main characters: Mystique, Logan
disclaimer: Nobody that you recognize from Marvel is mine.
distribution: please ask first.
note: set approximately sixty years in the future of the X-Men movie. Probably a far more optimistic future than they will actually get.
Logan meandered into the school the day after he'd visited the graves. He wasn't entirely certain why he'd stayed this year, maybe it was the desire to make certain that he'd said his goodbyes, in case some of the people that he knew weren't around next year. Weren't around... in case they died, he meant. Odd how he felt less willing to say those things as the years went by. He'd even found himself staring at the little place that Xavier had prepared for Magneto, a burial plot that had never been used, with a marker for a man who'd opposed Charles Xavier and his dream for over a decade before vanishing.
There were times when he almost missed Magneto. He hadn't liked him, but he'd respected him. And there was no way that Magneto would have forgotten like the people out there today had let themselves forget. But Magneto was a misty figure now, a shadow to frighten people, just as the X-Men were murky heroes.
"Logan, how... unexpected to see you again." It was one of Scott and Jean's girls, one of their red haired telepathic daughters. She had her own children now, and all of them attended Xavier's, even if they weren't quite certain why. When she spoke again, her body language suggested that she hoped he'd be leaving soon. "Were you planning to stay long?"
"Rachel. You're looking good this year." Logan leaned against a wall, wondering when Rachel had gotten so stuffy. She'd been quite the wild child, running around, leaping into the lake, athletic, active, the dismay of her parents. "I've got no reason to hurry off anywhere."
"ahhh. Well then, I suppose I could introduce you to our new history teacher." Rachel offered a thin smile, as if she was annoyed at him for some reason. Maybe she was reading his memories of child-Rachel, and didn't like to be reminded of her past?
She led him down the hallway, and into a domed room with a full holographic system, currently showing an image of the Statue of Liberty. There was a single figure in the room, a woman in a dark skirt suit, with reddish hair and dark skin.. He knew that scent...
"Logan, meet our new history instructor, Ms. Raven Darkeholm." Rachel let the name fall into the air, and then looked at the other woman, offering a few words before leaving the room. "This is Logan."
Mystique offered a small smile, looking almost the same as she had sixty years ago, the main difference being the clothing, or at least, the appearance of clothing. "I remember you very well, Logan."
"I remember you as well." Logan shook his head, wondering if he should be more careful what he thought about, what he wished for. "It's been a long time, I hadn't expected to see you again. A history teacher?"
"Why not? I lived through some of this, I know these things. And maybe I can keep them from forgetting." She crossed her arms, looking frustrated. "Why do they let themselves forget?"
"It's human nature. I don't know why, but I know that it happens. Maybe they'll remember if you teach them, you always left quite the impressions on people back then." He wasn't certain that he liked the idea of Mystique as a teacher, but... He wasn't part of the staff here, he had no authority. "Does anyone know that you're... you?"
"Storm does. She might be older now, but she still sees things. Cyclops doesn't seem to recognize me at all, although he's aged rather well. Who else is even left?" There was something in her voice, almost a wistful quality.
"That's not Cyclops, it's his son. He doesn't know you." Logan sighed. It seemed almost wrong to be understanding something that Mystique was saying so well, but it hurt sometimes to see how much had been forgotten. "So, you're a teacher now. It just sounds odd, different."
She laughed, a small sound of dry amusement. "Yes, fully accredited and earned with my own face. So many changes... and what do you do now?"
"Independent artist. Mostly wood sculpture... you'd be amazed how easy it is to carve up a block of wood with these claws." Logan sighed, remembering a fragment of conversation from years ago. "Hah, maybe I could stay, finally really be a damn art teacher. Except that I don't have a degree for it."
"I can't quite picture you as an art instructor. Do you paint happy little trees?" She looked like she was trying not to laugh.
Logan had to laugh. Happy little trees... the very idea was just ridiculous. "Trees on occasion, but not happy ones. Maybe, but I doubt they'd hire me. I don't fit here anymore. They don't need warriors anymore, nobody seems to."
"Stay for a while anyhow. Just to make certain I'm not corrupting the youth." Her smile was teasing, almost suggestive.
"Like I told Rachel, there's no big hurry to leave, nowhere that I need to go." Logan sighed, wondering how he'd ended up having a civil conversation with Mystique.
She shook her head, turning back to the holographics. "It's a very sad thing that you're right. The world seems to hold little use for heroes anymore."
Logan nodded, wondering if he had more in common with her than he'd wanted to believe, or if she had taken up yet another mask, this one mental and behavioral rather than a physical change. "Sure they do. Out back, with all the rows of marble. The honorably departed."
"Well, I'm not ready to depart, honorably or otherwise. I don't want everything to be forgotten, and this way, maybe I can do something about it." She scowled, reminding him a lot more of the determined spy and assassin that she'd once been.
For once, Logan wished her luck. "I'm not ready to be departed either."
end Golden years: Worn Masks