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Chapter 1

Goddess of Thieves - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by Cat Smith
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 1

The city of Cairo, Egypt, was quiet, no tourist's were bustling through the streets, no children were laughing and running and playing. There was only the wind, whipping up sand and throwing it on the walls of the town.

One tourist, a teenage boy who ignored the warnings of his tour rep, was warily prowling the streets. Not seeing anyone around, he didn't think there was any danger. However, he hadn't looked up. Faster than can be seen, a flash of navy and white roundhoused him in the face, and then dragged his unconscious form outside the nearest police station. The constabulary only collected him well after the mysterious figure had gone.

If anyone looked closely at the figure, they might be well surprised. Her slim but curvaceous figure was clothed in a skin-tight material, and her thick shock of white hair was set off by the trims of white fur around her the tops of her gloves and boots.

A rookie cop, after pulling the young boy into the police station looked out at the woman, sure that she couldn't see him -- it was too dark, and he had no doubt that he can peer at her unseen. But his heart leapt into his throat as the woman, as beautiful and deadly as a cheetah, turned around, and flashed him a predatory grin, a gash of white in the dark night. Mouth dry, he backs away from the window, and prayed to Allah that he may never see that woman again.

The woman only shook her head, smiling, as she watched the man disappear back into the safety of his mud-baked hidey-hole.

Nearing her destination, she jumped as a chewing-gum bubble popped loudly, the sound reverberating in the empty streets. Whirling on the sound, the woman glared at the girl before her, chewing again, unabashed.

As the girl raised an eyebrow, daring the woman to say something. She only sighed, however, keeping her temper in check -- she was well used to the cockiness and arrogance that being a teenager brought; she'd been there once, too. Turning around to look at the girl, she placed her hands on her hips.

"Aren't the others here yet?" She asked, a touch of annoyance colouring her voice.

The girl frowned at her, and popped another bubble. "Does it look like it? Come on, Black Cat, are they invisible now or something?"

Black Cat clenched her fists, arms akimbo. Glaring again, she looked at the Asian-American girl, barely fifteen, and wondered why on earth she had taken her under her wing. Yes, she was a good thief, but she was more annoying.

A whisper of footsteps on the ground halted her next words. Concentrating on the pattern of sound, she recognised it as another one of her students, Tabitha Smith. Very much like the girl in front of her, Jubilation, Tabitha was young (though several years older than Jubilee), arrogant, and Black Cat had no idea why she was with them, except that she was aware the girls had no-where else to go. With a sigh, and a shake of her head, she looked down at Tabitha as she came up beside her.

"Is Kitty with you?" She asked, calmly, though under the surface, she was panicking that they might be late for what was without a doubt one of the most important occasions of their careers.

Tabitha looked up at the sky, her blonde hair waving in the wind. "Yeah. She, ah, took the stairs."

Snorting in derision, the white haired beauty joined Tabitha in gazing at the sky for the last of their companions. *She took the stars, more likely...* she thought to herself, with an inward sigh. In truth, Black Cat was envious of this particular gift granted her student. An ability to walk thru walls, and on air. It certainly allowed her to be an excellent thief, especially when coupled with her genius, but it was the magical feeling that Black Cat was sure Kitty must feel that was enviable. To escape... pure magic.

Shaking her head as she saw Kitty start to float down. There was no time for this. This could be the most important meeting of her life.

As Black Cat entered the room, she filed images of the room in her memory for safe keeping. She entered, lead by a woman whose face was covered by a pale blue and gold veil, thru a curtain of wooden beads into a musky smelling room, dark, yet exciting, the intense perfume of patchalouii in the air adding to the effect. Ignoring her students' footsteps behind her, Black Cat filed every image away. The room was swathed in golden light, twirling down from an unknown source above the drape of woollen tapestries that lined the ceiling. The walls themselves where covered in a similar colour of rich cloth, the solidity of which was broken occasionally by the odd embroidered hieroglyph.

As they neared the front of the room, the light seemed to change colour, and ferocity. It now became a bright, white spotlight, illuminating something Black Cat couldn't see. Moving a drape from in front of her eyes, she saw the creature illuminated by the light, and fell to her knees, in respect and amazement. The most beautiful thing the Black Cat had ever saw, the goddess of thieves, was sitting right in front of her.

