This is the start of my very first X-men: Evolution fanfic.  Until now, I've been dabbling in a few songfics and such to try and make a name for myself, and now it's time for the real deal.  Episode parallels will pop up every now and then, but for the most part this story is totally original, and slightly AU.  I will also be including an original character of my own creation by the name of Ryo.  She's not the main focus or primary character, but she will play a large part later on.  I know everybody's on edge lately because of the dreaded "Mary-Sue" epidemic that's been speaking throughout the site, but I will try my hardest to keep from pulling the same on you.  All I ask in return is your honest opinion, and to not judge her until you get a feel for her character.  Fair Deal?

Oh…a word to the wise about my writing: not only is nothing ever what it seems at first, but I have a habit of toying with characters.  It's fun! ^_^

[Random Quote: "Oh, yo' ass better pray I don't look that word up!"]

Rogue's eyelids fluttered open at the sound of her roommate's shrill alarm clock, only to find herself staring into the early morning rays of sunlight seconds later.  With a wince and a groan, she burned her face further into the welcoming pillow and blanket to evade the harsh light.  She never was much of an 'early bird,' though she did manage to catch a glimpse of the blinking, red digits.  7:00 am on the dot.

"Hey, Rogue?" A cheerful voice (much too cheerful for that hour of the morning) spoke up, "Are you awake yet?"

Quickly realizing that any efforts to sleep in would be a lost cause, Rogue sat up in bed to face her roommate with a somewhat sleepy glare.  "Remind meh again…why is it Ah hafta be awake at sev'n in the mornin' on a perfectly good Saturday?" She managed to croak out her question, only then noticing Kitty reach for her training uniform, and thus was totally oblivious to the glares being sent to her back.

"Don't you remember?" Kitty asked, having to stand on tiptoes to reach the higher shelf, where her gloves had been stored.  "The Professor wants us to, like, try out some new Danger Room program Logan just finished installing."

"Oh, yea'.  That new holographic version, right?"

"Mm-hmm.  Everyone's gotta go, even the Newbies." She finally turned back around, gloves in hand, and got a good look at her roommate that morning. "Um…Rogue?  Don't take this the wrong way or anything, but…are you feeling okay?  You don't look very well."

No matter how horrible she must have looked, Rogue probably felt at least ten times worse.  Her head was pounding with such intensity it was as if someone had taken a sledgehammer to it the previous night, making it difficult for her to even see straight; her throat was so sore she could barely manage to swallow, making ever word difficult to get out; and her stomach was loudly protesting, not just from hunger either.  Never one to let a little bug get her down, however, she tried to ignore the dizzy feeling by simply dismissing it.  "Ah'm fine, Sugah…just didn' get enough sleep last night, is all."

Kitty didn't look the least bit convinced. "Are you sure?  I can always tell the Professor you were too sick to get up today.  I'm sure he won't mi—"

"Listen, Kitty," she interrupted the girl mid-sentence. "Ah haven't been sick in ova' two years, an' some little headache ain't gonna stop meh in mah tracks now."  As if to further prove her point, she stubbornly climed out of the covers to sit on the edge of her bed, perfectly straight with her arms folded and legs crossed.  "See?"

"All right then…see you downstairs." With that, Kitty ran out of the room, phasing through the door as she pulled on her gloves. 

Seconds later, a loud crash was heard from the hall, followed by Kitty's screaming protest of Kurt teleporting to the top of the stairs directly in front of her, knocking them both down as a result.  Rogue gave a half-hearted smile at her friend's daily antics, shaking her head slightly before having to hold it in pain.  The light was so bright, she had to close her eyes for a brief moment.

"Remy t'inks de femme be right.  Y' don' look like y' be feelin' too good, Chere."

Rogue's head snapped up at the familiar Cajun accent, and found none other than Remy LeBeau casually leaning against the wall beside the now-open window, a look of concern marring his usual smug features. "Remy!" She called out in surprise, though more from seeing him at that particular moment than the fact that he was actually there; he routinely pulled that little stunt on her at least once a day, usually in the morning.

"Dat would me moi." He kicked away from the wall just as she got up, embracing her tightly.  She happily snuggled into his hold, greatly enjoying the warmth of his strong arms wrapped around her.   

"Ah don't know what y'all are making such a big deal about, Rem." She spoke up. "Ah feel perfectly fine."  He had to smile at her stubbornness; she reminded him of himself in so many ways.  Noticing she was close to falling back asleep, he bushed away a few of her shockingly-white locks to gently kiss her forehead…then frowned. 

