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A Tale of Two Thieves

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It was Fantomex's fault. He had pushed her into stealing. The rush of it consumed her. It was fun and exciting. Right up until Fantomex betrayed her and Cluster broke her heart.

Psylocke tried to forget about it. She did everything she could to distract herself. She tried teaching at the Jean Grey School but that had been a disaster. She then tried reforming X-Force with poor results. In the end all she accomplished was feeling lost.

Psylocke wasn't exactly sure what made her start stealing again. It wasn't like her but at the same time it was thrilling. It gave her a purpose again. If Fantomex thought he was the best thief in the world she would prove him wrong. She would be the best.

She told herself what she was doing wasn't wrong. She wasn't stealing for the sake of stealing. Several of the artifacts she stole were taken during times of war and never returned to their original countries once the warfare ended. Others were stolen items that ended up in private collections. She was liberating them. Making sure they returned to the rightful museums they were taken from. It wasn't the money she was interested in, she had plenty of that, but rather the thrill of taking something and getting away with it.

It was the latter type of item that she was stealing that night. It was a Saudi Arabian dagger and scabbard stolen almost forty years ago from the Presidential Library of Harry Truman. The dagger had a gold hilt with diamonds in the pommel with smaller diamonds surrounding a ruby. The scabbard was also gold and like the dagger was decorated with rubies and diamonds. During the heist another dagger and three swords were also taken but Psylocke hadn't yet discovered their locations. The dagger though she had traced to a wealthy billionaire who had a habit of acquiring rare objects which he kept on display at his home.

Psylocke scaled the fence surrounding the property with ease and lightly dropped down onto the grassy lawn. She paused as she searched for minds to control. A guard with a German Shepard soon walked by. Neither one noticed her.

She waited until they went around the mansion before moving again. Despite being able to control minds to the point where they didn't see her she still had to be careful. She didn't want to get caught. It was no fun that way even though she knew she could take anyone on in a fight.

As Psylocke moved to the mansion she prepared herself for the security system. She knew whatever system in place would be impressive. Billionaires didn't take things like that lightly.

To Psylocke's surprised however the security system was already turned off. That made no sense whatsoever. All her research said the security system was never off at night. It was then she noticed that the nearby window was ajar.

Many thoughts went through Psylocke's mind. Had someone been tipped off that she would be there that night? Had other thief beaten her to the prize? Had someone simply been careless in setting the alarm?

Psylocke scanned the mansion, taking note of all the minds inside. A man was on the third floor. His thoughts were on business and he was oblivious to what was going on. A live-in maid was tidying up on the second floor. The only thing on her mind was wanting to finish so she could get to bed. Some children were playing also on the second floor. Again there was nothing on their minds that was important to Psylocke. The bottom level, the one where the dagger was located, was quiet.

Psylocke weighed her options. She could accept that nothing was wrong and continue with her plans or she could abort and try a different night. Her gut said abort. There was simply something in the atmosphere that night that she didn't like.

Before Psylocke could leave however the window near her slid open from the inside. As Psylocke crouched to avoid being detected she watched as a person dressed in white and black slip from the window. A mask was on the person's head but long brown hair tied into a ponytail told Psylocke that the person was a woman. In fact it was one that she once thought she knew very well; Cluster.

Anger swelled in Psylocke. She should have known. That was the reason why she hadn't sensed anything. The mask had the ability to block out telepaths. It seemed like no matter how hard she tried she couldn't get away from Fantomex. It was extremely frustrating.

Psylocke waited in the dark as Cluster's feet touched the ground. She expected that Fantomex would be next out of the window but she didn't see him. As Cluster took off across the lawn, Psylocke only hesitated for a split second before going after her.

Cluster went over the fence, not pausing for even a moment. As Psylocke went after her, she was surprised when she got to the top of the fence to find that Cluster was waiting on the ground on the other side.

"Don't be surprise," Cluster called up to her. "I would have noticed you anywhere."

Psylocke rolled her eyes before dropping to the ground. Cluster had a lot to answer for. Last Psylocke had heard the three of them were going to merge back into one. That obviously didn't happen. One Fantomex was hard enough to keep track of let alone three.

"What are you doing here?" It was impossible for Psylocke to keep the hostility out of her voice. There was still too many bitter memories.

"You should know why."

Psylocke did know. Like Fantomex, Cluster was addicted to stealing. There was also the fact that all three of them were hopelessly in love with her. It was likely not a coincidence that Cluster was there that night. So instead of waiting for an answer Psylocke changed the question. "Where's Fantomex?"

There was a flicker of sorrow across Cluster's eyes which disappeared before she spoke. "I don't know."

Oddly enough Psylocke found herself believing Cluster. Cluster always was the best of the three of them. She was tender and caring. Psylocke knew from experience. A lot of fun happened between them. Getting drunk on champagne and spending long days locked in their hotel room. Psylocke almost missed those times.

In anger, Psylocke pushed thoughts of past out of her head. Cluster, like Fantomex, had used her. She needed to remember that.

A dog barked from the yard behind them drawing both of their attention. "We should go," Cluster said but she didn't move, waiting first for Psylocke.

