Mixed Feelings

BY : Panduki
Category: X-Men - Animated Series (all) > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1206
Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men Evolution or any characters contained therein and no profit/money is being made from this story, much as it would be delightful to! My OC, Kiro (a.k.a "Ghost"), however, is definitely mine!

Author's Note: Welcome to my story! Please read, enjoy (hopefully!) and review!


It was Wednesday now, and it had already been almost two days since Kiro had gone missing. Kurt had finally eaten some breakfast that morning, but he had apparently vomited it all up shortly afterwards, according to Hank. He had insisted that Kurt stay home that day, and Scott couldn't blame him. They were all worried, now just as much about Kurt as they were about their missing Kiro. He still had hardly said a word to anyone, other than his vicious outburst towards Kitty late last night, and the gloom over the Institute had only grown.

The police still had no leads whatsoever, and the detective assigned to the case, one Sergeant Jacob Broward, had seemed convinced that Kiro was simply a "runaway." "After all, Professor," the man had said, with that air of smug cynicism that said he had seen many such cases like this in the past, unfortunately, "When a young man or woman disappears from school with no explanation, and no indicators of foul play, ten to one they've probably just run off. I'm sure he'll return after a couple nights spent shivering and hungry on the street, most of them do."

'Well, Detective Broward,' the professor thought worriedly, 'It has already been almost three nights, and he has not returned.' His gaze once again went to Cerebro's monitor, where he had spent the majority of the past two nights, scanning the area around Bayville in a hundred mile radius. The only mutant signatures were those of his students, instructors, and the Brotherhood mutants, though only Toad, Blob, and Quicksilver tended to show up regularly. Lance was one of the mutants who only gave off a signature when he used his powers, and the boy, despite his fiery temper, tended to only use it when he was in the midst of a temper tantrum or a fight. The past month had been rather quiet, for him.

Lance. The professor's eyes narrowed as his thoughts returned to the boy, so briefly a member of their Institute. There hadn't been a hint of a lie in his words when he had told the professor that Kiro wasn't in their mansion. Indeed, the boy hadn't been there. But what if they had missed something? Overlooked something? Some clue? While he sat, the professor thought, retracing the same paths he had already trod in his mind once again.

Meanwhile, at the school, Jean and Scott had cornered Todd Tolansky in the hallway, hoping to perhaps draw out some clue that they may have missed before. Trying not to sound exasperated, Scott shook his head, "Well, okay, okay, but what about Lance? You sure he didn't do anything?" he asked, peering down at Todd as they stood together against the row of lockers. "Told ya, dawg, he got suspended, same with Pietro and Fred," Todd answered as he peered up at Scott and Jean in confusion. He, unlike them, was still at school this week, and seemed genuinely confused at their questions. "Didn't you guys check the house the other night? Y'all know he ain't there. I'd tell ya if he was, honest!" Todd insisted, and Jean nodded to let Scott know he was telling the truth. Todd's feelings towards Kiro, it seemed, were quite genuine. And even he was nervous and concerned about what might have happened to the other boy.

"Well, alright, but how about now? What've you guys been up to the past few days? Anything unusual?" Scott asked hopefully, and Todd looked up at him with an incredulous quirked brow, "Dawg, yer talkin' to the Brotherhood, right? What do you THINK we do all day? Nothin'. Unless we decide to come waste time here," Todd said. Jean shook her head, "Scott, I think we're just wasting our time and Todd's, at this point." Todd, perhaps wisely, didn't make a remark about that, but he did say, "I'm sorry, y'all, but I got nothin' to say. All I know is that Lance was there when I got home late that afternoon, and he was jus' sittin' on the couch watchin' TV, fumin' about that fight, I guess. But not doin' anythin' otherwise."

Scott nodded, "Alright, Todd. Thanks. Sorry, man, we're just all worried, y'know?" He said apologetically, and Todd nodded as well, "I know, dawg. I'm worried to. Like, for real, yo. Hope y'all find him," he said, and the honesty in his words made Scott feel bad about his impromptu interrogation. Stepping aside, he let Todd continue down the hall, and sighed, pounding a fist softly into one of the locker's beside them. "God damn it," he growled, "I feel so useless right now."

