In the barren snowy wilderness of Nunavut, Wolverine lies sprawled on the ground, bleeding profusely.
The human body has sixteen major organs, he thinks. The brain, which sends out pain signals, whether you want it to or not. The liver, which mostly soaks up beer. The pancreas, which in Logan’s case is currently laying half out on the snow. Then there’s the heart, which he knows breaks all too easily.
Right now, Logan can feel each and every one of those organs. He came up to Nunavut to forget for a while, but an “old friend” decided to follow him. His adversary did not survive the battle, but managed to do some pretty serious damage to Logan.
A pack of arctic wolves surround him, but Logan knows they won’t make a move until he stops breathing. The pain is almost unbearable, as a normal person would be in eight kinds of shock by now. But Logan has been through this before, more times than he can count.
His healing factor is already kicking in, and Logan focuses on living until the next moment. As he waits for the endorphins to dull the pain, he utilizes a technique taught to him by an ancient Japanese sensei.
He localizes his pain and visualizes it with a familiar object. Whoa, too familiar, as an image of Sabretooth comes forth. An image of an alien Brood replaces him, which is menacing but faceless.
Using this technique, the endorphins should start to kick in but Logan cries out, sending the wolf pack running. Prostaglandins, which enhance the pain, make him curl up in the fetal position and indicate that his wound is infected.
His healing factor will take care of the infection, after which the endorphins will finally arrive. Until then, Logan needs a distraction while the wound painfully knits itself back together.
When he is around the X-Men, Logan always plays down the effect of his injuries, telling them he just shrugs off the pain once he’s healed. It’s not quite that easy and a bad wound like this will make him feel phantom pains for months.
A Tibetan monk taught him another coping mechanism, years ago, but it only works after the endorphins have kicked in. You need to conjure up a care giver…a sort of guardian angel that protects you from the pain.
Logan came up with his caregiver a long time ago and has been using it whenever something like this happens. The trouble is, in his case, his angel is the same thing he came up here to forget.
Jean Grey, the woman he loved more than anything, who never loved him back in the same way. When she died, it tore a hole right through him and he came to Nunavut to forget that pain, to forget her.
Dead or not, Jean is going to get him through this. He never kid himself, as he didn’t think he and Jean would get together, but it was comforting just having her here. In this world…this cold, cold world.
His healing complete, Logan rises from the snow. He knows he’ll be feeling the phantom pains for months, but knows he’ll be okay as long as he remembers the first rule. “You don’t have to live through this ‘til it’s over. You just have to live ‘til the next moment. And when that moment comes, you’ll live with it, too.”
Outside the P&G bar, the police captain approaches a couple of his officers. Wondering why he got called down for a bar fight, he asks why his men didn’t go in and handle it.
An officer says they tried that, but points to an officer with several broken limbs being put into an ambulance. The captain is incredulous that one guy did all this, but the officer explains that some bikers made a short joke and things got out of hand.
The captain thinks this guy must be a monster, but a voice replies that he’s just a drowning man who’s convinced he can keep his head above water. The captain wonders who this new arrival is and Wolverine says that he’s the guy who going to throw him a life preserver.
Logan enters the building, where several bikers lie unconscious around the bar. A small figure, Puck, sits at the bar drinking from a bottle. Logan tells Eugene he looks and smells like something he’d scrape from the bottom of his boot.
Eugene responds that it’s good to see Logan, too, and if he came to join him for a drink. Logan declines, and Eugene asks why he is here then, since he doubts Logan was just in the neighborhood.
Logan says he thought he’d check out his old stomping grounds and see if any of the old gang was around. Eugene asks if everything is just like he remembered it, but Logan replies that everything seems…smaller.
Logan gestures to one of the beaten bikers and asks if girl scouts are next, since Eugene is tussling with such a tough bunch these days. Eugene retorts that they started it and at three-foot-nothin’, barely anything is beneath him.
Logan looks at his friend and can hardly believe that the man who pulled his fat out of the fire in Tangiers has been beaten by a nine-dollar bottle of booze. Furious, Eugene screams for him to shut up and smashes his liquor bottle against the wall.
He asks why Logan isn’t out saving the world or something, since he couldn’t have actually come all the way here to tell him he has a problem with the sauce. If he did, Eugene tells him to save his breath because he is doing just fine.
Logan tells him he looks it and Eugene tears into him in a rage. He curses and yells that Logan isn’t a mind-reader and has no idea what he has been through…what he’s going through.
Logan replies that it doesn’t take a mind-reader to know Eugene is pain. Pain is life’s way of letting you know that you need to do something different. Only fools keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.
What would he know about it, Eugene snarls. He’s the X-Man, Wolverine, and everyone worships him while Eugene is nothing. He has no team, no job, and the people he used to consider his friends won’t even acknowledge him.
Eugene feels like a cliché, a laughing stock, a joke. He used to enjoy helping people, but he can barely remember the person he used to be. Eugene wants to remember, but can’t because he doesn’t know how.
Logan says that is bull and Eugene cracks his knuckles, telling Logan that he’s sick of him and what could he possible know about how Eugene feels. Logan smiles at his friend and starts to tell him a story.
A man accidentally fell into a huge pit and tried for days to get out, but couldn’t. Finally, he just gave up and sat down at the bottom of the pit, waiting for death to claim him. Suddenly he looked up and saw a man staring down at him. He shouted for the man to please help him get out of this pit and the man nodded and jumped down into the pit with him. The trapped man freaked out, asking how they were supposed to get out now that they both were stuck down there. The other man just smiled and told him not to worry, as he had been down here before…and he knew the way out.
Eugene smiles at Logan and the pair head out of the bar to meet the police. Logan gives Eugene a card with a phone number of where he can find some help when he gets out of jail.
They will pull you up by the bootstraps, he tells Eugene, but staying on his feet will be up to him. Logan tells him his number is on the back and leaves a cuffed Eugene in the back of a squad car.
The captain congratulates Logan on getting Eugene to surrender and asks if he thinks Eugene will stop stumbling into the deep end of the pool. Logan replies that if he wants it bad enough, Eugene will learn to walk on water.