Title:Revolutions and Revelations
Disclaimer:None of the characters and properties of X-Men: the Movie and X2: X-Men United belong to me.
A.N:This will follow the movies both very closely, though it is an AU. Let the story begin! Much of the dialogue in this chapter has been taken directly from the movie, because this scene is definitely needed. It's the beginning of the dang plot, for goodness sakes!
A.N.2:Also, no one come complaining to me that Kurt doesn't talk this way or Rogue doesn't. Because this is an AU, people, and they grew up traveling with their mom in the States. Kurt didn't grow up in Germany, Rogue didn't grow up in Mississippi – they have no accents.
The woman's name was Dr. Jean Grey, if he remembered correctly. One of Charles' first students, and quite an accomplished one, if her title was well deserved. Considering his old friend's ethics and morals, which he would have undoubtedly installed in his students, Eric Lehnsherr had no doubt that it was well deserved, indeed.
Still, no title could help her now; her powers might, but she was too noble to use them in such a way, of course.
"DNA," she was saying, her voice strong and ringing clear in the large and stuffy room. A good-looking woman in her early thirties, she was a commanding presence on the podium. "It is the basic building block of evolution. Changes in our DNA are the reasons we have evolved from single-celled organisms to Homo Sapiens."
As she continued, Eric was slightly surprised to see that the crowd was responding, and positively, to her presentation. They were fascinated, at the very least, and the possibility that mutants could, in fact, be the next step in evolution clearly generated some thought.
"…Ladies and gentlemen, we are now seeing the beginnings of another stage of human evolution. Not a new race of creatures to be feared, but rather the opportunity to find advancement within us all."
The lights came back on, and he took a moment to survey the faces of the Senators. Some were clearly interested, others were conflicted, and some were openly hostile and closed to any type of persuasion. Their minds were made up, and nothing would change how they felt. He had seen it before, had seen their kind of minds before.
One such man was Robert Kelly, a white-haired man with a good amount of experience tucked under his belt, though he was nowhere near Eric's own age, hadn't seen half the things Eric had seen, or gone through a third of what Eric had experienced.
"Thank you for the wonderful cartoon, Ms. Grey," he smiled patronizingly, and Eric knew that his ignoring the woman's proper title of Doctor was purposeful. "It was quite – how should I say it? – educational."
The crowd snickered. If there was one thing the pale-faced senator could do, it was speaking to a crowd. And it was men like Kelly that made Eric absolutely sure of his plans.
"However," Senator Kelly continued, his voice turning hard. "It has failed to address the issue which is the purpose of this hearing. Three words: Are mutants dangerous?"
Whispers buzzed through the crowd, and Eric sneered. I am.
Dr. Grey did not hesitate. "Well, Senator, that's an unfair question. After all, the wrong person behind the wheel of a car can be dangerous."
"Well, we do license people to drive," the senator smiled blandly.
The red-haired woman thinned her lips in annoyance, retorting, "Yes, but not to live."
A movement caught his eye, distracting him momentarily from the impromptu debate. It was Senator Kelly's assistant, Henry Guyrich, heading over to Kelly, a black folder in one hand. He tapped the senator on the shoulder, handing over the documents, whispering a few things to the senator, who was clearly ignoring everything that Dr. Jean Grey was saying.
Eric smiled in amusement. Mystique was doing an excellent job, as he had known she would. He felt a gaze land on him, and his smile fell off his face abruptly. He knew who it was, and exchanged solemn nods with Charles Xavier before turning back to the hearing.
"It is because of this ever-present hostility," Dr. Grey was saying, "that I am urging the Senate to vote against mutant registration. To force mutants to expose themselves will only further subject them to unnecessary prejudice."
Senator Kelly quickly found the weak point and struck. "Expose themselves? Just what is it, exactly, that the mutant community has to hide?"
