Title: Yehudit's Tale
Fandom: XF Pairing: WMM/K
Archive: Allslash, X/ , or ask me
Spoilers: FTF (slight)
Summary: Alex's mother talks to an old friend Part of the "Cornerstone"
series with Merri-Todd
(Now Pharaoh's daughter went down to bathe in the river, while
her maids walked along the riverside. Among the reeds she noticed
the basket, and she sent her maid to fetch it. She opened it and
saw the child; the baby was crying. Feeling sorry for it, she
said, "This is one of the little Hebrews."
The child's sister then said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall
I go and find you a nurse among the Hebrew women to nurse the
child for you?" "Yes," said Pharaoh's daughter,
and the girl went out and called the child's own mother. Pharaoh's
daughter said to her, "Take this child away and nurse it
for me. I shall pay you myself for doing so." So the woman
took the child away and nursed it. When the child grew up, she
brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, who treated him like a son;
she named him Moses "because," she said, "I drew
him out of the sea." Exodus 2:v-x, NJB)
* * * * *
Ah, my friend, it is good to see you. It has been far too long.
This is not much like Somerset, is it? I've not seen Geneva in
years. When I found the plane ticket and a note with a telephone
number and passcode in my son's handwriting, I said, "Ah,
Svetlana, it is just like old times." But I never expected
to see you of all people at the other end of the flight. I had
heard -- yes, the explosion. All of us had heard. Teena Mulder,
they tell me, was quite unmoved, but consider her friends. I had
thought that smoking fool of a lover of hers had finally gotten
to you, just as he tried to do with my son.
So Sascha works for you now. That pleases me. He could not have
done better. Spender, that smoking madman, is a crisis waiting
to happen, and I have always said so. Always. How Teena Mulder
could have ever -- oh, let's not even talk of it; it's far too
unpleasant a thought. There are far better things we have to discuss.
Tea? Yes, please. I hope it's strong; I'm a Russian, not one of
you soft Westerners. That's a joke, dear. Yes, I know you knew
I saw my boy a few weeks ago. He dropped in on his way between...
well, between. He didn't tell me what you had him doing, and I
knew better than to ask. You'll tell me if you want me to know.
He looked very good, I must tell you. He's changed a great deal
since he came to work for you. Oleg and I -- the Party put us
both through school, you know; my family were laborers.
And in the States, we put Sascha through college because we were
teaching college; we'd never have afforded it if the college or
the Consortium hadn't covered the expenses. Of course, the Consortium
still took care of its own back then -- back before Spender started
having members poaching from their own families, back before he
turned us all against each other in his own bid for power.
But -- where was I? Oleg and I gave Sascha everything we could,
but certain things we could not give him, you understand, because
we did not have them ourselves. I can break down the molecular
structure of anything and reassemble it, but what fork to use?
How to dress? Music -- music Sascha understood. I played the piano
a bit, and Oleg's father was a cellist, you know, in Budapest.
But beyond that? You cannot give what you do not have. You, my
old friend -- you have given him everything that his mother here
wishes she could have given him herself. I don't mean the money;
you know that. And to think that he is moving into power -- that
like you, he has the opportunity to block that smoking barbarian...
A beautiful view of the lake, I agree. Yes, another biscuit. Your
cook is Swiss? Of course. I will go to the kitchen later. Chicken
Kiev, borscht, blini, pioroshki -- I think I will teach her to
cook while I am visiting. When Sascha gets here, we will surprise
him with a Russian dinner, and you will see his face when your
cook serves him mama's borscht.
You know, tovarisch, I am not a fool. And my eyes have always
worked very well indeed. I remember back at Myrtle Beach, watching
you looking over all of the lovely young men on the beach in the
summers, and I remember how you looked at Teena Mulder's boy that
summer his voice -- and everything else -- changed. And I know
my son. He was a lovely, chubby little thing as a boy, but he
grew into one of the lovely young men on the beach himself. With
his own eye on the other lovely young men. When he was at the
FBI, you know... he and Teena's son... yes, of course you knew.
I had hoped... once... but Spender managed to ruin that for both
of them, just the way he's always tries to ruin everyone's lives.
He is miserable, though he'd never admit it, so everyone else
has to suffer.
The thing is, my dear, Sascha hasn't said anything to me, but
I would be a total fool if I didn't realize that there was something
more going on with the two of you than your simply teaching Sascha
the business. I know that this is so. Don't even bother to look
embarrassed, my friend. Sascha's a grown man; it's his business,
not mine, as long as he's happy. I'm an old woman now; I've seen
a great many things in a great many places. I can hardly claim
to be scandalized.
No, don't do that. I told you not to bother looking embarrassed;
don't try apologizing to me either. I'm an old woman, and one
of the prerogatives of old age, as you certainly ought to know
yourself, is that you can finally have the luxury of speaking
freely. His heart's still broken about the business with Teena's
son, but it's perfectly obvious to me that he loves you. The poor
boy started blushing and closing his eyes every time he mentioned
your name, you know. Yes, of course; I'm perfectly serious.
And as for you, there's no fool like an old fool. You're in love
with Sascha yourself, and don't tell me you're not. The least
you could do is stop looking like death every time anyone mentions
that Fox Mulder in the same breath as Sascha. And keeping those
boys of yours back in London was one thing -- yes, of course I
knew about that business -- but that's not exactly what you've
been doing with Sascha, is it?
I thanked you before for giving him what his father and I couldn't,
but what you've been doing, you know, is playing Pygmalion. Turning
Sascha not just into a man who understands why the Project must
fail, why Spender has to be stopped... but into your companion,
not just a temporary diversion. Don't try telling me you took
all of those shop clerks and tailors' assistants to the opera
with you... or that you let yourself be photographed at museum
events or at public hunts with them. You know you didn't.
No more than you taught any of them to tell Handel from Vivaldi,
or Cabernet from Beaujolais, or Renoir from Degas, or Worth from
Balenciaga, did you? Tell me all you like that Sascha had to learn
culture to understand the need for the survival of civilization
-- you still had to turn him into someone who cares about the
same things that you do, who shares the same interests, the same
values, in the process. That's not a bad thing, of course. But
it makes him into someone who interests you, as well. Because
he has his own ideas, his own opinions; he's learned from you,
but he's not your exact mirror.
He's been good for you, hasn't he? Someone you could show all
of this to, someone who could argue back, someone else who could
also talk about the Project, who could work on it with you.
He's been a good son to me, as well. I'm proud of him. As you
Take care of him for me, eh? For your old friend Svetlana? Hurt
one hair on his head, my old friend, and you know I will kill
Ah, you were going to introduce me to your cook. She must learn
to make borscht and piroshki before Sascha comes back next week.
Then we will eat and have a party. Just like the old days in Myrtle
And then, I think, these old bones could use a nap before dinner,
if you don't mind. The kitchen is this way? Until later, then.
Das vidanya, tovarisch.