Disclaimer: Don't own. Nuff said.

Main characters: Pietro and Kurt

Pairings: Lance/Kitty, Pietro/Tabby, Toad/Wanda (I think they're cute together), Remy/Rouge (MAYBE! Remy might not even come into this fic- I'm no good with French accents), Kurt/Amanda, Scott/Jean

Warnings: Heavy angst. Torture. Depressing parts. NO SLASH! Don't want to read it? Then don't.

Dying Inside

Just Your Average Day

"Come on, Kurt! We're like, going to miss our ride! And I don't want to walk!"

"Vait up, Keety!" The German boy came tearing around the side of the school, blue jacket flapping wildly in the breeze as he held it by one of the sleeves, trying to take the rest of it off while running. Beneath the jacket he wore a long sleeved green shirt, accenting off his dark brown eyes and midnight blue hair.

Kitty, or Katherine Pryde, was waiting impatiently at the end of the sidewalk, an irritated expression on her face. The wind was whipping her brown hair about, the bangs flying more often then not into her eyes. "Scott is like, so totally going to leave us here!"

"Sorry! I couldn't get my locker to open! And I needed to get my chemistry book!" The blue elf hefted his book bag over his shoulder, coat now over his right arm. "Besides, I could have always just teleported us both to vhe mansion."

"And waste all of your energy? No way! Then you'd like, eat all of the food. Come on…I don't think they've left yet." The two best friends walked together into the parking lot, Kitty's hand now clamped on top of her head to try and prevent her hair from blowing in her face. It really wasn't working.

It was currently early spring at Bayville and the weather was starting to lighten up a bit. The sun was nearly always shining and therefore forcing the training sessions to be held outside- which was a good thing since Logan was in charge of most of the training and none of the students really wanted to be in the Danger Room with him.

Jackets were being shed and tee shirts being pulled to the front from closets, sandals were back in stores- a fact that Kitty had eagerly grasped and dragged most of the X-men with her on a shopping spree. Kurt and Evan had gotten to be her pack mules.

A lot of new changes had happened at the Institute after Apocalypse's defeat. The most important one being Evan. Beast had managed to convince the stubborn teen to return so that he could run a few tests and see if he could try and pull Spyke's spikes back in.

In the end, Hank had managed to create a medicine that released the pressure inside of Evan and allowed him to pull his bones back in. Unfortunately, to keep the problem under control, Evan had to get a large supply of calcium. And so, he now drank two gallons of milk daily, always had a yogurt with lunch (Jean always made sure of that when they went out) and he had to take his medicine whenever he used his powers. Otherwise, the bones would grow out again.

Spyke still went and visited his Morlock friends often- even managing to make Callisto and Lucid come topside for a single night to eat dinner at the mansion. Beast was working hard on finding solutions to the other mutant's problems so that they too could come up. But Lucid refused a holowatch and Caliban preferred to stay deep underground, although Callisto did seem interested. But only to come up once in a while she'd said…her home was with her fellow Morlocks.

Another difference was the Brotherhood had, for some unknown reason, stopped picking fights with the X-men at school. Kurt felt that the reason might be that Lance was now officially dating Kitty and the rock tumbler didn't want anything to happen between the two groups.

Normally Kitty would ride home with Lance and the rest of the Brotherhood (except Pietro, he preferred to just run) but today Lance hadn't come to school. Pietro had made a quick stop by Kitty's locker to inform her that her boyfriend was sick so she shouldn't expect a ride home.

That was one thing still separating the two though. The X-men couldn't stand Lance and the Brotherhood hated Kitty. Well…maybe not all of the Brotherhood. Todd Tolensky, known as Toad, had actually been making an effort to be nicer to all of the X-men. Of course that's a bit hard when they're always trying to catch him, but still.

"They're still here!" Kitty cried, rushing for Scott's red convertible, a large grin on her face. "We made it!"

"Just in time too," Jean smiled from the front seat. "We were just about to leave without you two. What happened?"

"My locker," Kurt answered, flopping onto the backseat next to Evan with Kitty taking the seat on his left side. "Vhere's Rogue going to sit?"

The goth normally rode with the group, but since Kitty was here there wasn't any room left.

"She said she wanted to walk home," Scott said, putting the car in gear and backing out of the parking space. "Tabby was with her so my guess is Boom Boom wanted to take a trip to the mall or something."

"Why didn't they, like bring me?" Kitty wailed, banging her head lightly against Jean's seat. "I so totally needed a new pair of shorts! These ones are like, way too dark."

"I vought you liked your shorts…" Kurt said, a frown on his features. "Isn't vat vhy you bought them?"

