rating: mild violence - nothing worse than the series or movie.
main characters: Amy, Mort(Toad)
also featuring Anya and Tara
disclaimer: I own nobody from BtVS or Marvel Entertainment/X-Men the Movie. I took the name for Toad partly from the comics, which had the name 'Mortimer Toynbee'.
distribution: Twisting, Paula, Wic, anyone else please ask.
note: Post X-Men 1, AU season 6 BtVS. The wedding hasn't happened yet, Willow and Tara are still sort of together, although they are having troubles. Amy has recently been de-ratted, but has not fallen to the dark side.
Amy Madison held out her now violet nails, watching the sunlight gleam on them. It felt so good to be able to do things like that again – paint her nails, smile, use actual words. She’d spent the majority of the past three years as a rat, it had been an extremely limited existence. Willow and Tara had worked together, managing to restore her to her human form, although she’d been a bit surprised to realize that she’d come back naked.
But she was human again, and in better shape physically than she’d ever dreamed possible. She’d ended up with some new clothing, not a great deal, but then again, none of them really had a lot of easily accessible money. Her dad had moved away, so the things that she’d had in high school were long gone, one way or another.
Things had changed, and not just because of her time out for thought. Willow wasn’t with Oz anymore, but had somehow ended up involved with Tara, another witch. They were having some problems right now, and Amy didn’t know all the details. Xander wasn’t dating or broken up with Cordelia, who no longer lived in Sunnydale anyhow, but was engaged to Anya. Buffy had apparently traded in her feelings for a new crossbow, and had something going on with the blond vampire – and when had he arrived anyhow? Hadn’t she been dating some tall, dark haired handsome guy in high school? They’d blown up the high school at graduation. Rupert Giles, the Watcher to Buffy’s Slaying, now owned the local magic store, a place that had gone through more owners that… well, it had changed hands a lot.
Unfortunately, there was still a bit of a problem with things. She was human again, but she didn’t have anybody. No boyfriend, and all of her exes were now unavailable, for a variety of reasons. Exactly how was she supposed to go forth and meet someone, when she was still occasionally forgetting basic things like doorknobs and light switches?
“This is not a good situation, dating wise.” Amy sighed, wondering if there was any sort of solution.
“What situation?” Tara’s voice sounded curious, and a bit sad. Maybe she and Willow had been arguing again.
“Mine. How am I supposed to find a decent guy when I seem to have forgotten basic human behavior?” Amy knew that she was bordering on whining, but it was a frustration.
“Men are toads, useful only for sex, heavy lifting, and fixing broken walls.” Anya frowned, probably remembering her days as a Vengeance Demon again.
“There are ways around that.” Tara was blushing as she spoke the words. “But…”
“But I want a guy of my own. Someone that I can make use of for those three things.” Amy sighed, leaning her chin on her hand. “So, where am I supposed to find a guy anyhow?”
“Since most men seems to be toads or gay, are you sure that you want to try?” Anya was frowning a little, her fingers dancing over an odd looking ring on her right pinkie.
“I might be able to deal with a toad, if he was half way loyal and had a few good traits.” Amy joked, half serious. She didn’t think that she’d find Prince Charming on the Hellmouth, but what about Sir He’ll Do?
“Maybe there’s a ritual that we could do. Something to see about getting you a loyal toad of your very own. Someone for sex and heavy lifting.” Anya’s smile was almost wicked.
Actually, it took the three of them almost an hour to hammer out their petition, and to sort out exactly how to do this ritual. It wasn’t anything complicated, just a request to Hera the Goddess of Marriage and Fidelity, Aphrodite the Goddess of Love and Desire, and Athena the Wise and Far-Seeing that if there was someone suitable an image be brought to them.
It took longer to set up the candles in the four cardinal directions, lay out the sea salt protective circles around the three of them, each at the points of a triangle outside the candles. There were lines of fragrant herbs, olive leaves, and shredded peacock feathers that formed a square with the candles, and another salt circle inside. They began their chanting, stating that they sought no harm from this plea, but only to aid their sister in power, Amy Madison.
Anya accidentally requested that the Goddesses grant Amy a loyal toad.
