A/N: I haven't seen the X-Men in years. Yesterday, I was doing an RPG with a friend, and she suddenly brought out Toad. I was surprised at the unexpected appearance of the character. Her depiction of Toad was so flawless, I wondered if I could do it as good. I tried, and she really liked how I played the role of Toad. Her flattery made me want to see how well I could keep Toad in character in a story. He had been my favorite character when I watched X-Men, and I looked him up on Wikipedia to 'get a feel' for his character. I also looked up more about the X-Men - learning some things I didn't know from watching it before. I browsed through several pictures of Toad, and examined his different personalities from the various reincarnations of the comics, series, and movie. When I felt I was ready, I started writing the story. Don't expect perfection - this is just practice, so I can write Toad's character better in future stories. When I started the fic, I had a vague idea of what I wanted it to be about - Toad meets a person who can be civil around him, who wants to understand him. It sounded simple enough, until I got farther into the story and had difficulty deciding what to make the characters say and do. It was then that I remembered how hard writing can be, especially when you know other people will read it, and I got scared. At one point, I was going to end the story at a safe place before it got even more difficult to write, but I was having too much fun with the humor and witty comments, so I kept on. In the end, I regretted nothing. This is purely for fun and practice as I am having writer's block, and if taken too seriously it can leave the reader disappointed. Please read, enjoy, and review. Remember - constructive criticism only.

She was watching him again. He could feel it. He could literally sense her eyes burning a hole in him. As always, he ignored her. And, as always, his annoyance grew until he had to fight it down. Damnit, why? Why did these things happen to him? Why couldn't she just leave him alone like the others? Technically, she wasn't doing anything. She wasn't laughing. She wasn't teasing him about his ever present odor. She wasn't rediculing him in any way in fact. But she was staring, and that was worse. It was always worse. It reminded Todd that he was a nobody - a mistake, a monster, a freak of nature. His skin wasn't that noticeable, but it was a bit green. An unnatural hue for a human's skin. And, as far as appearances went, he knew he wasn't exactly handsome. Don't even get him started on his scent - it pissed him off whenever anyone mentioned it. So, it wasn't hard to see why he was imagining at least 5 very graphic, very slow, very painful ways to murder the irritating creature who couldn't take their eyes off of him.

He decided to play a game. He would set a mental timer and count off the seconds until she looked away.

It was stupid, childish, and totally pointless, but - hey - he was bored.

- 1

She stared.

- 2

Still staring.

- 3

No change.

- 4

Nada.

- 5

The staring contest went on.

- 6

He wondered if her eyes hurt. She wouldn't even blink.

- 7

He was getting dizzy from trying to hold her gaze.

- 8

An observer might wonder if some villainous soul had paralyzed the two with a freeze ray they were so still.

- 9

His hair was white - he just knew it. Any moment now, he would look down and find his hands wrinkled with age. It felt like years had gone by, the game was dragging on so.

- 10

It was kind of fun though. It was actually taking his mind off his troubling thoughts.

- 11

Did she even know they were playing a game? No, probably not...

-12

Finally! She averted her eyes and...wait - NO! 'Go back. Go back. Go back. Go back. Go back - crap.'

She had not, in fact, heard his telepathic plea. She continued her short - but, seemingly long - trek over to him.

He suppressed a scream of frustration as she got close and moved to sit beside him. The swing gave an exhausted groan at her added weight, the chains trembling slightly. Her small feet gently pushed off, allowing her to sway slightly. She made no further effort to gain momentum. His green orbs narrowed and he stared ahead pointedly, quite intent on brushing her off. He wanted to be left alone, damn it. No one ever hung around him, unless they intended to torture him. They made sure to stay as far away as possible. So what the hell was HER problem?

"Can I ask you a question?"

He snorted. That was an obvious question to an obvious answer. He didn't want to talk to her. Didn't want to talk to anyone. He'd known from the day he got here that he wasn't wanted - the kids treated him like some rare and deadly desease, taunting him from a distance, beating him mercilessly, or avoiding him altogether. No one ever talked to him, and he didn't bother speaking to them either. They could rot for all he cared.

