FIC: Lost All My Mirth (Whats Past is Prologue 2/18)
- View SourceLost All My Mirth (Whats Past is Prologue 2/18)
The funeral was private. It was held at St. Pauls
Chapel of St. Johns Episcopal Parish in South Salem,
of course. That had been the venue of every Xavier
family funeral since that of Erasmus Xavier in 1903.
No one attended but the priest and the X-Men. Current
X-Men only, and all of them in uniform. They filed in
silently, Cyclops in the lead. If Father Charlton
thought it strange that they were in black leather
rather than dark suits and dresses, he didnt say.
And if any of the others thought it should have been a
more public event, they werent saying, either.
Private and in uniform was how Scott said it was going
to be, and nobody was arguing with Scott these days.
They had discussed it among themselves, though, in the
days between the Professors death and the funeral.
Rogue had returned to Westchester a few days before
Charless death, and had stayed around to help out.
She had offered to take charge of answering calls to
the mansion, to free up the current X-Men for other
duties. Quickly inundated with questions she was
unable to answer, she had set incoming calls to go
directly to voice mail and gone looking for Jean. She
found her in the teachers lounge, with the other
X-Men. All except Scott, who was right then meeting
with Father Charlton to make plans for the funeral.
How long has he been in there? Rogue asked.
Going on two hours, Bobby replied, glancing at his
watch. Hes telling him a million stories about the
Professor, I bet.
And ending every one with dont forget to put that
in the eulogy, no doubt, Warren added, eliciting
chuckles of recognition.
Well, what do you all want me to say? Rogue added,
looking at Jean first, and then casting her eyes
around at all of them. She looked at her notes.
Theyre all asking when the funeral is. Ive gotten
calls from the White House, heads of state of three
no make that four foreign countries, senators, heads
of major corporations, the President of Yale. They
all want to know when the funeral is. What am I
supposed to tell them? I can only stall for so long.
Tell them the funeral is private, Jean said firmly,
but there will be a memorial service later and well
provide details when we have them.
Are you sure? Rogue brushed a lock of hair off her
face with her gloved hand.
Jean nodded. Im sure. Ill talk to Scott. Ill
work it out with him. Lets just get through the
The meeting had started off so well. It went downhill
fast, though, as soon as Miriam and Warren clashed.
It wasnt the first time that had happened. Still,
when Charles was alive hed known how to intercede
before things got out of hand. Scott didnt feel
equal to the task.
It was the first Foundation Trustees meeting since the
death of Charles Xavier. Scott had scheduled it for
Charless office, since thats where theyd always met
before, but had decided at the last minute to move it
to his own. Well go back to meeting there soon,
hed told Warren and Miriam. Theres more room and
we have access to all of his files that way. Im
just not quite up to it yet.
Miriam had patted his hand and offered sympathy and
assistance, both of which hed gratefully accepted.
Im counting on both of you, Scott had said. A
lot. I dont know that I can give the Foundation the
attention it needs right now.
Im quite happy to take a larger role, Warren
replied. Im sure Miriam is as well.
Yes, of course, shed said. Ill do whatever you
want me to, Scotty. Warren looked up at the Scotty
but Scott didnt react. For the Foundation, for the
school. I was very involved in Adams education, you
know. Im sure theres lots I can help with at the
Academy. For the X-Men, too, if theres anything that
you think I could do. I dont suppose everything you
do requires superpowers. And Adam can help out, too,
with anything you need written or anything you want
him to find out for you. He did uncover the
information that ended the war, after all, she added,
pride in her voice. Id offer Jean-Paul, too, but
hes already working for you.
Scott smiled at that. Yes, he is. And thank you.
Im sure Ill be calling on you in many different
capacities, Miriam. I really appreciate all you do,
and your willingness to take on more.
From each according to his or her abilities, she
And to each according to his or her needs, Scott
continue. Let us know if we can do anything for you.
And Ill speak to Adam as well. He hesitated.
Adam and Jean-Paul...
Theyre having some problems right now, Miriam said
briskly. Couples do. Its nothing to worry about.
She pulled out some papers from her bag and passed
them to the two men. Okay, lets get started. I have
plans for new programs listed here. We can go over
them and Ill explain them in greater detail.
Just a minute, Miriam, Warren interrupted. I think
we should go over the finance report first.
That can wait. I really want to tell you both about
the plans for the new Drop-In Center program for
homeless mutant youth. It was your mothers idea,
she added, turning to Warren.
Yes, I know, he said. She told me about it. But
its not going to happen. Not this year.
What? Miriams tone had gone from excited to
We just dont have the funds. We cant introduce any
new programs right now. What we really need to talk
about is which ones were going to cut back on
refunding, or not refund at all.
