Logan smiled as the two bullies shifted from foot to foot, suddenly not so brave. He knew it was Francis' reaction to the impending fight. It was as if he had seen it all before, watched his father easily defeat foes. He heard the boy exit the RV, and seat himself on the step, elbows on knees, chin in palms, waiting. The behemoths looked at him, and shuffled some more.
"Ok, we're all ready. Come on, let's get this over with. I'm starved." Logan set himself, and waited.
The younger of the two suddenly became emboldened, adn his voice was just as ugly as he was. "Don't ya' have to change the wittle guy's diaper?"
Francis straightened slightly, and Logan winced at the word. "Not too bright, are you?"
Logan could see out of the corner of his eye Francis straighten even more. It was no longer excitement he sensed from the boy, it was a slowly growing anger. He then made a decision he hoped he would not regret.
"Ok, kid. Go ahead. Get him."
Francis looked at his father, a bit confused, but to Logan's surprise, he stood and walked forward, and stopped next to his father, looking expectant and anxious, but showing absolutely no fear.
The older bully let his jaw drop. "Are you serious? That kid'll get eaten alive."
Logan smirked. "The size of you two, I wouldn't doubt you've eaten the odd small child here and there." He heard Francis giggle next to him. Logan's blood flowed with anticipation over the impending brawl. He felt a small twinge of pride that his son stood at his side, and not grasping at his thigh as he so often did in the past. Francis was again showing the confidence he had developed. Logan only hoped the kid wouldn't get too cocky and just stay out of the whole mess. It was enough that he was willing to face these guys with his father. And if Maggie ever found out, there would be hell to pay, but well worth it.
The two mutants stood side by side, waiting for the others to make a move, and move they did. The youngest blob moved remarkably fast for one so large, and Logan barely had time to react. He tried to reach for Francis, to push him out of the way, but Francis had already moved, quickly to one side, stuck his foot out and tripped the smaller giant as he went by. The bully fell to the ground, face first, sliding for several feet on the icy gravel.
Logan looked at Francis, who stood calmly by, watching the bully on the ground. He looked a bit shocked by what he had done, but far more at ease than he had been mere seconds earlier. He glanced up at his father, and beamed.
The bully's father growled. "Coltrane!!! Get up boy!! What's wrong with you?!"
Both Logan and Francis snapped their attention to the big man. Logan snickered and Francis giggled. "Coltrane?" both asked as one.
Logan again focused his attention on Coltrane as he struggled to sit up, holding his bloody nose and whimpering. "I'll get you for that!"
So focused was he on the bloody mess on the ground, that he didn't notice the older bully sneak up on Francis, amd it wasn't until his son cried out that Logan spun to confront the man, now holding his son in midair by the shoulders.
"Hey! Put me down!!" Francis struggled and kicked his legs, wincing when the man added pressure on his sensitive left arm.
Logan sneered and hissed through clenched teeth. "Put him down!"
The man shook Francis again, and again the boy winced. "You're hurting me!! Put me down!!"
Logan tried to sense what Francis was feeling. He could sense only annoyance, frustration and a growing rage, but no fear, not yet. Logan watched for any signs of distress, not wanting an eruption, not now. He feared that his little attempt at a game had gotten out of hand, and was immediately sorry that he had gotten the boy involved in this skirmish. He tried to speak soothingly to the boy, to keep him calm, trying to keep his own anger out of his voice. "How're you doin', kid?"
Francis sighed deeply as he struggled. "I'm ok, but he's hurting my arm." The boy sounded almost relaxed, but very annoyed. Perhaps there would be no pieces to pick up after all, Logan thought.
"I'd put that kid down now, if you know what's good for you." Logan put a true warning in his voice, for although at the moment Francis seemed not to be on the verge of eruption; Logan admitted to himself he had no idea what was going to happen. He continued to monitor the boy for any changes, and the air around him as well, for any signs of a blow up.
