Hiding in Plain Sight
Disclaimer: Don't own any of this stuff I just write about it because I have no life.
WARNING: This story has a really sappy ending so don't say I didn't warn ya. Just some great Toad/Wanda-ness I did in my free time. Enjoy and R/R if you like.
'Here we go again,' thought Wanda. It wasn't even noon yet and already she was being haunted by Toad. The slimy little wart had made it his mission in life to endlessly shadow her in an attempt to win her affections. How lucky could one girl be?
"Toad, for the thousandth, and hopefully last, time when the door's locked it means I'm getting dressed," she shouted as she finished and went over to where Toad had been trying unsuccessfully for the past five minutes to pick her lock, "It also means you're, as always, not invited to help." She opened the door and knocked Toad backwards down the stairs, eliciting a girl-like scream from him.
"Jus' makin' sure you were okay, yo," said Toad defensively as he rubbed the back of his head and got back to his feet, "Wouldn't want anything to happen to my Scarlet Sweetie." Wanda rolled her eyes. At this point in their relationship a hex bolt didn't get the message across so she settled for the cold shoulder. That didn't seem to work either.
"What'cha readin'?" asked Toad as he looked over Wanda's shoulder while she was on the couch in the living room. Wanda said nothing as she continued to read while Toad perched on the arm of the couch and tried to read over her shoulder.
"God, could you stop doing that?" asked Wanda as she felt Toad's pungent breath on the back of her neck.
"What?" asked Toad, "I was just reading."
"Stop breathing down my neck," said Wanda, "In fact, stop breathing altogether."
"Well I'd do anything for you, cuddles," said Toad, "but I might die."
"Good idea," replied Wanda as Toad hopped onto the couch. She tried to get back to her book. She suddenly felt an unwanted body rest on her lap.
"Toad, get the hell off me," she snarled as she threw Toad out of her lap, "God, now I'll have to burn these jeans. They were my favorite pair too."
"I was just tryin' ta read the title, yo," said Toad as he resumed his normal crouching posture. Wanda snorted. She knew full well what he was trying to do, the same thing he had been trying to do since they had met. It appeared that today she would have to take drastic measures.
"If you want to be helpful," she said in an uncharacteristically sweet voice, "Then go get something out of the closet for me." Toad moved to the closet so fast he could have passed for Pietro.
"What is it?" he asked as he looked around, "What's in the closet, yo?"
"You," replied Wanda as she slammed the door and hexed it shut, "Which is exactly where I want you to stay." She heard Toad bang on the door but it wouldn't do him any good. That door was never going to open unless she wanted it to and with Toad in there she knew she would never want to.
"Could you keep it down?" yelled Pietro from the kitchen, "I'm on the phone here." Wanda rolled her eyes again. Pietro was probably sweet-talking some unsuspecting girl again.
"Did you lock Toad in the closet?" asked Pietro as he peeked into the living room and saw his sister on the couch. Wanda nodded and smiled, "Tell him to quit banging on the door."
"Are we interrupting anything?" asked Wanda snidely, "Which girl is it this time, big brother?"
"Not while I'm on the phone," hissed Pietro as he put his hand over the receiver and went back into the kitchen. Toad had apparently quit his futile attempts to free himself and finally Wanda returned to her book. At last there was a small amount of peace.
"What'cha readin'?" Wanda almost thought it was Toad again. She let out a hex bolt in frustration but saw it was Pietro. Pietro, as always, was too fast.
"Sorry," said Wanda, "Thought you were Toad."
"Sis, I know you've got some mental problems but please try to keep up," said Pietro in a condescending tone that he was so accustomed to, "Me, Pietro. That, Toad." He pointed to the closet. Wanda said nothing as she turned back to her book.
"Oh, by the way, despite your efforts Tara agreed to go out with me," said Pietro as if Wanda really cared which girl Pietro was trying to have a fling with at this particular second.
"I'm thrilled," replied Wanda sarcastically, "Should I call the newspapers?"
"You know, it's funny," said Pietro, "I'm the one getting all the attention from the opposite sex and the best you can do is Toad." He shook his head and smiled. For some reason his comment irritated the hell out of Wanda.
"What's that supposed to mean?" she asked, "I'd go out with any guy. I just happen to, unlike you, think that dating is for people who are actually in love with each other."
"Right," replied Pietro, "That's why you've had zero boyfriends." Wanda tried to zap him again but Pietro zipped away.
"Like you've ever had a real girlfriend," said Wanda as he smirked at her in his usual arrogant manner. Her comment did little to faze him.
"Any guy, huh?" he asked in a sneaky tone, "You'd go out with any guy?" Wanda could tell where this was going and she didn't think she was going to like it.
"What, you wanna put money on it?" she asked, not sure she was going to like the answer.
"Well," said Pietro, drawing out the last syllable to an annoying degree, "I could maybe spare twenty bucks if someone had the guts to do it."
