Hurt & Comfort

Book 7: From Hurt to Comfort

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Chapter 22: Considering and Reconsidering

"Charles?" Eric said in question as he knocked on the door of the office.

The door was unlocked, so Eric entered cautiously.

"Charles!" Eric said as he ran to the slumped form of Professor Xavier behind the desk.

Eric flexed his power and caused Charles' wheelchair to follow him as he ran to the nearest elevator.

* * * * *

Robert walked into the kitchen to find his Father and Bobby looking expectantly at him and Remy putting pots and pans on the stove.

"Father, Bobby, I'm sorry I acted so impulsively." Robert said shyly as he stood just inside the kitchen door.

"Are you still in love with Bobby?" Andrew asked carefully.

Robert nodded shyly.

"What do you want to do about it?" Andrew asked with a little fear.

"I will do as you say and wait. I am too young for an adult relationship... Bobby, will you continue to be my friend?" Robert asked hopefully.

"Of course. We're going to go running every day and hang out all the time." Bobby said with assurance.

"Bobby, I will wait. But when I am sixteen, I will ask you to be my boyfriend." Robert said as a vow.

"Robert, that's a long way off. Let's just enjoy today, when that day comes, I'll give you my answer." Bobby said with a comforting smile.

Robert nodded.

"He needs a hug." Andrew said and glanced to Bobby.

Bobby smiled and moved to pull Robert close.

Robert melted into the hug and made sure to imprint each and every sensation into his data-node for later review.

* * * * *

Warren whispered to Jimmy.

After a nod, Jimmy jumped off Kurt's lap and ran into the Kitchen.

A moment later Jimmy ran out of the kitchen and said, "He said an hour."

Warren smiled and said to the room, "We're going to go to the mansion for a little while. We'll be back in time for lunch."

"I vill take us. It vill be faster." Kurt said anxiously and opened his arms.

Warren walked to Kurt's left as Jimmy walked to Kurt's right. Then in a BAMF they were gone.

"Goodness!" Vada exclaimed as they disappeared.

"I'm sorry Aunt Vada, I guess I should have warned you about that." Xander said sheepishly.

"No, no. It's fine. Even if you had told me... to actually see such a thing... it's beyond imagining." Vada said in wonder.

"You get used to it." Alex said simply.

"Apparently Kurt and Warren took Jimmy shopping, but they haven't had a chance to look at the stuff yet. Kurt said the shopping isn't done till you look at what you bought." Scott said with a smile.

Andrew walked out of the kitchen and walked to Alan.

"Love, since Remy is making a special lunch, I was wondering if you wanted to make something for the kids... they haven't tried food yet... maybe they'll like it. And since it's a special occasion..." Andrew said quietly.

"It's a good idea but I don't know if I'm up to cooking. I don't think I could stand all that time. Love, I'm *really* pregnant." Alan said with apology.

"I could help." Alex offered quietly.

Andrew and Alan both looked at Alex in question.

"If you could tell me what to do, I could do it. You wouldn't have to get up from the kitchen chair." Alex said simply.

"Thanks Alex. With your help, our children will have their first meal today." Alan said with a smile.

* * * * *

Bobby walked into the living room and walked quietly to Andrew's side.

"Um, Andrew? I was wondering if you could send me to Ronny so I could visit with him today. I'm worried about him." Bobby asked in a whisper.

Andrew got a considering look then said, "I'll go with you. If Ronny wants to, he can join the family for lunch today."

"Really? You mean you're going to let him out?" Bobby asked with a smile.

"On a trial basis. If he can behave himself around us... let's just see how the meal goes, okay?" Andrew asked shakily.

"Yeah, from the way he was last time I talked to him, I think he'll be okay." Bobby said with hope.

"We'll see." Andrew said, wondering if this was such a good idea.

* * * * *

"What you've had is a mild seizure which is directly related to your level of stress and exhaustion." Hank said seriously.

"What is your recommendation Doctor?" Eric asked seriously.

"He needs a vacation. For no less than one week, he needs to be completely away from here. The stress he has been carrying has finally reached a toxic level." Hank said, looking Eric in the eyes.

