Just a shorty, but I needed to get started, and this was what it took.
Notes: I was looking for a Latin word for 'homosexual' and ran across this little article. It's very interesting. About the ancient, particularly Roman, attitude toward sexual preference. McGuffin--a term coined by Alfred Hitchcock for a red herring. It's the thing that everyone in the movie is after, but it really doesn't matter what it is. It's just an excuse for all kinds of exciting events.
Roman Enlightenment, 10?
by Fannie Feazell (Scribe)
Chapter Ten Trying to Settle Lupus
They had the initial consultation with Mimosa O'Hara. Dudley had to remind Mozell several times that the recorded back history had to have some glancing resemblence to reality, so she couldn't list her mother as Blanche, maiden name Dubois. She grumbled, but gave the proper information. "I just hope Mom never gets a look at the papers," she said. "She'll have a cow if she finds out that she's been dropping subtle hints to me about grandkids, and now she suddenly has one that's old enough to start providing GREAT grandkids. If I'm so all fired all American, how do we explain his accent?"
"Let's go over this again," said Dudley patiently. "One, you're not going to present yourself to anyone as his mother except on paper. As far as anyone is concerned, his mother is back in Italy--somewhere. Two--why does he have an accent? He was born in America, but his family moved to Rome when he was three or four, and he only moved back last year. This way he's a citizen, and we don't have to deal with the whole green card--visa--passport boondoggle."
"We need a reason for you to have gone into premature labor," said Mimosa. "Um... How do you feel about having been jogging too much?"
"I suppose it's a good enough story to tell strangers," said Mozelle. "But if anyone who actually knew me heard that they'd laugh their asses off. How about going with a classic?" Her expression was very serious. "Dudley revealed that he's gay."
Mimosa tried to fight down a smile, while Dudley rolled his eyes and Lupus looked confused. Dudley said, "You wouldn't bat an eye unless I told you I was marrying a conservative Republican Pagan. Then you'd want to help plan the ceremony."
Lupus poked Mozelle's shoulder, and she looked at him questioningly. "Mozelle, why you worry if brother happy?"
Mozelle bit her lip, and looked at Dudley. "Not me," he said. "You said it, you explain it."
"Lupus, do you know how sometimes a word can come to mean something that it didn't... It's sort of like when you say something is 'bad' you mean it's 'good', and if you say a girl is phat it means she's anything but, and... Oh, God. You're even more confused now, aren't you?" He nodded. "These days when most people say gay they don't mean happy--they mean liking your own gender better than the other gender."
Light dawned. "Oh!" He thought for a moment, then shrugged. "That would bother you?"
Now it was her turn to blink. "Well... No, not really. I was being sarcastic."
"Good." He patted her shoulder. "What would it matter?"
"You really believe that?"
"Mozelle, you learned my speech. No one word for this thing."
"You mean you don't even have a word for homosexuality?"
"If I understand--no. Some like light hair." He reached out and touched her hair. "Some like curls. Some like blue eyes. Some like short. Some like men, some like women. All the same as long as it is not children."
"You know, that's remarkably enlightened for a society that still had slavery." She turned away before she could see his wince. "I think we should go with the universal 'I fell down, went boom' explination."
"That will work," said Mimosa, writing busily. "I was living closeby and you called me at the same time you called 911. I got there first, just in time to deliver the baby. Such a beautiful little blue-eyed boy." She glanced at Lupus. "Such a beautiful BIG blue-eyed boy. The growing up in Italy will also take care of his early school records. I'm afraid that for any extended education you're going to have to go with either finding someone to forge transcripts, pull the document doctoring with some poor soul who barely lived long enough to graduate, or..." she smiled at Lucas, "Well, at least there's a wide choice for adult education in Houston, and if you're living with Mozelle you won't have to deal with dorm life."
"I don't EVEN want to think about that now," said Mozelle. "I didn't enjoy my own time in school, I'm damn sure not interested in considering someone else's."
"Now," said Mimosa, "we need to decide on the parent's names."
"Dramilla and Lucius," Lupus supplied.
"They're supposed to be American," said Dudley. "We ought to change them."
"Why?" said his sister. "We'll just say they're from the south. C'mon." She jerked a thumb at herself. "Mozelle," then flicked a finger at the midwife and Dudley. "Mimosa and Dudley. Dramilla and Lucius aren't a stretch."
"You're right about that."
"But why we need other names?" said Lupus. He touched Mozell's shoulder and gave everyone a questioning look.
"Oh," said Mimosa. "Yes, dear, her name will be used when we file the original papers. but when you go to get the other identification you'll have to provide other names. After all, I don't suppose she's going to just hand you the papers, then shake hands with you and wave good-bye. If you're going to be part of her world for any length of time you can't go around presenting yourself as her son, can you?" Mimosa smiled slyly. "It might become a little awkward, even if we ARE living in the south."
Lupus looked confused again. Glancing at Mozelle he said, "What does...?"
"Don't ask," Mozelle said, voice almost pained. "It still hurts me that Texas is one of the last states that allows marriage between first cousins. Dramilla and Lucius should work. Do we need a maiden name for Dramilla?"
"We should be able to dispense with that," said Mimosa. "I just thought, though. How are you going to explain the fact that you two have the same last name? It's not much of an issue while we're filing the first papers, but when he makes his public debut as an adult..."
