Wolverine and Chiaroscuro
Oshane busied himself cleaning of the bar top, Hellbent for Leather by Judas Priest blaring out of the old jukebox in the far corner. He looked around at the crowded biker bar, sighing as he saw the mess some jerks left him on the table along with a dead cigarette as a tip.
Although, Hell’s Liquor Cabinet was a less than safe and even more inappropriate work environment for the average person; Oshane couldn’t complain seeing as they still hired him even though he was barely 17 when he stumbled into the small town looking for a job.
Here he was, three years later forced to serve a bunch of violent assholes who wouldn’t hesitate to harass him if he so much as spilled their drink. He had learned that the hard way.
“Boy, get over here!“, his boss Dan barked at him from across the room,“Got a customer waiting and Ricky’s table still ain’t got their drink!“, he spat with a cigarette hanging haphazardly from his lips, holding up an almost empty beer mug.
Oshane looked up from the table he was cleaning and to the bar. Low and behold there was a slouched over frame sitting at the bar. He didn’t see him earlier; he wondered how long he had been there.
Either way, he needed to get to work,“Okay Dan, I got it! Have your drinks over shortly!”
He huffed grabbing his dish tray before rushing behind the counter and began to pour glasses for his boss and his biker buddies.
As he poured, he did his best to ignore the unwarranted movement of his shadow. He felt the power creep up and over his eyes.
He squeezed his eyes shut tight, trying to control it. “Stop it”, he muttered to himself. After taking deep breathes like he practiced, Oshane opened his eyes to find that the movement had ceased. He looked around to see if anyone had seen it. The bar was mostly vacant save for some regulars at the far end and the new patron near the opposite side with his head low.
Oshane balled his fists tight, trying to keep in his tears of frustration. This hadn’t been the first time this had happened while he was at work and he knew it wasn’t the last time. He hated that he couldn’t control his mutation. He tried so hard to hide it, but it was like they were too strong; the urges as the power crept up his neck and spread throughout his body in a hope to escape.
He shook the thoughts away and got back to work, before Dan freaked out on him again. He placed the drinks on the tray and moved from around the counter, trying his best to balance the heavy beverages. He made his way over to the table,“I got drinks”, he announced and began to serve his bosses buddies. Sure to keep his head low to avoid any unwarranted confrontation.
The owner snatched his drink off the tray,“Took ya long enough”, he muttered, waving him off like an annoying bug.
Oshane bit his tongue. Maybe if he got off his drunk ass and actually helped manage his own bar, they’d have been gotten their drinks.
Another downside to working here was the laziness of employees or lack there of. Oshane was the server, but also the only waiter, bartender and dish washers. He was practically ripping and running trying to work and his paycheck definitely didn’t reflect it. Don’t even get him started on the so called “tips” he’d receive. At this rate, he’d lose his room at the inn down the road.
None of that mattered however, he was about 2 hours into his 12 hour shift, so he would have to suck it up to survive. He pulled out his order pad, and made his way back around the bar,“What can I get you sir?“, he asked, stopping in front of the man. He could smell the cigar smoke on him.
The man looked up and Oshane almost choked on his spit. He was a very attractive man in a grungy outdoor man kinda way. His leather jacket barely stretched to accommodate what he could imagine as thick muscle, a tuff of chest hair peeking out the top of his shirt. A cigar between his lips.
Oshane stopped himself before he could go any farther; he didn’t even know if he was gay and that was the last thing he needed to deal with tonight.
The man shook a long look at him, staring him up and down without remorse. He would’ve been flattered if his dark gaze didn’t make him uncomfortable. He felt as if he was studying him; he couldn’t help but wonder if he had seen him earlier.
“Just beer”, the stranger finally spoke, pulling the cigar from his lips,“not staying long”, he grumbled tossing a ten dollar bill on the counter.
Oshane nodded, grabbing the pitcher of beer and a clean beer mug off the shelf. He poured the remaining beer into his mug before sliding it in front of him,“There ya go”, he muttered, pulling out a rag to wipe up the spillage. Once he was finished, he grabbed the soiled rag and the pitcher, turning to put them in the sink.
“That’s one neat trick ya got there”, he heard from behind.
