Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Mystique, Rogue, Mystique/Destiny, and mildly references past Gambit/Rogue
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words Say What Friday: "You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." -- C.S. Lewis
Warning(s): Spoilers, Cannon Character Death
Word Count: 1,326
Date Written: 2 September 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Marvel Comics and Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
“Rogue! Don’t let go!” Raven cries as her daughter clasps her hands.
“Why shouldn’t Ah, ‘Mothah’?” Rogue demands icily, the name Mystique had once cherished being twisted by her sardonic mouth. “You threw Kurt ovah a cliff when he was a baby! Why shouldn’t Ah do the same to you?”
“Irene had a quote that she used to love,” Raven tells her quickly. “‘You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.’ That’s true for us, Rogue! We can change our ending! It doesn’t have to end this way! Our story doesn’t have to be over! We can start again!”
Rogue’s green eyes glare furiously down at the blue-skinned woman who she had once loved as her mother. “Wrong answer,” she snarls and lets go.
Raven doesn’t scream as she drops, but she does cry. She can easily grow wings and fly away from this. A fall isn’t going to kill a shapeshifter like herself. What hurts is realizing that her daughter is never going to trust her again. Irene was wrong: A story can’t always be rewritten. All the players have to be willing to try again, and Rogue will never be willing to give her another chance.
She’s done everything she can, Raven thinks as she plummets. She’s been there for her again and again, even when she didn’t want her anywhere near. She’s forced her to face the truth about LeBeau before he could hurt her again. She’s saved her life numerous times. She’s even tried to apologize, for what little good it’s done. She’s lived a long life and made thousands of mistakes, but the one thing she wants to redo more than anything else is the one thing she’s never going to get to try again at because Rogue isn’t going to let go.
Raven gasps with surprise as two strong hands suddenly grasp hers. “You’re not goin’ that easily,” Rogue drawls, still clearly angry. “Ah don’t know how things here might’ve affected yoah powers, or maybe it’s just another one o’ yoah tricks, but you’re not dyin’ on mah watch. Ah’m better’n you, an’ Ah won’t be like you.”
Raven waits until Rogue sits her back down back on top of the building that isn’t a building in a place that is a place between places where most people never visit, or even know of its existence. Only then does she turn back to Rogue. “I’m not trying to trick you again, Rogue,” she tries yet again to explain. “I only want to help you beat this.”
Rogue shakes her head. “It’s too late for yoah to help me do anythin’, ‘Mothah’.”
Raven sighs, her head hanging. “You really do hate me, don’t you?” Her answer comes not in words but in the furious glare of Rogue’s emerald green eyes before she turns away from her, turning her back on her yet again.
“Fine. But just let me help you with this one task. You know I have a lot of . . . skills to offer.”
“I know you have a lot o’ lies,” Rogue shoots back, glaring at her from over her shoulder, “but it’s not like we can just throw you outta here. That’s why you kept your deceitful mask on as long as you did. You knew, long as we thought you were Hank, we’d let you come, an’ once you were here with us on th’ Astral Plane, it’s not like we can just throw yoah sorry ass back out that door.”
Raven looks over at her in calm acknowledgement, but then she smiles. “You’re right,” she admits. “You’re stuck with me, Rogue, so you might as well let me help.”
“You can help, Mystique, but once we’re back on the regular plane, you walk away from me, you hear me? You walk away an’ don’t look back or all bets are off, an’ Ah will kick yoah ass.”
Mystique nods, forcing her smile to disappear. Her plan has worked thus far. She’s here with Rogue, one of the very few beings she has right now from whom she can receive help. Maybe, with time, she’ll learn to trust her again. Raven snorts. She knows better than that.
Rogue will never trust her again, not after all she’s done. Irene, as much as it pains her, was wrong. They can’t rewrite their story, but maybe they can at least write a new chapter together. Maybe they can come not to be friends, and surely never family again, but maybe they can at least become alliances again. Maybe she can get Rogue to trust her that much again.
Anything, she reminds herself, is better than nothing, and that’s the true reason she’s here: The world can go to Hell in a handbasket for all she cares. She’s not here for the world. She’s here for her daughter, and maybe this time, she can finally make a difference in their relationship for the better. Maybe they can write that next chapter. Maybe they can come a little closer. She’s got nothing left to lose in the world at large; she might as well try.
Rogue snorts and rolls her eyes. “Don’t.”
“Don’t act like we’re friends or like Ah saved you. We both know better’n that. You’re here on a secret agenda, ‘Mothah’. We both know that. Ah’ll find out what it is eventually, but yeah, Ah guess we can use yoah help in the meantime. The Shadow King is one o’ th’ most formidable foes we’ve evah faced, an’ we can’t let him take o’er th’ world.”
We can let him take over the world, Mystique thinks, gazing across the distance at her daughter. We just can’t let him take over you. Aloud, however, and with a smile, she retorts, “You’re right. I am here on a secret agenda. You let me know when you figure out what that is.”
She walks ahead of her, planning their pathway, scheming already on how to escape this place with her and Rogue’s lives in tact, feeling her daughter’s eyes boring into her back, but not looking back. Maybe you weren’t wrong, Irene. Maybe you were. I don’t know, but I’ll give it everything I’ve got. I’ll try to get our daughter back. For you.
For the briefest of seconds, Mystique sees a glimmer in the path up ahead. She tenses, expecting the Shadow King to use her beloved Irene’s image against her, but he doesn’t. He hasn’t picked up on that one of her particular weaknesses, at least not yet. For you, her lover’s voice comes to her from beyond the grave.
Raven nods and finally steals a glance back at Rogue, who’s purposefully not looking at her. For us both, she declares and settles in, resolved to try. Rogue may not want a change in their story, but she’ll never stop trying to rewrite it. She promised Irene she’d be there for her, and she will until the day she does die, even if Rogue never sees her true position. Even if she never believes her, there’s a part of Raven who will never stop loving the little girl she shared with her deceased wife, a fierce mother who will never stop fighting to get her child back.
“Rogue -- “
“Just shut up an’ keep walkin’,” her daughter snarls.
Raven does as instructed, but not without a smile. She’s back in her daughter’s life, back at her side, and that’s both closer to her than she was just twenty four hours ago and more than she could have hoped for at that time. She’s closer to her. They may not be rewriting the ending of their story together, but they are turning a new page in their continued story -- and that, if nothing else, is a sign of hope. I’ll keep fighting, Irene. I promise.