AUTHOR: Razeth Kota

RATING: Unrated

SUMMARY: None available.

Greenport, New York. August 18th, 1989.

The small Long Island town of Greenport, New York. A humble town of a small population, one might mistake it for a small town in Middle America, with it’s sea of white picket fences and collection of close-knit family households. One such household, the Allerdyce household, is about to receive a welcome surprise normally associated with the suburban life; Neighbors.

The front door opens, a small six year old boy runs out to the front yard.

“John! Wait!” a female voice, wrought with worry, calls out from inside. Soon the boy’s mother passes through the door as well, her flower print dress blowing slightly in the wind. “John, we mustn’t be nosy.”

“But mom, lookit the size of that truck!” young John exclaims, gesturing to the RENT-ALL truck parked in the driveway next door. As John looks back to the truck, he sees something he somehow missed the last time he was looking. A small red bike.

“WHOA! Cool!” he cries before beginning to run over.

“John! Come back here this instant!” his mother commands. The motherly demand goes unnoticed, however. No pull or control over a six year old can rival that of a new bike. Childish glee awash over his face, his Spider-Man t-shirt flopping slightly against his frail frame, John runs happily to the truck. He stops short when he sees another small boy appear from the other side of the truck and place a box marked “Dom’s Stuff” near the bike.

“Hiya! I’m John, what’s your name?” John asks panting, brushing his bushy blonde hair out of his eyes. The new boy next door looks to him, wide-eyed.

“Dominick...” he reluctantly replies, pulling up his jeans and running a hand through his cropped black hair.

“This your bike?” John asks, eying the bike with a fond admiration. Dominick smiles lightly, his reluctance fading slightly. He nods and, stepping over the box next to him, takes the bike off the side of the truck and sets it in front of John.

“Wanna ride..?” he asks in a shy little voice John could barely hear. John’s eyes widened with joy as he shouted.

“YEAH!” he hops on the bike and happily pedals around the truck a few times before stopping in front of Dominick, whose smile has now greatly grown.

“The back tire feels a little flat..Ya could fall that way.” John notes with a slight tone of know-it-all. “Trust me, I know these things.”

Dominick just smiles in reply. John leans dismounts the bike and sets it on the ground, all while studying Dominick’s face.

“Is that how ya got that? Fallin’ off the bike?” he asks, motioning towards a large bruise on the side of Dominick’s face. A face that quickly fades from happy to worried.

“Uh..N-..No. I-...I fell...” he says quietly, rubbing his face. Suddenly, from inside the house comes an unearthly growl that can only be that of an upset father.

“DOM!” the voice commands, Dominick jumps with a whimper and looks to the house. “Dom, hurry up with those goddamn boxes already!”

“I Gotta go.” Dominick says quickly as he picks up the box next to him and makes a b-line for the front door.

“Well, wait!” John cries out, Dominick turns. “I live next door....That house over there.” John says, gesturing to the house with his mother standing in the front yard, motioning for John to come inside.

“Okay, John..I-...Thank you..I’ll talk to you later.” Dominick replies with a short smile before running into the house.

John stands in the driveway for a moment, looking onto the closed door, hearing the yells and smacks, no matter how muffled by thick dry-wall they may be and turns to run back to his house.

The years pass, as they tend to do. We find John Allerdyce and Dominick Petros becoming the best of friends. They find comfort in each other’s company, though each would just call the other “Dumb” if asked what he thought of the other. There are things about John’s life that Dominick doesn’t know or understand, just as there are things in Dominick’s life that has the same effect on John.

John having to grow up with no father in his household, where Dominick would give anything to have his father out of his household for good. Unfortunately for Dominick, rather than his abusive father leaving the picture, it’s his poor mother. Fed up with Paul Petros’ abusing and alcoholic ways, Helen Petros took a stand and left. Such things most likely define their close friendship. Another factor that possibly has something to do with their brother-like report; The X-Factor.

Somewhere between the ages of six and fourteen, both boys began to display mutant abilities. John’s long-known obsession with fire came to a boil when he discovered he could control the flame from his lighter. Dominick spent his time digging a hole in his backyard, when he discovered an easier way to create such a thing. Simply use his control on the Earth and rocks to make a hole for him.

