Disclaimer: They ain't mine, yo. WB and Marvel own 'em, man.
Todd sighs and softly closes the door to his room, pausing in the middle of the hallway for a moment to see if he can hear any noise downstairs. The house is relatively quiet, save for the soft buzz the TV gives off from the living room, which means that Lance is either brooding somewhere or he isn't home. Todd doesn't know; other than now, he hasn't come out of his room all night. It's nearing 7:30, though, and if he's going to meet Kurt on time, he has to leave now--Lance be damned.
Spending the past few hours alone gave him time to think. He shouldn't have said those things to Lance, but damnit, why does the guy have to be so hard-headed? He had some points, but they weren't anything that Todd hadn't already thought about. He doesn't seem to realize the fact that Todd has been making decisions for himself for half of his life, and if that's the case, Tolensky plans on making sure he's well aware of that tidbit next time they're alone and not trying to beat the shit out of one another. He knows what he's doing. If things with Kurt get out of control, he'll just stop. No more. It shouldn't be that hard at all.
He takes careful measures not to step on the boards that squeak as he silently creeps down the stairs. Once at the bottom, he crouches down on all fours and proceeds to slink to the door as quietly as possible, reaching for the knob and briefly glancing into the living room on his way. He pauses, pulls back, and looks at the couch. "Freddie?"
Freddie turns, momentarily forsaking The Powerpuff Girls, to see Todd's finally come out of his room. He puts on a big grin. "Hey! Wanna watch toons with me? It's the one where Mojo turns everyone inta dogs!"
Todd can't help but smile. "Nah man, I'm gonna go out and grab a bite to eat. Where you been all day, fool? You missed one helluva drama."
A curious look crosses Freddie's features. "Drama? Wha' happened? I went to get some Gut Bombs, I got hungry in fifth period." He slowly gets to his feet, and moves carefully around the couch to stand beside Todd. "Can I come with you, huh? I could sure go for some more burgers!"
Todd waves his hand in dismissal. "Don't worry about it, you don't wanna know. Believe me." He winces when the other boy asks to go. Shoulda seen that one coming. Nervously scratching his head, he looks to the side and tries to think of a good reason to decline the request. "Umm.. sorry, man," He regards the Blob with eyes full of guilt, slumping his shoulders remoresefully. "I, uh.. I gotta meet someone there. Privately." Well, at least he isn't lying.
Freddie's face falls, his eyes dropping to stare at the various burn marks and torn patches in the carpet. He's trying really hard not to let his disappointment color his voice. "Oh, 'kay...I gotcha. Um...who're you gonna see?"
Todd blinks. Hadn't thought that far. "A.. f-friend, yo," he chokes, the word clumsily rolling out of his mouth like something foreign. He frowns at Freddie's obvious disappointment and lowers his head, idly picking at the carpet with his fingernail. "Want me to pick you something up, man?" he offers, hopefully.
Eagerly catching Todd's eye again, Freddie blurts out, "Yeah, that'd be great! You know what I like right?" He wonders briefly who Todd's friend could be; the little guy never hangs out with anybody, other than him and Lance and Pietro. Brows raising, he asks, "When did you get another friend? Do I know 'em?"
Todd drops his head even lower, eyes closed tightly. This is NOT what he needs right now. "It's someone from school, you've probably seen him around or somethin', but just don't worry about it, man." With a sigh, he stands up and takes a quick look around the house, his body language that of someone expecting to be jumped at any minute. "Yo, are Pietro and Lance around, by the way?"
"Nah, they were gone when I got here. I didn't think you were home either. But you are, you know." Freddie finishes lamely, scrunches up his nose at himself and sits back down on the couch, turning up the volume on the tv.
Todd blinks. "Uh, yeah.." Scratching the back of his neck, he observes the other boy for a moment longer, wondering if he'd even notice if Todd suddenly dropped dead. Probably not. Freddie is to cartoon as chauvinist is to breasts. "Hey man..?" he suddenly says, looking hopeful. "You think you can do me a favor?"
Eyes glued to the TV, Freddie mutters, "Sure, man, anything."
Todd continues, "If Pietro and Lance come back before I do, don't tell 'em I went anywhere, yo.. Just- just tell 'm I'm still up in my room, okay man?" Chewing at his bottom lip in thought, he quickly adds, "And that I don't wanna be disturbed. Got it?"
Eyebrows raised, Freddie turns from the TV long enough to give Todd a quizzical look. The reason behind the request escapes him, and he's curious, but he figures if Todd wanted him to know he'd tell him. Right? "Yeah, okay. Sure thing. I'll uh...I'll see you when you get back."
Todd grins cheerfully. "Thanks, man! I owe you one." Turning on his heel, he opens the door and heads out. "Catch ya later, yo." Slam. Click. Peace at last.
But does peace ever truly last long at the Brothers of Bayville Boarding House? Not more than ten minutes after Todd leaves, an irate Pietro breezes through the front door with a bag of popcorn in hand, a sluggish Lance casually following behind. "Man, that is the LAST time I let you pick a movie," he babbles, throwing the bag on Freddie's stomach with a quick 'hereyagoFreddiewebroughtyousomepopcorn'
"It IS a kick-ass flick. I can't help that your taste in movies is worse than Ebert's. I bet even HE liked it, I don't see how in the hell you can't." Lance quips, while idly picking at the few kernels scattered along the bottom of his popcorn tub. "Hey Freddie, seen Todd yet?"
