Juvie. It always came back to that fucking place. No matter how fast Tommy ran, it always, always caught up with him. He had just hoped for more time to mentally prepare himself before it caught up. To tell himself he could stand up to whatever they threw, that the only reason his cell mates looked like giant, grotesque monsters was because he had been a panicky little kid, not because they were actual monsters. Or to at least have some backup when his luck ran out.
"Aww, did Twitchy miss us?" the red skinned, collared boy smirked as he threw another red hot punch. "Cause we sure missed you." A bolt of electricity flew over his head, forcing him further down the alley. No matter how many times he had said he would stand up to them, force them to leave him well the fuck alone, he couldn't. Pathetic, weak, useless.
"I'm just sad he didn't bring his new friends to play with us. What's the matter, spaz, you embarrassed? Or do you think that bitch would like us so much she'd drop your fucking ass?" The floor melted under his feet, super reflexes the only thing keeping his feet from burning off. Don't answer them, don't even acknowledge that they're talking. Shut them up and move on.
"It's probably a good thing they ain't here. Boss man wants you back." They stopped throwing their powers at him, the walls, floor, everything surrounding him melted into slag.
"Oh? So he decided to send you chuckle fucks to try to bring me? Like you could catch me." Of course they saw right through his bravado, their smirks blooming into huge smiles. Red, they never had names only numbers only descriptions, not human only tools, pulled out a small black rectangle.
"You think Doc didn't prepare for you running like the bitch you are? You were never free. He just didn't want you back then." Pain exploded from his spine, electricity arching his back, forcing him to the ground. "You should have stayed away from the whole hero thing. Then you might have escaped."
Rough hands grabbed his arms, slinging him up and over the shoulders of the second boy, younger than him but much more receptive to the training, before they made their way to the parking lot at the end of the alley. The doors to an unmarked white completely inconspicuous van opened. He groaned as he hit the floor.
"Say goodnight, Twitch." A shadow moved out of the corner of his eye, the sound of something splitting the air, and everything went dark.
It was cold, freezing actually when he woke, the sharp edges of the whatever-the-hell he'd been chained to cutting into his back as the water lapped at his waist. He groaned, head falling back against the, rock? Yeah, a rock. How fucking cliché can you get?
"Thomas, I see you've awakened." Opening his eyes, looking straight up he saw the Doc, the Boss Man, Warden, whatever name he was going by now staring down from the hole. "You have become a true thorn in the Center's side."
"Where do I collect my prize?" he slurred. Fuck, probably a concussion. A small metallic groan came from somewhere in the room. The sound of rushing water just got that much louder.
"You already have. You're going to preform one final test for the Center. We've seen how your body responds to many, many different forms of stimulus. You remember the fire, the shocks, the knives, correct?" Silence. "Now now, boy, there's no need to be quiet. I'm sure the freezing water has completely numbed your legs. It has to be painful. You can scream if you think it will help, like the other tests. And like the others, it will do nothing to soothe your pain."
The light dimmed as a heavy grate was shoved over the hole. Only three small holes let any light in, and he turned to look down at the room. It was dark, cold, but thank god it wasn't small. "We have been wondering how best to remove you from the picture." Doc's voice was muffled, but the smile in it had him trying to fight the chains again. He was too young to die. "Your powers come from moving fast. I want you to feel the cold slowing you down before you pass away. I want to see the helplessness on your face one last time." Accelerate the chain, blow it up, escape. He had to try, had to do something. "You remember the rubber coated chains, don't you? The special blend kept you in your cell?" Panic set in, the water sloshing around him as he tried anything to break free, legs not responding. "Fight all you want. Let the energy and heat escape you. It's a shame your friends won't be able to find you in time. I'm sure they would like to say 'goodbye' before getting sent deep into the Center themselves." Footsteps echoed through the room, followed by a door slamming.
"They'll come for me," he said, grabbing hold of the chains to try and keep himself as out of the water as possible. "They have to." A squeak, and the sound of rushing water came, ice moving further up his body.
"God, Billy, don't be late this time."
