A/N: Agh, more X-Men! My second fic to be set in a bathroom . . . Lol.
Warnings: ANGST!, dude/"dude" kissing, slight language, implied sex, mentions of nudity, some slightly disturbing content (if you're a wuss), Raven/Erik with dominant Erik/Charles. No specific setting, although it is shortly after First Class.
Disclaimer: If I owned X-Men, it'd be a porno . . . starring Charles and Erik.
Raven Darkholme has always played pretend.
Ever since she was a child and first began to develop a shaky control over her shapeshifting abilities, she has changed, morphed, become another – or as Erik would say, she has hidden, frightened of what the world would say about a girl born with blue skin instead of blue eyes and yellow irises as opposed to wavy blonde locks. Now it is oddly freeing, not to have to worry about staying hidden all the time – without Charles around to reproach her, with only Erik around to appreciate her in all her scaly, blue-skinned glory.
Although, if you think about it, Charles may have just been a blessing in disguise in more ways than one; the small boy who could have easily used his superior mental powers to torture her and force her out of his home instead looked on her with wonder, shook her hand and invited her in – and although his quickness to make her cover herself had always fed her own insecurities, it had also protected her for a great deal of time. For a mutant girl with red hair and scaly skin, living in a human world, life would be impossible. She would have been murdered within minutes of being seen by another being, thought to have been some deadly apparition out of a cheap horror film or some Satanic demon, risen from the darkest pits of Hell to doom the human race.
But now, as a mutant woman (she is no longer a girl, despite her youthful appearance; according to Hank, she will remain young for an indeterminate amount of time – which both pleases her and frightens her immensely) living in a mutant world (smaller than the human world, but rising, always rising), she is perfect, she is amongst her allies. God knows how many others there are out there feeling as she had felt – frightened, confused, constantly hiding. They would find them all, and the mutants would become a perfect band of allies, blue skin, yellow eyes, scales and all.
So she would no longer play pretend unless it was deemed necessary – not for Charles, not for anyone. She would never again take on her blond, "beautiful" form. Never again. That girl was dead, having died a Shakespearean, tragic death the moment Erik's lips touched hers (so long ago – or maybe not long ago at all, time had a way of being fickle like that). Charles's pretty blond sister was dead and buried, leaving behind Erik's perfect blue demon from Hell, or wherever it is the monsters come from.
She smirks at herself in the mirror. If she is a monster or a demon, then Erik is the Devil, leading her to destruction with a wave of his hand – and if Erik is the Devil, or maybe Hades (or aren't they one and the same? She forgets these trivial things), then Charles is an angel, haloed and beautiful, crippled and yet so perfectly enlightened. Charles is a god, spawn of goodness and naivety, and she and Erik were evil spirits, bent on domination over the beautiful gods.
The smirk fades very slowly, and a sick feeling settles in her stomach. How poetic she is, casting Erik as the dark spirit, the twisted, tortured soul – and Charles, the savior of all, wise beyond his years, the good spirit, always protecting even the darkest of souls. The two who could never be together but would always be intertwined, no matter how the dark spirit resisted. And the dark spirit did resist; the darkest of all would try to push his feelings for the good spirit away, and would hide them in an interest in his demonic underling, his monstrous creature of beauty, his right-hand woman. But the good spirit was always there, hovering overhead, sort-of-gone but not-at-all-forgotten. To look at him was for a candle to look at a lighthouse, or perhaps a sun; the comparison was almost unthinkable.
Damn you, Charles, she thinks bitterly, her expression warping with muted anger. If only you could see what you have done, what you are to him, what you always will be.
Charles would always be the good angel, the forbidden one, the object of Erik's innermost desires. And no matter how much she played pretend, or how much she stayed herself, Mystique didn't really think there was anything she could do to change that. But –
In the mirror, she watched as her odd flesh rippled and then changed, going from deep blue to a pale, creamy shade of fair, English skin. Her red hair became short, thick, wavy brown hair, graying ever so lightly where it parted. Clothes appeared on her once naked, feminine body – a light khaki suit with a pale blue shirt underneath, casually elegant. Her breasts became a flat, masculine chest, her legs shortened, torso elongated just slightly, the space between her legs changing in a way that even after all these years of shapeshifting she still found uncomfortable to think about. She looked in the mirror once more, and found that in the space of two or three seconds, she had become Charles Xavier – or a surface copy, at least; Charles Xavier could no longer do what she could do, stand and look in the mirror, walk, or even twitch his toes. But Charles could do things she never would be able to do; read a mind, feel its deepest corners, find its weaknesses, bolster its strengths. Charles Xavier could control minds if he so chose, or like with Erik's, he seemed to be able to do so quite without his own knowledge of it.
