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Title: Beggars at the Feast (part 2 of 4)
Fandom: X-Men: First Class
Rating: Very light R- some language and sexual content
Characters: Raven, Erik, Emma, Charles, Angel (Salvadore), Azazel, Janos Quested (Riptide), Dominikos Ioannis Petrakis (Avalanche)
Pairings: Erik/Raven, background Janos/Angel. Hint at Charles/Erik and future Azazel/Raven
Summary: Explores the early days of the Brotherhood, Raven's relationship with Magneto and her evolution into Mystique.
A/N: Discussion of body image, food issues.
Prompt: Written for a prompt back in 2011 in 1stclass_kink , asking for Emma making a critical comment to Raven about weight/dieting and involving Erik in the argument, expecting him to agree, but he (having witnessed enough emaciated bodies to last him a lifetime) has quite a different view. Bonus points for Erik's own food insecurities, that Raven picks up on.

Also on AO3

Raven watches Emma carefully after that. Emma quickly takes to Angel and falls back into routine with Riptide and Azazel. She mostly ignores Raven's existence, unless she has a scathing remark or feels the need to rummage in her mind. Raven resents her for that- Charles always tried to respect her privacy, but Emma just doesn't care; she digs in with scalpels and tweezers until she finds the information she needs. Raven knows it's not just her, Emma does this with everyone- everyone except Magneto of course, who doesn't take off his helmet (sometimes Raven thinks he even sleeps with it). Raven knows it frustrates Emma that she can't access his thoughts and memories, can't gauge his reactions and intentions. Instead, she walks around in her skimpy lingerie and makes sure she has ample cleavage when she leans over financial documents with Magneto.

Raven isn't stupid, she knows what Emma's up to. She'd be less obvious if she wore a sign that said 'fuck me'. Magneto seems oblivious, or if he knows, he's simply ignoring it. His eyes roam when she leans in, but he keeps his hands to himself and the helmet on. Emma can't seem to get the hint and she keeps doing it, as if hoping to wear Magneto down into submission. 'It's pretty pathetic,' Raven thinks to herself. 'That she feels she has to screw the boss to be somebody.'

Emma's eyes narrow slightly, though she doesn't look up from the documents she's showing Magneto. Suddenly an icy voice slips into Raven's mind. 'I think it's sad when a girl keeps looking hopelessly for someone to love her. First your brother, then… Hank, I believe? And now our fearless leader. Like an attention starved toddler.'

'At least I don't sleep around to get ahead,' Raven thinks viciously at Emma. 'At least I've got some self respect.'

'Do you now?' Emma laughs in her head, the sound like nails on a blackboard. 'All it takes is for a guy to tell you, you should walk around naked and you abandon your own family. Some self respect.'

Raven doesn't acknowledge the remark, though she feels it twist a knot in her stomach. 'He won't fall for it you know, he's not Shaw,'

'Oh honey, he's a man,' Emma snorts in her mind. 'And you really can't compete. No man would pick a blue, scaly lizard over a gorgeous busty blonde.'

'Magneto's not like that,' she tries to convince them both. The look Emma gives her is almost pitying, which is more than Raven can handle. She turns around and stalks into the designated kitchen area. She makes herself some hot cocoa and tries not to think about the two of them, going over finances and plans late into the night. She steels herself and decides that she's going to fight back. It'd be one thing to lose Magneto to Charles- she could live with that, but she is not going to lose him her.


If Magneto is even aware of the fight over him, he doesn't acknowledge it; which is a good thing, Raven thinks, because it would just inflate his ego. Isn't it every guy's fantasy to have two women fighting over him? She knows the others are at least aware of the tension between her and Emma, if not the cause of it; she's pretty sure she caught Azazel smirking knowingly at them one day, but that could also be his default mode.

Emma's outfits get more and more outlandish, though considering Magneto's recent wardrobe change, that's not saying much nowadays (Seriously though- a cape? He looks like a cartoon villain) and she spends more time bending over for no apparent reason. Raven has caught her doing obscene things with an ice cube, a Popsicle, lollipop and basically anything she can shove in her mouth and make the guys salivate. Azazel and Riptide enjoy the show, even though Angel glares and pokes at Riptide whenever he stares too long, but with Magneto you never know. That helmet covers half of his face and he's the king of blank expressions.

Raven isn't as obvious in her technique, mostly because she doesn't have much seduction experience. She's had plenty of experience in standing on the sideline, watching Charles work his lame pickup lines, probably with a slight nudge from his powers. But Raven's seduction attempts are summed up with sitting on Hank's lap and showing up naked in Erik's bed (he was still Erik back then, at least in her eyes). Both cases never actually went further than a kiss, so they can't be counted as a glowing success.

In the end Raven decides that the first order of business is to get close to Magneto and break through that impenetrable wall he keeps around him. So she asks him to train her in their spare time. Magneto throws sharp metallic objects at her using his powers, while she ducks and rolls and jumps, trying to avoid them. He always stops them on time, before they could cut her, though he does allow an occasional nick and cut, to make it more real and serve as a reminder.