Oshane froze, looking back at the man,“What are you talking about?“, he asked with fayed innocence. He wasn’t gonna jump to any conclusions, he was probably talking about something else entirely.
The man didn’t look the least bit convinced,“Really?“, he sat up straight on his bar stool, snuffing out his cigar,“ya got one black eye and one glowin’ one”, he gesture towards his own eyes.
The pitcher fell from his hands and onto the dirty floor, but Oshane paid it no mind as he turned around to the polished hubcap hung up on the wall. He looked into its reflective surface to confirm his greatest fears.
He opened his mouth, but no words would leave them. It was suddenly hard to breath, like his entire body had shut down on him. (‘This couldn’t be happening. This couldn’t be happening. This couldn’t be happening.’)
Somehow Oshane had collected himself, focusing and soon he watched his eyes fade back to a warm brown color. He sighed in relief, before realizing he had more than his eyes to worry about.
He turned back to the man who seemed to be waiting for some kind of explanation. Good thing Oshane had been prepared for situations like this.
The dark skinned man rolled his eyes, forcing out a laugh,“Good one buddy”, he told the man as he placed the decoration back on the wall,“You really had me scared for a second.” The “you’re drunk and seeing things” card always worked before, but that was mainly because the witness was usually drunk in real life.
Just as he was about to walk away from the conversation, a hand circled around his wrist and spun him back around to face him. “I take it you’re hiding your mutation then?“, he assessed looking the young man up and down once again.
Oshane swallowed the lump that formed in his throat. He had managed to hide it for years, but this man had been here 10 minutes and knew about him being a mutant? Something wasn’t right about this.
He snatched his hand out of his his, glaring at the stranger,“Even if that were true, it ain’t none of your damn business.” Who the hell was this guy to march on up in here and get all in his personal business.
Logan inhaled deeply before releasing it. He seemed highly aggravated,“Listen kid, I don’t have time for this. Xavier sent me here for a mutant boy and I know its you. He’s gonna give me crap for leaving without you so just-”
“Did you not hear-“, Oshane paused realizing how loud he was, the people at the other end staring. He bit the inside of his jaw,“What do you want from me huh?“, he asked lowering his voice,“You come in here, asking about what I am and for what?” , he ranted through rattled nerves. How dare he hunt him down like some animal talking about a mutation that no one was supposed to know about.
The man didn’t speak for a long moment,“Logan.”
“My name ’s Logan”, he grunted, sitting up straight. He held Oshane’s gaze as he reached into his jacket and pulled out a sealed envelope,“Look kid, you have questions and this”, he held out the letter for him,“can answer them.”
He hesitated before reaching out and snatching the letter out of his hand. His eyes glanced over the envelope, a blue wax seal on the back. He looked back at Logan,“What is this?“, he asked holding up the letter.
“You’ve never seen a letter before?“, he gruffed, taking a big gulp of his drink and wiping his lips with the back of his hand,“You’re supposed to read it kid”, he explained in a ‘duh’ tone.
He rolled his eyes,“Gee thanks”
Oshane looked around the room; no one seemed to need him or anything, so it was as good a time as any to take his 20 minutes break. “I’m going on break!“, he announced quickly before turning on his heels, glancing at Logan before making his way towards the back.
He went to the backroom and pulling the string to turn on the singular lightbulb over head, bathing the small room in flickering light. He spotted a crate in the corner and grabbed it, sitting down on it before opening the letter.
From his quick skimming Oshane would’ve thought it was just some private school or something, but that was probably just a cover up for the mutant thing. If he was scared of how people would react to him, he knew they were worried about them too.
“Where the hell is the bartender!“, Dan’s rough voice yelled from outfront,“I don’t pay you to sit on your ass, boy!”
Oshane cursed, shooting to his feet,“I’ll be right there!“, he yelled back earning some less than friendly curse words in return.
He looked over at the wall clock and huffed; it hadn’t even been 3 minutes. As he folded the paper up, his eyes landed on one specific line: “Our mission is to better help you understand your gifts and abilities while providing you with a safe and nonjudgmental environment.”
Right then and there Oshane began to truly think about it. Did he really wanna be reduced to this trash ass bar for the rest of his life?