"I'll see to it Doctor." Eric said with certainty.

"Don't I get a say in this?" Charles asked weakly.

"No. You've worked yourself into this state by doing it your way. Now you're going to come with me for at least a week and we are going to relax. End of story." Eric said in a commanding voice.

"But the school, I can't leave things as they are." Charles said desperately.

"Charles, go to your office, tie up your loose ends and turn over control to someone within the next two hours, because in three hours we'll be on our way to an island in the Bahamas for an undetermined amount of time." Eric said forcefully, then turned to Hank and asked, "Is that acceptable to you Doctor?"

"Yes, and if I can be of assistance, just let me know." Hank said with caring.

"Of course." Eric said with assurance.

"I can't turn over control. There's too much to do." Charles said, working himself into a state of anxiety.

"Doctor, may I use your phone for a moment. I need to show Charles how it's done." Eric said calmly..

"Right here. Help yourself." Hank said with a smile.

Eric dialed the phone and waited for an answer.

"I need to speak with Senator Kelley." Eric said forcefully.

"Mystique, I'll be leaving for an undetermined time. See to things while I'm gone." Magneto said with strength.

"No, I'll be out of touch. Use your best judgement... Professor Xavier will be leaving with me, be sure to offer your assistance to whoever he puts in charge in his absence." Eric said and smiled tenderly at Charles.

"Fine. I'll be leaving immediately so you're in charge as of now. I'll contact you when I return." Eric said. After a moment he hung up the phone.

"You see Charles, that's how you do it. She will sink or swim on her own merits. Given Mystique's talents, I believe she will face the challenge and flourish." Eric said as he turned to Charles.

"You win. I'll go get things in order. Thanks Eric-love." Charles said with a gentle smile.

* * * * *

"So what are you going to fix the kids?" Alex asked as he helped Alan to sit in the kitchen.

"I was thinking about some tofu soup, some boiled carrots, and some diluted lime Jell-O for dessert." Alan said as he considered the alternatives.

A shiver ran up Alex's spine and he made a sour face. "Damn... What did they ever do to you?"

"Alex, the kids have never eaten food before and they have enhanced senses. Our food would be too strong for them, even if they could force themselves to eat it, it would make them sick." Alan said seriously.

"Oh, okay... but boiled carrots? That's just nasty. What about boiled potatoes? We can make up a variety of low taste toppings for them to choose from." Alex said seriously.

"I didn't think of that. Alex, that's a wonderful idea." Alan said with excitement.

"If you like, Remy can boil some potatoes for everyone. Den you can make toppings for all de people." Remy said as he shelled and veined shrimp.

Alan got a smile and said, "Thank you Remy, that will make the kids feel like they're really part of mealtime if they can have something that everyone else is having. Just make sure to boil the flavor out of their food." Alan finished with concern.

"Remy cook all de potatoes together, den take out dose for us. De rest have de water drained off and new water to finish de boiling. Dat should get rid of de flavor." Remy said without missing a move of his shrimp shucking.

"Excellent. and while you're doing that, I'll work on the toppings and Alex can work on the Jell-O and the soup. I made sure to buy the stuff we needed in case one of the kids wanted to try food." Alan said happily.

"If they can only have tasteless food, why don't I make up some poi? I can't think of any food that has less taste than traditional poi." Alex said seriously.

"I've never had it, but if you want to make some, we'll offer it to them. Who knows, they might like it." Alan said with a shrug.

"Well, I can't make it today, I'll need to go to the store first. but I'll do it soon." Alex said as he pulled the Jell-O from the pantry.

"You'll need to get the unflavored gelatin too. It needs to be diluted for them to tolerate it." Alan said quickly.

"Yeah, I'll get it... But what's with the lime? It's like hospital food." Alex said and got the unflavored gelatin envelope.

Alan just stared at Alex until Alex looked up and caught his gaze.

Alex thought for a moment, then said, "Because hospital food is mostly tasteless and tolerated by people with weak stomachs."

"Right. There's no how-to manual with these kids. I just do what I think best." Alan said seriously.

"You do a good job. Marguerite be lucky to grow up in de house wit you and de children." Remy said from over his cookpot.

