1:47 am (Genoshan Time)
4:47 pm (Haitian Time)
“This is the worst,” Wanda complained. “I should be sleeping right now.”
“Please,” said Gabriel. “I had just successfully adjusted my body from New York time to Genosha time, and now I’m here in a third time zone.”
The princess and her good friend were currently on their way to their assignment passing out food to refugees. They were on a narrow street, currently its only occupants. It was getting somewhat darker, and the air had gotten a bit chillier.
“At least you get to hang out with an awesome princess,” Wanda retorted. “I’m stuck here with a whiny gay American.”
“You’re so funny,” Gabriel said sarcastically. “Do you have any idea where this food bank place is?”
There was silence for a few minutes as they walked side by side in the fading light. Gabriel shivered and then said, “Do you remember when we dated?”
“How could I forget?” asked Wanda. “You were my first boyfriend.”
“What year was that?”
“That sounds about right,” said Gabriel. “Do you think it could’ve lasted? You know, if I was straight.”
Wanda thought for a moment. “I don’t know. I know I thought I was in love with you. I had our kids names picked out, and I had decided where we were going to live.”
“That’s a little creepy…”
Wanda smiled and playfully smacked him. “I was sixteen and in love.”
“Yeah, and I was fifteen and in the closet…”
They were silent once again, until Wanda inquired, “Why the trip down memory lane? Updating your Little Black Book?”
“No, it’s just…I had a date the other night with a woman from the palace library.”
“To win a bet with Alex,” Gabriel explained. “It just got me thinking. You’re the only other woman I’d ever gone out with.”
“So you thought you’d see what life on the straight side might’ve looked like?”
“I guess so,” he said somewhat awkwardly.
“Is that really the only reason you brought it up?”
Gabriel answered, “No.” He took a deep breath. “It’s just… I haven’t had a boyfriend since that idiot soccer player from a few years ago, and…”
“And what?” she prodded.
“And what if there’s no chance of love for me? What if some people are attracted to the same sex, but everyone’s got a soulmate of the opposite gender. What if there’s only such a thing as straight love?”
“Gabe, listen to yourself,” Wanda said. “Are you serious? Somewhere out there there’s a great guy waiting for you. You really think you’ll never find love just because of what turns you on? Of course not.”
Gabriel took another deep breath. “I guess you’re right.”
“I always am,” she clarified.
Elsewhere in Port-au-Prince
“So your sister and her husband went back to Attilan?” Pietro asked Crystal as the two of them sat in a small, stuffy room sorting through stacks and stacks of papers when they weren’t trying to figure out the twenty-five-year-old computer.
“Yep. I’m not sure how the negotiations went, but if it was too bad between our countries than I doubt Medusa would’ve let me stay.” She brushed a stray strand of hair behind her ear she spoke.
“You know, I-” Pietro started to say, but that’s when it started.
It felt like the earth was yelling at them. The entire floor was vibrating like mad, and things started falling everywhere. Pietro felt the foundation of the building begin to split beneath them. The floor was cracking, and the ceiling began to give way as well.
On impulse, Pietro ran over to Crystal, scooped her up, and her her out of the falling building and about a mile away in a matter of seconds. But the movement of the ground made it impossible to go any further. They were now in the middle of an undeveloped area, with no buildings and few trees.
“Wha…wha… What?” Crystal stammered. “What just happened?” asked the girl, her hands flailing violently for something to steady herself on.
The prince took a deep breath, preparing to come clean. “I’m a mutant,” he shouted over the loud rumbling.
“No, I know that,” she said loudly, “but what is this?”
“An aftershock,” he said.
Crystalia shook her head, as if to clear her mind of all the stray thoughts and panics that plagued it. “Take my hands,” she yelled, holding them out.
Pietro, though confused, did as he was told. He grabbed the hands of the woman he loved and closed his eyes, as did she. Suddenly, he felt still. The noise of the rumbling was still there, but he no long felt it. Along with the loud sonic obstruction though, there was something else. A low, whooshing noise. Like a violent breeze that was just calming down.
Pietro opened his eyes. The rumbling was dying down now, but the young royal realized that the calming ground was several feet below him. He and Crystal were caught up in the wind, as if the air had formed a sphere around them.
Crystal now also opened her eyes. They met with Pietro’s own as the pair was lowered back to the now-still surface.
“What was that?” he asked her.
“I haven’t been totally honest with you, ‘Tro.”
The Palace of Lord Magnus
There was a knock on the door of the Queen’s office.
“Come in,” said Magda, setting down her pen and removing her glasses.
Lord Magnus entered, looking regal and commanding as ever despite the tired twist to his features.
“Hello, my dear,” he said to her as he sat down in the chair opposite her.
“How was your trip?” asked Magda.
“It was successful, but tiring.”
The queen pursed her lips. “You’re only going to get worse if you keep doing this, Magnus. You’re quite lucky our doctors were able to keep the virus from spreading to anyone else, but it’s still there.”
“I know, Maggie.”
“Don’t you Maggie me, Erik Lensherr. I asked you not take this joyride to the U.S., and you went and did it anyway. Anyone could’ve won over the Pride. Just throw something shiny on the ground in front of them and they’ll bend right over.”
