Hey guys, sorry things've been slow.

Shout's out to the second 'baddest mama jammas' (Vinnie would have a conniption fit if someone superseded him): Swimchickvic, Miceaholic, Sunstreaker 29, and Guest! Cookies to you!


Throttle had no idea how he'd gotten into this situation.

School had started out the same as it had yesterday. He'd gotten there just in time for the first session, and the students had mingled when the break was called. Several of the mice from the day before hesitantly asked him about the bodies Brutus had talked about. And Throttle had explained, careful not to say anything that would make Brutus look worse than he already did. He didn't want any trouble with the larger mouse. And he'd noted that Brutus seemed surprised by Throttle's lack of venom towards him.

The subject of Throttle's family had been dropped after that.

Everyone knew that rats sold their prisoners to the sand raiders as slaves. Some knew from personal experience, having had family members taken either by the rats or by the raiders themselves. If his mother and sister weren't dead yet, they would be before too many years ran by. Sand Raiders were violent, and they weren't exceptionally careful with who got caught in the crossfire. Slaves were property, not people. The military's Rescue Divisions would be racing the clock, just like every time.

And they didn't always win that race.

The conversation had been steered in safer directions throughout the rest of the day. Things like what animals made the best pets, that new math problem the instructors had stymied them with, and the pros and cons of the above ground houses more and more mice had been adopting.

Just like the day before, Throttle spent time with the younger mice as well, learning their games and teaching them some of the games from his own childhood on the cliffs.

It was probably at that point that he'd reignited Brutus's enmity towards him.

They'd needed more players, and Throttle had gone to Carbine and her friends. Elba and Daehria had declined, but a little bit of good humored wheedling had seen Carbine running around laughing and shouting with the younger children, having more fun than she'd had in years. It was a game sort of like tag. Not wanting to take advantage of the younger mice with his longer legs, Throttle had been careful to pick on Carbine. She understood, and she certainly didn't mind. But Brutus did.

Which led up to his current predicament.

Ok, so maybe in hindsight he did know how he'd gotten here.

Several older and/or larger males had grabbed Throttle when he left the school rock at the end of the day. Throttle had seen Carbine's face. She'd seen them take him. The girl's face had gone pale, and she'd hurriedly turned her back, ducking back inside the school rock. The bullies had dragged him off around the corner where they'd be out of sight of most of the other mice. Most notably the instructors. And they'd made it abundantly clear that it wasn't talking they were interested in.

Throttle grunted, taking another hit to the gut. With Brutus' friends holding him, he was almost helpless.

"I'm gonna make you wish you never left those cliffs." Brutus growled, grabbing the smaller mouse's bangs and dragging his head back so he could see the ruby red gemstone eyes. He slammed his fist against the side of Throttle's muzzle, drawing blood from the teen's mouth and nose. "I'm gonna make you wish you were never born."

Memories stirred in the back of Throttle's mind. Memories of a father's face he barely remembered, and a rough, deep voice.

You don't ever quit fightin'! The voice had yelled at him when he'd come home with a black eye and a lost fight to his name. Ya hear me? No matter what they throw yer way, you don't ever quit fightin'. You give it all you got, an then you give 'em even more. And if you go down, you go down hard, an' you drag as many as you can down with ya. No son of mine 's ever gonna be anythin' but trouble in a fight…

Throttle bared his teeth.

His hands tightened into fists. His hackles rose and his tail lashed the ground behind them as he gathered himself up to fight back.

"Gonna send you home cryin' to Mommy." One of the mice holding him snickered, the emphasis on 'mommy' intended to remind the tan gold mouse that he no longer had a home or a mother to run home to.

Gemstone eyes lit with an inner fire that hadn't been there before. They met with startled dark brown eyes, and Throttle grinned.

"You first." He hissed, and viciously brought his teeth down hard on the mouse's ear.

The yell of his victim, the taste of blood in his mouth, and the tearing sound that came when his victim tore himself away told Throttle that he'd done well. A well placed whiplash of his tail saw that the one who held his other arm let go pretty quickly too. Throttle didn't hesitate to throw himself into the fray after that, counting on the element of surprise to give him a short advantage. An advantage he didn't intend to waste.

He knew this probably wasn't a fight he was going to win.

If he was using those brains everyone seemed so confident he had he would've taken the opening and run, putting as much distance between himself and his pursuers. But he wasn't thinking.

He didn't want to run.

All he wanted to do right now was lash out at his tormentors. Make them hurt the way they'd made him hurt. Teach them that he was his father's son, and his size had nothing to do with anything. This petty jealously and hatred were just that. Petty.

He was tired of it all, and he wasn't going to put up with it anymore.

His tormentors fell back, surprised by his sudden ferocity. But they soon came back to the fight, determined to take him down. Throttle was smaller than they were, and good fighter or no, they outnumbered him five to one not counting Brutus. No way were they going to lose a six on one fight with a shrimp.

