Fate reunites our favourite characters with a piece of home and heart they thought was lost to the hands of time.
Categories: AU Characters:
Angst, Drama, ShipperTags:
1. Chapter 1 by erro
2. Chapter 2 by erro
3. Chapter 3 by erro
4. Chapter 4 by erro
>Dear Mr Xavier,
>My name is Marie D'ancanto. I am a twenty-three-year-old kindergarten teacher in Alaska, originally from Mississippi.
>My son, Kaden, is six years old.
>I am aware this is unusual but my son appears to be manifesting a mutation.
>I do not consider this to be a 'bad thing' in the grand scheme of things; I myself am a mutant so I knew there would be a higher chance of him being a mutant as well. However, I was not prepared for him to manifest this young, or with the abilities he has. His mutation is nothing like mine so I am struggling to help him as the situation progresses. I am wondering if his father - who is absent through no fault of his own - may also have been a mutant and Kaden is taking after him perhaps.
>Regardless of the how's and why's, I need help with Kaden and helping him learn how to control his abilities. I am hoping you can assist.
>His abilities appear to be related to his emotions, and senses, he has also developed a strength that far surpasses his peers. This, combined with his sudden quick temper, and his ability to hear the behind his back taunting from his peers has seen him 'instigate' fights at school, which has led to him being expelled. He is currently very mixed up, he is normally a very happy, well behaved boy and his outbursts are even confusing and upsetting him, he is struggling to control himself.
>Please, if you are able to help him let me know.
>I can bring him to New York as soon as next week, when kindergarten closes for summer, we will only be able to stay for two months before I will have to come back for work. Please don't take this the wrong way but I have no intention of leaving my son at your school, he needs his mommy right now and I will not abandon him.
>Thank you for your time and consideration.
Charles scanned over the email again worriedly, he had been concerned this may be a possibility for multi-generational mutants. Manifesting at such a young age would be a difficult process for a child of this little boys age. He planned to do his best to help the boy, and his clearly loving and devoted mother. It was also good timing, with his own staff now heading in 'the family way', a pre-school and kindergarten class would be most beneficial to add to the school, and now he had a candidate for a teacher.
Quickly he typed a reply email, confirming his willingness to assist and requesting a phone number to call the young mother at a time convenient to her. As it was currently five am in Alaska, he was not expecting a prompt response so he moved on from his emails and continued perusing the mornings mail and news. An hour later a muted 'ping' drew his attention back to his computer. A brief message, from Miss D'ancanto, thanked him for his response and provided a phone number, confirming she was available to talk anytime between now and twelve thirty New York time.
Digging his desk phone out from behind a pile of paper work he dialled the number provided.
"D'ancanto residence, Kaden speaking," a young boy answered politely, after only a few rings.
"Hello Kaden, my name is Charles Xavier, is your mother able to come to the phone?" Charles asked politely, with a soft smile at the young boys manners.
"Are you the man from the school for special kids?" Kaden asked excitedly, as Charles could hear him running across a hardwood floor.
"Yes, yes I am, your mother said you may need some assistance from our school," Charles replied.
"Cool!" Kaden responded enthusiastically, before Charles heard him calling to someone in the background. "Mommy, mommy! It's the school from New York, Mr Xavier wants to talk to you!" There were a few moments of fumbling, and the amused voice of the boys mother telling him to calm down and go back and finish his breakfast, before the young woman turned her attention to the phone she now possessed.
"Hello Mr Xavier, I'm sorry for that, thank you for your call," Marie greeted him.
"It is not a problem Miss D'ancanto, you have a very bright boy there, you must be very proud of him," Charles replied, amused.
"Oh please, call me Marie, the 'Miss' drives me nuts at school, and yes, I am very proud of him, he's a real little smarty pants... it's part of what's made this so hard for him to cope with, he knows his behaviour isn't 'right' but he really can't help himself..." Marie replied softly.
"I am sorry to hear that, could you by chance explain to me more about the, changes, he is going through?" Charles asked. He waited patiently when Marie requested a moment of time, listening to her telling the young boy to behave himself, before she moved into another room, closing several doors behind her.
"Right, where were we; his behaviour. I'll admit, the first thought I had when this started was that he was simply being naughty, kids do that, *he* has misbehaved before, I'm not going to pretend my kid's an angel. So, I started out by admonishing him, he took the telling off, because he knew what he had done was wrong but then it happened again, and again, and after about the fourth time he broke down and said he really wasn't meaning to do these things, something else inside him was making him do the naughty things. If not for the fact that he got so distraught I would have assumed he was just trying to make excuses to get out of trouble...
"Then one day he completely lost it at his karate class... there's this one kid, the real troublemaker, who is in his class at school, he's just started first grade, this kid is also in his karate class, and his junior hockey team, the kid picks on him relentlessly, and I've taught Kaden to just ignore him but that day it was like... I could see Kaden was distracted, and this kid was picking on him, just saying horrible, terrible things to him, Kaden and this kid were paired together for their drills and Kaden just snapped all of a sudden, I saw his eyes when it happened, like his eyes changed, went really dark, and his whole face just morphed into this... well, a snarl, like a dog about to attack. The kid tried to pull the manoeuvre they were supposed to be practicing, and Kaden went off on him, this kid is a year older than Kaden, a good eight inches taller, and quite chunky, even for a seven year old, but Kaden just... threw him, literally picked him up and threw him to the floor, pinned him and began laying into him.
"The teacher and I, and two other parents, all raced in, it took three of us to hold Kaden back... he was growling, teeth bared and all, he even lashed out and hit the teacher. It wasn't until I managed to push him to the floor and almost lie on top of him, that I finally managed to calm him down, and again his whole demeanour changed, back to normal, then he immediately burst into tears, I took him straight home and when I asked him what happened he told me... and I know this makes it sound like he's nuts but he said, the wolf that lives in his head, told him he had to fight the other kid, he had to be stronger, he had to protect his mommy - because it was me the other kid was saying bad things about - Kaden said he wouldn't, he wouldn't do what the wolf told him to do but when the other kid swung at him the wolf pushed him out of the way and took control of his body and made him fight.
