Disclaimer: I don't own the X-Men; however, I did make up the new characters in this story. I'm making no money off this, so no suing. "Bad Reputation" is performed by Joan Jett. I don't own that, either.

Summary: After a year of being a team, the X-Men face new challenges that threaten to tear them apart…

Rating: PG-13 (A few curse words, some mild violence, and a few sexual situations, but nothin' major…)

Author's Note: This follows the stories The More Things Change… and Clinging to Falling Angels, stories where the children of the former X-Men create a new team. The first two stories can be found in the fanfiction section of my website at http://www.angelfire.com/scifi/addielogan. Stat pages for all the characters in this story can be found at the page http://www.angelfire.com/scifi/addielogan/stats.html.

Additional Note: I started the first book in this series in April 2000. At that point, the Legacy Virus had not been cured in the regular Marvel timeline and, as you probably know, that fact has played a major role in this series. Because of this, I'm ignoring all plotlines from the regular Marvel Comics pertaining to the cure for the Legacy Virus. Basically, this means that for this story, Colossus is not dead, since there would be no reason for him to sacrifice himself. Please, don't E-mail me and point out there's a cure to Legacy Virus. I know I'm always saying not to E-mail me about things I mention in my notes, but you'd be amazed how many E-mails I get from people asking about things I've talked about in my author's notes. And just to let you know, if you do that, I, along with all my friends will sit around and laugh at you. :)

Archiving and Feedback: Again, drop me a line and let me know what you think! E-mail me at addie_logan@yahoo.com or message me on AIM as ChereRogueMarie. I'll authorize any archiving, just email me and let me know where you're posting it.

New X-Men Chronicles Part III:

Only a Shadow of Innocence

By: Addie Logan

Dramatis Personae:

X-Men:

Addie Logan—Wildcat

Ric LeBeau—Renegade

Marie LeBeau—Charger

Kacie Drake—Ice Queen

Rebecca Munroe—Rainmaker

Billy Starsmore—Sparks

Warren Worthington IV—Shadow Stalker

Twister

Rachel Summers—Phoenix

Tristan—The Dark Angel

Kristof Rasputin—Phaze

Illyana Rasputin—Mystik

Allies:

Briana Braddock—Captain Britain

Craig Marshal—Canis

Dr. Angela Worthington

Paige Guthrie-Starsmore—Husk

Nathan Summers—Cable

*** *** ***

For years, they'd been coming to the same place—a small town in East Texas. They were mutants, run out of their own homes and forced to live in poverty, barely able to stay alive.

They lived in broken down trailers and barely-standing shacks. Those who looked human enough to find work near-by did what they could to make money to help feed the others. It wasn't always sufficient for everyone to make it.

All over the world, humans and mutants were working together, the tension between Homo sapien and Homo superior spoken of as if it were a distant memory. But in places like this, the people knew that mutants weren't as accepted as the media and politicians made them out to be. Here, they knew the pain of seclusion.

But then he came. They'd heard he'd died years ago, but a man like that—a savior—wasn't he above even death?

They followed him, listened to his message, and began to ready themselves to wage war against the humans that had scarred them.

*** *** ***

Illyana Piotrnovna Rasputin had one good thing to say about Westchester—it wasn't Russia. For almost as long as she could remember, she'd wanted her family to move, to come to a place where maybe she could be happy, where maybe her mother could be happy.

Illyana was in America now, beginning her first day of high school along with her twin brother, Kristof. She was at the start of a new life. She clutched the silver Star of David she wore around her neck, reminding herself that this was what she'd always wanted, and there was no reason for her to be nervous.

Illyana felt like she was going to panic as soon as she walked through the doors of Charles Xavier High School. Although she had been born in St. Petersburg, Illyana had moved with her family to the Russian countryside when she was a little girl, and the high school she had attended the year before had been nothing like this. People were everywhere, and she already felt lost. She wished her brother had stayed with her, but he'd gone in the opposite direction as soon as they'd gotten out of the car, deserting her as she'd discovered he had a tendency to do.

