LOCKHEED VERSUS DINKY

BY MADRIPOOR ROSE

Disclaimer: The X Men are the property of Marvel Entertainment, no copyright infringement is intended.

Author's Note: Inspired by a throwaway line in Christopher L. Bennett's Watchers on the Walls, a great X Men novel with no Kiotr content, but a cute Kitty -n- Lockheed scene and an excellent plot. Go buy a copy.

Lockheed was bored.

Once, he and his girl Kittee had lived at the Xavier Institute of Higher Learning. It was a huge place with a great many rooms to explore and patrol and many peepul to play with him. There was always someone who would feed him, or talk to him, or admire his mighty wings and talons and his beautiful lilac scales.

But then he and Kittee and Peedur moved to Noo Yawk. The towering building had many rooms yet to be explored, but Lockheed was only allowed in a set of rooms called our apartment. And he was allowed to go in and out through the elevator and the lobby, but only if Kittee or Peedur was with him, and he was wearing the image inducer collar that made him look like a Siameezkat, and the leash.

The only peepul to play with were Kittee and Peedur and Baby. But Kittee and Peedur were too busy since Baby came. And Baby, who was also called Andrei Petrovitch, the way Kittee's other name was Shadowcat and Colossus was also Peedur, couldn't play yet. He was too liddle. Sometimes Lockheed had perched on the crib and dangled his tail over Baby's face, and Baby would grab for it and giggle.

Unfortunately, the first time Baby got a hold on his tail and wouldn't let go put an end to that game.

Today was no different. Kittee was at college all day. Peedur cleaned up the breakfast dishes and washed Baby. Baby's mutant power seemed to be getting very stinky, and Kittee or Peedur would wash him and throw part of his costume away. It would just happen again and they'd have to do it all over again later.

Then Peedur took a shower himself, ran the vacuum cleaner around the living room, and then went into the studio/office room to work.

And Lockheed was left alone.

He'd worked out how to turn on the television with the remote control, and he flicked through the channels looking for something good to watch. He found Animal Planet and left that on, a program following a pride of lions in Africa.

Getting down on his belly, he crawled around the living room rug pretending he was a lion and Peedur's sneakers by the door were an unsuspecting pair of warthogs at a watering hole.

He pounced on the sneakers, which didn't put up much of a fight. Picking up the left shoe by the laces, he gave it a vigorous shake, then let it drop.

Hunting instinct whetted, he found a crawlybug halfway up the wall, killed it, and ate it contentedly. It was a good thing Kittee wasn't here, or she would yell, "yuck! spider! drop it, spit that out!"

He used his forked tongue to sweep the legs back into his mouth, and ate them too. Kittee had funny rules about what you were allowed to eat. No bugs. No pet animuls, but that made sense, Lockheed wouldn't want a bigger animul to eat him! Peedur was allowed to eat beef and pork and pepperoni pizza. Kittee only ate vegetables and sometimes a fish or chikkun. Baby only ate what was in the white bottles in the fridge.

On Broodworld you ate anything that was smaller than you and couldn't outrun you, so Lockheed found the rules confusing.

It was okay. There were still plenty of tasty food he was allowed to eat, and it made the occasional crawlybug or pidgjin or skwerrl caught on the run a real treat.

He went to look in on Baby. Baby was sleeping. Baby didn't do much but sleep, eat, get stinky, and howl for attention.

From his perch on the rail of the crib, Lockheed flapped over to the changing table under the window, and looked out.

A flash of fox-fur red movement in the apartment across the street was promising. Now there was someone to play with!

Hopping down, he hurried to the studio/office, where Peedur was bent over his drafting board muttering to himself. "No, no, nyet...the perspective is all off...I should change the angle, yes..."

"ikk ikk ikk," Lockheed said politely. Peedur looked up.

"What is it, Lockheed?"

Lockheed flew up to the window here and pawed madly at the glass.

"Ah. You want to go out flying, yes? Maybe hunt a few pigeons? Good. Go down to Worthington Plaza and chase them off my statue of Winged Victory. Just be careful, and be back before Katya returns. Have fun."

Peedur unlatched the window and opened it for Lockheed, leaving it open so Lockheed could come back in.

