Character/Pairing: X-23/Captain America, Hellion, Wolverine, Sarah Kinney, Thor, Iron Man, Storm, Red Skull, Martin Sutter, OC
Summary: As Laura searches for herself in Africa, She meets the man who was the first to have given her a choice.
Rating: R for language, violence and slight noncon
Spoilers: Up to X-23 #3
A/N: Laura's 18 in this one
Disclaimer: Yeah, I know! I don't anything, I am very sad, and I am moving on!
Outskirts of Kisumu, Kenya, 0721 EAT
The jeep made a stop as Laura gazed up to a mustard colored villa with a maroon roof. The front door opened and a woman in her early thirties walked out, gazed at the people at the jeep, and smiled. As she walked over to greet Laura, who was stepping out of the car, Oman got out and grabbed Laura’s duffle from the back.
To Laura’s shock the woman pulled her into a warm hug as if they had been life-long friends.
“Laura,” the woman said as she finally pulled away. “Karibu nyumbani kwetu (Welcome to our home). I am Amana.”
“Furaha kukutana na wewe (Nice to meet you),” Laura replied, shaking Amana’s hand. Oman walked towards the two women and kissed his wife on the cheek.
“Hello, my love,” he said then looked around. “Where are Eshe and Saburi?”
“Saburi went on one of his walks,” Amana explained. “And Eshe, well, she said she wanted to get the most fresh and pretty flowers for our guest.”
Oman snorted and shook his head as he headed inside the house with Laura’s bag. Amana turned to Laura.
“Your room is ready for you,” she said. “And I’ve made some breakfast. I am sure you are hungry after your flight.”
“I appreciate your willingness to house a foreigner like me,” Laura said in an attempt to be polite.
Amana stared at Laura and bursted out laughing, which only confused Laura even more.
“Have you noticed something humorous?” she asked.
“You are a funny girl,” Amana chortled. “Come inside, please.”
The two women followed Oman into the villa. Laura was led down a hallway, then into a small room. In it, was an average sized wardrobe, a small round mirror hanging beside the open window, and a nightstand next to a single bed, where Oman had already set Laura’s bag.
“It’s not much,” he said, gesturing around the room.
“It is fine, thank you” Laura replied with a nod.
“Ah!” Amana exclaimed. “I almost forgot. Ororo wanted you to call her as soon as you arrived. It should be evening in San Francisco. Wait here.”
She left the room and Oman followed. Laura sat on the bed and waited patiently. Shortly after, Amana returned with a satellite phone in her hands, signaling to Laura that someone on the other end wished to speak to her. She took the phone and waited for Amana to leave.
“Storm?” she finally said to receiver, once she was alone and the door was fully shut.
“Laura,” Storm’s voice came out in relief. “It’s good to hear your voice. When Gambit came back-”
“I told him to return to the X-Men,” Laura explained. “I felt that he was needed more at Utopia then traveling with me.”
She heard Storm sighed.
“As long as you are alright.”
Then a familiar voice came on Storm’s end.
“Is that Laura?”
“Uh, Hellion wishes to speak with you,” Storm told Laura with a bit of uncertainty.
“Alright,” replied Laura. There was a short pause then…
“Hey you,” Julian’s voice rang softly into Laura’s ear.
“Hello Julian,” Laura said coolly. “How are you?”
“Oh I’m just peachy,” he said sarcastically. “I’m only surrounded by a bunch of hypocritical assholes! I suppose you heard of the Omega incident.”
“I did,” replied Laura.
“Yeah well some people are actually calling me a monster,” Julian spat. “I mean can you believe that bullshit?”
Before Laura could respond, the door bursted open and a small girl of the age of eight rushed into the room, with a bouquet of flowers. Laura stared at the girl and the girl squealed and jumped with excitement.
“Uko hapa! Uko hapa! (You’re here! You’re here!)” The girl cheered as she bounced, petals falling from the bouquet.
“Laura?” Julian’s voice called out to the stunned X-23. “Is everything ok? What’s going on over there? It sounds like a squirrel is being killed.”
