Notes

Greetings all. This is my first fanfic attempt involving X-Men Evolution. I do regular fanfic (involving Rahne and Dani, among others) at Marvel 2000, and a few others that are archived here. Feel free to check them out.

Also, as much as I love reviews, I may or may not have time to respond to all of them. Best way to grab my attention is email.

The rating may or may not change as this series progresses. Not for sex drugs and rock and roll, but because two of the characters inside this fic run around with uber sharp indestructible claws. I'm not planning on gutting anyone, but we'll see.

Also, for this fic I'm assuming that certain aspects of the comics made it into Evolution. That is, Rahne is an orphan nearly killed by Reverend Craig and was saved by Moira, sent to the school and then dragged out following the Sentinel attack. I also only know accents via Chris Claremont, so my Scots may not be perfect. Sue me

Got all that? Good. And now, on with the story...!

A secret location on the West Coast

The green haired woman known to law enforcement the world over as Madame Hydra sat behind her desk (and what the people below her considered a throne) and her elbows rested atop the desk with her hands clasped together while she considered the man before her.

Though she appeared a model of control, inwardly she was quacking. Her terrorist organization known as Hydra, had spent millions creating the perfect assassin using the template of the man called Wolverine. Wolverine, or Weapon X to some, possessed a powerful healing factor, enhanced senses and, though they had to be applied via surgery, possessed an indestructible skeleton. He was an unstoppable warrior. And, his superiors learned, untamable. No one could force Wolverine to do what he didn't want to. But that did nothing to negate the fact that Wolverine was the ideal soldier.

So Hydra, who'd discovered the secret government project that'd created Wolverine, set about cloning the mutant in an effort to breed the perfect killing machine. It was an almost complete failure. Twenty-two clones created, twenty-two clones dead. It wasn't until they tried switching the gender on the clone that they first met success and were within arm's length of having their perfect killer. X-23 she'd been named. But like her genetic 'father', she eventually proved uncontrollable, fleeing from Hydra after confronting Wolverine.

But in many ways, X-23 was even worse than her genetic father. She was now determined to destroy Hydra for their cruel experiments. The organization was large, but X-23 was very determined. In fact, X-23 had already destroyed several clone proxies of Madame Hydra. So it took some effort for Madame Hydra to corral her anger regarding anything related to X- 23 while her subordinate gave his proposal as to just how Hydra would recoup their losses at only a tenth of the cost.

"What makes you so certain your plan will work, Dr. Markus?" Madame Hydra inquired.

Dr. Markus, sitting before Madame Hydra, easily fit the stereotypical profile of a scientist. He wore square trimmed glasses, white lab coat and a shining baldhead. His love of liquor and women had destroyed his career and research opportunities. That, and his constant insistence on pushing medical ethics. Hydra solved all those problems for the doctor, who was eternally grateful to them in turn. "It's very simply, Madame Hydra. The Weapon X projects and our follow-ups of their research has relied overly much on complicated and time consuming technologies. You may not realize it, but clone banks require trained and skilled supervisors twenty-four hours a day."

"And your plan does not?"

Dr. Markus smirked, "All we need are some skilled obstetricians and geneticists. And we can offer the better results, in all areas, than earlier projects. It only requires more patience."

Madame Hydra smiled, but there was no humor in it, "You had better hope so, Doctor. For your sake."

Madame Hydra began flipping thru the file that the doctor had given her, "Tell me again, doctor. What is the subject's name?"

"Rahne Sinclair."

***

"Rahne?"

Moira MacTaggert held a dingy blue sweater out in front of her and examined it with a careful eye, "Rahne, Rahne luv what do ye think o' this?"

Rahne Sinclair snapped back to reality from her daydream at the sound of her foster mother's voice. Moira had dragged Rahne away from her studies so that she could accompany her while Moira stocked up on supplies for Muir Island. While Rahne loved her mother dearly, shopping ranked up there with 'watching the grass grow' on her list of things she wanted to do.

"It's lovely." Rahne replied honestly.

Moira wrinkled her nose at the comment. That wasn't the answer she was hoping for. In fact, to almost anyone, the sweater was ugly and worn; unfit to be worn in public by anyone with any self respect. Moira loved her daughter, but recognized that, as growing up a ward of a hateful Reverend and forced to wear donations from the community, Rahne had terrible fashion sense. Moira hoped to develop Rahne's fashion sense some, but Rahne seemed to see anything that was bought to be a valuable gift, regardless of the quality of said gift. As Rahne had grown up with nothing, she seemed to appreciate everything, Moira observed.

"I'll put it aside." Moira said. She placed it back down on the table and moved onto another display. The store was rather small, like everything in Ullapool. Rahne watched her adoptive mother sift thru pile of clothes with increasing discomfort and unease.

Mustering up her courage, Rahne asked, "Mum, can I wait outside?"

Moira instantly straightened when she heard Rahne's request, "Is that what ye want?" Moira asked, not attempting to hide her concern.

"It's stuffy and smelly in here. It hurts muh nose." Rahne stated. One of the side effects of her mutation was that her nose, while not as strong as it was in her wolf form, was far stronger than the average human's. The combined scents of the old sweaters, pine floor and dust were beginning to get to the young mutant.

