Logan sat in Xavier's office, still in his shorts and still shirtless. The whole mansion seemed to be a bit warm, and somewhat claustrophobic. He watched as Xavier glided around to his place behind his desk. He still wore the same expression, one of concern, pensiveness. Logan had a bad feeling, and was getting itchy sitting there in complete silence.
"So what the hell is this all about? And just why am I the only one here?"
The man behind the desk looked up at Logan, a strange sadness coming over him. Logan felt the room closing in a bit more now. "I have received some rather disturbing news."
"News about what?"
Logan could see the professor struggling to find the words. "I had hoped it would never come to this. I had hoped the whole matter was resolved once and for all, but I was mistaken. For that, I am sorry."
Logan could feel his anger growing. "About what?!"
Xavier took a deep breath before continuing. He could feel Logan's growing rage. News of the sort he had to pass on needed to be treated delicately with the man. With his eyes firmly locked on Logan's he spoke. "It's about Francis."
Logan's face showed his confusion. "What about him? Did he do something wrong?"
"No. He did nothing wrong. I received notice yesterday, that his mother is petitioning to get him back."
"She has retained an attorney, and is seeking to regain her parental rights."
"You have got to be fucking kidding me! That bitch gave him up. Now she wants him back? No way! No fucking way!" Logan surprised himself at his reaction, but for nearly a year, he had been the boy's guardian and protector, and he was not about to just give up that responsiblity, not without a fight, especially when the kid's mother is involved. She blew it. End of story.
"Logan, calm down. This isn't going to be easy. The mother has a history of neglecting and abusing the boy. She has an uphill battle. The court suggested she give up her rights, or they would have forced the decision on her. Francis is thriving here with us, and more importantly, with you. He is healing from his emotional wounds, and is healthier and happier than he has ever been in his life. The courts will see that, I assure you."
"Right, sure. Wasn't it you who said that when the kid's grandmother tried to help him out, and took him away from that bitch, the courts nearly put her in jail?"
"Yes, I did. But things have changed. She did take the boy away, a kidnapping almost. But you are Francis' legal guardian now."
"Frankly, that doesn't mean shit!" Logan stood and began to pace the room, his fists tight. "Legal? Bullshit! That bitch ain't gonna get her hands on that kid again."
"Logan. I....we are with you on this. We will fight any effort on her part to get him back."
"And what if they start digging up a lot of shit about me? What if they decide to play dirty? That would open up a whole new can of worms, wouldn't you say? I'm the kid's guardian, but I have no fuckin' identity, no past!"
"I explained all that, Logan. As far as the courts are concerned, you have a-"
"Yeah, all fuckin' nice and legal. Right."
"Logan. Please calm down. I have more to tell you."
Logan stopped his pacing and glared at the man. "More?"
"Yes. It appears that Francis has been in contact with his grandmother."
"He has been sending her e-mails. Jason and some of the other boys helped him find her. You know how he feels abut her. She is the only person who cared about him, the only person who tried to help."
"So she knows where he is? Is that how the bitch mother found out?"
"I believe so, yes."
"Jesus fucking Christ! What else is there?"
"She wants custody of him as well."
Logan could feel his heart sink. He felt defeated and deflated. What had started out a wonderful day, had turned to complete shit. The mother wanted Francis back, the grandmother wanted him, and he realized, he did not want to let him go. It had never occured to him that this would ever happen, could ever happen. It had never entered his mind that he could lose the boy. He was at a complete loss as to what to do, how to feel. The kid managed to sneak under his protective radar, and became part of him. He felt suddenly light headed, and needed to sit once more.
"Why didn't he tell me he was in contact with his grandmother?"
"He didn't want to hurt your feelings."
"My feelings? Did you know?"
"And YOU never told me, either?"
"I was asked not to."
Logan felt betrayed. "Don't you think I should have been informed?"
"In hindsight, yes, but no one could have forseen this coming."
"Not even you?" Logan's eyes burned into Xavier.
"No. Not even me."
Francis sat on the edge of his bed, looking like a prisoner awaiting sentence. Logan paced the room in front of him, awaiting an answer to his question. Gone now was the elation of earlier in the day. It was replaced by sadness, and a little fear.
"I knew you'd be mad. I told them not to tell you. I didn't want you to be mad. I didn't mean it. I just wanted to talk to my granny. I didn't want you to be sad."
"I should have been told. Jesus Christ, you tell me everything else, even when you take a shit, but this you keep from me?" Logan continued his pacing, trying to keep calm, trying not to put his fist, or Francis, through a wall.
