Scott had been expecting this. Ever since Jean had let him know earlier that Logan was pulling back onto the property, Scott had been waiting for this moment. He’d made sure to send everyone away, to have Jean warn people to stay away, and then Scott had sat down in his office to wait. He already had a bottle of whiskey sitting out on his desk. In his hand was a tumbler with a generous amount splashed inside. As he waited, he took a sip off it, hoping maybe that the burn might warm up some of the cold places inside. Or maybe that it might fortify him for the hell that was about to come bursting through his door.
He didn’t have to wait long. He was sitting behind his desk sipping at his whiskey when the door to his office slammed open so hard it bounced off the wall. Logan slapped it again when it snapped back at him and then he was inside and it didn’t matter to him that the door bounced yet again with enough force to actually make it close once more. At any other time Scott might’ve been impressed not only by the amount of strength that took, but by the strength of the door. He made a mental note to check later and find out just what the door was made of. Maybe they should make all the doors around here out of the same material. It might keep them from breaking so often because of little ‘accidents’.
All of that was noted in an absent sort of way. The rest of Scott’s focus was on the furious feral that strode towards him. The sound of Logan’s claws extending echoed loudly in the room. Scott didn’t even flinch. He stayed in place as Logan marched right up to his desk and brandished one fist at him, blue eyes snapping like fire, and every line of that compact body vibrating with the need to let go and break something. If that control snapped, it was Scott that was most likely going to be the thing that broke. He didn’t flinch. Not even when Logan bent down and growled out in his deadliest voice “What the fuck happened?”
There was no need for him to pretend not to know what Logan was talking about. He knew; of course he knew. It was the one topic on everyone’s mind in this house and the one thing that no one wanted to talk about. Scott didn’t even think to question how Logan found out when no one was saying a word. Did it really matter who told him? He’d known that someone would. Just as he’d known that Logan would come looking for him for answers. He was team leader. He was supposed to have answers for this. Though he hadn’t even been there, he was still supposed to have answers. Only, how could he answer Logan’s questions when he still had so many himself?
It wasn’t time for his own personal introspection. Scott pushed down his pain and grief and the guilt—always the guilt, clawing at his soul and ripping him to shreds until he swore he was bleeding from it inside and how the hell could no one see?—and he focused on the person who needed his attention the most right now. Not because he felt particularly threatened by Logan, but because if there was anyone that deserved answers here, it was Logan. This would affect him for than probably anyone in this house. There was no one who would grieve more. Not even Ororo, though that pained Scott to admit. She was still too caught up in her anger and feelings of betrayal to grieve right now.
Scott sat back in his chair, heedless of the claws still held out towards him, and he threw back the last shot in his glass. He didn’t try telling Logan to sit down, or offer him a drink. Not yet. It wasn’t time for that yet. Logan wanted answers and he would get them. “I wasn’t with the team, but from what I was able to piece together, it would seem there was a trial…”
For fifteen minutes straight Scott talked about everything that he’d been able to piece together. After the first five, Logan leaned back. By the time Scott was halfway through, just to the point where he calmly revealed, in the same neutral tone that he’d told this whole thing, about Remy’s involvement in the Mutant Massacre, Logan reached out and poured himself his first drink. He was on his fourth by the time that Scott got to the end. A fifth was poured, just sipped at. Though he knew Logan could slam it all back like it was water, he’d picked the good stuff for this. It seemed appropriate. Remy would’ve approved of the bottle.
And just like that, the pain was back, cutting through him, and Scott was grateful his story was done because he wasn’t sure he would’ve been able to keep the emotion out of his voice. He poured another drink for himself, using it to chase away the take of bile in the back of his throat. The burn ran down to his stomach and he let it settle there, let it steady him, before he spoke again. “Jean and I went back. We went back and looked everything. She used her powers until she was barely conscious—there was no sign of him.”
Neither one of them mentioned Remy’s ability to keep telepaths out. They both knew that, even half out of his mind, he would’ve at least accepted Jean’s touch if he’d felt it, and he always felt it even when a telepath tried just a casual look.
