Summary: Mystique plays a mind-game with the Brotherhood's resident green mutant, Toad. But the game doesn't go as planned. One-Shot.
Spoilers: Takes place sometime before X1, so no real spoilers.
Disclaimer: I don't own X-men…but if Marvel ever wants to share, I wouldn't complain, lol. ;)
A/N: I've been an X-men fan since the old FOX cartoon, and loved the first two movies, but this is my first X-men related fic. I originally wanted to write something for Toad (he, I have to admit, is my favorite member of the Brotherhood and the fact that he's played by Ray Park doesn't hurt either, lol ;) ) but somehow Mystique crept in and took over. Toad is still there, but more in a…secondary character capacity. :)
A/N2: I was without my laptop for three weeks when it had to be sent in for repairs, but praise the Lord, none of my files (including this one :) ) were lost. I was able to post it today because of God's goodness, and as always, I give Him all the credit.
I hope you enjoy it, and please let me know what you think!
Water dripped somewhere in the distance, echoing off the metal floor with a soft ping.
Footsteps sounded down one of the faraway corridors, and a few persistent crickets could be heard chirping outside.
Except for that, it was quiet.
In other words, the Brotherhood's island hideout was spectacularly dull.
And Mystique, quite simply, was bored. Incredibly bored.
Wandering the island wasn't an option; she knew its passageways and forests already, and the jagged cliffs and deep canyons had long ago lost their appeal. The hideout's computer would have normally held her interest, but she'd been on the island for more than a week, and even a computer as advanced as theirs had stopped being a challenge a few days before.
That left only one option: it was time to play a little game. But who to play with?
Mystique pursed her lips.
She didn't have much to choose from.
Magneto was not someone she ever included in her games. He was one of the few she didn't intend to cross, and the only man she could ever say had truly earned her respect.
So, that left her two "brothers".
She scoffed softly at the term. She understood why Eric had chosen it; knew that in a sense it was true. All mutants were brothers, linked together by their mutations and humanity's hatred.
But where Sabertooth and Toad were concerned, beyond their mutations, she had nothing in common with them.
She knew she could count on them in a fight, of course, though not out of any obligation they felt towards her. She didn't hold any illusions about that; neither of them would hesitate to kill her if they could. She felt the same about them. But Magneto had ordered that they not fight each other, and it was out of respect for him and the cause that the three of them had reached an…understanding.
It was true that she risked upsetting that balance with her game now, but at least she wouldn't be bored anymore.
Sabertooth and Toad…she weighed the possibilities again in her mind.
Sabertooth. He was brutal, but stupid. Useful muscle, but not much else. An animal. Not to say that Mystique didn't share some characteristics with a certain lizard herself, but Sabertooth lived up to his name in every sense of the word.
Toad was a little more intriguing, though. He always locked himself away in his workshop to finish the projects Magneto assigned him, and he never said much…unless it was to taunt the aforementioned feral mutant. That he seemed to enjoy.
Hmm…so Toad it was.
But what game to play?
She didn't know much about him.
Magneto had found him fighting an anti-mutant mob that had been out for his blood. He'd been doing surprisingly well considering the odds against him, but a man with a handgun had changed that. One well-placed shot and Toad had fallen from the wall he'd been clinging to, and right into the hands of the mob. They'd literally tried to rip him apart.
Magneto had saved his life.
Mystique had to wonder, though, how much Toad actually believed in their cause. He hated humans, that she'd never doubted. She'd seen the sadistic pleasure in his eyes each time he fought them. But had he stayed with the Brotherhood because of that, or simply to repay a debt?
In the end, maybe it didn't matter.
Still, he had a story, she was certain…but she'd never cared enough to find out just what that might be. Now she wished she had.
That would have made picking the game so much easier. After all, one couldn't play a game until they knew the rules.
Admittedly, though, Mystique had never been very fond of rules. In fact, she much preferred to make her own.
Her lips curved into a smile.
That gave her an idea.
Concentrating, she pictured the green mutant in her mind. Immediately she felt her scales shift position, and a moment later, she watched the room around her grow just a little taller as she shrank to match Toad's smaller height. Her slender arms and legs bulged as they grew to match his muscled limbs, and the normally deep blue of her skin shifted slowly to green, giving her a teal complexion for a few seconds.
She looked down at herself when the transformation was complete, flexing her fingers experimentally before concentrating again. Imagining the amphibian-like mutant once more, she thought specifically of retaining of the shape of his features, the slope of his nose, the smooth lines of his jaw...
Then, she adjusted the mental picture, imagining away the green hue of his skin and hair…
In a moment, it was done.
She opened her eyes, and walked over to the full-length mirror hanging on her wall, the one she used to practice her abilities.
Mmm, quite attractive indeed, she thought, eyeing her reflection.
The man looking back at her was handsome…but not in a rugged or bland sense of the word. Instead, there was a rebel edge to his looks, something apparently Toad felt himself even with his mutation, if the small, silver ring in his left ear was any indication. It suited him. His short, brown hair stuck out in several directions, but the controlled chaos, much like the earring, seemed fitting somehow. His eyes, however, were a deep hazel-green - artistic license on Mystique's part. It was simply hard to imagine the amphibian-like mutant completely without his defining color.
Her lips turned upwards again, a perfect imitation of Toad's smirk.
She wondered what he would think of her little trick.
It wasn't difficult to find Toad.
