Logan crept into the room. It was unlit, save for soft light over the bed. He approached the bed, and saw the little boy, looking even smaller in the large bed. There were wires attached to him, IV tubing, a nasal canula sticking out of his nose, and a hose coming from under the blankets, and draining into a small box attached to the side of the bed. Logan could tell from the color of the liquid contained inside exactly what it was for, and what it was attached to. He winced in spite of himself.
The boy was very still, and looked even more swollen and puffy than before. Logan pulled up a chair and sat down, but cringed when the chair creaked. Francis stirred when he heard the noise, and his eyes popped open. For a brief moment, he looked frightened, but when Logan cleared his throat, he turned his head and saw the big man seated on a chair next to him. A bright, if pained smile spilled over his face.
Logan leaned forward, and the chair made a vulgar noise when he did so. Francis now giggled. His voice was rough and shaky. "Did you sit on a whoopie cushion?"
Logan frowned. "Must have been those burritos I had for lunch."
Francis laughed out loud, wincing at the pain. "Maybe Dr. Jean will give you some Beano pills."
"She has a never-ending supply." With that, Logan stood and placed the offending chair in the corner, and grabbed another one from against the wall. He placed it next to the bed, and sat, once again making a rude noise. Defeated, he sighed, and looked at Francis, whose smile had faded.
"Am I laying down?" He asked, frowning.
Logan was confused. "Yes, why?"
"It doesn't feel like it. I feel like I'm flying. Are you sure I'm laying down?"
Logan grinned. "That's just the medication Jean gave you. Makes you feel weird. But it takes the pain away, right?"
Francis did not answer. He slowly rolled his head away, and muttered something incoherant. Logan watched as the boy's eyes glazed over, and fluttered shut. Soon the boy was breathing slowly and steadily, fast asleep. Logan attempted to lean back in the chair, and once more, the crude vvrrttttt echoed through the room. He looked around the room, and saw that there were no more chairs. He had to be patient and sit very still, lest the chair continue to make noise.
Logan watched the heart monitor, blipping rather irratically at times. He looked at the boy, who moaned and winced in his sleep. He felt helpless. With all his own body was capable of, he could not take away the boy's pain, could not heal the boy's wounds. He could only sit, and watch, and wait. Suddenly, he felt very fatigued. His muscles ached, and his eyes fought to stay open. It had been a long, trying day, and he was glad it was finally over. It was clear that Francis would not be going anywhere with that bitch of a mother. She blew it, and he hoped that he would be able to get his hands on her again. She would not be so lucky next time. Now the only thing that remained unfinished was the decision on who gets custody of Francis. Logan had promised himself that he would accept the decision, should the judge rule for the grandmother. He could live with that. Francis loves her, and she loves him. They were family, and that's as it should be.
He heard a slight noise at the door, and turned to see Stephanie standing in the doorway, holding her mother's hand. She looked frightened, and unsure. Logan looked at Anita and nodded. The woman gently urged her daughter in, a followed behind.
Stephanie crept to the side of the bed next to Logan and looked at Francis lying there. Logan noticed in her hands she grasped a small pink handkerchief. He decided to stand, carefully, and guided Stephanie to the chair. She sat, and stared at her boyfiend, remaining very still, and silent.
Logan stretched as he crossed to the window. Anita moved to stand next to him, and whispered to him.
"Is he going to be ok?"
"Yeah. Sore, but he'll be fine."
"It's a long story. It's over now, though." He sat down on the window sill.
Anita let out a sigh. "He looks so small, doesn't he?"
"I'm glad he's going to be ok. Stephanie was so upset when she heard. Jason called her. I couldn't get her to stop crying. She thought he was going to die."
"Well, he's not."
"Yeah." She looked over at Logan, watching his face for a moment, as he looked at Francis. "Are you ok?"
"Yeah, why?" He turned to look at her.
"You look exhausted."
He chuckled a bit, and lowered his head. "Been a long day. I need about three days sleep."
She got up and stood in front of him. Without warning, she wrapped her arms around his neck, and buried her head in his shoulder. He sat very still for a moment, a little confused, but not complaining. Slowly, he snaked his arms around her waist, and pulled her close. They remained in that position for a few minutes, until they heard a soft voice call to them from the doorway.
"I'm sorry, but visiting hours are over."
