(Catacombs beneath the Princess Bar, Madripoor’s Lowtown)
Wolverine has just announced to some of the best friends he has in the world that Viper is his wife. For one of them in particular, what he just said broke her heart. Jubilee doesn’t hesitate in stepping up. She asks if he’s gone “demento.” She reminds Logan that they’re the good guys. The lady next to him, Viper, is the bad guy! One of the world’s worst. And, if her reputation wasn’t rotten enough to begin with, she kidnapped every woman present except for herself, Shadowcat and the Black Widow. She then mind-zapped them into hunting him down. She asks Logan to correct her if she’s wrong, but this isn’t the usual basis for matrimony!
Logan replies that there’s no argument, but it doesn’t matter. Jubilee takes back what she said. He’s not crazy. Viper’s gig is poisons. That’s how she shanghaied the ladies, and she presumes the same must hold for him. Viper replies that it’s a credible assumption, but sadly for Jubilee, it is wholly unfounded. She suggests that Phoenix and Psylocke scan Wolverine’s mind to see if she’s telling the truth. Wolverine makes this declaration of his own free will, and to save lives. She excuses herself, adding that there are a great many preparations to be made before the ceremony.
Logan’s friends give Viper daggers as she departs, and Viper knows it. She doesn’t care, and faces every one of them in turn, daring them to make a move. Only Kitty Pryde remains to block the door. Kitty stares at Viper as she approaches, but lowers her head as Viper passes right through her.
Once Viper is gone, Jean lets out her frustration. She asks Logan how he could do this, knowing what the woman is and what she did to them. “You claim to be married?” she asks with incredulity. Logan tells her he made a promise. He gave Viper his word. Jean is unable to calm down. She tells him he claims to be the conscience of the X-Men, and is ready to stand in judgment of their actions, yet they’re supposed to stand by and watch him ally himself with that killer? Yes, replies Logan, calmly. Jean tells him to go to hell.
The others come at him just as hard, furious at what they deem treachery. Only Kitty hangs back. She watches and listens from the shadows. She doesn’t’ say a word to Logan. He knows she’s trouble.
There are no fond farewells. At one time or another, every woman there has risked her life for Logan. He wonders if they ever will again. He watches as they depart, smoking a cigar as the sun rises over Madripoor.
Kitty appears from inside and Logan tells her she should be on the plane where she belongs. Kitty replies that she though her place was with a friend in need. She explains that she’s a mutant, like him. Lost causes come with the territory. She adds that Jubilee was bound and determined to stay as well, but she pulled rank. She gave her Lockheed to look after. Logan asks why she’s doing this. Kitty tells him it’s because she cares, and she then asks him if he’s really going through with this. Logan says he gave his word. It’s a debt of honor.
Kitty knows all about Logan and his honor, but needs a little help understanding the debt. He informs her that it’s not a debt in the sense of something owed. It’s more of an obligation. In the Japanese meaning, it’s giri.
The Princess Bar was built by Seraph, a diminutive woman but the feistiest of fallen angels. Logan hooked up with her and enjoyed himself thoroughly. Viper was a freelance back then, long before she became Madame Hydra. On one occasion, to save him, Seraph took on Sabretooth. Viper got him home. The weird thing was, Seraph insisted she be part of the caper, almost like she knew how it’d turn out.
“Seraph died?” asks Kitty. Logan pours himself a drink, and replies that she did, just like most folks who cross Sabretooth’s trail. The obligation is to her. Whatever Viper wanted - whenever she asked. “Wanna bet she told Viper to only ask for a wedding?” says Kitty, finally smiling. Logan says the thought had crossed his mind. Seraph had a wicked sense of humor. They clink glasses, and Kitty says she doesn’t think Seraph meant it as a joke. Whatever, replies Logan; at the very least they should make a lively couple.
As they share a drink, they appear in the sights of a Hydra soldier’s telescopic lens. Hydra troops are joined on a nearby rooftop by members of the Hand. One of them asks if he seeks to slay Wolverine with just a rifle. The Hydra soldier replies that Wolverine’s skeleton is no longer composed of unbreakable adamantium. Rounds of depleted uranium will crack his skull as easily as they do armor plate. The ninja tells him that, when his technology fails, the triumph of his death will fall to his greatest foes; the Hand. “Wrong,” says a voice from behind them. They turn, and see Sabretooth right next to them. “Nobody kills the runt but me! Hs disposes of them all with consummate ease.
