Book One of the
Annwn Ryu Cycle
Cayanne woke up on a
branch, sprawled on her stomach, and opened one eye. She knew her Papa
and the woman that had reacted so strongly to her when she'd first
arrived were sitting near the water's edge now, no longer -
The ground rushed up at her, and she flailed her arms wildly, abruptly
realizing she'd - stopped.
She stared at the ground.
The teen-ager could swear it stared back at her.
Floating perhaps a foot above the ground, stretched out on her stomach,
she cautiously moved an arm, felt herself rotate slightly.
Hmmmm. She thought, trying not to feel ridiculous. Another
movement, another slight rotation.
A few more movements, furious arm flappings, and a few choice comments
did not lower her to the ground.
Dis embarassin'. she mentally groaned.
Wha...? the mental voice was female.
Nothin'! G'back t'sleep, yer havin' a nightmare. she thought,
No, dis de Jolly Green Giant, I invadin' the joint.
Nothin'. G'back t'sleep. she grumbled.
Cayanne, are you all right? It's Jean.
I fine, you fine, ever'body fine - auuuugh!
She tumbled unceremoniously into the leaves at the tree's base, and rose
spitting grass and more than one leaf from her mouth. Well, she
thought to herself dryly, guess dis prove I not ever become no
"GET OUT M'HEAD!!!!" Cayanne roared, mentally and vocally.
Birds took flight as she slapped a hand over her mouth, aware of her
father's presence approaching. "Oh, rien, enfer et une malédiction
sur le diable!" The teen-ager growled, furious at herself. Even
though the mental presence quickly retreated, she knew that her father
was almost there.
"Cayanne, what you doin' here, peu d'ange?" Gambit
asked, stepping agilely around a tree, Marie right behind him.
The teen-ager looked up at him, shifted her feet, then grinned
sheepishly. "I asleep up dere." She indicated the boughs in a
sweeping gesture. "Feel you and her come t'gether - happy for ya, Papa,
puits et honnêtement - went back to sleep, den wake up and,
well," she shrugged, more than a bit embarrassed, "fall. Not
sure why 'bout that."
Gambit and Rouge both stared at the girl.
"You felt us?" Marie's voice a bit alarmed. Her cheeks
flushed with color despite herself.
"Hey, not like I mean to!" snapped Cayanne, her eyes
sparkling with silver flecks as she regarded the woman. "Jus'
happened. Don' have a nest o' gators on me."
"Cayanne." Gambit's voice contained a gentle note of warning.
The teen-ager stared at them both. "You not belive me, Papa?"
That idea stung, more than she was willing to admit. "You think I -
spy on you?" she demanded.
Gambit put a gentle arm around Marie, feeling her embarrassment and
letting her feel his own calming reassurance, then around his daughter.
Cayanne would never spy on him. Not even if the Thieves' Guild asked,
which was the only other authority - besides her father and grandfather
- the girl halfway recognized. He didn't tell her, it was an awareness
Marie calmed herself. "Of course he does, Cayanne. I do too."
she replied, surprised that she meant it.
Cayanne looked from one to another, much relieved. "Den I go."
she commented. But she stopped at the end of the glade, looked back with
an impish grin and asked, "So, when you get married and I have a Mama,
With a laugh of mischief, the girl left the pair staring into one
Logan was restless.
Unable to define the source of his disquiet, nor find any calm inside
the mansion, he prowled the grounds, silent as a passing shadow. His
senses were all on the alert, and he picked up an - unusual - scent
several moments before anyone came into view.
Pepper. Cinnamon. A touch of spice. The soft fragrance of a
chrysanthemum mixed with the faint tang of a cherry blossom.
He inhaled deeply, just as Cayanne came up over the slight rise,
obviously deep in thought.
She regarded him - he noticed with some inner surprise that she stared
him straight in the eyes - then grinned slightly.
"Looks like Cayanne not de only one up late."
