|Summary:||In which Gall gets to have some fun with superpowers.|
|Source:||“Kitty Fever” (NSFW) by lolliepops123.|
|Continua:||Avengers (Marvel Cinematic Universe).|
|Timeline:||April 2018, about a month since “Presentation: ‘The Spires of Prospero’.”|
|Published:||January 4, 2023.|
|Rating:||PG-13/T – Naked cat-lady and “Big Green”; suggestions (but not acts) of animal cruelty.|
The console went [BEEEEEEEP!]. Gall was closest, so she jumped up to slap the button, pulling up the Intelligence report on their next target. She checked the continuum tag first.
Her eyes widened, and she pumped her fist. “Yes!” She spun around and grinned at Derik. “Guess what?”
He’d paused folding the laundry (he was weirdly fussy about stuff like that) and now regarded her warily. “I’m afraid to ask.”
“We’re going to the MCU!”
The Marvel Cinematic Universe was everything good about having left her home to work for the PPC. It was the sort of legends she’d loved as a kid brought to life: god-like heroes, terrible monsters, epic battles, and so many kickass women and gloriously buff men. True, it had been a little weird at first when it was Thor—you weren’t really supposed to think of the gods as people to drool over—but then again, the real Thor probably wouldn’t mind, so Gall had quickly decided she didn’t, either.
The best part was that Derik had gotten interested in it, too, and not just because it was their job to know about really popular stuff like this. He had been a sort of hero himself back in the day, and he was still all about the whole “protect the weak” thing. He dug Captain America, obviously. Gall was pretty sure he had a soft spot for Black Widow, too, which she supposed was acceptable as long as it was just sympathy for her backstory.
“So, what do you want to be?” Gall asked. “I’m thinking Valkyrie; that way I can wear my armor and Fellrazer can be a flying horse, and—”
“Hold it, hold it.” Derik dropped a shirt back onto the pile of unfolded clothes and gently put Gall aside from the console with a hand on her shoulder. “Let me look at the report.”
Gall sighed and rolled her eyes at her dragon, watching from the fireproof corner. She’d tried.
After a moment, Derik gave an amused snort and stood up straight. “This is . . . different. It’s set . . . well, it doesn’t say exactly, but it’s on Earth, and it’s from well before Ragnarok, so flying horses are right out.”
Gall had a backup plan. “What about Inhumans, then? We could have superpowers!”
“I don’t think either of us can be trusted with superpowers,” said the eternal buzzkill. “Regular agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will do just fine.”
“Oh, come on!” Gall waved her arms, keeping his attention on her and off the disguise generator. “It’ll be fun! We’re allowed to have fun sometimes!”
Derik raised his eyebrows. “Now you’ve done it.”
Gall had realized she was tempting the Ironic Overpower (a split-second too late), but she wasn’t going to let that stop her. “So what? If we’re cursed, we might as well enjoy it before it comes back to bite us.”
Derik stared at her, but Gall wasn’t backing down, and she had two eyes to his one. For once, with a chuckle and a shake of his head, he gave in.
“All right, fine. What power do you want? Strength? Speed?”
Gall laughed. “Are you kidding? Fire!”
“Ah, of course.” Derik ran a hand over his face, but he was smiling through it. “You understand that we are not in DOGA and if you burn down anything canonical I will write you up?”
“Yeah, yeah.” She was pretty sure she could wheedle him out of it if push came to shove. “What about you? You can go for water powers if you’re really worried about it.”
His smile faded as he thought about it. “I don’t know. It’s one thing to imagine in passing, but to actually have such capability for disaster if things go badly . . . ”
Oh. He’d been serious about not trusting himself. How annoying. “It doesn’t have to be some big destructive thing. It could be, like, making flowers grow or talking to fish or some crap like that.”
Derik’s head tilted thoughtfully. “Actually, I think being able to breathe underwater would be interesting, with or without talking to fish, too. But it isn’t really practical.”
He would want practical and safe, the big responsible jerk. “Well, if you won’t make up your mind already, just set it to random and let’s go.”
That got a bark of laughter out of him. “Oh yes, that’s a wonderful idea. Just leave it up to the whim of the console, the Narrative Laws, or whatever else has it in for me today. That’s . . .” He waved a hand, suggestive of tempting fate, maybe. But then he stopped and looked at Gall. “No. That goes one of two, maybe three ways. And in that case, I choose what I’ll be least tempted to use.” He turned to the disguise panel.
“Sound. In particular, song.”
Gall glanced at Fellrazer. The dragon blinked and twitched his tail in a sort of shrug.
They both remembered Derik’s musical fixation a couple of months back: all the late nights he’d spent twiddling on the harp and vocalizing under his breath. It had stopped after his anniversary on March 11. Gall had gathered it had something to do with that, and something to do with Thoth. That day, the big man had delivered Derik back to the response center half-dead on his feet with exhaustion, with firm instructions that Gall was to care for him on pain of pain; as if she needed to be told! She’d gotten no explanation from Thoth, and all Derik would say was that he’d done what he had to do, and it was finished now. But he was happier afterward, in a strange, quiet sort of way.
Gall didn’t know quite what to make of it. Singing was so clearly part of him it seemed wrong that he held it in so much, but when it came out all weird like that, she kinda got why it freaked him out.
Well, this was gonna be interesting, that was for sure.
And she got to play with fire!
She waited impatiently for Derik to finish programming the disguises as slowly as humanly possible, and as soon as the portal opened, she leaped through.
On the other side, Gall was disappointed to find herself in the infinite white void of pre-story space. Derik emerged a step behind her and groaned.
“Why didn’t you skip this?” Gall demanded.