"Honestly, based on what I saw, that is what it looked like, like something literally took control of his body, and that scared me, terrified me, then Kaden burst into tears again and started begging me not to be afraid, he kept saying he would never hurt me and I didn't need to be afraid, when I asked him what he meant he told me he could smell it, he could smell that I was afraid; so then I had to sit him down and reassure him that I wasn't afraid *of* him, I was afraid *for* him, because I knew he was scared. When he was calmed down again I asked him what other things he could smell, he could tell me, from the smell, what the neighbours two houses down the street were having for dinner - and I did go down the street later that evening and confirm that was what they had for dinner. I asked him if he could hear or see things too and he listed off a whole lot of things, being able to hear the refrigerator running downstairs, walking around the house at night with the lights off because he could see everything anyway, he told me he knew when I had bad dreams at night because he could hear my heartbeat get faster, from the next room...
"Then at hockey practice a week later a whole bunch of kids, led by the troublemaker were picking on him, the same thing happened again, Kaden ignored them, ignored, ignored, and then his face changed and he snapped, he threw a hockey puck, threw it from his hand, hard enough to dent one kids helmet and continue on to crack the plexiglass window rink-side, I get pucks are hard, but even hitting them with a stick, which sends them flying a lot faster than a throw, normally wouldn't do either of those things. And then, yesterday, again, the troublemaker was picking on him, I didn't see what happened this time because they were on the playground at lunchtime, but the lunch monitor said Kaden was literally baring his teeth and growling, and he knocked the bully unconscious, there wasn’t a mark on Kaden though, even though the monitor said they’d both been hitting each other, and the other kid used a rock even at one point. And that's how my six-year-old got expelled from first grade. Now the school has got the Police and CPS involved and they want to send him to psychiatrists and get him on drugs to 'combat his behavioural problems' and... I don't know what else to do..."
Charles could hear the tears in the young mother's voice as she finished her explanation.
"Well I have good news," he replied softly, "I don't think your son is 'nuts', as you termed it, by the sound of it your son is what we call a feral, ferals have a base instinctual mutation, in some ferals this is limited to only heightened sensitivity, the ability to see, hear, feel, etcetera, better than normal, in other ferals however the mutation can manifest a fully separate psychological entity that uses the senses to function at a much baser, instinctual level. The even better news is, I can assure you, it is something that can not only be controlled but trained, one of our on call staff is also one of the latter kind of ferals I mentioned, and I am certain he would be most willing to help young Kaden train his wolf, so to speak."
"Oh thank you!" Marie replied, relief evident on her tone.
"I will however say, it will take much longer than two months... now, now," he broke in, when it sounded like Marie was going to interrupt. "I agree with you, that Kaden needs his mother, very much, during this phase, you are correct that it is not 'normal' for a child to manifest this young and he will need you through this process, so, I would like to offer you a position on our staff, we are opening our rolls to younger children in the very near future, siblings of current students, children of other staff members and past students, and we could do with someone to manage a small mixed age class, a day-care to kindergarten level class. The remuneration would be, competitive, the class size no doubt much smaller than you are used to, and accommodation and meals for both yourself and Kaden would be included, if you would be interested we could even assist with moving expenses, the position would be available as soon as you are able to relocate," Charles offered.
Marie was quiet for a moment before she replied with a sob, "That- that sounds fantastic, thank you so much, I would love to work with you, and thank you so much for your help... If I hand in my notice today I can be ready to relocate at the beginning of the holidays, moving costs won't be an issue, our current lease is furnished so we'll only need to bring our personal belongings which will all fit in my car... Thank you so much, so, so much, shall I say we'll be there... June ninth, if that works for you?" she suggested, through tears.
"That would work perfectly, we will see you in ten days," Charles replied, before the two signed off their conversation.
With a grin Charles dug out his contacts list and dialled his last known number for Logan, he was just the man for this job, it might be exactly what he needed to entice him back. As he prepared himself to make the call, he couldn't help reminiscing on the circumstances that caused Logan's departure two years prior. The loss of the little girl Logan had been trying to rescue on that fateful lab mission was traumatic, for everyone, not least of all Logan, who had had the girl in his arms when she had been shot, and killed instantly.
The fact she had been shot *through* his own body, and that Jean had advised on autopsy that it was unlikely the girl would have survived anyway given her condition, had not been enough to comfort Logan. He had tried to drink himself into oblivion several times, on one occasion consuming so much alcohol Jean had had to pump his stomach and put him on an IV, until he become coherent enough to remove it and stagger out of the medical bay.
It was Charles's own actions, or rather inaction, that had finally led to Logan suddenly packing up and disappearing, but Charles would not apologize for refusing to remove the memories from Logan's mind, that was not how the brain was meant to work but Logan had refused to hear. After a few months Logan had called, much to the relief of everyone, but so far, he refused to return. Maybe hearing another child was in need, a way for him to 'make up' for his perceived failure, would be enough to entice him back, a substantial sum of money would no doubt sweeten the deal... he hoped.
The phone rang, and rang, and rang, and just as Charles was about to give up, and hang up, a gruff voice suddenly interrupted the shrill ring tone.
"The fuck do you want!" Logan growled, sounding decidedly irritated.
"My apologies if I woke you, are you not still in Spain?" Charles asked curiously, used to Logan's snappish responses.
"I'm in Australia, it's two am, and I'm about to get laid, so if we could hurry this conversation up I would appreciate it," Logan replied, and a decidedly drunk sounding woman giggled in response in the background.
"We have a situation that requires someone with your expertise," Charles began.
"I'm not your fucking hitman try someone else," Logan snapped.
"You misunderstand, we have a young mutant boy, six years old, who will be arriving shortly with his mother, he has a very strong feral mutation and, obviously, a prepubertal presentation, this boy appears to have a fully separate psychological entity, like your Wolverine, which he is struggling to manage, it has already assumed control of him on several occasions, which has seen the boy expelled from his school. My limited knowledge on this subject may be able to assist to a degree in controlling outbursts but it is going to take someone with more first-hand experience to teach the boy how to manage the feral," Charles explained, "Would you be available? At your usual contract rate of course."
After a moment Logan sighed, and when he spoke again his tone had softened. "Yeah Chuck, I guess I can do that, when is the kid arriving?"