Alan got a big smile and said, "Thanks Remy. The kids are lucky to have you and Xander here too, and I know they'll love Marguerite."

* * * * *

"Excuse me everyone. Bobby and I decided that we need to invite someone else to lunch. We'll be back soon." Andrew said boldly.

"Who? Isn't everyone you ever met here?" Xander asked with a teasing grin.

"No, one got away, we're going to get him now." Andrew said with a smile and made a portal.

Vada watched with astonishment as Andrew and Bobby walked through the portal and it closed behind them.

"You people sure do come and go in some unusual ways around here." Vada said in astonishment.

Lee nodded in agreement.

Trey, William, and Peter walked to the television and pulled it sideways in the entertainment center.

"Be careful kids, that's breakable." Scott said in warning.

"We will be careful Uncle Scott. It is necessary for us to see the size and type of connection to the vid screen so we can make the proper attachment." Trey said as Peter showed him the attachment that he was looking for.

After a moment of looking, they carefully put the television back in its original place and went back to the basement.

"What are they doing?" Vada asked curiously.

"I'm not really sure. I think they're making some sort of video feed so we can watch something that Alan and Andrew brought from the future." Scott said in thought.

At Vada's questioning look he said with a smile, "It's a really long story and I don't know it all. You'll need to ask Andrew or Alan when they get back in here."

Vada nodded and looked at the group of people around her again.

* * * * *

Andrew cast his mind out and found Ronny in the common room.

With a flex of his power, he and Bobby were phased. They walked into the room to find Ronny standing over Logan who was vomiting blood into a wastebasket.

"Oh gods, is he okay?" Andrew asked as he watched.

Ronny turned a concerned gaze to Andrew and said, "Yeah, he's been doing this for most of the night. He says it's like this sometimes."

"Bobby, wait here. Go ahead and ask Ronny. I'm going to talk with Hank for a minute." Andrew said with determination flaring in his eyes.

Bobby nodded and watched as Andrew faded from view.

"Ask me what?" Ronny asked while continuing to watch Logan.

"If you want to come to lunch with us. It'll be like a break for you." Bobby said as he watched Logan retching in obvious pain.

"I can't. I won't leave Logan alone." Ronny said with concern.

Logan picked his head up and said, "You go ahead kid. You need a break and all you're going to miss here is more of the same."

"But I can come back after lunch, right?" Ronny asked with worry.

"Yeah, whenever you want. We've got a bunch of family at the boathouse and Andrew thought you'd like to meet them. There are even some not mutants there." Bobby finished with a smile.

"It's okay, Andrew already told me that I'm a mutant. But being around some people who don't care what I am sounds nice." Ronny said and continued to watch Logan.

* * * * *

"Hank!" Andrew called as he walked into the MedLab.

"He's in the BioLab." Tara said quietly.

Andrew nodded and made his way past the operating room and to the back of the MedLab.

"Hank, Logan... Matt really needs help. He's puking his guts up right now and he looks really weak. Ronny said he's been sick all night." Andrew said strongly.

"I haven't been able to come up with anything that will cure the virus." Hank said as he looked up tiredly from his work.

"Then can you do anything about the symptoms? He's been fighting this thing for months, and it looks like he's losing." Andrew said with worry.

"Perhaps. Logan's healing factor counteracts many medications. What I really need is a way to induce a powerful fever in him... but I can't think how." Hank said with exhaustion.

"A fever? Is that all you need?" Andrew asked incredulously.

"Yes, but there isn't anything that I can give him that will work with his healing factor." Hank said darkly.

"If I can provide the fever, what else would you need to do to heal him?" Andrew asked in a professional tone.

"He would need to be in observation until it was certain that the virus had been completely destroyed. I suppose I could adapt the containment chamber in the BioLab to be more... habitable." Hank said, starting to perk up with the glimmer of hope.

"How long till it's ready?" Andrew asked shortly.

"Give me... three hours. I think I can have it all set up in that time frame." Hank said in thought.

"Get Logan to help you. He can provide things that will make Matt more comfortable... and make sure there's beer. If he has to be in a cage, at least he should be able to relax." Andrew said forcefully.

