It'd taken him a week and a half to heal from his incursion with Wolverine; that was a record for a simile flesh wound, to say the least. Birdy was driving him nuts, demanding that he get a full medical check to figure out what was wrong, but every time his answer was a growling, and on a few occasions a roaring, no to it; there was no doubt that that sort of thing would reveal his current...."problem" and there was no way he was letting that little bit of information get out anymore than it already had.
But that was three weeks ago. They'd been home for about a month. Birdy was stuck coming up with alternate plans to getting to their target, which he kept finding ways of turning down. She also had to keep coming up with excuses for the clients as to why the job hadn't been finished yet. Between planning, and covering, and hunting all over the house to eventually find her boss curled up in a bathtub somewhere to tell him his food was done, to just breathing for her own sake; it was driving her insane! The entire thing was taking a very high toll on her; she actually started to wish she could take a vacation.
She wasn't the only one working hard though. Sabertooth was also dealing with his own little problems, just not when she was around. At night, after the exhausted Birdy would've slunk off to bed, he'd come down and start searching for the woman from Rio. She was the only thing he had left that could answer his question. But every night, he came up with nothing; of course it wasn't much help that his memory was starting to fade too. His appetite had returned though, which was good, yet not that helpful to his quest.
"Hey Birdy!" he managed to garner her attention, despite the mouthful he had. "There anymore of this stuff?"
She sigh-growled, nearly pulling her hair out of her head as he asked, yet again for more food. "Depends, what is it this time Mister Creed."
She was sitting in the dining room, making full use of the usually vacant cherry wood table's space by covering it with layers of papers with printouts and diagrams and hand scribbled notes across every writeable surface. She was still trying to work on the job for the Hong se Long, still holding them off with vague excuses. While what was he doing? He was in the kitchen, at the island, doing who knows what out of her sight.
//Well at least he's out of that stupid tub,// she mentally grumbled to herself.
"I'm not sure...some form of meat
or noodles maybe..."
She growled, and some how managed to find a partially empty piece of paper out of her mess, and clicked her pen out to start, once again, scenario writing.
"Whatever happened to "my cooking is poison"?!"
"Oh, it still is," she looked up and found him in the doorway, eating out of a Ziploc container, barely dressed-as he'd become accustomed to lately-but still, standing at least, and if she hadn't been so tired and frustrated, she would've laughed at the "domestic-ness" of the scene. "It's better than gravel."
"Oh haha, I forgot to laugh," she muttered, looking back down to her sheets, interlacing the fingers of her non-dominant hand in between her blonde locks, once again threatening to rip them out by their roots in her frustration.
He wound his way over to her, passing behind, chancing a peek down at her workings as he bit into another fork full. "Still on that hu?"
She wanted to slam the pen down, she wanted to scream at him. But instead she controlled her anger, and very slowly laid the pen down, then folded her hands very calmly on the table top.
"Why of course I'm still on this. Remember, those nice cut throat Chinese men paid us to kill their little Cajun thief, and if we don't do it soon they'll send a hoard of their stupid little ninjas here to skin us alive and take our scalps back to their boss on meat platters," her voice became slightly cracked towards the end, what with her nearing a breakdown and all.
Creed considered her words for a moment or two, taking another bite in the meantime. "Hu, well that sounds like it'll suck for you."
That line wanted to make her scream at him, but she instead took a deep, calming breath. "Yes, yes it does."
"Alright then," and he started to leave the dinning room with his leftovers, but before he left he turned back towards her in the doorway. "When you're done with that though, come on upstairs. I need you to look at something."
She sighed, the tension draining; any distraction would be welcomed at this point. "What do you need me to look at?"
"The thing you were higher to," he growled a bit with those words, but just because it should've been obvious. But then he turned and headed on upstairs.
Birdy sighed again and rested her head flat on the paper littered tabletop. "Why me?" she asked no one in general.
The next few minutes were spent with her head hitting the table top in banging succession; it didn't really help any she knew that, but at this point she hardly cared anymore. After a few bangs she sighed, just sitting there bent over the table, just half wishing she could go oblivious at that moment. But then the little pin-prick at the back of her neck reminded her that she still had a job to do; her real job, not all of this meaningless paperwork. So she sucked up the last bits of her tired frustration, then got up and headed for the stairwell to the second floor.
While she had been in her restrained breakdown, Creed had been left to his own devises. He'd actually realized the night before that he was failing in his search, and his memory was fading. He just couldn't hold onto the one memory he needed when other older ones were trying to haunt him...alright, he'd actually realized this a while ago, but had been reluctant to let the psychic traipse through his head, least she discovered the real reasons he was putting himself at a distance from the world. But now, he was really running out of options. He knew he could steer Birdy in the right direction in his head, so he hoped that would be enough.
So while Creed waited on her, he started to fill the tub with soap and water; true he was feeling less tired and pain filled at this point, but he still woke up stiff when he finally did these afternoons. He refused to notice himself in the mirror as he disrobed, refused to really give it any acknowledgement. The less he thought about it, the less real it seemed after all. There wasn't anything wrong with him, nothing was out of the ordinary, and it was simply just another problem that needed to be fixed. And yet...something panged...panged? No that wasn't right, it couldn't be.
