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Tangled Web (What’s Past is Prologue 15/18) - Mo's Journal
August 1st, 2005
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Tangled Web (What’s Past is Prologue 15/18)
“I’m glad you came,” Rick said, kissing Jean-Paul briefly and ushering him in.

“Moi aussi.”

“Did you have any trouble finding the place?”

Jean-Paul shook his head. “I used to live not far from here. I know places to land around here.”

They sat down together in the living room. “I’m still kind of struggling to assimilate that information.”

“What information?”

“That you can fly.”

Jean-Paul shrugged. “You saw me flying. When I was being ‘menacing,’ remember?” Rick opened his mouth to say something, but Jean-Paul stopped him. “I know, I know. You didn’t mean anything personal by it.” He touched Rick on the arm. “I believe you, copain. And I understand it is hard to assimilate, as you say. Lots of people feel that way at first. Particularly those who haven’t been around mutants much.”

“You’re the first mutant I ever met. Well, as far as I know. I wouldn’t have known you’re one if you hadn’t told me.”

“I figured if you’re sucking mutant cock, you ought to know it. It scares some off, but I’d rather they be scared off, hein? And for others it counts for me. Exotic, I guess. Sort of like you liking uncut men.” Neither of them said anything for a minute. “Can I ask you something?” he added.

“Sure.”

“What’s it like, where you work? A place like that? I can’t imagine working there.”

“It’s not like everybody’s Moonies, if that’s what you think. Or homophobic or anti-mutant.”

“So, what are they like? Your colleagues?”

“I don’t know. Just regular people. I don’t know what to say. What are yours like?”

Jean-Paul thought for a minute before answering. “Committed, strong, capable. Lots of different personalities. Some clash, but never while we’re on a mission. A motley crew in a lot of ways, but some are among my closest friends. And every one of them I trust, completely. It was like that at Alpha Flight, but even more so with the X-Men. We live together as well as work together. We depend on one another for our lives. It’s not just a job.”

“It’s not like that with my colleagues, obviously. Mine is just a job, like any other. It’s a tough field to get a job and keep it. I’m glad to have a good one. I just try to find things out, tell the public what’s going on. I’m not responsible for the editorial content of the paper. It’s just a regular place.”

“Do your colleagues know you have a date with a mutant this weekend?”

“I don’t talk about things like that at work. I try to keep my personal and professional lives separate.”

“They don’t know you’re gay?”

“It’s none of their business.”

There was an uncomfortable silence. Jean-Paul broke it by saying, “Maybe we shouldn’t talk about work at all. I’ve said as much as I can about mine; you don’t need to tell me about yours.”

“I think I should say something else, and then we can just drop the work talk. I know it’s an uncomfortable subject for both of us. But I need to make one thing clear first.” And then he stopped again, as if not sure how to proceed. Finally, he said, “I’m not done writing about the X-Men.”

“Rick. I can’t tell you anything. I thought you understood that.”

“I do understand. I’m not looking for information from you. I just... well, it sounded from what you said on the phone like you thought the memorial service piece was all I was writing. I didn’t want you feeling... deceived, or surprised even, if you hear I wrote something else.”

“I appreciate that.” They looked at each other. “This is awkward, hein?”

“Yes. Very.”

“Can you tell me what you’re working on, beyond the memorial service?” Seeing Rick’s expression, he quickly added. “I’ll understand if you can’t. I won’t talk to you about my work, so I can’t fault you if you won’t tell me about yours.”

“I don’t mind telling you. I don’t want you to be blindsided.” He didn’t say anything for a few minutes. “I’ve got nothing against mutants, really.”

“You’ve said that a few times.”

“I know. I’m saying it too much, I realize that. It’s just... well, there are some real issues here. They’re worth writing about, worth thinking about. I am thinking about them, and writing about them, and it’s not because of anti-mutant prejudice. Issues like the power – the covert power – that someone like Charles Xavier was able to wield. Some of it coming from his mutation, some from his wealth. The influence a man like that had on our government, on our president – these are things the public has a right to know.”

