First and Foremost, Despite Everything

Author: Jedi-Bant
Rating: PG
Summery: Raven always knew she had a home despite everything she'd done. Charles knew she was first and foremost his sister (AU X3 Xavier lived. First Class compliant)

Raven POV

The house hadn't changed. It probably hadn't had any major changes made to it since it was built, whenever that was. There were a few additions here and there, the basketball courts, more parking spaces and the garage was bigger; of course she also knew there were many alterations below ground; catacombs containing Cerebro, the hanger bay and other such things to help the X-Men protect the humans.

Mystique…no Raven, she reminded herself, she was one of them now, her gifts, her powers stripped away from her, by the 'Cure,' leaving nothing but this weak, human body, nothing to separate her from the rest of the flock, nothing in the eyes of the one man she thought understood her, loved her, the one man she had loved.

Anger surged through her, not for the first time, and she was certain not for the last. After everything they had been through together, everything she had done for the Mutant cause, for Him; and he just left her there without a second thought, without even looking back, only a muttered comment about how he would miss having his eye candy around.

She hadn't moved when Erik left her, abandoned her. It had not been long until troops had swarmed the area. They'd stopped short at finding a completely naked woman curled up in the fetal position lying on the floor of the truck. It hadn't even occurred to her to cover up, she hadn't worn real clothes in over twenty years, only those created by her mutation. She hadn't worn anything since she went with Erik and he convinced her that she was beautiful in her natural form and that it shouldn't be hidden or covered up, that she should be proud to be a mutant.

She pulled at the sleeve of the shirt she was wearing now. The soldiers had been quick to clothe her, removing their jackets to cover her nakedness. She had been clothed ever since but she still found them restrictive and tight, overbearing, smothering. Ever since that first disastrous battle she had allowed herself to stand out, to show the world her 'mutated' body, proud to be noticed, difference, no one had ever mistaken her for a human when she was in her true form. Now she had to cover, hide, blend in, and ironically it was so much easier without her gifts, she had not been given a second look since loosing them.

She had gone with the soldiers, allowed them to dress her and this time did not object or struggle when they imprisoned her, and once she had gotten over the shock of everything that had happened to her, she no longer refused to answer their questions. Every detail of every plan, the co-ordinates of every base of operation and every safe house, the strengths and weaknesses of each mutant in his army she had revealed to the military.

After all, as the saying goes, Hell hath no Fury.

They had held her in a high security bunker for several days; then with no explanation given she had been transfer to a women's prison to await trial. They had thought that now 'cured' a normal prison would hold her, it did, for all of two day. She had learnt many things under Erik's guidance not all of them relied on her mutation. As soon as she recovered from the shock of everything that had happened in a few short days and she tired of the prison she was gone.

She had simply wandered for days or at least it felt like she had. It wasn't until she looked up and saw a sign for Westchester that she realized her instincts had kicked in. She was going home.

There was never any doubt in her mind that her 'brother' would accept her back with open arms, well maybe for moment, he would probably question her extensively to make sure she didn't have any ulterior motives but no they had grown up together she would always find a home with Charles. The problem would come with the other occupants of the house, it wasn't like the old days after their parents died, or even with the first team of mutants to live and train at the mansion, many of the current occupants she had tried to kill in the past, the rest would have heard stories of her exploits with Magneto.

The other problem was her pride.

Could she bring herself down to the level of crawling back to where she started, could she bring herself to admit that Charles had been right all along, could she admit that she had been wrong? Charles had given her a choice all those years ago on that beach; he hadn't held her back, she wondered now if he had known this would happen. His telepathy had always made him seem all knowing and though she knew he wasn't, she still wondered sometimes.

In the end she had given into instinct and it had brought her to Xavier's School for Gifted Youngers, the last time she was here she had to break in, this time she would walk straight up to the front door…and hope.

She had no doubt that if Wolverine answered the door, he would recognize her for who she was and attack without question, part of her wanted him too, it would be better then continuing on as she was. Still another part of her, still held out hope that her mutation could be restored, that there would be a cure for the cure, that it wasn't as permanent as the scientists had boasted.

The bell rang signaling the end of class and the beginning of another. Raven melted back into the trees, waiting till the last child had disappeared back inside, then waited another few minutes just in case of stragglers. Finally sure that no one was around she left the safety of the trees and moved across the gardens towards death or sanctuary.

Charles POV

He had felt her presence a few days before. Old habits die-hard and he automatically resisted the temptation to read her mind. Hank had told them of her brush with the cure and as much as he wanted to know how is little sister was coping with her change in circumstances he had made a promise to her all those years ago that he would never read her mind, if anything he was a man of his word, Charles would not go against Raven's wishes unless it would save lives, he wouldn't do it for his own curiosity.

He had always thought of her as Raven, even after she renounce the name and took Mystique as her new identity; but no matter what she believed she would always be his Raven, the little girl who impersonated his mother so poorly despite her amazing gift, and who showed him that he was not alone in the world that there were others like him.

It had hurt when she had left to go with Magneto but from the moment she had walk naked into the kitchen he had known that he couldn't give her what she wanted, they didn't have the same philosophies anymore and he couldn't, wouldn't force her to see things his way even though all it would take was a single thought. Had he done that he would have been as bad as Shaw and everything he was fighting against; to influence another's mind in such a way would prove the government right.

Truthfully he had expected Raven to pass through, to avoid him even though they both knew he was always accept her back, no matter what she had done in the past, despite her current condition; but she was proud, he had not expected her to be able to put aside her pride, to come to him when she needed help. He was delighted to be proven wrong.

As soon as he felt her presence he dismissed his class, pausing only to give out that nights homework assignment. The children had looked to each other in confusion, they were only a few minutes into the day's lesson, but children were never ones to look a gift horse in the mouth when cutting class was involved, within minutes his office was empty.

He made his way quickly to the elevator, checking as he went for the other adults in the building and their locations. Good, Wolverine was in the garage, tinkering with one of the many cars, it would not do for him to meet up with Mystique before the Professor.

The halls were empty and Charles was able to open the doors just before Raven reached the stoop. She stopped short and they simple studied each other for a moment. The Charles backed up. "Lets go upstairs," he headed back to the elevator trusting her to follow she wasn't far behind.

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