Izzy here, with my fanfic, "Standing by Your Side," a companion to "Witness Now" told from Mystique's poing of view. Spoiler-filled X2 with some slashiness as well: Charles/Magneto, as well as Magneto/Mystique and Mystique/Sabretooth. This is more directly angsty then the other one. Fox's and Marvel's.(But Fox is not that Marvelous. Sorry, that was bad.)

Standing by Your Side

By Izzy

It didn't work.

You turned on the radio as we were flying out over the Atlantic, to see if anyone was broadcasting anything. Imagine our astonishment to discover that every radio station was up and running. And we heard talk about the "mysterious terrifying incident," and it didn't take long after that to figure out that something had happened before Professor Xavier had suceeded in killing all the humans. The machine had failed to work, or his people had stopped it.

You took it pretty well, considering. You said simply, "So it's not over." But I know this was not the best way for things to happen.

It wasn't an entire loss, of course. You're out of prison, and saving all our fellow mutants from death is no small thing. I think you would have minded this less if it hadn't been for one little thing. Charles.

What we did to him would have been terrible, if it hadn't been necessary. And he doesn't understand its necessity. I don't want to think about how badly we've hurt him. I know you don't have a problem with doing that for the cause, but now you've done it and what for wasn't even accomplished. That has definitely got to be very frustrating.

I know you still love Charles, that you two have what can be known as a very tortured relationship. And you know I know. You know well I can tell these things. It becomes necessary to know people's body language to impersonate them, and I'm an expert in spotting to the tiniest details.

To the slight tremble when you said goodbye to Charles. To the almost invisible quiver of your lips when that kid Pyro announced himself as "leaving that idiot Professor." Things even you probably didn't notice. None of my lovers can keep secrets from me.

But you have had experience with such a knowing lover. And unlike him, I can't hear the exact words of your thoughts. I wouldn't want to. I'd end up jealous.

I don't have the right to be jealous. We're definitely not exclusive. I never am. But if I actually read your thoughts, I think I would be. Noone wants to know of their lover thinking of someone else with all the feelings I know you still have for Charles.

I owe you everything, Erik. If it weren't for you, I probably would have ended up a suicidal teen. I'm still amazed that when you heard of "the weird blue baby" on the news, you took the trouble ten years later to pay a visit to the school she was enrolled in, and wait until the moment that she ran from the schoolyard, dodging the rocks thrown at her, to lift the manhole cover as she ran over it and carry her out of sight.

That was frightening, I admit. And to be carried down an allyway to you, who looked like the exact kind of stranger the teachers and the caretakers at the foster home warned us not to talk to, I remember you had to expand the cover to trap me. And then you started asking me questions about myself, which I didn't answer at first. You were so patient. We must have been there for hours before I finally opened up. I ended up crying on your lap.

I suppose this kind of thing would lead one to believe that our sleeping together later would be incestuous, but I've never seen it that way. If only because after you sent me on my way with some words whispered in my ear that kept me alive at least for a year or so, until my powers manifested and life became easier, I didn't see you for another ten years. You convinced me to join you, shortly after you spilt permanently from the Professor. We were the founding two members of the Brotherhood. We were even more or less equals, until we recruited Victor and Toad, and you became our leader.

Ah, Victor. I wonder if he's still alive. I wasn't able to find either him or Toad after the Statue of Liberty. I thought I saw Toad tossed into the water, but he isn't able to drown, even if he's knocked out. Victor, on the other hand, can't swim at all. And he's far more loyal to you-and me-than Toad is. One would assume he's dead, but somehow I don't think so.

Or maybe I just don't want him to be. I haven't breathed a word of this to anybody, and I'm certainly not telling you, but I got unusually attached to him. Or rather, he got attached to me, and won me over.

I've slept with countless people, but the two of you are different. You taught me to be proud of my body. I am. I love using it to seduce people, turning into whatever gets them weak. It doesn't give women as much power as we'd like, but I have a power literally noone else in the world has, and I love that. But sometimes I get a very strong desire for someone to look on my natural form and appreciate and want that.

You and Victor are the only two who have ever done that. But sometimes I think you do it out of philosophy. I'm glad not to hear your exact thoughts when we make love, but I can tell when you're not thinking of me. I probably shouldn't even call it that. We don't love each other like that, not really.

You'd only have to ask, you know, and I'd gladly take on Charles' form for you. I even did it once. You got a stricken look in your eye and nearly threw me off the bed. That was some time ago, and I don't know what you'd do now, but I won't try again unless you ask.

Victor was an entirely different story. I think he really did love me. And he wanted me in my natural form not because it was proper, but because it was me.

You two couldn't be more different as lovers. You're gentle, detached, almost cold. Almost. More accuratly, it's clear you don't need me. Even during those nights when your nightmares strike, and I wake you up and hold you until your trembling stops, you seem to barely notice, until I wonder if it would matter if I stayed there or not. But you always sound grateful when you thank me for it, so I always do it.

Victor needed me. With an animal ferocity that certainly was not gentle. While he tolerated what I did when he wasn't around, when he was around he was very possessive. I remember after Toad and I brought Senator Kelly to the base. Victor and I had not seen each other for many months, and we were barely off the helicopter when he pulled me into an embrace, nearly crushing me. He didn't look too pleased when you reminded him that we still had work to do. He should have known you weren't jealous; you never are of me. But very often he had the mind of an animal.

After you used the machine, he and Toad took the senator to a cell, while I helped you to your bedroom so you could rest. I'd barely left you there, all but passed out, when Victor, breathless from having run across half the base, slammed me into the wall of the corridor, and probably would've taken me right there if it hadn't been for the worry that Toad might happen to come by. As it was, we barely made it his bedroom. And when I say "we," I mean both of us. With every inch of Victor's body screaming with need, before I knew it I was as excited as he was. It was short and savage, and I still find it hard to comprehend that it may have been the last time.

While you respected my wish to keep my thoughts to myself, Victor always wanted to know as much about me as possible. At first I didn't like that, but somehow I eventually stopped minding, even let him know just a little. I remember thinking to myself that I was crazy, but I stopped thinking that. Were I to behold Victor again, I would deny him nothing that he wanted in that moment, of my body or my mind. That I know is crazy. But how long until I no longer know that?

Now the helicopter lands on the base. I watch as Pyro gets out and looks around, a bit awed, I think. You and I follow.

As we go inside, we spot a flashing light on a console near the door, indicating that someone has left a message. You look very curious as you stride over to play it.

It's Toad. "Hey, Mystique, if you're hearing this, glad you've finally made it back to the base. I've really started to wonder if you'd show up. Oh dammit, I don't know why I'm still recording these messages; I have to tell you where we've been every time. To make a long story short: Sabretooth and I both got hit by lightening, and he nearly drowned. Real pain to nurse him back to health, but he's fine now. But a while ago we both ended up beseiged by this awful pain, I mean really awful, and I don't know what but I think something big's happened, you know that feeling? We've gone to the mainland to check things out, so just sit tight until we come back, and if we're lucky enough to find you here this time, we'll see if we can spring the big guy from prison."

You are no doubt amused by Toad's belief that you're still in prison. I would be too, but then news of Victor being alive after all must have stunned me. For a moment, I cannot breath. The thought of seeing him again nearly drives all other thoughts from my mind.

What's happening to me?