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FIC: How Bright Their Frail Deeds (A Time to Every Purpose 8/10)

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  • Mo
    “Dr. Grey?” RoseAnn was still breathless, after running to catch up with Jean. “Do you have a few minutes?” “Sure.” Jean opened the door to her
    Message 1 of 1 , May 4, 2005
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      �Dr. Grey?� RoseAnn was still breathless, after
      running to catch up with Jean. �Do you have a few
      minutes?�

      �Sure.� Jean opened the door to her office. The two
      of them went in and sat down on the couch. �What�s
      up?�

      Now that she actually had the chance to speak, RoseAnn
      wasn�t so sure she wanted to. She hesitated a minute
      and then said, �I don�t want to bother you.�

      �It�s no bother.�

      �Mr. Summers said I could talk to you about anything
      that was on my mind. While he�s gone. Since he isn�t
      here for me to talk to, you know. Because he�s my
      advisor.� She took a deep breath. �But I don�t know
      if I would talk to him about this, anyway. Probably
      not. It might be too embarrassing and maybe it�s
      easier to talk to a woman or maybe it�s harder and
      maybe it�s not worth talking about at all and I just
      shouldn�t say anything and should just go back to my
      dorm...� She twirled a lock of hair nervously around
      her finger.

      �Why don�t you just tell me what�s on your mind,
      RoseAnn?�

      �Do you know Jamie?�

      �Sure. He�s been with us for a few years now.�

      �He asked me out.�

      �Do you want to go out with him?�

      �I don�t know! It would be like some sort of high
      school date thing,� she added, scorn in her voice. �A
      movie � some new superhero action flick. At Palisades
      Park mall. And dinner at Chili�s.�

      �Tomorrow?�

      RoseAnn nodded. �Does it sound totally pathetic?�

      �Not at all. It sounds like fun. I know there�s a
      mall trip tomorrow, but I didn�t see your name on the
      list of kids going, I don�t think.� A piece of paper
      from her desk rose into the air and floated over to
      Jean�s waiting hand. She put on her glasses and
      looked at it. �Yes, Jamie�s name is on here, but not
      yours.� She looked up. �Some sort of high school
      date thing?� she repeated, imitating RoseAnn�s
      scornful tone of voice. �Why pathetic?�

      �I don�t know. It�s like Gidget Goes to Mutant High
      or something.�

      Jean laughed. �How do you know about Gidget?�

      �I like old movies.� RoseAnn shrugged. �Even stupid
      ones. But don�t you see? I�d feel like such a phony.
      You know what kind of dates I�m used to.�

      �No, I don�t. I think you haven�t dated at all.
      You�ve been here for a while and you�re settling in
      well. You�ve taken your time since you got here,
      haven�t jumped into the dating part of the school
      social scene. I think that was a wise choice. And
      now a nice guy has asked you out. If you like him, go
      to the movies with him.�

      �But before I was here...�

      �He doesn�t know what happened to you before you were
      here. And you know what? You don�t know what
      happened to him before he was here. If you get to be
      friends you might talk about past times at some point
      � good ones and bad. This is just a movie and dinner.
      Don�t get ahead of yourself. Do you like him,
      RoseAnn?�

      �I barely know him! But yeah, I guess I like him.
      He�s nice, he�s funny. He�s smart. He�s cute.� She
      blushed at the last part.

      �What did you say to him?�

      �I said I didn�t know if I could go. Because I was
      late on some assignments � that I might not be allowed
      to go on off-campus trips. Hey, it�s all I could
      think of! I needed to talk to somebody first.�

      �I�m glad to be that somebody.� Jean smiled at her.
      �So are you caught up on your assignments now?�
      RoseAnn nodded. �Then I guess I can add you to the
      list.�

      A beautiful silver pen on Jean�s desk rose a few
      inches. �No, let me,� RoseAnn said. The pen fell
      back on the desk. RoseAnn raised her right hand high.
      She had a look of intense concentration on her face.
      The pen rose again, wobbled and fell back down. Paper
      clips in a cup on Jean�s desk spilled across the
      surface of the desk. Change in Jean�s purse jangled a
      bit.

      RoseAnn shifted position slightly, spread the fingers
      on the raised hand, and tried again. The pen wobbled
      again as it rose, but this time it flew to her waiting
      hand. She closed her fist around it and then raised
      it way up in the air, saying �Yes!� as she did.

      RoseAnn handed the pen to Jean. Taking it, she added
      �RoseAnn Mendez� to the bottom of the list she was
      holding.



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



      Scott Summers was seated on the couch in Charles
      Xavier�s sumptuous room at the Willard
      Intercontinental Hotel. The professor sat in his
      wheelchair across from him. Scott sat there
      thinking how different Charles�s appearance was from
      what it had been for all the time they had known each
      other. The chair had always seemed to Scott like a
      prop, or maybe an article of clothing. Just something
      he associated with Charles, not indication of a
      handicap.

