Title: Live

Fandom: X-Men Movieverse

Prompt: by xenokattz for XMFC. Title: Live.

Summary: She stood behind his shoulder, at his side, watching his back. Raven, Mystique, herself. She had to learn how to live.

She stood behind his shoulder, at his side, watching his back. Raven Darkholme-Xavier was the best sister in the whole world to one, Charles Xavier: his cohort in crime, his playmate in summer, his fellow mutant superhero in training, his best friend.

Then Erik happened. And Charles had a new best friend, a brother, and the word could have made her sick but she chose to be the best sister in the whole world and adopt him too. Privately, she wondered why Charles always had to adopt the people he cared about. Why couldn't she be the special one for once? Oh, shut up, Raven. You love him. Shut up.

She stood behind their shoulders, at their sides; she watched their backs. She agonized when they went their separate ways and obeyed her brother when he said he knew her heart.

G–, what arrogance. I never wanted— She cut herself off, smacked herself in the privacy of her own head, laughed at Emma's startled expression, and narrowed golden eyes in blue scaled skin. Shut up, Mystique. You love him. Just... shut up.

She stood behind his shoulder, at his side; she watched his back. She was his right hand woman and wielded a knife no sharper than her own teeth bared in deadly smile.

This wasn't living, but she wasn't about to define what living was. This wasn't dying, but she wasn't about to define what dying was. She never wanted the pedestal, never wanted to be pretty or useful—mouth curling with distaste.

Erik fell as men are wont. Phoenix fell as Xavier's children were wont. He did not know their hearts or strengths or powers or weaknesses any better than he had known hers. Charles fell, and she brushed back tears in the privacy of her mind and snarled curses and laughter at those who thought she cared. Mystique fell—and vanished.

Raven found herself standing before a gravestone in the back of the mansion she had once resided in, once played behind, once called her home. A woman walked up to her, thought they were the same age perhaps, certainly didn't recognize her enemy.

"I'm Ororo Munroe." She offered a hand. "Did you know him?"

Raven smiled. Better than you." Few really did." She did not take the proffered hand.

Ororo drew back uncomfortably, at the rejection, at the chastisement for presuming to know the mind of Charles.

Raven's smile faded. She bent down and brushed her fingers over the etched letters marking her brother's death. "I used to stay here."

"You lived here?" Ororo looked startled, did another take, clearly racking her memories for a face like Raven's. "What class?"

"First." Raven straightened. "First class." She bared teeth in a smile more deadly sharp than the knife strapped to her thigh under her dress. There were things to do, a world to rebuild. For mutants. For humans. For her fallen brothers and their fallen dreams, crushed beneath the heels of reality. She would do them. "I never lived here," she answered.

Then she turned around and walked away.