"Maybe Hank had been singing Britney Spears in the medical bay," Scott suggested. "He likes to do that."
Logan looked up from his spot at the table. He pounded his beer bottle on the tabletop. "What does it look like?" he said gruffly.
"It looks like perhaps you need a hug," Kurt replied in a jovial manner.
The dark look that the Wolverine directed at his blue furred companion made Kurt wish that he had swallowed his own tongue. He laughed nervously.
"Perhaps not. Do you have a bottle to spare?" Kurt asked.
Logan's eyelids drooped, a sign that, that was not his first bottle. "I didn't figure you to be the drinking type," he said.
Kurt chuckled. "I am German, Logan. I enjoy a good brew," he replied. Kurt joined the Wolverine at the table. "However, this American beer of yours, to use the vernacular, tastes like watered down piss."
Logan stared gap-jawed at who he had assumed to be a soft-spoken man.
Kurt scratched the back of his head. "Did I get the saying wrong?" he asked.
"No." Logan shook his head fiercely. "No. Not at all. Let me get you a bottle of watered down piss."
Logan stood up and shuffled over to his hidden stash of alcoholic goodies tucked carefully behind an expired box of Oat Bran in the deep, hidden recesses of the kitchen's pantry. He rubbed the bottle clean on the front of his flannel shirt before he popped the cap off of the beer on the corner of the table. Logan shot Kurt a feral smile as he handed Nightcrawler his beer.
"Danke," Kurt said. He flashed Logan his fangs in an impish grin.
Logan sat down and watched the other man intently as Kurt sniffed his beer.
Nightcrawler took a sip and shook his head sadly. "Verwassert," he concluded.
"That good, huh?" Logan asked.
"Logan, I will have to show you what real beer tastes like sometime," Kurt promised.
Logan let a gravelly chuckle escape his chest. "Blue, that just might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship," he said.
Kurt raised an eyebrow as he placed the lip of the bottle to his mouth. "I hope that, that is a good thing."
"You tell me," Logan replied.
Kurt regarded his friend's red rimmed eyes with his yellow ones and exhaled a deep sigh. "You are a very good man, Logan," Kurt said. The German man's accent did little to hinder the precision of his English. "I know this, the professor knows this. Even Scott, though he may be reluctant to admit it, knows this. Are you the only one who does not?"
"What makes you think that you know me so well?" Logan growled. He gripped the neck of his beer bottle so hard that his knuckles turned white.
"Perhaps I don't," Kurt conceded. "But I think you're blaming yourself for something that was faultless."
"Shows how much you know," Logan snorted.
Kurt nodded and quietly went back to his beer, but deep worry lines arced across his forehead.
Logan seemed to stare past his fellow X-Man. "I killed a woman back there," Logan said, almost offhand.
"Logan, you've already been told this by the professor and I will say it again. You did not kill Jean Grey," Kurt insisted firmly.
"I never said I killed Jeannie!" Logan snapped. His beer bottle fell over and he collected it with a clumsy hand. Foam overflowed the lip of the bottle and spilt on his fingers.
"I do not understand," Kurt said softly.
"I never said I killed Jeannie," Logan repeated. "I said I killed a woman back there. One of Stryker's goons. She was just like me."
"Lady Deathstrike?" Kurt traced the lip of his bottle with a fingertip, his eyes drifted from Logan's. "She would have killed you-"
"No," Logan interrupted with a snarl. "Stryker would have had her kill me. Who knows what she would have done."
"Logan, you had no choice," Kurt said.
"There's always a choice," Logan replied bitterly. "I chose. But it still sucks to think that even though you've got your scars and I've got these..." with a tightening of his forearm muscles the Wolverine's adamantium claws were unsheathed with a snikt. "We got off free while she had to get pumped full of molten adamantium."
Kurt flinched at the brutally honest depiction of Lady Deathstrike's demise. He took a few violent slugs of his beer in a hope that it would ease his inhibitions.
