Logan stands next to Kurt and watches the kids spar. It's a gorgeous early spring day, brilliantly cloudless, and the gray fog that Jean's death cast over the school seems to have lifted just a little. The kids are in higher spirits than they have been in weeks, horsing around as they practice and razzing each other. In the corner of Logan's eye, Kurt's skin glistens an intense cobalt color in the strong sunlight, and it seems wrong somehow. Not bad wrong, but just . . . odd. He's so damned exotic and so obviously designed for the dark, to see him so clearly revealed seems to trespass against some unwritten law. But he looks happy, smiling at the kids' horseplay, just standing there gathering the light on his skin. It's a nice color.
Scanning the field, Logan watches Bobby squaring off with Jubilation. They're not accomplishing much except creating a huge bank of steam and giving each other crippling fits of the giggles. On a normal day, Logan would be on their backs to straighten up and take their practice seriously, but it's been a long time since Bobby's been doubled over with laughter. He can hear the ghost of Jean's voice whispering in his ear, go easy, and he does, glaring at them a little but not saying anything.
Bobby looks over to where Logan and Kurt are standing, a little guilty, knowing that he shouldn't be messing around. His eyes slide over Logan's with a hint of apology, and then fasten on Kurt for a moment before turning back to Jubilee and resuming their practice. God, these kids. Too much hardship and power to be completely naïve, and yet, so green. Just kids, in spite of everything.
"Bobby's got a crush on you," Logan tells Kurt without lifting his eyes from the practice field. "It's sort of cute."
"What does that mean, a crush?"
"It's how when you're a kid, you get fixated on people, you like them more than other people and get all starry-eyed about them. Puppy love." Logan turns to look at him directly now, gauging the reaction.
Kurt laughs, sharp teeth flashing so white in the sunlight. "I like that phrase. Puppy love. With big feet and soft floopy ears." He says it floopy, but it somehow seems more descriptive than the correct pronunciation.
"I'm glad it doesn't bother you. I didn't really think it would."
"Ach, why should it? I'm honored."
Logan shrugs and goes back to watching the field. "Well, some people aren't so open-minded about things."
"Stupidity. Bobby is a charming boy, a good boy. He is kind and he thinks about things, deeply, sometimes even when you think he is not. That he cares about me shows his kindness. He will grow into a good man, and he will use his power well."
The little boy who's practicing with Kitty swings at her and she dissolves. He extends himself too far and falls all the way through her to hit the ground with a thud. He begins to cry, and Logan can see blood on his lips where they're trembling as he's trying not to wail.
"I'll go," Kurt offers, and he's gone with a smell of brimstone before Logan can say okay. He materializes next to the crying child and helps him sit up. Kitty stands next to them uncertainly, looking guilty. Kurt sits next to the boy and says something to Kitty which makes her sit down with them, and the boy crawls into Kurt's lap. All the little kids adore him because he's gentle and sweet and does acrobatics for them after dinner some evenings. The younger teens are sometimes disdainful, with the true snobbery only those in the freefall of adolescence can manage, though it's hard to tell if they're more offended by his looks or his accent and not-quite-perfect command of English. It really pisses Logan off when they cop attitude but Kurt always handles it gracefully. The oldest teens are more polite. They understand that Kurt's a survivor, that to be an alpha who looks that different isn't easy. They respect him.
Kurt wipes the boy's face with a handkerchief pulled from his sleeve and says something that makes the boy smile a little. Then he sets the boy on his feet, and the boy and Kitty shake hands, which earns them each a smile and a pat on the back before their caretaker bamfs back over to Logan.
"The boy only bit his lip, he wasn't hurt badly."
Logan nods and they're both quiet for a moment, keeping their watch over the field like a couple of sheepdogs. Finally, Logan says, "He doesn't just care about you because he's a good kid. He admires you because you deserve it."
Kurt gives him a puzzled look. "Are we still talking about Bobby and the puppy love?"
"Just be careful. He's had a hard year. Don't hurt him."
He's shocked when Kurt stiffens. "I am not a handsome man, Logan, but I am not so desperate that I pick my lovers out of the kindergartens. I would never do such a thing." His golden eyes glint with the steel that sits underneath the kindness, just as hard as the adamantium lurking under Logan's own skin, and his tail whips back and forth.
"God, no." Logan feels clumsy and not-quite-civilized, like a dog that forgot it wasn't allowed to piss on the linoleum. "I didn't mean that at all. I just meant that he could use a friend."
Kurt's cheeks pick up a deeper blue and he looks embarrassed. "Forgive me."
"No, it's my fault. Communication's not really my best thing. Much better at the slicin' and dicin'."
That earns him a little smile. They stand there in slightly uncomfortable silence for a while, until Logan finally breaks the spell. "You shouldn't say that about yourself."
"What did I say?" It probably isn't fair to expect Kurt to work on his English and try to learn Wolverine at the same time. He looks really confused. But Logan presses on.
"That you aren't a handsome man. It's not true."
Kurt snorts a laugh and the tail swishes in a graceful arc behind him. "I have seen a mirror once or twice. It's okay; it stopped being important long ago."
He looks at Kurt, really looks at him. The cobalt blue skin, the black curling hair, the delicate designs he's scarred himself with to mark transgressions that anyone else would have buried and forgotten about. He finds his hand lifting to trace the point of Kurt's ear before he's decided to do it. "You should look again. I don't think you're seeing what I'm seeing."
The tail curls up and winds itself lightly around Logan's wrist, but doesn't pull his hand away. It's warm. They stand frozen like that for a moment, then Kurt begins giggling and releases him. He punches Logan lightly in the arm, playfully. "Oh, you have the puppy love now also? Soon all my admirers will have to take numbers like in the bakery." He laughs again, and checks his watch, and then starts calling to all the kids that it's time for their next classes.
Logan watches Kurt cross the field, blue tail floating behind him, smiling, herding the children back into the mansion, shaking his head at their pleas for five more minutes.
Logan wonders what it would take to convince Kurt that he wasn't joking.