What The Cat Dragged In Ch. 01bypsyche_b_mused©
Okay, so here goes a bit of wish fulfillment! It'll be delightfully dark in places, hopefully funny in others and will – I promise – contain a plot. As always, I love to know what people think.
I don't own any of the X-Men characters who appear and make no money from this story. It's based on the Origins characterization of Victor Creed as portrayed by Liev Schreiber.
This will be a multi-chapter story!
1. Cold Comfort
Kelly had been bound with her hands behind her back in the tiny, frigid lean-to for two days. At least, she thought she had. She had been able to see daylight grow and recede into darkness twice through the loose boards. The fact that she had been unconscious when she was put into the small space made her question her judgment. No matter the time frame, it had been had been enough for her body to move through all the varied territories of ache and enter into a state of painful numbness. The hunger she had been feeling so sharply at one point had faded to just another dull ache in the collection.
She'd worked at the ropes in every way she knew how, but her numb hands were ineffectual. From time to time, she forced herself to get up so that her body wouldn't go completely numb. The tiny space and the fact that her ankles were connected by another length of rough rope meant she couldn't go far, but it kept the blood flowing. Maybe it even kept frostbite from setting in.
Snow insinuated itself in through the spaces between the boards, ensuring that she was always wet as well cold. The tiny drifts probably kept her from getting completely dehydrated though. Hellish as the tiny, cold place was though, she didn't for one minute regret trying to run. If she got the chance, she would try it again.
The cabin was his sanctuary. A place to go where he could hide away from the rest of the world. Looking at him, he doubted anyone would think that someone reputed to be more beast than man would have any desire for such a place. That was an image that he'd taken care to cultivate. Letting them think he was simply beastly brawn and nothing else gave him an advantage.
Victor Creed liked to have the advantage almost as much as he enjoyed his work and the perks that went along with it. Since he went private a few years back, he'd noticed that those perks had increased significantly. He'd also been able to capture a few of the scattered threads of his humanity, some by accident, some on purpose. Not all of it. Hell, he didn't want all of it. He'd decided that having a little patch of it here and there might not be such a bad thing though.
He looked out the large window at the heavy snow that bent the tree limbs. It was only mid-October, early for that much snow. It would make tracking even easier though. He headed out into the ankle-deep snow, intent on bringing back something fresh for dinner.
Kelly was certain that she couldn't take any more. Two days ago, he'd come and gotten her out of the shed. With a wicked little smile on his face, he'd beaten her, just – he said - to remind her who was boss. It had become their morning ritual. Every time he tried to rape her but couldn't get hard, he beat her again, as if the failings of his aging body were her fault. She began to wonder if the rape would have been more tolerable than the beatings she got instead.
By the morning of the third day, she was bleeding from several different places on her head. The bruises that were developing on her body started to blend together, changing the tone of large swaths of her skin from ivory and alabaster to deep purple. When she lay on the floor, trembling with fear and pain and anger, he disappeared. For a minute, she thought he had gotten tired and quit for the moment. Kelly was certain that it was only his lack of stamina that had saved her from internal injuries thus far.
"Your Daddy said you could cook." He dropped two bloody rabbits in front of her. A shotgun pointed at her head. "Get to it."
Kelly's stomach turned. Had there been anything in it, she would have vomited. He hauled her up to her feet.
"I-I don't know how to-"
He didn't give her a chance to finish. His fist slammed into her face again. She was certain that one of these times the bones would break from the sheer repetitive abuse.
"Well you better fuckin' learn." He seemed almost gleeful as he watched her struggle to clean the rabbits at gunpoint. Each time she did something wrong, a hard fist emphasized the point somewhere on her body.
Once the rabbits were reduced to meat, Kelly was on somewhat familiar territory. Of course he wouldn't compliment her, but she knew she had done something right because he finished nearly all of the meat and then promptly fell asleep with the shotgun next to him. She looked at the rope that still connected her feet. The knife she'd used had already been secured. All she was wearing was a filthy pink tank top and panties. She knew she wasn't likely to get far. He'd told her that if she tried to escape again he would break one of her ankles. Still, it was a chance. She took the last mouthful of meat and slipped out the door as quietly as she could. As soon as her bare feet hit the snow, she ran as fast as her connected legs would allow.