"Hey, are you all right?" she heard someone call from behind her. Illyana turned around and saw a girl about her same height with long, auburn hair and green eyes. "You okay?" the girl asked again. "You seem a little lost."

Illyana nodded. "I am," she said, trying to suppress her Russian accent as much as possible. "I'm new here this year."

"You aren't Illyana Rasputin by any chance?" the girl asked her.

Illyana looked at her in surprise. "Yes, but how did you know?"

"Marie LeBeau," the girl said, sticking out her hand. "Our parents were teammates, once upon a time."

Illyana relaxed some now that she'd found someone she had something in common with. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Marie," she said, shaking Marie's hand.

"Same to you," Marie replied. "So you need help finding your classes?"

Illyana nodded. "Yes, please." She looked down at her schedule. "Where is room 203?"

"Walk with me and I'll show you," Marie said. "My first class is in 204, so we're right by each other."

"Thank you for helping me," Illyana said. "I would have been very lost without you."

"No problem," Marie said. "And don't worry, this is the first day so everyone's sorta lost. Don't feel bad about it or anything."

"This school is just so much bigger than what I am used to. It's…overwhelming."

"Well, I hope you'll like it here," Marie said.

"Oh, I'm already happier here," Illyana said. "I was always very sad in Russia."

Marie raised an eyebrow. "I'm glad you could come here then."

By that point they had reached the classrooms. "Here it is," Marie said, pointing to room 203. "Meet me out here after class is over and we can walk to next period together, okay?"

"That sounds great. Thank you very much, Marie."

Marie smiled. "It's no problem. It's always nice to make a new friend."

Illyana smiled back. It was nice to have a friend, especially since it meant she wouldn't be alone anymore.

*** *** ***

I don't give a damn
About my reputation
You're living in the past
It's a new generation
Hey, a girl can do
What she wants to do
And that's what I'm gonna do
And I don't give a damn
About my bad reputation
Oh no
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Not me
Me, me, me, me, me, me

And I don't give a damn
About my reputation
I've never been
Afraid of any deviation
And I don't really care

If I'm strange
I ain't gonna change

And I'm never gonna care
About my bad reputation
Oh no
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Not me
Me, me, me, me, me, me
Oh no
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Not me
Me, me, me, me, me, me
Break it down

And I don't give a damn
About my reputation
The world's in trouble
There's no communication
And everyone can say
What they want to say
It never gets better anyway

So why should I care
About a bad reputation, anyway
Oh no
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Not me
Me, me, me, me, me, me
Oh no
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Not me
Me, me, me, me, me, me

Oh no
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Not me
Me, me, me, me, me, me
Oh no
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Not me
Me, me, me, me, me, me

Everyone in the parking lot of Charles Xavier High School stopped and stared at the blonde pulling in in a black convertible Camaro with white racing stripes, blaring Joan Jett. The girl turned off her car, pulled up the top, and got out. A much shorter kid looked up at her and she growled, showing fangs. The kid ran away and the girl laughed. She got a bag out of the backseat of her car and walked into the school. She went directly into the front office and asked where she'd have to go to enroll for classes. The woman at the desk directed her to the guidance department without so much as a glance up.

Jean Grey-Summers was sitting behind her desk, going through the stacks of paperwork that came with the start of a new school year when the tall, blonde girl walked in. "You in charge of gettin' me in here?" the blonde asked.

"Yes, I'm…" Jean stopped short when she saw who was standing in front of her. "Who are you?" she asked, her voice trembling.

"Victoria Creed," the girl said, sure to bear her fangs just a bit.

Jean tried to stop shaking. "We…I, um…you can't come here?"

"Why not? This is a school for mutants—I'm a mutant. You're not gonna turn me out to the streets now, are you?"

"Not all mutants are welcome here, Victoria. If someone were to pose a threat to the other students, then…"

"It's Vicky. And don't worry, I know how to play nice."

"I'm sure you do, but the risk considering…"

"Considering what? You don't know anything about me! All I've told you is my name."

Jean sighed. "And your name makes it pretty obvious who you are. Any child of a man like that can't be here. It's too dangerous."

