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Plus Ça Change (Unexpected Occurrences 7/12)

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  • Mo
    Plus Ça Change (Unexpected Occurrences 7/12) If I didn’t know better, I’d say Adam already knew. He couldn’t, but it appeared that he did. He was
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 15, 2004
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      Plus �a Change (Unexpected Occurrences 7/12)

      If I didn�t know better, I�d say Adam already knew.
      He couldn�t, but it appeared that he did. He was
      acting wary with me, like there was something on his
      mind but he didn�t know what to say. Might Anjuli
      have let it slip? She�d promised she wouldn�t tell
      him, that she�d let me say it in my own time. But the
      two of them had been all alone here, with the babies,
      for the last few days. I know they�d talked a lot,
      spent a lot of time together. I know Adam had told
      her about what he was finding out on his mission and
      bounced ideas off of her, trusting her with
      confidential information he�d uncovered. Maybe Anjuli
      had found it hard to keep information from Adam,
      information that she believed he should have.

      I knew he had to have that information, too. I wasn�t
      avoiding telling him, vraiment. It just wasn�t
      something I felt I could say on the phone. And there
      was no reason that he needed to know before I got back
      here. There was nothing he could do to help me, and
      nothing he needed to do differently while we were
      separated. Nothing different needed from him until we
      had sex.

      Bien sur, I wasn�t going to spring it on him then.
      That would be some way to tell him, just take out a
      condom at a crucial moment and say, �By the way, mon
      ami, we�re going to be using these again. For a
      while, at least.� No, I wouldn�t do it like that. I
      wanted to talk to him, to explain what happened and to
      pass on the reassurance I�d gotten from everyone I�d
      spoken to that I�d most likely be fine. It was only
      one exposure, after all, and I was being treated both
      conventionally and with Anjuli�s experimental Healing
      Factor Concentrate. Adam would be worried for me, of
      course. I�m worried for myself. But I�m not so very
      worried and I think once I told him why, he�d
      understand.

      In fact, other parts of this are more troublesome to
      me than concerns about my own health. Why didn�t
      Walter tell me? I couldn�t get over my puzzlement at
      that, or my anger. Talking to Mac and Heather at
      length hadn�t helped reconcile me to his decision. He
      was my best friend � I would have told him anything.
      I wanted to scream at him, tell him that I expected
      better of him, better of our friendship. I wanted to
      ask Walter if he didn�t trust me enough to tell me
      this. After all we�d shared, in Alpha Flight and
      through Joanne�s illness and death. Of course, his
      having died made yelling at him impossible, and that
      was adding to my anger and frustration. Tabernac,
      Walter! Couldn�t you have stayed alive long enough to
      hear how mad I am at you? To hear how much I�ll miss
      you, how much I loved you?

      It was all a jumble and I couldn�t get my thoughts or
      my feelings straight. Heather and Mac tried to be
      supportive, but it�s Adam who knows me best and I know
      it�s Adam alone who can really comprehend how I feel
      about all this. I wanted his love and understanding.
      I knew I had to give him the difficult news to get
      that.

      So, I�d wanted to tell him as soon as I could, but
      tonight at Anjuli�s was the first chance we�d had to
      see each other. And much of the evening was spent
      playing with our son, and exclaiming over the growth
      and changes in him even in this short time. Now that
      we were alone in our bedroom, with Ezra finally
      asleep, this was the first time we could speak freely
      and privately.

      We hadn�t expected to be separated that long, but
      things hadn�t worked out as planned. C�est la guerre.
      Adam had been in Saskatchewan while I was in
      Washington. And then I�d gone back to Huntsville with
      Rogue before he�d come here. I�d hoped to get back to
      Washington by the time Adam arrived, but between the
      PEP and the counseling they insisted I have, not to
      mention the post-mortem on the mission and working on
      the plans for how to go back and spring Tabitha...
      well, it all took longer than I�d wanted or
      anticipated.

      Adam and I had spoken every day. Although the last
      time we�d actually seen each other we�d been fighting,
      I didn�t feel like we were in the middle of a fight
      when I saw him today. That had been over a long time
      ago. All anger had disappeared � for both of us �
      with the mission and with Walter�s death. Plus, we
      had talked through how it had been for both of us when
      I didn�t go to San Francisco with him. I�d apologized
      for deciding at the last minute like that and
      disappointing him. He�d apologized for not being more
      understanding about why I felt I couldn�t go.