It was only minutes until she heard him behind her. What he was saying was lost in the sound of the cold wind rushing past her ears. Maybe he was threatening to kill her. Maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing.
Maybe she was dying already, and the giant of a man standing in the trees in front of her was just a hallucination.
"Help me!" The desperate plea was the last thing she managed to get out before she tripped. She fell hard and hit her head against a rock. The world started to fade into a deep gray haze. Just before it was completely gone, Kelly hoped the world stayed gone.
Creed didn't know what the fuck was going on but he was damn sure going to find out. He'd been at the cabin for two days, and in those two days he'd come across a strange male scent in his woods twice. The first time he'd been tracking a deer and decided that dinner was more important. This time, he'd come dressed for a day in the cold, ready to see who was jackass stupid enough to trespass on his land. The screaming frail was a surprise, she was saturated in enough terror that it almost covered the scent of the old bastard chasing her. He recognized the guy's scent as what he'd been smelling.
He barely had a chance to process the fact that, whoever the girl was, she had asked him for help before she fell and cracked her head.
"Get the fuck off my land!" The old guy raised a gun. Creed didn't flinch.
He growled. "You wanna try that again?" He watched the old man tremble a little. Someone had treated the trespasser a hell of a black eye and split his lip already.
"You heard me!" He was trying to maintain his anger, but was nowhere near as confident as he had only seconds before.
Creed started to advance, stepping over the unconscious female as he went.
"I'll shoot!" The old man warned.
"Go ahead." Creed smiled, showing his pointed fangs. They had precisely the effect he was hoping for. The old man's eyes widened. He could smell the thick fear coming off of him in waves.
"Wh-what the fuck are you?"
"The last thing you'll ever see."
The old man fired, but the shot only clipped his arm. Creed tore out the man's throat with one clawed hand, then he watched the man sink to his knees and slump over as his left drained away. He tossed the lump of flesh next to the body and used the snow to clean most of the blood off of his hand. It was only when he was ready to head back that he thought of the girl. She was still unconscious. From what he could see, the old guy or someone else had beaten the hell out of her. She'd die pretty quick if he left her out there, and that's just what he was tempted to do.
He moved closer, assessing if she was going to die anyway. Her scent told him that she had shared the old guy's space, but he hadn't fucked her. From what his nose told him, no one had. He grinned. This had the potential to be fun, for him anyway. The cold had stopped most of the bleeding from her head wound. He picked her up and draped her over his shoulder. She groaned but didn't stir.
He covered ground quickly on the way back. Once inside, he grabbed a blanket off the back of the sofa and tossed it on the floor in front of the fire, then he laid her on it. The blood he could smell now was old, but he didn't want to have to clean it up if she started bleeding again. The unbruised skin he could see was bluish from the cold. He deftly sliced through the ropes tied to her ankles. The skin underneath the ropes was rubbed raw. He saw similar marks around her wrists. She whimpered and turned toward the heat of the fire, but she still didn't fully wake up.
He stood and looked down at her with cold curiosity. One eye was bruised and probably swollen shut, the other had a deep dark circle etched under it. She was small-boned, but way too thin. She was tiny too, looked like she hadn't even made it halfway through her teens yet. Fuck, that was all he needed, some teenage frail hiding out in his sanctuary. For all he knew, he had just killed her father. He figured her could put her back out in the snow and let nature take care of it, he could kill her outright, or he could play with her for awhile and then kill her. She might not even wake up, though she didn't smell far enough gone for that. He flipped the free edge of the blanket over her and tossed another log on the fire.
It was getting late and he'd been out all morning chasing after the old guy. He took out some of the venison he'd had for dinner the night before and ate it cold.
Kelly woke up when she smelled cooking meat. She was warm, and whatever she was laying on didn't have the same sour stink she'd become accustomed to over the last few days. She could hear someone moving around, someone heavy from the sound of the footsteps. Where the hell was she now? Dead would have been easier. At least then she wouldn't have to worry anymore.
