The ceremony itself had been held on the south lawn and had gone off without a hitch. Charles appeared to be well enough to enjoy himself, beaming as the couple kissed after their vows. Scott handled his best man duties flawlessly. Ororo had managed to take a break from arranging and managing the event (and perhaps the perfect weather as well) to look gorgeous standing by Jean’s side in a mauve maid of honor gown. The kids were all well behaved. The bride and groom both looked radiantly happy.
The cocktail hour was right now in full swing in the enclosed garden. Jean, telekinetically lifting two glasses of champagne from a nearby tray, handed one to her new husband and kissed him. “Find someone to introduce Dr. Levitan to, sweetheart,” she whispered in his ear. “He’s walking around looking totally at sea.”
Sasha agreed to his bride’s directive and immediately seized upon Adam, who appeared to be scanning the crowd, looking for someone. “You busy?” he asked.
“No, just seeing who’s here that I know.”
"Come on,” Sasha replied, “I want to introduce you to somebody. Charles’s doctor. He doesn’t know anyone here but Charles and Charles went inside to lie down.” Taking Adam by the arm, he steered him towards a man in a blue suit standing all by himself on the outskirts of the revelers. “Dr. Levitan,” Sasha said and the man looked up, with the smile of someone who has just been rescued.
“Aleksandr Ivanovich,” he replied. “Congratulations to you! It was a beautiful ceremony.”
“Thank you. I’d like you to meet a friend of mine, Adam Greenfield. Adam, this is Dr. William Levitan.” He turned to the doctor. “Adam is mostly responsible for this wedding, so if you liked it, you should tell him so,” he said, and then excused himself.
“What did he mean by that?” the doctor asked, perplexed.
“He was kidding. I helped Sasha come to this country and arranged – through a friend – for him to come to Xavier’s originally. So, I guess that’s what he was referring to.”
“Greenfield?” Levitan was thinking, making connections now. “The reporter?” Adam nodded. “Ah, of course. Wonderfully moving stories! I knew, of course, of your role in helping Aleksandr Ivanovich escape from the camp – I just hadn’t placed your name.” They exchanged pleasantries about the wedding for a couple of minutes.
“Do you speak Russian?” Adam asked after a while.
“Does it show?”
Adam laughed. “You referred to Sasha by his first name and patronymic. An American would likely say ‘Mr. Cherevko’ if he wasn’t going to say ‘Sasha’. Still, you have no accent in English,” he added.
“Yes, very observant of you. My mother was Russian. I was raised bilingually. Ponimaytye parusski?”
“Very little, and less all the time. I learned some when I was covering Belarus, but that’s a long time ago now.”
“Too bad. It’s a shame to lose a language.”
“I’ve lost a bunch, I’m afraid. I never quite acquired them, though, so maybe it’s not such a shame. I always learned just enough to get around. That’s a journalist’s life.” Adam looked at a group of people by a flowering tree. “You should meet my friend Anjuli,” he added, gesturing toward her. “You could speak Russian together.”
“That beautiful woman in the blue dress?” Adam nodded. “She speaks Russian? She looks Indian.”
“She is. Well, born here. She did a post-doc year in St. Petersburg. Anjuli’s very good with languages. She’s quite fluent – she and Sasha always speak Russian together. I catch every third word or so when they’re talking.”
“Post-doc in St. Petersburg? Multi-lingual? Beauty and brains.”
“That would be Anjuli,” Adam said, with a smile.
“Is that baby hers?” the doctor asked. Adam nodded, causing him to add, “Pity.”
“Where there are babies, there are often husbands as well.”
“Not in this case. Anjuli’s a widow.”
“Umm. I suppose it would sound insincere if I said I’m sorry to hear that.” Levitan smiled impishly and Adam laughed. His expression turning serious, the doctor asked, “Did you know him well?”
“Yes, Hank was a good friend of mine. He died in the 4/16 attacks.”
“A mutant?” Adam nodded. “Affiliated with the school here?”
