A/N: So this is the second and final half of these drabbles. Apologies they took me forever to get out and done. I hope you enjoy them.
Raven knows that sometimes Erik likes to get away from the mansion and from the everlasting chess game he and Charles have embarked upon. She knows that he eats lunch with a woman—Magda—with laughing eyes and an open mind.
Erik knows that Raven sometimes likes to get away from the pressures of managing the Brotherhood and uses Azazel's teleportation to visit other countries and out-of-the-way hotels. Neither of them is much concerned if she also uses Azazel's other gifts.
He tells himself they are comrades, that their relationship should be built upon firmer ground than lust or love.
It's an odd juxtaposition: loyalty to nation or to biology. Charles makes a point of declaring loyal citizenship for himself and his students. Erik tends to hold his tongue on the matter.
Raven deals with it in the trenches: her recruits and the young people aching with righteous rebellion. She doesn't tell them what to believe—she's had enough of that from others to last her lifetime.
Instead she lays out a reproduction of the Declaration with key phrases circled in red. All men are created equal. …life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. That is what she is fighting for.
Their indiscretions are simultaneous, which at least eases the conflicting feelings having children could evoke. Neither of them is particularly ready to commit their own children to war, so perhaps it is best that they do not share them.
Raven takes an assignment in Germany, leaving Angel in charge and staying contact with Emma, who knows the real reason for six months abroad is the impending birth of a blue-skinned baby boy. Erik gives his twins into the care of friends when their mother dies in childbirth.
Perhaps they should care that they didn't have their family together. They don't.
It shouldn't be grief that turns Erik back from Charles once again, but Magda's loss hit him harder than he expected, and so he returns to the one woman he can hope for comfort from. She takes one look at him and draws him into her arms with more softness than his tigress has had in a long time.
They're in a war. It's better this way.
Reconciling is simpler than he even expected, sweet to find that Raven has truly grown up and still cares for him as much as if she hadn't.
They share reports. They make love.
In his absence, Raven has made a lot of plans and done a lot of preparation, turning the Brotherhood into a cohesive body with a working hierarchy and safehouses in twenty-two countries.
"Those can also be used as bases of operation," she points out matter-of-factly while Erik listens and rubs her back. She's spread out the map on his bed. "We have at least one mutant at each location who is conversant with applicable laws for the area."
"You've planned ahead," Erik says, evaluating. He hadn't expected this Charles-like side to her.
"Wars don't last forever." Raven shrugs. "They're won."
Erik takes time to meet with the new recruits, quickly assessing each one and pleased to see Raven has used his criteria for building the Brotherhood. She has assets, visionaries, rebels with a cause, and minions. And… artists.
"This is hardly the Renaissance," he points out to her when she shows him a strange sculpture built from a mutant's extraordinary skill with controlling wood.
Raven laughs and tells him to think ahead. "We must give them something to fight for." She taps the wood knowingly. "We must have plowshares to beat into swords."
Fighting for freedom, not just against tyranny.
Erik is content with her vision of a future, one where mutants are superior perhaps, but one where they have common goals, ideas, dreams beyond that of mere survival.
Charles is content to build his own vision of the future, where one day mutants and humans are equal, where words triumph over the implements of war.
Raven hands Erik the reins again. She has never cared more for power than for influence. The powerful force their will on others; the will of the influential is courted. And they wonder why she calls herself Mystique.
Raven—mutant, proud—is not content.
~ fin ~