Disclaimer: I don't own X-Men or Brotherhood. Toby is mine. Sorry about some typos.

A/N: I was going through a, 'I don't really hate X-men that much' phase. Don't hurt me I am reformed!


"Have you seen the new guy?" Jean asked as she and the rest of the X-Men students drove home.

"No," Rouge said. "Why? Ah don't suppose your next line will be he's so...."

"He's so cute!!" Jean gushed.

"Ah told ya so," Rouge said, shrugging in exhasperation.

"Really?" Kitty asked, "like, how old is he?"

"16," Jean answered, "but still."

"Hey, maybe you should stick to guys your own age," Scott said, feeling a little threatened by this newcomer.

"So like, give me all the details!" Kitty enthused.

"Well," Jean began, "he's not really that buff, more on the slim side, but he has these absolutely amazing blue eyes; you know that clear ice blue?"

"Haaaaahhhhh," Kitty sighed.

"Kitty if it's blue your after I am covered in fur which I believe is that colour," Kurt said grinning.

"Kurt that is like, soooo not funny!" Kitty scowled.

"So what's this mystery guys name?" Evan asked from his position in the back seat.

"Toby," Jean sighed.

The next day, at lunch

"Hey Jean," said a voice, "mind if I sit with you?"

"T-Toby!" Jean stammered, "not at all!!"

"Thanks." Toby, a tall dark haired teen with piercing blue eyes, sat down between Jean and Kitty.

"Like, hi," Kitty grinned, "I'm Kitty."

"Nice to meet you," Toby smiled politely.

"Toby," Jean said, "this is Scott, Rouge, Kurt and Evan."

"Hey," Toby said.

"Wow cool jacket man!" Kurt whispered in awe, "that an original?"

"Yep," Toby grinned. A shriek from a nearby table caused them to look up. A little way off Pietro and the rest of the Brotherhood walked away from a seriously pissed off cheerleader and her boyfriend. "Who's that?" asked Toby, as he watched the white haired Pietro brush of a small amount of dirt which had landed on his arm.

"Oh, that's Pietro," Jean said, "he and the guy beside him, Lance, run the campus pest patrol."

"Oh," Toby murmured, still watching Pietro with unwavering attention.

"Anyway," Scott said, "why are you so interested in him?"

"N-no reason," Toby stammered looking almost guilty.

"Anyway," Jean interrupted, "I've been meaning to ask you, are you doing anything this afternoon?"

"Yeah," Kitty chimed in, "we'd like, really like to do something with you."

"Ahhhhh, sure," Toby said, a little taken back.

"Great," Jean and Kitty said at the same time.

Toby's home

Toby sighed, brushing hair out of his face, and frowned at himself in the mirror. It had only started recently and he was sure it wasn't normal. I mean, how many guys can make something spontaneously combust when they get mad? And then there was that other issue......

Friday morning

Toby walked into class and sat himself down. A chorus of "hellooo, Toby," came as nearly every girl in class waved to him. Toby smiled and waved back.

"Class, to determine your finishing mark on scientific investigation, I want you each to study the methods of a famous police case. For some of you this could make or break your success in this branch," at this comment he glared at Lance, who sat with his feet on the desk. "You will work in partners which I have chosen for you." A series of groans came from several students.

Pietro frowned at the sheet of names in front of him.

"Woohoo! Toni Marshells!" Lance crowed. "An easy A+ and I get to spend time with one of the hottest babes on campus! Who'd you score Pietro?"

"Toby McGivin," Pietro said with a sigh. "Man, you are so lucky. You get to spend time with Miss Marshells and I get stuck with the ladies man. I don't even know if he gets good grades!"

"Tough luck Pietro," Lance said, "hope all goes well."

"Whatever," Pietro muttered.

"Ummmm Pietro?" came an uncertain voice.

"What?!" Pietro snapped, whipping around to face the unknown speaker, "oh it's you Toby."

"Ummmm, yeah," Toby said, holding his books loosely in one hand and looking akward. "Look seeing as we're partners, I thought we should get

together sometime and sort out what we're going to do."

"Sure Toby. Whatever," Pietro said, trying to brush him off. "How about tomorrow, at the beach."

"Oh, ok. Sure," Toby said.

"Great. See you tomorrow then."

After school, the same day

"Oh Toby, poor you!!" Jean said, holding Toby's arm tight, as if her being closer would make him feel better. "Pietro is probably the worst partner you could get next to Lance!"

"He can't be that bad," Toby frowned, sounding a little angry, "and anyway I've had this conversation like a million times and it's starting to annoy me. Let's talk about something else, like that dress you were thinking about buying."

"What dress?" Scott asked sharply.

"Oh, Jean looks absolutely fabulous in it," Toby said, "a real knockout!"

Jean blushed, "oh Toby, I'm sure your just saying that!"

"Let's hope so," Scott growled.

The beach, Saturday afternoon

When Pietro pulled up in his silver Porsche, Toby was already there. Pietro paused as he got out of the car, sunglasses glinting as he tried to find Toby on the stretch of white sand below.

"Hey Pietro!" Toby yelled, waving his arms wildly. Pietro meandered slowly down onto the beach, hands in pockets.

"Wow, cool car," Toby said with a grin, "ah, you look great too."

Pietro looked at Toby over the top of his sunglasses, one eyebrow raised. "I what?"

"You ah, ummm," Toby trailed off looking more than a little embarrassed. Pietro brushed it off.

"So what are we doing?"

"I'm not sure," Toby said, "I talked to some others; most people are doing modern detective cases, so I thought maybe we could do something a little earlier. The case of Jack the Ripper for example."

"Whatever," Pietro said, skipping a pebble across the waves. Toby said nothing. Pietro skipped another pebble across the water then said, "so now that we've gotten that all sorted, what's the next step?"

"Well research of course," Toby replied.

