|DISCLAIMER: Any character you recognize is the property of Marvel Comics and is used without permission for entertainment purposes only.
Warning: This story may deal with adult issues, so be forewarned.
Sorry this chapter took so long- I hope you're all still with me!
Just Lucky, I Guess
She closed the door behind her carefully and followed him into the dusty room. "Nathan, I understand that you are quite busy, and I do not want to keep you long. I simply wish to ask a few questions." She smoothed a nonexistent wrinkle on her orange print sun dress, hoping that her sugary tone concealed the irritation she felt at not being informed about this trip to England. 'I must be patient,' she cautioned herself. 'The plane will not leave without him, after all.' She gracefully sat in one of several brown metal folding chairs lined against the far wall and waited for his reply.
They were in a secured storage room adjacent to the hangar bay in a large room filled almost to the ceiling with crates of used Shi'ar computer parts. Lilandra sent the X-Men new Imperium technology every two years or so, and the old parts and pieces were packed here into storage so they could be cannibalized for repairs when needed. The look on Ororo's face when she'd cornered him on the plane had warned Cable that perhaps a private meeting would be better than speaking openly in the hangar bay. Due to the sensitive nature of the Shi'ar technology, the storage room was kept locked at all times. 'At least now everybody else won't see me get bitched out.'
Private though it was, he'd still entered the room with some trepidation. Some of the more adventurous X-couples had been known to use the mansion's storage rooms for less than innocent purposes, and the last thing he needed was for someone to see him and Storm going into one of the private rooms and misinterpret the meeting for anything more than it was, a simple meeting. This train of thought led to a most disturbing possibility. 'I hope Ororo doesn't think I brought her down here for....Nah, don't be stupid, Nathan.' Cable chuckled ruefully at his own arrogance.
'Is he even listening to me?' Ororo glared at the daydreaming Cable. She grit her teeth 'I must not let him see how I truly feel about this trip- Warning Kitty about her new companion is far too important.' Instead of voicing her irritation she smiled at him sweetly and guestured at the metal folding chair beside her in wordless invitation.
He stared blankly into space for a moment, then jerked back to attention. He grinned sheepishly at her "I'm sorry, Ororo, I am. I was thinking about something else. Now what were you saying?" He crossed the room swiftly and sat down beside her, his massive frame taking up almost two of the slight chairs.
She nodded magnanimously "I understand." Taking a deep breath, she began, choosing her words carefully to keep the irritation out of her tone. "Why were you going to meet this Wisdom person without telling me? You knew I was interested in him." Nathan blinked in surprise, but she blithely continued "You yourself told me that I should meet him personally before I form any accurate impression of his character. This seems a perfect opportunity." She schooled her face into what she considered an expression of pure innocence. 'This had better work. I *must* tell Kitty about what horrible things this Wisdom has done, and if it takes lying to Nathan about my reasons for accompanying him and...the others,' she sniffed distastefully 'then so be it.'
Nathan groaned silently 'I was afraid this was gonna happen...Shoulda left yesterday, before anyone else found out about this, Nate.' He met her gaze and answered her, his voice calm and steady. "Ororo, look. This whole trip may just be a waste of time, or it may be something *really* important- I just don't know yet. I'm sorry that I didn't tell you sooner, I am, but after what you said about Pete this week, I honestly didn't think you'd care to work with him, that's all." 'That much is true, anyway,' he reassured himself. "And," he continued wryly "I *did* just find out about this yesterday. Not a lot of time to let everyone know." 'Liar,' his conscience hissed. 'You're just afraid Dom's gonna tell her off and you're gonna be stuck in the middle again. But...' He stopped for a moment. 'Just exactly why *would* she think I owe her an explaination about where I'm going?' Frowning,e pushed that disturbing thought aside for the time being in favor of the current argument.
Ororo sighed "I suppose I understand how you might come to that conclusion." The room was silent for a moment while they considered their next words. Ororo spoke first "Nathan, if you just found out about this trip last night, then why are Logan and Betsy accompanying you?" She rested her arm on the back of the chair beside her, leaning closer to him. "Could this information be so dangerous?" Her eyes narrowed 'If so, then I *certainly* must come. My Kitten does not need to be involved in any such business.'
He answered in a grim voice. "It very well could be, Ororo. Pete's out of the game, but he still has some pretty high-level contacts. And as for Logan and Psylocke, well..." He briefly explained Betsy's vision. "That's why she's tagging along, and you know Logan- once he makes up his mind there's no talking him out of it. I don't like it, but I've come to accept it about him, and he does have some pretty extensive connections, too."
She looked up at him, aquamarine eyes gleaming brightly. "Then it is not too late for me to join you on this journey. Whatever dangers this mysterious mission poses, my elemental powers can surely be of great assistance. And," she smiled softly, genuinely this time "I would dearly love to see my Kitten again."
He leaned his head back and stared at the ceiling, considering her words. Though he didn't especially relish the idea of being on a plane with Dom and Ororo together even for the few hours the PACRAT took to travel the Atlantic, he had to admit she was probably right. If things got as rough as he was afraid they would, Storm's control of the weather could be an extremely important resource. He studied her carefully for a moment.
"Ororo, are you *sure* you can keep objective about this? I know how you feel about Pete, and I'll be the first to admit that he does take some getting used to." His face split in a huge grin as he remembered the first time *he'd* met Wisdom. 'I'll have to remind him about that- I haven't thought about New Delhi in forever.' He chuckled under his breath 'I thought he was gonna *kill* Dom when he woke up, even though she did save his life when she busted him out of there. I don't care what Griz said, nobody can convince me she didn't do that to him on purpose. That little caper had Domino written all over it...'
Ororo sighed loudly, breaking him out of his reverie. "Nathan, please. I do not know what you find so humorous, but I must tell you that I am not one of your X-Force children. I assure you that I will take this mission most seriously. Now," she looked up at him again. "Are we leaving today or not?" 'I did not lie to him,' she told herself 'I *will* take this most seriously.'
He very nearly did a surface scan of her mind to convince himself of her sincerity but decided against it- she valued her privacy far too much for him to casually sweep her thoughts like that. He bit his lip, considering. They were running late already, and he had the distinct impression that whatever objections he raised Ororo would come up with some reason to counter them until he finally consented to let her go along with them. 'I don't have time to sit here and argue with her, and, dammit, she's right. If Pete's message is half as important as his usual information we're gonna need all the help we can get.' Nathan sighed and made a decision, hoping like hell that Dom would go along with it without flaying him alive. "Fine. Let's do it."
Ororo's feline eyes glittered in triumph. She rose gracefully, the long skirt of her dress swirling around her legs as she swiftly walked towards the door. "Wonderful! I am delighted that you agree with me. I thought you might, so I took the liberty of packing a bag," She waved an elegant hand in the direction of the hangar bay. "I left it outside the plane. Come, then, Nathan, let us go. The others are waiting..." She turned the corner and strode down the short length of corridor that opened into the huge hangar bay.
Cable trailed behind her, punching in his access code automatically as he locked the door to the storage room. He took a deep breath as he walked out into the hangar bay and watched Ororo climb the ramp into the plane, travel bag in tow. 'This is gonna be fun,' he muttered, and followed behind her.
BTW, my stepmother was in a very serious wreck yesterday. It looks like she's gonna be alright, but I'd appreciate it if any of you who believe in this sort of thing (and even any of you who don't) to say a prayer for her...Thanks a lot.