"June ninth," Charles advised.
"I'll try to get back for the ninth, might be a little late though, I'll see you when I see you," Logan replied, hanging up before more could be said.
With a grin Charles set the phone back in its cradle. "It will be good to see you again old friend," he said to himself, as he turned back to his work.
"Mommy there's a obstacle course!" Kaden shouted, almost bouncing in his car seat as he stared out the window in growing excitement.
"So there is," Marie replied, with a tired smile, amused by his infectious joy. Oh to be the child that got to sleep most of the five day, cross country road trip and didn't arrive absolutely exhausted. She couldn't wait to see this accommodation the school was providing, she had a date with whatever passed for a bed, even a couch would do at this point.
"Can I go play on the obstacle course mommy?" Kaden asked, as he jumped out of the car, after Marie had parked in the small guest carpark and he had unclipped his own harness; waiting until the car engine had been turned off to do so, like Marie had taught him.
"Not yet little man, we have to go and introduce ourselves to Professor Xavier first, remember," Marie reminded the little boy, "It's rude to go wander around someone else's home without greeting them first."
"Okay," the child sighed grudgingly, before perking up. "Do you need help with the bags mommy?" he offered politely.
"We'll come back for them later," Marie replied, ruffling his hair with a smile before she took his hand and led him inside.
The inside of the building was almost more intimidating than the outside. On entering there was nothing to direct them to any specific location, the building looked big enough from the outside to justify you of those directory signs like the big malls had! Marie called out to a group of students standing nearby, gawking at the new arrivals, and asked where Professor Xavier's office was.
"I can show you!" an eager young Asian American woman called, skipping out of a noisy nearby room. "My name is Jubilee, you're Marie, right? The Professor said you would be arriving at some point and to show you straight in," the girl chattered a mile a minute, not letting Marie get a word in edgewise. She was, what Marie would consider, unusually excited over her simple task of showing them to the office and Marie wondered for a moment if she may be a little simple, as her momma used to say.
The girl named Jubilee knocked briefly on a large, solid oak door a moment later, before pushing the door open without waiting for prompting and excitedly announcing, "They're here!"
"Thank you Jubilee, if you would be so kind as to put your bountiful energy to use, could you please wrangle some of the boys together and supervise them taking Miss D'ancanto's belongings to suite three on the third floor," the cultured gentleman, seated behind a large desk on the far side of the room, requested.
"Sure thing Prof!" Jubilee exclaimed, before darting out the door. She was back a split second later when Marie called out that she would need keys, as she held them out for her, then she was gone again just as quick.
"Hello Marie, and hello Kaden," the bald gentleman greeted, turning his attention to the new arrivals. "I thought it would be better to introduce everyone all at once, so the staff are all familiar with the new teacher, and the new student is familiar with all the resident teachers. This is Scott Summers, Ororo Munroe, Remy LeBeau, and Kurt Wagner, they are fellow teachers, and Jean Grey, is both teacher and our resident doctor, as I advised at last week’s staff meeting, Marie D'ancanto will be running the day-care through first grade class. Aside from Kaden, we will introduce you to the rest of your students at a later date, Marie," Charles smiled at her, before directing everyone to take seats.
Charles apologized that the tutor who would be working primarily with Kaden on his mutation had not yet arrived back in the country but was expected imminently and he would introduce them as soon as he was arrived and rested. He carefully went over the rules of the school with Kaden, making sure he understood each, before asking if the little boy had any questions.
"Can I go play on the obstacle course now?" Kaden asked immediately, earning a chuckle out of all the adults in the room.
"I thought you might want to try that out, until you're settled in, you are to stay with either your mother, or Jubilee, so you don't get lost, Jubilee is waiting right outside the door to take you to play," Charles replied, acquiescing to the boys request.
"Behave yourself little man, and have fun," Marie instructed, giving her son a kiss before he darted out the door. He could be heard happily chatting to Jubilee about the fastest way to the obstacle course, until the door shut behind him.
"Now, to the heart of the issue," Charles declared, turning his attention to Marie. "You said you didn't believe Kaden's mutation took after your own, what may I ask is your mutation?"
Marie explained her mutation, as best she could, truth be told, she really didn't know what exactly her mutation did, and it didn't seem to be useful for all that much, but Charles and Jean seemed fascinated by what she described. When she was finished explaining her own mutation, she asked about the others, each person in turn explained their own mutation to her.
"With Kaden," Jean asked, once the previous topic was covered in depth, "Would you know what triggered his mutation to manifest?"
"Honestly, I don't really know, I couldn't put my finger on any one thing, around that time he moved to first grade, he started getting picked on by the little brat who just moved to town, um, his best friend moved away, we had to move house... I was kind of distracted around that time too I hate to say-" at the curious looks from those around her Marie ducked her head as she explained- "I was raped, years ago, the guy was convicted and jailed, and he was up for parole around then, so I was a little stressed, worried he would get out and come after me, that was part of why we moved."
"Hmm, I wonder," Charles commented, looking thoughtful. "You said Kaden told you, the 'wolf' mentioned having to protect his mother... I wonder if perhaps your stress, over that event, is what began the manifestation..."
"I suppose it is possible," Jean hypothesized, "Ferals are generally very empathic, and highly protective, it would make sense."
"Great, so it's my fault," Marie replied glumly, she could have done without knowing that.
"Not at all," Charles replied, offering her a reassuring smile. "A trigger is not the cause of a mutation manifesting, it is simply a stepping stone, a diving board if you will, for the body to take the leap into its next stage of development, as you said also, a lot of things happened all at once, stressors like those can often cause new mutations to go haywire, Kaden's focus on you, and your wellbeing, may well be what stopped his mutation from getting out of control, as yours did when you first manifested," he pointed out.
"What about the father, what can you tell us about him?" Jean queried.
"Not much," Marie admitted with an embarrassed flush, "I guess you could say Kaden is the product of a one-night stand..."
"At seventeen?" Jean asked, clearly sceptical.
