The worst part, Moira thinks, is that she doesn’t know what she’s missing. She wakes up and it’s there, pressing at the corners of her eyes, buzzing just below a pitch that her ears can hear. And then she blinks and it’s gone, silent, invisible. Forgotten.
The debriefing is horrible. “I don’t know,” she insists, over and over, and, “I can’t remember.” When she’s finally dismissed, there’s muffled laughter from the other agents. They don’t believe it could happen to them.
“What do you expect, sending a woman into the field?” someone says, not quite a whisper. She wants to turn on them, tear into them and explain why they’re wrong, wrong, wrong, but what if they aren’t? What if this is some failure of her sex? If she had the memories to prove them wrong, she wouldn’t need to.
She’s on desk duty when the building blows in on one side. One second she’s surrounded by four walls, a door, and a mountain of paperwork, and the next she’s got two walls and a pile of rubble.
To hell with the paperwork. She steps carefully around a chunk of cement and picks her way down the hallway to the stairs. She’s almost down to the second floor when she runs into the intruders, heading up.
“Raven?” Moira gasps. She’s gratified that Raven looks almost as surprised as she feels.
The metal supports for the railing curl away from the steps and around her arms, twining delicately around her ankles and then clinging tight. It hurts, and Raven is looking back at her, blue-faced and naked, then looking away at a man in a helmet and cape. “Magneto, stop!” Raven yells, and the metal restraints loosen slightly, but remain.
“She’s the enemy, now,” the man -- Magneto -- says, and Moira knows that voice, she knows this power.
“Erik?” she asks. “What are you doing?”
A blonde woman -- Shaw’s telepath, Moira remembers that much -- snorts elegantly. “What does it look like, sugar?”
There’s another crash, behind her, and Moira turns to look, takes half a step to see what’s happening before the metal pulls her back. Gunfire echoes through the stairwell, and someone screams. The air blurs, and Moira recognizes the creature from the Hellfire club, red skin and a tail and maybe it’s Raven’s calm, blue presence, but he no longer seems so strange to her.
“The professor is interfering again,” Azazel reports. His suit is mussed, and he tugs it straight. “His team has already evacuated what remains of the building.” He holds out a folder. “They did not see what I took.”
Erik takes the folder without looking at it, but Moira reads the cover at a glance. Her expression doesn’t change, but the blonde woman rolls her eyes. “Magneto, this one knows what’s in the file. Do you want me to kill her?”
“No!” Raven shouts, even as Erik frowns.
“We’ll have to take her with us,” Erik says. The metal railing is still pressed against her skin, but someone grabs hold of her arm, and the stairwell disappears. She blinks, and they’re all standing in a large room.
She doesn’t know where she is, but there are a lot of things she doesn’t know, these days. Raven glares furiously whenever anyone suggests that killing Moira would be expedient, and she doesn’t remember what she might have done to warrant that kind of loyalty from the girl-next-door she remembers.
They move the conversation to another room before she can overhear anything particularly noteworthy. Moira is just thinking of checking the exits when the blonde woman sidles back into the room and casually inspects her own fingernails. Realizing the futility of planning an escape with a telepath listening in, Moira picks the most comfortable chair and sinks down to wait. “Got any books I could read?” she asks, and the blonde woman, surprisingly, smiles, before tilting her head at a small shelf in the corner of the room.
“Help yourself,” she says.
Moira is deeply absorbed in Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana when Erik rejoins her. “I see you found the library,” he comments, and Moira narrows her eyes at him over the pages.
“No one seemed particularly inclined to make my stay more comfortable, so I thought I’d take some initiative.” He’s still wearing the helmet, but Moira thinks she can read amusement in his shadowed face.
“I must admit I was surprised to see you back there,” Erik says. “I expected you’d want to stay with Charles, given what happened.”
“What happened,” Moira echoes him. “Of course. There was a slight problem with that plan, however. Or at least, I assume there was.”
Realization colors Erik’s gaze, and he leans forward. “He wiped your memory. I wouldn’t have thought he had it in him, not with you.” He sounds pleased, and Moira glares at him. He laughs at her. “Oh, surely you can understand -- I’m merely appreciating the pragmatism!”
“Oh, of course,” Moira snaps. “Charles found it expedient to send me back to my employers empty-headed, and your people find it expedient to send me back dead. Please, don’t let my poor sense of humor ruin the wonderfully expedient time everyone is having!”
Erik shifts back, looking thoughtful. “Don’t be absurd. There’s no need to kill you. I just can’t have you warning anyone about our current plans.”
Moira eyes him dubiously, saying nothing. Erik smiles back, showing a few too many teeth.
“You’ll stay here as my guest, yes?”
“Given the alternative,” Moira replies, “I can’t see as I have any choice but to accept.”