Author's Note; This is my first fanfic, but I hope you'll like it. English isn't my native language so it might be a bit packed with grammar mistakes. Please feel free to point them out to me so I can correct them. ^^

In this story I've changed and added some characters, but hopefully that won't be a problem. Now enjoy!

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Chapter One

Path of a Soldier

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She knew she had found the right place the moment she stepped through the broken doors. The perfect place for an ambush, she thought.

It was a small desolate yard completely covered in sand and dust. Debris, parts of metal constructions and the remains of wooden boxes were covering the ground, some of it still on fire making big black clouds of smoke rise towards the grey sky. The yard was surrounded by tall buildings, only leaving a small patch of the sky visible high, high above her. The buildings, which were still under construction, were clearly abandoned.

Looks lahke no one have been here in years, she thought scanning the buildings after possible hideouts. Of course as all the buildings were missing their walls she could see right into the buildings, but the inside was cloaked in shadows.

Great. For all Ah know there could be hundreds of assassins hidin' behind the pillars ready to jump on meh as soon as Ah turn around. She groaned and cursed silently. But she knew the assassins would never confront her unless she was on their territory, so left with no other choice she walked to the middle of the yard and waited. Patiently. She peered warily into the buildings, searching after a moving shadow or a human shaped silhouette. Turning around she scanned the other buildings after something revealing. But she couldn't detect anything out of order. As she examined the buildings she couldn't help but wonder what possibly could have happened to make the construction so damaged. On several places it looked like the concrete simply just had fallen apart, on other places she could detect several bullet holes, making the exterior looking like a Swiss cheese. Some parts of were covered in plastic covers functioning like a temporary walls, ragged and worn, and on other places clearly torn, likely by something dead-sharp like a knife or a sword. She mentally shrugged and closed her eyes trying to hear something telling instead.

With eyes closed to the world she could almost feel the mysterious atmosphere creeping on her, making her shiver. She could only hear the soft flicker of the plastic covers waving in the weak winds and the crackling of the small fires behind her. Unnerved by the lack of encounter she squatted and started to make small circles in the sand with her finger. Still listening with her eyes closed she waited. And waited. After 15 minutes she could feel the passing time started to wear on her nerves, making her tense and nervous. Just as she stood up to try and stretch her muscles she heard a flicker of clothes. She tensed and warily looked around after the source of the sound. Seeing nothing suspiciously she dismissed it only as the wind. She started stretching, trying to chase the stiffness away. Another 2 minutes passed by. Still nothing. She sighed.

Ah hate when Ah hafta wait, she silently complained. But after another 5 minutes she finally heard something from the building behind her. It was the sound of a shoe scraping the ground. She didn't move an inch to acknowledge the sound but mentally prepared herself for an attack.

Waiting in suspense she closed her eyes again eliminating everything but the sounds of her attacker behind her. Only the silent flap of clothes warned her as her attacker jumped from the building and lunged after her. With a quick roundhouse kick her foot connected with the assailant's head, throwing him hard to the ground with a loud thud. She only got a quick look of her attacker, large man completely covered in black clothes armed with a katana, before she ducked to the sound of a sword cutting the air just above her were her head had been a second ago. With a quick kick backwards she knocked down the second assassin and turned around just to see that another three black dressed men join the two first. She ran towards them dodging the first punch, grabbing the assaulter's arm and twisting it making him flip in the air and fall to the ground. With only an inch margin she avoided the second man's katana, kicking his hand making him drop it. She grabbed the katana in the air and sliced the man on the chest making him stagger backwards. The third man saw his chance and attacked her, swinging his sword at her face. She tried to step back from his reach but a moment too late to stop the katana making a clean shallow cut on her cheek.

She growled and staggered backwards, hand on her cheek. When she saw the blood on her hand, she bared her teeth and glared dangerously at her attacker.

"Ah'right, now it's serious", she spat and lunged towards him, with the katana poised beside her. He parried her attack but she twirled and ducked fast as a snake, slicing his legs. In her periphery vision she saw the other assailants started to move again. She twirled around just in time to block a descending blade, twisting her katana making the other blade fly high up in the air, disarming him. With lightning-fast moves she attacked again. They started attacking her all at once now, making her block punches and kicks from all angles. Spinning, dodging and parrying. When they surrounded her all at once she ducked and then only to fly up in the air, flipping backwards, landing on a safe distance. They ran towards her but she knocked out the two first attackers with a roundhouse kick, hurling them towards the others. As they lay in a heap she launched herself into the air, landing knee first on the attackers. She could her one of them groan and the sound of ribs breaking.

She smiled and somersaulted out of harm's way. But as soon as she stood up she got hit by a powerful kick, launching her into a concrete pillar. A scream erupted from her throat as she hit the pillar, making it break. Her back exploded with pain making her gasp for air. She landed on her knees, with debris and dust falling all over her. Trying to recover, she slowly stood up. A taste of blood filled her mouth. She spat out the blood and gripped her katana more firmly, thanking her luck that she never dropped it.