"Thank you, Irene. Would you leave me alone with my devotees?"

Her voice was exotically accented, and she spoke perfect English. Warily, Black Cat looked up at her goddess. The goddess smiled down at her.

"Rise, child. I do not want anyone bowing at my feet." Reaching out a hand to help her up, Black Cat stared at it, then timidly took it. Once she was on her feet, the goddess sat back down. As Black Cat reached behind her, she felt one of her students thrust the gift they had brought the goddess into her hand. Pausing a moment, Black Cat felt foolish. What she had to offer was not nearly enough for the majesty of this creature. She was known thruout the world for bringing amazing good luck to thieves, as well as kindness and compassion. And, she certainly looked like a goddess - perfect chocolate skin, long, silky hair the colour of pure, fresh snow, and slitted, crystal blue eyes was the appearance Black Cat had always affiliated with a goddess.

The goddess smiled disarmingly at Black Cat, trying to get her to let down her rather thick guard. "What have you got there?"

Having been spotted, Black Cat brought the gift around with a wince. The platinum and sapphires didn't seem to sparkle quite so brightly anymore, it didn't seem like such a wonderful homage.

"Um, we brought you this humble gift, goddess...." she began. She was quickly interrupted by the goddess, though.

"Child, my name is Ororo. And the gift!" She proclaimed, taking it from Black Cat's hand and gazing at it, "It is the most beautiful thing I ever saw!" Looking down at the gift in her hands, she ran a finger across the links. "I would normally not accept this, but... I have a most important meeting tomorrow..." She looked down at Black Cat, her blue gaze piercing. "I cannot accept this -- your love is more than enough. But, if I may borrow it?"

Smiling in relief, Black Cat nodded. "Of course! For as long as you wish!"

Ororo smiled, and Black Cat noticed the aura she projected -- of love, peace, tranquillity; the majesty of it made her want to bow down to her again. She wondered if this is what people felt when they met Christ, or the Dalai Lama, or Buddha, or Krishna, or any of the other manifestations of a god or spiritual leader. And she was here, in front of her... it made Black Cat feel quite weak.

"Is there a particular reason for your visit, my friend?" She asked, her expression one of almost child-like curiosity.

At this, Black Cat turned to see her reason for the visit; her students. Looking at them, she smiled. Spunky, brave fire-cracker Jubilee; fun-loving, cocky Tabitha; smart, intangible Kitty. She was starting to care for them, and that was why she was here -- to ensure of their safety in the world of thieves. With a comforting nod at them, she turned back to Ororo.

Gesturing at her students, she began to speak. "For the past few months, I've been training these children to be thieves -- they have no other way to work, or to live. I was hoping that you'd be gracious enough to grant them safety in our work."

Black Cat could see Ororo looking at the girls, weighing up their skills, their use -- Ororo never asked much, except the spreading of her name, and protection in return if needed -- but she did only take the best. Soon, Ororo's eyes switched to Black Cat's, frowned, then back to the children's.

"You have special skills, haven't you?" Staring at Ororo in nothing short of amazement, Black Cat looked then at her pupils, and nodded at them to answer her amazing question. It was Kitty who spoke.

"Y--yes, ma'am. I'm Kitty, this is Tabitha and Jubilee... we're all mutants."

Nodding, Ororo's mind seemed to be elsewhere for a moment. "Yes... I have heard about mutants. Tell me, how do you get these powers, and when do you know what they are?"

Black Cat was glad Ororo was asking Kitty -- out of all of them, including their teacher, Kitty was the smartest, and easily knew the most about mutant powers. After a pause, Kitty, to Black Cat's relief, started to explain.

"Well, the powers are caused by a special, mutated chromosome. We don't know what our powers are 'til they manifest." Kitty cocked her head, and bit her lip, thinking. "That's usually during puberty. For me, about thirteen."

Seemingly fascinated, Ororo nodded, encouraging the girl to continue. "Is the range of powers vast?"

