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FIC: The Dark Unfathom’d Retrospect (What’s Past is Prologue 10/18)

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  • Mo
    Jean-Paul answered the knock on his door with “Come in.” Adam opened the door only a crack and poked his head in. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I meant
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 27, 2005
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      Jean-Paul answered the knock on his door with “Come
      in.” Adam opened the door only a crack and poked his
      head in.

      “I’m sorry,” he said. “I meant to come by earlier but
      Ezra took a long time to settle. Is it too late?”

      “No, come on in.”

      “Only if you promise not to laugh,” he answered. He
      opened the door all the way, making that cryptic
      comment clear. Adam was all in black, wearing an
      X-Men uniform and an embarrassed expression. He came
      in, closed the door behind him and stood there, back
      to the door. “I feel completely ridiculous,” he
      added. “I thought I’d try it out on you first.”

      “Well, I think you look great. And I’m glad you
      decided to go ahead with this.” Jean-Paul gestured to
      Adam to sit down on the couch next to him.

      “I figured Cyclops has enough on his mind without
      having to deal with me freaking out about playing
      dress up at the service tomorrow.” He made a sour
      face. “I do feel like a total phony, though, like a
      fake X-Man. Plus I can’t believe that Scott came up
      with *these* uniforms when he was still in the closet
      and nobody caught on. Please. Black leather? And it
      never occurred to anybody he’s gay?”

      Jean-Paul laughed. “I don’t think they were his

      “Well, I don’t want to know whose they were because
      I’ll probably feel like strangling him. Or her.”
      Jean-Paul opened his mouth to argue, but Adam
      continued before he could say anything. “I’m doing
      it, okay? I don’t need any more convincing. You can
      cease and desist. I’ll be totally on board tomorrow.
      I’m demonstrating where my loyalties lie. I just
      figured it would be okay to sound off a little with
      you ahead of time since you talked me into it.”

      “Bien.” Jean-Paul smiled. “Sound off as much as you

      “You want to know what I decided to answer if someone
      asks what my mutant power is?


      “Not dying of embarrassment.” Jean-Paul laughed, but
      then Adam turned serious, as he continued. “There’s
      actually something I wanted to talk to you about. I’m
      not just here to show you what I look like as a

      “Did you want to talk about Ezra? About Jean’s

      “No, it’s something else. But, now that you bring it
      up, what do you make of that?”

      “I don’t know what to make of it.”

      “Do you think it could be a mistake?”

      “It has to be, hein? It’s Hank who is showing signs
      of manifesting, not Ezra.”

      “Maybe Ezra’s a mutant, too? Maybe it’s only Hank’s
      test that was wrong?”

      “Or maybe her method doesn’t really work on children
      this young. I don’t understand it enough to have an
      opinion on whether it should work, even. Anjuli is
      going over Jean’s notes to see if she can figure out
      what’s going on, see if there’s something Jean
      missed.” Jean-Paul shrugged. “If that’s not on your
      mind, Adam, what did you want to talk about?”

      He looked away, not meeting Jean-Paul’s gaze. “I
      don’t know if I should do this. I feel like I’ve kind
      of forfeited my right to come to you with my
      problems.” He sighed. “But I trust your judgment and
      your discretion more than anyone else I know,
      Jean-Paul. And I’m at a loss for what to do. I don’t
      feel like I can talk to anybody else about this. In
      fact, that’s part of the problem – I think I’ve said
      too much already to someone I shouldn’t have spoken

      “This all sounds very mysterious. Is it about the
      mission you just got back from?” Adam nodded. “And
      you’re not supposed to talk about it?”


      “Do you think it’s okay to tell me?”

      “A few months ago I would have told you without
      hesitation. I always feel ‘don’t tell anybody’ has a
      sort of a spousal exemption, don’t you? We’ve
      certainly told each other all sorts of confidential
      information. About both of our jobs, about people we
      know. I trusted you with information about what was
      going on in Belarus when I wasn’t telling anyone
      anything. That’s part of being a couple, or so I
      always thought. But now that we’re separated – not
      together, not quite apart – well, I don’t know what to
      do. I feel like I’m imposing on you.”

