Lucca:

Rage Against the Inner Demons

By Nova Zion


Summary: Third in a series of five stories dealing with Lucca's past and present life and her connection with Victor Creed.
Disclaimer:
All characters belong to Marvel except for Lucca. Lucca is mine, so please ask for permission to use her. The storyline is mine also, but I am making no money off of this. If you'd like to archive the series, please e-mail [email protected] Likewise, if you'd like to send me some feedback, much appreciated by the way, please do.

Lucca closed her eyes slowly, letting her eyelids fall a fraction of an inch at a time until her lashes touched her cheeks, and leaned back, letting her long, white hair splay out underneath her. Resting her head back on the soft black piece of furniture, she tried to remember a technique Victor had taught her that she had used for relaxation. Taking a deep breath, she tried to let each of her muscles go to putty, staying still and quiet as she breathed out. Victor had taught her this method when he'd come back from being held here. In the sub-basement holding cell of the red-brick family mansion Charles Xavier had received through his family riches in Westchester, where she was right now. On Wolverine's insistence and the trust of the others on his opinions of people.

Opening her eyes slowly, slightly more relaxed than she had been before, she looked around the quiet living room, letting her eyes stray to the big bay windows across from the couch she sat on. A huge, high-powered, extremely intimidating entertainment center was to her left, but she ignored it as she didn't know how to use anything in it, instead standing to go and look out of the window at the nature around the mansion. Touching the glass slightly, the cool sensation flowed into her hand and she leaned her head against it, savoring the chill of the glass. With a slight sigh, she watched a cardinal fly by and then leaned back again, intent on watching the snow swirl in a light breeze.

"You okay now?" Lucca spun around faster than she had in a long time, one hand over her heart at the sound of the young male voice behind her a few feet. Usually she could sense or hear a person come up near her, but she'd been so preoccupied with the nature, she'd let it slip. Victor would have been mad if she'd let that happen during a training exercise.

A young man, surely not much older than her if not younger, was leaning against the polished doorframe of the living room-hallway doorway, eating a chunk of fresh cinnamon-raisin bread. His light brown hair was cut short, into a crew cut with gelled spikes for bangs. He was tall and thin and his ice blue eyes seemed to sparkle as Lucca looked closer at his face, almost searching for his age..

"Um...yes. Thanks." Lucca smiled shyly and began back to the couch, raking her hair over her shoulder. Sitting again, she was surprised when the boy sat down across from her on the couch, smiling at her charmingly. Offering her a piece of bread, he shrugged when she didn't accept it and leaned back.

"I was trying to hide from our fearless leader and I didn't think anyone was in here. My name's Bobby Drake. I was part of the superb team of superheroes that saved you from the FoH..." he grinned at her and popped a piece of raisin bread into his mouth.

"Lucca." she held out her white hand and Bobby took it, shaking her hand slightly. "Um...a short man...Wolverine...he's talking to the Professor to see if I can stay."

Bobby nodded and then came close to choking on his piece of bread as Cyclops came in the room, glaring at him menacingly. "Bobby, I told you twenty minutes ago to come down to the Danger Room for practice. You're needed in a drill with the team" he turned his attention to Lucca, who stared at the plushly carpeted floor in slight embarrassment, though it didn't show on his face. "I hope you're feeling better. I was just in to talk with the Professor and Logan should be out in a moment or two. My name's Cyclops - Scott Summers. We'll welcome you more formally _after_ the Danger Room session."

Shaking his outstretched hand, she let her's drop after a second and watched with slight humor as Bobby stood with a 'pity-me' look, leaving behind Scott. The room became quiet again and Lucca looked down the hall, wondering when she would be able to go anywhere but the living room. Sitting back again, she closed her eyes, resting comfortably, taking in the sounds around her.

* * * *

"Darlin'?" a heavy thunk on the couch beside her woke Lucca out of her reverie. Opening her eyes quickly and looking over to the burly Canadian, she stared at the man known as Wolverine as he looked back at her, blue eyes seeming to pierce her soul. "I talked it over with Chuck and he said ya could stay here as long as you want. I trust ya...the nose knows."

Lucca cracked a smiled and curled her hand around his own. "Vic says that all the time."