With a nod and a smile, Kitty answered, her voice lilting with bemusement. "Sure!! Me, I can walk thru walls -- Jubes and Tab here both have pretty aggressive powers -- creating fireworks, and bombs, respectively. Telepathy and telekinetics are pretty common powers... Is there any reason why you ask?"

At that, Ororo sat back, and her enthusiasm began to fade. Her face was taken over by the dark shadow of impending responsibility. "I... I have a very important meeting with a mutant thief tomorrow. I wish to know more about him, that is all. It is all a very fascinating subject, though. May I have you on call if I wish to know more... Kitten, was it not?"

Kitty smiled, her brown eyes dancing, both from the effect of Ororo's forceful personality, and her own love of sharing knowledge. "Close enough. And I'd like that a lot, if Black Cat agrees?"

Only able to nod in agreement, Black Cat smiled. She was rewarded with one in return from both Kitty and Ororo.

Ororo looked up, and Black Cat turned to see the same hidden-behind-a-veil lady enter that had brought her and her students in.

"What is it, Irene?" Asked Ororo, her accent mutated by anxiety.

The veiled woman spoke with clarity of voice and a lack of emotion that surprised Black Cat. "The LeBeau leader is here."

Ororo faltered, and, unbidden, an image of a bird with it's wings clipped came to the forefront of Black Cat's mind. As she nodded, it seemed to Black Cat that she was resigning herself to something, giving away her freedom, and her lightness of manner seemed to leaden. "I... of course. Show the Black Cat out, please." She told Irene. Then she turned to Black Cat, and continued. "I am afraid I have important matters to attend to. I will, of course, give you board, and of course, the protection you have requested. I will see you as soon as possible, to sort the details."

As soon as Black Cat nodded, she and her students where escorted from the room, and Black Cat could only wonder what was in store for the goddess.

Irene returned to the room in which Ororo sat, and stared at her with sightless eyes. Gesturing at the children and their teacher just left, she announced, with assurity and confidence;

"They will bring you much glory, Ororo."

Suddenly weary eyes rested on Irene's veil covered ones for a minute, then flicked away again. Irene could sense her nervousness, the tension in the room almost tangible. Before she could reassure her friend, however, Ororo spoke. "You... you can see that? I do not suppose you can see the outcome of today's arrangements?"

Shaking her head, almost sadly, Irene answered. "No. If I could, I promise I would tell you. But... it is cloudy. There are too many variables involved. The best I can do is to wish you luck."

Standing to her full height, a little under 6 ft, Ororo nodded. "Thank you, old friend. I hope I will not need that luck." Looking around herself for one last time, almost wistfully, she stepped down from her throne. "Is the LeBeau clan outside?"

Ororo couldn't help but notice Irene's pause, and wondered what it was for. "Just the leader... and his son."

Ororo blinked. "Oh..."

Stepping out into the comparative brightness of the torch-lit corridor, Ororo looked around at her surroundings. She did not often leave her room -- she always had things to do and people to see. Although she wouldn't admit it to anyone, the room made her feel caved in, and she relished her freedom like nothing else. Out here, with the bright candles, and smooth stone walls, Ororo was amused by every intricacy on the stone, every dance of the light.

Coming to the end of the corridor, Ororo looked at the wooden door in front of her. This piece of oak, no more than 3 inches thick, was all that separated her from her destiny. Oh, how she longed to run, to be free from all her responsibilities, to become a sweeping weather goddess on the plains, or a evil-thwarting superhero. But want as she might, she was not and never would be any of these things. The goodness of her heart had trapped her in this place. And perhaps, she mused to herself, this meeting might not bind her so much as she had thought, but free her from her hand-made restraints.

*I can only hope...* With a deep breath, and a weak smile at Irene, Ororo turned the door handle and entered the room. It was alot darker than the corridor, the shadows dripping viscously about the ceiling, and playing menacingly along the walls. Her first instinct was to run back into the corridor -- her claustrophobia was doing overtime -- but she prompted herself on with the hope that this was the best for everyone. She kept walking until she saw the man and the boy with him. She knew the man -- she and Jean-Luc LeBeau had met several times organising this very meeting, and he was familiar to her. But the boy... Ororo was startled by him. Uncommonly attractive, his long auburn hair and, mostly, his red-on-black eyes made him to look extremely exotic. He was several years younger than her -- maybe 18 to her 23 -- and he was a few inches taller than her. It was only when Jean-Luc cleared his throat that Ororo realised she had been staring, and blushed bright red.

