Summary: Kurt's first Samhain in Ah-mare-ee-ca, plans are off, and he wants to do something with his fantastic costume. Todd has plans. Vague attempts at symbolism ensue. Reply to Hallowe'en challenge prompt at toddkurtslash: "Unexpected supernatural creatures."
Rating: PG-13 for language, sexual references, and… weirdness.
Additional Pairings: None. (Unless you count Evan and his milk.)
Disclaimer: Marvel's, Warner Brothers', some other people's, but definitely not mine. Praise your deity of choice. Research (yeah, did research for a fanfic… (is loser squared)) from Wikipedia and this big-ass Native American mythology book.
Author's Note: My first T/K semi-fluff. (feels virginal in a very specific way) I'm a bit obsessed with mythology, not that this is an excuse. There are a couple of plotholes in here (collect them all, and you'll get a coitus interruptus ratty plush toy!), but… indulge me. Oh, and the UNICEF thing was Twitch's idea. She are great. Someone help me make the ending less shite… please…
Kurt was not at all sure when it had happened—when the rivalry between himself and the Toad had dissolved into an uneasy truce; when the other boy had evolved from an enemy into an annoyance, into an aimless wave in the school halls, into a friendly acquaintance, into what Todd called "a comradeship" on days when he was feeling particularly pirate-y; when the Toad had, in fact, dropped the article and ceased being Toad altogether. He was Todd now, and it was a lot easier. (Kurt was still "fuzzy" and "blueboy", but the pejorative tone had been dropped a while back, so now it was just irritating and not actually insulting.)
It was eerie how much they had in common. Not just their mutations, either, although the subject of their shared superhuman flexibility had come up several times in conversation, generally leading to some very suggestive jokes and an informal contest to see who could keep a straight face the longest (they usually cracked up at the same time). Their musical tastes, for example, were oddly similar as well, although Todd absolutely drew the line at The Festering Boils.
The Professor had told everybody to lay off the smart-ass questions and keep anti-amphibian comments to themselves because the burgeoning friendship was Beneficial to the Cooperative Mutant Cause and so forth. So Kurt's housemates cracked jokes about how much time they were spending together, because they were all a little bit bewildered that Kurt had chosen Todd of all people as a friend. Kurt wasn't surprised, and he also wasn't hurt by it, for once. Todd was sort of like baklava: creepy-looking and greenish on the outside, and an acquired taste, but definitely worth making the effort for.
So yeah, they were spending a lot of time together. But they weren't planning coordinated Hallowe'en costumes or anything. Friendship was one thing, but that was just too Brady Bunch.
Kurt had had no idea what his costume should be, so he'd asked around for ideas. He wasn't particularly impressed by most of the answers he got, mostly because people tended to answer without really thinking about it. But eventually he'd gotten around to asking Forge, who, to his excitement, had actually looked up from his current mystifying project (which immediately began to wail and flash in technological distress) and said, "Let me think about that."
The next day, Forge had come up to him and, without preamble, said, "Thunderbird." After some explanation, Kurt was hooked. Forge offered his help making the costume, Kurt gratefully accepted, and Forge began to plan, sending Kurt out occasionally to fetch materials. It was unexpectedly fun; Forge told him a few stories about the thunderbird: the one about the Passamaquoddy man who was pounded on a mortar into the shape of a thunderbird and became a protector of the Passamaquoddy people; the stories of men who swore they had seen thunderbirds lift whales from the ocean and devour them or carry them off to their nests; and the story of the eternal enemy of thunderbirds, the Great Water Serpent.
And pretty soon the costume, if you could call it that, was done. If Kurt had been making it, he knew, he would have flailed around with papier-mâché for a while before giving up and buying a fifty-cent beak on a string from Party Central. This was something else entirely. Watching Forge build it, Kurt had thought that the parts came together to make the whole like a cluster of villages eventually morphed into a city, each part developing individually before suddenly becoming part of something completely different but strangely obvious (although hopefully there weren't any little people living in it.
Forge had looked at him expectantly after he'd unveiled the finished product, but Kurt couldn't say a damn thing. He just grinned like a loon.
Kurt was pissed.
I think there should be a law against people getting sick on Hallowe'en, he grumbled to himself. Especially my first one. Everything hates me. He kicked at a stray rock. Shit.
