Title: Do you Think Pietro Meant Dominic or Domino?"
Summary: For andthexmen's Off-Season Fic Off #3. While Pietro is away during the events of Foresight, a miscommunication leads to uncertainty as to whether Avalanche or Domino will take control of the Brotherhood. And you thought the Phoenix was a force to be reckoned with. (Hopefully) funny BOM genfic.
Rating: T – language.
Characters: Toad and Quicksilver P.O.V., BOM ensemble. Glimmers of Blink and Senyaka.
Warnings: Well, it's humour, so everyone's a little over the top character-wise. Hopefully I'll be excused. As always, Canadian spelling abounds.
Disclaimer: Marvel, Marvel, Marvel, CYA, CYA , CYA. Apologies also to FedEx, CSI Miami, George Orwell, Mad Max and E.B. White.
"Wakey, wakey, eggs and bac-y." Three claps in rapid succession and Pietro's unnaturally chipper voice jolted Mortimer awake. Judging by the greyish pink light filtering through the living room window, it couldn't have been any later than six a.m. As Pietro darted out of the room, Mortimer swung himself into a sitting position, his neck stiff, his legs tingling from sleeping with them hanging over the edge of the arm chair.
From the sofa, Neena groaned. "We need to figure out a way to install a snooze button on him."
"Locks on the outside of his door, perhaps?" Dominic sauntered into the living room, idly scratching his chest hair.
She smirked. "That could work. I was thinking more along the lines of bullets to his kneecaps, though I guess your solution is less messy."
He jerked a thumb in Mortimer's direction. "Eh, we will make the kid clean it up. He has got to be useful for something, yes?" He hated when Dominic spoke like he wasn't even there. "Coffee?"
"Yeah, sure. Black as night, sweet as sin."
Mortimer was fairly certain she was quoting from something, but couldn't remember what. He piped up. "I'll take a coffee."
Dominic nodded and disappeared, heading towards the small kitchen. Neena yawned widely, stretching her arms above her head. "I still can't believe these people don't have tea. How do they live?"
Since their untimely eviction, the Brotherhood had been moving around every two to three days, trying to avoid both the MRD and the Acolytes, breaking into vacationers' homes or paying cash at motels when necessary. They'd made that mistake the first night; Pietro had used his credit card without thinking at a rat trap by the freeway and they had nearly gotten whipped--literally--because of it. Senyaka apparently lacked a sense of humour. Maybe when he recovered from that concussion Fred had given him though...
Footsteps in the hallway shook the picture frames, Mr. and Mrs. Blandly-Attractive-Yuppie-Suburbanite smiling from behind the glass despite the disruption. Of course they were smiling; they'd never had to sleep on their angular, impossible, post-modern furniture. "I'm just saying, if you're going to get a guy up with the promise of eggs and bacon, you should damn well deliver on it."
"We've been over this, Freddy, it's just an expression. I think I saw pancake mix in the cupboard though; I'll make us some after the meeting." Pietro and Fred appeared in the doorway, the latter having to squeeze thorough sideways with a pained frown to make it into the living room.
Neena rolled her eyes. "Oh good, we're having another meeting. These are always so effective."
"Don't hide your disdain, Dom. Please let me know how you really feel." He stuck his tongue out at her. Since being cut off from Genosha, Quicksilver had become less a hardass leader, more a parody of a cruise director during their briefings. Mortimer had never thought he would reach a point in his life where he dreaded a clipboard. "Okay, so today's directives... wait, where's Avalanche?"
The reply came from behind him. "Bringing coffee." Dominic entered, four mugs balanced carefully in his hands. He handed the first cup to Pietro, more cream and sugar than anything else.
Pietro drank gratefully before giving Dominic a sharp whack on his shoulder. He neither flinched nor spilled a drop. "Dom, so nice of you to grace us with your presence." If that had been Mortimer, there would have been coffee all over the sensible tan carpet, and he would have been burning with mortification instead of grinning broadly at their leader. Mortimer watched in disdain as Dominic walked right by him, delivering the second mug to Fred.