He shook off those half formed sentimental thoughts and got into the low basined tub, letting the hot waters wash over him. Now that was a good feeling; he'd nearly forgotten what it was like to be in the tub with the water in it like this. It was calming, very very relaxing. He almost wished he could just rest back and let it all over take him...
The door click brought him back to his senses though; he couldn't stifle the growl there.
"Your timing's impeccable Birdy," he grumbled, sitting up more straight within his bath. "Well, get on over here."
She nodded, shaking off her stupor. Maybe it was just because of her fatigue, but something...something just felt...off? She couldn't place it, but ever since his collapse in the study and she'd seen...she'd been looking at him differently, which made him angry whenever he caught her at it. But something told her she should being doing, that something was actually wrong with her employer...she couldn't place why or what made her feel this...instinct maybe? Naw...couldn't be, that would have to take into account some other personal factors, wouldn't it?
But she shook that off; now wasn't the time to try to figure out her weary mental ramblings. Right now, she was needed. So she came around the edge of the tub and sat at its edge right beside his head.
"So what am I looking for? Do you need me to finally take away the memory that..."
He snarled and grabbed her by the waist, nearly tossing her half way across the room; it took every ounce he had not to react in that way. Now was not the time to throw her around, now he did actually need to use her...that and as the thought crossed his mind something in him tightened into a hard knot causing him pain. She saw that flicker across his eyes, she wasn't fully sure of the reason for it, but she saw it for what it was.
Slowly he let her go, his hand cracking slightly as he growled, "You stay away from that part of my mind, you hear me Birdy."
She nodded slowly, not moving away, not looking away. "Of course Mister Creed."
He nodded, trying to control his anger, trying to fight back that knotted pain.
"What do you need me for then?"
"I need you to find someone for me, in my head," he tapped his temple to emphasize the point, though it wasn't necessary. "Someone I met in Rio."
//Rio again?// She nodded, not reflecting her thoughts. "Got the memory in mind then I take it."
He growled a little. "Of course I do. Don't need you traipsing through where you aren't welcome," alluding to her earlier inquisition and warning at the same time not to try to find that particular memory.
She just nodded, understanding. She then placed her hands over the top of his head, and the pink energy started to flow from her into him. He partially sigh-growled letting its warmth engulf him, engulf them as they went into the recesses of his mind...
"So what are we looking for Mister Creed?"
He turned around, finding her standing there in the darkness in her blue haired astral form. He smirked as her now yellowed eyes searched the area, but found nothing out of sorts.
"You'll see Birdy," was the only smug answer he gave as suddenly the darkness lit up, and the scene became that rinky dink bar in Rio.
She gasped, amazed at the level of control he was having; normally she had to guide them through his mind, even when he had specific thoughts in mind. She shook off the wonder though, and became more alert as she surveyed the scene starting to play out before her; the foreign blonde approached Sabertooth at the bar, the half veiled attempt at flirting between the two, then ultimately their exit together.
"So what do you think Birdy?" Creed asked from beside her; oddly, it wasn't that strange to watch the events from a third person perspective.
"I think you weren't nearly drunk enough," she said a bit coldly.
He couldn't help the chuckle at that. "You almost sound jealous Birdy."
She scowled at him now, crossing her arms with a rather perused look in her eyes. "Why am I here again then?"
"I need to find her," he pointed over to the blonde woman in the see through blood red dress. "It's very important that I do."
"More important than a paying job?" she raised an eye brow at him as she accused that.
He wasn't sure how to interpret that accusation, so instead he growled, narrowing his pupil less eyes at her warningly. "Just do it Birdy."
"Fine," was her sharpened reply, and then the scene faded back to darkness.
Birdy wasn't sure why she was even doing this. It wasn't important to their job at hand, and from the way he was acting it wasn't some personal vendetta either. So why had her boss sent her on a wild goose chase. More importantly, why was she even doing it? Simple answer actually, though she'd never admit to it. She was doing it because he'd asked her to. Pure and simple.
"Mister Creed, you might want to come and see this," she called into the next room.
He came when she called; normally he probably would've ignored her, but with the possibility that she'd found something made him forget his egotistical pride. "What is it Birdy?" he came around her chair and stood behind her, looking at the laptop screen she was working on.
"Hold on a moment," she hit a few keys and now what was on her screen, was projected upon the full wall sized screen across from her seat at the dinning room table. "I've got a bit of good news, and a few bits of bad news boss."
It was the "bad news" comment that made him bristle with a low growl. "Just tell me what you found woman."
She nodded and brought up a video file. "I couldn't locate your mystery woman in any local or foreign passport registries..."
//No shit Sherlock, where did you think I went looking first.//
"But I did manage to hack into some security footage."
"Hold up there," he interjected. "The bar and the motel had no cameras, that's why I chose them. I'm not an idiot."
