Terribly sorry about the delay, especially as I had intended to have this posted almost a month ago. I've just been ultra-busy, and forgot. I should warn, for anyone who has me on their watch list, that I'm going to be posting other (already finished) seaQuest fanfiction at some point in the near future, while the new chapter of Lost and Found won't be ready for some time
Friday, May 9, 6:30 A.M.
A freeway on the outskirts of Chicago
He wasn't sure whether to be thrilled, or worried. His instincts told him that he could trust the strangers, but the whole situation seemed far too good to be true.
Nothing good ever happened to Alex the mutant.
Except maybe Dave.
And the whole learning to control his powers thing.
And saving Anne.
And now two strangers who had offered to take him to New York.
And maybe, just maybe… becoming a mutant to begin with.
"You wanna donut, kid?" The rough voice from the front seat distracted him.
"His name is Alex, Logan." Miss Munroe responded for him.
"You wanna donut, Alex?" Logan responded, speaking more to Miss Munroe than Lucas.
He couldn't quite hide his chuckle at the good-natured banter between the two. Everything about them seemed to be setting him at ease. He didn't even mind being called 'kid' by the strange man – Logan. That was an odd feeling.
"No thank you, Sir, I have something." Pulling out his Twinkies, Lucas smiled nervously. He liked the strangers for some reason, and he very much wanted them to like him, too.
The whole situation was entirely surreal.
"Sir?" Logan sounded as though he was going to laugh out loud. "Just Logan, kid." Looking over at Miss Munroe, he amended, "Alex."
She smiled at Logan, and took the cup of coffee he was offering her. "I would stop somewhere for real food, but we're in a bit of a hurry to get home, I'm afraid. We'll stop for fast food at lunch time, if that sounds good to you, Alex."
Mentally counting up his remaining funds, Lucas nodded. "I could go for a burger, in a few hours."
He yawned widely then, and was reminded of how little sleep he had gotten in the previous days. The last time he had gotten a decent night's sleep had been at Roy's house, and that had only been five hours.
He wondered if they would mind…
As if reading his mind, Miss Munroe piped up. "You can nap until lunch if you want to, Alex. That is, if it wouldn't be a problem for you…" She skirted the subject of his intangibility like a pro; he was quite impressed.
"No, it's not a problem… That is, if you don't mind."
Logan chuckled. "As long as you don't mind waking up without any Twinkies."
Grinning, Lucas tossed the package to the older man. "Be my guest. It's the least I can do."
The backseat of the car was cold, but it was by far the most comfortable place Lucas had been in days.
He was asleep seconds after his head hit the window.
"Poor thing is going to wake up with an awful pain in his neck, sleeping with it at that angle." Ororo frowned maternally, looking in the rearview mirror.
"He's a kid, he'll be fine. They bounce back easy." Logan was looking at the Twinkies in his lap as though they were a great enigma. "S'a good kid."
Ororo smiled, but stayed silent.
"Damn, it's cold in here." Logan said, seemingly at odds with the fact that he was taking his jacket off. Nonchalantly tossing it into the backseat, Logan took a drink of his own coffee. "Just tell me when you want me to take over driving, 'Roro."
Glancing in the rearview mirror, Ororo noted with no small amount of amusement that the jacket had landed directly on the sleeping boy.
Ahh, Logan. The only man she had ever met who loved taking care of people, particularly lost children, but didn't ever want anyone to know about it.
Lucas awoke to the smell of food, and the sound of a male voice muttering about 'fake meat'.
He thought of Ben, and the hamburger fiasco, and almost giggled. Then he thought of eating the actual remains of a dead animal, and the urge was replaced by a vague sense of nausea.
The very notion was kind of gross.
As he slowly came to consciousness, he wondered why they had decided to eat without him. Had he slept so long? Then, he noticed the bag sitting next to him in the back seat.
He felt a strange lump in his throat, and had to blink back tears. Obviously, his situation had rendered him overly emotional. On the other hand, he had never seen so much of the generous side of humanity, before he'd become homeless.
