Challenge: Cold 2
Genre: Any
Length: 1000+
Canon: Optional
Time Limit: Two weeks.
Special Requirements: Use "cold" in any context between two characters.

Disclaimer: Phantomness does not own CCS. If I did, I would have never sold it to Nelvana. Sob However, I do own this non-profit, non-copyright infringing fanfiction so posting it without my permission is stealing and plagiarism!

Genre: Angst, romance

Length: 1616

Canon: Nope, AU

Pairing: Yue x Syaoran

Title: Crystalline Composite

He shivered as he drew his wings more closely around his pale form. Sharp razor-edged crystals lined otherwise normal flesh, the sharpest bite of frost and snow. His eyes were the only clue that there was any hue in his frozen body, as they were a rich, tawny brown, dappled with golden flecks. His cheeks were faintly pink, his hair a rich chocolate, but as he stood out in the wasteland, he remarked inwardly that such aesthetic details mattered little.

Beauty was not long to last in the Northland, nevertheless, he was a halfing, and had half a chance at immortality.

There was the barest rustle of feathers as he nodded, turning around to face his teacher as he sank to one knee. "Yue."

Steely blue met his gaze. "Apprentice."

He resisted the impulse to squirm underneath the scrutiny. "Yes, Master." Thankfully, his voice held steady and he passed the silent inspection.

"You sensed my presence." Yue's voice held a touch of pride. "Excellent work. How go the counts?"

"As well can be expected, given the season, Master." Syaoran said honestly. It was always cold here in their frozen realm, yet plants still grew, or what could be assumed. The seeds were tiny, crystalline shapes and the plants that bloomed were white or a snowy pale blue, to match the ice on which they thrived. Yet these plants were their livelihood, for few would dare live in the harsh conditions and when exported to the temperate world outside, they fetched high prices, which kept his Master and he fed and clothed. He opened his palms and exposed several rose seeds, glittering.

Yue's voice was a touch warmer than might have been expected as he laid a hand on his apprentice's shoulder. "Well done."

Syaoran smiled and ducked his head in acknowledgement after Yue had gone, before carefully retracing his steps to his observation point. Crystalline wyrms fed on the vegetation that grew, and even in their carefully marked and spelled plots, predators rampantly devoured all.

He double-checked his layer of flame wards and then settled back on his rock perch, satisfied as he folded his wings behind his back, not needing their warmth any longer. It was more of a reflexive action than a directed one, mentally it seemed to ward off his Master's coming. Master Yue was not particularly cruel, just… cold.

Oh, it was to be expected. Master Yue was a pure ice angel, not a halfing like himself, born with wings of ice and not the snowy feathers true angels had. In his mind, he wished he could curse his mother for bringing this choice, but in all honestly, she was little but a frozen tear in his memory.

She hadn't loved him.

Ice types did not 'love.' That was the way things were. So why was he dissatisfied with his lot in life?

It must be the human influence from his father. That also explained the unnatural keenness he possessed to any change in climate. It was also useful, as he could tell when his Master approached, simply by the slight extra chill. Pure ice angels would not notice it. But if being a halfing had these perks, surely it outweighed the problems?

Not hardly. His eyesight was not as keen, nor his hearing, he could possibly freeze to death below a certain temperature, an unthinkable thought, and worst of all, he possessed all those unnecessary emotions, including the strange feelings he now secreted away from prying eyes.

He had… improper feelings for his Master. Oh, it was to be expected that he would feel a fierce loyalty and a touch of affection – Master Yue had raised him, after his Mother had abandoned him not a few years after his birth – it was lucky that he had aged so quickly thanks to his halfing blood.

However, the stirrings that haunted his dreaming nights were of a different matter entirely, and he knew enough from reading literature that it was not proper for him to have these feelings.

They were weak, warm emotions. They did not match an ice angel's psyche. In fact, it was downright dangerous to act on them! So he never had.

At times though, he would catch wistful thoughts, and be utterly horrified. Surely he shouldn't… surely he couldn't…! And then he would redouble his magical training, putting in extra effort as if that would freeze his all too human heart. Foolish yes, but at least when he was occupied, his mind would not wander so.