"Sixteen," Marie replied, blushing even brighter before she explained, "When my parents kicked me out, I decided to fulfil my childhood dream and travel to Alaska, not least of all because, with a mutation that meant I had to cover my skin, somewhere cold would make that less obvious to the non-freaks around me, I had no way to travel though, except hitchhiking. As odd as it sounds, Kaden's father was the first person I got a ride with who *didn't* proposition me, I was sixteen, a virgin, terrified that the next ride was going to be the one I lost whatever else I had left to my name, so to speak, we travelled together for four days, and he was a really nice guy, didn't pressure me for any kind of 'payment', fed me, put me up in motels - in my own bed - when we stopped, I decided that it was going to be my choice whoever my first was and he was the kind of guy I would like that to be." She explained, still incredibly embarrassed but at the same time hoping someone, anyone, would understand why she had done what she did. She didn't regret her decision, not for a second.
"And he didn't use protection?" Jean asked worriedly.
"We did actually, but I guess ours fell into the two percent of ineffective condoms," Marie chuckled. "Six weeks later I found out I was pregnant, two weeks after that I was raped, the hospital staff took real good care of me, when I refused the abortion drugs, telling them I was already pregnant, they even collected donations for the baby, and the officers at the local station helped me too, it was one of the officers who, he and his wife helped me finish high school and get my qualifications. There was enough evidence to have the guy who raped me locked up, he was sentenced to twelve years, they also chucked charges at him for attempted murder of Kaden, which I think ended up getting reduced to assault or something against an unborn child, minimum non parole was six years, he didn't get parole his first attempt, he apparently can't try again for two years unless his behaviour improves... sorry, you probably don't care about all that," Marie added with another blush and a shrug.
"Not at all, it helps us understand, both your situation and Kaden's, besides, we're all like family around here, you can tell us anything," Ororo said, offering Marie a hug, which she gladly accepted.
"So, you weren't aware of Kaden's father being a mutant?" Charles asked, directing the conversation back to the original topic.
"No, I doubt he would have known I was either, I didn't exactly go around advertising the fact and I can't imagine anyone else doing so, it's possible I suppose, when we got to the end of the point our paths intercepted he found me another ride, with someone he trusted, gave me a ton of cash, and that was the last we ever saw or heard from each other, he doesn't even know Kaden exists, and I have no way of contacting him to let him know," Marie responded sadly.
"Does Kaden know this?" Jean asked contemplatively.
"An age appropriate version," Marie confirmed, "I told him his dad had to go away, before we knew he was going to be born and that I didn't know where he lived now to tell him about Kaden but that if he did know, he would love him a lot; he seemed satisfied with that, he hasn't asked anymore about him, I feel bad that I don't even have a picture for him but... that's just how life goes sometimes."
"Indeed, if we can assist in any way with tracking down his father do let us know, we are happy to help," Charles informed her. "In the meantime, you must be exhausted. Remy, would you be so kind as to show Marie to her rooms, I believe Jubilee and Kaden are on their way inside too, I imagine they will join you shortly." And with that, her induction was complete, and the meeting broke up.
The tall, dark haired, red eyed man, whose mutation was essentially blowing things up, opened the door for her gallantly before offering her his arm to lead her upstairs. She was flattered but kept her distance from his flattery and flirtatious behaviour, it was fun to be flirted with but at the same time she had no intention of leading him on, especially seeing as how she had to live and work in the same building as him. Truthfully, she wasn't ready for a relationship, she didn't think she ever would be. Despite her promise to herself she had eventually realised she had fallen in love with her one true lover, and she had no intention or desire to fall out of love with him; not yet at least.
"Mommy, it's so cool here, the obstacle course is huge, and I climbed right to the top and there's a swimming pool, and a horse stable, and we can go explore to the forest some times, and..." Kaden continued to ramble on about all the things he had seen, as Marie paused in her sorting of the pile of bags that were waiting for them in the living room of their new apartment.
"That sounds awesome buddy, did you thank Jubilee for showing you around?" she asked, reminding him of his manners.
"Oh, thanks Jubilee!" he called over his shoulder, to the young woman still standing in the doorway.
"No problem little guy," Jubilee replied. She stayed in the doorway, watching them, until Marie sent Kaden, with his suitcase of clothes, to his new room to unpack.
"Thanks for showing him around," Marie added, turning her attention back to Jubilee once the boy was out of sight.
"Really, it’s no problem, he sure does love the outdoors," she said, "Hey, um, thanks for coming, this is probably going to sound rude and self-serving of me but I'm glad something was finally able to get Logan back here; he's the guy who's coming to teach Kaden about his mutation," Jubilee hurriedly explained, clearly misinterpreting Marie's confused look.
"Logan... Coming back?" Marie asked, shrugging off the name. It was just a total coincidence that the guy coming to teach Kaden about his mutation had the same name as his father, pure coincidence.
"Yeah, something happened a couple years ago, a little girl died, not at the school, and Logan kind of... took it personally that he couldn't save her, he kinda fell apart and then left but now the Professor has convinced him to come back to help Kaden, so, I guess, thank you?" Jubilee haltingly explained.
"You and Logan were close?" Marie asked, that would certainly explain the girls earlier excitement.
"Yeah, yeah, Logan's like, my big brother, I guess. He found me, after my mutation manifested, my parents were killed in the car accident that caused me to manifest, and I was living in a mall after running away from foster care, just trying to hide, he found me and brought me here and, we were kinda stuck like glue until... it was hard watching him fall apart like that, and not be able to help him-" Jubilee quickly dashed away a tear- "But now he's coming back, it's gonna be good having him back, and you'll like him, Kaden definitely will too. Well, I should go, let you get some rest. Dinner starts at six pm in the cafeteria on the ground floor, or there's food in the kitchen at all hours, also on the ground floor." And with that Jubilee was gone again.
Marie took her own suitcase into her own room to begin unpacking but as soon as she sat down on the edge of the bed her body reminded her how exhausted she was.
"Kaden?" she called softly.
"Yes mommy?" the little boy replied, appearing in the doorway immediately.
"Mommy's really tired okay little man, so I'm going to go to sleep, can you keep real quiet in your room while I do that?" she asked.
"Sure I can," Kaden said with a smile, coming over to give her a hug and kiss. "Night night mommy, do you want me to wake you up for dinner?"