"Why are you adamant about this?" Hank asked at Andrew's fierce look.

"Hank, he's suffering. I'd want to help anyone who's in that much pain. Please start on the room. I'm going to go back and let him know." Andrew said with a forced smile.

"You're sure that you can induce a fever?" Hank asked in confirmation.

"Yeah, that's one thing I'm sure of." Andrew said and opened a portal back to the common room.

* * * * *

Andrew faded into view and asked, "Well Ronny, would you like to join the family for lunch today?"

Ronny cast a concerned glance toward Logan before saying, "Yeah, but I can come back as soon as lunch is over, right?"

"Sure, you just say the word and I'll bring you right back." Andrew said assuringly.

"And Logan, Hank has a treatment to try out on you. He said he'll be ready for you in three hours. That okay with you?" Andrew asked carefully.

Logan looked at Andrew and nodded.

"I'll be back for you in about three hours. Don't worry Logan, it's almost over." Andrew said with concern.

Logan rested back on the couch and said, "Go on, the sooner you get your stuff done, the sooner I can get outta here."

Andrew smiled and said, "It's a deal."

* * * * *

Andrew, Bobby and Ronny ported into the living room of the boathouse to find the people in groups chatting.

"How about I introduce you around Ronny?" Andrew asked.

Ronny just nodded, not used to all the noise after being nearly alone for so long.

"Ronny, this is Scott, Aunt Vada and Mr. Howlett." Andrew said formally.

"Please call me Ken. I'm only Mr. Howlett when I'm on duty." Ken said with a smile.

"It's nice to meet you Ronny... What's your relation to this family?" Aunt Vada asked with a gentle smile.

"I... Um..." Ronny stammered, trying to think of a decent answer for that.

"He's Bobby's brother." Andrew said and put a hand on Bobby's shoulder.

"Oh, and Bobby's related to you how?" Vada asked curiously.

"He's been accepted as part of the family. He's friends with my son Robert and has been a friend to me since I arrived here." Andrew said frankly.

"It's good to meet you Bobby. It's a pleasure to meet two fine young men like yourselves. Are you students here?" Vada asked pleasantly.

"I am, Ronny is visiting me." Bobby said quickly.

"Does that mean it's the first time for you to visit this family Ronny?" Vada asked gently.

"Yes ma'am." Ronny said shyly.

"Well I'm new here too, so if you feel overwhelmed, come and talk with me, we can prop each other up." Vada said in a tone that was nearly a chuckle.

"Thank you, I'll do that." Ronny mumbled and was led by Andrew to another group of people.

"Angel, Faith, I'd like to introduce you to Ronny, Bobby's brother." Andrew said with a smile.

"We've met... but you were more vocal last time." Angel said teasingly.

"I had some time to calm down." Ronny said with a note of shame.

"You see, this is what happens when a girl goes off the market." Faith said with exasperation. "I'm with Robin for a few weeks and cute guys start crawling out of the woodwork."

Ronny blushed as Bobby smiled radiantly.

"Before you're completely corrupted by Faith's attention, come over here and meet my dad." Andrew said happily.

Andrew led Ronny and Bobby away to the sound of Faith's laughter.

"This is my father Lee and my friend Xander." Andrew said with appropriate gestures, then continued, "And this is Ronny."

"You're looking a lot less transparent. How are you doing?" Xander asked carefully.

"I'm worried about Logan. He's really sick." Ronny said quietly.

"Hank's working on converting the containment room into something livable for Logan. If we can burn the virus out of his system, he'll need to stay in observation for a while to make sure it won't come back." Andrew said with his own concern showing.

"Are you sure it's going to work?" Xander asked with caring.

"Sort of, if it was anyone but Logan, the fever would kill them. But it should work fine. We'll find out in about three hours." Andrew said seriously.

"I'm glad, he didn't look good when I saw him yesterday." Xander said in thought.

"Ronny, my dad's here for the first time today too. So like Aunt Vada said, you can talk to him if all these people get to be too much." Andrew said with a smile at his dad.

"Your dad's the same age as you? How did that happen? And what kind of a sick freak was your mom?" Ronny asked, then felt shame at the statement.

