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Author's Notes
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20


A stray cloud momentarily darkens the brilliant sunshine of a perfect Labor Day afternoon. Ororo concentrates. The cloud fades. Far below, the others continue their baseball game undisturbed. Wolverine slides home. Scott calls him out.

The usual friendly shouting erupts, until Bobby, quite literally, puts the whole argument on ice. She smiles. The game turns as the X-men team up against Bobby in a free for all. Rogue flies to Bobby's rescue. Storm's smile fades as other, more pressing concerns, intrude on her solitude.

In another time, it could have been a place of worship, where the belief of her tribe sustained her, calming her own unvoiced doubts of her rightful position as a goddess. Doubts that had never surfaced until this stranger, this Professor Charles Xavier, intruded. On this afternoon, however, it is no more than the eastern ridge of the estate. And Professor Xavier is hardly a stranger.


"Did you never question my decision to follow you, Charles? Did you never consider what you, a man not even of my people, could offer that would attract the attention of a goddess?"

Storm's pride rumbles from her throat. Not vanity, no, but the composed strength of one who has been tempered in the fires of sacrifice and emerged victorious.

"The flick of my hand, Professor, the briefest thought, and entire villages would thrive or perish on my whim."

When Charles Xavier first conceived of the X-men, his dream, his vision, was absolute in its clarity. Not only to train mutants to use their abilities to benefit all men, but to instill in each of his X-men a solid foundation of basic morals. Over the years, he has witnessed the dissolution of that foundation. Circumstances never imagined created subtle shifts from black and white--right or wrong--into shades of grey.

"And did entire villages perish on your word, Storm?"

"Are you so certain you wish to know the answer, my friend?"


Continued in Chapter 6


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