DISCLAIMER: - is sad to inform you that they own neither Harry Potter or the X-men franchise. They belong to their respective creators, producers, and publishers, none of which have any relation t – c.
Warning: This story contains shonen-ai - slash - m/m; whatever you want to call it. The probability of Lemons is minimal, however- if relationships involving two males bother you, – asks that you kindly vacate the premises.
In other news, beware of overly melodramatic writing tendencies and copious use of sentence fragments for stylistic purposes, as well as bi-polar mood and an inability to keep characters acting as themselves.
Title: Hobo's Lullaby
Pairing: tentative Logan/Harry
Rating: PG-13 / R
Summary: When an embittered Harry Potter and a pre-X-Men Logan Howlett meet by chance on a train, it marks the start of one of the oddest partnerships this world has ever seen.
Chapter One: In Which There Is Much Angst-ing, and Logan Wishes for Steak
So yeah, Harry Potter.
You all know the story, right? Ordinary kid, right, finds out he's a wizard, goes to a magical school, teams up with his Gryffindor buddies and fights evil? And in the end, vanquishes his enemies, lives happily ever after, and gets the girl?
Yeah, about that…
Load of stuff, the lot of it.
For one thing, I'm gay. Girls? Yeah, not really my thing.
For another, I'm not even a wizard. I mean, I was, but I'm not anymore. I got out of that business a long time ago.
About, say, three years ago, actually.
Right after I ran away and left the wizarding world behind for good.
And yes, you did read that right.
I, the great and heroic Harry Potter, ran away. I left my so-called 'friends' to their fates, and high-tailed it outta there.
And can you blame me?
Can you look deep within your soul and tell me, with complete honesty, that you wouldn't have done the exact same thing?
Cuz lets face it, deep down, most of the human race doesn't give a damn about saving others. All they really care about is themselves; them and their own frickin' happiness.
And, much as you might want to believe otherwise, I'm no different. And you know what's the best part? I'm not even human! How's that for irony?
All I want right now is food, a place to stay, and someone to take care of me. None of which I can have. Because right now, at this very moment, I am freezing my you-know-what off on top of a freight train headed who-knows-where.
More on that later.
But really, there is nothing you can say or do that will ever make me regret choosing myself over them. And I'm not just saying that cuz it sounds cool.
I'm saying this because it's true. You wanna judge me? Go ahead. But the truth is, the day I left, while in many ways the worst day of my entire eminently sucky existence, was also the day I started living.
That day, I found out that my whole life up till that point had been one big lie. My friends, my teachers, everyone I had ever trusted, had been using me, deceiving me, and jerking me around. I had been manipulated; used as a tool by someone I loved and trusted.
Tell me, how would you react? No different then I did.
I ran off into the night and I left them all behind. And the next time they need me to save their asses, they can just deal. They can all rot for all I care.
You know what's the worst part? I really don't care.
I know that someday Voldemort's army will be knocking on the door, and I think to myself, 'screw them!' Who really cares if a bunch of lying, no-good, two-timing bastards are wiped off the face of the earth? In the long run, who even cares if a couple of good people die with them?
I know I don't.
So I ran. I walked out that door and I ran for it. Haven't looked back since.
So that pretty much brings us to the present. Now that you're all caught up…
I shiver, and huddle closer into myself. It really is freezing on top of this train. Words can't even express how freezing it is. My body sure can, though. It's shaking and trembling like nobody's business, and I can't feel most of my extremities. My hands are blue with cold, and I wince as I try to warm them with my breath. It's no good. Even my breath is cold, or perhaps it's whipped away by the bitter wind before it reaches my frost-bitten fingers.
Yeah, so maybe train-hopping in the middle of December wasn't the best idea after all. What can I say?
I scowl, tuck my abused hands into my armpits, and hiss through my teeth as the ice cold digits suck what little heat there is out of them.
Damn, it's freezing. What I wouldn't give for a nice fur coat right now. Or even a decent pair of boots. The ones I have now are worn to the uppers, the soft leather creased and cracking.
They're not really the most practical boots. They're thigh highs, folded over at the top to just brush mid thigh. Actually, they look a lot like the kind of boots a pirate would wear, made of dark brown leather and lined with some sort of cloth. No idea why I bought them, of course. Thigh-highs aren't really respectable these days; on girls they look like hooker boots, on guys they're just plain odd. But hey, I had some weird tastes back then. Maybe I wanted to be a pirate, of something. Maybe the Dursleys gave them to me as a joke. Who knows?
But that was back in my other life, before I left that all behind. Back when I still had money.
And, you know, a house, and clothes.
Yeah, those were the days.
Except for the part where my relatives hated me, my house was a prison, and my friends were lying, manipulating sycophants who didn't even give a damn about me.
But yeah, apart from that, it was a real paradise, wasn't it?
