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To Gain The World

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Well, happy me. I've got everything I ever wanted.

Mutantkind has a homeland now, a place of safety and freedom where we can be who we are, without the fear of the mob that's driven me my whole life. It's not what I dreamed of-- what I dreamed of was converting my adopted homeland, the land of supposed freedom, into a place where mutants can be free. But that isn't going to happen, so this is the next best thing.

And I still work for other people-- worse yet, I work for someone who I used to consider a rival. But at least he's not human. And where I used to be a peon, an agent, a strand in someone else's web, now I'm the spider. In America the best I managed was to work for someone who worked for someone who worked for someone and it all stretched upward into the dark blur of Classified, Black Ops. Now I run the black ops. I'm the spymaster of Genosha, responsible for identifying threats to Genoshan security from inside and out, answerable only to the Governor (which is a damn stupid name, but I guess I can see why he wouldn't pick something like Fuhrer or Generalissimo.) World leaders know and fear me. I have been banned from nearly every country in the developed world, which is laughable, because how could they keep me out? More to the point, how do they expect to keep my agents out? I'm not just a pretty shifting face, and they're learning that, to their pain.

Why yes, I have everything I ever fought to have.

And all I had to pay for it was my daughter's life.


I've thought, of course, about killing Magneto.

He started the war. He held the world hostage, knowing someone might die and it might even be mutants. He knew the X-Men would come for him, and that he might have to kill a few of them. He did it anyway.

But Magneto didn't kill her. He didn't force her to attack him. He didn't suggest she take Joseph's powers and repair the magnetosphere for him. He didn't order the X-Men to assault him so he couldn't fix the damage himself, or even help with it. He didn't create the crisis that needed Joseph to fix it.

I trained Rogue to fight at my side, knowing she might die of it, because I believed. Mutantkind needed to ensure its safety, and if I died, Rogue died, Irene died to save mutantkind, it was a small sacrifice. You really can't be a terrorist unless you're willing to see everyone you love die for your beliefs. And I've often thought I could deal with Irene's death better if she had died for something real, something that actively benefited mutantkind, not my stupid idea that if we helped the US government they'd be forced to acknowledge us and give us protections.

Well, it turns out it's not true. Rogue died for a mutant homeland and it's still killing me. If it weren't for the Prozac I'd probably have blown my brains out by now. (Magneto, by the way, does not know about the Prozac and my psychiatrist doesn't know I'm Mystique, Genoshan Minister of Security, and if either of them ever find out someone will have to die.) But I can't hate Magneto for risking her life, when I, her mother, did the same and much more explicitly. After all, he didn't ask her to attack him, whereas I did ask her to kill Carol Danvers, an act that risked her life and, for many years, destroyed it. So no, I'm not going to kill Magneto. He gambled for a mutant homeland, the dream of safety for mutantkind that's driven me too for so many years, and he won, and paid only a small price-- one life. One mutant life, lost. In any war, that's a success.

I appear to him sometimes with her face, and he screams at me and tells me he'll kill me if he does it again, and that makes me happy. He loved her in his way, and the guilt of her death rips him apart inside, and I love to twist the knife. He got my daughter killed, he should suffer. But I won't kill him. Mutantkind needs him and I'd be a damned hypocrite.


I've thought even harder about killing Joseph.

Tool. Useless sack of protoplasm. A copy, not even a real person at all, and Rogue died for him. Because they knew for certain that his engineered body couldn't withstand the stress of holding the magnetosphere within it and knitting it together. They all knew it would kill him. Rogue, however, figured she was invulnerable, and that she could handle it. So she took his powers from him... and his fucking genetic instability, and she burned herself to nothing. Irreplaceable Rogue died for Magneto Mark 2: The Wuss Version. Sometimes I'd like to slit his throat over the unfairness of it all.

I think the main reason I don't is that he'd let me.

Joseph has acquired much more of a backbone than he apparently used to have, from hanging around his originator rather than the Xavierites. But when I appear to him in Rogue's form, he doesn't threaten to kill me, or rage, or shout. His eyes just turn very, very sad, and I can see that his heart is broken, and he hates himself for living when she's dead, and if I told him he had to die for his crime in surviving what should have killed him and killed Rogue instead, I think he'd let me. He loved her far more intensely than Magneto did. And I've seen that he has nightmares about it, as he should.

Besides, if Rogue died to save his life, and I killed him, I'd be spitting on her sacrifice. She didn't think she was dying for a mutant homeland; my poor stupid daughter was fighting against the mutant homeland, on the wrong side with the rest of the misguided Xavierites, again. She thought she was dying for someone she loved. Just like Irene...

...no, I'm not going to cry. I have pills for that.


And you don't want to know how many times I've fantasized about killing Charles Xavier.

Yes, let's fight against every initiative that might actually wrest control over mutant lives from hateful or uncaring humans and give it back to the mutants. Why, it makes perfect sense to brainwash teenage girls into fighting their loving mothers for the sake of a cure that they never, ever do in fact get. While we're at it, let's demonize the mutants who stand against us, until they agree to join us, in which case let's embrace them wholeheartedly! All the better to brainwash you with, my dear. Peace and Love will save the day, so let's beat up everyone who doesn't agree!

God. Someone shoot that man.

