Cross-posted from my AO3 account (shrimpboat). Shout-out to my best friend, EggosandCompliation on AO3 (pretty sure he doesn't have a FF account).
This is my first time posting anything on FF in about 6 years, so if I fucked anything up with the formatting that I didn't notice, or I just forgot to add a word or fix a typo, kindly let me know.
Chapter Content Warning(s): None, really. Just your canon typical stuff if you've seen Logan. Not necessarily a fix-it, Logan and Charles are still (unfortunately) dead. Mentions of blood and children getting hurt, but nothing major.
The timeline is a little different in this fic. The events of Logan (2017) actually take place in our time, 2017, while the newer First-Class trilogy takes place throughout the 40's and 60's, and the earlier trilogy from the 2000's takes place in throughout the mid 70's to early 80's.
Feedback is appreciated, but I'm not really looking for concrit/critical reviews. I'm just writing this for fun. If you have questions about the story, however, feel free to ask; just be polite, please.
Hope you enjoy!
One. Two. Three.
Laura counted the days that it took to reach Eden ever since she had turned the cross into an X. She did everything that she could to distract herself. She prayed—without even knowing what prayer was, that there was a definition for what she was doing—for the endless marching to cause her bones to ache and cry out for her to stop, and for that aching to overpower the already present agony.
Her pleas to a higher power were in vain, all thanks to her healing factor in which she had no control over. It left her to suffer emotionally and mentally rather than physically, keeping her body strong and ready for anything despite the constant trekking over hills, boulders and other debris from landslides, fallen trees and their stumps.
Had Laura not healed, had she felt the pain that her fellow experiments were enduring, she would not have stopped like many of them had to. And when one of them stopped, everyone did. Everyone except for Laura.
She couldn't. She had to keep moving. If she stopped, then the urge to turn around would grow and overcome her will. She would turn around and run back to the remains of the closest thing to a home she had ever known.
But when children began stumbling and collapsing, because of the terrain, or the temperature, or hunger, or thirst, or just exhaustion, then everyone stopped. No one was to be left behind.
If Laura had felt their pain, it would have motivated even further more to keep moving. To find her new home. It was either this, or that. And she chose this. She chose a future, not to keep her bloodied hands in the grip of the past.
When the group of children hit a bump in the road and all halted, Laura did the same, but remained active somehow. She couldn't walk forward, so she paced in circles. Words and images raced through her head in a completely random order, never quite related to the previous though. She carved them into trees and rocks and mud with her claws. Rictor—Julio, as she called him, despite his disdain for such—scolded her for bringing her claws out. She always bled, and blood attracted predators.
Nothing scared her anymore, so Laura only ignored him; until her drawings grew boring and her stream of consciousness derailed into nothingness. When that happened, and they were all still at a pause, she would take out the bouncing ball in which Julio had given her when he knew that she would be separated from the rest of the children. In case they never saw each other again.
Of course, they reunited in the end, but when Julio noticed how much the rubber object meant to Laura in her time of mourning, he knew that he had to let her keep it.
Even tossing the ball grew tiring after time, however, and then she could only hold it to her chest with one hand and keep Julio's hand intertwined with the other. There was nothing that hurt her more than an empty palm.
To help Laura, Julio told her asides from his time spent traveling with the rest of the kids, in which Laura was elsewhere. Because it was only a week, and the majority of that week was dedicated more to work than play, there wasn't much entertainment in it. Julio didn't feel the need to keep repeating what he had already said before, so he began adding on made-up stories to keep Laura pacified.
Laura knew where the facts ended and the fiction began, but she didn't protest. Julio was a good storyteller, and it was better than sitting in silence.
A day had passed, and 'one' looped around in her head over and over again the second they began moving forward once each of their periods of rest ended. After two days had passed, the cycle restarted with 'one, two'. After a total of three days had come and gone, it became 'one, two, three'.
It ended with 'one, two, three'. After the second day, they crossed the border, but it took one more to reach the Garden.
Maybe they wouldn't have had to waste another twenty-four hours had they not come across civilization. The last thing that they needed was to be spotted and turned into local law enforcement by a resident who believed that they were abused and abandoned children, or juvenile runaways. They were all of those things, in a way, but the only help that they sought was that in which Eden offered.