Though, considering there were only a few places on the island that he was likely to be, that wasn't surprising. His workshop had been empty, so Mystique had made her way to the hanger next, the large cavern the Brotherhood used to store the various vehicles they'd "acquired". The clatter of tools told her that she didn't need to look any farther.
She lingered in the doorway for a moment, watching.
Toad was perched easily on a small platform anchored to the wall high above the ground. His legs were bent deeply at the knee as he worked, his uncanny resemblance to his namesake blindingly obvious.
His head swiveled at the sound of her footsteps, and he blinked a few times, taking in her appearance.
He set down the wrench in his hand, and used his tongue to grab another from the toolbox on the floor below. He spared Mystique another brief look before returning to whatever he was working on.
"Who's the bloke yer wearin'?" he asked disinterestedly.
"I'm surprised, Toad. Don't you recognize him?"
"Sure I do. Prob'ly the last idjit ya picked ta play with."
The irony of that particular statement made a Cheshire-cat grin spread across her features. "Well, you're half right."
He gave an annoyed huff, and turned back to look at her.
"What're ya goin' on about?"
Ah, he knew she was up to something, then. Good. That always made things more interesting.
"The 'bloke I'm wearing'," she parroted, "is you."
Toad's lips curled into sneer. "Sure 'e is."
"You don't believe me?"
He snorted derisively. "Any reason I should?"
"Have I ever given you a reason not to trust me?"
Toad shot her an incredulous look and Mystique gave a small, graceful shrug, conceding the point.
"Go find somebody else's head ta mess with, Mystique. I ain't in the mood." He went back to his work then, obviously intending to ignore her.
"Fine," Mystique said, pouting a little.
She turned to leave, but paused, glancing at him over her shoulder. "Just so you know," she added casually, "this is how you'd look if you weren't a mutant."
Toad's head snapped up to look at her. "What did you say?" he demanded.
His voice had suddenly grown intense, deep and dangerous, and Mystique resisted the urge to lick her lips. She did so enjoy danger.
"You heard me," she purred, turning back to face him fully.
She watched as he looked at her more carefully, his eyes widening when the truth finally sunk in. The color drained from his face - an interesting sight, she had to admit - and he just stared at her, frozen.
Mystique couldn't help the smile that curved her lips. This was turning out to be even more fun then she'd imagined.
Perhaps smiling had been a mistake though, because it seemed to be enough to knock Toad out of his stupor. He leapt from the wall, landing in an graceful crouch and stalking over to her deliberately, his fists clenched tightly, his eyes burning. Mystique didn't doubt for a second that Magneto's presence somewhere on the island was the only thing keeping Toad from killing her. But…there was something else in his eyes that she hadn't expected, something dark, and hurt, and full of longing, that was buried beneath the rage.
"Get out." Toad's voice was quiet, low in a way she hadn't heard before.
Mystique pretended to think for a moment. She was walking a fine line, she knew. But that made it so much more exciting.
"What if I don't want to?"
"I said, get out," he growled.
Mystique debated about refusing again, finding out just how far she could push him before he snapped, but decided against it. Better to live to play another day, she supposed. She shrugged dismissively instead, and moved leisurely for the door, savoring her little victory.
Mystique had only gotten a few steps down the hall when a loud crash came from the hanger behind her.
She laughed softly to herself, and kept walking.
A few hours later, Mystique was back in her room, lounging on her bed, but thankfully, she was no longer bored. Her game had seen to that. There was, however, something bothering her, something she couldn't quite put her finger on.
She thought back over her game, and frowned.
Toad's reaction had surprised her.
The rage she'd expected - encouraged, really. It was, after all, part of the fun. But the hurt look in his eyes…that had caught her off guard. Why, she wasn't quite sure. It wasn't as though Toad was the first of her playthings to react that way. Sometimes, that reaction was exactly what she was after. So, why was it bothering her now?
Mystique's frown deepened, and she pushed herself up from her bed, walking across the room to stand in front of her mirror.
She thought for a moment, then closed her eyes and focused again on a shape she rarely used. Blonde hair, blue eyes, perfect, tan skin…when she was finished, she opened her eyes and looked in the mirror once more.
It was her…how she imagined she would have been if she had been born a normal human.
She turned in front of the mirror a few times, examining her reflection, like a woman trying on an outfit in a department store.
She was pretty.
But it was just an illusion. Like every one of the shapes she took, it wasn't real. She wasn't that woman, and never would be.
She wasn't human.
Humans, she spat in her mind. What they thought of her didn't matter. She was better than they were. They were weak. They were inferior. They were nothing.
She enjoyed seeing their shock, their horror when she showed them her true form. It was amusing to watch them flinch away from her touch, as though her mutation was a disease they didn't want to catch.
She reveled in it.
A wicked smirk formed on her lips, but something wet rolled down her cheek, and she brought her hand up to her face, startled.
She blinked, staring at her reflection, and for a moment, she didn't recognize the woman who was looking back at her.
She looked young and scared. Lost. Innocent.
There was something familiar in her eyes as well…the same longing she'd seen in Toad's eyes just hours before.
Rage swelled up inside her suddenly, and her fingers curled into a fist. She struck out at the mirror, shattering the illusion.
She'd been wrong.
It seemed that she and Toad had something in common after all.
Thank you for reading! Please let me know what you think!
Take care and God bless!