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The Loss
Chapter 6

disclaimer:  see chapter 1

Logan felt the boy shift slightly on the back of the bike.  He always got fidgety when Logan drove too slowly.  So he revved the engine a bit, and sped up, just enough to satisfy the boy.  He knew he was successful when Francis grasped him around the waist tightly, and let out a loud hoot.


After their taco meal, they decided to take a bit of a drive.  It was a clear night, and fortunately, there weren't too many bugs flying around.  It was an excuse to blow of a bit of steam before returning to the school, and face the inevitable long discussion with Xavier.  Logan wasn't quite over his anger, and Francis needed time to breathe and relax and come to grips with what had happened to him.  He did not seem too terribly traumatized by it all, but lacked his usual spark this evening.  Maybe having some wind blown through his hair was what he needed.


However, it was getting very late, and Logan wanted to get back to the school and get everything straightened out.  The boy needed to know, from someone other than his father, that he was going to be fine.  He turned down a side road, and headed back to the mansion.


Francis tapped his father on the shoulder.  "Hey!  We going home?  Already?"


"Yeah.  Let's get all this over with."


He heard the boy utter a curse, and then fall silent, and he remained that way until they reached the mansion.


As Logan pulled into the drive for the school, he felt an odd sensation.  For a brief moment, his skin tingled.  He quickly looked around, and scented the air, but there was nothing there.  Just nerves, he thought to himself.  They pulled around to the front of the building, and Logan felt the same sensation again.  This time there was a reason.  In front of the building sat Maggie's car, its front end heavily damaged.  Francis flew off the back of the motorcycle as Logan pulled in next to it.


"What happened?  Look at this!  It looks like she hit a tree or something!  I hope she's ok."  The boy pulled off his helmet and examined the front of the car a second longer, and then turned to run inside.


Logan slowly walked to the car, and studied the damage.  His blood ran cold.  He knew exactly what had caused the damage.  From deep inside his chest, he produced a low, menacing growl, and turned to follow the boy inside.


Inside, he found everyone in Xavier's office.  Jean was administering to Maggie, dabbing away the blood that was oozing from a small wound on her forehead.  Her eye was nearly swollen shut, and her nose was bruised as well.  He slipped to the back of the room, and watched the activity.


Francis flitted around, trying to get by Jean and get to his grandmother.  "Granny!  What happened?  Are you ok?  Maybe you should go to the hospital."


He continued to bump and jostle Jean, who spun to speak to him.  "Take it easy.  She's fine.  Just some bumps and bruises.  She's a bit shaken up, but she'll be fine.  Now go sit down, so I can get her patched up."


Xavier had noticed Logan enter the room, and glided his chair over to his side.  Without looking at the man, Logan hissed through his teeth.  "It was him."


Xavier nodded, and spoke in a whisper.  "Yes.  I had no idea he was so close.  He jumped in front of the car, and she hit him.  After she stopped and got out of the car, he attacked her.  Fortunately, she was not terribly injured.  This could have been much worse."


Logan sneered as he watched Jean place ice on Maggies swollen jaw.  "It was meant as a message.  To me."


Xavier was at once worried.  "How can you be so certain?  Perhaps he was just-"


"It was a message.  He wants me, he's got me."  Logan spun and quietly left the room, unnoticed by all save Xavier, who could do nothing to stop him.



When Jean was at last finished, Francis moved in, and hugged his grandmother.  She wept and trembled.


"What happened?"  He held her close to him.


"Oh sweetie.  It was so awful.  He was so big, and he just kept hitting me.  I thought I was dead."  Her tears flowed freely down her cheeks.


Francis straightened.  "Who hit you?  What are you talking about?"  He looked over at the others, and noticed them whispering, their faces showing their concern.  "Hey?  What is going on?  Tell me!"  He searched the room, and saw that his father was not there.  "Where is my father?  Tell me what's going on!"


Jean and Scott turned and faced the boy, while Storm, Rogue and Xavier continued their hushed discussion.  Jean walked over and put her arm around Francis' shoulders.  "Settle down.  Your father isn't here.  He left."