Beside him, Jean shook her head, "You aren't the only one, Scott. We're the X-Men, for Christ's sake, but we can't even find one of our own right now," she said, her voice tight. Scott drew her into a tight hug, and she felt the roil of emotions off of him. Guilt. Shame. Disappointment, in himself. "Scott, don't blame yourself, alright?" She said, but Scott shook his head. "I know, Jean, it's nobody's fault, except whatever bastard did this.. but.. you know how the heart is sometimes," he said, and slowly released her to lean against the locker, only to jump in startlement when the bell sounded. "Crap, here we go," he muttered as he and Jean hurried along to their classes.

------------

"Kurt, you really must try to eat something. And drink something, at least," Hank said gently, and Kurt just shook his head, rolling over on Kiro's bed with a slow thump of his tail. It was twilight now, outside his window, the sky glowing in a soft shade of orange and violet. Violet like Kiro's eyes. Another evening had passed, with Kiro missing. Kurt had once again been absent at the dinner table, and had apparently not left his room all day either.


While Hank watched, Kurt rubbed his face against the pillow he was hugging, breathing in Kiro's scent, and choked on a sob as he huddled into a fetal position. Hank's touch on his arm after the doctor quietly approached him did not raise Kurt's ire. No, it was like Hank had poked a small hole in a wound, and released a small bit of the foul infection within. Kurt sniffled, shuddered, and finally, curled up against Hank's chest and sobbed. Hank eased his bulk to sit down on the side of the bed, and gathered Kurt into his arms, holding him tightly and not saying a word.

The sobs wracked Kurt's body, and Hank was shocked at their intensity as the smaller blue-furred mutant shuddered in his grasp, tears flowing freely down his cheeks. Kurt's earlier breakdown, all those weeks ago (Hank later learned the morning after Kurt and Kiro had first kissed), seemed like a tiny bout of the sniffles compared to this. His heart ached in sympathy as he just continued to hold Kurt to him. Kurt occasionally mumbled things. Mostly in German, but occasionally in English. And what Hank could make out, was like a dagger through his heart, "What if he's.. dead.. because of me..?! Because I wasn't there..??" Hank said not a word, and just hugged Kurt even tighter as the boy continued to weep, silently supporting him as Kurt vented what was perhaps only a small portion of his grief and anguish, but a portion nonetheless. It seemed a while before Kurt had grown still, finally, and Hank was surprised to find him asleep, as night had finally fallen completely outside. Gently, Hank laid him down on Kiro's bed and drew the covers up to his chest. He then carefully rose from the bed so as not to disturb Kurt, before nudging over the small tray of food and drink he had brought upstairs from the kitchen. Simple sandwiches and a pitcher and cup of water. Hopefully, when Kurt woke, he would eat. Or at least drink something. Hank had been meaning to tell Kurt that he would do no good to anyone if he passed out from dehydration, or weakness from hunger. But then, perhaps that would just make him worry even more.

Was Kiro starving, or thirsty, wherever he might be? Was he even still alive..? Not for the first time, Hank felt his own heart clench in worry, and he found himself both eager for and dreading the call from the professor that would mean they had finally found him. What kind of condition would he be in? These thoughts, and more, whorled around in Hank's mind as he softly closed the door to Kurt and Kiro's room behind him. Catching sight of Rogue coming up the stairs, and her concerned look, Hank just gave a sad shake of his head in reply. Rogue nodded, and quickly wiped her eyes as she hurried past him down the hall.

----------------

"Well, that was fun," Lance groaned as he pulled out of Kiro once again, giving a hard slap to her (yes, her!) ass as he did so. The pleasure from touching her was delightful, and Lance had to restrain himself from laughing at the delicious irony. Talk about a useless mutant power. The ability to make anyone who touches you feel good? Are you serious? Well, it certainly made their "playtime" all the more fun. And Lance had confirmed that no matter how rough he was, no matter how hard he hit her, she healed it all. Blood from the ass? No problem! Bruises and welts from Lance's fists, slaps, and clawing? A cinch! Making little cuts with his knife just to amuse himself? Child's play! The only headache of this whole ordeal was when Lance came here around midday to start their daily sessions. Kiro had usually peed or shat on the floor, always in the corner, though. Interestingly, the corner with a floor drain it, the broken remnants of a grate essentially allowing for a second "toilet" in the underground office. Perhaps she had felt it with her foot. At least she was like a well-trained dog in that regard. But Lance didn't care too much. A quick spray of bleach and a blast of water from the hose he had connected (not only did the place still have electricity, but even running water!) made quick work of her mess.