"Hey P, don't knock the man who gets me my caffeine." Neena shuffled over on the couch as he handed her the third cup and sat down beside her, drinking deeply out of the fourth.
Dominic smirked over the rim at Mortimer, daring him to ask where his coffee was. Mortimer sighed resignedly; Dominic being a jerk to him was nothing new. He stood up. Hopefully there was still some hot water left in the kettle.
"Uh, Mortimer?" Pietro quirked an eyebrow. "Clipboard? Entire Brotherhood assembled? Dapper leader in ass-flattering spandex? In case you hadn't noticed, we're having a meeting here. It's sit down time now." He patted his head condescendingly.
"Right." Ah, there was the mortification. Mortimer slumped back into his seat and avoided Dominic's smug satisfaction.
"Okay, so directives..."
"Do we really need to keep doing this so formally, Pietro?" Neena always actively participated in the governing of their team. Dominic spoke up only once per meeting, during new business, to petition Mortimer out of their group, and Mortimer also usually only spoke up once to defend himself. Fred rarely weighed in unless the topic was where they were going to order take-out from.
"What do you mean, Dom?"
"Mission briefings? Elaborate operation codes? We're not working for... Well, we're on our own now. I think going through all the trouble of directives isn't worth our time. We don't really need them; we already make sure that we do what needs to get done. The whole thing is kind of a lame horse at this point."
"See, I'm going to have to disagree with you on this. I think certain members of our team benefit from the focus and structure that meetings and set objectives provide." A large yawn undermined Pietro's point, and he glowered accordingly in Fred's direction. Neena stifled a giggle. "Ahem, anyway. As soon as night hits, we're out of this place. We've been here for way too long. I'm going to spend the day finding us a new location. Yes, Toad, before you ask, preferably one with beds for all of us."
Mortimer put down his hand.
"I'm also going to pick up a few essential supplies. So far I have tea, beer, cigarettes, ho hos, and bacon on the list. Anything else anyone needs for the time being? Remember, nothing big, we're traveling light." Pietro's pause for them to answer was miniscule.
"Okay, moving on. Domino, I need you to scout out the houses we plan to hit tonight, or at the very least, Google map them. We don't need a repeat of yesterday." Calling in a few favours from some undercover mutants who didn't know that things had soured between Quicksilver and Magneto, he had managed to get a list of the MRD members who had raided the Brotherhood's headquarters. The plan had been to hit the officers where they lived, since they didn't seem to have any qualms about doing it to other people. The Brotherhood had driven around for three and a half hours looking for 86 Eastgate Street W. last night before giving up. The address had turned out to be 86 Westgate Street E.
"Mortimer, I want you to clean up the mess we've made around here: dishes, moping, other domestic miscellanea. Blob, we need more gas. Either siphon it out of the neighbours' cars or stand in front of a tanker truck--gentleman's choice. Avalanche, I looked in the garage. Our lovely host has some tools that he's probably never used out there. I want you to patch the bullet holes in the SUV the best you can. At least try to make them less obvious."
Dominic drained his mug. "I hate to break it to you, but I do not think the authorities will stop shooting because our vehicle is too pretty to hit."
"We don't need the extra attention when we're driving around, Dom. Criminals always end up getting caught on things like minor traffic violations. Well, or tax evasion."
"I will work on a 1040A as well then, yes?"
Pietro was the only one who didn't smile. "You know, I don't know why I bother having these meetings if no one is going to take them seriously."
"Gee, what an excellent point. If only someone had brought it up earlier." The corner of Neena's mouth rose with her eyebrow. "I believe it was for the focus and structure we all clearly desperately need. Please don't stop now. You're doing us ever so much good."
