It's a difficult thing, to leave well enough alone regarding matters and people one cares for the most…but Charles did try. Tried to respect Raven's desire to go her own way, to deal with certain questions on her own.
But some things can't be left alone forever. One tragedy after another has hit the world, many of them quite close to home, all the while Charles has been getting increased reports of Raven's activities — from Lorna, from Kurt, from the Brotherhood. Now they're facing a threat the estranged siblings might actually find some common ground over.
And there was that little message from Lorna, to say hello. It's reason enough to finally see Charles actively seek Raven out, traveling alone and resolved to the Chathedral where Lorna had met Raven. Charles looks…well. He looks like Charles. An odd mix of well turned out and slap dash.
Approaching the building, Charles looks up at the architecture, mind idly reaching out to poll whatever occupants it might currently house.
St. Michael's Cathedral itself was almost near to worn down. No matter how much money the congregation had slipped into repairs there was always something else that needed a fix. The congregation itself were full of die hards, those who were passed the age of even thinking of a change, who's children had grown and had their own, and even few who've had their own as well.
But on this night, the cathedral itself was empty, save for the little tap, tapping near the back. The room itself was closed off, the priests quarters, a soft sound of a cry that echoes through the halls of a cathedral and the door soon opening which slams shut.
The gust of wind from that slamming of the door has the candles bending oddly, Raven striking out of the darkness with steps that pound hard against the marble floor. The floor itself was ruined, with cracks here and there, but the foundation was one to trife with as it kept everything steady.
She.. doesn't look like herself. Out of focus, one eye remained yellow while the other kept its hazel hue. The dress she wears tugs deep upon her body, her hair, light blonde as it was, tugged up into pin curls. The lipstick that she wears, red, was partly smeared upon her cheeks as the eyeliner seemed a little smudged due to her tears.
And for the moment, she approaches Charles' direction, her gaze remaining placed forward without the need to spare him a glance. It was as if she couldn't recognize him, or actually see that he was there.
For a moment, Charles stops with one hand resting lightly on the cathedral door, frozen with it only partly open. There's a mind here, and it's at once achingly familiar and alarmingly strange. That particular buzz of interference, no longer an obstacle through long familiarity, is all Raven's. The general feel, the flow, is Raven's… But the thoughts, even the impressions of personality?
What on earth?
Charles is already pushing on the door again when air pressure drags it inward only to slam shut a moment after he slips through. Catching sight of his sister he hurries towards her, finding her as much in disarray outside than in. He reaches for her shoulder, as if afraid she might be about to fall over.
"Raven?" Charles asks, not able to keep the shock from his voice nor his thoughts. What's happened to you?
The open of the door has her body stopping at a slight halt. Her shoulders slumping as her face crumples into ruination, her fingers lifting to curl into fists to smack against her head. Parts of them draw a faint blue, but the skin ripples along her and retains that color of her pale skin. Even the yellow eye, it soon matches the hazel color, which soon blink back as the door itself slams shut. His footsteps, they were like a thing of horror, one heel steps back as her gloved hand draws up to fend away the grasp to her shoulder. "STOP!" She nearly shrieks out, both hands drawn into a fist, a little temper tantrum given as she shakes and flails at her fingers.
He says her name.. and.. the voice within her mind, it has her eyes opening and looking around, her lips working to speak until she focuses upon him. It was near tragic. "What..? Ch.. Charles..?" She stammers out, her head soon shaking. "No.. no no.. not Charles.." She turns, then begins to stalk away. "..stop .. fucking with me.."
Charles stands where he is when she turns away, though here's a twist to his lips somewhere between ironical humor and growing concern.
"Surely it's not been so long that you wouldn't know me when you saw me, has it?" He takes one step nearer, the quiet clack echoing through the wide room. "..I came to see you, no fuckery intended, Raven."
Her intent was to return to the room of which she came, to lock herself away further, to attempt to access her natural gift, to see her skin to be turned blue again or to exercise the demons that plagued her. Something that would get that man out of her face.. that man who wasn't here. Who was but a dream until that voice touches her ears and she stops again. A little turn is given, and soon she follows the full rotation, stalking towards him once again as she reaches out to grip his shoulders.
Perhaps it was something natural, that he was always taller than her and always would be, but as she uses him to lift and plant a kiss upon his lips, her eyes remain open to look into his before she pulls away, her lips quirking in a slight bit of a smirk. "Oh." And then she pauses.. letting him go. "What do you want."
Charles blinks when she grips him by the shoulders, but makes no move to stop her. "Why would you think I was a dream?" he asks, his gaze questioning, searching for something. He starts to ask another question when she cranes up and kisses him out of the blue.