Jean Grey took off her reading glasses in frustration. The Senator, more experienced with words, was obviously taking the rug out from under her. "I didn't say they had anything to hide. What I did say – "
But Senator Kelly was on a roll, and wouldn't stop for anything; "Let me show you what's being hidden. This photo was taken in Secaucus, New Jersey, by a state police officer. A man in a minor altercation literally melted the car in front of him."
Eric clenched his teeth in silent rage. The crowd turned hostile and fearful, but that wasn't why he was so angry. That man had no idea, absolutely none, at what it took for a mutant to learn to control their powers, at how it felt to live with the fact that they could loose control at any given time because of high tempers or stressful situations. Eric himself had long grown past such limitations – with age came experience, after all – but he could still remember the first time his powers had surfaced, and what the Nazis had made him do for them with his powers.
"I have a list of names, here, of identified mutants living right here in the United States," the senator continued.
"Senator Kelly!" Dr. Grey tried, but was ignored.
"There's a girl in Illinois who can walk through walls," Senator Kelly added fuel to the flames of fear and increasing anger. "What's to stop her from walking into a bank vault? Or even the White House?" Pasting on a look of intense concern on his face, the senator turned to the cameras, "Or your house?"
The crowd was not even bothering to whisper now, their discussions and debates echoing loudly in the room, combining to make an unbearable din.
"Senator Kelly, you're not being – "
The senator finally turned back to the furious doctor, "And there are even rumors, Ms. Grey, of mutants so powerful that they can enter our minds and control our thoughts, taking away our God-given free will."
There were gasps of disbelief and horror; Eric rolled his eyes. Homo sapiens. If only they knew that the only mutant powerful enough to do so was too honorable to actually do so.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the truth is that mutants are very real and that they are among us," Senator Kelly said, grimly. "We must know who they are, and above all, we must know what they can do!"
It was over. Dr. Grey, valiant though her efforts were, had lost, evident by the enthusiastic cheering from the crowd.
Putting on his hat, Eric adjusted his coat lapels. For him, there had been no doubt as to how this would end. He walked away, completely disgusted.
As he was nearing the front entrance, he heard a familiar voice say, "What are you doing here?"
He stopped, smiling, and turned halfway around. "Why do you ask questions when you already know the answer?"
The metal from Charles' wheelchair camel closer, he could feel it, and there was the accompanying whir of the wheelchair's small motor. "Don't give up on them, Eric."
"What would you have me do, Charles?" he demanded. "I've heard all these arguments before. Used very well, if I remember."
"That was a long time ago," his old friend responded. "Mankind has evolved since then."
"Yes," Eric agreed. "Into us." Charles was silent, too silent, and Eric immediately suspected what he was doing. Tapping his temple, he asked, "Are you sneaking around in here, Charles?" He clenched his fist, extended his power, took a hold of the wheelchair and lifted it up slightly into the air: a warning. "Whatever are you looking for?"
Despite the edge in his voice, his old friend remained ever calm. "I'm looking for hope."
The wheelchair was set back down on the floor.
"I will give you hope, old friend," Eric replied. "And I ask only one thing in return: Don't get in my way." Walking away, he added, "We are the future, Charles, not them. They no longer matter."
He didn't wait for a response; Charles didn't agree, and they both knew it. Instead, he tilted the brim of his hat and waited.
The smell of sulfur and brimstone reached him, and he smiled slightly in recognition, turning to the shadows in the corner, a result of the harsh light of the mid-day sun. Yellow eyes peered back at him, from a face covered in dark blue fur that blended in completely with the shadows.
"Nightcrawler," he acknowledged. "Let us go."
The furred man – a boy, really – smiled a toothy grin. Though he had the elements that made a monster – blue fur, sharp teeth, a forked tail, three fingered hands and feet – his features were yet young and innocent.
Ah, youth,Eric sighed. The boy, Nightcrawler, and his twin sister were the youngest members of his Brotherhood, though they were quite useful and skilled. The one thing that differed them from the others, besides their ages, was the fact that they were not yet so jaded, not like the adults were.