      “It’s not an imposition, bien sur, Adam. That’s not
      my concern. It’s more that, well if it’s something
      Cyclops doesn’t want the other X-Men to know... I’m
      an X-Man now. Maybe I ought not hear it, hein?”

      “I know. I’ve thought of that. But I need your
      advice. I need to talk to someone before I report to
      Cyclops. I’m not sure how much to report back. Look,
      let me just tell you a little about the nature of the
      mission, without revealing the confidential parts.
      And then you can decide whether you want to hear the


      “Well, it was an information gathering mission.
      That’s why he sent me. There’s a reporter – a guy
      from the Washington Times – and he’s doing a story on
      the X-Men. A kind of an exposé, apparently, looking
      for scandal. And he’s focusing on Scott, on his
      background. Scott wanted me to do some digging of my

      “What kind of digging?”

      “Looking into Scott’s background and seeing what I
      could find out about him, so he could be prepared in
      case this guy finds out damaging information.”

      “That sounds like there is some damaging information
      Scott’s got hidden and he’s wants to see how well it’s

      “Exactly. That was my impression, too.”

      “And you found what it was that Scott is hiding?”
      Adam nodded. “So what’s the dilemma? You tell him
      what you found, and he decides how to deal with it.”

      “It’s not that simple. I kind of found more than I
      bargained for. I did find some things that I think
      Scott’s been hiding, but I also found some stuff I
      don’t think he knows.” Adam threw up his hands.
      “Look, it’s getting hard talking about this without
      really talking about it, you know? I trust you
      completely. I know you won’t tell anybody. Can’t we
      just let the spousal exemption extend to now, just for

      “Oui. It’s fine. I think I know what it’s about,

      “Really? What?”

      “You found out that Scott was involved in sex trade
      when he was a teenager, n’est-ce pas?”

      “Yes, that’s part of it, anyway. How did you know?”

      “Mostly I just guessed. He was homeless, and without
      family in his teens. Moi aussi, but I wasn’t blind
      and I had more options. I didn’t think Scott joined
      the circus like I did, hein?” He thought about it a
      little more. “How did you find out?”

      “I spoke to someone who knew him then. A man named
      Simon Graves.”

      “How did you meet him? Might this reporter find him,

      “I don’t think so, but I can’t be sure. Scott gave me
      a big stack of condolence letters to go through. Not
      for this mission – to get ideas for the write up I did
      on Professor X for the memorial service program. And
      the one from this guy sort of stood out. It was clear
      that he’d known Scott a long time ago, clear that he
      didn’t know Charles. And... I don’t know. There was
      something odd about it. I had a feeling that there
      had been something about their relationship, something
      that wasn’t quite... right. So, I met him and asked a
      few questions. I gave him the impression I already
      knew more than I really did. I think he told me more
      than he meant to.”

      “They always do. That’s your mutant power, Adam, if
      anything is.” He thought for a minute. “He knew
      Scott when he was a teenager?”

      “He kept him. Looks to be about mid-fifties now. An
      advertising executive. He was married at the time,
      hiding a blind fifteen-year-old lover in a studio
      apartment in the city. Telling his wife he was
      working late and had to stay over, then going home to
      her in the ‘burbs on the weekend.”

      “Wow!” He considered that for a minute. “You know, I
      think Scott had it better than some. I mean, it
      sounds pretty sordid when you say it like that, but
      better than being on the street, hein?”

      “Definitely better. And it got worse pretty quickly.
      The thing with Graves didn’t last. His wife found
      out, and then Scott *was* on the street. For about a
      year. This guy Graves is pretty much wracked with
      guilt about that. I think that’s a lot of why he
      talked to me – kind of purging his soul.”

      “So, you don’t want Scott to know that this man is
      talking about that period in his life? I think he
      ought to know.”

      “No, that’s not the part I’m worried about. I agree
      he should know that I found that out. I had a lead
      that not anyone would have, but it’s not the only one,
      I’m sure. If I got this information, Rick Kapell
      might, too.”


      “Rick Kapell. He’s the reporter from the Washington
      Times I told you about.” He looked at Jean-Paul.
      “What’s wrong?”

      “I – I know him.”