Professor Xavier was having none of it. He refused to let the planned Hallowe'en party at the Institute take place if the students were all sneezing, wheezing, or freezing. And he absolutely refused to let Kurt, the only one who'd managed to avoid the evil mutant death cold, host the party himself. In retrospect, Kurt mused unhappily, kicking the rock again as he walked, putting superglue on the toilet seats had not been his best idea.
Ducking his head, he opened the door of the corner store and headed for the drinks. Evan needed more milk (he claimed it was "crucial to my healing process"), and Kurt himself needed something caloric and extremely unhealthy.
Staring glumly at the racks of milk and wondering whether Evan would care if he got whole or two percent, Kurt didn't notice someone approach, take out a gallon of skim, then glance over at him. He vaguely registered the fact that somebody was saying his name, but he only completely snapped out of it when a hand was waved in his face.
"Hello? Kurt? Anybody home?"
It shouldn't be possible to look concerned and annoyed at the same time, but Todd was somehow managing it.
"Eh? Oh—hi, Todd," said Kurt, giving him what he hoped was a pleasant smile.
"Are you okay?" Todd asked. When Kurt didn't answer, he cocked his head. "Guess not, huh? What's eatin' you?"
Kurt hesitated. Then he said, "Oh, it's really nothing important."
"It's… just stupid, really. There will be other years, ja?"
"Does this have something to do with the fact that you're not at home getting ready for that big shebang you geeks have been planning all month?" Todd asked, quirking an eyebrow.
"Everybody's sick," Kurt blurted. "The party's off, and I've got nothing to do, and I had this great costume, and—well." He scowled, looking at the milks again. "Not very important, ja?"
Todd snorted. "You X-Men are all drama queens. There is stuff to do outside your precious Institute, y'know."
"That's for me to know, dawg," said Todd airily, waving his free hand in an expansive gesture. "You just meet me outside the boarding house in… say an hour? And bring your costume and that shit."
"What are you going to make me do?" said Kurt suspiciously.
Laughing, the other boy put a dirty-nailed hand on his shoulder. "I ain't gonna make you do anything, fuzzy," he said with mock-solemnity, as if swearing an oath. "Any evil deeds you do will be completely on you. But you have to admit, whatever it is, it's gotta be more fun than caring for all the ickle sick kiddies, right?"
Todd's hand on his shoulder was surprisingly big, Kurt thought distractedly, each webbed finger easily as thick as one of his own abnormally shaped fingers. He shrugged (the hand shifted but wasn't dislodged) and said, "Ja, I probably shouldn't mope around, eh? I'll meet you."
"Cool," said Todd, grinning widely. He reached past Kurt's ear to grab a loaf of bread, and Kurt got a not-unpleasant whiff of sweat and earth. "Right now I better get this stuff home quick," he said, heading for the counter. "Freddie gets cranky when there's no milk in the fridge. See ya."
"See you," Kurt echoed. He turned and pulled out a carton of whole milk and a carton of two percent.
At the counter, the cashier had to ask him three times if he wanted a receipt. When he got outside, he shifted both cartons into his left hand. Frowning, he laid his right hand on his left shoulder, which was still tingling.
Apparently Evan was fine with any kind of milk other than skim. After delivering a cup of whole to the pitiful invalid, Kurt finished calling people up to let them know the party was off. He left Forge till last, because talking to Forge always calmed him down, and he was inexplicably nervous.
"Yeah, this is Forge…"
"Hey, it's Kurt."
"Oh hey, what's going down?"
"Not much, but everybody here's caught a cold, so the party's off."
"Oh, bummer, man! Are you sick too?"
"No, but the professor doesn't want me hosting. Something about responsibility and me not having any."
Forge laughed. "Can't say I blame him."
"Oh, shut up." Kurt grinned into the phone.
"So are you stuck at home now?"
"Nah, I'm doing something with Todd. Asshole wouldn't tell me what, though."
Forge made a soft noise that might have been a laugh, or maybe a snort, or possibly some combination of the two. "I bet he wouldn't," he said after a moment.
"Well—" Kurt paused. "Do you want to come along? I mean, you helped me out so much with my costume and everything, it kind of sucks that the party's cancelled and all—"
It was definitely a chuckle now. "Naw, don't worry, Kurt," Forge said. "I'll find something to do, I always do. You just tell him whose idea the costume was, or you'll be in big trouble."