"And we're doing that today?" Pietro asked.

"Ah, not if you don't want to," Toby said.

"Good," Pietro said uncaringly, "because I don't. You want to get a pizza or something?"

"Sure," Toby grinned, his face lighting up.

"Come on then. You bring your own car?"

"No," Toby shook his head.

"K, we'll take mine then," Pietro said, jerking his thumb up to the gleaming Porsche.

"D-d-do you always drive this fast?!" Toby yelled, to get his voice heard over the rush of wind.

"WHAT?" Pietro yelled back.



"WHY?" Toby shouted.


At the Pizza Palace

"So what's your secret?" Pietro asked, as he took his first slice of pizza.

"Huh?" Toby frowned.

"Your secret," Pietro said. "How do you get all those girls to like you?"

Toby frowned. "I don't really do anything."

"Sure you do," Pietro nodded, "you're the real ladies man back on campus. Hell you have all of those chicks drooling over you."

"Well they're not really my type," Toby protested.

Pietro shrugged, "Each to his own." There was silence as the two boys ate. Pietro watched Toby over his pizza, trying to figure this strange guy out. Toby looked up, and catching Pietro staring at him; blushed! Pietro gave him up as a bad job. 'Man, that guy is weird,' Pietro thought with a frown, 'I don't think I'll ever get him.'

Monday morning

"So Toby, how did your afternoon with Pietro go?" Jean asked.

"All right I think," Toby said, "he invited me for pizza after, but we didn't talk much. I'm meeting him again today. After school at the library."

"That is like, so amazing!" Kitty gushed, "I didn't think you would be able to stand him!" Toby shrugged and said nothing.

At the library

Pietro sat with his feet on the library table, blowing bubbles and tapping his fingers impatiently. "How much longer is this going to take?" he asked, throwing a frustrated glance in Toby's direction.

"Ah, I'm not sure," Toby said, reaching for a book, "maybe if I had a little help......"

"I don't even know what to look for," Pietro objected, " 'sides, my hands are dirty." He spread his immaculate and manicured hands to demonstrate.

"Uh-huh. Sure," Toby said. Toby walked back to the table and dropped the pile of heavy books down onto it. "These are probably the best our library has to offer," Toby stated.

"You mean we have to read those?" Pietro asked in astonishment, gazing at the pile of thick books in front of him.

"Well yes," Toby said, "first though I'll just point out the stuff that's most important." Flicking the book open, he stabbed at a paragraph, "the case of Jack the Ripper is one of the greatest unsolved cases in the whole of English history," he began.

"Whatever Toby," Pietro said.

"Pietro could you please concentrate," Toby sighed, "I don't ask much of you, and I would appreciate it if you would give me a little more respect."

"Respect huh?" Pietro grinned, raising one eyebrow, "hey, you don't just get respect from me buddy; you have to earn it."

"Oh really?" Toby said, placing hands on hips, "and how exactly am I going to gain respect from you?"

Pietro shrugged, "I'll know when I see it."

"Uh-huh," Toby said. Just then a group of cheerleaders walked up, smiling and giggling, batting eyelashes at Toby, and the study session was over.

Tuesday, after school

"Hey Lance," Pietro said, "you wanna do something? Grab a pizza, catch a movie?"

"Hey that would be great," Lance replied, " 'cept I gotta date with Miss Marshells."

"You mean study with Miss Marshells."

"Date, study. Same thing. I still get to spend time with her," Lance said, grinning. "How about tomorrow though? There's that new club America's Sweetheart just opened."

"Hmmmm," Pietro thought, "I am meant to be going to Toby's....."

"Bring him along," Lance grinned, "we'll be sure to pick some chicks if he tags along."

"Hey good point!" Pietro nodded, "all right. Let's do it."

Wednesday, early evening

Toby walked slowly out of the tennis club, pulling his jacket on as he went. "Great game Toby," a team mate called, "see you on Friday!"

"You too!" Toby called, waving him on his way. He turned, hoisting his bag onto his back, and turned towards the carpark. Looking up he jumped, "Pietro!" he gasped, "what are you doing here? I thought we agreed to meet at the library." Pietro, who had been leaning against his silver Porsche, looked up with a grin.

"Thought I'd surprise you," he said, pushing himself off the bonnet of his car, "give you a ride."

"Thanks," Toby smiled, allowing Pietro to take his bag and dump it in the Porsche's boot. Toby, already in the car, watched as Pietro vaulted the car door and landed easily into the driver's seat. For a moment he sat there, and then with a scream of tyres , he slammed his foot down and screamed out of the parking lot.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" Toby yelled as the Porsche screamed around a corner at top speed. "THIS ISN'T THE WAY TO THE LIBRARY!"

"THAT'S BECAUSE WE'RE NOT GOING TO THE LIBRARY!" Pietro yelled back, grinning like a mad-man.

"WHAT!?!" Toby shouted in surprise.


"PIETRO!" Toby cried in exhasperation. Pietro just laughed and gunned the motor.

Outside America's Sweetheart

It was dark by the time they reached the club. After Pietro had parked the Porsche they walked up to the front where Lance was waiting.

"Hey Pietro," Lance grinned, clenching his hand into a fist and tapping the top of Pietro's fist, then tapping the bottom.

"Straight back at ya," Pietro said, grinning back.

"Great to see you too Toby," Lance said as he gestured to the door.


Toby sat sipping coke from a can as he watched Pietro and Lance go about their business. It wasn't that girls didn't like him, quite the opposite in fact, he just wasn't interested. He sighed and took another sip. He should probably stop, it was his sixth can, but he had nothing else to do. His eyes swept the dance floor, where he spotted Pietro chatting up a pretty dark haired girl. She was laughing, acting coy to Pietro's advances, batting her eyelashes and pretending indifference; and Pietro was loving every moment of it.

