‹ Prequel: Breathe


Anger and Agony are Better Than Misery

The warmth of the shower water felt good against her cool skin even though she still felt groggy. Despite the haziness of the steam from the hot water clouding the vision in her Mind’s Eye, Zofia could still see Logan, her uncle, Isaac, and Max. And she also heard the conversation about Max’s dangerous appearance. Max wasn’t a beast and he wasn’t dangerous. She knew that. Logan knew that, and Isaac knew that. She knew who her uncle was really talking about. He was talking about Logan.

As she stood there, washing up, Zofia saw one of the figures of the two men going darker, becoming grainy, much like when Logan was in the bestial state of mind. She quickly turned the knob for the hot water to turn off, but before she could jump out, she heard Logan’s voice speaking to Isaac.

“You want some apple juice?” Logan asked, stepping out of their bedroom. Zofia quietly thanked whatever God exists for Logan stepping out in time for Isaac to stop whatever he was going to do.

Isaac quickly closed the pocket knife, concealing it in his hand as Logan came out with some of Zofia’s clothes. A pair of blue jeans, a light blue camisole, and a light gray sweater, and of course the obvious undergarments.

“You drink apple juice?” Isaac asked disbelievingly, staring at Logan in slight surprise.

Logan just laughed at this, in turn, it made Zofia giggle quietly from the bathroom. She had finally gotten out of the shower and had wrapped herself in a towel. All she was doing now was sitting here on the toilet, waiting for Logan.

“No, Zofia’s the one who drinks it. It’s for when she gets morning sickness.” Logan replied. He chuckled at this before going over to the fridge in the small kitchen and eating nook.

Isaac watched in bewilderment as Logan held onto Zofia’s clothes without dropping them with one hand and opened the door to the fridge, reaching inside for a bottle of his favorite Labatt Blue beer.

He then offered it to him.

“I’m sure you don’t want no apple juice, so you’d best take this instead.”

Zofia could easily imagine her uncle glaring at Wolverine in disdain. He’d normally take the beer from anyone else but one from a Mutant would be tainted in his eyes.

“No, thank you, I am not thirsty.” Her uncle replied coolly.

“Suit yourself.” Logan shrugged and with some finesse, he popped the cap off with a metal claw and took a swig of the beer before making his way over to the bathroom door. He knocked on the door, calling out to her. “I’m coming in, Snowflake.”

Zofia shuddered at the cooler air seeping in from the outside the bathroom as Logan stepped in. Max quickly jumped off the loveseat and ran after Logan and into the bathroom before the door could shut.

“Max?” Surprise was in Logan’s voice at seeing the white mutt slip in as he was shutting the door. The mutant shook his head. Of course, the mutt would come in. he must’ve been worried about Zofia. Logan chuckled at the thought as he placed Zofia’s clothes on the counter. He then glanced at her shivering. “You alright, Snowflake?”

Zofia nodded, hugging herself even more. “I just keep forgetting how cold it gets after a shower.”

Logan chuckled again. He leaned down and pecked her on the lips, one hand stroking the side of her face lovingly.

“You’ll warm up, I promise.”

A smile graced Zofia’s lips, but before she can reply, a knock came at the bathroom door.

“Do you and the dog really need to be in there with Zofia?” Came Isaac’s voice. Logan growled at this, glaring at the door. “Just what are you up to in there?”

“It’s none of your business, bub!” Logan yelled. He felt Zofia’s hand on his arm. That one touch caught his attention. Just staring into her eyes made him feel calmer.

“Tell him I’ll be out in a minute.” She said softly.

“Alright, but hurry before I make him into a shish kebab.” And with that said, Logan gave her one more kiss before walking out of the bathroom.

Isaac was staring at a picture that sat on the mantle over the fireplace. It was clear from the picture that Zofia had convinced Logan to take a picture with her and Max. For Logan looked a bit disgruntled but there was a small smile on his face as he sat there on the arm of the loveseat, one arm around Zofia and Max laying beside her. Zofia looked extremely happy, for, in another photo set in the frame’s second slot, Zofia had kissed Logan’s cheek. But one thing the man noticed was a pair of rings that Zofia and Logan wore in the picture.

