*Okay, hi and welcome to my second X-Men fic! And this fic has the special distinction of actually having a plot that goes beyond the first three chapters (yes, I did my homework on this one).

*Now, I'd like to thank all my friends for helping me with this idea: the wonderful people at Nightscrawlers (epecially sevati and maelstrom, you guys rule!), my friend twistedmind (everyone go read her fics!), who gave me the courage to actually post this story that's been rattling around in my head for a really long time now, and Mad With Power, who even though she hates me (my fault completely) deserves credit for getting me hooked on fanfics in the first place.

*This fic has some backstory, which I'll give to you as you need it. This chapter's installment: Juliet is the main character. She is from another planet. She is a mutant, and she is only eight years old. At the time of this chapter, she is still on her home planet, fleeing from the Queen's Guards, who want to kill her (I'll take guesses why, but you won't find out the real reason for a few chapters). She is south of the equator, so even though it is August, it is winter, and there's a lot of snow. Later in the chapter, when she is on Earth, there is snow, because it's Alaska and summer's only until late July, I think (feel free to correct me, I've never been there, I hate being cold).

*Disclaimer: I own Juliet, nothing else. I wish I owned Kurt and Gambit, though. ; ) (Yes, I'm aware that I'm slightly out of touch with reality)

( ) translations/Author's Notes

*thoughts *

~~~~~ next scene

*One last note: since Juliet's the only person in this chapter, I've written her dialogue in English (saves me time on translating). When Juliet is alone, all her words/thoughts, though said in her home language, will be in English, k? Enjoy! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow," a small voice sang out over the snowy landscape. "He will show you where to go. In darkest night or brightest day, he will keep you on the way." The singing stopped. * Ai, my throat hurts. The air freezes when I breathe, the snow is making it so that I can hardly see, and I'm getting more frozen by the minute. * "God?" she called out, as loudly as she could. 'I know that you are listening, please help me. Don't let me freeze to death, you know I'm not very strong, I can't make it through the night without shelter. Guide me to a safe place to stay for the night. Please?"

There was no answer. Trudging through the waist-deep snow, she spied a large shape looming on the horizon. * Maybe it's a cave or something. *

Moving closer to it, step by painful step, she found that it was a butte, with a cave on the side away from the wind. Juliet eased herself into the cave, not stopping until she was far enough away that the wind didn't blow snow in her face.

Fumbling in her pack to retrieve her flint, steel, and some fuel, she wished that she had her cousin's gift of creating and controlling fire. It would certainly come in handy, now that her fingers were so frozen, she wondered if she would be able to start a fire at all. Miraculously, she did, finally managing to light the moss wick of her stone fire bowl. (A/N: a stone or ceramic bowl filled with tallow or some other sort of slow- burning, long-lasting, lots-of-heat-producing fuel with a moss/plant fiber wick that can be lit quickly and easily. Used by Native Americans for centuries)

Once the fire bowl was lit and giving off enough heat to keep her comfortable, Juliet used her pack as a pillow and went to sleep, cradling her doll against her chest.


Juliet woke up at sunrise, and looked around. She hadn't turned around in the night, so why was the way she had come in a wall of solid rock and what had been the back of the cave was opening out on a completely different landscape than what she had been in the night before? * Magic, * she thought. * What spirit has played a trick on me? * She blew out the fire bowl's flame and packed up her belongings. * Then again, perhaps it isn't a trick. Maybe it's the miracle I've prayed for. This is a very different land from where I was, perhaps I will be safe here. * She walked out of the cave and looked around. The ground was thick with new-fallen snow, and a large twin-peaked mountain loomed in the distance, like the tooth of some great beast.

