About two years later
Logan had found the place with no trouble, and now he stood in front of the door with his hat in his hand. He took a deep breath and knocked. From inside, he heard the sound of footsteps approaching. The door was opened by a woman in her late-twenties with haunted eyes.
"Yeah, can I help you?" She looked at him with a polite, but faint smile.
He cleared his throat. "My name's Logan."
"Oh." She looked like she'd been slapped, but swallowing hard, she stepped back and gestured inside. "Come in."
He stepped over the threshold and glanced around, his head lowered. The apartment was small and cluttered, but homey. He saw several pictures of Kurt scattered around. There was one of him standing with Linda that hit a nerve. The elf looked so damn happy in that picture.
Linda walked toward the adjoining kitchen and glanced behind her to see if he was following. "You want a coffee or cola? Or would you rather have a beer?" She indicated a kitchen chair, "have a seat."
"Beer'd be fine."
She nodded and grabbed one from a cabinet, getting herself a cola. "I don't know if beer has an expiration date, but this is all I got. It was Kurt's. Just didn't have the heart to throw it away."
Logan swallowed hard and accepted it. "It don't go bad."
Linda sat down opposite and looked silently at him.
"I'm sorry I ain't been here before now."
"Truth is, I, ah..I didn't know nothin' about you until I was sortin' through his stuff and found yer letters." He took a long drink of beer and avoided her eyes.
"Yeah, I figured."
"Yeah?" He looked at her, surprised.
She nodded. "Something he and I talked about before."
Logan didn't know what to reply to that. "I wanted to come by now, and see if there was anythin' you needed, and you know, answer any questions. Figured you had a right to know...well, how it could've happened." His voice softened at the last.
Her chin quivered and her eyes filled with tears that didn't fall. "Yeah, I want to know."
"Mind if I smoke?"
She silently stood and got him an ashtray from under the sink.
Logan's hand trembled slightly when he lit the cigar. Damn, why the hell was he doin' this to himself? He knew why. 'Cause he owed it to Kurt.
He told her about Hope. He told her about that last day of playing a frantic game of deadly chase with Bastion. He told her about Kurt and Rogue trying to get the kid back to the safety of Utopia, and how Kurt had taken the hit meant for Hope and still managed to take care of her in the end. He didn't tell her the grisly details of Kurt's final moments, or about the agony his friend had died in. She didn't need to hear that shit. As it was, the sight of Kurt laying crumpled in a pool of his own blood, his chest impaled, was one Logan would never forget.
"He went out a hero." Logan finished quietly.
"He was always a hero," Linda retorted. She had looked at him through the whole story, tears slipping silently down her face and a tissue wadded in her hand. Her jaw clenched and her gaze hardened. "The fact that he died as the X-Men's mutant martyr doesn't make him any less dead, does it?"
Logan shook his head and clenched his fist on the table.
Linda wiped her tears roughly away. "You know, everything he was went back to being an X-Man - back to Charles Xavier's dream. He believed, deep down in his soul, that one day it would happen. That people would get past the hatred and bigotry and learn to live with each other - some kinda Kumbayah moment." She shook her head bitterly. "He wrote to me about Hope, that you people thought maybe she was some sorta mutant messiah, that the kid would be able to fix things. Did it work? Did she wave some little magic wand and make it all better? 'Cause from here, it sure as hell doesn't look like it. I've been watching the news, seeing how the X-Men are at each others' throats, that they're fighting the Avengers over this girl. Now we've got one of the X-Men - Cylcops isn't it - setting himself up as what, a dictator? Is that what he is is? Bringing world peace by force? Is that what Kurt died for?"
She stood up and walked abruptly away before she wheeled around to face him. "What the fuck do you think he'd say about all this if he was here?" Linda glared at him, her dark eyes blazing with fury.
Logan dropped his gaze and muttered, "I don't know." That was a damn lie. He knew exactly what Kurt would say if he was here.
"It's not enough that he's dead, but now his friends spit on his grave by acting like this? What the hell's wrong with you?" She wrapped her arms tightly around her chest. "Oh I'm sorry, does he even have a grave? Can't very well spit on what isn't there." Linda did dissolve into tears now, and turned her back to him, shaking.
Logan fought the lump down in his own throat and hesitantly approached her. He stood behind her a moment before putting an arm around her shoulders. She made a small noise of protest before she collapsed against him, wracked by sobs. He held her while she cried, rubbing her back gently. After awhile, she calmed and stepped back, visibly trying to pull herself together.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have gone off on you like that," Linda shook her head.
"Don't apologize fer speakin' the truth, darlin'."
She shrugged and looked at her feet.
"He's ah...I buried his ashes in Westchester, close to the school. Little place he liked on a hillside."
Linda nodded. "Be okay if I bring some flowers out there sometime?"
"'Course it is. You can come out there anytime you want. Can drive out or call me an' I'll come get you."
She nodded again. "Thanks." She got them both another beer and sat back down at the table. "You know, he thought the world of you, Logan. He talked about you all the time. The others too, but I think I heard more about you than anybody else."
"Yeah?" Logan smiled gently.
"Yeah," she returned the small smile. "You boys got up to a lot over the years, didn't you?" Linda gave a half-hearted chuckle.
She paused, then went on, "he was worried about you, at the end I mean. He wrote me about it."
Logan didn't reply.
"He said that, probably more than anybody else, you were willing to fight for Xavier's dream, tooth and nail. I think he just worried how far you'd take the fight. Not that it might not be necessary to do it - I think it was more that he was afraid of what it would do to you, on the inside, to have to be the one, you know?"
He nodded slowly, staring at his hands, those same hands that were so often covered in blood.
"He said you guys talked a lot over the years." She looked at him and was quick to add, "he never said about what, you know he wasn't the type to do that."
Linda went on, "I know I feel like there's a hole in my world since he's been gone. This huge chunk of my heart is missing. I still talk to him, sometimes. If anybody heard me, they'd think I was nuts, I guess." She smiled sadly. "I miss him so much. He just had a way about him - an air - that was so peaceful. When I was with him, I felt like everything would be okay." She shook her head.
"Yeah darlin', I know what ya mean. He didn't even have to say anythin', just bein' there was all it took."
After a long silence, Logan shifted and stood. "Reckon I need to head back." He put on his hat. "Part of the reason I came by was 'cause I got some stuff for you. Kurt's stuff...some letters and such. They're in the car."
She stood as well.
"Thanks," Linda said softly.
"I'll bring them up." He headed towards the door and turned, looking back at her. "Look darlin', if there's anythin' you ever need - I mean anythin' - I'm just a phone call away. Kurt was the best friend I ever had."
She nodded, the tears bright in her eyes again. "Thanks, Logan. It was nice to finally meet you. If you ever want to stop by, and talk about old times or something, you're welcome to."
He nodded and said, "might just do that," before he walked out the door.