Past Grief (Whats Past is Prologue 12/18)
Are you all moved in? I asked, as Scott opened the
door to what had been Professor Xs office. I
followed him over to the seating area by the
fireplace, which was cold and devoid of wood, of
course, in August. I noticed right away that the spot
that had always been left empty for Charless
wheelchair now had a large, upholstered armchair in
it, the mate of the one across from it. I wondered
idly if it had just been bought for this purpose.
Not really, he said, in response to the question Id
asked, sitting down in the big armchair and gesturing
to me to sit down on the couch near him. He looked
around a bit at his surroundings. Ive been avoiding
moving in here, but I need the space. My office is
too small for a lot of the meetings I hold. Shuttling
back and forth was getting ridiculous. He shrugged.
So, it may take a while to move all my stuff in, but
Im doing it. And I told Rogue she can reassign my
office. My old office, I guess I should say.
I hope it was okay that I introduced Rick Kapell to
you, yesterday. I hesitated. I wasnt sure what to
do. I thought of just pointing him out to you.
You did the right thing. I would have asked to be
introduced if youd pointed him out. I dont want to
act like were scared of him. He smiled a kind of
sour smile. Of course I am scared of him, or at
least of what he might find out, but I dont want him
to realize that. I was kind of alarmed that he was at
the reception. I guess I should have seen that
coming. The consequence of having it at the church,
rather than here, where we could control who
It made it more accessible to have the reception at
the same place as the service.
Yes, that was the idea. Particularly accessible for
the wheelchair crowd. He thought some more. It was
probably the right decision, but it made for an odd
atmosphere. It was a pretty public event that felt
like a private party. I know the team and the kids
all knew not to say anything at the reception that
ought to stay intramural. Im pretty sure Wendy
impressed the same thing on the Outpost crew. Still,
I wish I knew who was talking with Rick Kapell, or who
was talking that he was overhearing.
Jean-Paul and I kept tabs on him. Between the two of
us, we stayed with Rick the whole time. I dont think
well like his write-up of the service or the
reception, knowing the way his paper talks about
mutants, but I dont think he learned anything
Thanks for doing that. Ill thank Jean-Paul, too.
I hesitated before continuing. Theres someone I do
think you should talk to about Rick, although as I
said, we were watching, and Im quite sure Rick didnt
speak to him at the service. Simon Graves.
Youve spoken to Simon? I nodded. I... I was
surprised to see him at the reception. We havent
spoken much in recent years, although he did send a
Yes, thats how I came to contact him in the first
Neither of us said anything for a minute. How much
did he tell you? Scott asked, finally.
Everything, I think. I dont think he meant to. I
dont think hed say anything to anyone else, but I
suggest you talk to him, just to reinforce the need
Scott didnt seem to take in my suggestion that he
talk to Simon. Adam, he said. When I met Simon...
well, it was a very difficult time in my life. I was
very young and I was on my own, and blind and...
Scott, dont. Please. You dont need to explain
yourself to me. I understand. And, besides, Im only
doing this for you. And the X-Men. Im not judging
you or... I dont want to invade your privacy.
Really, I dont. I just found out what I could, and
Im telling you about it. I admire you immensely, I
always have. For all you do and for who you are.
Nothing I've found out changes that, lessens that, at
all. All I'm doing is trying to find out what
information is out there that could be damaging to
your reputation, and that of the team, if it were
published. So, I think you ought to speak to Simon.
He nodded. I will. And thank you.
I really dont think hes spoken to anyone about you
besides me. I had his letter, and that gave me a kind
of entrée others wouldnt have. I didnt know how
much more to say. He thinks very highly of you,
Scott. Hed read everything in the papers about you,
in the wake of Charless death. Simon seems, well,
very proud of your accomplishments. Hes not looking
to hurt you. He feels he let you down, and I think
that led him to be less discreet with me than he
should have been.
He nodded again. I understand how that could
happen. Neither of us said anything for a minute and
then he continued. I think this is awkward for both
of us. I very much appreciate you taking on this
assignment. I guess I was hoping you wouldnt really
find anything out, though. He smiled then, and I
did, too. Then the smile turned into a frown and he
asked, Is that all you found out?
No, its not. This is hard stuff. I wasnt even
sure how much to tell you of what I did find out.
I want to know it all.
Thats what I eventually concluded. And, frankly,
Im more concerned about Rick Kapell finding
information from before you came to New York than I am
about him uncovering what you did when you got here.
Ive been to Indiana. I hope he hasnt. He didnt
say anything, although he blanched a bit. Thats not
something youve kept a secret where youre from. I
dont think anyone on the team is talking to him, but
if they did...
I never say much about my childhood. I always just
say Im from a small town in Indiana. It just seemed
like something I *could* say, when there wasnt a
lot. He sighed.
