The Challenge

Chapter One – I Bet…

By Crow Skywalker

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Disclaimer – I don't own X-Men Evolution or its characters, nor do I claim to. I'm writing this fic purely for fun and no profit is being made from this.

Author's Notes – I've been wanting to do a Lance/Kitty fic for a long time now, since there seems to be a lack of pure Lancitty fics here on FFN (most of them feature this couple as a side pairing). Sadly, I couldn't come up with any plot bunnies until just a few days ago…and work got in the way of my writing. Today though, I sat down and wrote the first chapter of what is going to be my first X-Men Evolution fic (so go easy on me!) and a multi-chapter pure Lance/Kitty fic :) So, with all that said…sit back, read…and please review and tell me what you think. Should I continue or not?

Pairings/Warnings – Lance/Kitty all the way! :)

Summary – Takes place after the events of 'Growing Pains', and is AU after that. When the Brotherhood challenges Kitty Pryde to walk in their shoes for a week, all bets are on as Kitty leaves the Institute to live with the Brotherhood, and the Brotherhood are powerless for however long she stays – and Kitty's determined to win this challenge.

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The battle was over, the deed was done. Around them the soccer field was destroyed, the bleachers crushed and on fire, the golden eagle mascot burning among the rubble – but most of all, the worst damage of all had been done. When the Brotherhood had decided they had wanted the whole world know about mutants, they had attacked the soccer field where classmates and parents alike were gathered. Now, the whole stadium knew about mutants – though Xavier was quick to fix this.

The X-men stood around their Professor looking at all of the destruction, at the fear written across the people's faces as they stared at them. As the Professor closed his eyes and reached out with his powers though, the people's shock seemed to subside as their memories of the past few moments were erased. The X-men watched, breathing slightly easier as they realized what Xavier was doing. The outside world was not ready to know about mutants – it was too soon. Their minds had to be erased for the safety of all mutants alike.

Storm watched the Professor anxiously, knowing that using his powers like this would drain him. There were way too many people for him to be attempting such a thing as wiping memories, but he had insisted despite her protests. Now all she could do was stand and watch him worriedly in the rain as he risked his health. Moments went by, the people around them hesitating and staring ahead blankly. Finally, Xavier opened his eyes, only to wince and cry out in pain seconds later.

She moved, her wet white hair hanging around her face and brushing her arms as she went to the Professor's side, her face troubled as she watched him. She was about to reach out, to speak and tell him to stop, when his eyes snapped wide open and his eyes rolled back in his head.

"Charles!" Her hands shot out to catch him as he blacked out.

The rest of the X-Men rushed forward as well, worried about the Professor. Storm quickly felt for a pulse, and found a weak one. She sighed, slightly at ease – he wasn't dead, he had just drained most of his power.

"Is he going to be alright?" Cyclops asked.

Storm nodded. "He'll be fine – he just needs some rest."

"Whoa, that's good!" Spyke breathed out loud, rubbing the back of his head. "I thought for sure he just..just.."

"Died?" Rogue finished for him.

"Yeah," he smiled lopsidedly. "I'm glad he's going to be alright though."

"We're not going to be alright if we don't get out of here," Cyclops said, and suddenly they all realized they were still in a field full of people and they were still dressed in their X-Men uniforms. If one of the people nearby suddenly came out of their trance-like states, they were sure to be noticed. "Come on, let's get out of here."

"How are we going to get out of here without catching everyone's attention?" Nightcrawler asked, suddenly appearing next to Rogue. "We can't exactly just walk out of here - someone has to carry the Professor!"

Cyclops suddenly smiled in Nightcrawler's direction, and the blue fuzzy mutant cringed away. That wasn't a good look – he knew that look from when Scott had a plan.

"You'll transport him to the Institute and we'll meet up with you as soon as we can."

Nightcrawler frowned, his tail twitching behind him as he looked at his unconscious Professor. "Fine. But I can't lift him"

"Just grab hold of his chair and take him with you," Cyclops told him. "It shouldn't be too hard."

Nightcrawler shrugged, doing what he was told without any further comments. He soon disappeared with the Professor, leaving the X-Men in the field to find their own way out of this mess. Finally, Cyclops pointed to the side of the bleachers where a small alley-type hole had been made. The group nodded, and without saying a word they silently started in that direction, careful not to be seen.