"Howz it going Toby?" Lance asked, seating himself opposite Toby. Toby jumped, startled, he had been so intent on Pietro he hadn't notest Lance.

"Fine," Toby said shortly, mopping up his spilt coke with a serviette.

"Heh, looks like Pietro's getting some action," Lance remarked with a grin, draining what was left of Toby's coke. Toby turned, following Lance's gaze, to where Pietro stood, arms around the dark haired girls waist, as they danced to a slow beat. As Toby watched, Pietro pulled her closer, nuzzling the girl's neck. Toby looked away, feeling sick.

"Uh-oh," Lance said suddenly, causing Toby to look back, "looks as if Pietro's lady already has a boyfriend. Come on," Lance instructed, pulling Toby out of his seat and dragging him through the crowd.

"What do you think your doing with your hands all over my woman!?" roared a well built blonde guy, as he held Pietro aloft by his shirt front.

Lance stepped forward, "well she obviously doesn't want to be your woman if she's letting other guys 'out their hands all over her,' as you put it."

"Who the hell are you?" growled the blond guy.

"He's a friend," Pietro said, as he extracted himself from the guy's huge hands.

"Really," said blondie, "well I got friends too." With a snap of his fingers, two other guys pushed their way forward.

"Josh don't....." the dark haired girl began.

"You stay out of this," the blonde Josh growled.

"It's ok babe," Pietro said, grabbing the girl by the waist and kissing her, with a nasty smile in Josh's direction, "I can take care of myself."

"DON'T YOU TOUCH HER!" Josh roared.

"Who's gonna stop me?" Pietro snapped, folding his arms across his chest.

"Pietro what are you doing?" Toby hissed, "those guys are twice the size of us!"

"Good," was all Pietro would say, then to the fuming Josh and CO, "care to take this outside 'gentlemen?'" He made a mocking bow in their direction.

"Bring it on," Josh snarled.

Toby followed Pietro and Lance out into the alleyway behind the club. He still couldn't believe he was doing this.

"All right Josh," Pietro said, "that's far enough. Let's get this over with."

"My pleasure," Josh grinned, cracking his knuckles. Pietro grinned wolfishly, laughing like a mad-man as Josh rushed him.

"PIETRO LOOK OUT!" Toby cried out. What happened next was one of the biggest shocks of Toby's life. Suddenly, Pietro disappeared! Josh swung his head from side to side.

"Behind you," came Pietro's voice. With a roar Josh swung, lashing out wildly, but again Pietro was gone. "Ohhh, too slow," Pietro laughed, he moved again as Josh swung. "Too slow again," he grinned slapping Josh arrogantly across the face before disappearing once more. A sudden rumble caused Toby to look in Lance's direction. A frustrated henchman rushed Lance, only to be knocked off his feet a groundshake as Lance slammed his foot into the ground. Toby couldn't believe it. Both of them, both Lance and Pietro were mutants!

"Hey Blue eyes!" a voice shouted. Toby turned around just in time. The second henchman swung at Toby; but at the last moment Toby grabbed his arm, using his forward momentum to chuck him against a wall. He twitched once and was still.

"Stay still mutie!" Josh snarled, taking another swing at Pietro. Pietro laughed and zipped away, but this time Josh perceived where he would turn up. "Gotcha!" Josh grinned, gripping Pietro so hard by the throat he gagged. "I'm gonna squeeze you inside out mutant!" Josh growled.

"PIETRO!" Toby cried. He felt his temper flair. A red mist covered his eyes, "Let. Him. Go." Toby hissed.

"T-Toby," Pietro stammered, eyes wide as he watched Toby walk forward, flames dancing off his hands and arms. Toby held open his hand, a large fireball appearing above it, rotating slowly.

"Hey, hey it's ok mutie," Josh said nervously, "I-I'm putting him down see." Josh, true to his word, lowered Pietro and stepped away.

"Get out of my sight," Toby growled. Josh turned and ran shamelessly, his only conscious colleague rushing after him.

Lance grinned, walking forward and slapping Toby on the back. "Hey Toby," he grinned, "why didn't you tell us?" Toby fell to his knees. He had never used his power for so long, and with so much control. He felt drained, mentally and physically.

"Hey Toby, you ok?" Pietro asked, leaning forward. Before Toby could answer, the fatigue took him and he blacked out.

"Woah," Lance said as Toby swayed twice then fell forward onto his face.

"Jesus," Pietro hissed, stepping forward and hoisting Toby into a sitting position. He turned to Lance, "we better get him back to his house, he's out cold."

"Right," Lance nodded, "and if anyone asks....."

"It wasn't our fault," Pietro finished.

Toby's bedroom

Toby woke feeling a mattress beneath him. He sat up and moaned as his body retaliated. It was a mad rush to the bathroom. After he'd emptied the contents of his stomach more then he thought possible he wandered downstairs.

"Oh you're up," his mom said, rushing over to help him to the couch, "two of your friends dropped you off. I must say Toby that I am disappointed in you. I've told you not to drink too much."

"That's what they told you huh?" Toby asked, pressing a hand to his forehead.

"Yes. They couldn't stay. They said they had something important to discuss."

"Ok," Toby murmured.


"So what are we going to do," Pietro asked, "should we tell the boss?"

"Dunno," Lance said thoughtfully, "if we do he'll just force him to join. 'Spose we make friends with him first, you can do that Pietro, he seems pretty 'chummy' with you." At this Lance grinned.

"And what exactly is that supposed to mean?"

Lance sniggered, "you'll see."


"Anyone know what happened to Pietro?" Kurt asked with a grin, "man does he look wasted! Those bruises must be the size of my fist!"

"Huh?" Scott said, looking up.

"All around his neck," Kurt gestured about his own neck to demonstrate.