How long the two men sat in silence, Scott didn’t know. He didn’t really care. There was a brief touch from his wife during which he let her know that they were fine, that was it, and then she left him be to deal with this as needed. It had taken a lot of convincing earlier before she agreed to let this happen. Scott hadn’t been willing to give in. He and Logan might not have always gotten along and they might enjoy fighting with one another more than they probably should—and God knows that man could push his buttons better than anyone else here, he always knows how to send Scott’s temper skyrocketing—but he had a feeling he was one of the only ones in the house who would understand the feral right now. No one else would realize the depth of Logan’s pain. Most people here didn’t seem to realize just how deeply he did feel. No one except Remy. But Remy’s not here anymore. Because you failed him. You failed him and you failed your team. Scott shoved those thoughts down under another shot of whiskey.
The bottle was three quarters gone and neither man was feeling the buzz when Logan finally spoke. “Has anyone stopped by here looking for him?”
Scott shook his head. “No. We tried to find a way to contact the LeBeau family down in New Orleans, but we haven’t had any luck.”
“It’ll be handled.” Logan said firmly. He threw back another shot and Scott caught a flash of the pain in those blue eyes. Then they froze over once more to hide everything. The skill of a man who had lived through so much, lost so many, and had learned how to square his shoulders and just keep on keeping on. Those cool eyes lifted to Scott’s face. “I’m gonna take some time. I got notifications to make and this aint news ya hand out over the phone.”
“Are you going to go tell his family?”
Logan snorted and looked down at his empty glass. “You could say that.”
“I want to come with you.”
That brought Logan’s head up, surprise plastered on his face. He was no more surprised than Scott was, though. But surprise or not, it didn’t take away from the words. He wanted to do this. No, he needed to do this. As team leader, he was responsible for these people, every single one of them. The X-Men may belong to Charles but the teams belonged to him. They were his people. Like any good commanding officer, he needed to be there when the notifications were made. He needed to pay his respects to the people important enough to warrant a face to face notification.
His surprise only grew when Logan nodded at him. There was something akin to understanding and sympathy in the man’s eyes. “I’m fixing to leave tonight. No more than a few hours.”
“I’ll be ready.” Scott said simply.
The two shared a nod of understanding. Then, though they spoke not a word, they both lifted their glasses in a silent toast. Scott only wished it didn’t taste so bitter going down.
They took separate vehicles out there. Scott had assumed that they would take a car together. That assumption had grown when Logan brought down a few bags and put them into the trunk, with their silent audience watching on. No one dared say a word in the face of the fury on Logan’s face or the coldness of Scott’s expression. They said nothing as Logan took Remy’s things—who knew he had so few things? All his time with them and it fit into a large rucksack and a small duffle bag—and put them in the car. And no one said anything when Logan walked over to Remy’s precious motorcycle. Scott saw the man climbing on and he understood what was going on. Logan was leaving nothing of Remy’s here for these people. People he felt betrayed his friend. Scott couldn’t really blame him. They had betrayed him, all of them. Though none so heinously as him.
It was easy to follow Logan on the road. For once, the man didn’t race ahead, didn’t speed like there were demons on his tail. He kept a speed that Scott could follow and always stayed at least within sight. But of all places that they could end up going, he could honestly say that he hadn’t expected it to be Washington DC. As far as he knew, all of Remy’s family was back in Louisiana. Then again, you didn’t really know him at all, did you? His mind taunted. Scott pushed that thought back, too. He’d become an expert at that.
They eventually pulled into the parking lot of an apartment building. Scott parked his car in the slot next to where Logan had parked and he quietly climbed out, not asking questions, just waiting. Logan stood beside the bike and looked up at the building for a long moment. He looked like a man carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Someone who knew they were about to do something horrible and there was no way out of it.
“This is gonna get bad, Cyke.” Logan’s low voice rumbled in the night. He turned his eyes from the building to pin Scott with his stare and the nearby streetlight seemed to reflect off them, giving them an even icier appearance than before. “I know you feel you do, but you aint gotta be here for this. But I promised Rem a long time ago I’d do this personally if it ever came down to it.”