      Scott knew, of course, that Charles couldn�t walk, but
      his disability had never seemed to slow him down at
      all. His commanding presence, his deft management of
      the team, the school, and the Foundation; his wise
      counsel � that�s what Scott thought of when he thought
      of Charles Xavier. Not his physical limitations. Not
      until recently. Now, sitting there with grayish skin
      and eyes full of fatigue, Charles Xavier looked like
      an invalid to Scott in a way he never had before.

      Too late, Scott worried he might be broadcasting his
      musings. Charles seemed about to say something. They
      were interrupted by a knock on the door. �I�ll get
      it,� Scott said and he stood up to let the room
      service waiter in. After the tea service had been set
      out, the two men resumed the conversation they�d been
      engaged in, with no mention of Charles�s illness or
      Scott�s worry.

      �How did it go with Magneto?� Scott asked.

      �I have the information we need, I believe,� Charles
      responded, pouring himself some tea. His hand shook a
      little. Scott thought of offering to pour for him,
      then thought better of it. �We�ll discuss it more
      later, at Anjuli�s.�

      Scott�s eyebrows rose. �Do you want to tell me
      telepathically?� his mind asked Charles.

      �I�m not particularly worried about eavesdroppers,� he
      thought back, �although that is always at least a
      slight concern.� Switching to speech, he added,
      �Beyond security concerns, I need to show you what
      needs to be done. I have diagrams that Erik drew for
      me. I�ll review them with you later. I�m a little...
      tired now.�

      �That�s fine. No need to get them out right now.�

      �Plus, it will be more efficient to go over all this
      with you and Northstar at the same time.�

      �Oh are you enlisting him for this mission?� Charles
      nodded. �So where is he now?�

      �I don�t know. I assumed he was with you at Anjuli�s.
      I thought we�d review the mission together there
      later today. He�s not there?�

      �Not when I got in last night, anyway. Adam said
      Jean-Paul is off on a mission but they thought he�d be
      back today. They expected him to make the meeting.
      We can go over the plans for Cerebro then.� He
      thought a minute. �You didn�t send Jean-Paul
      somewhere?�

      �No, it must be some assignment of Mac�s.�

      �Strange. Adam thought it was an X-Men mission.�

      �I�m sure it�s hard to keep track. We seem to be
      vying for Jean-Paul�s time lately.�

      �Have you considered asking him to join the X-Men full
      time?�

      Charles nodded. �What do you think?�

      �I think he�d be a fine addition to the team. I�m not
      sure how Adam would feel about moving to Westchester,
      though.�

      �I dare say commuting by super speed from Washington
      is a feasible solution if he doesn�t want to move.
      And if he does � well it will be nice to have a baby
      around the house. I�ll discuss it with them both.�

      �I wonder if Jean-Paul could teach, too.�

      �We can bring that up when we catch up with him
      later.� Charles took another sip of his tea. Scott
      noticed the tea cup shaking again as Charles raised
      it. �I want to talk to all of them at once, anyway,
      on another topic: new trustees for the Foundation.�

      �Yes, we really must replace Hank. It�s getting
      pretty unworkable with you and me as the only
      trustees. We shouldn�t have let it go two years.� He
      thought about it a minute. �Who do you have in mind?
      And why do you need to discuss it with the Georgetown
      crowd?�

      �I do feel I should offer Anjuli the chance to take
      Hank�s position as trustee. I don�t think she�ll want
      to do it, but it seems right to ask her.� Scott
      nodded in agreement. �I�m thinking Warren would make
      a fine trustee. Would that be okay with you?�

      �More than okay. He�s underutilized now, anyway,
      since he won�t have anything to do with the school.
      He can take over the financial side of the Foundation
      work, which has been driving me half-crazy. Let him
      use that MBA for something.�

      �I think we should expand the number of trustees,
      though. I�d also like to get someone with a different
      background as a trustee. Someone to help on the
      programmatic side. We could use some new ideas.
      Someone not affiliated with the X-Men; someone not a
      mutant; someone with relevant professional
      experience.�

      �Sounds like you have someone particular in mind.�

      �Miriam Greenfield.�

      Scott laughed. �Adam�s mother? I see why you want to
      discuss it with the whole group at Anjuli�s. I wonder
      what Adam will think.�

      �Why do you laugh?�

      �Well, she�s just quite a character. And I always
      feel like she�s going to pat me on the head or
      something.�

      �Quite a feat � you must be at least a foot taller
      than her.�

      �Trusteeship meetings would have quite a different
      feel to them with Miriam around.� He smiled. �Maybe
      that�s good. Liven things up a bit. And, as you say,
      you and I are running out of ideas.�

