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The Loss
Chapter 4

disclaimer:  see chapter 1

Logan paid little attention to the program that was running.  He instead focused all his attention, all his senses, on Francis.  It was the boy's turn to lead the mission, this time, rescuing a fair young maiden from a very nasty Army of Evil.  The whole exercise was the boy's idea, another indication his teen-age hormones were in full swing.


The whole plan went smoothly enough.  The opponents were easy to defeat, and Francis dispatched them with much aplomb, thoroughly enjoying himself.  With each encounter, Logan held back, and observed.  He noted no change in the boy, and no apparent power drain in the program.  He was beginning to think it was all a load of horseshit, and that the professor had simply been looking for something that just wasn't there.


Like a video game, Logan had programmed the simulation to make the enemies disappear when struck once or twice in a targeted spot.  Francis carried a bamboo rod, and he swung it like a samurai, enjoying the power it gave him.  However, as they neared their objective, he looked at his father with disappointment in his eyes.  "This is too easy.  How come you didn't make it tougher?  I can handle it."


Logan snorted as they made their way, cautiously, down the fictional hallway toward the waiting damsel.  "Next time.  You wanted a fight, you got one."  He looked up as they rounded a corner, and saw the final door they needed to pass through.  As expected, Francis set himself, ready for the enemy that was sure to pop out any second.  'Perhaps I did make it too easy,' Logan thought.  'This is way too predictable.'


They took two steps forward, and five enemy soldiers appeared.  Again, Logan held back, and watched.  Francis twirled his baton, and struck the opponents down with lethal accuracy.  One by one they fell, and disappeared.  When all five were dispatched, he turned and smugly smiled.


"Now to rescue the fair damsel."  He spun again, and opened the huge door.


Logan leaned against the wall, thankful this program was finally over.  He jumped when he heard a loud yell from inside the next room.  He ran to the door, wondering what was wrong.  He programmed no more battles once the door was opened.


In front of him, he saw Francis, visibly shaken, and stepping backward into the hall.  His face was ashen, and his eyes were wide from fright.  His eyes held something in front of him.  Logan turned and saw what had frightened the boy so badly.  Emerging from the room was an old friend, Sabertooth.


He set himself for a fight, and was ready to charge in to protect the boy when he suddenly realized that this was a simulation, one that he did not program.  He looked up at the ceiling, but before he could terminate the program, the whole scene began to flicker and fade.  While the fictional hallway faded and reappeared, he turned his attention to Francis.


He had fallen to his knees, and still stared at the approaching Sabertooth.  Logan then noticed it.  Slowly, the boys body became surrounded by a warm blue glow, growing brighter as the program dimmed.  Logan wanted to cry out to the boy, but was unable to.  He willed his legs to move, and took several tentative steps toward the boy, as Sabertooth was set to strike.  In a flash, the room turned black, the only light being emitted from Francis.


Logan stepped up to him, and knelt, feeling the charge from the boy deep in his bones.  It made his muscles twitch uncontrollably.  The boy looked at his hands, absolute terror in his eyes, not understanding what was happening to him. 


Logan moved as close as he was physically able.  "It's ok, kid.  Take it easy.  It's all over now."


Francis looked up at his father, pleading with his eyes.  On previous occasions, the boy's mind would shut down, and he became detached from himself.  His eyes would loose their focus and his voice would become cold and distant.  He was protecting himself from the emotional trauma, and was unaware of what was happening to him.  But this time, Logan could see he was fully aware of what was happening, and he was terrified.


"Come on, kid.  Relax.  The monster is gone now."  He tried to sound soothing, barely able to keep his own anxiety from his voice.


Francis breathing was heavy and erratic, and he trembled.  "He...j-jumped out...at me...I...c-cant...s-stop..."  He moved toward his father, and Logan winced from the energy.  Francis fell back one more.  "I...I...c-cant help-p it...I'm.s-sorry."


Logan spoke softly.  "It's ok.  Just relax.  It's all over now.  Take it easy, kid.  Take deep breaths, close your eyes, relax.  I'm here, and nothing is going to happen to you."  He readied himself for the expected burst of energy from the boy.  To his surprise, the glow began to diminish.  Slowly, it grew dark once more.  The last thing Logan saw before the room went completely dark was his son's frightened face.  They sat in complete darkness for several seconds, and Logan ached listening to the boys labored breathing.  Suddenly, the emergency lights came to life, and the room was bathed in an eerie red glow. 


The boy sat very still, watching his father.  When Logan let out a heavy sigh, the boy leapt into his arms, holding on for dear life.  He trembled uncontrollably, and sobbed into Logan's ear as he held the boy tight.


The door to the danger room slid open, and Scott ran inside.  "Are you two alright?  Jesus, the whole place just lost power."


Logan glared at Scott, and his anger nearly exploded when he saw the professor glide in, visibly concerned.


"Logan, Francis?  Are you two-"


Logan exploded.  "What the fuck are you trying to do?  Why did you program that?  Answer me!!"


Xavier remained stoic.  "I needed proof, Logan.  We both did."


"Fuck proof!!  He could have blown up the entire building!!"  Francis looked up into his father's eyes now, confused by his loud rant.  "Why did you have to put Sabertooth into the mix?  Are you that fucking cruel?!"


Francis whispered.  "Sabertooth?"


Xavier approached the pair.  "Logan, please calm down.  No harm was done.  But it did prove what I had expected.  The boys mutation has evolved.  And he has proven he has the ability to control it as well.  It needed to be done.  Now we know what we are dealing with, and can help the boy learn to cope with it."


Logan shook in his rage, and it did not go unnoticed by Francis.  "Who's Sabertooth?  And why did I just turn blue?  My mutation evolved?  Why?"  His face suddenly went ashen once more.  "I could have...blown up the building?"  His terror was returning.  In a flash, he pulled away from his father, and ran from the room.


Logan rose to his feet, and glared at Xavier and Scott, before running after his son.  Scott turned to the man in the wheelchair, unsure what had just transpired.


"What's going on?  You mean Francis drained all the power from the building?"  He glanced at the door through which the two had departed.  "Jesus."


Xavier turned very pensive and perhaps a bit sad as well.  "I needed to know for certain.  Using Sabertooth in the program was the only way to get the emotional response that was needed to cause Francis to react the way he did."  He looked up at Scott.  "Now we know.  And we can help him.  If Logan lets us, that is."

Chapter 5

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