“You got married?” Isaac asked in surprise.

Logan blinked, feeling confused by the other man’s words for a second. When his blue gaze fell on the pictures Isaac was staring at, he released the doorknob and smirked, coming up beside his lover’s uncle.

“No, not married. Just engaged. I had asked Zofia to marry me that day and she wanted to take a commemorative picture.” Logan chuckled at the memory, one of his hands going back into his pocket as he took another drink of his beer.

“And when are you planning on getting married?”

Logan finally looked at his future uncle-in-law in surprise, there was a strange sadness in his voice. For a moment, Logan thought Isaac or Zofia were fucking with him but Zofia wouldn’t ever pull this kind of stunt. And she hadn’t talked with her uncle yet today. He turned his gaze back to the picture on the mantle, taking a second to collect his thoughts before answering.

“We were going to get married not long after I proposed to her, but with an unexpected pregnancy, Zofia wanted to put off the wedding until after the baby is born and with your blessing.”

Isaac stood there, his green eyes going down to the floor now. It was strange to hear how much his niece still trusted him, even after all the grief he must have been causing her. “You know, Logan,” the fifty-year-old man started after a minute of silence, “I never thought I’d see Zofia be happy again after my brother passed.”

Logan immediately looked at Isaac, eyeing the older looking man warily. Just why was Isaac acting so melancholic all of a sudden? He’s never mentioned Zofia’s dad, though Zofia had often spoken of him. But not Isaac. During the year and a half that Logan knew the man, Isaac only ever spoke of his disdain towards mutants and his disapproval of his relationship with his niece. A strange moment of companionable silence passed between the two before Logan finally spoke, remembering how highly Zofia spoke of her father.

“John sounded like a good man from what Zofia tells me.” he said softly, “Up until he died, of course.”

Isaac chuckled at this. “So she told he was a good man, did she?”

This time, Isaac’s tone sounded a bit lower, almost angry. Logan noted the subtle change in the tone, feeling a somewhat creepy feeling entering his heart. But he was ready if Isaac stepped out of line.

“Yeah, why you know somethin’ I don’t?” Logan steeled himself for whatever mind fuckery Isaac was gonna throw at him. His old paranoia and instincts flickered in his soul, an itching feeling rising from feeling his claws wanting to burst out.

Isaac smirked at seeing the alert look in Logan’s eyes and chuckled again.

“I think this is a conversation for another time.” He said quietly. Zofia’s uncle took a few steps towards the door only to stop, “Let me just say this my brother wasn’t the man Zofia thinks he is.”

With that said, Isaac walked out of the cabin, shutting the door behind.

“What the hell was that all about?” Logan muttered. When he heard the bathroom door open, he turned around to look. Zofia was leaning against the door, her hand gripping the doorknob tightly. Just from the upset look on her delicate features, he knew she heard the whole conversation. “I guess you heard?”

Zofia nodded, her stomach clenching with nausea. “Every word.” She mumbled. The woman looked away, avoiding his gaze, sinking into her usual melancholic and thoughtful silence. It wasn’t until Logan sighed and finished off the bottle of beer, that she finally spoke. “Just because I didn’t know every aspect about my dad doesn’t mean he wasn’t a good man. My memories of him paint him as such.”

“I know, Snowflake,” Logan whispered. He finally stood straight, watching Zofia as she walked towards him. She stopped short of him and for once, Zofia stared straight into his eyes. He was clear in her Mind’s Eye, his aura calm, but far from peaceful.

“And just because I don’t know every single detail about you, doesn’t mean I love you any less, Logan.” Zofia reached for Logan, her hand going to his cheek. His eyes softened at feeling her hand on his cheek, “No one is perfect.”

Another chuckle. Logan held her hand against his cheek for a moment before leaning and kissing her.

“Your ability to see both the good and the bad within me is what makes me love you so much.”

The two of them laughed quietly before sharing another kiss and embracing.