A scowl graced Wolverine's face for a quick moment and he rubbed his temples softly, massaging the aged skin with gentle strokes. "Now, kid...I know you were with Vic fer a while...and you can talk with me about anything. I promise that whatever ya tell me, I won't pass it on to nobody. Whenever ya want, whatever it is, whether ya need a good cry or anythin', ya come and get me. And Chuck wants to talk to you right now for a bit."

Lucca nodded a bit and then stood, dropping his hand. Readjusting the jeans she'd been wearing for only a day and then her sweater, she turned slightly to the man as he rested against the back of the couch. "I feel filthy. Maybe you could show me someplace I could shower and then I'll go to meet the Professor?"

"Sure. You're in Storm's room, which doesn't have a bathroom in it, but you can use the women's dorm bathroom." Wolverine stood and motioned for her to follow him. Going into the front hallway, he went up the first flight of stairs and lead her down a few doors to another door. Wolverine knocked and then opened the door slowly. "This is it. I know the towels are in there somewhere, so if you wanna look around, I'm sure you'll find everything you need. I'll have Jeannie find you some more clothes to wear."

"Thank you." Lucca looked back at him and he grinned before going back down the hallway. Lucca turned suddenly and stuck her head out of the doorway, hanging in the doorframe. Suddenly scared, she opened her mouth and tears welled up in her eyes. "Logan?"

"What is it darlin'?" he turned at the entrance to the women's dorm and looked back up at her. She appeared as an angel in the doorway. Light from the window in the bathroom illuminated her long hair and her white skin seemed to glow, though she was more a broken angel than anything.

"How do I find you...if I need you?" she leaned back a bit and looked at the doorjamb near her right hand, curling her fingers around the grooved wood. "I mean, if I ever have to talk to you?"

"Go to the back door, go out to the little cabin you can see from it and I'm usually in there or in here." he smiled as she nodded her head and retreated down the stairs to find the woman known as 'Jeannie'. Lucca pushed the door to the bathroom shut and walked to the sink; lifting her head to look in the mirror above it, Lucca touched the tattoo near her eye and then dropped her hand. A closet was behind her, so she opened it, searching for a towel to use as Wolverine had said. Pulling the first one out, Lucca began to undress, throwing her old clothes on the floor before climbing into the shower. The spray was cold and Lucca shivered gently before becoming used to it.

She squeezed the shampoo bottle into her hand, lost in thought. To be welcomed so openly into a house full of so many people scared her, but it also exhilarated her at the same time. They seemed fine so far, and everything Victor had told her had been a lie up to this point. Wolverine seemed more worried about her than a 'savage runt'. Rinsing, she flipped the shower handle to off and began to dry herself, seeing that someone had indeed left a baggy sweatshirt and a pair of navy blue jeans hanging on the back of the door with a note pinned to it.

Alexia,

This is one of my outfits. You can wear it and whatever else fits you of mine until we go for a shopping trip. If you feel like going outside, my jacket's black and in the closet. I hope you come and say hello before people start to retire for the night. I've also put a hairbrush and a toothbrush on the counter for you to use.

Jean

Lucca unwrapped the towel from around herself and began to brush out her long hair with the brush she'd found on the counter. Untangling the knots, she studied herself in the mirror and then dropped her gaze, finishing as quickly as possible. Slipping the emerald sweater over her head, Lucca pulled her hair out and proceeded to do up the three small shell-like buttons down the front before slipping the jeans on, followed by some socks from the counter.

Opening the door silently, Lucca looked up and down the hallway and was surprised to find no one around. Closing the door quietly with a firm thud, she stuck her bundle of clothes wrapped in the fluffy blue towel under her arm and began to tiptoe down the stairway to what she remembered as the Professor's office. Tentatively, she raised her hand and bit down on her lower lip as she knocked rapidly on the door. A friendly voice rang out from behind for her to enter and, twisting the knob and pushing in, Lucca got her first glimpse of the man known as Professor Charles Francis Xavier.

* * * *

Alexia opened the door to her family's cabin with an almost silent creak. The river ahead and down the slope was bubbling; they'd had almost no rain this season and Alexia could almost walk across the rocks to the other side with any of the frigid water touching her feet. Stepping out of the cabin, she remembered to shut the door and place the key for the lock above the ply of wood. It was a cheap lock; she could have broken it after a while of trying, but it kept the animals from pushing the door open in the night.