      He�d also told me more about how much he�d looked
      forward to the time alone together in San Francisco,
      and I realized I hadn�t understood half of what he�d
      been going through these past few months. I hadn�t
      appreciated enough how hard he was finding life in
      Saskatchewan, how difficult it was for him to adjust
      to giving up his career, to parenthood, even to being
      surrounded by mutants. �I feel like everyone has
      gifts but me, like I�m some sort of inferior being,�
      he�d sobbed on the phone.

      I�d had no idea. He�s so brilliant, so talented, that
      I�d always felt a bit in awe of him when we were first
      together. �He�s a smart one,� Walter had said the
      first time they�d met, shaking his head. �You�re
      going to have a hard time keeping up with him,
      Jean-Paul.� I�d often felt Walter was right. It
      wasn�t the education, although I do know I have a bit
      of a chip on my shoulder about my lack of one. It was
      just the force of his intellect � what he knew, how
      perceptive and insightful he was, how he could make
      connections that others didn�t see, the way he could
      write about just anything and really make the reader
      understand. He was so truly gifted that it would
      never occur to me he�d feel inferior to anyone.

      Mon dieu! I wished I�d realized at the time. I did
      know he was having trouble getting very far on his
      novel, but I thought with everything else he had to do
      that was to be expected. I hadn�t realized his
      self-confidence was suffering. Work was the one area
      where he�d always felt competent and appreciated and
      he was missing that now. If I had realized how
      bruised his ego was and how much he was hoping for the
      San Francisco trip to help with that, I would have
      gone in spite of my reservations. I had told him so
      on the phone and he had cried and thanked me and
      apologized again for pushing me to go.

      Adam hadn�t said much about the conference itself. I
      had tried asking him about it, showing I was
      interested and didn�t hold it against him that he
      went, but he kind of glossed over it. I hope our
      problems didn�t stop him from enjoying his time there.
      He does seem to be doing much better now, so I think
      it helped him, in spite of our fight. Things have
      been much better for him since he left Saskatchewan, I
      believe. Adam and Ezra had settled in well with Anjuli
      and little Hank. He sounded excited about his
      freelance work, and his clandestine assignment from
      Charles that it was partly a front for.

      Adam was working on a story on the initial spread and
      current containment of the epidemic that had led to
      the War on Mutants. He had a leg up on other
      reporters working the same beat. The government
      wasn�t saying, but Adam knew the nature of the
      epidemic. When he was told what Jean had found out, he
      thoroughly researched plague, so he could ask
      knowledgeable questions about the spread and
      subsequent containment of the disease. As my Adam
      always says, it�s easier to get people to tell you the
      whole truth if you already knew part of it. Hospitals
      had suddenly been subject to new Secrecy Rules issued
      by Homeland Security and medical providers had to take
      loyalty oaths and pledge not to reveal any information
      without government approval. But most were
      uncomfortable with keeping vital information to
      themselves and Adam was able to tap into that
      discomfort by asking pointed questions, from a
      position of knowledge. Of course given the Secrecy
      Rules, there was still a question of whether or not
      he�d manage to get the story into print. Still,
      newspapers had violated such government edicts before
      and survived. He had hopes that his story would be
      big enough and crucial enough that the news editor at
      the Herald � his old paper - would be willing to take
      that chance.

      Adam was even more excited about the undercover
      purpose Charles had told him to put his work to �
      trying to find out the source of the original
      aerosolized bacteria. We needed to know who had
      started this war, who had framed the mutant
      sub-species. As hopeful as I was that we could free
      Tabitha from the mutant prison, I knew � we all knew �
      that there was no way we could free everyone who was
      locked up there. And no way that mutants could
      resettle in the United States and live in peace and
      freedom. Not unless it could be proven that the
      epidemic wasn�t due to mutant bioterrorism. The only
      way to prove it was to find out the real culprit.
      Adam had told me on the phone that he had a good lead,
      was close to what he hoped would be a breakthrough.
      If he could find out who was behind the original act
      of bio-terrorism, and if the news could be publicized,
      perhaps the United States would end the War on
      Mutants.

