Subject: Family Matter, chapter 28.
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 00:42:29 EDT
Disclaimer: This chapter contains graphically described memories of sexual and physical abuse of a child. If that is going to upset you or bring up memories which are too much, please, don't read it. Some of it was not much fun to write, though I needed to write it for reasons of my own which I will gladly explain to anyone who wants to write and ask. I repeat, this chapter contains horrific memories of childhood abuse. DO NOT READ IF THAT WILL UPSET YOU.
And if you're under 18, go away and read something else. Please.
Family Matters, Chapter 28
Hank was back in minutes with three bottles, an ice chest, and a stack of CD's. Logan looked curiously at the bottles. Hank held them up and Logan noted that the other mutant had brought the MacCallan, but had also brought a fifth of Johnny Walker and a 1.75 liter bottle of Evan Williams bourbon.
"I see no point in wasting 18 year old single malt that costs a fortune once we start getting high," Hank said quietly. "And it tastes more like bourbon than scotch as far as I'm concerned, but I thought I'd give you your choice of poisons."
"Ice chest?" Logan asked.
"Ice for the drinks, glasses to put them in, and beer to chase the hard stuff," Hank said. "And two half gallon jugs of cold water."
"I'm NOT putting MacCallan on ice," Logan said, his voice outraged.
"Of course not," Hank said patiently. "Stars and garters, Logan, do you think I'm a uncouth barbarian?"
Logan chuckled. Hank took glasses out of the ice chest and poured both himself and Logan healthy shots of the single malt. "What music do you want on, Logan?" he asked.
"Put in 'Into the Woods' and 'Yentl,'" Logan said and then thought for a moment. "And Cyndi Lauper and the Police and the Stones and 'Floodlands' and put them all on random play. I'm just thinking about this tape right now, Hank. I've got some ideas but I wanna hear the songs."
"Your wish is my command, Wolverine," Hank said graciously as he rose to load the CD changer. Logan snorted.
"Yeah, right," Logan grumbled. "My wish is your command unless it has to do with my health and well-being, right?"
"That indeed sounds reasonable to me, Logan," Hank said judiciously.
Hank flipped on the music, handed the remote to Logan, and pulled a chair up next to the bed. He raised his glass to Logan, who clinked it with his.
"To life as normal for a few days," Hank offered as a toast. Logan grinned.
"What the hell is 'normal' around here, Hank?" Logan put the single malt to his nose and breathed in. "This stuff smells almost as good as it tastes," he said before taking a swallow. "On the other hand, it tastes awfully damn good."
Hank nodded his agreement as he, too, swallowed. The Police were playing 'Message in a Bottle.'
"I think that is definitely one of the songs that goes on Remy's tape," Logan said. "Sending out an SOS is one thing that the kid seems to do constantly."
Hank grinned and poured both of them more MacCallan. "He can't really help it, Logan. He's almost always coping with horrendous PTSD."
"Tell me about it, why don't you?" Logan groaned. He downed his scotch and held out his glass again. "Give me a beer, too, will you, Hank?"
Hank handed him a Beck's dark. Logan nodded. "Good choice to go with the MacCallan."
Hank grabbed a beer for himself. "So what happens next with Remy, Logan?" he asked.
Logan sighed deeply, gulped some beer, and took a sip of the scotch. "You realize, don't you, that the kid still hasn't gotten the spanking he earned for his drunken bike ride, in which he almost managed to kill himself? Or the ones for lying and leaving his post."
"I hadn't forgotten, and I doubt that he has," Hank said easily. "And I'd think that he wants to get it all over with."
"Damn it," Logan grumbled. "I'm tired of punishing him. I wanna just love him for a while and take care of him. One of the reasons I wanna make this tape for him."
"I understand all of that, Logan, but spanking him for his remaining unpunished misbehavior is part of taking care of him," Hank said quietly.
Logan nodded and held out his glass for a refill which Hank provided.
"Another beer, too," Logan requested. Hank complied. "Of course, I fucking know that. I'm just sick of it. And as you might have noticed, all of this shit is bringing up fearsome hell for me."
"Gee, Logan, do you think you might have a little PTSD, yourself?" Hank asked innocently. Logan raised his eyebrows, shook his head, and finished yet another shot of scotch. Hank poured again without being asked and poured himself another, too.
The music had changed as they talked from Cyndi Lauper singing 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' to Sisters of Mercy's 'Dominion, Mother Russia..'
"Hank, how serious were you about this fucking bed-rest business?" Logan asked roughly. It was Hank's turn to raise a furry blue eyebrow.
"I was more than serious, Logan. You've managed to deplete your healing factor almost completely. You aren't getting out of bed until I see evidence that you've recovered. Not recovering. Recovered."
"Fuck," Logan said. He drained his beer, and Hank handed him another.
"And drinking this much isn't going to help," Hank said mildly. "Just more work for your liver and your healing factor."
Logan grinned at him suddenly. "You gonna quote Spock at me, Hank? That you really don't understand the recreational use of a metabolic poison?"
"I bear little resemblance to the Vulcan, Logan," Hank said, grinning. "And much more to the character who shares my last name. As you will notice, I'm drinking with you. And I'm almost managing to keep up and starting to feel it a little. I'm almost ready to switch to some bourbon. I hate wasting the MacCallan."
'Gimme Shelter' started playing. "That's going on the tape, too," Logan said. He looked longingly at the MacCallan and said, "Much as I like how that single malt tastes, I think I'm ready to switch over to bourbon, too. And I think, to be sensible for once in my life, I want it with ice and water."
Hank nodded and complied, filling both glasses with a mixture of bourbon, water, and ice.
"So what the hell does bed-rest mean, Hank?" Logan asked. "Do I really have to stay down here in med lab? I'll go nuts."
"We'll see how you're doing by tomorrow evening. If you've managed to behave yourself, I might let you rest on the couch in the family room and watch TV if you want. And maybe even let you move back up to your room. Where you'll continue to rest."
Logan groaned again. "Then I'm going to fucking need something to read. Or I'll go nuts."
"What do you want me to get you to read, Logan?"
"Oh, hell, why don't you bring me 'Prince of Tides' and 'Beach Music.' I'll immerse myself and drown in the endless angst of Conroy."
"No way," Hank said firmly. "I was with you, if you remember, the last time you read 'Beach Music.'"
"Yeah." Logan grinned. "We were at the beach. On a fucking vacation. About the third time I threw the book at a wall, you threatened to confiscate it from me if I threw it again. You told me that I should write the review saying 'It made me laugh. It make me cry.'"
"I also remember your saying that you weren't sure how any one author could fit any more angst into one book, civil war angst. . ."
"Civil rights angst," Logan went on, still grinning.
"Vietnam War angst and even Holocaust angst," Hank continued.
"And as the cherry on the top, fucking child abuse and adult survivors of child abuse angst," Logan added cheerfully.
Hank started laughing. "I remember you pacing up and down the living room at the point in the novel when you arrived at the Vietnam War angst. You were pleading with the powers of the universe never, never, never to allow Oliver Stone to have the idea to make a movie based on this novel."
"You had all of us in stitches as you went into a diatribe about the utter horrors of the totally over the top Oliver Stone joining forces with totally over the top Pat Conroy. But what really killed me was that you finished the damn book and then turned back to page one and read it again."
"Well, hell, Hank, Conroy can write. I enjoy his books. Though I still think I like 'Prince of Tides' best. Luke was so cool. And I hate it that his story got left out of the movie. He WAS the fucking ' prince of tides.'"
"I still liked the movie, Logan. And so did you," Hank said.
"Yeah, I just don't understand people who can't enjoy Barbra Streisand. I think she threatens folks. Too damn talented and smart for most folks to enjoy and speaking of which. . ." 'Papa, Can You Hear Me' started playing from 'Yentl.' Logan grabbed the remote. "Hank, I'm gonna take it off random. I think there's more than a few songs on this one that I want to put on the tape for Rem."
