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FIC: Decisions and Revisions (What’s Past is Prologue 7/18)

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  • Mo
    Decisions and Revisions (What’s Past is Prologue 7/18) “I don’t interfere in what goes on between you two, right?” “That’s an ominous beginning.”
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 24, 2005
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      Decisions and Revisions (What’s Past is Prologue 7/18)

      “I don’t interfere in what goes on between you two,
      right?”

      “That’s an ominous beginning.” I’d been glad to have
      a chance to speak to Wendy alone, and had been looking
      forward to catching up a bit, since we hadn’t seen
      each other for a few months. Now I was having second
      thoughts.

      She’d asked about Jean-Paul and me at the outset, but
      I’d answered briefly and changed the subject. Leaving
      Arthur with both April and Ezra, we’d gone for a walk
      on the grounds and chatted about all sorts of things.
      I’d heard the news from the Outpost, and that the
      whole Outpost contingent would be in New York for
      Charles’s memorial service. It wasn’t until we were
      sitting on a bench in the enclosed garden that she
      turned the topic back to my separation from Jean-Paul.


      “It’s true, isn’t it? You’ve both talked to me when
      you’ve had issues, haven’t you?”

      “You’ve always been totally supportive, and without
      taking sides. I’ve really appreciated that. I know
      you’re more Jean-Paul’s friend. You knew him first.”

      “I love you both,” she answered, all sincerity. “We
      all do. And I don’t want to meddle... but I can’t
      just watch this, Adam! I can’t just see you two
      disintegrate like this and say nothing. He still
      loves you. And I don’t believe you don’t love him.”

      I didn’t know what to say to that. “I do love him. I
      think I probably always will, at least a little.
      We’ve been through so much together. And we have
      Ezra. It’s not like I can just say goodbye and that’s
      the end. We have to work out some way to co-exist, to
      co-parent.”

      “So is it decided then? Are you breaking up for
      good?”

      I didn’t answer for a long time. “I don’t know. I
      feel like we’re headed that way. Wendy, there’s a lot
      of stuff that happened that you don’t know about.”

      “I’m sure there is. Nobody outside a couple can know
      everything that goes on between them. You don’t know
      what’s happened with Arthur and me, either.” She bit
      her lip, clearly trying to decide whether to continue.
      “This much I do know: Jean-Paul wants to stay with
      you. He’s willing to work on whatever it is that’s
      going on between you. There aren’t that many guys who
      stick around when the going gets rough. You’ve got
      one.”

      “I know. Maybe I’ve got one but I’m not one.” I
      sighed. “I don’t like what that says about me. I’m
      not saying it’s a good thing, but I don’t know that I
      have it in me to try anymore. I truly don’t know what
      to do. But trying to get back to where we were seems
      too daunting.”

      “Well, I don’t think you ever get back to where you
      were, but you still can move ahead. Together.”

      “I’m not sure I can.”

      “Do you want to give ammunition to all the homophobes
      that say gay couples can’t last? Or the anti-mutant
      ones who say a mixed marriage can’t work – that
      mutants should stay separate from normals?”

      “That is so unfair, Wendy. I’m not responsible for
      other people’s prejudices. I’m living my life. I
      can’t make my decisions based on what some bigot is
      going to think. If you’re so keen on being an
      example, be one yourself. Divorce Arthur and marry a
      non-mutant, why don’t you? Strike a blow for mixed
      marriage acceptance. Marry a woman and make it two
      for the price of one.”

      “I’m sorry. You’re right – it was a stupid thing to
      say. I’m just grasping at straws here. I don’t want
      you to leave him. For all of your sakes.” I didn’t
      know what to say, so I didn’t say anything. “But I’ll
      accept it, and still love you both – and Ezra – even
      if you do. Okay?” I nodded, relieved. We hugged for
      a minute. “Are you in love with this new guy?” she
      asked.

      “Is that what Jean-Paul told you? That I’m leaving
      him for someone new?”

      “Adam. No.” She sounded like she might cry. “He
      hasn’t told me anything. And it’s not like I haven’t
      tried. He says he doesn’t think it’s good for you
      two, if you do get back together, if we all know all
      the details.” She didn’t say anything for a minute,
      then added, “He did say that he thinks the breakup was
      his fault, not yours.”

      “It’s never one person’s fault.”

      “I know.” She bit her lip again. “But it’s not a
      secret you’re seeing somebody, is it? You’re flying
      off to be with him all the time.” I started to get
      mad again and she quickly added, “Nobody’s gossiping
      about you. We’re just... trying to adjust.”