Psylocke sighed. She didn't understand why they couldn't leave her alone. She had ended it with all of them and wanted nothing to do with them anymore. Cluster though clearly wanted to talk and there would be no getting rid of her until that happened.

"Fine."

Psylocke began leading the way. They walked at an even pace, not wanting to draw attention. After several blocks the rich homes began to fade away giving way to smaller houses and eventually storefronts.

They found a diner. It was still open but not busy at that time of the night. It felt weird for Psylocke to slide into a booth with Cluster but no one paid them any attention. Psylocke could have taken Cluster anywhere but she did want to remain in public. She didn't quite trust herself at what would happen if she got alone with Cluster.

"Explain," Psylocke demanded after a waitress came over and took an order for coffee.

Cluster hung her head, like she had something to be ashamed of. "I couldn't go through with it."

Psylocke didn't blame her. She wouldn't want to share a body either. She needed to stay on task though and not get caught up in sympathy for Cluster. "That doesn't explain why you're here and not Fantomex."

"I wanted to be on my own for a while. I never had that before."

Again Psylocke understood her feelings. "But why are you here?" The world was a big place and there were plenty of things that could be stolen. The fact that Cluster had been targeting the same place as Psylocke was suspicious.

A guilty look crossed Cluster's eyes as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a gold and jewelled encrusted dagger. "I heard you were after things like this. I thought we could meet again if I did the same."

"Put that away," Psylocke hissed as she took control of the minds in the diner. Fortunately there wasn't that many. Just the waitress behind the counter and a man in a booth on the other side of the restaurant. As Cluster did what she was told, Psylocke released their minds. Fortunately they had seen nothing.

"I'm sorry," Cluster was quick to say. "I'm not use to this type of thing."

Psylocke's head hurt. She really didn't need to deal with this. Her task was supposed to have been an easy one. A quick in and out with the dagger. If things had gone according to plan she would have been on her way home at that very moment instead of sitting in a diner with Cluster.

"We should get out of here," Psylocke said, making a decision. The diner had been a bad idea. She had hoped by staying in public nothing bad would happen but that was obviously wrong.

Cluster trailed behind Psylocke as they headed to a nearby park. The park was dark and empty. Just to make sure Psylocke scanned the area and was satisfied that she didn't find anything. She hoped the park would make a better spot in talking to Cluster.

"I still love you," Cluster suddenly said. Her voice quiet in the dark night.

Psylocke's head began to throb even harder. It felt like a pounding against her temple. She didn't want to deal with it. Maybe it was a mistake to leave the diner. Psylocke suspected she wouldn't have gotten a love confession there. But then again with Cluster it was hard to say.

"I know you do," Psylocke eventually replied. Every version of Fantomex was in love with her. At first it was sweet, but since then Psylocke decided she wanted none of them in their lives. She had to admit though, Cluster had been the one she liked the best.

Even now part of her had feelings for Cluster, although she was very reluctant to admit it. She often thought their time in Paris before things had went sour. Day and night had blurred together as they laid tangled together on the plush bed of their luxury hotel. Things had been good then. It was one of the most fun periods that Psylocke could remember.

Cluster grew quiet for a moment before she pulled out the dagger once again. Moonlight glimmered off the diamonds. It really was a beautiful piece of work. "Here," she finally said. "This belongs to you."

Wordlessly Psylocke took the dagger and then turned her back on Cluster. She hoped that the message was clear. Their business was over. It was time for Cluster to leave.

As she heard the footsteps behind her, Psylocke hung her head. She wished that things could be different. A small part of her was willing to admit that Fantomex had been good for her. She had liked him and that part of him she had liked was now in Cluster.

But at the same time she couldn't get caught up in all that again. It had ended too badly last time. She had been hurt too badly; even though she had to admit that part of how things ended was her own fault. She hadn't realized Fantomex had loved her as much as he did when she got together with Cluster. That had been the real turning point in their relationship for when things began to go bad. If she had been more honest with Fantomex over her feelings for Cluster maybe things would have worked out differently.

Turning on her heels Psylocke watched as Cluster continued to walk away. A wetness was felt against her cheeks before she realized she was crying. Angrily she wiped at her tears. It shouldn't be that way. She was stronger than crying over something so silly.

Except it wasn't silly. She had loved Cluster. She still loved her, she was just too stupid and stubborn to admit it. Realization went through Psylocke. She could be stubborn and alone or she could take a chance and reclaim the best happiness she had ever had.

Psylocke didn't have to think about it for long.

"Wait," she called to Cluster's retreating form. At sound of her voice Cluster paused and turned to look back at her. Even from a distance Psylocke could see the sad look in her eyes. "Are you serious about being on your own?"

Psylocke was unwilling to be involved with three Fantomexs again but one . . .

Cluster nodded her head and that was all that Psylocke needed. She moved towards Cluster at a rapid pace and grabbed her hand as soon as she got close.

"Just us this time," Psylocke said to her.

Cluster squeezed her hand in agreement. "Just us," she repeated.

Together they walked off into the night. The dagger was clutched in one of Psylocke's hands while with the other she tightly held onto Cluster. She didn't want to lose either of them ever again.