"Go ahead, Logan. I like this music, too." Hank took a breath. "But I never would have imagined you as a Streisand fan."
"I'm usually not," Logan said. "She can sing. But I don't usually like what she chooses to sing. I just love 'Yentl.'" Both had refilled their drinks a couple of times. "Okay, Hank, no Conroy, tonight or tomorrow. Didn't I see you drag home a new Robert Crais?"
Hank looked at him askance. "Yes, you did. and you'd love it. It's all about Joe Pike. But (a) you can't have it until I finish, (b) it's full of more child abuse angst which I'm not sure you need right now, and (c) it's an advanced reading copy, and you can't tear it up like you do most paper backs. I promised I'd return it the owner of The Mysterious Press Book Store."
"I do NOT fucking tear up books," Logan said indignantly. Hank just looked at him. "Oh, okay. When you finish, I'll read it carefully. I won't bend the damn spine. But what am I gonna read?"
Hank grinned. "Wait a moment, Logan. I have a surprise for you." Hank made Logan another drink and left the room. Logan sipped at the bourbon and water and listened to Babs sing 'This is One of Those Moments.'
"There are certain things that once You have No man can take away. . . No wave can wash away. . . No wind can blow away. . . No fire can burn away. . . No time can wear away. . . And now they're about to be mine."
Hank came back in as the song was ending. "I'm putting that one on Remy's tape, too," Logan said.
"Makes sense to me," Hank said. He dumped a book on Logan's bed. Logan snatched it up eagerly.
"Oh, hell, Hank, thank you," he said happily. It was a new Andrew Vachss, 'Choice of Evil.' "You know I love Vachss."
"Yeah, and it's going to be full of child abuse angst, so watch it while you read it. Take care of yourself."
"You got it, Doc," Logan said agreeably as he looked through the book. He drained his drink and held the glass out for Hank to refill. Hank poured another drink for both of them.
"I'm getting tipsy, Logan," he confided. "And I need to crash soon."
"Listen to the rest of this album with me first," Logan said without thinking. Hank looked at the other man thoughtfully. It was unlike Logan to ask for anything for himself for any reason.
"Sure, Logan," Hank said as he sipped carefully at his drink. Logan gulped at his, reached for a refill which Hank gave him, and then picked up the remote and skipped the next few songs.
"Okay, this one," Logan said. He played 'No Matter What Happens.' Hank listened as Logan did.
". . .I've wandered the shadows, I don't anymore. No matter what happens. I won't anymore. . . . . . I held in my feelings And closed every door. No matter what happens I can't anymore. . .
There's someone who must hear The words I've never spoken. Tonight if he were here My silence would be broken. I need him to touch me To see the love that's in my heart The same heart that tells me
To see myself To free myself To be myself at last!
For too many mornings The curtains were drawn. It's time they were opened To welcome the dawn. A voice deep inside Is getting stronger. I can't keep it quiet any longer. No matter what happens. It can't be the same anymore."
"This goes on my tape for Remy," Logan said. Hank nodded.
"Wonderful song," he said. "And the next one I hope."
"Oh, hell, yes," Logan said emphatically as 'A Piece of Sky' began to play. Both he and Hank listened silently to the very end.
"The more I live the more I learn. The more I learn the more I realize The less I know. Each step I take (Papa, I've voice now) Each page I turn (Papa, I've a choice now) Each mile I travel only means The more I have to go. What's wrong with wanting more? If you can fly then soar! With all there is why settle for Just a piece of sky?
Papa, I can hear you.. . Papa, I can see you. . . Papa, I can feel you. . . Papa, watch me fly!"
Hank felt tears welling in his own eyes and wasn't surprised to see that Logan's eyes were shining too.
"It's one incredibly beautiful song, Logan," Hank said quietly. "And was a marvelous movie."
"I saw the play on Broadway," Logan said. "It was wonderful, too. I was worried that Streisand would ruin it, but she didn't." Logan put the changer back on random and made himself another drink.
Hank yawned deeply. "I'm going to bed, kiddo," he said gently. "I wish you would, too. Remy's going to wake up needing you."
Logan nodded, absently, as he opened the Vachss novel that Hank had brought him. "I'll read a little and drink a little more and crash."
Hank nodded and left. Logan poured himself another drink and started to read.
* * *
Logan had been reading and drinking for hours. The Vachss novel absorbed him completely and disturbed him deeply. He couldn't put it down. At about 4:00 am, he ran out of ice and water. He glanced guiltily at the clock, and then quietly rose from his bed, went to the kitchen with the ice chest and got more ice and another half gallon bottle of water. He also grabbed another quart of bourbon. He went back to his bed in med lab, poured another drink, and went back to the book.
Within a few moments, he heard Hank rise from his bed and start walking toward his room.
Logan stared up at the ceiling and briefly considered turning off the light, hiding the book and the drink, and pretending to be asleep. It was a very brief contemplation.
When Hank opened the door to his room, Logan looked up at him. "Hi, Hank," he said quietly.
"Do you realize it's 4:30 in the morning?" Hank said grumpily.
"I hadn't," Logan said honestly. "I got absorbed in the book."
"Logan," Hank said firmly. "Put the damn book down, finish your drink, and go to sleep. Or I am going to whack the hell out of you hard enough to make you gasp with pain."
Logan glared at him. "And if I decide not to let you? " he spat out.
"If you try to stop me?" Hank asked dangerously. "I know damn well that you could beat the hell out of me in a fair fight, you idiot berserker, but do you really want to try to hurt me when all I'm doing is trying to take care of you?"
Logan glared down at the bed, gulped down his drink, and closed the book. "Sorry, Hank," he mumbled, with a red flush on his cheeks.
Hank shook his head. "You know, I understand why you resonate so deeply with Remy. You have more practice and a longer history of being an unrepentant brat than even he does."
Logan flushed even more deeply. "Sorry, Hank," he muttered again. "I just couldn't put the book down. If you wanna whack the hell out of me, I won't even try to stop you."
Hank sighed. "No, Logan," he said gently. "I just want you to get some sleep. And dammit, I need some myself. Logan.. .what?" Hank was suddenly alarmed as Logan's eyes swam with tears.
"This book," Logan said tightly. He took a deep breath and then another.
Hank strode quickly over to the bed and put a hand on Logan's shoulder. Logan jerked away. His entire body was tense.
"What about the book?" Hank asked worriedly. "Damn it, I should never have given you a Vachss book to read. Logan, tell me what it is about the book that bothered you." Hank again put his hand on Logan's arm.
"Let go of me, Hank, or I'm not gonna be able to talk about it. I don't think I can stand to be touched right now." Logan said flatly. Hank let him go, sat down, and leaned back against the head of the bed. Logan sat up on the bed, folded his legs, and stared down at his ankles. "There's a story about a kidnaped little girl. . .and she's fascinating. She's calm and bright and creative and mature. . .and anyway, as near as I can tell she bonds with the kidnapper. . . and, oh hell. . ." Logan poured more bourbon into his glass.
"Did she remind you of yourself when you were a child, Logan?" Hank asked.
Logan gulped bourbon again and nodded. "Fucking starving for some sane, intelligent adult to actually take an interest in me and care about me," he said bitterly. "And choosing monsters sometimes. Like an idiot and a fool."
Hank sighed deeply. "Logan, tell me what you're talking about. And with as little self-blame and self-hatred as possible. You were only five or so when you were abandoned by your mother. Children do want and need an adult to take care of them and usually don't have enough life experience to choose wisely. Hell, they usually don't even get to choose. They have to take what they can get. Tell me what you're talking about. Now."
Logan glared down at the bed and then sipped at his drink again. "I wanna smoke," he said. "Should we finish this outside?"
Hank rolled his eyes. "No, you can smoke in here. I'll turn up the ventilation system to clean it out. Where are your cigarettes or do you want a cigar?"