The older mutant returned her gaze, steadily. "Yeah." he
Cayanne put her hands on her hips. "You sure don' talk much. Part
o' yer mutation or just ol' plain stubborn silence?" she inquired,
Despite himself, Logan grinned. "You shoot straight from the hip,
kid." he replied, straightening from his crouch.
Cayanne grinned back. "You call me kid again an' I'll punch ya in
Logan's expression turned almost wolfish as he smiled again. "Try
"Name the place." was the grinned reply.
When Gambit and Rogue returned to the mansion, they were holding hands.
Scott heard Jean's little gasp, and realized that Marie was not wearing
one glove, and the hand wrapped around her's was equally as bare. Yet
the pair was involved in quiet conversation, neither showing signs of
Rogue's power taking any effect.
And the young woman's smile could have outshone the sun.
Gambit wore a slightly absent, even mildly goofy smile, but when she
looked up at him and chuckled, his laughter joined her's.
Scott looked over at his wife, and wrapped a tender arm around her,
smiling down at her.
Jean's green eyes stared back with a love that made his own expression
turn a little silly, and she smiled, standing on tiptoe to kiss him
lightly. "Silly. And you have a class to teach." she teased,
swatting him with her towel.
Hands raised, he advanced on her, "Oh, silly am I? Mrs. Summers,
you are gonna get it!" He waggled his fingers, then swiftly ran
them along her sides, tickling.
Jean squawked in mock horror, warning, "Scott Summers, don't you
She dashed up the stairs, with her husband in hot pursuit, laughing like
Cayanne came in just as Gambit and Rogue noticed the pair, and gave a
School was easy and not easy for Cayanne, as contradictory as that
sounded. She rapidly became bored with the pace of lessons,
often leafing through anatomy and physiology - her current interest -
books during classes.
Idly doodling on her paper, she uttered an inward sigh. This seemed
pointless to her. She spent half the day - in this case a fine, blustery
day just made for tree-dancing - trapped in a stuffy room listening to
Miss Munroe talk about society and it's needs, the other half prowling
the grounds. Even now, she hated the idea of sleeping and still avoided
"That's darn good." whispered Zane, leaning across the back
row to her.
Cayanne looked up at her friend, then down at the paper. Her doodling
had never been anything she'd taken seriously.
The soft rustle of the teacher's clothing warned her just as Miss Munroe
arrived at her shoulder.
"You have a true talent, Cayanne." the tall, regal woman's
voice was not at all mocking as she examined the stunningly rendered
image of herself. It was not a physical drawing, lines and form, but
rather a perceptual one, showing the deeply spiritual, sensitive warmth
and subtle sensuality that was not merely Storm, but Ororo Munroe.
"Dis?" She eyed the woman warily, watching for some sort of
joke, or attempted discipline. "Dis just scratchin'." The
teen-ager dismissed it with a shrug.
"We should talk more about this after class."
"More school?" groaned Cayanne.
Students giggled, earning a glower for their reaction.
"Not exactly." soothed the dark-skinned weather mutant.
Scott finally coaxed Logan into helping him teach gym class. The older
mutant had been edging further and further away from them, losing
himself in a grief that his brother - Scott had finally come to call him
that in his heart - and held him as dear as his birth-brother Alex -
knew would soon metamorphasize into a need to lose himself in berserker
rage. Teaching the youngsters would likely help him
as much as it did Scott.
So, when he consulted with Logan on a regime, both of them unconsciously
began to work as a team. More than a team.
Cayanne slouched in her desk as the other students filed out, laughing
and shoving. She looked under her brows at the teacher, then ran her
fingers absently over the image she'd drawn. Stupid scratchin'. she
growled at herself. Not somethin' I oughta be wastin' time on.
Ororo came over, pulled out a seat, and sat down in front of her,
her gaze meeting the girl's. She sensed the frustration and wariness
there, almost like a wild animal barely tolerant of humans. But also she
sensed hidden depths in the girl, a sensitivity she went out of her way
"You have a gift with art." she said, gently.