She had also learned to massage him, when he put her hands insistently on his legs, feet, or back. Her hands were no longer kept behind her back during their playtime. Lance had found, rather quickly, that her being essentially "blind" and "deaf" meant that she couldn't exactly fight him anyway, but even those precautions seemed unnecessary. Even as he had his way with her, several times a day, she never seemed to fight him. Struggle, sure, and try to escape, somewhere (he laughed at the thought.. where would she go?) but she never struck him. Never even tried to fight back, really. She was such a pathetic bitch. And she was his. All his. Lance had been enjoying this more than he ever thought he would have, these past few days. What day was it now? He wasn't even sure.

Standing up from where Kiki now slumped across the mattress, shuddering (probably crying again, stupid bitch), Lance strode nude across the little room to the box of MREs. There were three left. Out of a case of how many? He checked the label. 12. He had had three, and she had had two each day, one when he first arrived, and another before he left, and cuffed her hands behind her back once again. He would have to decide tomorrow what he should do with her, perhaps. Or whether he should just keep her here, as his plaything, for as long as he could. Hmm, days of unlimited fun, doing whatever he wanted to her, for just the price of a box of MREs every week or so? Seemed like a fair deal.

Lance stiffened at the touch to his back, and he spun around to backhand her across the face where she stood behind him. The blow sent her reeling, and staggering backwards onto the mattress once again, "Bitch!! I didn't ask you to touch me!" He snarled. Still, not a sound left her. She was a mute as ever. That was the other nice thing about her. She never talked. Never babbled like Kitty always did. Never made a sound while he had his way with her, even when he tried on purpose to be as rough and painful as possible. Her mouth would open, sure, like she were screaming, but not a sound would ever come out. It was delightful.

He watched her where she once again cried silently on the bed, and he pondered. What to do, what to do....


-----------

"Logan, I'm telling you, if we knew something we would tell you. You know that," Fury said as he folded his hands on his desk. Logan growled, like a coiled spring about to snap, as he sat in the chair across from him. He was right. Logan knew he was right. And it bothered him.

He had spent the whole week searching, and hadn't found a single thing. Wandering around campus, once the Principal had been told that Logan was an instructor at the Institute with a background as a private investigator (Close enough), and driving around town. Nothing. The police had continued their search, supposedly, but as ever, they had nothing new to report either. That had brought Logan here, early Friday morning, to SHIELD.

Nick Fury and he were old comrades, and owed each other plenty of favors. But Logan tended not to bother him unless it was serious, an attitude that Fury respectfully returned. The fact that Logan was even here to see him had immediately set off alarm bells in his head, and their meeting had been swift, but unfortunately fruitless.

Logan had gone over all the facts, and Fury had nodded and waited patiently. Unfortunately, Fury had had to tell him the painful truth, "There's nothing to report, Logan. The kid's not even on the radar, as far as our people are concerned. Refugee from Romania, a student at your Institute, going to Bayville High, a nice public school," Fury shrugged, "Most of the really bad guys we know about wouldn't even be aware of his existence. And the ones that would be, like Trask," he sneered, "Are thankfully already behind bars."

Logan had sighed, and Fury's voice softened as he concluded, "Logan, I'm telling you, if we knew something we would tell you. You know that," as he folded his hands on his desk. "It just doesn't make any goddamned sense," Logan muttered, "Who would kidnap him? Why? What would they possibly want?" he asked.

Fury sighed as well, and shook his head, "All very good questions. Unfortunately none of them have any good answers right now-" he paused as his phone rang, and after politely excusing himself to Logan, he answered. "Fury."

"Sir, we've got something on the Thaumaturge case," a woman's voice said, causing Logan to immediately perk up.

-----------

"It wasn't much of a lead, but thankfully it panned out," the woman explained as she started to lay out a series of papers on Fury's desk. She was a small redheaded woman, looked to be half Chinese, bespectacled, and kind of cute, but the holstered 1911 at her hip revealed that she, like everyone else at the facility, was a trained agent, not just a desk jockey. While Logan and Fury watched her work, she spoke, "There's one man who was in Bayville around the time your boy disappeared-"

"- His name's Kiro, lady," Logan interrupted curtly.