"That would be great, thank you little man for being so well behaved," Marie replied, kissing him on the top of his dark-haired head before he dashed out of the room.
She didn't even bother looking for her pyjamas just climbed straight into bed, and was asleep in minutes.
Logan yawned tiredly as he trudged silently up the stairs, technically it was still the ninth, for about three more minutes. He had been apprehensive about returning but he gave his word, in a moment of weakness though it was, so he had come. His plans had almost been derailed on the trip over, he had had to fly - a wonderfully pleasant experience as always - see that, his brain, at midnight, jet lagged, and hungover could still pull off sarcasm...
The flight had been made even worse by the little blonde girl two rows ahead of him who sat there innocently, minding her own business, just reminding him of the reason why he didn't want to go back. Aside from the lack of bruises and broken bones, she was a spitting image of the little girl whose body he had recovered on that horrible mission. Or maybe his brain had just been fucking with him.
Either way, after landing, instead of coming straight to the mansion, he'd holed up for the day and got shit faced, because why not!? Because of hangovers, his brain reminded him, as he missed a step and everything around him swayed violently. Yep, in the last two years he had discovered hangovers, boy no wonder regular people bitched about them.
Charles had told him his usual room would be ready for him, so that's where he was heading. He slammed the door shut on arrival, harder than he had meant to, and proceeded to pass out on the bed, didn't even get a chance to kick off his boots.
The next morning, he woke, hangover gone but a sharp pain in his gut, it took him a minute to realise he was lying on his belt buckle. Finally undressing he decided to shower first, that was one thing this place was fantastic for, hot water, bucket loads of it. He stood under the hot spray for about half an hour before he was more relaxed, and probably something resembling clean.
Towelling off he stalked naked into the bedroom, and proceeded to sort through his pack. Dumping all his dirty laundry in the hamper in the bathroom to sort out later, he managed to find something that wasn't too offensive to wear. Being back at the mansion, reminded him of how much of a slob he'd gone back to living like.
He was just tugging his jeans on when the door flew open.
"Jesus Christ Jubilee, learn to knock!" he commented, partway annoyed but mostly amused when the girl in question immediately squeaked and covered her eyes after flying into the room.
"Sorry, are you decent?" she asked, she'd seen those pants going on and did not want to see what they were covering. She loved Logan to bits, but not like that...
"Hardly ever," Logan quipped, before moving on to pull on a shirt now that the jeans were sorted. He saw Jubilee peek between her fingers to check he was dressed before she threw herself across the room and hugged the daylights out of him.
"I missed you," she said, her voice muffled where her face was pressed up against his chest.
"I missed you too kid, you been behaving yourself?" he asked, ruffling her hair as he finished dressing before upending his pack on the bed.
"More or less," Jubilee replied with a shrug and grin.
"More more, or more less?" Logan chuckled in response.
"Probably more less, depends who you ask," Jubilee answered.
"That's my girl," Logan replied with a grin, handing her a little wrapped box he grabbed from the pile of junk now on his bed.
"You got me a present!?" Jubilee squealed, jumping up and down, she was tearing the paper off before he could reply. She squealed again when she pulled out the little stuffed toy kangaroo, it was wearing a bright yellow hoodie, and its pouch was stuffed with candy. "I love it!" she said, hugging him again, "You didn't tell me you were going to Australia," she added suspiciously.
"Last minute work trip," Logan replied cryptically, before ushering her out of the room. "I take it Chuck wants to see me bright and early?" he asked.
"He said you could get yourself breakfast first but then come straight to his office, he wants to introduce you to Kaden a-sap," Jubilee informed him, as they made their way to the stairs. She made a quick detour to add her present to the collection she had stockpiled from Logan, he sent her something from every country he visited, it was a lot of countries.
When they got to the cafeteria Logan chugged a couple of mugs of coffee, and devoured a plate of bacon and eggs. The cook remembered him and apologized that there was no steak, giving him extra bacon to make up for it. As soon as he finished inhaling his food, he ruffled Jubilee's hair again, just to annoy her, and headed off to find the Professor, nodding a greeting to the rest of the arriving staff as he left the room.
"Logan, it's good to have you back, how have you been?" Charles asked, greeting the man he considered a friend.
"Fine," was Logan's reply, his catch all phrase usually meaning, 'I'm not going to talk about it so leave it alone'.
"That's good to hear," Charles replied, both knowing his true meaning; 'I'm here to listen when you feel like talking'.
They chatted pleasantly for a time, catching up on what had been going on at the school, and briefly what Logan had been up to in his travels. A knock at the door about an hour later saw their conversation head back to the reason for Logan's return.
"Thank you very much Jubilee, I will let you know when we are ready for Marie, in the meantime, Kaden, come in, this is Logan... he has a mutation like yours, and is here to teach you to train your feral," Charles explained to the young boy.
Logan was momentarily distracted when the Professor's mention of the name 'Marie' brought to mind memories, of the pretty brunette girl he had come across years ago, and still not been able to forget. Shoving those thoughts aside, he refocused on the boy, watching him cautiously enter the room. After doing a quick sweep of the room the boys eyes locked on him in a calculating observation, as he moved into the room but made sure to keep at least one piece of furniture between himself and Logan at all times.
"It's alright Kaden, you're safe, it's okay to be cautious but there is nothing to be afraid of, fear will make the feral come out, you need to be confident, you're only little so I know that's hard but remember, your mommy wouldn't let you go somewhere you would get hurt, she brought you here so we could help, you have to trust us if that's going to work, and you want it to work don't you?" Logan spoke to the boy, gently but authoritatively.
Kaden's little head cocked curiously as he considered Logan's statement, before he nodded, and climbed onto the chair he had been all but hiding behind.
"That's more like it little man," Logan grinned as he watched the boy, still cautious but calmer. "My name is Logan, I'm a feral, like the Professor says you are, I understand you have a... can't remember what Chuck calls it, what do you call it, that little voice in your head that tells you what's happening around you?" he asked, trying to weasel his way past the boys defences.
Kaden shrugged, before replying quietly, "I called it a wolf, 'cause it likes to growl."
"Does it have a name?" Logan asked curiously, "Mine is called Wolverine," he added.
