Dominic looked down at the small, shivering bundle hunched into the floorboard on the passenger's side of the stolen car, and felt a bit of remorse for what he was about to do.
After all, he'd rather let the F.O.H. tear the kid apart than give him a fair chance like this.
But this was closer, and they needed the car back before dark.
Big amphibian eyes filled with terror looked up at him through greasy dreadlocks. Mortimer had stopped trying to plead through his gag after the fifth kick, which surprised Dominic, as he didn't figure him smart enough to shut it.
Now he just huddled, whimpering like a scared puppy.
He'd considered stripping him for the trip, (Toad hated people seeing his body), but realized that no one would want that uniform after Toad had worn it. Besides, he didn't want to see the little freak naked any more than Mortimer wanted to be seen naked...
"Here we are, Mort, old friend, Friends of Humanity Headquarters." He grinned cruelly, "They'll find better use for you than we ever did."
Tears began streaming from the kid's eyes as Dominic got out, opened the passenger door, lifted the light, tightly bound young mutant from the floor and unceremoniously dumped him onto the pavement in front of a large gate.
"Goodbye, Toad. And good riddance."
He laughed as the smaller mutant began to sob uncontrollably, got into the car, and drove away.
Mortimer Toynbee prayed his death would be quick even as his mind reeled over the utter betrayal he had suffered.
Was he really that useless?
How could they hate him this much?
He'd never hurt them, he was always faithful, why did they hate him? Sure, he had a bad habit of getting captured, but he could do things.
He heard footsteps and manipulated his body so that he was curled into the smallest target possible.
Through tear-blurred eyes he saw a young kid with a big blond mohawk looking at him through bright green eyes like he was a Martian. The boy didn't look dangerous, but Mort knew from sad experience even kids can be evil...
The kid leaned down and removed his gag.
"PLEASE DON'T KILL ME!" Mort blurted out.
Ray Carter looked at the pathetic mutant lying bound hand and foot, begging for his life.
"You're Toad, aren't you?" He smiled, "Name's Berzerker, and The X-Men don't kill people."
Toad's eyes bugged out, "X-Men!? You're not the Friends of Humanity?" THANK GOD!
"Hell no!" Ray looked offended, "I'm a mutant!" He demonstrated by holding up his fist, which began to spark like a Tesla Coil.
Banishing the electric light show, Ray started working on Mortimer's restraints.
Toad noted off-hand that he had four tattoos, two red lightning bolts on either side of his mohawk, he didn't think kids that young could legally get tattoos... And he had a nose ring...
"Ray, what's goin' on..."
Toad recognized the voice all too well, and his relief evaporated as quickly as it had come.
Out of the frying pan...
"Well, well, well. What have we here?" Logan grinned, and Mort very nearly lost control of his bladder. "How the Hell did you get here?"
He extended his claws and Toad tried to wriggle away.
"Please! I'll do anything you want! The Brotherhood kicked me out! They were going to kill me! Dominic said this was The Friends of Humanity headquarters!"
"Relax kid, I'm cuttin' ya loose."
He closed his eyes and prepared for the bite of adamantium claws and, hopefully, the cool waters of The Big Pond in The Sky.
Instead his bonds fell away.
Toad remained coiled in a fetal position, so Wolverine reached down and forced the boy to his feet. He frowned, Toad was crying hysterically, his eyes firmly clamped shut.
He felt equal parts pity and disgust.
"Are you always such a coward?"
Mort's eyes opened, then fell to the ground. "Y-yeah... I guess I am." His cheeks flushed darker green. He pulled himself up and tried to dry his tears. Tears had never helped him before, sometimes it only made his tormentors hit him harder, "I guess that's why I'm useless, one of the reasons, anyway..."
Logan sighed, He shouldn't have been so blunt. He honestly felt bad for the kid. He was just a scared kid, anyway, and who knew what he'd been through to make him like this?
"Okay, okay... Nobody's gonna' hurt you. I'm gonna' take you inside. Charlie wants to talk to you. Ray," He turned to the boy, "Did you see the car that dropped him off?"
"Yeah," He gave the description and license plate number.
"Once I deliver Kermit here to Charlie I'm goin' after his 'friends'..."
"Car's stolen..." Mortimer said softly.
"That don't make it invisible."
Charles Francis Xavier examined the pathetic, broken mutant trembling in the chair in front of him. He wasn't worried about being attacked, Mortimer wasn't stupid or particularly violent.
His skinny body was bruised and sore, but his mind was in a haze. He'd been rejected by the people he'd thought his friends, his teammates, and literally tied up and delivered to the 'enemy's' doorstep.