Tahme to end this, she thought and attacked again.

Her blade cut through the air like a silver snake, cutting and slicing her enemies in a beautiful yet deadly dance. She was lost in the moment, concentrating only on her movements. The battle had a rhythm; she could feel it coursing through her body, heating her blood. The rhythm of a pulse, the rhythm of a beating heart, the rhythm of a deadly blade's swings and cuts, striking its' targets. It was a dance she was familiar with, it had taken her years to learn it but now it had become a living breathing part of her. In moments like these, time meant nothing to her. Only the steady rhythm and the beauty of the moment were in her mind.

All too soon the fight was over.

She paused and looked around, trying to catch her breath. The moment she realized that all the attackers were knocked out she sighed deeply, dropping her katana to the ground. A wonderful feeling of accomplishment swept through her, making her shiver in delight.

With the last of the adrenaline washed away, she could feel every bruise, every sore muscle and every cut. But the feeling was a comfort and a reminder of life.

Only in these moments she could truly feel that she lived.

She closed her eyes, relished in the feeling and the glorious moment. A small smile played on her lips.

"Simulation complete. Targets eliminated."

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The world around her suddenly blurred into a hazy mixture of colours. The golden light from the fire, the silver-streaked sky and the concrete buildings started to melt away, pooling on the ground and vanishing. Her katana was the last to fade away.

Feeling content with her session, she wiped the sweat off her forehead and went out of the Danger Room. Outside a familiar face greeted her.

"Rogue, hi!"

Katharine (or Kitty as she insists on) Pryde, codename Shadowcat, was a tall lanky girl with long brown hair. She utterly radiated innocence and a youthful naivety, with big expressive blue eyes and a perky smile. She had Rogue completely fooled first time they met. Under all the layers of innocence and chick-flicks hysteria lured a devious master hacker and computer wizard. When Rogue found Kitty hacking through Government's top secret files, her impression of the girl made a 1 80. That's when the seemingly dissimilar girls became best friends.

Rogue smiled at her friend. "Hiya, Kit-kat. Ya're next on the schedule?"

Kitty sighed. "Yeah, Logan like so want revenge after I missed the session yesterday. But I like so lost track of time when I went shopping. Now I have to take extra morning sessions on weekends! Can you believe that!?"

Rogue chuckled. "Yeah, that's not so hard t' believe. Besides, Logan has been on the war path ever since Bobby accidently iced his car. Ya should have seen Logan's face when he saw his favourite car crack up from the cold! It was-"

"-Not a pretty sight." Someone interrupted. Rogue turned around and met the gaze of her mentor and friend.

"Uh, hi Logan, didn't like see you there." Kitty giggled nervously. Logan turned his stare on her and she quickly went quiet.

Logan, codename Wolverine, was a short but heavily muscled Canadian. As a senior member of the X-men he was in charge of the older students training. He spent most of his time either supervising in the Danger Room or sitting in a bar drinking. As a loner and a bit of an outsider, Rogue had found much in common with him and they had formed a quite strong bond. She looked up to him as a mentor and a great fighter, but thought most of him as the only friend that really understood her. They both had gone through a lot in life and there was a silent understanding of not digging in the past, which she respected him for.

"Get in there Half-pint, and start your training", he growled at her. She gulped and quickly escaped into the Danger Room.

"So... How did Ah do?"

"You did well, Stripes. Still has to work on your reflexes though. You and your team have training session 8 in the evening with the others. Better have them prepared. Now hit the shower."

"Yeah, okay. Thanks, Logan"

He only growled in response and went back to the control room. Rogue smiled and went in to the changing rooms. She sighed and rolled her shoulders, trying to chase the stiffness away. She paused in front of the mirror and looked at her reflexion.

Rogue wasn't exactly tall, but she was far from short. With a curvaceous body and intense green eyes she was very attractive. Her long auburn hair was pulled back and secured by a hair tie, leaving two long stripes of white hair framing her face. The hair was long and flat, but curled a little where it had soaked up the sweat. She was dressed in her customized black and grey X-men suit, now dusted and a bit worn after the training session.

Rogue inspected the gash on her cheek, scraping off the now dried blood. She scoffed and silently made a note to herself to include speed exercises in her training programme.

She unzipped her suit and pulled it down halfway, turning around to see her back. It was badly bruised, and she winced at the sight. Not particularly pretty. She closed her eyes and started concentrating. In her mind hundreds of people crowded. They were the remains after she had worked her powers, and she called these residues "Psyches". Some were humans, but most of them mutants. They were a loud and noisy bunch which she kept behind strong mental walls to keep her sanity. Before she had learnt the wall-trick they had been running amok in her head, always bothering her and keeping her unfocused on reality. It had been a difficult and hard time and she didn't miss it.

Concentrating she looked through the crowd and finally found who she was looking for. Walking up to Logan she faintly touched him and tapped his mutant powers. A rush of his powers went through her. When she looked in the mirror again the bruises on her back was slowly fading. She smiled and took off her suit and went into the showers.

