FIC: Miles to Go Before I Sleep (A Time to Every Purpose 10a/10)
- (Author's note about posting of this story on lists:
Miles to Go Before I Sleep is a long story - circa
4000 words. Since some email clients truncate long
messages, I have divided it into two postings for the
purpose of posting to lists. It's intended to be read
as one story)
Jean and Sasha had worried in the morning, since the
sky was overcast and a storm seemed to threaten. But
the weather held and by mid-day the sun was out. Blue
sky with wisps of clouds. Warm enough to be out
without a coat, yet not so warm that the guests would
wish they were in shorts and t-shirts, rather than
formal clothing. A perfect day for a wedding.
�Thanks,� Jean had said to her maid of honor, watching
the clouds disperse that morning, as Ororo helped her
put flowers in her hair. Storm denied having anything
to do with this turn of events, but her smile while
she said so suggested otherwise.
The ceremony itself had been held on the south lawn
and had gone off without a hitch. Charles appeared to
be well enough to enjoy himself, beaming as the couple
kissed after their vows. Scott handled his best man
duties flawlessly. Ororo had managed to take a break
from arranging and managing the event (and perhaps the
perfect weather as well) to look gorgeous standing by
Jean�s side in a mauve maid of honor gown. The kids
were all well behaved. The bride and groom both looked
The cocktail hour was right now in full swing in the
enclosed garden. Jean, telekinetically lifting two
glasses of champagne from a nearby tray, handed one to
her new husband and kissed him. �Find someone to
introduce Dr. Levitan to, sweetheart,� she whispered
in his ear. �He�s walking around looking totally at
Sasha agreed to his bride�s directive and immediately
seized upon Adam, who appeared to be scanning the
crowd, looking for someone. �You busy?� he asked.
�No, just seeing who�s here that I know.�
"Come on,� Sasha replied, �I want to introduce you to
somebody. Charles�s doctor. He doesn�t know anyone
here but Charles and Charles went inside to lie down.�
Taking Adam by the arm, he steered him towards a man
in a blue suit standing all by himself on the
outskirts of the revelers. �Dr. Levitan,� Sasha said
and the man looked up, with the smile of someone who
has just been rescued.
�Aleksandr Ivanovich,� he replied. �Congratulations to
you! It was a beautiful ceremony.�
�Thank you. I�d like you to meet a friend of mine,
Adam Greenfield. Adam, this is Dr. William Levitan.�
He turned to the doctor. �Adam is mostly responsible
for this wedding, so if you liked it, you should tell
him so,� he said, and then excused himself.
�What did he mean by that?� the doctor asked,
�He was kidding. I helped Sasha come to this country
and arranged � through a friend � for him to come to
Xavier�s originally. So, I guess that�s what he was
�Greenfield?� Levitan was thinking, making connections
now. �The reporter?� Adam nodded. �Ah, of course.
Wonderfully moving stories! I knew, of course, of your
role in helping Aleksandr Ivanovich escape from the
camp � I just hadn�t placed your name.� They exchanged
pleasantries about the wedding for a couple of
�Do you speak Russian?� Adam asked after a while.
�Does it show?�
Adam laughed. �You referred to Sasha by his first name
and patronymic. An American would likely say �Mr.
Cherevko� if he wasn�t going to say �Sasha�. Still,
you have no accent in English,� he added.
�Yes, very observant of you. My mother was Russian. I
was raised bilingually. Ponimaytye parusski?�
�Very little, and less all the time. I learned some
when I was covering Belarus, but that�s a long time
�Too bad. It�s a shame to lose a language.�
�I�ve lost a bunch, I�m afraid. I never quite acquired
them, though, so maybe it�s not such a shame. I always
learned just enough to get around. That�s a
journalist�s life.� Adam looked at a group of people
by a flowering tree. �You should meet my friend
Anjuli,� he added, gesturing toward her. �You could
speak Russian together.�
�That beautiful woman in the blue dress?� Adam nodded.
�She speaks Russian? She looks Indian.�
�She is. Well, born here. She did a post-doc year in
St. Petersburg. Anjuli�s very good with languages.
She�s quite fluent � she and Sasha always speak
Russian together. I catch every third word or so when
�Post-doc in St. Petersburg? Multi-lingual? Beauty
�That would be Anjuli,� Adam said, with a smile.
�Is that baby hers?� the doctor asked. Adam nodded,
causing him to add, �Pity.�
�Where there are babies, there are often husbands as
�Not in this case. Anjuli�s a widow.�
�Umm. I suppose it would sound insincere if I said I�m
sorry to hear that.� Levitan smiled impishly and Adam
laughed. His expression turning serious, the doctor
asked, �Did you know him well?�
�Yes, Hank was a good friend of mine. He died in the
�A mutant?� Adam nodded. �Affiliated with the school
�Yes, he taught here for years, and ran the medical
department before Jean. He�d left well before his
death, though. Hank was living in Washington,
researching mutant physiology on a grant from the
National Institutes of Health.�
�Dr. Henry McCoy? Yes, I knew his work � brilliant. It
was the basis of the experimental protocol we�re using
now. What a loss his death was! Actually, there�s
someone else I want to meet. Maybe you know him.
McCoy�s associate, who continued his research after
McCoy�s death. A Dr. Radavan. I was told he�d be here.
Do you know who he is?� he asked, looking around.
�That would also be my friend Anjuli,� Adam said with
a smile. �Come on, I�ll introduce you to her. Dr.
�Please, call me Bill.�
Scott knocked tentatively on Charles�s door in case he
was sleeping, but he answered with a wide-awake �Come
in� and was seated by the fireplace.