He withdrew from those fevered thoughts and returned his attention to the patch he was guarding. A drop of red, impossibly visibly and a stark warning, glittered on the leaves of one of his frozen roses. A warning, and a challenge…

This was not one of the small wyrms then. It was a large one, and for such a challenge… did that mean he would be fighting a Lesser Snow Wyrm? He could defeat their kind without trouble overmuch, so in response, he placed the leaf and crushed it under his foot.

The ground rumbled and he hastily took to the air, a spell in his mind even as ice crystals formed a sword of sharpness in his hands, glittering death.

A jaw tinged with bloody teeth and small, beady eyes the color of the aurora borealis met his charge and he had to steady himself as he realized what it was that he had just challenged. It was one of the Great Frost Wyrms, the rarest breed of all, which lived thousands of years undisturbed, eating icy soil until they were fully grown to their immense size, whereupon they would venture forth above ground to feed on the flesh and blood prey they so desired…

Also, once accepted, a challenge could not be forfeited unless one was dead or defeated. Syaoran nervously abandoned the sword, shifting it into a crystal bow and visualizing arrows tipped with the thorny vines of the poisonous snowdrop, a greenish-tinted ice as he fired.

The arrow sank into an eye, and he had a brief pause as it thrashed around, whereupon he buried what fleshy white coils he could see with as many arrows as he dared, even as his mana waned and heat began to flood his body, a warning that he could not keep this up for much longer…

He stayed in the air though, waiting. Perhaps if he had tired it out enough, then it would retreat and he could fix the garden before Master Yue arrived. It was a point of honor from an ice angle never to turn down a challenge, but he was only a halfing, so did the courtesy extend? Or would his Master be displeased at this?

He was not sure, but he had no time for such idle speculation! It reared up into the air, tens of twenties of feet up, and even now his wings would make little difference if it got within striking range….

Hmm…

His thoughts and attack plan were dashed, though, when it spewed out a poisonous green acid cloud. It must have learned how to use the poisoned arrows he had flooded its system with against him! Syaoran quickly wove out of the way, fitting another arrow to his bow and with deadly accuracy, removing the second eye.

Now, if he could find some way to… aha…

The heat his body generated gave him exactly what he needed. He drew a knife from his belt and carefully nicked his wrist, watching blood well out and splatter, but instead of falling, it gathered in the air, waiting, until a small pool had formed. He dipped his fingers inside, plucked a feather from his wings, and shouted an arcane word of command. Instantly, the blood fizzled and bubbled into pure flame that surrounded the Frost Wyrm.

He could hear it keen in agony even as he steadied himself on a rocky outcropping, waiting for it to strike again.

The flames slowly melted the Wyrm down, leaving only bones and teeth lying on the ground. Syaoran gripped the icy structure he was perched on, wondering if it was a trap. Surely…

No. Nothing moved for long moments…

Carefully, he decided that discretion was the better part of valor, so he tapped the sapphire set at his throat. Master?

What is it, my apprentice?

I think you should see this, Master.

So you say. Expect me in two wing beats.

Yes, Master.

Yue was suitably impressed as he saw the frozen skeleton. How did you manage it, Apprentice?

Syaoran flushed. I used both of my sides to their best advantage.

So you accepted your condition for what it was and turned it to your advantage. How very astute of you.

Syaoran's cheeks colored at the praise as he ducked his head.

Yes. Yue whispered. Then it definitely means you are ready for this. And he kissed him.

Syaoran colored, as they broke apart, shivering slightly. Master.

Oh no, none of that. You have defeated a Great Frost Wyrm. You are your own man now, my Apprentice. And as such, we can now… enter into what we could not while you were still under my care.

I don't understand… Syaoran breathed, but he could not deny his feelings any longer, as the kiss had set him aflame. What must I do?

Ah, I have so much to teach you, but we will learn together.

And as Yue kissed him again, he decided that he could wait on that.

END FIC

Completed 12/14/05

Cute lil' angsty fluff bit with some action too! I had fun writing it!