      I sighed. “Me, too. And no, I’m not in love with
      him. I like him. I like him a lot. We’ve got a lot
      in common, too. But he lives far away and it’s very
      soon after breaking up with Jean-Paul... Maybe too
      soon.” I stood up. “I don’t know what I’m going to
      do.”

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

      It wasn’t until much later that I got a chance to talk
      to Jean-Paul at length. I’d seen him briefly after my
      meeting with Scott yesterday, but we hadn’t had any
      time alone. And the time we did have was taken up
      with talking with Anjuli about this new development
      with Hank. Even alone with Jean-Paul tonight, that
      was the first thing we talked about.

      “What did Jean say?” I asked him. We were in his
      room, sitting side by side on the couch, Ezra asleep
      in the crib in the alcove.

      “She doesn’t know yet. It seems likely he’s coming
      into his powers. There aren’t a lot of other
      explanations for the color change, hein? But she’ll
      do some tests to be sure he’s a mutant.”

      “What kinds of tests?”

      “I don’t know exactly. I don’t really understand it,
      but she does some sort of analysis on cells and looks
      for the X-gene. All she needs is some cells –
      fingernail clippings, a lock of hair. It’s based on
      research she and Hank had been doing together, but
      she’s gotten back to it lately and the results are
      more accurate than what they’d done together. She
      thinks she’ll be able to reliably say whether he is a
      mutant, although not necessarily whether he’s
      beginning to manifest now.”

      “Wow! I had no idea.” I looked over at Ezra, a
      little restless in his sleep. “Do you think the air
      conditioning is up too high for him?”

      “Peut-être. It’s hard to regulate in this room. I’ll
      just cover him with a blanket.”

      “I’ll get it. I’m closer.” I covered him up, then
      asked, “Where did he get the stuffed frog?”

      “I don’t know. I thought you packed it with him last
      time. It was in with his stuff. I figured you had it
      in DC.”

      “I had a green one, not this orange one. I think it
      might be one of Hank’s. They probably got switched at
      some point.” I looked at Ezra across the room. “So
      Jean could tell us if he’s a mutant. Now?”

      “That’s my understanding. Should we ask her? Do you
      want to know?”

      “I don’t know. I never thought about it before.” I
      stopped to think about it now. “Yes, I think so. I
      mean, if you do. Do you?”

      “It’s probably good to know.” He thought some more.
      “She’s not going to publish this research, though.
      Can you imagine if it gets out? Folks like Marley
      would have a field day with that. Identifying mutant
      kids before they manifest. I can just hear
      impassioned speeches in the Senate about locking them
      up for their own good, before they develop dangerous
      powers...”

      “I don’t think he’s got the votes for it. Not now.”

      “I hope you’re right.”

      “I’d be more worried about parents having their kids
      tested and trying to get rid of them if they are
      mutants. Like Oliver.” Neither of us said anything
      as we both thought about that one.

      “It looks like I’m going to be the only Musketeer left
      in DC,” I said, after a while. His hurt expression
      made me realize that it was a mistake to have
      referenced when Anjuli, Jean-Paul and I called
      ourselves the Three Musketeers. Happier times.

      Still, he didn’t say anything about that. “Do you
      think she’ll move here?”

      I nodded. “I think it probably would have happened
      even without this new development. My mother has been
      pushing her to.”

      He laughed. “Miriam? Why?”

      “She’s drunk with power. Being a Xavier Foundation
      trustee gives her a chance to meddle in all sorts of
      people’s lives she never had access to before.”

      He laughed again. “She does seem to be getting into
      the whole trustee thing. And it’s a good thing,
      really,” he added, in response to my sour expression.
      “Scott can’t give the Foundation the attention it
      needs now. He’s got too much on his plate. It’s good
      she’s such a take charge type.”

      “Easy for you to say. You haven’t had her taking
      charge of you for 30 years.” He smiled at that.
      “Anyway, Mom wants Anjuli to work here, using the
      Xavier labs. It’s probably better considering the
      nature of her research – less government oversight.
      Plus, you know my mother – inveterate matchmaker. She
      thinks that Anjuli should be in New York and closer to
      Bill Levitan – move the relationship along. But I
      think it’s what’s going on with Hank that clinches it
      for Anjuli. She wants him growing up among mutants.”
      I thought about that. “I can understand that. And
      it’s a great place to live. Good for Ezra, too. I’m
      glad you’ll be here. We just have to work out the
      logistics.”

      “You could move here, too, you know.”
      \
      “I have a job in DC.”

      “There are newspapers in New York, I hear.”