“He was a good man, Rick. I knew him, you didn’t. His influence was not from his powers, not from his wealth. Or not mostly from those things. He had a vision, one of tolerance and peace. He was truly charismatic and truly caring. There are good people in the world. He was one of them.”

“I don’t doubt his charisma. He clearly had a powerful personality. But I’m finding things out about him...” He looked like he might say more, but then changed the subject abruptly. “Not all mutants have powers like yours, you know. Some of them really are dangerous. Lots don’t mean to be, but when mutants start manifesting, all sorts of things can happen. People have been hurt, killed even.”

“Oui. I know it. My friends, Wendy and Arthur – Wendy’s the one you thought I was married to, hein? Well, their little girl has already come into her powers. She’s a telekinetic. She manifested very early, at age four. Telekinesis – particularly uncontrolled telekinesis – can be dangerous. But, Rick. Making people frightened of children is not the answer. Understanding, helping kids learn to control their powers, that’s the answer.”

“Your friends with the mutant daughter – they’re mutants, too?”

“Oui.”

“Well, maybe it’s easier for them then.”

“C’est vrai. They knew more of what to do, weren’t frightened of the possibility of having a mutant child. Most mutants are born into normal families, to normal parents, many of whom can’t handle it when kids come into their powers. It’s a little like being gay, n’est-ce pas? Not what parents expect from their kids. Different, frightening. But the answer isn’t to intensify the fear and the suspicion. The answer is more tolerance, more acceptance, more support. The answer is more people like Charles Xavier, who provide a home and an education to kids who don’t have either one.”

“He didn’t provide a home for his own son.”

“What do you mean?”

“Xavier wasn’t the saint you make him out to be.”

“I don’t think he was a saint, just a good person, vraiment.”

“Scott Summers is his illegitimate son. Did you know that? By some maid working at one of his many homes. And your Professor Xavier had nothing to do with him for most of his childhood. Xavier’s name’s on the birth certificate as father, but he wouldn’t give him his last name, wouldn’t marry her. And beyond acknowledging paternity at birth – nothing, as far as I can tell. I haven’t found the mother yet, but it looks like she raised him all by herself. He probably sent her money, but he never acknowledged Scott Summers as his son, not when he was a child, not before he became a mutant. And it looks like Maria Summers was one of those ones who couldn’t handle a mutant son. Either that or Scott Summers couldn’t handle being one. He ran away when he came into his powers. And you know what he did then?”

“What?”

“He was a prostitute. Sucking cock for money for over a year. Not quite the image he presents to the public now, huh? And then all of a sudden once Xavier finds out his kid's a mutant, he gets interested in him. Takes him to his mansion, dresses him up, sends him to Columbia. Tries to turn him into somebody respectable. Field Leader of the X-Men. Teaching English to high school kids. And now, since his father's death, hobnobbing with world leaders. But he's still the same guy who was giving blow jobs in back alleys for ten bucks.”

“For a guy who was sucking my cock five minutes after we met, you’re sounding awfully judgmental about Scott Summers.”

“I wasn’t doing it for money.” Disgust in his voice.

“Maybe you never had to.”

They looked at each other, neither saying anything. “I’m sorry,” Rick said, after a while. “This is just not something we’re likely to see eye-to-eye on.”

“D’accord. Let’s drop the topic, hein?”

“Fine.”

“Can we go to the bedroom?”

“Yes. Please.”

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

Rick’s bed was a large brass-framed four poster. The two men were on it soon, legs entwined, kissing, pulling off each other’s clothing. Their disagreement seemed forgotten. “I’ve wanted this, wanted you,” Rick whispered in Jean-Paul’s ear, stroking Jean-Paul’s hard cock slowly.

“Moi aussi.” After a few minutes, Jean-Paul said, “I want to try something different.”

“What?”

Jean-Paul kissed him deeply, rubbing their cocks together with his hand. “You’ll see,” he said. “Wait here.” And he got up from the bed, heading out to the living room.

He came back quickly, hanging his shoulder bag over one of the brass posts and pulling something out of it. Bright chrome handcuffs, shining in the lamplight. “What do you say, copain?” he asked. “Would you let me?”

Rick nodded. “Where? How?”

