Subject: Family Matters, chapter 14
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 1997 11:10:02 -0400 (EDT)
"What did you think you were doing, Remy" Logan asked again as he held Remy in his strong arms. Remy felt overwhelming despair.
"I just wan'ed t' get away," he admitted. "I was gonna come back. . .I was. . .really gonna come. . .back. . .I just didn' wan' t' get anot'er spankin' t'morrow. I wan'ed a break. I can' take it any more. It feels too bad. I can' eat. I can' sleep. . .so upset dat. . .I can' t'ink straight. . .I'm sorry. . .I'm. . .sor. . ."
"Shush," Logan said gently. "It's okay, child. It's okay. Calm down." He held Remy tightly and looked up at Hank. "The boy smells like a brewery. I saw Rogue earlier this evening, sneaking up to his room with a bottle of booze." Remy shuddered, sure he was deeply in trouble yet again. He tried hard to stop crying. His sobs quieted while tears still fell.
"Self medicating," Hank said thoughtfully. "For all the symptoms of depression. And he was planning to fly the blackbird while he was drunk." Logan nodded. Remy trembled with fear. Hank sat on the floor beside Logan and Remy.
"Give him to me for a minute," Hank said quietly. Logan transferred Remy from his arms into Hank's. Hank held him tightly.
"You've been drinking, haven't you, Remy?" he asked. Remy nodded. "How much?"
"I don' know," Remy gulped out. "A. . .bout. . .seven or eight shots, I guess."
"On an empty stomach? And you've been smoking, too. I can smell it." Remy nodded. "Is there any way in hell you can justify drinking and smoking on an empty stomach as being good for you?" Remy shook his head, feeling the ice storm gathering in his stomach.
"What did I say I would do if you did something else to hurt yourself, Remy?" Hank asked gently. Remy swallowed hard before answering.
"You said dat. . .I might feel how. . .hard your hand. . .would feel. . . against. . ." Remy was unable to finish the sentence as he fell into deep sobs.
"Against your bottom," Hank finished for him. He pushed Remy down his chest and over his knees.
Remy sobbed out a strong protest, "NO, Hank." Hank ignored him and Remy felt hands at the waistband of his pants.
"NO, please. . ." Remy pleaded desperately. He didn't think he could stand getting yet another spanking from still one more person he loved. Hank took his pants down and bared his bottom. Remy sobbed disconsolately as Hank blazed about five solid swats against his bare butt. His hand felt as hard and broad as a board. Remy cried out at each whack and sobbed deeply. He was deeply relieved when he felt his pants come back up.
Hank gathered him back up against his chest and held him closely. "I love you, Remy. I don't like you hurting yourself." Hank looked at Logan and sighed deeply. "What are we gonna do with this kid?" he asked.
"I don't know, Hank, but, I tell you clearly that I ain't gonna spank him again until he's a little more sane. He's a mess right now and I'm worried as hell. And I'm not even sure he deserves to be spanked for this attempt to run away. I mean, I don't like it that he thought he could pilot the blackbird after he'd been drinkin,' but I also think he set himself up to get caught and stopped. He had to know that either you or I would hear him."
"Do you think that I was too hard on him just now?" Hank asked worriedly.
"Oh, hell, no," Logan said distractedly. "That wasn't even a real spanking. More like you just tryin' to get his attention."
Remy sobbed deeply and then jerked himself up out of Hank's arms. "I gonna be sick," he said desperately as he started to gag and retch. Hank sighed and rose, pulling Remy to his feet and helping him out the door where the boy fell to his knees and started vomiting convulsively on the ground. What little bourbon was left in his stomach came up and he continued to gag and spasm. Almost nothing was coming up, but he couldn't stop the spasmodic heaving of his guts. Hank held his head.
Logan stood in the doorway and shook his head. "I coulda predicted this from a mile away," he said quietly. Beast grinned at him.
"I know damn well you've been here before yourself," he said lightly.
"I know you know. You've held my head while I've done it, feeling wretched as hell and rotten ashamed of myself for drinking so much that I made myself sick. Why doesn't my damn healing factor take care of it?"
"Just as well it doesn't," Hank said gently. Logan nodded. Remy continued to gag and spasm for several minutes and then quieted. "Let's get him in the house."
Logan nodded again and helped Hank get Remy to his feet."C'mon, kiddo," Logan said gently. "I know you feel like hell right now. We need to get you inside." Remy was very sick and very ashamed. He pulled himself away from Hank and Logan, took a step, stumbled, and almost fell.
"Did we tell you to try to make it on your own, child?" Hank asked testily. He took Remy firmly by the arm, held him steady, and swatted him hard on the bottom. Remy yelped and started sobbing again. He didn't resist as Hank simply picked him up and started to carry him to the house.
"Where are we goin'?" Logan asked.
"Med lab," Hank said. "I'm going to get a urine sample and try to find out just how dehydrated he is. Then we're going to either make him eat some soup or hook him up to another IV or both. And we're going to find out why he thought he needed to run away. I don't like any of this, Logan. I'm worried as hell about him."
Remy rested his head against Hank's shoulder as he cried. "Please," he said, "go up t' my room and get my note off my pillow. I don' wan' Rogue t' wake up an' find it." He gagged again.
"Consider it done, kiddo," Logan said gently. He stopped Hank with a hand on his shoulder and pushed Remy's hair out of his face. He laid one hand against his cheek and brushed away some of the tears with his thumb. "I'll be back before you know it, Rem. I ain't leavin' you in this state of confusion."
Hank nodded and Logan took off for the house ahead of them. Hank carried Remy into med lab, gave him a cup, led him to the bathroom and gave him gentle swat on the butt at the door. Remy went in and did as he was told, urinating into the cup and bringing it back out to Hank who was waiting for him outside the door. Tears were still streaming down Remy's cheeks.
Hank took the cup and put it down. "I'll go analyze this as soon as Logan gets back, child," he said. "There's no way I'm leaving you alone in this condition." He led Remy over to a bed, sat down on it, and held the boy in his arms. Remy continued to cry.
Logan was back in moments with the note. "Well, I'd hardly call this informative," he said. He sat down on the bed and took Remy from Hank, who stood, picked up the specimen cup and left. "Can you, please, tell me what you thought you were doin,' Remy?" Logan asked. Remy shook with sobs and tried to answer. It wasn't easy. He really didn't know what he had been doing.
"I don' know," he sobbed out. "I just wan'ed t' get away. . .I just wan'ed some space."
"No, Remy," Logan said softly. "That won't do. That isn't really what you wanted. Try again, child. Try harder to reach down into your guts and tell me what you really wanted, kidlet."
Remy hadn't heard Logan call him "kidlet" since he really had been five years old. The old, loving, and affectionate nickname sent him into a deep state of regression. He was five again. "I wan' my daddy," he sobbed out desperately. "I want him t' be alive. I wan' my daddy."
Logan sighed deeply. He considered calling the professor on the com unit, but it wasn't necessary. Charles entered the room in his hover chair. He looked at the scene in front of him. Remy was sobbing hopelessly in Logan's arms. He had heard what Remy had just said both with his ears and in his mind.
"Logan, help me out of this damn chair and give him to me," he said. "And help me, please. There's something he needs from me that I don't know how to give him. I feel helpless."
Logan put Remy down on the bed where he curled up and sobbed as if he were being broken. He helped Charles out of his chair and onto the bed, assisting him in leaning up against the headboard. Charles pulled Remy into his arms and held him. "It's okay, son," he said. "I'm here. I'm not dead. I love you."
"You can' love me," Remy sobbed out. "I'm too. . .bad."
Charles looked at Logan who shrugged. "I'd suggest you smack him really hard on his butt," Logan said. "That's what I'd do." The professor did exactly as Logan advised. Remy flinched and sobbed even harder. Logan went on, "Now tell him in whatever words that feel right to you that you do love him and that you're damn tired of his self-hatred and despair. That he's good kid, not a bad one and that it wasn't his fault that you died. Get the drift? Just keep it simple."
"I think I have it, Logan, and thank you," Charles sighed and then whacked Remy's bottom again. Remy gasped.
"Daddy, NO," he sobbed out. His bottom was still sore from his earlier spankings and stinging from the swats that Hank had given him.
"Remy," Charles said. "I'm right here. I'm not dead and I've no intention of being dead. I know that we really didn't get things worked out between you and me after I spanked you tonight. I still think you needed that spanking, but I didn't tell you what you needed to hear afterwards. I love you, child. I love you deeply. You are NOT bad."
"Yes, I am." Remy yelped as he got another firm spank on his butt.
"You're not bad, son. You're confused and upset and distraught, but you're not bad," Charles sighed deeply. "You did behave very badly, but you aren't bad. I love you, child. It'll be okay. You'll be okay."
"I don' believe you," Remy gasped out. Charles looked at Logan who shrugged and made a swatting motion with his hand. The professor nodded, raised his hand, and blazed the hardest smack he could deliver to Remy's bottom. Remy winced, cried out, and then, and then sobbing hard, relaxed into his father's arms.
"I'm. . .s. . .s. . .sorry," he gulped out.
"It's okay. It's okay," Charles said gently, holding him tightly.
"It was. . .awful. . .having you. . .spank me," Remy sobbed. His father took a deep breath.
"I know, son," he said. "That's why I did it. I thought it might make a lasting impression. And I swear to you that if you ever take such foolish risks with your safety and well-being, I'll do it again." Remy sobbed even harder. He was deeply afraid that he would indeed, impulsively, take risks again and, again, end up bare bottomed over his dad's knees. The thought made him miserable. Charles held him tightly and said, "Don't you think that the realization that you might get spanked by me again will give you pause?"
"I don' know," Remy gulped out honestly. "I. . .I. . .h. . .hope so."
"I hope so, too, Remy," Charles said soberly.
"Remy, please, tell us why you were running away," Logan intervened.
Remy shuddered. "I had to," he said unsteadily. "Had to."
"Why?" Logan persisted.
"Cause everyone's. . .here . . ." Remy sobbed. "And. . .it's. . .not. . .safe."
Logan's eyes widened and he met the professor's eyes. Charles nodded. "Everyone was here when he was little and the mercenaries broke in and killed us all. But Remy, your mother isn't here. Wasn't she here when this happened?"
"She wasn't. . . at dinner de night before. She was reading t' Rachel t' give Jean a break. It was all de grown-ups and me." The memories came sweeping back through him, memories of all the horrors of watching his mother and Rogue killed in the kitchen and of his father's lifeless body on the study floor. And then, more memories. He was reliving the experience of finding himself totally alone, lost, and abandoned on the streets of New Orleans, sobbing with desolation and terror. Involuntarily, he transmitted the intense feelings to his father and Logan.
