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fic: Facing a Mirror

oops, forgot to crosspost this here...

Title: Facing a Mirror
Fandom: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Length: 555 words
Content notes: no warnings apply
Characters: Raven/Mystique; French Emergency Nurse
Author notes: Written for the Mirror challenge at fan_flashworks; thanks to [personal profile] kalypso for excellent beta advice and [personal profile] theicescholar for cheering me on.
Summary: “Can you imagine looking in a mirror and seeing that looking back at you?”



“It's terrible,” the French nurse says.

“What?” Raven asks, her eyes still fixed on the television screen.

The news footage from outside the Peace Accord has a kind of sick fascination for her, watching herself limp bleeding away into the crowd as if it was happening to someone else.

“To be born like that.”

The disgust in the woman's voice catches Raven off guard, even after a lifetime's experience of human hatred and prejudice. For an awful moment she thinks she might be about to cry. She's so tired of holding this passing-for-human image together when she's already weak and her leg hurts. She's still half in shock, not just from the physical pain, but from the realization that Erik seriously intended to kill her, and that Charles could do nothing to stop him.

“Really?”

Maybe if she sounds politely bored the wretched woman will go away and leave her alone.

But no, she has to re-bandage Raven's leg. It's all Raven can do not to scream Don't touch me!

“Can you imagine looking in a mirror and seeing that looking back at you?”

Shit, this woman is nothing if not persistent. Raven fights the urge to brain her with a bedpan.

“Yes, I can,” she says, and thinks You don't know the half of it.

How many times has she seen a stranger's face look back at her from the mirror? To see her own blue skin and golden eyes is a rare event these days, glimpses caught in the reflecting glass of Trask's secret filing cabinet or the polished metal of the staircase walls.

She remembers grimacing at the bathroom mirror in Oxford, her blue skin bright against the white towelling bathrobe. Mimicking that stupid woman with heterochromia Charles had picked up in the pub: “Mutant and proud!”

These last years, since leaving Charles, she's tried to live by that slogan in earnest, but sometimes the strain is more than she can bear.

“Where do you think she comes from? Do you think she has a family?”

The nurse's incessant questions are like needles under her skin. God, make it stop.

Where she comes from is so far in the past that she barely remembers that early time of cold and hunger. It's as if her life began with meeting Charles. Two children staring at each other in a kitchen in the middle of the night, realizing they weren't alone after all.

Charles yesterday, kneeling by her side in the conference room, trying to calm her as she convulsed and cried out, her body shaken uncontrollably by the metal barbs from that soldier's electrical gun. “We've come for you, Erik and I. Together.” Charles's eyes, full of love and hope.

Even before she saw the gun leap into Erik's hand, she should have known it was too good to be true. Just another attempt to control her, the way Charles always has.

Of course he wants her to come home. Wants her to be his reflection, when he long ago stopped being hers. She can't do that for him any more. She has to be herself, whatever that is. But the bond between them is strong, even after all these years: she wouldn't know how to break it now.

“Yes,” she says, as much to herself as to the nurse. “Yes, she does.”



Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/168316.html with comment count unavailable comments.

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