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by Te

by Te
May 23, 2003

Disclaimers: Not even close to mine.

Spoilers: X-Men: The Movie, X2.

Summary: Home, family, satisfaction.

Ratings Note: PG-13.

Author's Note: Dude, this movie ROCKED.

Acknowledgments: To the IRC crew for audiencing, suggestions, and encouragement, especially shalott.

Feedback: Always.


For Mystique, pleasure can be found in many things.

There is the endless variation of her skin, the shock on the faces of the people she sees on the street, the particular taste of deceit on her tongue...

Being Kelly has been... delicious on a number of levels. She sits in her office surrounded by the bigoted and simply ignorant and lets her flesh shift beneath the cheap suits the man favored. Now, as the secretary scribbles and frowns, she has the body of someone born for the choicest of gay pornography -- shaved and toned and golden just behind the wool.

Now, as the right honorable Senator Davies asks her if she really, truly, means to give the muties that much power, her flesh flows like water, clear and sparkling in the moments before dissolution.

Now, as the clock ticks toward momentary freedom, she builds herself a pussy beneath the baggy suit pants. Not especially different from her own, though strangely, wonderfully exposed with hair instead of scales.

She makes it red, makes it blond, makes it brown with a flashy skunk stripe.

She smiles, and nods in affable dismissal as Kelly's modern court and courtiers make themselves scarce.

It's time to go home.

It is an effort not to simply shift back into herself as she drives the Beltway -- there are mutants in some of the cars she passes, after all -- but it's a temptation she's accustomed to ignoring. The most important aspect of her abilities is mental. Thoughtfulness and iron control, and the ways to find these things.

She has enough faith in her ability to blithely lie her way past any number of obstacles, but it's best not to test this sort of thing, on any level.

The traffic pauses in a morass of metal and pollution and she smiles as she imagines the shapes Erik could make of it all. Art and artifice and weapon... someday. Another pause and she punches a button on the cell phone, slides the headset over Kelly's thin and unremarkable hair.


She puts a touch of rue in the man's voice. "Honey, it's Rob --"

Soft laughter. Beth is so much happier and more relaxed these days. "Don't tell me -- you're working late."

She chuckles in response. "You know me too well, babe."

"Hmph. Don't you forget it. Do you want me to leave you a plate in the fridge, or do you think you'll make it home tonight?"

And it would be nice to spend a night in her own bed, her own skin, but... Beth is a far better cook than anyone Erik's found. "Would you?"

"You know it, honey. Just be a little quiet coming in. Carl has some kind of math test tomorrow --"

Mystique can hear the word "algebra" spoken with the true loathing only a thirteen year old can manage. She smiles despite herself. The child is... sweet.

"All right, Carl, algebra. Anyway, he needs his rest."


In her mind's eye, Mystique can see Beth rolling her eyes, see the smile dimpling her round, soft cheeks. She lets her own smile widen, and wonders what it would feel like on her own face. "Sure thing, Beth. Okay, it looks like traffic's starting to move --"

"I'll see you later, Rob."

"Love ya."

Mystique hangs up and focuses on getting to the warehouse. Technically, the neighborhood isn't quite the sort where a car like Kelly's would go unnoticed, but she'll be able to park it inside.

Erik. Erik is... waiting for her? Playing with the little one?

She wants... she's not sure what she wants. It would've been a dark and beautiful thing, an epic thing if their plan had worked with the Stryker boy, but she hadn't really expected it. Nothing works out as easily as that. Stryker himself should have known that.

The world is not built for grand gestures. There is no completion that can be found in broad gestures. Revolutions are built on the small and the secret, and nothing is ever truly erased.

She runs a hand over Kelly's paunch.

She knows that better than anyone.

And yet... Erik himself longs to write his message large on the world. She doesn't hate him for it, or hold him in even the slightest disrespect -- she doesn't think she could -- it's just... the way he is.

Perhaps Stryker's men had felt the same way, if any of them had given any thought to life beyond their pretty guns and ugly uniforms.

There is something endlessly seductive about a true believer, no matter what the nuts and bolts of their beliefs may be. There is a passion to people who think about more than their own fates, and Mystique knows herself well enough to understand that she has no real resistance to it.

She takes the exit into Baltimore proper and starts maneuvering her way into the poorer neighborhoods. At a mostly empty intersection, she makes herself younger, darker, and somewhat more viscerally menacing. It's a body she doesn't wear often, but there's a license and registration for it in a little space just beyond the glove compartment.

She switches it with Kelly's at the next red light and thrums a little, just beneath the skin.

The boy with them now... mm.

Not as much control as Toad, not as much power as Sabretooth. But the raw potential in him is... just a little thrilling. Anger, resentment, and so much violence. All under Erik's control, now.

