The Last Toast by Azurine


"This is what he does." Logan POV. Ultimateverse.

Ultimate X-Men #41. And this story will probably make very little sense if you have not read it.

To a green IBM 3.5" floppy disk, for saving this story from the black hole of a crashed hard drive.

I wrote this the same day I read UXM #41, and then thought I lost it in a computer crash. But lucky me, I'd saved it to a disk, which I accidentally discovered yesterday. I made one small addition based on information in UXM #42—that this took place in South Carolina. The title comes from "The Last Toast" by Anna Akhmatova.

Date Completed July 13th, 2004.

This is what he does.

He sits in a dainty chair in Xavier's office. He stares at Xavier's tie and gets his instructions, and wonders why he isn't more surprised by what he's being asked to do.

He takes the piece of paper Xavier slides across the desk, the one with the boy's name and the coordinates he'll need to find him. In his room, he finds a pencil and adds everything Xavier told him about the kid's mutation, in case the boy wants to know.

In case he gives him a chance to ask.

This is what he does.

He stands next to the little pile of rocks that passes for a cave, feeling the familiar itch under his skin that tells him his healing factor's in overdrive. He can smell whatever it is the kid's giving off, the thing that kills people. It tastes like burnt tinfoil on the back of his tongue.

Mostly, he smells fear and confusion, and dried tears.

This is what he does.

He tries not to look at the kid, because he reminds him a little too much of Bobby. He's an almost-Bobby; not quite as lucky.

He knows who the X-Men are, and the look on his face says he probably has a poster or two of them on his wall. He wants to be rescued, he wants to be an X-Man, he wants just about anything except what he's going to get.

He thinks they sent Logan because he heals.

He's half-right.

The kid says, "I can't live like this."

This is what he does.

He says, "I know."

And the kid realizes they did send Logan because he heals.

But also because he kills.

He takes it so well, Logan can barely stand it.

This is what he does.

He gives him a beer and reads what he wrote down on the piece of paper.

He tries not to think about all the things this almost-Bobby boy will never know. How to drive. How bad a hangover can be. What the inside of a woman feels like.

He tries to think about three hundred other innocents dead, and the protestors outside the mansion who never seem to go away.

"God hates mutants!" they scream.

On days like this, Logan thinks they're right.

This is what he does.

He sits with him and they drink beer after beer and Logan lets him talk. Lets him tell him about his life and his family and his plans for the future. All the things that evaporated at his feet less than twenty-four hours ago.

It's near dawn when the kid starts to cry again, and Logan puts his arm around him and lets him sob into his jacket for a few minutes. Then he squeezes his shoulder, and lets his fingers glide up the curve of his almost-Bobby neck.

The bones snap like matchsticks, and when the boy slumps to the ground, Logan's hands are wet with his tears.

This is what he does.

He stands next to the rocks and watches the sun come up over South Carolina, and thinks about what will happen when he gets back to New York.

No one else will know what he did while he was gone, and this will be just another one of Logan's absences.

Westchester is a long way from Weapon X, but he's still a death sentence on two legs, and he still belongs to a rich man in a suit who gets to decide who lives and who dies.

Sooner or later there will be another five-minute meeting and another piece of paper, and someone else's life will end because it's become inconvenient.

He'll stare at Xavier's tie and take the piece of paper, and it'll be just another one of Logan's absences.

Because this is what he does.

The End

The Last Toast (3)
(From "The Break")
by Anna Akhmatova

I drink to home, that is lost,
To evil life of mine,
To loneness in which we’re both,
And to your future, fine, --

To lips by which I was betrayed,
To eyes that deathly cold,
To that that the world is bad and that
We were not saved by God.

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