reed, causing him to flinch. He sighed, and Reed glanced over at Akiko, worried about something. "Akiko, I, I wanted to let you know I overheard you at the theater. I'm sorry for the way I acted towards you earlier. I do have anger towards your father, but I didn't intend to take it out on you or make it seem like I disliked you. I just, I'm nervous about all of this."

The little girl thought for a moment, lifting her fingers at first to sign, but hesitated, opening her mouth to speak until Reed raised his own.

"I'm sorry, Akiko."

She gaped, and beamed, "You know sign language?"

He grinned back. "We all do. We have a friend on a team called the Avengers. He's deaf and even though he has a hearing aid, sometimes he needs to sign. A lot of us learned it to communicate better. So, do you have a sign name?"

She made the sign "A", wriggled it above her nose like "silly" and then raised it in the air and spread her fingers to make "light". She was the silly light. Reed and the others practiced it a few times, and Ben grumbled, glaring at his four fingers. "I hate this sometimes."

Daken smirked at Ben's misery, and they all looked at him in expectation. "What?"

"So, what's your ASL name?"

His eyes widened. "Er, 'father'. I'm 'father'-"

Akiko began signing, and Daken actually stuttered as she did so. "I made up his ASL name, but he never uses it. I call him, 'bright teacher', 'cause that's what his name means."

Her father flushed, and many of the adults drew blank looks. "But Daken means-"

"Okay, that's enough of that," Daken Akihiro interrupted. "Hey, Franklin, do you know another nickname of Akiko's?"

"No, what?"

Daken grinned evilly over at Ben. "Spider-Fluff."

Ben's expression turned to utter horror as Franklin practically leapt over at Akiko. "We're getting my Spiderman costumes."

"Your what?"

Ben groaned, burying his face in his hands, "What have you just unleashed?"

Johnny cackled, while Susan leaned over, whispering to Akiko, "Why are you called Spider-Fluff?"

Akiko figured it was better to show rather than tell. She held up one finger, informing them to give her a moment, and then she began crawling up the walls, even on the ceiling, hanging upside down. Johnny cackled even louder, taking great joy at his family's expressions. It only got better when Franklin entered the room and squealed at the sight, babbling on and on about Spiderman and how cool it was that she could do what she just did. As for Akiko, she was confused, but looked at her father, basically sending him pheromones that asked if she did well. When he confirmed she did, she jumped down, landed on her feet, and took the mask that Franklin offered.

Squinting at it, she remarked, "Looks just like Deadpool's mask. Even comes with The cookie smell."

Daken smacked his forehead. Franklin turned to Valeria, "C'mon, we'll use the drones we made to pretend to be the Green Goblin. Valeria can be her awesome self, and we can be Spidermen!"

Valeria beamed, getting a remote and pressing a button. Akiko heard a whirring sound, and tilted her head. Valeria stepped next to her. "Don't worry, we can destroy them, so have at it."

Akiko stiffened for a moment, then bared part of her canines in a wicked grin. She had a feeling from the adults' reaction it reminded them of either her grandpa or her father. Maybe both. "We can?"

"Yep," Franklin commented, putting on his mask. Akiko did the same with hers, getting into the battle position her father had taught her. 

"Action music?" Valeria offered.

"Action music," Akiko and Franklin confirmed.

All of them roared, chasing after the robots.

Daken watched on, a vein visibly pounding in his forehead. Ben sighed, "Beer?"

"Beer," Daken confirmed, "And Tylenol. Massive Tylenol.


 

Peter Parker had gotten a request from Johnny Storm  to visit the Baxter Building to see Franklin, again. Peter loved the Fantastic kids, and he was more than glad to see them, but what he didn't expect, was for Valeria to be shooting lasers down the halls, or for two kids dressed like him to plow into him.

He caught them in time, rolling. Groaning, he sat up, and dusted himself off. "Are you kids okay?"

"SPIDERMAN!" Franklin said. "What are you doing here?"

The other kid was absolutely still as Franklin hugged him, and Peter chuckled, hugging him back. "Nice to see you too, squirt. Johnny invited me over and, here I am. So, what's up?"

"My new friend's come over for a visit. She's kind of shy and prefers to use sign language. We were just playing 'Spiderman' just now."

He knelt down, "Hello. What's your name?"

"...A-K-I-K-O."

She then showed him her sign name, and his smile was visible through the mask. "Nice to meet you, Akiko."

"Her nickname is Spider-Fluff. Go on, Akiko. Show him what you can do."

The kid twiddled her thumbs for a moment, but then approached a wall, and began to scale it, sitting up on the ceiling. Peter grew nervous. He hoped she wasn't another clone of his. "That's, really cool, Akiko."

"She's from the Xavier Academy," Franklin quickly said, likely guessing Peter's thoughts. "She's uh, not related to you if you're worried about that."

Akiko looked surprised, and began frantically signing so quickly that Spiderman couldn't understand any of it. He asked her to slow down, chuckling at her anxiety. He shook his head, "Whoa, calm down. I'm not mad or anything, just a little worried. Some people have actually cloned me and, it wasn't easy for them. I didn't want you to have to go through the same thing."

There was a long pause, and Franklin was clearly uncomfortable with something. Oh God, was she actually a clone? "Wait, are you-?"

*SNIKT*

"...Oh. So, so you're related to Logan," Peter uttered.

So, either he had sex, or he had another clone made. The latter Peter was more willing to believe. Then again, Daken existed, so it was possible she was Logan's kid, just highly unlikely. He smiled once more at seeing her anxiety. It was strange, seeing a Wolverine that was shy. It reminded him of the rare side of Laura. Yet, he'd never seen one so young. How old was this one? He really, really wanted to take a picture. She was cute, even if he couldn't see her face.

"Don't worry, I won't tell anyone," he said. "Pinky Swear."

She looked at his pinky, and giggled. "No wonder Uncle Deadpool likes you so much."

Peter was so glad he had a mask at that moment.

Chapter Text

"What're we watching again?" Akiko signed.

Franklin munched on popcorn, kicking his legs back an forth in his seat as his sister and Spiderman ate popcorn next to him. Akiko sat on Spiderman's shoulders, not interested in snacks, but intrigued by the explosions and giant robots on the screen.

"That's Captain America," Spiderman exclaimed in a slightly high-pitched voice. "He's the greatest hero of all time." He paused, humming a tune. "When Captain America throws his mighty shield..."

Valeria groaned, but Franklin paused the movie and the two guys began singing together, Spiderman holding onto Akiko's legs just a little tighter so she wouldn't fall off while the boys danced. "All those who oppose his shield must yield!"

"If he's to lead to a fight-"

"And a duel is due-"

Akiko was getting dizzy.

"Then the red and the white and the blue will come through," both sang at the same time, coming to kneel with their right hands resting over their chests as if they were bearing shields. "When Captain America throws his mighty shield!"

What just happened? Akiko looked to Valeria to guidance, but Valeria just rolled her eyes, so Akiko just waited for the giggling two to let it out of their systems. It was kind of adorable. Captain America really was something, huh? She read about him once or twice in the textbooks from her classes and that her father read with her, but he was still a bit of a stranger, and strangers, well, it was hard to tell how to feel about them. It was like seeing a picture or a cover. One couldn't tell what the contents were like based on vague descriptions, could they? But, she had a feeling it wasn't just because he was a gimmick or a mask that people liked Captain America so much.

They started the movie again, and Akiko started having more than a few doubts again. 

"Sorry to be so disarming, Baron," Captain America punned as his shield bounced off the bad guy's robot arm, knocking it out. "Looks like you lost your balance of power!"

Either that was completely fictional, or Captain America was a total dork. Spiderman offered Akiko some popcorn, and she made very sure not to drop any on his head. His watch beeped and he muttered something about "May", excusing himself and apologizing for having to go. Franklin was disappointed, but it was understood that all heroes had a life outside their public identities. It was kind of nice when he gave something to Franklin, a small watch. As for Akiko, he ruffled her hair, and gave Valeria a fist bump. Valeria appeared more than satisfied, and Akiko wasn't into material things, so she was okay with it. As for Franklin...He was fanboying.

"Franklin?"

His eyes were sparkling. How could someone's eyes sparkle? That should be impossible. "This was amazing."

Akiko smiled, congratulating him before asking where their parents were. A hovering automaton joined them.

"The Fantastic Four and Daken have gone out to 'get lunch', and will return in thirty-four minutes," it announced.

"Thanks, Herbie," Franklin said. Akiko waved to it as thanks, and it waved back, the glowing of its eyes squinting pleasantly to indicate some form of a smile. At least, she interpreted it as a smile. "Herbie likes you."

She faced the robot, her voice scratchy, "Um, what does 'Herbie', mean?"

"Humanoid Experimental Robot, B-Type Integrated Electronics," Herbie proudly announced.

And Akiko had thought she was dizzy before. "Er, I'm sorry, I'm stupid so I think I'm just gonna call you Herbie."

Her voice had gotten very quiet as she murmured her apology. Valeria lifted Akiko's hands from her lap, giving Akiko a small smile, "You're not stupid just because there's something you don't understand. You're stupid if you refuse to learn. From what I've seen, you tend to want to understand more about everything. Am I wrong?"

Akiko beamed, nodding. Herbie flew next to her. "Besides, I like being called Herbie. It's my name."

That made the little one giggle a little, and they continued watching the movie, Herbie joining in on the fun.

It was a few minutes later that the alarms for the tower sounded, and Herbie picked up the children, taking them into the emergency room. Akiko covered her ears, wincing at the blaring sirens that blasted her heightened senses. Valeria grimaced, placing a comforting hand on Akiko's shoulder. The former rushed forward then, uttering codes alongside Franklin and Herbie, searching for a possible threat. The cameras began flickering, darkening, the audio dying. Akiko's heartbeat pounded, and her breathing was uneasy. Opening her senses, she thought for a moment, stepping forward.

Recalling what her father taught her, she said, "Turn off the visual, and elevate the audio frequency."

"What?" Franklin asked, his sister's eyes widening.

"She's right. They've most likely hacked part of the system so we're going to short out both the audio and/visual sensors. We have physical ones too, but whoever's doing this will likely suspect that if they've gotten this far. Adjust one of the other sensors so they can't detect it or have a harder time messing with it-"

"And we can get past them," Franklin finished, grinning. "You two are absolutely brilliant."

Akiko blushed, more so when Valeria smirked at her. Unable to meet Valeria's eyes, she quickly searched around, finding a very interesting dust bunny on the floor. Franklin did as suggested, and...They managed to hear voices, although for the first few seconds, they sounded like digitized chipmunks on helium.

"Where are they, Osborn?"

"I said we'll find them, Bullseye."

There was a hiss, and Herbie did something on the computer, enabling the kids to see a large, black liquid-like mass. It had a white, spider symbol on it, a huge tongue, and hideous face. Akiko wrinkled her nose. "Ew."

"Norman Osborn, what's he doing here?" Franklin asked.

He and Valeria began whispered hushedly, and Akiko thought deeply. Norman Osborn...Norman Osborn...Osborn...Where had she heard that name before? And why was she thinking of Halloween and pumpkins? Also, that guy had a really bad hairstyle.

Franklin snickered, and Akiko narrowed her eyes at him. He covered his grin, trying not to laugh again, "Sorry, you've got loud thoughts. Just, yeah, he does have lame hair."

"Dad and the others are supposed to be back soon. Can we call them?" Akiko asked.

Valeria shook her head, showing their computers, "We've been cut off, and Franklin, Dad's grounded him so some of his abilities are cut off."

Akiko raised an eyebrow. Franklin rubbed the back of his neck, his cheeks a deep, dark red. "Er, I have a lot of powers. When I was a baby, Dad kind of made me an inhibitor so I couldn't hurt anyone, including myself, until I learned to control them. I blew up a planet the other day - don't worry it was uninhabited - but I'm grounded and I can't send telepathic messages too far out."

"...How many powers do you have, kid?"

"Honestly, we kind of lose track sometimes," Franklin admitted. "I'm kind of like a god, I guess?"

"Gary Stu," she signed, ignoring him when he guffawed. "My cousin, Gabby, and I watched a really old movie the other day where a kid filled his house with a lot of traps for burglars during Christmas. Do you know that movie?"

"Try finding someone who doesn't know that movie," Valeria said. "So, we're going to pull a 'Home Alone'?"

Akiko shrugged, then nodded. The siblings gave a thumbs up while Herbie groaned, the robot sounding like they were about to cry.


 

 

Norman Osborn was expecting a fight. He had been expecting fire and explosions. What he had not been expecting, was a trip wire that resulted in him being dragged throughout hallways, sliding through a waterfall of caramel sauce, glitter, and chicken feathers before being hung up as a piñata. Bullseye was rolling on the ground, laughing to the point of tears while Venom was struggling, and notably failing, not to chortle as he got Osborn down.

"I swear I've seen this from a movie somewhere!" Bullseye cackled.

Norman grit his teeth, searching for some kind of science station to wash the gunk off. Finding it, he let out a sigh of relief, at least until he was bathed in slime. Bullseye and Venom were truly sobbing with laughter then, at least until glitter rained upon all of them from above. Venom shrieked in agony for some reason, and they realized, there was chilli powder mixed into it. Whoever was doing this to them was a sadist.

No one waited for anything to come out of the sprinkler systems, running down the hallways away from whatever else was to come after them. In one of the bathrooms, Bullseye was able to scrub out his eyes with actual, clean water, and Osborn did his best to clean himself, hissing at the stench of rotting eggs and, oh dear lord, was that Durian? How did someone capture the scent of the Durian fruit?! Bullseye and Venom were maintaining a good distance away from him, Bullseye's eyes still watering, but it was unknown if it was because of the powder, Osborn's stench, or a combination of the two.

"This was not the Fantastic Four's doing," Osborn groaned, leaning his forehead on the porcelain sink. "They are not this clever...Or sadistic."

"Not Daken's either," Bullseye wheezed, wiping his eyes with a wet paper towel. "He's not that childish."

"Yeah, because you know him so intimately," Venom chuckled, earning an arrow in the thigh.

The two started to square off until Osborn redirected their attention. "Speaking of 'childish'...If it's not either of those parties, it's best to assume that it's the Fantastic Four's spawn."

"Great," Bullseye grumbled. "I hate children."

Osborn exhaled, straightening the remains of his jacket, "Now now, I may be a believer of corporal punishment-"

"And you're a psychotic murderer," Bullseye muttered.

"I may be a believer of corporal punishment," Osborn restated, glaring, "But there's no need to get violent."

Venom was still trying to remove glitter and chili powder when the sinks began spouting lemonade at them. Venom screeched as he clawed at his eyeballs, and Bullseye gave Osborn a dry look, "What was that about corporal punishment and violence?"

"...That they go hand and hand on certain occasions, just like this one."


 

"Akiko, where did you get all these ideas?" Franklin asked.

The little girl grinned sadistically. "A few movies, books, and a lot of restraint when it comes to dealing with annoying people. I imagine what I would like to do instead of doing it. It allows for creativity."

Valeria leaned over to her brother, "Now I truly understand that quote, 'It's the quiet ones you gotta watch out for.'"

Franlkin slowly nodded. Akiko suddenly gasped, slamming a fist into one of her palms, "Now I remember Norman Osborn! He's the definition of insanity!"

"Huh?" both siblings asked.

None of them noticed the figures closing in on them from the hallways.

"Norman Osborn once dressed up in a goblin outfit, 'laughing like a lunatic' and throwing exploding pumpkins at strangers," she giggled. "Norman Osborn is 'the definition of insanity.'"

"'Definition of insanity,' huh?" 

All the children still, slowly turning to see Norman Osborn, Venom, and Bullseye glaring down at them, covered in feathers, glitter, various debris of trash and food waste, and a few bath toys. Herbie lay behind them, powering off, his electronic face sorrowful. Bullseye was panting, a dagger in one hand and gun in the other, a quiver on his back. He looked deranged. Venom had bloodshot eyes, and smoke was pouring off of him. Well, it looked like they made it through the blowtorches, somehow.Norman's glare sharpened more at the sight of Akiko and Franklin in their Spiderman garb. A vein in his forehead was visibly twitching.

Akiko heard a telepathic voice in her head. "Akiko, any ideas?"

"Yeah, a really, really stupid one."

"Akiko, don't-"

Akiko smiled, and the kids slowly raised their hands. Slowly, she began signing, walking forward, and the siblings reluctantly moved back. Osborn scowled, "Oh please, you're not deaf. Use your words you little-"

Bullseye whispered, "Um, Osborn, I think you should-"

The siblings jumped upwards then into the ventilation shaft, and before Venom or Bullseye could react, Akiko yanked down a rope by her side, the one that had been right next to the door, raining down a rainbow flurry of not only glitter, but rhinestones, sand, and dirt.

She leap back, and hissed as a bullet grazed her side. The siblings crawled quickly away while she stayed behind, bending down to take out a t-shirt cannon that had belonged to Johnny, and fired Fantastic Four merchandise at them, sending Osborn and Bullseye spiraling into the hallway.

She flinched a little when she hit Bullseye in a rather sensitive, private place. Seeing that Venom was finally starting to get up, but struggling with the amount of sand and dirt it had begun to absorb (there was a person under there - why was he naked by the way?), she ran, entering the ventilation shaft, but moved in the opposite direction, making sure to close off the entryway the Richards' siblings had gone in. Unfortunately, it hadn't been enough.

Akiko yelped as a black tendril dragged her back down. Using her normal nails, she managed to attain some grip, but it failed her. So, when she reached the ground, and was handed off to Bullseye, she bared her teeth, even if it couldn't be seen underneath her Spiderman mask.

*SNIKT!*

Spider-Fluff slashed at Bullseye's legs, causing him to fall down and curse profusely while she attempted to dash away. "Why does Spiderman have Wolverine's claws?!"

Akiko giggled, "Because Spiderman is that awesome."


Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, felt ice fill his chest as Reed checked the security cameras. Next to both of them, Daken was still, but all could feel his rage. Worse yet, he felt the rage of three parents combined as Reed and Susan looked through the lenses, seeing their children in danger.

Daken picked up his cell phone, dialing a number. "Logan, call in the Avengers. Osborn is going down."

In that moment, no one disagreed or argued against the Dark Wolverine.

...

..

.

This, was going to get messy, wasn't it?

 

 

Chapter Text

Franklin Richards was a lot of things, a LOT of things. He was the firstborn of Susan nee Storm and Reed Richards. He was the nephew of Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm. All of them had been astronauts who had been trapped in a space station when they were hit by a cosmic storm, giving them abilities that granted them abilities few had ever dared to imagine, effectively making them the first, truly super-powered mutates in existence, and the first to become superheroes. It was through them and their legacy, that Franklin and Valeria existed.

Reed Richards wasn't proud of it though. Once upon a time, he told them bedtime stories about an arrogant man who did something very stupid, one who took his friends into space, saying that they "had to be first." That the man had gone with his friends into space without proper preparations, without proper shielding, and a wave of radiation had changed them all into something other than  human . The siblings' father told them a story about a man who had felt a lifetime of guilt, and how he deserved it, because those were people he  loved , and that he had destroyed their lives, turning them into lab specimens, or worse. He had to make them be seen as heroes, all given ridiculous costumes and names because glamour and fame weren't and option, but a necessity to save their lives. Franklin's father told the siblings that the man hoped that one day, the man could be forgiven, but he didn't believe he could forgive himself.

It didn't take a genius to know who the man in the story was, and with stories such as those, Franklin understood why he needed to be wary of his own abilities. Franklin Richards had telepathy, absorb energy, powers to make universes, alter reality, and so much more. Yet, the question was should he do all that? As his favorite hero said, "With great power, comes great responsibility."

Yet, for all the power in the world, for all the things he was, he was still a child, and all children at some point felt fear.

Franklin Richards was very afraid the day his friend didn't get up, and he couldn't do anything about it.


 

"I'm going to kill that brat," Bullseye grunted, tending to his leg.

Osborn folded his arms, "What was she signing?"

"Keep the change,you filthy animal," Bullseye scowled. "Wanna bet this whole thing was her idea?"

Venom shook himself, trying to remove all of the gunk from his form, growling and hissing the entire time. Osborn frowned, "'Definition of insanity'...She knows Daken, and considering the fact she has Wolverine's claws, I'm willing to bet a thousand dollars they're related."

"...I'm almost tempted to take up that bet, but I don't like those odds, and considering my new possible medical bills, it's not worth it," Bullseye commented. "I'm just glad she didn't go for the Achilles'. Weird, it's not even that deep. I thought Wolverines' go for the kill."

Osborn smirked, "Who says that was a real Wolverine? In any case, this may be even better than getting back at Daken in the way I initially surmised. If he's confided in her somehow, he obviously cares for her on some level."

Venom grunted, "They have the same claws."

There was a long pause of silence. Bullseye finally uttered, "You don't think-?"

"Most likely a clone, considering it's happened before with Daken's forebearer," Osborn remarked. "Daken isn't the type to create his own spawn."

"You aren't either, but you still have some," Bullseye pointed out. "Maybe it was an accident?"

"Daken doesn't have accidents," Osborn grimaced, rubbing the center of his sternum. "I learned that all too well a long time ago."

Bullseye's eyes didn't meet anyone else's. "I wonder who he must've fucked to make that one."

Venom gave Bullseye a dry look, and Bullseye promptly shot him once more. Bullseye muttered something under his breath about "stupid pheromones" and began polishing one of his guns. "So, Osborn, how are we going to do this now that they've booby trapped the place?"

Osborn raised an eyebrow, and gestured to the security panel.

"Oh, right."


 

A young man lifted yellow caution tape, showing policemen his badge with a grumble. He had blonde hair and blue eyes, and wore lots, and lots of leather. His sideburns itched, as did his nose as the smells of the city start to burn his nostrils. His black and blue uniform was more eye catching than usual with the number of heroes around that wore reds and browns, and he sighed, wishing he didn't have to be there at all. Most people either made fun of him or rolled their eyes. Either he was an albino clone, or the extra kid everyone forgot about. It sucked.

Basically, to everyone else, he seemed to be the Anakin Skywalker instead of the Darth Vader they'd been hoping for. He just wanted to go home and have a beer at this point.

He tensed as he saw a man with a red helmet talking to his son and daughters. The son had silvery hair and the daughters, one of whom dressed in scarlet and the other pretty much was emerald as the city of Oz. His hair bristled, and he walked quickly past them, muttering nope repeatedly under his breath, trying desperately to hide his face. Dear God, why did his father never learn sex ed?

"Jimmy, we need you!"

Poison began whispering curses in Jimmy's head at the same time he did, the two in near agreement. For all that the Poison tried to take over his mind, there were moments where the two could get along, sparingly those moments were. Seeing Daken Akihiro there, Jimmy scowled, "Shouldn't he be locked up or something?"

Daken didn't smirk or mock him for some reason. Whatever was going on had to be serious for the almighty Daken to be so focused on a screen like that. Logan frowned. "He's...On probation of a kind."

"Bullshit."

"Language," Captain America scolded, then palmed himself in the forehead. "Sorry, was making a health video for schools earlier. God, that was one of the most boring I've ever had to do."

Jimmy batted away Poison's inquisitive thoughts from his mind. "What did you call me over for? I see that Laura and Gabby are here too. So, you've clearly got enough Wolverines here."

"Yeah, but we need a Venom," Daken stated coolly. "And your Poison symbiote is the closest thing we've got."

Well, that was unexpected. "Um, in case you hadn't noticed, I left my X-Men so I wouldn't use it?"

Poison's voice of protests were getting louder in his head, and Jimmy imagined pounding and slashing the thing repeatedly. It was very satisfying. 

"Osborn, Bullseye, and Venom have potential hostages inside. Children hostages," Daken specified. His voice became a little hoarse, almost desperate on the emphasized word. "We have a plan in mind, but for part of it to work, it would be significantly easier to have a symbiote of some kind on our side. How stable is yours?"

James "Jimmy" Hudson was a lot of things. He was the son of James "Logan" Howlett and Magda Lensherr nee Eisenhardt. He was a mutant, and he discovered it when he crashed in a drag race, covered in flames. His girlfriend ran away in horror at the sight of him. He found out that his parents weren't really his parents, and that he had been adopted when a woman named Katherine Pryde appeared at his doorstep, and he saw a hologram of his father, the Wolverine. He would still never know Logan, because Logan died years earlier.

When Jimmy's claws unsheathed themselves for the first time, they were piercing his skin like a thousand papercuts all at once between his knuckles, and it got worse when they formed their own kind of metal. He learned he'd been loved by the Logan of that world in that final message, and shunned by the one in the world he was currently in. In the world he was from, he was hunted and he tried to protect everyone he came across, getting hurt every single time. All everyone saw him as was a copy of Logan, so that's what he tried to be sometimes. He tried to live up to the legacy. He was from another dimension, another timeline, and an advanced form of the Venom symbiote known as Poison had latched onto him during an invasion. It was the last of its kind, and it was one of the few things that could truly challenge Venom. 

Jimmy tried to be good, and he wondered when it would ever be enough. He wondered when he would ever be enough. Maybe this time, he just might.

"What did you have in mind?"


 

Akiko felt like she was in one of those Scooby Doo cartoons that Broo and Quentin liked. This scenario even included bad guys in ugly costumes...Wait, were some of those costumes were their real faces? It was hard to tell.