Laura was the stealthiest, being Transigen's go-to assassin, so even without having to ask, Julio granted her permission to go ahead without them—but only so that she could develop a safe path for them to cross through roads and buildings and keep the coast clear.
It took many risk-filled hours for the lot of them to reach the sanctuary of barren wilderness again, but it was worth it when they succeeded. At that point, Eden should only have been a few more miles ahead.
They reached a lake. A beautiful body of water, big and blue, but not so immense that their long-awaited refuge could not be seen on the opposite shore.
"That's it." Rictor informed them, pointing to a settled grey mass on the other side of the lake, barely hiding behind a few tall trees.
Some of the children were so thrilled and relieved and revitalized by the sight that they nearly swam to the other side rather than go around. Children who were all but walking corpses only moments before began running around the edge of the water to their safe haven at outstanding speeds.
Laura was not one of them.
She was in the best physical shape of any of them, but she could not break her established tempo of motion. There was still doubt in her mind, as if Eden was an oasis; a mirage induced by weariness. She walked, still, as the rest of the mutants gave her a taste of her own medicine by going on without her. All aside from Julio, who offered Laura his hand. She laced her fingers between his and held on tight, convinced for a moment that he too was an illusion.
Laura couldn't even look at the awaiting structure, anyway. Her gaze was fixed onto lake.
'It's got water.' A voice echoed inside her mind. It wasn't her own.
The exodus of the world's last mutants came to an end at the entrance of a building that didn't look unlike an abandoned medical center, or laboratory—though it was too small to be a proper hospital. It was an off-white structure with black tinted windows. There was no sign of what this building might have been before it became Eden. There was a parking lot surrounding it, which sprouted a road that curved northwest, beyond clusters of pine trees. The children came from the south. They assumed that the road was what visitors would take when coming around to the establishment in days past.
It had no visible defenses, aside from a wooden fence along the edge of it's side of the lake that stood just a few steps away. Again, something from Eden's past life. It was there to keep people from falling in the water, not to protect mutant children from mad scientists.
No cars, no cameras, nothing that could be seen as a signal or beacon for the group to respond to. Laura couldn't even pick up a scent, neither human nor animal. It felt completely devoid of life, like this place was meant to be avoided rather than searched for.
Though overcome with joy and relief just moments before, a few members of the group became skeptical at the underwhelming sight.
"Are you sure that this is it, Rictor?" Rebecca was the first to suspect.
"Yes." Julio insisted, after he and Laura had caught up with their friends.
"Don't you think it would be bigger?" Bobby followed up.
"What were you expecting? A four-story mansion? Twenty acres of land?" The designated leader of the young refugees let go of Laura's hand and marched right up to the double-doors.
"What are acres?"
Julio didn't answer. He noticed an intercom on the wall next to the door and pressed the button. It was completely silent for a moment until static came screeching to life from it. Then, Julio seemed unsure of what to speak into the system. It was the first time any of his fellow mutants had seen any bit of helplessness in his eyes. Now, even he appeared skeptical once the static began.
They had all dreamed of Eden being just as it's name suggested; Heaven on Earth, the promised land. Angels and harps, ivory and gold. As if they had not learned from all the hell that they went through to get to this point that there was no such thing as that reality for them. This was the best that they were going to get.
"We're here." Julio informed whoever was on the other side of the intercom.
A voice never responded. Rather, moments later, the doors swung open. Julio managed to jump out of the way before they could hit him.
Bursting forth were two humanoid shapes, clad completely in some kind of sleek black armor. Their helmets had visors that looked like they could slide up and reveal their faces, but they kept themselves hidden behind them. It was hard to tell if they were men, or women, or if they were even human. They may have very well been mutants as well.
Most notably, they had guns. Guns as big as some of the kids were tall. The two figures aimed their weapons at the crowd of adolescents for a moment, examining each of them, before directing them to get inside the building. Immediately.
The group scrambled to the entrance, members of it nearly trampling each other on their way in. Laura, of course, was the only one who approached at calm pace.
