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FIC: Nature’s Changing Course (Unexpected Occurrences 12/12)

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  • Mo
    Nature’s Changing Course (Unexpected Occurrences 12/12) Sleeping with the phone right next to him, Logan answered it before the first ring had finished.
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 16, 2004
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      Nature�s Changing Course (Unexpected Occurrences
      12/12)

      Sleeping with the phone right next to him, Logan
      answered it before the first ring had finished.
      �Evacuate?� he asked, without preliminaries.

      �No, no. It�s okay.� Scott�s voice was reassuring.
      �For now, anyway.�

      �You�re all safe?�

      �Yeah. I�m pretty sure we got in and out without them
      knowing we were there.�

      �Good.� Logan�s tone was flat, but there was the
      slight indication of a sigh of relief. After a moment
      he asked, �Did you find what you needed?�

      �We found a lot � took a lot. Documentation. Adam
      was right � there was plenty to take. Plans, meeting
      minutes. Reports on what they call �dry runs� �
      they�ve been killing people with aerosolized germs for
      a while as practice and no one caught on. They kept
      it small enough and obscure enough that it was just a
      few unexplained deaths in a variety of out-of-the-way
      places.�

      �Bastards.�

      �Well, we knew that. �Sacred Honor.� It�s other
      people�s lives they�re pledging to their cause, not
      theirs. Anyway, we�ve got the records, including
      pictures of the victims. Germ samples, too. The whole
      set up there was unbelievable � an extensive arsenal
      of bio-weapons.�

      �Plague?�

      �Yeah, but that�s not all. Tularemia, anthrax,
      smallpox � you name it; they had it. We weren�t there
      long enough to see all of it, but it�s an extensive
      and sophisticated lab. Jean was really impressed.�

      �So were they planning to use the other germs, too?
      Who were they gonna use them on? Can mutants get
      those other diseases?�

      �I don�t know any of that. We�ll be analyzing the
      documents we got for a while.�

      �Did you find the mutant they have prisoner?�

      �He almost found us � and he�s no prisoner. He�s one
      of them. He�s the guy who�s providing them with all
      these deadly diseases.�

      Logan shook his head in disbelief. �Why�d a mutant do
      that?�

      �Self-hatred? I don�t know. Why did Oliver�s father
      do what he did? Why does anyone betray his own
      people? I�m just glad Jean picked up on his thoughts
      and we got out of there before he knew we were there.�
      Scott hesitated before continuing. �But Logan? You
      were right.�

      �What about?�

      �You should have gone with us. The mutant in the
      Sacred Honor compound � that�s his gift. Disease.�

      �What does that mean?�

      �The rest of them think he�s making all those germs in
      a lab, but he�s not. He creates them out of his own
      body � just kind of wills them into existence or
      something.�

      �Fuck! Do those nut jobs know he�s a mutant?�

      �No, I don�t think so. It seems he was passing. They
      wouldn�t know about a disease-making gift � we didn�t
      know. It�s a psionic power we�ve never seen before.
      We�re lucky Jean heard what he was thinking and caught
      on to that. She said he�s a Broadcaster � that his
      thoughts are always �audible� to telepaths. She could
      hear him as soon as we got near the compound.�

      �I never heard of that.�

      �Me, neither. Jean said she�s only heard of it in
      connection with certain mental illnesses � paranoid
      schizophrenics in particular. She had a colleague at
      the clinic in Yonkers who was working on that when she
      was there. He was a psychiatrist working with
      psychotic mutants. She said she could barely work when
      some of his patients were around, that it was like
      hearing loud ranting all around her.�

      �Well, him being a psycho fits.�

      �It could. We don�t know enough yet. But it�s a good
      thing she knew where he was and what he was thinking,
      so we could stay out of his way. If he�d caught us
      there he would have given us something. And it
      wouldn't have been a disease mutants are immune to,
      I�m sure.� Logan didn�t say anything and Scott
      continued. �You�re the only one who can take him on.
      We�ve got to capture him. We need to have another
      mission � going back in there. I need you on it.
      Nobody else can do it.�

      �Hey, I would�ve gone the first time.�

      �I know.� Scott hesitated. �Logan � I can�t be sure
      you�d be immune. I mean, I know you can�t contract
      disease, so far as we know. But who knows what he can
      come up with? Maybe there�s one your healing factor
      can�t handle.�

      �I�ll risk it.�

      �I know. I just figured I should say it.�

      �What�re you planning on doing with him?� Logan asked.

