It's always been assumed that Logan
would someday be able to remember
his past. But what if it's more
complex than that?
Title: Memory is a Wound
Author: Pat Phillips
Rated: PG-13(Remembered Violence).
Characters: Logan, Marie, Others.
There are a couple of cross-overs in
here. But they aren't a major part of
I do not own these characters. Instead,
they are the property of Marvel Comics.
As a firm believer in property rights,
it's only reasonable that I specify that
my use of these characters should in no
way be interpreted as a threat to Marvel's
ownership of them.
All of my fan fiction, including this story,
is a not-for-profit venture. After all, when
you get down to it, who would pay for this
MEMORY IS A WOUND
The others were still recovering from the shock of Jean's death.
And although Marie had liked Jean, she hadn't had the time to build
the kind of relationship with her that so many of the others at the
school had enjoyed. So Marie -- determined to do something to help -
- decided to spare her friends the pain of dealing with necessary
Marie volunteered to clean out Jean's desk.
Both Scott and the Professor were keeping to themselves. Which
meant that, by default, Ororo was really running the school.
Sorting through Jean's personal effects was something Ororo didn't
want to face, but she knew that it had to be done eventually.
Grateful to Marie for her offer, Ororo provided a couple of
cardboard file boxes and thanked the younger woman for her
willingness to help.
The other instructors had offices in the mansion itself, but Jean
had kept a small cubicle down in the med-lab. Standing by Jean's
desk, Marie saw nothing unexpected. A small, framed picture of
Scott -- with a gentle smile gracing his face that most people never
saw -- was propped up in one corner. A coffee cup from a medical
supply company still had some thick residue on the bottom and a
trace of lipstick on the rim. There was a box filled with pens and
pencils, some printouts, an open magazine, an address book, a
calendar, and a few paperclips forming a simple chain. Nothing
surprising. And nothing to indicate that the woman who had worked
there wouldn't be coming back.
After a second or two, Marie wiped her eyes and went to work. The
drawers of the desk were stuffed with files -- some medical, some
educational. She filled one box with them, closed it, and labeled
it carefully. The files would go up to the Professor's office.
Just about everything else in Jean's desk was standard office
supplies. Marie sadly realized that, except for the picture of
Scott and the coffee cup, there wasn't a lot there that you could
really associate with Jean.
Marie had the second box mostly filled when she found it.
It was the magazine. The one that was lying open on Jean's desk. A
yellow sticky note had been attached to the upper, right-hand corner
of one page. Written on the note in a very precise hand
was, "Memory is a Wound".
Marie gazed at those words and frowned thoughtfully. She turned
over the magazine in order to see it's cover. The magazine was "The
New England Journal of Medicine" and was dated a couple of years
Looking back inside the magazine, Marie saw that the article Jean
had marked was written by a U.S. Air Force doctor named Frasier.
The language was very technical, but there were plain-English
summaries scattered throughout the article.
The article was about the human brain. Jean had highlighted several
parts of it. Marie paged through the magazine slowly, noting the
spots that Jean had marked, and carefully reading the summaries.
The article had several charts and tables of statistical data about
brain damage and memory loss among Alzheimer's patients. It
compared that to brain injuries caused by oxygen-deprivation to Air
Force and Navy pilots. Oddly, Jean's highlighting indicated that
she didn't seem too interested in that portion of the article.
Instead, she was more interested in background information about
routine, day-to-day, brain-cell damage and loss.
According to the article, people lose brain cells all the time --
thousands a day. The cells simply wear out and essentially die of
old age. And brain cells, like all of the tissues of the nervous
system, don't heal and are never replaced. Once a brain cell was
lost, it was gone forever. Fortunately, people had plenty to spare.
Sitting in Jean's chair, Marie thoughtfully drummed her fingers on
Jean's desk, trying to figure out what Jean had been doing.
Something was nagging at her that this was important.
So the article was about memory loss due to brain damage. But
judging from the parts of the article that she had highlighted, Jean
hadn't really been too interested about brain damage specifically.