“Put your hands up here.” Jean-Paul secured his wrists around one of the posts of the bed. “Ah, you look good like that,” he said, and reached back into his bag. He came out with a camera and began to snap pictures of Rick, laid out on the bed, naked, handcuffed to it, erection sticking up from his reclining body.

“Jean-Paul! I don’t... please don’t...”

“Come on. Don’t you trust me? Who’s going to see them but me? It’s a digital camera.” And then he was straddling Rick’s chest, camera still in hand. “Open your mouth,” he said, pushing his hard cock in when Rick complied with the request, taking pictures as he fucked Rick’s mouth. “This is what I want to remember, how you look with your mouth full of my cock.” Rick sucked hard, his objections seemingly forgotten.

And then Jean-Paul was pulling out of his mouth, eliciting disappointed sounds from the man under him. “Lift your legs, Rick,” he said, getting off of Rick, standing by the side of the bed, snapping more pictures.

“Are you going to fuck me now? There’s lube in the nightstand.”

Jean-Paul shook his head. “No. You can put your legs down. I’m not going to fuck you. Not now, not ever.” The smile had vanished from his face. “I’m not going to fuck a self-hating, sneaky hypocrite like you. Kissing you, touching you, pretending to like you was bad enough.”

“What’s going on?”

“I only came here to take these pictures and to tell you what to do,” Jean-Paul said, pulling his pants on, reaching for his shirt. “So, listen carefully. I’m going to tell you now what you will and will not do, and those pictures are my insurance. They’re how I know you’ll do exactly what I tell you to.” He took the camera over to where Rick could see the pictures, as he flipped through the ones he’d just taken. “Some nice ones, hein? Good close-up there. Oh, nice big smile in that one. And here you are licking the head of my cock. Here you are sucking it in. You’re very photogenic.”

Rick was sputtering, cursing and demanding to be released. Jean-Paul didn’t answer any of that. “Shut up,” he said. “And listen to me. I’m about to tell you what you’re going to do. You’re not going to talk to Cyclops’s mother. You’re leaving that poor woman alone. You’re not going to investigate Scott Summers at all. Not his personal life. He's one of the colleagues I was telling you about, one of the ones I owe my life to. I'm not letting you humiliate him. So go ahead and write whatever alarmist, paranoid conspiracy stories about the X-Men and our mission that you want. Give your bloodsucking employer whatever they want from you that way. But you write one personal word about Scott Summers or any of the X-Men - you reveal one secret Scott’s mother wouldn’t want to read in a newspaper - and nice big glossy prints of the pictures in here get sent out right away. To your editor who doesn’t even know you’re gay, much less that you like it when a man handcuffs you to your bed and shoves his cock down your throat. To your just-regular-folks colleagues, who might be amused to see these. And to your parents, who probably won’t be. In Bethesda, n’est-ce pas? I bet they’d love to see some new pictures of their son. Got some good ones. You sure looked happy...”

“You wouldn’t!”

“Oui. I would. And since I would, you’d better not.” He’d finished dressing and started putting the camera away. He held up a key. “I’ll leave this on the dining room table.”

“You’re going to leave me like this?”

“Here.” He took the phone from its cradle and put it down by Rick’s head. “It might take a little doing, but you should be able to dial. I’ll leave the door open. That way you don’t have to call the fire department or a locksmith. Call a friend to come get you out. If you have any.”

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From:mofic
Date:August 1st, 2005 12:51 pm (UTC)
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Don't you feel sorry for Rick? Not even a little? I do, in spite of the awful stuff he said about Scott. I think he really does like Jean-Paul, yk? And, like I said, I like all my characters at least a little. So, I feel kind of bad for him.
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From:eveningblue
Date:August 1st, 2005 01:15 pm (UTC)
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GO JEAN-PAUL GO!!!

Very nice work.

I don't feel sorry for Rick at all.
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From:mofic
Date:August 1st, 2005 01:41 pm (UTC)
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Even though he was so careful to disclose that he's still writing about the X-Men, so as not to blindside Jean-Paul? Of course J-P already knew that and was lying to Rick about why he didn't call him earlier, but Rick didn't know that. He believed him when he said that he called only because the story was done, and Rick risks Jean-Paul leaving when he tells him that it's not. I thought that was pretty honorable of him.

