Hey guys. Um, someone nominated this for a CoA, so I know you all like it. Reviews? Please? I love you…
As curious as she was about the fight she was going to witness, Emma forced down any sign of interest and fixed Illyria with the same dispassionate gaze she used on her subordinates at Frost Enterprises. "So, just out of curiosity, when are you planning to do the job you were sent here to do? Because I do recall you having a mission, and redressing a group of misfits to lead them in battle against the best team in the school isn't it."
Illyria just waved her hand dismissively and then went back to fiddling with her black and blue gloves. "Yes. Your vampire problem. Once I have proven myself in combat and humiliated the others who might wish to impose themselves upon my hunting, I will voyage out into the area surrounding the school and find their nest."
"Most of the New Mutants fought at Alcatraz against a mutant army, Illyria. I wouldn't underestimate them if I were you." Actually, Emma was hoping the bitchy little god-king underestimated her opponents. It would be hilarious to watch a dose of humility get beaten into the blue-tinted pest. As if she could sense the blonde's thoughts, Illyria glared over at her and Emma raised her hands pacifistically. "Just a piece of friendly advice."
Snorting, Illyria rose from her seat and made for the door. "Your students believe me to have nothing more than Robert Drake's powers, albeit with greater control. I believe they will be in for a… rude surprise… when they face me in battle. Until this afternoon, Headmistress."
Emma waited until the door closed behind Illyria before spinning in her chair. Her and Macallan were starting to become good friends, they were…
"Does everyone remember the plan?"
"Stand in the corner, look pretty, and let you kick the New Mutants' asses?"
"Well, the Danger Room doesn't have corners… being round and all… but essentially correct." Illyria gave Danica, Noriko, and Petra one last inspection before her icy blue gaze settled on Marie and the Southern belle gulped. "Please exit the locker room. Marie and I will join you momentarily."
If the others noticed Illyria's slip into her more serious persona, they didn't comment on it. Danica even shot Marie a wink as they passed. Did they assume… eep! Wait. Why was Illyria keeping her behind? "So… um… what's up? I agreed to the sleeping arrangements last night because it seemed smart at the time, but I still have a boyfriend… I think. And even if I didn't, I…"
Illyria sighed and rolled her eyes. "Despite your peers' belief to the contrary, I have no romantic interest in you at the moment." Well that was… wait, at the moment? What about the rest of the time? "No, I had no desire to reveal my true nature to the others, but I believe I have a way to imbue you with additional powers for the duration of the battle."
"My true form's catsuit is made from the skins of my enemies, but my power runs through it. Power you can absorb to gain powers for the duration of this battle. Now place you left hand here…" Illyria pulled up the left side of her skirt, her pale skin rippling and giving way to her multicolored catsuit. With her free hand, she tugged the front zip of her top down and then pulled the left side out a bit. Like the expanse of not-so-bare thigh, Marie only got a momentary glimpse of pale blue skin mottled with blue before it shifted to the creepy catsuit. "…and your right hand here. The former will grant you the power of flight, while the latter is the skin of a demon who was nearly impervious to damage and far stronger than you."
Marie nodded absently, hands reaching out and inching slowly toward the demon. "Nearly impervious, huh? How'd you defeat it?"
"It wasn't impervious enough. I tore its head from its body, then skinned it and took part as a trophy before giving the remainder to my underlings as a display of my magnanimousness." Illyria edged towards Marie. "Cease your delaying tactics. Unless you would prefer to go into battle in your current pitiful state?"
Eyes narrowing, Marie slapped her hand against Illyria's thigh and squeezed hard, feeling the familiar jolt as power coursed through her body. Her other hand came up, slipping into Illyria's top and coming to rest on the assigned spot. Marie bit her lip to avoid moaning at the sensation; if this was what absorbing from demons always felt like, she was going to start a one-woman crusade to drain every last demon on the planet.
All too soon for her liking, Illyria's hands came up to press against Marie's shoulders, forcing her back a step and breaking the connection between them. As Illyria zipped the top half of her uniform back up, Marie evaluated how she was feeling. She felt strong. She felt fierce. She felt… like she was floating on air? Peering down, she found that a rather accurate assessment: she was floating a few inches off the ground. Huh. Cool.
A hand fisting in the waistband of her uniform pants brought her back down to earth. "If you wish, I can empower you again later so you may indulge yourself. However, we have an appointment to keep with your former teammates." Illyria released her and gestured to the door. "Shall we?"
"If you insist." Sigh. Buzz kill. Marie pulled herself out of Illyria's grip, leading the way out into the Danger Room. The other three girls were waiting for them, as were all six of the New Mutants. They made two very contrasting groups, with the Elementals in colorful and customized outfits that reflected their powers while the New Mutants wore the black leather design preferred by the X-Men. "Alright then. Who's ready for a fight?"
