Summary: Master Cyclonis reflects on Piper's words about being 'friends'.

This is possibly a prequel to the other Storm Hawks fic, 'Maybe'. They aren't exactly explicitly linked but they run along the same lines.


By Dark Ice Dragon


Master Cyclonis hissed angrily. She would have done worse –like throw the Oblivion Crystal against the wall- but denied herself. She would not allow herself to lose control like that and she didn't want to be seen having something as mundane as a temper tantrum.

So, instead, she seethed on the inside. And glared at the offending Crystal in her hand. She had thought that owning an Oblivion Crystal would make things easier. She'd known that it wouldn't work on friends years ago but that had never bothered her – she was going to become Master Cyclonis, what use did she have for friends? She had none. She didn't have friends and she didn't want any either so when she read what the Oblivion Crystal could do and its 'drawback' she knew that it would be perfect.

'Oblivion Crystals won't work on friends, even if they were only friends for a moment.'

She could still hear Piper's words in her head, mocking her. But why? Why did such a powerful Crystal have such a ridiculous downside?

And it wasn't true, obviously. She didn't consider Piper a friend – she was a Storm Hawk, someone in a Sky Knight's squadron. It wasn't something that was worth even considering.

Something tugged at the back of her mind, however. If she wasn't friends, didn't want such things, why had she gone after Piper in the first place?

Because she wanted another person who was rumoured to rival her in the Crystal department on her side, one part of her brain said. The other part was silent, as if its answer was just as obvious or maybe more so because it didn't even need words.

It would have crushed the Storm Hawks and possibly some of the Sky Knights to hear of another betrayal in their ranks, the first part continued, sure of itself. Still no words from the other, and she was beginning to feel uneasy.

She needed someone to talk to sometimes, about Crystals, because Dark Ace sometimes helped just by standing there and her telling him what she was planning to do in her Crystal lab; it helped her to straighten out her thoughts. If Piper was there, then she would finally be able to talk with someone who understood what she was saying, giving input, and saw things from a slightly different angle. The other side of her mind prodded at the words carefully, cutting them out, twisted the meaning.

She needed someone to talk to sometimes - it helped her to straighten out her thoughts. If Piper was there, then she would finally be able to talk with someone who understood what she was saying, giving input, and saw things from a slightly different angle. The other felt pleased at its work.

'You can act all tough and destroy the world but you can't hide who you really are – a lonely girl who desperately wants a friend.'

More of those mocking words.

She'd spent how many hours in that cave alone with Piper? She didn't know. She really didn't know. Because time hadn't meant anything in there. It had flowed from one minute to the next, neither of them noticing how fast or slow time was passing them by. Their conversations were the same: the topics were large and varied, sometimes only lasting a few sentences ("Are you kidding me? You've never tried some? When we get out of this storm, I'm taking you to Terra Tranqua - they make them the best there.") to a possibly hour long debate (Piper had been frowning. "You shouldn't have done that." "Why not? This book said - " "But didn't you think of what those Crystals were made of?" "Of course I did!"). Now that she thought about it, what they had talked about, she couldn't believe how much she had revealed about herself.

She did not want a friend. The reason why she had talked so much in the cave and afterwards was because she was merely playing a role to get on Piper's good side, to become Piper's friend but not for Piper to become her friend.

So laughing that hard and that much was merely an act as well? the other whispered, bringing up some memories.

It was. Just because she was glaring holes in the walls, her hands had bunched into fists (the Oblivion Crystal was still safe and no danger from slipping from her fingers) and her teeth were clenched it didn't make her statement any less true.

It didn't matter that that was the first time she had laughed an uncontained, free laugh in years. It didn't matter that her cheeks still hurt from all the smiling and laughing she had done. It didn't matter that she had sometimes laughed so hard that everything became brighter as she laughed, that she had to take deep gulps of air afterwards. It didn't matter that she had had a laughing fit for several minutes. None of it did.

It didn't matter that she'd actually had fun.

She glared at the Oblivion Crystal again, slowly easing her fingers open to do so. She would still keep it; it was still useful. It wouldn't work on one person but she still had a large collection of Crystals anyway.

"How did it go?" She looked over her shoulder and saw Dark Ace standing there. Not that she had needed to since his voice was easily recognisable. He was watching her carefully – but for what, she didn't know.

"She refused." Her voice was light, as if such a thing was trivial to her. Because it was, she wasn't acting. Not now.

Dark Ace didn't make a comment about how her fingers were gripping the Crystal tightly, trembling slightly.