Shiny.

Lockheed's talons twitched and he curled up into a tighter ball at the foot of Kitty's bed. He folded his wings over his head and tried not to look.

Shiny. Shiny shiny shiny shine glitter sparkle gleam shiny...

He folded his wings back and stared at the top of Kitty's dresser, longingly. And he looked at the closed door, the open window, the empty room.

It was wrong.

Kitty's jewelry. She had lots and lots and lots of jewelry, even if she didn't always wear it, even if she never wore some of it at all, even if there was dust on it, it was Kitty's jewelry and Kitty was his girl, but he was a dragon and they were shiny!

Before he knew what he was doing, before he could stop himself, he took off and swooped low over the dresser, snatching a pin, and soared out the open window. He took it to his secret hidey-hole, and hurried back, curling back up at the foot of her bed.

He told himself that he was only borrowing the pin, and that if Kitty missed it, he could bring it back. He could put it under the dresser, on the floor, and show her where it was, and she would never know he had stolen it.

But Kitty never missed the pin, and the secret guilty pride of ownership, the joyful mine-mine-mine that rang through his heart like a bell whenever he looked at the pin wore off. And Kitty had so much shiny jewelry that she never bothered to wear.

And the years passed, and Lockheed found himself lead into greater betrayals and secrets kept from his girl as an agent of SWORD.

XxXxXxXxXxXxXxX

Kitty Pryde walked into her bedroom, did a neat pirouette, and allowed herself to fall backward across her bed. "Home again home again, jiggety-jig."

It had been a rough couple of months. Dealing with Breakworld, and the Powerlord. Foiling the prophecy, or fulfilling it, depending on your point of view, depending if you were in the deposed ruling class, Piotr had destroyed their world of luxury and casual cruelty.

Getting into another screaming fight with Piotr about their relationship and kissing him in what turned out to be the middle of his coronation as new Powerlord, before a holovid audience of millions of Breakers. "So we not only gave them democracy, we also invented tabloid television," she sighed.

Then coming home and finding out that Scott had somehow neglected to make a contingency plan for the entire teaching staff being abducted by aliens, so the kids had essentially been on vacation while they were away and were horribly behind on everything. "None of the other teams could read the lesson plans?"

She rolled over, and her eye fell on the LL Bean dog bed in the corner, sending a fresh pang through her heart. Lockheed, her little dragon-baby, turning out to be intelligent, and a double agent, working for SWORD for god knows how many years, that had been a blow even worse than Cassandra Nova's little psychodrama.

Her lips thinned and she got to her feet. She didn't want this reminder of Lockheed's abandonment and betrayal in her bedroom---even if it was likely she'd be spending her nights with Piotr. She didn't want it in the house. Rage boiled in her stomach, she grabbed the round pad and headed outside.

She couldn't quite bring herself to throw it away, however. The gardener's shed was a compromise. She found a clean spot to drop it, and stood a minute, breathing in the smell of chemicals and must.

"We can definitely add cleaning and organizing this to the detention chore list. I don't think anyone's been in here other than Piotr and Ororo. Huh. And the mansion's been destroyed and rebuilt a couple of times, I bet this place hasn't been touched since the mansion was built in 1887."

There were long-handled tools with blades for arcane purposes in bundled stacks. She recognized Piotr's axe, sharp and rust free, near the door. There were wheelbarrows and old push-mowers, something that looked like a miniature steam roller. Wooden frames with chicken wire. Bushel baskets, hoses, coils of rope, stacks of terra cotta pots of various sizes, a built-in potting bench, and a half of a whiskey barrel beneath it.

Kitty swallowed fresh bile. That barrel. Lockheed liked to curl up in there on summer afternoons while Ororo worked at the potting bench, transferring root-bound plants into larger containers, starting seedlings in trays, while Kitty helped her or just hung out to talk.

She walked over, and touched the old benched. It was marked and scarred, stained, battered by time and use. Hard to believe Ororo was married and gone. She glanced down, half expecting to see Lockheed curled up asleep on a bag of grass seed. A pale glimmer caught her eye instead.

"What in..." Bone, she thought at first, but then checked the device over the open door. One of Forge's more practical inventions, the field generator drove pests away. No mouse would have entered the shed to be trapped and starve. So Kitty plunged her hand into the shadowy interior without fear, and withdrew a rope of pearls.

"Omigod," she gasped, wincing. She recognized them. Faux pearls the size of grapes, and spaced evenly throughout the string, equally large faceted plastic gems, in raspberry pink and lime green. "My necklace?"

Still clutching it, she dropped to her knees and tugged the heavy container out into the light. A riot of colors and dull tarnished metal lay tangled in the bottom of the barrel.

"Lockheed. You really and truly were a baby dragon when I first found you, weren't ya?" she sighed aloud, fondly exasperated in spite of herself. "Did I really wear all this junk? Fer shure."

A Preppie strand of braided faux pearls, in shades of coral, nile green, and black. A butterfly pin enameled in peacock blue and daffodil yellow. A heavy gold chain supporting a metal tassel of finer chains, beaded at their ends. An octogonal gold lorgnette on a long chain. A mood ring. Glass rubies and rhinestone diamonds and faux sapphire and emeralds glittered in rings enough to wear four on each finger and give her punches the stopping power of a set of brass knuckles, only much tackier.

Filigree and Swavorksi crystal. A barrette encrusted with faux pearls and tiny pink resin rosebuds. Cameoes. Earring and pins in neon colors and modern abstract shapes. Fuschia with a black grid pattern, sea green with metallic polka dots. Gypsy chandelier earrings that reached her shoulders, that she'd worn only once and thrown away because their weight pulled unpleasantly at her earlobes.

A zoo of lizards and bugs, paved with crystal. Plastic bangle bracelets pretending to be carved cinnabar.

"The 80's were not kind, and Stevie Nicks and Madonna have a lot to answer for," she muttered to herself and kept sorting.

Marcasite glittered dully in silver black with tarnish.

Each piece brought its own memory. Shopping back in Chicago with her mother and her friends there, shopping in New York with Ororo and Rogue and Illyana. Birthdays. The utter sappiness of her teenybopper self as she totaled up how many pieces she had with blue crystal stones, purchased solely because they were the color of Piotr's eyes.

Monet. (no, not her) 1928. Anne Klein. Napier. From Macy's or Bloomingdale's. She'd worn these earrings on that disasterous first date with Piotr. A pair of cloisonne combs enameled bright green and apple blossom pink and robin's egg blue, that she'd bought for Illyana and had never had a chance to give them to her. A pin with a piece of computer chip that Doug had made for her as a gag-gift.

Illyana.

Doug.

She'd lost too many friends. Sometimes she was lucky enough to get them back.

Kitty stood, slipped the combs into her jeans pocket, and picked up Lockheed's bed again.

If the little dragon returned and tried to explain, she'd listen. And if there was a way to forgive him, she would.

She'd lost too many friends.