"You hungry, frail?" The voice was deep, and rough around the edges. It sent a shiver down Kelly's spine. She did her best to stay still, to pretend that she was still sleeping. "I know you're awake. Your breathing changed."
He'd been watching her breathe? Kelly knew she couldn't just pretend to be asleep and hope he would fall for it. She pushed herself up, slowly. Everything seemed to hurt ten times more than it had before. She tried her best not to whimper as she sat up, and she wasn't entirely successful. Scanning the room quickly, she saw the large man from the woods resting again the breakfast counter that separated the kitchen from the living room. His arms were crossed over his broad chest.
"Who-" Her voice cracked. "Who are you?"
"Since you're layin' in my house it seems like I should be the one askin' the questions." He walked toward her slowly, stalking almost like an animal would. Kelly moved backward until her back came to rest against a leather chair. He stood, looking down at her, his arms still crossed. "I asked if you were hungry."
Simply not answering was clearly not an option. She had no way of knowing if it was a trick or not either. Kelly couldn't trust her voice, so she simply nodded.
"Come on then." He didn't move. Kelly was certain she had made a mistake by saying yes. Still, it wasn't like she had many options. She kept her eyes on him, held the blanket around herself and used the chair to get up. Her body protested every movement. She could see that it was dark outside too. She wondered how long she'd been laying there. Once she was standing he turned his back and walked out into the kitchen, expecting her to follow.
The first thing Kelly noticed was that she was no longer hobbled by the rope. With each step, some of the kinks started to work themselves out of her muscles. She also noticed that wherever she was, it was a hell of a lot nicer than the shack she'd been in before.
"Sit." He went over to the stove.
Kelly moved toward the chair facing the window.
"Not there," he said. Kelly froze, then took the other chair. As soon as she sat down he set a plate of roasted meat and a bottle of beer in front of her and sat down with his own plate. Kelly just stared at the meat, and he stared at her.
"The fuck you waitin' for? An engraved invitation?"
"Sorry." She said softly. She couldn't force herself to look up at him. Kelly tried to tell herself to eat slowly, but days with next to nothing to eat took their toll on her manners.
The smell of the fear rolling off of her was almost enough to cancel out the smell of the venison. Not the most pleasant thing at dinner, but the fact she was afraid proved she wasn't a fucking idiot. She was damn near shaking with the effort of trying to eat slowly. After the first bite her eyes glazed over and she dropped the pretense of politeness. He'd seen that look before, usually the person wearing it had suffered long-term malnutrition. Looking at her in better light, he could see that was probably true of her too. Whatever she'd been through, it took a hell of a long time to bring her to this state.
The bruises were all relatively fresh. The left side of her face was distorted by them. Most of the skin he'd seen was covered in bruises or scrapes. Her hair was matted with blood in places. He'd seen worse. He'd done worse. The bruises and scrapes he could see on her knuckles told him she'd fought back, at least for awhile.
He let her finish eating before he said anything else.
"Gonna tell me your name, or do I have to guess?"
"Kelly." She said softly. Her eyes were wide, and the color of blue-green sea glass. She looked even younger than she had when she had been laying on the floor.
He sneered. "No last name?"
She hesitated, hiding something. "No."
He'd let her keep her secrets, for now. "How long you been living on my land?"
"What day is it?" She asked.
"Answer me first."
She started to tremble a little. "I can't unless I know what day it is."
"Thursday, October seventeenth."
She closed her eyes, thinking. "Eight days." She sounded surprised by her answer.
"You related to the old guy chasing after you?"
"No!" she answered quickly, a fresh wave of terror rolled off of her. She looked up at him, her eyes imploring. "Please don't make me go back there!" That was a tone he was familiar with. Usually it was directed at someone else, begging to be protected from him. To hear it in this context was unique.
"Can't. He's dead." He could smell the relief that washed through her, but the questions were written all over her face.
"So where are your parents?" He made sure his tone left no room for her to do anything but answer the question he'd just posed.
"Why?" More fear, this time mixed with suspicion and uncertainty.
"Cause you don't look old enough to be out past dark, that's why."