"Terms," ordered Wanda. There was no way she was going to let Pietro have the last laugh on this one.
"Ask out Toad," said Pietro with a grin, "You ask him out not just say yes when he asks you. You go out and not end up zapping him for an entire night. You come back here and kiss him on the lips. I'll be watching from the window and I'll be able to tell if you've zapped him or not and whether or not you kiss him. Twenty bucks says you can't do it."
Wanda was fine up until the kiss at which point she thought she would throw up. Kiss Toad? Why not just make out with a pile of garbage? Still, she had seen a pair of earrings at the mall that she had wanted. Plus, she could finally wipe that arrogant smirk off her brother's face.
"Deal," said Wanda, "Have your wallet ready after I'm done with him. Tonight okay?" Pietro nodded and grinned devilishly. There was no way she could do it. She couldn't even last five seconds without blasting him much less a whole night.
"Big mistake, sis," he said, "You're never going to make it."
"We'll see," she muttered as she removed her hex and opened the door. The huge pile of stuff that was in the closet fell out and somewhere in it she heard Toad groan. Apparently when he was trying to get out, the contents of the shelves had cascaded on top of him.
"Toad?" she asked, "You okay?"
"Never better, honey pie," replied Toad as he sat up, "I couldn't find what you were lookin' for." Wanda rolled her eyes.
"Toad, I've been thinking," she said, "I think it's very cruel of me to keep spurning you like this. After all, I haven't given you much of a chance." Toad's attention meter spiked up to previously untouched levels. Wanda felt slightly guilty for doing this but she went on anyway.
"So what, you're, like, sayin' you like me now?" asked Toad. He was clearly heading into unknown territory.
"I'm saying I think we should go out tonight and see what happens," replied Wanda, "Tonight is okay, isn't it?" Toad looked like he was about to have a heart attack. Wanda almost thought he'd go into shock.
"Wait, wait, you're askin' me out?" asked Toad for clarification. Wanda nodded. Toad was too dumbfounded to speak for a few moments.
"Yeah, tonight's great, yo," he said, "I knew you couldn't resist me for long, darling. Pietro's not the only ladies man around here."
"Don't get your hopes up," warned Wanda but Toad already dashed up to his room. Wanda sighed and shook her head. Maybe this wasn't the best idea in the world.
She dressed casually, nothing fancy. A simple red top and a pair of jeans. She didn't expect much. They would go eat, she would restrain the impulse to zap him for half an hour or so, they would come back, she would kiss him, and then she would collect her money from Pietro. It was no big deal, really.
"So why do I feel like such a jerk?" Wanda asked herself as she sat on the couch waiting for Toad. She hadn't seen him the rest of the day. She wondered what he had been doing.
"Ready for that kiss?" asked Pietro as he adjusted his tie. Apparently he had also made plans for an evening excursion.
"Ready to stop breathing?" asked Wanda as Pietro's tie suddenly contracted around his neck. Pietro's eyes bulged a bit before Wanda released her hex. She figured she might as well get it out of her system.
"You're not going to make it," assured Pietro, "Just gimme the money now and save yourself the torture." Wanda fumed. Who did he think he was? She could do this; this would be no problem.
"Ahem," coughed Toad as he came down the stairs, "Ready to go, my love?" Wanda turned and put up a pitiful fight to keep her jaw from reflexively dropping. This couldn't be Toad.
"Toad," struggled Wanda, "You . . . you look so . . . so . . . decent."
"Please," said Toad, "Call me Todd. 'Toad' is so demeaning." He didn't even sound like Toad. Wanda looked him up and down, trying to take in the complete metamorphosis. He had washed his hair apparently, probably more than once. He had combed it too judging by the way it was so neat as opposed to its usual disheveled manner. He was wearing a little nicer clothes than usual and his shirt was tucked in. Wanda sniffed. He had bathed and . . . was that cologne? It couldn't have been. Toad didn't wear deodorant much less cologne.
"You look surprised," said Toad. Wanda was definitely surprised. She caught a glimpse of his teeth. They were still a little yellow but they had obviously been brushed more times that day than in their entire existence.
"What?" she stammered, feeling like a complete idiot, "How? Why?"
"I simply decided it was time I started looking a little better," said Toad, "Anything for you, my dearest. Shall we go?"
"Of course," replied Wanda after the initial shock had worn off, "Uhm, Toad?"
"Todd," corrected Toad. Wanda nodded. Could her mouth even say that word?
"Todd," she said, "What exactly happened to you?"
"What do you mean?" asked Toad as he moved to open the door for her. Wanda was once again a bit surprised. She was starting to get the feeling she had slipped into some kind of alternate, parallel reality.
"I mean it's like you're a completely different person," said Wanda as they walked out onto the porch, "Not that I'm complaining or anything."
"I told ya," replied Toad, "I decided to look a little nicer than usual." Wanda could tell it was still Toad. Any second she expected him to grab a fly with his tongue or end a sentence with "yo".
