Disclaimer: I own none of the characters within. A part of the plot is inspired by the Star Trek episode 'Wink of an Eye', but I've taken hardly anything. I'm just giving credit where it's due and jumping the gun before reviewers say this sounds familiar.

Author's Notes: My second piece of posted X-Men work. I've written a lot more, but I only put up the best for the readers. Anyway, this chapter is more of a prologue, setting up 'my versions' of the characters, so to speak, which is fairly easy because they get little or no character exposition in the actual show. (grumble) So basically I'm laying out the most important relationship in this story. Please review and tell me what you think; I'm anxious to see how this is accepted.

Melting Point

~

melting point The temperature at a which a specified solid substance becomes liquid

~

Boom.

The thunder, rolling in cacophonies of sound across the heavens, gently shook the house as efficiently as if two great hands had seized the building and were testing it like a Christmas present, eager to discover what gifts lay hidden inside.

Boom.

Every crash, whether cracking and ear-piercing or merely a rumble that was more felt than heard vibrated every beam and board in the rusticated old structure to the very core, the tremors reaching down to the foundation itself while crawling up to the highest point in the attic.

Boom.

Joining the thunder in the duet that has haunted the nightmares of so many children was its' companion, the lightning. Rumbles shook the house while flashes of white fire illuminated it, throwing ragged shadows about like a jigsaw puzzle of darkness.

Boom.

At last, the lightning glanced upon a human form, tossing about a lithe silhouette that was sitting hunched at the kitchen table. Another flash, another view of the figure, who now turned his head to stare out the window. Lightning caught his eyes, and for the briefest moment, ice blue clashed in brilliancy with the stark white of the weather. 

Boom.

Rain was lashing the windowpane with a ferocity that threatened to break it, the rippled patterns oddly reminiscent of blood running down a street gutter, as he had seen in so many cheap horror movies. Blood and rain, fighting a visual duel as the glass seemed to take on a garish red tint in his eyes.

Boom.

"Boom."

The echo was muttered by he that sat there in the dark, snorted in defiance at the forces of nature with the same spirit that had given him rise to defy so many in his life. He repeated the word, chuckling low in his throat as the thunder appeared to hear and react, rumbling with such fury that the bloodied windowpane rattled in its' frame.

BOOM.

"BOOM!"

The last one erupted as more of a giddy shriek from him, and he guiltily slapped a hand over his mouth as he remembered the others he lived with who were trying to sleep. Eyes shifting around nervously, he was the picture of impish remorse for no more than a second, after which he was satisfied that his commotion had not roused his housemates.

Boom.

"Boom…"

He hissed back the challenge at the weather, sliding his head out from under the hand that remained suspended in the air for a moment before cupping at his mouth with the other for more emphasis on his whispers. He was trying not to make too much of a fuss, trying to let the others get some sleep for once. None of them slept well with a maniac in charge, and for once they were all in dreamland at the same time. Best not to disturb them.

Boom.

"Bang!"

Spinning in his chair and with both hands clasped before him, index fingers extended for the gun effect, he slyly changed the routine in a way the thunder couldn't. Pointing his weapon at the window of blood, he fired off several rounds into the night, giggling at the trump he had laid on his opponent.

BOOM.

"Boom!"

Thunder was upset at the change in events, and now shuddered through the house with more anger than before, rippling under the floorboards and clattering the teeth of he who sat at the kitchen table. Now it was his turn to be annoyed, and he barked his response out the window with more than a hint of anger.

BOOM.

"BOOM!"

Not one to be outdone, he now sprang up on the table and remained up there, his head thrown back to the ceiling in order to make more contact with this weather that dared to challenge him. The lighting snapped rapidly over the scene, freezing a thousand still images of defiance on the wall, preserved for an eternity of less than an instant before melting away into the darkness.

BOOM.

"BOOM!"

Feeling adventurous and particularly daring, the figure on the table vaulted off his perch and down the hall, bare feet scrabbling for footing for a split-second before it was found and he was racing towards the front entrance. Once at the front door, he slammed his hand on the knob and yanked it open with more gusto than if he'd been crossing the Rubicon. And yet there he paused.

BOOM.

"Boom…"

His robust and vigorous challenge died in his throat, drifting into a thin and reedy whisper that was snatched away by the stinging night air. Blood. The image of blood he'd seen dripping on the windowpane now surrounded him. It fell in hideous torrents, streaking the earth and filling the sky with a wet and sickly shine. All over… everywhere it was, invading every crack and cranny of privacy that existed.

BOOM.

There was still time to turn back. He stood in the doorway, as yet untainted by the rain that would wash over him if he dared venture beyond his roof. Could he dare? Would he step out into the flood? Did he dare… that sounded like… a challenge.

BOOM.

"BOOM!"

Moment of hesitation over, he plunged into the storm with a shriek and a whoop, springing into the air and remaining suspended there for a moment before coming back to earth. As soon as his feet made contact with the slippery ground they slid out from under him and sent him skidding and careening across the slick grass, landing him painfully right on his back. The rain fell on his face, drenched his clothes, invaded his mouth… challenge met and defeated.

BOOM.

"BOOM!"

Back on his feet, he once again fired his finger gun a thousand times into the sky, in some vain hope that his bullets of anger would pierce the clouds and show the stars. He hadn't seen the stars in years. Figures the one night he actually cared about looking up there it would be cloudy. But not tonight. Not if he could help it.

BOOM.

"BOOM!"

"WHAT are you DOING?"