Her feet screeched across the floor a little as she made a stop, rounding about to a phone. Okay, go the horror movie route, the real world route? She lived in a world full of literal superheroes, so it was more likely that the horror route where she was going to get captured if she made any kind of attempt to communicate with the outside world was going to get her caught, but at the same time, she had the Wolverine senses and superhealing. So, how much was she willing to gamble? Akiko thought of Franklin and Valeria, remembering she wasn't alone in this, and whimpered a little, muttering all kinds of words she was fairly sure her father would scold her for. Guess what though? Science proved it helped relieve stress according to an article Broo read, and this was an emergency. She had a valid excuse to curse as many words as she wanted.

Keeping her senses wide open, she rushed at the phone, and jumped up off the counter, crawling onto the ceiling, literally hanging up on it behind a ledge as she kept an eye out. Dialing a phone number, she waited, trying to calm her heartbeat.

"...This is Daken."

"Chichi, I'm in trouble. There's an angry goblin, shooter, and some kind of squid monster thingy trying to kill the Fantastic siblings and me," she whispered. "We uh, made the tower into Home Alone when they invaded and we made them angrier. Also, they're covered in feathers and glitter, and smell really bad."

There was a small pause, and laughter on the other end, but it wasn't from her father. He groaned, "Okay Akiko, where are the other two?"

"I uh, don't know. We split up to make it harder for the bad guys to get us. They were about to catch us and they shot at me. I kind of stabbed one of them when he grabbed me," she admitted, peeking around the corner. "I overheard him saying he wants to kill me."

He mumbled her name in irritation, sighing, "On one hand, I'm very proud of you, and on another, I'm very anxious. Richards is tracking your position. Do you know which direction you saw the siblings last at the very least?"

She thought for a moment. From her previous position to her current one would be..."Southwest. They were moving southwest of where I am now. We were in the control room when we split up, so they would've been moving west."

Akiko heard Mr. Richards confirm her assessment on the other end. "Good, glad to hear I taught you something, even if that was for tracking. Now, I need you to be very, very careful, but try to find the siblings. If you can't, don't. Assembly in thirty. There's going to be a man that looks like Logan, except blond. He'll smell funky, but you need to trust him, okay?"

She wrinkled her nose. "Okay, but why would he smell funky?"

"He, has a parasite, one similar to 'squid monster'."

"...So, he's into-?"

"NO I'M NOT!" came a rather loud yelp, igniting several sounds of laughter from the other end.

Akiko had to cover the phone. When she released it, she sighed, "It's fine. He's related to grandpa, isn't he?"

"Wait, she's-?"

"Yes, yes he is."

She shrugged, not bothered in the slightest at that point. "Makes sense."

Akiko was just getting used to the idea that her family was always going to be weird in their own unique ways.

Footsteps echoed and she had to hang up. Scrambling into another vent, she watched from a safe distance, wary of the intruders as she slowly backed away.

"The phone's missing."

Akiko needed to learn some new curse words.

Chapter Text

Valeria Richards was a lot of things. She was the daughter of Sue and Reed Richards, the niece of Johnny Storm and Benjamin Grimm. However, she was also the child of Victor von Doom. Whether people chose to understand or believe that, she did not care. There was both light and dark inside everyone. She knew it. She had seen it. She expected it. She had seen it in Doom, who agreed to save her life but on the condition that he gave Valeria her name. Valeria's very first word had been Doom's name in return. Her brother once even told her that hope of the future lay in a man as dark as Doom, and she believed and trusted her brother. It turned out Franklin's words were true, and that even those who were considered the greatest of evil, could have the smallest of light inside.

There was good and light in everyone, and Valeria had no doubt that there was light in Daken, just as there was darkness in his daughter.

 

"The phone's missing."

Akiko needed to learn some new curse words. Her insides froze then, as she looked ahead, seeing that Franklin and Valeria were not far from Osborn and his associates. If they looked in the right way, or just made a small step in the opposing direction, the siblings would be found. The youngest one there thought quickly, knowing fully well that she had healing abilities that the other two didn't, but also aware that she held information, valuable information they didn't. Shutting her eyes, she focused.

"Franklin, can you hear me?"

"Yes! Are you okay-?!"

"I'm fine," she responded, fighting to calm her heartbeat. "Meet in the assembly room in thirty minutes. Dad's sending help. Says there's gonna be a blond guy that looks like grandpa. I'll distract these guys. Run when I tell you to."

She ignored the protests and looks in their eyes, picking up the phone before sliding down part of the vent, making sure to make a lot of noise along the way, She made a turning a sharp right, quietly this time, so that it would be harder to detect her while she dropped the phone, the scraping of it against metal making it a lot more appealing of prey than her still form. At first, the sentient goo followed that while she stealthily began to back away, but then it grabbed her ankle, dragging her out. Her head clanked on the way out, leaving a gash on her forehead. She hissed, blinking blearily as the lights hit her. Before her, was the ugly mass of black ink-lik substance. She tilted her head, wrinkling her nose at the scent.

"You smell like trash." It roared in her face. Akiko was unimpressed. "Want mint? I've got some in my pockets."

For a moment, it actually looked considerate, and the man next to him raised an eyebrow. Hesitantly, the creature reached into one of her pockets, finding actual mints. Its jaw slacked, pointing to them, and she shrugged. The guy with guns grimaced, "Are you sure you want to-?"

The creature ate some, and breathed a sigh of relief. Akiko smiled, "See? Isn't that better?"

"Why do you carry mints?" Archery guy asked.

"I have problems talking. Physical injury," she said nonchalantly, her voice hoarse, pained. "And I have a friend that turns into a green rage giant if he gets too hungry. He doesn't like Snickers apparently, so I got him mints instead. Now he won't turn into a giant green hulk of a guy as much. Now, can I have one? My throat hurts, a lot."

The weapons guy frowned, "So, that's why you were signing."

Osborn appeared behind them. "Are you seriously doing this?"

Akiko flipped him off, and Osborn scowled. "You little bitc-"

The inky blot flipped him off too, giving her a"... mint. She put it under her tongue to suck on, able to talk. "Thanks. So, why did you invade the tower? This is private property."

The child didn't even look at Valeria or Franklin as they snuck by, doing her best not to draw attention to them. The bad guys were stumped. "Wait, we're supposed to be interrogating you, not the other way around."

Despite being hung upside down and utterly at their mercy, Akiko rolled her eyes. "Tomato, potato. Point is, I don't know who you assholes are, and you invaded my friends' home, and they don't know you either. This is New York, and we have the Castle Doctrine. You're breaking and entering, and most likely gonna steal something valuable and hurt somebody along the way. We can basically beat you guys the fuck up however much we want until you leave."

"...How old are you?"

She pursed her lips, "I'm four years old, why?"

"I couldn't even read at your age, how the hell do you even know all this stuff?" the weapons guy asked.

"Internet," she answered, shrugging once more. "And TV. You pick up a lot of useful stuff when it's easy to get. It's kind of like how you're able to get weapons so easily. No one needs to do their homework if everyone can just go out and find it by themselves without someone stopping them."

The guy  narrowed his eyes, "Can I shoot her?"

"I'd normally say yes since she's likely to have a healing factor, but I'm not entirely sure," Osborn stated. "bodies are hard to clean up."

Akiko squinted her eyes. "You, don't know how to hide a body properly? Really?...You're lame, and old."

Osborn gaped and the others began laughing. "You, we're gagging you."

"Pedo," she said with a straight face. Osborn flinched, stuttering in confusion. "No wonder people hate you so much. Kidnapping, gagging, and most likely about to tie up a little girl? Yeah, you're into some really bad stuff, asshole."

The other two were suddenly very unsure about the plans they had. "Don't, she's just being as manipulative as-"

"I don't care," the archer grumbled. "What if this gets out and it sounds like-?"

Venom dropped the kid. "I'm out."

Akiko spotted the phone she dropped, and sat up, tucking the phone closely enough to her so that it would be hard to see. Carefully, she put it on speed dial to Johnny before sitting there with crossed legs. She hoped the people on the other side could hear what was going on. "So, what brings you here if not to mess with kids in the first place? I mean, if it's not to chase after us, terrify us, or gag us and tie us up, then why are you here?"

Osborn opened and closed his mouth, starting to take out his gun, but then shoved it away again, slowly breathing in and out to better compose himself. "Don't do it. Don't do it. Don't do it...She's most likely Daken's kid, so don't fall for it."

Ding ding, we have a winner. "So, this has something to do with Daken? As in, like, Wolverine's kid?"

All three turned back to her with narrowed eyes. "You little bitch."

She blinked up at them innocently. "What?"

 "You're trying to trick me. I'm onto you, you little-"

There was a loud thunk, and Akiko stilled, seeing Herbie there. Arms appeared from his sides, as did what looked like machine guns. Akiko cursed, leaping away as the robot fired at Osborn and the others. Franklin ran to her side, as did Valeria. "We're getting you out of here, Akiko."

"Guys, it's not-" she started to say, only for her senses to scream at her.

Snarling, she twisted around, unsheathing her claws to strike an arrow out of the air.multiple shouts and curses followed, smoke joining in. Shoving Valeria and Franklin out of the way, the kids began to run, Franklin yelping as the goo hit one of the pipes above them. Valeria had some kind of communication device in her hand. "Dad, we've got Akiko! We've got-!"

They were thrown back as the floor shifted from under them, and Akiko jumped, shielding the two from rubble crumbling down. It was confusing, and nothing was making sense anymore. What happened? How did it all go by so fast? She'd had control of the situation and then everything went to hell. Akiko whimpered, not having experienced that kind of pain in a long time. When was the last time she'd really had a bone broken? Thinking back, she realized, it was back when her father had rescued her from that terrible place. He wasn't going to be able to rescue her in that moment, and Akiko needed to rescue her new friends. She needed a boost, just a little extra power. It was scary, but she had an idea of how to get it...

She swallowed, "C'mon, I'm a Wolverine. Wolverines berserker rage. I can berserker rage. C'mon berserker rage...I need to rage. I need to get mad. Get mad..."

The little girl fought to stand up, panicking as she found one of her legs broken, mottled with blues and purples. Panting, she saw the shine of a gun directed at Valeria. She didn't even think as she moved, the pain of her broken limb in the back of her mind.

Everyone tends to think when a gun goes off that it's a noise of thunder or a giant explosion. No, it's not that at all. Actually, it's kind of like a firework, but softer. Sure, it hurts the ears if you're way up close, but compared to the bullet that hits you, when it really get through to you, the noise is nothing. All it is, is a little...Pop.

Franklin Richards was a lot of things,  yet, for all the power in the world, for all the things he was, he was still a child, and all children at some point felt fear.

Franklin Richards was very afraid the day his friend didn't get up, and he couldn't do anything about it.

 

...

 

..

 

.

 

She wasn't healing.

 

Chapter Text

Akihiro was a lot of things, and he wasn't a lot of things. Akihiro wasn't a hero. He wasn't a good man. He wasn't the kind of person that was easy to love, or to give love in return. Once upon a time he loved someone. He loved his father, Akihira, a man who was almost literally the light of his life. Akihira was the one who made things bearable, who believed in him when no one else would. When Akihira died, Akihiro fell victim to Romulus, and was used and abused for years.

"Why do you limit yourself?"

"Dad, we've got Akiko! We've got-!"

The audio was crackling, fighting to break through the cacophony of sound unsuccessfully. Their screams broke through though as what sounded like metal and stone was hitting something near them.

There was yelling, cursing, and someone crying. He knew that voice. Please, don't let her be hurt. Please, don't let her die. Don't let her be killed. 

He remembered how small she was when he found her. She was still so small. He couldn't imagine, he didn't want to imagine finding her like that again. He didn't want to find worse than that.

 

Akihiro was a lot of things. He had done a lot of things. He had been raised to kill, and he had killed.

"You care about power, but that is something you already have."

 

At the door, the three of them were somewhat intrigued to find a door that was a blend of adamantium and vibranium. Just how someone made that was a major question on their minds, but it would have to be answered at a later date. Listening closely, Daken grimaced when he could barely hear a heartbeat inside. It was so quiet and calm, he almost could've sworn that whoever was in there was small as a puppy. He shared a look with Sabretooth, who was equally confused.

"Victor? Daken?"

"Are you sure there weren't any other details about what is in there?" Victor asked. "It sounds...Small?"

She raised an eyebrow, "Whatever it is, it's locked behind adamantium, and vibranium, and was labeled as extremely dangerous. So does size really matter?"

 

Daken began shouting orders, Reed working by his side, desperation in the latter's voice, and desperation burning inside the former's. He was strong, he had to be.

 

Akihiro was a lot of things, but hell, he had changed hadn't he? Maybe it was Laura and Gabby who'd had a hand in it.

"Power is something that comes easy to you."

 

"Hey sweetheart. You remind me of my own daughter. Her name is Clarice."

Daken blinked. "You have a daughter?"

"She's adopted, but yes," Sabretooth grinned proudly. "Want to see pictures?"

Feeling awkward, both he and Mystique said no. How was he so sure this thing, er, child, was a girl anyways? Daken booped the kid's nose, who wrinkled it in irritation. "Now, who the hell are you made from?"

As he was pulling his hand back, tiny claws burst forth from her wrists and knuckles, causing them to bleed profusely. That wasn't what startled him. What did startle him, was the fact of how those claws were positioned. They weren't the three in a row like Logan's, nor positioned like two in the middle like Laura's and Gabby's. Nope, they were two on top, and one in the wrist. Just. Like. His.

"Fuck."

He composed himself, remembering that his little girl had advanced healing abilities.

 

In his beginnings, he had killed his adopted brother out of rage and jealousy, and he'd regretted because his father, his true father, committed suicide because of that action.

"But you choose not to care."

 

"Can someone give her a damned name already? Something besides nicknames or 'kid'? It's really staring to get on my nerves."

When Daken started to ask Mystique for advice, she shook her head. "Oh no, she's yours. You get to name her."

Looking at her, he realized she didn't just remind him of himself or Itsu. He remembered when she warned them back in the base of danger, that deep down inside, even as young as she was, she held some honor in her. He hoped she would keep that with her. He hoped, she wouldn't be like him. He instead hoped, she would be like, even if only a little, like the most honorable person he'd ever known.

"Akiko. Her name, is Akiko."

After his father.

  Akiko got that from him as well. She had to have.

 

And now?

"You limit your heart. I do not know why."

 

In the back of his mind, he saw his father, his true one and the biological one. He saw Romulus, and Laura and Gabby. He saw the faces of so many he had killed and everything he had sacrificed in his path. He saw all the precautions he made to get what he wanted and in one simple action, a choice taken from him, there was a face among them he saw her. He punched Victor, the claws in his fists slipping as he slashed his temporary ally's face, finally, utterly losing his composure.

"She. is. NOT. MY. DAUGHTER!"

Breathing heavily, he didn't care in that moment if she saw him. He didn't care what she thought. He just needed to get out. 

 Her hands always healed. Her bruises healed when they saved her the first time around, even if it took a while. There was no need to panic.

 

It was Laura, who helped him break free. With her was Gabrielle, and Akihiro adored them both.

" Unless you think caring for others is more dangerous than seeking power."

 

"...By the way, what's Akiko's full name anyway? She's gotta have a legal name."

Logan and Daken returned, the two looking at one another and nodding in silent agreement before Logan spoke. "Akiko is her first name, and with Akiko's permission, we'd like her middle name to be 'Laura'."

"What?"

"Yes!" Akiko giggled as she was picked up by her father, laughing more when he tickled her.

 

Laura placed a hand on his shoulder anyways, and Gabby held his hand as well.

 

 

...

..

.

There was a gunshot.

Franklin Richards screamed Akiko's name.

...

..

.

 

 

Yet, he was still lost, and still struggling to make his own path, always surrounded by darkness.

"Family is just a fluffy toy way of saying necessary support network for an individual. "

 

 

Akiko, his daughter, loved him. And he was supposed to say goodbye. "...Akiko, I-"

"I know," she whispered hoarsely, smiling sadly. "Ya, ya hafta g-go."

She had covered her scent, but unlike Daken, she hadn't mastered the art of lying. She didn't know how to disguise her body language or her voice. He could read her sorrow and pain easily. Then again, how did he not know that she knew? How did she know? How much did she know? And, did he really have to go? Yes, yes, of course he had to. It was the best, safest course for everyone. 

Akihiro wanted to save them. He wanted to protect them all. 

 

Logan helped make the darkness a little lighter, but it wasn't enough.

""Some of us, the weak among us, desire human warmth, encouragement, and affirmation."

 

Logan stared at his son, realizing what his boy was saying, what he might be going through. 

"Logan, Father," Daken sighed, clenching and unclenching his fists. "I want to be free, but a strong belief of mine is that 'He who is brave is free'. Right now, I'm afraid to be part of this, to be with her, any of you. Until I deal with this and learn, I'm trapped in my own cage. I need to face that fear, so I can become stronger. So that I can be the best I can be, not just for her, but also for me."

Wolverine grinned, and tossed the ball once more to his son, letting him take control. 

 

Logan and Daken looked to each other before the two began fighting to break down the doors.  

 

He'd believed that he was a god because of it, that nothing should be above him, and yet, there were many things he'd never have predicted.

 "Someone to pretend to listen while we whine about our day."

 

 

Sabretooth stood at the end of the hallway, sneering at yet another corpse at his feet. "Never did tell me how your tattoos stay with your healing factor."

"And I never will," Daken smirked, walking past him to Mystique's side. Their assassin was reading over the data files to ensure nothing was left behind, prepared to erase everything as soon as they left. Daken was also watching to make sure she did, and didn't. The information was fairly useful after all, and they both knew it. It was a nice game they played, that they all played. It was interesting to see who would come out on top...Both literally and figuratively.

 

Mystique was shouting something he couldn't understand. He didn't care.

 

He never thought he'd come to care for people, but then he met people like Donna, Johnny, Kim, Victor, Raven, and even his own family.

"We are animals. We need sex, so we take on partners, and we get tired in life, so we take a life partner, their siblings being an unwanted complication."

 

"Unless you changed your mind, again, that's your favorite, right?"

"...Thank you."

"Wow, it must be bad," Johnny murmured, leaning forward. He hesitated reaching for Daken's hand, badly wanting to, but unsure as to whether or not he'd be welcome. Retracting, he sighed. "After all, you're coming to me for help? Whatever's going on, it can't be good."

Daken grimaced, "Johnny, I-"

"Just ask, it's not that hard to ask, even for a dead man," Johnny chuckled bittersweetly, his smile soft, fond.

 

  Johnny was there, blasting the walls, Bobby beside him with the X-Men.

 

Akihiro was a lot of things. He was the son of Akihira, child of Itsu and Logan Howlett, and brother to Laura and Gabrielle Kinney. He was a killer, an assassin, and a businessman. He never imagined he would add father to that list. 

"We become aware of our own mortality, and so we squeeze out children."

 

 

"W-O-W...Daddy is old." He groaned, palming his forehead. He really should've known better. Placing his daughter on his hip, they began walking back to the Xavier Institute, taking a small breather at the top of the hill to view the scenery. She looked thoughtful, and tugged lightly on his coat. "Daddy, how old will I get?"

"I honestly don't know, little one," he answered. "We think with your healing powers, that you'll be able to live as long as I can, maybe longer, but no one lives forever, not even the immortals."

"...That doesn't make any sense. 'Immortal' means 'to live forever'. How can you live forever, and not live forever?" she asked.

How does one explain that to someone as young as her? "There's, a difference between being alive, and living, Akiko. Your heart can beat, you could still breath, but you can feel little to nothing and still be considered to be alive. However, to live means to thrive, to enjoy life to the fullest, to have fun and to feel. Immortals, they learn to feel everything to the point where they become numb to everything around them, and may forget how to care and feel. Thus, they are no longer part of the living, because they are dead inside."

She looked horrified. "That's going happen to us? To Laura and Gabby? Grandpa? Me? To you?"

  He wanted to make sure his daughter was okay.

 

In some ways, each of them changed him, just a little. 

"We pat ourselves on the back for our ability to give life when any drooling biological organism can procreate."

 

Akihiro didn't even have to turn when a small form crashed into his legs, clinging onto him. Knowing her touch, her scent, her warmth, he twisted, picking her up, and held her close. Nuzzling her close, he blocked out the rest of the world. He would let himself get angry later, but in those few seconds, he just grateful she was there with him. What he didn't expect, was the smallest sound that came from her. It sent his world tumbling under him.

 

"Daisuki , Chichi."

 

 

I love you,  Father.

 

She was so small. Please, don't hurt her.

 

He was changing, and it was the most frightening thing he could ever imagine. Yet, looking back, it was also one of the most challenging, and fulfilling.

"An amoeba divides..."

 

"Chichi, did you know Broo sometimes eats meat even though he tries to be a vegetarian? Or that sometimes I have the urge to stab something, hurt people even though I don't want to? For Broo, I don't know everything, but he said he didn't have the those feelings before until somebody did something to him, made it 'like a drug'. I don't know what drugs are, but they make it hard to be 'normal'. For me..."

Her voice was hoarse, and Daken didn't know if it was because it was naturally hard for her to talk, or if it was the subject. In any case, she was trying her hardest to communicate in ways Daken didn't think she would've been able to. "I don't remember everything. I don't think I want to, but I think I hurt people. I think I liked it, 'cause I was hurt. I wanted to hurt back. There are hard days here and, I want to hurt people here sometimes. I see myself hurting them, and I know how I can do it. I know I can do it without people knowing. It scares me, and it's hard to stop thinking that stuff, to stop feeling that way. I don't know if I can, but I try. I try to be good, and I know Broo does, and I know you do too. I know everybody here is lost somehow, and, that's okay. You're just, finding your own way."

She smiled at last, meeting his gaze. Akiko's voice rasped, "You'll find your path, someday. I'll be here, waiting for you."

 

All they'd been doing was trying to let her have a relatively normal life. And it was because of him that..

 

 He had friends, a family, and maybe even a home. He was afraid, and he wanted to be free. To be free, he had to be brave, and to be brave, one had to face their fears.

"...There's no little house on the prairie altruism in this world."

 

 

"Grandma and Grandpa were married," she grumbled. "And you're not a dog. You're my Dad."

For the first time in a long one, he was actually tempted to say he wasn't her father as a retort in his anger, but he held back, realizing what he almost did. Yet, she seemed to know anyways.

"This is the part where you say I'm not your daughter. That I'm not real and not worth your time."

"Is that what you want? For me to hurt you?"

She was trembling. "You never wanted a kid, some of the people here don't me, and the only people who had wanted to make me hurt others. Maybe I should be what I was made to be. Maybe, then everyone would be happier. Then, you might be happier-"

"I wouldn't be," he interrupted, gently lifting her chin to have her look him in the eye. "Akiko, you might be sick of hearing this, but do you remember who I named you after?"

"Your father?"

He smiled softly. "The most honorable, kindest man I've ever known. He had an infant dropped on his doorstep, and took that child in. Though that child was unloved by everyone else, mocked, he loved that little one regardless, despite the sins that child committed." He hesitated, the smile becoming bittersweet, "And in the end, that man hurt himself before he would dare hurt his own child."

Akiko blinked. "That child was you."

"Yes, and back then, he was the only person I ever cared for, and until more recently, I never believed I could care for others. I was proven wrong, and I've never been gladder for it," he stated, sighing as he let her go, only to tuck her closer to him. She didn't push him away, and even leaned against him a little. "Akiko, I'm sorry that I seem harsh sometimes. I, I'm lost. I don't know how to be a parent, and I keep making mistakes, and I've never wanted you to suffer for that."

 

How many people did he care about were going to get hurt because of him? Because of his decisions?

 

His greatest fear was to be part of something, to be something more than he was. 

"Every human interaction is a transaction we find those who give us what we need..."

 

She was staring, and he knew at that point, she recognized her namesake, and approached, placing flowers and incense there as she prayed with him.

This time, she looked at him for permission to touch the stone, and he nodded, allowing her to better know the one he knew in life. Seeing her there, he didn't even realize he was crying a little until she was wiping his tears, with Laura helping him at his side. Laura was here for him, just as he helped her with her make peace with her mother. She and the others had stayed away, letting him and his daughter have that moment to themselves, but Akiko had called his sister, and he was grateful.

"Thank you," he said hoarsely, not even sure who he was speaking to, or why. There was too much flooding through him, and it was frightening and freeing all at once. "Thank you."

"Chichi?"

He shuddered, seeing his daughter with his father. What would Akihira think, seeing them both there? Daken smiled, leaning forward and holding her close as he kissed Akiko's forehead. She snuggled into him, burrowing her face into his shoulder.

He didn't even need to look at Laura to know she was crying. He didn't mind. Akiko thanked her grandfather just as she did her grandmother...

 

He wanted her in his arms again, safe and sound. Please...

 

 Akihiro was a lot of things. He had been a lot of things. He was a killer, he was a villain of so many stories, but the one thing he had never been was someone's hero.

"And we cement long time terms with them as a result..."

 

Daken looked down at his daughter, considering the question to even himself. "In their minds, they had something worth fighting for, even though the acts were foolish. To us, their memories are lessons to learn from, and that is why we must remember them, to know where they erred and what we must do to live better, regardless of whether or not they truly happened. We live in the moment as well, and, I've learned that no matter how many plans I may make, or how many mistakes others I can chance with, there's always going to be something unexpected in my own path."