"I'm not saying you are or were," she spat slightly, then quickly retracted it. "What I am saying is the bank you two love birds passed by on the walk to the motel did."
"Oh...well, what did you find then," he growled, slightly humbled by her statement, but made it look more like agitation.
"Something you're not going to like..." she very nearly hesitated in showing him her findings, but she'd already basically set herself up for this; she started the clip. You see here," she paused and blew up the image, enhancing it. "I found you...but not her."
He stepped away from behind her, and went towards the large screen. He studied every inch of the scene before him, trying to figure it out, trying to make sense of it. But something...something wasn't right, something inside him squirmed-something besides the something he was refusing to acknowledge existed-when he came to the realization.
"Who is that," he pointed to the other form in the picture and looked back to her, eyes hard and emotionless.
She tabbed the video file down, and brought up another file. "His name is Karl Maram. He's listed as being a psycho-kinetic. He can read a person's thoughts, tap into their desires, and project them in a metaphysical state that appears only to the person he's targeted. They call him "The Genie"."
He shook his head, not wanting to believe that, not able to believe that. "But you saw her too, when you went into my head. You saw her Birdy!"
"I saw your memory..." she sadly admitted. "I saw what you saw, or..."
"Believed I saw," he snarled, clenching his fists tightly. "Believed what I thought was happening when something quite different was."
The pain in his voice let her connect it in an instant; why he'd relieved that particular memory when he'd collapsed...some part of him must've known that the incidents were similar. And then it hit her fully; all this time, the reason why he was acting the way he was, why something seemed so wrong...because it was. Despite Sabertooth's outwardly anger and rage and arrogance, inside he was a broken man, who'd been used and abused. She knew this for a very long time, but it'd never really mattered until now, never really made any sense.
"Victor..." she started to get up.
He snapped his eyes on her, the pain there being shoved aside for anger; was she feeling pity for him again? Pity was the last thing he wanted or needed right now, least of all from her. What he wanted...no, what he needed was revenge.
"Find that bastard. I want to know where he is now if not sooner!"
"This isn't up for debate Birdy!" he was practically roaring. "Everything else can wait! You find him now, or so help me..."
The rage, the pain, the anger, and all the other emotions coursing through him were just all too evident in his eyes, in his stance, and he wasn't even trying to mask it. She wasn't sure if that frightened her more or not, the fact that he wasn't even attempting to control it. This was a real glimpse into him...
He snarled now, turning and stalking out towards the entrance to the room. "You have less than an hour Birdy!"
LA bars were the fastest and quickest around. Maybe not the wildest or funnest-that was reserved for a few Austrian bars he knew of-but fast was always good. Fast meant several opportunities in half the time. And right now, the dark haired, dark skinned man was perusing the playing field for his next notch. His amber slitted eyes read more than just the faces in the crowd, they also read their auras; seeing what their desires were, what made them tick. Ah the joys of his mutant hood.
Over the rim of his second margarita he spotted him; a slender, 5'2" High School kid who'd snuck in with his brother's ID. He was self assurant, but deep down he was just a scared little boy. He would definitely enjoy a cougar, he decided; a maternal older woman to give him that thrill of a one night stand. Perfect. He finished his drink and was about to head on over to the young man, already picturing what he'd look like to his prey. Too bad he didn't get to try it out.
"Well, well, we meet again it seems."
He turned and his blood turned to ice. "How do you...but you can't..."
Next thing he knew, The Genie was being thrown into the back alley of the bar by a very angry Sabertooth. Maram looked up, swallowing hard as the larger man stood over him with hate filled eyes, cracking his knuckles.
"Remember me punk," Creed snarled, his eyes daggers.
"I'm surprised you knew it was me," he tried to keep his cool, but his fear ran off him so strongly it clogged his sense of smell. "I take it Rio ended badly for you."
He practically roared as he grabbed up the offending man and rammed him hard into the opposing brick wall; several bone cracked as well as the red stone splintered under that force. He was seeing red, as he breathed hotly into the man's face, just inches from him; he cracked his free hand, reminding his prey of his claws and what they could do at any instant he wished.
"You don't even know who I am, do you punk," he seethed, pressing harder, nearly crushing his prey's windpipe. "Why me? Why single me out and do...do that to me!"
Despite his situation, despite the fact he probably wasn't going to make it out of this alley alive, he smirked. "All I did was grant your wish."
That just sent him over the edge. "My wish?! How the hell would you fucking me and knocking me up be any sort of wish of mine!!" He was given no answer, just that smirk; he snarled. "I'm not a faggot you bastard!"
But Maram just continued to smirk. That made Creed even angrier. Birdy had said that this "Genie" could get into your head, make you see and feel things; he hated those who invaded him, physically or mentally, and this...this worthless nothing had done both! He deserved to die...no he deserved to be slowly tortured until he wished he were dead. The psychic must've seen that, whether from being in his mind, or just the degree of hatred in his eyes; the smirk began to ebb.
"But maybe you are..." a sadistic grin crept across Sabertooth's lips, drawing them back to show his sharpened fangs. "I do think that's worth investigating."
