Disclaimer: Nathan Summers and Rachel Summers are both property of Marvel, Inc. and are only borrowed with the greatest of melancholy, since I have to give them back when done. No money is being made from this, and no one was hurt or killed in the writing. Althought I sent Nate catatonic with a really twisted slashfic idea.

Dedication: To Times. Happy belated birthday, even though this isn't what you were talking about one night. It's another plot-bunny. Anyway.

by Ana Lyssie Cotton

"You can't win you know."

"I can try."

"Yes." A sigh echoed. "You always do."

"I don't always fail, though."

"Well, big brother, I should hope not." She leaned against nothing and smirked at him. "I'd wonder about your sanity."

"You already do. I worry about my sanity."

"Lemme guess. I don't exist." She rolled her eyes.

He snickered. "You do, I have to admit that. But... I'm talking to someone who shouldn't exist, yet does. I must be insane." He mused.

"Better than talking to that hag you call mother."

"Red is not a hag."

"She exists even less than I do."

He looked away from her, "Maybe. But she was real, once."

"So was I." She giggled, "I grew up with the famed X-Men, and then I came here. To you." She tilted her head to the side. "And I found a brother."

"It sounds so idyllic." he said dryly.

"Isn't it?" For a moment, wistfulness entered her face. Yearning for times long past, and never really known. Then it was gone. "Anyway. You're not going to win."

"That's what you think." He sniffed, sounding less like the experienced soldier many thought him and more like the youth he was.

"What, are you going to say, 'nanny-nanny-boo-boo' next?" Rachel rolled her eyes and pointed to the still-neglected chess board which floated between them. "Your turn. Brother."

"How magnanimous, sis." He studied the board, then nodded, a lock of his brown/blond hair flopping over into his eyes. He reached up and moved it in irritation, then moved a pawn. "Check."

"I thought so." She grinned cheekily and took his pawn with a bishop. "Checkmate."

"That can't be--flonq." He glared at her. "You're distracting me deliberately."

"But of course, what are sisters for?"

He muttered something uncomplimentary under her breath, and she giggled. "Another game?"

"But of course," She said airily. "I have to prove that me beating you is no mere fluke."


"Awww. You make it sound like a curse. Maybe you can get those Askani pals of yours to start using it as such. Like flonq."

He shook his head ruefully. "I don't know why I put up with you."

"Because I'm all you have." She replied promptly, her green eyes darkening. "I don't like that fact, but it's true. For now."

"The future is upon me." He muttered. "Why?"

"Can't tell you." She paused, looking at him thoughtfully. "You were born to greatness, Nathan Summers."

He snorted. "I was grown a looney."

"Yeah, yeah. Tell me, brother dear, do you ever get tired of angsting and deciding All is Your Fault?"

"No." He grinned, though. "White or black, sister?"


He chuckled. "Then I guess I'm green."

"Yup. And now I'm gonna whup your green ass. Prepare thyself, Warrior."