Mo (mofic) wrote,

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

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 idea.”

“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 like.”

“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 semi-demi-hemi-pseudo-superhero.”

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

“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 to.”

“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 rest.”


“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 own.”

“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 hidden.”

“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 this?”

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

“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, too?”

“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 X-Men.”

“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 other.”

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 friends?”

“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 were?”

“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 Times.”

“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 was.”

“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 stages?”

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 Indiana.”

“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 prison?”

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

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