"Ororo, it's good to see you again, chere," Jean-Luc said, while smiling and offering a hand. His smile died away as he gestured to the boy, and Ororo guessed that he cared deeply about him, and didn't want to lose him. "An' dis... dis is Remy LeBeau, m' adopted son."

The boy looked up uncomfortably, and reached out a hand. "Um, hi," he said with a weak smile. "I guess... I guess we oughta get aquainted, dat's why I asked t' come wit' Poppa."

Startled that he seemed as nervous as her, Ororo's own smile became more genuine. "Yes, I suppose." Looking at Remy as he fidgeted miserably, Ororo wondered what she could do to make friends. Then a smile lit her face as she got the perfect idea. "Would you like me to show you the city?"

Not looking up, Remy shook his head. "Non, c'est d'accord. We been shown 'round."

Ororo's smile widened as she summoned a small amount of wind, just enough to lift her from the ground and support her. "From the sky?"

That made him look up, and his startling eyes widened. "How... how you doin' dat!?"

"Haven't you heard? I am a goddess."

Remy paused. "I thought dey... were jus' stories. You can' *really* be a goddess."

Shrugging, Ororo merely answered, "Perhaps not, but, nevertheless, I am flying. Would you like to join me?"

Remy looked at her, riding the wind in front of him, then thought about what could happen. Then, Ororo was awarded by a grin that lit up his handsome face. "I'd like dat alot."

With a twirl of her fingers, Ororo brought forth more wind to support Remy. As it swept him up, he yelped, then tried to steady himself on something. Biting back a chuckle, Ororo took his hand. "Does this help?"

Pale-faced, he stared at her. "Yeah. A little, anyway." Glancing around the room, as he tried to orientate himself to not having his feet on the ground, his eyes fell on the door. "How we gonna get out..."

Before he could finish, a bright flash of lightning burst from Ororo's fingers. As he stared at her in surprise, she only laughed at him, and danced away on the air, pulling him towards her. Just before they left the hall, with Jean-Luc staring after them, she turned to him.

"Do not worry, my friend. I shall be careful with him!!"

With that, she was gone, and Remy with her. As Jean-Luc stared thru the door way after the couple, Irene stepped into the room beside him. Touching his arm, she smiled.

"I think they will be happy."

Later that night, Ororo landed the two of them on the roof of her temple. They were both still laughing. He grinned brightly at her.

"I don' t'ink dat guy's ever gonna fergit us!" He looked down at the street below, smoothing a piece of hair away from his face. Then he smiled at her. "I wonder how many calls 'UFO Watch' got t'night 'cause of us?"

Ororo laughed aloud, a sound like the tinkling of a waterfall. "Far too many for what it was." Slowly, their laughter died out, and they were left staring at one another. Remy reached out and stroked her cheek.

"Chere... what we gon' t' be?"

Placing her hand on his, and savouring the touch, Ororo didn't answer for a while. Then she opened her eyes, and her smile was bitter. "Married. Whether we like it or not. For the good of all the thieves in world."

He moved closer to her, staring into her eyes, and, it felt, her soul. "But *do* you like it?"

Barely able to speak, she forced herself to nod. "Y-yes. At first, I, I didn't want to... I felt forced. But now I have met you..." Whatever she was going to say was drowned out by his lips on hers. The kiss seemed to last for eternity, and when it was over, Ororo looked at him in wonderment. "Remy..." He placed a finger on her lips to quiet her.

"Shhh. Don' spoil now wit' words, unless dey real important. Words... words are what we argue wit', an' though I don' wan' it, dat might come later. So, f' now... jus' hush."

Touched by his words, the goddess touched his lips lightly with her own, then placed her head on his chest, and they watched the sun rise together.

And they all lived happily ever after.


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