Takes place 2 years after Apocalypse, 1 year after the Phoenix. The mutant problem has grown and a obscure general named William Stryker thinks he has a solution. Has Scott/Jean, Wanda/Kurt, Kitty/...
Chapter 24: Getting to Know You
The underground base nestled safely in the vast Canadian wilderness fell silent once again most of the inhabitance turned in for the night. While Scott and Jean remained hard at work on the computers downstairs, Logan remained upstairs checking each and every room and making sure that he knew where everybody was. Even though this base seemed safe enough for most people, that's exactly what they had all thought about the mansion at one point. As he closed the door on Kitty's room, Logan let out a deep sigh. So many of the kids were dead now and so few remained. The pictures he saw...The images that had been forcibly burned into his mind...They were just too much to handle.
"Man...I need some air," grunted Logan, knowing that there was no way he was going to be able to sleep tonight with so much happening in such a short period of time.
Logan soon found himself raiding the food storage area and grabbed himself a six pack of beer. He then made his way towards the elevator and ascended towards the surface where the night sky was mostly clear except for a few scattered clouds. However, Logan had been so lost in his current state of mind that he didn't notice someone else follow him. Apparently, he wasn't the only one having problems sleeping...Mystique remained in a perpetual state of awareness as she had since even before the attacks.
"I wonder where he's going at this time of night?" she said to herself as she reluctantly followed him.
Logan hadn't been very happy to see her when he first arrived several hours ago...Not that she could blame him. She did once blow up the mansion, try to kill Scott, and ordered the Brotherhood to attack the X-men on numerous occasions. However, if she was going to keep living with her new friends and stay apart of her son's life, she would have to cope with Logan's presence. They had all urged her to just give him some time and get to know the guy and eventually he'll come around, but given his stubborn nature that was easier said than done. However, Raven didn't want to be looking over her shoulder every five seconds now that he was here so she might as well bite the bullet and at least try to talk to the guy who would rather see her impaled than living around the last of the students he had vowed to protect.
As she made her way up, Mystique wondered what it was that made the Wolverine the way he was. Since she joined up with the kids and learned more about them, she had come to see that there are always reasons for people being the way they are, herself included. She had learned why Scott was Scott, why Jean was Jean, and so on. But would she be able to find out why Logan was....Well, Logan? There was only one way to find out.
Mystique found the Wolverine sitting casually on a large rock overlooking the lake with the six pack of beer he had brought with him by his side. He had opened up the first can and was already close to being done with it. It was clear that he wanted to forget somehow...Even if it was just for a moment. It was ironic because for so many years he had been doing all he could to try and remember his past...Now he was trying so hard just to forget those pictures, those faces, those innocent kids that he had failed to protect.
Then, as Logan continued to sulk in his on personal world of failure, he sniffed the air and quickly identified a new presence.
"Relax...It's just me Logan," said Raven as she saw him abruptly turn his head.
Part of him wanted to unleash his claws and attack, but he remembered what Kurt had said to him and he managed to restrain himself. Like it or not...She was still Kurt's mother and even if he wanted to, there was no way he could possibly hurt her and not hurt Kurt in the process...And hurting what few students that remained was the last thing he wanted.
"What do you want Mystique?" grunted Logan as he shifted his gaze away from her and back towards the lake.
"What makes you think I want anything?" responded the shape shifter, "You think you're the only one who craves fresh air? And please don't call me that...Call me Raven."
This just caused Logan to let out another exasperated grunt as he kept to himself, still not at all liking the shape shifter's presence near him or the kids.
Mystique then proceeded to sit on the rock next to him and grabbed one of the beers from the six pack, causing Logan to chuckle somewhat.
"What? I can't enjoy a good beer too?" said Raven as she opened the can and began drinking.
"No I just never figured you to be much of a drinker," said Logan, taking in what he found to be a rather humorous sight.
"Well obviously you didn't know me in my younger years."
"Something tells me I'd rather not know that either way," cringed Logan.