She starts walking around naked all the time, but she keeps telling herself it's because she's more comfortable in her body and not an attempt at seducing their leader (and she sometimes believes it too).

Raven also tries to be as involved as possible in any planning that goes on. Magneto doesn't send her on many missions, so she tries to still contribute somehow and learn about strategy. Magneto doesn't seem to mind her company and she enjoys watching him think and utilizing his Nazi-hunting talents for the good of Mutant kind. Raven knows that Magneto was a Nazi-hunter not from him- God forbid he actually talk about his past- but from Riptide of all people.


"I'm not sure if I can hurt anyone," Raven admitted to Riptide a day before they were going into the CIA facility to rescue Emma Frost. She wasn't speaking to Angel, Azazel scared her and she wasn't going to admit to any weaknesses in front of Erik. "I've never done it before and I'm not sure I can. I'm not sure I even want to."

"Then don't come," he said curtly. "If it's kill or be killed, you need to be able to kill. We need to trust you to have our backs, to be with us all the way."

"I'm with you guys, all the way," Raven said, biting her lower lip. "I believe in the Mutant Cause, us against the world and everything. I just don't want to hurt anyone." She lowered her eyes. "I guess I will if I have to, if it's 'kill or be killed', like you said. I just… This isn't easy for me. I don't know how it's so easy for you guys- I mean Azazel practically made it an art form and Erik didn't even blink when he aimed those missiles at thousands of people, ready to kill them."

"Experience," Riptide said dismissively. "It's never easy at first, but it gets easier. When Magneto tried to attack Shaw that first time on the submarine, Emma read his mind. He's been traveling across Europe killing Nazis all these years."

"Really?" Raven asked, horrified and curious and impressed all in one. "Was he-?"

"Don't ask me," Riptide shook his head. "Emma just told us he had a history with Shaw and he hunts Nazis. It's not my business. All I care about is that he knows how to plan an operation and has the guts to see it through. If you can't see this through, do us all a favor and stay behind, we can't afford to baby-sit during battle." He finished and walked away, leaving her flustered and embarrassed.

The next day she joined them, the operation was a success and she didn't even have to hurt anyone in the process. But Raven was too pragmatic to hope that this would always be the case- she knew this was a third line in the sand she crossed and it wouldn't be the last, there'll be many more. The first was deciding not to take Hank's serum and the second was that day on the beach when she left the life she knew behind and decided to fight for the cause of all Mutant kind.


"Again," Azazel instructs Raven, as he circles around her, his tail cutting the air left and right. Raven attacks him again- she tries feigning right and kicking his midsection with her left foot- but he catches her foot with his tail and spins her in the air. She lands hard on the training mat, the wind knocked out of her. Raven decided that she needed some hand-to-hand combat training and even though he kinda scared her, she asked Azazel if he would train her. The red demon nodded and grinned at her with vicious glee.

Raven is happy for the training and she's getting stronger, faster and more flexible, but being around Azazel is unnerving. Whenever she's around him, she can't help but remember the sound of screams and people going splat against the ground. Can't help but remember all those men he killed at the CIA headquarters. And he almost killed Hank at the beach- he would have, if it weren't for her.

"Get up, again," Azazel instructs her, that damn tail of his swishing to and fro. His red skin has a thin layer of sweat and suddenly a hysterical thought pops into her head- 'if we hook up and have a baby, it'll probably be purple with scales and a tail'. The thought is so absurd she can't help but chuckle.

"Laugh later, fight now," Azazel says impatiently, his tail's movements are sharper, like a twitchy knife. Raven gets up slowly, trying to think of a way around that damn tail. If it weren't for the tail, she could get a decent jab, she just knows it! Her eyes narrow suddenly with an idea and she grins tightly to herself. She attacks him again, this time a series of rapid kicks and punches, trying to get him off balance and distract him. He matches her blow for blow and backs away, giving him some maneuverability and giving her room for her plan.

She delivers a roundhouse kick to his face and shifts at the same time. He tries to grab her with his tail, only to be met with an identical tail twisting them together. He looks up and it's his own face staring back at him, grinning viciously and exposing sharp teeth. He hesitates for just a moment, but it's all she needs. She kicks his solar plexus, bending him over in a sharp exhale, before delivering an upper cut to his chin. He falls down on his back, momentarily dazed. She shifts back and stands over him triumphantly, offering him a hand.

"You cheated," he wheezes, but takes her hand and climbs to his feet. "Good," he smiles. "But next time I will cheat too," the smile he gives her tells her of the bruises and sores in store for her in the near future. But right now, she couldn't care less and her smile widens. She knocked Azazel down for the first time and proved that her powers can be useful in a fight. "Eat protein," he instructs her. "Good for building muscles." He nods to her once before vanishing in a red haze, the smell of sulfur intermingling with the strong scent of sweat.

