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FIC: Miles to Go Before I Sleep (A Time to Every Purpose 10a/10)

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  • Mo
    (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
    Message 1 of 1 , May 5, 2005
      (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
      radiantly happy.

      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
      referring to.�

      �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
      ago now.�

      �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
      they�re talking.�

      �Post-doc in St. Petersburg? Multi-lingual? Beauty
      *and* brains.�

      �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
      4/16 attacks.�

      �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.
      Levitan, right?�

      �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 am.�

      �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.�

      �Why me?�

      �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
      more...conventional relationship?�

      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
      to Scott.

      �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
      Sasha�s hand.


      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
      blushing again.

      �Dr. Levitan has been asking for you,� the girl beside
      him added.

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