“I did. At least, I thought I did.” Derik squinted into the emptiness more one-eyed than usual: in this disguise, the other was covered by a navy patch that matched his jumpsuit. “There was an author’s note and a dossier, but then—”
A disembodied Generic Announcer Voice sounded around them:
The day started like any other, she woke up, stretched, turned back over and fell asleep again. But then the phone rang.
Dr Dena Rose Feline, codename: Kitty thought she had managed to stay under S.H.E.I.L.D's radar up until the day they placed a phone call to her. Bruce Banner/OC
Gall laughed. “She’s called what?” She shouted to be heard over the vox dei.
Derik shook his head with an amused, knowing smile. “I’ll never understand why people insist on meaningful names.”
“Oh, no, we’re not having that conversation again.” Gall was about to remind him that his people were the weird ones, making up nonsense names out of nothing, but the vox dei boomed in her ears with added emphasis.
With that, the agents were dumped into a setting. They staggered to their hands and knees on a well-manicured lawn. Gall shook off her momentary dizziness and bounced back to her feet right away. She was the first to notice they weren’t alone.
“Uh, Derik? There’s a tiny Nick Fury here.”
The foot-tall director glared up at her through his one dark, beady eye. “Didn’t anybody ever tell you it’s rude to stare, young lady?” he said in a squeaky yet authoritative voice.
Gall held it together for about a second before bursting out laughing. “I can’t . . . I can’t! I’m being lectured by a toddler-sized Nick Fury! What is this?”
“Must be S.H.E.I.L.D from the ‘prologue’,” said Derik, only now getting cautiously to his feet. He peered at the Words. “Yes: ess dot haitch dot ee dot eye dot el dot dee and no dot at the end. I thought that sounded strange.”
“It’s a mini?”
S.H.E.I.L.D aimed a kick at Gall’s ankle, but she dodged.
“I’d show some respect if I were you,” said the mini-Fury. “If this is gonna be a joint operation—”
Gall got her giggles under control. “Nuh-uh. No way.” She was fine with the minis that were cool little monsters, but tiny people-shaped minis were just not right. “It’s against the rules. Tell him!” she appealed to Derik.
He nodded. “She’s right. We’ll have to send you to the Mini Adoption Agency.” He handed Gall the remote activator, which was as good as saying he wanted a portal fast.
Gall was only too happy to oblige. “There. In you go!” She reached out with her foot to encourage the mini through.
S.H.E.I.L.D side-stepped her. “Negative. Operational parameters are—hey!” Gall’s foot had made contact this time and set him off-balance.
The mini turned to Derik, but there was no help coming from that quarter. “Do as she says.”
S.H.E.I.L.D gave them each one last ugly look before stepping through the portal.
Gall closed it. “Little bastard. What’s he gonna do, nibble our shins?”
“Creepy,” said Derik, shaking his head. “All minis are creepy, but the talking ones are worse, and the humanoid ones are worst.” His shoulders twitched.
Gall rolled her eyes. “Wuss.” Never mind that she didn’t want the mini-Fury around, either, for much the same reasons. “Anyway, where are we?”
She looked around at the setting. Again, she was disappointed: instead of being a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, Avengers Tower, or anywhere remotely cool, this place could have been any modern suburban neighborhood Gall had seen before: houses, yards, trees, birds—boring. Except, the house attached to the back yard they were in had a weird paint job, a pattern of curved lines that somehow seemed old-fashioned (“vintage arcs” rather than arches), and she didn’t recognize the trees surrounding them or the obnoxiously cheerful birds flying around in the early morning light.
She turned to Derik for an explanation.
He scowled into the middle distance, reading the Words. “This is supposed to be Australia. Hm. I thought it would be hotter.”
Gall smirked. “Well, if you want hotter . . . ” As usual, the innuendo didn’t even get a glance from Derik, but for once she hadn’t meant it as a come-on. She turned a hand palm-up and concentrated. Nothing happened at first, but then a tiny tendril of smoke curled into the air. Any second now . . .
"Now every time I go for the mailbox
Gotta hold myself down
'Cause I just can't wait
'till you write me your comin' around
I'm walking on sunshine, who-oh
I'm walking on sun-"
Both agents cringed and covered their ears as the music blasted from the house. It didn’t sound like Sue-singing, thank the gods, but it was still loud and irritating. The noise at the end, a cross between a shout and a psychic blurt, made the birds dart for cover.
“That would be our target,” Derik said through gritted teeth. “No respect for punctuation, not even her own rules. Or her alarm clock, it seems.” He started walking toward the house. “Come on. She’s going back to sleep. We can get in and find a place to hide if we hurry.”
They crossed the yard and slipped in through the back door. It was unlocked because, Gall assumed, of typical Suvian overconfidence. Who would dare to assail her, perfect her, in her own home? Unless, of course, it was required by the plot she spun around herself.
Once inside, the agents found a closet near the middle of the bungalow and got comfortable, leaving the door cracked just enough that Derik had light to write charges by. Gall took the opportunity to enjoy being close enough to smell him: leather, sweat, and spice. Nice. Not all men smelled good, but when they did, it was so hot.
Her mind snapped back into focus at a shrill telephone ring from the main room, which she could just see through the gap in the doorway. From the bedroom, she heard their target growl—not like a human, but like a lynx or something. Weird.
The Sue marched out of the bedroom, right past the agents. Gall couldn’t make out her appearance except for one hand, and not because there was anything wrong with Gall’s eyes. She recognized the effects of a deliberately vague description.
Long, tan fingers wrapped around the annoying piece of technology and threw it across the room, the satisfying sound of a shattered phone hitting the ground welcomed peacefulness back into the home.