She reached up, watching the reflection as the fake-Charles reached up in time with her own motion, mirroring her perfectly. She skimmed her fingers over her face, feeling the smooth, un-scaled skin, then sliding her hand up to card through the soft brown hair. She stared into the depths of the mirror, meeting her own eyes that were now a perfect replica of Charles's desirable baby blue gaze, a sneaky sense of want stealing over her. Not just for Charles's appearance (although she had always been slightly envious that he looked normal while she did not, when he was arguably just as strange as she; and she suspected she'd always be jealous of those gorgeous eyes – how was it fair that a man got the beautiful eyes, when she, a woman, had bright yellow ones like those of a monster in a children's picture book?), but for everything. In the back of her mind, she had always wanted everything Charles possessed – a brilliant mind, handsome, normal face and body, strong moral code, the ability to care so strongly for those who did not care for him, and above all – Erik. Because whether he was aware of it or not, Charles was ingrained into Erik's heart and mind, hidden deep in a place Raven would not be able to penetrate.
"Damn you," she said to the reflection, her voice deeper and with a lilting English tint, "Damn you, Charles." She knew Charles could not hear her unless he was in her mind, and if he was, so be it. Let him hear her. Let him know. She hopes it will pain him. (Although the small part of her that still thought of Charles as her brother was weeping softly in the back of her brain, rejected and longing for him, her big brother, her protector, her oldest friend. Maybe even her only friend.)
She registers someone walking past at the same time that someone stops in the doorway, and she turns, too startled to even change her appearance.
Erik looks twice as startled as she felt – but then his face changes, became both happy and shocked, pleased and angry all at once.
"Charles," he breathes, his gaze flicking over her face from underneath his gleaming helmet. "Charles, what –,"
"It's me," she says in Charles's deeper voice, "It's Raven, Erik."
This sinks in rather slowly, and Erik's expression falls slightly before it is smoothed over with a careful mask of calculated rationality. " . . . Of course. I should have known, Charles can't –,"
"Stand," she finishes for him.
"I was going to say 'be here'. He can't be here. But yes, you're right," Erik responds, his cool voice betraying none of the guilt she could see raging behind his eyes. "He can't stand."
She is silent, still in the form of their now-paraplegic former comrade, and watches blankly as Erik slowly turns to go, before he stops and turns back.
"What were you doing, anyway?" he asks, brow furrowed, voice poised to become angry. "Why do you look like him? What are you playing at, Raven, when you know that I –,"
"You love him," she says suddenly, shocking both of them, herself even more so. "You love him."
Erik goes still, frozen in that state of shock, still almost angry. He finally says sharply, "What?"
"You love him," she says now, feeling Charles's milk-white cheeks paint themselves with a blush; but she is not embarrassed anymore, she knows what she speaks is the whole, unadulterated truth – there will be no beating around the bush anymore, not between Erik and herself.
"Don't be ridiculous," Erik says. "Once, yes, I cared for him; he was my friend for a brief time, as I'm sure you can recall. But now he is my opposition, and my feelings reflect that. You know that very well, Raven."
"I don't," she says. "I don't know that, Erik – in fact, I know that's a lie. You love him. Maybe even more than I do, but in a different way altogether."
She can see the truth of it on his face, no matter how he tries to hide it. He'll have to get better at masking his emotions about Charles than he is; one day, the two will meet again, face-to-face, not as friends but as enemies – they all know this very well.
"You're being completely insane. He's a man."
"So?" she replies with ease, darkly confident. "So am I, right now."
Erik is growing angry, perhaps with his own inability to adequately deny this. "I don't love him."
"Yes," she tells him, her voice softening as she steps towards him on Charles's slightly shorter legs, looking up at him, feeling now for once as Charles would feel, dominated so completely by this man; then again, she has always felt dominated by Erik, mind, body, and soul – he has the ability, if he chooses, to override everyone, making every other creature into an insignificant speck. It both thrills her and scares her at the same time.