“I need to.” It was all Scott said, but it was enough. Logan nodded at him. Silently, the man took off towards the building, and Scott followed close behind.
They made their way up three flights of stairs before Logan stopped in front of an apartment door. There was a brief moment when the man visibly gathered himself, his strength, his control, and then he lifted a hand and firmly knocked on the door. This was it. Scott stood behind him and tried to prepare himself for whatever was coming. He tried to brace himself even though he knew nothing could. They were about to deliver terrible news to someone whose grief was going to be immense. There was no preparing for that.
It took a minute that felt like hours before the door opened. The person who answered it wasn’t quite what Scott had expected to see. Whoever this kid was, he wasn’t family of Remy’s. There was no resemblance there except in that they were both tall. Whereas Remy was tall, he was also well defined with a body used to fighting and moving. This kid was tall and slender, almost delicate looking. He had wide brown eyes set in a youthful face that was made even younger by the shaggy brown hair that surrounded it. He looked like a businessman or a professor in slacks and a button up shirt, and Scott had bet a tie had been worn at some point before he got home and shed it.
The man lit up when he saw Logan. “Logan!” There was honest happiness on his face and in his eyes. His smile stretched wide. Then, in just the blink of an eye, it all froze.
Logan let out a soft sigh. “Hey, Spencer.” His voice was lower, a soft rumble. It was the tone that Scott had heard him use once or twice with Jubilee or Kitty when they woke up from nightmares or were scared.
The kid’s smile melted away and Scott swore he could see all the color drain from his face. They didn’t have to say anything. Whoever this kid was, he saw it on them, saw it written on their faces. His eyes grew impossibly wider until they seemed to take up his whole face. They shot over to Scott like they were looking for anything that might make this not real. When he didn’t find it, they flashed back to Logan, and the fear there was like a fist to the gut. This kid, Spencer, gripped tightly to the doorframe until his knuckles went white. “No.” The word broke from him, a trembling whisper that held so much grief to it. “Logan…”
“I’m so sorry, slick.” Logan said.
Spencer bowed his head and squeezed his eyes shut. The low moan that he gave was one that Scott knew would haunt his dreams for a long time to come. It was a raw sound, full of an almost animalistic pain. Then, to Scott’s shock, the man seemed to—flicker. That was the only way that Scott could describe it. He flickered like an image on a television that was cutting in and out. And then he vanished completely.
A low curse came from Logan and the man quickly reached forward, had in fact already been reaching forward when the kid started to flicker, but his hand encountered nothing. He quickly darted through the door and there was nothing for Scott to do but follow him and make sure that the door was shut behind him. Whatever happened in here, this wasn’t something for public consumption. Strangers didn’t need to bear witness to this. When Scott looked across the room and saw Logan wrapped around thin air, or what appeared to be thin air, with this look on his face that was more devastating than anything Scott had ever seen, so full of a grief that seemed centuries old, he couldn’t help but think that maybe he shouldn’t be witnessing this, either. He felt like an outsider standing on the edge of something personal and private. The grief in the air was a palpable thing that pressed heavy against his skin and would’ve brought tears to his eyes if he were physically able to cry. Standing there frozen in the entryway of this apartment, he watched as Logan held on to the empty air, held what Scott assumed was this invisible man, and he could see Logan’s mouth moving, could just faintly hear enough words to tell him that Logan was giving the same speech that Scott had given him hours ago.