And as for the current nuisance...

He shouldn't say anything. Maybe if he didn't, she would eventually get the hint and leave.

"Todd? Hello - earth to Todd. I asked if you heard me."

It appeared not everyone was born with common sense.

"What the hell do you want?"

A hurt look flashed across her face.

He almost felt regret for his harsh words. Almost, but not quite. It was her fault, anyway. Why didn't she just leave already?

"I-er-uh..."

Suddenly he waved his hand, as if telling her to be quiet. She closed her mouth with an audible 'snap.'

"I want YOU to answer something for ME. Why the hell are you here? With me? The outcast? What possessed you to flounce over, plop down, and strike up a conversation like you've known me forever? Don't you know who I am? Don't you know my reputation - or lack thereof? I'm different, don't you see? CAN you see? I'm not like the others. If you had any sense of smell at all you'd go - now. Everyone else does." As an afterthought, he added, "not that I care."

She bit her lip and smiled. He wanted to slap his forehead. She really WAS dense.

"You don't get it, do you? Not everyone acts like that. I haven't been here very long - I arrived three days ago, in fact, but since I came, I've been watching you - (I noticed.) - and I found out a few things: Your not mean - not really. You lash out at other people, because you've been hurt. No one understands you, or takes the time and effort to get to know you. Secretly, you want to interact with people, and be just like everyone else, just to feel like you belong. You want people to look past your a-"

At that moment, something deep within Todd snapped, and he unleashed a rage like no other.

"Will you shut up already! You think you know me - well you don't. Neither you nor them understand. Normal people will NEVER know how I feel. You think your better than them just because you stalk me? You can't get to know someone from doing that! Just HOW dumb ARE you?"

He fully expected her to cry; she had every reason to. Even though most of what he said was - in his mind - true, some of it was emotional vomit. She was right, and he knew it, and because he knew it, he went off. He couldn't help it - she had touched a topic he didn't want touched, said things he didn't want said - out loud, at least - and the unwanted feelings he got because of it triggered his anger.

Inwardly, he groaned at the hole he dug for himself, and tensed as he warily waited for her tears.

And waited.

And waited.

And -

He tried to be strong as he saw her shake violently. The expression on her face terrified him beyond reason.

In one swift motion, she jumped up, and stood in front of him, fire in her eyes.

He shuddered.

Oh, HELL.

"No YOU SHUT UP, you stupid, rude, crude, uncouth, selfish, uncaring, JERK! I know I don't know you - not really. But, at least I'm trying. I 'stalked' you, as you so vehemently put it, so I could figure you out. Because, you - you just seemed so sad and tough, so lonely and strong. Always hiding behind your hard demeanor. I WANTED to know you. And, on that note, what do you mean normal people will never understand? Idiot! It might be that very out-look that keeps you from reaching out to anybody. And you call ME dumb? Puh-lease." The gentle tone she used next, schocked even her. "No matter where you go, you'll always meet someone who won't like you. But, for every person who snubs you, there will be at least one person who will like you, for you." She paused purposely to let that sink in, before continuing in the same manner/tone. "If you let me, I could be one of the people who like you for who you are. I don't know you that well, so, let me get to know you. If you do that, I'll help you however I can."

Todd didn't respond right away. His reeling mind was still trying to figure out how she went from mad to calm with barely a pause. He was confused enough, because, when he thought she was going to cry, she didn't. She got angry instead. He fearfully wondered if all girls got like that, and then shook off the thought, deciding it was too horrifying to dwell on.

He stood up, pulling his scattered wits together, mentally questioning the intelligence of gathering the poor, defenseless things.