Kaden shook his head. "It doesn't have a name, d-does it need a name?" Ah, good, curiosity, about himself, the boy was definitely open to learning not just being afraid of his feral nature.
"I guess a name will come in time, yours is just a baby after all, mine is old, very old," Logan replied with a grin.
"How old?" Kaden asked, smiling in amusement as he calmed more.
"Well, I heal too, so I'm a lot older than most people, even though I don't look it, I'm over a hundred years old, and so is Wolverine," Logan explained.
"Wow, that is old, like a sea turtle, sea turtles get real old like that," the little boy informed him.
"Is that so, sea turtles huh, that's very interesting," Logan replied with a chuckle. "So how about you little man, can you tell me about the first time the wolf talked to you?"
"It's always been in my head but when I was little it used to just growl sometimes, then one day I was supposed to be sleeping but a policeman came to the house and was talking to mommy, so I sneaked to listen... the policeman was talking about the bad man, who hurt mommy, when I was just a little baby in mommy's tummy, the policeman said that he might come out of jail soon, and that was the first time the wolf talked, he said mommy was scared, and we had to protect mommy, so she didn't have to be scared anymore," Kaden said, this was all news to Logan, though Charles was familiar with the timeline.
"And did you protect your mommy?" Logan asked, his own feral perking up his ears in interest to hear the response.
"I- I don't know, I think so," Kaden said uncertainly, "We moved to a new house and I gave her lots of hugs, and slept in her bed sometimes so her bad dreams didn't come, she was still scared sometimes but not like before, she's not scared anymore... except of me," he finished in a whisper.
"Hey, your mom is not scared of you little man, you hear me, if your mom was scared *of* you she wouldn't have come here with you, your mommy is scared *for* you, this is a big scary change that's happening to you, she knows that, she wants you to be safe, and happy, and protected too, just like you want that for her, you remember that, okay?" Logan told the child firmly. He was pleased to note the boy smiled shyly, before admitting his mommy said the same thing.
"So, what else does the wolf tell you?" Logan prompted next. Watching curiously as the boys’ eyes darkened, a sure sign that his feral was coming to the surface. Wolverine too sat up and took notice, the child wasn't a threat but a young male feral needed to be kept in his place.
"He tells me about the smells, what they mean, and the people, when they want to hurt people, Billy's daddy likes to hurt people, that's why Billy picks on people, I didn't want to hurt Billy but when he tried to hit me the wolf came out, he said we needed to be stronger, be the strongest, so we could protect mommy, if Billy's daddy thinks we're weak he might hurt mommy..." Kaden went quiet suddenly, his brow furrowing in confusion.
"What would Billy's daddy do to hurt your mommy?" Logan asked, he knew which way his own mind was tending at a statement like that, and he didn't like it.
"I don't know," Kaden replied, brow still furrowed, "The wolf knows, but he won't say."
"You know, the wolf protects you too," Logan said softly, "Sometimes the wolf protects you by not telling you things, sometimes it protects you by telling you things you need to know but don't need to act on, but your wolf is still a baby, so it's still learning, like you are, how to tell those situations apart, that's what I'm here for, I'm here to teach you, and your wolf, how to interpret situations and act the right way. Are you and your wolf okay with that?"
Kaden smiled at him and nodded. "Yeah, yeah, I like that, my wolf is scared of you but it's not ‘scared’ scared, it's just... you're bigger, and stronger... but you won't hurt us... you're just the boss," the boy replied, his thought process clearly displayed by the changing expressions on his face.
"That's right little man, I'm the boss," Logan chuckled, throwing in a little growl and a 'you better not forget that'. The boys’ eyes widened momentarily, a flash of fear crossing his face but being chased away by awe and a giggle.
"Does your wolf growl too?" Kaden asked, still grinning.
"Sure does," Logan replied, "He likes to try and scare people sometimes, he's a bit of a jerk."
"So, how does you growl... does he- how- why doesn't he push you away when you growl?" Kaden eventually managed to get out his question.
"Well, we've been together a long time, we've learn to work together, see, if you crush the feral down too much, they get mad, and that's when they act out, if you crush them down too much you have problems, and also if the feral takes over too much you have problems too, you have to learn to both be in control and work together, that's what me and Wolverine are going to teach you," Logan explained, in a way he hoped was understandable for a six year old.
Kayden nodded. "So how do I learn that?" he asked, looking eagerly over at him.
Logan looked contemplative for a moment, he had given it some thought and he really wasn't entirely sure to be honest. "The first thing you need to do, is get to know the feral, don't try and squash him down so much in the back of your mind, let him look around a bit, get to know him, the feral has a whole different personality, different likes and dislikes, so, for your first lesson, this is going to be your task for today, I want you to find out what your wolf's favourite food is," Logan directed.
"So... not pizza? Pizza's my favourite but it might not be his... right?" Kayden asked.
"That's right, so you spend today letting your feral decide his favourite food, he might not have one yet so he might want to taste lots of different foods, and then tomorrow you tell me what his favourite food is and I'll set a new task, does that sound like a plan?" Logan asked the little boy.
"Yeah! I like that, can I go now and start?" the boy asked excitedly. Right at that moment there was a knock on the office door.
"That must be your mother, in which case, yes, you may go now," Charles agreed, Logan offering his own farewell.
"Thanks Mr Logan," Kayden said, sliding off his chair and wrapping him arms around Logan in a quick hug before he darted to the door, yanked it open, and raced out.
They could hear the boy excitedly telling his mother that 'Mr Logan' had a wolf too, and had told him to find out what his wolf's favourite food was, so now he had to go to the kitchen to find foods, lots of foods, lots of different kinds of foods. There was a strangled gagging sound following a female voice suggesting his 'wolf' might like vegetables so not to forget to try a few of those, before the boy ran off to complete his assigned task.
"Marie, come in, this is Logan..." Charles began with a bright smile, as the door closed behind the young mother.
"Marie!?" Logan interrupted, staring at the woman intently. Her eyes grew wide in shock when she looked toward him.
"Logan?!" Was Marie's surprised response.
Charles regarded the pair curiously as they both sat, and stood, on opposite sides of the room staring at each other, seemingly dumbfounded.