"Well despite what you may think...I do have a human side to me," said Mystique, "Even if I haven't shown it that much in all the years you've known me."
Logan didn't say anything after that. His focus went back to the lake and to the beer in his hand. He couldn't believe he was doing this...Sitting on a rock by a lake sharing a case of beer with Mystique of all people. For all he knew, she was still an enemy...But from the way that the rest of the kids acted around her, something had definitely changed. However, he thought little of it and remained stubborn in his stance on Mystique.
"Why are you here?" asked Logan, finally breaking the silence.
Raven looked back over at the grumpy mutant sitting beside her.
"Why not?" she answered.
"There are plenty of other places to get some fresh air and drink a beer," responded Logan, "Why choose this spot right next to me?"
"Because..." but Mystique soon found herself trail off, not ever answering Logan's question.
"Because why?" asked Logan, sounding ever more frustrated.
Obviously, this was going to be a lot harder than she had hoped. Mystique had taken it upon herself to get to know her former enemies after her arrival and they had been accepting for the most part despite initial weariness. But Logan, on the other hand, was being a bit ruder than she would have liked.
"Look Logan..." began Mystique, also sounding as though she was getting rather frustrated, "You don't like me...That much I can ascertain. But like it or not, I'm here and I have no intention of leaving. My new friends are here..."
"New friends?" said Logan somewhat skeptically.
"Yes...Friends," answered Mystique sternly, "Scott, Jean, Kitty, Alex, and Peter are my new friends. The Maximoff twins are also my friends. They took the time to get to know me and I took the time to get to know them. And need I remind you, my son is here and I am NOT leaving him again. So deal with it!"
"Hey, don't get mad at me lady!" said Logan in a raised tone of voice, "And don't tell me to deal with it! Just because yer here, it doesn't mean I have to like you!"
Mystique did not come here to anger Wolverine. She knew that wouldn't make things any better. So she forced herself to lower her voice and tried to keep this from erupting into an all out brawl.
"I know...And I don't expect you to like me Logan. I don't expect anybody here to like me...But I'm here and I'm not leaving. We don't have to like one another...But as long as were stuck here we will have to learn to respect one another."
Logan once again let out a frustrated growl. It was true that if she was going to stay, much to his dismay, he would have to learn to be around her and not fight her. But after all the crap she put the X-men through over the years, she knew that would be rather hard to accomplish.
"So then answer my initial question if you want to learn to respect me...Why did you choose to sit next to me when there are plenty of other places out there with better views to get your precious fresh air?"
Mystique had to give Kitty and the others credit...For they weren't lying when they described Logan's innate stubbornness. But she knew if she was ever going to get this man to trust her, she would have to trust him first. Opening up to a bunch of kids was one thing...But a guy who would waste no time in separating her head from her body was a completely different story. So...She was forced to improvise as best she could.
"Well...Believe it or not Logan...Even I crave human contact every now and then."
"And of all the people here, you chose me," scoffed Logan, not completely satisfied with her answer as he took the empty beer can and crushed it against his adamantium skull.
Mystique rolled her eyes and diverted her attention out to the lake. The water was smooth...The reflection of the moon could clearly be seen...And Raven Darkholm looked deeply into her reflection as she finished the last sips of her beer. She still saw so many things she didn't like about herself whenever she looked at her reflection. But at the same time, she looked off to the side of her and looked at Logan's rather obscured reflection next to her. The look on his face...The one he had been doing such a good job at hiding ever since he got here showed through the reflection. As frustrated as she was with Logan, she still remembered that the kids still adored him and looked up to him. And in remembering those words, Mystique couldn't help but grow curious as to why they saw him like this when by all accounts he looked like a bitter, wild, uncontrolled man.
"Well...You are the only other one besides Scott and Jean that is still awake and those two are still busy on the third level with the computers. And I've lost all ability to sleep, so my choices are rather limited."
"But still...That ain't a valid answer to the question...Why?" said Logan as he opened up another beer.
