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Latest revision as of 17:50, 30 July 2020

The Hero World
Dramatis Personae

Dawson, Logan, Steve

2020-07-30


"If I could punch the world aright, I'd have done it already,"

Location

<NYC> Montagues - Soho


Montagues harkens back to the day when SoHo was filled to the brim with artists, with its mismatched furniture, all plush and decorated heavily with carved wood, but remains trendy enough to keep its newer patrons by making sure that furniture is clean, in good repair and inviting. The antique tables all have been reinforced to seem less creaky. The real draw of the cafe is the smell: fresh roasted coffee mingles with perfectly steeped teas. Spices from crisp pastries mingle with the tang of clotted cream but don't overwhelm too much the scent of chalk on the menu boards.

It's mid-afternoon and business has slowed to a trickle. Just the regulars in their regular spots and the occasional harried office worker or even rarer lost tourist wandering for a refill on their caffeinated beverage of choice. Steve has just finished wiping down the machines and, shucking his apron ducks into the back for a few moments. He returns in short order fully changed, in a tight sky blue t-shirt with a grayscale print of a fierce winged wolf crushing a thick length of chain in its snarling jaws, one of its paws pinning down the broken chain. Above the graphic, in bold jagged script, are the words '107th, Howling Commandos', and below it 'Vérité sans Peur', gray convertible pants, and scuffed-up black combat boots. He carries his great round shield over one shoulder and two thermoses in one hand, ice clinking quietly inside as he bids his co-workers farewell, slipping out from behind the counter.

Much as always, Dawson is looking fairly unassuming. Neatly pressed khakis, a green polo shirt, his sleek prosthetic arm painted today in dappled shades of grey that look like the chiseled stone face of a cliff. He carries a large duffel bag in his mechanical hand, thumping heavily against his leg as he gets up from where he's been tucked in a corner nursing the last of a large lemonade. Somewhere along the way as he crosses to intercept Steve his empty glass vanishes from his hand -- a very keen observer would note that it has landed neatly in the tray of used dishes at the bussing station. His smile is bright as he drops the bag, plucks his phone from his pocket. "You ready? --Or, well, maybe that's preemptive. Let's hope Car2Go has something nearby."

As this conversation takes place, a war worn man watches the pair from a corner table. His features are striking. Long back hair, mutton chops, brawny arms...it could scare the strongest of men. He continues to watch the two men. He knows both. One he knows because they fought in a war together. The other he knows because if his time with the X-Men. They haven't noticed him yet, but with an appearance like his, Logan wouldn't be unnoticed for much longer.

Steve breaks into an easy smile. "Well, I don't much mind the walk, but it's an oven out there." He offers Dawson one of the thermoses, "One for the road, either way. Hopefully it's early enough that --" He cuts off abruptly as his eyes, habitually scanning his surroundings, land on the wild-looking man in the corner. "Logan?" he mutters quietly, his eyes going wide-wide. Then, louder, more certain as he goes toward the man, "Logan?"

"It'll be cooler when we get out of the city," Dawson says brightly, taking the thermos and tucking it into a side pocket of the duffel bag, "or maybe it won't, and we'll just sweat a lot." His brows furrow as he looks at the phone -- stay furrowed when he looks back up. His gaze tracks from Steve to the man in the corner. Whatever he'd been frowning about on the phone smooths back away into a small -- slightly bemused -- smile; he takes his bag and trails after Steve, brows lifting slightly. "Oh! You -- know each other?" Distracted, he's lowering the phone to his side.

Logan looks from Steve to Dawson. "Haven't changed a bit...either one of ya. I heard that Steve worked here and seeing as I was in he area, I thought I would come see if Steve was here. When I saw that you were, I wasn't sure how to approach you after all these years. And Dawson bein' here kinda too me by surprise. Good surprise that is."