"Cigarettes," Logan said. "In my jacket pocket. Over there." He swung himself off the bed, grabbed the Camels and a lighter, lit up with shaking hands, and drew deep. He started to pace.
"You know I told you about the memories of being taken in by families when I started wandering," Logan said tensely. "Well, there was a lot that I didn't tell you, and some that didn't even start coming clear until I was reading this book."
Hank waited patiently. Logan used one of the empty beer bottles as an ashtray and took another swallow of bourbon. He started pacing again.
"When I was about seven, I was taken in by a farming family. Nice couple. Two little girls. The father took a real interest in me. Took me fishing and hunting. Taught me to work in the fields. He touched me a lot. Hugs. Pats. Affection." Logan put the cigarette butt into the bottle and quickly lit another one. He went back to pacing. "His name was George."
"And then on one of the fishing trips the affection got a little out of hand," Logan said tightly. "Or maybe I should talk about what he wanted me to do with my hands on his body and with his hands on mine." Logan took deep drag on his cigarette.
Hank felt his entire body go rigid. "Go on, Logan," he said gently. "I think I know what you're getting at."
"DAMN IT, Hank!" Logan said explosively. "Part of me just hated it. It was wrong and disgusting. But goddamn me, another part of me just liked the attention and the touching and what seemed to be. . ."
Wolverine stopped, totally at a loss about how to explain.
"Logan," Hank said very quietly. "I've read about children who were molested by an adult whom they thought cared about them. Most of them do like the attention. Most of them even like some of how it feels. And they usually feel terribly guilty and ashamed for liking any of it. Because they know it's wrong. And most of them feel like it's all their fault."
Logan jammed the butt of the just finished cigarette into the beer bottle. "Oh, great, Hank, that makes me feel just great. To know that the way I feel was just like other kids. To know my experience is fucking documented and researched." His voice was furious.
"It doesn't change your feelings or make them better," Hank said gently. "Go on, Logan, tell me the rest."
Logan lit another cigarette and paced some more. "It went on," he said tightly. "And after hands, he wanted to use his mouth and wanted me to use my mouth. And that was even worse. The first time he made me swallow, I threw up. Hell, the second time and the third time, I threw up. I don't think I ever stopped throwing up. It was fucking. . .horrible." Logan's voice choked.
Hank felt as if he was on the edge of vomiting himself. "Yes, Logan," he said softly. "It was horrible."
"And what was even more fucking. . .horrible. . .was that I still craved the affection," Logan choked out. "I was so damn. . ."
"You were little, lonely, parentless, and needy," Hank said firmly. His heart was aching for the child that Logan had been and for what he had experienced. "Go on."
"I don't know if I can," Logan muttered. He poured a healthy slug of bourbon into his glass with a splash of water.
"You have to, Logan. You're full of the emotions, and you have to talk it out. I do know that. I've read enough to know that you have to talk about it. Go on."
Logan took a deep swallow from his glass. "Dammit, Hank, he was mostly a really nice man. He took care of me. He took care of his wife and daughters. He worked hard. And I don't even think he liked what he was doing to me. And it was like he tried to make it up to me by giving me presents when he could afford it. Oh, hell, I don't know what I'm talking about."
"So, he felt guilty about what he was doing," Hank said, gruffly. "That doesn't matter a damn. He was sick. What he did to you was sick."
Logan lit another cigarette with shaking hands. "Then he started. . . He started. . ." Logan took another gulp from his drink and refilled the glass again. "He started putting his fingers inside me. . . up inside me. . .He told me he was getting me ready. . . for a really. . .for a really. . ." Logan drew on his cigarette, exhaled, and spoke again. "For a really special experience . . ."
Hank took a deep breath and poured himself some bourbon. He was feeling sicker by the moment. But he stayed quiet and waited.
"But it hurt," Logan said in a rush. "His damn fingers hurt. And I was feeling worse and worse every day. And I had an idea what he was getting at and what. . .what. . .the damn 'special experience' might be. I ran. I ran as far and as fast as I could."
Hank let out a breath he didn't even know he'd been holding. "Good for you, kiddo. You took care of yourself."
"Oh, yeah," Logan said bitterly. "I finally took care of myself. Too late, far too fucking late. And then got myself into a situation that was almost as fucking bad."
Hank closed his eyes and counted silently to ten as his stomach lurched with dismay. "What happened then, Logan?" he asked. "And why don't you stop pacing and come sit on the bed. I promise not to touch you. But you're wearing yourself out."
"I wanna be worn out," Logan said. He drained his glass, poured in straight bourbon, hesitated, added a couple of ice cubes and some water and drank again. He stuffed the last butt into the beer bottle sitting on the table beside the bed and lit another. "I hooked up with a single mother with two younger kids. I guess I was about nine by then. I think her husband had abandoned her when the kids were little. There was a boy who was six and a girl who was three. Dammit, Hank, I loved those kids. I wanted to take care of them. And, Jesus, Hank, the woman was a mess. She was a lot like my real mother. Moody. Needy. Demanding. Disorganized. She couldn't keep her house clean. Or get meals on the table. I cleaned for her. And cooked. And took care of the kids."
"How did she survive, Logan?" Hank asked carefully. "Where did the money come from?"
"She lived in her parent's home. They were dead. And she worked some. Off and on. She cleaned houses. And took in laundry. And I helped with all that. But I think most of her money came from the guys she slept with."
Logan stopped pacing as if utterly exhausted. He sat on the bed cross-legged again, leaning his head against the wall at the head of the bed with his eyes closed. He still had a cigarette in one hand and his drink in the other.
"What was her name?" Hank asked.
"Martha," Logan said wearily. He paused for a moment, then went on. "She got involved with a mill worker named Fred. He was kinda good to her. At first. He gave her money and took her out every night. They left me to take care of the younger kids."
"Stars and garters, Logan," Hank said explosively. "You weren't old enough for that kind of responsibility. You were just a child yourself."
"Wasn't ever a child," Logan said, his voice drained with exhaustion. "I liked Martha. She really was like my mother. Needy and not quite right in the head. And she was good to me. Most of the time. I made her laugh, and she hugged me a lot. When she wasn't blowing up and screaming at me about the fact that she wasn't getting enough help from me. She used to smack me if the house wasn't clean or if the kids were fighting. But I didn't mind much. She didn't hit that hard. But, I didn't like Fred. Didn't trust him. He drank a lot."
Hank finished his bourbon and poured more with ice and water. He was shaking inside. "Go on, Logan," he said gently.
"So, Fred took her out at night to go dancing and drinking, and they left me home with the kids," Logan said tiredly, lighting yet another cigarette.
"Hell, Hank, I couldn't sleep," Logan continued. "I've always had trouble sleeping. Too many worries. And when they'd get home late at night, they'd find me awake. And Fred would take off his belt and beat me and beat me and beat me. Told me I had no business staying up and not sleeping. There were a few times that I managed to fall asleep, and I'd wake up to being beaten while he accused me of pretending to sleep. He was always drunk out of his mind. He usually beat me until I had welts from my back to my legs."
Logan took another deep drag on his cigarette and another swallow of his drink.
Hank resisted an almost overwhelming urge to pull the older mutant into his arms, but he knew instinctively that Logan couldn't yet bear to be touched. "How long did that go on, Logan?" he said. "How long did this bastard beat you? And how often?"
Logan sighed and drained his glass which he refilled after he put his cigarette butt in the beer bottle. "About six, maybe seven months. I don't know. If seemed like forever. And it was almost every night." He lit another cigarette.
Hank resisted another almost overwhelming urge to find this Fred monster and beat him senseless almost every night for six or seven months. "Go on, Logan," he said tightly.
"Then, he started beating her," he said simply. "They came home, both of them drunk, and he accused her of flirting with other men, and they fought. He just hit her the first time. It made me crazy, but I let it go. The first time."
"And the next time?" Hank asked tightly.