"You do, Erik, but it's alright. It's alright," she continues, reaching up to touch his face, watching with small wonderment as the hand that is really her own cups his cheek, resembling not a scaly, blue, feminine hand but instead Charles's smooth, soft, larger one.
Erik's breath hitches, barely detectable but she is close enough to hear it. "Raven –," he breathes, trying to resist all the temptations that are laid out before him.
"Shh," she breathes, before leaning up to press fake-Charles's pretty pink lips against Erik's.
Erik is stiff, tense, for just a brief second, before his lips are moving against hers, his hand reaching up to curl in hair that is not shiny and red but instead short and brown, the other moving to rest on the small of a back that is not completely bare but instead covered by smooth cloth. His hand clenches on the fabric, and she kisses him harder, the way she imagines a man might kiss another man (but she has never kissed Charles on the mouth before, and therefore has no memory to mimic, but it seems to work well enough, because Erik is gasping against her mouth and returning the kiss with full force).
The next thing she knows, she is being shoved up against the counter, pinned there by Erik's larger form. This she is familiar with; but she is not familiar with the deep, husky breaths rising from her own body, or the way that there now seems to be too much clothing now that she is not customarily nude.
But Erik is attacking her neck with kisses, pulling at buttons on the shirt, breathing out raggedly, now completely gone into the realm of fantasy, "Oh, Charles – Charles –,"
Charles, Charles, she thinks, briefly forlorn – If only you knew, brother.
When it is all done and Erik has returned to himself slightly, panting, his chin resting on fake-Charles's broad shoulder, she becomes her true self again, effectively ending the game, killing the incarnation of the angel and returning again to her real form, the blue-skinned she-monster. It is not Charles wrapped around Erik, or even Raven anymore; it is Mystique, the mysterious, monstrous Mystique.
Erik stiffens when he realizes her skin is now a shiny blue again, and loosens his grip on her, stepping back and allowing her to slide effortlessly off the bathroom counter in a smooth, feline way that Charles would never have managed and that Raven would never have attempted. He stares at her, briefly horrified as he realizes what has just gone on between them, before he hurriedly reaches down to yank up his pants.
She just looks at him, practicing the expressionless gaze she has been working on in the past months and weeks. It seems to work, although not as she expected; rather than confusing him, it seems to steady him, bring him back to his own cold, metallic self.
"Don't ever do that again," he says, giving orders with the air of a man who knows his commands will be listened to. "And never speak of this."
She is all of a sudden Raven again, the confident Mystique and the calm Charles fading into the recesses of her mind. She is just a naked blue girl, wishing she was still playing pretend instead of having to deal with the reality that her lover is under the invisible sway of another man who he can never have.
Erik turns, buttoning his pants quickly and adjusting his helmet, sweeping from the room with a swish of fabric. She is left standing there, briefly wishing she had Charles's power so that she could slip into his thoughts, see what he is feeling and fix whatever new damage she has caused. But it is of no use; her mind is silent except for the tides of her own thoughts and emotions, and her brain does not possess the effortless intelligence that Charles's does.
She turns back to the mirror, feeling tears welling, threatening to spill. No, she thinks furiously. She will not weep, not for herself, not for Charles, nor Erik, or any of them. She will not shed tears, she will not play dress-up games for anyone – she will not be Charles, or Raven. Charles Xavier is at his mansion in New York, physically damaged but mentally strong as ever – and Raven? Raven is dying, lying on this bathroom floor, an invisible soon-to-be-corpse of an ugly blue girl, leaving behind Mystique, calm, cool, and confident; beautiful.
Mystique stares into the mirror, gazing at her own shiny yellow eyes. They are not the eyes of a girl trying to hide from who she is, or the sparkling blue gems of a girl pretending to be the brother who is unknowingly threatening to ruin her. This is the gaze of a mutant who will someday rule the world with her lover at her side.
The game is over, my brother, she thinks. I am not a little girl anymore, and I will have Erik, Charles. You had your chance – he is mine now.
The fading wisp of Raven on the floor whispers, He will never be completely yours.
Mystique exits the bathroom, leaving behind her former self, Charles Xavier, and all the games. The game is indeed over; the war will now begin.
A/N: Raven!angst. Yay. Reviews greatly appreciated.