mutatismutandis: Xavier, Charles Xavier (Default)
Summary: "When I was a little girl, I thought my mother knew the ending of every story in the world."

We were working a job at the Hellfire Club, Matta and I. Sebastian Shaw was a regular customer. We always covered security at his parties. Shaw preferred the sort of protection that we provided, rather than the obvious, imposing help other promoters employed. That sort may have looked as though they could crush a person's spine, but they were tall, heavy and clumsy. Muscle like that is only good for putting on a show or stopping a bullet. Our methods were much more delicate. I could feel trouble before trouble even realized itself for what it was. Matta could erase a person before they could touch him.

I could do it before they knew I was there.

A haunting tale of how Psylocke came to be where she was (and what she was) during X3. A take on the connection between Kwannon and Betsy Braddock that would never have occurred to me, this is disturbing and beautifully written.

... about the dead floating in the wind
mutatismutandis: Xavier, Charles Xavier (Default)
Summary: "She knew him well enough to make up for his own failings. It was the least she could do, all things considered, and it wasn't a bad job." Five steps on the way to family.

Eventually she trailed back to Charles' room and collapsed on his bed in frustration for lack of anywhere else to go. Stupid Charles was probably off somewhere reading his stupid books and-

There was a noise coming from below the bed, she suddenly realised.

Raven squeaked and fell off the bed in shock, backing away.

Screwing up her resolve, she pressed a cheek to the cool floorboards and peered underneath the bed, squinting in the low light. There was what looked like a bundle of pyjamas, and when she poked it the sound repeated, and now Raven could recognise the low moan for what it was.

Raven and Charles as siblings, from the beginning to the end and then afterwards. I love how this illustrates all the little ways Raven knows her adoptive brother better than anyone else, and its warm and sad at the same time.

Getting To Know You
mutatismutandis: Xavier, Charles Xavier (Default)
Summary: Does she dare disturb the universe? X3 wasn't the first time Jean Grey wrestled with her powers. Set about 10 years before the first movie.

"He doesn't dream," I realize, and at the same moment I say it out loud. Not, as some would say, because my impulsive temper matches my red hair, but merely because I do not always remember the line between thought and speech.

Vail freezes, mid-drone and pivots slowly to look at me. "Miss Grey. Perhaps you would like to lead us today, with your vast expertise in the subject." His sarcasm drips, for all to hear, but no one else witnesses the fantasy in which he pushes me against the wall and reaches under my labcoat. He thinks that I would cry and kick, at first, but quickly surrender. This is what women like me really want.

He has an active imagination.

A portrait of Jean in medical school, struggling with her abilities and with the difference between thought and action. I love the characterization here, and it's great to see Cecelia Reyes turn up in the movieverse.

Phoenix: Lovesong (The J. Alfred Prufrock Mix)
mutatismutandis: Bobby's ice rose. (Gifted)
Summary: Yuriko remembers other names.

She remembers meeting Stryker for the first time. The memory is sharper, and she remembers things like how his teeth looks as if they would gobble her up. He doesn't smell of cigars or alcohol, like she thought he would.

"You're a very talented young lady, Miss Shan," he had said.

Self-determination isn't the only thing that Stryker took from the woman he turned into Deathstrike. Sharp and incredibly layered for such a short story.

By Any Other Name
mutatismutandis: Xavier, Charles Xavier (Default)
Summary: Charles and Erik, against the backdrop of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and it’s three themes.

And the great metal skin was peeled back in his mind’s eye, to reveal a living, breathing organism.

The metal breathed, inhale and exhale, behind concrete ribs. Expand and contract. The vertebrae of reinforced steel, climbing six-hundred feet above the ground. The give and take of electrons, push and pull of cations and anions at the cellular level. A great metal skin stretched over the entire surface; that glowed the same color as Phidias's Bronzes in the proper light.

A look at Charles and Erik as young men, still in love and full of hope but with the shadow of the future already on them. This is lyical and sad, and the setting is perfect for them.

Century 21
mutatismutandis: Emma Frost (White Queen)
Summary: Kitty Pryde tries to understand what the universe has planned for her. Set pre-X1.

When they were finally ready to leave, the tears vanished from Kitty's mom's face as she opened the garage door and firmly nosed the family car past the idle gawkers who gathered daily to watch the mutant house. Some of them, slackers Kitty vaguely recognised from the mall, took photos of the car with their phones. She slouched in her seat and scowled at them as the car moved implacably through the crowd.

"Like they're going to get a photo through the glass. Haven't you heard of polarisation?"

The story of how Kitty Pryde started walking through walls and ended up at Xavier's, with occasional digressions into physics. I love the way this captures Kitty's geekiness - an aspect of her comicverse character that wasn't played up in X3 but not, I feel, at odds with it.

mutatismutandis: Emma Frost (White Queen)
Summary: Jason used to give her nightmares.