"Are you sure?" asked Kurt dubiously. "It's only be fair—"
"No, man," Forge insisted. "You should go by yourself. And have fun," he added. "Peace out."
As he replaced the dead receiver, Kurt realized that, whatever else he was, he definitely wasn't at peace.
Kurt made the trip with just a few 'ports—it was easy to forget how close everything in Bayville was to everything else. Todd was already waiting at the end of the driveway, picking at his sleeve, hard to see in the shadows. He looked up at the crunch of Kurt's feet on the gravel. His face was painted black. He gave a half-wave and then let his hand drop and just stared.
"Holy shit," he said admiringly.
Kurt grinned. "You like?" he said, spreading his "wings" and proudly arching his neck to better display his headdress.
"Holy shit," said Todd again, reaching out and sinking his fingers into the thick brown feathers. "That's the fucking shit, man."
"Forge helped me," Kurt said, somewhat apologetically.
Todd looked up at him and let out a mock-exasperated breath. "That ain't fair, yo, that's cheatin'!"
"It's not cheating!" Kurt protested. "It's being resourceful. I just happen to have a technological super-genius handy. Anyway, it was his idea."
"He didn't want you to screw up his vision, huh?" smirked Todd. "Damn, are these things real?"
"I don't think so."
"Well, they feel real."
"Yeah," murmured Kurt. "I think they're… some kind of plastic. Something synthetic, anyway. Forge made them." He grinned awkwardly at Todd, who was still studying the draping feathers with his fingers as well as his eyes.
"Hmm," said Todd. He looked up at Kurt. "So what are you supposed to be, huh?" He reached up and rapped on Kurt's headdress, knocking it off-center. "A totem pole?"
"Uh, no," Kurt said, reaching up and readjusting it. "I'm a thunderbird. Don't look at me like that, I told you it was Forge's idea."
"I don't understand anything that guy says, dawg. What the hell is a thunderbird?"
"It's like…" Kurt waved his hands vaguely. "They're these huge birds that are supposed to control thunder and lightning. Forge says a lot of Native American tribes believe in them. Believed. Whatever. I don't think the Cheyenne did, but Forge said the Lakota did, and the Lakota were close to the Cheyenne at one point, so—what?" he said, raising an eyebrow at Todd, who had a weird expression on his face.
The other boy snorted. "I don't know what's scarier," he said, "the fact that you actually had to learn about shit to understand your own Hallowe'en costume, or the fact that you're pretendin' to be an enormous lightning-bolt-spewing bird."
"Well, technically I didn't do any research or anything. Forge just talked at me when I wasn't being sent to fetch a distributable combobulator mechanism or something. Anyway, it's pretty interesting stuff."
Todd rolled his eyes. "Yeah. Genocide. Par-tay! Raise the roof!"
"That's not what I meant, you idiot," Kurt sighed, smacking him across the back of the head.
Todd staggered. "Alas!" he cried mournfully, one hand clutching his chest and the other hand stretched out in front of him dramatically. "I am wounded in my soul! On the back of my head too! But mostly in my soul!"
Kurt smacked him again. "Suck it up, wimpy," he said, grinning. "So what are you supposed to be, then?"
Todd looked at him sideways with one eyebrow raised, still in a declamatory pose. Kurt cracked up. Todd wiggled his eyebrows and rolled his eyes, which got the intended result, namely Kurt doubling over and desperately trying not to laugh so hard he'd piss himself.
"You… are a horrible person!" he gasped, clutching his stomach.
"Knave! Wretch! Bastard! Dicknose!" shouted Todd. "You dare insult me so unimaginatively! You shall get a royal butt-whuppin'! But before you die—DIEEE—"
Kurt started hyperventilating.
"—you must know my identity… costume… thing! Thing. So." Todd slicked his hair back, reached around the back of the extremely baggy sweatshirt he was wearing, pulled up and tightened the hood, and assumed a haughty expression. Then he cleared his throat and said, in a deep voice, "Nevermore. Fo' shizzle."
Kurt stared at him for a moment. Then he went, "Oh!" and cracked up again.
Todd sighed. "What's the problem now?" he said.
"The Raven doesn't say fo' fucking shizzle! Nobody says fo' shizzle!" Kurt gasped in between shrieks of laughter.
"Well, I say fo' shizzle," said Todd with dignity. "When I need to get shit off my chest, that's what I say: fo' shizzle. Perfect for all occasions, dawg."