Rogue was the last to enter the small opening between the bleachers, her hand brushing through her hair as she felt the last of Blob's powers wearing off. She frowned, remembering what it had felt like to touch him and have his powers. The thought almost made her gag out loud. Then again, the whole events of that night made her want to gag – just who did the Brotherhood think they were, pulling a stunt like that?

A thought suddenly crossed her mid, and she stopped. "Hey, where's Kitty?"

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"Lance?" She sat with his head in her lap, her dark brown hair brushing her face as she looked down at him worriedly. Holding him up on her lap carefully, she gently shook his shoulders. "Hey, wake up!"

When his eyes moved beneath his eyelids, she shook him more firmly. Finally, he uttered a groan and his eyes finally fluttered open as he moved a hand to his forehead. "Kitty?" He looked up dazedly to see her smiling down at him – but then her smile suddenly faded and a frown crossed her lips.

"You jerk!" She all but yelled, "Why would you do something like that?"

She moved away from him as he attempted to sit up, his hand still massaging his forehead. "What, save you?"

"No you idiot!" She paced in front of him, "The stunt you pulled with announcing that you're a mutant in front of all of those people!"

He touched the back of his head where he'd gotten a rather nasty bump and he groaned, wincing at Kitty's tone of voice. A thought suddenly occurred to him – that his guard that he usually wore around his head was gone – but at the moment it really didn't matter. He'd saved Kitty, she was fine and speaking to him…and he was in pain.

"Hey, hey, hey!" Toad suddenly joined the conversation, dropping down from the top of a nearby building and landing on all fours, "Leave Lance alone! We all had our reasons!"

Kitty crossed her arms, "And what were they?"

"We're tired of hiding from the outside world," Lance said quietly, getting to his feet.

Kitty didn't look one bit impressed. "So you decided to come over here and blow up everything, announce to everyone you're a mutant and then make them afraid of you?"

The bleachers to the side started to move, and arms emerged from the rubble as Blob pulled himself out. "I thought it was a good idea."

Kitty rolled her eyes, muttering something that sounded like 'you would' before saying, "Did you ever stop to think that like, what you do and say affects all the other mutants as well? If you'd told everyone about us tonight, and the Professor hadn't been here to wipe their memories…we could all be locked up in some lab right now!" She shivered, thinking about what they might've done to her.

Toad looked slightly thoughtful for once, tilting his head to one side. "Err…"

"I don't like hiding either…but the world isn't ready for us just yet," Kitty sighed, shutting her eyes for a moment before she started to walk away. "I'm going home. The others are waiting for me." Rogue waving at her from down the field, motioning Kitty in her direction. No doubt the rest of the team was somewhere nearby, waiting for Kitty to join them before they headed back to the Institute.

"Took ya long enough," Rogue yelled to her as she neared the other girl. "The others are out waiting in the parking lot – Scott wanted to come and get ya, but Ah told him Ah'd bring you back safely."

"Thanks," Kitty forced a smile as she stopped in front of her friend, "Scott would probably scold me if he knew I stayed behind to talk to them."

"Speaking of 'them', looks like they followed ya," Rogue crossed her arms and looked over Kitty's shoulder. Kitty looked confused for a moment, but when someone grabbed her arm and whirled her around she suddenly found out what Rogue was talking about. Lance held onto her arm, looking quite anxious and worried as he looked down at her.

"You're not mad at me, are you?" He asked.

Kitty raised a brow as she pulled away from him. "Why do you care if I am?"

"I just…do, okay? So don't be mad."

"Lance, how can I not be mad when you go and do something like this?" She glared at him. "Y'know, sometimes I think you're a pretty cool guy…but then you always go and do something stupid like this," She waved a hand in the direction of the field and turned her back to him. "C'mon Rogue, let's go."

Rogue dropped her battle stance, which she'd immediately picked up having seen Lance grab Kitty. She smirked in Lance's direction as she followed Kitty, but almost collided with the other girl when Lance called out, "You don't know what it's like for me!"

Kitty stood motionless in front of Rogue, and the taller girl gently urged the other girl on when Lance didn't immediately elaborate. "Come on Kitty, he's just trying to get to you."