She's proud and she's cocky and she ignores all of the warning signs. Fuck, the thing is called the Weapon X project, that should be enough of a sign for anyone, though she doesn't find that out until she's in too deep and too classified to back out. Its name wasn't in any of the paperwork she read before she signed her name (she read it line by line, the fine print too, she didn't skip or skim), just "classified military projects in the US and abroad."

If she thinks about that at all, she thinks that it means nuclear depots in Iran. Not secret bases in Canada. Does the Canadian government know about the projects at Alkali Lake? Do they care? She never asks.

Once upon a time, Yuriko Oyama had a mind of her own and actually wanted a job with William Stryker. A closer look at a woman who became a weapon, that gives agency and perspective to a character who had neither in the film.

The drowned face always staring toward the sun
mutatismutandis: Xavier, Charles Xavier (Default)
Summary: Hope is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul.

Warren climbed to the top of the jungle gym and tipped his head back, watching the tattered clouds chase each other across the sky and make a hazy, shifting mask over the sun. It made his chest go tight and his shoulders hurt, but he didn't look away. He was used to feeling that way, a lot, when he looked at the sky or at the pigeons outside his window or at his father across the length of the dining-room table. A dull, vague kind of ache all over, but stronger in his shoulders and his heart. Maybe that was what they called growing pains.

A glimpse of Warren Worthington's life long before X3, when he's a twelve-year-old boy already suffering the effects of his father's prejudice. Luckily, one of the X-Men is there to provide moral support even if he can't do anything else. I like that Scott gets to be the cool guy here, and his conversation with Warren is lovely.

mutatismutandis: Xavier, Charles Xavier (Default)
Summary: Charles and Erik are off to See America. They get hungry along the way.

Erik reached over without looking and took the peach out of his hand, lifted it to his own mouth and bit, then returned the remaining fruit. Licked the escaped flavour of it away with the delicate tip of his tongue.

That was the fifth day of their trip. Charles had spent two weeks planning it. Since the night they'd sat across from each other at dinner in New York, and he'd watched Erik watch the room. Shadowed blue eyes that focussed and refocused constantly, reading everyone for possible danger. They only centred on him when the two of them were fighting; even a spirited conversation only demanded half of Erik's attention. So Charles had started a fight.

I love the way this story is both expansive and entirely intimate, a road trip told in flashes and locked rooms. It's also scortchingly hot.

Fragile Bodies of Touch and Taste
mutatismutandis: Xavier, Charles Xavier (Default)
Summary: Storm and Xavier both try to teach history, but history just doesn't seem to learn.

"After the war," he said, "Erik was brought to England, along with other child survivors, to be cared for. To rebuild his life. But he never told anyone the real story of what had happened to him. He was convinced that if anyone knew about his powers, he'd wind up in another laboratory. He was isolated by his secrets. Until he met someone who knew the truth without being told. And I...." He closed his eyes. "I was a young telepath. You know, people in the throes of a first love often have a little trouble remembering where they end and their lover begins -- normal people, whose heads are as separate as stars. In my case...." Suddenly his eyes looked right into her. "Storm. Don't touch her. Don't think you can solve anything that way. The best thing you can do for her is keep her separate."

A series about Storm courts Rogue in the present, while Charles is stuck in the past. Two stories about how love not only doesn't fix everything, it can sometimes make it all worse. I'm not exaggerating when I call this story heartbreaking, and I don't thing I've ever looked a the relationships between these characters the same way since I read this.



mutatismutandis: Bobby's ice rose. (Gifted)
Summary: Ororo does not understand Scott’s obsession with the Blackbird.

It is pretty up here, she admits to herself, but it would be prettier yet without the windshield in front of her eyes and the metal cabin surrounding her. She wants to feel the wind, not breathe the stale, recycled air in the plane.

There’s a little turbulence and, distracted by her thoughts, she over-corrects ever so slightly.

“Easy,” Scott says quietly, but makes no move to take over the controls himself. She doesn’t ask if he’s talking to her or the plane.

Ororo and Scott are both obsessed with flying, but they have very different approaches to it. This is a lovely story about their relationship with each other and the sky, and a insight to how they related to the world before they grew up and became X-Men. It's a remix of First Loves, a drabble by Teaotter that is also great.

in the lonely cool before the dawn
mutatismutandis: Xavier, Charles Xavier (Default)
Summary: Karen Stryker is left alone to deal with with her son, the great illusionist.

Out of the corner of one eye, Karen can see the heel of a dirty sneaker and one swinging arm disappearing from the top of the staircase into the second-floor hallway. This is the third time Jason’s hit her with the drowning nightmare. It’s not his worst, not as terrible as the ones that made her afraid for a while to look at or touch the man she still thinks she loves (despite everything, yes?) or to face her own reflection in the mirror. But with each try, this one has been a little different, a little more convincing, a little more real. He’s getting stronger, and how the hell is she supposed to make him stop? Ground him? Keeping him inside isn’t a punishment, it’s a necessity. Take away his privileges? Hah. His mind -- and his parents -- are the only toys he needs.