The woman paused, and gave an apologetic nod, her eyes lowering in a frown, "Kiro, yes, sorry, Mr. Logan," before she continued. "But yes, the man who was in Bayville around that time, four days ago-"

'Fuck's sake,' Logan thought, 'Has it really already been that long..? Almost five full days..'

"- is a man we've had our eye on for a couple years now. His name's Janus Kloviciak, ex-KGB spook, he's been freelance for about fifteen years from what we can tell, but just recently started working here in the USA. Bounces around the east coast and hires himself out to whoever will pay him. Isn't above doing oddjobs too," she continued, and Logan's eyes narrowed at the pictures on display. A man with a face that would easily blend into a crowd. Good looking enough, but not too handsome. Neat appearance, clean-shaven, well-dressed. Perfect spook material. But apparently this spook had broadened his horizons.

"Theft, industrial espionage, hits, kidnapping, even murder," the woman listed his crimes matter-of-factly, and sighed, "The lack of any evidence actually points squarely at this man. He's as professional as they come."

Logan had to admit, he was impressed. He had only contacted Fury a couple of hours ago to arrange their meeting, having Charles 'beam' over everything they knew directly to Fury's head, which Fury had agreed to only because he trusted Charles and Logan explicitly. Fury had insisted that his agents would be on it "immediately," but until just a few minutes ago, it seemed that they had nothing to go on.

But now...

"Good work, Agent Wong," Fury said with a nod, peering down at the makeshift dossier across his desk with a critical eye, the only one he had left. "You say he was here a few days ago, yes? Phone records?"

"Already getting them now, sir," the agent responded crisply.

"Eyewitnesses?" Fury asked, apparently going down a checklist in his mind. Logan listened in silent respect.

"Nothing, the police already took care of that for us, but we hadn't expected much in that area," she said with a frustrated sigh.

Fury paused as his finger hovered over a particular item in Kloviciak's MO. He then asked crisply, "Car rentals?"

That was where Wong smiled, "That's how we got him, sir. Here's the receipt," she presented a scanned copy of a trip-ticket from a rental place in Bayville. Sure enough, the name said "John Clovis." As good a pseudonym as any, especially for a former spook who was overconfident in his anonymity. The attached picture from the rental place's security camera dissolved all doubt.

"That's him," Fury said with a curt nod. "Bring him in."

------------------

"Where's Logan..?" Kurt mumbled, and then forced himself to take another sip from the cup of water the professor offered him. He felt so tired, and so drained. Weak. Useless. Pathetic.

'Stop that, Kurt. Right now,' the professor's voice in his mind, stern and direct, was like a splash of cold water in his face, and Kurt lowered his head in shame before he nodded.

He was sitting up on Kiro's bed, his lover's scent still clinging to him, and the professor had frowned at how thin Kurt was starting to look. His body's metabolism was very high, partially due to the caloric demands of his mutant powers, but also due to the unique physiology of his mutation itself. By not eating regularly, hardly at all even, these past few days, Kurt had weakened a great deal. Not enough to be in any real danger, mind, but he wasn't exactly fighting fit anymore, and the professor felt his heart twist at seeing Kurt in such a state. Heartbreak didn't even begin to describe what the boy was going through, and the professor knew all too well. Grief, fear, self-doubt and loathing, and hidden beneath it all, a powerful rage and anguish that the professor had only caught glimpses of so far, but concerned him greatly. As distraught as he was, Kurt's emotions leaked from him like a sieve, and what the professor felt, even secondhand, only doubled his concern for Kurt, and Kiro, wherever he might be.

Kurt wasn't even sure what day or what time it was. Everything had just seemed to blend together over the past few days. All he knew was that Kiro was gone, and he couldn't find him. Knowing he was unable to help only made it worse. He could only imagine how Logan must be feeling right now. He had said as such, when the professor had come in to see him moments ago.

But when the professor had told him that Logan was actually at a "meeting" now, Kurt's interest had piqued. The professor watched while Kurt drank, and then nudged over the plate that Hank had left him last night. The sandwiches were stale, now, but still quite edible. While Kurt ate, and sipped more of the water, the professor nodded approvingly and answered him.

"He's meeting with Agent Fury," the professor said, and Kurt's eyes shone with something the professor had not seen in far too long now. Hope. If anyone could find out what had happeneed, Nick Fury and SHIELD could. Couldn't they..? Doubt then gnawed at Kurt's heart, and he shivered as he felt his eyes burning again.

