Disclaimer: The characters don't belong to me, except my OC, and the lyrics belong to Peter Gabriel. Artistic license has been taken, and will be returned.

Summary: A burning-house-rescue songfic. I think this is my most action-filled songfic ever—please review!

Note: The OC is the same one from "Bird Girl". In a fully shapeshifted form, she uses telepathy to communicate—this particular form is a "skin" for her, a form she's so familiar with she can slip into like a skin. She can modify every aspect of her forms, hence the larger-than-normal cat. I am not sure if Warren would be vulnerable to smoke inhalation (logically speaking, he would be), but in this story, he is, so do not flame me for that reason.

Italics are thoughts or telepathy.

The burning mansion drew superheroes like moths to a flame.

As I dropped out of the air, folding my wings, I realized I wasn't the first to arrive. Another was there already, and in the ample light of the fires, I recognized all of them. "Hey." I greeted casually as I stripped off my heavy flight robe. "Who's in there?"

"Hothead went in to get the people out—" Just then, an older, balding man with a beer belly lurched through the doors, coughing. I got to him first.

"Where is he?" I demanded.
"Who?" he gasped out.

"The hero who went in to get you!" I snarled, the fear making me brusque.

"Pushed me… out… said run…"

"I didn't wait to hear any more as the alarm sent spikes through my system. Pushing him towards my friend, I began preparing for the upcoming shapeshift—she spoke up. "Cass, what are you doing?"

"Hothead's still in there! He may be fireproof, but last time I checked, he wasn't smokeproof!" I shouted. We were losing time—every second could mean life or death. My next words came out as an unintelligible growl as my face shot out into a heavy, powerful muzzle—I tried again in mindspeech. Keep anyone else from coming in, even Mr. Invulnerable himself.

My friend laid a hand on my muzzle. "Be careful, okay?"
I let out a growl of assent as I took a few steps back—then exploded into action, eating up the yards with huge bounds. I roared thunderously as I hurled myself against the heavy oak door, eight hundred pounds of determined, desperate feline.

The door yielded under my charge—I landed in the middle of an elaborate lobby, my claws making hideous skreeking noises as they sought a grip on polished marble.

The fire hadn't gotten in here yet, but the heat told me it would soon. Nudging open a door with my paw, I bounded into the rest of the house, already aflame.

Walk through the fire

I ran through room after room, searching for that familiar scent amidst the dry, musky smell of ashes the acrid reek of burning paint.

Through the dust and ashes

A low crack! was my only warning—I braked as a heavy bookcase, fiercely ablaze, toppled over in my path. I snarled in frustration—then froze. I had caught the scent, faint and elusive, and the quickest route to it was over the bookcase. Crouching, I bunched my muscles and leapt over it—tongues of flame licked at my belly, singeing some fur. But I had the scent, and nothing would stop me.

While the building crashes

Walk through the flame

I finally found him, lying in a crumpled heap where he'd succumbed to the smoke. He didn't respond when I nosed him—shifting back to human, I tugged his hands around my neck then returned to cat shape, so he was draped over my back.

When I looked up, the fire had grown worse, and so had the smoke—I swiped a paw over my muzzle, then began running for the garden that ought to lead me to the nearest exit.

No trace of indecision

Lion keep his vision clear

I burst into the courtyard, sucking in great gasps of wet, clean air. The fastest way across was through the ornamental lake (more like a pond, really), then a small grove of trees, before heading back into the burning house. Before wading through, I stopped for a quick drink—and felt him stir on my back. He moaned—I purred, and he relaxed. By the time I'd made it across, my fur was soaked up to my chest—and I could smell the fire getting closer.

Moving out

Across the water

As I brushed through the grove, the dew-soaked leaves slapped against my face and muzzle. He was a dead weight on my back as I padded along, but that didn't hinder me too much. The cat-body was strong enough to handle it.

The wet leaves quiver in the heat

Darkness heavy on my shoulder

A nauseating smell rolled out of the building ahead. It was a sickly sweet odor I wished I couldn't identify, and I really did not want to go in there—but I had to, if I wanted to get us both out safely. On my back, he moved slightly—I purred softly, trying to calm him down. Easy, hotshot. Stay still now, don't fight. He quieted—I knew this was from the weakness caused by smoke inhalation, but I had enough strength for both of us.

Smell the smoke, sickly sweet

The body's weak, the shadow's strong

The building was filled with the charnel reek of death—I knew I could do nothing, so I ran on, weaving my way through the flames. I had to keep moving or give in to the smoke.

Walk on through the fire

Through the dust and ashes

While the building crashes

Walk on through the flame

I looked down the hallway that led to the lobby—it was completely ablaze, flames leaping from every doorway. Steeling myself, I sprinted down the flaming gauntlet—if I faltered now, we would both die.

Lion show no sign of fear

I butted the connecting door with my head, nudging it open—and walked into the middle of a literal inferno. Getting through that would be difficult to say the least, and the cat-brain was terrified by the overwhelming presence of fire. I allowed the fear to rise for an instant, then shoved it out and eyed the huge room, picking out a route. When I moved, it would have to be fast and decisive—fear, doubt or panic would kill both him and me.

Haste without thoughtlessness. My mentor's voice rang in my mind, calming and soothing me. I took a deep breath that seared the lining of my nose, then plunged into the flames.

No time for doubt or caution

Taken by the strong emotion

Walk through the fire

No trace of indecision

When I stopped to get my bearings, I realized the smoke was making my eyes burn and water—as I rubbed a huge paw over my muzzle ineffectually, I was startled to feel a gentle hand brushing away the tears. "That OK?" I heard from my back in a gravelly, hoarse rumble.

Lion hold his vision clear

Yeah. Thanks. Hold on now, we're almost out. I waited till I felt fists bunch in my mane, then sprang into action again. The doorway rose ahead of me, a ring of flames—inhaling, I let out a roar to warn the other superheroes of my exit as I leaped—

Walk through the fire

I soared through the air, powerful muscles propelling me far away from the fires, out into the cool night air. For a moment, I flew the way I would have with wings.

Walking in the path of angels.

As I landed, I was surrounded by my friends and other superheroes—letting the one I'd gone in to rescue slip to the ground, I stretched out full-length on the ground, finally feeling the pain from numerous minor burns all over my body.

I lay there for god-knows-how-long before I felt a big hand smoothing my mane. "Thanks." he murmured softly, in a voice so low I knew I was the only one hearing it.

You're welcome.

I shifted back and allowed my friend to see to one of the more serious burns, before I headed off into the darkness on foot, with the firelight still washing over everything in the vicinity.

Walk on down below

I didn't do it for fame or glory or any of that rubbish. I did it for friendship. A snowy owl winged away into the night.


So what do you think? Please leave a review and let me know!