Instead, Jean had been more focused on the fact that people don't
heal brain cells.
Marie frowned thoughtfully to herself. Why the heck had Jean been
A quick check showed nothing in the paper files. Marie then turned
and flicked on Jean's computer. There was no password protection.
Under the directory labeled "Case_Files" Marie found a directory
labeled "Logan". There were only a few files in that directory, but
one of them was named "Amnesia". Marie opened that file and began
Logan was giving Marie the kind of intense look that only he could
manage. She had called him down to the med-lab and he was with her
in Jean's cubicle.
"Spell it out for me, kid," he said quietly.
Marie took a deep breath and began.
"Jean was thinking that you might have lost your memories because of
your healing ability," she said.
Logan glanced back down at the magazine he was now holding. He
gently touched the yellow sticky note that bore Jean's handwriting,
as if that somehow connected him to her. Then he looked back up at
"Normal people don't heal nerve tissue damage," Marie continued in a
voice that was surer than she actually felt. "But you do. You
must. If you didn't, you'd probably be at least partially paralyzed
by now. Or completely paralyzed. Or maybe even seriously brain-
damaged. Just think about some of injuries that you've taken in the
last few months. Think about what they would do to an ordinary man."
Logan nodded in response. He had a great deal of practical
knowledge about what violence could do to people.
Marie gestured towards the magazine in Logan's hands, "They --
doctors and scientists, I mean -- really don't know much about
memory and how it works. But they do know that memory loss is often
caused by brain damage."
"Yeah," Logan said slowly. "Charlie and Jean were surprised when
they couldn't come up with a physical reason why I can't remember
much of anything. Hell, Jean must have run me through every machine
in this lab a half-dozen times trying to find something."
"So they figured that you must have suffered a brain injury and
healed the damage, but kept the memory loss. She says that in her
file on you," Marie added.
Logan frowned, "Yeah."
"They were wrong," Marie continued. "They both missed something
important -- at least at first. You're always healing -- always
regenerating. That's part of what you are. And that includes your
brain. Jean figured that when your brain cells regenerate, it's
like they've been reset. Your memories are part of what has
been 'healed'. It's like they're an injury, and the healing removes
Logan looked straight at Marie, obviously thinking over what Marie
had told him.
"How sure was Jean about this?" he finally asked.
Marie slowly shook my head. "Enough to write some notes about it
and begin doing research. But not enough to tell you."
Logan nodded briskly and tossed the magazine onto the desk. Then he
leaned over, took Marie by the shoulders, and gave her a kiss on the
top of her head. He and Bobby are the only ones who dared to do
"Thanks," was all he said as he turned to leave the lab.
"Logan..." said Marie hesitantly, worried by Logan's lack of
reaction. When Logan was angry he was scary. But sometimes he
showed a certain kind of calm that was just plain terrifying.
He hesitated, and then stopped, looking over his shoulder at her.
Marie saw something in Logan's eyes that she couldn't quite
recognize. Something that bothered her.
"What's the earliest thing that you remember?" Marie asked.
Logan turned to face her. Something in the tone of her voice was
urgent. And there was no way that Logan could walk away from that.
"Well, I told you about finding Stryker's lab up at Alkali Lake.
That brought back bits and pieces about the experiment where they
put adamantium onto my bones. There's some stuff before that, but
nothing really clear. And some of it is so weird that I'm not sure
if they are really memories," he answered with a shrug.
"Do you remember buying your truck?" she continued. "The one that
got wrecked by Sabertooth?"
Logan blinked in surprise, "Sure. I got it from an old fellow who
was a gold prospector up in the Yukon. He was retiring and he gave
me a good price."
"Do you remember the cage fight with the big Russian guy? The one
where you won the money to buy the truck?"
Logan raised an eyebrow at Marie, trying to figure out where this
was going, "Yeah."
"Do you remember when you first started doing cage fights? Who the
first guy you fought was?"
Logan hesitated. An awkward moment passed without any response.