But there was more to it than that, he could see that. Despite the fact it was pointless, the smaller man pleaded. "You really wouldn't hurt the father of your-"
Sabertooth cut him off with a final crack to his neck, snapping the spine exactly clean in half at its most vital nerve; it was too quick and painless for him, he refused to hear him say it-he hadn't even realized that a few moments ago he'd admitted it after all. He growled at himself now, and that his rage had gotten the better of him this time.
"So much for one good turn deserves another," he mumbled throwing the body down onto the ground, planning to just walk away, but then an idea hit him and he slowly turned back looking down at the crumpled body. "You know...one charred up piece of meat looks about the same as any other..."
He'd been gone for nearly a week now; she'd lost track of where he was too. Usually she wouldn't care, he knew what he was doing after all, heck she'd enjoy the piece and quiet...if there was any to be found. The Red Dragons kept bothering her daily for a progress report, or results, and excuses were starting to run few and far between. With him gone and out of the house, she was trying to use that as the excuse, or pass it off that he was doing their job instead of one for himself...but then they demanded daily reports on his whereabouts or his actions. And that was something she just couldn't give them.
"I know you already..." she was locked in another verbal battle with the Red Dragon's leader; too bad half the time she was unarmed.
The man cut her off speaking in quick angry bursts of Chinese. She growled, from exasperation, and crossed her arms, waiting for this outburst to end. But it dragged on for minutes...this was not a good sign.
"Hey, what'd you chink say about my mother now?"
All eyes went fast to the doorway into the dinning room, and as if fate itself were on her side, there was her boss. He actually looked clean and crisp for once, even in his usual outrageous costume, albeit a trench coat on over it, but enough of the trademark was there. He sauntered right in front of the large viewing screen and slung down the back bag he had over his shoulder, and it thudded with several sharp cracks and crunches.
"Miss me sweet heart?" he shot a sharp toothed grin Birdy's way; she was torn between wanting to "kiss or kill" him at that moment.
"Ah, Mister Creed, how good of you to finally join us," Chao cut into their moment before she could choose a side. "Pleasant trip I take it?"
"Oh shut up," he growled, turning his attention back to the screen now. "No pleasantries, just business. You hate my guts, and I hate yours. Just give me my money and we can both get on with our lives."
Birdy smirked; she might've rebuked this behavior before, but after the past few weeks of dealing with these pompous gangsters, she was glad someone was giving them the what's for...especially that it wasn't her.
Chao looked displeased, but didn't let it into his tone. "Very well, when you have delivered us proof of..."
Sabertooth untied and dumped the bag now; a pile of charred flesh and bone spilt out upon the table. Remnants of red clothing were barely distinguishable amidst the burnt skin and sinew. But even in the mess of it all, one specific piece of skin was what mattered; it too was burnt but very clearly there was a darker mark upon it that almost seemed spade shaped...
"Are you certain that this is your mark?"
He glared at his electronic client. "You think I'd waste my time killing the wrong person?"
"No, I do suppose not," the oriental man considered it for a few moments, what this would mean. "Thank you Mister Creed. The rest of your commission..."
"Yeah, yeah, now go away," and he cut the connection again.
Now that his need to parade was over, he collapsed into one of the dinning chairs. Birdy had been smirking at the whole display, but now that he'd let it drop, she saw what was really going on and it worried her.
"Mister Creed, are you..."
"Take care of that mess, would you," he halfly waved to the mess on the table. "I'm sick of looking at it."
She looked at the pile of bones, then looked back to him. "That's not the target is it."
He refused to look at her, holding his temple with his hand now, eyes closed.
"It's that mutant from Rio, the one that..."
"Just clean it up Birdy," he growled a little tiredly. "Just clean it up."
That was the second closest she'd ever heard him ask for her help. She silently nodded, and went over to clear off the table, pushing the remains back into the bag they'd arrived in. All the while she did watch him from the corner of her eye. He knew she was, and at this point didn't care. Birdy left with the bones in their bag then returned with a wet cloth to wash off any dust that had been left. Still he sat there in silence, still she watched him in silence. Until the silence was broken.
"Almost a year ago, you turned down a fairly easy job, with no excuse, and locked yourself away for a good week."
He didn't give her any verbal answer, but he did look up to her.
"And about 280 days later you were in Rio," she looked at him now. "Why does that matter?"
So she had seen his pages just as Wolverine had; she'd known this entire time. Somehow, he thought he would be too angry beyond words, yet...was this relief? She might not have known-known, but she knew there was something wrong...and she'd still stood with him, put up with him, and hadn't questioned. Her pity wasn't pity....it was really concern? It seemed impossible, and yet...
"It's easier to show you," he sat up with a deep breath, and then pulled another dinning chair to be parallel to his. "Sit."
Birdy came around the table and did as he'd asked...yes asked sounded like the right word. After she sat he reached forward and took her petite hands into his larger, hairy hands and guided hers to his head. She got the picture and they both closed their eyes together as the warm pink energy lulled them both into "the glow".
