Logan swung the door open, and found Jean Grey and Storm standing in front of him. His face must have showed his annoyance, for both women involuntarily took a step backward.
"What are you doing here?" He spat the words out, but he wasn't sure why.
"Expecting trouble?" Jean stood before him, arms full, waiting to be asked inside.
"No. I thought we were supposed to meet later."
Jean decided to hand Logan her armload, forcing him to step back, allowing the two women inside. "We got an early start. Scott had a few things he had to do, so here we are. I hope you didn't eat yet. We brought some breakfast." She paused when she noticed the small, frightened boy, staring at her. "Hi. Are you Francis? I'm Jean-" In the blink of an eye, he flew off the bed, and hid behind Logan, grasping his thighs tightly.
"You don't have to be afraid. My name is Jean, and this is Ororo." Jean took a step closer, and she saw the boy's hands dig deeper into Logan's legs. Logan was at a loss. The kid had a death grip on his legs, and when he tried to step away, the boy came with him, still grasping. He could feel the boy tremble each time Jean took a step closer.
"Uh, Jean? We were gonna get some pancakes, and sausage." He glanced down at the top of the kids unbrushed hair. "Still want to get some pancakes?" The boy looked up at him, blinking. "Ok, then. Jean? You got a band-aid for the kid's chin?" Jean looked at Logan for a moment, her confusion evident.
"Sure. I think I should have a look at it, first." She took one more step forward.
"Ok, kid. Hop up on the bed, so my friend can look at your chin." Francis looked up once more, and slowly moved to the bed, pulling Logan's leg with him. He sat, his arms wrapped tightly around Logan's thigh, and looked up a Jean.
"Ok, Jean. Take a look, and hurry it up, I'm starved." Jean looked at Logan's face, and he rolled his eyes, giving her an exasperated nod.
Jean and Ororo approached cautiously, realizing at last that gaining the child's trust was not going to be easy. Storm sat on the bed next to him, reaching out to lift his chin up. "It's ok. We just want to have a look at you. Logan tells us you were a little roughed up. Is that true?"
The little head nodded a bit, and leaned against Logan's leg. His eyes darted between Jean and Storm. He pulled away as Jean touched his cheek, and he looked up to find Logan looking impatiently down at him.
"I'm starving here. Let's get this over with. She's a doctor. She's patched me up plenty of times." He saw the boy's eyes widen slightly, and he jutted his chin out to Jean.
Jean dabbed at the chin with an antiseptic. "Oh, this isn't bad at all." She looked over at Ororo, and winked at her. "What color band-aid should I give him? Blue, green, yellow?"
All three adults heard a little voice reply. "Blue?"
"Ok, blue it is then." She removed a royal blue band-aid from it's wrapper, and stuck it on Francis' chin. He looked up at Logan, seeking his approval.
"Lovely. We done? Let's go."
At the little dinner, the three adults and child piled into a booth at the rear. Francis sat very close to Logan, so close in fact, that the waitress almost didn't notice him, behind Logan's shoulder. Logan decided it would be better to order for him.
"Uh, the kid'll have a plate of pancakes, and a side of sausage links, not the patties." He glanced down at the boy, who was looking a bit more at ease. "Anything else?" The boy looked at the waitress, and back at Logan. He seemed reluctant to answer. Logan glanced at the waitress, "A small orange juice, and I'll have the same, with coffee."
The two women just ordered tea, having eaten earlier. They sat, and watched Logan and the boy as they shoveled the food in. They frequently exchanged glances, which didn't go unnoticed.
"So, you gonna fill me in? Or am I gonna have to guess?" Logan glared at the two women.
"You did a great job, Logan." Ororo began. "He seems to like you."
"I like your new clothes, Francis." Jean said, leaning forward a bit. "Do you like them?"
Francis looked at her with his bright eyes, and glanced at Logan, nodding briefly, before taking another forkful of pancakes.
Jean smiled warmly at him, handing him a napkin to wipe up the stray syrup threatening to muck up his band-aid. "He doesn't talk much, does he?"
Logan stopped in mid-swallow, choking on his sausage link. "Huh?"
"He's so quiet." Jean brushed the hair off the child's forehead. "You're just shy, right?"