Two such strong mutant abilities could be a very powerful addition to any cause, be it a just cause or not...

Downtown Manhattan, New York. May 7th 1999.

A QuickStyle mini-mart on the corner of a busy New York street, a two hour drive from Greenport Long Island. Inside, the clerk behind the counter yawns as a 16 year old blonde-haired boy approaches the counter. The clerk looks up and sees his reflection in the boy’s sunglasses.

“Can I help you?” he says in an uninterested monotone. The boy smiles and holds up a Zippo lighter he picked up off the counter.

“How much?” the boy asks in a thick Australian accent. The clerk scoffs.

“How old are you, son?” the clerk asks, in an almost rhetoric way, as he returns to reading his tabloid.

“Old enough. How much?” the boy asks but receives no response. “Not worth your attention, huh?” he asks in a playful tone. He takes the lighter and lights it in his right hand, creating a small fireball, and ignites the tabloid paper. The clerk jumps back with a yelp and looks up angry. “Do I have your attention now?”

“You little punk! Get out of my store!” the clerk begins to shout, but his voice slowly trails into a whisper when he sees the medium sized fireball playing around the right palm of the young man standing at the counter. Hypnotically reflecting in his shades, the boy’s smile stretches clear across his face now.

“What..What..What do you want..?” the clerk asks, his arms raised in the air as though the teen before him were holding an automatic weapon.

“Just this lighter, man.” the boy replies with a grin. He looks over and sees a stack of beef jerky on the counter. He takes a pair of Hickory Beef Sticks. “And these. Ya mind?” The clerk shakes his head quickly.

“That’s real cool of ya, man. Real cool.” the boy replies with a chuckle, as the fireball extinguishes. He exits the store, places the beef sticks and lighter in his pocket and begins walking down the street. “John, you are hot..” he chuckles to himself. But before he gets too far down the street, a voice calls out.

“You! Stop!” from behind the voice calls, John turns quickly to see the clerk right outside the door to the QuickStyle, pointing at him as a police officer begins to jog in John’s direction.

“Shit..” John whispers and runs in the opposite direction of the officer, who gives chase. Down the street John runs, pushing pedestrians out of his way along the way. The police officer begins to gain speed as John ducks quickly into an alley. The officer cuts in and, much to John’s dismay, he keeps up with the young mutant.

The alley acts as a lifeline between streets, as John cuts across he leaps between cars that end up swerving into walls along the street, not to mention other cars. The officer leaps to avoid being hit by one of the swerving vehicles and does a barrel roll into the next alley. Getting to his feet, he curses his back and continues the chase. In this new alley, John comes to a wall.

“Shit...Shit, shit, shit..” John whispers, he turns to see the officer reach the center of the alley and draw his gun.

“Freeze! You’re under arrest!” he shouts, taking aim at John. “Put your hands in the air! Now!” John raises his hands slowly, the lighter now in his left hand. As his hands slowly raise, he sparks the lighter creating a large fireball to appear in his left palm. A fireball he then sends screaming at the police officer, who takes the brunt of it in his chest. With a grunt, he soon becomes disoriented, uncertain of what has just happened. He soon realizes his uniform is on fire.

“Stop drop and roll, asshole..” John says smugly. The officer drops his gun, falls to the ground and rolls to extinguish the flames. John takes this opportunity to run by him. Looking back with a grin, at first John doesn’t see the other officer who enters the alley.

“Freeze!” he shouts, raising his gun and taking aim. John skids to a stop and flicks his lighter up.

“Freeze is the wrong term for me, mate..” he says as he creates the beginnings of a fireball in his palm. Before he can finish it’s formation, however, the officer opens fire. Before the bullets can reach John, however, the ground between the two men lifts up and seemingly takes to life. The bullets ricocheting off the block of concrete in front of him, John takes a step back. From the other side of the newly founded rock formation John hears the sound of punches landing and a body hitting the ground. The ground which takes it’s original form of the horizontal, now sports the unconscious body of one of New York’s finest. Standing above him with an angered look on his face, is a 17 year old Dominick Petros.