They both looked at the nurse peeking in the doorway, and Anita pulled away. She looked down into Logan's eyes for a brief moment, before turning and walking to Stephanie.
"Come on, sweetie. Time to go. Francis needs some sleep. You can come see him tomorrow, ok?"
"But I have to go see daddy again tomorrow. Remember, I go to daddy's on saturdays?"
"It's ok, sweetie. I have a talk with daddy."
Stephanie stood, and Logan was a little surprised that the chair made no sound when she did. Both she and her mother walked quietly to the door. Anita turned, paused and smiled at Logan as she walked out. He gave her a nod, and a smile of his own, and then they were gone.
A short time later, Francis' grandmother walked slowly down the hallway with Jean. They approached the boy's room, and peeked inside. What they saw made the grandmother smile, and Jean groan. Inside the room, they saw Logan, now lying in the bed, with a bundled up Francis cradled in his arms. All that was visible of the boy was the top of his head. He curled into Logan's chest as if it were the most natural place to be. Both were sound asleep, Logan snoring loudly, and the boy matching him snore for snore. Jean checked all the wires and tubes and attachments on the boy, and found them to be in place. She then reswaddled the boy, and rubbed Logan's head, and she was rewarded with a loud snort from the man.
She backed up and stood next to the grandmother. She whispered to her. "I never expected Logan to do this." She shook her head, as she viewed the scene before her.
"I did. Look at them. Like they've been together all their lives." She paused when Logan snorted again, and shifted. "Franky is so happy, and safe, and he knows it. He knows where he belongs, an he belongs right there." She pointed to the bed, to the two figures cuddled together there. Her voice grew even softer. "Where he is safe."
"So what you are telling me is that you know nothing about this man?" The boy's grandmother sat in the silent cafeteria, with Scott, the professor and Jean. Rogue and Storm had gone back to the school to pass on the news about Francis, and Judge Hanson wearily said his good nights as well, promising to check in on the boy in the morning.
Xavier sipped at his tea. "He comes from Canada, and he has become a very good friend to us. There is a great deal about him that even he does not know."
"My God. And he's been so good with my little man, taking care of him, being a sort of father to him."
Scott licked the butter off his fingers from his muffin. "It was a surprise to all of us. He certainly isn't the most social of people. Quite the opposite. He's a loner, and he likes it that way. But for some reason, one we will probably never know, the two of them clicked." He shook his head and glanced at Jean. "He is a social outcast, but he can be fiercely loyal and protective. That we have seen before. And it's really hard not to like the little guy. I think he's got Logan wrapped around his finger." They all chuckled.
Jean stretched her stiff shoulders. "Logan is one of a kind. But like Charles said, he has become a good friend to us. And to see him with Francis, at breakfast, after school, leaving on one of their drives together, well.........." Her voice trailed off.
The professor looked at the boy's grandmother, a soft smile on his lips. "Maggie, why don't you come and stay with us at the institute. It would be no trouble at all. You are welcome to stay for as long as you wish. That way, when Francis is released, you will be there waiting for him, and he can take you on the tour he promised you."
Maggie sat very still, staring at her now ice cold coffee. "He wants to stay there doesn't he? He wants to stay with this Mr. Logan. And his girlfiend, what's her name? Stephanie? I'd like to meet her. I've heard so much about her." She paused, and sighed deeply. "I guess that's where he'll stay then. I can't take him away from that. I can't protect him. My daughter won't give up that easily. He's much better off in a place where he feels safe and happy."
It was obvious to all those present that she was speaking not to them, but to herself, trying to convince herself that she should allow the boy to remain where he is.
The professor grinned. "Maggie, as I stated, you may stay with us for as long as you wish. I had heard that you make fabulous muffins. The boy would like for you to stay with us. We all would. And I know the students would appreciate a good cook, especially one who makes banana muffins."
The grandmother looked up at him. She understood what he was saying. She was willing to allow things to remain as they were, but there was no reason she had to give up Francis altogether. "Are you offering me a job? I haven't worked in ages."
"Part time if you wish. We do have several cooks on staff, but unfortunately we have yet to find a decent baker. Do you make cookies? You can understand that in a school full of hungry growing teenagers, cookies and other sweets are in high demand."
Maggie smiled. "I hope they like oatmeal raisin."