Gall snorted; she couldn’t help it. “Temper much?” she whispered.
“Think of the resources wasted if this is a regular occurrence,” Derik replied. “Disgraceful.”
The Sue collapsed onto a dark brown couch as though her strings had been cut, but more sleep was not in the plan.
"Nice to see you take care of your property, Dr Feline." A deep, stern voice broke the silence.
“Uh-oh,” said Gall. “I know that voice.” Then the words sank in. “Wait, Doctor Feline?”
“Yes.” The tone of amused knowing was back in Derik’s voice. “Her dossier said she’s a psychologist.”
Gall struggled not to laugh out loud. “Like FicPsych? This chick?”
“I know,” said Derik. “I might have to tell Jenni about this one when it’s over. I suspect she’ll be appalled.”
Gall agreed. “Do you think Doctor—” again she had to restrain her giggles— “Doctor Feline is this charming with her clients?”
The not-so-mysterious intruder in the Sue’s home was Nick Fury (full-sized this time), and Feline had just casually threatened him.
"I have a tendency to dispose of annoying things, wanna be next?"
She apologized a moment later, but the pretense of respect was undercut by dialogue that hardly qualified for the term, since Fury didn’t even get to finish his only line.
"Dr Feline, I would like to offer you a position with SHIELD-"
"Correction Director, what you're trying to say is," she cleared her throat before lowering her voice to sound like Fury's "'Dr Feline collect your things you have no choice on whether or not you're coming with me, because you are, oh and don't try anything we have your house surrounded' did I get it right?" a smirk twisted her features as she stretched her back.
Gall was annoyed to note that Feline was still just a vague silhouette, and even more annoyed that she was getting away with sassing a full-grown Fury when Gall hadn’t even made an impact on the knock-off toy version. “How the heck is she on casual threatening and back-talking terms with him if she doesn’t even work for him yet?”
Derik shrugged. “He does have many and varied connections, and he isn’t big on charm, himself.”
Denying Fury a chance to answer her question, Feline declared that she would go pack, then
wandered slowly into her bedroom and threw a bunch of things into a bag.
Derik nudged Gall with his elbow. “Can you see her?”
“Because she has finally graced us with her appearance, and it’s very special.” His tone was far too amused to be trusted.
Gall weighed her options and decided anything Mr. Serious himself thought funny was worth the risk of making her eyes bleed. She checked Fury’s position, but he was just standing where Feline had left him
with a phone pressed to his ear, not even talking into it. Gall felt safe leaning out of the closet far enough to see into the Sue’s bedroom.
Feline had stripped off her nightclothes. Instead of getting dressed, she was staring into the mirror at her nude self. Or rather, selves.
Stripping of her clothes she levelled a glare at the women staring back at her from the confines of a mirror.
The Word World gave a groan as it stretched to accommodate the description by giving the single mirror angled panes on the sides, thus allowing multiple reflections. The infinite images of the Sue made her appearance infinitely more revolting.
Long blonde hair fell past her waist and ended half way down her butt, pale blue eyes glared back at her as she snarled her sharpened teeth and clamped them onto the edge of plump pink lips. Her size DD chest jutted out before slimming down into a small waist, long legs stretched down to size 8 feet.
Gall’s eyes did not bleed, but her jaw felt like it might drop off. “That’s . . . that’s . . . !”
“So clichéd?” suggested Derik.
Gall ducked back into the closet at a sudden movement from the Sue.
Grabbing some undies and clothes she emerged from the bathroom dressed in black skinny jeans, an 'I heart Geeks' t-shirt and neon green converse.
Since the Sue hadn’t been in the bathroom previously, she blipped out of existence for a moment so she could walk out of it. Gall was grateful the bimbo wasn’t naked anymore, but the clothes didn’t do much to hide her hideous proportions. Her height (5’9” according to her dossier) combined with an average shoe size and objectively huge boobs made her look like a slutty cartoon character, and she walked like one, too.
Gall had to snicker. “How is she not falling over?”
“Maybe it’s her Sue-per power.” Derik grinned.
Gall didn’t trust it—the pun was too obvious for him to be that pleased with it—but suddenly Feline was outside and surrounded by
forty armed guards with tranquilizer rounds and a few more for shits and gigs. The click of the safeties coming off suggested they were not for Feline’s protection.
“The hell?” Gall didn’t bother keeping quiet. “Is she supposed to be dangerous? She’s so top-heavy, a mild breeze could take her down.”
Both agents left the closet and hurried after her and Fury. They froze when Feline paused to take One Last Look at her house, but they blended in with the crowd of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents now standing dumbly rooted in place. Feline turned away and jogged off.
Derik made to follow, but Gall grabbed him by the arm. “Wait. There’s no way she’s coming back here, right?”
“I don’t know,” Derik said cautiously. “Why?”
“Well, this is an uncanonical location,” said Gall, looking the bizarrely painted house up and down. “It would be wrong to leave it standing . . . ” She turned a hand palm-up.
Derik shook his head. “Oh, no. You are not burning it down. I told you—”
“You said no burning canonical locations.” Gall grinned, staring at her hand. She could see a little wisp of smoke already.
“The house may be uncanonical, but what about the rest of the neighborhood? Look, I know three things about Australia: One, it’s hot; two, everything is poisonous; and three, it’s prone to wildfires.”
“So check it.”
“Check the neighborhood with a CAD!” Gall didn’t take her eyes off her palm. She could swear there was a flicker of light. She wasn’t about to stop now.
There was a pause; she could tell Derik wanted to say no, but in the end he gave a disgruntled sigh and pulled the Canon Analysis Device out of his bag. He read the results aloud:
“ ‘No character indicated’. See—?”