“Asshole, what the hell’s your problem?” he asks angrily. John joins him in jogging away from the scene.

“Hey, I had it under control, mate.” he replies, looking back to see the two officers groggily making it to their feet.

“Oh yeah, I noticed. That’s why you were almost shot to death.” Dominick replies, looking straight ahead. “And cut out that lame accent.”

“it’s called heritage and I’m proud of it. I may have been born on Long Island, but my bloodline’s from Australia. And about the cops...well...those pigs can’t stop Pyro!” John replies, his Australian accent fading quickly into that of a New Yorker.

“You had fire, he had bullets. Bullets move faster, John.” Dominick replies. Now both men have fallen from a steady jog to a brisk walk as they enter a local park. They settle on a park bench, Dominick cracks his neck as he sits, John sits and slumps down.

“I get it, I get it. Big brother is watching.” John says sarcastically, rolling his eyes behind his thick reflective sunglasses.

“Hey, since your mom died I’m the closest thing to family you’ve got. So don’t spit in my face for watching out for you.” Dominick states sternly, John slumps down even further in his seat, looking at the ground. “Just like you’re the closest thing to family I’ve got.”

“You’ve got a father!” John shouts suddenly, forcing those around the bench to take notice. Dominick’s gaze turns quickly to the ground, as a thoughtful look washes over his face.

“Look..” John says with an apologetic sigh, “I’m sorry.” Dominick shakes his head.

“No, you’re right.” he says in a matter-of-fact tone, “It’s funny you’d mention him. I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately.” John raises an eyebrow.

“Oh..?” he asks, looking to a young girl walking by.

“Yeah. I’m thinking I need to go back and talk to him.” Dominick replies, watching the same young girl. But after uttering these words, John is no longer showing interest in the girl. He’s now looking at Dominick, his glasses down on his nose and his mouth agape. Dominick looks over and sees his friend’s facial expression and begins to laugh. “What?”

“You’re going to talk to the asshole?” John says, a sense of shock in his voice, “He treated you like shit for years. He kicked your little narrow ass when you were a kid. Why the hell would you want to talk to him?”

“Just straighten some things out. I need to...make my peace with him.” Dominick replies, his voice a bit shaky. John inhales sharply and exhales slowly before speaking.

“So, when’re we leaving?”

“We? No, John. This is something I’ve got to do myself.” Dominick replies. John flashes him a look from behind his shades.

“What?” he asks, in a forced shocked tone, “You mean the Rock doesn’t need moral support?” Dominick sighs.

“I’m not being called the Rock. I’m not a pro-wrestler.” he replies, shaking his head.

“Well, damn man!” John states, “I mean, if we’re gonna make it big in the world of organized crime we gotta have cool nicknames. Mine’s a gimme, I mean Pyro! It’s so cool. But what do you call a rock controlling guy?” Dominick rolls his eyes.

“We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.” he replies with a grin, “Right, Pyro?”

“Right, Stonewall!” John replies. Dominick’s mouth falls open.

“Stonewall?” he asks.

“Yeah...No good..?” John replies.

“No. No good.” Dominick says, shaking his head. John grins and looks to another young girl passing by.

“So...Let’s try this again...When’re you leaving?” he asks, leaning forward slightly to visually follow the girl through the park.

“Right now.” Dominick says, standing. John’s head snaps away from the girl and up to Dominick.

“What? You’ll leave our humble abode?” he asks, gesturing to the bench. Dominick shakes his head and rolls his eyes.

“Some humble abode.”

“Hey, I know it’s not the Playboy mansion, but..” John begins, “It’s the closest thing to an abode that we have right now.”

“True..” Dominick replies, cracking his back.

“Hey, Dom..?” John asks, looking ahead. Dominick looks to him questioningly. “What’s an abode?”

Dominick shakes his head. “Goodbye, John. I’ll be back soon.” he walks away as John ponders his question.

Greenport, later that afternoon.