"First, let me say that I would NEVER let anyone else - even a girl - talk to me the way you just did. But, since it's you, I guess I'll you slide." His tone was laced with light humor, and the playful glint in his eyes made him look more like a normal boy. His lips twisted from a teasing grin to a wide smile when the girl rolled her eyes good-naturedly. "Secondly, next time you want to stalk someone, ("I wasn't STALKING you!") be a bit stealthier about it, Ms. Conspicuous." This earned him a sigh and an eye roll. He smirked at the, 'why-do-I-even-bother' look on her face. "Thirdly, thanks for the lecture, but I could've lived without it - AND the 'idiot.'" He attempted to mimick her high voice on the word 'idiot.' "Fourthly..." She crossed her arms and tapped her foot in a stance of exaggerated impatience. The corners of his mouth twitched upwards at the display. "fourthly, {He forced down something resembling a blush, faking a wide yawn to hide the tender smile that threatened to reveal he had a softER side.} "it's kind of nice to know that I'll find at least a few people who won't think of me as a monster. It's a comforting thought. I mean, if I ever have to trade you for something important, I'll have someone to replace you."

She gave him a weak glower, before pouting half-heartedly. Then, her eyes shot open in realization. Wait a minute...

"Does that mean-I mean-am I...are we...? *Cough.* "Does that mean we're friends?"

Todd "Toad" Tolansky, in the name of his - admittedly nonexistant - reputation, refused to get any "mushier." He shrugged carelessly, crossing his arms nonchalantly.

"I guess. I don't really care one way or the other." The colorless drawl alerted the world to this fact, while his brain was screaming, 'Whoa, lookit' that - I finally have a friend. Yay! Zippity doo, and all that jazz.'

She glared, but it wasn't strong enough to fool him into thinking she was sincerely upset with him for a moment.

"Gee, don't be too happy about it."

He gaped dramatically at her horrendous attempt at sarcasm.

"I would've said, "Your just oozing enthusiasm."

She cocked a brow.

"And that's better...how?"

"Hey, don't try to out-do the Master of Sarcasm, The King Of Quick-Witted, The Prince of Humorous-"

"How about changing your royal status to, "The Lord of Silence?"

He clutched his chest gasping, breathing hard and irregular.

"Ugh...take it out, p-please take...i-it...out." His voice was a pained moan.

She blinked in concern and confusion.

"Take out what?"

His face darkened.

"The knife - I'm sure you'll need it again."

She resisted the urge to pound his skull for being such an immature baby.

"I did not stab you in the back."

He scowled childishly.

"Well I felt SOMETHING sharp when you struck me a minute ago."

She ignored him and sung in a high-pitched and taunting tone,

"Kindergarden baby, stick your head in gravy-"

He groaned. Not an angry, annoyed or upset groan, but a slightly tolerent and, - deep, deep, deeeeeep down, he reluctantly, veeeery reluctanntly, admitted to himself, ONLY to himself, - affectionate, moan.

"Who's the kid again?"

She frowned.

"Shut up."

He seated himself back on the swing, but not before giving the girl a smug grin.

"I win."

His hands wrapped loosely around the chains as he stared ahead - this time, though, he wore a smile.

Her eye twitched, but she sat down as well, albeit frowning.

"Hey..."

She whirled at his suddenly serious tone. Her body twisted in her seat, making it bend with her.

"Yeah?"

He still stared ahead. Still wore the smile. But, somehow, it didn't seem as cheerful as it should...

"How can you stand it?"

"Beg...pardon?"

A humorless bark startled her. Had he-did he just...laugh?

Slightly disturbed, she averted her eyes to the ground so fast it hurt.

Rubbing one irritated eye, she listened as he elaborated.

"You know - my smell. I know I smell like something the cat dragged in - or worse. Don't you mind at all?"

She blinked once - then burst out laughing.

To say that it pissed him off was a severe understatement.

Didn't this girl-didn't she care? She had told him so, preaching all that crap about finding people who would like him for him.

What a load of bull.

Taking a deep breath, he counted to ten while she calmed down enough to conrol her wild laughter.

"O-o-oh! So s-sorry abo-out tha-a-at."