Scott perked up. "My favorite."
They all looked at Scott and had a good, well deserved laugh.
In the morning, Logan slowly woke up. He could hear the increased activity in the hallway. Nurses changing shifts, breakfast trays crashing and banging. He opened his eyes and looked out the window. The sun was not out, still hidden behind the clouds, but the day was starting out a bit brighter than the previous. He watched a bird on the window sill, until he became aware he was being watched. He turned his head slightly, and slowly lowered his eyes, until they were met by a pair of glowing emerald green eyes looking back at him. He raised an eyebrow, and was rewarded with a slight grin from the boy, only his face showing from the bundle of blankets.
He felt the boy shift a tad. "I gotta pee."
Logan knitted his brow. "Uh, isn't that what that tube is for?"
"Yeah, shoved up, uh, your......."
"Yeah. That's there so you don't have to piss. It just feels like you have to."
"Oh. Did you ever have one?"
"Hell, no." He paused for a moment, thinking, wondering. "At least I don't think so." He smirked now. "Wouldn't that be a shock to think that Jean would do that for me?" The smirk turned into a full blown sneer now.
Francis beamed. "You're bad."
"Years of practice, kid." He shifted a little, and he decided to get up. "Well, speaking of needing to piss, I gotta go." He carefully lifted the battered child and gently set him into the bed where he had been.
"Ooooo, you left a warm spot." The boy snuggled deeper into the warm place Logan had vacated.
Before he went into the bathroom, Logan paused and looked at the boy. "You feel better?"
"Uh huh. I don't hurt quite as much now. But my butt hurts. And my side, and my arm. Did I break it? I never had a cast before. Did you ever have a cast? No, I guess not. Can't break your bones. I wish my bones didn't break. It feels funny. I couldn't move it last night, but now I can wiggle my fingers, but it still hurts. How long is it gonna hurt? It won't hurt forever, will it? I hope not. I'm hungry. Are you hungry? Will I get something to eat? Or do we have to order out? I want Froot Loops. A big bowl, with lots of milk and a big orange juice. Do you think I can get a big orange juice?........."
Logan lowered his head, and shook it from side to side. He looked at the boy, who was looking at the fingers on his injured arm, still babbling away. "Hey kid? Hold that thought, huh? Nature calls." He turned and entered the bathroom, and even after he closed the door, he could still hear Francis chirping away about Froot Loops and orange juice.
As he was relieving himself, he heard Francis squeal. He wasn't concerned, because it wasn't a distressed squeal. From the murmuring and giggling coming from the next room, and the odor of the insect repellant Scott used as a cologne, Logan knew that everyone had arrived. He looked at his face in the mirror and decided he looked like shit, but then everyone did in those harsh lights. He also needed a shower and a change of clothes. Well, at least he didn't stink too bad. He took a deep breath and entered the fray.
The second he opened the door, he heard Francis begin to yell excitedly. "I'M GOING HOME! I'M GOING HOME!! LOGAN! DR. JEAN SAID I CAN GO HOME!!!"
Jean was trying to calm the boy down. "You aren't going anywhere unless you calm down." Immediately the boy settled down, but he looked like he was going to burst.
Logan smiled at the boy. He then glanced up and saw the boy's grandmother approaching him.
"Ah, there you are. Here, hot out of the oven." She thrust a platter under his nose. "Go ahead, take one." Logan hesitated a moment, then did as he was told, taking a still warm banana muffin from her. She nodded her approval, then continued. "Ok, I have a bag here with some fresh clothes for you. Get back in there and take a shower, freshen up a bit." She took the bag and heaved it at him, and shoved him back in the bathroom. "Go on, git."
Logan's chin was on the floor. So was everyone else's. This petite woman, ordering him around, and succeeding. As the door closed behind him, he could hear Francis laughing hysterically, Scott guffawing, and the boy's grandmother scolding them.
"And just what are you laughing at? You, go get some towels from that nice blonde nurse, and you, eat your breakfast, and stop bouncing on that bed! Dr. Grey, is that machine supposed to be doing that? What does all that beeping mean? Don't you think that cast is a bit too tight? How long will he need to wear it? Francis, drink your juice. Stop that giggling or you'll choke. Ah, Scott. Thank you. Only one towel? Is that all you could get?......................"