Lockheed crawled out onto the wide window ledge, spread his wings, and glided across the street to the window ledge of that building.

Noone really noticed. It is an observable fact that New Yorkers, accustomed to living at the bottom of a man-made steel and mirror-glass ravine, rarely look up. To avoid being marked as that sub human class more reviled than mutants. Out of town tourists.

And to be perfectly honest, this was New York. A city home to superheroes, mutants, and supervillians, and the inevitable battles thereof, invaded by aliens, attacked by monsters, and visited by Atlanteans come ashore to complain about the East River.

A sixteen pound purple dragon wouldn't even register on most New Yorkers' freakometer.

Crawling along the ledge like a pop art gargoyle, Lockheed peeked in the windows of the apartment, ducking down to avoid being seen by the old lady who lived there, until he spotted his arch nemesis curled up on the ottoman, asleep.

Lockheed growled. How could they ignore the presence of this evil thing in their midst? It looked just like a Broodworld nestraider, and it was allowed to live entirely too close to Baby Andrei, who was still a hatchling and couldn't fight back.

Kittee insisted it wasn't evil. It was a pet animul and he wasn't allowed to kill it. Kittee, his Kittee, had even patted it on the head and called it a cute puppy!

He rapped on the glass with a forepaw and called to it. "Yah Dinkee! Yoo stoopid fuzzeedawg!"

Dinkee jumped up. Her ridiculous stumpy little legs trotted at a run, and she jumped up onto an arm chair, then onto the barrister's bookcase that stood under the window.

Nose to nose, divided by glass, Lockheed stuck his tongue out. "Nyah nyah nyah fluffeehead!"

Dinkee said, "yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap!"

Footsteps could be heard inside the apartment, and the old lady's voice calling, "Dinky! What in the world is all that noise about?"

Sniggering, Lockheed pressed himself flat against the wall of the building, carefully positioned in a blind spot. The old lady, looking out the window, couldn't see him there.

"Did you see a pigeon, Dinky? Silly Dinky, you've seen pigeons before, they're nothing to bark at."

Lockheed waited until everything grew quiet, then tapped again at the window.

Dinkee came running. Lockheed ducked down again quickly, giving Dinkee time to get back up on the bookshelf.

He popped his head out, and stuck his tongue out.

Dinkee said, "yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap!"

Lockheed ducked down again.

Silence.

He popped up.

"Yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap..."

He ducked down.

Silence.

He popped up.

"...yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap..."

He ducked down again, and quickly crawled back to his hiding place.

"...yap yap yap..."

"Dinky! Bad dog! Now, you be quiet now, we don't want to bother the neighbors."

Lockheed waited, shaking with mirth.

He peeked in the window. Dinkee was chewing a stick of rawhide, a bribe given by the old lady to keep her quiet.

Lockheed knocked at the window again, waited for Dinkee to scramble up onto the bookcase again.

"yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap..."

Straightening to his full height, Lockheed unfurled his wings, and let out a ball of flame. Not hot enough to damage the building or melt the window glass. What Kittee called fireworks fire, just an impressive display.

"yap yap yap YIPE!" Dinkee jumped, and skittered sideways, tiny paws scrambled for purchase on the polished wood, and Dinkee disappeared, falling backward on the floor. Taking a potted African violet that was on top of the bookcase with her.

Lockheed ducked down and listened.

"Dinky! You naughty girl! Well, if you can't behave yourself you're going to have to have a time out in your kennel. Let me clean up this mess...ooh, the flowerpot's cracked. I can save the plant, though. Then, young lady, you are going into the bedroom and I am calling the VET. I don't know what's wrong with you, Dinky. Maybe you need tranquilizers."

That put the liddle hairball in her place. Satisfied with a job well done, Lockheed flew around the neighborhood in a territorial pattern that would have announced to any other dragons in the area that this was his nesting site and they'd better back off.

He hadn't seen any other dragons in Noo Yawk. He thought of Puff, but she had claimed territory in Toekeyoh and that was a very long fly away. He swooped past a joolree store and eyed the shinees on display in the window. Enough to build a fine nest with.

He still didn't understand peepul nesting. Kittee had let Peedur crawl onto the sleeping bed and mate with her many times before he gave her a single shinee stone set in a ring. Then the other peepul at Xavier's had thrown them a partee. Not a very good partee.