Logan felt as if he had been hit between the eyes with a brick. Remy's deep and desperate five-year-old despair touched something deep within him. It hurt like a red hot poker through his guts. He slid down the wall and sat on the floor, feeling tears starting down his own face. He drew his knees up to his chest, wrapped his arms around them and held on tightly.
Remy stopped his desperate sobbing. Suddenly an adult again, he lifted his head. "Logan," he gasped out. "Dad, somet'ing's wrong wit Logan." He pulled himself away from his father and was immediately on his knees on the floor beside Logan. "What's wrong, mon ami?" Remy asked urgently. He put his hand on one of Logan's. It was grasped and held tightly enough to hurt.
"Let me hold you, kiddo," Logan said haltingly. "Give me something to hang on to." Remy nodded and moved closer. Logan lowered his knees and grabbed him, holding him so tightly that Remy could barely breathe. Tears continued to spill out of Logan's blue eyes as he held on to Remy.
"What is it?" Remy was seriously alarmed.
Charles watched helplessly from the bed. "Logan, if you can't talk, would it be okay if I went into your mind?" he asked with deep concern. Logan shook his head.
"I'll talk," he said in a rough whisper. "I don't want no one in this mess but me. Hell, I don't want me in this mess." He took a couple of deep breaths. The tears continued to well and spill, but he looked a little less anguished. "Remy, kiddo, that sense you had of being totally lost, abandoned, and helpless. . .well, it musta happened to me, too. When you sent it to me, it. . .woke up. . .some memory. . .I don't have much sense of it, except the feelings. . .and the feelings are hell. . ." More tears spilled.
"Oh, God, Logan, I'm sorry. I didn't mean t'." Remy felt an agony of guilt.
"No, no, no," Logan said irritably. "It's okay, child. I know I got this kinda shit inside me. What's worse is not knowing what it is. Remember what I told you, kid. I don't even remember being a child. I'd rather have the memories than not have them. I just want more of it than just the sense of being totally alone and lost."
"Logan, you know I could help you," Charles said. He was deeply worried. Logan shook his head and continued to hold on to Remy.
"No," he said. "I'd rather get it on my own."
Hank came back in and froze in the doorway. Whatever he expected to see, it was definitely not the sight of Logan sitting on the floor with tears streaming down his face as he held on to Remy. He looked at Charles, who explained.
Hank crouched beside Logan, put one hand between his legs to maintain his balance, reached out and put the other hand on Logan's shoulder. "You okay, old friend?" he asked with deep concern. Logan put a hand up to Hank's and squeezed it.
"Nope," he answered as tears continued to stream down his face.
"Logan," Charles asked, "where do you want to go with this?"
Logan sighed deeply and shuddered as a deep sob shook through him. He loosened his hold on Remy and gently pushed him back and out of his arms. Remy looked at him with intense concern and worry, still holding onto Logan's arms. Logan took Remy's face in both his hands and held it, looking straight into his eyes.
"Kiddo, I need your help," he said quietly.
"Anything," Remy said. Logan patted his face.
"Kidlet, I need you to go back to your dad and go back into reliving the trauma of when you woke up in the streets of New Orleans. I need you to get back to those feelings and send em to me so I can remember what happened to me. Can you do that for me?"
Remy trembled with fear. "Dose are de worse memories o' my life, Wolvie," he said shakily.
"I know that, kiddo," Logan said gently as the tears continued to drip down his face. "If you can't do it right now, it's okay."
"No," Remy said. "I know dat I have to do it sometime or anot'er. But, Logan, I wan' t' stay here wit you. I love you. A lot." Logan patted his face again.
"I know that and I love you, too. But if I go to pieces, you ain't strong enough to contain me. I got my pain to endure and you got yours. Go get your help and comfort from your father. Let Hank take care of me. He's stronger than you are. You and me are okay with each other right now, kiddo. But if we both gotta go after childhood memories, we don't need to be tryin' to do this together."
Remy nodded and put his arms back around Logan, holding him closely. Logan squeezed him hard and then pushed him away, sending him back to his father. Remy accepted the plan and went back to his dad. He sat down beside him. Charles looked at Hank, who shrugged.
"You sure you want to do this, Logan?" Hank asked. Logan nodded.
"I want to know why I'm so upset. But, Hank, please, get Ro down here. If I get in touch with this hurting kid inside me and leave her outta of it, she's gonna be rightfully annoyed."
Hank nodded, went to the com unit, woke Ororo, and told her what was going on. She was down to med lab immediately. Logan looked at her with the tears still running down his face. "I love you," he said simply. "But please, just stand by and let Hank take care of me. I'm scared as hell of what might come up in me. And Hank has a lot of strength."
Ro nodded. "Please, love, if you get in touch with a lot of pain, I want to help."
"No problem, darlin.' I'd want your help," Logan said unsteadily.
"Are you ready, Logan?" Charles asked.
"Hell, no, but I'm willin.' Let's do it." Logan took a deep breath and looked up at Hank who nodded, sat down beside him and braced his back against the wall.
"Son, do you need me to help you get back to that child in New Orleans?" Charles asked Remy.
"Yes, sir," Remy said shakily and within seconds they were deep inside his memories and looking down at Remy as a small child huddled under some steps against the side of a building. The child was crying helplessly and hopelessly.
Is dis always here inside me? Remy asked with despairing confusion.
*Yes, son, I think so. But I'm not sure it always has to be inside you. If we take some time with him, we might find a way to offer some consolation and calm him down.*
What do we have to do?
*You need to go inside that child. And I think I need to hold you in here as well as outside.* Remy shuddered and went down to kneel in front of the child. The little boy looked up at him with fear and confusion. Remy simply held out his arms and the child fell into them still crying as if his world had ended, which it had. Now, Remy. Go inside of him. his father's voice ordered.
Remy did as he was told and was immediately overwhelmed with the feelings of being lost, abandoned, terrified, and very, very small.
Now send it all to Logan. Remy again did as he was told with the help of his father's mind link and then felt himself sinking with the child into the depths of hopeless despair. He felt his father take the child inside into his arms and felt the real physical arms of his father around him on the bed in med lab. He cried with deep desolation. Charles held Remy tightly. "It's okay, son. It's okay. You'll never be that scared and helpless and alone again. I'm here for you now."
Logan, once again, felt as if he had been stabbed through the guts. He was in a forest and he was very, very small, maybe four or five. He was sobbing with intense despondency and feeling more and more desolate with each passing minute and hour. The people of the community where he lived had taken him to the forest, tied him to a tree and left him there to die. Somehow, he had been seen with his claws out and identified as a monster of some sort.
It hadn't been too difficult for him to extricate himself from the ropes with which he had been bound to the tree. Now he was waiting for his mother to come and find him and take him away. His father was dead. He badly wanted his mother, and he was deeply frightened that she wasn't coming at all and, even worse, that she really didn't want to come, that she really didn't love him and never had. Which could only mean that he truly was a monster who didn't deserve to be loved and possibly didn't even deserve to live. As each hour passed, he sank deeper and deeper into desolate despair.
Hank was holding Logan on the floor in the med lab as the other man sobbed with anguish. He looked up at Charles.
"Just hold him and let him find his way through," Charles said quietly. Remy was starting to quiet in his arms as he stroked him gently, held him tightly, and murmured reassurance. Remy once again felt a sense of peace and acceptance replace some of the despair inside him.
Logan doggedly stayed with the painful memory. A couple of hours into night time, the child finally gave up on his mother coming for him. He crept back to the house that had been his home and still feeling confused despair, began looking in the windows in an effort to find her and see what she was doing. Maybe the others had stopped her from coming for him. It was a forlorn hope, but the only hope he had.
He found her when he looked in the window of her bedroom. She was with the leader of the mob who had taken him to the forest. For a moment, his heart surged with hope. His heart then sank, blackened and died within him as he saw his mother laugh and kiss the man on the mouth. He listened carefully. They spoke of matters of little importance to him for a while, but finally he heard an exchange that mattered.
"You sure you don't want to go rescue that monster brat of yours?" the man asked.
"And what would happen if I did?" his mother asked carefully.
"You'd have to take the little monster and go. On your own. No way decent folks gonna have that freak around. He's probably dangerous."
"No," she protested. "He's a very sweet child, Julian."
"Know he's got claws that pop out of his hands. Know that makes him more like an animal than a human. I ain't havin' him around me and he ain't staying here alive. No, you go get that pup and you're finished here."
The woman looked down and thought for several long moments. "Maybe, it's better this way. Who knows what kind of life he could have had. No, Julian, I won't go after him."
The child slipped away from the window. He'd heard more than enough. The despair that filled him felt almost life threatening. He crept in the window of his own room and got some of his clothes and a pocket watch that belonged to his father. And he suddenly knew, as he had not allowed himself to know before, that his father had committed suicide. The realization stabbed through him like a knife and he wondered if his father had taken his own life because his son was a monster. He knew that he had to get out of the house before he was overwhelmed with sobbing despair again and he climbed back down out the window and ran back to the woods.
He found a shelter of sorts beneath a leaning tree and fell to the ground shaking with desolate sobs. He was utterly devastated, totally lost, and some part of him almost hoped he would die. But he was very small, very tired, and very overwhelmed and instead he just fell into sleep.
Logan snapped his eyes open. He was curled up in Hank's arms and sobbing deeply, with great pain. He sat up and held his arms out for Ro who gathered him into an embrace. He continued to cry for several minutes and then gradually the sobs tapered off.
Hank grabbed a huge wad of tissues and handed them to Logan who gratefully blew his nose and wiped his face. He then put his head back on Ororo's shoulder and sighed.
"I ain't so sure I wouldn't have been better off leaving that memory on permanent delete," he said quietly. "Don't worry guys, I'm goin' tell you all about it. But in the meantime, shouldn't we try to get some food into Remy since he seems to have stopped crying his guts out?"
"I'm not hungry," Remy protested. "I still feel sick."
"Remy, you are badly dehydrated and your electrolytes are all out of whack," Hank said. "You need to eat, but you may not be able to keep anything down until we get you rehydrated. You need to be on an IV." Hank got up, prepared an IV, and put the needle in Remy's arm. "Remy, if you pull this IV out of your arm for any reason, I'll give you more than a few firm smacks to your butt. I'll spank you until you're wailing." Remy gulped and nodded his head. He had no intention of pulling this IV out of his arm.
"Well, Logan," Charles said patiently. "I've seen you cry before, but I've never seen you cry like that. What on earth did you find inside yourself?"