He could leave, go with this Logan guy to the mutant sanctuary and have a life not revolved around hiding while possibly learning how to control his so called “gift” and getting an education. It wasn’t like he would be giving up much here. The only thing he had keeping him here was his extended stay at the motel down the road.
Right then and there, he made a decision, Oshane stood up and marched out the backroom and approached Logan,“I’ll go with you.”
Logan paused, lowering the beer mug from his lips, huffing before putting it on the counter. He stood from his stool, towering over Oshane an every possible way; he was intimidating in every sense of the word.
Still, he pushed back his fears, nodding towards the exits, but there was one last thing he had to do. “Hey Dan!“, he yelled at the man who’s head snapped up at being called,“I’m outta here”, he told him.
“Excuse me!”, the man roared standing to his feet, his friends startled at his sudden outburst.
Oshane kept his composure, giving Logan the okay to head to the door,“You heard me Dan”, he finalized strongly,“I’m leaving, find somebody to replace me”, he pulled off his apron and threw it on the counter before turning to the bearded man,“Let’s go.”
Before they could reach the exit, a rough hand gripped his arm and Oshane was yanked back to Dan’s side,“Like hell you are!“, he growled, gripping his forearm tightly,“You still got another shift!”
Oshane cringed at the smell of liquor and menthols on his breath,“Bruh if you don’t let me go- “, his thrashing stopped upon feeling a blunt tipped object against his neck.
He looked at Logan, with eyes reflecting fear and he looked back at him. The latter raised his hands,“Take it easy buddy”, he coached, taking a step closer which caused him to sling Oshane away from him. “Just let the kid go so we can leave.”
“And what are you gonna do about it, buddy?“, Dan spat at the mutant man, the liquor on his breath made Oshane nauseous.
Logan saw the look of panic on his face, but remained neutral, glancing around at the bar that had seemed to go silent around them.
“Just let him go”, he sounded like he was asking more for Dan’s sake than for his own. Oshane knew that whatever confrontation he was trying to avoid, would more than likely occur with the reckless drunk barkeeper.
The snarl on the drunkards face stretched into wicked smirk,“Lookie here fellas, we got ourselves some kinda hero”, he yelled to the other attendees.
As if given a signal, they all began to get up, circling around the owner. The sound of heavy footsteps and knuckles cracking, flooding out the music from jukebox. Fear trickled throughout Oshane’s body for not only himself, but for Logan as well.
However, Logan didn’t share the same expression. He looked more annoyed than anything. He nodded at Oshane before pulling off his jacket and placing it on the coat rack.
He huffed, cracking his neck,“Fine, lets do it your way.”
* * * * * *
Logan was puffing on a cigar as they sped away from the wreckage that remained of Hell’s Liquor Cabinet. He zoomed down the road, his arm out the wind as he blew out the smoke. His button up from before lost in the scuffle leaving him in his jacket and a frayed wife beater.
However, unlike him, his counterpart wasn’t fairing as well. Oshane couldn’t believe what had happened: he had gotten hunted down and ousted by a rude cigar smoking mutant, got invited to a school for mutants, quit his trash ass job, got into a bar fight and basically burnt said bar to the ground. All of this in the span of a half hour.
Just thinking about it made his head throb. As much as he hated that place; that had been his home, the only place to give him a chance once he had nowhere to turn.
Oshane jumped at the voice that came put of nowhere. He looked down at the screen which had liten up,“Do you have the mutant?“, a female voice asked.
“I have a name”, Oshane mumbled, slouching into the seat. They claimed to know about his mutation and where he was, but apparently they didn’t care enough to get his name? He might be a mutant, but he was still a person.
Logan glanced over at the younger man, grunting in response to his comment,“Yeah I got him”, he told the female voice.
“Was there any problem?”
“Not at all”, the brunette responded.
Oshane could help but scoff,”cough cough bullshit”, he muttered between fake coughs. Did this man really forget throwing Dan through a pool table and lets not forget what Oshane did; whatever it was he did.
He could still see the burst of black like something that had engulfed his body for a split second before causing every single lightbulb in the bar to burst. He had never done that before and a part of him hoped he’d never see it again.
“Logan”, the voice sounded tired yet playful. Apparently this wasn’t the first time Logan did something like that. She sighed,“I’ll inform Xavier and have him look into the damage.”
