"Ok Todd, your job is to cover the entire tarp in dishwashing liquid," Pietro directed Todd from his position at the end of a massive stretch of tarpaulin.
"The whole thing?" Todd asked, gazing down the street and back again.
"Yes the whole thing. If I want to get into the Guiness Book of World Records it has to be the whole thing."
"Are you sure this will work?" Lance asked from his seat on the curb.
"Yes. Yes, I believe it will," Pietro answered.
"But isn't there a risk of a car coming up the road?"
"No," Pietro smiled, "thanks to my utter brilliance I have already thought of that. I knicked some of those orange cones from the road works near school. Our road is officially blocked off."
"Oh. So what's my job?"
"You get to stop me from flying into on-coming traffic when I get to the end of the tarp."
"Hi guys, whatcha doing?" Freddy asked, coming out of the Brotherhood house holding a dorito.
"Pietro's trying to get into Guiness for the longest water slide standing up," Todd answered.
"Oh," Freddy answered, looking a little disappointed, "I thought you might be doing something that involves food."
"I'm sorry Freddy, but unlike you, some of us don't eat 24/7," Pietro said, tossing Lance his shirt as he prepared himself for the slide. Freddy lost interest and wandered back inside. "My genius is lost on some people I see," Pietro sniffed.
"What genius?" Lance grinned.
"I'll pretend I didn't hear that," Pietro said, "now get to the end of the street."
"Yes mother," Lance mocked.
"Some mother he'd be," Todd snorted, "now kids, I'm just going out for a few minutes to check on my, uh - my vegetable garden. Stoner," Todd added as a cough.
"I'd just like to say that I don't smoke weed, thank-you very much," Pietro sniffed, "cigarettes sure, but weed wrecks my speed."
"What you take speed too?" Todd asked.
"No! I am speed! I mean I'm speedy. You know! Slows you down...oh forget it! I can see you two don't know your drugs."
"I wonder what Pietro's kids would be like?" Lance said, changing the subject, "do you think they'd talk like him?"
"WhaddyaMean?" Pietro asked.
"Hey yeah!" Todd grinned, "and they'd all run around like they were on a constant caffeine high, talking like a tape on fast-forward."
"Remind me not to let you have sex Pietro," Lance said, "one of you's quite enough." Pietro stood very still, blood slowly rushing to his head, fists clenched, shaking with barely controlled rage.
"Get. To. The. End. Of. The. Street. Lance," Pietro said, his voice dangerously low.
"Okay, happy thoughts Pietro. Happy thoughts."
"Todd, is the detergent done?" Pietro asked with barely controlled patience.
"Oh forget it! I'll do it."
"Grouchy, guess we touched on a sensitive subject. Is there something you want to tell us
"Tooooad, if you don't want to find yourself all over the neighbourhood, I'd advise you to be quiet," Pietro hissed. Todd shut-up, he wouldn't put it past Pietro to do just what he'd threatened to do.
Pietro spread the detergent evenly along the tarp at super-speed, made a little faster by his anger. "Right, Todd, get ready to start the sprinklers."
"Sprinklers?" Todd asked.
"I lined the street with them," Pietro explained, "they're all hooked up to that one tap, just turn it and it'll work."
"Roger," Todd saluted.
"Right, blockade in place? Yes. Cue sprinklers...thank you mistro."
"It's Italian, just forget it. Lance you ready!"
"Huh, oh yeah!"
"Wooohooo!" Pietro yelled and with that he sped onto the tarp at super-speed. Water sprayed everywhere as the speedster slid down the wet tarp at 20mp/h.
"Woah," Todd gaped, "I think he's actually gonna make it!" Pietro was nearing the end of the tarp now tearing along at a terrific speed. Lance unfortunately was not focused on him, or the job at hand.
"Yeah so I helped the poor kid in the end. I mean what can you do? They have no one else to turn to. The poor kids. Orphans, you gotta love em."
"Ohhh that's so sweet," smiled the brunette Lance was talking to. She took a lick of her ice-cream, glancing up at him through her eyelashes.
