Raven breaks a water glass three months after she leaves Charles on a beach in Cuba and joins Erik’s crusade against humanity. She could have caught it, knows that her reflexes are sharper than ever now that she’s mostly given up wearing the blonde facade all the time - but she doesn’t. The condensation on the exterior makes the slide of the glass out of her grasp easy and smooth; Raven stares at the movement, heart jumping and catching in her throat, eyes transfixed by the sight of it slipping, falling, crashing, smashing on the floor of the kitchen.
The sound of glass breaking apart on impact (the most beautiful sound Raven has ever heard, better even than You never need to steal again) brings her back to real time. Her heart sinks back down into the pit of her stomach, childish shame welling up in its place, and she instinctively takes a step to the side to avoid the ricocheting shards catching on her legs and feet. Her hand is still curved as if she’s miming the act of holding a glass for an invisible audience, and when she finally notices this, she balls the same hand up into a fist and slams it against the counter.
I should find a broom and clean this up, she thinks, before someone else comes in and sees it.
Instead, Raven finds herself grasping one of the chairs at the table and throwing it across the kitchen. It doesn’t have the same satisfying shatter that the glass had, but the wood does snap against the wall and clatter to the floor.
Raven is suddenly, inexplicably, exhausted. She leaves the mess and returns to her bedroom. When she finally emerges again after sleeping for the better part of a day, the splintered remains of both chair and glass have long been cleared away, and no one says anything to her about them.
She toys with the idea of seducing Erik again for about a week before deciding it’d be too much work. She hadn’t liked it all that much the first time around anyway.
Raven isn’t used to living with a telepath that doesn’t keep out of her head. Emma traipses about inside each of their minds like she owns all of their thoughts and ideas and dreams - not always maliciously, but Raven often finds herself wishing she could land a solid punch across Emma’s smug face. Just once, that’s all she wants, but Raven is sure Emma would shift into diamond form well before she could even pick up her arm to take the swing.
“It’s not my fault you project everything so loudly,” Emma says one evening. It’s just the two of them and Angel in the study, wineglasses full of some expensive Bordeaux Shaw had imported from France just before his execution. Raven, who couldn’t give two fucks about wine of any kind, expensive or not, grimaces with every sip she takes. “And anyway,” continues Emma, obviously amused at Raven’s facial expressions, “you aren’t the first woman to think about having sex with her boss.”
“I’d fuck Erik,” Angel says. She’s sitting with one foot on the floor, her other leg swung over one arm of her chair. “He’s a fox.”
“Agreed,” says Emma. “Not the fucking part, but he is sexy.”
“I’m going to go ahead and tell you both it’s not worth it,” Raven says. She swirls the wine around in her glass, red hues shifting and melding in the soft light of the desk lamp.
“Really.” Angel sits up properly, spilling wine on the ugly Persian carpet in the process. “Go on, spill. Is he terrible in bed?”
“No,” Emma interjects before Raven can say anything. “He’s not bad - rather good at it, as far as I can tell. Raven just wasn’t into it.” Angel’s eyes widen.
Raven glares at Emma. “Are you trying to say something about me?” Raven asks. She tries to make her tone as forbidding as possible, but Emma merely looks at her, like she knows something Raven doesn’t.
“All I’m saying,” Emma says, “is that you weren’t into it. Are you saying I’m wrong?”
Raven considers this for a moment. She could lie - Emma would let her, but she would know, and Angel would assume that Emma is right because Emma is the current authority on other people’s thoughts. The exhaustion from the night she broke the glass and the chair returns, crashes over and into her until it’s all she can do to keep her eyes open under the weight of it.
“No,” she says. “You’re not wrong.” Emma simply nods at her.
Angel looks at Raven, then at Emma, and then at Raven again. “So,” she says, “does that mean you’re one of those women who, you know, likes the ladies instead?”
“No,” Raven says. “Don’t think that’s it, either.”
“Shame,” Angel breathes. Her whole body is still shuddering from orgasm, her chest heaving as though she’d just run a marathon. Raven finds the movement beautiful, a new aesthetic written in the arch of Angel’s back. “I thought that was pretty amazing myself.”
“You’re gorgeous,” Raven blurts out.
Angel smiles at her. “But not what you’re looking for,” she says, far more gentle and warm than Raven expects from her.
Words race to the tip of her tongue, but Raven chokes them down and shakes her head. Angel rolls over and wraps her arms tight around her.
Raven is unreasonably grateful when she wakes up the next morning to find Angel still holding her close, but she only allows herself a brief moment to enjoy the feeling before she disentangles herself and retreats into the bathroom to wash the tear stains from her face.
Raven has moments when pure, blinding rage take over her every sense, and all she wants to do is hear the crash smash shatter of something, anything. A few days after she and Angel have sex, she emerges from one of these rages to discover she’s ruined three crystal tumblers. We’ll never get the shards out of the rug, she thinks stupidly.
“The rug is a lost cause,” Emma says from behind her. “Between Angel spilling five hundred dollar wine all over it like it’s her job, and now this, I think we can safely say it’s dead and ready for burial. Or burning.”
“You just don’t like the pattern,” says Raven.
“Oh, you caught me. No one would have ever suspected that I hated this rug more than anything else in the world.”
“You hide it very well.” Raven jumps when Emma lays a hand on her shoulder, whips her head around in surprise. Emma’s face, of course, is her usual mask of perfect composure. “What?” asks Raven. “Here to ask about what happened with Angel?”
“I don’t need to ask,” Emma says.
Raven huffs out a breath. “Then what? We’re not all telepaths, for christ’s sake.” Emma’s hand on her shoulder tightens briefly, then lets up. Raven thinks that she probably means the movement to be reassuring, but it makes Raven’s skin crawl uncomfortably.
“I don’t particularly enjoy it either,” Emma says. “Sex, I mean.”
“Then why do you have it at all?” Raven asks.
Emma shrugs, an inelegant gesture on her that throws Raven momentarily. “Most of the time I get away with making people think I’m having sex with them,” she admits. “When I can’t - well. It’s not the most terrible activity in which I could participate. You learn to put up with it.”
“And what if I don’t want to put up with it?” Raven isn’t sure where these questions are coming from, but she knows, feels, that she isn’t going to have the courage to ask them ever again. “What if I want to swear off sex for good?”
Emma reaches up to tuck a strand of hair behind Raven’s ear, then leads forward and places a soft kiss against Raven’s lips. “Then you should,” Emma whispers. “If that’s what you want.”
“I think it is,” Raven says.
“There you are, then,” says Emma. She pulls away from Raven abruptly and turns, begins walking out of the study. “I’ll ask Janos to do something about this rug. I’m sick of looking at it.”
Raven sleeps with only one more person, drunkenly comes on to Azazel one night because she doubts herself and thinks, maybe I was wrong, maybe this is the right one. And while she maybe has a bit more fun this time around, the morning is colored with regrets and feelings of having let herself down.
Nine months pass, and she wouldn’t give Kurt up for anything, would move heaven and earth for the tiny being in her arms if he needed or wanted her to do so. She lays in bed after the birth, watches Emma and Angel coo over her son’s every flailing movement, watches Erik and Janos and Azazel rush about in a daze to get her anything she needs, and it’s then and there that feels right complete whole for the first time in a long while.