"Alright luv. You can go outside, I'll finish up here in a moment."

The fresh, clean air that greeted Rahne when she stepped out was sorely needed. It washed away the foul smelling scents that'd had taken hold of her nose inside. But almost instantly, her old discomfort was displaced by a new even worse uneasiness.

"Demon child..."

"...foul bastard..."

"Damn that MacTaggert, weren't for her..."

Also enhance was Rahne's hearing. As the townspeople of the small village walked past going about their business this Saturday afternoon, they all spared the young girl a glance and an impure thought.

And thru it all, Rahne struggled to keep her chin up and just ignore the hateful mutterings. When her ability to transform into a red wolf first manifest, the Reverend who'd raised Rahne all her life took it as a sign the girl was possessed by the devil. He immediately began preparing an exorcism.

At first, terrified as she was, Rahne welcomed the exorcism. She thought the Reverend, a stern and all knowing man in her eyes, was going to save her soul thru prayer, scripture and holy water. It was a belief she held steadfast to until the Reverend returned to perform his exorcism with a mob, bullets and fire. It was only then that Rahne finally had the courage to do what she'd always secretly wanted to do.

Run away.

A bullet struck her shoulder as a wolf, but Rahne never slowed down. She escaped thru the Church's backdoor and ran blindly. The blood loss from the bullet wound and her panicked flight made most of the memories of that night a nightmarish blur, but Rahne remembered perfectly the faces of the people in that mob. After all, it was almost the entire town who'd known Rahne her entire life. It was pure luck that Rahne had, quite literally, run into Moira. Moira faced down the mob with ease, and gave Rahne hope. Moira took Rahne in and sent her to a school where for the first time in her life, Rahne felt like she fit in.

But even that didn't last forever. The school was attacked and Moira was on the first plane to America to collect Rahne. Rahne didn't relish returning to Ullapool, but as ever, didn't complain. Being back in the town that had nearly been the death of her was even harder, but Moira insisted. Rahne needed to face her demons, she had said. That she needed to recognize for herself that it was the town that was wrong, not her.

But it was hard for a young girl who was constantly brow beaten by the Reverend who raised her. The hate and distrust was plain to see in the eyes of everyone. Rahne cast her eyes downward, to both hide from the glares of the town and hide her own tears.

"Rahne! There ye are!"

Rahne looked up to see Ian and Jacob, two local boys Rahne had always seen and talked to in passing before her powers manifested. She paid no mind to the question of why all of a sudden they were interested in her. Her heart jumped by leaps and bounds at the mere idea of friends.

"We've missed ye so much!" Jacob exclaimed.

"Where've you been hiding that pretty head of yours at?" Ian asked with a sly grin.

Rahne blushed at the compliment, and barely noticed that the two boys were leading her away from the front door of the store.

"I've been in America." Rahne answered as they strolled down the sidewalk.

"Shame you came back, freak!" Ian shouted as he suddenly pushed Rahne into an alley. Rahne tumbled to the ground, her yellow dress kicking up dirt as she impacted. Rahne stared at the boys in shock, and noted how people who walked by were simply ignoring the situation.

"Inhuman trash! They should have burned ye when they had the bloody chance!" Jacob sneered as he kicked dirt in Rahne's face.

"Ye killed yer own mum when ye were born!" Ian then spat at Rahne. She was fast enough to block the glob of salvia with her arm before it impacted her face, but the humiliation was all the same.

"We'll fix the mistake our parents made." Jacob hissed.

Rahne began backing away in fear. Though her wolf form could easily defeat these two boys, she abhorred violence. She was more concerned about what she'd do to them than what they'd do to her.

Jacob relished the look of fear on Rahne's face. She was a freak of nature that he was determined to stamp out. He was a little surprised, however, when Rahne's look of fear disappeared as the girl suddenly became unconcerned with Jacob and Ian and more concerned with her tarnished dress.

Before Jacob could ponder this fact further, fingers with sharp nails grabbed both his and Ian's ears and slammed their bigoted heads together. The two boys, their heads ringing turned around to see a very cross Moira MacTaggert, her hands on her hips and her expression one of righteous anger. Both boys were instantly cowed.

"Rahne, go wait in the car." Moira commanded. Rahne stood up, and sheepishly complied. Once Rahne was out of sight, Moira then turned to the two boys who threatened her daughter by the collar and slammed them up against the wall of the alley, "Ian, Jacob, if ye ever harm muh daughter again, I'll have yuir garters f'r breakfast!"

Moira pushed the two boys up against the wall again, even harsher this time, "And if ye have tae work yuir fingers tae the bone, ye will buy Rahne a new dress to replace the one ye two jus' ruined!"

The boys fearfully nodded and scampered away like whipped dogs. Moira watched them leave, and then spared a moment to glare at the people who'd ignored her daughter's plight before making her way to the car. She opened the driver's side door and got in with Rahne buckled in the front seat, her legs hunched close to her chest. Rahne had cleaned off most of the dirt, but her bright yellow dress was still spotted with brown and her face was stained with fresh tears as she faced forward, attempting not to look at her mother.