I also think that he's got a valid point about some of it. The stuff about looking for dirt in Scott's past is just sleazy and I have no sympathy for him feeling disgusted instead of compassionate about a blind homeless kid resorting to sex trade to survive. OTOH, his points about the X-Men as a private army with no government oversight - well, it's true. I mean, I think they're the good guys, but...

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From:eveningblue
Date:August 1st, 2005 04:40 pm (UTC)
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I didn't mean to suggest that I saw Rick as EVIL, just that I don't really feel sorry for him. I was rooting for J-P, and I thought he did good. Blackmail is not exactly an honorable thing to do, but it was a good solution to the problem. I admire J-P's problem-solving abilities. :-)

I felt sorry for Jake Patterson. He seemed like a decent fellow who got caught in the crossfire between Adam and J-P. He did behave badly that first time with Adam, but that was only one bad day.

But Rick spends his life doing this kind of sleazy investigative reporting. Ok, sure, he liked J-P. But mainly he spends his time doing sleazy work and then somehow justifying the work and the paper he works for by saying "it's just a job" or "my articles don't reflect the editorial viewpoint of my newspaper." Sure they do. That newspaper is paying his salary. He is in deep denial all around. No sympathy from me.
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From:mofic
Date:August 1st, 2005 05:11 pm (UTC)
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I can't argue with anything you say here. I like Jake a whole lot more than Rick and felt worse for him when he got caught in the crossfire, as you say.

And I do think what Jean-Paul did was, albeit a morally ambiguous choice, probably the best - or at any rate the least bad - solution that presented itself. I'm not condemning him. Just shedding maybe half a tear for poor Rick, trying to figure out whom to call to unlock him...
From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 1st, 2005 01:46 pm (UTC)

YEAH

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Okay not a big fan of Rick, but I think he honestly likes J-P but he is such a hypocrite.

I knew J-P was one of my favourtie characters only he would have thought up something like this. I was actually thinking it was between Logan or J-P who would take care of Rick but then decided that Logan's methods would have probably been more drastic.

Vision
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:August 1st, 2005 02:12 pm (UTC)

Re: YEAH

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Is nobody feeling sorry for poor Rick but the author? I do agree he's a hypocrite, or at the very least conflicted and compartmentalized. I think that's how closeted people are. But the journey out of the closet is a process, not an event. It's one I could see him working on over time, with support and kindness.

I don't know. Maybe this will make him rethink his life a bit, as well. After all, it's because he's closeted and working at a right-wing place that he's vulnerable to blackmail...
From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 1st, 2005 02:51 pm (UTC)

Re: YEAH

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The main reason why I am not feeling sorry for Rick other than the fact he seems to like J-P and I'm against that, but he showed no compassion for Scott's shady past. He didn't even consider that there might be a very plausible reason why he was a prostitute. And like J-P thinks, Rick is too judgemental, but yeah being in the closet might blind you, but still compassion is within all of us whether we are straight, gay or bi.

Still isn't as good as a reporter as Adam granted he had a little bit more info to work with courtesy of Scott. Still Adam has more deductive capabilities than Rick.

Vision
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From:mofic
Date:August 1st, 2005 03:59 pm (UTC)

Re: YEAH

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I do think he was just awful about Scott! That comment about Xavier trying to turn him into someone "respectable" was way out of line. And I totally applaud J-P for calling him on that.

And I agree that Adam is a better reporter - and an all-around better person - than Rick.
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From:blue_braces
Date:September 21st, 2005 05:13 am (UTC)

Re: YEAH

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I feel sorry for Rick!

the pictures in here get sent out right away. To your editor who doesn’t even know you’re gay, much less that you like it when a man handcuffs you to your bed and shoves his cock down your throat. To your just-regular-folks colleagues, who might be amused to see these. And to your parents, who probably won’t be. In Bethesda, n’est-ce pas? I bet they’d love to see some new pictures of their son. Got some good ones. You sure looked happy...”