"Kurt, you know Fury mostly by reputation, but I can assure you that that reputation is well earned. He is the Logan of his world," Charles said with a nod, "The best there is at what he does. And ... " Charles paused as his expression grew distant. He then smiled. A hard smile, but a smile nonetheless. "It seems like they have found something."

---------

"Look, bub, I'm gonna explain this nice and simple for ya," Logan snarled, right in "Clovis"'s face, as his claws snicked out beside him. "You took one of my kids. I know you did it. And you're gonna tell us where you took him, and for who. Do all of that, and I might let you keep three of your limbs."

Nick Fury watched, flanked by two agents, off to the side. The professor was there as well, a silent observer for now, his hands steepled against his chin. He was here primarily as a precaution. Both if Logan got out of control ("Though I assure you, Fury, that won't happen,") and in case this Kloviciak person proved resistant to Logan's more conventional interrogation methods. The professor, as a rule, always tried to avoid forcefully extracting information from someone's mind. The experience was agonizing, to say the least, for the person he used it upon, and it also made the professor feel like a torturer.

But in this, Logan had been quite clear. "I need you here, Chuck. We have got to find Ghost. We have to. And this man knows where he is. I'm sure of it," he had said, an almost pleading edge to his voice. Logan never begged, but that was about as close as he had come to it in a long time. And Charles had assented.

Beside the professor was someone else, though. Kurt Wagner. Trembling, exhausted, and almost an emotional wreck with worry. But he had told the professor in no uncertain terms that he would cling to his legs the whole way if he had to, but he was coming with him. Fortunately, such indignities had proven unnecessary, and an earnest word from the professor at Kurt's trustworthiness had been all the assurance Fury needed to allow him access (albeit blindfolded) to their facility, until he had been brought to the interrogation room where the man who had apparently kidnapped Kiro now sat, handcuffed by his wrists and ankles to a plain steel chair. He did not have his image inducer on, and he stood mutely beside the professor's wheelchair as his gently glowing golden eyes watched the preceding interrogation.

Kurt watched as Logan paced around the man, and found himself trembling once again. He had never seen Logan like this. Barely contained fury, like a caged animal, and all of that fury was directed singularly at the man in the chair. A man who, Kurt had to admit, seemed remarkably well composed. He had been brought here by Fury's agents, and had not said a word. Not begged for his life, nor cried. He just sat there, staring straight ahead. Fury had been direct in his orders to Logan, "No violence, Logan. We need him intact. He's to be put on trial after you're finished with him. Just try to get the information you need by conventional means first, before you let Charles.. do his thing.. with him."

Unfortunately, even Logan's intimidation, which had even Kurt trembling in fear from across the room, wasn't working. This man was a professional, and even Logan had to admit it, when he turned towards the professor. "Alright, bub. You had your chance. Now we do it the hard way. Charles?" He asked, and his voice was no longer a growl. No longer a sneer. It was almost pitying. Logan knew, as well as Charles did, how agonizing, how brutally invasive, such a procedure was. Every thought, every darkest fear, every hidden fantasy, would be his for the reading, when he touched Klovisiak's head.

Charles had been hidden in the shadows around the room, when they had all filed in almost an hour earlier. He, Kurt, and Nick Fury had watched Logan work in total silence as he had worked Klovisiak through the numbers, attempting to break him conventionally. Klovisiak had not even known Professor Xavier was there, it seems. For when Charles rode into the light, only then did Klovisiak finally speak, for the first time since they had seen him, "You.." he murmured, and there was a subtle, but present, undercurrent of fear to his voice. A spy's worst nightmare made flesh: a telepath. And not just any telepath: the most powerful telepath known in the world.

"Professor Charles Xavier. Indeed, Klovisiak," Nick Fury said, as he strode into the light beside Charles. Charles sent a low ripple of gratitude up to Nick Fury, suddenly realizing what both Nick and Logan were trying to do. A different form of intimidation, and fear. The worst fear a spy could have. They were doing everything they could to ensure the professor may not have to use his most brutal, most vicious, of abilities. The ability to penetrate the mind of an unwilling person, and extract whatever secret they tried to keep from him.

"Did you seriously think we would take any chances with scum like you?" Fury continued, stepping around Klovisiak's chair with a callous relaxation, sensing the growing fear radiating off the man in waves. They had him. Almost.