"He beat me first," Logan said simply. "Beat me till I was bleeding. Then he started fighting with Martha. Accusing her of leading some other guy on. Started pounding on her with his fists. That was it. I'd had it. I got out of bed, went to their bedroom, snapped my claws out, and threatened to slice and dice him if he didn't get the hell out of the house. Told him that he couldn't beat on Martha. Or I'd kill him."
"Oh, bloody hell, Logan," Hank said with great patience and sympathy. "What happened?"
Logan took another sip of his drink and lit another cigarette. He dragged hard on it. "He went white with fear and ran," he said simply. He took another sip of his drink and inhaled again on his cigarette.
"Martha was drunk as hell and crashed. I was awake all night," Logan said shakily. "Got the younger kids off to school and babysitters the next morning. Martha got up late, looked at me strangely, hugged me tight, and left. I cleaned house." Logan took another drag on his cigarette and another swallow of his drink which he then refilled. "Martha got back in a few hours and told me I had to leave. That Fred was spreading word all over town that I was a monster. . ."
Logan gulped hard and took another sip of bourbon. "I asked her to leave with me. Her and the kids. Told her Fred would just keep beating her. And she did. We got the younger kids and took off. We went a few towns away, and she got a job in a saloon. Told me she was a 'hostess' or some such. But she stayed out all night, most nights. I think she was hooking. Me and the little kids were in a room above the saloon. She always came home drunk, and then, she started beating on me."
"She started beating on you?" Hank asked as his guts clenched. "How?"
"I was never asleep. I couldn't sleep while she was gone. I was too damn worried," Logan said shakily. He took another drag on his cigarette and another gulp of his drink and spat out, "Hell, I was just scared. And she would come back, find me awake, drag me out of bed by my ankle or by my arm, throw me on the floor, and start pounding on me with her fists and kicking me. I learned real fast to curl up and protect my face and stomach. And I guess it's good that I had my healing factor even then, or there were a few times I think she would've accidently killed me."
"Logan," Hank said helplessly and with great pain, "why did you let her do that to you?"
"Dammit, Hank," Logan said wearily. "I was small. I was always small for my age. She was bigger than me, and the only adult I had to depend on, and dammit, dammit, dammit, I loved her." His voice choked, and tears welled in his eyes. He closed them and blinked them back.
"I wanted her to love me," he admitted, very quietly. Hank's heart hurt as he heard that confession.
"And," Logan went on, " she'd scream at me that it was my fault she'd lost her home and was forced to be working in that saloon. And I believed her. I guess part of me thought I deserved to be beaten."
"It didn't matter anyway," Logan said bleakly. "Fred found her. And she told me that she was going back to him. That she loved him, and she wanted her house back. And that I had to leave. So. . .I left. I guess I was about ten and a half by then." Logan's eyes welled with tears again which he blinked back as he dragged on his cigarette and swallowed from his drink.
Hank's heart felt as if it was simply going to break in half. "Go on, 'kiddo,'" he requested.
Logan stuffed yet one more cigarette butt into the beer bottle and lit another. "I wandered on," he said. "And found Maria. And you know about most of that. What you don't know. . .what. . .you don't know. . .is about the neighbor down at the next farm over. Sam Chastain." Logan's voice came close to breaking again. He refilled his glass with straight bourbon. He sipped and shuddered.
Hank waited patiently.
"He was another 'real nice' guy," Logan said caustically. "He was all that a lonely kid in search of a father could ever want. He told me all about sex. He taught me to play rummy, and black jack and poker. And then. . . Oh, fuck, I don't wanna talk about this. . ."
"Logan, you have to," Hank said. "Go on."
Logan swallowed hard. "I really don't wanna talk about this," he said haltingly. "I'm not sure I can."
Hank took a deep breath. "Logan, you have to," he demanded. "Go on. Trust me to understand, will you please."
Logan put the hand with the drink in it to his forehead and rolled the icy glass over his forehead. He took another drag on his cigarette and with his voice shaking, went on, "He taught me to play strip poker," Logan said in a rush.
"I was only about 11. He won, of course, and then. . ..wanted to put his hands all over me." Logan gagged and shuddered. He put his half-smoked cigarette in the beer bottle, put his drink down, and put both hands over his face. "I fucking let him. I wanted the attention. I wanted the affection. But when he put. . . when he pushed himself into my mouth, I freaked. I grabbed my clothes and jerked them on as I ran out the door. I was scared out of my mind. And so. . .so. . ."
"Ashamed?" Hank suggested. Logan nodded, his face still in his hands. It was obvious he was reliving every moment of these recently recovered memories.
"Logan, you were a child," Hank said softly. "You had lesson after lesson that you could not be loved for who you are. And you had no reason to trust any adult by this time. All of which is unacceptable. None of this should have happened to you. None of it. And kiddo, it happened TO you. TO you. You made none of it happen."
Logan nodded miserably. "Not how it seems," he mumbled.
"Trust me," Hank suggested. "Do you trust me?" Logan nodded. "It happened to you. You were a victim of predators and crazy people. None of it was your fault. Can you believe that?"
"No," Logan said shakily. "Oh, hell, Hank, a part of me knows that. But much deeper is the part of me that believes it was all my fault."
"That's because you were a child," Hank said patiently. "Children are egocentric. They think they make everything happen. You're an adult now. Can, at least, the adult part of you realize that you were a victim?"
Logan chuckled weakly. "Is there really an adult part of me?" he asked.
"Logan!" Hank expostulated.
Logan raised an arm in the air. "I know, Hank, I know," he said quietly. "I'm more adult than most folks. And was never really allowed to be a child. But all this stuff is new to me. Memories I never had before. They're kinda freakin' me out."
"Ummm, I think these memories would upset just about anyone, kiddo," Hank said softly. "But especially you."
Logan took another drag from his cigarette and poured more bourbon in his glass. "Why 'especially' me?" he asked warily.
Hank sighed. "Because you're a warrior and a combat hero ten dozen times over," he said. "It must be hard for you to remember being a helpless child who was a victim. And to admit how scared and vulnerable you felt. Hell, Logan, you've been up against everyone from Sabretooth to the Hulk and have always walked away."
"Limped away more than once," Logan muttered as he put out yet another butt and lit yet another cigarette. Hank grinned.
"And then?" Hank asked. "What happened after this neighbor molested you?"
"I told Maria," Logan said quietly. "She was enraged. When he came over to find out why I hadn't been to see him, she blasted him. Told him that she knew what he'd done and that if he ever came near me again, she'd have him arrested or killed."
"Good for her," Hank said with satisfaction. "She did the right thing."
Logan nodded as his eyes again filled with unshed tears. "But he was part of the mob that burned. . .her. . .house. . . and killed her. . .and her kids. . . and I killed. . . him." He stuffed his cigarette butt into the beer bottle that was now almost filled with butts. He drained his drink, put it down, and started shaking.
Hank was flat out of patience. He reached out and grabbed Logan by both of his arms, prepared to gather the older man into his arms,. Logan jerked himself out of Hank's grip and shook even harder.
"NO," he gulped out. "I can't bear it right now. I'll go to pieces."
"Logan," Hank said patiently. "I think you need to go to pieces."
"Don't want to," Logan said stubbornly. "Want to drink myself into oblivion and forget all this shit again." He put more ice in his glass, filled it with straight bourbon and took a sip, shuddering. He leaned the side of his head against the wall again and shut his eyes. One tear leaked out and ran silently down his face.
Hank clutched at the blue fur on each side of his head. "That isn't going to work, kiddo. Not this time." He thought for a moment. "Logan, tell me again how the Vachss novel brought this all up for you."
Logan was trembling so hard that the ice in his drink tinkled. He took swallow and put it down.
"It was the little girl," he said, his voice shaking.
"What about the little girl?" Hank asked patiently.