Pietro's response died in a brilliant flash of purple light. Everyone was out of their seats in a second, muscles tense, eyes focussed on the new addition to the room. Mortimer had only met Clarice Ferguson on one other occasion, when Magneto had recruited him for the Brotherhood, but was glad she had the common sense to put her hands up in a surrender position. He would've felt bad if they'd had to take her out right away. She'd actually been nice to him.
"What do you want, Blink?" Pietro's voice was cold, clearly furious at himself for being found.
"Magneto needs you."
Pietro's knuckles went white as he balled his fists. It would've been fascinating to watch the rage and hurt and forced calm transition rapidly across his face if it had it not been for the fact that this was killing him. "My father made it perfectly clear the last time I saw him that he didn't need me. For anything."
"Apparently he does now. Look, you can either come with me peacefully or I can 'port you into a cell on Genosha by force before your team can stop me." She deftly javelined Neena's gun without looking from Pietro. "Either way, I'm not leaving without you. It's my hide if I don't bring you back. I'm just trying to give you an option here out of professional respect."
Pietro paused, calculating things in the ten seconds that Mortimer could only dream of. Of course, if he decided to fight, they would back him all the way, but Magneto had found his son twice already and he could do it again. Everyone in the room knew that. Pietro's shoulders slumped as he sighed. Mortimer exhaled as well; he hadn't realized he had been holding his breath.
"You hear that guys? Professional respect. 'Bout damn time I got that from someone around here." The tension dissipated as Pietro gave them a half-hearted smile. "Blink, any clue as to how long this is going to take?"
"No idea. I'm just glorified FedEx here."
"Alright." Pietro threw a roll of bills onto the end table. "I'm going to go with Blink. Sit tight for 24 hours, if I'm not back, find a motel and I'll catch up eventually. You shouldn't stay here any longer than that or you'll get pinched by the MRD for sure. Dom, I'm putting you in charge. You kids play nice while I'm away. Remember: directives plus clipboard equals triumph."
And with another eyespot-inducing flash, he was gone.
Had Mortimer's power been precognition--hell, even if he had better brain to mouth filters--he would've easily known to avoid asking the question that popped into his head. The Brotherhood members would've breezed through their tasks independently. No one would've had the need to flex their leadership muscles. They probably would've enjoyed some popcorn and free pay-per-view that night. Of course, thinking before he spoke was not one of Mortimer's strengths. "Huh. Do you think Pietro meant Dominic or Domino?"
Everyone froze, their expressions ranging from contemplative to confident to confused. Surprisingly, it was Fred who broke the silence. "Dominic. He's been on the team longer than anyone except Pietro."
Mortimer fervently hoped not; nobody rallied as hard against him as Avalanche. While Neena didn't particularly like him, she at least wasn't so vocal or active with her contempt. "I think he meant Domino. He usually assigns stuff like that with our code names. Also, Magneto put her as second in command when she joined the team." Mortimer shuffled his feet closer to where she stood.
"But Magneto's not in charge of us anymore."
Neena tried her best to salvage the terse situation. "Fred, Mort, this is silly. It doesn't really matter if it's Dominic or I; it's only for a few hours until Pietro comes back."
Dominic narrowed his eyes. "If Pietro comes back."
"Don't say that."
"You are forgetting maybe the time Magneto sent the MRD to capture Pietro?"
"To capture all of us. If that was why Blink came today, we'd be in Genosha right now. No polite questions, just one way teleport arrows to depowering cells."
"Perhaps it is a ruse. She did not expect to find us awake. She will come back for us when we are sleeping tonight."
"Now you're just being paranoid."
Fred stepped behind Dominic. "No, he's being a good leader. I don't want to get teleported away."
"Me neither." Mortimer felt the panic rise in his throat. Dominic puffed his chest out smugly.
Neena pursed her lips. "Really, Mort? You want to side with him on this?"
"Well, no." Dominic had never been anything but openly malefic towards him. "But I don't want to go back into another holding cell. The MRD was bad enough."