Vicky leaned across the desk to meet Jean's eyes. "Look, lady, I've been goin' to school with other kids my whole life, and I haven't killed a one of 'em. Haven't even maimed any. Still, the last school I was at, was a little too—stifling—and I arranged to get myself removed. Only problem is, Daddy's not going to be happy when he hears that. So you either let me in here, or I face the wrath of Sabretooth, and it's on your head."

Jean stared at Vicky in confusion. "Victor Creed is dead."

Vicky looked like she was trying to keep from laughing, and Jean had to wonder what was so funny. "What, you don't think my dad would make arrangements to keep me in line even after his, uh, untimely demise?"

Jean just gave her a blank look. Vicky sighed. "Look, for all you know, Vic kept me locked up in a basement my whole life and after his death, I broke free and am now trying to do all I can to avoid being anything like the man who made my life hell for seventeen years, or something like that."

"Is that true?" Jean asked. She looked sad, almost regretful.

Vicky snorted. "Hell no. But it could be. Listen, I want to be part of you little school here. I cause trouble, you can kick me out, no questions asked. Just let me stay here for a while. I don't have anywhere else to go."

Jean sighed. "I guess I have to," she said. "I owe it to you."

"You do?"

Jean turned to her computer and started going through the process of enrolling Vicky. "Yes, I do."

*** *** ***

Marie sat in her third class of the day. She'd already had math and science, and she was grateful to be in something she could do well in—art.

The door opened and Marie looked up. She'd been taking art classes since junior high, and she'd gotten to a point where she knew almost all the students who spent their time in the art department, but this was someone new. Marie felt herself blushing at just the sight of him. He was gorgeous.

Marie could tell the other girls in the class noticed the newcomer as well, and she told herself it would be impossible to be breathing and not. He was tall and perfectly sculpted, with black hair that fell slightly in front of deep blue eyes. He radiated a sort of masculine energy, something that Marie was definitely not used to finding in high school boys.

His gaze shifted to Marie and he smiled. She smiled tentatively back, almost certain he couldn't possibly be looking at her. She changed her mind about that when he walked over and sat beside her. "Hello," he said, his voice holding a slight accent.

"Hey."

"I'm Kris," he said.

"Marie."

Kris smiled again, and Marie was sure she was melting. "This is my first day here," he told her. "How long have you gone here?"

"Second year. I'm a sophomore."

"Me, too."

By this point, Marie had placed his accent. "Are you Russian?"

"Yeah."

"Kristof Rasputin?"

"The one and only."

"I met your sister this morning."

Kris smirked. "Did she tell you I'm the devil incarnate?"

Marie giggled. "No, but if she had I wouldn't automatically listen. I tell people that about my brother all the time."

"She could be right, you know," Kris said with a wink.

Something about the look in his eyes made Marie blush. "What kind of powers do you have, Marie?" Kris asked.

"Kinetic charge, some empathy," she said, forcing herself to sound strong.

"Are you related to Gambit?"

"I'm his daughter."

Kris grinned again. "I see you inherited that Cajun Charm of his I've heard about," he said.

Marie blushed harder. She noticed random girls in the class were glaring at her and the amount of attention she was getting from Kristof Rasputin. "I don't know how charming I am, Kris."

"Why don't you let me be the judge of that, beautiful."

Marie decided that if anyone in that conversation had been "charmed," it was her.

*** *** ***

Vicky Creed sat in her first class, looking around at her surroundings. She noted that it was quite different from boarding school, but in Vicky's mind, that was probably a good thing. She'd never much cared for uniforms, preferring instead to wear leather pants and a tight shirt. Added to her badass image.

The teacher came into the room and blanched as soon as he saw Vicky. She recognized him as Bobby Drake and chuckled to herself. Vicky got up and walked over to him, looking down when she approached him. She handed him the slip of paper in her hand. "I just enrolled a few minutes ago, so I'm not on the role," she said sweetly.

Bobby took the paper and read it, his eyes bugging out when he read her name and confirmed his suspicions. "Victoria, uh, Creed is it?"

Vicky smiled her most Sabretooth-like grin. "Call me Vicky."

