Francis had been regaling all those gathered at the table with tales of the trip, as Logan sat by and listened. He had made an album of pictures, and had kept a journal to keep days and times and sites straight. Jean and Scott were busy looking at the album, commenting on how talented a photographer the boy was, and how they could tell which pictures Logan took, as they were out of focus and tilted. The professor and Maggie listened intently to Francis as he described a sudden snowstorm, and how they spent several days playing Monopoly until the storm passed. Rogue and Storm were busy giggling at the journal, as Francis left very little out, and they were near tears at the boys description of how when he was busy in the bathroom, Logan needed to step outside, clad only in his underwear, to relieve himself, only to get locked out when the door jammed.
"I can just see it now, Logan. You shivering outside in just your tighty whities, banging on the door." Storm wiped a tear from her eye and Rogue held her side, unable to speak.
Logan only sneered. "I wear briefs."
After about an hour of vacation news, the crowd dispersed, and went about their business, leaving only Logan, Francis, and Maggie.
"Oh, I can't tell you how glad I am that you're home." She ruffled Francis' hair, and glanced at Logan, who shoveled another piece of pie into his mouth. "The both of you."
Francis grinned and picked at the crust on Logan's plate, getting his hand slapped for his effort. "I can't wait until the next time. There were so many places we just couldn't go. Dad said there's a river up there that is so far out in the middle of nowhere, you need to be an eagle to get there. Lots of good fishing."
"Really? Sounds like fun." She stood and gathered up the dishes, and carried them inot the kitchen, calling over her shoulder, "Hey, big guy? Want to get the rest of those dished?"
Logan sighed, and gathered up the dishes, giving the remainder of his pie to the boy. As he entered the kitchen, Maggie was waiting for him, hands on hips. "Well?"
He placed the dishes next to the sink, crossed to the fridge, and leaned in, searching for a beer. "Well, what?"
"What aren't you telling me?"
He straightened, adn looked at her questioningly. "Huh?"
"I know that isn't all that went on up there. What wlse did you two do?"
"What do you mean? Jesus, the kid kept a journal, read it."
Maggie snorted and crossed her arms before her. "I know there is more. You got into a fight, didn't you?"
"No, I did not get into a fight." This was the truth, as he himself did not fight at all; he was merely an observer, not a participant. And it wasn't really a fight either.
Maggie looked confused. "You didn't? Don't lie to me."
Logan took a swig from the beer he had found. "Ain't lying. No fight."
She stared at him, and he at her. She didn't look convinced, but did not press the issue further. Logan was about to re-enter the dining room, when he heard a conversation coming from the other side of the door.
"Psst, come here." He waved Maggie over, and opened the door a crack, so she could see into the next room. She saw Philip there, standing over Francis. Maggie lunged forward, but was stopped by a firm hand on her elbow. She looked up and saw Logan shaking his head at her. He mouthed the word "Watch."
"Well, wokky who's home. It's wittle Fwancis. How was your teip, wittle guy? Was your wittle car seat comfy?" Phillip's friends guffawed and chuckled.
Francis stared straight ahead for a moment, and then slowly turning to Phillip, standing toe to toe with him, looking up into his eyes. It was obvious that Phillip was a bit unnerved by this close proximity, and looked at his friends for reinforcement. They only fell silent, and watched. Francis continued his glare, further unnerving his rival.
After what to Logan seemed like the proper amount of glare time, Francis spoke, calmly, softly, rationally. "I think you should talk to the professor about getting yourself into speech therapy. Don't want kids picking on you because you speak that way, do you?" Again, he glared, waiting for a response.
Phillip was unraveling rapidly. He certainly never expected Francis to take any action, and he merely stammered and stuttered. His friends waited patiently for his response as well. Phillip took an uneasy step back, looked at his friends, and turned and fled, without another word.
Francis called after him, again, calmly and softly. "You can find the professor in his study. I'm sure he'll be more than glad to help out." He turned to look at Phillip's cronies, paused a moment, and then sat once more, finishing his pie. The other boys slowly filed out, muttering and glancing at the kid who stood up to Phillip.
Maggie's mouth dropped open. She could not believe her eyes. She turned to find Logan wearing a very smug look on his face.