She tensed, eyes widening for a moment before looking at herself, smiling sadly. "Guess I'm your Apple of Discord, huh?"

He hummed, "No, more like my Athena. You even come with a headache sometimes, but you're still a welcome guide and warrior of mine."

 

 The fact she wasn't either of those things, was because of him. 

 

 He wasn't a hero...But in that moment he wanted to be.

 "And you call this a ' family'."

 

Standing before the door, it was one of the few times he actually felt afraid of something, and someone. Who knew he would ever be afraid to face a child, or whatever her reaction might be? Would she hate him, be afraid of him? His heart pounded, and no matter how calm he tried to be, he couldn't. Hand on the cool, hard wood, he sighed, pressing his forehead against it. Clenching his fist, he knew he had to be strong. Please, let him be strong enough to face her. Please...

There was a warmth then on the other side. It and the scent of a young child consumed all of his senses as he knelt, his hand meeting where he knew where hers was. Guilt, fear echoed from him, but to his surprise, there was no fear from her, no anger at all. Just, calm and something else he didn't recognize. The door opened then, and he felt the warmth embrace him as he caught a tiny body that his mind struggled to process. It was as if she would break under his grip with the simplest of actions, and yet, she could break him just as easily. It scared him, so much, but he found himself hugging her back.

He uttered words he never thought he'd bring himself to say.

"...Gomen'nasai."

I'm sorry.

It was his fault.

 

Chapter Text

Akiko Laura Howlett was a lot of things. She was young, she was naive, but she was observant.

 

Everyone tends to think when a gun goes off that it's a noise of thunder or a giant explosion. No, it's not that at all. Actually, it's kind of like a firework, but softer. Sure, it hurts the ears if you're way up close, but compared to the bullet that hits you, when it really get through to you, the noise is nothing. All it is, is a little...Pop.

 

She didn't know where she got it from, but she did know that she used it, and used it often.

 

"What tastes better than it smells?"

Akiko furrowed her eyes, swinging back and forth on the playground set. " ...Your tongue?"

Daken grinned. "Good, you're getting better at this. Now here's a harder one. Feed me and I will live, but give me a drink and I will die. What am I?"

She smirked at first, and he could tell she wanted to say something else besides the true answer, but gave the real one instead. " A fire."

"Correct, but what were you tempted to say?"

"...Flamingly gay." He gaped, grabbed the rope of her swingset, and spun it so that she giggled.

 

Spinning. Why was everything spinning again? Why did she feel so lightheaded?

 

 There was much about the world she had yet to learn, but what she learned, she wanted to learn more about.

 

"All right." Daken frowned. "What do you know about this place Akiko?"

She shrugged, her legs kicking back and forth. " This is a nice cage, not bad? The people are fun and silly. The house is big. They can make fire and rain. I want to say more. I don't know the signs. I do not know how to write."

He sighed, "Fair enough. Akiko, this isn't a cage, despite the jokes you may hear. It's not like the place you were in. It's a place of learning, of studying. It's called a school. The people here will help you learn how to control your claws, and how to talk to people."

Akiko bit her bottom lip. He snorted, telling her that it was a bad habit, and she stopped. " Why do you not teach me?"

"I don't know how to teach you everything and, Akiko, I am not a very nice person. I am not even a decent person," he admitted, unable to meet her eyes. "I've hurt people, killed them, not because I've needed to but because I wanted to. You're going to see and hear that I do a lot of bad things, things that you  shouldn't  do. I don't want you to  be  me. I want  you  to be  you ."

 

 Her body, it was hurting. She couldn't understand what anybody was saying. Why had everything gone so quite.

 

…she had a large legacy on her shoulders.

 

" Uncle Kurt, am I a bad person?"

"Vat makes you t'ink zhat?" Kurt asked her.

He grew concerned upon seeing her twiddling her thumbs anxiously. He knelt down, trying to get on equal footing. She barely met his eyes.  "I, I was made to hurt people. Dad asks me to think of the future, to understand that I have to make choices when people I care about will die. People here get mad at me for reasons I don't know. I don't want to worry my family. I am scared, and confused."

She stared at her knuckles, flexing her hand until her claws slowly unsheathed. Akiko winced as the bony blades appeared, blood drops naturally coming with them, but showing little to no expression otherwise. Kurt had reached out to stop her, but she flinched away, forcing herself to go through with it.

Unable to sign easily, she spoke instead, her voice raspy and harsh. "Jiji, my obas, and I know my Chichi for sure have killed, so am I supposed to do that too?"

Kurt gently placed his fingers over her claws with one hand, and cupped her face with the other. "Oh no, bärchen, your family has just lived a hard life, and, zhey are trying to protect you. Zhey don't always understand how to do that, and zhey're doing zhe best zhey can."

"But, the world is that bad, isn't it?" she murmured, eyes towards the ground. Her hands were clenching into fists, the blades cutting further into her knuckles as she trembled. The little girl didn't even seem to notice the pitter patter of red she was making. "Grandpa's always fighting bad guys with you, Laura and Gabby are always running, and Dad? He's fighting Nazis and other bad people right now, but I know he  used  to be a bad guy. A lot of people say he still is. I don't know if that's true, and, I don't know how to feel about that. I try to tell myself it's okay, and, I think I'm lying. Lying is bad though, and it hurts."

Kurt laid his forehead against hers. "Little one, zere is good and bad in zhis world, and not even zhe oldest of souls can always tell between right and wrong. Zhat's vhy  ve must remember zhose ve care about, and zhe small zings in zhe vorld ve know help ozhers, ze little bits zhat make days brighter.”

 

Her limbs felt heavy. Where was she again? Did it matter? She should just sleep and-

 

Her grandfather was a complicated person, which a past she couldn't begin to understand, one that was full of hurt and one he could heal, but didn't know how.

 

"Don't."

He looked up, seeing Akiko's angry expression. "What?"

Her voice was scratchy, still pained, but somehow clear as she met his gaze evenly. "Stop feeling guilty. It reeks. It's rotten and festers. Heal."

His eyes drifted as he leaned against the wall. "Not an easy thing to do squirt, not when I've lived as long as I have, done and seen the things that I have."

"Then accept them," she murmured, looking at her knuckles. "It hurts, but we clean stuff, help it, each other. Why not help ourselves heal too?"

 

No, wait, this wasn't right. None of it was right. She was supposed to be waiting. 

 

Her grandpa was a big time hero, who just happened to be known for "Being the best at what he did, and what he did wasn't very nice."

 

"They were getting along Logan. He even gave her a milkshake and they talked. They liked being around each other and damn it, it'd be nice if some of us would be friends without the need to attack each other, for once!"

When he didn't reply at first, she continued. "Look at us. What is it that civilians, everyone thinks when we're around each other? No matter who or what we're up against? It's not for us to work together. They want to see us fight each  other . Storm versus Cyclops, Iron Man versus Captain America, Wolverine versus Hulk...Everyone want to see who comes out on top. Worse yet, if we have kids, they think that said kids will continue the parents' grudges. It doesn't  have  to be that way. It  never  did, and yet for some reason it always does. Aren't you tired of that? Don't you want to give something else a chance for once?"

Logan narrowed his eyes. "Those two though? He's a bomb, and she's unknowingly a trigger, kids or not. That's a big risk."

"What isn't?" Jennifer asked, eyes softening. "I didn't put them together in the first place, but we should let them work it out. It's their future to decide, not ours.”

 

 She was supposed to be waiting for...

 

Although she was starting to suspect that he was far better at procreating than killing with the number of additions she might have to make to the family tree.

 

"I heal pretty easily, probably like your dad. He's Logan, right?"

She stiffened, fear drifting off once more, as did worry. "...No. My dad's, another one of grandpa's kids." Akiko glanced at Erista, confusion dancing across her features. "I thought we knew all of them."

Erista smiled bittersweetly, "I was born after Logan left the Savage Lands long ago. It's not surprising he wouldn't be aware of my existence. He and my mother made love after they had a glorious battle."

Skaar swiftly covered Akiko's ears, scowling, but Akiko pulled his hands off. "Um, Skaar? I know what sex is. It's okay...And grandpa is more kinky than I thought he was."

 

Why was it so numb?

 

The problem was, until he tried to figure out how, until he let someone in, he would never heal.

 

After saying goodbye to the X-Men, Daken, Logan, Laura, Gabby, and Akiko flew over to Japan. There, they went to what used to be a small village, all dressed in kimonos, envelopes and omamoris in hand. First, they visited a grave where Logan laid flowers and incense upon the stone.

Akiko knelt in front of her grandmother’ grave, brows furrowed as she closed her eyes, pressing her palms together. She stayed behind with Logan while the others walked away, touching his shoulder to offer comfort. Once he was gone, she touched the stone, pressing her forehead to it.

"...Sobo de ite kurete arigatou."

Thank you for being my grandmother.

 

 Why couldn't she feel anything?

 

Laura, too, was in pain. The scent was pungent, and the scars obvious no matter how much they sealed nor how she disguised it. She was much like Logan, but younger, and in many ways, wiser.

 

Gabby snorted, hesitantly walking up to the little one in his arms, and spoke in an unbelievably soft tone. "Hello there, Akiko. I'm your aunt Gabby. My friend here is Jonathan the Unstoppable. He can seem scary sometimes, but he's really soft and fluffy. Wanna pet him?"

Akiko blinked, holding onto Daken and looking up at him. He nodded, communicating in pheromones what he couldn't in words or facial expression. Laura and Gabby quickly picked up on what was happening, going on by what their surprised faces meant. Checking to make sure Akiko's gloves were on (they didn't need any accidental stabbing), he gently lowered her to see Jonathan, glad to see her brighten as Gabby showed her how to pet the wolverine.

There it was, that gaze of wonder with the hint of a giggle. Something more gratifying, was how she held the wolverine, snuggling into his warm fur. Daken couldn't help the small upward lift of his lips. 

Laura stood by Daken, leaning against him. She was probably the only one he didn't mind doing that.

 

Pain seared through her then. No, the numbness would've been so much better. Her body fell against her will.

 

Gabby? She saw things bluntly, honestly, but accepted them regardless, and tried to move forward, which was better than most could do.

 

Hesitant, Daken joined her, squatting down, inhaling as he unsheathed his own claws, smiling awkwardly. "...Clink?"

She brightened, making her own claws come out further to tap his. He and Victor taught Laura and Gabby the game too, all having to be extra careful due to their adamantium claws, but having some semblance of fun nonetheless. Later, in the cabin that Laura and Gabby had "borrowed" from Logan, they placed hide and seek with Akiko, who the former two learned not only had Daken's ability to conceal his scent, but could also climb walls.

Gabby laughed, "I dub thee, 'Spider-Fluff'!"

 

Hey, that was Franklin and Valeria. Why did they look so sad? And scared?

And for Akiko's father...

 

It still took her a bit to fall asleep, but when she did, the ones who hurt her had come back. None of the nice ones were there. She was own her own once again. She should've known it was only a matter of time. The pain came again, the tiredness, but she shouldn't cry out. Don't make noise. Be strong. Don't let people see what's wrong. Just, just find a way out. Always be strong. Don't let them see-

There was a sudden warmth, and her first thought was of the warmth she had felt through the door of her prison. It was the warmth that had made her feel safe on the day she was freed, the one that belonged to the grumpy one. She knew his scent too. Nuzzling into him, she didn't want to let go, hoping she wouldn't have to go back to that place. She wanted to go back to the area with that yellow brightness in the blue space above, with the air that channeled coolly around her, with the one with the clinky games and the pretty lady and with  him .

She wanted to be with the one that made her feel like she finally belonged.

 

Warm, it was burning. Please, stop the burning. There was some relief when her body slammed into the ground.

 

She couldn't stop the whispers, nor the gossip.

 

Gambit scowled, "Are we really going to do this? He's a criminal!" The ex-thief got looks that made him shrink. "Hey, I didn't nearly cause a mass genocide!"

"Ya sure about that, sugar?" Rogue grumbled. "None of our hands are the cleanest."

"Still doesn't excuse the fact of what Daken's done, and what he's continuing to do-"

*SNIKT*

A claw had gone through one of his cards, and a toddler was snarling at him, giving Gambit a death glare. Said claw was a single one, right by the middle knuckle. Daken gawked. "AKIKO! Where did you learn that!?"

She blinked, gesturing to Logan. Logan raised his hands in surrender. "I didn't-!"

"Yes you did!" Cyclops yelped. "You flipped me off earlier!”

 

Her knuckles were red, the claws still out. They weren't healing at all. Why was that? This wasn't good. This was bad. And everything hurt really bad.

 

The others would stop once they realized she was there, and a few wouldn't, not caring either way.

 

"Why the hell is  he  here?"

Daken smirked, winking. "Miss me, Snowflake?"

Bobby scowled, folding his arms as he leaned against the wall, a draft of frozen mist emanating from him as he grit his teeth. Akiko's head turned, moving back and forth as she tried to figure out what was going on. " Father, you make people angry."

"That's just my specialty, honey," he said proudly. "So, what did you think of the other kids?"

 

Please, someone help make it go away. Could Uncle Bobby get her ice like he used to for her baby teeth? Maybe that would make it feel loads better. Maybe she wouldn't cry so much. Please, make it stop.

 

That didn't matter though, because she had seen and heard enough the first day she encountered him to understand the kind of man he was, even if she didn't know his words.

 

There were voices outside of her door, and she had the urge to hiss once more, to try to frighten the mean people away. But, their scents were different this time. One, was even familiar, even though she knew she’d never met whoever was on the other side of the door. Instinctively, she approached, placing her palm on the cool metal. To her shock, a much larger, hand-shaped heat could be felt through it.

 

She couldn’t understand what the male said, but his voice sounded nice. It sounded, comforting. The little one wanted to see him. She scampered away and up the walls, only pausing upon hearing the female speak before continuing her path. That’s when she sensed them, the ones who hurt her. She had to warn the nice ones. She could never have fathomed how much that moment, that little act of kindness, would forever change her life.

 

The floor was a balm to her at that point, a savior where there was none other to be found. The red on the floor reminded Akiko of Raven's hair.

 

 She saw the blood spilled, his manic gaze, the violence he made.

 

The scent was  projected  at them,  warning  them. The large one roared, turning behind them to chase after the bad ones while the familiar one grabbed the female, getting her around the corner. A hail of bullets was directed upwards, and a the little one fell from the ceiling, a harsh crash echoing in the halls. Everything hurt, and she whimpered, trying to clear her head.

The ones who hurt her always seemed mad at her. She never did what they wanted, but she never knew what they wanted. She had to get away. She scoot back, trying to avoid more pain, more of the things that frightened her. One of the bad people in heavy clothing tried to grab her when the female appeared, killing him, and picked up the little one.

 

Her touch, it was soft.

 

The child looked up, puzzled, and wondrous. The lady had nice hair. She was really pretty. Why didn’t she act like the others? All the adults talked, babbling nonsense the little one couldn’t understand. The familiar one touched her nose, making it itchy. She tried to hold back a sneeze, but it kind of, came out.

 

*SNIKT*

 

Did her father know? Did he know that she learned her first curse word from him? It helped her before whenever she was in pain or stressed. Cursing helped a lot. She couldn't curse in that moment.

 

…There was her direct father, someone who for some reason preferred to name himself a bastard dog, just seemed messed up overall on multiple levels.

 

"Because you're not me. You are Akiko Laura Howlett, not a mutt or a bastard."

"Grandma and Grandpa were married," she grumbled. She remembered his words from what felt like an eternity ago. She needed to hear them again. Please say them again so she could feel sane again. "And you're not a dog. You're my Dad."

He tensed, his hands clenched as emotions flashed in his features. Her father was known to be a manipulator, but sometimes Akiko failed to see how. To her, he was a terrible liar. "This is the part where you say I'm not your daughter. That I'm not real and not worth your time."

"Is that what you want? For me to hurt you?"

She was trembling. "You never wanted a kid, some of the people here don't me, and the only people who had wanted to make me hurt others. Maybe I should be what I was made to be. Maybe, then everyone would be happier.”

 

The bad guys were walking towards Franklin and Valeria, stepping over her. No, please. Don't hurt them. Akiko begged herself to be strong. She begged herself to wake up, to become the monster her friends needed. She didn't care what happened to her, what she'd become. She just wanted them to be safe.

 

 Yet, he tried. He tried so hard to be better, and she knew it was hard for him.

 

"The reason I leave so often is because I've done bad things, and I don't know how to process my feelings sometimes. I'm still struggling, and I don't want to drag you into my problems. It's hard to talk about sometimes, but I don't want you to be like me. I want you to be you, and I want you to be happy." He paused, thinking deeply. "And, when I asked you about the choice you  would make, to pick who would live or die? I wasn't saying you  should  let someone die. I was trying to teach you that in life things will be difficult, and that there are decisions that you will have to make, that many will be harder than others. Some, rare that they are, there is no way out, and that you have to pick one or the other."

She grimaced, "I don't understand."

He exhaled, moving to sit across from her as he held her hands. They were so small, even if they had grown. "Let me tell you a story. Once, before I was born, there was a war, one that the entire world was fighting. In it, there was a mother with two children, a daughter and a son. Her name was Sophie, and her children were very young. In this war, thousands, millions of innocent people were kidnapped and taken into camps, sent to be killed."

"Why?"

"The people who sent them there wanted to blame a group for their woes, and chose a religious sect, and people that weren't like them, ones who they believed were 'undesirable'. Sophie, and her children, were among those groups, and at the entrance, she was given a choice for one of her children to die."

Akiko stiffened, staring up at him in horror.

"She had no chance of escape, and it was understood that everyone in those camps would suffer, the females more so. So, as an act of mercy, and believing that her son had the best chance of survival, Sophie chose for her daughter to die, and her son to live," Daken said, squeezing Akiko's hand gently, feeling his daughter's pulse with his own. 

She swallowed. "What happened to her son?"

"We don't know if he survived or not," Daken said. "But, there are times in life where we must choose between the most unbearable options anyone can think of, and that is what I tried to teach you. Instead, I'm afraid I hurt you."

 

Akiko thought of so many times she wanted to hurt someone, to lash out, to kill them. 

 

She knew he cared for Laura and Gabby, and a little for Grandpa.

 

Logan was also joining in, having even more difficulty than the kids. Daken snorted, silently enjoying his father's misery. Laura rolled her eyes at him, and Daken scoffed in offense. She smirked then, in her spoon a small bit of pudding, which she flipped onto his cheek. Daken twitched, grinning, and quickly slammed two fingers down on the lower end of his fork, causing peas to fly at her. She glared, a vein visibly thudding in her forehead while he moved to thumb the pudding off his cheek. Laura made a low whistle.

"Akiko, your daddy made a mess. Help him clean up?"

Daken frowned, grumbling as Akiko inhaled excitedly, grabbing a napkin and reaching up, wiping away the pudding. There were a lot of coos and giggling throughout the room, and Daken's temper was clearly being tested, but it softened as he saw his daughter's happiness.

Gabby snickered, not minding later on when a food fight, or rather food war, broke out for real. Of course every parent fought alongside their kids, so ironically, at some point, Daken and Logan were fighting together against Victor and Blink, and ended up getting utterly whipped by the teleporter (or two with Nightcrawler and Mystique helping them), covered in mashed potatoes and ice cream. They made sure that Akiko and Gabby stayed clean for the most part though, since cleaning those two was always a pain in the neck.

It was a good night, and it became an even better one when she went to get a glass of water around midnight. Gabrielle Kinney would never tell anyone how she put a blanket around Daken and Akiko while they were asleep and snuggled on the couch.

 

 She thought of rage, of anger, of death. 

She also knew he just might care for her, if only a little.

 

"Akiko, there's a man here, and his name is Logan. He's, he's your grandfather. He's not a good man either, but while I hate to admit it, he is a decent one, and a man I have some respect for."

"What does that mean?"

"Respect means, that someone or something has earned a sense of admiration or good feelings from someone else. That you understand and are willing to say that you like some pieces of. You can respect someone for their bravery, their kindness, or even their cleverness, even if you don't like other parts of them."

She nodded. "A grandpa is a parent's parent. Who's parent is Logan?"

Daken's hand tightened around hers. "He is, my blood one."

"You were made from him like I was made from you?"

He winced. "Something like that. The story is, very strange. I had another father, one who took me in when Logan didn't know I was born. My father, he was named Akihira-"

'"Light'. Like me?"

"Yep," he chuckled, ruffling her hair. "Exactly. That, among other things. Listen, I am going to ask your grandfather to watch over you while I'm gone. He has claws too. I got them from him and so did Laura and Gabby. You got them from me. I will still visit, and I'm going to see if I can find a way to contact you in other ways."

Her tiny hand squeezed around his, not as clammy as it was before. Her voice was still quiet, still broken, and still fighting to break through. "A-Am I s-still your d-daughter?"

Embracing her, he swore, "Always."

 

Something began to stir inside Akiko as she let her darkest emotions take control.

 

But, she also knew that they had their own problems, like everyone, literally EVERYONE, around her seemed to, and, that they had sides to them few ever saw.

 

Everyone in Akiko's family told her that she didn't have to be violent or a killer, so why did Skaar say to Uncle Erista that part of a Wolverine was being bloodthirsty? Is that really something that her family was? Her Chichi was trying to be better, her Jiji seemed nice, and her obas were rarely violent, so why did Skaar think differently? What was Akiko missing? But, then again, she had wanted to meet her father halfway, and that included being stronger, so, maybe that meant trying to become not only more 'sophisticated' like her Chichi had been teaching her, but, also being more agressive? No, she wasn't a killer, but, maybe being more...Assertive? Was that the right word?

She stared at her knuckles, wrinkling her nose as she focused, willing her claws to come out. Blood leaked and she winced as the wounds stung, the skin sealing and cutting repeatedly over the bone blades, but understood that her family members went through far worse considering theirs were coated in metal. Theirs were actual knives, which meant they were cut with sharper stuff, like getting constant paper cuts in the same places over and over again. It was worse when you stabbed something or someone 'cause the pressure of it made the knives dig in harder, or stuck got stuck in them and got under the skin. It really sucked sometimes, yet, they did it all the time to help others. They were strong and as for her? She was afraid. Maybe she should stop being afraid.

"Akiko, you okay?"

She looked up at Skaar, putting on her best smile. It didn't turn out as well as she had hoped. "Yeah. Hey, Skaar? Can we spar now? Show me how to fight? I want to get stronger."

"Are you sure?

The little one didn't hesitate this time. "Yeah."

Akiko Laura Howlett wanted to become a Wolverine.

 

She coughed, her body curving in on itself, agony tearing her apart from the inside.

 

She loved them, and she knew they loved her too.

 

"I don't remember much," she said hoarsely, her throat obviously sore as she spoke, but she was forcing herself to speak anyways. "But I think I stabbed you the first time we met, didn't I?"

He grinned. "It's a family tradition."

"What?"

Daken didn't hesitate to reach out this time, ruffling her hair as he snickered. She pouted, and giggled, leaning forward and pressing her forehead to his. "Akiko? I'm trying to get better, and, I'll visit more often, okay?"

"Okay Daddy. I'm sorry."

"Don't be... Daisuki, Akiko ."

She was quiet for a moment, gaping up at him, and beamed, leaping up and hugging him. Confused, he hugged her back anyways. For some reason, he inexplicably found himself crying with her not long after.

 

Her vision was failing her.

 

So, maybe even the most seemingly questionable people should be given a chance, right?

 

Standing before the door, Akiko didn’t know how to feel. His words still echoed in her mind. She wanted to cry, to scream, anything to wash away the hurt. This man was her hero, the one she thought she could trust, and he turned his back on her. But, he was also there waiting for her. Hand on the cool, hard wood, he sighed, pressing his forehead against it. Clenching his fist, he gave off a scent of nervousness, and guilt. Akiko realized in that moment, this man wasn’t as simple as she thought. Maybe, nothing is. She still had a lot to learn.

Akiko tentatively placed her hand on the other side, her thoughts rushing throughout her mind as she consider him. Was he worth it? Was he were any of the pain? The tears? He was likely to hurt her again, and she didn’t want this to be like the bad men in those white coats. But, maybe that was better here? At least here, she knew what to expect? No, that wasn’t the reason, not at all.

He was waiting for her. He was waiting for her choice. For her to make a path.

Akiko opened the door, and she hugged him, burrowing herself into his warmth as she had what felt like forever ago. Then he uttered words that she could understand without knowing the language.

"...Gomen'nasai."

I'm sorry.

 

She was sorry. So, so sorry.

 

Akiko decided she would wait for him, as he waited for her.

 

“…You know this isn’t forever, right?”

“It never is,” Laura murmured, smiling bittersweetly. “That’s why we enjoy it while it’s here. You’re coming back, right?”

He glanced back, seeing everyone he would look forward to seeing again. His daughter was smiling as she dumped cookies on Deadpool and Logan, giggling as she was chased by the Bamfs once more.

“You know I will.”

No, she had to wait for him. She had to-

 

 

..

 

.

 

“I guess she wasn’t a real Wolverine after all.”