“It was more complicated than that, Magda,” he said, trying to refrain from yelling at her. “You know full well we need their money and their happiness to make our next move. You keep talking about finding an heir, well there’s not going to be much to leave to them if this next part doesn’t go off smoothly.”
“I understand that, Magnus.”
“Good,” he said, loosening his forest green tie from around his neck and unfastening the top button of his navy shirt.
“You spoke to Jean?” she asked.
He nodded. “She’s ready.”
“Of course she is.”
“And you’re having the Matthews boy sent to the United States?” he asked her.
“His parents are saying their goodbyes now. They understand that he’s going to die either way, it’s just a matter of how much his death means.”
Jean Grey’s office
Jean’s security clearance had just been upgraded, due to her forthcoming promotion. She was currently wasting time, reading through old memos that she hadn’t been able to access before. Personnel files were her favorite. She had her own set, of course, but right in front of her were Lord Magnus’ personal thoughts about each of his subordinates. At least, the ones he cared enough about to write a file on them.
She scrolled through the list of names, skimming some bios, reading others more carefully, and skipping some altogether. But there was one name, out of all of them, that she did not recognize. ‘Matthews, Daniel’ it read. She clicked, and the file opened on her screen.
Name: Matthews, Daniel
Date of Birth: May 12th, 1999 (Age 11)
Genetic Status: X-gene positive (Mutant)
Powers/Abilities: Matter/Energy transduction
Ability activation: January 2010
Ability description: Subject converts all nutrients into nuclear energy. Subject cannot survive without basic nutrients. It is estimated that the subject will lose control of said nuclear energy within one year of ability activation.
Current location: In transit to Wilmington, Delaware
Jean was not immediately certain of what to with this information. If a mutant…blew up in any sort of populated area in the U.S., the country would certainly go ahead with their Mutant Relocation Legislation, which was basically a nicer way of saying mutie concentration camps.
And if a super-power such as the United States took such a blatant anti-mutant stance, then…it could start a war.
7:04 am (Genoshan Time)
10:04 pm (Haitian Time)
Lorna twirled the diamond ring on her left ring finger. She and Alex sat in a shabby, broken down hotel room. It was in even worse shape now than when they had left it after arriving in the city, due to the aftershock.
Lorna was feeling depressed. She had always assumed that eventually her relationship with Carter would just dissolve, and then she could be with Alex forever. But the wedding was three weeks away now, and Lorna didn’t see a way out.
“What are we doing, Alex?” she asked him.
He looked up from checking his messages on his phone and said, “Why do I get the feeling you’re not just referring to this particular moment?”
“Because I’m not. I’m serious, Alex. Is this real?”
“Of course it’s real. Was that not clear before?”
Her eyes started to water now, and this time not because she was allergic to the brand of mascara she had been using for the past ten years. “Like, leaving my fiancé serious, or until I get married serious? Because I walk down that aisle in twenty-three days.”
“What Alex?” She looked at him, screaming at him inside to take her and hold her and tell her everything was going to be okay…that he would be there forever. She was really crying now. “What?”
“Did I do something wrong, or-”
“Oh my god, Alex!” she yelled through her tears. “Do you not get it? I’m engaged! To be married! And after I say ‘I do’, this,” she pointed to herself, and then to him, “is not going to work anymore.”
“Are you breaking up with me?” he asked in disbelief.
“I don’t know.” She sat down on the bed, head in her hands. “All I know is, I have a real future with Carter, and I can’t give all that up if you’re not going to be there, alright? I can’t say no to a perfectly good shot at happiness on the bet that you’ll be here when I turn my head.” She breathed deeply, and wiped her eyes with her sleeve. “So what’s in going to be?”
The next room over
“Don’t worry,” Scott comforted Emma as he gently massaged her tight shoulders. “We’ll find Adrienne.”
“How?” Emma asked him, hopelessness coloring her beautiful voice.
“I don’t know yet,” he admitted quietly. “But we’ll keep looking tomorrow.”
Emma didn’t respond, but merely said, “That’s enough,” as she batted his hands away from her neck.
The two of them lied down on the hard bed, covered only by a rough blanket with what Emma referred to as ‘A thread count lower than Lorna’s IQ.’
As her finance drifted off to sleep, Emma turned over, straight on her back, closed her eyes, and opened a communication channel. Her psyche finally found he person it was looking for.
Emma, how’s the trip to Haiti? asked the deep voice of the woman Emma worked for.
Fine, my queen, she replied.
He’s fine, Selene, she snapped.
Tsk tsk darling, she warned. Let us not check our sense of respect at the door.
Yes ma’am, Emma struggled to get out. I apologize.
Now what did you want, my dear? The Black Queen’s patronizing tone sickened and angered Emma.
I was wondering if maybe, once I get back from this trip…
If I could tell you where your brother is? The woman offered.
Yes, confirmed Emma.
Young lady, I assure you, Christian is receiving all of the proper treatment for his condition. Seeing you would only hinder his progress at this point.
I don’t need him to see me, I just wanted to know wh-
Emma, don’t be disrespectful. I’ll do you the favor of pretending we didn’t have this conversation, but do not ever again make the mistake of being ungrateful for everything that I have done for you and your family. Is that understood?
Yes, my queen.