She'd left with Wanda over a half an hour before but her pleading blue eyes still hovered before him. Their conversation was still echoing in his head.

"Are you serious? After everything I just told you?!"

"Look, if Magneto couldn't stop this guy, what chance do we have?"

"Well, none if you don't try!"

Was she right? Maybe he should have said yes. Given Kitty a thrill and he could have watched her eyes light up because of something he'd said. It wouldn't have been a bad feeling.

No, no. She'd asked for help fighting a crazed and possessed Magneto. Was she completely insane? When Magneto was fighting someone there wasn't much hope of making it out unscathed. Besides it wasn't like Kitty cared what he did anyway. He was just a "hood" to her, not good enough. That was it, that was all. She didn't really give a damn about what he did.

But she'd come here, to him, to ask for the help of him and the brotherhood. It was probably an assignment given to her by one of the leaders of the institute not her idea to come here to ask for help. But she'd still come, she'd expressed some sort of hope in him.

And he'd shot her down. Let her down.

But this was Magneto. And he was just a worthless hood. It was better this way. Damn those eyes, it was.

"What the hell did you do?" Fred's voice boomed throughout the house and Lance looked up to spot Freddy standing over Toad and looking as if he was ready to strangle the other mutant.

"Just a few improvements," Toad said backing away slowly.

Freddy wasn't having it and lunged for Toad. Toad bounded away screaming "Ack! Don't hurt me! Please!"

"Am I clean?" Pietro asked, running his hands over his face.


Apparently his word wasn't enough for Pietro because he raced past Lance to a mirror and took a few moments to admire his image before murmuring, "Good."

Lance rolled his eyes and tried to remember how he got stuck here. The incident back in Illinois with the principle's office and… Kitty. He let out a sigh and buried his head in his hands as crashes could be heard throughout the house.

"Can't! Catch! ME!" Toad said breathlessly still hopping about. He hit a lamp off of the end table and Freddy crashed straight through it.

"Knock it off guys. I'd rather not piss off Wanda today."

"That's right. Stop in the name of my beloved sweetums!"

Lance rolled his eyes at the sight. "It really doesn't matter, she's not here."

Pietro turned on him with wide eyes. "What? Where is she?"

Todd instantly took the dire extreme. "She could be wandering around the streets, lost and alone. How could you?" he asked "Fear not my angel of darkness, Toad is coming."

"Slow down there Romeo," Pietro said as he grabbed Todd by the back plate and held him in place. "Where did she go and why?" he asked turning on Lance.

"She's gone to Mexico to fight your father who has been possessed by Apocalypse."

Pietro's eyes went wide as saucers. "What? That's suicide."

"Schnookums!" Todd whispered as he plastered himself to a window.

"Exactly why I told her we weren't going."

"Told Wanda we weren't going or someone else? How did you two both find out about Mexico?"

"Kitty may have stopped by to ask if we were going to go help. Don't worry, I blew her off." Lance shrugged as if it meant nothing but saying it aloud was a bit more difficult. Made it sound a great deal more stupid.

"What?!" Todd cried out as he hopped up and landed on Lance's chest holding on to the older boy's shirt collar. "Our lady loves are out there fighting a crazed Magneto, could be hurt, dying and you just want to sit here and do nothing!"

"They can take care of themselves," Lance said as he pushed off Todd and walked away from the group and towards a window. "Besides what would Kitty really want with a bunch off 'hoods' anyways," he muttered.

"Proved her point didn't you," Pietro taunted.

Lance turned furiously ready to grab Pietro. It was not his fault that she thought so little of him, that was her perception based on a really bad point in time. Pietro merely shrugged. "Hey man, I'm proud of you, cutting her out of your life like that. Now we can toss out that photograph of her that you keep in your bureau drawer."

With that Pietro took off for the staircase and the bedrooms upstairs.

"Don't," Lance yelled, the anger rolling off him causing tremors to ripple through the house and Pietro to take a few tentative steps down the stairs.

Toad instead was bouncing about with pent up energy. "Mexico! Now! Help Wanda! Be hero's again?"

"I'm with Toad," Freddy said as he jerked a thumb at the overactive mutant.

"Come on then. Let's go hijack a plane."

Lance could nearly see the look of surprised happiness that would cross Kitty's face when he did show. A smile curved his lips. "Alright but I'm flying."


It was taking way too long.

"Why aren't we there yet?" Todd whined from where he was bouncing impatiently by one of the airplanes tiny windows.

Lance ground his teeth together as he continued to glare out of the windshield. "We're lost," he growled before giving Pietro a quick glare. "Are you sure you're holding that map right?"


Freddy was looking out the window on the other side. "There isn't snow in Mexico is there?" he asked after a few minutes and Lance wanted to hurt him more than ever.

"No!" both he and Pietro shouted.

Toad was once again pressed against a window as if he could magically make Wanda appear before him. "She's going to die without us there to help."

"Wanda's pretty self sufficient."

"With us around, sure. Hurry it up will ya?"

"Would you all shut up?" Lance roared finally and silence finally fell among the plane. Lance let out a sigh and hoped the peace would last him just until he could find Mexico and get off the damn plane.

Of course that wasn't the case.

"Yo man, no harm meant," Toad piped up from the back.

"OH maybe it was sideways."

"Now can you direct us to Mexico?" Freddy asked hopefully.

"No problemo," Pietro said finally propping his feet up on the dashboard of the plane.

Lance only hoped that they would survive the trip.


They'd finally made it. He had managed to land the plane successfully. Pietro had just saved Wanda from getting squished by their father. Things were looking up.

"So we bummed a jet, got lost and still managed to get here," Toad's voice echoed as they walked towards the twins.

Lance rather scanned the ground looking for Kitty, waiting to see her eyes light up. It would be a beautiful moment. And maybe just maybe--


He couldn't help the feeling of dread that had settled within his stomach. Kitty, his Kitty, was sprawled on her stomach, not moving. Something had happened. She must not have seen it coming because she could phase through just about anything.

Within moments he was by her side. Lance hesitated putting his hands on her, what if he hurt her more by touching her? What if she got mad afterwards?

But all the what ifs weren't enough to stop the compulsion. Reached out a tentative hand and touched her shoulder. When that didn't seem to do any damage he reached out his other hand and began to stroke her head. She really did look peaceful and there was no temper to contend with, but her temper was better than her unconscious. He considered moving to nudge her awake but he couldn't seem to stray from the motion of stroking her hair.

"Avalanche! Bring him down!"

The words sounded foreign to his ears as he was completely focused on Kitty. Lance looked up bewildered; nothing made much sense to him but the unconscious girl by his side. Then he saw what Pietro was talking about.

Magento was up and beginning to hover over them. He gave Kitty one last look before taking his hands off of her and placing them on the ground. He closed his eyes to concentrate and then felt the tremors start. He focused on the ground before him and not the stuff behind. Kitty was behind him and he needed to protect her now, especially as she couldn't pull it off herself.

He could hear the trees fall and eventually allowed himself to look up and see where the trees had buried his one time leader. It was good enough for the moment.


His head whipped around at the sound of his name and he saw that kitty's eyes were open. She kept trying to focus on his face. His hand moved to stroke hair that had fallen across her face during the tremor's back. "Shh. You're alright. Don't move alright?"

Kitty gave him a barely perceptible nod and smiled at him. "Thank you."

All Lance could think was that he should have said yes when she asked. Obviously there was some need for a bunch of hoods.