Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Wolverine, Beast
Challenge/Prompt: fffc s61: Brick
Warning(s): Spoilers, Cannon Character Deaths
Word Count: 1,389
Date Written: 25 November 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Marvel Comics and Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
His old, calloused hands tried to be graceful as he laid the brick into place. He’d sent the workers on an impromptu break when he’d seen the area they were building, the place that was ready for its next brick. He’d planned this carefully, ever so carefully so that this particular brick lay in the exact center of the outer wall of where his office would be, where Charles’ office had once been. Tears stung his eyes, but he didn’t let them fall. Instead he growled and reached for the bucket of mortar mix. Dipping his brush into the thick mixture of sand, cement, and water, he then made two careful sweeps of the brush over the brick.
Then he just stood back and looked at it, the fumes of the mortar playing havoc with his advanced senses. He sniffled and dashed an angry fist at his eyes. “Stupid concrete,” he muttered, feeling, rather than hearing, someone approaching. It was a big, blue hand that gingerly clamped his taut shoulder. Logan knew instantly he didn’t have to keep fighting his emotions, but he did anyway. It was bad enough he was becoming soft enough to run a school, despite the fact that his presence would endanger everyone there; he wasn’t about to add to the degradation of his reputation by becoming a blubber baby too.
“That brick has seen a lot in its time,” Hank whispered from where he stood just behind him. His voice was throaty, just above a purr. His own yellow eyes misted with tears that he didn’t try to stop.
“I appreciate you standin’ by me, Hank,” Logan growled, “but I’m not gonna get all emotional.”
“That’s all right, Logan. I am more than sensitive enough for us both. This brick,” he said, his furry ears swiveling back and forth. “Am I correct in presuming that it is the same one you procured the first time we found the school destroyed?”
Logan grunted a reply in a soft, husky breath, “Yeah.”
“And the same one that you have made certain was in each embodiment of Xavier’s school thereafter?”
“Yeah.” Logan snarled this time and shoved Hank’s hand from his broad shoulder. “I told ya I ain’t gettin’ emotional.”
“I never said you should or were,” Hank replied softly. He removed his glasses and set to cleaning the dust from them. “I simply wanted to make certain . . . “ He lowered his voice and chose his words carefully, “ . . . that it was still with us, as they are.” When Logan did not speak but kept his back turned toward him, Hank added gently, “They would be proud of what you have accomplished here and what you are going to accomplish.”
Logan’s misty eyes raised to the bright, blue sky far above their heads. “I’d rather it was any one of them,” he admitted softly, “than me, Fuzzball. I ain’t got no business leadin’ a school.”
“Perhaps not, but you have always had a certain skill with the youngsters in our lives. You can not deny that, Wolverine, and you also can not deny that, given circumstances, you have become the best man for the job.”
“I am th’ best at what I do,” Logan agreed. He grunted again. “Just never thought that would include leadin’ a bunch o’ kids.”
“Why not? You’ve lead several children over the years I’ve known you, and I doubt that Katheryne was the first. Look at what a fine job you did with her and Jubilation. Plus there’s Samuel and Amiko and -- “
“I don’t need you to remind me,” Logan growled. “Every one o’ those kids didn’t have anybody else to care fer ‘em, not that really had their best interests at heart.” And he’d fought against becoming involved with every single one of them, knowing they’d be better off with almost any other X-Man as a mentor. But now there was no other person willing to stand up and lead. If there had been even one, other than Scott, who only saw the war now, he would have handed over the reins to this new school in a heartbeat. “Sure you don’t wanna be the Principal, McCoy?”
Hank laughed, actually laughed, almost startling him. He turned to finally face him, his vision clouded by his own tears that he still wouldn’t let fall. Hank smiled at him, and between his tears, Logan saw McCoy’s sharp, glistening fangs curving upward in his grin. “I am certain. Besides,” he added, his voice growing more grave and the humor leaving him entirely, “we need someone who can not only lead us to stand up against the same world we’ve been fighting for decades but against our own too. I can stand beside you, Wolverine, against Scott, but do not,” his voice dropped again and became laiden with heartfelt sorrow, “make me face him alone.”
Logan looked into his old friend’s eyes and saw the years they’d both been fighting through. He saw the deaths and the other heartaches they’d both experiences, the losses that had taken their toll on him, and a deep, dark, old, and vastly sad soul. This time it was he who clamped Hank’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, Blue. None o’ us are facin’ him alone.”
Except, perhaps, one day, himself, Logan thought as he turned and walked away from his friend, leaving him to cry the tears they both needed to shed. That was exactly why he had to take the reins, Wolverine reminded himself. Scott had lost sight of the true goal. He wasn’t even interested in teaching the kids any more, just in training them up to be soldiers. The whole point of being an X-Man was in trying to make the world a better place, one where everyone, humans and mutants and whatever, could become whatever they chose to be, one where kids could still be kids. Jubilee, Kitty, Sam, Amiko, his own, cloned daughter, Laura . . . They’d all had to grow up way too soon, and the only thing standing between the young mutants of the day and having to suffer just as the older mutants had was himself.
Scott certainly wasn’t the one they’d needed leading them; yet no one else was willing to stand up to him. No one but him. Hell, he’d been standing up to Summers for the better part of a century now and for less important reasons than the ones now dividing them. His mind again turned back to the young mutants who should have had a better childhood. Jubilee would come to the school -- he knew that beyond a shadow of a doubt --, but she had her hands full with her own problems these days. He needed someone else, someone young, someone who would know and be able to relate to the kids, someone who had a lighter perspective and wasn’t so full of hate and ache as he was. Kitty, he knew instantly; he needed Kitty. Besides, that girl had enough backbone she could even stand up to him and make sure he didn’t blow this whole plan to bits.
He headed off to the jet to find her, but as he did, he looked back at the base of his new school one more time. His vision was still misted by his tears, but for just a moment, his heart caught in his throat. For just a moment, he thought he saw a certain beautiful redhead and an old, bald man standing on either side of the blue Beast. He rubbed his eyes, and they were gone. But they were also still there, he knew. He’d dealt with enough ghosts over the centuries he’d been alive to understand what he’d just seen.
He grinned. If they were standing at the new school, then that had to mean they approved. Furthermore, the brick had worked. Charles was still with them, and Jeannie . . . Jeannie was standing with him this time, even if she was dead, rather than Scott. She’d finally chosen him. Logan grinned and marched on toward the new Blackbird, his mission clear and renewed. He would bring back to the X-Men the heart that had been taken out of it, and if he was even half the teacher and role model that those two had been, he’d be successful. He was smiling as he left, his plan crystal clear for once.