"Charlie, I think that I mighta come from a kinda dysfunctional family," Logan said with a cynical laugh. "Ro, will you hold me while I talk about this? I ain't so sure I can get through even talkin' about it without going to pieces again."
"Of course, my love, of course."
Logan told them all about the memory he had recovered. By the time he was describing the desperate, long waiting of the child in the forest, tears were rolling down his face. When he reached the end, he was sobbing again and holding on tightly to Ro, who had tears leaking from her eyes herself.
"What in the hell was wrong with your mother, Logan?" she demanded angrily.
"Maybe just that she had a monster for a child," he said unsteadily. Ro looked furious for a second and then raised her hand and smacked him as hard as she could on the butt. His head snapped up and he looked at her with a startled grin.
"Good thinking, love," he laughed through his tears. "That's exactly what I'd have done to Remy if he'd given me a response like that."
"Give a response like that again and I'll ask Hank to do it for me," she threatened. "I think you'd feel that."
"Bet I would." Logan laughed again and put his face down against her shoulder. His eyes continued to well with tears which ran down his face. His body shook occasionally from the deep shudders that come after intense crying.
"And I'd willingly cooperate," Hank offered. "Logan, how on earth did you survive?"
"I don't know," Logan said quietly. "How did Remy survive? He and I were about the same age. Hey, kiddo, you okay?"
Remy had tears of empathy welling in his eyes. He had long since recovered from his own journey back into his past but Logan's story had deeply upset him again. "I'm okay, Logan," he said hesitantly. "I just not very happy bout what you had t' go th'rough. It sounds worse dan what happened t' me." Logan pulled himself from Ro's arms, kissed her on the cheek, rose, and went over to the bed. He looked at Charles.
"Let me have Remy for a minute or two," he requested. Charles nodded and passed his son over into Logan's arms. Logan held him tightly. "Remy, there's really not a hell of a lot of difference between what I went through and what you went through."
"But you knew dat your mom didn't even love you," Remy protested.
"Yeah, and you got to see your whole family killed right in front of you," he said gently. "Besides, I'm not sure she didn't love me. She mighta just been weak and needy person."
"Logan," Charles said acerbically, "I'm quite sure you didn't understand that when you were a small child. You had to feel basically unloved and unlovable."
Logan's eyes welled with tears again and a couple spilled down his face. "You're right, Charlie. It felt damn miserable. Oh, hell, it felt worse than miserable. I felt just like Remy did on those streets in New Orleans."
Remy nodded and tightened his arms around Logan."I t'ink your mama was crazy as a loon," he said certainly. "An' I hate her. I love you, Logan."
"Love you, too, kid," Logan said. "But has anyone but me noticed that the damn sun is coming up. Are we giving up on sleep around here?"
"I appreciate the notification, Logan," Charles said with an eyebrow raised. "And I understand that you really just don't want to talk about this memory any more. But I don't think you're through processing it."
"Didn't say I was, Chuck. Just suggested that we all might could use some sleep," Logan said mildly.
"I agree," Hank yawned. "I'm gonna give Remy a sedative. And Remy, you're going to eat tomorrow." Remy nodded. His arms tightened around Logan again.
"Logan," he asked hesitantly, "are you still gonna. . .?" He stopped suddenly unsure he even wanted to know.
"You know damn well that I am, Remy," Logan said. "Unless you're too bruised or welted." Remy trembled and Logan squeezed him hard. "It's okay, kiddo. You'll survive. I promise."
"I'm not worried bout surviving. I'm worried bout getting my bare butt blistered in front of everyone and cryin' my eyes out," Remy said grumpily as he squeezed back. "But I love you anyway."
"No point worrying about it, but again, I love you, too." Logan stood up and stroked Remy's tousled hair. He looked around. "Ro, you comin' with me?" She nodded. "Night, all of you."
Hank prepared a sedative and shot it into Remy's IV. He yawned and looked at the professor questioningly.
"I'll stay with Remy until he goes to sleep and I think I'll just stay up for the day. I got five hours of sleep before this boy woke me. I'll be okay."
"Thank you, sir. I'm going to, at least, get a nap. I feel as if I have gotten less than five hours in the past two nights. Night, Remy," he said gently, aware that Remy's eyes were again welling with tears as he contemplated the next spanking he was going to get.
"Night, Hank. T'ank you for putting up with me," he said.
"You're welcome. Oh, by the way, as far as I'm concerned, you're on alcohol restriction for the rest of this week. If I catch you drinking again, you're going to be in big, big trouble with me." Hank moved the hover chair over to the side of the bed near where the professor was sitting.
"And I definitely second that order," Charles said firmly. Remy nodded miserably as tears spilled out of his eyes and ran down his face. "Thank you, Hank. I think I can manage to get myself in once I get my son to sleep." Hank nodded.
Charles pulled Remy back into his arms and held him as Hank departed. "What are you crying about, son? The spanking you're going to get?"
"Yes, sir," Remy said softly.
"Tell me," Charles suggested. "Tell me what you're thinking."
"I hate it," Remy said unhappily. "I gonna get my pants pulled down in front of everyone. And everyone's gonna see me get my bare bottom spanked and spanked until I'm crying my guts out. And den I'm gonna have t' go t' de corner wit my pants still down and my butt bare and den I'm gonna get spanked again."
"And everyone knows exactly why you're getting this particular spanking and everyone is quite aware that you deserve it, just like you are," Charles said firmly. Remy started sobbing.
"Den I gonna get. . . anot'er one just like it. . . de next day," he sobbed.
"And just as well deserved," Charles said. Remy sobbed even harder. "Child, I know you deeply regret injecting that powder and taking that bike trip, but you still have to endure the punishment for what you did. You know that. And as you admitted yourself, you wouldn't feel loved if you got away with it without being punished. It will be okay. And you'll feel a lot better when you have it behind you."
"My behind won' feel better," Remy tried to joke, but only succeeded in sounding miserable. "I know dat, Daddy, but I don' have t' like it, do I?"
"No, son, you don't have to like it," Charles said gently. Remy continued to cry until he simply sobbed himself to sleep. Charles held him for a few more minutes and when he was sure he was sleeping soundly, disengaged himself and struggled back into the hover chair. He looked down at his sleeping son and sighed deeply. The boy was very lovable and very in need of love, but in his current state of instability very exhausting. Charles deeply appreciated the loving patience, concern, and involvement of Hank and Logan. As for the memory that Logan had recovered, Charles simply shuddered with dismay. He hoped that Logan wouldn't respond by simply taking off to go seek out violence and combat. It was his usual method of dealing with anything that upset him, but the professor really didn't think it appropriate to the circumstances.
Logan and Storm had re-entered the loft. He collapsed on the bed with a deep sigh. "This past day has been one of the longest months of my life." Storm smiled.
"And the past week one of the longest years of our lives?" she suggested. He nodded. "Logan, how are you doing with that memory that came up?"
"I think I'm using denial, repression, and rationalization just brilliantly, darlin,'" he grinned at her. She looked at him skeptically. "And don't you even think about calling Hank up here to swat me one. It's too late, I'm too tired, and I just want to forget about it until tomorrow."
"If I really wanted you swatted, dear, I think I could manage it myself rather effectively with all the implements of punishment we have scattered around this loft," she said astringently. He nodded thoughtfully.
"How's your bottom, darlin'?" he asked. She shrugged.
"Pretty sore," she admitted. He motioned her over and pulled her down gently over his knees. He took down her shorts and panties and looked at her lovely bare butt.
He whistled softly."You got some marks, dear one," he said with concern. "I'm sorry. Didn't mean to play quite so hard."
"I don't think it was all play," Ro said quietly. "I think you were really pretty annoyed with me."
"I mighta been at that, love. But I'm still sorry."
"Well, I'm not," Ro said firmly. "I kind of like it. I like being aware that my bottom is marked by you. And I like it that I was punished for misbehaving. And I like it that it's over for now." He turned in his arms and kissed her deeply. She shivered and as they started to make love again she remembered the details of what had happened the night before.
She and Logan had gone up to the loft after dinner. He had filled her in on what had happened in the study with Remy as they sat on the bed, sipping some wine that he had grabbed on the way upstairs. When he finished the story, he looked at her."Now what about us, darlin'?" he asked. She shivered.
"You promised to punish me, love," she said softly. He nodded and sat up straight on the bed.
"And how are you goin' be punished?"
"I'm going to be spanked," she said, her voice trembling with both fear and excitement.
Logan took her by the arm, gently and pulled her face down over his lap. "What happens, now, darlin?" he asked.
"My shorts come down." She put her face against the bed and felt Logan's fingers in the elastic waistband of her shorts. He pulled them down to the middle of her thighs.
"My panties have to come down." She felt his fingers again in the waist of her panties which he pulled slowly down, so that her bottom was bare. He left those banded near the top of her thighs.
"And why are you over my knees with your panties down and your bottom bare?" He reached between her legs and tickled gently at her clitoris. She was already quite wet and excited.
"Because I've been a bad girl," she said, caught between arousal and apprehension.
"And what happens to bad girls?" He continued to tease her clit. Waves of intense pleasure surged through her.
"Bad girls have to be spanked," she said unsteadily. He removed his hand from between her legs and smacked it down hard on her bare bottom. She endured it silently. He smacked again and again until she was gasping and her bottom was stinging badly. He had a very hard hand. He paused as her bottom started to burn with pain and put his fingers back between her legs, teasing again at her clit. She gasped again, immensely aroused.
"Tell me exactly how I told you I would spank you," he ordered.
"With your hand first. Then I have to stand in the corner with my panties down and you're going to bend me over and spank me with my hairbrush and then put me on the bed with my bare bottom up and spank me with your belt." Ro shuddered. "And then, I have to go back to the corner with my panties still down while you get a switch and you're going to bend me over and spank me again. Then you're going to put me back over your knees and spank me again with your hand." Suddenly and unexpectedly, she came to orgasm, shaking and shuddering with release. Logan laughed and patted her bottom. She shuddered.
"You got it, darlin.'" Logan said and then he raised his hand high and brought it down soundly on her bottom. She shivered, but made no sound, not at first, but as his hard hand descended over and over, she started to cry out with pain. It hurt and burned and stung badly. He was spanking her seriously and painfully. She felt as if she could feel the bones in his hand as it smacked against her bare behind. Her bottom blazed with pain. He continued and she cried out over and over as her butt reddened and stung.
Then he pulled her to her feet and guided her to the corner, spanking her every step of the way. She continued to protest and yelp with pain, but she still wasn't crying. He leaned her over in the corner with her bottom up and spanked her soundly with his hand. It hurt badly and she continued her cries of protest."Stay put, darlin,'" he ordered. "You're gonna stand there for about fifteen minutes while I go get your hairbrush."