Before stepping through the doorway, Laura looked back for the first time since embarking on her journey. She didn't know if she would ever see the outside world again; if Eden was all just a grand scheme conducted by whatever remained of Transigen's forces and that she and her friends would all be executed on sight. Perhaps that wouldn't be the case, but the past ten days of her life had taught her to never get her hopes up ever again.
Laura had nothing to look back at, but she did anyway. She didn't anticipate seeing anything peculiar, but if she did, it wasn't what she noticed just before the doors sealed shut and the guards rushed her forward. A line of electric blue light was sliding down from above the building, outlining a dome shape around it before disappearing as quickly as it appeared.
At the sight of it, Laura picked up speed and finally began progressing at the same rate as her troop. The guards remained herding them from behind. Rictor was at the front, as always, and followed the directions of the two armored bodies. Laura wanted to join him, but she opted out and remained next to Rebecca.
After countless lefts, rights, and forwards, they finally came across what had to be an elevator. Miraculously, it seemed big enough for all of the children and both guards to fit inside at the same time.
The children all loaded themselves on first, and the guards then followed, positioning themselves side-by-side between the group of mutants and the doors of the lift.
Laura eyed the panel of buttons. The familiar urge to press every single one of them was growing. Though, if such action wasn't appropriate then, now certainly wasn't the time for it, either. There weren't as many buttons as there were back at the casino, but what was truly odd about these buttons, however, was that there were no numbers on them to indicate the passengers what floor they would be taken to. No letters, no symbols, yet the guard closest to the panel pressed a single button without hesitation once the doors slid shut. They knew where they were going, but the children didn't.
The elevator kicked into motion with some uncertainty. It must have been awhile since it was last used, or maybe it was just because of all the added weight it had to carry. For some members of the group, it didn't move fast enough.
Regardless of the speed of the mechanism, it got them to their long-awaited destination.
When they reached their designated floor, the doors reopened to reveal a blinding, all-white interior. Again, all too much reminiscent of the facility back down in Mexico.
One guard stepped forth, and one remained inside the elevator to keep the doors held open. The jet black of their armor against the alabaster walls, ceiling, and floor was like ink spilled on paper.
"Single-file line." The guard in front of them instructed. The more the both of them spoke, the more masculine their voices sounded.
As expected, Rictor went first, following right behind the first guards. Then Gideon. Then Jonah. Then Delilah. All exiting one-by-one until Laura was the last child left. She stepped out, staring forward and in no other direction, and the second guard served as the anchor of the line.
It was one long hallway. There was only one door, aside from those of the elevator, and it was all the way at the end of the wide pathway. They reached it after a few dozen steps, and the guard at the front of the line lifted up their visor. None of the children saw the face beneath, however. The guard did so as a way of identification; the entryway wouldn't open unless whoever was behind it could trust who was trying to get in.
Something built into door scanned the profile of the forward guard, and after they put their visor back down, there was a click. They reached for the handles of the doors, and pulled them open.
The room behind the entrance was very much like a lobby. A twenty-by-twenty-foot-sized structure, with five chairs on both the left and right sides of it. There were more than ten children, but they didn't care. They would sit on the floor if they had to. It was just nice be inside a clean, warm, (hopefully) secure space for the first time in weeks.
And, of course, parallel to where they stood was another gateway, identical to the one they all just passed through.
"Come with me." The first guard spoke to Julio. "The rest stay here." With only himself and Julio this time, he went through the same motions as he did just moments ago. The second guard told the rest of the children to sit and wait.
Laura stood stiff, and counted to three, over and over again.
There was no clock in the room. The children tried to ask the remaining custodian what time it was, or how soon Julio would be back, or what Julio was even doing. He, the guard, never answered a single question. The lights behind the second set of doors were so blinding that they children—who were now so adjusted to natural lighting—couldn't even look past them when they opened, so none of them had an idea as to what to be prepared for.
Laura was the only one counting. Not the minutes, or seconds, but the days. One, two, three. She noted when she counted to three for the hundredth time, and before she could do the math in her head to determine how much time that must have been, Julio and the first guard had returned. Julio was staring directly at Laura, and she knew what that meant before he even spoke.
