At the same time as Erik sits in the park magnetically moving his chess piece for the first time since…, since everything, Mystique is getting ready for her shift as a personal bodyguard. She's already dressed the part, but puts the last bits of makeup on. This pale white human skin could do with some touches of color. The moment she puts on her blush as a final touch, she notices her hand in the mirror. One of her fingers turns blue. It can't be! She blinks her eyes and her hand is white again. But when she puts in all her effort, trying to remember how it's done, not that she'd ever really forgotten, the finger becomes blue again. She is overcome with shock and joy of the implications of this.
The following week Mystique continues to have mixed feeling about it. It had been the worst thing of her life: discovering that she was a mutant. Her family had tried to kill her. Later, when she had fully accepted her abilities and her appearance, and found a goal in her life, a noble one to live for, losing all that had been the worst. Suddenly she was human, the very thing she hated most… and now this.
The past few months she had slowly found her way in society again. She had held various security jobs, the first one as a mall cop, a job she'd detested. She had stolen plenty of times in her life and whenever she deemed the thief more worthy of the products than the store owner, she let them get away with it. Some store owners displayed fierce anti-mutant sympathies; needless to say they lost a good amount of their merchandise. Her heart was hardly in it.
Her current job was much better. She was one of the body guards of a local politician. A very good one when it came to mutant issues and that was all she cared about anyhow. He'd had a mutant sister who was sent away by his parents, basically thrown out of the house. She hadn't made it on her own. When he found out the truth about his sister many years later, he decided to take a stand on this for his late sister's sake. A good employer and an even better job.
Over time, the park had become his sanctuary. He'd been coming here every day, first to play and mourn his losses, now to practice his new found skills. In the beginning, he'd been bothered by people who recognized him. Calling him Erik or Magneto, asking where his cape was. People having a laugh. Generally some scowling or an angry outburst was enough to scare them away. Pretending to still have powers didn't really do the trick and reminded him much too strongly of his past. But now, that hardly happened anymore. People saw a well-dressed older man enjoying his pension and the afternoon sun. Every once in a while he'd play a game with another chess lover. He could hate them all he wanted, but now that he was one of them, at least until recently…
Her powers are increasing, so are his, both of her arms up to her elbows are now able to change their shape. Not just to the original scaly blue, but also into strong men's arms, or feminine arms of all colors. She tests it out every morning, and on various moments throughout the day, whenever she is alone. Trying to establish if the line moves upwards over her arms, but it doesn't happen as fast as she expects.
Having a daily routine, however mundane, was a straw to cling to. He'd often think about the past, the people he loved and lost. Sitting here, at the same place every day, provided some solace. Besides that it gave him a small hope. The hope of maybe, someday, recognizing one or two of his former friends. If his powers were returning, so might theirs. Altering the past might not be possible, but who knew what the future might bring?
"Hello Erik." A woman walks towards him and takes the seat opposite of the chess board.
Not another one… He thought all the harassment had stopped. "Do I know you?" he asks without looking up from the game, feigning disinterest.
He looks at her intently now and drops the chess piece that had been hovering ever so slightly above the board. "Raven?"
"The one and only."
He's at a loss of words. Their last encounter is burned into his mind. Her eyes flash with anger and grief. "How are you?" he stammers, falling back on politeness.
"Now, or then?"
"Well, now…" She bends towards him, with folded arms. "Take a look at this.." Her arms change before his eyes, to blue, even to his own arms and, back again, to her human ones.
"You too…" he whispers.
"What do you mean, you too?"
"I've, haven't you heard the news?" His eyebrows lift.
"The great Magneto has lost his powers-kind of news?"
"You definitely deserved it," she smirks, "for how you've treated me."
"I know, I know." He sighs.
"I managed to get to a small town. Done odd jobs. Tried to adjust."
"And now this…"
"Yes, since a while. It's going slowly though. I guess it's getting out of my system. The cure." She spits the last few words with contempt. "So, how does it feel to be one of them?" she asks.
"Like you've been torn from your roots, your friends, your destiny?"
"But, look!" He shows his own skills by lifting some chess pieces.
"Aah, you too…" she smirks.
"Could you..., might you? Do you think we could bury the hatchet? Start again?"
"Build up what we lost? In time?"
"Yes," he hates begging, but what his lips can barely say, his eyes are showing all too clearly.
She hesitates. After minutes of silence, she finally speaks. "I need to think about it." She leaves abruptly and he is left alone once more, with his dark thoughts as only company.