Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men. Marvel does.

A/N: Just a drabble set in the same universe as the first part. I can't get enough of Charles and Raven. In the second part of this one, Charles is thirteen, and Raven is about ten, or just shy of it. And as precocious as ever.

In the beginning...

She is technically a stranger and thief who broke into his home, but he does not seem to care, and gives her the food she is starving for. After she has eaten her fill and then more, he shows her around the mansion ("I assure you it's a mansion, not a castle. We have no dragon here, sadly."), his mere presence expressing more warmth than any of the fires currently burning in the many hearths. He smiles at her brilliantly, and the pleasure they both feel when he reaches for her blue hand is beyond words.

"Don't worry," he says softly, giving her fingers a light squeeze as they tip-toe past his mother's room. "I promise, come tomorrow morning, you will be just as accepted here as I am."

"But how can I be?" Her yellow eyes glimmer sadly as he leads her along, towards his own room. "This is not my home."

Yes it is, Raven. His words are silent and embrace her tightly. From now on, it will always be. I will make sure of that. I promise you.

The stroke of the clock at three am finds them both fast asleep on Charles' bed, a tangle of pale cream and navy blue, cuddled together with small smiles on their faces, a book of fairytales between them.

In the morning Charles will delve into his mother's ever-bitter mind and convince her that Raven is her daughter and Charles' little sister. In the morning, Charles will make Raven a permanent part of his family, because no other mind he has felt has made him feel so warm, so wanted, so adored. In the morning, Charles will admit to himself that he is completely taken with his new sister when she smiles through tears of happiness of finding a home, and vows to himself that he will do anything and everything in his power to protect her from harm. In the morning, Charles will not know that he will be fulfilling his vow so literally almost a year from now, or that he will come to rely on Raven as much as she relies on him.

But that will be in the morning.


(One year and one new stepfather later)

They are both quiet, though it would not matter if they were loud, because no one was close enough to hear them. It is night, the fire is going, and they are in her room, because he cannot stand to be in his. They are silent for different reasons - he because it hurts to breathe too deeply, she because her attention is too focused on the bruises on his jaw and cheek.

"You know," she says softly after a moment. He watches as her eyes, yellow in distress under her pretty blonde curls, slowly trace over his form. "I can transform into anything, Charles."

Yes Raven, I do know that, he thinks back dryly because, at the risk of sounding colloquial, duh.

Her eyes roll with a huff.

"I mean anything. So long as it's human. I can become it." She sounds so serious, his sister, so hardened, that little alarms start buzzing in his ears along with the ringing that is already there. The last thing he wants is for her to get involved in this Mark fiasco.

Raven? He pushes tentatively. She only smiles.

And then suddenly, her small form is shifting, bones reshaping in perfected silence as they grow longer, fuller - Raven begins to loom over him, her face going pale and bearded, eyes smaller and turning an oceanic blue - becoming a man. The natural instinct he has developed to flinch away from large men is buffeted by the sight of shiny, silver material covering Raven's new form.


Raven ... Charles doesn't know what to say. His pain tingles numb in the shock of his awe at the sight.

"I know there's no dragon in this castle," his sister says matter-of-fact, voice low and deep and oddly similar to mother's guest from last week. "But you look like someone in distress. You're in luck." And she puts her new large fists on her new gleaming armor and there, standing on her bed as a classic character from a fairytale, she is the brightest comfort he has ever known in his life.

"Charles, from here until death," she declares proudly, fervently. There is experience in her words. "I'm going to be your Knight."


Ah. Charles needs a Knight, since Erik is his Queen (chess, people, chess!). Why not Raven?

Any thoughts? :)