"Rahne..." Moira began.

"I thought they liked me..."Rahne looked at Moira, fresh tears flowing down her face, "queer notion, I ken. I should have known better."

Moira placed a reassuring hand on Rahne's shoulder, and started the car. The ride to the docks, and then to Muir Island was painfully quite.

***

Dinner was equally uncomfortable. Rahne cleaned herself up physically, but was still as dejected. Rahne just picked at her food, much to Moira's concern.

"Rahne, aren't you hungry?" Moira asked as Rahne nibbled on some potatoes in favor of the steak on her plate. Normally, Rahne would devour any meal placed in front of her, another side effect of her mutation. But that wasn't the case tonight.

"Nae really."

Moira stood up and placed her dishes in the sink. She then sat down beside Rahne and put her arm across Rahne's shoulder and drew her close, "What's wrong, pumpkin?"

"I want tae go back to the institute." Rahne said softly.

Moira stood up and glared at Rahne, "We've been over this. Yuir nae safe there. I can protect ye here."

Rahne stood up with tears in her eyes, "But I don' have any friends! Ye cannae make them like me! They hate me! They always have!"

"Rahne, that's not true, they just need time." Moira reached out to comfort her daughter, but Rahne stood up and pulled away.

"Pity an' hate, that's all this town has e'er given me!" Rahne snapped. In her anger, Rahne had unwittingly transformed into her werewolf like state, with reddish brown fur covering her body. Moira, a researcher of mutants, wasn't overly concerned about that so much as she was concerned about her daughter's feelings.

"Ullapool isn't perfect Rahne, but I can protect ye here." Moira repeated as evenly as possible, "Craig's rotting in jail now, isn't he? Muh names carries weight in Scotland, an' it will keep ye safe."

"I had friends, fer the first time in muh life at the institute! I love ye, but this island is Hell! I don' have anyone to talk to or anyone who knows what I'm going thru!"

Moira again reached out to consul her daughter, but Rahne pulled away and transformed into a full wolf, tearing her pants and shirt in the process. Rahne then bolted out of the room and out the front door like a bat out of hell and onto the soil of Muir Island, quickly losing herself in the small forest that was on the edge of the island.

Moira followed Rahne out as fast as she could, but stopped short of ordering Rahne back. Rahne was a terribly obedient child, Moira knew, who'd no doubt bottle things up even more if she didn't allow Rahne her space. So Moira threw a heavy coat on, grabbed a blanket for Rahne's return, and sat in an old rocking chair. Moira ran her hand thru her hair trying to figure out how best to handle the situation. Muir Island was a hardly a good place for a thirteen-year-old girl to grow up. Sure, Sean was due to return and bring his daughter with him, but Muir simply wasn't what a teenager needed. Moira, a doctor in several sciences, knew that but she was deathly afraid of exposing Rahne to even more trauma. All she could do was play it by ear, and she hated that.

***

Rahne, for her part, tried to lose herself in her wolf form. Despite what some of her fellow New Recruits thought, her wolf form didn't induce the creation of a separate personality. Rather, her thoughts were simpler and more pure. But Rahne wasn't concerned with that now. Rather, she was taking in the texture of the forest, the smell of the trees. Rahne loved the enhanced senses of her wolf form; to her it was like a whole other world. One that was now taking her away from her troubles.

Suddenly, her nose caught another, unfamiliar scent. It registered as rubber and leather in her mind, but part of her fought that recognition. Moira didn't wear leather combat boots, nor did Sean, Moira's often-absent boyfriend. So how'd the scents get there?

Rahne never had time to realize that there were intruders on her mother's island. Several sedative darts struck her back, almost instantly turning her limbs to jelly. Rahne tried to call out for help, but her mouth didn't respond and she spiraled into darkness. Her body shifted back from wolf to teenage girl as she fell unconscious.

The Hydra soldiers who shot Rahne with the darts, four in all, repelled down from the trees around Rahne's unconscious form.

"Christ, she's just a kid." One soldier commented. He pulled out a electronic blanket and placed it over Rahne to protect her from the cold.

"So what? She's a mutie." Another replied, "Should we sanction the mother?"

"No need. We have what we came for."

And so, under the cover of night, the Hydra troops carefully smuggled Rahne away and off of Muir Island to a waiting boat, and from there to another Hydra base.

***

Twelve Hours later

"Everything was a success, Madame Hydra. Our plans proceed ahead at pace. We'll bring the girl to Hydra Central in two days time." A faceless minion reported to the head of Hydra.

Madame Hydra sat back in her chair and grinned. Soon, Hydra would have the perfect, unstoppable killer at their disposal, ready to fulfill Hydra's agenda. All the losses from the past would be recouped at half the cost. All this operation required, was some patience. And Madame Hydra had that in spades.

But Madame Hydra wouldn't have been nearly as pleased with herself if she knew of the pair of eyes lurking in the vent above her, observing her every move. The figure had dark intentions towards Madame Hydra, but restrained those urges upon learning Rahne's plight. But now they were torn between justice and vengeance.

Next time: Who's going to save Rahne? Why does Hydra want her to begin with? The answers will surprise you!