"Shower first," she says to the empty room. "Good for hygiene."


Raven sits in the kitchen, enjoying her omelet sandwich (one of the few things she knows how to make). She's in a good mood- she finally beat Azazel for the first time and she thinks she even got some respect from him. She feels giddy and hungry and it seems like nothing could dampen her mood, when Emma, Angel and Riptide walk into the kitchen area. She tenses, but continues to eat her sandwich, trying to pretend they, or rather she, weren't there.

"Oh honey, are you sure you want to eat that?" Emma asks her sweetly. "Bread is just fattening and the yolk in the egg has so much cholesterol and calories."

"It also has protein," Raven answers defensively. "You know- for building muscles?"

"Then you should definitely be eating more eggs," Emma says placidly as she makes herself a cup of tea. "Turn those love handles into muscles so you can look all masculine and manly."

Raven thanks her blue skin that it's nearly impossible to see the blush that is creeping up her face.

"Hey!" Angel says indignantly. "She doesn't have any 'love handles'- girl looks good."

"She could definitely get rid of some baby fat then," Emma shrugs. "Of course with her power, she can always just hide it, I guess." She turns her insincere smile on Riptide. "What do you think, sugar?" Azazel chooses that moment to suddenly appear in the kitchen. Riptide walks over to him, whispers something in his ear and they both disappear in a puff of smoke. Emma sighs dramatically. "Men."

"What about them?" Magneto asks tiredly as he enters the kitchen. He goes through the pantry and the fridge, eyeing the content critically, before pouring himself a glass of whiskey.

"I was just saying that I needed a man's opinion," Emma turns her laser smile on him.

'Oh please don't, please don't,' Raven thinks frantically, which just makes Emma's smile take on a more sinister tone.

"About what?" Magneto asks suspiciously.

"Don't you think it's a woman's duty to maintain her slim figure?" Emma asks him sweetly.

Magneto frowns, setting his glass down on the counter. "I'm not sure if I'm following."

"I was just telling Mystique here," Emma tosses her hair in her direction and Raven wishes the ground would swallow her whole then and there. "That she should get rid of her baby fat and slim down."

"She looks fine," he says gruffly, taking a slow sip from his drink and not bothering even glancing in Raven's direction. All the same, Raven feels a happy flutter deep in her stomach at his words and a smile forming on her face.

"Maybe," Emma says noncommittally. "But she could look better. When Shaw was in charge, he made sure all the girls in the club stayed skinny."

"Did he now?" There's an edge to his tone, like a dagger, but Emma pays it no heed as she ambles on.

"Oh yes. He put us all on a diet of low-Carbs and no sweets. Sometimes we even fasted for a day if we gained 5 pounds-"

Every metallic item in the kitchen starts to shake angrily. Raven can hear the cutlery in the drawers snarl and hiss, while the salt and pepper shakers fly and shatter on the wall. Magneto's fingers tighten around his glass, but his visage remains a neutral and cold mask. Angel and Raven exchange worried glances. They've never seen Magneto not in full control of his powers. He's scary when he's in control, seeing him like this is terrifying.

"He had you starve yourselves?" He asks, his tone like quiet thunder.

Emma gulps and tries to back peddle. "We fasted and it was only for a day-"

"Jews fast for a day to atone for their sins," Magneto says tightly. "You shouldn't fast for vanity."

"It's not vanity if it's true. Everyone knows slim women are more attractive," she shimmies closer to him, her cleavage right in his line of sight and her finger traces the curve of his jaw. "Tell me you disagree."

Magneto grabs her delicate wrist in his hand and leans in, like a shark closing in on his prey. Emma tenses, but shows no other visible signs of discomfort.

"Have you ever truly starved, Ms. Frost?" Magneto asks slowly. Emma gives a quick shake of her head. Magneto's mouth pulls in an ugly smile. "I have. It's not very pleasant, or something to be proud of. It's cruel and feral. The hunger gnaws at your insides, until you feel it devour every organ in its path and your stomach sticks to your back. I've seen the 'skinny' men and women Shaw was so proud of- they were nothing more than walking skeletons yearning with their whole being for one more bowl of soup or piece of bread." His voice drops beyond freezing level. "I will have none of that here. Everyone here will eat regularly, there will be no more 'fasting'. Am I clear?"

"Crystal," Emma says tightly. Magneto backs off then and leaves the kitchen, his half finished whiskey still on the counter. The three share an uncomfortable silence, not looking at one another. Finally Emma gets up and brushes off invisible dust from her clothes.

"One of you should clean up this mess," Emma says and leaves Raven and Angel sitting at the kitchen table.

"I've never seen him like that," Raven whispers mostly to herself.

"Well I've never seen Emma like that," Angel whispers to Raven conspiratorially. "She was so emotional- I think I actually saw a frown line." Raven snorts in response and the two of them start giggling, while they go to get a broom to sweep up the glass.

Part 3