I know. And I dont know that Kapell will tumble to
it, since he hasnt heard you say that, like I have,
but... well, theres a discrepancy between what you
say about your childhood and the official record. Or
what seems to be the official record. Certainly
everyone on the team knows that you came to live here
when you were sixteen. Its well known that you were
Charless first student and the first X-Man. The kids
know that, too. But youve got a birth certificate
that says you were born in Vermont, and that your
parents were Charles Xavier and someone named Maria
He didnt say anything at first. We just made her
up, he said, finally. It was so I could go to
college. We were all applying Jean, Warren, Hank
and I. And they ask for parents names, and birth
date, and... I dont know. Charles just thought we
should have a paper trail. And then later, I needed a
passport, and a drivers license and... It was useful
to have a birth certificate that listed him as my
I figured it was something like that. Its got your
real birth date.
Yeah, we thought it was easier that way, if I didnt
have to remember a different birthday.
Makes sense. Like people who assume a new identity
but use the same nickname or the same initials. I
started looking through records in Indiana for that
date. The names not exactly the same, but close
enough. I wasnt sure what to say next. Ive been
to Goodland. And a few other places. I think I know
what happened. Ive gotten access to records,
including some that were supposed to have been sealed.
Ive spoken to your mother.
He seemed to swallow hard. How is she?
I cant really say. We only spoke briefly. She...
she wasnt very friendly. And it didnt help that I
said I knew you.
He nodded. I gather she didnt ask how I am.
I shook my head. Im sorry.
Did she say anything about me?
She said that as far as shes concerned, you died
when you were fifteen.
He nodded again, exhaling loudly. Was Alex my
So, you know what happened to my father?
I think so. Nobody there knows, I dont think.
Scott, I pieced it together. Most of it, anyway. I
still have some questions, but I think I know
basically what happened. I read the medical
examiners report, trial transcripts, transcripts of
police interviews with witnesses. I think you killed
him accidentally, when you first came into your
powers. Am I right? He nodded. I dont think
anyone knows that, though, or almost no one. The
mutant phenomenon was fairly new. It happened really
suddenly. And you were gone afterwards. I dont
think anyone put it together. The medical examiner
might have suspected. He did point out anomalies,
things that didnt fit the case the police put
together. But they had a confession and an easy
explanation and I think the cops and the prosecutor
just thought it would confuse things to bring it up.
A confession? Someone confessed to killing him? He
sounded completely bewildered. Who?
Alex? The anguish in his voice was worse than Id
imagined it would be, and Id been imagining something
really bad. How? Why?
I dont have all the answers. What do you remember,
Scott? About what happened to your father, and about
Alex. Maybe between your recollections and my
research we can figure out what happened.
He took a deep breath and then started talking. It
felt like he lost sight of me being there, almost like
he was talking to himself. It was my fault. I
shouldnt have let it happen. I was late at least a
couple of hours. I was supposed to be helping my
father repave the walkway up to our house and I stayed
too long at Tobys. I spent a lot of time at Tobys
house then. My father didnt like it, didnt like
Toby, didnt like me being friends with him. I dont
know if he suspected anything.
You and Toby were lovers?
He shook his head. No, nothing like that. He was a
friend from school. I was in love with him, but he
never knew. We never... did anything. I never said
anything. But I dont know. Maybe it showed. When
youre in love, when youre young and in love,
particularly well, its hard not to let it show. He
was all I thought about. I know I talked about him
all the time, or did until my father started making
veiled comments about Toby. He called him a pretty
boy. So maybe he had an inkling. I dont know.
But, anyway, he didnt like me spending so much time
with Toby, and he was really mad that day because I
didnt get home in time to work on the walkway. The
paving stones were all stacked by the house and we had
already pulled up the old ones. I was late and he was
getting mad, and... I think he went looking through my
stuff to find Tobys number, to call me. But what he
found... He stopped talking and put his head in his
Letters. Love letters to Toby, right? He nodded.
I've seen them. You never gave them to him?
No, he had no idea. Not until my father started in
on me. Yelling at me as soon as Toby and I showed up
on our bikes, calling me names. Alex was there. A
couple of kids next door stopped to listen, too. It
was this huge... spectacle or something. Major
Summers and his faggot son. And he started *reading*
the letters, out loud, right there. With everybody
*listening*. Toby ran away, hands on his ears. I
dont think he saw what happened. But Alex, the
I dont think anyone but Alex was close enough to see
what happened. At least the neighbors stories were
confused, contradictory. The cops didnt know what to
make of what they said.
I had no idea. I didnt know I was manifesting,
didnt know what was happening. My head hurt, my eyes
hurt, but I didnt know what it meant. I was trying
not to cry, trying to just kind of will him to stop.
