Francis sped down the highway, feeling his way along, sensing his father's pain and following it. Toni held on to him tightly, frightened at the speed he was driving. The boy could hear his own heartbeat ringing in his ears. He was the angriest he had ever been, and could not fathom why those at the school would not believe his father was still alive. Did they even care? He sped up a little, empowered by his growing rage.
Xavier rolled up to Scott, who went in search of Francis. "He's not upstairs. Toni is missing too." Scott's frustration showed on his visored face. "Want me to check down below?"
The professor frowned. "No. He's gone, and so is Toni. I believe they went out to search for his father. He believes that Logan is injured and needs help. I should have had someone stay with him." He thought for a moment. "Find Storm and Rogue. I'll see if I can find the children."
Francis slowed the dirt bike near the entrance of the park. He sat very still, looking off in the darkness. Toni fought off her fear. "Is he here?"
Francis paused. "No. Not here." He scanned the forest, and then closed his eyes. He took a deep breath. "He's nearby." He revved the bikes engine, and sped up the road.
Logan opened his eyes, unable to move. He felt cold and numb. He tried to move his head, but could not. His ears rang, and his face burned, from the explosion that had thrown him into the water. He remembered being under the water, unable to rise to the surface, unable to move, unable to breathe. He remembered the cold water surrounding him, and the complete darkness that had swallowed him up. He could feel the water in his lungs and coughed involuntarily, and moaned at the sudden waves of pain that struck him. It was then he heard the sickening sound. A low, menacing growl.
"I thought you were dead, Wolverine. Oh well. You managed to squeeze out a few more minutes of life. Enjoy them while you can."
Logan forced his head to move, and turned to his side, and sitting there, half out of the water, bloody and scorched was his enemy, Sabertooth.
"Jean, head toward the park. They are on the highway just to the north, along the water. They are headed toward..." Xavier stopped talking, and the radio fell silent.
Jean stared at the speaker in the van. "Professor? What is it? Are they alright?"
The man's voice rang out once more. "It's Logan. He's alive, but badly injured. Francis was right. He's heading to where his father is right now."
Scott listened, totally confused. "But how did he know Logan was alive? We didn't. How does he know where he is? I don't understand."
Rogue could not contain her excitement. "Who cares? As long as Logan is alive and safe. Come on, let's go get him and bring him home. Then we can talk about all the hows and whys."
A simple statement by Xavier dampened their brief joy. "Sabertooth is with him."
Jean's exuberance faded rapidly. "Oh God, Francis and Toni are headed straight to him."
Scott sped up. "Hold on. We'll get there in time. We aren't going to lose Logan again."
Francis rounded a bend and slowed the bike to a stop. He turned to Toni, a wide smile on his face. "I told you he's ok. He's just ahead."
Toni smiled back at her boyfriend. "Let's go get him and go home. We'll get it for taking the bike.
Francis gave the girl another bright smile. "Screw em." He then sped off once again with a squeal of the rear tire.
Logan tried to crawl away from Sabertooth, but could barely move from the pain. Sabertooth inched closer to him, his eyes showing fire and pure evil. Logan managed to pull himself out of the water, and stumbled to his feet, backing away from his attacker. He quickly looked around for an escape route, knowing in his present condition, he could do nothing to defend himself. Sabertooth continued his slow approach, and Logan began to crawl and stumble up the hill away from the water.
"What's wrong Wolverine? Afraid to die?"
Francis pulled onto a dirt road, and suddenly stopped the bike. Toni nearly fell off.
"What's wrong?" She held his waist tight.
Francis voice had changed. It was now odd sounding and distant. "He's scared." He leapt off the bike, and Toni just barely made it off before it fell to the ground. He set off at a dead run down the hillside, with Toni trying to keep up.
Xavier sounded concerned. "Francis and Toni are nearing Logan. I don't think you'll get there in time. I just hope that the children have sense enough to stay out of it until you get there."
Scott drove like a man possessed, nearly wrecking the van twice. "Do you think they will?"
"No. I don't. We can only hope they can hold off Sabertooth long enough to get Logan out of danger."
Francis maneuvered through the trees with little effort, and it was all Toni could do to keep up. She could barely see him in the dark. She could only hear him thrashing through the trees. She tripped and fell, and feared she had lost him in the dark, when she heard a soft "Shhhh..." just ahead of her. She carefully crawled to where he crouched and looked in the direction he indicated.
A short distance down the hill, she could hear someone stumble and fall in the darkness. She could hear his course raspy breathing, and his grunts. She cowered behind Francis, who remained very still. She heard him whisper, "It's him. Somebody's following him."
She squinted in the darkness, and saw a large shadow moving slowly behind Francis' father. Her blood turned cold.
Again Francis whispered. "We need to distract that guy so my Dad can get away."
Toni began to shiver when the dark shadow caught up with Logan. She watched as the large figure reached out, and grabbed him. She stifled a gasp when she heard Francis' father yelp in pain.
Francis was gone in a shot. She watched him streak toward the large shadow in the darkness.