The professor would have loved this. Thats what I
decided Id say about the service. Id heard it in a
movie once. This woman kind of sniffed, sort of
half-crying, and says to someone after the funeral,
He would have loved it. Meaning the dead guy. It
was a weird thing to say. I mean if he loved it, then
he would have been at his own funeral. What does that
mean? But it sounded kind of classy and I figured it
was good to have a line ready, since Mr. Summers said
Id be meeting a lot of people at the reception
afterwards. So thats the one I decided on.
The big surprise about the service was that *I* loved
it. I was figuring the memorial service would be
boring, but maybe the reception could be a little bit
fun if everybody didnt go around miserable through
the whole thing. Everyone from the Outpost would be
there. Ive never been to the Outpost, but everybody
at school talks about it. Jamie and a bunch of the
others lived there during the war, so they know all
the kids there. I thought it could be interesting to
meet mutants from other places. So, I thought the
reception could be okay but I sure wasnt looking
forward to hearing a couple of hours of people talking
about Professor X.
But it was fun! Who knew? The people who did talk
about him told some interesting stories and some
really funny ones, too. People laughed almost as much
as they cried, and the crying didnt feel all gloomy
or anything. It felt appreciative, I guess. Yeah,
thats it. Maybe it comes from doing it a while after
he died, but it wasnt a downer or anything. It was
an appreciation, just like it said in the program
that Mr. Greenfield had written.
I started feeling a little appreciative of Professor X
myself, even, like maybe what I saw of him wasnt all
there was. It made me remember that only time Mr.
Summers *ever* said something critical of the
Professor to me. It was when I was complaining that
he was trying to make me use my powers when I was
still trying to learn how *not* to. He sighed and
said hed talk to the Professor. And then said,
Youre not seeing him at his best, RoseAnn. No more
than that, but I remembered it because it was so
unlike him to say anything against Professor X. And
now that I was hearing from people whod known him for
years, and stories about things hed done with the
X-Men or the kids, I was starting to feel like his
best might have been really something to see.
And then there was the music. Mr. Greenfield said at
the reception that it was standard New York Celebrity
Funeral stuff, but Ive never been to a New York
Celebrity Funeral so I didnt know. Broadway stars
and pop singers and gospel singers. Like it was some
sort of *show* instead of a memorial service. And the
lines of people outside the church waiting to get in
seemed to think it was a show, too. It was great how
we just walked up there and got ushered in without
waiting. Still, we all got searched and had to go
through metal detectors and that kind of shit, because
there were lots of important people there, including
It was pretty funny to watch Logan give the security
people a hard time when he set off the metal detector.
What do you have in your pockets? the guy asked.
And he answered by showing that it wasnt anything in
his pockets but in his hands extending just the
middle claw. I almost died laughing. What a stupid
question, anyway. Like theres any room to hide
anything in these outfits!
Yeah, that was another fun part. I got to wear an
X-Men uniform just like the real team members. All of
us kids whove been on missions did, and my fixing
Cerebro counted as a mission, so that was good for
something after all. And it was just so cool to be in
the uniform and feel like a real X-Man. And then at
the end when we all stood up and lots of people showed
off their powers, with Jamie and Angel and Northstar
all flying and Logan extending all his claws and
holding his hands way up and Storm making lightning
and thunder outside loud enough and bright enough that
everyone saw and heard it and Iceman juggling icicles
and Pyro juggling fireballs. Well, it sure made all
the normals in that big church sit up and take notice.
It made me feel like I was part of something big and
important and I could see why people followed the
Professor if thats how he made them feel.
So the service turned out to be fun when I thought it
would be a total bore. And the reception was great,
too. Mr. Summers introduced me to lots of people,
including the President. And also to Guardian, whos
head of Alpha Flight and he said Charles always spoke
so highly of you, RoseAnn. Which mostly made me feel
good, but also a little shitty for all my bitchy
thoughts about him. And Jamie introduced me to all
the Outpost kids, and to alumni I didnt know. This
is my girlfriend, RoseAnn, he kept saying, and I
want you to meet my girlfriend. And they all acted
like theyd heard stuff good stuff about me before
we even met.
The reception felt like a real party, like a great big
one with lots of people coming from all over. Almost
like Dr. Greys wedding. Lots of people were running
up to each other and hugging and all excited to see
each other and smiling and laughing. And then theyd
sort of get all serious and say Oh, but I wish it was
under happier circumstances and then go back to
laughing and joking and just being happy to see each
other again. And there were all these little kids
around, too, because the Outpost has babies and little
kids and not just teenagers and also Dr. Radavans
Hank was there and Mr. Greenfields Ezra. Ive
babysat for them both before and they are beyond cute
together. Theyre even adorable when theyre
fighting. They were each going Mine! about the one
cookie with green icing on a plate of all yellow ones
and just seeing who could say it louder. But then
Ezra found another one so that stopped before they got
mad for real.
It just felt like one big family party or something.