Kurt attempted to compose himself. "Just… just don't ever, ever say it again, okay?" he said weakly.
Todd grinned. "Fo' shizzle!" he said brightly. Then: "Really, you make this too easy, Kurt. Kurt? Get up, Kurt. Get up off the damn driveway, Kurt, you're embarrassing me!"
"I'm dying!" wailed Kurt, flailing on the gravel (this hurt). "You're killing me!"
There was the sound of a window slamming open. "Todd, stop flirting with your girlfriend and get a move on! You're ruining the haunted house!" somebody shouted from within the boarding house.
"Fuck you!" Todd shouted gaily, extending his middle finger and gesturing imaginatively. "Fucking asshole," he added in an undertone as Kurt stood up and brushed himself off. "You ready to go?"
"Ja, sure," said Kurt uncertainly. He wasn't sure where to look as they started to walk.
"Sorry about that," Todd said after a moment. "Everybody's been riding my ass about it… you know, me seeing you without attempting to kick you off a cliff or whatever." He rolled his eyes.
Kurt laughed, a tiny bit relieved despite himself.
"What's so funny?" Todd glared.
"Nothing," Kurt said quickly. "It's just… it's been like that with me too. I mean exactly like that," he added, hoping Todd understood what he meant.
"Huh." Todd shook his head. "Dicks."
There was a moment of comfortable silence, the word "dicks" having apparently put both of them at ease. Then Kurt said, "You really do look good in that, you know. It's a good costume."
"Pshh, yeah right. Yours is way better."
"No it's not. You really look like a raven," Kurt insisted. "Really. Especially your nose. Very beaky. Uh…" Open mouth, insert foot. "I mean… more beaky than normal… uh… shit. Ignore me."
Todd quirked an eyebrow at him. "Thanks…?"
He grinned. Kurt grinned back. Then Todd spotted a lightning bug, a straggler that had made it through the first frost, and shot his tongue out to catch it. Kurt winced as he crunched and swallowed, but then he laughed out loud when Todd opened his mouth and bathed him in phosphorescent light. Even his teeth were shining.
"They taste like shit," he said, "but it's a great effect, right?"
Kurt nodded, still grinning at the sight of the light escaping from between his friend's lips.
They started walking again. After a moment, Kurt said, "You still haven't told me where we're going."
"Oh, right." Todd nodded. "Yeah, we're going trick-or-treating."
There was a pause. Then: "No, seriously, I wanna know where we're going."
Todd snorted. "Listen," he said, "I know English is your second language, yo, but that's pretty damn sad."
Kurt stopped. "You're serious?" he said incredulously.
"Dead serious," said Todd, looking at him over his shoulder. "Why are you stopping?"
"Well…" Kurt gave a confused groan. "Aren't we a little, I mean, you know, old for that, mein Freund?"
"Aha!" said Todd, and he grinned a toothy grin. "Some old people will probably tell us that in a snotty way. As if they're gonna eat the Butterfingers. But you know what we say to them?"
"No," said Kurt wearily, knowing full well that he wasn't going to get out of this. "No, I definitely don't know. What do we say to them, oh toadly one?"
Todd cleared his throat. "We say," he said, and paused dramatically, "… 'Bite me!'"
Actually, he only ended up saying that once (and he immediately regretted it, because the person he said it to, an elderly woman who might have looked grandmotherly if not for the sour purse of her mouth and the dripping cleaver in one hand, owned an enormous Rottweiler with equally enormous teeth).
Many people did mention their age, but Todd seemed to have an endless repertoire of witty, sarcastic, or just downright rude comebacks. For example, to one ancient Irishman whose bones could be heard creaking down the steps long before he actually opened the door, he said solemnly, "We have a growth hormone problem." They got an apologetic look and some questionable popcorn. To a harassed-looking mother whose children had also apparently caught the evil mutant death cold and were not pleased about missing out on the action, he said earnestly, "We're collecting for UNICEF!" They got a distracted nod and an assortment of chocolate (assortment in the sense of two different kinds of Hershey's, but still an assortment). To a surly teenager, younger than they were and yet to master the professional Teen Glower™, he said conspiratorially, "We're gonna melt down all the chocolate we get and pour it on Principal Kelly's desk tomorrow!" The kid actually ran into the kitchen, grabbed a box of deluxe chocolate liqueurs (probably his mom's) from the fridge, and handed it to them with wide eyes and a nod of appreciation.