That was devastating - literally a mind-fuck! And I feel bad for Jean-Paul. He thought he was doing what he had to do to protect his friend, but how will this affect him emotionally in the long run?
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From:mofic
Date:September 21st, 2005 10:34 am (UTC)

Re: YEAH

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Yeah, I wonder, too. How it will affect both of them - and Adam, for that matter. With journalism being such an almost incestuous field it's likely Adam and Rick will cross paths again, too.
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From:sabra_n
Date:August 1st, 2005 01:56 pm (UTC)
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I'm not sure I like Jean-Paul's methods any more than I like Rick's attitudes, but at least all that bad behavior will (probably) end in a positive result for the good guys. Great twist. :)

-blue
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From:mofic
Date:August 1st, 2005 02:15 pm (UTC)
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Glad you liked the twist. And glad that somebody is seeing it as morally ambiguous, at least!
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From:lunamazes
Date:August 1st, 2005 06:28 pm (UTC)
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Poor Rich, I can see there's gonna a big problem fpr Jean-Paul.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 2nd, 2005 05:27 am (UTC)

You got one...

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Ok, you got one, I feel sorry for Rick. Yes, his lack of compassion for Scott was off putting. But let's face it, lots of people have those feelings about prostitutes including many of our parents, relatives, and/or friends. So, I didn't like it but it wasn't unfamiliar to me. What Jean Paul did though... I understand why he did it, but I felt so bad for Rick. Not only was Rick honest, brutally honest about what he was going to do but he put alot of trust into JP with that handcuff maneuver. I got the feeling that it wasn't something he did alot and to let someone handcuff you and teen put you in a compromising position and photograph you. And on top of that, there was no reason for Jean Paul to say those really hateful and hurtful personal things about pretending to like him. Of course it is better than the Logan/claws option. But who's to say how chopped up he'll be inside. It became less about protection bringing revenge and humiliation into the mix. Doesn't make me hate Jean Paul, and I understand why he needed to do something-it was important to him to protect Scott- but right now I don't like him very much. CC
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From:mofic
Date:August 2nd, 2005 10:20 am (UTC)

Re: You got one...

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My view is that Jean-Paul said that awful stuff to convince himself. I do think he thought it was necessary to do, and I think he was probably right. There weren't a whole lot of other ways to neutralize Rick. OTOH, I think in order to do it he really had to have absolutely no sympathy for Rick. So, I see that personal stuff he says about Rick as kind of steeling himself for this.

I'm not on Rick's side by any means. I don't think he's thought at all about the consequences of his actions and I hate how he rationalizes his job at that place. And I do think Jean-Paul's plan was a good one net-net. OTOH, I do feel a bit bad for Rick.
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From:comnena39
Date:August 2nd, 2005 04:58 pm (UTC)

Ambiguity all over the place!

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As I have said in the recent past I like (ok, adore!) Jean-PAul, but I despise blackmail. It is such a malicious way of manipulating and bullying someone.

And Rick - well, I recently had a slightly drunken argument with a friend over whether or not people who worked somewhere (we were talking movie-stars and pop-stars) where they had to stay in the closet and if this was hypocritical and supporting the gays bad POV of the general society. I felt that if they really wanted to work in suchandsuch particular field then I could understand -given how the world is right now- if they stayed closeted. But my friend thought they were completely in the wrong, and supporting the staus quo.
I claimed that laws wouldn't necessarily be changed by an en masse coming out of various celebrities, but by politicians and the public... although I don't 100% agree with my argument, it was just a pub debate - meant to be largely for fun.
But anyway, in this case I do agree with my friend and Jean-Paul and I think Rick is a fool to be working where he does. You can't keep writing the kind of crap he has to, and talking to people who all (at least on work time) subscribe to a viewpoint like the one expressed by his paper without it affecting you. And by working there, and spouting out that stuff about Scott and his time as a prostitute, Rick is coming across like those patriarchal types in the early 20th century who ranted about a woman's place being in the home and her role to be a wife and mother while spending large amount of their families time and money on their mistresses. Women who were at least to some extent independent business women of the very kind they protested against.
And this is becoming a very big rant so I'm going to go read the next part... *strolls of whistling and trying to look innocent*
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:August 2nd, 2005 10:49 pm (UTC)

Re: Ambiguity all over the place!