Gall was about to argue that failing to prove her point didn’t mean the device had disproved it when it surprised them both by emitting a single BEEP!
Resentfully, Derik reported the new readout: “ ‘Non-canon location detected. Maryland, Queensland, Australia. Reality dysfunction score: four out of ten.’ Well, I’ll be damned.”
Gall grinned in triumph, and with that, a ball of fire burst into life, engulfing her hand. “YES!” She laughed, both startled and elated. Her hand was on fire, but it didn’t burn. It felt pleasantly warm and tingly, like . . . like . . . Well. She could see how one might easily get carried away.
With a glance at her partner that said “I told you so” better than words, she drew back her arm and lobbed a wad of fire at the Sue’s house. Its painted “vintage arcs” blazed up like tinder soaked in Monstrous Nightmare Gel. Gall threw a few more fireballs for good measure, practicing with both hands, and soon the heat was so intense that she and Derik had to retreat.
Gall couldn’t stop laughing. “That was awesome! Oh, man, look at it go!” She walked backward so she could watch the fire spread.
“Yes, very clever,” said Derik. “Now, you’ve had your fun, so put those out.”
Gall held up her still-flaming hands as though surprised to find them at the end of her arms. “What, these?”
Gall sighed. “Spoilsport.” She clenched her fists, and the flames guttered out, leaving her feeling cold and hungry. She grunted in discomfort. “I hope there’s food wherever we’re going. Guess I gotta refuel.”
“Never mind that now—we have a transport to catch, if you haven’t already made us miss it. Come on.” Derik seized her wrist and tugged her into motion.
They had to run to catch up with the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and they reached the back of the line just as the last ones walked through the door to the . . . the . . .
They were inside before Gall was sure. She blinked and shook her head. She was panting and not entirely sure her eyes hadn’t been playing tricks on her. “Derik . . . what the hell is this thing?”
It had looked almost like the Helicarrier, but way too small, and with helicopter rotors sticking out of the top and back.
“The ‘helicraft’,” Derik reported.
The hatch slammed closed, and they were trapped inside.
Gall shuddered. “Well, that wasn’t ominous at all.”
Derik nodded, glancing around as the engines spooled up. The sound was wrong: too powerful, too sci-fi even for the MCU. “I think we’d better strap in.”
There was a single compartment with seats for personnel, and they were in it, along with Feline, Fury, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. A couple of guys blinked in confusion when they tried to sit down only to find their places occupied. Being generic bit characters, they shrugged and wandered off. Where to, Gall wasn’t sure—maybe they could pretend to be cargo, if there was even space for that. What mattered was that she was buckled securely in the seat’s harness by the time the helicraft took off.
And thank all the gods for that!
The helicraft roared with the fury of Ragnarok itself. The agents were crushed into their seats, and the craft rattled and bumped as though it were trying to pulverize them with G-forces. Gall could barely breathe, let alone demand what the hell was happening. She managed to turn her head just enough to catch Derik’s eye.
That crazy bastard was grinning like he was having the time of his life. Gall would have smacked him if her arms hadn’t felt like lead. This was his fault, and they were going to die, and she would never see Fellrazer again; what would her poor dragon do without her?
Something touched her hand. She jumped, or at least her laboring heart did; the rest of her was stuck fast.
And then her heart gave a different sort of flutter as she realized the touch was Derik’s hand on hers. Somehow, he’d found the strength to move. His expression had softened, and his meaning was clear: It will be all right. Don’t worry. I’m with you.
Gall still wanted to smack him for doing this to her. But she decided she wouldn’t kill him if they survived.
The ordeal lasted five hours: Five hours of agony. Five hours of every part of her body going numb. Five hours of deathly tedium, broken only by one scene three hours along in which Feline added insult to injury by acting completely immune to physics.
Sure enough, three hours later she found herself jumping at every rattle and bump that the stupid machine made.
Grumbling about stupid flying crafts and death traps a scream tore from her chest when a tablet landed on her lap.
"You'll be working with the Avengers, not for psychology. We need you and your abilities on the team Dena, the world needs you." Fury spoke as he flicked through files on the tablet.
What abilities? Gall wanted to ask. She considered trying to read the Words, but her thoughts already glopped through her mind like curdled yak milk, and she didn’t fancy a headache on top of it.
Fury told Feline to read up on the people she was going to be working with, and she spent a few minutes looking at the tablet, seeming bored. Then she got to Bruce Banner.
Turning to face Fury she let a huge smile stretch across her lips, "I'm going to be working with Bruce Banner, the Bruce Banner, as in Jolly green giant, I turn green watch me roar Banner! OW EM GEE I'M WORKING WITH BRUCE BANNER! Do you know how long I studied his work on gamma radiation! He is my idol! Fury, can I jump him?"
Gall shared a pained look with her partner. They’d known Banner was her Lust Object, but damn, it was gonna suck to be him. Even Gall had more restraint than this bint.
Fury told her in no uncertain terms that she was to leave Dr. Banner alone, but she ignored him and jumped up to harass the pilots in the cockpit, shouting abuse at them to make them fly faster. The helicraft—no, hell-craft—was so small that Fury was able to reach her shoulder from his seat and drag her back to hers.
Gall thanked the gods that the pilots were too one-dimensional to take any heed of Feline’s demands. She didn’t like to think about how fast they were already going.
The final two hours of the journey passed in a fog. It ended abruptly when
[t]he shutter of the Helicraft announced their arrival. That was, the hell-craft touched down and the guy who had shut the hatch earlier jumped up and said, far too cheerfully, “We’re here!”