She watched as people passed by the window of the coffee shop, couples, families, and various men and women on their way to and from work. This little mountain town was small but very busy. It had once been a mountain quarry, but after the turn of the last century, mining had become a thing of the past and now people just try and enjoy the charm of living in rustic log cabins. Only those who were born here in the mountains knew what surviving in the mountains really meant.

As Zofia sat there, enjoying the warmth of the tea that she drank and thankful for being inside instead of waiting for Logan to return out in the cold, she was unaware of someone coming up behind her.

“For the beautiful lady.” The familiar voice startled her as she looked up, and she saw a figure holding a small hand sized pink teddy bear plush with a white satin ribbon around its neck in front of her. Feeling a bit wary, Zofia turned her head to the direction of the person standing behind her. A tall smiling youth about her age with long black hair tied in a ponytail stood there. She could see an elongated tribal tattoo on the man’s left arm, at least what poked out of the sleeve of his jacket she saw that it was a tribal tattoo.

“Who?” It took a minute for the man’s cheerful dark almond eyes and his bright smile to register in her mind, a memory of someone just like him surfacing in her mind. “Akihiro?” Zofia whispered.

A wide grin spread on the man’s lips as he waved at her with a teddy bear in hand. “Hai, it’s me, Zofia-chan! Your favorite dragon.” his tone was teasing as he said this and Zofia couldn’t help the giggle erupting in her throat as her friend pressed the plush toy he held against her cheek, making a light kissing sound in the process.

“Aki-kun! What on Earth?” she finally took the small bear with a laugh as Akihiro took a seat in the chair next to her. “When did you come back?”

Akihiro just shrugged, the smile on his face. “I’ve been around for a while now.” He finally glanced around before flagging down a nearby waitress, who blushed with a giggle, batting her eyes at him as she took his order.

When the smitten waitress left, he turned his attention back to a smiling Zofia. “What? Did I do something wrong?” Akihiro asked, confusion in his eyes.

Zofia just giggled a bit as she picked up her mug, taking a sip out of it. “You just came in and already you’re charming the pants or should I say the skirt off of that waitress?” she smiled at sensing the blush coming from her old high school friend as she said that.

Akihiro rubbed the back of his head, blushing and smiling with a light chuckle. It’s not that he had charmed the waitress. It was part of his powers as a Mutant, but Zofia didn’t know that nor did she need to know. “What can I say? I’m a real charmer, it runs in the family.”

Zofia laughed at this, taking another sip of her tea.

“So where’s the ojiisan?” He asked, his tone light and playful.

Zofia just blinked in confusion at the last word. “Oh… ji… san?” She mused, trying to figure out the Japanese phrase.

“Your old man.” the Japanese man suddenly pointed to the ring on Zofia’s hand, making her squeak in surprise. “You are married now, right?”

Blushing furiously, Zofia quickly put her hand under the table, shaking her head. “O-Oh! N-no, not yet. We’re waiting until after the baby’s born.” She mumbled this, almost wishing Logan was here to explain everything.

Akihiro laughed a bit before suddenly stopping. He immediately stared at Zofia with wide eyes. “You’re pregnant?”

Her face felt hotter from blushing, but Zofia nodded. She brushed a strand of her hair out of her face as she nodded. “Yeah, we found out last month so we decided on holding off on getting married until after the birth.”

Akihiro smiled and gave the woman a congratulatory hug, “That’s really great! omedetō! Congratulations!” He had to admit despite his rough childhood, Akihiro couldn’t help feeling happy for his friend, but at the same time, a sliver of sadness entered his heart. But he ignored it.

“Thanks,” Zofia mumbled shyly but her face lit up with concern at sensing the small hint of bitterness in his aura. She looked at him, touching his arm gently. “Aki-kun? Is everything okay?”

Generally, Akihiro would slice anyone that touches him, but Zofia was a different case. Something about her made him feel calmer, happy.

Not wanting to worry his friend, the man smiled again and put a hand on Zofia’s cheek.