"I liked them. Like-ed. I want something a bit lighter, so that it'll like, match my eyes."

Kurt and Evan rolled theirs and settled back on the seats and prepared themselves for a lecture on how important eye color was to clothing. Jean giggled and turned on the radio and Scott smiled, although he kept his eyes focused on the road.

Ten exhausting minutes later, the car pulled in through the Xavier Institute gates and parked in the garage. Kurt immediately bamfed out, taking Evan with him so that they could escape Kitty, who had now moved on to the topic of shoes.

"Kitty," Jean grinned, poking the freshman. "They're gone." Kitty blinked and looked around.

"Those boys are in big trouble," she fumed. "That's the seventy-second time they've disappeared when I'm talking to them." Storming out of the car, the Valley girl disappeared into the house, death wishes for two of her housemates written on her face.

"I wonder how the Brotherhood lives with that," Scott said with a shake of his head. Jean just shrugged.

"Feeling better?"

Lance groggily opened his eyes and blinked, trying to decipher who was talking to him. His headache had been growing all day and he hadn't had the strength to get out of bed and fetch the Advil down the hall in the bathroom.

"You still have a fever," the voice continued, placing a hand on Lance's forehead. "Head hurt?" The rock tumbler gave a soft moan. "I'll take that as a yes. Hang on; I'll go get you some painkillers." A second later only Lance was left in the room.

Lance managed a weak smile. So Pietro was his doctor? He didn't know whether to feel better of to fear for his life. "Here you go. Do you need help sitting up?"

"I'm not dying you know," Lance grumbled, wincing as his head threatened to split open. Pietro, who had rushed back in under two seconds stood waiting by the side of the bed, concern on his pale features.

"You sure sound as though you are," the white haired boy retorted, zipping forward and helping prop Lance up on his pillows anyway. "Now take the Advil." Lance gratefully took the medicine and glass of water from his friend and swallowed it in one gulp.

"Thanks," Lance said softly, touched by Pietro's actions. "What's with all this?"

"You'd do it for me if I was sick," Pietro said with a shrug, taking a thermometer out of a small white box that the Brotherhood kept their medical supplies in. "Open your mouth ," he ordered, sticking the thermometer in. "And don't move it. I'll be back in a minute."

Lance smiled, knowing that Pietro would be back in more of ten seconds. He knew that although he'd never told Pietro, he saw the speedster as more of a little brother then a friend. He was constantly playing pranks, goofing off, obsessing over his hair in the mirror (although come to think of that most little brothers didn't do that) and Lance was constantly digging him out of trouble, making sure that he got enough to eat (with Lance working at a small diner it wasn't too hard- he got to take home leftovers for the residents at the Brotherhood boarding house.

Todd and Freddy were also like his brothers- just different from Pietro. Freddy was more of just a brother, kind of like a twin, for Lance. Freddy normally managed to stay out of trouble unless he was pulled into it by Pietro and he knew when enough was enough (Pietro didn't.)

Todd was the baby of the group. Only fifteen, he was always being babied and kept out of a lot of things. So really, Lance had two little brothers. One annoying and hyper and the other more quieter and soft-spoken. Pietro could also look out for himself if he had to. Todd would be picked on mercilessly if it weren't for the other members.

"You awake in there?" Lance blinked and looked up at Pietro, the former hopping from foot to foot and trying to conceal his worry. "One hundred and two point three?" he mused, looking at the thermometer that he'd grabbed from Lance, abruptly changing the topic and putting on his mask of indifference. "That's not very good."

"Tell me about it," Lance sighed, closing his eyes against the harsh glare from the hall light. "I feel so cold though."

"You just managed to get it all, didn't you?" Pietro asked in amazement. "Sore throat by chance? Stuffed up nose?"


"At least I don't have to worry about that," Pietro muttered, dumping a load of blankets at the foot of Lance's bed and then spreading them out over his 'older brother'. "That better?"

"Yes…thank you."

"Quit thanking me," Pietro said, placing a wet washcloth on top of Lance's head after forcing him to lie back down. "It's not like you."


"Don't apologize either. This fever must be getting to you. Now go to sleep. I'll be about around six with dinner. What do you want? Chicken noodle or tomato?"

"Chicken noodle."

Pietro nodded and headed for the door. "Sleep well," he whispered, before softly closing the door.

Lance buried himself deeper beneath the blankets. He didn't know what he'd do without Pietro.

"How's he doing?" Todd asked, lounging on the couch in the family room. The fifteen-year-old jumped up and followed Pietro into the kitchen, where Freddy was currently eating a package of cookies.

"Running a fever still. And I think his head's really hurting him," Pietro answered, pulling a can of soda out of the fridge. "I knew I shouldn't have gone to school today," he growled, slamming the can down on the table. "All Lance did was get worse."