The first escort traded Rictor for Laura. Laura removed her backpack and handed it to Rictor before joining the guard.
There was a woman on the other side. In the white room, she was seated at a white table, with a white chair on the other side. For Laura.
She was sitting down, but her posture alone had somehow managed the impossible; to intimidate Laura. At first, the woman was wearing sunglasses, but immediately removed them and set them on the table at the sight of Laura. It made Laura aware that she, in fact, was still wearing her own pair of sunglasses. She would have done the same and taken them off, but they helped ease her uncertain fear, so they stayed on.
The woman was incredibly plain-looking. Not ugly, no, and not even because Laura wasn't taught what the standards for ugly and beautiful were. But after the many diverse faces that Laura had encountered since her escape, there was nothing remarkable about this new one.
She was barely smiling. Her hair was a mane of brown curls, parted evenly down the center of her head and matching the color of her softened eyes. The length of her locks reached just past her shoulders. The way that she styled them gave her a more youthful look; she couldn't have been very young, but there were hardly any age lines or blemishes that would have indicated her being on the wrong side of forty, either. She took good care of herself, that was safe to say.
She was wearing a black jacket, a black scarf, a grey sweater, and looking underneath the table, Laura could also see that her jacket was actually a long coat that reached down to her ankles. Her sweater also turned out to be a formfitting dress, reaching down to her knees. Finishing off her outfit were a pair of black boots.
In fact, the most noticeable thing about her came into Laura's sights when she finally sat down. From that angle, she could see a ring on the woman's left hand. The diamond attached to the white-gold band caught the already bright lights when the woman extended her hand to shake Laura's, and if Laura hadn't her sunglasses on, she swore that it could have temporarily blinded her.
"Laura. Correct?" The older woman asked as they shook hands. Laura nodded. "It's nice to meet you."
"What is this?" Laura asked, without returned the statement. Her voice cracked from lack of use. The last time she used it was to read the eulogy. Days ago.
The woman frowned at Laura's interrogation. She sighed.
"I'll tell you, but first I ask that you tell me your story."
Laura paused, then soon started to recite all of her earliest memories. The woman chuckled after a moment, causing Laura to pause once more.
"Not like that. I'm sorry, I should have specified." The stranger explained. "Your time spent with that man. Logan. Your friend, Rictor, told me that you were separated from the rest of the children-"
Without any hesitation this time, Laura shook her head. She wasn't ready to open up about those times to anyone else. They were her happiest memories, and she wasn't going to share them until she gained new ones to replace them.
"No? What do you mean?"
"They're mine." Was all Laura had given to the woman before rising from her seat and making her way back to the doors. She did so in hopes that her protest would give her friends the safe haven they deserved sooner, that the woman would cave in to Laura's stubbornness. The woman stood, but otherwise, did not assert herself.
"Laura!" She called to the girl as Laura began to pry the doors open. The guard, who was standing in the corner of the room, remained still. It appeared that he was only allowed to act with the woman's orders.
The doors were heavier than they looked, but thankfully, Laura managed; mostly due to her mutated strength.
When her friends on the other side noticed Laura struggling, a few jumped to action and rushed over to assist her.
But something stopped them. Something unseen stopped them all in their tracks, freezing them in space. Laura, in the middle of her attempted escape, did the same, but out of her own volition. She couldn't feel some invisible force halting her. She only felt awe.
The doors then flew shut, as well. It was whatever had held Laura's friends in place. She tried to pull them open again, but this time, they didn't budge. Kicking the door and screaming at it, Laura then spun around in rage.
The woman stood, arm extended. It was the same one she first reached out to Laura with. As her limb fully stretched out, the sleeve of her coat pulled back slightly. Laura couldn't read it from the distance between the two of them, but a small marking on the stranger's wrist revealed itself.
To be continued.
Thank you for reading! I tried adding divisions between paragraphs where the setting shifted so it didn't feel like one big run-on, but every time I tried to save the document with the divisions, they disappeared. :/ Sorry if it's hard to read 'cos of that.
Word count: 3,494.