Subject: Family Matters Chapter 25 (M/m?M,
humor, family setting)
Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 20:28:20 EST
Standard disclaimers. Characters belong to Marvel comics. If you are new to this series and interested, chapter 1-23 are on Laura's homepage at goodkitty.com/spanking/stories.
Thanks as always to Vashti, Hope and my ever patient beta readers and editors for their comments and copy editing.
Logan glared at the bulkhead for a moment, then closed his eyes and pretended to sleep. He was exhausted. His healing factor was used up and he knew it.
Bobby looked at Remy and shuddered. "Did he just say that we're both going over his knees as soon as we land?" he asked.
"Oui," Remy said. Tears sprang to his eyes. "Dammit, Bobby, you know damn fuckin' well dat we bo't in deep trouble."
Jean put a gentle hand on Bobby's shoulder. "Sweetie," she said, "you wanted to feel cared about. I think you're about to get more caring than you ever wanted."
Bobby gulped. "Jeannie," he said quietly. "Would you fucking, please, take that damn mellow music off and put on something Remy and I would like?"
Jean asked, "Would you guys mind if I played the rest of the tape Logan made for me?" Bobby shook his head.
Jean put her tape back in. She sat down next to Remy and Bobby with the tape box and started reading the names of the songs.
"What's dis one?" Remy asked.
"'For Your Love,' Yardbirds," Jean said quietly. "Then something by the Turtles called 'You Know What I Mean.' Then a bunch of Beatles, 'Eight Days a Week', 'Anytime at All', 'I'll Get You', and 'Things We Said Today'."
Remy's eyes got a far away look and he grinned suddenly.
"What, Remy?" Jean asked.
"Just a memory," Remy said, "from when I was little. Logan was making dinner an' playing Beatles in de kitchen. An' he was helpin' me choose Valentines for my kindergarten class." Remy grinned again. "I had Superman an' Batman valentines an' some Johnny Quest. An' Logan was alternately bitching about DC comics an' grabbin' de CD remote an' changin' songs. He kept barking out 'Oh, shut up, McCartney,' an' flipping t' de next song. He told me dat someone should've given Mark Chapman de plane fare t' Scotland." Remy started laughing. "I didn' have a clue what he was talkin' bout den."
"What was he talking about?" Bobby looked blank.
"Chapman's the guy who shot John Lennon," Jean explained as she started chuckling, herself. "And Paul McCartney lives in Scotland. What an awful thing to say." But she was still laughing as she asked, "What on earth was his problem with DC?"
"Somet'ing bout dem killing off Hal Jordan. He told me dat Green Lantern was de best character DC ever did. D'ough, he also liked de Metal Men."
Without opening his eyes, Logan quoted, "'In brightest day. In darkest night. No evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil's might, beware my power, Green Lantern's light.' I'll give anyone on this ship a 'get out of jail free card' if you can tell me who wrote that."
All three others shook their heads. "Alfred Bester, one of the best science fiction writers of the fifties. 'Demolished Man' and 'The Stars, My Destination.'" Logan made a motion with his hand that indicated that he wanted Remy to go on.
"An' he was bitching dat dere weren't any Lobo valentines in my box," Remy said, chuckling again. "So after dinner, he an' I went an' bought a bunch of Lobo comics an' cut dem up an' made Lobo valentines for every person in de mansion, d'ough he wouldn't let me take any t' school."
Remy burst out laughing again. "Scotty yelled at Logan dat he had no business buying me Lobo comics. Said dey were too violent. An' Logan told him dat: a. he edited dem when he read dem t' me. b. dat Grimm Fairy Tales were just as bloody violent an' c. what de hell did Scotty t'ink he, Logan, was, maybe a card-carrying, nonviolent, flower child? He told Scotty dat he needed surgery t' get de damn poker removed."
Bobby was laughing so hard that he almost fell out of his seat. Jean shook her head and chuckled ruefully. "Who on earth is Lobo?" she asked.
"He's a DC comic character who has not one redeeming virtue," Bobby explained. "Like he went into a snit one day, and killed everyone on his home planet."
"And he's still a nicer person than Wade Wilson," Logan murmured, still without opening his eyes.
"Oh, c'mon, Logan," Bobby protested as he laughed. "Deadpool isn't that bad." Logan snorted.
"Lobo also drinks a lot of beer and has a healing factor like Logan, or maybe even better," Bobby continued.
"Dere was one Lobo in which he got hacked t' pieces an' a complete Lobo regenerated from every drop of blood," Remy explained.
"Which was kinda a problem since they were all mean ornery bastards," Bobby added. "The real Lobo had to kill all the rest of them."
"Well, I can see why Logan enjoys him," Jean said mildly. "What happened with Scott and Logan?"
"Daddy intervened. Told Scotty dat Logan could read me anyt'ing he wanted. An' told both of dem t' calm down an' remember dat it was Logan who wouldn' let me see movies like 'Terminator' even when I wanted t'. Scotty calmed down. Logan 'pologized bout de poker remark. But I'm not sure he really meant it."
"Must be hard for you, Remy," Jean said gently. "Living with the same adults now who meant the world to you when you were little."
"Sometimes hard for me t' keep track of how old I am," Remy said lightly.
Bobby punched him softly on the arm. "Hey, amigo, we know how old you are," he said, grinning. "You're about 22 going on 5."
"Yes, Bobby," Jean interjected. "And you, old friend, are 27 going on 4."
Bobby glared at her and Remy grinned. "I t'ink you both prolly right," he said.
Logan snorted softly. He was drifting in and out of sleep as he leaned back with his eyes closed. The past two days had worn him out and his healing factor was exhausted by the horrible damage Sinister had done. And he really was tired of being the stern and implacable punisher of misbehaving young men.
"What else do you remember, Remy?" Jean asked.
"Lot of t'ings, Jeannie," Remy said. "But mostly only when somet'ing triggers dem like de Beatles songs." Jean nodded.
"I'll Get You" started to play. "Imagine I'm in love with you. It's easy cause I know. I've imagined I'm in love with you many, many, many times before. I'm not likely to pretend. But I'll get you. I'll get you in the end. . . I think about you night and day. I need you and it's true. When I think about you I can say, I'm never, never, never blue. . ." Jean got up suddenly.
"I think this side is almost over," she said, needing a moment to collect herself.
The song continued to play, "Well, there's gonna be a time when I'm gonna change your mind. So, you might as well resign yourself to me. Oh yeah."
"You know," Jean said quietly. "There's an incredible innocence to these old Beatles songs. I think that's half their power. And I think it's time to change tapes. Anything you guys want to hear?" She had read the song titles from the other side of the tape and wasn't sure she wanted to listen to any more of it until she could listen by herself. It was bringing up too many feelings.
"I wanna hear more of Logan's tapes," Remy said. Jean nodded and randomly picked up the first one her hand touched.
She read the title. "Early to mid-sixties with Buddy Holly and Billie Holiday?" she said. Remy nodded and Jean popped it in.
"Peggy Sue" started playing. "Yep," Jean said. "That's Buddy Holly."
Logan had fallen into a deep sleep and half an hour later was shaking and protesting. "No," he said. "NO. I won't." He woke, sweating. The tape was playing "It's My Life" by the Animals.
Jean was by his side. "Hon, you were having a nightmare," she said gently.
"Yeah," Logan took the cup of water she handed him and drank deeply.
"What was it about?" Jean asked. Logan shook his head.
"Don't want to talk about it," he said briefly. "How close are we to home?"
"Bout two minutes," Remy said as his stomach started to lurch with fear. And within two minutes Bobby was steering the blackbird into the hanger at home.
Logan rose to his feet. "Okay, kids," he said. "Your punishment's gonna start. Remy, come here. Now." Logan didn't look at all happy.