"He probably got into a fight," Jean sniffed, picking at her salad. "Honestly those two never stop causing trouble. What do you think Toby?" The group looked over at Toby, who lay sprawled on the table snoring softly.

Kitty giggled, "guess he doesn't find this such an interesting conversation."

Kurt laughed, "hey Toby!"

"W-what?" Toby mumbled, looking about sleepily.

"What were you doing last night?" Kurt asked, "you've slept through two classes already and now you're sleeping through lunch!"

Toby blinked sleepily and rubbed his hands over his eyes. "I was out."

"We figured as much," Evan answered, "out where, and with who?"

"America's Sweetheart. Pietro and Lance," Toby yawned.

"Like, what were you doing hanging out with them?" Kitty asked, wrinkling her nose.


"Oh stuff," Jean said, rolling her eyes.

"Hey if you were with them last night how did Pietro get those bruises?" Kurt asked, slapping Toby across the back of his head, stopping him from sinking back to the table in sleep.

"Owwww," Toby moaned, "we had a fight."

"I'm sorry, we?" Jean asked.

"Cooool," Kurt said, rubbing his hands together. Just then Pietro and the rest of the Brotherhood wandered over. Huge black and purple bruises covered Pietro's neck, curtsey of Josh.

"Hey there X-freaks," Pietro said, leaning against the table.

"Kitty-cat," Lance smiled, slipping up beside Kitty and placing an arm around her shoulders. She shook him off. Todd hopped up onto the table, and proceeded to pester Kurt.

"Bug off guys." Scott growled.

"Ohhh guys! Is that the best you can come up with Summers?" Pietro sneered.

"What makes you think we're here to see you?" Lance asked.

"Yeah," Todd chimed in.

Lance nodded, "we're here to see Toby." Toby moaned. He didn't feel so good.

"Oh really," Jean raised her eyebrows.

"Yes really," Pietro said, taking one of Scott's chips.

"Well he doesn't want to see you."

"Ummmmm guys...."Toby began.

"Quiet Toby," Jean snapped, "Pietro, I don't want you coming around here placing a bad influence on Toby. He's not like you."

"Au contrare Red," Pietro smiled, "he's exactly like me."

"Guys...." Toby tried again.

"WHAT!?" the whole table snapped.

"I think I'm gonna be sick," Toby said in a small voice.

"Ah Jesus," Pietro sighed as Toby emptied what little lunch he'd eaten onto

the grass.

"Toby!" Jean cried, "are you all right?"

"Get him to the nurse," Rouge said urgently, "ah think he's gonna chuck ahgain."

"Awww man, my new sneakers!" Todd moaned as Toby retched again.

In the nurse's office

"Are you feeling better Toby?" Jean asked, concern on her face.

"A little," Toby nodded, taking a drink from the glass beside him.

"That's good," she paused a moment, "Toby, you're a nice guy; why are you hanging out with Lance's crowd?"

"I want to. They're not that bad you know."

"I think you need to spend sometime away from them. Listen there's a party Saturday. Come with us. It'll be fun."

"I'm not so sure Scott likes me hanging around you," Toby ventured.

"Too bad," Jean said. "I choose who I hang out with and I want you to come."

"Ok," Toby sighed.

Jean smiled, "good. It will do you some good. Now you just rest up." Toby lay back and let Jean fuss over him.

After school

"Do you think they know?" Todd asked as he hopped along in front off Lance, Pietro and Freddy.

"Na," Lance said, "if they did he would be among the X-geeks by now, training under Professor Xavier's 'oh so skilled hand.'"

"Yeah you're right," Todd agreed, stopping to catch a bug that flew around his head, "you going to this party Saturday?"

"Yeah," Lance nodded, "so's Pietro and Freddy. Why?"

"Just wonder'n," Todd protested, "jeeze, don't bite my head off!"

"Oh, I get it," Pietro smiled, "you're not invited." Todd looked away.

Lance laughed, "don't worry, the Brotherhood don't need an invite. Just turn up with us."

"Ah-ok," Todd hesitated, "but what's the catch?"

"You get to do laundry duty for the rest of the week."

"I'm not having him touch my clothes!" Pietro protested, "do you know how much they cost me?"

"Nothing you can't replace rich boy," Todd shot back.

"Why you little......"

"Hey, hey calm down Pietro," Todd yelped, hopping back.

"Run Todd run!" Freddy called. With a shriek Todd hopped off at top speed.

"Come back here you little twerp!" Pietro shouted. "Ohhh is he going to regret that," Pietro muttered. "Come back Todd," he called, zipping off at top speed, "it's not nice to run from Pietro!"

Saturday, at the Xavier Mansion


*Jean I believe your friend is here,* Professor Xavier sent a mental message to the only other psi-talented X-Man at the institute.

*Thank you Professor,* Jean thought. She walked down to the front door, wearing the pale blue summer dress she had bought recently.

"Hi Toby."

"Hi Jean," Toby smiled, "hey you bought the dress!"

"Yep," Jean nodded, "you said I looked great in it so I bought it."

"Well you do."

"Thanks." Jean ushered him in.

"Hey Toby," Kitty smiled from her position on the couch, "popcorn?"

"No thanks Kitty," Toby shook his head, "thanks anyway."

"Oh you're here Toby," Kurt said as he walked into the room carrying his own bowl of popcorn.

"You guys not coming?" Toby asked.

"Nien," Kurt sighed, "Kitty here is a freshman and I'm keeping her company whiling away the wee hours."

Kitty screwed up her nose, "I hate this soooo much."

"Let's go," Scott called as he made his way down the stairs to the door.

"Move it or lose it Toby, "Evan yelled, running out the door.

"Bye Kitty. Kurt."

"See ya Toby!"


"This is great isn't it Toby?" Jean smiled.

"Uh-huh," Toby murmured, taking a sip of beer.