Chapter Text

Valeria watched as Akiko's body stopped shaking, her hands limp, unmoving. Franklin gasped, and deep down, his sister knew that he couldn't contact Akiko's mind, likely because there wasn't anything there to find. But, how could that be? Akiko had Wolverine's abilities. Maybe she didn't have them to the full extent, and her abilities were harder to control, but surely, no...This wasn't happening. It wasn't possible.

“I guess she wasn’t a real Wolverine after all.”

Her insides froze, and Valeria lifted her head to glare at Osborn. "You shot her."

There was a flicker of something in his expression. She wondered if it was remorse, but the child of Susan and Reed Richards doubted it. "That was not my intent. I was-"

"What, just trying to scare us?" Franklin scoffed.

The building shook, and an inhuman howl broke through the air. Bullseye flinched, reaching for a weapon on his back. "What the hell?"

Valeria lifted her phone, smirking, "Guess who was being recorded, assholes. Now everyone knows what you've done. You're not getting away so easily with this one, Osborn."

"Val..."

She glanced where her brother mentally signaled her, inhaling sharply. Akiko's body was gone. Osborn and the others followed their line of sight, frantically searching when they found nothing. The lights began flickering around them, and Valeria felt a breeze. Franklin was gone. She screamed, backing away from Osborn and his friends in terror. "What did you do?!"

Next thing she knew, she was picked up, claw-like fingers covering her mouth. Yet, they were gentle as she was placed in a ventilation shaft. Her phone fell, shattering on the ground. Valerie saw that Franklin sat next to her, equally as terrified as she was. Below them, they heard cries of horror and screams of Bullseye and Osborn and even Venom. Screeches of metal tore into their ears as it was ripped from walls and the floor. There was a squelching noise, and the siblings couldn't dare look.

"Don't, please!" Osborn begged.

They finally heard it then, calm, leisurely, sauntering footsteps. With them there was a low, rumbling growl. Swallowing, Valeria dared to look out the vent. There, was Akiko, her hair wild, hands coated in black and red. The rest of her clothing would've been immaculate were it not for the tears and stains from earlier. The wound she'd gained from Osborn had healed. Her claws slowly slid out between her knuckles, small pearlets of crimson dripping down them. Her pupils almost consumed her eyes entirely, a black abyss. Her canines were more pronounced, and it occurred to Valeria, just how much Akiko looked like her father and grandfather in that moment. Yet, this wasn't a berserker rage, was it? At least, not the normal kind.

At her feet lay Bullseye and MacDonald Gargan in the flesh, splashes of black along the walls and floor. It looked like she had saved Osborn last. The light of the room closest to them was behind Akiko, casting a shadow in front of her, and causing Osborn's eyes to illuminate even brighter, his fear more evident. Akiko's claws clinked together, the sound somehow like small bells.

Franklin leaned out with Valeria, covering his mouth at the sight. "...Akiko."

There was light in everyone, but there was also darkness. It looked like Osborn found the darkness in Akiko no one knew was there. "Please, have mercy-"

"Why?" a small voice hissed. It was the clearest she had ever spoken. Her eyes narrowed, the claws grating on the metallic floor, creating sparks. Where knobbly bone once had existed, now lay sharpened ones like blades. "You've pissed me off."

Valeria didn't even have time to blink as Akiko leapt at him, propelling herself off of walls, her claws sweeping forward. Osborn screamed, fainting as his flesh was nicked, blood drawn. He continued to scream as an odor filled the air, all three of the men trembling, fright consuming all of their senses.

Akiko panted, falling to her knees, face upwards. She blinked a few times, her pupils returning to normal. She coughed, holding her abdomen, then saw her hands, murmuring something unintelligible in shock. "W-What, what's going on?"

She was shaking, twisting to locate her friends, to find them. But, her eyelids fluttered, and Valeria and Franklin watched her fall once more, her mind likely telling her it was time to rest. It was barely even two minutes when the blonde Wolverine appeared, having managed to get into the security room with the help of his symbiote. He got them out, carrying Akiko's prone body in his arms while the rest of the heroes went inside, disabling any other traps the siblings set up, and taking Osborn and his cohorts into custody. To their surprise, not even the Venom symbiote fought them.

Brother and sister ran into their family's arms, being hugged and kissed. All had prepared for a battle, to be harmed. Instead, there wasn't one. But, Valeria could never forget how Daken looked when Jimmy Hudson carried out Akiko. Daken, one of the cruelest and most manipulative men she'd ever encountered, had the most broken, tenderest expressions she'd ever witnessed. It was the look a parent had. It was the same look Laura gave Gabby, and that Logan gave to all of his kids, and to his other granddaughter.

"I'm so glad you're all right."


 

Jimmy Hudson cradled his niece closely, anxious about her quietly pounding heart. Pressing the back of his hand against her forehead, he grimaced at how warm she felt. At least her bullet wound had healed, but this was still a little kid. In the entry hall, he saw Daken, and gently handed the little girl into Daken's arms. With how small she was, it was like Daken was holding a baby. He was even holding her in a way a baby should be held, supporting their head and all. It was a strange sight, one Jimmy never imagined seeing. Stranger still, was the moment he heard Daken thanking him.

"...You're welcome," Jimmy had been slow to say, too late as Daken had already left.

Posion was whispering things again, but Jimmy didn't pay any heed as he joined the others, specifically helping capture the remnants of Venom. It was surprisingly compliant. For the faintest second, he thought he heard it whisper, "Useless asshole."

Jimmy hesitated, unsure which person it was refering to. Him, or the former Scorpion. "Then what were you doing with this low life? If you ask me, you could do so much better."

Venom became very quiet. "...I miss Eddie."


 

 

The phone had been broken when Akiko did, whatever that was. With the cameras having been disabled, and Herbie being nowhere near them, that meant the two of them were the only ones who knew what really happened. Even then, they weren't exactly sure what the heck just happened. But, it wasn't like they could hide it. No, more like they shouldn't. At least, not from the Wolverines.

Valeria pursed her lips. "Uncle Johnny? We need to talk to Wolverine. Akiko, she saved our lives. She was shot and...Some things happened to her in there, things he needs to know about. No offense Mom and Dad, but I don't think this stuff is something we can share with you. It's important for her, and, we owe it to her."

Franklin nodded in agreement. Susan and Reed Richards were more than concerned, but reluctantly agreed only after the kids had been checked out for injuries and given some food and drink. Logan joined them for the latter, exhaustion drowning him. "You kids all right?"

"No, but, we think Akiko might be worse."

He stiffened. "How?"

"...Has Akiko ever berserker raged before?" Franklin asked.

Logan coughed on his drink. "As far as we know, she might not even be able to do so. You're saying she was able to? How are you two not-?"

"She didn't berserker rage, not exactly," Valeria said, wincing. "You know how Osborn and the others are basically catatonic? I think Akiko can use her pheromones to make her enemies see things, make them terrified. And, where you guys get wild berserker rage, her rage is, more calculated even subconsciously. What we observed, was that she was more meticulous, and more efficient. It was like seeing a character from a horror movie or something from a boss battle in a video game...She even spoke once to Osborn. Berserker ragers can't do that under normal circumstances, can they?"

"No, they don't."

"Weren't all of you designed to be some kind of weapon?" Franklin pointed out. "Wasn't Akiko the same?"

Logan furrowed his eyebrows, "How about you tell me everything that you saw?"

So, they did, and Logan decided he needed a lot of beers.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 .

..

 

....

 

“I guess she wasn’t a real Wolverine after all.”

...

..

.

Akiko needed to get angry. She needed to let rage fill her. Think of pain, think of suffering. Focus on the festering wounds. Let it consume her. Turn it into something useful. Change it into something she could use instead of hiding it away. Don't just accept what others do. Make a change. 

 

Her father cursed at her existence when he first realized who and what she was. She may not have completely understood the words, but she knew they were words of annoyance and hatred well enough. The scientists had used them, just as her savior had used them. The man she trusted and looked up to used them from the moment he recognized her. What did that say about her existence?

 

Her limbs began to burn, and Akiko opened her eyes, gritting her teeth.

 

Become angrier. Hate them. Hate everything and everyone, even if only for a moment.

 

 

Uncle Victor, who had originally played clinky games with her laughed, made fun of her existence to her father. "Congratulations," he had said mockingly. Daken had said she wasn't his daughter. She remembered, even if she was too young to understand what a daughter was back then. Her father had glared at her so many times, sometimes as if he had considered killing her. She now knew the look well. She wouldn't doubt it if he had. Why wouldn't he after all, since she was dropped into his life, ruining it?

Tears poured down her face, but Akiko refused to let them hit the ground. It hurt, everything hurt.

 

See? It's easy to get mad, to feel the way that you do.

 

That was the real reason why he left her at the Xavier Institute. It was because she was a burden. It was because he never wanted her at all. He left her there because he always had other plans. He didn't have time to raise a kid like her. Why would he ever? Why would he ever want her? She didn't even want herself.

 

Underneath her skin, she felt her bones changing, her wounds searing as they sealed like flames would sear flesh.

 

Let it dig in, deeply. Let it scar you, so that you can let it all out.

 

Daken had slashed Victor in the face. She remembered the blood, Victor's pain. It was all her fault. If she hadn't existed, maybe it wouldn't have happened. They all argued so much because of her. From what she could tell, they were friends of some kind before her. Why did she have to be there? Why did she ruin everything? Even the ones who made her hated her. She shouldn't have tried to connect to Daken. She shouldn't have played with his hair or nibbled his shoes or made him her drawing. She shouldn't have climbed the walls, because it frustrated him even if it made others laugh, ironically even the scientists. He hated everything she did and he hated her.

"You shot her."

 

Akiko heard Valeria's rage, but ignored it, focusing on her own as she silently climbed up the walls.

 

He had to force himself to be with her.

She never knew why he stood outside her door. Maybe Mystique or Victor persuaded him somehow.  After all, what merit was there in hugging her? Why would he ever say he was sorry to something like her? Why would he start playing games with her even when those closest to him remarked it was odd seeing him the way he was around her? Why would he do any of it? 

 

The building shook, and an inhuman howl broke through the air. Bullseye flinched, reaching for a weapon on his back. "What the hell?"

 

Her blood was flowing faster, her heart pumping stronger. Her senses were opening. Even if she couldn't see everyone, she knew exactly where they were.

 

No matter how hard she tried, he still gave her away.

 

Akiko had meant it when she said she loved him. He didn't say he loved her back. He left her there. 

"...Akiko, I-"

"I know," she whispered hoarsely, smiling sadly. "Ya, ya hafta g-go."

 

Valeria lifted her phone, smirking, "Guess who was being recorded, assholes. Now everyone knows what you've done. You're not getting away so easily with this one, Osborn."

 

He said things to make her more content, to make her less likely to fight or protest.

 

"...I had another father, one who took me in when Logan didn't know I was born. My father, he was named Akihira-"

'"Light'. Like me?"

"Yep," he chuckled, ruffling her hair. "Exactly. That, among other things. Listen, I am going to ask your grandfather to watch over you while I'm gone. He has claws too. I got them from him and so did Laura and Gabby. You got them from me. I will still visit, and I'm going to see if I can find a way to contact you in other ways."

Her tiny hand squeezed around his, not as clammy as it was before. Her voice was still quiet, still broken, and still fighting to break through. "A-Am I s-still your d-daughter?"

Embracing her, he swore, "Always."

 

Liar, Akiko thought, altering the wiring. 

Follow the patterns. Use what you know. You can do it again. 

 

Knowing full well she was in an echoing, chamber-like area, Akiko grinned, starting to whistle creepily to mess with him. His reaction was hilarious, and it took a lot not to laugh at him as he cursed under his breath, trying not to let her hear. Some of the students finally entered the room, hesitantly, also cursing a little. "Damn it, she's actually going to pull this? What did you tell her?"

"That there was a storm coming?"

Quentin palmed his face. "And with a weather-controlling mutant you didn't see a problem with that BS excuse?"

"...Whoops."

Akiko smirked, and lazily propelled a pebble onto one of the lights, causing it to flicker. Broo screeched, jumping into Idie's arms. The young girl ducked behind one of the thicker ducts as soon as she saw Trevor enter the area, making it harder to track her. "Damn it, where is that little brat!?"

Exiting out of there, she left the building, and appeared right outside the door, blasting them all with her paintball gun. Screams assaulted her ears, and she leaned on the toy, raising an eyebrow at her 'victims', including her own grandfather.

 

 

Akiko had done something like this before.

 

It's easy to hurt, to kill. You know that, you learned it from him. He's taught by example.

 

 

Skaar blinked at her, then beamed when she got into a battle stance, taking out his sword. With the exception of her arms, Akiko had chosen a position similar to a ballroom dance start, the waltz as Daken had taught her at the winter holiday party. Akiko exhaled then, her features relaxing as she closed her eyes. Skaar frowned, confused by how she stood, and called her name. Akiko merely nodded, waiting for him to make a move.

He didn't, and when he hesitated, she jumped into the air, seemingly into the darkness of the trees above them. Skaar frowned, searching above him. Akiko silently, literally danced to a beat that only she could hear right up to Skaar. She jumped behind him then, one clawed hand slide under his throat and the other tap his sword.

They could barely hear the whisper as she murmured into Skaar's ear, her eyes slowly opening so that a Hulk could see directly into the eyes of a Wolverine.

"Clink."

She smiled pleasantly, sweetly just as if everything was normal, and it took a few good seconds for Skaar to react from his momentary shock.

He yelped, swatting at her while she clung to his long hair, wrapping it around his neck like a noose and eyes as a blindfold before leaping off, and truly climbing up into the trees that time. Skaar growled, tearing the makeshift hair items from his face and throat, searching the ground for a presumably thrown off Akiko. He didn't find her, but there were noises echoing in the trees, all bouncing off one another so that it was difficult to find the real source. Worse yet, she began whistling an eerie tune, whereupon the trees, and a few birds echoed back. Skaar covered his ears, as did Jennifer and members of the Wolverines. Akiko flew out of the shadows, not only kicking the sword from Skaar's grasp, but punching him and-

*SNIKT*

Her claws were directly pointed at his jugular and carotid...

 

She waited for the lights to flicker and grabbed Franklin, mentally apologizing to Valeria even though the latter couldn't hear her. The girl screamed, "What did you do?!"

After snatching up Valeria to safety, taking some schadenfreude in Osborn's reaction, Akiko hoped her friends wouldn't see this, any of it.

 

He uses people, and leaves them.

 

He punched Victor, the claws in his fists slipping as he slashed his temporary ally's face, finally, utterly losing his composure.

"She. is. NOT. MY. DAUGHTER!"

Not even bothering to look at them, pinched the bridge of his nose, exhaling, and told them he would be back as he took his pack with him, slamming the door.

All of this, it was her fault.

 

That's what he does best, isn't it? Hurting people, and leaving...Including you.

 

...

..

.

Rage filled Akiko Laura Howlett.

 

And she let it all out.

...

..

.

Akiko leapt off the ceiling, ripping off Bullseye's weapons and tearing off what looked like tear gas. She removed the pins, throwing it at Venom, slicing Bullseye's thighs so he would stay down. He cried out, and she concentrated. Think of fear. Think of anger. Think of rage.

She let her pheromones hit them, sensing their heart rates go up so that every little wound she dealt was amplified, as was their fear. They were likely hallucinating, see things that weren't there.

To her surprise, it was even working on the black goo attached to the man, shrieking when she sliced it. Black joined the crimson coating on her claws and hands, shining in what little light there was. In it, she saw Osborn's horrified gaze, grinning at the sight.

The one called Bullseye was unable to stand, and didn't even dare to. The man and the goo who called themselves "Venom" trembled, muttering things unintelligibly. As for Osborn? She gave him her full attention.

 

He's just like Daken. The one who abandoned his child. The one who always seeks power. The one who is insane.

 

"Don't, please!" Osborn begged.

Akiko narrowed her eyes, the image of Osborn and her father blurring together. She walked toward him, clenching and unclenching her fists. Seeing more of Daken again and again, she couldn't stop the growl from leaving her throat, nor the claws revealing themselves once more. They sliced through her flesh, but what was once thousands of paper cuts hurting again and again was nothing compared to the pain inside her heart and mind. In fact, it was numb. She couldn't feel a damned thing. Her teeth nearly pierced her lips from how sharp they had gotten, and she almost didn't care anymore.

Daken's, no, Osborn's eyes, she had to remind herself, were wide, the hues blending as rage filled her, mixing her realities. "Please, have mercy-"

"Why?" a small voice hissed. It shocked her. It hurt, but not as much as she thought it would. Talking always hurt, but for some reason, it felt like the same pain that Osborn had shot her with, was healing in her throat as well. It was the clearest she had ever spoken. Her eyes narrowed, the claws grating on the metallic floor, creating sparks.  "You've pissed me off."

No, something was wrong. This, this was all wrong. This...All the memories came flooding back, and it wasn't Osborn in front of her at all. She couldn't even remember who she was fighting. All she knew, was that Daken, her father, sat there with a sad smile. She wanted to scream, she wanted to shout, but she buried it deep inside. No, she wouldn't let it out. She wouldn't harm him. She wouldn't, please no. Please no-

She ran, screaming on the inside as she pounced off the wall, trying to avoid him. She wanted to get past him. Instead, her claws had hit his neck, and she heard her father scream in agony.

No.

Akiko fell to her knees, seeing the blood on her hands. She hurt him. She hurt her father. She had done it and...She was a monster. Hunched over, she let out a silent screamed, feeling the burning rage dissipate.

Letting the light hit her face as she looked upwards, her mind cleared, and she coughed, her throat sore and hoarse once more as tears streaked down her face. 

"I, I killed him. I killed Chichi. I, I'm..." Holding her abdomen, and the damaged floor, she suddenly remembered who and what she was fighting. Confused, and tired and dizzy, she asked, "W-What, what's going on?"

She had to find them. She had to find Valeria and Franklin and they needed to-

...How strange was it, that the floor was so comforting once more?

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Akiko Laura Howlett was a lot of things, but the one thing she’d never, ever wanted to do was kill anyone. Even more so, the worst thing she’d ever imagined, was ever harming her father. Before fighting Osborn, she’d never even considered killing him. They had their differences, they had their struggles, and they had their own paths to travel.

She told herself it was okay for him to leave. She told herself it was okay for him to fall back as many times as he had. That it was okay for him to hurt her every once in a while because he didn’t always meant it. She told herself all of those things were okay, but were they?

Were they really?  

Akiko was sitting up in the infirmary bed, exhausted as she watched her father sleeping at the bedside. Shaking, she reached for his head, to stoke some of the hair of his Mohawk back at first, to see his face more clearly, but…

She got up with bubbles and reached for Daken's mohawk, trying to wash his hair too.

"No."

"..."

What was with the eyes? "No."

"..."

"...No..."

She looked up at the grumpy one.  She wanted to put the bubbles in his hair like he did for her. It felt nice, and she felt pretty. He was already pretty, but she thought he might look even prettier. Please?

"...No?"

"..."

A faint smile appeared on Akiko’s face before Daken’s unconscious expression changed to worry, and stress.

"Don't, please!" Osborn begged.

Akiko narrowed her eyes, the image of Osborn and her father blurring together. She walked toward him, clenching and unclenching her fists. Seeing more of Daken again and again, she couldn't stop the growl from leaving her throat, nor the claws revealing themselves once more. They sliced through her flesh, but what was once thousands of paper cuts hurting again and again was nothing compared to the pain inside her heart and mind. In fact, it was numb. She couldn't feel a damned thing. Her teeth nearly pierced her lips from how sharp they had gotten, and she almost didn't care anymore.

Daken's, no, Osborn's eyes, she had to remind herself, were wide, the hues blending as rage filled her, mixing her realities. "Please, have mercy-"

"Why?" a small voice hissed.

Instead, her hand covered her own face as she tried to stifle her tears. She was relieved that she hadn’t harmed her father, but the knowledge that deep down she wanted to…

“I don't remember everything. I don't think I want to, but I think I hurt people. I think I liked it, 'cause I was hurt. I wanted to hurt back. There are hard days here and, I want to hurt people here sometimes. I see myself hurting them, and I know how I can do it. I know I can do it without people knowing. It scares me, and it's hard to stop thinking that stuff, to stop feeling that way. I don't know if I can, but I try.”

She could hurt him in that very moment. He was so trusting of her and so vulnerable. Her stomach twisted, and nausea hit her, a hand clenching the sheets.

Daken had bags under his eyes, exhaustion plain in his features. Smoothing her hair back, she shut her eyes, trying to figure out what to do. Looking ahead, she saw fresh towels and clean sweat clothes her size.

Akiko needed some distance, and fresh air to clear her head. It was childish to avoid this, but screw it, because she was a child. She was a child, and she needed child moments. She was going to allow herself this one time. Careful not to wake him, Akiko left Daken by the bedside, and wrote a note with the time.

Professor McCoy was sleeping by the desk in the outside office, and she walked on by, heading to the roof. She’d have preferred to be in the woods…

"W-O-W...Daddy is old."  He groaned, palming his forehead. Placing his daughter on his hip, they began walking back to the Xavier Institute, taking a small breather at the top of the hill to view the scenery. She tugged lightly on his coat. "Daddy, how old will I get?"

"I honestly don't know, little one," he answered. "We think with your healing powers, that you'll be able to live as long as I can, maybe longer, but no one lives forever, not even the immortals."

"...That doesn't make any sense. 'Immortal' means 'to live forever'. How can you live forever, and not live forever?"  she asked.

"There's, a difference between being alive, and living, Akiko. Your heart can beat, you could still breath, but you can feel little to nothing and still be considered to be alive. However, to live means to thrive, to enjoy life to the fullest, to have fun and to feel. Immortals, they learn to feel everything to the point where they become numb to everything around them, and may forget how to care and feel. Thus, they are no longer part of the living, because they are dead inside."

…It was safer, in a lot of ways, to avoid the general area in the woods. It was practically the Forbidden Forest. Who knew? Could be werewolves, like Rahne. Peering up at the stars, she was glad that Ororo tended to keep things clear around the mansion.

There was a knock, and Akiko turned. At first, she mistook the man as her grandfather, but then recalled her grandpa had significantly greater number of wrinkles, and he wasn’t blonde. He smelled funky. She snorted, “Oh, you’re the other kinky one.”

He blushed, “No, I’m not.” He tensed, scowling in another direction. “Shut up.”

“Talking to that goo stuff?” she asked. When he nodded, she shrugged. “I’ve heard of weirder.”

“...Mind if I join you? I’m not as great as any of the others, but-“

“I don’t know you yet,” she murmured, offering him a small smile. “So how can I judge you if you don’t give me a chance?”

He tentatively sat next to her, both of their sets of feet hanging off the ledge. He offered her his hand. “Jimmy Hudson, son of Wolverine. I’m from another universe.”

Again, she’d heard of weirder. “Akiko Howlett, granddaughter of Wolverine and biological daughter of the guy who calls himself Daken. I’m from this universe.”

He laughed, “So, you’re kind of like my interdimensional niece?”

Akiko shrugged again, “If you want? I’m okay with it. I’m find that grandpa’s got a lot of kids he didn’t know about. The guy needs to get some sex ed if you ask me.”

Jimmy paled. “Er, do you-?”

“I know what sex is,” she sighed, rolling her eyes. “And honestly? It sounds weird. I don’t get the appeal, and I’m definitely not interested in having babies, especially as young as I am. It’s best to know what safe, healthy, legal, and consensual.”

“Do you even know what half those words mean?” When she began to define them and explain how sex worked, he covered his ears, trying very hard not to listen. “You’re too young to know this stuff!”

“Haven’t you heard in the news lately? Another kindergartner was molested by her teacher in a school nearby,” Akiko stated coolly, looking Jimmy in the eye. “He didn’t even know how to begin how to describe what happened to him, because he was taught nothing about what his body parts were, nor what consent was. You’re right, I don’t have to know what sex is, and maybe I shouldn’t have to, but with how the world works right now, I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

That made him go silent for a good few minutes. She began mentally painting the stars, becoming lost in more pleasant memories.

“Why are you up here, Akiko?”

“…Have, have you ever used berserker rage?”

“Yes,” he said without hesitance, worry in his tone. “Did you-?”

She frowned. “I was hurt, and…I needed something. I needed strength, a little bit of power to save them. At least, that’s what I told myself.”

"Father, why do you want power?"

Daken blinked at his daughter's question, thousands of emotions passing through his face within the span of seconds. She wondered what he could possibly be thinking. "...I've wanted it for so long, I'm not sure what else I  can want. I don't know what I can be, Akiko. It's all I've ever been, all I've ever had, before I had Laura, Gabby, you...It's, something I can't get rid of so easily."

“Why on Earth would someone want power when it did that to them? When it nearly destroyed the mind, and made you do things you didn’t want to?” she asked Jimmy. “I wanted it to save my friends, but…There are some who just want it for some reason. That was the first time I really wanted it, and it didn’t feel good. None of it felt good.”

Jimmy thought for a moment. “Maybe it’s like cigarettes or alcohol. Everyone knows it’s bad for you, but it’s also like an acquired taste, and you get addicted to it.”

 Logan groaned, "Just get me some malt or beer, and I'm good."

"Swine," Daken grumbled, chugging down some more of the substance before offering some to Erista. Erista sniffed it, wrinkling his nose, but accepted it. He immediately began choking, and Daken smiled with delight at his newly discovered brother’s annoyance. "Sorry, I suppose I must have forgotten it's an acquired taste."

