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Father Figure
Chapter 5

When they arrived at the jet, they found Scott waiting for them, impatiently. He was always impatient. If something didn't run according to his schedule, he spent the rest of the day brooding. Logan frequently used these opportunities to annoy him further, usually by simply making a sly remark. Thus was the relationship between the two.

Jean noticed the set of Scott's jaw, and immediately knew they were in trouble. She purposely placed herself between Scott and Logan, to head off any potential problems.

"Where have you been? We were supposed to meet at noon. It is now almost 1:00."

"We decided to have a nice hot breakfast."

"I thought you had bagels? Weren't they good enough for you?" He turned slightly to glare at Logan, certain that he was the reason for the delay.

Storm now addressed Scott, while Logan lagged behind, Francis hiding behind him. "I'm sorry, Scott. I got lost. Made a wrong turn."

Scott turned to look at her, a bit surprised by the admission. "Fine, let's go. Uh, where's the kid?"

Finally, Logan spoke. "What? Are you fucking blind? Oh, yeah-"

He was cut off by Jean. "There he is, behind Logan. He's a bit shy."

Scott glanced at Logan, and saw a tuft of red-blonde hair peek out from behind him. "Oh. Hi." The hair disappeared.

Logan began walking to the jet, and as he climbed in, Scott finally got a good look at the boy. When the two had disappeared inside, Scott whispered to Jean. "He's kinda small, isn't he?"

"Yes, he is. Look Scott, he's very skiddish, so be careful. Even Storm hasn't been able to get close to him. He's a scared rabbit, so don't try to push to hard, ok?"

"And he's not afraid of Logan? Holy shit."

"And I'd be very careful around Logan, too. He's liable to bite your head off."

After the jet was at last in the air, heading home, Logan leaned back and stretched. The two front seats of the jet weren't designed for people with long legs. Xavier had promised him, with the next version of the jet, there would be more room. He heard Jean mumble behind him, and turned to see what she wanted.

"Logan, we may have a problem."

He glanced at the jump seat between Jean and Storm, and had his breath taken away by the ashen face of Francis. His eyes were wide, and his skin deathly white. Oh shit, Logan thought. He's air sick.

"Hey, you ok? Gonna puke?"

The boy shook his head from side to side, slowly.

"What's wrong? You scared?"

He nodded, weakly. Jean and Storm gave Logan the look again. Logan let out a deep, annoyed sigh.

"Come here, you can look out the window."

The boy's eyes narrowed slightly, as Jean unhooked his seatbelt. In a flash, he was in Logan's lap, peering out the window.

"Uh, this isn't what I meant. I was gonna change seats with-" Logan cut himself off, feeling no need to continue, as no one was listening to him anyway. He could see out of the corner of his eye, Scott trying in vain not to laugh out loud. "Don't push me, dickhead. I ain't in the mood." He turned his attention to Francis. "Look, you want to move your knee a bit, you're squashing my nuts." The boy did as he was told, and settled in on Logan's lap, watching the world go by outside, as Scott, Jean and Storm chittered and chuckled.

They were met in the late afternoon in the landing bay of the mansion by Xavier, whose chair glided to the ramp of the jet.

"Welcome back. Did you have a pleasant flight?"

Logan and Francis were the first down the ramp. Logan's face wore his annoyance and fatique. "Yeah, fuckin' wonderful." Once again, attached to Logan's leg, the boy took in his surroundings, wide eyed, mouth agape.

"Welcome, Francis. My name is Charles Xavier. It's nice to meet you." Francis just stared at the man in the chair, blinking, holding onto Logan for dear life. "I see that you are a bit tired. Perhaps Mr. Logan would like to show you to your room, you can settle in, and then we'll have a chat over dinner." Xavier looked expectantly at Logan, who was trying in vain to re-establish the circulation in his cramped legs.

"Um, Logan. I felt it best that the boy share your room, at least for a couple of days."

Logan's eyes widened, his face wearing a combination of shock and danger. Xavier knew he was going to erupt at any minute, and felt it best to explain himself, before Logan became violent.

"As you are well aware, we have no free rooms at the moment, and I do not feel Francis is ready, just yet, to be placed with the other students." He glanced at the small head peeking out from behind Logan's hip. "He will need some time to adjust, and since he is comfortable with you......."

Logan's mouth dropped open. He was expected to share with this kid? "Are you kidding me? My job was to go get him, not to become his wet nurse." He felt the boy's hands tighten on his thigh. He looked around, and saw that everyone was staring at him, giving him the "oh, come on, lighten up," look. He hated being manipulated, and the professor was one of the best at just that. He always wondered if Xavier used his "gift" to help the process. No matter how loudly he protested, Charles always won out in the end. He knew that this situation was no different. He would relent, and agree.

"Three days. That's it. By Monday, he's outta there, and in the dorm. Got it?"

"Absolutely. That is if he agrees to stay with us. It's up to him."