"That makes sense," said Dudley. "We can say you're an unwed mother, and that's why the last name is different. Any name will do. It doesn't really matter, since you don't intend to sue for child support."
"No way," she said firmly. "You won't let me use one that's obviously made up, and if I choose a normal one, I might choose the name of someone we'd actually run into. Even if he didn't have a heart attack thinking someone had claimed paternity for him we'd have to go through the whole 'well, isn't it a small world?' thing. No. I'm just putting the father down as undeclared."
"Wouldn't it be simpler to...?"
Her voice was indignant. "If I'm going to be an unwed mother with an absentee partner, then he's not going to have ANY connection to my child, the unsupportive, deserting piece of scum!"
"You should have taken drama in college, sis."
"I would have, but there isn't enough work in Houston, and I wasn't moving to California or New York."
Lupus was, sadly, to be an only child. This small deception had bothered Lupus more than anything else. Mozelle understood why. His parents had been distant and controling, but his relationship with Gaius and Patenic had been genuine--warm and close. Emotionally and logically, Lupus had accepted the fact that he was never going to return to his own place and time. He didn't want to without Mozelle, and he couldn't subject her to what would be waiting back there. Even if there wasn't the threat of Celsus, he knew that the constant presence of slavery would hurt her, and not just by reminding her of her own past. No, she'd take the forced servitude of anyone personally.
Finally Mimosa was satisfied. "At least for now. I'll need to meet you at least once a week for the next three weeks or so, so that I can file reports about your health. You're going to be healthy as a horse--otherwise I'd be obligated to bow out in favor of a specialist for high risk pregnancies. Let's see... I have Wednesday and Thursday afternoons free. Want to have tea? Or if you prefer the evenings I karaoke every Friday, and we could, erm, consult between songs." She smiled at Lupus. "Bring the baby with you."
Dudley snickered. When they looked at him he said, "Just imagining Lupus' reaction to some grandma singing Like a Virgin."
"That's not the oddest thing I've seen at karaoke," said Mimosa. "As me sometime about the guys who looked like they'd come straight from a construction site and sang 'Man, I Feel Like a Woman'." She left.
"Well," said Mozelle, "It's starting to get late. I guess we ought to head home."
"Yeah. I don't like being out after dark--not even in your or my neighborhood," said Mozelle.
"I worry about you being out alone," Dudley agreed.
Lupus said, "Not alone." He tapped his own chest.
"No offence," said Dudley, "But you'd hardly be a match for someone with an automatic."
"Neither would you," said Mozelle.
"Touche," said Dudley. He glanced at Lupus, then said, "Come in the kitchen for a minute. I... mmm... I have some cookies you can take home." He raised his voice. "We'll be right back, Lupus."
Lupus took the hint and stayed in the living room. Once in the kitchen Mozelle said, "You don't have anything but a half box of vanilla wafers. I know--I looked. What do you really want?"
"I just thought. You don't have to take him home with you. I have a spare bedroom, I can put him up for you till we figure out where to settle him."
There was a pause, and Mozelle stared at him. She'd known that her brother had extra room, and she'd known that he'd probably be willing to do whatever he could to help her, but this had never occurred to her. Logically, it made sense. Dudley was, after all, male as well. He was big, competent, patient, and understanding. He'd already proved that he could accept the bizarre nature of the situation, and was willing to do what was necessary to ease Lupus integration into modern society. Yes, it would be a perfect solution.
Except that she didn't want to do it.
As irritating as he was sometimes, she liked Lupus--a lot. Yes, he'd coerced her into sex, but if ever there were mitigating circumstances, that was it. And he seemed to genuinely regret the way he'd treated her, and was trying to make up for it. He was making a real effort to understand the way things worked in this world. She thought that she SHOULD hang onto indignation, but it was hard when he was trying so hard--when he so obviously wanted her to like him. No, not like him. And not care for him. He wants me to love him. I think I could. I think I might already...
"Thanks for offering, but I don't think so. All his clothes are at the house, and he's comfortable there."
Dudley cocked his eyebrow. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't he sleeping on the couch?"
She frowned at him and said firmly, "Yes, he is." Dudley spread his hands. "I'm not talking about his sleeping arrangements. I mean he's more familiar with my place."
"Hasn't he only been here since yesterday? It shouldn't take him long to adjust to a different environment."
"Stinkpot would miss him."
"YOU'D miss him." She was silent. "You can admit it, sis," said Dudley quietly. "You're a grown woman, and he seems like a nice guy. He cares about you--that's plain enough."
She sighed. "It's such a mess, Dudley."
"Granted you have more issues to deal with than most folks I know, but I hate to tell you this, Mo--almost all relationships are a mess. At least at first. I think that both of you could do a lot worse."
"If I didn't know you loved me, I'd think that was a backhanded compliment. Thanks for the offer, Dud, but I think I'll keep him, at least for awhile. Now, I'd better get our McGuffin." She opened the box of cookies and took out two wafers. They went into the living room, and she handed one of the cookies to Lupus.
He looked at the cookie, then looked at Dudley. "Thank you."
"Sorry I ate all the Chips Ahoy," said Dudley wryly. "You'd have really been impressed." They prepared to leave. As they went out the front door Dudley called, "Take good care of her, man."
Lupus smiled back at him, but his tone was serious. "Always."
Dudley closed the door, then nodded, muttering, "Good." Ah, Mo. I should have known that you couldn't just meet some guy at the Market Basket or laundromat.