Steve's eyes are still -- very wide. "I -- I'd heard you were still alive, but --" He takes a deep breath. Flashes a sheepish smile at Dawson. "Oh, yes, we go way back. I just didn't expect to see him here." He sets the thermos down. "My God, you look exactly the same as you did. How have you been?"

"Well...I've been a little bit o' everythingn to be perfectly honest with ya. I've been through the Canadian Wilderness joined the X-Men. I've done a bunch of crap. Been feelin' a little off though. I just can't seem to put my finger on what it is though"

Dawson blinks, a faint trace of pink flushing into his scarred cheeks. "Uh --" He looks down at his hands. Tucks his phone back in his pocket. "How -- many years are we talking?" Logan's answer draws a very soft laugh out of him. "I mean -- you could kind of throw a dart at the news these days. Take your pick of reasons."

Steve blushes deep and red. "Oh gosh, I ah..." He resettles the shield across his shoulder. "I'm sorry if you weren't -- oh, but you're teammates, so..." He frowns. Glances back and forth between the two men. Casually shifts his weight so that he's facing away from the few other patrons and lowers his voice, "It's going on 75 years, isn't it? This man saved my life -- saved a lot of lives, I'm sure. Fiercest fighter I know, and that's saying a lot." He shakes his head. "I'm sorry things aren't going so well for you, though."

" Eh that's life bub" Logan shakes his head. If I only life could be easier. You'd think that a man who has given as much as Logan could get a break. But noooo. Life! Always life.

"Yeah. Well -- we were teammates." The flush in Dawson's cheeks deepens; it throws the spiderwebbing of scars that lace them into starker relief. "Seventy five years? So you must have -- right. Small world." His brows knit together uncertainly. "Sorry, what's life? I -- sorry. This year has felt like twenty years packed into one. I'm having a little trouble keeping up."

Steve nods slowly. "I'd hoped you'd look me up, sooner or later," he admits. "I had no idea you were still alive until I met your -- son. Akihiro. He's been looking for you, too." He looks down again, evidently embarrassed. "I sure don't know what life is anymore, these days." This with a rueful, commiserating smile for Dawson. "It feels very in theme with 2020 to run into a fella looking as weirdly clipped out of time as I am." Then adds hastily, "No offense, Logan, but this has got to be odd for you, too. Unless -- there are others. Like us?" This at once hopeful and a little apprehensive.

Logan sighed. " I wish I knew if there were more like us. it sure would make life a whole hell of a lot easier to know that we weren't the only two. it's got to be easier for you than for me at least you're naturally over a hundred years old."

"Oh! You have a kid?" A new curiosity lights in Dawson's tone. His weight shifts from one foot to the other. He chews briefly at the inside of his cheek, his frown deepening in time with a brief flick of his eyes to Steve. "I -- don't think," his voice is cautious, now, "that it's --- exactly. Uh --" He hesitates. Rubs at the back of his neck. "I mean, I don't think anything about Steve's situation has been easy. Or -- that natural."

Steve's expression doesn't change, but he visibly pales. "I don't know how the last century or this one treated you," he says, at a slight delay, with an awkward chuckle, "but I don't think I'd wish this on anyone. In a way I may have had it easier than you, having slept through so much grief, but it surely wasn't natural. You know there's no way I could have survived that crash much less the -- intervening time, if it weren't for the experiment."

"Yeah I guess you're right. But living through all the years drags ya down" Logan looked down as the memories came flooding back. "I also had some changes made to me...but I didn't have to basically blow myself up" Logan winks at Dawson

Dawson retrieves his phone from his pocket again, starting to tap at it once more. "Steve, do you want me to --" But he cuts himself off here, sharp. Where Steve gets paler, Dawson flushes darker, mechanical fingers flexing at his sides. "I'm -- sure I can't imagine what all that time has been like," he answers mildly, now folding his hands neatly behind his back. His smile is a very small, carefully polite thing. "Not all of us heal quite so neat, I guess. I didn't exactly go throwing myself at bombs for fun."

