A/N: There have been several fics that inspired me to write THIS piece, but the Days of Awesome 2010 collection finally galvanized it. So here goes out to Days of Awesome for being brave and beautiful enough to bring the children of Israel to light. I was inspired mostly by "Habits" by Alara Rogers and this time, by "Three Times Kitty Compromises (And One She Doesn't)" by mecredigirl. Originally posted on Archive of Our Own, September 2010.

Thanks to trovia for the beta.


He never was a religious man, not from his youth. Thinking of G-d brings up memories of narrow beds, six men crowded on one, smoking chimneys reeking of human flesh, the sharp prickle of knowing his number—no name left for G-d's people—was etched upon his arm.

Those numbers still itch.

He isn't sure why this Day of Atonement finds him standing outside a synagogue, wondering if the candles are already lit, why his mother's face refuses to leave him. He left G-d when he became a mutant. One or the other. A dichotomy of sorts.

Perhaps that is why he came back.

There is no one around to comment upon Erik Lehnsherr, another silver-haired man among many, walking up the steps to the sanctuary, observing with keen eyes the familiar rites. It is not so different from his distant youth. He does not go all the way inside. He has not made himself ready for the eve of Yom Kippur.

"In the tribunal of Heaven and the tribunal of earth, by the permission of God—praised be He—and by the permission of this holy congregation, we hold it lawful to pray with transgressors."

Is he not a transgressor?

Now it is not his mother's face, but Raven's that looms upon his mind's eye. A human face. Less beautiful because of it. But he— He is no mutant now.

He left G-d when he became a mutant.

He covers his head and enters the synagogue.