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After a long hot shower Rogue changed into more comfortable clothes; a dark green long-sleeved blouse and a pair of black washed-out jeans. And most important of all; her gloves. She never went anywhere without them. Rogue's mutation was on her skin. With a single skin-to-skin touch she absorbed memories of her victims. The longer she kept contact the more memories she got, but if she held on too long the person faints, falls into coma and even dies if it lingers long enough. After the absorption a psyche of the person was created, piling up in her head. If it was a mutant she even absorbed the powers. Her powers had evolved enough, so now she could tap any powers she once had absorbed at any time. Of course, even that had its limitations. A time based limitation. Her psyches get quickly tired, but she was working on expanding the time she could tap their powers.

Her powers were extraordinary and most people would consider them a great gift. Rogue however considered them her curse. For 8 years she had been deprived of touch, a basic human need she was denied. And it was driving her crazy. But she buried her feelings deep inside her, locking them away just as she covered her pale white body from the world. She kept up a facade as a strong and independent woman, never letting it slip, never letting anyone see her true self.

She looked at herself in the mirror, arranging her clothes so not a sliver of skin was exposed neck down. Taking her time she fixed her hair and applied make-up on her face. There was a time when she favoured the gothic style, with all the black attire and make-up it included. Now she had gone for a more normal style, but still favouring dark clothes. She would rather drown herself than trying on anything remotely pink or overly bright, despite Kitty's attempts. She had her standards.

She applied mascara and black eyeliner so her emerald eyes were perfectly framed and with a finishing touch coloured her plump lips blood red. She scrutinized the finishing result. Not bad. Just as she was packing up to leave the door slammed open and a very tired Kitty dragged herself in.

"Oh god", she moaned. She was completely covered in dust and her face was smeared in dirt. Like a zombie she moved to the bench and dropped herself on it.

"Remind me to never piss off Logan again. Ever."

"Erhm, Kitty? Yer arm's on fire."

Kitty yelped and quickly put out the ember. Rogue couldn't help but chuckle.

"Shut up, Rogue", Kitty muttered, clearly not in the mood.

"Ah'right ah'right, but you have only yahself to blame."

Kitty groaned and closed her eyes as if falling asleep. "I know, I know. Doesn't make me feel better though."

"Well, ya can take out yer frustrations on the rookies lahter. We have training with them 8 o'clock."

Kitty giggled. "Aah, I love having my own team to push around. The sweet privileges of being older."

Rogue grinned. She, Kitty and two other members were old enough to soon be fully fledged X-men. They had been separated from the other younger students, now being personally coached by Logan with a more personal training programme. They had also been assigned three of the younger students each, to train and instruct, making their own team.

Rogue's team was called the Jade Team, consisting of Cannonball, Havok and Sunspot. The boys were a rowdy bunch, and she had to lead them with an iron fist to keep them in check. But even if she were their leader she had fun with them during their training and they respected her. However the testosterone overflow gave her a lot of headaches.

Kitty's team was the Ruby team. She had the unruly Boom Boom, Magma and Dazzler. They were all girls, notorious for always gossip and giggle the life out of the other teams. Even Kitty had trouble with their constant giggling sometimes.

The third team leader was Evan Daniels, also called Spyke. His team name was the Opal team, but more often referred to the Beasts because of, well... You can imagine. The team members were Wolfsbane, X-23 and Berzerker. The normally calm and composed Spyke had trouble sometimes to contain his animals, but they were still an excellent team.

Fourth and last leader was Kurt Wagner more commonly known as Nightcrawler. His team were the Jet Team consisting of Jubilee, Iceman and Multiple. These were the rascals, always making pranks on people. Iceman, or Bobby, was the worst of them. Nightcrawler always had to have them in check, 'cause if he let them out of sight only if for a few seconds they always got into trouble.

So whenever the four students weren't working on their personal training, they competed with their teams, always trying to be the best. This of course led to some rivalry, even outside the Danger Room, which Logan constantly had to steer up before any accidents happened.

Rogue's team were so far the leading team, winning almost every challenge that was put up for them. Which of course they never let the others forget.

"Yeah, well mah team's so gonna kick yer ass today, Kit-kat. None of ya have beaten us for ages!"

"Hold on! We beat you like last week, when we had the assault course."

Rogue scowled. "Ya cheated! We would have won if yer girls hadn't went all haywire and started seducin' mah boys during their round!"

"Hey, even with distractions you're supposed to pull it off!"

"Even when the distraction is three teenage girls almost strippin' their clothes off in front of 'em?"

"Well, like yeah." Rogue raised an eyebrow.

"Whatever", she growled. "Ah'm gonna go and grab something to eat. See ya later, Kitty." Kitty who was still exhausted just closed her eyes and waved her off.

"Later, Rogue."

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A/n: Well that was the first chapter as you can see. My first fanfiction, still trying to nail down the characters, so please don't flame me ^^'

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