The July 4th festivities were in full swing and the students who had not returned home for their summer vacations played games and ate and swam and otherwise enjoyed themselves. Scott manned the grill, doling out hotdogs, hamburgers and various sausages. Storm was in charge of the corn roast, and Rogue and Maggie and other kitchen staff members handled the salads and other goodies spread on numerous tables by the poolside. The poolside sound system boomed out the students favorite music, and the sound filled the grounds of the school.
Jean took a break from her rather tedious job of keeping everyone satisfied with cold drinks, and fell into a chair next to the professor on the patio.
"Thank God it isn't too hot today." She sipped her iced tea and put her feet up on an end table in front of her.
Xavier smiled. "Yes, a bit overcast. I hope the rain holds off until after the fireworks."
Jean looked at the gray sky. "It's supposed to. You have a real big show this year?"
"The best yet." His eyes were on a trio, seated on a large blanket, far away from everyone else.
Jean too, looked out across the vast lawn at the lonely group. "They've been having a tough time the last few weeks. The whole thing took a lot out of them. I was hoping that they'd loosen up a bit with the party."
They both watched the small group. Toni and Francis chatted and nibbled on snacks, and Logan rested on his back on the opposite side of the blanket, sunning himself. Jean thought he still looked a bit pale, but he insisted he was fine. "They'll be fine, Jean. I understand there has already been a rash of pranks directed at Scott. I hear that one of them involved itching powder?" Jean rolled her eyes and scratched her thigh. "I wouldn't worry too much about them. Toni and Francis make a cute couple, don't you think?" They observed a warm embrace between the two.
Jean nodded and smiled. "At least one nightmare is over for them."
Xavier sighed deeply. The several days it had taken to perform the DNA analysis had been pure hell. Francis stayed by himself in Logan's room, and cut off nearly all his hair, and Logan hovered around Jean every step of the way. When she at last had the results, and they proved Sabertooth was not the boy's biological father after all, both Logan and Francis disappeared for several days, to be alone, to think, to celebrate. While the boy's true biological father still remained a mystery, at least he could be satisfied that he was not the sire of pure evil.
However, there was yet another blow to the boy. Sabertooth had told the truth about the Stella's death, and it hit the boy hard. Although the woman had been a poor excuse for a human being, she was still his mother, and he grieved alongside his grandmother. Logan took the two, without complaint, to the unmarked grave sight, so each could say their good-byes.
Xavier and Jean noticed Maggie making her way around the Frisbee game to where the trio was situated. She was carrying several bags of snacks and an armload of sodas. Toni noticed her coming, and stood to assist her. They walked to the blanket, and Maggie dumped the bags of snacks at Logan's feet. He did not stir.
Jean turned to her friend and mentor. "When is Francis going to begin sessions with you?"
Xavier turned to her. "Not quite yet. He'll begin when he's ready. His body has been going through many changes, too many, and he needs to accept those changes, and be in the right mind set to learn to use and control his gifts."
They returned their attention to the small group. Jean continued. "And have you figured out how Francis knew where to find Logan?"
"No. Not yet. I do not believe he is a telepath. It was something else. Perhaps another manifestation of his mutation, perhaps empathy of some sort." Maggie was now attempting to open a bag of cheese doodles. "He keeps telling me that he could feel where his father was. I do not understand it either. Quite possibly it is something deeper than we can imagine."
Jean nodded, and smiled at the contortions Maggie was going through to open the bag in her hands. Suddenly, the bag exploded, and a shower of cheese curls rained down on Logan.
Jean laughed. "Oops. This could be interesting."
Maggie stood frozen and embarrassed, two halves of the bag in her hands. Logan slowly raised his head, and looked at the cheese curls on his chest. He reached up, took one and ate it, laying his head back down. Francis and Toni both began to chuckle, their shoulders twitching and heaving. Logan rolled over and took his bottle of soda. Toni and Francis froze and watched him, still fighting their giggles. Logan covered the bottle with his thumb, and sat up. He looked at Maggie, still standing above him with the broken bag, and began to shake the bottle. Maggie dropped the bag and began to back away from him. He slowly rose to his feet, still shaking the bottle, and began to stalk her. The two children followed behind, barely able to stand from their laughing. Maggie continued to back away, looking around for a direction to bolt, and Logan followed her, smirking. Just as Maggie was about to run, she ran into Scott, who just happened to be walking by with a tray full of hot dogs. She ducked behind him, and Logan hesitated for a split second, and then sprayed him with the soda instead. Scott stood with his mouth wide open, in shock. Francis fell to the ground in hysterics and took Toni down with him. Logan looked at Scott, shrugged, and took off at a dead run across the open lawn, barging into the middle of a volleyball game, with Scott in hot pursuit.
Xavier and Jean looked on as Logan dodged the objects Scott was throwing at him, and they watched Francis, Toni and Maggie laughing their hearts out. Xavier smiled at his friends. "Yes, I do believe they will be just fine."