Both agents gasped with shock, their chests suddenly able to fully expand again, and went into fits of coughing. Gall’s lungs seared; her head pounded to the beat of her pulse; her body buzzed with renewed sensation. She was grateful for the seat harness, because she felt like she might float away without it.
Derik recovered first, and though he moved like he was drunk, he got out of his seat and helped Gall out of hers. She clung to his arms, to the reassuring solidity of him, and together they staggered out of the hell-craft.
They emerged onto the landing platform of Avengers Tower. After so long in close confines and high Gs, the sudden opening of space all around her—all around—made Gall’s head spin. “Ooh. No, no, no, no . . . ”
“Gall?” Derik’s voice, like hers, came out in a rough croak.
“Think I’m gonna—” Too late. She just managed to face away from Derik before doubling over to puke.
A few minutes later, when the world made sense again, she looked him in the face and told him, “I hate you.”
Derik blinked, so clearly surprised and stung it made her even more angry at him for his cluelessness. “Me? What did I do?”
“You made me get on that thing! We could have portaled!”
His face darkened. “Maybe I’d have thought of that if you hadn’t stopped to play with fire. If you weren’t so irresponsible—!”
“No, if you weren’t so stupid!”
“It’s not my fault this Sue thinks you can fly from Australia to New York in five hours!” Derik bellowed. “How was I supposed to know?”
Gall waved her arms. “You’re the one who knows stuff! I’m just here to be awesome and look hot, and puking my guts out is not awesome or hot!”
Both of them paused, panting in the thin, cold air.
Derik reached up and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Look . . . I’m sorry, all right? I didn’t know. I wouldn’t have led us into that if I had.” He shook his head with a dazed look. “By rights, we should be dead.”
Those words hit her like a bucketful of cold water. “Shit, really?” Sure, it had felt that way, but she hadn’t really believed it.
Derik nodded. “Didn’t you hear the ship break the sound barrier? Twice, I think. It should have shaken itself to pieces, and us with it.”
Gall gave a low whistle. She had heard two especially terrible, bone-rattling booms, come to think of it, but they hadn’t registered as more significant than all the other noise. “Well. Thank the gods for plotholes, I guess?”
“I guess,” Derik echoed. “Speaking of which . . . ” He sighed and glanced toward the glass facade of the Avengers Tower lounge, then back to Gall. “Are you all right to go on?”
“Yeah.” She felt better after shouting at Derik and getting him to admit it wasn’t her fault they’d been in too much of a hurry to avoid the hell-craft. Well, more or less. The point was, it was mostly the Sue’s fault, so she needed to die as soon as possible. Furthermore, now that Gall’s body was returning to normal, it was reminding her she needed calories. “I think I need to raid Tony Stark’s bar. You in?”
He hesitated, but spoke firmly: “Food only.”
Inside, Feline had already made herself at home on one of the lounge’s couches. Director Fury had just finished introducing her to Tony Stark, and Fury passed the agents as he escaped back to the landing pad. He paused, looking mildly puzzled to see two of his people here (or perhaps wondering if Derik were deliberately cribbing his style with the eye patch), but Feline broke his concentration.
"What not even a kiss goodbye!" a middle finger and a 'fuck you' echoed the directors exit.
“Rude,” Derik remarked.
“Eh, she deserved it.”
“I meant her, for being crass.”
“Huh? Fury dropped the F-bomb.”
The not-S.H.I.E.L.D. agents blinked at each other. Derik checked the Words. “Ah. No wonder we heard it differently: with the paragraphing, it could go either way. And did.”
Gall had left him standing there to continue to the bar. Rolling her eyes, she went into the galley to hunt through the lower cabinets for snacks.
She heard Stark speak to Feline:
"So what's your deal Aussie, why'd you get hired."
A sigh left her before she sat up, "I'm part feline, meaning I can change into any cat I like, big or small and alter their size. I can also grow a tail and cat ears while still looking human."
She’s a freaking cat-girl? Gall almost cracked her head on the lip of the bar as she bolted upright.
And fumbled a hefty can of roasted peanuts when she found Tony Stark standing right across from her. She saved herself from being seen and the can from hitting the floor, barely, by dropping onto her back and using her whole body as a catcher’s mitt. Winded, she lay there wheezing.
Stark picked up a drink that certainly hadn’t been there a moment ago and went on talking to Feline.
"Kitty wanna play a game with Tony?"
One of her eye brows shot up as curiosity seized her, with a shrug she agreed to play along, 'curiosity does kill the cat.'
"Awesome can you change into a house cat, I wanna see how long it takes for people to notice that you're different." Tony said before raising his glass to his lips.
That’s it? Gall thought. Her lip curled when Feline said more or less the same thing. The bint knew it was out of character for him to be that blandly innocent, and she made him act like that anyway.
She also took her sweet time transforming—and Gall’s mind was still reeling from that little revelation. She might not have minded being on her back under Tony Stark in other circumstances, but since her current ones consisted of trying not to breathe loudly while Feline in cat form (a thought that hurt the agent’s brain) admired herself in a random mirror, her fantasies inclined to animal cruelty. Not that she would hurt anything that didn’t deserve it, but Cat!Feline (ow) really, really did.
"Tony put me down!" she growled as his hands scratched her head, fighting the purr that rose in her throat.
"You can talk in this form to?"
Oh, yes. If Gall had her way, she’d be feeding Fellrazer a special treat right about now. But noooo.
At least Stark had carried Cat!Feline away to an elevator; Gall could tell by the ding. As soon as she heard the door close, she popped to her feet and looked around for Derik.