"Because..." said Mystique taking a deep breath, "I want to get to know you."
Logan almost spit up his beer upon hearing that as he looked back at the shape shifter with utter bewilderment in his eyes. Those were the last words he had expected from this woman who had once blown up the mansion. It left the Wolverine in a mixed state of confusion and skepticism.
"You...Want to get to know ME?" repeated Logan, making sure that he had heard her right.
"Yes..." said Raven simply, now feeling somewhat awkward over Logan's reaction.
"Why? You never bothered to get to know anybody, me or the students, before hand? Why now?"
"Things are different now Logan. A lot has changed since the last time you saw me. Two years is quite a while last time I checked," answered Raven.
"I find that hard to believe..." quipped the Wolverine as he went back to drinking his beer.
"Believe what you want Logan, it's the truth. I am not the same woman you knew back then. I have undergone some rather...Difficult phases since Apocalypse. And as you have probably already noticed...So did Magneto."
Logan considered that for a moment as he remembered Magneto's demeanor after he saved him and the Professor back in Washington. The man had arrived wearing an X-men uniform, he didn't have the special helmet he usually wore to keep the Professor and his psychic probes out, and he didn't kill any of the guards as he would have though he would. Not to mention the fact that Magneto had stayed true to his word in brining him back to the kids. But that was one thing...Mystique was another. At least that's what logic told him.
"You have no idea what I saw and felt while I was under that madman's control..." continued Mystique, sounding somewhat haunted by the memory, "Every deed I had done...Every agonizing emotion I had suppressed...It all came crashing back to me amplified a thousand fold. I don't think there was any difference between mental pain and physical pain in the dark prison I was stuck in all that time. Every last painful memory and emotion all played again and again...Each time worse than the last. Imagine for just one second, seeing everything you hate about yourself and feeling how everybody around you feels about you every time you close your eyes. Imagine being forced to look at yourself and see nothing left of the person you once were...And only seeing in its place...A monster."
Logan's sensitive hearing could hear the shape shifter's voice crack under the recollection of her experience with Apocalypse two years ago. It was as if the memories were actually causing her physical pain. But she wasn't done yet...
"Since then I haven't slept one wink of sleep or gone more than a few nanoseconds without thinking about what I saw during that time. Then...Add to that...Rogue. And it just...You could never understand what its like! You could never even begin to ascertain how much it hurts to see yourself as a monster with every waking moment!"
Mystique merely threw her empty can of beer of to the side as she forced herself to stop talking or risk completely breaking down before this man. Logan could smell the salty scent of tears threatening to form in the blue woman's eyes...Something he never would have suspected from this woman. Mystique...Crying...It was something that Logan almost refused to believe. Yet he knew his senses weren't lying to him. But Mystique did leave out one important thing in her dramatic account...Logan did understand somewhat how she felt.
"You'd be surprised Raven..." responded Logan, fixing his gaze back on to the lake, "Like you mentioned before...You don't know me. You don't know about my past or where I've come from...Hell, even I don't know all the facts. But I already know more than I want to."
"What are you getting at?" said Mystique, somewhat bitterly, "If you don't even remember, how can you possibly understand?"
"I can understand from what I do remember...Which ain't much, but it's still a lot to handle," quipped Logan, "You probably think I'm still and animal...And you'd be half right. I am part animal. But that ain't all...I'm also part weapon. I was made to do one thing and one thing only...Kill."
Logan then opened up another beer as he saw that he had Mystique's full attention. Why he was telling her this, he did not know...But he went on for some reason...Not so much for her, but for himself.
"I was supposed to be the ultimate weapon against mutants. I was supposed to be weapon X. But somewhere along the line...Something happened. And whoever tried to make me that way...Failed. My memories were erased...My past...Gone. Nothing was left except the animal within that couldn't be contained. Some people still call me an animal...Others still call me a monster...So don't ever think I don't know what it's like to feel like a monster."
"But at least you managed to accept that about yourself and managed to gain the kind of life I could only dream of."