Cayanne eyed her warily. "Art?" she said, as though the word
felt strange in her mouth. "Yer kiddin'."
"Not at all." Ororo's voice was serene. "That kind of
sketch takes students years to accomplish, if indeed they ever do."
The teen-ager leaned back. "It just scratchin' - always been dat to
me." she said, carefully.
"Would you like to study it? I notice that most of the courses you
have far surpassed."
"Dey not so hard."
Ororo smothered a gentle smile. Clearly the girl had no idea how
intelligent she truly was. Most of the seniors were bewildered by the
subjects she completed with ease.
"You gave a promise to attend classes and you have, Cayanne. But
perhaps we should focus a bit more on what you are ready to learn.
Anatomy, I notice?"
Cayanne shrugged, but seemed slightly less tense as she listened.
"Very well then. Tomorrow we shall begin a program a bit more
challenging for you." She rested a gentle hand on the girl's
shoulder. "Learning should never become a chore, Cayanne. You have
a great talent. I ask only that you let me help you realize it."
Althea Burke was a stunning, shapely blonde with sky-blue eyes, and it
took her fully fifteen minutes to get ready for gym class. Denise
Lauren, her best friend, was also a blonde, but with light green eyes
and a slim build. She was breathless when she arrived, seating herself
on the bench next to her friend.
"Guess who our teacher's going to be?" she asked,
Althea arched a perfect brow in answer, continuing to brush her long,
"Mr. Summers!" She smiled excitedly. "He's one of the
most handsome teachers at the school!"
Her friend's expression lit up with interest. "He certainly
is." Her smile was calculating, seductive. "We'll have an -
entertaining - time in this class."
Denise smiled broadly in answer.
Cayanne found it rather amusing that she was assigned to a gym class. It
seemed rather redundant, but a promise was a promise. With a sigh, she
followed the written instructions to the girl's locker room.
The sound of several girls in high spirits greeted her sensitive ears. A
tall girl saw her slip and shoved a plastic-wrapped package into her
hands, telling her brusquely to "wear that".
With a scowl, the teen-ager unrolled a pair of black shorts with a white
symbol and a grey short-sleeved shirt with the same symbol on the front.
"Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters" was printed
neatly in a circle around the "X" insignia, and Cayanne
examined them closely as she wandered over to the lockers.
To her mild surprise, one was labeled with her name. She opened it - it
was not locked - and discovered a pair of white socks and high-top
Well, I expected I see. she thought to herself. The girl ran her
fingers down the familiar trenchcoat, then sighed again. All right, Papa,
I try dis too.
But she ducked into a bathroom and quickly stripped down to her
undergarments, then changed into the shorts, socks, and shoes, wrapping
her clothing around itself. Going back to her locker, she found a key,
considered a moment, then shoved her clothing in, pocketing the key
without locking it. If someone wanted to steal her coat, shirt, and
pants, they could, but she really didn't see the point.
Hopping from foot to foot loosened the stiff leather of the shoes, and
she bounded through the door, testing for slide on the smooth floor.
This assured, she examined the large room.
Students were already gathered at roughly the half-way point, and she
wandered in that direction.
A blonde girl looked down her nose as though smelling something foul and
said loudly, "I see some members of the student body don't
know how to dress!"
Cayanne snorted. "I see some member o' de student body no
have no manners." she replied, grinning ferally.
The older girl stepped up to her, staring down at her - she was perhaps
three inches taller than the young Cajun - her obvious gaze condemning
the loose gym uniform in comparison to her own magnificent form.
"You got bad vision? If not, I suggest you take step back."
Cayanne's voice was mild, but tinged with danger.
Althea stared down at her with utter contempt, turning aside with a
Cayanne rolled her eyes, and some students snickered at her expression.
Gambit had always thought of himself by that name, ever since he became
a member of the X-Men. Thinking of himself as Remy LeBeau brought up a
host of memories, some good, some bad, and it had always been easier -
and in his opinion, wiser - to keep the two separate in his mind.
