Fandom: X-Men: DOFP
Summary: This is a drabble written for this prompt at xmen_firstkink: Raven takes Logan to Charles after finding him in the water because she knows Charles has grown to care for him. (Charles's "care" can be read as platonic or more.)
"Everything that happens from this point on is up to you..." Charles said it, but until she was standing there - holding that gun on the President - and no sudden migraine or creeping sense of wrong forced her to lower her hand, Raven wasn't sure she believed it.
She's on a boat, wearing William Stryker's face, when the high of her brother's trust in her - which she had figured was long gone - begins to wear off, and the dark side of what Charles has placed on her finally starts to sink in. If Raven, and Raven alone, is responsible for her actions, then no one else can shoulder the blame for them either.
If what she does hurts Charles, she hurts Charles. She can't hide behind Erik; she can't pass her choices off onto anyone. So if Raven chooses wrong...
"I have faith in them," Charles had let her hear him say, and she had felt how much he meant it. But could he hold onto that faith forever? Raven knows the answer is no - no, he couldn't. Nobody can; especially not after falling as far as Charles seems to have fallen since Raven chose Erik on that beach.
The man lying on the slab before Raven helped pull Charles up. She could see it in Charles's eyes when he looked at this guy - in the expression on his face in the consulate, when Logan had fallen to his knees and Charles had struggled to help him.
This isn't just an ally Charles had enlisted to help him carry out a common purpose. Or some stray Charles had taken in and learned to call a friend. Charles looked at Logan like he couldn't quite figure out what Logan was, and Raven's only ever seen Charles look at one other person like that.
"General Stryker," says one of the flunkies who helped her get onto this boat, "what should we do?"
No one had expected the corpse they'd fished out of the water to gasp to life after he'd finished expelling rebar from the holes all over his body. Erik certainly hadn't expected Logan to survive his attack - Raven would bet money on it. Somebody'd panicked and tranqued him, and they've been keeping him sedated ever since, but they can't keep him knocked out forever.
She can't keep stalling what she's going to do about him, one way or the other.
Raven could take him somewhere safe and set him loose - the way she usually does after she's rescued a mutant who can't get himself to safety. But if Erik had hated Logan (or feared him) enough to torture him - a fellow mutant... She could turn him over to the government, just like the real Stryker would have done.
As soon as she thinks it, though, Raven knows that's not what she's going to do. Her stomach sinks and she feels sick - and not just because leaving a mutant, any mutant, to be experimented upon goes against everything she left Charles's side to promote.
Erik couldn't hear Charles, when he tortured Logan, because of that damned helmet - but Raven could. In his panic, Charles started projecting. None of the humans around her acted as though anything strange was happening (at least not inside their heads) so Raven knows he wasn't projecting to everybody, but his aim was definitely off.
'Erik, stop! Don't hurt him,' Charles thought, futilely, in Erik's direction. And he sent out a wave of comfort that must have been meant for Logan. 'Logan, hold on...'
Raven couldn't hear what Logan thought back in response, but her eyes sting when she remembers the despair and the alarm that had been thick in her brother's mental voice on his end of their conversation.
'I will... I'll keep my promise. Logan-' Charles had thought just as Erik flung Logan out of the stadium with a wave of his hand.
"Nothing," Raven says, aloud, now. "I'll take care of him."
And she knows of only one way that she can.
Raven lets herself into the mansion when no one answers her knocks at the front door. She might have gotten irritated at the lack of response ('Really, Charles?' she thinks. 'I grew up here, too, remember? A locked door's not gonna stop me.') but when Charles doesn't even respond to her screaming, inside her head, 'I BROUGHT YOU A PRESENT!' Raven knows that something is up.
Neither Charles nor Hank is in the mansion proper. Raven has to search for them, carefully ignoring everything she notices about how much has changed in her brother's home since the last time she was here.
(Or ignoring things as best as she can. The empty liquor bottles and overfull ashtrays cause an ache in her chest, and the syringes and other paraphenalia lying around Charles's bedroom like he just really doesn't fucking care who sees them cause her to shake.)
The basement is the last place where Raven looks, because she can't think of anything Charles and Hank would have to do in the bunker - that's just where they used to train with Havoc. But the basement has changed, too, and about a dozen different corridors branch off from one end of the bunker now, not all of them finished.
Raven follows one that is until she sees lights and hears voices at the end of tunnel.
There's a large, metal hatch open there. The hallway leading to it is dusty but litter-free, so Raven's approach isn't heard by Charles or Hank as she comes up on them having some kind of argument.
Not that they look like they would have noticed her coming if she'd been stomping her feet through gravel.
"I'm not saying quit. I'm just saying you should take a breather... Rest a little. We can-"
"Have a nice lunch, take a little nap, yes?" Charles's voice is so- "And all the while, Logan could be anywhere. He could be-"
Charles's voice breaks, and Raven thinks her heart breaks with it.
She definitely made the right choice. It terrifies her that she'd even thought twice about it.
"If he is, Cerebro can't change that," Hank says quietly, sadly.
But Charles sounds no closer to giving up his, apparent, determinaton to keep looking for Logan until he finds him or drops. "You don't understand..." Charles almost sounds like he's pleading with Hank to try. "I saw what that man did to him, that Stryker. I can't- I won't let that happen again, Hank, not again. I have to keep looking. I can't stop. He could already be-"
Raven can't listen to anymore.
"He isn't, Charles."
Raven steps into the chamber where Charles and Hank are arguing - which is obviously Hank's own homemade version of the Cerebro the CIA had once let them use - and where she can see the boys and they can see her.
Their identical, shocked expressions as they gape at her would be comical, except that neither of them look like they've stepped out of the basement since getting back from DC. Charles's face is unnaturally pale, his eyes red-rimmed and bloodshot.
Raven swallows past the thickness in her throat when Charles says her name.
She's not here for her, though.
The words feel good in her mouth - this proof that Charles didn't put his trust in her foolishly - and Raven says them gladly. "I think I found something of yours."
"What? Where?" Hank asks, not catching on.
Charles is a telepath, though, and too frantic, still, to be polite. Not to mention, welcome - at this moment - to pluck whatever he needs out of Raven's head. She thinks loudly so Charles will know it, and Charles sucks in a breath. If the sound's a bit more like a sob than Charles would probably feel comfortable admitting, Raven will never say anything about it.
"In DC," Raven says, in as even and casual a voice as she can. "He's in the back of my car now."
'Oh, Raven, thank you...' Charles thinks at her, with a bright, watery smile, and she gets the feeling he thinks it because he doesn't trust his voice just yet, in the face of her surprise.
That seems to be going around. Raven bites her lip and thinks, 'No problem, Charles. I kind of owed you one.'