"What kind of life is that?" scoffed Logan.
Mystique opened another beer and more or less gave up letting herself get frustrated by Logan's attitude. From what the others had told her about him, they weren't lying when they said he was stubborn. But they never really told her that he was to this extent.
"I've had a lot of time to get to know the kids recently and they've told me quite a bit about you," said Mystique as she took a light sip of her beer, "You say you're still a monster and some people still call you that. Yet the kids at the institute adored you. They relied on you and respected you...And some even came to view you as a father figure or as Kitty so affectionately called you 'everybody's uncle.'"
"Half pint said that?" said Logan who couldn't help but laugh, "Why am I not surprised?"
"Everybody seems to look up to you. Scott and Jean told me how you raised them since they were twelve. Kurt told me how you helped him with his agility. For all your struggles with the animal you say you are, you still manage to remain human enough for a bunch of mutant teenagers to look up to you and turn to you in their time of need."
Talking about the kids somewhat soured Logan's mood because it reminded him of how he failed them and how most of them were dead now because he wasn't there to protect them. But in hearing Mystique's words, Logan felt a little better in remembering how he managed to set the animal he was aside and gain the trust and adulation of a bunch of children. But Mystique wasn't done yet.
"I have children of my own, yet I never even managed to do half the things you did for them. All because I was just an angry, bitter woman who blamed her problems on everybody but herself. Now I'm stuck not knowing what could have been if I had just opened my eyes a lot sooner and saw thing for what they truly were. In the end...It took Apocalypse's torture forced me to see that. I've been living in my own nightmare ever since."
Logan wasn't usually one for sympathy, especially not to somebody like Mystique. But his sensitive ears could hear the strain in her voice...As if she truly was a completely different woman. It had taken him a while to fully process that, but given her deceptive nature it was somewhat more of a knee jerk reaction more than anything else. Yet the more he talked with her, the less 'Mystique' she sounded.
"You really have been messed up, haven't you Mystique?" commented Logan.
"I told you...Don't call me that," replied the shape shifter with a renewed feeling of anger as she heard that name, "Mystique is dead. I'm just Raven Darkholm now."
"Sorry..." said Logan, not expecting that reaction.
It was strange, for when she heard that name she almost sounded as though she hated it as much as Logan did.
"Don't be..." said Raven as she quickly pulled herself out of her angry reaction and sank back into her state of self pity, "I can tell you hate Mystique. I do to. That part of me...That bitter, angry part that pushed me to cause so much damage and hurt so many people is something I'll always have to live with no matter how much it hurts."
"Yeah...I know all about having a bad side. I have a pretty good idea of where you're coming from," said Logan, who was gradually beginning to see what Raven was getting at.
Mystique then went silent for a minute as she finished the last few sips of her beer. It was remarkable how nothing would have stopped Logan from killing her no less than an hour ago, yet now here he was sharing a beer with her and talking to her as if she were some stranger that sat next to her in a bar. But still...She could tell he was still apprehensive towards her and she desperately wanted to change that. She felt that if she could change Logan's dogmatic views about her, then she could do it for anyone. And she felt that would be best accomplished in only one way.
"For what it's worth Logan...I'm sorry for everything I've put you through. And I'm sorry for everything I've put your friends through."
Logan then looked back over towards the yellow eyed shape shifter with a look of surprise. Had this woman who had done so much to the X-men just apologized? Had she just acknowledged her wrongdoings to HIM? He never would have believed it even in his lifetime...Yet he had heard it with his own ears.
"I know it's a little late now but..." Mystique soon found herself trail off once more as she found herself unable to formulate the words she wanted to.
"Hey...Better late then never," quipped Logan with a wolfish grin.
That got Mystique to smile as well as she finally felt accepted into his company despite his initial apprehension. A strange feeling of accomplishment soon fell over her as considered how impossible what she had done once seemed. Maybe some things aren't impossible...Just improbable. If that was the case here, then why not with Xavier's dream? Mystique couldn't help but ponder that question as she reflected on what she had just accomplished with Logan.