As one of said three-fingered hands came up to rest on his shoulder, Eric Lehnsherr thought briefly of his machine, of his plan, of all the things that could go wrong, and hoped that he would not be the one to drain the innocence from the children's eyes.
Pfshoot, pfshoot, pfshoot!
From her corner in the lab, Marie Darkholme, a.k.a. Rogue, frowned in irritation. She was trying to read in peace – reading was all she could do here until time came – but the noise was driving her insane.
Were it any other case, she would have told Mortimer Toynbee – otherwise known as Toad – to quit making all the noise and shove off. And the older man would have done what she ordered, despite the fact that she was a good decade younger, because everyone in the Brotherhood knew who her mother was, and everyone also knew how favored Raven Darkholme was in the eyes of their leader, Magneto. Plus, Toad was frightened by Mystique in general as well.
However, this time, the Toad was in the right making all that noise, because he was spray painting the bottom of Magneto's machine to match the green of the Statue of Liberty. It was a task assigned by Magneto himself, and nothing Rogue could say could stop the noise.
So she was stuck trying to read through her rapidly growing annoyance as well as the noise.
Relaxing, she dog-eared the page she was at and set the book down, her annoyance flooding out of her like a dam had opened up.
"Hey, Kurt," she drawled lazily, looking up.
Predictably, her flamboyant brother – older by a few minutes – clung from the wall, which was just a wall in the large cave. That was what the lab was, after all, with a few adjustments.
He flashed her a sharp-toothed grin. "Hi."
Kurt Darkholme shrugged.
In unison, they sighed. They had to be the most bored teenagers in the world. There was no way there was anyone in the world that could do less than they did. Sure, Kurt sometimes went to transport this Brotherhood member there, but other than that, his interaction with the normal world remained limited and stressful. He wasn't exactly the most normal looking of mutants, after all.
As for Marie, well, she didn't have her brother's problem with blending in, but she did have another problem. Her powers were drastically different from her brother's, so she didn't even have the luxury of visiting the regular world once in a while, because she was considered too important to risk.
Because of her powers and what she needed to do with them.
As if drawn to them, her eyes landed on the machine. Kurt followed her gaze.
"Scared?" he asked softly.
"No," she replied automatically, the response having been drilled into her by her mother. It was supposed to be an honor, that she could do this for her kind. But she could never lie well in the first place, especially not to her own brother. "Yes."
"It's a large burden," Kurt commented.
"But that's not what scares you," he finished.
She shook her head.
For a moment, there was silence. Then, Marie spoke, "It's just…that thing is supposed to drain me, and I might die."
For a sixteen-year-old girl, it was an unbelievable concept, one that was driven home more by the fact that she was expected to take such a risk, no questions, no room for argument. It was supposed to be an honor.
"But you're not," her brother said quickly. Too quickly. He was scared, too, by that possibility, because it was a possibility, no matter how much they denied it. "Victor's supposed to be there, remember."
Licking her lips, Marie nodded.
"It'll turn out fine," Kurt finished, his tail lashing in an agitated fashion. He was a carefree soul, he didn't like to think about troubling things.
Again, Marie nodded.
"It'll turn out fine," he repeated, then added, "You know mom wouldn't let anything happen to you."
Marie smiled slightly. "I know."
And she did. Though she wasn't the most affectionate of mothers, Mystique loved her children something fierce, and everyone knew it. Despite the fact that she was sometimes harsh with them, she was harsher on anyone who even slightly messed with them; she loved them and they loved her. They weren't the most normal family in mutantville, but they were a family. They would never let anyone hurt each other.
Never. So why did Marie feel so scared?
"I know she won't," she repeated.
Mystique had never failed her before, had never hurt her. This time wouldn't be any different at all. She won't, she won't, she won't, became a sort of a mantra for the young girl with auburn hair and wide green eyes, something she believed with every fiber of her being.
She had to.
But why didn't it make her feel better?