      �Long term? I don�t know. But we�ve got somewhere we
      can hold him at Mac�s place � Alpha Flight North.
      They�ve got a negative pressure room set up there.�

      �Negative pressure?�

      �For contagious patients. We can keep whatever he
      comes up with from spreading. Nobody goes in without
      protective equipment. It will be a way to contain him
      and interrogate him and then we figure out where we go
      from there.�

      �Who�s going on this one?�

      �Just you and me � and I�m not going in. I�ll fly you
      in and out.�

      �How you gonna stop him from giving you something
      deadly when we�re flying back to Huntsville?�

      �You�re going to knock him out. Jean gave me a
      hypodermic for you to inject him with. He�ll stay
      unconscious until he�s in the negative pressure room.�

      �How about he stays unconscious permanently?�

      �Don�t do it, Logan.�

      ***************************************

      Logan and Scott had left in the middle of the night,
      after consulting briefly with Jean-Paul. Jean-Paul
      had offered to go along on the mission, deliberately
      ignoring Mac�s orders that he stick to desk duty until
      it could be determined whether or not he was infected.


      Scott hadn�t referred to Jean-Paul�s current reduced
      responsibilities, either, just saying that they needed
      him to stay in Washington in case it was necessary to
      evacuate Anjuli�s home. Jean-Paul sat in the living
      room for a while, planning escape routes and thinking
      through the best methods for getting six people �
      including two babies � away unnoticed. When Jean-Paul
      went back into the bedroom he was sharing with his
      partner and son, he found that Adam was awake and
      waiting for him.

      �What�s up?� he asked, sitting up in bed.

      Jean-Paul sat down next to him. �Scott was just here.
      He and Logan left � going back to Idaho. The second
      stage of the mission is going down right now.� He
      explained what had been found at the Sacred Honor
      compound and why they needed Logan to go back in.

      �Shit! A mutant who can create diseases? And he�s not
      on our side... What a scary thought. I hope Logan
      can capture him.�

      �Moi aussi. Although I have my doubts that there will
      be much left of him if he does.� He added, after a
      pause, �Adam, let me tell you the plan in case we have
      to evacuate. I�ll go over it with Anjuli and Oliver
      if we need to, but I�ll feel better if you already
      know it and are ready to do your part.�

      �Sure. How are we going to do it?�

      �You and Anjuli will leave first, with the babies.
      You�ve been hanging out together enough that people
      are accustomed to seeing you together. I�m sure many
      think you are a family. Oliver and I will follow close
      behind. We�ll all look out for a uniformed presence,
      but it�s more likely that if they�re after us, it will
      be undercover cops. I�ll tell Oliver to use his
      powers to look for concealed weapons � that will be
      the best way to spot them.� He continued in that
      vein, detailing plans and possibilities for a while,
      with Adam offering suggestions as they went. By the
      time they�d finished talking it through Jean-Paul
      realized the escape plan they�d come up with together
      was much better than what he�d thought of on his own.

      Adam looked at the clock. �Do you want to go back to
      sleep? You must be exhausted. I�ll handle Ezra when
      he wakes up so you can sleep in.�

      �I don�t feel like sleeping.�

      Adam leaned over to kiss his lover. �Do you feel like
      fooling around?�

      �No.� Jean-Paul turned away.

      �Umm, is that going to be how it is from now on?�

      �I really don�t know, Adam.� His voice was more weary
      than angry.