"Yeah I'm a sweet guy," Lance smiled, "oh you got a little..." he indicated with a thumb where a small bit of chocolate had placed it's self.
"Where?" She asked.
"LAAAAANCE!" Pietro yelled, panic rising as he came nearer and nearer to the tarp's end.
"Just there," Lance said, leaning forward to indicate.
"I'm still not sure," the brunette flirted.
"NO NO, STOP!"
"Get off the road you crazy kid!"
"What the hell's the matter with you eh?"
"Oi kid, you got a death wish!? Get off the road!"
"Ouch that's gotta hurt," Todd winced.
"I am so dead," Lance said.
"Oh my god is he okay?" the brunette asked, shock on her face.
"Yeah he's fine," Lance smiled, thought he didn't look convinced. Across the road Pietro lay very still, a worried driver hovering above him like a nervous humming bird. "Oh shit," Lance muttered, running across the road, Todd hot on his heels.
"Hey," Lance called, "hey, is he all right?"
"I don't know!" gasped the panicked driver, "he just appeared out of no-where, oh god I hope he doesn't sue me!"
"It's okay, we'll take it from here," Lance said, kneeling beside the slender teen. For a moment the driver looked doubtful, but the fact that they weren't asking for details meant that he could get away even if the kid on the ground decided to sue, and so he took off very quickly. "Pietro?" Lance whispered, cushioning the white-haired speedsters head in his lap.
"Oh god," Todd moaned, "he's dead! DeadDeadDeadDeadDead! Mystique is going to kill us! No torture us, then kill us! Lance what are we going to do!?!"
"Okay Todd breath! We don't know he's dead. Look! He's breathing!"
"Oh god preserve us!" Todd cried.
"Pietro answer me," Lance hissed. Pietro's azure eyes stayed closed. "Pietro! Oh god, what if he has a concussion? Pietro wake up!" Still the speedster didn't move. "Oh god I've killed him!" Lance cried, "Noooooo! This can't be happening!"
"No he's breathing still remember!" Todd reminded the hyperventilating ground-shaker.
"Oh right, okay, what can we do? First Aid in class, think Lance think. Mouth to mouth!! Okay Todd I'm going in!" Reluctantly Lance leaned over, stealing himself up for what he had to do. He leaned closer......
"Ahhhhhhhggggggg! Pietro you little shit! How dare you do that to me! I thought you were dead!"
Pietro laughed hysterically. "Boy Lance you should have seen your face! 'Oh no Pietro's dead!' What a drama queen!" The speedster wiped tears from his eyes.
"You are going to die! First I will strangle you and then I'll hurt you. Lots and lots and lots. Oh yes, you will know pain!" Pietro just laughed and began to stand.
"Christ!" Pietro hissed, pain flowing onto his face like water. He fell back onto the ground clutching his ankle in one hand.
"Get up you moron," Lance snarled, "you can't fool me twice with the same trick. I'm not that dumb."
"No really Lance, I can't stand!"
"Right. And I'm the king of Africa."
"Lance!" Pietro said, biting his lip to dull the pain.
"Ah Lance," Todd said, "I think he really has hurt his ankle."
"Not you too!" Lance cried in exasperation, "look, I'll prove I'm right. Watch this!"
"OUCH! You asshole! What did you do that for!"
"Okay so Pietro's a good actor. But seeing as this ankle of his is supposedly broken he won't be able to fake this much pain!"
Lance whacked Pietro's ankle so hard, Todd winced. Pietro promptly fainted. "Opps." Lance said.
"Indeed," Todd said dryly, "guess we better get him to a hospital then, huh Lance? Or do you still think he's faking it?"
"Uh right," Lance rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment.
- - -
Lance and Todd sat in the waiting room well, waiting. Well Todd sat. Lance paced back and forth in nervous tension. An old woman glared at him over her magazine as if just the sight of him meant trouble. She was heard to mutter 'young hooligan' but Lance was so
wrapped up in his thoughts he didn't hear. Probably a good thing.
"Lance will you sit down?" Todd asked, patience stretched too thin to mean good to anyone.