She stuttered wiping tears - had she laughed THAT damn hard? - from her eyes.

He stood up, a look of pure disgust on his face. An alarm went off in the 'dense' girl's head and she jumped up, grabbing his sleeve.

He pulled his arm from her grip but, otherwise, didn't move.

She was relieved that he wasn't going to leave. He couldn't - not without hearing her out.

Mentally, she steeled herself incase he pushed her away permanently. She didn't think she could take that...

"H-hear me out. Please!"

He didn't respond.

She gathered up the courage to continue. When she did her voice was soft, nearly a whisper - and filled with pain and regret.

"I'm sorry...really. I didn't mean to laugh, it's just...the question caught me off guard. That was all. Honest."

He didn't turn around.

"Now that you've finished laughing, can you answer seriously?"

"...Yes."

"Well...?"

She drew out her breath in a long, audible sigh. Todd didn't miss the slight tremor in it. When she finally spoke, her words were stiff, her tone void of emotion,

"My brother, before he died-"

Todd's breath caught. She had a brother? This was new news. He knew when she arrived she had come alone - with the exception of a concerned gaurdian, not a family member, but a friend of her mother's apparently - who said that her mother had just died, her father had been dead for three years, and she had no other family. The woman couldn't take care of her due to financial issues, so the orphanage took her.

"Have you been paying attention to anything I've been saying?"

He turned around at her words.

"Wha-oh! Umm."

"Nevermind, I'll start over."

Her tone suggested she was struggling to be patient.

It killed him to not retort - he practically lived to argue! But this was serious, and, anyway, he needed to KNOW damnit! Why didn't she care about the thing that disgusted everyone else?

He found out all too soon.

"Before my brother died, he had a phobia of water. He'd had it ever since he was born. As a baby, getting him to take a bath was debilitating. My mother used to give him sponge baths, but, as he got older, he figured out that sponges absorbed water, and threw a fit. Doctors couldn't do anything; they said it was something he would grow out of, but he never did. As a result, he rarely took baths, though he wore cologne to try and mask his odor. He smelled almost as bad as you - no offense. That's why I can be around you and not gag. I got used to it."

He had no idea what to say to that. He knew talking about her deceased brother was hard, and he immediately felt bad for causing her to think about him. However, he was grateful to her for telling him. At least now he knew why his smell didn't effect her.

She smiled shly, almost hesitantly.

"Did that explain things for you?"

"I think I get it."

Her eyes rolled at his cocky tone. What a stubborn ass.

"Good. Any other questions?"

He looked at her, REALLY looked at her, as if for the first time.

"Yeah, what is your name again?"

She face faulted.

She leaped up and gave him a look that told him she thought he was an idiot.

"Your kidding, right? How can you not know my name?"

It was his turn for an eye roll.

"I don't keep tabs on people. Kinda pointless ya know?"

She resisted the urge to pinch her nose. He was impossible. Though she did see his point.

"Arrg, fine. My name is, Briana Weathers. Don't you dare make any jokes about it either. I get that enough from people as it is."

He put up his hands defensively.

"I'll be good, I promise. So, Briana, how's the weather?"

She kicked him in the shins.

He grinned.

This girl - Briana - was intriguing. He could get used to her - maybe. He wasn't used to being around anyone, and having a friend was a foreign concept. Still...

"You know, everyone's gone inside by now. We've been the only one out here for some time."

He released a long suffering sigh.

"...And?"

She gave him a look.

"And we should go too. You know, before someone comes looking for us."

He snorted.

"Like anyone would bother."

"Todd..."

Reluctantly, he gave in.

"Alright, alright. Let's go."

And in they went.

A/N: How's THAT for an ending? *Get's bricked.* Sorry, but I honestly didn't have anything else. Please leave nice things or I'll have Todd crush you with his tongue.

Todd: Like you could make me do anything, "stargirl."

Stargirl: You have really got to cut back on the insults. Please review everyone.