It´s uncomfortable now. Everyone walks quietly, afraid to speak out loud. There´s no laughter, or music, there isn´t even any tears -- not now. The tears have been used up, wiped away with shaking hands, absorbed into tissues and t-shirts, anything to wipe away the evidence of grief.

Grief´s not allowed anymore, not in public anyway. Even in private it can be sensed, searched out, and when it is -- and it always is -- mockery follows and tears are belittled. In a sound that fills Sanctuary the laughter is heard, loud, uncontrolled, mean and she stalks through the rooms, intent on reaching the person who´s weakened this time. Flinging open a door, she´ll stand and look, eyes dark, seeing everything, and you´ll back away a little, dreading the words to come.

She finds the things you try to hide, picking at scabs until they bleed, and her eyes light up as she finds something new. Something to fling in your face, your deepest fears, your insecurities your pain. You thought you´d experienced pain before -- you were wrong. You´d experienced nothing until you stood in a corner of your room, backed against the wall as every dark part of your mind was examined, secrets shouted in a voice that echoed through empty rooms.

She screeched in triumph when she found the shield that hid your stepfather, destroying in seconds what had taken you years to build. Parroting remembered words, freak, monster, worthless. Old words that scar to this day, and it hurts more knowing who said them. That someone you loved could cause so much agony. So you back up, unwilling to push past her, not wanting to feel her hands on your skin.

The wall shifts behind you and a hand grabs hold of your wrist, pulling you backwards into the next room. The last thing that you see is Shalimar and Adam, watching silently behind her. There´s nothing you can do, nothing anyone can do. The madness that lurked round the fringes of Emma´s mind was victorious, as too many thoughts and too many emotions had taken their toll. Leaving her wild eyed and shaking after walking through the mind of yet another new mutant intent on world domination.

Adam had explained why Emma had retreated in her own mind, why she stormed through Sanctuary intent on causing others the misery that she herself was sharing. But you´d hadn´t listened, unwilling to understand, just knowing that your friend had gone and in her place was a stranger. Someone who haunted your home, and your dreams, destroying the family that meant so much.

Adam wouldn´t restrain her, unsure what that would do to the tenacious hold Emma had on her mind. She was in there, you all knew it, had seen the tears when someone was left pale faced and sick after another long hidden secret was laid bare. You knew everything now, and they knew about you. Things that none of you had wanted to share, but that choice was removed, and now you all skirted round one another, unwilling to look into each other´s eyes.

Mostly you´re alone, hiding in your room, trying to stay calm. If she doesn´t get a hit off you she might leave you alone, and maybe you´ll go one day without your heart ripped into a million pieces. Unlike yesterday, when you watched as Emma screamed about Jesse cheating, how he´d slept with an old flame when you were away. That hurt, and you´d hurried away, locking the bedroom door, symbolic more than anything, finally sleeping while Emma swirled and danced and shrieked through the corridors, madness untamed and wild.

Now, Jesse´s hand tight round your wrist, you sit on his bed. Listening as she screams your shame and you move closer, needing the contact of someone that can´t see in your head. You need Jesse, and he needs you, and you can work past any problem. So you lean on one another while Adam works and Shalimar prowls and not one of you sheds a tear.