Toby and Jean looked up to see Lance and Pietro screaming across the front lawn in Pietro's Porsche. Teenagers scattered and fled for the relative safety of the house.

"That's right, the Toad is here!" Todd whooped from the back seat.

Jean rolled her eyes, "they never change."


Pietro sat a little way off from the rest of the party goers, having a little break from the party atmosphere. He'd already aced the beer sculling contest, proven that the chandelier could hold a persons weight and scored a kiss from Jessica Ferguson. A sound nearby made him look up.

"Hey Pietro," Toby grinned, taking a swig from the beer bottle in his hand. He began to lower himself to the ground when his knees gave way and he fell to the earth with a thud. "Heh heh. Whoops." Toby grinned.

"Your drunk," Pietro said, it was a statement not a question.

"I'm not drunk," Toby said, taking another swig of beer and waving a hand limply in Pietro's direction.

"Uh-huh." Peitro shook his head and pulled out a cigarette. Pulling a lighter from his other pocket he lit it, protecting it against the wind with one hand, and took a long drag.

"You smoke?" Toby frowned.

"Not often," Pietro said, taking the cigarette out and studying it, "but sometimes I just can't resist."

"It's called an addiction."

"Fine words coming from a drunk."

"I'm not drunk."

"Fine your tipsy."

Toby opened his mouth to protest, then closed it again, "yeah, I guess I am a little." He smiled sleepily and proceeded to take another gulp of beer.

"You want one?" Pietro asked, holding a cigarette out.

"Na," Toby shook his head, "it's not my scene."

Pietro shrugged, breathing in the smoke and falling to the grass with a sigh. "Man that is one goooood cigarette."

"And this is one excellent beer," Toby remarked. "Hey looks like Duncan has a lake."

"Really?" Pietro asked, sitting up.

"Wanna check it?"

"Sure," Pietro nodded, putting out the cigarette then standing up and helping Toby do the same. Toby wobbled a bit but regained his balance quickly.

"Jeeze Pietro that thing stinks," Toby objected, waving the smoke away from his face.

"Don't breath then," Pietro snapped. They made their way over to the lake.

"Cooool. Fish," Toby grinned leaning forward drunkenly to catch one.

"Woooah!" Toby yelped, losing his balance and almost falling into the lake, except Pietro grabbed his collar at the last minute.

"Watch it hot head," Pietro growled, "we don't want you frying up this lake if you fall in."

"That doesn't happen you know," Toby said sullenly. There was silence as the two boys sat for a moment on the bank, Toby watching Pietro with unwavering attention.

"Stop staring at me like that," Pietro snapped, "it makes me feel uncomfortable."

"Sorry," Toby blushed, looking away and pretending to watch the fish.

"Hey don't fall in agai....."


"Oh Jesus Toby!" Pietro said in exasperation, dragging him out by the collar, "you had to fall in didn't you? Now look at me. I'm soaking!" Toby said nothing, just lent heavily on Pietro. "Ahhhhh Toby, are you conscious? Toby? Helloooo?" Suddenly Toby gave a spluttering cough, and then a weak, "I almost got one."

"Toby don't so that man!" You scared the shit outta me!" Toby didn't answer, he just stared at Pietro. "Ahhhh Toby. You're doing it again."

"You have really nice eyes," Toby said quietly.

"Nice what? Toby you really are drunk aren't you?"

"Na ah. You do have nice eyes. And lips." Toby held a hand up, brushing Pietro's lips with his fingers.

"Toby," Pietro protested, backing away, "w-what are you doing!? This is freaking me out."

"I have a suprise for you," Toby grinned drunkenly.


"Close your eyes."

"Close my eyes? Are you kidding?" For an answer Toby placed a hand over Pietro's eyes. "Ok you're not kidding," Pietro said nervously. Before he could say anything else, Toby kissed him. Pietro's eyes flew open and he pushed Toby away. "Toby you......I mean you just.......your lips.......my lips......I.....was that your tongue in my mouth!?"

"I'm not sure I should answer that."

"Oh my god! It was your tongue in my mouth!"

"Heh. Boy do I feel stupid," Toby blushed.

"YOU! YOU feel stupid! How the fuck do you think I feel?"

"Uh don't take it personally Pietro. I just; oh god how else can you take it?"

"Exactly!" Pietro yelled, "you kissed me for Christ's sake! Ohgodohgodohgodohgodohgod!" Pietro began to hyperventilate. "You are

not to tell anyone about this!" he said.

"You think I will!" Toby yelped. "I am just as embarrassed about this as you are. Maybe even more so!"

"Whatever. Just don't tell anyone! Oh god, now I know what Lance was talking about!"

"Lance knows!?" Toby squeaked.

"No. Yes. Maybe. Jesus Christ I can't believe you kissed me!"

"Oh god Lance knows," Toby gulped. "I will never, never drink again." He started to pour the remaining beer on the ground.

"Give me that!" Pietro snapped, snatching the bottle from Toby's hand. "Maybe if I get drunk enough I can forget this ever happened!"

"You really feel that way?" Toby whispered.

"Look don't you lay a guilt trip on me!" Pietro shouted, pausing to gulp down half of what was left of the beer, "I didn't ask you to kiss me, you just did, and sooorry if I don't think of this moment as one I'd like to remember."

"Someone shoot me please," Toby moaned, holding his head in his hands.

"Bang," Pietro said, pointing his fingers in Toby's direction in the shape of a gun as he took another gulp of beer.

"Toby where are you?"

"That's Jean," Toby looked in the direction of the voice, a panicked look on his face.

"Toby!" came Jean's voice again.

"You're not telling anyone Pietro. Please don't tell anyone!"


"Of course I'm not going to bloody tell anyone!" Pietro snapped. Toby smiled in relief and scrambled to his feet, rushing off in the direction of Jean's voice.