Whirling, rain flying off his body, he stood frozen in a position of surprise and curiosity. She lingered in the doorway, watching him with a look of utter incomprehension. Looking him up and down she saw that he wore only a t-shirt and boxers. No shoes, no socks, no coat. As usual.

BOOM.

"Sometimes I wonder," she mused, leaning against the doorframe. "If you were born insane or if it just rubbed off on you."

"Well, if I was born insane, I think my twin would be too." He fired back. And then, almost as an afterthought, "Boom."

"Boom?"

Standing on the brink of the rain, she stared at him, experiencing for not the first time the sensation that this young man was a complete stranger to her. There was so little she knew about him, really. And yet deep inside she felt him, felt his heartbeat alongside hers as surely as if it were inside her chest as well. When he was sad, she had a nagging feeling of sorrow in the back of her mind. And when he was afraid… in the moments when he'd been in that van, falling off the cliff, she'd gotten so dizzy she couldn't stand anymore. A blind panic had surged through her, her head whirling like she was… falling. Falling like he was.

BOOM.

"BOOM!"

He laughed, jumping and arching his back, looking like some jungle cat or mythical creature of grace and speed. Again he paused in his mirth to stare at her inquisitively, and she stepped back. Those icy eyes had such a fierce intelligence, and yet this animal quality that spoke of instinct and reflexes. Now two points of blue fire were fixed directly on her, scoffing a challenge.

"Come out here and get wet."

"What?"

"You heard me! Come on!"

And still she hesitated, though he pranced and cavorted like a puppy begging its' mother to join in the romp. Shaking enthusiastically from head to toe, he sent a spray of rainwater whizzing from his frame, splattering at her feet but not quite reaching her. His hair was slicked back in a glistening streak, giving him the appearance of a cat, and his cold eyes softened as he beckoned for her again.

BOOM.

Smacking his hands on his hips, he tilted his head at her and snapped,

"Are you just gonna stand there and take that?"

BOOM.

"Boom."

She answered the call of the weather timidly, her usual anger and drive suddenly looking very small standing next to the fury of the storm. Indeed, the wind gusted suddenly and violently, shoving him across the shining grass where he could not find a foothold.

"That's the spirit! Show that weather what ya got!"

BOOM.

"Boom!"

Again she cried out to the rumble, and this time with a bit more gusto. He was egging her on now, skipping around and cupping his hands to his mouth, imitating her in a high-pitched parody of a feminine falsetto. Clenching her teeth, she felt the familiar hatred and resentment towards him building… and evaporating. Who could hate him as he was now, an innocent boy rollicking in the rain and howling foolish challenges to the skies? He was not her enemy at this moment. At this moment, she suddenly realized that he was, indeed, her brother.

BOOM.

"BOOM!"

"BOOM!"

They echoed the thunder simultaneously, and then both stared at each other for a moment before he cracked a wry grin.

"So, you coming out in the rain or what?"

"I can't."

"Can't or won't?"

As usual, he had turned her own words on her. She met this impudence with silence, glowering at him in mock anger while he stood in a play on repentance in the rain, a simpering expression on his face.

BOOM.

"BOO-"

Her half-hearted answer to the weather was broken off abruptly when she suddenly saw that he was gone. The split-second of confusion vanished when she suddenly found herself out in the cold, the rain sluicing down the back of her nightshirt and into her pajama pants. And there he was before her again, laughing like a naughty little demon.

BOOM.

"BOOM!"

With that war cry she pounced towards him, hoping blindly to grab a hold of his shirt or something. But this was not to be, and he was behind her even as she stumbled and turned around. Again and again he circled her, leading her on with a confident smirk, until finally he stopped long enough that she may catch him at last.

Boom.

The thunder had died to gentle rumble as she knocked his feet out from under him and pinned him with her body, sitting astride his back while pressing her hands against his shoulders. For the briefest moment she mused on how thin he was, and then instantly reprimanded herself for sounding like a fool in her own thoughts. Instead she ground him into the slick earth and crowed her triumph.

"Give up? Give up?"

"Never!"

He wriggled uselessly, his hands flailing back at her in the most awkward ways he could bend them, and still he couldn't reach her. Valiantly he pursued the struggle, until he was either too tired or too bored to continue.

"Okay, I give."

Boom.

Laughing and rolling off of him, she perched in the wet grass next to him even as he sat up, gasping for air through the breathless ecstasy that joy induces. They rested side-by-side, oblivious to the freezing rain and instead concentrating on regaining their usual stoic selves.

"You know…" he said slowly. "You're a pretty good sister sometimes."

She stared at him, startled by this unexpected sentiment, and suddenly she felt very vulnerable. Not just awkward, vulnerable. Like she was in a trap, cornered at the back of a box, and the wolf was walking slowly towards her and licking its' chops, ready for the kill. Nowhere to run. In a panic, she leapt to her feet and strode nervously back towards the house.

"Yeah…"

She called absently over her shoulder, not quite sure what that meant but hoping it delayed him before he could say something else. Glancing back at him for a moment, she saw him still sitting there in the rain, his eyes wide and hurt. Instantly the eyes hardened back into ice, glancing away at anything but her as he echoed in a blunt voice,

"Yeah."

Boom.

The moment was over, the moment was ruined. Defeated by the rain and by his icy response, she shuffled back into the house. But what has she been expecting? He was a dangerous mind to play with; a dangerous soul to get attached to. Going out in the rain had only been asking for a confrontation of some sort. And now she was cold, from the rain partially, but also in her heart.

Damn him.

Outside, the thunder rolled with its' majesty, and a young voice howled back in defiance.

And within her, she still felt that steady beat of life.

~