Disclaimer: Whoever you don't recognise belongs to me. The rest is Marvel's.


Part 5
By Geraldine Cheong

Ororo Munroe tried to calm herself down. She had to...after all, she was the leader of the X-men's Gold Team. She was Storm, Mistress of the Elements. She cannot give in to the claustrophobia threatening to overcome her. She must not...but the room was dark and tiny and she was scared...


"Uuh..." Rogue awoke feeling sore in the many places the tranquiliser darts had hit their target. "Feels like ah have had a run-in with an army of hedgehogs. That means mah powers are gone." She got up to stretch her cramped legs. Chains held her to the wall. She moved around a little, to get the blood circulating in her veins again. The 'room' seemed more like a closet to Rogue. Rogue suddenly remembered that Storm was with her when they were attacked and Storm had been the first to fall.

"Storm? Are you alright, sugah?" Hearing no reply, she groped around for Storm. She sensed a small movement from the corner. Moments later, there came a barely audible whimper.

"Ororo? You okay, hon?"


Storm was in her room, the attic of the X-mansion. She specially asked the professor for permission to have the attic converted into a room for her. She took a shine to the attic as it was rather spacious and had a skylight on the ceiling. With the skylight, she was able to see the stars and the moon each night as she lay down to sleep. Watching the stars made her feel at peace with herself, in synch with the forces of nature around her. The stars gave her hope...that no matter what happened, things would always turn out right in the end. No matter what happened, the stars could always be seen through little peepholes in the dark foreboding sky, offering what little light they had to give comfort to the scared, the sick, the lonely and the oppressed.

Except tonight. The night was blankleted by dense black clouds, obscuring the dimly shining stars that Storm knew so well. They were trying desperately to break through the clouds, to offer their light to her but failing miserably. They were getting tired, weaker, dimmer...Storm tried to help them break through...tried to disperse the clouds but instead, more clouds rolled in. Tired of trying, the stars slowly left, one by one...

"No! Come back!" Storm commanded. The darkness grew thicker and heavier. "Please come back," she pleaded. "Don't leave me alone."

She heard a distant voice saying, "Don't worry, sugah. Ah'm here. We're in this together." Then she was back in the dark again. Trapped. Weighed down by the collapsed building. Nowhere to go, no way out, hardly any room to move at all. Not even a pinprick of light shone through the darkness. She remembered it all too clearly. She was in Cairo. A plane had crashed into the building where Ororo was. Her mother was right next to her then. Frantically, she scanned the darkness for any sign of her mother.

Sapphire's interest was focused solely on the object she held in her hands when Genevieve entered. She returned it back to its rightful place on Genevieve's dresser without a second thought.

It was a photograph that Genevieve and Remy had taken when they were together. Genevieve went over and picked it up. Sapphire watched quietly as Genevieve glanced at it, then put it away in her drawer, faced-down.

"'ave you delivered de note to 'im?"

"Yes, Miss Darceneaux."

"Call me Genny."

"Yes, Miss Dar...Genny." After a moment's silence, Sapphire spoke up. "He is very charming, Miss...Genny."

"Indeed. I presume you've met 'im."

"Yes. He was just as you said he would be...cocky, overconfident, suave and wild...somewhat untamed...You sure you want to go ahead with this? Don't you still...love him?"

Genevieve's reply was quick. "Watever love I 'ad for de man died a long time ago, Sapphire. You will do well to remember it."

"It doesn't seem fair...the others are innocent."

"'ave you forgotten, my dear Sapphire, who it was dat rescued you from de 'Lost Horizon'?"

"No." came Sapphire's meek reply.

"Or perhaps you have forgotten the oath you swore to me when I took you in..."

"I have not...but...."

"I seem to be gettin' de impression dat you 'ave. Perhaps I ought to refresh your memory..."

"Please don't...Miss Genny...I beg of you...don't remind me...I don't want to..." she broke down, sobs wracking her entire body.

"Enough of dis whinin'! I shall call for you when I require your services."

After Sapphire left, Genevieve took out the framed photograph of her and Remy once more.

"Why?" she thought bitterly. "Why did you 'ave to betray me?"

A single tear fell on the glass frame and slid down slowly.

Not so far away in a hotel room...

"You sure you don' wan' to come to de pub wit' me, petite?"

"If you haven't noticed, I'm a little off the minimum age requirement..."

"Don' worry 'bout dat...Gambit knows..."

"...besides Swamp-boy..."

"Swampboy? Don' nobody teach you dat you 'ave to respect your elders? I 'ave to 'ave a word wit' Wolverine 'bout your manners an' upbringin'."

Choosing to ignore Gambit's remark, Jubilee continued, "I'm still a little under the weather after the wonderful ride you gave me..."

"Ride? Oh...dat..." Gambit grinned. "Cyke told me to take over. I can' disobey our fearless leader's orders, non? Besides, it was fun, wasn't it?"

"Have you ever thought of setting up a Gambitland or something? You know...as in Disneyland..."

"Non. Why?"

"Good. With your idea of fun, all your poor little customers will die of a heart-attack before the ride is over."

"So, you comin'?"

"No, thank you."

"Jus' thought you'd jump at a chance to do somethin' forbidden..."

"Maybe tomorrow when the room stops spinning."

"Anythin' you say, petite. By de way, don' forget to lock de door after I'm gone. Don' open de door for strangers."

"Oh...alright motherhen."

"Motherhen?! Look I jus' wan' to make sure dat Logan's 'precious little' would be safe. T'ose claws of 'is are dangerous."

"Okay okay...enough nagging already. It's not like I'm a baby or something. Haven't I fought beside the X-men in countless battles? Fought beside the greatest master thief in the world? Go out. Have fun. Don't worry about me. I'll just tuck myself up nice and safe in bed."

"Watever you plan to do..." Jubilee gave a plaintive wail. Gambit sighed. "Jus' don' get into any trouble you can' get out of. I like my face jus' de way it is."

"You're starting to sound like Cyclops..."

"Moi?" Gambit gave her a look of mock horror. Jubilee gave an exasperated sigh.

"Anythin' happens, you can contact me wit' de communicator on your belt. I'm assumin' you still know 'ow to use it." Gambit artfully darted out of the room as Jubilee sent a rain of pillows after him.

"Good riddance." She muttered.

End of Part 5