Akiko’s father seemed to like alcohol too, didn’t he? He did have a rather addictive personality, didn’t he?

“You never answered my question?”

She composed herself. “When I, raged, I began seeing things, feeling things I didn’t know I could. They scared me. And, I felt things I didn’t think I could feel. I, I’ve had thoughts about killing people before, like when you get really angry and think about hurting people? Professor Xavier said those are called ‘intrusive thoughts.’ He said you can’t control them, and it’s okay. But, I wanted to kill those people and…”

Akiko wasn’t able to look Jimmy in the eye, but thankfully he didn’t make her say anything further. “Do you think Logan likes killing? Or Laura, or Gabby?”

The child blinked, “Well, no. People say, that Grandpa is ‘the best at what he does, and what he does isn’t very nice’, and from what they talk about, that means hurting or killing people, but Grandpa also says he hates what he’s best at. It’s the same for aunt Laura.”

He smiled softly, some sadness there. “When we’re scared or hurt or angry, we do things to protect ourselves, do everything in our power to survive or protect those around us. That’s why you went berserker, right?” Seeing Akiko nod wordlessly, he continued. “Going berserker, there’s no one way to say this, but it’s letting the wilder parts of yourself take over, the most emotional parts control your mind with little to no logic. It’s every fear and piece of anger inside of us intensified to better protect us.”

He stared at his hands, clenching and unclenching his fists, “So, if there’s something having brought out in you that you are confused about, know this, what you’re feeling or thinking is likely an intrusive thought you can’t control, a doubt, or something you need to address. You probably don’t actually feel as murderous as you dis in the berserker, because if you did, you wouldn’t have been able to think at all, or even be able to realize what you were doing.”

She grimaced, “I’m never using my claws again.”

Jimmy tensed, looking at her. “That, may not be a good idea.”

“Why?”

He was staring off in the distance, his blue orbs fixated on something in the distance. “Tell you what, want to meet some more family members?”

“…Am I getting kidnapped again? If I am, I think my dad’s gonna kill me, or you, whichever one comes first.”

Jimmy Hudson laughed, “Oh trust me on this, your dad would kill me first. The bastard’s already tried to kill me once.”

“Dad’s not a bastard,” she said automatically, not even bothered by Jimmy’s questioning look. “Logan and Itsu were married, Chichi was raised by a man named Akihira who taught him there was some honor and decency in the world, and even if my father not the greatest guy in the world, or the kindest, I’m proud to have him as my dad. Call him a bastard again, and I’ll stab you.”

“…Jesus Christ kid, you really love that git, don’t you?”

She glared with an intensity that made him huddle in on himself. “Of course I do. You’ve no idea what he means to me, or what he’s really like, do you? Why doesn’t anyone?”

 

“Do you?” he retorted. “Or do you only know one side to him? The side he’s shown you?”

 

He punched Victor, the claws in his fists slipping as he slashed his temporary ally's face, finally, utterly losing his composure.

 

"She. is. NOT. MY. DAUGHTER!"

 

Not even bothering to look at them, pinched the bridge of his nose, exhaling, and told them he would be back as he took his pack with him, slamming the door.

Daken had slashed Victor in the face. She remembered the blood, Victor's pain. It was all her fault. If she hadn't existed, maybe it wouldn't have happened. They all argued so much because of her. From what she could tell, they were friends of some kind before her. Why did she have to be there? Why did she ruin everything?

Akiko’s lips trembled, and Jimmy instantly appeared to regret his words. “You don’t know what he’s shown me.”

“Kid, I’m sor-“

“Who do you want me to meet, Uncle Jimmy?” she asked, trying to distract him.

She knew it would work, because of how she addressed him. It was manipulative, and possibly coldblooded to guilt trip him, but she didn’t want to talk about this anymore. She wanted something nice. She wanted to forget and she wanted to know more of what the hell she was. If meeting more ‘Wolverines’ was the solution to that, then why not go for it?

Jimmy froze, eyes wide as he absorbed her words, half awkward half pleasantly surprised, just as she planned. Hesitating, unsure, he stood up, waiting for her to follow him as they went downstairs. Laura and Gabby were there with Logan. Akiko was disappointed that Daken wasn’t there, but at the same time relieved. She wasn’t sure if she’d have to strength or guts to face him, not with the things inside her head.

Logan and Hudson were talking a lot when Gabby jogged up to Akiko. “Hey, you okay?”

“No,” Akiko uttered, eyes watering as she started to sign. “I wanted to kill, Gabby. I went berserker, and I wanted to kill. I’ve never wanted to kill before, and I told Jimmy I never want to go berserker again. I don’t know who he says I should go see. Are they someone important?”

Akiko’s aunt/cousin – they still hadn’t really settled on a title yet – expression switched between worry, sorrow, and cheerfulness. Akiko really could never figure out how Gabby could stay so positive. It practically radiated off of her to the point where it was nearly contagious, but in a good way. Weird, was that the only time where something contagious was a good thing?

“I, this is one of those times I can’t help you,” Gabby said sadly. Akiko gaped, asking why in sign language. “I don’t think I’ve ever gone berserker. Maybe I did in the labs but I don’t remember? And, I’ve never killed. Laura’s been teaching me not to, and I’ve had to tell myself not to because of all the training I was put through, but sometimes it’s harder than they know, and I don’t know how to tell them.”

She paused, “With all the stuff I know, with all the things I can do, it’s really, really easy to do it. But, I think I’m just happy being me. I’m happy being Gabby Kinnney, and being me means no killing, and no going berserker. I know it’s probably gonna happen someday though.”

The youngest of the Wolverines reluctantly signed back, “How are you so sure, when we didn’t think it could happen with me?”

With you, you’re young and haven’t been raised as a killer. With me,” Gabby stilled, her fingers slowing. “With me, until I met Laura, even though my sisters protected me from having to kill, what we went through wasn’t good. I still have metal claws.”

*SNIKT*

Akiko saw the metallic shine of said claws, wincing.

On the internet she had watched videos with Broo about how swords were made for something called “Comic-Con,” until he found out they couldn’t bring real swords. It wasn’t quite the same way as how adamantium was put onto bone, but seeing how swords had been made, well, it had made her curious enough to look up how metal was put onto other things. She may not quite understand what adamantium was, but she did know her family have super healing, that to put metal on bones like that required a long time and the metal had to be liquid and hot, and surgery wasn’t an easy thing for any of them, especially since pain killers wore off quickly. Akiko knew that from experience.

The child hadn’t been kidding when she told Osborn one could learn a lot from the internet. Too bad there were vague descriptions of what adamantium was on the internet, and she was too much of a coward to ask the others what it was. Akiko never liked her family members’ scents when it was brought up. They smelled sad.

Gabby must’ve understood at least part of her expression. “Has, no one told you-?"

“I think they want to protect me,” she murmured. “They always do.”

“Ooookay,” Gabby wheezed. “When you get back, we’re fillin’ you in on Weapon X, pronto. ‘Cause, that’s like, everything connecting our family tree, like the Wolverines to Mystique and Sabretooth and Romulus and-“

What? “Romulus? Like the founder of Rome?”

Akiko knew the myth well. Her father thrived on telling Greek and Roman myths especially, but for some reason his tone and words had clipped a lot on that story where the others had been so diverse and detailed. Could there be some connection?

Honey Badger paled, “Oh boy, you’re in for a storm of problems, kiddo. Uh, I’m uh, not really supposed to tell you this, so don’t rat me out?”

Akiko held out her pinky, raising an eyebrow. After making a silent pinky promise, the most sacred of oaths, Gabby whispered, making sure that the adults wouldn’t hear, “Brief summary? Romulus is a bad guy who c-sectioned your dad after she was sniped and made slash trained him into an asshole assassin with daddy issues.”

Blink. Blink.

 

 

..

 

.

 

Blink. “What?”

 

“Oh, he’s also a really ancient, immortal guy who’s got super healing that wanted to make an heir, which is why he made Daken the way he is,” Gabby said. Then she thought for a moment. “Which doesn’t really make any sense if he’s immortal, but he’s the reason Weapon X exists in the first place.”

“…” Blink. “Gabby, I was told my blood grandma died, and my father was adopted by this really honorable guy that I was named after. I thought my father naturally became this way because the jerks in his village gave him a complex and he fought for his life all the time. I thought he became a genius on his own and learned martial arts kind of like Grandpa. The metal claws thing I first thought might be a secondary mutation like, Piotr’s armor, or something, before I heard about adamantium recently. What the heck is going on?! I’m starting to like my messed up imagination more and more.”

Akiko’s biological aunt was understandably concerned. “Oh dear. Daken’s got some some serious splainin’ to do and wait a second, he was willing to give you sex education, but not possibly the most important details of his past? What gives?!”

Daken’s daughter glanced back at the medical ward where her father was still sleeping, somewhat hurt he realistically hadn’t told her anything. Did she know anything about her father at all? Her voice was shaking as she spoke, “I, I guess he, he might be taking his time? I mean, he’s said there’s a lot of people he’s made angry? And, he’s probably made this Romulus guy angry?”

“Akiko, Romulus basically raised him,” Gabby whispered. Akiko’s eyes widened, soaking that all in. “But, Romulus wasn’t a good guy either. He hurt your dad, in more ways than you can imagine. Daken, he, he looked up to Romulus and…No, I shouldn’t tell you anymore. This isn’t my place and…Just know that Romulus, he hurt Daken and, I think he’s the one who may have given Daken the problems he has today.”

It took a lot of effort for Akiko not to punch a wall. First off, why had her father hidden that? Second, someone hurt him? More than just stabbing or shooting? Then she realized, what if it was like the scientists she knew? There were things she still hadn’t been ready to tell him or was unsure about. What if he was the same? Heck, she was afraid to tell him about the berserker rage because she didn’t want him to hate her, to taint her image of him. So, what if he didn’t want her to feel the same?

The urge died, and Gabby’s expression changed to puzzlement. “Akiko?”

“He doesn’t want me to be disappointed in him. He’s taking his time, or, he’ll tell me the important parts when the time comes,” Akiko affirmed. “He did it with the sex education stuff, and he’s done it with other things too.”

Akiko thought of the times where she had been bullied and unsure of herself. She thought of the time where she felt awful about possibly having made the choice of letting others die. The time where he talked to her about-

 

“Akiko!”

 

She turned, unable to hide her smile when she saw her father’s worried expression searching for her. Akiko ran into his arms, happy Akihiro caught her, holding her tight. To her shock, he was crying into her shoulder, tears staining her shirt. After a second, she was crying too, repeating “Chichi,” over and over again like he did her name.

They just knelt there for a time, taking the moments to procress what they needed to. For some it may have seemed like wasted time, but for them, it was a comfort to know that things were okay. They barely noticed as the others in the room had left, giving the father and daughter some privacy.

“I was so worried,” he gasped, setting her down on her feet. He rubbed the bones of her cheeks with his thumbs, wiping away her tears, the both of them laughing a little in relief as they placed their foreheads together.  “Are you alright? How do you feel?”

She didn’t know how to answer at first, but it was best to be truthful. “I’m, I’m scared, Chichi. I’m lost, confused. I, I remember what happened, but, somehow I don’t know what happened. I, there’s a lot going on and, I feel too much. It’s too much. I can’t, there’s too much to think, too much too feel. I, I did things I didn’t think I could or would do, and I want to talk about them but I’m afraid to because I don’t know what you or anyone else will think about me and-“

“It’s okay, it’s okay. I’m here, we’re all here, and we’re going to help you, okay?”

“You, you’re staying?” she asked, confused.

No, wait, she had to remind herself it was only temporary. Of course it was. He would only do it temporarily because she was hurt and needed help. Then he needed to go off and leave her again. They would repeat the process over and over, like always.

“I’m staying Akiko,” he said.

She stared at him. “What?”

Akihiro grinned, “It was supposed to be a surprise for your birthday, but, I’ve been out and about the world lately, trying to do ‘hero work’ while finding my way. Laura and the others have been helping me. I’m not exactly the best at it, but it’s been enough to notice a change by a lot of people. I’m not a hero, Akiko, but, I’m staying here to officially be a member of the X-Men. We’re seeing if I can be a member of one of the secondary teams, X-Men Blue, I think? It’s a work in progress. Jimmy’s actually kind of pissed about it.”

Akiko’s chest felt light, her heart pounding, and tears filled her eyes. He was staying. Her father was actually staying. He asked her name worriedly, and she laughed, hugging him again. “Chichi, you were always a hero to me.”

He chuckled breathily, “Not sure what being a hero feels like, but if it means getting more hugs from people like you and Gabby and Laura, then this is pretty nice.”

She snickered, “Our family gives really nice hugs, huh?”

“That we do.”

Chapter Text

The man known as Old Man Logan was a lot of things, and many of those things he wasn’t proud of. Once upon a time, he was the Wolverine, and he was the best at what he did, and someone used that against him. They used that, by making him see things that weren’t real. They made him see those he cared about as his enemies, and lost in his fear and rage, he slaughtered them.

 

He was a lot of things. He was a killer. He was berserker. He was lost in self-hatred. He had never learned to forgive himself.

 

Logan had vowed never to use his claws again, and it cost him dearly.

 

 

“Hey! Old man Logan!”

 

The Logan they were talking about was exhausted, he was ancient, and he was waking up from a hangover. He wasn’t the living, more recently reincarnated Logan from this timeline. Nope, he came from a timeline that was fucked up beyond all belief.

 

 So, why his son from an alternate timeline, er, two of them along with his daughter and apparently non-evil granddaughter appeared with another little girl. Oh, and there was another guy who looked like his younger self but with a Tarzan complex, and the younger, this version timeline of himself.

 

You know what, screw trying to keep track of all these things. All these kids were pretty much his and he was the odd one out from another timeline. Please, please don’t say the little girl was his. Seriously, he should’ve worn condoms or been more careful in some way.

 

Jimmy cleared his throat, “Hey Logan.”

 

“At least you didn’t call me ‘Dad’,” he grumbled.

 

Hudson shrugged, “Yeah, I’m past that at this point. Anyways, meet your newest grandkid, Akiko.”

 

Logan blinked at the kid, looking at Tarzan, Daken, Jimmy, and Laura. Physically, the most likely suspect was Daken, but the kid was the smartest at using contraception, so he was betting on one of the others. He didn’t know Tarzan, so he wasn’t making any assumptions yet. Laura? She was responsible and dependable, and she also was unlikely to have either entered a relationship recently and/or have had kids. Then there was Jimmy, who just announced that he had another grandkid…

“So, she’s yours?”

 

“No,” Jimmy yelped while the child and Daken deadpanned.

 

Ah, there was the major familial resemblance. Wait, what? “Daken, I thought you would’ve-“

 

“Cloned DNA from dad mixed with egg of unknown mom,” the kid simplified, shrugging. “I’m getting way too used to this.”

 

Logan frowned, “My apologies.”

 

“Just be glad I haven’t stabbed you. Apparently it’s supposed to be a ‘family tradition’,” the child sighed.

 

He raised an eyebrow, “True, I did stab Gabby and in alternate timelines, I still get stabbed by everyone else. Although, I don’t remember you. That could just be because by now, I would’ve killed the X-Men though.”

 

Her expression changed immediately, as did her posture. Her eyes widened, and her body moved into a position that could best be described as fight or flight mode. It reminded him of a blend of Daken’s, Laura’s, and his own fighting style, as well as something akin to dancing. Huh.

 

He snorted, “Easy kid, I’m guessing your folks brought you here for a reason.”

 

Daken smirked, but it had a tinge of sadness to it. “Akiko, was in a dangerous situation recently, one that involved her life, and the lives of others being in danger. She was injured, possibly fatally so because her healing trait wasn’t fully activated at the time, and she purposefully induced berserker rage.”

 

Logan inhaled, but let Daken finish. “No one died, and in fact, there weren’t any fatal injuries. Serious wounds that requires help to the bad guys, but, nothing to those she was protecting, and she recovered physically, but, she needs some help with other things. Namely, she’s scared of berserker rage, or using her claws ever again. We don’t want to force her, but we also don’t want her to be afraid of something that is a part of her.”

 

Shit. This, might take a while.

 

“All right, sweetheart, pull up a seat.”

 

Akiko looked up at her father nervously, and he nodded, gesturing to a chair. Old Logan let her order a burger and side of fries with a milkshake, and he avoided alcohol for the duration that she was there. It had been a while since he’d eaten with a kid at a table. He almost smiled as memories dug up in his mind before they were plagued by the gruesome ones that buried the kinder ones.

 

He sighed, “How old are you kid?”

 

“I’m turning five next week.” Holy fuck. He hadn’t realized he said it out loud then, and exused his language, telling her not to repeat it. “I live with the younger version of you, and the X-Men, and my dad’s Daken. Cursing doesn’t bother me, and I know when to use it when it’s proper.”

 

Logan laughed, “When is cursing ever proper?”

 

“It helps with pain and stress,” she stated factually. “According to medical journals and articles in studies that were published on the internet by universities, cursing is healthy.”

 

The ex-Wolverine wondered if his jaw was literally dropping to the floor. “I’ll be damned.”

 

“From what I’ve read, you have been. Apparently some of my relatives have literally been to Hell and back. I’m not sure how to feel about that,” she admitted.

 

Logan couldn’t whip the smile off his face. The sass on this child was priceless. “Okay, ready for story?”

 

She held up a finger, and sipped a little from her milkshake before giving him a thumbs up. Logan felt himself tense, unsure quite where to begin. “Once upon a time, I lived in the Xavier Institute as a teacher, and there was a day where the security alert went off. We had been breached. I didn’t know at the time it had only been one person, and not multiple. I arrived in the main entryway, and saw a horde of criminals.”

 

The kid frowned, clearly not liking where this was going. “I didn’t know it at the time, but I was hypnotized by Mr. Mysterio, who likes making people see things that aren’t real. Normally he’s a member of Spider-Man’s rogue gallery, but he decided to target us. I saw the X-Men as people, the criminals who would hurt my family. Since we were all friends, the X-Men hesitated to hurt me even with my healing factor, and, I, I killed all of them.”

 

He didn’t dare meet the kid’s eyes. Would she be disgusted with him? Pity him? Hate him? Logan didn’t care and he didn’t want to know.

“I tried to kill myself so many damn times. Even let a train run over my skull. None of it ever worked,” he murmured. “The world went to hell after that, and we don’t need to do into all the details. Let’s just say that some enemies became allies, and some allies became enemies, and the same goes for assholes and good people.”

 

This time he did look up, and saw Akiko nodding with a slight frown. “I swore that I would never use my claws again, married a good woman, and we had two beautiful children. I even became a farmer. It was a simple life.”

 

“Jiji, a farmer?” she giggled.

 

Okay, that made him smile a little. “Is that so strange?”

 

“…Grandpa Logan has a farm,” she snickered, barely dodging a French fry tossed at her head. “E-I-E-I-O.”

 

“Brat,” he scoffed playfully. Damn, she reminded him of Scott a little, as in his son, not Cyclops. “Anyways, we always had bills to pay, and one day, I fell a little short. The bosses of the territory…”

 

“’The bosses of the territory’?”

Oh God, does he tell her about the Hulks or not? “Er, keep in mind what I said about friends and enemies. And it’s an alternate timeline, so it’s not the same here.”

 

She inclined her head patiently.

 

Fuck. “The Banners-“

 

“Like Skaar?”

 

Crap. “I, actually don’t know where he is there, but Bruce did have kids in the area, and they basically ran the operation. They collected payments, and when someone couldn’t pay up, they were beaten, or killed. In my case, it was the former. I was lucky to have healing abilities.”

 

“Jiji-“

 

“I was given more time to make money, and an old friend, Hawkeye, offered me a few jobs to make it. I, I accepted and I went on a shitty cross country journey. I saw so many things, and lost so many friends, but never once did I use my claws. I even got back home early, but,” Logan tensed, his knuckles cracking as his fists whitened. “The Banners killed my family because they ‘got bored’.”

 

This time, they met gazes, and her eyes were filled with tears. “Akiko, after being patient and trying so damned hard not to hurt anyone, I hunted those people down, letting my rage out and slaughtered them all, except for the youngest who was an infant. Him, him I raised as my own. Locking all of that up, trying to hold back your claws when others need them, I’ve regretted that every day since they died.”

 

She swallowed. “I don’t want to kill.”

 

He grimaced, ‘I hope that you and Gabby never have to, but with our luck? I honestly don’t know if that’s possible. But, even ‘normal’ people might kill to protect themselves or others, and that in itself isn’t a bad thing. I’m not saying that killing is good, or that one should actively kill, but there are times when it is justifiable. Me murdering the Banners? I still don’t know how to answer that question myself.”

 

Akiko considered his words. “Jiji, can I ask you something?”

 

“You just did.” She scowled at him. “Sure, go ahead.”

 

“My father asked me something once to tell him ‘a great deal about decision making, and morality.’ He also told me ‘don't feel bad about anything you might say or think, and I want you to explain your thoughts after you answer the question.’ I want to ask you that same question.”

 

Why did this sound so much more complicated than it needed to be? “Feel free.”

 

"You are on a boat, in the ocean, with your family. Your family consists of a parent, your spouse, and your child. In this hypothetical situation, no one has powers. Everyone is an ordinary person. The boat has sprung a leak, and you can only save one person besides yourself, which is either the parent, the spouse, or the child. Who do you choose?"

 

“I’ll go the Kobayashi Maru route and save my spouse and kids, leaving me and my grandparents to drown because we’re assholes,” he said coolly, taking a bite of his own burger.

 

“…’Forest Circle?’” she muttered. “Is that the name of a ship?”

 

He narrowed his eyes, “You haven’t seen Star Trek, have you?”

 

“I’ve heard of it, but I haven’t watched it,” she commented, showing the Vulcan salute. “This is slang in ASL for ‘alien’. I use it as a part for Broo’s sign name.”

 

He groaned, “Using the Kobayashi Maru means I’m picking a route that’s different from the ones you’ve given me.”

 

Akiko blinked, “Isn’t that cheating? You won’t always be able to have a way out.”

 

“Maybe not, but those occasions are extremely rare. It’s always best to think of alternatives before forcing yourself to make a single decision,” he said, tapping the side of his head. “Practice your creativity and stimulate the mind.”

 

Akiko nodded, and frowned at her hands. “I, was also wondering if you could tell me something, without telling my dad or the others?”

 

“Depends on what it is?”

 

There was a moment of silence where the kid fought a war within herself. “A friend of mine, told me about a man called Romulus, a little bit about his relationship with father, and that Romulus made the Weapon X program? But, I don’t know what Weapon X is, or who or what Romulus is or how he affected Chichi. What my friend suggested didn’t sound good, and Chichi, no, no one close to me has mentioned any of this to me. It’s confusing.”

 

Yep, this was going to take longer than he thought.

 

“Well, let’s start with what you do know.”

 


 

 

“They're cranky and they're stabby, adventurous and crabby, they're all together whacky, it's the Sniktling family,” Akiko sang under her breath, tapping the eraser of her pencil on her math work.

 

Multiplication tables were hard.

 

“Their lives are filled with danger, days getting stranger and stranger, always inducing anger, it's the Sniktling family.”

 

*SNIKT SNIKT*

She winced. Every time she unsheathed her claws, for a fraction of a second, she saw what she became, but singing about her family helped as she did it. It was a weird tactic, and she knew it, but so far it was working for her. It was something she came up with Laura and Jimmy. Both were surprisingly knowledgeable when it came to finding out how to deal with trauma. She probably didn’t want to know how or why. Maybe that’s why Laura was helping Chichi and Jiji too though.

“Tea?”

Akiko thank her Uncle Erista, gladly taking the cup. “You’re heading back to Grandma Gahck tomorrow, right?”

He chuckled, “Yes, and I’ll be sure to give her your letter.”

Technically Gahck was her step-grandmother, but Akiko didn’t like the idea of step-anythings, so she just decided to call Gahck another grandmother. Plus, that made things way easier. Wow, she probably had a ton of grandmas.

“What are you thinking about?”

“Family,” she said. “I wonder how many other relatives I have that I didn’t know about.”

Erista shrugged, “At this point, I’m as in the dark as you are. To be honest, everything here confuses me, and don’t tell me it’s because I’m from a jungle. I mean, time travel, alternate versions, my father coming back from the dead multiple times? There’s so much to think about and keeping track…I can’t do it all. I don’t know if you can.”

“I was made here, and I’m continuing to adapt. As a kid, I guess I’m more flexible?” she offered. “I find adults prefer things that are more in their boundaries, easier to control. For me, I just have a lot more friends and family members to care about. They all come from different places, with different stories and speak in different languages, but in a way that’s what happens in ‘normal life’, isn’t it? I mean, it’s a lot to take in sometimes, but, remember that these are people, and people are complicated, and that’s okay because people matter, especially when you care about them more than you expected you would.”

Her uncle noogied her then, “You’re weird, you know that?”

“Yeah, and I like being weird. Makes things more fun.”

There was a knock at the door, and Erista stood up, walking up to Logan who tossed him keys to a motorcycle. Erista placed a fist over his heart, slightly bowing to her, and left the room as soon as Akiko did the same. Then, she frowned, starting to count numbers on her fingers while muttering something under her breath. Logan paused, “Something on your mind, kid?”