      “He interviewed you? I know he’s called several of the

      “No, he didn’t interview me. I didn’t know he was on
      this story. I just met him. In a bar.”


      “I didn’t tell him anything, Adam. Vraiment. I – uh
      – I spent one night with him. I thought I’d never see
      him again, but he’s been calling.”

      “Well, you shouldn’t have given him your number if you
      didn’t want him to call,” Adam said, trying to keep
      the edge out of his voice. “Not that it’s any of my
      business,” he added.

      “I didn’t give him my number. Well, not
      intentionally.” He hesitated. “I’m feeling very
      awkward talking to you about this.”

      “I understand. I feel the same. But, can you try? I
      withdraw the snarky remark about giving out your phone
      number. I want us to still be able to talk to each

      Jean-Paul nodded. “Okay, so I met him in a bar, but I
      spent the night with him in his hotel room. I knew
      he’s a reporter and here on business. I didn’t know
      he was with the Washington Times, or investigating the
      X-Men. He’s a friend of Jake Patterson’s.”

      “Yes, I know. Jake gave him my name and he called me.
      That’s how I knew about this X-Men investigation in
      the first place. How do you know Rick and Jake are

      “He told me. He connected me with the article, the one
      Jake wrote. He asked me about Alpha Flight.”

      “You didn’t tell him anything, did you?”

      “You know I don’t talk about my work to outsiders. He
      asked me if I’m an X-Man now. I didn’t tell him
      anything, vraiment. I thought the questions were
      innocent, just wanting to get to know me, hein? He
      seemed... like he liked me, wanted to know me better.
      He asked to see me again, wanted to exchange numbers.”

      “But you didn’t?”

      Jean-Paul shook his head. “Only I’d called here – to
      say I would be out all night. I talked to Wendy. My
      cell didn’t work in the hotel, so I called from his
      room phone. So, he had the number here on his bill.
      He’s been calling me since.”

      “Do you think it was a setup? That he knew who you

      “I don’t *think* so. He didn’t seem to. He seemed
      genuine. But who knows? Maybe he’s a good liar.”

      “He has to be, to be gay and working at the Washington

      “I’m sorry, Adam. I had no idea. I’ve told him
      nothing. Believe me.”

      “Of course, I believe you. You’re nothing if not
      discreet.” He looked down. “It’s not some imagined
      lapse of discretion on your part I’m worried about.
      It’s my own indiscretion. I think I’ve said too much.
      To Jake.”

      “What did you tell him?”

      “I didn’t tell him what I found out. I did say some
      of what I was looking for. I went to Scott’s home
      town to speak to his parents. I told Jake where I

      “Well, it’s like you said, n’est-ce pas? Spousal
      exemption? Are you worried because of his friendship
      with Rick? Worried he’ll talk to him?”

      “I don’t know. I don’t know how worried I *should*
      be. He says he won’t say anything. I want to trust
      to his discretion. But I really shouldn’t have told
      him so much. I don’t think spousal exemption
      qualifies. Jake and I – well, we never got to that
      point. It’s not like it was with you and me, a
      committed relationship with a future. Or what we
      thought was one.” He stopped and put his head in his
      hands for a minute. “This is very hard to talk about,
      I’m sorry. Umm, well what Jake and I had, it was the
      beginning of a relationship, maybe. It wasn’t far
      enough along to be talking to him like this. I don’t
      know why I did.”

      “Maybe you want that kind of relationship with him,
      and so you kind of jumped over the intermediate

      Adam shook his head. “I think I just missed that
      level of intimacy, the kind of openness that you and I
      had. So, I sort of... projected it on Jake or
      something. Whatever. I’m confused. I’m not sure why
      I did it. I do know it was premature. And, well,
      actually Jake and I aren’t seeing each other anymore,
      so now I’m all the more worried that he won’t feel
      bound to keep what I told him confidential.”

      “I didn’t know.”

      “It just happened. I went to see him after I finished
      the mission, before I came back here. I told Jake I
      don’t feel like I can do this anymore, that it’s too
      soon after you and me separating. I told him I just
      can’t have a lover right now.”

      “So do you think it’s just temporary?”