Remy gulped and moved. Logan took his arm, bent him over a seat, positioning him so that his bottom was up over the armrest. Remy's knees rested on the seat on one side of the armrest, and he balanced on his elbows on the seat on the other side. Logan took the Cajun's pants and underwear down to just below his bottom.
Remy gulped hard and tears welled in his eyes. "Logan, you promised t' always hold me. Don' do dis t' me." A sob escaped. He heard Logan sigh deeply and felt Logan put a hand on the back of his head, stroking his hair gently.
"I'm not gonna spank you yet, Rem," Logan said, his voice as stern as his hand was gentle. "You're gonna watch while I spank Bobby. With your bottom bare. You'll watch while I blister Bobby and think about the fact that you gave him the idea of shooting up heroin. I want you to imagine that every single blazing spank is coming down on your butt."
Bobby was frozen. This was his worst nightmare come true. Logan motioned to him to come to his side. Bobby shook his head. His feet felt rooted to the deck.
"Bobby," Logan said grimly. "Here. Now. Right now."
Bobby shook his head again, frantically. Logan sighed deeply, walked over to Bobby, took him by the arm, dragged him over to a seat in front of Remy, and pulled the young man over his knees. Logan pulled Bobby's pants and briefs down to the middle of his thighs.
Bobby thought briefly and frantically about arguing, pleading, or simply encasing Wolverine in ice and making run for it and decided that he had only a remote chance of even delaying the inevitable. He clenched his teeth and his buttocks which helped not one bit as Logan's very hard hand blazed into Bobby's bare behind. And landed again and again and again.
"I hate you," Bobby yelped out, biting his lip hard, determined not to cry.
"Why are you getting this spanking?" Logan asked.
Bobby shook, shuddered, and gasped. But he realized that this spanking would never stop until he answered. "I. . .ran. . .away.. . and shot up.. ." he gulped out.
"Yep," Logan said. "You wanted attention. And you're getting it. Is this what you wanted?" Ten more spanks followed relentlessly.
Remy almost couldn't bear to watch. He trembled as he watched Bobby's bottom getting redder and redder. As each spank landed, Remy did exactly as Logan had told him to do and imagined it was coming down on his own bottom. His stomach lurched with each resounding whack.
"NO," Bobby protested helplessly, still determined not to cry, though it was taking a fierce effort not to give in to the tears brimming in his eyes.
"Then what the hell did you want, Bobby?" Logan asked.
Bobby yelped, gasped, and suddenly without wanting to at all, started sobbing. "Every. . .one. . .loves Remy. . . and no one. . .loves me," he gulped out.
Remy put both hands over his face. "Bobby, dat's not true," he protested.
"Hush, Remy," Logan said sternly. "Don't say another word. This is between me and Bobby." Remy shut his mouth and held his breath. As soon as he breathed again, a sob escaped, and he started crying so hard that his stomach ached.
Logan turned his attention back to Bobby. "Well, congratulations, Bobby. You just succeeded in making Rem feel like shit. You happy, now?" Bobby's face burned with guilty shame.
"I'm s. . . sorry," he sobbed out. "Remy, I'm. . . sorry."
Logan paused for a moment. "Good, kiddo," he said gently. "At least you know who you most needed to apologize to." Then he smacked his hand down hard right in the middle of Bobby's bottom. Bobby yelped loudly and continued to yelp as Logan's hand blazed across his butt. He wiggled and squirmed and tried to jerk away. Logan held him firmly.
"You really believe no one loves you?" Logan asked. "You really think that you had to go out and endanger your own life to find out if we do?"
Bobby was sobbing so hard that he could hardly get words out. "My dad didn't love me," he gasped out. "And still doesn't."
"Maybe so. Maybe not. I have no clue, kiddo," Logan said with compassion as he continued to spank. "But did you really have to run off and shoot up smack just to find out if you're loved? Do you have any real doubt that Charlie loves you? Or Hank? Or Jean? Or Scott? Do you think I'd be wearing my arm out spanking you if I didn't? Do you think I would've asked you to go with me to get Remy if I didn't trust you and want your company?"
"I don' know," Bobby gulped out. "I'm. . .s. . .orry. . .but.. .I really don't know."
Logan sighed and landed five more fiery spanks. "I promise you, kiddo," he said quietly, "that before this day is over, you WILL know." He pulled Bobby up and held him tightly. "Go ahead, kid, and cry it out. But I promise you'll be crying more before this day is over."
Bobby sobbed hard against Logan's shoulder, grateful that Logan cared enough to hold him and try to comfort him. Logan waited for his sobs to subside, then jerked Bobby to his feet, and whacked his bottom over to a the row of seats next to the one Remy was on. "Lie down right here with your bottom over the arm rest. Just like Remy. And watch while Remy gets his bottom spanked."
Bobby did as he was told as Logan landed one more spank on his upturned, blazing bare butt. Bobby couldn't remember ever feeling more miserable, and he wanted to watch Remy's spanking about as much as he wanted a root canal.
Remy was shaking with sobs as Logan approached him. "Please. . ." he gasped as Logan dragged the young Cajun to his feet. Logan sat down and pulled Remy over his knees. "Please, don'.. . . Owwww."
"Tell me why you're getting spanked, kiddo," Logan demanded as his hand descended over and over.
"I ran away af'er everyone had tol' me not t'," Remy sobbed out.
Logan blinked. He'd almost forgotten that Remy was still owed a punishment for that particular offense. "What else?" he demanded.
Remy's bottom was burning. He was sobbing so hard he could barely choke the words out. "I shot. . . up. . .hard. . .d. . .drugs," he gulped out.
"And?" Logan asked.
"I. . .al . .mos'. . .killed. . .my. . .self," Remy wailed. "I'm. . .s. . .sorry. . .pl. . . please. . . s. . .stop."
"Kiddo, we're only getting started. You're gonna get spanked as long and hard as Bobby was," Logan said firmly and proceeded to do exactly as he had said.
By the time Logan finished, Remy was howling and protesting almost incoherently. Logan pulled the boy into his arms and held him until Remy's sobbing began to ease then he dragged the Cajun to his feet.
Remy put both of his hands to his bottom and rubbed gingerly as he hopped up and down trying to escape from the pain. Tears were streaming down his face.
Logan took Remy by the arm and put him face down back over the arm rest where he'd been before. "You stay right here until I tell you that you can move," he ordered, delivering one final hard spank as he had with Bobby. Remy yelped.
Logan sat down and glowered at the deck, sighing again. He was beyond tired of being the person responsible for spankings.
Bobby had almost managed to stop crying, though Remy's sobs were making his stomach churn.
Logan continued to stare down at the deck. "Jean?" he started, trying to keep his voice from trembling. "I told Remy that once his pants came down, they were going to stay down for the rest of the day. You think these two brats deserve to be marched off this jet with their pants down and spanked all the way to the house?"
Bobby gasped in horror and Remy yelped out an inarticulate protest.
"I don't know, Logan," Jean said hesitantly. "That seems awfully harsh."
"You don't think they deserve to be severely punished?" Logan asked wearily. He looked up at Jean and waited.
"It's your call, Logan," she said.
"You think you could manage to spank Bobby all the way while I take Remy?"
Jean nodded, reluctantly, and pulled the hairbrush out of her bag. She took Bobby by the arm and pulled him to his feet.
"Oh, fucking, NO, Jeannie." Bobby started to sob again.
Remy hadn't even begun to stop sobbing, but he was petrified. "Logan," he wailed in protest.
Neither of the two older adults listened. Bobby and Remy were marched right out of the blackbird with spanks landing on their bare bottoms each step of the way.
About three steps from the door to the hangar, Remy's knees started to buckle and he almost fell. "Logan, NO. . ." he was sobbing almost hysterically. Logan stopped and let Remy sink to his knees on the ground.