She leaned over in the corner and felt her bare butt blazing with pain. It hurt, but she felt deep satisfaction. She wanted this spanking and needed it, badly. She was a little scared of what was to come, but anticipated it with some excitement.
It wasn't long before she felt his arm around her again. He took her by the waist, reached an arm around it and bent her over. His hand reached between her legs and grabbed her. He held her by her puss and thrust her bare butt up into the air. She gasped. The hairbrush smacked down against her bare behind. It was a solid wooden hairbrush and the smacks were very painful. She cried out from the pain of the blazing spanks against her bare butt. They burned and thudded against her. Even as her butt burned, she rocked against his hold on her puss and almost came to orgasm again.
Logan smacked her thirty times and then took her over to the bed, guiding her by his hand between her legs. She didn't resist. He put her on the bed and leaned her over with her face against the covers. Her bare bottom was up high in the air. He took her panties down all the way to her knees.
She heard him pull his belt out of the loops on his pants, and then felt the leather land against her bare backside. It hurt, badly.
"Tell me why you deserve this spanking, Ororo," he demanded as he blazed the belt against her bottom again. She screamed with pain as the leather hit her, stinging and smacking simultaneously. He waited.
"I talked. . ." The belt stung against her bottom again. "I talked about private matters. . .without. . .your permission. . .OWWwww. . .that hurts."
"Spankings are supposed to hurt, girl," Logan said sternly. He smacked the belt against her bare thighs and she screamed. "Now, go on with telling me why you deserve this."
"I told Forge. . .that you were. . .spanking me. . ." The belt continued to lash against her bottom and thighs and she continued to cry out with pain and regret. "Without your permission. . .and then even after. . .you told me that. . .you were upset. . .I told. . .Rogue." The belt landed again and again on her bare behind. It blazed like fire.
"Go on, Ro," he demanded. She felt very close to tears and not sure what else he wanted her to say.
"I shouldn't. . .have gossiped. . .about us without. . .your permission," she gulped out. The belt kept lashing at her bare butt and she started frantically trying to twist away. Logan came up closer to her and grabbed her around the waist once again putting his hand between her legs. He held her firmly in place. He move his body to the side and gave his arm plenty of room to keep smacking the belt down on her bare and burning butt.
"And?" he insisted.
"And. . .I should never. . .have talked to. . .Rogue about it. . .knowing you. . .were already angry. . ." Ro started to cry deeply and with great relief. She had admitted what she had done wrong, and she was suffering the consequences. It was deeply painful, but only what she felt she deserved. The belt continued to lash from the top of her bottom all the way down her thighs almost to her knees. It hurt badly and she sobbed deeply. She rocked against his hold between her legs, but she felt little arousal, mostly just thoroughly punished humiliation.
He gave her one last thorough burning smack of the belt against the curve where her bottom was bent over and then pulled her to her feet and marched her back to the corner spanking her with his hand again every step of the way. He leaned her over and landed another round of hard spanks on her blazing behind and then she felt him pull her panties and shorts halfway up her thighs.
"Thrust that bottom out, girl," he ordered. "And hold your legs apart enough to keep your panties and shorts right where I just put them. I want to see everything. I want to see your reddened bottom and I want to see your pussy peeking out from between your spread legs." He gave her another blazing spank on her bare behind. She shivered and did as she was told, crying hard and feeling deeply humiliated as she stood in the corner with her panties down and her legs apart. "Arch your back, Ro, and thrust that bottom out," he demanded. She cried even harder and assumed the mortifying position that he wanted.
"I'm goin' to get me a switch. Don't you move an inch while I'm gone," she heard him say. He left the loft and she felt a deep and terrifying dismay at being left alone with her panties down, bent over in the corner with her bottom bare and her legs spread, displaying everything. She sobbed deeply.
By the time he got back, she was almost hysterical. He approached her and patted her bottom gently. "I'm here, darlin.' I didn't leave you. Just went to get a switch. You have about five more minutes of corner time, love. I want that naughty bottom recovered a little before I switch you." He reached between her legs and caressed her very wet puss.
Then he stepped away, leaving her bent over and sobbing. She truly felt very punished and very scared of the punishment still to come. Even as her bottom recovered a little from its intense throbbing pain, she still felt deeply embarrassed to be so exposed and on display in the corner.
Logan sat down on the bed and took a series of deep breaths. He was aroused by Ro's bare and reddened bottom and simultaneously upset by her desperate sobbing. He felt confused and dismayed, but it was clear to him what she wanted and needed and there was no doubt that she was very relieved and aroused by her punishment. He steeled himself and continued, going back to her in the corner.
Storm continued to cry as Logan came back, grabbed her around the waist, and bent her over again. He put his hand back between her legs. She sobbed deeply."Close your legs, sweetheart," he said. "I don't want this switch to hit your puss." She did as she was told and the switch blazed down on her bottom. She screamed. Like Remy before her, she felt as if an entire platoon of hornets had landed in a straight line across her bare butt. It hurt like fire. Logan was very careful not to raise the switch too high or bring it down too hard. He didn't want to cut her with it's slashing blows.
The switch lashed against her bare butt and thighs again and again. She screamed and sobbed and begged him to stop, but he simply continued. She had never felt so punished in all her life. She wiggled and jumped and danced with pain. Logan lifted her entirely off her feet and her legs kicked helplessly in the air as he spanked her thoroughly.
He finished and dropped the switch. She stood on her feet and clapped both hands to her punished bottom, wailing with pain and jumping up and down. She desperately tried to rub the pain away. Logan just took her by the arm and led her back over to the bed. He sat down and put her back over his knees.
"NOOO," she wailed. "No, love, no more. . . Don't spank me any more." His hard hand blazed down on her bottom. She sobbed as he spanked her yet again. Her bottom felt as if it were on fire.
"Will you ever discuss our private lives again, with anyone?" he asked severely.
"NO," she wailed. "I promise. . .just. . .please. . .stop."
"Ro, you're getting a spanking. I'll stop when I'm ready to stop. You were a very bad girl," Logan said quietly. And he spanked her soundly yet again. She was kicking and squirming and sobbing as hard as she had ever cried in her life. And he kept on spanking her.
Finally she felt his hand rest on her blazing bottom and give it a gentle pat. He reached between her legs and stroked the wetness there.
"I'm tempted to put you back in the corner, girl," he said.
"Oh, no. . .Logan. . .No. . ." Ro sobbed out. Logan gathered her into his arms and held her tightly, comforting her.
"Shhh, darlin,'" he murmured softly. "Shhhh, it's okay, now. You're not a bad girl, any more. You're a good girl, now."
She held on to him with deep relief and her sobs started to quiet. She did indeed feel like a very bad girl who had been made good again by her punishment. It was a deep relief to hear him say so.
"And you're not going to put me back in the corner?" she asked tremulously. He continued to hold her as her sobs quieted and reached down between her legs again. She was still very, very wet.
"No, love. And actually, darlin,' I don't want to punish you any more," Logan admitted. He continued to tease her between her legs, stroking her clit to intense awareness. He raised her face to his, kissed her hard and laid her down on the bed. She flinched as her blistered bottom touched the sheets. And then gasped as he pulled off her shorts and panties and put his face between her legs. His tongue flicked at her and she gasped again and again. He used the tip of his tongue against the head of her clit and licked at it gently and insistently. Her tears stopped and she went off like a rocket, gasping, spasming, and pushing his head away from her as orgasm after orgasm shot through her body.
"I want you inside me," she demanded. He was only too willing, stripping off his jeans and briefs immediately. He didn't even take off his shirt, but simply thrust himself deeply inside her. She came again and then he began to ride her to his own climax. He thrust deeply and then rocked up against her clit and then repeated the action. She came again and again before she felt him spasming to his own release. He shuddered and came down on top of her. She held him tightly and felt her bottom burning against the sheets. He sighed deeply and relaxed totally.
"That wasn't bad," he said with satisfaction. She grinned and smacked his butt.
"It was damn good, you big goof," she said firmly. He kissed her long and hard and they both started to relax into sleep. Suddenly Logan sat up.
"Goddammit," he said irritably.
"What?" Ro asked sleepily.
"Printer just came on in Remy's room and, Jesus goddamn, he's goin' out his window." Logan leaped to his feet and jerked his jeans back on. "I'll see you later, darlin.' I gotta go find out what Remy thinks he's doin' now."
Ro sighed and drifted off to sleep. She trusted Logan to cope with Remy and she was very tired. Her bottom burned and she was deeply satisfied.
Ro sighed with satisfaction as the memory came back to her vividly as she and Logan started to make love again. He was caressing her mouth with his lips and gently stroking her between the legs and she was already so excited that she was ready to come again.
"What you thinkin' bout, woman?" Logan demanded with a grin.
"What we did earlier, love," she admitted, smiling up at him.
"Sure has you ready to go again," he laughed. She nodded and rolled him over, climbing on top of him and taking him inside. She began to rock her hips gently from front to back and almost immediately was gasping as another orgasm shot through her. Logan grinned again and reached up to stroke her breasts where they swung almost right over his head. She smiled down at him and started rocking again, rising a little, coming down, and rising a little more as she rocked harder and moved faster. His eyes closed and he moved gently against her, raising his pelvis to meet hers. She came again and again and the spasming muscles of her inner canal almost brought him over the edge.
"Darlin'?" he gasped out, "do you want this short and sweet or long and drawn out? Not that I'm totally sure. . .I got. . .much choice."
She laughed. "I'm as tired as you are, love. And I wouldn't be moving this fast and working this hard if I wanted it long and drawn out." She rocked harder and moved against him firmly deliberately tightening her inner muscles to grip and let go as she slid him in and out. She slammed herself hard against him and came yet again. He let go and came with her.
She collapsed into his arms and laid there quietly for several minutes. Then she rolled over, grabbed some tissues from her nightstand and handed them to him while she rose to go the bathroom. When she got back, he had straightened the bed and drawn the covers back. She curled up beside him and yawned. The sun was coming in the window and birds were singing."What on earth was going on with Remy?" she asked sleepily.
"I'm not sure," Logan sighed. "I think having his dad spank him overloaded his circuits and threw him back into thinkin' of himself as some monster child who got his family killed. Then he drank like a damn fool on an empty stomach, got drunker than he realized, and decided to take off. I don't think he planned to get very far. Damn idiot child would never have printed out his note if he really planned a silent exit. Not with what he knows about my hearing. He wanted to be stopped and he needed some help. I think it scares the hell out of him to be so needy."
