Mo (mofic) wrote,

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?”
Tags: what's past is prologue, x1 fic

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