"Jeannie," he said quietly. "Stop. This is far enough. Take Bobby's pants back up." Logan knelt beside Remy and pulled his pants back up as gently as possible. Remy winced as the fabric slid roughly over his very tender rump, and a fresh torrent of tears poured from his eyes. Logan gathered Remy into his arms and the young Cajun sobbed into the older man's shoulder.
Jean stopped and did as Logan asked. Bobby shuddered with pain as his pants came up. He sank to his knees, too. Jean sat on the ground beside him and took Bobby into her arms. He was sobbing even harder than Remy.
Logan took a deep, shuddering breath, and held Remy tightly. "I just can't do it," he said as if to himself. He took another breath and said more clearly, "I know I promised that your pants would come down and stay down. Remy, and you, too, Bobby, both should know that I usually follow through on what I promise. But crossing the entire yard with your pants down is too fucking much and I know it. I wanna get both you boys calmed down and then we'll all go in the house. At that point, I'm gonna turn you both over to Charlie and let him decide what comes next. I'm too shaken up right now to keep this up."
Remy's sobs subsided almost completely and he put his arms all the way around Logan's chest. "I'm sorry, Logan," he almost whispered. "I don' wan' you t' feel bad. I know dat I deserve t' be punished. I prolly even deserve t' have t' go all de way t' house wit my pants down. I just don' t'ink I could take it." His voice trembled, but it was clear that he was, at least at that moment, more concerned about Logan than he was about himself.
Logan felt tears burning in his eyes and hastily blinked them back. "Thanks, kidlet," he said gently.
Jean was looking at Logan with concern. "Logan," she said sharply. His head snapped up and he looked back at her.
"Just how badly did Sinister hurt you, old friend?" she asked. "And how badly did you aggravate it by healing Rogue and going after Remy and staying up all damn night and chasing around after these guys?"
"Oh, hell, Jeannie," Logan looked away and took a deep breath. He contemplated lying but before he could speak, Remy broke in.
"He's hurtin', Jeannie," Remy volunteered. "An' he won' tell any damn one cause he's too damn stubborn."
Logan looked down at Remy with amused exasperation. "Catch me telling you my secrets again," he said with rough affection. "Brat." He tousled Remy's hair.
"So says the world oldest, willful, disobedient brat," Jean said lightly. "Dammit, Logan, once we get these boys up to the professor's study, you need to get your butt down to med lab."
"Oh, right," Logan grumbled. "Just what I fucking need is to have the bad-tempered blue Beast probably slam me up against a wall, yell at me till my ears hurt, and swat the hell out of me. That'll make me feel a whole lot better."
Jean grinned. "You think you might have it coming to you, sweetie?" she teased.
Logan grinned back at her. "I'm not admitting a thing. I plead the 5th."
He looked down at Remy. "Thanks, kiddo, for knowing when I need taking care of. You okay for now?"
Remy nodded and flowed to his feet, holding out a hand to help Logan up. Logan took it and rose groaning. He was tired, and aching all over.
Logan went over to Bobby, put his hand under Bobby's chin and raised the boy's face so that their eyes met. "You okay, Bobbo?" Logan asked with concern.
"My butt hurts like hell," Bobby admitted, looking up at Logan with tears still welling. "But I had it coming. And I'm sorry, too. I wasn't even thinking that you might be hurting and worn out. I guess I was asking for a lot from you. And you gave me what I was looking for. Which doesn't mean I much like it." He put his hand up and around Logan's and squeezed.
"I'll prolly think I'm crazy later for saying this," Bobby said reluctantly. "But thanks, Logan. I guess you do love me, don't you?" Bobby blushed and looked down.
Logan chuckled. "Said so, didn't I?" he remarked. "But don't expect me to take you on as a project, Bobby. I have my hands full right now." He looked over at Remy who flinched and glowered at him.
"I ever ask you t' take me on as your damn project?" Remy asked.
"Well, yeah, kiddo, I kinda 't'ink' you have," Logan said mildly.
Remy's mood had changed as mercurially as usual. A card seemingly jumped into his hand. He charged it and flung it about six inches in front of Logan's feet. Logan jumped back as the card exploded.
"Remy!" Jean expostulated.
"Any damn time you wanna give up on me, you go right ahead," Remy shot at Logan who collected himself, marched over to Remy, grabbed him by both shoulders, and shook him firmly, but carefully.
"I was teasing, you miserable brat," Logan said with exasperation. "As I said before, I'll give up on you when hell freezes over. Where the hell is this tantrum coming from? You know how damn bad I feel. You want me to feel worse?"
Remy gasped as Logan shook him, and then stared at his feet as Logan's words sank in. He flushed.
"Sorry, Logan," Remy said. "I know you feel rotten. I was just bein' a brat."
"You thought I was saying that you're too damn much trouble," Logan said. Remy nodded miserably. Logan went on, "Look at me, kiddo. Look at me now."
Logan took Remy's face in his hand and raised it. Remy looked at him with guilt and shame in his eyes. "You are too damn much trouble," Logan said. "And you're worth every minute of it. And I know you're scared of facing your Dad and trying to delay the inevitable. So, do me a favor, snap out of it, and help me get through the next few hours, myself, okay?"
Remy took a deep, shuddering breath and managed to achieve a shaky grin. "If I live t'rough de next few hours, I'll be dere for you, Logan," he said quietly. "I t'ink I owe you my life."
"Well, actually you do," Logan said judiciously. He cuffed Remy lightly on the side of the head. "Let's get in the house, kiddo, and meet our respective dooms. I'm not especially looking forward to how many folks are gonna be mad at me either." Remy nodded.
Bobby looked at Jean. He had finally managed to calm himself down completely and his sense of humor was returning slightly. "I think those two guys are either gonna save each other's minds or kill each other," he commented. "And I think they're both so nuts that I wouldn't take odds either way."
"And are you looking forward to facing either the professor or Hank?" Logan asked pointedly.
Bobby groaned. "Oh, yeah," he said. "I'm just burning with anticipation. And fucking damn sure that I'm gonna be burning with pain before they're through with me."
Jean laughed suddenly. "I think I might be the only person in our merry little band who's not dreading the return to the house."
"Really?" Bobby said wickedly. "Wait till I tell Scotty about you and Logan dancin' and flirtin' on the trip back." Jean flushed and started to respond.
"Tell me WHAT????" Scotty was standing in the doorway of the hangar. Jean shot a murderous glare at Bobby whose mouth fell open with dismay.
"Thank you, Bobby," Logan grumbled in a very low voice.
Scott stood completely still in the open door. "The professor sent me out here to find out what was taking you guys so long to come in the house," he said tightly.
Jean, Logan, and Bobby were all frozen. Remy tried to explain, "Bobby was just shootin' off his mouth," he started. "Dere was not'in' goin' on wit' Jeannie an' Logan. I mean, dey did dance a little an'. . ." His voice trailed off as Jean and Logan both shot him quelling looks.
"Scotty," Jean started. Scott raised his hand.
"I don't think I even want to hear about it," he said furiously. "Jean, you and I can talk later. I think we should all get into the house. Logan, Hank wants you in med lab." Scott turned and started marching toward the house, clearly expecting everyone else to follow immediately.
Logan contemplated his impending meeting with Hank. "I think I wanna be dead," he said to no one in particular.
Jean glared at Bobby who suddenly grinned irrepressibly. "Now, we're all in trouble," he commented insouciantly. Jean resisted an immediate urge to smack him and then gave in to impulse.
Bobby yelped and jumped about a foot into the air as an invisible, telekinetic paddle whapped him soundly on the butt. "Dammit, Jeannie," he sputtered. "That wasn't fair. I didn't mean for Scotty to hear me."
Remy's mouth dropped open for a second and then he started laughing helplessly. Logan was already chuckling as he caught Jean's eye. "You didn't," he laughed.
"I did," Jean said smugly, as she started to giggle herself.
