Domino sat on the couch, cleaning some of her guns, while Blob lounged in an easy chair eating a super-size pizza. They were waiting for Dominic to get back after dropping off their little 'present' on The X-Men's front door. Pietro had gone out to find him a few minutes before, as they needed to use the car. Suddenly the door burst open...
"GUYS!" Pietro shouted, "Dominic got caught by the MRD!"
"So what?" Blob yawned, "We're always having to bust his sorry green butt out of... Wait, did you say Dominic?"
"Dominic, Avalanche, the big Greek jerk!" Pietro sputtered, "He's been caught!"
Domino laughed, "That makes an interesting change... What about Toad?"
"The X-Men have him."
"That was a pretty cruel trick to play on poor little Mort..."
"What are we gonna' do? Avalanche is our heavy hitter!"
Domino and Blob both glared at Pietro, "Are you saying I'm a lightweight, Maximoff?" Domino held up a FN P90 and aimed at the speedster.
Pietro was too frantic to notice, his voice racing "I'm-sayin'-we-gotta'-get-a plan-together! What-if-Dom-cracks? We-gotta'-move!"
"I doubt Dominic will break that easy, but you never know." Domino lowered the gun, "Okay, pack up, we leave in thirty minutes."
Blob glanced at Quicksilver, "I know it's a bad time, but how are you going to explain your father losing two members in one day..."
Pietro felt a chill run up his spine, "We'll get Dominic out! And dad doesn't care about Mort..."
"I hope so, for all our sakes."
"And this is Bobby Drake, Iceman," Ray Carter indicated the blonde boy, "and Kitty Pryde, Shadowcat," He indicated the girl Bobby was currently arguing with, "I'd stay out of range, they tend to throw things when they're angry."
"Dominic likes to throw me when he's angry..." Toad remarked, "Come to think of it, so does Freddy, and sometimes Neena..."
They both laughed.
He already knew most of the fighting-age X-Men, by picture if not by actually getting humiliated by them, but it was nice of Ray/Berzerker to 'introduce' him to everyone. Besides, it was hard to get lost following that enormous blond mohawk around the mansion.
Of course, he knew Rogue best, as she'd briefly joined The Brotherhood. When she'd seen him, she kind of smirked and shook her head. Almost like she'd expected him to end up there eventually.
Mortimer noticed out of the corner of his eye that Forge was reading the morning newspaper, and the headline caught his eye:
Mutant Terrorist Captured!
Beneath which was a picture of a very unhappy looking Avalanche.
"Um... Hey... Forge, can I, like, see that article?"
Forge looked up from the paper to see Toad standing beside Berzerker in the mansion's dining room, "I think somebody forgot to tell me something..."
"If you'd get out of your lab once in a while, we wouldn't have too." Logan snorted.
"So, I guess you're staying with us now, Toad?" Forge handed him the paper.
"Yeah, The Brotherhood," He rubbed the back of his neck, blushing a little, "They didn't want me anymore."
"Well, you're welcome here... I hope. I can't speak for everybody, but it looks like you've already made one friend." He smiled at Ray.
"Thanks." Toad smiled and looked at the paper.
"Hanging from a lamp post..."
"No need ta' thank me." Wolverine interjected.
"Taken by the MRD... Undisclosed facility, that's smart, Pietro can just waltz in to any of those places..." He actually felt a bit sorry for Dominic, he'd been captured so many times by the MRD himself that he knew how horrible it was. Even though Dominic constantly terrorized and abused him, and had been the one to ultimately throw him out, (literally), Mort didn't hate him that much...
Things were getting interesting at the MRD holding facility.
Colonel Moss' first reaction was disbelief. It had to be a mix-up, surely they'd caught Toad again and some idiot put Petrakis' name down by mistake. And to be captured in such a fashion, trussed up like a Christmas present and hung from a streetlamp, that could only happen to someone like the incompetent little green mutant... But here he was, big as life.
The Brotherhood had never been stupid enough to entrust Toad with any useful information, the pitiful wretch broke too easily. There was no challenge in breaking Toynbee, he was a simpering, spineless coward, all one had to do was take his clothing away and he'd spill everything just to cover his butt, literally. But this big, angry Greek might take a bit more persuading...
At least, he hoped he would.
This should be entertaining...
"Dominic Petrakis, what a wonderful surprise. I was expecting young Mr. Toynbee again." Colonel Moss smiled as he entered the interrogation room.
Dominic growled a curse at Moss.
"He, at least, is smart enough not to curse at me..."
Dominic spit in his interrogator's eye, "I'll never talk to inferior human scum like you!"
"You just did, Mr. Petrakis." Moss pointed out, calmly wiping the spit from eye, "And you'll tell me more, much more."
"Like Hell I will!"
"After a while I'm sure you'll be eager to cooperate..."
"I do not fear weak animals..."
"One word, Mr. Petrakis. Nair."
The hairy terrorist almost shuddered.
