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Reminiscences - fifth story - Mo's Journal
March 15th, 2005
06:24 am

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Reminiscences - fifth story
It's been brought to my attention that the fifth (last) story truncated. Maybe I exceeded the length of lj posts? Anyway, I've removed it from the last post and put it here:

Nor All Your Tears (Reminiscences 5/5)


“It must have been a huge relief when you landed at Xavier’s,” Warren said to Jamie as they strolled around the lake. “I know it was for me.”

Jamie nodded. “But you were older, right?”

“Yeah, 16. I’d only had private tutors before that, so it wasn’t so different for me, the school part. I didn’t know what a real school was like, not until college.”

“Where did you go to college?”

“Fordham.”

“Did you live on campus?”

He shook his head. “No, none of us lived in dorms. We all stayed in Westchester and commuted to school. Jean went to Barnard, Scott and Hank to Columbia. Of course, Hank was working on his first PhD while the rest of us were just undergrads,” he added, rolling his eyes. “Well, you know what he was like.”

Jamie nodded. “What was it like being a mutant in college?”

“It was great,” Warren replied, enthusiastic smile lighting up his face. “Really, you couldn’t do better than my alma mater that way.”

“It’s a Catholic school, right?”

“Yeah, Jesuit. Maybe they really believe that stuff about all God’s creatures. Maybe they’re looking for converts and don’t want to alienate anyone,” he added with a chuckle. “But whatever the reason, it was a great place to be an open mutant.” He scowled. “That’s how the trouble started, really.”

“Why? What happened?”

“Well, I was feeling so free, I guess. Not in hiding. Not at Xavier’s, not at school, not on missions. And I wasn’t a kid, anymore. Maybe I was, sort of,” he added with a grin, “But I sure didn’t think I was. Adult responsibilities, adult activities. And I was of age. So, when I came back here,” he gestured to the estate around them, “I wasn’t willing to live in hiding. My mother begged me to tie them up, just when the old man was around. Stevens told me to, as well. And Scott, well he kept telling me I shouldn’t get my father mad, that it’s not a big deal to just do things his way for the few days a year I was here.” He stopped and flew into the air as they approached a grove of trees, coming down with two apples. Warren handed one to Jamie, took a bite out of the other and continued. “I wouldn’t listen to any of them.” He shook his head, remembering. “It was Christmas vacation. Scott had come home with me. Jean and Hank were joining us later, after Christmas with their own families. *He* wasn’t around the first few days and we were having a totally wonderful time. He was busy in the city, working. Staying at the apartment there. But he joined us on Christmas Eve. I saw his car coming up the drive and I flew out to meet him.”

“Oh man!”

“Exactly. All hell broke loose. It was pretty stupid of me, I can see now, but at the time I thought I was proving something by it. He was screaming at me, threatening all sorts of stuff. I told him I was leaving, that I wasn’t going to let anyone talk to me like that. And I wasn’t hiding what I am anymore.

“He said, ‘That’s the end of Fordham.’ I laughed in his face and told him it’s a venerable institution and it wasn’t disappearing because he didn’t like that they accepted me for who I am. He told me I’d have to drop out, because he wasn’t paying them another penny.”

“What did you do?”

“I told him I’d find another way to pay, that I was going back to school and I was going back proud. I felt proud. I flew out of there and didn’t look back. And didn’t even think about the totally impossible position I’d put Scott in, leaving him as a basically unwelcome guest in my family home after this huge fight with my father.” He shook his head again. “It’s a wonder he forgave me. He left that night, over my mother’s protests. He called Jean and went to her mother's house. It's not far from here. He and Jean were a couple by then.”

“Was he mad at you?”

“No, not really. More just worried for me, not wanting me to burn any bridges. Well, I could take that from him. Partly because I did feel guilty, putting him in such an awkward position. And partly because I figured he had strong feelings about maintaining family, having lost his own. But I couldn’t take it from Professor X.”

“He thought you shouldn’t have had your wings out there?”

Warren shook his head. “Not when my father was around, anyway. I flew back to Xavier’s thinking that he’d be taking my side. After all, he’s the guy who taught me to be proud of being a mutant, who told me that my wings were a gift, not a deformity. So all the way there I’m thinking how I’m going to tell Professor X all about what happened and he’ll be so proud of me for sticking up for myself. And then I get there and he’s gotten a call from my father. And he’s on *his* side. He told me I needed to be more discreet, needed to have respect for my father’s views and understanding of how hard it was for him. We had this huge fight. I’d never spoken to him before like I did then. I don’t think anyone had. I called him every name I could think of. And then I left.”

“So, what did you do? Where did you go?”

“Tortola. We have a villa there. I flew down – no, by plane – to cool off.”

“Did you?”

“A little. Eventually my mother brokered the peace between us. I agreed to be discreet and not let the wings show any time any of my father’s business associates were around. And he – wonder of wonders – agreed to letting me have them out when we were alone here.”