"…I," he blinks. "I hadn't intended that either. Though I suppose I'm glad you're happy to see me? Raven, are you drugged?"
Raven says nothing for a time, she wasn't spacing out, she was just studying him, her brows lowering as her lips form into an all too obvious thin line. "I haven't been drugged." She finally states. Her guard was slowly going up as she gives him a bit of space, though there was a slight edge about her that made her want to jump out of her skin.
She mentions nothing about him thinking that he was a dream, in fact, she ignores it all together. But still, there was that question that lingered that went unanswered.. "Why. Are you here. What do you want?"
Charles shifts from foot to foot, an old habit for when he was gathering himself. It would seem her sharper tone wasn't missed.
"I wanted to talk about these so-called 'Friends of Humanity'…though now that I'm here, I think perhaps it should be me asking you what you want. You.. didn't entirely seem yourself there for a few moments." he notes mildly. As she's settling back into something recognizable as the Raven he knows, he doesn't move after when she gets some distance this time. This is rather more the sort of welcome he'd been expecting.
Raven takes a few steps to the side to fall into the pew, her feet kicked up as she lowers them yet again, her head hung down as she stares into her hands as he mentions the Friends of Humanity. "I want a lot of things, big brother. Be careful what you ask me for, I just may demand it out of your hide." Her gaze lifts then, a little smile put on, but then it falls again as she takes on a lean. She wasn't herself. Was she ever herself? So many of her ran together.. the thought of it allows both of her eyes to bleed just a hint of yellow before they shift back, as if a membrane covered her eyes and slid her hazel hue anew.
"So you've heard." She says with a smile. "You have a little nephew out there killing us." Her gloved hand lifts, and wriggles in her direction. "Aren't you glad you can pass for human."
As his own train of thought ends up affecting hers, Charles quirks a brow. You always were uncanny about picking up every stray projection. he thinks. Though rather than resentment, there's something almost fond there. ..And you //are still you, you know. Once you give yourself space to settle, to not pretend for awhile.// not that that was something she was known for even before they parted ways. Charles paces a few steps, resting a hand on another pew. "But yes, to answer your question. I want to help."
A chill runs up her spine as she cuts her gaze towards him, her chin lifting in a faint defiance as she looks away to stare at the effigy of Christ ahead. "Stay out of my head.." She quietly murmurs, a little insecurity rearing it's ugly head as she blinks near owlishly at the statue. Did it just move? Her eyes close again, her fingers lifting to pinch at the bridge of her nose, her lips peeling back to reveal a grimace as she lets out a slight hiss.
"Why?!" She snaps out. "Fuck right off, brother! You're too late. You won't do what needs to be done, you cannot help. You absolutely will not help. You abhor the very violence that makes me. No." Her head shakes completely as she stands now, her lips puckered with a slight hint of disdain. "What are you going to do? Tell me exactly how you can help.."
Yes, this he'd been expecting. He got rather the same reaction from Cain, but as she's still talking, still asking, he presses on, straight backed and calm. "You know exactly how I could help. And I think you know that even within the bounds of what I will do, we could protect far more people if we worked together. This isn't a riot borne of fear and desperation, Raven. These are people methodically attacking innocents. That's something I mean to stop no matter who is doing it." he doesn't address that comment about her and violence..not yet.
"Oh, are you going to mind wipe them, then?" She asks. "Are you going to infect them and make them like us? Make them forget us? Make them forget themselves?" She was becoming irrationally agitated, there was no reason as to why, but it was there. "Me and you, we're two different people, always have been. And I know that you've felt that since the first time we've ever met and shared a home.." Another step. It was getting dangerous.
"Charles, my intention, my point is to kill them all. There will be no rehabilitation. No voices of reason. No speeches of turning the other cheek, no justice behind bars.. I'm going to kill them. Any one of them that lay a hand upon mine, I will do so to theirs ten fold. By any means necessary."
"And you'll do that. Knowing you'll just be giving the worst of them the excuse they need to do the same? Knowing that we might be able to stop them sooner together, save lives, putting them behind bars? …Is the alternative so unthinkable?" Charles asks. "..You can't blot out what happened this way, you know."
"As if they needed an excuse now, Charles." Raven states. "If me and mine aren't there to answer the call, no one will. No one will give a damn about us, and when they do, it'll be because we were wiped off the map." Her hand lifts, her fingers snapping, and yet her head gives a slight shake.. "It won't stop there. Do you think because they were put in time out, that the hatred will fade away? They are building a police force. A -police- force. What next, Charles?"
His words give her pause, her bottom lip nearly bunched up before she allows it to tremble. What was he talking about? Was it her? Was it them? Was it someone else? Her hands lift to sink her fingers into her hair, to draw in a breath of air as the tears begin to fall. She turns away from him, inhaling, exhaling, a near panic attack on the horizon. "Shut up Charles.. just.. stop.."