Kittee wore a fancee white dress and walked across the room with Logan to stand by Peedur, and then there was a lot of boring peepul tawk before the cake.

A good partee would start with cake.

Then the three of them moved to Noo Yawk and Kittee got very round and fat before Peedur took her away in the middle of the night and when she came home, she brought Baby with her.

Lockheed circled his territory one more time before going home and crawling in through the window Peedur had opened for him.

Peedur wasn't in the office, he was in the kitchen, putting away the white bottle they fed Baby milk from. Lockheed sat up in front of his cupboard and looked sad, and Peedur opened a can of tuna and mashed it up on his plate, setting it on the floor beside the water bowl, then filled the bowl with fresh cold water. Kittee had Peedur well-trained.

Instead of going back into the office/studio room, Peedur came out to the living room, sat down in a recliner, and put his feet up. Lockheed followed, and hopped up into his lap. Peedur began to scratch lightly at the base of his wings, and Lockheed butted his head against Peedur's arm affectionately.

The scratching slowed to a stop as both man and dragon fell asleep.

XxXxXxXxXxX

Kitty let herself into the apartment and smiled at the domestic tableau in the living room. Peter was sound asleep, snoring softly, Lockheed in his lap.

Peter had been getting up with Andrei in the night, so she could get more sleep. She wasn't taking a full classload, but trying to finish her degree with a new baby in the house wasn't the brightest idea she'd ever had.

Peter had been so happy to take freelance magazine illustration work and play househusband...she suspected that the novelty was wearing off.

She set her purse and bookbag on the bench next to the door, and walked back to the nursery to check on the baby.

Andrei was awake, sucking a pacifier, and waved excitedly as his mother leaned over the crib. Kitty picked him up for a quick cuddle and breath of baby-talcum scent, before laying him back down and rejoining her other boys.

Lockheed lifted his head and greeted her with a "CooOOOooo," that woke Peter with a start and a sheepish smile.

"You're home."

"I'm home. Nice nap?"

He nodded, closing his eyes and yawning. "What did you want for dinner? There is the bean soup left over, and I think we still have a couple of frozen dinners..."

"Let's call for Chinese. And how about a little walk around the block before we call for take-out?"

"I will get Lockheed's leash if you get Andrei's stroller."

Kitty got the baby ready to go out on a block long walk...it only took as much preparation and equipment as a Savage Land expedition...and Peter had a black leather harness on what appeared to be a siamese cat.

They paused just outside the lobby, as they had a moment of confusion as to whether they could go left or right.

Mrs. Stanek from across the street, her pomeranian on a leash, was coming up the sidewalk with a grocery bag from the deli on the corner. She called out to them, and they waited politely.

"Hello, fine afternoon, isn't it? We might get some rain tonight. Ooh, is this baby Andy? Aw...doesn't he have his Mommy's big brown eyes?"

"It's Andrei, actually...yep, he has my eyes, but I bet he's gonna get his Daddy's hair when more of it comes in."

Nose to nose, Dinky sniffed Lockheed. Dinky growled, lips pulling back from a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth easily the size of grains of rice.

Lockheed sat back on his haunches, and whacked Dinky across the nose with a forepaw.

"YIPE yip yap yip yap yip yap yip yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap!"

The pomeranian went off like a land mine, an ankle high frenzy of hysterical barking, snarling, and a sudden lunge against his leash that staggered the old lady sideways.

Lockheed effortlessly lept to the safety of Peter's shoulders.

"DINKY! Oh, I'm so sorry, Mister Rasputin, Mrs. Rasputin, I don't know what's gotten into her lately. Dinky, come along!"

Kitty turned back to watch the pair proceed across the street. "She's nice. Cute dog. Absolutely bonkers, but cute."

The family continued on their walk, Lockheed contentedly curled around Peter's neck. He stared down at the top of Kittee's head, sending a message through their mental link.

"Oh yeah, remind me to get Lockheed a couple of shrimp eggrolls when we order. So anyway, then this kid in my poly sci class that I was telling you about, he says..."

Maybe living in Noo Yawk wasn't all bad.

The End