I growl as a sudden wind buffets me, pushing me off balance for a split second. Instinctively I flatten my ears against my head and crouch low against the metal body of the train. I regain my balance, and reach one hand up to rub the soft black triangles nestled among the unruly curls of my hair. Cat ears.
Even after almost three years, I'm still not used to these visible signs of my non-human blood.
Because you know that 'not entirely human' thing I mentioned? Yeah, this is part of it. I'm not really sure of the details, but it would seem that somewhere back in my ancestry, cat blood got added to the mix. I don't even want to know how.
The ears showed up around my fourteenth birthday, along with a tail, fangs, and a few other minor changes of a catty-nature. (fur, etc.)
Oddly enough, I've still been unable to grow facial hair of any kind. It's not fair at all.
The ears and tail come in handy occasionally, like for balance and super sensitive hearing and stuff, but most of the time they're a nuisance.
Do you know how hard it is to fit in when you look like some kind of weirdo cat person all the time? Yeah, pretty darn hard. Not that I don't stand out anyway. What with being A) homeless and therefore really grungy, B) seventeen years old and only five foot one (I blame the cat genes. Cats are small, right?), and C) devilishly handsome, if I do say so myself, blending in is something of a lost cause.
But that doesn't matter anyway. I have nowhere I want to be. I don't fit in this world anymore; I don't belong. I can't survive in the muggle world, I'd be taken and studied for sure, and I can't and won't return to the wizarding world. I can't stand to be around those people anymore. Those people, with their snobbery and petty discrimination, their double standards, their small minded and stubborn belief that magic can solve anything—it makes me sick.
I want nothing to do with those people.
A home would be nice, of course, but that's just a dream. Like I said, there's no way I'm going back to the wizarding world, and I doubt many Normals would be willing to take in some random cat-guy off the streets.
So it looks like I'm gonna have to stick to wandering.
Actually—tell you the truth, I have no idea where I am right now. I'm not sure I'm even in Great Britain anymore. I hopped a couple of steamer ships, you see, but I didn't bother to check the destinations. I could be in China, or in America for all I know.
Though the people here seem to speak English, so I'm guessing China's out.
And judging from this miserable weather, it's nowhere tropical, either.
Which is a bummer, 'cause I always wanted to take a Caribbean vacation. Just my luck if I've ended up in Antarctica or something…
Hey, just a thought here, but maybe it would be warmer inside this be-damned contraption than on top? Wind-chill and all that, you know.
Mentally smacking myself upside the head for not thinking of this sooner, (What can I say? I never claimed to be a genius.) I hold my body closer to the freezing, frosted over metal that is the top of the freight car, and slink my way forwards, searching for a hatch or something along those lines. About three quarters of the along the car, I find one.
Thank the Goddess!
A few more minutes and I would've been a gonner for sure! Body fur really doesn't help all that much in 70 mile per hour winds, in case you didn't know.
Nearly sobbing with relief, and feeling warmer already in anticipation of my incipient being-sheltered-ness from the wind, I grab the handle of the small rectangular door and turn it.
Or try to, anyway. It doesn't budge. Not even an inch.
Sobbing again, this time in desperation, I try once more to open the hatch.
It's frozen solid, and after nearly ten minutes of tugging futilely at the handle, I realize it's not going to turn anytime soon.
I whimper; I don't wanna freeze to death out here, as I surely will if I don't find a way in there very soon. I haven't been able to feel my toes for nigh on an hour now, and my mind is running strange circuts, trying to cope with the cold and my nearing death.
In a word, this sucks ass.
Okay, so that was two words, but you get the picture, ne?
In a fit of rage-tinged despair, I pound my fists on the metal below me, shouting as loud as I can. "Please!" I bawl, "Please, open dammit! Open open open!"
Of course, no one can hear me. There is no one living in the small warm box beneath me, just straw and… I dunno, freight.
There could be sheep, I suppose, but unless there's some freaky speedy evolution going on down there involving opposable thumbs and the use of English, I'm out of luck.
No, there's no help for it. I'm really going to die out here, on top of a freaking train, all alone in the middle of know where. Maybe they'll find my body in the morning, frozen solid and clinging for dear life—or not, as it were—to the top of the car.
Or maybe I'll fall off, and my corpse will be lost in the deep banks of snow on the god-forsaken tundra we're gliding through.
I take a moment to contemplate these possibilities, but the only thought my tired mind will throw up is, 'how anti-climactic…'
It seems strange—most of my life I've spent waiting for death. Waiting for the Dursleys to finally break me, waiting for Voldemort to get his act together and kill me… I thought I was ready, eager, even, for the calm and peace of oblivion. I have no one left in this world; why should I wish to linger here in such a cold place?
But now… I can feel the life draining from my frail body with each passing moment, and a small shadow of doubt begins to grow in my mind.