He’d taken cover behind the steel stairs leading to the loft above them, and stepped out grinning.
“What are you so happy about?” Gall finally opened the peanut can and savaged the inner foil cover; those damn things never peeled back cleanly.
“That was an impressive move earlier, falling like that. And your face when Feline announced her power was priceless.”
Gall squinted at him. The penny dropped. “You knew!”
Derik laughed, and only laughed harder when Gall threw a handful of peanuts at him. He shielded his face with one hand. “You would, too, if you read the Words!”
“You could have just told me, you jerk!” The next handful was extra-roasted; her hands had flared up.
“What, I can’t have a little fun at your expense sometimes? Come on, cool off. We will not be responsible for burning down Avengers Tower.”
Gall grumbled, but her stomach grumbled louder. She quenched her flames with a sigh of regret. “I still hate you. And I can’t believe her. It’s not bad enough that she’s a cat-girl and an Animorph, she has to call herself ‘Feline’? She could at least have picked the DC Universe to crash if she wanted to be that on the nose.”
Derik looked skeptically from under his brow. “Victor Von Doom.”
“DC’s still sillier.”
“You made that up.”
Gall snickered in spite of herself. “That’s not even Marvel, and don’t think I don’t know it.” She crammed some peanuts into her mouth.
Recognizing the sign of truce, Derik joined her and took a handful for himself. “Eat fast. We’re not missing much, but the chapter ends soon, and we’ll need to be on our toes. I don’t know what happens next; Feline’s dossier and the bloody prologue are repeated, and I can’t see past them.”
Gall squinted suspiciously at him. “Is that how you knew her power? Anything else you might wanna tell me?”
“Yes, and no.”
They ate their fill of peanuts and stashed the rest of the can in Derik’s backpack; the label had scorch marks, and Tony Stark could afford more.
Since Derik didn’t know where exactly they were going, Gall set the remote activator to “Home In on Sue.” As the portal opened, the remote beeped softly and a red light flashed next to the coordinates display.
[Warning! First-person detected.]
Gall groaned. “Oh, great. Derik, get the crash dummy.”
“That’s new,” he remarked, peering at the RA.
“Oh, yeah—I made DoSAT upgrade it last time I was there trading Nightmare Gel. Sweet, huh?”
“I could’ve used that feature on my first mission.” Derik fished the “Me” dummy out of the backpack, pulled the ripcord, and tossed it through the portal.
The agents went through after it and emerged into a random hallway in Avengers Tower. Cat!Feline was in the midst of telling off Stark for cooing at her.
"For god's sake Tony, I'm part human, treat me like one!" I growled before changing back into my human form.
Cool air slithered through the open windows and brushed against my naked form, the morning air leaving a fresh smell in the tower.
Turning I wandered down a hall[.]
She paid no heed to the two agents watching with terrible amazement.
“My eyes. They burn,” Gall whimpered. Of the many things she never would have asked to see twice, Feline’s enormous boobs jutting from her otherwise skinny figure ranked in the top ten.
“Complains about not being treated like a human, then prances about naked in a public area with all the self-consciousness of a sun-dazed wherry,” Derik muttered, scratching something into his notebook.
“Gods, do we have to follow her?”
“Only to the door of her room. She’s going to take a shower, and I do not intend to watch.”
Gall shuddered. “I’d puke again if I had to see that.”
At least she didn’t have to worry about Derik leching after a disgusting Suvian creature like that. It was good that he wasn’t distracted by unbridled manly urges.
Even if that meant he wouldn’t look at her, either.
Gall wondered if cat-girl guts made good bowstrings.
Whilst she mused on that and other such soothing prospects, they had followed Feline’s route at a leisurely pace and come to a lurk opposite her door.
Derik reported on what he gathered from the Words. “She gets a ‘sharp stab in her lower region’. Sorry to say it isn’t someone with a knife.”
“It could be,” Gall said hopefully, reaching for her disguise’s utility blade.
Derik chuckled, but then choked. “Oh, shards.” His face contorted in horror. “This part cat thing . . . it isn’t just about being able to cozy up to Bruce in animal form. She says she’s in heat.”
“She’s in what?”
“Shh!” Derik pressed Gall back against the wall and clapped his other hand over her mouth.
She froze without protest; his reason was apparent.
Feline had decided the way to handle her situation was to put clothes on while still wet so they stuck to her like a second, very translucent skin, then go prancing about the hallways some more. Naturally, that would be the exact moment her lust-object appeared in the area, because of course it would.
Slipping from the room I silently snuck from the room only to slam into a solid chest.
"Ow um, I'm sorry." Twisting my head slightly I gazed up at Bruce Banner as he rubbed his neck and stepped back. "Um, you must be Dr Feline, it's nice to meet you, and I'm Bruce Banner."
There he stood, barely an arm’s length from the agents.
And there Feline, in her totally rational, not at all unfit-to-be-in-public state, immediately glomped the poor bastard.
Purring in pleasure at the pleasant burn that raced over my skin from where he had touched me, I leapt forward and wrapped my legs around his frozen form.
So this was her game. The soaking wet, effectively nude psycho proceeded to molest Banner from lips to groin, and only let him go because she heard Stark call out to him from around the corner.
Leaning up I brushed my lips tauntingly against his ear lobe before whispering heavily, "I'll find you later."
Giving his backside a firm squeeze I slipped down the hall, my hips swaying teasingly from side to side.
Banner didn’t move. Gall could see his back muscles rippling under his shirt and a blush of green creeping up his neck. She threw Derik a panicked glance; his expression was murderous, but he just shook his head, warning her not to do anything. They stood frozen in place for a full five minutes until Stark finally showed up, looking for his friend.
