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Fic: Practice Makes Perfect

 Practice Makes Perfect
By PaBurke
Summary: The steps Raven took following the events of X-Men First Class
Warnings: Angst, sex and manipulation
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 550

~x-men~

Raven and Erik did not discuss many things. It was as if those things (or rather person) did not exist and never had. Charles Xavier still influenced them in his absence even if they refused to admit it. Erik had obtained Charles’ medical records and left them where Raven could find them. Charles was permanently paralyzed from the waist down.

Raven tried not to dwell on it. Charles had seemed to make everything better. He always pushed for improvement. He had improved her lot; why couldn’t he improve his own? The idea that he couldn’t train to erase a medical disability was a thought that did not sit well in Raven’s head.

So it didn’t.

She refused to think about it. Like every other task Erik assigned to her, it got easier with time and repetition. Charles had encouraged (and paid for out of the house accounts) her gymnastics. Erik wanted her to learn martial arts. Raven threw herself into the training. Unlike school, the physical came easily. She enjoyed every practice.

Erik wanted her to be able to use a gun competently. He wanted her to have no problem shooting at humans. He used himself as the target. He declared that he wanted to perfect his aim when bullets flew at him. No longer would he merely deflect, now he would aim. They never discussed what he was attempting to prevent. The first round of bullets was difficult. In her mind’s eye, she could see Charles being hit and falling (falling never to stand again). Erik pressed her to shoot again and again until she was focused only on him. Charles wasn’t actually in the room with them; she refused to allow his ghost to reside with them either. By the third day of shooting, the nightmares had decreased, Erik’s aim was now perfect and Raven only paid attention to the people actually in the shooting range.

The shooting range was private but not on Erik’s property. The mansion where they lived did not have the opulence of the Xavier Manor, but it was far the cardboard boxes of her street life. Erik paid for it with the money obtained from the Nazi criminals he had hunted down. The bed she shared with Erik was just as comfortable as the one she slept in at the Manor.

And Erik was there. He loved her, her natural mutant appearance. He called her Mystique during lovemaking, even if she called him Erik as she trailed blue fingers over his concentration camp numbers. She could remember asking Charles why the Nazi’s numbered their prisoners and his answer: they were taking away their individuality, their names, and their sense of self-worth. It was psychological warfare to break their spirits, to make them malleable, useful and subservient.

She wanted Erik to call her Raven during lovemaking. He refused. He said that was who she had been and not who she was now. He constantly referred to her as Mystique, never Raven. No one called her Raven anymore. Yet, he didn’t have a problem with her calling him Erik. Taking away their sense of self-worth, Charles’ voice would sometimes intrude, make them malleable. Raven drowned it out with sounds of Erik’s pleasure. She was very good at pleasing Erik and she only improved with time.

~x-men~