"Vicky it is then," Bobby said, definitely not wanting to go against anything she said. He hoped desperately that she was good in math. The last thing he wanted to do was to fail her. "So, um, Sabretooth was your father, I'm guessing."

Vicky gave him a funny look. "Yeah, Sabretooth, um, was my father."

Bobby handed her back the slip of paper after adding her to his roster. "All right, have a seat and I'll get class started."

Vicky gave him another grin before sitting down. She didn't pay much attention to the lecture, however, since she suddenly had too many questions on her mind.

*** *** ***

As soon as Vicky left the classroom, she walked up to the first kid she saw, grabbed him by the neck, and slammed him into a wall.

"Why do people keep saying Sabretooth is dead?" Vicky growled.

"B…because he…he died about a year ago," the kid said, trembling with fear.

"How?"

"Wildcat…the X-Man…she…she killed him."

Vicky had to stifle her laughter. "Wildcat? As in Wolverine's little brat?"

"Y…yes."

Vicky let the kid go. "Thanks for the help. You were most informative."

She walked away as the kid ran off in the other direction as fast as he could.

*** *** ***

"Mind if I sit here?" Kris Rasputin asked as he slid next to Marie into the cafeteria booth. He glanced across the table at his sister. "Your opinion doesn't count, Yana."

Yana glared at him. "I hate you."

"And I hate you." He turned to Marie. "So, how's your day been since art?"

Marie shrugged. "Good, I guess. Pretty much the same as every day I spent here last year."

Kris chuckled. "You're too beautiful to be so cynical."

Yana made gagging noises from the other side of the table. Kris shot her a dirty look before turning his gaze back to Marie.

"So, um, are either of you thinking about joining the X-Men?" Marie asked.

"Our parents want us to," Illyana said. "Kris has been against it from the start, but I'm thinking about it."

"I'm not against it, Yana, I just don't know if I want to dedicate my life to being a spandex-covered walking target."

Marie spoke up. "Um, we don't wear spandex."

"What do you wear?" Kris asked.

"Black padded leather."

Kris smiled at the mental image of Marie in leather. "Maybe I will have to check out the X-Men out then."

Yana rolled her eyes in disgust at her brother's obvious drooling. "Вы - шлюха," she growled at him in Russian.

Kris glared at her. "Вы знаете, потому что Вы - также один." He smiled at Marie. "Do you think the other X-Men would be all right with us coming around and checking things out?" he asked.

"I don't see why not," Marie said. "We're always open to new members if they're really interested."

"Then I'll guess we'll have to come by the mansion—won't we Yana?"

Illyana gave her brother her best fake smile. "Sure. Sounds great. I know how interesting being an X-Man is to you." She grinned wider and then added, "Почти столь же важный как наличие пола с другой девочкой.."

Kris mimicked his sister's fake grin. "You're crude."

Yana got up from the table. "Whatever, Kris. Listen Marie, you can do whatever you want to do about Kristof, but just know that he got into the pants of almost every girl he knew back in Russia, and he's probably trying to do that again." She walked away, not wanting to stick around while her brother took advantage of Marie.

Marie looked at Kris in confusion. "Is she telling the truth?" she asked.

Kris glanced down at the table top in front of him. "I'm not proud of some of the things I did back in St. Petersburg. I was pretty wild, and even though I haven't been for a while, well, I did some things that hurt Yana, and I guess she hasn't been able to forgive me yet. I'm not the man I used to be. And I'm not just trying to get you into bed, Marie. I think you're very beautiful, and I like talking to you, but I'm not pushing for anything else right now. I am interested in you, but I've had too many 'relationships' that were nothing more than sex. If I get involved with any girl again, it will be something serious this time."

Marie was surprised at how open he was with her. "Have you told Yana all that?"

"She won't listen. I don't blame her. I was awful to her. But I'm trying to prove to her that I'm changed with my actions."

Marie put her hand on Kris's arm. "I'm sure she'll see that soon enough."

The bell signally the end of that lunch period rang. "Can I walk with you to your next class?"

Marie stood up. "That would be great."

*** *** ***