“Jiji, do we have at least one more ‘Wolverine’ family member?” she asked. “I know of eight specific members as of now. There’s you, me, Laura, Chichi, Gabby, Erista, the older you, and Jimmy.”

He tilted his head, “Why do you want nine people?”

“For Mutantball,” she said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. Logan stilled. “If we have nine Wolverine players, we’d have a complete Wolverine team.”

“…”

“Jiji?”

A slow, large smile broke out on his face, “Let me get back to you on that.”

Why did she feel like she might regret that? Watching him go, she found herself grimacing once more. Playing a game, might be difficult even if they had the right number of players. Their family wasn’t exactly fractured, but it was dysfunctional, and it was mostly because of the Weapon X program, and Romulus.

Akiko didn’t know how to feel. Her father, and grandfather, had suffered so much because of Romulus, but without the asshole, her aunts wouldn’t exist, and by extent in some ways, Akiko wouldn’t exist. Heck, the father she knew wouldn’t exist, but would that be for better or worse? Would Logan have been able to live happily with Akihiro? Would that even have been his name?

There were so many things she wanted to ask, to know more about, but her father was finally home, and doing his best to be better. She had to be better too, so she was trying in her own ways. She said she wanted to be a Wolverine, to be a hero. Well, here she was, trying to do her best, and figure out what that meant.

Yet, why did she have this dreaded feeling when everything was turning out so right for once?

 

Chapter Text

Amiko Kobayashi was a lot of things. She was a survivor, and one born out from fire and ashes, for her home had been destroyed by a dragon. The same dragon had killed her mother, and it was her mother that had not only been discovered by Logan, but pleaded for him to save Amiko, to raise her.

She was a survivor, and a warrior, raised by the Yashida Clan, by Mariko, the love of the Wolverine. Her life was threatened far more times than she could count, and she lost yet another family when Mariko died. She hoped again and again that Logan would save her, but he didn't stay. He left her, first to Yukio, and then to Kenuichio Harada, the Silver Samurai, with the samurai's payment being a sword. Logan paid for her safety, to be kept, with a sword.

Amiko didn't fully understand it at the time, but Logan had been trying to protect her, not wishing for her to be harmed because of him. 

Beings from hell have tried to take her, Sabretooth had tried to harm her, assassins and monsters and magical beings of all kinds have tried to harm her and break her, but the one person that she had always wanted to take her, bring her elsewhere, was her father.  She learned her mother was of the Shosei Order, mystic guardians that protected Japan from sources of evil for centuries. Amiko learned how to fight, how to protect, and how to blend into the darkest hours of the night.

Amiko was many things, but she was so much more than just a survivor.

She was a child of the Wolverine.

"Amiko, what troubles you?"

The girl in question furrowed her eyebrows, looking up at her sensei, Mana Yanowa, the Head Priestess of the Shosei Order. "Why are we visiting a man who makes weaponry out of souls? His career seems to be exactly what we should be trying to stop."

"I can hear you," drawled Muramasa, as he served tea to both women, nodding politely to Mana as she thanked him. He raised an eyebrow at Amiko, "Making weapons out of souls is not always for evil, child. In fact, recently some family members of yours required my services to make armor to shield themselves from some very dangerous characters. Had they not, even with the powers they had, they most certainly would have perished."

Mana blew the steam from her tea, agreeing, "So I've heard. Those Orphans of X were quite determined. Is it true they melted down your sword and made them into bullets?"

He scowled, "Yes, and such shoddy workmanship too."

Amiko frowned, wishing her elders would elaborate. She was always being kept out of the loop. Mana seemed to realize Amiko's silent frustration without words, and indulged her, "Amiko, there has always been people hunting your kin, and these Orphans of X wished revenge upon the 'Wolverines', as they were all victims in one form or the other of the Weapon X program. The alternate version of your father was also taken, and shot by one of the bullets they had made, believed to be killed and technically so as long as the bullet remained in his brain since it could not heal."

The teen's chest tightened, ice-like sensations flowing through. She and Logan may argue or struggle sometimes, but she didn't want him dead, ever. She stilled then, remembering when Kurt and Jubilee told her that Logan had died. Those two seemed to care the most, didn't they? 

 

"What happened?"

Muramasa laughed, "Your cousin, Laura, removed the armor that I gave to her which protected her from the very things that should have killed her, and she spoke to the people who wished to kill her. She told them that like them, she had been used, hurt, and she persuaded them that she was not an animal, but an Orphan of X instead."

Mana smiled softly, "Just because something has the full potential to be a weapon, does not mean they need to be, Amiko."

Ah, so that was what this was, a lesson. "So, it's acceptable to use weapons with souls?"

"To a rare extent," said Muramasa himself as he set down his cup. "I made a sword for Logan for the sake of revenge. He placed parts of his soul in it, the parts that held his vengeance, his rage, and the darkest pieces of him within it. The blade was stained red as blood for it, and it was the most dangerous blade I had ever created."

"Why did you make it?"

Muramasa thought of how to phrase his words. "He wished to use it against those he believed killed someone he loved, his wife. I believe he said her name was Itsu."

Amiko knew that name.

He continued, "The sword was made with a sibling, a shield. The shield was made to protect himself, or to protect another. It was blue, with the pieces that held other traits most rarely acknowledge. I did not give the sibling to him at the time, for he was driven by bloodlust, and sometimes men will only listen to their own actions, but not the words or actions of others. They must take their own time, learn their own path, and make their own decisions when the time is right."

"And if they don't?"

"They fail, they lose, they die," Muramasa stated. 

She hesitated, "What happened to the rest of the sword?"

He furrowed his eyebrows, "Logan buried some fragments a long time ago, as was his right. Some of the bullets that the Orphans managed to recover, were returned to me. The ones lost, we do not know."

Mana inclined her head, "Thank you for your time, Master Muramasa."

He stood up, and bowed, "It was an honor seeing you again, Lady Yanowa. Your quarters for the night have been prepared."

Entering their rooms, Amiko asked, "How do you know Muramasa?"

Mana snorted, "Tell me, Mariko, what are my weapons?"

"The Blade of Blood, which can disrupt or deflect magic, and open a portal to Ashurado. It can do this because it...Holds parts of the souls of previous priestesses? But that's part of the holy-?"

The high priestess smirked, "Yes? And what about yours?"

The girl touched the necklace around her throat, "The Mark of Mana, it held the souls of the wicked, imprisoning them, namely Ryuki and, your sister."

It also held Mana though as part of its cost. Now, it granted protection against those who would harm the wearer with ill intent. The expression Mana had was bittersweet, yet snarky at the same time.

Amiko was really starting to wonder if she was part of some kind of cult. "Okay, maybe Muramasa isn't all that bad?"

"All magic depends on its use and intent," Mana uttered, her gaze turning sorrowful. "It's one thing to give a soul willingly, and another forcefully, as my sister had aided the demon Ryuki with using dark magic."

The youth decided to let the matter rest, setting up their futons for the night. It was late into the night, when Amiko woke up, a horrible feeling tearing through her. Her sensei was already awake, Muramasa nearby with a sword in hand. Amiko locked gazes with Mana, and the two nodded. There was an intruder in the home. Mana took out her own blade, Amiko seeing both their eyes in its reflection, a flare of red decorating it. She focused, recalling what she was taught by Mariko and Yukio as she followed her sensei's lead down the hallways.

In one of the rooms, stood a large, bulking figure with wild white hair, with gloves with blades similar in pattern to Logan's. All three understood that whatever or whoever it was, they had something to do with Wolverine. Her sensei tensed, and signaled for Amiko to leave, to message her father. Amiko glanced at the man, seeing him pick up a scarlet bullet to inspect it, and realized why. She knew him. There was no hesitance that time as she left. Once outside, she heard the sounds of clashing metal, yells, and screams. Running down the grassy hill, she saw a swirling vortex of colors at the peak, the house falling apart.

Taking out her phone, recalled the lessons that Logan taught her, Amiko concentrated, doing her best not to be caught. 

"Romulus has Muramasa bullets. Run."

There was the crackle of a tree branch behind her, and Amiko whipped around, gritting her teeth as she dodged the claws attempting to strike her. Taking out sai, she blocked, him, grateful when she saw her elders racing down the mount. All of them were bruised, wounded, but prepared to fight.

 

Amiko Kobayashi was a lot of things. She was a protector, the last descendant of the Shosei Order, and a daughter of the Wolverine.

 

She would NOT fall that day.

Chapter Text

There was a lot of things that James “Logan” Howlett regretted in his lifetime.

He regretted the deaths he caused, from Rose to Silver Fox to Mariko to Jean and his children and God knew how many others. He regretted how many people were dragged into his messes, and the pain he caused them. He tried to keep them away, keep them safe. He regretted failing all of his children. He caused Laura and Daken so much pain that they hated the world because the world in turn made their existence into weapons. Logan pushed Amiko away, not wanting her to end up on the long list of those who had suffered or perished because of him.

Maybe it was karma of the universe that the moment he finally tried to reach out, for a simple mutantball game, that he got the text about Romulus and the Muramasa bullets.

And, maybe it was why he shouldn’t have been so shocked that his youngest grandchild stabbed him in rage.

*SNIKT*

…Logan’s granddaughter had Itsu’s eyes.  His heart ached at the memory of his wife, knowing that he had failed her as well, just as he had Daken, and now more of his family. Akiko was growling, her eyes full of rage and pupils almost slits in their intensity. That rage? Itsu had been strong-minded, willful, and brilliant just as her son is, but she didn’t have the bloodlust her son and granddaughter did. That came from Logan, it always had.

“Akiko?!” Kurt yelped, the sight of Akiko committing such an act shocking everyone there.

Logan fell to his knees, watching the blood dripping from her claws. That’s when he realized, the majority of it was her own, and only a small amount was his at the very tips. Akiko was glaring, but there was still a softness there. Her voice was stony, oddly and strikingly clear while her words were as sharp as her claws.

“Are you just going to stand there while people are dying? While your family is dying, Logan?”

He flinched, never having heard her call him by that name before. Her knuckles cracked, the bony blades drawing out further, her skin piercing more and more, causing more blood to flow. Crimson slid down the edges of her claws, slowly dripping onto the wooden floors with a pitter pattering noise, almost like the beginning of a rain storm. Logan’s mind started to awaken, the numbness dissipating.

“Akiko-“

“Are you, or are you not, a Wolverine?” Akiko growled.

It was as if the child were searching his soul, trying to find something, an answer to a question that he didn’t know. “Yes, I am.”

Her gaze flickered for a moment, then softened, “Then get your ass in gear, and save our family, Jiji. You owe me a mutantball game after all.”

He nodded, getting up, when something occurred to him. “Wait, why’d you stab me?”

“You weren’t reacting to anything else,” she said, shrugging. “I figured that the family tradition tended to get your attention more than anything else.”

Kurt groaned, beginning to bang his head against a wall in frustration while a few people in the hallway either made noises of irritation, or outright laughed. Logan flushed, and quickly moved down the halls. It wasn’t until he made it to the Blackbird that he realized, Akiko never asked who Romulus was.

 


 

 

Akiko was fuming on the inside. Breathing in and out to calm her nerves, she turned to Gabby, signing “Are there any other family members I should know?”

Gabby scratched her cheek awkwardly, “Er, yes? He’s an uncle from another timeline of yours though, so I’m not sure if he counts-?”

“He counts,” Akiko affirmed, giving Gabby a dead look. “The older Logan’s another grandpa, and Jimmy is an uncle, so whoever that guy is, he’s also an uncle.”

“Okay, but he’s kind of a creepy pervert jerk, who’s also literally blue,” Gabby sighed. “Don’t freak out? In another timeline. Grandpa had a son with Mystique. The guy’s name is Raze Darkholme, and he tried to kill everybody here. He’s an anti-human guy, and he’s a shapeshifter like his mom.”

The youngest Wolverine absorbed that, and then stared at Kurt, blurting out, “Kurt, you’re my uncle!”

Kurt choked, “Vat?!”

Akiko’s eyes were sparkling. “You’re the half-brother of Raze Darkholme, right? And Raze is my uncle, so that makes you another uncle! This is the best thing ever!”

Nightcrawler appeared to have very mixed feelings. On one hand, he appeared to be delighted at the prospect at being an uncle, and one the other, he didn’t seem to like how he was an uncle. Gabby smiled awkwardly, “Um, Akiko, by that logic, that would mean Lorna, and Wanda are your aunts, and Pietro would be another uncle.”

Akiko appeared confused until Kurt said, “In another universe Jimmy’s their half-brother.”

Her eyes were getting even happier. She bounced on her heels, making giggle-like noises, “I have more uncles and aunts now!”

“…But, I don’t vant to be related to Vanda,” Kurt said anxiously, looking like he was about to cry. “Ve dated once. That’s disturbing if-“

“You haven’t heard the rumors about her and her brother, have you?” Quentin muttered. “Or the ones that suggest that Jimmy might not be their half-brother at all, which would mean Wanda is-“

“No!” Kurt yelped in horror, the poor angel.

Meanwhile, the toddler was oblivious, ignoring them since she was just so excited by the fact that her family was growing a lot in mere hours. Yet, that excitement and euphoria died as she remembered Romulus. This Amiko, Logan’s daughter, the aunt only a few years older than Akiko, may or may not be alive. The man who raised her Akiko’s father, abused him, and made all the suffering for her family, was out there with a weapon that could kill them.

Uncle Jimmy and Daken ran down the hallways with Laura in tow, Daken pale as his eyes met Akiko’s. He said her name, not sure what to say. She pursed her lips, furrowing her eyebrows, then sighed. “I know, you hafta go.”

This was something he needed to do, not just as an X-Men or to save someone else, but also for himself. There was a lot she didn’t understand, and she doubted she would ever understand, but she did know that where moments people needed things only they could complete and others didn’t always realize or could communicate with.

Her father stiffened, lifting his head, “You-“

She smiled sadly, signing, “A little bird told me some things. I know why you might not have wanted to tell me. I want to know the rest from you when you’re ready to, so come back and tell me more later when you’re able to? When you choose to? As long as you come back to me, please?”

Akiko’s hands were trembling, and Daken caught them in his, wistful. “I’ll be back, I promise. And, we’ll play mutantball? I don’t know all of the rules, though, so you’ll have to teach me.”

His daughter nodded, pressing their foreheads together. He walked away then, pausing once to look over his shoulder, hesitating to go. Laura knelt in front of both Wolverine kids. “Don’t know how long we’ll be gone, but keep an eye out for each other and if anything seems odd, let someone from SHIELD or the X-Men know. Erista’s agreed to join us, so you’ll have to keep an extra eye out.”

The kids agreed, each in their own way. Gabby disliked the situation more than Akiko, likely from having fought more in the real world, and more so fighting alongside her sister, but this was Romulus they were talking about. Watching them leave, she asked Akiko, “Are you really okay with this?”

“No,” Akiko signed, “But I’ve been hurt before like Father has. I think Laura was too, and it was the same for you, wasn’t it?”

Gabby didn’t answer, but she didn’t need to.

“My father still needs to grow, and I can’t help him do that. Aunt and Grandpa and you and the others can though, you always have. Whatever he chooses, it will be a big step in something. I’m trusting him that it’s moving forward and letting go of his past.”

Her youngest aunt smiled, “You’re always so sure of him.”

Akiko tensed, frowning. “No, I’m not.”

 


 

 

“Wait, so we’re somehow related to a people descended from wolves according to this asshole?” Jimmy asked, a vein visibly twitching in his forehead.

Logan pinched the bridge of his nose, “Turned out to be some kind of hoax he made up to make a 'master race,' but yeah, science proves it’s not true though. Some mutant families are weird though. Some of us can share similar traits, and others are completely different. You know Chuck? He’s got a few kids, both in this timeline and others, that have telepathy too. And don’t even get me started on the one with multiple personalities, that one needs help. Serious help.”

“And Kurt, he got his transporting abilities from his dad,” Laura groaned, leaning back in her chair, “Or Raze from Mystique. They’re both bloody shapeshifters for crying out loud! There’s no damned reasoned for Romulus to make this crazy ass theory that we’re so high and mighty to be descended from wolves.”

Jimmy wrinkled his nose, “Think being immortal for all these years made him a little cuckoo?”

Everyone in the Blackbird made varying noises and gestures of agreement. Jimmy raised an eyebrow, “Any plan of attack?”

“With Romulus?” Daken said, narrowing his eyes. “You don’t just need one plan, but several. That’s why Erista’s here, hopefully as an element of surprise.”

Erista nodded, frowning, “It is strange. Logan spent time with my mother, and many others, yet I nor any or my people have encountered this ‘Romulus.’”

“Were you a late bloomer?” Jimmy offered. “I know I was, and the Romulus in my timeline never appeared.”

Daken frowned, “My abilities appeared when I was a child.”

“As did mine,” Logan uttered. “Nothing showed from my half sibling, or your others so I’m wagering that’s why he didn’t pay them any mind.”

Laura furrowed her eyebrows, “He did pay attention to me because I had your abilities though, and especially from a young age.”

Daken froze, “He’ll go after Gabby and Akiko.”

“Which is why we need to stop him,” Logan scowled. “He’s hurt too many people for too damned long. Don’t know what the hell I was thinkin’, trying to stay away from Amiko, from all of you. I’m a fucking idiot.”

“Yes,” everyone else in the room agreed.

Laura flicked Logan in the forehead. “C’mon, let’s go rescue my little sister.”

Chapter Text

Victor Von Doom was a lot of things. He was Romani born just short from Hassenstadt, Latveria, modern day Doomstadt, to Cynthia and Werner von Doom. His mother had made a deal with the demon, Mephisto, to protect her people from a cruel man threatening them, including her husband and child. She died in his father’s arms, and they fled.

Victor outlasted a snow storm, where his father had not.

In one of the rare moments of peace of Doom’s life, he met a woman named Valeria in his youth. He fell in love, and she loved him in turn. He regretted it dearly, for he had yearned for power, and those who were willing to give it wanted him to pay the one thing he loved in the world for it, her. So, he sacrificed her and her soul for the sake of power, and to torture those he saw as his enemies.

In his regrets, he saved Richards’ wife and child when they weren’t able to save themselves, on the condition he would name the child.

He named her Valeria.

Yes, Doom had been many things. He was the villain in so many stories. He was a dictator in many eyes. Some said he was a fair ruler in Doomstadt, which he renamed after his mother. At some point, he became a ruler of the world of the world, and it was boring. He had been a god, and found it lacking. For all the power in the universe, the only times he’d been happy, was with the people named Valeria in his life. One was a lover, and the other he considered a daughter even if it was not by blood.

And that was likely why right now, he was supervising a sleepover for one of the few in his life that he truly cared about, and it was oddly one of the most satisfying things he might ever experience.

 

Victor Von Doom was shocked at how surprisingly well behaved the children were, especially the children known as Skaar, Quentin, Molly, Broo, Gabrielle, and Akiko. The first was a son of the Hulk, and had grown up fighting his entire life as a being willing to slaughter anything and anyone in his path. The second had murdered humans and thoroughly enjoyed doing so, sadistic in nature and loved creating chaos wherever he went. As for Garbielle and Akiko…

Normally he would try not to judge by one’s heritage, as he didn’t judge Valeria or her brother for theirs, Gabrielle was always a delight in spite of her heritage, but when he heard Daken had a daughter, he certainly wasn’t expecting the little one playing Candyland with awe at his dining table. It was obviously a childish game, one he wasn’t sure he’d approve of Valeria playing, but she also appeared thoroughly pleased by the experience.

Akiko shuddered, “It all sounds so sticky.”

Valeria giggled, “I still can’t believe you don’t like sweets.”

“It’s not that I don’t like them,” Akiko mumbled. “It’s just, they’re overwhelming sometimes. I like raisin and oatmeal sometimes though.”

“Ew!” Molly gagged. “Don’t tell me you like black licorice too.”

When Akiko didn’t answer, Quentin groaned, “There is something definitely wrong with you kid. That’s, that’s just evil. Pure evil.”

Skaar, who wasn’t in his Hulk form but instead grey, and like Akiko, he too was confounded by the game. “What’s pure evil is how you guys can stand sure sweet things. It’s death incarnate.”

Akiko pursed her lips, “’Incarnate’?”

Doom decided to step in, tentative as he did so. He had little to know idea as to how to interact with children like these ones. Valeria and her brother were more interactive because he knew them since infancy. He got along with younger children because they were more accepting. These ones though…They knew him, or at least about him. He hoped not to make enemies with Valeria’s friends.

“Incarnate means to be embodied in flesh, or to be made real. Skaar is saying that sweets are Death made into physical form,” Doom explained.

It was understandable that she was clever in different areas then some of the others that he had seen thus far, and that she was also the youngest one there. There was no need to shame or belittle her on something she didn’t understand. One should always educate the youth and help them to better encourage their yearning for knowledge, instead of hurt them for not knowing enough.

She brightened, “Thank you.”

Her voice sounded somewhat pained, and he tilted his head, “Have I offended you?”

Valeria interrupted Akiko before the latter could speak. “Akiko has trouble talking from an older injury. Signing is easier for her than speaking, but not everyone can sign so she practices talking.”

Gabrielle agreed, moving Jonathan the Unstoppable so that he would sit better in her lap, “Akiko didn’t want to make you uncomfortable, even though I told her you likely wouldn’t mind.”

Doom saw the youngest one blush in embarrassment, not meeting his eyes as she began to fidget. In that moment, it was difficult to believe she was Daken’s child at all. Victor was half glad, half sad that she couldn’t see his expression. “You are my guest. You need not force yourself to do anything as long as you behave and act reasonably. Harming yourself, is not reasonable.”

Akiko grimaced, starting to raise her hands, but paused, her eyes searching the table, probably for a writing utensil and paper. Doom chuckled, scaring the others. He began signing. “Hello, my name is D-O-O-M, but my sign name is Doom. It is nice to meet you. What is your sign name?”

The girl beamed, showing her his. “Does every hero know sign language?”

He frowned, “I’m not a hero.”

Valeria talks about you as if you are, so you must be, at least to her. If you are just a hero to one, then you are still a hero,” Akiko affirmed.

Doom considered her words, smiling underneath his mask, “If that is your logic…Yes, that is why I know sign language.”

 


 

 

Muramasa’s home was on fire, and each of the Wolverines’ had split up into groups to search for Amiko, Mana, Muramasa, and much to their worry, Romulus. Daken was with Laura, Jimmy with Old Man Logan, who they had picked up along the way, and Logan with Erista.

Six Wolverines were together, two at Doom’s place, and another needed to be found, hopefully safe and sound.

Johnny sniffed the air, the symbiote inside him becoming more visible through his veins. The older Logan tensed, “Are, you sure you have control of that thing?”

“…No. By the way, can we call you something other than Logan. It’s kind of hard to differentiate between you two.”

Logan scowled, offering, “’James’?”

Both frowned, shaking their heads. That just sounded weird. “Howlett?”

Definitely no. Logan grimaced, “…John?”

“How come?”

Another pause. “It was my father’s name, and I guess I’m a regular John Doe here. No one really knows me.”

Jimmy shook his head. Without saying anything, they both knew it didn’t sound or feel right.

"Senior and Junior?"

"Nope."

Passing underneath a tree with cherry blossoms, a memory came to mind, and he smiled softly.

“Kuzuri, call me Kuzuri.”

Watching the old man walk ahead, Jimmy mouthed, “The fuck is Kuzuri?”

He practiced saying repeatedly under his breath multiple times, and followed along, both searching with their heightened senses. Jimmy really needed to learn some Japanese.

“How do you think he got out of the Raft?” Laura asked Daken, stealthily ducking underneath a branch.

Daken looked upwards while she searched the grounds. “It’s Romulus. He was sure to break out somehow, sometimes. It was only a question of when.”

She frowned, “Are you going to kill him, if you get the chance?”

Brother and sister briefly shared glances, trying to understand one another without saying a damned thing out loud. “Wouldn’t you?”

“At least tell me you wouldn’t do it alone. Each of us has some stake in it,” she uttered, sighing. “Beyond that, it’s foolish for you to take him on by yourself. If you do, you’ll most likely leave me without my favorite brother, Gabby without her favorite uncle, and Akiko without her father.”

He didn’t know how to respond at first. Daken had wanted to take on Romulus himself, but she was right. It was foolish, and, he needed to keep his promises. “…You’re always trying to help me, and I can never understand why.”

Laura smirked at him. “Is it working?”

He chuckled, “Yes.”

“Then you should know why.”

What a complete mess they made, right from the very start.

...

Erista squat to observe the tracks. “An approximately three hundred pound male ran through here after a child. The scent has faded, but it grows stronger down the trail.”

“No kidding,” Logan said, both running. He pressed a button on his communications device. “We got a lead. Track me and meet up with us.”

Erista looked upwards, “I’ll take the trees?”

“I’ll take the ground. Go ahead.”

Erista leap upwards, having a little difficulty at first due to the difference of the type he wasn’t used to, but was able to quickly adjust. After landing on the first few dozen, he saw a bright-colored child’s hoodie. It was breathing. He halted, sniffing the air. There was perfume, but it wasn’t coming from the child.

He tapped the device. “Does this Romulus use perfume to cover his scent?”

“Yes, is he there with you?” Jimmy asked.

