Title: By Any Other Name
Summary: History always repeats itself. Raven/Hank
Prompt: LJ prompt meme. Raven comes in disguise to see Hank. He identifies her by her scent. Prompt by rubynye
A/N: Yes, I have other stories I owe you all. I'm even working on them. I promise. And I'll get them posted soon.


Hank "met" her at Harry's Hangout, the little diner place down the road where they'd already accepted Xavier's team for exactly what they were, blue fur and all.

But she wasn't blue.

Mediterranean, Hank thought, when he walked in and saw her. Gold skin, high cheekbones, impossibly dark hair rippling over her shoulders, a reserved grace that did not fit at all with the radiant brightness of a certain blonde girl who had been sheltered a little too well, a little too long, before he'd trampled all over her heart one battle's eve. She smelled exactly like the a summer's day, all blue and heat and freshness.

She smelled like Raven.

She was reading a thick tome on science and paranormal phenomena, one eyebrow furrowed in evident confusion.

Hank knew the book, knew how dry and dense it was (though it had fascinated him ten years ago when he first figured out that he was no longer what someone could call "normal"), and wondered if it was Charles' dreadful papers that could enable her to plow through such a work with such studied concentration. He hesitated. This could all be a ploy (but of course, it was; she was the mistress of illusion), but to what end?

Almost against his will, he ordered his usual, then asked the mediterranean stranger (who was not a stranger), "College?" Hank put one hand on the back of the chair opposite her nervously, but couldn't bring himself to ask directly.

She smiled, brilliantly, but again, so unlike her smile. But it was beautiful. The illusion was perfect and when she nodded, a trifle helplessly, and offered him the seat in front of her, he took it, all too glad to pretend she really was a stranger and that they'd never really met.

She gave him a shy, guarded smile and brushed a lock of black hair off of her golden cheek. "I'm Trish."

"Hank." He smiled back, then closed his mouth hastily. His smile was fiercer now that his whole body was like a ... beast. He grimaced at the thought, then froze. His grimace was worse than his smile.

'Trish' glanced at him quizzically. "Are you okay?"

"Fine." He nodded and reached for his cup. But Harry hadn't brought it yet. Hank drew back his hand again. "So." He nodded at her book, pretending nonchalance with nothing like her practiced ease. "Tough reading?"

Her brow furrowed. She set the book on the table between them. "That's putting it lightly," she said darkly, then prodded it with one finger, like it was dangerous. It was the closest she had come to her own self, and it made him think.

If this was going to work—whatever this was—then now was the time to start building backstory, some new history under their new identities. (But how long could such an illusion really last?)

"I've read it before," Hank offered abruptly. "In fact, I did my thesis on it."

One raised eyebrow. "Genius as well as cute."

He felt his cheeks grow hot; he wondered if she could tell when a blue-furred mutant blushed.

He wondered if she had truly forgiven him.

He almost blurted then—Raven, why are you doing this?—but he took a deep breath, and it was her, all summery and hot and blue and sitting right in front of him with that little smile and quizzically tilted head, just as if the skin she wore was the only thing that had ever changed.

He took a deep breath. "I guess."