Late Fragment

by Ascian 

Howdy all. This story was written in response to Mica's challenge: write a Wolverine and Jubilee story using less than a thousand words. This lil' bit o' tale was inspired by the poem seen at the beginning of the story, and is titled after it. Be warned! There be sappiness in these here waters! Buwhahahaha!!! Ascian

Disclaimer: These characters aren't mine. Happy?

Late Fragment

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

Raymond Carver


Outside, it snowed. Soft, fat, flakes drifted down in a steady, natural rhythm. Knee-deep in a drift, Logan lifted his face, relishing the cool kisses on his cheeks and eyelids. A breath of wind ruffled his hair, and he let the scents of the forest fill his nose. Anything--anything to keep his mind off his bleeding, aching heart.

Logan, he could hear her whisper, You knew this would happen eventually. We both knew I wouldn't live forever.

Not like me, he thought raggedly.

He let himself drift in the serenity of the dark forest for only a moment longer, before turning and trudging back to the cabin hidden just behind the hill. As he topped the small rise, the sight of warm, golden light spilling out of the windows greeted him. The scent of wood smoke teased his nostrils, and as he neared the door he could hear her inside, up and moving about.

She had the good grace to look embarrassed as Logan entered out of the snow and caught her at the stove.

"I was hungry!" she protested. She didn't fool him, though--she never could. He could see the twinkle in her eyes, the silent laughter as she dared him to berate her. Which he did.

"You should o' said somethin' before I went out," he growled, swiftly making his way towards her. Despite her flippancy, he could tell she was having trouble standing. One wrinkled hand gripped the oven door handle, and she rested heavily on the small support.

"You worry too much," she told him, but she still leaned gratefully into his chest as he wrapped his arms around her slight frame. She pressed herself against him, ignoring his snow-damp clothing.

"Damn right I do," he whispered into her silver hair. He held her close for a moment longer, and then scooped her up into his arms, carrying her back to the bed which lay pressed against the wall beside the fireplace.

"What were you doing outside?" she asked, after he had pulled the covers up around her chin, and smoothed the hair away from her cheekbones. She could smell the forest on him--could almost taste the scent of pine needle, snow, and wood smoke that clung to his skin and hair. She savored it, hungry for the little details that made Logan so special to her--details that she had only begun to appreciate in the last decade or so.

"Just thinkin'," he said.

She nodded. "What are you going to do・after you leave the mountain?"

He drew in a ragged breath, surprised by her bluntness. "That's a terrible question."

Her eyes hardened. "It's not. When I go, I want to know that you'll be safe. Safe and whole. There isn't going to be anyone here to watch your back, Wolvie. Everyone else--"

"Is dead." Logan finished for her. She pressed her lips together unhappily, and nodded.

"Funny, isn't it? Bishop said that I was going to be the last X-Man. But I never believed him. I always knew it was going to be you. I always wanted it to be you."

Logan's lips twisted into a bitter grimace. "Well, you got your wish, darlin'."

She sighed, pressing her head back into the pillow. "I'm sorry," she whispered. Logan growled, and walked around to the other side of the bed. Kicking off his boots, he pulled back the covers and climbed in underneath them, reaching for her slight body. He pulled her into a tight embrace. She clung to him for a long moment, her hands sliding beneath his flannel shirt to feel his warm skin.

"You believe in reincarnation, Wolvie?"

Logan shrugged, pulling the covers higher over her back and shoulders. "I don't know. Never thought about it much. Suppose I was too busy thinkin' about this life to worry what the next might be like."

She grinned faintly, and Logan's heart fluttered at the sight of the old spark in her face. "I believe in it," she whispered. "And you know what? I'll be back, Wolvie. And I'll find you. I promise."

He swallowed heavily, and tightened his grip around her waist. "How will I know you?"

She placed a hand on top of his own, and squeezed. "I'll be the firecracker tagging after you."

Logan chuckled, burying his face into her neck. What he really wanted to do was sob, to scream and rage against a world that would take away his best friend and lover. The girl who had been with him longer than any other, and who had never once lost faith in him. In him! A man who could barely control the animal inside his soul, who had killed so many・too many・

"I'll miss you," he whispered, feeling his heart clench. Oh God, he wanted to die with her. She had always seen the man in him--she was the only one still alive who understood・

"I'll be back," she promised again. "And I'll find you, Wolvie. Just・stay alive."

Logan took a deep breath, and pulled her tight against his body. He could hear her heart fluttering weakly--her breathing was shallow. Soon now. Too soon.

"I'll be waitin', darlin'," he whispered into her ear. "Don't you worry 'bout nothin'. This ol' Canucklehead will still be here when you float back down to earth, and we'll stir things up like the world's never seen."

A smile graced her lips, and she burrowed deeper into his embrace. "I can't wait," she murmured.

She was almost asleep when Logan brushed his lips against her cheek. She felt something wet on her skin, but she was so tired the sensation barely registered in her mind. All she cared about was that she was safe and warm in her best friend's arms. After all these years, she couldn't ask or wish for anything more.

"I'll be here, Jubilee," she heard. "I promise."

And he kept that promise.

But that's another story・