Pietro rolls his eyes. "Oh come on, the ending was a total let-down! You KNOW Will and Jack SO wanted to fuck, but noooo... Will had to stay with that Elizabitch." Wiping his hands on the back of his jeans, he idly mutters something about Lance and his stupid greasy popcorn before scowling at the guilty party. "Next time," he grumbles. "*I* pick the movie."
Turning his attention to Freddie, he tilts his head to the side and curiously eyes the quiet teen. "Yeah, where IS Todd, anyway? Still angsting in his room or what?"
Confusion just pours out of Freddie's eyes. "Angstin'? Uh...he's still in there. He said he didn't want anyone to bother him." He pauses for a moment, and looks as if he's trying to decide whether he should say something. What Todd said about there being 'drama' comes back to him, and he's again curious, and a little worried. Finally coming to a decision, he eyes Lance nervously. "You guys didn't...say anythin' to bother him, did you?"
Lance rolls his eyes. "What'd he tell you? Listen, he made a mistake and I called him on it. Don't worry about it, I'll handle him."
Pietro snorts. "Doesn't want anyone to bother him, huh? Oh well. Life's a bitch, ain't it?" Darting up the stairs, he misses the rest of what Freddie says due to his gleeful cackling. "Ohhh frog breath!" Pound pound pound. "Come downstairs and get your corn seeds dipped in lard before blubber boy eats it all!" Click, squeak. "Tolensky?"
Part of Lance doesn't want to harm Todd's trust in him any further. The other part is curious as fuck as to what Todd's up to. Torn, he holds back on telling Pietro to stop just long enough for Pietro to actually get there. Hearing the door click open he finally strides to the foot of the stairs and calls up, "Pietro, just leave him. If he wants privacy we'll give him privacy..." 'As long as it's not privacy WITH the fuzzball' his mind adds.
Frowning, Pietro zips out of the room and eyes Lance from the top of the stairs. "Leave him? Man, he's left US. Searched the room from ceiling to floor. Half-expected him to be hiding in the closet," he snickers briefly, "but he wasn't there. He split."
"Split?! F UCK! That little..." Lance spins around, fists clenched and eyes blazing, stomps over to the couch, and leans in close to Freddie's face. "Where'd he go?"
"I dun' know, man! He didn't tell me, just said he was gettin' somethin' to eat!" Freddie cringes, trying to disappear into the couch. The couch, of course, whines in protest.
Pietro joins Lance by the couch and gazes at Fred questioningly. "Didn't think YOU'D pass up an opportunity for food," he scoffs. "Why didn't you go with him?"
Now faced with two interrogators, Freddie's beginning to wish he hadn't said anything. He's not sure what Lance's so mad about, but Lance is usually so calm, whatever it is must've been really bad. The look on his face allows for no lies, and Freddie just wants him to stop yelling. "I wanted to, but he said I couldn't. Said he was meeting a friend from school. He's bringing me back some burgers though."
Lance's mouth is now barely more than a thin line, and his nails are digging into his palms painfully. Without preamble he turns and stomps to the front door, pausing only to glare at Pietro and growl, "You coming?"
"C'mon man, what are you gonna do, make a scene so fuzzy nuts can call the rest of the X-Geeks?" Pietro asks, arms folded stubbornly across his chest. "You don't even know where he went!"
Hand already on the doorknob, Lance squeezes his eyes shut, frustrated at being held back, even for a moment. "Then we'll check every burger joint in this damn town! Not like there're that many. And the fuzzball won't get a chance to call for help, I'll make sure of that."
Pietro sighs and shakes his head. "Sorry man, I'm not with you on this one. You're just gonna piss him off some more."
The hand on the doorknob raises to rub furiously at Lance's right temple. Pietro's right, he knows he is. Charging after Todd now would only destroy every shred of trust the boy has in him, and he reminds himself again that forbidding something is a surefire way of making that thing irresistible. Pietro's right...but Lance'll be damned if he lets him know it. Maybe he won't go looking for Todd, but he needs to get out now, before he does something he'll regret later. Wrenching the door open he stomps onto the porch, slamming the door behind him.
Bulging eyes darting back and forth between the door and Pietro, Freddie gasps, "What was THAT?"
Staring at the door for a moment, Pietro sighs again, wondering if Lance truly understands what he's doing. Knowing that Todd is off galavanting with the enemy doesn't sit well with Pietro either, but he wishes Alvers would let Mystique deal with it when she comes back (IF she comes back) rather than further piss Todd off. And Pietro knows what pisses people off--hell, he does it for fun--but once the Brotherhood starts eating their own, everything will fall apart.. and if that happens, well screw Mystique, the REAL puppetmaster pulling the strings will start cracking down on them. That would be bad. Shaking his thoughts away, Pietro grins in Freddie's direction. "Just the usual Brotherhood drama, Dukes. Nothing to worry about." Plopping himself in the chair next to the couch, he props his feet on the table and slumps down with yet another sigh. "Nothing at all."