Logan continues his tale. He informs Kitty that he was a punk when Seraph found him. He was all instincts and muscles. He showed no mercy and less brains. Seraph brought beauty and grace to Logan’s world, but her lessons had a price. She gave him free will. Before Seraph, he did what he pleased, and didn’t care about the consequences. Seraph taught him that all his actions had consequences, and she taught him how to deal with them. That defines their morality. Before meeting Seraph, he could claim a kind of innocence. Sometimes, he admits, he misses those days. As he finishes his recollections, Viper calls in and informs them that it’s time.
Logan gets ready for the ceremony. He remembers how Kitty was thirteen when she joined the X-Men. As she appears wearing a flowing dress and looking quite beautiful, Logan sees how the years have made a difference. He tells her he’s impressed and, as she takes his arm, she replies that he doesn’t look so bad himself. She asks if he wants to scandalize the natives and tie the knot themselves. Logan says it’s guaranteed to raise a ruckus, that’s for sure. It’s a tempting offer, but he’s already spoken for.
Since the death of the ruling prince of Madripoor, the island’s power rests with the various crimelords. Tyger Tiger is one of them. Kitty has tried calling her to see if she wants to attend, but with no joy. She had the same reply from the island’s other resident, Jessica Drew. They wander through the palace and Kitty remarks how nice it is. Logan informs her that it used to belong to the prince. Viper made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. They arrive at the balcony, and look out into the sunset.
Kitty gives Logan’s hand a squeeze as they start walking across the lawn, like they’re walking to his execution. Viper waits alone, still wearing all green, but now with a flowing headdress and carrying a posy of green flowers. She isn’t surprised to see Logan with company. That explains Kitty’s gown and hair. Viper knew she’d stay, and counted on the fact. Kitty’s the witness that makes the ceremony legal.
As the priest carries out the blessings, a tear edges down Kitty’s cheek. The priest pronounces them husband and wife, and says Logan may kiss the bride. As they embrace, Viper says, “You heard the man, lover, till death do us part.” Suddenly, the priest’s chest is punched through from behind, and he is tossed aside like a rag doll by Sabretooth. “My sentiments exactly,” he snarls. He punches Logan instantly, and then leaps towards Viper. He asks Logan if he thought he could take a bride and not have him kill her.
He slashes at Viper with his claws, but Kitty phases her just in time. However, she still screams. Something has caused her pain. Viper almost blacks out, as Sabretooth confronts Kitty instead. He tells her that he has no quarrel with her but, if she wants to make this her fight, he’ll oblige. He attacks her, but she outsmarts him, and trips him head over tail. Creed grins, and asks if she thinks she’s ready to tangle with the grown ups. “You figure your claws are as sharp as mine?”
Logan recovers and leaps at his old nemesis. He is quickly into berserker mode and the two of them slash away at each other like animals. As Wolverine struggles, he calls for Kitty to get Viper clear, and whatever happens, not to come back. He slashes Sabretooth across the face with all three of his claws, but he simply smiles back at him. He likes Logan’s claws. They cut almost as sharp as his adamantium blades. He asks if he misses what he used to have, as his face heals within seconds. Logan always thought his healing factor was better, but Creed’s just proved him wrong. Creed asks if he’s ever come to terms with the fact that he’s the original, and he’s just sloppy seconds.
As Kitty wraps Viper’s arm around her shoulder and leads her away, Creed tells her not to go too far. As soon as he’s finished with the runt, it’ll be their turn. Kitty asks Viper what’s wrong. Viper says, through gritted teeth, that she can hardly walk or think. She feels like her body has been twisted inside out. “What did that monster do to me?”
Sabretooth and Wolverine continue their vicious dogfight. The first time they fought, Sabretooth left Wolverine for dead. Pretty much every year after that, on Logan’s birthday, he’s put his mark on him. When Wolverine looks at Creed, he sees the darkest side of himself; an elemental ferocity cast in a semblance of humanity. His whole life has been a struggle to transcend his nature, but Sabretooth embraces it. The world’s a much simpler place for him.