Rogue could sense his suddenly change in attitude, pulling away in question.  Remy said nothing, but placed a gloved hand on her forehead.  His grimace deepened.  "Y' burnin' up.  Remy can feel it even t'rough de glove."  She tried to protest, but he silenced her from any further comments. "Back t' bed, Chere.  I'm serious.  Y' in no condition t' be up an' about t'day." His voice softened at that last sentence, showing his concern, and Rogue finally gave in.

He guided her back over to the bed, even going as far as to tuck the girl in.  "Ah don't suppose ya plan on readin' meh a bedtime story, too?" She joked through a yarm.

Remy smirked at her attempt at humor.  "Jus' promise Remy y' won' leave de room 'till y' be feel better, oui?"

She closed her eyes and responded, "Oui."  Satisfied, Remy her one last kiss goodbye before heading back out the window.  Rogue waiting a moment before opening one eye, scanning the room to make sure he was really gone.  Once she was convinced she was the only one left in the room, she proceeded to get up and dress for the day.

After all, a little fever never hurt anyone, right?

Even with the delay, Rogue still wasn't the last person to reach the Danger Room that morning; Jean, surprisingly enough, still had yet to arrive.  As the young goth walked through the sliding doors, approximately ten minutes after Remy had left, a rather odd sight greeted her.  The adults were already up in the control room preparing the simulation, leaving the kids down in the actual training area.  All the New Recruits, the guys especially, were crowded together around something excitedly, with more than one of the older members looking on the verge of hysterics (Kitty was holding her sides in pain from laughing so hard).

Ray Bezerker was the man of the hour…and with a new hairstyle to boot.  Sometime during the last few days, he had lost his trademark orange bangs, leaving a sharp-looking blonde cru-cut in its wake.  As did most of the other girls, Rogues eyes immediately turned to Tabby, who returned the stares looking about as innocent as she wasn't.  They knew their suspicions to be true.

"Dude…please do not tell me she made you chop 'em off!" Roberto quipped, rubbing a hand over Ray's head jokingly.  He received a glare and aimless swattings in the process.

Ray was obviously not enjoying the sudden attention and folded his arms in protest.  "Tabbs didn't make me do anything.  She simply told me, 'Ray, either those bangs go or I do,' but it was my decision and mine alone."

The guys all just looked at one another, shaking their heads in the obvious male sign for 'whipped.' Someone even coughed it in the background, and when Ray turned to face the culprit, he found a grinning Jamie look back at him. 

"Hey, Tabby," Jubilee whispered into the older girl's ear between fits of giggling.  "You gotta teach me how you do it!"

Tabby grinned.  "It's all about using your God-given gifts, Jubes…trust me." With a wink, she left the Asian girl standing there, mouth open.  After about a minute, Jubilee blinked and turned to her friends behind her.

"Did she just say what I think she…" She paused mid-sentence at the sight of both Rahne and Amara scribbling furiously on a notepad. "…are you two serious?"

 Amara shrugged.  "You have to admit; she's good."

"Very good." Rahne nodded in agreement.  Jubilee smacked a hand against her forehead.

Jean chose that particular moment to enter the room, furiously apologizing for being late.  Scott immediately took charge.  "All right you guys, get ready for the pre-mission briefing." Rogue couldn't help but roll her eyes at his unctuous attitude, noticing many of the others were doing the same; sometimes, he treated them like they really were part of the army.  "First off, is Ryo here?"

"I'm here." A voice called from the back, drawing everyone's attention.

Most of the kids at the institute, Rogue included, were vaguely familiar with the almost seventeen-year-old mutant, though they still didn't know much about her.  She had shown up at the Institute gates a little more than a month ago with no family or personal possessions and hardly spoke to anyone, though she seemed to have formed a small friendship with Evan Daniels (who was standing right next to her at that moment) almost immediately.  Ryo was slightly taller in height than most of the younger girls, although painfully thin, with an extremely fair complexion and hazel-grey eyes.  Her hair consisted of medium-length blonde curls which were pulled back into a high ponytail, revealing double-peirced ears that held emerald- and sapphire-colored studs. 

As did the rest of the New Recruits (though she was older than all of them), she wore the traditional "newbie" uniform.

Scott addressed the group in general, "For those of you who haven't met her already, this is Ryo Cadencey…er, who has yet to receive a codename, I guess." He scratched his head, then returned to his introduction.  "Unless I'm mistaken, her mutation revolves around the usage of sonic wages.  Am I correct?"

"You got it." Ryo confirmed, obviously not used to being the center of attention, though not entirely unenjoying it.  "I can shoot sonic blasts, and sometimes even create sound barriers as a shield."

