Disclaimer: I own nothing except Toby. If you don't know who he is by know go find out!

"Lance Alvers please report to the Principal's office," came the voice over the loud speaker.

"Oh man," Lance whined, "what did I do now?" He stood up from his chair, collected his books and swung his bag over his shoulder.

"Have fun Mr Alvers," the teacher smirked. Lance gave a small fake laugh which said more than words could, 'wow I have so much respect for your crapp sense of humour.'

"I swear it wasn't me that put purple food colouring in the sprinkler system!" Lance said as he walked into Mystique's office.

"You what!?!" Mystique snapped.

"Ah, nothing. Did I say purple food colouring? Forget I said that."

"Frank, check the sprinkler system please," Mystique spook into the intercom. "Now," she turned to Lance, "what I really want to talk to you about is whether you can cook dinner again Friday night?"

"Uh sure," Lance said, a little suspicious, "why?"

"I'm bringing someone over," Mystique smiled, "don't tell the others, I want it to be a surprise. Oh, and it's your job to see that the other's don't go anywhere Friday. I want them to meet Stan too."

Lance frowned, and then it dawned on him just what this meant.

"Ohhhhh," Lance smirked, clicking his tongue and pointing his fingers in a gun shape at Mystique, "gotcha! Will you be requiring some alcoholic beverages to go with this dinner? Of course if so, you must realise that we shall require some too."

"Oh whatever you want," Mystique snapped, "just make it happen."

"Right Boss!" Lance gave her a mock salute, and left the room.

After school

"So that's why she's been acting so weird!" Pietro said, "she has a boyfriend! Well that clears up a lot of weird shit that's been going on in our house."

"Yeah, but remember you guys, you're not meant to know about this so when this Stan character comes over act surprised."

"Yes Sir," Pietro said, hopping into the passengers seat of Lance's jeep.

"Oh, does this mean we get to go to supermarket?" Freddy asked.

"Yes," Lance sighed, "but remember Freddy; control."

"Oh goody!" Freddy clapped his hands.

Pietro shook his head, "that is sad."

"So all of you are coming?" Lance asked, a little taken aback.

"Of course," Pietro said, "if we left the shopping to you we'd all be eating commercial meat and that disgusting thing you call desert."

"It's only jelly Pietro!" Lance cried in exasperation.

"Yeah, and it has cows hoof in it," Pietro shot back.

"And I'm coming because if I don't we'll all be eating low fat everything and carob instead of chocolate!" Todd chimed in.

"Carob's better for you," Pietro snapped, "honestly if I wasn't here you three would be bloated giants craving sustenance RED LIGHT RED LIGHT!" Pietro yelped as Lance almost sped through a very busy intersection.

SCREEEEECH!

Lance slammed on the brakes and brushed a strand of his dark hair out of his eyes. "Sorry," he shrugged, "kinda spaced out a little, automatic reflex when you guys start talking."

"If you'd been going faster you would have made it," Pietro sniffed.

"IF HE'D BEEN DRIVING FASTER HE WOULD HAVE KILLED US YO!" Todd yelled, pale and wide-eyed from shock.

"Oh you're such a drama queen," Pietro sighed, checking in the rear view mirror that his hair still looked as good as it had when he'd entered the car.

"Are we there yet?" Freddy interrupted.

"Hello there," Pietro grinned, flashing a smile at two blondes in the car opposite them.

"I said are we there yet!?!" Freddy yelled. The two blondes giggled and drove off as the light went green.

"Oh man," Pietro whined, "I was so gonna score! Why'd you have to open your mouth Freddy? Honestly, you're like a small child."

"Am not!"

"Are too!"

"Am not!"

Are too!"

"NOT!"

"ARE!"

"NOT!"

"ARE ARE ARE!"

"NOT NOT NOT!"

"Will you two cut it out!" Lance shouted, "look there's the supermarket, now if you're good I'll buy you all an ice-cream."

"Oh yay!" Pietro clapped his hands in mock child-like delight, "I want candy in it, and can I have it chocolate dipped Lance? PleasePleaseWithChocolateSauceHundredsAndThousandsWhippedCreamAndACherryOnTop!?!"