"She wanted the man who kidnaped her to like her," Logan said. "She tried hard to make him like her. She tried to be 'so good.' It was just like me when I was a child." His eyes filled with tears again. "I wanted a parent. I. . .wanted someone to care. . .about me. . .And she wanted this monster of a kidnapper to care about her. She tried so hard to please him. Just like. . .I tried to please. . .George. . .and. . .Martha. . . and. . .Sam." Logan's voice was starting to break. "And I let them. . .do things that were. . . wrong just so. . .I could. . . . feel loved. . ." Tears started to leak from his eyes. "I still. . .haven't read. . .far enough. . .to find out. . . what happened. . . .to that little girl." His voice was starting to catch with the sobs he was trying hard to suppress. He clutched his arms over his guts and leaned over shaking with agony.
"Logan," Hank said calmly. "I am going to reach out for you again and take you into my arms. You need it. And you're not going to fight me. If you jerk yourself out of my arms again, I 'm going to whack you so hard that your butt will have a bruise on it that'll hurt for weeks unless you recover your healing factor. You understand that clearly, kiddo?"
Logan nodded miserably and struggled not at all as Hank pulled him into his arms. Logan gasped, gasped again, and continued shuddering.
"It's. . .all hell. . . .Hank," he gulped out. "I almost. . .wish. . . that I'd never retrieved any memories. . . from before the Weapon X project. . . This is hell to. . .re. . .remember. I.. . . feel like shit."
Hank held him tightly. "And all of this got brought up by the little girl in the Vachss novel?" he asked.
"She . . . reminded me . . .so much. . . of me," Logan choked out as his breath caught on a sob. Tears were still leaking from his eyes.
"Logan, you were a needy, abandoned child. You were willing to do anything to find 'parents' to care for you and take care of you. Let go of the guilt and the shame. Children have the right to need. Do you really think you were supposed to be an adult from the moment you were born?"
Logan tried to chuckle, but it came out as a shuddering sob. "That seems to be the plan my mother had in mind," he gulped out. "It seems I was supposed to be born to take care of her. And I failed."
Hank resisted an urge to shake the much older man in his arms. "Of course you failed. You were a child. She had no right to expect so much from you. Let it go, Logan. And, damn it, promise me you'll call your therapist tomorrow."
Logan managed to chuckle. "Not on Sunday. Though I guess today is Sunday. I'll call him on Monday. I promise. And I'm okay, now. You can let go and let me sleep. I'll wake up when Remy needs me."
Hank shook his head. "Logan, you're about as okay as 'Sybil.' You had a childhood from hell."
Logan pulled himself out of Hank's arms and looked at him carefully. "That's why I have to take care of Remy and Jubilee and Kitty," he said quietly. "It heals me to take care of kids who were hurt like I was."
Hank shook his head. "Who takes care of you, Logan?" he asked. "Who do you allow to take care of you?"
Logan lit another cigarette and looked down. "I guess I'm turning that over to you, you big blue Beast," he said shakily. "And you're doing a damn good job. Though I don't feel very fuckin' comfortable askin' any damn one to take care of me. I don't like it, and I don't trust it. I can take care of me without any damn help from anyone."
"You think maybe I'm going to molest you, you idiot berserker?" Hank asked acerbically. "I have not one iota of sexual interest in short, hairy, heavily muscled, elderly brats. With fifteen inch claws."
Logan managed a short, sharp laugh, and picked up his drink. "No, damn it, Hank," he said. "I doubt your caring for me has any ulterior motives except that you care." Sudden tears sprang to his eyes which he blinked back impatiently.
Hank picked up the remote for the CD changer and turned it on. He skipped through the CD's until he got to Cyndi Lauper and then flipped it ahead to 'Time after Time.' "Listen to this song, you overly muscled Neanderthal," he suggested.
". . .if you're lost you can look-- and you will find me time after time If you fall I will catch you I'll be waiting time after time. . .
After my picture fades and darkness has turned to grey watching through windows, you wonder if I'm okay secrets, stolen, from deep inside the drum beats out of time
if you're lost, you can look and you will find me time after time if you fall, I will catch you and be waiting (I will be Waiting) time after time.
Time after time. Time after time."
Logan took another sip of his drink. His eyes shone with more unshed tears. "I was gonna put that one on my tape for Remy," he said, quietly.
"Appropriately," Hank said succinctly. "But, I'm giving it to you from me. Can you accept it?"
"Oh, fucking hell, Hank," Logan said. He shifted uncomfortably. "Y'know, at this point in my fuckin' life I hate bein' loved almost as much as I hate being. . ." He stopped, at a loss for words.
"Almost as much as you hate being lonely and alone," Hank finished for him. "Too fucking bad, Logan. I know damn well that you're most comfortable loving and being loved by kids who need you. And I don't need you. I had a happy childhood with parents who loved me. So, you're just going to have to deal with the fact that I love you without needing a damn thing from you. I just love you for who you are. What a fucking shock that must be for you to cope with. Get the hell over it. I'm going to love you any damn way. Get used to it."
Logan's eyes widened with startled respect as he gazed at the big furry blue Beast. He poured more bourbon into his glass and added a few ice cubes. "Y'now, Hank, sometimes, I suspect you might be as smart as I am," he said thoughtfully, with a slight twinkle in his eyes.
Hank reached over and cuffed Wolverine lightly on the side of his head. Logan ducked away, laughing. "I guess the fact that I have two doctorates impresses you not in the slightest?" Hank asked with amusement.
Logan shrugged as he lit another cigarette. "Not really," he admitted. Hank glared at him, not at all seriously. Logan sipped his drink again. "I've known a lot of assholes with doctorates," he said quietly. "But I've met few folks who understand me. You seem to have a grasp."
Hank took a deep breath, taken aback at the honor just granted to him by one of the men he most respected and cared about. "Thank you, Logan," he said sincerely.
"You're welcome, Hank McCoy," Logan said, just as sincerely.
Hank picked up the remote for the CD and turned the machine off in the middle of the Cyndi Lauper album. "It's close to 6:00 am," he said. "If you're going to be there for Remy when he wakes up, you need to get some sleep."
"Hell, Hank, I'm not going to sleep at all," Logan said firmly. He picked the remote back up and clicked it on again. "I know it does no good at helping me recover my healing factor, but I ain't sleepy. You go get some rest."
Logan hit the random button on the remote, and both men started laughing when the first song that came on was The Police with 'Don't Stand So Close to Me,' a song about adult/child sexual encounters.
"How appropriate," Hank choked out.
"You know there are folks who don't even know what this song is about?" Logan asked. "Despite the line about 'just like that old man in that famous book by Nabokov'?"
"Well, hell, Logan, how many people do you think even know who Nabokov is?" Hank asked.
"I 'd hope a lot of folks know what 'Lolita' is," Logan said.
"Logan, do not delude yourself," Hank said. "I am going to go nap before breakfast. Please, don't let the Vachss book upset you any more."
Logan looked up at his very dear friend. "I think if I read it to the end, I'll be okay. Vachss usually makes it okay by the end," he said and then shuddered. "Except in 'Sacrifice' which freaked me out for days. Hey, I'll be okay. Go crash."
Hank headed for the door and paused. "Does this Vachss have Michelle in it? And Terry? And the whole gang of Burke's 'family?'"
"Yeah," Logan said. "Not enough of them, but they're around. And Wolfe."
"I do wish Burke and Wolfe would get together and have a relationship," Hank said. "I mean after all if you and Ororo can make it work, why couldn't they?" Logan grinned.
"I wish Flood would come back," Logan said, somewhat wistfully.
Hanks shook his head. "I don't think Vachss is ever going to bring Flood back. Unless he decides to end the series. That would make a great final book."
Logan nodded. "Kinda like the final John D. MacDonald book about Travis McGee. It was beyond perfect that he found a way to sorta bring back Puss Killian. Good way to end it all. Hell, I miss Travis."
"I remember when you read 'The Lonely Silver Rain," Hank said quietly. "I remember the tears in your eyes when you were finishing it. And I had them myself. I miss Travis, too. And Meyer."