"I won't lie and say that the pain will ever truly go away," Kurt whispered. "But perhaps with time, you will be able to understand and come to terms with your actions when you look back on them."
"How would you know?" A dark smirk flickered across Logan's lips. He retracted his claws. "Have you ever killed another person?"
"Well, no," Kurt admitted. "I don't think I would be capable of doing such a thing."
"Oh?" Logan asked. "Why not?"
"It is a mortal sin," Kurt replied.
"Yeah?" Logan's hazel eyes had become more bloodshot with each consecutive bottle of beer. "New religions are sprouting up that say it's a sin to be blue and furry or have adamantium claws."
Kurt's jaw muscles tightened, resolute. "We will just have to prove them wrong," he whispered.
"I guess we will." Logan emptied another bottle of beer into his gullet.
The two men turned their attentions back to their own respective bottles. Logan seemed to revel in the unnerving silence, while Kurt was its unwary prisoner. Kurt refused to leave his spot as much as he wanted, determined to befriend the crude loner.
They were finally interrupted when Scott shuffled into the kitchen. He sniffed at the sludge in the coffeepot left over from the morning and grimaced.
"All gone," Logan announced.
"Yeah." Scott nodded. "Is there anything else to drink?"
"Beer," Logan offered.
Despite not being able to see his eyes, the lined forehead and crinkled nose told Logan that Scott Summers was giving his most disapproving look.
"This is a school," Scott said.
"Yeah?" Logan asked. His eyes gave off the glint of an animal that had just cornered its prey.
"It's alright, Scott," Kurt intervened. "We are of age faculty enjoying a brew on our off time."
Scott grudgingly sat down. With a flick of his tail, Kurt opened the pantry and revealed Logan's stash. Scott shrugged his shoulders and reached for a beer in a rigid display of casual behavior.
After his first sip, Scott didn't splutter, choke or make a nasty face, so his esteem in Logan's eyes was raised a notch. Maybe if their fearless leader belched or tried to appear anything other than prim and proper in front of his bottle of beer that came from a $7.99 six-pack, he and Logan could have been friends. As it was, however, the two could just barely guarantee Professor Xavier that they wouldn't intentionally kill the other.
"So, what brings you here this fine evening?" Kurt asked.
Logan feigned interest in his beer bottle, but he kept one eye constantly on the other two men.
"I just finished with teaching a class," Scott muttered. "Anyone would need a drink after that."
"What were you teaching?" Kurt wondered.
"Self Defense," Scott answered grimly.
"Self Defense? What's so hard about that?" Kurt lilted. "Were you afraid of hurting the children?"
Scott gagged on his beer. "Hurt them? Obviously, you've never been to Self Defense class."
"Why? I do not understand," Kurt pressed.
"The professor wanted me to teach a class in self defense for the students in case they couldn't use their mutant powers or their mutant powers couldn't protect them against attackers," Scott explained. "So the big rule for that class is no mutant powers. I spar with the kids one at a time. Of course, as soon as Peter hears Kitty scream, I've got a 300 pound metal-plated, hormonally driven teen charging in my direction. By the end of the day, I'm lucky if I haven't slammed my fist into one of Bobby's ice walls, had Kitty dodge a blow by phasing through me or had Jubilee blind me so she can sucker punch me at least once."
Logan chuckled. He had caught Jubilee trying to sneak out of the mansion late one night last week. The kid had quite the lip. When she realized that Logan wasn't going to put up with her melodramatic threats, she blasted him with her signature pyrotechnic projectiles before making a made a mad dash to escape him. He and Jubilee had gotten along strangely well after that.
"It's not funny," Scott insisted. "The class is very important. I don't think most of the kids realize yet that they can't treat the world outside of the mansion like it's a game or joke."
"Perhaps you should consider that a blessing," Kurt suggested. "They will learn soon enough."
"You're probably right." Scott's words were muffled by the lip of his beer bottle.