The air that Logan was holding gave another flicker, like what had happened in the door, only this time it was that same young man flickering back instead of away, and the scene was all the more heartbreaking as Scott became able to see the man again. This man who had looked before like someone young and who now looked like a child curled tightly into his father’s arms. Logan moved from a squat to sit down right there against the wall and he didn’t hesitate to draw this slender young man right up into his lap, dragging him in close, and Scott’s heart gave a lurch when Spencer's fists went tight in Logan’s shirt and he drew his knees up to his chest, compacting into this shaking ball. Logan wrapped strong arms around him and drew him in impossibly closer. There was such strength in that gesture. Such tenderness. He held Spencer close as if he could shelter him from the world with just the protection of his arms. His head bowed down and he pressed one cheek against messy brown hair and Scott could still see his lips moving, catch faint whispers of reassuring words they both knew meant nothing to the trembling young man that was still flickering in his arms. It wasn’t the words but the tone that would register with Spencer. Another layer of the protection that Logan was wrapping around him. He was anchoring this Spencer in every way that he could and Scott marveled at the depth of tenderness that Logan was displaying. The unselfconscious way that the usually gruff, growling feral was holding and caring and protecting this broken young man.
One thing that Scott had learned over the years was that most people reacted with denial at first when bad news was delivered. They tried to deny the truth, sometimes even begging and pleading for you to tell them that it was all a joke, demanding for there to be another answer. That was a part of the process that Scott had been through, both inside himself and with other people, and he’d expected it here, but it didn’t come. Spencer bypassed that and went straight to pain.
“Logan.” The word came out low and broken, throbbing with pain, and it cut through Scott like a knife.
Logan rubbed his cheek against Spencer's hair and seemed to draw him in even closer, though Scott wasn’t sure how. They already looked plastered together. “Shh, kid, I know. Just let it out, Spencer. I’ve got you. I’m here. I’ve got you.”
And like those words had been some sort of magical permission, as if he’d only been waiting to be told it was okay, the young man fell to pieces. Scott knew he would never, not in all his years, forget this day. He would never forget the painful sounds that tore past Spencer's lips, the violent sobs that shook that slender frame until it seemed like he would come apart if it weren’t for Logan holding him together. This wasn’t grief at the loss of a friend. This wasn’t even grief for the loss of someone that was family, or like family. This was grief for the loss of someone so loved they were like a part of your very soul. Though Remy and Rogue were on-again-off-again, there was no doubt in Scott’s mind that this man right here loved Remy with every single fiber of his being in a way that no one else did.
Through it all Logan just held on and let him grieve and he kept whispering those same words over and over again. That’s it, just let it go, telling him that he had him and it was okay to let go, he was here for him and he wasn’t going anywhere. He kept up that stream of words while his blue eyes lifted and locked on Scott, as tumultuous as an ocean in a storm, grieving in his own way even as his voice remained steady while he kept up his litany of reassurance. Not once did he tell him it was okay. He never said anything close to that. He didn’t tell him it would be okay, that everything was going to be all right. He just reassured him that he was there. With body and words, he let Spencer know that he was in a safe place and that he could let go, and that was what Spencer did. He continued to flicker in and out of visibility as he cried. Logan never faltered, never flinched away when the man in his arms vanished. He just stayed there and held him as the screaming sobs slowly tampered down until, so suddenly it was a surprise, they cut off.
Worried, Scott took a step forward, not quite sure what he was going to do, but Logan didn’t look worried. If anything, the man relaxed a little, body slumping ever so slightly. One of his hands slid up Spencer's back until he was cupping the back of his head, blunt fingers threaded through fine hair, keeping Spencer's head cradled close. Scott saw what had happened when he got closer. One look at Spencer's face told him—the man had passed out. The pain, the explosion of grief, it had been too much. His body hadn’t been able to handle it and had sought out the blessed relief of unconsciousness.
Logan surprised him once again by turning his head just enough to press a soft kiss against Spencer's hair in yet another gesture that put Scott in mind of a father and his child, or at the very least an older brother with a much younger brother. There was definite love in that gesture, though. In all of this. A familial love that was stronger than some of the bonds that Scott had seen between real family members. Strong arms shifted around Spencer and once more Logan looked up to Scott. “Help me brace him so I can get up.”
