Rock Candy

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: Don't own this stuff.  I figured it was about time I actually did a real story instead of POV stuff.  R/R if you like.  Oh yeah, for all you people who say it's unrealistic to forget Valentine's Day I actually know people who have before.  It wasn't pretty.

            Lance groaned.  His alarm clock was making a very annoying noise.  He was about to go back to sleep when suddenly a very foul-smelling something crashed onto his bed and began bouncing up and down.

            "What the hell?" asked Lance as Toad continued jumping on his bed, "Toad, go back to bed."

            "Lance," said Toad in a tone usually reserved for life-and-death emergencies, "C'mon man, I gotta get to tha mall, yo."

            "What?" asked Lance groggily as Toad continued to use his bed for a trampoline, "Cut that out!"  Toad didn't stop until the house started shaking.

            "C'mon," said Toad, "I gotta get to the mall."

            "Okay," said Lance as he rolled out of bed and stumbled towards the shower, "Why are you in such a big rush?"

            "Duh," replied Toad as if it was obvious, "C'mon man, don't you know what today is?"

            "Saturday," replied Lance.

            "No," replied Toad.  Lance looked puzzled.  He could've sworn it was Saturday.

            "Sunday?" asked Lance.

            "No, I don't mean that," said Toad, "I meant today's a very special Saturday.  Can you guess why?"

            "No clue," replied Lance as he began taking a shower.  He thought about it for a minute.  Toad's birthday wasn't anywhere near now and plus he wouldn't be this hyperactive.  Christmas?  No.  Halloween?  No.  Wanda's birthday?  No, Pietro would've announced it like a month in advance since it would've been his too.  Some weird anniversary maybe?

            "It's Valentine's Day, dude," said Toad, "Now hurry up, I gotta get Wanda something."  Lance groaned.  He completely forgot about Valentine's Day.  It's not like he wanted to remember it, not since he and Kitty broke up.

            "Toad, she's not going to want anything from you," said Lance as he finished his shower and started getting dressed, "You might not have noticed it but even Pietro gets better treatment from her than you do."

            "That's gonna change, man," assured Toad, "Once I get her the best gift ever she'll have to love me."  Lance sighed as he finished dressing and grabbed his keys.  Couldn't Toad see that this was a train wreck waiting to happen?

            "Alright," consented Lance, "I'll take you to the mall.  Beats sitting around all day."  Toad practically pushed him down the stairs and out the door.

            Pink.  Everywhere he looked there was pink.  Pink balloons, pink hearts, pink flowers, pink letters, pink sweaters worn by girls with adorable eyes and. . ..  No, he was not going to think about Kitty.  He refused to spend Valentine's Day moping about it.  He screwed up, time to move on.  Time to forget about her, forget about how wonderful her smile was, forget about how cute she was, forget about. . ..  Lance resisted the urge to slap himself in public.  He was doing it again.  He couldn't stop thinking about her.  It was driving him insane.

            "I got it," declared Toad.  Both boys had taken a break after an unsuccessful run at Toad's quest.  They were now sitting on a bench sipping some sodas.  Actually, Lance was on the bench and Toad was crouched on the railing still peering around for ideas.

            "What now?" asked Lance.  They had tried everything but found nothing.  Shopping for someone like Wanda was almost impossible.  Kitty, on the other hand. . ..  Lance groaned again.

            "Underwear," said Toad as he eyed the Victoria Secrets store, "Nothing says 'I love you' like some sexy lingerie, right?"

            "Yeah, and nothing says 'you're a slimeball' like the coma she'll put you in if you give her that," replied Lance as he shook his head sadly, "Todd, this is totally hopeless."

            "No way," replied Toad, "We just gotta sit here until I think of something.  C'mon, you had a girlfriend once.  You hafta know something."

            Lance sighed.  He had a girlfriend once.  A bright, cheerful, hopelessly optimistic girlfriend who thought they could beat the odds.  Just when Lance was starting to believe it himself, Kitty saw the real Lance and all her hope went out the window.

            "Toad, why are you doing this?" asked Lance, "I mean it's pretty clear she's never going to like you.  Why do you keep letting the door slam you in the face?"

            "Because I love her, yo," replied Toad, "She's the world to me.  You know what that's like, Lance.  I mean you still got a thing for Kitty even after she dumped you."

            "No I. . ." started Lance but then hung his head in defeat.  Might as well admit it, "Okay, yeah I still love her."

            "See," said Toad, "You're just scared of getting hit in the face with the door.  You'd try again just like me if you weren't afraid of getting hurt."

            "I'm not scared," stated Lance, "I just think it's hopeless.  I mean you were there, Todd, you saw how upset and hurt she was.  You heard what she said."

            "Big deal," replied Toad nonchalantly, "If there's one thing I learned from chasing Wanda it's that actions are louder than words.  What you need to do is show her you still care.  It doesn't matter what you two said to each other.  You still love her and she probably still loves you."

            "Toad," said Lance, "That's probably the best idea you've had today."  Toad smiled a mouthful of green teeth.

