A/N: Requested by trovia.
The More Things Change
Driving toward the coordinates Hank had pulled from Cerebro, Erik found himself wondering at the position he found himself in.
For years, his idea of government had been colored by a silver a coin, a tattoo on the inside of his arm, and a yellow star. Death drove him then, a violent hatred for the government that caused his mother's death. It did not matter that the man who trained him was a mutant; it only mattered how terribly Erik was betrayed for their use of his power.
Now Erik was the one recruiting for a government. It left a bad taste in his mouth. He wanted to believe in Charles' vision, but...
It really did not surprise him when the man at the counter told them to get lost.
It did surprise Erik to find himself beside the same man at another long counter late at night being offered a good stiff drink.
"You learned, huh?" Logan stubbed out his cigar and reached for his own glass.
Erik laughed bitterly. "I remembered."
He had quit Charles' vision; it had turned on them both and betrayed them, leaving Erik bitter with one more tragedy against those he cared about and Charles crippled in body, if not in spirit. But Erik didn't want to talk about that. He wasn't here for Charles.
"You come here often?" he asked Logan, who shrugged.
"Twice a year."
Erik glanced at him.
Logan slowly turned his glass on the counter; his mind was clearly elsewhere.
Erik leaned back and asked softly, "Does she have a name?"
Logan was silent for a long moment. He nodded—"Mariko"—then returned the glance. "Yours?"
Little more was said between the two men that night. They grieved, simultaneously alone and together. They remembered what it was to be married to more than a cause. They left in mutual respect.
Eventually, Erik learned the name of the other day. Itsu. He did not tell Logan that his own second day of mourning was named for his mother. And it never struck either of them as odd that the only people they mourned were not mutants.
They missed the anniversaries. Both found temporary comfort elsewhere that year.
Erik spent more Brotherhood blood retrieving his and Magda's twins and raising them than he ever allowed to fall in a battle for the mutant cause. Logan, he discovered later, found comfort with Kayla Silverfox.
Betrayal, death, grief, violent revenge... It was only a matter of time.
He found Logan at the bar on the following year. Erik was surprised to see no recognition in his eyes.
Logan studied him closely over the glass Erik had bought him. "You come here often?"
It took a great deal for Erik not to clench his fist at the question, but the silver chandelier rattled as if shaken by a strong wind. He wasn't here for Logan, he told himself and answered,
"Twice a year."
Logan nodded. "She have a name?"
"Magda. Yours?" One more bid for a friend he did not have to lose.
But no. "Kayla."
Erik did not return to the bar again. Ever.
They had both been marked. Erik remembered as he read the dog tags Sabretooth had brought him. You learned, huh?
"Where is the mutant now?"
"Does that remarkable metal run throughout your entire body?" He sounded wondering. Inside, his gut clenched. One more mutant crippled for a human cause. Another taste of the old, deep-seated anger that drove a violent revenge.
Logan asked then, "What do you want with me?"
"You?" Erik laughed bitterly. What did he want with a man who could no longer remember what it was to mourn, to be married to more than a cause, to survive? Even Charles, his friend who insisted upon remaining so had never understood that.
"Whoever said I wanted you?"
Betrayal, death, violent revenge... Always just a matter of time.
Erik had known from the train that he had a fight on his hands, and it wasn't Charles he was worried about. When it was over, he found himself wondering at the position he found himself in.
For years, he had tried to find a way to make the humans understand. He should be disappointed, bitter, about the loss. But now there was one woman Logan cared about who would not join the long line of anniversaries, and he was left with grudging respect.