“ESHE!” Amana ran into the room, glaring at the child. The girl called Eshe stopped and beamed at Laura, who was still paralyzed with bewilderment.
“I picked these for you,” Eshe said as she held up what little flowers she had left.
“Eshe!” Amana bellowed. “Ambapo ni tabia yako? (Where are you manners?) Can’t you see she is on the phone?”
“I just wanted to say hello,” the girl said before turning back to Laura. “Hello!”
“Hello,” Laura replied hesitantly.
“Eshe,” hissed Amana, hands on her hips. “You will go to the kitchen now!”
Eshe set the flowers on the nightstand, waved goodbye at Laura and rushed out of the room. Amana apologized to Laura and followed her daughter.
Laura jumped and remembered she was on the phone.
“Yes, Julian?” she replied to phone.
“Is everything alright?” Julian demanded.
“Yes,” Laura said. “I must go. I would like to have some breakfast.”
“Okay,” Julian responded, still confused. “Talk to you later then.”
“Goodbye.” And with that Laura hanged up the phone.
With her enhanced sense of smell, it was not hard for Laura to find the kitchen. As she entered through the doorway, she saw Amana at the stove, lecturing Eshe, who had her head bowed down in shame, and two men seated at the table. One was Oman; the other was a tall man in his early forties. Oman looked up and saw Laura at the doorway and stood up.
“Laura,” he said, gesturing towards the other man, who was also rising from his seat. “I would like you to meet my brother, Saburi Dia.”
Laura surveyed Saburi for a moment. He did not look like any religious specialist that she had ever met. He wore denim jeans and a bright orange t-shirt. If it weren’t for a long golden medallion hanging around his neck, Laura would have mistaken him for a farmer, rather than a shaman. Saburi peered into Laura’s eyes and laughed.
“Where expecting me to wear a crown of feathers and carry a long staff?” he chortled.
“You read my mind,” Laura stated.
“In a way,” Saburi replied and before Laura could ask he added. “My methods are different than those of your kind.”
There was an awkward pause through out the kitchen then Amana open decided to break the silence.
“I’ve made some mandazi,” she said pointing towards a plate of flat donuts on the table. “I will go and pour some chai for-”
“Wait,” Saburi interjected. “Our guest has had a long journey. I am sure she would like to rest before eating.”
“I slept on the plane,” Laura explained.
“But you have not rested,” Saburi argued ignoring Eshe’s whine and Amana’s head shaking. “You have not done so for quite some time.”
“Ndugu (brother),” Oman began to protest but Saburi held up his hand.
“You came to me for my advice,” the shaman told Laura. “And I urge you to rest your eyes before anything else.”
“Very well,” said Laura, placed the phone on the table, and then turned to leave.
“Kusubiri, mtoto (Wait, child),” Saburi said and Laura turned around to see him pull out a small glass vial and handed it to her. Laura held it up to light to examine its contents. Inside was a jade liquid.
“It will help you relax,” Saburi answered her unasked question. Laura hesitated, but nodded once more and left the kitchen.
Once she was back into the guest room, she changed out of her clothes and into her all black pajamas. She slipped into the bed and uncorked the vial. She lingered for a moment before downing the potion in one gulp. She cringed at the bitter taste. Suddenly, her vision began to blur and her eyelids weighed downed. She fell down on the pillows, dropping the vial. With a faint smash, the world around Laura went black.
Washington D.C., 2353 EST
Steve Rogers, sitting on his couch, racked his brain for answers. For more than an hour he had stared at X-23’s passport. He compared it, a few times, to the photo of her killing Johnson. He didn’t know why, but he felt like that very little had changed in Laura’s life. He looked back at the passport.
“You don’t look happy,” he finally said to the photo as if X-23, herself was listening. His eyes began to droop and he laid back. He yawned then fell into a deep slumber.
He was seated, front row, in a large circus tent. He was wearing his old army uniform. He looked around the audience to see all of the Avengers and many of his war buddies, including Peggy, General Phillips, and Dr. Erskine. Then he noticed Nick Fury was seated right behind him. Then he turned to his right and found Tony, in his Iron Man suit, drinking a martini. To Steve’s left was Thor munching on a bag of popcorn. They were all looking down at the center of the stage where a big black shielded a box of equal size from everyone’s view.