A Few Decades Earlier...
The pain, it was excruciating now. It'd started some hours ago, but he'd been able to hide it for a time. Now though, it even had him wanting to scream. The guards had noticed his change in behaviors, and were quickly ordering technicians with sedatives to come; it was time. He couldn't let this happen, he couldn't let them win. There was no way he was going to let them take him without a fight, even in the pain he was.
Fortune, or dumb luck, smiled though. As soon as the guards had the door to his cell unlocked the alarms went off. Momentarily dazed, he took it as an opportunity to run the pair of them through with his claws. The technician that'd arrived freaked and in trying to run away, instead ended up with an angry Sabertooth tearing cleaning into his spine for no other reason than he just wanted to.
He was panting now, more than he should have from just this quick rip through them session; then there was another sharp spark of the pain in his middle. He growled low, gripping himself with one hand and pulling himself up with the other. No...it wasn't going to end like this, not here, not by their rules. Foot steps from the other end of the hall told him reinforcements were arriving, and against his usual judgment, he ran away from them, for an exit. One of the foot soldiers must've caught the tail sight of him because now they were running after him too.
Again though, dumb luck rolled his way. At a four way cross section of halls he went one way, without stopping, without trying to figure out which was the way out; quickest way between two points was a straight line though, right? Someone had once said that...When those soldiers got to the cross section though they paused and at that second half of the complex exploded. Sabertooth took just a moment to look back at that devastation, smirking slightly at the carnage. But the smirk faded fast as another sharp pain stabbed through him, and he turned to find his escape once more.
An emergency exit lay unguarded but not unlocked. Without a second hesitation he smashed through the double plaited glass. He emerged bleeding, shards of the crystalline sand imbedded into his skin, but he was still outside. And as soon as he realized that, he caught a scent; Wolverine. His vision snapped to where most of the outer damage to the laboratory was and he saw the faint figure running. He snarled; every inch of his being wanted to chase after the man, to tear him to shreds, for forcing this pain upon him. And then he saw the soldiers running after him.
No, he would serve as the distraction. No one would notice that he was missing until later...it would give him more time. Sabertooth panted, but stiffly picked himself off, shaking a bit of the glass off. And then he was on the move again; running seemed to keep the pain away...for now. He didn't know for how long he'd been running before the worst of the pain short through him; it caused him to falter and fall to the ground in agony. His growl was more of a whimper, but he still forced himself up. Not here, not yet...they could still track him, they could still find him...he was too exposed.
He couldn't run now, but he didn't stop moving. The pains were sharper, and quicker; he held himself very tightly trying not to let them over take him again, but it was getting harder. Then again, dumb luck welcomed him with open arms; there in the middle of the wood was a little log house. It'd clearly been abandoned for quite some time, so it might have been dirty, but it was safe. So he made his way there, barely making it into the house.
It was very sparse and dusty in there, but at the moment none of that mattered. He just wanted the nightmare to end. He stumbled from the main room into the closest door he could, the bathroom. A large old fashioned "clawed foot" tub took up most of the room, so he rolled into that as another sharp piercing pain shot through him. This time he couldn't stifle the yowl it drove from his lips, the inhuman sound that it was. The sickly sweet scent of blood suddenly found itself to his senses and when he looked down he saw the cause of it; the bottom of the smock the technicians had their "test subjects" wear was soaking along the bottom hem, more so in the back. He was bleeding out.
His snarl at that annoyance turned into another growling whimper as the pain was accompanied by pressure down below; more blood seeped out. He panted heavily, gripping the edges of the tub as the pain became again; this time he tried to fight against the pressure it added, to push against it. This lasted for who knows how long; the pains were sharper, the pressured refused to move, and more blood came from him, making him more tired than all this useless work was.
But what choice did he have; at this point he wasn't in control...they were. Even though they weren't there, they were still pulling the strings. They'd put him into this situation and there was no way he could get out of it except to go through it; whether it killed him or not.
The last attack was one of the worst and the longest; it felt as if something was tearing its way out of him. Once it past he collapsed partially into the tub, finally releasing his death grip from its edges, leaving deep dents into the metal. His breathing slowly began to calm down, and during that he didn't even realize that the pains had stopped. Once he had finally regained his mindset he took notice of it, and slowly pulled himself stiffly out of the tub.
The bottom of it was lined with his blood, streaks following the tail he used to pull himself up. But at the one end there was a small little form, pale and also covered in the sticky red liquid. It wasn't moving, it wasn't alive. This was the best outcome he could've happened; what a way to screw those bastards over for using him like that, by handing them the rotted fruits of their labor...labor...that had come out of him, hadn't it...
He shook his head; he couldn't think that way, he wouldn't. This wasn't him, this was their fault too. They made him do this, they made him feel this. And yet...that little thing there...He shook his head again and turned away not looking back as he left. It was just another piece of proof that he really wasn't worth any good to anyone...after all, what sort of worthy person would just leave their son cold and alone in a bath tub in the middle of nowhere.