Francis held his head down, and Logan could smell the tears coming. Above all else, he could not stand it when the kid turned on the waterworks.
"I should have been told."
"Would you have said yes?"
"I don't know. Maybe, maybe not."
"I didn't mean anything. I'm sorry." Logan heard a loud snort, and knew the tears had begun.
"Look, kid. I'm supposed to be your guardian. I'm responsible for you now. Now we have all this bullshit to deal with. Your mother wants you back, your grandmother wants you."
Francis looked up now, his eyes red rimmed and swollen from crying, his nose running. He absently wiped it on the back of his hand, and Logan could see a rising fear in his face.
"I don't want to go with my mommy. I want to stay here. Will I be able to stay here?"
"I don't know."
"All I wanted was to talk to my granny. Let her know I was ok. Let her know about the school. Let her know I'm safe."
"I know that."
"Why can't I stay here? I like it here." The pleading look in the boy's eyes made Logan uncomfortable.
"We'll have to wait and see what happens." Logan turned his back to the boy, and stood by the window.
"Why would they take me away? Why don't they want me to stay with you?"
"I'm not your father. I'm just a guardian. I am not a blood relative."
"But you're my friend. You take care of me. You still like me, don't you? Do you want me to go?"
Logan watched the kids in the pool, and the kids playing with a Frisbee outside.
"Yeah, I like you. And no, I don't want you to go."
It became very silent in the room, the only sounds being those from the activity outside. Logan could not turn to look at the boy. He absolutely did not want the kid to go. If not for the boy, he would have left the school a long time ago. This had become a home for him, the first real home he could recall ever having. And that was in large part due to Francis.
Logan continued to watch the children outside, and became aware of a growing pressure in his back. He felt the boy's arms close around his middle, and his face press into his back. He held his place for a moment, then slowly turned to face the kid, closing his arms around the child, holding him tight.
In Xavier's office, later that night, the others assembled to discuss the growing problem.
"How did he take the news?" Scott, for once, was visibly concerned. Although there was no love lost between him and Logan, he cared about Francis, and was not blind to the bond between the two.
"Not well, I'm afraid."
Jean had been pacing the room for sometime, her arms crossed tightly in front of her. "He's scared of loosing the kid. I can't blame him."
Scott sat deeper in his chair. "Jesus. Nothing like this has ever happened before, has it? I mean, all the run-aways we have here, not one of them has had to go through this. Why did this have to happen?"
Xavier sipped at his steaming tea, staring at the floor in front of him. "No, nothing like this has ever happened before. Now Francis is going to be in the middle of a tug-of-war. And I don't think Logan is going to give up without a fight. I should have stopped Francis from contacting his grandmother."
"But how were you to know what would happen.?" Storm sat curled up on a deep sofa, holding a pillow tightly to her chest. "There have been kids who have made contact with relatives. Nothing bad has happened."
Scott stretched. "Until now. As if that kid hasn't had enough trouble, now this."
Jean now flopped down exhaustedly next to Storm. "He's just now beginning to mature emotionally. His demons were beginning to fade away. I don't know how he's going to handle this. And as for Logan? He's a walking raw nerve as it is. This could be devastating."
Xavier placed his tea on the table beside him. "We will have to support both of them in this. If this goes badly, it could be damaging for both of them. I for one do not want to see that happen. I believe that the best place for Francis is this school, and more importantly, with Logan. I intend to do everything in my power to see that he stays where he is."
Scott leaned forward now. "This is not going to be easy. Could get very ugly, especially if this woman is as bad as you say she is."
Storm nodded. "And there is the grandmother, as well. She is still trying to protect him from his mother. Perhaps if we can convince her that the best place for Francis is here, she will become an ally."
"Yes, that is a possibility." Xavier folded his hands, deep in thought.
Jean sighed, and rubbed her eyes. "But, as Scott said, it could get rough, because Francis' mother knows what he is. That may open a whole new can of worms."
Scott now rose from his chair and crossed to the french doors, looking out into the darkness. "And we have to agree that Logan is not a saint. Perhaps if Francis had become a ward of the school, things would be a bit easier to deal with. And Logan would not have become attached to the kid."
"I disagree, Scott." The professor glanced up at him. "Logan became attached the first moment he found the boy. Nothing would be different." He let his eyes once again fade into deep thought.
Jean noticed. "What is it?"
"I don't know, Jean. Just something that is bothering me, about the mother. It's just....." His voice trailed off.
Jean sat forward now. "What?"
"I have a feeling, not all is as it appears."