“Yes, he taught here for years, and ran the medical department before Jean. He’d left well before his death, though. Hank was living in Washington, researching mutant physiology on a grant from the National Institutes of Health.”
“Dr. Henry McCoy? Yes, I knew his work – brilliant. It was the basis of the experimental protocol we’re using now. What a loss his death was! Actually, there’s someone else I want to meet. Maybe you know him. McCoy’s associate, who continued his research after McCoy’s death. A Dr. Radavan. I was told he’d be here. Do you know who he is?” he asked, looking around.
“That would also be my friend Anjuli,” Adam said with a smile. “Come on, I’ll introduce you to her. Dr. Levitan, right?”
“Please, call me Bill.”
Scott knocked tentatively on Charles’s door in case he was sleeping, but he answered with a wide-awake “Come in” and was seated by the fireplace.
“How are you feeling?” Scott asked.
Charles gestured to him to sit down. “I’m fine, really. I just find I get tired so quickly these days. Particularly with so many people around. It gets very noisy in my head after a while. I hear them all thinking. I can’t suppress the telepathy very well any more, not for long periods of time, anyway. It’s a weird side effect. Whether of the disease or the treatment, I don’t know. So, I just needed to be alone a bit,” he concluded.
“Shall I go?”
“Stay. You don’t count.” They smiled at each other. “They seem so happy together. I’m glad I got to see it.”
“It was important to Jean that you give her away. I’m glad you felt well enough.”
“I’m having a pretty good day.” He thought a minute. “It’s a strange illness. I’ve felt sick from the treatment, but not the disease itself. Sometimes I feel like I must have dreamt the whole thing. It’s so hard to believe it’s really killing me.” He looked at Scott. “Was that an impolitic thing to say?”
Scott shook his head. “I want you to be able to talk plainly to me. I just want to feel that you’re doing all you can to fight this.”
“I know. Thank you, Charles.”
“Thank you for convincing me to try.” He smiled. “I’m ready, if it comes to that. I know I leave my work – and my children – in good hands.”
“I’ll take care of them for you.”
“I don’t doubt it for a minute. Still, I would very much like to be able to see the young ones grow up. Particularly little Hank.”
“Do you think it’s working, the MGC?”
“I don’t think so. Dr. Levitan is quite encouraged by it in general, for others if not for me. It seems to shrink the tumors. There’s a kind of intelligence – for lack of a better word - to the healing factor. It knows which cells to kill and which to grow. It looks like it may be too late for me, though.”
Neither said anything for an awkward moment. “What does it stand for?” Scott asked, trying to break the silence with something light. “MGC?”
“I don’t know. I thought you would.”
“I asked Anjuli what the letters are for and she blushed scarlet and said that Logan had made it up. So, I thought he would have told you.”
“No, but now I’m really curious. I’ll have to ask him.”
“Scott – about Logan. I’ve been meaning to talk to you.” Scott waited, expectantly. “I was wrong about him. I regret much of what I said to you – and to him – early on. You saw his potential when all I saw were his limitations. I realize that now. And I realize he does truly love you.”
“In his own weird way,” Scott added and they both chuckled. “Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,” he quoted. “Logan’s a little of both.”
“Does that bother you? Do you ever want a more...conventional relationship?”
Scott shrugged. “Sometimes. Maybe a little. Mostly I’m pretty content with what I’ve got. Logan and I – well, we have a mutual understanding that would be hard to achieve with someone else.”
“You’re a good match.”
“I never thought I’d hear you say that.”
There was a knock on the door and in came Jean and Sasha with a tray of food. “Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth,” Charles said. “To go with the Midsummer Night’s Dream theme,” he added in an aside to Scott.
“You wouldn’t come to the dinner, so the dinner came to you,” she said, telekinetically arranging a place setting on the end table nearest to Charles. “Do you feel up to eating?” she asked, solicitously.
“I’m fine. Not so very hungry, but I’ll have a little, anyway. It looks like a wonderful feast.”
“The students thought so,” Sasha said. “I’ve never seen them so ravenous.”
