First and Foremost, Despite Everything

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

The next few days passed without incident, Raven stayed out of Storm's way and Storm stayed away from Raven. So far it seemed Charles wasn't willing to leave Storm on babysitting duty, he realised the potential explosion that would occur if he put the two strong-willed women were left together unsupervised. Either way she was spending most of her time with Charles or in the common areas; with the children out of classes for the weekend it was impossible to be alone anywhere except her room.

Marie was the easiest to be around, they would chat away and pretend that they didn't have a history. In a way they had bonded over being the only two non-mutants in the mansion. It also helped that they could find many things to talk about that disregarded the goings on of the rest of the world and avoided the still raw subject of their lost mutations. Many of the younger students were fascinated with the cure, some because they were considering taking it to become 'normal' again, others in a morbid fascination like one asking what it's like to go to war. Needless to say neither mutant enjoyed these conversations and were happy to avoid the topic altogether, though Raven's history, which had spread like wildfire throughout the younger student population who hadn't heard of her, made it easier for her to scare off unwanted questions then it was for Marie.

On the Saturday after breakfast Marie had appeared for her babysitting duty, Raven couldn't think of it any other way, armed with a laptop, a tape measure and internet connection. They had spent the majority of the day perusing various online shopping sites in search of more acceptable clothing then men's tracksuit pants and shirts with too short sleaves. Marie had been to Charles earlier in the day and gotten a credit card for them to use with no limits. Everything was to be expressed posted and would arrive in the next few days, until then they'd continue to raid Marie's wardrobe and Logan's floor.

Dr Hank McCoy had been perplexed and slightly worried when he'd received a phone call from Ororo Munroe with no explanation other then to ask if he was alright and to get to the mansion as soon as possible. He'd been on the other side of the country at the time in a series of very important meetings, which could not be postponed. He'd told her he would be there when he could but not to wait for him.

It was not three days later and he had finally arrived in Westchester. Nothing looked out of sorts, the students were all outside and the older students didn't have the looks of worry that was the usually tell tale sign that the X-men were out on a mission. 'Perhaps,' he wondered, 'everything has been sorted and they forgot to inform me.' He hoped that was the case, as frustrating as a trip for nothing would be.

"Dr McCoy!" Jimmy called out, leaving his friends and running over to meet the politician. When the young boy had been taken from Alcatraz Island, Hank had been the first familiar face he'd come across in all the chaos; they'd gotten to know each other quite well in the days following.

"Jimmy how are you my boy?" Unlike the first time they met Hank did not hesitate in touching the boy and accepted the effects on his mutation and the weird and slightly uncomfortable feeling as his fur retreated back into his skin, claws disappeared and the bones in his feet realigned. He pulled the boy into a warm hug; a side effect of Jimmy's stay in the labs was a craving for contact and affection, Hank was more then happy to comply, the boy had wormed his way into the hearts of many in a very short period of time.

"Good," a typical adolescent answer if ever he heard one.

"How have you been? Enjoying your studies?" He asked keeping a hand on the boys' shoulder even as he pulled away, tucking the teen into his side. All the X-men and teachers at the school made a point to not pull away from Jimmy despite his effect on their mutations, they hoped it would boost Jimmy's confidence and the effects weren't permanent. Jimmy was finally getting to a stage where he didn't apologise every time his mutation striped the powers of another mutant.

"Good, some of the classes are really boring but mostly good," Jimmy beamed up at the doctor, then laughed, "you look weird without your fur."

Hank gave a short burst of surprised laughter, "do I now, well it's a good thing I don't have to stay like this then isn't it."

Jimmy grinned back cheekily.

"Excuse me can I help you?" Storm walked over from the basketball court, alert to the unknown man on the grounds.

"Good afternoon Ororo, how are you?"

It only took a moment for her to put the voice and contact with Jimmy together to realise who it was, "Oh Hank, I didn't recognise you in pink." She joked, making Jimmy laugh again.

"Oh so I'm pink and funny looking, I'm really feeling the love," he smiled back at them, rolling his eyes and giving a slight shake of his head, it really did feel weird not having fur rubbing against his clothes as he did so, he was definitely glad this wasn't permanent, though it was interesting to see what he would have looked like without his mutation, he briefly regretted that there was no mirror nearby.

"Pink or not you've definitely bulked up over the years."

Hank immediately broke contact with Jimmy after pushing him behind him then stepped away allowing his mutation to kick back in, snarling at the woman who'd just come out of the house.

Raven managed to hold her ground even as Beast rushed her, hoping it was just a display and he wouldn't actually hit her, "That's hardly a proper greeting for an old friend."