“Everything’s the same...” Dominick thinks aloud as he walks down the street, his street. This was the street he grew up on, the street he became a man on. The street he became a mutant on. He reaches his childhood home and shakes his head when he does. The yard is unruly, there’s a broken down Volkswagon Vanagon in the driveway with cobwebs growing in every corner and the windows of the house are all either broken, the work of local punks no doubt, or glossed over with a thick coating of dust.

“Jesus, does he still live here...?” Dominick asks himself aloud. But before he can receive an answer the ground erupts below him, sending him back with it’s shock. Inside the house, he hears an old man’s scream.

“Dom! You damn mutie! Leave me the hell alone!” the voice calls out. Dominick, from his new place on the ground, looks to the house as the left side of it blows away, sending chunks of drywall into the next yard. He quickly gets to his feet and runs around the corner. There, he finds the old man that now represents his father, on the ground. Drywall and cement surround him, blood is trickling from a wound on his forehead and he grunts with pain.

“Dad?!” Dominick shouts, he kneels beside his father who flinches at the sight of him. “I’m not gonna hurt you, dad...”

“Bullshit!” he chokes out, “You’re the one who did this to me...” Dominick, confused, looks around at the interior of the house (which is clearly visible from the street now). But as he does, the ground shifts again, sending him back into what is left of the wall. From there, he sees the ground swell up and swallow his father, like a hungry beast attacking it’s prey.

“DAD!” Dominick shouts, getting up.

“You did this to your father, Dominick.” a voice calls out from behind. Dominick turns to see himself standing at the entryway to the house, a huge grin on his face.

“What the..” Dominick begins, but is soon cut down as another shockwave rocks through the ground, sending him flying. He rolls backward and jumps back to his feet, throwing a shockwave at this impostor. A shockwave that has an even bigger effect on the impostor than they were on Dominick. After landing on his back, the alternate Dominick spoke.

“You killed your father, Dominick. Being a mutant as you are...No one understands you.” the impostor whispered.

“SHUT UP!” Dominick shouted in reply, sending another miniature earthquake at his double. “You know nothing about it!”

“I know your father beat you as a child...” the impostor begins, getting back to his feet. “I know he still holds power over you to this day, even after all these years.”

“No...Stop it...” Dominick says in disbelief, stepping backward.

“I also know that his power over you will last, even after you just witnessed his death.” the impostor says with a smile. With that, as though he unleashed the fires of hell itself, the impostor receives his due. With what could only be described as a howl from the hounds of hell, Dominick unleashes his power in a way he never even knew he could. In the distance, car alarms begin to scream into the late afternoon air. More near, however, the damage is much more distinct. The former Allerdyce house collapses, the house beside it follows suit. The quake that shakes this small neighborhood sends the impostor flying backward and into the rear wall, the Petros home collapses around him.

Breathing heavily, his clothing torn, Dominick falls to his knees and begins to cry. He stays this way for what seems to him as an eternity, but what is really only a few moments. He stands, dries his eyes, and walks away from the pile of rubble that formally represented a monument to his childhood. He pauses once he reaches the street, turns to once more look at the abandonment of his youth before he continues on his way back to the city.

A few moments pass, the inhabitants of the neighborhood gather around the rubble of what used to be the Petros home. Suddenly, a pile of rocks begins to shift. From it a hand rises. Slowly, the man trapped under the pile makes his way to his feet. Brushing off the dust and surveying his wounds, he stands and looks around at the level of destruction left in Dominick Petros’ path. He does this and smiles, his eyes flashing an eerie yellow.

He takes out a cell phone and presses a single button.

“Toynbee? Patch me through to Pietro, I’ve just located the first of our two new additions.” the impostor says with an evil grin.

Manhattan, the next morning.

The sun rises slowly, filtering through the concrete jungle that is known only as New York. We find John Allerdyce walking the streets, he settles outside a small diner on the corner of a busy street. He looks around and sits, making the ground his chair. He yawns lightly as passers-by pretend not to see him, he pretends he doesn’t notice. One passer-by drops a quarter next to him.

“Sweet..” he says with a gasp, picking it up.

“Half of that is mine.” a familiar voice calls from the corner. John looks up to see Dominick taking a seat next to him, a somber look on his face.

