Wasn't a damn thing worse than moving, Todd thought. He struggled to shove aside one of Pietro's boxes, feet braced against the Jeep's door for balance. The one Wanda had specified was somewhere under it, crammed insensitively by her brother to make way for his junk. He managed to wiggle it out, sending the boxes precariously perched on top crashing toward the front seat. Ignoring the mess Todd hopped down and made his way back toward the mansion.

He paused only to readjust his grip on the box and to make a face at the building. The X-men had opened their doors to them all in light of the recent increase of hate-crimes towards mutants. Not that they weren't grateful for the invitation. Still, that it had taken an almost emergency situation to consider opening their sanctuary to the Brotherhood, wasn't lost on the five of them. Todd suspected it had less to do with putting history behind them and more to do with having a lot of extra rooms left over after parents had yanked their kids out of Xavier's school.

Lance had been alright with the idea, for the obvious reason. Started with a 'K' and rhymed with 'titty'. Fred was partial to the idea, and Todd was the first to mention how not there Magneto had been the past few months - surprise, surprise.

He'd spoken without thinking, something he was unfortunately apt to do. That little gem had earned him a glower of pure ice from Wanda, something worse than anything Pietro had to throw at him. Sometimes he forgot she didn't hate her father anymore. And it didn't change the fact that Todd did, for reasons he still couldn't tell her. That jackass had left them twice now.

Luckily, the founder of the X-men now saw them as potentially useful. Or maybe just too pitiful to watch flounder about on their own any longer. Either reason didn't sit very well with Todd. Yet for some reason, when Xavier had assured them they would be safer at the Mansion, Todd was able to believe him. Huh. Weird.

And hey, at least there was a pool here, right? Always had to look on the bright side of life. That and Wanda was letting him help carry her stuff in. She didn't seem to be as frosty toward him as she had yesterday, which was a good sign. And on a further good note -

BAMF!

Blue encompassed his vision, making Todd lose whatever optimistic hope he'd been about to start on next. He shrieked, losing his grip on the box and stumbling back to land on his ass. From inside the box came the ominous tinkle of broken glass. Crap. Maybe she would blame Pietro?

"Ach! Sorry!" Kurt apologized, offering a hand to him.

Todd huffed and jumped to his feet without taking it. He picked the box up again and scowled at Kurt, trying to regain some dignity. "Yo, whatsa matta wit you, fool? Tryin' to scare a guy to death?"

"No, actually, I came to do a kind deed and warn you." Kurt looked behind him furtively. "Kitty's made you all some welcome cookies."

Todd grimaced. Replace 'welcome' with the word 'doom' and it was a great deal more accurate. Even Toad couldn't keep down one of her treats, as he'd discovered to his immense woe. "A'ight, I'll steer clear of the kitchen."

"That might do you no good. She's walking around with a platter of them."

"Ugh. Yo, thanks for the heads up." Todd picked the box up and was rewarded with more broken glass noises. Cursing under his breath, he walked through the doors and headed to the staircase.


Pink. Whoever had last lived in this pristine little cell of a room had painted the walls pink. And they had left a bottle of nail polish in the dresser drawer that had leaked glittery magenta all over the bottom. Wanda had tried scratching it out with her nails, succeeding only in bending one of them back.

Now the stupid dresser was missing a drawer altogether. The remains of something wooden and vaguely rectangular were splintered over the pavement just outside her window.

Wanda was now sorting through her boxes frantically, band aid wrapped around her middle finger and cursing as she tried to find drapes or posters or something that could help hide this horrid, hellish pinkness.

Someone knocked on her door in an annoyingly upbeat fashion. "What?"she snapped, already knowing who it was.

"Hey, it's me, baby doll. Brought ya another box."

She gestured to a corner, not bothering to turn around. Not until she heard the sound of damaged goods.

Todd winced as he heard it too, though he'd tried to set it down carefully. Wanda's eyes were on the box, noticing how banged up it looked. "What did you do, play football with it?" she snapped, walking over to it. Todd moved aside, wisely, mind whirling for an excuse. She couldn't know that he'd dropped it or there'd be hell.