"See what you did, Avalanche? Your propaganda is scaring my teammate."
"Your ignorance of threats is scaring my teammate."
"I'm not really all that scare--"
"You shut up, Blob."
"Dominic does kind of have a poi---"
"Clamp it, Toad."
Dominic and Neena glared fiercely at one another. "If you are so full of the confidence that Pietro will quickly return, then you should not mind giving me lead until he does."
"Pfft, if I let you take charge, nothing is going to get done today and he's going to be furious with all of us when he comes back. I think you should just gracefully accept that he obviously meant me and we can get on with our day."
"Usurper." Dominic punched the wall, leaving an angry looking fist shaped divot in the plaster. Graceful acceptance was not his strong suit, apparently. "You should know he meant me."
"Yes, I can see why he would pick someone as calm and level headed as you."
Mortimer watched in fascination. Things were escalating at an alarming rate. "At least I am consistent. You are all three weeks of sunshine and baby animals and one week of thunder and scorpions." No, Dominic wasn't that stupid, was he? Surely he wasn't bringing up... that topic.
"What are you trying to say?" Okay, maybe Dominic spoke out of turn, but Neena was giving him a way out. He just needed to make something up that didn't involve--
"Women are simply not equipped to be leaders." Hrm, it appeared Dominic had a suicide wish that Mortimer hadn't known about. Though he wasn't sure whether Dominic actually believed that statement or was just saying it to push her buttons, the one thing Mortimer was absolutely certain of was Dominic was damn lucky that Blink had temporarily rid Neena of the gun she slept with. The rest of her arsenal was upstairs. As it was, she still managed to deliver three or four solid punches before Fred could pull them apart.
"If you value your balls you will learn to sleep with one eye open, Petrakis. I am taking them the second you fall asleep!"
"See, you are crazed with estrogen."
Neena closed her eyes, her lips silently counting to ten. "Not estrogen." Her voice was weary but calm when she spoke again, her eyes remaining shut. "Just always too much testosterone in my general vicinity. Can you put me down please, Fred?"
"Wait." Dominic looked genuinely wary. "Make her promise to leave my testicles alone first."
"I promise that they are safe—" Fred set her down with an unceremonious thump. "--for the rest of the day." Her serene smile was terrifying. Mortimer crossed his own legs, just in case.
"Well, we're clearly not going to come to an agreement on this."
"We would if someone was not being stubborn."
"I couldn't agree more."
"Aw, see, you guys are mending fences already." Mortimer liked it better when their death glares were trained on each other instead of him. "...Or not."
"Yes?" His voice cracked on the single syllable.
Neena's jaw was set. "Thank you for backing me. Let's get started on the list Pietro gave us."
"Come on Fred, we will prepare for when the Acolytes come to engage us in battle. Let us leave the chores to the womenfolk."
The decorative tea light and projectile slime wad hit the back of Dominic's head at roughly the same time.
Mortimer whistled as he folded the corners of the blanket under the mattress. This was preferable to trying to take down Sentinels any day. While he did hope that Pietro was coming back soon, he couldn't say he was sorry for having a day or two where the directive didn't involve people shooting at him. However, without Pietro to keep the peace within the Brotherhood, there was still a chance that stray shrapnel from the inevitable Thunderdome Avalanche versus Domino climax of fighting would hit him. Two mutants enter, one Mort bleeds.
He jumped instinctively, bumping the bedside table in the process. The lamp tottered then toppled, the wooden base splintering at his feet. "Geez, don't sneak up on a guy like that!"
"I wasn't exactly trying for ninja stealth." Neena was leaning casually against the door frame, her hands tucked behind her back--probably holding her guns. Maybe she and Dominic had struck a deal while he had been diligently working all morning: Neena permanently eliminated Mortimer for Dominic, and he conceded leadership. "I even knocked first. You were just sort of staring into space."
