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I was a fool. I thought I knew it all, thought I understood. I was wrong. I
had heard the howl, the roar of loss, the throat-cut scream of pain that
transcended agony, when he had heard of her being infected with HIV. The
people in the room were silent, faces showing nothing. Showing more respect
for a man - man! - they'd known only months than I'd shown him in many
of the years I'd known him.
When Apocalypse had been inside me - it makes me sick sometimes to
think on it, but there it is - he had crept in when everyone was asleep and
called the mutant out. I don't know why, but afterwards, I know this - I lost
the boyhood I'd been living. Apocalypse was gone, and I was a free man. And I
didn't lose my soul in the process.
We all have to face the awful truth one day, kid - that we
ain't nothin' more than what we are, just happened to get born. No-one gets
born a hero, an' no-one gets born a monster. They make 'emselves along the
The day he'd told me that I'd wanted to hit him. We'd been practicing,
sparring, and he'd kept dodging me, knocking aside my blows as though they
came from a child. He'd shown no effort, and when we were done, I knew Jean
had been watching. I was furious. He'd just grinned that know-it-all
smirk and told me to climb down off the high-horse before I chafed myself out
of future kids. And he'd walked away, back to me, knowing nothing I did could
really hurt him.
I'd hated him for that.
When the Phoenix took Jean, I woke every night for months screaming her
name, crying out for her, and Logan was always there. I'd cry on his shoulder
like a child, and he never said anything about it. Not to anyone. In the end,
he became one of my dearest friends, a voice of cynical caution to my - what?
- optimistic approach.
He told me he'd follow me into Hell. Even though he'd already
I didn't tell him that without his voice to council me, to tell
me when I was a fool, to outrage my sense of hope and raise the sense of
justice in my heart, sometimes I couldn't go on. Even Jean doesn't know that.
Don't get me wrong. I love my wife in a way that goes beyond
words - cliched but true. She's the other part of me, the part of my soul that
is fire and passion.
And I have dear friends, friends I would die for in a moment.
Without question, without a second thought.
But Logan is the closest thing I have to - loving another man. It
sounds strange, even when I think it. I've never touched him, and he's never
touched me. But he's taught me almost as much as the Professor. About how to
endure and stay sane, about self-honor and honor itself.
The silence is awful. I close my eyes a moment, and Jean touches
my arm, eyes full of love for both of us.
I'm not jealous. I'm not afraid anymore - of being left,
of being alone, because I know that, all his gruffness and snarls aside, he's
been trying to be a brother to me, as much a brother as Alex is, in some ways
The X-Men arrive, many from other parts of the world, to stand
with us in a kind of bewildered misery, praying for a miracle. I finger the
ring - a simple gold band that means everything to me, and I get slowly
to my feet.
I know one thing I can do.
I whisper an "I love you" to Jean, and walk slowly down
the hospital hall, feeling my hands trembling.
I lean on the door and it swings open, revealing the misery that
is Logan, chair against the bed, eyes never leaving the pathetic little figure
on the bed.
His gaze swung to me, our eyes locked, and I drug a chair over
next to him.
He snarled, he threatened, he growled, he even popped his claws,
but I did what I had never done and what he needed now. I wrapped my arms
around him, let him struggle, fall against me, and finally sob.
On the bed, Logan's tiny daughter still struggled for life, but I
would hold Logan here for her.
From now on, he will be my brother.
And I will tell him I love him.