      Even then, I had my doubts whether the anti-mutant
      measures would be completely reversed. And if they
      were, would any of our kind ever feel safe again in
      that country? I doubted I would. I couldn�t see ever
      moving there and hoped Adam wouldn�t want to move
      back. I want our son to be raised in Canada and I�m
      glad that we�ve made our home there so far. I hope
      Adam agrees. I�m certainly willing to move somewhere
      more cosmopolitan than rural Saskatchewan. Well, we
      don�t have to consider that right now. But I did need
      to tell him now that I�d been exposed to HIV, and I
      was having trouble getting started.

      It wasn�t helping that he seemed uncomfortable with
      me, wary of speaking about anything serious. For a
      while he just kept talking about mundane things,
      telling me about minor events that had happened during
      our separation. And they were almost all things he�d
      already told me on the phone. That�s very unlike
      Adam. Plus, he wouldn�t make eye contact, kept
      looking away from me or even turning his back to me.
      I had left my suitcase by the bedroom door and he went
      and picked it up, and started emptying my clothes into
      dresser drawers, his back to me, as I lay on the bed.

      �Don�t do that,� I told him. �I�ll put that stuff
      away later. Since when do you put my clothes away?�

      �I don�t mind,� he said. �I saved these drawers for
      you � might as well fill them up.�

      And then he opened the small zipper pocket of my
      suitcase just as I remembered what was in there.
      �Don�t, Adam!� I said, but it was too late. He turned
      and faced me now. He was holding a bottle of
      prescription medicine in one hand and a box of condoms
      in the other, looking at me with an expression that
      seemed equal parts surprise and dismay.

      �Jean-Paul!� he exclaimed, and he sputtered a bit,
      clearly not knowing what to say. �Are you... Do we
      need to... Did you...?

      �Oh, Adam! Mon amour, don�t think that. I would
      never betray you. I haven�t touched another man, not
      since we started. I will not. It is for HIV, that�s
      true. I�ve wanted to tell you � I was trying to.

      �I have been exposed, yes, but not through sex. I
      think I�ll be okay. The medicine � it will prevent
      infection, I believe. It was only one exposure.
      Probably nothing would have happened anyway, but I�m
      taking it to make sure, hein? And you and I must play
      safe for a while. I�m sorry.�

      And I told him all about Walter. His infection, me
      not knowing about it and my anger around that. My
      wounds, his blood getting into them. Missing him, mad
      at him, confused � all my mixed up feelings. And
      about the post exposure prophylaxis � PEP. Adam had
      never heard of it, so I told him about that, too.

      �Like a morning after pill for AIDS?� he asked
      incredulously.

      �I suppose so. I never thought of it that way. Well,
      more than one pill � a course of treatment. But one
      cannot get a prescription like this for sexual
      exposures. See, proof that I didn�t cheat on you!� I
      said the last part jokingly but he winced at it, and I
      realized right away it was the wrong thing to say.
      �I�m sorry, Adam. I didn�t mean to suggest you
      doubted my word, or my faithfulness. Most often the
      drugs are prescribed for medical personnel who are
      exposed � needle sticks and so forth. I was eligible
      because it�s an occupational exposure, too.�

      �You should talk to Anjuli,� he said, suddenly
      sounding excited. �Her Healing Factor Concentrate has
      passed all the tests so far. Maybe it could be an
      additional form of PEP?�

      I told him that I�d already arranged to have
      injections of Anjuli�s HFC, that I too thought it
      would make me even less likely to contract the disease
      we dreaded.

      �Anjuli already knows about this?� he asked, �and I
      didn�t?�

      �Oh Adam,� I said, dismayed at his wounded expression.
      �Please don�t be angry at me, mon cher. I just felt
      I needed to wait and tell you face to face. I didn�t
      want to give you this news on the phone. Believe me,
      I wasn�t trying to deceive you. You and I don�t keep
      things from each other. It�s something I�ve always
      counted on from you � honesty. You can count on that
      from me, too. Vraiment.�





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