"So what do you think of them?" Logan asked.
"What do I think of what?" Scott raised an eyebrow.
"The kids," Logan replied. "What about the new girl?"
"Are you still stuck on that?" Scott's voice became clipped and harsh. "Rachel has prosthetic limbs, that's what you smelled. Anything else is just paranoia on your part."
"My instincts don't lie, bub," Logan said quietly. "I've just got a hunch about her."
"Rachel seemed very good natured and sincere to me," Kurt offered. "But I will admit that when she first woke she did behave suspiciously."
"Of course she behaved suspiciously," Scott argued. "She was in an unfamiliar setting and she woke up to your face."
Kurt's tail drooped. Logan suffered Scott a look before he turned back to his beer.
"Sorry, Kurt," Scott mumbled. "I didn't mean it like that."
"Apology accepted," Kurt said.
Scott was still convinced that the blue fur on the back of Kurt's neck was bristling, but he let it slide.
"I just don't understand what the big deal is," Scott said. "The school accepted you two with open arms, the same for Rogue, no questions asked. So why do you feel we should treat Rachel differently?"
"I never suggested that we treat Rachel differently," Kurt replied. "She is a darling girl. I just thought that she behaved somewhat oddly when she first woke."
"Maybe Hank had been singing Britney Spears in the medical bay," Scott suggested. "He likes to do that."
"I had a word with him about that," Logan muttered. "He's promised to keep his singing to a minimum."
"Let's just drop this Rachel nonsense," Scott insisted. "If the professor had suspected anything, I doubt he'd have given her open access to the school."
"I'll let you know when I figure out what's wrong with her," Logan promised.
"I'll hold my breath, then," Scot retorted testily.
"What about the other children?" Kurt cut in.
Scott sighed and pushed his beer bottle away. "Jubilee is trouble, plain and simple," he said. "Kitty's intelligence is on par with some of the school's faculty, so she'll be trouble until she gains some maturity. Peter, well, he's a good kid."
"What about Lorna, Roberto and Sam?" Kurt asked.
Scott chuckled. "Those three are still small enough that if they get out of line you can physically move them to time out."
"That's a sight I'd like to see," Logan snorted.
Despite being only eight years old, Roberto DaCosta was the mansion's resident hothead. Already, Logan had picked up a handful of Portuguese obscenities from the Brazilian boy. The thought that Scott Summers could anyway match the fiery youngster in a battle of stubborn willpower was laughable.
"I'll admit, I had Bobby help me with Roberto one time," Scott said. "He wouldn't sit down, so Bobby froze his pants to his chair. It worked until Roberto managed to take his pants off, then we had an even bigger problem."
Kurt bit back a smile. Logan was less amused.
"How is the popsicle doing anyway?" Logan asked.
"You'd probably know better than I would," Scott admitted. "He hasn't spoken with his parents since John nearly blew up their house and he's still trying to date Rogue."
Logan shook his head as he nursed his beer. "There are ways around touching an untouchable girl," he said with alcohol-induced wisdom. "If he's too stupid to figure that out, then he's too stupid to reap the rewards."
Logan paused and smiled. "Of course, Popsicle's too stupid to even realize that he should stay upwind of a mutant that has a nose like me. Bobby, stop hiding around the corner."
Bobby shuffled into the doorway. "I was just-" he stammered. "I'll come back, never mind."
The teen turned on his heels and fled. Kurt looked over at Logan and raised an eyebrow. Logan just shrugged.
"I'll go see what he wanted," Scott offered. He took his beer bottle to the sink and rinsed it out before he followed after Bobby.
"If you knew he was there, then why did you say that?" Kurt wondered.
Logan stood up and patted Kurt on the shoulder. "I'm going to go take a walk," he said. "I'll see you around."
Kurt nodded numbly and watched Logan leave. Kurt stretched his shoulders out before he began to collect all the empty beer bottles.