      �She�s a retired social worker, with time on her hands
      and looking for a way to be useful. And she�s become
      interested in mutant issues through her association
      with Jean-Paul. Miriam was very involved in anti-war
      efforts during the War on Mutants, and now that it�s
      over she�d like to be helpful to our cause in other
      ways. She approached me to ask what she could do.
      She�s particularly interested in projects related to
      displaced mutant youth.�

      Scott laughed again. �You should try introducing her
      to Warren�s mother. That�s her pet project. I�d love
      to see that and watch the sparks fly � Marxist Jewish
      Mother meets Society Matron.�

      The professor smiled. �Somehow, in spite of all that,
      I think the two of them would get along. So, what do
      you think? Should I ask her?�

      �I think it�s a fine idea. Assuming Adam doesn�t
      freak out, that is.� Scott�s amused smile vanished.
      �Charles, are you only looking to expand?�

      The professor sighed. �For a non-telepath, you are
      awfully good at knowing what I�m thinking.� Neither
      of them said anything. The silence seemed like a
      living thing, sitting there between them. Finally,
      Charles said, �I have to think about succession.�

      �No. You don�t. Add Miriam to the trustees. It�s a
      great idea. But she�s an additional trustee, Charles.
      She is *not* your replacement.�

      �No, of course she isn�t.� He didn�t say anything for
      a minute. �You are my replacement. My heir, both
      legally and spiritually.�

      Scott shook his head. �You�re going to beat this,� he
      said, forcefully. Xavier didn�t answer. �You�re not
      going to die, Charles. I�m not going to let you die.�

      Charles Xavier smiled sadly. �We�re all going to
      die.�

      �Not yet. Not for a long time.�

      �It�s not up to you. Would that it were, Scott. I
      know, you�re my Field Leader. You are the best one I
      could hope for. Cyclops, who always brings them back
      alive.�

      �Except Hank.� There was a catch in his voice.

      �Except Hank. And now me. Neither is your fault.
      Not everything is within your control.�

      �This is within yours. Or it could be. It might be.
      You have to at least try Anjuli�s treatment.�

      �I don�t think it could make any difference. It might
      even make things worse.�

      �It might, but come on, Charles. What do you have to
      lose at this point? Look, she�s got something better
      than HFC now. More potent, faster acting. We�ll know
      quickly if it�s working or not, if it�s making it
      better or worse. If it�s worse, you stop.�

      �I feel... comfortable with where I am now. I don�t
      feel able to try something new.�

      �I get that, really. You�re resigned to it and it�s
      hard to even try to hope again.� Xavier nodded and
      looked away for a minute. Scott thought there might
      even be tears in his eyes. �I�m not going to let you
      give up. I know it�s hard, but you�ve got to try.
      I�ll help you; I�ll support you. Do not go gentle,
      Charles.�

      �You want me to rage, rage against the dying of the
      light?� A sardonic smile came back to the Professor�s
      lips.

      �I�m insisting on it. If you love me at all, Charles,
      try this.� He swallowed hard, trying to get the waver
      out of his voice. �Don�t leave me if you don�t have
      to.�

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

      �Well, I tried.� Jamie�s drooping wings matched his
      frown. He and Warren were sitting next to each other
      at a table in the school library. �I asked her out,
      like you said I should. Fat lot of good that did me.�


      �She turned you down?� Warren whispered back. �It
      happens. There�ll be other girls, other chances.�

      �But this is the girl I want.� He looked so miserable
      saying that, Warren thought. Jamie continued. �Not
      to... well, you know. I just want to get to know her
      better.�

      �So try again another time. Maybe she�s just playing
      hard to get. Maybe she already had a date. What did
      she say, anyway? Was it a flat out �no�?�

      Jamie shook his head. �She didn�t say �no� exactly.
      She said she didn�t think she could go on an
      off-campus trip. She said she thinks she�s on
      probation because she didn�t turn in her Othello paper
      on time.� He shook his head ruefully. �But that was
      just an excuse. Better than �I have to wash my hair,�
      I guess.�

      �How do you know it isn�t the truth?�

      �She turned in the paper. I even saw it � Mr. Summers
      showed it to me before he left for Washington. He�s
      not going to take away her privileges because it was
      late. He doesn�t do things like that. And he�s not
      even here, anyway. Nah, it was just the first thing
      she could think of to get out of going to a movie with
      me. She doesn�t want anything to do with me. She�ll
      probably run the other way any time she sees me.�
      Jamie pushed his book aside and put his head down on
      the library table.

      �I think you�re wrong there,� Warren replied, watching
      a tawny-haired girl enter the library and head their
      way.



      Mo
      Mofic Website: www.angelfire.com/comics/mo
      www.livejournal.com/users/mofic

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