Lance rolled his eyes and said very slowly as if Pietro wouldn't understand, "yes, and if you're reeaally good I'll let you up-grade from a kiddies cone to a single!"

"Yay!" Pietro mocked. After parking the car the Brotherhood wandered into the supermarket. Lance took the trolley and began to wander down the various isles.

"Oh look!" Freddy enthused, "milkduds! Pleeeease Lance?"

"Look what I found," Pietro zipped up beside Lance, "frozen yoghurt! In this store! What a score!"

"Oh, oh, oh what the hell is that!?!" Todd pointed, "kiwifruit? Cool! Let's get some!"

"No!" Lance snapped, "we're going to buy ingredients for dinner tomorrow, a special dinner. Now quit acting like a couple of first graders."

"But Lance, frozen yoghurt!"

"Yeah, and kiwifruit, it's quirky and fun!"

"No! Nonononononono! Now put that away!"

"Yes mommy," Pietro sneered, "I'm sooooo sowwee."

"Just put the yoghurt away."

"Phew, I'm glad this is almost over," Lance sighed as he walked back to the trolley carrying a chicken.

"Are we almost done?" Pietro asked, swinging on the supermarket trolley a look of absolute boredom on his face.

"Yes," Lance sighed.

"Good," Pietro said, "cause I'm bored. BoredBoredBoredBoredBored."

"GRRRR," Lance growled, "you are being so irritating today. What is wrong with you?"

"I told you," Pietro repeated, "I'm bored."

"You know what you need?" Lance said as he placed the shopping on the counter, "you need to do something! That's what most people do when they're bored. Now give me your wallet and go find Freddy and Todd. I'll meet you at the car."

"Rodger chief!" Pietro saluted Lance and sped off. The young lady at the check out counter blinked in disbelief.

"Heh heh, sure moves fast huh?" Lance began.

Back at the Brotherhood house

"I'm really looking forward to this Lance," Mystique smiled as she helped the dark-haired teen back away the shopping.

"Yeah well I better get paid for this," Lance said, "you wouldn't believe how bloody annoying Pietro was today! He hasn't been like that for ages!"

"Hmmmm, yes," Mystique nodded, "I've noticed a steady increase in annoying habits during the last few weeks. And that's saying something! Maybe we should arrange a little 'get together' with

Xavier's students. Let him blow off some steam. He hasn't been going for his daily run recently and I'm guessing he has a lot of energy to burn."

"Maybe," Lance smirked, "or maybe he's just missing a certain someone."

"What on earth are you talking about?" Mystique snapped, "did you and Pietro invent some kind of code one night just to torment me or does that actually mean something?"

"Sorry. Mom's the word," Lance winked, tapping the side of his nose, "things that fly high and elude us may soon go thwack."

"Why do I even bother talking to you!?!" Mystique cried, throwing her arms heaven-ward.

"Search me," Lance shrugged.

"No thanks," Mystique growled, walking out of the kitchen.

"Your loss!" Lance called after her.

Friday

Lance wiped the thin sheen of sweat of his forehead and let out a long breath.

"Finally," he murmured to himself, "I'm done. Now to get cleaned up and by then dinner will be ready." Lance quickly made his way upstairs to the shower and treated himself to a long, hot soak under the showerhead. He had just finished towelling himself off and was wrapping the towel around his waist when Pietro burst in.

"Now Lance I want the absolute truth; does this turtleneck make me look fat?"

"What the fuck!?!" Lance said in disbelief, "Pietro I could have been naked when you barged in here! Does the word 'privacy' mean anything to you?"

"Oh right. Whoops," Pietro pulled an 'I'm so sorry please don't hurt me' face, "so does it?"

"No!" Lance shouted, "I don't think there's anything on this earth you could wear that would make you look fat!"

"Really?"

"Yes! Except maybe a Mr Pop and Fresh suit," he added as an after thought.

"Thanks!" Pietro beamed and with that the speedster left the bathroom.

"I swear that guy get's weirder every day," Lance muttered.

The Brotherhood sat in boredom watching tv and waiting for Stan to make his grand entrance. Pietro, who couldn't pass up the opportunity to make a good first impression was dressed in a black turtleneck and some expensive Ck pants. Todd and Freddy, well they didn't really care what Mystique's boyfriend thought so they were dressed pretty much how they normally were.

