Prompt: We have too many high-sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them. - Abigail Adams (1744-1818), second First Lady of the United States. | via femgenficathon

Summary: Raven was the one who started calling it "slave name."


"You really should choose a new name," Mystique states suddenly into the quiet boredom of the newborn Brotherhood's first week at the safe house Erik had initially chosen.

(Erik sure knows how to pick a safe house, but she doesn't look too closely at that. After all, wasn't he trained by the man he killed?)

All three female members are lounging about the living room, with books or refreshments, but there is little doubt who Mystique means when her yellow eyes are fixed firmly on the Hispanic girl curled up comfortably on the plush living room couch, back up for the sake of her slightly unfurled wings.

Angel Salvadore stretches languidly, but otherwise does not budge an inch from reading her book. "Angel was my stage name," she deigns to reply. Her wings itch a little. They're still healing from where Azazel kindly sawed open the cauterized parts. (She hasn't decided whether she'll forgive him for doing the necessary either.) "'All the world's a stage,'" she quotes blithely, as an afterthought.

"I never cared for Shakespeare," Emma Frost interjects from her dainty perch in the wingback chair by the fire. She's sipping tea. "Plebian." She cocks her head at Angel.

Angel's wings flutter slightly at the attention. She winces. Emma Frost still makes her nervous, if she is honest. The woman has the grin of a Cheshire cat and the morals of a vagrant. "Oh?" Doesn't mean she didn't learn how to be polite. Anything less would be baring throat, and that isn't something Angel's ever done.

"Yes." Emma sets down her teacup on the side table. "I prefer Addison:

"So when an angel by divine command
With rising tempests shakes a guilty land,
Such as of late o'er pale Britannia passed,
Calm and serene he drives the furious blast;
And, pleas'd th' Almighty's orders to perform,
Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm.

"That's 'The Campaign,'" Emma finishes. "And it certainly fits you."

Mystique laughs as she leans back. "I like it. Tempest."

Angel sits up, grimacing at the pain and more than a little annoyed. "Tempest? I'm the 'angel by divine command,'" she says, waving her hand airily, clear mockery of the two women sitting with her. Their wealthy, privileged upbringings only irk her more and more, despite the fact she would have preferred the same.

"No, no," Mystique shakes her head. She is definitely Mystique today, with her blue skin and yellow eyes and red hair falling close to her neck. She has taken to surprising them with any form that suits her, changing them like she would her clothes, but Angel prefers variables she can see. She prefers the illusion wiped away. "That was your slave name."

That gets Angel's attention on the topic. "Excuse me? I am not a slave." She's sitting all the way up now, wings buzzing angrily at her back, and the pain shooting through her shoulders and back from their motion only fuels the fire.

Emma Frost raises an eyebrow.

Mystique's eyes harden. "Exactly. So why wear the name of a woman who was a stripper?"

Her bluntness brings a hot flush to Angel's face. "I did what I had to."

"And now you don't," Emma Frost replies coolly.

Her cool seeps over to Angel, who sits back with a frown. Her wings settle against her back with relief at being put back out of use. She scowls. Mystique and Emma are right. She does not have to do the things she used to in order to survive. She is no longer the slave of circumstance and rejection, and it irks her like crazy that it took Mystique to point it out.

"To be the tempest implies being the tool," she points out, still determined to contend.

"Nonsense," Emma takes over the argument. She retrieves her teacup and takes a sip. "To be the tempest implies being the power."

Angel huffs. Mystique still watches her with glittering eyes.

"Well, what about you?" she demands.

Emma waves a hand airily. It looks a thousand times better on her than on Angel. "I was never a slave, dear. Never mind what Sebastian thought."

"And you?" Angel turns around and demands of Mystique.

Mystique's smile is dangerous. "I did what I had to do," she says icily. Yes, she hid her own skin beneath a fair, blonde-skinned perfection in the eyes of a world that would have killed her if they knew what she really is. And now...

"So humanity made you a slave?" Angel asks. She curls back over onto her comfortable pillow on the comfortable couch and makes a note to self to get more salve for her wings. Also to kill Azazel. He certainly deserves to sweat for a bit over this.

Mystique shakes her head and turns away.

Emma Frost smirks. "Your delightful brother Charles, is it? He always was the domineering time."

Mystique looks thoughtful. "No. Not domineering. Just...protective." Mystique turns back. Her teeth are white in her dark blue face; the contrasts makes her smile seem predatory. All those teeth, Angel thinks to herself. "I prefer to protect myself with the powers nature gave me rather than a man."

Emma's other eyebrow comes up. The dig is as sharp as hers. Defending Sebastian Shaw to Mystique or Erik is impossible and unwise. "And I suppose Erik does not fit the bill."

"Magneto," Mystique corrects. "Erik Lehnsherr is the name Shaw gave him."

Emma starts. "I didn't know that," she snaps, peevish that somebody knows more about him than she does.

Angel saw this fight "over a man" coming a few miles off and stayed far out of the way when it first reared its ugly head (the first night they were settling in; seriously, who needs the drama?), but this is a weakness good to know. Angel logs it away for future reference. She also pegged Emma Frost for a every-woman-for-herself sort of fighter and survivor from that very first night, and nothing since has disabused her of the notion.

Mystique looks smug. "Never mind his real name," she says, clearly in answer to a telepathic question or probe. "His chosen name is Magneto."

"It is a childish name." Emma frowns. Of course, to Emma, both Angel and Mystique are the children and she is the world-weary and wise.

Angel gets peevish when she's patronized.

"I like it," she says suddenly, picking up The Merchant of Venice again in all its "plebian" glory. "Tempest."