The sun was shining, but it was still very cold, and Juliet knew that she wouldn't be able to last another day like this, with not much protection from the bitter chill and the wind. * What am I to do? * She asked herself as she heard a wolf call in the distance. * Un luperia, a she-wolf! Of course! * She mentally smacked herself on the forehead. * I was given my gift, why not use it? But what to use? Bear? No, not fast enough, would be too easy to catch. Eagle? The thermals are not so good, and I am not strong enough to flap as hard as I would need to in order to get airborne. Wolf! Yes! Perhaps they will accept me into their pack? I do not know, but I should try, and I can carry my pack on my back. Yes, I will be a wolf. * Concentrating hard, she slowly morphed her body until she was a juvenile wolf with black and silver fur. "Help me!" She howled, moving toward where she had heard the she-wolf, her pack on her back, the straps looped around her neck.

Trotting off, she looked back at the cave, but it wasn't there anymore. * Definitely magic, * she mused. * Someone up there really does like me. * About a quarter of a mile from where the cave had been, she was met by a pack of wolves. Their leader, a large gray male with large black ears, stepped forward toward her. "I am Black Ears. What brings you to our lands?" He growled at her.

Juliet lay down in submission. "I am Little Bird," she whimpered. "I have no pack. They are far away, and I have no place to den, no food to eat. I ask that I may join you."

A white she-wolf stepped forward. "I am Juniper, mate of Black Ears. We have pups that need watching while we hunt. Our pack is small, hunters have taken many, and sometimes it is hard to find food when one of us must stay behind and watch the pups. If we accept you, will you be the pup- watcher?"

"I will, Juniper. Though I am little more than a pup myself, I will, if you will let me share the den and food," Juliet replied.

"Then we shall let you in, for now," Black Ears decided. Two females, one a dark grey color with white patches, the other pure silver, stepped forward. "The grey one is White Spots, the silver one is Lichen. And the pure black male behind them is Night Paws. Follow us." They ran back to the den, Juliet lagging behind a bit.

"What's wrong, Little Bird?" White Spots asked. "Are you well?"

"I have not eaten in three days," Juliet replied. "I have not much strength left."

"Don't worry about that," Lichen assured. "Now that we have six hunters we can catch an elk, or even a moose!" She yipped in excitement. "And we will bring you back the liver so you will be strong, Little Bird."

"Thank you," Juliet said, truly thankful. The liver was the richest part of an animal, full of good energy and life, and was always given to ill people so that they could recover their strength more easily.

She was led to the den, which was cut into the side of a small hill, and was very large. Three pups, all unnamed, tumbled about while a gray- blue female watched. "Hello, Sweet Fur," Black Ears said. "This is our new babysitter, Little Bird."

Sweet Fur got up and sniffed Juliet. "She smells strange."

"That she does," Juniper agreed. "But we cannot afford to be choosy now." They were all in the den now, and the pups were sniffing Juliet and one of them had climbed on top of her.

"Sweet Fur is right," Juliet admitted. "I am no ordinary wolf." She took the pack off her back, let the pup climb down, and then she shapeshifted back into her normal form.

"A hunter!" Black Ears snarled. "How can you take wolf form? Tell us now!" He growled at her, baring his teeth.

"Peace, my son," Sweet Fur said calmingly. "She is not hunter-kind. Do you not see her eyes? They have wildness in them, as do ours. She is Eagle's kin. Tell me, child, are you from around here? From the human villages?"

"No," Juliet replied in wolf-language. "I am from far away. I am Eagle's kin, as you say. I seek refuge. I will watch the pups, as I promised. I merely ask that you would let me stay here. I too have been, am being hunted. Please."

"You poor youngling, barely more than a pup, and already you've had so much hardship," White Spots said, nuzzling against Juliet's side. "She should stay with us, brother," she told Black Ears. "We can't leave her to fend for herself, you can see her bones through her skin!"

"And if she's eagle's kin, like she and Sweet Fur say, she is smart," Lichen added. "She can teach us new things, and tell stories to the pups. Besides, if she's the babysitter, then everyone can hunt, and we can bring down more game!"

Black Ears sighed in exasperation. Having his mother and sisters gang up on him was not his idea of a good time. "Oh, all right, she can stay," he grumbled.


*What does Juliet have to do with the X-Men? Where is she from, and why is she being hunted? Will she make a good puppy-sitter? Review and find out!

*Next Chapter: A light, an accident, and a rescue

*Please review!