The plane ride home was not nearly as spirited as Chiara would have hoped. It was like an elongated sigh of relief that lasted nearly four hours.

Twist and Silence sat together in a middle seat, his arms around her, talking, kissing each other lightly sometimes. Lucea and Gaudi were sitting across the aisle from each other, each with their feet up on the seat beside, trying to sleep, or just looking at each other, not all over each other for once. Cat was sitting with Streak and Alyx. They looked like they were having some kind of forced coversation when really, they were just happy to see each other.

Mark was in the back with Khahara, Storm and Silence. His lip had been split from a punch thrown by one of Magneto's lackeys. Simon had cuts in the side of his head, and Khahara had been punched hard in the stomach. Running, she'd twisted her ankle and hurt it badly by continuing to get to the plane. Gaudi had decided to not get help for his bruised stomach muscles.

Despite the fact that she was a little sore from getting beaten up by Mystique and being in shackles and their was a pain in her shin, Chiara was lucky not to be injured. The majority of them were studded with cuts and bruises, but nothing serious. She glanced over one shoulder at Yuako who was sleeping in the seat next to her. She was wrapped in a dark wool safety blanket and her long black hair was tied back from her pretty face. Chiara sighed and got up to look down the passage. Cyclops was piloting, as usual, Wolverine and Nightcrawler sat nearby.

She walked down the aisle, wondering why her foot hurt so much, it was almost making her limp, but the pain was bearable. She sat down in a random seat and pulled up her trouser leg to see if there was any damage.

There was a long line of thick red blood across the front of her ankle, probably from the metal plates that had skidded under her feet. She sighed, frustrated, and looked across the aisle. Connor was looking at her from where he sat in the opposite seat, his green eyes concerned. In her worry about her foot, she'd not seen him there.

"We'd better get that bandaged." he said.

"It's fine. I'll live." Chiara said, rolling the leg of her pants back down. They were dressed in what they'd worn before now, only donned in the Institutes jackets and blankets.

"You sure? It's deep." he said, reluctant. There was a pause. The only sound was the rattling of the plane as it made it's way over the US.

"Thanks for coming back for me. I probably would've panicked if you hadn't." she smiled slightly at him.

"I think you handled yourself pretty well." he smiled back, kindly. Chiara felt herself beginning to blush again.

"I'll be right back." she said, excusing herself. She got up and went towards the back of the plane and into the medic cabin. Storm was writing something on a clipboard. Mark and Khahara were sleeping, curled in blankets on one of the benches against the wall. Simon was sitting, leaning against the side of the plane, pressing an ice bag to the side of his head.

Storm looked up as Chiara went in.

"Do you need help?" she asked. Chiara shook her head. "I'll be back in a moment then." Storm smiled and moved past her out into the rest of the plane. There was a silence where all she heard was the sound of the plane.

She went over to Simon, idley kicking his shoe.

"You okay?" she asked. Simon glanced up at her and gave her a look of disbelief. She shrugged slightly in response.

"Confused." Simon said finally.

"About?"

"What happened." he said. He stopped, glancing at her again, again strangely. "How's your arm?"

"My arm?" she asked, slipping part of the jacket to look at her shoulder, confused. "It's... armish." she said.

"But... you..." he said, then gave an anguished look.

"Maybe Mystique hit your head a little too hard..." Chiara smiled, trying to make him feel better. Simon tossed the ice bag aside, angry at her suddenly.

"Mystique?!" he asked, frustrated. "What the hell are you talking about! You were there..! I brought you back here and we-" he began.

"Simon..." Chiara tried to say. "I fought with my double... Mystique. I hit her across the arm with a pipe... and I ran..." she said, slowing as her mind came to grips with what had happened. She realised now what Simon was implying. "God, no..." she said, quiet. It was a stretch of the imagination to think that Mystique may have seduced Simon, even for her.

"Mystique." he repeated again in disgust. "No wonder you were acting so weird..."

"It wasn't me. Are we getting the fact that you made out with a shape-shifter yet?!" Chiara said. She felt violated, even if not directly. "I can't believe you'd even try that!"

"As far as I remember, you were the one who kissed me!"

"It wasn't me!" she shouted again, aggravated. "It was you and your bloated ego!"

"It fucking well seemed like you! And I..." he tried again, failing to come up with a comeback.

Chiara shook her head, not sure whether to be angry or disgusted. He'd taken advantage of her... even if it wasn't... her... just looked like her. She was thinking herself into a whole. The entire thing just disgusted her. Simon was typical. She shouldn't have expected anything less.

Storm came back into the cabin with the clatter of heels on metal. She glanced at Chiara and the fuming Simon.

"Sit back down." she told him, giving him the ice-pack back. "Chiara." she said, and the dark-haired teenager looked up. "I don't even want to know. Just go back to your seat."

Gladly, Chiara stormed back out. Everyone was looking back at the medic cabin, heads peering over seats, wondering what all the noise was about. Chiara sunk into her seat, folding her arms across her chest.

"What happen-" Yuako started yawning.

"Don't ask." Chiara cut her off. "Just be quiet and go back to sleep." Yuako looked at her for a moment, sensing her aggravation, then she took Chiara's advice and pulled the blanket back over her and went back to sleeping.

---

Note: And I doubt the drama stops there... lmao. More is on the way... it's almost over, but there is more intrigue ahead!