      �I�m very sorry. I�ll never do it again. I don�t know
      what else to say.�

      �Why should I believe you�ll never do it again, hein?�
      The anger was rising now. �You told me you wouldn�t
      do it in the first place. What�s different now?�

      Adam sighed. �That�s a fair question. And it�s one
      I�ve been thinking about a lot. I think I know now
      what I did wrong.�

      �Oui, I know, too. You got fucked by someone you
      don�t even know. When it was supposed to be something
      for just you and me. When you promised it would be
      just you and me.�

      �Jean-Paul, please listen to me. Please believe me.
      I�m not going to do it again.�

      �I believed you wouldn�t do it in the first place, and
      where did that get me? Esti! I don�t even want to do
      it with anyone else. I never do when I�m in love. I
      barely notice other men.�

      �I know. So it�s easy for you. Look, Jean-Paul � I
      do get attracted to other men. It happens to me all
      the time. But I don�t have sex with them. You
      mentioned how Larry and I used to do it. Well, we
      don�t anymore. You know that, don�t you?� Jean-Paul
      nodded. �There�s a difference between noticing
      someone, thinking he�s attractive, maybe even flirting
      a little, and fucking. I�ve always had good
      boundaries before. I�ve always been able to... oh, I
      don�t know how to say it, stay in the safe zone, I
      guess.� Jean-Paul didn�t say anything, so after a
      minute Adam continued. �Take Scott Summers, for
      instance.�

      �What about him?�

      �I�ve been working with him a bit lately. I think
      he�s hot.� Adam shrugged. �He�s very good looking,
      but there�s something else about him. That
      hyper-controlled personality. Makes you wonder what
      he�s like when he�s not so in control.�

      �Makes *you* wonder, maybe.�

      �Okay, makes *me* wonder. Occasionally I think about
      that, what he�d be like in bed. I�m attracted to him.
      I�m not doing anything about it. It doesn�t mean I
      can�t work effectively with him; it doesn�t mean I�m
      going to come on to him when we�re supposed to be
      reviewing news stories and figuring out what�s true.�
      Seeing the expression on Jean-Paul�s face, he added,
      �And no, it�s not just because I know his boyfriend
      would slice my balls off with those claws of his if I
      even tried.� That got a chuckle out of his lover. He
      continued. �It�s because of you - because of us -
      that I don�t try anything with Scott, that I don�t do
      anything with anyone else. I haven�t for so long. It
      means something to me to have that zone of sexual
      privacy, to have something that�s just between you and
      me. So, I don�t let things get out of hand when I�m
      attracted to someone. I�m particularly careful if
      it�s someone who seems interested in me. I really do
      know how to keep things at a safe level. But this
      time it was different.�

      �Pourquoi, Adam?� Jean-Paul�s question came out so
      plaintive that Adam�s heart ached. �What did this man
      have that made it different? Why him?�

      �It wasn�t him. It wasn't anything about him � it was
      me. And I�m so sorry. I know, I just keep saying
      that. But it�s hard to know what else to say. I was
      vulnerable. I was in need of reassurance,
      professionally, and here was this younger guy who
      liked my work, looked up to me. I was enjoying the
      attention.�

      �Come on, Adam. I wouldn�t have minded if you spent
      the night talking journalism with him.�

      �I know, I know. I�m just trying to tell you how it
      happened for me.� Adam took a deep breath. �So, I was
      feeling... well, flattered, I guess. And I�d been mad
      at you - and believe me, I�m not saying I had a good
      reason to be.�

      �You did have a good reason to be mad. I handled that
      very badly. I shouldn�t have backed out last minute
      like I did. It made things so...unresolved.�

      �Unresolved. Yes, that�s sort of how it felt to me �
      like we hadn�t even finished the fight. So, I was
      trying not to think about that. And also just kind of
      determined to have a good time, anyway, not to let
      being mad at you ruin the trip. Trying not to focus
      on what I�d wanted from the week � for us � and just
      looking at it as another time on a trip alone. Well,
      I�ve had plenty of those. Going out to dinner with a
      bunch of guys from the conference seemed like a fine
      thing to do.�

      �It was a fine thing to do. I was hoping you were out
      having fun when I called.�

      �I know. Well, you know how it is when journalists
      get together � lots of drinking. Usually I�m pretty
      moderate, but I was in a bad mood and drinking was
      making me feel better. In the moment, anyway. And
      then it seemed like a good idea to just hang out with
      Jake after the other guys left. Jean-Paul, I was so
      sure nothing would happen between us, that I didn�t
      think about all that � drinking, feeling insecure and
      how Jake was stroking my ego, being mad at you, even
      being there under kind of false pretenses, not telling
      anyone about you and Ezra because I didn�t know what
      to say that fit in with the cover story. I didn�t
      think any of it mattered because I was *sure* I�d
      never cheat on you. Well, now I know I can�t be sure.
      I wouldn�t let myself get into a situation like that
      again. I wouldn�t be alone with someone when I�m in a
      bad place like that.�

      Jean-Paul looked at Adam, at Adam�s sorrowful and
      longing expression. He put his arms around him and
      they held each other. Then Jean-Paul kissed him
      deeply, and they lay down on the bed together. �I�m
      not saying I�m okay with this yet, hein?� he said
      after a while, in between kisses, hands roaming over
      Adam�s naked body.

      �I�m very encouraged by the �yet�,� was Adam�s only
      reply.

      **************************************

      Mac hung up the phone. �No need for the negative
      pressure room after all?� his wife asked.

      �No. I can�t say I�m surprised.� He shrugged.
      �Cyclops said the mutant accidentally died �resisting
      capture.� Totally deadpan. I couldn�t get a sense of
      whether or not he believed it himself.�

      �Are they bringing the body back here?�

      �No, he said he thought it was too dangerous. Logan
      told him the people in the compound were dropping
      already � from the minute he cornered the disease
      mutant. That guy must have tried to hit Logan with
      whatever he had before he killed him. Some of it
      really virulent � people falling ill, maybe even dying
      immediately.�

      �And maybe his body released more disease when he
      died,� Heather added.

      �Could be. Charles says they�ve never encountered a
      mutation like this, even in Jean�s large scale
      mutation cataloguing project. So I guess there�s no
      way to know what would happen when he died... I wonder
      if anyone will be left alive there by morning.� He
      added, after a minute, �Not that it�s much of a loss.�

      �Oh Mac! Don�t talk like that. There were whole
      families there � kids, babies.�

      �I happen to think they�re better off dead than being
      raised to hate and kill.�

      �Maybe. But it�s still a loss.� Mac didn�t say
      anything. �What do you think happens now?�

      �I don�t know. We�ll have a cabinet meeting when
      Scott and Logan arrive. Everyone but Arthur and Wendy
      is here. We can fill them in later.�

      �Scott was right - how we handle this is so crucial,�
      Wendy said. �We need to use the evidence the most
      effective way we can, try to come up with some way to
      end this war. I don�t know if that means going to the
      President, to the press...�

      �Or to the FBI. They�re strong at this point and
      we�ve got the contacts with them.� He paused and
      thought a moment. �You know, there could be a real
      coup in the States, and not mutant-led or
      mutant-inspired. Alan Hoyle could end up taking over.
      The FBI is almost a competing government or something
      at this point.�

      �What? Suspend the U.S. constitution?�

      �It could happen. There�s such a sense of fear and
      panic, and the current President isn�t exactly calming
      people. The military is almost in open rebellion. I
      think a strong leader could make use of this. Hoyle�s
      nothing if not a strong leader.�

      �Yeah, well so is Marley. And if he was in cahoots
      with Sacred Honor, what happens when their role in
      starting the war comes out? Marley�s bound to be
      feeling pretty desperate now. He�s not exactly one
      for quiet desperation, either.� They both thought
      about that for a minute. Heather put her arms around
      her husband and they held each other. �What do you
      think will happen, Mac?�

      �I don�t know. Will the War on Mutants end � or
      spread? Will it come to Canada? Will we have to flee,
      too? Things will change � that�s all I can be sure
      of. Let�s hope that � eventually � they change for
      the better.�






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