By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. This is a birthday present for Shini02 so that's how Pixie managed to make it into this fic. She actually is a real character in the X-Men comics and I kinda like her. R/R.

She is different now. He notices it in the way she talks, the way she acts, the way she kisses him. He can sense the difference even now as their lips move against one another. When she kissed him before, it was slow, tender, and a little too innocent for his usual taste but he liked it all the same. Now she kisses him with a hunger and a desperation that tells him something has been taken from her and she needs it back.

Toad doesn't really know what happened to Pixie. She won't tell him the whole story and he suspects she can't. He can't ask anyone at the mansion for fear of attracting unwanted suspicion. Lance and Kitty get enough heat for their relationship and Toad knows his standing with the X-Men isn't nearly as good as Lance's. He wonders if Megan has said anything to Wanda. The two girls spend more time together. Agatha Harkness has been training them in the use of magic. Toad doesn't know how to feel about Wanda and Megan possibly becoming friends. His relationship with Wanda is still an awkward one. He can gauge his closeness with the other boys by how much they tease him over his relationship with the younger X-girl. They tease him and joke about it because they care. Wanda is, and always has been, different.

"I've missed you," whispers Pixie as she settles into Toad's arms, fingers wrapped tightly around his shirt. He feels her unconsciously shudder as his fingers touch the base of one of her wings. He can't tell whether she does so out of fear or pleasure. They have never been this close before although it feels as if Toad has been waiting forever for this.

Toad still can't put his finger on the way he and Wanda act around one another. There is a tension that wasn't there before. He would ask her if Megan told her anything but Wanda wouldn't tell him. Wanda practices the art of not getting involved in the relationship between Toad and Pixie. Toad can't tell if Wanda is jealous. It's not as if Toad and Wanda had a real relationship that he ended in order to date Megan. Toad simply got tired of waiting around for Wanda to notice him and decided to take his chances with Megan. Toad wonders if Wanda now realizes what she missed but he doubts it's true.

"Missed you too," admits Toad as he traces the edge of Pixie's wing from its base to its tip. He notices again the black in her wings as well as her hair. The vibrant colors that once complimented her rather bubbly personality are now dulled and darkened. Toad can't say what he saw in Megan that attracted him to her. It could have been her sunny, somewhat naïve personality. It could have been the fact that she saw something in him. It's only now that Toad realizes what he loved about Megan. She wasn't Wanda.

"Mmm," purrs Megan as Toad's fingers continue their delicate journey along her wings. She closes her eyes and snuggles against his chest. Toad smiles at her, remembering the playful, vibrant girl she had once been. In the beginning, she was so unlike Wanda. It intrigued him at first that someone could be so optimistic. Living with the Brotherhood had taught Toad that life was hard. Yet life for Megan hadn't been hard despite a mutation that made it harder for her to blend in than most. Megan laughed at things and was constantly smiling. She wasn't damaged like Wanda nor did she need someone to fix her. For once, Toad could afford to be the damaged one in a relationship. For once, someone could try their hand at fixing him.

Things have changed now. Toad can see it in her and it hurts because Megan is more like Wanda now. She doesn't laugh or smile as often. He is tired of dealing with damaged women. He is tired of mending broken spirits with unwavering compassion when those poor, damaged souls can't give him the love he needs even though he gives them everything he has to give. Toad wishes he could live in a world where everything was bright and sunny. At first, Pixie was his ticket to that world but now she is as broken and scarred as all the others.

"Tell me what happened," says Toad, slipping back into the role of the healer that he knows perhaps too well. Megan pulls away from him suddenly, sitting on the edge of his bed as she slips on her shoes. She knew the subject would come up. She and Toad don't share their pain with one another for some odd reason. She didn't really have any pain before Belasco and she always got the feeling that Toad already had too much pain. Their relationship was meant as an escape from the heartache and trauma they had seen and were bound to see again. All of that was different now. It was one more thing Belasco had carelessly ripped away from her.

"I have to go," says Pixie quietly as she looks at him.

"Tell me," whispers Toad, a pleading tone creeping into his voice.

"I can't," replies Pixie shakily as she wipes a tear from her eyes and stands up, reaching for her jacket that is hanging on a chair. It breaks Toad's heart to see her this way because he feels like no matter how hard he tries his life will be an endless series of failed relationships with broken women.

"I love you," says Toad as he takes her hand in his, squeezing it gently.

"I know," assures Pixie, letting his hand linger there before pulling away, "I love you too. I just . . . if I talk about it I'll break apart." He watches her leave the room and sighs, falling back onto his bed. There are too many similarities now. He loved Megan because she wasn't Wanda yet now there are too many similarities between the two girls. His escape has now turned into the thing he is running away from. Toad sighs again and wonders exactly when he will ever get to live in a world that isn't populated by damaged people.