For a moment it seemed like he was going to kiss her, and the thought of Logan catching them in that situation (or like this with Akihiro cupping her cheek) made Zofia feel nervous, her heart beating fast now. Logan wasn’t a jealous man, after all, some of Logan’s bar buddies would playfully flirt with Zofia from time to time, but none of them ever looks at her like Akihiro was right now.

As Akihiro leaned in, Zofia could see something familiar about him. Something that reminded her of… Logan?

“So, who did you say the dad was?” Akihiro’s lips curled back into a mischievous grin.

Zofia felt herself trembling a bit as she felt his other hand going to the other side of her face.

“Logan, his name is Logan.” she felt her friend’s mood shift to surprise at hearing her answer and she smiled weakly, “Is something the matter?”

So the old man is alive and marrying Zofia-chan? He couldn’t quite explain why he felt so angry all of sudden. He wasn’t jealous, Akihiro never saw Zofia as a girlfriend. She was more like a little sister that he felt the need to protect. And if the rumors about his dear old dad were true, he definitely had to do something about her. He finally focused his attention on Zofia and smiled again.

“Tell me, Zofia-chan. Does this Logan love you? Does he take care of you?” His voice was a bit cold and sharp as he said this. Akihiro even leaned more, still holding onto Zofia’s head.

“Y-yeah, of course, he does. Why would he be with me if he didn’t?” the 26-year-old woman clenched her hand in her lap now. Akihiro was getting uncomfortably close. “Aki-kun?”

Just from how he was holding the sides of her face, gently stroking the skin on her cheeks reminded her of her lover.

“And where is he now?” Of course, Akihiro knew where he was. He saw Logan out of the corner his eye.

“He’s just acr-mmph!”

As soon as he saw Logan exiting the shop across the street with a white dog following him, Akihiro pulled Zofia closer. Their lips collided with Akihiro initiating the kiss.The kiss sent a mixture of different emotions through Zofia’s mind and body. There was that initial shock of being kissed, anger, and then intrigue. It felt like Logan was kissing her, only the kiss was more intense, even more so than when a bestial Logan had kissed her.

“Zofia?” Came Logan’s voice as Akihiro pulled out of the kiss. Logan’s voice made Zofia gasp and before Akihiro had a chance to smile and say something, he was greeted by the hardest slap he’s ever felt in his life, even more so than when one of his foster mother’s servants had slapped him.

Logan watched in astonishment as Zofia ran off after slapping the kid that had kissed her. But as she ran by him, he saw fear, anger, and pain in her eyes as they looked at each other, but Logan let her go. He had to deal with this mohawked bastard.
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This was sort of a tough chapter to write. Um, the Japanese boy, Akihiro, to those who aren't familiar with the Marvel Universe, comics-wise, Akihiro is Wolverine's son from a Japanese woman he married (It's not Mariko, Mariko's a completely different woman though same nationality). And well, I don't know why, but I wanted to add him in the story somehow, I mean he was born around the fifties and like Logan, he has all the same abilities and practically doesn't age like normal people so I thought it'd make sense for Zofia to know Akihiro (or Daken as he's also called) but without knowing he's Wolverine's son, and Wolverine doesn't even know it (at least not yet).

And for the japanese terms I used:
Aki-kun - Obviously Aki is short for Akihiro, but -kun is an honorific often added onto the names of a boy.
-Chan - -Chan is the female equivalent of -kun, only meant for girls.
*People calling each other -kun and -chan symoblizes a close friendship and since Zofia and Daken are good friends, it'd make sense for them to call each other this though Aki-kun is more or less Zofia's nickname for him.
Ojiisani - a term used for calling a man, old man. It's also a term that means grandpa. Though in Akihiro's case, he was referring to Logan as Zofia's husband, aka her "old man," kinda like in a lot of these movies about men going to the bars and meeting a new lady, they're inquired about their wives, their "old ladies."
omedetō - means congratulations!

Well, that's all! I Hope you all enjoyed this and thanks for reading.

Song credit goes to Three Days Grace and their song Pain.