It was Logan who broke the sudden stillness, standing to his feet, he crossed the room, his hand lifting to Marie's face but not quite touching. "It's you," he said, after a moment of just staring and scenting the girl, "It's really you!"
Marie nodded, a stunned smile and giggle bursting from her. "Yeah, it's me, and it's you," she replied. A moment later they were both hugging and laughing, and crying, at least Marie was doing the latter, Charles couldn't see Logan's face to confirm the other.
"Wait," Logan said suddenly, pulling back from her sharply. "You're his mother? His biological mother, as in, you gave birth to him?" At Marie's nod Logan added, "And you're here be- because he has my mutation?" Marie hesitantly nodded again, at which point Logan frowned, appearing to be thinking over something very carefully before his eyes widened in shock. "Oh shit, is he- did I- oh god Marie, I'm so sorry, I never meant--" Logan began.
"Oh stop it Logan, yes, he's your son, I know you didn't mean for it to happen, I didn't either but it did, and I wouldn't change anything about that, I'm just glad he's got the chance to meet you... we don't have to tell him though if you would rather not, he knows his daddy loves him and that's enough for him for now, I know it's a lot to dump on someone suddenly so I-" it was Marie's turn to be interrupted.
"Like hell! We're going to find him right this minute and tell him," Logan demanded, "... if that's okay with you at least?"
Marie nodded again, not trusting her voice to work as tears welled in her eyes again, she began to cry again as Logan pulled her back into his arms. "God Marie, I haven't stopped thinking about you in seven years, I've even considered a few times heading up to Alaska to see if I could find you again; I chickened out in the end... I didn't want to destroy those memories if I found you up there with someone else, with a family... never in a million years did I think I would ever get to see you again," Logan murmured softly into her hair.
"I never stopped thinking of you either, I didn't know the first place to try looking for you, but I had Kaden, a little piece of you, there every day to remind me of you," Marie replied, pulling away from him to wipe the happy tears from her eyes. "I've missed you so much."
"If I may interject," Charles commented calmly from the other side of the room, a few minutes later, struggling to draw the pairs attention off each other even with the interruption. "Am I correct in my hearing that Logan is Kaden's father?" he asked directly, though somewhat in disbelief.
"Yes," Marie replied, following after Logan, her hand in his, when he led her back to the two chairs in front of the Professor's desk. "I met Logan just south of Colorado Springs, and he drove me all the way to Dawson Creek, British Colombia before he had to head back south west," she said, smiling fondly at the memories.
"And you were sixteen?" Charles asked, glancing pointedly at Logan though his comment was directed at Marie.
"Hey, she was one hundred percent legal when and where it happened," Logan said, a desperate attempt to cut off that line of questioning, as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
"That was Logan's biggest issue at the time," Marie replied, with a chuckle, "I really did have to talk him into it, that was weird, I never thought I'd have to try and talk someone into having sex with me, I mean, I thought I was okay looking, and everything."
"Shut up," Logan replied with a chuckle, rolling his eyes at her overly dramatic pouting, before he turned his attention to Charles. Who was closely regarding the pair, including their joined hands, they hadn't yet been able to fully disconnect from each other after so long apart.
"Logan, I have known you for a long time, and I know that young women, girls of the barely legal variety, are not to your tastes, in the interests of full disclosure could you elaborate," Charles asked directly. This was a point that couldn't be side stepped, he had heard Marie's side, and while it bothered him the girl had gotten pregnant at sixteen, even if she had said it was fully consensual, it hadn't been his business before, not when the father wasn't in his employ.
"Chuck, I swear it was nothing dodgy, I came across her in a pretty dangerous town, she was being eyed up by a couple of dealers and other less than savoury characters, so I offered her a ride, free of charge as far north as I was going, I even ended up taking her further north than I was initially going, and then doubling back but I knew someone I could get her another ride with so I figured it was worth it. I swear to god I never had designs on her, I was just helping her out, she did literally talk me into it, like you said, kids aren't my thing... she was very mature, her reasons were genuine and... when she said she chose me and was going to leave it in my court to choose her back, well, I made my choice. As horrible as this sounds, it's the first time I've been with a woman because I liked her and chose to be with her rather than just being horny, or bored, and having a convenient female," Logan shrugged, somewhat uncomfortably.
Marie smiled softly, as she listened to his statement, she had had a feeling that she was being watched in that town, and she hadn't realised Logan had taken her so much further than he was intending to go just for himself. It made her feel even more valued and cared for, he had thought ahead, thought specifically about her, and her safety, when he had no reason to. Nothing he was saying made her regret her decisions back then, and she hoped even more that her son took after his father as he matured; he was a good man.
"I see," Charles replied, breaking his own moral boundaries by shamelessly listening in to Marie's surface thoughts. "So, you left Marie in Dawson Creek?" At the pairs nod he continued, "And how far did you get before you found out you were pregnant, Marie?"
"Glenallen, Alaska, that was where I got the test to confirm, I had been aiming for Anchorage but when I started getting sick, I stopped at the next 'big' town I came across, which was Glenallen, I ended up settling there, so, it was a nice town," Marie smiled softly, "The people were good, and after... I didn't want to try and go further, not that way."
Logan picked up her sudden apprehension. "After what?" he asked cautiously. He didn't miss the look Marie and Charles shared, suddenly feeling an ominous cloud descend on over the conversation. "Does this have anything to do with the 'bad man' who's in jail that Kaden talked about?" he asked.
"Yeah," Marie murmured, twining her fingers through his and clutching his hand tighter. "That thing I told you was 'bound to happen sooner or later'... it happened," she stated softly.
Logan stared at her for a moment in silence, shock and anguish in his countenance, before he tugged her back into his arms. "God damn, I'm sorry Marie, I'm so sorry, fuck, I should have taken you the whole way, I should have--" he began to apologize profusely.
"No, Logan, that's life, that's just how it works, everything we go through in life makes us who we are, and I am more than happy with who I am, I can live with how I got here, it taught me a lot, it showed me I'm stronger than I gave myself credit for. And it got that asshole off the streets so he didn't hurt anyone else," Marie added, fire in her voice.
