Hey, thanks for reading this! This is only my second Tales Of The Abyss story, so please go easy in me.

any flames will be handles with the necessary campfire and marsh-mallows :)

DISCLAIMER:- I do not own Tales Of The Abyss, or any of the characters mentioned. I do hawever own Poppy, and I visit them all regularly :D

It was snowing in Keterburg. As usual.

Luke stood near the hotel, too afraid to go in. Jade might be waiting…

Nephry's words replayed again and again in Luke's head 'My brother was a demon'. It sounded like Jade, but at the same time, it didn't. Luke had gotten to know Jade over the past few weeks, and he knew for certain he could be an ignorant, annoying old git. But that was just Jade's way; no-body could change that. And despite the bad things, Jade has his good qualities.

Luke tilted his head, thinking of the good qualities. It was hard… too hard, but this was a mission, it had to be done! Jade was… good at giving speeches, he could really get you motivated ('cos when you see someone twice your age fighting monsters you get the feeling you can if he can…). He's good at being sarcastic, even though it can be annoying, and most of the time the sarcastic comments circled around him… but it made the others laugh and smile, that's all that mattered, right?

Sighing, he decided to go for a walk, Miew was following him, so he turned to the Cheagle and told it to go inside so as not to get ill. Spinning rapidly in the air, said Cheagle smiled happily, and whizzed off into the hotel, it's departing words,

"Th-thank-you m-master!"

He couldn't help but grin, that small creature had gotten on his nerves at first, but it was okay now. I've gotten used to it, I guess... he thought.

Walking down the lonely streets, he hugged his arms closer to himself, this was not like Baticul, it wasn't at all a nice climate, and he started to wish he'd brought a coat, but he couldn't go back now, Jade might be there.

He turned a corner, into a busier part of the town. People were all dressed in coats, wrapped up warm, and moving quickly to avoid being frozen on the spot. Luke felt jealous, how come they got to be warm and he didn't?

Oh yeah… he'd forgotten his coat, damn it…

Without thinking (as usual), he sat on a cold, snow-covered bench, and immediately regretted it. He yelped and leapt up. Wrenching his head around as far as it would go; he looked at his backside, only to see that it was soaked because of the snow. Great. Just great! Now he looked like he'd wet himself.

Sitting down again, not caring about the cold or the snow, or the wet soaking into his skin from his posterior. He sat down because he did not want anyone to see him in this… state.

Leaning back, he rested against the seat properly. Half shutting his eyes he began to relax. The cold wasn't so bad when you got used to it. Then all thoughts turned back to the cornel. What did Jade do to be such a devil child? Yeah, Nephry said that he tortured and killed harmless animals. So what, loads of kids did that. It was just a more intense form of what little kids would do to bugs. Like pull the wings off of flies, or squishing ants to see what happens. No big deal.

But apparently Jade was different. Now the redhead had to figure out why…

Luke didn't know how long he was sat there pondering this, but after a while, a group of four boys ran into his line of vision, laughing about something. One of them was holding a doll. Boys… weren't supposed to have dolls right? Not a moment after he thought this, did a little girl, about four years old, ran up to them.

"Give Poppy back;" she wailed.

Laughing the boys gathered in a circle about her, and as she ran to the boy who had the doll, he threw it to one of his friends, each time yelling, "I don't have it!"

This continued for a few minutes, until the girl sat on the cold, hard ground and burst into tears. The boys still laughed, and one went to give it her back thought when her fingers were about to close around the doll, he pulled it back laughing some more. That was enough.

Just as Luke was about to stand and sot them out, another taller figure strode right past him and up to the group.

Never had Luke seen a child look more terrified than now. However, they had a damn good reason to look like that.

Towering above them stood none other than Jade Curtiss. The Necromancer.

Before they could run crying, he stooped down to their level and spoke to them.

"You're boys aren't you?" He asked.

When the boys nodded, he smiled cruelly.

"Then I don't think you should be running around with dolls, it's not very manly you know. Unless… you want me to find some dresses and then you can do whatever you want."

As the boys shook their heads defiantly and in shock, Jade held his hand out, palm upwards, indicating for them to give him the doll.

"But you're a boy too, you wouldn't want a doll!" jeered one of the more… idiotic boys.

Jade's response was a small growl, from deep in his throat. The boys freaked out, threw the doll at him (which he caught) and scarpered.

Turning now to the girl, he stood her up, and helped her brush some of the snow off her coat. Standing upright himself, he looked at her and smiled, a genuine smile.

"I think this is yours, correct?" he asked, his voice gentle and calm. The girl nodded her head shyly, as she too had heard many things of the infamous cornel.

"Then here you go, take care of her." And with that, he handed the child her doll back to her.

The girl took it and held it close to her chest, beaming and eyes sparkling with delight. She turned to run back home, but stopped and glanced back at Jade, who was still smiling.

She ran to him, and wrapped her arms around his legs, as that was all she could reach. She muttered a small "Thank-you mister" before running off again.

Well, this small act of gratitude threw Jade, and he stood there in shock for a moment before smiling to himself and proceeding to go back to the hotel.

Luke watched this little scenario, partly shocked because of Jade's act of kindness. Since when was Jade nice to children?

Letting it pass, the teen stood and brushed off the snow that had fallen on his head. He smiled as he followed the fresh footprints back to the hotel.

Despite what Nephry had said, despite what he had seen – the sarcasm, strength and strange comments about one thing or another - and all the rumours that had flow around the world about the so called 'necromancer', he figured:

"Hey, Jade isn't so bad."

Thanks for reading, so please review! -- Black-Dove15