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Title: True Form
Author: tikistitch
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Young Toki Wartooth had a secret.
Warnings: AU Toki. So if you hate AUs….
Notes: A deleted scene from Dethzazz. For Z’s challenge. “Mor” and “Far” are just Mother and Father in Norwegian, which I assume everyone here is speaking.
Characters: Toki and the Wartooth family.

This was for Z's challenge on i_hates_you. You could read it as a standalone or as a Mythklok Interstitial.

The first time … that was down in the punishment hole.

Toki huddled in a corner, skinny arms wrapped around scabby knees. His eyes, red rimmed and angry, drifted downwards to where his bare ankles jutted out from torn pants. He was a scrawny kid, but you couldn't deny it, he'd been growing taller. And as he grew, the punishments seemed to happen more frequently. What were they trying to beat out of him? Toki didn't know. Something behind his father's eyes. He hadn't been able to define it when he was younger, he had taken it for hatred.

But recently, very recently, he'd had a different inkling. Fear shown there as well.

His eyes drifted sadly to the pile of straw by his side. His father had discovered his friend, his only friend, the little clown doll he'd cobbled together, winding straw on straw, straw on straw, to keep himself company, and to protect him from … well, from whatever it was. A boy his age, Far had said, had no need of toys, and certainly no need of dolls. He would be a man soon. He must put aside such childish things.

And then Far had burned the doll, burned him to ashes, and then scattered the ashes, obliterating all traces.

So now it was just Toki, scrawny Toki, and whatever lay in the darkness. He didn't know: not for sure. But sometimes you could hear a scratching, or catch a distant rustle.

And the whispering: that was the worst.


He sat bolt upright, eyes wide in the darkness. What that his name? Where were they?

”Toki toki toki toki....”

They were all around. There were so many of them this time. They must know he was all alone: skinny little Toki, a pile of rags and bones. Too many of them. He was so small, still so very small.

A scuffle. A rustle.

He was on his feet.

They wouldn't take him! They would never take him!

He was....

He was....

It was a change, a slip, a light-headed feeling.

He was mighty Toki! He filled the room! Great and powerful. Look upon him and despair! He glowed with the magnitude of it.

He looked around, shocked.

There was silence. They had gone.

But how...?

He felt suddenly tired, as if all the weight of the world suddenly dropped on him. He collapsed back against the wall, and, wrapping his newly sprouted pair of soft brown, feathery wings around himself, collapsed into a deep, dreamless sleep.

He woke up to a sound, up above. He was Toki again.

Just Toki.

Was it all a dream?

Just a dream.

He heard the scraping of the door being opened. Blinking, bone-cold, he clambered up the ladder, into the daylight.

Far was staring. “Toki, how did you tear your shirt?” he demanded.

Toki looked down, astonished: the back of his shirt was ripped to rags.

“In my sleep,” Toki answered back. Far looked as if he would hit him. But for some reason, he stayed his hand that day.

Toki was a scrawny, stupid boy.

He did many things wrong.

But sometimes, sometimes … Mor did something wrong.

He was stacking cordwood, hunched over, arms straining against the heavy log, when he heard the cry. He dropped the wood, and found himself running, running back to the house, to the front porch.

There they were, Far poised above, hand back for another slap, Mor down on the ground, one arm up, pleading.

One leap, he was up the top of the steps, standing between them. What had gotten into him? What possessed him?

One did not argue with Far.

“Get away! Get away!” Far barked at him.

But Toki did not run. He did not hide. He did not flinch.

He stood his ground, crossing thin arms, planting two small legs.

“Leave her alone!” he warned. And then he was down! Not just down on the ground, no: Far's blow knocked him all the way down the steps, and he tumbled and tumbled, coming to rest in the cold dirt at the bottom, tasting blood and humiliation.

He heard the cry from the porch again.

He did not leap back up.

He flew.


Far backed off a step, speechless. It was Toki, but it was not him: now a pair of broad brown-feathered wings sprouted from his back, arched out, menacing, something many sizes bigger than Toki, grand and powerful, a stalking bird of prey.

Something bigger than Far. Bigger even than his anger.