Scott whirled and glared at all of them. "I'm not really sure exactly what you all find so funny. I have not one clue what, if anything, about this situation could be considered amusing. . ."
"Scotty," Logan was laughing so hard that he was almost leaning on Remy to stand. "I'm not sure you could find your sense of humor with both hands and a flashlight."
"I think," Bobby interjected, starting to laugh, himself, "the expression is that you don't think he could find his own ass with both hands and a flashlight."
"Well, hell," Logan sputtered helplessly. "We're not in the middle of an 'X-Files' episode. Why would any of us need flashlights?"
That did it for Remy. He fell to his knees, laughing so hard that his stomach hurt. Logan who had been leaning against him almost toppled over, still laughing, himself.
Jean simply stopped and put her head against Bobby's shoulder, trying to stifle her giggles. "An 'X-Files' episode," she choked out. "Mulder and Scully versus the mutants from Salem."
Bobby choked out, "Y'know, I've never fucking understood why they never turn on the lights when they go in a dark house."
"Dey have t' use de flashlights," Remy choked out.
Scott was simply glaring at all of them, waiting for the hilarity to subside. Jean caught a look at his expression and quickly stopped laughing. "I'm sorry, Scotty," she said, still shaking slightly with suppressed giggling. "We've all been a little stressed."
"A 'little' stressed?????" Bobby shrieked with gales of laughter. "Kinda like a whale is a 'little' mammal?" Jean started laughing again, helplessly.
"It was just a 'little' tree." Remy started banging his head against his knees to try to stop laughing.
Logan simply sat down, legs crossed, put his face in both hands and laughed till tears were running down his face. "A. . pine tree. Pining for the fiords," he gasped out, setting all of them off into more gales of laughter. "And Mulder is in the fjords. . .with a fucking. . .flashlight. . .looking for the Loch Ness. . .monster. . .cause he got lost."
"An' de aliens are filling de fjords with black oil to kill de fuckin' parrot," Remy gasped out.
"Which is not dead yet," Bobby intoned. "It's just resting."
Scott had stopped glaring and was simply staring at all of them as if they had lost their minds.
"This parrot is no more. . ." Logan gasped out. "It has ceased to be.. .this is a late parrot. . .If you hadn't nailed it to the perch, it'd be pushing up daisies. . . this is an ex-parrot."
"An alien parrot," Bobby added.
"A mutant parrot," Jean contributed.
"A mutant, lumberjack parrot," Remy put in.
"With a flashlight," Logan said, breathlessly.
"Stop. It. Right. Now." Scott ordered in tones of pure fury and absolute command. "All of you!"
Logan took a couple of deep breaths and managed to stop laughing. He looked up at Scotty with tears of laughter still in his eyes and said, "Scotty, we're being very silly because it has really been a rough last few days. We're just decompressing."
Scott took a deep breath and seemed to be silently counting to ten. "Remy almost killed himself," he said grimly. "Logan, you almost died. And Bobby ran off and decided to emulate Remy as the world's most irresponsible brat by shooting up drugs himself. And now I find out that you and MY WIFE decided to cope with all this by dancing your way back to the mansion. I can't begin to tell you how much all of it amuses the hell out of me." All of the others stopped laughing immediately.
"Oh, hell, Commander Summers," Logan grumbled, as he rose to his feet and held out a hand to help Remy up, "we've all been stressed to the max as you just so fucking succinctly pointed out. And, 'YOUR WIFE' and I were simply decompressing. And all of us needed a laugh, fucking bad. Do you practice being a wet blanket or does it just come naturally to you?"
Jean gasped. "Logan!" she demanded, "stop it right now!"
"For you, Jeannie, anything," Logan said. Jean continued to look at him, imploringly. He shrugged, then looked at Scott and added reluctantly, "Sorry, Scotty. I was out of line."
Scott took another deep breath and glared at all of them. "Do you think we could proceed to get into the house, now?" he demanded. "I think the professor would like to 'speak' to Remy and Bobby. I think you need to get your butt to med lab, Logan. And I would very much like to speak to my wife."
Bobby's face went white as he thought about facing the professor. Remy's eyes went bleak as he contemplated what his father might have to say to him. Jean looked at Scott with exasperated impatience, and Logan simply glared right back.
"Yes, sir," Logan spat out. "I gather my apology has not been accepted." He put his hand on Remy's back and started guiding the Cajun into the house.
Scott didn't bother to answer. As soon as he was sure that all the rest were following, he turned and headed back toward the mansion. Jean hurried to catch up with him and started speaking to her husband in low tones.
Bobby fell into step beside Logan and Remy. "Who died and appointed him God?" he asked in a very quiet voice.
"I dunno, Bobby," Logan said just as quietly, but with profound irritation in his voice. "Maybe Captain America gave him his shield. And, hush. We're all in enough trouble as it is."
"I not sure dat I can cope wit how much trouble I'm in," Remy said shakily.
Logan groaned, then tried to collect himself. "Hell, kids, if worst comes to worst, we can always send a petition to Amnesty International to come save our collective butts from torture," he said as lightly as he could.
A surprised giggle burst out of Bobby, and Remy grinned.
Logan shook his head and realized he was so shaky that he could barely manage the walk to the mansion. "Rem," he said, "give me your arm to lean on. I'm close to falling down."
Remy's eyes widened with alarm and he caught Logan as the older man started to sag. Bobby's mouth dropped open and he caught Logan from the other side. Between the two of them, they could barely keep Logan's massive weight from falling.
"Scotty!" Bobby yelled urgently as he and Remy tried to prop Logan up.
Logan shook his head and tried to will his healing factor to kick in and rescue him from passing out. His ears started roaring and the entire world seemed to fade away from him. He faintly heard Remy saying, "Logan, you gotta be okay. . ."
* * *
Logan smelled the antiseptic air of med lab and heard machines beeping and humming. He groaned and opened his eyes. Hank was standing over him, and Logan was relieved to see that Hank's eyes were simply full of worried concern.
"Hi, Hank," he said.
"How do you feel?" Hank asked. It was obvious from his tone of voice that he intended the question to be purely medical.
"I ache all over," Logan said honestly. "And I feel weak and tired as hell and I don't like it. Hank, how's Ro?" Logan noted that he still had his jeans and shirt on, though his boots seemed to be gone. He guessed he hadn't been there long.
"She's getting stronger, but she's sleeping now. I gave her a sedative and promised I'd wake her when you got here, and I will, after you and I talk."
Logan nodded and swallowed hard. He was not looking forward to the "talk" he imagined Hank had in mind.
Logan, Hank, the professor's voice was in both their heads. Remy's frantically worried about you, Logan, and I need his full attention. I've offered to monitor your situation, Logan, but I need your permission.
Oh, hell, Charlie, Logan sent back with a groan of exasperation.
Logan, Remy is essentially threatening to blow up my entire study regardless of consequences if I don't make sure you're taken care of. There was a hint of amusement in Charles's mental voice. I've told him that Hank is more than capable of taking care of you, but he wants me to observe.
Okay, okay. Tell the brat to lighten up, will you? Logan grumbled his assent.
Thank you, Logan, Charles sent back. He withdrew his active presence.
Logan looked at Hank. "Okay, whadda ya wanna talk about?" He sighed, deeply.
"How do you feel, old friend?" Hank asked again, the question no longer medical.
"Kinda scared, actually," Logan said with as much honesty as when he had answered before. It was hard as hell for him, but he gritted his teeth and asked the question that was eating at him. "You mad at me, Hank?"
Hank looked at him carefully. Logan held his breath, waiting for an answer. Hank exploded. "I'm furious with you, Logan," he said irately. "Sinister came close to killing you. I had to jolt your heart back to working and then you first risked your life to revive Rogue and then took off to rescue Remy."
Logan shut his eyes for a moment. "Hank, Rogue might have died it I hadn't transferred my healing factor to her," he said.
