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[personal profile] a_q
Title: Wednesday
Request: "something dealing with the similarity between Hank's serum in First Class and the mutant "cure" in X3. Perhaps older!Hank finds depowered!Mystique after the movie?"
Rating: gen
Movies: X-Men: First Class, X3
Word count: ~2000
Notes: Written for lonelywalker in X-men Movie Ficathon 2011.
Thank you for beta work, st_aurafina! All mistakes are mine.

In some way, Hank had always waited for her. It made no sense, and yet, he couldn't deny it. Somewhere in his mind, he had always believed that one day she would appear on his doorstep.
Still, it surprised him when it finally happened.

It was a Wednesday. His secretary had a half-day, so Hank decided to take bunch of paperwork to home and work there. He had only started to go through the reports, when the doorbell rang.
His apartment was old, a maze of small connected rooms. The doorbell chimed the second time before Hank could reach the door.

“I'm coming, hold on,” he said and fumbled with the lock that had tendency to stuck when it rained. He finally opened the door, and there she was. Straight black hair, clear blue eyes, white wool coat, smelling faintly of outdoors; car exhaust and rain, with something sweet, like sugar.
His heart literally stopped beating for a moment. It was a strange feeling, and quite painful.

“Hello Hank.”

Her voice was soft like he remembered, but there was a sharper edge to it, like she waited him to slam to door to her face and already steeled herself against it.

“May I come in?” She asked, staring straight in his eyes with a familiar intensity.

“Um,” Hank said, grasping for words. When he had imagined this moment, he had always had the perfect reply to anything she could say. Angry, or elegant or clever, sometimes a sarcastic snide, sometimes only a soft laugh. But now, when she really was here, he couldn't remember any of those perfect replies.

Raven smiled and stepped in, walking past him into the apartment. “Ah, um, it's a bit messy...” he said to her back, and she glanced over her shoulder, smiling again. Hank's heart made an unsteady bounce.

“I don't mind a bit of mess. This way to the kitchen?”

“Yes, but why...” Hank started, but she had already vanished. Hank followed in her wake, his bare feet patting quietly against the parquet. He never wore shoes or socks at home. Raven wore high-heels that made a clicking sound when she walked. Hank could hear it clearly, his brain calculating the distribution of mass for holding balance over such shoes. There was no reason to do that, but his brain liked to surprise him. Hank ignored the math and walked after her.

Hank stopped at the kitchen door. He rarely used the place for nothing but making a cup of cocoa, the space was much too small for him. Raven fit in beautifully, of course. She always fit, even with this new, or maybe original, shape of hers. She filled the kettle with water and opened a few cupboards, noticing they were all empty.

“You have nothing. Where is your coffee?”

“I don't...I think there was...I mean, the cupboard on the right has cocoa...”

“Really? And Chocolate milk in the fridge, I suppose?”

“I like chocolate milk! What's wrong with that?”

“Nothing. Relax, I'm just asking. No need to be so sensitive.” Raven went through the cupboards with the efficiency of a seasoned burglar, and Hank couldn't help but wonder how many file cabinets and closets she had searched through in her career. Probably thousands. Though back then, she had looked for something other than cocoa.

“The Swiss has the best treats, don't you think? Chocolate, pastries, oh and those pancake type of things, have you tried those?”

“Why are you here, Raven?” Hank asked quietly. “I don't think it is because the waffles.”

“Can't I visit an old friend?” She asked with a light tone, well rehearsed but still fake. She placed cups on the counter, found the spoons and the sugar.

“You can, I just didn't know I was your friend,” Hank said and he felt a twinge of pleasure when Raven's back stiffened for a moment, before she returned spooning the cocoa in the cups. The silence turned strange. Hank didn't feel bad for her hurt feelings. He had the right to say much meaner things to her, and Raven knew it. The kettle whistled and Raven poured the water, twirled the spoon around to break the clumps and then held the cup out to him.

“I guess you have chairs somewhere in this place?” Raven asked. “I could really sit down. I've walked for hours.”


“Do you think it was easy to come to you? Just walk to your door, press the doorbell, simple as that?”

Hank stared at her for a moment before he took the offered cocoa and nodded. “Let's go sit in the living room.”

The living room was spacious, but oddly shaped. Some previous owner had knocked down some walls between smaller rooms, and the result was a space that had too many corners. Hank had added different kinds bookshelves in every open wall space, so the room resembled more of an overgrown library than a living room. There was also comfortable armchairs, and a coffee table even though it was hardly visible under all the papers stacked on it.

Hank politely waited for her to pick a chair and sit down before sitting down himself. They sipped the cocoa in silence. Hank tried to think something to say, something polite, that would help with this strange feeling. He wanted to stop staring at her, but it was impossible to keep his eyes from her. Her skin was beautiful. The way it glowed in the afternoon light, so soft and smooth. The skin of a newborn.
Raven stared right back at him.

“Go ahead, ask away.”

”How does it feel?” Hank asked, staring at his hands. The mug looked like a doll cup between his paws. ”Is it how we imagined when we were kids?”

”You don't remember anymore? You were born with the normal skin, I wasn't,” Raven said. “You had the real thing. I only had the mock-up.”