“I suspect so. I see Amiko about one-hundred of your measurement of feet from me,” Erista stated. “The scent isn’t from her, but it does cloud the area. I believe the phrase is, ‘It’s a trap!’?”

Laura sighed, “You’ve been watching too much Star Wars with Gabby and Logan.”

“Not now, sister,” he said, narrowing his gaze. “Amiko appears wounded. There are no signs of her master or Muramasa. Orders?”

“We’re almost at your position. Don’t-“

Erista leapt out of the way, barely dodging large claws that would’ve torn at his flesh. “Found him, not of my own choice. You neglected to mention he is very quiet…And rude, he cut off some of my hair.”

Hopping away, he swiftly, and gently, picked up the young girl, tucking her close, and ran away from the gigantic one that inexplicably didn’t break the trees under his weight. Flipping onto the ground, he almost handed Amiko to Logan when Romulus hit the ground on his feet with a loud, heavy thud.

Erista blinked. “He likes making an entrance, doesn’t he? Very dramatic.”

Romulus rotated and cracked his neck, growling, “Who are you?

“Your friendly neighborhood, Spider-Man,” Erista jested with a bow and a wink.

“…I shall kill you first.”

Erista shrugged, “At least I’ve lived a good life. By the way, Daken’s about to stab you in the head.”

“What?!” Romulus said, turning around to face his opponent, claws out.

Actually, Daken stabbed in the back, and Erista ran for it, carrying Amiko away from danger. Next thing Romulus knew, he was surrounded by four more Wolverines, all bearing their teeth and bloodied claws, eyes glowing as predators’ did in the night.

Romulus smirked, “This ought to be interesting.”

 


 

Doom ushered the children to the bathrooms, making sure they brushed their teeth, including the child of Hulk. He found that one’s dental hygiene to be atrocious.

Quentin leaned over, “Who knew Doom could be such a ‘Dad’?”

Akiko shrugged, signing, “Why can’t he be?”

“Akiko, his name is literally DOOM.”

She blinked. “So? Chichi took on a name that means ‘mongrel’ even though he’s not a bastard or a dog. Aunt Raven isn’t a bird. And you don’t look like a horse’s fur color.”

“…What?”

“Your last name? Quire means ‘dun-colored’, which is either grayish brown coloring, or having the coloring of a type of horse’s coat.” Her eyes widened. “Wait, your hair is your Cutie Mark.”

“NO!”

Akiko began humming, the My Little Pony theme song with the rest of the kids joining in. Molly called out, “It’s official! Quentin Quire is a My Little Pony!”

He let out a whine of annoyance and Akiko beamed, “You can be Princess Twilight! She kamehameha’d a bad guy once. It blew up everything! Ooh, or maybe Rainbow Dash? She makes Sonic Rainbooms, which is kind of like a mix of a sonic boom and a rainbow-colored nuclear explosion. Ooh, or maybe-“

She stopped when she realized she was getting some looks. “What?”

“You, watch My Little Pony?”

“So? What’s wrong with watching cartoons?” she asked, honestly confused. “They’re awesome.”

Quentin hesitated, “Rainbow Dash, huh?”

She beamed, starting to sign excitedly

“I think Franklin would love this,” Valeria sighed. “He’s the one obsessed with ponies.”

. “…Doom, you want to be Discord? You can warp reality that way! Like make rain into chocolate milk!”

 Well, he was a god once? Twice? Doom didn’t want to hurt her feelings. He actually watched a few episodes in preparation of the possibility of seeing if Valeria would be interested, wishing to be supportive of her interests. He, didn’t like it. However, he wouldn’t discourage it.

He held back from snorting. “Maybe. For now, all children in Latveria are required to get a good night’s sleep.”

 


 

 

Jimmy was not having a good night. He’d been stabbed, shot, and repeatedly impaled. One would think having five Wolverines pitted against this guy would slow this guy down, but noooo, Romulus just had to be an asshole.

Hearing a *beep beep* in his ear, Jimmy grumbled, knowing the others could hear as well. “Everything okay, Erista?”

“Amiko is recovering and she just gained consciousness. She claims that Masters Mana and Muramasa were taken to a cave nearby, and that Romulus has the bullets on him. He’s shaped them into daggers, brother. He may be waiting for an opportune moment to strike. All of you, be careful. Oh, and father? Little sister Amiko says and I quote, ‘Don’t you fucking die Logan.’ She wanted me to make that very clear.”

There was someone in the background screeching, “Wait, ‘little sister’?!”

“Uh, there is apparently much I need to explain. The rest of you, stay safe.”

Laura grunted, “Logan. Condoms. Seriously.”

“I know,” both Logans said, avoiding Romulus’ claws, the elder making a noise when he was nicked in the ribs. “Damn me and my age.”

Romulus moved faster than he had before then, a red blade visible in hand. Jimmy scowled, reaching out his hand, an inky black mess catching it and tossing the miniature knife away. “Not today!”

In front of the group, the symbiote covered his form, the black and yellow of his suit becoming rougher and his eyes turning white. His lower jaw became skull-like, daggers for teeth, his arms covered in black, pointed armor, and claws jagged with a substance that looked similar to adamantium, but more crystalline in nature.

He roared at Romulus, and dove at him, not even bothered by the Muramasa blades. Laura raised a finger, gaping a little, “Aren’t those supposed to cut through anything?”

Logan’s eye was twitching, “Yup.”

“So how-?”

Jimmy tossed Romulus through the air, the latter had a flash of metallic red in his shoulder, yelling all the way. “…I think Jimmy’s letting out some pent up stress.”

“Okay,” Logan said, backing up as black tentacles began thrashing about, turning Romulus into something akin to a yo-yo. “Okay…Okay…Should we-?”

“No.”

“But-“

“NO.”

Daken grinned taking some satisfaction at watching Romulus suffering. He just wished it had been at his own claws, and really, really not at Jimmy’s. “So, Jimmy’s our Hulk?”

“Yep.”

All had to dive or duck as Romulus was thrown over their heads, bones audibly cracking as he landed. All froze as Jimmy stood over them, hissing and growling. His claws were bloodied, and Daken realized what was going on.

“Shit.”

 


 

Doom was glad he had baby monitors in all of the children’s rooms. It alerted him to the fact that Akiko was having trouble sleeping. Carefully, he knocked on her door, asking for permission to enter. There was a shuffling of feet, Valeria and Molly asleep in the same room as her, but in separate beds. Doom tensed as he saw Akiko’s bloodied knuckles, frowning underneath his mask. Akiko’s eyes shifted to the floor.

“I-I’m sorry. I haven’t had a nightmare like that in a long time and…I ripped the sheets,” she started sniffling hunching in on herself, tears starting to pour down her cheeks. “I, I need to get away from them. I, I can’t, I don’t want to hurt-“

Gently, he picked her up, cradling the child close and carried her into the kitchen area between the children’s rooms. Settling her on the couch, he first wrapped a blanket around the crying child’s shoulders, and then started cleaning her wounds. He ordered for some of his Doombots to clean up and replace the sheets. It made Akiko start crying harder, and he hesitated. Doom of all people, hesitated.

“Nightmares are beyond everyone’s control, even mine,” she told her. “Do not worry about the sheets. They’re replaceable.”

“Molly and Valeria aren’t,” she croaked. “My daddy isn’t. No one is.”

If it weren’t for the claws, Doom was ashamed to say he really would not have been sure that Gabrielle or Akiko were related to Logan and Daken in any way. He knelt, patting her head. He could’ve compared her to Gabrielle and her family, letting her know that it was okay and that her entire family had suffered as well, but he doubted that would make her feel better. Sometimes, it wasn’t good to compare people at all, even with the best intentions.

“I agree,” he uttered, thinking of Valeria’s namesake. He make no longer have felt guilt*, that hadn’t meant he lost his morals, feelings, or the memories he had.  “Life, and especially the ones we care about should he treated with understanding and compassion. But that’s why we shouldn’t run away and hide. It confuses them, and, when, if we do come back to them, sometimes, we hurt them more. We can regret that most.”

Akiko met his gaze. “Chichi leaves a lot, saying he’s protecting me, and Jiji leaves Amiko to do the same. Am I doing the same to my friends?”

Okay, he was going to shoot Logan and Daken next time they saw one another. “Yes, you are.”

“It hurts,” she whimpered. “It always hurts when they do that.”

Screw it, he was going to blast them with laser canons and watch their flesh melt from their bones. They’ve survived worse. They can take it. If they can’t, Doom was willing to sign adoption papers.

“Tell them,” he said. “Tell them that it hurts. Tell them not to leave you. That way, they might stop. If they don’t, then they aren’t truly your family if they don’t consider your feelings, even a little. They don’t have to bend to your every wish, but they must at least hear you out, and be willing to talk with you.”

Seeing she still seemed upset, he sighed, leading her to an organ. “Would you like to play with me?”

That appeared to cheer her up a little.

 


 

 

“Jimmy, no,” Daken started, hoping he wouldn’t have to stab his little brother again.

Hudson began marching forward when Laura jabbed the back of his neck, causing the skeletal form to fade away, and for the blonde Wolverine to reappear, his luscious locks flailing as his body collapsed.

“Christ that kid needs therapy!” both Logans yelped.

Okay, those guys talking at the same time was getting real annoying, real fast. Daken and Laura were quick on their feet, but obviously not quick enough. Romulus picked up Daken by the throat, and Romulus swung out his healing broken arm, smacking Laura away into a tree. Daken heard his sister cough for air, blood dripping from her mouth. Her lungs were most likely punctured.

Daken peered down in Romulus’ eyes, glaring with all of his hatred. Romulus scoffed, picking at Daken’s uniform. “Playing dressup, are we?”

The Dark Wolverine scowled, “What? Not my color?”

Romulus grit his teeth, “You were made to rule, not serve.”

“I am what you will become.”

“I. am. Not. You,” Daken said, flipping and kicking Romulus in the face.

When he landed, Laura had moved forward, slashing Romulus from behind, both Logans getting him from the sides, and Daken from the front. They moved in a circular formation, attacking him all at once, all taking a piece of his flesh and watching the one who made them suffer bleed.

“That is why I disappeared into the shadows. And in those shadows I built my empire.

Daken had been manipulated, used by this man. He had cared about Romulus, trusted him.

“…Never knew where I was…Therefore, they I assumed I was everywhere. That is power boy.”

Was it though? Was it really? Daken felt something shift. Romulus smirked, changed his posture, the heel of his hand hitting Daken hard enough to shove him back, to blur his vision. Pain filled him, filled his chest. Laura called his name, and she screamed. Something was wrong, very, very wrong.

“And if they see you…They can’t hurt you.”

Laura, what happened to Laura? Where was she? What did Romulus do to her?! Both Logans cried out then, and he saw shadows moving, hearing voices he didn’t know, and he couldn’t make out the words. The Blackbird began flying though. Betrayed, had they been betrayed?

“Never care about them, boy. Never care about anyone but yourself.”

Romulus’ shadow appeared above him, and Daken gathered the strength to look at the monster who ruined so many lives. Romulus clucked his tongue, as if scolding a child or a pet.

“Because no one will ever care about you.”

“You never learn, do you Daken?”

 


 

 

Akiko raised her hands to sign something when the perimeter alarms went off. The children immediately ran in, Valeria dashing over to the security system and entering in the password that Doom had entrusted to her.

Quentin blinked, “How does she-?”

Doom gave the telepath a look, and Quentin raised his hands up, no longer asking questions. Akiko smiled excitedly. “Valeria really is a princess!”

Victor cleared his throat, “Latveria is a democracy now…I do not know why my people continue to vote for me though.”

“Well, you did save them from a tyrannical dictator, provided free healthcare, give equal pay to all genders,” Gabby started saying, all staring at her.

Molly raised her hand, “You wanna take over the United States? Please?”

“Romulus is here,” Valeria stated. Jonathan said something about removing Romulus’ organs and eating them. Doom tried not to pay attention to the comment. “Shall I send in the Doombots?”

Doom held his chin. “Let us try something first.”

He walked over to the organ, pressing the keys in a particular order. In the cameras, dozens of weaponry appeared, including missiles with red lasers pointed at the bulky figure. “Oh, and Valeria? Escort yourself, Miss Kinney, Jonathan, and Miss Howlett to the safe room. I will handle things here. The rest of you, I require your aid.”

Quentin paled, “Uh, I’m kind of squishy and have blood that I’d rather not see get spilled on the floor?”

“You’ll be the second to last defense. The others will ‘smash,’” Doom explained.

Quentin did not appear pleased with this idea. Neither did Akiko or Gabby. Valeria was obviously worried, but she agreed, leading the other two away. “I will see you again.”

“Yes,” Doom replied. “You will.”

Chapter Text

Quintavius "Quentin" Quirinius Quire was a lot of things. He was an omega-level mutant, a telepath, psionic, and telekinetic to be more precise. He was among the most powerful besides Jean Grey. Once he was an avatar of the Phoenix Force. Once he became a non-corporal being. 

Yet, he was also someone who didn't feel as powerful as he seemed sometimes. He had kept a piece of the Daily Bugle with him from the day he was born, the one that showed how humans feared what he was. When he found out he'd been adopted, it shattered him. When he saw his friends die, he lashed out, killing humans.

He cared about Idie, said he loved her once. He cared about Broo, crying a few times when his friend had been hurt. He had a crush or obsession on Sophie Cuckoo, for whatever that was worth. He laughed with Evan, who supported him through thick and thin. He fought alongside Kubark, both taking fun in the chaos once upon a time. Nathaniel was an ass sometimes, but he was kind of nice to mess with. Bling was bright as always and...

Oh God, was he gonna die here? 'Cause if he was, he so wanted to wear his "Wolverine is a Weeb' shirt. Or maybe he could've had 'Doom for President'. Seriously, that would've been awesome.  

 

Quentin blinked at the size of the army before him. Technically he had seen larger, but these were possibly master assassins, many of whom likely had experience killed mutants, including telepaths and telekinetics like him. Oh, and they were being led by Romulus, who had thousands of years of experience conquering and slaughtering people at seven feet, and a little over three hundred pounds.

...Quentin was like, sixteen after all the bullshit he was put through (time was very confusing with how much things changed and/or was reset every once in a while, as well as the multiple times he died or was reincarnated), and five nine, and mere one hundred, twenty-nine pounds.

Romulus looked directly at him with a pointy toothed, smug, smirk.

Yep, Quentin was gonna get squished.

"I'm still in high school," he muttered, "I'm too young to die."

Doom turned to him briefly, "You will not die this day, Quentin Quire. I will take on Romulus myself, as he has waged war on my land. You will deal with the rest of them."

Quentin, Skaar, and Molly realized what was about to go down as the two, world-conquering men slowly started stalking towards one another.

Shit. 

 


 

 

Amiko had expected a lot of things when she opened her eyes. Perhaps the eyes of a murderer, the Land of Yomi, but some guy who looked like a Tarzan version of Logan? Well, she found she still had one of her sai, and promptly stabbed his arm. She managed to get a few feet away from the bed, but began to fall.

The stranger caught her though, steadying her. He chuckled, wincing, “Well, it looks like you really are one of us, little one.”

Huh?

“My name is Erista, Logan and many of our kin are here to rescue you and your masters,” Erista explained, sitting her up on the bed, taking the sai out of his arm with a small grunt.

Amiko gaped a little, seeing how careful he was not to harm her, or damage her weapon. She looked around, recognizing the Blackbird, and the uniforms in the closet nearby.

“Logan, came for me?”

She frowned then, remembering the Muramasa bullets. That had to be the real reason, didn’t it. Erista must’ve seen something in her expression, and he grinned, holding out her phone. “You have some missed messages, by the way. I think you should read them.”

Hesitant, she picked it up out of Erista’s grasp, and slowly read the words through the cracked glass, eyes watering as she sniffled with a small smile, giggling, “Mutantball? Really?”

“I don’t know much about the sport, but I don’t think you absolutely need to be a mutant,” he commented. “You just need to be able to have fun with some. Would you like to play with us?”

Amiko beamed, imagining it a little. “Yeah, I’d like that, but first, there some things you should know…”

 


 

 

Akiko narrowed her eyes, watching as the man who had harmed her father entered the battlefield. Gabby snorted, “Should’ve figured. He’s got people all around the world.”

“He’s waging war on Latveria by doing this,” Valeria murmured. “All this, to get to you two? Is he really that obsessed with your family?”

The youngest one resembled her father in that moment more than any other time that Valeria could recall in that moment. “Romulus has watched and manipulated our bloodlines for centuries, Valeria. Why wouldn’t he be?”

Her voice rang hauntingly clear, echoing in the room around them in the darkness. Where there was doubt as to if she was Daken’s daughter before, there was none then. And, was there a time that Akiko had truly called Valeria by her name? Something about the tone, was almost musical in nature. Valeria shivered a little, watching Akiko stand up with mettle Valeria wasn’t used to seeing.

“Any idea who they are?”

It took a few seconds for Valeria to gather her wits. She cleared her throat. “Likely former associates of the Weapon X program, or even those of the Black Widow Ops Program. Then again, he’s got connections everywhere, so there’s no guarantee.”

“So big, bad, and dangerous people?” Gabby asked.

“Correct,” Valeria uttered. She had the computer scan the invaders from the distance, narrowing her eyes as facial recognition picked up their identities. Well, for the most part. "Victor Hudson, Romulus' blind and mute right hand man. Don't underestimate him, he's beaten multiple members of the Snikt Clan."

Akiko blinked, "Hudson? Like Jimmy Hudson?"

"He would be Logan's second cousin," Valeria affirmed. "Wild Child, also known as Kyle Gibney, mutate with similar abilities to Wolverine sans the claws. Weapon H, former soldier taken by the Weapon X program, and was altered using DNA from both Wolverine and the Hulk."

Gabby groaned, "Who's bright idea was it to mix Logan's and Banner's DNA?!"

Valeria paled, "There's, there's also Siphon...Who is essentially a vampire that specifically hunts those with healing factors and drains them of their energy." There was a long, long pause. "Er, those are the identities we can confirm, so far. Now, Doom doesn’t ask for help, but I do, and I’m fairly sure some of those guys may or may not have worked for the Red Room at some point and since they’re starting to get through the Doombots pretty quickly…”

Gabby made a high-pitched noise, “Widow and Bucky and the Avengers?!”

Akiko just blinked in confusion as Valeria began pressing buttons, signing to Gabby, “What’s happening?”

“We’re getting an army to fight another army.”

Crazy people. That’s what all of this was. Crazy people.

Akiko thought of something then. “Gabby, do grandma Raven and uncle Victor know about Romulus?”

“Yeah, they were all part of Weapon X.”

“…Why would grandma be part of Weapon X if she wasn’t like us? Just people she fought good?”

Gabby furrowed her eyebrows, “Val, I think we should call the old Weapon X guys too. Something doesn’t make sense here.”

..

.

“Ooh! Get Squirrel Girl too! Nobody can beat her! Not even Thanos!”

Valeria paled, “Er, she and Doom have a history. I don’t think he’d forgive me if I did that.”

“Aw.”


 

 Erista had watched as his family was being taken down by Romulus. He had started to move in the attempt to rescue them, but Jimmy, who was awakening, shook his head, gesturing for him to leave. Erista glanced at Amiko. She was stricken with horror, but even she knew that strategically, it was best for them to leave.

Gritting his teeth to the point where they began to bleed, he recalled what Kurt taught him and what he observed the others doing when it came to flying the Blackbird. To his surprise, Amiko knew how to fly it as well, the both of the piloting it, albeit a little more roughly than either would like, but completing the grievous task nonetheless.

Amiko laid a hand on his arm as he began to cry.

“We’ll come back for them,” she reassured.

He nodded in agreement, “Let us find your master and Muramasa. Why were they meeting anyways?”

She hesitated, “Muramasa needed her aid in cleansing the bullets. Normally he would have been able to do it, but because of how much they’d been warped and the purpose of them changed, he needed help. My master is not only a priestess, but she too uses weaponry that keeps parts of souls within her tool that protects herself and others.”

“So, if they can spiritually cleanse the bullets and the fragments of what’s left of the weapon-“

“Those things won’t be able to kill Logan, or the others anymore,” Amiko explained. “Anyone. It’s too dangerous a weapon for anyone to wield.”

Erista followed Amiko’s lead to the cave where Muramasa and Mana were. There were guards, but they were taken care of easily, surprisingly by his younger sister. He celebrated her victory with a “fist pump”, and a “high five.” Moving swiftly, he sliced through their ropes with his claws, needed to carry Muramasa due to some broken bones, but otherwise they were relatively unharmed.

“Why did he spare you?”

“More weaponry from me, or so he claimed,” Muramasa said. He glanced at Mana, “And, he kept her so I would be more willing.”

Erista wasn’t sure how to interpret that, nor would he cast any judgement regardless of what was or was not there. Neither of the other two paid attention, so he wouldn’t either.

Mana helped Muramasa settle onto the medical table while Erista and Amiko flew that Blackbird, Mana healing Muramasa’s injuries. “Erista-san, they know where your other sister and niece are. We overheard the guards talking about them invading Latveria a few minutes ago.”

Amiko coughed, “I have a sister?! And a niece?!”

Erista paled a little, rubbing the back of his neck, “There is much to explain. Gabby is the clone of Laura, and has been given title of being Laura’s sister. Your niece is the daughter of Daken, and half her DNA was cloned from him, the other coming from an unknown female. Her name is Akiko.”

For some reason, Amiko appeared fairly irate. “Did Logan pick the name?”

“Er, no? Daken did, after his adoptive father?”

Was he missing something here?

There was a long pause, and she sighed, folding her arms together. “Fine, I guess our names are fairly common.”

 


 

 

The first thing that Daken saw was Laura chained to a wall. It took a large amount of energy to keep himself calm, to think.

Everyone that had been fighting alongside him was in the same room, confusing him. Otherwise, everyone was kept in cells of glass, multiple strange figures in other cells that he was unable to recognize. For a moment, he saw a flash of white and red.

Daken flexed his claws, grunting when he found them encased in vibranium. Right, Romulus created a new type of adamantium made from the stuff back in Wakanda after claiming they were a different species descended from wolves. Son of a bitch, not literally though. That would be a horrible idea. Like, Wolverine actually being a mutated wolverine horrible idea. That would just be wrong on so many levels.

Laura wasn’t Akiko, but the members of the Snikt clan definitely had good senses of smell, so Daken focused, sending Laura and the others pheromones that would hopefully wake them up, but keep them in a relatively calm state. Thankfully, it appeared to work. Well, for the most part.

Jimmy’s symbiote began to make tentacles everywhere, about to stab the guards, and Jimmy shook his head at it, gesturing to their cuffs instead. It paused, letting out a low growl that hopefully the guards couldn’t hear. Yet, when it came to freeing himself, he didn’t allow the symbiote to do such a thing.

Laura and Logan took care of the guards. “Jimmy?”

“Why wouldn’t he contain me more properly? He knows I have my symbiote?” he uttered, gesturing to some airholes above them. Daken raised his eyebrows. Huh, the kid was catching on quicker than he thought. “You guys should go on ahead. I’ll figure something out-“

Something knocked on glass. Laura gasped, smiling at the sight of a white-haired, older version of Gabby, “Bellona!”

“Clone of yours, I presume?” Daken said, raising an eyebrow.

Looks like he had yet another little sister. The list of siblings was ever growing these days. Both Logans began assisting Laura in aiding Bellona, and Dalen looked around, his gaze finding a certain blue red head.

Raze casually waved, “Hello.”

“That’s everyone, let’s go.”

“HEY!”

Bellona got out, giving instructions on how to free Jimmy, who laughed, “Wait, there’s someone here who’s more of a black sheep than me? That’s fantastic! Wait, why’s he blu…? Oh, you’re Mystique’s kid, aren’t you?”

Raze glanced over Jimmy’s form, “You a clone too? Just blond?”

“Shut up,” Jimmy growled, his eyes turning black for a moment, the parasite in him briefly marking his skin.

The blue Wolverine leaned back with slightly widened eyes, “So, did Dad get with a vampire or-?“

Both Logans facepalmed. Bellona sighed, “No time for that right now. Romulus is hunting all of us down. All of those related to Logan specifically with abilities similar to ours.”

Laura was reluctantly unlocking Raze’s cell, both paying attention to Belladonna’s words. “Why?”

“He found out there’s a new generation of ‘Lupines’ with more advanced and increased abilities that he can add to his own,” Bellona explained. “Raze not only has Logan’s abilities, but Mystique’s as well without some sort of DNA problem that’s happened in clone projects they’ve been working on. Jimmy has a serum in him that pretty much guarantees that not only he would have been a mutant, but any of his blood descendants will be. Gabby is the least messed up of us mentally, suggesting that something in her brain may help strengthen his own.”

“Akiko has extremely advanced pheromone abilities and berserker rage control that she’s tapped into. As for me, it turns out that despite me not having healing abilities, something I can handle adamantium poisoning apparently, which is somehow related to me being albino beyond genetic problems. He also wants an extra on the side in case something goes wrong getting hold of my and Gabby's inability to feel pain.”

Logan said, the group starting to search for an exit.  “How did you figure that all out?”

“I broke out briefly and hacked into his systems after hearing him mention Gabby and Laura,” she uttered. “I didn’t want them to get hurt like Zelda or any of the others did.”