Marie looked away and crossed her arms in front of her, as if she
had suddenly become cold.
"It was about fifteen years ago," Marie said softly, still not quite
able to look at Logan. "His name was McAndrews. He was a wrestler
who'd gotten busted out of the pros for fixing matches. You won two
hundred dollars for beating him. You decided that it was easy money
and started working the bare-knuckle fight circuit all over Alaska
and northwest Canada."
Logan was frozen into a dark, expressionless statue, examining Marie
"You told me all about it a few months ago," finished Marie quietly,
finally looking back towards Logan.
"Yeah. Now that you mention it, I remember telling you that," Logan
said with a slow nod.
"But you don't..." Marie began, and then hesitated.
"No. I don't remember this McAndrews guy. And I don't remember my
first cage fight."
Logan fell silent. Marie finally figured out the look in his eyes.
It wasn't something she was used to seeing in him. He was scared.
He'd done his best to calm Marie down. She'd been half frantic,
convinced that they had to immediately tell someone -- the
Professor, Scott, Ororo, anyone -- what they had found. It had
taken a good half-hour of soothing to convince her that it could
wait. A few more days wouldn't matter.
Besides, it wasn't as if there was a heck of a lot that anyone could
Logan flipped open the notebook and pulled the cap off of the pen.
Then he paused and stared at the unblemished, lined paper before him.
Understatement of the day: Logan wasn't a literary man. He didn't
read much and he wrote even less.
Well, that was going to have to change.
He would write down what he could. Not just the events, but the
important things that really mattered. The feelings. That way they
wouldn't be completely lost.
Staring off into the distance, Logan tried to understand how he
felt. He'd always hoped to one day recover what he had lost. But
now he knew that his past was not merely mislaid. It was dead. And
the dying would always continue, on and on...
For how long?
Yeah, there were flashes. Fragments and remnants. But if Jean was
right -- and she was... had been... a damn smart lady -- then that
was the best he could ever hope for. A few whispers and shadows
that would steadily grow dimmer and then eventually be lost forever.
He concentrated as best he could. And he looked back...
Pain and fear. Drowning. Men in uniform prematurely toasting a
success. Fighting his way out of the lab at Alkali Lake.
The horror of seeing his claws for the first time.
Deathstrike. Younger and with normal brown eyes. As slim and
deadly and beautiful as a sword blade. A slight smile as she turned
to face him.
The gentle touch of her calloused hand against his cheek.
Normandy. A knife in his hand. Stalking through the darkness of
that cool, wet June night, picking off German soldiers.
The feel of hot blood splattering across his hands.
A cabin in the northern woods. A glorious Spring day filled with
the scent of flowers. There was somebody there with him.
A smile and a teasing whisper. A small, strong body in his arms.
Long, luxurious, straight black hair that smelled wonderfully of
plain soap. But he couldn't make out her face.
A... castle? Windswept, icebound black rock surrounding him. There
was a creature... Did it have wings?
The battle was done and Logan found himself howling mournfully to
the moon. He'd lost somebody.
He didn't remember who.
A horse screaming as it died. The weight of chainmail on his
shoulders and the stench of dead and dying men all around him.
He slammed his shield into the leather-clad man before him, knocking
him off balance. Then Logan swung his broadsword in a vicious arc
that ended with a jarring thud.
Logan shook his head. It wasn't always possible to tell what was
memory and what was dream or delusion masquerading as memory.
There were more, but they were even more isolated: scents, sounds,
and flashes of light and color that lacked any meaningful pattern to
fit them within.
He tapped the pen impatiently against the table in a repetitive
tattoo. Logan knew himself well enough to know that he'd be a lousy
diarist, but he could still nail down those things that were
Where to start? Obviously with something that he dare not lose.
Ah, of course.
Holding the pen awkwardly in an unpracticed hand, Logan laboriously
began to scrawl.
'I was working the cage in a town called Laughlin City. It hadn't
been much of a night. Five fights. Maybe three hundred bucks.'
'And then this angel walked in the door...'