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An Act Too Often Neglected

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Logan didn’t much like Erik Lehnsherr when he first met him in a bar about a year ago. Logan likes him a lot less after he dumps Logan’s tranquilized carcass on Charles Xavier’s doorstep like a dog presenting its owner with a stunned rabbit. Logan’s not sure which annoys him more -- that he has Lehnsherr to thank for rescuing him from that hellpit of a lab, or that Charles spends a lot of time smiling softly at Logan, as though he were particularly touched to have three hundred pounds of adamantium and angry Canadian detoxing at an accelerated rate in his school for mutant kiddies.

Logan has every intention of fucking right off as soon as he can walk without experiencing the worst vertigo of his life (that he can remember, at any rate). But even though Charles puts on a good front, Logan thinks the wheelchair thing is pretty recent -- and Logan’s seen war and death and the aftermath, men trying to find their way as best they can, and he knows Charles Xavier has a ways to go, yet. He finds himself trailing Charles around the mansion, wrinkling his nose in disapproval more and more. “You have fuck all for security around here,” Logan grumbles at him. “You can’t tell me Lehnsherr okayed this.”

“No, I can’t,” Charles agrees easily enough. “I imagine that’s rather why he brought you here.” He looks entirely too pleased at that, like having his household defenses found wanting is something to smile fondly over.

“For Christ’s sake,” Logan says, and stomps down to Hank’s lab to have a serious fucking discussion about perimeter alarms.

***

Logan hears a metric shit-ton of contradictory stories about what happened in Cuba, but everybody agrees on two points -- Charles’ injury was an accident, and Lehnsherr sat with him in a hospital for weeks afterward until they had some sort of blowup and Lehnsherr took off.

“He’s an asshole,” Alex says vehemently when Logan asks why. “Who just leaves somebody like that?” Alex is a punk, but a punk with protective streak a mile long.

“There was a lot of yelling,” Hank recounts later, leaning over some kind of engine prototype and carefully adjusting wiring. “I think the Professor actually asked him to leave.”

“I don’t think he wanted to go. Not really,” is Sean’s opinion. “He just has shit to do, you know?”

Logan actually agrees with that last bit, and can maybe even muster a little bit of gratitude that on Lehnsherr’s list of shit to do, Exhibit A is “break mutants out of secret government facilities.” But clearly, Exhibit B is “make up with Charles Xavier without actually saying I’m sorry for whatever may or may not have happened.”

This is what Logan deduces, anyway, when Lehnsherr shows up on the doorstep again with a briefcase. Logan lets him into the mansion, and Lehnsherr looks -- well, he doesn’t look certain of his welcome, but he does at least take that godawful helmet off indoors, which is just basic manners as far as Logan is concerned.

And without Logan going to fetch him, Charles wheels down the hallway and comes to a stop, looking at Lehnsherr like he’s not entirely sure how he feels either, but he’s willing to let it ride. “Erik,” he says.

Lehnsherr looks at him for a long moment, and then seems to remember that he didn’t come empty-handed. “This is for you,” he says, and presents Charles with the briefcase.

“It’s -- very nice, thank you,” Charles says politely, looking a little baffled.

“Charles,” Lehnsherr growls. “Look inside.”

Charles obediently flips the locks up and pulls out -- Jesus, a whole stack of blueprints.

“What the hell is that?” Logan asks, curiosity getting the better of him.

“I think it’s -- Erik, are these the blueprints for Cerebro? Where did you get them?” Charles says, breathy like Lehnsherr had given him diamonds.

Lehnsherr looks shifty and doesn’t answer.

“Did you steal them?” Charles demands, but doesn’t quite succeed in sounding disapproving. He sure as hell doesn’t smell like he disapproves.

“They were yours in the first place,” Lehnsherr says shortly, making with the intense crazy-eyes. “They had no right to take them from you.”

Logan rolls his eyes, because -- way to be subtle, Lehnsherr.