The man was surprisingly light when Scott took some of his weight off Logan. They didn’t move him completely—even unconscious, Spencer was still holding to Logan and he seemed to flicker a little when Logan shifted away from him. But in a few short moves, Logan was back into a squat and he had Spencer cradled in his arms and then he was lifting him, straightening himself at the same time, and Scott helped to keep Spencer's head from flopping as they rose up. With Spencer in his arms, his head now tucked against Logan’s neck, they carefully made their way not to the bedroom, but over to the couch. Logan very carefully made his way over and then sank down onto the far end of the long couch. He didn’t look up at Scott as he adjusted Spencer in his lap, but he did speak in a low voice. “Down at the end of the hall is the kid’s room. Would you go grab the quilt off the bed, an his cell phone off the dresser?”
Scott moved quickly, not even really taking time to look around as he darted down the hall and grabbed the requested items. By the time he got back out to the living room he found that Logan had stretched Spencer out on the couch with the kid’s head pillowed in his lap. Scott handed the cell phone to Logan and then moved to lay the quilt down himself, just like tucking in a child.
“I’ll have to call his boss later.” Logan said, setting the phone down on the table beside the couch. “Let him know the kid aint coming to work for a few days.”
Scott tucked the blanket down around Spencer's feet, making sure he was completely covered. “Is there anything I can do to help?”
“Naw.” Shaking his head, Logan looked down at Spencer, one large hand coming down to once more thread through that long hair, and this time Scott had a feeling the gesture was more for Logan’s sake. The kid wasn’t conscious to even register the touch. “Rem built a plan just in case something like this ever happened. He knew our life wasn’t always safe and he wanted to make sure the kid would be taken care of. Spencer don’t know it, but Rem and I met with the kid’s boss once, just to make sure the man knew his part of things. We’ve got plans in place.”
“He’s important to you.” It wasn’t what Scott had been thinking, but he couldn’t bring himself to really ask what he wanted. He couldn’t make himself actually ask who this kid was and why he was so important to both Remy and Logan.
Yet, the look that Logan gave him told him the man had clearly heard the unspoken words. He looked up as Scott sank down into the nearby recliner and he gave him a sort of half smile. “Far as I know, him and Gumbo have known one another since they were teens. Met up bout the time that Spencer's powers kicked in an they’ve been close since then. A few years back, we were hear in DC for something or other and the Cajun decided to introduce us, an we been friends since. I promised him if anything ever happened, I’d make sure the kid was taken care of.”
There was more to that story, a whole lot more, but it wasn’t Scott’s place to ask and he knew that. The way that Logan was holding this kid, caring for him, the way he looked at him with that kind of paternal love, spoke of a much longer story. A very private one that Scott knew better than to try prying in to. He let that all slide and turned his own eyes down to the brown head peeking out the top of the quilt. “He’s lucky to have you.” Scott murmured.
A low snort slipped from Logan. “I’m lucky to have him. He’s …special.” The way he said that told Scott that he wasn’t just referring to Spencer's relationship with Remy. He meant ‘special’ in an entirely different way. Logan’s gaze softened into a look that Scott had only seen when the feral man looked at the ones he considered like his kids. It was a soft look, a warm one, only this time it was tinted with worry and heartache. It was the most open that Scott had ever seen him be and it was a heartbreaking experience and one that Scott could’ve lived without ever having seen, this open and vulnerable part of a person he’d always sort of thought of as indestructible. But Logan didn’t look indestructible now. He looked worried and so protective of the young man that was curled against him like some lost child seeking comfort. “He’s special.” He repeated again in a low murmur. “And this is going to shatter him. I just hope like hell I’ll be enough to put some of the pieces back together.”
The room grew quiet after those soft words. What else could be said? Scott sat back in the chair and watched as Logan sat there and carefully watched the young man in his lap, a man who very obviously had a part of his heart and who had been someone so important to Remy. Someone that no one else at the mansion had known about. In this young man, Scott was getting a glimpse of a different Remy, one that he had seen only hints of before, and he found himself grieving even more for the loss of this part of him that he would never get to know, a part that inspired such love that the loss of it left a young man broken and shaking on a couch, cradled in his friend’s arms.