"And, Logan," Hank went on. "Does it occur to you that characters like Travis and Burke remind you of yourself?"
Logan looked up at the blue-furred Beast standing in his doorway. "I'm not stupid, Hank," he said. "And you remind me of Meyer."
"Has it occurred to you that you've become a hell on wheels fighting machine just to make sure that no one ever again can hurt you the way you were hurt when you were a child?"
"Uh, duh, Hank," Logan said with slight impatience. "Did I not just tell you that I'm not stupid?"
Hank grinned, waved good-night, and left Logan to finish his book.
* * *
Remy woke up, suddenly, totally, and abruptly. He rolled over to his back, gasped as his very sore butt hit the bed, and rolled back to his side.
"Are you okay, son?" He heard his father ask quietly.
Remy opened his eyes reluctantly. The professor was in his hover chair beside the young Cajun's bed, looking up from the book he had been reading.
"I t'ink so," Remy said. His eyes suddenly welled with tears. "Non, maybe not so okay."
Charles sighed. "I've already called for Logan to come on up here. I know you'll want to see him as soon as possible."
"T'anks," Remy said shakily, sitting up carefully and wincing. "I guess you got better t'ings t' do dan hang out wit me."
Charles shook his head. "No, son," he said gently. "I just thought you'd want to see Logan. I just called again and asked him to wait a few moments. I stayed up here all night by your side because there's nothing more important to me than you. Not right now."
"You stayed here all night?" Remy asked. Charles nodded. "What time is it anyway?"
"About 8:00 in the morning. You slept for almost eleven hours. I guess you needed it," Charles said.
"An' you stayed all night?" Remy asked shakily. A tear spilled out of his eyes and trickled down his face.
Charles sighed again. "Remy, help me out of this hover chair and onto the bed beside you," he ordered. Remy did as he was asked.
As soon as Charles was settled on the bed, Remy arranged the pillows and the professor leaned back against them, immediately gathering his son into his arms. Remy put his head on Charles' shoulder and started crying.
"You're not mad at me anymore?" he asked shakily.
"Remy, I'm not angry with you. I'm not sure I was ever angry with you except for the first few minutes after I realized you'd run away. After that I was mostly just worried, especially when you almost managed to kill yourself," Charles said gently. "But I had to punish you. You gave none of us any choice. You were told over and over what the consequences would be if you ran away or hurt yourself. We had to deliver."
"I know dat," Remy choked out. "I done brought it all on myself." He started to sob. "Are you gonna punish me more?"
"Yes," Charles said. "Both you and Bobby misbehaved badly. There will be more punishment. Which I will explain to both of you after breakfast."
"What kinda punishment?" Remy asked, his voice trembling.
"Some restriction of privileges. Some extra chores. Just to make sure you'll remember what will not be tolerated by your family," Charles said. gently. "Let it go for now."
"Do you. . .do you. . .?" Remy sobbed out.
"Yes, son, I still love you," Charles said firmly, holding the young Cajun tightly. Remy clung to him and cried until he had no more tears.
"Daddy. . ." Remy gulped out. He paused as if not sure what he wanted to say next.
Charles held the young man closely. "Remy," he said, "have I ever told you how much I love it when you call me 'Daddy'? I know you call Jean Claude of the Thief's Guild, 'Papa.' And it means a lot to me that you have a special name to call me. I like 'Dad' just fine, but when you call me 'Daddy,' I know that you're needing me and feeling loved by me."
"You wan' me t' need you?" Remy asked very unsteadily.
"Yes, Remy LeBeau Xavier, I want you to need me," Charles said emphatically. "I'm your father. I love you. I want to take care of you and heal the damage done to you by your horrendous childhood. I'm so sorry you were hurt so badly. It seems to me as if as I failed you in some way."
"Daddy," Remy protested. "You were killed. None of what happened after dat was your fault."
Charles sighed and held his son tightly. "I guess I simply feel very bad that I didn't protect myself and you better than to allow that to happen." He paused and said as if to himself, "Sometimes, I think Eric is right. That it's not safe for mutants to try to co-exist with humans."
"Wasn' humans who took de X-men out when I was a kid," Remy said. "Was anot'er mutant."
"Good point, son," Charles said. He ruffled his son's hair. Remy's face was still buried in his father's shoulder. "Are you and I okay, Remy?"
"Oui," Remy gulped out. "An' I do wan' Logan, now."
Charles chuckled. "I called him about two minutes ago. He's on his way up here right now." Even as the professor spoke, there was a knock at the door.
"Logan?" Remy asked anxiously.
"No, it's the damn Ghost of Christmas Past," Logan said grumpily, as he entered.
Charles looked carefully at Wolverine. "You look like hell, " he said.
Logan glared at the professor. "This isn't the time to talk about it," he said tersely. "I'm here for Remy. You wanna know what's goin' on with me, go talk to Hank."
Remy pulled himself out of his father's arms and sat up, cringing as his sore bottom landed on the bed. "Logan," he began, "if you not okay, den. . . I don' need you t' take care of me. . .I'll be okay. But what's goin' on wit' you?"
Logan shook his head and put his hand to his face, with his fingers against his forehead and his thumb on his cheek bone. "Remy," he said patiently. "I'm fine. I wanna be here for you. Really."
Logan helped the professor back into his hover chair. "See you at breakfast, Logan," Charles said. "And I'll go and talk to Hank"
Logan nodded. "Tell him you've got my okay to tell you everything," he said.
Remy glared up at Logan as the door shut behind his father. "How 'bout you tell me ever' damn t'ing?" he suggested angrily.
Logan looked at the much younger mutant carefully. "I will," he promised. "But not right now. Kiddo, I'm too worried about you to talk about me. How you doin'?"
"I'm jus' fuckin' fine," Remy said defiantly, his bravado ruined by the tears welling in his eyes.
Logan nodded, sat down on the bed, and gathered Remy into his arms. "Yeah, kidlet, you're just fuckin' fine. I got that clearly."
Remy clasped his arms around Logan's chest and started sobbing. "I don' know why I'm crying," he gulped out.
"Probably just the after effects of your punishment yesterday," Logan said matter of factly. "It's okay, kiddo. Cry it out and let it go."
Remy wept quietly for several moments and then, his sobs started to slow and his breathing grow more even. "Logan," he began shakily, "are you still gonna punish me for. . ."
"Am I still going to spank you for that idiotic drunken bike trip? And for lying? And for leaving your post?" Logan finished for him. "Of course, I am. I don't have any damn choice." Logan's voice was bleak but firm.
Remy nodded into the older mutant's shoulder. "Can we get dat all over wit' t'day?" he asked.
"You really want that, kiddo?" Logan asked unhappily. "Your butt must be awfully damn sore after yesterday."
"It is," Remy admitted. "But I wanna get it over wit'. I wanna get it all over wit'. Please."
Logan sighed. "You got it, kiddo. I'll take care of it this evening after dinner, and then it'll all be over. And you'll have a fresh start. And I hope to Ifnie that you manage to stay out of trouble for a few days."
"I wish I could stay outta trouble for de rest of my damn life," Remy mumbled. "But I don' guess dat's very likely."
Logan grinned. "No, kidlet. Right now that seems kinda unlikely. And it's okay. You'll still be loved."
Remy squeezed Logan hard and let go, sitting up and wincing again. "I t'ink we should get ready t' go down t' breakfast. I wanna find out what de rest of Bobby's an' my punishment's gonna be. I don' wan' t' keep worryin' 'bout it."
"And I think we both need a shower," Logan said. "I know I do."
"You go first," Remy said. "I wanna check on Bobby."
"Okay, kiddo," Logan stood, tousled Remy's tangled mass of auburn hair, and headed for the door.
* * *
Remy knocked on Bobby's door. He could hear Cure playing inside.
"Come in," Bobby called out.