But now, standing with an arm around Marie, he was more Remy than he had
been since he and Cayanne had left the bayou.
"Life seem much different now, oui?" he said, softly.
His garnet-velvet eyes watched the horizon, as they enjoyed the
simplicity of the sunset.
Marie smiled wryly. "Life has always been different for us, Remy."
But she snugged against his seated form, enjoying the warmth of his
presence. "That's been the problem - one moment we're X-Men, off to
fight the Good Fight, the next we're just people looking for some peace
in our lives."
Remy smiled. "Dat what make life challengin', chere."
He absently stroked her hair, aware of the chirp of cicadas, the soft
drone of insects, and the gentle pressure of the woman he loved against
He looked down at her, peaceful and content, and said softly, "But
now we face dis together."
Marie's smile was unconsciously radiant. "Always." she
Cayanne ignored Althea for the most part, though her instincts warned
her to never turn her back on the older girl.
Her hands ached. It was a strange feeling, and she flexed and stretched
them repeatedly, working the cramps out. She sat down, finally, on the
bleachers, and rubbed the back of her neck, feeling brief Surges, not
painful, just - jolts - flashing into her mind.
She gritted her teeth, hating herself for a brief wish for r drug,
forcing it furiously from her mind.
Never again. she swore silently. Never!
"....And her father is just a thief." Althea's voice.
Cayanne felt her gaze on her. Referring to her father.
She bounced to her feet, eyes ablaze. "Take that back, vous avez
Althea stared down at her, enjoying the commotion, and pronounced
loudly, "And a murderer......"
The older girl shrieked in disbelieving shock from the floor, while
Cayanne - who's punch had sent Althea there - pounced on her. The battle
was noteworthy, since Althea's mutation included super-strength.
A punch sent Cayanne flying straight up, but instead of falling in a
heap, the young Cajun flipped over, her heels landing on Althea's
midriff with a Rebel Yell of defiant fury.
Althea grabbed her arm, and Cayanne kicked it, dodging out of the way.
The other students were in a noisy ring, and the two combatants regarded
Glaring, the blonde mutant hissed, "What can one expect, from the
daughter of a murd....aaaaiiiiieee!"
Cayanne, now well-aware that a good blow from her stronger opponent
could cause more damage, had administered a roundhouse kick directly to
her mouth. "Let see how you lie wit no teeth, menteur et imbécile!"
she snarled, through gritted teeth.
Althea activated her powers, launching herself at her opponent, who
leapt over her, spinning to attack.
Cayanne was abruptly caught in strong arms, struggling violently,
cursing inventively in her native Cajun.
Logan held on, aware of the older girl's smug smirk as she came to a
landing a few feet away. His gaze darkened as he detected a whiff of
what her file described as "persuasive pheromones", and he was
briefly tempted to let Cayanne loose.
"Let 'er go, Cayanne." he said, firmly, and the girl yanked
"Il qui raille mon père, sent ma colère - même à l'éternité!"
she snarled, eyes blazing silver with sheer rage.
Logan stared at her. Not because of the rage, or the words - but because
of the sense of love and honor behind them. He didn't smile - she would
likely misinterpret that - but nodded instead, with perfect
Giri. Moral obligation, the bonds of family. The core of bushido,
the unyielding code of the samurai.
Cayanne scowled at Scott, who had appeared to break up the fight, and
snapped, "I come here, I keep my oath. Not practice with amateurs.
Someone gonna get hurt - and I choose when I avenge father's good
name." Her eyes narrowed. "I go now. You got problem wit dat?"
A war had just begun.
It would be nastier than most.
Translations from the Cajun (French)
rien, enfer et une malédiction sur le diable!
- damn, hell, and a curse on the devil!
- little angel
puits et honnêtement
- well and honestly
vous avez abîmé l'ingrate
- you spoiled ingrate
menteur et imbécile
- liar and fool
Il qui raille mon père, sent ma colère - même à l'éternité! -
he who mocks my father, feels my wrath - even to eternity!