"So what now?" asked Logan, "What do you plan to do if ya really have admitted to being wrong all these years?"
"I was hoping I could start over," said Mystique as she looked up at the sky, then towards Logan, "I want to begin anew with a clean slate...Not just with my son, not just with you, but with everybody. I don't want to fall into my old habits of changing into some stranger and stealing bits and pieces of other peoples' lives. I want to live my own life for a change. I want to look in the mirror and not see somebody I'm not. Even though things seem really bad as they are now...I don't want to waste any more time. I want to finally start doing the right thing and make up for all those lost years. I just want to be who I truly am from now on..."
"And is this who you truly are?" he said referring to how she was talking to him now.
Mystique stopped for a moment and thought about that. She soon found herself looking back at her reflection. She wasn't in the shape of anybody different...She looked just as she had the day she was born. This was her natural look and she wasn't hiding from it. This was her natural character and she wasn't hiding from it either. Through this, Raven Darkholm felt she had her answer.
"I think it's closer than the old me...That's for sure. Or would you actually prefer the old me?" joked the shape shifter.
"You mean the old you that would only blow up the mansion again if it wasn't already destroyed? I think I can safely say no," answered Logan, as he took the last beer from the case and opened it.
They sat in silence again and simply listened to the crickets chirp in the woods around them. The cool Canadian air swept over the area and caused ripples on the lake that broke up the reflection of the two former enemies. Raven didn't know if this was some kind of sign by some divine force...But it helped put things in perspective for her and signified the destruction of an old life and the start of a new one that had been two years in the making.
"I just wish there was more I could do," mused Mystique once again.
Logan took another sip and looked back at the woman next to him, finally beginning to see Raven Darkholm for a change...And not Mystique.
"Part of starting over isn't about doing things concerning the past. If that's how I did things...I'd still be at it and I never would have joined the institute. Repenting doesn't make you forget...Trust me on that one. Starting over is more of a personal journey. How hard it is depends on the person though. And if you really want to start over, you'll just have work on that because living in the past doesn't always improve the present."
"So how should I go about it?" asked Raven, now looking to Wolverine for answers...Something she never thought she would do. Then again, she had thought the same thing with Scott a mere two weeks ago.
"That...I don't have the answers for," said Logan, "Only you know how, so I can't tell you myself. But take it from me...Somebody who's had to start over before. It's all how you see the present...Not how you repent for the past."
Raven thought about that for a moment...And it made sense. Ever since she had returned, she had been obsessed with finding some way to make it up to the others she had hurt. In many ways, that was the one thing driving her conscious mad because she kept looking to events that had already happened and could not be changed. It was the present that was the key...Not the past. Logan seemed to understand that...And now Raven seemed to get that as well. It was strange, but it seemed believable coming from a man like Logan...Whom had been down similar paths as that of Mystique. Enemies or not...They had faced similar tribulations. And now, here they were...Stuck together by some strange twist of fate. But now...It didn't seem so bad for either of them.
"I'll take your word for it..." said Raven as she managed a smile towards Logan, "At least one of us has a clear head when it comes down to it."
"I don't think it has anything to do with clarity," chuckled Logan, "Some just learn slower than others."
"Tell me about it...But, as you say, better late than never."
Logan couldn't believe it. He was actually enjoying Mystique's company. He and one of the X-men's most notorious enemies had just shared a six pack of beer and talked as though they had just met. It was strange...But at the same time, Logan was relieved that he had one less person to fight in his life.
"I know it sounds crazy Logan...But you and I really aren't all that different when you get right down to it. We've just taken different paths in life. You chose one way...I chose another. I know we were enemies and all...But you were forced to control the animal within and I was forced to control the angry, bitter part of my character. We've both done things we've deeply regretted...Yet we're both willing to atone for them. I guess I just went a different route then you did in the end and it's led us both to this point."
