That Seventies Swap

BY : Zev95
Category: X-Men: (All Movies) > Crossovers
Dragon prints: 1734
Disclaimer: I own neither American Hustle or X-Men, or any characters in the franchise. I make no money from publishing this work.

1944

Raven was just getting used to living with Charles. It was like he had said; his parents barely cared enough to notice one child, let alone two. She was starting to think he would be true to his word. That she’d finally found a place to stay. She’d even told him about her problem.

She didn’t know when she’d been born, how long she’d been alive, what her birthday was. One day she’d simply become what she was and she’d stayed the same way, never growing, never changing. Except when she changed herself, of course. One of the few things she remembered was that in her old home, all her siblings had gotten big and tall, teased her for still being a little blue girl, until she’d gotten so mad that she’d made herself an old woman just to spite them.

Charles was picking up on the thoughts of the most forward-thinking minds in evolutionary biology. With his parents being such pillars of academia, such minds were often brought into his orbit, and he guzzled down their knowledge like a thirsting nomad would come across an oasis. After James Dewey Watson had dinner with Mrs. Xavier—lusting after her all the while—Charles formed a theory.

“He’s quite off-base with regards to eugenics, but I believe his subconscious mind has the right of it,” Charles said, having quizzed it while Watson slept in his hotel. “You see, we age because of any number of sub—” Here, Charles used a word that Raven didn’t understand, “processes. Like pages in a book, as our cells multiply, this number inside them progresses. In fact, we die because this number climbs too high—our cells become copies of copies and inevitably degrade. You don’t have that problem. It’s quite possible you’re immortal.”

“Yay,” Raven said dryly.

“I’ve vastly simplified the process, of course, but perhaps I could transmit it into your brain at a later date.” Charles assumed he’d be able to do that soon. Raven just nodded. “But your cells all change with your transformations—your body has lost its place in your cells’ ‘page numbers.’ You can’t go from page three to four because your body doesn’t know it’s on three.”

“If I want to be an adult, I can be an adult.”

“But don’t you want to mature naturally? Alongside me?” Charles looked confused. “How else are we going to be at the same level of intellectual development?”

“I think that was off the table the minute you read Einstein’s brain.”

Charles could be stuffy for a child—he could transform into an old man faster than her. “For the past few months, I’ve been feeding people the image of you being—average.” He said instead of normal. “But you have to age, otherwise people will notice. And it has to be a natural progression, not in fits and starts like your transformations. I suggest we find you a girl of a similar age—or a boy, if you like—and you model yourself on their appearance. Then hold that transformation. Let your body age naturally in its changed state.”

“So you don’t want me to transform?”

“I want you to limit the use of your powers—exercise self-restraint for your own good.” Charles nodded to himself, liking the sound of that. “As your body becomes used to this ‘second skin,’ you’ll be able to resume it quite easily—pick up where you left off, so to speak.”

“Like a bookmark?”

Charles winced, wishing he’d thought of that. It was his own damn metaphor, after all. “Yes, precisely.”

Raven frowned. Made herself blue. “It won’t be what I really look like. This is what I really look like.”

“Yes, and my father doesn’t really have a full head of hair, male pattern baldness running as it does in my family, but we all have faces we must show the world and—facets of ourselves we keep hidden.”

Raven tapped her forehead on her skull in imitation of him. “Easy to say when it’s so easy to hide.”

He leaned forward. “I have to concentrate with the greatest of will to avoid your thoughts stabbing in to me. All of us to our own crosses, Raven. We’ll go into the city tomorrow. Find you someone to wear. I think every mind I’ve read would’ve appreciated that opportunity.”

Raven thought it over, kicking off the ground so her swing went into the motion. To her side, Charles did the same, so they were both pendulums under the swing-set, him swinging high while she swung low.

“I wanna be blonde,” Raven said.



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