As they slipped out of the trance, there were tears. Birdy had tears rolling down her cheeks, never having ever believed that this man, this cold blooded murder, could ever have had something like that happen to them; the physical and emotional pain...she may have only been an observer but they still felt so real. She looked up to him, through her water logged blue orbs and saw they very faint tears stains on his cheek as well; so the great Sabertooth had even shed a tear for that particular memory. That just made her want to embrace him, comfort him, take away the pain, even more.
But when he finally let go of her hands, she knew that that would never happen. He may have shed the tears, but it had changed nothing. No...that wasn't entirely true, something had changed; there was a level of understanding, a level of...something close to trust. He'd let her in on the secret, of his own free will, and she'd accepted it, as well as everything else about him, she was still there.
"You saw what they did back then," his voice cracked slightly, but the growl obscured it. "What they made happen, and what it caused."
She nodded, understanding, despite the fact that he never said it specifically.
"It could happen again every 280 days. Normally I'd stay locked up to avoid it, but last time I forgot and..."
"And it happened," she finished for him. "In Rio."
Creed nodded. "Unintentionally," this growl had a note of warning to it.
"I know. But you don't look..."
He closed his eyes, recalling that other memory. "They put it to my back so I wouldn't. It was done on purpose that way."
She nodded, it made sense. There was silence for a little between them. Birdy was thinking, thinking about all of this. He just waited on her, waiting for her reaction. Finally she looked back up to, a finalization in her clear blue eyes; one that a small part of him was hoping would be in his favor,
"So what do we do now then boss?"
He sighed, in relief, in uncertainty, and in everything in between. "We'll see."
The following days, weeks actually, went by not that differently than if none of this had ever happened. Birdy went about her day normally, doing the cooking and cataloguing. She made possible clients schedule a meeting farther ahead than normal, but if any of them had a problem with that, they wouldnt have come to them after all. When she wasnt working on that though, she was searching through old news papers on file, though not when he was around, and she never let on that she was.
Not that he wouldve noticed. He was keeping more to himself upstairs. It didnt matter that she knew now, he was still exposed, and even if it was to the one person he partially trusted. He kept it to himself, and did his math over sheets and sheets of paper. There wasnt much longer until
There came a knock at the door. He looked up from his latest string of writings as she came in.
What do you want Birdy, he growled, covering up the sheet in his lap as she came over.
In the tub again I see, she observed, crouching down at its edge. Whatre you working on?
His only offered answer was a growl.
Fine, I just thought youd like to see this, she offered him a few print outs.
Creed took them, and flipped through them quickly, What is all of this supposed
then went back to really look after seeing the last page.
The first page was a Xerox of an old news article from a Canadian paper; it talked about how there was an explosion in the middle of the night at the local research facility. He knew what that was about, but the smaller article underneath
in smaller print with no accompanying photo was a story about how a local woman had rescued an abandoned child in the same woods. It was asking if anyone in town had any information about the child.
The next page was a few years younger than the first, another article about the local little league, but that local womans name was there in part; apparently one of those boys belonged to her. The third page was still younger than the other two; it was about the same kid, in high school, something about a drunk driving accident and how he was the only survivor
The fourth was a wedding announcement for the kid, a few years old; he looked to have gotten himself a pretty decent girl.
But the last page was a full write up dosie of the kid. His name was Vincent Kelvner, he was in his 30s, and a widower as of last spring. His family history listed only his adopted mother; biological parents were unknown.
He was alive, she whispered. I started thinking, and I realized that there was a small chance that
Why show me this, he growled now, his anger catching up to his thoughts now, the numbness leaving. What made you think that giving me proof that that thing had survived was any sot of a good idea
That thing was your son and I thought-
She didnt even get a chance to finish her thought. Sabertooth hand grabbed her wrist and pulled her down into the basin with him, and twisted enough to pin her down to the bottom, his claws at her throat now, just inches from choking the life from her. The whole reaction had startled her and shed not had any time to even attempt to counter it; her life was now literally in his hands and there was nothing she could do about it.
Dont say that, he hissed, though it pained him; the pain was in his eyes, the emotional pain that is. Dont ever call it that
call him that
He let go of her windpipe, and fell a little bit onto her, seeing as the floor of the basin wasnt wide enough for them both to be on it side by side. His weight crushed her a little bit, but she ignored it, more concerned with what he was doing now; he tried to muffle it, but he couldnt fully cover up the dry sobs.
she said softly, trying to reach over to touch his shoulder.
He pulled away a bit the first time, but then just shook his head, still refusing to look at her. Why tell me about him?
Birdy sighed; shed been so sure this was the right thing to do a few minutes ago. He survived, he had a good life.
So you thought rubbing that in my face was a good idea? he snarled to cover the cracking in his voice.
I thought maybe that was the best place for this one.
He looked at her now, trying to figure out what she was talking about. Birdy just sighed again.
We both know you wont be keeping this child, it was the most obvious statement in the world; but that it was said out loud
it felt sort of wrong. So who better would there be for it to go to.
