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Fic: Rebuilding Burned Bridges (2nd prequel)

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May. 11th, 2008 | 02:31 pm
mood: calmcalm
posted by: mayachain in dry_ice

This took a lot longer to finish than I had anticipated (new semester etc...) and I'm still not quite satisfied with it, but I think this is as good as it's going to get, so... here's the Mystique-centric prequel to Rebuilding Burned Bridges.

Title: Rebuilding Burned Bridges (2nd prequel)
Author: mayachain (mayachain)
Featuring: Mystique, St John, Bobby
Rating: PG-13
Summary: How Mystique came to work together with Robert Drake, even if he is a not-quite former X-Man. (Not how she came to allow Jimmy to call her Auntie Em).

Part 1 of Rebuilding Burned Bridges can be found here, all following chapters are linked internally. A short overview can be found in the During or after X3: Series section on mayachain's fic list here.





Rebuilding Burned Bridges, prequel

Years after the fact, she thinks that Erik's betrayal should never have had a chance to have such a devastating impact on her self-perception, on the person she has become because of it. Temporarily stunted genetic makeup and its limitations on her identity aside, she should never have let it come so far that the actions of another person could hurt her deeper than her so-called parents' fear and hatred.

The first two weeks after the first solitary scale makes an appearance on only very slightly blue skin are filled with overwhelming, all-encompassing relief.

On the fourteenth day, however, she finds herself shaking, harder than ever before, eyes full of fury as she stands in front of the mirror. The first wave of euphoria is irrevocably gone, and she can't help but admit that it'll still take her a long time to recover after… after.


*

Mystique knows about the monthly vaccinations at Westchester almost from the get-go. She keeps a wary eye on the gradual development of manageable doses and monthly routines, even marches into the impromptu clinic three or four times. After seven weeks of observation, it seems to her that Storm's still dead set against the whole matter altogether and Logan is quite keen to keep the authorities out of this business. For the time being, she bides her time and doesn't breathe a word to the Brotherhood.

The easiest way to solve the cure problem once and for all, Mystique knows, would be to simply kill the Leech kid. She could do it, too - could march right into the Mansion and have it done before any of the boy's so-called protectors would have time to react. Except… Except sacrificing one mutant for the greater good would entail to do it Erik's way, Magneto's way. She doesn't have a firm grip on herself yet, and until she can be dead sure about where she stands, she needs to stay as far away from measures he deemed appropriate as she can.

Besides, Jimmy reminds her of the little boy St John transformed to, tough lieutenant soldier to eight-year-old right before her eyes when he caught the measles two months after Alkali.

*

It takes her a while to come to terms with the fact that she doesn't really know anything outside of the Brotherhood or the X-Men. She doesn't have the strength, yet, to start her own operation, and no matter how much she loathes the fact, they are the giant players on the horrifically perverted chess field of mutants against humanity. The world ever being imperfect and demanding intermediate solutions, she makes it her business to know what everyone is doing. Everyone, be they Brotherhood or X-Men, Government or Friends of Humanity, she keeps tabs on them, traces their every moves so they will be at a disadvantage when she decides it's time to make a move, her one goal in life to always be at least one step ahead of them.

She's pretty sure Shadowcat, at least, knows someone is spying on their every computer, every line of communication they have, but none of the digital walls and locks that get put up are quite enough. Erik tries, but it's damn near impossible to alter the Brotherhood's lines of communications in a way that shuts her out, and she has years of experience in hacking into the computers at Westchester.


*

She can't not stay in touch with St John. One of the few anchoring points in the despicable emotional chaos that has become her life is the relief she feels when she thinks of him: Relief he got out of the mess that was Alcatraz alive, relief he believes she won't lead the authorities to him, relief even when he goes against her advice and regroups with Magneto a few months in. All she ever had with Erik was a partnership, never a friendship, but the boy tried to make them both his family. (Mystique / Raven / whatever hideous contortion of those two names that will fit in the end) refuses to let him down the way she knows it's only a matter of time before Erik will. That's the reason she starts calling him St John the second time they share a cup of coffee far away from the Brotherhood's many eyes. She cannot stand the thought of him being just Pyro anymore, and she needs the proof that she has some part of him that Magneto doesn't.

*

As the years pass, Mystique finds herself discreetly helping along the Brotherhood's efforts to slow down speciesist human research about as often as she lets something about their plans slip to the X-Men. The world she sees developing before her eyes does nothing to stop her believing that the ultimate solution lies in warfare with the humans, but - well. There's a lot of satisfaction to be had in annoying Magneto by undermining his authority via failed plans. Plus, while she approves of every time he causes a secret government facility to blow up, there's nothing she won't do to keep the soldier boys with the few remaining cure guns away from St John.

*

She finds out what Bobby is doing more or less by accident, or maybe that sneaky Shadowcat lets something slip on purpose because she thinks they could use her help. Before, Mystique would have laughed at the covert survival scheme the boy is trying to set up. However, with Erik's way still the only radical solution and the rapid progress the human research seems to be making, mutants are going to need all the alternatives they can get. As long as they're ready to fight if they ever have to, she's quite willing to support the ice cube's attempt at a middle way.

I don't really know why, but I want to help you, she says to him, looking steadily into slightly terrified, dewdrop-blue eyes; and help him she does, the security sequences she works out for the 24/7 gym only one of Auntie M's many contributions. Her only condition is that the Government must never, ever find out about the research Hank is doing, and none of the X-Men who might possibly one day find out about their being in contact has a problem with that.

They understand each other; unlike Storm, he doesn't expect her to become a pacifist, and unlike Logan, she doesn't expect his little college friends to become soldiers.

It helps a lot, that Bobby Drake is the only person St John ever asks about, does ask about when Iceman suddenly disappears from the scene.

*

She's given up on the older generation, and the faith in her own generation was lost with Scott's and Jean's deaths. The younger generation, though, the younger generation is easier to work with.

If Magneto ever finds her, she fully expects him to end her life, or at least try to award her with his form of the 'cure' for good. If Storm ever finds her, she expects to be put in a cell and be grilled for all the intel she's gathered, for all the information she's worth.

These days, seeing the younger generation build something of their own is the only thing that gives her faith.

So she stays on the sidelines, ever observant, and plays both sides, watches St John follow Magneto on a path that makes him lose more and more of his soul, watches Bobby's little college group become a viable little something, and when she gives him the note with the address to Bobby's hall of residence, she hopes to a God she doesn't believe in that when he breaks the way she knows he will someday soon, it will be enough to save him.

*





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Comments {4}

Profiterole

(no subject)

from: _profiterole_
date: May. 11th, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC)
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I love your Mystique, she's awesome.

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train_diskense

(no subject)

from: train_diskense
date: May. 11th, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC)
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Your Mystique is complicated and awesome. I love her. <3 But then I love Mystique in general.

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Jakob

(no subject)

from: nexusofcrisis
date: May. 11th, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)
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Dude, your Mystique and mine are part of the same mindcloth, I think. You just write her better. Good lord.
I can haz moar now plz?

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(no subject)

from: lux_apollo
date: May. 12th, 2008 06:54 pm (UTC)
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You are awesome.

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