The trees made eerie shadows across the light path and Alexia tiptoed between them, not so much to not make noise, but to not put a sliver in her bare feet. The stars shone brilliantly above the dark pines and Alexia's hand raised to her cheek to touch the black star tattoo there.

Her parent's were gone again. This time, they'd left right after they'd moved to this cabin. In the past six months, they'd been home three or four times in all, mostly leaving her to her own devices. She'd been forced to hunt, but at least it reduced the cramps and aches in her stomach and mind. She only become more freakish since her parent's had left. Fangs and claws had grown in, as well as her beautiful long, white hair growing longer, almost past her rear now. The voices were stronger, but the river drowned them out if she could just get close enough to ignore everything else.

It was so dark around the river. The only light was from the moon and it shone onto the river, illuminating the crests and bubbles as they rose to the surface. In the distance, a wolf lifted it's head and bayed at the moon with a heart-wrenching twist in Alexia's gut. Sinking down on her usual rock, Alexia turned stiffly to face the river and watched the water pour by a few inches from her feet. This spot was perfect; the voices were drowned out and she could finally think, could use her mind.

A wolf howled again, closer this time, and Alexia lifted her head, one hand clutching her stomach in pain. Another one howled on her other side and she spun around, gripping the rock for a hold. Standing, she heard another howl, only a few feet away, and a gray and white wolf came out of the shadows. Terrified, Alexia tightened her hold on her stomach and backed away as far as she could, feeling the cold water lapping at her heels. The wolf snarled, snapping his sharp jaws at her in anger. Another black wolf came from the same spot as the first and then another from the other side.

A strangled gasp escaped her throat and she closed her eyes, hoping the voices were just trying to trick her into seeing the wolves. The pain in her stomach radiated and she felt a pair of teeth dig into her arm, felt the blood spurt out, felt the pain stretch and twist to her mind. The teeth twisted her arm and Alexia screamed as she felt her claws lengthen, sharpen and claw. Without thought, she doubled over and felt the hair sprout from her back at the same moment a snarl came inches from her ear. Springing around, she smashed her hands into the lead wolves's mouth, hearing him whimper. The pain lessened and Alexia felt her face stretch, her nose became wet and her ears moved higher on her head. Pain renewed itself and sprung from every pore in her body, seeming to engulf her in it. A cry erupted from her throat, more a howl than anything, and she faced her attackers.

Jumping onto the wolf, she clawed at his throat, pawing and slashing until the body beneath her's became still. More wolves's were surrounding her and Alexia struggled to get back and away before they could attack. Water hit her feet and she slipped, splashing into the water with a murky sucking sound. Her head hit a rock, blood gushing from it before the wound closed. Eyes failing as the river took her downstream, she screamed one final time before feeling a tug on the back of her nightgown and the water left from around her body.

* * * *

Opening her eyes, Alexia blinked spots away, staring at something completely unknown to her. Blue expanded overhead in a brilliant, bright color, dotted with white clouds from an incoming storm. Treetops surrounded the expanse and birds flitted back and forth, crying out. Turning her head slightly, she felt her brain rattle about in her head as though it weighed a tonne. Lifting her hand, she felt it drop like a weight after a second and blinked her tears away as fright overtook her. Where was she?"

Feeling her arm with her other hand, Alexia knew she had healed when no puncture marks met her fingers. The sun was bright on her eyes and she closed them and breathed in, surprised to find she could smell fresh meat somewhere off in the distance. Opening her eyes again, she focused on a flying bird and found she could make out each marking distinctly; where the browns and reds were, where they mixed and even the bird's eye color. Taking another deep breath, she tried to turn her head without the pain coming back, sensing another person just within the shadows.

Facing herself towards the person, she took in another deep breath and whimpered as a man came from the bushes, towards her. He was wearing a pair of dark blue sweat pants and a man's undershirt in the late spring air, squatting down to look at her intently. His blond hair was long and jagged, his sideburns overgrown and past his chin. Sharp fangs, reminiscent of her own, and claws that could tears flesh and break bones frightened Alexia and she closed her eyes. Opening them a second later, she let out a small whimper as the man came closer, stopping just before her

Baby blue eyes peered out at her, and, taking another breath, black spots danced in front of her eyes and Alexia passed out, curled on her side in the glade as his hand reached out and gently moved a piece of hair from her eyes.