And I was part of it. Not bad, especially considering
the last time I was hanging out on the Upper West Side
it was when I was turning tricks in Riverside Park,
not spending my time in a great big church. So, I did
get to say the Professor would have loved this. And
every time I did, whoever I said it to nodded and
smiled, so I think it was a good thing. I dont know
if he would have liked it at all, really, but I had a
Charles would have hated this. Jean said it to me
about mid-way. After the first speeches and during
the much-too-glitzy-for-Charles entertainment. We
were sitting next to each other, in the front row,
Logan to my left and Sasha to her right. She touched
my arm to get my attention, then said it in my brain.
This was your idea, I thought back.
She smiled, showing she wasnt complaining about it.
And we both thought together, minds touching, about
how hed always avoided this kind of
self-aggrandizement when he was alive. Charles Xavier
wanted to make things happen his way, wanted the world
to move in a direction of safety and tolerance. But
he didnt want to be in the spotlight. Always the man
behind the curtain, never the public face. Still, we
werent doing this for him.
And mostly I think it really was accomplishing what
wed wanted it to. Waiting a while helped, let people
work through some of the initial shock and opened them
up to a service that was less mourning and more
appreciation. Sure, some of it was just too trendy
and too New York for words, but even then the words
were good ones. Adam had done a wonderful job of
summarizing Charless life and his life work in the
program, as I knew he would. The speeches had been
enjoyable, alternately moving and funny. The music
was certainly professional, if not exactly what
Charles would have chosen. Well, wed done the
traditional hymns at the private funeral. That was
for him. This was for the crowd.
And what a crowd it was. Movers and shakers from all
sorts of venues where Charles had an influence:
government, industry, education. The President
himself was there and dignitaries from a number of
foreign countries. Plus all of Alpha Flight, the
entire Outpost community, and almost everyone whod
ever attended Xaviers or been affiliated with us in
any way. It seemed like every known mutant in the
Western Hemisphere was right there in Riverside
Church, with the exception of the members of Magnetos
Brotherhood. And sitting right there with non-mutants
those who knew Charles, those whod been helped by
him (a whole section of pews had been cleared to
accommodate wheelchairs) and those who were just
curious. With plenty more curiosity seekers outside
because even that huge space was not big enough for
everyone who wanted to attend. It was inspiring. My
mind said to Jeans, He might be rolling over in his
grave, but Im glad we did it. Its an important
statement were making. Thanks for persuading me to
do this. She squeezed my hand.
But near the end I started to have second thoughts on
the wisdom of it, or at least on the wisdom of the
X-Men being so visible. Wed wanted to impress the
crowd, to show we were numerous and powerful and could
be counted on. Thats why we were all easily
identifiable in uniform, even those who could pass as
normal. Thats why we all stood up and those who
could demonstrate their powers easily did. Yes, we
wanted to impress.
But what kind of impression were we making? There was
a kind of low rumble of people murmuring to one
another. Logan, whose claws had been extended and
held high, retracted them and leaned over to whisper
in my ear. Theres more fear in this room than on a
plane about to crash, he said. I can smell it.
And I started to wonder if impressing the crowd had
been such a good idea after all.
I shouldnt have reacted. I should have just kept
walking and ignored her. But the reception had been
such fun and I was having such a good time and I just
wasnt on guard like I should have been. Jamies arm
was around my shoulders and he was whispering in my
ear as we walked out of the church. I wasnt even
thinking. I heard Tawny! and I turned around.
Nobody had called me that for months. I didnt expect
anyone ever would again. Id been feeling like I was
RoseAnn and like maybe someday Id have an X-Men code
name, too, but Id never be Tawny. But as soon as I
heard it I turned. Well, thats what you do when you
hear someone call your name and I guess in part of my
brain that was still my real name.
It was Crystal, and she was all excited to see me.
One of the people outside the church who never made it
in, she came bounding up to me in black high-heeled
boots and a tiny retro black and white check
mini-dress all 62 of her. Reached down to hug me
so hard I thought something would break! And she
said, Tawny! Where you been, girl? Weve all missed
you so much. And Nick has been going crazy looking
for you. Shit. Why did I have to look her way? Why
did this have to happen? With Jamie right there.
Just as we were leaving the church, Adam Greenfield
came over to me with a man I didnt know. Id seen
him with Northstar and then with Adam at the
reception. Id wondered briefly who he was.
Jean-Paul had appeared to be introducing him to Adam.
Now Adam wanted to introduce him to me. Id like you
to meet Rick Kapell, he said, and we shook hands.
Before I could say anything else, Adam added, Ive
already reiterated with Rick that you are not
available for interviews. I just thought you ought to
know who he is, since he already knows who you are.
Logan was standing beside me and his claws came out as
soon as Adam offered Kapells name. Beautiful
service, Kapell said, his eyes on Logan although the
comment seemed to be addressed to me.
Thank you, Id answered, and excused myself. I
wondered what Kapell would say about the service,
particularly the X-Men demonstration, in tomorrows
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