The larger man snickered.
“I went ahead and booked you both a room at the closest hotel in the next state over”, she said and the small screen lit up, their current location on screen before directions were shown. Oshane wondered how the hell they were able to do that. “I’ll load the coordinates to the GPS”, she added.
The larger man smiled,“Thanks Ororo”, he told the disembodied voice. Oshane could only stare at the sight, he had pronounced canines. Oshane would almost say he looked better without that cold scowl of his.
“Yeah yeah, just get some rest you two”, Storm responded and Oshane swore he could see her rolling her eyes,“He’s gotta be overwhelmed by everything that has and will happen when he gets here.”
“Yeah I got it, tuck the kid in”, Logan droned on before ending the call, allowing the silence to take over once again.
“So yall got money money?“, he didn’t know anyone with supercomputer cars like this and could pay for public damage. He knew good and damn well the guy next to him wasn’t with as reckless as he seemed to be. He seemed the rustic type, probably in a cabin in the middle of the woods roughing it type.
Logan didn’t answer for a moment,“Not really”, he answered, turning down the road,“Xavier does though.”
Oshane recalled the name from the letter,“He’s your boss right?“, he asked him earning a curt nod.
“Yeah him”, Logan agreed,“well more of a dean or headmaster”, he corrected, eyes still focused on the road.
The dark skinned man nodded, taking in the new information,“So y’all really are a school?” Now he really wished he took the time to actually read that whole damn letter instead of skimming it. There was no way in hell he’d have all this questions if he did.
“School, training Academy, whatever you wanna call it”, Logan told him simply,“Our job is to protect people like us from the outside world and teach you to control your powers; whatever they may be”, he looked over at him with his last sentence.
Oshane went mute at that; not only at the pointed comment, but also the empty promise. He doubted this Xavier guy could teach him to control his mutations. Hell they still confused him. He felt as if he was 3 different people at once and the other 2 were strangers to him; one of a bright inferno and the other of a eerie darkness. How could they help him and he didn’t even know what needed helping?
Logan must’ve known what he was thinking,“Listen”, he told him, speeding down the Montana dirt roads,“if you don’t think he can help you, you don’t know Xavier.”
Oshane looked over to meet his eyes for a moment. For a second he thought they looked as if the ice in them had thawed. He took his words into consideration, continuing to stare out the window.
After what felt like an hour they had entered into a city Oshane couldn’t recognize. They pulled in front a hotel, parking the car before turning off the car.
“Come on, kid”, Logan told Oshane before reaching into the backseat and pulling out a bag. A least someone was prepared.
With a huff, Oshane followed in his tracks and got out of the car and walking into the large tower like hotel. They were basked in golden light from the lobby chandelier. There were still people lounging around considering the late hour. Logan ignored all of this, strutting past the beautiful decor to the reception desk.
“Hello”, the cheery blonde woman behind the counter said as they approached,“Welcome to the Double Tree hotel, how might I help you sir?”
Oshane was quiet, almost hiding behind the bearded mans bigger body. Logan noticed this, but just grunted before turning back to her,“I have a reservation under...Parchman”, he read off the decoy name Ororo had given him. Oshane just stood almost behind him, eyes trained on the pen on the counter. He felt so out of place; everything was so nice.
After typing on the keyboard for a few seconds, she looked at them,“Ah yes, Mr. and Mr. Parchmen your room is ready”, she read off the screen with a smile, holding out the key card.
Before Oshane could say anything, Logan cut him off,“Thanks”, he grunted with a sigh, taking the card from her. “Room service still runnin?“, he asked, pocketing the room key.
The woman nodded a bit too enthusiastically,“The kitchen will be open til 11, all purchases will be charged to your room”, she told him with a smile Oshane thought was to big to be professional.
The brunette was oblivious to it all, grabbing his duffel bag,“Fine with me”, he looked back at a frowning Oshane, nodding his head towards the elevator,“Come on kid”, he muttered, grabbing his wrist and dragged him off.
Once the doors shut, Oshane turned to Logan,“Let me go”, he snarled, yanking his hand out of his, moving to the furthest corner from him,“And stop calling me kid!“, he added sharply,“I’m a grown man!” He was 19 years old; old enough to drive, get a loan and all that adult shit.