He leaned back against the wall, finishing his beer. "Problem solved."
Maggie narrowed her eyes at him. "What did you do?"
"Absolutely nothing. He figured it out on his own. I guess he just had enough, and put a stop to it. That is what you wanted, right? the problem is no more."
Maggie only glared at him further, certain there was more to it than he was saying. She studied his face, trying to tell if he was being absolutely truthful. She saw nothing in his face to indicate otherwise, seeing only a smug satisfaction. Maybe Franky had figured it all out, Maggie thought. Certainly under Logan's influence, that crumb of a bully would have ended up with a bloody nose. She pictured Francis in those moments; calm, relaxed, not threatening at all, and certainly not intimidated by the situation. Maggie felt relief. After all she had been told about this man before her, all she had seen him do, she began to see Xavier's point. Logan was a good father, was a good role model, and quite possibly a decent human being as well. But he was still a royal pain in the ass.
Logan looked at her as he walked to the trash can. He saw the slowly developing smile on her face. "What?"
Maggie shook her head, and walked to the sink to clean up the dishes. "Not a thing."
Francis burst into the room with his plate and handed it to his grandmother. "That was great pie. Lots of sugar. I wish we had some ice cream though." He glanced over at his father who was again leaning into the fridge and noticed something.
"Hey! Dammit!! that isn't supposed to be there!" He ran to the fridge, and grabbed his English project from the door of the fridge.
Maggie chuckled and watched as Francis berated his father fro embarressing him. "Oh man! Now everyone has seen it! This sucks! I'll get you for this, just you wait and see!"
Logan stood before his son, listening to his dressing down, glancing over at Maggie wearing a smirk. After Francis had run out of nasty things to say, Logan spoke, gently. "It's just that your Gran and I are just so proud of you, boy. We want to share our pride with everyone else. You are just our ray of sunshine." Maggie held back her laughter by biting her lip. Logan looked at the boy, wearing a sickeningly sweet smile. Francis was not amused.
"Dad, you are being a complete ass." He turned and looked at his grandmother, noticing that she was chuckling. He took his paper, and was about to skulk out of the room, when he suddenly stopped and spun. "You didn't tell Granny about the hookers, did you?" He glanced over at Maggie again, and noticed she was no longer laughing.
Logan smirked again, knowing exactly what the kid was doing. He was getting back at his old man for embarrassing him, by getting Maggie mad at him. "Um, no, not yet. Maggie, the kid is quite a lothario. Had those ladies eating out of the palm of his hand. We'll need to charge stud fees soon."
Maggie slowly turned toward Logan, fire in her eyes. She reached to her side, and grabbed a rather large broom, and lunged at him, swinging as she did. Logan bolted from the room, with Maggie in hot pursuit. Francis brought up the rear, fighting back the tears of laughter.
The chase made its way up the hallway, toward the professor's office. Jean and Scott were nearly trampled as they exited the room, and watched the three disappear around the corner, hearing Maggie's voice echoing off the walls. "Come here! One good shot, that's all I want! Stand still!"
Scott shook his head. "So much for peace and quiet."
Jean giggled as Xavier rolled out of the room ro see what was going on. "Oh, Scott, I think it's great."
Xavier listened to the commotion down the hall as well. "It does seem like things are back to normal. Personally, I missed the chaos. It has been far too quiet around here." He began to glide down the hall toward the altercation and spoke over his shoulder. "Oh, and Scott? you may want to check your shoes before you put them on."
Scott let his jaw drop. "That son of a bitch is back for less than a day, and already he's starting."
Xavier watched as Logan dodged Maggies broom, using the laughing boy as a shield. Something had been gnawing at him since the father and son returned, and now that he was watching them, the feeling grew even stronger. He could not as yet place his finger on what was wrong, if anything, but there was something, something different. Certainly Logans present mood was cause for elation, as it was a rare sight. Perhaps that is it, the professor thought.
He smiled when the comatants called a truce, and smiled wider when Francis hugged his grandmother warmly, and then his father. It was at that moment, as Francis embraced his father, that Xavier felt that strange something, stronger than ever. What ever it was, he needed to get to the bottom of it, and soon, for eveyone's sake.
THE END...for now...stay tuned for the next part...THE LOSS...