They parry and dodge, and use all their experience to try and gain an advantage over the other. Logan feels Creed’s skills are those of a barroom brawler. Like his namesake, he depends on his instincts, which for combat are superb. This is coupled with phenomenal speed and strength, and a will as indomitable as Wolverine’s own. Logan’s instincts are honed and tempered by learning from the best. When Creed cuts him, he cuts Creed deeper. When he hits, he hits Creed harder. They give and take wounds that would have killed a dozen lesser men, and Sabretooth gets the worse of it. Their primal battle continues unabated.
Kitty has gotten Viper to safety, but returns to the scene, knowing that Logan’ll have her hide for this. She is concerned that there is something odd about this duel; the way Sabretooth’s fighting. Wolverine doesn’t seem able to see it. Sabretooth’s rolling with the punches and taking solid shots to the body, but none to the head; nothing that involves bone hitting bone. But why? she asks herself. She remembers how Sabretooth slashed her once before when she was phasing, but always without ill effects. Tonight, with Viper, it was different. The sensations she described… Kitty has felt them before. Her mind is cast back to shortly after she entered Xavier’s school and joined the X-Men. It was a training session in the Danger Room. It was the first time she faced Wolverine. His claws were artificial then.
She looks down at the battleground and sees that the water they were fighting in has gone still. Blood rises to the surface, and she nervously awaits the victor. Thankfully, out into the moonlight steps Wolverine, dragging Sabretooth’s body out with him. “Oh ye of little faith, pun’kin,” he says. Kitty’s nervousness, however, doesn’t dissipate. She knows she should be cheering, but why does she suddenly feel so scared? She recalls the first time she phased through Wolverine’s attack, way back. Even though she phased, the molecular structure of his claws was so dense she was still affected. There was no lasting damage, but she had felt like she wanted to die… just like Viper felt tonight.
Kitty suddenly screams out to Wolverine, Sabretooth isn’t beaten. It’s a trick!” The hulking Sabretooth stands up and Wolverine turns to look him in the eye. “Surprise runt. Didja really think it was gonna be this easy?” Wolverine wants to see how he survives a strike to the throat and another to the heart. He swings at Creed, but the big guy grabs his bone claws in his fist. Before Wolverine can disengage, Sabretooth clenches his fist and Wolverine’s bones snap into a dozen pieces. Creed grins, and informs Wolverine that there’s been some changes since last they met.
Kitty calls to Logan, telling him that Sabretooth’s claws are made of adamantium. Standing at the top of an almost vertical cliff, Creed adds that his skeleton is also laced with the stuff. He swings at Logan’s face and draws blood. As he snaps Logan’s other claws, he tells him that before, the adamantium gave Logan the illusion that they were equals. Those days are gone. Now, they ain’t even close. If Logan hits him, he’ll only hurt himself. Creed once again slashes at Logan’s face and then punches him with his adamantium-laced fist. Wolverine goes down.
He approaches Logan and delivers another vicious blow. He then grabs the X-man and lifts him, preparing to rip Wolverine’s face off with his claws. “I’m the king of the world!” he exclaims. Suddenly, Kitty Pryde appears, phasing through Sabretooth and pushing Logan away from him. Logan staggers backwards towards the cliff’s edge, as Sabretooth asks Kitty what gives. Does she figure on using all her nine lives at once? He takes a swipe at her and manages to rip her dress. Actual physical contact. “Forgotten how to phase?” he asks.
Wolverine’s momentum takes him to the cliff’s edge, and he tumbles over, helpless to stop himself from taking the drop. As he falls, Sabretooth looks down at Kitty Pryde. Her dress is in tatters and she’s in great pain from phasing through his adamantium. Creed taunts her. He says she may have saved Wolverine, but asks who’s gonna save her now? Kitty replies that it doesn’t matter. Her choice, her risk. Whatever happens, she knows Logan will avenge her. Creed stretches back his claws, preparing to strike. “That’ll be the day!”