"Is he really okay enough for what you have planned for him tomorrow?" Storm asked.
"Did we ever talk about that?" Logan asked. "Didn't I give you an assignment?"
"Yes, sir, you did indeed, sir. And I have answers for you. Do you want them now?"
"Why the hell not? I'm almost too tired to sleep."
"Believe it or not, your hand hurt more than almost anything," she said thoughtfully. "And after that, I'd have to say it was a toss up between your belt and the switch. They hurt differently. The belt both smacked and stung like hell. The switch just stung like fire. And I tell you, love, it felt awful to be bent over like that with my panties pulled down all the way to my knees, knowing that belt was going all the way up and down my legs and not having the comfort of you holding me. I really felt punished. But I ask you again, is he up for it? He still seemed overloaded to me, love."
"He made himself sick as hell, darlin.' But, yeah, his circuits are still on overload. I don't know if he could stand it if I spanked him again without some recovery time. But I got some plans for dealin' with that. . . in the morning? Well, whenever we wake up. Don't worry, love. I plan to take care of our brat."
"He doesn't mean to be such a brat, you know," Ro said gently.
"I know that, darlin.' He's just hurtin' bad and doesn't know what he wants. But yegods, he could wear out a platoon of guardian angels."
"Good thing he had us instead," Ro was sounding sleepier by the moment. Logan kissed her on the top of the head.
"Good thing," he agreed. "Go to sleep, love." She nodded and drifted off. Logan remained awake and went deep inside his own mind. He deliberately put the memory he had recovered that night into a "later to be processed" file and went deeper. He relaxed and fell asleep.
Remy woke in med lab, feeling mildly disoriented and confused. He looked at the IV running into his arm and the events of the night before rushed into his consciousness. He groaned.
Hank put his head in the door immediately. "How you feeling, Remy?" he asked as he came in holding a specimen cup.
"I don' t'ink I even hung over," Remy said with wonder. Hank laughed. He held out the cup.
"Can you take this to the bathroom and get me a sample? I want to see if you're rehydrated."
Remy nodded and did as he was asked, wheeling the IV with him. Hank took the cup. "I'll be back in a flash," he said, departing with it. Remy sat down on the bed and was mildly aware of the soreness in his bottom, but it was a minor soreness and he was quite sure he wasn't bruised or welted. He was disappointed. His stomach churned with dread at what awaited him when Logan got his hands on him and tears welled in his eyes. He clasped his arms across his chest and tried to calm down. Hank was indeed back in a flash.
"You're back to normal, Remy," he said cheerfully. Then he looked at him carefully and sighed. "Remy, Remy, what are we going to do with you?" He took the IV out of his arm and then gathered him into a hug. "What are you thinking about, child?"
"You know what I'm t'inkin' bout, Hank," Remy said shakily. "I'm t'inkin' bout what Logan gonna do t' me t'day." He hugged Hank back and then pulled away and looked down.
"Well, stop thinking about it," Hank said firmly. "You need to eat and you're not going to be able to eat if you keep upsetting yourself."
"I'll eat. I promise." Remy said quietly.
"Good." Hank disappeared again and came back with a bowl of soup and some crackers. "Eat," he said sternly.
Remy ate. It didn't go down easily and he wanted to stop long before the soup was finished but he managed to choke down a few soup soaked crackers and half the bowl of soup.
"Is dat enough?" he asked rebelliously. Hank looked at him carefully and was relieved to see that Remy seemed to have regained some of his spirit.
"It'll do," he said. Remy nodded.
"Can I go up t' my room and shower and change?" he asked.
Logan came in the door and Remy flinched.
"Sure," Logan said cheerfully. "Go, shower. Change into jeans. Grab a jacket. We got places to go and things to do, kiddo."
"Like what?" Remy asked suspiciously.
"Like you're gonna help me go get my Harley back before it gets towed by the New Jersey state patrol, kid," Logan said firmly
"Oh," Remy gulped. But he felt much better after eating a little and slightly more cheerful at the thought of some kind of expedition. He jumped to his feet and sped out the door.
Hank looked at Logan with doubts in his eyes. "What're you doing with him, Logan?" he asked.
Logan looked at him with a deeply innocent gaze. "I'm gonna get him to help me get my bike back, Hank. He took it. It's only fair that he help me get it back."
"And why does he need a jacket? Are you going to let him ride it back himself? I'm not sure that's such a good idea."
"Hank, we're going in the jeep. I'm not going to let Remy drive my bike back here. It's mine. I'm gonna do the drivin' back to the house." Hank continued to look at Logan with suspicion. He knew Wolverine was up to something, and he didn't know what. He sighed deeply. He did trust Logan to have Remy's best interests at heart. He capitulated.
"If either one of you gets hurt on this trip, I'll hold you responsible, Logan," Hank said dangerously. "And I won't wait for Ro's invitation to whack the hell out of you."
"Yeah," Logan said mildly. "You and what army?"
Hank shook his head and laughed. Logan clapped him on the shoulder and went to the foyer to wait for Remy who emerged quickly, shaved, showered and dressed in jeans, torn out at one knee, a Nirvana t-shirt, and a denim jacket. Logan led him out to the front where Bobby was waiting in the passenger seat of the jeep.
"Why we all three goin'?" Remy asked.
"You'll find out, kiddo," Logan promised. He sat in the driver's seat as Remy climbed into the back. Bobby met his eyes and shrugged. He didn't know what was going on. He'd just been asked by Logan to show up and come along. Scott had not been pleased to lose three workers on the computer files, but he and Logan had a private and intense discussion that Bobby had not overheard.
Logan drove like a maniac. "Remy," he said. "You got any control over that telepathic ability of yours?"
"I don' know, mon ami," Remy laughed as he felt the wind whipping through his long hair.
"Well, see if you can scan ahead for the cops, kiddo," Logan asked. "The last thing we need is a speeding ticket." Remy laughed again and did as he was asked. He detected no troopers on their route. And the speed was exhilarating.
They were at the parking lot where the bike was parked in less than an hour. Logan had taken them there going almost 90 mph for most of the trip and sometimes slipping up to 100. He parked near the Harley.
"Okay," he said. "I'm gonna drive my bike. Remy, I want you behind me. Bobby, do you think you can follow us?"
"I"m not sure," Bobby laughed. "If you keep speeding the way you have been, you might lose me in your dust."
"I'll slow down a little," Logan promised. "And I'll keep you in sight."
Remy climbed out of the jeep and groaned as Logan handed him a helmet that he took from the back of the jeep.
"I hate wearing dat t'ing," he protested. Logan put a helmet on himself and shook his head.
"It's the law, kiddo," he said quietly. "But we're goin' somewhere that we won't need em. Look, Remy, the whole reason I brought Bobby with us was so you could ride with me on the bike and enjoy it. Are you gonna go on givin'me grief?" Remy shook his head, put on the helmet, and climbed on behind Logan. They took off with Bobby driving the jeep behind them. They drove back toward the mansion, but Logan took a detour to the dirt bike paths. He pulled over, stopped and took off his helmet, motioning for Remy to do the same.
"I'm gonna take this bike over these trails with you behind me, Remy," he said. "And I want you to pay attention to how to safely risk your damn life. Then, I'm gonna let you take it without me. And God help us if we get hurt. We'd have a lot of family mad as hell at both of us." Remy laughed out loud at the thought of riding on the trails.
"Dammit, Logan, I know how t' ride a bike," he protested as he laughed.
"Yeah, then why did you crash yourself?" Logan asked. "Remy, I been riding at least thirty years longer than you. Do you really think it's not possible that you might have something to learn?"
"Maybe," Remy admitted.
Bobby protested. "What about me, Logan?" he griped. "Why am I on this trip? Just a driver? I want to take your bike out, too."
Logan looked at him carefully. "Okay, Bobby, you get your turn after Remy and after you ride behind me. And let me tell you, kid, the same warning. If any of us get hurt, we all gonna be in a world of trouble."
"Got it," Bobby said with satisfaction. Logan got on his bike and motioned Remy to get on behind. Remy did it and they took off on a rushing, exhilarating trip over the trails. Remy held his breath as he and Logan went over the rise that had been his undoing. Logan negotiated it successfully, coming down on the gravel and expertly steering through it. They almost spun out, but not quite.
It was like a ride on a roller coaster. Fast, furious, and intense. Remy was amazed and delighted and learned a little about how to handle the machine as he rode behind Logan. They were soon back at the starting point. Logan climbed off and handed the bike to Remy.
"I mean it, kiddo," he said soberly. "Don't take any foolish risks. I don't want your Dad mad at me for giving you this."
Remy nodded and took off. He was careful and he used what he had just learned. He rode fast and intensely and brought the bike back to Logan and Bobby who was almost jumping up and down at his opportunity to risk his own life and limbs. Logan took the bike and put Bobby up behind him. They took off on a wild ride. When they got back, Bobby climbed off and shook his head ruefully.
"That was intense," he said. "I don't think I could go that fast." But he took the bike and took off on his own trip. When he got back he was laughing hard and with great delight
"My turn," Logan said. He took his bike and headed out on the trails. He exercised little of the caution that he advised to Remy and Bobby. He went off the trails and through the woods. He shot up, over several impossible obstacles and concentrated hard on trying to fly his bike through the air. Then, he took one risk too many. He landed wrong after a spinning flight and crashed. The bike spun out from beneath him, and he and the bike went over the edge of a ravine. Logan twisted himself in the air and prepared to break-fall as best he could, but he had been going so fast and was hurled so hard that he had little control. He bounced off a number of rocks, and several trees, feeling bones cracking in his chest. The combination of acceleration and gravity kept dragging him down the side of the rocky gorge. What finally brought him to a full stop was impalement on a broken sapling that pierced right through the side of his chest. Blood spurted out in gushes.
"Oh, Jesus," Logan thought as he drifted into unconsciousness. Remy and Bobby looked at one another with alarm as they heard the crash. They both ran toward it quickly. They saw Logan bleeding and unconscious with the ragged top of the sapling sticking out of his chest. They scrambled down the side of the ravine, slipping and sliding with little regard for their own safety.
"What de hell do we do?" Remy demanded of Bobby. "He's hurt, bad."
"I'd bet that his healing factor would take care of most of this," Bobby said with deep worry. "But I don't know what the hell to do about that tree through his chest."
Logan regained consciousness as his healing factor kicked in. The bones were knitting together, but he was none too comfortable with the tree through his chest. He looked up at Bobby and Remy.
"Pull me off this tree," he said quietly. "NOW." Remy shook his head.