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Well, I'm working in public health now, where it's easy to be out, but when I was in finance there were lots and lots of closeted people. I think it's a very personal choice and each person has to weigh the benefits and costs on both sides of it. One thing that obscures the risk/benefit analysis though: people can very easily see the risks and costs of coming out, but those in the closet are so accustomed to the costs of being closeted that they sometimes don't even notice the effect it's having on them. So ime they overestimate the costs of coming out and underestimate the costs of staying closeted. Now, Rick was unlikely to have guessed that he was risking blackmail, but I would say he probably doesn't even notice how much he's losing by hiding who he is at work...
[User Picture]
From:comnena39
Date:August 2nd, 2005 10:57 pm (UTC)

Re: Ambiguity all over the place!

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Yes, I'm 90% out, the only people I'm not out to are my Dad and my step-mother. And even then it hasn't been deliberate, it's just there hasn't been anyone or anything to tell them, and they aren't people it is possible to talk to about sex really. It'll happen in time, I'm only 26!

And it does make a difference - I don't hold that because my mother died before I came out that she never knew me- my sexulaity really hasn't involved me in any massive personality or fashion changes! (Ironic really, she always wanted one of her sons to be Julian Clary II; instead she got a lesbian daughter!) But it is still a nice shock when one of the girls in my post-graduate office, or whoever, makes a comment which acknowledges that my outlook on things is different from theirs.
Especially when watching movies - X2 will always be special to me after I went to see it for the forst time with my sister, and a lesbian couple, my sister was delighted to be the 'token straight'! Especially as it meant no one else lusting after Wolverine!
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From:mofic
Date:August 2nd, 2005 11:15 pm (UTC)

Re: Ambiguity all over the place!

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I did it the opposite way - came out to family first. Like Oliver, I was disowned when I "came into my powers" and like both Oliver and Scott I was on my own without any family while still in my teens. When I tell my story of family estrangement, I always feel that if it's someone who's read my stories it behooves me to add that I supported myself by working as a library assistant. I was married to the same woman for a very long time, so coming out at work didn't involve talking about sex at all, just talking about my family.

A lot of people who were closeted at work used to rationalize it by saying "I'm not scared of coming out. I'm just a very private person and don't want to talk about my private life at work." That's how I see Rick. But the fact is that a lot of closeted behavior involves lying about or avoiding talking about things that aren't considered at all private or personal if you're straight.

If my straight colleagues are talking about their social lives if they mention dating someone, their family lives when they talk about their spouses and children, and talking about furniture if they say "[insert spouse name] and I are getting a new bed at Ikea" it's just not possible that when I do the same things I'm talking about my sex life. I have J-P point that out to Scott in one of the early stories when Scott says he doesn't think it's appropriate for the kids he teaches to know about his sex life. J-P tells Scott that he doesn't know anything about Scott's sex life from knowing he's with Logan and asks him how it can be that the kids knowing he was with Jean was just knowing about his social life but knowing about him and Logan is knowing about his sex life. I've been J-P in that kind of conversation with closeted coworkers soooooo many times...

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From:faramir_boromir
Date:August 6th, 2005 04:31 am (UTC)
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WAY TO GO!!! I love Jean-Paul in this installment--he's exactly the tough, resolute fellow I expect to see, definitely not thinking with his dick, but with his brain. And no, I don't feel sorry for Rick one tiny bit. Sorry, but homophobe-baiting, mutant-hating journalists get no love here.
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From:mofic
Date:August 6th, 2005 02:30 pm (UTC)
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That seems to be the majority opinion. I somehow manage to applaud Jean-Paul and feel bad for Rick at the same time.
[User Picture]
From:faramir_boromir
Date:August 6th, 2005 02:57 pm (UTC)
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Ah, well, you have the author's love for both the strong and weak that you have written: you must love the loyal as well as the prodigal son, for they are both your creations.
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:August 7th, 2005 02:52 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I think that's it. I like all of them at least a little, because they're mine...
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