"No! I can't sit down! I mean I can't help but feel responsible for all this."
"You are responsible for all this."
"Shut up! Just shut up okay? I feel bad enough about this already."
"Well if you hadn't been hitting on that chick we wouldn't be here would we? Maybe you should control your raging hormones next time."
"Why you little....." Lance stalked towards Todd menacingly. Todd shrank back into his seat. Luckily, the Doctor arrived at that point, Pietro in tow.
"Oh god I've crippled him!" Lance cried, spotting Pietro in the wheelchair, "Pietro please forgive me! I'll never say no to anything you ask again! I'll give you all my c.ds."
"Mr. Maximoff has sustained a mild fracture in his left ankle," the Doctor, named Doctor Munro according to his name tag, stated, giving Lance a withering look. "He has also sprained it badly, which has resulted in some swelling and bad bruising. Because of this I have been unable to place a cast on Mr Maximoff's ankle at this point. We shall have to wait for the swelling to go down before this is possible. Until then I suggest that you do as little as possible, Mr Maximoff."
"That's all right," Pietro grinned, "I have Lance to do stuff for me. Isn't that right Lance?"
Lance ignored him, "you mean he won't be moving at all from that chair for what? 3, 4 months?"
"Roughly that," Doctor Munro, smiled.
Pietro paled. "I can't sit still for that long! Isn't there a quicker way to heal bone!?! I mean can't you just cement it back together again!?! I can't sit still for that long!!" Pietro wailed forlornly.
"I'm sorry Mr Maximoff," Doctor Munro smiled in amusement, "but that's the only option."
"No," Todd whispered, "my life is over. I will never recover from this. God help me if only I had a friend's house to stay at! Unfortunately, I live with them."
"Pietro in a wheelchair," Lance joined in, "he is going to kill us all. Boredom will be our one true enemy." He and Todd exchanged glances. "We're stopping at the video store on the way home."
"Definitely," Todd nodded.
Pietro just placed his head in his hands and moaned over and over, "I'll never be able to stand this. I'll never be able to live through this. Boredom is looming. Boredom is looming."
- - -
"Have you guys seen Pietro?" Evan asked, grinning from ear to ear.
"No, why?" Kitty asked, pulling her head out of her locker.
"See for yourself," Evan smiled, pointing down the hallway. Pietro was pushing himself down the hallway, wincing whenever his foot came in contact with a hovering Lance, who would then heap apologies upon the speedster, which would only make him more angry, resulting in a pissed looking Pietro.
"What happened?" Kitty gasped, looking generally concerned.
"Who knows?" Evan shrugged, "this just means that I have no competition on the basket-
"Evan you're so heartless!" Kitty scolded, moving forward to help Pietro. "Hi," Kitty smiled, "are you okay. I mean of course you like, aren't but you know? I feel like I should like, say something you know?"
"Fuck off Pryde," Pietro snapped, "I don't need your pity."
"Well how rude was that?" Kitty frowned at the departing Pietro, whilst Evan leaned against her locker laughing hard.
- - -
"He got hit by a car!" whispered the girl in front of Scott, "I think he should sue. I mean have you seen his ankle!?! It's almost purple all over! And it's fractured."
"That's terrible!" gasped the girl's friend, "poor him! And he's the team's best player! What happens if we lose the championships?"
"Oh please Michelle," snorted the girl, "you don't have to pretend to be concerned about the basketball. I know you like him!"
"Shut up!" giggled Michelle good-naturedly, "you can't talk Chaz, you have a crush on Summers over there, at least I aim for guys my own age!"
Scott blushed and looked away, feeling awkward. 'I wonder who they're talking about?' he mused.
It wasn't long before he found out. As he walked out to the table he and the rest of the X-Men sat at he bumped into Pietro.
"Oi watch it Summers!" Pietro snapped. Scott looked down in mild suprise.
"Pietro? What happened to you?"
"As if you care."
"I do," Scott defended himself, "oh I know! You were the guy Michelle and Charlotte were talking about in class! How did you get hit by a car?"