Toad found himself sitting at 'the kiddie table', as the younger students were more receptive to his arrival than those who'd actually fought against his teammates or were distracted by romantic entanglements. Ray had introduced him to them all, but he'd met so many people in such a short time that names and faces were running together. He remembered the blue girl, Tildie something, mainly because she could make her nightmares come alive, literally. He filed that away, he didn't want to do anything to upset or anger the girl and get eaten alive by nightmares...
"Cyclops isn't so bad." Ray commented, "He saved me from the MRD hounds."
Mort looked at Ray. He was a kid, at most twelve. Why in God's name would the government want to hunt down a little kid?
Ray seemed to sense his unspoken question, "They're scared and they're bigots. To them, we're all a threat, no matter how young, helpless or innocent." In fact, Ray figured his powers made him far more dangerous than the older youth sitting beside him. Not that he was rude enough to say so.
They were discussing a number of audacious pranks that they had either performed or planned, and it sounded like fun. Of course, Mortimer wouldn't dare to get on Xavier's, or Wolverine's, bad side. In The Brotherhood, most pranks had been directed at him, so he had some sympathy for the people pranked, unless they were complete jerks.
He had to behave, or they might throw him out too...
"Next is the bikini wax, Mr. Petrakis..."
Dominic moaned, they'd already ripped the hair from his arms, back and chest, an excruciating experience, now they were going below the belt. Anyone who doubted that the MRD were sadists were fools.
"Unless, of course, you give us the information we need." Col. Moss smiled pleasantly, "The current location of your teammates, for a start."
"Toad is with The X-Men." He growled.
"Has young Mr. Toynbee finally switched sides, or did you get tired of the burden? Perhaps both? No matter, Toad is unimportant, I am more concerned with Quicksilver, Domino and Blob. They are the ones whose acquaintances I have yet to make. The X-Men can keep Mortimer. You were wise not to entrust him with any real information... Where is Quicksilver?"
Pietro had left Dominic for the MRD. And Avalanche intended to repay him, in spades. But right now he was also the best hope he had of escaping this God-forsaken prison.
"If you're thinking that he'll come to save you, think again. Mr. Toynbee always thought the same, as the weeks went by and we had our fun. Mr. Allerdyce has been here for over a year, and no one's come for him. And he is an Acolyte."
The Greek mutant snorted loudly. Toad was worthless. Why Pietro didn't leave him behind was beyond him. As for Pyro, he was-
"You are no doubt thinking that you are of far more value to The Brotherhood than Toad. That they will hurry to your rescue... You flatter yourself. Even if Maximoff and his diminished band of terrorists make an attempt, they will fail. We have increased our security protocols. No one enters leaves this base without my direct permission."
"Are you a fricken' telepath or something!"
"No, I just know a great deal of how the criminal mind works."
"That's because you are far more of a criminal than any of us."
Dominic felt something being poured on his hair-covered legs, and shuddered.
"'Danger Room' doesn't sound very good... Or safe."
Ray laughed, "The worst you get are bruises. I don't think anyone's been killed during training, yet."
"That's very comforting..." Mortimer replied.
"Besides, that's not right away. And the instructors help us, some."
"Sounds like gym class." Toad shuddered. "I always hated gym class..."
Ray slapped the taller youth on the back, "You need to relax, Mort. Nobodies' going to hit you or anything. When we get in trouble, we have to do chores... It sucks, but it's better than a beating. We're not like Magneto, we don't hurt people, especially not our friends."
Toad smiled, "Friends? I've never really had any friends..."
"You do now..." Ray smiled, his sincere green eyes big and innocent.
Mort looked at the boy, almost unbelieving that anyone could stand being around the Toad, much less consider him a friend... "I guess I do. Thank you."
"That's what friends are for, right?"
Dominic Petrakis lay in his cell, not a single hair left on his massive body. His skin was red where the hair had been ripped away, and his entire body burned with pain. He'd talked, eventually, Moss could be a very persuasive man.
And The Brotherhood still hadn't come to save him. Once they learned that he had cracked, had revealed their secrets, Magneto would not be merciful.
"What THE HELL happened to you?" Dominic flinched at the sound of Pietro's voice, "Almost didn't recognize ya' there..."
"You son of a ..."
"Is that any way to talk to the man who's here to save you?"
That's right, he thought, First Pietro gets me out of here, then I kill him!
"Hold it right there, Mr. Maximoff." Colonel Moss and several dozen MRD officers stood a few feet from the cell, holding very powerful weapons. "The son of the great Magneto himself. This is an honor. You certainly came here faster to save Mr. Petrakis than you ever did for Mr. Toynbee."
Pietro put his hands up in surrender, and vanished. Moss had just enough time to see his men falling like dominoes before a strong fist connected with his jaw.
"Domino! Am I glad ta' see ya', sheila!" St. John Allerdyce, AKA Pyro, smiled hopefully. He'd been stuck in this Hell for almost a year after Magneto had decided he no longer needed his services. "Y-Ya' are gonna' let me out, right...?" There was a hint of fear in his voice, he'd been through a lot and didn't want to be abandoned again.
