Charles leaned his head on his hand and smiled at the pair napping on the couch.
Logan had fallen asleep after a day of helping the children collect firewood. From what Charles had heard, their antics had involved a large amount of tree climbing and at least two incidents of young mutants falling into a river.
Logan, with his metal-plated bones, was hardly an adept swimmer, but he’d moved quickly to avoid the possibility of the children getting swept downstream. By the time the group had made it to the cabin where they were staying, Logan had been wet, achy, cold, and irritable. He’d just managed to slip out of his shoes and wet clothing before he all but collapsed on the run-down couch they all had salvaged from an abandoned house.
Only one of his legs had actually made it onto the cushions, the other stretched out along the floor. His head sagged against the padded armrest, his grizzled hands resting on his chest. He was looking healthier than he had in a long while, the medicine the children had stolen from Transigen working its magic. There was color in his face, and some of the old scars on his face had faded to near-invisibility.
Laura was napping with him.
She had wedged herself snugly between Logan and the back of the couch, her head resting on his shoulder and one arm thrown across his chest. Her knees were curled up against his hip, and her breathing was gentle and soft.
Charles couldn’t help the flutter of joy that went through his chest.
Rictor walked up next to him and rested one hand on the arm of his wheelchair. “What are you smiling about?” The boy had a grin on his face.
Charles held a finger up to his lips and pointed at the couch. “Listen.”
Rictor settled down, and soon a quiet rumble could be heard echoing through the room.
“What is that?”
“Well, and this is just a hypothesis, I’m fairly certain that’s Logan.”
“Watch his chest.”
Rictor turned back to the couch. The rumble was quiet, hardly noticeable if you didn’t know it was there, but once he was focusing on it the sound seemed to echo through something in his bones. It seemed to rise and fall with the movement of Logan’s breath, quieting down when he inhaled and getting louder when he exhaled.
Rictor quirked an eyebrow. “He’s . . . purring?”
“She is too.”
Rictor took a moment and sorted through the sounds, and heard something above the deep rumble coming from Logan. It was high and airy, almost squeaky, and it rose and fell with Laura’s chest. It was eerily in tandem with Logan’s breathing.
Charles gave a quiet chuckle. “They’ve been like this for a while.”
“Do they know they’re . . . doing that?”
“I don’t think so.” Charles leaned back against his wheelchair, one hand rubbing at his chin in thought. “I’ve never seen Logan do this, and I had no idea something like this was a possibility. It’s as much of a surprise to me as it is to you.”
Logan twitched on the couch, his face twisting into a grimace. The deep rumble of his purr came to a stop, and they heard a high-pitched whine. Before they could do anything, Laura moved. The top of her head slammed into Logan’s jaw and her hands grabbed at his shirt. For a moment both were still, and the noise in the room dropped to complete silence.
Then Logan let out a deep breath and relaxed, sinking back into the couch. Laura sniffed and scooted closer to her father’s face, her head resting in the curve of his neck. The purring started back up, both falling back into a deep sleep.
Charles sighed. “This is good for both of them, I think. Just being around each other.”
Rictor nodded. Laura had always been the quietest of them all, but also the most protective. She hadn’t really opened up until after they reached Canada and their new home, and he knew Logan had something to do with it. They seemed to understand each other in a different way than everyone else.
The boy stood and quietly stretched, giving Charles one pat on the shoulder before going back outside to join the other children. The old man followed soon after, joining his charges in the sunlight.
Logan and Laura slept on, both completely at peace and welcoming the chance to just exist.
And if Laura muttered in her sleep about something smelling like wet dog, well, that didn’t seem to disturb them much.