One of the bullies took a dive, catching hold of Throttle's tail.

Throttle whipped around, intent on getting that one off as quickly as possible. That whiplash move he'd been using was his best defense against these clowns, they didn't know how to do it or defend against it. Obviously they'd figured that out, and were attempting to take away his best if not only advantage.

Another managed to grab his hair, hauling him back before he could take a piece out of the one on his tail. Others moved in, grabbing hold wherever they could. Limbs, belt, cloths, fur, whatever they could lay a hand on. Anything worked at this point. Throttle continued his struggle, glaring up at the approaching Brutus. The bigger boy had a cut on his muzzle, and another on his upper arm. It wasn't much, but it was something. Throttle smirked, proud of himself.

Because there was absolutely no question of who'd put those there.

Brutus snarled, delivering a vicious kick to the tan gold teen's ribs. Throttle gasped, eyes watering from the pain and the dust kicked up in the scuffle. He could see some of the others were having similar difficulties. Another kick, and a hand covered his mouth to muffle the cry. Couldn't have the instructors walking in on this now.

You don't ever quit fightin'! His father's voice yelled up from the recesses of his mind.

Throttle cried out again, the sound barely audible through the living gag clapped over his mouth. How? He wondered bitterly. You told me never to quit fighting dad, but you never taught me how! A new image came to his mind, of Stoker brandishing a spoon at him from across the dinner table their first evening together.

The best weapon a mouse can ever own is his own mind. Don't you ever forget that kid.

Throttle's eyes searched his captors and his surroundings, his mind scrambling for some way out of this. But he couldn't see it.

They were pressed in too close, holding him too tight…

The thought came to him in a flash of inspiration. He didn't have to come up with a new solution to the problem, he'd been here before and the old one worked just fine! Throttle brought his teeth down as hard as he could manage on the tender skin of his victim's palm. The other mouse was very quick to let go and try to get away, but Throttle didn't let go. It was a very awkward hold, but his sharp teeth had managed to grab enough flesh to keep it, and he wasn't about to let up.

The other mouse screamed, cuffing Throttle's head with his free hand in a desperate attempt to get Throttle to let go. Throttle only tightened his grip, closing his eyes against the blows. He wasn't letting go until the others loosened their grip or he literally took a bite out of the other mouse.

Throttle suddenly pricked up his ears. Someone was coming. He could just barely hear their voices over the yelling, swearing, and scuffle of his captors. Then suddenly the voices were clear.

"There he is." A tenor voice called. "Awoo! Looks like he's got some grip there!"

A deeper voice chuckled. "Oh mama, I've heard of taking a bite out of someone, but this's somethin' else!"

"You know, I'd say let's give him a hand, but he's already got one." The tenor voice answered. "So why don't we give him some help instead?"

Brutus had paused in his attack on Throttle to face the newcomers. Throttle didn't dare try to open his eyes to look at the newcomers, his captors were still raining blows on his head. But he could hear everything that was said just fine.

"This doesn't concern you two." Brutus growled. "You'll back off if you know what's good for you."

"Sounds good to me Vin." The deep voice answered, having apparently ignored everything Brutus had just said.

'Vin' sounded delighted. "Ooh, dibs on the big copper colored one!"

"Fair enough." The other answered. "But the big brown blowhard's mine."

Moments later, Throttle heard a yelp to his left. Someone's grip loosened, and he threw everything he had into struggling free. First a hand, then a foot. Then, in a stroke of luck, one of the newcomer's attacked the mouse holding his tail.

"Lookout, his tail's free! Somebody catch it quick!" another shouted, and Throttle could feel someone grabbing for it.

He finally released the hold his teeth had on the other mouse's palm. "Not a chance." He snarled. He whiplashed his tail indiscriminately, not really caring who he hit. As far as he knew the two newcomers were in front of him, which meant anyone behind him was fair game.

"Ouch! Watch the tail!" the younger of the two voices called, proving him wrong.

Throttle only had a bare moment to regret. He dodged another blow, eyes searching for the voice's owner. All he could see was a flash of white darting amongst his enemies. Off to one side Throttle caught a glimpse of Brutus, locked in close combat with a big grey male even bigger than he was. But he didn't have much time to contemplate.

Then suddenly they were running, and he very nearly chased after them. He had to make an actual effort to reign himself in. He starred after them, tail lashing furiously.

"Yep, you're welcome…" the younger voice said dryly.

Throttle whirled, startled. His teeth were bared and hackles raised in warning before he realized that these two were the ones who'd helped him. He sheepishly dropped his threatening posture. "Sorry about that." He murmured, shuffling. "Um… thanks for your help…"

Now that the danger seemed past, he could actually take the time to get a good look at his two saviors.