"Yeah...And here we are. Funny how things work themselves out in the end," admitted Logan, unable to deny the truth in Raven's words.
"Indeed," said Raven as she looked back at the burly mutant, "Maybe you could help me...And in turn I could make up for what I've done to you and the others. I don't expect you or the kids to adore me or completely forget about what I've done...But maybe we could do what we both have struggled to do our whole lives...Start over. Not as enemies...But perhaps...As friends."
Friends with Mystique? It took a moment for Logan to consider that as he thought about everything that had just happened in this fateful conversation with the shape shifter. Had she really changed that much? Every sense told him so, yet the old unavoidable suspicions still lingered. Then...He found himself looking back into her dark yellow eyes. There was almost a look of yearning...A look of hope...A look that seemed to be reaching out for something to believe in. It was not something that could be faked even by a shape shifter. As much as part of him denied it, he and Mystique were a lot alike in many ways. He had been unable to take control of himself alone...And it was clear that Mystique couldn't do it either. Perhaps he could help her...And maybe they could be friends.
"Friends?" he asked, taking another deep breath, "Sure...I'll try."
"That's all I want Logan...And I promise, I'll try too," assured Mystique as Logan threw the last beer can off to the side and both mutants turned their gaze back towards the lake.
Mystique now felt a lot better, not to mention safer, that she had taken the time to learn about Wolverine. Kitty had been right about him being rough around the edges...But she had also been right about him having a heart. He had already shown to her that he was capable of compassion and she had in turn showed him she capable as well. Maybe it wouldn't happen overnight, but Raven hoped that one day she could be friends with this man. It would be nice to have someone who had faced similar problems as her.
They both continued to sit in silence. There was no more beer left so they merely watched the ripples form on the lake from the cool Canadian breeze. Logan felt himself cringe at the feeling of wind because of how much it reminded him of Ororo. But not being alone helped as much as he hated to admit it. Of all the pictures he had seen, none had been harder to take than that of Ororo's. Now, every time he closed his eyes...He could see her face...Frozen in time. He still blamed himself for urging her to stay behind while he accompanied Xavier to Washington. If he hadn't...Then maybe she would still be alive. And after seeing her dead body in the photo...It destroyed some of the resolve that Logan once fostered for the Professor's dream. Now, he was just so unsure about everything. It was the first time he started to consider that the Professor was wrong. As much as he tried to shun that thought, he couldn't escape the gaping wound in his heart for not saying the things he should have said to his best friend before she died.
Mystique seemed to pick up on his solemn disposition. With no more beer left, he was stuck to think about it all over again. The shape shifter could tell that there was something else. She could tell by the hallow look on his face that she knew too well.
"Is something wrong Logan?" asked Raven, not able to stand the silence anymore.
"No..." he said flatly.
Exactly the response Raven had expected. But maybe...There were other ways to get him to open up. There was one last question that Mystique for her former enemy before she could lay this attempt at reconciliation to rest. And perhaps one question could give her more than one answer. Either way, her curiosity was getting the better of her for every bit more she learned about this mysterious man.
"Fine, be like that," said Raven, looking as though she dropped it, "But may I ask you one last question?"
Logan, seemingly eager for a distraction, didn't seem to care. If he was ever going to trust this woman, he knew would have to chance it. But for the most part, he just wanted something to help him forget even if it was only for a brief moment.
"What made you go with Xavier? I mean, how could an angry, confused, misguided man like yourself who was manipulated to be a weapon end up choosing such a drastically different path than the one I chose?"
It was somewhat profound of her to be asking him this, but in some ways...It had been the right thing to say. Now more than ever, Logan needed to remind himself why he was still fighting for Xavier's ideals.
"For a lot of reasons..." he answered simply.
"How so?" quipped Raven, who desired a more specific answer.
"As similar as you say we are...We still come from different worlds Raven. The way I think compared to the way you think is still different. It's that level of thought that I believe drove me to follow Xavier."
