AN: It feels so good to pick this story up again! Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed! I feel that I'll be finishing this puppy yet!
Someone, (I can't remember who. Sorry!) pointed out my misspelling of "Danke Schon" -'thank you'- in the previous chapter. I'll get that fixed, although I'm afraid I don't know how to do accent marks. :P Thanks for pointing it out though! I'm beginning to want to learn German just because of Nightcrawler! :)
There had been moments of his childhood like this. Few, and far between, but nevertheless stored up like precious treasures in his memory. Moments as now, when time was standing still enough that he could see the individual membranes of the leaves above his head as he waited for Molly and Jeremy to find his hiding place.
He had hidden many times in his short life, but he could only remember one other time when he had done it for fun as he was doing now.
It was something he could get used to.
Kurt and the Grant family had been at the West's farm for almost three days. By the second, Kurt was able to relax enough to admire his rural surroundings, rather than just watching them for potential threats.
The grounds were level and open for the most part, since the couple grew and harvested alfalfa for a living, but closer to the house Dana had planted copious amounts of shrubbery, flowers, and trees. It hadn't taken long for Molly and Jeremy to turn the whole place into a play area, cheerfully dragging Kurt along for the ride. They explored the barn, the tool shed, the garden, the attic, and the orchard. And then the two siblings had challenged their older friend to a game of hide and seek. Kurt had warned them that he would win, but the children hadn't believed he could really make himself invisible in the shadows. For the last half hour he had been making noises at intervals to aid their search. They still hadn't found him.
He smiled and stretched his long frame into a more comfortable position, allowing his tail to rustle the leaves of the shrub in case one of them happened to be looking his way. He was ready to be found. His stomach was beginning to growl. Dana and Laura seemed determined to spoil him at mealtimes and he had no desire to miss their latest effort.
He spotted Molly coming around the house, a mystified expression on her face as she looked in all directions for Kurt. His smile turned into a fanged grin and he whistled between his teeth. The child's head snapped around in his direction and she ran toward his hiding place.
"Jeremy, I heard him again. Over here!" She called.
Jeremy joined his sister and Kurt was sure they would finally find him as they knelt beneath the bush and spread its leaves only inches from his face.
"He's not there. We've already looked." Jeremy said.
"But I heard him!" Molly insisted, worming her fingers among the branches. She froze with a gasp when her small hand closed on one of Kurt's fingers. "Kurt?"
Kurt laughed and wriggled from his hiding place as the siblings watched in astonishment.
"How did you fit in there?" Jeremy asked, his eyes wide. "We couldn't even see you!"
"I spent a lot of time with a circus. Some of my friends taught me how to fit in tight places." Kurt explained.
"Find me now, Kurt!" Molly begged, still holding his hand and bouncing up and down.
"After dinner, little one." Kurt promised.
As Kurt followed them to the house, something touched the back of his mind; a feeling of unease and danger. After such a beautiful day he wanted nothing more than to dismiss it as paranoia, but he turned before going into the house and looked around sharply. There was nothing to break the peace of the evening that he could see, but the relaxation of his guard that he had begun to allow in the past two days was replaced by renewed watchfulness as he went inside. This place seemed so far removed from the trouble they had found in the city, but so long as the drug ring existed in any capacity, there was danger to this family. By torching the family's home and kidnapping Grant, they had shown how far they would go. And until Logan cleaned their clocks, Kurt knew he had to be wary.
He hadn't talked to Logan since the older man had left, but after everyone was asleep, Kurt took out his communicator.
"Logan? Are you there?"
Static met his ears, followed closely by Logan's equally rough voice. "Yeah kid. All quiet?"
"We're fine..." Kurt stopped himself from saying anything about he feeling of unease he had experienced earlier in the day.
"Good. I know where they're keeping Grant. I just have to get him out and wrap these bozos up real pretty for the police. After that's done, I'll be heading your way before anyone can call the MRDs on me."
"You make it sound so easy." Kurt commented after a moment of silence.
"It is. For me. Hardest part was finding out where they were hiding out."
"Be careful anyway, mein friend." Kurt sighed, wondering if he would ever be able to face situations with the same confidence that Logan did.
"Don't worry, Elf. Those kids need their dad and I'm planning on bringing him home in one piece.
"Keep your eyes open." he continued, "This is a bigger operation than I thought. They could still be spying the rest of the family out. I'm just hoping they aren't that dedicated."
"Ja. I'll be watching." Kurt said, again wondering if his 'feeling' was worth mentioning. He decided it wasn't, since Logan could only come as quickly as he could wrap things up anyway.
When the conversation ended, Kurt found himself much too uneasy to sleep, so he slid silently out the window of the guest room and crawled up to the roof, casting his glowing eyes over the yard and fields beyond. If anyone could have seen him, perching like a sharp-featured gargoyle next to the chimney, they might have run screaming in terror, little knowing that the demon-like mutant was ready to give his life's blood for the small family sleeping peacefully in the house below.
Logan came bursting into the small room where Mr. Grant was being held prisoner with his usual amount of grace and subtlety. The door came off its hinges with a sharp crack and the two men who had been guarding it fell unconscious to the floor just inside the entrance, their broken rifles clattering down beside them.
Grant, disheveled and tied to a chair, his mouth open in bewilderment, looked at the the clawed, wild-haired man. "You don't look like one of New York's boys in blue..." he said slowly.
"The police don't even know you're missing yet, Bub." Logan growled, slicing through the man's bonds with his claws.
"Thanks, Mr..." Grant rubbed his wrists absently, still looking shell-shocked at his abrupt rescue.
"Name's Logan. You can get everything straightened out with the police after you've seen your wife and kids."
"Laura? Is she... are they all right?"
"They're with your in-laws. Your old friends here set the house on fire, but they got out."
"Thank God." he said fervently. "They told me... they said they all died in the fire. I couldn't believe it."
As they ran for the exit, Logan placed an anonymous call to the city police, ensuring the gang he had left tied up in various places around the large house would be picked up as soon as he and Grant were safely away.
"You did this by yourself?" Grant asked as they passed another group tied to a thick old oak standing out on the lawn. Logan had traced the ring's main operation to an old mansion outside the city limits and gotten Grant's location out of the first look-out he came across. The terrified man had almost been stammering too much to tell him anything with Logan's claws set that close to his throat.
"I counted fifteen of them when they first brought me here. You took out fifteen men by yourself?" Grant still sounded somewhat skeptical, though admiration also tinged his voice.
Logan stopped as they came to his (borrowed) motorcycle, parked behind the overgrown hedge near the road.
"Fifteen?" Logan asked. "You sure?"
"There could be more, but that's the most I saw. Why?"
Logan's expression darkened. "Because I only tied up ten."