"I don' t'ink dat's de best plan, mon ami," he said. He stripped off his jacket and put it around Wolverine's shoulders. "It's not usually a good idea to pull t'ings out of most people. I gonna start trying to cut dis damn t'ing you're on away from de ground." Remy got out a pocket knife and knelt on the ground beside Logan.
"Uh, Logan," Bobby said uneasily. "Shouldn't we get Hank here to help out?" Logan sighed deeply. He thought about it and shrugged.
"Yeah," he admitted. "God knows what damage it's doin' to my insides. Call for Hank." He shut his eyes. He knew he was going to be in deep trouble with Hank and Storm and the professor and knew he deserved to be in deep trouble. He opened his eyes again and looked at Remy and Bobby. "That was called taking stupid, stupid risks."
"Yeah, I noticed," Remy had already yelled for Hank inside his head. "Bobby, go get a blanket out of de jeep. I don't know how Logan works, but any normal person would be going int' shock."
What's up, Remy? Hank's voice came up in his head.
*Logan's sorta impaled on a tree, Hank. I'm cuttin' it loose, but I t'ink maybe you should supervise gettin' it out of him.*
Remy couldn't help himself. He started laughing at the aghast, horrified tone in Hank's mental voice. He felt Logan's hand come down on his head gently as he continued to cut away beneath him.
"Tell me what's so funny, Remy," Logan asked. Remy told him and Logan chuckled himself. "Have you explained it to him?"
"Told him it was just a little tree," Remy kept laughing helplessly as he sawed away at the sapling. "Oh, mon Dieu, Logan, I know dis isn't really funny, but. . ."
Logan's healing factor was rapidly stopping the flow of blood and he felt better with each passing minute. "It's funny enough, Rem," he chuckled.
Bobby was back with a blanket and with a small saw that he had found in the back of the jeep. He was amazed to find Remy laughing so hard and Logan chuckling with him. He put the blanket over Logan.
"Want to share the joke with me?" he proposed. Remy told him about his internal conversation with Hank and Bobby burst out laughing, too, as he handed the saw to Remy.
"Just a. . . little tree," Bobby chortled helplessly. Remy had Logan's tree free from the ground in seconds. He and Bobby helped him sit up.
"What. . .else. . .did. . . Hank . . .say?" Bobby gasped between gales of laughter.
"I told him . . .dat . . .Logan had lost control of his. . .bike. . .and he. . .told me dat. . .he t'ought dat all t'ree of us had. . .done lost control. . .of our minds. . ." Remy continued to laugh. "I'm sorry, Logan. I'm really sorry. He just sounded so exasperated." Remy helped to support Logan in a seated position. "Does it hurt, Wolvie?"
"Hurts like a sonovabitch," Logan said irritably, which for some reason had all three of them laughing again. None of them heard the blackbird land above the ravine.
"Hysteria," Hank commented as appeared at the top of the gorge. "I think all three of you are in a state of hysteria. Goddammit, Logan, what in the hell have you done to yourself?" Cable and Scott were right behind him with a stretcher.
"If you would just pull this damn little tree out of me, I think I'd be fine. My healing factor is working just swell."
"I'm not pulling any trees, big, little, or medium sized out of you until I get you home and get you x-rayed and we see what that tree is piercing inside you." Remy and Bobby were desperately trying to stop laughing for fear Hank would kill them. Hank ignored them and motioned the stretcher bearers over. "We're going to carry you to the blackbird."
"I can walk," Logan protested.
"And you can damn well be carried," Scott said testily.
"On your side, Logan," Hank said calmly. "The side that doesn't have a little tree sticking out of it." Remy put his hand in his mouth and bit down hard. Bobby's eyes were streaming with tears of laughter.
"Could you, uh, children, manage to get the jeep and Logan's bike home? Do you think you could stop having hysterics long enough to manage that?" Hank asked acidly. Remy nodded unable to trust himself to speak for fear of going off into more gales of laughter. He and Bobby both contained themselves until they heard the blackbird take off. Remy then looked at Bobby with his eyes sparkling.
"Maybe, it was just a little tree, cause it was pining for the fiords," he suggested.
"It's not pining," Bobby gasped out. "It's perished and passed on. That tree is no more. It has. . .ceased to be. . .It is a late tree. . .If it hadn't been nailed. . . to Logan, it would have been pushing up daisies. . .It is an ex-tree." Bobby sank to his knees, laughing helplessly.
Remy sat down on the ground, laughing hysterically, "I'm not dead, yet," he gasped out. "I'm feeling better. Much better. Really."
"And it was just a little tree," Bobby fell over.
"And I'm not pulling. . .any trees. . .out o' you, big, little, or medium sized. . ." Remy doubled over, chortling with glee.
"The side that. . .doesn't. . .have a little tree. . .sticking out of you," Bobby sputtered.
They both laughed helplessly for several minutes. "Oh," Remy protested. "My stomach hurts."
"But it was just a little tree," Bobby exclaimed again. He and Remy had a bad case of the giggles. They couldn't stop laughing.
Remy finally shook himself out of his hilarious glee and looked at Bobby. "C'mon, mon ami, we gotta get dat bike and get back to de mansion or we gonna be in trouble." He rose to his feet and extended a helping hand to Bobby.
"You think we might be in trouble already?" Bobby asked still shaking with laughter. He accepted Remy's hand up and they went after the bike.
"I don' t'ink so. I t'ink maybe Logan be in trouble dis time an' I hate dat," Remy said quietly. "I bet somebody or anot'er done yellin' at him already. He was just tryin' t' give us a good time."
Bobby nodded soberly. They picked up the bike. It was amazingly undamaged.
"You wanna ride this sucker back home?" he asked. Remy shuddered and shook his head.
"I never gonna ride dis bike again wit'out Logan's permission," he said. "Let's just put it in de back of de jeep."
Back at the jeep, Bobby looked at Remy. "Hey, did anyone say we had to come straight home?" he asked. Remy shook his head. "Well, I wasn't having much fun with those computer files. What do you say we drive into the city and go hang out in the Village?"
"Don' t'ink dat's a good idea, Bobby," Remy said.
"Oh, c'mon, man, if we ask they'll say no. If we don't ask, they can't say a word cause they didn't tell us not to. I think I got a lot to teach you about how to get away with all kinds of shit."
Remy was tempted, but he shook his head. "I'm worried about Logan," he said quietly. " I wanna go home and find out if he's okay."
"You know he's gonna be okay. His healing factor'll take care of his injuries. That's the only reason we been laughing so hard."
"I ain't worried about his injuries," Remy said. "I'm worried about him." He took a deep breath and told Bobby about the memory that Logan had recovered the night before.
"Geez," Bobby said. " No wonder he wasn't acting at all like the Wolverine I've come to know and dread. Okay, friend, let's go home."
Hank glared at Logan aboard the blackbird. "What in the hell did you think you were doing?" he demanded.
"Screwing up, bad," Logan said shakily. He hurt. It wasn't pleasant to have a small tree through his chest. "I don't know what I was doing, Hank. I acted like an idiot. I drove over 90 miles an hour to the service island and I took my bike out and managed to hurt myself. I think I mighta gone nuts."
"I think you might be right about that," Hank said with deep exasperation. "Do you think that memory you recovered might have something to do with your ridiculous disregard of your own safety and of Remy's and Bobby's. Ninety miles an hour? Logan, what were you thinking?"
"Wasn't thinkin' at all," Logan admitted. "Just doin.' And not very happy with myself. And I don't know if the damn memory had a thing to do with it. Probably. Yeah, almost definitely. And yeah, I was risking all our lives, and you might as well go right on yellin' at me about it. Get a head start on everyone else who's gonna be yellin' at me."
"Right now, I just want to get this damn tree out of you. Jesus, Logan, how could you have hurt yourself so badly?"
"I think I wanted to hurt myself real bad," Logan said honestly. "I think I would've been happy to have killed myself if I could have. But what the hell difference does it make? My damn healing factor won't let me."
Scott turned the controls of the blackbird over to Cable and came back to the stretcher.
"What on earth were you doing?" he demanded.
Logan ran flat out of patience. "Goddammit, Scotty, if Hank wants to yell at me, he can. If Charlie wants to yell at me, he can. If Storm wants to yell at me, she can. And I bloody damn guess that all of them are goin' to. But you don't a have a hint of a damn clue what all is going on with me and I swear before God if you give me any shit, I'm gonna tear this damn tree out of my chest and beat you over the damn head with it."
"Logan," Hank remonstrated as Scott stood, glaring at his old friend who glared right back. "He just wanted to know what happened."
Logan thought about what Hank said and felt even more ashamed. "Oh, hell," he said grumpily. He felt tears well into his eyes and looked up at Scott. "I'm sorry, Scotty. I'm just yelling so loud at myself that I expect everyone else to yell at me, too." Scott was taken aback, both at the unexpected apology and at the tears he could see glistening in Logan's eyes. He reached out and put a hand on Logan's upper arm, very gently.
"It's okay, Logan," he said. "I was kind of thinking about yelling at you. And you're right. I don't have a hint of a clue about what this is all about except that you obviously wrecked your bike and hurt yourself and I'm worried about you."
"And we've already got enough to worry about with Remy being wildly self-destructive without me joining the party," Logan said roughly, looking down at the deck of the blackbird. The ship landed and Cable and Scott wheeled the stretcher out and toward the house. Logan groaned as he saw the reception committee on the porch: Storm and the professor.
Hank looked at them. "Look, I know you have questions, but I'd like to get this tree out of him before he deals with anything else. Can it wait?"
"Of course," Charles said. Ororo looked at Hank with worry in her eyes.
"He's going to be okay, isn't he?" she asked.
"Of course, I'm gonna be okay, dammit," Logan said. "I would have been okay a half hour ago, if I coulda got someone to just pull this thing out of me. I have my damn healing factor."
"But it still hurts like hell, doesn't it?" Hank asked gently. Logan nodded. Hank looked up at Ro who was obviously annoyed as well as concerned. "Pain does make people grumpy," he pointed out. Storm nodded and looked a little less irritated.
Hank wheeled Logan into the med lab and put him on a table in the x-ray room. Logan laid there in the dark, thinking about the circumstances he was in, as Hank took pictures. He still felt miserable and ashamed.
"Well," Hank said in a few minutes. "You were right and you were wrong. The tree went in at an angle spearing upwards. It's through part of your liver and has smashed a couple of your ribs. I can't tell if any of it's through your lung. The thing is that if you had just pulled it out you could have jarred those ribs any which way. Could have stabbed yourself in the heart. Could have sent bone fragments into your liver. Could have collapsed a lung. Look, Logan, I know your healing factor will heal almost anything, but do we really need to put it to the test?"