"Oh." He heaped the pile of lamp back on top of the table. "It's not that noticeable, right?" Nineteen years wasn't a terrible run, but he was a little disappointed. He'd always assumed accidentally eating some poisonous insect would be what eventually took him down. Still, there were worse ways to go. Neena was efficient, at the very least.
She bit her lip tactfully. "Not...really... I guess? It was ugly anyway." Mortimer noticed Neena was bouncing on the balls of her feet. She'd always talked about how excited she got before a hit. "So I brought you something."
"Pardon me?" Oh crap, she was probably going to kill him slowly if he took away her element of surprise.
"Uh... hot le dog. You know...hah...when people get excited sometimes they say, 'Hot dog!' So like that... but uh... more French."
She stared at him, shaking her head. "You are a strange little man, Toynbee. Here, grab a spoon." Neena produced two pudding cups from behind her back and took a seat on the bed. "I found these in the cupboard and thought you might want a snack with me. You've been at it for a while and could use a break." She peeled the corner of the seal up.
This was...unnervingly thoughtful of her. "Thanks. Is it chocolate?"
"No, I think it's--"
"Butterscotch pudding." Mortimer jumped again at the booming voice. "I heard it. Where is it?" How Fred had managed to get up the stairs and into the master bedroom without either of them noticing was a subject that would be debated by scholars for centuries.
"You... heard pudding?"
"No Mort, he didn't just hear pudding. He correctly identified the flavour based on sound. From a floor away."
"What can I say? I'm naturally talented."
"You know, I could help you hone those skills. You let me be the BOM team leader, and I'll have you finding tapioca while wearing earmuffs from miles off. Of course, you'd get to eat all the training supplies."
"I hear you talking but somehow this isn't getting me pudding right now and I'm not very interested."
"Oh, sorry. Here." She handed him her cup.
"No, I definitely heard two being opened. I can't follow someone who holds out on me. Today pudding, tomorrow important information."
"Mort, you don't mind, do you?" She was already handing his pudding to Fred before she finished the question, never mind waiting for an answer. Mortimer hadn't even gotten a spoonful.
"I mean you wanted chocolate anyway and I'll make it up to you. Fred, why don't you hang around for a bit and we'll chat?"
"Uh, sure. Mortimer, can you--?"
"Yeah. I'm going, I'm going." It didn't seem to matter what team he was on, he always got the short end of the stick. He might as well head down to the kitchen and get a start on the mountain of dishes.
He angrily threw flatware into the soapy water, enjoying the satisfying clatter of metal on metal. Mortimer vented his frustrations to the gerberas on the windowsill. "It's so freaking unfair, you know? Just... hell... Stupid Fred. Stupid Neena. Stupid Do--"
A heavy hand clapped him on his shoulder. "Hello, friend."
"Ack!" He startled for the third time in as many minutes. "Do you guys have some secret pact of trying to give me a heart attack?"
Dominic feigned pensive. And then he did something that was petrifying. He laughed. "No, I do not think that was on the secret plans list. I may petition for it at the next meeting though."
"I kid. Come, I persuaded the liquor cabinet to unlock. Have a drink with your pal Dominic."
Friend? Pal? What the hell was going on?
Persuaded apparently meant seismically opened and knocked over half the things in the den in the process. Dominic graciously poured him a drink and reclined in the chair opposite, casually taking drags of a cigarette as if this situation was the most natural thing in the world. Sure, Mortimer had heard of alternate universes, but he'd never really believed that they were possible up until this point. Leave it to the Brotherhood to find the one house in the neighbourhood with a wormhole that led to a dimension in which Dominic actually tolerated him. Or maybe he'd been replaced by a Skrull. His ears did look pointier than Mortimer remembered.
He tried for some conversation. "So, uh...did you guys finish proofing the house against the Acolytes?"