"Do you think we should start a band?" Pietro asked suddenly, grabbing Todd's last gummi bear and popping it in his mouth then spitting it out when he remembered his diet.

"Huh?" Todd frowned, "where did that come form?"

"Well, I've been thinking y'know, and it seemed like a good idea when I opened my mouth. I mean, I could be the gorgeous lead singer, Lance could be the rebellious bass guitarist; you Todd could be the lead electric guitarist and Freddy can be the drummer who is liked only by a few select fans."

"Yeah, except none of us have any music talent at all!"

"Lance does," Pietro said.

"Really?" Todd asked.

"He can play the violin. He hides it and only plays it when he thinks we're all out. He's actually really good."

"The things we learn," Todd shook his head in wonder.

7:30

"Hello!" Mystique called from the front door as she deposited her coat on one of the hooks by the door. "I'm sorry," she said, turning to a tall, but slightly hefty, man of about mid 30's, "they usually have enough manners to open the door." 'They are so going to regret not opening the door!' Mystique thought. She led Stan into the lounge where Pietro, Todd and Freddy were happily vegetating, Cookie on Todd's lap.

"Boys," Mystique smiled, "I have a surprise for you."

Pietro looked up and arranged a look of surprise, "oh Mystique, you didn't!" he cried, "my very own middle-aged man! I promise to take the very best care of him! I'll walk him every day!"

Mystique blushed more than a little embarrassed. "Pietro," she hissed in her 'I'll deal with you later so don't push your luck' voice.

"Mystique?" Stan frowned.

"Ah, it's a pet name for me. These boys just love me half to death you know!"

"Or you'd beat us half to death," Todd muttered.

Mystique gave a nervous laugh, "well anyway, boys, this is Stan. Stan, this is Pietro, Todd and Freddy. And our kitten Cookie."

"Hi," the three boys said, their voices totally devoid of emotion.

"Well you just make yourself at home Stan," she smiled ,"I'll see how Lance is getting on." Pietro watched Mystique leave the room then settled his eyes on Stan. Pietro smiled, his blue eyes regarding Stan in very much the same way a tiger eyes it's prey.

"So; Stan," Pietro smiled, "how did you and Mystique meet?"

"Well we meet through the school really," Stan smiled, utterly oblivious to Pietro's state of mind, "my last job didn't go to well and I decided to try my hand at improving school living standards. My friend Frank is the janitor at your school and I was talking with him when Raven showed up; and well we just hit it off straight away."

"So you're a janitor," Pietro said, not even bothering to hide his contempt.

"Well yes, but I like to think of it as - "

"And you met through work?" Pietro interrupted, making small tsk tsk sounds as he shook his head from side to side.

"Yes but I don't see what's so wrong with that," Stan began.

"75% of office relationships end in a suing of over 20 million usually in the woman's favour," Pietro stated.

"Look Pietro," Stan tried again.

"And I don't think janitors make that much; do they Stan?"

"I-I'm sure Raven would never do that to me!" Stan stammered.

"That's what you think," Todd snorted, joining Pietro in the merciless interrogation.

"Yep," Pietro nodded, "chews 'em up and spits 'em out."

"Total control freak," Todd added.

"Stan! Boys!" Mystique called, "dinner's ready!"

"Whipish!" Pietro nodded to Stan, cracking a make believe whip.

"Stan, this is Lance," Mystique said as the group entered the dinning room.

"Hi Stan," Lance smiled, extending a hand. Stan eyed it as if touching it could cause instant death. Lance took his hand back and raised an eyebrow at Pietro. Pietro twirled his finger by the side of his head and mouthed, 'total whack job!'

"Oh Lance I knew I could rely on you!" Mystique gushed as Lance bought out the bowl of steaming rice and a wok of stir-fry.

"She relies on him for a lot of things," Pietro said suggestively, nodding at Stan knowingly. Stan gulped and sniffed the wine Lance poured him before taking a nervous sip.

"So, how was your day boys?" Mystique asked.

"Detention," said Todd.

"Detention," Freddy nodded.

"Detention," Lance sighed.

"I was going to say two detentions but then I'll be the odd one out," Pietro said.