"And you just couldn't wait to find out if medicine could save her?" Hank asked furiously. "You just had to be the hero, in charge of saving everyone. You just had to risk your own life without even knowing whether it was necessary. Do you really think I would have let Rogue die if the only way to save her was to use your healing factor? But, please, don't assume anyone but you knows what they might be doing. Only God knows more than you do, Logan. You're the ultimate authority on every damn thing. No one has a clue but you."
Logan's stomach sank to his knees.
"And then you just had to go save Remy," Hank said. "Why in hell did you assume that Jean couldn't get there in time?"
"I knew where he was," Logan said. "I'd been there."
"Oh, really?" Hank said. "I don't suppose it occurred to you to send that information to Jean telepathically. Oh, no. You just had to be the hero on the spot saving your 'kid.' And earning all the glory and credit."
Logan's stomach sank to his feet. He retched miserably and Hank produced a steel bowl for him to vomit into. Logan waved it away and controlled his gag reflex. "Go on," he said bleakly. "I know I deserve it."
"And then, you fucking knew that you were worn out and that your healing factor was bloody exhausted, but you just had to stay up all damn night taking care of Remy and then taking care of Bobby and taking care of everyone, but your own damn self."
"Goddammit, Hank," Logan spat out. "So, I fucked up and I know the palm of your damn hand is just itching to swat the hell out of me, isn't it? So, if you're gonna do it, fucking do it. I'm tired of waiting for it." Logan rolled over to his stomach and put the pillow over his head. He heard Hank's arm rise into the air and gritted his teeth. Hank's hand slammed down on the seat of Logan's jeans with so much force that the bed rocked. Logan winced and felt tears well in his eyes. And before he could catch his breath, Hank's hand slammed down again.
Logan rolled back over to his back. "Stop it," he demanded. "Just fucking stop it!" Tears swam in his eyes and he held his breath.
Hank took a deep breath. "Go ahead and cry, Logan," he said firmly. "Stop trying to be iron man and go ahead and fall apart."
Logan stared at him for a moment, tears still welling. "I don't fucking fall apart on command, damn it, Hank. And I'm not sure I need to."
"Then why in hell do you have tears in your eyes, Logan?" Hank asked furiously. "You expect me to believe for a damn minute it's because I whacked you twice?"
"You know damn fucking well why I have tears in my eyes," Logan said irritably.
"Tell me," Hank suggested, pulling up a chair, sitting down, and folding his arms over his chest.
Logan grabbed the steel bowl Hank had offered him and threw it at the wall so hard that it bounced back, straight towards Logan's head. Hank caught it in the air and put it back down on the table next to Logan's bed.
"Well, that was expressive," Hank commented. "But I'm not exactly clear what you meant to express."
"Fuck you, Hank," Logan grumbled, glaring down at the bed. A tear ran down his face and his breath caught.
"I never knew tantrums were contagious, Logan," Hank said. "And would have thought you'd be immune."
"Oh, hell, Hank," Logan said ruefully. "I've been having tantrums for years."
"Oh, really?" Hank said. "I assume they were just cleverly disguised as absolutely terrifying berserker rages." Hank sat, arms crossed, and continued to stare at Wolverine.
Logan glared furiously at Hank, with tears still glistening in his eyes.
"Why don't you just stop being so damn stubborn and tell me why you're so upset?" Hank suggested mildly.
"Because every damn word you said to me is fucking true and I know it," Logan said, his breath catching again. "I just had to save Rogue, just 'cause I knew I could. I just had to be the one to save Remy. And I have fucking worn myself out to the point that I fucking passed out on the way into the damn house. And that's just stupid and hardly a fucking good example for Rem." Two more tears spilled.
"And you almost lost Remy," Hank said gently.
"Oh. . .hell. . .Hank," Logan spat out, as his breath caught again, and his eyes flooded. "Yes, and because I almost lost Remy. I was fucking scared out of my wits that he was gonna die."
"And that's the reason you just had to be the one to go after him," Hank said. "You were too damned scared to just stay put. Who drove the damn bike, you or Bobby?"
Logan groaned and put his hands over his face. "You know damn well I drove my bike, Hank." He knew where this was going.
"And if you'd passed out on the bike like you did today? You might have lived even with your healing factor stressed to the max, but as fast as you were going, do you think Bobby would've survived?"
"I wouldn't have passed out," Logan protested. "If I'd felt shaky, I would've pulled over and let Bobby drive."
Hank reached out a long, heavily muscled blue arm and cuffed Logan on the side of the head, almost knocking him out of the bed. "Don't lie to me, Logan," he said calmly.
Logan resisted an almost overwhelming urge to snap out his claws and take Hank's head right off his shoulders. He took a deep shuddering breath, and then another and felt more tears welling in his eyes.
"Do you fucking know how many people I'd let do that to me?" he asked shakily.
"About the same number that you'd allow to smack you on the butt when you need it," Hank said.
"All right, all right," Logan spat out. "I would've driven the bike no matter what. But I wasn't gonna pass out. I wouldn't have. I had to get to Remy."
"And wouldn't Remy have just been delighted if you had passed out, wrecked your bike, killed or crippled Bobby, and all just to save him?"
"Dammit, Hank," Logan growled, as tears continued welling and running down his face. "Remy wouldn't have ever known. He would've died. Jeannie got there minutes after I did. He would've been without oxygen for too long."
"You don't know that," Hank said firmly. "How many minutes, Logan?"
Logan put his face back in his hands. "Bout two or three or maybe even four," he mumbled. "And don't even say it, Hank. Don't even start. I know it might not have made a fucking difference."
Hank nodded. "So, you risked your life and Bobby's life to rush off and do a job that someone else was already doing. Smart, Logan. Tell me, you think anyone on this planet is competent to do anything except you?"
Logan groaned again and his breath caught in the middle of the groan. "Okay, Hank. Okay, I fucked up. I totally fucked up." He picked up the steel bowl again, aimed it at the wall, and then simply glared at it. He dropped it on the bed, put his hands over his face and a sob escaped. Then another. "You think maybe I. . .haven't been beating myself up about. . it. . .every damn minute. . .ever since. . .I did it?"
"I think no one beats you up as badly as you do, Logan," Hank said quietly. "I think you feel idiotically and overly responsible for every damn thing around you. And you don't trust anyone to take care of anything but you. You wear yourself out, beat yourself up, drag yourself back to your feet, and go at it again. Constantly trying to the best there is at what you do. Which is just about everything. And never being happy or satisfied with who you are or what you do."
"Okay. . .okay. . ." Logan choked out, his entire chest hurting from the effort it was taking not to release the sobs that were fighting to get out. "I already. . .told you. . . I'm a fuck-up. I've always been a fuck-up. I never get it right." He gave up and started sobbing, with deep wracking sobs that shook his entire body.
Hank flowed to his feet, went to the bed, grabbed Logan under the arms, picked up the more than 200 pounds of him effortlessly, sat on the bed, and gathered the other man into his strong blue arms. Logan struggled futilely for about two seconds, then put his face into Hank's chest, and continued sobbing.
"I wanted you to say it out loud," Hank said gently. "I wanted you to admit what goes on in your head. And you're not a 'fuck-up,' my friend. You're not even close to being a 'fuck-up.' I swear, Logan, sometimes I think you need to be taken care of and spanked, when needed, almost more than Remy. But you're way past the point at which that would help a damn. Too old, too damn cynical, and way too used to being harder on yourself than anyone else could be."
Logan listened. The pain in his chest and around his heart eased slightly. His sobbing grew less ragged and settled into a steady rhythm of deep release.