"It looked like that in the jeep, yo. Pietro just dumped everything on top of yo stuff."

"My brother owns more clothes than anything, he doesn't have anything heavy enough to - FUCK!" She pulled out a few picture frames that had shattered, glass ripping the photo underneath. Todd saw a picture of two children, white-haired and black-haired, hugging a tall, smiling woman. He had no time to determine whether she looked more like Wanda or Pietro before the picture frame and all was tossed violently into another box. Wanda kicked an empty one in her frustration, the boiling point of her temper reached.

"Those were things that belonged to my mother, you asshole!" She railed at him. Todd backed up a few steps. There was at least a decade's worth of pain in her voice. Todd remembered the look he'd been given yesterday when he had mentioned Magneto's absence. Well, fuck. He'd really put his foot in it this time, hadn't he?

"Babycakes, lookit, I'm really s-"

"Sorry? That's what you're going to say? Sorry?" Her voice was on the edge of hysteria. "I can't go back to take another picture with her, can I? I can't get another glass rose for my eleventh birthday, can I?"

"M'sorry, okay? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to drop it-" Todd protested, backing up. His shoulders hit the door, making it swing open further.

"So you dropped it! Very nice, you lying little shit! First you think it's funny my father's ditched us, now you're dropping the only things I have left and you're too much of a shit-eating little coward to fess up!"

"Wanda, sh-"

"I hate you!" Something exploded next to Todd's ear against the wall. All he could see was Wanda's face. And he believed it. He felt behind him for the doorknob.

"I . . . uh . . . o-okay. You know what, you're really upset so I-I'll just leave, then."

"No!" She gestured and the door slammed, nearly catching his fingers. Todd gave a little shriek, snatching his hand out of harm's way. "I want you to listen to me." Wanda's voice was trembling. She seemed unable to say whatever it was she wanted to and moved her mouth soundlessly. She swallowed, making a strangled noise, then let all her breath out in an uneven little gust.

Fuck. Oh, fuck. Was she crying? Was she about to start? Concern stirring up a hornet's nest inside him, Todd stepped forward, unable to stop himself. "Babe -"

"What the hell makes you think I could ever love you?" she bit out. The words stopped him cold. "Of all the pricks I've ever met, you're the most low-life, self-centered, perverted scum bag I've ever known! What could you ever offer me?"

Todd stared. She didn't mean it. She was just upset. "Wanda-"

"What could you ever offer me? Huh? I'll tell you! There's fucking nothing you could give me that I want!" She yelled at him. "For fuck's sake, look at you! You don't bathe, you don't wash anything you wear, you fucking live in trash! You talk like a - a third-grader on dope, and you eat insects! You think I or anyone else wants to have kids who do that kind of shit too? Fuck, Toad, you're barely even human! Why would you want to pass that on to anyone!"

Wanda trailed off, her fury at the world and everyone in it having banked considerably. She said nothing more, simply stared ahead, mulling over everything that had just spewed out of her mouth as though newly contemplating what she'd actually meant. When she next looked at Todd, she was startled out of any lingering rage by the sight of how badly he was shaking.

Todd's eyes were closed as well, yellowed teeth bared as he breathed irregularly. He looked up at her, swallowing hard to clear his throat. It took him a few tries, her words still echoing cruelly in his memory.

"Y-You . . ."

Barely even human.

"O-Okay. I-I'll . . ."

Barely even human.

". . ."

Barely even human.

Todd wrenched the doorknob and gratefully felt it give. He shoved it open, letting it bang against the wall and took off at a run.

Wanda watched after him mutely. For a moment, she felt a pang of regret. She'd wanted to give the little bastard a clue, not hurt him. At least not that badly. Her fingernails dug crescent tattoos into her palms and she pulled the door closed.

She'd talk to him later, when she'd fully calmed down. Right now she was probably the last person he wanted to see.