"He told us to go to school, yo. He wouldn't have liked it if we ditched, yo."

"But he's sick," Pietro growled. "And I don't…oh, forget it." Throwing the pop against the wall, Pietro tore out of the room, the lemon-lime drink fizzing slowly down to the ground.

"Did I say something?" Todd asked, looking nervously at the stairway which Pietro had raced up.

Fred patted the much smaller mutant on the shoulder. "He just misses Wanda."

"What's that have to do with Lance?"

"He lost Wanda…he doesn't want to lose Lance."

"But Lance isn't dying…is he?" Todd asked, panic creeping into his voice. "I thought it was just a cold!"

"It is just a cold," Blob said, offering a cookie to Todd, who just shook his head. "But you know Pietro…losing Wanda twice can't be very easy on him."

"Since when did you grow a brain?" Both boys looked up to see Tabitha leaning in the doorway, hands crossed over her chest. "Aww, you guys are speechless. Miss me much?"

After Apocalypse's defeat Tabby had returned to the X-men and the Brotherhood had only seen her around school. They missed her, but Lance had insisted (after Pietro had told him about his plans to kidnap her) that the girl needed to spend some time with her friends. It might help if she had some girls to hang around with.

That had shut Pietro up right away as memories of Wanda washed up. Also after the Egyptian's defeat, Magneto had done Wanda a favor…although Pietro didn't believe it was so. He had Mastermind restore the girl's original memories.

As soon as Wanda had gotten them back, her hatred had returned full force. But this time it wasn't fully directed towards Magneto. It was at Pietro.

It was his fault that she'd been abounded. Why didn't he stop Magneto from leaving her at the hospital? And worse…he had kept her past from her. He'd had every opportunity to tell her about what happened- how her memories weren't her own.

In her sense of mind, he'd abandoned her twice. And she'd had enough. The very next morning she'd left the Brotherhood, giving a curt good bye to everyone and ignoring Pietro's pleading completely. And that was the last they'd seen of her.

"Where's Lance and Pietro? And Wanda? Normally someone's blowing something up in here."

"Wanda left," Todd said softly. "She got her memories back. Lance is sick and Pietro…I don't know where Pietro went."

"We did miss you," Fred said. "Cookie?"

"Thanks, but don't worry about it. I just stopped by to check up on you guys. Tell Lance I hope he feels better. And give Pietro a hug from me. Sounds like he could use one. See you at school tomorrow."

"Bye," Freddy waved, Todd having already started upstairs to fulfill Tabby's request. The blonde let herself out, staring up at the darkened house, only the lights on in the kitchen.

"Bye," she whispered, before retreating down the driveway and back towards the Xavier Institute.

Inside the house, Toad was standing outside Pietro's door, having knocked and not receiving an answer. Trying the knob, the boy frowned when it refused to yield. "Pietro?" he called, worry mounting. "Open the door, yo."

On the other side, the white haired seventeen-year-old sighed and hastily wiped his eyes. Pushing himself off of his bed, he checked his reflection in the mirror hanging next to his dresser. Good, no tears in sight.

He didn't really want to talk to anyone right now, but he didn't want to worry everyone. Because then Lance would get up to find out what was going on and Pietro didn't want him getting any sicker.

Resigning himself to fate, Pietro opened his door to find Todd on the wall and preparing to ram it down. "What?" he asked snappishly, immediately regretting his tone when the younger boy's face fell. "Sorry," he said softly. "Is something wrong?"

"Tabby was right," Todd said, eyeing Pietro up and down. "You do need a hug."

Pietro's scream could be heard throughout the entire house as Todd did as he was instructed to do. Freddy grinned and popped the last cookie in his mouth. It sounded like Pietro was back to normal.

Seconds later, the sound of the shower could be heard and Todd slunk back down, a smile on his face. "He liked the hug," he said, sitting down at the table and pulling the bag of cookies towards him. "Hey! You ate all of them!"

"I was hungry," Fred said with a shrug.

"What's for dinner?"

"Dunno. I think Pietro's cooking."

"Is it safe to eat that?" Both shared a knowing look. Although Pietro learned fast, his lacked the skill in cooking. Sure, he would be a great chef if he just had a shred more patience. For example- if the recipe said cook for one hour, Pietro would do more of a minute. One hour was too long for him to wait for food.

The whole Brotherhood could still clearly remember the time he'd made Todd a cake for his fifteenth birthday…they'd all been sick for the next two days after eating raw eggs mixed with cooking spray.

"I'll cook," the Texan decided, rising to his feet and lumbering over to the stove. "What do we have in the cabinet?"