“Thank you for a lovely wedding,” Jean said, coming over to kiss Charles on the top of his bald head.
“I had little to do with it.” Jean and Sasha sat down. “You don’t have to stay with me,” he added.
“We want to, for a while, anyway.”
“Surely you don’t want to spend your wedding night entertaining a sick, old man.”
Sasha looked down. “Charles, I’m not sure how to say this, but...” He looked up and continued, “Jean and I did not wait until the wedding night to consummate our marriage.”
The others all laughed. “In fact,” Jean added, “we didn’t wait for something else, either. And we want you two to be the first to know.” She looked back and forth between Charles and Scott. They both leaned in expectantly as Jean took Sasha’s hand and beamed at them. “We’re going to have a baby.”
“That’s wonderful!” Scott kissed Jean and shook Sasha’s hand.
Anjuli looked at herself in the full length mirror in the bathroom attached to her usual bedroom at Xavier’s. The long blue gown suited her, she thought. Silly to spend so much on a dress when she had so little use for such a formal one. When would she wear it again? Yet, when had she last bought herself new clothes? It had been a rare indulgence and worth it, she decided, turning around and looking at the back.
She wondered what to do with herself now. The party was still undoubtedly going strong, but it had gotten late for Hank and she’d decided to bring him up here before he fell apart. Now he was asleep in the small bed alongside hers, clutching a superhero action figure. She sighed, thinking she should probably change, wondering what was happening at the reception. She reached to the back of her neck to unzip the dress, but was stopped by a knock on the door. Two teenagers still in wedding finery were there – a girl she didn’t know, and Jamie, wings protruding from carefully constructed slits in his dinner jacket. She wondered idly if it was a hand-me-down from Warren.
“Dr. Radavan,” Jamie said. “This is RoseAnn.” He blushed a little as he introduced her. Anjuli wondered why. “We’re the babysitters.”
“There’s dancing now,” RoseAnn added.
“Oh, then you two should be down there, enjoying the party, not sitting for Hank.”
“It’s fine. We can keep each other company.” He was blushing again.
“Dr. Levitan has been asking for you,” the girl beside him added.
Adam was sitting on his bed in a guest room at Xavier’s, reading. Still in the remnants of formal wear, although the jacket was draped over a chair with the bow tie on top of it, and the highly polished dress shoes had been kicked off as soon as he’d returned to the room with his son. Adam looked over at Ezra sleeping in a beautiful antique crib in the corner of the spacious room, wondering whether the crib had been Charles Xavier’s when he was a baby. Charles seemed so ageless, he thought. Funny to think of him as a baby and child, growing up here.
A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts. Jean-Paul came in when he answered. “Hi,” he said to Adam, glancing at their sleeping son. “Do you want to go back to the party? I can stay with him.”
“No, it’s fine. A couple of earnest-looking kids came by to sit a little while ago, actually. But I declined. I think I’ve had enough of the festivities.”
“Moi, aussi.” He hesitated a minute. “I guess I’ll go back to my room now.”
“Sit down. Hang out with me for a while.” He patted the bed next to him and Jean-Paul sat down.
Jean-Paul looked at the crib. “Do you think it was Charles Xavier’s?”
“I was just wondering that myself.”
“How is he, do you know?”
Adam shook his head. “No idea. He looked good, don’t you think? I met his oncologist, but I figured I shouldn’t grill him.”
“How restrained of you – an opportunity to get information and you didn’t take it. Maybe you’ll have to turn in your investigative journalist card.”
Adam laughed. “He liked Anjuli.”
“The oncologist. Very pleased to hear she’s single. Oh, and guess what? His name’s Bill.”
Jean-Paul chuckled. “So, you came to the wedding alone?” he asked, after a while.
“What do you mean? I came with Anjuli and the babies.”
“I thought you might have come with Jake.”
“He wasn’t invited. He barely knows them – he met Sasha once, to interview him.”
“I thought you might have brought him. As your guest.”