Not that Charles is doing any better, with the wide eyes and biting his lower lip and generally not looking like someone who might have told Erik Lehnsherr not to let the door hit him on the ass on the way out.

“You’ll need -- materials, equipment, to rebuild it,” Lehnsherr says haltingly, after he and Charles spend an embarrassing amount of time just looking at each other. Well, for all Logan knows, Charles is rattling around in Lehnsherr’s head, but somehow, he doubts it. “I can bring them to you.”

Logan seriously can’t take another second of this, and clears his throat to get their attention. “Talk to McCoy, show him those. I bet he’ll know what you need, and where you can get it.”

Both Charles and Lehnsherr look a little startled, like they’ve completely forgotten he was there, which Logan would find offensive or just downright foolhardy if he weren’t completely uninterested in being involved in this trainwreck.

“Will you, Erik?” Charles asks, like there is any way that Lehnsherr is going to refuse him, not when Lehnsherr is practically panting over the chance to please him.

Logan will give Lehnsherr this much, though -- he has a damn good poker face, because his eagerness doesn’t show as he says, “Of course.” And when Charles hands him the briefcase and their fingers brush, only Logan’s sense of smell tells him that Lehnsherr is hardly unaffected by the contact.

Lehnsherr is safely down the hallway toward McCoy’s lab when Logan mutters, “Sit, roll over, stay.”

“What was that?” Charles murmurs, still looking down the hall in the direction Lehnsherr went.

“Nothing.”

***

If Logan had thought Lehnsherr was purely motivated by his own self-interest, he would probably applaud his next move, but anyone can see from the way Lehnsherr is carrying the little girl in his arms that there’s more at work, here. She’s out like a light, her head with its shock of white hair resting on his shoulder, and her body is boneless in the way only sleeping kids can be.

Logan had been prowling the halls after dark when he heard the car come up the drive, but Charles had been in bed, if his pajamas and bathrobe are any indication. He comes down the hall, wheeling his chair as fast as he can manage, and calls out, “Erik, what on earth--”

“Shh,” Lehnsherr says.

The girl twitches a little bit, but otherwise remains safely asleep. Logan can see bandages here and there on her, can smell coagulated blood, but the care with which Lehnsherr is holding her and the department store smell clinging to the ruffled purple dress she’s wearing both argue against her wounds having anything to do with him.

“There was--” Lehnsherr begins, and then swallows audibly. “They had her--” he tries again. And then he just says, “I know you weren’t planning on students this young, but her family is dead, there’s no one else, I couldn’t just leave her--”

Charles’ eyes are wet. “Of course. Erik, of course.”

Which is all very heartwarming but it’s not like Charles isn’t spread thin already, and Logan has officially had enough of this bullshit. “You planning to stick around this time, bub?”

Lehnsherr frowns at him. “I didn’t think you were going to stay this long.”

“We’re not talking about me. You’re not just going to stick Chuck here with the kid and make him raise her all alone, are you?” Logan says by way of prodding him further.

Charles looks torn between chastising Logan for butting in, and wrapping his arms around Lehnsherr’s waist and never letting go.

For his part, Lehnsherr looks painfully hesitant. “I -- if you--”

“Stay,” Charles says, his voice hoarse. “Erik, please, come home.”

“What about--”

“Everyone,” Charles says. “They’re all welcome, only, Erik, please--”

“All right,” Lehnsherr agrees in a rush.

Logan moves forward and holds his arms out for the girl. “I’ll put her in the room next to Moira’s,” he says, and Lehnsherr manages to tear his eyes away from Charles for long enough to carefully hand her over. She barely stirs when Logan settles her against his chest, just makes a faint noise and smacks her mouth once. He figures he’d better get while the getting is good, and when he pauses at the end of the hallway and looks back, he can make out Lehnsherr on his knees in front of Charles. He can’t catch what they’re saying to each other, can’t smell anything much beyond the salt of tears, but he can recognize a reconciliation in progress when he sees one. And he might not know the whole story -- may never, in fact, which is just fine with him -- but he knows it’s about damn time.