Prompt: Raven and Irene go out with Raven in disguise; two, three, five or whatever times, with different disguises. from rubynye

A/N: One more catch-up fic. This one was written waaaaaaaaaay back when.


~ 1 ~

The first time, she wore her brother's skin—just for fun, she said. She kissed Irene's mouth with her brother's mouth and pointed out the sights as if she could flash them telepathically into her lover's mind.

Irene did not comment on the appearance, but then, Irene did not know Charles, except as his older self and the life he would one day lead. She did not know the soft mouth with a frown not yet grown firm and unyielding. She did not know the blue eyes that still remembered what it meant to have peers as friends and sisters, not students, that still remembered how to love better his allies than his enemies. Irene didn't know the Charles that ran and caught and threw American footballs, that laughed for the joy of laughing, that stood with the giants of the mind.

And yet, sometimes Raven thought she envied this her lover. Raven did not know the man that Charles would become—and never would.

- xx -

She hadn't meant to turn her dates with Irene into a series of exes, but when the precog asked what Hank used to be like, Raven happily obliged by shifting.

Irene tilted her head as if she could see through the dark glasses and reached out her hand to feel. Finally, she humphed speculatively. "I think you like geeks."

Raven laughed. "You're not a geek." She pulled away and shifted into something new—a dignified African princess type—to dispel the discomfort at the idea. "You're a genius."

Irene raised an eyebrow. Her gaze turned away, probably into the future.

Only then did it occur to Raven that there was little difference between the two.

~ 2 ~

She had a fondness for Italian shoes and Irene liked to indulge her, so Raven shifted into her own blonde-haired, fair-skinned Darkholme-Xavier form and painted the town.

"Tell me," she would ask, "which pair of boots looks better?" and draw the startled glances of nearby shoppers who could see clearly that Irene was blind (the dark glasses tipped them off).

Irene would tilt her head and study Raven through those dark glasses as if she really could see, then answer.

Raven hated it. She wanted to lean over and kiss her lover. Wanted to kiss her because Irene was deciding which pair made Raven happier. But she couldn't. This sort of thing wasn't acceptable.

Then she would frown and Irene would frown with her and the game would stop being fun.

She thought when she left Charles, she wouldn't have to hide.

- xx -

She got tired so often of this life of hers, but dutifully, she slipped into another skin, this time Eric's. She wanted to feel Irene's hand in hers, not like a girlfriend to play around with and shop with and talk with—as if they were sisters, but like a lover for real.

They enjoyed Paris. Recruiting mutants worked well for their relationship. A change of scenery frequently and plenty of room to work together and separately as their moods dictated and, of course, romantic locales for their infrequent dates.

But when Raven leaned over to kiss Irene with Eric's mouth, Irene stopped her with one hand.

"You kiss me," she said.

And for once, Raven was totally at a loss.

~ 3 ~

She studied her face in the mirror. They were in for the night—Emma was sparkling for Eric and Azazel, as if they cared; Angel and Riptide were fuming at each other in the kitchen while waging battle over who had more excellent Latin culinary cuisine; Irene was curled up with a braille book in the front room while Avalanche leaned over her shoulder and asked how she did it—and Raven was standing alone in her room before the full-length mirror she preferred for "practice."

She turned her feet to Hank's feet—not blue, and her eyes to Charles' eyes and her hands to Eric's strong hands and her hair to red and then to Emma's golden blonde and her face to blue, then back again. Scales shifted into diamonds, shifted into batlike wings, turned red and fiery, turned olive and tanned, turned blue and smooth, turned scaly once more.

Finally, she stared at herself, her own self, in the mirror. Did she love Irene with only faces?

"I," Raven told her reflection firmly, "am a fool."

- xx -

It is three years later, in Amherst, Australia. Eric wants a little boy who can control fire. Raven wants some time with Irene.

They take it, strolling down an avenue together, hand in hand. Raven wears her blue skin and red hair and golden eyes and a yellow sundress that contrasts nicely. Irene seems to cling a little tighter because it's her.

They talk over little things, happy things, things that make Irene laugh the way Raven loves.

And she leans over to kiss her.

~ fin ~