      Adam shook his head. “No, it’s over. There’s more,
      but I didn’t tell him it all. I’ve been thinking a
      lot about what you said, about it being harder for you
      – me being with Jake – than with anybody else. And I
      feel like this was a bad idea. I just kind of fell
      into the relationship. I’m not in love with him.
      Maybe I would be, eventually, if we stayed together,
      but I’m not now. So, I thought some more about that.
      Why do I need to do this? I have time to figure out
      what I want. There are a lot of men in the world.
      Why would I want to be with the one who makes it
      hardest for me to get along with my ex? It’s so
      important that you and I develop a working
      relationship after the breakup, that we’re able to
      effectively parent Ezra together. I don’t want to put
      a stumbling block between us.”

      “I do appreciate that, Adam. I worry, though. I
      wonder if you’ll feel like I pressured you into
      breaking up with him, hein? And end up resenting me
      for it.”

      “No, it’s not you. I don’t feel like you pressured
      me. What you said just made me think more, think
      about what I want. And it made me realize that I was
      kind of at a crossroads. It really was time for Jake
      to meet Ezra, to meet all my family and friends, if
      the relationship was going to progress. And the more
      I thought about that the more I found myself stalling.
      I finally realized that I don’t want to take the
      relationship to that level. And it’s not just because
      I think that my mother would kill him for not being
      you.” Jean-Paul smiled at that. Adam continued.
      “That I didn’t want to move to the next stage meant
      something – I figured I should listen to that. So, I
      told him I think we need to call it off.”

      “And is he angry?”

      “No, I think just sad. I’m not thinking he’s going to
      call Rick Kapell up out of spite or anything like
      that. I’m just worried that he might be less than
      careful. You know?”

      “Oui. It could happen. What did you find out, Adam?
      What are you so worried about? Not just that Scott
      was a hustler.”

      “No, it’s something else.” Adam took a deep breath.
      “You know Scott’s from Indiana, right?”

      “Yes, that’s about all I know about his childhood.
      That’s all he says, that he’s from a small town in

      “Right. Well, that’s not what his birth certificate
      or passport says. Scott had fake documents, giving
      him a whole new birthplace and parentage. So, I
      figured there had to be something in Indiana that he
      was hiding. I found his original birth certificate
      and his home town. It is small – Goodland, Indiana.
      I went to interview Scott’s parents. His father’s
      dead, but I spoke to his mother. And from there I did
      a lot of digging. I’ve been a lot of places, talked
      to a lot of people. Read police reports, trial
      transcripts – including some that were sealed. His
      father was killed.”


      “Yes. The same day Scott ran away from home.
      Jean-Paul, I think Scott killed him. It was ruled
      homicide, but I think it was an accident. I think it
      happened when he came into his powers. I’ll bet
      anything that’s what he’s afraid Rick will find out.”

      “Tabernac! How old was he?”


      “Old enough to be tried as an adult there?” Adam
      nodded. “Uncontrolled mutant powers haven’t proven
      much of a defense in the past. No wonder he ran.
      Well, he’d better know then. You’d better tell him.
      Whether you’re right or not, the fact that you think
      it means someone else could. Even if not Rick.
      Scott’s getting a lot of attention now. If there’s a
      chance that someone’s going to show up on his doorstep
      with a warrant for his arrest – for murder – I think
      he’s better off knowing.”

      “It’s not going to happen. That’s not what I’m
      worried about.”

      “What then?”

      “Someone else was convicted of the murder. And I
      don’t think he did it. I’ve looked at the evidence.
      It doesn’t seem possible, what they say happened. The
      way he died, I think it was Scott’s optic blasts that
      killed him. But as far as law enforcement is
      concerned, it was your standard blunt instrument and
      this is a closed case.”

      “So Scott killed him, but someone else went to

      Adam nodded. “Not quite prison. A center for violent
      juveniles. Not much different.”

      “Who was it?”

      “Scott’s brother. Alexander Summers. I don’t think
      Scott has any idea. And I don’t know if he’s better
      off knowing or not. Yes, if Rick Kapell’s going to
      get wind of it and print it in the Washington Times.
      But if not? I don’t know.”

      Mofic Website: www.angelfire.com/comics/mo

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