"And what exactly is that type of thought? I mean its clear your no weapon. It's clear that whoever tried to make you into one failed. And I just want to know how you managed to do that? Where do you get the strength?" said Mystique, now more curious than ever.
"You sure you wanna know?" replied Logan, sounding somewhat exasperated at the promise of going over the whole thing in his mind again.
"Positive...I must know what it is that you have that I seem to lack."
Logan took a deep breath, for he knew that what he was about to say wasn't going to be easy.
"From what I remember...All my life I was never afraid of anything. From World War II to weapon X, nothing scared me, not even death. The simple notion of dying didn't scare me in the slightest. If I died...Hell, that was okay with me. But even though I was always arrogant...I also had a strong sense of right and wrong. I knew that there were things I just couldn't do because that's just not a part of me. As much an animal I am...I never was able to forget my human side. But I always struggled with it...And that's when Xavier came into the picture."
Logan then remembered the vivid images in his head that fateful day the Professor found him in the snowy wilderness in Canada. As fuzzy as the rest of his memory was, that one memory stood out clearer than any other...But for more reasons than he was leading onto at the moment.
"When the Prof found me...I was downright wild. I was living in the woods like an animal, hunting for food, sleeping wherever I could. But thanks to his powers, he managed to help bring the human out in me and offered me something I never thought I would have again...A second chance...A new beginning. At first I didn't think too much of it when I heard his ideals...But I guess that whole right and wrong thing caught up with me. So I was kind of just a tag along, not really believing in his ideas...Just using it as an excuse to be human again. But...Pretty soon...I found another reason to join the institute."
"And what reason would that be?"
Logan once again struggled. This next part would be the hardest to tell...Especially now that so much had changed within the past few weeks. He wanted to just stop right then and there...But he soon found himself talking once more...Saying something he'd never thought he'd say.
"When I joined the institute...I still had that fearlessness and arrogance that kept part animal inside. But then...Something came along that...Made me fear death again. Something came along that made me want to live. That something...Was someone."
"Oh...I see now," said Raven, who was beginning to get where this was going.
"Yeah...I know it sounds strange coming from the big bad Wolverine...But it's the truth. In the end...It was a beautiful...Kind...Caring young woman that made me want to live to see the next day. She made me want to survive every day just to wake up in the morning and see her face. She was...Ororo Munroe. And I guess...She's kind of the real reason why I went down the path I chose."
"Storm? She was that girl?" said Mystique with a great deal of shock in her tone, never once ever picturing such a thing before.
"Yeah...She was the one. She was the first person that ever looked at me...And saw past the animal. Every time she looked at me...She only saw the person. She saw Logan...Not the Wolverine. She was the first person I ever truly considered as a real friend. She helped me realize that life had so many things to experience...And there was so much worth living for. She helped me work with the kids, raise them, teach them...She helped take the raging, bloodthirsty animal within me...And turned it into a man."
The strain in Logan's voice grew harder with every word he spoke of her. He had never been so close to just plain breaking down. Those early memories of Ororo and everything she and Xavier helped him do for himself...Those were the memories that he wanted to treasure no matter how long he lived. But the more he thought about it...The more it hurt. Because now Ororo was dead...And he will never see her...His first true friend...Ever again.
"Were you in love with her?" asked Raven, noticing the struggle he was obviously going through.
That only caused the lump in his throat to get bigger, but never the less he locked it all away...Unable to truly let it all out. But never the less, he managed to let some it out.
"I guess I'll never know..." said Logan distantly, now feeling worse than ever that he'll never get a chance to see what could have been with the woman that had saved his soul, "Bein' an animal and a weapon...I never really was keen on emotions. But Ororo just made me feel things I never felt before...Things that I wanted to hold onto...Things that made me forget about where I came from. I think it was for that reason...I finally started to fear death. The notion of dying actually began to scare me...Because it would mean that I wouldn't be able to see her again. But...It really doesn't matter now. Ororo's dead. She was the most caring creature on the face of this planet. She cared for everybody...She always helped people in need. She...She truly didn't deserve to die."