"Logan and I are good friends, and our mutual friend, Charles Xavier, has graciously offered his services in the retrieval of this boy. Seeing as how he is one of the professor's students, and his adopted son," Fury spat, his disgust clear. Technically, Kiro was not necessarily the professor's "son," adoptive or otherwise, but since Charles had legal guardianship, he might as well have been. Him and Logan both. "See, we were doing you a favor, you dirtbag," Logan sneered, "But nope, you wanted to be the hardass and not just tell us where you hid the boy. So now, the gloves are comin' off."

"Now hold on, I didn't know-" Klovisiak said, a tremor of building panic in his voice, and he was interrupted, not by Fury, Logan, or Charles, but by a voice off to the side.

Kurt Wagner.

Kurt strode forward, pulling away from the grip of one of the agents, as he asked incredulously, "You didn't know? You didn't know what?! WHAT didn't you know? That that boy you kidnapped, that gentle angel, was-"

"Kurt," the professor said gently, pleadingly, but Kurt continued until he was right in front of Klovisiak's face, trembling both with fury as well as grief. He brought his face right up against Klovisiak's, and demanded, "Where is he?!! Where is mein engel?!!" No answer. "ANSWER ME!!!!" Kurt suddenly shouted, right in Klovisiak's face, his voice an anguished roar in the small interrogation room.

Klovisiak looked at Kurt, as though latching on to him, and his face fell back into a stoic expression. Kurt trembled with barely contained fury, and his hands clenched at his sides before he lunged forward and reached up towards Klovisiak's neck. But a strong pair of hands on his shoulders stopped him. Logan's hands.

"Elf!" Logan barked in his ear, and that seemed to reach something in Kurt's mind. His face slackened from it's contorted expression, frightened at the emotions roiling through him. Emotions that he had just barely managed to contain, just then. Had he really been about to strangle this man? Kill him?

And not only take a man's life.. but ruin any chance he ever had of seeing his love again?

His love. Kiro.

Kurt's hands trembled, and fell back to his sides.

While Logan watched, Klovisiak stared impassively ahead, perhaps trying to retreat further into some dark corner of his mind. He knew that face. The face of a man who had endured torture before, and was used to it. The face of a man who knew how to close himself off and seal all the doors. Retreat into his own mind so that only hours, perhaps even days, of torture would be able to break him. Hours and days which they simply could not afford. They would get nowhere unless they did what he realized they now had to do.

Logan looked at Charles, then at Fury, and gave a single nod.

Behind where Klovisiak sat, Fury's gaze darkened. He stepped around in front of Klovisiak and placed a gentle, but firm, hand on Kurt's shoulder, where the fuzzy elf now stood, his face completely blank as he continued to stare at Klovisiak, eyes already starting to glaze over. "Come on, son," Fury said quietly, his voice uncharacteristically concerned. "You really don't need to see what's going to happen next." The man's one good eye then went to Charles before he spoke curtly, "Professor, if you please." There was no longer any intimidation in his voice. Just matter of fact. Cold. They had said it already: Klovisiak had his chance, and threw it away. So be it.

Kurt did not resist as Fury gently led him toward the door. He heard the soft sound of the professor rolling toward Klovisiak's chair, and the soft clinking of the handcuffs as the man struggled uselessly against his bonds. Fury waved the agents at the door away as they moved forward to blindfold Kurt again. The door slid crisply open in front of them, they stepped through into the hall, and Kurt heard just a brief flash of an agonized, almost inhuman screech of pain as the door slid firmly closed behind them.

Kurt walked as though he were in a trance, while Fury led him down the halls of the facility. Through a couple sets of doors, turning down another hall, and then into a small room. A break room, from the look of it. There was a small central table, a countertop along the far wall containing a microwave and several cabinets, a refrigerator, and a row of comfortable looking chairs and sofas around the room. Fury led Kurt to the sofa and gently pushed him down onto it, before going over to the refigerator and fetching something. Kurt didn't even notice what it was. He just sat, impassively, not saying a word and barely reacting as Fury set something down on the small table beside the sofa he sat on, then walked out.

Time seemed to stop as he sat and stared at nothing, feeling almost as though he were sinking. Or falling.

Did it really matter anymore? Was there even any hope?

Kiro was going to die. His angel. His beloved. He was probably already dead.

And the professor was now having to do something so horrific, and it might not even be enough.

Nothing would be enough. He felt the despair opening up in his heart.

Felt himself falling deeper into it.