"There you are," Jean said, as Toby wandered out of the trees, "I've been looking all over for you. What were you doing?"

"Nothing," Toby murmured, "Just taking some time out."

"Well Scott wants to leave, you catching a ride with us?"

"I 'spose," Toby shrugged.

"Well come on then," Jean sighed, "let's go and find him."

Sunday morning

Pietro stumbled down the stairs the next morning with the biggest hangover he had ever had.

"Morning Sunshine," Lance smirked, "sleep well?" Pietro groaned and sleepily poured himself a glass of juice.

"Morning y'all," Todd said, hopping into a spare chair and settling into his normal crouched position. Quick as a flash his tongue whipped out and snatched a piece of toast off Lance's plate. Pietro shuddered. "Where's Freddy?" Todd asked, gulping the toast in one go.

"Dunno," Lance shrugged, "guess he's even more smashed than Pietro, thought I find that hard to believe."

"Ha ha," Pietro growled, sitting himself down at the breakfast table.

"How'd you get so drunk anyway yo?" Todd asked, "I only ever saw you drink two beers."

"Where were you half the night?" Lance snorted. "He must have drunk at least five beers, plus that bottle of vodka."

"I drank a whole bottle?" Pietro spluttered, almost choking on his sip of juice.

"Yep. You were wasted!" Lance laughed.

"Well at least now I know why my head feels like it's been run over by a truck, and perhaps a steamroller."

"Yeah you were almost as bad as Toby," Lance grinned, "though I must say he holds his drink exceedingly well."

"Toby?" Pietro flung his head up like a startled deer.

"Oh yeah," Todd nodded, "actually I saw him disappear not long after you did Pietro."

At this Lance grinned. "Made friend now did we?"

"Shut up Lance," Pietro snarled.

"Friends? Huh?" Todd frowned.

"Forget it Tolansky, you wouldn't understand," Lance said, grinning at Pietro.

"Hmff. Fine. I know when I'm not wanted. I'm going to find Freddy." With that he hopped off, leaving behind Lance and Pietro.

"Well did you?" Lance smirked.

"I thought I told you to shut up," Pietro snapped, snatching up a piece of toast and stomping out of the room.

Later that afternoon

Pietro lay on his bed. His head was finally starting to clear and the light didn't hurt too much anymore.

"Can I come in?"

Pietro looked up to see Lance in the doorway. "Fine, if you must."

Lance walked in and sat himself down. "Now Pietro, I want to know what happened last night. Toby's a strong mutant and if you fucked things up with him and he's gone over to Xavier's team, I will personally strangle you."

"Me!" Pietro yelled, "me fucked things up! You have no idea what happened last night!"

"Oh Pietro stop being so bloody dramatic! It's not like he kissed you or anything!" At this Pietro blushed a dark scarlet. "Oh my god," Lance grinned, "he did kiss you!"

"Don't you dare say anything!" Pietro snapped.

"Yes Sir," Lance said with a laugh. "So how did he seduce you Pietro? Was it with his dashing good looks and charming personality?"

"Shut up Lance," Pietro scowled, "he didn't seduce me! He just kissed me."

"Oh yes Pietro! Your so devilishly handsome and charming. Kiss me now!" Lance cried out, raising a hand to his forehead and faking a swoon.

"Shut up!"

"Oh you're so manly and strong. I feel all a quiver. Hold me tight Pietro and don't let me go!"

"LANCE!" Pietro roared. Lance sprung to his feet and raced out the door with Pietro hot on his heels. Mystique side stepped as the two boys raced past, Pietro screaming, "I'm gonna have your head on a stick Lance!"

"Such a charming household," Mystique mumbled, shaking her head in disbelief.


'I would die for you,

Feel pain for you,

I would twist a knife into this bleeding heart; and tear it apart.'

Toby lay on his back listening to music. He'd faked sick to get out of school. Well; really to get out of seeing Pietro. He still felt stupid for doing - well, doing what he'd done. And to make matters worse, there was still that project to finish, so he couldn't even avoid Pietro for that much longer anyhow. Toby rolled onto his stomach and hugged his pillow. "You were supposed to understand," he whispered.

The same day

"And remember class," the teacher called after the departing students, "your project is due in next Monday."

"Great," Pietro winced, "which means I get to spend time with Toby."

"You'll be spending a lot more time with him actually," Lance said, sticking his foot out to trip a passing student.

"What? Why?"

" 'Cause Todd 'the Toad' Tolansky 'happened' to overhear us talking about Toby's power, and he ran straight to Mystique."

"That little rat!" Pietro snarled.

"Hmff, you get that with Todd," Lance shrugged. "Not much we can do about it now anyway."

"We can beat the shit outta the little snot," Pietro grinned.

"Pietro! I'm amazed at you! How could you even think of doing such a thing? Ok, let's do it!"

"You first," Pietro grinned.

"Oh no, I insist, after you."

Pietro stepped forward, gaining on the unsuspecting Todd not a few miles away.

That night

"I assure you Mrs McGivin, Toby will be perfectly safe with us," a shadowy figure drawled from his seat.

"But I don't see why he has to move," she protested, "if your organisation is run in this city there should be no need for it."

"Ah yes," Magneto smiled. "Well Toby will be working as a team and it's best for the team to be together for as long as possible, for them to work efficiently. For Toby to come back home each day instead of living with the rest of the boys will make him somewhat of a - how shall I put this? Outcast? Failure?"

"Well I do need to get back to my mother. She isn't well."

"Really; that's too bad," Magneto said with a sly smile.

"Yes it came on rather suddenly. What do you think Toby?"

"As if my life couldn't get any worse," Toby mumbled.

"What was that?"

"Nothing Mom. Sure, if you need to get back to Grandma."

"Excellent," Magneto said, rising from the chair. "Toby, I shall see you and your talent's tomorrow at 6:00 sharp. The sooner you come to live with the

rest of the boys, the better."