* * * *

Lucca shuddered as she felt Professor Xavier's fear through her momentary link with him as he scanned and processed information from her mind. Opening her eyes, she saw that the Professor had pulled away from her and was staring at some notes on his desk carefully, jotting thing's down for recording.

"Alexia..." he looked up, brown eyes staring intently into her own pupil-less ones.

"Lucca, please." she began, shifting in her chair. She was only now aware that she'd been gripping the sides of the high-backed crimson leather chair and she was glad her claws hadn't torn the surface of the shiny material. Unclenching her hands, she placed them in her lap and looked at the Professor as he opened his mouth to speak.

"Lucca. I think that this session was a very good one." the man before her formed his fingers into a teepee structure and placed them in front of his face, almost as if he was concentrating. "If you would agree to it, I would like you to stay on and let me help you better yourself amongst more people. I can give you a room here in the mansion and introduce you to the others more formally once the Danger Room practice session is finished with. Would you like that?"

"Yes." she admitted truthfully. "I didn't think I could stay here, but Logan told me you said I could. I'm very thankful you can help me Professor, I feel much more safe here than on my own..."

"Yes, well. This session is over, so you may leave if you feel like it and explore the mansion and grounds more thoroughly than when you first awoke this afternoon." Charles smiled at Lucca warmly and shook the hand she had offered to him. Standing, the white shadow of a woman slipped from the room without a sound and shut the door with a small click of brass against brass.

The hallway was quiet still, with no one but herself occupying it. Her footsteps echoed throughout the hallway as she made her way to the front door and opened it softly, a cold gust of air hitting her face. The whisper of the rain vinyl across the bottom of the wood sounded out as she shut the door again and went into the closet in the front hall, pulling out a jacket that resembled the one Jean had said was her's. Yanking on her boots, which had been moved to sit over the heater in the hallway, Lucca opened the door again and then proceeded down to the snow and ice covered gardens she'd seen out of the study window. A light breeze whipped her hair around and winter birds chirped as they flew through the trees. Off in the distance a few yards, she saw Logan sitting on a wooden bench encrusted in ice, staring out over the shallow cliff while he enjoyed a cup of coffee and a cigar to himself in peace.

Heading out slowly, she saw him turn as she came within a few feet and grin lightly at her. "Nice view out here. Quiet too."

"I don't mean to disturb you, but I can't seem to find anyone else around here..." she smiled, taking a seat uncertainly next to him. "Thank you for talking to the Professor for me..."

"Nothin'. Not to discourage you, but no one else here woulda offered on their word to take ya in 'cause you ran with Vic fer a while. I'm the only one who can smell how good ya are." he offered the cup of coffee to her and Lucca made a face, waving it back. "How'd yer session go?"

"Okay. The Professor said it was good, so I guess it was. I dunno. Really, the only thing he could get out of my mind was my first meeting with Vic." Lucca smiled and leaned back on the bench, staring at the crystal sky while puffs of white steam rose from their mouths with each breath of air.

"How did ya meet up with a guy like Victor? Yer awful young to be someone he found in a bar somewhere." Logan looked over at her and she grinned and rubbed her hands together to keep them warm in the freezing chill of winter.

"Believe it or not, he saved me and took great care of me. My parent's had left me alone in our shack up in Canada a lot and it turns out he was watching me for a bit, since I was around fifteen, off and on. I was attacked by a pack of wolves and changed into this thing, I think. And Vic chased them off and I woke up. In a glade, alone, unhurt and normal again. Vic was the last thing I saw before I passed out, but I didn't know who he was exactly."

Lucca wiped unshed tears from her eyes, sniffling a bit at the thought of her lover, back up in Canada. "I'm sorry..."

"It's okay. Let's go inside darlin', and I'll show ya something about Victor you probably haven't seen. You don't seem to know a lot about mutants, so I'll bring up some files on Cerebro on the team and Sabretooth." Wolverine stood and stretched a hand out to Lucca, who took it gratefully and they began to walk back to the mansion and the security computer system known as Cerebro.


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