Logan didn’t look bothered by his outburst in the slightest, snorting under his breath,“You sure don’t look it kid”, he muttered and Oshane just knew that was a short joke at his expense.
“You ain’t that far from me, old man”, he bit back, crossing his arms over his chest. If he wanted to be funny, Oshane could do it right back.
Logan huffed, the tiniest pull of a smile on his lips,“Your a snappy one ain’t ya?“, he commented looking over at him.
At that moment, the elevator doors opened and Oshane pushed pasted Logan roughly,“And you ain’t exactly a ray of sunshine either”, he muttered angrily. Just because he was a few inches taller than him, didn’t make him a giant.
Once Logan unlocked the door, Oshane followed behind him now brooding. He trudged into the room to glance over the large suite. They was a door that led to a bathroom, a patio door across the room, a desk by the closet and a table near the terrace. However, Oshane froze when his eyes landed on the bed in the center of the room.
The one queen sized bed.
‘Now how the hell is this supposed to work?’ Oshane wasn’t sharing a bed with Captain Asshole and he for damn sure wasn’t sleeping on the floor. If that was the case, he could’ve stayed back at his motel.
Logan must’ve have been able to read his mind or something,“You take the bed, I’ll be on lookout tonight”, he answered, moving past him and into the room.
Oshane snapped his head in his direction, frowning,“Lookout for what?” He didn’t think they had anything else to worry about hence the calculated escape. Wasn’t his life supposed to be safer now?
That was all he said and Oshane had quickly learned that that meant he had nothing else to contribute. Instead of pestering the permanently grouchy man, he rolled his eyes before going into the bathroom.
The bathroom was large and neat like Oshane had expected. Four walls of nothing but sleek white and warm brown tones. He didn’t have time to be weirded out by how clean and neat the room was, deciding to get down to his business.
After flushing the the toilet he went to the sink, washing his hands and throwing some water onto his face. As he dried his face with one of the white towels stacked on the counter, he looked at himself in the mirrors reflection.
“Damn Oshane”, he agaped to himself, cringing at his reflection,“Talk about zero to a hundred; you look like shit”, he said to himself. There was dry blood staining the corner of his lip from where he was hit in the scuffle, the bags heavy under his eyes. He looked like he’d been put through it.
After his eyes caught the large bathtub, Oshane decided that he might as well take advantage of the bath tub while he was here. It had been a long time since he just took a nice long hot bath.
He creaked open the door to peek his head out to see Logan going threw his bag on the desk table. “Hey, I’m gonna take a bath”, he told him. He didn’t know why he had to let him know, but he thought he needed to incase he tried to come in.
Logan just grunted,“Have at it; I’ll be right back”, he told him, zipping up his bag.
Oshane frowned, opening the door more,“Where are you going?“, he asked curiously. How did he say he was gonna be on lookout, but then leave? Did he not understand what a lookout was?
“Out”, the large man responded simply, shrugging on his leather jacket. Oshane didn’t even push him for more information, just telling him to lock the door on the way out before shutting the bathroom door.
He put in the plug before turning on the hot water and adjusting the temperature. He quickly stripped out of his dirty clothes before getting in the water, watching all his worries disappear as the tub filled.
Once the tub was full, her turned off the water and leaned back against the rim. He sighed at the feeling of hot water on his skin.
Oshane looked around the room before he raised his hand from beneath the water. He focused his energy and mind on his hand and right before his eyes, an amber glow traveled up his arm under his skin and to the center of his palm. The light began spreading to his entire hand.
The heat it produced caused the water to heat up, but he didn’t stop, still focused. He wanted to see how far it could go; how far he could make it go. His eyes burned at the brightness but he couldn’t look away.
In his daze he couldn’t help, but think about old life. How his parents had abandoned him once they discovered he was a “a demon” and a “freak of nature”. About how he had to drop out of school because he had nowhere to go; no one to take care of him. He had started his life all over again without any clear memories of his so called “family” or where he came from.
Oshane’s eyes shot open, his mouth open to scream, but only water bubbles escaping his lips. came up from the water panting for air, the black tendrils returning to his body. He frantically searched around the foreign room before remembering were he was.