"You're moving?" Jean gasped.

"Yeah; but only to a different street. My Mom has to get back to L.A to my Grandma. It was really weird though, this guy just arrived out of nowhere, on my doorstep, and tells my Mom he needs me for his 'team,'"

"His what?"

"That's what I thought. So I showed him out after, and just as he was about to leave he said, 'Toby, I lied to your mother. I know you are one of us,' and then he flew! He flew up into the air! I ask you Jean am I crazy?" Jean said nothing. She was staring wide eyed, her hand over her mouth. "What?" Toby asked.

"Toby," she whispered, "have you ever been able to do things other people can't?"

"Huh?" Toby frowned.

"Watch Toby. I'm going to show you something." Jean closed her eyes. A ghost wind raised her hair, causing it to blow lazily around her face. She raised a hand and opened it slowly, pointing it at Toby. Suddenly Toby couldn't feel ground under his feet anymore.

"Jean, w-what are you doing to me?" Jean didn't answer. She just frowned, the effort of concentration evident.

"Jean what are you doing!?" came a panicked voice. Jean gasped, concentration broken, and Toby fell back to earth with a bump. "Jean this goes way past the boundaries!" Scott yelled. "I know you like Toby but you are not to show him your powers! He's not one of us!"

"One of us," Toby whispered, recalling the mysterious stranger's words the night before.

"But Scott," Jean protested, "I had too! Someone came to him last night and told Toby he was a mutant. Scott, what if he is?"

"Not if Jean," Toby whispered, "is." Jean gasped as Toby produced a ball of fire above his hand.

"Oh Toby," she whispered, "if only we had known."

6:00 Tuesday

"You're sure you'll be all right Toby?" Mrs McGivin asked worridly.

"As good as I'll ever be," Toby sighed. He felt so alone at the moment, he didn't really care if his Mum sent him off to Alaska.

"All right then. Bye Toby. Write to me. I love you."

"I love you too Mom," Toby smiled. Toby walked over to where the stranger from last night, and a woman, stood waiting.

"Hello Toby," smiled Magneto, "this is Mystique. She will be your mentor. I have to go now but you're in good hands."

Mystique smiled. "Shall we go inside?" she asked.

"Go, go, go, go!" Lance shouted, watching the t.v screen intently as Pietro's character grabbed Todd's by the arm, then proceeded to kick it senseless.

"Yes!" Pietro grinned, "victory is mine! Hey!"

Todd laughed, "watch it and weep sucker!" Todd's character did a victory dance on Pietro's character's head.

"No fair you cheated!"


"I don't know! But you must have because the great Pietro never loses!"

"The great Pietro has a few screws loose," Lance muttered.

"Boys," Mystique interrupted, "I would like you to say hello to Toby. He's the newest member of the Brotherhood."

"P-Pietro what are you doing here?" Toby gasped.

"Hey look Pietro," Lance smirked, "it's your 'partner.'"

"You shut the fuck up Lance!" Pietro snarled.

"Pietro!" Mystique snapped, "mind your manners. Lance, show Toby to his room."

"Yes Sir!" Lance grinned.

"Here it is," Lance said, opening the door. "It's really up to you how you set out your room, ah, oh yeah. Saturdays Mystique always makes us go for a run. I think she gets a kick out of watching all of us accept Pietro, crawl up that hill." He pointed out the window. "Anywayz, feel free to come down when you've finished un-packing." Lance began to make his way out. When he reached the door he stopped, "oh yeah. Toby?"


"Pietro's room is just next door." With a grin he left. Toby felt his face burning. So Lance really did know.

That night

Toby sat on his bed cross-legged, unable to sleep. Every time he tried to he could only think of Pietro, fast asleep next door. 'What is wrong with me?'

Toby thought. He stood and walked to the door. Opening it, he crossed to the one beside his, and laid a hand on the doorknob. 'What am I doing!?' he thought, 'I can't go into his room! That's just nuts. What am I doing standing out here?' Just as Toby was about to take his hand off the doorknob the door swung open to revel a half dressed Pietro, hair in a mess.

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhgggggg!" Pietro screamed, jumping back.

"Ahhhhh!" Toby screamed right back, whipping his hand away from the doorknob as if it suddenly burnt.

"What the hell?" came a muffled Lance's voice, his head popping out of his door. "Oh it's you two love birds. Well keep it down would ya? Some of us want to get some sleep. Don't tire yourselves out kids."

Pietro, bright red, turned on Toby faster than lightening, "what the hell do you think you were doing standing outside my door at 1:00 in the morning?"

"I, ah, umm, couldn't sleep." Toby stammered.

"Well what do you think you were gonna do in my room huh?" Pietro snapped, stabbing a finger at Toby's chest, "Jesus Toby, you're such a fucking pervert!"

This time it was Toby's turn to go bright red. "I am not! I wasn't going to go in your room! I was looking for the bathroom!"

"Whatever. I still think you're a pervert. Now if you'll excuse me, I actually do need to go to the bathroom."

Feeling like an absolute idiot, Toby shrunk back into his room.

A few weeks later

Toby had settled in as best as possible considering the circumstances. He still felt very alone, and if it weren't for his Mom, he suspected he'd have broken down or something by now. It was weird discovering you're Principle was actually a mutant, and a leader of the Brotherhood, but he was getting used to it. But the one thing he couldn't get over was Pietro.

Toby sat reading in the garden. It was a fine summer's day and he was enjoying a little peace and quiet.


Or he had been. Toby looked up from the magazine he was reading as Pietro backed his Porsche out of the garage and parked it. Next came buckets, soap, sponges and hose. All the utensils acquired Pietro stood back, made sure he had everything, then set to work. Pietro worked fast, the sun beat down, and in a few minutes Pietro was hot. Stopping work for a moment he took of his shirt. Toby gulped. Pietro, unaware that Toby was even there, continued

working. He began work on the bonnet, scrubbing away quickly and methodically. Stretching forward, Pietro reached across to the other side.

