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Broken Branches

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Wade had grabbed Peter's camera and was staring at it intently, turning it over in his hands, giving the strap a little yank. He had gone silent, always a bad sign, and Inez and Neena had flanked him, arms folded as they stared down at Peter with cold, gleaming eyes.

Inez leaned in toward Wade, bumping shoulders with him as her hip thrust out, "Hey, Parker ... you know what we do to bad little boys like you?"

Neena tossed her dark hair, "We break them." She lazily brought her hands together and cracked her knuckles, smile sharp and cruel.

Peter gulped, leaning away from them, eyes wide, "Really! It wasn't like that! I promise!" He looked at the girls surrounding him beseechingly, but those closest had folded their arms over their chests or put their hands on their hips, their faces disgusted and glaring.

"It wasn't?" Wade hit the delete all button on the camera, looking up to pin Peter with cold blue eyes, "Then you won't mind if I just delete all these pictures, then, huh?"

Peter winced, "N-no ... of course not."

"Great!" Wade spread his hands, letting the camera fall out of them without bothering to catch it. As it fell, Peter made a strangled noise of despair. It tumbled through the air, dropping like a rock, but before it touched the ground, it bounced back on it's strap, which was still wrapped around Wade's wrist. Wade swung his arm and the camera inscribed a pendulum arc in the air, before he caught the strap and spun, making the camera whirl precariously through the air.

"Stop! Wade!" Peter lunged for the camera.

It was the girls who stopped him, their palms hitting him on each shoulder, shoving him back with the combined blow. Inez tutted, "Ah, ah!"

Wade just stepped back out of reach, smiling a cold, humorless smile as the camera made a swishing sound as it whirled through the air, "You or the camera, Petey ... pick the one you want to get broken."

Neena flicked Peter on the cheek with her pearl colored nails, making him flinch, "Pick yourself, Petey."

"Pick the camera," Inez grinned, "I want to hear it go crunch."

Wade whirled the camera through a figure eight in the air and Peter made a horrible, keening noise in his throat as he watched the camera with helpless eyes.

Elektra Natchios put a hand on Wade's arm and when he glanced at her, she spoke, "That's enough, Wade." Her cool brown eyes flicked across Wade's female backup, "Inez. Neena." Inez tossed her hair, but she and Neena took a step back and circled around to the back of Peter like a pair of pretty sharks.

"Is it?" Wade flashed Elektra a cat's cruel grin, all teeth and malice, "If he doesn't have a camera, he can't take any more pictures."

"I think Parker's learned his lesson," she said calmly, cool and unafraid as her eyes cut to Peter, "Haven't you, Peter?"

Peter nodded emphatically, "No more pictures of cheerleader practice. No more! None! I've totally learned my lesson!"

"And if he doesn't learn it ... you can break him," Elektra said, sweet and dark as she trailed her finger tip down Wade's arm.

Peter swallowed as Inez, Neena, and Wade smiled in terrible unison.