"How long is he in jail for?" Logan asked, his voice just the edge of a growl. Wolverine wasn't happy he hadn't been able to protect her, she was his, he claimed her, no one should have dared touch her, he kicked at Logan, as if to tell him 'see, I told you so', before he sulked in his corner.
"He'll be eligible for parole again in about eighteen months but the full sentence was twelve years, he's halfway through it," Marie informed him.
"How much does Kaden know about that?" Logan asked, the boys own feral seemed to be quite upset over the event also.
"Not much, I have nightmares about it sometimes, and he asked me what the nightmares were about once, wouldn't let me get away with a 'nothing' reply, I just told him that someone hurt me, when he was a tiny baby in my tummy, and sometimes I remembered it when I was sleeping... then he wanted to know what happened to the person who hurt me, and I had to tell him he was locked up in jail, but that's all he knows as far as I know," Marie filled him in.
"He mentioned a kid named Billy, who is that?" Logan asked, eager to know, not only the details of his son's life but how best to help him too.
"Billy the bully, he's what got us on this path, liked to pick on Kaden in particular, and eventually goaded the 'wolf' to react; not sure if you know, your son got expelled from first grade," Marie informed him, trying not to giggle, as horrible as it was, it was kind of funny too.
"I heard, what did he do?" Logan asked.
"At school, he knocked Billy out, clean out no injuries other than bruising, just lost consciousness, can't say the kid didn't get fair warning though, after the hockey incident and the karate incident before that, you'd have thought he would have figured out not to pick on Kaden but he just kept going at it," Marie answered, then she had to fill Logan in on the other incidents.
Logan tried not to laugh as Marie was telling about all the boys exploits, Wolverine postured proudly, his son was a little warrior, he would be a strong leader one day, with the right training. They chattered more about Kaden, his younger life, his educational achievements, his childhood milestones, his birth, and Logan even asked about her pregnancy, and how she handled that.
"I'm sorry you had to do that all alone," Logan commented, hugging her again, before he again suggested they should find Kaden and fill him in. He wanted to meet his son, not just see him, he couldn't wait for a hug, and to hear his son call him daddy; he just hoped the boy wouldn't be too upset with him for missing so much of his life – what had he ever been thinking letting Marie go.
"Can we do that in private, just the three of us, the suite would work, I just... I want him to be comfortable," Marie suggested, her own fears over his reaction obvious.
"That sounds like a great idea," Logan agreed, standing and helping Marie to her feet. "Chuck, why don't you get Jubilee to bring him up to his room in about five minutes?" he asked his old friend, who, despite his initial misgivings, appeared to have come to terms with the situation. With Charles's agreement secured the pair made their way upstairs, both deep in thought and just a little apprehensive.
Exactly five minutes later, Kaden burst into the apartment, the door being closed softly behind him by some unseen chaperone.
"Mommy, what's wrong?" the little boy immediately asked, rushing straight into his mother’s arms.
"Nothing's wrong little man, I just have some very special news for you," Marie replied, squeezing him tightly before setting him down on the couch beside her.
"It's good news, right?" he confirmed, relief evident when Marie nodded solemnly.
"Sweetie, you know when you asked me about your daddy, and I told you how mommy and daddy went to different homes before we knew you were going to be born?" Kaden nodded. "But I told you your daddy would love you very much, and that I would never stop trying to find him so you could meet him?" Again, another nod. "Well little man, I found your daddy, and he very much wants to meet you, would you like to meet him?" she asked.
Kaden froze, eyes comically wide. "My dad... is he here? Can I really meet him?" he asked.
"Yes, little man, just give the word and you can meet him," Marie assured him.
"Right now?" Kaden confirmed, a grin slowly starting to spread across his cute little face.
"Right now, do you want to tell him to come out?" Marie replied with a smile.
"Yes! Come out, come out now!" he declared, jumping up from his seat on the couch and looking around the room excitedly. "M-Mr Logan?" he expressed in confusion, as he looked from the man who stepped out from his mommy’s bedroom, the man he had met earlier that morning, to his mother, and back.
"Yeah little man, it's me, I'm your dad," Logan answered, bobbing down to the little boys’ level where he stood in the middle of the living room.
"How- how do you know?" Kaden asked suspiciously, earning an amused laugh from both adults.
"I never forgot your mommy, that's how, I've been hoping to find her too, and you little man, you were the key to finding her, to finding you. I'm sorry for not being a part of your life before now, if I had known, I'd have been there in a heartbeat," Logan told him gently. He was grudgingly refraining from trying to touch the boy, not wanting to spark a feral reaction but sudden tears welling in his sons eyes gave him pause. "What is it Kaden, what do you need?" he asked.
"C-can I have a hug?" the boy asked, in barely a whisper.
"You can have all the hugs you ever want, son," Logan replied, opening his arms to the boy. Kaden threw himself into his arms, so forcefully Logan had to shift hastily to prevent them both ending up in a heap on the floor. For several minutes they held each other, before Logan opened his arm again and Marie joined them.
It felt like hours they sat there, just holding each other, Kaden and Logan both imprinting the others scent to memory, before the boy pulled back. "So, are you going to be my daddy, for good, are we going to be a family now?" Kaden asked.
"Uh, well, that's something your mom and I will need to talk about, the family thing, but I will always be your dad, and I will always be around whenever you need me," Logan assured him vehemently.
"But, if you're my daddy, and mommy's my mommy, doesn't that mean we're a family?" Kaden asked confused.
"In a way, but, your mommy and I, we were never in a relationship, we- we didn't mean to make a family, and, we need to decide if we want to make our family up now... it's complicated though, adult stuff," Logan tried to explain.
"So, you are still going to be my daddy but... you're not going to live with us?" Kaden suggested, trying to twist the explanation into a form he could understand.
"Yeah, for now, if that changes, you'll be the first to know little man," Logan told him, "For now, my room is on the next floor down if you need to find me for anything."
The little boy considered all this for a few minutes before moving again to hug both his parents. "I hope you decide to be a whole family," he said determinedly.
As Logan held him, he knew he too really liked that idea, he shot a hopeful look over the little boys’ head at Marie and noticed the same soft look on her face. It looked like the little boy was going to get his wish.
And they all lived happily ever after. The end :)
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.