He was startled to discover that he knew the younger one at least. It was Walt's younger son Vinnie. The one he'd seen that first day when he'd come in to take his placement tests. Snowy white fur shown in the late afternoon sun, making the bright red stripe of blood across his ribs all the more obvious.

The other was good sized male with a slate grey pelt and dark muddy red eyes, similar to Stoker's but even darker. Almost brown. But despite his size, there was a slight gainliness about him that told Throttle that this mouse was still young and had some growing left to do.

Vinnie laughed. "No sweat bro!" to the grey mouse he added. "Dude, I'm fine! It's just a scratch." He swatted the grey mouse's hands away when he tried to check Vinnie's wound.

The grey behemoth snorted. "You know your mama's gonna pitch a fit if she sees this."

Vinnie shook his head. "You worry too much bro, Mom isn't gonna see it."

"Mom isn't going to see what?"

All three teen's whirled. Standing there at the corner of the school rock was Walt, Carbine just behind him. She hadn't simply run away. She had gone and gotten Walt. Of all the instructors, there were only three who would've been much use in breaking up the fight. The most preferable of which was the easygoing Walt.

Throttle cast her a grateful nod. She returned it firmly, though her face was pale under her fur. Secure in the knowledge that Walt had the situation under control, she quietly turned and headed for home.

Vinnie gave the grey mouse a dirty look and lifted the vest he was wearing out of the way so his father could see his injury. "It's just a scratch." He muttered sullenly.

Walt moved in immediately, concern for his son etched on his face. "Modo, check him out for me." He said, motioning to Throttle. His fingers roamed Vinnie's side, checking his injuries. "What happened here?"

"Um… that one was me sir…"

Walt's head jerked up, startled eyes staring at Throttle in shock. Throttle was the last mouse he would've expected to hurt his son. "Excuse me?"

Throttle flushed. The grey mouse, Modo, had come closer and was unobtrusively checking Throttle out for visible injuries. Throttle flinched away a little from his touch, and Modo calmly refrained from trying to touch him again. Instincts kept Throttle from shying too far away. This seemed like a mouse he could learn to trust eventually.

"A bunch of mice jumped me. Vinnie and… Modo, was it?" The grey mouse smiled and nodded. "They helped me fend them off. That's how Vinnie got hurt. I hit him by mistake."

"Do you know who they were?" Walt asked.

Throttle shook his head. "Not by name. Faces, maybe pelt colors and patterns."

Walt looked to Vinnie and Modo and both nodded. They knew who they'd been fighting. "I'll get the names from you later." He said firmly. He returned his attention to his son. "This doesn't look deep, but I still want it checked out. What did he hit you with?"

"His tail." Vinnie answered nonchalantly.

Again, Walt gave Throttle a startled look. "What?"

Throttle chewed his lip and lightly whipped his tail so it cracked the air, nowhere near the force he would use in an actual attack. "I usually have better aim… sorry, I thought he was in front of me…"

Throttle's father had liked to watch bootlegged broadcasts from earth, and a cowboy's bullwhip had inspired the whiplash move. He'd taught it to both his sons once they were old enough, and he might've taught Alexiana too if he hadn't disappeared, taking Throttle's brother with him. It was one of the few things Throttle remembered about his missing parent.

Walt nodded. "Modo?"

"Lots of bruises, he sure took a poundin'." Modo answered. "Don't look like anything serious, but I'm not a healer. Mama's better at stuff like that." He cocked his head. "Mama'd be happy to patch us up, if that's alright with you."

Walt nodded and stood. "Sounds good. We were supposed to meet them at the lake anyway." Seeing Throttle quietly grabbing his bag and turning to leave he called, "Throttle, you're with us."

Throttle stopped. "But…"

Walt shook his head in what was surely his no nonsense 'father mode'. "No buts. I'm not sending you home until I'm certain you're alright. We'll call Stoker from one of the caves and let him know what's going on, but you, Vinnie, and Modo are all getting the once over or I can think of several mice who would have my hide." He smiled a little at that last bit.

Vinnie grinned and did an exuberant fist pump. "Sweet! He can totally meet our families!"

Modo chuckled and stuck out his hand to Throttle. "Sorry, Mama'd have my hide for my manners. Name's Modo, an' the motor mouth is Vinnie. Pleased to meet ya."

"So what's your name?" Vinnie butted in eagerly, having clearly missed his father's use of said teen's name.

Still feeling a little shell shocked, the tan gold teen numbly shook Modo's hand. "Throttle…"

Again, sorry about the deplorable wait. Oh, and once I get a little more free time (i.e. my theater troup does our performance and I get my evenings back) and once I've finished some of my current stories, I'm thinking about branching out into some new fandoms. I've got a poll up, so don't feel afraid ta voice your opinion on which ones I should hit up!


Until next time...