My thoughts circle wildly, wandering paths unfamiliar to me.
Can I really leave this world behind, even for the beauty of paradise?
In this world, all I have known in coldness and pain, but surely …
…somewhere in this world of millions…
…there must exist one good person …
…just one person who can see me…
…someone to care for me, hold me…
Surely, such a person must exist.
And until I can find that one person, I don't want to leave this place.
I stiffen with this realization. I don't want to die. The phrase sounds so strange to my mind, but it's true. Perhaps for the first time in my seventeen years of existence, I don't want to die.
And now I have no choice.
I squeeze my eyes shut, pushing back the burning sensation of growing tears.
I will not cry. If I have nothing else, I at least have my pride.
To distract myself from the inevitability of my demise, I begin to straighten my appearance to the best of my ability. Tucking my tail beneath my meager shirt and tugging at the worst of the tangles in my mane of inky black curls, I slowly regain my grip on my composure.
If I must die, at least I should look presentable, I muse bitterly.
There goes my composure…
I grit my teeth, and slam my fists angrily on the icy metal of the hatch. Again and again I hurl myself against the unyielding steel, channeling all my anger, all my rage at the world into my blows, until my fists are bruised black and my knuckles begin to bleed. The hot red liquid that spills out cools quickly in the air until it's as cold as the rest of me.
Even then, I do not stop.
I don't truly expect a response, but the repetitive back and forth motion of my blows lends me some small comfort in my despair. I need this pain, this action that says that even against impossible odds, I am not giving up.
But I know that it is hopeless. I am going to die.
So when the handle suddenly turns under my hands and the hatch is flung open from the inside, I can only stare in shock at the head of tousled brown hair that emerges.
The owner of said head glances about, giving off the most pissed off aura I've ever seen. He catches sight of me and growls, "Oi, bub! Keep it down, will ya?"
And I —to my eternal embarrassment— squeak, whimper, and then topple over face first onto my savior. I, the great Harry Potter, have just fainted, and if you'll excuse me, I plan on enjoying it.
Logan glared at the body that had fallen on him in a sort of disgruntled shock.
There he'd been, sleeping away the hours peacefully in his nice warm freight car, and dreaming of eating a mountain of rare steak, when some idiot hobo saw fit to wake him up, banging away at the roof and yelling to be let in.
What kind of flake rides on top of a train in the middle of December anyway? Someone completely wacko, that's who!
"Damn psycho," he grumbled unhappily, "disturbin' a person's sleep."
He'd really been enjoying that dream, too!
Narrowing his eyes suspiciously at said wacko, Logan stepped closer and none too gently kicked the person's still shoulder. Not even a twitch rewarded his actions. Satisfied by the lack of response, he dug his steel-toed boot under their side and flipped them onto their back with a grunt.
The person— boy? Girl? Logan had no idea. The chest said male, but the long (albeit dirty and tangled) hair and delicate, hairless features told him female. The person's scent was no help either; some alien scent lay over it, obscuring the usual male/female chemical signals.
Taking note of the person's attire, consisting of one large, flowing poet shirt that looked as if it had once been white but was now stained a strange yellow-grey that fell to just below the tops of his/her thighs, and a similarly beat up pair of leather thigh high boots, Logan tentatively concluded that they were female.
After all, no self-respecting member of the male half of the species would ever be seen wearing thigh highs.
Now that he had determined the sex of his new car-mate, Logan had to decide what to do with them. He didn't want to just leave her there, sprawled in an unnatural looking position of the cold hard floor of the car, but on the other hand his years of vagrancy had taught him to be wary of any and all strangers, even ones so harmless looking as this one.
Logan nibbled absently on his bottom lip as he thought. Perhaps if he just moved the girl onto one of the copious piles of straw that seemed to be all this car contained… that would be alright, wouldn't it? She'd live, anyway; anything beyond that was not his responsibility.
Mind made up, Logan flexed his cold and stiff muscles and stooped, roughly grabbing one leather-clad foot and dragging the girl across the floor. She made small moans of protest at this harsh treatment, but showed no further signs of waking. Logan dumped the prone body unceremoniously into the prickly straw, then retreated, settling back into his own pile, as far away from his fellow drifter as possible.
It never hurt to be cautious, after all, even if you were practically immortal.
Logan closed his eyes, letting the tension drain from his muscles.
What a day…
Slowly he slipped into the dark oblivion of Orpheus' realm, the constant low thrumming of the rails gently lulling him deeper and deeper into sleep.
– hopes very much that you have enjoyed this first chapter of 'Hobo's Lullabye.'
– also hopes that you will take the time to review, as more than anything they crave feedback.
The next chapter will be up in an undetermined amount of time, depending on the amount of time available to devote to this work, and on how inspired they are.