A/N: My first crack at an X-Men fic. I noticed there wasn't a lot of love for Toad, so I decided to take it into my own hands and create some. I have other fics I need to be working on, but I've been into X-Men lately and couldn't get this idea to leave me. So, just a little teaser to see what kind of reaction I get.
Todd Tolensky, A.K.A. Toad, hopped along as per usual, his greasy bangs slapping distractedly against his forehead. It'd been over a month since his last shower, and the grime was actually starting to get to him.
Gotta take a shower, he thought, then cursed out loud. M'outta my special soap! Might as well get some.
Turning in mid-air at a ninety degree angle, Toad hopped off his normal trail into the direction of his favorite store. It was a type of world market that sold special soap for people with skin diseases. Though he didn't have a disease, his mutation rejected normal soap, the use of it causing his skin to dry out and become itchy almost immediately after applying it. Though he hated soap in general, he was grateful for it. Sometimes, when it got really bad, even he couldn't stand to be around himself. He had a high tolerance of smell, but because of his mutation, the stench could rival death. The store was at the edge of the city, a good hour away by car from where he was at the moment, but soon he began seeing trees and knew he was close.
Toad's ear pricked as he heard running water. Curious he hopped a bit into a tree line. A few feet in cleared to reveal a slim river, clean enough to show it was much deeper than it appeared. He tilted his head, wondering why he'd never noticed it before, then dismissed the thought entirely before turning to hop away.
Toad halted and crouched low, his entire body tense and alert. What was that? Splash? Was it a fish? Or did something fall in? More splashing could be heard, and it was too frantic to be a fish. Then there was a voice, and Toad knew it wasn't an animal at all. Quickly he hopped along the edge closer to the splashing, rounding a bend just in time to see a flash of a hand struggling before disappearing into the water. Toad acted on impulse and jumped in, opening his eyes and looking around. He spotted a limp figure as it sunk. Swimming like the toad he was he grabbed them by the scruff of their collar and dragged them along to the surface. Since the river was slim it didn't take long for him to get them both back on dry land, but when he finally got them to safety was when he really panicked.
"Crap! Are ya dead? If not twitch once!"
Toad fretted over the still body, pulling at the long trench coat that covered it. Underneath the thick clothing a slim body was revealed covered in a simple red t-shirt and worn jeans. Toad's eyebrows rose at the person's chest, realizing who he'd saved had been a girl.
Guess that makes me a knight in shining armor, he thought sarcastically, not freaking out as much now that the chest he'd been staring at was indeed moving. Hesitantly, Toad lifted his hand to her face, brushing back the raven hair that covered it. An angelic face was revealed to him, complete with delicate eyelashes, rosy cheeks, a small nose, and pouty lips. The girl looked about his age, but she had this innocent sort of aura surrounding her that made her seem younger. She was pretty. Very pretty. And that same pretty face suddenly screwed up in distress, a breathy moan escaping as the girl began to regain consciousness.
Crap, I better go before she screams, he thought, knowing the reactions he usually got from girls. Revulsion. Yeah, that was the best way to put it. But he couldn't move, literally. His legs were pinned beneath her, having been supporting her head the entire time. The girl gave one last groan before opening her eyes. Green met green as they stared at one another, he nervously and she still dazed.
"Frankie?" she muttered in confusion, squinting up in what seemed like shock.
"Sorry babe, name's Tolensky," Toad said with a sleazy grin, knowing it was too late to hop away and pretend like nothing had happened.
The girl slowly sat up, freeing Toad enough for him to scootch a little ways away. She rubbed her eyes and looked around, lingering a bit on the river before something dawned on her.
"I almost drowned," she gasped, head whipping back to him. "You saved me."
Toad rolled his eyes. "Uh, duh! Babe of course I-Gah!"
Toad yelped as the girl suddenly rushed him, tackling to the ground in a hug.
"Hey! What's the big idea?" he growled, not realizing the action was meant as affection instead of a frontal attack. The girl looked up at him with shining eyes, almost tears. Her grin startled him.
"Thank you so much!" she gushed, hugging him tighter and burying her head in his chest.
Toad didn't know what to say, literally stunned into silence. He'd never been this close to a girl, excluding all those hugs he forced on Wanda. But she, this girl, was willingly touching him. He was too shocked to push her off, but it didn't take long for the girl to release him. When she pulled back he saw her cheeks flaming with embarrassment.