With no clue what had just gone on, Stark suggested that what Banner needed to unwind was a
long, strenuous tumble between the sheets. Gall was sure they were about to see the Hulk up close and personal (right before they died), but to her mixed relief and shock, Banner just walked away. The scene was over.
And so was the chapter; Gall could tell from the way Stark went still and the color leached from the world. Derik released her, and she whipped up a portal just as an end-of-chapter author’s note began to blare.
They emerged into darkness.
“What’s that light?” a voice hissed—literally hissed. “Who’s there?”
Shit, Gall thought, along with many more and much worse words. She could barely see, but the glowing retinas targeting her and Derik were a dead give-away that Feline had spotted them.
“Portal again!” Derik urged. “Hurry!”
“Shit, shit, shit!” She key-smashed the controls.
“Whoever you are, I will claw off your faces if you don’t get out of here. I haven’t been staking out Dr. Banner’s bedroom all evening just to have my cover blown by aliens or Hydra or whatever!”
Finally, another portal opened, and the agents escaped . . .
. . . into the exact same place. Only this time, Feline was too busy to notice the blue glow.
Storming into his darkened bedroom, Bruce flung me across the room to fall upon velvety soft sheets.
"Dr Banner, playing rough." I purred in a lust thickened voice.
My only response was a deep growl as he pushed me back onto the bed.
The agents traded looks of horror.
Derik twitched his head in the direction of the bedroom door and indicated with two fingers that they should walk very slowly. Gall nodded. They crept away from the increasingly lewd action.
“What happened?” Derik whispered once they were clear on the other side of the doorway. “How far have we gone?”
“How should I know?” Gall snapped. “I didn’t exactly have time to get directions!”
Derik sighed in his throat and rolled his eye upward, checking the Words. “All right . . . it looks like we skipped over two chapters. I don’t think we missed much, though—I’m certainly not complaining that we didn’t watch a scene with Hulk sniffing her.” He shuddered.
Gall gagged. “Nope. Did not need to see that. Didn’t need the idea in my head at all, thanks.”
“You’re welcome. Anyway, with a Sue involved, it’s no stretch of the imagination to work out how we got from where we were to where we are, even if it is a stretch of Bruce’s character.” His lip curled beyond the permanent tautness of his scars. “A perilous one, at that.”
Gall chanced a look at the bed. Feline and Banner were wrapped around each other like dueling starfish, and with the lights down, it was hard to tell if he seemed like going green again. Gall was about to ask what they planned to do about it when an odd reflection caught her eye.
“Uh . . . what is that?”
The reflective . . . something . . . oozed out from between Banner’s waist and Feline’s clinging thighs. It kept moving, crawling and flopping off the bed and onto the floor, heading toward the agents. It looked like the blobfish in that nasty picture, but brown and mean.
“Your mother was a hamster!” said the thing. At least, Gall was pretty sure the slimy little voice couldn’t be coming from anywhere else. “I bite my thumb at thee!”
A smell hit Gall’s nose, worse than the HQ public bathroom after chili night in the Cafeteria, and she gagged. “Oh, Thor! Gross!”
“I fart in your general direction!”
“This—” Derik coughed. “In the Words, it says ‘his taunt waste’. W-A-S-T-E.” He retched again. “Stop gawking and get rid of it!”
Gall glared at him. “Where’m I supposed to put it?”
“You’re a virgin who can’t drive!”
“Shut up.” Derik kicked the thing. It went squelch and didn’t budge.
“You play ball like a girl!”
“I don’t care,” Derik said to Gall through gritted teeth. “Anywhere but here.”
Fortunately, Gall had had an idea. She punched coordinates into the RA and opened a portal beneath the taunt waste before it could pinch out another rancid insult. For just a moment, the air became so foul that she felt her gorge rise, but then the portal closed, and both agents could breathe again.
The back of one hand still pressed to his mouth, Derik gave her a look demanding an explanation.
“Bog of Eternal Stench,” Gall said. “It’ll fit right in.”
He started to smile.
Then a roar shook the walls of the suite.
Feline and Banner had ended up on the floor of the bedroom, completely naked. Banner was on top of Feline, and wasn’t exactly Bruce anymore. Since Hulk was apparently on board with Feline’s seduction, he wanted a share of the fun.
It was almost as if he was stuck halfway through the transformation, with one eye yellow and the other brown.
If the noises Feline was making were any indication, the change had been more thorough in some places than others.
“There’s something very not right about that.” Gall shook her head. “This has to be bad enough to kill her, right? So, what do we do? Wait till they finish and get ’em while they’re blissed out?”
“Bruce’s character is wrecked—Hulk’s, too,” Derik agreed, scowling at the Words. “Unfortunately, we can’t wait. This is the last chapter in the fic, and thanks to that thing, it’s almost over. We have to act now.” He slipped his pack down one arm and tossed it to one side.
Gall groaned. “With Hulk here? We’re going to die.”
“No. I have a plan.” Derik grinned, but it was all teeth. “It might not work, but at least I can distract them for you. Be ready to roast the Sue.”
Gall glanced at the pack—their gear, out of harm’s way—then back to him. “Wait, what are you going to do?”
“The one thing I didn’t want to from the beginning; what else? You might want to block your ears.” Still wearing his rictus grin, he stepped into Banner’s bedroom and took a breath.
It felt like the world leaned in to listen.
And Derik sang.