Remy stepped in. Bobby was pulling a t-shirt over his wet brown hair. A used towel was on the floor in front of his bare feet.
"How you doin', Bobbo?" Remy asked.
"Not bad, Rem," Bobby said, grinning. "A lot better than I felt this time yesterday, knowing what was coming. How 'bout you?"
"Sorta de same," Remy said. He nodded toward the CD player. "'Disintegration'?"
"Yeah," Bobby said. "I think it's my favorite."
"Mine, too." Remy said. He sat down carefully on Bobby's bed. "An' I t'ink I wanna hang here till dey play 'Prayers for Rain.'"
"Yeah, I like that one, too." Bobby grabbed some socks from a drawer and started looking for his shoes. There was one black Nike in middle of the floor, but the other was nowhere to be seen. He groaned, looked under the bed, and pulled the other one out. He sat on the bed beside Remy, wincing as he sat. "I don't think I'm gonna be able sit down comfortably for a week."
Remy nodded. "Me, too. An' I gonna get it again t'night for de bike ride an' de rest of what I did," he said quietly.
"Oh, hell, Remy," Bobby said irritably. "Can't they just give you a day or two to get over what you went through yesterday?"
"Logan wan'ed t', but I tol' him dat I wan'ed t' get it all over wit'," Remy said. "My choice, Bobby."
Bobby finished pulling on his shoes and socks as 'Prayers for Rain' started to play. Both young men simply sat and listened with pleasure. When it ended, Bobby picked up the remote and clicked the music off.
"I'm gonna go help put breakfast on the table," he said. "And you oughta be getting ready to come down."
Remy nodded. "How's it been for you, Bobby?" he asked hesitantly. "Since yesterday."
Bobby grinned. "Actually think I had more people come check on me to make sure I was okay than have ever visited my room in one day before, Scotty, Jean, Betsy, Warren, Hank, the professor, Sam, and even Bishop. It was almost embarrassing. But I mostly liked it."
Remy grinned back at him. "So, I guess you not feelin' quite so unloved den, Bobby?"
They both started for the door. "Hell, Remy, I was just being a dope," Bobby admitted.
"Oui," Remy agreed cheerfully. Bobby snorted and punched the other young man on the arm.
"You could have argued just a little, Cajun," he objected.
Remy was already out the door. "Why de hell would I argue wit' de truth?"
Bobby just grinned again as he shut the door of his room. The damp towel was still in the middle of the floor.
* * *
Remy appeared half an hour later in the kitchen. He was in old, soft, comfortable jeans, torn out at one knee and wearing a black t-shirt with the Green Lantern emblem on it. Most of his X-men family were still sitting at the table, though most had finished eating the oatmeal and bacon that was on the menu for that morning. They were drinking coffee and juice and talking quietly about their plans for the day. Remy scooped some oatmeal into a bowl and grabbed a few rashers of bacon. He put about a tablespoon of butter into the oatmeal and a couple of spoonfuls of brown sugar and sat down, wincing only slightly.
"Morning, Remy," Scott said looking at the young man carefully. "Are you okay?"
"Oui," Remy said. He started eating and realized he was famished. He usually hated oatmeal, but he ate it hungrily.
Scott nodded. "Good," he said. "We're going to do a danger room exercise at 10:00. I want you there to work with Bets, Jean, and your father on using your psychic powers. You up for that?"
"Oui," Remy agreed as he rose, refilled his bowl, and grabbed more bacon.
"Good," Scotty said with satisfaction.
Remy looked over at Bobby, who nodded, and then looked at his father. "What's gonna be de rest of de punishment for me an' Bobby?" he asked shakily.
Charles sighed. "Both of you are grounded for the next two weeks. Restricted to the house and grounds. No phone calls. And lots of chores to do." Bobby groaned, and Remy simply shrugged.
Logan, however, snapped to attention with his eyes wide. "NO!" he objected. "We didn't talk about this, Chuck. And I'm not dealing with it."
Charles looked at Logan with bewilderment. "What's the problem, Logan?"
Logan took deep breath. "The new 'Star Wars, the Phantom Menace' opens a week from this Wednesday," he said. "Hank and I have seen every damn one of those movies on the day they opened. We took turns being in line to get tickets."
Remy and Bobby looked at one another with dismay. There was no way they wanted to miss out on the opening day of the new 'Star Wars.'
Logan took another deep breath. "Damn it," he said. "Either Hank or I can stand in line this Wednesday to get the tickets. But we have to include all of us who want to see that movie on the day it opens. And that has to include Remy and Bobby. Goddammit, Chuck, this is an event. It's a new 'Star Wars' movie."
Charles looked at Logan with his eyes twinkling with amusement. "Can it not wait until the movie dies down a little in popularity?"
"No," Logan said firmly, "it has to be seen the day it opens. It's just not negotiable."
The professor looked at Hank with his eyebrows raised. Hank grinned. "I'm afraid I have to side with Logan on this issue, sir. 'Star Wars' movies have to be seen on the day they open."
"I think you're both crazy," Scott said with exasperation. "Why in hell not be sensible and wait a few weeks for the lines to die down?"
Remy, Bobby, Sam, and Rogue all looked at Scott as if he had lost his mind. Jean, Ororo, and Betsy were all staring at each other with dancing eyes, and Jean had her hand over her mouth to try to stifle the laughter that threatened to burst out at any moment. Bishop was looking alternately at each person in the room as if he thought everyone had gone insane.
"What is a 'Star Wars' movie?" he asked flatly. Remy, Bobby, Sam, and Rogue switched their incredulous gazes to him.
"Excuse me," Jean said in strangled voice, as she hurriedly got out of her chair and fled the room.
"Me, too." Betsy scrambled after her.
"And I." Ro went after both the other women, closing the kitchen door which did not quite block the sound of their gales of laughter.
"What on earth is so funny?" Bishop asked.
Warren simply sat at the kitchen table and laughed until tears came to his eyes. Scott shot him a murderous glare. Hank and Logan were both grinning hugely.
"Guys," Logan said to the younger mutants in the room, "stop staring at Bishop as if he came from Mars. Try to keep in mind that he comes from a future in which few mutants probably had much time for movies."
"Mon Deiu," Remy said incredulously. "Bishop, I t'ink dat maybe you could've come from a future wit' no movies, but you done been here for at least two years. How can you not've heard of 'Star Wars?' You not watch any TV, listen t' any commercials, never been t' a fuckin' Taco Belle? You been in de ozone layer or what?"
Bishop shrugged. "I spend most of my time guarding this mansion from attack and training for combat," he said. "I have no interest in TV and pay no attention to movies. Which I assume it is what you're talking about."
Remy shook his head helplessly. "Bishop, dere be a whole world of experience you need t' learn t' enjoy," he said. "'Stars Wars' is fuckin' won'erful."
"Oh, yeah," Bobby said thoughtfully. "Gee, Bishop, we need to rent some movies for you to see."
"I don't think so, Bobby," Hank said. "We own all three. Bishop, trust me, I think even you would enjoy the 'Star Wars' movies. But you have to understand that they're more than just movies. They're a cultural phenomenon. Which is why, Scotty, they must be seen on the day they open. It's the best and only way to observe and participate in the phenomenon."
"Yeah." Logan was still grinning. "What he said."
Scott threw his hands in the air. "I'm going to the danger room and get the programs prepared. I see no point in discussing this idiotic subject for another moment. They're just movies, for God's sake, Hank. And, I for one, would happily wait for the lines to die down."
"You won't be going with us, then, Scotty?" Logan asked innocently.
"Of course, I'm going," Scotty said, starting to grin himself. "If you maniacs are willing to stand in line, I wouldn't miss it." He turned his gaze to the professor who had been watching the entire interaction with quiet amusement. "Whatever you decide is fine with me, sir." Scott rose and left.