Lee was about to answer when Andrew said, "Dad and I don't age. He looked like this when I was born. And mom's just your standard, run of the mill type sick freak."

"Andrew, it's not nice to talk about your mother like that." Lee said sternly.

"But dad, she's a drunk and a whore..." Andrew began but was interrupted.

"I don't care what you think of her... but she *is* your mother. If you can't say something nice about her, then don't talk about her." Lee said sternly.

Andrew cast his eyes down and said, "Yes dad."

Ronny began to laugh, and drew Andrew's attention.

"Sorry, I couldn't help it. You were so... so fatherly... with me, now I just got to see your father rip into you. It's kinda cool." Ronny said through his chuckles.

"Okay. Now you see you're not the only one with things to learn." Andrew said with a smile and a wink to his dad.

Ronny nodded and continued to chuckle.

Andrew looked around and something occurred to him.

"Before I take you to the basement with the other kids, I'll give you the grand tour, you want to join us dad?" Andrew asked pleasantly.

Lee nodded and moved to Andrew's side.

* * * * *

Jimmy, Kurt and Warren appeared in Warren's bedroom in the mansion.

"Can we open ze packages now?" Kurt asked with excitement.

"Sure, Jimmy, why don't you hand them out?" Warren asked as he turned a chair to sit backward on it, so it didn't interfere with his wings.

Jimmy grabbed a large bag and took it to Kurt.

Kurt opened it with excitement and came out with a pair of black casual pants.

After a look of confusion, Kurt asked, "Did you give me ze correct package?"

Jimmy was handing Warren a bag and looked back to say, "Yes, this color will go best with the most shirts."

Kurt looked at the pants carefully and said, "Ze size is too small for me."

"Please just try them. If you'll hand them to me, I'll make the alteration for your tail." Jimmy said as he placed several more bags at Kurt's feet.

Kurt handed over the pants and began to look through bags.

"Jimmy, I'll need to alter the shirts so I can fit my wings through." Warren said as he looked at the stylish avocado green shirt Jimmy had picked for him.

Jimmy finished setting up his little sewing machine and said, "I can make the alterations if you can provide an example of one that has already been altered."

Warren went to his closet and chose a shirt at random to show how he needed the majority of the back opened for his wings.

After a minute of sewing, Jimmy said, "Uncle Kurt, could you try this on before I complete the alteration?"

Kurt took the pants and looked at the little flap that Jimmy had quickly stitched. A moment later he went into the bathroom to change.

* * * * *

Andrew raised his voice slightly and asked, "Aunt Vada, have you been given the grand tour yet?"

Vada smiled and said, "Not yet. Although I notice that you have stairs, I hope they're not on the itinerary."

"Only as a feature as we pass by them. Ken? You haven't seen the place yet either have you?" Andrew asked pleasantly.

"No, just this room." Ken said honestly.

"Well, this is the main attraction. Come on and I'll give you the tour. It's short, but worth every cent." Andrew said with a smile and walked toward the stairs.

"These are the infamous stairs that none of us want to deal with right now, so we'll move on to the door under the stairs. This is Janine's room..." Andrew said than walked back to the other side of the stairs to call down to the basement. "Janine, do you want to show your Grandpa, Aunt Vada and Ken your room?"

"Yes." She answered with excitement and was up the stairs a moment later.

"This is my very own room." Janine said proudly and opened the door.

"My, it's so neat. What is that on the wall?" Vada asked as she looked in from the doorway.

"That is my regeneration alcove." Janine said proudly and walked over to initiate regeneration.

She stepped into the alcove and her eyes closed as the alcove lit up.

"What's she doing?" Vada asked with concern.

"The machine recharges her. This is why she doesn't eat or use the bathroom. And this is as close as she comes to sleep." Andrew said informatively.

"Please turn it off." Vada said with a pained look and turned away.

"Eyleish bolegg kah tah, neveree." Andrew said quickly and the alcove shut down.

"Thank you... It reminds me too much of the last time I saw Maggie... in the hospital hooked up to all those machines." Vada said with tears in her eyes.