“Uh..How’d it go..?” John asks reluctantly. Dominick shakes his head and sighs heavily.

“My father is dead.” he says sadly. John’s mouth falls open.

“Oh..Dom...I’m sorry, man..” he says in as comforting a tone as he can muster.

“He was killed.” Dominick adds, with a tinge of coldness in his voice. John takes off his sunglasses.

“Come again?”

“Murder.” Dominick replies, “He was murdered.”

“Son of a bitch...Who did it?” John asks, his tone dripping with hatred. Dominick turns and looks his childhood friend in the eye.

“I did.” Dominick stands and begins walking towards the park. John remains in front of the diner a moment longer before getting to his feet and running after his friend. He falls into step beside Dominick and remains silent for a few moments before speaking.

“You..?” he asks quietly. Time passes before Dominick replies, too much time in John’s eyes.

“Yeah.” Dominick begins, “Only it wasn’t me...” he adds in a whisper. John scratches his head and sighs.

“You need to stop being all Mysterio on me, man..” John says in a huff as they reach the park.

“I Don’t know, John...I think it might’ve been a shapeshifter or something...I don’t know...” Dominick replies. But before John can reply, a sound slowly fills the air above their heads that forces them both to stop in their tracks and watch the sky above. Overhead, a small helicopter slowly lowers from the sky and lands in front of the two young mutants.

“What the hell’s this about..?” John asks aloud. The chopper door opens and a beautiful woman steps out. The amazingly attractive woman, in a tan business suit, black rim glasses and her long blue hair draping over her shoulders, approaches them.

“Good morning, gentlemen.” she greets, “My name is Raven Darkholme, I understand you’re both in need of some monetary support.” John and Dominick exchange glances, but it’s Dominick who speaks.

“Maybe. Who’re you?” he asks reluctantly. Raven laughs.

“Always playing the big brother, aren’t you Dominick?” she asks, “Whether John wants you to or not.”

“What?” John asks with a tone of shock, “How do you know our names..?”

“You two are very much like brothers.” Raven continues, ignoring John’s question and the confused gaze of both young men. “You are brothers in another aspect as well. You are a part of the brotherhood of mutants.”

“What’re you sellin’, lady!?” Dominick shouts in frustration. John nods in agreement.

“I represent an organization that is exactly that; A Brotherhood of Mutants.” Raven replies, “We’d like you two to join us.”

“We don’t need charity.” John barks and begins to turn away.

“Where else do you have to go, Mr. Allerdyce? Going to spend the rest of your days sleeping near your mother’s grave? Blaming yourself for her death?” Raven asks. John spins around and points a finger in her face.

“You shut your mouth! You know nothing about it!” he shouts.

“But I do.” Raven replies with a grin, “I know more than you think.”

“Such as...?” Dominick questions, placing a comforting hand on John’s shoulder.

“You’ve been through a lot, boys. Your life’s been rough to this point, you’ve spent your years searching for meaning...Searching for a path to follow.” Raven replies, “I’m offering you that path. Come join our organization and under the teachings of Magnus Lensherr you will find your place.” John and Dominick look to one another, searching each other’s eyes.

“Join us.” Raven repeats. Dominick looks into her eyes and shivers.

“Okay. We’ll go with you, you show us this...organization of yours.” Dominick replies. John nods, agreeing with his friend’s decision.

“Excellent. And your names...?” Raven asks, gesturing to them both.

“Pyro.” John says with a devilish grin as he begins to play with his lighter. Raven turns to Dominick, as does John, both are awaiting a reply.

“Call me...” he begins, “Avalanche.” John chuckles darkly and turns back to Raven who is now sporting a small grin of certain evil intent.

“Well, Pyro and Avalanche..” Raven begins, “Welcome to the future.”

The two young mutants follow Raven back to the helicopter, looking around at the shocked and confused on-lookers, John chuckling the entire way. As the helicopter slowly lifts into the sky, John and Dominick say a silent farewell to their lives as they know it. They both feel as though they’re a part of something bigger now. They feel like they’re part of a Brotherhood.