Hear me, Bruce: she is not your lover
You’d better run, you’d better take cover
His voice was eerily penetrative. Banner/Hulk and Feline both noticed him immediately and scrambled to their feet to face the intruder. This was quite the unsightly affair of jiggling, off-color and outsized anatomy, and Gall wished she had covered her eyes instead of taking Derik’s advice and sticking her fingers in her ears. She found now that she couldn’t turn away from the scene. Even with her hearing muffled, Derik’s song wormed its way into her brain and held her—and the two characters—transfixed.
Almost died in a mach three death-trap
Running down this bint, got in a right flap
See this lady Feline, she makes me nauseous
She saps your wits to feed her estrus
And she says
Says she comes from the land down under
In New York now she will plunder
Hear my heart, how it beats like thunder
I’m feeling sick, and it’s no wonder
Playing cat to your mouse, Bruce Banner
She’s a doctor with ill bedside manner
She stalks you and lays you out supine
As Suvian is, does Dena Rose Feline
So it’s time
Time to go to the land down under
Hulk’s purple pants she’ll not plunder
Hear my heart, how it beats like thunder
Let’s end this now, and then I’ll chunder
Gall was fascinated. Part of her recognized that what she was hearing was so silly it should have had her in stitches, but the rest of her screamed that it was the most beautiful music she had ever heard, and she knew she would do anything to hear it again. The slack-jawed, rapturous expressions on Feline’s and Banner’s faces showed the same spell upon them.
When Derik stopped, he stepped up to Banner and looked him in the eyes. “Sun’s getting low, Bruce. Sleep.”
Banner crumpled to the floor, fully human, out cold, and snoring.
She blinked at him. “Huh?” She would do whatever he wanted, if only she understood!
He looked over his shoulder at her and groaned. “Shaffit! Snap out of it and grab Feline, before she—!”
Too late: Free of Derik’s trance, Feline pounced on him with an alley-cat scream of rage. They toppled backward, Derik too busy protecting his face from her slashing claws to catch himself.
But Gall was free, too, and she was blazing with wrath. “Get off him, cat-bitch!” With a flaming fist, she punched Feline in the side of the head hard enough to knock her over.
It took another couple of blows to make her stop moving.
And a couple more to make Gall feel better.
In fact, Derik had to catch her by the arm and pull her back. “Enough, enough! We haven’t charged her!”
Gall whirled on him, not sure for a moment whether she wanted to fight him or f—well, no. No, she didn’t want to do to Derik what Feline had done to Banner and blame it on “heat.” She was selfish, but she wasn’t an animal.
She took a deep breath, and when she let it out, her flames went out, too. “Okay. I’m cool. Er, how’s your arms?” She could see his uniform sleeves were shredded.
He winced. “I’ll live, if I don’t contract some hideous infection. What about her?” He jerked his chin at the Sue.
Gall knelt down to check, but even as she reached for the big neck artery, Feline’s form reverted with a wheeze to that of a slightly singed PPC crash dummy. “Uh . . . Look, it’s fine! Your song counts, right? I’ll swear to anyone.”
“Oh, no.” Derik covered his face with both hands. “I don’t want that on the record. I can’t believe such meter-loose, low-brow, colloquial drivel came out of my mouth. My composition master would have my sinews for guitar strings.”
Gall snorted. “Hey, it worked, though!” She started bundling up the crash dummy. “Grab Feline’s clothes, will you? I can torch ’em before we go.”
He sighed and started collecting garments, not that they were much to speak of apart from a bra that could hold watermelons. “If anyone asks, I was under pressure, all right?”
“Yeah, yeah, performance issues, I get it.”
“I just mean, outside of a musical, no one’s a lyrical genius on the fly.”
“Totally. Everyone struggles with the fly sometimes.”
“Gall! I’m serious.”
“Well . . . at least we know you definitely weren’t possessed this time? Or obsessed?”
The poleaxed expression on his face was priceless. “That really should be some consolation . . . ”
He just shook his head. “Forget it. Let’s get out of here.”
The mission clean-up was a cinch, only derailed a little when Derik began idly humming “Down Under” while they watched Feline’s stuff burn in the bottom of her shower and Gall failed to refresh the fire when it smoldered. He laughed it off. And, with the last traces of Feline reduced to ashes and washed down the drain, Banner, Stark, and Fury didn’t even need to be neuralyzed.
A quick trip to Medical saw Derik’s arms healed. He didn’t get a hideous infection. Not even cat-scratch fever—not even, to Gall’s disappointment, the Ted Nugent variant.
And, as missions went, it had been fun. She’d gotten to play with fire!
- I did the math on this. Based on a Qantas Airlines flight plan, a non-stop flight from New York to Sydney traverses a distance of 16,200 kilometers. 16,200 k / 5 hrs = 3,240 kph. The speed of sound is 1,234.8 kph. 3,240 kph / 1,234.8 kph = 2.6 times the speed of sound.
- Ferrus Manus is the Primarch of the Iron Hands legion in Warhammer 40,000. Guess what “Ferrus Manus” means in Latin.
Alas, Derik did not make up Blackagar Boltagon.
- To the tune of “Down Under” by Men At Work. I’m not sorry.
- Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever” Lyrics Meaning.
I feel the need to stress that Gall’s opinions of Feline’s Jessica Rabbit figure do not necessarily reflect those of the management. I mean no offense to any real women with big breasts or to anyone who finds big breasts attractive. Feline’s overall proportions are silly, though, and Gall has some chest envy that she’s not very self-aware about.
It was fun writing from her point of view for a change. She’s perceptive, but not inclined to rumination and angst. Perfect for a lighthearted little jaunt like this one.
Derik was always going to have to sing to put Hulk out of commission, obviously. I did not know I would end up filking a goofy 80s pop song for the purpose, but here we are! I’m sure Derik will get over his embarrassment soon enough.