Kurt finally reacted when he felt a firm hand on his shoulder, the grip strong enough to hurt him. 

The pain pierced through the fog slowly engulfing him.

He blinked, to realize that someone was standing in front of him. "Elf, look at me. C'mon," the voice was familiar. Logan. He blinked once again, and looked up at the face of someone who was both a cool uncle and an adoptive father to him all at the same time. Him and the professor both.

The professor.

Kurt stared, his gaze going distant once again. The professor, he was now having to do such a horrible-

"No, elf, stay with me, right here," Logan interrupted his thoughts, and there was an edge of concern to his voice as his grip on Kurt's shoulders tightened again.

Fury had told Logan that the kid looked like he was about ready to have a breakdown, or go into shock, and Fury hadn't been lying. Looking down at Kurt now, seeing the fuzzy elf reduced to a near catatonic state from emotional despair, Logan felt his fury build, and the desire to slice that bastard in the interrogation room into little pieces, for doing this to his elf.

Kurt was right there on the edge, about to close off from the world and curl up in a dark corner of his mind, for who knew how long. That couldn't happen. "Elf," Logan spoke to him again, "Ghost needs you, right now. Now more than ever. He needs you to be strong. Focused. We're gonna go find him, as soon as the professor finds where he is," that made Kurt perk up slightly, recognition flashing in his eyes, those golden orbs focusing on Logan's gaze.

Logan caught that spark and seized onto it, continuing, lifting Kurt's chin with a finger, "He's gonna need you, Elf. He's gonna need all of us, but especially you. Come back, elf, c'mon," Logan continued, and Kurt let out a strangled sob as he fell forward into Logan's arms. Logan let out a low sigh of relief as he felt the boy cry against his chest, while he knelt in front of him from the hunched over position he had been in before. Tears were alright. Sobs were even better. It was the silence, the blank look, the complete emotionless mask, that was the worst. If the elf still had it in him to cry, that meant he was still here with them. And Logan held him as he cried.

Eventually, Logan wasn't sure how long, Kurt quieted, and Logan still held him, gently rubbing his back in silence while they waited. He had only seen the professor "interrogate" someone two times before. And both times, it had been in a situation similar to this, where they simply had no other option, and lives were at stake. It made him hate Klovisiak even more, for doing this to such a good man as Charles. He only hoped, mostly for the professor's sake, and especially Kiro's, that it didn't take too long.

After a while, Kurt recovered enough to lean against the sofa's back, and Logan followed him, sitting down beside him on the sofa with an arm around Kurt's shoulders and Kurt's head still resting against his chest, the elf still trembling and letting out occasional sniffles. The bottle of water on the table remained untouched for now, coated with dew, but Logan still nodded at the gesture from Fury. Fury was a good man. A good man who had seen and done some horrible things in his life, all in an unsung service to innocent lives. Knowing the man had shown that much compassion for Kurt, not judging at all on the revelation that Kiro, the boy they were all trying frantically to find, was his lover, not just his friend.. it earned Fury some more respect in Logan's mind.

They were still sitting there on the sofa, perhaps an hour later, when Logan felt Fury's presence at the door to the hall. Kurt had finally dozed off beside him, and Logan gently roused him with a soft shake before giving Fury a nod. Fury's gaze from his one good eye had a gleam that Logan recognized as he reported, "We've got the location." Beside him, Logan felt Kurt tense and hurriedly rub his eyes, trying to rouse himself further, and he nodded before asking, "How's Chuck?"

Fury's expression grew somewhat distant before he said, "Shaken. But he's assured us he'll be fine. We're triangulating the location now, and we've got a team on standby. Unless you want your people to handle it?" He asked, respect in his voice. Logan nodded to Fury respectfully in turn, before he said, "Thank you for the offer, Fury. Really. We'd have gotten nowhere without your people. But I think it's best that we handle this one in-house," he said, his tone of voice lowering to a soft growl, before he rose from the sofa with Kurt beside him. Fury nodded smoothly and clapped Logan on the shoulder, a gesture Logan returned with a nod as well, before he stepped around Fury and stalked back down the hall.

Kurt's expression was fearful as he looked up at Fury, and a question was on his lips, one that he dared not voice. Fury, however, just put a hand on his shoulder once more, and said, "Go get 'im, son," with a kind smile, before gently steering him back down the hall to rejoin the professor and Logan.



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