"Oh, come on Pietro. Despite what you may think we X-Men stick up for others."
"I said piss off. Or do you not understand English?"
"I understand it fine thank you," Scott said, getting a little annoyed.
"Well then. Piss. Off." Scott stared at Pietro for a moment then with a sigh, he walked off.
- - -
"Your master calls," Todd jerked his thumb in the general direction of Pietro's call. Lance growled and made no effort to move from his position on the couch.
" Well?" Todd asked, "are you going to make us listen to that all afternoon? Go find out what's bothering his majesty."
"Why don't you?" Lance grumbled.
"Cause it's your fault."
"Oh fine! But next time I'll just leave him till he shouts himself hoarse."
- - -
"You called?" Lance drawled, leaning against the door of the living/den/games/rec room.
"Took you long enough," Pietro sniffed, "I could have tipped this bit of junk," at that he slapped the wheelchair, "and been helpless on the floor."
"Oh no," Lance said, his voice dripping with sarcasm, "god forbid."
"You want Mystique to know the real reason I'm stuck in this chair?"
"Well then I suggest you be civil, bell boy."
"What, is the problem?" Lance said through gritted teeth.
"I'm bored," Pietro whined. "I have nothing to doooooo. I've played all our games a zillion times. I want something to do!"
"Don't you have some homework to do?" Lance sighed.
"Oh puh-lease! I finished all the work for this semester about 2 months ago."
"Why can't you be normal?" Lance muttered, more to himself than Pietro.
"Because that would make me boring. Which is what I am at the moment."
"No! Bored! I'm BoredBoredBoredBoredBoredBORED!"
"Okay okay! I get the picture!"
"I'm not sure you do because you're not doing anything about it! If you had caught me instead of flirted, I could be out playing B-ball right now!"
"How long have you been in that wheelchair?"
"A day. Why?"
"4 months," Lance cried, "4 fucking months."
"Oh I know what you can do!" Pietro interrupted Lance's ravings, "you guys can put a show on for me. I want singing, annnnd uh, oh ballet dancing, maybe a little street added, and a scene where Daniels is wasted by a huge group of ravenous polar bears! Do it know! Chop chop!"
Muttering something about finding a dumpster to hide in, Lance shuffled out to find Freddy and Todd.
- - -
Mystique came home to the sound of 'the Nut Cracker Suite' being blasted out at max from somewhere inside the house.
"Oh god," she murmured, "what the hell can they be doing now?" Half dreading the answer she entered the house and followed her ears into the rec room. And what a sight met her eyes. Pietro sat in his wheelchair, laughing hysterically as Todd was mauled in dance by Lance and Freddy, who were wearing bright pink tutus. They also had white polar bear ears attached to head-bands on their heads. Todd leapt gracefully into the air to avoid the lumbering Freddy; only to smacked across the face by Lance in time to the classical music.
"Owwww!" Todd whined from his position on the floor, "you're not 'spossed to actually hit me!"
"Sorry," Lance said, "but you were getting really irritating. I guess you just play Daniels to well."
"Bravo! Bravo!" Pietro called from his chair, clapping madly. "Encore! Encore!" Freddy made a clumsy bow in his direction and asked plaintively, "can I go get something to eat now?"
"Sure why not?" Pietro shrugged, "I still have Lance and Todd to amuse me. Isn't that right boys?" He turned towards the two teens with a particularly evil smile.
"Mystique save us!" Todd cried, throwing himself at her feet and wrapping his arms around her legs.
"God yes!" Lance joined Todd on the floor, "we're so sorry. Please don't make us dance again we can't stand it! We've learnt our lesson!"
"Huh?" Mystique frowned.
"We lied!" Todd whimpered, "we lied about how Pietro got in that wheelchair!"
"And now we're at his mercy!" Lance wailed, "we're so sorry! We'll never lie to you again honest!"
"Ah that's all right," Mystique said, trying to extract Todd from her leg, "it looks like you've learnt your lesson. If you don't mind me asking though, how did Pietro get in that wheelchair if he wasn't shoved down the stairs by a nasty little 6th grader?"
