It was hot. Damn hot. Incredibly fucking hot to be accurate. And on top of the heat, it was humid as well. A real fucking steam bath. He wiped the sweat from his forehead and eyes for what seemed like the thousandth time. His clothing had long since stuck to his body. But he had to wait. Wait for a sign. A sign he wished would come soon.
He had been seated in the dense brush for over ten minutes, waiting. His eyes continually scanned the tree line, looking for any sign of movement. He saw none. He scented the air once again, smelling nothing but dankness and...Listerine. He glanced down at his side, at the tiny figure seated there, motionless, patient, dripping wet. It was yet another item to be added to the post mission discussion. It was not vital to the mission's success to have minty fresh breath. It was an insignificant issue, but annoying none-the-less to a man who relied heavily on his sense of smell. At least it wasnt B.O, so for that he was grateful.
Actually, the kid wasn't doing too badly. He followed instructions, didn't get fidgety, and most importantly, he kept his mouth shut, itself a small miracle. He was focused and alert, watching for his cue to act. However, he was certainly a pitiful sight, his long red-blonde hair, once neatly tied back, now sweat-soaked and hanging in strings in his face. His face was caked in mud, as were his clothes from crawling through the muck. But his emerald green eyes held an exuberance that belied his youth and inexperience. To him, this was fun. Deadly serious, but fun.
A slight noise drew his attention back to the spot he had been watching. In the dim light, he could see the dark shape move, at last. Slowly but steadily it moved, until it disappeared from sight. He waited for several more minutes, until satisfied the coast was clear, and the target was no longer guarded. He once again glanced down to his side, and found eager eyes waiting. A quick nod and the kid was poised and set to go. Immediately, they began the arduous crawl to their goal.
Silently, as one, they advanced toward the pile of dense overgrown kudzu that was hiding the small shack, its roof just barely visible in the partial moonlight. Inside their objective awaited them, a cache of stolen papers and computer discs. Their job was to retrieve them and go home. Simple. It was almost over. The guard had left, as he usually did, leaving the items unprotected. After all, who in their right mind would search out here in the middle of nowhere? That guard was about to find out.
They reached the side of the building, and were finally able to stand. They inched their way around to the side, where the entrance lay, and paused, watching, waiting for any unexpected sounds or movement. Again, there were none. They crept to the doorway, and Logan peered inside, and turned to nod the all clear to his partner when......
The explosive sound rang into the night. The boy looked horrified, and held his hands over his face, having been unable to contain his sneeze. From everywhere, the enemy descended, armed with guns.
"Shit!" Logan turned and faced the army that surrounded them, and noticed Francis sink to his knees. It was time to call it a day. He glanced up to the sky, and bellowed. "Terminate program!"
He watched as the program flickered a bit before ending, and a second later, the scene disappeared completely, and they found themselves alone in a large metallic room.
"I'm sorry. I just couldn't hold it. I just got something up my nose. I couldn't help it." The boy knelt, completely dejected, on the cold floor at Logan's feet.
Logan was too tired to mind. "Don't worry about it. You did good this time. Shit like that happens." Again, he wiped the sweat from his forehead.
"But I screwed up the game again. Damn it!" The boy slammed his fist on the floor. "We were almost there."
Logan shook his head. The boy took all these games far too seriously. These were not meant to be true-to-life missions, merely distractions for an afternoon workout. "Look, don't worry about it. That's why we do this stuff, so you learn. I don't expect you to get it right every time. I screwed up the last time, remember?"
The boy looked up, but still had a fire in his eyes. "Yeah, I remember. But I still think you did that on purpose."
Logan smiled, and turned toward the door, heading for a nice hot shower. "You'll never know. If you hadn't snotted all over yourself, there was a little surprise waiting inside anyway." He heard the boy stumble to his feet behind him, the sound of his heavy boots echoing throughout the Danger Room.
"What? What surprise? You mean there would have been a fight inside? Aw, shit! How come I always screw up just before the fight?" He fell into step next to his father, his head down, muttering under his breath.
Logan glanced down at his young protégé. "What's up? Why so eager for a fight?"
"I don't know. All that sitting around and stuff is ok, but I like the action." Logan noticed a smile grow on the boy's lips. "Makes my blood flow."
Logan smiled as well. As the boy was always saying, like father, like son. "How 'bout I set up a program where we just fight all the time? Like that, would ya'?"
The boy's smile was blinding. "Shit yeah!"
As they walked down the hallway to the locker room, Logan shook his head. "Well, we can't have fun and games all the time, you know. Got to get your brain working." Logan held the door open, as his filthy son slid in under his arm, already disrobing.
"Yeah, so you keep telling me. When can I set up a program? I got some ideas to try out. Could be fun."
Logan peeled off his soaked clothing, and tossed them into the laundry bag. He looked over at his eager son, standing before him, naked and grimy, waiting for an answer. He walked passed him, and into the showers. "Christ, space aliens? Rabid she-things? Maybe someday, Junior. Scott is having a cow about us being in there as it is. If we can play around in there without wrecking anything for a bit longer, then we'll see what we can do." He turned on the hot water, and stepped under the shower head.
Francis did the same, cursing because the water was just a bit too hot. "How come Mr. Scott doesn't want us in there? He and Dr. Jean and Storm go in there sometimes, right? Why can't we?"
"He thinks you are just too young. We use that room to train for missions. It's not for amusement. Luckily, Chuck is ok with us using it, as long as we dont make a habit of it." Logan rinsed to soap from his hair, and let the steamy hot water soothe his muscles as he watched the boy scrub, rinse and scrub again. He was amazed at how long the kid's hair had gotten. It hung to the middle of his back. "When are you getting a hair cut?"
The boy turned to him and frowned. "When are you going to shave? I like my hair the way it is. So does Toni. She braids it for me." Logan curled his lip at the mental image that statement caused, and got a bottle of shampoo tossed at him for his efforts. The boy continued. "Stop it. Personally, I can't wait til I get chest hair. Toni'll go nuts."
By this time Logan had turned off the water, and was wrapped up in a large towel. "And when the hair on your back sprouts, there'll be no stopping her." He watched the gleam in his son's eyes as he too, wrapped himself in a large towel. "So, where are we going this afternoon? I skipped breakfast you know, so I'm starved."
The kid was sliding on his underwear. "Grandma's Old-time Buffet. They got great mashed potatoes, the kind with the skins in?"
Logan pulled on his black jeans, and wrestled into a black t-shirt. "Buffet? And who's coming with us? Maggie and Toni?"
Francis too. pulled on a pair of black jeans, and his old Yankees jersey. "Yeah, that's it. I'm not made of money, you know. Oh, by the way, Happy Father's Day, papa-san."
Logan smirked and winced a bit too. His first Father's Day. "Um, who's not made of money? You're borrowing it from me, ain't you?" He paused as he pulled on his boots. "What's with this papa-san shit?"