"Sorry," she apologized with a smile. "You probably don't want a girl you don't even know to hug you."
I'd want any girl to hug me, he thought briefly.
Instead, he said, "Psh, I get this all the time. The ladies can't keep their hands off me yo."
The girl grinned even wider, giggling at his obvious lie. Toad noticed her eyes give him a once over, curiosity the only emotion playing in them. Her nose twitched, and he suddenly felt embarrassed by his smell. Though she noticed it, she didn't comment, and he almost wished she did. It was easier to deal with a verbal thrashing than a silent tolerance.
"So…" he began. "What were you doin in the water, yo?"
The girl jumped, cheeks flushing once more as she looked away.
"Uh, I was…well I was…playing tag…"
"With who, yo?" he questioned, looking around.
"…my friend Frankie"
Toad's eyebrows came together at the name. She'd called him that earlier didn't she? But how could she have mistaken him for someone else? Todd Tolensky knew he wasn't the best looking guy, so how was it possible for him to be thought of as someone else? The girl must have sensed his inner turmoil and did something surprising. She reached towards him and grabbed his hand, spreading his palm so his webs could be seen better.
"Your webbed hands," she explained. "I thought you were Frankie."
"Yo! So this guy's a mutant like me?" he exclaimed a bit in excitement. He'd never seen another amphibian mutant before.
The girl dropped his hand and looked away with a sheepish smile.
Before Toad could question her, a rather loud croak was heard and a frog hopped up from behind her. The brave critter landed right in her hair, but instead of freaking out, the girl looked up and gave him an annoyed smile.
"Hey Frankie," she greeted.
The frog croaked in reply.
Toad stared as the girl calmly picked up the frog and set him in her lap. It's eyes closed in contentment as she gently stroked his bumpy head.
"He's not the mutant," she said, still looking at the frog with exasperation. "I am."
"Yo…seriously? Then what's yer power?"
The frog croaked at him, hopped onto his leg, peed, and then hopped back as if nothing happened.
"Frankie!" the girl exclaimed. "What the hell did you do that for?"
"What do you mean it's none of his business? He saved my life, no thanks to you!"
She angrily flicked him and the frog seemed to scoff at her. Toad watched the odd interaction, an understanding slowly forming.
"Yo, you can talk to animals?"
The girl looked at him and nodded.
"Yeah, I just moved here and decided to go exploring. Frankie here followed me all the way from Florida, and I was helping him find a new home. We started playing around and well, I slipped and…here I am."
She spread her arms, soaked clothes stretching tight against her body as she did so. Toad gave her a bewildered smile, suddenly finding the entire situation hilarious.
"Which school yo goin to, yo?" he asked, standing up and reaching out to help her. He wasn't as surprised as before when she took his offered hand, but it was still a pleasant shock.
"I'm start'n at Bayville High tomorrow."
"A little late don't ya think?" he joked, referring to the fact that school was already halfway over.
"Tell that to my dad, he's the one that decided to move here."
"So…you don't like it here?" he asked, a little crestfallen.
The girl tilted her head at his expression, smiling and bumping his shoulder with her own.
"They're a couple good things about this place."
Toad flashed her a grin, unknowingly flushing a light pink.
"Guess I better get home," she said after tilting her head skywards. It was indeed getting late and Toad realized he would have to get back soon or else get throttled by Mystique about curfew.
"By the way, I never got your first name."
"Todd, but most call me Toad, yo."
The girl smiled and reached into her jeans pocket. With a bit of effort she managed to pull about a damp piece of cardboard. Handing it to him Toad noticed it was a business card.
"Come to this place and tell them you're name. Free food for life guaranteed, my way of say'n thanks."
Toad's mouth dropped as the girl walked away towards a parked bike. It was only when she began taking off did he find his voice.
"Yo! What's your name!"
The girl brushed some raven hair from her face before answering.
"It's Elizabeth! But my friend's call me Lizz!"
And then she was gone.
The next day Toad awoke a little early, hopping out of bed in excitement. The girl, Elizabeth, had said she was starting school today, so maybe they'd see each other. He stopped in front of his mirror for a moment, frowning a bit at his appearance. Then he smelled his armpits, and his frown deepened. Coming to a decision, Toad headed for the bathroom.
Maybe two showers a month wouldn't be so bad.