            "That's the spirit," he said, "See, the way I figure it is girls that make you feel the way we feel about Wanda and Kitty only come around once in a lifetime if you're lucky.  When you find one you can't give up on it no matter how many times you get shot down."

            "How'd you get so smart?" asked Lance.  Toad shrugged.  He hadn't known he was that smart.  If he was really smart he'd think of something to get Wanda.  There was a fly passing in front of his face.  He involuntarily snatched it with his tongue.  Wait a minute.  That was it!

            "I got it!" he cried as he hopped over to the directory, "Oh please let there be one here."  Lance took a sip of his soda and stared quizzically at his friend.

            "Wait here," ordered Toad, "I'll be back in a sec."  Lance nodded as Toad ran off.  Lance couldn't imagine what his mysterious mind had come up with now.  There were some days that he really couldn't figure Toad out.  He had been right though.  Lance knew he should talk to Kitty, maybe they could finally sort out this whole mess.  It was stupid of him to be scared.  He had never been scared about telling her he loved her before so why start now?

            "I got it," beamed Toad as he held up a bag, "It's perfect."

            "What is it?" asked Lance as he eyed the bag suspiciously.  He wasn't quite sure he really wanted to know.

            "C'mere," said Toad.  Lance bent down as Toad whispered something in his ear.  His eyebrow arched skeptically.

            "You're sure about this?" he asked.  Toad nodded happily.  Lance sighed.  Who was he to detain a man on a mission of true love?

            "You think she'll like it?" asked Toad nervously.

            "It's definitely different," admitted Lance, "and it's definitely you.  Go for it, man."  Toad nodded and smiled.

            Wanda was the only one around when Lance and Toad finally returned.  Lance decided he would go upstairs and think about some things while Toad gave Wanda his present.  He didn't want to be around when the sparks started to fly.

            "Where's everybody else?" asked Toad as he ambled up to Wanda with the box behind his back.

            "Pietro had dates," said Wanda with a mild tone of disgust, "I don't know where Freddy went."  Toad nodded nervously.

            "Uhm, Wanda," he said, "I kinda, well since it's Valentine's Day and all, I kinda got you something."  Wanda eyed him skeptically as he produced his present.  She smiled.  It was very sweet of him.

            "I hope you like chocolate," said Toad as Wanda took the box carefully and made sure it wouldn't explode or something before she opened it.

            "Thank you, Toad," said Wanda, "That was very sweet of you."

            "Go on, try one," urged Toad.  Wanda took a piece and bit into it.  It had a very unusual taste to it.  It was really crunchy too.

            "You like?" asked Toad hopefully.  Wanda didn't say anything as she swallowed.  There was something about the taste that was really weird.

            "Toad?" she asked, "What exactly are these?"

            "Well," said Toad, "that one was a cricket.  The big ones are grasshoppers and those fat, round ones are grubs.  Try those next, they look really good."

            "They're bugs," coughed Wanda.  She should've known.  This was Toad, after all.

            "Chocolate-covered insects," replied Toad proudly, "I got them at the science and nature store in the mall today."  Wanda turned a very unflattering shade of green.

            "Oh honey, you're speechless," said Toad, "That's good, right?"  Wanda ran upstairs to the bathroom.  Toad glumly looked down at the box.  He decided to go after her but snagged a grub before doing so.  He was right, they were really good.  He couldn't understand why Wanda didn't like them.

            "Maybe she's allergic," he said to himself as he popped a grasshopper into his mouth.

            Lance's reverie was interrupted by the unceremonious sound of someone throwing up.  He snickered to himself and hoped Wanda didn't hex Toad too hard for giving her his present.  He had to admit it was a clever if terribly unsuccessful idea.  He stared at his clock.  Would Kitty be in her room?  He should call her, tell her that he still loved her.  Why had he said that to her?  He was angry, frustrated at the situation.  Her timing and choice of words hadn't helped either.

            "I'll never be good enough for you," he repeated to himself.  Was it true?  He didn't want to think so.  He wanted to think being himself was enough for her.  Well, at least the self she loved.  He wasn't himself when he was around her, he was someone better.  He was the someone he always wanted to be.  All it took was her smile and he knew he was a better person.  She helped make him something more than what he'd ever been without her.

            "That does it," he stated as he picked up the phone and dialed her number.  He held his breath and waited.

            "Yeah, Rogue?" asked Lance as soon as he heard the unmistakable Southern drawl, "Look, it's Lance.  Is Kitty around?"  His face fell.  She wasn't home, she'd gone out with some friends.

            "Okay," said Lance, "Listen just have her call me.  Please Rogue, I seriously need to talk to her.  I have to tell her something, something I should've told her awhile ago."  He nodded.  Rogue knew the situation and promised to pass along the message.  He knew he could count on her.  Once a Brotherhood member, always a Brotherhood member.  Lance hung up the phone and stared at it.  Had she thought of him at all today?  Was she thinking of him now?  Lance stared at the phone and waited.  He could hear the water running, apparently Wanda was still trying to get the taste of Toad's present out of her mouth.  He sighed, it was going to be a long night.