Bobby rolled his eyes and looked upward, waving his hand to the group in the control room. The holographic generators kicked in, creating a large field with two patches of dirt to denote where each team would start. "We've been waiting for fifteen minutes. I was starting to wonder if Illyria had chickened out and was trying to skip because of our bet."
Chuckling, Illyria linked one arm through Marie's and the rest of the Elementals fell in around them as they headed for one of the patches of dirt. "Don't worry, Bobby. Last night, I slept with your girlfriend. How could I pass up the chance to humiliate you even more in a single twenty-four hour period?"
"ILLYRIA!" Blushing as red as Danica's hair, Marie looked back over her shoulder at where Bobby had tripped over himself and was lying on the ground, meeting her gaze with an incredulous stare. "It's not what you think. We had a team sleepover and she slept between me and the edge of the bed because I sleepwalk and we didn't want me getting up in the middle of the night and stepping on someone's bare skin." Actually, Illyria hadn't slept… she didn't sleep… but the others didn't need to know that.
Marie turned away but Bobby's reply was still easily audible as his teammates helped him upright and got him moving again. "Okay, I take it back. I really don't like that girl. Forget a private lesson with her; I'm not spending a minute more around her than I have to." Actually, Marie was a bit glad to hear that, previous plans to use Illyria as a time leech to keep Bobby away from Kitty not withstanding. Illyria didn't suffer fools lightly, and Bobby… well, Marie was honest enough to admit he wasn't always the brightest bulb in the chandelier. She couldn't exactly date him if Illyria snapped his neck or tore out his spine or something.
Taking the green Alice band out of her hair, Petra ran her fingers through her blonde locks a few times before slipping the headband back into place. "Are you sure about this plan, Illyria? I know that control-wise we're novices next to you, but I'm sure we'd be some help."
"Yup. Rogue and I can handle all of them on our lonesome. Just sit back and enjoy the show." Unfamiliar with the room and its capabilities, Illyria peered up at the fake sky of the Danger Room, trying to find the control room. "So, how do we know when to start? Is there like, a starting gun or something?"
Logan's low, growling laugh rolled across the fake field. "Whenever you want to start, girly, we're sitting here watching. Personally, I say take as long as you want. Longer I'm down here, longer it is before I have to deal with the squirts upstairs."
Across the field from them, the New Mutants spread out as they prepared to do battle. It was good to see they were learning, Marie mused; how many times had they been taken out in the opening seconds of a simulation because their cluster formation made them vulnerable to area attacks? Then Marie winced as Piotr shifted forms with the discordant shriek of metal on metal. Paige likewise began tearing her tanned human skin in great chunks, revealing gleaming metal underneath. Bobby was the last of the shifters to assume his alternate form, flesh shifting into translucent blue ice. "Since it's six-on-five and you guys are the Beginner Brigade, we'll even give you a free shot."
"I still do not like this, Bobby." Piotr shifted nervously, looking back and forth at the quintet of girls arrayed against him. "In Mother Russia, we are taught that men do not hit women. The last man I saw hit a woman, I hit him."
Looking down at her fist, Marie saw the perfect opportunity to test her newfound power. After all, Piotr's armored form was the strongest in the mansion. He could shrug off armor-piercing bullets. If she could knock him down… "News flash for you, Yakov! Here in America, women hit you!" Running on pure instinct, Marie pushed up off the ground and jetted forward. Curling her shoulder just like all the football players she'd seen back in Mississippi, she slammed into Piotr's stomach.
Piotr went flying.
Feeling the eyes of everyone in the room upon her, Marie watched in disbelief as Piotr went flipping end over end before hitting the ground, kicking up a cloud of dirt and grass as he plowed a deep trench in the field. Tilting her head back, Marie let loose a burst of laughter that had a bit of a manic tinge to it. "Who's useless now, huh, Bobby?!"
The can of Molson in Logan's hand dropped to the console, spraying foam and beer everywhere, but neither Hank nor Emma was paying enough attention to chastise him for it. "What the hell did the Smurfette do to Rogue?"
Emma sent tendrils of her mind spiraling down into the Danger Room, bouncing off an unexpected shield protecting the mind of the girl in question before redirecting her probe and ransacking the thoughts of the other three members of the Elementals. "Whatever she did, she's still a blind spot to me, I can't get into Rogue's brain anymore, and the other three are clueless. Hank?"