      I changed the subject. “I’m working on the program
      for the memorial service.”

      “How’s that going?”

      “Fine. Oh, but there’s something that’s bothering me
      about the service. Did Scott tell you this idea about
      all the X-Men attending in uniform?”

      “Oui. What’s wrong with that? We’re all going to
      stand up at some point.”

      “I know.”

      “I think it will make a good statement. Most of what
      we do is secret, and will remain so. But there’s a
      moment to be public, and I think it’s a good idea.
      It’s going to be anyone who’s ever been on missions
      with the X-Men, not just the current team. So it will
      be a lot of people. It will be impressive, and with a
      lot of important people at the service to impress.
      Strength in numbers.”

      “I get that. But... he wants me to wear a uniform,
      too. I don’t know how to say ‘no’ to him, but I can’t
      do that.”

      “Why not?”

      “I’d feel like such a poseur.”

      “Pourquoi, Adam? Charles always considered you a
      member of the team. I’m sure Scott does, too.”

      “That’s what he says. He even gave me a mission.
      But, Jean-Paul... I can’t do it, not even for Scott.
      I feel terrible for him and what he’s going through
      now. I want to make things easier for him, not make
      trouble.”

      “So why not?

      “I’m not even a mutant.”

      “All of Alpha Flight is doing it – wearing X-Men
      uniforms instead of their own. In recognition of
      joint missions and in solidarity. Even Mac and
      Heather, and they’re not mutants. Anjuli will be in
      uniform, too. Even some of the kids here, the ones
      who’ve been on missions. It won’t kill you to wear
      black leather for a couple of hours, Adam.”

      “I’d feel like a complete phony.”

      “I don’t think you should feel like a phony. It’s not
      about whether you’re a mutant or not.” He didn’t say
      anything for a long time. “It’s all a matter of
      deciding where your loyalties lie.”

      “I’ve got a feeling we’re not talking about the
      memorial service anymore.”

      He was looking at me sort of soulfully. “Adam,” he
      said after a while, “I’ve been trying to be patient,
      trying to wait for you to decide. I don’t know
      whether you’re telling me by your actions,” he added,
      looking down. “I guess if you still loved me, you
      wouldn’t be spending all your free time with Jake
      Patterson.” I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t
      say anything. “It is harder for me to see you with
      him than it would be with just about anyone else, you
      know.”

      “I know. I’m sorry.”

      “How serious is this?”

      “I don’t know.”

      “Has he met Ezra yet?”

      “No, but he wants to. What do you think?”

      “Does it matter what I think?”

      “Yes, it matters. It matters a lot.” I needed to say
      more, although I wondered if I’d regret it later. “I
      do still love you, I really do. I just don’t think we
      can make it work anymore.”

      “We can, bien sur we can. If we both want to. If we
      both try.”

      “I don’t know. It’s gone too far. And certainly
      that’s as much or more my fault. I’m not saying it
      isn’t. But – like you said – it’s harder with Jake
      than it would be with anyone else. Even if I stopped
      seeing him now – and I’m not saying I will – but, even
      if I did, do you really think you could get over
      this?”

      “Oui. I’m sure of it.”

      “Jean-Paul, you couldn’t get over me having a
      one-night stand with him. How could you forgive me
      for a relationship?”

      “Because I know better now. Because we both do.
      Because I see what not completely forgiving you did to
      us. I’ve learned something from all this, something
      important. Adam, we both made mistakes. We can
      recover from them, together.” I didn’t say anything.
      “I’m sorry,” he added. “I didn’t mean to pressure
      you.”

      “I know. You’ve been wonderful about that. I don’t
      deserve it. You shouldn’t have to wait for me to make
      a decision all this time.”

      “I’m not waiting. Not if waiting means not doing it
      with anybody else.”

      “Oh. I didn’t know. Not that it’s any of my
      business...”

      “I’m not getting into any relationships,” he added.
      “I just didn’t want you to think... Well, I just
      didn’t want to misrepresent myself.”

      “Okay. None of my business, anyway. Not unless it
      affects Ezra.” I paused again. “So what do you
      think? Is it okay for Jake to meet him?”

      “I want you to be very clear with him. I want him to
      realize you and I are the parents, and that’s how it
      stays. He’s your lover; he’s not Ezra’s father. And
      he’s not going to be.”

      “He knows that. He understands, really.”

      “Bien. Then I guess he should meet him.” Something
      was on his mind, though. “But Adam. One thing.
      Please don’t tell him that I don’t have any legal
      claim to Ezra. He doesn’t have to know that, does
      he?”


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



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