"I'm okay Aunt Vada. That's just how I sleep." Janine said with a smile.

"Don't mind your Aunt Vada. Sometimes people my age get weepy at the oddest times." Vada said with assurance.

"This is my bedroom." Andrew said quietly and opened the door.

"Very nice. plenty of space." Ken said as he rolled into the room followed by Lee.

"Yeah, sometimes I feel guilty that Alan and I have so much room while Scott and Alex are sharing a room." Andrew said honestly and walked back out the door.

"That situation will be corrected when the new rooms are built." Janine said seriously.

"Yes Janine. And when they do that, they're going to enlarge your room." Andrew said with a smile.

"I have sufficient room. It accommodates me perfectly." Janine said honestly.

"But you're going to grow." Andrew said and waited for a reaction.

"Correct, the larger room will be needed in time." Janine said, then moved to walk beside Aunt Vada.

"Remy, can we come in so I can show Aunt Vada the kitchen?" Andrew asked through the closed door.

"Oui, come in." Remy said with happiness in his voice.

Andrew walked in to a wondrous smell.

"Oh Remy, that smells incredible." Andrew said as his mouth watered.

"Dat jus be de rue. Remy not start de real cooking yet. Xander gone to get some white wine an more onions." Remy said as he quickly chopped vegetables.

"Remy, when you've got a second, I need to speak to you privately." Andrew said quietly.

"Alan and Alex are making some food for the children. What's on the menu guys?" Andrew asked more loudly to Alex who was stirring something on the stove and Alan who was mixing something at the table.

Alan looked at the group and saw Janine, then he said, "It's going to be a surprise. But thanks to Remy's suggestion, I think all the kids should be able to find at least one thing that they'll like."

Andrew nodded then looked at the group standing in the doorway.

"Through this door is the dining room." Andrew said and led the group to the next stop on the tour.

"Very nice." Vada said as she looked at the large room, immaculately clean.

"This room is Scott's pride and joy. He keeps it spotless." Andrew said with a smile and led the group through double doors which led back into the living room.

"And we will conclude our tour with the Summer's children shadowbox. Janine, will you show your Grandpa, Aunt Vada and Ken the shadowbox?" Andrew asked carefully.

Janine happily ran to the side of the shadowbox and pressed a button.

"This box is my brother Icheb's. These are his eyes watching out for us..." Janine said reverently.

* * * * *

Kurt poked his head out of the bathroom door and said, "Ze pants are too small."

"Come on out and let us see them Kurt." Warren said gently.

Kurt hesitantly walked out of the bathroom and stood before Jimmy and Warren.

"You do not wear undergarments?" Jimmy asked as he saw Kurt's semi-erect penis clearly outlined in the pants.

"No, mein tail makes zem too much trouble. Zis is why I do not wear tight clothing." Kurt said with a purple blush.

Warren stared for a moment, then walked to his dresser and pulled something out.

"Try this on." Warren said and handed Kurt a jockstrap.

Kurt looked curiously at Warren.

"I like to have extra support when we go on a mission. Just give it a try before you give up on the pants." Warren said seriously.

Kurt took the jockstrap and walked quickly into the bathroom.

"I think he will look good in clothing that fits." Jimmy said as he looked at the bathroom door.

"I think so too, but if he isn't comfortable, we won't ask him to wear it." Warren said with concern.

Jimmy nodded as they waited.

* * * * *

"Remy, my dad's an alcoholic. Can you not use wine in your cooking?" Andrew asked quickly as he walked into the kitchen.

"Oui. De wine jus to smooth de flavor." Remy said simply.

"And if we have any alcohol in the house, we need to get rid of it now. I don't want him to be tempted while he's here." Andrew said seriously.

"No, dere not be any alcohol here cept maybe in de mouthwash an tings like dat." Remy said as he efficiently snapped green beans.

"Thanks Remy, would you let Xander know? I just don't want my dad to get hurt while he's here. He's been sober for five years." Andrew said with concern.

"Oui, it a good ting you look out for you poppa. It de way it should be wit family." Remy said and looked seriously at Andrew for a brief moment.

Andrew smiled and went back into the living room.

To Be Continued...