"You have reached 973, 555-" Billy groaned as he hung up. Again. Third time in the past half hour. The whole team was supposed to meet up to go catch a movie, they had the tickets and everything. And Tommy was missing.
The front door to the base shut, two sets of footsteps echoing. "His communicator says he's still here," Teddy said, looking up to the offices turned bedrooms as soon as he turned the corner. "Are you sure he's not up there? He could be hiding under the bed again."
"I looked everywhere in this warehouse, including under the beds, in the closets, and in the showers," Kate said, crossing her arms. "I take it he hasn't picked up."
"His phone's just going straight to voice mail. Fuck it, location spell. We're going to be late at this rate." Teddy took the phone from him, and they both stood back as he started the spell.
Dark, cold, wet, numb, arms hurting, legs unfeeling, Billy gasped as the spell took a life of its own. This had never happened, glimpses of where the person was, a tugging in the correct direction sure, but never feeling what they felt. Light came back, a heavy head lifting to look around the room.
"Billy?" Tommy's weak voice rang through the darkness.
"I'm here Tommy." His voice sounded strange to him. He must have said that out loud as well.
"Hurry, please. So, cold." The darkness settled back in, his head falling down to his chest. Panic overtook him as he wrenched himself from his twin, shooting up through the ceiling, through the upper floors, out the roof, and over a familiar facility. The spell completed, and he felt the familiar jerk back to his body.
Eyes opened as he landed, and the air around him seemed to freeze. Or was that just him? Either way, he wrapped his arms tight around him, shivering. "Juvie. They caught him. We have to go now."
"Weapons and full costumes?" Kate asked, face grim. She and Teddy exchanged a glance at Billy's shivering. How he kept his hands steady enough to cast was a mystery to him, but the spell completed, their costumes in place.
"Is it that bad?" Teddy asked, stepping closer as Billy started the teleportation spell. Billy pulled his cape closer, trying to ward off the cold.
"Get ready to teleport. I'm not leaving that place standing." The other two glanced at each other at his non-answer. It was worse than they thought.
"Thomas, wake up." A light jolt of electricity ran through the chains, forcing his eyes open. All he could feel was pain.
"Please, just let me sleep," he whispered what was supposed to be a stern order. Fuck.
"Now now, Thomas. I thought you would like an update on how far through the test you were." He couldn't even force his head up to look at the man. "You have done quite well so far. Can you feel your body shutting down? Your heart rate has fallen far below a humans. Perhaps if we had tried this sooner you could have been cured from your unnaturalness."
"I just want to sleep."
"I know, boy. But you can once I have finished speaking. Did you know your idiotic friends have tried to break in?" They had come? A smile grew across his face. "Unfortunately for you they are now my guests. Perhaps your sacrifice can aid in the recovery of others. Goodbye, Thomas, may you find healing in the next life." The chains holding his hands broke free from the rock, falling into the water, submerging him completely.
"Where are they all coming from?" Teddy yelled over the battle, punching out yet another guard. Ten minutes since they had gotten to the center, and the stream of guards showed no signs of slowing.
"I don't know, but I'm getting really fed up with this," Kate replied, her quiver beginning to run low on arrows. At least they had made it down two levels, and Billy had stopped heading down the stairs. They had to be close.
A large ball of lightning flew down the hall, knocking all guards away as Billy sprinted past. The look on his face had them following without a second glance at their opponents. Something had gone wrong.
"No, no no no," Billy said under his breath, pushing himself faster. The spell was weakening. This never happened, it couldn't mean what he thought. They had gotten here in time. He had to pull him from that pool before it broke completely. "No, Tommy." He slid around a corner, shouldering his way through a door.
"Wiccan?" Teddy asked as he and Kate slid to a top, Billy tearing apart the room. Bookshelves, desks, everything that wasn't nailed down flew in a wave of blue.
"He's here, Tee." Billy's voice was as panicked as his actions, a large painting flying from the wall. "He's here and I can't find him. He's in trouble." He ran back to the middle of the room, ripping back the rug.
"You're too late." Kate's bow pulled taut, quickly sweeping the room before training her arrow on a speaker on the wall. "Dear Thomas has completed his final test for us. But if you wish to collect his body-" The floor opened beneath him, and Teddy yanked him back away from the hole before it could swallow him up. "Feel free to fish it out from the bottom of the reservoir."