"So what is this runt gonna do? I've swatted mosquitoes bigger'n him. Look at what you did to my boy! You're gonna apologize to him for hurting him."
Logan was about to speak, but Francis beat him to it. "I ain't gonna do anything. LET ME GO!!!" Logan could see the fire in the boy's eyes, a deadly glare he had never before seen in the boy, and for a brief second, it scared him.
"Look, pal, just let him go. You'll be sorry if you don't." Logan took a step toward the man.
"Sorry? For what? What's he gonna do? Spit in my eye? Slap me on the shoulder? Cry?"
Francis face was rapidly reddening, and when the man again shook him, he had enough. "No, you rancid pile of shit...THIS!" Francis thrust his right foot forward, planting it firmly and squarely into the man's groin. Logan could feel the sickening thud. The man's eyes bulged and he let out a grunt, dropping Francis and crumbling to the ground. He rolled on the icy ground, moaning and holding his very bruised manhood as Francis stumbled to once again stand near his father.
Francis rubbed his sore arm, while he and Logan watched the pitiful sight before them. Logan was speechless. He turned to his son, his jaw dropped, and saw not a frightened, frail little boy, but a young man who had used his brain and found a solution to his predicament. He figured it out, Logan thought, all by himself. As the old saying goes, it ain't the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the fight in the dog. A smile grew on Logan's lips, and when Francis looked up at him, he gave his son a wink for a job well done. Francis nodded and slowly smiled himself.
Coltrane rushed to his fallen father, trying in vianto comfort the man, still sobbing from his own wounds and bruised ego. He looked up at Francis, his eyes burning with rage. "I'll get you for this!" He struggled to his feet, and rushed Francis again. As before, Francis deftly dodged the assault, and the two combatants began a waltz of sorts, with Coltrane lunging forward, swinging and kicking, and Francis dodging, ducking and darting out of the way just in time.
At this point, Logan felt just a bit empty, for it seemed that all had forgotten he was there, and he had been reduced to the status of observer, a somewhat uncomfortable and foreign position for him. He looked down at what should have been his opponent still rolling on the ground, shrugged, and moved to the RV, sitting down on the step to watch his son in action.
He focused on the boy's face, and saw intense concentration, and more importantly, perhaps just a glimpse of sheer enjoyment as well. Logan got a chill in that moment, for he knew how he often felt in times such as these, when he was simply toying with a foe, the pleasure he got from it; he could see the same emotion in his son's eyes. Where this emotion was coming from Logan could only imagine, but when he thought about it, deep down inside, he understood it. Francis was at this very moment, battling his own little demon selves, and winning.
After several minutes of having Francis running circles around him, the bully finally gave up, and collapsed to his knees, completely exhausted. Francis straightened up, and stood very still, no sign that he was even a little out of breath. It was when the bully began to throw up that Francis finally turned away, disgusted, trotting to where his father sat. Logan looked up at his son, and Francis smiled, sat next to him on the step, and both watched their uninvited guests regain their composure.
Logan fired up a cigar, and blew smoke rings as the two struggled to their feet, limping, staggering. "Had enough? The kid here is just getting warmed up." The two simply stared vacantly at him as he puffed away on his cigar. "Are we done, then? Good. I'm very hungry and would like to eat my lunch, so if the two of you would like to just fuck the hell off, we can eat. Unless you want some more of the same?"
Slowly, the two stumbled and limped to their pick-up truck, climbed in, and sped off, disappearing down the road. Both Logan and Francis sat and watched them go. Neither said a word for several minutes, until Francis began to fidget.
"Think they'll be back?"
"Naw. No way. The old man won't be able to take a piss for a while without screaming." Logan turned his head slightly, and saw the boy still staring in the direction they had fled. However, he no longer looked relaxed, he looked green. This Logan expected. The boy suddenly jumped to his feet, and ran around the side of the RV, and lost what was left of his breakfast. Logan listened for a few seconds more to the gagging and retching, stood and entered the RV.