“You don’t bring guests to weddings, uninvited. Not unless you’re engaged and it’s your fiancé.”
“Thank you for that point of etiquette. I had no idea.”
“Well, I met Judith Martin at that reception at the Post last week, so I know these things.” Jean-Paul laughed again. “Was that a roundabout way of asking what’s going on with me and Jake?”
“I don’t have an answer for you.” He shrugged. “I don’t what’s going on with Jake and me. I don’t know what’s going on with you and me, either.”
“I want to come home.”
“I know.” Neither said anything for a minute. Adam smiled at Jean-Paul. “You look good all dressed up,” he said, “but you might want to take off the tie, at least.” He reached to undo it, taking the top two studs out of Jean-Paul’s shirt as well, fingers brushing along his chest underneath the silk.
And then they were kissing. It wasn’t clear who initiated it, but it was oh so clear that they both wanted it. Tongues meeting, hands in each other’s hair. Long and slow and full of longing and need.
They undressed each other. Jean-Paul’s fingers were trembling with an urgency that frightened him a little. He made himself go slowly, unfastening the studs on Adam’s dress shirt one by one, placing them on the night stand, undoing Adam’s belt and fly with only the briefest of caresses underneath. Soon they were naked there, sitting on the bed, looking at each other. Jean-Paul reached for Adam’s hard cock, stroking slowly. “I want to suck you,” he said, lowering his head.
“Me, too” Adam replied. “Lie down, this way. Can we do it together?” He moved them both into position, lying on their sides, diagonally across the bed, face to groin and groin to face.
Jean-Paul shook his head. “You know that doesn’t work for me. I can’t while you’re... I get too...”
“Just try. Okay? I love to feel your mouth on me while I’m sucking you. If you can’t concentrate on sucking, if you can’t manage to keep it in your mouth while I do you, just lick it a little.”
Jean-Paul didn’t object anymore. He had one clear thought: Jake does this with him. And then his thoughts were confused and jumbled and all mixed up with his feelings. Adam’s mouth was on him and sucking and licking with both passion and skill. And he was doing his best to keep up, difficult as he found it to think about what he was doing with that tongue eagerly stroking the underside of his cock. He held onto the base of Adam’s erection with thumb and forefinger, his other fingers stroking Adam’s balls in time to the wet movements of his lover’s tongue. The head of Adam’s cock was in his mouth now. Involuntary moans escaped him, but he managed to keep his mouth focused, anyway. The taste, the feel of Adam’s cock pulsing and moving inside his mouth while his own cock was sliding in and out of wet suction – it was exquisite and overwhelming and he wanted it to go on forever.
Adam came first. The spurt of cum in the roof of Jean-Paul’s mouth, the taste of it as he swallowed – he’d missed this more than he’d known.
Jean-Paul let go of Adam’s softening penis and pushed harder into Adam’s mouth. His hips moving back and forth, he looked down, watching himself fuck his lover’s face. Adam’s hands were on his ass, guiding him in with each hard stroke. Adam was sucking eagerly, making wet humming sounds as he did. Jean-Paul pushed in hard one last time, up to the root, pumping cum and love and longing and regret down the throat of the man he loved.
They sat up afterwards, saying nothing, catching their breath. Adam reached over to hug him and they held each other for a minute.
“Are we getting back together?” Jean-Paul asked, after a while. “Or was that goodbye sex?”
“Are those the only two choices?” Adam’s smile vanished as he saw Jean-Paul’s hurt expression. “I don’t know what to say to you anymore.”
“I still love you.”
“I still love you, too. But I’m confused... Things have changed.”
“Maybe we could change them back.”
“Maybe there’s no going back.”
”We won’t know unless we try.”
“Can you give me some time? I know it’s hard, Jean-Paul. I just... I need to think. I need some time. I can’t decide just like that.”
Jean-Paul nodded. “I’ll try not to rush you. But, Adam? I want to be clear about one thing. If we are to get back together – it’s just you and me. Un seul homme. No sex with anyone else. I can’t – not at this point in my life. I’m not able to renegotiate this.”