Steve swallows once. Nods. "I'm sorry, Logan. Didn't mean to dismiss what you've been through -- I can't imagine that, either." He bites his lower lip. "For what it's worth, I'm glad you're around. Natural or unnatural, there's not too many of us left." He starts to reach for Dawson. Checks the motion quickly, though. "I think we've all made sacrifices for the fights that need fighting." His gauze-wrapped right hand flexes almost imperceptibly at his side. "Difference is I think you two haven't had a choice in the matter."

"I'll say one thing for certain Dawson's one hell of a kiddo! He fights he fights like hell. Ain't never seen anything like that before not in someone so young" Logan nods his head. He looks towards Dason and sees the price he paid to keep people safe.

Dawson opens his mouth. Closes it with a blink. Tips his head down. "It's 'Dawson' now, actually. My name. I changed it --" His brow furrows slightly. "Back? Anyway, I try to do more healing than fighting these days but --" One of his shoulders lifts in a small shrug. "Unfortunately the world seems to need a lot of both. I'll be pretty glad when we can stop."

"Or you could go with 'Doctor Allred', these days." Steve's smile is bright, but the arm he drapes across Dawson's shoulders is tense. "No question he fights hard, but he plays hard, too. We were just about to head out for some rock climbing, actually."

"We do all of this and they still hate us! Sometimes it doesn't make sense. Then I remember...it's our job to use our Powers to help. It doesn't matter if it makes sense or not. It's people like you and me and Steve that keep this world the right side up. I suppose it will never end. But as long as I have these " pops adamantium claws out " as long as I have these, I won't end either!"

Beneath the drape of Steve's arm, Dawson's shoulders are tense as well -- though they ease just a touch as the familiar weight settles across them. His eyes stay downturned -- mostly now because they're still focused on his phone. Taptaptap. The snck of Logan's claws draws a barely-perceptible twitch from him -- difficult to see, but easy for Steve to feel where his shoulders grow briefly stiffer. His fingers clench harder at his phone. "I think that's complicated," he says, slowly. "In a world that wants us dead I don't blame people who want to keep their heads down and just live their lives. And I don't think at all that it is people like us who keep this world right side up. I mean -- this country has hurtled headlong into fascism and what have we done about it? Nothing. What are your claws or his strength or my speed doing to stop the police gunning people down in the street? To keep children out of cages at the border? Literally not a thing. It's a heroic fantasy but life isn't always like a comic book, you know?"

His lips have thinned when he looks back up. "The world needs all kinds of people to set it on the right path and honestly most of those skills aren't flashy at all. Some of the people doing the most to combat evil right now get more done in an E.R. or on a computer or in a courtroom than we could ever hope to with all the strength on earth."

"If I could punch the world aright, I'd have done it already," Steve admits soberly. "Many times over. Truth is it was a mess in our day, too, and even if we helped keep it becoming more of a mess in some ways, there was only ever so far fighting would get us." He also tenses at the claws. "Those -- have gotten...shinier." He manages. "My boss probably won't like it if she sees, though." He jostles Dawson, very gently by his standards, the grip of his left hand careful. "I'm learning a lot about how to do right by the world -- from this fella, among others. There's...not nearly as much punching involved as I thought there would be, when I was a boy." His smile returns, small and quick. "But there's some."

Logan inhaled deeply. Things were changing I the hero world. He didn't need his keen senses to tell him that. One day, the heroes will be gone. Chaos will reign supreme! By as long as Logan lived, he swore the world would be as peaceful as possible. For now, he had two of his best friends right beside him. For now the work was safe.

Dawson nudges Steve lightly with his elbow. "Found us a car," he says, quiet. He stoops to scoop his bag back up. Shifts a little awkwardly from one foot to the other. For a second it seems like he might say something further but ultimately all that comes out before he starts for the door is -- "Be seeing you."