"Okay, okay," Logan conceded grouchily. "So what d'you wanna do?"
"I'd like to give you at least a local anaesthetic and see if we can cut this tree out gently without doing a lot of further damage. I'd prefer to give you a general and knock you right out. It's going to hurt."
"Local," Logan said firmly.
Hank sighed."Thought you'd say that." He helped Logan back onto the stretcher and wheeled him to surgery. He called Betsy on the com unit to ask her to assist. He put an IV into Logan's arm and started to cut Logan's jacket and shirt off.
"What did you put in that IV?" Logan asked suspiciously as he immediately started to feel groggy.
"A mild sedative, not enough to knock you out. Just enough to relax you and perhaps make you a little more cooperative," Hank said wearily. Logan was not the best of patients.
"Fine, but do me a favor, Hank, and don't cut my jeans off me. They're my favorite pair."
"Logan, they're soaked in blood. . .oh, never mind, fine, I'll try to salvage your jeans."
"It's just a little tree, after all, Hank," Logan suddenly grinned up at him.
Hank sighed with relief. The not so mild sedatives were obviously starting to work. "Right," Hank grinned back at him. "Just a little tree."
He came out about three hours later. He had cut the tree out as carefully as possible and, as usual, was amazed at Logan's healing factor which started to mend flesh and bones and blood vessels as soon as the obstruction was removed. He wasn't himself sure that the careful surgery had even been necessary, but he hadn't been willing to take the risk. Storm, Charles, Remy, and Bobby were waiting.
"How is he?" Charles asked even before Storm could open her mouth.
"As unkillable as ever. He'll be fine, probably by the time he wakes up. I knocked him out, but if I know our friend, he won't be out long. He's too upset to sleep easily."
"What's he upset about?" Charles asked. "Besides the fact that he risked his life and hurt himself?"
"Isn't that enough?" Hank returned the question and then looked severely at Remy and Bobby. "He's also not too happy with himself that he drove you guys to that service island, speeding along at over 90 miles an hour." Storm gasped.
"We went down to 80 at least twice," Bobby offered. Everyone but Remy turned and glared at him. "Well, we did."
Hank raised his hand and looked at it carefully. "Bobby, if you can't personally remember just how hard this hand can swat, perhaps Remy could fill you in."
"Oh, that's really okay," Bobby assured him, backing up to a wall and leaning his butt against it casually.
Charles shook his head. "I suppose we just need to wait and talk to him when he wakes up."
"Won't do much good to try to talk to him while he's still asleep," Bobby said, very quietly. Remy snorted. Hank turned and looked at Bobby again. "How's the little tree?" Bobby asked quickly.
"In a lot of pieces," Hank replied. Remy and Bobby exchanged glances and almost choked.
"Was it, by any chance, a pine tree?" Remy asked unsteadily. Bobby started to shake a little.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I think it was," Hank looked at them quizzically.
"P. . .pining for the fiords," Remy choked out. Bobby started laughing again as Remy did the same.
"Not pining. . . any more. . .perished. Passed on. It is no more. It is an ex-tree." Bobby leaned over laughing very hard as Remy sat down, gasping with laughter.
Ororo and the professor quizzically looked at Bobby and Remy and then looked at Hank who was actually starting to laugh himself.
"It's a Monty Python routine," he explained. "And I think these two are having a bit of a stress reaction and they're responding by being about as silly as they can manage. It's okay. I'd much rather deal with a Remy who can't stop laughing than one who can't seem to stop crying."
Charles shook his head and looked indulgently toward the two young men who were still gasping with laughter. "Why don't you boys go help with dinner?" he suggested.
"I helped yesterday," Bobby protested.
"So help again today," Charles said firmly. "You've had plenty of fun and excitement for one day. Might as well try to be useful. Who's in charge tonight anyway?"
"I think Jean is," Storm said.
"Good," Charles said. "I'm sure she's worried about Logan. Go and tell her that he's okay and do something constructive." Remy and Bobby nodded and went out the door.
"It's good to hear Remy laughing again," Charles said. Hank nodded.
"I think he and Bobby could be good for each other," he said. "Though I imagine they could drive the rest of us slap out of our minds."
"Amen," Ro said, shaking her head. "But, Hank, what on earth was Logan thinking?"
"He wasn't thinking," Hank sighed. "Let me rephrase that. He wanted to make Remy feel better, laugh a little, and get some genuine sense that he really is loved before he's punished again. I think his own trip on his bike was an impulse that he didn't think through. And I think he hadn't digested that memory from this morning. So he hurt himself."
"I was afraid he would take off and go find some violence to distract himself," Charles said quietly. "So he did. But it was violence against himself."
"So what do we do about it?" Ro asked.
"Why don't we ask him when he wakes up?" Hank suggested. "Logan's a grown-up. Whatever demons he has inside his head, he's an adult. He knows he screwed up. God, does he know that. He's in an agony of self-recrimination. Why don't we let him decide what needs to be done?"
Charles nodded as did Storm. "And," Hank said, "I hear him waking up right now."
Storm beat Hank into the door of the room where Logan was lying in bed. She went to his side and held him as his eyes snapped open and he looked at Charles, Hank, and her. He put his arms around her and closed his eyes again, holding her tightly. He was wretchedly aware of what he had done and deeply ashamed.
"I'm sorry, all of you," he said softly. "I really blew it, didn't I?"
"Yes," Charles said simply. "You set a very bad example for Remy and Bobby. What do you think you were doing?"
"Distractin' myself from that damn, ugly memory that came up this morning," Logan said honestly. "And not dealing with it at all."
"So, you went out and drove 90 miles an hour with Remy and Bobby in the jeep, and then you took your bike and went off the blasted trails, wrecked it, and hurt yourself badly," Charles shook his head. Logan's face burned with shame. He nodded. There were several seconds of uncomfortable silence.
"Logan, let me give you a quick check to see how everything's healing," Hank interrupted. Logan sighed and Ro let go of him. Hank pulled up the scrub shirt that he'd put on Logan after surgery and checked his chest. There was an ugly red scar which seemed to be healing cleanly. "Your healing factor boggles the mind. Roll over and let me look at your back."
Logan rolled over to his stomach. The entry wound on his back was also an ugly red scar that was also healing. Hank prodded a few times.
"Does it still hurt?" he asked.
"Not much," Logan said.
"Does this hurt?" Hank prodded again. Logan shook his head. Hank paused, raised his right hand high, and brought it down absolutely as hard as he could smack on the seat of the scrub pants that had replaced the bloody jeans Logan had been wearing. If Logan had been standing, the force of the blow probably would have knocked him right across the room.
"JESUS, fuck, Goddammit, fucking YES, that hurt," Logan gasped with pain, well aware that with his healing factor as overworked as it was at that moment, he was liable to be bruised for at least an hour or two.
"I told you that if anyone at all got hurt on this expedition that I'd whack the hell out of you," Hank said mildly.
"And the reason I let you do that, and don't think for a minute I didn't hear your arm go up and certainly heard it coming down, is because I knew I had it coming," Logan turned and glared at him. Tears were glistening in his eyes.
"And you expect me to believe that you have tears in your eyes because it hurt so bad?" Hank raised a skeptical eyebrow.
"No, dammit, I don't have tears in my eyes because it hurt," Logan snapped. Tears continued to well and a couple spilled out. He took a deep breath. "I got tears in my eyes cause I feel like shit."
Charles sighed. "Logan, try a little harder to communicate clearly. I understand you're ashamed of what you did and that you regret it, but what else is going on?"
"How in the hell can I punish Remy for recklessly riding his bike, crashing it, and hurting himself when I've gone out and done the same damn thing?" Logan demanded.
"I think that's a good question, but I also think it has a few answers," Charles said gently. "Were you drunk? Were you high on drugs? Did you pull this stunt late at night in the dark woods? Does Remy have a healing factor that protects him from getting killed?" Logan shook his head at each question.
"But I still had no damn business drivin' that jeep as fast as I did and I had no damn business taking my bike off the trails and drivin' it as recklessly as I did," he insisted stubbornly. "I may not have screwed up as bad as Remy did, but I damn straight screwed up."
"Yes, you did," Charles agreed with him. "It was beyond stupid, Logan. It was dangerous, irresponsible, careless, and juvenile. And I expect better from you. And while I'm certainly used to you risking your own life foolishly, I am amazed that you took risks with Remy and Bobby. What if you'd blown a tire in that jeep while you were going a hundred miles an hour? You would have lived, but I doubt either of them would have escaped serious injuries. And how would you have felt?"
"I would have killed myself," Logan said simply as tears continued to roll slowly down his face. Ro glared at him.
"You would have killed yourself?" she demanded angrily. "And so in addition to dealing with the loss or injuries to Remy and Bobby, we would have had to grieve for you, too? That's not a very good answer, Logan."
He closed his eyes, feeling wretchedly miserable. More tears spilled. "I would have wanted to, Ro," he said unhappily. "If I had gotten Remy or Bobby hurt or killed I would have wanted to kill myself."
"You told me on the bird that you would have been just as happy if you had managed to kill yourself today," Hank said thoughtfully. Ro gasped and Charles shook his head with dismay. Logan put his face in his hands.
"You've blistered Remy's bottom for threatening to kill himself," Ro said heatedly. "Do you expect us to put up with it from you?"
Logan felt the tightness in his chest that comes before serious crying. His voice was very strained. "So, Hank, why don't you just whack the hell out of me a few dozen or hundred more times? And why don't we just get Bobby and Remy in here to watch so they know that no one gets away with this kind of shit, okay?"
"I don't think having Remy watch you get whacked would be any good for him. He needs you to be a something more than a misbehaving, punished and hurting child. He needs you to be his godfather who is wise and loving." Charles said.
"Well, didn't I just blow the hell out of that fantasy, Charlie?" More tears fell from Logan's eyes.
"No, Logan, you didn't," the professor said gently. "He just sees this as an unfortunate accident. And he needs you to recover and give him the next episode of his punishment. The important question for us is what you need. And to understand what motivated this behavior. Look, Logan, we know what motivates Remy's misbehavior. He wants to be punished and we accommodate him. Are you seriously going to suggest to me that you wanted to be punished?" Logan shook his head.
"I think I'm right on the edge of another memory," he said shakily. "I was dreamin' about it just before I woke up this morning and just now. Had something to do with flying through the air and feelin' worthless. I think what I was doing had something to do with trying to get that memory and with trying to escape from the memories."
"But I was damn fool crazy to drive the way I drove with the boys in the jeep," his voice continued to shake. "And I was damn fool crazy to leave the paths and ride through the woods. Maybe I should get the hell whacked out of me."