Again, Francis looked up at Logan, who stared at Jean. "Quiet? I can't get him to shut up half the time." He looked down at the boy, who blinked, his mouth jammed full of pancakes.
"Oh, come on. Don't exaggerate, Logan." Storm chuckled.
Jean again spoke to the boy. "How old are you, Francis?"
He looked down at his plate, but would not answer. Jean tried to coax him. "You can tell me. It's ok."
Logan glanced down when he felt the boy slide closer to him. "You gonna answer?"
Again, they heard the soft, hushed voice. "Thirteen."
Logan studied the boys face when he returned to his meal, stuffing an entire sausage link into his mouth, grease dripping from his lips. This kid was thirteen, huh? He sure didn't look thirteen. He was far too small, far too innocent looking to be a teenager. The fact that his mutation had already began to manifest itself was a mystery. Mutations usually made themselves known at puberty, and this kid barely looked like he was out of diapers, let alone prepubescent.
He was deep in thought when he felt the boy's hand on his sleeve, tugging. He refocused on the boy's face, green eyes boring into him. "What?"
Francis leaned closer, and whispered. "I gotta pee."
"Then go, nobody's stopping you. It's back there." He indicated the hallway behind him with a wave.
"What's wrong, Logan?" Storm asked with a smile.
"He has to pee."
Jean winced, for Logan said that a bit too loudly for her liking. "Well, why don't you take him?"
"Jesus Christ, I ain't gonna hold his hand. He knows how to take a piss."
Logan noted that both women were glaring at him, with that look they got, the look they used frequently, to get their way. There was no way out. He took Francis by the arm, and yanked him out of the booth. "Come on, then." He muttered a little "Pain in the ass," for good measure, and they walked to the men's room.
Inside, Francis looked at the urinals, and frowned. He glanced around for a toilet, and found that they were either occupied or out of order. He gave Logan a pitiful look, one that made Logan grind his teeth.
"Shit, use the urinal. That's what they're for." He sidled up to one, and used it himself. "See?" He was a little uncomfortable when an elderly man exited a stall, and gave him a curious look. The old man looked at the boy, and patted him on the head.
"I remember trying to teach my son how to use a urinal. His mother had him all paranoid about men's rooms. Took nearly a year."
Logan glanced over his shoulder at the man, as he shook dry and zipped up. "Uh, he's not my son."
The man looked at the boy, and then at Logan. "Hmm. He stands just like you do."
Logan spun to look at Francis, who stood before the urinal, shoulders back, legs spread slightly, right hand on his hip.
The old man chuckled as he left the room, and Logan just stood, rolling his eyes, while Francis even imitated the little shake maneuver, and the single motion zip. "Nice touch. Knock it off."
"Mr. Logan? Did that guy think you were my dad?"
"I don't know. Wash your hands."
"My dad was small. A lot smaller than you. You're big compared to him. You're big compared to everybody. I haven't seen anyone bigger than you.........."
Logan stared at Francis, as he fell into another one of his non-stop, say-it-all-in-one-breath, deluges. He had to cut Francis off at the pass. Right now, he just wanted to get back to the institute, job done.
"Come on, let's go. They're waiting for us."
"Mr. Logan? Do you like that Jean? She likes to touch, huh? She's pretty. Do you think she's pretty? Or-ro-eo is pretty too. I like her hair. She has pretty eyes........"
Francis continued yapping until they reached the table, when he suddenly fell silent once more.
Logan looked at the two women sitting there, their eyes revealing all they were thinking. "Can we go now?" He spun on his heel, and stalked out the door, with Francis trailing behind, trotting to keep up.
As Jean paid the check, and left a tip, she turned to Storm, nodding. "That is so precious."
Storm stood, and pulled her sweater tightly around her. "The professor was right. Logan was the best choice for this mission."
"I don't think Logan is too happy about it. But he is good with the boy, and Francis does seem to have latched onto him."
The women slowly walked toward the front door. Storm paused, and looked out the window at Logan and Francis, standing in the rain, side by side. "They do make quite a pair. It's going to be a tough transition for the little guy. He's been through so much."
Jean followed Storm's glance out the window. She noted a very animated Francis, obviously bombarding Logan with an earful. Logan looked impatient, but not terribly irritated. "They both have. Come on, before Logan starts growling at us."