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Face in the Mirror

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Summary: Mystique ponders identity and limits.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Marvel Universe > X-Men > Non-BtVS/AtS StoriesLucindaFR1511,733021,14428 Apr 0328 Apr 03Yes
author: Lucinda
if you can watch the movie, you're fine.
Main Character: Mystique
disclaimer: I do not own anyone recognizable from Marvel Comics or the Fox X-Men movie. The lyrics are from 'Eleanor Rigby', performed by the Beatles, written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney.
distribution: please ask first.

It was a lovely house on the beach, with expensive furnishings that were a delicately balanced blend of solid antiques and more modern pieces. Undoubtedly, it had been carefully calculated to send subtle psychological messages to people about its owner, Senator Robert Kelley. His wardrobe was similar, high quality clothing of a conservative style with a slightly more modern feeling from the colors and fabrics chosen. Even the more casual things were carefully laundered, pressed, and hung or folded neatly. A few select pieces showed a slight amount of wear, probably carefully considered to give the impression of 'a normal guy'. Likewise, the face of Senator Kelley, reflected in the mirror, was the traditional face of politics, a white male, no more than forty at the most, a slight hint of gray at his temples, a squared jaw adding to the impression of tradition and character and strength. It was a good face for a politician, the sort of face that could be used to convey many emotions, all appearing equally sincere.

From the other room, the sounds of music changed slightly. It was not a new release, but this album had always been a favorite. The words flowed together, weaving a sad, sorry picture of isolation and pretense. Painting a picture of loneliness, mournfully speaking of being alone in the midst of people.

Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people

Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?

Perhaps the most ironic of songs, considering. With a slight smile, Mystique allowed her features to change, returning to her natural shape. The dark blonde hair of Senator Kelley became a short crop of dark red, and the hazel eyes deepened, the color spilling over from hazel to an inhuman yellow. Most dramatic was not the change from the male Senator, but from unremarkable Caucasian complexion to slightly scaled skin in deep blue. She could see her own face in the mirror, even if only for a moment. If she remained herself too long, she might forget that she was pretending to BE Senator Kelley, that the world didn't know of the death of the real Kelley. Not even his wife had recognized the switch that had taken place. Although, the woman was very busy with her investment firm, and had barely been home to see her 'husband' more than a handful of days in the past month.

At the time, it had been a wildly impulsive action, not even a thought out plan. She would become the Senator, use his status and resources to do everything in her... HIS power to prevent another hopeless battle zone, another place where the people died by inches in the cold loneliness of their miserable lives. She had become Senator Kelley, slipped into his life smoothly, without anyone suspecting that there had been a change. Her long months impersonating his aide had permitted a complete understanding of his political background, and an understanding of how the man acted, how he moved, the patterns of his speech. Assuming his identity had been easy. Perhaps too easy.

Perhaps it had become too easy for her to assume another person's life. She could reshape her face and body to look like anyone. She could become anyone, spoke numerous languages fluently to allow this chameleon-like metamorphosis of hers. Each life that she assumed, each new face that she wore was yet another mask, yet another disguise to prevent the world from seeing her innermost truth. To prevent herself from remembering things, from remembering her beginnings.

The masks and changing had even hidden her inner truth from her. She couldn't remember so much of her childhood, of the time before the Blue.

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from ?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong ?

She frowned as the lyrics continued, filling her mind with images of desolate places, torn apart and ripped open by war, by famine, or by internal dissention. Reminded of the icy overlay that a harsh winter could leave over such a place, covering over the ugliness and the isolation with a false picture of calm, an illusion of serenity and integrity. The snow and cold made the places look as if they were empty, instead of filled with the slowly dying. Filled with those slowly dying of cold, of hunger, of the loss of hope.

She had seen far too many places like that in her lifetime.

When America had first noticed the growing numbers of mutants, there had been confusion and fear. In those first terrifying days of uncertainty, she had wondered if humanity had finally learned, if they could see a path other than the fear and hatreds that had plagued their dealings with each other. She had hoped that perhaps for once, people could pull together in a time of crisis, could heal the wounds of confusion and uncertainty that the 'discovery' of mutants had caused.

Contemplating those images, of the mistakes and violence of the past, she had considered it worth the troubles to become Kelley, to take an identity where she could fight against those very pitfalls. To become someone that had power and pull. She had barely even thought about it, she had simply assumed his face, taken his name as her own, and walked into his life. After all, it wasn't as if she was sacrificing anything by doing so, she didn't even have a solid identity anymore. Who was she when she was being herself?

Father McKenzie writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near.
Look at him working. Darning his socks in the night when there's nobody there
What does he care?

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people

Her hopes had been foolishness, based on empty dreams of a better tomorrow. The harsh truth was that people wanted to hate, and they wanted to fear that which was different. Humans always wanted to blame someone else for their troubles. That way, it wasn't their fault when things went wrong.

She had joined Magneto, believing him when he had said that he had a plan. Not quite a promise that the fears and hatreds that had once lead to horrible tortures and burnings... She shivered at the memories that tried to return. Of her youth, when people had been seized and tortured until they confessed to the most horrible of crimes, and then burned alive for their 'sins'. They had gone to the burning stakes with their bones crushed, their joints ripped apart, their limbs flopping uselessly at their sides, broken on the racks and wheels of torture, only their still whole skin keeping their bodies near intact. That horrible nightmare hadn't even had anything to do with genetic mutation. The terms wouldn't even become familiar to the fearful public for centuries after. But those horrible times had left an indelible impression on the young girl that she had been. It was as if she had perished along with her mother...

She could barely remember her youth, a time when she had naively thought that the worst thing that could happen would be drought destroying the crops, or perhaps a plague killing her and her family. She couldn't truly remember what her face had been in those long ago days. Had her hair been red? Perhaps it had been brown? She thought it had been darkish, like her mother's. What had the color of her eyes once been? She could only remember her mother's, a deep rich brown filled with hope and joy in life, until she had been dragged away by the Inquisitors... until she had been dragged up to be burned. Her mother's eyes had been swollen shut then, and she had always wondered if they had still shone with hope, or if that hope had been extinguished.

Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came
Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved

In the end, it didn't matter. Her mother had been burned to ashes, and with that fire, the girl she had been had died as well. It couldn't matter who she had once been, how much things had changed. How badly the world handled change.

She could almost remember how she had ran into the forest, weeping in fear and despair and sorrow for her mother's death. Almost remember hiding in the forest while her body changed in impossible ways, becoming the deep blue of twilight shadows. The bitter woman that had emerged was as different from the grieving girl as a butterfly is different from a caterpillar.

She wouldn't allow it to matter where she had come from. It couldn't matter that she could no longer remember what her face had looked like. That she couldn't remember going out into the sunlight, being no more than another face in the crowd, no different than the others, the same in her innocent similarity.

Times had changed, and she had changed with them. But her goal had remained the same, buried deep inside, farther than even her changes could reach.

No more blind hates... never again would people blinded by fear and greed have free reign over the lives of terrified people. She would see them all burn first. No matter what it cost her.

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Feeling herself becoming melancholy from a combination of the music and her memories, she angrily shook her head. "This is no time for foolish hopes. No time for sentiment."

Glancing into the mirror once more, she resumed the features of Robert Kelley, once more donning her mask in this tragedy of life. "After all, there is a war to be prevented. No matter what it takes."

end Face in the Mirror.

The End

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