Xavier had never really noticed Toad much, the boy preferred to avoid fighting and wasn't particularly strong, but that didn't mean he was any less of a mutant being than anyone else. He was younger than he'd thought, smart, but with no self-confidence and a totally submissive personality beaten into him by years of abuse and neglect.
"Mr. Toynbee." He said softly, "No one here will hurt you. It's our mission to help mutants. I'd be more than happy to allow you to stay here-"
The smile he received was so pathetically grateful it was heartbreaking.
Had anyone ever shown this boy kindness?
"But first I need to have you receive a medical checkup," He saw fear in the boy's eyes, "It's just to make sure you're well and haven't been injured. It's nothing invasive, though they might want to draw a little blood."
"Considering the option of having a little blood drawn compared to being crucified or burned alive by The Friends of Humanity, I can handle it." His voice tried for confidence, and failed, though only slightly.
Xavier smiled, "I suppose so. You'll be assigned your own room, with a private shower. I'm aware of your... Body issues."
Mortimer smiled again.
A room, an actual room! Not a cell? He always seemed to end up in dirty cells with no privacy, and having to shower with guys who wanted to do horrible things to him...
Being given his own room! It was enough to bring tears of joy to his eyes.
Xavier returned the smile, but inside he felt great sadness. Poor Child, he's been so broken down, even the simplest acts of kindness seem like miracles to him.
Hopefully, they could help him regain some of the self-confidence he'd lost, give him a worthwhile purpose in life.
Dominic stopped at the red light and smiled.
Toad was finally gone. That annoying, useless, weak, bug-eating little bane on his existence was gone. He wondered idly what The X-Men would do to the boy. He sighed, if only he'd had time to take him to The F.O.H.! Then he'd never have to worry about seeing that ugly-
A motorcycle roared into the lane next to him, and he turned to see Wolverine, extending a single adamantium claw in a one-fingered salute.
Logan laughed, this would be fun
The checkup wasn't as bad as Mort had anticipated, and they'd let him keep his clothes on. No one had laughed at his webbed hands or feet, or his spots.
Then they'd fed him, a wonderful meal, and nobody had tried to take it from him!
Now he was standing in his room, his room!
There was an inviting bed with clean clothing laid out for him, a picture window with heavy curtains, a lamp-stand and dresser, and a (private) bathroom complete with shower!
It was like Heaven!
Dominic cursed, what the Hell did Logan use in his motorcycle, jet fuel? A half-hour of weaving and swerving and sliding down side alleys had done nothing to shake him.
Dominic smiled, and pulled the car over.
The big Greek mutant was out and ready before Logan could pull over, and the ground began to shake.
Avalanche, they shoulda' called him 'Earthquake'.
The bike hit an upturned section of asphalt and threw the rider. Unfortunately for Dominic, the feral mutant was flying towards him.
Wolverine hit Avalanche like a wrecking ball, bowling him over and stopping the quakes. The two struggled on the ground, until Logan had his claws at Dominic's throat.
He gave a predatory smile, "Let's take a little trip..."
Mortimer took a long, hot shower and put on the night clothes they'd left for him, comfortable sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt. He hadn't felt so clean in... Well, he couldn't remember. The carpet beneath his bare webbed feet felt wonderful.
Everything was so clean, he was almost afraid to touch anything. The bed was soft, with no broken springs, the blankets had no holes or tatters. Everything was brand new...
He crawled into the bed, and lay there, soaking up the comfort.
"Dominic, how the Hell did you get up there?!"
Pietro looked up at the large mutant, who was tightly bound and hanging upside down from a lamp post. Dominic couldn't answer, thanks to the oily rag stuffed in his mouth, but Pietro understood his glare all too clearly.
As he tried to figure out a way to get Avalanche down, he heard the sounds of approaching sirens.
"Sorry, Dom, gotta' run!"
Quicksilver sped away as Dominic cursed a blue streak through the gag.
Toad curled into the nice warm sheets of his new bed. He'd already had several visitors who wanted to welcome him, and a few, like Summers, who didn't trust him. But most of them were supportive, friendly. He'd never imagined people being so kind to him of all people.
He was just a grubby little mutant street-thief. But they treated him almost like family.
This was what Brotherhood was supposed to feel like.
He dimly heard a motorcycle pull into the driveway as he drifted off to sleep...
I wanted to write a Wolverine and The X-Men Toad story, but never having seen the show made it difficult. I hope this is satisfactory. I made Mortimer a bit younger here, and may have played up his pathetic vulnerability factor...
Yes, I wanted the cute little Berzerker to appear!