"Well, we were planning on it. However, we realized we cannot stop someone from teleporting here. But there was a CSI Miami marathon on Spike. If there is ever a murder, I am fully confident I have mastered the taking-off sunglasses movement necessary to catch the perp." He ashed on the floor. "Neena has had you working all morning, right? She is doing that so she will look better when Pietro returns, you know. She got good little Toad to follow his directives. How much work has she done?"
Her looking up the MRD officers' houses had taken all of about half an hour. She'd spent the rest of the morning in the bathtub. Mortimer had tried not to begrudge her; they were both doing what Pietro had asked of them. But still, she could've helped him.
They lapsed again into uneasy quiet, Mortimer managing a full thirty seconds before the pressure got to him. What was this all about? That other shoe needed to drop and fast for his sanity's sake. "Is this because I slimed you earlier? Did you put something in this?" Mortimer sniffed the drink.
"Only scotch. What, we cannot just enjoy a drink together?"
"Uh, maybe if we'd ever done it before. Let's face it, you've never been exactly sociable to me."
"I do not understand what you mean."
"Dude, are you kidding me?" Mortimer was incredulous. "Being a jerk to me is... like... your full time job. You're always trying to get me kicked off the team. I'm pretty sure you've almost accidentally-on-purpose tried to kill me during training exercises at least a dozen times. You're mean to me at every opportunity you get."
"Nothing serious. Just like the American fraternity movies, yes? I haze because I love."
"I really don't think that's tru--"
"Listen, little frog, I deserve to be the team leader. If you are not going to stand behind me, then you will not stand at all. A man in a coma does not get a vote."
Mortimer gulped so hard he was surprised he didn't swallow his tongue.
Dominic seemed to remember himself, laughing a little too late and too forced to be believable. "See? It is a funny joke between us."
"Yeah..." Mortimer chuckled nervously, guzzling the remainder of his drink. "Hilarious."
It was fine, really. Mortimer would just hide in the closet until Pietro came back. Even if Magneto had imprisoned him, it couldn't be for more than... what... twenty-five years before the old man croaked? Mortimer could wait it out. And the closet was pretty deep. He could conceivably camouflage himself amongst the piles of clothing for a decade or two. Judging by the massive shoulder pads on some of the suits and the blinding day-glo, it wasn't like the lady of the house cleaned her closet with a frequency greater than that.
After Dominic's dubious recruitment, Fred had sought Mortimer out, promising protection from Dominic and a chance to stand up to the clearly corrupt governing happening in the Brotherhood. They didn't need Dominic and Neena, they were their own people who could lead themselves. Everything would be shared equally. It would be a paradise. Mortimer had liked that idea, telling off Dominic while using the phrase "oppressed by the man" more than was practical in normal conversation as Freddy flexed his muscles threateningly. For five glorious hours, everything worked perfectly. Then they had decided to get pizza—the trick was to order it to an address a block away and then jump the delivery boy—and their fragile utopia had collapsed.
"I don't see why you get eight slices and I only get two."
"I'm putting myself on the line to protect you from Avalanche. I need the extra pieces."
"But I thought everyone was supposed to be equal."
Fred leaned back, the couch creaking ominously. "Well, everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others."
"That doesn't sound right."
"No, it definitely is. I read it in a book. I'm pretty sure that was the moral."
"You read a book?"
"Yeah, I don't remember what it was called though. It was terrible. It was about talking animals running their own farm, but it wasn't funny at all. They ruined a perfectly good idea."
"Oh, I read a book about talking animals! Was it Charlotte's Web?"
"Possibly...?" Mortimer thought he distinctly heard Neena snort from the hallway.
Deciding that this communism thing wasn't like the brochure, he had taken his leave after his last bite of crust. Of course, breaking off from Fred meant he no longer had any protection or affiliation. Which was why he had been in a closet for the last several hours.
He heard his teammates calling his name throughout the house, and pressed himself farther against the back wall. For a while, as always, he had escaped their notice. No one was much in the habit of thinking about Mortimer. Inevitably, though, it had seemed like they had realized that he was the deciding vote, and was nowhere to be found. Mortimer took back every wish he'd had of being an important member of the team. Insignificance was so much easier.