Dealing with a mutant child isn't easy at the best of times, and when your child is willing - eager, even - to turn his power against you it's even worse. This really made me feel for Karen Stryker, a character we only hear mentioned in passing in X2, and understand her husband's later actions a little better.

Keeping House
mutatismutandis: Xavier, Charles Xavier (Default)
Summary: What would you do if someone told you that you were special, that you needed to come learn how to use your unique talents? If you were Jean Grey, 11 years old in the summer of 1977, Star Wars would give you something to think about when the Jedi come to you.

"I know a man who wants to start a school, a special school for kids like you."

"Kids on crutches?" Jean was sceptical.

"Kids with special gifts that nobody understands yet."

"Like you," Jean said, before she realized that she was pulling it out of his mind.

He didn't flinch. "Like me," he said evenly. "I feel what other people feel. Similar to what you do, but not nearly as strong. It's very useful to me as a priest."

"I bet," Jean said. She and Annie had talked about the Jedi Knights, about what would you do if someone showed up and said that the Force was strong in your family.

"Would you like to talk to him?" Father Michael asked. "His name is Professor Xavier."

A gorgeous story about Jean's introduction to the mansion, and about how fiction gives her the tools she needs to understand herself and the people around her.

Last of the Jedi
mutatismutandis: Bobby's ice rose. (Gifted)
Summary: Some people aren't meant to be kept on the ground.

The second time he flies, it takes just as many months to practice as it does to work up the nerve.

The practice is easier than he thinks. The initial shock of reaching back to scratch his shoulder blade for the millionth time in a week and brushing his fingertips over pinfeathers, white and perfect and slightly damp where they emerge from his skin, dies a quick death. The fear of being found out fades away the first time he tilts back his head and looks up at the sky, the feathers tickling his flesh as they skim across the inside of his expensive school uniform.

If something's calling to him up there, he's probably just imagining that.

Warren learns to fly. A gorgeous story of what Angel's wings mean to him, and how he comes to embrace them and what they give him. I also like the background characters here; it's always nice to see humans who aren't waiting to get out the pitchforks and torches for every mutant they see.

The Man on the Flying Trapeze
mutatismutandis: Emma Frost (White Queen)
Summary: Sometimes, Jean wished she had the guts to go through a rebellious phase.

Jean studied hard in college. She was planning on pre-med, but couldn't resist taking a political science course or two. Six classes of bio and poli sci were a heavy load, particularly for a freshman, but she managed. After a week or two, she was well settled in.

She didn't really make friends, but that didn't matter. Much.

Raven, on the other hand, hardly did any work at all, even though her courses were as difficult as Jean's, if not more so. "I'm a fast learner," she said curtly, the one time Jean mentioned it.

Jean goes to school and meets new people, one of whom may not be quite what she seems. This is not a scenario that would ever have occurred to me, but it's entirely plausible in this story, and Jean's characterisation as a young woman trying to spread her wings is fascinating.

mutatismutandis: Xavier, Charles Xavier (Default)
Summary: "When I grow up, I will be an explorer." - Charles Xavier, age 7

It was hard not to be a little irked at Erik's ease with the people here, when much of the initial investigation depended on Charles's ability to filter information from minds. He was the one who sat for days at a time on a bench on the sterile platform of the new central Metro station, a clipboard balanced on his knee for authenticity. He had drifted gently through the minds of thousands of commuters, hunting purposefully for the memory trail of a single idea-shape: the instinctive "not-me" reaction of the human mind exposed to an alien concept (metallic, acid fear-taste, panic, horror and fascination). He had improved his accent, developed a craving for salted fish, and inadvertently learned some unpleasant things about living in the new Soviet republic. And Erik, who had not wanted to come here, had led him, migraine-blind, back to the hotel, and fed him whiskey and aspirin until he fell asleep.

Charles and Erik go hunting for mutants behind the Iron Curtain. Mysterious and lyrical, and I love the way their arguments don't quite go the way you might expect given what happens later on.

mutatismutandis: Xavier, Charles Xavier (Default)
Summary: The story of how Charles Xavier rescued a young orphan boy from both blindness and despair.

His face below the taped-shut eyes had the expression of an Eastern ascetic. It didn't surprise Xavier that the child had tried to kill himself, but the discipline in the deathwish frightened him. He sensed a strong, courageous mind that had been denied life and consequently had turned to death, with more determination than panic. Not good at all. Looking deeper, he almost sighed with relief when he found a desperate wish for things to be different. If offered an alternative, Scott would want to live. He hadn't quite given up on the world that hated him, he still hungered for love, and that hunger was stronger than the physical hunger he suppressed. If properly cared for, this boy had what it took to be a truly great man, and still he was considered better off dead. Idiots.

Then there was a forceful, impatient thought coming through, even though Xavier hadn't really searched for thoughts: Is he just going to stand there all day?

Touching story of how Charles Xavier rescues Scott from his blindness and gives him something he thought he'd never be able to have again.

This Is My Beloved Son


mutatismutandis: Xavier, Charles Xavier (Default)


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