Of course, there was also the shameful episode with the little girl. Todd tried everything, but even his considerable skills (at lying) would not budge this girl. Her point was, "You're too old. No candy. It's my candy," and she was damned if she wasn't going to make this point, over and over and over again. Eventually the argument escalated into a shouting match, and they were forced to flee the porch before the evil child's mom appeared or Kurt's sensitive eardrums exploded. It was a shameful moment; once they had run a block and a half from the house, Todd insisted on a moment of silence for the caloric goodness forfeited.
Other than that, though, all went smoothly. Unfortunately, no one had any idea what Kurt was supposed to be. After trying to explain his costume in five seconds or less for the seventh time, he gave up and just nodded sadly when he was asked, "What are you, a totem pole?" He told Todd that he was a martyr to his cause, and Todd rolled his eyes and said that that didn't even make sense and that he should suck it up. Then he stole one of Kurt's Milky Ways.
Kurt had no idea what he was doing, and it was hideously embarrassing, and he felt like he was making a gigantic fool out of himself. The weird thing was, though, that it was insanely fun as well. (Admittedly, the orgasmic amounts of sugar consumed contributed to this.)
"Blurgh," said Todd, shaking his head slowly. "Are you sure you didn't leave my stomach back there by mistake or somethin'?"
"Wouldn't you be… spewing stomach acid or something if I'd done that?" Kurt said, unwrapping a peanut butter cup.
"Well, I don't know, I've never misplaced my goddamn stomach before!"
"You're the one who insisted on 'porting to the park instead of walking, so don't whine," said Kurt serenely, knowing exactly where all of his internal organs were and feeling very superior because of it.
Todd made an impolite hand gesture that Kurt thought he might have invented himself, sat down on his knees in the grass, and started aimlessly digging through the pocket in his sweatshirt. His eyes widened in surprise, and he pulled out a Smarties.
"Shit, look at this!" he said. "I think it's from last year!"
"Yuck." Kurt made a face. "I hope you're not going to eat—"
"What?" said Todd indistinctly, his mouth full.
"Mein Gott, Todd, that thing's probably of interest to paleontologists! I can't believe you just ate that!" Kurt looked away, feeling ill and in the mood for dramatics.
"Smarties age well," said Todd contentedly, licking the powder off his fingers. "They're like wine in that way. Only with a higher alcohol content."
Looking back at him, Kurt felt sick again, in the pit of his stomach rather than his throat this time. He twisted the empty wrapper in his hand and was startled by how loud the resulting noise was.
"Hey." Kurt looked up. Todd was looking at him curiously, his fingers still poised in midair, sugary powder still on his thumb. "You okay, man?" he asked.
"I'm fine," Kurt said, grinning weakly.
"You get sick from that 'porting shite too, huh?" Todd said, a hint of smugness in his voice.
"Nah," Kurt replied absently. He stuffed the orange wrapper into his pocket and leaned back, weight on his hands, hands in the grass.
"Hmm," murmured the other boy. He looked at Kurt for a moment. Then he tapped his own wrist. "Turn that off," he said.
"What?" Kurt said blankly.
"Turn the watch off," Todd repeated. "Nobody's here, right? Turn it off."
"Wh—" Kurt stopped. "Okay, ja." He squinted at his holowatch in the darkness, found the correct button, and switched it off.
Todd nodded with some satisfaction. "Thought so."
"The blue goes well with your totem-pole hat… thing," he said, grinning.
"For the last time… It. Is. Not. A. Totem pole."
Todd laughed, mouth wide open. He kept laughing for a moment even after Kurt had leaned over and kissed him.
It was pretty weird, having someone laughing into your mouth; like drinking something hot and wet, but not exactly liquid. Drinking steam, maybe.
After a moment, Todd stopped laughing and just smiled.
Suddenly Kurt realized what he was doing and drew himself away reluctantly, babbling incoherent apologies without really wanting to.
Todd shook his head. "Shut up, yo," he said, and laughed again. And leaned in. And kissed him.
After a decent interval, they ran out of breath.
"You know," Todd mused, lifting Kurt's thunderbird headdress off and placing it gently on the ground beside them, "I never would have imagined you as tasting like Reese's. But it kinda fits."
"Pretty weird," said Kurt.
And that was all they said, for a while.