He wiped the water from his face, alongside his tears,“Everything’s alright Oshane, just calm down”, he told himself bringing his knees to his chest. That was the past. He was okay now. Things were gonna be different.
Once he had calmed down, he pulled the shower plug and got out the tub. After lathering up with some lotion the hotel provided, Oshane looked at himself in the mirror to find his eyes pure black.
However, for once he didn’t actually mind it. He was in the presence of his own kind, so he had no reason being scared and hide it. He grabbed the white robe off the sink and wrapped it around his body before leaving the room.
Logan had apparently come back while he was in the bathroom, now out on the patio smoking a cigar.
Oshane sat on the bed, pulling his knees to his chest. The TV was playing a random cartoon, but he didn’t feel like changing the channel.
After a few minutes, Logan had come back inside. He didn’t even glance in Oshane general direction, moving over to the black grocery bag on the coffee table to pull out a beer bottle.
Oshane continued to stare at him as if he was some being of myth that he couldn’t help but be fascinated by.
He wasn’t exactly tall, but he was a fair bit taller than Oshane who stood at a measly 5" ft. He was hairy, (very hairy). Nothing but thick hair growing past his ears into even thicker side burns; his entire body was sprinkled with hair over bulging muscles. Oshane just knew that under that dirty wifebeater were abs and pecs firmer than rocks.
He was attractive, very attractive and Oshane couldn’t deny he was attracted to him. He seemed very reserved and snappy, probably didn’t get along to well with anyone which made him wonder why he chose to go find other mutants. He wondered if they would get along when this was all over.
Logan must’ve felt his eyes on him, looking up to catch Oshane staring at him. Oshane quickly diverted his eyes, looking anywhere but at the man.
The older man just reached into the bag, pulling out another beer,“You want one?“, he asked.
Oshane shook his head,“I don’t drink”, he had seen the effect alcohol had on people and he didn’t wanna be anything like them.
The Canadian shrugged his shoulders,“Suit yourself”, without a second thought, he unsheathed his claws, using them to open the beer bottle.
“So that’s your power?”
Logan lowered the bottle from his lips, looking over at the younger man and then at his hand. Oshane immediately regretted his question, realizing that wasn’t exactly a polite thing to ask. It was kinda hypocritical seeing as he made such a big deal about it earlier.
However, the older man didn’t look upset,“Nah”, he answered casually, moving over to sit on the bed. “(These) were a product of military lab experiments”, he explained, holding up his hand, the long blades glistening in the light.
Oshane wanted to reach out and touch the blades, but willed himself against it, fisting the cotton of his robe instead,“So what’s your real power then?“, he asked after a pregnant pause.
“This”, Logan held out his left arm and before Oshane could ask what he was looking at, he’d brought his claws down onto his forearm.
The young mutant screamed, jumping back at the sight of the three angry cuts in his arms, the blood seeping from them.
“What the hell man?“, he cursed, terrified at what had just happened. This man just slit his own wrists infront of him.
Logan didn’t react at his outburst, closing his eyes and whispering as if he was counting down in his head. Next thing Oshane knew, the bleeding cuts were sealing right before his eyes.
His eyes were as wide as saucers,“I- it’s gone”, he reached out and grabbed his arm, examining the area. Clear tanned skinned patterned with forearm hair. It was as if it was never there.
“Yeah kid, healing factor”, the hairy man explained,“still hurts like a bitch tho.” A small part of him was wondering why he was letting him touch him. He had never done anything like this on his other assignments; the mutants usually intimidated or scared of him. Yet here was Oshane and he was telling him details about his blurry life story.
He pushed the thoughts away, coming back to the present,“I also got some...primal insticts”, he muttered, once again confused about what he was doing. Did the kid have truth power or something?
“Whatchu’ mean by that?“, Oshane asked, looking up at him,“primal instincts like you eat people and shit?” He knew he shouldn’t have trusted a stranger, he was about to get Jeffery Dauhmered.
Logan went from baffled to looking as if he had been insulted on a personal level. She scoffed at the assumption,“That Twilight crap has messed with y’alls heads”, he muttered, shaking his head side to side as he took another sip from his beer.
Oshane ignored the jab, pulling his hands away from him,“Last time I care about a random ass man who carves himself like a ham”, he muttered, focusing back on the random nonsense on the TV.