And he wouldnt. And I looked at him... I wanted him
dead at that moment. I cant deny that. But I didnt
kill him on purpose. I didnt even know what
happened. I could see a bright red light and I could
just... feel something. Something Id never felt
before. Something coming out of my eyes. I didnt
know what it was, what it meant. But then he was on
the ground, and his head... It was... Id never seen
anyone look like that.
I know. Strong concussive force. Thats what the
medical examiners report said. But Scott, you could
see him? After he fell? No optic blasts coming out
No. It was... intermittent. I didnt even know
that. I didnt know anything. He put his head in
his hands again. I havent thought about this for so
long. He thought some more. He was dead, I was
sure of it. I checked. No pulse, and the back of his
head. It was, well there was no way someone could be
alive with that kind of injury. I think the other
kids ran away, maybe to get help. But Alex was there.
And I looked at him and... Wait! I looked at Alex
and saw the red light again, felt the blasts coming
out, but nothing happened to him. And then I closed
my eyes because I was scared it would happen again.
And I ran. He was lost in the memory again. I
opened them a few times, tentatively. I didnt know
how to function blind yet. But I learned quickly.
And more and more it was happening, whatever it was.
A few days had gone by and I was hundreds of miles
away before I realized I was a mutant. By then, I
knew I had to keep them closed all the time, because
it was happening whenever I opened them.
How long did you keep your eyes closed, Scott?
Umm. I dont know. I lost track of time for a while
there. Over a year, anyway. When Charles found me,
he didnt know how to control it, either. So, I was
still blind most of the time. But he used to take me
outside. When nobody was around. And hed tell me to
just look up and open my eyes. And the blasts
theyd come out but theyd dissipate. Just into the
air, not hitting anything. Id never thought of that.
Well, I couldnt really do it in the city, I dont
think. I couldnt have done it anywhere without
someone to help me, to tell me when there was nothing
above me. I didnt have anyone to help me, not until
Charles. He closed his eyes, remembering. Once
Charles took me to the beach. A private beach, no one
around, just so I could look at the ocean. It was so
beautiful, just looking out at the water. And
sometimes I could open them at his place in Vermont.
Its pretty remote. Nobody saw us. Hed tell me when
it was safe to open my eyes. I cut down trees with my
eyes. We used them for firewood. God, you cant
imagine what it felt like, to see after all that
Its amazing to me you could keep them closed that
I had to. He didnt say anything for a while.
What happened with Alex?
He hit your father in the head. With one of the
paving stones. They were heavy. The medical
examiners report said he appeared to have been hit
*after* he died, both because there wasnt enough
blood on the paving stone and because of where he hit
him. Alex was much shorter than your father it
wasnt possible that he could hit him on the head like
that, with that angle, unless it was after hed
fallen. Thats what the MEs report said, but the
cops kind of ignored that and it didnt come out at
the trial. It was a closed courtroom; he was tried as
a juvenile. No one was trying to solve it, you know.
No one was looking to clear him. He was saying he did
it. They didnt look any further.
Why? Why did he say he did it? He had to have known
it was me.
I dont know, Scott. Maybe he was protecting you.
Maybe he thought he did kill him. He didnt say much
about what happened. I took out my notes. Here. I
hit him with the stone. I hit him hard. He said bad
stuff about my brother. I wanted him to stop. No
one knew what had happened. It was an easy
What did they do to him?
He was in a juvenile detention center. Until he
Do you know where he is now?
For a crime he supposedly committed at thirteen?
I shook my head. No, hes been in trouble with the
law since. He never really settled down after he came
out of the center. It doesnt seem they provided him
with much in the way of services when he got out. And
he didnt really have anywhere to go. His your
mother wouldnt take him back home. I think the only
people he knew by that point were criminals. Hes
been in and out of prison ever since. Some drug
charges, armed robbery. The latest was kidnapping.
A hostage situation during a robbery.
Its my fault this happened to him. He must hate
You didnt know what happened to him?
No! I knew nothing about any of it. I should have.
I should have found out. I was too scared to. And my
You were just a kid. You couldnt have known what to
do. You were in over your head. He didnt answer.
What did Charles know?
I dont know. You cant tell with him. Sometimes he
turned out to know more than... I dont think he knew
this, though. I never told him any of it, just that I
ran away from home. I said I couldnt go back and I
wouldnt talk about it. I was so ashamed. And scared
of what hed think of me if he knew. I thought he
might send me away. I couldn't go back on the street.
I just couldn't." He stopped a minute, lost in
memory. "I didnt want to think about it. I didnt
think about it. So, I don't think he ever knew. He
stood up and paced back and forth for a minute. I
have to see Alex, he said, finally. You know where
he is? What prison?
Yes. Terre Haute. I can give you the details.
He stopped pacing and turned to me. Good, he said,
in his confident Field Leader voice. Im going to go
see him. Ive got to get him out of there.
Mofic Website: www.angelfire.com/comics/mo
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