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  Book One of the Annwn Ryu Cycle
Note: This is a little interlude that includes the Summers clan. :) Feedback is always delightedly accepted.



A hand touched a button, and the computer screen lit. Though there were easier, quicker ways to enter data, the darkness-hidden figure set to his task with agile, well-practiced fingers...

  There are truths and then there are truths. I am well aware of what people say. I am the bad seed, the dark child, the feared and horrible monster that came from a good man, while my brother - well, he is a hero, is he not?
  Yet, the truth is that for one word of kindness, one offer of family, and I would be undone. Lost, in the warmth of it. Has no-one ever asked why I am so cold?
  Ice is a shield, limned with a lifetime of experience, a childhood of hate and focused rage. I grew strong by gathering it around me, and pulling it within. No emotion. No fear. Nothing. Just the silence of the ice.
  And I am a force to be reckoned with. Hated, yes, but also feared. Most flee from my merest glance. I have seen strong men cower before me. I have shattered minds and tore bodies asunder.
  During it all, I felt nothing. Nothing at all. Only coldness and -
  And a need for the coldness to warmed.
  When does a monster become a man?
  I see perhaps it is when he discovers that he is capable of love.
  Oh, most would see it as a trap, a cruel act of tactical viciousness.
  It is not.
  Love, Hate - two sides of the same coin. Passions.
  Even I am not immune.
  I hate them.
  I need them.
  My enemies. My family.
  My salvation.
  I do not even have the dignity of a name. Not a true one, only an appellation of what I create. Thus was I controlled. Thus was I molded. But now....
  Now the ice begins to melt, ever so slightly, and I lay awake at nights clutching my cold hate to me with trembling hands, afraid that should it leave me, there will be nothing left.
  Am I made for this? Is ice and cruel strikes at my enemies the only reason for me to exist?
  I am no longer so sure.
  Once it was easy. "Kill," I was told, and that I did. "Destroy," and again, I obeyed. But then I discovered I did not rule my own destiny. The ice consumed me. And now, I feel nothing.
  That is a lie.
  One I have told myself one time too many.
  I love my brother in my hatred, and this keeps me alive. It holds the ice at bay, so that I exist - no, live! - and thrive.
  The ice is losing ground.
  Who will I become?
  What name will I have?
  I hated so strongly it burned with the cold. Now I feel - I feel.
  I want to speak to them. I want to be accepted, loved, wanted.
  I do not know where to begin.
  At the beginning, I suppose.
  Very well.
  The beginning, then.

  Jean Grey brought the oddly stamped envelope in to where her husband Scott and their son Nathan sat, enjoying the warmth of the fire.
  Scott was instantly concerned. "What is it?" he asked, looking up at her.
  "It's for us. You, me, and Nathan." she was puzzled, and sat down between them to open it.
  Written in a strong, solid script was a simple line of text, followed by a signature.
      Happy Anniversary, Brother. We are free.


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