Light shined down, only the faintest hint of white hair visible from the surface. The surface was calm, no struggling, no air bubbles disturbing it. "No, he's still alive." Billy fell back against the floor. He had to be, the spell would have shattered, and he would have felt it if he was gone. Before he could do or even say anything, Teddy jumped down, shifting thick fur before he hit the freezing water. The water churned as he dove, a dull snapping rringing through the chamber. Billy held his breath as Teddy's head broke the surface, Tommy's head on his shoulder.
"Could I get a lift?" he asked, adjusting his hold on Tommy. A glowing blue platform materialized below him, gently moving them up, out of the water, back to the top.
Kate slid her bow around her chest, yanking off her scarf as Teddy landed. "Is he-"
"I don't know. He's so cold." Billy draped his cape over his brother. Teddy cradled the speedster close to his chest as Kate's scarf dried off his face.
"I'm taking us to the Tower now," Billy said, preparing the spell.
"You think we haven't planned for casters? You can never break through our anti ma-" A flash of blue, and they were gone.
Who the hell turned on the A/C? It was already fucking freezing, there was no need for more cold. Each breath was already sending icicles into his chest, despite the warm air coursing over his face. Was he going to have to have the 'don't lower yourself to the outside temperature's standards' speech again? He totally was, wasn't he? A groan escaped him, not the stern yell of complaint, and he felt a hard piece of plastic cut into his face as it moved. "Tommy?" A warm hand landed on his forehead, another grabbing his hand.
"He shouldn't be awake yet. He's still too cold." He let out a half chuckle at Teddy's tone, squeezing the hand.
"Speedster," he said, voice weak. The hand on his head moved to card through his hair. It had to be Altman, too large and gentle to be anyone else's. He thought he heard something about that being his point, but Teddy only sassed when he was worried.
"You're lucky, Zip." The hand in his squeezed, Kate's manicure biting into his palm. "Are you feeling okay?"
"Like frozen, but not as much." He finally forced his eyes open, looking up at Teddy. "Don't roll eyes, fucker." Teddy just laughed.
"I'll stop rolling my eyes when you and your twin stop getting yourselves kidnapped." An annoyed sound came from his other side, and he turned his head, eyes glancing across Kate before settling on his brother.
"You have no room to talk, Teddy." Billy looked pissed, head picking itself up from where it had been laying by his hand.
"Actually, I think I'm the only one who hasn't been kidnapped," Kate said, hand running up his arm. Billy grumbled something, laying his head back down. "So I'm the only one who gets to complain about the rest of you." He reached out, fingers brushing the tip of Billy's hair.
"Now that he's awake can I go level that place?" Billy sounded pissed, and he felt the blankets by his legs, oh thank god he could feel his legs again, move as Billy tightened his hold on them.
"No, we're not allowed to leave the Tower until the rest of the Avengers come back from their investigation." Billy huffed, muttering something about taking all his plans away. Nobody replied, silence falling over the room.
"How long was I out?" At least words were getting easier. Billy sat up, Kate squeezed his hand, and Teddy sighed. "That long, huh?"
"No, no it was only a few hours," Kate said. "You had just been underwater for god knows how long before we found you."
"I told you he would wake up." He laughed at Billy's tone, then at the glare he received. "I'm still pissed at you, so shut up."
"We never doubted you, Billy." Teddy's hand started to brush through his hair again, exhaustion racing through him. "Tommy?"
"I'm just going to go back to sleep. Could you ask for some more blankets? It's still freezing in here." Kate squeezed his hand. "And would someone please tell them to turn on the heat?"
"Iwanttheblanketstobewarm, Iwanttheblanketstobewarm," Billy chanted, and heat washed over him. He grabbed his brother's hand, smiling at him before relaxing against the pillows.
"Thank you," he whispered. "For everything."
A small laugh came from Billy, squeezing his hand. "Go to sleep. The asshole side of your brain should be thawed by the time you wake up." He smiled as he squeezed back, muttering a token complaint before letting himself drift off.