She is just petty enough to enjoy the coup of snatching him from Xavier's grasp. Erik had always believed it wouldn't take very much to change the minds of the Professor's charges, but having Pyro was not the same as knowing he could be had. She thinks it might just change... everything.

She pushes the button recessed above the visor and watches the door open just in time for a truly impressive fireball to bloom and disappear in a haze of smoke. When she steps out of the car, the boy is playing with his Zippo, pressing it to his mouth and looking... frustrated?

She shifts back into herself, stretching and humming at the feel of her hips broadening, the crackle of bone and muscle and scales settling into place.

"Practicing, Pyro?"

"There remains the difficulty of not being able to generate flame on his own." She looks up to find Erik on the loft, stroking the iron handrail absently. "I believe it to be a matter of concentration."

"And why can't I just take the lighter with me wherever I go? I mean, I'm just saying." Flick, spark, flare --

Erik gestures and the Zippo flies up to land in his palm with a small, final smack. He nods to Mystique and there are no words needed.

She flips and dives for him, kicking him in the ribs twice before landing several short, hard jabs. He hits the floor and kicks up, surprise and fury in his eyes, but it's the work of a moment to catch his ankles up high and kick him in the groin --

"Do try not to give him any permanent damage --"

Lightly. She drops, straddling his chest and pinning his arms to the dusty, concrete floor. "Defend yourself."

He glares at her, mouth twisting with unspoken vitriol and then he... drifts away. Somewhere inside. Mystique tilts her head and watches as his eyes close, as his lashes flicker and twitch. And there is... heat.

A sense of something building just beyond what she can see or touch --

Gone, and the boy collapses beneath her, limp and still. She presses a thumb to his pulse. Unconscious.

Looks to Erik, who is smiling at her.

"I felt something," she says.

"Mm." He floats down to crouch beside them, a thin, smooth disk of metal hitting the floor with a tiny clatter. Strokes dark hair away from the boy's forehead. "Xavier was always far too... protective of his charges. I understand the impulse, but..." He smiles at her again, leaves the boy to take her by the chin.

As always, there is a sense about him of power banked and controlled and ready. She imagines she can feel it in her blood, iron singing to his touch. "Yes?"

"There's something to be said for trial by fire, my dear."

She smiles and dips her head, rubbing her face against his palm. A few scales peel gently away before slipping back into place. "Shall I move him?"

Just then, the boy twitches between her thighs.

"Nngh... ow."

Eyes open, wide and unremarkably blue. The boy blinks up at her with a mildly endearing confusion.

"Wakey wakey, Pyro..."

"What... I think I..."

His face has a soft, unfinished quality as it crumples in pain. Almost childlike. She resists the urge to stroke it and thinks of Carl.

"I think I... did something."

Erik lays a hand on the boy's forehead, an oddly soft gesture that the boy leans into at once. Mystique wonders if it's different for Erik to have someone so... conventional among his charges and stands. Watches.

"You feel a trifle feverish, my boy, but I think that isn't abnormal for you, now is it?"

"Mm. Always hot. Always. God, my head hurts." The boy starts to get up and Erik helps him, catching his shoulder when he sways. "Thanks. I... did it...?"

There's a curiously hopeful expression on his face that Mystique can't help but respond to. "I felt it start to get warm -- hot. Before you passed out."

The smile on his face is brilliant. "All right!"

Erik chuckles and claps him on the back. "There is a great power in you, Pyro. We're going to help you find it."

We. It makes Mystique want to rub a hand over her flat, rough belly. Makes her think of family, and home, and all the things they could mean. Should mean. She smiles. "You're going to make the world burn, pretty boy."

Flash of something hard and sweet, but the smile he has for her is gentle and faintly admiring.

A moment's tableau of warmth and then Erik nods and turns to her. "Some of the computers arrived earlier, Mystique."

"I'll get them set up."

And as she walks away, not quite listening to the encouragement from Erik and the open curiosity and happiness from the boy, she thinks of Beth and Carl, waiting for her in a neighborhood full of fat, successful humans who dream of nothing but the next vacation, the latest acquisitions.

Beth is sweetly loving of her husband, and Carl is perfectly, boringly normal. There is comfort among them, and a certain deceitful variety of domesticity, but...

They have nothing to this. This space -- small now, but with the potential to grow -- where she can be nothing but herself, this family where Erik wants nothing but the best for all of them, from all of them and Pyro...

One day he's going to look finished, hard and polished and full of his power. And Mystique will be part of that, and the world...

The world will be her own, at last.

True pleasure in that.

And more than a little... satisfaction.

Mystique lets her scales curl and settle, curl and settle, and knows happiness.


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