"Now, are you sure you're ready for this, Ryo?" His voice lowered slightly in volume as he turned to her, "Since you're new, it wouldn't be a problem for you to sit this one out."

She rolled her eyes in response.  "Oh, please.  The last think I need is to be babied around here for being the 'new girl.' I can handle it just fine.  No sweat." To accent her point, she waved one hand dismissively…

…sending a large sonic blast emitted from her hand straight into the nearby adimantium wall, causing a crater-like dent about twice the size of her head.  As the trail of smoke cleared, everyone turned back to Ryo, eyes wide.  She laughed nervously.

"Umm…I meant to do that?"

Inwardly, Scott groaned before diverting his gaze up towards the control room.  ~Professor, are you sure she's ready for this?  She's can even properly keep her powers in check yet!~  He glanced back at the girl in question, where Evan was reassuring her that 'things like this happen all the time.' 

~And this would be the perfect opportunity for her to start learning how.~ Xavier replied.  ~You must remember, Scott…Ryo has had these powers for close to two years now without sufficient control.  To deprive her of proper training any longer would be almost cruel.~

With a sigh, Scott was forced to agree; the Professor did have a point…and he was always right when it came to such situations. 

"All right, X-men." He resumed his leadership role, "Today's mission will feature Wolverine's newest holographic simulation program; the enemies are more real, and so's the danger.  Since many of you are—or rather, should be—unfamiliar with the Danger Room, we've placed it on the lowest setting."  With a nod from Scott, the simulation was activated.

The room dissolved into a mountainous area surrounded by luscious, green trees.  They stood somewhere about mid-cliff, approximately fifty to one-hundred feet off the ground.  Rahne, who was slightly afraid of heights, squealed as she accidentally looked down, burying her head in Sam's chest for comfort.

"The idea is to get across this mountain safely by way of the route your team is assigned.  And yes, Kitty and Kurt, all team members must get across without excess phasing and/or teleporting." The two mentioned snapped their fingers simultaneously, indicating that's exactly what they had planned to do.  "Obstacles include falling rocks, multiple tunnel passages, and the occasional firing droid…nothing too harsh if you can all work together."  Once Scott was sure everyone understood the terms, he read out the team list:

Team 1: Kitty/Kurt/Spyke/Ryo

Ryo sighed with relief, then turned to high-five Evan with a grin.

Team 2: Scott/Jean/Amara/Ray

Team 3: Tabby/Bobby/Jubilee/Roberto

"Hey!" Tabby called out in protested.

Scott gave her a Look. "You two were split for a reason, Tabby."

Team 4: Rogue/Sam/Rahne/Jamie

Team 1 was assigned to the lower left side of the mountain; team 2 was directed to go straight over the top; team 3, to the lower right; and finally, team 4 was to go directly through the mountain by means of the tunneled-out paths inside.

"Everyone meet on the other side in about ten/fifteen minutes, understood?" A chorus of nods responded. "And…GO!"

Heading through the mountain, team 4 expected their job to be the easiest.  Rahne, thankful she wasn't on one of the outside groups, took the lead and transformed into her world form.  She effortlessly sniffed out the scene of any obstacles; anything they ran into, Sam quickly destroyed with ease.  Normally, Rogue couldn't have been more furious that she was stuck on such a trivial team, but honestly her head hurt too much at that point for her to even care.  For once, she was glad all she was needed for was just being there.  Oh, sure…it seemed easy enough.

They got lost almost immediately.

"So much for that wolf nose of yours; you got us lost!" Sam shouted.

"Well, you obviously weren't much help yourself…overachiever!" Rahne countered back, using the first English "insult" she could think of, her vocabulary still remaining somewhat limited.  As the two bickered on, Rogue's headache was getting worse and worse with ever word uttered.  It was getting to the point where she was desperately considering absorbing the two of them just to shut 'em up.

Jamie watched the older kids for a moment before shaking his head; obviously he would have to be the one to do something or they'd never get out!  Pondering the situation, he was suddenly hit with a burst of inspiration (no pub intended).  He made a mental count of how many paths there were to choose from, then ran himself into a nearby wall.  Four clones spilled out, just the right amount.

"Okay, you go down this one…you go down here…you, here…and you, here." He directed each clone down a certain way.  "The first person to find the exit, report back here.  Got it?"

"YES, SIR!" The four Jamies saluted before each ran off down his respective tunnel.  About a minute later, the third clone from the left came back. 

Rahne and Sam were still arguing.