"Lance shoved me into oncoming traffic," Pietro interrupted, before Lance could give a more Lance-friendly side.
"You WHAT!" Mystique yelled. Lance cowered at her feet as she glared at him. "Do you know how much Pietro's ankle is costing me!?!"
"No," Lance said as quietly as possible.
"Grrrrrr! You are impossible! I think I should just turn myself into the insane asylum before I actually do go crazy!" Mystique stormed out of the room shouting, "I'm going out! Don't expect me back until tomorrow! In a perfect world I wouldn't ever come back!"
"Feel better Lance?" Pietro smirked.
"Shut up Pietro!" Lance growled, rising to his feet and grabbing the silver-haired speedster by his shirt front.
"Uh-uh-ah," Pietro wagged a finger in Lance's face, "it's not nice to hit cripples. 'Specially ones that can get you back for it." Lance growled and dropped Pietro back into his chair, then stormed out of the room. A mild ground-shake caused Pietro's chair to tip, throwing the azure-eyed mutant to the ground.
"You are soooo going to get it when I get better Lance Alvers!" Pietro called after the departing teen.
- - -
Three months later.
"How long has it been now?"
"20 minutes," Lance answered, checking his watch.
"Do you still reckon he'll go hoarse?" Todd frowned.
"Eventually. But for now it's nice to just leave him at the top of the stairs. Who knows, maybe he'll give up."
Todd snorted, "not likely."
"One can dream."
- - -
"Lance how dare you leave Pietro at the top of the stairs again!?" Mystique scolded the older mutant.
"Awww Mystique, give me a break! You know how irritating he can get! Leaving him up there gave me at least an hours peace."
"At the expense of him actually giving up and going through my things! Do you know what he did with my things? He sold my underwear to senior students the very next day! Do you know how hard it is to keep order in a school where at least 1 in 10 senior males has an item of your undergarments!" At this Lance started to laugh hysterically. "Oh so you think that's funny do you?" Mystique snapped.
Lance pulled a straight face, "no Mystique sir. Not funny at all. Scout's honour." His mask of sincerity cracked and he began to laugh once more.
"Animals," Mystique muttered, "they're all a bunch of animals."
- - -
Lance, Todd and Freddy sat on the couch watching a re-run of the new improved 'Mod Squad' when a huge gust of wind announced the arrival of Pietro.
"Hey guys!" the blue-eyed speedster grinned, "notice anything different?"
"Get out of the way!" Freddy motioned.
"Ahhh, new shirt?" Todd tried.
"No, that's not it," Lance said, "you got a hair cut right?"
Pietro looked at the two of them as if they had just told him yellow and blue makes pink.
"Out of the way!" Feddy tried again.
"Okay, that's not it. You got your teeth bleached?"
"No cast!" the silver-haired speed freak cried in exasperation, "jeeze you two are thick! You would think you'd notice a wheelchair missing."
"Oh yeah," Todd said, realisation dawning on his face.
"Whoooohoooo!" Lance cried, "someone has answered my prayers! No more 'Laaaaaannnce' at every possible hour of the day! No more dancing, or singing. No more looking after a bloody annoying little brat!"
"Or not," Pietro smiled.
Lance's face fell, "what?" He didn't like the way Pietro was smiling. It was one of those smiles that meant no good to anyone involved.
"Well," Pietro began.
"Spill it Pietro."
"Remember when you tipped me out of my wheelchair? Well my threat to get you back wasn't an idyll one. That's why I taped your second staging of 'Daniels and the Polar Bears.' There also happens to be a few choice bits of you singing 'My Girl Lollipop in the shower. So, if you don't want this to get out, I suggest you start by making me a sundae."
Lance's jaw dropped, "you little shite! You wouldn't!"
"Oh yes I would. Now get moving or you won't be enjoying the rest of your school years."
"This isn't happening," Lance moaned as he trudged into the kitchen.
"And don't skimp on the whipped cream!" Pietro called after him, taking Lance's vacated seat. "This is going to be one goooooooood year."