At dinner, which was served in the private dining room, the adults enjoyed a bit of small talk, while Logan and Francis ate in silence. Francis nibbled at his meal, uncertain as to exactly what it was, but upon studying Logan, decided it was ok. He had a bit of trouble with the peas, opting on using his fingers instead of a fork.

Scott noticed the faux-pas. "Francis? Use your f-" A stern warning glare from Logan caused him to rethink his admonition.

When it was at last time for dessert, Xavier announced the choices. "Well, we have a fresh apple pie for dessert, and ice cream."

He turned his attention to Logan and Francis. The child looked wide-eyed at Logan, who simply nodded at him. "Would you like some ice cream, Francis?" The boy nodded, and sank in next to Logan. "What flavor would you like? We have vanilla, chocolate, and I do believe we have some lemon sherbert as well."

Logan finished his coffee, and without missing a beat, replied for the boy. "Just give him one scoop of each. He'll eat whatever you got." That statement was followed by a slight smile from the boy, and a quick nod.

"Yes, of course. One scoop of each. And Logan? What would you like?"

He was in the process of crossing to the window. He sat on the sill, with Francis copying his movements, and lit a cigar. "I'll have the same, I guess."

Xavier gave the duo a warm smile. "Certainly. While we wait, we can discuss our plans for the next few days. Francis, I believe it would be best to let Logan show you around the mansion. As you are no doubt aware, this is a school for special children, children just like you." He paused, watching the boy's face, which remained bright, but somewhat expressionless. "Over the next few days, Mr. Logan can show you the grounds, and the classrooms. You will meet the students as well, who are very anxious to meet you. I would also like Dr. Grey to give you a physical examination. It won't hurt, I assure you. We just want to make certain you are ok. Do you have any questions?"

The boy frowned a little, and as had become his habit, he looked up at Logan for his cue. Logan gave him a sidelong glance. "Well, ask away."

He spoke in his soft, hushed voice. "When is the ice cream coming?"

Xavier chuckled gently. "I promise you it is on its' way. Do you have any other questions? Is there anything else you would like to know about the school, or any of us?"

The boy shook his head, but brightened significantly when Storm and Rogue carried in the dessert trays. He was able to take the first bowl, a large one, heaping with ice cream, which was obviously meant for Logan. Logan settled for the smaller bowl, without comment.

To the amazement of all present, Francis finished his dessert in record time. To the further amazement of all, Logan offered the remainder of his ice cream to the boy, which was also consumed rapidly. When he had finished his desert, he sat back against the window, his fatigue evident in his repeated yawns.

Jean noticed the boy's yawns, and suggested Logan take him to his room. "It's been a long day. How about you go to bed, and you can start out fresh in the morning. Logan? How about making sure he gets a nice hot shower and brushes his teeth?"

She got nothing but a low grunt from Logan, who stood and stalked from the room, without saying another word, Francis trotting behind.

When they had left, Scott snickered. "I give Logan one day, before he starts punching holes in the wall."

Rogue snorted. "You just better hope he doesn't put YOU through the wall."

Scott ignored Rogue's defense of Logan, which was expected. He instead directed his attention to the professor. "I still don't think this is a good idea. Don't you think it would be better to have Francis tour the school with one of us? We've all done it before. Don't you think he'd be better off with, say, Storm?"

Xavier listened intently, but shook his head. "No, I do not. Francis is an extremely frightened little boy. He is frightened of all of us; Storm, Jean, me. The only person he is not afraid of in the least, is Logan."

Scott sat back in his chair. "I still don't understand that at all."

"I know. I can't explain it either. However, those are the facts. He seems to have latched onto Logan, perhaps because he is very impressionable, or he senses Logan poses no threat to him, or perhaps Logan represents a father figure."

Scott snorted out a laugh. "Father figure? Logan?"

Jean gave him a sharp jab to the ribs, quieting him immediately. "Shut up, Scott. I think, given time, he'll relax, and warm up to everyone else. But right now, Logan is his protector, a wall to hide behind. We can't push him, or we'll lose him."

"I agree, Jean. We mustn't frighten him further. I, too, believe he will get over his anxiety. Let's not forget, he has been on his own for nearly two years, so his social skills will be somewhat lacking."

Scott snorted again. "And he'll be learning social skills from Logan? God help us." This time he recieved a kick in the shin from Storm.

Xavier ignored Scott, and continued. "Francis comes from a troubled background. From what I've learned, and from the information Scott found, he managed to raise himself. His mother was rarely home, and his father abandoned the family when he was five. He had little schooling, none since he ran away."

"Why did he run away?" Scott wisely became serious. "What happened?"

"From the information I found, the trailer he and his mother had been living in blew up, injuring both of them. He ran away from the hospital, and has been on his own ever since."

"What caused the explosion?"

"It was reported that a propane tank ruptured. At least that is the official explanation."

"Do you think Francis had anything to do with it?"

Xavier's face became clouded. "That is a possibility, yes."

"His gift?"


Chapter 6

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