Far found his voice. “Abomination,” he choked. He ducked down, hefted a small potted plant from the porch and hurled it at Toki, heedless, not aiming. It missed him by a mile, exploding and cracking behind Toki. But by that time, Far has wrenched the front door open and fled inside.

Far was gone. Toki was speechless too, for a moment. And then he turned around, dropping his wings so they hugged him close, and he was on his knees. “Mor?” he asked. He puts a shy hand on her trembling shoulder.

“GET AWAY!” she shrieked, brushing off the hand. She pusheed herself away, terror pasted in her eyes. “Get away! Devil! DEVIL!”

“Mor! It's me! It's just Toki.”

She ducked around him, scrambling away, on hands and knees, fleeing inside after Far. And then Toki was alone out on the porch. All alone. Feeling as if he'd been slapped.

He half-ran to the wood pile, wings catching the air, now a poor, ungainly thing. He scrambled atop, skinning his fingers, splinters in his bare feet. He wrapped his arms around his legs and wrapped his wings around him, and he stayed there, rocking, rocking, for a good long time.

He was still there when Far recovered himself, when Far grabbed his belt, when he came outside, and when he stood and beat Toki: beat the wings off him. Until he was just Toki again.

Days turned into weeks turned into months turned into years, long years.

The curse: it kept coming, despite Far’s best efforts to beat it out of him, Toki’s demon heart would not stop manifesting. It lay there, just under the surface, until rage and fear overcame him. And then he turned from Toki into the cursed creature, the abomination before the Lord.

Toki laughed softly, wings wrapped round him, light brown feathers rustling softly in the wind. Cursed? He was always a cursed creature. He just didn’t show it.

Far hadn’t seen him this time, hadn't seen it happen, so he had run to hide, run up to the mountainside. The beating he would get for shirking his chores wouldn’t be half as bad as the one for … for this.

From his overlook, Toki could see his home, and also the village nearby. Sometimes, when the wind was just so, he could hear soft voices from the village, the noises of people moving.

But what he heard tonight was not voices: it was music. A strange, unholy music.

He cocked his ear. It was like nothing he had ever heard. He cast a glance back at his home. This would mean a beating for sure, but….

“I thought the record store in Lillehammer burned down?” said the first youth.

“I bought this from the one in Oslo,” his friend told him.

The two boys were huddled on the living room floor around an ancient, stacking style record player, nodding their heads in time to the fine, scratchy cacophany.

“You went all the way to Oslo…?” said the first boy, astonished.

“Yeah. My far would kill me if he knew. He thinks they’re the work of the devil,” bragged the second boy. “An abomination, he says. Me, I think he listens to too many of Rev. Wartooth's sermons.”

“Where is your far, anyway?” asked the first boy.

“I hope not anywhere within hearing distance,” answered the second, now looking mildly afraid, chewing his lip. “He went out of town. He's not supposed to be back 'til evening.”

The first boy picked up the record album cover. “Dethklok,” he read. “Are they Norwegian?”

“I don’t know,” said the second boy. “I think they’re American or something.”

“They’re OK. I mean, they don't suck,” said the first boy, carelessly tossing aside the cover.

“Yeah, I think they’re breaking up.”

“Really? That sucks,” said the first boy.

“Yeah, I heard they fired their guitarist. SHIT! What was that?” asked the second boy, now jumping up to look out the window.

“What was what?” asked the first boy, puzzled.

“Didn't you see? The window?” asked the second boy.

“I think it was just a tree branch,” scoffed his friend. Nevertheless, the boy picked himself up and wandered over to stare out the window with his friend.

“I hope it wasn't Far,” worried the second boy.

“I thought you said your far was out of town?”

“I don't know. I don't know.”

The two boys stared out the window while Dethklok thrashed and crashed and smashed in the background.

“It was just a tree branch scraping the window,” said the first boy.

“Yeah, maybe,” admitted the second boy.

Suddenly there was a scraping sound, and then dead silence.

The boys whirled, startled. “What happened! Wait!” He stared dumbly at the empty turntable. ”Where's my fucking Dethklok album?”

Far up above, up on the mountain, a scruffy angel huddled on a lookout, skinny arms hugging scabby knees, motley feathers rustling in the wind.

He clasped to his chest like a treasure a vinyl record album.

Abomination before the Lord, he thought.

And then he smiled.
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