She can hear him let out a breath behind her, his own shoulders falling. It's the same worn arguments.. With an effort of will he swallows the retort that was rising in his throat.
"Alright." Charles finally says. "We've both said these things before, after all. But I am offering my help. Whenever you might be willing to take it. But Raven…please promise me something. That when you say that the actions you take are 'necessary', that you'd be able to look yourself in the mirror afterwards and say that what you did you did to save lives. That you didn't do it to satisfy your own anger or hate, but for love of the people you are protecting."
It's unsaid, but she might pick up a hint of the thought, Like the Raven I know would. but aloud he only adds, "Tell me that, at least?"
Her fingers dig into her scalp to the point where her hair was pulled out from the root, a slight little whimper is heard from where she stood, her hands dropping to look at the tufts of blonde as she allows it to fall to the floor. She could hear him, and those words hit her, as a matter of factly, parts of them sting because deep down.. ever since.. she never really could look at the blue face that was staring right back at her.
There was a flurry of emotions, a twinge of hope. Trepidtation, anger. Fear. An uncontrollable bout of rage that nearly made her scream out but she kept it all inside. Such an extreme emotion for such a tense conversation, all held in as she keeps her back turned to not show the tears, even though he's possibly the only one who has ever seen them before. Yet, once the words touch her mind, her arms wrap around herself, her intention to take a step was stopped with her doubling over.. her visage rippling and changing from one form to the next. A smaller woman. An elderly man. A shade of red, and then blue. It was a kick to the gut that sends her to the floor upon her knees, her hands still clutching her head as she begins to sob ever so loudly. How in the world did it come to this?
"I need help.. I can't.. I can't.." In truth, hearing that her own son was behind this broke her heart, coupled with the many horrors she's done, the people she's tossed aside, and the lives that she's ruined, including her own. It was just too much. Charles caught her on a very, very bad day.
Of course he'd been hoping for his words might leave some impression — but he hadn't expected that. He'd known something was wrong, suspected Creed being revealed as her son must be hitting her harder than she was showing, but even with his gifts he hadn't realized just how much Raven was tamping down. Not until it all tore free, the sheer wall of tangled emotion rocking him back on his feet when it hits.
He probably should keep his distance, but in the end, he still looks at her and sees his sister. He's beside her curled form before he knows it, hugging her around her shifting shoulders if not stopped, one hand trying to guide her fingers away from her hair. He's frightened, and it tinges the room around him. He's seen Raven friendly, seen Raven dismayed, seen Raven angry. But what he's seen tonight has been something else entirely. "Here, shh. Take a moment, Raven…" he says. "..I meant what I said. I think it's terribly important… but so is your health. You've been pushing yourself badly, haven't you? Because of all of this, especially since… oh, Raven. You have to know you aren't responsible for what Creed has done… He makes his decisions himself, just as we all do."
He was still her brother. Someone she'd love possibly until the end of time, and yet there was a moment where she'd nearly lay a hand upon him in anger. How could those thoughts come now, even as he comforts her the only way he knew how. It was an all too human struggle, her hands attempting to tug away from his grasp, to try to smack and claw at her blue face once everything had ended, allowing her red locks to shift and hide her face as she leans against his form for support.
"But I abandoned them, all of my children!" She cries into his chest, "I left them to god knows what.. why.. why did I do that.." There was a reason, the incredible guilt was left with self loathing. Who would love a mother like her, who had a face like hers? She was selfish, that one thing was for certain. And she has been pushing herself, that was no surprise, running from it all.. "Make me forget.. everything. I.. I saw hell.. but I'll see hell in Graydon's eyes when he realizes who I am. I can't.."
"Oh, Raven." Charles breathes, rubbing her back as she wails. He willfully projects how much it means to see her again, a soothing sense of acceptance and familiarity that overshadows even the pain of their disagreements, and the sick twinge he gets every time someone asks him for that. He's always been that way, since Raven met him, when she'd once made a joke to that effect and he'd nearly burst into tears. But for now he just tries to be there while she lets all of this out.
He grimaces with her at the thought of her abandoned children. All the time they'd 'grown up' together, he'd never guessed she had children of her own left behind. But whatever the case, dwelling on the past isn't the way to help any of that heal. Rather..
"It's not too late, you know." he tells her. "I can't speak for Creed, but Kurt is a remarkable young man. I think he would want to come to know you, given the choice. You want so badly to stop running, Raven.. but you don't have to forget to do that. You don't have to tear it all down… we can face it, Raven. One way, or the other."