He held Maggie tighter, feeling sudden dread.  "Why did he leave?"  His eyes widened.  "It was him, wasn't it?  That guy from the Danger Room?  Dad went after him, didn't he?  He can't!!  That guy'll kill him!  We gotta stop him!"  He pulled free from his grandmother, and tried to run toward the door.  Xavier placed his chair in front of the boy.


"Francis.  I believe your grandmother needs you.  Please take care of her.  Scott, Jean, Rogue and Storm are going to find your father, so please don't worry."  His eyes met the boys, and held them.  Francis relaxed slightly, and turned back to his grandmother.


Maggie had great difficulty following what was going on.  She had many questions.  "What are you people talking about?  Do you know this guy?  Why don't you just call the police?  I'm sure they can't miss this guy."  She looked up at Francis and saw the worry on his face.  "And what is this Danger Room?  Is it a bar?  Did he take you to a bar again?"  As Maggie drilled the boy on what was going on, Francis looked up at Xavier, who nodded slightly, a sign to Francis that it was ok to tell her what was going on.  She had the right to know, and since she had become involved in such a dramatic way, there was no use keeping the information from her any longer.  "That son of a bitch gets into something with some big lard ass from a bar, and now I'm stuck in the middle.  Just wait until I get my hands on him."


Francis sat next to his grandmother, and shook his head.  "I think you should just rest for a while.  I'll tell you everything, ok?"


Maggie continued her angry rant, ignoring Francis who was trying to help her to her feet.  "Why the hell does he keep getting into trouble?  He actually goes out and looks for trouble.  He pulls you along for the ride, and now me."


Xavier looked at Scott, and gave a nod, and he, Storm, Rogue and Jean left the room, to begin their search.  He then moved in front of Maggie, and took her hand.  "Maggie, please calm yourself.  We have a lot to talk about.  It seems that I have a great deal to explain to you, beginning with the man who attacked you."


Her eyes widened in horror as he began his explanation with the identity of the man who attacked her, followed by a brief history of his past deeds.  Francis listened intently, learning more about the creature that frightened his father so deeply, and had injured a person he loved.


Maggie tried to comprehend all she was told.  "So this...this...Sabertooth is a...mutant?  And he was trying to get to Logan by attacking me?"


Xavier nodded.  "That is what Logan believes, yes.  That is why he went out looking for him."


Maggie looked at Francis.  "And what is this Danger Room?"


Francis looked at Xavier, and saw in the man's eyes that it was alright to speak.  "It's sort of...kind of...um...well, you can put a program into the computer, and then...it's like putting yourself into a video game.  See what I mean?"


"You mean virtual reality?"  Maggie was following, but barely.


"Sort of.  Anyway, Dad and I go down there sometimes to play around, and this morning, the professor programmed that big guy into the simulation, kind of like a test for me."


"A test?  I don't understand any of this.  Why a test?  And what else do you use this room for?"


Xavier turned to leave the room.  "Maggie, Francis will tell you all you need to know.  Right now, I need to find Logan, and Sabertooth."  He glided out of the room without another word.


Maggie was near tears again, and she hugged Francis tightly to her.  "How is he going to find Logan?  He could be anywhere."


Francis sighed.  "There's a lot of stuff going on around here that you don't know about.  Me either, for that matter.  The professor uses a machine called Cerebro to find people, people like me."  He lowered his head.  "You know that Xavier is a telepath, right?  With the help of Cerebro, he can zoom in on mutants, like Dad and that big goon.  That's how he'll find them."  He looked up at her once again, attempting a small smile.  "That's how he found me, and sent Dad after me."


Maggie's eyes glistened with understanding.  "I always wondered about that.  So he hunts for people like you with that Cerebro thing?"  Francis nodded, and her eyes narrowed.  "And it seems there is a whole lot more going on here, isn't there?"


Francis frowned.  "A lot more.  I know a little bit, but only because of my Dad.  Some of the kids don't know anything, so don't say anything, ok?  I guess I can tell you about the stuff below the school, and the X-Jet, and Dr. Jean's medical lab, and all the neat uniforms."


Maggie's eyes widened again.  "Oh my God!  A jet?  A medical lab?  What kind of a place is this?"


Francis stood, and helped his grandmother to her feet.  "Come on.  I'll tell you what I know, and I guess I can show you around a little.  I want to see if the professor found my Dad yet."

Chapter 7

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