I do not own the handsome Pietro though I wish I did. I also do not own New York City or the foul, wretched, disgusting, stinky, jerk that is Henry Geirich! But I do own Catherine, Ms. Collins, and Mathew.

The Speed of Teenage Love

Chapter One

Unwilling Recruit

"Catherine I just don't know what to do with you. You run away from every single foster home I send you to. You're constantly causing trouble and being where you shouldn't be. Tell me what to do to get through to you. You turn 18 in two weeks. When that happens, the cops aren't going to just let you off with a slap on the wrist and a 'go home.' They'll put you in jail." I continued to ignore the social worker. She wasn't worth my time. "The Spencers will be here to pick you up in an hour. Can you behave that long? Please." I give her a smile, quick for her but reassuring by my time standard.

"Sure Ms. Collins. I'll stick around for an hour." With that, I stood up and left. It only took a few seconds to get to the empty room on the third floor from her basement office. I smiled as I closed and locked the door behind me. Speed was nice. There was a full-length mirror hanging from the back of the door and I turned to examine myself in it.

Almost 18. It's weird a little bit. Time right now is sluggish for me because of my mutant ability, but when I think about the past it seems like it hasn't been that long at all. Just four years ago I'd only been an A cup. Six years ago, I hadn't even been wearing bras. Now though, I'm a nice 38 C. Tall and slim with just enough curve to my waist and top to be hard not to notice. I'd had my hair cut shoulder length for a while but it was not to be. My body was determined that I have waist length coppery brown hair with only the gentlest of waves to it. Ah well.

Leaning in closer to the mirror, I focused past the snug dark green T-shirt and dark blue jeans and concentrated on my face. My cheeks were getting a little definition finally, and contrary to popular belief, it was not because I was starving myself. Quite the opposite, I was actually a junk food addict and took in about 20,000 calories daily to support my metabolism. Less if I didn't do a lot of intense running. But I liked running. I could outrun cars on the highway now. I was capable of 90 mph at least.

But enough sidetracking. I stared back into my own blue-green eyes and cast a cursory glance at my darkly pink lips. Hmmm. A moment later and my makeup was out. I kept a stash hidden up here behind the old wardrobe. Some eyeliner and shadow to bring the blue out a bit more. A natural tone of lipstick with just a hint of gold speckles. No need for blush.

I checked my watch. Two minutes down and 58 to go until Mr. and Mrs. Spencer showed up. Ms. Collins knocked at the door. My makeup was hidden and I was answering the door before she could finish knocking.

"Yeah?"

"Catherine I've just received a call from the government." My eyebrows drew together in confusion. "They're waiting for you downstairs." The poor woman looked like she'd seen a ghost.

"Who's waiting for me?" She turned and walked away. A light breeze brushed by her as I hurried past to see who awaited me downstairs. In the lounge, stood two men in black suits with matching sunglasses and earpieces. Between them resting on the couch was a man I'd seen in a picture once with Mr. Spencer.

"Ah, Catherine. Just as quick as Mathew had told me. Why don't you come in here?" Nervously I entered the room, but stayed on the opposite side of the room close to the front door. I was fast, but there wasn't any reason not to give myself an extra advantage if I could. "It must be rather nerve wracking having the government call on you. My name is Henry Geirich. I'm a friend of your father's."

"Adopted father, and I know damn well who you are. Another mutant hating bigot. I'm not interested in anything your offering so why don't you take your secret service goons and go for a long walk off a short pier."

He laughed, but it was dry and empty, and I could see the hate in his eyes. "Just as charming as I was told. Catherine I have a proposition for you. There's a dangerous mutant terrorist named Pietro Maximov also known as Quicksilver. If you could capture him, the U.S. government would be willing to reward you very well for your services. With the kind of money we're offering you could search for your real parents. Even hire professional investigators to help you. What do you think?"

"I think I'm still a minor. Why should I help you capture a member of X-Factor and a mutant I respect?"

"Pietro Maximov is no longer a member of X-Factor. He has gone rogue. As for why you should aside from the monetary reward and being of service to your country…" he glanced at one of the men. "Agent Williams, how many health code and building code violations have you noted on the premises?"

"56 minor violations sir." My gut tightened into an angry knot.

"And how quickly could this orphanage be shut down, do you think?" So that was his plan.

The agent was silent for a moment and I gritted my teeth in rage. "One to four weeks sir."

"Is that incentive enough my young mutant friend?" My hands were clenched so tight into fists it was amazing I hadn't broken skin yet.

"You bastard." He only smiled.

"Actually I do know my parents. That term only applies to one girl in this room." I didn't have to look around to know he was talking about me.

"Fine."

Smiling he took off his glasses to clean them with a handkerchief from his jacket pocket. "I'm sorry I didn't quite catch that. What did you say?"

"Quit jerking me around you fucking jack ass and tell me what you know!" My face was solid red with barely restrained hatred.

"We have this address." He held out a piece of paper. "He has been seen leaving and returning to it twice in the past week. It's in New York though so I'd hurry up if I were you. That's a very long way for anyone to walk from Indiana. Oh, and one more thing you might find useful." Reaching into another pocket, he withdrew a gold credit card. Visa. "The government is lending you the use of this card on our tab. You are restricted to buying foodstuffs with it. My number is under the address. Give me a call when you've got Quicksilver." I couldn't stand him a moment longer.

I snatched the slip of paper and credit card and was out the door in less than two seconds. Using my anger, I made it to the state border after about two hours. If I could break my record, I might be able to reach New York in few days. Then, all I had to do was track down a fellow mutant speedster and hand him over to the government. An angry knot clutched at my stomach. I officially hate the government.