'Easy, girl, he just looks cleaner that's all,' she told herself, 'He's still the same disgusting idiot underneath it all. He looks kinda handsome though.' Where had that come from?
"Here," said Toad, "I got these for ya. I guess I shoulda done that before." He handed her a bouquet of black roses. She started to blush and hoped he didn't notice.
"Thank you," she said as she opened the door and set them on the windowsill inside before they turned to go.
'How did he know they're my favorite?' she wondered. She felt his hand clasp around hers. She didn't mind it like she thought she would have. They both walked off down the street to the restaurant.
The meal had been excellent. Wanda didn't really have a thing for Italian food but Toad had chosen a nice little restaurant where they could even eat outdoors. He had been such a gentleman too. Wanda felt like such a cruel person for doing this all because of a bet. He had pulled her chair out for her, used silverware instead of his tongue, and had even managed to resist the impulse to snag a passing bug.
"Todd," she said as they sat on the porch of the house, "There's really something I have to tell you." She had made up her mind that she was going to tell him about the bet with Pietro. It had been cruel and sick to lead him on like this.
"Anything, Wanda," he replied as he looked at her. She'd never noticed before but he was kind of cute in a disgusting way.
"There's kind of something you don't know about tonight," said Wanda, "God, I feel so stupid for doing it but. . ."
"That bet you made with Pietro," finished Toad. Boy, tonight was the night for surprises. Wanda's jaw hit the floor again.
"How?" she asked.
"I was in the closet, sweetie," reminded Toad, "You can hear lots o' things in there."
"Then why'd you go to all this trouble?" asked Wanda. She was clearly having a hard time following the logic here.
"Because I love you," said Toad, "Look, I know you did this to get that twenty bucks but honestly I don't care because this has been the best night of my life."
"But I'm only being nice to you because of that bet," said Wanda.
"Are you?" asked Toad. Wanda stopped dead. Well sure at first it had been about the bet but after a little while she actually started to enjoy it. She didn't have to resist the impulse to zap him because there had been no impulse. She had to admit to herself that maybe she liked being around Toad when he wasn't smothering her.
"Besides," explained Toad, "I like to think this is like a test run, ya know? If I can do good here then maybe when I ask you out you'll say yes."
"What if there's not a next time?" asked Wanda, "What if this is it?"
"Then at least you got to see Todd instead of Toad," replied Toad, "He's not such a bad guy after all." Wanda hadn't noticed the almost non-existent amount of space between them. Usually the smell would make her stay away but there wasn't one now.
"Wanda," said Toad, "however you fell about me just know that I'll always love you. You're the most wonderful girl in the world and I really mean that." She felt like scum. No, she felt worse than scum. How could she treat him the way she had treated him? How could she have been so heartless?
"You're the first person that's ever said that to me," said Wanda. She felt like she was about to cry. She must've looked like it too because Toad started to look worried.
"You okay?" he asked nervously.
"Toad, Todd, I'm about to do something I've never done before," stated Wanda, "This isn't because of some stupid bet or Pietro or a full moon or anything else. It's because I want to, I honestly want to." She pulled him into a kiss. A very long, deep, passionate kiss to be sure. She could feel his tongue at the back of her throat, literally. Too many times she just wanted to rip it out of his mouth but now she just let it tickle the sides of her mouth. Their separation was painful but they endured.
"Uhm, Wanda," said Toad, "You did that to me once, remember?" He knew she had some memory problems because of Mastermind but he thought she would at least remember them kissing.
"No," replied Wanda, "That time I kissed a prince who turned into a Toad. This time I kissed a Toad who somehow, miraculously, turned into a prince." Toad nodded. He understood what she meant.
"I want you to promise me something," said Wanda. Toad looked like he would promise her anything in the world.
"What is it?" he asked.
"The way you were tonight," said Wanda, "You weren't grossing me out or all over me like usual. I want you to promise me that you'll act like that around me more often because that's the Toad I'm in love with. That's the Toad I want to kiss."
"I will," promised Toad as Wanda stood up to go back inside. She was still a bit light-headed when she came back inside and picked up her flowers. Pietro looked white as a ghost.
"You-you-actually-did-it," he said in amazement all at one time, "Eew-that's-totally-disgusting-I-can't-believe-you-just-did-that."
"Keep your money, Pietro," said Wanda as Pietro reached for his wallet, "The bet's off."
"But-you-won-fair-and-square," admitted Pietro. Wanda smiled as she looked at the roses. She had won alright.
"I got what I wanted," she said simply, "At least what I know I want now." Pietro looked stunned.
"You-can't-be-serious," he said, "Don't-tell-me-you-actually-like-him-now."
"Any guy I want," repeated Wanda, "and I found the one I want. He was hiding in plain sight." Pietro fainted as Wanda smiled and walked up to her room.
(Author's Note): C'mon kids. Say it all together now. 1-2-3: Awwwwwwwwwwww. Told ya it was sappy.