“Wow! What changed his mind?”

“I didn’t know at the time. I thought my mother prevailed on him, warned him that he could lose me altogether. Not that he cared about me as a person, but I was the only son. So he wanted me to take over at Worthington when he retired. No way I’d even consider hiding out there unless I could be myself when I was home, you know? So, I sort of figured it was enlightened self-interest – both for continuity with the business and for peace in his marriage. And it was a big concession for him. I still hated his guts, but I was glad of it.”

“So why did you work for him, if you hated him?”

Warren shrugged. “I couldn’t go back to the X-Men. Not after what had happened. It was one thing to make peace with my father. He *was* making a concession. And, besides, I’d never expected better of him. I did expect better from Professor Xavier. Looking back I can see that he was just thinking of me, looking out for me. He didn’t want me to lose my family. He’d already seen how painful that was for Scott and he didn’t want another one of his students to go through it. I understand that now. But at the time, I felt completely betrayed.”

“You said you thought it was your mother who talked him into it? But it wasn’t?”

Warren shook his head. “No, it was Charles Xavier.”
***************************************************
“It was all wonderful and kind of overwhelming. The room. My room. My own bathroom, which seemed like an impossible luxury. Having access to a bathroom any time I wanted had seemed like a huge luxury. The books, the bed. All of it.” Scott shook his head, remembering.

“What happened then?”

“He said he’d leave me alone for a bit and then come get me in a little while and we’d have lunch. I didn’t want him to leave.”

“Why not?”

“I still didn’t know what to do for him. I wanted to know what I had to do, what could make this real and lasting. If not sex, then what?”

“So what did you do?”

“I asked him. ‘What do you want from me?’ I said. ‘I have to know. I’ll do anything.’ He took a long time before answering. And when he did, I still didn’t know what he expected of me.”

“What did he say?”

“He said, ‘You’re going to be my hero.’”
**************************************************
“That’s good. I approve of discretion.” Jean smiled at that. Sasha continued, “But maybe without interfering he still disapproves? Just as with you and Scott. Maybe he has concerns about you and me, as well, and just doesn’t want to say.”

“No, I think he’d say.” Jean paused, thinking. “He feels it was a big mistake, not talking to us about how unsuitable our relationship was. Personally, I don’t know that either of us would have listened. And I don’t regret my time with Scott. I’m just thankful we have the close friendship we have now. But Charles would tell me if he didn’t think you and I should get married.”

“Why do you think that, when he didn’t say so when you were with Scott?”

“I think so precisely because he didn’t say. He feels he did the wrong thing. If anything, he’s going too much the other way. Meddling too much. He’s been very vocal about his reservations about Scott and Logan.”

“Charles doesn’t feel they should be together?”

“I think he’s coming round. But he certainly had objections. And told Scott. Bad idea. It came close to causing a real rift between them. Charles realized that and backed off.” Jean reflected on that for a minute. “I guess he might feel he oughtn’t say anything if he disapproved of you and me, given how that went, but I don’t think so. He’s so protective of me. He certainly was vocal about a couple of guys I was seeing before you.”

Sasha laughed. “Well, then maybe I am at least somewhat acceptable. Although it doesn’t seem like it. Not that he acts in a hostile manner towards me. Always a perfect gentleman. Just... standoffish? Is that a word?” Jean nodded. “Maybe it is just that he is protective of you and he wants to be sure before he wholeheartedly endorses our marriage.”

“Could be. But I don’t think that’s any reason not to ask him.” Sasha considered that for a moment and she continued. “Look, hon. It’s not exactly a conventional wedding. The best man was originally going to be the groom, after all. Let’s at least ask Charles. If he says no, I won’t press him.”
*************************************
Scott was in the garden again, once more looking up at the sky. It was late – a quiet, moonlit night. Lost in thought, he didn’t notice the whirring sound of Charles’s wheelchair approaching. “What are you doing out here?” he asked Scott.

“Waiting for Jamie and Warren. They’ve been at the Worthington estate. Warren called and said they’d be back soon. I just thought I’d look for them. You’re right,” he added, smiling. “They’re quite a sight together. I’m trying to let myself enjoy it. Easier during the day, but with a full moon, I think I’ll see them.”

“Are you feeling better after the meeting with the Select Committee?”

“I thought it went well.”

“Yes, I thought so as well. We still have a lot of work to do.”

“There’s always a lot of work.”

“I’m glad we’ve got Warren back to help with it. Thanks for talking him into returning, Scott.”

Scott shrugged. “It wasn’t me. He was ready to come home.” Pointing as two winged figures came into view, shining in the moonlight, he added, “And here they are. They’re home now.”