It restored some of the faith in humanity that he'd lost while working so closely with the military.
The military could destroy anyone's faith in anything.
"Hey kid, I hope you like meatless meat, and cold french fries." Logan's vaguely annoyed voice broke into his thoughts.
Grinning, Lucas nodded. "That's the best kind."
He had started digging into the bag before even considering his pride. The 'Lawrence Wolenczak' voice in his head threatened to remind him of how he had to be an example for other people, and how he had to consider the family name, but he kicked it away.
Screw you, you arrogant jackass, he thought vehemently. You've never been homeless or desperate. You wouldn't even begin to understand.
It was then that he realized that the voice in his head was not from his father. Though it quoted things that Lawrence had said to him over the years, the context was all wrong. The voice in his head was completely his own, just as it always had been.
His burger almost fell in his lap, at the realization.
Even if his father had known what was going on, and was horrified by having a mutant for a son, he wouldn't have said those things.
Lawrence Wolenczak would have been pleased with Lucas holding up, under such pressure.
His father would have been proud of him.
Friday, May 9, 11:00 A.M.
So he went to see the UEO-assigned shrink.
Just to meet the woman who was affecting his crew so much, he told himself.
"Captain Bridger. I had begun to wonder whether I would ever meet you." She stood as he entered, flashing him a smile that would have impressed toothpaste ad people.
Nathan covered his surprise well, or at least he thought he did. This was the therapist? A beautiful young woman by any definition of the term, Dr. Jean Grey was the last thing he had expected the UEO to send.
He tried not to underestimate her on the basis of her youth of looks, but it was difficult. Anyone her age was a hard sell as a therapist, let alone anyone who looked so much like she should be a model. He wondered if that was why Krieg had gotten better so quickly. A pretty girl always put Krieg in a good mood.
She put her hand out to shake his, and it took him a moment to remember how to respond to that.
He was too old to be spending time around pretty girls.
Obviously, she had dealt with his attitude before. "I assure you, Captain, I am fully qualified to be here. And while I may be young for my profession, I'm not as young as I look."
He made to deny her implication about his thoughts, but the look she gave him stopped him in his tracks. Somehow, he knew that lying to Dr. Grey was a bad idea.
"I don't suppose you can overlook an old sailor's prejudices, Doctor? I'm afraid I just never put much stock in your profession."
At the rather rude words, Doctor Grey smiled radiantly and laughed at him. "Now see, that wasn't so hard, was it?"
Despite his concerns, he found himself laughing.
After a moment, the serious mood returned, and he found himself sitting opposite the lovely young doctor.
"Would you like to talk about Lucas, Captain? I've found that regardless of my presence or lack thereof, the crew enjoys that."
Nathan swallowed hard, and tried to shrug half-heartedly. She was a shrewd woman, this Doctor Jean Grey.
He tried to hedge. "I don't know what there is to talk about, Doctor. He's out there somewhere, and we need to find him. That's all there is to it."
She smiled patiently. "Is it?"
All he could do was frown.
Damned insightful woman.
"All right, we need to find him, and then we need to send him home where he belongs. Boys shouldn't be on military vessels."
She raised a perfectly manicured eyebrow. "And grown men do?"
By this point, he was outright scowling.
"Someone has to protect… Fine, no, I'd rather not take any of them into harm's way, all right? But they're soldiers, and Lucas is just a child."
"And that makes you feel more responsible than if he were an adult? It's my understanding that you had nothing to do with the accident, yes?" She looked patiently at him, waiting for a response. How could a child like this Doctor just lay his feelings bare in fifteen seconds flat?
Looking away, Nathan was annoyed and relieved at the same time. And annoyed at his relief. "I think of him as a son, Doctor Grey. And before you feel a need to do any more psychoanalyzing, yes, I feel responsible for everyone under my command, Lucas most of all because of his age. And yes, I had my own son; yes, he's deceased; and yes, I feel responsible for that, too."
Irritatingly enough, the confession made him feel better.
She just nodded seriously and said, "I understand, Captain."
And dammit, he believed that she did.