Reviews-positive or negative-are highly encouraged although you may want to send flames P.O. Box 1313, Eighth Circle of Hell as I can pick them up on my twice daily visit.
Any suggestions will be taken into account as my muse is still missing, maybe your ideas will prompt my muse into returning sooner. I am especially looking for different ways for Japhi to get into trouble, she has been entirely too innocent. She really needs to get to directly annoying Scott. Any ideas on what to do about Jean? I have a pretty good general idea but many of the specifics are eluding me.
"You do know that alcohol isn't allowed on school grounds?" Japhi commented from her perch on top of the oversized refrigerator.
The dark haired and scruffy man jumped and looked up in surprise from his search for the beer that he had hidden the day before. "Who the hell are you?"
"Japhi Sundancer." She leapt down lightly without the need to cushion her fall with her powers. "I'm going to be here until my cousin gets tired of snogging the Professor."
"I was not snogging Charlie, we were playing a few games of chess."
To the man's amusement the girl groaned at the new arrival. "Ro!"
"Stuff it little bird."
"You first, you overgrown lizard."
"At least I can kick your but."
"You'd have to catch me first," Japhi taunted.
The man laughed. "You seem more like sisters than cousins."
"My uncle died before she was born and her mother disappeared soon after so Japhi was left for my grandmother and I to raise. My name's Roana Draka." The white haired woman held out her hand.
The man took it. "Logan, but I'm also called Wolverine. Are you related to Storm?"
"Miz Munroe? No, although white hair does seem to be a rather common family trait for both of us. At least most people seem to call her Storm, otherwise it would be much more confusing, there are so few people that call me anything other than 'Ro' or 'that damn bitch'."
" did you do to earn such an illustrious title?" Logan snickered.
"I am assuming that you are at least moderately familiar with Cerebro?" He nodded. "I was the lab assistant for Charlie and his partner, Erik Lenscher. They didn't give me enough to keep me occupied so I played around a bit with the programming. Apparently I gave the two of them more credit than they deserved because I just found out that he missed a significant portion of the alterations."
Japhi flopped down on my bed, looking very confused. "Ro? Can you swear that you will answer something truthfully?"
I frowned, not sure what she was asking. "Of course."
She took a deep breath. "Is there any chance, no matter how slight, that my mother could be alive?"
"Jenna lost her immortality when she fell in love with my great-great uncle. Once you were born she became nothing more than a Dragon like he was, but stuck forever as a two legger. Our lifespans are long enough so it is possible that she still lives, but she would be quite old. I seriously doubt that she is alive, once your father died and you were born, there was no point in existing. We do not give our hearts easily and unless we carry a child we follow our mates to the grave, often before the funerary rites have even started." I sat next to her and placed a hand on her shoulder hesitantly. Our clans' blood had mingled on more than one occasion yet I did not feel the push for a mate like she must. Too much Other blood ran in my veins.
"Is there any chance that there could have been other children?"
I shook my head. "You are the Phoenix so you could not possibly have older siblings, and although Jenna had become a two legger with your birth, she was still a Phoenix with the constraints of fidelity."
"No child would come from an unwilling union. We have that much control over our bodies. We bear no child without actively trying and wishing for one."
She giggled. "You never did tell me about who Kat finally fell for."
I started talking about Tierenze, one of the first Others to thin the blood of the Dragons. Soon, it was apparent that her mind was elsewhere so I slipped into her consciousness carefully as I moved on to talking of my grandparents. A photograph leapt into my view. I recognized Charles, Storm, and the man who was introduced as Cyclops. The fourth.I paused as I overlaid with it was the formal portrait of my thrice removed aunt and uncle on their wedding day. There was also a name, Jean Grey. This human woman was as close in face and even name to Jenna Sundancer-Grage as could be. A potentially formidable telekinetic and telepath, her powers were what could be expected of a Phoenix past her last burning.
A second Phoenix? But that is impossible! Or is it? I frowned mentally. The Phoenixes were a separate race just like Dragons, so why were only the firstborn the ones who inherited the power and true form? It couldn't be magic, true magic didn't exist; even what mages did could be explained by exceedingly advanced physics. There were enough examples of parthenogenesis in higher organisms to explain why there were only female Phoenixes even though a mate was required, but surely it was more than a one shot event. Self cloning would also explain why every Phoenix looked like the identical twin of her the rest of her ancestors.