Domino considered the situation. Pyro had gotten on Mag's bad side, and helping him might put her on his bad side too. Of course, she wasn't sure he had a 'good side' and Johnny just looked so pitiful in that cold, tiny cell.
And he was kind of cute...
She shot at the wall, expertly severing power to the cell.
John rushed out, grinning. "I could kiss ya', Neena, but yer armed an' I don' wanna' die."
"You're smarter than you look." She observed dryly.
"Has the boss forgiven me yet?" His eyes shifted downward. He still didn't really understand why Mag's had locked him in an MRD cell and left him for Moss. Something about Wanda...
"I'm afraid not. But I can't just leave you here. Maybe you could do like Mort and go to the X-Men for protection, they usually take in pathetic strays... Speaking of protection," She reached into one of her pockets and pulled out a lighter, which she always carried with her, you never know when you might need one, "Catch."
John caught the lighter in midair and flicked it on, staring lovingly into the flame, "Bless ya', Sheila. I love ya', ya' know that?" He looked at Neena, who was glaring back at him, "I mean't I love m' new lighter! Not that ya' aren't hot, yer smokin', but I gotta' have a lighter..." He started babbling incoherently.
She allowed herself a small smile. "Just shut up and help us take these scum down."
John grinned and fire creatures began to form around him, "Gladly. Look out world! Heeeeeeere's Johnny!"
Moss opened his eyes, dazed but keenly aware that the mutants had overpowered him. He cursed softly and tried to sit up, only to find he could not. He was strapped to a very familiar table. Naked. In the interrogation room...
"You'll never get away with this. Even if you kill me, the MRD will survive, I do have superiors, you know." Moss said calmly, "And I've been trained to withstand torture." He added smugly.
Pietro laughed, "Now I see why Toad hated this guy. He never shuts up!" He grinned, "We've taken over this entire facility, hound. We've freed all of your prisoners, and imprisoned all of your goons. And it seems every mutant here wants a piece of you. But Dominic, being an old friend, gets first dibs. And Pyro has a new lighter, so -"
Moss grinned triumphantly, "Your friend Dominic gave us a great deal of useful information. He was almost as cooperative as young Mr. Toynbee."
Pietro and the others glared at Dominic, who merely smiled wickedly, "So, Colonel Moss, it's about time for your bikini wax."
Storm had to stifle a laugh when she walked into the rec room.
There, on the couch, were Ray and Mortimer, fast asleep in front of the TV. Ray was snuggled into Mort's chest while Mort had his head resting on Ray's shoulder.
It was adorable.
Storm pulled out her cell and snapped a quick picture. Neither woke. Not only was it cute, but it would make great blackmail material for the next time Ray decided to pull one of his pranks...
A few days later...
Charles Xavier and Logan were already waiting when St. John Allerdyce walked up to the gate of Xavier's mansion. He was pale, thinner than when they'd last seen him, with dark rings beneath his blue eyes. The MRD was not known for concerning themselves with the care, comfort or health of their unfortunate prisoners.
"G'Day." He smiled cheerfully, as if greeting old friends. "Ye' were expectin' me, then?"
Logan face-palmed, "Just what we need. Another stray..."He muttered softly.
Xavier almost smiled, "Welcome, Mr. Allerdyce."
"I'm in a kinda' bind... Ye' see, Ol' Bucket Head hates me for some reason..." John rubbed the back if his head nervously, "And the MRD is lookin' fer me too..."
"I understand, Mr. Allerdyce," Charles said calmly, "Though I think we should discuss this inside."
"Thanks mate! I knew you'd understand!" Pyro grinned and shook Xavier's hand as Logan began to wonder what the Hell was going on...
Magneto was incredulous, "So, you're telling me that both Toad and Pyro have defected to Xavier? And Avalanche was held captive by The MRD for three days?"
Pietro swallowed hard, "Technically, you fired Pyro, so it's not really a defection..."
Magneto's eyes flashed angrily, "Do not attempt to hide your incompetence through technicalities, Pietro."
The Master of Magnetism sighed heavily, The Brotherhood was becoming more trouble than it was worth. Truthfully, he'd never considered Toad anything more than a stupid, expendable pawn, and Pyro was merely a higher ranking pawn. But the idea that two of his followers would defect to The X-Men was irking, even if they were annoying and useless. At least The Brotherhood had brought in some new recruits and delivered Moss to him on a silver platter.
"Forget them." Eric was getting a headache, a big one.
"Toad and Pyro are less than useless. Let Xavier deal with their whining and stupidity. I have much better things to do. As do you... Shaw Industries is building a sentinel production plant in Dayton, Ohio. It will not be built, understand. I will send a ship to pick you up." He frowned, "And tell Mr. Petrakis to try not to get caught this time..."
Sweet, painful revenge on both Dominic and Moss.
More cute little Berzerker goodness!
No this is NOT Toad X Berzerker! They just fell asleep innocently watching TV...
Pyro need more love too!
Her full name is Tildie Soames.