"Logan," Hank continued, "you did fuck up. You fucked up badly. Which doesn't change the fact that you still did what was right. I know that makes no sense, but it's right that Remy needed you to be the one to save him. He needed you to be the first face he saw when he regained consciousness. You fucked up because you love too much and too deeply. Because you're too damn determined to do what's right and what's honorable and to hell with the price you pay. You take care of everyone, but you don't know how to take care of yourself or let anyone take care of you. And I'm going to make you let me take care of you if I have to beat your head in to make you relax and accept it."
Logan sobbed convulsively and simultaneously laughed. "I don'. . . 't'ink'. . .that it would do. . .much good to. . .beat my head. . .in," he gulped out.
Hank chuckled and hugged Logan closely. "I don't have to," he said. "If I give you the space and time, you'll go ahead and beat your own head in for me."
Logan continued laughing and crying at the same time. "Oh, fuck, Hank, you. . . have any. . .fucking idea. . .how often and how much I beat my own head in?"
"Yeah," Hank said. "That's the whole problem. You beat yourself senseless. And it's absurd. Logan, you fucking idiot, you've not one clue what a decent person you are. Nor do you seem to have any idea of how much you're loved. But, oh, I forgot, you seem to think not one soul will love you unless you take care of everyone all the damn time. Who gets the privilege of taking care of you?"
"I guess. . .right now. . .you do," Logan admitted.
Hank sighed deeply. "And you know what? I like taking care of you. Makes me feel good. Do you happen to feel good when you take care of Remy? Or Jubilee? Or Kitty?" Logan nodded, unable to speak.
Hank shook Logan gently and then gathered him back into a hug. "Well, does it ever occur to you that it might make others feel good to take care of you?"
Logan shook his head. "Why in hell would anyone ever want to take care of me?" he asked helplessly. He started shuddering with sobs that shook his entire being. "Goddam it, Hank. Why would anyone want to take care of me? I'm not just a mutant. I'm a fucking monster. I'm a damn killing machine. That's all I am, a fucking monster and killing machine. I'm not even close to being worthwhile." Logan pushed himself out of Hank's arms and curled up in a ball of agony.
Hank took a deep breath, raised his hand, and smacked it furiously down on Logan's butt with all the strength of his massive right arm. Logan spasmed as every muscle in his body went tense.
"Fuckin' hell, Hank," Logan spat out. "That HURT."
"I meant it to," Hank said calmly as he grabbed Logan by both shoulders and raised him so that they were staring into each other's eyes. Logan's still welled with tears and were full of despair, hurt, and frustration. His breath caught and his eyes overflowed.
"I meant to hurt your butt and get your attention, Logan," Hank said patiently and very gently. "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings." Logan shook his head and opened his mouth. Hank cut him off. "And don't you dare tell me that I didn't."
"Wasn' gonna tell you any damn thing," Logan mumbled as his breath caught again. He swiped at his eyes with his sleeve but tears continued overflowing. Hank resisted an impulse to chuckle. He took his right hand off Logan's shoulder and raised it slightly, palm open and ready to strike.
"Didn't I say something earlier about you lying to me?" Hank asked.
"Don't fucking care," Logan said as his breath caught again. Hank shook his head and pulled Logan toward him as he raised his right hand. Logan shut his eyes, clenched his teeth, and made not one sound as Hank dragged him to his knees and smacked his butt again with furious strength. But he started to shake with the effort it was taking not to sob.
"You wanted me to do that," Hank said.
Logan nodded, eyes still closed, though tears were spilling out.
Hank sighed deeply, pulled Logan back into his arms, and held him. Logan didn't offer any resistance. "I warn you right now that if you pull yourself out my arms again, I'll whack your bottom even harder," Hank said. "Don't even think about it." Logan put his face into Hank's shoulder and let his breath go ragged.
"Where the hell did all that come from, Logan?" Hank demanded. "All that nonsense about being a monster and not worthwhile?"
"I dunno," Logan mumbled, still shaking. "Don' wanna know. Don' wanna talk 'bout it."
"Logan," Hank said with semi-amused exasperation, "talk to me. I want to know where that came from."
"Don' fuckin' wanna talk about it," Logan muttered crankily. "Wanna bury it deep an' never think about it again."
"Logan," Hank said with profound aggravation. "I don't want to swat you again. With your healing factor as exhausted as it is right now, your butt must be black and blue. But if you don't talk to me. . ." He raised his right hand high.
Logan took a deep, shuddering breath and shook his head stubbornly. Hank sighed again and brought his hand down hard and fast. Logan winced as Hank's hand connected resoundingly against his very sore butt. His breathing went even more ragged and he relaxed, starting to sob again.
"Damn that hurt. . . I have to tell you while I'm. . .still this upset. . .or I'll never get it out. . ." Logan gulped out. "I've had more memories come up. They came outta nowhere. . . and they ain't pretty. . ."
"Go on," Hank said simply.
"When I had to leave my. . .m. . .mother. . .I wandered," Logan went on. "I was just a little kid. . .but I was strong and. . .I found families. . .to take me. . .in. . . I was willing to work and help out. . .I can sorta remember some of those people." Logan's sobbing subsided as he got caught up in telling the story. "But it never lasted long. I just didn't have enough control and somehow they'd always find out that I was some kind of freak and if they were nice, they'd tell me to move on. If they weren't. . .well, I guess, it's a good thing my healing factor kicked in when I was really young. . ." Logan shuddered.
Hank's heart hurt and he held Logan even more closely. "Damn them all," Hank said angrily. He remembered his own safe, secure, and happy childhood and wished he could wrap it up and give it to Logan, and to Remy, and to Bobby.
"And Hank, you gotta keep in mind that these memories are just in snatches. There's no clear sequence of events. Just a bunch of families who let me stay a little while. . .Except for Maria. . ." Logan's breath caught on a sob. "Maria was a widow with two little kids. I don't know how old I was when she took me in, maybe 10 or 11. I'd learned some control by then and it was probably almost a year before she figured out that I wasn't really normal. And she kept me anyway."
"Go on," Hank said gently.
"She told me that whatever I was, it was what God intended me to be and that she thought there was a purpose to it. Told me that she thought I had a good heart, that I had helped her unselfishly. . ." Logan snorted. "Hell, there was nothing fucking unselfish about it. I needed a roof over my head and food in my guts. I was willing to work for it. I was willing to take care of Maria and her kids as best I could as long as she gave me a place to be. It was all selfish. Hell, she let me go to school." Logan's voice was bitterly angry and frustrated.
"Logan, that wasn't selfish. That was self-preservation. . ." Hank started.
"No, Hank." Logan's voice was grim. "It never damn occurred to me that I could be putting her and her kids at risk. I was too fucking stupid to think of that."
"Logan!" Hank broke in. "You were a child."
"Doesn't matter," Logan said stubbornly. "Let me go on, Hank, or I'll never get this out." Hank nodded and Logan continued. "We. . .she. . .lived in a small, farming community. Hell, I can't remember the details. I'm not sure what happened. I just remember there were some bad guys, hell, doesn't that just sound like a kid's memory, fucking bad guys. And I had to help fight them. I used my claws. They 'killed' me, hell, I don't know how many times, and I came back. Everyone knew about me, then, and they wanted me gone. I was a monster with claws who couldn't be killed. I was Satan-spawn."
"Maria fought them. She wanted to keep me. She argued. She took a stand. And like an idiot, like a child. . ."
"Logan! You were a child," Hank interrupted.
"Must have been 15 by then, Hank," Logan said. "I should've known better."
"You were still a child, Logan," Hank said firmly.
Logan shook his head stubbornly. "Doesn't matter. I let her talk me into staying. They came in the night and torched her house. I think they wanted to burn the fucking 'werewolf' to death and didn't care who else got hurt." Logan's voice was factual at this point as if he were making a news report. "I got out. I got her and the little ones out. Didn't matter. Too much smoke inhalation, I guess. I don' know. They all died."
Hank's heart sank and he held Logan tightly.
