This was written for the LJ community Fic on Demand (www. livejournal. com / community/ fic(underscore)on(underscore)demand) for a request made by sevenall. It takes place during a very brief period of time - perhaps non-existant - after the Crimson Dawn storyline (Uncanny X-Men 328 - 330) and before Besty and Warren left the X-Men.
I do not own these characters, and make no monetary profit for this.
The grace period allowed between setting the controls and returning to the center of the room ends, and the Danger Room darkens. She grits her teeth, sets her jaw, readying herself in the time that a true battle would never allow. As the program begins, the lights dimly kick in once again, growing gradually more intense, and a figure emerges out of nothingness. She narrows her eyes.
It's Pyro. Please.
She is called Psylocke.
Before he can even lift his hands, before one bright spurt of flame can shoot from his wrists, she's downed him with a mental blast, gone for a long nap. Disappears. She knows she's set the battle setting low, but this is ridiculous. Though - behind her, a footstep, two steps, a third, and even as she's turning, he's on her.
She has played many roles in her life.
Garokk, of all people, but even being a Petrified Man, he's more of a challenge. He rears his head back and shoots forth from his eyes a huge blast of heat directly into her face. But she's ready for it, anticipates it with a psychic shield. He was unstoppable, really, when he was alive and real, but she put this session on low for a reason, just an afternoon workout, and one, two, seven, twelve jabs with her psychic knife, and Garokk's shuddering form disintegrates.
Leathery wings beating furiously, and it's Sauron upon her, descending from the ceiling with claws outstretched. She bends low, tuck-and-roll, dodges him. On her feet again in an instant, she's hurtling toward him, a second or so too late - he grabs her arm, clutches, wings still flapping, crushing toward her. His powers are difficult to replicate on any level, and for such a mild workout she receives only several supremely annoying electric shocks before letting loose another mental blast. It sends Sauron careening toward the wall, disappearing before he hits it and leaving her to plunge to the ground alone.
She lands on her feet.
Toad is next, and strangely, she's pleased. He takes one massive jump toward her, and she leaps gracefully out of the way. He tries again - one flip, then another, and she's still a good distance away. He bounds straight toward her. She gives one more good jump, and her feet springboard off the wall, a mid-air somersault, and lands on his back. Toad hits the ground with a satisfying crunch. No powers necessary.
Several of the Reavers, all at once. She doesn't know their names - who can keep up with everyone? - but it doesn't matter. Leaps into action, doesn't have to think, dodging their lasers, downing some with her powers and others with her fists and kicks. They're all mechanical here, instead of only half, not much different from the real thing, but enough to make all the difference to a conscience. One down, another, another, and it's over. Their subdued forms fade out.
A pause, then another outline emerges before her, grinning. He's all teeth.
And here, here she falls, freezes, clenches up inside. Old terror, helplessness, wide eyes. She'd never lost before, not so fully, unquestionably, not after almost a whole life of fighting. Not for all her cleverness, and the potential running through her veins in place of blood. Other people lost, she felt the pain of others' losses, but she did not.
He made her lose.
There's a short growl, and his fist sends her flying.
She hits the floor hard and it knocks the wind out of her, but she's up again. Gulping at the air, mouth open in a silent scream, she throws herself at him.
There is no second chance to touch her. Lunges at him, psychic knife blazing from her right, meant for his throat, but, in her fury, she misses and connects with his shoulder. Brings him down.
She's straddling him, one hand holding down his shoulder while the other punches. Her psychic knife, cutting right into his face, and she's glad the effect is so realistic, even in this low setting. Again, again, again, until she's no longer punching the hologram, but rather the cold, empty floor. Doesn't stop, just keeps lashing out until she no longer feels the need. Until she stops shaking.
The rooms darkens again, then settles into the plain, dully gleaming Danger Room it is when going unused. The session is over. Dimly, she considers setting up another, more challenging workout. Teeth shine at her through her memory.
Instead, she leaves, goes to the dining room, and sets the table, perfectly, for tea.