Rogue was starting to pull one of her gloves off.

"Hey, guys!" Jamie interrupted, gaining all three of his teammate's attentions. "…this way." Sam and Rahne looked at one another before turning to guiltily follow the twelve-year-old as he led them the rest of the way through the mountain tunnel.

Two of the other three groups faired their obstacles much easier, facing very little problems.  Sure, Scott and Ray were acting all 'macho-manly' around the girls, leaving Amara and jean to leisurely follow behind them, rolling their eyes all the while.  Sure, Tabby and Roberto had to deal with their team leader and his girlfriend's incessant flirting the entire time (though, strangely enough, they were the first to reach the finish line in spite of…certain "distractions").  But they were still almost effortless attempts.

Team 1, however, didn't seem to be faring so well.  It wasn't a matter of inexperience on Ryo's part, or any lack of teamwork (quite the opposite, actually).  The simple fact was they had, for whatever reason, been targeted the heaviest.  Kitty and Kurt has their hands full disarming a swarm of laser druids, Kurt teleporting them on top while Kitty phased through and short-circuited their electric work before Kurt brought them back down to safety.  Ryo and Evan, likewise, had teamed up to deal with any rocks and debris that threatened to crush the quartet.

It wasn't too long after when everything suddenly grew unnervingly quiet.  The lasers had all been deactivated, and the boulders had cased falling.  It appeared that team 1 was in the clear, so they began making their way to the finish line with slightly more confidence.

A large chunk of rock, larger than any that had come before it, started to break away from near the top of the hill.  When it finally did, it fell at such a rapid speed, only Kurt was fortunate enough to see it happen.  Even worse, it was heading straight for ... "Ryo!"

Kurt gave the call just in time; she caught sight of the boulder seconds before it hit, instinctively holding out her arms in defense.  The sudden shock, however, caused a very large blast to eject from her outstretched hands.  The force of it shattered the stone into harmless pebbles, but all sent her flying backwards straight into Evan (who still had a number of spikes protruding from his arms), knocking them both off the cliff and down into the forest setting below.

All in a time frame of less than five seconds.

"Evan!" Ororo cried out from where she and the other instructors had been watching.  "Charles, end the simulation now!"

Without waiting for either a verbal or physical response, she flew out of the control room and down to her fallen nephew, who she spotted first.  Luckily, he seemed to have ceased his plummet at the bottom of the hill, so she was able to find him with ease, kneeling at his side as he struggled to get up while pulling in any remaining bone spikes that still stuck out.

As the holographic image faded away and everyone rushed to one of their fallen comrades, Ororo gave a sudden gasp of shock: "Evan…your arms!"  They were smeared with blood.  "How bad is it?"

Evan looked down, growing pale at the sight.  "T-that's not mine, Auntie O." He wiped away at the crimson liquid to reveal no wounds whatsoever. 

Ororo was torn between relief and unknown fear. "But then…"

It was Kitty who first saw her lying on the floor a few feet away, unconscious.  There was a small burse on her forehead, but she seemed otherwise unharmed.  "Ryo…hey, Ryo." Kitty knelt down beside the girl and gently tried to shake her awake.  "Come on, Ryo…time to  get…up…" At this point, Jamie wandered over in concern.

"Is she okay, Kitty?"  He got no reply.

Kitty knew something was wrong the moment her knees started to feel wet.  Likewise, a warm, sticky substances began to permeate her gloves.  She looked down, and saw nothing but Red.

The X-men ran towards the sound of Kitty's screaming and came face to face with a horrific sight; more than one of them had to turn away.  Kitty and Jamie (the former of who seemed to be in shock, the latter of who was not in tears and had to be calmed down by Jubilee) had rolled Ryo's unconscious body on her stomach to survey the damage; there were numerous scratches all over her back, ever last one of them so deep her uniform was no drenched in blood.  A small pool was beginning to form around her.  She was still breathing, but just barely.

"Oh, my stars and garters!" Hank gasped upon arriving at the scene.  "We must get her to the med ward immediately!"

Amists the chaos, Evan stood off the side, still extremely pale and now trembling.  He couldn't move, nor could he take his eyes off of Ryo.  His powers did this.  That was the only thing running through his mind at the time as he watched Logan gently pick the girl up, blood dripping down his shirt in the process, followed by the rest of the group.  He vaguely heard his aunt walk back over to him, guiding the inattentive boy out of the room.  It all became a blur.

With all the commotion surrounding Ryo, nobody noticed when Rogue's eyes rolled to the back of her head and she collapsed, right there on the Danger Room floor.