�How are you feeling?� Scott asked.
Charles gestured to him to sit down. �I�m fine,
really. I just find I get tired so quickly these days.
Particularly with so many people around. It gets very
noisy in my head after a while. I hear them all
thinking. I can�t suppress the telepathy very well any
more, not for long periods of time, anyway. It�s a
weird side effect. Whether of the disease or the
treatment, I don�t know. So, I just needed to be alone
a bit,� he concluded.
�Shall I go?�
�Stay. You don�t count.� They smiled at each other.
�They seem so happy together. I�m glad I got to see
�It was important to Jean that you give her away. I�m
glad you felt well enough.�
�I�m having a pretty good day.� He thought a minute.
�It�s a strange illness. I�ve felt sick from the
treatment, but not the disease itself. Sometimes I
feel like I must have dreamt the whole thing. It�s so
hard to believe it�s really killing me.� He looked at
Scott. �Was that an impolitic thing to say?�
Scott shook his head. �I want you to be able to talk
plainly to me. I just want to feel that you�re doing
all you can to fight this.�
�I know. Thank you, Charles.�
�Thank you for convincing me to try.� He smiled. �I�m
ready, if it comes to that. I know I leave my work �
and my children � in good hands.�
�I�ll take care of them for you.�
�I don�t doubt it for a minute. Still, I would very
much like to be able to see the young ones grow up.
Particularly little Hank.�
�Do you think it�s working, the MGC?�
�I don�t think so. Dr. Levitan is quite encouraged by
it in general, for others if not for me. It seems to
shrink the tumors. There�s a kind of intelligence �
for lack of a better word - to the healing factor. It
knows which cells to kill and which to grow. It looks
like it may be too late for me, though.�
Neither said anything for an awkward moment. �What
does it stand for?� Scott asked, trying to break the
silence with something light. �MGC?�
�I don�t know. I thought you would.�
�I asked Anjuli what the letters are for and she
blushed scarlet and said that Logan had made it up.
So, I thought he would have told you.�
�No, but now I�m really curious. I�ll have to ask
�Scott � about Logan. I�ve been meaning to talk to
you.� Scott waited, expectantly. �I was wrong about
him. I regret much of what I said to you � and to him
� early on. You saw his potential when all I saw were
his limitations. I realize that now. And I realize he
does truly love you.�
�In his own weird way,� Scott added and they both
chuckled. �Lovers and madmen have such seething
brains,� he quoted. �Logan�s a little of both.�
�Does that bother you? Do you ever want a
Scott shrugged. �Sometimes. Maybe a little. Mostly I�m
pretty content with what I�ve got. Logan and I � well,
we have a mutual understanding that would be hard to
achieve with someone else.�
�You�re a good match.�
�I never thought I�d hear you say that.�
There was a knock on the door and in came Jean and
Sasha with a tray of food. �Here come the lovers, full
of joy and mirth,� Charles said. �To go with the
Midsummer Night�s Dream theme,� he added in an aside
�You wouldn�t come to the dinner, so the dinner came
to you,� she said, telekinetically arranging a place
setting on the end table nearest to Charles. �Do you
feel up to eating?� she asked, solicitously.
�I�m fine. Not so very hungry, but I�ll have a little,
anyway. It looks like a wonderful feast.�
�The students thought so,� Sasha said. �I�ve never
seen them so ravenous.�
�Thank you for a lovely wedding,� Jean said, coming
over to kiss Charles on the top of his bald head.
�I had little to do with it.� Jean and Sasha sat down.
�You don�t have to stay with me,� he added.
�We want to, for a while, anyway.�
�Surely you don�t want to spend your wedding night
entertaining a sick, old man.�
Sasha looked down. �Charles, I�m not sure how to say
this, but...� He looked up and continued, �Jean and I
did not wait until the wedding night to consummate our
The others all laughed. �In fact,� Jean added, �we
didn�t wait for something else, either. And we want
you two to be the first to know.� She looked back and
forth between Charles and Scott. They both leaned in
expectantly as Jean took Sasha�s hand and beamed at
them. �We�re going to have a baby.�
�That�s wonderful!� Scott kissed Jean and shook
Anjuli looked at herself in the full length mirror in
the bathroom attached to her usual bedroom at
Xavier�s. The long blue gown suited her, she thought.
Silly to spend so much on a dress when she had so
little use for such a formal one. When would she wear
it again? Yet, when had she last bought herself new
clothes? It had been a rare indulgence and worth it,
she decided, turning around and looking at the back.
She wondered what to do with herself now. The party
was still undoubtedly going strong, but it had gotten
late for Hank and she�d decided to bring him up here
before he fell apart. Now he was asleep in the small
bed alongside hers, clutching a superhero action
figure. She sighed, thinking she should probably
change, wondering what was happening at the reception.
She reached to the back of her neck to unzip the
dress, but was stopped by a knock on the door. Two
teenagers still in wedding finery were there � a girl
she didn�t know, and Jamie, wings protruding from
carefully constructed slits in his dinner jacket. She
wondered idly if it was a hand-me-down from Warren.
�Dr. Radavan,� Jamie said. �This is RoseAnn.� He
blushed a little as he introduced her. Anjuli wondered
why. �We�re the babysitters.�
�There�s dancing now,� RoseAnn added.
�Oh, then you two should be down there, enjoying the
party, not sitting for Hank.�
�It�s fine. We can keep each other company.� He was
�Dr. Levitan has been asking for you,� the girl beside
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