The warm golden glow of the candle light spread, cascading down the iron candle holders to the lines that shaped the square. The salt circles were glowing, a pale greenish white, almost the color of sea-foam, but a bit cleaner looking. The green lines of the square caught fire, and the presence of magic was so thick that they could hardly breathe, even without the pungent scent of burning feathers. Amy blinked, oddly seeing double images over Anya and Tara. Anya’s image was blurred by a mature woman with rich curves, a pale gown with wide bands of crimson and gold embroidery falling to the floor, wearing a mantle of peacock feathers and a golden crown. Tara’s image was flickering with a tall, slender woman in an unornamented gown with a spear in her hand, a crested helmet on her head, and a breastplate bearing a hideous face with writhing tendrils in place of hair.
Between the fumes from the feathers and herbs and the sheer amount of power here, Amy felt herself swaying, dizzy from it all. She could see spots, and she felt almost as if something was stretching her taller, tugging like taffy. Once more, she repeated her request, the words gasped into the thickness of the air. “I ask that I be granted… the favor of a loyal man… a loyal…”
Anya’s words seemed to echo as if through fog. “…grant her a loyal toad.”
Everything seemed to pulse, and Amy gasped, falling to the floor as her knees gave out. She couldn’t breath, and her vision seemed to be a tiny spot of light through a dark tunnel as the world appeared to tilt around her. Blood was falling from her nose, and the taste of it was strong in her mouth, almost enough to cut the scent-taste of the burning feathers.
* * * *
Mort crouched in the only tree in the area, cursing his misfortune. He’d only intended to get a bit of space between himself and the terrible two. Sabertooth and Mystique were arguing, displaying a level of viciousness that he’d only seen from bitter divorcees and piranha fish in a feeding frenzy. Fearing for his safety, he’d stepped out, only intending to get a little breathing room. Instead, he’d been spotted by a group of idiots with shotguns, and they’d chased him, apparently intending to ‘blast the mutie to kingdom come’.
Which had lead to him hiding in this tree, crouched on a branch and praying that they didn’t just open fire on the whole tree. He’d rather be just about anywhere but here…
There was this feeling, almost like the tree had dropped underneath him, and his vision blurred. He tried to get a firmer grip, and his stomach twisted, making him feel even greener than normal. Something wasn’t natural about that… The world twisted around him, and he felt like he was falling and spinning and being wrung out like a dishrag. He opened his mouth, wanting to scream, but unable to breath, and so he gasped, panic stricken and confused.
And then he was on the ground, his whole body aching, but unbroken. He gasped for air, trying to regain his bearings, to figure out what had happened, and why the scent of forests and damp earth had been replaced with the scents of salt and burnt feathers. There was a blond woman collapsed to his left, a puddle of green and brown skirts around her. To his right, what had to be a mutant woman with a greenish-blue cast and prominent veins, with a pendant made from the eye of a peacock feather had fallen to her knees, with a terrible looking smile. Something about her reminded him of Mystique. There was also a third woman, almost directly in front of him, also collapsed to a nearly sitting position. Blood trickled from her nose, and her dark hair fell around her body.
“Where am I, and how did I end up in a circle of salt?” The question had to be asked. Not that he could see any problems with this place so far, but… how had he got here?
The dark haired woman looked at him, shaking fingers tugging her hair back from her face. “He doesn’t look like a toad… You’re in Sunnydale, California.”
“I told you, all men are toads.” The mutant woman’s voice sounded tired, and a quick glance served only to confuse him. She looked human now, although she was still wearing the peacock feather pendant.
“I’m Mort, although some people have called me Toad before. Still not quite certain how I ended up surrounded by salt…” Things were definitely a bit odd here. Although the dark haired woman in front of him was fairly pretty…
“We cast a magic spell, and in answer to a petition for a loyal toad, we got you.” The mutant woman’s voice was a bit reserved, as if she wasn’t quite certain this was a good thing.
“It was supposed to be a loyal man, not a toad. So… you’re a mutant? I’m Amy, that’s Anya, and… umm, Tara seems to have slumped.” The dark haired woman spoke again, a small, hopeful smile on her face.
“Oh, I’ll take care of Tara. You deal with your toad-man. He looks like he should be good for two out of the three, anyhow.” Anya’s words somehow didn’t sound nearly as comforting as they should.
Amy reached one hand towards him, looking a bit wobbly as she stood up. “Feel up to coffee?”
Coffee? Was this one of those purely social things that women sometimes did, or was she asking him out on a sort of date? Exactly why had she been looking for a loyal toad, err… loyal man anyhow? Mort had the feeling that Sunnydale would be very interesting. “That sounds… pretty good, actually.”
End All Men Are Toads.