Uh uh. Miriam was shaking her head and pointing her
index finger at Warren, who was silently bristling at
her manner. No way. These kids need the drop in
Of course they do, Warren answered, struggling to
keep his voice calm. And I hope we will be able to
give it to them. Eventually. Right now we need to
talk about how to cut back. Our financial situation
is fairly dire.
Miriam made no effort to sound calm herself. Dire?
she asked, voice rising. Youre sitting there in
your thousand dollar suit talking about dire financial
situations? These kids dont have *homes*.
Warren opened his mouth to answer, but Scott stepped
in. Miriam, why dont we just hear what Warren has
to say. He turned to him. How bad is it?
Warren passed out financial reports. Its all in
here. Its not good. We dont have to sell the
Blackbird or rent out the mansion or anything, but
weve got to go on an austerity program for a while.
What happened? Miriam sounded like she was at least
willing to listen to the answer, although her tone was
Warren shrugged shoulders and wings. Mostly the War
on Mutants happened. Our assets were seized for
months. That had a terrible effect on earnings.
Production of the Rollabout stopped for eight months,
too, and thats a big part of our revenue.
I thought its manufactured in Canada, Miriam said.
It is, but key parts are made in the U.S. and we
didnt have access to them. Or the funds, with all
the U.S. assets seized, to start producing them
somewhere else. Customers didnt wait; they went
elsewhere. Were only starting to get some of them
back. I think it will be a year before were back to
Plus, there was considerable damage to the building
here; Cerebro was destroyed. All of the rebuilding
and renovation has been expensive. This looks like
its just a house, but its a lot more than that.
Theres a complicated electronic infrastructure, much
of which was too damaged to be repaired, so it had to
be replaced. Insurance wont pay for damage caused by
acts of war we were on our own for all the expenses.
And then theres the Outpost. It was mostly
self-sufficient before the war, but weve had to
support them a lot in the past year there was a much
larger population than they could handle on their own
for the duration.
I know, Scott interjected. I was there for much of
the war myself. We never would have been able to
continue operating during the war if not for the
Outpost. We need to continue to support them.
Warren nodded his agreement. There still are more
people there than they can support through their own
efforts, he added, looking at Scott. A lot of
mutants are just not comfortable returning to this
I cant say I blame them, Scott concurred. We need
to provide whatever support Wendy and Arthur need to
house those people. Eventually theyll re-achieve
self-sufficiency, but in the mean time, were honor
bound to help them.
Warren nodded and continued. The rescue missions
during the war were expensive. All of this with our
assets seized. And in the few months since theyve
been released, the whole country has experienced an
economic downturn. Thats affected our investments as
well. Its not a pretty picture.
Can we get back on our feet? Scott asked.
Yes. For sure. Its just going to take time. We
need to follow some austerity measures until then.
I dont need to draw a salary for a while, if that
would help, Scott offered.
I guess you havent looked at your bank balance
lately. Warren smiled. I cut you off of salary two
months ago. Smiling a little sheepishly he added, I
havent drawn one for a year, not since before the
war. Charles and I both stopped drawing salary at the
I dont need my trustee fees, Miriam added.
Thanks. Warren continued, after a minute, I think
we should cancel salary for all of the X-Men for a
while, actually. Bring it up at the next team meeting
the X-Men are working for room and board for now. I
dont think anyone will object.
Scott nodded. How long do you think it will take
until were solvent?
I dont know. Depends on the market. Six months if
were lucky. A year or more, if were not. He
paused. There is something else we can do.
Well, you know how weve been getting requests for
X-Men assistance from the federal government, and
foreign governments, too.
Yes, there have been more of those official mission
requests lately. We undertake them when they fit our
core vision and we have the resources to do them the
right people with the right powers. I know some of
these missions are costly, but I think we have to take
them on if they need us.
Im not suggesting not doing them.
Well, and here Warren was clearly hesitating. Some
governments are willing to pay. Wed still only be
performing missions we felt were right, but we could
get some revenue to offset the costs. There isnt a
lot of competition for what weve got to offer. Weve
got unique capabilities. Theres willingness in some
quarters to pay well.
Absolutely not. Scotts tone left no room for
argument. Were not mercenaries. Im not betraying
Charless vision that way.
Warren sighed. I was pretty sure youd say that, but
I thought it was worth a try. He shrugged shoulders
and wings. Ive still got some Worthington stock.
Not a controlling interest, anyway, so it doesnt
matter so much whether or not I hold onto it. Ill
sell some if we need an infusion of cash. Well be
okay in the long run. Its a short term problem.
Can you just try to get along with her?
I am trying!
Can you try harder? She does so much for us and
shes got skills we really need.
I know she does. I really do respect Miriam. She
has great ideas. She works hard. And offers Adams
and Jean-Pauls services, as well. Plus, shes the
only person in the world who can get away with calling
you Scotty, he added, making Scott chuckle. Im
glad shes working for us. Well, glad in theory.