"Each mutant emits a very specific power signature. A… mutant fingerprint, if you will. The Danger Room uses that signature to track who's inside at any given time. When Rogue temporarily absorbs a mutant and gains their powers, that signature mingles with her own until the power fades away. As best I can tell… Illyria has devised a method of sharing a small portion of her power with Rogue without suffering the usual unwanted side effects." Gesturing, he waited until Emma moved to stand at his side before pointing down at the screen that tracked the health of the simulation's participants. Navigating the menus, he brought up Marie's data and then further manipulated the section displaying her energy signature. "The top is her normal signature. The bottom… matches nothing in our database exactly, but has a seventy-five percent correlation with the energy signature of Illyria."
A grunt made the pair look up at Logan, who nodded toward the window overlooking the Danger Room itself. "Hate to break up your geek fest, but you're missing some good shit. Two on six, and Illyria and Rogue are trashing Popsicle's group."
Oh dear. Emma winced as she hurried over to watch. Illyria was going to be insufferable after this…
Things were not going the way Bobby had anticipated. Illyria was a wild card, yes, but Marie was (not that he'd ever say it to his girlfriend's face) supposed to be nigh useless in battle while the other three members of the Elementals were far below the experience and training level of the New Mutants. It should have been a three minute win. Instead, three of the five Elementals were lounging around talking while Illyria and Marie tore through his team like a knife through butter.
He wasn't sure who the bigger threat was, either. Marie's sudden new defiance of gravity and strength were worrisome, but Illyria in general was a nightmare. Bobby watched the blue-tinged girl as she created a giant shield of ice, using it to block Jubilee's blasts of fireworks as she forced her way into melee range. A quick leg sweep followed by a brutal boot to the head, and one of their six was out of the fight.
Paige wasn't faring much better against Marie, either. The temporarily steel-armored girl had taken up a position between the Southern belle and Piotr, trying to buy the team powerhouse a moment to collect himself. Marie moved like a bar room brawler, though, arms working like pistons as she smashed her fists into Paige's face and torso over and over. Then she ended it, slamming her forehead into Paige's to stun her fellow mutant before pivoting and kicking the blonde in the stomach. Flipping end over end, Paige slammed into the rising Piotr, dropping him back to the grass and turning them into a pile of tangled steel limbs.
A fist to his own face dropped Bobby on his ass and he realized then that he needed to pay more attention to his surroundings. Illyria stood over him for a moment, smirking at her small victory, before whirling and attempting to kick Kitty in the chest. Attempting being the key word; at least one of them was on the ball and Kitty phased out, the foot passing through her body harmlessly.
Illyria stared at Kitty for a moment and Bobby wondered how knowledge of his teammate's power had slipped past the peculiar bluenette: Kitty used it daily, passing through doors and walls in lieu of a normal entrance. Wait… Illyria definitely knew; she'd commented on Kitty using her powers more than Bobby used his. Then why was she so surprised that… Bobby's train of thought was derailed as Illyria raised her hands, sending forth a torrent of white that made the grass around them freeze and crackle. Lunging forward, Illyria delivered an overhand two-handed punch straight out of William Shatner's repertoire and Kitty… squealed, slamming to the ground, covered in frost? What the hell?
"Katherine's power operates by allowing her atoms to slip through the spaces between the atoms of other objects, in this case the atoms of my body, keeping her from being struck by objects." Illyria prodded Kitty with her toe, the shivering, black-clad girl curling into a tighter ball. "I simply used my mastery of atomic manipulation to slow the movement of her atoms so that they could no longer avoid the atoms of my fists. Perhaps someday when you cease to treat your powers like a party trick, you too will be capable of such a feat."
Then Illyria flickered and disappeared.
"Oh my stars and garters…"
"How'd she do that? Did she acquire Surge when we weren't looking?"
"According to this, no. It's a sensor subroutine that the Danger Room hasn't had to run since… back when Charles and Erik were here together."
"You don't mean… the Lehnsherr Protocols? She's manipulating reality?"
"As best I can tell, yes. That wasn't superspeed; she slowed time itself, beat Mr. Guthrie unconscious, and then allowed time to resume its natural flow."
"…I need a drink."
Leaning over Paige and Piotr, Marie waited a second but didn't see as much as a twitch from either of them. Oh yeah. She had so kicked their asses. Looking up, she found Bobby climbing to his feet, Kitty and Jubilee laid out on the ground, and Sam… Marie blinked. There was an odd blur around the blonde for a moment before he snapped into crystal clarity, beaten and bloody. The fifth member of the New Mutants collapsed to the grass and then it was just her, Illyria, and Bobby.
Bobby looked at her, then at Illyria, and then back at her before gulping nervously. "Erm… can we talk about this?"