"You boys are such crack-ups!" Mystique laughed, giving them all a hard glare, "they love to do this to me. Boys will be boys."

"Of course," Stan answered, laughing a little. Relieved, Mystique laughed too. The Brotherhood exchanged glances. Pietro mouthed at Lance, 'I told you. Total whack job!'

After dinner they moved into the lounge and flopped down on the couches.

"Well that was delicious Lance," Stan smiled, having long since decided that Lance was the safest person to talk too.

"Thank you," Lance said, "I'm glad you liked it."

"They always say you can tell how much someone liked a meal by how much they ate and by the amount Stan ate we can say he really did enjoy your meal Lance," Pietro piped up.

"Pietro," Mystique hissed, shocked that the speedster would ever dare to say something like that in front of her.

"Whipish," Pietro said simply, making eye contact with Stan to make sure he got the message.

9:00

By the time Stan had left Pietro had succeeded in utterly terrifying him, which has to be said, was something the speedster found extremely entertaining. Unfortunately, Mystique did not.

"PIETRO!" she roared, "WHY MUST YOU TURN EVERY GUY I BRING HOME INTO A SHIVERING WRECK!?!"

"I'm sowwee mommy," Pietro said in a small child's voice, "pwease don't hurt me. I don't wanna go inna box."

"I'm going to hang you from the tree by your underpants!"

"Hmm," Pietro mused, 'should I wear boxers or briefs?"

"That's it! You're going in the tree!"

"Owww! Mystique put me down! It was just a joke! Hey, careful! These pants cost me $1000! Mystique! You don't want to do this! I have strange and mysterious powers! Wooooohhhhh! Are you scared yet? MYSTIQUE! Arrgh! Everyone at school is so learning about your drinking problems! I'll tell the authorities you bash kids! Actually, that's true. Mystique, let me down! MYSTIQUE!"

"If you're not quiet Pietro I'll duct tape your mouth shut," Mystique called out.

"Ohh, that's gotta hurt," Todd said as he looked out the window to where Pietro hung from the tree in the front yard.

"5 bucks says he doesn't get down for half an hour!" Lance said, looking up at his friend.

"10 bucks says he can do it in 15 minutes, but he'll rip his pants to get down," Todd answered.

"You're on!" Lance grinned.

15 minutes later an almighty RRRRRRRIP followed by a loud THUMP signalled the bet's winner.

"I'll take that," Todd grinned, collecting his $15. A moment later Pietro walked into the house a hand over his butt to cover the rip.

"Don't say anything," he warned.

"It's a pity Toby isn't here," Lance snickered, "this scene could have been that much more amusing."

"Oh go fuck yourself Lance," Pietro snapped.

"No thanks," Lance called after the disappearing Pietro, "I prefer a girl to be involved!"

"Pity," Pietro's voice floated back, "cause no girl would touch you with a 10 foot pole!"

" Ohh, that was nasty. Fortunatly, I know how to get you back.I'm going to tell Toby you love him!"

"Lance don't you dare!"

"I'm ringing him now!"

"Lance put the phone down! Lance! If you so much as breath!"

"Hello, is Toby staying here? Yes I'll wait."

"Lance put the phone down. I'll give you money. You like money right? Lots and lots of money!"

Lance grinned nastily, "Toby? Hi, it's Lance! I just rang to give you a message."

With a yell Pietro dived at Lance, sitting on his chest as he tired to wrestle the phone form his grip.

Toby frowned into the phone as he listened, "Lance! Give me the phone! Owww! Don't! Give me the phone! Toby, Piet - Shut up! Fuck that hurt! I'll do it again! Now give me the phone! No Pietro don't hang u - beepbeepbeepbeep.......

"Oooooookay," Toby said, putting the phone back down.

"Grrr! You are this close to finding yourself locked in a dumpster!" Pietro snarled, punching Lance once more for good measure, "you so did not want to do that!"

"Sure I did," Lance managed to gasp out, grinning.

"Why do I even bother?" Pietro cried, "the next time you pull a stunt like this I'm really going to teach you what pain is like." And with that he left the room.

For a moment there was silence and then Freddy ventured, "so, does Pietro really love Toby?"

At this Lance cracked up laughing and didn't stop until Todd threw a pillow at him and threatened to dye Cookie pink.