Creed looked away; that made sense. What if its a dud too?
He wasnt a dud, she reminded. But if that happens, then we wont need to worry, now will we.
There was silence for a few moments between them. Whether it was filled with thinking, or considering, or just blankness
then he broke it.
Im not going to do it, he managed to get up without crushing her and climbed out of the inset tub.
That actually surprised her; she was sure hed jump at the idea on pawning this baby off so easily. She got up, trying to go after him, to reason with him.
But Mister Creed
Can it Birdy, he growled a little looking back to her from the doorway. You can take it to him, I aint. End of story.
She just stopped, watching him go down the hall now; that worked the way shed hoped, but something just felt wrong about it
The next few days were the same
yet there seemed to be a bit of a strain she thought. She spent the days tracking down the whereabouts of Vincent; the more she looked, the more she learned and was surprised at how similar the two men were. Admittedly, they were really nothing alike what with Creed being a blood thirsty killer most of the time, and Vincent seemed like a normal golden boy. But their looks, theirs tastes in small things
she could see how he was his son. And when she came to that realization, it saddened her a little.
Here was a great kid, one whod had a great life, was a great guy, and hed never know where he came from. Then she thought about it, and realized it was probably better it happened this way
he only turned out decent because he was abandoned and found by someone good. Hopefully the same would happen for the second time
then that thought saddened her too; here was a second chance, and it was just being passed up.
Of course, then she had to remind herself who the mother was here; this was the best out come for all involved. Still, a small part of her did wish
A roar came through the house early in the morning hours. Birdy was still up, searching on the data bases, but the moment she heard that, she knew. She quickly ran up the stairs, and flew into the bedroom without announcing herself.
But the room was empty. She froze for a moment, but then noticed the fluttering of the curtains. She stepped over and looked onto the balcony; there he was.
That wake you, he said simply, looking out onto the scenery in the dark.
Im sorry, I heard and I thought
Then she noticed the little bit of blood shed just slightly stepped into. She looked up quickly to him, afraid again.
I think I know Birdy. He growled, gripping the railing of the balcony as another pain shot through him. Been going on a few hours now.
Then we need to get you to a medical environment, so I
So you can what, he turned enough to look back to her now.
I dont know, its not like youre running through the woods this time. There are other ways for you to
He actually chuckled at that, which tapered off into another small growl. Birdy, I dont trust you with a knife even if my life depended on it.
she couldnt come up with any sort of rude come back. It could, you know, it fell flatly with her concern.
Im touched Birdy, he managed some sarcasm despite the pain tearing through him at the moment. But I think I can handle it on my own again.
I dont doubt that, its just
well, you dont have to.
Creed nodded and looked back out to the scenery. I know Birdy. Just
hang around, and dont go anywhere you hear.
She nodded. I wouldnt have it any other way Mister Creed.
It took hours. Long, agonizingly painful, and loud, hours until it was over. And she stayed with him the entire time, which he was grateful for-though he'd never admit it; without her, he might not've made it. And when it ended, there was still screaming, but it wasn't from them; there was no mistaking that the baby was alive this time. Birdy had gone off with it quickly, following his order too, and then he passed out so he hadn't seen it yet. Of course, he didn't want to either. If he'd had his way, she'd have left that night with the infant to go leave it on it's brother's doorstep, but she was having none of it. So the two were given a week to heal and adapt, before it'd happen.
And tonight marked the eve. Creed had been keeping to himself as usual, staying clear of his assistant and her little pet project. But tonight...something just told him he needed to come out and see them. He quietly crept down the stairs, listening for their sounds, looking for their scents; he found them sitting in the living room. He stood in the doorway, watching her from behind; there seemed something so different about Birdy here, like this...it wasn't bad though it seemed....right.
She was sitting, feeding the little baby in her arms. She smiled down at the little innocent thing wrapped in a towel like she was; they hadn't gone out and gotten any real baby stuff after all. She'd been lucky enough to go off one afternoon to get the bare essentials like formula, and a pair of bottles, and diapers, all of which were almost gone. That was good though; meant there'd be no sign left of the baby's presence once it was gone.
And that thought made Birdy sigh. She put the bottle down and rested the baby oh her shoulder, just wanting to hold it close.
"I'm sorry sweetie," she said softly to it, rubbing its back gently, tenderly. "You know if I could, I'd keep you in a heart beat, you're such a sweet little girl. It's just..." she sighed again and lowered the child, holding her carefully and lightly brushing her little wispy blonde hair, looking into those big amber eyes. "You'll be happier with your new family. This isn't any place for a sweat heart like you, you know."
The baby just blinked at her curiously. Birdy couldn't help but smile at her.
"And if I could I'd just take you away from here and keep you all to myself. Live normally for once, with the picket fence and the dog and you."
Something in him knotted up at those words, but he stayed silent; was she really considering leaving him? Hell, she could leave at anytime; he'd fired her before and she hadn't left though...but that was because she'd had nothing to go to...
"But I can't."
Those words brought him out of it, and actually surprised him.