Beast stopped just before he made contact with Mystique but continued to glare at her, he'd stopped not because of what she said but because Storm hadn't moved, she just watched as if she had expected Mystique to be there.

"What are you doing here? You're supposed to be in federal prison." He snarled in her face, for all that he believed in diplomacy, Raven had left a bit of a sore spot for him personally by leaving.

"The humans made the mistake of thinking a normal prison could hold me once I'd been 'cured'," she responded calmly and matter-of-factly, "they were wrong."

Hank turned slightly, still keeping his eyes on Mystique but addressed Storm, "this is why you called me?"

"Yes," Storm walked over to stand beside Hank, she'd sent Jimmy back to his friends, "She has somehow convinced the Professor that she's his sister, we were hoping you might be able to work out what she's done to him." Storm said, glaring at the other woman, confident now that they work out what she'd done.

"She is his sister," Hank responded.

"What!" Storm gave Hank her undivided attention, "she can't be."

"Well not by blood but Raven was eight I believe when she came to live with the Xavier's, she was caught raiding their fridge and Charles invited her to stay."

Raven gave Storm an 'I-told-you-so' grin. There was no way Storm could deny Hank; Raven hadn't been in contact with him to slip him anything to convince him of her story.

"But how? Why haven't we heard about this before?" Storm demanded.

"If you had a relative in the Brotherhood would you share it around?"

Storm stopped short, "Well I…"

"Did you ever ask Charles if he had a sister, or any family at all?"

"No, not as such."

"Well then there's your answer, now please excuse me I need to go and talk some sense into that bald head of his." He stalked past Raven who was still smirking at Storm, and went in search of his old teacher.

"Told you so." She gloated.

Storm glared, "where's your escort?" Storm retorted.

Raven happily gestured back into the house where Angel was waiting quietly, watching his charge.

Storm gave her one last glare, annoyed at not having caught her out and returned to her students hoping Hank would talk some sense into Charles.

"Have you lost your mind?" Hank raged, he thrust a paw out in the direction he'd last seen Raven. "She's escaped from federal prison, a wanted fugitive and your hiding her in a school. Do you realise what impact this could have if it got out Charles, they close you down, you'd go to prison!"

"What would you have me do Hank, send her away? She's my sister I can't abandon her, and I don't think you truly want me to either."

Hank grumbled and hesitated slightly, "I know she's your sister and no, personally I wouldn't want her to be imprisoned but the fact of the matter is she had committed substantial crimes, including murder, she isn't a little girl stealing a few crusts of bread anymore."

"I realise that but I really think she's wants to change."

"Is that her big brother talking or Professor X?" Hank countered.

Charles sighed, "A bit of both if I'm honest, I still see my little sister in her Hank, I want her back in my life and I know she's dangerous but she deserved a second chance without Erik's influence. I have to try."

Hank sighed too and sank down into one of the office couches, "I really wish you hadn't called me, do you realise the position this puts me in?"

"I do, which is why I didn't call you. I wasn't aware that you had been contacted however Storm has got it into her mind that Raven has drugged me somehow to make me believe that Raven is my sister and no amount of convincing will change her mind, she just can't accept the truth."

"Honestly if I hadn't met Raven before the Brotherhood was formed I would have a hard time believing it myself." Hank let his head fall to be cradled by his hands, "I'm sorry Charles but I can't let his slide, I have to report her."

"Hank, please just give her a chance to prove herself."

"Charles we have just started making head way in mutant rights, if it was found that you were harbouring a fugitive and I knew about it without reporting her, everything we've worked for would go down the drain."

"Which is why I didn't want you involved," Charles agreed.

"If she'd served her time it would be different, but she wasn't ever there for two days."

"I know Hank, by God I know but everything in me still screams to protect her, from prison, from the government, from Erik. Please just give me some time. The second she steps out of line I will report her myself and if she is discovered I will deny you knew anything and accept whatever punishment is given me, I could even erase today from your memory if need be."

Hank mentally recoiled at that idea but the less political more personal side of his will power was starting to crumble and Charles could tell.

"I know it is a lot to ask and if it wasn't Raven I wouldn't but you know what she means to me Hank, please just do this for me if not for her. We have lost so much in this war, I need to help her; give me a chance to try." Charles fell silent, waiting, hoping Hank would agree.

Nothing was said for a long while until Hank finally spoke, "She is not to leave the grounds and if she steps one foot out of line you must turn her in or so help me Charles I will have to report her and you myself."

Charles closed his eyes in relief and let out the breath he'd been holding, "I wouldn't have it any other way my friend, thank you."