"Well, first of all," the professor began, "Bobby, I hope you aren't planning to be watching movies with Bishop. You aren't going to have time during these two weeks you're on restriction. You and Remy are going to be working hard. And I'm strongly tempted to make each of write 500 times 'I will never use heroin again.'" Bobby groaned, and Remy simply put his right thumb nail in his mouth, looking dismayed. "I really haven't even decided yet if either of you two are going to even be allowed to watch any TV or play any computer games. I'm still thinking about it."
"Secondly, on the whole issue of seeing the 'Star Wars' movie, I concede," Charles said. "I'll make seeing the movie an exemption from your punishment. Does that satisfy you, Logan?"
"Thanks, Chuck," Logan said.
"Are we all going to go?" Charles asked.
"Only folks who want to," Logan said. "Is there anyone who doesn't want to?" There were vigorous shakes of the head from all the younger mutants in the room. Warren held up his thumb in agreement.
Bishop looked dubious. "I suppose that I'll decide after the I see first three," he said.
"Professor?" Hank asked.
Charles smiled. " I'll go. I'll enjoy watching the rest of you enjoying it. And, of course, Hank, I wouldn't want to miss observing a cultural phenomenon."
He turned to Remy. "Son, you need to get to the danger room. You have work to do. And Bobby, I think you can spend the rest of the morning searching through the files we got from Sinister."
Bobby grimaced. He hated computer work.
Remy nodded, rose, and left the room.
The professor turned to Sam. "You need to be reading the books I assigned to you, young man."
Bishop rose. "I'm on monitor duty," he said as he left the room.
"And I'm going to be on computer duty with Bobby," Warren said as he rose. "And I'll look over his shoulder every so often to make sure he stays on task." Bobby glared at his old friend.
"Thank you, Warren," Charles said. "Rogue, what are your plans for this morning?"
"Ah was gonna go ta the grocery store ta get the food for supper t'night," she said. "Ah'm on mah way out, now."
Within seconds the entire kitchen was clear of everyone except for Logan, Hank, and the professor.
Charles looked at the other two men with a raised eyebrow. "'Star Wars?'" he asked.
"I do think we explained it adequately, sir," Hank said.
Charles nodded. "Actually, I think it would be a great family experience. One which we'll all enjoy. But we have some other things to discuss."
"Charlie," Logan began, "Remy asked me to go ahead and deliver his spankings for the drunken bike trip and his other sins tonight. He wants to get it all over with. And I agreed."
Charles nodded bleakly. "I think it's too soon, but I can understand why he wants to get it over with. But, Logan, he's going to be very upset and fragile afterwards. Are you in any shape to handle that?"
Logan sighed. "I guess Hank filled you in on what I'm dealing with," he said. Charles nodded. "I can handle it, boss. Taking care of Remy distracts me from what I'm trying to handle."
Charles nodded again. "I trust your judgement, Logan. Most of the time. Except when it comes to taking care of yourself. Which often seems to be your lowest priority."
Logan shrugged helplessly. "I do survive, Charlie," he offered.
"Yes, you do survive," Charles agreed. "But sometimes at an enormous cost to yourself. Logan, you're worn out, hurting, and suffering from some of the worst PTSD of anyone I've ever known. Do you really think you can handle it?"
Logan nodded. "Remy is 'my kid,'" he said quietly. "If he needs me to finish his punishment and really wants to get it all over with, then he's gonna get what he needs."
Charles nodded his agreement. "It's your choice, Logan," he said. "And I have to admit, I'm damn tired of my son waiting for more punishment. I, also, want it to be all be over with. And I truly hope he can manage to get through a few days or even weeks without getting himself in trouble again."
"You and me both, Chuck," Logan said.
"As for you, Logan," Hank said firmly, "you're back on bed rest. NOW. In med lab. You were up all night, and you need to get some rest."
Logan rolled his eyes toward the ceiling. "Okay, mein Herr," he grumbled. "But I need something else to read. I finished the Vachss. And it all worked out okay. Mostly."
"Any chance that Burke and Wolfe are going to get together?" Hank asked curiously.
Logan shrugged. "Read it yourself, Hank," he said. "I ain't giving any of it away.."
Hank nodded. "I'll get you something to read," he said. "You go back to bed."
The professor held up a hand. "One moment, please," he said. "I wanted to ask you two if you thought anything else should be added to Remy's and Bobby's punishment. I'd thought that perhaps both of them might benefit from bed time spankings every night while they're on restriction."
Logan groaned. "No," he said. "I can't handle that. Remy's been spanked enough."
Hank nodded his agreement. "However," he said thoughtfully. "I think both of them would be reminded of how thoroughly and obnoxiously they misbehaved if they had to spend every evening before supper in the corner with their pants down. For about a half hour."
Charles nodded. "Good idea, Hank. What do both you guys think of having them write 500 lines?"
"I like that one," Logan said. "If either of those brats ever shoots up heroin again, I plan to blister them till they're wailing."
Charles nodded. "Good," he said, "we have a plan. Logan, please, go get some rest."
Logan sighed and rose. "Okay, okay, okay," he grumbled. "I'll go to bed. Jesus. I just want something to read."
"Go, Logan," Hank said. "I'll bring you books. And a sedative. Go."
When Logan was out of the room, Hank turned to Charles. "Sir, I'm really worried about him."
"I am, too," Charles said. "When you choose the books, please, take him something with nothing that will trigger his memories of all that horrible abuse. I'm sorry, Hank, I know you're not an idiot. But I am really worried about our favorite berserker warrior. He's on the edge. Do you really think he can handle spanking Remy again tonight?"
"No," Hank said flatly. "But we can't stop him. If Remy wants it to 'get it over with', Logan has to accommodate his 'kid.' I don't think we even get a vote. If he goes to pieces, I think I can take care of him."
Charles sighed. "Hank," he said, "I am beyond happy that Logan has chosen to trust you enough to take care of him. He's never let me even come close. And he truly needs someone to be there for him."
"I know," Hank said simply. "And I'm more than pleased that he's chosen me. I love Logan more than I can say."
"We all do," Charles said quietly. "In some ways he's the most caring, mature, and sane of all of us. And in other ways, he's the most damaged and hurt of all of us."
"Uh, sir, you think maybe that's newsflash from the front?" Hank asked, grinning slightly.
Charles shook his head and Hank rose. "I'm going to get our favorite berserker some books to choose from. And then I'm going back to work on the Legacy virus. When Remy finishes in the Danger room, send him to help me."
* * *
When Hank got down to med lab, Logan was lying in bed, with the remote to the CD player in his hands, listening to 'Floodlands.' He looked up at Hank. "I don't think there's anything on this album that I'd put on a tape for Remy," Logan said. "But I sure like it."
"It's a damn good album," Hank said. He dumped several books on Logan's bed.
Logan picked the books up and looked at the title. "Hank," he said impatiently. "I've read 'Mars.' I loved it, but I've read it."
Hank shrugged. "I just thought you might want to read it again before you read the advanced reading copy of the book right underneath it."
Logan looked at the book underneath, an advanced reading copy of 'Return to Mars' by Ben Bova. "Oh, hell, yes, Hank," he said happily. "'Mars' was great. Does this have the same characters?"
Hank shrugged. "I don't even know," he said. "I'm giving it to you first, kiddo. Even before I've had a chance to read it. Consider that quite an honor. I loved the first book, probably as much as you did."
"Thanks, Hank," Logan said sincerely. "And yes, I do wanna reread 'Mars" first. I was crazy about the main character, the Navaho geologist who gets to go on the first expedition to Mars. Thank you."
"Yes, but I also want you to take this sedative," Hank said. "You can read as long as you like, but you need some sleep."
"Okay, okay," Logan grumbled as he took the tablet and swallowed it. He picked up 'Mars' and started to read. Hank nodded and left.
Twenty minutes later, Hank checked back in Logan's room. The older man was deeply asleep with the book open on his lap. Hank took the book, put a book mark in it, and put it on the table beside Logan's bed.
To be continued. .