The trouble is, of course, that he did help Rogue. He didn't remove the Carol in her head; apparently Magneto did that. And he didn't enable her to touch. But he more or less cured the madness she was suffering from, the torment Carol was putting her through. Until he went to space and ignored his responsibility to her, but that's another story. I did my best to give her a loving family... well, he did the same. And I still hate him for that, but she loved him like the father she never had.

And he's not the one who taught her to be heroic and to fight to save her adopted family from anything, and to sacrifice it all for what she believed to be right. Damn me, I did that. I taught her the ends justified the means and if you have to kill, or die, for what is right or who you love, then you do it. So she did it. Damn me.

I'm not going to kill Charles Xavier. As I said, I try to avoid being a hypocrite. And following his cause might have killed her in the end, but before it did, it made her happy. That's better than I could do for her, however much I wanted to.


But I had to kill someone for Rogue's death. So I picked Astra.

Astra, the beautiful bitch goddess with the remarkable tongue, who managed to seduce the seducer and then run away, stealing a heart and any number of valuable things I'd acquired in my life. I actually fucking well introduced her to Margali and my son, and she repaid me by running off with my stuff, conning the conner. Then she met Magneto and apparently could not get into his pants, which were magnetized to the crotch of his dead bitch human wife, so she decided she had to kill him. Well, Magneto beating her senseless on more than one occasion probably had something to do with it, but then, you don't drug and attempt to force sex on men who are more powerful than you are. Most men don't appreciate being raped any more than women do, even if you have drugged them into thinking you're their dead wife. I heard all this from Astra when she was trying to justify to me why she absolutely had to have Magneto dead, and she absolutely had to kill him with his own clone (poor lil Astra couldn't do it herself! might break a nail, poor wittle thief!), and she absolutely had to do it while he was holding the magnetosphere together by force of willpower. I just filtered out a lot of the self-justifications, because I know Astra. Sleeping her way through Who's Who In The Mutant Universe, that's our girl. Nothing wrong with that inherently, of course. Nothing inherently wrong in trying to get revenge on a man who rejected you, either. But if it creates a dangerous situation that might kill thousands of people, you're a stupid bitch. And if it creates a dangerous situation that my daughter dies to rectify, then you're a stupid dead bitch.

I gave Magneto Astra's head, after he gave me the position as Minister of Security. He turned slightly white and said that he would have taken my word for it that she was disposed of, and had it been truly necessary to gouge her eyes out and pull her teeth before she was dead? I told him that she was responsible for Rogue's death, and I wanted to make sure she paid for it. He didn't know what Astra had done to me, and I didn't tell him. Let him think my murderous rage was mostly over Rogue. It'll keep him on his toes, because he blames himself, too.

Joseph refused to look. He insisted on burying Astra's head, on the grounds that she did create him. He also told me I did the right thing and that he was grateful to me for killing her, because he wasn't sure he was capable of it. I'm sure he wasn't. She built in failsafes. Maybe that's another reason I let Joseph live, because he hated the bitch and wanted her dead for Rogue's sake and his own, just like me.

It made me feel better. But it didn't solve anything. Rogue's still dead.


And I demanded to be made Minister of Security, because if my daughter died in the battle for a mutant homeland, Magneto damn well owes me to let me do my best to protect that homeland. I probably owe Rogue's death for that. After the way I humiliated him when he surrendered to me, I doubt Magneto would otherwise have given me the time of day. But he knew I was the best qualified for the job, outside of a telepath and it's awfully unlikely Magneto would have trusted any telepath who was actually willing to be Minister of Security. Telepaths come in two flavors: overly ethical and totally amoral. They don't come in gray, like I do. And he knew that if my daughter had to die to let Magneto achieve the dream I had always fought for, and hoped someone would achieve, that either I'd kill him or I'd give my life to the dream to make sure her sacrifice meant something. And he's not dead yet.

It tears me up inside that if my daughter hadn't died, I probably wouldn't have a position of power in Genosha. I wouldn't have been able to guilt Magneto into giving it to me, even though he needs the position filled and I'm the most qualified candidate. Which means everything I achieve, everything I do to protect the mutant homeland, is tainted by Rogue's blood. Without a dead daughter I would never be able to do what I'm doing.

What I'm doing is vitally important. Genosha has literally millions of enemies, within and without. Without a spymaster to identify and neutralize threats before they become serious, even Magneto would be overwhelmed, and the mutant homeland would fall, and we'd be a disenfranchised minority race, persecuted the world over, once more. I know I could never be a ruler, like Magneto; it's not in my personality to do that. All I ever thought I'd be able to do is pave the way for other mutants to succeed and achieve power. Now, I'm doing what I do best, in the service of the dream I've given much of my life to, protecting my people and wielding power and authority in my own right. Everything I'd ever wanted.

I would give it all up to have my daughter alive.


Oh, Rogue, you fool. You brave fool. You didn't need to die for Joseph. You didn't need to try to save his life. He was just a clone, he didn't mean anything. Didn't I teach you better than to throw away your life for a man? You weren't even in love with him, and you knew he was just a copy. Why did you do it?

I'll never see you fall in love with someone who isn't poison for you. I'll never see you succeed at what you want to do in life. You'll never learn to control your powers, you'll never see what good your sacrifice has done for mutantkind.

I'll never see you again.


I have everything I ever wanted, and my daughter is dead.

And if I make sure I keep well supplied with antidepressants, maybe I won't blow my head off.