“What’s going on,” Steve asked Tony.
“Shush!” Tony hissed, with a finger to his lips. “The show is about to start!”
All of sudden, the lights dimmed and those shining on the stage grew brighter. An unseen orchestra began a celebratory melody. Out of nowhere, the Red Skull appeared on, dressed as a ringmaster, spreading his arms to acknowledge his audience. The crowd cheered and whistled. Steve attempted to stand, ready to fight the Skull. But then he realized that he was back in his frail and thin state before he was a Super Soldier.
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS, CHILDREN OF ALL AGES, WELCOME TO OUR SHOW!” Skull bellowed out, addressing the audience. “I am humbled by each and every one of your presence.”
The audience roared with excitement and the Skull held up his arms to silence them.
“I would like to tell you story,” he said. “Once upon a time, there lived a great warrior, known as the Wolverine!”
All of sudden, Logan stepped onto the stage, wearing nothing but a pair of black pants. He lit a cigar, totally uninterested with the roaring cheers of the audience.
“Many tried to manipulate the Wolverine to their agenda,” the Skull continued. “But he was too wild to be controlled. So then a brilliant scientist came up with a solution.”
A woman, long flowing black hair and emerald eyes, entered and stepped next to Logan, wearing a long lab coat. Steve immediately recognized her as Dr. Sarah Kinney.
“She decided,” the Skull continued, “that it would be best to make a copy of the warrior and made it in her own image. Ladies and Gentlemen…”
He moved towards the boxed-shaped curtain.
“I present to you…” He grabbed the sheet and pulled. “THE MARIONETTE!”
The crowd applauded and Steve gasped, as they looked down, not a great big box, but at an eighteen-year-old girl, in a short white dress and matching ballet pointe shoes.
Laura scanned her surroundings, and then noticed her mother and Logan on stage with her.
“What must I do?” she asked them.
“You must do as you are told, of course,” proclaimed the Red Skull and the audience, except for Steve, laughed at Laura’s expense.
“Dance,” Sarah said gently a soft harmony began to play. Within seconds, Laura was spinning herself across the stage with upmost grace. Then the Skull turned to the audience.
“Any suggestions?” he asked.
“I’ve got one!”
Laura turned around and saw Dr. Zander Rice standing up from his seat.
“Kill her,” he barked, pointing at Sarah.
“No!” Laura yelled but her claws were protruding out her hands and feet. She began slashing through her mother’s flesh. Within moments, Sarah was lying dead on the stage, while Laura, on the verge of tears, was standing over her body, her dress stained with blood. Then a group of men, women, and children came onto the stage.
“KILL THEM ALL!” the crowd roared. Steve watched in horror as Laura was forced to butcher innocent people.
“Stop, please,” she sobbed as she clawed at a young boy’s smiling face. Then, as bodies dropped on stage, men entered and grabbed her. She screamed as they groped her and thrusted into her, violently.
“Daddy!” Laura yelled towards Logan, who’s back was turned to her. “Daddy, please… please make them stop! How do I make them stop?”
“You’re on your own, kid,” Logan muttered and with that, he left the stage.
“No! Daddy!” Laura screamed as the men began ripping her dress. Then a voice rang out through out the tent.
“That’s enough!” The crowed booed as the frail Steve Rogers jumped out his seat and onto the stage. He managed to push the men away from Laura and pulled her close.
“It’s okay, Laura,” he whispered into her ear. “You’re not alone.”
He swooped and carried her in his arms. Then the booing stopped, the circus and audience disappeared, and Steve, back in his Super Soldier form, and Laura, no longer stained in blood, were standing in the middle of a white sandy beach. With Laura still in his arms, Steve turned and saw a man, in blue jeans and a bright orange, wearing a long gold medallion, looking at the pair, with a smile…
Steve woke himself out his slumber. Completely dumbfounded by the dream he had just had. In Kenya, however, X-23 immediately jumped out of her bed, knowing who and what caused that nightmare.
A/N: I would like some reviews please! :)