Baby Steps

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Just having fun.

When she was a child, Mystique never indulged in the naïve fantasies her children appeared to. Life had been cutthroat from the beginning, forcing her to grow up long before her body caught up with her mind, making her see the world through a steely gaze. Forgiveness was not a term she believed in, nor would she ever forget all the wrongs enacted upon her. Nor will any who wronged me.

Taking a long drag from her cigarette, she watched her daughter crossing the park. With another fool, brainwashed by that psychotic dreamer, she thought, eyes narrowing as they neared.

A smile spread across her face as recognition flashed in Rogue's eyes, watching the girl excuse herself and walk towards her. She sunk onto the bench, giving Mystique a sidelong glance. "What are you doing here, Raven?" she asked, her voice demanding an answer.

Raven, now is it? Mystique thought angrily, not sure who she was more furious at, herself for letting their relationship deteriorate this far or Xavier for converting the girl to his silly little dream. She was leaning towards the latter. "I merely want you to join me for a cup of coffee," she replied, stubbing her cigarette out on the hard bench.


Mystique looked at Rogue, noting the tension in the young woman's stance, knowing she was the cause of it. There was a time you welcomed my company, she thought wryly, suddenly wishing she hadn't discarded the cigarette, yearning for the bitter taste of nicotine.

"Must everything I do have an ulterior motive?" she inquired, glaring in order to hide the flash of pain.

Rogue's only answer was a raised eyebrow. Mystique looked away and began staring across the field of grass. She felt the girl rise and let out a long, suffering sigh before continuing. "Today is the day Irene died."

The words hurt more than she had thought possible. Every time she thought of Irene, her heart constricted, pain whisking through every bundle of nerves in her body. Giving a voice to the words was nearly her undoing. Mystique grappled for another cigarette, mentally cursing the slight shaking of her hands as she brought it to her mouth and lighted it.

The nicotine drifted down her throat, filling every inch of her and calming her. "Oh Momma…" Rogue whispered, placing a gloved hand on her arm.

She almost flinched, but stopped herself at the last minute. The girl had called her Momma, perhaps there was hope. "I would rather not squander what family I have left," Mystique informed her, flicking ashes onto the pristine sidewalk.

Silence fell between them and Mystique continued to take long drags, waiting for Rogue to make the next move. Pushing her never ends nicely.

"So, coffee…?" Rogue asked, standing. "Kurt's visiting. I could call and see if he wants to join us."

"One step at a time," Mystique replied with a bittersweet smile. She rose, dropping the cigarette and ground it out, pleased that as they began to walk the tension slowly began to leave Rogue. Now if you'll leave those damn dreamers behind…

As they crossed the street, Rogue offered a small smile and Mystique reciprocated, the sunglasses she wore hiding the triumphant glint in her eyes. One step at a time…