Very glad when shes nowhere near me. But when she
gives me that look...
What look is that?
You know, that when the revolution comes, buddy,
youll be the first to die look. I just lose my
sense of proportion. They smiled at each other.
But Ill try harder.
Thanks. And thanks for handling this financial
Hey, its what I do best. That and flying.
Im glad youre doing both of those for the X-Men. I
rely on you a lot, Warren.
Like you and Miriam and Karl said: from each
according to his ability; to each according to his
needs. They smiled at each other. Do you think it
will help me with Miriam that Ive learned that one?
Maybe shed let me live after all.
Scott laughed and then turned serious. What about
your needs, huh? How are you doing?
Up and down. Sometimes I just cant believe hes
really dead, you know?
Yes, I know very well.
Ill tell you one thing, though. Im glad I made up
with him and came back here. I thank you for that,
Scott. I never would have done it if not for you.
This is where I belong. Im doing what I need to do.
But even more than that I feel like... there was no
unfinished business between us. It makes a
Im sure it does.
Before he died, he told me... well, he said he was
proud of me. Ill always remember that.
Scott found Jean in the lab, looking in a microscope.
You busy? he asked.
She smiled at him. Time for a break, anyway.
What are you working on?
X-gene analysis. I figure its time to get back to
it. I didnt really have the heart for it after Hank
died. And then Anjuli was making progress on the
other end, with HFC and so forth. Theres always so
much going on here... But its been two years. I
never meant to leave it this long. She smiled sadly.
Besides, it gives me something to do, something
positive to focus on. I need that now.
How are you holding up?
She shrugged. Better some times, worse others. You
know what the worst is? I forget sometimes. I say
something to him, in my head. Something mundane,
generally. And its not until he doesnt answer that
I remember. Tears filled her eyes. I wanted him to
feel the baby kick this morning. Opened my brain and
my sensations to him, all excited. And then... well,
then I remembered. She sniffed a little, clearly
making an effort not to cry. Im sorry, Scott.
Youve got your own grief to deal with. You dont
need to hear about mine.
Sure I do. A burden shared. Jean, I dont think
anyone else can understand how it is for you and me.
Not even Warren and Ro. We need to share this, you
and I. Neither of them said anything for a minute.
You can feel the baby kick? Already? Isnt that
She nodded. Yeah, but Im not so surprised. Ive
seen it before in psionics. Were more in tune with
our bodies or something. Or maybe its that were in
tune with others close to us. She looked down. Very
close. Growing inside. Its so amazing to me. I
know I sound ridiculous saying that, like I think Im
the first person in the world to have a baby. But I
just cant get over it. And then she was crying.
Oh Scott! He wanted so much to see this baby. He
wanted to stay alive long enough for that. I havent
seen him wanting anything that much since... I dont
know. Since he wanted us to become the X-Men, I
I know. He reached out his arms and they held each
other for a minute.
Were going to name it after him, she said, finally.
Do you know that its a boy?
She shook her head. Sasha doesnt want to know, so I
went along with that. Well let it be a surprise.
Charlottes a nice name, too.
Jean... about the baby. Scott hesitated, unsure of
how to proceed. I think you should be hors de
combat, from here on in. I dont think you should be
taking those kinds of risks, not while youre
pregnant. Maybe not after, either. Theres plenty to
do besides combat missions.
He looked at her anxiously, but was relieved to see
her smiling at him. Oh, thank you, she said. I
didnt want to ask, but I thought so, too. And
Sashas been after me to talk to you about it. But I
didnt want you to feel like Im not pulling my
weight, particularly now.
Id never think that.
I can take over more with the school if you want.
Work with students more free you up.
That would help. I feel like Im neglecting the kids
a lot lately. I dont think I realized just how much
Charles did until I started trying to do it all, he
added, shaking his head. I feel in over my head,
particularly on some of the political stuff, and its
the school side thats suffering. Ive cancelled
advisement sessions for the summer, as usual, but I
generally check in on my advisees anyway. And this
summer Im just not doing it.
Well, two of them are keeping each other busy. He
looked at her questioningly. Jamie and RoseAnn. You
didnt know? Theyre kind of *the* couple at school
I had no idea. I guess thats how out of it I am.
He thought about it. What do you think of that?
Theyre totally adorable together. Both a little
intense types, though. Maybe jumping into a more
serious relationship than theyre ready for at their
age? Broken hearts are just as painful in your teens
if not more so as they are later.
True. It may be puppy love, but it doesnt feel like
it when youre a puppy. Nothing we can do to prevent
No, we can just help pick up the pieces if it
happens. She smiled. Who knows? Theres no reason
to predict an unhappy end. Right now theyre in love
and happy and its infectious. Nice to have some joy
You can say that again.
Mofic Website: www.angelfire.com/comics/mo
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