"Umm…nothing really. A box of pasta, two more packs of cookies, and some soup."

"Soup is for Lance," Pietro said, coming into the kitchen. A towel was in his hand and he was dressed in a pair of black track pants and an emerald green shirt- different from his regular brown. "And I though I was cooking."

"We thought it'd be safer if Freddy cooked, yo," Todd said, handing the pasta to Fred and darting around the kitchen looking for a pot.

"Can I at least cook the soup?"

"Considering it's for a sick person, it might be safer if you didn't. We don't want Lance to get worse, yo."

Pietro sat down dejectedly at the table and pulled his backpack out from beneath it. "Fine then. You cook. I'll do my homework."

"You're actually going to do it?" Fred asked, momentarily pausing from pouring the uncooked noodles into the pot of boiling water.

"I always do it. It only takes a minute or so."

And true to his word, all thirty-two analysis problems were completed, chapters seven and eight were finished in the Great Gatsby and all of his chemistry book questions from review chapters were done in under five minutes.

"What I would give to be smart," Todd sighed, pouring the finished soup into a bowl.

"At least you can cook," Pietro argued, throwing his books back into his bag. "Dinner almost ready, Blob? I'm starved!"

"A few more minutes."

"I'll go bring Lance his dinner," Pietro said, picking up the bowl and placing it on a tray. "Todd, go get your bag and start on some of your homework."

"But I don't get it, yo."

"I'll help you after dinner." Fred nearly dropped the strainer of spaghetti and Todd did drop his geometry book. "What? Am I not allowed to be nice?" Rolling his eyes, Pietro departed up the stairs, spoon clanking loudly against the bowl.

"Is that dinner?" Lance asked, already sitting up and eyeing the tray as Pietro came in.

"You're supposed to be sleeping," the speedster accused, setting it down on the nightstand.

"How can I with you screaming bloody murder?" Pietro glared. "Okay, but I just woke up then. I've been sleeping for the rest of the time. And you didn't make that, did you?" he asked, nodding his head at the soup.

"You mean you don't like my cooking? I'm hurt, Lance. You'd eat whatever your 'pretty Kitty' bakes but you won't eat anything of mine…how are her jaw breaking muffins any better?"

"At least those don't have me throwing up for two days," Lance said with a weak grin. "Besides, she's very sensitive about her cooking…you, on the other hand, aren't."

"Yes I am."

"Did you make the soup?"

"No," Pietro pouted. "Todd did."

"Then I think I can eat it."

Pietro stuck his tongue out childishly. "You feeling better now?" he asked after Lance had picked up the bowl.

"A lot better, actually. The Advil finally kicked in."

"Liar," Pietro remarked, watching as Lance winced when the spoon hit the bowl too hard. "As soon as you finish that soup, you're going right back to bed. And no buts about it- I'm staying home with you tomorrow."

"You're not missing school," Lance growled. "It's important. And someone needs to keep an eye on Todd."

"He's got Freddy."

"And Freddy's first hour class is opposite the school from Todd's. Yours is two doors down. Please go. For Todd? I'll be fine here."

"All right. But just this once. You'd better get well soon. Because I don't want to have to talk to Pryde again and tell her you're still sick."

"She's not that bad. Give her a chance, Pietro. She's not like the other X-geeks."

Pietro looked at his friend intently. "If she means this much to you…I'll try. But-I-mean-it.-If-she-does-anything-that-I-don't-like-then-her-chance-is-up!"

"Thank you. This means a lot to me, Pietro."

"Okay, you're getting too mushy again. Go back to sleep and get better really, really soon."

"Will do," Lance yawned, handing Pietro his empty bowl. "Night."


Pietro made his way back downstairs, quite thankful to see dinner on the table. "Lance is trying to go back to sleep," he announced, sitting himself down between the two mutants, his back facing the stove. "So let's try and keep it quiet for him, okay?"

"Sure thing, yo."

"No problem."

And as they'd promised, the evening passed quietly. Pietro helped the youngest Brotherhood member through his homework while Fred browsed through a cookbook, marking recipes that he thought sounded good and that he'd cook once they got enough money to buy all of the ingredients the dishes required.

Little did the group know that the next day their lives would be forever changed…and not for the better. But for the worse.

Author's Notes:

:sweatdrop: Hehe…another fic. I swear, I keep getting ideas in my head. And this one isn't even an anime or HP:o I have an idea for a TT fic too, but I think I'll hold off for a bit. I have to work on updating.

Pairings are listed at the top. And please remember- this story is ratedT for a reason. It's going to get graphic and really angst- don't worry. Angst is my forte. :P

Please do review and let me know what you think!