If the power of a Phoenix was completely genetic, then why hadn't any younger siblings ever manifested a single burning? And if one had, why hadn't any of the Dragons felt or heard of the surge of power? No Phoenix could go for long without the burning, and what of the immortality? Surely someone would notice if they couldn't be killed. Unless. . .what if they were truly immortal only in their true form? It would explain the need for Guardians. And the burnings were a result of reaching old age. What if a Phoenix who had been allowed to age didn't burn? Would she die of old age without the life giving flames?
"Earth to Ro, come in please!" Japhi was waving her hand in front of my face. "What's wrong? You seemed to be out of it for a moment."
"I was just thinking."
"The past and why there are so few of us left. I fear that your daughter will be left without a Guardian."
"What do you mean?"
"You know that our numbers are small but I do not think that you truly know how few of us are left," I paused, looking at her. "Mel and I are the last remaining Dragons and even our blood is diluted by Other. There are no males, kin or not, among which I could find a mate. Never in all of the records of our peoples has the blood survived more than three generations without loosing identity. My children will be mortal as well as Other."
"Is there nothing that we can do?" she asked, somewhat panicked.
I refused to look her in the face.
"You would have to bear a son and I would have to become a mortal." She looked down at her hands before continuing. "I have lived for six thousand years not counting the years spent in stasis. You are my third Guardian; first there was Grandmother, but she died before my second burning, then Aunt Kat, and now you. I have lived long enough so I would not regret leaving my immortality behind."
"It will be many years before that will be necessary. Who knows? Perhaps I will never be able to have a child, much less a son." I winced mentally. No matter how old she really was, she was still a young child and I did not relish the thought of her signing her future away in a feeble attempt to bolster a dying race.
Japhi followed Rogue into the class, taking a seat next to her in the back of the class. Storm came in and surveyed the students, her gaze settling on the younger girl. "Aren't you supposed to be in a different class?"
"Nope. Med school doesn't start until the Fall, so I was told to go to whatever classes I felt like."
Storm almost choked. "Med school?"
The girl nodded emphatically. "I always wanted to be a doctor and since I got pulled out of public school, I've been taking college classes."
"Can you tell me what parthenogenesis is?"
Japhi nodded. "The simplest explanation is that it is self cloning. As a rule, during oogenesis, instead of the oocyte going through the stages of meiosis, it goes through mitosis, producing a viable zygote genetically identical to the mother. A slight variation that also occurs, and is considered more common, is that the oocyte goes through the first stage of meiosis where each daughter cell has doubled copies of half of each pair of chromosomes. Each zygote essentially contains a full complement of chromosomes but each pair is identical, so that the offspring only has half its parent's genome. The offspring of either process is invariably female, although there are theories that in a bird the latter process would produce a male due to the reversal of the sex chromosomes that has the males with the homologous pair and the females with the mismatched pair."
The class was silent as everyone stared at her.
"What?" she asked innocently. "Hacking into computers like Cerebro is Ro's forte. I had to do something to stay out of trouble."
"You do realize that both you and your cousin have been forbidden from so much as getting near Cerebro without supervision until the Professor manages to find and repair all the alterations that she did?" Storm asked in amusement.
"It's been working just fine for more than fifteen years," Japhi grumbled.
Storm cocked her head as if listening to something. "Xavier and your cousin say that Logan is going shopping for supplies and will be leaving in five minutes. They suggest that you go with him, and when you get back to report to the medical ward to help Hank. The technology is much more advanced than you are likely to find at even med school."
Japhi groaned, gathering up her things before heading out. She almost bumped into Cyclops on the way out.
"Miss Sundancer, why aren't you in class?" he asked rather icily.
She remained unfazed by his attitude. "There aren't any classes here for me that I haven't placed out of. I'm supposed to help Wolverine pick up supplies. Good day Mr. Summers." Japhi turned and walked away, waiting until she had turned the corner before she would allow herself a grin as she patted a slightly bulging pocket of her jeans.