Daken smelled no deceit. “He’s still obsessed with making his ‘master race,’ isn’t he?” Seeing her nod, he finally asked, "Any idea where we are?"

The whole carrier shook then, and they entered the bay area, rushing through and disabling the guards. Jimmy and Laura prevented Raze from killing anyone, the latter scowling as they did so. Bellona opened the doors, and all stared, seeing Doomstadt being invaded, and Dr. Doom fighting Romulus. 

Oh, Quentin Quite had psionic armor while battling a legion of assassins, Skaar was throwing Molly Hayes like a football for some reason at a group of people (was that a Hulk?), and Deadpool was on top of the Blackbird, screeching something about being "a leaf on the wind," before it crashlanded into a ditch. Erista, Muramasa, Mana, Amiko, Sabretooth, and Mystique groaned, exiting the craft, while Deadpool posed with a camera. 

"...What did we just walk into?"

Chapter Text

Doctor Doom scowled underneath his mask as Romulus continued to dodge his blasts. The latter was a manipulator, a mastermind, just as Doom was. Thus, despite any physical power they showed, it was likely that it would all boil down to a battle of wits. He maintained concentration, even as Skaar and Molly fought Weapon H, and Quentin tried to keep Siphon, a powerful tracker, from entering Doom's home. It was rather tricky for him, seeing as he was also being attacked by Wild Child, who was trying to slash at every limb within his reach.

The ruler of Latveria was strongly tempted just to eradicate the land around him, but if he did, there was a chance that Valeria might be harmed. For all the power he wielded, for all the guilt he would never feel, he still loved the child of his enemies, and the child that he helped to raise. He would not allow Romulus to be the reason the one he protected so dearly to be hurt.

Romulus smirked then, and Doom barely registered the bang echoing in the air. Numbness spread through his abdomen, and he slowly peered down to see a red bullet upon the ground before him, and a similar shade of crimson starting to leak from a hole in his armor. He coughed, turning slightly to see a bald man with empty, piercing eyes regarding him as a nuisance. Doom growled, "You dare-?!"

It had been a while since someone punched him. When was the last time he had fought with Richards, truly fought? When was the last time he battled so called heroes? That was right, he'd been ruling his people. He had been trying to be good. Romulus scowled as Doom struck back, not allowing a mere bullet, even Muramasa's, to defeat him. As he struck, he allowed energies to fill his fingers, burning the larger man to the point where his flesh turned black, reeking of charred meat. Romulus moved quicker than he could imagine, shoving his claws into the hole that had torn through Doom.

Doombots tried to rescue him, but were taken down quickly by Wild Child and Hudson. Romulus kicked Doom's head then, smirking, "Kneel."

Victor von Doom remembered the people who made his mother, his family, suffer. He remembered his people, who needed him, just as much as Valeria did. This was not merely a matter of pride, but one that meant something, and something that he would not allow another to control. Doom forced himself to stand, raising his hand as he summoned as much power as he possibly could.

"Doom. Does. NOT. KNEEL."

Romulus crashed through multiple towers and structures, his bones audibly breaking. This time, it was Romulus' blood spilling. Doom coughed into his hand, seeing fresh blood spatter there. He smiled a little, thinking of Valeria.

"No one is immortal...Not even the gods," he murmured.

There was another gunshot, and Doom knew no more.


 

"Dad!" Valeria cried out, sending Doombot after Doombot to get him to safety. One finally did, taking her father to where the other Wolverines were. Easing her breathing, she raked a hand through her hair. Now was not the time to lose control. She had a day to save, and she needed to avenge Doom. Glaring at the image of Hudson and Romulus, she seethed, "Cowards. That was a coward's move."

Akiko grimaced, feeling horrible that she was thinking Romulus would have fallen to Doom otherwise, which was why Romulus did such a thing in the first place. "Siphon can track us, right? What if me and Gabby were in different places? Could we hide ourselves better?"

"Maybe," Valeria whispered. "How would we split up?"

The girls all looked at one another, and Akiko bit her lip. "Gabby, can you go with Valeria. I can go beserker rage if I have to, but I have a hard time controlling it."

"And I have control where you don't," Gabby conceded. "I don't like this. It's like all those mystery shows. Anytime someone splits up, things don't go well."

"There are sometimes where it's wiser than sticking together," Valeria admitted, her worried gaze on Akiko. "Are you sure about this?"

Akiko stilled, appearing conflicted for a moment until she took Valeria's hand, squeezing it with a soft smile. "I'm sure."

The Princess of Latveria flushed, squeezing Akiko's hand back. "Please, be safe?" Gabby silently took a photo as Akiko promised that she would. As Valeria left, her blush grew when Gabby began waggling her eyebrows, showing the picture to the other girl. Valeria elbowed her, uttering, "Shut up."

Yet, she glanced back at Akiko anyways before leaving the latter alone. Akiko stood in the shadows, watching the heroes fighting in the front lawn of Doom's home through the camera. She had been overjoyed at seeing her father relatively okay, along with the others, but she fretted at the idea of Daken fighting Romulus once more. She closed her eyes, trying to see the multiple paths that this could go.

"...there are times in life where we must choose between the most unbearable options anyone can think of, and that is what I tried to teach you."

Concentrating, she tried to find a way, a course of action, anything to make any of this right. What was right? What was wrong? What would her father do?

"You are on a boat, in the ocean, with your family. Your family consists of a parent, your spouse, and your child. In this hypothetical situation, no one has powers. Everyone is an ordinary person. The boat has sprung a leak, and you can only save one person besides yourself, which is either the parent, the spouse, or the child. Who do you choose?"

It wasn't that simple. Romulus wasn't the ocean. No one should have to die trying to protect her from him. Valeria's other dad was already hurt, hurt bad, and she didn't want him to die. She didn't want anyone to die.

"I would let myself die first before anyone else, but if I absolutely had to choose, I, I would save you...'Cause I could always get married again, and I could always have another kid, but there'll never be another you. "

No, that wasn't right. She didn't want to choose between any of them. There had to-

“I’ll go the Kobayashi Maru route and save my spouse and kids, leaving me and my grandparents to drown because we’re assholes,” Akiko's alternate dimension grandpa said coolly, taking a bite of his own burger."

Akiko's eyes popped open, and she stared at the screen. 

“Using the Kobayashi Maru means I’m picking a route that’s different from the ones you’ve given me.”

 

Akiko blinked, “Isn’t that cheating? You won’t always be able to have a way out.”

 

“Maybe not, but those occasions are extremely rare. It’s always best to think of alternatives before forcing yourself to make a single decision,” he said, tapping the side of his head. 

...Akiko Laura Howlett was a lot of things, but until today, she had done her best not to hide things, not to deceive people, and most certainly not to take on those traits of her father. But, was what she was about to do really something her father, or really anyone sane would do?

The child felt her finger trembling as she pressed a button.

She knew how to solve this. She knew how to solve all of it, for better or worse.


 

Romulus watched as his soldiers, his servants, fought on his behalf. He merely grinned at the sight of Daken trying so hard to keep the ruler away from the children, away from supposedly harming them.

He had expected many things, perhaps even the fact that the Avengers and other heroes were arriving by Doctor Doom's castle, but something he did not expect in the slightest, was when the floor beneath him collapsed, and he plunged into darkness. Landing on his feet, he searched the shadows, prepared for a fight. Instead, there was a minor set pf pinpricks that poked his read end.

He slowly turned, calm as he saw a little girl with claws in a calm stance...Stabbing him in the butt.

"...What are you doing?"

The girl, who bore so much of a resemblance to her father shrugged. "It's a family tradition, and you raised my father, right?"

What? He sniffed the air, searching for a trick. What was this little one planning. "I'm...Your family?"

"That, and I tried stabbing you in the back, but uh, your butt's too big for me to reach."

....

..

.

"Do you not understand who I am? What I'm capable of?"

"I do, and that's exactly why I want to make a bet with you," Akiko said, smiling gently. "I trust my father, with everything that I am. Prove to me that I shouldn't trust him, and I'll go with you. No tricks, no lies, no resistance. I even know how to stall my father and the others so we could escape."

Romulus narrowed his eyes. "What makes you believe you're in charge?"

Her smile turned saccharine. "Because the fact that you're talking to me at all instead of up and 'napping me, shows that you're interested in more than just a genetic template. You want something, someone, more than just to manipulate. You got pretty close with Chichi, but he turned on you, and Logan never wanted any allegiance to you. Wild Child isn't one of us, not really, and Uncle Victor's terrified of you."

The little girl's eyes softened. "Besides, wouldn't you want someone to work with you, rather than against you?"

Romulus tilted his head. "This coming from the one who just tried to literally stab me in the back?"

She shrugged, "Family initiation, remember? Plus, I didn't stab you as much as I could have."

*SNIKT*

Her claws were long, and knife-like in appearance. No, near sword-like. No longer were the knobbly bones. Instead, there lay true weapons, capable of not only drawing blood, but tearing flesh apart. In other words, she was proving that she was capable of terrible things, but hadn't truly inflicted her abilities against him. Romulus slowly checked the newly-crafted battlefield on his holographic device. Upon seeing how well his people were handling his opponents, he faced the child who wasn't even a fraction of his age.

 

 

 

 

 

"Shall we begin?"

 

 

Chapter Text

Daken Akihiro was a lot of things, many of those things he feared and hated of himself. Many of those he had hidden from his family. 

He never wanted them to find out this way.

 

"Where are they?" Daken grunted, trying desperately not to stab anyone as Valeria tracked Romulus and Akiko. "And how did he get in?"

Valeria hesitated. "She let him in."

"She what?"

Gaining camera feed on the two, they all could see Romulus seated across from Akiko, where she appeared calm and he suspicious. Hawkeye leaned over. "What is she doing?"

Daken bore his teeth, "I don't know."

"Isn't she your kid?"

Laura frowned, "Not every kid is their parent, Hawkeye. You should know that."

Romulus changed his position. "Shall we begin?"

Akiko nodded, "Tell me about my father, and why I shouldn't trust him."

Daken's heart froze.


 

Romulus tried searching the girl's expression for anything, anything at all. She truly was her father's daughter, wielding Daken's ability to hide his emotions.

"...Do you know how I met your father?"

"No," she replied, honestly. "But I do know you had a large part in, raising him."

The elder nodded, bracing himself on one of his arms. "Though he may not remember it, I carried him to a new home in Japan, after your grandmother had died-"

"You mean when she was killed," Akiko amended. "By the Winder Soldier through your orders."

This child, wasn't just asking for a reason she shouldn't trust her father, but she was testing him as well. Clever girl. "Yes, and I took him to a man named Akihira so that he may be raised by someone...More capable, than I. I had Itsu taken care of because her child's possible abilities were of far more import than her life, and I wanted Logan to leave my territory at the time."

"So the slaughter of an innocent is acceptable in your views?" she asked, no judgement in her tone, merely curiosity. "To what ends? And how much did Daken learn from you on that score?"

Romulus smirked, "He was a psychopath long before we truly met, before I acquainted myself with him."


 

Daken began shaking his head, looking to Laura, wanting to beg her to go. He wanted Gabby to leave. He didn't want those closest to him to know everything that he had done.

"When your father was a boy, those who mocked him would conveniently, 'disappear', for a while, and their corpses found not long after. Those children, were the ones who gave him the tite he still wears today."

Akiko narrowed her eyes, "Daken."

"Indeed. Not only that, but his adoptive parents had been manipulated by him through his pheromones. They began to notice they only felt happy around him. Did you know Daken's adoptive mother never truly loved him? I'm unsure whether Daken did, but the moment he understood it, he was the one who chose an action considered unforgivable. His parents were finally able to have a son of their own."

"Chichi, had a brother?" Akiko asked, her confusion showing. She tensed, "What did he do?"

Please, no.

"Daken Akihiro killed Junichiro as he lay in his crib, and bragged about it to his adoptive mother. Your father was disowned by his for doing so, and  Natsumi attempted to kill him. In turn, he killed her with his newly formed claws, and Akihira died by his hands as well."

Daken's daughter raised an eyebrow, "The last part, you're lying about."

She tapped the side of her nose, and Romulus smirked, "Driving someone to commit suicide isn't the same as murdering them?"

That time, she didn't respond, waiting for him to continue. Romulus tilted his head. "Daken uses people. You know that, don't you?" She said nothing, but nodded. "Then you know what he did to Donna Kiel? To your classmate Evan? Or the time he slaughtered others for a drug called 'Heat.'"

Akiko sat up straight, awaiting an explanation. "For Evan, he kidnapped your friend, and went on a road trip around the country, killing as he pleased. He forced Genesis to watch as he drowned your grandfather. For a time, he was also the Horseman of Death. He also harmed a student of Iceman, wishing for the same power he gained as a Horseman."

"Daken chose to give himself Muramasa claws, poisoning himself in the process, to kill Logan, to hurt Skaar, to hurt anyone who had advanced healing properties. Donna Kiel was an FBI agent, one who worked with him to stop drug lords, the same that sold 'Heat.' He became addicted to it, and killed because of his addiction. His ability to heal was compromised, and he still continued taking Heat regardless. When his mind was no longer affected by Heat, he sliced the hand off the woman he believed he loved, because she did not wish to be like him. And when he went to the Fantastic Four for help, to save his life from Heat?"

Daken was shocked to hear his daughter finish the statement. "He betrayed them all, including Uncle Johnny." 

Johnny flinched, unable to meet Daken's eyes. "He also crippled Dr. Richards, rendering the scientist's abilities useless."

She paused, "So, in short, Chichi has killed innocents, including an infant, became addicted to drugs to the point where he murdered people and harmed someone he loved, and he betrayed his family, both ones, multiple times."

"Yes, so why do you still trust him? Your scent and body language has barely changed in the slightest."

Akiko glanced up, meeting her eyes evenly with Romulus'. "Psychopaths don't mourn."


 

Romulus absorbed the child's words. "What?"

"Psychopaths. Don't. Mourn," she stated coolly. "And they certainly don't feel guilt. Akihiro mourned Akihira, and still does. There was a time when Logan was killed, and he mourned then, giving his father a proper funeral."

The millennium old man raised an eyebrow.

"I doubt Evan has forgiven Akihiro, but he shouldn't have to. No one should," she uttered. "Akihiro has always had an addiction problem. Like you, he is not only addicted to things that make him feel stronger, but power. You both do whatever you believe is needed to get what you want. In short, Akihiro is a murderer, power hungry, and overall asshole. In those ways, he's like you, and I'm starting to understand not all of it was because of you. He truly is dangerous by his own right, and arguably untrustworthy."

"'Arguably'?"

This time, she did show emotion...A genuine smile. "There's something that separates you from the Wolverines, Romulus. You don't change."

"What?"

"You haven't changed. From what you've told me, you never have," Akiko stated. "You can't evolve, but they can. It's why you've been trying to control them, why you take their DNA to make your own...It's why Akihiro won't become what you are. It's not part of his nature."

Romulus chuckled, standing up, "You're just as stubborn as Logan. He told me something similar, once."

The daughter of Daken, granddaughter of Logan, and niece of Gabby, Laura, Erista, Amiko, and Johnny, only shrugged, standing up on her own as well. "I suppose I have you to thank for that."

The conqueror didn't understand, and it showed."If it weren't for you, we wouldn't have Laura, we wouldn't have Gabby, we wouldn't have Akihiro or Logan. You got what you wanted, didn't you? To make your own kind? But, you're immortal, right? So why do you even need an heir in the first place?"

He didn't have an answer for that. "Why do you say Daken changes?"

"He saves people from human trafficking. He's friends with my aunts. He's been trying to build a relationship with Logan," she answered simply. "He became an X-Men, and a hero in his own right. Just like all those bad things you talked about, he's made the choice to do good things as well. He started by questioning himself, just like everyone in my family, and you never have."

She met his eyes. "You said he would become you, but you want to become him."

He growled, "You-"

Doors began banging nearby, and Akiko stood, retracting her claws. She turned her back on him, not even looking back as she approached the doors. "If you don't change, if you don't evolve on your own, you'll never be what you want to be...You'll only be a relic, and easily forgotten, just as the civilizations you ruled had done. You. Are. Nothing. And as you are, you always will be."

Romulus was slammed into a wall by Daken, claws tearing into his flesh repeatedly. Akiko watched with a straight face as Daken beat the man who hurt him, tortured Logan, and threatened his family. Blood coated the floors, and Romulus appeared unconscious. Staring down at Romulus, Daken had no words, struggling to process what just happened.


Akiko displayed no fear as they sat in a room. He asked her why she did it all, why she allowed Romulus to get close to her, why she listened to him. "You needed time, we needed to recuperate, and you needed this. I, needed this."

"Needed what?"

She snorted, signing something that others couldn't hear, "You doubt yourself too much, and that made me start to doubt you. There's still a lot you haven't told me, told anyone else, and I don't think even Romulus told me everything, but you don't need to."

"I don't understand."

His daughter grinned, "What does it mean to be a Wolverine?"

When he didn't answer, she answered for him. "To be a Wolverine, means to ask yourself what you believe in. It means to take the courage to question how you can make a change, and change yourself. It means to be brave enough to take a chance. To be a Wolverine, is to evolve, for better or worse. To be a Wolverine, is to live, to die, to be reborn, and to grow. It was to become your own force of nature...Romulus has never accomplished that. You have."

He frowned, "You called him family?"

"Yes and no," she conceded. "He was never truly your father, but you did take after him in more ways than you may want to admit. Because of that, he's as much a piece of you as you are of him. The more you let him affect you like that, the more he'll win."

Daken was silent for nearly a minute, considering her words. "You know that Romulus wasn't lying about Junichiro, those children, or my father?"

"There's no excuse for any of those, any of them," Akiko admitted. "There are things that can never be forgiven. But, your past is not today."

She gazed up at stars above them, "You don't need to be a savage, you don't need to be great at killing, and you don't need berserker rage. You don't even need claws. What you need, is to become yourself. Others have decided who you are, defined you all your life, Akihiro. You were called Daken, Romulus wanted you to be like him, others either think you're a monster or expect you to be like Logan, but you're not."

Her voice was clear, unwavering. "I trust you, Daken, Akihiro, whatever you want to call yourself, because now, you're breaking free."

"...And if I want to be called 'father'?"

She beamed, "I'm more than happy to call you that, father."

The toddler frowned then, signing,"What will you do now though?  Will you still be an X-Men? Because you leaving all the time, and leaving me waiting? That's not okay."

He hugged her, peering over at Laura over Akiko's shoulder. "I'm staying, and, if I ever leave for one reason or another, I'll always return."

Laura smiled back, nodding as she placed the Muramasa bullets into a bag, and handed them over to their creator, and the priestess.

Mana inclined her head, "I believe, my apprentice should take up the task of purifying these."

Amiko gaped as they were handed to her, and recalled her lessons with the spiritual woman. For years the Wolverines, her family, had been imprisoned by Romulus. They had been harmed by these things. Romulus used Logan's anger against him, the very people Logan intended to use for to protect. 

It was only right for Daken to face the demon of his past, and a daughter of Wolverine to end part of their curse.

Concentrating, and uttering a prayer, she closed her eyes, seeing all of Logan's anger, rage, and bloodlust. Look at how far they've come.

All Wolverines stood together, watching as the bullets lost their crimson.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Donna Kiel hadn't expected to get a call from Daken. Last she saw him, he had taken her hand. She thought they would never see each other again. Why would he? She didn't have any powers, she held no extra value, and she had rejected him. Tentatively, she agreed to meet him, in the church.

Seeing him sitting there on one of the pews, she briefly looked at the holy figures before returning her gaze to Daken. Neither of them belonged there. Neither of them were believers, or prayed to anyone. Instead, they were psychopaths, and went to great lengths to do terrible things. Unlike him though, she did her best to hide it, to work as a member of the FBI so that she could catch other psychopaths. It made her feel a little more human. He wasn't though, so maybe he didn't need to do such things. It was why he did the things that he did, and like his father, what he did wasn't very nice.

She stood before him, and he gave her a, daresay, awkward, smile. "Thank you for coming."

In this place, those words were fairly foreboding considering their history. She didn't reply, waiting for him to say something. She wanted him to say what he wanted to, so she could leave. What he said though, shook her to her core.

"I'm sorry." At her widened eyes, he bowed his head to her, and not to the holy figures before them. "I don't expect you to forgive me, but I'm sorry. I didn't recognize who you were, but instead what I wanted you to be. I cut off your hand. Neither of us have an easy time sympathizing with others, if at all, but I did, and do care about you. What I did, wasn't right. I'm sorry."

Agent Kiel narrowed her eyes. "Are you expecting me to fall in love with you? For us to love each other?"

"No," he answered honestly. "I was deluding myself, and I wanted to drag you in with me. I came here to not only apologize, but to let you know I'm getting better. I'm, a member of the X-Men now. I've been going around the world, trying to save people, trying to do some good. I'd say that my family completely did that, but I think at some point you influenced me, if only a little."

The woman glared, expecting some kind of trick. Daken smiled sadly, sighing. "Good day, Agent Kiel. And, just so you know, you're inspiring. Don't lose yourself." He paused just before he exited the church. "By the way, I'd suggest you visit Stark Tower. I've called in a favor for Iron Man and the Winter Soldier to offer you a new hand, if you want it."

She hesitated, "I'll consider it. And Daken?" When he looked at her, she said, "Good luck."

The two finally parted ways, where Johnny Storm was waiting outside. "Ready to go home?"

Daken smirked, "Always."


Akiko sat at Doom's bedside, regret in her expression. Valeria placed her free hand on Akiko's. "It's over. He's fine. We should never have doubted him for a second."

"It's R-O-M-U-L-U-S, he'll come back," Akiko signed, rubbing her throat afterwards. "Valeria, Doom, I'm so sorry-"

Valeria hugged Akiko, "You're my friend, and any friend of mine is a friend of Doom's, weirdly enough."

The five year old grinned, glancing in Doom's direction. "Dr. Doom? Are you going to make your own team of kid heroes? We seem to be hanging around you a lot more."

Doom narrowed his eyes from behind his mask. "Doom does not endanger children."

That was a hard no. His gaze softened though. "It is good to see that you are well, little one."

"You two," she murmured, getting up.

Doom made a gesture that showed he wanted to ask her something. "Does speaking still hurt?"

She blinked, snorting. "Rarely, nowadays. I still think I prefer signing though. It's, part of who I am. Is that okay?"

"Perfectly," Doom said. "You two go enjoy your game. I shall join watching the event when I am able.


 

Gabby saluted the Blackbird as Jimmy and Erista traveled to the Savage Lands. Laura stood next to her. "Why is Jimmy going again?"

"To better understand his wilder side," Laura said. "I don't know all of the exact details, but, Jimmy's been having trouble working with Poison, aka his symbiote."

"What about everyone else?" Gabby asked. "Where'd everyone go?"

"Romulus and everyone who attacked Doom's home was imprisoned," Laura shrugged. "Same goes for Osborn, Bullseye, and Gargan are behind bars. Osborn's not looking too good especially, considering he attacked kids. And as for Venom...The Symbiote reunited with Eddie Brock. I think now he's kind of a good guy? It's hard to tell sometimes."

Gabby frowned, "What are we going to do about Mutant Ball though? We still need nine members at least, and Jonathan was supposed to be our mascot."

Laura just smiled, and Gabby, she froze as she heard a familiar voice call her name. A short distance away, was Bellona, wearing normal, teen clothing. Gabby embraced her sister before anyone could register her moving. Both girls broke into tears as they fell to their knees. Laura watched on, her own eyes watering.

Daken appeared behind Laura, inclining his head, "She's staying, right?"

"Yeah, yeah she is," Laura chuckled, wiping one eye. She leapt at her brother then, hugging him. "Thank you, Daken, for finding her, for my mother, and for all of this."

He tentatively hugged her back. Everything was coming together.


"Strike one!"

"Oh come on, I nicked it," Johnny complained to Beast.

Amiko, the catcher, flipped him off, and called for the pitcher to throw the ball.

Raze scoffed, "I can't believe I'm actually doing this."

From the sidelines, Kurt whispered to Raven, "I can't believe he's doing this."

"He lost a bet," Raven snorted, taking a sip from her drink before handing the cup to Kurt, "Could you-?"

He poofed away for a moment, and returned with a refill. Rogue joined them, chuckling as she watched one of her adoptive brothers get hit by a foul ball, right in the groin, despite being on the same team as Johnny. "Way to go, Johnny!"

Gambit whooped and Raze scowled. "I am going to kill all of you."

Up to bat came Daken, who winked at his daughter on third, and Laura on second, giving a nod to Bellona on first. It was a bit disheartening that Johnny had struck out, but Daken had ideas about how to cheer up the Human Torch. As for Akiko's classmates, he remembered Evan's face when Daken apologized. Johnny said he should've brought a camera. There was still a lot to do, and a lot that he may never make up for, but this was just the start.

He chuckled, "Give it your best shot."

To Daken's surprise, he hit the ball, and began running. It bounced in the right field, where Jubilee yelped, throwing it across the field to second base. Jean began to throw it from second to first, leaving Daken to run back and forth between her and Cyclops. He smirked sliding and watched as Jean dropped the ball, racing past her and rounding third. There, he met the rest of his family at home.

 

...

 

..

 

.

 

"Safe!"