”I remember some things. Well. More precisely, I remember some sensations,” Hank said, thinking back.

”What kind of sensations?”

”Like...Goosebumps. I miss those.”

”Do you remember me?” Raven asked, smiling. ”Do you remember the kiss?”

Hank smirked. ”Actually, we never got to the kiss, Raven. He was always there, ruining the moment.”

”Oh. That's true. He did that a lot. Even later...” Raven waved her hand to details, “He had, or still has, I don't know, a weird knack for interruptions.”

“Have you...” Hank started to ask and Raven shook her head quickly, to stop him right there.

“I don't want to talk about him. If you bring him up, I have to bring Alex up, and I'm sure that you don't want to talk about him.”

“No. I don't.”

They sat in silence again, both lost in thought. They both had their ghosts, the elephants standing in the room. Hank wondered how it was possible to know so much about her, know so many of the same people and still, to feel like he was talking to a total stranger.

Hank had read the pardon deal Raven had struck with the government in exchange for all her information about organized mutant threats to human communities. It was a great deal in both sides. In truth, it would've been next to impossible to find any solid evidence to sentence her from much more than a few twopenny burglaries. And she had gained yet another new identity, a name, an ID. But he didn't know what she had done with this new life of hers.

“Why are you here Raven? Really?”

“I want you to turn me back Hank,” she said.

“That's impossible!” Hank said, the idea startling him. “I don't even know where to start! The formula of the first generation Cure is gone, it was lost when the laboratories blew up. And the second generation cure is very different, it's not even a cure but inhibitor of sorts. There is nothing left to study about the original, let alone coming up with anything that could reverse the effect.”

“You have me. And yourself.”


“You used my cells to create yourself, remember? You can do it again, I know you can. Give me myself back again, please, help me! You have to help me, there is no one else left...”

To Hank's horror she burst to tears, the cup shaking in her hands as she cried, the tears streaming down her porcelain skin. For a moment he didn't know what to do, then he placed his cup away and reached to take hers over the coffee table. She had a firm grip of the cup, but gently Hank pried her fingers open and placed the cup on the table.

“There, there,” he said, holding her hand in his. It wasn't much but he didn't know what else to do.

“I can't even visit his grave looking like this. They won't let me,” she said quietly, pulling her hand free from Hank's hold and digging a piece of tissue from her coat pocket. Hank leaned back on his chair, his hands feeling empty.

“I know. I heard. I don't agree, but you have to understand that Ororo is only thinking about...”

“Yes, I know. The children,” Raven said, wiping her face furiously. “I wish someone would think about the grown-ups for once. It would be a goddamn change.”

“I know...”

“No, you don't know Hank! Charles was my brother, and he remained as my brother through everything. You don't know half of it, you really don't.”

“What don't I know?”

Raven sighed and covered her eyes for a moment. “I can't tell you. It doesn't matter anyway. He's dead. Nothing much matters anymore.”

Hank sat there, staring at his hands, thinking hard. Finally he sighed and looked back to her. She seemed to find her composure, only the slightly smudged mascara betrayed that she had cried at all.

“You were mentioned in his will,” Hank said. Raven turned to stare at him, eyes wide. Hank coughed, forcing himself to continue, even though he knew that Ororo wouldn't forgive him in a hurry. “He left you some things from the Mansion. You have the right to collect them. They can't refute that. I'm not saying it will be a pleasant visit, but if you want to go, I'll accompany you. That might help to keep things civil.”

“You would do that?” Raven asked, looking surprised. “For me?”

“Obviously you don't know what I would do for you,” Hank said, the words coming out much more bitter than what he had intended. He stood up, collecting the cups with him. “Do you need a place to sleep? You can take the guest room if you like. I have to make some phone calls.”



“Thank you.”

Hank turned to look at her again. She looked small and vulnerable sitting in the armchair like that, a strange echo of the girl he remembered so well. Maybe he was being played by the master manipulator, with the tears, the cocoa and the veiled sob story of a beloved brother, but it was worth the risk, to have her here even for a while.

“Don't mention it,” Hank said and walked back to the kitchen. He would know what she was up to, depending what she would do when he turned his back to her.

He could hear the sound of her high-heels clicking against the parquet, moving from room to room.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-09-30 08:08 am (UTC)
selenak: (Hank McCoy by Stacyx)
From: [personal profile] selenak
Oh, that was lovely. Your Hank voice rings very true, same for Raven, and I find it quite plausible Mystique would come to him after X3.


Date: 2011-09-30 05:10 pm (UTC)
selenak: (BeastBrand by Stacyx)
From: [personal profile] selenak
It uses the art from Joss Whedon's run of Astonishing X-Men, by Cassady, as does this one, but I made neither of them; yay for icon posts by other people!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-09-30 09:07 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: Beast, Marvel Comics (beast)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
This is elegantly written, and a lovely dance of lies and truth and regrets. Also, I think I want to live in Hank's apartment.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-10-07 04:11 am (UTC)
st_aurafina: (X-Men: Beast)
From: [personal profile] st_aurafina
This is such a lovely fic - I still love the idea of Hank and Raven having awkward conversation over cocoa.


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