Logan's whole body was tense. "I went nuts, Hank," he stated. "I terrorized that fucking town. I burned a dozen houses. I didn't kill any kids. I knew which houses had kids in them. I'd get the families out before I burned them down. But I know I must have killed some of the men who'd done it and maybe some women. I don't even fucking know." His breath went ragged again and tears started soaking Hank's blue fur.
"They got smarter and hurt me bad a couple of times," Logan gulped out. "And I gave up and ran away again and this time, I joined the army. I was short, but I already had a beard and I could pass for what they wanted. And all the army wanted was a killing machine. Which is all I was for years after that. It's what one of my sergeants told me. . .that I was a perfect killing machine, but never to think I could ever be a decent human. . . So, I learned to just be a killing machine and never, never, never care again. . . And there aren't many memories after that until Weapon X and being teamed with Maverick and Sabretooth."
Hank's stomach sank. He clasped Logan into his arms very tightly and stroked his back. "Logan," he said gently. "You're an utter failure at 'not caring.' You care more deeply and more successfully than most. Except when it comes to caring about yourself. And, damn, but I can begin to see how deeply it's ingrained in you to take care of others just to earn your right to exist."
Logan sobbed convulsively. "NO," he protested. "Hank, I'm telling you I'm a fucking monster. I fucking got Maria and her kids killed. It was my fault."
"Did you light the match, Logan?" Hank demanded sternly. Logan shook his head, miserably. "Then it was not your fault. You were a victim, kiddo, an innocent victim of human fear and prejudice."
"Don't call me 'kiddo,'" Logan protested. "I'm not a kid. I've never been a kid."
"Oh, Logan," Hank said, softly, "you were never allowed to be a child. You always had to not only take care of yourself, but to also take care of everyone else. I'll fucking call you 'kiddo' whenever I think you need to be reminded that there's a very hurt and lonely child inside of you." Logan's breath caught and caught again. He shook his head, fighting it, and then started sobbing again.
Hank continued to speak gently, but firmly. "You were a child when Maria took you in, a very hurt and needy child. And, you had every reason to be enraged and out of your mind when she and her children were murdered. I'm not saying it was right that you took justice into your own hands, but it's damn understandable."
"You understand it?" Logan gulped out, still shaking with heartrending sobs. "Hank, I. . .fucking. . .terrorized. . .a whole community. . ."
"A community of bigots and witch hunters," Hank said solidly. "Logan, nothing you've told me changes the fact that I think you're a good and decent person nor changes the fact that I love you and this family loves you."
"I wouldn't bet on Chuck being so accepting and forgiving of me slaughtering innocent humans just because they killed. . .the only. . .family. . .I. . .ever had," Logan gulped out, still sobbing.
"Innocent?" Hank protested with bewilderment.
I'll take that bet, Logan, the professor's voice sounded in both their minds. Logan's entire body went rigid.
Charlie? Oh hell, I fucking forgot you were in this discussion, Logan sent back shakily.
Listen, old friend, I care about you as much as I always have. Charles communicated. Your memories simply worry the hell out of me. You've been hurt deeply. Logan, you're part of my heart, part of my family and, to be honest, none of us could go on happily without you. Let go of the guilt and shame. Let Hank take care of you and assume he speaks for me.
Got it, Logan sent back. How is my favorite brat? He heard the professor almost chuckle inside his head.
He'll live, Charles responded, but he won't be sitting comfortably any time soon.
Don't think I will be either, Logan returned honestly. His butt was throbbing.
I think Remy knows that, Charles said lightly. Then his mental voice got serious. I love you, Logan. You need me to come down to med lab and convince you?
Logan tried to bury his head in Hank's shoulder, shaking it frantically.
Sir, Hank sent, Logan is about to blow all his circuits and go into meltdown. If you came down here, he might just implode, vanish, and cease to exist.
Logan burst out laughing and then started sobbing so hard that his stomach hurt.
Take good care of him, Hank, the professor ordered. We need him.
"It is an ex-parrot," Logan choked out as he continued to bury his face in the blue fur of Hank's strong shoulder. "It has ceased to exist."
Hank just held on tight as Logan sobbed. "It was pining for the fjords," he murmured back.
"And it was just a 'little tree,'" Logan sobbed and laughed concurrently.
Hank rolled his eyes. "I swear before God and the heavenly choir, that if I hear one more word about that damn 'little tree,' I'll implode, vanish, and cease to exist."
"Hank, if you ceased to exist any time soon, I think it's possible that I could get lost," Logan said shakily and very honestly.
"Logan," Hank said with a voice of steel. "You have never lost yourself. And you never will. You're the rock of Gibraltar. You prevail and survive when all others fail. And I love you. Even if you are exasperating, difficult, and annoying. Now, would you, please, just cry yourself out and calm down?"
"Am I wearing you out?" Logan asked.
Hank shook him gently. "NO!" he said. "I was thinking about you, not me, you blasted, elderly brat. Take all the time you need."
Logan nodded and sobbed until he ran out of tears and felt at peace. He pulled himself out of Hank's arms. "Thanks, Hank," he said quietly.
"No problem, Logan," Hank said. "And, at this point, 'kiddo,' you need to get some rest."
Logan closed his eyes for a moment and then nodded. "I'm worn out, Hank," he said. "But, I wanna see Ro. And to be honest, I'm not sleepy, just tired as hell."
"You're probably jet-lagged, Logan," Hank said.
"What time is it here, anyway?" Logan asked.
"Close to midnight. And you need to sleep. I could give you a sedative. Wake both you and Ro up in the morning."
"I wanna see her before I crash," Logan said.
"No problem, Logan," Hank said. He rose, helped Logan to his feet, and guided Wolverine to the room where Storm was sleeping. Logan went to her bed, looked down at her, and lightly touched his fingertips to her much loved face.
"I promised to wake her, Logan" Hank said.
Logan wasn't sure he could handle another intense emotional encounter that night, but he took a deep breath and nodded. "If you promised, you gotta. And I do wanna hold her. . .and be held. I'll do it."
"I'll give you some time alone," Hank said stepping to the door.
Logan put his hand on Storm's shoulder. "Ro," he said gently. Her eyes opened immediately and she reached out for him wordlessly. He pulled her into his arms and held her close.
"Thank the goddess you're finally home," Ro said sleepily. "Is Remy okay? And Bobby/"
"Don't think either one of them'll be sitting comfortably any time soon, but they'll live," Logan informed her.
"And you?" Ro leaned back from his embrace and looked searchingly into his face. Her eyes widened slightly and she put a hand up to his cheek. "You've been crying, Logan."
Logan sighed. "Yeah," he admitted. "I don't suppose you'd be willing to let me tell you about it after we both get some sleep?"
Ro shook her head. "I don't think I'd sleep well or happily unless I know what's going on with you."
Logan sighed again and gathered Storm back into his arms as he laid down beside her on the bed and told her what had transpired between him and Hank. Ro listened carefully. When he finished, she took a deep breath, pulled herself out of his arms, and looked at him intently.
"I know that memory isn't happy, my love," she said quietly, "but, I think what Hank had to say to you about your behavior was really set you off, wasn't it? You know you were way out of line."
Logan nodded, feeling his eyes start to burn again with stinging tears. "Dammit, Ro," he said, "if you're gonna jump on me, too, I don't think I can handle it. Not tonight." He glared down at the bed.
Ororo put one hand on each side of his face and turned it up towards her's. "No, love," she said. "I think Hank did a fine job of giving you hell. I don't think I need to add to it. Not tonight and probably not even tomorrow. But I do want you to promise to call your analyst. As soon as possible. I think you need some help."
"I think you may be right," Logan said. "I promise." He put his arms back around the windrider and held her tightly. "I love you."
"I love you, too, dearest," Ro's eyelids were drooping. "We need to talk in the morning."
"Yeah," Logan said. He held her as she fell back into sleep, then rose and went to the door.