"I belong here, with your daddy," that word made him want to growl, but he bit his tongue to listen to the rest of what she was saying. "He'd never admit it, but he does get lonely, and some part of him does sort of wants things to be normal like I do, but for us...this is normal. And as much as we'd want to keep you, we can't. We love you so much, and that's why you'll be better off with your brother. I have a feeling he'll be a good daddy for you, just as good as your real one."
Again, the little girl just looked up at her, not really understanding. But it didn't matter to Birdy; she was really the one that needed the convincing after all. After a few minutes the baby yawned and started to get sleepy eyed. She got up with her, picking up the earlier discarded bottle. As she turned though she was surprised to see her employer standing there.
"How long have you been standing there."
"Just got here," he lied. "What're you doing here, shouldn't you be taking the brat to the air port by now."
She scowled at the gruffness of his chosen words. "No, I am not. We're not getting on a plane," she moved past him to go towards the kitchen.
"Oh you're not are you," he followed her. "What, you're going to air mail it then."
Birdy growled now and shoved the bottle into the sink. "It takes a passport to get on a plane, and she doesn't have one. So we're going by car."
He suppressed the chuckle. "You're driving, with a kid in the backseat."
"Yeah, you got a problem with that?"
"Actually, I do. So I'm coming with."
Her jaw almost dropped there. Hadn't he said that he didn't want to have anything to do with the baby or his son.
"So you better have the car packed and know where we're going tomorrow, because I might just leave without you, you hear."
She only nodded, still a bit surprised by the sudden change of plan. Creed turned and headed out now; it'd been a while since he was outside, and out there, no one would be able to find and ask him what the hell he was thinking.
It was a nice enough little place, off the beaten path. Vincent Kelvner had spent his whole life here, always lived in the small town atmosphere where everyone knew everyone else. So expect the surprise when one day there seemed to be this strange woman following him around town. She'd picked up his trail where he worked at the general store, and she'd followed him through out his errands in the afternoon. It was actually very weird, and everyone noticed. But after he'd left the post office, she was gone.
It was hours later now, and the darkness of evening had set in. Across the street Birdy was there, holding the baby girl wrapped up tightly. Soon Creed came to her side, dressed in a dark trench coat instead of his usual costume.
"He's home alone," he told her.
She nodded and started to cross the rood. But he grabbed her arm and held her back.
"What're you..." she looked to him questioningly.
"I'll do it."
That surprised her; since the day she was born, he'd never touched his daughter, let alone even really looked at her. The whole trip here, she'd handled her and taken care of her.
"Well?" he demanded, waiting for her to hand the child over.
"You can't drop and ditch quick enough," he explained. "We want to leave her there for him and not be seen, right."
She nodded, and as much as it hurt her, she handed her over; but inside, there a little brightness...that was the first time he'd referred to both his kids with a gender. He took the sleeping little girl into his arms carefully and closely.
"Go back to the car and wait for me."
She nodded. With one last light touch of the baby's head, Birdy headed back. He waited until he was sure she was gone before he moved; he took a breath and held the bundle close then crossed the street quickly, avoiding the street lamp's light. The porch on the house was fairly new, so at least it didn't make any noise as he stepped onto it. He ducked under the light shown out through the front windows, and sat crouched in front of the door for a few moments.
He looked down at the little sleeping form he held close. She really was beautiful...strange to think that something this small and delicate came from him. For a moment, Birdy's words came back to him; they could do it...maybe not the whole drop everything and be "normal" thing...No, it had to be an all or nothing. He had enemies who'd love to use something like this against him, not to mention the fact that he wasn't exactly the world's best person to raise a kid, let alone let round one. No, this was right. It was better for all involved that it ended this way.
He lightly brushed her wispy blonde hair, saying the silent good bye, and then put the bundle down. He stood up partially then banged on the door before he streaked back across the street. Once across he stood behind the non-lit side of the street lamp, watching the next events unfold.
The front door opened and the blonde man inside looked out; his icy blue eyes searching the darkness for anything. Then he heard a small little whimper and looked down and found the small little bundle at his feet.
"Well hey there," he reached down and picked it up. "What're you doing out here so late and alone?"
She whimpered a little so he held her closer. He took one last look as he stepped back, readying to close the door; it was a good thing he did or he might've missed the face in the light. It was just a moment, but he knew it meant something important. He nodded to it and closed the door, closing them off from the darkness.
Creed made it back to the car without realizing he'd been seen. Birdy was ready and waiting, and was a bit startled when he suddenly opened the back seat and climbed in. She turned around in the driver's seat enough to look at him.
"He has her, not our problem anymore," he stretched out across the seat.
"Are you ok?"
He growled a little, and turned away from her gaze now. "Just drive. I'd like to get home quickly so we can get back to business."
She just shook her head and turned back forward to start the car; perhaps it was better this way, like nothing had changed. But it had...not much, but somewhere deep, in a very small place, something had changed in him.
//Maybe I'll have Birdy get rid of these memories now. Might fix that little problem...yeah I think I will...//