A/N: Prompts from LJ community 100wordstories and electrumqueen and copperiisulfate.

Iterations of Want

"Tell me a story, Charles." Thirteen-year-old Raven snuggled in beside her brother on his chair. She did not wait for his permission.

"I could read you my school report," Charles suggested, eyes twinkling. "It is scintillating material."

"No. I want to live it."

With a sigh, Charles set aside his books and pulled his little sister close.

"Alice and Wonderland," she demanded.

"You always want that one," he complained.

But she insisted. "It's my favorite."

So they met, mind to mind, and through his power, she became a little blonde girl named Alice and walked the world of his creation.

A knock on her door, a surprise gift—what girl wouldn't want these things from her almost boyfriend? But the gift had been something she no longer wanted, a denial of who she really was. And the almost boyfriend became the face of everyone who had never wanted who she really was—her mother, her father, even Charles...

Raven stared at the serum. He was sweet and cute and as geek as Charles ever was. She tried not to admit it, but she had a thing for geeks. She wanted him, hairy feet and all. Why couldn't he want her?

Charles refused to believe the warnings, and Erik's frown only grew deeper every day. Jean would hear their minds' soft whispers in her head.

You cannot remake her in her image. She's gone, Charles.

I'm not remaking her into anyone.

Stubborn, stubborn men.

Jean loved them both. She did not understand their drawn battles over chess pieces and images of little girls, so many of them with a hundred faces, a hundred skins. She did not understand why Erik did not want Charles to love her. She did not understand why Charles loved the other girls—faded memories, jaded love—better than he loved her.

I'll be good, she would whisper to her room of nights, when their pawns would slip into her dreams. I won't be Phoenix. I'll be Jean. I'll be good, as good as the other girls were.

Erik wanted her to be Phoenix, but Erik did not love her.

The best you ever had is just a memory.

Jean will be the best, Erik. She already is.

Stubborn, stubborn men. Pawns that look like redheaded girls, with a thousand faces, with fire under skin.

Her dreams would fade to images, birds: a firebird and a raven.

They want to be the heavens, his student, his girls. Always struggling to measure up and always failing.

"You're not alone, Professor. You still have me." Ororo would touch his shoulder, looked into his eyes were her deep concern.

But he would smile sadly and kindly pat her hand. "I know and I am grateful." But both of them knew he really wanted Jean.

Ororo wondered sometimes if she had found some way to hold back that water, stop that dam from breaking and killing them all, if she had been the one lost, then the Professor could be happy.