Hank was waiting patiently in the hall, leaning against the wall in a comfortable crouch, reading a journal. He rose as Logan appeared.
"Time to get you into a bed," Hank announced.
"Oh, hell, Hank, can't I just go crash in my own room?" Logan demanded.
Hank simply looked at him. Logan rolled his eyes and capitulated, following Hank to a room in med lab.
"I think I promised you a sedative," Hank said quietly.
"I don't need a fucking. . ." Logan started to protest. Hank looked at him again with slightly less patience in his eyes. Logan groaned. "Oh, fuck it. Okay."
Hank pulled out a hypodermic as Logan sat down, wincing as his aching butt touched the bed. "Lower your jeans, Logan," Hank said.
Logan glared at him. "Hell, Hank, put it in my arm."
"No," Hank said. "I wanna see what condition your butt is in."
Logan rolled his eyes, unzipped his jeans, and pulled them half way down his bottom, very carefully.
"I think," Hank said, "that you had better pray your healing factor gets resuscitated very soon. Jesus, Logan, it looks as if you took turns sitting in buckets of red, purple, blue, and black ink."
"Great, I have a tie-died butt, " Logan grumbled. "And it feels fucking bruised as hell. Go ahead and stick me, Hank. Now."
Hank injected him and Logan jerked his jeans back up. "You planning to sleep in those?" Hank asked mildly.
"Got a better idea?" Logan demanded. Hank went to a cupboard and threw Logan scrubs.
"They're soft and comfortable," Hank pointed out. "Change and crash, okay?"
"I need a bottle of bourbon," Logan grumbled. Hank glared at him, and Logan grinned. "And something to read. Really, Hank. I NEED something to read."
"What do you want?" Hank asked patiently.
Logan thought. "Anything by Heinlein," he said after a moment. "One of the juveniles, 'Citizen of the Galaxy' sounds about right."
Hank started laughing and Logan looked at him quizzically. "Right, Logan," Hank said. "You need a book about a lost, abandoned and enslaved child. Whose adoptive parent gets killed while he's still a kid."
"Oh, why the hell not? And get me 'Prince of Tides' and 'Beach Music,' too." Logan grinned.
"Don't push it," Hank warned.
Logan shrugged and acquiesced. "Just a book, Hank. I could go get one myself."
"I'll get you a book, Logan." Hank sighed and went out the door. He almost jumped out of his skin when Remy suddenly appeared in front of him.
"I gotta talk t' Logan," Remy said urgently, trying to push past Hank. Hank took the Cajun by both shoulders and looked at him.
"No, you do not need to talk to Logan," Hank said firmly. "He needs to rest."
Remy looked at Hank with deep dismay and his eyes welled with tears. "I need t' talk t' Logan," he insisted.
"No," Hank said, "you do not. Logan needs rest. What is your problem, Remy?"
"Dammit, Hank." Remy tried to blink back the tears. "I been in Logan's head all night. I'm worried as hell." Hank shook his head and put his arms around Remy who sobbed into his strong blue shoulder. "I need t' see him t' know he's okay."
"Hank!" Logan yelled from behind the shut door. "I'm not sleeping yet. Send the kid on in, will you?"
Hank sighed and opened the door. He shoved Remy in and glared at Logan. "I'm getting you a book. And I'm giving you and Remy 15 minutes. And Remy?" He glared at the Cajun who reluctantly met Hank's eyes.
"Are you supposed to be down here?" Hank demanded. Remy gulped and shook his head.
"I was sent t' my room," he admitted. "But I had t' see Logan. An' I wanna see Rogue. An' Stormy." His breath caught.
Hank shook his head. "15 minutes with Logan," he said firmly. "And I'll let you see Rogue and Ro while they sleep. Then you go to your room, kiddo."
Remy nodded at Hank and turned to Logan. He was across the room in a second and at Logan's bedside. Logan looked up at the Cajun calmly and held out his arms. Remy sat on the bed beside the older man and was gathered into a hug.
"You okay, Logan?" Remy asked.
"Why you asking, kidlet?" Logan returned.
"I been wit you in your head all damn night," Remy said shakily.
"Then you know I'm okay," Logan said reasonably.
"An' I know you not really okay," Remy said. "No more dan I am."
Logan sighed. "You been shielding me from knowing what's going on with you, kiddo?" Remy nodded. "Well, tell me. Now."
Remy shuddered and explained. "My dad wasn' very happy wit me or Bobby."
"I'd guess not." Logan grinned.
"He tol' Jeannie and Scotty t' take our pants down," Remy said. "An' he made us bot' stand in front of him wit our pants down an' our butts bare while he scolded us for bein' so bad." Tears welled in his eyes and Logan held him close.
"Den I had t' watch while he paddled Bobby an' Bobby had t' watch while he paddled me." Remy took a deep breath and blinked back the tears again. "Logan, it was awful. An' all de time dat he was paddlin' Bobby an' me, I was wit you, too. I wan'ed t' die."
"Kiddo, if I knew how to block you from being with me while I'm hurting so bad, I would," Logan said helplessly.
"I don' wanna be blocked from you," Remy protested. "I need you t' be in my head."
"Okay," Logan said gently, stroking Remy's back and head. "Is okay, kidlet. Then what?"
"Daddy said it was late, dat we were all too damn upset, an' tol' me an' Bobby t' go t' bed. Tol' us dat he'd meet wit you an' Hank an' Jean an' Scott an' Stormy in de mornin' an' all of you'd decide how me an' Bobby had t' be punished. An' I don' even care bout dat. Dat's not what eatin' me up."
"What is, kiddo?" Logan asked.
"Logan, I didn' wan' me gettin' in trouble t' get you in trouble," Remy burst out.
Logan burst out laughing. He held Remy close and chuckled helplessly. "Remy," he said gently, "I desperately needed to get myself in trouble, just to get some help. Kiddo, you just gave me an excuse and it helped me out more than you could know. Calm down and let it go. We'll both deal with it tomorrow."
Remy took a couple of deep breaths, then pulled himself out of Logan's arms. "So maybe, you just set me up," Remy suggested with a impish grin.
Logan grinned back. "Oh, yeah, kiddo," he said. "I set you up. I sent Sinister an e-mail and told him how to proceed."
"Yeah," Remy said. "Dis is all a plot tween you an' him."
"And the fucking parrot is dead." Logan cuffed Remy lightly on the side of the head and then grabbed him by the ear and dragged him down toward his face. "Listen, and listen good, kiddo. Hank is determined to put me to bed, like I'm some kinda worn out kid, and I ain't fucking sleepy. Are you fucking sleepy?"
Remy shook his head. Logan went on, "You wanna meet me up on the roof in about an hour with a bottle of bourbon, a six pack of beer, and about five packs of cigarettes?"
"I t'ink it'd be safer dat we just wait for Hank to crash." Remy grinned. Logan nodded. "An' you know dat if we get caught, we both gonna wish we dead?"
"I don't fucking care," Logan said. "I 't'ink' you and me got more to talk about than can be covered in Hank's fucking 15 minutes. Shhh. . .I hear him coming."
Hank came in the door, tossed two books at Logan, and looked at Remy. "You, Remy, are out of here, now," he said.
Remy nodded, hugged Logan, winked at him, and went to the door. Hank looked back at Logan. "Read as long as you like, Logan," he said gently. "But, please, try to get some rest soon."
Logan picked up the books, flushed guiltily, and then nodded at Hank. "I'll read for a bit and then crash," he promised dishonestly.
Hank looked at him carefully, nodded, and dragged Remy away.
Logan looked down at the two books Hank had brought him, "Citizen of the Galaxy" and "More Than Human" by Theodore Sturgeon. He chuckled. "Hank, you know me well," he said quietly as he picked up the Sturgeon and started to read.
* * *
To be continued. . .