"You don't know what it's like…" Lance finally continued, his hands clenching at his sides. "You live in a big Institute surrounded by friends and people who care about you, you have a family who loves you, and you have everything you've ever wanted!" Kitty finally turned to him, only to see his bangs hiding his face and eyes, blocking the emotions that were obviously there. "I'm nothing but trailer trash…I live in a dump with a bunch of misfit losers that Mystique recruited. They're the only friends and family I have…"

"Lance…" Kitty stepped forward, hand outstretched.

"Hmph," he glared at her, finally looking up and taking a step backwards. "I don't need any pity from you, little miss goody two shoes."

All pity left her as her frown returned, her eyes narrowing as her hands came up to her hips. "Miss goody two shoes?!" She shouted indignantly.

Lance gave her an annoyed look. "That's what I said, isn't it?"

Kitty growled, growing quite annoyed herself. "How dare you call me that!"

"But that's what you are, kitten!" Laughed Toad, whom was soon joined by Blob and Quicksilver, "Always running around doing the 'right thing'…sitting in your mansion like you're some sort of royalty!"

"Yeah!" Blob raised a pudgy fist.

"You couldn't last one day outside of the Institute, away from all of your little pals, princess." Quicksilver smirked.

"I could too!" Kitty protested, riled up.

"Oh yeah?" Toad asked in amusement. "Then prove it!"

Rogue put a hand on Kitty's shoulder. "Kitty, don't do anything stupid."

"Is that a challenge?" Kitty asked, looking quite determined as she ignored her friend's advice. She loved a good challenge…and if this meant she could show the Brotherhood a thing or two, then she was going to do it!

"Sure is, princess!" Quicksilver laughed. "I bet you wouldn't last one week at our place!"

"I would too!" Kitty shot back, and suddenly she smiled as a thought occurred to her… "But I bet you guys couldn't last the week without using your powers!"

Quicksilver abruptly stopped laughing, and the Brotherhood glanced at each other in a startled manner. However, before any of them could talk it over or make any decisions, Lance made it for them.

"You're on!" He announced. "You last a week with the Brotherhood, and you win. We won't use any of our powers while you're living with us. Is it a deal?" He held out a hand, watching her hesitate only slightly to think it over. Finally, she took his hand in her own and shook on it.

"Deal."

Behind Lance, the other boys of the Brotherhood hooted and laughed, already making plans to torture the female member of the X-Men. Rogue simply stared at Kitty, her mouth slightly open as she fought to understand what had just happened. Kitty was leaving the Institute for a week…to live with Lance and his cronies? And she hadn't even stopped to think about it, either! She'd just gone and agreed without even consulting anyone!

Rogue blinked slowly, rubbing her eyes with the palm of her hands. What had just happened? Where was cool, collected, down-to-earth Kitty? The one who thought things through and was more rational? Right now, that Kitty seemed to have disappeared! Scott was going to be furious with her! In fact, he's going to be furious with me for letting this happen!

"Good," Lance smirked down at her, squeezing her hand once before finally letting go. "I'll be seeing you early tomorrow then, shall I?"

"You can count on it." Kitty said evenly, watching as Lance walked past her towards the exit. The rest of the Brotherhood followed, making noises and faces at her as they passed. She stood her ground, looking on determinedly as they went.

Once her and Rogue were alone she finally let her guard down, sighing heavily as she turned towards her friend. Noticing Rogue glare, she grinned sheepishly, her hands clasped behind her back. "What?"

"Scott is going to kill us both, y'know."

"Probably."

"And you're going to regret this."

"I know."

Rogue rolled her eyes. "Then why did you accept such a stupid challenge?"

Kitty grinned at her friend. "I couldn't resist it…and hey, maybe I can have some fun with this. It'll certainly keep the Brotherhood off of our case for a while, since they'll be powerless for a week. And like, maybe it'll be for the better in the end."

"What, you think you can change 'em?"

"Probably not. But they'll be spending an awesome week with the great Shadowcat, so anything could happen," Kitty winked.

Rogue smiled, shaking her head. "C'mon…we have to get back to the others before they send out a search party."

Kitty nodded, and they headed off to find the others.

To Be Continued…