"So you give me beer?" She looked surprised she'd said it out loud.
He gave a short laugh. "It was that or Jack Daniels. Figured you could start with the beer and work your way up."
Her lips twitched in an attempt to smile. The wince told him the expression pained the large split on her lip. "It's the seventeenth of October?"
"I turned eighteen two days ago." She blinked the tears back, but he caught a whiff of them anyway. "So I guess my parents aren't really an issue anymore."
That was an interesting development. Not as young as he'd thought, that added to his theory of prolonged malnutrition. He picked up his beer and she gasped. He was about to make a smartass remark about a guy having a drink in his own house when he realized she was staring at his claws. They were retracted at the moment, but they were still wicked-looking instruments. He grinned, letting her see the fangs too. "Didn't notice before, huh?"
She just shook her head, her eyes still wide.
He took a long drink of the beer and set it down again. "There's a bathroom down the hall, second on the right. Get yourself cleaned up."
"What's you're name?" she asked.
Before she went into the bathroom he tossed one his shirts at her. Kelly wasted no time getting into the shower. It was the first time she'd been allowed to bathe in more than a week, and whoever this Victor Creed was he had at least fed her and let her shower. That didn't mean she was safe. He might have intentions every bit as bad as Roland Dawes'd had. If he decided to beat her, she'd never survive. Maybe that wasn't such a bad thing. At least she wouldn't die by inches, she was certain she didn't have the courage for that.
Kelly looked down at the bloody water that swirled around her feet in the enormous tub. It made her a little sick to know that the blood she was seeing was her own. She didn't want to risk losing the first actual meal she'd had in a week. She looked at the white tiled wall, letting her fingers work shampoo through her matted hair. It felt like it took ages before all the dried clots of were gone. Once they were, she ventured a glance down between her feet again. The water was soapy but otherwise clear, and Kelly breathed a sigh of relief. She finished the rest of her shower quickly, then cleaned the tub before pulling his shirt on. It was sleeveless and came to just above her knees.
When she glanced at herself in the mirror, she hardly recognized the person she saw looking back at her. The bruising and swelling had distorted her face. The cuts and scrapes were bright red at the edges, probably because of the hot water, but it still made everything look worse. She'd never thought of herself as beautiful, but she was accustomed to herself. If she hadn't been so tired, she would have cried.
Because she didn't know what else to do, she walked back out into the living room with the blanket wrapped around herself. Her knees trembled a little when she saw him sitting in the leather chair by the fire.
"Thank you," she said softly. "For-"
He didn't look at her. "C'mere."
Kelly had to force herself to move. She stopped just outside his reach.
"Sit." He pointed at the spot between his feet. "Put your back to me."
Her eyes widened with fear. He read the expression and the worry behind it.
"D'you think I'd've gone through the trouble of bringin' you back here and feedin' ya if I was gonna kill ya right after?" He glared at her.
Kelly shifted from one foot to the other. What he said made sense, maybe too much sense, but she wasn't awake enough to work it all out now. "I guess not."
He snorted. "Sit."
Kelly sat carefully on the floor at his feet, hugging her knees. She jumped when he started moving her hair carefully. "What-?"
"I'm trying to see how bad your head wounds are. Be fuckin' embarrassing if you died of natural causes, now hold still." There was a growl in his voice. She didn't want to think about what he meant.
"Sorry." Kelly trembled a little when he moved the damp strands of her hair, but she stayed still. In the beginning she braced herself, expecting that the careful touches would shift at any moment to a deadly attack. By the time his fingers had moved on to the second wound Kelly started to relax. It was the first time anyone had touched her gently in days.
"Who was he?" he asked.
Kelly couldn't bring herself to say that the intention was for her captor to be her husband. "Roland Dawes."
"Well that's real informative. What the fuck were you doing with him?" In spite of the harsh words, his fingers were still surprisingly careful.
"It was my stepfather's idea." That night seemed like it was a hundred years ago now. Her mother hadn't even known what was going to happen, probably because she would have done her best to fight it. She wouldn't have won, but Kelly might have had time to run. "Roland is ...was a friend of his, and he wanted me out of the house."