Hank shook his head. "Logan," he said gently. "I know you. I think I could whack the hell out of you until a week from Sunday and you'd never even feel it. And personally, I think you should just stop fighting those tears so hard and go ahead and cry. I could give you another whack on the butt if you think it would sort of like give you a jump start."
Logan started to chuckle, "Sure as hell would make me jump," he laughed and then with little pause the laughter turned into sobs. He lay down on the bed and put his face in the pillow, holding it tightly. His sobs came from deep in his chest. Ro stepped toward him, but Charles held up his hand to stop her.
"No," he said. "If he's trying to go after something deep inside him, he needs to go it alone right now." Logan continued to sob, helplessly and hopelessly.
"Charlie, please," he gasped out, "come into my head and help me make sense of what's in here."
Charles was amazed. Logan had never willing let Charles help him with the confusion in his head before. Charles complied immediately.
What he found was a total mess of very young and pre-rational images and feelings, the confused memories of a small child in a chaotic family. Charles moved to the center of the chaos and found a very small child sitting in his bedroom on his bed, holding a pillow tight to his chest. He looked down at the child who looked up at him warily.
Do you know who I am? Charles asked gently. The child nodded and held a hand up to be taken. Charles held the child's hand for a second and then sat on the bed and gathered the little boy into his arms. The child resisted for a second and then started to sob deeply and desperately.
Show me what has been happening to you, little guy, Charles said with warm affection. The images started to pour out at him and Charles absorbed them. Logan's mother had been an erratic, volatile, disturbed, and needy woman, subject to fits of irrational violence. She had also, at times, been intensely seductive and had flirted and played with her son as if he were the most important person in her world. Then caught up in some fight with her husband or a seduction of some new lover, she would forget the child for days on end and abuse him horribly if he made any demands on her attention. It was not unusual for her, in a rage, to simply pick him up and throw him, slamming him into the floor or into a wall. It was probably only his healing factor that even kept him alive.
Logan's father had been a fairly decent man who was overwhelmed and driven mad by his wife. For as long as the child had been alive, he could remember only that his father was often deeply unhappy although he often seemed to enjoy time with his son. But the man stayed away long hours, working hard and avoiding his home. As near as Charles could determine from the disorganized memories, the father had no idea how often or how severely the child was abused.
Charles held the child tightly, I'm so sorry, he said quietly. *You haven't had much of a happy life, have you, child?* The boy shook his head.
*Look, there is no way to change what happened back here. But you still exist inside of our Logan and he is very loved. If he'll let it in to you, can you accept that some of that love is for you?*
He won't let it in, the child whispered.
He doesn't like me, the child said.
Charles shook his head. Logan. The image of an adult Logan appeared in the little bedroom, tears streaming down his face.
He's right, Charlie, he admitted. *I hate having any part of me be so weak and vulnerable, but I been wrong and I know it.* He sat on the bed.
Hey, kiddo, he said gently. Did you hear me say I was wrong? The child nodded. Would you believe me if I said I was sorry? The boy shrugged, not sure what to believe. Logan saw himself in that shrug and almost laughed. Yep, you're me all right. He reached out his arms.
Charles turned the child so he could see his adult self and he hesitated for a moment and then went into Logan's arms. They both cried.
Charlie, Logan gasped. *I'm on overload. This is as much as I can take. Can we please stop this?*
Sure, the professor said gently. *I just think this child needs to understand that he's welcome to start being a part of your life and that you'll be back to check on him.*
You understand that, kid? Logan asked shakily. The child nodded warily, not at all sure he believed. Oh, yeah, you are me, indeed. Logan shook his head. *I promise, kid, and if you been inside me all these years, you should know that I don't break promises.*
The little boy nodded more trustingly. Logan met the professor's eyes, his eyes still full of tears that fell down his face. Charles nodded, leading the adult Logan out again.
Logan was still lying face down on the bed, crying very hard. Hank was leaning tensely against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest, looking as he was contemplating smashing something. Ro paced.
"Who do you want to have hold you? And trust me, you need to be held right now."
Logan hesitated, "Ro," he said finally. Charles held up a hand and stopped Ro before she moved toward him.
"Is that what you really want or what you think you should want?" Charles asked sharply.
"What I think I should," Logan answered. "I want you first, sir. And then Ro, later."
"That's what I thought," Charles said quietly. "Remember, I was just inside your head."
"Knew I'd regret that," Logan said ruefully. Hank helped the professor out of his chair and onto the bed. Logan was still face down and crying deeply. The professor took him gently by the arm. Logan lay still for a moment. "I'm not sure I even know how to be held."
"I trust you don't mean that you don't understand the mechanics," Charles said gently as he guided Logan's upper body over his chest and put Logan's head against his shoulder. Logan drew his legs up until his knees were curled up beside Charles's body and then tried to relax. It was very difficult for him.
"Will. . .you, please, tell Ro. . .and Hank what we found. . .in there," Logan asked hesitantly.
"Of course I will," Charles said gently, holding him tightly. He told Ro and Hank exactly what they had found. Ro's chocolate skin whitened and Hank's hands balled into fists.
"What on earth was wrong with that woman?" Ro demanded. "How could any mother treat a child like that?"
"I think she was a very sick woman, Ro," Charles said. "Probably psychotic. None of which helped the child understand what was happening to him. But he certainly learned early on how to take care of her. Which is probably why he's been taking care of everyone else ever since. Logan, look, I know this is hard for you, but you've got to do what you're so good at telling Remy to do: Cry it out. Cry until you can't cry any more." Logan nodded and allowed himself to sob deeply until he felt the beginnings of peacefulness. He relaxed in Charles's arms and let his arms go around him returning the embrace that held him.
"I think I want Ro, now," he said shakily. Charles nodded and Ro came over to the bed and took her lover into her arms. Hank helped the professor back into his hover chair.
"Logan," Charles said gently. "You know this isn't over, don't you?"
"Oh yeah," Logan said resignedly. "I think I probably need to get my butt back to my therapist."
"Your therapist???" Hank was aghast.
"I've seen this guy off and on for years, Hank," Logan said quietly. "We kinda got stuck with my lack of memories, but he's damn good."
"I think that might be an excellent plan," Charles said.
Hank shook his head. Logan truly never ceased to amaze him. Logan's tears were definitely starting to quiet as he lay in Ro's arms.
The com unit chimed. Hank answered it.
"Dinner is ready," Jean announced. "And if I don't get out of this kitchen with these two maniacs soon, I'm probably going to kill the both of them."
"What have they been doing, Jeannie?" Logan asked with a chuckle.
"Arguing nonstop about the correct sequence of words to the blasted Lumberjack song."
In the background they heard Remy say merrily "That's not an argument. It's just a contradiction."
"Is not," Bobby proclaimed.
"Is, too." Remy countered.
"Not. And your time is up. You only paid for the five minute argument."
"It wasn't an argument. It was just a contradiction."
"Sorry, I'm not allowed to argue anymore. If you want me to go on arguing you'll have to pay for another five minutes." Hank and Logan were laughing helplessly.
"See," Jean said with deep exasperation.
"Tell them to go down the hall to the room for abuse," Logan called out from the bed.
"Good plan. Thanks, Logan," Bobby yelled. They heard a resounding thwack and a yelp of pain from Bobby. "She hit me with the cutting board," he complained.
"I thought abuse sounded like a really good idea," Jean said grimly with a hint of a grin in her voice. "And don't, blast it, encourage them. Can you imagine what it would be like to be stuck in a kitchen for over an hour with John Cleese and Michael Palin wannabe's?"
Charles and Ororo looked deeply perplexed. Hank and Logan were laughing helplessly. "More Monty Python routines," Hank explained.
"Hey, Bobby, Remy," Logan called out. "It really was just a little tree." They heard both of them dissolve into gales of laughter.
"Thank you, Logan," Jean said acidly. "Now, they'll be even more useless. And if I hear one more syllable of that damn Lumberjack song, I'll go starkers."
Hank and Logan looked at one another with devilment lighting their eyes. Simultaneously they started singing,
"I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay, I sleep all night and I work all day. I cut down trees, I wear high heels, suspenders and a bra. I wish I was a girlie, just like my dear mama."
"Yaaaargghhhh," Jean groaned. "Is this a testosterone related disease? If this keeps up at dinner, I'll start throwing food. And we're having spaghetti. Could make quite a mess. Signing off."
Charles and Ro were laughing by that time. "What is this material?" Charles demanded.
"Monty Python," Hank said again. "Logan, are you up for dinner?
"If no one minds me wearing scrubs to the dinner table," he said, still chuckling as he pulled himself out of Ro's arms.
"Logan," Charles asked. "Are you really okay?"
"I'm fine, Charlie. Ego defenses armed and back in place. Fully fortified and definitely wanting to pretend none of this ever happened. Yigh, don't look at me like that. I just meant that I'd just as soon the four of us went on as if none of this ever happened. I didn't mean I'd stop dealin' with it."
"Good," Charles said grimly. "Or we'll move to plan b in which you do get yourself thoroughly whacked."
"Got it, boss," Logan said seriously.
"And what about Remy?" Charles asked. "Are you still up to the program in which he gets the next dose of his punishment after dinner sometime."
Logan sighed. "Yep, Chuck, I guess it has to happen. Though I really hate it now that the kid sounds somewhat back to normal again. I've really missed hearing Remy laugh. And if I give him the spanking he deserves for shooting up drugs, he's gonna be cryin' real hard and long. He's gonna go back to being deeply miserable."
"I don't like it either, Logan, but I still think it has to be done. Yes, he's laughing, but I doubt that he's really at peace with himself. I don't think he's going to achieve any real peace until he gets all the spankings he's earned. And maybe not even then." Charles sighed.
"You're right, as usual, boss," Logan sighed, too. "But let's finish dinner before I tell the child that we have an appointment in the study. Maybe he'll eat if he ain't thinkin' about it."
"Good plan," Charles said simply. "Let's go eat." He headed the hover chair out the door and Hank followed. Logan lingered for a moment and kissed Ro again.
"You and me okay with each other, darlin'?" he asked, his voice slightly trembling. She nodded.
"I think we have more to discuss when we get to my loft tonight, love, but I think we're fine," she said. "I'm not real happy with what you did today and I'm not happy at all that you didn't even tell me what you planned to do. If I'm going to be your partner, I think I deserve to know what you think you're doing. I might have been able to help you think it through a little more carefully." Logan nodded, not very happily.
"Remember what I said to you, dear one," Ro said quietly. "You help me with the hurting child in me and I help you with yours. I think you left me out. And I think we need to discuss why." Logan nodded again, even more unhappily.