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[User Picture]
From:sabra_n
Date:March 19th, 2005 05:25 am (UTC)
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I really liked the way you touched on what makes Xavier (and all ideologues, really) a bit scary- their tendency to see people as pieces of a larger scheme and not really think about the consequences of that. Luckily, Xavier's love for Scott and the other "original" X-Men probably counteracts that a bit. Good story. :)

-blue
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From:mofic
Date:March 19th, 2005 01:43 pm (UTC)
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I'm a little scared of him :-). He uses people, tends to think the cause counts more than the people who fight - and maybe die - for it. As you point out, it is tempered somewhat by love. And that goes both ways. They love him or they wouldn't do it.

Glad you enjoyed the story...
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From:mofic
Date:May 10th, 2005 01:22 pm (UTC)
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But for those who grow up in the military, or in an era with those kinds of assumptiosn, it's a point of pride for children to enter the service, and even to die for their country. Or rather, the fact it was FOR a "cause" tempers the pain of their loss.

Yes, that's why there were Gold Star Mothers. I wonder how many people of my age or younger even know what that term means!

My son, btw, is fascinated by the military and it terrifies me. I hope he gets over it before he turns 18 (because I'd never sign enlistment papers) or, if not, that he decides to be a military historian...

He'd been meeting with a father who'd lost a child (don't recall the sex; son, I think) in a car accident. The father was going on about God's plan, etc., and my supervisor (believing that to be an unhelpful theology) challenged him on the notion. The father turned around and replied, "You'd rather I thought that my son's (?) death was just an accident? That God didn't care? That it was all meaningless? Well, maybe my view is more 'primitive' to you, but I'll take a God who cares over a God who doesn't." (That's paraphrasing, but the gist.) It's a really honest response that throws that view into a completely different light. I still don't agree with it, but after hearing that, I think I came to understand it better, and when I was doing hospice, I didn't try to push people out of believing it, as if it were 'better' for them not to. I didn't confirm it, but I didn't necessarily challenge it. There were bigger fish to fry.

Interesting story. I'm not sure whether I prefer a G-d who kills one's children to one who doesn't care, yk? At any rate, the counselor's job is to support the grieving, even those with different theological views, I'd think.

A death for a cause is enobling, in their eyes.

It is in mine, too. I do think people sometimes have to tie themselves in mental knots to make the death worthwhile, though...

Thanks for your comments!


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From:ergo_ego
Date:April 2nd, 2005 02:40 pm (UTC)
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*happy sigh*
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From:mofic
Date:April 2nd, 2005 10:07 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad you enjoyed it!
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From:fenris_wolf0
Date:June 3rd, 2005 08:14 am (UTC)
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I never realized before this needed to be told: re-interpreting the past in the light of the present of your on-going AU. That was just great, thank you...

Also I really enjoyed the multi-layered look at Scott and Charles relationship: I have always thought that Charles Xavier is a real cipher -and I have been reading the X-Men comic books for 20+ years- but I liked the glimpses of him we have here and this was very much in character for him, at least for how I think of him.

Thank you for sharing!
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From:mofic
Date:June 3rd, 2005 11:53 am (UTC)
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never realized before this needed to be told: re-interpreting the past in the light of the present of your on-going AU. That was just great, thank you...

I'm glad you liked it. I didn't realize it needed to be told until I started writing it :-).

Also I really enjoyed the multi-layered look at Scott and Charles relationship:

It started off as a Charles story. I didn't really see Scott figuring into it except in the story he told about Charles. But he kept pushing himself into everybody else's stories! I spent the first half of writing it yelling "Get out of this story, Scott Summers! This one isn't about you!" but then I gave in and let it be a Scott-and-Charles story instead.

I have always thought that Charles Xavier is a real cipher

Me, too. My motivation for writing this was wanting to understand him better. The next series is one of those ensemble ones with a bunch of things happening to a bunch of people, but one of the threads is about Charles and Scott, as well. And the one I'm working on now focusses on Charles in a different way...
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From:fenris_wolf0
Date:June 4th, 2005 06:59 pm (UTC)
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Wow... this is interesting: I am really looking forward to this because:

- I love the way you handle their relationship, it rings very true and understandable to me
- Xavier is such a fascinating character, which has been both under-utilized and drawn totally out-of-character both in fanfiction and in canon, that a thoughtful look at his point of view and motivations is something I'll really enjoy.

Keep up the great work!
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From:mofic
Date:June 5th, 2005 01:05 am (UTC)
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Thanks for the feedback. Let me know what you think of Charles in "A Time to Every Purpose" if you get through that one. And if you finish that and would like a preview of the one after it, just holler...
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From:fenris_wolf0
Date:June 5th, 2005 03:21 am (UTC)
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I am on it right now!

And re: preview? Oh please! Please, please! sorry, I am a major fan of yours, so sometimes I cannot help gushing. I try very hard to keep it under decent bounds, but...
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