"Just a little further," Toby whispered. Pietro spotted a patch of dust even further across, and stretched forward even farther, backside out to compensate for the shift in body weight. Toby felt his breath quicken.

"Oi! Pietro!" Lance called. Pietro looked up, attention on Lance who was walking towards them. "Mystique's out. Catch." Lance threw a cigarette across to Pietro, lit the one in his mouth, then tossed the lighter to Pietro. As Pietro lit his Lance turned to Toby, "you want one?"

"No," Toby frowned, "in fact, I'm going inside."

"K," Lance shrugged.

Lance walked over to Pietro. "I think Toby likes your ass Pietro."

"He what?" Pietro asked, looking up from his work.

"He likes your toosh, butt, behind, rear end - shall I go on?"

"No," Pietro growled. "You really like rubbing it in my face don't you?"

"Oh no," Lance said, false shock on every feature. "I just wouldn't want you to forget just how much Toby fancies you. 'Specially your ass."

"Thank you Lance for that absolutely touching speech. Please, never, ever repeat it again."

"Come on. I know you find Toby's attention flattering, even if you don't return his feelings. You love the way he follows you around like a love sick puppy."

"I do not!"

"Yeeees you doooo."

"No. I don't."

"Pietro, look me in my sweet, love sick puppy eyes and say that."

"I don't love you Lance."

"Not even a little?"

"Bugger off."

Lance laughed. "Hand me a cloth and I'll help you. Love muffin."

Pietro threw a cloth at Lance. "I am surrounded by idiots."

When Pietro had finished the Porsche he stepped inside for a drink. As he walked into the kitchen he spotted Toby, sitting in a chair reading a letter. On the table was a bundle of small love notes from various girls around the town. Curiosity tweaked, Pietro sat down with his diet coke and picked up one of the love letters. It ran as so:

Dear Toby,

please, please meet me at the beach tonight. I'll bring something nice; champagne perhaps, my dad has some somewhere. Then maybe we can get to know each other a little better. Maybe, go swimming. I promise not to bring my bathin....

"Don't read that!" Toby snapped, snatching the letter away from Pietro's hand, face bright red.

"It's ok Toby," Pietro grinned, "I didn't read - much."

Still bright red Toby stuffed the note and the rest of the love letters into an envelope. "That was private. Don't you know you're not 'spossed to read other people's mail?"

"What?" Pietro asked, "it's not like it's something I haven't heard before. In fact I happen to be the one that line was written for." Toby snorted. "What you don't believe me?" Pietro asked, "come on Toby, it's not like you're in a position to say you wouldn't like to see me without a pair of boardshorts."

"Why? Are you offering?" Toby smiled, "cause if you are......" he leaned across the table, eyeing Pietro seductively.

Pietro leapt back as if he'd been slapped. "No! Of course I wasn't!"

"Oh," Toby sighed, returning to his seat, "pity." And he went back to reading his letter.

Pietro returned to sipping his coke, eyeing Pietro nervously across the table as if at any moment he might leap across it and kiss Pietro on the lips. Suddenly Toby gave a little gasp and sat forward eyes moving over the words at an incredible rate. "Oh no," he whispered.

"What," Pietro frowned.

"My Grandma, Mum doesn't think she'll live much longer. Pietro, I have to get to L.A!"

"Well what are you telling me for?" Pietro asked, "it's Mystique who can say whether you can go or not."

"When is she coming back?"

"I don't know, when she does." Toby gave a small noise of concern and rushed from the room, letter in hand.

That night

"Oh very well Toby you can go," Mystique threw up her hands in dispair, "but I want you to ring when you get there and tell me how long you'll be there. And Toby, if I say come back, you better come back."

"Oh thankyouthankyouthankyou!" Toby grinned.

"Don't mention it, especially seeing as Pietro will be paying for your ticket.

"I'll be what!?" Pietro exclaimed.

"Well you do have a bigger cash flow than me. I mean, your 'pocket money' alone is about 10 months work for me."

"I hate you," Pietro said, poking out his tongue.

"Don't make me kick your ass again," Mystique grinned.

"Now, now children," Lance spoke in an authoritative voice, "this is not how we resolve things in this house. We deal with the problem in an adult manner. I'll get the paintball guns!"

At the airport

"Bye guys," Toby smiled, "thanks for seeing me off."

"Hey no probs," Lance smiled, " 'sides Freddy and Todd don't get out much. This is a big event for them." He turned to Todd, "yes Toad, real people."

"Awww give me a break Lance," Todd whined, "I'm not that much of a social reject. Am I?"

"Yes. Yes you are."

"Awww man," Todd whined again, kicking at a stone.

"Flight 745 for L.A is now boarding. Please make your way to gateway 6. I repeat, flight 745 for L.A is now boarding...."

"See ya Toby," Freddy smiled, "bring me back something to eat."

"No problem Freddy," Toby smiled. "Bye, Lance, Freddy, Todd. Bye Pietro. I'll e-mail you." He began to walk away.

"Oi Toby wait!" Lance called after.


"This is for you," Lance grinned wolfishly, "don't open it till you're on the plane."

"Ok." Toby frowned, "see ya Lance."

As the plane began to lift off Toby opened the package. Inside was a letter,

'Thought you'd miss him while you were gone. This is for you. P.S check out those facials!' A small picture of Lance laughing was drawn at the bottom. Putting the letter down, Toby opened the tissue-wrapped item in the box. A picture of Pietro just about to fall in to a lake was inside. Pietro had a look of absolute shock all over his face. Smiling, Toby gazed at the picture then wrapped it up. He was going to miss them.