Raven could see the pain burning in the Wolverine's eyes as he talked about this woman. Mystique never had known Storm, but from the looks of it she had really had an impact on Logan. The sheer fact that she was gone and never coming back was causing so much pain for this man, who by all accounts should be numb to such emotion because of his stubborn, tough-guy nature. Yet here he was...Drowning in remorse and sorrow for his first true friend. Mystique didn't know what to do...But she soon found herself placing a hand on his strong shoulder.
"Nobody deserved to die in those attacks...Nobody," she said in a soft tone, "I'm sorry she's gone...It's obvious that you really did care about her."
Logan never thought he would live to see the day when Mystique would actually try to comfort him in such a state. Yet from what he could feel from her hand, it was meant to be a gesture of sympathy...Something nobody could ever fake.
"But that's not the worst part Raven..." continued Logan even though he found it hard enough to keep it to himself at this point, "The worst part is...I don't think I ever so much as thanked her for everything she did for me. I don't think I ever just walked up to her...And told her how much she meant to me...How much she changed my life. And it was all because I was just too stubborn, too stupid, and too thick headed to do it. I always had to be 'Wolverine,' the big tough guy that wasn't supposed to be too emotional. But now...I'll never get that chance. She'll never know how I felt about her...And I'll never know if we could have had something."
With every word he said...More painful memories of those grizzly pictures came to mind and flashed before him. It was almost as if it was punishment for his arrogance. He had been too stubborn to admit it...And now he was paying for it with his own anguish.
Raven could see his suffering so clearly. It was a pain that even she was not familiar with and she knew she couldn't even begin to understand how he felt. But at the same time...It helped her see this man in a new light. It helped her make sense out of why he was the way he was and how he managed to work through the problems that she couldn't. It helped the shape shifter feel for the broken man sitting next to her.
"Logan...If you do love her like you say you do...Then trust me, she knows...Wherever she may be. She knows."
Those words did help...Even though Logan was stubborn to admit it. Wherever his weather goddess is now...She's probably in a much better place than this horrible, tortured world that he was stuck in without her. But it didn't change that fact that she was gone and would never get a chance to say what he wanted to her face. He only hoped that a part of her lived on within the elements...And that wherever she was, she was happy. Logan finally went silent once more...Not having the strength to say anymore.
"I'll leave now..." said the shape shifter as she removed her hand and stood up, "It was nice talking to you Logan."
There was a brief pause in Logan's demeanor...But in the end, he felt as though a weight had been lifted off his shoulders by telling somebody this. For all their fighting and bitter rivalry...Mystique seemed to understand. And for that, he was grateful.
"Nice talkin' to you..."
Raven was about to leave...When suddenly, a strange noise caught his sensitive ear and he shot up from his sitting position. Upon seeing this, Raven's instincts on danger kicked in and she started to grow concerned.
Wolverine then proceeded to sniff the air...And an old, familiar scent soon filled his head and a new look of surprise came over him.
"It can't be...Here?" he said to himself as he began to trace the scent in the direction off to his left.
"What is it? What do you sense?" asked Raven urgently, scanning the area around her.
"She's here...I can't believe it, but she's here! I know that smell. It's her."
"Who?!" asked the shape shifter as she watched Logan start to head out into the woods.
Not understanding what this meant, Raven soon followed him into the trees. But unknown to either of them...They were already being watched.
AN: Well, that's it for now! I know this chapter didn't have a lot of action and it was just Mystique and Wolverine talking, but I really wanted to add a little drama and what better way to do that than have two former enemies come together? I really wanted to go into Mystique making amends with Logan because they are somewhat similar when you look at them. Not to mention, I wanted to add a little Loro angst as well. But what do you think of this whole Logan/Mystique bonding? Did you like it? Would you be willing to read more of it? Please tell me! Send me your reviews via email or post them on the fanfiction website! There's plenty more to come with X23 finally making her presence known! So stay tuned! Thanks for reading my story and I wish you all the best!
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