“I understand. I won’t ask you to.”
Scott answered the knock on his door. Logan came in.
“Since when do you knock?”
“I thought you might not be alone.” He closed the door and pushed Scott up against it. “Glad you are.” He kissed him hard. Taking Scott’s hand, he placed it on his crotch. “Feel that? I’m dying for it. I’ve wanted to rip that monkey suit off of you all day.”
“Mmmm. Me, too.” Stroking Logan through the fabric, feeling his lover’s tongue on his neck, his body pressed against him. “Something about hetero-normative rituals, I guess,” Scott added. “Makes me want a big cock shoved up inside me.”
“Shut up and you’ll get one,” Logan responded, extending the claws on his right hand. “Take ‘em off or I’ll cut ‘em off.” Scott took off his clothes quickly. “On your hands and knees. On the floor.”
And then Logan was kneeling behind him, naked. Scott felt slicked fingers entering him as the other hand pumped his hard on. “Ready for me?” he asked. “Ready to be fucked?”
“Then ask me for it.”
“Please, Logan, fuck me now. Push it into me.”
Logan was in him before he finished saying it, deftly sliding his hard, lubed shaft into Scott’s waiting hole. Holding onto Scott’s strong thighs, rocking back and forth as he kneeled behind him, the cock inside making Scott sigh and moan. And then pressed down on Scott’s back, rubbing him with those able fingers while he fucked him harder and faster. Scott strained to support the weight of Logan’s adamantium-filled body. “Who do you belong to?” he growled, pushing hard into him as he said it. “Who gets to do this to you?”
“You. Just you.” It came out long and low and breathless. Scott was coming hard as he said it, his seed spilling on the hardwood floor. “Always,” he added, as Logan’s movements – fast and furious – moved towards climax. Hands gripping Scott’s shoulders now, he fucked him with amazing force, then pressed hard inside him as he came, panting and moaning.
They sat down, side by side, backs to the wall afterwards. “There is a bed in here,” Scott said after a while, gesturing towards it with his head.
“I know. Just wanted to have you on the floor.”
“For old time’s sake, no doubt.” Logan smiled. “Hey, Logan? What does MGC stand for? Charles didn’t know, but he said you made it up.”
“Marvin Gaye Compound,” Logan replied, smiling and then humming a few bars of “Sexual Healing.”
Scott laughed. “No wonder Anjuli was embarrassed to tell Charles.”
“Is it working for him?”
Scott shook his head. “Doesn’t seem likely. It works, apparently, but it sounds like it’s too late for him. I wish I’d figured this out earlier.”
“You didn’t even know he was sick earlier. You beat yourself up over shit that’s totally out of your control, Cyclops.”
“Thanks, Logan. That never occurred to me before. Now that you’ve pointed it out, I won’t do it anymore.” He smiled to show he meant it ironically, not angrily. “I feel guilty for something else,” he added after a while.
“He was pretty resigned to dying. I talked him into this, maybe got his hopes up in vain, you know?”
“Nothing to be guilty about. You were right – he’s got to try. He’s got a lot to live for.”
“Even more now. Jean’s pregnant – she just told us. God, Logan, I thought he was going to cry. He wants to see this baby. More than I’ve seen him want anything, for a long time.”
“Maybe he will. It’s strong stuff.” He sang a little more of the Marvin Gaye song and Scott smiled. “You’ve been a good son to him, whatever happens.”
“He’s been a good father to me.”
“What does Anjuli think it’s doing to you? The healing semen?” Logan asked after a while.
“A lot. She said my immunity’s stronger than anyone she’s ever tested except you. She thinks it’s slowing down my aging, too.”
“So you think you’re gonna live a long time?”
“If I don’t get killed on some X-Men mission. Always a possibility, you know.”
“I know.” After a while, he added, “Don’t do it.”
“Don’t do what?”
“Get killed. I like having you around.”
“I‘ll do my best.” And then, after a long pause, “I love you, too, Logan.”