Three sets of footsteps entered the master bedroom, and Mortimer froze, holding his breath.
"You are in here, little frog. There is no sense in hiding."
"Come on Mortimer, you know Pietro meant me, you said so yourself. Just come out and tell them that you want me to be the interim leader and we'll be done with this."
"She wants to make you do work so that she looks better. I will not force you to do chores."
"Don't listen to Dominic. You're letting 'the man' win. He just wants to have power over you."
He could see a backlit Neena open the closet door, pulling on the light chord. Mortimer had wisely unscrewed the bulb hours ago. He hoped she would give up. "You're just as bad, Fred. You know what side doesn't have 'the man,' Mort? My side." She pushed forward into the jungle of shoes and purses, touching everything. Damnit.
"It just has ironing."
"Midnight, Petrakis. I dare you to fall asleep."
"So violent. Do you really want her leading Mortimer? I am a much better choice. Clearly who Pietro intended."
Neena's hand intrepidly forged through the pile of clothes Mortimer was hiding under, closing around his wrist. He could hear the triumph in her voice as she pulled him up. "Found him."
When Pietro arrived on the back porch at dawn in a distinctive mauve flash, he had to admit that he was feeling cautiously optimistic... and vaguely queasy. Teleporting had to be the worst way to travel. After satisfyingly vomiting into the rhododendron, he was left with only his optimism.
In one night, his father had ended up owing Pietro his life and losing everything that was important to him. He allowed himself a glorious moment to bask in the schadenfreude. And that wasn't his only victory, either. Wanda was letting him back into Genosha. Of course, he was older by almost a quarter of an hour and technically next in line to the Lensherr throne, but he could still deal with how the events of yesterday had settled. He really didn't want the responsibility of leading a nation anyway—four misfit mutants were hard enough, thank you very much. After years of scraping by, Pietro was ready to just enjoy life in the lap of luxury with his siblings. Presumably, since Blink sent him back here, the invitation extended to the rest Brotherhood. This would be one meeting they actually might pay attention for.
It was then he heard the frantic yelling. His stomach tightened-- the MRD had found them. He raced into the house.
"Blob, you stay out of the kitchen! The kitchen is my territory."
"The kitchen and bathroom are neutral."
"You're one to talk Dominic! You moved the tape, didn't you? It was at least two inches to the left of the TV before, and now it's only one and a half. I knew I shouldn't have taken that two minute nap. I should just shoot you between the legs right here."
"You are being crazy!"
"Crazy like a fox!"
"It's because he's a dirty lying area stealer, Neena. 'Stay out of the kitchen...' Pff, try to stop me."
"Tell them I did not move the boundaries, Toad!"
"Leave me alone! I am Sweden! I AM SWEDEN!"
Pietro stood unnoticed in the doorway of the living room, for once in his life completely and utterly lost for words. As far as he could tell, three transects of painters' tape neatly divided the house. Looking at the broken glass and overturned furniture, Pietro had no delusions that the boundaries were the only thing that were still neat in the house. They converged in a central circle on the floor of the living room, wherein Mortimer lay cowering in the fetal position. No one appeared to have slept or showered since he'd left.
Four heads snapped in his direction, various stages of guilt creeping across their features as they saw themselves through Pietro' eyes. Wordlessly, Fred and Dominic righted the sofa. Mortimer scuttled into an arm chair which was haemorrhaging stuffing onto the hardwood. Neena retrieved his battered clipboard and handed it to him, before taking a seat cross-legged on the floor. Eight eyes looked expectantly and obediently at him.
"Umm...does anyone care to tell me what happened?"
"Turns out I might have been a bit mistaken before." The rest of the Brotherhood nodded zealously along with Neena. "So, what are your directives for us today?"